Staying on Course

When You're Tempted to Quit

I failed to consider the length of the trail when I started walking it.

Temptations and expectations. I had hoped that a two-mile, brisk walk along a wooded path overlooking a beautiful golf course near my home would clear the cobweb of worry from my mind. 

Instead, my impulsive, adventuresome nature ignored the signpost, describing this four-mile loop through the challenging hills and valleys in Central Arkansas.

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Impossibilites

5 Spiritual Truths

Photo/TaraRossSometimes God leads us to do the impossible.

As I waited for the sunrise to go for my walk, it started raining. I thought, Oh, no! If I don’t go for a walk now, I won’t get to go at all today!

Simple problems. Sometimes even the simplest challenge can seem impossible at the moment. I also realize that my emotions can cause me to exaggerate my problems at times.

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Are You Listening . . . Really Listening?

Four Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. ~Ernest Hemingway

How important is listening to you? How do you know what someone wants or needs if you don’t listen carefully to them?

Consider these four ways to improve your listening skills.

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Six Promises When Words Fail Us

Help, Hope, Assurance, Peace, Confidence, and Rest

What do we do when we don’t know what to say or pray?

Where can we find the words to express our thoughts and emotions?

What can we do when life places us in unbearable circumstances? Where can we go? Who do we run to? What should we cling to when we’re drowning in a sea of our sorrows? And what can we advise others who may be walking through a difficult life crisis?

As a writer, my words often fail me when I don’t know how to respond to a difficult issue. And when a friend or family member faces a tragic loss or painful failure, mere words seem inadequate to express my emotions and concerns.

Now, after surviving many trials and crises in my own life, I do know who to turn to when a crisis hits close to home. And I know who I can cling to when I’m overwhelmed by confusion and doubt. I have discovered peace and rest in a storm.

Are you searching for the words to express your thoughts or your faith? God’s Word offers us the promises we need to encourage others.

  1. Help. The Lord promises to help us when we don’t know what to say or pray. “… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Rom 8:26 NIV).
  2. Hope. The Holy Spirit offers promises of hope, even if we never understand why these things happen. “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15:13 NLT).
  3. Assurance. God’s Word provides the assurance that Jesus will bear our grief and carry our sorrows. “He suffered the things we should have suffered. He took on himself the pain that should have been ours” (Is 53:4 NIRV).
  4. Peace. God’s Word can speak peace to the storm ravaging our dreams. And He promises to throw us the lifeline of His Word. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7 NIV).
  5. Confidence. We can have the confidence to know that in Christ, we will survive. And we can expect Him to provide the power we need to overcome any circumstance in our life if we trust Him with the situation. Healing and hope for the future can be found in Him. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14).
  6. Rest. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (NOG).

Show, don’t (just) tell! As you tell others of your faith, don’t forget the power of your story. As we share our own faith stories, we invite others to see, feel, and experience what we have experienced.

Are you facing a loss, a failure, a decision, or some other difficult situation?

I pray these promises from God’s Word will also give hope to you and others who may be suffering under a heavy burden.

Remember, the Lord knows your needs—even better than you do. He understands. And He wants to assure you of His presence right now and in all the days of your life.

How has God’s Word helped you through a difficult situation or as you responded to someone else in crisis?

Acting My Way Into Feeling

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do

Photo/KarenJordanI’m about to do one of the hardest things I’ve done recently—WRITE!

“What? How can that be?” you ask. “You’re a writer! Isn’t that what writers do?”

I wish I could tell you what’s keeping me from doing what I need to do. But I don’t have any answers at this point.

In fact, I’m not even sure I have anything of substance to offer anyone now. But I’m just going to write—and hope something helpful surfaces. Anything is better than nothing at this point.

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A Wake-up Call

Grace in the Gray Zones of Life

Photo/KarenJordanWhat are some of the blockages to communications in your life?

 

Silence? Well, duh! Of course, silence would be a blockage to communication. But how do you open the door to conversation when the other person is not in the same room? Easy. Text messaging.

I’m embarrassed to admit how early I woke up this morning. Well, okay–it was three a.m. How’s that for vulnerability and transparency?

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FACING THE LOSS OF A CHILD

What to Say When We Don't Know What to Pray

Today’s post is for my friends—who just lost their only child this week. I cannot imagine enduring such pain!

Photo/KarenJordan

This tragedy reminded me of the day my sister, Leslea, lost her youngest son, Colter, to a tragic accident. Heartbreaking!

Lord, what will they do? How can they survive such a loss?

What can we do when life places us in unbearable circumstances? I can’t even imagine the pain—I refuse to even let my thoughts go there.

Where can we go? Who do we run to? What should we cling to when we’re drowning in a sea of our sorrows? When will someone throw us a lifeline? How will we we survive?

When friends and family walk through horrible events like this, my words fail me. Mere words seem inadequate to express my emotions.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been at a loss for words. And I don’t think any human words could ever bring peace and comfort to a parent in the death a child.

Now, after facing many trials and crises in my own life, I do know where to go. And I do know Who to run to. I know Who we can cling to when we’re drowning, and Who will throw us a lifeline. And I know how we will survive.

Help. The Lord promises to help us when we don’t know what to say or pray.

… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (Rom. 8:26 NIV)

Hope. The Holy Spirit offers promises of hope, even if we never understand “why?” these things happen.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13 NLT)

Assurance. God’s Word provides the assurance that Jesus will bear our grief and carry our sorrows.

 He suffered the things we should have suffered. He took on himself the pain that should have been ours. (Is. 53:4 NIRV)

Peace. God’s Word can speak peace to the storm ravaging our dreams. And He promises to throw us the lifeline of His Word.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7 NIV).

Confidence. We can have the confidence to know that in Christ, we will survive. And we can expect Him to provide the power we need to overcome any circumstance in our life if we trust Him with the situation. Healing and hope for the future can be found in Him.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:14)

As I pray from my friends. God continues to guide my prayers with His Word. So, today I pray these promises from God’s Word will give hope to my friends and to others who may be suffering under the heavy burden of loss and grief.

Blessings to you, my friends! You know who you are. And God knows your needs—even better than you do. He understands. And He wants to assure you of His presence right now and in all the days of your life.

I lift my friends up to You, Heavenly Father. You knows their pain because You lost Your only Son long ago in a tragic death—so we could all experience Your promised land of rest and peace in this life and in the life to come.

YouTube/Attitude of Gratitude (“Wayfaring Stranger” Selah)

 

Songbird Reflections

When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all. (E. O. Wilson)

 

Photo/KarenJordan

“Silly bird! Why are you pecking on the window?”“She’s defending her territory,” my husband Dan surmised.

We watched in amazement as the female cardinal, fooled by her own image, continued to swoop down—over and over again—attacking her reflection in the window.

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5 Powerful Stories: The Day I Met Jesus

Can you imagine meeting Jesus face-to-face? Book/TheDayIMetJesus

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to step back into biblical history and experience a real “come to Jesus” moment?

In their new book, The Day I Met Jesus, Mary DeMuth and Frank Viloa set the stage for us to observe the stories of five women in the Bible who experienced personal and powerful encounters with Jesus.

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