Friday, July 31, 2015

Now what?

Death is hard...but you know that. Accidents are not expected, yet they happen. The emotions that accompany grief are a challenge to explain and even more difficult to experience. Over the last three days we've been walking a road that we would never choose. If you haven't read my previous post, "Grieving for, and with, Grace" you may not know our 20 year old niece was killed in a car/bike accident Wednesday morning.

Since writing those words much has happened - tears have flowed, hugs have been given and prayers prayed. The out pouring of support and sympathy has been amazing; the pouring out of tears has almost been unbearable. I have been numb and out of sorts, so have my kids. I've struggled to focus and my mind has wondered. Today, day 3, has been my most difficult...I think the shock is wearing off and reality is setting in. This really happened and we are preparing to bury a girl who was full of life. Friends, I know you've experienced loss and understand it hurts.

It not only creates pain, but it also can mess with your mind. Well, mine at least. I know I'm lacking sleep and have been focused on helping my 5 kids process through a grief they've never known. As I worked to take care of them, I kind of forgot to take care of myself. This morning I didn't want to get out of bed, I longed for the nightmare to be over, but life kept happening.

A week ago I was in North Carolina having a wonderful time at the She Speaks Conference and returned encouraged. I boarded an airplane and believed God had really called, equipped and prepared me to speak and write. I asked Him for open doors and a humble, obedient heart. I arrived home never expecting Him to do what He has done. The blog post I wrote Wednesday, one with words I needed to hear, is one He used to encourage the hearts of many...more than I can even imagine. He's answering the prayer I prayed, but yet I've found myself struggling.

I'm not questioning the call, but instead my desire. I've found myself thinking if this, the death of a loved one and the grief it includes, is what it takes, I don't want to do it. Like I said, grief messes with my mind. I've sent a few rambling emails and took part in a few similar conversations, only to finish them and ask, "What did I just say?" (Sorry to those of you on the other end.)

This afternoon, all my kids were busy else where and I had some much needed alone time, well I wasn't really alone because I was able to be still, read the Word and talk to God. Prior to this, I was driving to the field to deliver my boys for a combine ride and God was whispering to my heart. Farming is a job that's never done, it's actually more of a lifestyle than a career, and in many ways it's similar to faith. Our journey of faith is continuous...we can't push pause when hard things happen, or good for that matter. We must press on and do the work, even if we don't feel like it. Just like the guys kept combining, I had to keep seeking.

As I got back in the vehicle, a line from a song caught my attention - "I will choose to believe the voice of Truth." Instantly, I recalled a boy from last month's VBS class...we were talking about being with friends who were doing the wrong thing. I was hinting at avoiding the situation and wise, little Andrew says, "You can choose not to do it."

And friend, these two reminders - the one to keep pressing on and the other about choice, were just what I needed as I wrestle with the question, "Now what?" Grace's earthly life is over, but your's and mine are not. God has not completed the work He's begun in us and He's promised to do just that. (See Philippians 1:6) If that's the case, we must keep walking with Him, even when, no especially when we want to crawl up in a ball and stay in bed. I'm not saying we can't cry and grieve and push pause on our to-do list, but we must stay in communion with the God who created us. We must abide in His Word. (John 15) We must look for Him in our day (1 Chronicles 16:11) even when our vision is blurred from the tears that won't stop. He's there, He's here and He won't leave us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) I'm grateful others are praying, but I can't forget I need to pray as well. (1 Thes. 5:17) My feelings can leave me down, make me sad and create doubt, but I'm reminded of Lysa TerKeurst saying, "Feelings are indicators, not dictators." They can tell what my mind is experiencing, but they don't have to determine what I believe.

God has given us free will and the power of choice...when I'm sad and my mind is racing, I can choose doubt, fear, despair or guilt. Or we can choose TRUTH. For those of us who loved Grace, our life has changed, but our God has not. The Scripture that encouraged me last week holds the same power today. The God I praised for being good and faithful, powerful and present in North Carolina during such a spiritual high is still worthy of my praise now in Iowa during such a devastating loss. Friends, we must remember that God loves us. The same God who saved Grace spiritually can save us emotionally. Our Lord and Savior knows what it is to suffer and He will walk this road with us. He had a plan for Grace, and He has one for you and me too. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I believe those plans will intersect in the days to come...on Monday we will celebrate Grace's life as her funeral is held at our local high school. Everyone thought her time on the court was done, but God is giving her one last chance to shine and I truly believe lives and hearts will be impacted in the gym for eternity!

Today I took some time to read back through the Facebook messages I had from Grace and I'm grateful. Her final statement spoke to me deeply...I had sent her a pic of our daily Bible reading calendar, which on the top Joy had reminded us to pray for Grace and her mission trip. She was appreciative, shared a bit and closed with this, "Staying energized and pumped up to work with the kids is hard sometimes. But God just keeps giving us what we need :)"

I read those words and God spoke to my heart, assuring me He gave Grace all she needed and He would do the same for me and all who are grieving. His mercies are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:23)

Friend, I don't know if you're struggling with a "Now what?" in your own life, but perhaps we need to do what my daughter did and add a reminder to our daily calendar and then do it. We will no longer be praying for Grace, our niece and cousin, but oh our need for God's GRACE is vital. His Word tells us, "Ask and it shall be given to you." (Matthew 7:7) We're also instructed to "cast our cares on Him because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7) Aside from God's GRACE, I've also been convicted that I need to pray for hunger...aside from my two, little, growing boys the rest of us haven't had much of an appetite. And physically that's a problem, but it's worse when it's a spiritual one. The other day I read Wendy Blight say, "Faith feeds on the Word of God." Today I prayed, "Lord help me long for your spiritual milk like a newborn (1 Peter 2:2) and make my soul pant for You like the deer pants for water." (Psalm 42:1)

It's been humbling to hear from others who read my last I need just as much as everyone else and I pray this message encourages as well. I know it's one I will return to in the days to come...God often has me write about Truth because He knows I will again need to read it! May we continue to remember who He is and power He has while we live out the plan He wants to unfold! Love you friends and thank you for your prayers!
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Grieving for, and with, Grace

Grace - it's a word that carries a lot of weight, one with a big meaning and today one that has brought tears to my eyes. You see my barely 20 year old niece, Grace, was killed in a bike-car accident early this morning. The mention of the word has shook my being and comforted my heart all at the same time...not sure I can explain, but now in the late hours of the night I feel like I'm supposed to try.

Grace, in the blue, at the annual Beran Labor Day Camp-out
So let me begin...Grace, though we weren't yet related, entered my life as a little girl long before I became her aunt 14 years ago. She was just little when she'd come to my parent's house and play with my dad's puppies. That smiley, little blond girl loved every animal there ever was. Time together on the farm put a jump start on our relationship when I married her uncle Job and became her aunt "Dill". After a few years passed, the same sweet girl with a spunk for life joined me on the PeeWee softball team and as she entered junior high she livened up my 7th grade basketball team. During those same years she brought joy and laughs to our home when she'd spend time playing with my kids and helping scrub my kitchen floor.

I can't begin to tell you the times today I heard about Grace's uniqueness, her love for life and people. She truly never met a stranger and had no fear in sharing her faith. She was only 20, but had already touched lives across the world...she'd spent time on sports teams, music groups and in speech competitions. She'd walked the streets of small towns as a child promoting Christian radio in local parades. She'd attended faith based conferences and served as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Huddle leader. She'd been to Peru, Panama and Costa Rica to share the love of Christ.

But it's not about what she did, it's about the life she lived. From words I've heard others say in the last 15 hours - "She had a smile that lit up a room." "She'd give you the shirt off her back." "She was someone I could go to if I needed anything." " She was such a generous daughter of Christ and followed the word with certainty and love." I could go on, but Grace wouldn't want me to...she be the first to admit she fell short time and time again. Really her life wasn't about Grace, her name, but GRACE, God's favor. 

Celebrating her one and only
college season
As her former basketball coach, I will say she lived up to her name in more than one way...she brought it to life on the court. Early on she wasn't always graceful as her growing feet got in the way of her running legs. But, more important than the grace she showed through her motions was the grace that flowed from her heart. 

Now, I'm not going to pretend this is easy...we've shed countless tears, wrestled with the why's, don't understand the reason and can't make sense of her death. It hurts. I think of her parents, six siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, 30+ cousins and too many to count friends and my heart breaks. I watch my kids mourn and it hurts. I've experienced loss and said "Good-bye" to loved ones, but today I've experienced groans from places I didn't know I had. And though I've been in tears and found myself crying out, I've experienced God holding me, all of us, up.

The peace that Paul talks about, the one that surpasses all understanding? It's real. I can't explain, but if you have it, you know. And friend, this peace only comes from God's grace. A grace we can't earn and would never deserve, but one God freely gives. If we are willing to receive. Have you received this GRACE? Nothing would make our Grace smile more than to know her mission continued even in her death, accept God's gift of eternal life. I know without a doubt that Grace, the girl who loved fun, is having the time of her life in heaven right now. She had plans to leave her Iowa home for college in Canada in a few short weeks, but like my daughter said, "God changed them, He took her to heaven instead." A year ago, she left the farm and God worked through her; today she went to her eternal home and God is still working through her. 

Friend, I'm going to take a lesson from a girl who was my niece and became my friend, I'm going to be bold and put this out there...we need the GRACE of God. It changes everything...our perspective, our purpose and our pain. God's gift of GRACE is available for you and me...simply admit you are a sinner (and know this - we all are), believe this - God sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (see John 3:16) and then "confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)

This won't take the pain away, but it will provide the peace that only comes with knowing God and acknowledging His Son Jesus as Lord and Savior. Life will still be hard, bad things will happen and grief will hurt, but there will be hope and the knowledge that this is not our home. Death, for the living, is a terrible thing, we're the ones left with loss, but God knows that...He lost a Son and is still close to the broken-hearted. The God we praised before Grace's accident is still on the throne after her death. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow!

I say this at 1 in the morning with tears in my eyes and simply a blur on my screen. On the outside I look like a mess and I feel like one too, but deep in my heart I know, I know God is good and He will carry us through. I also know I can echo the word's Grace shared on Facebook not long ago - 

God is good. No matter what you are feeling or not feeling today, that will never change. God is our constant when we're confused, our rock when we're unsure and the one person I know I can always count on. He's really been showing me lately that He is a fact in my life. My feelings and heart can't always define my relationship with Christ because I'm human and I sin and sometimes, they will trick me. But, God is still God. He is still the same yesterday, today and forever. Trust Him no matter what because He will never let you down!

Oh Grace, our former cow-lick kisser, puppy lover and mutton-buster, I miss you deeply. And I know I'm not alone, people literally all over the world are grieving your loss. My prayer is these same people will be forever impacted by God's GRACE as we miss the one we loved and seek the One you loved!! 

One day I long to hear the words I know you did, "Well done good and faithful servant!!" 

My faithful blog reading friends, I ask you to keep us in your prayers. Above is the Harken family, whose life will never be the same. Jennah, Grace's older sister is set to get married on their farm on the 8th...a day everyone was looking forward to, but now, on the outside, it will look different than they expected. Tonight as I carried extra food to our church basement, the one that was supposed to host a bridal shower for Jennah earlier in the day, I saw a verse that we must remember and live out today and always, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Monday, July 27, 2015

No Turning Back

Have you ever been headed in one direction only to turn around and go back to where you came from? Sometimes this is necessary, like when my daughter forgets her glove for softball practice or we leave the library books sitting on the table. Oh, but over the last few days, I've been reminded that this strategy has no place when it comes to walking in faith. 

Upon returning home from the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference, God has been urging me to keep taking the next step. While in North Carolina, my Father, the One who sees me, loves me and has a plan for me spoke much to my heart. I was reminded that I am His Masterpiece and His daughter...a woman with a calling she's worthy of walking out. Prayer and conversation with a wise woman challenged and convicted me, encouraged and equipped me. This friend knows my story, believes in my calling and is aware of my struggles. During our time together she spoke truth to me and talked with me about my mat. The place my mind and heart sometimes stays to be left paralyzed and defeated. 

I've thought about this more and God reminded me that there are times He's led me off my mat and worked through me. I've stepped off the mat and out of my comfort zone...just last week I left the farm and boarded a plane, 10 years ago there's no way that would have happened. He brought other memories to mind and I was blessed to recall the faithfulness of our Father. The trip down memory lane didn't end there as God showed me a reel of completely different situations...times that tend to follow these big steps of faith. Friend, these steps of faith aren't limited to stepping out and doing things for God, but are often connected to the thoughts in my head and beliefs in my heart. 

I know what the Bible, what God, says about my identity, my worth and His love, can believe it in my head and act because of it, but then I often regress. Satan attacks, criticism comes or I make a mistake and I'm right back where I've been...I turn around and go back to my mat. The one Jesus talks about in John 5:8 when he says, "Get up. Pick up your mat and walk." The invalid was told what to do and he did it. In the past few years I've been getting up and walking when God says, but I've forgot to pick up my mat. I've left it there and far too often returned to that sad, sorry place.

All this thinking has put some pictures in my head. I envision myself stepping out in faith, following God with confidence though my feet may be shaking and voice quivering and I see Him do things through me I never expected. Those are good things to see, but then I see myself coming back to a mat that is covered with lies - you're not good enough, you're not worthy, you don't deserve this, God can use someone else. My friend mentioned the difficulty in watching this happen and now as I type it out for you, and especially me, it breaks my heart too. 

I know writing about this and shedding a few tears isn't going to change it, so I've been asking God to help me. I believe He's starting to answer that prayer as He brought a few passages to mind...

This idea of turning back is addressed in Genesis 19:26 where we read, "But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." She didn't turn back, she simply looked back and disobeyed the command God had given. Friend, we too are given a command...Jesus has told us to pick up our cross and follow Him. Have you ever played "Follow the Leader" and spent the whole game looking at the person behind you? It won't work! The same is true as you and I follow Christ...we must keep our eyes on Him and follow in His steps. That doesn't happen when I'm returning to my mat. 

Luke 9:62 came to mind as well - "Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Now, as a farm girl this verse speaks my language...plowing is something my husband does every spring and fall. It's a job that takes time and concentration. It's a process that serves a purpose for the crops we grow and harvest. Once he starts the tractor on a pass down the field, he never puts it in reverse, but instead keeps his eye on the marker and goes straight ahead. As I think about this God is telling me to do the same...keep your eyes on me Jill and keep going forward. It's also interesting to think about the context of this verse, Jesus says these words after some potential followers want to go back before they obey. When God calls us to obey and I believe this relates to obedience in regards to our calling and our thoughts, we must move ahead. Friend, we can't go back and do the things we've always done or believe the thoughts we've always believed. 

I know this is hard, I think I've struggled with it my entire life, but let's take some encouragement from the account of Ruth. Naomi has told Ruth and Orpah to stay in their homeland, but Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." (Ruth 1:16) At the time she didn't know how the story would end, but we do. She didn't just follow Naomi, she was following God and think about where that led! Another point to take from this verse is - sometimes others will try to encourage us to turn back, to return to the mat. It may be through a person's critical word or Satan's deceitful lie, but either way we must learn a lesson from Ruth and stay the path, take one step at a time and go where God leads. 

I don't know if this a struggle for you, but I've clearly been reminded that it is a big one for me and how I long to pick up my mat to never sit on it again! I'm asking God to help you and me continue moving forward and closer to Him whether it's through big leaps of faith or small steps of obedience. As we walk that path may He continue to encourage and equip us to keep pressing on and let go of all desires to turn back!! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Topic We Don't Like to Talk About

Hello Friends! And a special hello to visitors from the Encouragement Cafe, I'm grateful you've joined me here. In my devotional, "Guilt + Shame = Unworthy", I shared a bit about what we need to do when we struggle with thoughts all these emotions create. I also touched on the idea of feeling bad when we sin, which leads me to this post.'s a little word with a BIG meaning. If you grew up in the church, it's a word you probably learned at a young age. If not, it might be a bit foreign to you. If I asked one of my little boys what it meant they'd say something like, "Doin bad stuff" or "Something that gets you in trouble." Webster defines it as "an offense against a religious or moral law". Biblically we could say it's what separates us from God. Romans 3:23 also states that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

Sin isn't the typical topic for a blog post or a friendly conversation, it's an idea we'd like to avoid, but yet it's a reality of our lives, so it's something we need to address. First of all I don't want this to be a downer of a post and it's not at all what I expected to write about, but yet it's what God has on my heart. As people, it can be easy to look at the world around us and see all the places others are falling short, mistakes they are making and rules they are breaking. But most of us aren't that quick when we look in the mirror.

This morning as we finished family devotions, my husband asked, "What did Joseph do when he was tempted to sin?" One of my little people had the answer - "He ran." He removed himself from the situation and didn't think about flirting with the temptation. He lived out a quote we try to teach our kids - "Call sin, sin and don't enter in."

As the day has passed, I've thought about this from time to time...the moment I wanted to say something to my husband that I'd later regret, the time my daughter frustrated me and I kept my mouth shut and when Satan tried to plant a seed of doubt and I silenced the voice of the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy.

Friend, sin is more than what we see in the news (though it's there), at times it's what God sees when He looks at my heart and maybe even your's. Sure I'm not on the late night news and you won't be in today's headlines, but sin is sin.

God doesn't look at things the way we His eyes sin is sin. This is addressed in the 10 Commandments (see Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21) and Jesus takes things a bit further and talks about murder not being limited to physical death, but how we can murder with our mouths in anger. (Matt. 5:19-22) He also addresses adultery and how lusting is a form of that. (Matt. 5:27-28) Jesus addresses all of the original 10 Commandments and we must remember we will be held responsible for our actions and our thoughts.

Sin may not be something we often talk about, but I've been reminded it's something we need to think about and do something about. This isn't an easy task; like I mentioned in my blog it can leave us feeling guilty, shameful and unworthy. But if left unaddressed it can leave us prideful, empty and separated from the God who created us, loves us and is willing to forgive us.

Friend, today I encourage you to take a look in the mirror and ask God to examine your heart - He will show you the sin in it. And when He does, ask Him to help you admit it, address it, repent of it and work through it. He will do that too. Remember the world may not read about this or see it on the news, but God already knows. Shouldn't that be all that matters?

If thoughts of this little exercise leaving you feeling unworthy, please join me in remembering the lesson we learned from the prodigal son - he let those feelings drive him to the dad who loved him. Oh that we will do the same!!

To close, here are the most important words of the whole post...ones that come from God's Word...ones that have the power to transform...ones that are useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

"He who conceals his sin doesn't not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy." Proverbs 28:13

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:7-9

I am laid low in the dust;
    preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
    teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
    that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
    be gracious to me and teach me your law. Psalm 119:25-29

The prayer from my heart for your's and mine - 
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth
   and this meditation of my heart
   be pleasing in your sight,
  LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:13-14

Friday, July 10, 2015

"I'm keeping them!"

A BIG welcome to those of you joining me from Encouragement Cafe today! It's an honor to be sharing a devotional at that table; if you missed my "Lesson from Fishing" you can read it HERE. Friend, I pray you will do that - not because you need to read my words, but I think the message is important.

Just 2 of their special rocks!
Let me explain...In May, I wrote that devotional and prayed God would use it for whoever read it. Well, last night He answered that prayer when I read the devotional as I prepared to write this post.

But first a little background, we've had a busy week on the farm - new calves, weed pulling (in the field, not a garden) and rock picking. One day I glanced down and saw a pile of rocks by my kids' feet and as I asked about them, they responded, "We're keeping them!" Their words frustrated me as we already had a collection in the yard from the previous day. Before I said a word though, it was as if God whispered to my heart, "You keep things too." That statement is true - just ask my husband, so I did't say another word, but wondered what He meant.

Something else that's true - I've honestly been struggling a bit. I've felt overwhelmed, down and even on the verge of depressed. Though I have a daughter named "Joy", I haven't been experiencing much of that. It's not a place I like to be and I want to say it's not a place I've chosen to be, but yet here I am. I know God is trying to teach me something, but I also believe Satan is at work as well. I believe God will again prove Psalm 40 is true in my life - He will pull me out of the pit and put my feet on solid ground.

One of the ways He's trying to do just that is through today's devotional. Casting clearly is not a one time thing...that's true when we're fishing and also when we are praying. Friend, 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, "Cast ALL your cares on Him because He cares for you." As I read this verse again, my little boy's statement and God's follow-up whisper came to mind. Lately, I've been keeping some of my cares and anxieties.

My little people keep their rocks because they are cool and special and fun, but I'm not sure why I keep my cares from God. I guess sometimes I think they don't matter or it's not a big deal. Others I'm probably too busy and get distracted. Regardless of the reason, it's really just an excuse and that's not what God wants or I need.

So tonight before putting these thoughts on this screen, I did the very thing I encouraged my devo readers to do - I took out pen and paper and cast my cares...even the ones I thought I wanted to keep. It was a freeing exercise, even if I had to cast the same thing a few times. As I was casting, I was praying and asking God to show me what I was trying to keep.

I don't think it's a surprise that Peter uses this illustration...He was a fisherman! And all fisherman know - Casting is not a one time thing!! Friend, I pray you, and I, will cast our cares, our worries, our anxieties, our fears, our everything. Why? Because the One we're casting them to, cares for us more than we can imagine!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sometimes it needs to be heard...

The dentist...not my favorite appointment as a child or as a Mom. The other day I had to take my 5 year old son, Jed, to get a tooth fixed. He'd been there in January and did fine with the whole process, but this time as the dentist prepared to give him the shot it seemed I brought a different child.

Jed was squirming in the chair, raising his arms and wanting NOTHING to do with the process. I walked over to the other side of the chair, took his hand and tried to encourage him. No change. We talked about how good he did last time, reminded him Dad would be proud and the other kids would think he was strong. None of this mattered and now tears were starting to fall.

As I watched him struggle I was praying. I'd been praying. We'd all prayed together at breakfast. Still, God seemed to be leading me to tell Jed we could pray, so that's what I said. Then Dr. Ray (Mr. Tooth Puller-Outer according to Jed) asked, "Is it OK if I pray for you?" Jed did a sheepish head nod and Dr. Ray began..."Dear Jesus, we ask you to help Jed. Give him courage...."

We said, "Amen" and Jed took a deep breath. I asked him, "Are you going to do it?" He again shook his head, laid still and squeezed my hand. The dentist was able to numb his mouth and do all he needed to do.

While I observed all of this, a thought entered my mind - It's good people know we are praying for them, but sometimes they need to hear it. Jed knew we had prayed and heard Job (his dad) say he'd be praying, but nothing brought peace like actually hearing the prayer in the moment of trouble. It was amazing to see God answer our prayer and fill my little man with peace. I honestly think he'd still have a sore tooth if we hadn't prayed.

Later that same day I mentioned to a friend in an email that I was feeling overwhelmed, a bit stressed and down. Awhile later she replied with some kind words and a typed out prayer. Granted I didn't 'hear' her prayer, but as I read it and prayed it myself, God worked. He brought me the same peace Jed had experienced.

All that to say, "Is there someone who needs to hear (or read) your prayer today?" Lifting others to the Lord is important and powerful, but when we take it a step further and share our words with them, I know God does something special. I saw Him do it this week. If God puts it on your heart to do just this and then opens the door, I'd love to hear your story, so stop back and share in the comments. Or if you've experienced the power of heard prayer, share that as well.

Today may we remember -

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, 
it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 
Matthew 18:19

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 
Colossians 4:2