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Posts Tagged ‘daily devotional for women’

“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.”  Psalm 105:4
The story continues with today as Part Four. If you missed the introduction on our Given the Time site, click here:  From Why to What. Part One through Three are previous posts on this site…or go to this link.

The sweetest answer to my what question during this time was revealed in my husband and his faithful example of looking to the Lord for strength.

He cared for me night and day during my hospital stay. While the nursing staff did their best to help me, they simply were not staffed to be available as much as I needed them.   So, in response to my need, my pain and discomfort and unable to leave my bed without assistance, my husband patiently took on a huge portion of caring for me.  He slept folded up in a tiny hospital bed, waking up multiple times in the night to care for me as sleep was elusive and I sometimes needed help just to turn myself on the bed.  During the day, he did as much of his work as possible from the chair by my bed and left only when necessary or to be with our children.

God wanted me to be reminded that He had given me a precious gift in the form of my husband.  During this time, my husband was an example to me and to those around us of what serving someone else looks like…selfless and humble.  His daily example of looking to the Lord for strength, through prayer and time reading the Bible, reminded me to do the same.  That time of discomfort bonded our hearts together like nothing else has in the many years of our marriage, teaching me how someone can serve another selflessly even while in their own uncomfortable circumstances.

Tomorrow I will finish up my story with a final lesson I learned that I hope will be encouraging to you.  Hope to see you then!

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This week’s devotional series is written by a woman who has experienced the challenge of watching her daughter turn away from the things she once held dear.  Parenting a Prodigal isn’t easy and God has revealed some Real Truth’s to this mom in the midst of her Real Life story.  For part one, just click Given the Time .

My journey with my prodigal isn’t over.  She still isn’t making the best choices (or at least not the choices I believe are wisest).  She is slowly finding her faith and rebuilding her confidence in me.  Perhaps the difference is I am wiser and not as quick to judge or offer unrequested guidance.  Through these intervening years, I have sought comfort in my own prodigal moments  and been reminded that when I was lost, God “ran” to that cross 2000 years ago to rescue me—extending grace I didn’t deserve and couldn’t earn.  I want to end this week encouraging your heart with the lyrics of a song Rich Mullins first sang that you can reflect on while you wait for your prodigal or in those moments when you wonder if your Heavenly Father is waiting for you:

When God Ran

Almighty God, the great I am
Immovable rock, omnipotent, powerful, awesome Lord
Victorious warrior, commanding King of Kings
Mighty conqueror, and the only time
the only time I ever saw Him run

CHORUS:
Was when He ran to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice He said,
“Son do you know I still love you?”
He caught me by surprise when God ran

The day I left home I knew I’d broken His heart
And I wondered then if things could ever be the same
Then one night I remembered His love for me
And down that dusty road ahead I could see
It was the only time – it was the only time I ever saw Him run

And then He ran to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice He said,
“Son do you know I still love you?”
He caught me by surprise as He brought me to my knees
When God ran – I saw Him run to me

BRIDGE:
I was so ashamed, all alone and so far away
But now I know He’s been waiting for this day

I saw Him run to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice I felt His love for me again

He ran to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice He said, “Son”, He called me Son
He said, “Son do you know I still love you?”
He ran to me and then I ran to Him
When God ran

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“…a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak…”

Ecclesiastes 3:6,7

After basic training, I was assigned to Fort Huachuca, Az. for my MOS (job) training. I felt great relief as I began to have freedom again.  My heart felt at peace finally!

“...a time to mend…a time to speak…

After spending five months in Arizona, I graduated to learn that my duty station was overseas to Germany.  To go overseas to live by myself, away from family was exciting but fearful at the same time.  But I was learning that with every new challenge there is an opportunity to grow.

Consider the challenges you are facing personally.  Identify them specifically and how they cause you to struggle. Now consider how God could grow and develop you as a person through those hard things?  Is it too overwhelming?  Stretch your imagination and ask God to place in your heart hope and trust that He is indeed God and He is indeed able to accomplish anything in your life!  Rest in His timing!

See you tomorrow…

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“He can’t remember if he is married or what he had for breakfast today, but he can tell you intricate details about the bombing on D Day.”  Alzheimer–the name of an unwelcome companion for many.

This statement was made in response to the question, “What is the most difficult aspect of caring for your father?”  My friend’s response was filled with sadness and tears.  She said, she is learning the gift of patience as she is required to repeat numerous times the information she wants to share with her father.

Yet, she also related as difficult as the situation is, it is amazing the stories from his early years she has heard only now for the first time.  Recognizing that his mind was still very alert though limited to 40-70 years ago, she started recording their conversations as a way to preserve the memories and stories for her children and grandchildren.

God also reminds us to remember the past.  (Deut 11:1-7).  “Listen! I am not talking now to your children, who have never experienced the discipline of the Lord your God or seen his greatness and awesome power.  They weren’t there to see the miraculous signs and wonders her performed…but you have seen all the Lord’s mighty deeds with your own eyes!” 

Part of honoring our parents surely includes listening to their stories, which reminds us as well as them of God’s faithfulness through those years of memories.

Oh, Lord, today, help me to pause and listen.  I grow so impatient feeling as though I have too many tasks waiting to just sit and listen.  Slow me down Lord, so I hear not just the stories of my parents, but also so I hear the stories You seek to plant in my heart today. Amen

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This week is about a real woman’s journey through divorce and singleness to redemption, joy, and a deeper love for God’s grace and mercy.   If you missed the first part go to this link:  Divorce and Singleness.  

I haven’t left all the pain of being divorced twice behind.  I don’t know that I will ever be able to do so.  But, what I have left behind is the shame, guilt and sense of failure.  What I have learned is to rejoice in a Holy God who loves me just as Jesus communicated His love to the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4).  

Single life the past four years has allowed me to spend more time in God’s word and serving ministries within the church.  I have enjoyed wonderful platonic friendships with special men in the Body of Christ.  I have been able to spend special time with my mom traveling and meeting her needs as she has aged.  There has been an unexpected freedom.  Do I miss being married?  I can honestly say, I don’t know.  I have such a full life and such a deep intimacy with the Lord God that I have questioned if that would even be possible with a spouse.  Those times of sharing that I used to enjoy with my husband, I now enjoy with Jesus Christ. 

Some probably would think me crazy, but I picture Jesus sitting near my chair in the morning as I am enjoying coffee and reading God’s Word.  I share with Him as I would a friend and I don’t hesitate to ask for His guidance and wisdom.  He has never audibly answered, but I frequently feel the connection in my heart providing the direction and wisdom or comfort offered by the Holy Spirit. 

In my 20s, singleness presented loneliness.  At this point in my life, singleness has been so full there isn’t time to be lonely, even when I am alone.  I enjoy hours by myself.  I don’t have a television and rarely have on music or a audio CD.  Rather, the rush of life professionally prompts me to seek quietness in those personal moments and when I do, the Lord God reminds me:

 You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind,

but GOD kept me sane.  (Isa. 26:3)

 There were times when I thought I could go no longer,

but the Lord kept me moving.  (Gen. 28:15)

 At times, I’ve wanted to lash out at those whom I felt had done me wrong,

but the LORD kept my mouth shut.  (Psa. 13)

 Sometimes, I think the money just isn’t enough,

but God has helped me to keep the lights on, the water on, the car paid, the house paid, etc.  (Matt. 6:25-34)

 When I thought I would fall, He kept me up.

When I thought I was weak, HE kept me strong!  (I Pet. 5:7, Matt. 11:28-30)

 I could go on and on and on, but I’m sure you hear me!

I’m blessed to be “kept.”

                                    (author unknown)

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We are in week two of our eight story series on women who have faced tough circumstances and found God’s strength in the process.  Today our friend continues with her story on Divorce and Singleness.  Did you miss day one of her story?  No problem, just click on the following link:  Divorce and Singleness.

My personal journey through divorce has been a journey about trust, which is really the sin of pride—that “I know best.”  I am like King David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and she became pregnant.  He didn’t turn to his Lord to handle the situation, but instead chose to try to solve it by killing her husband.  David compounded his sin. So did I.

It wasn’t enough that I didn’t trust God to work out my marriage challenges and to bring us through the valley.  I took control and obtained a divorce, which has brought its own negative consequences personally and in my daughter’s life.  I married again and everyone I know indicates that I worked much harder at this second marriage than I did the first.  They are right.  I felt that I had messed up once and God had given me a second chance to do things right.

But this second marriage had its challenges too.  The difference was inside me.  I wasn’t willing to take the least painful solution, which would have been separation and divorce again.  Instead, I drew closer to the Lord. I have grown to understand what it means to say Jesus is my best friend and the Lover of My Soul (Song of Solomon).  I fell in love with Jesus more and more each day as I looked to Him to fill the empty places inside of me that I had previously expected my husband to fill.  I learned that only the Lord God could fill the god-shaped vacuum in my heart, not a man.  I felt like the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4), where Jesus knew she had been married multiple times and yet loved her anyway.  Jesus told her the truth, in fact, He pointed out that she wasn’t married to the man she was presently with, but you don’t hear any condemnation.  In fact, He tells her that if she will turn to Him, she will have living water.  That is what Jesus has done for my heart.  He has never condemned and because of that, I find I want to please Him more each day.

Oh, Lord Jesus, thank you that while we may face consequences for our sinful actions, you never condemn us but hold Your arms out in Love to embrace us close to Your heart.  Thank you for the lessons that it is the Enemy who condemns, but You seek to redeem and restore.  Take from my heavy heart today, my confession of [insert whatever you need to share with Jesus today] and bring Your redeeming love and grace to my heart and life.  Amen

The story will continue tomorrow…see you then!

 

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We are in week two of our eight story series on women who have faced tough circumstances and found God’s strength in the process.  Today our friend continues with her story on Divorce and Singleness.  Did you miss day one of her story?  No problem, just click on the following link:  Divorce and Singleness.

Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.                                                                                I Corinthians 7:27

As a young adult in college, I struggled with this verse and Paul’s discussion regarding singleness.  I was lonely and wanted a life-companion.  Then I got married and discovered that marriage wasn’t the “and they all live happily ever after” fairy tale that I read about in Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.  As with all relationships, marriage requires a lot of work and I truly admire those who take the valleys and the challenges and turn them into journeys that strengthen their faith and their bond with their spouse.

I couldn’t do that.  After 9 years of marriage and numerous years of pain and heartache

I struggled with this verse and Malachi 2:16.  In hindsight, I can see that I had other options, but at the time, in the midst of the pain, I believed my only choice was divorce.  Yet, I also believed that I was angering God and so, as I filed for divorce, I walked away from active participation in the Body of Christ and fellowship with other Christians.

I was ashamed, embarrassed that I couldn’t make my marriage work.  I came from a family with long term marriages and was only the second divorce in nearly 100 years.  I struggled with my private prayer time and devotional Bible studies.  I wept a lot over the loss of intimacy with the Lord.

After nearly two years, away from the church, God reminded me of his promise in Jeremiah 31:3, and I began to heal.  Slowly.  It wasn’t just about me learning to trust a man again, but also being so real before my Lord God that He would know He could trust me as I communicated that I trusted Him.  I hadn’t trusted Him to solve the challenges in my marriage—I thought I had to do so.  As I became aware of this, I had to be so transparent that He knew when I said I trusted Him, that I truly meant that I trusted Him with every aspect of my life, not just those I understood or those that were positive situations.

I spent a lot of time praying, listening, writing in journals and talking with wise mentors who guided me through the Scriptures to the healing balm of Gilead.

Tomorrow, I will continue my sharing about my journey through divorce and the joy I have come to experience in my singleness.  Please know it isn’t easy to share this journey, but my prayer is that perhaps it may offer assurance to those of you on similar paths that none of us walk these paths alone—our Heavenly Father truly can be trusted to walk it with us and to carry us when we aren’t even strong enough to walk.

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