About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.

When You See God’s Plan Unfold - Encouragement for Today - April 26, 2017

Shay Shull

April 26, 2017
When You See God’s Plan Unfold
SHAY SHULL

“God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

I’m not sure when I first read Ephesians 3:20, but it’s one I’ve marked, scribbled, highlighted, circled and underlined as many times as I can in my Bible. It’s the verse I go back to, time and time again, when I don’t see my plans unfolding the way I think they should … when I think I have it all figured out, and yet God isn’t moving the same direction.

Hey, God … I’m over here! Come this way. I have plans! Do it my way!

No … it doesn’t work that way. Often, we make these grand plans and then as the days and weeks go by, we realize we must sit and be patient as we watch His plans unfold. No time was this truer than on my journey to become a mother.

Husband, check. Good jobs, check. House ready for a family, check.

Baby? Nope. Not coming.

I had plans to start a family, but God didn’t seem to get the message. So, I prayed. And waited. And I clung to Scripture reminding me God can do anything … even more than what I could ever expect. As Ephesians 3:20 reminded me, “God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams.”

How, God? How can you make me a mom in a way better than I’m expecting?

I was a mix of disbelief, doubt and hope. One year went by. Then two. A miscarriage. Failed attempts at fertility procedures. More drugs, injections and trips to the doctor than I could count. I was weary.

But God’s Word tells us in Jeremiah 31:25 that He will “refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” (NIV)

And now, almost a decade later, I sit here with four precious children. One surprise baby after I officially quit “trying” to have a baby. Then when she was seven months old, another surprise baby. Two surprises, one girl and one boy. But then God did something even more amazing than that …

Ten months after having my second surprise baby, God made it crystal clear to me I wasn’t done being a mom … that I needed to mother those who didn’t have one. As James 1:27 says, we’re called to look after the orphans. His great plan for me all those years ago was to be a mom by birth and also a mom by adoption. After our first trip to China to get our precious little girl, we knew He was still at work in us. So, 18 short months later, we found ourselves back in China to bring home a second daughter. One, two, three, four precious kids.

These kids bring me so much joy — whether we’re taking walks, riding bikes, cooking together or gathering around the table for a meal — I never want to forget how every moment, every day, every memory with them is a gift beyond my wildest dreams.

I had once been weary, but I clung to the hope and promise that comes from Ephesians 3:20. I never saw myself being a mom to these four kids … but God did. He knew what I needed even when I didn’t.

Rest in that promise, friends: The promise of the cross always delivers more than our hearts could even imagine.

Dear God, I thank You for the plans You have for me. I praise You, knowing that whatever You have in store for me is ultimately far better than anything I could imagine for myself. Please increase my trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV)

Isaiah 55:8-9, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Mix-and-Match Mama Kids in the Kitchen: Crazy-Fun Recipes to Make Memories Together will help you make fun memories with the precious kids in your life, whether they’re your own children, nieces and nephews or those you’re babysitting. Delight in the special moments God gives you together.

CONNECT:
Enter to WIN a copy of Mix-and-Match Mama Kids in the Kitchen by Shay Shull. In celebration of this book, Harvest House Publishers is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, May 1.}

For more encouraging stories and recipes, visit Shay’s website.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Was there a time in your life when you thought things were hopeless, but now looking back, you can see God’s hand in motion through the whole thing?

How encouraged do you feel to know that even though you can’t see an answer to your situation, God is still completely in control?

© 2017 by Shay Shull. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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