Prayer (continued)


 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being – Ephesians 3:16

Take it to the Lord in Prayer

I’m building off of last week’s here a little bit. It’s just really been on my heart and I cannot emphasize enough how important this life line is. Please believe, that’s exactly what it is. No ands, ifs, or buts about it.

Let me share a little story here. A couple months ago was the one year anniversary of my dad passing away. And a few people had let me in on a little secret when it first happened. The first year, is a year of “firsts”. First Christmas without them, first Thanksgiving, first birthday. And please believe, they all suck. They all absolutely suck. We smiled, we gritted our teeth and beared it, but we have quite a few small children between us. So, you kinda have to. You can’t call off Christmas because everyone just can’t handle the holiday or thought of this person not being there for it, a 4 year old does not get that. But, the one that took me a little by surprise, was the anniversary of his death…. I’m not sure why I expected that day to not be as terrifying as it was going to be in my mind, that I was blowing it out of proportion, but I was not. There is something to be said about that day. You think about it, all the way up to the moment that you heard the news or the time they told you it did happen, and then you just replay all of it in your head for the rest of the day. And, it’s awful. And, I’m really sorry if you’ve lost someone recently and this is stirring all your stuff up, but I’m just being honest. It’s just brutal. And, I think, moving forward from that moment, the only part that helps is that you get to reassure yourself that you’ve already survived the “first” one without them, so you can handle more. But, anyway, that wasn’t supposed to be the focus here. Got a little off topic, but still important to the rest of the story.

So here we are. The anniversary of my dad’s death, and I’m a wreck. I’m at work, and I’m hiding, and I’m randomly crying, and I’m trying to act like everything’s fine, which it SOOO isn’t. And, I’ve packed my whole day with stuff. I’m going to get off work, then I have to run over here, and do this thing, and over there and do that thing, and, and, and… and my sister asks if I’m going out to my mom’s tonight, and I start making all these excuses, my schedule is full! (Obviously, I’ve done this on purpose). And, so I text my mom to tell her, I’m really sorry, I’m just so busy, and she, in all of her wisdom and awesomeness, says exactly what I needed to hear. “It’s ok, I’m here if you need me. Don’t worry about it.” At which point, I can no longer pretend that everything’s ok. I become hysterical, and I promptly leave work. I come home to my unsuspecting husband, who has no idea that I’m going through all of this. And, proceed to sob and ugly cry all over him. Which, he just holds me, and lets me. And, then, I pull it together and say I’m going to see my mom. And, I go out to my mom’s, and explain everything, and then, we do a few projects (guess where I learned that coping mechanism from…. ;)) And, I’m kinda better, and now I have to go pick up the kids. So, we hug and I feel much better, and I head back into town, and back to that crazy schedule I had laid out. And, one of the things on my list, is church tonight. The kids have been working on Operation Christmas Child (which I did with my dad for close to 20 years), so I feel obligated to go, even though after that huge emotional release, I’m just drained. But, God knew, that I needed to go to church that night, so look at all this stuff come together…. I am dragging my feet to go to church, but we’re doing it, for my kid, here we are. And the message that night was exactly what I needed to hear. And, it changed my life. And, I hope it changes yours too. Because – it changed the way I think. *which is another concept I’ve been trying to share with you here.

*Insert your name here* has the victory

Say it with me. You have the victory. Why? Because God has the victory. That was the message. Let’s unpack a little.

You are “X” years old. You have lived this one life. You have “X” years of experience. You have experienced “X” things. Right? Right.

God is ???? however old. He has watched billions of lives. He has helped billions of people, trillions. He has experienced ALL things. YOUR PROBLEMS ARE NOT NEW TO GOD. God has done this all before. God has a perfect track record. God always wins. God already won. God knows exactly what you’re going through. God has comforted grief before. God has comforted rape before. God has comforted abuse before. God has forgiven murderers. God has solved people’s finances. God has solved every single problem there has ever been. God has helped every single situation of every single person that has ever come asking. God has healed every thing before. Stop acting like God can’t handle your problems!! I’m sorry that this might sound crass, but you are not special. You did not suddenly come up with the very first problem that God was like, “Whelp, you got me there, good luck, let me know how that turns out.”

And, as soon as you grasp that, like really grasp that. Chew on it. Mix it. Get it from your head to your heart – God will show up. You have got to stop acting like we have this itty-bitty God.

Isaiah 40:12
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance? (NIV)

That’s A GREAT BIG GOD! He holds all the oceans, waters, seas, rivers in the hollow (cup) of his hand…. That’s a GREAT BIG GOD! And, he’s the God that lives inside you. He has the victory

1 John 5:4
for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith

We have the victory. God has the victory. We, team God, have the victory. Over everything. Over all our problems. Let him. Let him fix it. Let him heal it. Stop trying to do it on your own. Stop acting like you’re so broken, God can’t fix you. He CAN! and He WILL! and HE DOES!! Same God. Same God who always was, is, and will be. THE GREAT I AM!! SAME GOD. Problems change, people change, things change, GOD DOES NOT CHANGE. Same God, who does it for everyone else, will do it for you. Let him. And, that change, starts with prayer. Talk to him. Tell him about it. Ask him to fix it.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I’m bringing this person to you today. Because, you are our Great Big God. There’s nothing you can’t handle or fix or forgive. I’m bringing them to you, that they might start understanding this incredible relationship with you. That they might know that you are their God. Their own personal God. Who wants to come into their life and be their Savior. To fix their problems, to let them know they are not alone, ever. I’m praying that you may soften their heart to you. That you may reach inside them and touch them, and take all the ugliness they’re hiding out. That you will make them a new creation in you, Father. That they may truly understand, from their head to their heart, that you’ve got all of this. That there is nothing “too big” for you, Father. That you’ve done this all before. That you are the Great I AM. That you have the grace, and the mercy, and the healing, and the understanding, and the love to cover and cleanse and handle everything we could ever want or need. You know their hearts, Father. You know every need, every hope, every thought they have, and you are everything they need. Please, instill this peace and understanding in their hearts, that they may take it all to you and know that they, and everything that they have and are, are yours Father. IN JESUS NAME, WE PRAY, AMEN!! ❤

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Prayer

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you.” – John 15:7

Take it to the Lord in Prayer

It’s really been on my heart this week to share with you the importance of prayer. I’m not talking about the little “Lord’s Prayer” or the little half thoughts we shoot off, “Father please help me” whatever. I’m talking about a prayer where you talk to God. I heard a sermon this past week, where a pastor had done a survey of his mega-church, and less than 5% of those people prayed for 5 minutes a week, let alone a day. I was devastated. Surely, people must not understand the importance of prayer. Or, like in my previous post, we need to change the way we think about it. So, let’s take a moment to discuss.

In all the gospels, as the apostles are following Jesus, listening to him, watching him heal, watching him feed the thousands, turn water into wine, raising people from the dead….When they have a chance to ask Jesus what they want to learn, they say, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1) Why? Because they could tell, of all the incredible stuff that Jesus could do, his praying is what was special. Truly special. And, let’s think about it for a moment. Our ability to pray, wherever and whenever we want is truly special. Before Jesus came, we needed to make sacrifices before an alter, and a priest had to pray for us, or we needed to be cleansed before prayer. It was this whole big thing. Obviously, we’ve been struggling with prayer for a long time. But, Jesus came, and then showed us, that we just needed to talk to God. Now, he does in turn, give us the Lord’s prayer as a “pattern” to pray. Which, I could go into here, but you could just search patterns for prayer, like ACTS or PRAY. There’s lots of helpful information out there for these, but I’m going after something different today. We need to pray because God needs to hear us, and it’s our opportunity to hear God.

Let’s Think

When you have a friend, you make time for coffee or phone calls. You have time to discuss details of your life, and get advice and give advice. Use this same concept to talk to God. Prayer is time for you and God. Get alone. And just start talking to him. Talk to him about whatever. It’s not a one-sided conversation either. Once you really start talking to God, you’ll start seeing his answers. That’s also why I started my Prayer box. So, I could start recording his answers to my prayers. I’ve only been doing it for a couple years, and I already have close to 100 answered prayers… And, those are just the ones I remember to write down. Now, I want to take a minute to give you this word of caution. When you start praying, Satan will attack. It’s inevitable. There is nothing he hates more, than someone who is doing the most powerful thing we can do as Christians, PRAY. But, let me share this with you to encourage you to pray anyway, and to know that you’re not alone. 1 Peter 1:3-7
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed .  (NIV)

Double down

James 5:13 says:
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

So, what does that mean? Pretty self-explanatory. Are you suffering? Pray about it. Happy? Thank God for it. Pray all the time. Always praying. Take the time to pray. Don’t know what to pray about? Get alone with God, and pray scripture over your life. Here are some of my favorites:

Isaiah 61:1-4 – very powerful scripture about being restored and anointed and coming out of the ashes

Deuteronomy 28:8 Pray for blessings over your storehouses (financials)

2 Corinthians 5:20 Purpose – being an ambassador for Christ

Matthew 5:16 Being a light for the Lord

Colossians 3:12-15 Everything it means to be a Christian

Open your Bible and speak his words to him. Call out to him from the heart. If you don’t practice talking to God on a regular basis, you won’t think to talk to him when you need it. God wants to talk to you, but you have to start the conversation. He’s a gentlemen. If you don’t have his words remain in your heart, where are they going to be when you need them the most? You can’t rely on his promises if you don’t know what they are. You do not receive because you do not ask. (James 4:2) You have to get down on your knees and ask God. Ask him to come into your heart, your life, ask him to show you which path to take, where to meet him, what to put down, what to pick up. What’s life all about? What’s your purpose? Ask him! He’ll tell you! He’ll show you the way. He’ll give you the strength, the wisdom, the understanding, the fervor, the Spirit. He’ll give you the words you need to ask, and the answers you’re seeking. He’s right there!

I’d like to take a moment to pray for you:

Dear Heavenly Father, I’m bringing this person to you right now. That they may know you better. That they may take time this week to have words with you. That they may open up the inner-workings of their heart to you and let you into their life. That they may be so moved by your Spirit this week, and see you at work in their lives. That they may cry out to you Father in all your glory and your goodness. I pray that they feel you in their Spirit and in their lives. That they may feel your love. That you may guide their steps and guard their hearts. I pray that you pour out your blessings upon them, and show them that they are the head and not the tail. I pray that you soften their hearts Father. Give them a heart of flesh, for you Father. That they may be a light to those around them. That you renew their strength, and forgive them of any and all sins, as you’ve forgiven me Father. That they feel your healing touch in their lives, whether it’s in their bones or in their relationships. You are the great healer. That you reach into them and bless their soul. That they feel this great connection to you, that they may have never felt before, or that they just need to feel right now. That they know that you have them Father. You’ve got it all in your hands, and that we can all rest assured in you. That we can be washed over in your great peace and understanding that surpasses all understanding. That you’ve got great plans for our lives and that our prayers will be answered in all your goodness. I pray that you protect them, heal them, give them peace, give them joy, bless them in their walk, and keep them close to you. That they remain in you, and you in them as they go about their week. That you keep them in all that they do. IN JESUS NAME. AMEN!

Let’s Think

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Changing How we think

After last week’s entry, I realized I can sit here all day and tell you to “Make time” for God, and you’ve probably heard it from the Pastor too. And easier said than done right? I mean, obviously, it took my falling and “breaking” my back to learn that lesson, c’mon. But, really, although physically I broke my back. In my head, and in my heart, all of those circumstances changed the way I think. But, rest assured! It will not take the same catastrophic event to change the way you think. Let me share a story about how changing the way I think about something has made all the difference.

Cooking

Let me be incredibly honest for a second. I hated cooking. Like, hated it! Loathed it. Dreaded every minute of it. I was totally with a Martha attitude in the kitchen, didn’t matter if it was just for my kid or Jesus, I wanted to be out where the action was, not slaving away in a kitchen. I was alone, I could hear everyone out there having fun, watching tv, whatever, and here I’m cooking….ugh!! And, to me, food was just sustenance. It was energy to go. I grew up on many out-of-a-box dinners and tv dinners. Like, who cares?! Just feed me so I can get back to “life-ing”. But, literally, one day, everything changed. Because I changed the way I thought about cooking. Here I am, one night, scrolling through the wonderful world of Pinterest, and a quote shook me to my core.

“Eating well is a sign of self-respect” – Shirley Dee

Um, whoa?! Well, for me, I feel like a respect myself a lot. So, then, my inner voice says, “But you don’t want to go through the work to show yourself that respect?” And, instantly, I was indignant with myself. Of course! I should go through the work to show myself respect! And, from that day forward, I have actively pursued cooking. I have tried to figure out how to make it fun. Make it challenging. I love to try new foods. We try new recipes at least once a week. You know another thing I found out? My kid loves cooking. He has always seen it as one big science experiment. Always asking to help, how this ingredient is going to change things, can he stir. Look at God using that! It’s amazing! I want to say that I love it now, but we’re still working on it. I no longer dread it, and I do get really excited when it’s something new, and for the most part my recipes work out…. 😉 But, the point is, nothing changed until I changed the way I thought about it.

Taking our thoughts captive

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

I had to captivate my thoughts. I had to actively do something on my end to force the negative thoughts about cooking that would discourage me. Every time one of those thoughts started creeping in, “what are you missing out there?” “it’s so lonely in here” “nobody cares about this food any way” I had to physically stop them at the door. “NOPE!!!” I care, I’m not missing anything – I’m right where I’m supposed to be. And, many times in order to fight the “lonely” attitude, I listen to Christian music or podcasts, and actually turn it into a time of worship and service to the Lord. <– Look at God use that ❤

So, what’s keeping you from spending more time with God? What needs to change in your thinking? I mean, this man died for you. Let’s just consider that for a moment. He died for you. Own that. Don’t try to say, “well, he died for everybody.” You’re everybody! In his final moments, your name popped into his head. He thought about you specifically! And, took relief in the fact that you would now be saved because he was doing this for you. Sometimes that thought just catches me. Shakes me to my core. Any time I start to get nervous about talking about him, or not sharing a word in time with someone, or anything like that, I’ve used that thought to make me take the step. He died for me. Now, I don’t feel like it needs to be a shaming thing, but it’s truth, and I use it as an encouragement, like, “don’t be afraid, he died for you, you can do this.”

You need to take the time to figure out what’s getting between you and your God time. Is it time? Is it because you don’t want to drag out your Bible? Is it because you’re just not sure where to connect? Well, let’s change the way we think!

Time:

You have time to watch TV, be on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram.

Replace screen time with God time.

Or you can wake up earlier, or stay up a little later. (Proverbs 31:15)

Where to connect?:

Don’t want to get your bible out? Download one to your phone or tablet! Youversion has a great one! (Like every version under the sun available)https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/

Podcasts (available in the app stores, I use Google’s podcasts)

Bible journaling

Youtube devotionals

Facebook pages

Instagram accounts

Pinterest (mommyhale07)

You name it, God’s there!

Do your own thing! Make art to the glory of God! Write poetry for him! Start a prayer journal! Listen to devotionals while you cook, drive, go grocery shopping! God will meet you wherever you want! He’s like a best friend that always has time and will be anywhere you could ever want or need.

I hope this has inspired. I hope it has helped. I hope it shaken the wheels loose in your mind to start thinking about where you want to meet God. He walks with you, never leaves you. He’s not at a building waiting – he’s the living God that is everywhere for everyone. God bless you this week, may you grow in your relationship with the Lord. He’s waiting for you.

My grace is sufficient

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9


My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.

This week, I feel like my story is focusing on something that happened, just at this same time last year. Now, little background, in 2017, God had come into my life with a bulldozer. And proceeded to move EVERYTHING around. Literally, everything. Not one aspect of my life remained intact. And, I could see a theme. A theme of letting go, and letting God. Although, I didn’t come to the Letting God part until 2018. In 2017, I couldn’t do anything else besides react. Nothing that happened that year was something that happened by choice. They were all things that happened to us, or those we loved. And, I felt like the theme of trying to Let Go, was pretty evident. I am a control-freak. Like, in every sense of that word. But my family loved me anyway. And, not to say that I’m magically not, now, but I really have eased up, because in 2017, that was the only way to survive. I couldn’t control everything, and God was all done being nice about trying to make me let stuff go. Now, I know it wasn’t all God, because some of the stuff was most certainly Satan, but God has used it. And, the start of 2018, #Godshowedup to let me know, that he wasn’t done with using that “Letting go” lesson, and we needed to get to the “Letting God” part.

Let Go

So, what happened?!?! Right?! Quite simply, I say, that I broke my back. Now, they didn’t actually find any fractures, but they were pretty sure that I herniated at least one disk, if not more. It was my lower back, right above my hips, like just those last few right on top of my hips. I was taking the trash out before we were going to have a dinner with my sister-in-law, and I slipped on the ice, and when I fell, I fell straight on my bottom. And I felt my whole spine *Squish* and I instantly went into shock. Suppressed vomit, cold shaking, blinding light, – shock! I knew that sick feeling instantly. And, I also knew that I had just done something really terrible. I laid there for a long time, just shaking and breathing, and sick, in the cold and snow and ice, just feeling everything drain out of me, and I couldn’t even scream. And, I slowly pulled myself together and walked little baby steps back inside. My husband was frantically looking for me, and when I came in the back door, he came running, but as soon as he saw me, he knew something was wrong. Now, at that time, I thought I broke my tailbone, it was late on a Friday, and I knew that the ER would do nothing for me. So, we had our awkward dinner (since everyone could see I was in great pain), and ended the evening. Then, Monday, I went to the Dr. Who listened to my story, and agreed, that’s probably what happened. Gave me pain killers, and sent me on my way. It wasn’t until my back swelled, and some other symptoms that we really figured out what was wrong. Which, honestly, was worse. Broken tailbone – 6 weeks. My herniated disks – 6 months, at best. I went from someone who could lift 80-100lbs on a regular basis at work, to not being able to lift a cast iron skillet, or stand for more than 15 minutes without feeling like I was going to pass out. I went from a non-stop employee, mom, Cub Scout committee member, etc. etc. to Stephanie, and absolutely nothing more. I was only allowed to continue working because they essentially put me on desk duty, with light errand-running (that took 5x as long as it should because I could only walk in baby steps). – Which is exactly what the Dr ordered, don’t sit, stand, or lay down for too long, keep moving, as much as you can, but get plenty of rest…. I’m sorry, have we met? But, God is good, all the time. If I had any other job, I would’ve been put on medical leave, which when you look at my “Christmas Miracle” would’ve been way worse (because in just a few short months, I’m about to be garnished.) But, here’s the deal, folks. I was the “do everything” mom. I did everything, all the time. Our days were packed with everything, Mondays this, Tuesdays that, etc. And, I needed to be still. (Psalm 46:10a, Be still and know that I am God.) To Let Go. And to let God. And, here we’re about to Let God.

Let God

The first couple weeks were rough, you know, until like April. *lol. But, seriously. I couldn’t cook supper, I couldn’t wash dishes, I couldn’t do the laundry, I couldn’t make my bed, I couldn’t put my pants on, I couldn’t take a shower. I had to relearn how to do some of the basic stuff, like putting on pants, because, when you can’t bend at the waist… putting on pants and socks is a little tricky. But, I also had to learn to let my family do it. My son had been helping with chores, but now, it was a need. My husband, who is amazing, can do everything. And, he just stepped up. He totally understood and was gracious and absolutely what I needed. But, here was the other thing. I couldn’t focus on anything except myself because the pain was so bad. I couldn’t even think about some of this other stuff because just going to work, took me out. There are some nights (a lot of nights), where I just came home and went straight to bed. Because my body needed rest, to heal. And, so many days, I just needed God. I needed God. Like, I needed him to heal me, I needed him to give me patience with others, with my body, with my mind. I absolutely needed him. And, although 2017 had started opening my eyes, 2018 drove it home. Let God do it. God has given you this family, God has given you a good job at a great company. God has given you a good doctor. God has given you everything you need. Just let it happen. Let all these people that you care about take care of it. And let God heal you from the inside out. There were quite a few days throughout those months, where I just cried. Just cried for it to be over. Cried for my dad to be there to fuss over me. Cried because it took me 45 minutes to get dressed. Cried because everything hurt. Deep down in my soul. And, God said, “My grace is sufficient, my power is made perfect in your weakness.” And, it was. I, slowly, started getting better. We went from 5lb weight limit, to 10lbs. to 15lbs., until finally no more restrictions. I took that time, to focus on me. Focus on my relationship with God. To pray, more. Every day. To start reading my bible. To start being present for my family, instead of just running. I needed to show up. Instead of my gigantic to do lists, and my not enough time in the day, and, and, and, ….. I just let it go. I didn’t have a choice. My kid’s going to be grown in less than 10 years. Where did it go? What was I teaching him? When were our moments together? My husband was spiraling at work, and I didn’t even see it. My family didn’t need all my stuff, my clean dishes, my clean laundry, my whatever. They needed me. And, so did God. And I needed Him, and them. And, you know, if I hadn’t, I would’ve never started a ladies’ bible study, never reached out to those around me, had this incredible relationship with my Lord and Savior, and I wouldn’t be here. Talking to you about it. Encouraging you, to put some of this stuff down. Let others do it, or don’t do it at all (what?!?!) Does every single load need to be put away? Do the dishes have to get done every day? Do you always have to make supper? OR —– Could you spend that time, praying? Reading your bible? Spending time with your kids, or your husband, or wife, or your friends? Encouraging them on their walk. I’m not saying, do don’t this stuff ever, just balance, baby. Are you making time for the important stuff, you know, the life stuff? Are people going to remember that you did everything, all the time, or that you were there when they needed you?

Our purpose is not to do all this stuff, it’s to share the gospel, it’s to grow the Kingdom. And, we don’t do that by checking off boxes on a list, we do that by being present. Being here, there, wherever. Being in the lives of our loved ones. In order for God to show up, you need to show up too. We were not made to the defend the Kingdom, we here to demonstrate it. God is love. Love is action. 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” I encourage you, to start taking baby steps, pray every day, read your bible, go to Wednesday night church, join a prayer circle, something that connects you to God more. The more you’re in him, the more he is in you. John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” First step, Remain in me. Tap in. Plug in. Get in with God, and he’ll get into you. Let me leave you with some of my favorite lyrics that have been singing in my heart this week, “Fill me up, so all they see, is you, Lord.” There’s no where else I’d rather be. ❤ I hope you join me. He’s waiting.