Lost and Found

by Louise Tucker Jones

Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Luke 15:4 NIV

A few months ago I lost my credit card. Well, maybe “lost” is the wrong word. I knew exactly where and when it disappeared and returned to the scene but found nothing. It wasn’t on the counter, floor, or outside where I parked, and no one had turned it in to the business. I searched inside my car, thinking it may have fallen out of my pocket when buckling up. Not there. And no, I didn’t slip it into my purse. Nothing to do but call and cancel the card. Thankfully, there were no purchases and a new card was sent to me.

Now, imagine my frustration when I lost the new card a couple of months later. What would the company say if I made a second call? Not wanting to do that, I searched the car again and again. Then suddenly I slipped my hand into a crevice next to the console and there was the card. I was ecstatic until I discovered it was actually the card I had replaced. Now what?

I figured if I found one card, surely I could find the other, so I searched the car again. Nothing. I took a break then made one last effort before calling for a replacement. I sat in the car and prayed, then I twisted and turned to see where my card might have fallen from my pants pocket. A folded map was tucked into the space between my seat and the console. Inside one of the folds was my credit card, safely hidden. I definitely sent a big hallelujah to the Lord and vowed to never again carry my credit card in an unzipped pocket.

Later, as I thought of my “lost and found” cards, it actually reminded me of my relationship with the Lord. No, I will never lose my salvation. My eternal life is secure. But sometimes I lose my daily fellowship with Jesus. I get busy with everyday problems and begin making decisions without consulting Him. I lose His discernment and guidance and miss our daily conversations. Then I suddenly feel a deep loneliness for my Savior and wonder how I lost my way.

The good news is that our Lord never walks away from us. We are never lost from His eternal love. The bad news is that this scenario can easily happen again. Not purposely. We love the Lord. We long to be close to Him but we are human.

We have families, work, and more. We can even get too busy with church or ministry. We get tired and lose our joy. We don’t feel that spark in our hearts that started us on this journey. Then we realize we have “left our first love,” as Jesus stated in Revelation 2:4 (NKJV). But it’s never too late to come back to Jesus.

We can never be so lost that the Lord cannot find us. Never so sinful that His love will not cover us. Never so tired that He will not carry us. Never too “anything.” Just like a faithful parent, God always welcomes his prodigals home with love and celebration.

Holy Father, thank you for covering us with your love, mercy and grace.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Louise Tucker Jones is a speaker, columnist and award-winning author. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary KidsHer poignant life stories have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands. Find her at LouiseTJ@cox.net LouiseTuckerJones.com

Join the conversation: Have you ever felt lost?

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My Marvelous Mentor

by Louise Tucker Jones

This happened so that God’s mighty works might be displayed in him. John 9:3(CEB)

It was a difficult day. In truth, it was a difficult week. An emotional week that left me feeling exhausted and inadequate. Night came and there was still so much to do. Jay, my son with Down Syndrome and significant heart disease, still needed his bath as well as warm compresses and ointment for an eye infection. And along with his nightly snack of oatmeal, he needed ice on an injured knee and a little compassion. Finally, teeth were brushed, humidifier filled, and oxygen ready for nighttime sleeping.

Jay wiggled into his bed comfortably while I sang “Jesus Loves Me,” then as usual, I sat on the edge of his bed for nighttime prayers. And as is our habit, Jay placed his hand in mine and I started my prayer. “Holy Father,” I prayed, then paused. Not my norm. I paused a little longer then suddenly blurted out, “Lord, we are tired!” Again, not my norm, and it struck Jay so funny that he giggled out loud and patted me on the back and said, “Good Girl, Mom!” We both laughed and hugged then finished our prayer and goodnight kisses.

What a difference that honesty toward the Lord and Jay’s sweet affirmation made to me. It brought me back to what was important and even relieved some of my fatigue. Too often I forget Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28 (NLT) “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” I often overwhelm myself with a mental list of all I should be doing or even should have already done. I sometimes have to sit myself down and say, “You are not called to be perfect!”

Yes, God is perfection, but He does not expect perfection from us. What a relief! We will make mistakes. We will say or do the wrong thing at times. We will need forgiveness—every day! As a mom, a friend, or a Christian, I will never be perfect. But as long as I love and speak Jesus to my family and others in my life, then I am following the Lord’s command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27 NIV).

I’m so thankful for the truths God teaches me through my son. Just like the Lord, Jay offers unconditional love to me. And no, my son is not perfect. He can be stubborn and ornery but is also quick to forgive.

Sometimes when I’m trying to teach Jay lifesaving habits, he ignores me, not understanding the importance of a particular skill. Too many times the fear that he won’t learn that life lesson leads me to frustration instead of patience, or even an angry comment. Jay doesn’t understand the reason for my fear or anger and when I see the hurt I caused him, it breaks my heart. I go to him immediately and ask for forgiveness, telling him Mom was wrong. And just like Jesus, he always forgives with a hug, and while I hold him close and blink back tears, I silently thank the Lord for this marvelous mentor with Down syndrome.

 “Holy Father, thank You for the gifts of love, joy and forgiveness. Thank you, Jesus that you invite us to rest in You. We love you! Amen.”

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Louise Tucker Jones is a speaker, columnist and award-winning author. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary Kids. Her poignant life stories have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands. Find her at LouiseTJ@cox.net LouiseTuckerJones.com

Join the conversation: Who is your mentor? What have you learned lately?

Receive The Cup

by Louise Tucker Jones

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. Luke 22:42 NIV

When I read of Jesus’ last moments at Gethsemane, as he prayed for the Father to remove the bitter cup that lay ahead, I weep and even identify. That almost sounds blasphemous to say I identify with Jesus, but wasn’t that one of His purposes? To endure pain and suffering, so we might know that He understands when we are faced with the same?

No, I have not been asked to suffer on a cross for a world of sin. Only Jesus has done that. And it is through His death and resurrection that we have eternal life. But we will have problems on this earth. Jesus tells us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV) None of us are immune from pain or suffering.

And I doubt any of us can understand the loneliness that Jesus felt during such agonizing prayer that He sweat drops of blood, then found his friends sleeping. But because of this, He knows how we feel when we are betrayed or try to pull friends along for support in the midst of our crises. And often, like the apostles who napped while Jesus prayed, our friends don’t understand the magnitude of our pain. They have their own lives and problems, so they often retreat, leaving us feeling alone and hurt.

Prayer is truly all we know and all we can do in some situations. It’s the best thing to do. I know what it’s like to pray all night for something to change—for a child’s fever to break or an illness to leave. For teenagers to be kept safe when they are out after curfew. I’ve prayed long and hard prayers for a prodigal to return and a rebellious spirit to be subdued. And I definitely know the deep grief of sitting beside a loved one on the brink of death, praying that this day or night would not be their last breath. I want the “cup” to pass and life to go back to normal. And when it doesn’t happen, I want ready answers.

But sometimes those answers don’t come. We pray. We ask. We plead. But the answers evade us. They lie in unknown corridors of time until God is ready. When this happens, it is often all we can do to hold onto a scrap of faith lest we plummet into a pit of despair. When there is no rescue, and it is just God and you in the dark of night. When the answer is not what we want and our hearts are broken, may God give us the faith and courage to do what Jesus did. To lift our hands toward heaven and receive the cup as we plead, “Thy will be done!”

Lord Jesus, thank you that you understand our deepest heartaches and greatest sorrows. Thank you for loving us through the dark times as well as the good times. May our souls rejoice in You!

About the author: Louise Tucker Jones is the author/coauthor of six books, including the Gold Medallion award winning, Extraordinary Kids. She has published hundreds of poignant life stories in anthologies, magazines such as Guideposts and thirteen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Married for 45 years before her husband, Carl, relocated to heaven, Louise is the mother of two children on earth and two in heaven. She is a grandmother, great-grandmother and professed chocoholic. LouiseTuckerJones.com

Join the conversation: Have you ever felt isolated by disappointment?

God Keeps Every Promise

by Louise Tucker Jones

For every promise from God shall come true. Luke 1:37 TLB

I was worn out from fatigue, fear, and worry. Who could understand my needs, my problems? I was haunted by constant pain from my back, hips, and legs. Even my jaws and temples ached. Anxiety clung to me like glue. My son had special needs that only I could fill, and I was exhausted. Though Jay went to a private school with other Down Syndrome students in his early years, he was now schooled at home due to his suppressed immune system. I constantly worried about his health as well as his education, even though we had a tutor.

The doctor had told us long ago that Jay’s heart disease would eventually prove fatal. Nothing anyone could do. How do you live with that knowledge day after day, year after year? How could I possibly tame this “fear monster” welling up inside me?

It was my regular Bible study night, so I decided to go, even though I was tired. I was listening only half-heartedly during the lesson, until I heard the worst possible statement. It grabbed my attention. The leader turned to our small group and said, “Ladies, if you worry, you are living in sin.”

What a cold and calloused statement. No discussion. No empathy for what many in the group were experiencing. Just a quick judgment and a pious platitude from a misguided Christian who had no idea of the damage her words caused. Of course, I knew the Bible tells us not to worry. But Jesus didn’t condemn those to whom he was speaking. He offered love.

Isn’t that what we are supposed to show people who are hurting? Shouldn’t we instead pray for those who are sad and lonely? Where was the acceptance our hearts long for in that leader’s statement?

Later that night, I got alone with God in my home and poured out my heart. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I held my Bible in front of me and cried out to my Savior. “Lord, I know this isn’t the best way to do things, but I’m desperate. I have to have a word from You!”

I lay the Bible in my lap and kept it closed for a prayerful moment then opened it at random, asking God to show me a special verse. There in the margin was a star beside one of several underlined verses. I read the words of Luke 1:37. “For every promise from God shall surely come true.”

I was struck beyond belief. I had opened my Bible, pleading with God to give me just one promise to hold on to in my physical and emotional pain. But instead, He opened the doors of heaven. He knew my heart and my desperation and gave me a passage that let me know that every promise in the Bible was for me. Not just one, but all of them.

A promise to meet all my needs (Philippians 4:19). A promise to never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). A promise to give me peace (John 16:33). To heal me, love me and more. Every promise was mine—personally autographed with the blood of Jesus.

Father, thank you that you are a God who keeps every promise. You want the best for me. Your grace and mercy flow like a river. Your heart takes great delight in me. Your love covers me and I rest in the shelter of your wings.”

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Louise Tucker Jones is a speaker, columnist and award-winning author. Her poignant life stories have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles.

Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary Kids. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands. Find her at LouiseTuckerJones.com .

Join the conversation: What promise of God means the most to you?

How Much Are You Loved?

by Louise Tucker Jones

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jeremiah 31: 3 NIV

I was talking with my oldest son on the phone, hearing the latest tales of my strong-willed 18-month-old granddaughter, Alexandria. Every day, Aaron had a new story to relate. He and his wife Amy had waited 11 years for this child, and they were enjoying her to the max.

Before we got off the phone, Aaron mentioned he was going out of town. As always, I promised to pray for his safety.

When I hung up the phone, I dropped to my knees beside my bed and prayed God’s protection over my son while he traveled. As I prayed, I was suddenly overwhelmed with love for my firstborn. I asked God, “Lord, does Aaron know how much he is loved?” Surely he did, especially now that he was a daddy. He adored his brown-eyed, curly-headed little girl.

But I wondered. Did he really know? As an adult, did he have a clue how much I loved the sound of his voice and how I still carried his heart in mine every day?

Then suddenly, I felt God whisper to my own heart, “Louise, do you know how much you are loved?” I was so overwhelmed by the question that it took my breath away. I felt the Lord repeat it. “Do you know how much you are loved?”

Sadly, I whispered through tears, “No, I don’t think so.” Too often I failed to take precious time with the Lord. I was a busy wife and mom. I was writing and speaking, doing good things for the Lord. And yes, I knew Jesus loved me and died on the cross for my sins. I was definitely a believer, but those whispered words pierced my heart. “Do you know how much you are loved?”

I thought about how many times I went to God with my hurts, troubles, and innumerable requests. Times when I begged God to give me wisdom and discernment in the midst of a spiritual battle. I prayed daily for family and friends who needed healing, but how many times had I gone to the Lord, just to tell Him I loved him? And when was the last time I sat at His feet and let him pour His love into my spirit, just soaking in His goodness?

As parents, we can’t even put into words how much we love our children, yet we often forget that God is our model. He’s the one who taught us how to love. How to give mercy and grace. His love stirs our hearts with emotion. The love of Jesus saves our souls and the love of the Father says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

It has been several years since this incident happened with my son. My granddaughter is now a teenager. And yes, I’m certain my children know how much I love them. But most of all, I want them to know how much they are loved by their Heavenly Father.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Louise Tucker Jones will touch your heart or tickle your funny bone with her poignant life stories which have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary Kids. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives with Heavenly Husbands. www.LouiseTuckerJones.com; LouiseTJ@cox.net

Join the conversation: Do you know how much you are loved?

Waiting on the Lord for Strength

by Louise Tucker Jones

 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 KJV

I was 30 years old, six months pregnant and recovering from an emergency appendectomy, when I read Isaiah 40:31 on a hospital menu. The pregnancy had been difficult with early bleeding, monthly injections, and limited activity. And now, after surgery, I couldn’t even turn over in bed without the baby sliding under my 5-inch incision and giving a painful kick. As I reread the verse, I wondered how long I would have to wait before I could “walk and not faint” or “run and not grow weary.”

A year and half earlier I had experienced a devastating miscarriage, spending two days in the hospital due to excessive hemorrhaging. Two years before that, my three-month-old son, Travis, had died unexpectedly due to congenital heart disease. I ached for my babies as well as renewed strength.

I thought of Hannah in the Old Testament and how she asked God for a son. The Lord answered her prayer. I followed her example, kneeling by my bed and begging the Lord for a child. Now I waited.

Three months after my appendectomy, I held my newborn baby in my arms. I kissed his tiny face and promised to love him forever, continuing to claim the promise of Isaiah 40:31. I knew this little boy with Down syndrome would have an uphill journey most of his life. What I didn’t know was how steep that climb would be for me. I can’t say how many times I have prayed and pleaded for God to renew my strength, to let me soar like the eagles and to allow my little boy to walk and run.

There were seemingly impossible tasks and skills for Jay to master. Nothing came easy for him, but he never lost heart. Playing on the floor led to rolling which eventually gave way to crawling, then to walking at three years old. Tactile sensitivity made eating texture a chore and a compromised immune system kept Jay at the doctor’s office much of the time.

But God did not leave us alone. He sent angels to protect Jay in the midst of medical problems and challenges, knowing this child would touch hearts around the world through the many stories written about him. Though my son’s life has often been one obstacle after another, Jay’s faith always soared. There has never been a time that he did not know and love God. He never even needed an explanation. He just knew the Lord from the beginning and forever holds Jesus in his heart. 

I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed Isaiah 40:31 during these 46 birthdays with Jay—both for my son and for myself. I can only tell you that God has always been faithful.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the many times my soul has soared with You. Please continue to give me wings when the walk is too steep.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Louise Tucker Jones Profile
Extraordinary Kids: Nurturing and Championing Your Child With Special Needs

About the author: Louise Tucker Jones is a speaker, columnist, and Gold Medallion award-winning author. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs and has contributed to more than 40 anthologies with her poignant life stores. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands. Find out more at LouiseTuckerJones.com.

Join the conversation: How has God been faithful to renew your strength?

Hidden Treasures

by Louise Tucker Jones

Back in the early 70s, my late husband, Carl, accepted a job at a new company, which offered him a better position. At the time, we were renting a lovely two-story brick home in Tulsa and I was six months pregnant with our second child. A little too late, Carl realized the change in employers compromised our health insurance, and we suddenly had to pay expensive, private premiums instead of group insurance to cover my pregnancy.

We soon decided that a move was in order and found a cute little two-bedroom home with a lower rental fee. It wasn’t my dream home but we scrubbed and painted and made it ours.

But here’s what I found. There are hidden treasures wherever you are, but you often have to look for them. As it turned out, our little house was within walking distance of Swan Lake, a beautiful sanctuary off the beaten path. And being as it was summer, my 4-year-old son Aaron and I would often take walks there, where I sat in the shade of majestic trees while Aaron fed graceful swans.

After our son, Travis, was born, we occasionally walked to the lake as a family during the cooler evenings. It was the hidden gem in what had seemed to be a negative move for us.

Sometimes life brings dramatic changes, and we have to truly search for the good in our situation. God often directs us through scripture. Proverbssays, “Cry out for wisdom, and beg for understanding.  Search for it like silver, and hunt for it like hidden treasure.Then you will understand respect for the Lord, and you will find that you know God.” (2:3-5 CEV).

As it turned out, we also experienced tragedy at that little house with the sudden death of our son, Travis, at three months of age, due to a rare, undiagnosed congenital heart defect. The pain and loss were horrific and I worried that my young son, Aaron would forever be shadowed by grief.

But recently, my grown-up son, Aaron, told me that some of his favorite childhood memories were those walks we took to Swan Lake. Just the two of us, while we waited on the birth of his baby brother.

I marvel at the fact that in the midst of tragedy, God made sure my young son found a hidden treasure to hold in his heart forever. He will do the same for you if you simply search His heart.

 In him [Christ] all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are safely kept. Colossians 2:3 CEV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Louise Tucker Jones Profile

About the author: Louise Tucker Jones loves to touch hearts. Her poignant life stories have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary Kids. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands.

Join the conversation: Have you discovered hidden treasure lately?

Silent Witness

by Louise Tucker Jones

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

Several years ago, I happened upon a beautiful, mahogany wood-framed picture on a 90% off sale. I immediately claimed it as my own. Not only was it the only way I could afford a $200 piece of art, but it also displayed the above Bible verse, one of my favorites, in calligraphy. It was also written in Spanish, which made me love it even more. 

Majoring in Spanish in college, I spent summers working in San Marcos, Texas. Most of my co-workers were Hispanic and I also attended a Hispanic church, “La Iglesia Bautista,” where I taught a Sunday School class to twelve-year-old boys. Though I’m sure it was awkward for them to have the only Anglo in church for their teacher, they eventually grew to love me as much as I loved them, and brought me little gifts when I left at the end of the summer.

The picture brought back sweet memories as I hung it on the wall of our family room. Soon after that, we had new carpet installed in our home and the entire carpet crew was Hispanic. My husband was present during the installation and told me how each worker stopped and gazed on the picture. He said one older gentleman, who spoke no English, stood and pondered it for a long time. I had to wonder if he knew the Savior of that Bible verse.

Sometimes we forget that we present a witness to people in more than spoken words. People look at the way we live. The things we cherish. How we speak to each other. They notice how we treat strangers, especially during this Covid crisis. We need to take inventory of ourselves. Are we kind to checkers at the grocery store? Do we thank those who bring curbside service of food or other products to our cars? Are we gracious on social media? A single negative post can speak volumes to people we don’t even know. The Bible tells us to “be very careful how we live—not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity….” (Ephesians 5:15-16) NIV

I will never know whether the older gentleman who pondered the artwork in my home knew our Savior, but I am thankful that God used a picture and a Bible verse as a silent witness of Christ’s love.

Lord Jesus, thank you that You do not look at or judge us according to outward appearances—our race, color, language, age, size or any other trait. You look at our hearts. Please let mine be pure. Amen.

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Silent Witness – encouragement from Louise Tucker Jones on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Louise Tucker Jones Profile

About the author: Louise Tucker Jones loves to touch hearts. Her poignant life stories have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary Kids. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands.

Join the conversation: What are ways you have found to be an effective silent witness?

The Shepherd’s Voice

by Louise Tucker Jones

My sheep recognize my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (TLB)

When my son, Jay, was a toddler, I wore a short curly hairstyle that I could quickly “wash and wear.” Then one day I came home from the beauty shop with a stylish, smooth style. Jay cried when he saw me. This didn’t look like his mommy.

My husband held Jay while he cried. Over and over I tried to take him but each time he saw me his tears started again. Finally, I sat down in the rocker and Carl placed Jay in my arms with his back toward me. I hugged him close, kissing the top of his head and whispering reassurances to him. He stopped crying, hearing my voice and feeling my touch. Then suddenly, he turned and saw someone that didn’t look like his mommy and started to cry again.

So many times we do this in our spiritual walk. We know the Lord’s voice. We hear Him whisper to our hearts. We even know His touch. But we look around at unexpected and difficult circumstances and scream, “This doesn’t look like God!” We may doubt and wonder if we really heard from the Lord. Or, like my son, we may even turn away from the very One for whom our hearts are longing.

John the Baptist was the designated forerunner of Christ. He preached baptism and repentance and told of a coming Messiah. One of whom “the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (Luke 3:16 NIV). Can you imagine his humility as he baptized Jesus, knowing he was baptizing the Son of God? Yet later, as John sat in Herod’s prison, waiting execution, he began to doubt and sent his disciples to Jesus with the question: “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Luke 7:20 NIV). John needed reassurance that Jesus was the true Messiah if he was to endure the grim circumstances he found himself in.

We too sometimes find ourselves in desperate situations. A spouse is unfaithful. A loved one dies with cancer. A child becomes a prodigal. We pray and pray yet the miracle doesn’t come. And sometimes we wonder if God really cares. At such times it is imperative to remember God’s nature and how much He loves us.

My situation with my son, Jay, was easily resolved. I simply washed my hair, erasing the new style. As I came into the living room with my familiar curls, Jay’s little arms reached for me and he cuddled into my embrace. This was the mommy he knew. With time Jay recognized me no matter my hairstyle.

Our spiritual maturity is much the same. It will determine how quickly we recognize God in the middle of our circumstances, no matter what they may be. It requires discernment, prayer, and listening intently for our Shepherd’s voice.

Lord Jesus, help me to hear you in the middle of the chaos that often encompasses my world.  Give me divine instruction and the courage to follow You. Amen.

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The Shepherd’s Voice – encouragement from Louise Tucker Jones on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Louise Tucker Jones is a speaker and Gold Medallion award-winning author. Her poignant life stories can be found in her monthly magazine column as well as numerous anthologies, including more than a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands. LouiseTJ@cox.net

Join the Conversation: Have you ever failed to recognize God in the chaos?

When Words Aren’t Enough

by Louise Tucker Jones

We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself, intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26 (NIV) 

I was attending a weekend immersion trip to become more fluent in Spanish. We were given only one rule—absolutely no English! It seemed simple enough as we ordered hamburgers and Cokes for lunch at a fast food restaurant on the way to our destination. But once we arrived, things quickly changed.

Suddenly, we were on our own in an unfamiliar grocery store, shopping for our weekend menu. When we couldn’t find an item, we had to ask in Spanish. Store personnel would shake their heads and move on. At the hotel lobby I often had to use charades and gestures to help the desk clerk understand me. And in our cabin, when the chitchat with my roommates turned serious, I struggled to find the Spanish words to express my thoughts and feelings.

It was a marvelous learning experience. Not just because I became more fluent in Spanish, but I learned first hand what my son, Jay, goes through when he tries to communicate. Being developmentally disabled and having a severe speech articulation disorder, Jay struggles daily with communication, often resorting to sign language and gestures. People often just stare at him and walk away. Sometimes he becomes frustrated, but he never gives up. Yet even with his tenacity, Jay often needs me to translate what he cannot say for others.

As Christians, we sometimes find ourselves in this same situation. We try to do things in our own strength and wonder why it doesn’t work. It’s not that we leave God totally out of our plans, but we often forget to invite the Holy Spirit to do His part.

In much the same way that I intercede for my son, Jay, when he can’t express his needs in words, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us. When we are in the depths of despair. When we can’t find direction. When our hearts and souls are crushed and we feel totally abandoned. When we don’t have the words to explain our grief or even our joy, the Holy Spirit breaks through and intercedes for us.

What a gracious heavenly Father, to accept our pitiful, prayer petitions, even our groaning, when our hearts are wrenched with pain, then cover us with His awesome, holy love!

Father, thank you for the constant intercession of the Holy Spirit; for hearing our requests when we don’t even have the words to describe our needs. Amen.

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When Words Aren’t Enough – encouragement from Louise Tucker Jones on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Louise Tucker Jones ProfileAbout the author: Louise Tucker Jones loves to touch hearts. Her poignant life stories have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary Kids. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands.

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