Tag Archives: pray

Not How It Was Supposed to Be

We now come to the heartbreaking part of the pre-wedding festivities. I’m posting today, because just one week ago I heard that a dear friend was dealt a severe blow with a heavy diagnosis.

There is a story. Always a story.

Twenty-four years ago this August I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of my BFF. It was a difficult time for me, wanting to be married to the love of MY life and all, but the timing was not right, yet. We were celebrating her and her love.

The groom was ten years her senior, which made quite a difference in the makeup of the bridal party. My husband joked that there were all of these young-looking city girls matched up with older mountain men.

One of these older men was David Shank, and we conversed at the rehearsal dinner, our first real conversation. Our parents knew each other, and we may have met as children, but this was our first adult connection. He was excited about the date he had for the wedding, a Heather Snitko.

Sure enough, I met Heather the next day at the wedding, and thus began the Fusaro-Shank-McClay triumvirate. From that time on, children with one of those last names born into those families would never know a day when they weren’t friends. . .or at least acquaintances becoming reaquainted at church or a picnic or event.

Dave and Heather’s wedding took place months later, and by January 4, 1992, they were a young couple expecting their first child, attending our wedding. Their firstborn son was born that spring, and our daughter was born in the fall.

We moved to Virginia when our baby was 11 months old and settled in the Shenandoah Valley. That was 21 years ago, and while no one walks exactly the same path, our paths have been about as close as you can get. Large families, small church, a season of working together, a cross-country move thinking we wouldn’t see each other again, a return and reaquainting and readjusting, growing our children together.

Among the three families, there are 21 children, not including spouses and grandchildren. That’s a lot of people.

Last spring, we were excited to share in the wedding of a Shank son to a Fusaro daughter. There was much joy and celebration. They broke us in easily and paved the way for what was to follow in our life this year as we prepared for the wedding of our firstborn.

The Saturday before Katie’s wedding was a graduation party for one of the Shank daughters. There is always something to celebrate! While we were in an incredibly busy time and could have gotten a free pass to miss, I really wanted to go hang out with friends and celebrate with them the weekend before the last week of school and wedding.

We arrived, and Heather said that Dave was sick and was going to stay in bed. This was unusual but understandable, and we commented that we just wanted him to get better for the wedding. This was our turn to host our friends, and we wanted everyone there to celebrate!

Steve grilled the food that evening. That night my Facebook status was about being thankful for real-life friends in the midst of crazy chaos.

Then the real chaos began.

Dave was admitted to the hospital, because he was getting worse, tests were run, and on Wednesday afternoon, as I was trying up loose ends in my back office at school, Steve came and sat down.

He had his bad news face on. Dave had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and was to begin treatment immediately. My first thought was but then he can’t come to the wedding! 

Then I cried.

So there you have it. In the midst of incredible joy came incredible sorrow, and there you have living in the brokenness of this world. Both Dave’s daughter and daughter-in-law were in the wedding, and my precious friend Heather attended, but Dave was sorely missed, as he lay in a hospital battling an aggressive form of cancer.

Friends, there no guarantees. Seize the moment and live life today with those you love.

Those who wish to know more about his journey can follow a group praying for him on Facebook. And even without knowing all of the details, you can pray for him, because the spirit knows.

Bonus points if you can locate me and Dave in the picture!

My Embrace of Today’s Grace

Jehovah Jireh

For Steve and me, it’s our mantra, our verbal response, our acknowledgement that we have witnessed direct provision in a given moment. We have uttered it upon locating a lost pacifier in the middle of the night, finding extra money in the budget, or receiving a positive response to a last-minute babysitting call. It’s all Jehovah Jireh.

It’s what escaped my lips after barrelling down the rickety basement-cellar steps to root out the soccer box containing old uniforms, socks, and shin guards.

Weeks ago, I had retrieved the bin of cleats and found a pair that fit Roo and one that fit Coco, our two soccer players this season. Jehovah Jireh!

As the girls rushed to prepare for their first practice tonight, something wasn’t right. After painstakingly locating and lacing and tying up soccer cleats, it was Coco who asked about shin guards (or maybe it was Roo).

Shin guards! But, of course. Shin guards! That’s why it was only slightly more difficult than too easy to get ready tonight, in the fifteen minutes we had to spare.

Oh God, be with me in this time of need. The day has been long, and the end is far off, still. Please help me to find the box with the shin guards.

I barreled down the basement-celler steps.

I knew they were in a box. A brown, brown, opaque box with Soccer Uniforms or something written on TOP. Not even on the SIDE where it would be easily seen if it were in a stack with other brown boxes. I remember scrawling it there on top once upon the end of a soccer season.

There it was. The beautiful brown box, resting solo on an old piano bench or whatever people like us keep in basement-cellers.

You know in Christmas Vacation when the Griswalds finally come to the tree? It was that moment for me.

That and Jehovah Jireh.

 

Prayer for the Path

My heart has heard you say,
Come and talk with me,
and my heart responds,
Lord, I am coming!
Psalm 27:8

I long to hear your voice, Father.
Please continue to be my helper.
Hold me close as you lead me along the path you have for me.
I am distracted, worried about everyone else’s path.

Give me confidence that I will see your goodness while I am here in the land of the living.

Grant courage and bravery to my heart.

I wait for you with expectant, hopeful patience.

Embracing the “Even if”

But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear
we will never serve your gods…
Daniel 3:18 NLT

Even if…

The even if is what is hard for me.

Trusting you, God, even if…

Even if work is stressful
Even if the house is chaotic
Even if I feel heartsick, lost, overwhelmed
Even if all I see is a furnace of fire about to consume me
Even if it could be better on the other side then it is right now

I long to worship in your sanctuary, ascending your holy hill to enter your presence.
Help me to be blameless and to do what is right.
Give me words of truth spoken in sincerity.
Remove words of death~ gossip, harm, evil~from my lips.
May I despise what is truly heinous in your eyes and honor what is faithful and true.

May the ones dear to me struggling in the midst of their “even if”s be strengthened and comforted.
Grant grace to carry on when hope feels far off.
May they feel your embrace in the midst of the storm.

New Day

New day, new week, new beginning, new mercy.

To walk in grace is my desire,
even though the path is messy and cluttered right now.

To clear away all that is unnecessary,
making space for what is coming…

Preparing the way
In my home
In my heart

Longing to press on to find more of my calling.

Caring for weak hearts
Tending sick hearts
Binding up injured hearts
Searching for lost hearts

Loving the hearts of my family with gentleness and kindness first.

Rescuing those abused
Refraining from abusing

Longing to bring a covenant of peace here in my home.

I am trying to figure things out. Help me, Jesus! And in the figuring, help me to keep moving forward in daily life~living.

I desire beautiful branches that cast deep shade for those in my care. To be watered by deep springs. To be deep. To provide safety for nesting hearts. To be beautiful in the garden of God. To be firmly rooted, grounded, planted in him. To remain humble lest pride and arrogance be my downfall.

Rescue me, Father!
From myself first,
Then from the enemy voices surrounding me.
Be my shield.
Reveal your glory.
Hold my head high.
Answer my cries.
Keep me safe.
Watch over me.
Help me to look my enemies in the face
as you cover me with victory and blessing.

Evening Prayer

Father,

The longings inside crowd together, and I need room for them to breathe. I need help sorting out and making room both externally and internally.

I look around my cluttered home and sit with my cluttered heart and long to run to the computer to click around on cyber-clutter, when you call me to be still and know you.

You call me to do what my hand finds to do. What you put before me. Working out my own salvation; my own calling.

Responsible for my own heart, my own home, my own health.

Please direct me, Father.

Help my to see you and to know what you are doing in me.

Step by step

Day by day

Guide me.

Amen.

Glimpsing the Sunday Struggle

This month I have intentionally focused on glimpses of goodness in daily life.

So much is hard. So much feels as if I am staring at struggles day in and day out. So much eclipses those glimpses.

Today was one of great struggle, and while there were good parts, there were a lot of really difficult ones, including, but not limited to, where my heart is these days.

What comes out of you when you are squeezed? Pressured? In the midst of the struggle?

This, or a similar question, was asked by the pastor up front this morning. Namely, what comes out of you in response shows the state of your heart. This is not a good sign for me. I’m not feeling the love.

I am being shaken ~ not stirred ~ poured out over the rocks, and it’s not a pretty sight.

Just ask my kids. No, really. Ask them next time you see them how their mom responds when they are arguing over media or movie choices or whose chore is what or when they are whining over having to help when they just want to have FUN. Ask if she yells or gets angry easily. Then listen. Don’t dismiss. It’s true. There are a lot of tense angry words these days.

The struggle is real. It’s a fight to stay engaged. The triggers are fierce and relentless. Escape calls my name. Loudly.

I write this not to be a downer or ungrateful or lacking gratitude for all of the blessings in my life. I write to be real. To connect with those in cyberspace like I connected with in real life today who struggle and question and face overwhelm and just don’t know.

I don’t know, either.

I don’t know why we are gifted with such unwavering grace as to feel completely secure one moment only to feel the sensation of teetering on the edge of despair the next.

I don’t know how a heart can feel open and safe one moment only to feel frozen and closed the next.

I don’t know how one can trust that God is good and working His will in spite of foolish choices one moment and then feel overly responsible for every perceived wrong in the world the next.

I DO believe you are good, God. But I am struggling with how you are accomplishing your will in my life. There are so many obstacles. Always. There will always be obstacles.  Thank you for another day of LIFE and HEALTH and FREEDOM on the journey. I AM grateful for what you are doing in my life. I just long to better SEE it.

Mum's the Word

Peace in the Process

Pour out your mercy upon us, Lord
Put your glorious works on display
Grant to us peace in the process
As we wait for what you’ll do each day.

Reveal the plans that you have for us, Lord
Show how you’re going before
Grant to our hearts hopeful waiting
As we watch for what you have in store.

Bind those of us who are broken, Lord
Restore those who hurt and are lost
Grant us the grace to reach out and embrace
To love others above any cost.

Shower your mercy upon us, Lord
Trace kindness upon every heart
Grant us the help that we know that we need
When we don’t even know where to start.

 

I Praise You

I praise you for what you have promised
Though I can’t see it clearly now.
I know your plans are to give me hope
But often I don’t know how.

I’m not holding back any sorrows
You’re recording them all for me
While my tears are flowing like rivers
And my eyes are struggling to see

That you’re on my side, you are present
When your presence cannot be felt.
I offer these words as sacrifice
As praise for how you will help.

When I Can’t Understand

Oh how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and ways.
Romans 11:33 (NLT)

Father,

I can’t understand, but I can trust.

I have a hard time trusting. Will you grant me grace?

I want to understand, but I can’t.

Understanding is not a prerequisite to trust.

I ask my children to trust me when they don’t understand.

I am imperfect.

How much more can I trust a perfect Father?

Please transform my heart!