April 24, 2018

When Love Hurts (Guest Post)

Today, I’ve invited my friend Sharon Jaynes to share some encouragement from her new book, Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence. Sharon has the gift of storytelling. I absolutely love her books because she has the most amazing way of bringing biblical truths alive in ways that make them easier to understand. Whether she’s making me laugh or bringing me to tears, I learn much from Sharon. This devotional is one of my favorites because through her story she provides a practical process to follow when the evil one comes in hard and fast to steal, kill and destroy. Be sure to read through to the end, Sharon has a beautiful giveaway below that you won’t want to miss!

******************************

Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence by Sharon Jaynes.

“Mommy, Mommy,” Steven cried. “Don’t let them hurt me!”

My son, Steven, was about 3 years old when he contracted a severe case of the flu. His slumped body snuggled listlessly like an old, worn rag doll.

When I carried him into the medical clinic, the doctor quickly diagnosed dehydration and immediately sent us to the hospital.

My heart ripped apart as the nurses strapped my little boy onto a table and began placing IVs in his tiny arms.

“Mommy, Mommy,” Steven cried. “Make them stop! They’re hurting me.”

“No, honey,” I tried to assure him. “They’re going to make you all better.”

“Mommy, help me!”

Steven cried. I cried. The nurses cried.

I could only imagine what was going through Steven’s little mind. Why are these people hurting me? Why doesn’t Mommy make them stop? She must not love me. She’s not protecting me. If she loved me she wouldn’t let them do this. She must not care about me.

Standing in the corner watching my little boy cry, I wondered if that’s how God feels when I’m going through a painful situation that’s for my ultimate good. I cried out, “God, why are You letting this happen? Don’t You love me? Don’t You care about what’s happening to me? Why don’t You make it stop?

It was a picture I wouldn’t soon forget.

I envisioned God speaking to me in my pain. You don’t understand the reason for the pain. You might think I’ve deserted you, but I will never leave you. You might think I don’t love you, but I love you to the height of heaven and the depth of the sea. You might think I don’t care about what’s happening to you, but I am orchestrating your days and care about every hair on your head. My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. Yes, I do care about you and what’s happening to you. In the end, this will make you better.

C.S. Lewis, who watched his beloved wife die of cancer, put it this way: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Because God loves us, He desires our conformity more than our comfort. Allowing troubles, trials and pain is one way our loving God makes that so. No one likes getting stuck with a sharp needle, but if the needle brings healing or prevents greater suffering, it’s just what we need. Faith in Jesus Christ does not guarantee an easy life but a perfect eternity.

I don’t know what difficulties you’re facing today. It could be the toughest time of your life. But I do know that during tough times, the devil will tell you (falsely) God doesn’t love you, doesn’t care about you or isn’t doing anything to help you. Don’t listen to him. Satan is a liar—an opportunist who looks for vulnerable times to convince you to question God’s power, provision and promises.

Here’s my process when those lies wiggle their way into my thoughts:

Realize the enemy’s true identity: He’s the father of lies.

Recognize the lie: God doesn’t love me.

Reject the lie!

Replace the lie with truth: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

When we feel like a little kid, thinking our heavenly Father’s standing in the corner not doing anything, we can know He is. Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17b, NIV).

No matter what you’re facing today, remember this:

God loves you.
God is good.
God wants what’s best for you.
God is always at work on your behalf.
You can trust Him.

And that’s the truth.

Heavenly Father, sometimes life is just hard. I’ll be honest, sometimes I feel like You’re standing in the corner watching and not working. However, I know deep down that’s not true. Thank You for never leaving nor forsaking me. You always work for my good even when I can’t see it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Giveaway now closed. Congrats Joyce S., please check your email for details!

Share this post with 5 or more people, then leave a comment that says, “I did it!” We will randomly pick one comment to win an Enough bracelet made by the ladies of Fashion and Compassion. U.S. addresses only please. Winner will be announced on the blog on Monday, April 30.

If you are reading this in email, click HERE to join us on the blog.

******************************

About the book

Do the voices in your head tell you that you are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or just not enough, period?  If so, it’s time to stop listening to the lies that sabotage your confidence and start embracing the truth of your true identity in Christ. Order Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence and receive 24 printable Truth cards FREE. Click here for details.

Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence by Sharon Jaynes.

Sharon Jaynes is an international speaker and best-selling author of 21 books. For those who know her best, she is a simple southern girl who loves sweet tea, warm beaches, and helping women live fully and free as a child of God and co-heir with Christ.

 

 

******************************

This post previously appeared as a Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion.

February 26, 2018

Trust God and His Timing (Guest Post)

Hey friends. I’ve been so excited to introduce you to a dear friend. Her name is Jodie Berndt. She’s easy to love, and if you love UVA, you’ll love her even more!! HUGE Wahoo fan!

You know how we love prayer here. That’s why I invited Jodie to share from her new book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. Be sure to enter to win your own copy at the end.

She not only has a HUGE heart bent toward praying for children, she also has a passion to equip parents how to pray for their children. I only wish I had her books when my kids were young. But, I’m so thankful for this one because her newest book teaches us how to pray for our adult children. It’s filled with stories, examples, scripture and humor. It’s a great book to get and to give!

Take it away Jodie …

*******************

“Hillary doesn’t have a job,” I said, “and she seems…content.”

I was having lunch with a friend, confiding my latest parenting worry. I was afraid that I’d raised one of those boomerang kids—the kind who get out of college and then brings their lives (and their laundry) back home.

My friend smiled. “Your daughter,” she countered, “only graduated three months ago. Trust me; she’s probably not content. She’s an engineer—they think in linear terms. She’s pursuing a job; she’s just not doing it the way that you would.”

Well, she had that one right. Hillary was definitely not looking for a job the way I would have. I would have loaded my résumé into the barrel of a shotgun and pulled the trigger, splattering my education and experience all over any company that was hiring. But Hillary was a little more particular. She had some job offers but, having earned a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, she’d set her sights on the space industry. Ideally? Ideally, my girl wanted to be an astronaut.

Which was, honestly, kind of hard for me to appreciate. Who actually does that? Was “astronaut” even a job? And how long would it take? I don’t remember my exact words, but I think my advice went something like this:

“Aim lower.”

(Yeah. Not my best parenting speech.)

You can read about Hillary’s job hunt (and how I ugly-wrestled with God over how and when he’d provide) in Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. But if you want the condensed version, it pretty much boils down to this:

Trusting God with our children’s future means being willing to trust his timing.

Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. A guest post by Jodie Berndt for wendyblight.com.

Psalm 139:16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Pick that one apart and you get the idea that 1) God has a plan; 2) He’s on a clearly defined timetable, and 3) His design has been in place since forever. Had I embraced these three truths at the start of Hillary’s job search (instead of eight months later, after I’d pretty much been exposed as the opposite of the Proverbs 31 mother), I could have saved myself a lot of mental anguish and spent the better part of a year enjoying time with my girl, instead of worrying about her future.

We know God has good purposes, and that (Philippians 2:13) his job is to work in us—and in our children—to get us to think and act in ways that line up with these plans. Part of that alignment, I’m (slowly) coming to realize, is being willing to depend on his timing.

Let us not become weary” Paul writes, “in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” That’s Galatians 6:9, and it’s always been one of my favorite “hang in there” verses.

Sometimes, “doing good” simply means waiting well. Because it doesn’t matter what our request is, or what it is that we think we need, God already has the answer all mapped out. He will provide. The harvest will come (spoiler alert: Hillary got her dream job) at the just the right time.

So let’s hang in there. Let’s wait well. And let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, 

Help me, as I put my trust in you, to trust your timing. Today, I give you ___________, surrendering this situation into your tender care.

Help me to wait well.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen. 

The Giveaway – now closed – Congrats Michelle Reed!

Where do you find yourself struggling to trust God’s timing? Leave a comment—perhaps a favorite Bible verse or promise that helps—for a chance to win a copy of Jodie’s latest book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children.

*******************

Okay, don’t ya’ll just love her? Thank you, Jodie, for letting me share your book with my word loving, prayer warrior sisters here.

Jodie Berndt is the author of several books, including Praying the Scriptures for Your Children, Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens, and Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. A speaker and Bible teacher, Jodie encourages readers to pursue joy, celebrate grace, and live on purpose. Find her writing (and download free prayer printables) at JodieBerndt.com and follow her on Instagram @Jodie_Berndt, Twitter @JodieBerndt, and Facebook @JodieBerndtWrites. Jodie and her husband, Robert, have four grown children and two sons-in-law.

SaveSave

SaveSave

December 4, 2017

Embracing the Gift of His Presence & Giveaway

Today, I’m excited to welcome my friend, writing and editing mentor, and Proverbs 31 Ministries sister, Glynnis Whitwer, to share from her new book, Doing Busy Better. As we get swept up in the busyness of the Christmas season, Glynnis reminds us  to not only embrace God’s gift of work, but also of His gift of rest. Jesus tells us to come HIM first. HE is the one who gives us rest. Be sure to read till the end and enter Glynnis’ giveaway!

***************

Embrace the gift of God's presence this season. #doingbusybetter by Glynnis Whitwer.

It was a Christmas I’d like to forget. With five children at home, I should have planned a Pinterest-perfect experience – complete with decorations, cookies and crafts. But the stress of a crazy year had brought me to end of my strength.

The tree got put up, but no ornaments. It only had lights because it was pre-lit. That’s how bad it was.

Every day I felt like a failure. No matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t get ahead.

When that happens, I usually switch into go-mode. Checking items off my to-do list can easily supersede my desire for the quieter priorities of life, like time with God or my loved ones.

How can I possibly sit when there’s so much to do? That mindset has made me miss some of the most precious moments in life, and it’s a way of thinking I battle daily.

Somehow in the midst of that overwhelmed Christmas, God reminded me of the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible.

Luke 10 records a day when Jesus came to visit at Martha’s house. It’s a very short story, but we know that Martha fussed at Jesus because her sister wasn’t working hard enough. Rather than helping fix the food, Mary was sitting listening to Jesus.

Jesus loved both Mary and Martha. But in that moment, as the story records, Jesus was more delighted with Mary’s heart to be with Him than Martha’s heart to serve Him.

I can be a fusser too. Too busy with the details, too worried about planning for what’s next, too preoccupied with my to-do list. Even worried about other people’s to-do lists.

It’s not that I don’t love Jesus. I do. But so did Martha. She dearly loved Jesus. And I’m sure she loved having Him as a houseguest, where she could hear Him talk as she went about her daily tasks. Maybe she asked Him questions and served Him lunch.

But she didn’t stop to sit at His feet. She didn’t pause her preparation to give Him wholehearted attention. She didn’t embrace the gift of His presence.

Jesus so gently and lovingly corrected Martha saying:

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV)

Jesus loved Martha’s heart of service, but He just wanted her to stop what she was doing and prioritize spend time with Him.

I wonder if Martha changed her habits. Did she check her heart and consider where Jesus fit? Did she review her priorities and put Jesus before cleaning up?

We don’t know the answer. The only thing we can know is what we decide to do with this story.

It’s so compelling to jump into our days ¾ whether it’s fixing breakfast for children or leading a meeting at work — without ever pausing to sit at Jesus’ feet. It’s so much easier to whisper a prayer while driving carpool or listen to the Christian radio station and consider that time with God.

That crazy December day I decided to follow Mary’s example and sit in the middle of my mess to spend time with Jesus.

Normally, I feel as if everything has to be clean before I can “treat” myself to some down time. I believe I have to have the dishes clean, counters cleared, urgent emails addressed, laundry going. By the time I’ve done all that, something else has demanded my attention, and my time with Jesus is neglected – much like what happened to Martha.

But not that day. That day I made a cup of coffee and sat at the kitchen table and looked at my mess. It was big. There were papers, dishes, clothes and blankets strewn over every surface. The floor was filthy, and the list went on. I had to fight my instinct to get up.

Closing my eyes, I pictured Jesus sitting across the table from me. Sighing deeply, I felt the stress melt away, as my heart filled with peace. It was pure pleasure … and the mess amazingly faded from my view.

The presence of Jesus brings me more joy and satisfaction than checking 100 things from my list.

This Christmas, whether you’ve gotten your house decorated or not, whether you’ve mailed out cards or not … Jesus has come to your house for a visit. He longs for us to pause our preparations and sit with Him. What a gift.

Giveaway Ended

Congrats Kay (comment December 4, 2017 at 7:42 am) – you won! Please check your email and reply with your mailing address.

Glynnis is giving away a copy of Doing Busy Better to one of my readers! Comment below and let us know how you are embracing God’s presence this month. U.S. Addresses only please.

Doing Busy Better by Glynnis Whitwer.

P.S. The winners of last week’s giveaway were announced here.

About Doing Busy Better

In Doing Busy Better, Glynnis helps you examine your heart and your schedule in order to seek a healthy, holy, and enjoyable balance between work and rest. Most importantly, she shows you that your worth is found not in your accomplishments but in the love of the One who made you for work and for rest.

Glynnis Whitwer is the Executive Director of Communications at Proverbs 31 Ministries. She is one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 e-mail devotions, with over 950,000 daily readers. She is the author and co-author of 10 books, including her latest Doing Busy Better: Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest. Glynnis, her husband Tod, have five young-adult children and live in Glendale, Arizona. She blogs at www.GlynnisWhitwer.com.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave