Tell Us a Story

I wish I could share this yummy key lime pie with you, but I can’t, because that doesn’t work in videos. But you know what does work in videos? Sharing stories about what God’s been doing in your life over the last year.

Yes, I know, it’s been quite a year. It was just a year ago that the pandemic broke out and we all got quarantined at home.

Now some of you have been reading lots of blogs and books and discovering who God made you to be. Others have been starting new ministries and sharing the gospel in new ways that you never thought you could have. And some of you have grown deeper in your walk with Him and in relationship with people. But we haven’t had a chance to share those things.

So we’d like to pivot from the Refresh blog. Instead of sharing text stories for the rest of this year, we’d like to try out some videos. Will you help us? Turn your phone on, just like I’ve done here, and share a story. A great story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Tell us what you’re learning in your walk with God, especially if you think it might encourage someone else. And be refreshing as a key lime pie.

Learning From Someone Like Me

Life-to-Life® discipleship opportunities are significant to help believers grow in their relationship with God. It can also be important to incorporate diversity within these relationships by meeting with someone who is not like you. We have so much to learn from one another!

However, many people have not had the opportunity to be discipled, led, or trained by someone who looks like them. Being discipled by someone with a shared ethnic identity, who has similar experiences, or someone who can understand experiences without elaborate explanation, can be a rare gift for some believers. Majority culture friends can take this simple source of comfort for granted without realizing it.

Personally, I have never experienced Life-to-Life discipleship or training by someone who looks like me, an African-American woman. This makes me eager to make myself available to those who come after me. As I transitioned to the University of Central Florida this summer, one strong desire and prayer was to minister to and disciple at least a few young black women. To my joy, along came Jasmine!

During our recent time together, Jasmine recounted, “I knew about discipleship because my sister was discipled within The Navigators, so I came in looking for it for myself. I wanted to grow more in my relationship with God and have someone who was ahead of me and able to walk alongside me. I thought of ethnicity: it would be encouraging to have someone in my life who has gone through similar things. The churches I’ve been part of are predominantly white, so I thought being discipled by someone who looks like me would also be important for my ethnic identity.”

I’m eager to continue meeting with Jasmine throughout her time on campus, encouraging her in her faith and identity. Having been on my own journey the past several years of growing in my ethnic identity, I’m excited to pass along the many things I’ve learned along the way.

Two takeaways: if you’re like me, part of an ethnic minority but ministering mostly in a majority-culture setting, amen! Keeping going! But don’t be afraid to ask God to send you someone just like you. If you are a majority culture person discipling a young believer whose ethnicity is different from yours, amen! Keep going! Just know that it can be impactful for them to hear from someone who looks like them. What could it look like to help make some connections? Or invite a third friend into your times?

As we move forward with igniting disciplemaking movements, may many nations and peoples be reached, included, and represented.

Resource

Intensional: Kingdom Ethnicity in a Divided World by D. A. Horton

Origin Story

In January, I look forward by looking back. This sharpens my vision on the big picture and clears my thinking about the things that are most important to me.

Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, memorized 20 verses before he decided to follow Christ. He knew 10 on salvation and 10 on how Christians grow. With those in his mind, the Holy Spirit was able to use them in Dawson’s thoughts. One day while Daws was walking to work, the Spirit used John 5:24 to get his attention. He had memorized it in the King James Version.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Daws prayed, “O God, whatever this means, I want to have it.”

The next verse he reviewed was John 1:12.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

Again, Daws prayed, “O God, whatever it means to receive Jesus, I want to do it right now.”

While I prefer to memorize in a more modern translation of the Bible, my heart resonates with the words of Daws. I want to set my heart and my thoughts on God’s Word this year. Whatever this means, I want more of God and His Words in my life.

Resource

This story of Dawson Trotman’s conversion comes from the biography Daws by Betty Skinner https://www.navpress.com/p/daws/9780891097969

Home Alone: Ideas for Extended Time with God

Long breaks can be a great time to focus a little more on listening, praying, or taking a nice long read in the Bible. We’ve interviewed a handful of folks and have gathered a variety of tips and practices.

Angel, bank examiner

The most recent and impactful extended quiet time I have had with the Lord was at a Summer Project retreat. It was blocked out in the schedule (so we didn’t have a choice!). But that was okay because such concentrated time with the Lord changes my life every time I do it! We were at a retreat center, so it was very secluded, scenic, and quiet. I journaled, walked, prayed, listened to worship music, and knowing me, cried some.

Thinking about the experience makes me wonder why I don’t do it more, but it is because lesser things in life just seem SO URGENT. God’s patience and mercy and gentleness do not force me to drink living water, and my prone-to-wander heart sometimes makes me forgetful of where true life is found.

Clay, chemical engineer

Every time I have spent extended time with God, I have been outside. Which I find kinda funny because generally outside and I don’t get along. For me, finding a shady spot and being surrounded by and feeling the things God has created makes a difference. Being outside keeps me from getting distracted.

I generally start off reading a little more Scripture than I normally would, but most of the time is spent in prayer. I have a long, long list of things I know I need to be praying for, so I finally get it all out to God. I also usually have some decisions to make, and so I pray, read Scripture, and talk to God while pro/conning the decision. I have come away feeling pretty confident in each decision made this way. Afterwards, I always wonder why I don’t do this more!

Jessica, grad student

I usually do different things to help focus my time depending on the time of day. If I’m trying to get some extra time in the evening after a long day at work, I’ll get cozy in my bed, make a cup of tea, light some candles, put some worship music on and write in my “gratitude” journal, spend some time in the Word, have a personal time of praise and worship, and write some verses in another journal (and make them look “fancy”) while meditating on them. If it’s during the day, I’ll go to a coffee shop or park and read, journal, prayer-walk. While I’m reading, I usually listen to some instrumental music, and when I’m journaling or walking, I might listen to some worship music with words. 

Gena, teacher

When I lived in DC, my roommates and I went on a prayer retreat together in a farmhouse in Virginia. Several of us were praying through some big life decisions. (I was praying through moving to OKC.) One of the nights we each picked a different worship song and spent time individually finding scripture that supported the verses/chorus/bridge of the song. Then we all came back together and shared what we found. It was a great way for me to spend time in worship (but also spend time in the Word) and was a great reminder of the truth we sing when we worship. It was also just really fun to share with friends and hear what everyone else found!

Suparsh, 4th year med student

One of the most fruitful times for me to get extended time alone with God came at a retreat. We were given free space to just pray and reflect for a couple of hours. I took that time to go sit quietly by the pond with my Bible, a journal, and a reflection sheet that was given to us. (I left my phone in my room to avoid distractions.) During that time, I initially just sat quietly and let thoughts come to me and then used the reflection tool to dive into the Word and develop those thoughts with the Word of God and pray/journal about those thoughts/ruminations.

Chloe, teacher

In college, I went on a Catholic retreat because my friend was too nervous to go alone. They had a time where they just sat in the chapel for adoration and took communion, and people could enter confession when they wanted. I didn’t really do those things but the mandated quiet time was great, and I enjoyed the setting (especially because some birds had snuck up into the rafters and helped to keep me grounded!).

Another time, on my own, I signed up to pray during the international day of prayer. I pulled some of the graveyard slots, and it was really a challenge to be still and in prayer for that long. Most of the time, I was just on my knees and in silence, but when I started to struggle with words, I turned on some worship music and kinda prayed through songs. 

Kent, medical student

I spent three days backpacking in the mountains near Aspen, Colorado, with my buddy Devin and maybe 10 other guys back in 2016. I didn’t really go into it with the intention of having any kind of spiritual experience. But with having no cell service, bare minimum food (tortillas with tuna and instant mashed potatoes), and perfect silence (except for the sounds of nature), it was hard not to admire the beauty. Also, going on a trip like that causes you to bond with people quickly. 

The hiking itself was also significant. At one point, we faced a narrow, icy patch that dropped off to a steep and rocky area below. I was wearing smooth-soled running shoes, and I thought to myself, I might actually die if I fall! I broke down the first night and cried because I was very much out of my comfort zone, but we couldn’t turn back. My trust in God increased as He carried me through it, and I had a moment where my friend prayed over me, and it was really special.

Chauncey, church planter

While teaching high school English, I drove down to Mount Scott with a lawn chair, a Bible, and a journal. I hiked up part of the mountain and found an open spot with a great view to sit and get time with Jesus. I used a simple handout (“Come with Me”) to guide the time. I remember falling asleep for the first hour and a half (“He gives his beloved sleep”), then woke up and read, prayed, and journaled.

Ryan, college recruiter

A thing I like to do is sit in my favorite chair, drink coffee, and pray through the Scriptures. I also like praying through Scripture memory verses. Sometimes I’ll listen to the Bible for long periods of time and then dialogue with God about what most stuck out to me. Other times I just like to ask a question, state how I’m feeling, or make a comment about things going on in my life, and then I wait for the Holy Spirit to speak into that. More often than not, he reminds me of a story or verse from the Bible, and then I start to dialogue with God about that story.

Tools You Can Use

Come With Me (Anonymous)

“Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place.” —Jesus, Mark 6:31

Recognize that you are accepting an invitation
Consciously slow and still yourself
Acknowledge that it is just you and Jesus–alone
Begin to enjoy Him and His presence
Invite Him to guide this time
Reconnect with Him
Of those things that hinder this reconnection, repent
Enjoy His forgiveness and sweet love
Give Him your hurts, confusions, disappointments, failures
Give Him your gratitude, praises, worship
Free yourself to rest
Let Him speak
Note what He says and shows, what you feel and experience
Let the Word guide you into His word
Read-recite-meditate-respond
Give thanks, celebrate, in whatever ways you would
Let the stillness have its way
Give Him your heart again, and then . . .
Follow Him back out into the world.

Download PDF

How To Spend Extended Time in Prayer

How to Spend Extended Time in Prayer

Reflection Questions

Time Alone with God – Questions for Reflection

A Mentor’s Perspective

Because my youngest daughter is in her early twenties, investing in the 20s age group is first and foremost a personal decision for me. I am committed to being my daughter’s cheerleader as she navigates difficult waters in this season of great uncertainty. With many “opportunities” for her voice to be silenced as she advocates for social justice and equity, I feel a responsibility as her mom and as a minister of the gospel to ensure that she is allowed to discover her growing influence both spiritually and professionally.

In your twenties, there are so many choices and decisions that await you, and it can feel overwhelming. I recall many times in my twenties when I needed an older adult to speak into my life and to provide encouragement and spiritual investment. It was in my twenties that I discovered how to intimately recognize God’s voice and to follow His leading. It was in my twenties where I began to see God forge my career path, from very sketchy and seemingly disconnected pathways to a cohesive series of events which led to a strategically-directed journey.

I love the energy, the passion, and the vibe of this stage of life. Barely in the throes of adulthood, and yet wrestling with the tension of independence, survival, and autonomy, it is a fascinating stage of life. There is also so much I can learn and have learned from my twenty-something friends and family. I admire the uninhibited way you are able to embrace others—especially those who are different or who live in the margins of life. The openness of your hearts, without the pervasive biases that are often evident in my generation, fill my heart with hope for a better humanity.

I am happy to have a front row seat in the many different venues that God will use to carve out a path for the lives of this transformational generation!

Resources

  • Where are you in the process of adjusting to life in your twenties? Do you need someone to talk to? Do you think you are ready to pass on what you’ve been learning? Does anyone comes to mind?
  • Wanda will be speaking at the upcoming 20s Gathering, November 14-15. Her topic is Abiding & Suffering: How the gospel advances through adversity. Please consider joining us.

Photo by Matthew Ball on Unsplash

An Invitation for 20s Gathering November 14-15

Right where you are, God is calling you to a life of meaning, purpose, and belonging. The Nav20s Gathering will be a unique opportunity to join with others from across the nation as we center our lives in Christ and live as Good News in the flesh during a time of adversity. If you have a heart to know Christ and make him known among young adults, please join us online this November!

The first 100 people to sign up will receive a SWAG BOX full of books and other fun stuff!

WORKSHOP INFORMATION

Living Out of Christ-Centeredness

·         Pursuit of Faith – God pursues us first, but we’re called to pursue Him, too. How do we steadfastly seek Him and trust His work to shape us in our identity in Christ?

·         Pursuit of Vocation – We are created in Christ to work with meaning. How does God call us to contribute through our jobs and everyday activities?

·         Pursuit of Mission – God sends us out with a purpose to make Christ known to the world around us. How can we actively live out the Great Commission right where we are?

·         Pursuit of Community – We are made to find belonging with one another and share life with other followers of Christ. How can we foster relational networks that are united by the Spirit?

The Context of the Gospel

·         Ethnicity & Racism – God created diversity and His good plan for eternity includes people of all cultures. In a time of palpable racial tension, how do we seek reconciliation and help bring about Kingdom justice?

·         Gender & Sexuality – Our sexuality is a part of God’s good design and a picture of His relationship with us. How do we view sexuality through a Biblical lens and engage a culture with disparate viewpoints?

·         Politics & the Pandemic – Jesus is the good King of kings and sovereign over everything we endure. In an election year marked by divisiveness and unprecedented circumstances, how do we remain faithfully engaged?

·         Money & Generosity – Every good gift is from God and ultimately belongs to Him. How do we steward the resources He entrusts us with and use them for His purposes?

SPEAKERS

Al Engler

Al joined the Army at age 17 and was assigned to Germany, where he met and married a young German girl named Iris. Al and Iris both trusted Christ during their second assignment to Germany. The Navigators gave the Englers discipleship training over the next several years while Al was on active duty. In 1986, the Englers left military service to join Navigator staff. Al remained in the army reserves.  Al and Iris have served in cross-cultural missions, city leadership, military, and campus ministry as well as organic ministry among neighbors, friends, and family. Al currently leads Disciplemakers for Life, harmonizing the unique contributions of Neighbors, Workplace, I:58, 20s, and Navigator Church Ministries. Al and Iris live in Seattle and love to be outside whenever the rain stops.

Wanda Anderson

Wanda G. Anderson is a native New Yorker who settled in Colorado Springs 23 years ago. In 2016, Ms. Anderson came to The Navigators as the director of Corporate Affairs and Risk Management. She received her juris doctor degree from Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and her bachelor of arts in mass media from Hampton University. 

Ms. Anderson brings almost 30 years of multi-jurisdictional nonprofit governance, risk management, and compliance experience.

For the last 14 years, Ms. Anderson has served as co-pastor with her husband, Rev. Benjamin Anderson, senior pastor of Solid Rock Christian Center. Together they have four daughters and ten grandchildren. Ms. Anderson describes herself as a justice advocate who enjoys writing poetry, motivational speaking, and providing women with educational and spiritual resources across generational lines leading to personal and professional development.

Community in a Time of Isolation

At the beginning of 2020 my plans included weekly dinners in our new home using our newly acquired Big Green Egg. (It’s a grill that acts as a grill, smoker, pizza oven, etc.) We were planning homemade sourdough bread and soup dinners and lively conversation with our new neighbors.

Then COVID-19 hit and silence became the norm, few cars traveling, masks to protect us from death. Next came political diatribe about the efficacy of masks and the reality of the virus, and so even more silence erupted in our shutting down because of disagreements. So here we are as the end of the year approaches and there is still physical and emotional silence.

For me, the silence has been most profound, however, from a different source: death itself! Last year, my dear friend, mentor, and source of wisdom passed from his earthly body to a new body and into the very presence of God. I speak of Donald McGilchrist, a long-time Navigator and fountain of wisdom.

I met Donald in 1985 at the start of a movement within the Navigators that focused on pioneers of the gospel to unreached people groups in the U.S. After our first few meetings I asked Donald if I could call him from time to time to see what he would think about how I was reading the Scriptures. I could never have guessed how deep our friendship would go and what a powerful sense of community we would experience, ending with his last week of life, when we spoke frequently about our ideas and hopes for the gospel. In one of our last conversations, he privileged me with the great honor of hosting his memorial service at Glen Eyrie.

Now, many months later, the lessons of our relationship seem much clearer. I was nearly alone in my sense of how and what to do with God’s calling to live and disciple among the lost. God drew me into a community of love, wisdom, sacrifice, and humor with a man who gave himself to me to guide me from danger and undisciplined thinking.

What did it take for me to get this community? I simply asked someone to step into my life and listen and ask questions and to speak truth as needed. I needed wisdom to lead others, wisdom to lead my own life, and wisdom to see the road ahead and recognize the road signs pointing me towards godly action.  

Is it possible to have community when there is physical and emotional isolation? Yes! I have learned I need to have men and women of wisdom in my life for the long haul. Distance is never an obstacle, and my assumptions about their willingness to help should not be an obstacle.

Who is available? Ask and find out. Start with one and over time build a network of a trusted few that you can call, email, text, write, and ask to help you navigate your few days here on earth. I cannot imagine life without such people–they are my community. They shape me every day. 

Next Steps

  • Is there someone a little older whom you suspect shares your vision and has a depth of wisdom? You don’t need to ask them to commit to you, just talk to you. Can you contact them today? If you need a few ideas about how to invite someone, check here.
  • Consider joining us for an online conference. In November, Navigators 20s is hosting an online conference. Guest speakers will include Al Engler, who leads The Navigators Disciplemakers for Life Mission, and Wanda Anderson, a lawyer, pastor, and the Navigators Director of Corporate Affairs and Risk Management. (Read how she connects the core values of The Navigators to the dream and values of Dr. Martin Luther King.)

“Hi, I’m New Here.”

I was waiting tables when I met Chris. I was impressed because he gave me eye contact and was kind. He invited me to a beach party with his friends. I’m from Egypt and don’t know anyone here in Chicago, so I was interested but also scared. I didn’t know if I should go—would he abduct me? I called my mom, then I went to the party.

His friends were nice and did not kidnap me! They included me in conversations and invited me to a cookout. Soon, I began to feel at ease with all of Chris’s friends. At one cookout I parked in the wrong place and was given a ticket. All my new friends pitched in to pay the fines. I did not feel I could take this money, the car problem was my own fault. Chris explained it is a cultural honor for them to help me. He said it made them happy because of their faith in Jesus. I was shocked by their kindness.

One of the guys became a closer friend to me. His name is Peter. We started studying for the GRE together and also playing ping pong. He invited me to his house to hang out and he even invited me to his grandma’s home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I went and learned about the birth of Jesus. I was overwhelmed at how beautiful this literature is. Each family member brought a small gift for me. These included a highlighter, a multi-tool and a hammock. I wept in front of them because I had never received so many presents in my life.

I have never learned about Jesus before, so I decided to read the Bible with Peter. When I needed a roommate, Peter introduced me to another friend who needed a roommate. Some other guys are helping me with my English. It was a great honor when they asked me to cook Persian food for them. My birthday was in February and I cooked for them again. We had a good discussion about God, and I asked them some questions I have been thinking about like, “Why would God create humans if He was already perfect and knew we would not be?”

I passed the GRE and was accepted to a graduate school in Denver. I see God in everything; all my turning points, friends, meals, and winning the lottery to come to the US. In two weeks time I will move to start my new life and I cannot wait for it to begin! I wonder who I will meet next?

On Your Own

One of the marks of God’s people is hospitality. As recorded in Ruth 2:10, in her own time of need, Ruth dropped to her knees, then bowed her face to the ground: “How does this happen that you should pick me out and treat me so kindly—me, a foreigner?”

  • In your own story, who has welcomed you? What did that feel like?
  • On the other hand, who are some of the people God has allowed you to welcome?
  • Given today’s circumstances, has it become harder to meet new people? How can you find new people to invite to your community?

Resource

At the time “Chris” and “Peter” met their new friend, they were reading this book together: The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations: Walking alongside People Who Believe Differently by Mary Schaller and John Crilly.

New Normal, New Expectations

“My capacity is low. I’m tired a lot. I seem to have nothing to do, but then I never seem to have time to do all that comes up. EVERYTHING takes more time than I’m used to. Normal life activities (shopping, cooking, talking, thinking) take more energy than usual. Although I know I am where I need to be, I sometimes feel guilty for ‘not doing more’ in any given day or week.” [journal entry]

Do you relate to any of these feelings? I often felt this way under the stay-at-home mandate resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. I feel it even more whenever I think about the current racial tensions. Only these words were not written because of an international pandemic or domestic crisis. This is a journal entry from my first six months living in another country and adjusting to another culture.

The situation we are living through today feels similar to me to the first six months of living overseas. And one of the first lessons I learned there is that in a new culture, I need to lower my expectations.

I am a task-oriented person. I like to get stuff done. I make lists for fun, and my to-do list is my favorite list of all. So you can imagine my frustration when I moved to another country and my ability to accomplish ANYTHING on my to-do list shrunk to almost nothing.

Before I moved, I generally had ten things on my list for the day, and I could usually get them all done, maybe more. In my new country, I would make my list as usual, but I rarely got everything done – in fact, I rarely got even close to everything done. I felt SO unproductive, and yet I didn’t have time or energy to do anything more.

To survive, I had to redefine what it meant for me to have a “successful” day. I told myself that if I did ONE thing in the morning, ONE thing in the afternoon, and ONE thing in the evening – that was a GOOD day! The ONE thing could be something as simple as having a quiet time in the morning, talking to someone in the afternoon, and making dinner in the evening. As ridiculous as it might sound, those three things were exhausting.

The quiet time in the morning would often be dealing with my own guilt over feeling unproductive: Where does that come from? Why do I feel this way? Is there sin in my life? What am I supposed to be doing? Can I trust God to do what HE has promised and not worry about the rest? Wow, good stuff, but it was emotionally exhausting.

Talking with one person in the afternoon, if that happened outside my house, meant I had to GET there. That meant knowing what bus to take and getting off at the right place (which I often didn’t) or psyching myself up to get a taxi (which of course meant I had to use my limited language). Meeting ONE person might sound as simple as picking a place, having coffee, and talking. But in a new culture, there are all kinds of unexpected “detours” that can make a “simple” task a monumental and exhausting endeavor. Going to work, buying groceries, getting a little exercise –  these are just some of the “simple” things COVID-19 has unexpectedly made exhausting.

The lessons I learned then, I am applying now. If I’m feeling overly lazy, unmotivated, lacking in discipline, or in an “escape mode” and I can’t get out of it, I try to remember that these feelings usually pass with time (and if they don’t, it is probably time to get some serious help). I give myself a “grace period” and set a more attainable goal and a deadline to begin afresh. This gives me a chance to just let my emotions ride themselves out. (And if they don’t, I call someone.) Usually, by the time my deadline rolls around, I’m ready for it because I’ve given myself time to rest as well as set better expectations about what it means to be back in the game.

A verse I learned to pray for myself – even before I moved overseas – is from John 17:4. In speaking to His Father, Jesus says, “I have glorified you on earth, I have finished the work you gave me to do.” Jesus didn’t do everything that could have been done – there were still sick who needed healing, lost who needed to hear the gospel, and disciples who needed more training. But He was faithful to finish everything that God had given Him. My frequent prayer for myself is, “Lord, help me do all that You have given me to do today and nothing that You haven’t.”

Whatever your circumstances in this new normal, if you are like me, you may need to learn to be faithful rather than busy, adjust your expectations and give yourself grace.

On Your Own

On your own or with a friend, think about…

  • What kind of expectations do you have for yourself? Are they realistic? Do they need adjusting? Ask someone who knows you well what their observations are of you in this new season of adjusting.
  • What is a realistic daily “to-do” list for you? Should it become, instead, a weekly to-do list? How can you be faithful to do what God is asking of you rather than just filling your time with things that make you feel “productive”?
  • What is a verse that you can pray for yourself as you learn to lower your expectations of how much you can do in today’s new circumstances?

New Prayer

The fire was coming up the mountainside, and we needed to evacuate. As I drove away, I wondered: Would I ever see this place again? Would I have a job? What is going to happen? The days to come were frustrating, confusing, and hard. I hated just waiting, unsure of what was next.

And, I was frustrated with God. “Why? Why would you allow this to happen? Why now, at this point in my life? Why so much damage to such a beautiful place?” A bit reluctantly, I turned to the Scriptures, started reading, started praying, crying, screaming out to God.

I found my emotions to be all up and down. I was tired, exhausted, worn out, a bomb with a short fuse. In those days, it didn’t take much to explode. Mercifully, the verses did eventually penetrate my heart. “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free” (Psalm 118:5).

As I expressed my thoughts and feelings to the Lord, freedom started to come. Nothing was too difficult for Him, too hard for Him to hear, too angry for Him to process. It was freeing to talk with Him honestly, and eventually, He started to answer my hard questions. His character was revealed through the Scriptures. I began to understand who He is. My God is loving, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, joy, and peace. He wants what is best for my life, my soul, my heart.

As the operations manager at a summer camp, having a forest fire burn 100 acres of your 330-acre property was both a miracle and a mess. It was a miracle that 230 acres and most of the infrastructure were untouched.

The mess was what it would take to get it running again. There were so many obstacles in the way, tasks that seemed impossible. Again, Psalm 118:5 came to life: “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” I needed miracle after miracle to happen. And God provided.

I prayed about the new seed we needed, God provided a donor. I needed an ATV, I prayed, and two four-wheel-drive vehicles showed up. I needed people to chop down trees, I was given two months of teams from around the country who came and worked.

I learned to pray, to talk to God, to experience new life. Out of the ashes, it came. I was worn out, pushed to my limits, at the bottom. But from that dark place, I began to cry to the Lord, and He answered. One prayer after another.

Since the crisis, I pray differently. I think I live differently. During those hard days, I grew up a bit, not like a child becoming an adult, more like an adult coming to understand his father on a deeper level.

On Your Own

Do you have a favorite verse on trust and prayer? Spend a minute reading it one more time.

Or try Isaiah 26:4: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”