Coldplay, Autumn Leaves, and the Voice of God

The other day, while I was sitting on my cozy, screened-in back porch, the wind suddenly began scuttling through the trees (which were fat and fragrant with autumn leaves), and the sound was like rushing water. If I’d closed my eyes I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. The sound nearly took the breath from my lungs, and it unlocked something inside me. I began pondering an idea I’d been chewing on for a week. For the next few minutes, the idea solidified and took shape. There it is again, I thought. The voice of God.

As I said last week, some believers have heard the audible voice of God, but that’s never happened to me. For me, “God’s voice” often begins as an awareness of His presence, His nearness . . . and then a vague idea or impression becomes more and more specific as God begins to “download.” Sometimes this download is no more than a simple instruction—for example, “Say a kind word to the bank teller, she’s having an awful day”; other times, it’s as complex as a magazine article, in which case I go running for a pen and paper. Sometimes I can put what I hear into words, other times not.

If we say that God’s Word (that is, God’s voice) equals only what’s written in the pages of the Bible, we limit Him to a specific span of time (even though He knows no such limits) and specific words on a printed page. This would mean that God has spoken fewer words to His people than Stephen King has to his readers. Surely we don’t believe that.

The good news is that you don’t have to be in a “zen” environment to hear Him. I often hear God when surrounded by people or in the midst of much activity. For example, during a Manna Café event, while flanked by volunteers and guests, conversation and commotion, God is suddenly closer than my own skin, more real than the person in front of me. You might hear Him while walking the dog, teaching a seminar, or kissing your spouse. You might even hear God through avenues not necessarily intended to convey Him; for example, my spirit comes radically alive every time I listen to Coldplay’s “Clocks,” and several years ago God taught me a lifelong lesson through a scene in The Matrix.

God hasn’t stopped speaking to His children. Isaiah 30:21 tells us, “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left” (NLT).

 

 

What Do We Mean by the “Voice of God”?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the voice of God. We Christians speak often of God’s voice, but some of us would be hard pressed to explain it. I’ve heard stories of people hearing an audible voice, but God has never spoken to me that way. Even so, I began hearing Him many years ago, around the same time I began speaking to Him as one speaks to a friend. The first time I ever conversed without using a “formal” prayer was on the evening of my confirmation as a Catholic, smack in the middle of the ceremony. “God, if this is all there is to You, I don’t need You,” I said. (I deeply appreciate my Catholic upbringing, but I never had much tolerance for ritual.) “But if You’re real, and if there’s more to You, then I want all of You,” I continued.

Sometimes we act like God quit talking when the disciples and apostles died . . . We live like His voice is limited to the written words in the pages of our Bibles. I love the Bible with all my heart, but God’s word goes far beyond those 66 books. I’m never outside God’s presence because that’s not even possible; to separate “me” from God would result in nothing but a bag of bones on the floor, for He is my very existence, and therefore I’m never beyond the sound of His voice. I need only to cultivate my awareness of Him, and my response to Him.

The same is true for you. It’s not whimsy or wishful thinking to suppose that you hear Him as you commute to work, build a web page, wash your car, or make the bed. When you hear Him, respond quickly. How? By acknowledging Him, maybe with a brief prayer—“Good morning, Lord!” or “Thank You, Lord, for morning coffee” or just an internal acknowledgement in your spirit. You can communicate spirit-to-Spirit all day long; this is surely what Paul meant when he said we should pray without ceasing. God’s voice is all around if you’ll just hear with spirit ears. You’re not “conjuring up” or imagining anything—rather, you’re learning to see, hear, feel—and then respond to—God’s presence. Let’s stop living as though God speaks to only a select few—or worse yet, as though He is mute.

Please Stop Talking

As an introvert, I’m not much of a talker compared to a lot of people, and yet I still catch myself trying to make conversation when the situation calls for silence. I did it again last night at suppertime. My husband Kenny and I had a busy afternoon, so we picked up a pizza, went home, and sat on the porch to eat it. He was as silent as a tortoise, which is completely understandable since, in the course of a day, he’s often pulled in a hundred directions while having myriad conversations and making countless critical decisions.

But could I leave well enough alone and just enjoy the peace? No. Instead, I said, “A penny for your thoughts?” And a few minutes later, “Gosh, you’re quiet tonight.” Finally, I realized what I was doing. For Pete’s sake, stop it! I scolded myself.

Why are we so afraid of silence?

In spite of the stereotypes, men can be just as gabby as women, but right now I’m talking to wives/girlfriends because that’s the perspective I know. When we haven’t yet learned to appreciate silence, we women can get in the habit of (excuse the graphic illustration) “verbally puking” all over our men during those moments they need stillness. We fill the air with words—and far too often, those words are negative: “Karen is driving me nuts at work … Can you plleeaassee fix the brake light? … You’re going to have to punish Alex for talking back to me …”

I’m not saying that difficult subjects shouldn’t be broached, but there’s a time to do it, and when your spouse has that dazed, “my-brain-is-on-overload” look is not the time.

In 1 Peter 3:3–4, the apostle cautions women against putting too much emphasis on adornments like jewelry and fashion. He advises focusing on “the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” Peter then refers to the Old Testament heroines who exemplified this by “trust[ing] in God” and being “submissive to their … husbands” (v. 5).

These verses do not denote a mousey, faint-hearted woman who refuses to wear makeup, laugh enthusiastically, or express herself honestly. “A gentle and quiet spirit” indicates peace on the inside that’s reflected on the outside (versus shrieking on the inside while gritting your teeth on the outside). A gentle, quiet spirit is the product of unreserved trust in God and is therefore free of panic and agitation.

Notice that this quality is precious to God—after all, it’s impossible to possess deep peace without radical trust in Him—and that it produces incorruptible beauty. What woman doesn’t want to be beautiful to the man she loves? There’s something highly attractive about a woman who possesses inner peace—who does not have a meltdown when things don’t go her way, or blather on and on about everyone’s faults, or meet her man at the door with a list of demands when he’s already swamped with obligations.

Many times, when I sense that Kenny’s already got too much noise in his brain or too many responsibilities on his shoulders, the Lord will prompt me to be at peace. And when I say “be at peace,” I mean far more than “shut up”—I mean “be at rest body, soul, and spirit so that my presence makes it far easier, not more difficult, for Kenny to be at peace himself.” This kind of stillness is cultivated. It’s not easy; in fact, learning to be still is a discipline.

Are you a chatterbox? Don’t apologize—there’s nothing wrong with you. But learn to give the gift of silence when the situation calls for it, and you’ll discover that you can bring your husband relief from the tension or confusion in his head—and he’ll love you for it.

Trusting God with Your College Kid

September is here—which means some of you have recently moved a son or daughter into a college dorm for the first time. It’s natural and healthy to feel a sense of loss, but don’t allow your child’s new adventure to become a source of fear and anxiety for you. Commit to surrender him/her to God daily while leaving no room for fear. At first you might have to “put on a brave face” that you don’t entirely feel, but allow trust in God to take root deeply, until your prayers are no longer frantic lists of concerns and fears and what-ifs, but genuine thanksgiving for God’s providence and sovereignty.

How do you transcend fear when the child you love so much has left the nest? By relinquishing control of your son or daughter’s future to the God who knows all, and by acknowledging that God loves him/her more than you do.

Don’t be temped to feel guilty for not fretting, as though fear is the hallmark of love! Too often, we assume that loving a person necessitates worrying about him or her, but this is a misconception. Love and fear are opposites, not equals.

How to Shave $29,852 Off the Cost of a Wedding

According to CNN, the average cost of a wedding has hit the 30-thousand-dollar mark. Someone, please, please tell me …

WHY?

Expensive weddings make me cringe. I understand the desire to gather one’s family and friends, wear a pretty dress, and commemorate the day with quality photos. But this does not require $30,000, or even half that, or even half that.

Kenny has told people that he and I had a “glorified elopement.” I realize we were a little extreme in our money-saving methods, but maybe our story will inspire you to save at least a few thousand dollars: We bought simple wedding bands at Kay Jewelers, a new cotton shirt for Kenny, and a $68-dollar white dress for me from a great little boutique called Scarlett Begonia on West End Avenue. Because I have a habit of kicking my shoes off during holy moments, e.g. prayer or worship experiences, I knew I’d get married barefoot, so shoes weren’t an issue.

We gathered four or five people and our pastor one evening and walked over to a beautiful little garden outside the Upper Room headquarters on Grand Avenue. (No, we did not have permission, and no, I don’t recommend this, but we’d already discovered that typical outdoor wedding places charge roughly ten zillion dollars even if you ask to stand on their property for ten minutes with fewer than half a dozen people—so we decided it was easier to get forgiveness than permission.)

Aside from the fact that our pastor was so convinced we were going to get kicked out of the garden that he kept taking sidelong glances toward the Upper Room windows (where a few people did, in fact, gather to watch the festivities), the ceremony was perfect. As a symbol of our commitment to protect rather than harm one another, we exchanged swords (yes, real ones, which we’d received at a worship conference). And as a sign of our vow to serve each other, we washed one another’s feet. Afterward, we joined a few dozen friends at our favorite local sushi joint, which had opened after hours specifically for us.

Total wedding cost: $148.

I could list fifty reasons that it’s a bad idea to spend lots of money on a wedding, but I’m going to touch briefly on just three:

  1. An expensive wedding buries a new marriage under the burden of debt. To anyone who overspends on a wedding, may I say, “Congratulations, you just guaranteed that your first several years of marriage will be fraught with stress and arguments focused on money … so that you could spend one day in extravagance.”
  2. Spending the money on the wedding versus the marriage is bass-akwards. A wedding is over in a few hours and doesn’t merit plunging into debt. A marriage deserves all you have to give. (Do you know what you could do with 30 or 20 or 10 thousand dollars that would build up rather than tear down your marriage? For example, if you break $10,000 into 500-dollar weekend trips, you end up with four mini-honeymoons per year for five years.)
  3. A couple that begins their life together by spending lavishly is going to have one heck of a time living simply. Let me explain: A couple that’s unattached to their possessions is a couple that knows the joy of freedom. I know, I know—someone can have a lot of stuff and still be emotionally unattached to it, but how much better to have minimal stuff in the first place? A couple that finds happiness apart from luxury is free to pull up stakes and relocate to the mission field, or give their second car to a single mom whose only car kicks the bucket, or forfeit a well-paying job in favor of one that pays less but allows a person to live out his or her God-given passion. It’s much easier for a couple to drop everything and go where the Lord leads them if they have little to drop.

By the way, today is our sixth anniversary. And if I had to do it all over again, I’d want things to be exactly the same: scrappy little wedding/big, beautiful marriage. 230726_1064889781519_1334990_n

 

 

CNN data: http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/28/pf/average-wedding-cost/

A few related verses (NIV):
Heb. 13:5
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.”
Luke 14:28:
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?”
Matt. 6:21
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Lk. 12:33
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”
Rom. 13:8
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

 

 

Help! I Married a Viking!

The past few days have been absolutely nuts. For those of you who haven’t heard, my husband is spending two weeks as a homeless man in order to give a voice and face to an invisible population: the homeless of Clarksville, TN. Back in May, when he told me of his plan, I was a little rattled—but not surprised. This is who he is, and I made up my mind before I married him that I wasn’t going to squelch the part of him that’s not happy unless he’s in the middle of the fray.

His latest exploit is so unique that Channel 5 covered it. Find out more at proveitclarksville.com. 

I want to be like Queen Gorgo when I grow up. If you’ve seen the movie 300, then you know who I’m talking about: King Leonidas’s wife, Gorgo, is beautiful, tough as nails, and zealous for justice. She and Leonidas have a powerful, intimate connection, and although he’s one tough guy, he clearly adores her. I believe one key reason he feels this way is that she refuses to do what so many wives do: rein him in .. calm him down … domesticate him. Dare I say “emasculate him”?

There are a thousand ways to tear a man down and thereby damage your marriage; some of them are obvious: ridiculing him (especially in front of others), criticizing him as a person, wearing him out by trying to control him, etc. But if we’re not careful, we wives can also do a lot of damage by trying to get our husbands to stop being who they are by the design of God: warriors … heroes … vikings … Spartans.

Back to the movie: as Leonidas is about to go to war, Gorgo waits until he’s ten or twenty feet away. Then she calls after him, “Spartan!” Notice she doesn’t call him by his name; she knows he’s a Spartan even before he’s a husband. There’s a champion inside him. Like Leonidas, every man needs a cause. Every man needs to slay a dragon. A good man will find a worthy cause. He’ll “go to war” for justice. That might mean he works long hours, or turns down a cushy job to go to the mission field, or dreams “impossible” dreams, or practices his drums late into the night.

The next words out of Gorgo’s mouth: “Come back with your shield … or on it.” In other words, “I release you to go so far as to die for what you believe.” How many modern-day wives would say the same? I imagine that military spouses can relate to Gorgo’s words better than most, but I want to encourage every woman to whom God gave a noble man to ask Him to get you to the place where you can say, “Come back with your shield … or on it.” In our society, it’s rare for a man to lose his life for an honorable cause, but rest assured that if you’ve been blessed with a good man, you’ll have to sacrifice a few things for the sake of the mission God has given him.

Am I suggesting that only men can do heroic things, or that only they are called to take risks for the Kingdom? Absolutely not! I love nothing more than to see a woman discover her inner Joan of Arc. I know a warrior princess when I see one. In fact, I am one. But right now I’m talking to wives who have the spunk to look honestly at one way to honor and serve their husbands that’s been ignored for far too long, even by the Church.

I have an adventurous spirit; I enjoy and work hard in the areas of ministry that God assigned to me. But my Number One ministry is to take care of Kenny so he can take care of the poor. Ultimately, he belongs to God, not me, and I can never forget that. If he spends a great deal of time, energy, money, etc. for the sake of the poor, so be it. After all, his greatest example, Jesus, spared nothing. In fact, Jesus was the most radical, over-the-top Hero of all time. Any time I have to sacrifice the occasional date night or a few hours of sleep or a new pair of shoes so that my husband can pour himself out for something that’s far bigger than either of us, I’m just that much more determined to squeeze every ounce of joy out of the experiences, possessions, and time together that we do have—and that’s a large part of the reason, as far as I’m concerned, that after six years we’re still besotted with each other.

Do you want to love your husband the best you can? Then allow him his sense of adventure and heroism—even encourage it. When he gets banged up, be a safe, welcoming place for him to recover, and then send him back “out there.” When Kenny feels beaten up and exhausted, the best thing I can do is “bandage him up”—maybe with a back rub or an encouraging word, a prayer, or just a hug—and tell him, “Go get us another one, Baby.” He knows what I mean: Go slay another dragon. Go tear down another wall or champion another cause. I love you enough to let you be the hero that God created you to be.  

 

The One Thing You Should Not Pray About (at Least for the Moment)

My next word of caution as we hash out the topic of fear versus fearlessness is about prayer—and it’s probably not what you think…

Let’s assume you’ve made up your mind to “Fear not,” just like Jesus said. If you’ve read the last couple of posts, you now understand that, as soon as you have that “oh-crap-I’m-gonna-hyperventilate” feeling, Rule Number One is to stop giving your attention to the fear and give it instead to what’s right in front of you.

Rule Number Two is to refrain from praying about what’s bothering you.

At the risk of sounding like a heathen, I’m going to say it again: now is not the time to pray—because right now, you’re disciplining your mind to turn away from fear and think wholesome thoughts. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying: prayer is crucial to life. We’ll shrivel up and die without it. But sometimes, the fearful person will use prayer time to hash out (and then rehash and rehash) his or her fears. Sometimes, what a fearful person calls “prayer” looks a lot like freaking out and dwelling on the issue. In other words, trading thoughts that sound like this: “What am I gonna do, I don’t know what to do!” for prayers that sound like this: “Lord, what am I gonna do, I don’t know what to do!” does not equal progress. So, for now, when you’re tempted to worry and fret, don’t spiritualize the situation by disguising your meltdown as prayer. Stick to the plan. Take your thoughts captive. You’ll discover that, as you learn to live apart from fear, your prayer life will start sounding a lot more like a peaceful conversation with God rather than a mental breakdown.

Stop begging God to make you courageous and simply embrace courage. Lay claim to it—it’s yours because Jesus paid the price. Don’t worry if you don’t feel courageous—that’ll happen sooner or later. This isn’t about emotions, it’s about stepping across the border between “Afraid” and “Fearless” because fearlessness is your birthright as a child of God.

 

How to Stop Thinking Fearful Thoughts—and What to Think About Instead

So you’ve decided that, when it comes to fear running your life, enough is enough. Tomorrow morning, you’re starting a fear fast (see previous post for more on this). But you realize that, ironically enough, you’re scared of the thought of living fearlessly. And how is this fast supposed to work? After all, it’s one thing to say, “I’m abstaining from fear for seven days,” but it’s another to know what, exactly, you’re supposed to do when that first anxious thought starts plaguing you. Everyone knows that if you tell someone to not think about a hippo in a tutu, he or she is immediately going to think about a hippo in a tutu . . .

All these concerns boil down to two key questions:
1: How do I train my mind to stop thinking fearful thoughts?
2:  What do I think about instead?

Let’s tackle Question #1 first: The best way to explain what to do when the anxious thoughts begin is to imagine turning your head away from a graphic scene and looking the other way.

For example, we’ve all been stuck in a miles-long traffic jam because of rubber-neckers who slow down to gawk at the scene of an accident. And we’ve all been that annoying rubber-necker because the impulse to look is so strong. You know you shouldn’t look; you know you’ll be a happier person for not looking—but everyone else does it, and surely it’s OK to just peek . . .

But that doesn’t work, does it? One brief glimpse, and you’re pulled in. You’ve seen too much, and you’ll be awake at 3:00 in the morning with unwanted images in your head.

The pull of fear is at least as powerful as this. Driving past a gory accident without looking is difficult, and so is ignoring a fearful thought. Both are challenging, but both are possible. The next time an anxious thought swoops down on you, “turn the other way”—that is, turn your attention elsewhere. You can not give it even a moment’s consideration. I know that when I’m doing a typical food fast, if I give in to hunger and nibble on the corner of a cupcake, I’ll cave in and eat the whole thing (and then another one). The best thing I can do is to remember that that cupcake is off limits and walk away. Likewise, when you’re tempted during your fear fast, remember that you’ve consecrated yourself to God by giving up your “right” to engage in fear. Fear is not an option. It’s off limits.

Now, keep in mind that when you choose to avert your eyes from a car accident, it doesn’t cease to exist. As you drive by with your eyes fixed on the road in front of you, the wrecked cars and injured drivers are still there. Your refusal to acknowledge them doesn’t make them disappear. So it is with fear, especially in the beginning: when you refuse to let a fearful thought occupy your attention, you’ll sense that it’s still right there, just out of your “line of sight,” and it would swallow you whole if you gave it your attention for even a split second. There are times you’ll feel like the adolescent who stifles her brother’s taunts by covering her ears, squeezing her eyes shut, and yelling, “Lalalalalalala, I can’t hear you, lalalalala!” It’s OK. The moment will pass.

Question #2: What do I think about instead?
Answer: Whatever is right in front of you, i.e., the present experience.

The vast majority of fear is future-based. Peace, however, is always in the now. When anxiety looms, bring your attention to the task at hand, no matter what that is. If you’re having a conversation, attend to the other person and his or her words. If you’re working out, focus on your muscles and “the burn.” If you’re reading, involve yourself in the story. Come back to where you are. If you fully give yourself to your present circumstance, you won’t be able to give yourself to the fear.

As you begin to discipline your thought life, you’ll better understand what Paul meant when he said, “We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One” (2 Cor. 10:5, Voice).

That’s all for now. More next week…

 

How to Stop Worrying for an Entire Year

A year ago, in mid-April to be exact, my life changed, and it’s never been the same. The Lord downloaded a nugget of truth that set me free from fear—a life-long, toxic companion that had been set on destroying me since childhood.

I’d like to share the condensed version of the journey out of fear and into peace, but first I must say a word about fasting. I’ve taken part in fasts during my years as a believer—everything from Daniel fasts to full-blown, nothing-but-clear-liquids fasts, so the concept was familiar to me this time last year. I knew, for example, that when you fast, you don’t stop being hungry, but you choose to refrain from eating. Once you’ve committed to the fast, you have no choice: food is off limits. Mental turmoil is possible, of course—“Should I break the fast? I’m so hungry, maybe I’ve fasted long enough!”—but within the fast itself, there’s no reason for an internal struggle. The matter has already been settled: fasting = no food.

So, back to my story … During a visit with my sister, I realized just how much of my life revolved around fear. I prioritized each day according to what would most effectively reduce fear and/or guilt (which is closely tied to fear). I also realized that I felt stressed much of the time and that 95% of my stress was fear-based, e.g. the fear that I wasn’t going to have enough time to finish a project, or that I was going to make a wrong decision, or that I wasn’t good enough to do this or that. I fretted about events that hadn’t even happened and woke in the middle of the night feeling condemnation (also a product of fear), anger (you guessed it—also related to fear), or panic.

Before you write me off as a complete lunatic, let’s jump to the good part of the story: on the way home from my trip, the Lord challenged me to a fast—but rather than a typical fast, this would be a fear fast. For seven days, fear would be off limits. If I committed to the fast, I’d have no choice but to abstain from even the briefest fearful thought. A couple of young women who have taken the fear fast challenge since then have told me that they were “afraid of not being afraid,” and that’s exactly what I thought, too! Fear can become such a constant companion that it feels downright irresponsible to forgo it, as though fretting about the future is the mark of maturity. We act as though worrying about something brings about change—surely if we play out every possible scenario regarding a potential problem (the more horrifying the better), we’ll avert disaster or at least have a bit of control over what happens, right?

Anyway, I took the challenge.

And ohmygosh, what a difference it made in my life.

The seven-day fast turned into a lifelong discipline. The fear didn’t magically go away, but I immediately felt liberated by having forfeited my “right” to fear. The matter had been settled: fasting = no fear. Each time I sensed that old, familiar feeling—each time my thoughts began to turn toward fear—I reined myself back into the present moment. If I was eating a meal, I focused on the food in front of me; if i was carrying on a conversation, I gave my full attention to the other person. I stopped giving any attention whatsoever to fearful thoughts. Sometimes I could almost hear the fear: “Pay attention to me!!!!” but little by little it became easier and easier to devote my mind and time and energy to worthwhile things. Fasting fear has completely altered my perspective and eliminated nearly all the stress I used to feel. It’s made me a kinder and more patient person. I’m a better wife now. I’ve learned how to enjoy the present instead of always jumping into the “big, bad” future. And I feel more contentment with whatever state I’m in than ever before.

Fearfulness was far more than a bothersome character weakness—it was venomous. If you’d like to hear more about the fear fast, stay tuned because I’ll probably devote the next few blog entries to this particular journey. But for today, for this moment, I just want to say thank you to my Father because “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, 
out of the mud and mire;
 he set my feet on a rock 
and gave me a firm place to stand” (Ps. 40:2 NIV).

 

 

 

When a Loved One Hits Bottom

Are you feeling the pain and distress of watching an adult child or a friend make terrible choices? Maybe you’ve scrambled to fix their problems, you’ve given advice, you’ve bailed them out more than once, you’ve prayed more times than you can count—only to find out a week or month or year later that they’ve once again hit bottom.

C.S. Lewis says, “It is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in … every family since the world began. … In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

We assume that the proud man is the one who struts around like a peacock, but that is a caricature. Pride is usually far more subtle. When a woman, while in the company of friends, rolls her eyes at the way another woman is dressed, she is saying, “I am superior to her.” When a man monopolizes a conversation, his message is, “I matter more than you do.” But the ultimate pride is the belief that we are the gods of our own lives, a belief held by not only atheists but many individuals who give God a nod of recognition each Sunday while continuing in the illusion that they are capable of managing their own affairs.

“Pride precedes destruction; an arrogant spirit gives way to a nasty fall,” says Proverbs.* Dismissing the instruction of God in favor of going in one’s own direction inevitably ends in disaster. Therefore, when your loved one is suddenly crushed and it’s too painful to watch, remember that this might just be that turning point at which they realize how small and vulnerable they are. Humiliation as a result of hitting bottom is not at all a bad thing when it compels a person to finally look up and acknowledge, “I can control nothing; I am weak and broken. I need a Savior.”

16:18, the Voice

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