What Only the Spirit can Do

Whenever I hear about the Holy Spirit or what the spirit can do, it always takes me back to two specific events in my life that should have been terrifying. They weren’t however, because somehow, I knew the power of the Holy Spirit and what God can do.

In 2009 I was in the delivery room supporting my daughter as she was preparing to give birth to my first G-son. I was excited for his arrival and at the same time empathetic due to her having some challenges during pregnancy. Upon delivery, my G-son was crying or moving, instantly I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t show signs of alarm for the sake of my daughter. He was born suffering from meconium aspiration, from swallowing his feces resulting in his airway being blocked and unable to breath. Although during this time, I lacked spiritual knowledge nor was prayer a part of my routine. What I did know was how strong my daughter’s faith had always been. As the doctors were assisting my G-son (shown in the 1st photo), I knew he would pull through just fine because I couldn’t see him taking the child of someone who has loved and praised Him so much from the very beginning.

Before my daughter ever had a chance to see her newborn son, he was transported to a special children’s hospital for care. Although I didn’t want to leave her side, but because her faith is strong, all I knew to do was stay by my G-son’s bedside to keep an eye on him. I talked to him consistently, letting him know how much he is loved and stroking his tiny head with my finger, still can’t recall if I ever thought to pray. My heart was heavy, thinking about how much good I’ve witnessed my daughter doing. So kind, there was no way her son wouldn’t survive this. Fear attempting to creep in once I was alone with my G-son, but knowing who my daughter was at that time wouldn’t allow the fear to take over. It was a little over two weeks before each of them were released from the hospital, able to officially meet each other for the first time and now at age 13 he’s nearly 6ft tall and a blessing. No one can tell me that was anything other than the Spirit!

My son, 1997 12lbs & 15oz, 21 inches long born ” a healthy baby” is what the doctors and nurses said. Yet, at about two months old while I was working one evening, I got a call from my daughter who was 7 years old at the time. “Mommy, something is wrong with Tyree”! She explained that (although they were with the babysitter), she’d been anxiously awaiting to change his diaper, but it had been hours and he still wasn’t wet. She informed me that he also kind of ‘looked like a racoon”. He had dark circles around his eyes. I told her to hang up, call 9-1-1 I’m on my way, never even asked to speak to the sitter. There was no need, I knew my daughter and I knew the tone in her voice. Also, the reason I’d never utilized a sitter before or after this. Not that she did anything wrong, but she was of no help either. About 2 weeks prior to this phone call, my brother took my son to a WIC appointment for me while I was working. He returned to tell me they threatened or mentioned CPS (I don’t recall his exact words, only those 3 letters). The accusations, however, was that my son was too big for his age, and I was feeding him too much, which I knew wasn’t the case. Damn, he was born huge! As it turned out, my son’s kidneys were failing (reason for the circles around his eyes). Although I’ve searched over the years and again recently for this post, I’ve been unable to find the term the doctor used for his condition.

The short of it is that he was born without a portion of his intestine and what he did have was wrapped around other organs. Ultimately resulting in my son not being able to digest food properly amongst other organs working the way they should which coincide with his size and being bigger than average. I was informed that we got him to the hospital just in time and due to his kidneys failing, any later we would have lost him. They had to actually fly a specialist in from another country because no one at the time was familiar with this procedure. The 4th photo above is my son at 2 1/2 months old just before his surgery. It took nearly 2 months for him to completely heal from that. I was such a nervous mom at the time, that when they first brought him to me to hold him after his surgery, I accidently tore his stitches. Oh, the guilt when we try so hard to do our best as parents. Needless to say, my son healed nicely. Once he was older, I had to inform him that if he ever had any abdominal issues later in life to be aware that his appendix had already been removed during that surgery. Apparently because it was in the way while they were operating and served no actual purpose. He now has a tiny scar a little more than 3 inches long on side of his belly that at a time during high school, his story was that he got stabbed. OMG, the things we say & do as teens just to seem “cool”. My son and G-son have always been close and hearing their stories over the years about how they fought to stay here, I’m sure has strengthened their bond. I am thankful to have known and recognize God’s power, even when I didn’t know God.

(Devotional from Sunday May 28th, 2023 by Tim Gustafson)

During the discussion of a book on the Holy Spirit written by a ninety-four-year-old German theologian named Jürgen Moltmann, an interviewer asked him: “How do you activate the Holy Spirit? Can you take a pill? Do the pharmaceutical companies [deliver the Spirit]?” Moltmann’s bushy eyebrows shot up. Shaking his head, he grinned, answering in accented English. “What can I do? Don’t do anything. Wait on the Spirit, and the Spirit will come.”

Moltmann highlighted our mistaken belief that our energy and expertise make things happen. Acts reveals that God makes things happen. At the start of the church, it had nothing to do with human strategy or impressive leadership. Rather, the Spirit arrived “like the blowing of a violent wind” into a room of frightened, helpless, and bewildered disciples (2:2). Next, the Spirit shattered all ethnic superiorities by gathering people who were at odds into one new community. The disciples were as shocked as anyone to see what God was doing within them. They didn’t make anything happen; “the Spirit enabled them” (v. 4).

The church—and our shared work in the world—isn’t defined by what we can do. We’re entirely dependent on what only the Spirit can do. This allows us to be both bold and restful. On this day—the day we celebrate Pentecost—may we wait for the Spirit and respond.

Reflect: How are you tempted to rely on your own efforts or tenacity? Where do you need to wait for what the Spirit can do?

Prayer: God, I’ve exhausted myself by believing that I must make things happen. Holy Spirit, come and help me.

Who AM I

Once upon a time...
I was lost, identity unknown and my decisions derived from fear-
I was constantly on guard, exhausted in my attempts to stay two steps ahead of the enemy-
I was withered, from lack of nourishment
spiritually as well as emotionally-

Who I am, is a woman of purpose, the fear has ceased-
Who I am, can now keep an open mind, recognizing that not all are the enemy-
Who I am, may not always know the ingredients or motives, but clearly recognizes the substance-
Who I am, has blossomed through the word of God-
proud of my reflection, knowing my worth and never minimizing my contributions, big or small-
Who I am, is a child of God, thankful to finally know Him! 

( Our Daily Bread Devotional from May 16th, 2023 by Winn Collier)

When the San Francisco Evening Bulletin printed “Emperor” Norton’s announcement, most readers laughed. Norton made pronouncements aimed at correcting society’s ills, printed his own currency, and even wrote letters to Queen Victoria asking her to marry him and unite their kingdoms.

He wore royal military uniforms designed by local tailors. One observer said Norton looked “every inch a king.” But of course, he wasn’t. We don’t get to make up who we are.

Many of us spend years searching for who we are and wondering what value we possess. We flail, trying to name or define ourselves, when only God can truly tell us the truth about who we are. And, thankfully, He calls us His sons and daughters when we receive salvation in His Son, Jesus. “Yet to all who did receive him,” John writes, “he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). And this identity is purely a gift. We are His beloved “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision . . . but born of God” (v. 13).

God gives us our name and our identity in Christ. We can stop striving and comparing ourselves to others, because He tells us who we are.

Reflect: How do you know you’re chosen by God? How does being His child help you understand your true identity?

Prayer: God, I know that I’m Yours. Help me feel confidence in knowing that I’m born of You—a child of the King. 

Mother’s Day Reflection

During the weeks before; as Mother’s Day was approaching, I couldn’t help but think about all the people I know who unfortunately no longer have their moms. I’m not sure why my thoughts became so overwhelming nor why I, for a moment felt guilty to still have my mother here. Friday before Mother’s Day was great! My daughter and I went shopping to get outfits for our church Tea Party on Saturday, which I had no intentions of attending until the last minute. We ordered lunch and cocktails at a nice restaurant and laughed nearly the entire time. Yes, that laughter I spoke of last week that hurts in the gut and gets you lightheaded but feels amazing at the same time.

Sunday morning, I enjoyed a beautiful uplifting service. I love knowing that I end up feeling much better coming out of church than going in. By the time service was over and because it had already been a busy weekend, I’d planned to spend the remainder of my Sunday by simply resting. However, instead of sleeping, I mostly wept. Some tears were sad while some came from comfort and reassurance. Repeating to myself the lines from the image above which is similar to a portion of what my Pastor shared during service.

Monday morning came and I had to somehow find the strength and motivation to start my day in preparation to begin a new chapter in my life. As I stepped out the door, my heart felt so heavy. All I wanted to do was lay back down but knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. So, I kept moving, all the while, holding back tears feeling like it was a challenge to put one foot in front of the other. Midway through the day, even though everything was going smoothly, I was unsuccessful in holding back the tears and had to find a secluded area to just sit for a moment. After about 10 minutes, I got up to head to my next destination when I saw the same young girl (now curled up in a ball in a doorway) whom I had noticed about 90 minutes earlier. When first seeing her, I assumed she was waiting for a bus. On the way back, she looked scared, so I stopped to ask if she was ok. Before getting closer to her, I assured her I wasn’t going to hurt her, she replied with a slight smile, ” I know”. That made me feel better about what to do next. Fortunately, the situation wasn’t as bad as I initially thought. The young girl 13 (same age as my G-son), had just had an argument with her mom, wanted to run away and was headed to a particular place but wasn’t sure how to get there.

We sat to the side and talked for a bit. I shared with her about when I ran away at age 14 because of issues with my mom. I asked her if she felt safe with her mother and if not did, she have anyone else she trusted that she could talk to. We contacted one of her teachers and in a nutshell, by the time we parted ways, she was smiling, and I could clearly see that a weight had been lifted. I was uncertain of exactly what to say to her, or even if I should approach her and keep walking. I didn’t think I was in the right mind frame to be in a position to offer any help. In part, the reason I did however, is because of a reminder my Pastor gave during service about it taking a village sometimes when it comes to our children or the children of others weather, we know them or not. I often have moments when I feel like I failed as a mom, but that doesn’t keep me from reaching out to others. Like the image shows above, children at different ages, experiencing different stages of their lives is normal. We all, at every age need help and sometimes it may come from a kind stranger. I pray daily that there are good kind people helping and looking out for my children because even though God is with us, I’m thankful whenever we get that little bit of extra help.

Before heading back home for the day, I stopped at the nearby food co-op to get some lunch still thinking about the young girl, my own children and starting this new chapter in my life. The cashier’s name tag who rang me up, said “Angel”. I smiled and took what felt like my first breath of the day. It wasn’t just her name that brought me comfort, it was recognizing the confirmation that God has been giving me all along in the last few very stressful an emotion weeks. I’ve met three people name “Faith”, a “Grace”, two “Hopes” and then “Angel”. Call me crazy or call it coincidence, but when I’m struggling, emotionally, mentally or physically often all at the same time, I have to seek inspiration and reasons to keep moving especially on the days I worry if I can even take one more step. I choose to view the encounters with these people as His way of letting me know that He is right here with me through my journey every step of the way.

Operating with Prayer

I struggled with the concept of prayer for years until I became a mother. Once I became an adult, I began to notice the people around me who prayed consistently yet still didn’t fully understand why or more so why prayer is so important. Be it, the elders in my family, certain friends or acquaintances, even employers. I am fortunate to have had two very influential employers who showed me not only the importance, but also the power in prayer. Working at a lumber mill in Arkansas years ago, the owner and his wife held a prayer meeting before every shift. Although I’m sure there were many reasons why, I didn’t occur to me how dangerous the job could be if we weren’t careful. Before eventually working my way up to operating the saw with the men, I was a wood grader checking the pieces of wood for defects as the quickly came down the conveyor belt. One day, in my haste to get to my break, my long flowing braid extensions were caught in the conveyor belt, nearly scalping me. Fortunately, I was able to free myself without any injury or physical damage. That was only one of the many occasions, looking back, that I am thankful to know the power in prayer. Another employer we referred to as Big P, who I worked with for many years later, would never leave my presence without praying for me or with me. Still my brother in Christ today, whenever we see one another or simply a quick phone call, we never depart before he prays, and I have to testify that it is the best feeling ever!

There have been so many times over the years when I sought answers or advice from family or friends who either simply don’t have the answer or sadly don’t have your best interest and only want to spread gossip. Seeking counseling has been another option. For confidentiality reasons, I figured this may be a safer and more effective route. However, it’s a hard for someone who has not walked in my shoes to give me the answers I’m seeking. While there are good people out there, family professionals and otherwise, only God truly knows us and He is the one who holds all the answers to our prayers.

Since recently becoming a member at my new church home, I’ve not only learned a lot about prayer, but also different methods of prayer. There are those who pray in solitude for whatever reasons, as I did mainly because It was my way of developing a relationship with God and getting to know Him. Then I learned about “Intercessory” prayer: Praying on behalf of others. For those like me who at a time, didn’t feel comfortable prayer or for some reason felt I didn’t know how to pray, I can now see why and appreciate those who were/are praying for me. There is also “Corporate” prayer: Praying together with other people. Be it in a work environment, church or nationwide via social media. There is power in numbers!

(From Our Daily Bread Devotional May, 4th 2023 by Jennifer Benson Schuldt)

When my son needed orthopedic surgery, I was grateful for the doctor who performed the operation. The doctor, who was nearing retirement, assured us he’d helped thousands of people with the same problem. Even so, before the procedure, he prayed and asked God to provide a good outcome. And I’m so grateful He did.

Jehoshaphat, an experienced national leader, prayed too during a crisis. Three nations had united against him, and they were coming to attack his people. Although he had more than two decades of experience, he decided to ask God what to do. He prayed, “[We] will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us” (2 Chronicles 20:9). He also asked for guidance, saying, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (v. 12).

Jehoshaphat’s humble approach to the challenge opened his heart to God’s involvement, which came in the form of encouragement and divine intervention (vv. 15–17, 22). No matter how much experience we have in certain areas, praying for help develops a holy reliance on God. It reminds us that He knows more than we do, and He’s ultimately in control. It puts us in a humble place—a place where He’s pleased to respond and support us, no matter what the outcome may be.

Reflect: How has prayer helped you? What current challenge in your life might benefit from prayer?

Pray: How has prayer helped you? What current challenge in your life might benefit from prayer?

Laugh Out Loud

Besides dancing, the one thing I love most is to simply laugh. It feels great whether I’m watching comedy, fall and laugh at myself or spending time with my children. Whenever meeting someone that may be of interest, one of the things I look for is his ability to make me laugh. There was a time when that wasn’t an easy thing to do. Years ago, while hanging out with my children, clowning around and talking, we discovered that we all have natural roles in each other’s lives. Apparently, I am the resilient one. Showing them how to break down barriers when one door closes and never giving up. My daughter is truly a child of God. Her faith is always strong, willing to offer a listening ear and finding the answers to our problems in scripture. My G-son, well he’s the tech guy. Between their music, my writing and all the equipment we accumulate that can often be a challenge to figure out, he’s our go-to guy. Not that the other two can’t get it, but perhaps due to his generation, my G-son seems to catch on to the technical stuff much quicker than the rest of us. Then there’s my son. I can always count on him to cheer me up when I’m down and lift my spirits by making me laugh. I appreciate my family and what we all bring to the table as a unit. They say that laughter is the best medicine. I don’t know about that! Yes, it feels great but when my son comes around, he has the ability to make me laugh so hard it hurts at times. You know, the king of laugh that you feel in your back or make you cramp up, get dizzy and lightheaded where you feel near to the point of unconsciousness. Ok, so I may be exaggerating a tad bit, but that’s how great he makes me feel whenever we get together. Which brings me to why this devotional stood out to me and I’m sharing it today, enjoy!

(Our Daily Bread Devotional from April 28th, 2023) By Alyson Kieda

Comedian John Branyan said, “We didn’t think up laughter; that wasn’t our idea. That was given to us by [God who] knew we were going to need it to get through life. [Because] He knew we were going to have hardship, He knew we were going to have struggles, He knew . . . stuff was going to happen. . . . Laughter is a gift.”

A quick look at the creatures God made can bring laughter, whether because of their oddities (such as duck-billed platypuses) or antics (such as playful otters). He made mammals that live in the ocean and long-legged birds that can’t fly. God clearly has a sense of humor; and because we’re created in His image, we too have the joy of laughter.

We first see the word laughter in the Bible in the story of Abraham and Sarah. God promised this elderly couple a child: “A son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir” (Genesis 15:4). And God had said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars . . . . So shall your offspring be” (v. 5). When Sarah finally gave birth at ninety, Abraham named their son Isaac, which means “laughter.”

As Sarah exclaimed, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me” (21:6). It amazed her that she could nurse a child at her age! God transformed her skeptical laughter when she’d heard she’d give birth (18:12) into laughter of sheer joy.

Thank God for the gift of laughter!

Reflect: When has laughter been “good medicine”? How can finding humor in your life help even in the most difficult times?

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for giving me the gift of laughter.

String Too Short to Use

There was a period during the pandemic where there was a shortage of coins. Some businesses only accepted cards due to not having the change to give back. I began to notice the number of coins on the streets while out during my daily routines. A dime here and there, plenty of pennies and the occasional quarters. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve managed to collect $86.50 minus the quarters because I use them for laundry so there’s none in the case above. Of course some of it came from breaking a dollar or two, but the majority of it I picked it from the ground. My children have asked what I am going to do with all the change or why am I clinging on to it. Simply, I don’t know, and I don’t need it at the moment. Others have asked why is it I have credit cards and rarely use them? Again, I don’t need them at the moment. It’s not “free” money, it still has to be paid back. My children often tease me about hoarding or holding on to certain things like money, photo’s, books, etc. The thing is, I have all that I need and money can’t buy what I desire. My children say I’m due for a vacation. Knowing I have a bit of savings, they don’t understand why I don’t take one instead of clinging on to my money. After reading the passage I’m sharing today, they may be right. I simply feel better being prepared in case of an emergency. God has always provided, and I trust Him whole heartedly, so perhaps I will be planning a trip soon. When I share these passages from the Our Daily Bread devotionals, it’s because for one reason or another they speak to me and the message resonates on many levels.

(Devotional from April 24th, 2023 by Tim Gustafson)

Aunt Margaret’s frugality was legendary. After she passed away, her nieces began the nostalgically bittersweet task of sorting her belongings. In a drawer, neatly arrayed inside a small plastic bag, they discovered an assortment of small pieces of string. The label read: “String too short to use.” What would motivate someone to keep and categorize something they knew to be of no use? Perhaps this person once knew extreme deprivation.

When the Israelites fled slavery in Egypt, they left behind a life of hardship. But they soon forgot God’s miraculous hand in their exodus and started complaining about the lack of food. God wanted them to trust Him. He provided manna for their desert diet, telling Moses, “The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day” (Exodus 16:4). God also instructed them to gather twice as much on the sixth day, because on the Sabbath no manna would fall (vv. 5, 25). Some of the Israelites listened. Some didn’t, with predictable results (vv. 27–28).

In times of plenty and times of desperation, it’s tempting to try to cling, to hoard, in a desperate attempt at control. There’s no need to take everything into our own frantic hands. No need to “save scraps of string”—or to hoard anything at all. Our faith is in God, who has promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Reflect: In what ways do you sometimes take things into your own hands? How has God proven Himself to be faithful to you in the past?.

Prayer: Father, help me to take You at Your word and to trust You with everything.


(From Our Daily Bread Devotional 4-19-2023)

For many around the world, life is getting lonelier. The number of Americans who have no friends has quadrupled since 1990. Certain European countries have up to 20 percent of their population feeling lonely, while in Japan, some elderly folks have resorted to crime so they can have the companionship of inmates in jail.

Entrepreneurs have come up with a “solution” to this loneliness epidemic—rent-a-friend. Hired by the hour, these people will meet you in a café to talk or accompany you to a party. One such “friend” was asked who her clientele was. “Lonely, 30- to 40-year-old professionals,” she said, “who work long hours and don’t have time to make many friends.”

Ecclesiastes 4 describes a person who is all alone, without “son nor brother.” There’s “no end” to this worker’s toil, yet his success isn’t fulfilling (v. 8). “For whom am I toiling . . . ?” he asks, waking up to his plight. Far better to invest in relationships, which will make his workload lighter and provide help in trouble (vv. 9–12). Because, ultimately, success without friendship is “meaningless” (v. 8).

Ecclesiastes tells us that a cord of three strands isn’t quickly broken (v. 12). But neither is it quickly woven. Since true friends can’t be rented, let’s invest the time needed to form them, with God as our third strand, weaving us tightly together.

Reflect: How are you investing time and effort into your friendships? Who could you welcome into your friendship group now?

Prayer: Father, help me to be a good and loyal friend to others.


Confused by the title? Well, it’s pronounced exactly like it’s spelled but obviously not an actual word. You see, my mother has this thing where either she made up words or simply due to lack of education and not very efficient when it comes to reading, writing and spelling. “Bottom-sized-up-us” is one of many made up words she replaced for the actual word or phrase; simply meaning “upside down”. Yes, she still uses it today. However, for this post, I am referring to the state of the world with all the chaos and the lives of citizens actually being turned upside down.

Many of us have often heard the phrase, “the world is turned upside down”. It is the title of a popular ballad and used in various forms, yet it had become a term loosely used especially during these challenging times. Many may say things took a turn for the worse due to the pandemic. I personally don’t know of one person who wasn’t directly affected by the pandemic, myself included. Although it certainly impacted lives all over the world, people were struggling on many levels long before March of 2020. When I walk outside my door on any given day, be it for routine errands, conduct business at an establishment or sit at the local parks in an attempt to escape the madness even if only for a moment regardless of my location, people’s lives are drastically changed and often in such a way that is totally shocking and upsetting.

While talking to many people during my days, I’ve learned that many are struggling with the same issues. Although disheartening, I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Over the last several months I’ve researched many of these issues and plan to write about them in detail eventually.

  1. Unaccounted Homeless Population: We see the tents set up around our cities, but what about those who have no other option but to live with family. In many instances multiple families under one roof. This causes a breakdown in families for several reasons, especially those with children. Single mothers in most cases don’t qualify for help because they’re not on the streets.
  2. Mother Nature at an Abundance: Between the storms, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. people are struggling to overcome these events that are seemingly becoming more destructive every year.
  3. Low Income/Affordable Housing: Is there really such a thing?
  4. Health Care: Even if you’re in a position to have great coverage, what about the integrity of the Physicians and clinics that we expect to be held to a higher standard? I personally have a hard time getting through on the phone to even make an appointment. When I finally do, they not only don’t follow through with what they said, but nor do they even have a record of my previous call/appointment. Unfortunately, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of challenges within the healthcare system.
  5. No Police Response: Nearly every other weekend (I kid you not) there is an auto accident on at least one of the four corners near my home. I’ve witnessed 5 & was surprised as well as curious when the police didn’t respond to 2 of them. Since I no longer drive, I didn’t think much of it until speaking with the people involved in these accidents, learned they were just as confused and surprised to learn that because there were no serious injuries, the police did not come to the scene. Apparently, this is not news to some, but it was for me and the individuals involved.
  6. Presidential Indictment: Enough said!
  7. Employers/Jobs Lack of Integrity: I’ve found that many companies friends and family members work for are cutting corners and causing unfair as well as illegal work conditions. The head guys are basically looking out for themselves. Customer service is at an all-time low and a lot of it is due to the good workers feeling trapped. Fear of retaliation or being fired all together so instead of speaking up, they conform. I heard of employees being retaliated against for utilizing sick time which is a legal right. Employers not following through with Workmans comp claims and so on, which then turns into a bigger issue, especially for those already dealing with mental health issues or other challenges in general. To go through the necessary legal steps for justice is stressful alone and sadly, some give up therefore the employer continues with the same behaviors.

My list goes on, but I’ll stop here for now. Although I strongly feel there are certain professionals that should be held to a much higher standard of integrity, they are still human. Is it fair, not at all, but what can we actually do? For me, even though most days it is extremely hard for myself and to see others suffering, I have to dig deep to find the good or at the very least something positive to focus on. I look for opportunities to encourage others and help lift them up as we have a better chance when we can work together. This, while being consistent with prayer and doing my best to NEVER GIVE UP HOPE & STAY STRONG IN MY FAITH during my time in this bottomsizedupus world we live in. God Bless!!

Finding Strength in God

(Devotional from Our Daily Bread April 3rd, 2023)

Soccer player Christian Pulisic faced several injuries that influenced his career. After learning he wouldn’t be in the starting lineup of the Champions League semifinals game, he was disappointed, but he described how God had revealed Himself to him. “As always, I reach out to God, and He gives me strength,” he said. “I feel like I always have Someone who’s with me. I don’t know how I would do any of this without that feeling.” Pulisic ultimately made a momentous impact when he was substituted later in the game. He initiated a clever play that led to the game-winning shot and secured their spot in the championship. These experiences taught him a valuable lesson: we can always view our weaknesses as opportunities for God to reveal His immeasurable power.

The world teaches us to rely on our own strength when encountering problems. However, biblical wisdom teaches us that God’s grace and power give us strength in the most trying circumstances (2 Corinthians 12:9). Therefore, we can move in confidence, recognizing that we never face trials alone. Our “weaknesses” become opportunities for God to reveal His power, strengthening and supporting us (vv. 9–10). We can then use our struggles to offer praise to God, giving thanks for His goodness and sharing these encounters with others so that they can come to experience His love.

REFLECTION: When have you tried to overcome a struggle on your own? How can you look to God for strength?

PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for being the source of my strength and guiding me each day.

Stress to Peace

Moving ranks as one of the biggest stressors in life. We moved to our current home after I’d lived in my previous one for nearly twenty years. I’d lived alone in that first home for eight years before I got married. Then my husband moved in, along with all his things. Later, we added a child, and that meant even more stuff.

Our moving day to the new house wasn’t without incident. Five minutes before the movers arrived, I was still finishing up a book manuscript. And the new home had several sets of stairs, so it took double the time and twice as many movers as planned.

But I wasn’t feeling stressed out by the events of that day. Then it hit me: I’d spent many hours finishing writing a book—one chock-full with Scripture and biblical concepts. By God’s grace, I’d been poring over the Bible, praying, and writing to meet my deadline. So, I believe the key was my immersion in Scripture and in prayer.

Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). When we pray—and “rejoice in” God (v. 4)—we refocus our mind from the problem to our Provider. We may be asking God to help us deal with a stressor, but we’re also connecting with Him, which can provide a peace “which transcends all understanding” (v. 7).

REFLECT: What stressful situations do you need God to give you peace in today? How can praying with thanksgiving transform your mind?

PRAYER: Provider and Protector, I give my concerns to You. May Your peace guard my mind and heart.