Finding God in a Very Bad Day

By Heidi McLaughlin:

God is with you . . . even when you are having a very bad day.

After my own very bad day — many, in fact — God encouraged me with a surprise vineyard moment. Later as I prayed and thanked my Lord, I felt moved to write my own doxology to Him.

Image by krosseel

Image by krosseel

Heartbreak seems to come in clusters. When one door is slammed shut, I courageously get over it, get on with life because I know there is something better up ahead. The eternal optimist and believer of good things–that’s me.

But when I continually encounter lost dreams, divorce and sickness in the family, an ailing mother, shut down plans and the occasional vertigo; the energy and zest starts to evaporate. I need something powerful to hang on to when I experience a very bad day.

On Labour Day weekend (2010) in Canada, I was walking through the vineyards with my son when we encountered the most gorgeous, unusual hidden treasure. Tucked away in one of the rows of grapes was a banquet table; complete with fine china, wine glasses, fresh fruit, gorgeous colored napkins and table runners and beautiful orange shawls thrown over the backs of the chairs.

I blinked twice to grasp the enormity of this picturesque scene, and my son and I stopped and stared. It was magnificent. Puzzled and yet with smiles on our faces, we continued our walk.

A few days later I got more bad news. Now I was desperately searching for my long-lost zest and hope for better days. The next day I happened to be reading about the Apostle Paul while he was in prison in Ephesus. Now this man was not only having a bad day. He was having a hard life. Yet at the end of Ephesians Chapter 3 the man bursts into a doxology:

“Now glory be to God who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of-infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”

I needed God to do something BEYOND my present horrible, no good, very bad day.  I prayed and asked God to give me a doxology. Here is what He whispered to me.

Yea, though I walk through Your glorious vineyards,

My soul is heavy and dark from disrupted plans and an unknown future.

Yet you prepare an orange banqueting table in the presence of my sadness.

You feast my eyes with delight and fill me with surprise.

Though the dark waves of doubt and lies hasten to engulf me,

You place treasures on my path to remind me:

THAT:

You are the ONE and ONLY true God–nothing is too hard for YOU.

You are omnipotent; yet intimate

You are mysterious; yet full of promises.

You are invisible; yet reachable.

You are unpredictable; yet always faithful.

You are far, but always near.

You surprise me; but you are always able;

You point out my selfishness; then fill my cup.

You break me down; then build me up.

You give me desires, but nothing fulfills me like Your love.

You say I am your delight; yet You are the One who brings me delight.

You woo me, love me, put up with me; listen to me, hurt me and then transform me.

You are 3 in 1; yet you are the ONLY ONE.

You are the door to my future

YOU ARE ABLE

Nothing is too hard for You.

I CHOOSE TO TRUST YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE GOD,

As I was writing this doxology, the tears kept soaking my keyboard. The release of pain was so freeing, and it changed my perspective of my very bad day. I shifted my focus and attention to the ONE whose plans for my life are BEYOND my present troubles. There is always a new season BEYOND what I am experiencing right now.

I am hanging on, trusting, praying and hoping.

 © Heidi McLaughlin. For over two decades Heidi has taught women how to become “beautiful from the inside out”, applying God’s powerful truths via bible studies, mentoring, and Heidi’s own poignant stories.  Visit Heidi at www.heartconnection.ca, or  her blog. Follow Heidi on Twitter: @heidiheart

Enjoy this inspiring praise music by Gateway Worship- New Doxology, led by Thomas Miller:

 Also,  you can hear more of this music, including New Doxology, via amazon.com, iTunes, or Google Play.

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Finding God in Conversation: Experiencing God’s Presence

Struggling in conversation with God? Try these prayer ABCs:

 

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 This article is an excerpt from the book Experiencing God’s Presence: Learning to Listen While You Pray, by Linda Evans Shepherd. (Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.)

It can be difficult to experience God’s presence, when you’re not sure how to talk to him or wonder if you try you’ll end up saying the wrong thing.

A lot of people are worried about this and I can understand the concern. I mean, God is the most awesome and powerful being in the universe. But treating God like the stranger you just met on the subway is not the answer. Perhaps what you really need is a few basic conversation ideas, like these prayer ABC’s:

  1. Acknowledge him – Let him know you’ve noticed or that you’re thinking about him. “Hi Lord, I love you. Would you go into my day with me?”
  2. Bring it – Tell him about your concerns or needs. “Lord, I’m worried about making rent this month. Would you show me what to do? Would you provide for my need?”
  3. Chat - Tell God whatever is on your mind. For example, you could tell him about your day, your problems, job, family, your bank account, or even your mother-in-law, just like you were talking to a good friend. “Lord, did you see the family at dinner tonight? I’m worried about little Bobby. He seemed so quiet and I’m wondering if something’s wrong. Would you comfort him and give me wisdom on how to talk to him about what’s going on?”

Sure, God already knows all about whatever topic you might bring up, but that’s not the point. The point is, just like in any relationship, you need to communicate because communication builds intimacy. Don’t be so afraid of saying the wrong thing, because God already knows your heart. God is big enough to take your joy, your tears, your fear, your frustrations, your anger, and even your tantrums. But what he doesn’t want from you is a cold shoulder. Whatever you bring to God, he’ll help you through, then when you look back, you’ll see his fingerprints on the things you brought to him in prayer.

Let’s stop and practice this kind of communication right now. Just, either out loud, in writing, or in a whisper in your heart pray:

  1. Acknowledge him: _________________________________________________
  2. Bring it: _________________________________________________________
  3. Chat: ____________________________________________________________

That was a great start, and even if you felt a little uncomfortable doing this exercise. If you practice these prayer ABCs daily, it will get a lot easier and you will begin to enjoy a fresh closeness with God.

Experiencing God's Presence: Learning to Listen While You Pray

 

Linda Evans Shepherd, the President of Right to the Heart, is also the publisher of Finding God Daily, and pens many of the articles.  She’s been married for over 30 years and has two children.  She’s also the author of over 30 books, including this recent book Experience God’s Presence: Learning to Listen While You Pray and  When You Don’t Know What to Pray, How to Talk to God About Anything.

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Find God in a Prayer Garden

By Karen O’Connor:

I have my husband to thank for helping me to find God in a prayer garden.

 

prayer garden

Image by Karen O’Connor — of her very own prayer garden.

 

My spouse knew that I had wanted a prayer garden for many years. So when we moved to our new home with enough yard to create such a place, he set to work—planning, preparing, and creating one just for me.

It has everything I wanted—a birdbath, a climbing white rose bush, purple and white alyssum, rhododendrons and azaleas and a gorgeous princess plant. We also found a lovely plaque that reads: “The Best Place to Find God is in a Garden.” I agree!

When we feel stressed out, are overwhelmed with deadlines, and irritated with people who don’t seem to understand us, we may want to flee our circumstances but wonder what to do—besides indulging ourselves in some worldly outlet that doesn’t do the job for long.

Try something new. Go to a garden setting—whether your own creation or one in your community, and make that a sacred space for you—for a few moments or a whole day, depending on how much time you have.  To create your own, see the article How to Make a Prayer Garden, by Jack Burton, eHow Contributor.

You may be surprised at how refreshing it is to simply be, as God directs us.

Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10 the Bible).

Even a few moments of quiet and peace in the presence of the Lord and his creation can help you find God in a prayer garden.

Take a look at this inspiring YouTube video focusing on a beautiful garden of prayer in illustration, song, and scripture verses.

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor  

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