Wednesday, November 4, 2020

What to pray for: Prayer (3 of 3)

I headed north on US-31 enjoying the Michigan countryside.  Suddenly, I realized for the first time in years, I had no schedule and no one expecting to see me.  I could do whatever I wanted.  I pulled off the road, and stopped under a bridge where I had been fishing once.  I stayed for hours, then left driving on back country roads to a lovely cottage by a lake where I spent the next three days doing whatever came to my mind at the moment.  There were no crises or challenges to overcome.  As planned, I just read, ran, kayaked, doodled, took pictures, ate and slept... and enjoyed doing it all alone with God.  It was incredibly freeing!

I have discovered that I am a habitual planner.  When first confronted with a challenge my immediate response is to analyze the problem and make a plan for how I will fix the problem.  This might seem good, but it isn't.  Instead of praying about things, I try to solve them my own way.  I get excited about my ideas and then feel bad when they don't work out.  If I were to sit and write down all my incomplete plans it would be immediately obvious that I want do a lot more than one person can actually do with the days I am given.  I guess I am somehow addicted to getting things done, trying to do a lot on my own.

So I want to learn a new habit, praying first.  Not waiting to get stuck before I start praying, but praying when I first encounter a new problem.  Can you join me in asking God for this habit?

(This is the third and final post on prayer requests arising from my Daddy Retreat.  Can you join me in thanking God for this beautiful time of rest and fellowship with him, and for specifically answering my prayer to show me what to pray?)





Monday, November 2, 2020

VISAS!

 We expect our Visa applications for Acacia and Olivia are now in the embassy in New York. 

Pray that they'll come in time for our departure at the end of this month!




Make Up or Make Over



 This morning I woke up with 25 minutes to get my family out the door to church. 

Zach groggily sat up and started doing his Bible memory verses.  I protested, "Honey, we have 25 minutes!" I left him in the bedroom, feeling a bit annoyed as I headed toward the sounds of my happy little girls who needed dressing and hair brushing.  Ten minutes later, I got my African dress on I had reserved for the conference and quickly reminded my husband working on his memory verses that we now had 15 minutes before we needed to leave, once again leaving in a huff.

As my mostly dressed children were eating breakfast, I put on some blush over pale cheeks and reached for the mascara.  At that moment a question pricked my heart.  "Why do you think that you putting on make up prepares you better to go to church than Zach memorizing verses from Matthew?" 

Point taken.  My husband was focused on preparing the place where love, joy, power, and peace flow from a satisfied-in-Christ heart. I too often am focused on the things in the periphery of the heart of God. When I think of my little girls and those observing my life, where do I want them to put their most devoted attention, invest their most precious moments of demanding days?  I would really love to say with Paul, "Follow me as I follow Christ," instead of "Follow Daddy 'cause he is following Christ."  I want them to see me investing in the things that last forever because only those things bring true joy and beauty!

I have a tendency to say, "Just this once," but when "just this once" becomes a pattern that doesn't lead to life, then I am not giving myself grace, I'm giving myself an excuse. I'm trying to justify a life that is not full of everything beautiful as God intends it to be. Instead, I have been satisfied with make up when I could get a make over of the heart that will reap priceless rewards today and for eternity.

Chosen Banquet

"Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.   God decided in advanc...