March 17-18, 2012
I am very proud to say today’s devotional was written by my 17-year-old daughter Nicole Joy, She wrote this for me as a birthday present. This is an important Stepping Stone that she navigated in her life:
Two summers ago, I was really excited to go with so many of my friends on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Being a plan-driven, list-oriented person, (yes, I take after my dad), I made an excel spreadsheet checklist for everything I was going to bring. It listed out in perfect detail the exact pants, shorts, and T-shirts, and underwear for specific days and activities … then accessories (because I am a teenager) and everything else.
That’s not even the worst! I color-coded it for where it went in which bag! This might seem extreme but it is the way my brain works. I had everything from scissors to extra pens for myself and other people. I am the type of person who never asks anyone for anything because I already have one, or even doubles to lend to others. They’re always the ones asking me, which I don’t mind at all. I love to help people.
I wonder if you can predict where this adventure story is going?
Before we left Calvary Church at 3:30 AM, we prayed for everything to be safe & for the journey to play out as God planned. We each had a backpack, carry-on bag, and suitcase. And we also had a large 40-pound duffel filled with clothes we collected for the kids in the Dominican Republic. When we got to the airport in Santo Domingo, I was just soaking up the different smells in the air as we walked to the luggage check. That was where we were all helping get the 50+ suitcases from the unloading station.
I soon realized mine wasn’t there. We looked around everywhere for it, even on other people’s luggage carts! Long story short, after talking to an attendant, leaving a description and filing a report, we had to get going on the next leg of our journey. On the hour-long bus ride, I was surprisingly not as stressed as I thought I would be. I remembered a verse we had memorized in church from James 1:2-4 (see below). This is when I realized, that I had an opportunity to practice with one of life’s little adversities in life, just as I had learned from this verse … and it worked. I was shocked at how I was acting, but then I realized how God helped me think and make a good decision. I am really thankful for this.
Plus, after that blessing, the story got better; I received my suitcase late the next day. It had been shipped to Denver, instead of the Dominican Republic.
Today, remember God loves you. He is sovereign, all-powerful, and all knowing. He will bring events or opportunities, what we call trials, into our lives to grow us. Whatever trial you face today, be thankful and rejoice. You will build perseverance and then character. Then you will be unstoppable in your quest for fulfillment, peace and joy. Change your attitude … the lenses you wear as you experience this trial … and you will actually change your stress level and the outcome. Life is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, Thank You so much for loving me and growing me … through both good times and “trials”. I want to have the mind of Christ and glorify You in all situations, so others can see You through me. Thanks for being willing to let me be part of Your plan as you minister to others through me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who endured the Cross for the joy set before Him, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4