Pray through it

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

I have been writing diligently for about 45 weeks straight. Ideas pop into my head about what I believe the Lord would want me to write about. I even have a few weeks buffer so that if I don’t write one week, I still have something to publish. But I always had something to write. Well, it finally happened…writer’s block. I sat down for 2 weeks straight, with not one thing to write. I believe I would hear something, to then sit at the computer and have one sentence written.

I felt fear creeping in like a fog. I thought, “this can’t be it already, I am done. What a failure I am!” I kept praying for a writing prompt, to hear nothing.

I remember working for a doctor many moons ago, who had no sympathy for sickness for their employees. One time I was at work and I bent under my desk to pick up a pen. As I came back up, I misjudged and hit the back of my head hard against the desk. I actually saw stars. I felt dizzy and nauseous. This was 5 minutes before the doctor was to start seeing patients. Her nurse heard me hit my head from another room and she found me on my knees. She checked me out and said, “I don’t think you should work.” As I was laying in one of the exam rooms, I could hear her tell the doctor what happened. The doctor responded, “Unless she is vomiting, she can work through it.” I was mortified. The doctor came in the room and said “you look fine, go get the first patient.” I wanted to cry and go home. But I knew I would lose my job, if I did. I prayed for God to sustain me and heal my head and then wobbled to the waiting room for the first patient of the day. I did make it through the shift and went home and did not do a thing for 2 days. It became a joke with the other employees that if someone had trouble in their life, we would say sarcastically, “well, work through it.” Even though it seemed harsh at the time, the doctor had a point. Sometimes, when we don’t feel like it, we have to “work through it”. Instead of working through it, now I “pray through it”.

When I have writer’s block or dealing with life’s difficulties, I pray through the circumstances. Okay, sometimes I freak out first, then pray. I always want to plan every detail out of the day. I don’t like bad surprises. I am learning to embrace feelings of fear and anxiety. Trying to stuff those feelings away only manifests out in my physical or mental health. I told a dear friend about my writer’s block and how I feel I have to write something weekly. She asks, “what is the worst that can happen?” I said, “I guess I just post nothing.” I realized, the sun will still rise and set and maybe God is preparing for my time to be dedicated somewhere else. Basically, it is okay. Maybe we have to reach a deadline or turn in papers for a transaction to complete. But even then, it really isn’t the end of it all if it doesn’t turn out.

Lesson Learned: When I am feeling stuck or lack confidence, pray through it.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for not trusting in you to provide all of my needs. When I am faced with the unknown, give me the courage to embrace the time at hand. Thank you Holy Spirit for discernment and knowledge in what to do. When the fear fog seems thick and I am honking that fog horn for help, show me your light. When things don’t go the way I want, I am hopeful that you will give me what you know is best. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Your Life is like a Pearl

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3

When the movie “City Slickers” came out, my family and I saw it right away. It was the story of a man and his two close friends who went on a cattle round-up adventure. He appeared to be having somewhat of a mid-life crisis. He was desperately trying to find out what was the meaning of his life. He was hoping to find out during this time. There is one scene in the movie where, Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, was riding along side of the cowboy in charge of the drive, named Curly. Curly asked him what he thought the meaning of life was. Mitch said, “I don’t know.” The cowboy put up a finger and said “one thing”. Billy Crystal in his humorous way asked, “your finger?” Curly said, “Just one thing and you got to figure that out.” Mitch realized he wasn’t sure what that one thing was. I was 14 years old at the time and for some reason, I wanted to know what the meaning of my life was too. Right around the same time the movie came out, I had one of those “Curly and Mitch” moments.

My family and I went to a church, where the pastor set a time before the sermon for the congregation to pray for those around them. I was embarrassed to join hands with strangers and give a prayer request, let alone pray for anyone. This particular day, we were to pray with this man in a wheelchair. He was paralyzed from a gun shot when he used to be active in a gang. While incarcerated, he was witnessed to and gave his life to Christ. When he was released, he served God by witnessing to other gang members. Despite his disabilities, he seemed happier than most, especially me. After we prayed, he gave me my “Curly and Mitch” moment. He said, “Your life is like a pearl. A pearl is perfectly round and beautiful. But anything added, anything taken away from it, it will no longer be a pearl. This is what God wants you know.” I hugged and thanked him and cried for the next ten minutes. But I didn’t really understand what that meant. I asked people for many years after, what did that word for me mean. People seemed perplexed. Nothing seemed to answer that question. Twenty years later, I was given my answer.

I was in a mentoring program at my current church. I was paired with a great lady. I was troubled again with where I was currently in my walk with the Lord. She told me about her son’s “Transformer” toy he has. She was saying how it begins as one thing and then using parts it already has, can become something completely different, better and stronger.” For some reason, that explanation brought up that day, twenty years ago about what the pearl story was for me.

I keep wanting to know what my life will be or how God will use me, but those gifts and ideas, are already in me. I don’t need to go to seminary or get a degree in theology, to have any knowledge of God. God will reveal those gifts in me as I continue to seek Him. I don’t need to wish, I was better in something for God to use me. Throughout The Bible, He used plenty of people who were messed up in more ways than one, but used them to bring complete glory to God. I do hope though, we can all have our “Curly and Mitch” moment.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I am so thankful how you made me unique. Remind me to appreciate all that I was born with. Forgive for wishing I was different or had more. Show me where and who I am to help and be a light in this world. May your glory shine through me and use me each and every single day. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Renewing Your Mind: Believing vs. Understanding

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Don’t fear, only believe’” Mark 5:36

 

I find when my bad circumstances outshine my blessings, I want to question why things are going wrong. Why am I having to endure this trial? Why are people against me? I try to understand why and all it does is make me doubt. Exactly, what the enemy wants me to do. This takes any faith I may have mustered and erases it. I get angry and more confused.

I was at a church home gathering a few weeks ago. I was having a lot to deal with much of which, I could not control. The speaker was a pastor named Dr. Dennis Sempebwa. He spoke on this very thing. He said that having faith is having full submission to trusting in God while trying to understand your circumstances makes you question everything. I think I have heard that a million times, but I finally got it! I realized, I want to control everything and not trust. Even Jesus said in John 16:33,I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” I am going to experience many things I do not want to, but God is in control. I have to put my life in the hands of God. He created me for His purpose.

I can make a choice: either to be bothered by every injustice in my life (even in the world) or look past to what is greater. Joyce Meyer wrote in a devotion, “There is nothing we need that God cannot provide.” The key word is “need” not “want”. Also for my faith to grow, I need to contend for it. If I need healing and it doesn’t happen miraculously, I have to keep praying for it and wait on God. I also have to live my life as the blessing it is, instead of waiting for things to be perfect. I was having a few bad days where Vertigo was my constant companion. I began to have bad thoughts about my health and feeling sorry for myself. I had to go grocery shopping and prayed for the Lord to help me to feel better. I felt The Holy Spirit say, “Change your thoughts, renew your mind to believe.” A holy version of “fake it till you make it.” It worked, I made it through the shopping trip and had a pleasant day.

Lesson learned: renew your mind to be faithful not to always get it.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for protection over my mind and its thoughts. I pray that your word be written on my heart. I ask that your thoughts be my thoughts. Whenever negative or anxious thoughts enter into my head, I cast them out immediately in Jesus’ Name. Let your glory be known. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Let Him Cleanse You

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” Acts 3:19

Every year, I go to the store where my husband bought my wedding ring to be inspected and cleaned. The jeweler inspects the ring, to make sure nothing is damaged and then steam cleans the ring to its original brilliance. Everyday life has its way with my wedding ring. Despite the cleaning I provide it in between visits to the store, it never looks as good as it does when they take care of it. The dirt and grime my ring seems to collect needs that steam cleaning to look clean and shiny again. This goes for our lives too. We need a good steam cleaning from God.

Everyday life has its way with our souls too. The sins we commit, the gunk we go through makes us very weary. We become empty. We are tired. We are broken, so broken we wonder if God can fix us. He wants to do more than help, he wants to fill us up and refresh us beyond our understanding.

I have had these thoughts that if God wanted to refresh me, He should go right ahead. Yet, I am learning that He needs that invite from me. He needs to have an open way. I constantly close Him off, by busyness and self-reliance. I keep holding on to the junk from the day and festering in its aftermath. When I am at that point of desperation and submit all that I am, God takes over. His love and grace are refreshing to my soul. My heart leaps for Him. Sometimes, it takes feeling so desperate that you can finally see He wants to carry our burdens and restore us. There was a time that I needed to feel refreshed, my friend said, “Every stripe Jesus took was for us. It was so He could carry those burdens, not us.” What a sobering and comforting thought! May we all be refreshed today.

Dear Heavenly Father, have your way with my life. Forgive me of my sins and the ones I am unaware of. Reveal those areas in my life that need to be cleansed. Remove the excess, remove the unnecessary. I thank you that your love overflows my heart and gives me refreshment. Thank you for your protection from the fiery darts of the enemy. I pray nothing will crush my soul anymore. I pray for strength in times of trouble. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”