Where I Find Everything I Need – Proverbs 4:20-23

We were minutes away from the small Christian school my children attended and where I volunteered as an aide. My kids, either lost in their books or chatting about different classmates, didn’t notice the thumping sound till I pulled our minivan off the road.

As they started asking questions and I pondered our options, I realized I wasn’t ruffled by the inconvenience of a flat tire. Or being late. Or wearing less-than-great shoes for walking. Or the disappointed voices surrounding me. Or knowing no one nearby who could help.

It was like the bases were already covered. God was with us. I’d invited him into my day, focused my attention on him, worshiped and thanked him, confessed my shortcomings and been washed clean. Because I’d drawn close to him, car trouble wasn’t going to take my joy in him away.

My bucket was full

Our country home sat at the end of a long gravel road, my prayer-walking road. Rising early most mornings, I slipped out to get alone with God. It was my time for prayer and reflection, how I reconnected with what was most important. I called it filling my bucket because I saw my heart as a hungry, needy vessel requiring daily maintenance.

“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:20-23 NIV).

What’s in your bucket?

When one of the kids left the back door open and the cat came in and chewed on our roast, I didn’t come unglued. And when my little girl put her head in the wrong place and got hit by a flying saucepan, I reached for the one who’d launched it, not with blame or reproach, but with compassion for his anxiety and fear.

Even when our family goes through worse-than-anyone-can-imagine disasters, my bucket is ready to pour out the grace, encouragement, and hope we all need. And when it starts to go dry, I hurry back for a refill—before things get desperate.

To put it simply, when my bucket is full, it’s less “all about me,” and I love living that way.

With a full bucket, I have a refreshing drink when I need it and enough to share with others. I may not always sense God’s presence, or clearly hear his voice, but with a full bucket I’m far more likely to be close to him and find things working out right.

Are you thirsty? I’ve got enough in my bucket to share.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

God Answered my Prayer for my Hair – Psalm 66:18-20

My hair was a mess. It may seem trivial, since it doesn’t compare with the needs of starving orphans in Africa or the struggling pastors sharing God’s words in Asia, but I needed him to do something about my hair.

I didn’t want to worry about my appearance, but the past several hours we’d been through multiple flights from Seattle to Delhi and an evening meeting helping lead worship for a gathering of believers in a school gymnasium.  Now on the night train halfway between Delhi and Lucknow, I squinted at the steel mirror in the restroom, concerned about the next morning’s church service and what I’d do about my Einstein mop.

J-K Delhi train station 2001 crop

As we clacked down the tracks, I pulled the curtain around my cot and prayed, “I’m sorry to ask this, Lord. I know hair isn’t vital to survival, but you understand that I’m an American woman and my appearance has at least a small degree of importance. I don’t want to scare people. Would you help my hair look OK tomorrow?”

I had to trust God. There was nothing more I could do. Now it was up to him to help me not be an embarrassment to his ministry. I released my anxiety, clung to his peace, and dozed off.

A dear youth pastor, Noel Campbell, had taught us to grow up in our faith by turning to Jesus instead of looking to other sources for our needs. When we asked Noel for advice, he responded with, “Have you prayed about it?” It did me a world of good to talk to Jesus about my concerns, putting them in his hands.

We stepped off the train the next morning, greeted by welcoming flower garlands and smiles. A friend snapped a photo, otherwise I wouldn’t have known that my hair looked far better than when I’d last seen it. The worship time went beautifully, without this American being a distraction at all.

Thank you, Jesus.

“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:18-20 NIV).

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Marriage and the Great What-If Question – Daniel 3:16-19

Grandma Morrison loved her husband like a newlywed, with playfulness and affectionate squeezes. Grandpa reciprocated by teasing, or startling her just to hear her grunt. He also enjoyed encouraging her to not worry about things so much.

Grandpa was a retired pastor and she, the mother of the pastor where they attended church. They were faithful to be there every week, but one day their car needed a longer stay in the shop for repairs. She asked, “What if the car isn’t fixed by Sunday?”

Grandpa’s eyes glistened. “Oh, what if . . .

Grandma shrugged her shoulders and giggled, accepting his loving reminder that they could trust God in every detail of their lives. Could I do the same?

love. couple takazart. free pixabay

Finding Love – my Biggest What-if

As a teenager I took walks around town. I loved the exercise and the adventure of exploring new sights. It was also prime time for praying. Sometimes I sang to God, relinquishing my concerns to his care. Other times I struggled, talking out loud like Reb Tevye from the movie, Fiddler on the Roof.

My biggest concern was my lack of direction for the future, especially regarding whom I would marry. I desired a husband, a man to love me like no other, but nagging my mind was the thought marriage might not happen for me.

What if God says no?

In the book of Daniel, the story is told of how he and his friends were challenged by a ruler to bow to an idol or be killed in a fire. His reply included a strong answer to a what-if.

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-19 ESV).

A few blocks from home I stopped in the intersection and looked at the sky. It was the moment I muted my what-if questions and declared my resolve.

“Lord, I have asked you for a husband, but I understand it may not be your will. I put my life in your hands, and I trust you to provide what I need. If I must wait for years, or if marriage never comes, I will trust you.”

It may have sounded easy, but I knew it would be work. I added, “Help me do this, Lord.”

Trusting God continues to be work, but I enjoy the rewards when I watch my husband napping on the couch or playing with our grandchildren. And when I have concerns to work through? Taking a long walk still works for me!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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