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“Excellent article.”  Admin   If we truly get what prayer is–and what it does–we’ll realize it’s one of the most powerful weapons for change we have in our arsenal.   A recent Netflix show I was watching spent an entire episode mocking the “thoughts and prayers” response that public officials often give in response to tragedies. To be honest, I’m sympathetic to the show’s perspective. Often, I find myself thinking that the “thoughts and prayers” response seems like a platitude, just a socially polite way of saying, “I’m sorry this happened, but I’m not going to do anything about it.” [More]
My little dog, Teddy, tugged on his leash, interrupting my thoughts as we walked through my condo complex. The mornings were our time together and Teddy, a Lhasa Apo, got impatient if he didn’t have my full, undivided attention. “Sorry, Teddy,” I said with a small smile. My thoughts were all over the place this morning. The public school where I worked as a special education teacher was on break. I was thankful for the time off, but I felt completely stressed about the prospect of returning to work. My job was challenging. Too challenging sometimes. Resources were limited. Class [More]
Years ago my husband, Dan, was a missionary pilot in Ecuador. We lived at the foot of the Andes Mountains, and when he flew he kept in touch with me at the base camp by radio. One day I was logging his position and altitude when he suddenly announced that his Cessna had engine trouble. He needed to make an emergency landing. I looked at my map and saw nothing but steep hills dropping off into deep precipices. There was no flat space for miles around. From the sky, Dan searched for a road, a field, a meadow—any place he [More]
When I was growing up back in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, Mother prided herself on preparing us kids for anything life might send our way. Her own mother had suffered a massive stroke when she was only five years old. As the oldest of four children, my mother professed that it was hard work and a strong faith in God that got her through those rough years. She was a shining example of Yankee faith and fortitude, and she passed along those values to each of us.   Still, nothing could have prepared me for the void that Mother’s [More]
I stood before the full-length mirror in the church’s bridal suite, looking past myself in my wedding gown, searching for a blessing. The secret blessing I’d prayed for.   My soon-to-be mother-in-law fussed with the train on my gown, and the reflection got blurry as my eyes welled with tears. Not even my fiancé, Paul, knew the sadness that weighed on my heart, the longing I had for the presence of the five people missing from my special day.  My mom, my aunt, Grandma and Grandpa, and my sister, Audrey.   Five people I’d adored. My aunt and grandmother had [More]
As Mike Spicer laid 8-month-old Ryder Lockwood on the passenger seat of his truck to start CPR, he said a prayer to God. Minutes before, Ryder had been in the back seat of an overturned vehicle that struck a tree off the side of Highway 198 in Visalia. Spicer, a retired California Highway Patrol officer and head of security for Adventist Health in the central San Joaquin Valley, spotted the wreck Saturday morning, pulled over, and was handed a dead baby. The 61-year-old Hanford, Calif., man had seen many dead bodies over 27 years in the CHP. He was sure [More]
I was a college student in Illinois that Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t wait to get home to Massachusetts for the holidays. A friend’s mother offered me a lift as far as upstate New York, where my parents were going to pick me up.   Mrs. Case and I drove all through the chilly night. Just after sunrise on Thanksgiving morning, the engine quit and we rolled to a stop on a deserted highway somewhere in western New York.   Mrs. Case said calmly, “God doesn’t get you just halfway. Let’s pray, Richard.” After we prayed a little, she turned the [More]
Like everyone, I have experienced many answers to prayer. As the axiom goes, “Some were answered ‘yes,’ some ‘no’ and some ‘not now.’” But I have learned that there are some prayers God can’t resist. Some prayers He answers with alacrity. Some prayers seem to spur God to act. Here are seven such prayers: Read More: 7 prayers God will always answer | Guideposts
We ate a big breakfast at a local restaurant, like we did every Father’s Day. Then off to church. Pastor talked about how God is a father who never lets his children down. I wanted to be a father like that. One of the presents my daughters gave me was a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “World’s Coolest Dad.” That was good enough for me. After church I put the shirt on. Then we’d leave for a car show the next town over. That was also our tradition. Just like any other Father’s Day. That’s what made it so great. [More]
My employer’s words struck terror in my heart: “I’m sorry, Jock, but we have to let you go. We’ve got to downsize to stay afloat.” Just like that, my 14-year career with a marketing agency was over. The chances of my finding another good job at age 51 were minuscule. How would I support my wife and four-year-old son? Panicked, I prayed, “Lord, please lead me to a job.” Then I signed up for unemployment and scoured the want ads. Read More: Prayer to Find a Job | Guideposts
I don’t know who was happier to be out hiking that beautiful autumn day, my dogs—Sophie, a nine-year-old white standard poodle, and Tex, a five-year-old parti-color miniature poodle—or me. We were out in the Sierra foothills on one of our favorite trails, by Feather Falls, the sixth highest waterfall in America. A mile down a wooded canyon to a creek, then two miles back up to where I had parked the car. A good, vigorous hike. We were almost to the creek when a squirrel darted across the trail and into the trees. Sophie bolted into the canyon, hard on [More]
“Great tips on praying!”  Admin I recently saw a sign that said, “When life gives you more than you can stand, kneel.” I like that, don’t you? Prayer should be our first instinct, not our last resort, because prayer changes things. You know, as important as prayer is in a believer’s life, you’d think it would be instinctive, but that’s not always the case. When I minister to people around the altar, I often have Christians tell me that they don’t know how to pray. So, I thought I’d share four “prayer pointers” that will help in case you also [More]
Anybody who asked me about babies when I was a little girl got the same answer: I would rather have puppies. I’ve sure changed since then, I thought as I stepped into the pre-dawn darkness one September morning. My job started at 6:00 a.m., so this time of year I made the 45-minute commute in the dark. The drive gave me a lot of time to think, and lately all my thoughts were the same: Would John and I ever have a baby? I pulled onto the country road that led to the office. The sky was still full of [More]
The old wooden shed in our backyard was falling apart. “We could get one from the store,” my husband, Fred, suggested one afternoon. “The ones you put together yourself. DIY.” I groaned. Do-it-yourself never appealed to me. Too many things could go wrong. But that weekend we bought a new shed. The assembly was even harder than I imagined. By the time we put it together we were exhausted. All we had left to do was anchor it to the ground. “We can do that tomorrow,” Fred said. But when I looked outside the next morning, the night wind had [More]
“You kids get to decide what we’ll do this weekend,” my wife, Tina, told our three children at dinner one Friday evening. “Can we play mini golf tonight?” our oldest, Rose, asked. “I want to ride a train,” five-year-old Matthew piped up. “What about you?” I asked Lauren, our eight-year-old. “I don’t know,” she said. “We’ll just have to surprise you then,” I said. Tina and I worked hard to make sure all our kids felt equally included in family activities, but I knew Lauren often felt overlooked as the middle child. And she was by far the most sensitive [More]
“How many times does God want to help us if only we would ask.”  Admin There were two ways I relaxed: quilting and smoking. Quilting was my passion. Smoking was my addiction. I was a nurse. I knew cigarettes were slowly killing me. But I just couldn’t stop. My good sense couldn’t stop me. My husband couldn’t stop me. My kids couldn’t stop me. I was a smoker, and that was that. Read More: The Angel That Helped Me Quit Smoking | Guideposts
“God’s timing is always perfect, we just have to be patient if our timing does not line up with His.”  Admin My husband and I had a house-sale prayer that had never gone unanswered. We’d prayed it often for friends: “Father, You know that Jim and Marge need to sell their home. You also know the particular family who needs this particular house. In Your perfect timing, Lord, we ask You to bring these needs together.” And soon the friends would call to say they’d found the perfect buyer. So when the time came to put our own home of [More]
Just thirty-two cents in our bank account , I thought when I awoke one breezy fall morning, my stomach tightening. How am I ever going to pay the babysitter today? My husband, Boyd, and I had just moved back to South Carolina from Tennessee with our five-year-old, Mindy, and baby, Meredith, to be closer to my mom. Boyd had found a good job as a HR manager, but wouldn’t be getting paid till the following week and the moving expenses had drained our bank account. I was taking a class in the afternoons to renew my teaching certificate since I’d [More]
Every Friday for three years I baked for our church’s staff. They enjoyed the homemade cookies and cakes during coffee break, and I loved showing my appreciation for their hard work. While I was at home recuperating from knee surgery, a friend telephoned one Friday and offered to take the weekly treat to the office for me. “I don’t know if I can send anything,” I replied. “My supplies are low, but if I can, I’ll bake an apple pie.” It was one of the specialties I could do in my sleep. However, a search o Read More: God’s Help [More]
Finally, in 2008, after eight years of hard work, Tinsel Time Christmas Tree Farm opened for business. It was a family affair just like we’d imagined. Our kids, along with my brothers, my parents and our nieces and nephews helped out. We dressed like elves and stood by the side of the road waving a banner that read, “Chop down your own Christmas tree!” We drew people in with marshmallow roasts and hayrides in a red-and-white sleigh.   Business was great! After the first year, Karen and I both took early retirement and sunk all of our spare time and [More]
My son and daughters are all grown now, but as their mother I still worry about them. Especially when Gina, my youngest, told me about the car trouble that she’d been having. “I turn the key in the ignition, but it just won’t start,” Gina said when I was down in Texas visiting her and her sister for a month. It sounded to me like battery trouble, but Gina told me that she didn’t have enough money to get a new one right away. Her sister had given her a charger to keep in the car. It fixed the problem [More]
Visits with my grandchildren were precious, but lately it seemed like every time I saw them they were distracted by their gadgets. “Please, God,” I prayed as I pulled into their driveway, “help me find some way to entertain Paul and Jill. Help us make good memories together.” Soon we were chatting about middle school and summer camp. It almost seemed like old times—until Jill slipped her phone out of her pocket. Beside her, Paul was casting longing looks toward his computer. “Let’s go on a hike!” I announced.   “What for?” Paul asked.   I said the first thing [More]
“Facing an impossible situation, try doing what he did.”  Admin I watched it, though I didn’t think I would (or maybe didn’t think I could). I’m talking about Nik Wallenda’s epic and incredibly inspiring high-wire walk across the Grand Canyon Sunday night, broadcast live on the Discovery Channel. Right up until a few minutes before he stepped out on the wire 1,500 feet above the canyon I wasn’t sure I could bear to see the legendary aerialist (and father of three) flirt with catastrophe. This has been troubling me ever since we decided to publish Nik’s piece in our June [More]
Dollywood, the highlight of our big trip to Tennessee with my daughter and her family. Just as I walked through the entrance gates I patted the pocket of my jeans. My wallet was gone! “I was sure I put it in there after I took out the tickets,” I told Jewel, my wife. I checked my fanny pack. No dice. Credit cards, driver’s license, military ID—not to mention $300 in cash. All gone! “Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll help you find it,” my daughter, Teresa, said. “I’ll check the ticket counter,” I said. “Probably left it there.”   I retraced my [More]
My husband, Bill, and I weren’t expecting an evening to ourselves. It’s a rarity, raising three kids. I’d just put a chocolate cake in the oven for after dinner when my sister dropped by, unannounced. “I’ll watch the kids,” she said. “You two enjoy a fun night out.” “What should we do?” I asked Bill. He picked up a newsletter from a Catholic charity we supported. “Well, there’s a potluck tonight,” he said. A church potluck? That wouldn’t have been my first thought. And the church was an hour and a half away. “We don’t have anything to bring,” I [More]
Hey, Filthy Felthy!” It was a guy called Chim. I was in junior high and he was in high school. I didn’t know Chim’s real name, or why he’d picked me out for bullying, but it didn’t matter. I knew he played on the football team and that he took perverse pleasure in shoving me into the dirt. Why, Lord, why? I asked. “Hi, Filthy Felthy,” Chim called one day. “Ready for your daily dusting? Why don’t you run?” I was a decent runner for seventh grade, but Chim could easily catch me. That was probably what he wanted. To [More]
Winter mornings in Michigan were often cold and bleak, especially now that I was getting up earlier than usual to pray. The quiet time with God helped keep me inspired at my job as an elementary school teacher. Some mornings, though, waking up in the dreary darkness, I couldn’t help but wish I had someone to wake up with. I loved my job, but more than anything I hoped to be a wife and mother. So far I hadn’t met the right guy. “Lord, you promise that if we delight in you, you’ll give us the desires of our heart,” [More]