Monday, August 31, 2015

The Power of Prayer

Let's get a little deep, shall we?  This past Sunday, guess that was just yesterday, we had a wonderful service at church.  First there was the Sunday School lesson.  I'm not going to lie to you, I absolutely LOVE my Sunday School.  I don't know if it is the lessons we learn, the conversation, or all of the people in my class.  Honestly, I think it is all, because all those things together have grown us all together.  I truly find myself without words when I think of the blessing this class has been to my life.  However, that isn't the point to this, well, mostly.

You see, I have a very bitter heart from time to time.  My heart will think the worst of people.  It will fabricate the meanest of thoughts and unspoken words.  My heart scares me sometimes.  I'm quite certain from this utterance you have all counted me as being a vile person and are now forming labels to put on me.  That's ok if you are, this is something that is coming from your heart, something deep inside of you.  Don't worry, when you take the opportunity you'll see that you too have a spot or two or three that are just as concerning.  I'll not judge, it isn't my place.  After all, I am here sharing mine.

In my heart I want to hate, and be jealous, and wish bad endings on people, and curse people out to the Nth degree, and well, just basically let them know exactly what I think and feel.  Oh my goodness, if I uttered as many words as I thought.  For instance, in my heart, I've let a certain someone know exactly what I thought of their parenting style, I've let another certain someone know what I thought of the way they control other people, in yet another I've let someone know how I thought they were quite simply incapable of living a life of their own.  Yes, in my heart I can be quite something.

Yet, each time I get to this point.  This point where I want to scream all of these uglies aloud and be certain these certain someones know it is them I am speaking to, I stop myself.   And I pray.  I pray.  I pray to the Lord, my God, to forgive my thoughts.  To keep my tongue bound, to keep these thoughts close and allow them to dissipate somewhere between my mind and His love.  You see, God, He already knows the words I've thought and the person I've thought them about, but more importantly He knows my heart - through and through.  He knows where I struggle and where I soar.  He knows where I am weak and where I am strong.  He also knows, that I know, I am nothing without Him.  THE EXACT PLACE I WANT TO BE.

This brings me to the point.  This past Sunday, we finished a 5 part message series on Prayer.  The importance of prayer, what prayer really  is and isn't, what to do while we are waiting for the Lord to answer our prayers, how to pray as the Lord prays, etc.  But the thing that I walked away with touching my heart the most is this:

Before the message even began, during prayer/open alter time, I went to kneel before my God and asked Him this - open the eyes of my heart, soften my heart, help me to pray better, more earnestly, to seek His ways, and to be the woman He wants me to be.  I asked Him to help me be closer to Him.  You know what He told me?  He told me some several minutes later in the form of the message and the time spent in His word that prayer is nothing more than a verbal one-on-one with Him.  That my relationship with Him is only as strong as our conversations, that for my heart to become more aligned with His I need to spend more time talking with Him.

And from this I got - I'm not doing so bad.  I'm giving Him my thoughts.  I am letting Him squash them before they are uttered, but I want to go deeper than that.  I want Him to eradicate them before they even form.  You know the best part of that?  I absolutely, positively know that he will.  Why?  Because My God is power, and glory, and might.  My God is sovereign, and just, and loving, and right.  My God is personal, and here for me.  My God He is.

Keep praying my dear readers.  Do not give up on the power of prayer, most especially when you are at your wits end and are beyond ready to throw in that towel.  God will ALWAYS be there for you.  No mater what.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I Used to Be

Today at work we were all rehashing "the glory days."  You know, those days where earning the varsity letter, hanging out with your friends, perhaps having a part time job, and counting the days until graduation where all there was to live for.  In my office we have some pretty good "used to be" stories.  It's actually quite impressive, but alas, we are all in an office doing our bit to make a company run instead of out making millions with the skills from our "used to be's." 

I got to thinking, I know, a terrible habit of mine!, about last summer and the summer before that, you know, when I used to be a runner.  I have had one injury after the next, all with my knees, and the verdict is overuse.  So, I used to be... I'm going to be honest, not being where I was physically weighs on me.  It tears me apart mentally and emotionally.  Why?  Because in my mind's eye, I used to be pretty good.  I used to get on myself for not running a sub 8-minute mile for an entire 10k.  I used to think running a half marathon in over 2 hours was slacking.  I used to...and that, my lovelies is the rub.

There is always going to be something in life in which we used to be.  I used to be.  We used to be.  I have restarted this running journey, mixed with a bit more cross training (at the insistence of my physical therapist).  It is slow going, quite literally.  I get frustrated and mad when I can't get a mile in in under 9 minutes (when just 2 summers ago I was completing them at around 7:30).  But, I look back a bit farther and 2 years prior to 2 years ago, I couldn't run around the block.  So, in all, there is some perspective to be had there.  I refuse to give up on my love of running despite where I used to be, because I know someday I will look at today and think, I used to be.

The moral to this?  Oh, you  had to have known there was one.  Come on, it's me after all!!!  There is a very common saying "I may not be where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be".  This is so true.  I think sometimes in life when we don't "feel" the forward progress we fail to see the movement in that direction.  Sure we all have set-backs and lessons learned along the way, but we are getting there.  I can't say I'm where I need to be, I mean, I'm overweight, stressed continuously, struggling with some things, and constantly wondering if I'm doing enough, being enough, and so much more in the physical sense. And then there is my spiritual growth.  I want to be this woman that God can use.  This woman with whom God is pleased.  This woman who knows she's in the will of God.  But I am not.  I am not in all this cases.  Then I see where I was.  Let's start with 3 years ago.  I am not that woman.  Thank God I am not where I used to be.

Basically, dear readers, there will always be that one thing (or more) that you wish were different, that situation you pray would change, that time when you could have done this or that, that thing about yourself that you want changed, I could go on this way forever.  There is that relationship with the Lord that you want to know is growing faster and stronger with each day. Yet, if you were to take a good hard look on the inside, and because it is always the best thing to do, talk it over with the Lord, (to have His perspective and all), you will truly see that you aren't where you used to be, all the while living in the not where you need to be.

And that is the greatest place, to be.  May the Lord continue to grow you and move you.

Much love and prayers,

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Even Grown-Ups Need Grown-Ups Sometimes

It has been a quite some time since I have shared a post in which I spoke of my grandma.  However, today, I am missing her like crazy.  Actually it has only been in the last few hours where I've missed her so much it hurts.  You see, a lot of women have moms where they can go and talk to them about everything, where they can seek advice, tell them about their day, and all those other joys.  If not a mom, then well an aunt or woman of sorts.  Me, I had my grandma.  In some ways my grandma was like a mom to me, well, in a lot of ways, but mostly because she just was there for me.  I could talk to her about absolutely anything and she didn't try to fix it, correct, berate me, one up me, belittle me, hurt me, chastise me, or turn it into something about her by cutting me off mid sentence. 

My grandma was the best.  In the last couple years of her life her memory wasn't the best, and with that came some moments when talking with her were more difficult than others, but still I would.  I could call grandma any time of the day, and  you know what?  I did.  The wee hours of the morning, yep.  The middle of the night, yep.  Even during Letterman she'd turn off the TV just to talk with me.  She's been gone for over two years now and I have not had another big girl conversation with anyone since.  Now, don't get me wrong, I talk a lot and have conversations with a lot of people; I mean the essence of my career is talking.  Ha!  But to have a conversation where I could just share and be free to share. Not a one.

And here I am today, tears running down my face because I struggle to know why I am not accepted by the "grow-up" women in my life.  Why I'm constantly made to feel like I'm a burden, or a pest, or merely just that person who is taking up space in their life.  This hurts.  I will not deny that I am very self-sufficient, I am quite capable of taking care of my own and I will be the last person to ask anyone for help.  It is just not me to do so, but to be reminded that there really isn't anyone who remotely cares, that hurts.  And by anyone, I mean grown-ups, you know, those in the generation before mine. (My hubby cares and he does listen to me quite well.) It all makes me what to scream from the top of my lungs, "what is wrong with me?"

I'm sure the answer is quite obvious and I'm simply too dense to see that it is staring me straight in the face.  Until then, I seriously just wish, I had a grown-up to talk to, but you know, hey, we can't all have our cake and eat it too.  Besides, to think that this is a problem that only I suffer from is quite selfish on my part.  Excuse me while I go put my big girl panties on and continue to take care of myself.  Who needs grown-ups anyway?!