I Don’t Know What to Do

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons;
He removes kings and sets up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the understanding;
He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.
– Daniel 2:20-22


Knock. Knock.

“Daddy? It’s me, Sarah. You know, the prideful one? I know you saw me trying to figure these things out by myself. I know I told you I thought I already knew your answer. But, Daddy… I need help.  It turns out, I don’t really know the answers, well not most of them anyway, and I’m still stuck. Can you help me? Again. Please?”

I hear my Father whisper from behind me (Is. 30:21) “I am so glad you asked. Of course I will help you. Lets start with remembering what I’ve told you.”


There have been a couple of tough situations for me this past few weeks – one involving how in the world I’m going to help my kids grow in grace and in faith through difficult and challenging times as they age, and the other involving how I’m supposed to grow and get into new opportunities in my career and/or my calling. I don’t feel like I have the answers to either one of these challenges at this point, but I had thought many times that I knew the “right” answers.

There was an opportunity at work that came up that sounded like a perfect fit for me, and it basically just fell into my lap! I didn’t even know the opportunity existed, but someone had asked for me to participate by name. I don’t even know this person and at first I was so taken aback and really humbled as I thought “The only way this could be happening is God!” For me, this was an honorable thing to have happen to me and the fact I wasn’t seeking self-promotion seemed to me like it came about the “right” way – as “God ordained”. Unfortunately, the next day I heard the opposite and that I wasn’t top of mind for the person or people who were actually making the call. Talk about a crusher! And talk about confusing! Wasn’t this from God? Didn’t I already talk to God about this the prior day and ask if it was from Him and give Him the glory for setting it in my lap?

Hm…wait a minute. I didn’t really wait for God to respond. I “knew” the “right” answer. According to who?


According to me: whenever something happens that’s good, that I didn’t go seeking, that always means its from God…


As I reflected on this and worked on memorizing Daniel 2:20-22 (which I chose to memorize long before this situation came up) I saw some words leap out at me

HE removes … and sets up kings…”

If God can (and does) set kings in place, how much more is He able to put me in the places I need to be? As I’m remembering this too, there is a story right around Daniel of a king who thought he was so great, that God had to humble him to the point of wandering around for years as a wild animal would (slobber and rabies and all!). God took him to the lowest human state possible in order to teach him that he still really had a pride-of-heart problem and it wasn’t until he could honestly say that God is the only one so great, that God then restored him to leadership and great things.  I definitely don’t want my pride to take me into that kind of situation!

I love the reminders in the Word of God. I need them. For situations like these, as I start to open up my ears and listen to the whisper of His Spirit, I am reminded of those who walked with God long before I did, and I’m still learning from them. A few days back I asked of God “What are you teaching me in this situation?”

It wasn’t until this morning when I was working again on memorizing these verses that I heard Him stop me at “He removes kings and sets up kings”.

“Do you see, my daughter? Do you see that you don’t have to strive or struggle to be recognized or to push through to what I’ve called you into? Do you see why this is true? Because every single person ever in leadership has been put there by my hand. You can’t mess that up. And every person who I’ve allowed in those positions has been removed by me when it was my time. I know you don’t understand everything I’m thinking about – that burden would be too much for you anyway. I want you to understand that you can trust me. I want you to remember that I will always make the best and right decision and as long as you stay focused on me and my wisdom and my strength, you’ll be standing in exactly the right places at exactly the right times.”

Thank you, Father God for this reminder.

“And Daddy? What about what I’m supposed to do with leading my kids well? I feel so overwhelmed at all the things I’ve already done wrong as a mom, and there are still so many years to come and…”

“Peace, Little One. Let’s look again.”

And so my Abba leads me again back to His Word and quiets my anxious thoughts with the reminder that He is the one who knows all the answers and He already knows all that can and will happen and if I will simply remain in the light as He is in the light, He will hold back the darkness in our lives.

He will reveal deep things to my children as He knows they are ready for them.

I need to listen for His wisdom and keep myself in the light. My kids will learn how to live in the light with Him if I will walk in the light daily instead of moving into the dark places where I’m the one in control (or rather, under the illusion of being in control).

“Remember?” my Daddy God says. “You picked your own daughter’s name as a reminder to yourself that: I already know. I have always known. And I will always know all things even after this time has passed.”

Once again, My Father God has ever so gently, like a loving Daddy does, turned my face back to His own and re-connected my heart with His. He has fixed my eyesight to see that He’s got this.

He’s always had this.

“Peace, be still.” He reminds me.

“I’ve got all the wisdom and ability you need and I give it all to you because I, your Heavenly Good Father, love you.”


I Forgive You

“…Mercy triumphs over judgment.” – James 2:13b

Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ ” – Matthew 18:21-22

“For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6

Three tiny words. They are easy to speak with our tongue – often hard to live with our heart, but its at the heart-level that it is vital. Forgiving those who’ve sinned against us is vital for our very lives. Each and every one of us are not without some sin, but God who is fully, completely, and perfectly without sin has forgiven us. James 2 reminds us that if we break only one law (it doesn’t matter which one!) we become “lawbreakers”. And so since we have all broken at least one of God’s laws, we’re all lawbreakers. And if we’re honest, we’ve all broken more than just one and each of the laws we’ve broken, we’ve broken more than once. I certainly have.

But even though we have continually sinned against God, His mercy has been shown to us and it is His mercy that has won us and won the victory for us. God has not won our hearts nor the battle against sin by condemning us to what we deserve for sinning. Our Savior won our hearts because of His great love for us. He won our hearts because of His mercy. And also, in reverse, it is not a sacrifice that we made, nor anything we’ve done to triumph over our own sin or justify ourselves (remember – the first law we broke, we were done for) – it is the mercy and forgiveness of God that has saved, rescued, triumphed, redeemed, and is restoring us.


So, if God has shown mercy and given us forgiveness that we didn’t earn and certainly don’t deserve (we have given more grief to God than we ever get from one another), then we have no business withholding mercy and forgiveness from someone who has mistreated, hurt, or in any way sinned against us. Jesus makes this very clear in Matthew 18 when He explains that if we fail to forgive and show mercy to one another, we will no longer be recipients of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Yikes. Does that motivate your heart? It does mine.

One of the things I astronomically appreciate about God and my relationship with Him is that He has shown me great, completely unmerited mercy! There is no way I want to give that up, especially not because of some human being that was unkind to me and holds nothing on my eternal life with The Father. I don’t want to throw away the mercy and forgiveness of God for me because of someone who is not my Heavenly Father, is not the Creator of the Universe, and has no ability to adopt me as the daughter of an Eternal King.

When I hold the light of God’s mercy for me on the things that have happened and the ways that I’ve been hurt, my heart is softened so much more. I was ready to forgive before, but now, considering my great need for His mercy, I’m so much more ready! In fact, my heart is heavier and more saddened as I think about the difficulty their sin has caused for their own lives and I’m thankful on their behalf that God has the same mercy and forgiveness for them as He has had for me.

To the one who left: I wholeheartedly forgive you for being driven toward your own agenda instead of listening to wise counsel around you. And I am sorry that you are having to learn the hard way that comes from pride and your own self-determination to get things done the way you think they should be done instead of in the greater blessing that comes from humbly waiting on God to develop that leadership and influence in you. I forgive you for driving yourself away from all of us by acting like Jacob when he stole Esau’s birthright due to a prophecy and then had to run away to save his skin. I am sorry that you are having to walk through more waiting and uncertainty as you learn the lessons God is walking you through. I forgive you for making the leadership mistake Solomon’s son made in not accepting the counsel of wiser and older people around you over the opinions of younger and more inexperienced people and I pray that instead of great demise like what happened to Rehoboam, that you will understand the benefit of humility and learning from the ones God has placed with wisdom around you. I pray that you would have a greater leadership impact like Jesus who did not consider equality with God to be His for the taking yet had the biggest, most lasting impact on the world of any man who had come before or has been since.

To the one who has struggled with depression and self-image: I wholeheartedly forgive you for being so consumed with what has happened to you that you have succumbed to your own weaknesses and done wrong to those who’ve held you in high regard. I forgive you for running away in the face of conflict and I pray that you will grow stronger as the people around you who love you help you to stand firm. I forgive you for taking credit for all those years for the things that others did behind the scenes that made you look good in the spotlight. I forgive you for taking your queues from poor, prideful, and controlling leadership that came before you instead of investing your strength and efforts into bettering yourself and your leadership potential to pour back into the people you have led. I pray that you will surround yourself with people who you will allow to be honest with you, even if it feels uncomfortable and confrontational. I pray that you will have great courage to listen to their loving wisdom and do the things that they suggest weighed against the wisdom of God. And I pray that you will give more credit to those that God has blessed with gifts different from those he has blessed you with. That as you stand in the spotlight, you will increasingly, more and more pull out your mirror to reflect that light back on the glory of God and His hand at work in the people around you.

To the one who lied: I wholeheartedly forgive you for the deep wounds you have caused so many who put such great, deep trust in you. I am sorry that you allowed yourself to be separated from true accountability and that the Enemy dragged you off by yourself for so long that you began to believe all the lies were actually truth and that you continued in them as a result. I forgive you for betraying our trust that was almost child-like as one has for their parent. I forgive you for starting so many good things that we now loose because of the consequences of your sin. I am thankful on your behalf that the truth finally came to light because I can’t imagine what more mire and muck you were headed for in that dark blackness of lies all alone. I am sorry that so many have been hurt so deeply, in life altering ways because of your dishonesty and I pray that each one is able to come to forgive you from their heart as well. I pray that as God already had blessing, healing, and freedom planned ever since the garden and all the way through the Old Testament, that God would speak also directly to you His specific mercy, freedom, healing, and blessing waiting for you. I am sorry that you have to live with the weight of all of this but I am thankful that you do and pray that it will bring you truthfully deeper and closer to God and that the next time we hear from you, it will be nothing but truth and all to the glory of God, humbly accepting nothing other than our love and forgiveness for you.


Not My Glory

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! – Psalm 115:1

Worry comes very easily for me. I suppose its part of the territory for an analytical thinker who takes things apart in their mind in order to understand them, and plan, and organize, and fix, and problem solve. I don’t think I’ve met anyone (yet) who is highly analytical and detailed, that doesn’t struggle with worry more than they probably should. However, that’s not really the worst part for me. Worry is bad enough, but worrying what someone else thinks about me or whether or not they think I’m worth some specific amount of effort or money – that in my mind, is the worst kind of worry there is. Worrying about what another person thinks of me or what they think I’m “worth” is worry about my own glory. That is self-exalting on more than one level! On the first level, the worry itself is saying that I am trying to do something on my own without God or without trusting the details to God. On another level, this kind of worry is somehow being so consumed with myself that I seek my own glory and am concerned with whether or not I will get it.

That is painful to admit and shocking to read myself type those words. I will readily admit I struggle with pride. But when I look at these words: worrying about my glory – that puts things in a more truthful context that is difficult to “run” or “hide” from. I know I’ve grown “comfortable” with the concept of pride because it kind of hides what’s really going on. All pride is based in seeking after one’s own glory, and what the scriptures tell us very plainly is that the only One who deserves any glory is God. Even more plainly, if anyone or anything else gets glory, that is idolatry.

When I was reading a devotion on this topic the other day, I happened to be putting myself through some heavy stress about work – trying to be and do all the right things and feeling frustrated that trying to make one person happy was making another unhappy. I was struggling (code for “worrying”) a lot with feelings of worth and un-successfulness and comparing myself to other people – just overall feeling very upset that I wasn’t better at my job, more loved, further along in my career, more respected – you know all those things that would be evidence of “glory”. So God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge and with such gentle and gracious love, saw what my heart was struggling with. He knew that it wasn’t pretty, but not just because I was sad and stressed and lashing out at people. He knew that the ugly, not great part about all of it, was that I was blind to a much bigger problem, a much more dangerous, viral kind of problem: self-glorification. And He walked me, gently, into this verse and the study of it for a couple of days.

When I read the first part of this verse (which I have read many many times before) it was as if someone turned on the light and took a heavy weight off of my back. I didn’t get any answers to the questions I was asking about “Am I worth it?” and “Doesn’t anybody love or even like me?” and “Why in the world would anyone want me around? Don’t they want to fire me already?” But I didn’t get the answers to those questions because those were the wrong questions to ask. What I did receive is a reminder of the fact that first and most importantly, God Almighty is absolutely worth it and worth my time, energy, attention, and worship. In fact, He’s the only One worthy of all this praise, and love, and admiration, and I most certainly want Him around! The second really big thing I was reminded of is that this amazing, unmatched, wonderful, almighty God absolutely loves and likes me and thinks I’m worth His time and His purpose for me. This knowledge and understanding may be beyond my ability on my own to really fully grasp, but the fact doesn’t change that He does have a perfect, loving purpose and a fierce, no-strings-attached love for me and all of this (His purpose and love for me) is all for my own good and His glory. Not my good and my glory.

So this verse is a beautiful reminder to give all praise and glory and honor to Him who deserves it all. To our magnificent, loving, wonderful, almighty, creator God who’s glory is well earned, and who’s love is well given, all far beyond what I could earn in my own strength. To God be the glory, not to me and all that I’ve accomplished (which would never have been accomplished without so many things from Him), but to God be the glory. Great things He has done!