Tag Archives: prayer

An Immediate God

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Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit detached from my faith. Sure, I go to church, pray before meals, toss up little “popcorn” prayers throughout my days. But, I’m not involved in any kind of Bible study. I’m not serving in His Name anywhere.  I’m not reading any of my dozen or more devotional books that I have on my bookshelves. I’m not spending any kind of quality time praying and listening for answers. I’m not being still….at all.

One night, recently, I was praying that God would give me the self-discipline I needed to get back into His Word and take time to pray more often instead of filling my days with just “stuff.” I went to bed that night telling God that I needed Him to get me back on track and into more of a routine to make sure that I’m taking the time to slow down and read the Bible and listen to what He has for me. At the time, I thought that was a pretty good prayer. I thought that was what I needed. I went to bed that night determined to “try harder” the next day to spend time with God.

I woke up the next day and got the kids off to school. Before starting the rest of my day, I quickly grabbed my copy of Jesus Calling. If you have this devotional, you know how absolutely amazing it is. If you aren’t familiar with it, I highly recommend picking up a copy. It’s a quick read but each short devotional is filled with amazing insight and guidance.  On this particular morning, God did not disappoint. I started reading the following entry:

Let Me infuse My peace into your innermost being. As you sit quietly in the Light of My Presence, you can sense Peace growing within you. This is not something you accomplish through self-discipline and willpower; it is opening yourself to receive My blessing. (emphasis added)

WHOA! God just used my exact same words! He heard my prayer and gave me an immediate answer. Even though I know that God answers prayers all the time, I was taken aback. He’s answered many of mine over the course of my lifetime. But, this one felt like I was having a dialog with Him. I asked him to help me be more self-disciplined and He answered right away. Self-discipline was the last thing I needed. What I needed was to just sit quietly with Him and open my heart to receive Him and all His blessings.

I decided to dig a little deeper into self-discipline and willpower.

Willpower is defined as; self-control: the trait of resolutely controlling your own behavior.

Self-discipline is defined as;  training and control of oneself and one’s conduct, usually for personal improvement.

The common denominator in these two definitions is control of oneself. This is the exact opposite of what having a relationship with Jesus Christ is all about. Having a relationship with our Savior is about releasing that control. It’s about allowing God to control our steps and guide us in His ways. This is something that is very hard to do, especially in our culture and society. We live in a world where people seek control in all they do. There are even those who panic when they feel they don’t have control. Many of us have come across what is commonly known as a “control freak.” For many of us, that label hits pretty close to home. We have remote controls for TV’s, toys, radios and cars! That’s what we are programmed to do….control things. So, this devotional was more of a challenge than I originally had thought. Give up control? This was not going to be an easy task.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are at least a dozen Bible passages that talk about having self-control. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about here is not just a one time thing. It is something that we need to do everyday…all day. When we wake…hand the day over to God’s will. When we face trials….ask God for His guidance. When we are in conversations…ask God to bless our speech and those that are listening. When we are angry that our children have disobeyed us once again….stop, breathe and ask for God’s mercy and grace to flow through us to them (that’s a hard one for me sometimes). When we have an opportunity to be Jesus for someone…ask God to give us the words THEY need to hear and not just what WE want to say.  Giving up control isn’t going to be easy. Shoot, I’m actually nervous about what that’s going to mean in my life. But, the devotional continues:

You have learned to thank Me for hard times and difficult journeys, trusting that through them I accomplish My best work. You have realized that needing Me is the key to knowing Me intimately, which is the gift above all gifts.

He’s right, you know. He has accomplished some of His best work in my hardest times. Without those tough times, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t be where I am today physically, emotionally and most of all, spiritually. Without His work in my life, I could never grow in my relationship with Him. A relationship that began as an acquaintance but is growing towards intimacy every day.

So, I ask you, who’s in control of your life? Can you give that up and allow God to do “His best work?”  If we open ourselves to receive God’s blessing, there is a whole world to discover that we may never see if we choose to “go it alone.” There is a whole lot we could miss out on if we only bring God along for the ride. The big question is…can we let go enough to let Him drive and allow ourselves to receive His blessing?

Isaiah-58-11

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A Little Perspective

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The other day I was driving in the car by myself and listening to K-LOVE radio (96.7 for those in the NYC area). I think a lot. Sometimes I do this too much. This particular day I was thinking about my sweet Alli. It wasn’t long after my “mommy meltdown” mentioned in an earlier post. I was still questioning God on His decision to trust me with Alli and Nate. I was still wondering why He chose me when he knew I would screw up as often as I do. I was thinking back to my days before children and how I longed to be a mom. I remember dreaming about one day having a daughter and a son. I started crying…again…because I felt like I was, for lack of a better term, mourning the loss of the daughter that I thought I would have. No woman dreams of having/adopting a child with special needs. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that I would love whatever child was brought into my life. However, we can never anticipate the challenges that lie ahead for us. I see my friends who have daughters the same age as my Alli and their relationship is very different from the one I have with my daughter. Confession time….sometimes I feel jealous. This day, driving in my car alone, was one of those days. I began to “mourn” the loss of my vision of who I thought my daughter would be.  Before I could get too deep into this, God grabbed ahold of me and almost literally shook me out of my funk.

I had arrived at my destination, found a parking spot and was about to turn off the car. I had the radio on in the background but was absent-mindedly listening. A woman had just called in and asked if the radio station would take a prayer request. For some reason, I stopped myself from turning off the car to hear what it was. There was something in her voice. A softness and sense of peace that I so rarely hear. Her prayer request was short and sweet. Her six-week old son was just diagnosed with cancer. She asked for peace and understanding because she didn’t know how long they had left with him. Needless to say, I sat there and cried. The radio personalities stopped right then and there and prayed for this new mom and her husband. They prayed that this little boy would be miraculously healed. They prayed that God would reveal to them His plan and how, even should this baby return to God so soon, He would bring joy out of it someday.

I prayed with them and then I prayed for forgiveness. In my focus on what I felt I had lost by adopting a daughter with special needs I had overlooked the most important part. I still have a daughter to hug and to hold. I have a daughter who writes me notes all the time just to tell me how much she loves me. I have a daughter who is creative and funny and makes me laugh all the time. I have a daughter who is beautiful and loving. These parents may never hear their son speak a word. These parents may never feel their son’s embrace. I have all these things. How could I be so self-absorbed.

I sat there in my car for over ten minutes sobbing with my shoulders shaking. I had just experienced one of the many reasons their son was going through this battle at such a young age. A little perspective is all I needed to fully embrace my children for who they are…special needs and all.