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Welcome!

Welcome to Amazing God Stories!

Here you find stories that show the variety of amazing ways God has been working in my life.

Some of the stories will be totally true down to the last detail. Many stories will be fictionalized accounts of real events. Although the characters, names, locations, and some of the details in these stories will be fictionalized for several reasons, what God does in them is real.

Sometimes my posts will be thought provoking. Sometimes they will be inspiring. And sometimes they will be just for fun. All will glorify God for how amazing He is!

I would love to hear your stories also!  Include them in the comments!

And if you like my posts, please follow me. Comments and followers provide support and encouragement to me, and by following me, you will get notified when I post something new. Thank you so much!

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Baby Steps

She read Ps 37:23-24 in The Living Bible (TLB):

“The steps of good men are directed by the LORD. He delights in each step they take. If they fall, it isn’t fatal, for the LORD holds them with his hand.”

Hmmm… she thought. Who are these good men?

Paul says when we are saved, we are washed of our sins and we become good in the eyes of God. So these good men must be the saved. That means I’m one of the good guys.

“He delights in each step they take.”

The thought of a baby came to mind – one that was just learning to walk. And the delight on the dad’s face as he watched his son take each hesitant step.

God, as my Father, delights in my steps? That’s hard to believe because I sure don’t delight in them. I’m a baby in my faith and am just learning to walk. The steps are slow, often painful and awkward. But God delights in them, and He will always delight in them no matter how old I get.

“If they fall, it isn’t fatal…”

Wow, good to know. Because I fall a lot! My salvation does not depend on how well I walk, but on how well Jesus walked.

“for the LORD holds them with his hand.”

Jesus is right here, all the time, holding my hand as I continue taking steps.  I’ll never be separated from Him because it’s Him holding my hand, not me holding His.

Whew. This takes a lot of pressure off me!

She thought for a few minutes. So what I think God is saying is…

Relax! Don’t beat yourself up for your failures, but enjoy the whole spiritual learning process, because I do! I’m with you every step of the way!

Amazing!

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You Want to Be a What?

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She looked at him with disbelief. Did he just say what she thought he had said?

“But what about us?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he answered. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

She wasn’t happy. More than that, she was hurt. After months of getting to know each other, they were inseparable. She spent most weekends with his family to be close to him. And, when he could, he traveled the hour distance to her house to surprise her. She had even begun thinking this might lead to marriage one day. And now this!

“It’s not like I’m leaving tomorrow,” he continued. “We can still spend time together.”

“Doing what? Are we allowed to even hold hands anymore?”

“I don’t know,” he repeated.

She tried to sort through all the feelings flowing through her. Hurt was way up there on the list, along with a feeling of betrayal. She had finally begun to open up to someone, and now God was taking him away from her.

“How do you know He’s really calling you to do this?” she asked him.

“I prayed about it with a friend. He saw me pulling at a white collar around my neck. I think that means God wants me to go to seminary, but not immediately. He wants me to relax first.”

“What does that even mean – relax first?”

“It means to not worry about it right now.”

“That may be fine with you, but what about me? How do I date a future priest? Do we hold hands? Kiss? That just seems wrong.”

“I don’t know. Let’s just take this one day at a time.”

They parted, neither of them happy, and both wrapped in their own thoughts.

All the way home she thought about what he had said. A priest? Him? Now? Was this some kind of game God was playing with their hearts? If it had been another girl that was threatening their relationship, she could fight. But fight God? How does anyone fight God?

“Lord,” she finally prayed, “I don’t know why You’re doing this. But I know you love us and want what’s best for us. So although I don’t understand, and really don’t like it, I will trust You.”

Trust is one thing, she thought. But the pain is another. And this pain isn’t going anywhere.

The following days were hard as she tried to wrap her head around what God may be doing and what her place in it was. It seemed mean for Him to bring them together, only to separate them. She struggled to maintain her trust in God through the waves of pain, betrayal, sadness, loss, confusion, and anger that flooded her.

A few nights later, as she cried her way through her prayers yet again, she sought a word from the Lord, something to comfort her or to give her hope. But she heard nothing.

“Fine, Lord,” she finally said. ” The most important thing is that You are pleased with me in all this so if this is what You want, then so be it.”

He smiled at her, understanding in His eyes.

“That doesn’t help,” she told Him. “I was really hoping that You’d say it was just a test, that I passed and I could have him back.”

He just continued smiling at her and she knew He knew what He was going to do and He wasn’t going to change His mind. And He wasn’t going to tell her either.

Well then, maybe she wasn’t ready to hear those plans. Maybe she didn’t want to hear those plans. Maybe she should just ignore this whole thing, pretend it didn’t happen and just keep on dating this might-be-a-priest guy. After all, he did say God had told him to relax. And God wasn’t telling her anything.

“OK, Lord,” she said. “I know You’re going to be amazing in all this, but if You won’t tell me anything, and he doesn’t feel we need to change anything at this point, then I’m going to keep dating him until You take him or say otherwise.”

And so she did. Or tried to.

to be continued

Deep Inside a Flower

“There’s something very beautiful deep inside you,” her boyfriend told her.

“No, there isn’t,” she responded.

“Yes, there is. I can see God pouring His love all over you, watering you as if you were a flower. Only you can’t feel it.”

On the surface, she had come to know God’s love and presence, and to a degree could accept that, but deep down was a whole different story. She could feel the darkness that she believed was down there, and was afraid to find out that she was right.

“No,” she shook her head. “There’s nothing good in me.”

“I don’t believe that. I see you as a bud, closed up tightly around great beauty. And I see God slowly and gently opening your petals, one by one.”

Fear rose up in her. What if He really was doing that? What if He gets to the center of her IMG_20180416_204207978being and finds only darkness there? Maybe even evil. And demons.

“What if I’m afraid?”

“It’s OK. God knows that. And He will go only as fast as you are able. He won’t force you.”

“Maybe, but I can’t take the chance.” She really, really didn’t want to find out she had demons.  She had heard of plenty of people who had had demons cast out of them. She shuddered just thinking about it. What would that be like, having a demon cast out? Maybe like having a nasty worm in your stomach pulled out through your mouth. She had seen a video of that once. Or like having leprosy on the inside that would gross out anyone who saw it. She’d rather hide her darkness than subject others to it. Her petals would have to remain closed.

Later, they talked about it some more. She took in his words, hoping he was right, but knowing that he wasn’t.

The next night, they attended a prayer meeting together. She listened in amazement as the speaker for the night spoke about… she could hardly believe it… how God opens His people little by little, to reveal the beauty that is inside them.

No way, she thought. That has to be more than a coincidence. She got excited thinking that maybe… but no. That was true for other people but not for her. She knew there was nothing but darkness inside her. She could feel it.

The next night, she had an unexpected visit from a friend. This friend handed her a vase with a magnolia bud and a red rose in it. She thanked her friend and had a nice visit, but she didn’t think much about the flowers.

Until the next day.

The magnolia bud had opened during the night – and the flower was absolutely beautiful! Somehow she knew beyond a doubt that this flower was from the Lord. She could feel His love and presence and knew that He was doing something deep within her. As she yielded to Him, she began looking forward to finding out what that something was.

It would take years for her petals to fully open. But when they did, she found out she had been wrong all along. Instead of darkness, she found Light. Instead of evil and demons needing to be cast out, she found His great love for her. She realized  her fear had been lying to her all those years.

“There’s something very beautiful deep inside you,” her boyfriend, now husband, had told her those many years ago. Now she finally knew that it was true. There WAS something beautiful deep inside her. And that something was called Jesus.

Muddy Purity

She read, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

“God, I have a problem. My heart is not pure.”

“Yes it is.”

“It sure wasn’t when that driver cut me off in traffic.”

“True, you could have handled that differently. But your heart is still pure.”

“No way, not after I yelled at my kids for not cleaning up their stuff.”

“Yeah, they told me about that. It’s something to work on, but your heart is still pure.”

“How can You say that after the way I ignored that homeless person holding up that handwritten sign on the corner last week? I didn’t want to give anything to him so I pretended I didn’t see him. I’m so ashamed.”

“Now that you’ve experienced that sorrow, maybe next time you won’t ignore the pleas of the poor. But your heart is still pure.”

“How can my heart be pure if I’m doing all those things? No matter how much I don’t want to, I keep sinning.”

“Sinning is not the same as purity.”

“Huh?”

“Maybe this will help. Imagine holding a diamond, a pure diamond without any flaws. IMG_20180415_052040472Now picture dropping this diamond into some mud. Is the diamond still pure?”

“Yes. The diamond didn’t change. The mud is only on the outside. Inside, the diamond is still pure.”

“That’s right. The mud cannot get inside the diamond. The mud can make the purity hard to see, but it’s still there.”

“So, my heart is pure. But my sins make that hard to see.”

“Exactly.”

“I don’t know. That’s a good illustration, but my heart sure doesn’t feel pure.”

“Purity is not a feeling. It’s a fact.”

“How do You know that?”

“Because I’ve said so.”

“You did? When?”

“That night I ate supper with my disciples just before Judas betrayed Me.”

“Wasn’t that when you talked about the vine and branches, and when You prayed for us? I don’t remember You talking about a pure heart.

“Sure. Read John 15:3.”

“It says, ‘You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.'”

“What do you think I meant by that?”

“Um, I guess I thought that meant our sins were forgiven.”

“You guess? Maybe you should look it up in a dictionary.”

“OK, here it is. Clean. There’re two definitions. The first one says ‘free from dirt, marks, or stains’. That would be the mud, right?  My sins that you’ve forgiven?”

“Yes. What does the other definition say?”

“It says, ‘pure, innocent’. Oh wow, I never associated clean with pure.”

She thought for a minute.  “So in John 15:3, when you were telling them that they were clean – pure – you were talking about their hearts and not their behavior.

“Yes.”

“And nothing they did, no sin they commit, changes that purity?”

“Right. It can be hidden under a lot of mud, but it’s still there.”

“That’s all well and good for the apostles. But I wasn’t there.”

“It applies to you, too. Read the rest of the passage and you will see that it applies to everyone who abides in Me.”

“Oh, right.” She was embarrassed that she had already forgotten that connection. “So, You said it and my heart is pure.”

“I did and it is.”

“No matter how muddy I get.”

“No matter how muddy you get.”

“Amazing,” she thought as she pictured that diamond in a mud puddle. “Simply amazing!”

You Are the Nightlight of the World

Feeling sad and discouraged, she read the words in Matthew 5: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  (v.14-15)

Really?

Where was that light when an old friend told her, “I don’t need Jesus. I don’t want Jesus.” She had been too confused to respond. How could anyone not want Jesus?

Where was that light when she visited her siblings? The discord she found there had worked its way inside her until she had gotten drawn into it. OK, maybe not as deeply as they were, but still. Where was her light?

Sadly, she read Matthew’s words again and thought, if Christians are the light of the world, I must be a nightlight. And I don’t seem to be doing a very good job at even that.

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That next couple of days, she kept getting the message to persevere. To take things one step at a time and not compare herself with others. She sighed. She’d rather be a bright light in the lives of those around her, but if the best she could be was a nightlight, then she’d persevere in being that nightlight. Yet, deep in her heart, she continued to struggle. How could Jesus be happy with her when her light was little more than that lamp under a bowl?

Years later, she received a letter from a friend.  In it, he described a vision he had had. He had seen a small girl, standing before Jesus, head down, ashamed because she feels she’s disappointed Him. He saw Jesus lift her head and tell her…

“I’ve told you time and time again – I love you just as you are. I didn’t create you to be a flame that bursts forth with brilliant light. You are my glowing ember and you will warm the hearts of many, many souls.”

Astonished, she knew this had to be from God. She had never told this friend about her struggle with not being a bright enough light. As peace replaced the struggle in her heart, she thanked God for this friend’s courage to share that message with her. And she thanked God for caring enough to let her know that being a low level light – a nightlight – was exactly what she was made to be, and it was OK.

“God, after all the times I ignored Your reassurances out of fear and doubt, You never gave up. Thank You for loving me enough to find a way to get Your message to me loud and clear. You’re amazing!”

Let the Cramping Begin

“We’re back!” they said with evil glee.

“Oh no!” she said. “Not now! The kids are here and there’s no one to cover for me! Can’t you just skip me this month?”

“Um, nope. We’re here.”

“Then come back later, after the kids have gone home.”

“Aw… one would think you didn’t like us,” they said, pretending to be hurt.

“I don’t. You’re timing is terrible.”

“Nah, we think now is a good time.”

All that Friday morning, as she took care of the kids she babysat in her home, she could feel her abdomen tightening in anticipation of the intense pain that usually accompanied these visitors each month. And she could hear them taunting her.

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“It’s going to be bad this time.”

“You’re going to scare the kids when you get sick right in front of them.”

“Feel that? It’s only going to get worse!”

“You may as well as give up. We’re going to be here a long time.”

At noon, she took some pain reliever and prayed, “Jesus, please bless these pills and make them work for me.”

“No! Not the pills!” they cried in mock horror. Then they scornfully laughed at her. “Those pills can’t even begin to touch what we have in store for you today.”

After settling the kids down for their naps, she sat down and held her abdomen. I don’t know what to do, she thought. What will happen if I can’t take care of the kids when they wake? And what about the after-school kids coming later this afternoon?

A small thought made its way into her brain. “You don’t know what to do, but you know Someone who does.”

Of course! Why didn’t she think of that sooner? She placed one hand flat on her abdomen and raised the other hand towards her Healer.

“Wait! What are you doing?” they asked nervously. She had not done that before and it looked a lot like a prayer position to them.

“Just watch,” she responded.

Then she closed her eyes and began speaking. “Jesus, Lord of all creation, You made me and You know how my body works. Please hold back these cramps from me while the kids are here. And while I attend the football game tonight. After that, it doesn’t matter. If the cramps have to happen, I’ll be able to spend the day in bed tomorrow with them.”

Then after a moment, she added, “But I can’t promise not to complain or ask You to take them again if You allow them back.”

“That won’t work. He doesn’t care about a little bit of cramping,” they jeered.

“He cares about everything I care about.”

“Your prayers don’t always work. They’re not going to work this time either.”

“That’s up to God. I trust Him to take care of me.”

“Not if we have anything to say about it,” they said as they became more active – pulling and pushing and twisting inside her.

Finally, she couldn’t stand it any longer and decided to lay down to see if that would help.

“That’s right,” they said. “Get ready for some fireworks! We’re just getting warmed up!”

Their taunts grew louder as her cramps intensified.

“You’re going to get so sick, you won’t be able to take care of the kids.”

“Yeah, they’re going to get up and destroy your house.”

“And maybe ever get hurt.”

“And then their parents are going to be so angry you took a nap and neglected their precious children that they will never bring their kids to you again. You will lose everything!”

And they laughed their evil laughs, enjoying their own imaginations.

“Jesus,” she began.

“Oh no! She’s praying again. Let’s see if He hears her this time.”

“I don’t know why these cramps are still here. I place them in Your hands. Please don’t let me fall asleep as I lay here.”

“No problem,” they laughed at her as if she was speaking to them. “You’re going to be hurting too much to fall asleep.”

“Thank You, Lord,” she continued. “Thank You for these cramps, for they show me that my body is working.”

“That’s a new one,” they said as they looked at each other. “This can’t be good.”

As she prayed, she kept her thoughts on Jesus, on what He’s done for her in the past and what He will do for her in the future. She began to doze.

They looked with bewilderment at each other. Something was happening. Something they hadn’t experienced with her before. They were shrinking right before their own eyes!

A little while later, she roused.  After making sure the kids were still sleeping, she checked on the cramps.  She couldn’t feel them. Were they gone? How could that be? Every month in the past, they would hang around for a day or two. How could they be gone in just thirty minutes?

“We’re not gone!” they yelled. “We’re still here!”

“Oh. Right. But I can barely feel you. You’re too little to do much. Jesus sure took care of you!”

“Just wait until next month. We’ll be back!”

“Bring it on. Jesus will still be here next month!”

And she spent the rest of the day singing praises to her amazing Healer-God!

Slime Monster

Where did this feeling come from, she wondered. This warm, want-to-hug-people feeling?

She had never wanted to hug anyone before. As a child, she had been forced to hug every relative hello, regardless of who they were and how she felt. That was not OK with her. In fact, she hated it. But she did it dutifully. She learned to see hugging people as a chore and to bury any feelings involved in it.

But now…she WANTED to hug people.

People in her family.

People in her church.

People at her prayer meeting.

People who befriended her.

People she knew.

People she didn’t know.

Even her pesky little sisters.

Where had this huggy part of her come from?

Then one day she read Romans 5:5. “…for we know how dearly God loves us and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.”

Ahh! So that’s where it comes from, she thought! I’m so full of God’s amazing love that it oozes out of me every time I get near someone. I’m like some kind of slime monster!

And that was just fine with her.

 

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I’m an Ear

She thought about what she had just heard. That some people have a gift for listening to others.

Was listening a gift? Isn’t that something anyone could do? That everyone should do?

Evidently not. Some people seem to be gifted the opposite way – they could talk about anything at anytime with anybody. In fact, she had noticed, they were so busy talking, they barely heard what anyone else said. If they even gave them time to get a word in. And they seemed intent on making their thoughts known regardless if anyone was actually listening or not.

She was not like that.

For some reason people thought she had this gift of listening.

“OK, Lord,” she prayed. “If listening is a gift, and if You’ve given it to me, I ask that You send me people who need someone to listen to them. I’m willing to be Your ear.”

So He did.

For the next three days, people came to her house and ended up talking at length to her. She listened to their problems, concerns, doubts, and fears. And they each left saying, “I don’t know why I told you all this. I didn’t mean to.”

But she did. God was answering her prayer.

“Am I really going to be an ear for Jesus?” she wondered excitedly. She thought of all the people who needed someone to just listen to them. She thought of the comfort and strength listening might bring them. Yes, this truly is a gift the body of Christ needs.  “Wow,” she thought. “I’m an ear for Jesus! What an amazing ministry this will be!”

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A Request for Help From My Readers

This is off topic – not a short story at all.  It’s actually a request. If I were to enter one of IMG_20180412_055520329my stories in a contest, which one should I choose? Which one would you chose? Which one do you think meets this criteria the best?

The judges will evaluate each one based on the following criteria: style, content, clarity, pacing, inspiration, and originality

  1. Is the submission well-written and readable?
  2. Does the submission engage the reader?
  3. Is the subject matter consistent with the contest’s theme?
  4. Does the author effectively use mood to convey the overall theme?
  5. Is the author’s personal style distinctive?

 

The theme is just Christian. It says, “Perhaps it is a story of answered prayer, of God coming through for you when you least expected it. Or maybe your story is humorous, illustrating God’s work at play.”

This would be the first writing contest I enter. As a new writer, I need your help to make the best, most objective choice. The deadline is April 16, 2018 and must be under 800 words. So my longer stories are not options.

Thank you so much for helping me!

Linda

Not This Time

 

She looked at the time again and frowned.  3:30  Finally on the road, she did the calculation. Two and a half hours would get them to the main beach at 6:00. Then 15 more minutes to get to the wedding sight.  The wedding starts at 6:15.

It will be tight, but we’ll get there before it starts, she thought.

Then the delays started.

Stop for gas. OK, so this delay was necessary, but it added 5 minutes to her time table. They might miss the beginning of the wedding.

Relax. God is in control.

She thought back on all the times she thought she’d be late somewhere. She had learned to trust in His timing – that He could handle circumstances and traveling times and make everything work out just fine.

Not this time, she thought as  they raced towards the beach. We have too far to go and there just isn’t enough minutes.

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Besides, she didn’t know the exact spot the wedding would be held and was hoping to be able to follow someone who did. Now, they would be late and everyone would be at the wedding site. There would be no one to follow and they’d have to trial and error their way to the site. That would add even more minutes to the time table.

A while later, frustrated at having to slow down for traffic, she looked at the time again. 4:25. Her GPS told her it would take an hour and 40 minutes to arrive at the main beach. Adding the 15 minute drive to the wedding site, they would arrive at … 6:20. They would definitely miss the beginning of the wedding.

Relax. God’s timing is perfect.

Not this time, she thought, tears squeezing past her stressed-tight eyelids.

The wrong turn was totally her fault. She had pointed out the turn to her husband only after they passed it. Then, after making a u-turn and getting on the road she had indicated, it turned out to be the wrong one. Having to turn around again, she fretted over this avoidable delay. If only she had paid closer attention to the street signs instead of relying on her memory.

It’s OK. Trust God’s timing.

Not this time, she thought as she mentally kicked herself. It was now 5:25 with about an hour still to go.

A phone call from her sister, checking on their progress and informing her that the wedding was running late, helped calm her a little. But just a little. They were still many miles from the beach. They kept driving.

Trust God to get you there at the right time.

Not this time, she thought. Even if they reached the main beach on time, everyone else will already be at the site and there still won’t be anyone to follow.

Staring out the window, she watched as they drove through unfamiliar streets. She and her husband had thought they should go a different way, but the GPS said to go this way. They decided to trust the GPS.

Relax. Trust in God’s timing.

Not this time, she sighed with frustration. Even though the GPS had taken them a side way to avoid heavy city traffic and probably saved them 10 minutes, it was 5:45 and they were still 20 minutes away from the main beach.

You are in God’s hands. Trust in His timing.

Not this time, she thought. They’d probably get lost trying to find the actual site and end up missing the vows.

Another phone call a little while later, this time from her sister-in-law. They were just now leaving for the main beach and were willing to wait for her there so she could follow them to the wedding site.

See? It’s OK. Trust in God’s timing.

Maybe, but we’re not there yet, she thought begrudgingly. It’s 5:10 and we still have to get to the wedding site.

After following her sister-in-laws car for several miles, they came to the parking lot closest to the wedding site. She was amazed to see everyone still milling around in the parking lot. The wedding hadn’t even started!

I told you – God’s timing is perfect.

As she got out to join the rest of the wedding guests, she said, “I’m sorry, Lord. You were right. I CAN trust Your timing.

Even this time.”