2012 was an incredibly tough, incredibly painful year for me. That was the year everything changed, but it was also one of the most incredibly beautiful periods of my life because that was the year when, day by day by day, God revealed the depth of His love and the unshakable shelter of His abiding presence. I thought back to that painful, frightening time as I read Johnnie Alexander’s beautiful post today.
As an added bonus, she’s giving away an ecopy of her novel to one lucky reader, chosen randomly from the comments left on today’s post.
As you read her testimony, may you be reminded of God’s unchanging, ever-present, love-filled nature. I also encourage you to pray for her, and for one another, as many of you are going through some incredibly difficult situations. You don’t need to know one another’s name or struggle to pray for your sister and brother. God knows. However, if any of you would like to openly share your trials in the comments below, giving me permission to share your prayer requests with my readers next Thursday, please feel free. For the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective.
It would be overly dramatic to say my world was falling apart. But morning after morning, I curled up in my comfy chair—the oversized multi-pillowed one tucked into the bay window—and wondered where I’d be a year later.
As I read both my Bible and insightful devotionals by Sarah Young and Oswald Chambers, I prayed I’d stay within God’s will for my life. But I questioned how to reconcile what I believed was going to happen with what I knew of Scripture.
God’s presence was clear during those quiet times as again and again I read the promises of His steadfast love and His provision. Whatever the future held, I was assured He held me in his arms.
During this time of insecurity, I visited a gift shop in our small town. As I walked in the door, my eyes were drawn to a ceramic bluebird perched on a shelf. I cradled it in my hand and smiled at the words on its wing:
I placed it back on the shelf, not intending to purchase it even though it had touched my heart. But when I set it down, I felt a clear and sweet whisper surround me.
It’s for you.
I hesitated a moment. After all, nothing like this had ever happened to me before. And yet I knew the message was real, and I knew who it was from.
More than a year has passed, and my life has taken a path I once thought impossible. I still stumble a little over the D-word, so let’s just say my marital status has changed. While I wish this wasn’t my story, and it breaks my heart that this is my children’s story, my trust in God’s promises has only gotten stronger. He had prepared the path I was to walk, with all its pits and snares, before I ever knew I’d be on it.
I left my comfy chair behind but not my treasured bluebird. When I unpacked it, I paused a moment to whisper a prayer of thanks for this reminder of God’s tangible presence.
Indeed, His love is steadfast.
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a; NIV).
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (1 Chronicles 16:34; ESV).
Johnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). The first of her three contemporary romances, Where She Belongs, releases from Revell in January 2016.
She also has won Best Novel and Best Writer awards (Florida Christian Writers Conferences), and Bronze Medalist (My Book Therapy Frasier Contest).
A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area where her morning chores include feeding dogs, cats, chickens, and a small herd of alpacas.
Connect with her online:
at her blog, on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Pinterest, and at her Amazon Author Page
Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life.
Buy it here:
Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow.
As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?
Let’s talk about this! What a gift God’s presence is! I think sometimes I take His abiding, ever-present love for granted and either wallow in self-pity rather than drawing close to and leaning hard on Him, or allowing the busyness of life to steal my joy, praise and focus. But when my world crashes down, I’m reminded, He is and always has been there. When has a particularly hard, frightening or painful time reminded you of God’s constant presence and unchanging nature. Share your experience with us! And don’t forget about our ongoing Call to Praise Blog Hop! Share your thoughts here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.
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Great encouragement. Yes, going through a rough time now; been in a slump for three years but oh how I see God through so much of the struggles. Thanks for the encouraging words to both of you ladies.
Beth, I’m sorry things are hard for you. Know that you have been prayed for just this very minute. God’s holding you in His powerful arms.
I’m sorry, Beth. I hope things get better for soon, but I’m so glad God is revealing Himself to you during this time.
Jennifer, thank you so much for having me as your guest. This wasn’t an easy post for me to write, and I am so encouraged by your invitation for us to share our experiences and pray for one another. You are a blessing!
I am so glad you had the courage to be vulnerable! Your testimony was so incredibly beautiful! You, my friend, are the blessing! And your novel looks phenomenal! I absolutely love your cover!
Thank you, Jennifer. You’re so sweet.
And about the cover–I love it, too! The Tyndale design team did a great job.
Johnnie, thank you for sharing your heart. I know it must be painful to share. You have become so dear to me, and now, I know how to pray better for you.
Shelli, thank you! I appreciate your prayers so very much. I always enjoy reading your comments and updates around the web. You’re always so encouraging.
I went through a very sad divorce 28 years ago. I remarried a wonderful man and was painfully widowed 11 years later. 11 years after being widowed I was blessed and married a widower who was looking for someone just like me. We have been married for almost 6 years now, and have loved our time together. Sadly, I was diagnosed with ALS last New Year’s Eve. Through it all…the good and bad times…I have felt His presence. He never promised to make our lives easy, but He has promised to never leave our sides. God bless you as you journey through this new phase of your life.
Audrey. you have been through so very much! And I can’t imagine what you’re going through now. I think of and pray for you often, and will continue to do so. Hugs my sweet sister!
Dearest Audrey. How precious that God blessed you with the love of two wonderful men after your sad experience. I’m sorry about your diagnosis, and my prayers are with you. And thank you for your encouragement. My very best to you and your family.