The warm, muggy air outside my window did little to ease the heat inside my car. Oh well, I could stand the heat for the twenty-five minute drive. I turned up the CD a little louder and headed out of the parking lot towards home.
Ten minutes later I mechanically got into the lane that would turn into a ramp to the next road. My eyes automatically fixed on the truck in front of me. Suddenly, the brake lights on the truck came on and the truck came to almost a dead stop just 50 feet in front of me! I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting the truck. It was as if I saw the vehicle approaching in slow motion. Fifty feet. Twenty feet. Finally my car came to a stop about 5 feet from the truck’s bumper. The cars behind me had managed to stop in time too.
As I made my way around the traffic jam and saw that the cause of the sudden stop was a vacant car sitting in the turn lane, the verse that I had been studying that morning came to mind, “The Lord lives, and blessed by my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation” (Psalm 18:46). I spoke the words aloud to express my thanks and praise to God who had just delivered me from a damaging car-crash.
This is the first post in a series about how to keep our thoughts trained on God. It’s a hard thing to do when so many other things are vying for attention in our lives! But this event taught me a valuable lesson on how to do it: memorize God’s word. The first thing that my mind jumped to in this situation was the reality of God’s deliverance because I had just been reading about that deliverance and purposefully memorizing Psalm 18:46. Just imagine what changes could take place in our lives if we took the time to implant key verses into our hearts!
So, Key #1: Memorizing scripture. What good ways have you found to do this?
Britt Nicole is my favorite music artist because of the honesty in her songs. In, “Don’t Worry Now,” she sings frankly about the pain she experienced because of her parents’ divorce. In one of her most recent songs, “All This Time,” Britt praises God for being with her all through all the hardest parts of her life, beginning with when she turned to Him after her parents’ divorce. God is her most constant friend because of their shared experiences.
If your parents are divorced, I’m sure you’ve been through some rough things. Besides the actual divorce, there are countless issues that come up after the divorce that you have had to work through. Thankfully, we are not alone in these experiences. God, our dearest friend and closest advisor, is constantly with us. Each new issue is a chance to grow closer to our Father. He has promised that he will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and we can rest in His companionship.
If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to listen to Britt’s new song. I’m hope you’ll like it as much as I do!
The counselor’s office was neat and businesslike; the only identifying feature being a gold, engraved nameplate. My slightly plump interviewer flipped distractedly through the papers on his clipboard before clearing his throat and settling in for his umpteenth college interview that day.
He began with the questions I had expected from an interview at a Christian college, and he nodded politely as I responded, but I could tell that he had probably heard the same thing many times over. The next question was a little different: “What is the biggest spiritual lesson that you’ve learned?”
I thought for a minute before answering. “Well, I’d have to say it was through my parents’ divorce. My dad left when I was very young, and I didn’t grow up with a constant father in my life. But through the years God has been so faithful to take the place of a father and to show me his love in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.”
The counselor’s eyes grew more intent as I spoke, and I saw a change in his demeanor. He asked a few more questions about the subject and seemed genuinely interested this time. When I was done, he nodded thoughtfully. “Yes, thank you, that’s excellent.”
There have been several instances like this where I have been able to share specifically about God’s love because of my parents’ divorce. Guess what? You have this same opportunity if you have gone through a challenging time in your life! People – believers and nonbelievers – are usually more willing to listen to you if you have learned something through personal experience.
Psalm 66:16 says: “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” You have a responsibility to share the things you have learned about God – whether that is in the context of personal conversations or even to an audience! He has given you your particular circumstances and lessons for a reason. What is something you’ve learned through a hard time in your life? Leave a comment and tell me about it. I’d love to hear!
Fire engines rushed noisily down the small street curving through my town-house neighborhood. I looked out my window to see that the screaming sirens had woken up most of our community, and now people in their pajamas hurried towards a house down the road. I grabbed a coat and went to join them around the scene. Smoke billowed from the top story of a town-home similar to my own. Most of the windows had been broken in an attempt to remove some of the heat and smoke. A steady stream of water ran down the street because of the massive fire hoses the firemen had been forced to use a few minutes ago. The men hustled in and out of the house, some carrying what few things could be salvaged – a parakeet, furniture that had been obstructing their work, and some unrecognizable items. Apparently the family was not at home. I kept thinking how terrible it would be to return to a home destroyed by a chance fire.
The next morning, the family, a middle-aged couple, stood outside surveying the damage. This place where they had built there lives for the last few years now bore the marks of the fire that had destroyed it. In just a few hours, their lives had changed forever.
Have you ever had to watch your life go up in flames? Maybe in not such an obvious way as this family did. But things like divorce, the death of a friend, or moving to a new area can often feel like our lives are being turned upside down.
I have good news about that family whose house looked unlivable. Just a couple of days later, the man was clearing the damage from the windows. Things were not so hopeless as they first seemed. After rebuilding some of the walls inside and doing work on the roof, the house might even be livable again. Take that as an encouragement in your own hopeless situation. No matter how terrible your circumstances seem right now, God is right beside you. He will help you rebuild.
Happy thanksgiving everyone! One thing I love about Thanksgiving is the fact that it gives us a chance to reflect on God’s gifts in our lives. I love to take some time every year to really think about those blessings. Here is a list of some things that I am thankful for this year:
- Delicious food
- Fall weather
- Talking personally with God
- Good books
- My puppy
- God’s protection
- The Internet
- That one day soon we will live in heaven
- The fact that there are only a few more weeks ‘till Christmas (!)
What are you thankful for? Whatever your burdens today, there is no way you can stay discouraged if you dwell on your answers to that question
I hope you all have a wonderful day eating turkey and mashed potatoes!
The large party room was filled with the sound of clinking glasses as my group of summer interns and our families celebrated the end of the summer at this special luncheon. “Excuse me, excuse me,” the intern coordinator took the stage and waited for the noise to calm down. “Hi,” she smiled, “it’s time to present the certificates to the interns.” She began to call each highschooler up to the stage where she handed them a certificate. I got ready for my turn. But before I knew it, the room erupted in loud applause for the group standing up front. My name hadn’t been called! The rest of my table turned questioning eyes towards me. Should I walk up there anyway? How embarrassing! Suddenly I heard someone shout my name. One of my friends went up to the coordinator to explain that I had not been called. My pulse pounded in my ears. I hoped the crowd couldn’t see the redness of my face. The coordinator brought me to the center of the stage and the audience gave me another round of applause. A moment later I walked back to my table.
This situation was pretty embarrassing at the time, but I learned a valuable lesson later when I was reading in my quiet time. I was reminded that God also has a list of names. He records every person who has believed in his sacrifice for salvation. If you trust Jesus as your savior, YOU are on that list! You belong to an eternal family. But unlike humans who sometimes make mistakes, God never fails. On that last day when God calls each name on the list, you will not be forgotten.
Do you feel like your circumstances make you an outcast? Like your parents have neglected you and your feelings when they make major decisions? Turn your gaze on Jesus who sees you every moment of every day of your life. One day you will be called to share in his joy forever, because you’re on his list.
Thanksgiving. What does that word bring to your mind? I have lots of memories associated with that three-syllable word. I remember long Thanksgiving weekends that I spent at my dad’s house over the years. These memories are filled with anxiety and awkwardness at spending the day with immediate family that I hardly saw otherwise.
But one of the clearest memories of Holiday Awkwardness occurred in an unlikely setting: a classroom. A teacher asked the class to go around the room and talk about our Thanksgiving plans. The other kids, from my church, explained how they would be driving a few hours to see distant aunts and uncles, or how they would spend a quiet day with their family. When it was my turn, I smiled and answered, “I always go to my dad’s house for thanksgiving.” The room experienced an awkward silence. They were not familiar with this type of holiday arrangement since I was one of the only kids they knew who had divorced parents. After a few seconds, the teacher cleared her throat and moved on.
I love my friends dearly, and I am sorry that this type of situation makes them uncomfortable (as it would probably make me, were roles were reversed!) I’ve noticed that divorce has a tendency to to cause uncomfortable moments. Have you had to deal with times like this, where things get awkward because of your family’s disjointedness? I think it’s inevitable. Maybe you’ve had to make decisions about how to include both parts of your family in your life, or maybe you feel out of place at one of your parents’ houses. Take comfort in the fact that there are thousands of other girls who know what you are going through. You are not alone. More importantly, you are not alone because God is with you in every moment of your life.
Know that my prayers are with you during this holiday season. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom in how to juggle the different parts of your family. God’s grace will sustain you!