Saturday, May 30, 2009

He Can Move the Mountains

The sky started out blue in the early morning hours, with patchy clouds sewn across the horizon. But before long, thick dark bands of gray marched in from the west. I could almost see the layers upon layers of clouds, like rows of enemy soldiers marching towards a battle front.

The wind picked up and then I heard it, faintly at first, rolling in from the distance. Quite quickly, the irregular thunderous drum roll increased in intensity and frequency. The cracking and booming grew, rolling across the landscape, bellowing from the clouds; the thunder brought with it the rain, slowly at first and then rapidly pelting the ground like machine gun fire. The storm had arrived just as I rounded the turn on to my street and home.

As a child, much like my own children, I was afraid of thunder. There was something hollow and deep and scary about it. As years went by, I convinced myself that it was "angels bowling" or "God moving furniture," but I was never fully satisfied.

Today, however, the cracking and the booming and the rolling sounded more like mountains moving. There are certainly a few mountains in my life that I could use moved. I had recently been thinking about the mountains that seemed to be between me and what I thought looked like a sweeter, gentler more peaceable time. The way over them looked too daunting. The way around too laborious. Oh, how I wish they could just be moved! (And I had asked God a time or twenty for just that thing).

But today I thought, "What if they are moving?" Maybe amidst all the noise and commotion that I witness from time to time in the circumstances of my life, God is moving the mountains that are before me out of the way. Maybe, just maybe, what I thought was not moving, really was, but it just was being done differently that I thought. (Imagine that!) God wasn't making the mountains disappear, but He was doing something.

Psalm 46:1-3 says, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."

Today, when I heard the thunder, I also heard the gentle voice of God in it saying, "Does that thunder sound like mountains moving to you? Well, be assured, I am ever-present in your storms. The sounds you may be afraid of are not for you to fear. It is Me doing my work for you. Remember that when you fear the thunderous circumstances in your life, it is Me moving out of the way that which separates Me from you and you from you. I am moving that mountain, dear daughter. Trust Me."

When I feel as if all is crumbling apart and not going as I had hoped, I will chose to remember that perhaps what appears to be things falling apart, may actually be God moving the mountain. When my dreams and desires seem to be giving way, maybe God is placing them somewhere else to be better used for Him. Either way, no matter what, I know that on my walk with the Lord when the storms come, He is my refuge and my strength from the rains and from the winds, and I need not fear.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

God Lifts Us Out and Sets Us Free

It is raining today. A chilling kind of rain, that you can almost feel seep in to every pore of your body and settle there, leaving you wanting for warmth, all day.

As I walked through my back yard today with the dog, I noted a low spot. The grass reaches out towards a path that wanders through the woods, but at the opening of the path, the ground dips down. When it rains, water almost always pools there.

There was something about it that reminded me of my own heart. It has a low lying spot, too, where the tears of my sorrow seem to all flow and pool. When the rainy days of life stir up my tears, they seem to all run in to this place of grief; grief from the past and grief from the present, mixed together, they accumulate.


The spot in my yard can get pretty sloppy, slippery and slimy. The water dries up eventually, but for awhile, it stagnates, only slowly seeping in to the ground or evaporating, producing a miniature swamp of sorts, muddy and stinky. It's a mess to step in, and easy to get stuck in.


More and more as I grow and mature, I realize that I can get stuck in the pool of my tears as well. The tears come for a reason, and they are good, but sometimes they begin to gather and pool and instead of soaking in to my heart and nourishing it, they can stagnate. I get stuck in the mud and the mire, and I need help to get out.


Psalm 40:1-3 says, "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to my God."


I know that there is a time and a season to grieve. It is important and it serves a purpose for our hurting hearts as it drives us to call out to and depend on God, the only One we really can depend on. The problem is that sometimes I, and perhaps you do to, dear reader, get stuck there. We feel hopeless and helpless. We lose sight of Who God is and what He is doing in our lives. We think that all of life is going to be muddy and sticky and yucky, and we forget that God is right there standing with an outstretched arm to pull us out and rescue us. He has a rock for us to stand on, a place of great strength and stability, Jesus. And not only that, but He has a song for us to sing, that only we can sing for Him.

As I look at my back yard, I see that beyond the path where the muddy mire sits today, are two chairs. I can almost hear the Lord beckoning to me, "Grab hold of Me, I am here to lift you out and to set you on solid ground where you are free. Remember I am your strength and in Me you are strong. Come sit with me awhile, child, and let me sing to you the song I have for you to sing. It is a song of great beauty and of great joy, not of sorrow. You do not need to be stuck in your grief, but free in my love. Have hope for I am here to help."

And so, again, I chose to trust God and hold tight to Him -- no matter what, no matter when, no matter how, no matter where. I will trust in Him alone.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

God's Gentle Hand Prunes to Produce More Fruit

On the previous post, I wrote about abiding in Jesus and the fruit that results when we do so, in Him alone; fruit that is beautiful and nurturing and vitalizing. It is the fruit of the character of Christ in us.

In addition to the importance of abiding in Jesus, John 15:1-5 also talks about God's pruning purpose in our lives, in regards to fruit bearing. John 15:2 says, " ... every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit" (NASB).

Every branch that bears fruit, God prunes that it may bear fruit? I wish that more fertilizer and watering would produce more fruit, not something painful like pruning. But that is not what Jesus says. He says that in order for there to be more fruit, pruning must occur.

Unfortunately, and don't we all know it in some sense or another, pruning hurts. It hurts, but it helps. We do not enjoy it, but it is necessary. It is essential if we are to be more like Christ.

In the physical world of vines and fruit trees, it is the gardener's job to prune the branches in order to bear more fruit. The gardener is trained to know how to best prune. In our case, God already knows, because He knows everything so we can trust Him. He knows where to cut, how to cut, what angle to cut at, and when to cut. I am thankful that God can not make mistakes when He prunes.

He prunes off the things in our lives that are not good for us -- our sin. He prunes away (to note only a few) our anger, bitterness, love of self praise and selfishness. He cuts away that which is not good or necessary so that the strength of Jesus may be put in to full force to produce more fruit in our lives. And, as the verse says, he often cuts away fruit that we are already producing. Has this ever happened to you? You were serving the Lord, doing what you thought He had called you to do. You had prayed. Perhaps circumstances seeming from the Lord had led you in a direction of a certain project or ministry for Him, and -- poof! -- it was cut off. It can be hard to understand, and great amount of sorrow can be experienced as you see that fruitful portion of the branch lying on the ground. It can seem as if we are left bare and with out much of anything at all, but we can trust that no cut is too sharp or too many, if it helps us to be more like Jesus.

But we can have hope that God does have a purpose. Romans 8:28-29 reminds us that "...we know in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to
His purpose ... to be conformed to the likeness of His Son." God prunes us for His glory, for the good of others, and as a result, for our benefit as we are made to reflect the beautiful character of Jesus more and more.

He uses His Word, the Bible, to help prune us. God's Word convicts us with the truth and changes our thinking. In addition, God uses circumstances in our lives to prune us. It can be scary when we know the pruning Hand of the Father is up on us in our times of suffering, and yet it is a gentle and loving Hand.

God increases the holiness of His children by the circumstances that he places them in. He uses the circumstance as an instrument to make us more fruitful, helping us to draw closer to Jesus, His Word, the Bible, and prayer. He uses it to help us to not love the world so much, but love Jesus more. Our hearts become humbled and become more sensitive to the Word of God which comes in and transforms our lives.

Dear reader, I do not always (okay, ever) enjoy the pruning process, as I am sure you do not, as well. It is painful, sometimes, horribly painful; and yet, as I walk through these current times of pruning, I can sense the beginning of new growth. And I can trust God's Word that this new growth will eventually lead to more fruit; more fruit to benefit others and to glorify Him. And so I will choose to continue to trust His all-knowing and tender hand as He trims and shapes my life to be more like Jesus.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Abide in Jesus

For the past couple of months, I have been working on the bible study lesson that I am speaking on tomorrow. John 15:1-5 has occupied most of my thoughts, as I have sought the Lord to show me what He wants me to see. I feel as if I have eaten it, breathed it and soaked very cell of my body in these verses. They have become a part of me; although I am still nervous about speaking tomorrow.

I can now see that God has also been showing me what I needed to know during this time of trial. Out of my deeply hurting heart, I am now more and more deeply confident of the love of Jesus and His strength in us, when we trust in Him. Jesus says in John 15:5 "I am the vine and you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."


Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches. He is the source of all life, strength, vigor and beauty. We, the branches, are all different, with different gnarls and different bends, but we all need Him.


Jesus calls for us to abide in Him, as He abides in us. To abide is to remain; to stay connected. We can do this by being in His Word and in prayer. Abiding in Jesus is having an active relationship with Him and living with a continual awareness of his strength in us. It is living with a constant connection to Jesus, in our thoughts, choices, plans and behaviors.


The good news is that when we abide in Him, we bear fruit. The problem is that we tend, in our sinfulness, to abide in things that do not bear fruit in our lives. We attach ourselves to "idols" that we think bring us strength and fruit in our lives, but really are just a lie. We connect ourselves to money, popularity, things, accomplishments and self-reliance to name a few. I know that I need to constantly be aware of these pulls on my life. Jesus is the only one that can give us the strength and life we need to produce fruit.


The fruit produced in our lives, as a result of our abiding in Jesus and He in us, is real fruit. It is not "fake fruit." Real fruit is not success, or numbers, achievements, or an impressive outward appearance. Fake fruit can look good on the outside, but it is hollow on the inside. It does not sustain. It will do nothing for those who eat it, other than maybe make them sick, and turn them away from the love of Jesus.


Real fruit is Christ like character in us. It is not for our own benefit, but for the glory of the Gardener (God) and for the benefit of those who eat it. It is the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5: 22; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It is the fruit of good works and service (Colossians 1:10), fruit of giving (Romans 15:26,28), fruit of growing in holiness and obedience (Romans 6:22), the fruit of praising God (Hebrews 13:15), and the fruit of sharing the truth of Jesus with others (John 4:32-36).


We can not bear the fruit that God has for us to bear without staying connected to Jesus, actively and continually in thought, word and deed. It is loving the Lord Jesus with our heart, soul and mind, regardless of where we are, what we are doing or what we are walking through.


We can not bear fruit by trying, only by abiding. This is a great encouragement, dear reader. Do you want to be gentle with a difficult person? Abide in Jesus. Do you want to be patient with your children? Abide in Jesus and He will give of His patience. Are you weary and in need of strength? Abide in Jesus and He will make you strong. Are you feeling useless? Abide in Jesus and you will bear real fruit. Are you fearful? Abide in Jesus and He will give you peace. Are you need of help? Abide in Jesus and you will know Him as your only true help. Are you tired and feel as if you can not do one more thing? Abide in Jesus, and He will give you rest and strength.

Times will be difficult. Perhaps they are right now. I can relate, but time and time again, the Lord has held me with His gentle arms, leaned over and whispered in to my ear, "Abide in me. I love you very much and I will give you my strength. Trust me. I have fruit for you to bear that you can not bear separate from me, and it is fruit that will bring glory to God and be a blessing to others." My prayer is that you will hear His call, as well, and abide in Him.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

God Enables Us to Stand on the Heights

"It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights" Psalm 32-33.

In general, I have a fear of heights. Yes, I did sky dive one time, but my fear lies more when I am climbing something and there is the potential that I may lose my footing and fall and be injured. I am nervous about climbing ladders with rickety rungs and unstable footings.

One time I went to a state park with my children. There was a tall, wooden observation tower, that naturally, they wanted to climb. Boldly putting my fears behind, I began the trek upward with them. Back and forth, the wooden steps (the ones that have holes in between where you are almost certain your foot and whole body could fit through if you stumbled) coursed, up and up. The wind was blowing cold and brisk that day. I found that I hung close to the core of the tower, holding tightly to the railing, and self-talking "Don't look down. Don't look down." Once I got to the top, I knew that it still was not a good idea for me to look down; too scary, too nauseating, but I did look out. And I realized that high about the trees, on the top of a hill, looking out over the water, I had a perspective that I could never have even imagined being on the ground.

And so it is with our trek with God. There are times when he asks us to climb towers in our lives that seem too scary and too risky. We are not sure of our footing. Will we slip and fall and be injured? But God makes our feet like the feet of a deer, and gives us a sure footing. We are not sure, but He is. He guides our steps. Proverbs 15:24 says "The path of life leads upward for the wise." As we seek God and His plan and purpose for our lives -- His wisdom -- we will climb upwards. And when we get to the top of the tower, He enables us to stand on the heights.

It is hard to imagine what we will observe from the heights that God will bring us to. " 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him' but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit" 1 Corinthians 2:9. God, in His strength and love, brings us to the heights that He has for us, and shows us, by His Spirit, what He desires for us to see.

Dear reader, do you feel scared on the journey that God has you on? Do you feel as if your footing is unsure? Are the winds of doubt and anxiety circling around you, making your trek more difficult? Do not look down, but look out. Look out and in to the face of Jesus. He will guide your steps. Cling close to Him and He will make your footing clear. You will not slip through the holes that threaten you. And when God brings you to the top, look out and observe what He has for you to see. He will give you, through His Spirit, a new and greater perspective. He makes our way perfect, arms us with strength, guides us in our steps, and brings us to the heights. We truly can not imagine what God has prepared for us who love Him. His love is unfailing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Peace of God On Guard

There are times in our lives when we feel much more vulnerable than others do. We may be hurting, either acutely or chronically, and feel as if even the slightest brush up against another difficulty or difficult person, sends a chill down our spine and in to our hearts. We want to be out and about, and yet we may feel insecure, sorrowful and weary.

When an animal is in the wild and injured, it becomes vulnerable to further harm. When a wounded soldier is on the battle field, they are more vulnerable to attack. And so it is with us. When our hearts have been broken or our emotions are raw or fears beset us or life's circumstances seem too much to bear, we feel susceptible to being wounded and hurt, again.

I was reading through my bible tonite, seeing what God had to speak to my heart and I came across Philippians 4:7, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." The word "guard" jumped off the page. What did God mean by "the peace of God" guarding our hearts and minds?

In the Greek, the word guard means to protect by military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion or to keep the inhabitants of an attacked city from flight. We can envision the peace of God like military sentries or soldiers standing guard around our hearts and minds. This peace that is beyond our ability to understand and explain, the peace that comes to us only through the power of Jesus, protects us from attacks from the outside and inside. It is God's protective care to the very core of those who are in Jesus.

The verses that precede talk of rejoicing in the Lord, being gentle to all men, avoiding anxious cares and presenting our requests to God. Then it says, "And the peace of God ..." As we try to do the preceding things, God is giving us peace.

As I go about my day, sometimes feeling vulnerable, I am going to remember that the peace of God that He has given me is a protective force around me. It is guarding me. I need not fear vulnerability or be insecure. A garrison of the peace of God is wide and high and thick around my heart and mind, and is helping me Dear reader, as you trust in Jesus in all the happenings of life, remember this for you, too. His peace, possible only by the perfect power of Jesus, is on guard.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Anticipating Our Heavenly Home

"Are we there yet?"
"Are we almost there now?"
"When are we going to be there?"

It is almost always some variation of the above. No matter whether we are going to grandma's, to school, or to the grocery store, my youngest is eager to know when we are going to arrive. I suspect you have experienced the same thing, if you've ever been the parent or passenger in a car with kids.

Then no matter what I answer, she responds with, "Is that a long time?"

I'm not sure if her questions come from excitement over the destination or weariness over being in the car yet again. She is the baby (she'd say the little sister!) of 5 children and does spend alot of time being shuffled around in the car.

I thought today, "I wish I knew the answer, dear." I wasn't thinking of how long it was going to take to get to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, but I was thinking of Heaven.

I think that there is a vein in all of us that runs with the question "When are we going to get there or when will Jesus come again?" Is it due to the anticipation of arriving in the presence of the Lord and experience the beauty and glory of Heaven where we will be able to worship God day and night or the eagerness to part from our troubles here and have it all behind us?

I am sure it is both, but as we walk through difficulties our hunger for heaven seems to be at a peak. The life hear can become weary, almost seeming futile. The battles can be intense. The grief over relationships lost can be deep. The storms can be torrential; the emptiness, vast; physical pain overwhelming; uncertainties lurking at every corner.

We are caught in the tension of living for the Lord in today, no matter what He has for us, blessings or pain, and yet pressing on, persevering, towards what He has called us to in Jesus, in Heaven (Philippians 3:14).

A friend of mine reminded me of a song that mutual friends of ours wrote, "There is a Place." Dear reader, if you are struggling, today, like I am, wanting to glorify God in the now in the midst of all sorts of uncertainty and trials, and yet tired and yearning for our heavenly home, I hope it will encourage you. You can link to the song at: http://www.philipmusic.com/There_is_a_Place.html .

"Is it a long time?" That's what my daughter asks. I ask it of the Lord, too. How long until He comes and takes us home? I'm not sure, but I will continue to persevere for Him in this life, in His Word and in His love until He chooses the perfect time, and then I will run and embrace Him, and I will be whole. I know that He has alot of work for each one of us to do, now, as we shine for Him in a world where there is much pain and much need for the love of Jesus. I thank Him that we are His ambassadors. However, what a comfort to know that God will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). All will be well.

Friday, May 8, 2009

God Knows Where We Will Bloom Best

Today was a beautiful day, with a crystal blue sky and a gentle warm breeze. My mom and I walked through a garden nursery, enjoying the many colors and designs of flowers that were for sale. Rows and rows of flowers and plants were nestled in their pots, under the canopy of an arched greenhouse. The air smelled of fresh soil and new growth.

I was looking for flowers to plant in my shady backyard. Although I always admire the plants that grow in direct sunlight, I know from years of experience that the flowers that grow in the shade are really the only ones that work for my yard. This year, I found the most beautiful Double Impatiens. The blossoms are delicate and bold in color, resembling little ballerina tutus. I chose the ones that I liked and brought them home to pot them up.

I knew that God had something to say to me today through these flowers, but at first I wasn't sure. However, as the day went by, I kept feeling His gentle touch and voice say to me, "I chose you, too, Andrea." Later in the afternoon I went on a walk, and the Lord and I began to have a conversation that went something like this.

"Why did you choose the flowers that you did today?"

"Because I knew that they would grow best in the shade, and they would make my yard look the prettiest."

"What if you planted the ones you bought in the sun, instead?"

"They would not bloom. They would not thrive and they may even dry up and not live."

"And how will you care for them?"

"I will plant them in good soil, fertilize and water them."

"And what do you think of those flowers?"

"I think they are beautiful."

And then I understood what the Lord wanted me to hear today. "Just as you chose those flowers for the spot in which they would best grow, so have I chosen for you the spot in which I know you will best grow. Like the Impatiens, who thrive in the shade, so I have chosen the shade for you. This is where you will bloom brightest and best. I will care for you. I will plant you in this place and I will fertilize you and water you with my grace and my love. This is the best place for you, trust Me. If I were to plant you anywhere else, you would not flourish and blossom like I know you have the potential to do. And by the way, I created you and I think you are beautiful, too."

Dear reader, perhaps you find yourself planted in the shade of affliction. Sometimes life may seem darker to us than it is for others around us (and it can be!), or darker than we would like ourselves. It can be hard to understand God's ways. But God loves each of us very much. He chooses what is right for us, for our good, that we would bloom and grow, and that we would bring glory to Him. He cares for each of us tenderly. He plants us in a place that will bring us life, and life abundantly. He truly does know what is best. It may take time for us to see the beauty that God has in store for us, just as it will take time for my flowers to be full and overflowing, but He is faithful.
"Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption" Psalm 130:7.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

God Does Not Slumber Or Sleep -- What a Relief

It usually starts around ten or eleven at night. Finally, the house is quiet. I slip under the covers, set the alarm for the morning, squish my pillow in to just the right shape and turn off the light. Then I, unfortunately, often reach for my imaginary magnifying glass. and begin to have an enlarged look at my difficulties. Perhaps you know the feeling. I have an overwhelming sense of exhaustion all day, but seem to be never more awake than when I get in to bed, and then I begin to think, well, ok, worry.

Whether it is acute or chronic trials, they take their toll on one's physical and emotional well-being. Pain of any sort seems to be magnified at night, when the distractions of the day come to a halt. Now, however, we are tired and the uncertainties look bigger, the fears are greater and the sorrow is deeper. Troubles of the day, concerns for tomorrow, questions unanswered, although real, seem even more sensitive and fragile at night. Maybe it's the darkness that leaves us feeling alone and vulnerable. It is hard to see accurately in the darkness.

Laying in bed at night and thinking is causing me to not get enough sleep, I'm physically tired and I'm getting alittle tired of it, no pun intended. So, what do we do? How can we take captive our emotions and our thoughts and get some sleep?

I believe that it goes back to remembering who God is. We can choose to let our words of worry be few, and for God's Words to overflow, seep in and soak our weary souls. By reading and meditating on His Word we can remember it at night, and let it bath over us. We can listen to God's Word on a tape or CD and we can listen to music that glorifies Him and brings comfort to our troubled hearts. Instead of dwelling on our troubles, we can choose to dwell in Him.

With the Psalmist we can say, with confidence, "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety" (Psalm 4:8). We can rest secure in Him, for He shields us all day long (and night!) and we can rest between His shoulders, for we are His beloved (Deuteronomy 33:12). What safer place is there?

Keeping God in clear view is always the solution. He brings peace, even in the darkness, because even the darkness is light to Him (Psalm 139:12). So, dear reader, when at night, you are finding it difficult to sleep as your mind is meandering and magnifying, and you are feeling vulnerable and fragile, look to the Lord, your help comes from Him. He is the Maker of Heaven and earth and the One who loves you very much. He will not let your foot slip, even when the way is treacherous, and He who does not slumber or sleep, watches over you (Psalm 121:1-4).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

But, Lord, My Children ...

When trial and tragedy come in to our lives, we can be devastated, overwhelmed, raw, sorrowful and scared. As a mother, though, it is even harder when I witness the consequences ripple in to the lives of my children. I cry out, "OK, Lord, I will try to accept this from your hand. But what about my children? What am I to do for them? This is not fair!"

I have wrestled with this over the years in different circumstances, trying to come to terms with how do I persevere and heal the pain that I feel, and help my children to do so, as well.

Recently, I bemoaned the fact that my children are walking through the consequences of the reality of my current situation and how concerned I am for them. My heart ached with worry and fears for their futures. How would this affect them? Would they be alright? The arrows of the "what ifs" and "if onlys" attacked my heart, pricking it and making it bleed great sorrow.

But, as usual, I needed to take a big step back and a deep breath, and seek God for His comfort and answers for my children. (This is a topic, by the way, that I occasionally visit with the Lord about. I have not mastered it, yet.)

Isaiah 40:11 says, "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young."

I began to realize that I needed to remember the truth. God is in control of all things, even the lives of my children. When God is tending His flock, He gathers the lambs in his arms. He knows that they may not be able to keep up. They are more tender and needing of more care. He is the one who gives that, and He carries them close to His heart. Not only that, but He knows that I have young ones, and He gently leads me as I try and nurture and care for them during this journey that we are all on.

I began to remember that God is writing my children's story, too. He works together all things at one time, even this, in their lives (Romans 8:28). Jeremiah 29:11 stands true for them as well as it does for me. He has a plan and a purpose for their lives, not to harm them, but to give them a hope and a future. What He has for them today in the midst of difficulty is part of His plan for who they will become and what He has ordained for them. He knows their individual make up, their needs, their strengths and their weaknesses. After all, He created them and He loves them very much.

My job is to trust God, even with, perhaps especially with, my children. As I walk through trials with them, they are opportunities for me to teach them how to trust God. I can teach them to turn to Him in prayer and to look for Him in the events of every day life. I can reassure them that He is present and that He is in control. I can help them to see that even though we may not understand what is happening that God knows and He will help us and direct us (Proverbs 3:5-6). God does have a special plan for them in all of what is happening. I can live out before them (not perfectly) the example that God's grace is sufficient for this day.

These days are full of opportunities for me to help turn the hearts of my children to God and help them to grow in their faith. Life is difficult. As they grow up, they will experience other trials. But, today, I can help equip them to trust God.

Dear reader, perhaps you struggle, too, with fears for your children as they walk through difficult times. May you see them, today, being held in the arms of a loving God, who will care for them and give them just what they need, not just for today, but for a lifetime as He writes the story of their lives. And, may you feel His gentle touch upon your back as He leads you in the ways in which you can comfort and encourage your children in the Lord. He really is always present caring for His flock.
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