Tag Archives: prayer

What is wrong with me?

I'm sitting in my car writing this post on my phone after carefully diverting my tears with an eye-roll designed to distract. 

I just dropped Rylie, the eleven year old, off at Lamar for volleyball camp. I'm nervous. I'm kind of sad.  And I'm hot (from sitting in the car). 

It's not like I'm going to miss her or anything. I'll pick her back up at noon. McDonald Gym (though it took me a little time to find) is only about ten minutes from the house. So why am I a mess? 

Maybe driving here this morning brought up thirty-year-old feelings from when my mom and dad took me to basketball camp at San Marcos for a week when I was about the same age. It was the first time I remember going to a place where I'd have no one I knew with me. 

My mom helped me to be ultra prepared though. Boy is she a packer. Whatever was on the things to bring list? My mom made sure I had it. Hygiene products? Check. Wash cloths, towels and bedding? Check. Snacks? Check. Check. Quarters for the vending machine. Had them. Plenty of clothes? Check. She even got me several new pair of the freshest Hawaiian style knee-length jams Walmart had the offer. 

Still, I remember being a little nervous. 

I'm a little nervous right now. 

After circling through wrong parking lots and going into the wrong building this morning Rylie and I finally found the right place. I could tell we were finally in the right spot because of the kids I saw getting out of a sweet looking Toyota Land Rover. 

At least six tall lanky girls stood in a parking space reminding me of everything I forgot we  probably should have brought to facilitate Volleyball Skills 101 success. These girls had the the right stuff, from high ponytails and cute headbands, to shirts and shorts that actually coordinated, to cinch backpacks that held who knows what. I think their water bottles might have been monogrammed. 

We forgot a water bottle.

 She is wearing deodorant. And clothes (They're  clean). That's about it. 

Inside was more of the same. Girls stood cheerily; their knee pads and confidence apparent. 

Rylie found a spot by the bleachers to stand and take it all in. I shot out of there. 

So here I am battling the mom thoughts. Is she prepared? How long will she stand by herself? Will they let her go to the water fountain? Does she know anything about volleyball? 

I have nothing smart to say. The heat is starting to melt my brain cells. I only know that I'm glad I'm not without recourse when the weird mom feelings take over. It's always good to be prepared, but even when you're not thank goodness there's prayer. 

Note to self: She'll be fine. Just bring a water bottle when you come back at noon. 

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In my most tired moments I've aimed the car clicker at my front door expecting it to unlock the door to the house. I wish that access were that easy, especially when I have eleven bags of groceries hanging from both arms. 

This morning I've been inquiring about a package I'm supposed to receive any day now. I looked up my confirmation of shipment email and tried to track my package. I got an instant message that informed me that my tracking number (the one they gave me) was invalid. 

Feeling rather adventuresome, I decided to call the company. I had my non-working tracking number scrawled on my notebook. That would do it, right? 

Of course some robot (with a smooth voice) answered the phone asking me to have the following ready:

  • My Member ID#
  • Title ID#
  • And my (invalid) Tracking #

I clicked end call and searched for the information. I found my numbers and even an additional number, my customer ID# , but ran into more technical difficulties. 

This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to get in my car and go to WalMart to pick stuff off of crowded shelves in congested aisles and then wait in long lines before pushing my lop-wheeled cart out to the parking lot in the rain to load my stuff in the back of the car which still has stuff from when I visited my mom two weekends ago... Almost. That stinks too. 

I love accessibility. 

I appreciate those moments I find an answer, get what I need,  or at least hear a caring human voice without being asked for my password which I forgot because it was supposed to have one upper case letter, one lower case letter, a special symbol and a retired emoji. 

I was recently struck by a verse in Genesis. 

...the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day... Genesis 3:8

God.  In the garden. I might be wrong, but the words he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day makes it sound like His presence wasn't a rare occurring phenomenon. We can't be sure of the level of intimacy the two had with God in the garden, but what we do know is that sin eliminated direct access to God. 

I was a part of an intimate Lord's Supper last night that reminded me of the price Jesus paid to restore access to God. Instead of us being punished or abandoned for our sin, Jesus took our sin upon himself enabling us to walk with God and giving us the privilege to approach God. 

We need no customer or title ID#. 

There's no lengthy paperwork or tiny boxes on your phone to fill out when you have a question or are in need. 

There's no password to remember. 


Through the blood of Jesus we lift up simple requests and cry out our most urgent pleas. 

Our requests are found valid. Accepted. We're valued. 

And even if we must wait for an answer or we get one that we'd wished not get, we're heard. We're cared for and we have his presence to carry on. 

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

Thankful today for the access I have to God through Jesus. 

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In my praying, I don't ask God for all the things I'd like to ask him for. I know He'll say no to some things. I already ask for too much. Some things I'd ask for are selfish. Other things I've asked for a hundred times and I suppose He's tired of my begging.  My mom tells that she was taught as a child to never ask for things when visiting a house. "I couldn't even ask for a drink of water," she says. Funny thing is, my mom raised us the same.  I remember Ms Lola, a sweet elderly lady whose house we would visit when I was small.  She had a candy dish in plain sight on her coffee table. I always hoped that she'd offer me a butterscotch, but I sure never asked. 

I've impressed the same manners upon my kids too. I never though, expected those same manners from the kids who came to visit our house. 
 
The first church Jason pastored was in Chilton, Texas. We lived in a parsonage. Much to my delight, our house became the local hangout for the kids in town. By our second year in Chilton, I was teaching second grade. The kids from school would be waiting for me in our backyard when I got home. They were usually hungry.
 
One four year old, Santos who didn't know a lick of English, would come in and open my fridge and would scan for sweets.  (Santos didn't know how to knock either but that's beside the point). I taught Santos, amongst many things, how to say "I'm hungry.  Can I have a snack?"  He quickly forgot my suggested request, but would come to me, and with both hands pat his belly, and would say quite forcibly "Pasteles!" (which means 'sweets' in Spanish).
 
 I've never forgotten that kid. He knew what he wanted.  My kids know what they want, but like my mom and her mom before her we've taught them not to ask supposing it's rude to request anything as a guest. HE ASKED. In fact, I taught him to ask. And while he didn't ask in the format I'd suggested, he asked, knowing that I'd give him good things. 
 

.....because of your shameless audacity....he will get up and give you what you need Luke 11:8

 
Have you ever read that? Even though I've read Luke 11 a number of times, I've somehow missed those two words. 
 
Shameless audacity. 
 
Boldness without shame. 
 
It's in the passage in chapter 11 where Jesus is teaching the disciples how to pray.  Basically, after confessing the Father as holy, the prayer gets bossy. It says something like,
 
Give us...
 
Forgive us...
 
Lead us not...  Deliver us..
 
I was reminded this morning that a lot of Bible fellows just cut to the chase and told God exactly what they wanted. 
 
In prayer we are guests in the presence of God, but more than that, we are His children. 
 

...See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called the children of God; and so we are. I John 3:1

If you look at chapter 13 of Psalms, it says: Look on me and answer, O LORD. 

 
No "Pretty please". Not "If you don't mind". The Psalmist was so intimate with God that the pleasantries seemed less important than going right to the heart of the matter. 
 
 
Jesus includes his teaching on prayer in Luke 11 with this:
 

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Did I always give Santos everything he asked for? I didn't. I gave him what I thought he needed, no doubt getting it wrong now and then. Our requests are made to a Holy God who knows all that we need. We trust that our Father knows how to give good gifts to His children even when what he gives isn't what we asked for. 

If I unwittingly ask for the approval of men, the answer that I get, may not be the approval of men that I sought. God may remind me that if "I am trying to please man, then I am not a servant of God". 

His answer is good. 

In the past I have asked for patience. I've never once been felt zapped with it.  Instead, God teaches me longsuffering. In His teaching, I feel his closeness. And I know that patience isn't so much a mastering of my feelings as it is a concentrated focus on God's help and presence in times that I wait. 

God's answers are always good. 

So I'll ask for all the things I see fit, for the things I desire. God knows how to say no.  And if he does say no, then I trust that no is the answer I need. The more I learn to go to God with my requests and the desires of my heart, the closer I'll grow to Him, trusting that he'll change my heart about those things I ask which I don't need and those things which aren't beneficial. 

And so very many times He says yes.

The more time we spend with God, asking, and listening, the better we know His will (the answer).

Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

 
 
 

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If you look at the world, you'll be distressed.  If you look within, you'll be depressed.  If you look at God, you'll be at rest. -Corrie ten Boom

We put Rylie's nightlight away at her request a few weeks ago. She'd wasn't afraid of the dark when she was teeny and then somehow recently discovered there must be frightening things that lurk in the dark.

I remember being deathly afraid of the dark when I was around her age.  My family lived in a double-wide trailer on what we called "our hill" up a windy dirt road. At night the coyotes would howl loud enough to create an eery serenade.  I worried every night they were going to jump through my bedroom window and feast on my nine-year-old flesh. I remember calling out to my parents, afraid.

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Last night Rylie called out to me from her bedroom which shares a wall with Jason and mine. This time it was for a different reason. She told me:

"The dark isn't bothering me anymore"

"That's good," I answered.

"It's because I prayed about it," she shared.

"Well maybe you should pray about your school fears," I retorted.

"I will.  But I'll probably have to wait a few days before it works. He made me wait a few days before answering the dark thing and I bet he'll make me wait a few days on this one too."

She reminds me of a few things about prayer.

1. We often have to wait.  Thankfully we can lift up a prayer in a breath's moment.  In that moment God fully hears and understands.  He knows our prayer even before we pray it.

Before a word is on my tongue, you know all about it, LORD Psalm 139:4

Waiting for the answer to our prayer isn't so easy.  We want our fears and troubles resolved.  The important thing is, we don't wait unheard and we don't wait alone.  Instead of waiting for the answer we want to our prayer which sometimes we never feel like we get, we must remember that "God is the answer". Period.

...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength...they will run and not grow weary. Isaiah 40:31

2.We do good to remember that God does answer prayer.  I'm thankful that Rylie recognizes that. I have such a prayer list for God that I regularly neglect to look back and remember all that He has done. His answers to prayer are always praiseworthy.  Thing is, His goodness has to be remembered in order for me to praise Him for what He has done.

Everyone who is pleased with God's marvelous deeds will keep them in mind. Psalm 11:2

3. Trust God in prayer. I've been convicted in the past of my attempt to be Jason's Holy Spirit; reminding him of all the things that need to be done.  I lovingly share all that he could do to make things right in the world.  Though I backslide, I officially quit that job.  That hasn't stopped me from maddeningly reminding God of all the things that need to be fixed. I'm really good at telling him the answer I think he ought to come up with for all the ills.  God knows what is best.  And even though he allows us to pray on our own behalf and the behalf of others, we do best to trust Him with the answer.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

Don't bother to give God intructions; just report for duty. -Corrie ten Boom

Prayer is handing over what we can't and shouldn't handle.  It's trusting and praising the One we know holds all things and each of us in His hands. Thankful for this reminder in the dark.

 

 

 

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I've always suggested that the setting up of my blog was a conspiracy. I entered the kitchen one day and Jason was on my lap top secretively typing away. Let me even go back and say that it was his idea to get me a laptop. (Is lap top one word or two? See, I have no business owning one.) I sin more while using technology (well, that and driving my car and shopping cart in busy lanes ) than any other time.  Anyway. Jason set up my blog/website, whatever you want to call it. I hadn't asked for it. I made C's on most every college English paper. Still, Jason not only set up my blog, he encouraged me to write. You want to know why I think he did this? Don't get me wrong, he's really sweet and he believes in me and all that jazz....

but the truth is, his man ears can't take all that I have to say.

I have a lot to say; both when things are fine and dandy and when a dark cloud has perched itself right overhead. My therapy, when I'm weary, confused,  angry, when I'm feeling hopeless and even when my heart could burst from excitement, is to talk about it. I will say that I'm an excellent secret keeper, but when it comes to my thoughts and my FEELINGS, I want to share, share share.

Much like outside my window today, my mood is cloudy. Today is Jason's day off. So as he sat beside me in our oversized brown chair earlier, I had the ear I've been waiting for all (busy, long, long) week. I hadn't gotten very far when he said, "You know, it's been a while since you've written anything. You should write." So here I am, obedient wife that I am.

Jason's not the only one whose ear I've near talked off lately. I have good friends, females no doubt, who God shared with me to endure all the words.

Still, there are things, deep things that are better poured out somewhere rather than on human ears. I've been doing a lot of praying. Much of my praying must seem like Hannah in 1 Samuel who prayed so embittered and broken that she was mistaken to be drunk. Some of my prayers are desperate, and they're never thought out. I'm so glad it can be that way with God, unlike texts that I send where I find myself typing....deleting…..typing…..finger-tapping on my forehead, thinking, deleting……....typing......sending……then wish I could go back and delete.

With God, my words and murmurs-good, bad, unintelligible, and even my rare silence is heard and understood.

….the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26

There are, according to several different sources, 783,137 words in the Bible. Every one of them are spoken to me and to you. They're spoken personally. The words are a beautiful story, they're mystery, and a carefully crafted love letter to each of us. But in addition to all of those words, sometimes God whispers just a word or two, stilling our soul.

This morning those words were "Better things".

As I was getting ready I did what I do every day. I was drying my hair with my right hand, clicking on a news article with my left finger, ready to read another piece that would add to the brokenness I have felt in my heart as of late. I heard, what was like one of those Spirit sighs, say softly "Better things". Set your mind on better things. A verse came to me.  It's a verse I've used in a dozen posts making you think it might be one of the only ones I know, a verse I've read over and over; a verse that is working in me so diligently to guide my life.

…..whatever is true

….…whatever is noble

………whatever is right

…………whatever is pure

…………….whatever is lovely

………………..whatever is admirable

If anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Think about "Better Things"

I know that while we think about better things, we are merely distracting ourselves from pain and sorrow and the things we just don't understand, but this brokenness and feeling of incompleteness won't always be.

Better things are to come.

There will come a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears

There will be a day when the burdens of this place

Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face (Jeremy Camp-There Will be a Day)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

For the record, my man who conspired against me, is good.  He's very, very good.

And my friends who get phone neck cricks and answer my epically long texts?  Well, they're good too.

 

 

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P.S. -postscript /a brief attachment appended to the ending of a message

Rylie is typically pretty devout when it comes to prayer. She starts out something like, "Jesus Christ, Lord...." and then prays long and hard for everyone and everything she can think of. We were surprised when one night the usually long-winded giver of thanks made her prayer short and sweet.  She thanked God for me, Hayden, Hallie, Griffin and our food. And then she said amen.  Jason, who usually prefers the abridged version of her prayer looked befuddled.  Daddy's girl had forgotten to mention him in her talk with God and he'd noticed.

Disappointed he said, "You forgot me!".

Sensing his sorrow I quickly offered,....... "Rylie, God does P.S.'s. So she added on, "And thank you for my Daddy".

God really does allow P.S.'s.  In fact I believe he encourages them.

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He tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Sometimes we say "Amen"; our "so be it". But it isn't intended to mean "Prayer over" or "The End".  Amen isn't a closing meaning "On to the next thing, .....glad I got that obligation out-of-the-way".

If we have any sense whatsoever (and I admit I lack good sense on a regular basis) we know that there isn't a moment that exists when there ISN'T something to be said to God. There's always one more thing; another P.S.

He wants to hear from us.

  A father wants to be remembered.

I do try to have somewhat of an organized prayer time.  Having prayed in groups, a habitual format I've learned goes something like Praise/Thanks/Repentance/Intercession for self and others.  I think a format is dandy.  But if it's the only communication I have with God, I'm missing out.

So prayer P.S.'s are in order for any and all occasions

when you notice the first brightly hued leaf signaling Fall's arrival

when you have a loved-one on the road

or you get a phone call that your friend is sick and they don't know what's wrong

when laughter explodes and you realize its healing nature

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when you read in the news that another teenager has taken her life or you hear another heart-wrenching story about cyber bullying

when your kid has a big test or has just failed one

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or you realize that you were snippy with your husband in the last text you sent

when you think about how thankful you are for your extended family

or a niece gets baptized

when you need grace

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when you've received it

I think every day should be chock full of P.S.'s

Often times my P.S. holds the most important and heartfelt communication.  In its brevity, it says:

I trust you

I need you

I acknowledge you

Thank you!

Forgive me.

I love you

I love you

I love you

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

 

A picture is worth a thousand words.  I've added a few....

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.

-Cory Ten Boom

A must read-

The Hiding Place by Cory Ten Boom

A Dutch Christian, she and her family hid many Jews and helped them escape during the Holocaust.  Her father as well as her sister died at concentration camps.  Cory often wondered why she was the survivor when she felt her father and sister were stronger in their faith.  Her testimony shows that God left Cory behind with a purpose.  Her words will touch you, leaving you longing for a closer walk with Jesus.  This is an unforgettable story of faith and forgiveness.

Pictured above: I took this picture from a puddle on our street in Trinity.  We were able to see the frog eggs hatch into tadpoles.