My perfect future


At least eight of them were going to live in big houses.

One of them wasn’t going to have a big house.  His house was going to be BIG.

They would compete in the Olympics, be world famous surgeons and vets and carpenters, play professional sports, write books, run businesses, and make a lot of money.

They would drive Jeeps or a Ford or a convertible.

They would all marry, have several children (whose names they already knew) and live incredibly happily ever after.

These were the futures my daughter and her fellow fifth graders described during their DARE graduation last year.

We parents in the crowd smiled and laughed and probably some of us cried.  What a wonderful, beautiful, sometimes humorous thing it is to hear eleven-year-olds dream.

My daughter jumped right in there, dreaming with the best of them about education, career, marriage, having kids, and making a difference in the lives of others.

Lovely thoughts, all of them.

But when they read her “My Future” paragraph at the graduation ceremony, I finally succumbed to the tears when I heard her concluding words: “My future is in God’s hands.”

Whatever happens…

Even when the plans don’t turn out the way she hoped or expected….

Even when life gets crazy or even just slightly uncertain…..


I take this to heart.  Shouldn’t we all?

My eleven-year-old self never planned or expected all that God has done and all that He has planned for me.  My life has twisted itself up into a thing of beauty that I never could have created on my own.

There were seasons I thought God was messing it all up.

He told me ‘no.’

He changed my direction.

He made me wait ‘forever.’

He carried me through valleys of darkness when I couldn’t see the next step right in front of my face.

Maybe now I already know the answers to the questions these kids were asking:  Where would I go to college? What would I study?  Who would I marry?  How many kids would I have?  Where would I live?  What would I do?

Yet, still there’s that constant compulsion to lay the future all out clean, perfect, organized, and bullet-pointed with measurable goals and a five-year-plan of how to make it all happen.

My own daughter’s wisdom brings me back.

Do I need to know all that?

Or do I need to just know this:  ‘My future is in God’s hands’?

I think of Joseph, the perpetual Old-Testament dreamer.

God gave him so much more than a fifth-grade perfect-life wish-list.  God gave him prophetic visions of his parents and brothers bowing down to him in homage and respect.

Then he was trapped in a pit while his brothers plotted to murder him.  He was sold to slave traders and carried off to Egypt.  He was falsely accused and thrown into prison.  He was forgotten and left to rot in the jail while others were freed.

It might have looked like one great big hopeless mess.  How could Joseph ever make those God-given visions work out?

The truth is he couldn’t.

And he didn’t need to.


Louie Giglio writes in his book The Comeback:

Maybe your dream is to go to school or get a degree or accomplish a certain task or find a certain spouse or start a business or move to a certain place or create a movement or carry the gospel to people who’ve never heard it before. Those may be great dreams, but there’s a bigger dream that overrides everything else: it’s that your life counts for the glory of God.


Yes, in the prison.

Yes, in slavery.

Yes, even when all the dreams come true.

Ultimately, Joseph told his brothers:

And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life (Genesis 45:5 ESV).

Joseph knew nothing happened just for his own benefit, personal comfort or ultimate happiness.

Everything he endured was so God could ‘preserve life.’


That’s true for us, as well.

We can dream, plan, plot and strategize, but ultimately we return to trust.




Originally published 1/15/2016

Nothing stresses me out like a deadline

Psalm 31-15.PNG

A deadline.

Few obstacles pound harder at my faith than a due date, a deadline, the tick-tocking down of time until God has to either come through or He doesn’t.

I know, I know.

God’s timing is perfect.  

He is never late.

I cling to the promises and repeat the reassuring phrases to myself, but God likes to push right up against time boundaries, doesn’t He?

He usually doesn’t show up early, that’s for sure.

Sometimes, He’ll let me pace nervously right up until the last second before He shows up in His glory.

To Him, one day is like a thousand years.  Time is fluid and free.

But it doesn’t work like that here on this physical planet.


Bills and meetings and due dates are a little less subjective here.

Besides that, I hate being late.  I like to be early.  I like to be the first one to arrive, the girl sitting in the parking lot for 5 minutes collecting her thoughts, not the one zooming in 5 minutes late and haphazardly throwing her minivan into park and jumping out the door.

I’m the opposite of a procrastinator (whatever you call that).  I like to have things settled two weeks in advance, not at 11:59 p.m. right before the midnight deadline.

But God knows this about me. So God helps me to cement this shaky faith onto some sturdier foundation.  And God, with His sense of humor and His infinite wisdom, does this by bringing me toe-to-toe with deadline after deadline and coming through for me at the last possible second.

Not because He likes to drive me crazy.

Because He loves me, of course.

Last week, though, I read about Jesus’ first miracle in a new way:  A wedding miracle, a miracle of substance:  Changing plain old water into the finest wine for a marriage feast on the verge of social disaster.

I think as I read that Jesus didn’t just change water into grape juice.

This wasn’t just miraculously altering the chemical makeup.

Jesus bypassed time. 

Quality wine like that would have required years to make–to ferment–, but Jesus simply told servants to fill jars with water and serve it up, and the wine simply was.

Margaret Feinberg writes in Scouting the Divine:

When it comes to making great wine, time is your friend. Yet Jesus didn’t need to wait.

In the past, I’ve tried to explain it all to Him, how some due dates are pretty set in stone and we people here on earth do actually have to follow them or bad stuff can happen.

But today, He explains it to me….

How when I tell Him something will take two weeks…

When I say there’s not enough time for Him to come through for me….

He tells me that He can turn plain old water into aged wine in an instant.  Something that should take years is completed in less than a second.

God isn’t just able to do anything; He’s able to do anything at any time.

Not only that, but even when circumstances and the world and your own eyes tell you that God is simply too late, even then He is not too late.

Jesus showed up at Lazarus’s home days after Lazarus had already died.

Jesus waited too long to come and heal His friend.

But even a deadline as firmly set as death wasn’t too much for Jesus to overcome.  After four days in the grave, Lazarus walked right out of the tomb when Jesus called him back to life.

And maybe after hundreds of years of waiting for the Messiah convinced many Jesus that God wasn’t able, wouldn’t fulfill His promises, couldn’t ever bring the miracle to pass.

Yet, Paul says,

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law… (Galatians 4:4).

The set time fully came and that’s precisely when God acted.

And the time wasn’t set by any man.  It wasn’t set by a government, by a bill collector, by a judge, by a teacher, or by any human rule or law.

God Himself set the perfect time for the perfect salvation, and He was not a second too early or too late.

So, we’re human and in this world we have deadlines and due dates, we have words like ‘late’ and ‘overdue’ and ‘delinquent.’

Sometimes we think the clock and the calendar rule over us like arbitrary and cruel overseers, always demanding, always penalizing, always stressing us out.

But our God doesn’t need time to deliver you or time to save you.

He’s not working frantically, racing the clock, sweating with panic as the seconds tick down.

He’s not asking for extensions or inventing delay tactics while He scrambles to get things done.

God’s perfect plan includes His perfect timing.


Clash of the Agenda

Clash of the Agenda or I could call it an Agenda Conflict (capital letters for emphasis). That’s what it was.

My plan: Get my family dressed and presentable QUICKLY and then run out to register kids for swim lessons QUICKLY, then rush home, accomplish a million things and leave for other to-do list items shortly thereafter.

My daughters’ plan: Enjoy the full benefits of a summer morning.  Fight over a television show and insist that each child choose one entire program to watch before eating breakfast.  Arrive at the breakfast table one….at……a……time.  Carry around clothes for the day rather than actually putting them on and generally move through the morning at a slow and easy pace.

It wasn’t just them, of course, sabotaging my agenda.  Unexpected phone calls and email messages sidetracked and distracted me.  Finally, I decided we simply needed to leave so we drove to swim lesson registration leaving behind unwashed dishes, a pile of pajamas on the sofa, unfolded laundry on the loveseat, and general mess.

I even tried not to stress over my daughters’ hair being combed with fingers and not arranged into ribbons, bows, barrettes and headbands, but I gave in and swept their hair into whatever hair accessories were floating around my Mom Bag before actually going inside to register.

Agenda Conflict is a fact of life.  We can’t plan out every detail of every day of every life season and expect success.

Especially as moms.

It’s a stressor, a reason for my heart to race as I try to balance accomplishing my goals and remaining relatively sane while negotiating life with people whose agendas conflict with mine.

But it’s also a flex-or.  It’s a way for God to gently or even not-so-gently nudge us out of the driver’s seat of our lives once again.  And it seems a perpetual process for me, this becoming flexible enough to hand over control even to a Trustworthy God.

Because I’m not a go-with-the-flow person.  I’m not an arrive-whenever and do-whatever-works, leave-the-dishes-in-the-sink and change-direction-when-necessary kind of girl.  At least not naturally.  Not unless God demands it.

Which He does.

Because He alone can be God of our lives.  He has the prerogative to interrupt plans and redirect our course.  He has the option of taking the three-year-plan and deciding He’s ready to move here and now, this moment!  Or, He could choose to abandon the plan all together, crumple it up, toss it and maybe even leave us without an agenda at all as He whispers, “Trust me and that is Psalm 31enough.”

We can’t pray super-spiritual prayers of devotion to God and promises to submit to His will and then throw a stressed-out tantrum when the phone rings, the email comes, and the kids drag their feet on a busy morning.

Instead, those prayers for His Lordship in our lives require that we mean it in the everyday frustrations of Agenda Conflict and the unexpected U-turns in life that leave us hanging on breathless.

We must pray with the Psalmist, “My times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:15 NIV) and “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21 NIV).

We could press our agenda, of course, determined not to abandon the plan for anyone or anything.  We could demand it make sense on paper and make decisions on statistics, facts, and appearances alone.

But we could miss out on God’s blessing.

When Abraham began his journey to the Promised Land, he traveled with his nephew Lot until their shepherds began battling over prime grass and watering holes.  Finally, they knew they had to separate and travel in two different directions.

Abraham was on a God-directed mission to a land of promise, and as the senior member of their relationship he could have demanded “first dibs.”

Instead, he trusted God enough to leave the direction and the timing of his journey in God’s hands.  He allowed Lot to choose first, saying simply, “Separate from me: if you go to the left, I will go to the right; if you go to the right, I will go to the left” (Genesis 13:9 NIV).

At best, that seems like a coin toss to me, a fifty/fifty chance of getting the blessing.

At its worst, it feels like trusting your future to a fallible human, a selfish one at that.

But surely Abraham’s life, times and future were in God’s capable hands regardless of Lot’s choice.

Had Abraham pressed his own agenda for his own benefit, maybe he would have chosen as Lot did, to pitch his tents outside of Sodom.  Instead, God led Abraham on to blessing, all because he ceded the right to decide, to direct, to lead, to push, and to stress and left the agenda and itinerary up to God.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer 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.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Weekend Walk, 03/17/2012—Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hiding the Word:

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

My kids have been asking me all week, “What are we doing for St. Patrick’s Day?”  They are imagining a holiday full of parties, gifts, special programs, and elaborate meals.

I answer, “Wear green.  That’s what we do.”

On a whim, I did ask if anyone wanted green eggs and ham for breakfast, fully expecting the response of “EEEEWWWWW, disgusting, no way!”

Amazingly, only one daughter opted for a Pop Tart over the green concoction I cooked up on the stove.  Lesson being—only offer to make green eggs and ham when you actually intend to cook it.  Fortunately I had the necessary food coloring to make good on my word.

My middle daughter insists on calling this Leprechaun’s Day and I’ve been correcting her every time.  I know what she’s doing; she’s trying to spice up this otherwise bland holiday with some fun and folklore.  She is a child captivated by stories and attracted by the imaginary.

So, I called my daughters to the computer this morning and we talked about how this all started anyway.  We wear green and eat crazy meals of green food and the cabbage most people avoid the rest of the year all because of a missionary.

Really, that’s the bottom line.  Patrick, a young teen living in Roman Britain from the 5th century, was kidnapped and enslaved in Ireland for years.  After escaping and returning to his family, he felt that he had to return to the land of his enslavement, where Christianity had not reached and where people didn’t know about God.  It was his bravery as a missionary pioneer that we celebrate today.

It seems fitting, then, that our verse for the week centers on missions.  I hope you’ll join me in meditating on this verse all week long, praying over it and perhaps even memorizing it:

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  (Romans 10:13-15).

For the history fans among you, I found this video on the history of the holiday.  Enjoy!

]Weekend Rerun:

A Matter of God
Originally Published 03/17/2011

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you”
2 Chronicles 20:12, NIV

I am a contest-enterer, but only very rarely a contest-winner.  About one-and-a-half years ago, I participated in the adult summer reading program at our local library.  Every month that I read some books (only one of my most favorite things to do in life!), I could place my name in the hat for a prize drawing.  Then the day came when the librarian called me on the phone and said I had won.  I was ecstatic!  When I picked up my little trinket of a prize at the library, it didn’t even matter that it was only worth about $5.  I felt like I had won the lottery!

Even when I play board games, I usually lose, and I certainly lose if the game involves rolling the dice, having the highest card or getting the ice cream princess in Candy Land.  I think my kids like playing games with me because I don’t let them win, and yet they always win despite my best efforts.

Since today is St. Patrick’s Day I was thinking of how I am so very unlucky, but I am so very blessed.  I’m thankful that my life is not at all dependent on luck, but is instead dependent on God’s mercy, love, and strength.   The Psalmist told God, “My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me” (Psalm 31:15, NIV).  I can have full confidence that my times are in God’s hands–my every day, my moment by moment, all entrusted to Him.

In my devotional time recently, I’ve been reading 2 Chronicles, which is one of my most favorite books of the Bible.  There is a clear, unmistakable trend in this book about the kings of Judah and Israel.  Almost every one of the kings had a life-defining moment when the nation was surrounded by a massive army that was better-equipped and more experienced than they were.

Every time a king fought the enemy in his own strength, either by amassing a defensive force or by making treaties with other nations, he was defeated.  Yet, when a king turned to God and prayed for His intervention and help, he was miraculously saved.   Often, the enemy troops would become confused and fight amongst themselves or they would simply run away in terror without ever engaging in battle.

Luck had nothing to do with it.

One of my favorite examples is King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20.  Like many other kings, he faced a vast enemy army.  The Bible tells us, “Alarmed, Jehosaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah” (2 Chronicles 20:3).

He was alarmed.  He was emotionally distraught about this seemingly impossible situation.  All the circumstances told him that he was about to be defeated and his people slaughtered on the battlefield.

So, with all of his fear of certain defeat, Jehoshaphat turned it all over to God.  The whole nation fasted and then he prayed with them publicly.  In his prayer, he said, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Chronicles 20:12, NIV).

Oooh, that verse sends chills up my spine.   In so many of our life situations we have no idea what to do.  We’ve worked everything out on paper and still come out short.  There is just no physical, tangible way for us to defeat the enemy we are facing.

Those are the very moments when we need to look to God, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).

That’s what Jehoshaphat did and God answered his prayer, saying: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).  The next morning, instead of sending out his best troops against the enemy, Jehosphat “appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness” (2 Chronicles 20:21, NIV).  The singers lifted up their praises to God and the enemy was totally annihilated without Jehoshaphat’s army raising a spear.  All they had done was worship God.

Scripture tells us they named that battle site the Valley of Beracah or the Valley of Praise.   Ultimately, “the fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.  And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for His God had given him rest on every side”  (2 Chronicles 20:29-30, NIV).

Are you in a valley, surrounded by circumstances that will most certainly defeat you?  Your survival isn’t a matter of luck, it’s a matter of God, and our God is trustworthy, dependable, faithful and mighty.  Resolve to fix your eyes on God and not on your physical “reality.”  Resolve to transform your valley into a valley of praise.   That is when God is glorified and we find rest.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for 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