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About the Writer:

With grown step-children, college age sons and a self-employed husband, Joanne offers her time to God and to others. Her interest in writing and communications brought her back to college as an adult and through several reinventions of her own business and ministries. With time on her hands, she writes about God and life.



Regaining My Tools

By Joanne Sampl

It was an ordinary moment but a life-changing memory for me. Just a few weeks after I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, I walked into a Christian Bookstore to familiarize myself with the tools of a believer. I was a single mom on a tight budget, however, so there was little I could afford in the store. I found a Bible Promises book on the clearance table for $2, and headed to the check-out counter. There, next to the register, was a “Psalty the Singing Songbook” audio cassette. It only had six songs on it, so it was also bargain priced. I snatched it up and walked out of the bookstore with my $5 purchase and some of the most powerful faith-building tools of my life.

I absorbed the Bible Promises book as fast as I could. I needed the connection with Jesus through His Word deeply, but because I didn’t own an easy-to-understand Bible, this tiny book became the lifeline for me learning to look to the Lord for guidance and hope.

When I felt afraid, there were verses of peace I read and reread.

Isaiah 41:13 – “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

Hebrews 13:6 – “So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Okay, I read the fear passages a lot. My $2 book didn’t look new for very long. Thanks to this tiny, pocket-sized book, I began to receive a mountain-sized faith that carries me to this day.

But, it was the moment when I first played the Psalty the Singing Songbook tape with my children in the backseat of my small car that was life-changing. I ached for the pain I saw on my own children’s faces because of the divorce and turmoil in our lives. I love them so much more than I could ever express and I was eager to share my faith with them. My boys were 4 and 3 at the time, and they had never heard any of these Psalty songs before that moment. As soon as the first song came on the cassette, they both immediately started singing along. It was the most incredible sound I have ever heard. My Eric and my Adam boisterously sang along as though it was a song I sang to them from birth. I never knew the song let alone the principles they were singing. “God has a plan for my life…” On so many levels, God comforted me with this timeless truth coming from the mouths of my own children. God does have a plan for their lives.

As if the tape was still in the player and I pushed the fast-forward button, our lives have fast-forwarded to 2007. My Eric is 21 now, and Adam will be 20 in a little over a month. Both are in college and the busyness of life, college, and other priorities distance us much farther than the backseat of that small car. They are on the verge of huge, life-changing decisions now themselves. What direction should they take their careers? What college will be best for their specialized fields? Who shall they marry? What adventures lay ahead of them? What lies behind them that they need to give to God and move on? I ache all over again for the expressions of stress and pressure I see on their faces now.

Is that my old fear issue coming back up?

Back to the Bible Promises book for me.

Proverbs 3:25-26 – “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.”

John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Back to my memory of their small, young voices singing from the backseat the truth that “God has a plan” for their lives and that they’ll work it out together with Him.

When I look back to the principle of that song, I know where it comes from in the Bible.

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

And, yes, this verse is replayed often in my mind through the voices of children when they were young. God has a plan for their lives – and for mine.

Copyright © January 11, 2007 – Joanne Sampl.. All rights reserved.


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