Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Power of Prayer?

I have a bunch of random thoughts.  They are not going away, so I find myself at the computer on this snowy day, wanting to put down some of these thoughts.  Maybe these are things that you already know, but they have been things God has slowly been revealing to me through this journey.  I think I am just now making sense of them!

Prayer, it is the most powerful thing we believers have.  It is our line of communication with God.  It is the Facebook, the blog, the text, the instant messaging of our world with God, our Father, our Savior.  It is how we express what is on our heart, the thoughts that are not even formed in our heads, it is a way to get our feelings and frustrations out, to make a plea for our requests.  It is how we have a relationship with God.  It is how we put into practice our requests for others.  It is a powerful thing.

So, often times I use prayers as things that I want.  I want it to work out this way, I think this should happen.  I am bold in praying often times.  I often times pray for things that people say are impossible.  Example, for Lydia's esophagus to lengthen.  While most times they are things that I think will benefit me, my family, my Church, loved ones, I really have no control, no clue as to what is best for me.  I think I knew this before, but I think I understand it now.

So when Lydia was in the hospital, I prayed boldly.  Often times, as much as I don't want to admit, I prayed with blinders on.  I feel, God, in this situation you need to do this.  I would like it, God, if you would make this, this, and this happen.  However, that is not how God works, or how prayer works.

While we should make known our requests, all things are going to work for the glory of God and for our good.  That means, what we pray may not be for our good, but to bring glory to God.  That means that what I pray may not happen how I want.  I need to have an open mind to this.  I need to really understand this.

So, often times, I have prayed and said, God I would really like this to work out this way, however, I would love it if you could teach me, strengthen my faith, and bring glory to you.  I understand that God's ways do not make sense in this world.  That the way God would have it done often times seems backwards to me.  That is where faith comes in.  I need to trust that however God works it out will bring Him glory and will be for my good.

I have been shown this, not only taught it.  I see some of my requests that I made about Lydia and if those were answered what a nightmare it would be now.  I did not know best, I only knew what was affecting me in the now and speculating what the future was to hold.  God is there, He knows, why should I worry about it.

So I have the question mark on the end of the power of prayer because I have been following a little ones story and the mom keeps talking about the power of prayer.  She portrays that prayer only works when it is working out in her way.  Prayer is working when the child is doing what she wants.  When the numbers are how she thinks they should be, when she is able to hold her child, when she is able to get out of the hospital when she wants.  I remember those days, and I was probably much like that at times.  However, the power of prayer is to open our hearts, to make our requests, but to remember that God is in control, that God will work it for His glory and for our good.  Often times we don't even know what our good is.  I think about that, when we were pregnant with Lydia I just wanted a healthy child.  However, I did not realize that I needed her, that she would complete me just the way she is.  God is good...He knows us better than ourselves.

A wise friend told me once that she use to pray and ask God to change her husband.  She would have this laundry list of things.  Then she changed how she prayed and asked the Lord to draw her husband closer to Him.  When her husband is living right with God everything else will fall into place.  How that mind set has changed me.  It has opened how I look at prayer.  I find myself, now, in prayer constantly.  A lot of judging thoughts are now replaced with prayer, a lot of confusion is now replaced with prayer.  I understand it a bit more, I have a better relationship with my Father.  I don't completely understand, but I know what I need to do.

These children that were killed in this deadly shooting just a week ago, many have said were taken too soon.  It was all part of God's plan, He allowed it to happen.  The reasons are unknown to us, and the parents and siblings, the community or many of us may never really understand.  However, I know that it was to bring glory to God and for the good of those affected.  A hard concept.  One that we don't know how to handle when we are in this world.  Thankfully I am not, I believe and I don't need to understand, but I need to trust.  I need to know that God is Lord of my life and I am accountable only to Him.  God allows it to happen.  He disciplines the ones He loves, just as we discipline our children for their good.  We all need those boundaries and slap on the hands to know what is expected of us, to grow and to learn.  It really is a wonderful thing in the picture of things.  Please know I am not trying to minimize what these families are going through.  I am just simply applying what I have learned to every situation I encounter.

Random thoughts, yes, but I just wanted to share with you what God has been putting on my heart.  Especially with some of the stuff that has been happening in our lives.  Lydia's shot continues to be denied, but I don't worry about it.  Often times I don't even think about it, God has it under control and I will trust Him.  I know that He will bring glory to Him and it will be for our good.  Our tenant situation.  While stressful, I have been learning about praying for our tenant and realizing that it is not about right and wrong.  I am learning how to let God be in control, even when it does not make sense.  I know that even in these situations God has been there, He knows what is best for us, and I just need to trust Him.  What a great peace I have had because of this.  He is so awesome and when I just let Him be, things are so great!

One last thought.  Last night we dropped our girls off at Awanas and Ellen's class recited Luke 2:1-7.  It is so awesome hearing of the Christmas story, again.  Afterward the song Mary did you know was sung.  I was just struck, almost to tears.  How amazing the Christmas story is.  Jesus took on human traits, Mary delivered a Son who would deliver her.  How amazing is that.  Jesus was perfect while He was here in the flesh...something that we will never accomplish.  I just love that song.  So as we prepare and hurry around getting the perfect everything, don't forget about Christ.  He is the reason for the season....He is the most perfect Christmas present, message, name it.  It is one amazing story...please share it and make sure to keep Him as the focus of your celebrations.

As Ellen reminded me today, we were baking all kinds of goodies, and she tells me that she missed the time we spend together doing those things last year.  She said this is the best December ever because we are together cherishing these moments.  I love that girl.  How awesome that even at 6 they understand and know that. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I find myself caught between things of this world and things of God.  I am so upset that I just cannot let go of the things of this world and let God take over.  I have to hold on.  I just am being selfish is what it all comes down to.  I think I am better than God and I want what I think I should have, shame on me.  I know better than that.

I have been tested a lot lately.  I would have to say especially financially.  While we manage to pay the bills every month and God provides way beyond our needs, He even allows us to be very generous with what He has supplied us with.  It still is not easy.  We have this looming denial from the insurance company.  They have denied Lydia's shot.  This is a shot that could save her life.  But it is a preventative measure, so they are not wanting to pay the $2000.00 per shot.  I cannot deny my child this, it could cost us her life.  I am leaning on God to provide.  We are currently fighting this over and over.  He has gave me great peace, but I do hear that voice in the back of my head, how are you going to find the money to pay?  God will provide for us, He has already shown us that, I need not worry, but I find myself caught.

Our tenant situation has been dragging me down.  We are taking a lot of risk there now.  Again, we are trusting God will see us through.  It has been getting me down huge time.  I am learning how to be patient and not put myself in the front of the situation.  I want to just yell and scream and not be in a Christ-like mannor.  Most days it makes me sick.  However I know that God will be glorified and lifted up.  I know that when I stand before Him I can say that I showed Christs love to our tenant and I did what God would have me to do.  It is hard because it is not the way of the world at all.  I know that God will be glorified in this situation.  It is hard to say no to the world and yes to God.  I would have to say especially when it is earthly and a house.  But that is not important, I need to store my treasures in heaven.

Then there are just all of those small things that continue to happen on a daily basis.  The unexpected bills and taxes and so forth.  But with it all, I feel so selfish for even feeling this way.  I look at my child's eyes looking back at me and know how rich I am.  How can I be in this place?  Conflicted and understanding, troubled and completely peaceful. 

In light of what just happened, I am beyond rich.  There were people that could not tuck in their children last night.  I had the added blessing of tucking in two more special blessings (yes, five little girls sleeping in one room).  I understand what it is like to "almost" lose a child.  We had to prepare several times for saying goodbye to a child.  God chose to give her life for many reasons, and I know many more that I do not even understand yet.  I have been on that road where there was a large unexpected road block.  I had to get around it.  I had to lose everything to gain eternal life.  It was the biggest blessing I could have ever received.

So selfish to be caught in two places at once.  I understand that fretting over finances, or things that may possibly happen is not worth it.  I am robbing myself of the joy that God has told me to enjoy, I may be robbing someone else of hearing the Gospel that God wants me to share.  As many people found out yesterday, tomorrow is not promised.  I am sure there are things that they wished would have been different.

I have to say that is one thing that I am so thankful for.  God has allowed me through many trials, hurt, sorrow, joy, and love, that I need to embrace every moment.  I fail at it most times, but I was thankful that I did not have to hug my children extra tight because I do that already.  I was thankful that we have made the sacrifices to allow me to stay at home and have a child attend a Christan school and be involved in their lives.  Every moment I try to embrace to the fullest.  I am thankful for that lesson.  That is a lesson that I take very seriously.  Praise God for that.

I just needed to start to form these thoughts.  Even as I write I am almost embarrassed as I see how completely selfish they are.  I should know better.  Where is my faith and trust?  Shame on me.  But I am also thankful that God has a hold of me and has shown me that.  I no longer get in these ruts where it just seems unbearable, I am caught, understanding where I should be and trying to let go of the selfishness.  Just another sign that God is working in me and teaching me...I am growing!

God will provide and I can be assured that it will not be anything like what is in my mind.  It is going to blow me away.  I will most likely have to endure some kind of trial, but there are so many blessings in the tears.  There is so much good in the pain. 

As I told my children the other day, we just need to look around and there is beauty everywhere.  God is constantly with us.  I need to break free from my selfishness and cling tighter to Him.  He provides, He loves, He will see us through anything!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Letting Go of Perfection

I have heard that phrase more than once, "Let go and let God."  I love it but it has always bothered me.  I am not really sure of what that means.  I feel like I am letting go, okay God now it is Your turn.  God, where are You? 

God has patiently been teaching me this and I am starting to understand what it means, just a little.  I guess after all that we have been through we were driven into God's Arms.  We had no choice, what we had to endure was much bigger than anything we could handle on our own.  However, now that times are good, we have hurdles but much different than before, what do you let go of and let God.

Everything He has told me.  There is not one thing on this earth that is mine, it is all His.  This is a hard thing.  I need to let go of my children, my time, my money, my husband, my stuff, my home, everything.  Nothing is mine, it is all His.  And I should do with it as He wants me to, not I.  Hard stuff.

Let me paint a small picture of what I am talking about.  Because, I have found true joy in letting go of perfection, I actually have found perfection and joy in the places no one would think to look.

Christmas time, the cookies are baked, the presents are wrapped, the tree is trimmed, the house smells of Christmastime, the nativity scene is set, the stockings are hung.  Yeah, you get the picture.  We have done most of that.  I say we, because this year I decided to let the kids do as much as they can.  Yes, I have prayed very hard to not get in the way, to create the memories and watch their joy.  Man, I am such a stumbling block in my own path of what I desire.  Kind of funny!

I have allowed the girls to bake the cookies.  They used at least a jar of sprinkles on each cookie and I am still finding sprinkles scattered through out my house.  But the girls could not be more proud to present these cookies to their friends and family.  The are so proud.  Each cookie is something different (you could not tell from just looking at the shape) but they have created stories out of each cookie.  They remember decorating each of the cookies and they are not afraid to tell you.

All of the presents are wrapped.  They are far from perfect in my eyes, but my girls tell of a different story.  "When grandpa opens this one he is going to see that I put extra tape here because not all of the corners came together quite right."  Or I am adding a bow to this one because so and so will like it.  I also allowed them to write the to and from.  My husband had to remind me several times that they are still learning to write.  They are still young.  But what great practice for them.  We only had to rewrite a couple names.  And they are so proud.  They have told everyone.

Our tree is decorated and oh so pretty, however, lovely Lydia has found out how to move and pull herself up on the tree.  Everything is rearranged and at times the lights are totally off.  We laugh at how Lydia is exploring and destroying.  She loves to chew on the string from the tree skirt, so often times the presents are thrown out and she has the strings in her mouth.  We are just waiting for her to practice opening presents herself!

It is anything but a perfect picture of Christmas, but it is so perfect.  These are memories that the girls will have and ones that Eric and I will treasure for a lifetime.  After all, who I am trying to impress, what am I holding on to.  I am not going to be winning an award for the best wrapped present (I really am not that good at wrapping them anyways).  But I will make memories, things that there is no price on but worth more than all the gold in the world.

I am sure that is much like the birth of our Savior.  Who would have expected the Savior to be born in a manger?  I am sure that is not how Mary envisioned having her first born.  But it was perfect, just as it was suppose to be.  There was pure joy in that moment, there were memories made, things that people talked about for years to come.  It was part of the Creator's plan and how awesome it is!

I guess as I look at what God is trying to teach me, I need to apply that to Lydia as well.  This is certainly not what I thought of, however, I could not have imagined my life any differently in the past two years.  She may not be the perfect child in many people's eyes, but she is the perfect child for me.

I may get frustrated many days because she is not where most 16 month old children are.  But I will be there is such joy when she does accomplish something because we understand.  We know how hard she is working.  We know exactly what she had to overcome to get to this point.  There is pure joy in this perfection.  I need to remind myself too, that there is no award for crawling early, there is no award for talking early.  I just get to use these moments to feel her arms wrap around my neck and hug me, to see her with her determined look and accomplish something.  I get to celebrate with her and experience this joy.

I get to hold on to my child much longer than most people do.  Everyone says they grow up way too fast.  However, when we have a child that does not grow up way to fast, we are quick to put a label on them...often times forgetting what we just wished for.  Ironic, maybe, but I will call it perfect.

I am so happy that God is teaching me to let go of these moments.  To let Him in and experience this joy that often times is not found.  I get to find joy and pure happiness in moments that most people spend their whole life searching for. 

God is still working on me.  I still have a long way to go.  But I am so happy that God is teaching me to let go and let God.  To let go and embrace the moment.  To let go and let my children (or whoever it may be that God is using to teach me).