When You Feel God Has Not Answered Your Prayers

Perhaps you are one of those people whose feels your recent prayers have not been answered by the God Almighty to whom you turned in desperation. Or at least not answered in the way you had hoped. Your elderly grandmother still died alone in her nursing home.You lost your job in the pandemic and now the company has folded.Your young adult child continues to make risky choices.And chemotherapy has not proven effective in healing your…

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Surviving a Worst Case Scenario

Today on my husband Michael McDowell‘s 75th Birthday, I’d love to share part of his life story which inspires me greatly. ****** What does a 34-year-old man do when he hears these two phrases only days apart: “Congratulations, you have a baby daughter!” and “I’m so sorry to tell you that your wife has liver cancer?” He makes a choice to move forward into each new day, trusting in God’s strength and seeking to fulfill…

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Upon Awakening in the Middle of the Night

I hate waking up in the middle of the night. Mostly because my mind begins to think hard and I can’t seem to turn it off. When this happens to my husband, he recites the Jesus prayer, “O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Which puts him right back to sleep. Not me. I toss and turn, but can never quite get comfortable. Occasionally I will jot down (in…

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Nothing in the House?

Are you empty? Or does it just feel that way? A few years ago I was asked to fill in for another speaker who had to cancel due to a family emergency. No problem, right? I am, after all, a speaker and have gone on as an ‘understudy’ many times before. Except this time I was also busy helping to direct the event. And did I mention that my audience would be a couple dozen…

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(a few of) Elisabeth Elliot’s Words to Me

Last week I was asked to speak (remotely) to a Bible Study in Bethesda MD on the life of Elisabeth Elliot. I was delighted to know these women had been studying many great servants of the Lord and it was a privilege to be with them and remember some of Elisabeth’s legacy. Elisabeth Elliot entered “through gates of splendor” to her heavenly Home five years ago. I recall that June morning when her daughter Valerie…

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How Can You Tell It’s the Real Thing?

One morning my computer screen and phone blew up with messages about my urgent email asking for money while I was on a trip. “What???” After initial confusion, I realized someone had cloned me – wreaking havoc with my life and reputation. Those emails appeared to be from me, with all the markings of legitimacy. But they were false. Beware of counterfeits. Caller ID on my landline phone often indicates a friend of mine is…

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What I Would Love to Say to All the Leaders

Everywhere I look chaos reigns.  Our world has spiraled into confusion, contempt, and confrontation when our better selves would choose compassion, courage, and community.  Desperate for change, we seek leadership — on every level.  But what kind of leaders do we need today for home, church, workplace, school, town, government, and country? And what could we possibly say to such people of influence?  For myself, obedience begins by praying…. “The first thing I want you…

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Enslaved No More

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Galatians 5.1 Do people celebrate Juneteenth where you live? Perhaps this year, more than ever, we should realize the significance of this day of remembrance. For years now I have paused on June 19th in order to remember the unbelievable genesis of this holiday. On this day in 1865 Union…

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Faithful to Provide?

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4.19 One of the greatest tragedies during this pandemic has been the loss of jobs, business closings, charities and ministries hurting, and greatly reduced income for many, many people – including the elderly and disadvantaged populations. It’s no wonder many staying at home are filled with concern instead of calm Do you find yourself struggling financially and fearful…

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No Fear of Bad News

Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112.6-7 It’s that time again – the nightly news on television. With a mixture of curiosity and dread, I often feel like standing in front of our TV before watching and loudly proclaiming “Jesus is Lord!” Just to remind myself of who is truly in control of this world. So I…

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On Those Days You Feel Abandoned

My heart breaks every time I think of Christ’s lament from the cross: About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,  lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).  Matthew 27.46 NIV Because there is nothing quite so painful as the sense of being abandoned by someone you love and trust. To understand the extent of Christ’s pain, we need to remember that He had often pointed out…

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12 Things I Would Tell That Bride Who Was Me

Our 36th wedding anniversary is later this week and we plan to celebrate quietly on our 74th day of pandemic quarantine. By God’s grace, we are still talking to each other! Making time to look back and remember – to look forward and hope. As I glanced at the photographs of my younger self, I thought of all the things I could tell that young woman now. She knew almost nothing about marriage and mothering,…

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