You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:21
I’ll never forget the day I had to deliver news that I knew would break my child’s heart. For many years my oldest son had set his sights on joining the military and being a member of the special forces. I have to admit that as a mother it took me a while to come accept this path, but there was no denying that he just seemed suited for this line of work in serving our country.
He began talking to recruiters and training his body. I finally began doing research of my own into ROTC programs and reading as much as I could about being part of a military family. I felt peace about his decision and began to be excited for him. Then I found the information that determined he was permanently disqualified from serving because he had celiac disease.
It never occurred to us that having to eat gluten free would keep him from a career in the military. All of his plans came to a halt that day and sent him into a it of a tailspin. It has taken him almost a year to refocus himself on his future. He still doesn’t know what career he want to pursue, but he is exploring his passions and has an interest in his schoolwork again.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life – for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me. Psalm 138:8
I’ll never forget the tears in his eyes when he learned that his original plans for his future were no longer an option. The confusion and lack of purpose that overtook him. And maybe today you find yourself on a path that you didn’t want. A life that you didn’t plan.
While your plans might have been derailed, God’s purpose for your life has not changed. He hasn’t abandoned you. God is walking with you. He is working even through the pain and difficulties of your life for your good. (Romans 8:28) He is on your side.
Hold fast to the truth that God’s purposes are perfect and greater than our own plans. Remind yourself that God has a purpose and it is good.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
And when you feel like you’re floundering, remember, our ultimate purpose here on earth is to glorify God. Praise Him and then do the next right thing while He works the rest out.
After spending a decade babysitting other people’s children, I couldn’t wait to jump head first into Motherhood. I had a rose-colored dream of the days I would spend raising my own children and the kind of mother I would be.
Motherhood turned out to be a lot more chaotic, messy, and draining than I ever imagined. Many days feel much more like survival than fulfilling a great purpose.
Motherhood truly is one of life’s greatest callings. Raising children who love Jesus impacts not only your own child but also future generations. However, in the middle of diapers, meals, messes, and chores it’s so easy to feel like an unimportant maid rather than a woman with a purpose.
When you are feeling adrift in the chaos of motherhood, how do you find your purpose amidst the day-to-day tasks? A few suggestions:
- Own the now. Give yourself credit for what you are doing right now, even when life is chaotic. What are you teaching your children about Jesus by nurturing and caring for them every day? Brushing hair with a tender hand shows the big picture of God’s tender care. Setting boundaries and sticking to them teaches your children about God’s guidance and loving discipline. When you stop to think about it, I bet you’ll realize you have more impact already than you ever realized.
- Make a list of your NOW purpose(s). Take several days to pray and think about your purpose during your current life stage. Give yourself credit for the things you are already doing. Make a plan for the ones you aren’t. Look at your list and find the “low hanging fruit”- the easiest thing you aren’t currently doing – on that list. Make a plan and begin fulfilling that purpose. After checking that one off the list, continue choosing and planning to add more of those goals into your life.
- Make a list of what you think might be your future purpose. Maybe you have a heart for caring for the elderly or want to write a book for new mothers. Often narrowing down those future purposes is the easy part, the hard part is feeling inadequate because your current stage of life doesn’t allow you to throw yourself at those purposes. Put this list behind your NOW Purpose list and try to mostly let it go for a season.
- Prepare for the future while remembering that at this moment your NOW is most important, even if it feels less than the purpose you hope for in the future. God has you where you are right now, even if it’s drowning in diapers, for a reason. He is preparing you for the future purposes He has for you while you are fulfilling the NOW purposes He has for you. Your children aren’t the only ones being equipped for their future purposes during this busy motherhood season. Spend what extra time you do have in the Word learning more and more. Practice those skills you will need for those future goals. Do the small things now that will prepare you for the bigger things later.
Most of all remember that your NOW purpose is actually fulfilling a much greater future purpose, as you equip your children to one day fulfill their own purposes! Think of the huge impact your children will have on the world because you poured into them day after day after day.
When I think of purpose, as I am sure is the case with many others, I think of accomplishments. As in, I am supposed to accomplish a particular goal in my life and live in that “purpose” joyfully and intentionally throughout my life. I looked it up, and “purpose” is: “the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists.” It appears that I was on track with my initial line of thinking. So, what exactly does this look like in the Christian life?
Does living purposefully for Christ mean martyrdom? What about the likes of George Whitfield, or Billy Graham? Does it mean one has to be an evangelist? Does it mean being involved in something bigger than yourself, like William Wilberforce (abolitionist), or James Dobson (Focus on the Family)? How about artists like Steve Green and Rich Mullins whose lyrics and impact still resound in the culture?
What exactly does living a life with purpose mean?
Do I need to find an artistic outlet? If so, I’m out of luck. I have no “talent,” unless of course they are handing out awards for consistently admonishing my children to “Wake up!” “Clean-up!” “Eat it or Starve;” or for being an “Uber Mom” and/or “Doing School in Your Jammies.” Let the record show that I would not even be nominated for any of these which brought me to the place of questioning my purpose in the first place. It could be my midlife crisis or menopause or both. I will need to have a long talk with Jesus when I arrive, how could he schedule my children coming into puberty at the same time I am getting rid of my hormones? Seriously Lord!! If that hasn’t tested my character I don’t know what will; another blog for another day! I’m not very good at what I “have” to do, let alone actually finding a purpose.
In the course of my grassroots activities, I’ve had the opportunity of sharing my personal testimony in intimate settings on a few occasions; and I’ve been told that I should share it more often. I am so uncomfortable with that idea that I (literally) get nauseated thinking about it. I much more prefer the intimacy of connecting with another human one-on-one, than connecting with a podium. I am so keenly aware of what God saved me from and what He brought me to, that I don’t want to continuously relive it – let alone do so in public. I have come to conclude that I am doing exactly what God wants and needs me to do at this very moment, at home…in The Shire, knowing that at any given moment Gandalf the Grey may make an appearance and tell me that I must go on an adventure.
Return to mediocre
Speaking of the Shire, in our home the children sometimes call me Mrs. Bilbo. If you’ve ever read The Hobbit, you will know that Bilbo Baggins was (short and) happy with his “mediocre life.” He was not interested in any adventures; and even when he reluctantly went on his adventure, he was eager to return to The Shire to his mediocre life. I can relate. I, like Bilbo, love my so-called mediocre life, but there are days that the accomplishments of others get to me. Not in the sense of I want to do what they are doing, rather in the “I wonder if I should be doing something more important with my life.” Define important, say the voices in my head… The Lord always has a way of quieting those voices and reminding me that I am being used right where I am.
Recently we were given the opportunity to serve grandma, who came to stay with us in the aftermath of hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico. When it was time for her to return home, I not only cried, I “ugly-cried.” I was so thankful for our time together. Our family was at the right place, at the right time. We were humbled, He was glorified, as it should be.
As I think back, some really great adventures have taken place in our home – we’ve experienced several foreign cultures by hosting exchange students from around the world; we’ve helped other family and friends transition through periods of their lives; we have had friends vacation to the Nation’s Capital and stay with us. Great conversations into the early morning hours were had, and we’ve cried and laughed at life with friends, all from the comfort of our couch.
So, the bigger question becomes, are we leaving ourselves available for the adventure He wants to take us on? His purpose in our lives looks uniquely different in each of us, and we may not need to go far to find it…we may not even have to leave our living room.
Whatever we purpose ourselves to do, even (or especially) the so-called mediocre and boring, if not done to bring Glory to God, then it’s all in vain. Which may very well mean that throngs of people will not know your name; nor will people clamor to take selfies with you when you’re in public. But those acts of recognition are meaningless compared to the recognition you can have when you stand before The Throne and Christ the King recognizes you as His own.
Remember, it’s not about YOU, it’s about HIM! And…not all adventure requires a passport.
We have a lot of sisters at our house. Four to be exact. And that is just the right amount to produce a lot of fun sister activity. Unfortunately, it also produces a lot of not-so-fun sister activities; fighting, tattling, bossing, comparing, complaining, telling someone how to do it the ‘right way’…my list could go on and on and on. How easy it is to lose sight of our purpose as sisters.
When it happens over and over and over again…I get tired! It hurts me to see them hurting each other’s feelings. It makes me sad how they treat each other.
The girls know what I’m going to say before I even say it. I’ve said it over and over. I repeat it daily. Sometimes hourly.
“Sisters are for encouraging”
Sisters are not for:
- …fighting with.
- …tattling on.
- …bossing around…Mom is the boss.
- …comparing with. Life will NOT be fair. Everyone is better at something.
- …complaining about.
- …telling you how to do it their way.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Our true purpose
Encourage one another. Build each other up.
That is the purpose of a sister.
Let’s go a step further. I’m talking about earthly sisters here. Those blood sisters. Yet, as I repeat this sentence over to my girls I hear the Holy Spirit whisper, “what about your sisters in faith?”
How should we treat our sisters in Christ? What is the purpose for that kind of a sister?
The answer is astoundingly the same.
Sisters are for encouraging.
We don’t need to fight with a sister of Jesus.
Do everything without complaining and arguing Philippians 2:14
We don’t need to run and tattle when a sister is doing something we don’t approve of!
And make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands.
1 Thessalonians 4:11
We don’t need to boss a sister in Christ around.
They have the Holy Spirit to prod and guide into what they should be doing. We are NOT their boss.
When the spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13
Sisters are NOT for comparing with.
OUCH. Life is not fair. Really, we wouldn’t want it to be. Our talents are not the same as our sisters. Our calling is not the same as that of ANYONE else. So we must not compare with our sisters.
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others.
Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory.
But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:12-18
Sisters are not for complaining about. Or complaining to, for that matter.
Do everything without complaining and arguing Philippians 2:14
Sisters are not there for telling you how to do something… Exactly their own way. Again, that is the Holy’ Spirit’s job.
Jesus said in John 16:12-15 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
Sisters are for encouraging.
Whether we are blood sisters or sisters in Christ. We must not try to take over the Holy Spirit’s job. Or boss them around like a lord over them. No, friends, let’s encourage one another and build each other up!
This is the purpose of a sister: encouragement.
Friends, let’s go be encouragers!!
Several years ago, I remember pondering my purpose as I was standing in the middle of our living room with a stunned look on my face. I was holding a crying toddler who had painful molars breaking through her gums. My feet were surrounded by toys that had been dumped (for the fifth time that day) onto the floor. The couch was filled with unfolded laundry, and I was staring into the kitchen where one of my sons had just accidentally knocked a glass jar of honey onto the tile floor…true story!
Let me tell you that my purpose in life was not in the forefront of my mind at that moment. I could not see past where I was right then, and frankly, it did not feel important or worthwhile. After all, how can cleaning up sticky, broken glass and disciplining a child who didn’t obey my instruction to not dump out toys be significant?
I know…being a mom is a wonderful blessing. But those moments made that hard to believe.
Have you ever felt that way? Well, let me tell you something you already know but probably need to hear again: They won’t always be this little. They will grow up. And when they do, you will see that this work was not for nothing. It was worthy and beautiful!
Interestingly, as quickly as your children enter your household, that is how fast they will move out as adults. We had four children within 6 years. Those were busy times, indeed. But within another short 6-year period, they all graduated from high school and moved on to do other things.
My husband and I were stunned at how our dinner table dynamics changed so rapidly. What happened to the sweet, lovely mayhem? I caught myself with those thoughts. Was it really always lovely and sweet? It is interesting that I only remembered it that way…
So was I doing something important during those days of raising and teaching our children? Yes!
Was it easy? NO.
A Wonderful Purpose
Was it indeed a wonderful purpose – a blessing given to me by God? Absolutely.
You see, raising children is the BEST purpose we as moms can have. It is an opportunity to train and pour into little minds and hearts. It is a mission field in itself. We are stewards of these little humans God entrusted to us. We are charged with the critical job of loving them, modeling for them how to love their Lord, and preparing them for what God has ahead in their lives.
This brings glory to God. It is a precious and worthy purpose. And I know that it’s not always a beautiful process, but anything worthwhile will involve less-than-glamorous work.
In John chapter 5, Jesus tells us that he is the vine and we are the branches the Father prunes and trims so we may bear fruit. Then he says, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
When do we start bearing real fruit? When do we do IMPORTANT things and fulfill our purpose?
Sweet mama, it is right now where you are. It is wiping the tears from your little one. It is washing the dishes and keeping the home. It is reciting spelling words. In doing this, you are living for the purpose for which he saved you. He prunes and tends you as a vine so the fruit you bear will richly blossom and grow.
What an awesome (and IMPORTANT) purpose!
Psalm 57:2 “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.”
How do we fulfill God’s purpose in our lives? I believe it comes from when we allow ourselves to not only hear God’s word; but apply it in our lives when we are experiencing the tests of circumstances. It is during these trials that we must literally depend on God’s power to act in our lives to allow the disaster to pass.
If there is one thing that’s important to me it is reliability. When I turn on the light switch I expect the lights to come on. When I turn my car keys on I expect the car to start. Reliability is important to all of us, and all too often we can’t find it when we need it most from this world.
Proverbs 25:19 states: “Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.”
If you have ever had a bad foot or a bad tooth you know how worthless they are until dealt with properly. Contrast the unreliability of the world with the confident assurance we have in God.
In Psalm 55 we find David in hiding from Saul, most likely in the cave of Adullam. He was hiding from Saul but depending upon God for deliverance. The stress that Saul put David under with death threats cannot be underestimated, but David survived this time in his life because he trusted in God to deliver him.
And let’s look at Psalm 57:1 where David pleads with God for mercy and then confidently proclaims that he will take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings until the disaster has passed. David would be unable to express that faith unless he had experienced God’s deliverance time after time.
Make no mistake about it, that faith grows when we hear God’s word, apply it in our lives, and experience the test of circumstances when we literally depend on God’s power to act in our lives to allow the disaster to pass.
God is faithful and David affirms this joyously in Psalm 57:10 “For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness to the skies.”
You cannot say what David said about the reliability of God unless you have trusted God time after time in the most difficult of circumstances, and God has delivered you through them every single time. God is faithful to act IF we will call on him for such help every time.
That expectation fulfilled builds confident trust in the Lord that he will act on our behalf.
When that confidence becomes a fundamental part of our thinking and our attitude of expectation, then we may have an explosion of faith in our lives, and when we do, we will more fully understand Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13 that “I can do everything through him [Christ] who gives me strength.”
The material point of Psalm 57 describing God’s faithful help in times of trouble is found in our devotional text, when David passionately affirms in faith that God will act when he cries out to fulfill God’s intended purposes for him through his life.
God doesn’t simply save us or protect us so that we might do whatever!
No, God saves us so that he might fulfill his plan and purpose for us in this life (Jeremiah 29:11). Even in the swirling waters of life we can be serene and calm, knowing that whatever God calls us to do, he will ensure his power to enable us to do it every single time.
Will you trust a reliable God?
Today Lord, I will trust you with my very life, and I will cry out to your for your power to fulfill your purposes through me. Amen.
The Good Shepherd loves His sheep.
He tends, leads, guides, cherishes, feeds, and protects a flock. He’ll even lay down His life for their protection.
As Christians, Jesus is our Good Shepherd and He did more than just dying for us.
He set up a plan and purpose for each of us because He knows that there is an enemy that wants to take us out.
He knows this well because he tried to take HIM out!
The thief’s purpose is to seal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
– John 10:10 (NLT), emphasis added
His purpose is our good, it’s extraordinary! not for our harm.
I long to walk confidently in that. With that kind of purpose that He has for me, I want to learn how to walk in the fullness of that.
Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
–1 Peter 2:25 (NLT), emphasis added
I was a young mom of 3 at the time and I bought several books, searching for answers about my purpose and not “losing myself” as an individual. Those books didn’t satisfy and I was asking more questions than I originally had!
I was introduced to God’s Word and Jesus; a true relationship with Him, and found that my individual-self wasn’t lost after all! I am both hidden and found in Christ. He became my identity.
For me, a rich and satisfying life meant walking in step with Him. Deepening my understanding of His ways through fellowship with Holy Spirit. Joyfully learning to live an obedient and holy life (James 1:22-25).
My question went from “How do I not lose myself?” to “How do I find myself (in Christ)?”; from “What am I doing with my life?” to “What does God want to do through my life?”
Asking that takes me on a daily journey. It has for many years.
I learn the purpose of the day.
It may lead to a vision of something long-term, but if it doesn’t, I know that I lived in the fullness of that day.
As you go through your day with Holy Spirit, can you purpose to pinpoint the purpose of that day?
We all desire to fulfill a purpose. We all want to feel accomplished and worthy. Often, we spend our whole lives seeking after our purpose, yet still, wind up with emptiness. We seek our worth in our achievements, yet still, end up feeling unworthy. The futility of it all catches up to us eventually.
But, as a Christian, our purpose is to glorify God.
Isn’t it ironic then, that our purpose and our worth is actually not based on anything we have accomplished? We do not have to toil or chase to attain it. The work has been done. And our job is simply to glorify the One who has completed the work.
Talk about turning your world upside down!
Our culture teaches us that we must pursue greatness. We must push harder to attain more and we must do all we can to achieve and advance. We are taught that our worth comes from what we accomplish. The focus is on ourselves. And we think within ourselves we will find our purpose.
Yet, the Bible tells us we exist first, and foremost, to glorify God. That is our true purpose.
“Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made,” Isaiah 43:7
We were created for His glory. And the truth is, no accomplishment achieved without giving glory to God, is worth achieving. And nothing we do apart from Him can be for good.
Much of the reason so many folks end up empty, even though they strive, is because they are searching for purpose in the places that do not provide it. They keep trying to attain a purpose that is self-glorifying rather than God-glorifying.
Our purpose is found in worshipping, exalting, praising our Lord, and making Him known.
It is that simple.
Furthermore, there is freedom in knowing our true and only purpose. We finally stop chasing the wind and ending up empty-handed.
The knowledge that we do nothing apart from Him and our whole existence is because of Him, frees us. We no longer chase the unattainable.
Purpose in All Things
Sometimes in the mundane moments of the day, a mother feels like she has no purpose. She has been wiping spills, doing laundry, wiping noses, breaking up arguments…and it all seems to be on repeat day after day.
Is this really what she was created for?
However, when that mother stops and realizes she was created to glorify God, in all things, each mundane moment becomes a holy moment. Each moment, big or small, is a chance to glorify her Savior and a chance to point the next generation to Him.
There is no greater purpose.
Recognize today that all you do is for the Lord. True worth is found in Him and each and every task you do is all for His glory.
Dear Heavenly Father, We come to you today asking for forgiveness for the times we have sought purpose apart from you. Because apart from you, there is no purpose. Help us to live out our true purpose each and every day. To know you, to exalt you, and make you known. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
In John 15, Jesus gave the disciples what may have been the most powerful command of all. He said three words that can alter their entire lives, “Abide in Me.” Jesus meant for them to find the meaning of life in Him. Walk in faith and hope and all will be well in your soul. Purpose.
Just like Jesus’s disciples, we have the opportunity to “Abide in Him” they way they did. In that, we will find our purpose and direction that Christ is calling us.
When we abide in the word of God (Philippians 3:10), we allow Him to take control in our lives. No matter what circumstances arise we know that we will walk in faith and trust in the word of God, which we read in the Bible. When we feel we are called to help in the ministry, serve others, or step out of our comfort zone we do it. We do it because we know that God is telling us that he has called us to serve His people.
thoughts you lose your train of thought? It is because we are so busy thinking about our next item on the checklist we don’t just stop and stand still. We need to practice taking time to just sit and be with the Lord. Ask God to reveal our purpose in Christ to us. Pray for wisdom to navigate the twist and turns of life, so that with each step we take it is with the full armor of God.
God may be calling you to teach in ministry, sing, or help others, but if we are too busy to stop and listen we can miss our calling. We each have our own area of ministry where we can give to others in a helpful way, we just have to look to God for the guidance. We are here on this earth to have an intimate relationship with God and grow over time. By His almighty grace, we can live a peaceful and happy life. We just have to make sure to stop and hear God speaking to us.
Pray with me
Heavenly Father I thank you for your perfect plans and purpose for my life. That in those moments where things seem quiet, I know you are working in me. Lord, I pray that as I move forward each day I can find wisdom on what my purpose is and that I can walk in grace and help others in how you are calling me. Help me fulfill all that you would have me do in my life in your name. Amen.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. — Proverbs 19:21
In my early years as a mother, I was often overwhelmed by the enormous responsibility combined with the unpredictability of babies and toddlers. Nothing in my academic or professional life had prepared me for this challenge!
I tried to control the chaos by creating systems of planning, goal setting, and time management. That’s a rather grandiose way to describe my early hand-scrawled lists taped to the wall above our kitchen table so I could try to keep track of everything. I found so much satisfaction in accomplishment that I sometimes wrote down tasks I had already completed just for the pleasure of crossing them off the list!
Over the years my system became more elaborate, with carefully categorized daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and life plans. I developed a home study course for sharing it and began speaking about how to get things done. It was thrilling to discover that my system worked well for other people too.
But a system isn’t enough.
Lists, charts, and schedules can be wonderful tools to help us be good stewards of our time and our lives. But I’ve learned that while plans are good servants, they can be terrible masters. We can become so focused on checking tasks off our lists that we run roughshod over the people around us. Our plans can even become idols. Successful planning can create pride, arrogance, and an illusion that we really are in control . . . but we’re not. Our days and hours are ultimately in God’s hands, not ours.
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. — Proverbs 16:9
So should we just throw planning out the window? Not at all. The important thing is our heart attitude—our willingness to trust God’s providence and lean on His guidance . . . even when life doesn’t follow our plans. How we handle interruptions is a good way to gauge this.
We must pray for discernment to know how to respond to each situation. Sometimes the appropriate response is to ignore an interruption and continue the task at hand. At other times, an interruption is a signal to be sensitive to God’s timing and to recognize an opportunity to serve someone who really needs us. C. S. Lewis said, “What one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day.” This realization has softened and enriched my overachiever approach to planning.
English nun Janet Erskine Stuart’s attitude provides a wonderful reminder of how God’s providence applies to interruptions. Her assistant’s explanation convicts and encourages me, and I hope it will do the same for you:
She delighted in seeing her plan upset by unexpected events, saying it gave her great comfort, and that she looked on such things as an assurance that God was watching over her stewardship, was securing the accomplishment of His will, and working out His own designs. Whether she traced the secondary causes to the prayer of a child, the imperfection of an individual, to obstacles arising from misunderstandings, or to interference of outside agencies, she was joyfully and gracefully ready to recognize the indication of God’s ruling hand, and to allow herself to be guided by it. (Maud Monahan, The Life and Letters of Janet Erskine Stuart, 93)