Tag: Fulfillment

Hannah: A Woman of Prayer and Persistence

hannah-blog

Persistence is certainly one tough pill to swallow.  I’ve personally wrestled with it in seasons of doubt and insecurity.   I also believe persistence is something we need on a daily basis, whether we know it or not.  I wanted to see what the Bible had to say in the department of persistence.  I was so abundantly blessed by what God showed me: A woman named Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:1-27.  Before we jump in, I want to share some of my struggle of persistence with you, so you can better understand how deeply I was impacted by Hannah’s story of prayer and persistence…


Sometimes our deepest struggles are the ones God uses to deepen our relationship with Him.  When I started taking classes at my local community college, I was required to take several remedial math classes before I could move on to the ones that counted toward my degree.  For starters, I am not a fan of math whatsoever. I had to take FIVE of these remedial classes, which were only supposed to last six weeks.  Six weeks isn’t too bad.  I remember thinking to myself.

I didn’t know this at the time, but those first six weeks would have to be endured five more times before I was eligible to move on to the other four classes I needed. Looking back, God taught me so much during those weeks that I feel I would’ve missed otherwise.

Things such as trust and persistence. These things can bring us such peace and hope if we let them.  I think Hannah understood each of these more than most of us.


Hannah’s struggle was real.

From the beginning of the passage we see that there was a man named Elkanah, who had two wives: Hannah and Peninnah.  What immediately stuck out to me as I was reading was the way verse two ends:

“Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not.”

1 Samuel 1:2 NLT

I had two main observations that I took away from reading that verse.  First, Hannah had battled feelings of guilt and insecurity because she had no children to give her husband.

My circumstances are different and I don’t want to assign any false thoughts to her, but I can totally identify with Hannah in that season. In our weakest moments, Satan loves to whisper those discouraging lies to us.  I don’t want false thoughts to Hannah, but I’m fairly certain she heard her share of whispers from the Enemy.

Since we know her struggle was real let’s see how she dealt with it…


“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.”

Hebrews 11:1-2 MSG

Having faith is something that seems impossible in the eyes of the world. We know that God doesn’t operate like the world, thankfully.  I believe Hannah had a lot of faith. She knew that faith grows exponentially through prayer.

In the second chapter of her story, we find Hannah on her face and brokenhearted before her Savior:

Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 11 And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.[e]

1 Samuel 1:10-11 NLT

God had shown me something awesome about prayer over the years.  Years ago, when I was in the midst of a very dry season, the Lord in His love spoke to my heart.  He said, “Andrea, I’m willing to give you these things.  I just need you to be brave enough and trust the way I will fulfill your heart’s desires.”

I think Hannah came to a similar realization as she poured out her heart before the Lord.  Although she wasn’t sure how God would answer her prayer for a child, Hannah knew God would answer her prayer.

I can almost hear the sincerity and gut-wrenching honesty in Hannah’s voice when I read the second half of verse 11: …” Then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.[e]

God definitely honors our prayers and the sincere honesty we pour into them.


Our prayers never go unanswered and neither did Hannah’s prayer for a son.  In the second half of 1 Samuel 1, we see where Samuel is born.

The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, 20 and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[f] for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”

1 Samuel 1:19-20 NLT

 My favorite part of this verse is when Scripture says, … the Lord remembered her plea,  and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[f] for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”  This is evidence of what our faith can do. We just have to be willing to trust Him and in doing so understand that He only wants what is best for us as His sons and daughters.

God continued to place His favor on Samuel for the rest of Samuel’s days because He is forever faithful.


God’s favor rested on Samuel as he was raised up to become a great prophet for the nation of Israel.

Toward the end of 1 Samuel 1, Hannah takes young Samuel to the tabernacle to dedicate him to the Lord. (v. 24-28)

Verses 26 and 27 are so soothing to my aching soul on those days when I feel like my prayers are going unanswered:

Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.”

1 Samuel 1:26-27 NLT


There are three things I believe we can take away from Hannah’s example:

  1. Persistence grows through prayer.
  2. We can never lose faith.
  3. God definitely honors our prayers and the sincere honesty we pour into them.

One last thing: I believe with all my heart that God included Hannah’s story along with so many others in His word, so that we would be able to look back on their examples and be even more persistent in following Jesus.

© 2016. Andrea Pierce. All Rights Reserved

Dear Future Husband

22

This is my letter to my future husband:

I want you to know that I’ve prayed for you since I was a little girl playing dress up and dreaming of the guy I would marry.  I have no idea where, when, or how we’ll meet, but it’ll be in God’s perfect timing.  I’m so grateful for you.  For the man of God you are.  Most of all, I’m grateful to God for bringing us together in the way only He could.  Thanks for loving, caring, guiding me through this thing called life.  There’s no doubt you’re the one God created just for me!  You are truly the answer to my prayers and my tender heart.

Love,

Your Future Wife


This past week has been all kinds of crazy.   And this sporadic post is evidence of the craziness yet again.

More importantly, I recently finished reading “Uninvited” by Lysa TerKeurst and I cannot even begin to explain to you how much that book has meant to me and what a profound impact it’s had on my relationship with Jesus.  The book deals specifically with rejection.  The subtitle will always ring loud and clear in the deepest parts of my soul: ”Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely.”  I’ll never forget how much the word lonely resonated with me the day I received my copy of the book.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?  In a lonely place.  Or perhaps we have lived through a season of loneliness.  In His infinite grace and compassion the Lord has been dealing with and walking me through this issue of feeling alone.

When in the midst of a lonely season, we must remember these three things:

  1. We Aren’t Alone (Isaiah 41:10)
  2. Loneliness Doesn’t Define Us (1 Samuel 12:22)
  3. He is Truly Everything We Need (2 Peter 1:3)

Several months ago, I wrote about God’s perspective of being single. That post was such a healing message from God to me that I so desperately needed.  (Spoiler alert: this message will be similar, yet altogether different.  Hang in there with me and I promise you’ll gain a fresh perspective.)  First, let me clarify by saying and acknowledging that I’m certainly not an expert on loneliness. That being said, I write about what I struggle with and this just happens to be my current struggle.  Second, I believe with every fiber of my being that God’s word offers such healing and resurrection to the raw and vulnerable chapters of our story. But, we have to allow God to change and mold our hearts to be more like His.

Lastly, I want to give us the opportunity to consult Scripture as it deals with loneliness.

Isaiah 41 starts out with God reminding the people exactly who He is, yet again. As I was reading I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of Israel’s people.  They knew God.  Believed God.  And they even trusted Him.  Until they would get discontented and disillusioned by the chaos going on around them.  (Sound familiar?)  What I love most about Isaiah (and God) is the fact is that they don’t leave us hanging on the edge of harsh words.  When we get to verse ten, we hear God’s sweet promise:

 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT

Essentially, this verse has become my mantra here recently. Just like the Israelites knew, believed and even trusted Him, they needed a swift reminder.  And so do That’s exactly what God’s promises are: Reminders of who He truly is for us to grab hold of and proclaim over our lives every single day.


When you’re in the midst of a lonely season it can be very easy to get distracted and disillusioned by the lies of the Enemy. That’s what was happening to God’s people in Isaiah 41 and it happens to you and I today.  Personally, for me Satan loves to allow me to doubt and question God’s unfailing love for me.  This is especially true for my present and future relationships. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Satan whisper “If God really loved you, you would have a boyfriend right now.” Or worse “You’re so stupid for thinking anyone would ever want to marry a girl in a wheelchair.”  

Oh friend, how badly these lies sting my soul. They make everything within in me scream out in pain. The whispers you hear are probably different from mine, but they are there.  Let me reach out, grab your hand, and proclaim 1 Samuel 12:22 over you:

The Lord will not abandon his people, because that would dishonor his great name. For it has pleased the Lord to make you his very own people.

1 Samuel 12:22 NLT


God is truly all we need. I know, I know the world thinks that statement is so cliché.  They’re wrong.  We are created in the image of the God who spoke the planet into existence, so why do we doubt Him? As a matter of fact, God knows what we need before we do.  We are reminded of that in Matthew 6:8. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! (NLT)  God knows everything about me.  He knows who I will marry and how many kids we’ll have.  I don’t know for sure, but I’m fairly confident my future husband will be just as passionate about Jesus as I am.   We will grow in our love for God and each other.

When I think about the fact that God will pick my husband for me it frees me.  I’m free from the doubt and fear of the future.  It’s not my responsibility to worry about him, it’s my responsibility to pray for him daily.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

2 Peter 1:3 NLT

Peace, Hope and Joy

Peace hope joy

The English language was created to help us communicate efficiently with the people around us.  Which, is certainly amazing if you ask me.  What intrigues me most about our language is the fact that we can use adjectives to be even more descriptive with our words. They help us understand what a word is made of by describing it. You get the point, right? Adjectives serve the same purpose when they describe the nature and character of God.

(Disclaimer: There are MANY more adjectives that can be used to describe God, but if I wrote about all of them we would be here all day!)  Now let’s look at three examples:

  1. Peace
  2. Hope
  3. Joy

We know that all of these adjectives describe God, but exactly what do they say about His character? Let’s find out! (Note: I looked each of these up using the Dictionary/Concordance in my Bible.)


Peace: “A state of tranquility or quiet; a pact or agreement between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity; harmony in personal relations, especially with God; a state of security or order within a community; freedom from disquieting thoughts or emotions.” I know that was a lengthy definition, but I love how clearly it’s worded.  The part of the definition that resonates with me the most is where it speaks of being in harmony, especially with God. If you’re in harmony with Him then your heart is most likely where it needs to be.  If not, that should be your first clue to examine the condition of your spirit.

Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.” Psalm 37:37


Hope

For starters, I really feel like we need to establish a decent definition of true hope.  That word gets thrown around so much in our culture today but what does it really mean?  Hope: “Confident trust with the expectation of fulfillment.”  Wow.  It astounds me every time I read it.  I want that hope in my life because it’s eternal and I know that God always keeps His promises to us.  He is the reason we can have hope and I will be forever grateful for the hope I have in Him alone.

“Rejoice in our confident hope.  Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:12


 Joy

“The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune.”  I agree with this definition as it refers to the well-being of a person because that only comes from Christ. However, I also believe joy can be found in the darkest situations of our lives as well.  We can look back on the dark times and remember to live a Romans 5:3-5 life-one of suffering, perseverance, character and hope.   Personal confession: If I’m being honest with you right now, I never would’ve thought that I would be the person writing these precious words about the Attributes of God. I spent many years not living the Romans 5 kind of life.  I thank God daily for changing my perspective and for making me more like Him.  That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing peace, hope and joy with those around me.

“And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10


Since God lives in us through the Holy Spirit, his attributes become ours in the sense that we’re made in His image. (Genesis 1:27)  When I look at my life through the lens of living in peace with Christ it changes things for me. Peace, Hope and Joy become even more alive to me and life itself is so much greater than anything I could ever imagine.

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

The Incapable Possibilities

trust2 Some “seasons” in life can feel seemingly impossible to endure.  Since we’re being truthful it really is if we are only choosing to rely on our own strength.  However, if we choose to rely and trust in God’s strength, the outcome is quite the opposite.  Luke 1:37 says it all: “Nothing, you see, is impossible with God!” (The Message) Recently, I’ve been faced with situations that I feel like there’s no way I can do what He calls me to and truthfully I can’t if I’m only relying on myself, or the people around me.

In keeping with the theme of possibility through Christ, I always like to refer back to the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17).  This experience in the Bible is yet another prime example of what it means to rely on God’s strength and not our own.  Even as a teenager David knew that he was incapable of defeating Goliath by himself and he recognized his need for God’s strength.  The reality is: David trusted God to help him. Let me ask you this:  Have you ever truly experienced what it means to trust Him and the peace that can only come from Him alone?   Personal confession: It wasn’t until several years ago that I encountered the reality of totally trusting Him in every aspect in my life.  Until that point I had become so full of bitterness and discontentment toward the Lord that I couldn’t possibly trust him wholeheartedly and in every circumstance.  Once I was convicted of the bitterness and shortcomings through the Spirit, I was able to be unblended by Jesus, in the sense that I understood in that very moment I was faced with two choices- To trust or not to trust.  Upon recognition of this the choice was simple:  I’m going to continually trust in Jesus Christ for everything I need until the day I meet Him.  Will you be doing the same?

The bottom line is this: We were put on this earth to reflect Him and bring even more glory to him through the lives we live.  Besides, we are the Light of the World!

“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”

Proverbs 16:3 NLT

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

This song is a great summary of what trusting God is all about and I would encourage you to really focus on the lyrics and the message they’re proclaiming!


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