Many translations use the wording “forget not all His benefits.” I didn’t have a good grasp of what that meant when I was younger, but “never forget the good things He does for me” is about as plain as you can get. It’s something that’s easy for anyone to understand.
God is good to us in big ways, small ways, and all in between.
It might be something huge, like curing us of a medical condition. It might be something insignificant in the big scheme of things, like having all the traffic lights on a busy street be green in your direction.
Even when we don’t realize it, He’s doing good things for us. He always has our best interests in mind, always knows exactly what we need (or don’t need).
As businesses attempt to get closer to how they were before spring 2020, many of us who have worked from home for a year or longer are returning to the workplace. My turn came the week of Sept. 13 when our department began going back to the office two days a week.
It had been 18 months since my coworkers and I packed our laptops, grabbed files for current projects, and prepared to work from home “until further notice,” as the official communications said.
I stopped by once in July 2020 to get a few more things since our work-from-home time was stretching further than any of us originally expected. Walking back in on Sept. 14, 2021, was a bit surreal. The cavernous warehouse-turned-office-space was the same, but I’d forgotten some of the details.
How one of the light switches near my workspace must be flipped down to turn on its bank of lights since the switch at the other end of the department is always flipped up.
The number of quotes I have scattered among photos of family and friends to encourage me on crazy or long days. My favorite for a morning smile: Make today ridiculously amazing.
The sandstone coaster I bought at a local shop just for fun: Be happy, it’s contagious.
The small desk clock that was a promotional gift sample from a vendor almost 30 years ago.
They aren’t big things, but they help make my workspace my own. And as intentional as I was about surrounding myself with certain things when I began working in this department, as much as I like them, they slipped my mind when I didn’t see them every day.
I’m so glad God isn’t the same way about us and our lives.
It can be easy to think He doesn’t remember us or doesn’t care about us when we might not be paying much attention to Him. But the beautiful truth is, He never forgets a single thing about us, no matter how small it might seem or how long it might have been since we told Him hello. Nothing about us ever slips His notice.
God knew us—everything about us—before He created us in our mother’s womb.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16 NIV)
God knows us so intimately, He knows how many hairs are on our head.
God knows our name and exactly who we are, even among the billions of people on earth.
And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:17 NIV)
God knows our thoughts even when we never share them, and He knows our words before we speak.
The Lord—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath. (Psalm 94:11 ESV)
You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. (Psalm 139:4 NLT)
God knows our name—and He will never forget it.
But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. (Isaiah 43:1 NKJV)
Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:15-16 ESV)
Just because we might not be thinking of God never means that He isn’t thinking of us. He’s always with us, always watching over us, always loving us.
Sometimes we just need a little reminder to spark fresh recognition in ourselves.
How have you been reminded lately that God cares about you, right where you are? Is there something you can do to help someone else remember this for themselves?
Share a comment so we can encourage each other. And then go have a ridiculously amazing day.
Today I’m happy to share with you about Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart by Marilyn Nutter and April White.
If you follow me on social media (and if you don’t, just click any of the links at the top of the page to connect) or subscribe to my newsletter, you might have seen some of my posts about Destination Hope. It releases on Sept. 28 (which is coming soon!), so I wanted to be sure you knew about it, too.
Why am I promoting Destination Hope?
I’ve been part of what’s called a launch team — a group of people who read a book before it’s published so they can help get out the word about it through social media, blogs, online book reviews, etc. This is the first time I’ve been part of a launch team. I’m giving it a try with Destination Hope because:
Marilyn and I have known each other for almost 20 years! We met when our first devotional books were being published by Extreme Diva Media. There were about 10 of us authors in that group and the publisher made a point to help us connect with each other through online chats (because there was no such thing as Zoom back then!) and even held a mini conference for us focused on marketing and other things. Marilyn and I have been on Facebook (and now Instagram) together ever since, and when a friend publishes a book, you want to help it do well.
Who doesn’t want (or need) a little more hope in their lives? We all have times when something completely unexpected crops up and knocks us for a loop. The question is, how do we regroup and move on rather than get stuck in that place of hurt? The answer is hope, but that raises another question: How do we dig deep enough to find that hope? Destination Hope helps give some of those answers through the lessons Marilyn and April learned when they found themselves in that spot, and through the stories of others. Grief over the loss of a loved one, a medical diagnosis that changes everything, a prodigal child, a jail sentence, a divorce — those are just a few of the stories people share in Destination Hope, along with things they learned and how they managed to regroup and move forward.
And, woven into the stories, are truths that these people — real people, like you and me — discovered during their struggles. A few of the gems I highlighted are:
This life change will not destroy me. I can have hope. I will live in hope. I am hopeful.
Surrendering total control to God was the simplest and scariest decision I’ve ever made.
God stepped into my world of chronic illness with His chronic presence.
Sometimes a detour is a pause, and there is benefit in the waiting. Waiting well is an important something, not a nothing. We grow and assess as we wait.
Satan is a master at turning our thoughts inward rather than upward.
Trusting God and clinging to hope is a daily choice, especially when that choice doesn’t come natural to a lot of us.
We can trust [God] every step of the way, even in the unfamiliar, rough, uneven places, and when we feel lost.
What a collection of wisdom, all tucked into a single book. If you’d like to learn more, here’s deeper dive into Destination Hope from Marilyn and April.
The hit that knocked you down is the one you didn’t see coming, but it doesn’t have to keep you there.
Hope — we all want hope!
Destination Hope is a beacon of light to those who stumble along the tearful trail of uncertainty and unexpected change.
Marilyn Nutter and April White, from two different states and representing two generations, have been knocked off course by challenging life changes. A dormant gene surfaced in mid-life and took April into the journey of chronic illness. Marilyn was blindsided by sudden widowhood two days before Christmas while visiting family 2,000 miles from home.
Although April retired her pharmacist’s lab coat to the back of the closet, and Marilyn’s wedding ring was placed in a jewelry box, each found purpose and hope in new path marked with significant changes. Together they offer readers encouragement in unwelcome life interruptions. April and Marilyn weave their personal stories along with narratives of other women knocked off course by events you may relate to — a prodigal, incarceration, death of a child, illness, widowhood, bankruptcy, special needs children, and other life challenges.
Destination Hope is arranged into six chapters called “Milepost Markers” that address losses, disappointments, or obstacles. Each entry concludes with a “Rest Area” for personal reflection, response to action, and/or opportunity to journal. A “Postcard” with a quote related to the topic sends readers off with encouragement, as they travel toward their destination of hope. An Appendix includes resources unique to various losses to guide readers in their travel plans.
It’s a tough topic many live out in real time, and Destination Hope offers camaraderie, reality, and insight for women who say, “I didn’t see this coming.” Destination Hope invites readers to link arms in friendship with April and Marilyn who have traveled a road they didn’t see ahead. Readers will discover in practical and personal ways, they can thrive, not merely survive. Hope can be their destination.
I have always been a predominantly optimistic, glass-half-full kind of person. That’s not to say I don’t get discouraged or say negative things or sometimes play the “what if something terrible happens” game — because I do. Two important realizations related to this struck me a few weeks ago:
I’m not just a person with a positive attitude. I’m an encourager.
I need to own that fact and stop apologizing for being an encourager. And that includes no longer feeling guilty about looking for positive things when surrounded by negativity or stifled by the weight of situations. No more feeling “less than” when other people might think my mindset is ill-founded.
Bible verses in both the Old and New Testaments tell us to do this. Here are just a few:
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. (Romans 1:11-12)
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
I know there have been times when people viewed me as a Pollyanna who doesn’t want to acknowledge negative things. They’ve looked at me as less worldly or less mature, as someone wearing blinders to the harsh realities of life.
And I’ve let them do that. I’ve kept my mouth shut or downplayed the encouragement or optimism I could have shared because of how I believed they would view it. Because I didn’t want to see another round of eye rolls or “she’s clueless” glances or hear the “yeah, right” huffs.
Their attitudes toward me are wrong, but so is my response.
I can’t control what they think of me. I can control how I react.
In her workshop, Lisa Crayton also said, “Christian writers are uniquely positioned … to lead readers out of their place of discouragement to finding the encouragement that they need.”
I agree with that statement 110% as a Christian writer, but also as a Christian trying to get through each day in this unpredictable world.
As Romans 12:8 says, If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. (NLT)
Encouragement doesn’t have to come across as preachy or goody-goody or out of touch. I’m not perfect at it and there are plenty of times when I don’t follow through on an opportunity as I should. But I — we — can get better at it if we’ll ask for God’s help.
Why should we bother? Because God wired us to be encouragers. And if ever there was a time when people need to be encouraged, it’s now.
It can be as small as telling someone you hope they have a great day. Or sending a text to someone you haven’t connected with in a long time. Or letting the person in line behind you at the grocery store go first because they have five items in their basket and your cart is crammed full.
If “official” encouragement feels uncomfortable right now, we can encourage from behind the scenes. Prayers lifted on someone’s behalf can do wonders, even if they don’t know you’re praying.
So take heart, fellow encouragers! I believe it’s time for us to step up and share this gift we’ve been given without being timid or intimidated. Without apologizing or feeling self-conscious.
An unapologetic encourager. That’s what I want to be.
Will you join me?
We can make a difference in people’s lives by showing them the encouragement we know as followers of Christ. How can you see yourself doing that for the people around you? Leave a comment to share an idea and encourage others who stop by.