Tag Archives: pray

Shoes

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I had a really nice visit with a friend not so long ago. While she is a pastor’s wife at our church, I’ve also had the privilege to get to know her better through a small group Bible study. It was during this time that she really made an impression on me. Although she has 5 children of her own and is my junior, I was able to discern she had a depth to her Christian walk. In other words, she wasn’t just a “pastor’s wife” in name only. She has a genuine faith all her own aside from her husband’s role in the church.

During our brief visit, I shared with her some things I’ve been struggling with in my parenting. Knowing her as I do, I felt she would have some godly wisdom for me. Little did I know that her words would be few, yet pregnant in meaning. Her response, “I haven’t walked in your shoes.” Wow! That really resonated with me because she could have easily spewed from her vast experience of parenting her own 5 children. I would have taken it all in and considered what she was saying, but the impact of those 6 words conveyed so much more to me.

“I haven’t walked in your shoes” communicates several things. One being the most obvious, I’ve not been in your particular situation so I don’t feel I can bring anything to the table. Second, considers that while the experience I have with my children might be helpful to you, it may not be, simply because all children are different just as all parents are different. Third, it validates you as a parent by not assuming you’re an igmo since you’re in the spot you’re in. Fourth, it offers empathy to the person who is seeking help and desperately trying to find a solution to their problem.

Leaving my friend that afternoon, I not only felt heard but encouraged, empathized with, prayed for, and refreshed. Isn’t this what we all long for with our most treasured of friends? It seems ludicrous to think otherwise, yet more times than I care to recall, I’ve come away from a conversation having felt ridiculed, challenged, put down, a less than, and an igmo all rolled into one! For me to humbly ask a friend for advice, in my opinion, is a compliment to my friend. It conveys that this friend is admired, looked up to, been in a similar situation where they can empathize and offer help. I cannot fathom why anyone would respond in any other way but with grace and honor.

My challenge to you: the next time a friend shares her personal dilemma with you, consider her thoughts and feelings. Listen to her with respect and empathy. Weigh your words carefully before pontificating your thoughts. And as a respected pastor of mine once said, ‘while listening (to the person speak), I pray silently to God asking for His wisdom to share rather than my own’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a New Year!

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It’s a New Year!

While I’m not a resolution making girl, I do enjoy perusing Facebook to take a peek at what others are resolving to do in the new year. Personally, I don’t make them because I tend to peter out early after attempting to go gangbusters all at once. I believe the key is to take small, baby steps until it becomes a habit (like 21 days, I think?).

Typically, one of the most common resolutions I see across social media is to get fit, and even lose weight. Not a bad idea and one I would benefit by ascribing to myself! So far in the infancy stage of this new year, I’ve seen everything from dream board parties to paying off debt plans, to being more intentional with people rather than cyber-friendships. One thing I haven’t seen much of so far is the desire to be intentional about growing in relationship to Christ. For me, this is one resolution I can sink my teeth into. I feel like it is out of this relationship that everything else stems from. Admittedly, since becoming a mother, I have struggled to keep my relationship with Christ my number one priority. I can’t say I wasn’t warned this would probably happen…

One of the best ways I can take care of myself is to spiritually feed my mind and soul. Hearing God’s Word spoken, reading it, meditating on it, praying it, and committing it to memory is what we were created to do as believers. I don’t know about you, but becoming a mom has quickly diminished time for myself. To be a good wife and mom, the most important thing I can do for myself is to spend time daily in His Word, after all, it’s our guidebook for living. In order to live how He has instructed me to live, I need to know what His Word says.

These days, “self-care” has come to mean the spending of money on yourself in the form of nails, salons, tanning, personal training, travel, botox…and the list goes. However, the best self-care in my opinion is to be a woman in God’s Word. All other ideals mentioned aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves but they all share the same common denominator=superficial. At the end of my life, none of those things will matter or last. Additionally, finances are needed to keep the wheel of indulgence turning. Think about it: do you want to be remembered for your pretty nails, or tanned skin? Or, do you want to be remembered as a woman who revered God and spent her life growing to be more and more like Him?

My desire for the year 2018 is to be intentional about being in God’s Word daily and to allow it to shape who I am rather than succumb to the world’s influence. To turn to Him with my worries, fears, and problems first before exhausting all my resources and then in a last-ditch effort, seeking Him as my rescuer. To see life through His perspective rather than fear what may be lurking around the corner; and to realize that life is not about perfection, money, and things or a problem-free existence.

One way I hope to grow in my knowledge of Him this year is to try this Bible reading plan, which in my opinion, offers a little grace with reading only 5 days a week rather than 7. http://bibleclassmaterial.com/Catalog/Mark%20Roberts/BibleReadingSchedule.htm Of course, there are many, many different plans, tools, and scheduled reading choices out there. This is one that was recommended to me and looks to be a little more doable as a mom.

Won’t you join me??

 

 

 

 

 

STOP…& Pray why don’t you

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Crossroads — I’ve been here more times than I can count.  You know, laboring over a decision yet chatting it up with well-meaning people, some of which are strangers, I find myself just as confused and tormented as I was when I started. I feel that I’ve gone nowhere and fast.

If your heart is beating, I’m quite sure you have lived here too. Why is it that we so badly want to obtain the opinion of everyone else on the planet, except for the One who created us? I mean really, how silly is that? Or, we exhaust all of our very limited resources before surrendering to the Lord? If you are a believer, you’re aware of the goal as Christ followers: surrender. Surrender myself, my plans, my thoughts, hopes and dreams to the One who can make sense of it all and more importantly, give us His best. After all, He is not a God of chaos.

Surrender: to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another; to yield to the power, control, or possession of

For most of my life, I’ve treated these such decisions I’ve described as if I’m walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon. One wrong step and I’m suddenly doomed because I made the wrong choice, in my mind anyway. Where in the world did I subscribe to this crazy line of thinking? Enveloped in this crazy thought process of mine is a measure of fear. Fear of what God might be asking me to do. Fear that I can’t imagine how in the world little ‘ol me could possibly carry out this assignment. Fear that I might fail and expose my ignorance to the watching world. Fear of the unknown, probably trumps them all.

God is not like this at all. He is a good and loving Father who wants and desires to give His very best to those who are willing to wait on Him rather than rush ahead to their own plans and agenda. Sure, our “plans” may make total sense to us but it’s important to remember that we have a very limited view of our lives; so limited in fact that we can only see what’s in the here and now. Conversely, the Lord sees the whole picture with all the circumstances we’re unaware of. Our “best plans” fall severely short of His plans for us as Christ followers. But the kicker is, we have to be willing to wait….and pray, which is a foreign concept in the instant society we live in today. The world screams, “hurry up and grab it or you’ll miss out,” which places the focus on self, while God’s economy challenges us to be patient, to wait on Him, to trust and obey, to pray and seek His wisdom. Sometimes, the most active thing we can do is pray and, His timing is not ours.

That being said, lately, I have felt quite convicted of just what I’ve written…talking to everyone else but God yet expecting His answer. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t prayed like I should be. I haven’t surrendered my desires, my will, my plan in order to hear from Him. I have allowed fear to place me in bondage. Interestingly enough, when I pray for others in my life facing similar life decisions is “Lord, will You deafen (name of friend I’m praying for) ears to all voices but Yours. Will you enable (him or her) to be able to discern Your voice from others clamoring for (his/her) attention. Will You speak boldly into (his/her) life that there is no doubt as to which path is theirs to take.” 

Sure, God speaks to us through His Word, His Holy Spirit, and even others. The point is to have a trusted few who are faithful followers in Christ, who will pray for you and point you back to Him. We cannot hear from God when we’re super busy and running hither and yon, consulting with everyone we know. Oftentimes, God’s path isn’t the most popular path and doesn’t always make sense to others. As I’ve been reminded time and again by my trusted (few) friends: God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.

My challenge to you, as well as to me, is to stop the madness. Stop the busyness. Still yourself before Him. Rather, get on your knees in humility, cry out to God surrendering the plans you have and yielding your spirit to His plans. Be still. Wait for Him. Don’t allow yourself to feel rushed to make a decision right this very minute. Sometimes, prayer can be the most active thing you can do. Press into Him through prayer, and the reading of His Word. Trust that He has it all worked out…in His timing, not ours. And don’t forget that His ways are higher and He see the full picture.

I’ll close with a friend’s recent facebook post: “I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.” He is faithful! Amen!

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Know about You….

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shelf-159852_1280As a fellow Mom, do you feel like you’re drowning in parenting books? I mean really! I literally have a stack (and I do mean a nice tall stack!) of books on this subject. It seems I keep hearing of yet another “great” book that I “just have to read” and “this one trumps the last one!”

Now, I’m not much of a reader of fiction, until earlier this year, when I started to need a break from all the heaviness of reading parenting books. You know the ones I’m talking about (without mentioning actual titles) “You Can Potty Train Your Kid In No Time” and “Disciplining the Active Child”. I have found some gems in the books I have muddled through, no doubt. I love to learn and have a teachable spirit, but do I really need to read so many books?

So, while I was at church on Sunday, I bumped into a rather wise friend of mine in the hallway of the children’s building, of all places! We were exchanging niceties and then plunged deep into the subject of you guessed it, parenting. Being an avid reader herself, she shared with me that her husband asked her recently why she feels she needs to read yet another book on parenting. He encouraged her to pray for wisdom and discernment on being the best Mom she can be. WOW! Her words hit me right between the eyes since I, too, have been reading and reading and reading to discover one more nugget that just might be the answer to all my parenting woes.

This is not to say I won’t pick up another book on this subject, but for awhile, at least, you’ll find me in my “War Room,” or with a work of fiction in my hands!