Conversing with God looks different for everyone, but at some time or other we all shoot arrow prayers heavenward. I do it often.

It happens when I’m traveling by plane and a spiritual conversation opens with a fellow passenger. On one occasion a woman beside me said, “I’m on a personal quest. I’m searching for peace. Have you found it?” I shot an arrow prayer before answering: “God, give me the right words.”

I shoot arrow prayers when driving down the highway. “God, safety.”

I shoot them when needing inspiration for my writing assignments: “God, creativity.”

I shoot them when I hear about another’s heartache: “God, comfort.”

Nehemiah did something similar one day while standing in the king’s presence. Months prior, he’d prayed, “Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me” (Nehemiah 1:11). Now he stood before the king, ready to present a request.

“The king asked, ‘Well, how can I help you?’ With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, ‘If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried’” (Nehemiah 2:4-5 emphasis mine).

Nehemiah had a split second to respond, so he wasted no time shooting an arrow prayer heavenward. Perhaps it sounded like, “God, help!” or “God, favor!”

God heard Nehemiah, and He hears us, too. Our prayers needn’t be long or fancy before He’ll listen. Sometimes an arrow prayer is all we can muster, and that’s okay. He responds to heartfelt, honest expressions of our need for His involvement in our lives regardless of how spiritual—or not—they sound.

Grace Fox is a career global worker and the author of nine books including Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation. She’s a member of the “First 5” Bible study writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a regular contributor to Guideposts’ annual devotional, Mornings With Jesus. She lives aboard a sailboat in Vancouver, British Columbia.

 

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Life is marked by change. Eighteen months ago, my husband and I purged our earthly belongings and moved aboard a sailboat. This was no midlife crisis. We did it because God said “go.”

Transitioning from house to boat was my husband’s dream come true. He grew up in a waterfront home and drove a speedboat when he was six years old. He later built a small sailboat and then owned a 27-foot Catalina. As for me—well, I grew up on the Alberta prairies. The first time I rowed a boat, I did it backwards. I don’t even like cold showers.

Moving onto a sailboat was far beyond my comfort zone. Fear might have overwhelmed me except for one thing: understanding God’s character.

A lifetime of walking with the Lord through sunshine and shadow has taught me a few things about what He’s like: He’s faithful. He always has our best interest in mind. He never leaves our side. He surrounds us like a shield with His lovingkindness. He provides. He brings joy.

Change is inevitable. Sometimes it comes in a nanosecond with no warning whatsoever. Other times we see it approach and have time to prepare. Regardless, it often brings uncertainty, and uncertainty breeds fear.

Next time change knocks on your door, refuse to let fear stop you from opening it. Instead, focus on the truth about who God is. Thank Him that change brings opportunities to know Him more intimately.

Eighteen months after making our significant change, I have no regrets. I’ve experienced more joy and peace—and opportunities to give thanks when things don’t go as expected—than in the past two decades. Walking in the truth of who God is made the difference for me, and it can do the same for you.

Grace Fox is the author of nine books including Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation (Harvest House Publishers). She regularly speaks at women’s events across North America. As a career global worker, she also trains church leaders and national missionaries in Nepal and the Middle East. www.gracefox.com.

 

 

 

 

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Hi! I'm Grace Fox, author of Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day: Devotions for Busy Women. As a devotional writer and inspirational speaker, I help
audiences learn how to relate God’s word to real life. I often include a
personal anecdote to show them how I’ve learned to apply a spiritual principle.
The most recent example wraps itself around James 1:2-4.

“Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way,
let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance
has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully
developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything” (NLT). 

This year started with a bang—in my left Achilles tendon.
Partially rupturing it landed me in a knee-high cast for three months with no
weight-bearing allowed. Nine days after that injury took place, my opposite
knee gave out and required surgery. Three months in a wheelchair ensued. Living
in a three-storey townhouse further complicated matters.

Life without the use of my legs became my faith test, and I
had to choose my response. Would I grumble through the pain, insomnia,
isolation, and inconvenience? Or would I apply God’s word and consider my
situation an opportunity for joy?

I chose the latter while hoisting myself backwards up the
stairs to my bedroom. It was the first night in my cast. I was exhausted and a
tad traumatized by the injury and subsequent hours in the ER, but I could still
think clearly enough to know that my immediate response was vital to my
effectiveness as a disciple of Jesus and communicator of God’s word.

Choosing to embrace my circumstances as an opportunity for
joy kept me from falling into self-pity. It also opened my eyes to see God’s
faithfulness evidenced through friends’ kind acts, and to witness His power as
He strengthened me to write and meet three book deadlines only six weeks after
the initial Achilles injury. It didn’t leave me feeling happy, happy, happy as
some Sunday school choruses imply believers ought to feel, but it rendered me
surrendered to God’s sovereignty and eager to learn whatever lessons He wanted
to teach.

My physical healing continues. As it does, I find
encouragement in knowing that God wastes nothing. Learning to apply His truth
to my life in this situation serves to make me more effective in leading my
audience to discover how to apply truth, too.

Playing a role in others’ spiritual growth through writing
and speaking is my passion. If the decision was left to me, I wouldn’t have
chosen this particular process to provide fresh fodder. But the outcome, I
trust, will be worth every minute.

www.gracefox.com

 

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A perpetual calendar of quotes sits on my desk. One quote
that’s become a personal favorite expresses these wise words—“Our lives, to be
fruitful, must be full of Christ; to be able to bring his peace, joy, and love
we must have it ourselves, for we cannot give what we have not got” (Mother
Teresa
). These words encourage me to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ on
a daily basis, but they also challenge me in my role as a writer.

As a writer, my desire is to pen words that make an eternal
difference in my readers’ lives. I long for them to crave the Scriptures, to
discover how God’s Word relates to them, and to develop a delightful and mature
relationship with the Lord. I yearn to bring hope to those experiencing bitter
disappointment. To bring comfort to those who grieve. And to bring direction to
those who have lost their way.

High and lofty goals, I’d say. They’re also completely
futile if I attempt them while operating on an empty spiritual tank.

The only hope of achieving my goals is for me to possess
a growing and vibrant relationship with Christ. Jesus said as much—“Yes, I am
the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will
produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NLT).

Meeting publishers’ deadlines is critical for writers. So is
marketing our books and maintaining an online presence. But nothing matters more than pursuing
relationship with Jesus Christ. Devotion must supersede duty.

Our time spent with Christ in private produces creativity. It
gives us wisdom. It teaches us what He values and how to be salt and light. From that private time flows relationship, and from that relationship flows words that breathe life into readers gasping
for breath in a broken and hurting world.

“Our lives, to be fruitful, must be full of Christ… We
cannot give what we have not got.” Words well spoken and true. Especially for
those who write with the hope of making an eternal difference.

****

Learn more about Grace and her books at www.gracefox.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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This week I signed two contracts with Harvest House. The first is for a women’s devotional, and the second is for a little book for parents with kids ages 3-8. Did you hear my wahoooo from Canada?

Six years have passed since I signed my last contract with a traditional publisher, and it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve wrestled with disappointment and discouragement in the gap. I’ve questioned my call to write there. And I’ve seen God meet me in this place, using unmistakable ways to encourage me to persevere.

I’ll always remember the stranger who phoned and said, “Please don’t think I’m a whacko or a groupie. This is the first time I’ve phoned an author. I just want to tell you that I read your book, Moving from Fear to Freedom and it changed my life. Today I feel compelled to tell you, ‘Please keep writing.’”

Tears spilled. “I know why you feel compelled to deliver that message,” I said. “For several months I’ve doubted the worth of my writing efforts and wondered whether God was changing my direction. Six hours ago, I asked Him to send confirmation today if He wanted me to continue. Your call is that confirmation.’”

The woman listened quietly, and then she cried. “I heard His voice correctly!” she said. The experience bolstered her faith, and it cemented my passion and calling.

Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a similar gap. If so, consider this place—painful as it is—as precious. Here are a few suggestions to implement as you linger there:

  • Make quiet time with God your priority. Read the Word daily, and journal what He says.
  • Practice praise, and become an expert at giving thanks no matter what.
  • Rejoice with writers who avoid the gap.
  • Keep writing unless God makes it clear you’re to stop. Attend writers’ conferences. Maintain contacts within the industry. Continue to hone your skill.
  • Be patient. Be diligent. Be faithful. Rest assured that God is sovereign over your circumstances. When His time is right, He’ll move you from the gap.

My time in the six-year gap has given me a new personal favorite Scripture—“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted ” (Job 42:2). Meditating on it brings peace. Pondering it daily brings confidence. God knows what He’s doing. He knows what He wants to accomplish in us and through us. Let’s let Him do His job, even if it means waiting in the gap.

www.gracefox.com

 

 

 

 

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