prayer

How Are You?

I was driving to the grocery store and suddenly started to pray. “Jesus, would you please…” And then stopped. I was suddenly reminded of how I felt when my (always hungry) boys came home from school and abruptly asked, “Mom, did you get groceries?” before they even said hello to me, or asked how I was doing. I knew they loved me, but it did leave me feeling a bit like a vending machine.

So, I started over with, “I’m sorry, Lord! How are you doing?” I love asking God how He is doing, or what is on His heart. Sometimes He shows or tells me. Often I just sense His pleasure in my nearness, which gives me the impression that I was on His heart….that He was just waiting for me to notice that He was near. Isn’t that astounding? That the God of the universe is happy — overjoyed, even, as the perfect Father who is never too busy for us — to have His children come to be with Him? He loves when we simply want to be near Him. I love when my boys take a moment in their busy lives (and they are very busy right now) to ask me how I’m doing or to come give me hug (or even just to text me one of those blow-a-kiss emojis). Isn’t it amazing that the most important thing to God isn’t what we do for Him, or how “good” we are, but our relationship with Him?

By the way, as soon as I got home I realized He had answered my “Jesus, would you please…” prayer.

Anxiety (or, pursuing Peace) · Uncategorized

The Love of Most Will Grow Cold

During a very difficult time, when someone had hurt me and people I loved, Jesus brought this verse clearly to my mind: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” Matt 24:12. My first thought was something like, “Surely not me, Lord!” It was actually the first time I had ever considered that verse as applying to myself personally. To me, it had always been a more general verse, for the future, for other people in the end times. But as I pondered it, with Jesus there with me, I began to realize that my heart already had heavy frost around the edges.cold

In the following months of journaling (my therapy, my best way of communicating with God and seeing His work and presence in my life), I came to realize I could do nothing about my cold heart. Outward attempts to be kind made me feel artificial. My prayers for this person were bitter. I discovered in a new way that the only cure for my frigid heart was to draw close to the pure and warm heart of my Father God. In this case, I retreated, took refuge. Spent days and weeks, not trying to love or even pray for the person, but instead running to His arms, and staying there. Not doing anything. That is where my heart began to melt. I looked to Him, He comforted me. I didn’t have to do anything else (I kept asking) for a long, long time. Every time I asked, “Should I call? Text?” I heard, “Wait.” Every time I got bombarded with hateful thoughts, I learned to run to His arms, take refuge there, hide in Him. I learned to stay there longer, and return more often.

As I spent time there, I learned that He cared much more about my situation, and justice, and grace, than I did. I was able to fully hand it all over to Him (with a few hundred set backs). I had to hand over the “record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13) I was keeping, and let Him deal with that. I realized He had things timed, and that much was going on that I couldn’t see. I had to wait. I was learning to enjoy just being in His comforting, sweet presence meanwhile. I realized even more that there was no where I would rather be.

Then an opportunity came to show love, through an act of service, (not my spiritual gift, so it was extra difficult to obey). I had an attitude, but I knew the time was right. And, though it didn’t solve everything or bring on the apology I felt I deserved (I’ve since been able to give that expectation to God to keep, as well), it was a big turning point. It served to thaw that person’s heart and to enable them, and me, to see more clearly.

Play

Play

It keeps coming up. I had just gotten up from spending time with God, journaling, hearing again about “play.” As often happens, I slightly doubted what I had heard. I don’t doubt God’s ability to speak, but often I doubt my ability to hear Him (side note: it’s a no brainer to me that if I “hear” something that doesn’t align with Scripture, it’s not from Him). And He is so kind. I picked up my device to check something and there was a new notification on the screen telling me that a friend of mine had added a Pinterest board entitled, “Play.” And this friend has connections in my mind with particular life dreams (that began in childhood) that God is also encouraging me about. With that He encouraged me to believe, like a child.play

Play. Being childlike. Trusting my Father. Having fun. Not being productive. I’m slightly embarrassed when I think how long He has been speaking to me about this and therefore how long it’s taking me to get it. Years. But it’s ok. It’s like a long conversation. I’m learning that He loves the process, the long conversations, just as I love teaching my own kids things that take years because there are so many layers of learning. So much time together, communicating. So many layers, so many individual lessons. I’m realizing I cannot cram all of these into one blog post. So I’ll end this one where it all began for me long ago; with these favorite verses:

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:14-16