Am I going to let my circumstances
determine my view of God,
or am I going to let God
determine how I view my circumstances?
– Laura Story
Am I going to let my circumstances
determine my view of God,
or am I going to let God
determine how I view my circumstances?
– Laura Story
I have four children one of them is currently in college in Scotland studying geography. She is my oldest child. I can’t really call her child because she is on the latter and of her 20s.
At the beginning of the year we had a conversation about God. Now let me just preface this by saying she was raised in a Christian home though it was not always she knew the values that I held, and gave her life to Christ at a young age.
She has not always had it easy, she’s been through many traumatic things, and as a result came to believe in the deistic God (a God that created the world and is somewhere there but is not active nor cares about the details of the believer’s life).
This was not only heartbreaking but very confusing to me because she had seen time after time after time how God was in the details of my life. How God seem to order my steps in perfect unison.
I remember when we have the conversation about her beliefs I said, “Okay I respect your beliefs, but I will be praying that God will show you that He is indeed in the details.”
And in true God-of-the-details fashion He showed up and showed out.
So the thing is is that my daughter is a huge Dr. Who fan. She has every book, poster, blanket, teapot, shirt, and DVD ever made (while that may be a bit of an addict exaggeration but you get the picture).
So when she found out that they were giving tours of the set of the show Dr. Who (called the Tardis) in the month of November, she quickly bought a ticket.
A ticket she bought for was for a Thursday.
And while later she realized she hadn’t checked her email in a while. As she did so she saw the letter from the people at the Dr. Who experience saying that they were not going to be able to give a tour on that Thursday. The interesting thing as they said that if she replied to this email by this certain date at a certain time (let me just stop here to say it’s interesting that they gave a time limit because usually, at least in America, they give a date you have to apply to not a time) that if you replied they would reschedule you for a Friday.
She looked at the time and realized that she was an hour late to replying on time. Because they were all booked up for it every other day that month, she sadly resigned herself to the fact that she would not be able to see the Tardis before coming back to America.
I told her to not give up, and to see what God could do. I told her that God is in the details and knows how much she wanted this and if it was His will would give a to her.
I told her to email the people that sent the letter and tell them that she’s an American in Europe and this would be her only chance to see the set and ask if they could please squeeze her in.
A few days later she told me an excitement that she’d heard back from the company, and after some wrangling decided that they could fit her in on a Wednesday.
So to recap: she was supposed to go on Thursday, they were originally were going to reschedule for Friday, but because she missed the email she was rescheduled for Wednesday.
Why is that important?
Because after she found out she started thinking about grad school and realized that she wanted to go in Europe.
There were only two grad schools in Europe that taught her what she was learning. One of the grad schools was in Scotland where she was but the school that had the best program for her degree was in Cardiff, Wales.
Cardiff, Wales also happens to be the place where they film Dr. Who.
She got an idea that she should look up and see if the university has any days for international students to tour the campus for the graduate program.
They had two days a year where they did so.
One of the days was a day where she wasn’t going to be in Europe anymore. And the other day… You guessed it.
The only other day out of the whole year, that they were doing tours for international graduate students at that university, that happened to be within walking distance of the Dr. Who set, was on that same Wednesday that she was scheduled to take the tour.
Now remember she was going to school in Scotland and had to take an overnight bus to get there. She was missing one day of class and would have not felt comfortable on to miss anymore to go on the tour.
But our mighty God. Our God is the details. He designed it so that after taking a tour of the set and the whole Dr. Who experience, my daughter was able to walk over to the University and tour the school on a day designed to receive her.
God is in our details.
He cares about every aspect of our life. He is with us he is present and he loves each and every one of us with abandon.
God used the Dr. Who experience to allow my daughter to experience his love.
You can trust him with every detail of your life.
Ps…I got permission before sharing my daughters story
Awhile ago I remember reading the following quote
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
– Lewis B. Smedes
I was struck by its truthfulness, and soon learned that he was right in more ways then I first realized.
After becoming a Christian, God led me out of my prison cell by teaching me the whys and how’s of forgiveness.
Looking back I see how closed off I was, how many days I spent obsessing over the wrongs that were done to me throughout my lifetime.
The process of learning to forgive quickly took me to some dark places, before I was free.
Yet, I soon realized that living a life of forgiveness is just a better way to live.
Then it happened.
An unknown intruder crept into my home through a window thought locked, crept past my sleeping sons camped out in the living room and went to the kitchen to grabbed a (unrecovered) knife before going into the bedroom my beautiful sleeping nineteen year old daughter.
My daughter woke to the sound of a hissing cat and the loud banging of a metal door as it smashed shut.
She then woke me, she was holding her neck…long story short, before the day would be done she would have 37 stitches in her neck. I ache as I write this and think about the events of that day.
The worst of it was pretty bad (a mother is never supposed to see her child’s neckbone), but the best of it was God. God is good. God is with us always.
God let me know the importance of making the decision right there, in the hospital room, in the midst of all the chaos and madness, to make the decision to forgive.
I remember standing by the emergency room bed and talking with her about forgiveness.
I remember saying that not only does God ask us to forgive others but we need to forgive so that her attacker cannot do any more damage than he has already done. I knew that ever second hating him was a second stolen, she did not deserve that.
She agreed and prayed with me, right there in the middle of the emergency room, as they were stitching her up. , who by God’s grace chose to forgive in that moment.
I believe that her choosing to forgive not only freed her from a life of pain and misery, it opened the door to a brighter future. She is now thriving and I could not be more pleased to call her my daughter.
One of the things to keep in mind about holding forgiveness towards someone is we are the ones who are affected. That even though we may spend hours and hours talking and thinking about how a person mistreated us, our doing so does not affect the person we are upset with….they are living their life in freedom while we are in a jail of our own making.
So while it was not fair that we were mistreated, it is even more unfair that we continue to mistreat ourselves.
When we let go and allow God to bring healing beautiful things happen.
One of the things that happened as a result of this situation is that as a direct result of my daughters attack someone who had been living in a place of hopelessness, homelessness, and despair, gave her life to God and in the years since has a wonderful home and church family and a restored relationship with her real family.
This was not an easy post to write, sometimes you have to choose to forgive on a daily or hourly basis. When I thought of the attacker as I wrote this I had to remember to forgive (she is my baby girl no matter how is she is). My instinct is to want to do serious harm to anyone who harms my child, I knew that path would lead to no good thing so I said allow “I forgive him.”
So why write it? Because I believe that God directed me to because someone who reads this needs to learn forgive.
Maybe there is one person that you need to forgive, or maybe there is a dozen, but hear this clearly, by holding unforgiveness you, in essence, are giving them more of your life to damage.
Also remember Satan is real and when we have unforgiveness towards someone he knows that all he has to do is to put a thought in our mind about that person and he will ruin or moment, day, or year.
Trust God enough to give to him everything that you feel about they way that you were mistreated, trust God by asking him to help you to want to forgive, to learn to forgive. He will help you do so as you call out to him.
Remember He is an expert at forgiveness!
He forgave you and I.
That day as my daughter lay on that emergency room table we made our choice. But my husband did not. He said “You can forgive, that is fine but I will NEVER forgive that person who did this to her.”
If you are ever temped to think that unforgiveness is no big deal make sure to read part two of this post , because the lengths that God went to get my husband to change his mind will astound you.
Photo © Rawpixel – Fotolia.com
It always amazes me when I hear people say that they think being a Christian would be boring. I have found it to always be just the opposite. I never know what God is going to do in my life. But I know whatever it is it will be good for me.
Take for instance what happened a few days ago at work. I was ringing up/talking to a very nice woman. A few second later her husband came to the counter and she went to look at something. He introduced himself and said he was a Pastor.
When he said so, I immediately felt Gods great urging to tell him that I have been called to England.
He looked me in the eye and said “I am going to pray for you before I leave the store.” I sensed God was behind that statement.
Long story short, he and his wife did pray for me and it was powerful.
The power was not in their words but in the complete and utter presence of God that fell on the entire store as the words came out. I felt as if I was scrubbed clean from the inside out and did know that through their prayer God was working to get me where I need to be.
I know that God had called me to consecrate myself to Him and His will for my life. I am not sure all the words the Pastor prayed but I am sure that God sent them there that day. I believe God shut doors that needed shutting and opened doors that needed opening through that prayer.
I am so absolutely clueless as to how God will put together the rest of the puzzle pieces to get me to England, but I know that He will do it because He knows what I need, even when I don’t.
And God knows what you need and will give it to you at the appointed time. You don’t need to figure out how the pieces will fit, for God it the one building your puzzle, and when He is done it’s going to be something to behold.
Photo © xxxx_3D – Fotolia.com
Back about fifteen years ago, I was constantly listening to Christian speakers, as God was changing my thinking and showing me how he could be trusted.
I remember one of the speakers talking about how God had told her to stay home from her job for a period of time. During that time she saw God work mightily through her prayers. One of the things she “needed” was new wash cloths. She prayed for them and God brought someone to her door with new washcloths.
Right after hearing that I prayed to God. I said that I wanted washcloths (notice here that I only “wanted” them, I did not “need” them). I asked Him to send me washcloths.
Well later that day I was surprised to get a knocked on the door and was surprised to find Faith standing at my door.
Faith was a co-worker and fellow Christian. She held out a fairly large cardboard box. She said “God told me to give you this.” She handed the box to me and quickly left.
I brought the box inside and quickly opened it.
I was surprised and a little let down to find what was in the box.
I was surprised because the box was filled to the brim with washcloths, just like I had asked God for.
I was let down because the wash cloths were all old, wore out, discolored, and raggedy with holes in them.
And to top it off they were saturated with cigarette smoke.
I asked, “God I don’t understand, why did you give her new washcloths and you gave me these?”
God quickly replied, “Because you did not ask me for new ones, you just asked me for washcloths.”
I learned that not only can I trust God to hear my prayers, but that He also pays attention to them.
As a result I because more thoughtful about what I prayed for.
Photo = © flas100 – Fotolia.com
A few weeks later I went out to a coffee house and left it on a chair.
I am very forgetful so I was not absolutely sure where I left it.
I went back and asked about the coat. The girl got a smirk on her face. Then she went in the back, laughed and came out and in a strange voice told me they had nothing like that.
It seemed clear she was lying but I cannot stand confrontation so I left.
I was heartsick over the loss of the jacket. Not only did I love the jacket but I did not want to disappoint the young men who gave it to me.
A week passed.Then one night after spending time with God He told me to go back.
I didn’t want to, but listened to Him, even though I was nervous (I am bad with faces and I did not want to run into the same girl).
On the way there I asked God to let a guy be up front. There was.
I asked Him, he went to the back and came out with the jacket!!
I was amazed. But I shouldn’t of been. God is faithful!! He never tells us to do anything without a reason!!
He can be trusted!!!!!
It doesn’t matter what is going on in the world, those who trust in God do not have to be led by their circumstances.
Because those who trust in God are people who learn to look by faith and not by sight.
For example, as I was getting prepared to start back up in school after the summer break, I started running short of money.
I knew that God did not want me to quit school, so I prayed and felt that he told me to stand firm.
When I looked with my natural eyes at my bills that started to pile up, I was tempted to freak out, and get a job (probably minimum wage) that would almost pay the bills, if I was lucky.
I knew that I could not put in the forty-plus hours a week that my university required of me and keep a job too, so I asked God in prayer if He wanted me to drop out and He strongly answered no.
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. ~ Psalm 125:1
About a week later when taking my morning prayer walk, I kept hearing the word grant over and over, so I got a clue, and found out about a grant that my college had.
I applied and was accepted in an hour. It is enough extra money to keep me going for a while.
And that is how God works. He wants us to not act out of our circumstances but out of our trust in Him.
Photo by © freshidea – Fotolia.com