About the Author

Ann Voskamp is a farmer's wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times 60 week bestseller. Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the...

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  1. To get a dog. As silly as it sounds, this is a big deal. We’ve had two before and we failed. And now, He’s transforming my heart to See dogs as His creations–to accept their *different-than-me* characteristics. And when the dog breeder said “no, not now,” He led me to ask her for Grace, for favor to reconsider. It was hard to do that, incredibly hard. Yet, she did reconsider and as it turns out, it just wasn’t THAT dog she wanted for us, and instead she considered another “who has more of her life left for us.” It took bravery to say “YES!” to a dog {again!}, and it took bravery to ask for grace, and then to receive it…and now, to speak of this–a dog, a beautifully created image of God. He calls me to this, even in spite of what others think–that I’ve done this before and shouldn’t I give up?–and He says “it’s time.”

  2. Ah, Amy — Isn’t that just it? God saying: “It’s Time.” Christ-courage to say YES — now *is* the time…

    And oh my — the courage to *accept* grace. Is that the bravest of all?

    God bless you, Amy, as you say YES to Him — in everything! Your story blesses… *Thank you*

  3. ‘that catastrophizing is how we make our own soul-cages. That fear’s always the flee ahead.’

    Soul cages? I have one of those, we all might have one. But here I thought I was putting all the things inside that cage that made me fearful, left me with bad, hurtful memories, people who threw me away. In reality it was the other way around. I put myself in there and locked the cage door, from the inside! It was at our women’s retreat this past November where I finally realized that and it clicked! I was told its my choice to put the key in the lock and step out of that cage, no one else could do that for me. 2010 was a year of change, a year of ‘firsts’ as the children and I went through the first year of all the first times for….x,y,z since their fathe moved out. It was a year I stepped out and went to counseling for 8 months straight on a weekly basis, it was a year that I really started to trust God. 2011 has been that year of stepping out of the cage and saying YES to God! I’ve spoken to the high school class at church, I’ve given a devotional to our choir group, and recently I’ve gone on my first mission trip to Joplin. Right now I’m having to say ‘Yes’ but in a way thats not really me ‘doing’ something but just being OK. God has called some friends to leave our church to go lead worship at another church in the city. I’m having to trust God that I will be okay because change and I do not mix very well and I panic. But He’s saying I will be okay and he is giving me people to help me along the way!

    • Ah Lisa… yes — you are so right — I think we all might have the soul cages?

      Your testimony to the Grace of God here is powerful and beautiful, Lisa — I think you are soaring, friend. You teach me much.

      *Thank you.*

  4. Wow… what an amzing post! Thank you for sharing. I know when it is an amazing post to me when at the end, my heart swells, and this time, it did. Thank you again 🙂

  5. It is a Women’s Retreat that I have been asked/called to speak at. It is the writing of 5 talks to give, and it is haltlingly slow with the deadline looming. I needed this :
    ‘When you’re in a covenant with Christ, it’s His responsibility to cover your cracks, to be all your competency and completeness.’ This is what I need to focus on as I sit and write and pray for His words to be shining through. It is Christ who is competent, not me and that is what I need to rest in. Pray for grace, please?

    • Jessica,

      Praying for a wonderful retreat and that God gives you the words people need to hear!

      I know you will do good with God’s abundant help!! 🙂

  6. We’re thinking of setting up a small community of fellow seekers and walkers on the way. It’s a way off, but other good friends are thinking of it too and we’re not sure of anything yet, other than a sense of calling.

    • May I pray too for you, Alex? May God call you to share the gospel and good news of Christ — and may He make it clear exactly how that is to look. God bless you for your faithfulness…

  7. It’s to write. Everyday that I run from it….more calamity seems to invade my life.
    I keep thinking (or blaming) my circumstances of working full-time….but that’s not a legit excuse.

    I’m working on my courage—–to get out of that cage. Thank you Ann.

    • And He is all our courage, us weak and incapable on our own. Just keep leaning back into His all sufficiency, Wanda. Right there with you, friend… Through Christ — You CAN! ((You))

    • Wanda,

      I am struggling with the same issue. god has called me to write since I was three. I know it and feel it in the deepest part of my bones. So why you ask? Courage? Accountability? Full time working mother exhaustion? Most likely all of the above. I’ll pray for you and you pray for me 🙂

  8. Oh my goodness, this feels so “for me” today….
    …I am being directed, I think, back into full time work for a season…
    …but it feels quite scary, and pressured…and I keep doubting…is this REALLY what you want God?
    The downside – my littles are still little and I want to be here at home with them; I also run my own business which I will need to tend to evenings and Saturdays…meaning even more pressure and less family time…
    The reason… my husband was made redundant and is taking this time to set up a new venture…my income will give space and peace in this time
    The upside … I will learn new skills that complement my business, my children will be cared for by their Father, it is only for 6 months
    AND I do believe this is God’s will…oh how I prayed for him to close the door!! But after three interviews I succeeded and I have to believe it is His plan….so my struggle now is to “lean in to Him” and “trust in His plans” by remaining in Him, trusting Him with our family; and praying for His strength

    Thank you for these words today, and this chance to “verbalise” my inner turmoil….the turmoil that steals my peace. How do I relaim the peace and keep in His presence?

    • Victoria,

      My life verse Jeremiah 29:11..”For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. I pray it resonates with you also!

      In this time of economic crisis it is good that God has blessed you with a job and one that will endow you with new skills to learn and use in your own business.

      I pray your little ones understand and appreciate what the family is doing for them!
      May God continue to bless you all!!!

      • Thank you so much Beth for these words. And that has been a favourite verse for me also since I became a Christian…you are right that we are blessed….it is just those voices of the “perfect Christian wife & mother” that keep returning to buzz around my head! I am praying continually to God to silence them.

        Thank you for your prayers, and God’s blessings to you too
        love Victoria x

  9. Stepping into a whole world of “new” right now.
    3 kids ‘going’ off to school this year, we are “taking a break” from home-schooling this year. I fear the quietness of the house in the weeks ahead. The littlest and I will be rather lonely, thankfully she will still be home with me and we will have each other.
    Having just stepped out of full time ministry for the first time in over ten years…
    He still has no job and we have to move out of this parsonage by the end of October. (Poor timing with me headed to Relevant. He still insists I go.) Have yet to find a rental house… hard to secure one with no income, and two Golden Retrievers. There are very few available in our area.
    Can’t tell how many times yesterday God called to me, in various ways, to Be Still, Rest in Him, and to Wait quietly.
    Why is that so hard to do?
    So yes, prayer is greatly appreciated right now.

    • Sharon,

      I know God has great and wonderful plans for you! He may be teaching us all patience – such a hard thing to learn!!!

      In His perfect time the right house, job and perfect peace!!
      Meantime, I’m praying for you in all things and His perfect will!!!!!!!!

  10. The heart of a child…wow..”do you think God is calling our names but we aren’t listening.”
    I want to hear that still small voice that calls out to me…the Love I miss because I miss Him. This blogging thing does make me gnaw my lip…even now I realize my teeth are grabbing my lip. Each post is a step…a step toward the One who calls…calls me out of my comfort zone…saying Yes to Him… Yes to the freedom He gives.
    Blessings sweet sister…
    Ro

    • Ro — just this: “This blogging thing does make me gnaw my lip” Oh, do I hear you! Can I keep walking with you — with Him. Each post a step. He holds, Ro! We’ll keep our eyes on Him! Every blessing in Him to you too, ((Ro))

  11. Oh Ann…this took me right back to all my own concerts and recitals, my own lip-chewing moments even still as a music major in college! The *only* way for me to completely relax was to take me out of the whole shebang and focus on Him. And still? No matter what I’m doing, it remains true! Please tell Malakai I’m carrying his words with me, listening extra closely for the God tune He’s orchestrated in my heart…

    Love you to pieces, Ann!

  12. Oh Ann…

    For me, the lip-knawing thing is just to begin to live again, to step up to the piano and play…I’ve heard my name called and just stood, glued to the stage, unable to move…

    • Oh Joy… I. so. feel. that. with. you.

      But He is love… together — we will take His hand…

      Can we pray for each other today, Joy.

      More love than thin letters can hold, sister…

  13. For me, it’s letting my 13 year old and 15 year old go to the local community college. My husband works there, so they have free tuition. They have surpassed my ability to teach them and I am so glad they can go to college, but it is still hard. So glad I still have a 9 year old and a 6 year old at home!

  14. Ah you know already – that car we’re driving in, me and God. Driving into the great unknown of newness. Thank you for the reminder that He always calls our names at just the right time.

    • ((You))

      You heard Him call your name — and you said YES!

      Hold on to that Steering Wheel — He’s leading… This trip is going to be so beautiful, Lisa-Jo — all His Grace alone!

      Leaning into Him with you, friend…

  15. It has been a year since my husband of 13 (now 14) years came home to reveal an affair and his desire for a divorce. He moved out the next day. I have patiently waited and prayed for a change of his heart. I am slowly moving forward with my 5 children, but I feel like I am still holding onto what will never be again. While God hates divorce and my spouse leaving was never what He wanted, He knows what the out come in every thing is and He is simply asking me to let go. To release my way ward spouse, my broken marriage, my shattered heart, and my uncertain future. To say yes to not only following hard after God, but trusting He will take care of my children and I.

    • Christina,

      (There is a response for you posted below @ #31. I wasn’t sure if you would see it since it does not directly follow your own comments. Beautiful words of encouragement from Ashleigh.)

      As for me, I too know this pain of waiting & letting go – the husband, the marriage, the family, the dream…. Have you ever read The Tale of Three Trees? I believe God has a dream for us. Help my unbelief! Oh that we would have the courage & faith to follow where He leads.

      • FYI, The response to Christina is #37 – maybe it got bumped down somehow – it is beautiful though so I hope that you see it Christina!

    • Everything blurring as I tap these keys… I am just going to sit here now… and quietly pray with you, Christina.

      The Spirit interprets our groans… and the valleys are us being held in His cupped hands…

      Kneeling with you now, Christina…

      • Thank you for the prayers and kind words. Like all things, on the good days, I say yes to God with out hesitation. I run hard to His open arms and His comfort. I praise Him for all that is good.

        It’s the hard days I struggle with. The emotions that threaten to over take me. The doubts that creep in when the house is still and sleeping. The pain I see in my children from a relationship with their father that continues to slowly tear apart. A sound so loud, I want to cover my ears and shut out the pain. These are the moments when I find it almost painful to say yes to God. When my trust is small, my praise quiet, and my hope flutters softly in my soul. But He knows best and will never forsake His children and so with childlike faith, I continue to trust. And instead of running hard to my heavenly Father, I simply bow my head and crawl into His lap, confess my weakness and rest in His peace.

        Thank you for the beautiful vision of being cupped in His hands through this valley. May your kindness and prayers be returned in peace and joy from God.

  16. When you’re in covenant with Christ, it’s His responsibility to cover your cracks, to be all your competency and completeness. Inabilities, in Christ, are made all-sufficient, just-right abilities. Abandon worries — and wholly abide.

    Oh these words so filled my cracks with His sufficient. We are about to take a huge step of faith at age 65 to a stateside ministry and i sense in my spirit some exciting things ahead for us. I am hoping for more time to develop the writing skills yet i know no matter how much schooling I get it will not fill the cracks, only He can…thanks for that reminder.

  17. Oh Ann, saying yes….for me I’m saying yes to letting go and letting God….we’ve had a rough few weeks and I slipped back into thinking I could handle situations on my own instead of immediately going to Him as only He can heal and comfort. Once I did that, there was such a peace and reasurrance that whatever is to happen is His will and in turn best for us. God Bless you for your your encouraging words and Malakai, so sweet! Hugs, Heather

  18. The biting of the lip is manifest as a wiggling of the nose in my boy, and his nose was like that of a rabbit last night as he went off to a sleep-over at a school buddies house – an event he helped to plan and feels responsible for its success. He wants to go so very much but he stresses about whether all the others will have a good time, whether the plans will go just as he thinks they should. He’s afraid he’ll have a night terror and disturb the others as they sleep. He’s concerned that the boys from the Karate school will not know the boys from the academic school, and what if the karate boys aren’t Christian like the school boys? He’s concerned that the sixth grade boys will not want to play with the fifth grade boys. And what if the music he selected – all about Jesus – isn’t what they want to listen to? He is brave to go when all he wants to do is run. We prayed as we drove to the meeting place. His papa met us there to give him a hug and help put up the tent. But as a momma, to watch him get into that car and leave, all wide-eyed and wiggling his nose, that was hard – but God calls me to let him go, let him try, let him have success and/or failure, because that is part of letting him become a man.

  19. Oh, Ann! I’m just sitting here crying with my heart all stirred up after reading your post. Oh the sweet, sweet heart of Malachi to perceive all of that! I was undone when I read what he asked, “Did he hear it from his heart – God calling his name?” I have struggled so much lately in our home where the children are all gone, to know what’s next…..what might be God’s purpose for the rest of my life. And I have put myself in a soul-cage that’s been in the making all my life. Will you pray that I will truly know God’s grace in the marrow of my bones and then have the confidence to walk out whatever He shows me to do? Thank you again for such a beautiful post. Oh so beautiful!!!!!

  20. Please pray for me to wait. One of the hardest waitings to do. I’m ready for my 5th child to be born. It’s hot. I hurt. I have to start teaching middle-schoolers on Monday. I want to have those sweet little toes in my hand to count and not in my ribs. But I will wait. I know it’s what’s best. I know His timing is perfect. Please pray for me in the waiting.

  21. That sweet call of our Father…

    My husband have I have grown in the confidence of knowing when we are hearing it, despite being told we are not by people that we have trusted.

    Stepping out in faith, on our own path to plan the the church that HE is calling us to plant…

    Trusting in HIM alone to lead us, that we not get ahead of Him.
    We are continually praying that all else but His voice would fade away. 🙂

  22. Christina, I just want to let you know that there is girl in Virginia heartbroken after reading your comment and praying for you this morning. It’s been nearly three years since my father was that man, and I’ve watched my mother walk the road of which you speak. Can I just encourage you that, yes, He does care for our broken hearts, even now? He does and He has and His grace has been greater than we imagined. The road, for all of us, has been painful to the point of wishing life were over, but our Father doesn’t let go. He isn’t surprised. He will carry your children through these valleys. He will give you the strength to do that hardest thing and let go when it’s time to let go. He will be holding your bleeding heart, even when you don’t feel it. I promise.

    Ann – thank you, sweet friend, for sharing Malakai’s story and the urge to step to the beat of God’s song. Beautiful and soul-stirring.

  23. When I was a little girl my grandma taught me how to sew and quilt. Together we made dozens of beautiful quilts. After she moved back to her home-state when I was 12, I stopped doing it because she wasn’t here to do it with anymore. Over the 15 years since she moved, we had only talked maybe 3-5 times a year. A couple months ago she died, on my daughter’s birthday. Her death made me realize that I had been wasting all the knowledge she gave me, and the talent God gave me. Since I believe no decision should be made without consulting God, I prayed about what to do. How was I to use my grandma’s memory to glorify His name? I knew almost immediately what I needed to do, I was to start making quilts for babies at the homeless shelter my kids and I stayed at 4 years ago. It took me about a month still to get the supplies I needed(having not quilted in 15 years) and the courage to be honest with myself and my friends and family about why I was doing what I was doing.

    • What an honor to your grandmothers memory. I too memorialize every moment at my sewing machine to my mother, who long gone, taught me as a child. Also while sewing each day (for customers) I think about and pray for the families into whose homes I will place my work. It has become a wonderful ministry for me and will for you as well.

  24. Waiting is just a gift of time in disguise — a time to pray wrapped up in a ribbon of patience — because is the Lord ever late?

    That line, and this story, is beautiful and stirring, for a time such as this in my life.

    Thank you…God bless you and Kai.

    • This line really spoke to my heart too. We’ve been waiting over 4 years for the Lord to bless us with a second child. I’ve watched and fretted as the age gap between my beloved 5 year old daughter and any sibling(s) she might have grows month by month. I have come to a place where I am starting to accept that God’s plan for us may be to have an only child – shocking and surprising because this would never have been our plan or desire – but God is good and we trust Him. This line reminds me that if He chooses to give us another child (ren?), despite how it may feel or look (we were not young when we had our first) – it will not be “late” – it will be His perfect plan. Thankyou Ann…..

  25. Incredible post! Loved it!~!

    Gnawing at me..my current job–our clinic is going to EMRs(Electronic Medical Records) and have hired another nurse (now 3) each will triage for their own NP(nurse practitioner), SO…..Where does that leave me? I’m a Medical Assistant who enjoys triage and talking with patients.

    My hubby and I are trusting God that He has something more awesome & terrific than I could ever imagine!

    • It was incredible wasn’t it?

      Joining you and your husband’s prayers for His reveal of something more awesome and terrific that you could ever imagine!

      Remember Romans 8:28!

      Thank you for your prayers xx

  26. Simply to continue to grow in Grace, learning to breathe Him in and out with every breath, nothing but Him–that is my prayer request. I would rather not breathe than to not breathe Him.

  27. Thank you for this post. I have been reading your blog for several months. I read your book too. It has been helping me through the hardest 15 months of my life. On our daughters 16th birthday my husband left for heaven unexpectedly. Your words have been used by God to speak to my breaking heart. Throughout this 15 month journey I have realized the importance of abiding in Him. It doesn’t matter the pace while I’m walking through my journey just that I keep moving. I have to focus on the gift of David, not the duration of the gift. I’m using my eyes of faith to see the future that God promises in His word. Our forever continues into eternity. It’s hope that I’m hanging on to. So just pray that God will lead me as I finish the dream we started; raising our 3 girls (17,16, 11) to be strong, confident women of God.

    • Jill…

      I am so sorry. Such heartache. Thank you for testifying of God’s grace and promises even in the midst of your pain. Praying for you and your sweet girls tonight.

      In Christ’s love,
      Jennie

  28. To turn in my CPI homeschooling form for the first time today. It’s due tomorrow, I’ve been avoiding. I know we are called to do this and I am so excited and this is our 3rd year, but it’s the official year! And I’m nervous and biting my lip. I know it will be easy to drop off those papers I’ve gone over a million times to be sure every T is crossed and every i is dotted. But it’s that step into the unkown. That step that takes those papers to the district school office and says, I’m not following the crowd. I’m going the way God planned for our family to go. Thank you for what you do for our community who does need these services for those not called to home school, but no thank you for my children. The road less travled, I always take the road less traveled. But thankfully He is always traveling it with me! THanks for asking Ann!

  29. Honestly….I’m not really sure what God is calling me to do yet….but I can feel it with all my heart. Maybe it’s taking a more leadership role in the church, maybe it is sponsoring a child through Compassion….I wonder and pray but still no answers…Im sure God will in his time. Please pray for me and my family as I give it all of God for his work within me!

  30. I woke up anxious this morning and sometimes it will go away but I have the habit of chewing my bottom lip because of plain old fear you see I have been without a job for 2yrs and take care of an elderly parent and sometimes it is more than I can take. Abouta month ago started have anexity and fear and stomach gets knotted up and I have no idea what I am having anexity and fear for. Use to suffer with then yrs ago and God took them away and all the sudden they came back.
    Phillippians 4;6-7
    Do not be anxious about anything instead pray about everything and present your petitions and requests with thanksgiving to God
    And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
    I have been asking God to work this verse in my heart and mind because I am not suppose to be anxious for nothing.
    also in 2Timothy 1;7
    For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power of love and a sound mind.
    So each day I am praying these verses over me because GOD has this whole situation under His control
    thanks ANN
    cAROL

  31. God is calling me to bravery. I was thinking on all that is ahead of me and wondering how I can cope as a single mama of four children. Oh how I want to do so much more than cope. How will I get out of debt, educate my kids, deal with my weight, move my family, and tend to the hearts of my hurting children! A friend texts me to let me know she is praying for me and to be brave. She didn’t know what I was thinking, but God did and He sent encouragement right when I needed it.

    Pray for peace, healing, and provision in my home. Oh, there are so many things to pray for, but I trust that He will lead your prayers, hear them, and answer them.

  32. Hearing in our hearts…stillness…waiting…humming…and songs of surrender from willing lips and hearts. Such a vivid picture of our life journey as we wait for His coming. So, as I gnaw on my own lip about decisions and writing and working and oh so many things to be done yet at home…

    I pray and rise from this place to do His will. Thank you for sharing, Ann. Truly, all IS grace!

  33. Ann, thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us!

    God is calling my name every day, to teach me to live fully at home with my family while I wait for confirmation of my vocation to join a convent. Not to anticipate, not to compare my life now with my idealized idea of life in the cloister…this is my challenge these days.

    I am praying for all of you holy women of God today, and ask that you pray for me, too!

  34. Hi Ann I so enjoyed your blog post – my family has to make a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision but its not burning in our bones. How do I deal with that?

  35. Ann, thank you for sharing. We (my husband and I) have had to make some decisions regarding our church and we have been praying for 5 months and within the past week the Lord has revealed to us what we must do. You wrote “Waiting is just a gift of time in disguise — a time to pray wrapped up in a ribbon of patience — because is the Lord ever late?” this just brought all the wait and our circumstance to a peace. Thanks you for your words.

  36. What has been making me uncertain lately, is that I can’t hear him. I don’t know how to spring forward, because I don’t know what he is asking….

  37. Our music minister said last night that he had had a word from God years ago: “In the last days I am going to use faceless people to do great things.” I want to be humble; to be willing to do what He calls me to do, not for the approval of others, but for Him (faceless).

  38. God is calling me to a lot of things, but the one that seems least virtuous to me is the one that I get the most praise for myself; I’d have to work the hardest to reflect the praise back up. I am chewing my lip about being an artist/illustrator. The more accolades I get, the more I struggle with confidence! So strange; but when I fix my eyes on my Creator, I can finally move forward shakily….

  39. I’m biting my lip about my future with my husband. He moved out 16 months ago, and the full truth has just now come out about his affair. I so badly want to repair this and be married, but I am really trying to guard my heart because he has been so dishonest so many times about this. I also don’t have any confirmation from him that he’ll truly want to work on our marriage. He says he is on the path to healing, and I know true healing involves a restored marriage. So I continue to hope and trust the He will move mountains.

  40. Oh YES!! I have recently listened to His calling my name, after trying to ignore it or put it off. To homeschool and to dig deeper. To listen and obey. Your post is spot on. I love it!!

  41. How is God calling your name today? What’s been making you gnaw your bottom lip in uncertainty?

    Every time I read a blog lately, I’m reminded of my current situation. I really think God is going to move my life in a totally different direction from where I thought I was going. I know He’s been calling my name, but only recently has it become more insistent…more noticeable to me. My husband and I have lost 5 children to miscarriage and pre-term labor; we struggled for over a year in 2008 with infertility and after losing our son Jonah in December of 2009, we started trying again…only to be looking at almost 2 years of infertility again. I always thought that the reason I still WANT more children is because it’s what God wants, too…

    but now I think I’m being led in another direction…a direction which a newborn would not fit into very well.

    And as much as I want God to do His great work, I’m scared (and perhaps a bit disappointed). I need to trust Him more.

    Yet deep in my heart, I know that I should not be scared of God calling my name to step up and toe the line…

  42. Ann, this touched me today, thank you. I needed to hear, “Waiting is just a gift of time in disguise — a time to pray wrapped up in a ribbon of patience — because is the Lord ever late?” But it’s so hard to see it as a gift. Also, the thought of walking in line with God’s drum over my life without being concerned with other’s thoughts is like a breath of peace.

    Thank you,
    Brenda

  43. “How is God calling my name today?”

    Oh Ann – He has. I’m a doubt-filled woman….a skeptic mother of two with 1 on the way. And throughtout the years my hope and expectation in the Lord has waned…and today as I sat outside with my 2 little blondes, God promted the eldest to bring me a white flower from our landscaping. I stuck my nose in the center of it – not expecting anything glorious – and much to my doubt-scourned and surprised mind…..it.smelled.of.Heaven. Just like the fragrance of flowers can’t really be bottled – I can’t put into words what that moment did for me. It smelled Divine. Really. And it had to get there somehow, right?…that amazing smell? The clouds of doubt began to disperse when I realized once again…He really did create it all.

    He called my name through a flower that has been growing outside my kitchen window for years. I’ve been pondering it all morning.

    Thanks for such a lovely post, Ann.

    Grateful for fragrant flowers,
    Kate 🙂

  44. “Waiting is just a gift of time in disguise — a time to pray wrapped up in a ribbon of patience — because is the Lord ever late? ”

    Well, just being honest here . . . it feels like He’s late. A lot. Four years now we have waited as our 5 and 9 month old babies have grown into 4 1/2 and 5 year old children in a little country in Africa. Four years we have prayed for the hand of God to move to close our adoption process. Some days I have great hope . . . other days I bite my lip with fear. Fear that we haven’t heard Him right. Fear that our little community who has been praying for us and them for years has been taken down a rabbit trail, fear that he’ll tell us to stop the process, fear that all this hard waiting isn’t really even the hard part . . . all I can hold on to is hope and keep waiting and keep listening . . .
    “. . . But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24 & 25

    • I can only imagine how hard this waiting has been for you to bring your children home. I don’t understand why God allows this… but am praying that you do not give up hope.
      “Heavenly Father, please help this daughter of yours today. May her faith and trust in You increase in this long time of waiting. Please remove the obstacles and barriers that have prevented their adoption from closing. Thank You, Father, that You place the lonely in families. Please help these children grow up in a home with a mother and father, and end their times as orphans. Be glorified in their hearts, their home. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

  45. To sell my car. We have been paying on it for almost 3 years. We are going through a budgeting class and have come to realize that if we didn’t have my car payment, we would be okay. We could pay all of our bills, work toward paying off all of our debt, and we could save money for the future. We are hesitant to sell the car because of uncertainty of what we’ll do for a second car. We also know though, that we are blessed enough that our schedules align enough that we could make one car work. This is a new chatter for us, but it has been on our minds separately for a while now.

  46. Two actually… one today: I have to drive the pick-up and stock trailer to town with a 4-H steer. It’s 40 miles, and I’m not concerned about between here and there, but when we get there with all those vehicles and kids and animals. A little scary. Thanks for the reminder to trust and abide!

    The big one: to step out and prepare to fill a need in our church as a pastoral counselor. I’m trying to wade through all the signals to make sure the one I’m hearing loudest is from God, not from my pride, or from other’s opinons, but from Him. I really too, feel compelled to wait on God for his perfect timing and his perfect will.

  47. Wow. I am sitting here at my desk trying to soak up all the truth and goodness in this post. I am beginnging the journey of discovering what exactly my kingdom-dream is after having many stripped away. Fear has crippled me for quite some time now. Fear that I will be disappointed again, met by closed doors and cul-de-sacs. I got tired and being tired lead to giving up and giving up allowed fear in. So, I am beginning from ground zero and I am having to fight fear with every second.

  48. This struck such a chord deep in me. I burst literally bursted out with tears when Malakai asks,
    ““Did he hear it in his heart — God calling his name?”
    What tremendous words from such a young boy- oh that God would call my name, and that I would throw off fear and bolt towards him daily, whatever the rhythm of my race….

    this blessed me in ways I cannot even say, Ann…. thank you. Pure beauty in these words…

  49. To keep loving someone who I don’t feel strong enough to love. An every-day love for an every-day person in my life. So hard!

    {thank you for this post…and thank you Malakai!}

  50. Ive been asked to lead the worship team at the Church we have been attending and been happily members of for a year. I have tried to make this work in the past and the timing hasnt been right. While I would really love it if God would just put big neon lights in the sky with a yes or a no, I know I have to be paitient on his answer, but things are starting to point to yes. While I know I am more than excited to be asked and want to do it, Im still nervous and I want to make sure its what God wants me to do. I feel as though God is calling my name to do this.

  51. I am a foster mom with 3 foster kiddos who I love with all my heart. I have three of my own too. My BEAUTIFUL daughter started public high school this year as a freshman after 9 years of Christian education. Our foster kiddos are going home soon (or are suppossed to be) and time lines and time tables that have been set haven’t been going as planned and the worries and hurts of this mama’s heart and head boiled over last night and nastiness and anger spewed all over my kids. I was broken and in despair and wholly convinced that I was not called to do this! This morning I went to God in Psalm 37 and He showed me there to “dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” I am to dwell in this calling He has called me to and be faithful. Then when I read your words, “When you’re in covenant with Christ, it’s His responsibility to cover your cracks, to be all your competency and completeness. Inabilities, in Christ, are made all-sufficient, just-right abilities. Abandon worries — and wholly abide. ” He reminded me again to “dwell in the land” and I can do all things through HIM. He equips, I will abide.

    • Karen…

      Oh yes, such comfort and grace and security knowing He “covers our cracks”.

      Thank you for following Jesus in opening your home to foster kiddos. Jesus said, “Where I am, my servant will also be.” Truly believe that Jesus is close to brokenhearted children in our foster care system. Thank you for being there with Him.

      May He give you strength, wisdom, and joy for this call. Yes, He equips and you abide.

  52. WOW! walking different than everyone else – he is telling me to stop attending church and be the church – to begin a missional community – yet remain apart of the body of Christ I am with – even if they look at me and think I am extreme and radical in living out the gospel and not judge them for not joining my journey but love and pray for them.

  53. Moving from a place of self-reliance, I’m now faced with clear opportunities, but positioning myself to wait – to appreciate the gift of waiting, the “time to pray wrapped up in a ribbon of patience.” I’m waiting to hear God’s call. I’ve always jumped in early, at my own prompting, asking the Lord to bless it along the way. But, I’m waiting. Asking God to give me ears to hear and courage to move past the fear that freezes and stand at His call, to the rhythms of His grace.

  54. It burns inside with a joyful fire…but fire is still dangerous and so I sit on the calling I feel because I am scared of the wildness of God. I have had much encouragement to write, and I have…some. The heart calls fro deeper courage, but the pusillanimous heart within shakes (I was just introduced to this big word by a loving, but honest, mentor). Please pray for me as I find my voice set within the only Voice who can truly speak life to anyone. Thank you and blessings!

  55. We are going against all family and becoming first generation homeschoolers this year. We are excited and nervous. We have no support from family even the two family members that are born again also. We do have friend and acquaintance encouragement and that helps tremendously. We have a son in first grade and a daughter in 4th grade. She is of the world and is only worried about her friends and missing them at school. I know she will be fine. We will all be fine once we get going and find our place in homeschooling. She only knows what she has done but I am praying she understands why we have chosen to bring to home to a whole hearted education. Son is all for it and he keeps on telling big sis that she will love it. Would love prayers for this first year/season of homeschooling.

    • An encouragement- despit my post being sad. Children really do thrive at home as I’m sure you’ve already seen evidence of. The opposition will likely fade into quiet acceptance. The Moore Formula Manual by Raymond and Dorothy Moore, as well as other of their wonderful books are full of true stories (including stories of children who did not want to be taken out of school at first- but were so grateful and blossoming as teens and adults) and tons of encouragement. Good job! God bless you.

  56. preparing my heart and home for the possibility of my 90 year old mother-in-law moving in with my husband and i … so very greatful that i do not prpare alone .. or am not dismayed … i seek to recjoice that i can serve HIM through her … <3 <3 <3

  57. To run away…with Him…

    Summer is short here and my heart already pines for a tropical breeze injection in the cold months ahead. As I browse locations, with only a dream in my mind because I don’t have the money to go right now, I contemplate who I could bring with me that could help pay the way. And then it occurs to me…I should go alone. Alone. I’ve been feeling so very alone these past months. Starving and aching desperately for companionship for my weary soul. A companionship I cannot find in striving and reaching and desperately seeking for solace in all things dust, of this world. I’m starving for relationship. And He’s calling to me…to meet me there. Away. Alone. So that He may romance me, the way my weary single mama heart desperately longs for. I’m actually, can you believe…aftraid of it? Afraid that it is not real? That my needs and hearts longings are too much…too big…that this space within is the condition it will stay until He brings me home? Yet in the tension, I hope. I do believe, somehow, with a mustard seed of faith…that what the locusts have eaten, He will return.

    • sweet sister, I am praying for you!! Take a copy of Do You Think I’m Beautiful by Angela Thomas along. He WILL meet you there! I admire your bravery and I am giddy with excitement for you at how He will speak words to your soul that you will never forget. The best romancing you could ever experience! listen to My Beloved by Kari Jobe on youtube. He is ravished by just one glance of you Nikki! SOS 2:10 Arise my darling, my beautiful one and come away with me!

  58. I’m participating in a weekly homeschool co-op this year and it includes lots of parent involvement. I’m really worried about being responsible for teaching others’ kiddos and having others teach my four lil boogers. I guess it’s a control and trust thing. Hard enough to let go and let God, but dealing with other people, I fail miserably. Not to mention the organization and preparation that goes this endeavor. I. am. overwhelmed.

  59. Your post touched something deep in my soul.
    Adjudicating… I hated it as a child, and as a college student. It always tore at my soul, “not good enough, not good enough, not good enough,” until I walked away from my piano and walked away from my clarinet, and decided the pain of people’s opinions of me was just too much to bear.
    So I’ve been crying the whole time I’ve been reading your post.
    Yet I know in my heart that music is there.
    Now, in my adult years, I know that God is offering me the call to write and encourage others through messages of hope. He has healed so much in my life, and I want to help others find the place God has created just for them, His special calling for each one.
    But apparently, there is still a wound from these experiences in music. So I will step away with my Lord, who has called to me through your words, and allow Him to do whatever is needed to complete His work on this wound.
    Thanks for allowing God to speak through you. Many blessings to you.

  60. I can’t imagine what God is calling me to since the language is illness. Vague illness. The kind that annoys people and leaves them feeling as though you are exaggerating- or hopeless because there is no hint of a treatment. PSVT, POTS, EDS, with perhapse a dash of Lyme’s? Doctors and testing have been no help yet. My heart has been medically stopped twice for racing over 300 beats per minute- but I am having a blessed repreive from major heart symptoms. I have four young children who my husband and I are called to home school- my husband has assured me of that. And I agree in my better moments. I want to but I am so, so weak. So many odd symptoms. And I’m losing weight again. Not enough strength even to prepare food enough or do the “survival” house work sometimes. What is He saying? Please pray for me. It seems what I pray about often only gets worse if I pray.

    • Oh sweet Holly,
      Despite what many believe, God doesn’t speak to us through illness. His will is health for everyone. And I don’t say that to condemn you…if you could only know of the incredible compassion I feel for you!
      I used to battle kidney stones and frequent urinary tract infections (which kidney stones can be life-threatening when they obstruct…been there twice!) and then I came across some radical Bible teaching that goes against what most churches believe but doesn’t contradict the Bible. I don’t have kidney stones anymore because I found out what God’s will is for my body. His will is the same for all. To be healthy and at peace. Satan is the one who steals health and peace. God doesn’t take anything away…He always adds blessings!
      I can only understand your confusion and frustration, not your exact pain, but if you are willing, I would like to share the link to the teaching I found. Every word can be found in the Bible. And it is so simple…simple yes, easy to do, no. But oh so possible. I pray that the eyes of your heart will be opened to His Truth spoken through His Word.

      Here is the link:
      http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1036

      And here are some very encouraging healing testimonies:
      http://www.awmi.net/extra/healing

      Also, if you want to, they have a prayer line that you can call and someone will pray with you. They don’t ask you for money because their heart is to help and set free!

      I wish I could come over and give you a hug and help you with the housework. Since I can’t (unless you live in the Portland, OR area!) I will pray that He will send you a helper until you are strong enough.

      If you would like to talk further please email me at: fjgallegos5@gmail.com

      Peace and grace to you sweet sister!
      Jenni

  61. Could it be that my yes to God is in saying “no” to this world? When those closest to me in my church family have expectations of me, but God is asking me to stop, rest, be still? I can balance so, so much-but God isn’t asking me to balance at all. He is asking me to just put it all down. More of Him, less of me. Why is this so hard?

  62. I needed this reminder to abide, to wait, to pray so much today. I could use pray about a dating relationship that is just beginning that we will both wait for God’s nudges. Thank you.

  63. Last spring during meditation, God kept telling me quietly ‘ prepare the way’ when I sought after what was next on my journey. A few weeks ago, I got the call ‘the way’ that he was asking me on. Our church is doing a capital campaign ($5 Million) and our pastor asked me to head the group of volunteers going out to houses to bring our mission to the homes. I was like ‘who me?’ ask for money?? Can’t I just pray? But, after preparing all spring, I knew this was what I was waiting to be commissioned with. Tonight is my first visit…..I need courage – like the boy at the piano-to boldly go and do what God asks me to do, to simply be there so he can be my words and my hands and my feet. To allow others to give HIM a gift through my request and relationship with them. 7:30 EST…I am every thankful for this gift even if it scares me!!

  64. I think, for me, it’s learning that there is more than one kind of yes. I always looked at yes, He’s calling my name to DO something… I’m learning that the thing He now calls me to do is perpetually let go.

    I’m learning…

  65. This writing. This writing makes me chew my bottom lip to bits! Because it all feels so naked, so out there, and despite the brave moments, the frady-cat in me so wants to lay low!! I hit publish and go to sleep. I wake up at 5:00 a.m. in a sweat– shut the writing down!! I meet with Him and later I read this post…and I rest easy for a moment. He is calling quiet and I can trust quiet…just keep doing the next thing, right? Like you said, RO, one post at a time…? Thanks for this today, Ann.

  66. amazing, the God works in so many lives with the same words, yet for different purposes.
    As I read the letters in response to this wonderful post, I thought of all that God teaches us as we walk through uncertainty. That fear wells up and keeps me sitting in my seat, though I want to be the one walking to the piano to play the song He gave me.

  67. To let go of the past loss and step out in faith to adopt again. Trust that His plan is better than anything I could ever imagine.

  68. He’s calling me back to the first novel I wrote. It went through three drafts, but the revisions were minor. And then it sat – and sat – and sat some more, waiting for me to dive into some real rewriting. I thought it was good enough the way it was, but not good enough to offer for publication. I knew it needed work, but something – my fears of rejection, most likely – held me back.

    But now, God’s giving me ideas again, and the need to rewrite is a fire shut up in my bones. It’s time to let that fire out, regardless of the outcome.

  69. God’s yes is more of Him. Less activities. I heard on the radio the other day that there is an unwritten paradigm in our walk as Christians. It is that commitment to Christ equals busy-ness. I like that.
    God is calling me to spend time with Him each day. One day at a time. I need Him desperately now in my life. No matter what each day brings, if I have been with my Savior and spent time in His Word and prayed and listened—I will be ready for His yes.
    Thank you Ann–your writing soothes me, prepares me and helps me see your household is much like mine!!
    Thank you sister in Christ…

  70. I think God is calling me to get in front of the church to do Compassion Sunday and I don’t want to. I don’t want to ask anyone for money. I love Compassion International – I have 3 kiddos in other countries, one in the Leadership Development Program and he is an amazing person – a much more mature christian than me. They all pray for me – wow! Our church is going through really hard times financially and I have a hard time getting in front of people anyways.

    I also have a bible study at my house with women who are not really committed and I’m feeling overwhelmed with homes-schooling this year, thinking I should let that go – but I think God is calling me to do it again and I don’t know why. I really don’t think these women are really getting it – I feel like it is more of a forum to get together and complain about things at home. And I have such amazing women at Community Bible Study where I am in leadership – I teach the 4/5 year olds. My plate seems full and that I’m spinning my wheels at this small group study.

    I can’t tell for sure if God is calling me in these areas…but then here was your post….

    I do want to do God’s Will and I know it means stepping out……

    Katie

  71. Hi Ann, heard you on KGNW , and so much of what you had to say really resonates with me right now……….

    59 year old male believer in Yeshua (Jesus) in Western Washington, unemployed 21 months, compensation won’t last forever, wife basically wheelchair bound, on food stamps, some days just want to curl up in a fetal position in bed and stay there. Living practical atheism is an excellent insight, I have to watch out for that………..will put your book on my amazon wish list. Also a pianist, I enjoyed the story of Malakai’s adjudication…………..one little piece of advice, from 48 years of playing, young people……….no matter how poorly you play at any one time, the best thing to do is to get right back up and play the piece over and over at all venues that present themselves for playing…………….instead of hiding and sulking and never bringing the piece forward again. And anything said from the stage should be said clearly and loudly enough for all to hear.

  72. I am terrified to step off the board and begin our home schooling year. This will be the fourth year and yet I am paralyzed with feelings of insufficiency. Abide. Abide…

    • Praying blessings over you and your children as you homeschool again…we are homeschoolers, too, and so identify with the insufficiency of self – I offer up my crumbs to Him, and prayerfully He will perform the miracle of the loaves and fishes and mulitply my meager offerings in order to feed this child the education God wants her to have!

  73. How wonderful! It sounds like he truly has a grip on the message.
    My only prayer is too make enough money for me to live financially secure, and though I have made many mistakes and passed up wonderful opportunities I am still getting another chance.

  74. Praying for the grace and courage to lead a new Bible Study in my neighborhood where we have been reaching out to our neighbors and looking for ways to share the gospel. They actually asked me to start a study for the ladies, some of who do not know Jesus. I am feeling very inadequate but these lines “Inabilities, in Christ, are made all-sufficient, just-right abilities. Abandon worries — and wholly abide.” were very encouraging. Thank you!

    • Wonderful, Teresa! May you soar on the wings of the Spirit. Even Paul said that he did not share with wise and persuasive words but instead relied on the demonstration of the Spirit’s power.

      Blessings…

  75. Ann, there’s nothing God is calling my name to today…He has me waiting and resting quietly on Him. I just wanted to tell you what your blog posts mean to me. I quote you (and link to you) ALL THE TIME on Facebook, because you say it so well!! I had prayed for God to show me someone who really knew how to live this Christian life and He gave me you as an example. Thank you for being so real about your brokenness and His grace. It’s what I say all the time now, all is grace, all is a gift. You are so inspiring to me.

  76. My friend is struggling with mental illness. She keeps texting me, “Help!” Over and over. Others, too, she even calls in the middle of the night. “I’m so lonely. Please come to me.” And yet when my pastor and his wife and I went to her home (over an hour away) and took ready-to-eat food (she’s been neither eating nor drinking), there was no welcome, no response. She turned down the food, but I left it anyway, hoping her survival instincts would kick in even though she claims she has no hope and wants to just lie there until she dies. I hugged her and loved her, holding her as I talked with her and the three of us prayed. I was being faithful to what God had given me to do, so I leave her response in God’s hands and yes, wait.

    I did tell her – but what did she hear? – that her brothers and sisters in Christ are calling her to come forth from her cage, the one with the door already opened by Lord Jesus by His death and resurrection. But she has wrapped herself in chains of hurt and betrayal and of disappointment with God. The enemy keeps whispering that these chains are her treasures, “Don’t let that mean God take them away from you.”
    Her own family has told her, “We want nothing to do with you. Go ahead and die.”

    The door is open, but she won’t walk out. I ache for her in her inability to see that she is not abandoned but loved so deeply, and for her failure to hear the Voice calling her beloved. I don’t know what to do except keep praying for her protection and for her eyes and ears to be open.

    • Such pain and hurt in our broken world. Praying for your friend tonight…

      Your kingdom come, Lord. You are Redeemer – buy back the broken ones. Restore the places long devastated. Bring a crown of beauty instead of ashes.

      • Thank you, Jennie. She said she had found some pills and was contemplating making an end of things with an overdose. But now over 6 hours has passed, and she’s still sending help messages. I know she’s afraid of death, so I don’t think she’ll go through with it. It’s so hard to see her clinging to her hurt and yet dictating the way she wants to receive help, rather than giving herself into the hands of loving Father God. I did urge her to pray the Lord’s Prayer. Thanks to all who are praying for this broken one, R.

  77. I know God has said “write” and “art” – and the way seems so unclear -tho’ I know He has total clarity! I struggle as I try to find my voice in blogland, and honestly, even knowing that I am unique and if He has called, He wants MY voice and thoughts to be written, I compare myself to others, and I always find myself not eloquent enough, not reflecting God enough, not enough ….. * sigh * – and it becomes a trap, the cage of one’s own soul… and acts as a roadblock. The expression of art releases this…and I totally “see” a mixed media piece incorporating Malakai’s words – “Do you think God’s calling our name too — all through our hearts — to come step out — and we’re just not listening?”. Thanks for words of life once again!

  78. That I woud really and truly surrender all my worries about our finances to Him. I trust that He will provide – and He has never failed us – but I keep worrying. I want to lean big on Him and His strong arms.

    You are always right on the mark with your writing, Ann. God blesses me by placing you in the right places at the right times!

  79. Dear Ann,
    I’m not sure I have words to express how timely this post was for me today. God has been asking me to take a ginormous leap of faith, to join the staff of a boys home working with street kids in Honduras. Not something I ever would have thought of on my own. I keep telling God that I don’t have what it takes, how can a girl from a stable home in an upper-middle class suburb relate to these boys? “My grace is all-sufficient.” I like how you phrase it, “Inabilities, in Christ, are made all-sufficient, just-right abilities.” And when people around me, including myself, question why – I answer with love. Because love is not a trite feeling, and the one who truly loves me has given me a love for these boys unlike anything I’ve ever known. But it is with a lot of uncertainty that I look to God for the courage and bravery to keep saying, “yes.”

  80. I’m not so mach a lip gnawer as I am a finger picker – and believe me they have been picked quite raw the last few months. My stomach is doing flip flops even know that I am even considering sharing my journey with Christian women – women I have been terrified would find out me deep dark secret of shame that I hide behind a church lady smile.
    Twenty years ago I made a decision that would scar my life and womb forever – I made the decision to abort my child. I was young and terrified that mother would find out – so rather than giving her and God the chance to redeem me and my messy life – I bought the lies of a quick and easy fix that noone would have to ever know about and made the selfish choice – a decision of “convenience”. I have struggled with the shame, guilt, and feeling that God could never forgive me for years. I immersed myself if Bible studies, volunteering, mission trips – all to try and earn God’s forgiveness – my self atoning acts were exhausting – I decided to bury it and try to pretend like it never happened.
    It wasn’t until a few months that God finally grabbed hold of me. The weeks study was on the women at the well – turning our messes into a message of hope. It was as if God ripped the bandaid off of my huge gaping wound. He spoke to me through this study and a sermon the next week that I felt was preached in our church of 5000 directly to me. He was talking about Peter denying Christ and how he must have felt when he saw Jesus on the shore. The pastor showed a video depicting how he must have felt and Jesus told him – I came to forgive the unforgiveable. I was sobbing and just felt a huge weight start to lift off of me.
    Over the next few weeks I searched the internet for any kind of resource to help me – I was terrified to ask anyone for help. I had told my husband when we were first married – but only 3 other people knew. God finally led me to a website about a study called Surrendering the Secret – Healing the Heartbreak of Abortion. Through their website I was able to find a Bible study just down the street from me that was about to start meeting. To be able to go through this 6 week class with women who have the same shameful past as me has brought me such healing. I finally understand God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
    My next step is my prayer that I ask you to pray. I feel God leading me to help lead this post abortive study at my church. If the statistics are correct (1 in 3 women of child bearing age have had an abortion) then there has to be many women at my large church who are held captive by this dark secret. Christ came “to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” – this study can help. Please pray for me that I would have the courage to step out publicly and help other women who are struggling. I know they are there just wanting to be loved and embraced – to be released from this captivity. I cannot be silent any longer, because if I am “Planned Parenthood’s lies that women aren’t affected by their past abortions will continue to ring true.”

  81. Dear Ann,

    Is it really God’s call? That’s what I have asked myself a lot. It was when my husband and I had traveled and worked for 7 months in New-Zealand and Australia. My husband wanted to live in one of those countries, but I wasn’t ready yet. I am a real family person. So we settled back in Holland where we both were born and grown up.My husband had a real passion for flying from a young age and he tried to get into flying, but it was too expensive in Holland. God blessed us with 3 children, Naomi, Aron and Hannah.When Hannah was born, My husband started again about living in New-Zealand. This was so dificult for me. I really wanted to know God’s way for us. I prayed and prayed: Lord, your will be done and if it is your will to go, make me ready aswell. And God did. My husband got a joboffer from a friend we met in New-Zealand. He gave me the peace and I knew it was allright. It still was all new and unknown and so scary! But because it was God’s will I knew it would be alright. It was all sad to leave our family, but it was God who helped us through.
    From that time we were more relying on the Lord than before. Whe only knew that there was a job waiting and 1 family we knew. They had organized a house and everything. When we came in New-Zealand in the house, the fridge was full of food, beds were made up, even little presents for the kids on the beds! Amazing.
    Our friends took us to Grace church and their homegroup. God knows us and so He knew excactly were we fitted. In that homegroup we met another family.And he had a airstrip in the backyard and he had his private pilot lisence. So they could share their interests. Eric found out that it was much cheaper to learn to fly in New-Zealand than in Holland. Also we got to meet the director of MAF(Mission Aviation Fellowship).
    The next year, we were blessed again with a girl Lois. My husband started the flight school. This again was a step in faith. He gave up his job and there we were with 4 kids and no income. But we really felt God was leading us to this point. And Amazing how the Lord provided!! Sometimes we got a envelope in the post without a name, every week we got given the best bread of Nelson, leftovers from the bakery!! Or there was a box with kiwis on the doorstep. And every day we had more than enough!! We thanked God that He is our provider and knows our needs. My Husband got through the training in a little bit more than a year. We signed up for MAF because we thought God was calling us to go and serve Him and other people in a remote area. and although it was a long road with a lot of waiting and learned so much. I have often asked the question, Lord is this really you calling us to do this? And especially when it is such a strugle and it is not going straight forward, than I look back on how He is caring for us and giving us the peace. Than I know yes it is You Lord!! He blessed us again with a baby boy Ruben a year ago. Now we are in Australia to do a training and half September we will go to Arnhemland Northern Teritory in Australia working in a remote area to bring hope and love and serve the Aboriginal people.
    It is amazing if you listen to Gods call and obey Him and wait upon Him and how He guides you. It is really exciting!!

  82. Every dish i wash, every child I feed, every breath I take and every patient reply I muster require so much more of the divine and so much less of my human frailty. There is tension in the call, a pull between what seems important to me and what is important to God. The deep ache in my soul for Him pulls me onward through the days, and I focus on savoring the passing scenery of life. The only way to quiet His tug is to empty myself for Him. Love for love. Life for life.

  83. I have been asked to speak at my church’s women’s retreat at the end of September. This is following Him where I am in over my head in the River (Ezekiel 47). Trusting Him to work through this sinful, unschooled, ordinary, thick-accented girl. Only Him. I need Him every step of the way, from listening His voice on the topic to putting it all together…this is my first time and I don’t know how to do this! I do know He has made it perfectly clear that He is calling…and now. Holy trembling. But, sharing His working in me, the evidence of His hand in my experiences…pain and joy….a gift. But the enemy in this season is also very real…praying for protection over his schemes and attacks. Ann, you blessed me tremendously hearing you at She Speaks. The Spirit fell so thick on that room…it was so still…a holy stillness… while you were speaking…no one hardly even took a breath… your anointing so evident!!

  84. I have gnawed away my bottom lip and am now halfway through my top as I deal with my fear and insecurity around my desire and ability to be a writer. I am so afraid to put my words out for others to read while at the same time desperately wanting to have my words read and adored by others! Surely Emily from Chatting at the Sky has been listening in on private conversations I’ve had with my husband and closest friends because excerpts from Grace for the Good Girl has hit this nail directly on the head and shattered me into a billion little pieces! Then along comes Ann to sweep up the ashes and lay me, helpless and vulnerable, at the Father’s feet with these beautifully and eloquently rendered lines: “Abide. Because it’s never about your capabilities. When you’re in covenant with Christ, it’s His responsibility to cover your cracks, to be all your competency and completeness. Inabilities, in Christ, are made all-sufficient, just-right abilities. Abandon worries — and wholly abide.” akjsitu;andfaoiusdf!!! Makes no sense, right??!?!? Makes no sense how the Lord hand delivered that message right to me for such a time as this. Thanks so much for being my Esther of the moment. Praying for grace . . .abandoning my fear . . .striving to abide . . .–pamela t.

  85. My nine year old daughter sulks behind the living room curtain as I read your post today, Ann, and as I sit here, wondering how I can bridge the gap between her sulks and my blank space. Discipline must come in here somewhere . . . not punishment, but teaching . . . helping her to learn that this behavior drives us apart, helping her learn a better way to express her needs and wants. Heaven help me, because I want a better way than I know (just sending her to bed in frustration). And I have simply no idea. As soon as I think I can reach out and bring her back, she acts out, and my anger surges and engulfs me yet again.

    Lord, please, quench that flame, for I cannot.

  86. Ann, thank you. When life is hard, it is hard to wait. But I think of the Avalon song. “I don’t want to go somewhere…if I know that you’re not there.” I want to go. He is keeping me here. But better to be here in His will than to be there out of it. I pray that He takes this desire for “there” away if it is not His will. Still the desire remains. So I try to learn what He wants me to learn while I “wait patiently” for “the desires of [my] heart.”

  87. I received word today that I will receive a partial scholarship to attend a Christian writer’s conference that my heart is drawn to. I need to be gifted more money to be able to attend, but I know now that this is my path; I have been praying to see it clearly. This gift is more than money. It is God’s love wrapped up in 5 days of study telling me, “This is what I want you to do.”

    I am not biting my lip. I am leaping into God’s arms with hope and trust and I am shouting, “Yes!”

  88. Just today I posted on my list soaring past 1000. I reminded myself that we really do only get one moment at a time. And by night I’m struggling. It’s one thing to learn it yourself, to walk it out yourself. But to watch your children struggle is altogether different.

    Or is it? Tonight my heart is aching for my girls. Broken marriage for one and moving back home with us along with her son–my grandson. The start of college for another and trying to settle in in a home that just grew in number. College student struggles because she hasn’t been there long enough to settle into her new routine. We all struggle. Youngest daughter started kindergarten. And they’re all watching me! I have to keep going, keep surrendering, keep trusting, keep counting and calling it all grace. I can’t do that for each of them. But I can do that WITH them, with their lives. And tonight that is what I need prayer for. Help me pray, pray with me… through to surrender. I know I can trust Him with them. I know. Only my emotions haven’t caught up with my spirit.

  89. You put it perfectly: “Catastrophizing is how we make our own soul cages.” I have been fighting and fighting to get out of this cage, to simply rest in the Lord and abide in Him, to not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. To trust that His will toward me is good, and He’s not going to snatch the rug from under my feet because that’s not His character. To believe the voice of the Lord and not the voice of my enemy. The verse on my fridge sums it up nicely: “Be still and know that I am God.” Yup – that’s how He’s calling my name today!

  90. “Waiting is just the gift of time in disguise; a time to pray wrapped up with a ribbon of patience.” My entire life feels in wait mode right now as my wonderful husband of 13 years serves our country in Afghanistan. I know our 4 children look to me day in and day out for their encouragement, their inspiration, their reassurance. And, until now, it has been mostly survival mode. But this–this is what I needed to hear.

    The Lord is never late; his plans are never off track. My fears are overwhelming, and my daily life has become crushing in the workload. But, transforming this wait time into pray time is exactly what we all need as a family. It’s exactly what my kids need to see from me; they need to see me waiting on the Lord, being patient as possible in the midst of the daily chaos that seems amplified right now.

    Thank you, Ann. Your words sooth my tired soul right now as I think about how He is calling me to pray during this extended time in our lives.

  91. Thank you, Ann. This weekend, I will stand before a room of men at a local prison to speak, and I’ve been afraid about it. Your words speak the truth: my Jesus in His grace will be enough for any weakness. Thank you for speaking the truth I already knew, but finally in a way that cut through the ugly lies of fear. Many blessings 🙂

  92. Dear Ann,
    Just wanted you and your family know there’s a Korean family who’s been touching gently and genuinely by Jesus through your stories. I read your journals every morning on my work in busy subway. When I read your lives, I find the stillness and comfort in God even in the crowded Seoul city.
    I wanted to take this chance to sincerely appreciate you. Surely, God is working in me,,,cooking my heart, mind, soul and body by connecting people like you regardless of distances.
    Thank you….for reminding me how precious the moment becomes, if I put my ear to heart…the heart of Jesus.
    a grateful soul from Seoul. ^^*

  93. I don’t know what God is calling me to do. I have been strengthening my walk and evolving spiritually. I have also been battling terrible panic attacks. I give thanks even for the attacks, that I may rejoice in my trial, that He may use to mold me. I’m having such a difficult time. I have faith in His grace & hope to persevere, but it is a struggle.maybe I am praying for the wrong things. Any prayer from anyone would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your blog Ann, sometimes it is so encouraging that I feel it is written for me. God bless.

  94. Calling, whispering.. “I am in the room”…I am here with the dishes and dinners and school commute, and squabble refering and toy pick up and………… calling me to practice his presence, and as you wrote yesterday Ann, to unwrap these “messy” gifts and see them for what they are…the burning bush of God. That is how he is calling my name. I am lip-biting over my children and being a good enough momma…and over my aging parents. Wanting to trust more that God has a hold on them in a world gone wild.

    (He lets wild things happen. the hard eucharisteo is hard for me to comprehend.)

  95. Sometimes God’s call is not to step out or step up or speak up….but to sit down and be still and quiet. To let it be OK that no-one hears us, or notices us or knows us but Him. Would that be enough? It is… but we never stop long enough to learn it.

  96. Waiting is just a gift of time in disguise — a time to pray wrapped up in a ribbon of patience — because is the Lord ever late? Thank you. My oldest son just moved to college across the country. My beloved father just diagnosed with cancer. My marriage struggles…23 years and suddenly we don’t know each other. Why have I never seen waiting as a gift? Eucharisteo…

  97. Thank you for these words of life that point me to the Giver of Life. I am being judged harshly and unfairly by a loved one. While I have sought resolution and reconciliation, the other person has scorned and rejected me. I can’t find the grace in this situation. I am praying for the Lord to be my defender and to bring peace to our relationship. The waiting is the hardest part. Your post gives me encouragement to stand firm. God is never late.

  98. As a 50-something mom of three adult children, I continue to hear God calling me to remain faithful to caring for our youngest son, Paul. Although he is nearing his 21st birthday, Paul remains dependent on others due to his severe autism.
    At a time when most couples are entering the empty nest period of life we continue to sense God calling us to wait here for now. As I enter each day I am so grateful for what I have learned from you, Ann. To learn to be content in a life that is far from normal is really possible. Your honesty about your own struggles and the power of finding God’s goodness in the midst of it all is helping me to do likewise.
    Thank you Ann for allowing the wisdom of God to flow through you in to my life.

    • I also am a 50’s mom of three children, although one of them, Tony, is in heaven. My twin grandsons (8) are autistic, as was Tony. All of us have a passion for some kind of art. For me it is cloth, material, and anything that can be added to it! Thankfully, I am home most days because of an illness and those days that I feel good I am consumed by my passion. I am so thankful for all God has gifted me with and believe that if He has given you a gift and a passion you need to be using it for His glory. Still I am fearful of starting a project- I guess I am afraid of making something that is less than perfect. Thank you for encouraging us!

  99. Yes, He’s called, and too be truly honest has been calling for awhile, and looking back I can’t help but be disappointed at my procrastination to answer. Yet I serve a God who delights in mercy, offers true forgiveness, and most thankfully welcomes His children back with open arms!
    He’s been asking me to teach the woman in His church, and tonight there is a Ladies Bible Study. It is my deep seated heartfelt prayer that i can and would be an empty vessel for Him to use as I bring to my sisters in Christ this night’s Bible Study.
    Ann your story of your son and his nervouseness had such a calming effect on me, thank you! I couldn’t help but jot in my journal the part where it’s not about our capabilities … to just wholly Abide. I thank the good Lord for your blogs Ann, it is indeed, all grace.

  100. To take my weekly column for our local paper and lay it in front of editors – lots of them in lots of cities and lots of other papers across the country. It’s a big, impossible dream that looks ridiculous on the face of it, but the fire in my bones is to encourage the many. Oh, my.

    Why the nudge comes now, I don’t know. It’s such an outrageous mountain. For the scaredest girl this side of the Mississippi to step out and offer her words, her heart to so many eyes is…overwhelming. But I know the Voice and I know I must try in spite of all my own not-knowings and inabilties and insufficiencies. Even if I look like a fool.

    Your prayers would be gratefully received.

    Waving and smiling with a little hiccup in my throat,

    Rhonda

  101. Beautiful, beautiful post and so thought-provoking! I loved this, “Waiting is just a gift of time in disguise – a time to pray wrapped up in a ribbon of patience – because is the Lord ever late?”

    Ann, you never cease to amaze me with your God-given words!

    Blessings to you and your family,
    Pam

  102. I think God is calling me to stay in it – persevere in the hard realities of my marriage. I’m not sure I am bravely saying yes… but I am trying to take it one step at a time. Question: when I am passed the bread and told “take. eat. this is my body broken for you…” I tend to get stuck in the despondency of my sins. His body was broken because of ME! I screw up again and again. Would you please share with me your thought process that quickly takes you from acknowledgement of your continual sin, from our continual denial of God to thankfulness for what He has done – his forgiveness, acceptance time and time again. how do i quickly transition from my sin, the consequences of my sin (cross) to gratefulness of grace?

  103. This takes me back to when I was a nervous, insecure college girl just home from my first trip to Africa. And I heard Him say stand up and play. I didn’t feel ready. I was afraid of failing. Afraid of what everyone would think. Seven years later and I am still here doing what I clearly heard Him say to do. I have failed at times. And I am sure some people have thought I was a little odd. But His grace has been more than enough. I feel blessed.

  104. God is teaching me daily to say Yes. Yes to Him completely invading my heart. Yes to creating a new heart within me. Yes to ministering to younger women at church (just exactly when did I become the mature woman?). Yes to giving my children completely over to His grace and mercy. Four sons brought up in the Lord but not one seeking Him. They run the gamut from passive acceptance to active atheism. As my heart breaks I am continually driven to the cross, to Jesus who loves me and gave Himself up for me. Saying Yes to His love and grace enfolding me and these wayward sons in His arms. Yes to His promises for my future – that my children will come back to their own border, that there is nothing too hard for Him, that His presence with go with me, that He rides the heavens to help me, that I will find grace in the wilderness and I am loved with an everlasting love. As I walk this road with thanksgiving, saying Yes to all that our gracious, compassionate, loving Lord brings into my life I find myself coming back to life – real life – not just a self-centered existence. There are still tears, there is still heartache but along with those very real emotions there is true joy and peace.
    I thank Him for both!

  105. To have a small group for those needing to understand truth better…I am nervous about sharing my home and time w/ needy folks when I am in the midst of homeschooling and taking care of my home while my hubby works 2 jobs. I desire for my family and I to love people more than time or things however I can’t help but be a little stingy w/ my down time..stepping out in Trust!

  106. Beautiful post. My lip is not bitten; it quivers. Thinking about my youngest who’s just started a new life journey in NY … college … and the huge adjustment that is for her, and me. I pray that she hears Him calling her.

  107. Under the guise of trying to live, I am trying not to die…FEAR, Craven Fear calls my name each day threatening to swallow me whole if I don’t get it all, “Just Right.” Choosing, or delaying choosing- which is really choosing not to choose-is my daily dread. Some days I rise above, some days I lie in the dust. The longer I walk with God, the more days I rise and fewer I lie, but there is a breaking point, a coming to KNOW the truth, not just with my head but also with my heart, that is coming. It is the day that I truly, deeply believe with all my heart that I am TRULY LOVED. Parts of me have been transformed by this truth, but other parts are waiting…still, still. There are blessings in the waiting, though, like finding this day’s blog and having it bring me to washing, cleansing tears. And so I wait.

  108. It’s hard to know how to begin to describe the places in my soul that this reading has stirred.

    biting lips

    soul cages

    waiting

    fear

    covenant

    abiding

    heart music

    God whispers

    surrender

    How often I neglect to acknowledge the whispers of God calling my name, beckoning me to Himself, to the deep places in my heart where I am known and loved…to the sacred space of authentic longing where I cling only to Him and His promise of Love. How often I proverbially worry my lips in fear, shackled by the soul cages I insist on living in and completely disregarding and discounting my part of this covenant with Christ, thereby rejecting the comfort and peace of allowing myself to hear and press into God’s Love calling. I want to surrender and abide and listen, but Fear hunts my soul, filling me with lies that there are no sacred spaces.

    Lord, let me hear your whispers and press into the warmth of Your rest. Give me eyes to see You loving me. Let me hear your humming.

  109. Trusting God. My husband and I know its time for me to stay home when our fourth child comes, having the stability of one parent home full time with so many little ones brings peace to our minds, but it is scary, as we have never been down this road before. The doors are opening now we have to trust God and actually walk on through them. No greater peace than to go where He leads, but it is still scary does that make sense? That’s where the courage comes in, the courage that comes from Him. ” Abandoning worries and wholly abiding.”

    Thanks so much
    We are so much stronger through our testimonies

  110. Dearest Ann,
    I was moved by your entry today @ Holy Experience.
    I have thought this before, of the pressure ‘fame ‘ could bring.
    I thought that if you never write another word, except for yourself, you have already given a great gift to the world.
    Your words are not a given, only a gift, as God chooses to give. If He gives no more, we are still all blessed.
    Love always,
    Roslyn

  111. To go to seminary and get my Biblical counseling degree. To minister to the “least of these”. To take the Gospel to the nations. To help the broken hearted and poor in spirit. To let go of my dreams for His calling on my life. I just keep telling myself- He is enough.