Today’s Truth

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled (Joshua 21:45 NIV)

Friend to Friend

Life wasn’t turning out like I thought it would. There would be no gaggle of laughing children filling my home, no crowded kitchen table at mealtimes, no juggling of kids’ busy schedules. My first child would be my only child. And while I was so grateful to have this walking, talking, bundle of love, this wasn’t the way I had envisioned life unfolding. When the news came, I had a choice. I could get trapped in disappointment, or I could trust in God’s sovereign plan. I could get stuck crying “why me” or move forward with “what now.”

Mary, the mother of Jesus, had the same choice. Her life had not turned out like she thought it would. Before Gabriel spoke his prophetic words announcing the Holy Spirit would come upon her that and that she would be the mother of the Messiah, she was well on her way to marrying the man of her dreams. I imagine she thought about setting up house, being a carpenter’s wife, and raising quiver full of Joseph’s children. But Gabriel’s news changed everything.

With the words, “You will be with child by the Holy Spirit,” her life was turned upside down.

Mary knew there was a good chance she would be disgraced by her community, disowned by her parents, and disavowed by Joseph. We know from the other gospels that Joseph seriously considered divorcing her because he assumed that she had been unfaithful to him. (In those days, a couple was considered married during the engagement stage. The wedding made it official.)

And how did Mary react to this turn of events? She remembered God’s character and His ways. She remembered God as Israel’s helper…as her helper. She remembered God as faithful to keep His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and now, to herself. As Joshua reminds us, “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled, (Joshua 21:45 NIV).

Why did Mary mention Abraham and his offspring in her prophetic prayer of praise? Mary understood that her life was part of God’s unfolding story. Gabriel’s prophetic proclamation was not random, but part of the ongoing drama of God’s activity in the unfolding of His eternal plan past, present, and future. And we can be sure of this: no matter what twists and turns our lives may take, our lives are part of God’s unfolding story as well. And for that we can praise Him.

Mary’s prayer alludes to Old Testament Scripture, including Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2 with references to Psalm 22, 25, 44, 89, 98, 103 and 147. What a beautiful example of how having Scripture embedded deep within our hearts will help us to keep a Biblical perspective in the twists and turns of life.

  • Her knowledge of Scripture helped her accept Gabriel’s message.
  • Her understanding of Scripture gave her assurance of God’s promises.
  • Her saturation in Scripture enabled her to have the faith to rejoice at God’s call on her life.

What a beautiful example of how knowing and believing God’s Word and His promises gives us the faith to praise Him when life doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would.

Let’s Pray

Father God, I am amazed once again just how much Mary trusted Your plan for her life. “Let it be done to me as you have said,” are the words I want to say each and every time my life takes an unexpected turn.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What is one situation which hasn’t turned out like you thought it would that you are willing to praise God for His sovereign and perfect plan?

More from the Girlfriends

Sharon has a new book coming out January 26, 2021 and if you pre-order now, you will receive free bonus goodies! Click here to learn more.

What if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories?

Many of us feel broken. Our mistakes, the pain others have caused us, and circumstances outside our control taunt us every day, though we long to turn a new page. My new book, When You Don’t Like Your Story, challenges us to ask: What if God doesn’t want us to rip out of difficult stories but re-purpose them for good?

What has been done to you and what has been done through you does not disqualify you from God’s best for your life. It qualifies you for an even greater purpose than you would have ever known without it. In fact, the worst parts of your story might just be what God uses the most. So sink deep into God’s life-changing truths. The next chapter is just beginning. Includes an in-depth Bible study for individuals and groups.

© 2020 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

6 Responses to “This is Not How I Thought My Story Would Go”

  1. Bernadette says:

    I am filled with regret, I can’t seem to get past the bad decisions I have made.

  2. carol says:

    This devotional touch me…how many of us can’t get passed our mess in life!
    For years, coming from a strict Christian, up- bringing; I fell off my own journey and just let guilt be my constant “walking buddy”.
    I felt that I was “damaged goods”. I wasn’t the product that my parents thought I should be, and felt that God wouldn’t be able to forgive me (prodigal daughter).
    But, coming into a much younger congregate at my church, and hearing their testimonies, I had a much younger woman of faith pray over me. Her life and my life were parallels of each other!
    So, I’ll give you the visual, she gave me. Just come to Jesus, with His out stretched arms and leave your “backpack” with your own “scarlet letter” of shame at His feet. Ask for forgiveness and grace. Then? Just accept His forgiveness and leave it there! Don’t ever pick up that bag again. You gave it to Jesus to dispose of!
    Praise God, for making a way for us by using Mary as a human vessel, for His most wonderful Gift!

  3. Tiffany says:

    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    In ALL THINGS (good and bad), God will bring Glory!

  4. Connie says:

    Sharon – so good! So true! I had no idea there was so much scripture in her prayer but the Lord just used you to kick up my scripture memorization so thank you

  5. Alison Hall says:

    The devotional today definitely struck a chord with me. Back in November 2013 my husband had his last dose of chemo and radiation treatments for his bowel cancer that had been diagnosed in Sept 2013.The seven weeks of treatment had not been easy but the promise that now the tumour could be removed and after a temporary ileostomy he would be reconnected so that normal functions could be resumed. Things did not happen the way we thought they would go….But God. Its has been a journey and Jesus has been there every step of the way. The radiation damage to my husband meant another three ileostomies then in May this year a permanent colostomy and 7 weeks in hospital during Covid when visiting was very limited in Australia. At the moment we are standing on the promise that God is with us and in control. The permanent colostomy is going well but the radiation damage has slowed the healing process. The specialist has recommended 50 Hyperbaric treatments and that is currently where we are at.Believeing this is God’s plan and living 6 and a half hours away from our home and family. Me, my hubby and a fluffy pup in a unit near the hospital. Very aware of God’s provision, favour and grace. Thank You Lord that you have us in the palm of Your hand. Thank You Lord for never leaving nor forsaking us and thank You Lord for Your provision of all we need.

  6. Kristi says:

    Bernadette, I hear your cry for comfort and I recognize the doubts, the fears, the pain that comes from past decisions. Satan uses my past through every crevice in my walk with Jesus. If the crevices are not deep enough to cause stumbling doubt regarding God’s forgiveness, Satan is able to work through society’s worldview of who is loved, forgiven, why and how.

    Oh, but Jesus.

    We serve such a mighty big God. Isaiah 41:10 [NLT]: “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.” Matthew 10:29-31 [NLT]: “What is the price of two sparrows-one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Bernadette, I too live with deep regrets, feeling as though I am not loveable and cannot possibly be forgiven. But I am not so sure that it is the regrets that are really the overlying problem in my walk with Jesus. Instead, I think the backbone of the mental anguish is actually fear, fear of not being loved. Fear of not be forgiven. Fear that God can not possibly want me to be part of His kingdom for eternity. Fear that my choices-what I regret about my past-actually are important to God, that He hangs on to them and waits for me to do something else to solidify that I am simply not good enough to be called His daughter.

    But God. Oh, but God.

    Fear is not how God wants us to live. He knows everything about us, including our sins from our yesterdays, today and all of our tomorrows. He knows our heart. We do not need to be afraid. He knows us. He created us. He loves us. He sent His only son to die for you, for me so we can join him in heaven for eternity. He will strengthen us. Luke 2:10[NLT]: “…I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” All people. All. That’s you, Bernadette. That’s me. That’s all of us. God does not give us fear. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” [2 Timothy 1:7]

    Bernadette, I will be praying for you [and myself] to walk in the truth of His love and forgiveness, His grace and mercy. I will be praying for us to walk in confidence knowing we each are a child of the one true King and there is nothing we can hang on to from our past that He does not completely wash away, without a trace. Blessings dear sister in Christ.

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