Commanded to be Hospitable

the answer is still and again love

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Lord, when one of us hungers, make it our instinct to feed.

When one of us is displaced, make it our instinct to share our home.

– Common Prayer

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longer table

Practice the Pause

Oh, how I need to learn to practice the pause!

I’m getting better, but still react when I should reflect.

I need to do this EVERY time.

practice the pause toby mack

 

Lord, help my stubborn heart slow down and give me grace to yield and allow You to melt it, mold it and make it more like Your own! ~ ❤

 

heart stone

Prayer Requests and a Pounding Heart

It’s what we do when we get together at church-in Sunday School or Wednesday night Prayer Meeting-we take prayer requests.

It’s what we should do.

We are commanded to pray for one another.

pray for one another

I listen attentively, take notes, try to get the names spelled correctly-I’m the one who types the list for the weekly bulletin so I want to get it right.

Until...someone shares a request that sends my mind down a winding path of memory. My heart begins to beat the rapid tap-tap-tap warning of mounting anxiety.  Death has come to another family’s door or is stalking them around the corner.

Some parent will stand by the casket of the child they bore and wonder how in the world they outlived their offspring.  

And while I try to pray faithfully for all the requests shared, this one lodges in my throat and will not be ignored.

My heart is broken as theirs breaks.  I know only God can hold it together.

I breathe a prayer in:  “God grant them strength, grant them mercy, grant them grace.”

I breathe a prayer out:  “Jesus, Shepherd, carry them in Your arms.  Don’t let their faith fail.”

out of the depths i cry for you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Dare Hope

My prayer list is very short.  It’s been whittled down to the basics.  I don’t ask for much and I expect less.

But today I will be waiting with bated breath to find out if a prayer that’s been lifted up for months will be answered.

It’s risky business to ask when the answer may be “no”.  If I’m honest, I’m not sure my heart can take it.

I am confident that I will see Dominic in heaven when I get there.  My heart rests assured that the blood of Christ is sufficient and my salvation sure.

BUT….

I do not dare hope anymore that when I pray specifically for someone or something it will come to pass.  Oh, I believe God HEARS my prayer, that He knows the desire of my heart, that He COULD grant my request.  But I no longer rest my head on the pillow of peace, settled in my spirit that the “effectual fervent prayers  of a righteous man or woman availeth much.”

I will be the first to admit that to hold both thoughts simultaneously seems impossible and contradictory.  Yet I do.

Because I’ve learned the hard way that my prayers are not God’s “to do” list.  He is sovereign, not me.  His plans may or may not conform to mine.  His work in my life may very well include pain and sorrow and disappointment.

Sometimes I just want that old naive hope back.  I want to erase this dark knowledge from my heart.

Especially when someone I love needs my prayers.

I want to believe.  I want to trust.  I want to rest assured that not only is my prayer heard, but that it will be granted.  But it is oh, so hard!!!!

So I offer the only prayer I can still lift up with absolute confidence:  I plead mercy and grace.

I pray that God may have mercy on my fragile spirit, that He may grant my desire and strengthen my faith.  And I pray that regardless of the outcome, He will give me the grace to accept it.

It’s the best I can do.

 

 

 

 

 

David and Goliath

Today is 35 months-almost three years since I was awakened to the news no parent wants to hear.

And, yes, I still count the months.

Every 12th rolls around and reminds me that while Dominic’s leaving was an event on the calendar to others, it is an ongoing experience for me and my family.

I don’t say this for pity’s sake.

Pity is a poor substitute for what I really want:  I want my son back; my family whole; my world unshattered and unshaken; my biggest problem to be how to get all my grown children together at the same place at the same time for holidays.

I can’t have what I really want.

So I hold on to what I have-the Truth that every promise of God in Christ is “yes” and “amen”.  And the memories-I hold onto the memories.

I have the first Bible we ever gave Dominic.  

It endured rough use-the corners chewed on, the pages bent and the covers full of creases where they’ve been folded back and forth.

We chose it because it is one of those children’s Bibles with pictures inserted every so often-old fashioned images taken from paintings no longer guarded by copyright or trusts.

His very favorite page was the illustration of David and Goliath-his most treasured story and his most requested reading.

We even had a “David and Goliath” themed birthday party way before Pinterest.  

I made a life-sized version of Goliath and hung him on the wall so the boys could stand next to it for a photo.

I was recently reminded of these memories when a video made it’s rounds on Facebook (you can watch it here ).

It’s easy to focus on the fact that David’s stone slew the giant.  But what my heart holds onto are David’s words, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (I Samuel 17:47)

not-to-us-but-for-your-glory-and-name

David had little confidence in his own strength. He wasn’t certain that his skill in slinging rocks was what guaranteed victory.  No.  He was absolutely convinced that Jehovah would not allow His Name to be sullied.  He rested in the fact of God’s faithful covenantal love.

He bet his life on it.

If you read the Old Testament you will find example after example of God’s people begging Him for mercy-not because they deserve it-but because it reflects the truth of Who He is.

Abraham leads Isaac up the mountain and tells his servant, “We will return”.

Why?

Because he trusted that God’s promises were true, that God could not and would not lie.

Moses begs God to give the Israelites another chance because if they perished, it would desecrate His Name.

Daniel asks God to remember His covenant, not for the sake of the people, but for the sake of His reputation.

On and on and on.

So in this Valley of the Shadow of Death, I don’t beg for mercy and grace because I think  I DESERVE it.

I beg for mercy and grace because the character of God guarantees it.

God will finish what He started-not for me but for His kingdom.

His faithful love endures forever not because I am worthy but because He has claimed me for His own.

He will not allow His Name to be defamed.

I bet my life on it.

 

 

Hardest Prayer I Have Ever Prayed

jesus-christmas

It is portrayed so sweetly in Christmas plays and Christmas movies:

Mary bowing her head in response to the angel Gabriel’s announcement that she has been chosen to bear the Saviour.

I don’t know what went through her mind before she answered.  I’m not sure she had a clue what submission to God’s will would look like as it played out across the months and years.

I only know that she was willing.

And God honored her willingness to bend her knee and her heart regardless of the unknown cost.

I’m not as noble as Mary.  I didn’t answer quickly when God allowed my life to be turned upside down.

I kicked and screamed and resisted as long as I could.

But who can fight Almighty God?

How can I carry on if I resist the Only One Who can carry me?

My heart still bucks.

It. Is. Still. So. Very. Hard.

But I bow my head and heart each morning and ask for the grace to make it true:

“Behold, I am the servant of the LORD; let it be to me according to your word.” ~Luke 1:38

hand-coffee-roosevelt

 

A Prayer For Mercy and Grace

be broken brennan manning

Father, I have stopped asking for miracles.

My wounded heart has lost the faith it once had for hoping You might step in and make something out of nothing.  

I still believe in YOU.  I still hope in YOU.

bend-down-and-hear-my-prayer

BUT I am resigned to a life of waiting to see redemption and restoration in Heaven, not here.

In the waiting I ask only two things:  Mercy and grace.

Please, please show me mercy, Lord.

Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me, For I am distressed and needy [I long for Your help].

Psalm 86:1 AMP

Please spare me even greater pain and sorrow. Please don’t pile more burdens on my broken back-I don’t think I can make another step if You do.

And I beg  You to overwhelm my hurting heart with Your grace.

He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in theseand have the power of the Anointed One at home within me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 VOICE

Let me feel your Presence, let my spirit be strengthened by your Spirit, give me grace to accept what You’ve allowed and the strength to carry it.

Amen.

my-grace-is-sufficient