DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Ten, Day Six

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Ten, Day Six


“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (HCSB)


Oh the beauty of a summer’s rain. After a time marked with sweltering heat and oppressive humidity, the sky grows cloudy…and then…the first drop of rain kisses your nose. As the cool refreshment dances atop the roads, car windshield and flower heads, a deep sign of relief is felt. There is a break in the storm. In much the same way, this passage found in Deuteronomy 31:6 is the Israeli leader, Moses, on his 120th birthday as he informs the Israelites that they are soon to receive a new leader, seeing as Moses is soon to die and will not continue with them on this journey into the promised land (Deuteronomy 31:1-2). At this time, the people are listening to their faithful leader, the same one who had been used by God to lead them out of slavery of the Egyptian Pharaoh—and being told to take heart—for God was going to continue to lead them onward—just as He had been faithful to do before. In times of great uncertainty, in moments of sheer chaos, how wonderful to lean heavily upon the words of the Lord!


Prayer For Today:

Lord Jesus, thank You for refreshing me in the midst of this trial. I trust You. I know that You love me. I know that You desire only what is best for me (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Please help me to realize Your refreshment available to me at the moment I call out to You. I love you, Lord Jesus. In Your name I pray, amen.


DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Ten, Day Two

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Ten, Day Two


“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.” Psalm 138:7 (NASB)


Depression, disease and doubt can all be conquered by the awesome and powerful name of Jesus. It is one thing to ask for our brothers and sisters in the faith to lift us up in pray, but it is a completely different thing to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and fight against the evil powers of darkness ourselves. A follower of Jesus Christ is not to solely rely on the prayers of others to bring victory in the lives of those we love. It is up to us to take our place on the spiritual front lines and grasp tightly to the weapons given to us by the Holy Spirit of God. Through the power of Jesus Christ, we will see victory over each malefactor in this life—in the LORD’s perfect timing and way. The Bible commands us to continually “pray in the Spirit” to know what is right and what to do. Our great Commander and Chief is faithful to instruct us in battle and will give us victory from our enemies. May we call upon the LORD anew today, for His revival and rescue, as we fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).


Prayer For Today:

LORD Jesus, Commander of Heaven’s Armies, victory over suffering is found in You alone! Thank You for fighting on my behalf. Thank You for carrying the concerns of (name)_________ in this time. Scriptures assure us that we do not war against flesh and blood, but against evil spirits and dark powers (Ephesians 6:12). Yet, the Scriptures also assure us that nothing can separate us from Your love (Romans 8:31-39)! LORD Jesus You are have authority and dominion over the physical and spiritual realms. Thank You for assured victory over the afflictions in (name’s)__________ life. I humbly ask for Your divine protection over each one involved. I trust in Your name alone, Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Eight, Day Seven

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Eight, Day Seven


“Sing to God! Sing praises to His name. Exalt Him who rides on the clouds — His name is Yahweh–and rejoice before Him.” Psalm 68:4 (HCSB)


After being rescued from captivity in Egypt, the Israelite people were guided around the desert for forty years by a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). Whether we are called to walk a road that we can see far down the path or not, rest in the assurance that God, Yahweh, will provide the light we need to walk the road we are called to (Psalm 119:105). When we find ourselves slumping into a place of depression and lack of hope to make it through a tumultuous time, reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness. This is the very thing the Israelites did as they would travel to Jerusalem three times a year for their great festivals. Psalm 126 is one of these such songs of ascent that were sung by the Israelite people as they would travel to Jerusalem. Much in the same way, our strength and hope are sharpened, as were the Israelites, as we take the time to reflect on the goodness of God in the midst of a trying time. It is of great comfort to take hold of the solid truth that the LORD is mighty to save—in His perfect timing and His perfect way (Isaiah 55:8-9).


Prayer For Today:

Jesus, please help me to praise You when all I can do is question. You alone are good. You alone are just. You alone can redeem this situation. I pray that You will give me praise and an undeniable joy in knowing that You have a purpose for this season. Please be with (name)__________ in the midst of the pain. Please work in miraculous ways to bring healing—in Your mighty name, for Your glory. I know that one day, all sickness, sin and death will finally be defeated due to Your victory (Revelation 21:4). Help me to faithfully trust You and listen to You each day as I return sincere praise that You are God and You can make a way where there is no way. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


**Week Eight in review:

Please take a moment to reflect on the biblical realities of promised peace amidst chaos. What are some things you can do to declare the Lord’s praise to your own heart in this season of chaos? How good the Lord is to never give us more than we can hand over to Him (1 Peter 5:7). He is worthy to be praised.


***Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35):

This week for the optional service project, go for a walk outdoors and pick up ten pieces of trash from the path you walk. When we are in a season characterized by grief and ongoing trauma, finding ways to bless others and see the physical results of our efforts is sincerely gratifying. As you pick up the trash, pray for those who will walk down that same outdoor setting later that day. Ask the Lord to draw others closer to Himself as they are able to see the beauty of His created world (Isaiah 55:11-12).

DAILY DEVOTIONAL Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Five, Day Six

DAILY DEVOTIONAL Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Five, Day Six:


The peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9 (HCSB)


When we believe in Jesus Christ, we receive a peace that surpasses all of the logic and rhetoric of the day (Philippians 4:7). As believers, we are to pursue peace, rather than looking for ways to stir the proverbial pot. We are to study peace and spread it throughout the diverse societies of this vast globe. True peace with God can only be obtained through the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ on the Cross; which is offered to each desiring heart (Ephesians 2:8-10). It is our privilege to forgive quickly and not bring up past issues as weapons to hurl at others. As we exhibit peace, we will find others attracted to that something that is different about us. As a child of God, we have the awesome privilege to promote and bring the peace of Jesus Christ to other people. In your turmoil today, the Lord desires to use you to promote peace and forgiveness for His name’s sake and your ultimate blessing. Rise to the occasion, dear sister. You serve a Great God who has great things to accomplish through you.


Prayer for today:

Lord, please give me the heart and mind of a peace maker. I am one who is prone to quarrel and fight for my way. Teach me Your ways. Help me to represent Your character to (name)____________. I need Your help so desperately. Please help (name)__________ to let go of the hurt and bitterness—knowing that justice is found in You. Allow Your peace, true peace, to wash over (name)_________ anew today. In Jesus name I pray, amen.


DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Five, Day Four

Week Five, Day Four:


The merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (HCSB)

In seasons of grief and deep despair, it is easy to become critical and vindictive. As a result, we add additional weight to our already grieving hearts by carrying a record for another’s debt. The Lord Jesus Christ implores us to be a merciful people. By extending mercy to others, the Lord assures us that we too will be shown mercy—by God (Matthew 6:14-15). Remember, mercy is not something that is earned. Rather, it is something that another could never earn—and is given anyway. This is exactly like the redemption each of us, as Christians, have received from our own hurtful and stained pasts by the perfect life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6 & 1 Peter 2:24). This very day, as the Lord brings faces or names to your mind, may you extend mercy to these individuals in the presence of the Living God through pray—and experience the freedom that is found in extending mercy to the undeserving (Luke 6:38). Praise God that He saw fit to do this very thing for each and every one of us.


Prayer for today:

Dear Lord, there are so many emotions whirling around in my head. There are so many situations that I want to “fix”. There are so many things that have gone wrong. I feel justified in my anger and resentment. I feel challenged today to let this go. I acknowledge how badly I was hurt by (name)__________, but I forgive (name)___________. I believe that You are bigger than any pain that (name)__________ has caused and will bring healing. Help (name)________ to also experience the freedom of forgiveness and mercy that is found in You, Jesus. In Your name I pray, amen.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Five, Day Two

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Five, Day Two:


The gentle are blessed, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 (HCSB)


When feelings of injustice flare and vengeance boil, choosing to forgive and release those who have caused the infraction can prove quite challenging. This release and continued stouthearted pursuit of the things which honor God, is called meekness. When we choose to exhibit self-control over our thoughts and actions that want to respond to the circumstance of life, we are exhibiting meekness. The greatest example of meekness is our LORD Jesus Christ. He was tempted, betrayed, brutally slandered and violently killed on a cross, yet never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Yet, all the while, just as the prophecy declared, Jesus did not speak up to defend Himself in order to pay the penalty for all failures of mankind—past, present and future (Isaiah 53:7 & Mark 14:61). Jesus had been given all authority over heaven and earth, yet He chose to endure the suffering and extend eternal grace and peace for all humanity (John 14:27). At all times, Jesus Christ was in perfect control of His emotions, attitudes and actions—and charges us to follow Him and learn His ways (Matthew 11:29). As a result, Jesus reminds us of the promise of a new heaven and a new earth yet to come for all who trust upon His name (Isaiah 66:22 & Matthew 28:18-19).


Prayer for today:

Dear LORD, please teach me how to extend grace and longsuffering to my own life’s circumstance. Thank You for Your life’s example of perfect controlled submission to Father God. Thank You for showing the world at large that regardless of the amount of suffering, as followers of Jesus Christ, we too can exhibit meekness as we submit to God’s will and live in a hurting world. Please teach (name)_________ the beauty and deep strength that is found in meekness. Thank You for leading by example. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week Four, Day Two

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor”


Week Four, Day Two:


“You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the LORD will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.” Isaiah 52:12 (NLT)


Depression, self-loathing, rage, addiction, envy, lust, slander and continual worry are not at all what the LORD has in store for our lives. Thus, when we feel such emotions welling up inside of us, we are to recall that God has provided a way out of the slump, out of the muck and out of the mire that we are covered in at times. We have been called to higher living. As we pray for the LORD to lead us out, He will lead the way as well as protect us from attacks as we leave. How comforting to know, we truly are surrounded by His everlasting protection. Claim Isaiah 52:12 for your own life if you believe on Jesus Christ and walk in its truth today.


Prayer for today:

LORD, I am really struggling with ___________ and I cannot hide it any longer. Thank You for not only providing a way out, but actually leading the way (Isaiah 52:12). Thank You that You protect me from attacks as I leave that which tempts me. Please give me wisdom, Jesus. Please help (name)_________ to experience Your guidance in this hellish experience. Help (name)_________ to claim the truth that You are the rear guard as the toxic situation and negative emotions are walked away from. Show Your mercy to us again, LORD. Our hope is in You alone. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


Seeing Through True Sight

Have you ever realized how little time is actually spent in sincere quiet? Not only is there the noise of sound, but also that of light. How many times have you noticed an update come across your device screen late at night, only to realize that once you read the notification, you were not able to easily go to sleep? I know I have been there; many times.

The Lord has really been placing upon my heart the need to live only for Him. Not to care what others say on social media or in real life, but rather to focus solely on knowing Him. I am one to talk and share stories, but lately, the Lord has been challenging me in this. “Remember when I was enough?” He whispered to my heart this morning. I nearly burst into tears as I pulled away from morning school drop off for our kids. I was absolutely shattered in the truth of these words.

This was the second time this morning the Lord had spoken clear as day to my soul. As I had looked into the mirror and saw a tired woman staring back at me, complete with the reality that youth was beginning to wave good-bye, the Lord spoke clearly to my heart. “The more you let go of the world, the more you will find Me.”

Feelings of inferiority can sweep into our souls for a variety of reasons at a moment’s notice. Remember, the devil is good at finding ways to steal, kill and destroy our joy, our hope and our ability to follow hard after God (John 10:10). Yet, the Lord brought truth to my soul that did wonders for my anxious heart this morning. Despite what I can see, God does not look at the exterior—period. The human eye can only grasp perspective from the exterior, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Oh what deception our human eyes report! Our eyes see an ocean of sorrow, our faith in God will allow us to see that same ocean part to reveal a way through it. Our eyes see devastating fire of chaos, our faith in God will reveal that we will be sustained through the blaze and we will not be burned. Our eyes see giants, too big to defeat, standing between us and the promises God has given to us; our faith in God reveals to us that God has already given us the victory…now it is our honor to walk in it.

Regardless of what may be weighing you down today, ask the Lord what He would have you focus on. Ask Him for spiritual sight to reveal your freedom through Jesus Christ from the ways of the world. Without the Lord Jesus, we are all spiritually blind. There is so much more going on around us than what we can see with the mere naked human eye. Ladies, I don’t care if you have been a Christian since you were only a few years of age or if you have just come to faith this very day, the moment we begin to take our eyes off of Christ and become focused on the things around us, we will find our spirits downcast and our vision blurred. Why? Our focus was never meant to be on anything other than Christ when seeking lasting satisfaction. Praise God for His redemption and love! How valuable is the One, Jesus Christ, who took my punishment of rebellion against God upon Himself and gave me His righteousness in return (2 Corinthians 5:21). May we pray for our eyes, as well as the eyes of those around us, to be opened to the myriad of ways in which God is working and moving in and through our lives. This very same thing was prayed by the prophet Elisha for his anxious servant, and suddenly, the servant was a gasp at the number of heavenly warriors fighting on their behalf—whom had all been veiled from his earthly sight. Yet, now that the servant could see these angelic warriors, ablaze with fire, the fact that they were surrounded by enemy soldiers no longer caused fear (2 Kings 6:16-17). The battle is the Lord’s! Allow God and His heavenly armies to fight the battles of inferiority, anxiety and silent need on your behalf…our victory is found in HIM.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week Two COMPLETE

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week Two COMPLETE


Theme of Week Two: God Will Restore My Hope


Week Two, Day One:


I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 (HCSB)



Often times, when we are plagued with a heavy heart and no solution is in sight, our gaze and thoughts grow downcast. The phrase “chin up” captures this beautifully. If our focus is solely on the disappointments and chaos of a given trauma, we will miss out on the rescue that comes from above. Psalm 121:1-2 reminds us to lift our eyes up to the mountains—far above our current circumstances—and recall that our help indeed comes from the Lord, the Maker of both heaven and earth. What a sincere assurance for the believer that the Creator of all things, the LORD, is our help in times of trauma.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, forgive me for allowing worry to prevent me from fully coming to You sooner. I ask for Your forgiveness of this today. Please help (name)_______ to look above the current trauma to find help in You. Thank You, Jesus, that You are willing and ready to minister to (name)_____ even now in the midst of the chaos. Thank You, Jesus. In Your name, amen.




Week Two, Day Two:


“Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:26 (NASB)


There is a sincere wonder that comes as we stop and look up into the night’s sky. The sheer complexity of rotating constellations and myriad of stars, makes one realize how vast creation is beyond our spinning planet. Yet, although vast, God Himself calls each star by its name and takes care of it. With this knowledge, rest in the assurance that as another day goes by with saddled sorrow, through God’s immense power and strength, you can experience true refreshment in the midst of this present darkness.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for the night’s sky. Thank You for a constant reminder that You are in control and attentive to all of Your creation. Thank You that You call (name)________ by name, just as the stars. Please allow Your presence to be felt by (name)________ today in a fresh way. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.



Week Two, Day Three:


“Oh, Lord GOD! You Yourself made the heavens and earth by Your great power and with Your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!” Jeremiah 32:17 (HCSB)


No circumstance or real life issue is too hard for the LORD to bring rescue and divine solution to. Cancer is not too difficult for the LORD. HIV is not too difficult for the LORD. Separated families are not too difficult for the LORD. Rebellious and destructive attitudes are not too hard for the LORD. Feelings of apathy, vengeance and lust are not too hard for the LORD. At times we hold the deepest pains silently in our souls, with fear that the LORD will not choose to come through on that one. Reject this lie from the pit of hell and stand on the promise of Jeremiah 32:17. In His perfect way, God will indeed bring a solution to each and every heart in need.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You that nothing is too difficult for You to handle. Thank You that (name)_________’s situation is not too hard for You to restore. Please provide (name)_______ with the needed strength to get through today as the battle for truth wages on. You are trustworthy Jesus. Help me to model this as I lean on You anew today. In Your name I pray, amen.




Week Two, Day Four:


“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (HCSB)


When we put our hope and trust in the LORD, Jesus Christ, we gain a strong anchor amidst the storms of life. As the winds and waves rage, and our life seems dwarfed by the turbulent waves all around, we can claim Romans 8:28. When there are no words to express our pain, claim the truth of God’s Word. When a positive outcome to heartache cannot be found, hold fast to Scripture. When it seems that there is no way to find restoration, recall that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.



Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, You are perfect in all Your ways. You know things from beginning to end. Help (name)_______ in this time of turbulence. As the waves of turmoil continue to cause panic, LORD, I plead that (name)________ will find refuge in You. Allow the truth of Romans 8:28 to lodge deep within (name)_________ heart in this time and forever more. Thank You for working all things for the good in the lives of each one who loves You. In Your mighty name, Jesus, amen.




Week Two, Day Five:


“You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records? Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me.” Psalm 56:8-9 (HCSB)


Praise God that the living God, Jesus Christ, knows all things. He not only saw our rebellion and defiance, but also our deep sorrows. The Bible reminds us that He keeps diligent track of each detail of our lives. And praise be to His name, it was the LORD Himself who would provide the eternal ransom for our hearts when He went to the cross for you, me and the rest of human history (1 John 4:9). Although the devil desired to destroy us, eternally, God stepped in—as only He could—to bring us into the safe place and fulfilling presence of Almighty God. And if we agree with the psalmist, and declare that God is on our side as we submit our lives to His calling, we indeed will be rescued and redeemed for His eternal purpose and our ultimate pleasure.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You that my suffering is not hidden from Your sight. Thank You that You indeed care about (name)______ life and are attentive to the details there within. Help (name)________ to remember that when we call upon the powerful name of Jesus Christ, the devil and his minions will retreat to the place You tell them (Psalm 56:8-9). Thank You that caring for (name)__________. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.




Week Two, Day Six:


2Our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” 3The LORD had done great things for us; we were joyful.” Psalm 126:2-3 (HCSB)



When the LORD delivers us, we need to document it in some way. By sharing the event and outcome with others and writing it down, we are then able to reflect on such times of deliverance when future problems arise. In Psalm 126:2-3, the Israelites are recalling how happy they were once they were delivered from harm by the power of the LORD. In doing this, they recall His goodness and His mercy over their lives. As we experience times of hardship and heartache, may we take time to declare God’s power in our own stories—reminding ourselves, just as the Israelites did—God has done it for me in the past…and He will do it again in His perfect time!





***Have sketches of a few picture frames. These are to be “framed moments” that we look back on from within our own stories and thank the LORD for His deliverance from. Whether a word or simple sketch, take a moment to actually stop and focus on recalling the LORD’s faithfulness in your own story.


“O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Isaiah 25:1 (NASB)




Week Two, Day Seven:


7The LORD will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life. 8The LORD will protect your coming and going both now and forever.” Psalm 121:7-8 (HCSB)


In the midst of a tornado within our lives or of those we love, it is important for us to remind our hearts of Biblical truths. The LORD is the defender and protector for all who trust in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. This is not to state that we will not experience hardship in this life—in fact Jesus Christ assures us of such difficulties within the believer’s life (John 16:33). Yet, Jesus Christ Himself assures us, in that same passage that we are to be encouraged realizing that He has overcome every form of heartache and temptation that this world throws at us—as He rose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4). Let this sink in personally today—you are going to make it through this by the power of the LORD Jesus Christ.


Prayer for today:

LORD Jesus, I repent for trying to look to other ways to make the pain of this situation go away. It is only You who can bring me through this extremely difficult time. It is only You who can reach (name)________ and bring healing. Your Word tells us that You will keep us from all harm and be with us always (Psalm 121:7-8). Help me to see Your protection and provision within my own story. Help (name)_________ to see Your protection and provision within their own story, as well. In Your powerful name I pray, amen.



**Week Two in review. Please write down the most meaningful verse from this past week below. As you do, please take the time to thank God for His Word. How beautiful to recall that God’s original plan was for humanity to enjoy perfect communion with Him in Eden. Once we missed the mark, God provided redemption for us through the rescue of Jesus Christ for each of our souls. What a gracious God we serve! Thank Him for His endless grace.








** Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35): Everyone loves to share a story. This week, call a local retirement home and see if you could do something to bless them with your time. Sometimes just being present is all someone needs to receive the needed boost to endure under their own present challenges. Remember, just because one is enduring hardships by no means makes them unable to be a blessing to others. Quite the contrary, often times, it is when we are at the end of ourselves that we find the blessings of God.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week One COMPLETE

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week One COMPLETE


Through The Valley of Achor


Prayers for a change in direction drive us to our knees as the calendar ticks down to the unwanted day of departure. Blessings Through The Valley of Achor will remind you that heartache and cries for mercy are woven into the tapestry of all believers. Whether military or millionaire, ditch digger or diplomat, married or single—each life reaches a point where we all fall to our knees and cry out to God. Each day we will meditate on a passage to help us bloom in seasons of great transition and perceived gloom. This book is a devotional for the days that hurt and an encouragement that with God you will make it through (Jeremiah 29:11-13).










After six years of marriage, two precious children and a steady expectancy of the unexpected in our “soldier-diplomat” lifestyle, I had grown a bit comfortable as to what life would look like for us. I was now united to my best friend in marriage. God had worked miracles to ensure our union (read Mirrors to Windows: Change your view to see God’s true romance to see the full account unfold). Phil and I had traveled much of North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe together during our first year of marriage for his profession. God had then honored our prayers for children. God even allowed my husband to be brought back from war in order to be present for our son’s birth—nearly unheard of within the military community. After the birth of our son, we were able to spend time with Phil’s parents before his mama went home to be with Jesus. We had so much to be grateful for. Although we moved every twelve to twenty-four months, I knew that Phil would always be with me to see our family through. He was a man of God and a man of sincere prayer. God had really blessed my children and me. Then, we stepped into a new terrain within our marriage and family. We experienced, more fully, what the Valley of Achor (meaning trouble) really was.


With four years in the Middle East and three years previous bouncing across the U.S. and the Arab World as a whole, our roots never sank too deep into any one place. In terms of the heart, since the age of six, my roots and strong standing were in Jesus Christ, my Lord and personal Savior. How blessed I was to have married a man, who also from a very young age, had submitted to Christ. My husband shared my same heart for global adventure and reaching those in need of the eternal security that Jesus Christ brings to the soul.


For our six years of marriage and the year prior during our courtship, Phil had always been the cool-headed one in our relationship; the logical, the planner. Well, in short, this is not the type of person he married! If there was something to fret about, more times than not, I was first in line to fill the role. If there was something to rejoice about, more times that not, I was the one waving the biggest pom-pom. And in the midst of it all, we knew that the Lord would see us through all the silliness and sorrow in between.


Although I saw military family after military family deeply challenged by the separation that comes with deployment, I was certain that the Lord would not allow me and my family to walk through the hellish experience of being a “married-single parent” as so many do while their loved one is deployed for a year or longer. When we got the news of Phil’s next U.S. Embassy assignment—coupled with the fact that we could not accompany due to safety concerns—I felt as though a horrible joke had just been played on me. In many ways, it was as though I was flashed back to the heartbreaks from my own past. As a young girl, I had always told myself that my family was safe from destruction—but had been proven wrong as divorce gripped the family of my youth. Yet, God provided in the midst of that heartache and used it for His ultimate glory.


Fast forward to the present, I was now married to the man I loved, the mama of two precious toddlers whom we loved and completely reeling all over again as I faced a new earthquake within my family. The very man God had led me to marry was now being ripped away from our children and me for an extended time due to his professional dealings with foreign governments. I silently asked the Lord in earnest, “Haven’t I gone through enough?!” [Perhaps, you too can relate to similar internal questions as the earthquakes within your own story disrupt your perceptions of security and what it means to be “safe”.] I could not bring myself to be angry with God—I just could not. I knew, even at that moment—as was true during my youth—that God is good (Nahum 1:7). So, my anger, rage and feelings of betrayal were then directed towards the very one I love most on this earth; my husband.


Ladies, allow me to assure you, the devil hates marriage. The Bible often references a marriage to most closely reflect the relationship of Jesus Christ and His body of believers, called the Church or the Bride of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 5:25-27 & Revelation 19:7). Thus, Christian marriages are often attacked as a way of sidelining those looked up to by singles—be they believers in Jesus Christ or not. May we pray for our marriages both while residing under the same roof as well as for periods when we are separated geographically by zip codes and even distant time zones. Take stock in this truth Ladies, the God of perfect love is bigger than our suffering and aching hearts (Romans 8:38-39)! I can testify that this has been the case for us and it now can be the case for you, too.


This study is unique in the fact that it has been written in response to the nudging the Lord has put upon my own heart—to counsel my own heart for not only the year apart from the man I love most in the world—but then the return of our family to the Middle East in response to the Lord’s leading. I would love to say that my children were spared of the stress, the chaos and the heartache that has been associated with this traumatic season of saying good-bye, hello and good-bye again to Daddy for an extended time and later friends, but that simply has not been the truth. If you too, are a parent who has felt that you have “missed the mark” to represent Jesus Christ under the current pressure you are living in, may I encourage you this very day. God is bigger than our problems, bigger than our blow-ups, and bigger than our deepest pain (2 Peter 1). Listen to me now, do not give up! You are not a quitter. You were made for so much more than this heartache and turmoil. Keep pressing into the Lord; you may not be able to see the end in sight yet, but rest assured, the best is yet to come!


Begin by confessing your shortcomings to the Lord (1 John 1:9-10) and ask for His help in walking through this Valley of Trouble with Him (Psalm 23). This will actually make you stronger and more stouthearted through the reading and meditation on the Word of God; the Holy Bible (Psalm 119:50) and daily bringing your requests and sincere heart before the Lord in prayer (Philippians 4:6).


The Word of God is where our hearts can be encouraged and redirected back to the Lord in times of chaos and great turmoil (Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 6:23 & 2 Peter 1:19). Hold fast to the biblical knowledge that with Jesus Christ, He will faithfully lead you out.



“The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,

He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.


Planted in the house of the Lord,

They will flourish in the courts of our God.


They will still yield fruit in old age;

They shall be full of sap and very green,


To declare that the Lord is upright;

He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”


Psalm 92:12-15 (NASB)


To my LORD Jesus Christ, Who has been faithful to walk my precious family through each mountaintop and valley of this great adventure. May praise and hope in Jesus Christ alone be gleaned from these pages.


Christ is the answer



Theme of Week One: God Hears Me


Week One, Day One:


“The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (HCSB)


There are times in our lives when we cry out to God, with nothing left to say. Our hopes seem dashed. Our prayers appear unanswered. And, deep down, we may even fear that God simply could not fix the situation at this point anyway. On days like this, soak in the truth of God’s Word. The words of Psalm 34:18 beautifully reminds us, that not just today, but each day, the LORD is near and saves those who are crushed. What a comfort to recall that in such seasons of our lives, regardless of the duration, the LORD is near and indeed saves.


Prayer for the day:

Dear LORD, help (name)_____. You see the pain. You see the complexity of the situation. Thank you that Your Holy Bible is trustworthy and true. Please give (name)______ the assurance that this very day, You are providing comfort and presence in this incredibly difficult time. In Jesus’ name, amen.




Week One, Day Two:


“For the High and Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy says this:” I live in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the oppressed.” Isaiah 57:15 (HCSB)


Royalty dwells in palaces with elegance and lighthearted living. Yet, praise God that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, wanted to have fellowship with each of us. The Bible assures us that each life is so treasured to God that even while we were still involved in crazy living, Jesus paid our ransom (1 John 4:9). Rest in the reality today that your life is so precious to God that He stepped out of His royal living in order to revive each heart that becomes oppressed by sorrow, guilt and pain.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for caring for each of our lives. Thank you for caring for (name) _________ life. Thank You that Your Word, the Holy Bible, assures us that we are never alone in our sorrows. It is You, the High and Exalted One who revives our hearts. Help (name) _______ to claim this truth for today. In Jesus’ name, amen.




Week One, Day Three:

“The God of old is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He drives out the enemy before you and commands, “Destroy!” Deuteronomy 33:27 (HCSB)


Have you ever just needed someone to back you up? When we belong to Jesus Christ, as we call upon His name, we are tapping into the eternal power of God. The same God that created the world (1 John 1:1), delivered the Israelites from the hands of Pharaoh (Exodus 14:29-31) and raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Matthew 28:5-7) is the same God you can call upon this very day. As we learn to find comfort and refuge underneath the powerful arms of Almighty God, we will see that it is God who will destroy our problems, in His perfect timing.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for being all knowing and all powerful. Thank You for not only seeing the problems in (name) _______ life, but also destroying these problems, in Your perfect timing. Help me to claim this truth for today. You are trustworthy and Your timing is perfect. In Jesus’ name, amen.




Week One, Day Four:


“Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go. Give the command to save me, for You are my rock and fortress.” Psalm 71:3 (HCSB)


When the diagnosis is worse than expected, call on the LORD to be your rock. When the relationship appears forever shattered, call on the LORD to be your fortress. When you no longer feel in control of your life and wonder if there is a point to continue on, call on the name of the LORD to be your rock and fortress. Regardless of our situations, no matter how deep the pain, there is always hope in Jesus Christ. Take a deep breath today and hold fast to this prayer of Psalm 71:3. This verse is a plea for God’s help. Make it your own today—God is waiting for your permission to intervene in the story. In faith, put the name of the one in trouble on the rock of Jesus today.


***Have a picture of a rock sketch here.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, please be the safe house of refuge for (name) ___________. Thank You that at Your word, rescue is realized within any situation. Help (name) ________ to grant You the permission to intervene into this situation today. Please be the rock for (name) ______ in a special way this day. Thank you, LORD. In Jesus’ name, amen.




Week One, Day Five:


2Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry! 3For my soul has had enough troubles, And my life has drawn near to Sheol.” Psalm 88:2-3 (NASB)


There are seasons in life that simply leave us numb. Yet, no matter how mad we get, no matter how many nasty words we speak, the outcome does not change. When we feel overwhelmed by helplessness and inadequacy, may we cry out to the LORD in an unvarnished way. The God of the Bible, Jesus Christ, has broad shoulders. Bring your pain—the situations that have numbed your heart—to the LORD today. He is ready to rescue you in the midst of it all (1 Peter 5:7).


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, help (name) ________ with feelings of being numb and overwhelmed. Thank You, Jesus, that we can come to You with honesty and know that You care about even the smallest details of our lives. Help this truth to be made clear to (name) ______ today. In Your name I pray, amen.



Week One, Day Six:


“I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.” Psalm 17:6 (NASB)


In sports, there is a moment when only the best of the best can save the play or win the game. The psalmist is making a similar plea. He acknowledges that God is the one who has always come through for him. May we take time today to speak this truth to the Lord from our own personal stories. Not only will it bless the Lord, but it will be a sincere encouragement to our own hearts as we recall the various ways God has saved the day in the past. If you are new to the faith, know that God is ready to do the same for you that He has been in the business of doing for all of humanity since inception—saving the day—with the perfect play.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You that I can approach You with my needs. Thank You that (name)_______ can approach You with needs as well. Please minister to (name)_______ heart today. Help (name)______ to lay the heavy burdens down because You really do care for (name)________. In Jesus’ name, amen.



Week One, Day Seven:
“O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.” Daniel 9:18 (NASB)


This prayer in Daniel is one that echoes that all are helpless to restore what is needed—apart from the Lord’s help. With humility to God’s greatness and openly stated need, Daniel earnestly presented his requests to the Lord. In the midst of our own chaos, may we be a Christian people who are marked by this trait of running to God with both humility to God’s awesome power and acknowledgement that He indeed is more than able to come through in any situation.



Prayer for today:

Dear Lord, hope is found in You alone. Please minister to (name)_______ as the battle wages on today. Thank You that you see the destruction and will bring rescue to the situation, through Your great compassion, at Your perfect time. Help (name)_________ to cling to You in a new way today. In Jesus’ name, amen.




**Week One in review. Please write down the most meaningful verse from this past week below. As you do, please take the time to thank God for His Word. There is such a depth of strength that we are able to tap into by praying the Lord’s promises back to Him. He is faithful to sustain us in all our sorrows. Thank the Lord for His faithfulness.









** Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35): This week, find someone to bless with a small assortment of flowers simply because Jesus loves them. It could be a neighbor, co-worker, friend at church, etc. In doing this, pray for this individual to feel the love of God in a new way this week.