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This one word means so many different things.
Asking. Adoration. Doubt. Despair. Confidence. Confusion.
We pray with expectation; we pray with hopelessness.
We pray in altruism; we pray in selfishness.
We pray boldly stepping up to the throne; we pray pessimistic, not expecting a favorable answer.
Regardless of how you view it, aside from what you expect from it, no matter how you approach it, the Bible is clear.
We must pray.
From seek and you will find to the story of the widow who bothered the judge enough that he finally gave her justice, we are told to take everything to God in prayer. Everything.
Whatever else prayer is, if we are praying without ceasing, the words we offer to God permeate everything we do, everything we are.
Whatever else prayer does, if we continually give our hearts to God, we end up also offering our selves to others.
If we offer our prayers to God while we offer ourselves to others, the power of God acts as a wireless network, acting for others to give rescue, healing, comfort, light.
As we offer our prayers to God, we become less ourselves and more a piece of a whole. A whole that covers the whole earth, bringing God’s love and kingdom to all.
We are woven into the fabric of God’s power and love, becoming a part of bringing His kingdom to earth, a part of His restoring of creation.
It (prayer) moves from God to others through us, because we have ceased to be self-centered units, but are woven into the great fabric of praying souls, the “mystical body” through which the work of Christ on earth goes on being done. ~ Evelyn Underhill (Christian philosopher and writer, early 1900’s)
All because of prayer.

Art credit: Gethsemane painting by Carl Bloch

When My Heart Is Revealed

I am flying to Dallas this week.

No kids, no husband, only myself.

I am traveling to visit my Papa and my Gram one last time before this baby inside me places limits on how far I may travel.

This is very possibly the last time I will see my Papa this side of death and Jesus’ return.

This is a difficult journey. One that I wish I did not have to take.

I heard it said on Sunday that storms rip away the surface and the shallow and expose what is truly there.

In both the storm of Kristina and the storm of Papa, I find that I do not like what is revealed.

I desire comfort above character; I want my own plans to be fulfilled even though I know that God’s plan is so much better; I want to avoid pain, for myself and for those that I love, at almost any cost.

Only God can change me, can fix my broken heart so that I am able to desire what He desires. 

I am brought back once again to the realization that God does not promise that we will have pain-free lives. He, in fact, promises the opposite.

(Jesus speaking to His disciples) In this world you will have trouble. ~ John 16.33

Yet I read the entire verse and I cling to the last of His words. I cling to what God does truly promise.

I have told you these things so that in Me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world! 

Take heart!

Part of me is able to recognize that those are much greater promises. 

A large part of me, however, still seeks that life without heartache and pain. 

All I can do for now is to cling to Jesus’ words, to the things that He has promised, as I wait for the day when my heart will be whole and undivided, the day when I truly will understand and know that it has all been worth it.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~ John 14.27 

One day, John knew, Heaven would come down and mend God’s broken world and make it our true, perfect home once again… And he knew then that the ending of The Story was going to be so great, it would make all the sadness and tears and everything seem like just a shadow that is chased away by the morning sun. ~ The Jesus Storybook Bible

art credit: painting is Gethsemane by Carl Bloch

If I hurt, am I really trusting?

My eldest has a new fear.

Any time my husband gets into the driver’s seat of our car while I am still out of the car, my eldest is convinced that he is about to leave me. She begins sobbing and yelling, “Daddy, don’t leave Mommy! Daddy, don’t leave Mommy!”.

The usual response is, “Sweetheart, have I ever left Mommy?!”

Apparently, that has nothing to do with anything.

I sometimes get frustrated with the apparent lack of trust that my daughter has in both of her parents, regardless of how many times we have proven ourselves to her.

“Why won’t you trust me?” I ask her. “Have I ever (you fill in the blank!) before?”

When I stop to think about it, though, I completely understand. So often I decide that this is the time that God is not going to care for me, no matter how many times before He has proven His goodness and His love.

How many times does He have to prove Himself to me before I will finally trust that He will do what is best for me, even when I can’t see it?

Recently, though, I have been struggling with a different sort of trust issue.

While Kristina struggled for life and in the early days of Mike facing life as a single parent, God helped me to work though how we trust Him in the darkest times.

Now there are different hard times.

I want to publish these words of mine. So far, God says no.

We want another baby to add to the beauty and joy of our family. So far, God says no.

I thought I was trusting Him in these things. After all, if I could trust Him through horrible pain and ugly death, surely I can trust Him in this also.

I trust that if He is saying no to my desires it is because He has something infinitely more beautiful in mind.

Yet it still hurts.

Why does it still hurt if I trust that God is love?

How can my heart feel as though it is breaking if I trust that God is good?

If I hurt when God says no, does that mean that I am not truly trusting?

This. This is what my heart and my head have been struggling with.

Then one night I was praying while nursing my youngest and God brought to my mind the image of Jesus in the Garden, praying so fervently His sweat fell like drops of blood, praying in anguish that He would not have to face what was coming.

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

It was as though God was laying a soothing hand on my troubled heart and telling me to look at His Son.

Of all who have ever walked this earth, Jesus trusted God. Jesus trusted that God is good, that God is love, that whatever God chooses is the very best, most beautiful thing.

And yet He still hurt. He still prayed in anguish and cried out to God to save Him.

So perhaps I am still trusting after all. Perhaps it is okay to hurt when God’s plans turn out to be something other than what I desire.

I will try not to doubt myself so much. I will try to allow myself to weep, to cry out to God in pain and disappointment, while still knowing that

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all — how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

art credit: Gethsemane by Carl Bloch