Praying for the Unknowns

March 19, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

Since we don’t know the future, we might say that many of the things we pray about are “unknowns.” God knows the outcome; we don’t.

I love praying with my granddaughters. One of my favorite prayers is about their future. “If you’re going to get married someday,” I tell them, “then your husband is growing up somewhere in the world.” Megan, my oldest granddaughter, seemed intrigued by this notion, that unknown little boys can be affected by our prayers. I remind her that the boys are not unknown to God, and He cares about them.

Late one night, as I tucked two of the girls into bed, my mind was distracted by things I needed to get done before bedtime. I forgot to pray with the girls. As I turned to leave the bedroom, Jenna sat up and called out, “Grammy! Aren’t we going to pray for our husbands somewhere in the world?” That was the first time I realized that our little prayer ritual had deep meaning for the girls.

Another time, on the way to the mall, I chatted with the granddaughter I’ve dubbed “Missy Pink Pink.” We talked about school, ballet class and an outing she took with her other grandma; but I laughed hard as she suddenly blurted out, “Grammy, my husband is in Antarctica!”

Months later, Missy Pink Pink told me her husband now lives in Hawaii. Perhaps she figures she’ll have a better opportunity to meet him there. I’d love to help her find him, maybe on the balmy shores of Kauai.

Praying about the unknowns of life, including a “somewhere in the world” husband, shouldn’t be unusual for God’s children. Eternity is deeply planted in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and most of our lives are pinned to the future. We can pray about our future because we believe God, who is our life (Colossians 3:4), is already there. We need God and what He can do in our lives, and we pray believing that He answers our prayers (Matthew 7:7).

God wants our inner joy to be full both now and in the future, and Jesus told us simply to “ask” for what we need (John 16:24). He wants to give us the desires of our heart, and He transforms us so that we delight in Him and desire what He wants for us (Psalm 37:4)—those things that align with the Word of God and the truth that Christ is in us.

“You may not get married,” I told my granddaughters. “Maybe that’s not what God has for you. But if His plans include marriage, then your Someday Husband needs our prayers. We can pray he will keep his heart pure. We can pray that he will learn how to lead a home. We can pray for lots of things!”

What are your greatest “unknowns” today? Are you struggling with finances, and not sure what the future holds? Do you have a prodigal child, and you fear what’s ahead? Is your marriage falling apart? Is your health failing?

Initiate an intimate conversation with God and see what He will do. Pray with confident faith, believing God will answer. The answer may not come in ways you expect or, in the process, God may change your desires; but we’ll never move forward in our prayer journey with the Lord until we take those first faith-filled steps into the unknown.

Connecting the Dots

January 24, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

Sometimes it’s hard for me to connect the dots of my life in the moment. One example of this disconnect occurred a few years ago while traveling in Paris with my husband, Bob, his sister, Jan, and her husband, Tom.

After several days of taking in many of the lovely sites around the city, we decided to visit the Eiffel Tower. There, near the top of the tower, I pointed out some of the places we’d visited days before: The Louvre museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysées.

But then I got frustrated. I moved along the railing slowly, all around the inner platform of the tower. I looked near and far, and started pointing and naming the sites again. “There’s the Louvre,” I said to my brother-in-law, “and there’s the Arc, and there’s the Cathedral … but where’s the Eiffel Tower?”

Tom’s mouth dropped open. “Dawnie,” he said with a chuckle, “You’re on it!”

As everyone around me burst into laughter, including a Frenchman who exclaimed, “Oh, you silly American!” I blushed to the bone! It was one of those “duh” moments when I didn’t connect the dots.

I find that this is sometimes true in my spiritual journey with God. I get so focused on looking around at the circumstances in life, or the culture or my own ambitions, and I lose sight of where and whose I am. I forget that I am secure in the family of God, with my identity and purpose firmly in Christ.

God spoke to me about this through Colossians 3:2. In The Message, this scripture reads, “Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.” In other words, look to Jesus, and He will help you connect the dots!

If our vision is not God-ward, our perspective may be skewed. In practical terms, our financial needs truly aren’t about the money; they are about whether we will look to our heavenly Provider. Our marital struggles aren’t about our spouse’s inadequacies or hang-ups; they’re about living biblically and learning to love, respect, and serve our spouse.

God desires that we will seek His perspective and then, gaining wisdom, trust Him for the outcome. Though we may not fully comprehend His will or the purposes in each situation—His thoughts and ways are beyond us (Isaiah 58:8)—we know that He will use our circumstances to conform us to the image of Christ so that we can ultimately bring honor to His name.

The simple truth is, connecting the dots of life begins when we connect with our Heavenly Father in prayer and in the Word, asking Him to open our hearts and minds and show us His will and ways.

April Shower Power

December 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

My granddaughter Megan entertained me one afternoon with her new joke book. “Grammy,” she said, “April showers bring May flowers, but what do May flowers bring?” She grinned as I contemplated. I vaguely recalled hearing the question before, but couldn’t remember the answer.

“I give up,” I said. “What do May flowers bring?”

“Pilgrims!” she said. I rolled my eyes, to her delight.

As a child, I quoted “April showers bring May flowers” many times in school, and many poems have since been written based on those words. An old Al Jolson song said it this way: “Though April showers may come your way, They bring the flowers that bloom in May; And if it’s raining, Have no regrets; Because it isn’t raining rain, you know, It’s raining violets.”

I love the optimism in the April Showers perspective, and I’m encouraged to know that this perspective is in the Bible. There is always a time of preparation or sowing, before we see the fruit of our labors or reaping (Galatians 6:7).

But it’s more than that. God allows steady rain to shower down upon us, knowing that it will help us grow.

The “showers” may become a torrent—a deluge! God may discipline and teach us in those showers, and it may hurt. We may not like those showers at all; they can be messy and, in the moment, frustrating. But God disciplines His children because He loves them (Hebrews 12:6), and showers from heaven are not without purpose.

The scriptures say, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11, NASB).

In other words, God has “May flowers” in mind. He is creating beauty in us. He is bringing us to a better place, creating “pools of blessing” in our lives (Psalm 84:6).

One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament concerns Joseph, son of Jacob. The showers of affliction and discipline fell on him hard, time and time again, yet God had a wonderful plan for each struggle. In time, Joseph recognized the hand of God in all of his circumstances. “As for you, you meant evil against me,” Joseph told his brothers, “but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive….” (Genesis 50:20 ESV).

Old Eli recognized God’s hand in affliction, too (1 Samuel 3:18), as did the old saint, Job (Job 1:21).

The difficulty always comes in seeing God’s hand in our struggles—trusting Him during our difficult stormy seasons.

April Showers Power comes in knowing we have a choice in how we will respond when the rain beats down upon us. We can complain about the showers, or we can trust that our sovereign God has training and growth in mind. We can anticipate the beauty of the flowers to come. There is great peace in that.

Spring Has Sprung—Time for Some ‘Scrubbing’

October 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

I read that one woman who hates housework said she doesn’t do spring cleaning because she loves all the seasons and doesn’t want the others to get jealous.

My mom believed in spring cleaning. Me? Not so much.

I mean, I’m the woman who—knowing company is coming a week before Christmas—piles all the out-of-place junk and papers in the house in one corner of the living room, throws a red tablecloth over all of it, and pins on a sign that reads, “Christmas wrapping underway. Do not peek!”

Spring cleaning is not my cup of … Lysol.

It seems there is always something more pressing and exciting than house cleaning. There are articles to write, messages to prepare, cookies to bake, grandchildren to entertain—fun stuff. And secretly, I think I’ve always wondered why it’s only women who do all the spring cleaning anyway. Is spring cleaning hormonal?

Still, I have to admit that when I don’t take a little time for housecleaning, then other things that I love to do are almost impossible to enjoy. Beyond my fear that Sister Cecilia might stop by for a visit and see the inch of crud on my kitchen floor, the truth is, when my desk is out of order, I can’t find the notes I need. When the laundry piles up, I can’t find something clean to wear. When my carpet looks like it’s shag—but it’s not—I don’t feel free to invite in the neighbors.

Likewise, when I don’t take time to set my heart in order, I can’t really enjoy the blessings of God. He is my faithful Father, and His abundant gifts continue to flow into my life; but I may not see or appreciate them if I’m blinded by my grimy attitudes or grungy behavior. Sinful “stuff” gets in the way, zapping out the joy.

Sometimes I forget the promise of 1 John 1:9. Other times, I take the power of those words for granted. “If we confess [admit] our sins,” the scripture says, “he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (ESV).

Repentance, confession, and cleansing aren’t a once-and-I’m-done proposition relegated to the day I received Christ. These spiritual disciplines are needed every day, and spending time in the Word of God exposes new areas that need some “scrubbing” (Psalm 119:9, 11).

Proverbs 4:23 warns me to guard my heart with diligence, because the heart is the wellspring of life. Just as a glass of clear water that sits for a long time becomes stagnant unless the water is replaced and refreshed from a running faucet, even so my heart needs constant “refreshing” with the cleansing water of the Word of God.

So this spring I’m trying something new. With every spring cleaning task, I’m going to apply some related “spiritual cleaning” as I meditate on the truth of scripture.

For example, when I wash my windows and mirrors, I’ll consider whether people can see Christ in me (John 12:21b). When I clean out the junk drawer or overstuffed closet, I’ll consider what might be in my life that needs tossing (Hebrews 12:1). When I wash my floors or steam clean my rugs, I’ll ponder my walk with Christ (Proverbs 4:26).

With a fresh, focused perspective on clean living, my prayer echoes King David’s in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”

It’s time for some “scrubbing!”

Stamped with His Image

September 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

Ruth Chodrow met her husband while working in a science library. He came in every week to read all the newest journals, but he eventually decided he’d like to take out the librarian instead of the books! After a year and half of dating, he showed up at the library and started rummaging through Ruth’s desk.

“What are you looking for?” she asked. He didn’t answer. Finally, he unearthed one of the rubber stamps Ruth used to identify reference books.

“Since I couldn’t find the right engagement ring,” her creative beau said, “this will have to do.” He firmly stamped Ruth’s hand.

“Across my knuckles, in capital letters,” Ruth said, “it read ‘NOT FOR CIRCULATION.’”

That stamped image carried a lot of weight in Ruth’s heart that day. It meant that she was deeply loved, and no one else could lay claim to her heart. I was reminded of the old hymn, “O to be Like Thee.” The chorus ends with an earnest prayer, written by Thomas O. Chisholm: “Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.”

When we become Christ-followers, God takes us out of circulation from our enemy’s grasp. He lays claim to us, and we belong to Him forever (1 Peter 1:3-5). He stamps the image of Jesus in our hearts.

Our Father uses His Word to make us holy (John 17:17); and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we become more like His Son (2 Corinthians 3:18). As we study the Word of God, it is as if God’s truth is stamped into our thoughts, renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), and the Holy Spirit uses this truth to convict us of sin and teach us how to live. We learn to put off things that do not align with the image of Christ in us, and put on things that honor Him and reflect His righteous character (Colossians 3:1-2, 8-17).

As I walk with the Lord each day, I can see the evidence of God changing my mind and heart; but I’m also aware of areas in my life where I still don’t resemble my Savior. I am prone to wander and inclined to sin—especially when the temptation involves overspending on things I don’t need, or overindulging in chocolate!—but I am grateful for the continuing mercy of God.

Nothing and no one can separate me from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39), and my loving Father will continue to do His good work in me (Philippians 1:6).

Is Christ’s image stamped in your heart?

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