Why the World Needs to SEE Love

If we aren't careful, we can turn around and realize our life is in a rut.

A place of "humdrum-ness" -
A routine that becomes so predictable, so mundane, that we stop dreaming of anything more than surviving the next day, the next thing on our to-do list.

Nick's fight with cancer opened my eyes to the harsh reality of just how fragile life is but it also taught me so much about the treasure tucked away in every single new day of life.

I've seen the same lesson learned by many others as they face similar struggles with their friends or family members.

Isn't it amazing how God works?

Only God could use the uncertainty of life  to teach us about the beauty of life.

Only God could take the unknown qualities of tomorrow to help us celebrate the known joy in today.

Only God could take the fear of death and somehow use it to help us appreciate the gift of life.

I have found that God's ways almost never make sense from man's view.

He has the ability to take our most unimaginable, and even horrific, circumstances and transform them into moments of deep beauty and transformation.

He uses every mistake, every fear, every doubt, every longing, every failure, and every loss to teach us about ................


On our darkest day He longs to be our brightest light, and in the middle of our worst nightmare He longs to be our peace that surpasses understanding.

So, in this world where it can be easy to see all the evil and all the chaos;
God longs to be the GOOD and CALMING force that overrides every less-than-perfect experience.

Many times He chooses to work through other people in order to be the love we need, the strength we long for, the hope we crave.

He sent Perfect Love in the form of a baby boy many years ago,
but I believe He still sends gifts of love today in the form of men and women all around us...............when our eyes are open and hearts are willing to receive.

As I think about this, I realize that just as God has sent so many different people into my life to teach me about love;
He longs to use me too to be that gift of love to others who are hurting.

He longs to use you too.

So, today, as we enter into Easter weekend and celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior and the powerful gift He was to mankind,
let's commit to being a gift to those around us who need to SEE love in human form today.

Let's determine to look outward in search of those who need Jesus and rather than simply offering an invitation to a church, let's demonstrate just how vibrant and full and rich and meaningful and life-changing Jesus' love can be by


This means we will think before we speak, we will consider His ways before our own ways, we will find good even in the midst of the very bad, we will embrace hardship and allow God to use it to mold us, we will face illnesses differently, we will face grief differently, we will pour joy out on a hurting world through our every word and action.

We will see Him in nature and in the eyes of children and in the faces of our friends of family.

When you are so completely full of Him that you can barely breathe, you will exhale His love.

When you are so completely aware of His presence that you can barely look at anything without seeing His hand at work, you will find yourself thinking about Him every second of every day.

Fall madly in love with Jesus today and let the world SEE that love demonstrated in your day-to-day activities.

When someone gives a flower to someone they care about, they are showing how much they care.

A flower is a simple, but beautiful, representation of someone's feelings..

One rose is a symbol, a visual reminder of an internal feeling.

God longs to use us to be visual reminders of His internal feelings.

God is calling each of us today to be a rose -
a gift from Him to the world.

Allow Him to use you today to show the world just how much He loves them.

The world needs to SEE love so that it can be reminded of HIS LOVE.

The devil would love nothing better than for us to fall into a predictable and boring routine, forgetting just how special every day of life is and just how much we matter to the people with whom we share life.

God, on the other hand, sees today as a rare and precious gift.

And He sees you and me as part of a beautiful bouquet full of potential for changing the hearts of the world around us.

Ask God to fill you up with His love so that He can use you to show the world His love.


John 13:34-35

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another

The Cost of Sacrifice

David, who was referred to as "a man after God's own heart,"
seemed to have a way of messing up over and over again in spite of his desire to live a life totally devoted to God.

In one particular story, David chooses to take a census of his army without God's involvement and finds himself in the middle of a mess.

When David realizes that his people are suffering from a plague because of his bad decision and an angel appears with a drawn sword over Jerusalem, he goes to God and begs for the punishment to fall upon him and his family so that his people can be spared.

David understands and accepts the consequences of his mistake, and the angel commands David to build an altar at a specific place.

I love what David says to the man who owns the land where the sacrifice is suppose to happen as he attempts to pay and the owner tries to give it to him free of charge,

"I will not take for the Lord what is yours, 
or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing."

David understood that a sacrifice had to cost something in order to count.

David understood that a sacrifice involved giving up, letting go, releasing his grip......................

The more I learn about being a living sacrifice for God the more I wonder just how honestly I understand that very phrase.

What have I given up for God?

What have I let go of so that God can work completely and perfectly through my life?

What I have released from my grip so that God can be glorified?

Today, I want to be fully aware of the things in my life that I cling to too tightly.

I want to be willing to loosen my fingers from anything that keeps from being all His.

I want to quit hanging on to anything that holds me back from His will, His work, His plans for me.

Look at your hands.
Look at your heart.

Ask yourself today,

"If I am a living sacrifice to God, what has it cost me?"

Like David I want to say, 

"I will not sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing."

Start Here

I've read a lot of posts on Facebook lately in which friends have shared that they are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, or confused.

Many times when I read posts like these I think, 

"I wish I could sit and talk to this person or that person."

"I wish I could look into their eyes and tell them what I've learned as I have faced my own difficult days."

I've definitely learned this along the way, "Life isn't easy."

Honestly, it can be extremely painful.

So, what do you do when you're deep in a valley?

What do you do when you look up and  find yourself questioning everything about who you are or where you are in life?

As I read through the Old Testament, I see person after person who reached a point where they felt just like this.

They found themselves hiding in caves, fearing for their lives.
They found themselves being pursued by enemy after enemy.

I'm sure in the darkness of the night they often wondered,
"How did I get here, and how do I get out of here?"

Time after time, these men and women eventuallyreached a place where looking up and crying out was their only option.

Seeking God was their answer.

Finding Him was their secret to moving on to a better place in life.

It's no different today for  us.

We enter valleys.

We feel attacked.

We feel alone.

We feel defeated.

We struggle with insecurities, doubts, and fears.

Where do we go for help?

Where do we turn for guidance?

I have found myself deep in the pit of depression several times in my life.

I have found myself needing answers to questions no one on this planet could possibly answer over and over again as I have walked through dark days and darker nights.

And just like David of the Old Testament and so many other men and women who loved God but struggled through life, I have found that there is only one place to start if I want to find my way back to Him when I feel lost or discouraged.

I start with His Word.

I start with time just with Him.

Being in the presence of God with only His Word beside you does something to your life.

It strengthens you more than physical food.
It encourages you more than the very best friend.
It comforts you more than the best counselor money can buy.
It transforms you more than any makeover specialist ever could.

God's Word is alive, and I believe it more and more every day of my life.

I can't live without it.
It is the Bread of Life.

Today, if you are feeling anything but full of joy and hope, start your day with Him.
Let Him speak into every corner of your hurting heart.

I memorized Romans 15:13 when Nick was sick and I still pray it into my life and the lives of those I love every single day,

May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I'm praying this verse for you today.

May God fill your Wednesday with His Hope, His power, His peace, and His joy!

When God Reaches Down So We Will Look Up
You are a shield around me, O Lord;
You bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
To the Lord I cry aloud, 
and He answers me from His holy hill.

Psalm 3:3-4

Sometimes it's good to be reminded that no matter what you're facing in life God longs to be your shield-

Not just protecting you from the front but completely encircling you with His love and protection.

It's also good to remember that even when we are surrounded by His unconditional love, life can still be painful.

That's why I love this verse so much!!

God doesn't just promise to protect us.

He promises to encourage us when we are feeling down.

I love the thought of God noticing when our hearts are hurting.
I love the thought of God literally lifting up the heads of those whose eyes are sad and low.

I can almost see Him reaching down and gently placing His hand below the chin of anyone who is discouraged, sad, rejected, broken, lonely, or defeated, and confused.

With the tenderness of a loving Father, He then lifts hurting hearts and empty eyes toward Him and says,

"Your glory is found in me."

"I am all you need."

"You are worth so much more than you could ever imagine."

"I have your name engraved on the palm of My hand."

"I began a good work in you, and I will be faithful to complete it."

Yes, I believe today that God hears the cries of the hurting; 
and He offers hope.

He offers unconditional love.

If you feel discouraged today, cry out to Him.

Allow Him to reach down and lift your head towards Heaven.

We sang this song at Adrienne's funeral twenty years ago, and it still speaks to me today.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus, 
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim-
in the light of His glory and grace."

Have a wonderful Monday!

When Scripture Carries You Forward and Backward

My Scripture reading this morning included a song of deliverance sung by David after God had spared his life from an attack by Saul.

As I read, I underlined phrases like, 

"He drew me out of deep waters,"

"He rescued me because He delighted in me,"

"All His laws are before me,"

"You are my lamp, O Lord; The Lord turns my darkness into light."

I thought about the power in each of these lines and how God longs to be just as faithful, just as present in our lives today as He was in the life of David.

I thought about so many who are facing deep waters this very morning, struggling to stay afloat in the midst of illnesses and marriage problems.  I pray for them because I know their pain firsthand, but I also know the power of a living God who promises to be with them as they pass through these waters.

Life can be so difficult, and yet opening God's Word and reading promises like the ones above can carry us forward through the darkest days.

Something else can happen when we open His Word, too.

We can be carried back to former days of trusting Him.

I believe one of David's secrets to facing the uncertainty of each new day as he was being pursued was taking time to reflect on all the times God had protected Him in the past.

I can almost picture him sitting on a rock in a field or a cave with some sort of stringed instrument creating lyrics to remind himself of just how thankful he was for every law, every promise, every act of mercy from the hand of God.

As I read on in the Bible this morning, I came to this verse:

The law of the Lord is perfect,

    refreshing the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,

    making wise the simple.

Psalm 19:7

I felt something stir deep within me as I read this verse several times before being able to move on to the next part of the passage.

These words spoke deeply to me in the quiet of this morning.

I could almost hear the words being sung out loud because they immediately took me back to my teenage years.

They took me back to this little, worn out book that still sits on my piano in my family room - a book I played from Sunday after Sunday during communion and offering at my home church over thirty years ago.

I had to get up this morning and photograph this book and this song in particular,
because I can remember playing it over and over again as I hid the lyrics deep within my heart as a young girl.

  • The law of the Lord is perfect,
    Converting the soul;
    The testimony of the Lord is sure,
    Making wise the simple.\More to be desired are they than gold.
    • Yea, than much fine gold:
      Sweeter also than honey
      And the honeycomb.

  • The statues of the Lord are right,
    Rejoicing the heart:
    The commandment of the Lord is pure,
    Enlightening the eyes.
  • The fear of the Lord is clean,
    Enduring forever;
    The judgments of the Lord are true
    And righteous altogether.
  • Let the words of my mouth
    And the meditation of my heart,
    Be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord,
    My strength, and my redeemer.

    • Moreover by them is Thy servant warned:
      Is Thy servant warned:
      And in keeping of them there is
      Great reward.
    Source: http://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/ns/281#ixzz2yNiBOEQ3

    Little did I know at that time in my life that over three decades later I would be sitting alone in my own home and these same words would once again bless me in such a powerful way.

    Little did I know then just how desperately I would cling to the law of the Lord throughout my lifetime and just how faithful God would be through so many different chapters of joy and sorrow.

    This morning, my time with God has given me just what I need to carry me forward through another day, but it has also carried me backward to a sweet time in my life when leaning on God was innocent and unaware of just how painful life would become.

    I'm thankful this morning for the power of God's Word to work both ways in my life.

    I want to press forward in my faith, but I never want to forget the faithfulness of God over the years.
    I also never want to forget the love I have had for Him for so very long.

    If you click on the link below you can listen to the song above as it is being sung.
      It's definitely an older song, but I believe the words (which are based almost directly on Scripture) will bless your day.

    (The link may only work if you read my blog directly from the web address and not from a Facebook click:  www.tammynischan.blogspot.com)

    I love you all so much.

    When you open God's Word, ask Him to not only carry you forward but also carry you backward to sweet memories of His faithfulness in your past.

    Have a wonderful Wednesday!

    When We Remember
     The coffee pot had been turned off overnight, so I stood and waited for the water to warm.
    My mind wandered as I stood there in the darkness of the kitchen.
    I glanced at the shelf beside me and saw many Willow Tree figurines that reminded me of Nick.
    A mommy holding a little boy.

     A young boy grasping a golden heart.

    Both gifts from friends after Nick passed away.

    My eyes filled with unexpected tears this morning,
    reflecting on Nick's life and how much I miss him.

    Flashes of memories darted through my mind, and I remembered with vivid detail the joy and pain of those days fighting cancer.

    Then I looked up and saw this figurine above those two -

    I couldn't remember what she represented, pages unfurling out of her hand.
    So I picked her up to look underneath for her title:


    That's all it said.


    Suddenly, I was overcome with emotion as I thought about Sunday school yesterday and how I had shared out loud about my fear of not doing this very thing enough.

    When the Israelites made it safely to the Promised Land, 
    God gave them very specific instructions,

    Remember the whole way by which he has brought you these forty years through the desert so that he might, by humbling you, test you to see if you have it within you to keep his commandments or not. 

    When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
    If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.

    As we studied these verses in Sunday school yesterday morning,
    I reflected on my own wilderness experiences in life and how God has brought me through so much sadness, so much pain, so much heartache.

    As I journey further from those painful memories,
    I do not want to forget how God carried me.

    I do not want to forget how I leaned on Him for every breath.

    I do not want to forget walking through my house, crying as I read Scriptures back to God in prayer, clinging to His Word as my only source of Hope and Strength.

    I do not want to forget that without Him I would have never survived SIDS, cancer, funerals of two of my precious children.

    I want to remember the signs He sent along the way that kept me going,

    the thumbs up cloud,
    the phone calls just when I needed them,
    the cards with just the right words for a particular need,
    the flowers blooming when I felt everything around me was dying,
    the baby bird that fell from its nest,
    the pennies and hearts that still arrive just when I need them.

    God was with me in the wilderness,
    and He is with me today.

    I never, ever want to reach a place of living on my own strength.
    I never, ever want to journey so far from my past pain that I cannot remember just how dependent I am on His Word and His love to simply crawl out of bed and face another day.

    The wilderness is behind me for this moment in my life, but I never want to reach a place of forgetting all that God has done for me and my family along the way.

    His Word still carries me, and today I hope it carries you too.

    Take time today to remember all God has done for you.
    And say, "Thank you."

    An Open Letter to Boys and Girls
    There's something about having a sixteen year old daughter that makes you much more aware of boys.

    There's also something about your daughter falling head over heels for one of these boys that makes you keenly aware of what you long for in a date for your girl.

    Looking back, 
    I wish I had been more intentional with my own boys when it came to this part of their lives.  I'm still learning as I walk through this crazy thing called life.

    While I fell in love with and still cherish and adore every girl who came in and out of our home as all of our boys went through and two continue to go through the dating phase of life,  I wish I would have seen at a deeper level just how delicate the hearts of these girls really were.  I wish I had spent more time talking to my boys about the power of their words and actions. 

    Because now I'm the mom of "the girl," and when I see her smile and hear her talk about all the things that make her happy when she is with "said boy," I realize just how fragile she is.

    I realize that "really, really liking" someone is risky, 
    because when your heart is on the line it's vulnerable, it's weak, it's able to be hurt.

    As a teacher, I've seen hearts broken, innocence stolen, and tears shed over dating relationships gone bad.  As a mom, I can't stand to think about it happening in my own home.

    So, I'm writing letters today to all boys and girls who are or who will ever enter the world of dating.

    Dear Dating Boy,

    When you are with a girl, you are being trusted with a treasure.  Always remember this girl does not belong to you.  No matter how long you've been dating, no matter how crazy she is about you, she is not yours.  She is someone else's princess.  She is someone else's pride and joy.

    Until you find the "right one," "the only one forever," "the perfect match," dating should consist of talking and laughing and getting to know the girl's friends and family as she gets to know yours. Dating may involve a kiss now and then (sorry, Tim, but it's going to happen), but that's it.  No more.  
    Your words should bring joy to a girl's day and your actions should leave her feeling cherished and adored.  Dating should be fun.  It should be an adventure.  

    When you look into the eyes of a girl, you are looking into her soul, so look and see if you like what's there.  If you don't, then move on.  Don't waste her time or yours. Look into your own eyes from time to time, too, and ask yourself, "Do I like what I see?"  If not, do something about it.  Make the world a better place as you navigate the world of dating.

    Above else, keep God first in your dating life as in every other part of your life.  Seek His will always.  Pray constantly that He is glorified in all you say and do.

    If you can do these things, you will be trusted to take a girl places like the park and the movies; and I think you will find the dating years of your life some of the most fun and exciting days ever!

    The Mom of a Girl

    Dear Dating Girl,

    While your heart is fragile, you have more power than you think in a dating relationship.  Don't ever take lightly the choices you make in how you dress and how you act when you are with a boy.  He is not yours.  He is a prince, and he is someone else's pride and joy.

    Until you find the "right one," "the only one forever," "the perfect match," dating should consist of talking and laughing and getting to know the boy's friends and family as he gets to know yours. Dating may involve a kiss now and then but that's it.  No more.  

    Your words should bring joy to a boy's day and your actions should leave him feeling cherished and adored.  Dating should be fun.  It should be an adventure.

    When you look into the eyes of a boy, you are looking into his soul, so look and see if you like what's there.  If you don't, then move on.  Don't waste his time or yours. Look into your own eyes from time to time, too, and ask yourself, "Do I like what I see?"  If not, do something about it.  Make the world a better place as you navigate the world of dating.

    Above else, keep God first in your dating life as in every other part of your life.  Seek His will always.  Pray constantly that He is glorified in all you say and do.

    If you can do these things, you will be trusted to go places like the park and the movies with a boy; and I think you will find the dating years of your life some of the most fun and exciting days ever!

    The Mom of a Boy

    I'm thankful today for a God who created both boys and girls.
    I consider it a privilege and honor to parent both, teach both, 
    and share life with both every single day.

    How God Wraps Gifts

    From Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, wrapped in the love of God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. 

    May mercy, peace, and love be lavished on you! 

    Jude 1:1-2

    We buy the perfect gift for a friend, but we don't  feel quite ready to present it to them until we have wrapped it up and tied it with a bow.

    I can almost imagine God having a conversation with the angels just after creating Adam and Eve,

    "They just aren't quite ready yet.........."

    "Something is missing."

    "Let me wrap them in my love."

    With this wrapping came mercy, peace, and love.

    Not just a little of each but a lavishing of all.

    Imagine God's arms of love wrapped tightly around you today.

    Feel the warm embrace of His presence and with that secure wrapping experience His mercy, His peace, and His love as you walk through today.

    Something happens when we are able to walk in the confidence and assurance of His presence.

    We treat others more kindly.

    We are more patient.

    We are more forgiving.

    We feel less insecure.

    We are full of hope.

    We experience a joy that others long to have and in doing so we help others long for and discover this same mercy, peace, and love.

    God wraps you in His love so that He can present you as His gift to a hurting world.

    You are wrapped in His love.

    Be His gift today.

    The Other Side of Grief
    I was talking with a friend the other day about life, and I found myself laughing.
    We were sharing some things that are going on in each other's lives, and I realized that the entire time we talked I had a smile on my face.

    I felt so happy, so full of joy.

    And I said out loud to her,

    "Is there an "other side of grief" while I'm still on this planet?"

    I've grieved for so long over the loss of both Adrienne and Nick that it almost doesn't feel right to be okay feeling so full of joy.

    I love and miss them both so much.

    How can I laugh so often, smile so much, feel so full of hope?

    As I thought about the concept of an "other side of grief,"  I thought of Jesus' words in John 10:10,

    I have come that they may have life, 
    and have it to the full.

    The reality is this:

    Jesus conquered death on the cross.
    Jesus took the changing of the seasons of nature and 
    made them a reality in the course of human of life.

    Man had lived a long time facing death with no hope of anything more.
    Winter had lasted a long, long time for mankind.

    Then Jesus came.

    He broke free from the grave.
    He rolled away the stone.
    He kissed death goodbye......................forever.

    And the day of His resurrection marked the ending of winter as mankind knew it!

    No wonder the disciples ran and spread the story of Jesus even in the face of persecution and their own earthly death.

    They had watched their friend die a cruel death on a cross and then shared life with Him again as a walking, breathing, laughing, hugging person.

    Their long winter became a glorious spring.

    And I believe that "YES" there is an "other side of grief" on this planet.

    I believe that eventually everyone whose heart is broken, whose life has been shattered by loss, will find reasons to love life again even here.................................when Jesus is their source of Hope and Strength.

    How long will winter last?

    I think it's different for each of us.

    I can't measure my season of grief by the length of anyone else's, and we should all be careful not to judge the season of grief for anyone around us.

    All I know is this:

    A long winter only intensifies the beauty of spring.

    So, today, if you find yourself in the middle of a long, winter season, please believe me when I say, I have spent a long, long time in that season too.  I understand your sadness.

    But also believe me when I say,  "Your spring is coming!!!"

    Not that you will never feel sadness again or be ambushed by grief when you walk into special places or smell certain fragrances or celebrate significant anniversaries or holidays.

    Life will still be hard.
    Life will never be the same.

    But I do believe Jesus came to give you life to the full even in your grief, and because of that, I do believe your spring is coming 
    HERE on this earth.

    You will laugh again here.
    You will feel complete joy again here.
    You will feel deep pleasure again here.


    By trusting in the power of the cross and Jesus' earthly resurrection.

    Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changedin a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
    “Where, O death, is your victory?

        Where, O death, is your sting?”

    When God Speaks

    "The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli.  
    In those days the Word of the Lord was rare, there were not many visions."
    I Sam. 3:1

    I can't imagine living at a time in history when there was no Bible to turn to and yet God was silent.

    I wonder if stories about God speaking to men and women like Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and Joshua, were passed along through families, and I wonder if people tried to find God in things as ordinary as heart-shaped mud puddles?

    Or I wonder if they just moved along throughout their day not really thinking about whether or not God had anything new to say?

    Whatever the case, things changed one night for Samuel.

    As he lay down one early evening before the "lamp of God had not yet gone out," he heard a voice say, 


    At first, he thought the voice was Eli the priest's, who was now old and nearly blind; and so he ran to him to see what he needed.

    This continued several more times and every time Eli told Samuel it was not his voice and to go back and lie down which Samuel did only to hear his name called again.

    Finally, Eli realized it must be God speaking, so he told Samuel that if he heard the voice again he should reply,

    "Speak, for your servant is listening."

    When Samuel did this, God shared a prophesy with him that would set in motion a major change in both Eli and Samuel's life.

    Reading this story this morning, I was reminded of a night over five years ago about two weeks after Nick died.

    I was laying in bed so full of anger and grief that I felt I could explode.  My heart pounded and my head throbbed from so much crying.

    I remember the intense feelings inside of me as I lay in the dark next to my snoring husband.

    How could Tim sleep when my heart was so broken?
    How would I ever survive life without Nick?

    I tossed and turned; and the more I heard Tim snore, 
    the angrier I became.

    I have never wanted to hit someone like I wanted to hit Tim that night.  I have never been quite beside myself like I was on that particular night.  It was as if the whole world had stopped spinning, and I was left lifeless in a dark room...................
    filled with the annoying sound of a snoring man.

    My mind was incapable of sympathizing with the exhaustion Tim must have been experiencing as he also carried heavy grief.  

    Nick was his buddy, and Nick was gone from his life too.

    No, on this night, it was all about me.

    I was furious with the world, and on this particular night I felt as if God had abandoned me forever.

    That's when I heard one very clear word in the darkness,


    I turned to Tim to see if he had realized I was so upset only to hear another very loud snore.  He was still sound asleep.  I thought I must be crazy, and I turned again on my pillow in anger.

    Then I heard it again,
    followed by Tim's loud and persistent snoring.

    Suddenly, I knew.

    I was overcome with the awareness of God's presence in my dark bedroom.

    I still wish today that I had said, 

    "Speak, for your servant is listening."

    But I didn't.

    I just felt overwhelmed with peace as I realized God was gently saying, 

    "You have got to get a grip.  
    I am here.  
    In your darkest night, I am with you.  
    In your moment of greatest agony, you are not alone.
    I know your heart is broken.  You will not walk this road alone."

    I fell to sleep not long after that; and I have carried that audible, clear, calm voice of God with me ever since.

    I don't speak of that moment often.

    Some would think I had lost my mind if I did.

    But this morning as I read about Samuel's life-changing encounter with God, I felt like I was suppose to share with anyone who feels as if life is more than you can bear,

    "God is with you."

    He wants to change your life with one small word, 
    "Your name."

    Speak your name today and imagine God gently saying it aloud to you.

    In that moment, imagine God speaking all the words you need to hear.

    Calm down.
    Be strong.
    Trust me.
    Believe me.
    Lean on me.
    Take a deep breath.
    Let me carry you.
    I love you.
    I am yours.
    You are mine.

    Then speak His Son's name often as you cling to Him for strength in a tough, tough world.

    We live in a time when hearing God's voice is rare, but I still believe He speaks through nature, through His Word, and through prayer.

    He is with us in the loudest part of our day if we will just tune into Him and listen.

    He is with us in the quietness of the morning or night when no one else is near us.

    God longs to be heard above the loud snoring of your world.

    Listen for Him.

    Look for Him.

    He is speaking to you.

    He longs for you to hear His voice and follow His lead.

    Job 33:14

    For God speaks in one way,

    and in two, though man does

    not perceive it.

    John 10:27

    My sheep hear my voice, 

    and I know them, 

    and they follow me.

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