God is Working - incourage.me

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

With the Christmas season just past and a new year beginning, the words above keep echoing in my mind. I’ve heard them since I was a child — I imagine you may have too. But this time I heard something new. A whisper of the hopes that must have been born in Mary’s heart that day. Because the angel didn’t say . . .

Your joy will turn to sorrow before this story is done. 

Your son will be misunderstood by most and rejected by many.

He will be crucified right before your eyes.

No, the angel said . . .

“He will be great.”

“He will be given a throne.”

“He will reign and His kingdom will never end.”

I don’t know what was going through Mary’s mind as Jesus’ life unfolded, but I can imagine what may have filled her heart at times: Confusion, questioning, wondering if she heard God wrong. Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you even do today?

Then here’s the hope Mary gives us: Just because what God has said to us doesn’t look the way we pictured doesn’t mean it’s not real. 

Jesus is great.

He does have a throne.

He is reigning over a Kingdom that will never end.

It just didn’t happen the way Mary probably expected. What got her through? I imagine Mary kept praying that same prayer she did when the angel first spoke to her: “I am the Lord’s servant. May Your word to me be fulfilled” {Luke 1:38}. Perhaps she softly spoke it as she leaned over a manger. Maybe she uttered it every time she overheard rumors and gossip about Jesus as she stood in the local market. I wonder if she offered it as a cry of grief and surrender at the foot of the cross.

It is the one prayer we must never stop praying on the road to our hopes and dreams. 

Because the moment we refuse to say it is when we have made what we want about us. The moment when we have stepped into God’s place and demanded that things turn out the way we thought they would. The moment when we can lose faith because what we were really trusting in was our own expectations.

Say that prayer, sister. 

Say it on your knees in desperation with tears streaming down your face. Shout it at the top of your anger-filled lungs. Whisper it with the last bit of strength you have left. Because God is faithful, and what He has spoken will come true. Not the way we pictured. Not the way we planned. Not the way we would prefer. But it will happen {Is. 55:11, 2 Cor. 1:20}.

I’ve lived in the heart of this truth lately. For ten years I struggled with infertility. And for ten years I prayed this prayer. God never gave us a physical baby . . . instead He gave us a 21-year old adopted daughter. She is worth every moment of the wait. She got married last weekend {here’s her blog post about her wedding day}. And as she danced with my husband to “Bless the Broken Road” I thought, “I’m so glad I never gave up hope.” Please don’t give up either. 

{My adopted daughter Lovelle & I on her wedding day}

You have not been abandoned or forgotten. God is working, and when you least expect it, in a way that you may hardly even recognize at first, He’s going to fulfill all He promised.

You are His servant, and it will be to you as He has said. No matter what. 

XOXO

Holley Gerth

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  • Penny

    This is truly the most beautiful thing I’ve read in awhile. Tears streaming down my face. I think I’m going to print this out so I can read it every day for awhile. I hope that’s ok. I needed this so much right now. Please know that God used you to speak to my heart.
    http://www.intentionallygraced.blogspot.com

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      I’m so glad this encouraged you, Penny. And of course, you’re welcome to print this out. I’m glad my words will get to be right beside you while you’re going through a difficult time.

  • http://denisejhughes.com/ Denise Hughes

    Holley, your life — and the prayer of surrender you have lived — echoes deep, of the way our God takes what is awful and makes it awe-filled.

    Thank you for sharing with us the beauty of surrender.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Grateful for you and all you do to serve and encourage, Denise!

  • http://purposefulandmeaningful.blogspot.com/ Ifeoma Samuel

    HI HOLLY, GOD TRULY INTERVENES IN WAYS WE LEAST EXPECT. HE BLOWS OUR MINDS WITH WHAT HE DOES AFTER THE WAITING, HOPING AND EXPECTATIONS.
    GOD BLESS YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY TODAY.

    http://purposefulandmeaningful.blogspot.com/

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Yes, God is so good at carrying us through and turning our hopes into beyond what we could have imagined!

  • Melanie Vanlaningham

    Holley,
    Your message this morning reminds my heart to remain steadfast as I wait, in hope, for my son’s heart to come ‘home’ and by that I mean returning to the faith he once had. Many years ago God gave me a very special message after a very heartbreaking night with our son. The message was given as a visual with an unusual sunrise and some birds sitting on a wire. I have clung to that promise in the hard nights learning enough through the years that it doesn’t often play out like we imagine…God’s upside down kingdom. The personal promise He gave has kept me in prayer and in hope. The really hard times of waiting are when I can’t seem to hear him and I’m not sure what the promise is. I think I’ll put the short yet powerful prayer in my pocket and use it just like you mentioned, through tears, sometimes a whisper, sometimes a shout. I do know I have a faithful and loving God so I can trust Him through it all. Thank you for sharing this special story.
    Holding on to the promise,
    Melanie

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Melanie, I can so relate to your pain. I had a prodigal brother who strayed from his faith for many years. God did a miracle just when I had gotten to the point where I almost gave up hope. Hold on, sister, and know I’m praying with you for your son today…

  • Mary Jeffrey

    I can truly relate to your adoption story. My daughter came into my life at the age of 29. She is two years younger than my son. When he was 2, I wanted anther baby so much that I had a false pregnancy. My prayers were answered across the country in Texas, I lived in Maryland at the time.
    She is a beautiful person inside and out and has given us our only grandson as a bonus. She has had many medical issues throughout the years, but the joy she brings to us is worth it all. Eighteen years later, we still love her and thank the Lord for answered prayers.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      I love that we have a similar adoption story!! :)

  • http://genuflected.com/go/free/ Jenni DeWitt

    Holley,

    When my 2-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer, I heard God whisper to me, “This is just something you are going through.” I took comfort in that, but then the road took twists and turns. I wondered if I heard him right. I wondered if he was going to take our baby to heaven after all. What you wrote about Mary echoes with me. I had imagined things would go much differently, but it was during that time that God started teaching me how important it is to willfully turn to him in trust. That’s a hard lesson I’m still learning today.

    Jenni @ http://genuflected.com

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Wow, Jenni, your faith and perseverance are beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us today!

  • http://incrementalhealing.wordpress.com Kamea Hope

    Hi Holley,

    I love the truth you have shared today. How very powerful to remember that God does, indeed, keep all His promises, but often not as we expect or hope. I had never thought about how Mary must have reflected back on the promise during those difficult times and wondered what it all meant. This has been true in my life for sure. I have sensed the Lord sharing with my heart that He will heal my brokenness that was caused by childhood abuse. Sometimes I don’t understand why the process is so long and difficult. Often my expectations do not line up with my reality, but that doesn’t mean He is not at work. It has often been in my darkest moments that I have encountered God most powerfully.

    Blessings,
    Kamea
    incrementalhealing.wordpress.com

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Praying for continued healing in your heart and cheering you on as you continue to move forward…

  • http://starvingactivist.com/ Andree Robinson-Neal

    I cannot tell you how much I needed that today. I am in a weird life-place (last full-time, out of the house employment was over a year and a half ago, husband is retired due to health conditions, have a special needs son, and my earnings are at about one percent of what they were — I know it is the Lord who has sustained us, but we stand at the precipice of loss every day it seems). My hopes are to make a living as a writer and I struggle to know if this is the path on which God has me to make that a reality. I just wrote the Luke 1 scripture on a piece of paper and put it by my computer so I can see it every day. Thank you.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      I’m so glad these words encouraged you, Andree. Praying that God will be your Provider, Supplier and Multiplier!

    • Michelle

      Andree, I can so truly relate to your story as it parallels my own life right now (out of work, disabled son, Parents ill, etc.). We must keep the faith even when things look like God has forgotten about us. It’s a tough road and I’m so glad to have these words of encouragement. Thank you so much for taking the time to encourage others Holley!

  • http://jeannetakenaka.wordpress.com Jeanne Takenaka

    Holley, thank you for sharing this beautiful message and truth. Your words, “Then here’s the hope Mary gives us: Just because what God has said to us doesn’t look the way we pictured doesn’t mean it’s not real. ” spoke to me loud.

    There have been times when I have clung to my version of how I thought things should play out. And you’re right, it did become about me. We’ve walked the infertility path, and it was painful. A baby became my idol. As I watched a friend’s children so her husband could be with her for a difficult delivery, I loved “playing mom” to them for a few days. When my friend came home with their new wee one, I felt a grief.

    Then, on my three-hour drive home, I heard the Lord say to my heart, “I (emphasis on the I) will give you a child.” I thrilled, and then wondered if I’d heard Him correctly. He repeated Himself saying, “I WILL give you a child.”

    My hubby and I waited a few more years, and I had to come back to those repeated words. He gave us two children through adoption. Motherhood doesn’t look the way I imagined it, but I’m so thankful for the gift of our boys.

    I love this post, Holley. I’m definitely taking these truths into my day. Thank you.
    PS—Sorry for the novella. :)

    • Hurting Helena

      Yes I can relate. Being a mature woman, I have no hope to conceive a child. Many people discourage me by saying its too risky, your health and if you conceive, the baby’s health is in jeopardy. Everyone around me are negative for all that I have hoped for. I do not have anymore faith left. Totally downcast by mean and nasty people. I am tired of trying to do things in my life to better myself because they never come to fruition. People think if you try harder, you can do anything! I am just discouraged and am not hopeful anymore. After a long time of being hopeful and nothing comes from it, you just don’t care anymore.

      • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

        Helena, feeling like hope is lost is a huge warning sign–just like a red light coming on in the dashboard of your car. I’ve been there and that’s the time we need to reach out for help the most. I believe counselors and doctors can be two of God’s best gifts to us when we’re in that place. Please check in with those folks and also let those who love you most you’re in this dark place. Hope is essential to life and it’s so important that you find a way back to it. You are loved and valued!

      • http://jeannetakenaka.wordpress.com Jeanne Takenaka

        Helena, I am so sorry for the discouragement you have been given by others. I am praying for you tonight. And sending a virtual hug.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      I love how God writes every family story differently and in His perfect timing!

  • http://www.reflectinghisglory.com Jacqui

    Thank you so much for this post. I am in a questioning situation right now. What I expected to be the outcome for a life season has turned In a totally different direction. It has me reeling. I am so thankful to be reminded of Mary’s words today. Thx for being an encourager.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Jacqui! Praying God gives you wisdom and direction in the season where you are right now. He will make a way.

  • http://marinabromley.com Marina

    Amen, and amen! True promises!! Good reminders of His faithfulness!

    You share the best of Him on this gloomy winter Monday morning… Your smile radiates, punctuates His promises! Amen! He keeps His promises!

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Your words always feel like a hug, Marina. Thank you!

  • Nina Ruth

    Holley,

    Every year the Lord gives me a verse and word for the year. 2014 the word was “joy,” and the verse Nehemiah 8:10. On December 29th, He gave me the words and verse for 2015: “favor” and “fulfillment,” and the verse: Luke 1:38.

    :-)

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Great words for the New Year!

  • Irene Talaasen

    Oh, Holley,
    Your post always blesses me and today was really one of huge blessing. Tears as I went back and reread your story of adopting Lovelle and then her wedding! Such a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Your book What your Heart Needs in the Hard Times is on my table to read each day and have given it as gifts. It seems everyone is going through a hard time of some sort and our Heavenly Father is our answer in it all! Thank you! Thank you too for the printables you have in each post and that they are ours to use as we wish!! Blessings and much love to you today. I wish we could have coffee in person. Tell me when you are coming to Colorado :)

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing my words, Irene. I’m honored and blessed that you would do so! Sending a hug your way today!

  • http://martysmoosetracks.blogspot.com Marty

    This post…I can hardly stand it. It’s so beautiful and so true. From the time I was young, I wanted to be a mom, and have a bunch of kids. God answered that in a big way.

    “Just because what God has said to us doesn’t look the way we pictured doesn’t mean it’s not real.”

    We have 4 children, but our FIRST child…he has Down Syndrome. And my desire to be a mom? Well, I get to be a MOM to him longer…and in more different and unique ways that I’ve gotten to do with our other kids. He’s awesome, but this was definitely not how I pictured my life. And then 10 years later when our youngest child was diagnosed with cancer, I thought, “seriously? we cannot handle this.” But everyone told us, “yes, you can because God won’t give you more than you can handle.” HAHAHAHA. It’s funny now, but I learned that…oh, yes ma’am…God WILL give us more than we can handle, because if we can handle it…we might not see our need for HIM.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Marty, thanks for sharing your God-written family story with us!

  • Martha

    This is EXACTLY what I have been thinking for months now. (never out loud.) Only in that secret place in my heart where only God & I can go. I just keep looking at all that has happened, & wondering, “How could THIS be God… ” because this is SO NOT how I thought things would go. (but this simple little prayer…) Oh, wow… and finally, peace. This is what I prayed for last night, in the middle of the night when I said, “God, I don’t know what to pray for anymore…”

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      So glad these words could whisper to your heart where you are today, Martha.

  • http://holleygerthcoffeeforyourheart warriorchild

    WOW! WOW! WOW!

    What example of God Honoring faithfulness and obedience.
    What testimony of FULFILLING His promises.
    What living PROOF that God KNOWS the plans that He has for each of us..
    And thank you, Holley for sharing with us the EVIDENCE that He is abe to give us
    EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY more than we can

    THINK or even IMAGINE!!!
    Praise be to Him who is ALL that He says that He is and MORE than able to do ALL that He says that He can Do!

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      Amen!! :)

  • Brenda

    Thank you for this beautiful post…. and as usual, the awesome comments that followed. I am so blessed to have found this site, there is always a blessing to be had here. I am also in a difficult place in my life, and so is my family…. Luke 1:38….may I make this my prayer today and everyday… “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” Thank you, Holly, and congrats on your daughter’s wedding! May they have many blessed years together.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      So glad you found us too, Brenda! :)

  • Marybeth

    Amen and thank you. My husband walked out on our family and the pain for us is almost unbearable. I want to just give up and move on but deep in my heart, even after all the bad things that have happened, I still hope for my family to be restored. If not for me, for my daughters. Please pray for us.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      I’m pausing to pray for you and your family right now, Marybeth…{Is. 54:5}

  • Donna Waldrop

    Thank you. In my puddle of tears I saw the email from your blog and click to read more. I am encouraged, hopeful and thankful. As I read the comments I realize I am not the only one in a storm, in a puddle. God is so good to give us what we need for the day. May He continue to bless you.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      You are not alone, Donna, and we’ll walk through the rain together under the umbrella of God’s love until the storm passes.

  • rebecca

    I am really struggling. I know that God doesn’t perform His word how we think He will all the time. Sometimes He does. But my struggle is with what do you do with when He doesn’t? I am going through a situation and because it has to do with “God said” and I wonder if it will happen (certainly doesn’t look like it, but I know that is a given throughout scripture…..i.e. Joesph’s dream, Abraham and Sarah) I remembered something God said years ago, there were 5 of us and no one knew at the time what God was talking about. A few years down the road, a portion of what was spoken happened and at that moment, I had an epiphany, ” oh, this is that which the prophet spoke” But the second part of it never happened and trust me, is not ever going to. I don’t get it.
    Thanks for listening
    Rebecca

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      I think what you’re feeling is really common and normal, Rebecca. Sometimes we won’t know until we get to heaven what God was doing. In those moments, it’s easy to try to take back control because it makes us feel safer. But our only true security is to keep praying what Mary did–to place our hearts in the hands of One we can trust even when we can’t understand. Tell God all your feelings, hurts, fears and even anger. And let Him take it all. He can handle it and He already knows. He will never let you go.

  • Barbara Honea

    Thank you, Holley, for these words of encouragement today. I so needed to hear them.
    I’m leaning on His word and all He has promised us. Today is just a low point in my
    faith walk, but I know the God whom I serve and I know He will give me the comfort and
    strength and peace that I so need to continue. Keep me in your prayers as I struggle
    today with sadness, depression and a bit of a lost feeling in my heart.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      I’ve struggled with depression too, Barbara, and I’m praying Jesus will be your joy and strength. Be gentle with yourself. You are worth caring for and your feelings do not mean you’re a failure. They simply mean you’re human.

  • Jeanine

    Thank you, I needed to hear that today.

    • http://holleygerth.com Holley Gerth

      So glad it encouraged you!

  • http://freedtofly.me Trudy

    Thank you, Holley. I needed this encouraging reminder today. I love how you bring out what Mary heard from God and what she actually went through before she saw it a reality. That gives me hope today. “I am the Lord’s servant. May Your word to me be fulfilled!”

    Congratulations, Holley. You now have a daughter and a son! I’m sorry for all the painful years you had to go through, but God sure works in mysterious ways. :)

  • meg

    I wish I could sit in a room with all of these women and hear about their lives and weep and cry and laugh. I love being with other women of faith and hearing their stories of Gods faithfulness to them. I, too, have had my share of things turning out differently yet God being faithful. I actually just wrote a devotional about how God healed my husband of epilepsy, but 15 YEARS after God said my prayer was answered, my petition granted. Now I am waiting for the second healing to manifest. For a little over 13 years my husband, Keith, has bee in a battle with Parkinson’s disease. It has been Ike watching him being crucified in super slow motion. It us painful, excruciatingly so. But God is faithful. God once again has spoken and told me that the days of my mourning SHALL BE ENDED. I am His servant. May it be unto me according to His word.

    Thank you Nina for sharing the words Favor and Fulfillment. Praying about these myself.

  • Tracy

    Holley,
    I am touched today but the words you wrote and couldn’t have needed to hear them more than right now.
    I have stuggled with keeping hope that God’s promises to me were real for so long. My husband has been struggling with mental illness for over 3 1/2 years now and it has been a dark, lonely journey. God did tell me He would heal him but when you see his behaviour, or seeming hatred towards me it has been hard to hold onto that promise. My heart has broken over and over to watch my 3 children go through this present loss of a father in their lives.
    And although the promise to restore come early in the journey, the road has been long….too long at times and rocked with such pain and loss.
    But alas as you said….I am God’s servant and His words to me will be fulfilled.
    Peace and blessings to you.
    Tracy

  • http://www.amylearns.com Amy Tilson

    Holly, a hearty amen with much nodding here. We seem to have lived our marriages in reverse, but all the waiting and hoping has been repaid more abundantly than could have ever been asked or imagined. What beautiful pictures from the wedding! I continue to be so thrilled for all of you. xoxo

  • http://www.kathycheek.blogspot.com Kathy @ In Quiet Places

    Thank you Holley for sharing more of this beautiful story with us. Just this morning in my Bible reading time I read this fitting passage in Romans 8:24-25 (NKJV) 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

  • Joanne

    Thank you Holly for your encouragement! I needed to hear this at this very moment.
    I’m waiting! I’m waiting to see what God is doing.

  • http://incourage.me Julie E.

    I Thank God for you sharing with us Holley…. In this past 6 years of heartache, Pain & Loss of our relationship of Our youngest daughter and our granddaughter …… Very Low times and deep depression from loosing ALL contact & No relationship for 6 years now~ But because of your incourage words & bible versus and other women ministries I’ve kept with, I am continuing on my walk with the Lord ❤️ Such Hurt & deceit from my own adult kids took me down to the deep, DEEP, Depths of a hurt I never even felt when I went thru a divorce with their dad ( I always felt that was the biggest heart pain a woman could feel ! Deceit, & rejection from your husband !? )……. NOPE- The very kids you protected in that horrifying marriage to Protect & Love with every part of your body & Soul !! Pulled Our Hearts out & buried them ….. Oh and running into to her about 2 mths- ago at Olive garden after 5 1/2 yrs. of not seeing her … I said Hello —— and she raised her voice at me & called me a Stalker – Psycho Stalker !! My response,”LOVE U ——“!! And I turned around and sat down between my Dad & Brother and my husband sitting across from us . !!!!! So much more in this horrible experience Or would you call that, a JOURNEY?

    • Jan

      Julie,
      My sister and I married brothers…..over 35 years ago. For most of those years, there was dissension and so much pain for our entire family. I was mad at God for a long time and didn’t understand why HE wouldn’t “fix” this situation. Finally, I realized that God took them out of our lives for OUR protection. I didn’t really come to know the full meaning of this until just a year ago, when our siblings divorced and many things came to light. So even if you don’t understand what is happening, Trust God and Forgive. Give your daughter to the Lord and pray that if you can’t have a relationship here on earth, that He will draw her to Himself and that you will see her in heaven someday. That is truly the most important thing.

  • http://lifeisabowlofwedgies.com Melody

    What a beautiful picture of spiritual mothering. May God continue to bless you and use you. Thank you for the reminder to never give up hope. We walked the IF road for 9 years as well and can identify there. We also watched God bring young people into our lives for the purpose of mentoring and discipleship. Later he brought two children in our lives through domestic adoption. His ways are truly incredible. So happy for your adopted daughter’s wedding day – she is gorgeous!

  • Lina

    How excellent for you all!! Thank you for that lovely story of never letting go of God’s promise.

    Be Well,
    Lina
    xo

  • Lisa

    Thank you Holley for your encouragement. Your words speak right to my heart. I have been in the “waiting” season for many years. The length of time has made me question if I heard him correctly about the dream and vision for my life ….so I press in deeper each time so I will know Him more and trust. It seems right now that God is late and yet I know He is always right on time. Your devotion put words to the cry in my heart. Thank you again for allowing God to use you to encourage me and so many others.

  • http://beautifultogod.blogspot.com/?m=1 Amy Vest

    Heart Big Sis! ♡ I am so grateful to God for His heart and the plans of His heart! Thank you for sharing this beautiful, beautiful story of His goodness! I love witnessing His hand in your life -and through you for His glory! He has blessed countless hearts through yours – especially mine! ♡ I love you!

  • judy

    I agree with Penny, It is really beautiful, and I myself needed that right now as I have felt really angry with some things that is going on that really hurts and I really cannot do much or anything about it. But what I feel the most is “hurt” and I have made myself sick over it. I am better today, but the thoughts are still there. Without going into detail, I ask you pray for me on this as it involves the recent passing of my mother back in November with the way things are being handled of her estate. Thank you for listening and for your prayers. I know I have to keep believing and have the faith everything will turn out good.

  • Mary

    I’m touched and comforted by all of your stories. Some still waiting for answers to come others rejoicing over blessings and answers received. I’m lifting you all up in my prayers tonight. I myself am waiting for my 2 adult children to give their lives to the lord. Please pray for them.

  • Beth

    Thank you for sharing this, my spirit has been greatly encouraged and convicted as I see more of my sin, in wanting things to go the way I want and being disappointed when they dont. May I grow in trusting Him more and believing His promises hold true insipte of my circumstances.

  • Bobbie

    So beautiful and inspiring. What a blessing you are to all you touch. God bless you and your beautiful daughter. What a gift for you both. I pray for her a blessed life of joy and love, more than her heart can hold. Thank you for sharing.

  • Mimi

    Thank you so much for sharing. I too struggle in infertility and I always wander what to do and how far to go to make our dream true. Would you guys pray for me to God to give me his guidance and for me to have an open ears and heart to listen to Him. May The Lord help us in every situation and difficulties that we are in.

  • http://www.dreamsmithbooks.com Kristi Smith

    Holley,
    “Be it unto me as you have said” is an open statement of faith in God’s goodness and not a guarantee that life will be smooth and seamless. I have had to repeat these words of faith many times when my eyes were filled with tears of pain. It is especially challenging to say when your heart is broken like I am sure Mary’s heart was many times in her life. But the only way to heal our brokenness is through trusting the Maker of our hearts.
    “Be it unto me as you have said” sounds exhilarating on the front end, but it can be excruciating to say at what seems to be a dead end. I admire Mary’s persistence through the years to continue to live out of this quote. I agree with you that it is easier to say sometimes than others.
    When my husband died 3 years ago suddenly at the age of 48, it rocked my world. Mike was the love of my life and after 25 years of marriage and ministry together I was abruptly alone. Mike had called me his bride until the day that he died. Our love was strong and true and I give God all the credit for bringing us together and binding us together in such a marvelous way.
    As the grief crept over me, I found myself no longer a bride but now I was a widow. My “love life” was completely changed and I had to learn how to navigate my “life” without my “love”. Excruciating. Exhausting. Empty.
    God continued as my loving Father and watched over me. The Holy Spirit snuggled up to me and began to bring me comfort like never before. And the Jesus I had always known as my Savior and Big Brother initiated a new identity into my heart. Jesus became my Husband and the Lover of my soul. We are the bride of Christ and He is our Holy Husband.
    Last year I was able to put my thoughts into a book called “DREAM…a guide to grieving gracefully” and God has used this book to love on widows, widowers, divorced people, parents who have lost children, people who have lost parents, etc to redefine love and trust on a completely different level than we can experience before such a loss. I hope you will share my website dreamsmithbooks.com with anyone you know who needs help experiencing God’s great love especially after a dramatic loss or divorce.
    Mary said yes to God when the coming of the promised child was announced to her by the angel and Mary said yes to God when this child of hers was tried and killed as a criminal in front of her own eyes. But Mary also said yes to God when her son was raised to new life. Life is filled with ups and downs, may we be like Mary and repeat her words of faith in God’s goodness no matter what we are experiencing at the moment. God is faithful to overcome our heartaches…even from the death of our loved ones. “Be it unto me as you have said”.
    Dare to DREAM,
    Kristi Smith

  • alli

    today I can finally let it go. I made an idol out of my dream.today God is enough, not that I dont dream, but I will be okay. And its totally okay.

  • Catie

    This is the most encouraging read that I’ve come across in a very long time. How beautiful for you and your family, it’s encouraged me to stay strong in faith believing He who promised is faithful, though it may not come to pass as I’m expecting it too. God Bless and thank you!!!

  • http://www.operationorphannomore.blogspot.com Katrina

    My dear sweet Pam sent me the link to your blog. Oh how badly she knew we both needed it. Pam and I are dear friends brought together by tragedy. We were both told to go. Go and adopt. Go to a foreign country and give a family to a child that has none. We both listened and obeyed. There were many others just like us. None of us knowing how horribly wrong it would seem when our journeys would end far differently than we would even imagine. We would all be brought together to try and fight against what seemed so cruel and unjust. How could so many of us misunderstood? How could it be that God would not change it and make it right?

    I have had so many struggles with myself and God over the past 2 years because there were times I thought I just must have misunderstood. Why would God send me thousands of miles across the ocean to met and fall in love with a special little girl who has Down syndrome and no family only to allow Russia to ban all Americans from adopting before we could get back to her? How could he allow children to be transferred to horrible institutions and separated from their siblings they had grown up with? How could no one in our country care enough to help us out? Why would people instead ridicule us for trying to adopt from a foreign country and call us ugly names for not adopting from US foster care?

    So your words have done me so much good. They have helped to remind me that I need not question why. I went and I did what God asked of me. It did not turn out the way I imagined it was supposed to but I was obedient and did all I could. A part of my heart will forever be stuck in Russia. I pray daily to make sure I did everything I could to change that so all there is left to do is trust. She is God’s child. He loved her first. He loves her more than I can ever imagine. It definitely was not what I had planned when I set out on this journey but I will continue to have hope for the little blue-eyed blonde haired girl who stole a piece of my heart living across the ocean.

  • Beth Williams

    Holley,

    Such a relevant post for me this past year! It was rough with caring for aging dad
    and his health issues, work issues with both hubby and myself. In each circumstance last year–especially hubby’s job I would pray.

    I want nay need a different job away from certain people for I have lost my happy. Now I need to turn my prayers to more of what Mary said: I am the Lord’s servant. May Your word to me be fulfilled” Must believe “God is working, and when you least expect it, in a way that you may hardly even recognize at first, He’s going to fulfill all He promised.” It may not come in my timing, but come it will in a way I may not expect.

    Blessings on a great 2015 :)

  • Kaitlin Akvan

    I read this in the middle of the night last night when I couldn’t sleep. Yet another hope was crushed yesterday. It sometimes seems in life that just when we get our feet back on the ground, the rug is yanked out from under us again and we fall flat on our face. A string of hopes dashed had left me angry, sad, exhausted, but most dangerously, about to give up. I knew I had to run to Him even though He was the last person I wanted to talk to yesterday. Then I came across this. Oh this. And all of you. I read each of your stories and thought of how courageous you all are. How beautiful. And then I thought, “if they can still seek God after all of these struggles, so can I.” So thank you, each and everyone of you for your story. I prayed for

  • Kaitlin Akvan

    All of you last night. Thank you again.

  • Margareta Karlsson

    Thanks to the Lord for all blessed words of encouragement you are dealing

  • Karen

    Holley,
    I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Tears fill my eyes as I type this message because God used your words to speak to my soul this morning. A few years ago, I went through a heartbreaking divorce. My husband betrayed me and then chose to leave, making me a single mother starting over again in “middle age”. I have clung to God’s promises, especially at first— when they were all that got me out of bed to face each day. God’s promises, and the faces of my sweet children kept me going through heartache that I didn’t know if I could recover from. However, lately, I’ve been struggling. Seeing my ex with his girlfriend in what looks like a picture perfect life, and having to share my children has honestly left me questioning recently. Questioning if somehow I was being punished or had missed something along the way. Wondering if it would ever be better for me, if I would ever be able to truly move beyond the lingering pain. Wondering if God had anything else for me. All I can say is thank you for being the whisper of God this morning, reminding me to never lose hope. God is good all the time, and all the time, He is good!!!! Much love!!

  • Deb

    On this dreary Sunday morning in the Northeast, my husband and I drag ourselves out of bed taking each and every step by faith. Your message has been confirmation from God!!! Our six year old with autism spectrum disorder has been struggling so much at school and we received some terrible news this week about his education. We are struggling with so many losses: having to leave our church because of his needs, losing my mother in law after a slow and painful illness, now faced with losing the stability of a solid education, the possibility of losing my employment and the certainty of having to lose our home. It’s more than we can begin to comprehend. His diagnosis came after 10 years of infertility, praying on the Lord’s timing, almost dying having him and then autism. In all, I have felt God is with me. Even when doctors, specialists, lawyers, educational advocates and financial advisors tell us there is no way, we HAVE to trust that He WILL make a way. Things will certainly be different than we’d planned, but in the end we will look back and have nothing but praise! I’ve heard His voice in so many ways and today He used your words to tell me exactly what I needed to hear to trust in His timing once again. I live by Proverbs 3:5, Hebrews 11, Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this with us today!!!! Please keep my family in your prayers as we head through one of the roughest storms we’ve faced in our marriage. Thanks again!

  • Tina

    On January 12, 2015 – I went for my 6 week ultrasound… The doctor couldn’t find the baby… I’ve struggled with infertility for 5 years… This was my 4th miscarriage in four years. It took 11 different fertility treatments (iuis, ivf fresh and frozen) to just get pregnant 4 times. The only place I got to write my name as mother was on my baby’s death certificate. I really thought that this time around God would have came through. like you said maybe he will just not the way I expected. I’m considering the surgoucy route, I don’t have the finances but I’m going to pray about it and wait patiently. Thanks for the encouring words.

  • Mary Haynie

    Blessings to you. I am the mother of 2 adopted girls. They are now 30 and almost 29. As a divorced mother it was hard but God had great plans for all of us. One is a school psychologist and the other is a business biologist. They are both married to wonderful men. I am now married to a Christian man who treats me with respect. God is good.

  • Judith hoppes

    Im at the point of giving up im tired frustrated etc

  • Gloria

    I woke up this morning with a troubled heart. I was carrying a heavy burden. My middle aged daughter is suffering with. She can’t be the wonderful person God made her to be because of her own self loathing. She is suffering. The message I have just read in this God inspired devotion has given me the strength and the words to reach out once again to my beloved daughter. We are NEVER abandoned. That peace that passes understanding is available to all. As I reach out to my daughter today, I know God will be there with us, holding us both in the arms of love that never let’s go. Thanks be to God.

  • K Reyes

    Thank you so very much for this much needed anointed word of encouragement today. I truly needed this word. God bless you dear sister for all that you do for His glory!

  • Lynne

    Holley- thank you for the beautiful reminder. God has been showing me through your words and other devotionals this year that I spend too much time thinking about how I feel my life Should be instead of asking Him what is His will. My One Word for this year is Focus – on Him and not myself nor my circumstances or how I think things should be. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  • Beth Williams

    Holley,
    Such a great picture of you and your daughter. I absolutely love the song she picked out for the wedding. I pray she has many many good years with her hubby. Thank you for following God’s leading and adopting her–even if for just a few months. I know she will treasure you both for the rest of her life!

    Forever grateful for people like you who take the road less traveled and follow God’s leading!

    Blessings :)

  • glenda

    Yes, God will answer in His time and His way. He brought a wonderful Christian man into my life at the age of 62, when I finally decided to wait for Him to send the right person. God is fathful!

  • Fran

    I have been encouraged by this publication and the stories of beloved sisters. It came to me on a difficult day for me as I have been faced with challenges of an adult battling dual diagnosis – mental health & drugs issues. However, my hope is on nothing less than the blood of Jesus & His righteousness.

    Thank you Holly, you are an inspiration. Be encouraged sisters. The Lord knows the end from the beginning. We are all engraved in His plan, He will bring us to the expected end.

  • Stacy

    Thanks for this! I stumbled across the post just now and what a timely word this is! I’m 37, single and childless, but deeply blessed and loved by God. I know He loves me, but the past week shook me up: I woke up walking around, sick, but walking around last Sunday. This Sunday, today, I’m using my mother’s borrowed cane to walk so I don’t fall from the constant vertigo. That prayer is just what I need! Thanks!

  • Micsan

    Bless you for writing this. We have been married for many, many years & no children either. It is hard to go to church on mother’s/father’s day or join small groups. I sometimes question the emptiness, shame, and even the “why” of not having children. There are many times I feel so unworthy, but I rest assured in God’s promise that he loves me and has never abandoned me. It’s just believing in his promise that gives me joy and contentment in whatever state I’m in. Thank you again for sharing.

  • Christine

    Your article came in my email today and God is so good to give us just what we need when we need it. I woke up feeling so discouraged, praying again as I have been for 15 years, for my husband and 2 adult sons salvation. Your words encouraged me to not give up hope.

  • pattie

    This is just what my husband and I needed to hear today….exactly!!!!!
    Thank You for being a messenger!
    …His timing is impeccable :)

  • http://wynb.blogspot.com wyn barratt

    Thank You For Breaking My Heart

    Thank You for breaking my heart
    When those I loved too well
    Reaped answered prayers and feats I dared
    That caused their hearts to swell.

    I know I’m nothing now
    A memory at best
    A pat on the head then left for dead
    O come eternal rest!

    Thank You for breaking my heart
    I’ve broken Yours at times
    My lukewarm love drifts up above
    When circumstance inclines.

    The challenge now to see
    The pain laid on Your heart
    Each day I see Your love for me
    Means we shall never part.

    How much Lord, You love me
    Far more than I deserve
    And how I need Your arms round me
    With nothing in reserve.

    W.B. Nov ‘14

  • Kathy Walthinsen

    This really spoke to me today. 3 days ago my son and daughter-in-law had their much prayed for baby but the whole birth process didn’t go as they had wished. She had a c-section and is now experiencing some complications. The baby is fine and beautiful but this retired OB nurse is finding herself in a state of anxiety about mom and baby-this being the worst flu season in many years. So even though I should be rejoicing now I feel fear. I need to learn that God has our best in mind for us, no matter what. Pray that I’ll be able to really live this way!

  • Collette

    Wow. If there was ever a time I needed th hear this it is now. I have a surgery scheduled for Friday and the enemy is try to put fear on me but I am comforted and encouraged by these words.

    • Gail Watson

      Put your hand in His and trust Him, He’ll never let you down!

  • Gail Watson

    This resonated with my spirit, I know it is true and I am expecting many great things to happen this year, the year of His restoration.

  • Cindy Wilson

    Praise God that He put it on your heart to write about hope. I really needed to hear this now. I know I will be reading this post many times.

    All I ever wanted was to get married and have a family. To stop being the perpetual “third wheel” at family gatherings and be a part of the “happily married” club. Years went by and I accepted the Lord but still there was no one special for me. I was discontent being single. Well, in my late forties I met a man during our Friday night street ministry. He was unavailable at the time so I didn’t give him another thought. However, his previous relationship ended so we started to date. We dated a very short time and got married. But disillusionment set in very quickly … (my husband turned out to be a dependent roommate from the very beginning) and I found that I wasn’t content being married.

    We went through many trials, his past catching up with us in the form of reconciliation with the mother of his children who is visually handicapped and his two sons, one who had been to jail leaving us with a large bill to pay, dealing with his low functioning blind, brittle diabetic, autistic son,. Then there was a nervous breakdown, filing for divorce in 2012 but not proceeding with it, two bouts of cancer occurring 6 weeks apart, depression, and most recently I my lost job. (I’m the sole provider) I thought somehow we would make it even though we were just roommates. I even recently threw away the divorce paperwork I had found. But I brought my husband’s exgirlfriend (mother of his children) and autistic, blind, brittle diabetic child into our house just before Thanksgiving because they were about to end up on the streets. To say that Hell broke loose is a fair statement. There was a lot of drama in our home generated by my husband and it finally came out that he wasn’t even saved and did want My God. As of Thursday, January 15th the divorce proceedings have been reinstated and he has moved out (my insistence).

    I’m sorry for all the backstory, but I have to say that it really helps me to read what both you and your daughter had to say even though I hurt. Even her wedding song “Bless the Broken Road” was player at my wedding.

    I’ll cling to Romans 8:28 and try to keep dreaming and hoping…. I don’t want a root of bitterness to grow or to stay stuck in self pity. After all my life is not my own.

    Cindy

  • Susan Bianchi

    Sat down to do a quick email check and found this. I am about to write to my 19-yr-old niece, who is in detox for the 3rd time in 15 months (snorting heroin). She was raised in the church but has fallen away. Your meditation has given me some ideas for what to write to her. I did this while another young relative went thru detox/rehab not too long ago and he said it helped. I so much want this to help my niece. I pray God will guide me in what to write a he guided me to read your post. Thank you. God bless you. SBB

  • Angel

    This popped out at me from my my overflowing inbox as I scrolled through my messages tonight. This past week, the weight of current circumstances, big and small, has overwhelmed me, leaving me feeling completely depleted of faith and abandoned by God. I needed to read this tonight. I needed the gentle reminder that my perspective needs to shift. My life doesn’t look like I hoped and dreamed it would, things certainly aren’t going according to my plans, but I need to remember that there is a greater purpose being accomplished in and through me. Thank you for sharing this!

  • sharyn

    Congratulations beautiful mom. Great photo.
    Your last post spoke into my heart just what was needed. Amen He is the God of the unexpected and impossible.
    Sharyn.xo

  • Angela

    Thank you for this lovely encouragement. I really need this today. Such perfect timing from The Lord!

  • Maggie Rose

    Dear Holley;

    I accident put this into “trash”, but I went and read your words and thought: this is what so many of us need… the reality of God’s word-it is Life to each of us regardless of what we have faced, and are now facing.
    Thank you so much Holley for sharing this insight, the Lord continue speaking to your heart and sharing His Words; and to all the precious women who browse through, those who drop in and read these words and share their hearts with one another… a special thank you; and may each of you dear ladies remember how you are deeply loved… our Father knows just when to move in our lives and bring restoration!
    God bless each of you and bring healing on every level of your lives… what a blessings this is for me also!

    In His love… me, Maggie

  • Melissa

    This is something I needed to hear/read. I have always been strong, but something inside me has stopped fighting. Disappointment after disappointment after hurt and betrayal would do that to you, but this here has blessed my heart. Thank you.

  • Sheila

    My mom forwarded this to me today. Oh, how I needed this word today. Such perfect timing from the Lord. Thank you for sharing!

    I hope you don’t mind but I’ve added it to my facebook page. I’m sure others need this word too.

  • Josie

    Thank you Holley for sharing, it really meant a lot to me, specially now I been through difficult time. I’m kind of think I’m losing faith and abandoned by God.
    Reading the (in) courage make me think that I am not alone.

    “Cast your burdens upon Me
    Those who are heavily laden,
    Come to Me, all of you who are tired
    Of carrying heavy loads,
    For the yoke I will give you is easy
    And My burden is light,
    Come to Me and I will give you rest.”