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Posts Tagged ‘trust’

sighThis is another in a series of letters to the members of the Prayer for Prodigals community, with reality for all of us.

Dear Lover of Prodigals,

“Sigh.”

How many times have I said, “Sigh”?!  With a deep sigh.

When my prodigal does the same thing again!

When an anticipated good outcome becomes not good at all.

When bad choices require hard choices of me.

When my prayers don’t seem to accomplish anything.

A sigh is a lament.  It expresses sorrow, yearning, weariness, resignation.

And when our journey is ongoing, and our prodigal keeps making the same poor choices, and the pain is weariness, we are deeply sad.  We do sigh in resignation, despair, even hopelessness.

We make a lament.

Which is very biblical.

A lament is an elegy or a dirge.  It is verbalizing our mourning.

And many times we are in mourning, lamenting the loss of peace and hope and dreams.

Scripture has an entire book of laments:  Lamentations.

God is not offended by our tears, our laments, our sighs.  He understands.  He receives and treasures them.  He reaches out to comfort and encourage. He invites us to rest in Him.  To hope in Him.

sigh linusIt is then that a wonderful thing happens.  My sigh changes.  Instead of sorrow and resignation, it becomes my response to His invitations:  A sigh of being understood and accepted, of leaning on Him, of snuggling into His arms, of resting in peace and even contentment.

I have sighed often in the past six months.  And just when I thought the sighing was done, it is back.

So I am giving my lament to God, and asking him to transform my sighing from despair to trust.

May He do the same for you.

Love and grace for your new year.

Judy

What about you?  What causes you to “sigh”?

c2013 Judy Douglass

If you love a prodigal and would like to join this loving, praying community, write to PrayerforProdigalsatgmaildotcom and request an invitation.

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What Can I Give Him?

“What can I give Him,

Poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd

I would bring a lamb,

If I were a wise man

I would do my part.

Yet what can I give Him?

Give my heart.”

–Christina Rossetti

In my former church we sang this poem/song every Christmas.  It asks a great question.  At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus and give each other gifts.  It is only reasonable to consider what we might give Jesus for His birthday.

nativity ornament

He has given us some solid clues.  I will describe four of them in this post and four more in my next post.

I think Jesus would be so grateful for these gifts (more…)

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So you’ve had a rough day/week/month/year? You lost your job. The house is in foreclosure. Your child is on drugs. Your dog died. Your girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with you. And the holidays are looming.

Years ago the Lord gave me a little outline that I have used personally and taught my children for when life gets challenging: 3 T’s for Tough Times. I hope they will help and encourage you.

Tell the Truth
The first thing I do when I don’t like something in my life is have an honest conversation with God. I bring my concerns to Him, and I tell Him the truth about how I feel. Yes, I am respectful, even worshipful. But God has invited us to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

I don’t believe He wants me to talk to him in the “correct way.” I am confident He wants me to tell Him that I am angry or hurt or confused or devastated or very afraid or…. I can tell Him what I like and what I don’t like about what is happening.

But then comes T #2:

Thank the Lord
God makes some pretty preposterous commands sometimes: In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

In everything? When the diagnosis is cancer? When your house is in foreclosure? When your daughter is cutting herself?

Yes. Everything.

Three wonderful things happen when I say Thank You, Lord.
1. My attitude begins to change, at least a little bit.

2. I acknowledge to God and myself that I believe God is God and God is good. He is sovereign and His intentions toward me are good.

3. I hand God the key to open the door to do the wonderful good that He wants to do

That brings me to T #3.

Trust the Good
Of course you know the wonderful promise of Romans 8:28: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

And perhaps this hopeful word will add more encouragement: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.(Jeremiah 32:40-41)

When I trust the good—God and His intentions—I open my eyes, my mind, my heart. I begin to see the good He is doing in me, through me, in my loved one, in the situation. The more I trust His Godness and His goodness, the more I anticipate His involvement and intervention…in the Tough Times

Three simple truths:
Tell the Truth
Thank the Lord
Trust the Good.

What have been some of your recent tough times? What has helped you through them?

c2012 Judy Douglass

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Allegories are a mix for me.  Some I love, others seem so trite and contrived.

One of the long-lasting allegories that many—mostly women—read is Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard.  Based largely on a spiritual interpretation of Song of Solomon, it is the story of little Much-Afraid and her journey to join the Great Shepherd in the High Places of the Kingdom of Love.

I read it in high school, when I was a new believer.  It helped me to fall in love with Jesus.  In college I read it at a time of turmoil regarding my future, and Much-Afraid led me to a greater surrender than I had experienced before.

As my single adult years continued longer than I desired, God once again used this allegory, enabling me to trust that God knew what He was doing in my life.

The past few months have been emotionally stressful for our family. Lots of pain, ending in great loss.  Then suddenly a turn, filled with hope and restoration, but also with some painful realities.

My entire life with God has been a journey of learning that God’s way is better than mine.  The twists and turns of these days have challenged my peaceful surrender to that better way.

So reading Hind’s Feet has been just what I needed.

Each step of the way Much-Afraid learned a new truth.  Here are a few that spoke to me:

Acceptance with Joy—joyfully accepting whatever He sends my way.

Bearing with Love—living out love no matter what happens.

“What I do thou knowest not.”—I have no idea what work God is doing behind the scene.

“Am I not the Potter?”– Yes, He is, and He knows how to do truly beautiful work.

“Now shalt thou see what I will do.” –In God’s time, He will reveal what He is doing in me.

“God is not a man that He should lie.”—I can trust what He has said.  Even in pain and disappointment.

Sorrow and Suffering are needful companions to change me and to bring good from evil.

So once again I bow my head and my heart before Him, and I open my hands to Him, and I say,  “I trust You.  I know You love me.  You are committed to transforming me into the likeness of Jesus—a very challenging task.  Even as Your work in me is uncomfortable, You comfort me.  You have a perfect plan.  So I give you my way.  Take it.  Replace it with Your way for me.  Thank You, Lord, that You never give up on me.  You will accomplish Your plans for me.”

What about you?  Are your hands open to Him?

C2102 Judy Douglass

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It’s hard to get it right.

Relationships are messy.  Families, friends, neighbors.  Even long-term ones can be fragile.

Words spoken in innocence, meant to say one thing, but conveying something else to the listener.

Actions intended to help, but received as control.

Feelings hurt. Trust jeopardized. Love strained.

Excuses. Explanations. Justifications.

But love and history win out.

Repentance.  Going both ways.

“I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.”

Then sweet words:

“I always forgive you.”

What about you?  What words have hurt you, or someone you love?

C2012 Judy Douglass

Related posts:

A Prayer for Forgiving

What I Do When Someone Hurts Me

Grace Forgives

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So you’ve had a rough day/week/month/year? The house flooded. You lost your job. Your child is on drugs. You dog died. Your girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with you.

Years ago the Lord gave me a little outline that I have used personally and taught my children for when life gets challenging: 3 T’s for Tough Times. I hope they will help and encourage you.

Tell the Truth
The first thing I do when I don’t like something in my life is have an honest conversation with God. I bring my concerns to Him, and I tell Him the truth about how I feel. Yes, I am respectful, even worshipful. But God has invited us to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

I don’t believe He wants me to talk to him in the “correct way.” I am confident He wants me to tell Him that I am angry or hurt or confused or devastated or very afraid or…. I can tell Him what I like and what I don’t like about what is happening.

But then comes T #2:

Thank the Lord
God makes some pretty preposterous commands sometimes: In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

In everything? When the diagnosis is cancer? When your house is in foreclosure? When your daughter is cutting herself?

Yes. Everything.

Three wonderful things happen when I say Thank You, Lord.
1. My attitude begins to change, at least a little bit.

2. I acknowledge to God and myself that I believe God is God and God is good. He is sovereign and His intentions toward me are good.

3. I hand God the key to open the door to do the wonderful good that He wants to do

That brings me to T #3.

Trust the Good
Of course you know the wonderful promise of Romans 8:28: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

And perhaps this hopeful word will add more encouragement: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. (Jeremiah 32:40-41)

When I trust the good—God and His intentions—I open my eyes, my mind, my heart. I begin to see the good He is doing in me, through me, in my loved one, in the situation. The more I trust His Godness and His goodness, the more I anticipate His involvement and intervention…in the Tough Times

Three simple truths:
Tell the Truth
Thank the Lord
Trust the Good.

What have been some of your recent tough times? What has helped you through them?
C 2011 Judy Douglass

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This is another in a series of letters to those who have prodigals in their lives.  This is part 10 of the REST theme for this year’s Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals on June 2.

Dear Lover of Prodigals,

God is a promise keeper.

He has invited us to believe Him, to trust that He keeps His word:

…since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.( Hebrews 4:1)


Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.
 (Psalm 119:116)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it like God is keeping his promises.

Unfulfilled promises are exhausting.

A few things we can know:  His answers rarely look like what we had in mind.  His plan is always better.  He is working on us even as he works on our prodigals.  He is up to something bigger and better.  And His timing is never our timing.

Over the years with our prodigal, as I read Scripture and sought the Lord, I claimed promises from God for Josh.  Did God say, “This is a promise for Josh”?  Sometimes.  But usually the Scriptures reflected work God had done in history, or wanted to do in His children.  And I have over many years prayed these for our son.

Have they all come true?  No, but some have.  Are the answers what I imagined? Not usually.  But is there strong evidence of God’s powerful work in His life, along the lines I have prayed?  Oh yes.

There is rest in the Promises of God.

Here are a few of the promises I have prayed and claimed for Josh.  Maybe they will be ones for you to hold on to as well.

Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.  He said to me, “You are my servant,… in whom I will display my splendor.” (Isaiah 49:1,3)

Fear not, for I have redeemed you.  I have summoned you by name.  You are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)

I have called you. I have chosen you and not rejected you. I will strengthen you and help you.(Isaiah 41:10)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.  I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees. (Ezekiel 37:6)

I will guide you and satisfy your needs. You will be called repairer of broken walls and restorer of streets with dwellings.(Isaiah 58:11-12)

You can find other promises in God’s Word here.

Our God keeps His Word.  Listen to this promise in 2 Corinthians 1:20:

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.  And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

So rest in His promises.

June 2 will be here in just over a week.  Be praying.  Post names of all wanderers you know who need prayer.  Be inviting others to join with us.  Determine how you should participate on June 2.

So grateful for you and for our faithful Father,

Judy Douglass

For more info on the June 2 Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals, write to prayerforprodigalsatgmaildotcom.

c 2011 Judy Douglass

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