Sunday, May 31, 2020

When the World's Movement Suddenly Shifts

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
for He who promised is faithful."
(Hebrews 10:23)

Hey Friend,

Have you ever had the trajectory of your life turn on a dime?  It's as if the world was spinning on its axis, as it's done forever in one direction, and then suddenly it reversed and started spinning in the other direction.

Perhaps you feel that way with this recent pandemic?  Wasn't it just weeks ago that we shook hands, gave bear hugs, gathered in groups, and simply went about our lives?  Now we are all distancing guests at an awkward masquerade ball.  We try to dance to the music that is playing but we don't know the steps.

Life can change drastically over weeks, days, moments, and even a split second can cause a seismic shift to take place.

Ten years ago, my feelings about life mimicked what many are feeling now...hopelessness.  I had traversed a year of turbulence brought about by separation in my marriage.  This was the second season of separation, and I knew that this time it would not end with reconciliation.

With my grown children living their own lives, I immersed myself in my work with the precious preschoolers that brought joy to my life each day.  God gave them to me as a lifeline. That was, until the last day of school in June, when the Director called me into her office and told me rather matter-of-factly that she had decided to let me go.  My personal life was obviously affecting my work and she felt it was the prudent thing to do. 

I cried the whole way home in the car.  I had been told, yet again, and in no uncertain terms that I wasn't making the grade; I wasn't needed; and I certainly wasn't wanted.  I felt like a tender shoot of grass, fragile in my stance and desperately leaning toward the light, that was suddenly squashed by the heavy boot called life.  I was back in the muck and mire and the whole world looked hopeless from where I lay.

My fingers scrambled over the buttons on the phone:  Mom? No answer. Girlfriends? No. Relatives? No.  Maybe they'd be on Facebook?  No, No, No.  My world, as I knew it was falling apart and there was no one I was close to with whom I could release my pain.

The only person on Facebook that afternoon was a friend I knew in high school.  The boy I knew, then, was quiet, studious, and shy, but he was kind and a straight arrow.  But, I hadn't really had a meaningful conversation with him in over thirty years ("Likes" for posts don't really count). I couldn't just strike up a conversation, "Hey, how ya been these past 30 years?"  Oh how pathetic, I thought to myself.

But something inside me said, "It's okay.  There's a reason he's the only person available at this moment in time."

"Why is he home in the middle of the afternoon?" I wondered.  "Maybe he works from home...or maybe he is a hermit who lives in his mother's basement?" A quick look in the mirror at my swollen red eyes reminded me that I was in no position to judge.  

An inexplicable force made my fingers click across the keyboard.  "Hey," I typed... silence.  "What an idiot you are," I chided myself.  "Hey," now that's really brilliant  for a Communications major.  "Hey" was all I could muster...

I came to learn later that he hadn't had conversations on Facebook and really wasn't sure if I was talking to him.  We look back, now, and laugh about what we lovingly refer to as "Hey" Day.  In that second, on that day, ten years ago, the trajectory of our lives totally changed for the better.  

Married for over six blessed years, we are trying to think of a pandemic-friendly way to celebrate this day that the world started spinning in the opposite (right) direction.  

Since this is not heaven and life here on this planet is often hard, painful, and ugly, hope must start with God in order for us to endure what life throws at us.

God, you have said, "those who hope in me will not be disappointed," (Isaiah 49:23).  I know for a fact that you are faithful to your promises. 

"You are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."  (Psalm 25:5)

In that split second in time, my heart was touched by God's tender lovingkindness and my mind was opened to the wonder of who God is.  My whole world changed direction on "Hey" Day (June 2, 2010).  I can say with confidence that I know the hope to which God has called me and I praise Him with all of my heart.

Just as our world shifted its direction when the pandemic began, it can change direction, again, on a dime.  We will, however, need to put our hope solely in God (not on an outcome or result).  We will have to trust Him with it ALL!  We have to believe that our God is faithful and give him our honor and obedience.

I'll end this post by encouraging you to pray this scripture with me:

Because of the Lord's faithful love we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!
I say, "The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in him.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the person who seeks him.
It is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord."
(Lamentations 3: 22-26)

What about you?  Does your world feel like it's spinning in the wrong direction?  How do you cope with uncertainty?  What do you think God's up to?  Where does your hope lie and your strength come from in the waiting?  Will you share?

Be blessed...

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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Deathless Prayers

Hey Friend,

I know deep in my soul that ANYTHING is possible with God.  Here comes the "but."  But...I've been praying this same prayer for years now and often it feels like it falls on deaf ears.  

Mother's Day, for me, looms on the horizon.  In a way, I'm secretly glad that we are quarantined and I don't have to go to church and hear the "Happy Mother's Day" well wishes.  I know I'm not alone.  

For many, Mother's Day is a reminder of what "isn't."  Women who long to be mothers; mothers who have lost children; children who've lost mothers; children who've had abusive or addicted mothers; mothers estranged from their children...

I know many who are not perfect moms (including me) - who've made many mistakes.  Perhaps you long to be remembered, appreciated, or forgiven, yet the divide remains?

When my children were young, like Mary, I treasured these things in my heart.  My desire, more than anything, was that they would have an intimate relationship with their heavenly father.  I want that for them, even more than a relationship with me. 

I pray that the marvelous seeds that developed in the springtime of my daughter's heart will one day flower.

I am resolved to pray for my son every day, and I take comfort in the fact that God looks forward to the day he grows in his faith, even more than I do.

"The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary."  (Isaiah 40:28)

His amazing strength is able to pursue my children long after my own is gone. Because of His faithfulness, the prayers I've placed before my Father's throne will still be there, waiting to be answered in His perfect will and His perfect way.

E.M. Bounds, a minister and chaplain during the Civil War has this to say about prayer:

"God shapes the world by prayer.  Prayers are deathless. The lips that utter them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God's heart is set on them. Prayers outlive the lives of those that uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world."

I take heart that God will receive my prayers, offered in faith, with an everlasting love that never fails.

As much as I treasure my children, God treasures them more.  Their worth to God is incalculable.  And so I bring them before His throne once again.

"Your prayers, dear child of God...shall be answered - some of them, perhaps, during your lifetime on earth, and all of them, certainly, during your lifetime in heaven."  - Samuel Prime

Dear Heavenly Father, I bring before you all the people reading this who have prayers they have prayed over and over again with seemingly no answer.  Give them strength and faith to know that you are always working behind the scenes and never turn a deaf ear.  I thank you and praise you that my prayers and the prayers of those praying this not only meet your ears, but meet your heart.  Thank you for loving those I pray for even more than I do.  May your good and perfect will be done.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you?  Are there prayers you've been praying with no answer in sight?  How does it affect you to know that your prayers continue on long after you are gone?  Do you believe that your prayers will one day, all be answered?  How can you adopt a more eternal perspective?  Will you share?

Be blessed...

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