Stripped to the Essentials

Sometimes life gets hard, lonely, frustrating. We don’t always have answers this side of heaven, but every once in a while, God gives us a glimpse of His Father’s heart and big picture plan. I had one of those moments last week during a leisurely walk with my daughter.

If you are or ever have parented teens, you know how hard it can be to connect on a heart-to-heart with them. They’d much rather spend time on their phones or Facebook than participate in family activities. But as their parents, we know they still need us … whether they think they do or not.

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll remember how difficult our move was for our daughter. You’ll also remember the insight God gave me when I cried out to Him for aid. (You can read about it here.)

Last Thursday, as she and I talked about everything from hairstyles to God’s Word lived out in the day-to-day, I realized what a priceless treasure this time was. What a beautiful opportunity for heart-molding God had provided through my daughter’s brief period of loneliness. Heart-molding that will strengthen her to face her new school, college … life.

This summer, God stripped my daughter of much of the business that weighs her down in order to create time for something she really needed–time with her parents.

I began to think of all the times God does this with us. Maybe He’ll place us in a period of unemployment, drawing us to His side and freeing our time to truly connect with Him. Or maybe He’ll remove us from our family and friends for a time so He can be our all-in-all.

Let’s talk about this. When has a difficult time turned into an opportunity for divine intimacy? When has it brought your family closer together? How might our reaction to frustrations, change, or difficulties affect this?

Join us at Living by Grace as we talk about God’s loving heart and His longing to draw near to us.

I love James 4:8, and I claim it as a promise. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” This verse tells me, the moment I turn to God through Bible study, song, or prayer, He is already turning to me.

I also wanted to announce the winner of June’s gift basket. Most often, the gift basket goes to a Reach Out contributor selected by you, my readers. This time, the winner, Shannon Vannatter, decided to give the basket to a randomly selected reader.

The winner is: Dicky To. Dicky, I’ll be contacting you shortly.

Read this month’s most popular Reach Out story, It’s Not About Us by Shannon Taylor Vannatter.


  1. Wonderful post, Jen! Couldn’t help but think of Laura Story’s song, Blessings, as I read your words. Oftentimes the things we pray would change, turn into exactly what we need to develop a closer relationship with the Lord. So good to hear that you and your daughter have been offered this special time of connecting and drawing closer! God bless~

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