Sunday

Hold the Umbrella and Pray

 


The cold rain dripping from the sky made January 15 a miserable day. The temperatures hovered just above the freezing point, and an occasional gust of wind blew raindrops sideways. Driving home from getting my first COVID vaccine, I couldn’t wait to curl up near the fireplace and stay there until the sun came out. 


As I approached an intersection, I realized two cars had collided in front of me. Their front ends were crushed, and glass littered the street. Deployed airbags hung like curtains from the windows, blocking my view of the occupants. 

My CPR training scrolled through my brain like a news ticker. Assess the situation. Call for help. Administer care. 

“Oh Lord, please don’t let anyone be hurt,” I prayed. 

Realizing I was first on the scene. I edged my car closer, peering through the rain. 

A man flung open the driver’s door of one car, jumped out, and opened the back door. Shoving the airbags aside, he leaned in and emerged with a child in his arms, the little boy's screams piercing the air. The passenger door opened, and a woman rose slowly to her feet. The driver of the other car also got out, seemingly fine and dialing for assistance. 

“Is everyone alright?” I asked, pulling alongside the cars. 

“Yes,” the man said, nodding. 

“Thank you, Lord.” 

As I watched, he made his way out of traffic and onto the sidewalk, clutching the child tightly to his chest. His wife followed. 

Because the police and EMS would arrive soon, I knew they’d have the professional help they needed. They didn't need me. I pulled past them, then took a final look back. The three stood huddled on the sidewalk as the cold rain fell. 

They don’t need medical help, I thought, but they sure could use an umbrella. 

I guided my car to the side of the road, reached into the back seat, and grabbed the umbrella I’d tossed in earlier that day. Clicking it open, I walked toward the family. 

“I’m Lori, and I’d like to wait here with you until help arrives,” I said. “I’m glad you’re okay.” 

Tears formed in the man’s eyes as he tucked the child’s head under his chin and squeezed him—hard. 

“Would it be okay if I prayed with you?” I asked. “Car accidents are very scary.” 

He nodded, and I rested my hand on their shoulders, closed my eyes, and prayed. 

“Father, thank you for preserving this family’s life. Thank you no one was seriously injured. Please cover this family with your peace and meet their every need. In Jesus’ name I ask, Amen.” 

For the next fifteen minutes I stood behind them holding my umbrella as a parade of police, fire fighters, and EMS asked questions and collected information. Rain dripped off the umbrella and onto my back. The edges of my jeans wicked water off the sidewalk and inched it toward my knees.

When the family agreed to go to the hospital, I walked with them to the ambulance. 

“I’ll be praying for y’all,” I said as I stepped away. Climbing into my car, I cranked the heat up and pulled away, saying one more prayer.

When I first saw the accident, my thoughts turned immediately to the specialized training I’d received as a healthcare professional. Thankfully, they didn’t need CPR, First Aid, or Advanced Life Support. 

They just needed someone to hold the umbrella and pray. 

Every day, God allows us to cross paths with people and encounter situations we didn’t anticipate. Some solutions will require special training to resolve, but most just need common sense and a compassionate heart. 

So the next time you head out, throw your umbrella in the car, stay alert, and be ready. You never know when you might have a chance to use it. 

“Carry each other’s burdens,” Paul said in Galatians 6:2, “and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”




Does Your Faith Need Refreshing? 

Did you make a commitment to read through the Bible this year? 

Are you looking for a devotional to compliment your Bible reading? 

Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is that resource.

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.



Are You Sitting in the Dark?


My friend Jean is visually impaired. Because she can’t see our faces when our church gathers on Zoom, she usually turns off her camera and listens through the app’s audio feature. We hear her voice, but her square on the screen remains dark. 

I assumed she’d turned off her camera the other night when we gathered for a women’s Bible study. (Twelve of us are studying Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s book, Adorned, about the Titus 2 woman.) 

As I made introductions, I said, “And that’s Jean in the black square.” 

“Oh,” she said, “can you not see me? I thought I turned my camera on.” 

We heard footsteps, then a rustling, then Jean’s smiling face appeared. 

“My camera was on,” she explained, “but Mike turned off the light.” 

Because Jean is totally blind, she doesn't need light to function. Her husband, Mike, also visually impaired, benefits from having the lights on. Hearing her in the room and knowing she didn’t need the light to participate in the study, he switched it off. 

This happened twice during our meeting. Each time we had to tell Jean she was in the dark, so she knew to turn the light back on. 

Jean’s on-again-off-again darkness reminds me of my life. 

Sometimes I get enveloped in the darkness of anger, bitterness, confusion, or some other sin, and I don’t know it. Like the darkness descending as the sun sets, it creeps up on me. 

Other times a crisis plunges me into the inky blackness of fear, doubt, or unbelief. I usually recognize when this happens, but sometimes, I sit in the darkness until someone else points it out. 

If I’m smart, I’ll flip on the light of God’s Word and study its principles so I can see clearly again. 

Jesus, the embodiment of God’s Word, is the Light that banishes every darkness we face. This is why Matthew included Isaiah’s prophecy in his gospel: “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” 

With Christ as my Savior and God’s Word as my lamp, I needn’t remain in the dark. “I am the light of the world,” Jesus said, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Matthew 8:12). 

Are you walking in darkness today? Do you know someone who is? Allow the light of Christ—His salvation, His presence, and His Word—to banish every shadow that clouds your world. 




How's your commitment to read your Bible this year going?

Do you need a resource to help you navigate the sometimes-confusing books of the Old and New Testament?  

Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is the resource you need.

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.





Wednesday

10 Top Privileges of Grandparenting -- A Crosswalk Guest Post

 


To the psalmist, grandparenthood is one of God’s great blessings. In Psalm 128, a Song of Ascent sung by travelers walking the dusty roads to Jerusalem, the psalmist lists the blessings God often bestows on those who love God: the ability to enjoy the fruit of our labor, a joy-filled home, and many children. With a flourish, he tops his ice cream sundae of blessings with the proverbial cherry: “May you live to see your children’s children.”

Author Bryna Nelson Paston writes, “Truth be told, being a grandma is as close as we ever get to perfection. The ultimate warm sticky bun with plump raisins and nuts. Clouds nine, ten, and eleven.”

If you have grandchildren, you know what I’m talking about. If you are a parent, just wait. Your day will come. Today, let’s consider ten top privileges of grandparenting.


I'm guest posting today on Crosswalk.com. To read the rest of this article (and perhaps add a few privileges of your own), CLICK HERE. 





Does Your Faith Need Refreshing? 

Did you make a commitment to read through the Bible this year? 

Are you looking for a devotional to compliment your Bible reading? 

Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is that resource.

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.















Sunday

Wrestling with Waves -- When Faith and Fear Collide


In the dead of winter, sometimes it's nice to dream of summer. Today I'm reposting one of my favorite posts, "Wresting with Waves, When Faith and Fear Collide." Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, the truths it contains will comfort and encourage you.



Lauren's sandcastle was a beauty. 

Carefully-selected seashells encircled the main building. Four turrets containing imaginary princesses marked the perimeter. A dragon-thwarting moat surrounded it all. My six-year-old granddaughter, Lauren, had spent the better part of an hour creating her masterpiece. 

Stepping back to admire her work, she noticed something she hadn’t seen before—the tide. Reaching toward her creation, the sea’s arms extended then retreated, ominous in their subtle advance. Her back had been turned toward the ocean during construction, so Lauren hadn’t given the water a thought. 

But now the threat was real. 


 Like a superhero squaring off against the enemy, she positioned herself between the sea and her beloved creation. Thrusting her hands toward the advancing waves, she bellowed, “NO!” 

For a moment, the sea slithered away. Then, gathering strength, it rushed forward for another assault. 

“GO BACK” she cried, willing the sea to retreat. The tug of war continued until, with a mighty heave, the ocean roared past her restraining arms and over the castle, sucking the seashells off and drowning the imaginary princesses. 

Crushed by her inability to protect her creation, Lauren hung her head in defeat. 

I’ve often felt like Lauren. Weak in the face of an insurmountable challenge. Frightened by things I can’t control. Threatened by forces too mighty for my feeble strength. Death. Disease. Evil. A prodigal child. A troubled marriage. A challenging work environment. All these and more make us feel powerless and scared. 

Like Lauren, I've wondered if it’s only a matter of time before fearsome waves swallow everything I’ve worked so hard for. 

Lauren isn’t the only one who’s had a tussle with the sea. Jesus’ disciples faced a similar challenge. 

“On the same day, when evening had come, [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 

“But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’” (Mark 4:35, 37-38). 

Have you ever asked God this question? Wondered if He was asleep? Immune to your struggle? Unconcerned about your suffering and distress? 

Yet even in their terror, the disciples did the right thing—they ran to the One who could save them. 

“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm” (v 38). 

Lauren didn’t have the power to protect her sand castle, nor do we have the power to protect our children, our jobs, our marriages, our possessions, or our positions. 

But God does. 

And we can trust Him to order the circumstances of our lives for our good and for His glory. Whether He quiets the storm, removes it completely, or rides it out in the boat with us, we can trust that He’ll bring us to the other side. 

How do I know? Because He promised. 

As He said to the disciples, so He says to us, “Let us go over to the other side.” 

In His omniscience, He knew there’d be a storm, but storms don’t change His plan. “I’ll carry you over every white-capped wave,” he promised, “hold you when you’re frightened, and sustain you when you have no faith. We will make it to the other side—together.” 

“Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (v 39). 

Lauren learned that day that she was powerless before the mighty force of the ocean. Life’s storms have caused me to realize a similar helplessness. Her attempt gave me the opportunity to remind her of a truth she can cling to all the days of her life. 

“You aren’t strong enough to keep the ocean in its place,” I told her, “but there’s Someone who is. Do you know who He is?” 

“God?” 

“Yep. Aren’t you glad nothing is too hard for Him?

“Yes,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. “But I wish he’d put the ocean a little farther away from my sandcastle.” 




Does Your Faith Need Refreshing? 

Have you committed to read through the Bible this year?

Are you looking for a devotional to go along with your reading?

Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is that book!

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.

















"I Just Love It to Death!" Can You Say this About Your Bible?

We have a saying in the South to describe feeling strong emotion for something or someone over a long period of time. Spoken with just the right twang and touch of sweet-tea-sweetness, it goes like this: “I just love it to death.” 

We might say it about our bestie: “I love her to death.” 

Or about our church: “I just love it to death.” 

Or even about spending a week at the beach every summer: “I just love it to death.” 

My mom (a transplanted Yankee trying to fit in with her Southern neighbors) said this about my childhood stuffed animal, Ellie: “She just loved her to death.” 


The truth of her statement is apparent. Ellie’s well-fondled ears are hanging on by a thread (literally). The top of her head is spotted with tears, snot, and probably peanut butter from all the times I tucked her under my chin and cried. And her trunk? Well, let’s just say that when I was trying to break my habit of thumb sucking, I might have chewed on it a time or two. 

I loved Ellie to death. 

Now that I’m a grown up, other things have replaced Ellie in my heart. 

I recently posted a picture on social media of my Bible and included this challenge: 

This year, as I have done for more than 20, I’ve committed to read the Bible through. This practice, more than anything else I’ve ever done, has filled me with hope, grown my faith, refined my character, and birthed in me a greater love for God and others. If you read the Bible daily, what benefits have you experienced? If you don’t, why not commit to this year? I promise you won’t regret it. 

One of my friends, commented, That poor old MacArthur Bible

She was referring to my Bible’s pitiful appearance. The spine has a seam down the front from all the times I’ve opened and closed it. The title is barely readable, and the leather cover is worn through on the edges to reveal the fabric beneath it. 

I responded to my friend’s comment with, I've loved it to death. 

And I have. 

Since 2011, I’ve clung to this Bible like an anchor when the storms of life threatened to drown me. I’ve held it up in praise when God has done miraculous things in my family’s life. I’ve carried it halfway around the world in suitcases, backpacks, and travel bags. It’s made it through customs in Mexico, Japan, and Spain (not to mention Atlanta). 

Like Ellie in my childhood, this Bible and its predecessors have been my constant companion through most of my adult life. Not as a lucky rabbit’s foot, but as a link to the God I serve. 

For decades I’ve opened my Bible desperate for hope, meaning, direction, and inspiration. I’ve found wisdom to navigate life’s challenges, promises to claim for those I love, and instruction in how to live. Its pages are covered in scribbles, notes, and underlines. I’ve marked promises, warnings, insight, and encouragement. 

In its margins I’ve written prayers for family members and circled God’s promises. I’ve noted significant life events like the day I submitted my first manuscript and the dates my grandchildren were born. Tear stains mark the promises for salvation I prayed over for years before my prodigals surrendered to Christ. 

If my house was on fire, and I had time to grab one thing, I’d grab my Bible. Like my friend observed, I’ve loved it to death. 

If my life was ending, and I had time to speak one final sentence, I’d say, “Read your Bible.” 

Why?

Every time we open our Bibles, God's voice speaks to us. And who doesn’t need to hear God’s voice? Every single day of our life? 

I’ve discovered, in my almost forty years of walking with God, that life goes better when I read His Word every day. Not because I earn brownie points with God, but because I need what He has to say. 

I need instruction in how to live as a Christian in a non-Christian world. I need to be reminded that a better life awaits me. I need to know God’s promises so I can pray them for myself and others. I need the challenge and comfort of Christ’s example to know that I can remain faithful to the end. I need hope when I’m frightened, and peace when I’m troubled. 

I need God. 

Every day. 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John 1: 1 tells me. In the Word, I find God. 

This year, I’d like to invite you to join me in reading the Bible every day. If you read for fifteen minutes a day, you’ll read through the Bible in a year. But even if you only read for five, your life will be better, and your spiritual life will grow. 

One day, someone may look at your Bible and say, “She loved it to death.” 

And God will smile.

“Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart” Psalm 119:111. 

If you’re committed to read your Bible every day this year, please leave a comment in the box below. I want to pray for you. 

Happy New Year! 



Does Your Faith Need Refreshing? Are you looking for a companion book to accompany you as you read through the Bible this year?

Here's what readers are saying about Lori's newest book:

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!

 

Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.



Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.