Prayer and more prayer

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I have tried to up the ante on my prayer life this year.  I have been keeping a separate little art journal where I write down prayers.  I try to record a few each day.  The whole practice the pause idea has been good for me also.  Especially at school, I can get overwhelmed and frustrated and I just sit at my desk a moment and pray to Jesus to remind me of what He expects from me.

My prayers have changed.  I rarely pray…”change that person”, “make this go my way”, “make this happen”.  Because Lord knows…that I DON’T KNOW diddly!  LOL.  He has a plan of how things work.  So I pray for wisdom, discernment, joy, peace, strength, patience, love, for Him to work in me so that I can understand His plan.  I pray that He will help me bless these other people and be a gentle light to them that they will find peace.

It has relaxed me, all this prayer.  My desire to control is lessening…most of the time.  🙂  Letting God do the worrying and planning is working out.

Do you pray?  How do you pray?  What do you pray for?  How often do you talk to Jesus?  Have you let it transform you?

Think about those things today. Even better…pray on it.

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A prayer for the Spirit

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Let’s pray this morning:

Lord, awake your Spirit form in me.  Let it fill my heart and mind so that it overflows and spills into my words and actions.  Lead me to bless others with your light and love.  Your words, not mine, will bring the most joy and peace and comfort.  Remind me constantly that your gentle reminders are what bring me closer to you and I pray that I copy your style–not my human tendency to judge, reprimand, and force others to my ways of thinking.  Spirit spread your praise in my songs, in my steps, in my gestures.

Please, speak through me Spirit.

Amen

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Blessed Endurance

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Ya’ll know I struggle with the Christmas season, but I am going to put on my endurance shoes and cap this year and try to be chipper and grateful the whole darn month.  I am not going to let the hustle/bustle/shopping/cranky/overwhelmed/monster come out.  Not gonna do it.  Not gonna do it.

This year I am going to plaster some pink and sparkle and freshness all over this holiday and keep my eye on the prize–the Birth of Jesus.

Can I get an AMEN?  Anybody with me?

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Keep Giving Thanks

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I found this fun blackboard like vinyl thingie to put on my door at school.  I write up all sorts of things…happy Friday, choose joy, you know stuff like that.  This month I have been writing one thing everyday I am grateful for.  Some have been very solemn, like veterans, some a little more lighthearted like halo oranges.  But I am trying to cultivate gratitude among the kids.

Some days it can be hard to think of something.  But when I do stop, practice the pause, and thank Jesus for even the tiniest of blessing, my day goes a whole lot better.

I love Paul’s words here to not give up on doing good.  To not become weary of spreading the Good News.  We may need to slow down at times to rest, but it will pay off to stay in the game.

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A Permanent Home

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This is another reason I am not afraid to count my days here on earth.  This is not my permanent home.  I trust that God has a much bigger and better plan for me and for ALL those who believe in Him, who choose to love and trust Him.

Francis Chan uses a rope as a really great visual—about 6 inches of a rope is red, and the rest of it, which is crazy long, is plain.  The red is our life on earth, the plain is eternity.  The point is we are supposed to consider which part of the rope is more important/bigger/ better (hopefully!) and plan each day accordingly.

I sympathize with people who think it is just over at the last breath, that is scary.  No wonder they want life on earth to be perfect.  No wonder they have so many questions and fears.

I hope you aren’t worried.  I hope that you know where your permanent home is.

 

 

 

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Count the Days

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I count a lot of days.  How many until the weekend?  How many until Jeff comes to live with us?  (40!)  How many until summer?  How many…..you get the drift.

But what about the final count…do you count the days until your death? Creepy, huh.

I suppose it is.  But today could be my last day.  Every single one could be.  I could die for any number of reasons.  I don’t know, maybe it has been my struggles with depression and considering suicide that I have thought about this a lot.  But I am okay with going.  If today is the day Jesus comes for me, then I am ready for Him.  My heart is ready.  I have tried to spread His word.  I have shared Him with my kids.  That’s what’s important.  I don’t care about stuff I leave behind.  It’s stuff.  I don’t care if I didn’t experience something here on earth…I truly believe it will be better in heaven with Jesus.  That I will be so overwhelmed with the sight of HIM and the enormity of His love that such joy will overcome me that I won’t even be able to think about anything else.  I will be so excited to join the throng of angels worshiping Him, that it won’t matter what happened on earth, what heaven looks like, who is there.  None of it will matter.  ONLY HIM.

That belief fills my heart and shapes my days.  Do I want to make the most of each day here with my loved ones?  Do I want to enjoy God’s creation?  Yep.  I sure do.

But I think the wise heart God wants isn’t a wisdom of this world–but a wisdom about Him.   A wisdom of gratitude for what we do have through Him.  Hope, love, and joy.  Things that cannot be counted.

What are your thoughts?

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Whole heart, soul, mind and strength

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At the center of it all is God–He created it all, He planned it all, He will redeem us all.  When we keep His love in the forefront of our minds it is so much easier to be obedient to His word with sheer gratitude for all He is and does.

To many of us are leaving our love for God out of our everyday conversations.  We love Him–but is it with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength?

Or only when His love conforms to our opinions?

While we are all really good at sharing our opinions, we are not always good at stepping back and critiquing our own words. We are not always good about considering their impact.    Often we think because it is our opinion, our story, our understanding that it is the only and right way.  We too often forget that everyone has a different story and understanding of reality.

Before you share your thoughts practice the pause…go to God.  Ask Him to work through your love for Him to fill your mind and soul.  Ask Him to give you strength to fill your heart and words with His love.  Then  share His love through your words.  So that others can find hope through a deep love of God as well.

 

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Seek Him

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Can’t follow it around?  Here is Psalm 119 wording:

With my WHOLE  heart I seek you, do not let me stray from your commandments.  

I treasure your Word in my heart  so that I may not sin against you.

This has been a struggle for humans since the fall.  For each and every single one of us.  EVERY. SINGLE.  ONE.  We all stray.  None of us is perfect.  Every single one of us strays from His commandments to love one another, to not judge, to do His will.  None of us has perfect character.  Only Christ/God/Father/Spirit.  Only Him.

Let us all treasure His teachings in our hearts. Our whole hearts. The more we seek Him, the easier it is to actually DO His will.  When we sin against each other, we sin against Him.

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A Path Repeat

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What a path we are on, this life.  We never know where it will be straight or bend and turn do we?

This is one of the first art pieces I made a few years back and posted on this blog.  I have made a lot more since then, and I continue to make them.  Maybe not as many as I was finishing before teaching, but still painting and drawing.  I must.  It is such a special part of my faith story now.

I am taking a very long break from facebook, maybe for good, on my personal account.  But I will still keep posting art here.  I will try to keep it up regularly, but it gets hard sometimes to find the energy after teaching all day.  But  I promise to share the art that Jesus gives me.

If you haven’t subscribed here to get the blog in your email each day, take a second and do it today.  Share the subscribe button with others.

And together we will keep the peace, grace and hope on the road.

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Laughs

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Annika, my middle daughter chose this as her verse without any prompting.  She was the starting quarterback for her 6th grade team this year and she would write this on her arms before the game.  That small act of writing on herself in permanent marker was one of the proudest moments I have ever had.  To know that she understands God is in her, to know that she has hope in Christ, and she looks at the future and any obstacles without fear because of her faith–it still makes me want to cry.  She was singing her song–loud and clear–and in full confidence of Christ.  She was an example to me.

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God is IN her

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When we can feel God’s loving touch, when we can feel the Holy Spirit working in us, we are filled with a hope that gives us POWER.  Truly it is an energizing power that emanates and lights up a person.  It is the power of KNOWING we will not fail.  No matter what God in us gives us a hope of eternal happiness.  Whatever failings we think we have here on earth are forgiven.  Any failures cannot keep us from heaven when we have God in us.

That is such a blessing of confidence to cling to each day.

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Hold on to Hope

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A huge tragedy hit our community last week.  The father of 3 high school students in Belmond was tragically ambushed, shot, and killed in the line of duty as a police officer in Des Moines.  It rocked this small high school and town.

I was incredibly impressed how the student body, staff, and whole town rallied around this family in all different kinds of support.  It fueled my hope in people.  My hope in families, in communities.  I have never been this close to a tragedy like this, and it was amazing to see God working.  To see people singing songs of love and kindness to each other–even if it was just a blue tape stripe on our car windows or blue ribbon around trees.

God is forever faithful.  He will use moments of joy and tragedy to pull us together and pull us closer to Him–for that is His forever wish.  I will hold onto that hope.

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