A Thankful Heart – Praying With Peace - Encouragement Café - January 8, 2018

A Thankful Heart – Praying With Peace
By Michelle Axton Kelly

Monday, January 8, 2018

“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.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

A few summers ago, a dragonfly in my yard brought back memories. As a college student, I longed to travel. My heart has always been fascinated by France… the people… the food… the gorgeous language and scenery.

I dreamed of studying there.

But despite my greatest efforts and prayers, I could not pull the funds together to join a study abroad program.

One day, my political science professor nominated me for a full scholarship to study in Japan through the Japanese embassy. The day I completed my application a dragonfly was hanging around my door. In Japan, they are a symbol of good luck. At that moment? I felt such a sense of peace. Friends, I knew I was going to get my scholarship!

The two years I spent in Japan were so rich and full of adventures. In that environment, so different from our western culture, I learned so much about myself, my new friends and the world around me. It blessed me tremendously.

But it also provided a valuable lesson. Sometimes when God says, “No,” it is because He has greater plans for us.

Destinations we could never imagine.

In Jeremiah 29:11, God outlines His plans for us. In this we can have a hope, joy and peace that transcend worldly understanding.

There was a time early in my career when I was laid off; I couldn’t see past my tears and feelings of embarrassment. But despite my defeat, what followed was a new role that took me around the world often... and to my beloved France for the very first time.

God said, “No” when I cried out for a baby. I grieved through miscarriages. I was devastated with an ectopic pregnancy that had to be terminated. But my babies were worth every tear and moment of waiting. I didn’t become a mom the way I imagined. Instead, God brought me to my knees and back to Him.

To depend on Him and His timing.

To praise Him in the storm.

To be at peace when I pray… even before I know His answer.

You see, sometimes God’s answer is, “No.” Sometimes it’s, “Not right now.” Sometimes, it’s “Go. All the way. Go for it!”

And sometimes? If we are lucky?

It’s something we’ve never even thought to ask for. And it feels so miraculous looking back in hindsight.

I know there are also more serious and painful decisions than I’ve represented here. I don’t intend to dismiss them. I only want to offer hope.

Is there something you are praying for? Can you give it to God and wait in peace with the wonderful expectation that He has wonderful plans for you? It would be my privilege and honor to pray for you.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your love and wisdom. Thank You for seeing a big, brighter and more brilliant plan than we could ever imagine possible. Comfort us in our disappointment. Soften our hearts and have us turn to You with patience and gratitude, assured that You have great plans in store for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NIV

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 NIV

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV

© 2018 by Michelle Axton Kelly. All rights reserved.

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Originally published Monday, 08 January 2018.