Come to Me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed. A close walk with Me is a life of continual newness. Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year. Instead, seek My Face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with Me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind. As you focus your thoughts on Me, be aware that I am fully attentive to you. I see you with a steady eye because My attention span is infinite. I know and understand you completely; My thoughts embrace you in everlasting Love. I also know the plans I have for you: plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Give yourself fully to this adventure of increasing attentiveness to My Presence.
You have said, “Seek My face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” — Psalm 27:8 ESV
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will. — Romans 12:2
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11
Trusting God One Day at a Time
Donna and Steve’s Story
My husband, Steve, and I have three children, and all three have had terrible struggles with substance abuse. Our youngest, Shannon, is an accomplished artist — outgoing and compassionate, with lots of friends. But at age fifteen, Shannon began to change. She got involved with a boy who was her constant focus, and somewhere along the way she lost herself. She started skipping school, lying, and losing interest in outside activities. We had no idea that drug use, as well as mental and physical abuse, had become part of her daily life. Multiple stints in rehab and many broken promises followed as this horrific nightmare repeated itself over and over. After her third rehab experience, Shannon walked out with an older man and went missing.
Steve and I couldn’t hold it together any longer. We questioned ourselves and we questioned God at every turn. Why didn’t we see this coming? Were we just not paying attention? Why would God let this happen to us — again? One weekend, Steve and I began to argue and cry as we rehashed the things we had done wrong. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and email Dr. Cindy Ryan, associate pastor of our church.
Cindy made us feel comfortable right from the start. She listened and didn’t judge as we opened up for the first time. A huge weight seemed to lift off our shoulders as we shared. She helped us understand that God gives us free will and that Shannon was exercising her free will. Cindy said, “It looks like you have offered all the help and resources to her.” After we prayed together, Steve and I left with a new feeling of relief that God was in control. Cindy suggested that we get a devotional book that had personally given her comfort: Jesus Calling.
- As we made Jesus Calling part of our daily routine, I began to see this little book helping us in ways I never expected.
The devotions were exactly what we needed to hear. As we looked up each day’s suggested Scripture verses, we found ourselves reading more and more of the Bible. Jesus Calling provided baby steps into the Bible, giving us a deeper understanding of God’s Word than we’d ever had before.
One day I told Steve, “If Jesus Calling can give us peace and comfort, I’d like to share it with others.” I emailed Cindy to tell her about the impact Jesus Calling was having on our lives. Then I asked if it would be okay to bring a basket of books for her office so she would have them on hand for others who might need a copy. She readily agreed.
At a routine checkup, my doctor asked what had been going on in our lives. I decided to open up, and I explained that our daughter had been in three rehabs and was now missing. Then he told me about his daughter, who had been in eight rehabs. I couldn’t believe it! He knew exactly our pain, and he went out of his way to offer help and resources.
For such a long time, Steve and I thought we were the only ones with big problems. But as we’ve opened up to more and more people, we’ve discovered we’re definitely not alone! As our faith grew, opening up to others became much easier.
- We felt the need to share what we’d been going through, as well as what had brought us so much peace and comfort.
I kept a second copy of Jesus Calling at work, just in case I wanted to read it again. One day I
saw Steve praying with a young man out on the sales floor at our business. The next thing I knew, Steve was asking for my extra book. Now I restock this book frequently, as someone in need often crosses our path. We have given the book to our customers, insurance agents, hairdressers, neighbors, old friends from school days, coworkers from my previous job, and many random people we have encountered — including a Bandido motorcycle member.
As we slowly began to find healing for ourselves, we waited anxiously for news of Shannon. Finally, she called! She was desperate, tired, and ready for help. As we traveled with her to another rehab, we prayed that this one would turn our world right-side-up again. Shannon saw my copy of Jesus Calling in the car and asked, “What’s that?” I told her how much the book had helped us. She said, “I know that book. Everybody at the rehabs I’ve been in has one.” I handed my book to her, saying, “It’s yours.” As special as my original copy was to me, I wanted her to have it.
When Shannon entered rehab again, it was a constant two steps forward and three steps back. The difference this time was our faith — trusting that God is in control and He has a plan for us. When Pastor Cindy came to us with stories about the impact of the Jesus Calling books we’d brought to her office, it touched us in a way we’d never felt before. Something good was coming out of something so painful!
Our story is still unfolding. Steve and I have found great comfort in Jesus’ promise:
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. — John 16:33
We’ve learned to take it one day at a time, trusting that God is watching over each of us.
Excerpted with permission from Jesus Calling 365 Devotions with Real-Life Stories by Sarah Young, copyright Sarah Young.
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Tomorrow is a year. It’s a fresh start and a fresh opportunity to do life differently… with Jesus. No matter what you’re going through, lean on Jesus for your strength and hope. Keep praying and talking to Him about everything that concerns you. He’s listening! ~ Devotionals Daily