Today is the day we suit up in prayer for our families, children and spouses.
This morning I was convicted by a video of a young man who reminded believers that the time was “NOW” to pray! “NOW” is the time to honor and revere the Lord! “NOW” is the time to be obedient to God and to wait on the Lord’s every command.
This young man’s words shook me to the core. I’ve gotten comfortable in my prayer life. I know I’ve been lax and one day I will answer to the Lord for my failings.
I stand ashamed.
So much time has been lost. So many things I should’ve said, done, believed, acted on and said and yet I did nothing. Those moments are completely lost to me with one exception, they stand as reminders that I have a choice today; do the same as yesterday or turn and ask God for forgiveness, the strength to march forward in battle for our families and to create a burning desire to follow His every word.
So Momma’s, wives, sisters, daughters, aunties, grandma’s – women of the world, stop what you are doing if it is not of God’s design and turn. Turn back to God, NOW!
Pray for your own forgiveness. Accept His holy grace and stand up in faith, as prayer warriors for yourself and your family and friends.
The time is NOW!
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
Nothing will change the future like beseeching the hand of God to hold you close, change your ways and give you the power to stand in the gap for those you love. I’ve heard it said, “”if your prayers are not changing you, then change your prayers.”
NOW! Is the time ladies.
Grab your bible, a journal and pen. Find a quiet spot and hit your knees in prayer. Fight for your families in prayer. Write their names down and lift them before the Lord, one by one, day after day and don’t give up simply because you can’t see what God is doing.
Have faith. Trust in God ALONE and lift your voice in thanksgiving and praise to our heavenly Father.
God’s word says: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”~ John 5:16b
Ladies, you can do this. If you are reading this then I believe God has blessed us with the opportunity and heart to pray together. I encourage you this day, to let go of the past and start fresh this moment. Today. NOW!
I will join you. I will pray for you. God calls us to pray as one body and we are united through the blood of our precious Savior, Jesus Christ.
May our voices storm heaven on the behalf of our loved ones and those who need God in their lives. With shouts of thanksgiving and praise let us enter the presence of the Lord!
Until next time, remember you are loved by the Father! I am praying for you!
At the time of this writing, it has been 9 months since my dad’s passing.
The shock, grief and disbelief that come in tsnami-sized emotional waves when losing a loved one are, at times, overwhelming. As daddy’s little girl, it’s almost impossible for me to accept that my father is gone and that I’ll never see him again this side of heaven.
For my mom, the emotions of losing her husband are astronomical. My folks were married for over 5 decades. Together, they raised us 4 kids, had 6 grandchildren, friends, extended family members and countless memories. They had each other to share life. But now that dad is gone and the emotions left behind threaten to block out even the happiest of days for her.
Nothing I or my siblings or her siblings say seems to bring comfort or change. She’s walking around in a fog so thick, I’m not sure if she will survive the overwhelming grief.
The “widowhood effect” is what researchers call the phenomenon of the increased risk of a widow(er) dying within the first 3 months after a spouse dies. Honestly, with each passing day, I’m not sure my mom is going to beat the odds.
I hate writing those words.
Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes. My heart breaks. My stomach knots.
I’m at a loss as to how to help my mom. This isn’t a life situation I know how to handle. If it were something as easy as buying or selling a house, updating banking accounts or finding new doctors, that I can do. But getting her through each day? How? What words of comfort can I share? What words of support and encouragement bring her strength?
Everyone in the family are doing what they can to help my mom manage her grief by helping her connect with a grief counselor, encouraging her to volunteer, help her look for a part time job. You name it, we’ve tried it.
The truth is, none of know what she’s feeling. We’ve never lost a spouse. One day I will or maybe my husband will. One of us will die. The one left behind, will try to pick up the pieces of the newly shattered life and do their best to make sense of it all.
I’ve taken to calling her in the morning before I head into work just to let her know that I’m thinking about her, worried about her; asking her what’s on her agenda in hopes of getting her to engage in life again.
Most days she answers with a few to-do items for her day. Errand that used to take a few short hours, now take her all day and at the end of the day, she’s exhausted. Spent.
The emptiness in her voice scares me most.
Mom goes through the motions of each day as a way to keep her mind from going back down the road of grief that threatens to completely engulf her.
So how do I help her? I don’t know. When we do talk she eventually breaks down in tears. I fight back my own tears. As an adult child to my surviving parent, I’m lost. How do I help my mom while I’m grieving myself? Sure I can offer loads of information for grief counseling, ideas on how to get better sleep, encourage her to see her doctor, check on her, help with the confusing bureaucracy of the Social Security department or a million other ideas trying to get my mom to engage in the living portion of life.
As far as the faith element, for us, that’s a tricky situation. I must tread extremely carefully in this area. Our faith walks look vastly different and so, I must hedge this part of our conversation gingerly.
After one of our recent conversations, I could tell she was pacifying me. Giving me rote answers so as to appease me so as to not got too in depth on the topic we were having. Eventually the conversation moved on before we eventually said goodbye for the evening. When I hung up the phone, it hit me, she’s dying. She is really grieving herself to death.
Now let me follow up with that last sentence with the fact that I have worked in senior health care for the last decade and I know what it looks and sounds like when someone is giving up.
My fear is that I’m hearing it in my mom’s voice.
After I hung up the phone that night, I couldn’t get the hollow sound of her voice out of my head. Over and over, I could hear it. She was courting death.
I spent that night and early hours of the next morning praying. Praying for my mom’s heart and her grief. Later that morning I called her and told her that I heard the sound of her giving up in her voice; she broke down and cried.
I told her, that for all of everyone’s best intentions, our hopes and words of encouragement to help her through this, none of us had a clue. None of us kids had lost a spouse. None of her siblings had lost a spouse. She was the first. She was alone in this pain. With one exception.
Christ knew what it meant to feel deep sorrow. Christ understood what it meant to feel alone. Christ understood what it meant to grieve. Christ faced death.
Jesus gave His life for her sorrow and mine. He gave His life so that my mom, and everyone else would know just how much they are loved and that they never need to feel alone. God understands firsthand heartache, grief and death.
For this, I reminded my mom, she was not alone. Jesus is right there in the midst of her pain, every step of the way. Every moment of the day, every breath, every tear.
As I stumble through my own grief and keep a keen eye on my mom, I am in constant prayer for us both, knowing that God loves His children. He waits for us to pour out our hearts to Him so He can carry us through the pain and into healing.
My prayer is that my mom will do just that. I pray through her pain she will reach out to the Lord, allow Him to heal her heart and show her His purpose and plan for her life.
In the meantime, I pray He would also heal my heart and give me the heart to help my mom take each day as it is given.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
I must’ve been reading a homesteading, gardening, back-to-the-earth type blog when I knew I wanted chickens.
That was 4 years ago when a relocation from Oklahoma City to the Pacific pushed that dream to the back burner.
Dreams of a garden and raising chickens were gone like the northwestern sun in January. Replaced instead by the dreary rainy truth that I may not ever own my own home again and/or own chickens.
Painful life events happen forcing change.
But what about dreams? Hopes? A vision for a different life…do we simply give up? What about when we can’t see that it’ll ever come true, do we give up then?
When I realized getting back into our own place where we could settle in was on a temporary-could-be-full-time-permanent basis, I was madder than a wet hen, as they say.
I struggled with my anger. Vented my feelings to God and then in sheer exhaustion, gave up. I saw the road blocks we were facing as insurmountable; the life I had hoped for when we moved to the Pacific Northwest was gone.
Until, a friend asked me to chicken-sit her hens.
In a heartbeat I agreed.
Now you can say I let my emotions override my logic in this instance or maybe it was something close to lacking 20/20 vision, because as I was chicken-sitting those hens all I could see was what I had lost. I would lament over and over to The Hubs, “if we were still in Oklahoma I could have my own chickens.” (Not true, we lived in a HOA run suburban community that sneezed at the thought of chickens in the neighborhood, but I’m blind to my own truth at times.)
I continued whining, fussing, complaining.
My poor husband.
Poor God. He put up with all of my constant fussing too.
Fast forward a year, and this summer I was once again asked to chicken-sit only this time for 5 weeks. I jumped at the chance.
And then it hit me.
You’ve answered my prayers Lord.
Not in the way I had planned but in a better, more feasible way.
God provided Connie, a good friend from church who needed help chicken-sitting while she traveled to see grandkids.
I needed experience. Let’s face it. Wanting chickens and taking care of chickens are 2 entirely different things.
So God has given me an answer to my little dream.
Learning without owning.
My friend Connie is trusting, gracious, knowledgeable and so patient with me as I test out my own “wings” when it comes to chicken-sitting her “fluffy butts”.
I share all of this for a number of reasons:
God hears us and He cares about every little thing in our hearts. Yes, even chickens!
Sometimes God answers prayers in a different way than the way we asked.
Because of His love and provision I am able to take this opportunity to learn, grow, build a new friendship with Connie while taking care of a clutch of chickens.
God knows what we need/want even before we ask. So ask!
What may initially look like a “no” may actually be a “yes”.
Finally, can I share with you how humbled this makes me feel? To know that God, in His infinite wisdom, grace, love and provision, heard me?
When you compare my dream of owning chickens to curing cancer or world peace, it seems quite frivolous doesn’t it? But God still cares, He still hears us and He still answers.
So be on the lookout for answered and unanswered prayers, knowing God loves you and will always be working for your benefit.
I understand what it is to work all day, come home, prepare a dinner for your family only to find yourself eating alone.
It’s not a
No one prepares you for what it feels like to to have no one show up for dinner even when they’re at home.
Dinner time was family time. A time of togetherness and unity. It was also a time we said grace.
When the boys were younger we’d all gather together, hold hands, bow our heads and take turns thanking God for our blessings. This small act of family worship meant so much to me. To see my littles, talking to God, recognizing His blessings in their lives and hearing all of us give thanks brought a closeness that no sports activity or school event can ever offer.
But now, dinner time might as well be another form of a fast food restaurant. Sure the food is there and everyone comes and goes as they please. Our adult children no longer want to sit and talk, laugh and share and they certainly don’t want to talk about God.
What used to pull us together as a family, is now a measure of division. Rebellion has stirred in their hearts and they no longer want the same things they were taught as children.
In fact, they go out of their way to avoid family dinner time as a way to passively rebel against saying grace.
That truth breaks my heart to the depths of my soul.
understand what it is to break free from the way you were raised and want to
create your own separate identity with morals and ideals, I was once in their
Now I walk in
my parents shoes and they hurt.
It’s not that I want my adult children to sit down and confess their souls over a bowl of spaghetti. I miss our family dinners and having them join their dad and I in prayer.
As a mom, no one prepares you for this kind of loss.
Tonight I cried tears of grief as I cleaned up the dishes and turned off the kitchen light. The quiet was deafening. What was worse was the fact that my sons were upstairs. I knew they were hungry. I also knew they were avoiding that which convicted them the most, their rebellion.
Oh! How I miss our family dinners. I want our family to be a unit again, loving each other and loving God.
That’s not where we’re at, at the moment.
Yes I’m at a loss as to what do. My kids are adults, not kids. Sure we’ve talked about it and I’ve been given the list of excuses why they can’t come to the table, but we moms know, don’t we? We know when our kids are lying to us and to themselves.
That’s my reality.
My boys don’t join us for dinner because they are too busy justifying their rebellion against God in our home. They skip dinner and wait until I go to bed then they slink out of their rooms and grab something to eat.
So what’s a mom to do?
Don’t give up on your family.
Fight for your family in prayer.
I tell God about my hopes and wishes to bring our family back together, knowing He captures every single tear I shed and holds them tight.
Those boys are my heart and I miss them even though we’re under the same roof. I grieve over their rebellion. I pray even harder than my pain is deep, knowing that God has an incredible plan and purpose for them and that He, the God of the universe loves them. There isn’t a single breath they take or a hair on their head that He doesn’t know about.
So I keep on praying.
Yes I cry. Yes my heart breaks. But God…He is enough; for me, for my husband, for our sons. He brought this family together and through His grace and provision He is over our family.
In the meantime, I continue to make dinner in hopes that one day, they’ll pound down the steps, pull out a chair, grab me and daddy’s hand, bow their heads once again and thank the good Lord above for their blessings.
If my story
rings true for you, please know that God knows your heart. How it hurts, how it
wishes and hopes for a better day and just how much you love your family.
Let me encourage you to not give up. As they say, “keep on keeping on.” Keep on showing up, keep making those dinners, keep inviting your family to the table and keep on praying for God to heal and bless your family.
One Sunday morning at
a small southern church, the new pastor called on one of his older deacons to
lead in the opening prayer. The deacon stood up, bowed his head and said,
“Lord, I hate buttermilk.”
The pastor opened one
eye and wondered where this was going. The deacon continued, “Lord, I hate
lard.” Now the pastor was totally perplexed. The deacon continued, “Lord, I
ain’t too crazy about plain flour. But if you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em
in a hot oven, I sure do love biscuits.”
Six weeks ago my husband and I were thinking life was
beginning to settle down and we were starting to see glimpses of what
empty-nesting would be like. Our oldest
son lived 2 hours away with a great job and apartment. Our youngest, while
still living at home was making great strides in his job and after buying his
first car was talking about moving out to go live with his brother. Together
they surmised they’d be able to help one another with the rent, put some money
in the bank and enjoy their days off, hiking, a hobby they both enjoyed.
Before that happened our youngest wanted to use the great
insurance coverage from his job to get a quail egg sized lump removed from his
wrist as it was beginning to bother him. Into the doctor’s he went, thinking as
we all did that it was simply a water filled cyst.
Two x-rays and a biopsy later proved it was bone cancer.
Our worlds stopped.
Cancer is not a word anyone takes lightly. It’ll stop you in
your tracks and cause your heart to sink to your stomach. While we moved
forward with the surgery and radiation treatments, the storms of our lives
continued to swell.
Our boys have always been close. So when our youngest was
having his radiation it wasn’t a surprise to have our oldest come home to be
with the family, as a way to support his brother. However, when 2 days turned
into 4 and 4 into 6, we knew something wasn’t right. Our oldest was always
dependable, spot on, never missed a day of work and so the extended visit set
off alarm bells. He’d only been at his new job less than a year so the timing
didn’t seem right.
When his dad took him out to lunch, we learned he’d lost his
job. The company was downsizing and he, a new employee was part of the first
wave of employees to be let go.
Suddenly the stressful look on his face when he’d come home
a week earlier now made sense. Not only was he worried about his brother, he now
didn’t have a job and bills were piling up fast. College financial lenders don’t care if you’re out of work, they still
want to be paid.
As we were realing from the cancer diagnosis and the news of our oldest being unemployed, we were hit again with another wave of news, my husband was given 1 week by his employer to prove that after 12 years of service, whether or not that they should keep him. If he could come up with an arguably good case, they’d keep him. If not, he’d be out of a job.
A few days later as we were trying to wrap our brains around
all that was happening, my mom called. She was on her way to stay for an
undeterminable amount of time.
“Wait…what? Undetermined? Staying with us?” These were the words swirling around in my head as I tried to make sense of every wave of challenge that swept over us.
According to mom, the loss of my father last fall, left her feeling lonely and lost. She wanted to “get away” to help her think through her grief and figure out her next step in life.
As if that wasn’t enough, my husband’s father fell off a
ladder and ended up in the emergency room. And…although this sounds a bit odd,
even our poor little pup was thrown into the mix of chaos when she tore a
ligament in her front leg.
Honestly, my husband and I got to the point where we didn’t
want to answer the phone.
Seriously, what could happen next?
We didn’t want to know.
So here we have 1 son fighting off cancer, 1 son moving home because of job loss, my husband’s job on the line, my mother moving in with us, my father in law recovering from a fall and a hurt dog.
When in life does that all happen within a span of 8 days?
Apparently, God was/is making biscuits in the midst of the storms of our lives.
In and of themselves, each event was enough to knock us to our knees. They were painful and ugly challenges that we didn’t like or want in our lives.
To say the least, lots of prayers were said and tears shed.
Now here’s comes the tough part.
It takes a hot oven to make great biscuits.
Yet God is good and we trust Him.
Not our circumstances.
This is the rock of truth we stand on. God’s ability. God’s
promise. Not the storms.
“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
So let me ask you: how hard is it, in the middle of the storm, for you to trust God? Do you live in fear? Are you overwhelmed and pulled under by waves of life?
We certainly feel that way. These storms are not minor. These are life events that really “bake” your faith.
Will you join me in believing God’s promises for your life? Let us stand together, linking arms through the battles of life, knowing, trusting our God to keep His promises. Let us do so even when we are scared that the worse-case scenario may happen.
This is where our faith is tested and God is glorified. Through us, through our pain and ugly circumstances. Yes, He can and will remain God Almighty, our Protector, Provider, Counselor, Healer, Comforter. Yahweh. Jesus. Holy Spirit. Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and The End.
I believe there is a choice. One that is made when life is at its most difficult and it’s made deep down in our soul.
A choice that says, yes, my world is crumbling but God’s got this. He loves my kids, me, my husband, my extended family, all of us to the degree that He gave His only Son, Jesus so that we will forever be with Him.
Do you believe that?
Or will you choose to believe that God can’t keep His promises. That somehow our challenges, our pain is bigger than He is and that we must be the ones doing everything in our power to change our pain.
Now that’s hard stuff right there. Because honestly, don’t we all immediately go into survival mode when the life beats us down? We start looking to our own strength our own resolutions to get us out of the heat. But God wants us to look to Him. Rest in Him. Trust in Him, for all things at all times.
Trusting doesn’t mean there isn’t any pain. Trusting means
you will choose to hold onto God, His word until He gets you through it all.
Trusting means that we believe what God says about who He
is, who we are to Him and His ability to work in our lives in the midst of
So then the question remains: Do you believe God will take the “the lard, the flour, the buttermilk” situations of your life and turn them into biscuits?”
I work for an assisted living community and one afternoon as I was covering the front desk I watched as one of our residents made his way to our front lobby. With nary a sound he slowly bee-lined it to one of the large overstuffed chairs, facing the parking lot and back up to the fireplace. Eventually, he plopped down into the soft cushions with an exasperated, “umph.”
The distance between us was less than 30 feet when I called out a greeting, “Hi Charles.”** With a quick nod and a baritone rich, “Hello dear,” this navy colored beret wearing gentle man propped his elbow on the armrest of the floral printed chairs, bowed his head and closed his eyes.
Now my good friend Charles is known throughout the community for his napping. Good weather or bad, winter or summer, cold or unseasonably warm, Charles could always be found sitting inside or out, soaking up a sunbeam.
Today was no different, Charles looked cozy, his aged eyes gently closed as the early afternoon sunshine splayed out across his lap.
It wasn’t long before a rhythmic deep breathing could be heard. Smiling to myself I turned my attention back to the stack of medical files.
Moments later I heard low gentle mumbling. A glance over my shoulder showed that none of the other residents had wandered in from lunch so I shrugged it off thinking Charles must be talking in his sleep.
“Holy Spirit, thank you for today. Father, please forgive me for anything that I’ve done to displease You…”
Wait, what did I just hear? Did he just say what I thought he said?
Charles’ voice was barely audible but his words were clear. He was talking to God. Right there in broad daylight, in the middle of the lobby. No pomp. No circumstance. Just my good friend and his Lord.
I smiled. It always does my heart good to hear another child of God praying. It’s reassuring to know that others are adding their voices in a cacophony of praise to the One who loves us.
At the same time, I realized I had wandered into holy ground. Charles, through his prayers had created a sanctuary right where he sat.
Now to be honest if I could’ve looked away, I would have. But the reverence in his words, the love that poured from his heart captivated me. It was as if I was being given this precious gift, a lesson on what prayer could and should be like and I wanted nothing to disturb this sacred moment.
I fought back tears because I knew I was witnessing something so poignant, hallowed. I wanted time to slow down, for someone to hit the replay button of life so I could relive it over and over.
I didn’t want to invade Charles’ private conversation with God because those moments were glimpses of sacred ground created by a God who loved his child and a child who loved His heavenly Father.
Thankfully I had been blessed with a front row seat.
The interchange was breathtaking.
I could’ve sat there endlessly watching this prayer unfold but to show respect, I quietly forced myself to turn away and honor this gentle man’s conversation with his Lord.
But the truth is, how does one simply go back to work when you’ve just entered a sacred sanctuary? And frankly why would you even want to? More than anything I wanted to add my voice with Charles’. I wanted to sit in the sanctuary of prayer and thank Him for all of the blessings He’d bestowed upon my life.
When Charles ended his conversation with God, he left the lobby, never once looking my way.
I was awestruck. The sincerity. The genuine love Charles’ words parlayed were so filled with adoration, caused me to not only rethink my own prayer life, which in honesty were a little lackluster, it also triggered the story of Moses and the burning bush.
3:1-6 “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the
priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and
came to Horeb, the mountain of God.2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush.
Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange
sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him
from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your
sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of
Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
See…that’s what I’m talking about. Moses was going about his business, tending flocks and all of a sudden God shows up. Like Moses, once we realize that we are on holy ground and to whom we are speaking, we are overcome with love and reverence to the degree that nothing, absolutely nothing else matters. Not time, not environment, nothing, except you and God.
I want moments like these in my life, don’t you?
I want to actively seek the Lord in any given situation and pour out my heart to Him like I saw Charles do. Openly. Buoyantly attentive to only one quest, communing with the Lord.
“Lord, today I praise You for giving us an example through Charles’ walk as to what it can look like to share our hearts with You. May we always be able to boldly ask for forgiveness, know it is given because of the gift of Jesus and His sacrifice, and to know that every moment communing with you is holy ground. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”
Jesus loves you!
**Names and identifying specifics have been changed to protect those whom I write about. I have been given permission to share their story.
This season of my life has been hard. And when I say “season” I’m not talking about your typical varying months of spring, summer, fall and winter. I’m talking about a soul season that so far, has lasted over three years.
When we moved from our home in central Oklahoma to upstate Washington, where rain is a constant companion, culture and environment are polar opposites and where my faith has been tested to its limits I didn’t think it would take me this long to adjust. After all, prior to our 11 year stint in Oklahoma we lived in Washington. So I was familiar with the weather, culture and vibe.
Returning to the PNW means I’ve been feeling like a fish out of water frantically gasping for water to breathe. I’ve completely struggled to fit in, find friends and build a community. It’s not so easy when the culture here tends to be, as my brother-in-law calls it, “pleasant but aloof.”
Folks generally keep to themselves.
Not an easy temperament to understand for someone like myself who still talks to her childhood friends whose friendship spans 4 decades. The struggle to connect here has lead to a feeling of isolation. A feeling that you don’t quite fit in and no one really cares if you do. Something to do with folks generally being islands unto themselves.
What I do know is that its been very difficult that past three years. We’ve moved from our family home, to a small rental. Sunshine vs. constant rain. A house full of kids to now only seeing our boys on occasion, our financial solvency, gone and my father, who was my symbol of strength has passed away, leaving a void that will never be filled.
Everything that was good and important and right in our worlds a few years ago, is gone. There’s no going back. No turning back the hands of time to the life we were living then, with one or two small exceptions. Our small family is still intact and I still love God.
I’m not sure what He’s up to in our lives. Why He brought us here or where we’ll go from this point forward. But I still believe He loves me and He has a plan for my life.
Which is why coming to terms that God has brought me back to the one place I never wanted to return. Afterall, how does one love God but feel so conflicted with His will? Aren’t they supposed to be the same? Loving God means everything makes sense?
Sometimes maybe. But for me in this situation. Nothing makes sense.
I want to go back to my old life.
My heart grieves..
I grieve for a time and place that can not be recaptured. I grieve over the loss of my father and his stability in my life. I miss heading down to my parents home, sitting on the back deck, talking about life and watching my kids and dogs play.
I grieve over the loss of not having at least 6 teenage boys swimming out back in the pool, running into the kitchen to grab a hot pocket or pizza roll before cannon balling back into the pool, holding their food up high so as to not get it completely chlorine soaked. I grieve over friendly faces and folks holding the door open for one another and asking you how your day is.
I grieve over hot summer days, icy, winds-that’ll-blow-your-head-off-if-you-don’t-hold-onto-it winter days. I miss the conversations with neighbors at dusk while lightening bugs flicker and cicadas sing their evening song.
But this is where God has us.
I still haven’t grasped His plan for our lives. I struggle to understand why. Why take us from a home we loved, filled with happiness and fulfillment? Why bring us to a place so drastically different? Why take our lives, strip us of everything we knew and held dear and then bring us here? Why?
Truth be told, I may never have a single answer to my questions, this side of heaven. I know and accept that. More importantly I know God is good even if I don’t necessarily agree with His will. I trust His plans are good even if what is happening is painful.
I also know it’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to question, be angry and frustrated at God and the situation. It’s okay to long for different days in the light of a new life so vastly different from the old.
Questioning gives us a chance to come to the Lord and ask, “why?” and to beg Him for His lead and to wait upon the Lord and to seek His face in the midst of pain. All of which will lend itself to soul growth and a deeper walk with the Lord.
Now more than ever before I recognize just how much I need the Lord. Never in my life have I ever felt so lost. So overwhelmed with a lack of direction, sorrow and confusion. I need Him and I am thankful for His love.
So as I continue to walk this long road, I seek Him.
Yes, there will be moments when I’ll grieve for my father and a life I once knew. But as days pass and God presents Himself in the midst of my pain, a new life filled with new blessings and hope will arise, of this I am certain. For the Lord always keeps His promises.
1 I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. 2 Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!3 Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave[a] overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow.4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!”5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!6 The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.7 Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.”
My friend, I pray for you. No matter what road you are one, I pray for God’s hand to be upon you. May you know His love and guidance and may you trust in His will for your life. For He alone is good!
My early morning routine has not changed in 20+ years.
I trek to the kitchen in the wee early hours of the morning, make myself a super hot stokin’ cup of coffee, light the candle on the end of the counter, curl up in my favorite overstuffed chair, grab my bible and settle in for some Jesus time.
This is my favorite time of the day.
Me and Jesus.
Years ago I read somewhere that spending one hour with the Lord in prayer refreshed the soul like newly fallen snow.
As a mid-western raised gal I know what the first snow feels, smells and sounds like.
The world is peacefully quiet. A soft hush muffles normal everyday sounds. And there’s a refreshment that the world has been blanketed in a new beginning.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re missing something really special and I recommend you head north until you find some snow time!
But I digress.
The point I’m trying to make is that in these few hours each morning, I’m able to sit with the Lord and enjoy, be refreshed, renewed all the while there’s a hush whispered over my spirit.
When the world is quiet I am able to focus my prayers on those I love – my husband, my kids, extended family and friends. Sometimes my prayers lean towards filling my journal with ‘Thank you’s’ for the good things and the bad. And then still there are other times when I pull on my head phones, crank up my favorite worship music and sing my heart out to God. And still, there are the ugly times. When I’m crying, angry, frustrated and down-right mad at the world for something that’s happening in my life that bring tears.
All of it is ok.
God understands. He gets me.
I don’t surprise Him.
I don’t make God mad nor do I disappoint Him in anyway when I share my heart.
I am loved.
I can rest in His truth.
Do you remember the song by Avalon called, “Light A Candle?” If not, no worries, I’ve linked a copy of the song below.
Normally this song is played during the holiday season to remind each of us to step outside of ourselves during the holiday hustle and bustle to stop a moment and pray for everyone God calls to mind.
The first time I heard this song, I wanted to go out and buy a case of candles and send one to every person in my life with the lyrics typed on an index card as a reminder that while we were miles apart or maybe broken hearts keep us at bay, I still loved that person.
I wanted them to know I loved them and was praying for them.
Truth be told, I wanted God to show up in our lives. To make His presence real to me. I wanted God to heal what was broken, ask for forgiveness and to let the other person know, I’d also offer forgiveness.
God is good at healing and forgiveness.
So my early morning tradition remains.
Up waaayyyy too early. Hot coffee cup tucked between my palms as I slowly greet the Lord and thank Him for my life. These moments are dear to my heart because I don’t want to start my day without God.
I’ve done it a time or two or twenty… and it ain’t pretty. Just sayin’…
I need time with God so I can hear His voice, feel His presence and know that no matter happens that day, God is good, He is with me and He will never leave my side.
I encourage to do the same.
Set aside a special part of you day. Make it a routine. Pretty soon, an hour will turn into days, then months and then POOF! Years will have flown by and your time with God will be change your life like the first fresh new fallen snow.
When you do you can rest assured that I lit a candle and prayed for you.
May your hearts be refreshed as you spend with the Lord.
I picked up this book for one reason, we were facing giants in our lives. Not just one, as did David when he fought Goliath but an army full of them. In fact, it seemed that as soon as we finished one battle, another enemy came forth, taunting and baiting us into war.
We were exhausted. Battle weary. My husband and I needed advice, help and wisdom on how to withstand yet another attack. Sometimes, when I’m in the thick of a battle I need that cheering squad to remind me just who I am and who God is. “Facing the Giants” did that.
Most of us know the story of David and Goliath. David, the scrawny good looking teenage family outcast, sent by his father with food to aid in the support of his older brothers who were on the front line of battle against their arch enemy the Philistine’s and their monster frontman, Goliath.
When David hears Goliath taunting and bad-mouthing God, indignancy welled up in David as he threw down the gauntlet, grabbed 5 smooth stones and ran into battle.
Keep in mind, David didn’t fight for his sake, he fought for the name of the Lord. In fact, in this story, David knew God had the power to fully defeat the enemy all on His own, and yet David stood for God as a willing participant against Goliath and the Philistine army.
But when it comes to our own lives is that how we see the trials that taunt us? Do we rear up in righteous indignation, prepare ourselves to be used by the Lord to bring Him glory or do we pull back like David’s brothers? Afraid? Shrinking back, already defeated?
If I’m completely honest, it’s yes to both. There are times when life will kick me off of my soapbox and before my fanny hits the ground, I’ve already given up the will to stand firm in God’s strength and power to defeat the trial before me.
Max’s book, “Facing the Giants” reminds me over and over to not focus on the battle but focus on God. To give God the glory, to give Him the praise, to seek joy in the midst of heartache and to be reminded just as David knew that we love and serve the one true Holy Lord Almighty.
I enjoyed reading “Facing the Giants” and found a bounty of helpful tips to implement in my life now and when the next trial hits, such as:
Remember each trial is an opportunity for God to be glorified
No battle is ever too big or too small for our God.
Along with my personal favorite tip, “run towards your Goliath, not away from it” because we know, believe and trust in who and what God can do in any given situation. That little tidbit of advice did wonders to readjust my thought process as it applied to facing trials.
Let’s face it, how many of us look at a burning house and want to go run in? Or how many of us saddle up to the truth we are about to lose our home to foreclosure and welcome the idea to see God glorified through it all?
Reading Max’s book helped me to really grasp the concept that focusing on God instead of my trials allows for a deeper relationship between He and I and through Him I am able to confidently and peacefully walk through whatever is happening in my life, because I know God is with me every step of the way.
If you are in over your head with struggles right now that seem 9 feet tall or even if you’ve recently exited the battle ground and wished you had had more peace, more confidence and a deeper relationship with God because of what you faced, I encourage you to pick up a copy of “Facing Your Giants” by Max Lucado.
I am hopeful you too will find in Max Lucado’s book, another “stone in your pocket” that will enable you to take aim at the enemy, with God at the helm of your lives, defeating your nemesis once and for all.