Trusting God’s Provision

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By F.S. Anderson @FranLStrickland

A few years ago I read a book that forever changed how I view money and God’s ability to provide for those who trust in Him. It is the true life story of a man who petitioned God through prayer to meet his every financial need. Before he became a Christian he attended seminary at the influence of his biological father who viewed preaching as the best way to make a good living in nineteenth century Prussia. Neither he nor his father believed in Christ so it was purely a decision to insure his future earning potential.

Mr. Müller documents his raucous youth and disregard for the heart of God even as he attended seminary. Eventually he decides he at the least needs to act as a Christian if he’s going to be a preacher. After all, it just wouldn’t look right to the congregation if he didn’t outwardly walk the talk. He writes of his many attempts to turn his life around through his own resolutions and the sheer futility of that struggle. After multiple tries to be “the real deal”, he pretty much gave up on the idea. Soon afterwards he was introduced to a man whom he claimed was the first person he had ever seen pray on his knees. This humble act of submission and the man’s genuine commitment opened his eyes and heart to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and it became the turning point in his life. 

When George Müller began preaching in 1832 at Bethesda Chapel in Bristol, England, he was by then a committed Christian. To make a long beautiful story short, he determined not to ask any human being for financial sustenance. He would depend completely on God. As a result, he decided to move the tithing box away from the front of his podium so he would be unable to see what each parishioner tithed. He did this because he did not want to bias his sermons toward those who gave more to the church than others. In addition, he instructed his deacons to pray each week about what his salary should be. He would be content with what the Holy Spirit led them to pay him.

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The book, The Autobiography of George Müller, is his daily journal of financial struggle and how God met every need. It is an amazing story of how Mr. Müller not only trusted God for his and his wife’s needs as they ministered to others, but how God prompted him to build orphanages for the children whose parents had died in the war. Before all was said and done, Mr. Müller built several orphanages and clothed, fed, and educated thousands of children without ever asking anyone for financial help and without going into debt. His only requests were in the forms of prayers. The donations whether they were money, food, clothing or other items sometimes came from acquaintances and sometimes from strangers, but they came—often just in the nick of time. He recorded daily each of the needs he encountered and how each one was met.

One of my favorite stories that he chronicles is about a sweet woman who contributed much of her inheritance to the church and orphanages. When she told Mr. Müller what she intended to do he sat her down and had a long conversation with her to ensure she had “counted the cost” of giving away funds she might need later to survive her twilight years. She responded that she would give five shillings more as proof of her decision to give cheerfully to the Lord. Meanwhile, she sewed clothing to earn money for her daily needs. As a result of giving so much to the church she did indeed end up penniless when she was elderly having given up her luxuries and retirement fund so others could have food and shelter. When she became so feeble that she could no longer sew to make a living, she recounted God’s provision to her that was provided in the form of other people who stepped forward willingly and selflessly to take care of her without her ever having to ask for help. Her story, observed by Mr. Müller,  was a faith builder for a man who was trusting his own daily needs to Christ.

George Müller’s life has been an inspiration to many. Even today his legacy lives on through the George Müller Charitable Trust. The trust exists today to advance Christianity and to aid any disadvantaged persons including orphans. The trust receives donations by check or electronic donations online but never solicits or participates in fund raising activities remaining true to its founder’s belief in prayer. I encourage you to learn more about Mr. Müller through his own autobiography, his other writings, and the links below.

 

Müllers                  georgemuller.org              Wikipedia – George Müller

 

I would love to hear who has inspired you with his or her unshakeable faith!

 
 

7 Things You Can Do For Someone Who Is Hurting

By F. S. Anderson

Sometimes it’s difficult to know how to help someone going through a painful season in their life. When my world as I knew it crashed, compassionate people met my needs in a variety of ways. Hopefully, some of the ideas below will help you show love and kindness to someone who is hurting.

Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA on Pexels.com

SHARE YOUR STORY

Several people came to me when they heard about my heartbreaking situation. They didn’t ask questions, didn’t try to verify rumors, just relayed their own stories, some much worse than mine. For some it might have been the first time they felt comfortable to share their story. After all, I was no longer a porcelain doll without cracks. I was one of them. It was through these interactions that I learned people connect and empathize with our weaknesses more than our strengths, with our hurts more than our joys. I was now someone with whom they could relate and bond because of a shared experience. I gained strength from them as I learned they had survived their painful season. If they could get through the muck and mire to a better place, then so could I. It was a win-win conversation.

MAKE A PHONE CALL

Pick up the phone. Don’t ask, “How are you doing?” That’s a hard question to answer, and hurting souls sometimes feel threatened by a lot of questions. Instead, say “I was thinking about you and wanted to let you know.” And then let the other person guide where the conversation goes. Let him or her vent if needed, but don’t force it.

SEND FLOWERS OR A CARD

Flowers are never a waste of money. And they don’t have to be store bought if cash flow is a problem. People who own yards with flowering plants are usually glad to share a few blooms–just ask. Arrange them in a vase, and if you are able, deliver them personally. I still remember a gorgeous bouquet sent to me by a dear friend during my tough season. I took a picture of it to remind me of her kind gesture long after the blooms faded.

Receiving old fashioned correspondence through snail mail can be very uplifting when it is a beautiful card with thoughtful words. The cards I received always came on a day when I needed that extra boost of encouragement to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

GIVE A GIFT

One friend gave me a clear packet containing a small seed. “This is a mustard seed,” she explained. I replied, “Thank you, but I’m not very good at gardening.” She laughed then told me it wasn’t for planting but to hold onto when I was feeling low, which was most of the time. She said, “You will get through this,” then quoted the following verse to me.

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

For many months I held onto that seed for dear life…..until one day I misplaced it. When I couldn’t find it I cried like a baby who had lost a security blanket. Another friend who knew how much it meant to me replaced it with a mustard seed in a locket that I could wear around my neck. Two beautiful friends and two wonderful acts of kindness for which I will forever be grateful.

PAY A VISIT

Make time to stop by. The effort makes a hurting person feel loved in a way that nothing else can. One friend whom I’d not seen in a while began to drop by (for just a few minutes at the time) to check on me and as a result we rekindled a neglected friendship.

EXTEND A DINNER INVITATION

A couple of friends consistently invited me to dinner with their families or out to eat with other extended friends. Though I hated going solo, it gave me a chance to get out in a social environment, clear my thoughts, and breathe fresh air. They always made me feel welcome and never like a third wheel.

PRAY WITH THEM

One day I sunk the lowest that I believed I could go. “I can’t take this,” I thought. No longer had the words entered my mind when a young woman from church dropped by my office. She took one look at me, saw my despair, and said, “Can I pray with you?” And she did. Right then and there. That thoughtful act was a turning point for me. At the very moment I thought my life was lost, God’s timing prevailed. If she’d been too busy that day as she ran business errands, my faith might have crumbled.

A BOX OF VERSES

One of the most surprising things I received during that time was a box full of Bible verses, not just any old random verses either, but ones handpicked toward my situation. A friend had typed the verses placing my name at the beginning of each one making it appear as if God were talking directly to me. She then cut out each verse, folded it, and placed it in the box. There are probably fifty verses in that box. Each day I could open the box and pull out a word of encouragement.

I am very grateful to each person who took the time to show me love and kindness during a difficult period in my life. Please feel free to share unique ways you have blessed others going through a painful season.

Disconnected

Today I had a problem connecting to the wireless network in my home. The router seemed to be working, but my phone and computer refused to communicate even with cellular data enabled and I was frustrated at being disconnected from the world. I couldn’t check the weather, listen to my playlist, download a new app, check updates on social media, or post to my blog until the connection was restored.
I am naturally introverted so I tend to enjoy my quiet time, but after a while I get tired of me and long for interaction with friends and family who provide stimulating conversation and warm fellowship. This longing reminds me that humans are not designed to live in isolation and that we should seek connection with others, but we also need to step away from the world regularly and seek time with God.
People are not electronics and cannot stay connected to the world all the time. Overload can occur and frequently does with current busy schedules. This happened to Jesus after he heard about the beheading of his cousin, John the Baptist, and the crowds continually pressed upon him seeking healing. He realized that he was running on empty and needed to disconnect from the world for a while and spend time with God. Matthew 14:22-25 tells us,

“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from the land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.” (NIV)
The notes in my Bible indicate that Jesus stayed on the mountain by himself for six to nine hours. That is quite a long time! He spent much of that time in prayer and because of it he left the mountain refreshed enough to perform a miracle. His example shows us how important it is to take time to disconnect from the world to pray, meditate on scripture, and relax. Who knows? Perhaps we might, like Jesus, be refreshed enough by God to do something above our own natural strength?

How did Jesus disconnect?
  • Found a quiet place with no distractions
  • Spent time in prayer
  • Guarded his quiet time regardless of the storm brewing nearby
How do you disconnect from the world and spend time with God?

Into the Deep Darkness

By F.S. Anderson

My last post, entitled ‘Light Outshines the Dark’, mentioned St. Francis of Assissi’s famous words, “all the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle” and discussed how Jesus’ light dispels the darkness. In light of that, pardon the pun, it may seem contradictory this week for me to talk about going into the darkness instead of moving toward the light.

“As the people stood in the distance, Moses entered into the deep darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:21 (TLB)

In the verse above Moses enters into a darkness that is deep. My interpretation says this is not a short period of time nor a minor tough spot in his life journey. I believe it is another turning point in his destiny to fulfill God’s will not only for his own life, but the life of others. You would think he had already been initiated into his destiny when he gathered up the courage to stand before Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, to ask for the release of his people, the Israelites. And if that were not enough, after the Israelites were released by the ruler of Egypt, Moses then led them to a place where his faith was again tested. Did he really believe God would or could provide a way for them to safely navigate the Red Sea to safety? I imagine Moses was sweating bullets as he stood at the edge of that water with a panicked, unorganized, emotionally and physically worn down, hoard of people.

And if that wasn’t enough, once in the desert with these now rebellious, grumbly people, he is appointed to climb Mt Sinai to seek the will of God. Again.
If God is light, then why does Moses go into the darkness to find him?

The truth is that sometimes we must go through a dark period in our lives. And, harsh as it sounds, we may have to endure it alone. The Israelites wanted to know God’s will for their lives, but they were afraid. They didn’t want to suffer the dark cloud that hovered over Mt. Sinai, even though what they needed was there. Moses had to go it alone.

When the lights go out due to lack of electricity, we fumble through darkness to find a candle, oil lamp, or battery operated flashlight, or cell phone, anything that will illuminate our current situation. We are intensely focused on finding relief from the darkness. Likewise, when we are plunged into darkness due to a crisis, we fumble our way through the dark, painful situation to find God who is the ultimate light. This journey can involve being separated from those we love, or a loss of something important to us. Something interesting happens when we are surrounded by darkness. Our senses intensify.

What happens when our senses are intensified?
  • We notice (see) things we’ve never paid attention to before.
  • Food tastes sweeter or saltier.
  • Human touch amplifies electrical pulses.
  • Aromas are more alluring or more pungent.
  • We hear distinctive sounds above other noises.

During Moses’ sojourn on the mountain, he could hear God’s voice more distinctly than when he was hanging out with the crowd below. After spending time with God alone in the darkness, Moses had no doubt what God was asking him to do. In fact, he came down the mountain with God’s will written in stone not only for his life, but the life of the Israelites as well. Moses was able to influence the lives of possibly over a million Israelites because of his encounter with God. Whew! That’s a powerful thought. Not only does spending time alone with God in the darkness affect us, it affects others as well.

We often find ourselves isolated from the world around us, but the quietness that separation provides allows us to interpret life with more clarity.

Do you feel isolated or are you in a dark place? Take heart in the idea that the light you’re searching for might just be waiting in the middle of the darkness. Don’t give up. You were made for a purpose, my friend.

Light Outshines The Dark

By F.S. Anderson

One evening after dark my son and I waited for electrical linemen to arrive and access why we were the only house in the area without electricity. I lit a candle in the kitchen and we waited outside on the patio because without air conditioning the temperature inside the house was warmer than it was outside.

The flickering light of the candle in the kitchen flowed through the windows and onto the patio where we were sitting. I commented how much light that little candle was generating.
 
 My son said, “Light always shines brighter in complete darkness.” He wasn’t quoting a Bible verse, just making an observation, but his words reminded me of John 1:5 which the Holman Christian Standard translation says, “The light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness has not overcome it.” The New Living Translation puts it this way. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
 
And there is my favorite translation written by Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, also known as St Francis of Assisi, who said it this way.
 
         “All the darkness in the world cannot
extinguish the light of a single candle.”
 
Francis of Assisi
 
 
The livescience.com website says that “if you were standing atop a mountain surveying a larger-than-usual patch of the planet, you could perceive bright lights hundreds of miles distant. On a dark night, you could even see a candle flame flickering up to 30 miles away.”
 
The maritimenz.govt.nz website makes this comment in its history of lighthouses. “Peculiarly, the light which could be seen for miles by seafarers, was only just bright enough to read a book by inside the light room.”
 So how does this relate to us as writers?
The way I see it, as Christian writers the words we pen are flickers of light that penetrate the world around us. I find both comfort and encouragement in the Apostle John’s words because he tells us that a world which appears hopelessly dark at times will never be completely so because of the light that Christ emits through us.
 
Livescience.com tells us that the Andromeda galaxy is made up of 1 trillion stars that are visible to the naked eye even though they are located 2.6 million light-years from Earth. That’s a long way! Francis of Assisi’s light traveled to us through 800 years as he continues to inspire us in his own words “to cherish those for whom Christ died.”
 
I invite you to join my journey in piercing the darkness with words of light!
 
 
 
 

Perseverance

I’ve been writing my first novel for quite a while now. Actually, long enough that those people close to me and who care, are beginning to think I’m never going to complete it. I admit it has been a more challenging project than I ever imagined. Some people seem to effortlessly churn out story after story, but I know there is no “effortlessly” when it comes to writing.

Writing is hard work.

It takes a lot of perseverance to complete a project as lengthy as writing a novel. So what exactly does it mean to persevere?

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

Confucius

Photo by Arun Thomas on Pexels.com

The definition of persevere is to stay steady on course through difficulties and obstacles.

Shortly after beginning the novel, my marriage slammed into a block wall and disintegrated. After picking myself up from that unforeseen disruption, I shook off the dust and debris, cleared my head, and continued to write and to study the craft of writing despite moving to a new house, raising a teenage son, and learning to manage my finances on one income.

Because I work full time in accounting, the weekends are usually the only time that I can write. If I lose writing time then it is difficult to make it up during the week unless I give up my lunch break and write, which I’ve done, or give up a couple to three hours of sleep to write, which I’ve done. Perseverance. It’s a painful, exhausting word. But it produces rewards.

I set out to write a novel, but in the process I’ve been drawn to other types of writing that have produced fruit along the way, one of which is this blog. Writing for the blog keeps my writing muscle strengthened and provides a way to communicate with my readers! And though I take time to write for this blog as well as pen a devotion now and then, still, I plug along on the novel, slow and steady, plotting, writing, re-writing, editing, and writing some more. Perseverance pushes me through the derailments, distractions, detours, and discouragements.

So how do you develop perseverance?

I believe perseverance requires three things: A made-up mind, grit, and vision.

1.  A made-up mind

I often think of the story of Daniel and his struggles as a young captive in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. In Daniel 1:8 (NASB) the author states “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank.” The NIV version says he “resolved not to defile himself” and the NKJV version says “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”

If you make up your mind to accomplish something, then you will be less likely to succumb to weariness, discouragement and road blocks. A made-up mind is not easily deterred. The young man, Daniel, was rewarded for his faithfulness to God in his determination not to eat the king’s food that had been sacrificed to idols. If he had not resolved ahead of time to avoid the food, he would have been more likely to cave when hunger gnawed at him. Although Daniel had made up his mind not to do something, a made-up mind works the same way when you determine to do something.

2. Grit

Grit is the muscle behind a made-up mind. It is the strength of character and endurance needed to plow forward through obstacles that inevitably come between you and your goal. Grit requires a fortitude of spirit, a hunkering down. Many times grit is born from desire. In the above example, Daniel’s desire to please God was what kept him steady on his course. In other words, it boils down to how desperately you want to accomplish something.

3. Vision

Perseverance is for the long haul. Envisioning the outcome of a goal sets the tone for success because vision gives a glimpse of the reward and whets the appetite for a soul that will not be satisfied until the reward is experienced. If you don’t know where you want to be at the end of whatever project you are working on as Yogi Berra is quoted as saying, “You might end up somewhere else.”

So, how desperate are you to accomplish your writing project or any other goal that you have set for yourself? Do you really want it badly enough to continue working toward it come what may? I encourage you to write down your vision so that when the journey gets long or you get tired or obstacles roll onto your path in front of you, you will be able to see the end result ahead and keep working toward your goal.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 

Supernatural Forgiveness

A few years ago Beth Moore introduced me to the Greek word Makrothumia. It is a beautiful sounding word that represents the quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so. How very foreign a concept in contrast to our human nature. We want an eye for an eye. We want those who hurt us to pay for what they’ve done.

But that is not Christ’s way.

Recently many of us witnessed this type of grace as the families of survivors in the Emanuel AME Church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, extended the message of salvation to a man who heartlessly murdered their loved ones. Those who spoke to him could have told him to rot in hell, yet they exhibited forgiveness in the midst of their pain.

What makes the difference between someone who lashes out like a wounded animal at their offender and those who exhibit such grace? God’s word tells us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

Forgiveness does not come easily, nor does it come without God’s intervention. The natural man wants retribution, and quickly, but it can become a vicious cycle. The need for revenge can erode the best parts of a person as well as his relationship with God. The Bible tells us that when we have anger against our fellowman, we should resolve that anger before we approach God to worship Him.

So how do we resolve the resentment and anger that takes control when we have been wronged?  One step is to heed God’s command in 2 Timothy 2:24 (NIV).

“The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”

As difficult as it seems, we must keep our words of anger to ourselves. This does not mean that we cannot have healthy disagreements. It means that we should not say hurtful words to someone who has wronged us. Writing in a journal provides an outlet for hurt feelings and the overflow of rage. Anger directed at another destroys not only the perpetrator, but the victim as well. Vent upward, not outward.

Another way to curb anger is found in Proverbs. “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” (Proverbs 21-22)

What? Give my enemy food? Are you kidding? After what he did to me? No way.

These were exactly my thoughts when God led me to these verses. How could He expect me to feed someone who had hurt me so terribly? It didn’t make sense. The thought only served to fan my anger.

Peace stood at a distance. Watching. Waiting.

What is interesting about the act of providing food and water is that hate and provision cannot co-exist. The one will push the other away. Also, food and water does not always literally mean something the other person can eat or drink. It can at times be a metaphor for whatever good you can do for that person such as offering shelter, clothing, warmth, a kind word. Anything that will bless your enemy.

Matthew 5:44 (NKJV ) says “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Whew! I have to pray for them too? Isn’t that asking a little too much?

Peace inched a little closer, but still stood outside my reach.

How do you even pray for someone whom you’d like to break into pieces and scatter over the highway for the birds to feed upon? As difficult as it seems, it is actually the simple act of saying the words even when the words contradict your feelings. If we have aught against someone when we come before God, He will not listen to us and God is where the peace resides, so if we expect to experience the peace that He has to offer, then prayer for our “enemy” is the most important step we can take in receiving that harmony within our soul.

It may take a while for sincerity to catch up with the words. Emotions can shatter in an instant but take quite some time to rebuild. Forgiveness and healing does not come easily, nor does it come quickly, but it will come when we follow God’s directions.

1.       Do not say hurtful things to your enemy.

2.       If it is within your power, make provision for his needs.

3.       Pray for restoration and blessing for that person.

The survivors in Charleston demonstrated a deep and abiding faith with God in their ability to say words of forgiveness to a troubled young man who committed such a senseless act that will leave scars on their hearts for the rest of their lives, but what a shining example they are. Their words of forgiveness were drawn from a deep well of spiritual knowledge that healing will come in the ability to bless and not curse the source that caused their pain.  May God provide supernatural comfort to them as they move forward.

Have you ever been so hurt by someone that it took power beyond your own to show grace to that person? If so, I pray that you have experienced healing and now can encourage others who are struggling to forgive someone.

Connections

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

Brené Brown

Don’t you love the feeling of being around people who like doing the same things that you like to do? That is the feeling I get when I’ve been to a conference for writers. It is soul soothing to be around people that get me. People who understand there are imaginary characters in imaginary settings taking up habitation in my head. These writers listen intently as I speak of stories that haven’t happened and never will except on the printed page. They agree wholeheartedly when I describe the wellspring of emotions that I experience on a regular basis as a writer. It is an exciting, exasperating journey and there is none other like it.

I fellowshipped with old friends and made some new friends. Cara, it was so fun to meet you in such a God moment way! Diana, thank you for the impromptu prayer you whispered in my ear. What a blessing you are. Elva, always you are my mentor and friend and inspiration on so many levels. God uses you in remarkable ways! Mary, I want to see those pictures! Edie, you are an amazing woman. Great conference! Ramona, you may not realize it yet, but you’ve just amped up my deadline. This first novel will be finished this summer! You’ve encouraged me, and I thank you for that. Yvonne, thank you for the opportunity you’ve given me to be part of your “Moments” series. Lori, though I don’t see you often, you are often in my thoughts, and I cherish your friendship. Beth, I know that your accomplishments are bittersweet because they are born of pain, but you, as the speaker said, have the unique opportunity to save lives. You will go far, my friend. David, this whole experience was so much richer because you shared it with me.

The list could go on, and on, and on. Connections. I believe our paths cross with others, not by accident, but for a reason. How many times have you met someone at just the right time to encourage you, be a friend during tough times, help you heal? I value each connection I share with those who intersect with my life.

And if it were not for Lisa, I would not be where I am on this writing journey. Lisa doesn’t necessarily want to be a writer although she has an incredible gift of words. Four or five years ago, she was the friend that checked on me every single day during and after my divorce offering soothing words of hope. She prayed with me, listened to me say the same things over and over, and over and over until I got it all out of my system. She cried with me, wiped my tears, fought for my sanity and defended me whether I was right or wrong.

In the middle of all that pain, I shared with her my lifelong desire to be a writer. Next thing I knew, she started writing a story. Not to be outdone, I picked up my dormant manuscript and starting writing again. Somewhere along the way, she abandoned her story and picked up mine. She would read, re-read, critique, suggest, and help plot. She accompanied me to the first writing conference that jumpstarted my passion for the writer’s life, then she stepped back gracefully and let me run with it while she turned in another direction to use her beautiful words to lift up, pray for, and encourage others. Thank you, Lisa, for always being there. My sister by heart. For putting up with my moods and for calling me out when need be. Thank you for your encouragement and selfless friendship.

Do you have positive connections in your life? Do you believe you would not be where you are if not for them? If so, please join me in giving them a shout out so the world can celebrate with you!  

The End of the Rope

All of us have reached a point in our lives when we feel like we are at the end of the rope. In fact, I would say this probably happens several times over the course of one’s life. The past couple of months have been one of those times for me. It has not been any one thing that has caused me all the distress, but several relentless events that converged together at the same time with enough persistence to catapult me into despair. Grains of sand, Jentezen Franklin called them in one of his sermons, little grains of sand that alone would be considered inconveniences or irritants but several grains banded together in your shoes can wear the skin off your feet over an extended period of time.

And so, after a couple of months of lonely holidays as a divorcee, excruciating deadlines at my day job with long hours, the beginnings of a head cold, writing frustrations, and monetary shortages, I had a meltdown. Any one or two of these things would have been manageable, but all of them together left me exhausted, feeling hopeless, and lacking direction.

I am an accountant by day and a writer by night. This past Saturday I had to work extra hours on my day job because of a looming accounting deadline. Already burned out from the long hours for the past sixty days, I literally had to force myself to get dressed and move forward. I wanted to curl up in a warm place and sleep through the rest of the winter, but I pushed those thoughts aside and dressed for work.

Around lunch time a writing friend and mentor of mine, Elva Cobb Martin, http://www.elvamartin.com/, called to check on me. I didn’t mean to unload my burdens on her, but she phoned right when I felt like letting go of the end of the rope. She said, “Well, let’s just pray about this right now.”

She asked God to give me wisdom in my work and for my hectic schedule and then she listed three types of wisdom by name, Sophia, Phronesis and Sunesis, and she prayed for each one distinctly for the troubled areas in my life. I had never heard of these and the words not only intrigued me, but were refreshing to my tired spirit. The term “Sophia wisdom” sounded so elegant and quite beautiful. After she finished praying, I asked her about the meaning of these words.

Sophia describes the wisdom to see the “big picture”, to be able to step back and assess the whole situation from beginning to end. Definitely something I needed since I was buried deep in the details. I felt like a dog chasing his tail, stuck in an endless cycle that was going no where, frustration building to a frenzy.

My friend’s prayer was effective. By the end of the day I had a clear vision of how to handle the situation in which I now found myself. As I stood in the doorway of my office and surveyed the mess of papers strung out all over my desk and the floor, I asked God for his long range wisdom for my situation. Once I stepped aside and allowed God to infuse me with Sophia wisdom, He revealed to me that pride clouded my ability to think clearly. Pride had kept me from seeking professional help in an area that I was supposed to be quite capable. I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t figure out the problem myself, but once the sin of pride was exposed, I began to formulate a viable long range plan for dealing with the time consuming problems that kept me in over my head. If I had sought wisdom earlier, I could have been spared much of the extra work and frustration.

Why do we always wait until we are at the end of our rope to cry out? It doesn’t make sense, but as humans with short sighted mentalities, we hang onto that slippery cord as long as we possibly can. We stare downward into the abyss over which we dangle precariously in despair of what lies beneath before something causes us to look upward and send that signal for help.

My friend was gracious enough to share her notes with me from a lesson she has taught about these different forms of Godly wisdom. The other two relate to wisdom of stewardship and order as well as deductive wisdom and I can’t wait to delve more into their meaning and purpose as they relate to my life. Thank you, Elva, for gracing my day with words of wisdom!

 

 

Divine Moments

The dream in my heart has always been to write fiction novels that entertain, encourage and inspire, and for the past four years I have pursued that goal by putting one word after another onto the pages until sentences became paragraphs and eventually those paragraphs grew into a few chapters. And, yet, that project is still unfinished.

I look forward to the day when it is completed. The process has certainly given me a whole new appreciation for the meaning of perseverance, but in the meantime, God has steered me in a different direction, one in which I am writing more nonfiction than fiction. And, that’s okay, because only He knows why and for what He designed me. I’m just the tool in His shed.

Earlier this year I was honored and so excited to be part of a project entitled Divine Moments, a compilation of true stories about God’s amazing presence in our lives. The project was spearheaded by Yvonne Lehman and includes fifty stories written by thirty seven different authors. The book is a project of love and exhibits the passion each writer has for sharing the amazing power of God with the world. All author royalties will be donated to Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.

And it is with equal excitement that I am looking forward to the release of the next book in this series entitled Christmas Moments that will be out in time for the holiday season. Like the original, all author royalties will be donated to Samaritan’s Purse.

These stories weave a common thread which suggests that perhaps the only explanation is that God had a hand in it.

Do you remember a time in your own life when you felt God’s divine intervention? I look forward to hearing your story.