In this guest post, Author Robyn Rison Chapman pens her story of God’s direction in the midst of grief. Follow the journey as she moves from numb and heartbroken to walking in the joy of God’s whispers. Robyn’s obedience to God’s nudges produced her book, Ordinary Walks with an Extraordinary God. Her book will be given to two lucky subscribers (Info at bottom of page). Her story begins below the photo of her book:
As I sat down to write this, I noticed fingerprints on the sliding glass door that leads to my backyard. I can’t see them when I’m looking squarely at the door – only when I’m at the right angle. When I glance back at my life at the right angle, I can see God’s fingerprints all over it. It’s hard to see when I’m staring directly at obstacles life has thrown in my path. That change of perspective alters what I see. It allows me a peek at where God has been. It serves as confirmation and encouragement.
The biggest such example in my life is when God met me in a season of grief. Psalm 34:18 tells us that God is near the brokenhearted so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that His fingerprints are all over that portion of my life. At this angle, His fingerprints look like a book I wasn’t planning to write. They look like a road I wasn’t expecting to travel. They look like a life that wasn’t what I pictured.
Let me explain. After the loss of my second parent my life changed. I was brokenhearted and crushed in spirit. Burdened with grief and tasked with the responsibility of closing a life and a childhood, I begged God to not let me go. I wasn’t sure I had the strength or the available hands to cling to Him, so I asked Him to hold on to me.
The difference from my prior life, even though I gave my heart to Him at a young age, was that my clinging to Him was reliant on my ability. This time I put every ounce of my trust in Him. He met me right where I was – at the end of myself and in grief-filled daily walks through my neighborhood. He was there, holding on to me, leading me, day after day.
God wasn’t new to me. I had a few prior encounters with Him that left me certain God was real, active, and answering prayers. The difference was that my hands and my heart were full of other things, and while there were times that I experienced Him, I could only hold a tiny bit. When we are the ones doing the holding, we are limited by our smallness, our ability, and our perspective. When we let Him hold us, there is no limit. It changes everything.
After a conversation, a friend suggested I write down my grief story. I felt God leading me to do that. I started a blog to house that story. Then I noticed God accompanying me on my walks. I prayed, and He answered. Some days He opened my eyes and changed my perspective on what I saw. Some days He put specific words or a thought on my heart that I simply couldn’t shake. I felt it so deeply there aren’t adequate words to describe the experience. I finished my walks and wrote down what He showed or told me that day.
I had no idea what was happening other than God was near and I was healing. It took about a year before He began to show me what we had written together was a devotional book. I was shocked because I never planned to write anything much less a book. I just focused on listening to His direction each day and journaling what I heard. Seeking Him became more important than anything else.
About a year later, the book was released. It has opened doors in my life that I never imagined. I’ve had the opportunity to share about God’s goodness in newspapers, radio and podcast interviews, devotionals running daily on a local radio station, and through in-person speaking events. I didn’t plan for one single second of it. I said “yes” to the Lord each day and went where He led.
I found Deuteronomy 31:8 to be particularly accurate:
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” (NKJV)
As God was leading the Israelites from a former life to a new life, they faced many obstacles. The Lord continued to provide and make a way before them. I found similarities in my experience. There was a life before, there were obstacles and challenges, and now there is a life on the other side of those. It is a life that bears witness to the goodness of God in my best and my worst moments. It is a testimony of what happens when we place all the pieces of a broken heart back in the hands of its creator.
It’s a life covered in the fingerprints of God.
Yours is, too, if you look at it from the right angle.
It’s been a pleasure hosting Robyn here on Heart Filled Moments. I hope you have enjoyed following God’s path for Robyn’s life and His fingerprints on her heart.
Be sure to follow her at her site, Hope Anyway.
Robyn Rison Chapman is a finder of hope and a passionate encourager. She was an award-winning journalist and successful grant writer before leaving those careers to spend more time with her family. It was during a season of family grief that she began to feel God calling her into more faith-filled writing. She writes regularly on her blog, www.hopeanyway.com and writes guest posts for other sites. Robyn is active in her church and has taught numerous Sunday School classes and Bible studies. She also enjoys baking, traveling, sports, and deep conversations. She lives in Proctorville, Ohio with her husband Derek and sons Jack and Max.
GIVEAWAY: Four lucky subscribers will win prizes this month. Two subscribers’ names drawn randomly will win a copy of Robyn’s book. And two other subscribers will win a gift card to either Starbucks or Amazon.
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It’s been a pleasure hosting Robyn Rison Chapman on Heart Filled Moments today.
From My Heart to Yours,