Sunday, August 30, 2015

2015: The Year of Prayer - Week 32 and 33

Pray for me.  It's been PEA-NUTS.

The last week of summer and the first week of school are in the books.  If I thought there was little time to write during the summer, I had even less time this first week of school.  It was a Release week (our monthly praise and prayer service at church), I spoke to a women's group and we were having our floors replaced.  All that plus a few "extras," made this a week that left me spinning.

On Monday or Tuesday, I reported to my mom that one of the girls was going to have a fit by the end of the week.  Little did I know it was going to be me!

I am hopeful I'm off the roller coaster of the last 2 weeks (and 2 1/2 months of summer).  With the establishment of our new routine (with Natalie in 6th grade at West Briar Middle School and Sophia in 4th at Shadowbriar Elementary...both new schools for us) and Ella Grace going back to Mother's Day Out next week.....I'm hoping, praying and looking forward to some time for me to be creative; to write and just generally pursue all the "professional" opportunities the Lord is continuing to present.

I'm asking for protection, guidance, insight, strength and compassion in all areas, with my family (always and ever) coming first, as well as knowing how to balance all the other good stuff coming my way.

Even as I've been going in a million different directions, wearing multiple hats per day, the spiritual work continues.  Sometimes it is through joy, sometimes through power and sometimes through tears and frustration.  I've prayed with people and witnessed them have breakthroughs, as the Lord prepares them for what He has next.  I've seen the ministries I'm involved in start to come into their own and the people I'm walking life with grow in leaps and bounds.  I've seen people in devastating emotional circumstances be kept in perfect peace.

This life, this faith is not designed to be grasped completely this side of Heaven.  I feel that so acutely sometimes it hurts.  But my outbursts, the explosions of emotion are much fewer and farther between,.  They catch everyone (including me) off guard because the grace of God is so thick around our family.  Everyone was surprised Friday night when I went a little bonkers, but by Saturday morning, we'd all gotten right again.

The Lord has taught me what it means to have a sound mind (even if I have my moments of crazy).  The Spirit is teaching me what the fruit of the Spirit of temperance (or what we call self-control) looks like.  More than anything in this last year, I've learned the process of bearing this fruit is both a joy and a burden.  It's a joy because when we learn to manage our flesh (I mean emotions, thought patterns, etc.), we see what it looks like to live like Christ.  It's a burden because sometimes we just want to have a pity party and behave badly.

The Spirit is indeed willing but the flesh can still be pretty weak.

With this in mind, I'm remembering how much anchoring in Scripture I need.  I've gone back to it after being out of Bible Study and daily reading of the Word, for more than a few months.  I've been reading a lot of books - which is good - but there just is no substitute for the Bread of Life and Truth - Our Lord and Savior's very words.

I'm in the Gospel of John - only in Chapter 4 after several weeks.  I'm trying to savor it.  That sounds very high and lofty but it is more satisfying a craving or scratching a desperate itch.  My spirit feels the lack when I'm not in the Word.  It is a necessity; daily mind and heart renewal, being reminded what is important so I can go about living life in a way that is worthy and worth it.  This morning, from the Message, I read these words from Jesus to the Samaritan women at the well: It's who you are and the way you life that count before God.  Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth.  That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship.  God is sheer being itself - Spirit, Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration. (John 4:23-24)

I have not done any of this perfectly in the last 2 weeks.  But I take comfort in knowing I have been myself, just as I am, before God.  I don't think the actual execution of worship, prayer, service, etc, ever has to be perfect...frankly because we don't know what perfection - true Godly (pure, holy, righteous) perfection - really looks like.  Furthermore, we really can't be perfect this side of heaven (or Christ's 2nd coming).  And the Lord KNOWS THAT.  That's why Jesus came, to give us a shot again, as imperfect and flawed as we are, even after justifying faith takes root in our lives.

That theological reality is an enormous comfort to me, as someone recovering from a performance-based value system.

Even as perfection alludes me, God's grace in all its forms and types, does not.  He is way too big, way too loving, way too merciful to let me slip backwards.  So - forward on I press, towards the goal of knowing, loving, serving and sharing the prize of Jesus Christ.  (Phil 3:14).

I figure that's about the only thing I really have to do.  If I do that, He will make sure it will all work out for His glory and my goodness.  

That is something to be thankful for and I am.  Always something to be thankful for, in this life with Christ.

I hope you can find more than enough thankfulness when you think about your last few weeks.  Sometimes it takes some work to dig it out.  Other weeks praise of God is the most natural thing ever.  Wherever you are, I encourage you to take a moment - to center yourself, take a deep breath and thank the Lord for something.  It is a great start and a good habit to have throughout the day.

Keep praying.  Keep presenting all your requests with thanksgiving.  Keep finding things to be thankful for because that's how our world gets changed for the better.

1 comment:

Janice and James said...

Love you!!! Thank God for His abundant GRACE!!!