Do you ever struggle to trust that God is working things out for good?
This morning, I was reading Psalms 57 and 61, and I realized that, lately, my answer to that question has been a resounding, “Yes.” Sounds bad, right? But it’s true. Logically, I know that God is trustworthy, but that knowledge hasn’t necessarily been reflected in my thoughts or actions.
I see photos of people getting married or having children, and discontentment stabs me. I wonder why it hasn’t happened for me.
I get caught up in numbers and likes, and I forget that feeling seen or unseen by people doesn’t define or determine my worth. I forget that God is more than enough.
And God knows all this about me. He knows where my thoughts tend to go. He knows how the enemy attacks me. He knows all the ins and outs of you, too.
He knows us so intimately and cares for us so carefully. I had forgotten that. He used Psalm 61 to remind me.
I call to You as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”
I’ve read those verses before, but they held my attention this morning, more than they ever have before.
They reminded me of how close God is.
Of how trustworthy He is.
Of how, even when I don’t understand His timing or why certain things are happening (or not happening), I can take a deep breath and know He is right there next to me. And that’s enough. That’s all I actually need.
Instead of drowning in doubt, discontentment, or plain, old impatience, I can echo David’s words in Psalm 57.
My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast.”
This is a heart space worthy of staying in, a space where we stop allowing circumstances to diminish or derail us, a space where God comes so, so close, and stays.
God used these verses to light up some dark places in my heart, and I’m confident He will do the same for you. What has He been teaching you lately?
Now, I’m off to brew coffee and befriend some (fictional) dragons.
Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to begin posts like this. Posts written in the hopes of encouraging someone who reads it. Of offering a little light in the midst of lousy circumstances.
It’s hard because I’m still learning how to navigate discouragement and grief myself, and I don’t want to come across as having it all figured out.
Spoiler: I don’t.
Still, God’s been teaching me so much recently, and it feels wrong to keep it to myself. So, here goes.
The last several weeks have been, in a word, awful. Don’t get me wrong. Good things have still been happening in the midst of it all, but, for the most part, it’s seemed like everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. Know the feeling?
A friend recently asked me how they could be praying for me and my family. My first thought was that if she had two hours to listen, I might be able to scratch the surface. I told her that, lately, I felt like it was just one thing after another, and I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water.
I still feel like that some days.
And then two things happened, both small, but unexpectedly powerful.
I found myself sitting in Psalm 34, clinging to verse 18, in particular.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
This verse is so familiar. I’ve read it a million times. But this time, it hit different. All of a sudden, this was a promise I could feel the weight and shape of, and it became my life preserver out at sea.
Then, on a day when I was feeling particularly exhausted, my dad bought my mom flowers, and she kindly surprised me with a few flowers from her bouquet.
I set the flowers on my windowsill, and immediately heard God whisper, “No rain, no flowers.”
Sometimes, when I hear God, I don’t immediately understand what He’s getting at, but this time, I did.
That flood of lousy circumstances? They provided fertile ground for God to show off His faithfulness. They created the opportunity for my reliance on God to grow. If anything has been apparent the last month, it’s that I’m not in control.
But every day of these recent weeks has been an invitation to rest in the One who is.
I don’t mean that this is an easy fix or that it erases the pain of heartbreaking circumstances.
I still feel the pain and exhaustion, but at the same time, I’m now confident of this:
God has been with me and my family all the while.
He never lost track of us, and He’s never going to.
Whether we’re in the midst of wonderful or awful circumstances, He’s right here with us in the middle of it, and He’s using these hard things to create something beautiful, to increase our faith, and remind us that when we can’t see a resolution or a way forward, He’s faithful to lead us and work everything out for good.
In the last month, I’ve found that nothing is steady but God.
And that when the floods threaten to engulf me and the ones I love, He’s faithful to use that driving rain to grow the most stunning flowers we’ll ever see.
What has God been teaching you lately? I’d love for us to share and encourage each other in the comments!
A small peek at what I’ve been…
Flourish, Mike Donehey’s new album.
This is a new favorite of mine, especially Standing At the Edge of My World, Glory I Couldn’t See, Flourish, and Breathe In, Breathe Out (OK, I love them all. Go give it a listen!)
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, by Maryrose Wood.
This series is whimsical and full of wit and mystery. I absolutely love and highly recommend it!
The History of the Hobbit by John D. Rateliff.
As the grad school saga continues, I am making my way through this Tome (yes, it is worthy of that title!), but I am finally over halfway through it, and I don’t think there will be another book that makes me feel so accomplished after reading it!
What have you been reading or listening to?
Next week, a fun giveaway begins and my review for Tammy Lash’s Letters from the Dragon’s Son publishes! I can’t wait to share it!
Last year, I had the pleasure of exploring the world of Anelthalien for the very first time.
Now, I’m so excited to help my friend and fellow author, H.A. Pruitt, celebrate the release of book two, Earth Quaking!
We’re only a few short months away from the book’s release (it can’t get here soon enough!), so to tide us over until then, I’m sharing my review of this wonderful fantasy novel again!
Read on and grab a copy for yourself. This is a world you’ll want to return to again and again.
“To be a hero, Tad, you must be a shield for others; you must be the very thing that stands between a people and death and stabs back that death. Sacrifice makes a hero.”
Kindle never asked to be a hero. But when an unlikely discovery sweeps her away to an unfamiliar land called Anelthalien, she finds that is exactly what is being asked of her.
She and three other young adults – Tad, Ella, and Andrew – form an unlikely group as they travel throughout the land, trying to understand why the fate of Anelthalien is resting on their shoulders.
In their travels, they are taken in by a mysterious farmer, Azildor, who remembers much that others have long forgotten. He passes on his wisdom to the four heroes-in-the-making, believing as he does that, when the time comes, they will be willing to sacrifice what they must to keep Anelthalien safe from the dark powers seeking to overthrow it.
But whether or not they will embrace their identities as heroes remains to be seen, and all the while, Anelthalien’s fate hangs in the balance…
H.A. Pruitt has succeeded in creating an altogether unique world that readers will want to return to and explore again and again. Full of rich characters, adventures galore, and stunning illustrations, this is one of those truly important books that remind you of this: no matter your past, no matter your circumstances, you have a God-given purpose.
Perhaps, you’ll uncover what it is in the pages of Anelthalien.
Words are insufficient to express how dearly I love this story and how much it will always mean to me.
You can follow H.A. Pruitt’s writing (and guinea pig) adventures on Instagram and on her website.
Sometimes, it takes the words of family and friends to remind us of what wonder truly is.
For Penelope Grace, it’s taken the child-like faith of a beloved uncle, the patience of a wolf led by grace and the Wind, and the fierceness of a bold arctic fox.
When you’ve finished this winter tale of wonder, find the people who remind you of what wonder is and thank them.
They are more precious than we’ll ever know.
Thank you, Penelope Grace/Mom. I am so humbled that I get to be your daughter. Without your devotion to God and your fearless sense of child-like wonder, I wouldn’t have been able to write this story. I love you.
And to everyone who has come along on this winter adventure, thank you so very much. Sharing this story with you means more than I can say. I hope you’ve delighted in it as much as I have!
If you’d like a manuscript edition of Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel, printed on beautiful paper from The French Paper Co. and bound with waxed thread imported from Northern Ireland, click here.
Through midnight tonight, everyone who purchases a copy will be entered to win an art print of one illustration from the story!
You can also subscribe below to receive digital installments.
Either way, I hope this story fills you with a sense of awe and wonder for our great King.
Living in wonder with you,
Join the Fight for Wonder
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Next week, there will be an announcement for something new from 21:25 Books 🙂 Can you guess what it is?
This week, refuge awaits for Penelope Grace and her companions.
But will they make it?
Subscribe below to read digital installments OR click here to receive a unique manuscript edition of Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel, printed on beautiful paper from The French Paper Co. and bound with waxed thread imported from Northern Ireland.
Join the Fight for Wonder
Click below to read digital installments of Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel! Once subscribed, you’ll have unlimited access to all of our digital book releases.