Tag Archive | Connecting with Christ

There is Still Time


“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”— Philippians 1:6, NKJV

Have you ever felt like a new year has come, but your plans and dreams have been stuck in the past years? One, two, maybe even ten years later, there has been no manifestation of what you thought would surely have come to pass by now.

It can be easy to feel discouraged and lose hope when such happens. It’s not abnormal to question whether you’ve heard God correctly . . . or at all! Doubt begins speaking loudly, overshadowing everything. Suddenly, the confidence we had about our assignment fades. Discouragement worsens when seeing someone else who is “successful” in doing what you desire. You might wonder if it’s too late for you.

Earlier this month, I saw a post that read: “Don’t believe the lie that time is scarce. The Creator of time will give you enough for what He’s stirred in you to pursue.”

I meditated on that post for a while. During the years that I was in school to complete my dissertation, I did not do much creative writing. I managed to get a short story or two completed. Still, those novel ideas I sketched out before beginning my doctoral program in 2018 remained unfinished in 2022 when I graduated. I’d been so focused on scholarly writing the last few years that I wondered if I should pivot and only concentrate on scholarly writing because it might be too late to get back in the creative groove and pursue those other ideas.

After seeing the above-mentioned post, I thought about Philippians 1:6 and smiled.

God doesn’t leave His work unfinished.

It doesn’t matter how much time has passed or if you’re on the back end of your “prime,” according to worldly standards. If you still have breath in your lungs, there is still time to finish whatever you have left to do. So, if you’ve given up or stopped trying, get back to it. This may indeed be a new year. It’s also a new opportunity for you to make progress. Our time schedule and God’s are not on the same level. His is always perfect!


Friday (1) (1)


Stability Amid Change

change ahead

Excerpt from Connecting with Christ: 52 Weekly Devotionals to Nurture Spiritual Growth

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”—Hebrews 13:8, NKJV

Every so often, life brings about a year that we never want to relive. I know that for many, 2020 is the year you’ll choose. For me, 2017 stands out. January of that year started off painful as I navigated through the emotions of a disappointing choice made by loved ones. Then, March was marked by the passing of my favorite aunt whose death I couldn’t totally grieve because I was worried about my mom. My aunt was her last living sister, and the two of them were close. To add to a year that had already started rough, in May, my mother took her last earthly breath.

On top of all this, my daughter was finishing her senior year of high school, playing her last season of club volleyball, and deciding where she wanted to pursue her collegiate studies. My hubby and I were on the verge of being empty nesters, but in April, we got a puppy! (I referred to him as my emotional therapy dog at that time.) By May of 2017, my life had drastically changed, and there were more changes to come. Below are just a few.

• The painful realization that some friendships were not as strong as I thought.
• The start of a new business venture with my hubby.
• The launch of an annual event with a new friend.
• Preparation for a doctoral journey that would begin the following January.
• Receipt of news from my son that there would be a new addition to our family in 2018.

Although 2017 had a mixture of good and bad events, the bottom line is that all events indicated change. No matter what, life would never be the same.

The first part of that year was straitjacket-worthy for sure! Physical pain is much easier for me to handle than emotional pain. I love hard. 

Consequently, I also hurt hard, so the events that transpired in January, March, and May, broke my heart ten times over. That was a lot of change in a short amount of time. Yet, there was one constant upon which I could depend…Jesus.


The above is an excerpt from Connecting with Christ: 52 Weekly Devotionals to Nurtur Spiritual Growth. In what ways has Jesus proven to be dependable in your life? 


“Uprooted” (Working Title) by Frances J. Tibbs


“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.”—Hosea 10:12, ESV

From Yolonda:

I don’t have a green thumb.

It’s not even green-ish.

My hubby bought me a plant decades ago when we were dating as a gift for my new apartment. I gave it to my mom to resuscitate after I nearly killed it.

Several years ago, my daughter bought me a bamboo plant for Mother’s Day. I cherished that plant. Sadly, I recently had to remove it from life support.

Over the years, people have sent me flowers for various occasions. Those flowers only saw a full life because my husband eventually became their caregiver.

Despite my own history with plants, I have gleaned wisdom from someone who finds solace in gardening. Below is a piece written by my friend Frances J. Tibbs from her unpublished collection, Lessons From the Garden.

“Uprooted” (Working Title) by Frances J. Tibbs

When I was weeding an area in my garden, it took a few different tools to get the deep-rooted thistle out. Those roots of that weed had grown deep, and they were not coming out of that soil without a fight.

I walked back into the garage to get a manual tiller, one of those tools that will involuntarily help you build upper body strength. See, I’m increasing my upper body strength, doctor!

Okay . . . back to the soil and the thistle. Like the roots of a pulled tooth, they go deep. Only when twisting the digger, alternating to the right and the left, was I able to dislodge the thistle.

I reflected on the soil, the weeds, and the tools.

After my hard work, the soil became rich and pliable, ready for a plant. The plant would easily thrive. It would get the morning sun. That beautiful plant would not have been able to blossom to its fullest potential if the soil hadn’t been tilled . . . broken up, weeded to be ready for planting.

The soil had been allowed to do what soil does best . . . be the base that holds the new plant, nourishing it from the bottom where the roots are. Good soil allows the roots to spread out and get stronger, producing a beauty that will cause the eye to feast and get full.

How is your soil?

Do the roots of your habits grow strong?

Will they need more tools to help new growth begin?

Did your spiritual muscles get stronger?

Have you become a beauty . . . a feast of the eyes?

Are you positioned in the Son?

Is the light of the Savior shining upon you, nourishing you?

Are you growing upward toward the standard the Father has set forth?

As a result of your weeding, your dirty work, as you were digging deep to get your thick roots of that “besetting sin” out of the soil of your heart, are you planted firmly in the soil of the Savior?

Are you blooming where you’re planted?

Are you propagating? Increasing your territory?

Ready to be put in a bigger garden next year and outgrow that space to one even bigger?

Most importantly, are you opening your heart to the Master Gardener?

Get your gloves on because your hands are going to get dirty!

Yolonda’s Reflections:

Reading this made me ask myself, Are you ready for God to till those places where it may hurt for the soil to be disturbed? We all have those areas in our lives . . . the places that we might prefer remained undisturbed for whatever reason. Maybe we’re not ready for the work involved. Maybe we’re not sure what all will need to be uprooted, and the unknown scares us. Here’s the thing . . . if we are to be like Jesus, He will need to uproot and replant some things within us. So, with a deep breath, closed eyes, and lifted hands, I say, Okay, Lord. Have Your way with me!  

 About Frances J. Tibbs

FRANCES J. TIBBS is a creative educator, mentor, and coach from Columbus, Ohio. Her passion for working with children began when she was in her youth and worked as a babysitter. Frances enjoys advocating for young children and the teachers who provide positive learning experiences for them. She
delights in nurturing children, adults, ideas, and everything green that grows in her garden. She began her journey with the Lord in elementary school and continues to walk out her faith, believing passionately that God will never leave or forsake her (Deuteronomy 31:6). Her greatest blessings in life call her “MoMo.”

Frances is also a contributor to Connecting with Christ: 52 Weekly Devotionals to Nurture Spiritual Growth.


“When God’s Way Hurts”

love concept - red paper broken heart over white background

“But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases”—Psalm 115:3, NKJV

“Dear Lord, this is how I would like you to fix the situation.” Then, with the utmost sincerity, I began to offer a solution. I mean, we have not because we ask not, right? So, my request was clear. There was no ambiguity about what I wanted to happen. Things were bad. Really bad. If I would have any peace of mind, this is how God would have to do it.

His response . . . Not!

Not only didn’t He answer the prayer how I wanted, but it didn’t seem like He was answering at all. The situation didn’t get better. It actually got worse! Meanwhile, the enemy whispered in my ear that praying was a waste of time because God wasn’t listening!

I wasn’t the only one praying. I’d called on a few of my most trusted prayer warriors who also blew up the main lines of Heaven to intercede. And still . . . nothing. Well, at least nothing that resembled my overall prayer requests. Like I said, things were going from bad to worse, and the enemy went full speed on my mind and emotions. I was at a spiritual crossroads. One choice led to a journey of disconnecting with God. He wasn’t listening, so why not stop talking to Him altogether or believing that He even cared? The other choice meant that I would need to stop thinking that there was only one solution, trust that He’s got this, and lean into Him like I’d never done previously. Well, I’m writing this devotional, so whaddya think I chose? While I cried, prayed, and prayed and cried, I remembered one simple fact: God is sovereign. I may think that I had the solution based on my limited knowledge, but He saw the big picture. I had to trust Him.

As I write, the situation is still a burning hot mess and not resolved in a manner that I prefer. Yet, I have peace. I still trust Him. Sometimes when I think about things, I get teary-eyed. When my emotions begin to get in the way, I go to the Word and recall my beliefs about the Lord. I cannot base my response to God on my feelings but on my faith.

We all encounter situations that can emotionally and spiritually cripple us. Things can get especially difficult when the answer seems clear to us, but God does something different, or from our perspective, nothing at all. Remember, the enemy’s job is to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). If you give him the power, he’ll sap any faith or hope you have in God and leave you with only thoughts of despair.

When people walk away from the Lord, most times, its’ because of unmet expectations. He didn’t do something, or He allowed something beyond our comprehension. I wish I could make sense of things that God allows. Ultimately, it’s not God’s job to justify His responses to me but my responsibility to trust Him. If you are a Christian, you have that same charge.

We’ll never fully understand God, and sometimes His ways hurt. Job knew this truth more than any of us. If we read through Job’s story, we also see that his end was better than his beginning. Whatever your current situation, it’s not how your story ends. He’ll do what He wants when He wants and not a moment sooner. Meanwhile, you can rejoice in the fact that whatever is happening will ultimately benefit you in the end (Romans 8:28).


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


“God’s Timing”


“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