Category Archives: praying

To My Inner Circle

Three years ago to the day, this was written on a much quieter private blog, where readers had to be invited and go through a sign in process to read and respond to my words. I shared with them the struggle to keep going with the blog. Their words and responses reminded me that I was not alone and to keep going.

I am in a similar, yet different, place, these days. I am able invite a larger audience in ~ you have been invited to the conversation, Dear Reader ~ yet, it is still big, scary, and risky. I still hear the voices that tell me to quit. They whisper that it is too dangerous to risk, too much to venture into the unknown, and it is ~alone.

But I am not alone! Thank you all for joining me on the journey. Enjoy this peek into the past and bear witness with me that I have grown, and am continuing to grow, through the struggle.

If you are reading this, it is because you were personally invited and chose to jump through extra hoops to join the conversation of my life.

You know the risk it is for me to put anything out there.

You know the bigness of my story.

I struggle to do things that bring me personal joy or fulfillment.

I don’t risk well.

I write asking for prayer that my heart would believe truth and be strengthened in the struggle. Because I am struggling right now with situations that God knows and the Spirit can intercede for. I don’t need to disclose particulars.

But I want to react and shut down and disengage.

I am receiving positive feedback on my public blog, yet that is the first thing the voice in my head says to stop.

And I am not going to just because life is hard. Because it will always be hard.

I will always need prayer.

Thanks for listening, caring, and loving me through it.

Weigh

Weigh my heart, Lord.
Look and see what I love
~what drives me on.

The quarreling, fretting about the future,
all that I cannot control, yet you know
~help me cast it on you.

If the king’s heart is a stream of water in your hand,
why should not mine be?
~move it in the direction you want me to go.

Keep me humbly focused on you as I ready my horse.
~the victory is yours.

~a prayer inspired by Proverbs 21~

Establish

Help me to heed wisdom’s instruction.
Place me on the path to life.

Establish my heart in the tempest.
Let love cover over all strife.

The sayings of wisdom are many.
There’s plenty to follow and do.
With knowledge to lay up and wisdom to bring forth,
it’s hard to let my words be few.

In the heat and the stress of the moment,
What’s locked in my heart starts to pour,
and it isn’t a life-giving fountain.
It’s the anger and pain that I store.

Establish my heart in the tempest.
Bring joy as I hold on to hope.
Plant my feet firmly forever.
Be the knot at the end of my rope.

~on Proverbs 10~

Seek

I am your child.
Keep me loyal and kind.
Help me to remember this
Deep in my heart.

I struggle often with pain and decisions.
You say if I seek you,
You’ll show me the way.

So here I am seeking
And humbly I’m asking
For your grace to heal me
And offer up strength.

So much I desire is not about wisdom
But about ease and comfort,
Riches and joy.

You tell me far better than these
Is your wisdom,
The thing that no one can take away.


The wisdom you used in founding the earth

Is the same that you offer your children today.

~thoughts on Proverbs 3~

Hardship Friday ~ Guest Blogger

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be a fourth grader riding the bus for the first time.

It was the dismissing time of day and I was going to ride the bus for the very first time in my life. Instead of my mom picking me up I would ride the bus. I was feeling like a nervous wreck and like I was going to throw up.

When they told the Boys and Girls club to go to the gym I was starting to worry. When they told walkers and riders to go to the cafeteria, the first bus was called.

I don’t remember which one but it wasn’t number Five. (did i mention that was the one I was riding?) Then the second one was called it still wasn’t number five though. Then number five was called. I was really paranoid. But some of my friends were coming so I was kinda comforted.

When they were dropping kids off at some places around my block I was getting freaked out when they were going to a different block/street. I started to cry until my friend comforted me. Luckily I was sitting by someone that lived on my street.

When I got off the bus where I was SUPPOSED to I started to walk up the sidewalk then my mom came down too. I ran up and hugged her, and my bus troubles were over.

Thank you God for Helping me, Roo.

Deliver Me

Deliverance is the theme today, and as I embark upon an uphill year, I’m asking for that from you, Father.

Deliver me.

These words were journaled hastily this morning. Today’s Bible reading plan took me to Job, 2 Corinthians, Psalms, and Proverbs.

Really? Job? The first weeks of school?

I trust that where I am is where I need to be. Full confidence.

He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.
On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
2 Cor.1:10

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!
Psalm 40:13

The second verse I write on an index card to keep with me through the day. Not exactly sure why, I just know that it’s what I need.

Deliverance.

Quiet time is one of my favorite parts of the day. I don’t say this in a holier than thou way or in a prescriptive way but just in an honest way. I treasure my time being still with my Bible. Listening. Drinking that first cup of coffee.

Time is short and morning rolls along at breakneck speed, as we work to get everyone out of the house. By a stroke of amazing kindness, I am left alone at 7:20 with fifteen minutes to spare.

Dewey whines in his crate. I’m not alone. I decide to give him a quick walk up around the block before leaving him for the day. Grabbing a plastic bag, I release and leash him. We leave the house at a quick pace, my heart rate rising to keep up with him.

Around the block and to the top of the street and around that block and, oh no, another dog.

This dog is big and not leashed and barking and jumping at me and Dewey. It’s not a mean dog, and it has an owner that can’t be seen even though the house door is open, and I am loudly trying to get the dog away from mine.

Why did I think this was a good idea? Is running through my head. Really? My fifteen minutes for THIS???

I sweep Dewey up into my arms and carry him off. The dog follows on my heels, jumping occasionally. A girl is waiting on the corner for her middle school bus, and I ask if she knows whose dog it is.

She doesn’t, but listens politely as I recount my frustrating walk and try not to cry as we both watch the big dog squat to do his business. Another on my list of nevers, I open Dewey’s plastic bag and scoop up the pile.

I guess it’s like when you have kids. I say to the girl. It’s a lot grosser when the poops not your own. I hope your day is better than mine has started out being!

Dewey and I race downhill and round the corner to home.

Little do I know what is to come. Lock downs and sadness.

Deliver us.

 

 

 

 

On Psalm 23

Lord,

You are still my shepherd. My Good Shepherd. I am not lacking. You are providing for me in ways I cannot see or understand, but you are making me lie down and the pastures are green. You are leading me and the waters are calm.

Leading means moving away from one thing and towards another. Whether it is moving away from the known to the unknown, from safety to risk, or from summer to fall, you are leading.

Sheep are slow. I am slow. Movement takes time.

You restore my soul. Restoration from devastation.

You are leading me in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. My life is for you. You are using me to fulfill your purpose, and I am not alone.

Even though.

Whatever my even though, what can separate me from your love? Not even walking through the valley of the shadow of death ~ whatever that death may be.

Today it looks like the death of an expectation, but sometimes it’s the death of a dream, or a season, or a person, or of self. It’s a place of deep darkness.

I don’t need to fear.

Evil.

It feels pervasive these days, yet it is not new. It is not a surprise, and you are with me, comforting. Your rod and your staff are close. I trust in your defense of my heart. My life. You fend off evil so that I can eat at the table you have prepared for me.

I am not an afterthought.

My life is not an accident.

You have chosen me and anoint my head with oil.

You care.

My cup overflows. It is messy and cannot be contained.

Goodness and mercy follow me ~ in what direction am I heading? I am ever~moving on towards the time when I will dwell in your house forever, leaving behind a trail of goodness and mercy.

Amen.

Seeds of Hope

They may be buried deep. Lying dormant. Hidden away in a dry, dark place.

Refuse of the heart, mixed with words of truth, can be sprinkled on those seeds and help hope begin to sprout. To grow.

I found a new favorite Dan Allender quote in his book Sabbath. 

The truest fruit of repentance is always hope, even in the face of overwhelming and unrelenting dour circumstances. Hope is not mere optimism; rather it is moving forward in anticipation of redemption in spite of the improbability of rescue. (185)

Those overwhelming and unrelenting dour circumstances look different for everyone. Whatever you feel a need to be rescued from is your overwhelming circumstance.

What does it look like to move forward, anticipating redemption, in the midst of the dour?

Whatever your circumstance this season, I pray this for you. I pray this for me, as well.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13

Seeking the Lost

This post is part of the Chicago Trip series from 2013.

My only “break” was the time spent left behind searching the Shedd Aquarium for my son’s lost backpack while the rest of the group bused over to the Art Institute.

Praise God, I found the backpack, but it would be lying to say there were no tears. Prayers, phonecalls, and detective work revealed the location.

aquarium

We were at the aquarium rise and shine at 9. When noon rolled around, buses were boarded for a short ride to the Art Institute.

A teacher took attendance, asking in an urgent tone where my son and his friend were. Immediately they came running down the sidewalk and burst onboard.

It was revealed that a backpack might be lost. Yes or no? Is it or isn’t it? What to do? Times like this bring out my inner 10 year old, and I feel helpless.

The idea of getting off to hunt for the lost item myself was met by resistance from our local tour director. While I wanted to be set free to look and then walk or taxi to the museum, she thought it was too far and I should call someone in the other group that was staying a few minutes longer and ask them to look for it.

I didn’t want to compound the problem.

I wanted to understand what was going on inside of me.

I wanted to be there for my own kid like I would be for anyone else’s.

I got off of the bus.

It wasn’t at Ice Age 4D, not at lost and found. I wrote a description of the item and my contact information in a notebook at the information desk. (I’m pretty sure its sole purpose is to placate tourists who lose stuff.)

With strollers and diaper bags everywhere, who would notice a lone burnt-orange backpack and turn it in to lost and found?

strollers

The logical, grownup side of my brain kicked in, and I remembered taking Kieran’s picture while waiting for the 11:00 movie. A quick review of the shots on my camera revealed no backpack.

But wait!

I had taken an even earlier picture at the sea lion. I checked it. No backpack.

sea lion

At that time, my child had raved about the time spent with penguins and otters. They were down below, and I would give it one last go and call Steve to keep from losing my bearings in the process.

penguins

He listened and talked me through the descent to the scene where the backpack was finally found amidst tears and a fragmented explanation to the young family guarding it.

I returned to the front desk to assure them that the lost had been found. I called the bus driver and waited outside with my ipod for him to circle around and get me.

bus

I texted my mom chaperone friends who met me at the student group entrance of the Art Institute and whisked me in for an afternoon of art therapy, courtesy of Rembrandt, Monet, and VanGogh.

art

Chosen Heritage

He chose our heritage for us.
Psalm 47:4

You chose my heritage, Father. That thing that I am struggling with, wrestling with, you chose that.

You chose my parents, siblings, children.

Thank you for the gift of leading Steve and me to choose each other.

You placed me in this generation with these issues for this purpose.

Help me to continue to draw near to a place of acceptance and trust in you that I can release what I am carrying in my chest and lay it down at your feet.

Amen.