When you need God to do SOMETHING already, remember this


"Is it possible to get a cup of coffee?" my husband, Xylon, asks the waiter going past our table at the hotel.

The waiter pauses and then replies with a smile, "Anything is possible."

This has stuck with me all week. It's reminded me that often the limitations I see are limitations I create in my mind.

I know it's not always that way. I'm praying for miracles for two people right now. I'm praying the kind of prayers for them that reach outside of what doctors and our medicine can heal.

This conversation with a waiter has buoyed my faith. It's reminded me that I serve a God who isn't limited by what I think is possible. And it made me think of the story in the bible of an old man and his wife. Both were well past the age of having children, in fact they were in their nineties, but God promised them there children would be as many as the sands on the seashore. 

The old woman actually laughed when she heard this. Wouldn’t you?

If God told you he wouldn’t only do the impossible but fulfill all your wildest dreams, wouldn’t you laugh? It was impossible, but God did it. He gave this old couple a child when there is no way they should have been able to give birth naturally.

In Romans 4:19 you can find this written about what happened, "And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb."

I sometimes wonder if Abraham never had a child at 100 what would have happened. What the bible would have recorded in Hebrews? 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and I think that even if Abraham didn’t have a child in his old age it would still have read and Abraham’s faith did not weaken. 

Even if Abraham had died childless I believe his faith would never have wavered that God could still fulfil his promise to him. 

Abraham might not have known how God would have done it but he would have believed that God could. Would have put his hope in the fact that God was in control.


Faith believes that impossible is just an opportunity for God to do something outrageous and beautiful and breathtaking. 

Is there something in your life right now that seems impossible?

Not just something that is hard or difficult but something that is impossible, something like having a baby when you are a hundred years old?
For God, ANYTHING is possible. (<-- Tweet this

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When you're not living well but you want to live better


As many of you know I'm on a "well" journey this year. Exploring what it means to not only live well but learn to love, read and run well. 

Today, I'm sharing Nelet's "well" journey. I loved what she shared because it is so honest. If you'd like to share your own "well" journey please submit your stories here

All of us have times in our lives where "well" seems like an impossible concept. Xylon and I have just come out of a time like that. One of my brothers who has Crohn's disease said the other day that he can't remember a time when he felt "well".

Maybe you're in that season too and wondering what you can do. I hope Nelet's post offers you some measure of hope or at least the comfort that you are not alone.

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I can't write about living well. Eating well, sleeping well or doing anything "well", really.

I started a new job. One that I like. It wasn't my first choice: the Bulletin Producer job was.  So here I am: an artie. The place I never thought I'd be: I'm way too logical and too much of an admin freak to work in Art department. 

With this new, creative, feels-like-I'm-getting-paid-to-play job comes working 6 days a week, 12 hour days. 12 hours being the minimum: walls require 2-3 coats of paint, paint takes actual time to dry, banners and bunting needs to be made and pink drinks, Sunday dishes and pudding takes time to prepare.   

It means that I hardly have time to bath, never-mind to see my friends, speak to my mother or look up at the sky.  

I don't live well. I've gained 5kg since I started working this job I don't have time to clean my house. My clean laundry has made a permanent home on my couch and when I speak to friends, I find myself too exhausted to care. 

I get the call, Friday at 11:00. My mother is in hospital, she collapsed at work. As I rush to hospital, my mind comes to a halt. What if? The last time I spoke to her I was in a bad mood, frustrated and complaining. 

Is work really all there is? Is working 85 hours a week worth it? 

So I do what my logical mind does best: I made a list. My list became about living an honest, balanced life. One where I can meet friends, see my family, not be too tired to travel the world, wake up on a Sunday morning for Park run and have healthy food in my fridge to eat. 

Between all this I pray the one prayer I prayed repeatedly in India. It’s a prayer that the dominee or pastor says at the end of a church service in the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa. Translation from Afrikaans my own:

Die Here sal jou seën en jou beskerm
Die Here sal tot jou redding verskyn en jou genadig wees
Die Here sal jou gebede verhoor,
en aan jou Sy vrede gee. 

The Lord will bless you and protect you
The Lord will rescue you and be merciful to you
The Lord will hear your prayers
And give you His peace

I'm not sure about life. I'm not living well, but I can pray. And I do, over and over. 

NOTE FROM WENDY: If you’re struggling to find words to pray in your hard seasons here are seven prayers that got me through last year.

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About Nelet Kok: 
I'm a big dreamer with a big need for adventure, cool television content, and wanting to live a simple life. I love traveling to everywhere weird & wonderful.  I like politics, history, animals and people that take the road less traveled by. 

You can find me on Facebook or read more on my blog: http://vlerkdans.blogspot.com/ 

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Welcome! 
If you're new here and don't want to miss a thing, 
be sure to subscribe to I Love Devotionals blog updates
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When life feels out of control, pray this


Let go of your concerns!
    Then you will know that I am God.
        I rule the nations.
        I rule the earth.

So much of life is out of our control. 

As I write this, my brother and sister-in-law are in hospital waiting to find out if their baby will be born 4-weeks early. Out of our control.

A friend is expecting to find out if she got a job she really wants. Out of our control. 

Another friend is biding time till she get’s a phone call to say the child she is wants to adopt can come home. Out of our control. 

This week, Xylon and I met with the oncologist for his quarterly check up. It was clear, but the results were out of our control. 

I don’t know about you but I spend a lot of time and energy on things over which I have no control.  

Which is why I loved this post by Seth Godin about all the events you weren’t there to control

Godin writes about all the things that happened in the last week that you and I weren’t part of: weddings, investments, product launches and how all of those things still worked without us.

As I read it I felt like I could exhale. 
It also made me feel really small, like who am I to think that I can control the outcomes of so many things I worry about? 

Then it made me think about how big God is. And how God is looking after all these things that are out of my control. 

You know what I realised? It isn’t my or your responsibility to control everything that happens. 

Making good choices matters. Being their for friends and family matters. But when my need for control starts making trusting God to work things out hard then I need to remember this:

When my world is out of control, it isn’t out of God’s concern. (tweet this)

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A prayer to pray:
God we're scared! 

We confess that we've tried to take control of situations that belong to you. 

You know we often doubt that you are in control but we want to let go of our concerns, and be still.
We want to know you are God in the midst of my fears and anxieties. 

Thank you that you are our refuge, our fortress and our God in whom we can trust.
Thank you for peace where there was anxiety.

Give us the freedom to live today knowing that whatever happens you will arm us with strength and keep our way secure. 

Bible verses to remind you God is in control:

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Welcome! 
If you're new here and don't want to miss a thing, 
be sure to subscribe to I Love Devotionals blog updates
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What I learned about marriage at 37,000 feet


Earlier this year I took a 15 hour flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg. That is long time to watch a limited selection of shows on an airline TV.


I found myself on this long flight watching a TED Talk by Clinical Psychologist Dr. Meg Jay on 'Why 30 is not the new 20'. The focus of her talk is that just because marriage, work and kids are happening later in life it doesn't mean that our twenties are a throw away decade. 

One thing Dr. Jay at 37,000 feet said stuck with me, 

"The best time to work on your marriage is before you have one, and that means being as intentional with love as you are with work. Picking your family is about consciously choosing who and what you want rather than just making it work or killing time with whoever happens to be choosing you."
I don't believe you are ever too old to make good choices about your future or your family so I asked iBelieve.com if I could write about what I learned on the plane that day and share  7 ways to prepare for marriage in your twenties that I could think of. 

Here's how that article starts:
“How would my spouse feel if they could see my now?” I’m not sure when this became a question I asked myself on an almost daily basis in my teens.

I do remember hanging out with a group of guys and girls and thinking, “If my future husband is one of these guys I wouldn’t want him to be treating that girl that way.” I then started thinking about my own interactions with the opposite sex. I realized that the patterns of behavior I began in my teen years would most likely be the same ones that followed me into marriage. If I flirted with every guy I met, this would be a hard habit to break once I was married. 

I didn’t get married till I was 29. So I spent more than 10 years preparing for marriage. Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t one of those girls whose life depended on finding a man and getting married. In fact I was told repeatedly, if you want to marry someone someday you have to put yourself out there with guys.  

What I didn’t know while used this time to prepare for marriage is what was going on in my brain. Clinical Psycologist Dr. Meg Jay says, “We know that the brain caps off its second and last growth spurt in your 20s as it rewires itself for adulthood, which means that whatever it is you want to change about yourself now is the time to change it. We know that personality changes more during your 20s than at any other time in life…”

In America, the average age at first marriage is now 27 for women and 29 for men — up from 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960. While marriage is happening later in life, it doesn’t mean that you can’t start preparing for your marriage in your early twenties. 

One secret to loving well


Love doesn’t come as a heart-shaped cookie cutter. 

I’m not sure I realised that when I set out to learn to love well this year. 

I think, subconsciously at least, I thought I could figure out what loving well looks like and then learn that off by heart and repeat, and repeat, and repeat. 

I mean there are those famous verses in the bible about love,
Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.
Surely, if I just learnt how to be patient and kind; how not to be envious, or brag or strut about and am never rude, indecent or self-absorbed then I’d love well? 

I know, just writing that list which only covers the first two verses, I’m thinking how on earth did I ever think that loving well could be made into a cookie cutter, one size fits all act? 

I was looking for a new book to read on my kindle and I saw a while back I’d bought the book, Love Well: Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck by Jamie George. I don’t know when I bought it. I can’t remember if it was before or after I started this “well” journey but it seemed like an apt read that would also maybe tick a box in the “read well” column. 

In the book, George writes vulnerably about a time in his life when he and his wife were walking through the question of whether to continue or end their marriage. He shares many of the things he learnt as they sat in marriage counseling and most of the book focuses more on how to get out of a rut in your life than practical ideas on how to love well. 

Once I finished the book I took the dog for the walk and while I walked I thought about this about how what I had wanted was a book that gave me the cookie cutter for loving my friends and family well. This book didn’t do that and it frustrated me.  

Then I thought back to something I read in the book:
“When we love well we are not preoccupied with uniformity.” {tweet this}

In trying to find one formula to love everyone the same I was not learning to love well. 

Instead I was trying to find a shortcut to doing the hard and holy work of listening, learning and opening up my own heart. 

I thought again of that famous bible verse that I somehow thought I could package up into neat cookie cutters. I thought about how patience/kindness/truth looks different depending on the who and where and when.

And I thought about how Jesus loves, how the bible is full of Jesus loving people in different ways, and how he could have delivered a sermon giving a cookie cutter approach to love. Instead Jesus told us to simply, “Love God with everything we’ve got and love others as we’d love ourselves.” 

None of us loves ourselves the same. For Xylon, loving himself means going for a long cycle. For me, it means curling up with book and bowl of popcorn. 

It's hard this realisation because it means I'll have to find the right mix of ingredients for each person I encounter that will help them feel loved.

So on this “well” journey I’m putting down my heart shaped cookie cutter and instead inviting the Holy Spirit to guide me in what loving well might look like in all the who’s and where’s and when’s. 

*Affiliate links used. This means if you click on the book link in this post and buy anything on Amazon a small percentage of the sale will be paid to me to help support my blog. 


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If you're going through a season of growth, read this


“Are you growing your hair?” 

Lately, people ask me that a lot. And it frustrates me. 

I’ve been growing my hair for three years now. I’ve been growing it ever since the day that I walked into the hairdresser and in response to his question, “What are we doing today?” replied, “Let’s shave it all off.”

I shaved my long hair off for the cancer shave-a-thon. Xylon had just started his second year of chemotherapy. I wanted to do something, something that felt tangible, as a sign that we were in this together. 

I wasn’t brave enough to sit in a shopping centre and let a stranger put a razor through my hair so instead I went to my trusted hairdresser, Richard, and asked him to shave my hair off and to bag the lengths to be donated for wigs. 

Richard ran his fingers through my hair. Then he suggested instead of shaving it all off, he should cut off ponytails on the backs and sides, and then shave everything else except a long fringe. He explained how it’s the top of a person’s head that takes the longest to grow. 

I think Richard knew how slowly my hair grows and took mercy on me. After diving my hair into four sections and cutting as close to the skull as possible he placed my 15cm ponytails in a ziplock bag. The next day I would take them to be donated for wigs. 

I walked out of the hairdresser that day with three quarters of my head shaved. I missed my ponytail like a phantom limb. I returned from my lunchtime hair cut to an office of collegues who all had nice things to say about what I’d done. 

And right there and then on that March day three years ago, I started growing my hair. 

Only three years later have people started to ask if I’m growing my hair. My hair is now just past my shoulders, 15-20cm longer than the day Richard cut four ponytails off at my request. 

I think internal change is a little like growing my hair. It can be slow and take years before anyone notices change. 

At the moment I’m learning how to love well, read well and run well. These changes are so slow. Sometimes I don’t even notice them in myself. 

I’ve been growing my hair the whole time but people around me haven’t noticed, or at least they haven’t commented. It’s only after three years, and a lot of growth, that any one begins to comment. 

Even if you’re trying to change something really hard right now, and you’ve been learning to respond differently for a really long time, don’t lose heart. 

There’s a bible verse in Romans 5 that reminds me that out of struggle character grows. 
And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness.

Sometimes I think we live in a world where things come so easily that we forget this simple life principal that it is through endurance our character is shaped. 

If I want a carrot I go to the shops buy a bag and 5 minutes later I can eat it or cook with it. Not so long ago if I wanted a carrot I would have to planned to plant it in the right season, nurture it and then pull it from the ground at just the right time. Something as simple as a carrot would require 2-3 months of struggle before I saw evidence of what I’d sewn. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, just because other people don’t notice your good changes doesn’t mean you aren't changing.

Even if no one comments on my hair growing it won’t change the fact that my hair now reaches just below my shoulders. 

Even if no one comments on the inner work I’m doing to love well that doesn’t mean my character isn’t being shaped. 

Growth doesn't have to be validated to be true. Perhaps the most powerful inner changes come through quite struggle and go unnoticed by all but a few paying close attention. 


Growth counts, even when the only person noticing it is you. (tweet this)

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