Tag Archive for: Prayer

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1: 3-5

This notebook is not my “look.” In fact, I think it’s ugly. It was one of the few things I inherited when my mom died. I knew it had its place; in my purse and out of view. It reflects my mom’s personality, and using it for God’s word was a perfect way to honor her. I decided to use this ugly little thing for the most beautiful thing: Promises that would inspire me when I needed it, or inspire others for the same reason.

MY PRAYER

Jesus, you are my life. May your light show me what you see, beyond what is right before me, and into the hearts of those around me. May your light reveal what is true and right and forever. Whatever my eyes see or I perceive, may your light provide better vision that will give hope where there is darkness, and light the path that leads myself and others toward restoration.

 

Forgive my horrible writing. In the moments when I write in this book, I’m usually cramming the gem onto the page, determined to retain the comfort for another time, but not concerned with my penmanship. I wish I could share this with you with pride in my writing style. If I could, I’d have my friend who writes beautiful calligraphy enter them. They deserve that attention.

 

We’ve had a lot of special recognition days at work lately: National Professional Administrative Day, National Classified Employee Week, Teacher Appreciation Week, Nurses Day; the list is extensive. I wonder though if maybe we need these days because we treat each other crappy by our lack of kindness or show of appreciation on all the other days. I’m still practicing my efforts of kindness that I learned by The Kindness Challenge that I wrote about a couple of months ago. This could possibly replace all these special recognition days. Nah, then I would’t have gotten that awesome gift certificate for a pedicure.

I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I like it better when make up calls occur before a date on the calendar appears. St. Patrick’s Day puts a tiny skip in my walk because I look forward to pinching people. But Mother’s Day is a little different, because mothers do feel a lack of appreciation and hallelujah, this is a day that warrants the make up call that is owed.

I am one of those moms who could talk about my kids and probably your kids for hours, especially when it comes to sports or health, being well versed in those two areas. One of my favorite memories is when our days were scheduled around playdates and rec center classes. Our days were filled with other things, but these are the things I recall with fondness, but didn’t appreciate at the time. When my son was two or three, he had a small spot in the middle back of his neck that I loved to snuggle and kiss. I’d grab his little body, wrestle it into mine, pull him tight and say, “Where’s my “favorite spot? I love my favorite spot!“ One day while on a playdate with close friends I overheard him say, “My mom loves to kiss my private spot.” EEEKS!

While some moms are looking forward to make up calls, for others this day might open wounds. You might not be a mom who takes your children’s love for granted, with a predictability of being honored on this day. You may not receive a tender word of gratitude, or have a spouse who will ensure that your child doesn’t overlook this opportunity to show his or her love. Your throat might tighten as you see proud postings on social media, suddenly wondering what the heck you’re doing staring at these expressions of love that are causing you sadness or even anger. Maybe you scoffed at the NBC report that an average of $80 is spent per person on Mother’s Day.

If you are that mother, I hope you’ll let some tears flow and ask God to restore brokenness and calm your heart. Ask for contentment when your family isn’t what you’d hoped. Remember that God says, “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Know that this day isn’t the end of your story, and neither is this world. Ask God to fill in the gaps where you fail. Ask that your children’s hearts continue to mend and that by His strength they will be overcomers. Know that in spite of the circumstances, and in your grief, there is one who loves our children more than we do, and in that obedience of lifting our hearts before God we will find success in the mess.

Last weekend I got to spend Mom’s Weekend with my daughter at her school. It’s her senior year in college. I’m reminded of how fast the time has gone (or tardy I am) by the photo journal I’d promised for her high school graduation that is not yet completed (it is close!). The previous eight years seemed painfully slow at times as we navigated a divorce and the loss of our foundation as we knew it, and then Bridgette’s eating disorder. Bridgette’s final year in college is one to celebrate as she’s returned to a healthy thriving young woman enjoying what most college students enjoy: independence.

While I longed for her to be independent and fully who God designed her to be, I hadn’t yet known what that looked like, and really, neither did she. Even though I desired her independence as much for her as for me, I was surprised to learn that I had grown to depend on her dependency. I was in constant contact with her, both a prescription advised by her medical team and simply by instinct; it was my mission to help her overcome this. Evidence of all our hard work revealed itself at the beginning of this last fall, and I continued to cheer her on. But my words that were once nourishment became more like excess water that she didn’t need. Our conversations were changing. Her need for my input, coaching and encouragement was decreasing. While her mind and spirit were beautifully developing, my heart was confused that it (I) wasn’t needed like I once was.

Unlike any other relationship I know, a mother’s love will navigate the path of a child with one thing in mind: to do all we can to maintain the relationship. As I navigate the course, I talk with friends, I read, I consider, and make adjustments along the way. Moving forward and pulling back, staying true to myself and honoring them, refocusing when things get wobbly, with an eye on this relationship that God granted me.

Along the way, always praying. I began praying for them daily about 10 years ago with a group called Moms in Prayer. The dedication to this weekly event created a lifelong behavior for which I am grateful. In my prayers I am humbled, I am reminded, and as in 2 Chronicles 7:14, we are promised that when we seek God’s face, he is faithful to answer us.

I never turn down a lovely gift, my favorites being a manicure or a gift card to a favorite gardening store I might add. But the joy of this gift of prayer to my children has been the gift that keeps on giving (sorry; I’m a Christmas Vacation fanatic). It’s the gift that gives back to me, bringing me reassurance and a contented heart. It’s success in the mess.

May you be filled this year with the same, and with a hopeful heart on Mother’s Day.

Dear God, I thank you for this day in Portland, Oregon. The sky is clear; it’s crisp and strikingly beautiful. I thank you for the comfort of my home.

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I embrace this new year with enthusiasm and excitement. In this morning it’s easy to do.  A new 2015 is on the immediate horizon. Even with my enthusiasm for what’s ahead, I am aware that the realities of the new schedule will be different than what I’ve been living. The differences remain to be seen, and in some ways, I welcome what I imagine to be more predictable, even if rigid. I pray that you walk with me this year as I become fully enveloped in my new job, even on those days when it’s ordinary and mundane, strenuous and frustrating.

I pray Lord that I will walk in your will, every day. I recognize the impossibility of that, but it’s my desire, nonetheless. I ask that your Holy Spirit would speak to me when I’m out of your will, and that I would correct before I make mistakes that are difficult to adjust, especially when they affect other people. I pray Lord that my heart for people would be your heart. That I would see them through your eyes, accepting their faults and aware of my own, and that ultimately, I wouldn’t spend any time at all on anyone’s faults. This is why I pray; I know myself well.

I pray Lord that you will give this old mind the ability to learn things that don’t come easy to me. Insurance and numbers have never been easy for me. But you gave me this job, so I trust you know something about me that I do not.  I ask that you would give me clarity and comprehension, and that like a sponge I would absorb information that will help me in being the best I can be in my job.  I pray that my information would be used to improve others’ lives. That it would be helpful and valuable, and that it would all work together for your good, my well being, and financial security.

I pray that my new relationships will be meaningful and that while I’m working full time, my old relationships will remain strong and lifelong.

I pray for my children’s well being while I am gone for a 40 hour work week. That when I am unable to help them, our history will emerge and wisdom will be on their side. That the effort of the past will be fruit for their future, and that they will thrive in your will and your Holy Spirit will be their guide.

I pray for the dogs, that they will be happy and find a way to entertain themselves, so that I am not spending my time doing that when I come home. I pray that they learn to use the doggie door and that they use it to go out and relieve themselves, and that in the process they remain in our yard, and safe.

I pray that I’m disciplined and return to good eating habits and that my bad habits don’t linger into Valentine’s Day, or any other excuse I can find to eat a good or bad meal, or snacks, or samples at Costco.

I pray that in the midst of my job, I can continue to build a home where at the end of the day, it’s where I most want to be, and that ultimately, others also enjoy spending time. I pray that I am able to continue the small things that will add to my skill set and professional value, such as Spanish. In that, I include my blog; where that fits, I don’t know, but I ask you Lord that I can continue it, unless I discover I no longer enjoy it.

I ask you Lord that your Holy Spirit will guide me in my schedule. That I will make time for reading your word first thing in the morning, time for prayer, and for exercise.  That my first priority is to feed my soul with your words, and that I will provide for my body what it needs to stay strong and live a long life, God willing.

Lord, as I say this prayer, I am reminded of a million things that I could ask you for.  Time for good meals, my kids’ activities, discipline in getting to bed early, so I can get up early. I praise you every time I get out of bed, because as much as I love the day when I get going, I love my bed when I’m in it. Transitions are hard, and that transition is included.

You are my strength. In you, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.  I understand Lord that I will fall short of my earthly aspirations. I ask Lord that you will keep me grounded and I ask that my perspective will be what is important to you.  My human nature will seek to accomplish it all, but I ask you Lord to bless me with your nature. I pray Lord that my life in 2015 will glorify you.

I am excited for 2015. My hope comes from you. You have been my provider and will continue to provide according to your will for my life. I thank you Lord for 2014. It was hard, good, and I (we) walked it with you. I ask Lord that we continue into 2015 in the same way, and that each step is a step closer to victory, whatever that looks like.

I love you.

Amen

Underwriting Underwriting Underwriting

They approved and have signed off on everything. No more scrutiny by them. Yea! Signing is any day, now.

I had a great weekend filled with friends.  When too much time passes without connecting with a friend, I begin to feel lonely. God made us to be relational, so it stands to reason that the absence of sincere connections with others can leave us feeling a twinge of sadness.

So, I prayed about it. Women often ask their husbands for affirmations of love. But, as a husbandless woman, that wasn’t an option. I didn’t think any friends would appreciate me asking them to tell me they loved me.  And as we know, when we ask for it, the affirmation of love doesn’t quite feel the same as it does when an affirmation is unsolicited. So I asked God to send me affirmation. I ask a lot from God, and in this request I simply said, a few times, “God, I’m feeling kind of lonely. Could you please remind me that I’m not alone, and that I am loved?” I had no idea what that would look like.   Without realizing how it was happening, by the time the weekend was over, I’d been refueled by several friends, as well as by a chance meeting with a woman in my community as we were both on a walk.

I love interacting and talking about other’s lives. I love hearing stories from people about other people. I don’t need to know the people’s identity. They can be called A, B, & C, and I’ll listen as raptly as if I had a vested interest.  I really just love the story. I love brainstorming about challenges, hearing about success, and a little reminiscing is always good for our soul. I got a little of everything this weekend, and it made me happy.  God reminded me of his goodness. I had to leave my house for such goodness. Friends didn’t stop by and announce, “God sent me. He wanted me to remind you that we love you.”  No, I left my home.  It worked out that both kids were occupied so I stopped what I might have done (packing, which is what I should technically have done)  and left to spend time with various friends.  I was re-energized from the conversations we had, and it was good.

Our guest pastor today spoke about Paul from Acts 18:1-4. He talked about the relationship Paul must have had with Priscilla and Aquila, a married couple who made tents like Paul did.  The guest pastor presented a theory, that a relationship without responsibility isn’t a friendship, it’s an acquaintance. I thought that was so interesting. He tied it into our culture and how more and more we’re making friends based on the convenience of the relationship, versus our responsibility to it.

I think many of us can relate to that concept. We make “friends” from the paths we cross each day, so often because of our kids’ schedules and activities. Wonderful friendships have been formed at basketball and football games. It would be hard not to form friendships when we’re spending that much time at practices, games, performances, and working beside each other at our schools and church. But I think an awareness of how we form our friendships and who we let in is something to consider.  There’s only room for so much in our life, and something will have to give if we aren’t intentional.  Without any thought, friendships may just “happen” based on where we are at any given moment in time, or who we’re connecting with on social media.

God designed us to be relational. It’s so evident to me after I’ve spent time with people and I leave happy and full of life. I think social media is evidence of how relational we are. For those who spend hours on social media, but little time in real life with people,  it seems they are searching for a way to connect.  Hours on end would appear to almost be a desperate attempt to connect.  They may not have formed the skills they need to connect well in our world, and social media has given them an easy way to make that happen. I don’t think that’s necessarily good, but it is evidence of our strong need to relate to people.

I’m grateful for new friends.  But there is something beautiful about longtime friends.  Friends who you’ve shared life with on a deep level, that includes laughter, tears, and memories.  Friends who have shared responsibilities together, caring for each other when the other was weak, vulnerable, or defeated.  Friends who do life together, like Priscilla, Aquila and Paul, sharing a home.  Can you imagine?  Talk about responsibility!  Our lives are so full these days. It can take enormous effort to connect with our friends, especially if they’ve fallen outside of our every day life.  Some would say that’s where social media allows us to stay connected.  But this weekend went deeper than that, and I’m so grateful that God heard my simple prayer, and filled me up with life that comes from another human being, in person, a friend.