Preparation: Diana’s Story

preparationHow is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

Today’s guest post is written by Diana Vocks…

Go Where……Do What?

“He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Psalm 40:2)

Whenever I read this verse my heart cries from pain and joy at the same time. The past is the pain and the present and future are the joy.

My husband and dearest friend Greg live and work in Austria. We work with TCMII at Haus Edelweiss. I won’t tell you we are on the Mission Field because that is where we all are: God’s Mission Field. This wasn’t always our life. We lived very comfortably in Illinois with our sons and their children in close proximity, a big old house, my little Pomeranians, a big yard for the kids to play and to have friends and family over, and a great church. It was a great life. So, how did we get to Austria! Well… that is another story. The story I want to share with you is the pre-story, the one that has shaped many things that have lead me/us here….to this part of my story. The part that few people know about me.

To help you understand me; I am a perfectionist in the truest form, I am an oldest child, and I am a nurse. I am a fretter. I need order, structure and information, and I am an extreme introvert. That says a lot about me. Drives me crazy! I can kick into overdrive very quickly. So here goes: the words I need to share with you today.

In my experience as a nurse, I really engrossed myself in my work, giving it my all, trying to be everything to everybody. When I was put into a situation where the circumstances directly involved me, trying to be everything to everyone became horrible. I became so compulsive and overprotective to those I was caring for, the staff, and my family. I felt I had to protect others and make everything perfect again. Months past, and I maintained my need to be the strong one.

Then it happened: I broke, literally broke.

The mirror in my mind shattered into a thousand pieces–Shattered!!!–and each piece said NO! in every shape and form. The stress of trying to be so perfect and to protect everyone but myself. I failed! For me, that was not an option. My heart, soul, mind, and body all broken, I remember driving (only by God’s grace) to my sister’s house, asking her to call my dear Nursing friend. I crawled into my nephew’s bed coat, shoes and all.

Empty, Empty, Empty. I had no more to give.

I realized that I needed some care and with my dear husband’s love as he stayed beside me, I chose to admit into the hospital for a few days. This is where God met me again, in my brokenness, my emptiness, my horrible pit. I had cared for all other aspects of my life, except Him. I forgot to!

I thought I was the stronger one. There in that room I reacquainted myself, reestablished, and recommitted. Jesus took me by the hand and lead me slowly back to a place of restoration, healing emotionally, physically, and socially. I changed–my relationships, my family, my work involvement, my Christian walk all changed. It was oh, so painful. But growth is painful.

I remember my boys would complain of their legs hurting, and I would blow them off, saying “It’s just growing pains.”Life has growing pains; God did not blow me off. (Sorry boys. I wish I had been more empathetic. Love you both!)

In that dark pit, when I reached out–and I remember physically reaching out to Jesus–He took my hand, He led me, and I followed. He took me to places I never dreamed I could go. He led me to the CPC ministry for seven years. What an adventure that was! He led me to TCM where we are today and minister with hundreds of people around the world. He is leading me through events in my family and personal life that are hard and frustrating at times, but  I know in the end, if I follow, it will be okay. It might not be what I wanted, but it will be okay.

I have to keep reminding myself that I am not in control. GOD IS.

He recently showed me that very fact again. The one thing I said I would not do in order to stay here in Austria was to take another language course. Well, I went kicking and screaming. God is where I had to place my trust. He knew what was best, and I followed. Three weeks of intensive German, test passed, and visa requirement met.

I followed, and I submitted my will. That’s all He asks of me. Why do I so quickly forget He loves me?

God is waiting, He is aware and wants to help. When you allow Him to LEAD YOU, hold His hand tightly, because you can go really fast. So, when you are walking with the Lord and He says “go,” we need to say “Go where ….and let’s Do!”

Hugs to you all,

Liebe Grusse

Diana

How is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

(The current Preparation series is intended to help you look for, notice, and acknowledge God working in your life. At the end of the month, I’ll give away a free ticket to the Living Proof Live with Beth Moore event in Springfield, IL, October 25-26, 2013. All you have to do to qualify for the free ticket drawing is to comment on one or more blog posts throughout the month of March. The ticket will be given away on April 1st (and it’s not an April Fools joke!). (If you live too far away to attend the event, I have an alternate giveaway and will then pass along the ticket to someone else.)

Preparation: Gloria’s Story

preparationHow is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

Today’s guest post is written by Gloria Lee…

My childhood was far from perfect. My mother passed away of an aneurysm when I was eight years old, which was just the beginning of the biggest transition of my life. Within 12 months, I found myself with my single dad, soon to be followed by a new step-mom, immigrated to the States, dropped off in the middle of the United States (literally, I was taken to Olathe, Kansas, to live with my maternal grandparents), taken to a school filled with people who didn’t understand a single word I said, and had to say good-bye to my dad who went to go live in Los Angeles. That’s a lot of changes for an eight-year-old in 12 months! I was too young to process any of this as a young child.

The next few years weren’t any easier. I lived with my relatives in Kansas for four years, moved to Los Angeles to live with my dad, step-mom, and half-brother at the age of 13, started new school at the height of puberty, went through many identity crises, and struggled through my relationship with my step-mom throughout high school. Life wasn’t easy: I had many tearful nights as a teenager.  My big saving grace was that God had surrounded me with amazing family members who got me through the very tough, emotionally-charged times. However, I often questioned God about why my life was the way it was.

Fast forward to Father’s Day 1994. I was in college, and a few of us had volunteered to lead kids in a Sunday afternoon program at church. We had decided to do a special project on this Sunday, probably the most popular craft that is done on this day every year: A TIE-card for Father’s Day! We probably thought we were brilliant to come up with the craft. As we passed out the cut out tie-cards, a third grade boy with the cutest chipmunk face you’ve ever seen looked up at me and said, “Teacher Gloria, do you have a dad?” I felt blood rushing to my face. How could we have been so insensitive to this kid?  We all knew that he had lost his dad not too long ago. Our conversation continued:

Me:  You know what?  I do have a dad… but you have something I don’t have.

G:  What?

Me:  You have a mom…. I don’t have a mom.  I have a dad, but you don’t have a dad.  Why don’t we go to that bench and talk?  You don’t have to do this craft…

This conversation with an adorable third grader forever changed the way I interact with kids. That evening, I realized how God used my past experiences to talk to him, and it was even healing for me. The following year, I began an internship in children’s ministry and have been in vocational children’s ministry since. Countless times, I have been able to talk to kids about death, absent parents, stepparents, pain, and the not-so-perfect life! I have become a lot more sensitive to kids who are hurting, and I also learned to share the hurts in my life with the kids I minister to so they can know that they have someone who understands hardship. I’m sensitive to the hurts and baggage kids carry, and I understand that some of these hurts never go away.

I believe that God used my childhood experiences to prepare me for my ministry.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would go into ministry to children, but as I look back, I believe God had been preparing me all along.  Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else but to minister to kids and share the love of Jesus with them.

How is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

GloriaLeeGloria S. Lee is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Talbot School of Theology and has been committed to Children’s Ministry for 18+ years.  She’s led workshops at conventions including CPC, NWMC, CMTA, and BASS.  She has contributed to INCM’s Insight newsletters, Trust Us, They’ll Ask, and If I Can Do All Things Through Christ, Why Can’t I Find My Car Keys?, VBS curriculum, and global sports ministry curriculum.  Her all-time favorite food is crab, and believes in trying everything at least once (as long as it’s not illegal nor immoral).  She currently leads children and family ministry in Los Angeles, Ca. Connect with Gloria via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and her blog.

(The current Preparation series is intended to help you look for, notice, and acknowledge God working in your life. At the end of the month, I’ll give away a free ticket to the Living Proof Live with Beth Moore event in Springfield, IL, October 25-26, 2013. All you have to do to qualify for the free ticket drawing is to comment on one or more blog posts throughout the month of March. The ticket will be given away on April 1st (and it’s not an April Fools joke!). (If you live too far away to attend the event, I have an alternate giveaway and will then pass along the ticket to someone else.)

Preparation: Cheryl’s Story

preparationHow is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

Today’s guest post is written by Cheryl Meakins…

A Date with a Time Machine

Time. It is persistent and consistent. I am constrained and defined by time. But God is not. Though I know it in my head, I often act as though God is limited by time.

When I consider how God has prepared me for my purpose, I easily slip into a linear box. I assume I am prepared and then live out my purpose. If you had asked me a year ago how God had prepared me for my purpose I would have answered in a time-line. I experienced childhood abuse, God healed me throughout my twenties and thirties and then he broke my heart for the cause of human trafficking. It makes sense right? First I was hurt, then healed, then called to heal others!

But God turned the tables on me.

God arranged a date with me and a time machine.

I stood lost in worship on a Sunday morning. Everyone else faded away and it seemed to be just me and my Lord in a melodic dialogue. The lyrics caught in my throat as I prayed the last half of Hillsong’s Hosanna, “break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for your kingdom’s cause.” I had no idea the magnitude of that prayer.

Within a few months, I was confronted with the horror of human trafficking. My heart truly broke as I came face to face with this inhumane scourge across our nation that also reached every shore in our world. I saw what broke my Father’s heart.

It seemed as though God had woven all of my experiences and education together for this call. Opportunities for awareness talks began to pop up, but there was always this nagging idea that I was supposed to do more. I was supposed to get my hands “dirty” in this fight.

I began to read books on healing from sexual abuse so I could better understand the trauma that human trafficking causes within a woman’s soul.  But as I began to read, I found myself on the edge of a panic attack. I began to wake from dreams that seemed all too real. I was rattled, shaken up, struck to the core of my being! Did it mean I could have been sexually abused and not remembered?

Over the next six months, while in the care of a counselor, I began to experience flash-backs. Repressed memories were fighting their way to the surface of my mind, a clinically significant sign of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

My little brain, at the age of five, could not comprehend the horror of sexual assault, so it shut down. Disassociated is the clinical term. My mind shut it out, until it felt safe enough to bring it to my memory at the ripe age of forty! One of the hardest parts of the journey into my past was comprehending how the emotions, concepts, facts, lies, shame, and guilt of the assault never got processed at the time of the trauma because my mind wasn’t mature enough to do that work. Though the trauma had physically happened 35 years ago, for my mind it was as though it happened yesterday. Time warped.

Traumatic flash-backs were not what I had in mind when I asked to move forward in my purpose.

To heal from any abuse is a life long journey. Layers of shame and guilt get replaced with anger as the perpetrator is finally seen as the guilty one. And anger gets replaced with acceptance. It happened, it was, but I am here today. The past eventually loses its power to manipulate my present, as lies are silenced with the truth.

Though I was processing the grief of my childhood, my present life suddenly made sense! No wonder my heart broke for those women and children suffering sexual abuse in slavery. No wonder he had called me to fight for them.

In the time travel God had performed, he took me forward in purpose to bring me back to my past. And out of the new review of my past came a broader, deeper, and wiser purpose.

You see, human trafficking lies at the far end of the continuum of abuse and 95% percent of the women and children being trafficked have been sexually abused as children.

This is where he has asked me to pound some stakes in the ground and stand, in the land of healing from abuse. My healing continues while I begin to get my hands “dirty” with the work he has called me to. He has planted a vision for a ministry to heal abused women by providing resources and services that address the wounds of their body, soul and spirit in the safety of restorative community.

Preparation doesn’t always happen before the Purpose. Sometimes the Purpose reveals the preparation.  And the journey? It might feel a bit like having a date with a time machine!

How is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

Cheryl Meakins Close UpCheryl is passionate about strengthening women to courageously face their wounds and become the healers and warriors God made them to be. She shares her journey on her blog and at speaking events. Cheryl has published several articles across cyberspace and print and has recently been published as a contributing author to two devotional books. If I can do all things through Christ, Why can’t I find my car keys and Big Dreams from Small Spaces by Group Publishing.  You can visit her ministry at www.MeakinsSpeak.com.

(The current Preparation series is intended to help you look for, notice, and acknowledge God working in your life. At the end of the month, I’ll give away a free ticket to the Living Proof Live with Beth Moore event in Springfield, IL, October 25-26, 2013. All you have to do to qualify for the free ticket drawing is to comment on one or more blog posts throughout the month of March. The ticket will be given away on April 1st (and it’s not an April Fools joke!). (If you live too far away to attend the event, I have an alternate giveaway and will then pass along the ticket to someone else.)

Preparation: Dawn’s Story

preparationHow is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

Today’s guest post is written by Dawn Whitaker…

Picture it. First day of Kindergarten, 1983, recess line. I stood in line behind Brandon, the tall boy. He turned around, looked down at me and loudly exclaimed, “You are SHORT!” It was at that moment that I began to wonder why I was indeed so much smaller than everyone else.

Dawn1By now, you might be wondering just exactly how tall…er…short I am. Well, let’s just put it this way, by the time my friend’s kids are in 3rd grade, they have usually passed me up! (See my bio photo below if you don’t believe me!) I stand at a whole 4’9”. To this day, usually every day, someone will still tell me, “You are SHORT!”

While I used to wonder why God made me so stinkin’ short, I no longer do. Why? Because God began to show me he is a God of detail and he delights in the details of our lives (Psalm 37:23). If it’s important to me, it’s important to Him. He wanted and wants me to see Him work not only in the big issues but also in the little issues. I started to see and appreciate the “small” miracles in daily life. Getting to work safely, getting that great parking spot at Wal-Mart that I had prayed for as I pulled into the parking lot, or maybe reading something about Him and then someone saying those exact words to me later.

Some may say, “Oh, Dawn, it’s just a coincidence”. I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe God was saying to me, “If I care about the little things how much more do I care about the big things?”

So, he showed me, and he showed me well. I am small, and He delights in me and every detail of my life.

How is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

Dawn2

Dawn is a fun-loving, 35-year -old, reality tv fan, Jesus-loving girl who is looking for her future. In this picture, she’s dancing with a friend’s 10-year-old son, who seems to be the perfect height for dancing!

(The current Preparation series is intended to help you look for, notice, and acknowledge God working in your life. At the end of the month, I’ll give away a free ticket to the Living Proof Live with Beth Moore event in Springfield, IL, October 25-26, 2013. All you have to do to qualify for the free ticket drawing is to comment on one or more blog posts throughout the month of March. The ticket will be given away on April 1st (and it’s not an April Fools joke!). (If you live too far away to attend the event, I have an alternate giveaway and will then pass along the ticket to someone else.)

Preparation: Cathy’s Story

preparationHow is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

Today’s guest post is written by Cathy Mathias…

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

When I was 14 years old, I was positive about three things.

  1. Jesus Christ was my savior, and I loved Him.
  2. I wanted to be a wife.
  3. I wanted to be a mother.

As a BUICK (Brought Up In Church Kid), I was saved at a young age, and therefore, I knew that the most important ingredient in my plan for those goals was a godly spouse. I had a very close relationship with Christ, and I desired to please him and serve him in any way he wanted me to, and I wanted my spouse to desire this as well.

Now, I knew God loved me immensely, and I knew of the powerful relationship we had via prayer. For two-and-a-half years, I prayed fervently, passionately, begging God for a godly husband, a good provider for my family, someone who loved Jesus, and who would lead our family and our church. I prayed so hard I would sob. I would lie on my floor and talk to Him out-loud. Yes, I was only 14, but a lot can happen as a teenager. I didn’t want to misinterpret his plan for my future, and that is what I was most afraid of.

I must have been quite irritating, because I was just 16 ½ when Adam came into my life. God cut right to it and gave me an answer to prayer. We got married a month after I graduated high school and will celebrate 20 years together this July.

After college for my RN degree, a full time job, and babies started coming, I began to feel as if I wasn’t doing enough for God. Adam is a CPA, and he became a partner in his accounting firm at a young age, and shortly after that he became one of the youngest Elders ever to serve at our church. He started on a small finance committee, and it didn’t take long for them to see that he has wonderful gifts of leadership and discernment. He is level-headed, calm, rational and, most importantly, he strives to make biblical decisions. I had prayed for YEARS for this to happen for him, yet there I was doing nothing. I became…unsettled.

“God”, I would pray, “you KNOW how much I love you, how much I want to serve you. Please let me!”

I did my time in the nursery since my kids were small, I taught Kindergarten Sunday School, and I helped out in very small ways here and there, but I never got fulfillment from what I did. I saw other mothers and wives juggling jobs, families, and tasks elegantly and skillfully. I, on the other hand, am a free-spirit space cadet who does well to remember to brush my own hair. I am a happy-go-lucky individual who is a dreamer, an artist, and completely UN-organized! Three young children, a full time (then later part time) job, a husband who worked long hours and had multiple board meetings and church meetings. WHERE on EARTH was my service to God? How could I possibly manage all of it? I felt like a single parent, especially during tax season.

I became depressed. I constantly compared myself to other women. Looking back, I know they weren’t and aren’t super women. Those women had different spiritual gifts than I did! They had different circumstances, different personalities, and God had different reasons for using them the way he did. But at the time, I didn’t see that. I only saw my failure to live up to my promise to serve God when I was just 14.

I prayed, and I cried. I prayed, and I read God’s word. All the time I was praying, I was asking for opportunities to serve. Above all of that, I prayed for my husband and his leadership in our church. I admired him. I knew God blessed him. I was proud of him. I wanted him to do whatever He could for God’s kingdom.

Then one evening, after an Elder’s meeting, Adam came through the door late. I was frazzled. I had put all the kids to bed, and was cleaning the kitchen.  He said to me,

“Dick (our pastor) thanked God for you in our prayer tonight.”

“What???” I chuckled. “Why on earth would he thank God for me? You’re joking right??”

“No”, He replied. “He really did.”

“But why?”

Adam took me by the shoulders, looked me in the eye, and said, “He specifically said that you have to deal with my job and my church duties. You are at home, being a wife and a mother, and by making sure that things are taken care of at home, that leaves me with less stress and worry, allowing me to serve God, and the church, fully.”

BAM!!!!!!!!!!!

Talk about light bulbs going on! I remember vividly, smacking myself on the forehead and thinking “DUH”!!! That night, it was like God said, “You ARE doing EXACTLY what you need to be doing for me now.” My soul became settled almost immediately, and I felt peace…and just a little bit silly. Just because I wasn’t directly involved did not mean I was unimportant, nor did it mean I wasn’t doing my duty as a child of God. By supporting my husband in prayer, encouraging him, supporting him, and raising my kids to love Jesus, I WAS doing God’s will!

My prayer for serving God changed after that night. Now, I tell God that I’m ready when He is. I’m waiting. Sometimes waiting is rough, but I rest in the knowledge that

  1. He knows how much I love Him, and
  2. He knows I’m on the lookout for His next assignment.

How is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

(The current Preparation series is intended to help you look for, notice, and acknowledge God working in your life. At the end of the month, I’ll give away a free ticket to the Living Proof Live with Beth Moore event in Springfield, IL, October 25-26, 2013. All you have to do to qualify for the free ticket drawing is to comment on one or more blog posts throughout the month of March. The ticket will be given away on April 1st (and it’s not an April Fools joke!). (If you live too far away to attend the event, I have an alternate giveaway and will then pass along the ticket to someone else.)

Preparation: Beth’s Story

preparationHow is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

Today’s guest post is written by Beth Niemann

The last part of 2012 was a time of trust and a strengthening of my faith. I’ve become amazed that our great and tender God cares about the details of my life, and even wants to be in them!

You see, about one-and-a-half years ago, I had the opportunity to step into a women’s ministry position in my church, leading a morning bible study. All of the ladies were much older than me, and I was enormously intimidated, but I felt compelled and excited at the same time. These ladies accepted me with open arms and we began a journey together of growing in knowledge of the Word, growing in love for our Sweet Savior, and growing in service to our community. I loved these ladies and LOVED the good thing we had going.

This past September we began a study by Priscilla Shirer called Jonah. It was my idea to do this one. I had heard it was a good one, challenging the participants to a more committed obedience to God. Priscilla asks the reader to consider what it is that God may be asking you to do in this season of life. Something that maybe you would be willing to do if you could only recognize it. Or, maybe there is something that He’s asking you to do, but you are running in the opposite direction.

About 3 weeks into the study, I realized that God was asking me to step down from leading our morning study. And for a girl that had finally found her passion, this was a sore disappointment! “What?! Step down?”

I didn’t immediately trust these thoughts, because this was the farthest thing from MY mind! I questioned God at least a hundred times over the next couple of weeks with questions like,

“Who will lead them?”

“Why now?”

“What will I do with this passion now?”

I can assure you He never answered one single question of mine, but He did kindly confirm this decision for me and gently pried my fingers off this study group and gave me great peace.

“So, now what?”

I had surrendered this group to God and I couldn’t help but wonder what was next. A few more weeks went by and the first of a sequence of events began to unfold. I was contacted to see if I would be interested in serving with a team of women who would promote a Living Proof Live event coming to our area, and help form a lasting network of friendships among the women who will be attending the event. Thankful for the opportunity, I said, “YES!”

When the team of women working on the Living Proof Live event gathered together for Christmas, we were asked to bring a favorite book wrapped up for a gift exchange. I was the last one to take my turn, so there was only one book left. As I began to reach for it, the giver quickly grabbed it and exchanged it for a different book, which she felt I just really should have! I read the back of it and flipped through it slowly. This book, called Anything, was exactly what I needed at that time! I thanked God as I drove home and marveled at how he had used someone I’d never met before to assure me that He was up to something and was continuing to prepare me for whatever was next.

As I neared the end of Anything, I became absolutely sure that God was calling me to lead a study in my home that was written by the same author. And although I was sure, I was again intimidated by this “new thing” God was doing (Is. 43:19). I had never led a study from my home. After all, I really don’t like to clean and the idea of inviting women into my home on a weekly basis made me squirm! I begged God to equip me and waited for him to lead me to the women I should ask. And that He did.  Our Friday morning ladies bible study has been a strong group of hungry, transparent women who desire to grow in Christ.

So, this is my story about how God has used my “todays” to prepare me for what He wants me to do next. What He prepares us for is different for every person, but the key to experiencing these preparations is obedience. Priscilla was right. If we run from the changes He wants to make in our lives, he can’t use us. But if we submit each day to Him and obey in the big and small things, He can use our passion for His glory!

How is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

(The current Preparation series is intended to help you look for, notice, and acknowledge God working in your life. At the end of the month, I’ll give away a free ticket to the Living Proof Live with Beth Moore event in Springfield, IL, October 25-26, 2013. All you have to do to qualify for the free ticket drawing is to comment on one or more blog posts throughout the month of March. The ticket will be given away on April 1st (and it’s not an April Fools joke!). (If you live too far away to attend the event, I have an alternate giveaway and will then pass along the ticket to someone else.)

Preparation: Brook’s Story

preparationHow is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

Today’s guest post is written by Brook Hickle…

There I was, just 5 years old, a little blonde-haired, always-smiling girl, swinging across the monkey bars…about to learn one of the greatest lessons of my life.

Just a short time before, I had wandered away from watching an afternoon soccer game.  Soon, I was joined by a little boy who seemed to have more interest in picking on me that anything else.  It wasn’t long before he called me a name so dreadful to my young ears that it still rings  in my head today.

“STUPID!”

I repeated it to my mom between sobs and tears as soon as I returned home that night.

For many kids, being called “stupid” wouldn’t cause them to skip a beat.  For me, an only child (at the time) and a fairly well sheltered one at that, the word was crushing.  My mom did her best to talk me out of devastation, but to no avail.  Time passed, and life went on, but the playground scene at the soccer field that day remained a vivid memory–and still does.

Twenty three years later, I began directing children’s ministries at my small church. Whenever the topic of kindness would come up, I’d share my experience of being called “stupid. ” It seemed to resonate with kids pretty well as an example of how we should treat and speak to others. Fast forward another five years to when I became a consultant for children’s ministry, and I once again told the story.  This time as an example to other children’s workers of the kind of real life events that can change kids’ lives.

As I’ve retold that simple story to hundreds of people, I look back over the years and clearly see how God used that one moment in my life…one that might have been insignificant to other children on the playground that day…to help shape my heart and prepare me for what He had in mind for my future. God knew how that word would affect me; He knew that it would impact how, as a child, I treated other children; He knew that kindness would become a great focus when raising my own children; and He knew that many people would hear how a single word could be so crushing to a child.

I’m so thankful that God turned my painful experience of the past into something beautiful that helps others. And I believe He is eager to do the same for all of us … as He uses the unexpected events of today to prepare and purpose us for tomorrow.

How is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?

BrookHickleBrook is a children’s ministry director in Enumclaw, WA, where she and her husband and their 3 sons live on a small Red Angus cattle ranch.  She blogs sporadically at www.brookhickle.blogspot.com when she’s not busy hiking, running, skiing, or chasing down escaped cattle.

(The current Preparation series is intended to help you look for, notice, and acknowledge God working in your life. At the end of the month, I’ll give away a free ticket to the Living Proof Live with Beth Moore event in Springfield, IL, October 25-26, 2013. All you have to do to qualify for the free ticket drawing is to comment on one or more blog posts throughout the month of March. The ticket will be given away on April 1st (and it’s not an April Fools joke!). (If you live too far away to attend the event, I have an alternate giveaway and will then pass along the ticket to someone else.)