Reduced to Prayer

Luke 22:39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He told them, “Pray that you will not enter into temptation.”

41 And He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, where He knelt down and prayed, 42“Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. 44 And in His anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.c

 

Conversation, smallest unit of trust,

on which faith’s DNA is shaped into obedience.

In the garden heaven multiplies cells of lush truth

while relating to our God.

Willing clay shaped by willing love.

So that, when we are tempted to despair, we are never alone.

Mountaintop Corner Office

A glory glimpse of your mighty work, after grunting and groaning

up mounds of sweaty mountains–so worth

the breathing room of the corner office. I knew you here.

Studied and learned to read the blue prints of your plan for my life.

But returning to the valley assembly line  . . .

I quickly reverted into a disgruntled blue-collar drone.

Clocking in complaints, among the hot rows of trouble,

The boss, distant and irrelevant, to the idols

cluttering my desk. I missed our team building exercises.

So daily I rise early, hike the heights for a clearer view of your presence with me.

 

 

Loss Through the Eyes of a Child

John 3:16 For God so loved the world: He gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.

 

Daniel, age 10, asked if he could write for my post. So, I am honored to have my son be my first guest blogger. 

Even the smallest of us can make a difference to family or a person hurt by loss. When I lost my brother, I asked everyone I met if they knew Jonathan. I wanted them to know he lived. By talking about Jonathan, I discovered that others had lost someone they loved. I could encourage them with God’s word and by listening and praying for them. John 3:16 helps me to remember that Jonathan is with Jesus, and his story did not end here.

God comforts me. Jonathan’s death has made me more scared of losing my parents because they have been very sick. I tend to cry when others lose someone in a movie, or I faced the death of my dog last year. I talk to God and he tells me I will be okay. He helps me to remember playing Nerf with Jonathan, creating a football field every Christmas as my present. I would wake up and look out the window and there would be a freshly painted football field and we would go out and play as a family. Sometimes when I go to bed, I ask my mom to sing a special song, because that is when I especially get sad or scared. Even though Jonathan’s death is tough on me, we have new family activities that we do. We are reading through the Bible and praying for Compassion International Families, together. We take a Mother’s Day hike every year at the cemetery where Jonathan is buried. Last year we made ornaments for Christmas, and crafts to remember favorite moments with Jonathan.  There are so many ways to remember him.

Anytime you feel the urge to pray for someone, I encourage you to lift them up to God. Loving others as God loves me helps me know that the sad times will pass and that he has a good plan for our lives.

 

Falling Does Not Mean Failing

Matthew 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of Me. For it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

Falling Away

My grand entrance into the writer’s conference I am attending this week was falling down the stairs, in the pouring rain. Praise God, no physical injuries. But the internal wounds, the thoughts and false beliefs I have about myself when I fall . . . Many of us believe we are a failure every time something bad happens. So we fall deeper into sin, or reject God altogether.

The disciples drank the blood and ate the body broken for them–they were committed– but within hours they would all betray him.

Many would stay down after such a breach of loyalty. Judas did. But falling does not equal failure in God’s plan! Jesus went on to say, “But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” He didn’t dwell on their betrayal. I can just picture Jesus as Friday on Dragnet, “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts.” Our stumbles put on display the mighty works of God! You may be convinced that God can’t do anything with you. You’re laying in the puddle and questioning why try.  I am convinced of God’s compassion for us, and that his plans will not be hindered by anything! There are people in our lives that need to witness the miracle of God’s faithfulness in our battling depression! Jesus is faithful, and he does not treat us as our sin’s deserve

How do you maintain the truth of who God is and who he created you to be when circumstances go sideways in your life? Do you believe you are beautifully and wonderfully made? (Psalm 139) Do you believe the covenant of the cross; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us? (Romans 5) Do you believe his plans never fail! How many of us stop living before we see the fruits of what God can do in our lives? My son did. He died believing he was a failure.

May I lift your chin, look into your eyes, and declare with certainty, “God cares for you! His loving kindness will not fail you. Many times we will stumble, but God never falters. There is absolutely nothing you have done, or could ever do that will make him stop loving you.”

 

Prayer of Restoration

Father, when I falter, may I find my identity in you! You alone redeem me, and you alone take me to the mountain to see more clearly who you are and who you have made me to be. May we trust that you go ahead of our circumstances today to prepare a place for us. Amen

Thanksgiving, The WD-40 of Faith

Despair rusts my resolve.

Construction of new life halts,

when tears of losing oxidize into

bitterness.

The strength of my steel,

tested too long, flake away,

weakening exposed beams.

 

 

Thankfulness is my WD-40.

When worked into my frame

I remember Your goodness.

You built a firm foundation of

faith, hope, and love.

 

No matter the damage I withstand,

I can count on the sturdiness of my God.

More to Come: Chose Abundant Life!

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness. 

The contrast between my son’s life and death is always the strongest on this day! He cared about people deeply. He was always looking to help, encourage, and equip others, even as his own resources felt limited. His smile could brighten the darkest of rooms even as the embers were being snuffed out in his own soul. He defended underdogs, even when he couldn’t defend himself from the pain others inflicted upon him.

Today my son would have turned twenty-one. No mater what you think your life is worth, there is so much more to you. You were born for a purpose! I turn the page on my sorrow because I know that God valued my son, He is greatly grieved, and will hold to account those who hurt him. I pray that God turns the page on your despair. I say God, because for some of us, it is impossible for us to stop self-destructing. The Lord must remove the oppressive thief. I acknowledge that the thief is powerful, but nothing is impossible for God. He uses that power to give us life!

May the scales of who we think we are fall from our eyes and we now revere the sacredness of human life. God shaped us with his own DNA!!!! No other aspect of creation has that distinction. As long as we have breath, God gives us the opportunity for the fullest life through his son Jesus Christ! Mother Theresa and The Little Sister’s of the Poor, exemplify loving and valuing those the world casts out as worthless. Please hear me, you matter to me! The very fact that many of you chose to share your journey with me, encourages me on the darkest days. Fight! Allow God to heal the deepest wounds the enemy has placed in your life. Shout from the mountain tops that no one is worthless. It is God’s will that none should perish, therefore, it breaks his heart when we despair of life.

On my son’s birthday chose to embrace life!

God’s Gym: Working Out Depression

 

Suicide doesn’t water down my faith with

flowery prose about God.

I take my doubts to the mat and wrestle

with who I believe Him to be.

Depression is the resistance between

my will and Yours being done.

Sacrifice, daily dripping with sweat,

works out belief on the gym floor of reality.

 Muscles cry out at the strain of discipline.

But still you coach me beyond what

I think I can reach. “Just one more breath!”

Shaping and toning my soul into your image.

Turning heads with a foxy endurance

that is not of this world!

Redemption Butterflies

When I gaze too long at the hard shell of the grave,

I despair without your physical presence, and

when I rubberneck the collision of God and man on the cross,

I am overwhelmed by the required suffering sin must pay.

But, when I fix my eyes upon the reality of resurrection,

your authority surges through my veins!

I  testify, the cracked grave and crude cross are

the transforming chrysalis, where redemption butterflies emerge!

The Infinity Puzzle can Only be Solved by God

Psalm 139: 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

I love jigsaw puzzles. The bigger, the more intricate, the better. I don’t just put the pieces together with the picture in mind, I separate, organize, divide the puzzle into manageable sections. It helps that the picture is framed, no matter how challenging it always has boundaries. My life on the other hand . . .

I have a lot of pieces, but I’m not sure how they fit together. Right now, the health of my family lays before me–my son in particular. I have stared at the minute details until I am cross-eyed and frustrated. Each doctor finds a new aspect Daniel is struggling with, but no one will frame my child as a whole person. No one sees how he fits together . . .

God does. I keep looking for man to answer my questions, but the Creator framed Daniel, He designed in the human body a puzzle so intricate, cells so complex that the doctors,  I want so badly to help my child, can’t even begin to scratch the surface of the body’s complexity. They do not have all the answers to my son’s illness, and neither will I, if the only thing I lean on and into is my human knowledge and understanding.

So, Lord I lay Google search at your feet and trust you more deeply. Amen

God has a purpose for Daniel, and I can either miss out on the glorious joy of watching the puzzle unfold, or be angry that can’t fit all the pieces together. Here are some of the things I notice about my son. Even though he is scared by what is happening to his body, he praises God. When he struggles with one more blood test, he laughs and faces his giants. He sings, dances, and meditates on the promises of God. He laughs, encourages, grieves, and hurts. He is a whole person, made in the image of God.

Jesus came that Daniel would have life to the fullest, and it is in this frame that I now place his illness. I open myself to the pleasure of a picture of infinity pieces, and only one who has put it together from beginning to end.