Confidence in Uncertainty

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Photo by Geralt taken from pixabay.com

“I’m quitting my job.”

It was the last thing I expected to hear from my ultra dependable, hard-working husband. And yet, looking back, I should’ve seen this coming. He’d been beaten down and overworked for far too long. I should’ve responded to his statement by wrapping him up in a giant hug.

Instead I hit freak-out mode. He was our sole bread winner. We were living in an expensive suburb of California. I stayed home with our daughter, homeschooled her in fact. And had zero desire to change our education plans.

Fast forward a few months, and my husband handed our house keys to our realtor, in essence declaring to her, our neighbors, our friends and one another that we didn’t plan on returning.

He’d turned his work keys in the night before.

My husband still hadn’t found a job, though we were hopeful. And I was panicked, like ready to vomit panicked, though I largely kept my emotions in check–to Steve and my daughter. My prayers, however, were another matter entirely:

Help us, Lord! Fix this! Give me just a hint that all this will work out. 

Then, we packed our van, and headed for the Grand Canyon. For a family vacation.

Photo by Unsplash taken from Pixabay.com

Photo by Unsplash taken from Pixabay.com

Because everyone goes on vacation when unemployed right? Made perfect sense to me.

Not.

Long story short, God came through. My husband received a job offer that very day. Our house sold for full asking price. That very day. We went on our vacation and the Slattery family lived happily ever after.

Not. So not. Because life is full of upheavals, uncertainty, set-backs and gut-churning panic moments. But over the years, having made it through numerous free falls and winding hikes, I’ve learned how to find peace in times of uncertainty. All I needed to do was follow–cling to, believe in, and live out–God’s Word. Because His promises will never, ever fail. 

The next time you’re facing a panicked moment, follow the steps laid out in Psalm 37:

TrustVersepic3 Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.

23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand. (NLT)

Trust. Not in our circumstances, our spouse, our savings account or that job, but trust in the Lord. Remember His character. He is always and only faithful, loving and true. Remember His promises and how He has proved them true for you in the past. Center your mind on truth–what you know from God’s Word, and refuse to engage negative, fretful thinking.

Do good. God has a good, eternal work for us to do each day. Some days that ministering to a neighbor or serving the needy. Other times it’s building up our family and pointing them to Christ. Consider that God may have put you in the position you’re in, as uncomfortable or frightening as it may be, to touch a heart or reveal His grace through you. So do good. Serve Him in the hard and the easy. And take joy in knowing your purpose extends beyond you and your circumstances. 

Delight in Christ. Draw near to Him through prayer, music, and Bible reading. Soak up His presence; let His Holy Spirit fill you completely, knowing He will be strong on your behalf. Don’t let the uncertainty of the moment rob you of the sweet treasure of resting in His presence.

Commit everything to Christ. I could likely write an entire book unpacking this one but I’ll sum it up with one word: surrender. Surrender the moment, the situation, yourself, your heart and plans, to God. Leave it all in His hands, knowing He’s working at this moment on your behalf.

Be still and wait patiently. He will fight for you. He is working out a plan for your life, for your family, for your marriage–for whatever you’re facing. You won’t move things along any faster by fretting, but you may when you take the time to be still in His presence, soaking up His strength and listening for His direction. At least, when you do that, there’s a much better chance you won’t do anything to make matters worse through a panicked reaction.

Follow. If you belong to Christ, your spiritual ears have been quickened so that you can recognize His voice (John 10:16). Scripture promises God will and does speak to us (Isaiah 30:21). Psalm 16:7 says, “Even at night my heart instructs me.” So listen. Then obey.

livingbygracepic-jpLet’s talk about this! What are some ways you grab hold of peace when life feels crazy and uncertain? Do you have any go-to verses you like to pray or meditate on? Any songs you find especially helpful?

I’ve been listening to the song below again and again. And again. It’s so beautiful, and a great reminder that no matter what we face, it is well. Because God will never leave us nor forsake us and all of His promises prove true.

For those in the Des Moines area, you can join me for the following:

May 13th: The Power of Grace

Time: 6:30pm

Location: Radiant Church located at 1300 Metro East Drive

Des Moines, IA

May 14th: Book signing, Barnes and Noble, Des Moines, IA. BooksigningposterforDesMoinesB&N-page-001

1pm-4pm

Where: 4550 University Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50266

(Is it me or does the signing jpg to the right appear blurry? Hm … might need to fix that!)

I also invite you to join me in prayer. On Thursday the 12th, after an interview with “I’ve Been There Ministries,” I’ll be speaking to the men at Bethel House shelter. Please pray that they will sense God’s deep love for them and they’ll draw near to Him in saving faith.

The next night, I’m speaking at Radiant Church, also in Des Moines. We’re hoping women served by Jericho Ministries, a ministry that reaches out to women working in the adult entertainment industry in the Des Moines  Metro, will attend my talk on Friday. Please pray that they will be moved to come and that through my talk they’ll sense God’s deep love for them and will be driven to grab hold of the freedom available through Christ.

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Another Great Author: Linda Windsor

I enjoy reading almost as much as I enjoy writing, and with so many wonderful authors pumping out one great story after another, my passion for great words will be fueled for quite some time. Reading Linda Windsor’s novel, Healer, is like stepping into another world, a world of romance, courage, uncertainty and yet, unyielding faith.

Intrigued by this Arhurian Scottland novel, the first in the Brides of Alba trilogy, I shot Linda an email loaded with questions. Her responses amazed me, and made me love her story even more. Thanks, Linda, for being so real with us. Ah, transparency. I love it!

Me: Brenna Gowry lives during a very tumultuous time and is forced to deal with horrors that most of couldn’t even imagine at a very young age. Where does she derive her strength?

Linda: The beauty of Brenna is that she has been raised in isolation from all that. Until she was forced into hiding, she was educated by the Sisters of Avalon, who like Brenna, are descended from Britain’s first century apostolic lineage. Her life has been saturated by Scripture and those who live it, including her nurse. Brenna is well aware that horrible things happen, things she cannot change, like the loss of her family.

But her hope and faith is in the now and future…what can be through God’s love. She believes God has a plan, even the darkest of her hours. She sees the best in people instead of the worst. What they can be. This is what draws the embittered hero to her and moves him to want to protect this innocent. However, he soon sees that Brenna’s faith and God are stronger and more effective than his sword.

Me: What do you most admire about Brenna?

Linda: I’ve never had a heroine who was quite so grounded in her faith, although she is no saccharine character. Brenna struggles with her temper, with her will versus God’s. Her pragmatic approach of reining in her feelings to work or pray a problem through is the result of learning that feelings are not reliable, but the Word is. Feelings are of this world and will change. The Word will not. So she faces internal conflict with this time and again. I can relate to this conflict of faith over feelings from having been through the pits of chemical depression, another type of isolation, but isolation nonetheless.

The one time she does take the matter of her loneliness into her own hands instead of waiting on the Lord, she makes a muck of things. When I do the same, I make a muck of me. But I’m a slower learner than Brenna <g>.

Me: What motivated you to write this story?

Linda: I have always been fascinated with the Dark Ages and early Christianity. What did the early Christians have or do that tamed the barbarians when Roman swords could not? Yes, I know it’s God’s love and the Word, but how did they spread it so effectively? History is full of what the church has done wrong in the past, but what did it do right? Having written a trilogy set this same era in Ireland (The Fires of Gleannmara—MAIRE, RIONA, and DEIRDRE), my research gave me many answers.

These enabled me to reach my daughter who was stalked and assaulted in college, turned against God in anger, and became involved in Wicca, or white witchcraft. Her return to her faith turned my interest into a passion to reach out to other New Age believers (New Age being old age at the core) and to educate Christians to be effective witnesses, rather than drive nonbelievers away with judgmental attitudes born of fear and misunderstanding.

Me: What is the main message or truth you hoped to convey?

The information garnered from my research opened the lines of discussion with my daughter and New Age believers, enabling me to witness effectively for Christ. She wouldn’t hear it from the Bible. Man could have made the Scripture up in her skewed view. But tidbits from history and the traditions (from more than one culture or nation) of the very scholars, or druids, so revered by New Age aficionados? Yes, she’d hear that.

It didn’t bring about an overnight change. She took the information in and like seeds of faith, God watered them over a period of years. On Mother’s Day a few years later, my daughter accepted Christ back into her life. Why? The church wasn’t perfect, but He was. The church made mistakes, but so did she. She learned to keep her eyes on Jesus, not the church per se. In Him, there will never be disappointment. Faith in man is faith on sand.

As Christians, we must be educated in our own church history and the beliefs of others. We must learn, not respond to nonbelievers with hearsay. That is another reason I have a Bibliography in the back of HEALER. I hope to post a short list of things I learned that helped me reach my daughter on my website at www.LindaWindsor.com. All these are woven into my historical novels, that they might teach as well as entertain with page-turning plots. At least that’s my hope.

Lastly, if you have a loved one who is lost, embittered, and does not know Jesus, do not grow faint with fear. God hears your prayers for them. He has a plan for them, tailored to them. It may not unfold the way we expect it to, but it will come to pass in His perfect time. Our hope for our loved ones are placed on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. He will not fail us…or them.

Me: What part of Brenna’s personality do you most relate to and why?

Linda: I understand her loneliness from isolation. A clan war didn’t isolate me, but chemical/biological depression did for several years. The way that Brenna deals with her trials is reflective of the many lessons God has taught me during my dark times.

Key to this is that feelings are temporal and not always trustworthy. God’s promises and assurances are. Focus on His Word when you feel darkness closing in and believe. Know you are not alone. He is there, even though you can’t feel His presence. And know that you’re in good company besides. Some of his favorite people had depression.

And I will add this. Accept help. There is no more shame in taking medication for chemical depression than there is in taking insulin for diabetes. Both are the results of poor body chemistry function.