Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category
She approaches me after the chuch service had finished and lowers her voice.
“What you told me about, a long time ago? The anxiety? Do you still struggle with that?
Why is she asking me this? Why now?
“Well, all week I have been feeling God telling me to pray for you regarding that, and I wanted you to know.”
I nod and say thank you and hug her. She moves on to talk to someone else.
But me? I am replaying her words in my mind. How could she have known? I had not spoken to anyone about it, about the anxiety that had resurfaced this past week. The racing thoughts that suck everything out of me.
And in that moment I knew. I knew all over again that God loved me. So much so that He moved her to pray for me. He was listening to my cries, even when I felt differently. It amazes me, when the God of the Universe so tenderly reaches down to let me know that He knows.
And on the hard days and weeks, giving thanks is all the more important…and when I am freshly aware that I am broken? I can see Him everywhere…
473. god whispering to her to pray for me
474. My mother, on her knees, praying for me
475. Friend who says “I am here”
476. the constant connection with God through prayer…how had I forgotten?
477. Strength to get up, strength to go, strength to do
Sometimes God is silent and it feels too long since the last time I heard his small voice. I hear of others close relationship to God and I’m mad. I thought he had no favorites? I’m praying and asking for some sign that this is not a one-way relationship. I need to hear from him some way.
Our church has been helping a ministry in Haiti since before Haiti was in everyone’s radar. A group of us have been planning to visit in October and I was assigned the task of purchasing teh airline tickets. And this morning, after months of checking prices and them only going up I go ahead and get ready to purchase the tickets because time is running out. Price still the same since yesterday when I checked. I become distracted and the website message tells me my session has expired. Two minutes later I’m back on and …I double and triple check. The price is now half of what it was 2 min ago. I purchase the four tickets in lightning speed afraid that at any moment this fluke will be over.
When I tell my mom she attributes it to the recent hurricane. I attribute it to God. Through this act I felt God confirm our decision to visit Haiti next month. He reminded me the truth I have learned over and over again, that he is always present regardless of whether I feel him or not.
When I look for God’s gifts, I start to see his footprints in my life and his presence is felt. It’s just that its a whisper that I cant hear if I am not quiet.
It’s hard to be quiet. But Ill shush and count the things I am grateful for…
448. rainbow in the sky
449. outreach event at work a success
450. dinner with co-workers
451. a new coworker I like
452. client doing better
453. star-filled sky
454. sunset while driving
455. ham & cheese sandwich
456. dad’s birthday
457. family together to celebrate
458. 7 lives baptized on Sunday
459. 24 year anniversary of our church
460. dancing and laughing under the stars
I don’t like those speed humps they have everywhere nowadays . I full out hate them. I am convinced if I could avoid them, my commute home would be 1.5 minutes shorter. But thanks to them, I have to slow down. (On a side note, I hit the bottom of my car because I did not slow down and it wasnt pretty). Last week as I was glaring at the “speed hump” road sign ahead, I thought about how much I need “slow humps”, as my friend calls them, in my day.
Most days I wince as I look at the clock and see it’s bed time. As I do a quick review of my day, I often have not taken the time to do any of the things that really matter. Instead dumb distractions like that darn phone with its gazillion apps or one more look online steal away the minutes and hours.
My name might be Mary with an “i” but really I am Martha.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41
I keep choosing the wrong things and I want to choose what matters.
I need slow humps to make me do just that, slow down. To slow down and take inventory of my emotions, my priorities, my purpose, my relationships, my God. Really, all of these can be taken care of with one action: prayer. Slowing down to pray, to express gratitude, to check my heart and intentions.
Sometimes I wish Christians were more like Muslims. I like how collectively they all stop to pray at set times throughout the day. That would come in handy for me! But I suspect if we did that it would become another task to do.
I am thinking of how to add these “humps” to my daily living, any ideas?
I am sitting at my computer editing a picture of my dad I took only days ago. I am busy trying to erase wrinkles and smooth out his face when a knot builds in my throat. He is old, my father. And I want to make him young again, because that way I know he will stay. That I have much more time. That death is a very distant thing that will happen years and years from now.
That was the security blanket I clung too when I was a child. When I would make myself sick thinking about losing either of my parents. I would comfort myself with denial: “what I fear wont happen“. And when I reached out to mom she would say the same: “dont you worry, we arent going anywhere“.
And I would rest in that for awhile.
But now I know better. That no one is staying forever.
I search wildly to comfort the anxieties of a little girl that are still very much alive in the mind of a grown woman. I dont want to think about it but my mind has always had a way of taking fleeting thoughts and clinging to them.
The old tricks just wont do and I can no longer deny it: loss is a part of life.
But can I trust God with this? With my worst fears? I had thought He would have made them go away by now. Yet in the past years I have began to understand this: that He is with me IN my fear.
Though I am scared, I find my security in the knowledge that God is with me. That I am known completely by Him and when those feared times come, He will walk me through them.
I know that loss will arrive in many forms in my life and that scares me. I wish I could write that I am all courage and faith and trust. But I am not. Maybe one day? Until then there is God and He is bigger than my worst fears.
It’s been a prayer request of mine for years. Since I was 22 to be exact. A few years ago I told God (in a very nice way) that I was going to wait for Him to give me direction as to what I should do in this situation. And I waited. Or so I thought.
Truthfully though, praying about this unanswered request is painful for me. It brings up fears and memories and unbelief in me. So I don’t. I say quick “remember my request” prayers and move on. I avoid seriously praying about it unless circumstances make me desperate enough. Should I be surprised then that there is no answer? How could there be, if I am not listening?
I decided to face the fears, the pain that comes when I bring this prayer up to God. And so I prayed. Told God I was trusting Him to show up and guide me and I finished with up with “your will be done” and everything. It all felt very trusting of me.
Two minutes later and I am on my laptop “googling” possible solutions to my problem. Three pages in to my search results and I can feel the anxiety gripping me. How will God do this?! Look at all the strikes against me! What if He decides to answer it this way or that way? How would I cope? I can’t go through this again!
Hmmm. Not good.
I make a decision then. No Google. No “helping” God answer my prayer. Instead, only prayer. And waiting. I know the time for action on my part will come. But for this season, I need to be still and know that He is God. To listen for His voice, which I crave so desperately.
Promises I’m holding on to:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7
My friend’s grandma says that things such as lies are “mistakes” and not sin. We all laugh. She’s old, senile maybe, we conclude.
Yet if I am honest, my own personal theology is not very different from hers. My sins, they are small (I secretly believe). Certainly not worthy of death (I don’t dare say out loud)! Some days I offer a blanket plea for forgiveness. I don’t name my sins daily as I do my needs.
Last week the words slipped out of before I understood what I was praying: “Lord, show me my sin as you see it”.
Years of Sunday sermons and Bible reading have taught me that my sin repulses the Father. And that for them the punishment is death.
I find myself appalled at my whispered thoughts.
I thought this was the struggle of new believers, of nonbelievers? 20+ years with God and I am now asking these questions?
Surely, I do not see my own sin as God sees it.
And I want to see. So my prayer is “Please God, let me see as you do”
Not long after (ah, these type of prayers are quickly answered, aren’t they?) I see. What once seemed far away now comes running towards me. Its green color claiming my attention.
I realize I had called it by so many other names, nothing offensive like Sin. And oh it is ugly, this sin. It makes me ugly inside. I want to be clean from it. I pray.
Please forgive me.
I am starting to see once again what I had forgotten. The sin-stench has been there all this time while I was busy looking for some scandalous sin before I bowed in repentance.
In this age of self-esteem just how wretched I am gets lost in positive words and affirmations promising that I am good and worthy. But that is a lie.
As I begin to see I see that I am none of those things. Not compared to God’s goodness and worth, and that should always be my measuring stick. This seeing makes it possible for me to receive the grace that elevates me to righteousness before God. And so He sees me as good and worthy not because of my own self but because I am covered in His Son’s holy righteousness.
I wish that I could slow down time. With the passing days and months comes change and change has never sat well with me.
I exclusively listen to 90′s music. I get very upset when Facebook unveils a new layout. I change the subject when friends discuss possibly moving out of state. I look away from the signs of aging in my parents. A baby on the way for a friend, a wedding for another. Change, change, change.
Why cant life stay the same? Its comfortable that way; safe. Its taken me a while but I’ve finally got the hang of things! …and then zipping in comes Change leaving a whole set of new things I have to get accustomed to.
And what is at the heart of my dislike for poor, faithful Change? I think I have located the root of my problem and I dont like what I found: I am afraid of change because I do not trust God with what is to come.
I think of loss. Of what is familiar, of friendships and goodbyes to those I love. I just dont want to! So I would rather hold on tightly to what I have rather than loosen my grip to the natural course of life. It’s silly really, because I cannot stop change from occurring. It happens everyday.
Do I really want to stay here, forever?
No, not really. I want to see what else God has in store for me. To grow and mature in my faith. With every passing day I am closer to eternity. I know that mixed with all the good the future holds there is also pain. But can I trust God with it? Yes, I am slowly learning to so because…
He does not change: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
His ways are perfect: As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him 2 Samuel 22:31
He is a my guide: Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Isaiah 44:8
He has good plans for me: 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. Jeremiah 29:11
Who knows, maybe I will find the courage to finally venture past the “oldies” stations on the radio.
When all in life is good I try new things and set new goals. When life is good I like to dream and plan.
When life is good I also forget God.
Does this happen to you? When you’re feeling good, when there are no major problems in your life, do you find yourself forgetting about God?
I’ve noticed a pattern in my life. When facing a problem or feeling emotionally overwhelmed, I cling to God with everything I have. Yet when the situation passes and things return to “normal” once again, the urgency to seek God diminishes. I don’t pray as often. When I do pray it’s more routine and my prayers begin to sound like a memorized script. As I go through the day I’m not purposefully listening for God’s voice or His blessings. Slowly I begin to lose the intimacy I enjoyed in the midst of a hard time.
It seems the Israelites in the Bible knew just what I mean.
I cared for you in the desert,
in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud;
then they forgot me. Hosea 13:5-6
The Israelites found themselves in a desert, hungry and desperate. They needed God’s help and He faithfully came to their rescue. But look at what happens next. Once they were full, when the situation had been resolved, they became proud. Their thinking might have gone something like this “I’ve got this situation under control. I can do this. I’m alright”. How quickly we forget that we can do nothing without God’s help. That pride led the Israelites to forget about God.
I can easily read these verses and think “How selfish of them!” “How could they be so ungrateful?!” Yet when I look at my own life and heart I am no better than they. I too have become proud, quickly forgetting the pit from which God lifted me and want to do life on my own.
I will probably repeat this patter again just as the Israelites did. Yet God is merciful. How many times did he take those ungrateful Israelites back? Still, we need to recognize our pride, repent and return to him. He is waiting.
Blessings this past week…
178. news that it’s a girl!
179. health insurance
180. dripping ice cream cone
181. trip to the museum
182. opportunity to see relics from the beginnings of Christianity
183. that confirm the power of the Gospel, still around all these years later
184. someone asking me for prayer
185. early morning rain
186. that He see’s me, right where I am and cares
187. worship service that lifted my “bad mood”
188. thoughts of the New Jerusalem
189. a better day