365 Days of Prayer

Why Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” Video Makes Me Uncomfortable… and Kind of Makes Me Angry

Well, as soon as I figure out what I’m doing on tumblr, I just want it known that while I may be blonde, blue-eyed, and thinish - I also bear the scars of a cleft lip, have a mishapen ear because it wasn’t formed correctly, and wear a hearing aid. I say “what?” a lot! ha.  Although I am beautiful in many ways, I doubt I would ever be on the cover of a magazine without a lot of photoshopping. But, if beauty is only what you see in 30 seconds, you are probably blind. Jazzy Little Drops - you are my hero. I loved your critique. You aren’t cruel and you get the point of the ad - but like you said, it is just an ad. I think that AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh had a lot of good things to say about what is good about people. I like that silly old bear.

jazzylittledrops:

So this video started going around my facebook today, with about a dozen of my female friends sharing the link with comments like, and “Everyone needs to see this”, and “All girls should watch this,” and “This made me cry.” And I’m not trying to shame those girls! I definitely understand why they would do so. And I don’t want to be a killjoy. But as I clicked the link and started watching the video, I started to feel a slight sense of discomfort. I couldn’t put my finger on why that was, exactly, but it continued throughout the whole thing. After watching the video several more times, I have some thoughts… 

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via jazzylittledrops / 1 year ago / 34,569 notes /

Loneliness

I am so glad for my family and friends. Even so, sometimes I am left feeling a little lonely. It’s not that I couldn’t call them. In fact, so often I forget to call back, feel guitly and then just plain don’t reconnect in the way that I should.

Yet, I sure get into a funk when I start thinking about all the people that I wish would be around. Yesterday was the 6th month mark of my mom’s sudden death. Yes, for me, it was too sudden. Other people said that she was sick. I didn’t give up hope. Even on the day she was flown to the hospital, I did not lose hope that somehow she would make it through. Even as I visted her in Wisconsin.

And then, all hope disappeared as I was informed that she had no brain activity. What? How was she reacting to our touch, or the fact that we were talking to her. It was supposed to be a good sign. It was not. She went peacefully a few hours later on June 6th.

So many people told me how she never complained. So many people tried to tell me that she was in a better place and she had suffered enough. But, you do not understand how much and how badly I need her. Maybe I’m selfish, but she wasn’t just my mom, she was my best friend. We talked every night at 10 whether we had something to say or not. I got a letter expressing condolences about my mom, and the first thing I wanted to do was call my mom to tell her what a nice friend that I have.

I still struggle not to think about what to buy my mom for Christmas. She needs a gift.

And two things have come out of all of this painful situation. I am better equipped to be sensitive to other people’s pain.

Most of alll, In my deepest need and loneliness, I have not been alone. Even when I railed at the people who seemingly forgot me, and they were not that far away, a few blocks or even an hour away at the most, I know that it was with a purpose. If I have not understood this type of loneliness, I would not know how much I need Jesus or could trust in Him.

It is in the hour of deepest need and when we do not get what we want that Jesus shows up just in time. He’s not there to berate us. He’s not there to condemn us. He is a Friend, a Counselor and a Comfort who gives us hope.

And maybe all of this is too cheesy and sentimental for some that read this. Who will you turn to in your darkest hour when everyone that you have loved has died? If not Christ Jesus who DOES heal and who DOES save, then who?

I do not believe in Jesus Christ because it makes me smart, which I’m not. It doesn’t make me rich. It doesn’t even give me power. If I am a fool, then I am one for Christ Jesus. But I would rather turn to someONE who cares and who is able to do more than humanly possible to help me than to anyone or anything else.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

- Romans 5:8

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

-Romans 8:33-35

Quick, Get Up!

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. ‘Quick, get up!’ he said, and the chains fell off of Peter’s wrists. - Acts 12:7

The angel of the Lord had Peter follow him, and Peter thought that it was a vision. And, then when Peter was completely freed, he realized that it had all been real. What a testament to the grace of God that is currently in our lives.

I know I have been set free by the blood of Jesus. I know that I have been forgiven. But too often, it feels as though it were a dream or a vision. It feels like I am reading something in a story rather than what is actually happening in my life.

I am reminded of Ephesians 6:12 that reads “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” It is more than that that I have wrestled with in these last weeks. It is against feelings of loneliness, of unworthiness, of despair. It is not just my flesh and blood, but “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12).

Perhaps this romanticizes depression a little too much. Yet, it was the enemy that seeks to destroy, and all those thoughts were out to destroy me ~ my very livelihood.

Jesus Christ breathes life into us, should we accept Him. A small prayer that is uttered is all that is needed. And, perhaps when we open our eyes from what seems like a dream, the reality will be that our chains are gone. We are loosed and free to live in a new way  - outside the cell of death and destruction. The thing that binds us up and keeps us shackled can be anything. Depression. Fear. A broken relationship. A desire for a partner. A desire for a child. Sickness. Work or lack thereof.

The chains are loosed. I rub my eyes and run forward.

What is holding you back? What is stealing your life and binding up your wrists?

Meeting Your Needs

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus - Philippians 4:19

Our deepest needs are to be loved and to feel secure. When we do not have that, things seem to fall apart. In the middle of this grief, I finally found a program by June Hunt  called Hope for the Heart. She has a whole series on dealing with grief called Grief Recovery: Living at Peace with Loss.  

The two things that really hit home: you can’t force yourself to be okay and laugh, etc. It can actually hurt more than it helps. That is definitely the truth. By day, I’m fairly energetic, keep myself busy with work, schoolwork, and friends. At night, it is a different story entirely.

The second thing is that this grief is moving towards “contentment” but it will last for a time. It is okay. And in the meantime, God will meet all of my needs. He is there. That is not just being overly spiritual but realizing that crying out to Him is part of the grieving process. Allowing Him to be God and to be of comfort…and then inviting others in as well. No one can be my all, and I can’t even be my all.

And so, in prayer…I cry out to the Jesus who saves and I know that I am not alone.


2I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands -
Psalm 63:2-4


2
I have seen you in the sanctuary

and beheld your power and your glory.

3Because your love is better than life,

my lips will glorify you.

4I will praise you as long as I live,

and in your name I will lift up my hands -

Psalm 63:2-4

(Source: hisstorythroughmine)

The Delivery

How does Compassion International change poverty? It is through the lives of children. Caitlin wrote a beautiful story about the gift that a sponsor provides a child and it can be found here.

You Need to Ask

A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word.

- Matthew 15: 22-23

There are times when Jesus does not answer a word. Why? Is Jesus really ignoring us? Does He really want us to suffer, our loved ones to suffer?

The Canaanite woman cried out before Jesus and still He did not say a word to her. The disciples wanted her to go away. They urged Jesus to send her on her way. You can almost imagine John or Thomas saying, “Lord, she’s so bothersome. She keeps following us. She keeps yelling and disturbing what you are doing. Just speak up and make her go away. Get rid of this foolish woman! Do something to make her stop, she’s giving us a headache.”

"Lord, help me!" she said

- v. 25

Not only did He ignore her. He then rebukes the woman for crying out. He lets her know that she is a Canaanite and He has only come for the Israelites, the true children of God. She is desperate to find her daughter some help. The church won’t help. The government won’t help. Her neighbors have long forgotten her needs. The doctors cannot do anything to cure her. This girl is at the verge of death and the mother is at the peak of her sorrow. All she can do is cry out before the Lord.

When did you last cry out before Jesus? Is your sorrow deep? Will you cry out? Will He answer?

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Spirit of Prayer

* photo: a bridge in Yanamono II, Peru ~ from my mission trip August 2010

"But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."  ~Romans 8: 25-26

"If the problems of prayer have become so dark and heavy to you that the words of prayer freeze on your lips, then pray in your distress for the Spirit of prayer. He will solve the deepest mysteries of prayer by revealing to you that, the more helpless you are, the better you are fitted to pray…" ~O. Hallesby, Prayer.

If like me, you are searching for answers in prayer, then rest assured, God has not turned a deaf ear upon you. He has not turned away from you nor is He ignoring you. The desperate cry that can form no words is heard by the very ear of God, and all of our tears that are shed are kept by God.

One of the most difficult situations is that of a long-term illness. People who have experienced cancer, diabetes, heart problems, or had a family member that has experienced this know that the prayers are unceasing. Tears drip from our eyes. The words pour like water from babbling brooks.

And then, the words can quickly dry up. How many times shall I ask you Lord? Shall I continue repeating these same words. I feel as though I am a begging child. “Please….please….please do this thing for me.”  And while I thought my faith would have grown beyond trying to bargain, it is hard to resist the temptation to ask God to do this one thing and try to do something for Him. I will be good. I will go to church every Sunday. I will give away all of my money. I will serve in the community. I will spend more time with my family. But, does God want our bribes?

I say them in an empty way knowing that I cannot bribe God. And then, I start to question, well havent’ I been good enough? Aren’t I better than so and so? Aren’t I one of your beloved children? Won’t you do this? Why won’t you do this?

I pleaded for my mom’s life. I pleaded that she would be miraculously healed. I prayed that the diabetes that had affected her since age 16 would disappear. Oh, well it did with a transplant in April 2003. I prayed that no more of her fingers would have to be taken. And, it was her hand, and then her foot and then another.

I pleaded that He would allow her to be healthy and to see my wedding day and even, by His grace, my first-born child. I am single and childless. But, somewhere in my house, I have a card from my mom that reads “I am proud of you for loving ‘your kids’” - meaning the Compassion kids that I sponsor.  In a way, she saw my love for “my” children even though I am still childless.

Bargaining does not work. Yet, God’s mercy prevails. He seems to know and understand how to answer a prayer while we are still unaware of the answer. And later, looking back on it, there were many answers.

I like to think that God the Father is silent at the times when we need to cry out, to be angry, to bargain, to rationalize and to hope for something better than what is presently concerned. He allows us to use the voice that we have been given to express our deepest need.

And in that hour when we have no words left to say, the Spirit intercedes.

"Your Hands" by JJ Heller. This was performed live at KLOVE studios today. I love this song and this artist.

Less is more

My friend’s blog is an answer to prayer. So, no, not really about prayer specifically, but about living for God and giving away the things that are not needed. It’s an inspiring 30 day project. http://downbyhalf.wordpress.com/ Anyone else feel like doing a little cleaning?

 
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