Through the Good and the Bad (Exclusive Anniversary Book Giveaway)

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In August 2018, while I poured out my heart, emptied my tear ducts, and established a treatment plan with my new doctors, I finished writing Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.

While struggling to adjust to the severe midwestern weather, I battled depression and signed a contract for my first children’s picture book, Different Like Me.

Busyness swept me off my feet, pulled me further from the stillness I needed with my Heavenly Father, and plunged me head-first into a spiritual drought.

I clung to God’s promises until I had no strength left and fell into His arms, exhausted and desperate for His Spirit to refresh my weary soul.

When COVID-19 hit the scene, I almost gave up under the strain of being too-close-to-my-spouse-for-too-long. I lost track of days as I ticked off just-one-more empty box on the calendar during the pandemic that lasted longer than I’d expected.

Amid hardships and heartaches, God unwrapped blessings right before my eyes.

When my doctor said pain management was the best they could offer me, God sent readers to donate the entire amount required for our rescue puppy, Callie, to complete her service dog training with Tails for Life.

When doctors diagnosed my friend’s four-year-old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, God helped us raise the $22,000.00 required to reserve a fully trained service dog for him from Tails for Life.

When we said goodbye to our sixteen-year-old dog, Jazzy, God brought our sons to visit her for one last cuddle.

When the pandemic prevented me from building a solid launch team for the release of Different Like Me, God sent Mama Jana from Texas to help my ReachOut Bookstore family host the release party for Different Like Me.

As soon as we learned how to dress for midwestern weather and began deepening the genuine relationships we’d been building in Fond du Lac, God provided my husband with an interim position in Napa, California . . . thirty-one minutes from where our youngest son lived.

Good. Bad. Joyful. Sad.

Life happens.

The whirlwind of life’s ever-changing circumstances reminds me to walk in the present ̶ one breath at a time ̶ rejoicing in the presence of God and relying on the power of God.

How could I keep moving forward when I couldn’t seem to get a firm foothold?

Throughout Scripture, the Lord beckons us toward living each day with an eternal perspective.

In response to the Israelites cries for mercy and pardon, the Lord used the prophet Isaiah to remind them that He has always been able and available.

“The Lord says, ‘I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am. Here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.’” (Isaiah 65:1, NLT)

God’s people rebelled against Him and rejected His image-bearers with hearts infected with self-righteousness (vv.2-5).

He promised judgement (vv. 6-7) and mercy (vv. 8-10), while assuring the Israelites they would suffer consequences for their actions and inaction (vv. 11-14).

Gentiles, the marginalized people the Israelites considered not-enough and not-good-enough, would be invited into God’s Kingdom (vv. 15-16).

“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore” (v. 17).

God’s “true servants” would thrive in the driest valleys, through the fiercest battles, as they trekked through the rockiest terrains in the Meantime Mountains, and as they enjoyed the fragrant fruit of their labor in His vineyards (vv. 18-23).

God would care for His people in all circumstances.

“I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” (Isaiah 65:24, NLT)

Through the good and bad, peace will reign on God’s “holy mountain” as His people walk in the present, rejoicing in His presence and relying on His power.

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Mighty and Merciful Creator and Sustainer, thanks for knowing us and our needs intimately. Thanks for knowing our prayers before we even know what to pray.

 Thanks for interceding on our behalf, for fighting for us, for hemming us in and having our backs. Thanks for never abandoning us and never forgetting us.

 Loving and compassionate God, thanks for never giving in when we demand our way because we have no clue how much better Your way is for us.

 Please use every hardship to draw us closer to You and refine us so that we look more like You and respond like You.

Give us an eternal perspective as we move forward by faith, dependent on Your power and delighted by Your presence.

 Give us hearts that long to please You and submit to Your will with courage and confidence, through the good and the bad, trusting You and praising You with all You have given us.

 In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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To celebrate the first anniversary of Different Like Me and the second anniversary of Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, I’m hosting an exclusive Anniversary Book Giveaway for members of my Blog Family.

Please DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL if you’ve received this message in your email inbox.

Subscribers to my blog can ENTER the Anniversary Book Giveaway by CLICKING HERE to scroll down to the bottom of the original blog post, “Through the Good and the Bad,” and answering the following questions:

  1. Where do you live?
  2. How did you find my blog?
  3. Would like a signed copy of Waiting for God, Different Like Me, or either book?

On August 11, 2021, I will announce the names of the blog family members chosen to receive either one signed copy of Waiting for God OR one signed copy of Different Like Me.

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If you want to help me spread the love, you can order extra copies of Waiting for God and/or Different Like Me to share as gifts today!

You can also encourage me by writing a short review on Amazon for Waiting for God and Different Like Me.

To write a short Amazon review, all you have to do is share what you liked about the books and why you would recommend the books to other readers.

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Thanks for being members of my blog family!

I look forward to growing with you!

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Because God Is

Suggested Reading: Psalm 145

“Why should I trust God when He doesn’t seem to care about me?”

When my friend asked that question, I understood her struggle. I had asked the same question before. I had grappled with accepting the goodness of God when His actions or His inaction resulted in grief. I had cried out, “It’s not fair.” I had sobbed prayers filled with variations of disbelief: Why, God? Why not, God? When? How long? Do You hear me? Do You care?

My friend didn’t need encouraging platitudes. She didn’t even need answers or a plan of action.

She simply needed to know she wasn’t alone.

So, I led her to one of the psalmists who understood the pain of waiting, the frustration of not knowing which way to turn, the discouragement of wondering how much longer the rough waters would last, and the heartache of dealing with the negative consequences of his own poor choices.

In Psalm 145, the psalmist David demonstrates the reasons we can trust God.

 

  1. We can trust God because He is worthy of all our praise.

David begins Psalm 145 with an intimate prayer, speaking directly to the Lord. His first utterance is not a list of demands or complaints. He starts off praising God as King, declaring a commitment to praising the Lord “for ever and ever” (v. 1).

“Every day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever” (v. 2). Extol, to worship, to praise, to lift up, and revere. And with his next breath, David exalts the Lord.

“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom” (v. 3).

 

  1. We can trust God because He has a reputation of faithfulness.

David says God’s generations will be talking about His mighty acts (v. 4).

He will not allow anyone to worship God alone. When they speak of “the glorious splendor” of His “majesty,” he will “meditate” on God’s “wonderful works (v. 5). When they “tell of the power” of His “awesome works,” David will “proclaim” His “great deeds” (v. 6).

Together, they will “celebrate” God’s “abundant goodness” and “joyfully sing” of His “righteousness” (v. 7).

 

  1. We can trust God because He is gracious and good.

“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all’ He has compassion on all He has made” (v. 8-9).

David had experienced God’s mercy time and again. He had been wrapped in God’s loving patience, overwhelmed by God’s forgiveness, and comforted by God’s all-sufficient grace.

 

  1. We can trust God because He is always working in the lives of ALL His children.

The testimonies of God’s goodness and faithfulness in the lives of others penetrate our present struggles with an aroma of enduring hope.

So that “all people may know of [His] mighty acts and the glorious splendor of [His] kingdom” (vv. 10-12), His “everlasting kingdom” and sovereign reign that will endure “through all generations” (v. 13).

 

  1. We can trust God because He is consistent.

David declares God is trustworthy in all [He] promises and faithful in all [He] does” (vv. 13-17).

God holds us up, lifts us up, and provides “at the proper time” (vv. 15-16).

He hears us and cares for us, even when we feel unheard and left to fend for ourselves.

 

  1. We can trust God because He is intimate.

 David had been on the run, hiding from Saul and trying to deceive himself after falling prey to temptation through idleness.

He had wept bitterly, felt abandoned, grown weary, and seen his own wickedness destroy those he loved dearly. Still, God remained close and comforting.

“The LORD is near to all who call on [Him], to all who call on [Him] in truth” (v. 18). He knows our deepest needs and transforms our greatest desires to align with His heart as we draw nearer to Him each day.

 

  1. We can trust God because He is just.

 Though God doesn’t rescue us from the consequences of our deliberate sins, His compassion and forgiveness transforms our wounded hearts and even uses our past to draw others closer to Him.

David sings a final prayer and testimony that inspires others to praise the Lord.

“My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise His holy name for ever and ever” (v. 21).

 

  1. Like David, we can trust God because He is . . . God.

 

Mighty and merciful Jesus, for remaining the same and being with us yesterday and today and forever.

 Please help us praise You, simply because You are God.

 Transform our minds and our hearts so that we will want to live in alignment with Your flawless Word. Empower us to love You and others with our words, our actions, and our attitudes.

 Thanks for blessing us with the privilege of praising You and proclaiming the goodness and faithfulness of Your mighty name.

 In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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If you need a burst of enduring hope as you continue waiting for an answer to prayer, for a trial to pass, or for a door to open or slam shut, join me for 31 devotional readings filled with biblical truth and Scripture-based prayers that will empower you to trust daily in God’s plan and pace.

Invite a friend and meet with me as we inhale God’s Word, exhale prayers and praises, and rest in God’s love through each chapter in Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.

If you’ve already read Waiting for God, please help me spread the word and reach more readers with God’s truth and love by writing a short review on Amazon today.

Pause for Prayer with me by subscribing to my YouTube channel today.

I’m looking forward to growing with you!