• Marnie Hammar

What it Looks Like to Persevere Because of a Promise

By Denise Prosser


Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Denise's Story


“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 NLT).


God’s hand has always been on our daughter. Even her tumultuous birth is a testimony to His goodness, protection, and provision. At birth, my daughter was non-responsive. As a baby, she was often impossible to soothe. She was the poster child for “scream three hours straight with no probable cause.” I clearly remember standing in her nursery when she was three months old. She’d been crying for hours, and through my own tears, I begged the Lord for help.


His answer was almost audible. It stopped me in my tracks: It’s not going to be easy, but I have big plans for her.

I couldn’t help but wonder what awful things might lie ahead.


At ten months, her skin became itchy. By fourteen months, we discovered fourteen different food allergies (some significant and scary)! Her diet was extremely restricted, and outings with people who didn’t know her needs were frightening. She was safest by my side, so that’s where she remained.


Her diet wasn’t our only challenge. While we now know that God gave her grit and tenacity, as a child, that made her seem defiant and strong-willed. We chose to homeschool to give her determined spirit and short attention span extra flexibility. That also enabled me to better care for her headaches, nasal allergies, and asthma.


Due in part to our constant togetherness, her separation anxiety was intense! As a baby and toddler, she wouldn’t stay in the church nursery without a parent or grandparent. She later had extreme anxiety if I even went to work for a few hours. As an older elementary student, she couldn’t participate in summer camps, youth trips, or even sleepovers.


Many times during those years, even when it felt like God wasn’t hearing my prayers, He brought that day in the nursery back to my remembrance. When tears of frustration flowed (both mine and hers), I heard His promise again.


It’s not going to be easy, but I have big plans for her.


When she screamed out in pain from allergies and itchy skin, that whisper echoed in my spirit. When anxiety caused stomach issues, His answer rang through my mind. Through those difficult years, I clung often to the promise of His plans for her.


I can’t pinpoint when the shift occurred. It was subtle and gradual. In seventh grade, we enrolled her in a small Christian school with her older sister. God had kindly prepared her for that season by allowing her to come with me when I taught music classes. Her first couple years were tough, but she persevered, and by ninth grade, she attended her first successful church camp experience.


Now, she is a high school senior. Her principal always gives God the glory when he talks about how far she’s come. She works at a local convenience store and enjoys her job. She has chosen a to attend a small Christian college about 3 hours from home. Though she used to prefer staying home as much as possible, now, we sometimes have to force her to stay home to participate in family life and complete household responsibilities!


Those years were difficult. They challenged our entire family. God didn’t answer my prayers to just make things easier. Instead, He used them to prove His faithfulness and His goodness. He used her struggles to show us both how much He loves us and to teach us to trust Him even when we can’t feel Him. He is the God of all comfort, and I can look back and see how He used His promise to comfort me and draw me closer to Him. Now, He is using these experiences to draw her closer to Him, too.

Although His answer that day frightened me, I returned to that promise many times over the years. It became an anchor for my soul. I often feel inadequate as a mom, but I serve the God who created her. He knew all she would experience before her life even began. He loves her more than I do and has a perfect plan for her life. What an honor to be her mom, to see God at work within her, and to serve a God who is big enough for everything we face in this life.


“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:19, NLT).


Photo credit: Tamara Bellis, Unsplash.

The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest writer series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.


Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE five-day devotional (45 beautiful pages!) called, “Closer: Five Days to Hearing God Louder.” Each day features teaching on one posture and a guided journaling section to help us practice taking steps toward hearing God louder in our every day.


Learn more about each of these five postures:


1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?

2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?

3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?

4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?

5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?


New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!


Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens in January and June. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.


About Denise


Denise is a music therapist from central Illinois. She is married to Lyle and mom to four beautiful girls, three biological daughters and one through the privilege of international adoption.


Her relationship with Jesus covers and colors everything she does, and she learns from God in every season of life. As a young mom, she still remembers being amazed at how many times people said, "Oh honey, every baby (or mama) does that!" She was shocked that nobody imparts these lessons, birthing the unnecessary burden of mom guilt. So, it became her mission to share the practical and spiritual lessons she have learned along the way, in every season.


She is passionate about encouraging and equipping fellow moms to walk in the freedom for which God created us. You can find Denise at deniseprosser.com.


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