Tag Archive | prayer

Mama’s Reinforcer

My 3 brothers and I were rambunctious, curious, headstrong kids who were constantly experimenting, trying out new things, building contraptions, getting into scrapes.  Especially when we concocted pretend battles that earned us scrapes and more than one hilarious–if unexpected–outcome. (Tale for another time)

Yet when Mama said jump, we did.  Didn’t ask why.  Or argue.   We just understood that she was Mama, she was in charge, she knew best, and she had a little maple switch to back up her words if we disagreed.

She didn’t use it much.  She didn’t have to.  She knew that our history with her and our aversion to pain had taught us to trust her at her word.  The few times our egos got in the way and that little guy with the horns on my left shoulder prompted me to flip that big toe over the line a bit too far…I had the Truth of what I already knew reinforced.

Don’t get me wrong, I would never dare to complain about this.  It wasn’t excessive; it wasn’t cruel or meant to harm.  It was love in action; love showing us that we had firm boundaries in place for our safety and protection.  We knew that from her perspective, in her many years of wisdom earned the hard way, that she absolutely knew what was the right thing for us to do.  Our doubts were set to rest with a bit of stinging on the legs, a few tender tears, and a much chastened ego.

When I read again John 2: 4 today, (about the wedding in Cana) I had to think about mothers and their children.  As a mother of grown sons today, When I see a need to be filled, I quietly direct my sons in the same way that Mary did.  “Jack, we need more tea,” or “Seth, that box is too heavy for her.”  I know without hesitation that they will acquiesce, and help in whatever way my statement implied.  I know that’s taking huge license with the Saviour and His relationship to his mother, but that’s my personal frame of reference here.

Yet Jesus’ statement in verse 4 was, (as stated in the Hebrew Names Version),

4 Yeshua said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful or refusing to obey; He was simply asking her to consider His own perspective of His mission of salvation versus her more immediate temporal concern.

That is a huge lesson for me right now.  Recovering from an unexpected divorce, I have my own laundry list of immediate wants and needs that I’ve taken to Him, confident that He cares.  But He’s reminding me that His perspective is different from mine.  His purposes in the trials I face today are eternal, not temporal.

That’s quite a lesson for me.  I wanted to pass it along, for what it’s worth.  And to share with you one more bit of serendipity…the verse to encourage me that came to mind from this study was from I Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV).

Now, I have a children’s memory verse pad—it’s a post-it note pad with a different verse printed on every page in large print—I guess it’s used in VBS or children’s classes.  The top one was about children obeying their parents.  I used to stick them on the mirror and around the house, as reminders.

Haven’t used it in a while.  In a pinch, I turned it over and scribbled I Peter 5:7 down on the back of the last well-worn sheet that still had a bit of sticky on it. I folded the sticky edge down and stuck it with the verse I wrote showing on my bookshelf beside my desk.  It was a few moments later when I stood up to leave the desk, that I glanced at the notepad to see what the new memory verse would be.  Here it is: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

 

Memory verse pad

“Nothing Can Stop Us Now”

[Once again, this draft was penned in June a year and a half ago.  It’s ancient history now :0), but I’m pleased in a shy way to see how upbeat I was able to be.]

 

The last time I wrote (January 1) I exclaimed, “What’s Next, Father?”  and basically stood amazed, waiting for whatever He brought my way.

I wanted to let the few of you who still read this little chat know what has transpired since then.

Times grew worse; desperate, in fact.  I wish I could list for you all the particulars, but for now let’s just say that I can’t imagine anything worse happening to us.  (What a frightful thing to say, now I see this and wonder if I “jinxed” our journey).

Then on one of the earliest sunny days in 2014 to date, someone that neither my husband nor I had ever contacted called him and asked him to come to work for them.  Right here in Oklahoma.  No 12 hours of travel; no outlay of expense for hotel, or anything.  Just wanted him to come to work immediately.

And a couple of days following that–ending 3 years of unemployment–I was called for an interview that I had joked about a few days earlier.  I’d grown so used to pouring my all into an interview to no avail, that I just relaxed and enjoyed this one. No pressure–if I wasn’t going to get the job, there was no reason to fret and be nervous. So I relaxed, and laughed a lot, and had a great time in this interview. In fact, when I left the boss’s office, I was so pleased just to have a warm and confident interview that I was encouraged just to have accomplished that simple act.

You can’t imagine the awe and delight in my heart when I was asked to accept the position a couple of days later.  It was more than I could fathom that all of this would transpire at the same time.  BOTH of us hired within a few days’ time.

To shorten a long and rather boring tale, we’re now in a new home; smaller, but beautiful.  We have a new beginning; new jobs, new dreams, and thankfully, a new purpose.

Last time it was “What’s Next, Father?” And this time I can truly say it’s all about Him.  To quote my husband’s wedding vows to me, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now.”

 

Never Know How Little You Know Until You Teach

Been teaching lately.  And while it shouldn’t, it still surprises me how much I learn just from preparing to teach.  A few pearls I’ve picked up this year:

  • You do not have the answers to everything.
  •  It’s okay not to have the answers to everything.
  • Expounding longer and in detail while it sounds a bit impressive (to the beginner’s ear) does not improve the percentage of learning that takes place.  In fact, it usually drops the numbers a bit.
  • Students learn as much when you ask them questions as when you provide answers.  Possibly more.
  • The times you’re less well-prepared tend to turn out pretty well.  In spite of you.
  • It’s very humbling to hear simple wisdom emanate from someone you had totally underestimated.  And gratifying, somehow.
  • Wisdom comes in many forms.
  • The lesson you thought you were teaching isn’t always what was learned.  And that’s okay.
  • “Pride goes before a perilous fall”…watch the teacher stumble. Pride shouldn’t enter into lesson preparation OR delivery.
  • About 12 years ago I wrote an article titled “Surprised by Christ.”  It still rings true.  No matter how well I believe I know Him, He continually amazes me.
  • A lesson not bathed in prayer isn’t worth teaching.
  • Timing is important.  I repeat.  Timing is important.
  • Teaching is addicitive.  Or more like a calling.  I’m driven to it; can’t help it.  Can’t get enough of it.

Enough said.

I Can’t Say Amen

Goodness!!  It seems now that with growing frequency, whenever I bow my head (when I’m alone) or sometimes with a close friend sharing a meal, that I bow my head to say our thanks for the food in front of us…and I just can’t do it.

I begin thanking God, remembering Who He is.  Remembering how He even managed to fashion the miracle of a human being is astounding, much less develop the capillaries and the tongue, teeth, and meat of the animal that’s been placed before me for a hearty meal.  How do I even begin to wrap my senses around how much effort, how much unfathomable intelligence thath it took, to even comprehend what it would take to create out of simple matter a living, breathing–your see?   My food’s grown cold, my friend is looking at me with a “what’s with you?” expression…  And I realize I’ve done it again.  I whisper a quiet, “forgive us our sins, Lord, we love you, in Jesus’ name” and end my prayer. But it isn’t finished.  It just isn’t.

What’s next, Father?

Jenni on the highwayMidnight’s approaching.  I wish for something special.

Something unique to mark this year’s end.

Such a huge promise awaits just on the other side of the clock.

So exciting, that the approach has to be marked in a special way.

Special?  How about those stars shining down on me from thousands of years ago?

How about the soft, cold winds blowing across my face, that blew across the sands of the Orient  not long ago?

How could you ask for a more brilliant marker, a fancier benchmark than the glistening moon shining down on the face of the one that you love?

Ok.   That’s good enough for me.  Tonight has been recorded in a significant way.

Now, I’m ready for tomorrow and whatever He has in store.

Thank you, Lord.

Time Alone

Peaceful

Peaceful (Photo credit: gem66)

We tend to complain about the pace of things; with technology and schedules and activities, it seems we have no time to think; to evaluate who and where we are.   With priorities conflicting, family, work, leisure, the  mechanics of daily living, things can get pretty confusing.

Yet one thing I’d like to stress today, if my words have any value at all:  If you are experiencing confusion, it is NOT from God.  That’s a popular distraction of Satan‘s, to have you believe that God is sending it your way.  But remember–He’s a God of balance and order, not of confusion or chaos.

And He is a God of Peace.  Seek His peace; shut off Satan’s big mouth, (yes, you can do it) banish Satan and he must flee.      Get alone.  Follow Jesus’ example.  Go somewhere quiet and alone.  Jesus will meet you there.  Time after time  we see Him in the Scriptures slipping off to get alone and pray.   He knew the value of it.  (see Mark 1:35; Mark 6:45,46; Mark 14:32-34; Luke 4:42; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12)

And He highly recommends it:  Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)     But don’t do it for “all these things”.  Do it for peace.  There is nothing–I mean nothing like it. 

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:7)