Happy Planner, jobs, and hope. Today, I’m sharing a little about the things going on in our lives this week as we continue job hunting and chase dreams.
First, I want to thank all the good friends and readers who have asked about our job situation. It’s been a bumpy ride full of highs and lows. So, I thought I would write here about the recent plot twists that have occurred for those interested. If you need to catch up, read my prior post, The Next Chapter.
The Job Stuff
Easter weekend we drove to Houston for an interview and Dan got the job. We felt relieved. We received an offer the following week. However, it was lower than expected and over the next few weeks, hubby tried to renegotiate the terms, but they didn’t budge much. They wouldn’t pay to relocate us to Houston, nor would they allow us to push out the start date so we could afford the move financially. Talk about a rock and a hard place. The deeper into the woods we went, the more it seemed like maybe this isn’t the job for us. Honestly, this whole process has been so stressful and discouraging. But we keep putting our hope in the Lord, that even though we can’t see it, He is working on a solution.
Dan has another opportunity in Houston. So we will wait to see if that produces any fruit. We’ve passed the phone interviews so we are on our way to an in-person interview probably this coming week. Please continue to keep us in prayer that we find the right job.
The Happy Planner
Onto my news. This week, I applied for The Happy Planner ® planner squad. The squad is group of people (fans) selected to represent the Happy Planner as ambassadors online and on social media.
Until now, I’ve been too intimidated to apply for the planner squad. Too afraid of the rejection, if I’m being honest. But I’ve had so many people encourage me to apply this year because they know the deep devotion I have for the Happy Planner. They saw the transformation I had when I first discovered it in 2015. They see me share it enthusiastically with everyone I meet. As one friend put it, “you’re already an influencer because of everyone you introduced it to – this just makes it official.”
If you want to read my full sappy love story with the Happy Planner, read my post, How the Happy Planner Changed My Life. I realize the odds are against me. The Happy Planner fanbase is bigger than ever, but it’s like the lottery. Someone has to win and you’ll never win if you aren’t playing. It’s a dream of mine.
Can I tell you a secret? I almost feel ridiculous for even trying.
It feels impossible to be selected, but we have to chase our dreams no matter how silly or unlikely they might seem to others. Don’t give up on your dreams. Giving up is the surest way to fail.
The past twelve months has seemed like a “a losing season.” There was lots of loss (friends, family, jobs). But I have hope that things are about to change. Hope is the happy anticipation of good. It is the belief that good things will happen regardless of current evidence. Through hope, we know our situation can change, for the good, in an instant.
I have hope. I believe God has good things in store for us. He can give Dan the right job and me the planner squad. He’s bigger than any road blocks. But even if he doesn’t, I know he still has good, amazing plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). I know there are still good things on the horizon, even though things feel bleak now. I have hope.
Disappointment in life can actually make you question God’s goodness. I have some words of encouragement and advice on how to handle disappointment with God.
As I write this, I am in the midst of disappointment. Not only are we currently losing, but we didn’t get the job we desperately wanted. We wanted it so bad we could taste it and it seemed like the perfect fit. We prayed so much about it too. So at times of deep disappointment it’s natural for us to ask, “God, what are you doing?”
Our Response to Disappointment
Disappointment is always easy to explain away when it isn’t you. We’re quick to tell a friend that everything will work out. We use phrases like “it’s in God’s time” or “it just wasn’t in God’s plan.” It all sounds good when it isn’t us. But how do we handle disappointment with God when we don’t get our way?
Typically, with a knee jerk reaction. We may think God didn’t hear our prayers. Similarly, we may feel that our prayers don’t matter to God. We want to know why God didn’t give us what we asked for. The truth is sometimes we may never know, but more often than not, I’ve looked back at my life and have been grateful for many prayers that God didn’t answer my way. One thing I do know is that God always answers prayers. It just might not be the response we’re looking for. First, let’s take a look at God’s responses when the answer isn’t yes.
Your request is sinful or may lead you into sin
It may not be good for you – regardless of it’s appearance
It may not be the right time
God is still moving the “chess pieces” and not yet finished with your story
He needs you to learn, grow, or do something first
I have something better
There is something better He wants to give you
I often equivocate God’s timing to a chess game. There are many moving pieces. There are obstacles. Each strategic move brings you closer to your goal. Sometimes it takes several moves to get into an advantageous position. When you don’t see your prayer being answered, you may wonder if God is moving at all. Throughout my life, I’ve learned that while I was waiting, God was busy moving all the pieces of my life for the best possible outcome to my prayer. When I didn’t see God moving – He was actually moving the most…behind the scenes.
How to Handle Disappointment with God
Disappointment comes from an expectation not being met. Read that again. An expectation. Could it be we feel entitled?
The Story of Job
Let’s take a look at the book of Job. The devil requests to tempt Job and God sets the parameters. The first tragedies don’t cause Job to curse the Lord. Therefore, Satan tells God it’s only because he was not allowed to hurt Job directly. So again, God redraws the parameters saying Satan can hurt him, but can’t take his life. Consequently, he is tortured by sores and boils. Job wants answers. Chapter after chapter Job complains, grumbles, and accuses – demanding answers from the Lord. By chapter 38, God has had enough. THEN THE LORD SPOKE TO JOB OUT OF A STORM.”
God is angry and He has a question or two for Job.
“Where were you when I laid the Earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!” (Job 38: 4-5) God is making a point. You know nothing. I know everything. God continues for two chapters announcing His glory, then waits for Job’s reply. Job is speechless. “I am unworthy. How can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.” (Job 40: 4)
Job has no answers. He’s been humbled and the best thing He can do in a moment like that is to put his hand over his mouth and shut up!
I’m not insisting we don’t grieve. Grieving is important to process loss. However, take a lesson instead from the Psalms. It’s okay to tell God your confused, disappointed, even angry. But those lamentations should immediately be followed by praise and vows of trust. Keep faith that God knows everything – including what is best for you and He hasn’t forgotten about your needs.
One of the best ways to ward off disappointment is to be grateful for what you already have. If you are complaining, you aren’t giving thanks. God has already given you many things and He has helped you thus far. As disappointed as you might be, try to focus on the blessings in your life.
I know what I’m saying in this post isn’t vogue. Lots of modern churches would have you believe that God is chummy with you and they focus on messages of prosperity. But let’s take a lesson from Job. God is not a peer. He is holy (set apart) and we should practice reverence. Additionally, while occasional messages of prosperity are uplifting, it shouldn’t be our Christian focus. God is not a genie in a lamp here to grant us wishes. I just think sometimes we forget, He does not exist to do our bidding; we exist to do His. Be encouraged that God wants what is good for us (even if it isn’t what we think it is) and He will bless us. If you need proof of that, count your blessings.
Encourage Yourself in God’s Goodness
When we feel disappointed by God, you may question God’s goodness. In those dark moments, remind yourself of God’s character. This is how to handle disappointment with God.
God is often described as just in scripture. I find amazing peace in knowing God is just! Not only is He just, but scripture says He “loves justice.” Justice is all about making what is wrong, right. No one can mistreat you, no one can take something away from you without God later making it right. He promises to payback what was wrong. Knowing this should curb feelings of disappointment or unfairness.
“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love,” (Micah 7:18) To be merciful is to extend grace when none is deserved. It means He pardons us, is slow to anger, and does not stay angry. Knowing that God is merciful tells us there are no grudges held against us. God is not spiteful. Take comfort that God is not “punishing you” by not answering your prayer the way you desire.
Holy / Righteous
To be holy literally translates to “separate.” God is separate from us in the sense that there is no evil in his character. Simply put, God is good…all the time. He is separated from sin and the sinful world. He does not participate in sin. Therefore, knowing that He has no evil in him tells us His intentions are good for us and we can trust him.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus came into this world as a baby? Why not come at the age of 30, just in time to start his ministry? Ask yourself, why put up with sickness, temptation, betrayals, and bad days? Why weep over the death of Lazarus when he knew he’d raise him from death only minutes later? So you would know He is compassionate. He understands your pain. God knows what troubles you. He’s been there. He sympathizes with your problems. Knowing that He is compassionate and that he has gone out of his way to show you, should bring you comfort.
Rich In Love
God’s character is loving. It’s a love we can’t even comprehend. But let’s start with the fact that He couldn’t be separated from us and therefore sent His son down to pay the price for our sin. (seeJohn 3:16)
Take a moment and read my earlier post Identity in Christ. Stop and see yourself through the eyes of God. Read what He has to say about you and how much He loves you. Once you remind yourself about how good God is and how much He loves you, it’s hard to feel disappointed for long.
Find the Fruit in Your Wilderness
For Christians there is purpose to our suffering. Everything, including our trials should bring us closer to God. How often do we become complacent when things are smooth and easy? Hardship reminds us we can’t stray too far from God because we need him.
Furthermore, everything is orchestrated to further God’s kingdom and proclaim His glory. If you remain steadfast and hope in the Lord during your troubles, you also become a witness for the Kingdom – a living example of the divine grace that passes all understanding. That strength in the time of adversity invites non-believers to desire the strength only God can provide and thereby the church.
Spread the gospel. When necessary, use words.
We are ambassadors of Christ. Remember…God is in the business of divine self-promotion.
Grateful For “Unanswered” Prayers
When I look back over the course of my life, I’m grateful for prayers to which God said no. Ultimately, what he gave me was far better. In fact, some things were so good, I never could have even imagined asking for it. Time and time again he has proven to me to just trust him and let him work out my problems for me. God’s ultimate solutions don’t disappoint.
If you feel this message has helped you, save it for later by bookmarking or pinning it. Share it with a friend who needs it. I pray the Holy Spirit speaks to you and comforts you.
If you are struggling with how to handle disappointment with God, leave a prayer request in the comments below. I’d love to pray for you.
Maybe you’ve watched the hit Christian movie “War Room” based on the book “Fervent.” Today, I’m going to show you how to make a war binder – a mini war room from which to pray.
A Travel Notebook Cover
Art Supplies (stickers, markers, highlighters, etc)
A travelers notebook is a long notebook. It is typically a thin book and contains blank, lined, graph, or dot grid pages. A travelers notebook cover is just a cover designed to hold anywhere from one to six notebooks. Inside the cover are bands that hold the books in place like a spine. Travelers notebook covers can be found at Michaels craft store. However, I wanted something more personal. So I had someone make one for me on Etsy. It has a sewn cover and I chose an anchor theme because of all the sea and water references in scripture, but you choose whatever resonates with you. I’ve provided a few links below, but you can find them at other places both online and at craft stores.
War Binder Subjects
Honestly, this is totally up to you. This is how you personalize it and make it your own. Your war binder should reflect your personal relationship with Christ. But to give you idea of what sections you can create, I’m going to show you what I do. Hopefully it will spark your creativity. I have six books:
Scripture (memory verses, important scriptures, devotionals)
Miscellaneous (anything that doesn’t fit in the above categories)
The inside pages are where the magic happens. The photo below is a page from my Book Notes notebook. I’m always reading and it’s here that I write down the main takeaways. You decorate it as little or as much as you want. Don’t worry if you aren’t artistic, there are lots of ways to fake that (more on that in a minute). I got these notebooks from May Designs.
As you can see below, I’ve written down my sermon notes. These are really helpful as I try to implement what I learned on Sunday, throughout the week. Personally, I like to scribble notes in church and then come home and organize my thoughts in the war binder. Remember, no one is going to see your war binder unless you want them to. Make sure to make it your own instead of copying others. Making a war binder is all about inspiration.
My scripture notebook is where I keep memory verses I want to remember. I turn to these during rough times or during my prayer for praise. Personally, I prefer to decorate the pages with something the scripture inspires within me. I did this page with colored pencils, but you can use any art supplies you want to decorate your pages, if that’s the way you want your war binder to look. Remember this is YOUR war binder. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.
If you aren’t artistic there are other options. You can decorate with stickers and washi tape. Illustrated faith has lots of accessories like stickers and die cuts for those who don’t want to draw or need inspiration to get started. Washi tape is a Japanese masking tape. It is very colorful and comes in a variety of patters, colors and widths. It can immediately brighten up a page. Use it for creating borders and columns. You can cut it into shapes, ribbons and flags. Get creative!
Prayer & Gratitude
In my prayer book, I have my gratitude on the opposite prayer page. Some people dedicate a separate book for gratitude. It’s up to you. Personally, I love writing down my blessings and answered prayers in my war binder and thanking God for them before I ask for more. Again, do what feels comfortable to you. I love writing down answered prayers. When I feel like God isn’t moving in my life, I open this up and look at all He has given me and how he has answered me so many times before. If you aren’t sure where to begin, read my Gratitude Journal Prompts.
Finally, I keep a miscellaneous notebook for anything that doesn’t quite fit in some of my other notebooks. These might include prayer cards that someone gives me, devotionals, book lists and other types of things.
War Binder Support
Lastly, if you need additional inspiration, Facebook is a great place to look. The main war binder group has over 35,000 members. There is also a sister prayer group and pen pal group.
In closing, I hope I’ve help you get started with your war binder. I’d love to hear what you put in yours in the comments below.
Please give a warm welcome to guest blogger, Jessica Schweikardt. Jessica’s blog, Forever and Evie, focuses on the highs and lows of motherhood and the things less talked about. Please be sure to follow her on social media and like her Facebook page. In this post, she guides us through covering our kids in prayer.
As parents we all want to raise good people to leave for this planet. If you’re like me then you are a little bit scared that you’re doing it all wrong and you’re going to mess them up forever and whose idea was it to put these precious kids in your care anyway??
Well the answer is simple, God did. God gave you these little ones to raise and mold into kind and caring adults. He has entrusted them to you that you might bring them up in His word and teach them about His love. This is no simple task, especially in this day and age when this world is just waiting to pull our kids down with its dark weight. I, for one, know that I need help. I can’t do this alone, and even though my husband and I share the exact same goals for what we would love our children to become, we know that we are fighting against a force that we just do not have the power to battle without the help of the one who created everything.
Covering Our Kids in Prayer
So, I pray. I pray for my kids every single day. I pray for things that we are currently dealing with, situations that may arise in the future, and I pray that a love for God is sparked in my children and that they always seek to know and please Him. I pray against sickness, heartache, and anything that might be bring harm or pain to my children’s lives. I pray for their future spouses, future children, and for their future careers. I pray for next week, next month, next year. That my kids continue to grow up strong and healthy, and that they continue to learn and try new things.
Some of my prayers come from within my own head, and things I think about when they come up, but I also get a lot of my prayers from a couple books written by Aaron and Jennifer Smith. I highly recommend them. A few years back my husband and I started a 30 day prayer challenge, also written by the couple. So when I heard that they had written prayer books geared towards parents who want to pray over their children, I quickly snatched them up.
These books have a prayer for each day, for 31 days, as well as challenges and spaces to write down prayers of your own or any thoughts/gratitudes you might have. My plan is to use these books over and over throughout the years while adding in my own thoughts and prayers and I know that God is listening to my prayers for my children, and if it is His will, that He may bless us with all that we ask of Him.
Some things I pray for that we currently face:
That both of my children continue to grow and develop and that I gain the wisdom to guide them through new life skills
That illness does not touch them this flu season, and if it does that I have great knowledge and discernment when taking caring care of them.
For my sharp tongue when I get frustrated or run out of patience. That I am always correcting and disciplining out of love, not anger. (I fail at this way more than I would like to admit)
That I am quick to apologize when I am wrong and that my children are quick to forgive my mistakes now and the many in the future I will surely make.
That I can step out of the way more often, and let my daughter learn by trying things on her own.
Prayers For Their Future
That my son is respectable and upstanding, that he seeks and loves God, also seeking his council when starting a family of his own and values his wife and children above all humans or possessions.
That my children are quick to forgive family/friends but also capable of standing their ground and speaking out for themselves or any injustice they may see.
That the anxiety that I face every day not be passed on to them but rather they first seek Jesus and his peace in every situation, and not worry about the outcomes.
That my daughter knows how valuable she is and that any man who is worthy of her, that seeks her attention, will first seek after and love God more.
That my son is respectable and upstanding. That he seeks and loves God, also seeking his council when starting a family of his own and values his wife and children above all humans or possessions.
That both of my children bring up their own kids in the word of God, and they pray these things over and over again for their children, just as I have done. (And will continue to do for my grand babies as well!)
That both of my children know the value of hard work and dedication. That they work hard to provide a good life for themselves, not expecting anything to be handed to them.
That my kids are kind and loving, sweet and caring individuals that love others and will pray for and help anyone they can. That they are never intentionally mean to someone, or try to belittle or bring anyone down. That they are always uplifting and always a source of joy to others.
These are just a few examples of the prayers that have been/will be said for my children. It is so important to cover them with prayer, and speak life into them. I highly recommend the books 31 Prayers for my Son, and 31 Prayers for my Daughter by Aaron and Jennifer Smith. The prayers are more specific and more encompassing, and can be used over and over throughout the years, as I plan to do!
She does him good. That is the motto of the Proverbs 31 woman. Enjoy this month long devotional of prayer prompts for your husband.
“She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”Proverbs 31:12
There are certainly many ways to bless your husband, but the best way certainly has to be praying for him. To make sure I do this for my husband daily, I put an alarm in my phone that goes off just minutes after he leaves in the morning. In the stillness of the morning, before my day gets too frantic, I pray for him. This is where us wives must be careful not to complain about him to God, but rather to pray for him. If you’ve never prayed for your husband, I challenge you to commit to it for 31 days and see how it not only changes you but your spouse. Here are a few ideas, based on my own prayers.
31 Days of Praying for Your Husband
1.Pray that he desires to go to church.
2. Pray that he is blessed with wisdom and discernment.
3. Pray that he finds friends who are Christ-centered and will hold him accountable.
4. Pray that he finds favor at work.
5. Pray he will find the Lord’s help when he is sexually tempted.
6. Pray he will love truth and hate lies.
7. Pray he is a wise financial steward.
8. Pray he will find joy in family life.
9. Pray he will forgive easily and quickly, extending grace to those who may not deserve it.
10. Pray he will confess any sins that are hidden.
11. Pray he find freedom from any strongholds.
12. Pray he assumes the role of wise leader in your family.
13. Pray he uses his gifts and abilities to magnify the Lord.
14. Pray that he cultivates deep relationships with his children.
15. Pray he will desire to read scripture.
16. Pray he will use scripture to make decisions.
17. Pray he operates with equal truth and grace.
18. Pray he love Jesus above all things.
19. Pray he will never despair.
20. Pray he will desire to protect your marriage from anything that might destroy it.
21. Pray he have a heart of gratitude.
21. Pray he rejects Satan and all his empty promises.
22. Pray any feelings of envy or jealousy leave his heart.
23. Pray he tempers his words carefully.
24. Pray he will ask for help when he needs it.
25. Pray he will discern when to listen and when to speak.
26. Pray he protects his five senses from things that are not holy.
27. Pray God strips away selfishness from his actions and heart.
28. Pray his ego decreases and humility increases.
29. Pray for the blessing of self-control and self-discipline.
30. Pray he submits to God’s will.
31. Pray he become God’s perfect design.
Before You Go
If you’re looking for other devotionals, see my Scripture Reading posts: