Tag: prayer

wisdom

When we doubt past decisions

I’ve often written about making good decisions.

But what about those times we find ourselves doubting past decisions? And don’t we all at some time or another?

If you’re one of those rare people who doesn’t, then I envy you. I’m not one of those. I do doubt past decisions. That means I must doubt whether or not I’ve always heard God clearly. And to that I say, yes, I think there have been times I’ve not heard God clearly. Probably, only because I haven’t asked.

I’ve never doubted that God has had my best interest at heart always, but I do wonder at times if I’ve confused his voice with mine. Please someone out there, tell me you’ve been there, too.

Haven’t you all looked back and asked yourself whether you really heard God or not? I hope so because I firmly believe it’s only through some self-examination that we grow in our life and in our faith. I believe Romans 12:2:

 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I would contend that we renew our mind only by examining our mind first and for me, that means examining past decisions because our decisions say a lot about us. In fact, one could say it’s our decisions, our choices, that say the most about us.

Sometimes we jump ahead of God and make our decisions never giving God a thought.  Then there are those that can’t make the simplest decision because they worry they will be stepping outside of God’s will. That’s as dangerous.

It’s a conundrum.

That’s why I love Proverbs. It’s chocked full of helpful and practical advice. For example, over and over again there is the imperative that if you want to reap a harvest, whether it’s veggies and fruits, or ideas and decisions, you have to put in the work first. It’s why every day I ask for wisdom for the things that come my way. For the most part, I would say I’ve always felt I’ve received the wisdom I needed.

Every day I ask for wisdom for the things that come my way. For the most part, I would say I’ve always felt I’ve received the wisdom I needed. Even when I’ve had to make on-the-spot decisions. I’ve learned to accept that no matter what decision is looming ahead of me, I will receive the wisdom I need when I need it. Guaranteed.

With my mom’s illness, I was surprised (I shouldn’t have been) how I always had the resources I needed, whether a magazine article, something someone said, a news report, that would be the answer to what I was questioning. In fact, when I look back over these past few years, I feel truly blessed that God made my road clear every step of the way.

Even the day of her death.

Somehow “wisdom” stepped in and made it clear that I should not leave her house, that death was imminent. Nothing had changed in her condition. But God instilled in my heart the knowledge ahead of time. I just “knew”.  And I think that’s because I’ve learned that the wisdom I seek can always be trusted to be there.

The day she died, I had gone out on her deck for just a few minutes. I was only there a very short while when once again there was that “prompt” to go back inside. The minute I walked into her room, again, I knew, as only God can make a person know anything, that she was within minutes of leaving this world. I called my brother in immediately. I called my husband who had just left to run some errands. Within ten minutes she was gone with the people that knew her the longest holding her as she slipped from this world to the next, me, my brother, my husband, and my brother’s ex-wife.

That’s what wisdom does if we trust God to reveal it to us. 

If this is an area that has been lacking in your prayer life, asking for daily wisdom for whatever decisions you may have to make that day,  you might want to consider adding that request.

God bless and have a good day.

god hiding 2

What to do when God seems to hide

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 I don’t know about you but I find life pretty messy a lot of the time. The perplexities, the questions, the downright confusion. I have a hard time understanding where God is at times. It’s like he’s hiding.

Do you ever feel that way?

god hiding 2

When really good people get seriously ill, I think, “Why him?”, “Why her?” Shouldn’t cancer be reserved for murderers, rapist, terrorists, etc? (Yes, I know how that sounds coming from someone who’s a Christian. I’m just saying what a lot of people think.)

And yet many of these people would be the first to tell you of their faith and why they still believe God loves them.

This prayer from tworiversblog.com says it all:

“God, sometimes it is so easy to believe and sometimes… I know You are good. I KNOW IT, but sometimes… it just gets so hard to see it. You love me. You want the best for me far more than I even want it for myself. Sometimes I just don’t know how You are working good through the mess this life sometimes tosses me. In those times, as I seek understanding, help me to never lose faith.”

We put on a good front, but when no one is around, when it’s just us with our thoughts:

We doubt.

We question.

So if that’s you today, be assured.

God knows.

God understands.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

 

 

 

God bless and have a good day.

questions

Why it’s ok to question God

I had a great conversation with a twenty-two-year-old yesterday. She admitted she was struggling with her faith, that she had a lot of questions.

questions

“Good,” I replied.

“What do you mean?”, she asked.

Here’s how I explained it.

“I wasn’t brought up in a Christian environment although I did go to Sunday School as a little girl. In fact, one of my most treasured memories is of a dear teacher with one totally cloudy eye. She was so loving. Her eye didn’t even bother me, an eight-year-old who is usually put off by such things. Anyway, because there was no one in my family to teach me, I asked a lot of questions. The cloudy-eyed teacher never had a problem with that.

When I got to be a teenager and then a young adult, I entered the stage where one asks the big philosophical questions, the ones they think no one before them has asked, but in fact, have been asked by young people since the beginning of time.

“What does it all mean?”

“What is the meaning of life, anyway?”

“What is my purpose on earth?”

“Why is there good and evil if God is all good?”

You know the questions. They are typical of any emerging, thoughtful mind.

Hers is no exception.

I went on:

“I find that even now, I’m still asking questions, maybe even more of them. That means my faith isn’t handed-down by parents, teachers, or preachers, or books and sermons. It’s mine. I’ve done my homework. You should do yours. Besides, you are in good company.

Throughout the Bible, people questioned God. I can’t think of a single incident where God chastised them for it. In fact, there are a lot of words in scripture like, “seek”, “find”, “learn”, “embrace”, “be transformed”, etc., all of which, in my opinion, means asking some questions first.

God is open to all honest questioning. He invites it by the word choices he inspired.

It is those people who never question who never grow.

I present this next little popular Pinterest ditty as exactly how not to think. questions(I just want to hit my computer some days when I see what people post and what people believe is scriptural. I hate these little sayings and I’m very careful how I use them.) Trust is not the absence of questioning. Trust is the product of questioning. If Abraham hadn’t put a period where God hadn’t intended, the whole Sodom and Gomorrah situation might have turned out differently. He stopped too soon. How’s about we trust God while we question?

 

To trust someone without the answers is the greatest trust of all.

 

We are in a classroom all the time, the classroom of life. The greatest minds, the strongest Christians, have always been those with an inquiring mind, those who don’t just ascribe to the “standard” formula of faith. The most faithful of Christians are those who don’t let God “go”, much like Jacob. They keep asking until they are given some sort of answer, even when that answer is something like, “That can’t be revealed just now. Wait on me.”

We went on to talk about why she doesn’t necessarily “buy” into certain theological concepts. We’ve had these conversations before and as usual, I didn’t try to persuade her any different. “A person persuaded against their will, is of the same opinion still“, is an absolute fact of life. Instead, I encouraged her to continue asking and never quit.

Some of you may wonder if I wasn’t a little afraid to go that route. What if she falls off the deep end? What if she gives up on her faith?

She won’t. And now you’re sure to be asking how I can be so sure.  Now, you are asking the questions.

I know because she is my granddaughter and I’ve prayed for her her entire life. My hubby and I were intimately involved with her and her brother’s childhood. My son and his wife invited us into almost every decision regarding them. We have spent countless hours (My spell-checker told me this was a cliché. I ignored it as some clichés are totally correct) with them. We have been there through their struggles and their triumphs.  They are more like our children than our grandchildren.

So when she left, I knew that all my prayers for her are being answered. She is going to be a strong woman of faith. I know it, even if she doesn’t. It has been hard with both of them to learn to adapt to them as young adults who happen to be our grandchildren, instead of our grandchildren who happen to be young adults. I talk with them as I would any young person their age. And then do you know what I do?

I pray.

I pray as hard as I can for them. I pray that they will always be willing to talk to me and their grandfather, that they will always be one hundred percent sure of our love for them.

I have to say that I wouldn’t want to be a young person at this time of history. Not because I think the world is any more stressful but because my world was “quite-er”. I wasn’t bombarded with everyone’s opinions every minute of the day because of social media. Interesting to note, neither her nor her brother are on Facebook a lot. They don’t “tweet”. Yes, they have Instagram and yes, they are on their phones texting a lot with their friends but the rest of it is not something they’re interested in. I’m grateful for that.

I never take my relationship with my grandchildren for granted. I work on it all the time as they go through the growing up process. I always try to remember what it was like for me and then I get all “teary-eyed” with gratitude as I remember that they have not had my experience. They have always had us to come to.

If you have young adults in your life, treat them with respect. Remember how confused you were at their age. Think what it would have felt like to have an older adult talk with you as they would anyone their own age, who would have been honest about their own questionings, who would have been honest about their own fears. Maybe you did;  I didn’t. I would’ve loved to have had those kinds of conversations with an adult I loved and respected.

Have enough faith to know that the same God you question, and you do, is the same God they question.

questions

He has seen you through and he will see them through as well. Encourage their questions and don’t be afraid that by doing so, you are sending them down a wrong path. If you are praying for them at the same time, God is protecting them.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

 

 

 

hope

Mom had a stroke and things are worse

I couldn’t share this sooner because my daughter and my niece were out-of-town for spring break. My brother and I decided the keep my mom’s condition quiet from all social media until they came home which is why I couldn’t post this sooner.

My mom had a stroke ten days ago. It affected her left side so she is unable to use that side. Her chewing and swallowing is affected. She is now in a wheelchair. To make all of this worse, she doesn’t remember having the stroke and doesn’t believe she had one either. She also thinks she can still walk so she tries to get up and, of course, has fallen twice more.

So now she is confined to a wheelchair and is strapped in. We have a strap ordered from Hospice so she can be strapped into other chairs as well. We tried a child’s bed rail but she got her legs tangled in it so today we are removing her box springs and lowering the bed. The mattress will be supported by plywood. If she falls out, she won’t have as far to fall.

Since the stroke, she doesn’t believe she is in her own home so she is getting agitated. We now have to give her a “cocktail” of medications (per Hospice) to calm her down so she can sleep.

This has been rough.

Some people have been very kind to suggest that her last days would be filled with quiet, bittersweet conversations, you know, like in a Nicholas Sparks movie.

That isn’t going to happen.

Instead, I’m going to see her get more confused and more agitated. I can’t tell you how much this saddens me. To think that these are going to be my last memories of her is hard.

But God has been close and I’ve felt his guidance every step of the way. I’ve prayed so hard for her to return just a little to her old self so we could have those sweet moments.

I don’t feel like God has let me down. I don’t feel he hasn’t answered my prayers. She is going to be healed, just not on this earth. When she passes on, I’m going to think of her smiling, cooking, working in her garden, and drinking iced tea on her deck. And that is one prayer I’m not giving up on, sitting on her deck and drinking iced tea with her one more time.

I’m sure some would think me foolish for my faith. Isn’t it apparent God doesn’t answer prayer? And yet I still believe.

People get old and people die;  illness affects us all. Nothing changes that. And healing is up to God. Why he heals some and not others, I don’t know. So I don’t pray that God will extend her life because she wouldn’t want to live much longer like this. Would you? I pray instead that I will continue to trust in God and that I will know what to do each step of the way. So far, so good. I can’t think of a single decision I’ve made that I haven’t felt was the right one.

I pray instead that I will continue to trust in God and that I will know what to do each step of the way. So far, so good. I can’t think of a single decision I’ve made that I haven’t felt was the right one.

The next big decision will be whether she has to live elsewhere. We are exhausting every possible solution before we get to that point.

Sometimes an impossible situation like this one, when things just keep getting worse and worse, are what make us stronger. But to tell you the truth, I’d just as soon not take this journey.

I just wanted to bring you all up to date. After today, I will quit posting about this unless something major happens.

My life is going on. My mother would want that for me.

God bless and have a good day.

How to be someone else’s prayer “voice”

Luke 5: 17-20:NIV

17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Don’t you just love the “right in front of Jesus”? How often do we bring our family and friends right in front of Jesus? 

We don’t  because we forget that we can. But if it was OK this time, it’s OK anytime. We can bring our loved ones and place them right in front of Jesus. I love their tenacity, their boldness. We should show those same attributes.

When my mom was so ill, my friends took me there. They took my prayers and placed them at Jesus’ feet because all I could do was shoot up one-sentence prayers. (I call them arrow prayers.) They knew my efforts had to be elsewhere.

We are called to pray on behalf of others but also to step in for them, praying their requests when they can’t. And it often seems that when my life is in disarray, theirs isn’t and vice versa.

When I pray in their stead I remind God that I am praying because they can’t. I know their concerns so I simply echo them. They do the same for me.

I hope you have family and friends like that. I am blessed because I do. Today they had to step in for me again. It was such a comfort to know they did.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

 

 

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