Tag Archives: God

P.R.A.Y.

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is an acronym I learned long ago. It stands for:

Praise God for who He is

Repent of your sins

Ask

Yield to God’s will.

Praising is awesome. It is a time to remember my many blessings and connect with God on a personal level. Praise is all about who God is and enjoying family time with Him. Praise is personal. This is where unexpected answers sometimes come, where Abba Father and I can laugh together. When I enter into praising my Father, He lovingly shapes my heart and attitude. If I come to Him angry but remember to STILL approach Him with praise on my lips, everything changes. He re-orients my heart, my perspective, and pours out grace and humility over me. Praise is crucial before we ask, not to “butter God up” to get what we want, but to remember who He is and align our hearts and minds with His.

Repentance is tough work. If we honestly search our hearts and find nothing awry, this is the time to ask God to reveal any areas in our hearts and lives that need work. Whatever we are struggling with, this is the time to get it off our chest. God already knows every thought we’ve ever had, everything we ever did when we thought no one was watching, when we forgot the One who is with us always and never leaves our side. This is the time to admit we cannot fix ourselves, and we need some help. This is where holy breaking occurs. In repentance, shackles fall away. Walls tumble down. Here we receive strength beyond what we are capable of alone. Here, we find healing and acceptance.

Asking is easy. We always want more from God, but unless we temper our requests with praise, repentance, and yielding to God’s will, if we only talk to our Heavenly Daddy when we want something, we reduce the Creator of the Universe to Santa Clause, or “the great sky wizard” as some of my Atheist friends call Him. Oh, beloved, do you understand how hurtful this is? God loves us. He delights in our little questions. Like any loving father, He just wants to spend time with us. He wants to be so much more than a big spiritual wallet to us. If all we ever do is ask, we are missing out on the healthiest, most stable relationship of our lives. We miss out on truly experiencing God.

Now this last one, this yielding business, I really struggle with this. I suspect many do. “Thy will be done” is so easy to say, but so much harder for me to put into practice. Yielding means letting go of expectations. Yielding means trusting that God knows what’s best, that He is big enough and powerful enough, that He is good and loving. Yielding means praising our Father no matter the outcome. It means praising Him when we cannot see His hand at work. It means praising Him and trusting that He is working all things for good even when it seems our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. If repentance is where we break, yielding is where God rebuilds us, but we HAVE to let Him! Yielding is where we get out of God’s way and just let the Master work! Can you imagine if clay fought in the potter’s hands? If paint wouldn’t stay on the brush long enough to become a masterpiece? Yielding is life, friends, and I forget to do it! We can ask and repent until we’re blue in the face, but if we are not willing to accept God’s “No’s,” His “Not Yet’s,” and His “Father Knows Best and That Ain’t It’s,” then we miss out on healing. We miss out on the greatest love story of our lives. We miss prosperity, peace, and great joy. We miss being a part of something great, something bigger than ourselves. Yielding is absolutely crucial to meeting our full spiritual potential, doing the impossible, knowing God, and I forget to do it! Or I just resist! I hold onto my own desires, stamp my foot and demand my own way. Does that ever work? Would you do me a favor? Would you pray for me? And tell me how I can pray for YOU. Where are you hurting? What are you struggling with? What has God done in your life lately?

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Spurgeon: Stand Before the Blazing Throne

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Spurgeon: Stand Before the Blazing Throne.

This is exactly what I needed today. God always knows exactly what we need. Sorry I have been absent lately, things have been super crazy. My dad had a temporary lapse of sanity, the whole family has been sick, etc. But I’m still around. Catch up with you soon, blogosphere.

Grief is such a strange thing.

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You can be going along, perfectly fine, and then WHAM, it sneaks up behind you and clubs you over the head, and the wound is fresh again. Tonight I found myself blindsided with grief for a dear old friend. We were supposed to raise our babies together and grow to be snarky old ladies. We were going to be the Golden Girls. I miss her so, but I thought I had entered Acceptance. Then tonight out of nowhere, I felt that same gut punch as if the loss had just happened. And in my hurt, God sent a friend with unexpected words to comfort me. This friend was a beacon of hope in my hour of need, a reminder that life goes on and old hurts do heal.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

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I have been struggling lately. Health problems seem unending. Money is tight. Familial relationships are strained. Menopause makes me feel like a weepy fool. There is a set point in the future when things should get better for our family, but it feels so far away. It’s easy to lose sight of, or to feel like it is out of reach. What-ifs wash over me and try to drag my hope with them. I am completely overwhelmed, but my God is not. He has met every need out of His great abundance, and I have faith He will continue to do so. Would you pray for me? For my family? And if I can do the same for you, please let me know.

I try to focus on enjoying making memories with the children, on moving forward to get our family into a better situation, when I am able. Which seems to never be enough of the time. But that is a thought I can’t focus on, because it becomes a cyclone of depression. No, better to just hold onto this train for dear life and try to keep my eyes on the pin dot of light ahead.

For A Moment

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I was snuggling my youngest on the couch, savoring her sweetness, drinking in the moment. They are only little for such a short while, and I can feel her babyhood beginning to slip away. I stroked her pudgy little cheek, her downy hair, breathed in that little bit of baby scent that still clings to her. And for a moment, that painful longing seeped into my heart for another.

If everything had been different, my husband and I would be considering the next baby right now. If I could care for the ones we have. If my own body hadn’t turned against me and stolen from us this choice. If only.

It’s difficult to express, because I don’t want another, not really. Pregnancy was terrible for me, it broke my body in ways that only God can heal. As much as I love nursing, I long for some autonomy. I’m ready to wean my last one and move on to the next stage of our life as a family. But oh, to cherish the fantasy, just for a minute, of nuzzling a soft, fuzzy newborn again. Seeing that first smile, sharing the first laugh, those darling first steps… I feel something strange, something like grief, anger at my body. I feel chastised because then that seems like anger at God for putting me in this body, but that’s not it, not really, I don’t think. This is all so confusing, so conflicting, I just want to sweep it under the rug and paint on a smile, but that has never worked out well for me. So head-first into these feelings I go. Here they are in their imperfection and rawness. Do you understand them?

Carpal tunnel

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is why I’ve been a little quiet lately. Well, part of the reason anyway. I caught it in the early stages so it is reversible, just have to take it easy on the typing for a while. Recovery from surgery is going well, had a minor setback but really nothing to worry about. Let’s just say dealing with a clingy feverish baby in the middle of the night during night sweats is, um, difficult? Unpleasant? You do the math on that one. But we got through it, and after a few days for Mommy and baby to recover we are all doing OK again. I may be able to return to work part-time soon, covering that decision in prayer and would appreciate any of you joining me. God is doing some great things here, oh how I wish I could tell you more. Please pray. I have learned after many years to recognize the attacks of the Devil, and to know that means we are doing exactly what we are supposed to. Pray no weapon formed against this family would prosper.

Silver Linings

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that a few months ago my husband lost his job and we lost our house. We moved into a one bedroom apartment with our children and pets. While this is certainly not ideal, we’ve experienced some unexpected benefits. To save space, we bought my son a loft bed that has a bookshelf and play space underneath and put it in the living room. He thinks having his bed in the living room is SO COOL. He’s never been a good sleeper, but he has slept better and slept in his own bed more consistently since we moved than he ever has in his short life. The cats like to sleep on his bed now since it is up high, which has helped them warm up to him and is also super cute. It’s much easier to put him to bed on the nights when he falls asleep on the couch; his bed is only two feet away instead of up a flight of stairs. And all of the children get to enjoy the playspace under his bed freely, since it is in the shared family area. They call it “the cave.”

Some other surprise benefits: our upstairs neighbors got a swingset for the back yard, which our children are free to use any time. They have LOVED it. The upstairs neighbors also have a dog who is good with kids, so they have become best buds. And really, although it is a little cramped and often feels a bit crowded, we’ve been very happy here. The kids don’t seem to mind the small quarters most of the time, usually only when the weather’s been nasty and we’ve been trapped inside a lot. God’s grace has covered us during this lean time, and we are blessed.

 

I’m not afraid of death, it’s the dying part that scares me.

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I’m not afraid of death. I know where I’m going, and I look forward to it. But the dying part… that’s a whole nother story. If you’ve never experienced anaphylaxis, let me tell you, it feels like you’re dying every time. Dying from anaphylaxis is one of my greatest fears. It feels something like drowning, you can’t get a breath, but your body has to keep trying, desperately. It hurts. And every time, I am sure, this is it for me. This is how I will go. But recently, God has given me a deep peace that surpasses my own understanding. Somehow, I feel like I should still be terrified, but while I don’t relish the thought… it’s not so scary anymore. The suffering can’t last forever and either we’ll make it to the ER in time and they’ll save me, or I’ll get to go home to my Abba, my Pop, my friends who have gone on before me, and the baby I never got to hold. I won’t suffer anymore there, and I’ll get to spend eternity in worship and fellowship.

Phillipians 4:11-12

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11 Not that I speak [a]from want, for I have learned to be [b]content in whatever circumstances I am.12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

This scripture has always baffled me. I have experienced agonies in my adult life that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. I have hit ten on the pain scale more than once. A handful of times I have cried out to God for relief for so long that I’ve switched to praying for death. There have even been times I’ve been suicidal; these particular migraines are sometimes referred to as “shotgun headaches” because of their propensity to drive sufferers to the very pit of utter hopelessness and desperation. And God has the nerve to quietly, gently remind me of this scripture. In exasperation I ask him, “How am I supposed to be content in Hell?! Because that’s what it feels like, Lord. I can’t imagine worse pain than the worst of my own. I cannot comprehend it. How could anyone possibly be content like this?!” But He only whispers, when He answers at all, You shall learn to be content with whatever I give you, whatever you face. You will learn. And it’s meant to be a comfort, but being the bullheaded child that I am I cross my arms and stomp my foot, saying “LOOOOooooooOOOrd, I don’t WANT to be content! I don’t want to be a saint! I just want the pain to end! No, I don’t want this growth, please just let me be a good wife and mother and do the things I want to do that are supposed to be Godly! Let me be the Proverbs 31 woman! Why would you place me in this role, and give me these desires to do it well, then take my abilities? Why am I even here anymore if I am only going to suffer and be a burden? Why did you open my womb only to leave me unable to raise these precious gifts? I’m failing them, Lord, and I don’t understand. How can I possibly be content here alone in the dark, while someone else raises my babies? While they cry for me, and I cry for them? I’m failing as a wife, as a woman, as a human being. And I KNOW I still have worth, Lord. I know my worth does not depend on what I do. But why are you keeping me here to do nothing but suffer and drain?”

9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [a]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with [b]insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-11

I cried out to Him again. “How am I strong right now, Lord? Where is Your strength in this?” Then, one day, He introduced me to someone whose suffering was greater than my own, and it had plagued her for decades. And I was humbled. I remembered her every time my own suffering began again, remembered how much worse life was for her. That day, there was a shift in my spirit. Instead of praying for my own pain to end, instead of crying out on my own behalf, I began to pray for her. Fervent, broken prayers, day and night. And God honored those prayers. God used our pain to reach into each other’s darkest places.  Now, my pain has a purpose. God has given me an intercessory prayer ministry I never could have entered otherwise. And while I’m not yet to the place I can say I have learned to be content, whatever my circumstance, I am getting there. Now, I believe that can come to pass in my own life. I’m still fighting with God about it, after all I am stubborn and kind of a spiritual idiot. But He’s working on that, too.TheWeekendBrewButton

Real Life

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Sometimes Real Life happens and it gets in the way of blogging. My last week has been very Real. Here’s what I haven’t been blogging about:

1) Boring, unpleasant health stuff. Migraines, an injury, illness, the whole shebang.

2) Work. My husband started his new job and has been away more, so I have been busy with the children. I’ve also been working on a side project to try and make a little extra money.

3) Arts & Crafts. I’ve been writing a book for some time and have been really focused on that this week. I’ve also made some fun items for a care package, and I’m knitting a little something just for me. Like many yarn crafters, I rarely make anything just for myself, but I found some beautiful unique yarn several months ago that I fell in love with. I’ve been searching for just the right project for it, and finally found a suitable one.

4) Prayer and study. God has been reaching and calling to me in this season, and I have hungered for Him. He has brought us so many blessings in this season that no one would choose for their family. He’s allowed me to participate in some exciting areas of ministry, and in the process my family underwent the most powerful spiritual attack we have ever seen. But God opened up the heavens and kept us safe. We experienced many wonderful surprises and crazy blessings.

So, that’s what’s been going on on this side of the blog. I hope to share some more details of what God is doing in, for, and with my family soon. Bless you all.