Connecting the Dots: Charting God’s Presence and Faithfulness in Your Life

A few weeks ago I was browsing the shelves in my local “dollar” store when I came across a few dot-to-dot books for kids. I got a quick flashback to my kindergarten and first-grade classrooms from years ago. My students loved connecting the dots to “unlock” the hidden picture on the page.

The directions for dot-to-dot books are simple: The student starts with dot #1, and draws a line to dot #2, then draws a line from dot #2 to dot #3, and so on. Eventually a picture will appear as the dots are connected. 

While connecting dots is great at helping children develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills they’re great at helping adults too. 

It’s not normally coordination of motor abilities we adults need to work on though. Sometimes we need help connecting — the-dots of our life to see where God has been working. 

Connecting the Dots of our Life

If we take the time to look back on our life we should be able to connect the dots to see the many moves of God providing, protecting, directing, teaching, and comforting us. The skeptics in the world may say that when we give credit to God for “orchestrating” our life we are making events fit our narrative. But therein lies the truth about faith and having a relationship with our Heavenly Father. When we believe that “There is One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:6 then there is no other answer as to Who is in control. 

God doesn’t work by coincidence. Nothing is random with God. Oh, sure, some things that happen in life are the result of the choices we make independently from God. But, you can be assured that if you’ve invited Him into your life and you surrender your will to Him then He is always divinely working behind the scenes. He’s a master Orchestrator, a perfect Time-Keeper, a gifted Organizer, a “Detail Man,” and an expert Fixer-Upper. 

The Bible tells us that no one can fathom the mysteries of God (Job 11:7) and that God never promises us a life without difficulties (John 16:33). We won’t always have the answers. At times things will go smoothly and at other times we’ll experience ups and downs and challenges. 

When I was a teacher I’d instruct my students to take their time and to not get frustrated if they couldn’t find the next numbered dot or start to see the picture. I assured them that things would become clear even if they don’t see it at first. Same goes for us adults. When we can’t make sense of the “dots” in our life we can be assured that He’s working all things for our good even when we can’t see that He is.  

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 

Making a Timeline of Your Life

Years ago I challenged myself to create a timeline of my life so that I could chart the presence of God in my life. I’ve never forgotten doing that exercise and have created several more since. I showed my most recent timeline to one of my sons not too long ago. The act of sharing a timeline is like giving your testimony. It allows the other person to see what God has done in your life and is evidence of His ever presence. 

Before creating a timeline grab a notepad and begin jotting down noteworthy events (and dates if you know them) in your life. Start broadly. For example write: 

  • your birth
  • your first school
  • your first friend
  • your first job
  • your first love
  • your first home
  • your graduation
  • your marriage/divorce
  • when you became a parent/grandparent
  • when you lost a parent(s) or a loved one
  • when you felt stresses
  • when you experienced hurts

Now go a little deeper and look for God’s activity in your life. When did you see Him:

  • do miracles
  • answer prayers
  • give unexplained blessings
  • give you times of peace (that surpassed understanding)
  • grow you or someone you know spiritually 
  • discipline you
  • test your faith
  • provide for you 
  • divinely appoint people into your life
  • remove people from your life (who were leading you astray)

Now grab a sheet of paper (turn it so that it’s horizontal) and draw a line across the middle of it. Go back through your memories and begin plugging in the things you just jotted down.  Consider marking positive things above the timeline and hurts and challenges below it. 

Below the timeline begin jotting down lessons you’ve learned from events that took place. Things like:  

  • How did your life change because of a particular event?
  • When was it evident that you were living independently from God?
  • What do you wish you had done differently?
  • When do you see yourself trusting God?
  • Is there a season where you can see that your priorities may have been misplaced? Were in alignment with His?

Here’s a glimpse at just a few of the events that I have on my own timeline.  

  • August 1984 to May 1988: when the Lord looked out for me while I was making not-so-good decisions in college
  • May 1988: when I graduated with an education degree and knew that I was using the gift of teaching that He had put inside of me 
  • When I married my husband-the man He orchestrated that I meet in college
  • 1995-1997: when my husband and I were undergoing fertility treatments and the times He comforted me when they were unsuccessful
  • 1997: the year I found out we were pregnant with twins
  • 1998: the year he put 3 women in my life that led me into a relationship with Him
  • 1998: when I finally overcame an eating disorder and stopped believing lies about myself and instead believed that He loved me in a perfect way that no one else could
  • 2000: when our third son was born 
  • 2003-2012: when I homeschooled our sons and felt His guidance along the way
  • 2012: the year my mom passed away and He comforted me
  • 2018: the year my dad passed away and He comforted me
  • 2019: the year I officially became an empty nester and He showed me that I still had purpose and was more than just “mom”

It’s OK to Get Angry

Let’s “talk” about the times when we’re walking with God, being obedient, and “doing all the right things” yet our life doesn’t go as we planned or something bad happens to us. For many years I believed it was offensive to God to be angry with Him. Boy, was I wrong! God created us to have emotions. Joy, glee, fear, amusement, disgust, sadness, and yes, even anger are from God. 

He made human beings in His own image. We reflect some of the same qualities as God but in a finite and limited way. God’s emotions are never contaminated by sin the ways ours can be. Being angry at God for allowing something bad to happen or for not letting us have what we want is normal. I’ve had my share of inner battles with God when I’ve internally yelled “why!” or “why not!” at Him. 

It’s what we do with our emotions that matter. We humans can be like a child who gets angry at a parent when being told “no”. We often demand of God to be told “why.” Sometimes we get angry when we don’t get the details or a good enough explanation from Him. But, like a child, we can also trust that our Heavenly “parent” is taking good care of us. He knows best. 

God wants us to dialogue with Him even if it’s occasionally in anger. It’s in times of anger when we can hash things out and the Holy Spirit can move in and give peace, counsel, and intercede for us through prayer. Thankfully, God knows our heart better than we do.

The Importance of Charting God’s Presence and Faithfulness

The end of the year is a natural time for many of us to evaluate the past twelve months. We often look at the things that went “right” and conversely, look at the things that “didn’t go so right,” and decide what changes we want to make in the coming year. 

These last few days of December might be the time for you to chart the presence and faithfulness of God. If you’re content, experiencing joy, and know that you’re living out God’s purposes for your life then make a connection (what He did, where He moved, etc.) to why you’re experiencing those things and put them down on paper. 

If you find yourself grumbling and complaining about what you wish your life would look like then take a look at your timeline. Were there seasons when you went rogue and left God out (Proverbs 16:9)? Were there times when you didn’t ask Him for guidance and wisdom (James 1:5)? Were you associating with people who influenced you in a negative way (Proverbs 13:20)? 

Jotting down the times when we saw His presence and faithfulness helps us to reflect on ways God has worked, is working, and will surely work in our life in the future. When we put pen to paper this way we will (hopefully) see that: when we are weak He is always strong (2 Cor.12:11), He is abounding in grace and mercy (Psalm 103:8), and that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

I’d love to hear back from you about this blog. Do you need some clarification on how to create a timeline of your own? Jot down some questions and send them my way. I’d be happy to help you!

And finally, a New Year is like a blank book. 2024 is your chance to walk in tandem with God and let Him write a beautiful story for you. ☺

Happy New Year from my home to yours!


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3 thoughts on “Connecting the Dots: Charting God’s Presence and Faithfulness in Your Life”

  1. Amazing and timely
    .. I’ll be sending this to family and friends.
    Love to you and your family.
    Yes, Happy New Year. I’m ready for it!!

  2. I love the timeline idea! I often think about certain highs and certain lows, but this is a great way to record them and reflect on them in the future. Wish I would have done this yearly, but now is a great time to start!


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