This is my 200th blog post.  A milestone.  It’s also one year ago today that my Dad went home to be with the Lord.

A different kind of milestone.

When I realized both of these things would fall on the same day, I wondered if I should mention one and not the other.  And then I realized how perfectly appropriate it was to lay these significant markers side by side.

It’s been three years and 200 posts written about faith and trust and perseverance and hanging on with hope.  And it’s been one year of putting that all into practice in a way I hadn’t imagined I’d need to – at least not yet.

The blog posts have been about the waiting and hoping in this life, but Dad’s “anticipatience” has already been rewarded.  Everything he looked forward to, everything he longed for while he was still with us has been revealed to him in ways he never could have imagined.  Those of us on this side of eternity are still waiting.

And that’s why I’ll keep writing.

Because sometimes it’s good to know we’re not in this alone.  It’s good to share the “lessons learned in the waiting”.  Maybe share a few laughs and tears along the way, too.

God has been good.  And that’s what milestones are for.  To mark those places where we can stop, look over our shoulders and see that God has never left us.  He’s been right there with us on the journey, providing everything we need to keep moving ahead – moving ahead towards the day when our hope will be fulfilled like Dad’s was last January 23rd.

So I’m setting up a few markers today and celebrating these milestones in my own way.

And I’m looking forward to what comes next.

That this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, “What do these stones mean to you?”. Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.  Joshua 4:6-7

That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.  Psalm 78:7

Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth. Psalm 105:5


Long before there were conferences and books and magazines and radio programs and all sorts of other things for Christian women, there were some pretty spectacular ladies of faith.

Women like Deborah, Jael and the millstone lady.


I’ve written before that I’m reading through the Bible again.  There are some stories I’m coming across in the Old Testament that leave me with my mouth hanging open.  And while I’m certainly not any kind of evangelical feminist, the fact that some of these stories involved the adventures and exploits of women makes me smile.

I knew Deborah was a Judge.  But I never recalled hearing the story about how she led the Israelites into battle because Barak, the man in charge, was too scared to go by himself (Judges 4: 1-16).

And when the commander of the enemy army ran for his life, another woman named Jael took him into her tent and let him believe he had refuge there.  Gave him a glass of milk and a warm bed.  But while he was sleeping…well, let’s just say it involved a tent spike and a hammer and a very brave woman. And that was the end of him. After that, she was known as “blessed among housewives” (Judges 4:17-22, 5:24-27).

Then there’s the “millstone lady”.  We don’t know her name, but God used her to stop the evil leader Abimelech.  During a brutal assault on her city, she threw a millstone out the top of a tower and hit him in the head.  Mortally wounded, he asked his armor bearer to finish the job with a spear so nobody would be able to say “a woman” killed him (Judges 9:50-53).

These women were brave and courageous.  And God used them to further His kingdom.

Fortunately, most of us will never be called to lead countries into battles, or crush evil with tent spikes or millstones. But we are still called into situations that need courage and bravery and faith.

When we face those situations with confidence in God’s power and not our own, and when we bravely look difficult circumstances in the eye and resolutely decide that they won’t defeat us, we further God’s kingdom, too.  He is glorified and we are blessed.

Be a woman of faith and courage today. Be brave.  It seems God likes to use ladies like us.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  1 Corinthians 16:13

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.  Psalm 31:24


I have discovered that whatever I am praying about, on its way to better, it may drop by worse for a visit.

That quote is from a book called “Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something” by Ronald Dunn. I read it years ago, but I’ve never forgotten it. Probably because it seems to be so true!

Why is it that sometimes, the harder we pray, the worse things seem to get? Why is it that God can give us promises and then seem to keep moving the goal line farther away?

I’m on a Bible reading plan that’s been taking me through the first few books of the Old Testament. And I’ve read so many examples of situations that dropped by worse on their way to better.

Abraham had a promise of children – lots of them. But he had to wait 25 years before that promise was fulfilled, and deal with a lot of heartache along the way. Joseph would someday be a powerful leader in Egypt and save his family from a famine. But first, that same family sold him into slavery and he spent years in jail, unjustly accused of a crime. And God told the Israelites they’d have a promised land of milk and honey and pomegranates and other wonderful things. But before that happened they were persecuted by Pharoah and then relentlessly pursued by his army when God finally did let them leave Egypt.

Why? Couldn’t God just answer and provide quickly and painlessly and miraculously?

He could, but I found out why He doesn’t sometimes.

“I’ll use Pharoah and his army to put My glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God”. (Exodus 14:4)

God wants His glory on display. And He does that in ways that don’t always make sense to us, because of course, God’s ways are not our ways! God doesn’t randomly allow situations to deteriorate. He isn’t looking the other way when our prayers appear to go unanswered. He’s carefully crafting ways to display His glory.

And we need to be patient enough to wait to see how He’s going to do that. We can’t despair. We can’t give up. We can’t think that the stop by “worse” is the end of the story.

God will get His glory. And I want to be a part of it when it happens. “Worse” isn’t always what it seems.

For one reason only, I’ve kept you on your feet; to make you recognize My power so that My reputation spreads in all the earth. Exodus 9:16

Everyone sees it. God’s work is the talk of the town. Be glad, good people! Fly to God! Good hearted people, make praise your habit. Psalm 64:9-10

Remember every road that God led you on these 40 years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that He would know what you were made of, whether you would keep His commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2

(*Scripture references are from “The Message” translation – it’s the version I’m using this year for my “Through the Bible in 90 Days” reading plan)


So here we are.

The holiday decorations are put away.  The suitcase is unpacked. The new calendar is hanging in the kitchen.  Back to the routines of life and work and everyday things.

After the whirlwind that is December, it seems oddly quiet.  Maybe that’s the way it should be.  Maybe we need this quiet so that our minds and hearts settle down.   And listen.

This morning as I was transferring important dates from the old calendar onto the new one, I sensed God asking me a question.

“Do you trust Me with this new year, Sharon?”

Simple question.  Not sure why I have to make the answer so difficult.  Why does my mind go automatically to an answer that starts with, “Yes, but….”?  But what if such and such happens?  But what if such and such doesn’t happen?

Doesn’t matter.

God wants me to trust Him with 2013.  Period.  I either believe He’s got it all under control, or I don’t.  I either believe He’s got only the very best planned for me, or I don’t.

It’s freeing, really.  It’s freeing to not worry about tomorrow or six months from now or 12 months from now.   There’s a real peace in simply believing that my God is in control.  Nothing is going to happen in my life that hasn’t passed through His hands first.  There will be difficult days and decisions, questions and uncertainty.  But I know there will be blessings and joys and new adventures, too.

So what is my reponse to the question I heard God ask me this morning?

“Thank you for the gift of a new year, Lord.  I’m going to trust You with 2013.”

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. Psalm 4:5

My times are in Your hand  Psalm 31:15

Since times are not hidden from the Almighty, why do those who know Him see not His days? Job 24:1

And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority”.  Acts 1:7