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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

” ‘I will not let You go until You bless me,’ was the tenacious, passionate motto of my youth. It was the ultimate challenge to God of how much I really wanted the things I said I did.”

I read these words from the blog “Mindspace” and everything stopped as I thought of the implication these words had for me. Yes, I have spent years praying for my marriage, but God knows my heart, and He knows I have not prayed for my husband with conviction, passion or faith in a long, (long) time.

“God then challenged me to acknowledge that as long as I didn’t pray for my husband, I had no right to complain, or be dissatisfied, or demand change . . . “

“It was like God was saying, ‘What kind of marriage do you really want? What kind of man are you really seeking for in your husband? How serious are you? How much do you really want it? Enough to go to therapy, read books on marriage and self improvement . . . But how about pray? You complain, analyze, are disappointed, disillusioned, ready to give up . . . while it is much more work to trust God’s timing, to stand your ground, to stay alert to Satan’s lies . . . Pray. Pray for the fathers you never had, the intimacy you’ve never seen modeled, the honesty and wholeness that is foreign to both of your families of origin.’ “

“He challenged me ¬†to never open my mouth and complain if I am not willing to spend even a fraction of that time on my knees praying.”

” . . . And so I will pray. Not just for the sake of myself and my husband, but for my children, the new generation, I am praying for a new family history, a break in the sin of the forefathers, and a new level of health and wholeness for my family.” ~ Mindspace

Wow, huh? I am humbled by her words. How can I not be when they cut to the core of everything?

” . . . And so I will pray.”

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Often times, the things I know, the things of which I am certain, are outnumbered by all the things in my world which make no sense.

I am in one of those seasons now.

I have literally poured my life into my children, yet today, this family seems to show no evidence of that. And while there is no tangible comfort for me right now, I stand before God, in all my weakness and weariness, holding the only thing I have . . . . His strength.

Realizing that acknowledging is not the same as approving and that I must walk the painful road of maintaining God’s standards while I continue to love (ALL) my children.

Following God’s example, loving my wayward ones, always making room for the way back, without changing the standards of my own convictions.

Remembering that I am the right parent for my child because I know first hand the restoration of sexual brokenness through a relationship with Jesus.

Knowing that my child is not a mystery – that God has their instruction manual . . . And that God knows my heart, my motives and my dreams for these children. My children . . . my legacy.

Hebrews 12:12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.

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Good morning, had a crazy dream about you last night, so I’m checking in, making sure you’re alive and well . . “

I received this text the other day, from a long time friend whom I treasured, but who had no idea of my struggles.

Me: “I’m alive and well. What was your dream?

Friend: “That you and your husband were splitting up and you were walking away from it all – Crazy.”

***

I had recently been feeling that God wanted me to expand my accountability group, and that my family was going to need an even larger covering of prayer. My prayer partners, at this point, were a group of three women from my church, but I knew God had been leading me to believe I now needed to have a group of seven. (including myself) I was hesitant, but not because I didn’t believe it was necessary. As a matter of fact, God had been consistent and insistent that I prepare myself for what was to come by surrounding myself with more prayer warriors.

The reason I was hesitant being that the whole process of telling my story was so draining. Opening myself up and becoming vulnerable by telling of the pain I had endured by the one everyone knew as my dear husband, was no easy task.

. . . But the time had come. (again)

***

Me: “Your dream is pretty accurate . . .”

Friend: “No! . . . My husband and I had a feeling something wasn’t right the last time we saw you. Ever since then, we’ve been praying and my husband actually wanted to call D last week, but he didn’t want to over-step . . .”

Me: “I’m sure D wouldn’t mind having your husband call. He mentioned that your husband asked him about our marriage the last time we saw you, but he never told me how he responded. Especially since his point being to accuse me of disrespecting him by talking to you about our marital problems, which he concluded HAD to be the reason your husband asked.

Friend: Funny how God works. My husband said that it was D who actually made a few comments that led them down that path. He told me later that he wanted to pray for you both before leaving . . . That began a conversation between my husband and I, about how we should never leave something undone that the Lord is prompting us to do.”

Me: “So glad you texted me this morning. God definitely uses people who listen to and obey His voice.”

Friend: “I will keep you in prayer – hang in there. Some bumps in the road are bigger and take longer to get thru. Trust God. I know what I’m talking about.

Me: “Even though my difficulties have been going on for many years, it was only some months ago that I realized I had reached a place in my journey where I couldn’t go any further without the help and prayers of others. I have been blessed to have 3 women in my life who have been my prayer/accountability partners, but I am now at a point where I feel the challenges my family will be facing are going to intensify, and I feel led to expand my group of prayer warrior women.”

“I am hoping you will consider being a part of this group.”

Friend: I am so glad you have reached out for support. Too often we find people going the journey alone, and it’s not necessary. Many of us have been through the valleys and can lend a ear, a shoulder, and most importantly, pray with you.”

I am humbled that you would include me in this very important group of women that you hold dear to your heart. I’m always amazed at how God works. You can count on me.”

***

I then did something that I never thought I’d do. I sent my sweet friend the link to my blog. While I thought it would be the best way for her to “catch up” on my life, by no means was it the easiest. Up until now, no one knew of this private place I call my gossamer life. But again, I felt it was time.

Within a few days, I received this message:

I couldn’t sleep tonight. I’ve been up since 3:30am reading your blog.”

“Saying we had much to catch up on doesn’t even begin to describe all the things floating in my head right now.”

“I wish you would have shared. I wish I had known.”

You have listened to me without judgement, as I shared the things my own marriage has endured. You listened, and never said a word, even though you were enduring your own struggles. Forgive me for being so selfish.”

I want to be someone who gives as much as I receive. You have been my constant friend and I will stand with you in thought and prayer.”

***

Proverbs 27:9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

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Squeezed my car into a parking space about a block away from the coffee shop. No time to think. Running late. Trying not to attract too much attention as I hurried through the crowds that were leisurely walking down the street that evening.

I burst through the door, and saw they were already there. Sitting at a round table and sipping their coffee. The three women who had agreed to meet with me. They had no idea what I would be sharing with them that night . . . And neither did I. I had no speech planned. No “once upon a time ” story to tell. My only thought was to be factual, not emotional.

I plunged right in. I don’t remember now where I started, ended or what I said in between. I do remember that I was able to be factual, but not without tears streaming down my face. So out of character for me . . . having no control over the anxiety, the broken-ness and the exhaustion that overcame me, and having no choice but to just let the tears fall.

From start to finish, my audience just listened without a single interruption. By the expression on their faces, I had no idea what they were thinking. All I knew was that this was a divine appointment. One that the authentic ME could have never attended any earlier than that night.

When I finished speaking, their responses were all uniquely their own, but each echoing the same sentiments. Surprise? – yes. Support? – yes Strength? – yes. But judgement? – no.

I cannot say that I felt an immediate burden lifting off my shoulders. Truthfully, I was even more scared than before. Asking myself, “What have I done?!” . . . “What if my husband finds out?!” . . . And the inevitable, “Now what?!” . . .

The realization then came to me that, “from now on, I would not choose a course of action because it would ‘change’ my husband or teach him a lesson, but because it was the right thing to do for me . . . for the person I aspire to become.” (G. Pera) And I now had people in my life to keep me accountable to that goal.

Philippians 1:20 For I now live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ as I have been in the past and that my life will always honor Christ whether I live or whether I die.

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Isolation.

Sometimes where I choose to be, sometimes where I find myself without intention.

“I’ve been brought to a place in my journey where I couldn’t go any further without help from others. I’d taken all the steps I could take on my own.” (Thin Places – a deeper story)

. . . Sunday school was about to begin, and as much as I didn’t want to say the words, I knew I had to.

“B, when you have a few minutes, can I talk to you?” I asked.

“Of course, let’s meet up after Sunday school,” was her reply.

My heart was in my stomach and I had no idea how I would begin my story, but I knew it was time to end the isolation that I was living in . . .

“O the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the ungodly or stand around with sinners or join in with scoffers. But they delight in doing everything the Lord wants; day and night they think about His law. They are like trees planted along the riverbank bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither and in all they do, they prosper.”

Psalms 1 had been repeating in my head for several weeks and my heart was finally convinced that God wanted me to take off the mask I wore like a second skin and be authentic. He was not asking me to reveal to the world all the issues of my heart, but to find a group of women (three women, to be exact) to be my “Godly counsel”. To keep me accountable for my behavior, pray with me, for me, for my marriage, and my family.

Three women who were not necessarily my best friends, but women who were prayer warriors, women who had spiritual maturity, women who had the emotional availability I needed, and women who were discrete.

Even though I knew what characteristics these women should have, I was clueless as to who they would be.

So I prayed.

And God was faithful.

I approached each woman separately, one in person and two via e-mail. This is what I said:

” . . . You have been in my thoughts and I want to ask you a favor – something to think about . . .”

“I have been going through ¬†difficulties for some time now, and I feel it is time to ask for help.”

“I have felt led to ask 3 Christian women to be my ‘Godly counsel’. Women with whom I can be completely transparent. I’m not looking for women who have all the answers, but who can listen, pray with me, encourage me, and hold me accountable to God honoring responses to the challenges I am facing.”

“I would like to ask if you would consider being a part of this group. I know you are a woman of spiritual maturity, common sense and discretion, but I also realize that you might not be available during this season of life. So I will completely understand if this is not something you feel you can commit to.”

“Please do not feel rushed to make a decision . . . “

It took so much humility for me to approach these women, but it was God’s faithfulness and their responses which truly left me humbled. With love and without any hesitation or judgment, each woman agreed.

“The spirit of Christ will rise up in others when we need it the most. He never intended us to deal with our sorrows alone.” (author unknown)

(to be continued)

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