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Sorting Hat Devotions


I’m continually amazed how God speaks to us through His Word.  He uses my particular devotional for a day, which comes from a book I chose from many options, which is prepared well in advance by writers and publishers to speak to my particular need on an exact day and time through a book that thousands of others, who have very different needs, read at the same moment, and it speaks different things to them.  It is beyond comprehension.

I love to try to figure out God by imagining how this happens.  I have imagined a “Harry Potter”-like text, where as the book opens, words appear.  The words are just for you, and when you close the book, they fade.  Can you see it?

You pick up the devotional book; and as you open, it the words on the page appear, shift, change, until text clearly emerges—words that speak directly to your need at the moment.  If you close the book and come back tomorrow, words appear again—different words to meet different needs.  And if your spouse, child, or friend opens the book, the words for you have faded, and new words meant for them have appeared.

And perhaps the book talks to you, like the Hogwart’s Sorting Hat.  It would reveal things that clarified direction in your life or spoke to a specific situation.  Like the Sorting Hat senses student personalities and assigns them to a particular House, the “Sorting Book” points you to a particular path—a path chosen just for you.  Wouldn’t that be cool? A sentient Sorting Devotional book with changing words, meanings for different times and situations, and a perfect path for you to follow in life?  Wow! People would be standing in line to buy a book like that—much like they stood in line to purchase new releases of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter adventures.

But wait! There IS a Book like that. The pamphlet or book you use for your personal devotions draws from that BOOK! The Bible is that Book!  The book isn’t sentient.  It’s God, the Author of the Book, the Living Word!  Jesus! And God speaks to our hearts, personally, individually, any moment of the day in any situation. When we turn to The Book, we find wisdom and guidance. God’s Holy Spirit helps us see the Word and words in light of our momentary need, providing comfort, encouragement, direction, and insight.  And God’s Holy Spirit provides illumination for our path—our life path.  And God has a complete plan for our lives; His Book has already been written.  We are walking it out. . . not as characters, because we have choice and free will.  But when we use The Book as a guide, we are walking out His Perfect Plan for our lives.

The Hogwart’s Sorting Hat is only for certain times, certain decisions, and certain people.  It is a tool that is locked away except for special occasions.  But God’s Book is never locked up. It’s available always.  The Sorting Hat has occasionally made mistakes, but God never makes a mistake.

You are not a mistake.  Your life is not a mistake.  God has a plan for you. And He will speak that plan and purpose into you if you listen and follow.  And because His Word is living, it may come to you through The Bible, a devotional, a sermon, a word from a friend, a line from a story, or any myriad of ways. You will know because the Holy Spirit will quicken it to your heart. And you will be able to receive that Word and respond accordingly.

Our imaginations are wonderful gifts.  And God has planted in the hearts of many the ideas for stories that carry us off to magical worlds. But nothing compares to God’s plan and His story for us.  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”  NLT  1 Corinthians 2:9

So open The Book or a devotional, and wait with the same anticipation you might if the book you were opening was “magical.”  Because God’s Word is magical and mysterious, in the best possible connotation of those words.

A Perfect Fit


 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   Jeremiah 29:11

The Lord is taking me on another new adventure.  This blog is an adventure in itself.  I think it has helped me more than anyone else.  I said from the beginning that the size of my audience doesn’t matter.  If I am writing, I am accomplishing the task God has set before me.  Writing about God’s word has helped me to grow in ways I can’t even describe to you.  And now God is teaching me about the healing power of the essential oils He created.  I’m learning about plants and oils and healing and prayer.  God is awesome in the way He brings things into our lives at the perfect time, with the perfect people. . . but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Two years ago, I began feeling like it was time to retire from full-time teaching.  I love teaching, but the demand of the schedule was starting to weigh heavily.  I felt like I didn’t have time to live my life because I always had so much to do for school.  Anyone who has ever taught, or had any kind of demanding job for that matter, knows the struggle it can be to try to balance home life and work life.  But with kids out of the home and five grandchildren nearby, I began praying about what would be next in my life and seeking God’s timetable and direction.

This year it was time.  My final year as a full-time teacher concluded in June.  My official retirement will come October 1, but I won’t be opening my own classroom this fall; I will be filling in wherever there is a need.  September 30 will be my last day.  I’m sure the feelings will be bittersweet; however, God is opening a variety of doors, and one has taken the front seat for the time being—Young Living Essential Oils.

I have been seeking specific leading from God for the last year about what to do when I finish teaching.  I really need something to continue to supplement the household income.  I have looked into a lot of things related to teaching, but I really didn’t want to trade full-time teaching for part-time teaching.  I have also looked into online teaching from home and signed up with a website that allows you to set your own price and hours, but I didn’t get any solid leads.  It seemed to be a closed door.

I also considered being “nanny” as well as “Nana” to two of my grandsons, and I may still do that.  But I would really rather do that part-time and for free. I’d rather not be paid for caring for my own grandchildren.

In the meantime, I have also been personally exploring diet and new recipes to learn more about healthy eating.  My husband and I have always tried to plan wisely, but we are continuing to learn about unsafe and toxic ingredients in foods we had considered “natural and safe.”  For Christmas, I received The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren—a really great book on food, faith, finances, friends, and fitness.  I was learning new things about foods I had never even heard of. . .and let’s be honest. . . some foods I had heard about from my husband (and resident chef) but had been unwilling to try.  I made a commitment to eat whatever my husband cooked—even if it meant trying new things I didn’t think I’d like.  And life continued along, until. . .

One day a friend invited me to learn about, and perhaps purchase, essential oils.  What are essential oils?  They are the aromatic, volatile liquids of plants, which are generally extracted through steam distillation.  They are highly concentrated, which makes them more potent than dried herbs, due to the distillation process.[1]  I had never heard of essential oils, but I did some research and discovered that essential oils have been used by people for hundreds, even thousands of years, to promote health and natural healing.

I continued to research essential oils in general and the company Young Living specifically because I wanted to be sure I was spending money wisely.  But I was attracted to the oils designed to relieve pain and promote sleep.  Finally, I attended a class at my friend’s house to learn more specifically how Young Living oils work to promote healing and health.  I was pretty close to jumping on board, but attending the class confirmed my decision to move forward, and I purchased Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit.

That decision was a good one!  By using essential oils, I have eliminated over-the-counter pain relievers from my daily intake and have been getting solid nights of sleep.  Using these oils was a natural progression from other things I had been learning about eating healthy foods and watching for harmful ingredients on packaging.  All of it is about staying healthy naturally, which is what God designed our bodies to do.

But God wasn’t finished.  Not only did He bring these essential oils into my life for the benefit of my own family.  He also opened a door for me to establish an at-home business.  At first, I was surprised because of all the subjects available for study in school, science was the one that never “clicked” with me.  I guess God decided it is time for me to learn science.  J Seriously, though, God is so awesome!  As He led me to into this new business, I realized that it has all the characteristics I was looking for as a way to supplement income.  I can do much of the work from home, I don’t have to adhere to a regular work schedule, I’m able to interact with people socially, and I’m available to my children and grandchildren, and yet it still allows an outlet for my teaching ability.  I’m teaching people about essential oils!  And if you haven’t noticed it yet, I’m writing about oils as well.  And best of all, as I talk about the oils that God created for our use, I have an opportunity to talk to people about God, the one who created them!

Praise God! His creativity in His plan for my life overwhelms me.  I could never have thought of this myself. God has designed a job that creatively uses all my gifts, but in ways I could never have imagined.  It is exactly what I asked for when I prayed—something that would utilize the variety of talents with which He has blessed me.

When we pray for God’s direction, He leads us in paths He has designed for us, and they are a perfect fit.  I am so excited to see where God takes me on this new journey with Young Living Essential Oils.  Every day I am learning new things. Every day with God is a new adventure.

Until next time,


[1] “Yesterday’s Wisdom, Tomorrow’s Destiny.” Essential Oils: Pocket Reference. 5th ed. USA: Life Science Pub., 2011. 1. Print.




Time and again, I am amazed at God.  One area where I am continually amazed is how God shows up with answers or comments during my devotional times.  People who doubt that God converses with His children on a personal level have, perhaps, never taken the time to listen.

Each morning when I spend time, focused time, with God, there are things on my mind.  They might be big issues or small, major hurdles or minor, deep meaningful questions or frivolous requests.  They might be heavy concerns or mere fleeting thoughts. Whatever they are, God already knows them.

Sometimes as I sit down to study God’s Word, I think it unlikely that I will find an immediate answer or response to a particular thing on my mind.  After all, I begin my time with God by using a little monthly devotional, which is used by thousands, if not millions, of people every day.  The scriptures and stories used in this devotional are selected for publication months in advance.  The stories are likely written months before that.  Then each selection is designated for a particular date.  Finally, the devotional is published and mailed to subscribers.

How is it possible that with all the time it takes for preparation, a particular verse and story show up in my study time on a day that I pray a prayer or ask a question that today’s specific verse and story address?  How can God possibly orchestrate that for me?  And less the doubters are thinking “coincidence,” let me continue by saying that this phenomena is not a random occurrence.  Oh, no.  This is a daily occurrence.

And I know I am not alone.  That same story is being read, do doubt, across the country by someone who is separated from me by geography, generation, and gender—someone who is seeking answers to a different question.  And that someone finds the answers he is seeking in the same story and scriptures that have spoken to me.  This is the Rhema word of God.

God can and does speak to those who listen.  He uses His word, devotional stories, and a myriad of methods majestic and mundane.  God converses with His people.  His communication is ongoing, and it is awesome.  The God of the Universe is so in love with me that He orchestrates His universe so I will find answers.

How is He able to do this?  I do not know.  The magnitude of His ability to do this for me, and for every single person who inhabits the world—past, present, and future—is too wonderful for me to comprehend.  But I know He does.  He created me.  He created everything.  The scope of His ability and imagination is unlimited.  He is omniscient.  He is omnipresent.  He IS.  I am amazed.

Til next time,


Looking Back


Last January I was sick with bronchitis for over two weeks and missed ten days of work. It was a blessing. During that period of time, I sought the Lord, and the growth I have experienced this year in my walk with Him as a result of that time is amazing to me. One of the reasons I can look back with such certainty that I have grown is the journal I have kept and this blog God directed me to write. Though my blog has had no specific time schedule, and I wish I had time to write more frequently, I have twenty entries, counting this one. I feel like that’s a good start to something that happened pretty spontaneously.

As I look back in the journal I kept, I can see that God has been working in my life. Although I did not write daily, many scriptures are recorded, my ups and downs are documented, and God’s specific words to me are written down. I have a deep longing and need for God’s assurance and love, and He repeatedly provides these to me, not only through His Word, but through my own words. I have often re-read the pages of my journal and marveled at what I have written. Sometimes, as I re-read, I find it hard to believe the words on the page are mine. The blogs and poetry themselves are evidence of God’s inspiration. They have encouraged me of God’s love and presence in my life.

God has provided not only assurance of His love but also assurance that I am on the path He has destined for me. It is easy to lose sight of that sometimes in the midst of life’s daily activities and responsibilities. God has designed my path, and despite any struggles or hardships, I am where He wants me to be.

Though I have kept journals in the past, they have not been as extensive as the one I kept this year. But using a journal in the quest to get to know God more intimately has been beneficial. If you are looking for a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, I encourage you to buy a spiral notebook and begin 2013 by writing during your personal devotion time.

I’m not expert, and I’m sure there are many sources of information on this topic, but here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

• Don’t worry if you can’t write every day or if you don’t write very much. Start slowly, and soon you will find your pen can hardly keep up with your thoughts.
• Start by recording specific verses that speak to you. Perhaps dissect those verses by writing them in your own words. Consult a dictionary to dig into the meaning of a key word.
• Record your thoughts. God will begin speaking to you. Record what He says so you will be able to re-visit God’s words to you when you are in need of encouragement or direction.

I know that if I had not recorded all that God has spoken to me this year, I would not remember it. Reading my journal has reminded me of those times when I really connected and heard specifically from God about a particular need. It has encouraged me to seek Him further and solidified my confidence in God’s ability to speak to us individually and clearly in our times of need. It has encouraged me to claim God’s promises. It has made scripture and its personal application even more real in my life. I anticipate that as I continue this process, I will continue to “work out my own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) and grow closer to God.

So, grab a pen and a notebook and get to know God. Which reminds me—my notebook is full; I need to get a new one myself.

Until next time,


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