At the International Christian Mompreneur Network, we’re not making New Year’s Resolutions. We’re choosing a scripture verse to guide us through the year instead. We’re selecting a verse that speaks to our hearts and offers support, hope or motivation for us to live out the following year with purpose and direction. The following is part of a series of posts featuring members of the International Christian Mompreneur Network sharing their scripture verse of the year. We pray these posts will inspire and encourage you to select a scripture verse to guide you through the year as well.
Scripture Verse of the Year 2014 – By Christina Ryan Claypool
“He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
“Help me, Jesus!” Desperately, I prayed this little prayer wondering if Heaven was listening, because the cash register in my thrift/antique store hadn’t rung up many sales lately. It was about two decades ago and I was a single mom supporting my young son through my retail establishment. I tried my best to be frugal with the earnings my small business brought in. But there hadn’t been much income in awhile, and I was pretty frantic.
Today, I still pray these three powerful words whenever I don’t know how else to pray. I call this my breath prayer. It is not so much that I recite it while asking for divine assistance. Rather it just comes spontaneously from a place deep inside that believes God is still in control, when circumstances scream that all is lost.
And I have to be honest with you, that’s where I was for months lately. Like there is just no way that God can make everything alright. This is in contrast to my public image as a woman of steadfast faith who has written Christian recovery books and in the past worked in television ministry. So, when I first saw a post asking for guest bloggers to share their Scripture for 2014, I tried to ignore it. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite, and pretend that I had something significantly spiritual to tell others when I was experiencing my own dark night of the soul.
But the request haunted me. “What will your 2014 Scripture be?” a still small voice asked relentlessly. Suddenly, I knew what it was, because there is an old postcard on my refrigerator that seemed to shout, “I’m it. Look at me.” To explain about the postcard, I have to travel back in time. For my husband’s job as a school administrator we have had to move four times in the past twelve years. My spouse came into my life late. Even though our first move wasn’t far, it caused me to leave my hometown, and to be miles away from my by then adult child. I was grieving, and couldn’t be consoled.
The year was 2004, and I was also attending graduate school in ministry at Ohio’s Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. One day in the university book shop, I happened to notice a postcard with a sky blue background and beautiful rainbow with the printed words, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…plans to give you hope and a future…” Jeremiah 29:11. I had always loved this verse. It also said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. Impulsively, I bought the postcard and tucked it away. I didn’t think much about it, until it came time for our move.
We had rented a lovely ranch house near the school where my husband was to be a principal. Finding the rental had required divine intervention, because it was the only home available in the tiny village. Reciprocally, we were an answer to prayer for the owner who was a gracious Christian widow looking for responsible tenants. I was in my new kitchen surrounded by moving boxes busily putting away dishes, when I suddenly noticed a familiar looking postcard on the refrigerator that the widow was letting us use. It can’t be? I thought to myself. But it was an identical Jeremiah 29:11 postcard, reminding me that God was in control and that He had orchestrated the move, and that He would have plans for a wonderful future wherever we went.
Since then during every relocation, I prominently place the postcard on whatever refrigerator I have. Then unexpectedly last winter, another particularly special house we were renting was being sold, and we couldn’t afford to buy it. I prayed and prayed that somehow God would help us make that old brick home ours, and was devastated while packing boxes again realizing that this was not to be His plan.
I tried to be grateful as God provided a perfect place in a nearby city for my hubby and me to go, one that would finally be our own. But during the move, I seriously injured both of my knees. Much of the last six months I have spent in a new community trapped inside recovering from painful knee surgery, farther away from my son and with my spouse working his usual 12 hour days. Often, I must admit I have felt forgotten even by God.
But the refrigerator postcard kept reminding me that there is always a divine plan, even when our world appears random and chaotic. When we are distressed, we forget that we can trust our Creator, and that He is working out good on our behalf in the midst of difficult circumstances. God promises us that, “He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
With hope, which is my word for 2014, we can face whatever today brings, knowing that there will be blessings waiting in our tomorrows. For me, restored health is granting me the gift of truly believing the message of Jeremiah 29:11 again, my Scripture for 2014. Like the children of Israel who found their way even in exile, I will find my way in this new place. I am here by God’s plan, not chance.
Admittedly, there were times these last months when my heart anxiously cried out, “Help me, Jesus.” Now, I am able to remember that He always does. Like that day in my store twenty years ago, when I didn’t know how I would be able to pay the rent. God came through and brought me the finances I needed. Whatever you need today, may this post remind you that he has a wonderful future for you, too. May the gift of His hope be yours in 2014. Happy New Year!
Christina Ryan Claypool is a past First Place National Amy Writing Awards winner, a Christian speaker, and the author of several books including Seeds of Hope for Survivors. Christina earned a Masters in Ministry degree from Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. She has been featured on CBN’s 700 Club and Joyce Meyer Ministries Enjoying Everyday Life TV Program. She is married to Ohio public schools superintendent, Larry Claypool, and has one adult son.
Facebook: Christina Ryan Claypool
Blog: Christina Ryan Claypool