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“God’s Timing”

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“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.”—Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Nike popularized the phrase “Just Do It” when the company adopted it as a motto. Many of us have said those three words a time or twenty when speaking with someone who seemed to procrastinate moving forward on something. When we use the phrase, we’re really saying, “stop making excuses and get busy!”

Procrastination is not a word that people would use to describe me. It’s not even how I would describe myself. Yet, my most recent book project only came about because my hand was “forced.”

For at least a decade, I’d been thinking about putting together a one-year weekly devotional, but I put it off, thinking that I had too many other things on my plate. I wanted this to be a collaborative project, and I wondered how I would gather everyone together for the work. Eventually, I talked myself out of it. Years would pass before I gave it any more serious thought, even though the idea never left my mind.

In 2020, the devotional idea again gained momentum when I aimed to help an organization publish a devotional with its members. Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out for several reasons, but the ball was already rolling, so I began creating the devotional as a Yo Productions project. The end result was a final compilation of works that outweighs my best imaginations.

I now wonder if the delays over the years and with the other organization were simply part of the process that propelled me to complete the project at this appointed time. Proverbs 16:9 reminds us that “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps” (NIV). When I finally began executing the plan for the devotional, things were delayed a year because of situations outside of my control. What I thought was a delay turned out to be “perfect timing!”

I’m sure that many others have such testimonies of things not happening when you wanted them to but happening at the time they were supposed to. Of course, real procrastinators will use God’s timing as an excuse to not do any prep work at all. As I look back on the years that I “put off” this project, I now see how God was preparing me. I wasn’t aware of such at that time, but now it’s plain as day through the connections I’ve made, things I’ve learned, and resources I’ve acquired to put the plan into action. While we can and should plan, we must also submit our plans to His will and give Him ultimate authority to do as He pleases when He pleases. His timing is always best!

Check out Connecting with Christ: 52 Weekly Devotionals to Nurture Spiritual Growth

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The “S” Word

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Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church . . . Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. — Ephesians 5:22-25

“Is Daddy your boss?” my daughter, eleven at the time, asked me one day when we were in the car.

“No,” I emphasized carefully. “Why do you ask?”

“Because . . . every time I ask you something, you say that you have to talk to Dad first.”

Taking a deep breath, I answered, “Well, honey, that’s because your dad and I are partners. I will not make a decision that affects you, your brother, or our entire household without first consulting him, and vice versa.” I told her that, as husband and wife, her father and I were accountable to each other.  I used the “s” word (i.e., submission) and explained that, though he was the leader of our family (a.k.a. head of household), it was only right for us to talk about decisions first. “Not doing so would be disrespectful,” I added. I was sure my voice was calm . . . at least I think it was. Inside I was fuming. Not because she had done anything wrong. Rather, the question had struck a nerve. I thought, What in the world am I doing to make this child think that David Sanders is my boss!

When we got home, I told my husband about the conversation. I’m not sure what I was expecting. Perhaps, subconsciously, I wanted him to have a talk with her and repeat what I said to add validity to my words that we were both accountable to each other. Whatever my motive was, it backfired. My husband laughed as I was telling him the story, including my thoughts. “Yeah, I’m her boss,” he playfully yelled across the hall. Both he and Tia cracked up. Not funny! I said something sarcastic and, in my mind, I started making plans about how I was going to insert my independence so that everyone knew I was controlled by no one.

For several hours, I thought about things I would do without “asking” to prove my point. It wasn’t until I was getting ready for bed that I felt the Lord convicting me of my attitude. He showed me that I was dealing with pride. Everything I told Tia was true. My husband and I do consult each other when it comes to decisions, but why did I feel the need to explain it so craftily? My words themselves were not incorrect. It was the spirit in which I said them. My motive wasn’t to teach her about healthy communication between a husband and wife. It was to make sure she clearly understood that submission wasn’t one-sided because I didn’t want her thinking I was a punk and that her daddy was my boss!

I was forced to admit that my I-am-woman-hear-me-roar attitude was foul. Not only did I admit this to myself, but also to my daughter and husband. For months (maybe even years) after that, Tia would tease me. She’d say things like, “Mom, what are we having for dinner? Oh, wait, you gotta ask Dad first.” I would laugh and call her a brat. Years later, I asked her if she thought her father and I set a positive example of marriage. She said “yes,” and stated one of her reasons was because we talked about things. I smiled.

Now, this isn’t to say that David Sanders and I have the perfect marriage. Um, not! We have both acted foolishly in the past. Like the Bengals in the last playoff game against the Steelers, we fumbled the ball big time. We continue to grow in our knowledge of the Word, our relationship with God, and in our relationship with each other. The key was not necessarily me submitting to my husband’s leadership. Rather, it was my submission to God. In fact, it’s the key for both my husband and me. Neither husband nor wife will be able to walk out the Scriptures in Ephesians if they don’t first submit to the Lord. It’s only then that submission doesn’t seem like a bad word.

Weigh in. What are some reasons why you may struggle with submission? (Note: Feel free to share about submitting in areas other than in marriage (e.g., at work).

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