The Big Anniversary Giveaway!!! and “I Needed That”

Today, is a day of celebration for us!!  It is the one-year anniversary of this devotional blog.  You can even read the original post here, The Reluctant Blogger, written on 02/10/2011.

Can you believe it’s been a year?

An anniversary like that seems like the perfect chance for a giveaway to me!!!  It’s also a great time to say, “Thank you!”  Thank you for the many, many emails and notes and even gifts you’ve given me this past year to encourage me to keep this blog going and not give up.  I’ve gotten special surprise hugs in stores and beautiful emails in my inbox on some tough days.

You bless me all the time.  Thank you!

My friend, Rita Taylor, has made this fabulous necklace and bracelet set for the giveaway. Isn’t she incredible?!  If you’re interested in seeing more of her creations, check out her Etsy page here: http://www.etsy.com/people/bigmomma4542

A huge thanks also to Ana Isabel for the photos showcasing Rita’s jewelry designs!

Also, to celebrate the new series of Devotions from My Garden, I’m going to give away a gardening gift basket with some spring-time goodies for you!

So, that’s two great gifts up for grabs!!

Here’s how it works.  Every time you do one of these things, you are entered to win one of the two prizes:

  • Comment on any page in the blog or on the Facebook post from now until next Friday at noon.
  • Become a follower of the blog (Go to the Homepage and enter your email address in the box to the right).
  • Share this page on Facebook and then leave me a comment on this page telling me you did.

Easy peasy!  I’ll pick a winner in one week—on Friday, 02/17, at noon and then post the winner announcements to the blog that day.

Now, onto today’s devotional!

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My middle daughter had the middle child blues.

Over Christmas break, my older girls and I discovered a new-to-us series of books by Daisy Meadows about fairies.  There was a fairy named after every girl on basically the whole planet and a book about any possible interest or hobby she may have.

Poppy the Piano Fairy
Samantha the Swimming Fairy
Cara the Camp Fairy
Ally the Dolphin Fairy
Heather the Violet Fairy
Stacey the Soccer Fairy

We practically did a jig in the middle of the library when we discovered a book named after my oldest daughter, Victoria the Violin Fairy.

And then we scanned the shelves for a book for my middle daughter.  Lauren the Lollipop Fairy?  Lauren the Lilac Fairy?  Lauren the Crazy Fairy with a Wacky Sense of Humor and a Love of Stories?

Nothing.

Mia, Juliet, Holly, Kate, Helena.  A hundred girls’ names on that shelf and yet no Lauren.

It was the total middle-child disaster.  How come Victoria has a book named after her, but I don’t have one named after me?

She cried.  I tried to console and comfort.  I searched Google and Amazon for any book named after a girl named Lauren and failed.

Then I gave up and hoped her five-year-old heart wouldn’t suffer permanent damage landing her in a pyschiatrist’s office some day.

Almost two months later, I was driving in my car and praying for a gift of grace.

My husband and I were preparing for some upcoming medical testing for him.  Finally, after wrestling with God and throwing a few “righteous” tantrums, I prayed with submission.  “Thy will be done” and “thank You for the assurance that You’ll be with us in all things.”

The day before the testing, I drove around town, running errands with my two-year-old strapped into her car seat behind me.  I was praying and trying not to cry so I wouldn’t walk into stores and the library with red eyes and streaking mascara.

Dear Lord, we’ve submitted to Your will in this.  We’ve asked You to be glorified.  I’m not fighting You or Your plan for us, even if it’s hard and even if I don’t like it. But I’m asking for some extravagant grace and mercy today.

Then I made a request—that God would protect the hearts of my children.  They are so blessed by their Daddy.  By his faith and example of Godliness.  By his Christian leadership in our home and church.  By his firm, but loving discipline.  By his prayers for them every night and the crazy rides to bed he gives them—on his head, on his back, carrying them upside down, flying them through the air.

Lord, please take care of my daughters if their Daddy is sick.

The library was my next stop.  I checked my face in the mirror to examine it for signs of red, splotchy tears.  It wasn’t great, but oh well.  Who needs to look like a super model at the public library?  (Not that I ever look like a super model!)

We had participated in a book exchange program at the start of the year, bringing in books we no longer wanted and then picking out new ones in February.  Today was the big day we could choose new books, so splotchy face or not, we were going in.

My two-year-old and I jumped right into the goodies.  I glanced at the stacks on the tables and in the piles.  Then, in a box on the floor I glimpsed the wings of a fairy on a book cover and picked it up.

I expected a fairy named Abigail or Ava or Gabriella.

Instead, I held in my hands Lauren the Puppy Fairy.

I did another little jig in the library.  They must be quite accustomed to my praise dancing by now!

I rejoiced, not just because I found a book named after my middle daughter that I didn’t think existed on this earth.

I rejoiced because God gave me the grace I needed at the exact moment of my need.  It was a reminder to me that my daughters’ hearts are in His hands.  He cares about them enough to let me find a second-hand book with one of their names on it at a library exchange program.

Surely He will care for their every need, walk them through every hurt, and show them the fullness of God’s great love and compassion for them.

The day before I had copied this verse into my journal:

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Do you realize what a promise is in this verse?

It means God invites us into His presence. We aren’t unwelcome intruders there.

We don’t have to crawl in with our face to the ground either, waiting for condemnation or banishment.  He says we can come “boldly to the throne of grace,” knowing that we will be received.

Then, God promises to extend to us the very mercy and grace we desperately need exactly when we need it.

I didn’t find Lauren the Puppy Fairy a month ago or a week ago.  If I had, it would have been fun, but it wouldn’t have shown me God’s incredible grace.

No, within moments of my prayer for my daughters, I reached into a box and found a sign of God’s grace and mercy for me and my family.

That’s the promise for you, as well: He will give you the grace you need when you need it most.  Don’t be afraid to ask Him for it.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King


Giveaway!!! and A Broken Lens

First, A Giveaway!!!

I’m celebrating this Friday because we are just about to reach 150 posts on this devotional blog!  So, I thought I’d bring a gift for you to this little party of ours by hosting a giveaway.

Go ahead and get excited.  Jump around a bit if you like!

On Monday, 10/17/2011, I’ll announce the winner who will get some real goodies—the CD Beautiful Things by Gungor and your choice of either the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp or What Women Fear by Angie Smith.  I’m sure you’ll love these!

How do you win?  That’s a cinch!  You get one entry for each of these things:

  1. Become a follower of the blog by typing your email address into the blog home page.  Then post a comment to me on this page saying, “I’m following the blog!”
  2. Comment on this post or the Weekend Post on 10/15/2011 with any thought you’d like to share.
  3. Share this post on Facebook and then leave me a comment on this page telling me about it.

That’s all it takes!  If you do all three, that’s three chances to win!

If you have any questions, you can email me: heatherking@cox.net and I’ll be happy to help you out.

And now on to today’s devotional . . . .

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“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:2, NASB).

When my daughters are excited, they jump.

Ice cream!
Jump, jump, jump.

Playdate!
Jump, jump, jump.

Trip to the aquarium!
More jumping.

A blog giveaway!
Triple jumping . . . . Okay, that’s me, not them.  Just couldn’t help myself!

You’d think after years of being a mom to these jumping beans, I’d have learned to announce good news from afar.

But I haven’t.  My dentist can probably attest to how many times one of their heads has slammed into my jaw as I foolishly stood over top of them and made a thrilling announcement.

So, when I took the girls to a children’s museum for an exhibit on butterflies, I should have maintained a safe distance, walking behind them the whole way.

But I didn’t.  Instead, I held my camera in my hand and walked next to my oldest daughter who took one look at the massive monarch caterpillar entryway and . . . .

Jumped . . .

Right into my hand, knocking my camera to the concrete sidewalk.  From then on, the lens made this sickening grinding noise as it turned on or tried to focus for a shot.

My husband performed camera surgery and that helped for a while.  Yet, eventually the lens stuck in place again.  Now my camera clicks and grinds when you turn it on and then flashes red light onto the display before showing the message, “Lens error.  Camera will shut down now.”

With my camera out of focus, I’ve been wondering how often we experience brokenness in similar ways.  Something sends us hurtling to the ground—a hurt, a sickness, loss, sadness, fear, death, confusion, loneliness, conflict, fatigue—and suddenly our perspective is askew.  We see everything through a lens that is stuck and out of focus.

Certainly we lose God’s perspective often enough.

This earthly life of ours will always be accompanied by a darkened view and limited line of sight.  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:2, NASB).

It’s not until Glory that we’ll receive heavenly lenses and eternal scope.

Until then, we’ll probably still be asking: Why did that happen?  How long will this take?  What’s the point of this and the significance of that?  Is there any hope?  What is around the corner?  What will my future hold? 

But here and now, even the darkness can be enlightened at times.  We can remember that God sees beauty in the broken.

We can remember that God breathed life into dust.

In their song, Beautiful Things, the band Gungor sings:

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

It’s a reminder that the materials we give Him do not limit what God can create.  Peter tells us, “Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Peter 4:19). That means in any situation, we can have full confidence in our faithful Creator.  We can trust and have hope because He can make beautiful things out of dust.

We can remember that God restores life when all seems dead.

In the book of Job, we read: “There is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.  Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant” (Job 14:7-9).

So if you are feeling the weight of broken branches and fallen leaves, when you feel fruitless, abandoned, cut down to the very stump and left for dead, remember the power of hope.

Naomi Zacharias in her book The Scent of Water writes:

“The promise is that at even the scent of water, our roots, like that of a tree, will awaken and extend themselves—at the very hint of refreshment and sustenance.  Ah, the perfume of hope that breathes life into the weary and wounded” (p. 168).

You may see fruitless death, but allow hope to refocus your lens.  This will not last forever.  God promises to be with you.  He will work for your benefit and for His glory.

We can remember that even rain is a blessing.

In the book of Joel, God promised Israel restoration and renewal if they would repent and return to Him.  Following judgment and famine, they would see new growth.

But it would take rain to wash away the dry, crumpled weeds and to saturate the earth with life-giving water.

Joel tells the people to “rejoice in the Lord your God!  For the rain He sends demonstrates His faithfulness” (Joel 2:23 NLT).

Lisa Whittle in her book, {W}hole, tells us “It is the goodness of God to bring forth life from deadness . . . restoration from brokenness  . . . growth from grace-filled rain” (p. 113).

So, when we pray for the “rain, rain to go away,” we miss God’s perspective.  Instead we can refocus by praising Him for the downpour that will bring new life and the rain sent by His faithful love.

Oh, it’s not easy of course.  Our lenses are still faulty.  It’s the way we’re made.  We’re finite.  Limited.  Created without the ability to see the long-term and the eternal.

We’re broken cameras, all of us.

Let it be our prayer, though, that He be our vision, that He provide our focus, and that He guide our perspective.  It’s the only way to truly see.

The song Beautiful Things by Gungor blesses me continually!  You can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR7VOKQ0xJY&feature=youtu.be

Or by clicking on the video below:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King