Prayer Board

Too often in the futile search for the perfect time, I end up doing nothing at all.

As any mom of young children can, I’m sure, attest, it is so difficult to find a consistent time of any length to spend in prayer.

Too often in the futile search for the perfect time, I end up doing nothing at all.

For some time, I’ve been brainstorming a solution to the problem.

Here is part of the solution. It’s not perfect. However, I can guarantee I spend a considerable amount of time in front of the sink doing dishes EVERY SINGLE DAY!

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Quentin made this simple dry erase board at a Home Depot workshop. It is the perfect size. I can prop it up on the window sill and easily update it with prayer requests. At the very least, it is a reminder of who needs prayer.

I’m really hoping this helps me remember to pray for some of you more often. Even if it is only 2 minutes at a time, it is better than nothing, right? At this stage of my life, every 2 minutes counts!

Do any of you have any strategies that have worked for you? If you have any you’d like to share, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear them (and try some, too!).

Separation Anxiety

When was the last time I literally freaked out if I didn’t get some time alone with Him each day? When was the last time my world fell apart because I just had to be with Him.

Some days I almost wish she loved me less. Okay, not really! There is nothing more precious than a little girl who is desperate to be with her mommy–even when she wakes up in the middle of the night to find me.

Which reminds me . . . there should be nothing more precious than a believer desperate to be with her Savior.

Wow, when was the last time I felt that way about God? When was the last time I literally freaked out if I didn’t get some alone time with Him each day? When was the last time I was more desperate to pray than to sleep, read a new book, or find some chocolate?

Some of it is just a phase. When you have a toddler and a 6-month-old, lengthy periods of time by oneself are a rare luxury. It is not that I don’t want to spend more time studying the Bible or praying. It is just hard to find time with out interruptions: Mommy, I need  a diaper change; Mommy, I’m hungry; Mommy, Elena took my toy; Mommy, look at that dog outside (interspersed with crying from the  nonverbal member of the family), etc.

But some of it is a choice. 

Some days I choose to clean my house, go on a walk, call a friend, or read a book. I choose to do those things first. I intend to spend time with God after that, but then the baby wakes up, the toddler needs disciplining, supper needs to be cooked. . . . It is not intentional, but by not choosing to put Him first, I choose to give God the leftovers. He gets the fragments at the end of the day.

Maybe it is time I  choose to be more of an infant–let go of some independence and develop some healthy separation anxiety.

 

 

The Giver of Life

I am always amazed at how God perfectly orchestrates His will. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and He often makes sure nothing takes us by surprise either.

Just a few days before my miscarriage, I was reading the story of Hannah. God impressed on my heart the truth that all life belongs to Him. Our children are just a temporary gift–a loan. He can choose to take them back at any moment.

When my miscarriage started, I was in denial. It couldn’t be happening. My husband convinced me to call the midwife. Even then, I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t be miscarrying. I had cramping and bleeding at 8 weeks with Quentin. This was the same, right?

But when the cramping became pain so bad I couldn’t sleep or move, I knew.

When I hemorrhaged on the way home from church, I knew.

When my hormones went crazy and stayed that way for months, I knew.

It was hard to grieve. It was harder to cry. This tiny life I barely knew existed was gone without us ever meeting face-to-face. I never got to hear a heartbeat. I never got to feel the first flutters that turn into violent kicks. I wanted to grieve; I just didn’t know how. It seemed as if God had let me go.

But He hadn’t. He prepared me. He led me to the story of Hannah. He gave me a friend who had gone through this a couple of years before. He gave me Himself. He too knew the pain of being separated from a child.

He is the giver of life. That title grants Him the right to take it away, too. He did.

And, in His time, He gave us another life.

Sometimes when I watch Elena (5 months) laughing and playing, I wonder about the other baby. S/he would have been almost a year. Learning to walk. Starting to talk. Was I right? Was that baby a boy?

But if that baby had lived, Elena wouldn’t be here. How do I wrap my mind around that? I want both of them, but one wouldn’t be here without the other being gone.

God had a plan. He knows why. Maybe someday I will know, too. What I do know is He was faithful through the loss and provided healing through the gain.

Biblical Forgiveness

What is Biblical forgiveness?

If you asked me what I’ve been thinking about lately, that would be the answer. What is Biblical forgiveness? What is it not?

There have been a number of situations in my life that have caused me to ponder this question. Each situation was unique, but they all had one common factor–the perpetrator did not repent or seek forgiveness for what s/he did.

It is easy (relatively) to forgive someone when that person repents and asks for forgiveness. Compassion and love eventually win over the hurt. We want to believe the person will change. We feel compelled to try to forgive. We know it is what we must do.

But then the time comes when someone does something terrible and doesn’t seek forgiveness. Maybe the person even is proud of what s/he did. What then?

The first thing I did was look at Jesus’ example. While dying on the cross, He forgave a number of people. One person He forgave was the thief hanging next to Him. The thief demonstrated repentance and a desire to be forgiven. Christ promised him eternal life (Luke 23:40-43). From this I gleaned the truth that we are to forgive even before the perpetrator demonstrates a change of action. If a person asks for forgiveness, we are to forgive immediately.

But thief repented. . . .

Then I looked at Jesus’ other act of forgiveness on the cross. Shortly before His death, He cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He forgave His killers even though they were unrepentant. What was I supposed to do with that? What did that forgiveness entail?

At first, I was bothered by that occurrence. But as I thought about what happened there, I was reminded of what one of my favorite Bible teachers at MBU told me: “Forgiveness is not letting the other person off the hook for what happened, but instead putting your desire for justice in God’s hands and trusting Him to take care of what happened.” When Christ forgave His killers, He wasn’t asking God to let them all into heaven. He wasn’t asking God to bless the rest of their lives. Aside from repenting and placing their faith in Jesus as the Messiah, none of them could ever get into heaven. He was simply recognizing that it is not our place to seek vengeance. He was asking God not to pursue a vendetta against them.

Forgiveness is not about letting someone off the hook. It is about recognizing that bitterness hurts us more than the perpetrator. It is about letting go and turning my hurt and desire for justice over to God. It is about remembering that He forgave me; therefore I am called to forgive others likewise (Ephesians 4:32).

It is not about pretending nothing happened. It is not about tearing down all boundaries and throwing all caution to the wind. Rather it is about choosing not to be bound by the past so that I can move forward in the present. The perpetrator is still guilty. Someday s/he will face the consequences for his/her actions. In the meantime, I need to leave justice to God, discarding bitterness and vengeance behind me.