With Christmas wrapped up and neatly tucked away, we are almost to the end of January. But the hope that a new year brings is still fresh in our hearts and minds.

Maybe this is the year you hope to find a new job, earn a degree, or travel abroad. Maybe this is the year you hope to meet that special someone or start a family.

Hoping for a change, or for something new, is exciting.

But when our hopes and dreams are put on hold, it’s hard to be patient.

Proverbs 13:12 says “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”  It’s only human to want things to fall into place quickly. Waiting for God’s perfect timing can be discouraging and painful.

Good things come to those who wait is a saying that’s been used in song lyrics and even a Heinz ketchup ad in the 1980s. But the message comes from the Bible and is woven into the pages of Scripture.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1).

Here’s another familiar verse. “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

And I love this verse. “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:25).

When we find ourselves in a season of waiting, we can use this time to draw closer to God, realizing that His ways are not our ways, and that His ways are always best.    

Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award winning author of more than 100 books for children and adults. She is a lyricist for children’s piano music, contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, and presenter at writers’ conferences. Her latest book is Mothers in Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms (Harvest House).

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

In my book, Becoming a Brave New Woman, I share one of the moments of exhaustion that we all experience at one time or another:

I had weeks of back-to-back speaking engagements. On a trip to Colorado, I remember thinking, “Wow, this is great! My flight got booked with some breathing space. I’ll get there early, take a nap, shower and feel so refreshed.” I arrived at the Denver airport only to discover that my connecting flight was canceled, and I was stuck in the airport for five hours. I would have to dress for the event in the airport restroom and step off the plane and go immediately to my speaking engagement. My heart sank. How was I ever going to get the rest I needed stranded in an airport?

I walked the terminal and prayed. I spotted an empty gate; one that had a door that opened to the outside with fresh air streaming in. With a little ingenuity, I created my own lounge chair by placing my suitcase under my legs and my purse under my head. I began to read a book by A.W. Tozer about the character of God. The book was packed with verses, and I just devoured it. As I read, some birds hopped into the terminal and began to feed on the crumbs of tourist food. I thought of the verse, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26).

I smiled, read the final page of my book and drifted off to sweet slumber – in the airport! I awoke an hour later, refreshed and thankful that those who wait on the Lord gain renewed strength.

 

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 46 books including Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, Devotions for Women on the Go, and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience. She and her husband Bill co-direct Love-Wise, helping people with their most vital relationships. When she is not speaking or writing, you may find her kayaking to get her mail from her home on a live aboard boat in Southern California.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

Several years ago, I was experiencing a season of hardships. The emotional pressure in my life had escalated – facing deadline upon deadline, bad medical news, grief over my father’s death, plus the daily stress of church leadership and family responsibilities. I sat in my doctor’s office in tears. All I wanted to do was escape, and drive to the beach to spend time with God. Only by talking to God, and having Him talk to me through the Word would salve this pain.

I knew that I would be okay if I could just get to the beach and let God’s love wash over me like the waves wash over the sand. So I drove home, told my husband I would be gone for a few hours, and I grabbed my Bible, journal, and a few devotional books. I rushed to the beach, anxious to spend time with God. I read, prayed, journaled, walked, listened – and read some more. Finally, both peace and a plan came.

Today, this is still my path to peace. The Psalmist agrees. “My soul finds rest in God alone!” Find a cozy place with God today, cuddle up with the Word, and let the peace of God wash over you. God’s peace is like the waves that wash over your toes planted in the sands, so faithful to come to shore, wave after wave, God’s peace will come to your heart, verse after verse, from His Word.

Pam Farrel is the bestselling author of 46 books including Discovering Hope in the Psalms, Becoming a Brave New Woman, and 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman. With her husband Bill, she runs Love-Wise and helps people with their most vital relationships, with God, in marriage and family, and friendships. Fin hope and help for your family at Living Love-Wise Community 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

One woman who had sat in a Bible-teaching church Sunday after Sunday for over 10 years told me something one day that took my breath away. She had been having an affair with her best friend’s husband! Those in her world had counseled her, confronted her in love, shown her care and compassion – everything possible to help her see the trauma she was causing two families – then one day she eloped with this man! When she arrived back in town, I saw her at one of our children’s sporting events. She was so excited. She was flitting from person to person showing her ring and wedding pictures. When she arrived in front of Bill and I, we were shocked by her flippancy, “Oh, aren’t you excited for me? I just knew it was God’s will that we marry because after the ceremony, I looked up and there was a ring around the moon!”

“A ring around the moon!” my heart screamed with sadness. Her heart had drifted so far from God’s Word that her decision-making ability had become irrational. That day has stayed with me – primarily because it wasn’t an isolated incident.

A best friend, married to a minister, told me God had led her to an Internet chat room where she encountered a man who met her emotional and sexual needs. Another woman, who had been a committed women’s leader for years, told me at a retreat, “I was praying about whether to leave my current ministry, and I saw a butterfly and thought, “Butterflies are free; I am free from this ministry calling now. I am released to fly on to something else. Something for me.”

Our world has become so feelings-based and experiential, women are hopping from one emotional high to another. Sadly, this thinking is also creeping into the church, and into church leadership.

 

Seeing this, I feel compelled to be in the Word daily because every day that I might  lean on an experience or emotion rather than on God and His Word is one more day my heart drifts further from truth, and further from God. If I don’t gird up my mind with the truth, I will drift from the truth.

One way to protect your heart is to learn the strength and wisdom found when you dig deeper into God’s Word. In Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, you will learn the skills and the joys of being in the Word of God on a daily journey to find hope and help through God’s Word.

 

 

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, and bestselling author of 46 books including her newest, Discovering Hope in thePsalms and

7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success In Keeping It All Together. She and her husband, Bill co-direct Love-Wise. When they are not traveling for speaking, they love long walks on the beach.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

 

Most cats hate water, right? Nope. Colonel Brandon, my kitty, loved it when he was little. He would smack the water in his dish and watch it fly in the air, landing all over the floor. Who knows? Maybe he could see a rainbow of colors while he splashed.

His joyful game usually ended when he knocked over the bowl, saturating the floor underneath. He’d walk away with droplets of water all over his face.

When he got older, he used to sit with his water dish between his paws, as if he feared it might get away.

His actions remind me of Psalm 42:1. “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.”

How wonderful if I sought God as diligently as my cat sought water.

Sometimes I try to find satisfaction other places. Reading or watching a movie can help me escape for the moment.

However, the days I spend time in God’s Word and prayer, I always find the refreshment I need, and I have the courage to face life’s challenges.

Just like my kitty sought water, I encourage you to get in the Word and delight in God’s love.

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband reside in Atlanta. A Bible teacher and former home-school mother, she writes a column for Leading Hearts Magazine. She served as past president of Christian Authors Guild, directs Atlanta Christian Writing Conference, and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio. Her author website is www.clsimmons.com.

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutube