When life hurts: the binding secret

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Sometimes an old pain echoes back through my mind. Sometimes I want to bring out my claws and growl and let the hurt rebound out from me to cause more hurt. It can feel that to put down my claws is to say that nothing unjust happened to the people I care about at all. It can feel that to not fight back is to give up on the hurting people the situation still represents to me.  

Yesterday, the question of my heart was “how?” How can I carry a burden for a group of people without carrying bitterness for those who can appear to stand against that same group?

I couldn’t sleep last night and two words kept singing to my heart… love believes…

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Bitterness cannot live towards a person when you are believing in the beautiful creation they are. Love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:7) When we love our neighbor we believe they are created in the same image that we are. We believe in the image of God inside them.

The question posed back to my heart today… Even more than carrying your burden, do you carry the love of Christ for the people who may not share that burden at all? Do you believe in them?

We are all people who are broken and make mistakes. Yet, we are also all people who seek to be honest, who want to give the best to our families, who want to play a useful part in this world. While that desire may not be apparent in every life, I believe that somewhere in the heart it’s what every soul wants. We are all people who are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are people who are made in the image of the same God of love. (Gen. 1:27)

We have different ideas, different views and faiths, different cultural identity, different pasts, different personalities but we are all more alike than we are different. Love sees his neighbor and love believes. Love sees that you’re the same more than it sees that you are different. And when love does see where you are different, love doesn’t see a threat, love sees someone searching for the same place that it has searched for – the same place where you are known and loved and welcome.

Love looks at his neighbor, whatever life he may come from and says you are just like me. Whatever differences stand between you love believes and love sees someone just like them.

Isn’t that the encouragement we all look for to help us live the life we’re made for? I think it’s what we all want. For someone to care to step into our world against all odds and say ‘Friend, I believe in the work being done in you.’

It’s so easy to see the things that divide and hardly notice the things that bind, when the binding part is what we need.

When I see the dividing lines first, I feel rejected and the insecurities rise. And from that place, love is hard to welcome. But with eyes on Jesus, I see the One who binds with His own life, and from there my eyes open to the binding all around me.

From His own binding, flows the love that believes and binds across the differences and we find ourselves seeing each other the way we want to be seen – with the identity we were created for.   

So today, may we keep our eyes on the One who believed in us enough to die for us and bind our own wounds and from this place, love will flow and create binding places in this broken world. Love will flow out from us as we believe in the ones around us just as the Savior has believed in us.

Love believes. And the believing binds what once was broken.   

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My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

When you want a map for the path through hurt

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There are hurts in life that are hard to put a finger on. It’s hard to explain them to a friend, hard to make sense of them in your own heart, and hard to learn to bring them to the God who authors the story and cares to hold the hurting heart.  

Maybe it’s the loss of someone you love. Maybe it’s your own inadequacies to meet the needs around you. Maybe it’s the discovery of waking up in a world that is different than you thought it was. Maybe it’s a big life change that leaves you unsure of how to find your footing again. Maybe it’s past rejections that you still don’t know how to move on from. Maybe it’s things in life that bring back painful memories that you just don’t know what to do with. Maybe it’s many of these things combined that make life look and feel foggy. Maybe the filter that you’ve learned to experience life through feels a little dusty. If you’re there, you’re in good company, because I’m right there with you, and I’ve been trying to write through it for weeks.  

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Maybe you need time to dust off the filter, whatever that means for you right now, but it seems the time is scarce and there’s Christmas lists and people to care for and work to be done and laundry to do. And distractions too, lots of distractions that can numb it all for a little while.

Because there’s a desire to just move on and then there’s a questioning how. I like to try to patch my hurt right up, but patching isn’t always what my hurts need. Hurts come with so many questions, and when I patch the hurt I try to shove the questions right back in that little place they came from. That can feel smart because really, I don’t have the answers to all of these questions, and the inability to answer them can really put a sting in my heart. On the other hand, somewhere there’s a burning knowledge in my soul that those questions are there for a reason and that they are each sent to me to deliver a gift to my soul. There’s a need to let the questions come, because though they are hard, though they try me, though they burn things that have sat in my heart for years, they are sanctifying and they are gift.

Cousin Kenneth spoke it at Janie’s funeral this weekend. “God is here with us, He is weeping, mourning, and hurting with us in this time and place. He is here and He is encountering it all with His love, His grace, and His mercy… How do we move forward? We let ALL of these emotions, all of them, transform us, knowing that God is in control and that He is here with us.”

He spoke the reminding words that Jesus wept when death happend, Jesus threw tables at the sin in His Father’s house, and Jesus knew the feeling of being forsaken by God when He was at deaths door.

I have spent weeks looking for the answer to a question that I’m not really sure how to ask. How do I refuse to patch, how do I sit with the hard questions and be honest with them without giving in to the hurt they make me feel. How do I honestly feel the pain in my soul that I don’t even know how to put words to without giving up hope? How do I embrace the gift of all of the emotions while holding on to the love my God has shown me. What do the dark things I feel have to do with the God who I am loved by. How do I embrace the gift of them both simultaneously?

I’ve wondered if there’s some strange secret, some curious set of brain waves to travel to get to the end of hurt, some near magical combination of thoughts to reach all the way through the hurt and find the way through to the other side. No one has ever given me any secret recipe for that.

One thing Janie’s funeral is still teaching me in a way I haven’t learned it before, is that there is not a secret path for me to walk through the hurts of life; instead there is something much better. There is One who has already walked that path for me and has given me His own life to claim as mine. Because of the Gospel, I am loved as the child of the One, holding the hand of the One, filled with the Spirit of the One, who has already walked the hard path that all these questions take me on. He doesn’t give me the complicated roadmap all the way through a life of hurt and leave it to me to find my way through. He gives me something I can handle. He holds the roadmap for this path He has already walked through and He gives me this gift. I can boldly speak all the dark feelings at the foot of His cross where I am loved beyond measure and He tenderly lifts my foot in His own power to take that next step in front of me. Just one step at a time, as a beloved child of God, I walk through a world that hurts, by the power of the faithful love and victorious grace of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.         

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My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

When agreeing to disagree is harder than ever

Sometimes situations look so black and white. Sometimes so much so that we feel to be silent is to evade our responsibility to stand on truth. The past few weeks I have felt so confused about this – confused about the situation and confused even more about what was happening inside my own heart. Maybe I haven’t been as alone as I have sometimes felt. 

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Sometimes its easy to agree to disagree with our brothers and sisters in Christ and other times, it can feel as if it goes against everything inside us to do so.

Sometimes perhaps we all have to say what we believe we must say and sometimes the members of the body of Christ do not agree.

Sometimes Paul and Barnabus each have opposite convictions about an issue, so much so that they cannot agree on a compromise. And perhaps neither one of them is wrong. Perhaps unity in the body is not a matter of agreement, but of respecting and understanding that we will each follow the decisions God is leading us to make even if we do not agree. And perhaps the matters of my heart have been a matter of finding peace with this.  

For several weeks I have been confused by all of these things more than ever. I have been concerned and I have let that concern rule me. Though I’ve tried to be respectful, I have still refused to choose God’s peace in my heart over the decisions that my brothers and sisters in Christ are making. I have been wrong to do so and it is healing to say all of that.  

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If you can relate to all of this in some way then maybe the same things that fill me with grace today can fill you too. Today the story of Peter is filling me with my God’s grace right now. Peter was so ready to say and do without a thorough examination of his heart in the light of Christ. I’m grateful to read the story of God taking a person like that and delighting to work on him and use him to share the good news of His kingdom.

Today I am grateful for physical reminders of how much he treasures me – for meeting Ms. Martha and seeing her artwork last week. For she has chosen to hang her museum worthy art pieces that are painted on clean white canvases next to things that many people wouldn’t give a second glance. She has chosen old gourds and scraps of wood and pieces of bone, and she has cleaned them up and painted them pretty and displayed it for all to see as a masterpiece that she delights to display.

I’m grateful that God delights to take people with flaws and crooked edges and display them as if on a shelf with all the rest of His handiwork. He calls me beautiful because though I may feel like my edges stick out most unbecomingly, I am most importantly a reflection of Him, not based of anything I have or have not done but because that is what He has found it in His heart of love to make me. 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10  

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My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

4 Things I’ve Learned in May about Offering Myself – Lessons from My Children

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This month I’ve started a process of writing notes to my shy self on Instagram, so that in the times when I forget who I am or why it matters for me to live this life, I can find reminders that made sense to me before, so hopefully they’ll make sense to me in the moments when I need them. This is one I wrote yesterday that was inspired from an interview I saw with writer, Bri McKoy.

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As someone who needs daily reminders that it is a gift to offer yourself to the world, I am so glad to be able to live life with my daughters who freely give me every day the gift of themselves. I get to see them offer themselves to me without fear, in the comfort of our home where it’s okay to be imperfect. They teach me what is true about offering myself to the world around me. These are four lessons I’ve been learning from them this month.

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“Bragging” can bring joy.

Opposite to what I tell myself when I’m trying so hard to “filter” my own actions, (hopefully someone out there can relate) ‘bragging’ can bring joy. I say that based on my daughter’s ecstatic, “Mommy, I got Peppa!!” after she was gifted a Peppa Pig toy this past month. She loves all things Peppa Pig and being given a new Peppa toy she was brimming over with excitement and it was every bit delightful to see her reaction. The look on her face when she opened it that delighted the room, the way she grabbed my hand and pulled me across the house so she could show me every bit of it, it was pure joy.

It stood out to me because when I get the notion to do anything like that, I tell myself that that would be ‘bragging,’ so normally I resist the urge to explode with excitement like my daughter did. And perhaps I’m missing out on an important way to offer the gift of myself to the world. Of course bragging is a sin, but I think most of my life I’ve been calling something ‘bragging’ when it’s not really bragging at all. It’s just giving the world this gift – the gift of experiencing along with you the joy you find in life.

I’ve already developed a habit so I don’t think I’ll be snapping out of it just like that, but I’m glad my daughter helped make me aware of it so I can move towards healthier ‘bragging’ habits.
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We are people who delight in being recognized and responded to and that’s okay.

This month, Liesel has been more and more fascinated with the idea of being recognized and responded to. One day this month, she was screaming and when I looked her in the face and screamed back she was beyond excited. We made a game of it for a good fifteen minutes and she thought it was hysterical. Then again, in the car one day she did a funny little jig with her feet and Amayah couldn’t stand how funny it looked and just blew up giggling. So, of course, Liesel was so proud, and she did the same little jig for the entirety of that car ride. Even after Amayah was too tired to laugh anymore, Liesel kept trying to get her attention.

We are people who love to be recognized. We love when others find joy in what we can offer. Often I criticize my own desires to be recognized and responded to believing that they are all desires based in pride. But then when I look at my baby daughter’s desire for the same things, it doesn’t look like pride to me at all. She’s finding joy in her ability to bring someone else joy. Certainly, pride can disguise itself in the midst of those desires and certainly pride is a sin, but I dare not be too careful. It might just be better to boldly try to bring someone else joy through my talents and abilities and risk the struggle with pride along the way, than to shy away from offering myself because I’m afraid it’s too similar to pride. I know it makes me so happy when Liesel is bold in trying to bring us joy.

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Expressing my dislike can be a gift.

Sometimes Amayah says something that can really make a person feel down, but the thing is she’s honest. And because we all know she’s honest, the times when she offers a compliment or a hug or a simple “I Love you,” we don’t question whether she is sincere. That stuff carries so much weight coming from a child. This month we have had moments when she told me she didn’t want me and sometimes it breaks my heart. But the times when she wants to share her ice cream with me, the times she expresses her appreciation to me for cleaning ‘her house,’ the times when she asks me to cuddle with her, the times when she pulls my face into hers and tells me she loves me, those gifts are so very beautiful because I know my daughter is honest about how she feels about me. It’s because the truth hurts, that it can give the most beautiful love as well.

That’s a challenge to live out and maybe I shouldn’t be as blunt as my daughter, but I need to know that it’s important for me to express my dislike and my criticism because without them my compliments may just fall on deaf ears.

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Give love and do the next thing.

In the past month, Liesel has learned how to give kisses and her hugs have become more clearly pronounced and intentional. And I’ve noticed this week her affection that can be so contrasting to mine. Sometimes she crawls up to me to give me a hug and turns right around to climb back down and crawl off to the next thing. Sometimes her hugs are quick like that, then sometimes she’ll put her head on my shoulder and hold tight to me for a good couple minutes.

Both kinds of hugs are a delight to me.

There’s something beautiful in her ability to give the hug she needed to and move on with life. In those moments, she doesn’t have to wait to see how I responded to her hug. She just knows she gave it and she’s ready for the next thing. When I see her do that I want to be like her, to give love with a freedom. She teaches me to give the love I want to give and carry myself into the next thing focused on what is in front of me. Because when love is given freely I can move into life free from worry over the effects of the love I just gave.

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I hope that these moments in my daughter’s lives are a blessing to you like they are to me. I have four ways to think about how I can offer myself to the world, four ways to think about what it means to be like a child. May we offer ourselves like children today.

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“Jesus never tells children to grow up, but he often tell adults to become like little children.” -Wess Stafford  

“And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said,“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:2-4

Being told to be childlike is a gift to be free, and lest I forget that and feel overwhelmed and pressured to be perfectly childlike, this beautiful quote from Lysa Terkeurst that was posted this morning @proverbs31ministries. As someone who struggles with being shy and afraid that my daily choices won’t be just right, these thoughts have been treasured this morning.

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My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Story Share: When It’s Time to Shed Life’s Pressures

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Maybe you feel wound up with the pressures of life today and need a safe place to shed all the things. If that’s you, I want to point you over to Niki Hardy’s post today where she shares some of her beautiful story and identifies with a lobster shedding its shell. Find her lobster post here. She’s fun to read and shares her cancer story and grace testimony at mystorymygod.com

Her explanation of the lobster’s life and invitation to “set your inner-lobster free” has been a sweet call for me to settle down into my Rock and Fortress and release my stress and insufficiency there in front of the ONe who has already taken them on Himself. Some of my favorite words from her post…

I wish I were more lobster-like today as I deal with the pressures, stress and discomforts of life.

The lobster-like me would instinctively understand that as soon as I feel squeezed, pressured, overwhelmed, and about to burst, that’s my signal to hunker down under The Rock. Under the safety of the true rock I am protected and safe to discard the emotions, beliefs and lies that are holding me back. Protected from the enemy I am safe to be naked for a while and free to grow.

Jesus, make us willing to come to you when the pressures of life make us feel hopeless and lost. When we feel insufficient and small or overwhelmed and frustrated draw us to “hunker down under The Rock.” Make the safe fortress we find in You our first place to seek comfort in the stresses we face this week. Make us bold to shed our tough skin in front of the One who made us and knows us. In the name of Jesus, may we be quick to go there.

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

When the Options of Life are Overwhelming

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Every day, we all face what can easily become an overwhelming number of options. Each of us can live this day so many different ways. One small decision can change the course of our day and the course of our lives. And that can get overwhelming fast. Sometimes I just want to shy away and escape the decision making for a little while, but that itself is a decision. All we can do to make good with the options in front of us is to simply rest into the Spirit of God and do the thing that seems good.

The questions come easy. What if I choose the wrong thing? What if I choose something that’s too big for me? What if I choose something that’s too small. And the ‘me’ is what messes me up – when I’m afraid something is too big, too small for me. The truth is that I’m a Child of God. The Spirit lives in and is able to live through me and, as such, nothing is too big or too small.

It’s a matter of seeing the one thing in front of me that seems good and recieving it. That is what Luke did when he wrote his gospel. He decided to write because “it seemed good.” (Luke 1:3) He began his writing, though perhaps it seems he felt both small and big about doing it.

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:1-4, emphasis added)

Luke was taking up the task of writing down the life of Jesus as he knew it. He knew this had been done many times before so perhaps it felt a bit like a very small offering. Yet, some who had written had had closer contact to Jesus than he did. So perhaps it was easy for him to feel like he was trying to do something too big. Yet, writing these words down for Theophilus was what seemed good to do.

I don’t think Luke denied his feelings about writing. He admits his circumstances clearly here. But he worked through it and he recieved the Holy Spirit in him doing this thing that seemed good.

I love this story of Luke because it resonates so deeply with the way I often feel about life. Things that feel small, like laundry and dishes and changing diapers – though they do indeed feel small, they are things God has given me to do. The Spirit can live big through my small rinsing of dishes. Things that feel big, like being responsible for little lives, like teaching, or being asked for advice – though they can feel too big for me, I can rest in the Spirit inside to do through me. Sometimes I don’t, but the truth still stands that I can.

Maybe the circumstances look a little different for you, but maybe you know those feelings all too well.

For today may we do as Luke did. May we be willing to admit the feelings and willing even then to do the thing that seems good for now, no matter how big or small it may be. Because if we have the Spirit inside us, nothing is too big, nothing too small for the glory of God to live through.

 

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Story Share: For our Busy and Tired, and our Life in the Mirror

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Today I’m excited to invite you to read a post by Wendy Munsell! I admire Wendy’s openness in sharing her story. This is for our busy and tired, our longing to explore the life we get glances of in the mirror… for the unexplored questions in the back of our minds, and the wanting to take the journey inside. Here are words from Wendy Munsell.

…I had been living my whole life by mindlessly jumping from task to task. I was so absorbed in the job at hand, and there was always another one or two or dozen clamoring for my attention, that I hadn’t left any room for just being.

As I drove home that night I realized that the seemingly straightforward question had started an avalanche of even more questions with the worst one being, “Who am I?”

If I took away everything I did and all of the roles that I used to define myself: wife,  homeschool mom, and even Christian, what was left?

I had an uneasy feeling that the answer was, not much. Never being prone to much self-examination, I allowed the probing thoughts about my identity to drift away as soon as possible.

I now know with the benefit of hindsight that I was grappling with much weightier issues than that of my personhood; I was struggling with who I was in Christ.

Read Wendy’s entire post here: How I Journeyed from Believing to Knowing.

For all of us taking up the challenge to bring all of these feelings to Jesus today…

Jesus, may we make room to reach inside the feelings and questions we meet today to find the gift You are giving us inside them. May we receive the gift to press deeper into who we are in You. Give us grace to find the life You’re giving us there, and grace to want that life so much that we can’t resist making space to come to you with the stuff inside us. May we reach deep into the life in the mirror. May we cease to be impressed with busy doing and enter today impressed with who You are. Amaze us with the simple truths about You. You are the God who equips us for today. In the name of Jesus, give grace to us to live there. Amen.

“I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord and there is no other.” – Isaiah 45:5-6

Blessings! And warm welcome to the story pile where you’ll find other stories like Wendy’s. I hope the pile can be a blessing to you!

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Writing Artistic Limits into Life

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Today, I need to write if only because it gives my soul room to breathe, if only because it feels as necessary to my life as eating, as if Someone has programmed me that way. Because life can feel like such a balance and writing helps to release something inside me under the strain of it and to understand the strain itself. Because I want to be relational enough and responsible enough, with enough sincerity and enough integrity. I want to savor the moments with my girlies in this fleeting stage of their lives, and just when I’m really enjoying it, the fear creeps in that I’m falling behind on other aspects of life. That there’s other callings God has for me too and what if I miss them? Maybe I try to live more like a black and white graph than an artistic portrait. Because I am beautifully and wonderfully made, someone who God designed to live His own beauty through. And maybe what I need is not more time, but a simple focus to live into and some artistic limits placed around it to protect it from the things that try to make me feel bossed around… a conscious affirmation of the first things God has called me to this year and a commitment to move, even if it’s just one little baby step a day in the direction of the other things I feel I must move towards.  

 

As someone who often feels pulled in different directions in the middle of wanting to fulfill my first calling for this season of life to be full time mommy to my little babies and wanting to fulfill the other things in life I feel called towards, I have let myself be pushed around by fear. And in the knowledge of that I have to change my complicated goals for the year to the simple: I want to dive all in and get my hair wet in my role as mommy. I want to do the things I’ve dreamed of, to teach them with passion and live fully there in the adventure with them. And for the other things I feel called towards I’m working on forming the habit of committing just a few short minutes a day to each of them, and being willing to rest them there. I long for the chunks of time to spend on those things but I never get anywhere because most days that just isn’t a reality for me. And it can feel like the things inside me (the callings, the talents, the desires, the avenues of service) where I think the Spirit inside of me needs to come out are at war with each other, bossing me around in the middle. And I believe that feeling is an alert to me to be intentional with the ways I choose to live Love.

 

This year I’m deciding to be intentional about my wife and mommy calling. Even though I have arrived here at a young age, it’s still true that I’ve spent years dreaming of being here and having the privilege to help my husband and teach my children. This is where I’ve wanted to be. I do have other callings in life, but I don’t have to be at war between callings. If I can just take one little baby step a day towards the other things and run head on in the main direction God is calling me, I don’t have to feel pushed around by these things. These are my goals for this year and being intentional about choosing a life focus feels so freeing.
Maybe you can relate to some aspect of this? Whether you’ve felt pushed around by your callings or not, may we be intentional about the ways we choose to live Love this year. May we choose those things that are most important and rebuke the fear that we’ll miss other callings. Those are the fears the enemy wants us to entertain. That’s how he messes with us and tries to get our focus off of the main thing God is trying to do with our lives. May we not get distracted with the ways we think the Spirit should be coming out of us and be bold to put the fears aside. May we strive to live Love just as Love wants to live in us. No more and no less.   

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Conversation with a Prayer Warrior

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This is a book review on Priscilla Shirer’s book Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer

Prayer. It’s not tangible by any means. It happens in your head. It’s a part of your thoughts. You can’t see it. You can’t measure it. You can’t grade yourself on it… Sometimes, in a mix of pride and guilt and hoping I can produce my own good, I’ve wanted too, but I miss the point… The point of being given the name of Jesus to pray in, the point of this constant grace that gives me the right to come bold to the Father with every privilege, every birthright, every tender part of being His very own child. This, this direct access to the Father, through Jesus, in the Spirit, is the weapon, the grace-given, grace-driven weapon, that can tackle the threat of anything the enemy throws my way.

I want to use it, but yet, I trivialize it. I set my prayer time, but when I fail at that I toss the prayer “time” and try to make it an on-going conversation throughout my day, but then I get busy and… oops.

I want to sit down with a real prayer warrior for a few hours and get all the inside scoop. I want to hear the ins and outs of how they’ve made this a habit, of what they’re prayer life looks like on a daily basis, to see the way that they pray. How do you find the words? What do you do when you’re so overwhelmed you can’t think of what to pray? How do you hold to your commitment to prayer when the day throws you all the curve balls? When babies kept you up all night and you can hardly think? When they woke up earlier than they were supposed to? When you slept through your alarm? When kids keep you on your toes all day? How do you make it work?

Priscilla Shirer’s book Fervent is like that conversation in book form. She sits down with you as a kind friend who knows victory, who enjoys the power of God’s presence and is willing to be used to help you enjoy it. She gives you the inside scoop. What she offers is not the only way to develop a strong prayer life, but it’s a powerful way. She’s honest and shows you her imperfections, but goes on in victory assuring you of victory. She hands you the tools you need to build a firm prayer strategy, the wisdom of experience to know how, and the most loving and graceful kick in the pants you’ll ever get to pursue habitual prayer as the lifeline it is.

Fervent has honestly become one of my very favorite books that I plan to turn to time and again. I feel like I’ve had a good long talk with a dear lady who cares for my soul. And in longing for me to access the mighty power God provides His children, she’s pleaded with me to identify the places where Satan has his targets drawn on my life and strengthen my prayer there… to know the importance of praying Scripture, in putting that into practice. Priscilla has guided me into the process of creating my own personal prayer strategy for each area the enemy tries hardest to get me. She’s helped me find the Scriptures and form the words I’ll need in the midst of temptation for the times I can’t think of what to pray, and she’s given me the prayer cue cards to mark up and post where I need them so I can’t forget to pray. I’ve been handed the excitement of meeting Priscilla’s own sweet, battle cry of prayer. I have no reason not to pray from the same victory that she does. Neither do you!

I’d love for you to read her book and have one copy to offer to the first person who claims it. The first person to claim it in a comment will have a brand new copy from Lifeway. :) For everyone else, you can buy the book here.    

And whether you’ve read the book or not, may we pray boldly in all the victory that became ours the moment we received Christ’s gift. If you’re in Christ, you’ve been given all you need to be as fervent in prayer as anybody and that is a glorious truth!

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

What do we pray for?

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This morning, 6 something, I prayed what is my usual prayer at that time of day. God please let her sleep just one more hour… Baby Liesel has not been sleeping well this past week, and my days have been hazy and lazy. This is what many of my prayers have been looking like of late… it’s actually what I’ve uttered many a night for the past two and a half years… since I became a mommy.

That was my first prayer this morning, not long after which I dressed the girls, packed them in the car and headed off to Bible study. It was a good morning and it ended with a question. What do my prayers look like? How often do I pray for comfort and convenience and how often do I battle in prayer for faith in the midst of discomfort?

It’s a question I didn’t want to answer myself because I knew my own answer wouldn’t please God. But I don’t have to hide in shame. Jesus took my prayer record on the cross, and gave me His record with His risen life. He provides all I need to have the confidence to pray… Himself.

This is His battle call to me to go to war with my prayer, this is what He wants me to do. And as it was said today, who wouldn’t want to serve a God like this? He prepares the things in advance that He wants me to do, He motivates me and guides me along as I do them, and He promises rewards to me if I do them. That’s the God we’re asked to serve.

For all of His children, may we answer the call He gives. May we claim the risen life He has given us with our prayers. May His grace move us so much that we cannot resist taking up the battle to claim the victorious prayer life He says is ours, no matter how much the enemy wants to tell us it doesn’t belong to us. May we step into the life He’s prepared for us and so passionately desire to live a faithful life that our prayers look more like a battle against discouragement than a begging for comfort. May we live and pray in victory. So let it be.

By the way, DaySpring.com is celebrating all of the Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October! To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the instructions. Good luck, and thanks for reading! You can enter through the 29th.

This is Day 27 in 31 Days of Listening

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My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.