Stay Where God Planted You

After my morning walk, I approached my house and was amazed to see what looked like a sunflower growing in the midst of my rose bush.

We’ve lived here for fourteen years. The spot was once a fish pond. We did away with that about nine years ago. In its place, I’ve planted peonies, a couple of rose bushes, and lilies, but never a sunflower seed.

How cool it was that God planted it there. Whether a weed or a sunflower, it grew not next to the roses, but in the midst of the rose bush.

God’s precious voice reminding me that we need to stay where He has planted us and He will grow us up. We may feel like a sunflower or more like a weed. We may not know why we’re planted in a certain spot, or see what the purpose is until He starts to grow us and we rise among the roses.

Never doubt where God has you or why, just watch for Him, trust Him and He will fulfill His purpose in your life.

Nothing can stop God’s plan for your life. For the Lord Almighty has a purposed, and who can thwart  him? His hand is stretched our, and who can turn it back? Isaiah 14:27

Books by Dana K. Ray

Absolution Book 1 in The Luciano Series  http://a.co/1hRwM7T or https://danakray.com 

A Second Chance http://a.co/baTuF38​ or https://danakray.com 

 

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And Now For Something Completely Different…

ABSOLUCover Concept v2_FINAL (Flat)TION – The Luciano Series – Book 1

A mystery. The first book I ever wrote.

I knew nothing about writing except that I had this movie in my head and I had to get this story on paper. The Lucianos needed to come to life.

The first draft I thought was gold. I knew I’d be a New York Times best seller. I shared the manuscript with my family, who all claimed they loved it. Today, I am embarrassed I ever let them read it but thankful they were so encouraging. Their excitement kept me going over the next twenty years as I learned more about writing, editing and refining the craft. Absolution, the first draft, became The Luciano Series with four books in it…so far.

When A Second Chance went to print I was excited to see my dream come to life! It was the second book I wrote. But with Absolution, it’s my baby, the first one coming to life. It’s beyond exciting. It’s like seeing your child taking their first steps, hearing that first word, or seeing that first smile.

The Luciano’s have been in my head for so many years they are like family to me and very real. I know you will fall in love with them as much as I have!

One of my crit partners who edited Absolution and is now re-editing Mercy, book 2 in the Luciano series, sent me this yesterday…

Okay, so I’m only up to chapter 6 of Mercy, but I’ve fallen in love with Antony, AGAIN, darn you. LOL. I’m enjoying this all over again.  

Oh, Antony…. Mmmmwwwwwwwwwwah! Renie (Irene Onorato-amazing author)

Pick up your copy of Absolution TODAY!! I know you will love the Luciano’s as much as I do!

http://a.co/ck0fOpJ  or a signed copy at www.danakray.com (may be some delay, still waiting on my copies)

If you haven’t read A Second Chance, you can grab it also at https://amzn.com/1632132605 or a signed copy at www.danakray.com

 

Let’s Skip Thanksgiving and Go Straight to Christmas

I was blessed today to share at MOPS today. Although starting out shaky (I get SO nervous) I had a lot of fun. I was able to read this to them. I hope it encourages you to dream big but wait on God’s timing!!  Enjoy!!!!
I love to pray with my five year old daughter Lydia. She prays like she talks; very precise, questioning and has no problem telling God exactly how she feels. She is so precious.
Last night she begins her prayers. She prays for her family, the dogs, the man on the motorcycle we saw on the way to Walmart, my horses I had as a child, then, she begins to pray for Christmas. No, nothing religious I could be proud of, but she prays a strange little prayer. She prays, “God, make Christmas come faster. Skip Thanksgiving and all the rest, just bring Christmas.”
I remembered that morning she had asked me how many days until Christmas. I’m curious, so after the prayer, I ask. “Why do you want Christmas to come so fast?”
“I want to see grandma and grandpa and get presents.”
I tucked her blond hair behind her ears. “If Christmas comes first, you’ll miss out on Thanksgiving. You get to see grandma and grandpa then and they always bring you a present.”
“I don’t care.”
“But you’ll miss your Thanksgiving and Christmas parties at school.”
“I don’t care.”
“You’ll miss out on so much if God moved up Christmas. You’d miss Thanksgiving break, birthday parties, all the stuff you learn at school.”
“I don’t care.”
I nodded. It’s usually useless to argue with a five-year-old.
As I walked from her room, I realized I just had the same conversation with my daughter that I often have with God.
Many times in prayer, we ask God to hurry up with an answer. We may be impatient or plainly hurting but the request is the same: answer us, now. We don’t even realize the blessings we might be missing out on if He did.
My daily prayer calendar said one day last week that “patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while we are waiting.”
As I look back over the years, I have a few, personal, long standing prayers. One of them is writing.
I’ve wanted to give up, but every day had a purpose. I don’t always see it or understand it, but like I told my daughter about Christmas, if it comes too fast, we miss out on the blessings in between.
Our prayers may be simple enough that God shows Himself immediately or they may take years for Him to bring it to pass, but wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14
Pray on warriors!
Dana
Don’t forget to check out my webpage at www.danakray.com
If you’re looking for a Christmas gift or a good book to read, pic up A Second Chance!! danakray.com or Amazon

Prayers Answered Check out DanaKRay.com

Hi all you faithful followers! God has answered so many prayers over the last few months so I want you to jump over to my NEW blog at DanaKRay.com 

I had my first book published at the end of May and would love for you to check it out! You can purchase an autographed copy on DanaKRay.com or download on kindle or purchase a copy at https://amzn.com/1632132605

Subscribe to my BLOG on DanaKRay.com so you can keep updated on my crazy life and see all the things God’s doing in it!!

Love ALL you readers out there!! 🙂

Dana

My Promised Land

“And after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” Hebrews 6:15 (NIV)

Have you ever prayed for something for so long that you have to continually remind yourself that God’s timing is perfect? And even though we know His timing is perfect, the wait can be excruciating!

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. God put the desire in my heart at a very early age. Stories have played like movies in my head since as far back as I can remember.

I won my first poetry contest in fifth grade. A simple poem I wrote in 1976, the theme: The Bicentennial.

One of our famous presidents was Lincoln,

He did us lots of good thinkin’

All though he was tall,

He was loved by all and

He kept the southern states from leavin’!

Wow, and I won first place. Amazing, huh? My prize…a book about boys track. Yes, the ultimate punishment, they thought Dana was a boy. Ugh. Not the first time someone thought I was a boy, but I graciously accepted my book, taped my poem in it and have cherished it since. Occasionally I pull it from the shelf, look at it and giggle. It is a reminder of God working in my life even before I knew Him as savior and friend.

I began the year 2015 with these words, “Okay God, it’s been twenty some years since I started putting our stories down on paper and this is the year. It’s time to start trying to get them out to the publishing world. By the end of 2015, I will be entering my Promised Land. And if I don’t have a publishing contract, I will self-publish.”

Reminded of my promise to God daily, and with the help of my critique partner’s encouragement, I subbed one of my books to two publishers in September. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. But God is good and before I knew it, I had both interested and one offered a contract. I’m excited to say that I signed that contract on December 4, 2015 with a release date set for next year. Whew. Twenty plus days to spare.

A Second Chance is due out May 24, 2016.

As I sit here and write this I believe our God to be big and I believe Him to fulfill our dreams. I am a walking example of His answer to prayer. I pray you will dream big dreams and believe our God to be as huge as He really is. Thank you, Jesus, for continued answer to prayer!

God Speaks Through a Diet Coke

I was preparing for an important task and I needed help. Help is one of the hardest things for me to ask for, but I have learned to yield to God in this. I swallowed my pride and asked Tammy (name changed) to help me. Of course she willingly said yes, even seemed excited. The day before the task, I got the dreaded text. Tammy had to back out. In the Spirit I understood and was very pleasant. In the flesh I irritated.  

I’m whining to God about Tammy and having to do the task alone as I stopped for my morning coffee. It was already ninety degrees so I swayed from the hot coffee and decided to grab a diet Coke instead. Very rarely do I buy a screw top diet Coke. I prefer the fountain drink but today, for some odd reason (God) I grabbed the screw top bottle and took it to the checkout.

The checkout person held the bottle up and in an almost too cheerful way, said, “Look, you get to share a coke with Tammy.”

I said, “What?”

He held the diet Coke up, spun the bottle around and there was Tammy’s name printed on the label. “This is Coke’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. They put names on the bottles of a person and you’re supposed to find someone with that name and buy them a Coke, or you could bless them in some other way, I guess. Your call.”

I walked to my car and once inside, held the bottle up and looked at the name in big black letters. Tammy. I laughed with God for a long moment. God, through a diet Coke, had to remind me that sometimes I don’t have the right heart or attitude. I might have done the right thing outwardly, I understood and was nice, but my heart wasn’t right.

I’ve heard preachers say that even when you don’t want to do the right thing do it anyway, your heart will catch up. I’m once step closer to my heart catching up. Next time, it won’t be a forced ‘do the right thing,’ but it will just come naturally in the Spirit.

My Prayer Closet

I wrote this when my kids were small…

“Jesus] went up on mountainside and sat down.  Turning to his disciples, he began to teach them… “go into your room, close the door and pray.”

Matthew 5:1, 6:6  NIV

A prayer closet. A concept my preacher taught me years ago. A place to have a quiet time. A time set aside for just you and the Lord. I’ve heard of people using their dining room tables, gardens, in-home offices or bedrooms. Before I had kids, I faithfully went outside on our deck and prayed. If you would’ve asked me then, I never imagined my prayer closet would change from looking at the beautiful sunrises to the tile on the bathroom wall but after four kids I’ve learned that we can approach God anytime…anywhere… 

My children, like most, seem to need every second of my attention. I’ve found the only time I’m able to get away is when I use the restroom. One particular day I woke up to the screams of my kids. The fighting had already begun. Dread consumed me. I knew it was going to be bad. Sure enough, by mid-morning, I was frazzled. I did the only thing I knew to do. I retreated into the bathroom and balanced on the ledge of the bathtub. I dropped my head, clasped my hands together and prayed.

For months I had been praying to find a place to spend time alone with God. I missed my prayer closet. Almost instantly my brain started turning. I looked up at God and smiled. It was so obvious. Since the only time I have for myself is in the bathroom, why not take advantage it? That was the moment my bathroom turned into my prayer closet.

I started by taking a few extra minutes, then quickly grew longer. Luckily it only takes me about thirty minutes to get ready in the morning. Extending this to an hour was not a problem. The kids just thought Mommy needed more time to become beautiful.  Which, in reality, she did.

I stashed a Bible in the vanity drawer. I converted the edge of the bathtub into a kneeling bench. The bath mat as my kneeling pad. I’ve often thought if only I only had a mini-fridge and a coffee pot…

It is a very important fact that Christ went out alone and prayed. If Jesus, the Son of God had to do this, how much more important is it for us to do the same? Our concern should not be where the closet is, but that you have one and you use it, daily.  Praying is communicating with God. It is how we build a relationship with Jesus Christ.  There are no concrete ways to pray, but we have the unwavering words of Psalm 34:15, (NIV) that says; The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers.

One summer afternoon I was in my closet. I knelt before the bathtub. My knees fixed comfortably on the bathmat, my arms resting on the side of the tub, and my hands facing upward as I delightfully prayed to our Father. I heard a faint tap and a soft voice come through the door. It was my seven-year-old son.  “Mommy? What are you doing?”

“What do you think, honey? I’ll be out in a minute.” I continued on with my prayer, knowing that God understands these little interruptions. I’m not sure how long it was after that but I finally emerged from the bathroom refreshed, revived and ready to tackle the rest of the day. I was startled to see my son sitting cross-legged on the floor in the hallway.

He looked up, his large hazel eyes narrowed. “What were you doing in there?”

I thought for a moment. “Going to the bathroom.” It seemed the easiest answer and it wasn’t a lie. I did go to the bathroom, only I had taken an extra fifteen minutes to pray.

“No, you weren’t,” my son firmly stated. “I looked under the door and saw your toes.”

I chuckled. He had to have stuck his face to the carpet and laid prostrate to see what I was doing. I knelt down, gently laid my hand on his back and smiled. “I was praying.”

“Oh.” He smiled then ran off.

I laughed, wondering what must’ve been going on in his little head when all he could see were my knees and toes pressing into the bathmat. Then I saw a vision. I pictured my son, years later using my unconventional prayer closet as an illustration.  He explained that with four children his mother had desperately sought a place to pray and finally found one. He pointed out how she had unknowingly taught him the importance of finding a certain place to pray. Prior to that day, he had always assumed she just had trouble going potty.