• DANCE IN THE RAINLife is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.- Vivian Greene

bithday table+

photo courtesy of Jonathan Davidar

My mom isn’t swayed by numbers.

I am.

Last week she mentions that people will miss her Bible study because of the snow. I sympathize. It’s hard to prepare a lesson all week only to find out that just a handful can make it.

Mom laughs, “Actually, I’m fine having a small crowd. I know that God has appointed who is going to be there. I remember teaching Sunday school classes when only one child showed up. Those were always my best lessons because I could focus on one person. Besides, some of Jesus best sermons were given to an audience of one.”

I’m ashamed.

I think about the times I’ve been disappointed because only a few people have shown up when I’m speaking. Somehow I place my value in numbers.

It’s all about pride. Thinking my time is too valuable to be wasted. Thinking it’s all about me.

As I reflect on the ways God has used me, I am reminded of an unforgettable encounter, over 10 years ago.

It’s a cold night. The rain is coming down in sheets and I’m leading a Bible study at a neighbor’s house.

I’m annoyed. Partly because I don’t want to go out in the wet weather. And partly because the rain will keep others from coming too.

Karen opens the door and I duck inside. Her house is warm and inviting. There’s coffee ready and we sit in the living room, making small talk as we wait for others. I keep glancing at my watch. No one else has come. View full post »

  • February 7, 2014 - 9:03 am

    Amy Duncan - Thanks for sharing, Vaneetha!ReplyCancel

  • February 7, 2014 - 10:47 am

    Jennifer - Thanks for the reminder that God often works when we’re not expecting it and in ways we wouldn’t have anticipated. He’s God and he knows what he’s doing!ReplyCancel

  • February 7, 2014 - 11:13 am

    David - Thanks for the reminder, I really needed that!ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2014 - 12:44 am

    Jjenny Jensen - Such a great post. Thanks Van!ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    Jen - I just found your blog through Desiring God, and just today by reading through your posts you have brought so much encouragement to my heart. I have been physically suffering for the past 5 months, and have wrestled and prayed, and will continue to pray. But I just felt compelled to comment, thank you. Thank you for sharing your hearts struggles, sufferings, and joys. It reaches, and encourages, and redirects my heart to His. Please continue to share your insights into suffering and joy.ReplyCancel

    • February 8, 2014 - 4:59 pm

      Vaneetha - Jen, I know how hard it is to find joy in the MIDST of deep suffering. Its much easier in retrospect. Keep pressing on…I know God is honored as you keep turning to Him in this.ReplyCancel

  • February 12, 2014 - 10:19 am

    Brenda - Read ur post on desiring god blog. I have a child with multiple medical conditions and your post spoke so powerfully to me. I have been asking for deliverance and I have not fully appreciated His manna for me. Thank you for the wonderful reminder.ReplyCancel

    • February 12, 2014 - 1:12 pm

      Vaneetha - Brenda, I can only imagine how difficult that is. Praying for sustaining grace through this season. I’m so thankful for manna!ReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 9:32 am

    Binsy - Hi Vaneetha. You have a beautiful blog here. Your love for God as well your passion for His will is very evident. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. I am praying for your healing.ReplyCancel

    • February 13, 2014 - 11:01 am

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Binsy. For your prayers and your encouragement!ReplyCancel

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Marble Maze+

photo courtesy of Jonathan Davidar

I’m sitting at a stoplight holding my breath. If the light turns green before I take another breath, I’ll make decision A. If not, I’ll make decision B. If it doesn’t work out the way I want, I might try again at the next light, just to confirm…

I also have a more sophisticated version of this decision making process. It sounds more spiritual but it boils down to the same thing. From the account of Gideon in the Bible, I put out a fleece. I say to God, “If you do X, this unlikely event, then I will do Y.” Since God can do anything, I reason, He could make it happen if He so desired.

Thankfully, I do know better. I know that discerning God’s will isn’t quite like this. It isn’t akin to opening a fortune cookie and getting an answer.

Discerning God’s will has everything to do with relationship.

It’s about knowing God and His heart. It’s about aligning my will with God’s. It’s about His plans. It’s about what will glorify God most.

As I keep driving, after the third stoplight has given me mixed answers, I know I need a different approach. I’m a bit out of breath.

I pray. I need to hear from God. But I wonder:  Am I attuned to Him? Am I willing to do what He wants? Or do I just want Him to bless what I want?

I ponder these questions on the way back. At home, I pull out three George Mueller biographies (so maybe I’m a bit obsessed with him), Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God, and a few random other books and I start reading.

First, I need to be completely open to God. View full post »

  • January 31, 2014 - 6:14 pm

    Danelle - AMEN. I so need to remember this…ReplyCancel

    • January 31, 2014 - 8:25 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you. I need to remember it too. That’s half the reason I write- to remind myself of the things I know to be true.ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2014 - 8:42 am

    Doreen Davidar - Just what I needed. Sometimes I keep searching for answers from God when the answer was already there !ReplyCancel

    • February 6, 2014 - 10:12 pm

      Vaneetha - So glad it was helpful. I agree that God’s answer is often in front of us!ReplyCancel

  • February 28, 2014 - 8:37 am

    Carol Mercer - Somehow I missed this one. I think it was when they were not coming. But they are officially arriving on Friday’s now – so I am good.

    Wow…”Too often, when I say I’m searching for God’s will, I’m really asking God to validate the decision I want to make. ”
    Very Big point…Serious conviction.

    I love youReplyCancel

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bread_eggs+

photo courtesy of Jonathan Davidar

 

I walk into Bible study ready to talk about prayer. I’m not sure how honest I want to be. While I know there is inexpressible value in prayer, I’ve had my own struggles with it, especially when people talk about miraculous answers they have received.

Answers that come moments after they’ve prayed. For the first time. When I’ve prayed for the same thing. For years. And nothing has changed.

Some of my prayers have remained unanswered for decades.

I share this with my group, tentative about saying it aloud. My disappointment sounds so unspiritual, so faithless, so shallow.

But then Florence says something that grabs my attention. “You never hear anyone in the Bible complaining about the parting of the Red Sea. Everyone loves delivering grace. But the Israelites, like us, were not satisfied with manna. We all complain about sustaining grace.”

We all complain about sustaining grace.

Her words hit me hard. I can scarcely pay attention to the rest of the discussion.

Were my prayers for deliverance answered with the gift of sustenance? Do I not see that sustenance is an answer too? And often just as miraculous? Why am I not grateful for manna, the everyday grace of God? When I tell Florence how her words are staying with me, how they are changing everything for me, she writes me an e-mail:

I remember being stunned by the realization of how much I love deliverance and how little I appreciate sustenance. Essentially, saying “Where is the victory in sustenance – it sounds like just getting by.” Wasn’t I scorning grace?

Scorning grace. Isn’t that what I’ve been doing?

In waiting for the monumental deliverance- the kind where I can put my issue to bed and never have to pray about it again- I’ve overlooked the grace that keeps drawing me to Him. The prayers that may appear unanswered, but actually are fulfilled in ways that keep me dependent, tethered, needy. View full post »

  • January 24, 2014 - 11:10 am

    Brian - So good, Vaneetha. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • January 24, 2014 - 11:07 pm

      Vaneetha - You’re welcome, Brian. Glad you were blessed by it!ReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2014 - 11:13 am

    Maggie - Vaneetha, I love you so much. This is just beautiful. I needed this message today! (Ok- maybe everyday)ReplyCancel

    • January 24, 2014 - 11:03 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you so much, Maggie. I’m so thankful it was a blessing to you. I miss you!ReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2014 - 12:24 pm

    Kevin Magnuson - Very thought provoking to me Vaneetha. Won’t we learn so much when we get to speak to Jesus face to face. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • January 24, 2014 - 11:01 pm

      Vaneetha - We will learn a lot that day, Kevin. That will be a glorious day- no more suffering or pain- just Jesus!ReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2014 - 2:55 pm

    Jennifer - My favorite post so far! I’ll remember this one for a long time. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2014 - 11:02 pm

    Julie Owen - Vaneetha, thank you for inviting me to your blog. This message was so timely and convicting to my soul. Praising God with you for sustaining grace!ReplyCancel

    • January 24, 2014 - 11:11 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks for reading it, Julie! As I wrote the post, I was overwhelmed by the blessing of sustaining grace. I’ve overlooked it far too often!ReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2014 - 11:31 pm

    Karen - I have honestly never heard this expressed in such a perfect way. it was like a flood light came on. this could not have been more timely. Thank you so much for sharing. When is your book coming out because I am buying the first copy!?ReplyCancel

    • January 24, 2014 - 11:39 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Karen. Its funny, the floodlight just came on for me last week- so I was so happy to share it!ReplyCancel

  • January 25, 2014 - 4:46 pm

    Jennifer Oosterhouse - Hi Vaneentha. Thank you! I love the words ….Sustaining Grace! I was calling it Grace pricks, and you gave me beautiful words for the pain of light engulfing love.ReplyCancel

    • January 25, 2014 - 10:53 pm

      Vaneetha - You are welcome, Jennifer! So glad it was a blessing!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2014 - 6:20 pm

    Danelle - Vaneetha, this is beautiful. And you are right… it does remind me of Joni. Your words a reminder and blessing to me. Looking forward to seeing you soon! XO – DanelleReplyCancel

    • January 31, 2014 - 8:23 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks Danelle! Excited to see you both soon. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2014 - 11:56 am

    Roxanne - Thank you so much for this honest, God revealing post!! So needed for our life’s many journeys. Thanks for making it plain. For if not, many would miss the simple fact that His sustaining grace is the answer in the midst of the journey.ReplyCancel

    • February 8, 2014 - 5:03 pm

      Vaneetha - Roxanne, thank you so much for writing. Encouraged you are finding His sustaining grace in your journey.ReplyCancel

  • February 10, 2014 - 10:05 am

    Phyllis - Dear Vaneetha, I just discovered you on the Desiring God website and your words have an authenticity and clarity that have opened my eyes and encouraged my aching heart last night. I have often been troubled by the quick deliverance prayers that others have prayed and received answers to when my prayers seem to go unanswered for years.
    Sustaining Grace and Daily Manna have a new meaning for me now.
    I have gone thru your archives and have learned from each blog. Thank you for sharing your heart and how God has kept you with Sustaining Grace yourself.
    sincerely Phyllis.ReplyCancel

    • February 10, 2014 - 10:46 am

      Vaneetha - Manna is so easy to overlook, isn’t it. I have overlooked it for years, waiting for deliverance. I, too, am discovering what a blessing manna is. Thank you for writing, Phyllis. So thankful God used this to encourage you.ReplyCancel

  • February 12, 2014 - 11:34 am

    Brenda - Father,
    Forgive us for not recognizing, for not falling on our faces in thanksgiving for your moment-by-moment, day-by-day, sufficient and nourishing and lasting mercies and gift of Your very presence that enable us to not only endure, but to bring you glory in the midst of the pains and the sorrows You so wisely and lovingly allow into our lives. What a good God You are; how merciful and long-suffering; Your steadfast love extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.ReplyCancel

  • March 11, 2014 - 3:47 pm

    Laura - I just found your post on Desiring God. What a blessing! I had just been reading posts about coping with chronic illness from Psychology Today written by a Buddhist. I knew that there had to be Biblical answers, and your posts were my answer. Thanks for being so open and honest with your struggles. I also struggle with a chronic illness that keeps me mostly home bound and isolated. Thanks for helping me to realize I need to thank God for sustaining grace and continue to trust in him.ReplyCancel

    • March 11, 2014 - 4:51 pm

      Vaneetha - Oh Laura. Chronic illness can be so very discouraging. I am thankful God used my blog to encourage you. When I see how His sustaining grace through pain and loss has molded my faith and given me more of Him, I am grateful. He is sufficient. Thankful that Jesus carries you, me, all of us, through our trials.ReplyCancel

  • September 3, 2014 - 7:32 pm

    Thankful for …. | hopeful.thankful.blessed - […] Sustaining grace for every day […]ReplyCancel

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digitalclock+

As I enter my daughter’s room, her alarm clock is blasting. It sounds like a jackhammer. Literally. I mean all 113 decibels of it. It is louder than a blaring car horn (110 decibels) but not quite as loud as a jet engine (120 decibels). Her clock also has a 12-volt bed shaker and strobe lights. So as a jackhammer is booming in her ears, her bed is shaking violently and bright lights are flashing in her face. If she didn’t begin the day with a panic attack, you’d think she’d be out of bed in an instant.

Not so. She is sleeping peacefully with the alarm detonating inches from her head. I’m awake. The whole house is awake. The high-strung poodle is on the edge of insanity. I’ve made the leap over.

This is no ordinary alarm clock. It’s called the sonic bomb. Lest you think my description exaggerated, here are some comments from Amazon:

The volume can be adjusted for those who do not want to have a heart attack when they wake up….it feels like an earthquake is happening, and you WILL wake up in a total panic… I really can’t express with words just how startling it is to have your own personal mattress earthquake…even my neighbor next door can hear it half way through her house.

At first, the sonic bomb worked beautifully. But my daughter quickly became oblivious to the piercing sound, intense shaking, and blinding lights. Completely understandable. I decide to call the company to see if they have a better model, since they specialize in hard to wake sleepers.

After I explain the problem, there’s stunned silence. The salesperson finally says, “I have been working here a long time and I’ve never had that request. Your alarm clock works for everyone. I’m sorry, ma’am, there’s nothing more we can do.” View full post »

  • January 17, 2014 - 7:37 pm

    Yavette - Thank you for your blog. It inspires me to keep moving forward. I like this analogy of God’ s persistent pursuance . It’s comforting to know that He will chase me and be beside me until I see Hîm one day face to face.
    God is Good ~
    Be Blessed!ReplyCancel

    • January 17, 2014 - 9:59 pm

      Vaneetha - I’m so glad this encouraged you! I agree- God is good! Thank you for writing.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2014 - 6:11 pm

    Danelle - I LOVE this. I was laughing, as a mother of a teen daughter, make that two as of last Monday. I can vividly picture the scene you described and every thought in your head! Your analogy is right on. I will not quickly forget it.ReplyCancel

    • January 31, 2014 - 8:24 pm

      Vaneetha - So glad! That scene is still being replayed many mornings…ReplyCancel

  • February 9, 2014 - 8:35 pm

    Beth - I just found your blog through Desiring God and I am so happy to read your writings. I’m pouring through your entries…you write with refreshing insights, said in very honest and accurate words, but humorously as well, and most of all, you express a genuine and passionate gratitude and love for Jesus…how inspiring…But in His unfathomable grace, He never leaves me. He holds on to me when I let go. And even when I push Him way– I love this, and you put it so simply but in a shockingly new and real voice. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • February 9, 2014 - 10:30 pm

      Vaneetha - So glad that my words have been a blessing to you, Beth. Thank you so much for writing!ReplyCancel

  • December 7, 2015 - 2:05 am

    Grayce - I find myself before in your daughter 🙂 And you’re such a great mom, honestly!ReplyCancel

    • December 7, 2015 - 8:19 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks Grayce! I was just waking her up this morning with a water pistol. 🙂ReplyCancel

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