Waiting for God – Chapter 7 – F.R.O.G. Faith

“The Lord has established and fully intends to use every moment of the wait to refine us into His likeness, to bring glory to His name, and to magnify the persevering power of His promises” (Waiting for God, Xochitl Dixon, p. 42).

As I read this statement again, I’m praising the Lord! He has “established” every moment before He even created us. Hallelujah! God “fully intends to use every moment of the wait,” every moment. Not one second will be wasted as He works to bring glory to His name. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

I can experience the fullness of His overflowing love for me as I soak up His infallible words. And when my feelings fail me, when my understanding or patience or wisdom wanes, I can follow Him faithfully and trust He will remain reliable. I can’t trust the ever-changing circumstances or feelings I face each day. But I can place my life in the hands of the One who created life itself, the one who determined all of my days before one of them came to be. Hallelujah!

As you read F.R.O.G. Faith in Waiting for God, I pray the Lord will encourage you through Bob and Betty’s story.

I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts as we prayerfully consider today’s reflection questions.

Reflection Questions

  1. How can considering God as creator and sustainer of all help us trust He won’t forget us, even when we forget Him in the wait?

When I think of how God manages the Universe day-to-day, it’s easier for me to remember that He can manage my life. I feel comforted when I focus on His sovereignty and limitless power. It sure beats gazing upon my never-ending weaknesses or my past, present, and inevitably future failings.

  1. What situation are you dealing with that seems to have no end in sight?

My healing journey. It’s often frustrating when I consider a lifetime of pain management and fatigue, a lifetime of not being able to help my husband, a lifetime of struggling. But it helps to know I can be fully reliant on God. I can count on His trustworthiness. God is using my experiences to help me grow closer to Him, to refine my character so I can be more like Him, and to serve others as I point to Him.

  1. What makes it most difficult to be fully reliant on God when your circumstances don’t seem to be improving on this side of eternity?

It’s difficult to confess my weaknesses. Fear and worry can make me focus on my limitations instead of God’s unchanging character and dependable faithfulness. To rely on God is to depend on Him with confidence, to bank on His trustworthiness, to hope in Him . . . completely. In order to accomplish this measure of faith, I need to surrender to the Holy Spirit, to allow Him to empower me to believe what God says is true, to invite Him to be all I need . . . my strength, my peace, my hope . . . even when my circumstances feel unbearable and the wait feels endless.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below the original post on my website.

If you’re just joining the conversation and would like to share your thoughts on the previous chapters, I’ve posted the links below.

End-of-Chapter Questions

Chapter 1 – The Weight of Waiting

Chapter 2 – It’s Not All About Me

Chapter 3 – Holy Vision

Chapter 4 – Just Say the Word

Chapter 5 – Resting in God’s Refuge

Chapter 6 – Enough for the Wait

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*** Thanks for joining me to discuss the Waiting for God end-of-chapter questions. Please remain focused on what God is doing in and through your life and refrain from sharing full names or personal information (yours or anyone else’s) so we can keep this blog family a safe place to share. All comments will be monitored and modified to maintain a loving and encouraging atmosphere that is glorifying to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to growing with you.

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Waiting for God – Chapter 6 – Enough for the Wait

Over the years, I’ve met several people on the brink of death. Though it’s natural to fear the unknown or struggle with grief and worry about leaving loved ones behind, those who had deep and personal relationships with Jesus and were well-seeped in Scripture seemed to handle facing death with a supernatural peace, like Ms. Patricia, Mr. Charles, Kim, and my mom.

My friend Louise, a new believer who wasn’t that familiar with God’s Word, became fearful during her cancer treatment and on her death bed. By God’s incredible grace, I was able to assure her that her feelings were proof of her humanity, not a lack in faith.

I pointed her to Scripture and affirmed God’s faithfulness as we prayed together in the hospital. Though I wasn’t with her the moment Jesus welcomed her into His loving arms, I’m sure He made His presence known.

Still, it’s hard to deal with loss, to face trials in life on this side of eternity, to come to terms with our frailty as humans, to admit our desperate need for total dependence on God, our Maker and Sustainer.

When life feels unbearable, when the pain feels impossible to endure, we can rest in the certainty of God’s sufficiency. But we can’t do this in our own strength, so it would be wise for us to learn to live and breathe this simple prayer: Oh, how we need You, Jesus!

I’m looking forward to reading your responses to today’s reflection questions.

Reflection Questions

  1. When is it hardest to remember that being in Jesus’s presence is enough?

When my loved ones are hurting. When I feel helpless to lift their burden or stop their pain. I’ve been asking the Lord to help me remember He is more enough for me, so He is definitely more than enough for anyone else.

  1. Why is it often hard to admit we need God?

When we admit we need God, we’re admitting our weaknesses and our total lack of control. It’s scary to feel vulnerable, to confess our desperate needs, to risk rejection or disappointment. When I’m afraid or hurt, I tend to puff up and pretend I’m stronger than I truly feel. Instead, I can ask the Lord to be my strength, to be my peace, to guide me and empower me to walk by faith and face my real emotions . . . and to help my loved ones do the same.

  1. Whose testimony has God used to help you place one more rock-solid stone of truth in the foundation of your faith?

Every single testimony I’ve read in the Bible, every snippet of a story I shared in Waiting for God, and every testimony a person shares with me becomes a rock-solid stone of truth in the foundation of my faith.

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Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you’re just joining the conversation and would like to share your thoughts on the previous chapters, I’ve posted the links below.

 End-of-Chapter Questions

Chapter 1 – The Weight of Waiting

Chapter 2 – It’s Not All About Me

Chapter 3 – Holy Vision

Chapter 4 – Just Say the Word

Chapter 5 – Resting in God’s Refuge

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Thanks for joining me to discuss the Waiting for God end-of-chapter questions. Please remain focused on what God is doing in and through your life and refrain from sharing full names or personal information (yours or anyone else’s) so we can keep this blog family a safe place to share. All comments will be monitored and modified to maintain a loving and encouraging atmosphere that is glorifying to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to growing with you.

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On September 25, 2019, I’ll return to sending you weekly encouragement and prayers. But to fulfill a commitment to readers of Waiting for God, from August 19, 2019 to September 20, 2019 I’ll be sharing daily posts with my answers to the Waiting for God end-of-chapter questions. I hope you’ll join the conversation at your own reading pace. I’m praying for you and looking forward to growing with you as we trust daily in God’s plan and pace.

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Waiting for God – Chapter 5 – Resting in God’s Refuge

Trusting God seems so much easier when we’re sitting on top of a heap of abundance. Losing our sense of security and our false sense of being in control breeds fear, doubt, and impatience.

I walked by faith with trembling and dropped to my knees when Alan lost his job, when my health took a nosedive, when our oldest son wandered away from the Lord. At the time, my shaky trust frustrated me. But as I look back, I see how the Lord used His Word and His people to deepen my faith as I leaned into Him.

I am so excited to hear your testimonies!

Please share your comments or your answers to the reflection questions in the comment section below.

Reflection Questions

  1. How has God helped you or a friend through a time of financial, physical, or emotional need?

The Lord has provided in so many ways over the years. But recently, I praised Him with grateful tears after He helped me with my financial, physical, and emotional needs.

After my doctor informed me that pain management “could be my life,” I grieved and considered the possibility of living with limited mobility. I called Jake and Amanda Guell at Tails for Life.

Though the cost for Callie’s service dog training would be an investment, my husband committed to making it happen . . . somehow. When my insurance denied my request for a procedure that would help me with pain management, I called Jake to cancel the training. He suggested I do a fundraiser. After prayer and discussion with my husband, I shared the story on my blog and on social media.

God’s people sponsored Callie’s training in four days!

Some people messaged me with stories about how the Lord moved in their hearts during prayer time. And when we were only $530.00 away from our goal, one woman messaged me and informed me that the Lord had nudged her to give $500.00 toward Callie’s training.

These amazing sponsors partnered in ministry with me, making it possible to Callie to serve with me at the Our Daily Bread chapel on August 7, 2019. We’re looking forward to sharing God’s truth and love to the ends of the earth . . . together . . . thanks to God’s faithfulness and the generous love of His beloved children. (You can watch the video of Callie and me sharing with the Our Daily Bread Ministry family during chapel on their Facebook page.)

And now, I have the privilege of helping Tails for Life raise funds to train a service dog for a child with autism!

Hallelujah!

If you want to make a difference in the life of a child in need of a service dog, you can join me in raising $5,000.00 for Tails for Life with a tax-deductible donation.

Please let Jake and Amanda you heard about the fundraiser on my blog . . . and be ready to praise the Lord as He provides above and beyond all we can even begin to imagine!

  1. How can sharing your testimony or hearing the testimonies of others increase the faith of those who are struggling with a lack of worldly security as they wait on God to provide?

As I interviewed people while writing Waiting for God, the Lord used their stories to strengthen my faith and refresh my spirit. As readers begin sharing how God is using Waiting for God to encourage them, the Lord is igniting a fire in me to share His truth and love with even more boldness and overflowing love for Him and His people.

  1. In what situation can you trust the Lord’s promised provision and protection this week?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve struggled with pain management and fatigue. Though dealing with chronic pain daily often exhausts me physically and emotionally, I am leaning into God and asking Him to help me trust Him. I know it sounds funny, but He’s even using this blog series to encourage me. As I read each chapter He helped me write and answer the end-of-chapter questions, God’s helping me walk through each day with Holy Vision. Hallelujah!

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If you’re just joining the conversation and would like to share your thoughts on the previous chapters, I’ve posted the links below.

 End-of-Chapter Questions

Chapter 1 – The Weight of Waiting

Chapter 2 – It’s Not All About Me

Chapter 3 – Holy Vision

Chapter 4 – Just Say the Word

*** Thanks for joining me to discuss the Waiting for God end-of-chapter questions. Please remain focused on what God is doing in and through your life and refrain from sharing full names or personal information (yours or anyone else’s) so we can keep this blog family a safe place to share. All comments will be monitored and modified to maintain a loving and encouraging atmosphere that is glorifying to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to growing with you.

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Callie the Service Dog: Asking for Help

Callie pic 1*** Thanks to the generous support of God’s loving people, Callie’s service dog training was sponsored in full in less than four days. to God be the glory, the honor, and the praise, praise, praise! To join the adventure as I share how the Lord is working in and through our journey, please join us on our Facebook page: Callie the Service Dog with Xochitl E. Dixon.

Original Post Below:

When we followed God from California to Wisconsin after a university offered my husband a job he’d never even applied for, a part of me thought the Lord was leading me to doctors who would be able to fix my injured back. I’d grown weary of struggling with pain management and fatigue.

I knew God could heal me instantly and thought our move would be one step closer to our miracle.

I was wrong, but oh so right.

The day after I arrived in Wisconsin, our first Fondy friends, Gary and Carmen, drove us to pick up our new puppy.

Callie Puppy Pic by WindowAs we stood in the middle of the animal rescue center, I held the bundle of wiggles in my arms and cried.

My back, shoulders, and neck hurt, but the pain couldn’t take my joy away.

I had no idea that small pup would change my life. And at that time, I had no idea how much I needed her.

In the months after adopting Callie, I struggled with adjusting to life in Wisconsin.

Alone and freezing, with pain levels increasing and writing deadlines quickly approaching, I battled discouragement daily.

We invested in personal and group training for Callie. She grew fast and soon doubled the estimated weight the rescue center had given us, though she seemed to think she still weighed twelve pounds.

Callie pic 13Yes, that is my puppy perched on my shoulder.

After my last procedure failed to improve my pain management, my doctor said, “This could be your life. Pain management may be the only thing we can offer.”

His words punched me in the gut.

I knew God could heal me in an instant. I had no idea why He hadn’t, but I knew He also hadn’t wasted one moment of my healing journey.

I share a lot about that topic and about my initial injury in my first full-length devotional, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace (Available for pre-order on Amazon and on the Discovery House Publishers’ website).

My doctor consoled me as I grieved. Then, we discussed other treatment options, options that would still be considered pain management, band-aids for the symptoms of the injury no doctor seemed to be able to fix.

I spent the next few days crying and praying and resting in God’s loving arms, grieving but at peace.

My husband did all he could to encourage me.

20181109_102616But the Lord used Callie to make me smile, to help me get up and walk even when the pain felt overwhelming and the temperatures reached smack-me-in-the-face cold.

I taught Callie how to walk on the treadmill, so she would still get exercise when my body refused to cooperate.

But most days, her smile enticed me to walk with her. Yes. I even walked her in the snow.

As the months rolled by, I got stronger, physically and emotionally.

Even when the pain levels peaked, my sweet pup managed to tuck a little joy into my weary heart.

Callie pic 4Her smile brightened my darkest days and gave me the courage to research a possibility I thought would be out of my reach.

Could I find someone to help me train Callie to be a service dog? How much would it cost? How could we afford it if I had to pay for my next procedure because the insurance company refused to cover the expenses?

I needed help.

After much prayer, wise counsel, and encouragement from friends who had supported me during my decades-long healing journey, I asked God for the courage to ask for help.

Our current trainer recommended Jake Guel from Tails for Life.

Callie Oct 2018After hearing my story, he said we could train Callie to help me walk without a cane, a task she’s been practicing. She could learn how to lean into me when I lose balance during a spasm or when my nerve pain flares-up while walking. She can learn how to pick things up for me, how to retrieve items, and more.

On my hardest days, I am hunched over and wincing from the pain as I make my way to the bathroom.

The thought of having Callie as a helper makes me feel less alone, less dependent on my hard-working husband who already does so much for me.

I feel stronger, braver . . . even when I feel weakened by the ongoing sharp pain and headaches . . . like today.

She would be able to travel with me if I take public transportation, since I can’t drive.

Callie pic 5She’ll be able to travel with me and stay with me at hotels, so I can follow God’s leading with confidence as He expands my speaking ministry.

Jake offered me a training package that was more affordable than I imagined, but still way out of my budget.

He suggested I reach out to people who would be willing to sponsor Callie’s service dog training.

So, here I am. Risking rejection and ridicule as I ask for help to raise $3,200.00 for Callie’s service dog training.

I’m trusting God will provide in a mighty way. We hope to raise enough money so we can sign up for a training session in June.

Callie - Graduation Photo - April 2019If you’re willing to join our adventure as a sponsor, please visit the Tails for Life website and donate a tax-deductible gift.

Please make a note on your donation stating that you are sponsoring Callie Dixon.

If you are not able to, for some reason, please make sure you email Jake at tailsforlife@gmail.com to let him know you are sponsoring Callie Dixon’s training. If it’s easier, you can email me so I can let him know.

I will be asking for donations for a week. I need to secure Callie’s spot. The training schedule fills up quickly.

If you let me know when you donate, I can keep a record to compare to Jake’s list of sponsors. This will help ensure that our sponsors’ gifts are applied toward Callie’s service dog training.

I will post occasional updates about how God is working in and through our adventures on my blog. I’ll also be creating pages on Facebook and Instagram just for Callie the Service Dog, where I’ll post photos, videos, and share what the Lord is teaching me through our journey.

Thanks for your prayers, your encouragement, and your willingness to consider sponsoring Callie as she begins service dog training.

Callie pic 2I know I can do nothing without God or your ongoing love and support.

To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise!

If you want to learn more about Jake Guell and the wonderful ways they are helping change lives, please visit the Tails for Life website.

You can also encourage them by “liking” their Facebook page and following them on Instagram.

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Waiting for God Pre-Order Party

Waiting for God - Pre-Order Announcement 1 - 2019My first full-length devotional, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, is available for Pre-Order on Amazon!

To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise, praise, praise!

I used to be toe-tapping impatient when standing in lines. I would get irritated when I made a phone call and was left on hold. My inability to embrace the act of waiting when juggling life’s small frustrations became more evident when I faced heart-wrenching delays.

Waiting was not a welcome part of my life, especially when the wait was accompanied by physical or emotional pain.

When I first surrendered my life to Jesus, a friend warned me not to pray for patience. So what was I supposed to do? How was I going to deal with the inevitable waiting seasons in life if I couldn’t be honest and ask God for help?

After my battle with chronic pain became overwhelming, I longed for comfort, for peace, for revitalized strength and realized patience has nothing to do with trusting God in the wait.

Patience requires us to suppress rather than process feelings and is reliant on our ability to control our actions and attitudes in our own strength.

Over the years, I’ve learned the futility of self-help and will-power.

So, instead of trying harder, I admitted my weaknesses.

Sick of being burdened by anxious thoughts and tired of feeling stuck, I cried out to God. With Spirit-empowered strength, I looked for Bible verses to help me trust the Lord when the wait felt endless. I reflected on how other faith-warriors leaned on God while facing difficult situations.

My search for enduring hope revealed unexpected answers.

I didn’t need more patience. I needed a new perspective on the Maker of Time’s purpose of waiting.

As I inhaled God’s Word, I exhaled in prayer and experienced the power of resting in God’s love.

Now, I have the privilege of sharing my journey with you.

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J9379What others are saying about Waiting for God?

“If your heart is weary and longing for answers—for healing, for provision, for miracles—Waiting for God renews your hope with strong biblical truth and encouraging Scripture-based prayer.

Conquer your fears and frustrations as you inhale God’s Word, exhale in prayer, and rest in God’s love. Live a life of deeper connection and immediate communion with God that can lead to contentment in His constant presence, no matter what your days hold or how long God’s deliberate delays may last.

Xochitl Dixon writes each chapter with heart-touching transparency and vulnerability, as she shares her own story as well as the stories of others who are trusting God through waiting seasons with no apparent end in sight. As a woman who lives with chronic pain, Xochitl understands constant struggle yet chooses to put God on the throne of her life.”

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Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace is available for pre-order on Amazon and scheduled for release on August 7, 2019.

I’m looking for readers willing to join me for this pre-order party and to prayerfully consider reading through one chapter a day with me after the book is released.

I’ll be offering exclusive giveaways to readers who join the conversation as we discuss the end-of-chapter reflection questions, which are designed for personal and group study.

Please take a moment to follow my Amazon Author Page and pre-order your copy of Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.

Please also leave a comment below to share how I can pray with you as you continue waiting for God and trusting daily in His plan and pace . . . one breath at a time.

I look forward to growing with you!

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S.P.R.A.W.L. Before the Lord

MEME - Blog - S.P.R.A.W.L. Before the Lord - Jan 14, 2019Suggested Reading: Genesis 24

As a teenage runaway, I convinced myself that survival made it necessary to place my needs above everyone else’s.

I demanded my way, dug in my heels until I proved myself right, and prided myself in being independent.

I gave to no one. I insisted I needed no one. I submitted to no one.

I trusted no one.

After repeatedly falling face-first in the mess caused by my foolishness and self-centered sinfulness, I met a King‒Jesus‒who proved Himself trustworthy.

Prayerfully reading through the Bible yearly helped me learn more about God’s character as I discovered how much my personal Lord and Savior loved me, how much He gave for me, how much He promises me.

I began to realize He was and is and always will be the only One worth following.

Falling in love with Jesus changed my perspective on servanthood.

But how could I learn to follow Christ when every fiber in my being still struggled with stubbornness at times?

How could I possibly hear His direction when a war waged between my self-serving heart and my desire to have a surrendered servant’s heart?

Though the concept of surrender filled me with fear, the Lord used a humble servant in Genesis 24 to help me learn to S.P.R.A.W.L. before my trustworthy Master, Jesus Christ.

S.P.R.A.W.L.

Stop.

Pray.

Release.

Acknowledge.

Watch.

Listen.

When Abraham sent his servant to seek out a wife for Isaac, the servant fretted over his ability to complete the task (Genesis 24:1-9). Abraham assured him that he Lord would be with him and equipped with all he needed for his travels (vv. 10-11). Scripture doesn’t tell us how much time passed when the servant arrived in Nahor, but we do know how he spent his time.

He stopped and prayed (vv. 12-14).

He released his worries into God’s able hands.

He acknowledged God’s love and reliability with a simple statement of assurance:

“By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love for my master.” (v. 14, emphasis mine)

Through his honest and confident prayer, the servant opened his heart to the peace of trusting God with the outcome (vv. 15-21).

He watched with expectancy as he waited for God’s answer (v. 33).

And even when others tried to distract him from his purpose and delay him, the servant listened‒obeyed his master‒followed the Lord and started on his journey home (vv. 34-61).

This nameless servant chose to S.P.R.A.W.L. before the Lord when given a seemingly impossible task and became a vital part of God’s plan in bringing Isaac and Rebekah together (vv. 62-67).

The Lord never leaves us empty-handed when He calls us to follow Him.

When the twists and turns in our journey test us and the delays and distractions discourage us, we can still follow our Master with surety and hope.

As we S.P.R.A.W.L. like a servant before the Lord Almighty, He can use us to make an eternal impact in someone else’s life.

 Lord Almighty, thanks for affirming Your unending love for us as You empower us to S.P.R.A.W.L. before You whenever we face challenges.

Give us wisdom to stop when we need guidance, pray with confidence, and release our worries into Your capable hands.

 Help us acknowledge You as our Holy God full of goodness and mercy, as we watch You place every piece of Your plan in place.

Help us listen to You‒to hear You and obey You as we follow You.

 In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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How did your life change when you chose to live with a servant’s heart instead of a self-serving heart?

 Is it harder for you to stop, pray, release, acknowledge, watch, or listen to God?

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God’s Guaranteed Grace

MEME - Hebrews 4 v 16 - Dec 4, 2018My heart ached as I recalled a friend saying, “I know my pain isn’t as bad as yours, but would you please pray for me?”

I grieved when I remembered the various apologies and fear-filled prayer requests.

 I’m so sorry to bother you with this prayer request.

 I know others are worse off than I am, but do you think God will help me?

 Is it okay to ask God for help when so many others are hurting around me?

 Is my request too small, too personal, too self-centered to bring to God?

How many precious children of God fear or avoid asking for intercessory prayer because they feel their needs are not as important as someone else’s?

How many beloved brothers and sisters in Christ keep quiet, ashamed of wanting to ask for their needs to be met because their neighbors’ problems seem bigger, more severe?

God cares about every single detail of our lives.

Our compassionate Creator wants us to come to Him, whether we’re suffering from illness, trudging through seasons of grief, or battling discouragement, fear, insecurities, or doubt.

How often have I been afraid to be accused of whining before God’s throne of grace instead of being confident in God’s amazing grace?

What would it take for me to be assured of God’s limitless love, perfect faithfulness, and immeasurable mercy?

Would the Lord care if I’m weary when someone else is fighting for their lives?

Yes.

Would He care if I’m discouraged when someone’s family is falling apart?

Yes.

Would God care if I need courage to work towards a dream when someone’s struggling to make ends meet?

Yes.

The Lord doesn’t minimize or neglect any of His children.

He doesn’t compare us to one another, because He knows He created us as unique individuals.

He orchestrated every twist and turn, every mountain-top moment and every step through the dry and lush valleys.

MEME - Quote - God's Guaranteed Grace - Dec 4, 2018Our Wise Counselor, our Good Shepherd, our Mighty God is prepared to equip and encourage us through the paths He’s planned for us.

He uses His unchanging Word to arm us with courageous and persevering faith.

“For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

God changes us as He challenges us when we walk with Him daily.

He purifies our hearts and minds and motives, aligning our thoughts and adjusting our longings until we mirror Him, by the power of His beautiful grace.

We can’t trick our Father, pretending we’re mature just because we’re good at looking polished and presentable.

He knows when we’re broken, when we can barely breathe.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)

He knows about our sins, our selfish thoughts, our self-centered jealousy.

He knows about our wants, even when we’re afraid to admit them.

He knows about our struggles, even when we’re drowning in denial.

He knows about our joys and our pains, our hopes, our dreams, and our greatest fears.

Because Jesus is the great High Priest, who has ascended into heaven, we can hold unswervingly–without fear, without hesitation, without a single doubt–to the hope we profess (v. 14).

Our mighty Lord understands everything we’re going through, as He showers us with compassion and magnifies His loving perfection and limitless power in the midst of our weaknesses (v. 15).

With these truths anchoring our faith to His promises, we can trust Him, surrender to Him, walk with Him, and embrace the freedom of His forgiveness when we repent and turn away from our sins.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

When we need rescue, relief, or rest, God cares.

When we need encouragement, God cares.

When we need a miracle, God cares.

In our personal time of need, God cares enough to promise us that He’s approachable and abundant in grace.

God’s plentiful love for us gives us the confidence we need to come before Him with our needs, to pray for others and for ourselves as an act of worship and a brave display of our trust in our Savior.

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Thanks for assuring us that You are our Great Physician, our generous Provider, our gallant and good Shepherd, our Almighty King.

Thanks for never comparing our circumstances to the circumstances of others, Lord, for never minimizing our feelings, for never belittling us for struggling.

Thanks for reminding us that You care equally about every little detail of our day-to-day living and every overwhelming burden that weighs heavy on our minds.

Good Father, please give us courage to come to You for all things. Help us know You’re not randomly picking or choosing one concern over another.

Empower us to trust Your timing and Your plans are perfect in every way.

Please help us rely on Your ability to love without limits, to extend immeasurable grace without running low, and to be fully present and caring with each of us without neglecting any of us.

 Thank You, Lord Almighty, for the privilege of loving You as we learn to accept the unconditional life-changing love You have for each of us.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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Have you ever been hesitant to bring your prayers to God when you compare your requests with the requests of others?

How does knowing God never compares us with others increase your gratitude for His loving care, your courage in prayer, and your depth of faith?

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Announcing the Winners of the God Hears Her Book Giveaway

God Hears Her with Swag pic for giveawayI thank the Lord for each and every one of the amazing members of my blog family. Yes, that means you!

Thanks for subscribing to my blog, for showering me with God’s love wrapped in kind words of encouragement, and for joining me as we dig deeper into His Word and draw closer to His heart. Thanks for being radiant lights for Christ in my life and for allowing me to encourage you by sharing what the Lord teaches me in my day-to-day walk with Him.

Today was a great day, as I rejoiced in another unexpected and exciting ministry opportunity. God is working on the details. I can hardly wait to share more as He reveals His perfect will in His perfect timing during this day-by-day adventure.

Today was also a rough day, as I struggled with pain management and the frustration of caring for our 15-year-old senior dog battling arthritis and losing her “housetrained” status.

Isn’t the Lord so wonderful, as He gently reminds us that each day is filled with reasons to worship Him, surrender to Him, and rely on Him?

He gives us countless opportunities to trust Him and welcomes us to cry out to Him in prayer and praise Him with reckless abandon.

What a blessing it is to know that God is keenly aware of our weaknesses. He understands when we get frustrated.

God . . . gets . . . us.

Our patient Lord isn’t surprised or disappointed when we fall short or fall flat on our faces.

Our loving Father simply remains constant and true to His Word, fully prepared to wrap us in mercy as He loves us unconditionally.

Our Almighty Maker and Sustainer refreshes our spirits and strengthens us with compassion that exceeds all expectations.

Our Good Shepherd extends grace freely and consistently, waiting for us to realize we can count on Him time and time again.

Our faithful Redeemer and Restorer gave me so many reasons to shout praises of joy today. So, why did I focus on shaming myself every time I got upset because I was stumbling again, struggling again, and failing again?

As I grumbled my way through another fumble, after losing my cool when my faithful old dog made life a bit more inconvenient, I prayed.

That’s when I realized the time had slipped away from me. I was late in choosing the winners of the books I was scheduled to give away on my blog.

Just as I started with the self-inflicted forehead-slapping guilt trips, our gracious and generous Father overwhelmed me with His all-encompassing grace and a healthy serving of gratitude.

I thanked Him, in awe of how His love flowed through your beautiful souls as I read your comments.

God’s grace was more than sufficient . . . again. His power was made perfect in my weaknesses . . . again. And His perfect peace, His eternal hope, and His endless joy prevailed . . . again and again and again.

Hallelujah!

I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for us as we continue nurturing our relationships with Him and others.

The responses to this post blessed my heart beyond measure. So, I decided to give away an extra copy of God Hears Her with that sweet swag.

I am pleased to announce our three winners and am already looking forward to planning another book giveaway.

Today’s winners are Judy Picton, Jana Engelmann, and Patricia Kohn.

Congratulations!

Please email your complete mailing addresses to Xochi@xedixon.com at your earliest convenience.

Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement.

I hope you’ll return to join me in praising our Almighty Lord and Savior, as we seek Him in His Holy Word and rest in the peace of His constant presence.

Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement. It is my pleasure and privilege to serve You as we grow in love for Him and others.

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Lord, we’re so grateful for Your everlasting love. Thanks for affirming that You hear our heart cries, even before we can manage to whimper or utter an incoherent word.

Thanks for assuring us that You’re already ahead of the game, already prepared for the unexpected twists and turns that will often punch us in the gut and bring us to our knees.

Thanks for confirming You are delighting us, rejoicing with us, and working in and through us, sweet Savior.

Make our praise genuine and infectious as You make Your name glorious!

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

“Keep me safe, my God, for in You I take refuge. I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.'” (Psalm 16:1-2, NIV)

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God Hears Her - Discovery House - 2017 - Book CoverYou can purchase more copies of God Hears Her on the Discovery House Publishers website. This beautiful Our Daily Bread 365-Day Devotional includes devotions written by my fellow ODBM sisters in Christ. I’m grateful that eleven of my devotions are included in this book, which is the perfect size for a stocking stuffer and a lovely just-because gift. Thanks for supporting Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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God is Moving in the Wait (And a Book Giveaway, too!)

MEME - Lamentations 3 vv 21-24 - Nov 11 2018During the last three months of blogging-silence, life has been anything but quiet. My husband and I followed God from California to Wisconsin . . . yep . . . Wisconsin.

As native Californians, we should have been freaking out when Alan received the job offer in July.

But we’d been praying for years, waiting for God to show us the next step He wanted us to take after Alan graduated. We anticipated a move, but never imagined the Lord would provide my husband with a job he never applied for . . . at a university we’d never heard of . . . in a little midwestern town we never knew existed.

Well, God did all of those things.

Filled with an unexplainable peace, we packed with the help of our two grown sons and said goodbye to friends and family in less than a month.

20181109_132527The Lord provided a home with a fenced yard, an oh-so-rare amenity in our area but perfect for our senior dog, Jazzy (pictured here), and the new pup we adopted the day after I arrived in Wisconsin, Callie (see photo below).

We waited for blessings upon blessings to flow after such a big step of obedience.

A few days after our move-in date, nine tornados touched down in our new small-town.

For the first two months of our Wisconsin life, the Lord gave us plenty of opportunities to get used to midwestern thunderstorms. While He spared our home from flooding (Thank You, Lord!), a few of our neighbors didn’t fare so well.

The torrential rains transformed the creek next to our yard into a river and, for the first few months of our residency, Wisconsin experienced the worst infestation of mosquitos in over a decade.

During this life-altering adventure, my chronic pain has been constant and often difficult to manage. My husband is still recovering from his back surgery, so his pain levels often cause complications. We’re still living in totes and, after our first snow-day on Thursday, realizing California-Winter clothes are not Wisconsin-Winter clothes.

This move has challenged us physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually.

But every time frustration bubbles up, every time we begin to wonder if we heard the Lord’s direction correctly, He reminds us He’s moving in the wait.

20181109_102543The Lord blessed us with Wisconsin friends who welcomed us before we even stepped over the threshold of our new home. My husband loves his new job and his colleagues. I’m grateful for the great team of doctors who are working to help me begin to manage my pain again. We can’t thank God enough for our fabulous veterinarian, who happens to be an Our Daily Bread reader with a staff that loves both of our doggy-daughters.

So, we’re at peace as we adjust to Wisconsin Life.

We’re waiting expectantly for the Lord’s purpose to prevail as He works in and through our new experiences and helps me finish my book.

What book?

Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace will be published by Discovery House Publishers in the fall of 2019.

To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise . . . praise . . . praise!

Though we’ve faced many obstacles, our heavenly Father has been faithful and good through every moment of our transition.

As we face changes or delays in life, we’ll encounter tough times. We’ll grow weary, grieve great losses, suffer from afflictions, and maybe even battle bitterness in the wait. But we can count on God to be with us and for us . . . no matter what’s behind us or ahead of us.

In Lamentations, traditionally ascribed to the prophet Jeremiah, the writer admits his bitterness over past afflictions, confesses his wandering ways and recalls his disheartenment, but calls to mind the countless reasons for his hope (Lamentations 3:19-20).

Whether we’re moving into new territories or stuck at a stand-still during the seemingly endless waiting seasons in life, God’s love will strengthen our resolve.

His compassions never fail . . . never. When we feel we have nothing left to give, the Lord’s mercy revives us. (vv. 21-24)

“The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD” (vv. 25-26).

God’s loving care isn’t dependent on our feelings of worthiness or our check-list of good deeds. He remains faithful because He is God in all His perfection and goodness.

When we’re right smack-dab in the middle of a waiting season battling trials left and right, we may begin to question ourselves. Did we hear God correctly?

We may feel misguided or cast aside, but we can be sure that we are far from forgotten.

“For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone” (vv. 31-33).

We don’t need to fear change or hesitate when God calls us to move toward the unknown. Our loving Master goes before us, remains with us, and stays true to His word.

Lord, thanks for assuring us that You will never lead us in the wrong direction. Give us wisdom and discernment as we seek You and courageous faith as we follow You. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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Why is it tempting to fear change or hesitate when God calls you to move toward the unknown?

 In what situation did the Lord seem silent, but later proved to be moving in the wait?

BOOK GIVEAWAY:

God Hears Her with Swag pic for giveawayAs I prepare for the Fall 2019 release of Waiting for God, I’m giving away a copy of God Hears Her, an Our Daily Bread 365-day devotional that includes eleven of my devotions.

You can purchase copies of God Hears Her, along with some sweet swag, on the Discovery House Publishers website today!

To enter for your chance to win a copy of God Hears Her with this beautiful swag (a notepad and pen), please comment below. (Winner will be announced at 8 p.m. (PST) on Thursday, November 15, 2018, and must live in the United States.)                                                                                                                                                         —–

How to Overflow with Hope in the Meantime

MEME - Romans 15 v 13 - Photo by Deb Garland -Aug 8, 2018

This year has been as memorable and filled with answered prayers as it has been quick in passing. For the last few months, God’s been doing a bit of refining work in the lives of my family members.

We’re all dealing with different challenges but, by the Lord’s insurmountable grace, not one of those situations has knocked us out or kept us down. Hallelujah!

The trials have brought us closer to God and one another in ways I never dreamed possible.

Perfectly? Not a chance. Personalities don’t always mesh well within families. Hopeful? Absolutely. God’s note even close to being done refining us through these fires.

When we come up against seemingly endless journeys filled with impossible obstacles, it’s often tempting to misunderstand the purpose of the wait.

Though it’s not always easy, God can clear our perspective about the reasons we can hope with bold confidence.

God gives us the power to recognize the benefits of His planned seasons of stillness, the goodness behind His deliberate pauses, the immeasurable and life-transforming reach of His mercy in the meantime.

The apostle Paul shows us how to overflow with hope, God’s hope, by first accepting that hope is not a momentary or stationary state of mind.

Hope is living and breathing faith that assures us that God’s promises will continue flowing, when needed, as needed, and even before we know we have a need.

We serve the God of hope, the One who bases the guarantee of His promises on His unchanging character.

The Lord Himself fills us with all joy and peace . . . all . . . as we trust Him.

All. As. Such simple words jampacked with the implication of perseverance, continual shows of Spirit-empowered courage and strength.

Why does He do this? Why does the Lord choose to fill us, to energize us, to empower us . . . to hope with expectation that’s solid and strong?

So that . . . we may overflow with hope that covers every trial, hope that runs in and through every one of our relationships, hope that changes our vision and revitalizes the weariest of spirits.

We can praise God in the meantime and trust He is always working in and through the moments we wish would zip by faster. But in His perfect love, He stills our jittery hearts and reminds us that He’s got great plans for us in the wait.

How do we overflow with hope in the meantime?

Stick close to the trustworthy King of kings, seeking Him, surrendering to Him, and being dependent on Him.

Hope anchored in the Sovereign Lord keeps our praises bursting through the atmosphere of despair, fear, anxiety, discouragement, and insecurity.

Because of God’s ongoing consistency, we can face changes and persevere with great expectations through every moment of His ordained waiting.

 Lord, thanks for helping us walk with steps solid in contentment and confidence in Your perfect love and all-around goodness. Please help us remember that trust is a verb that tugs us onto the rocky-edges of mountaintop faith. As You secure our footing in Your infallible truth, we can turn to You and count on Your love to carry us, change us, and cover us in Your healing mercy. Please help us breathe in Your everlasting hope and exhale with grateful hearts as we share Your hope with others. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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Special thanks to Deb Garland for blessing me with the privilege of using her photo to create this week’s encouragement meme.

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