Thursday, 21 August 2014

When you're going through a deep, dark valley

A note from Wendy: Today's guest devotional is by a women I've never met but who reached out to me to tell me her story, her story that was like mine but different. Her story of meeting a man with skin darker than hers and making South Africa her home. They now live back in her home country, the USA, but somehow it feels like she could come over for milk tart and rusks and we'd get along just fine. 
My grace is sufficient for you
And finally He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (VOICE)

We were having a Ladies Coffee Morning at our church, and I was the MC. To be honest, I can’t even remember what the topic was for the morning.

I just remember her testimony.

I had asked a friend of mine, a college student at the time, to share her story. She stood up to the podium, and the microphone amplified her voice throughout the church hall.

She told us how her mom had died recently. 

Quotes about graceSuddenly. 

Unexpectedly. 

And how, when she had heard the news, she didn’t know what she was going to do. 

How she was going to cope. 

How she would ever make it through this deep, dark valley.

But she stood in front of that room full of women, captivated eyes fixed on her small stature, and she explained it simply.

“It was grace. It was all grace. That was what got me through. I never thought it was possible, but He did it. It’s still hard, and it probably always will be, but His grace is how I can face each day.”

And that’s when the tears began.

I couldn’t contain them.

They hovered on the brink of my eyelids and I tried not to blink, but they spilled over anyway.

You see, I was on the other side of her story. My mom was dying of cancer, and I knew the end was near. I knew that my friend’s story was about to become my own, and yet I couldn’t believe it.

I heard her words about the power of God’s grace, and I thought to myself, “Well, that’s nice for her, and I’m glad she can say that now, but it won’t happen to me. I just don’t see how I’ll ever cope when God takes my mom and she’s gone from this place.”

I doubted the grace of God. 

I knew He had promised that His grace was sufficient, but I acted like that promise didn’t apply to me. Like I was an exception.

A prayer for when you're going through hard timesFour months later, my mom died.

And what I never expected, happened.

God carried me.

He caused me to keep my composure as I traveled alone across 8,000 miles to the funeral. He gave me the strength to make it through the visitation and the memorial service. He helped me to console my grandmother at the gravesite as we watched the casket get lowered into the ground. He gave me a clear mind to make decisions that had to be made. 

It was awful and it was grace, all at the same time. 

And it’s still grace, with every day that stabs and stings and sleeps and wakes.

I doubted, and God proved me wrong.


And now, I can stand with my friend, my fellow motherless daughter and testify myself that His grace is sufficient, and His power is made perfect in weakness.

To God be the glory.

Ponder: Can you recall something you went through that was awful but that God’s grace carried you through?

Prayer: Lord, when I doubt you, come and prove me wrong. Show me your faithfulness in my faithlessness.

{About the author of this guest devotional}
Kate Motaung is the wife of a South African pastor and homeschooling mom of three.  She has contributed to Ungrind, Radiant Magazine, (in)Courage, StartMarriageRight.com, Thriving Family, MOPS and Young Disciple magazine.  You can read more from Kate at her blog, Heading Home, or on Twitter @k8motaung.

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Monday, 18 August 2014

When God does nothing

When God does nothingFor there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery. Ecclesiastes 8:6-7 (NIV)

“I also like it when God does nothing.” 

I look at my husband and wonder if all the treatments he’s had for cancer are affecting his brain. 

Then Xylon goes onto say, “I like it when God does nothing because sometimes the things I pray for are pretty stupid. If God let them happen my life would be a mess.”

He went on to give an example of a job opportunity that recently fell through. At the time Xylon felt like his dream job had just been denied but a few months later he is so grateful that the job fell through.

His comment made me think about my own life. 

When it feels like God is doing nothing
God hasn’t answered all my prayers the way I asked. And that is grace. (tweet this)

Normally, I don’t see God’s grace till months, years or even decades later, but then I look back, and I see how God always gave me his best to me. 

Honestly, I sometimes find trusting God to do his best is hard but this conversation with my husband made me realise something: 

One, even when it feels like God is doing nothing, he is working for my good. (tweet this)

Two, I like it when God does nothing. (tweet this)

Ponder: Can you think of three things you prayed for that never happened that you are thankful for?

Pray: Lord, even when I don’t understand why you don’t do anything, I trust you. 

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In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

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Thursday, 14 August 2014

How to pray when you don't know what to do

We do not know what to do but our eyes are on you
For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. 2 Chronicles 20:12b (NIV)

The oncologist called again this week. 

She asked Xylon to come in and see her. We don’t know why. 

Lord, we don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you. 

I scroll through social media and see people mourning Robin Williams, remembering a man who made them laugh, questioning the pain that makes a man take his life. An icon of the desperation so many people hide in life. 

Lord, we don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you. 

I read news of women running away in the desert, children being beheaded for their faith and I find myself whispering,  

Lord, we don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you. 

An email arrives in my inbox. News of a couple, who give and give and give, brutally attacked on their farm. 

Lord, we don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you. 

And then there is this war in Palestine. 

Lord, we don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you. 

And Ebola.

Lord, we don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you. 

These words I’ve been praying, I stole them. 

I ripped them from the pages of the Bible, from the mouth of King Jehosophat. 

When he lifted these words to God he was King of Judah and facing an imminent attack by armies much stronger than his. 

He called his people together and they prayed:

For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on God. (tweet this)

How to pray when you don't know what to doAnd God responds with a pretty miraculous story that sees Jehosphats’ army not striking one man but winning the battle. 

What a prayer. 

What an invitation for God to do something unbelievable. 

I don’t know about you but in the face of all this news. In the face of all the hard things happening in the world I want to see God show up. 

I want to join Jehosphat in praying, “God, it’s your move.” 

I don’t want to limit God with my prayers, I want to invite him to do something in every situation that is a miracle, that is God. 

I want to leave space for God to do the unbelievable. (tweet this)

For we have no power to face this hard news that is attacking us. 

Lord, we don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you. (tweet this)

Ponder: What do you think would happen if you stopped trying control situations and instead invited God to do the unbelievable?

Pray: I do not know what to do, but my eyes are on you, Lord. 

{Other places I've been writing lately}


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You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking here. I’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.

{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

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to receive my free ebook
and a NEW devotional in your inbox every Monday and Thursday

Photo Credits (Creative Commons): unsplash.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck