Petition

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

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Life is hard.  Many of us have been through some things in recent months. I have grieved the loss of my mother, a dear friend’s loss of her sister and another dear friend who just this week lost her mother.  In addition to the loss of loved ones, there are other griefs we bear. Some we share and some we hold close in our heart hoping to shield them from prying eyes. In the midst of our hurt, we don’t’ always feel like giving thanks or celebrating.

At least lately that has been my story.  But God is faithful and he is holy. He is worthy of our trust in any and all circumstances. He is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving.  He alone is worthy.

So, today, on the eve of Thanksgiving and the weeks of Christmas preparation that this season ushers in I felt the need to utter a petition on our behalf.

Dear Heavenly Father,

You, above all, are faithful and Holy. 

Hold us close to your bosom and whisper your peace into our souls.

We are weary and battered from our travels; our steps falter under loads we were not meant to bear.

We lay our burdens at your feet asking humbly that you take the weight off our shoulders; steady us and walk alongside. 

Shield us from the fiery darts flung carelessly our way; Intercept them and render them useless to be used for harm.

We seek your wisdom and guidance; Lead us ever gently along the path you have designed.

We stand before you with open arms ready to receive, with gratitude, all that you bestow.

Wrap us in your love and let it overflow so that we may gift it to others.

With thankful hearts in the name of Jesus, we entreat your mercies. 

Amen.

 

If you haven’t read the 31 Day Series, A Journey Through Grief and would like to you can click here to be taken to the table of contents page.  

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

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A Prayer for Your Weekend

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

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We’ve come through several days together, reading and remembering.  Allowing our grief to make itself known.  I know many of you are remembering your own grief and maybe my words are helping you in some way.

For me, acknowledging the goodness of God even in the midst of my grief is a way to remember that he alone is good and he is sovereign.  I can trust him with my grief and my life.

I felt that at this point in the journey I wanted to say a prayer for you, for us. I hope it brings you comfort:

I pray that we will walk in your light, Heavenly  Father and bow our head before you.  Help us to allow your peace to radiate our inmost being and fill us with hope everlasting.

Show us how to practice Thanksgiving in everything and live, arms outstretched, palms wide open to receive your  goodness. With your help we will love others out of the abundance of love you shower on us . We seek to serve generously.

We know, God that you are good and you will be our comfort. I pray that we find the strength to trust you in all things and acknowledge your sovereignty. Help us surrender to your desires and allow you to write our story.

We rest in your arms because that is the only safe haven.  We lay our grief at your feet and ask for healing and peace.

We pray in the name of Jesus.

Amen.

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Grace for the journey,

Teresa

Click here for the complete series, A 31 Day Journey through grief.

Weekend Blessing

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 KJV

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I remember a song from my childhood youth group based on Isaiah 40:31, Teach Me, Lord.  It was one of the songs that I sang to Mom.  It was one of her favorite scriptures.  I watched her live out this scripture.  She was a doer, but in living life, she learned to wait on the Lord.  She had tremendous faith in his provision for everything including strength for the weary.  She was a prayer warrior and knowing she was praying for me was a great encouragement because I knew her prayers were accompanied by an unrelenting faith that God would answer in his time.

I witnessed her faith in praying for healing, salvation, safety and many other things on behalf of her children as well as others.  She had an expectation that God would hear and that he would provide. Even as the Alzheimers ravaged her, she still clung to her faith.  She would sometimes tell me she wanted to see Jesus and now she has.

She prayed many prayers and even though she is now in heaven, I believe that her prayers are still relevant. God remembers her prayers and he knows which ones still need to be answered and they will be in his time.

My prayer for you is that you will wait upon the Lord for renewed strength; that he will raise you on Eagles wings and that you won’t become weary in doing life but trust in his timing for all things.

Grace and Strength for the journey,

Teresa

PS – I hope you don’t mind that I combined Saturday and Sunday this week.  I am a little weary this weekend and need some extra rest.  Looking forward to the day when I can walk and not faint.

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Mom at the Henry Ford museum in Detroit, Michigan on a trip she and Dad took. She thought it would be fun to “ride” the bike. She was always up for a little adventure.

 

Come back Monday for more of the journey?  Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!

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And I Pray Hard

This post has been hard for me to write and I’ve struggled with whether or not I even need to share. I’ve embarked on a health journey that will be an ongoing part of my story. Writing about it helps me see how I am processing and will hopefully give me perspective. Since you sometimes read what I write, you too are part of my story, so I thought maybe you wouldn’t mind if I shared with you.  The original post was too long, so I have broken it down. Today’s part is more general and reflective after living a  year of discovery that led to a diagnosis of a chronic autoimmune disease. The main take away is that God is faithful, even when I have questions; especially when I have questions.

And I Pray Hard

God is good, even when life is not.  I know that.  But yet, sometimes I wonder why he allows me to suffer.  I find myself wondering why I’m being punished.  I know that is not Biblically sound, so I try to banish that kind of thinking immediately.  Even though I know better,  I wait for the other shoe to drop.

I remind myself of all the good that God has bestowed on me and remember the times he has restored my health, but I still find myself wavering on a shaky tightrope between faith that he will heal and fretting that maybe I’ve run out of get-well tickets.  Again, I know that is faulty thinking.  I know better.  And I pray hard because I don’t want to give in to such fear.

Because it is fear brought on by attacks of the enemy who is constantly trying to defeat our walk of faith.   If he can convince us that God is out to get us then he can render us useless and a quivering heap on the floor, bound by fear, unable to fulfill God’s purpose for our life.

Even in those times when we need healing, and God chooses otherwise, he is still good, and we can still have faith in his promises.  He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.  He is faithful.  I know that, and I cling to that and do my best to head in the direction of hope.  And I pray hard, thanking God for his goodness even in the midst of my bad. 

Life for me last year was a very up and down journey that ranged from despair and depression to faith and hope and back again.  I’m sure over time I will be able to unwrap some beautiful gifts from the journey.  I do believe that in all that is hard, God works on our behalf and teaches us great truths.  When bad things happen to us, he doesn’t leave us to stumble in the dark.  He is right beside us, holding us under his feathers.  He knows life can be scary and uncertain, but he also knows that he is our only certainty.  I know that too.

The truth is we live in a fallen world that is rampant with sin and disease.  Sometimes, for reasons we may never know or understand, we fall prey to the fallen.  We know that bad things do happen to good people.  But God, in his great merciful love for us, holds us tight in those times and works on our behalf. We don’t always get the answer we are hoping for, but we always have the hope of our father.  In his time, he will make all things right.  Some of us may suffer this side of heaven, but he knows all about suffering, and he knows how to comfort.  And I pray hard because I need his mercy and comfort as I live in a fallen world.

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Praying hard for grace,

Teresa

Joy?

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Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.   –Romans 12:12

This was one of the verses included in my devotions this morning.  I had to chuckle a little as I read that verse, in light of what I’ll be going through this afternoon.

In a little while I’ll be sipping a lovely “cocktail” in preparation for a routine procedure in the morning.  I have not looked forward to this at all.  I remember well the nastiness of the drink and how I couldn’t finish it the last time.  I also don’t like it when I’m not in control of a situation, so these things usually make me more nervous and fearful than your average person.

So, I’ve done a lot of praying for peace and protection and for good results.  The normal types of prayers.  I also have prayed in hopes that somehow the taste could be blocked.  Seriously.  Not to gross you out, but I almost gag at the memory of five years ago when I last drank from this gutter drink.

I sat with my mother for a while last evening and while we sat quietly in her living-room I spent some time in prayer and was reminded of God’s faithfulness to bring us peace and I knew he’d be with me through this ordeal. And he will.

You can imagine my chuckle this morning when I read that verse in light of my prayers and upcoming procedure.  So, I am doing my best to be joyful in the hope that I won’t taste or even have to drink all of it.  I am trying really hard to be patient with my current ‘affliction” (I think that word is very appropriate for the insult of having to drink the dreaded concoction) and I think faithful in prayer applies here as I’ve done my share of asking for strength to get through this.

I know this verse is to remind us of our hope of heaven and that our suffering or afflictions are nothing in light of that hope.  I also realize that what I will be experiencing this afternoon and tomorrow morning is nothing in light of Christ’s suffering, or even the suffering of one who is facing life threatening illness. I don’t take these things lightly.  But reading this verse this morning, reminded me that Jesus loves us and he cares about us.  He understands our fears and he will be with us in all things, even the minor things that can make us apprehensive.  He also sends us the right scripture at the right time to drive home the point.

Whatever you are facing today I hope that you take hope, practice patience and pray faithfully.

Hoping in Grace,

Teresa

Beginning Lent

The first time I recall really noticing Ash Wednesday was several years ago when my husband had played for a service at a local church and came home with a smudge on his forehead. I still didn’t really understand it, I just knew it had something to do with the Lenten and Easter season and it involved repentance and sacrifice.

I was not raised in a church that observed Ash Wednesday or Lent, so I never really took the time to understand it.  As we moved around and attended various churches I became a little more up to par on what it was all about, but still most protestant churches do not observe Ash Wednesday or Lent.

Over the years I have known people who gave up something for Lent and it always seemed hard.  I mean who can really give up chocolate?  So, to be honest I’ve never really taken the time to consider how observing Lent could impact my life.  This year I have decided to embrace Lent and incorporate a few reminders of how I desperately need to cling to Jesus in all areas of my life. I have learned in much of life, especially when doing something that I want to have an impact on my life, that it is better for me to keep it simple.

For me Observing Lent is not about giving up something just to be giving up something.  I have felt the tug of several convictions lately in some areas of my life and I have come to realize that they all work together to make up the whole of me. It’s not so much what I choose to give up, or even what disciplines I may add, but it is more about the awareness that I need more of Jesus.  So, when I struggle to give up something I have become attached to, it will be a reminder that I need to rely on the Grace of Jesus.  The hope is that it will remind me to turn to him.

Turning to him is the ultimate goal for my spiritual growth.  So I have chosen a couple of food items that are not good for me, that I have become too attached to in recent months and I have also chosen a couple of attitude or character items that I have felt convicted about.  Those will be my focus during this Season of Lent.  In each case I have listed them in the form of substituting something good or positive in the place of the not so good. Additionally, in the spirit of reaching out to others I have a goal of reaching out to one person each week with an encouragement. This is my 1×6 goal.

I have made a little chart to encourage me in my endeavor.

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What about you, are you in the habit of observing a Lenten sacrifice or discipline?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

I am linking up with Elisabeth Esther for a Gentle Lent.

Also, you may find these two articles helpful in learning more about Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Observing in Grace,

Teresa

 

What I Learned While June Sped By

What I’ve learned in June.  A reflective list of realizations, some new, some rediscovered.  Join the party hosted by Emily over at Chatting at the Sky and see what others are sharing about June lessons.

1.  I like cool spring days better than hot, humid summer days and we were blessed with several of those early in the month.

2.  Hydrangeas need lots, lots, lots of water.  They wilt at the first sign of too much heat.  But they are beautiful and worth the extra maintenance.  I hope the one I planted this month survives.  And I hope it retains the beautiful blue color.  There is much I don’t know about Hydrangeas yet.

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Source Raul654

3. Speaking of high maintenance, my brother would rather I call him once with a list of all things going on, instead of calling him randomly.  Then he can get back to me.  Whatever!  Today’s list for him (a list within a list if you will): I love you. How is your foot? Have you seen Dad’s new building yet? Aunt C is in the hospital. Aunt K is in the nursing home. B is going back to Texas for a week and then she’ll be back here for a while. Come see us sometime. Tell T and the kids we love them. If you need me I’m only a phone call away! Come to church with us sometime. So, when I called him, he actually answered. Turns out I’m supposed to mail the list every Friday.  I just might do that.   I know he loves me and I think he was just joking about the list.  Bottom line – he doesn’t like to talk on the phone.  I don’t either, but I do like to keep in touch with my brother once in a while. So, I call him sometimes.  He’ll get over it.  If I didn’t call he’d think I didn’t love him anymore.  And, a list is very efficient, the call lasted less than five minutes.

4.  I did not learn this in June (I’ve always known), but was once again reminded that I love my sister and I love having her home from Texas, she fills in some gaps that are missing when she is not here.  I think I’ll lasso her, tie her up and keep her here.  Can you tell I’ve been catching up with McLeod’s daughters on Netflix?  Sisters are a gift to be treasured.

5.  They killed Claire McLeod off on McLeod’s daughters.  I know this is old news to most people who remember this show. I just discovered this last night and I’m still in shock. She was the pivotal character.  I hope I did not spoil this for anyone, I realize I may not be the only one ten years behind.  (it was just as depressing as Matthew dying on Downton Abbey – oops, hopefully you already knew that).

6.  I should remember that if you attend church business meetings, you will be elected to be the clerk or something like that.

7.  I’m discovering that as much as I love people, I really need a lot of quiet time to reflect and regroup.

8.  I like the idea of owning a first edition book over the idea of selling it for big bucks.  That is a true book lover.  I also have too many books, but I did not learn this in June.

9.  I read lots of blogs in June rather than doing a lot of writing on my blog.  I came to some conclusions that I’m formulating into a post.  I’ll share my thoughts once they are in line.

10. I’ve been seeing that depression is a topic that we need to speak out about.  I have some thoughts brewing about this too that I want to write about on my blog.

11. I’m so over all this equality stuff.   I will not share my thoughts on my blog. There are already too many voices out there espousing opinions.  OK, I will say one thing:  God knows the truth of everything and he knows his designs and plans.  I need to trust him and follow his lead.  OK, two things: words have meanings and those meanings should not be changed.  It is what it is. That is all I will say.  You have to choose your own opinion about all this stuff.  Hopefully you will do that prayerfully.

12. Prayer, even in the little everyday things is vitally important.  It builds our faith. Praying daily helps prepare us for the bigger issues.  It makes us more grounded when they come. And come they will.

13.  After 29 years I love my husband more than ever.  We celebrated our marriage this month – not a new thing I learned, but a good reminder of where we’ve been on the journey to where we’re going.

So, what have you learned or re-learned in June?  You can link-up here to share , or if you want to read what others have learned, just pop on over and read some of the other blogs.

Learning in Grace, Sadie