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Tag Archives: prayer

Connecting in the Mess

I wanted to share on something that occurred to me this morning when I was tired and in our kitchen with our little ones who were far from tired. They wanted breakfast. “What can we make?” Our six year old asked.

Make… Ugh… They want to make something. I just woke up people. And the last thing I did before going to bed was clean this kitchen. And here we are again. In the kitchen. That is actually clean and what do you want to do? Make something… Oh yes- you will make something. You will make a mess and my day will start as another mess being cleaned. Can’t I just give them cereal? Hand them a bowl. Eat it. Move on. You’ll be fed. Kitchen stays clean. And…
Baby boy is pushing his little stool over. They are already pulling out bowls and a pancake box, peeling over ripe bananas and getting out the recipe for banana bread… Handing out mixers… They are so ready to make something.

They want to make something…

My mind went back to the lesson I taught in Kid Zone yesterday. How when we pray we connect with God.

We connect. God wants us to pray – not just to meet our need- but to connect with us.

And there I was with these kids and their need for breakfast. But it dawned on me- that food wasn’t the only need. The need to connect was the bigger need.

And I was fighting myself then in that moment. Because the tired body I was in was not blind to the flour that was getting everywhere. And the many bowls and measuring cups and spoons that would need washed. Big sister then turned on the griddle. I went to pour oil on it and I poured way too much. It poured out over the edge and puddled… Another mess…

“Connecting. Connecting. God help me to see we aren’t just making breakfast, we are making a connection.”

That was my prayer to God and my tired self.

And I was reminded that God understands the struggle. (Isn’t that an awesome thought?) God knew he was going to have to take on all our messes in order to connect with us. Our God is the God who came in the flesh to connect with us in our mess. To connect.

For my friends who are parents and grandparents of little ones- when you are caught up in the mess, tired and struggling, I pray this post will help you remember, you are making something- you are making a connection. Connecting. Connecting.

Connecting in the mess.

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Let us Hear the Sound…

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So this moment tonight… this moment touched my heart more than I could probably express, but I will try.

Lately I have been feeling a little heart sick. I hear from friends and loved ones going through some seriously hard things. I try to talk to share with them just how much God really loves them but all too often the response is, “I don’t really feel his presence.” One friend recently worded it this way, “There are so many things when I look back at my life, when I think of them, I know it had to be God. He helped me get through them. But I don’t know that I have actually ever heard his voice. I don’t feel his presence. I try to go to church. I have tried to read the Bible. I just don’t feel him.”

Been there. Many times.

And so tonight I watched our busy, little boy toddling all over the place. Then it came to a point where he came close to his daddy who was studying and in that moment my hubby took off the headset he had been wearing. He placed it on our son’s head and his eyes lit up so big. He heard the sound of the worship music. He heard what his daddy had been hearing all along but none of us could hear. He became practically entranced, staring awestruck at his daddy for some time like a whole new world had opened up in his soul.

His sisters tried to come by and take the headset and he aggressively pushed them away. And it struck me…

It became my prayer really… God, let us hear your song. Let us hear it so loudly that we hear and want nothing else. Let us be so awestruck with the sound of you in our soul that we aggressively begin blocking out those things that try to grab it away. God, let us hear what you hear…

Praying it silently, I walked away to tend to other things, came back into the room ten minutes or so later only to see our son still sitting with his daddy. He wasn’t budging. He was locked in, totally focused on what his daddy was focused on and totally at peace. Snapped a picture. Smiled. Snapped some more.

And so tonight my prayer is simple- for those who are so needing to hear your voice tonight, God… Would you put upon their soul the sound of your love? God shield out the sound of everything else. Let them feel your presence. Wrap your arm around them. May their thoughts be your thoughts. Help us to hear you, to aggressively fight in our mind against the things that try to grab away the sound of you. For you are real. And you are with us. Help us to wander close to you and stay at your side.

Amen.

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Ironing a little girl’s dress, Ironing out my heart

It’s 11:30 p.m. as I start to write this. I still have a little girl’s dress to press to get ready for church in the morning… And to be honest I am having a hard time balancing a joyful, thankful heart and a totally broken heart. And I have a feeling, I am not alone.

My mind keeps going back to pictures of little ones whose bodies were being gathered together… Children in Iran who fled to the hills with their families for fear of death, only to starve and die of thirst. I keep thinking about her, that little girl who looked so much like our youngest daughter, limp in a man’s arms.

Our baby girl smiled earlier this evening, held up her pretty church dress, and I started to think of that little girl again, and the many others, children’s heads on sticks, women and mothers being raped, fathers being hung… And meanwhile, elsewhere there are women and children stuck in human trafficking, children and spouses stuck in abusive homes, friend’s who have lost loved ones unexpectedly, hurricanes, and mudslides… Yeah, I think of all those things and suddenly what we are wearing to church seems so trivial. Whether this dress gets ironed out not so important… But instead ironing out my heart.

Because I truly believe that God is not blind to what is happening.

Exodus 3:7
Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress…”

He is not deaf to the cries of his people. But I fear that all too often… We are… And we are by choice.

And somewhere in the mix of all of this it has really dawned on me that while I so desperately want to “save”so many… When I open my heart to the pains of others… It frees ME. It frees me from ingratitude. It frees me from being numb. It frees me from the little “happy bubble” that I like to stay in. And truly we aren’t meant to float around in a happy bubble. We are meant to feel- to take compassion. To cry…

“Jesus wept.” The shortest verse in the Bible and yet perhaps the most profound to me. That the all powerful Savior of the World wept. It was part of his purpose. Part of the reason he came and entered our world. He came to feel our pains, because only by feeling our pain could he free us from it.

We live in a great, big, broken world. And as we allow our hearts to feel it – to be broken for others, cry when they cry, pray when they ask for prayer- I really believe we WILL see miracles- including those that happen within our very own hearts.

I urge you friends- especially those of you who, like me, don’t like to let your happy bubble get popped- start clicking those links: see, hear, feel, fast, pray, cry… Let the heat of the world’s hurt hit your heart and let God iron out the shriveled and wrinkled places. Be moved. Move. And wait for a miracle.

 

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Stillness

Stillness. That’s the word on my heart today. Perhaps because we are coming out of a busy weekend. Perhaps because I have a few friends who right now are going through quite a bit. One friend shared that in the midst of it all she cried out to God only to hear nothing… Nothing but stillness.

I have been there. But the busier and louder my days get, the more I treasure the stillness.

Why do we have a tendency to take for granted the stillness? Why is it that when God doesn’t answer us we say he is silent, like that is a bad thing?

Stillness. Silence.

Peace.

Like the calm in the storm, when all hell is breaking loose, you come to God in prayer and all you hear is silence.

Praise God for that silence, for that stillness, for that peace.

Sit in it. Soak in it. Receive it as the gift that it truly is.

Strength is restored in the stillness.

Minds are settled in the stillness.

Hearts find rest in the stillness.

He is there.

He is listening.

He is answering.

He is answering with stillness.

I usually elaborate on my heart thoughts with the pictures I share, but tonight I will leave you with these pictures and no further words… Only simple, beautiful, stillness.

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Those who Keep their Minds Fixed

I had to step out of church service this morning to go to our eight month-old son who was not settling down in the nursery.

Cuddles, bottle, snacks, toys… Nothing was going to get his mind off his mama. He just cried and cried and so I came to him.

He settled as soon as I held him.

It is not uncommon for babies to do that. It is a stage that will pass.

But today, his actions really challenged me.

Incredible inspiration really.

I held him in church thinking, “I want to keep my mind fixed on The Lord like that.”

In this world full of distractions, this little baby boy reminded me, that those who keep their desire placed solely in The Lord, will indeed see His face. He will answer their cries.

Psalm 34:17
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

 

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You are not small. You are big. You are so big to God.

We were in church this morning. Worship was coming to a close and our Pastor had taken the mic. The congregation was quite, but not our eight year-old son.

No, he was pulling on me in an all too familiar way. His mind was clearly racing with thoughts from the worship song that was just sung and the words he had just heard,

Words of a God whose love is deeper than the sea and higher than the stars.

And he was pulling on me, and his voice was so loud. His daddy and I were giving him looks and in our low voices trying to hush him, but he wouldn’t stop talking.

And it was then, in that moment, that I chose to instead stop and just listen.

“His love is deeper than the sea?” He asked.

I answered, “Yes.”

“Wow. That is really deep.”

“Yes.” I replied.

He then proceeded to get a look in his eyes and a tone in his voice that struck deep into my heart.

“But space is so big. He is bigger than space. And I am so small.”

And something in his eyes reminded me of my own eyes.

And something in his voice reminded me of my own voice.

Something in his heart reminded me of my own heart.

Because somewhere, deep, deep down, is that very same thought, “I am so small.”

Deep down is the thought that my problems are so small compared to the world’s problems,

My burdens too trivial,

My struggles so puny in light of everything around me.

Deep down is the wide-eyed awareness that I am one person among billions, and in this great, big universe I am so small.

It is there.

And in that moment, as our son came to grasps with that very thought, all I knew to say was what my own heart needed to hear so loud today,

“You are not small to God. You are big to God. You are so big to God.”

And maybe you need to hear that too.

If you are struggling, thinking, “Who am I to take these struggles and pour them out to a God who knows all the problems in the universe? How could he not look at my problems and say, ‘Those are so small!'”

I want to remind you,

You are big to God.

Your problems are not too small.

Your life is not too insignificant.

You are big to God.

You are so big to God.

So go ahead, and pour out your heart. Hand him your burdens. Hand him your disappointments. Hand him your frustrations. Hand him your heavy load.

He can take it. He is a big God.

And amazingly, he will take it, not with backlashes and strong rebukes, but with gentleness and love.

And to think,

That big as he his,

This great, big, all-knowing, omnipresent God,

Desires to reside with you,

To walk with you,

And to carry your burdens.

Indeed, you are not so small.

Your burdens are not so small.

You are big.

You are so big to God.

Come to him. Give him your burdens.
Find rest for your soul.

Matthew 11:28-29

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

 

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Yesterday

Yesterday was amazing.
Hundred, upon hundreds of blessings,
Precious moments dropping like raindrops.

Drops of tiny fingers,
Big brown eyes,
A smile behind a pacifier.

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Peace cast out over a lake,
Joy caught on a line,

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Love,
Covering, protecting, walking love,
Beside and behind every step.

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A sky so amazing that it appeared as if God Himself was residing in the clouds above us,
And indeed,
He is,
Always,
Though we don’t always see Him.

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And even as the night began to overtake the day,
There were waves of mercy and grace following us home yesterday.

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Yesterday was amazing.

And incredibly,
Gifted to me,
And to us,
To YOU
Is today.

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I don’t know what blessings will drop today.

But I do know that the greatest blessing,

The Great I AM,

Is in the midst of today,

Desiring to walk with us,
And cover us,
And open our eyes to His Love.

And so today,
We pray,

Thank you, Jesus,
For yesterday,
And for today.

Keep me,
Keep US,
Awake to the sights of your love TODAY.

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