Today we are discussing chapter eight with Jenny Acuff.
Jenny is a girl with a plan. She just jumps in and claps her hands, and life goes in a direction. She is a motivator, a promise-keeper, and a champion listener and adviser. I wondered if she ever really had moments where that “planning” nature was challenged because in a life with God, we never get to be the final say. We have to defer to him, and for people like me and Jenny, that can be a hard thing! What if His plan doesn’t look like mine? As usual, she nails it with practical, down to earth advice that will bless you if you have ever been in a season where you questioned what the Lord was doing with your days.
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This chapter was so intimate talking about beautiful Audrey. I can relate so much to the questioning God when the loss is so premature and tragic. It brought tears to me eyes when Angie said its hard to trust when there’s a 3 year old putting a wreath of flowers on her mothers grave. I was 5 🙁 And I now have a 3 year old daughter and everyday I fear my babies losing me like I lost my mother. His ways are not ours. Sometimes I do not know what to pray for…His will be done or pray I live to see my babies grow up…?
I certaintly agree with Angie about not going to God for requests. Keep him in everyday matters and when you are in hard seasons of your life, you are just going to a long time friend. So true! I love the scripture about the plant and using it to show about questioning the loss. Amazing. I’m sorry I cannot go word by word. The little ones just woke up and I have to start the chaotic day that lies ahead. But I promise, He will be involved very much today. Thank you!!
I loved this chapter. Growing up, I encountered a few too many people who taught the lesson of God having His own plans that might not be what we wanted and teaching that lesson with an almost malicious glee. As a result, I grew up with a terrible fear of God’s plan. I’d often wondered if I was the only one that felt this way, so I have to admit that I read this chapter partly feeling comforted and partly being so relieved that I wasn’t the only one.
When my daughter was born with CHD I never questioned God. I never felt why me. I did struggle with wanting his will and not my own. My daughter was only two weeks old when she had her first open heart surgery and I made a point to only pray for Gods will in the situation. I never let my self think or tell him what I wanted. The night before her surgery I was calling out to God I just kept asking him for his will that he would prepare my heart for what ever that was. Then something in me broke I cried my self to sleep pleading with God I told him I was not ready to let my babe go and I wanted more time. That night I realized it’s ok to tell God what you desire He wants to know even if it is not part of his plan. Many things in my daughters life have not turned out the way I prayed for but I was comforted by letting him know my desire then asking him to prepare my heart for his will.
Kristin Smith says
Faye – thank you for sharing that. I agree that at times I try and pray for God’s will because I think it is the “right” way to do it. But there are times that I just need Him to hear my heart cry – however selfish or irrational it may be. Sometimes my just saying it outloud to Him reveals to me it isn’t what I really want and other times it is just my way to know that I have been heard. That sometime we need to be able to say “this isn’t ok” but I will follow you regardless. – and yes asking that He prepares our heart for the outcome. Beautifuly said Faye!
Thank you. This is one area that was hard to learn and still hard to live out. With the uncertainty of my daughters health it is easy for me to stumble and fall but because of His grace I can pick myself up and try again.
I needed to hear that as I’ve pondered this so much. Thank you, Faye. God bless you and your daughter.
I’m glad that you found encouragement. I was not going to leave a comment but the Lord really laid on my heart to share. I’m so very thankful that I obeyed his prompting. May you find comfort in the Lord.
You are such an amazing example and inspiration, Faye! Thank you for sharing. May God overwhelmingly bless you and your daughter.
This chapter was a hard lesson on submission for me. Will I be yielded to my God no matter what? One sentence that hit me right in the gut was on page 139: “We crucify Him over and over again with our resentment.” Ouch! I agree with Angie that “Many times in my life I have seen an obstacle as the enemy, but looking back now I see it was an appointed mercy.” At the end of it all, do I believe that He is a God of grace by the way I respond? So hard! Asking God to help me be wholly His — to push through those feelings and grab on to Him despite what is right in front of me.
Enjoying this. God Bless you all.
p. 145 In Him I will rest my weary bones and cease to fear His hand on me…..Love these words, and only through the Lord’s awesome power can we really experience His love and comfort during difficult times.
I loved these words too, Kristin! This whole chapter, the example of Jonah and the vine, and the concept of being “appointed” so greatly spoke right to my heart!!! Even though I know God, in His great might, is in control, this world can be a really scary or sad place sometimes, and it’s difficult not to be afraid. I love Angie’s words to always go to Him, and Jess’ quote from the video…”It’s about relationships, not requests.” I also loved Angie’s quote from the video…”The thorn might be the very thing to save you or make something beautiful.” I pray that it does. :0) My new prayer is the prayer Angie closed the chapter with…”May we seek Your will over ours every day, and may we never forget the God who provides both the sun and the shade.”
Kristin Smith says
This chapter spoke volumes to me. Pg 138 ” Have you felt that way? Have you ever been afraid to truly trust His plan for you without something else on which to fall back?”
This has been me recently. We moved 4 months ago to a new state for a job opportunity for my husband. Felt God’s leading in all of it, prayed a lot about it before we took the plunge. My arrangement was to be able to work from home with my then employer but 2 weeks before the move my boss was fired and that position was at great risk. I was given 90 days to do a trial run and for the most part had a good attitude about it but always felt on edge like I needed another job lined up just in case.
I was given the chance to apply for something and thought “this must be God providing my safety net”. Had several very promising interviews and then they gave the job to someone internally. I couldn’t understand it….why would God “tease” me like that?
I realized that once again my focus was off and I needed to be grateful for the present. Grateful that my 90 days came and went and my current employer is keeping me on. Sure the rug could be pulled out at any time…but can I afford to live in constant worry and fear about it happening. Or do I express gratitude for the now…for the way God has continued to provide and trust that if this certainty is ever removed that He will walk me to the next opportunity.
I would much rather have that plan laid out before me so that I knew what was coming. But as I have said before if it were then I would think I have it all under control and didn’t need God. And when I think that, things get messy. I want to be in control but I suck at it! 🙂
I also loved the story of Jonah….love how it was explained in a new way to me….or maybe my eyes were open to hearing it. Regardless it was good!
Thanks again Angie – I can’t believe we are almost done with this one. 🙁 How soon until we can expect book #3? 🙂
Have a great week friends! Thanks for sharing here!!
I’m glad that you have some job security for the time being 🙂
“He provided the fish.” Wow! What a statement!
Almost 8 years ago, my brother-in-law was killed in a car accident 3 days before Christmas, leaving 2 young daughters behind and a wife of 2 years. I remember days of wondering , Where are you God? Why would You allow this to happen? How can we bear this sadness? Every. day.
From that loss, came my fear of death. Not from the possible pain of dying, but of the pain that death brings to a family from their loss. I didn’t want my husband and children to go through that again.
Within 11 months, my husband’s young nephew died in a car accident also. He was one of my son’s closest friends. Despair seemed to be our constant shadow. Darkness was hanging around. Closely. all. the. time.
From the pain of that death, my son completely turned his life over to God and is now an elder in his church and an leader in the community.
From the pain in your book, my fear of death has diminished and I can now leave my home and my family in the Hands of our Lord and not be panicking every time I leave my house.
Thank you so much Angie for writing this book. If God used your words to speak only to me – I thank you that you followed His leading and wrote this book.
Your book is my fish.
Lyn H says
There have been many times in my life where I have questioned God’s plan for my life. Times when God has asked us to do something and then three or four incidents pile up in a row and I start to question “Did you really ask us to do that?” “Do you really want the best for me?” In part, I’ve learned, that when God asks me to do something, the enemy is going to do all he can to make sure that I don’t and to question God’s goodness. Other things that happen are, I guess, just life though and we have to get on and trust in God through them.
For example, my son has Asperger’s. We went through years of tests and shed many tears. Through the trials we went through, the enemy did sow seeds of doubt and I did question “God, is this really your plan for my son? Is he really going to struggle his whole life?” “Why him?” Then my daughter started to show signs of a learning disability and I would plead “Lord, I can’t go through this again.” “Why us?” “Why can’t things go right for us for once?” “Why can’t we be like our neighbors who have two A+ students who are a grade ahead of what they should be?” Through all of this, though, God showed me His goodness. Things like, a Christian Pediatrician, who would pray over the notes before appointments, who never dismissed us and always listened. A son, who has really grown in his faith over the past year and got baptized this summer. My expectations are lower, some of my friends are so frazzled with whether their kids are going to get into the high honors program and their kids have endless after school classes. I am happy that my kids are passing their classes. Particularly my son, whom at one point, we were told he might only have the intelligence of an eleven year old. Well, he’s twelve, has the reading level of a 13 or 14 year old and can talk an adult under the table when it comes to history and geography.
More recently we were relocating to a different country as God had asked us to. Right down to the last moment it looked like we were going to be denied our visa. Family and friends were saying things like “Maybe you heard God wrong?” “Maybe he just wanted to test your obedience?” We were so sure we had heard right. It wasn’t a flash in the pan thing, it was a long four year process. I remember lying in a heap on my kitchen floor, sobbing my heart out. “Why is this not happening Lord?” “Why are you doing this to us?” Someone from the country we were moving to called and told them that God had told them “It was a done deal” . Yeah, right, I thought, sure doesn’t look like it from here. A few weeks later we got a call from the consulate, our visa’s had been approved and our medicals, that had just expired, had been extended. The lady wasn’t sure why they had been extended, as they were not supposed to do that, but they had been.
Why did our move take so long? Timing. I believe the timing had to be right for God to move in the circumstances we are now in. We have had an unbelievable year of testing, more than anything we’ve experienced before. At this time, I feel so peaceful though. It is like all of the trials, through our married life, have been preparing us to trust.
Every time we go through trials, I believe, we grow stronger and closer to God, if we push into Him during our time of testing/trials that we are going through. It’s like a learning curve. That doesn’t mean that the time of trial/testing is pleasant, generally it’s not. Have you ever looked back though and said “Yes, I could see where God was working here? I can see where God moved?”
I was just thinking this morning and how God has come through time and time again for me. Not, quite often, in the ways I’d have expected. He is good. He does want the best for us. He has a plan for my life, which quite often looks different to my plan for my life, and I have to surrender to that. Every time I do surrender a little bit more of the fear is chipped off and the stronger I become. He does not want to harm me. His ways, well, you know!
“I believe fully, wholeheartedly, maddeningly, in the goodness of God. I just don’t feel like it always applies to me.”
Angie, thank you for being so honest. I didn’t really know that I was not the only one who felt this way.
I have had some great prayers, honest moments with God because of what you have written. I have asked for sincere forgiveness that I don’t trust Him completely and that when I ask for things, I don’t ask with a heart that truly believes that He will do what is for my best and His glory. I am just appreciative that God is using this your words, this book to deepen my faith.
I know I’m late to the discussion; I’m just catching up!
That line jumped out to me as well. I readily see God working for good in others’ lives. But sadly, all too often I am scared or apprehensive of what “God’s goodness” in my own life. Or more tellingly, I quietly doubt whether he is working for my good.
I really appreciated Angie putting words to those feelings with the accompanying assurances from the Word about God’s plans for life.
Katie Axelson says
The lines that I had to highlight on my first read-through was on pg 138: “Why doesn’t He take notce of me and help? He is so capable with others and yet His arms reach just short of mine.”
This is so raw yet so real. It’s so honest and so transparent. It’s one of those things we’ve all questioned but are rarely brave enough to voice. Thank you for being willing to do that.
Thank you also for your prayers for those of us reading this book and watching these videos. I know God is speaking to our hearts in ways that you all cannot even fathom.
Elaine Pool says
Sorry I’m so late to the party – I was on target through chapter six, then life happened! I am reminded of C.S. Lewis with “His ways are not your ways” – in “The Chronicles of Narnia,” it was often said of Aslan that “he’s not a TAME lion!” Aslan, of course, being an allegory for Christ makes it even better! But, so easy to say, harder to put into practice.
Twice in the past year, I’ve been turned down for a promotion. Both times, I asked my husband whether I should apply, and prayed to God for His will – whatever it was. OK, message received. Why does it still hurt??? Why do I still want it? MY ways!
I still, at 53 years of age, struggle with finding God’s path for my life. I’m sure it was a very hard chapter to write, Angie; it’s an even harder one to live.