Category Archives: Prayer

Humbled…


humble-heartHumbled seems to be the word of the year.  In every way, humbled.

I must humble myself to write this now, after taking so long away.  And this entire year has been…well, horrifying and amazing.  No other way to describe it.

But I won’t make this a summary.  I am just humbled to God for his care, guidance and love.  I praise and thank him for his answered prayers; and for the pure love and joy lifting my soul…a sensation only God can provide.  In a year full of uncertainty, hardship, and mental chaos, God did provide.  He provided for me, and for Ashton.  He provided for us in so many ways…even when I had nothing to give back but my heart.

My soul is on fire for the Spirit.  I know I am not worthy, but I also know that God is working through me and for me and for those I love.  It is an amazing place to be…particularly when your world has been turned upside down over and over.  I am so grateful for all of the opportunities this year to come to God and surrender.  Surrender is humbling, but also can be mind blowing.  It is amazing the plans God has for us compared to our own attempts of imagining and dreaming.  Make no mistake: You must be open to the blessings and God’s guidance.  But when you are, it is powerful and life changing…no words to describe.

This is one of those moments of thankfulness.  A privileged moment of insight and clarity.

I have been having troubles with Ashton.  He has hit puberty and turned into a monster almost overnight.  He is making a hobby out of testing boundaries and joyfully expressing defiance.  I literally found myself on my knees two weeks ago.  On my knees to God, praying for some sort of help.  Some sort of guidance.  I am so ill equipped for dealing with a 12 year old son hitting puberty.  I don’t even know what is normal…I prayed fiercely for an answer.

Then in less than two weeks, my prayers are answered in multiple ways by multiple people from across the United States.  Now, I don’t mean that Ashton is fixed, and the problem is gone.  That is not what God is all about.  God is about helping us get through the difficult times in life.  He has sent some Angels to interfere and guide.  Some of the people have been part of my life forever.  Some are brand new popping into our lives like magic…out of thin air.  Some are helping and guiding me.  Some are helping and guiding Ashton.  It is like we are all of a sudden surrounded by God’s Angels.  I know there is no magic potion that will help Ashton, but I do know that God is helping.  If God is helping, I know Ashton is going to be okay, and so will I.  I know our Great Father will provide for us, both directly and indirectly through others.  God’s presence strengthens me in the present and helps me vision tomorrow with peace.

For this, I am completely humbled, amazed, and in awe.

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A Counselor’s Prayer


This prayer (I believe was written by Lea Ann; found at http://leaannsgarden.blogspot.com/2011/01/counselors-prayer.html) is AMAZING!  As a person on the journey to becoming a Pastoral Counselor, with dreams of working with “aging out” foster care youth, I can see myself praying this daily. 

We are so fortunate that God IS.

Oh God, remind me why I’m doing this.

Why me? What do I know about anything?

They sit across from me, broken dolls whose dull eyes beg me to offer hope that they no longer believe exists. Hope is a four-letter word that belongs to someone else. They’ve given up because they are out of options. They can see nothing in the future but more pain.

And I’m IT? I’m all that stands between desperation and hope? Sometimes, life and death? What were you thinking, Lord?

Who am I to tell a young rape victim that God loves her?

Who am I to advise a wronged wife to stay with the man who tore her heart out?

Who am I to offer understanding in situations I have no ability to understand?

How can I make a woman believe in a loving Heavenly Father when all she knows is fatherly abuse?

How do I gather the scraps of a shattered life and put them together again?

How do I convince a woman consumed by rage that it is safe to leave that anger with You? She’s mad at You too.

How do I pretend to believe that this round of sobriety will be different for the lifetime drug addict? The last eight times didn’t work, but this one will? Because now he faces ME? I’m not sure I believe that myself.

I feel so inadequate. So unworthy. Who am I to be trusted with this great responsibility? Who am I to meddle deep inside the private recesses of a human heart, to hold it in my hands, twist it, turn it, hurt it so that it can finally struggle free from its prison.

It’s scary, Lord. Sometimes, right in the middle of a session, I don’t want to do this anymore. Why am I doing this?

But now I’m remembering something.

I’m doing this because You asked me to. You promised that you would do it through me if I would just stay out of the way.

And now that I think about it, You have every time.

You put a smile on the lips of that rape victim.

The young couple is holding hands again.

The ones who knew only hate are experiencing love for the first time. It’s hard for them. They don’t know what to do with it, but You’re showing them a little at a time.

And as I watch, I know it isn’t me at all. It never was.

You always seem to enjoy choosing as your tools the least likely people: the frightened Gideon, the obstinate Jonah, the renegade Moses. And look at that ragtag band of disciples Jesus chose. What an unlikely group to be entrusted with Your plan of salvation for the entire world! Frankly, I would have chosen some better candidates, if I’d been given the opportunity.

So I guess I’m in good company, huh? Is that what You’re telling me? My inadequacy fits the profile?

Is this what you meant by “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness”?

I’m glad to know that, because if I wasn’t sure You were doing this through me, I would quit. The burden is too great. The price of failure too high.

But You’re right. I have seen You work. I’ve sat there and watched Your Spirit open a closed heart, purify a perverted soul, cleanse a dirty conscience, heal a damaged spirit. And I just sit there. You’re doing all the work.

If You called me, You will enable me. I’m just a warm body for Your Spirit to flow through. Healing is not my job, it’s Yours.

I panic when I forget that. Help me never to forget again.

Making Myself Pray


It is not that I won’t…or that I don’t want to.  But my brain is always in so many other places.  The only successful way I have been able to pray is in sporatic little spurt bursts throughout my day, literally as the moment hits.

IMG_20130605_210510When someone asks me to pray for them, or when they are stuggling and I offer prayer, I have made it a habit to stop and pray right then for them.  (Because I used to forget altogether!)  And there is nothing worse then saying that you will pray for someone, and then not taking a moment to connect your heart with theirs and offer the energy and love only God can provide.

I have been struggling to try and strengthen my prayer life.  I have always admired people who could sit in silence and contemplation.  I am simply not that person…but I want a piece of that inaction!

I think I have found a solution!

My son gave me a journal with our family’s favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11 on it.  I already have a journal and wanted to find a unique and special way to use this one.  Then one day, God whispered an idea…use it as a prayer book.  Instead of just making a list of people or causes to pray for, write out my prayers.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you…plans to give you hope and a future.” 
~Jeremiah 29:11

Each night, I sit and take a few deep contemplative breaths to calm my body and soul.  And I begin praying.  I write my prayers in the journal and am very specific.  I call by name my brothers and sisters and ask God to walk with them, heal them, or soften their hearts…whatever His will to be done.  The simple act of writing keeps my focus on His grace.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
~James 5:16

My youngest son made me a bookmark for Mother’s Day.  I have decided to use this special artistic creation to keep track of what day I am on in my prayer journal.  Each night when I open the journal, I pray for my oldest son.  When I remove the bookmark, I pray for my youngest son.  What blessings they both are in my life.

TIMG_20130605_210519he bookmark says:

My Mom is better than your Mom because she lets me have so much fun my head almost explodes.  My Mom is so nice when we go to Shoppers she lets me buy all the cookies they have.  She’s so cool she can bust out a rap anywhere anytime.  My Mom can produce a TV show faster than you can say onomatopoeia. My Mom’s so nice she bakes cakes every day for charity.  When my Mom walks outside the sun starts to shine and the birds start to chirp.  My Mom’s so smart she knows everything in the world.

Do you have an empty journal book sitting at home?  An old spiral notebook?  Make it a habit to spend time each day with God…I am sure there are people in your life who need your prayers.  ❤

Pros vs. Cons: Am I failing myself?


Here I sit, weighing a list of Pros vs. Cons in my life overall.  What goals am I still focused on and what really is the big overall picture?

I know one thing…I have become an entirely different person from when this blog first began.  That person truly seems like a character from a movie I once saw.  That is how much transformation through suffering and joy has occurred.  It is astounding to look back just a few years.

Astounding.  Perhaps a bit overwhelming too.  Especially given the trials and tribulations within those few years…and the things we keep bottled in – within those few years.  Wow.

Hey, while you are going through those life epiphanies, throw in Masters Level courses in Pastoral Counseling.  It is like God is puppeteering my classes to help me and change me in so many different ways;  I am so “in awe” of its vastness…how can that not be life changing?

I survived my first year of divorce from 15 years of a good marriage (my anniversary was yesterday – Happy Halloween to you all as well).  And I am successfully providing my son with a home, opportunity, life and love.  (Relationships with BOTH sons are works in progress and continually ongoing in nature.)  I have reached a stable point of financial function which brings relief.

Not only do I have a job, but it is truly a good job.  It is a blessing.

Personally, Spiritually, internally, I am growing exponentially.  It is so hard to explain.  I have had open conversations with people that I would once have just bottled up and ultimately imploded over.  That is exponential…for me.

I have stood up for myself.

I have put down my foot and said, “no” when I needed to.

I have faced some of my own deep-running fears.

Again, exponential in the realm of personal growth…not so much in reality.  I am so emotionally overwhelmed with just BEING MYSELF that I lose track of people and events around me.

This is where the Cons are revealed.  I have to drop one of my classes, which has consequences of unknown proportions right now.

I gained more than my previously confessed 18 pounds.  It is more like 35 and I feel every bit of it (though I am unsure of the true number because I have yet to face the scale).  I don’t have any energy…or motivation.

I cannot seem to get to work on time to save my life…to the point that I need to address it and I don’t know how.  I have tried everything I know, including having sleep testing done.  There are other work related issues being addressed.

It truly seems as though whenever I have the focus and drive to succeed in one goal, I turn around and realize that everything else is falling behind.  Is the failure due to me?  Or is there breakdown in the system or framework?  Am I overthinking things?  Or am I becoming self-aware?

All kinds of other things still need to be addressed….yet I feel like a part of me needs to just chill out and relax (relaxing is MUCH different than hiding).

Recent reveations would reveal that I am infact an emotional eater.  So I no longer wonder, “Why am I sitting here eating a Cinnamon Bagel from Panera?”

I can only sigh.  “Ai, what a day I had today.”   ~Barbra Streisand as Fannie Brice in Funny Lady.  (An ironically symbolic comment.)

Let Go and Let God…


Long ago, at a previous job, I had a friend (one of My Angels) who battled lots of difficult pains and struggles, one of which was addiction.  Now, before you jump the boat and immediately begin defining her addiction, I want you to take a step back and just look at addiction for the sake of what it is: addiction.  Many of us have chemical addictions to caffeine.  Um…hello to all of you who sleep in “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” jammies!  An addiction is an addiction, whether it is emotional, chemical or whatever.  Period.  Let’s move on.

I watched my friend struggle her addictions, sometimes on a moment by moment basis.  I was able to see within her spirit the desire to continue on.  The fight to keep on fighting.  The defeats that she sometimes crawled through.  From her perspective, she only saw the failures and mistakes she made each day.  From my perspective, How, I didn’t know.  Then one day she shared with me.

Every morning, she would get up early and give her day to God.  She would ask God to carry her burdens for the day and guide her actions and thoughts.  She described to me the sense of peace that would help her through the day.

We are all human beings, and capable of failure, setback and burnout among many other things.  Sometimes it is hard to accept our humanness.  The worries and anxieties of everyone’s expectations (including your own) overwhelm you.  They sure worry me.  Now, in the mornings, I open my morning with prayer and thanksgiving to God.  I pray for strength to get through the day, and for the wisdom to make good decisions and be good help to many.

I challenge you to try the same…Each morning, spend a few minutes and pray.  Give your day to God.

Each and every morning,

I give my concerns to You, God.

I acknowledge my weaknesses.

Please guide my hands,

And my decisions,

And my perspectives,

And my compassion.

I ask that You work through me.

Love and inspire others through me.

I will listen for Your voice.

And I will know,

The richness of Your Love,

And Jesus’ Sacrifice,

And how the Holy Spirit lives within us.

I will listen for your voice.

Amen.

Unreachable


Wow.  I survived.  By the sweet grace of God, I survived Thursday night.  I cannot even begin to explain.

I know that I woke up on Friday morning still grumpy, bags under my eyes, hating life in general.  I felt as if I had survived an exorcism.  I had just faced my life’s issues…my demons, if you will.  All of the parts of me that hide away, as well as how my decisions do effect and have effected my family, everyone around me, and myself.  How I truly feel like I had let everyone down.  Then couple that with a family counseling class that has forced me to look at my family on paper and notice patterns and blah blah blah.

Point is…I came to direct terms with the very real fact: I am broken.  We all are.  We are all victims of the behaviors of others, and we all take turns victimizing one another, whether we know it or not.  It is human nature.  It is inevitable.

God had given me all of these miraculous blessings in my life and I had hurt them all and was not as grateful as I could have been.  I took a lot of true blessings for granted.  I felt such shame and unworthiness.

Then, this song played…

The words spoke everything I was thinking and feeling.  The overwhelming sense of peace began to bring reassurance and comfort, love and protection.  All of my human fears vanished and once again I felt the truest of truth, I felt God within my soul.  I knew we would be okay if I just stayed focused on His guidance.  When I am weak, He will give me strength.

Not only did the blessings continue to pour down on us, but the awareness of God’s great and abundant love became ever so clear again.  I had been missing that sense of fullness and faith.

Yes, Uncle T., I heard your message, Let go and Let God.  It is easier said than done, AND it is necessary.  When you turn your life over to God and allow Him to work through you, He will provide for you.

It is simply amazing.

Broken


ImageAs I sit here, tears are falling down my face.  It seems as though all I have done lately is apologize for not being good enough, quick enough, right enough, smart enough, skinny enough, early enough.  It seems as though I cannot meet any goals or responsibilities or expectations.  I don’t even know if the expectations are my own or not.  All I know is that my head is swimming and I want to go to bed.

But I can’t.

I have to face all of the fears and failures, real or not, but I don’t know how.  I am trying all kinds of methods, but nothing “works fast enough.”

How do I grab all of the pieces of my life and put them together again?  How do I escape the daily dread of letting my family down or letting others down?  Of letting myself down?

I mean, anyone else’s life, and I would have no problem helping them come up with a plan of action and get organized, but when it is my own, I am clueless.  I don’t know where to begin.

How do I successfully mesh together a plan for financial stability and responsibility, for physical health and fitness, for educational growth and future opportunity and security, for successful work habits and development, AND find time to be a good mommy?  I am always letting someone down.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to go back for a Masters degree!  I must have been out of my ever-loving mind to think I could pull it off when I had yet to get in order the current issues of my life.

How do you move past the pain without first having to recognize it for what it is, and either accept it for fix it?  How do I face the hurt about certain situations, knowing there is no immediate solution?  How do I escape the deep sense of longing and loss?.

How do you move past the fear that paralyzes your every move?  Fear of what, you ask?  Just plain fear.  Fear of everything…failure, loss, pain, hurt, unintentionally hurting others, of not being loved, of not loving enough, of being alone, of not being enough.  Fear of actually living life.  Fear of being who I really am.  Fear of judgement.  Fear of being called crazy.  Fear of EVERYTHING!

How do I face the fullness of the consequences for my decisions in life, particularly over the past three years.  No, there is not a lot I would change, but the consequences are killing me!  I know I put myself here, and I know that it is nobody’s fault but my own.  REGARDLESS of how I got here, I am here, and I don’t know how to move forward.

I pray, don’t worry about that.  I do.  And even though I know my God is a kind and loving God, I still feel I don’t deserve the blessings He has graced in my life NOW, what makes me think I am worth more of His mercy and love?  I have messed up everything He has provided.  Over and over.

I am on my knees with tears in my eyes asking for guidance.  God, please fill my brokenness, because I don’t know how…

My Prayer for YOU Today


Let our inner beauty shine through.

This morning, the spirit moved me to pray with someone (One of My Angels).  I was very nervous to do so, because I always seem to be so nervous at public or personal speaking.  Writing is definitely an easier medium to use.  I wanted to pray with her in person (or rather, via phone, because she is in transit), but I was too afraid to call her and ask to say a quick prayer with her.

So, I closed my eyes and prayed, typing out the words as I felt them.  My intent was to just send a quick email.  Problem solved, mission accomplished, and I didn’t have to leave my own personal comfort zone.

However…as I finished the prayer, and went to click send, the very person about to receive my prayer email, called me!  Evidently, God had other plans for me and wanted me to face that inner challenge…to face the real reason of why I was afraid to pray it with her in person.  Together, we prayed over the phone.  I hope my nervous words carried their heartfelt intent through the lines of communication.  🙂

In that spirit, I prayed the prayer again with YOU in mind.  All of you who are reading my blog, or are supporting my life decisions, molding my future and nurturing my soul.  Thank you for being who you are in my life.  I am praying that God send Angels to each of you for guidance and love and encouragement and hope.  I would like to share my prayer (i.e. Spiritual wishes from a Baptist Monk)  with YOU also…

Dear Heavenly Father,
May Your light shine from within deep in our souls;
from the place You reside within our earthly bodies.  
May it spring forth hope along our journeys and struggles
and mold our human tendencies and capabilities;
May it be seen by others so that we may be an example
of Your beautiful grace and unconditional love;
and share the message of being good help to all in need
just as did Jesus.  AMEN.