The Fig Tree (#jammed daily devo, day 315)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 315: Thankful for prayer.

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

Slumped down on the kitchen floor in a heap of tears, I cried up …315

“Why ….I don’t understand …this is so hard …this hurts so much….”

In the depths of my soul, I knew He could hear me and trusted His ways over mine, but life hurts more than my eyes can see past sometimes. Some moments are crushing …and that’s when our faith kicks in.

In today’s verse, Jesus curses a fig tree, and though it has leaves the fruit is no more. There is some theology about the swiftness of judgement that Jesus is illustrating, but today we are going to look at the way Jesus’ encourages His disciples …and us …to have faith and pray.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. Mark 11:21

Many times we pray but don’t expect God to answer directly. He isn’t always going to, because His direct answers don’t look the same as our expectations. But Jesus tells us to pray as if our mountains will move …and He will move them. Believe that He can, and it will happen.

When we believe in Jesus He begins to grow our line of sight. We’re OK with what we can’t see, and become better at trusting Him. Our prayers become proclamations, when we marinate our minds in His Word. We know He will answer, and aren’t worried about how we think He should. Believing prayer allows room for God to work.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and thank You for the channel of prayer He opened up for us. Forgive us for our lack of faith …even when we pray. Bless us to trust You more each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Praying,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

Stay encouraged!

The Impossible Things (#recall 12 series, September)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each month! This month’s verse is: 

“If you can?” Mark 9:23 (NIV)

Unknown

“Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” -Alice in Wonderland

There’s a scene at the end of Alice in Wonderland, where Alice is trying to summon the strength within herself to slay the Jabowake. And in doing so, she recalls all of the impossible things that she has believed. It gives her the courage to do what she believes she can do. Although a fictional story, this classic tale inspires us to remember that “the only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it’s possible.”

The mind can be trained to believe, and our thoughts can be told what we’re capable of. When we come down with a severe case of the “I can’t’s,” it helps to remember Who can. In this month’s memory verse, Jesus asks …“If you can?” Of course we can’t …but He can. And with Him, we will. Let’s look at the entire verse:#recall12 September tweet 1

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23 (NIV)

If you can? 

“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. Mark 9:16

Doubt can kick the legs of our faith right out from underneath us. Arguments often seed in doubt and threaten to exploit distrust of another’s beliefs.

doubt-to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe. distrust.

Jesus’ disciples were arguing over something that wasn’t going according to plan. The solution they sought wasn’t happening as they thought it should …or had in the past.

“Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech …I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” Mark 9:17-18

Why, this particular time, aren’t His disciples able to heal this boy?

Everything is possible…

Jesus begins to address what is possible for them, and what is possible only for God. Possible often looks a lot different in our eyes than it does to the One who actually has a finger on all things alive.

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” Mark 9:19

Notice what happens when they stop arguing, and start to obey Jesus.

 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. Mark 9:20

Even the spirit saw Jesus coming, and took one last attempt to take the boy out. Life often seems to bear down when we’re already under attack, and that’s exactly what the spirit was doing to this boy.

“A person who truly believes will set no limits on what God can do.” NIV Study Bible Notes

There will be times in all of our lives where Jesus is the only one who will be able to help us.

“…if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Mark 9:22

 

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…for the one who believes.

When beyond our limits, our belief in Christ saves us. Again and again, He will lift us out of what life has buried us in.

“The question was not whether Jesus had the power to heal the boy but whether the father had faith to believe it.” NIV Study Bible Notes

When we walk with Christ, the Holy Spirit will convict our hearts when we’ve let our doubt lead us into dangerous territory. Much like God moved the father’s heart …

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

The hardest part of faith isn’t accepting Jesus as our Savior. It’s not overcoming our doubt. It’s not even believing that the impossible is possible. The difficulty is in understanding what God’s seemingly impossible capability looks like …feels like …sounds like… in our everyday lives.

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

We’re not always going to be equipped to climb our mountains. Sometimes, we have to sit back and let God move them.

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”#recall12 September tweet 2

The hardest part of living in faith is sitting still in the pocket of prayer. Humanity is very goal-oriented. There are many times when are guts achieve God’s glorious goals for our lives. Tenacity and boldness are significantly important to walk out our faith. But there are some tasks that will surpass our physicalities. Answers to questions will eventually elude our logical abilities. Sometimes God answers …“this kind can come out only by prayer.”

Life isn’t always going to look like we think it should, thought it would, or want it to. But that doesn’t mean we should stop believing in the impossible. Our God is God of impossibilities, and Christ has authority over all the earth. The Spirit translates our prayers to God and God’s Word to us. His Word is faith’s handbook, and Christ-followed foot-steps eventually lead us to the Author.

Like Alice repeated the impossibilities that had become possible in her life to extend her courage to defeat the Jabowake …so must we repeat what God has made possible in our lives. When we look back and recount answered prayers, blessings, and miracles …we give our faith feet to stand firm and confidently in His Love.

Happy Believing,

Megs
September #recall 12 PDF

Click here, or on the image, for this month’s FREE verse cards!

Recall 12 September Screen Shot

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The Cat Fights (#jammed daily devo, day 220)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 220: Don’t growl about it.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all August 8your mind.’” Matthew 22:37 (NIV)

“STOP.”

My dog tried to act like she didn’t hear me.

“Cherry ….” I warned.

“Grrrrrrr……..”

“Quiet!” I yelled. “Get over here and lay down!”

She sauntered over and landed on my feet …with a sarcastic huff as she let out all of the breath she was saving to bark at the cat that torments her from across the street.

It’s all day long, until we move upstairs to go to sleep …where she growls at that cat from the change in scenery. Every once in a while she will jerk me out of a dead sleep to warn that cat not to cross the street. It’s rediculous. And on occasion, she sleeps on the other side of my shut door because of it.

Today’s verse talks about loving God with all that we know how to love Him with. It’s hard to focus Him 24/7. Like my dog is constantly distracted by that cat, we are thrown off by all kinds of calamity throughout our day. There never seems to be enough time. Life goes too fast, except when it’s easy for a minute.

When we are tempted to lose focus, we can simply look up and ask for help. He’s there, waiting to lend a hand in reminder of why we love Him so much. Attention spans are fickle, so we have to keep reeling them in over and over again …and giving them back to Him.

There are a lot of cats across the streets of our minds. Things that temp us to stew and people that we don’t feel like forgiving. There are situations out of our control and delays we don’t understand. Through it all, Christ’s hand reaches down to remind us that we are His.

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Father, Praise You for this day and this time to reflect on Your Word. Thank You for Jesus’ grip on our hands. Forgive us for wanting to growl and grimace at life, and help us to stay focused on You and follow Jesus …today, and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Praying,

Megs

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The Note We all Play (#jammed daily devo, day 208)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 208: Play the common note.

“She named him Samuel,saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” 1 Samuel 1:20July 27

Regardless of the type of instrument a musician plays in an ensemble or orchestra, there is almost always a note in each song that everyone plays.

The woman speaking in today’s verse knew that note well. It was a note of prayer.

“I asked …”

No matter how different our prayers are, we are all asking God for something. Healing, guidance, help, blessing …but beyond the note we all play are the aches familiar to each soul.  “Praise You ….Thank You …Forgive me …Bless me …” the sentiments that fill in the ellipsis are different for us all.

For Hannah, prayer had very much become about bearing a child. Heaped on top of the burden of her own barrenness, the was made fun of by her husband’s other wife for her inability to bear children. Her prayers were desperate for the only One she knew could grant her peace to do just that. And as He promises to us all, He heard her. Hannah walked away from prayer in peace.

Today’s Scripture is the happy answer to Hannah’s prayer. A son, whom she named Samuel, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

Christ laid down His life so that we could weave our hearts in and out of Scripture as we pray. We can come to the Father, through Him, no common notes required. Jesus not only gave us an example of what to say, but He showed us how to pray. In the desert, in the garden, amidst miracles, and on the cross. Tears of blood when He prayed to His Father …and of confidence in the desert has He quoted Scripture to affirm His grounds against Satan. To ask for forgiveness on behalf of those who beat Him unjustly as He hung on the cross. Jesus lived out prayer as a personal conversation between a Father and Son. With Praise, Thanks, Forgiveness, and Blessing.

This, then, is how you should pray:

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Praying,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

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The School Lunch (#jammed daily devo, day 127)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 127: Visit often.

“Take a moment to think about who you are with and what you are doing.” Proverbs 23:1 (VOICE)

Her face lit up and her legs broke out of line. Down the hallway she flew and into my arms. image-127On the days that my over-tasked tendencies give way to down time, I sometimes surprise my daughters by joining them for lunch at school. Squeezed into a small table full of little people, those are fleeting moments I will cherish forever. Especially, when they are embarrassed of me in their teenage years.

Today’s verse reminds us to be careful of the company we keep and be aware of our weaknesses and tendencies. The world doesn’t stop watching us when the lighting is bad. It’s important to step into situations where the love we receive from Him can reach others, but not so far as to fall back into easy temptations and old patterns.

My prayer is for my daughters to see me as I am as they grow up …an imperfect mess, who was rescued by Jesus. I want them to feel like they’ve always been sitting next to the same person squeezed into that elementary lunch table. Transparent and real. But, how do we know what to tell our kids and when?

To further understand today’s Scripture, let’s look at the whole verse section that it’s pulled out of:

When sitting down to eat with a ruler,
    take a moment to think about who you are with and what you are doing.
 If you are the type who eats too much too fast,
    do whatever is necessary to curb your enthusiasm for food.
 Also, do not eye the ruler’s delicacies,
    for the food may not be what it seems.” Proverbs 23:1-3 (VOICE)

 It’s situational. We will know our children well, and be able to weave the experience of our own pitfalls into their guidance through discipline …and possibly pealing back our own layers in conversation as time marches on. It will be important to prayerfully consider which parts of our hearts to reveal. He will use all of our struggles to help others if we are in tune to His voice. But, if we are oversharing in order to exalt our achievements or wield control, we will stumble and fall.

 Considering when to expose our kids to what they don’t know about their parents is a delicate process, to be revealed over time in God’s time. The best way to start is through prayerful conversation, and time in the Word each day. Take time …and give Him time.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for guiding us through each day so personally. Thank You for creating us each with a unique collection of experiences and characteristics. Forgive us for trying to impress others with our accomplishments and knowledge, and bless us with open minds and compassionate, honest heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Lunch dates,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

Stay encouraged!

The Hand-Held (#recall 12 series, May)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where together we are memorizing a little bit more of God’s Word each month! This month’s verse is:

“He is always listening.” Psalm 34:15 (VOICE)

“OK,” I repeated, “I got it.”

I cut through the soft, glass cove at sunset to the tune of gulls cackling and the Evinrude faithfully buzzing along. Fresh-water beaded up on my  sun-screened skin, as the pages of whatever book I’d been lost in all day flipped through my mind. I whirred to a peaceful stop to watch the orange setting sun.

“What’s your 20?” the hand-held cracked into my serenity. As much as I wanted to toss it to the gulls, I answered, “over here …look to your starboard,” and waved my arms at my dad as high as my constrictive ‘life-saving’ device would allow me to reach. I ached for freedom from the noise. march-recall-tweet-1

It’s hard to find a quiet place to think before you’re old enough to claim some independent space. I knew little then about how loud life would be now. God is funny, that way.

He is present in every memory, and every future step forward. He’s known us the longest, and knows us best. Who better to talk to about life, than to the One who is always listening?

Laugh with God.

For the Eternal watches over the righteous,
    and His ears are attuned to their prayers. He is always listening.” Psalm 35:15 (VOICE)

Despite the annoyance of teenage monitoring, it was fun to say “10-4,” “over and out,” and “Lieutenant Dan” on that little hand-held radio. We heard a lot of laughs and inside jokes on Channel 74 before cell phones took over.

may-recall-image-1Hearing carries a couple of themes throughout the Bible, but concerning this verse it means: “God hears the prayers of His people.” (Dictionary of Bible Themes, #5159) 

When I realized that I could just talk to my Father without the formality of the memorized prayers of my Catholic upbringing, it was akin to hearing His voice crackle through the hand-held radio saying “10-4.” Laughter! God truly knows how to comfort us, carry us, console us, and crack us up. Lean into Him prayerfully with the personality He knit.

Feel for peace.

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous [those with moral courage and spiritual integrity]
And His ears are open to their cry.” Psalm 34:15 (AMP)

Growing up on the water, the hand-held granted a sense of peace, even though there was distance between the boat and the shore. It was easy to call for help, and a feeling of never really being alone even when out of sight.

This verse goes so much deeper than God hearing what we are saying or praying. He is alert to what is happening in our world. He’s not a distant Father that checks in from time to time, He’s a hands-on Dad …ready to whack our hand away from the hot stove or put a pause on a situation we’re ready to rush through.may-recall-image-2

When we grab for Jesus’ hand, His peace trumps our solution. If we can quiet our hearts and search for Him, the peace we feel will direct our steps. God’s movement doesn’t always look the way we’d like to recognize it, but He longs to take our hand, give it a squeeze, and whisper, “this way.”

Audible thoughts.

God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.” Psalm 34:15 (MSG)

We don’t need a hand-held to call God for help, share a joke with Him, or just experience the comfort of knowing He’s there if we need Him. We need Jesus.

Words fail us, but He never does. We launch into tantrums and lose our tempers …ugly cry and vent in despair. Life is desperate at times, but the measures we take are no match for His power.

In a heap, in the corner, sobbing ourselves to sleep …He is there. Talking to ourselves in the mirror, or staring into a hopeless space …He is there. When we think we’ve blown it …lost it …or can’t move …He is there.

march-recall-tweet-2God wouldn’t have created boundless ways to communicate if there was one required way to speak to Him. His ear is universally omnipotent. Even Jesus ran out of words in the garden, praying with such agonous sadness He cried tears of blood.

He is in our indescribable moments, aware and alert to our heart, and compassionate to listen as we tumble through motions. Panic, fumble, stare, cry …there’s no wrong way to reach for the Father. Through Jesus’ death on the cross and our acceptance and belief in Him, we have full access to the One who sees us …knows us …created us …and loves us …unconditionally.

Happy Talking,

Megs

Click here or on the image below for free memory verse cards!

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Happy Link-ing!!!  Megs

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The Flash Drive (#recall12 series)

recall-12-feb-1

The Holy Spirit ignites within the moment we believe in Christ, opening our eyes and ears to interpret God’s living Word. Prayer is like a flash drive containing the situational solutions to all of our problems. It’s useful to save a few key life verses on it, which is recall-12-feb-verseexactly what we’re doing here in the #recall12 series. In our struggle to find a way, God leads us to pray.

“Always pray and never give up.” Luke 18:1 (NLT)

1. Persistance 

“He told them a parable, urging them to keep praying and never grow discouraged.” Luke 18:1 (VOICE)

This month’s memory verse is a prelude to ‘The Parable of the Persistant Widow.’ Through the story of a woman seeking a judge’s verdict, Jesus taught the his followers the value in persistent and perseverant prayer.

Though our gut’s reaction is to freakishly scramble for hurried solutions, God’s presence beckons to employ a prayerful flow of continued conversation.recall12-feb-2

2. Consistence

“He paid no attention to her request for a while, but then he said to himself,“I don’t care about what God thinks of me, much less what any mere human thinks.  But this widow is driving me crazy. She’s never going to quit coming to see me unless I hear her case and provide her legal protection.'” Luke 18:4-5

If this judge “didn’t care,” he wound’t have felt it necessary to broach the topic of this widow’s plight. The prodding of his heart was not his own conscience shifting, but someone else’s prayers being upheld.

God hears us. More importantly, He tells us to keep talking. Keep praying. When frustration emerges, let’s determine to pray into it, wait for God to lead us out of it …and have faith that He will.

3. Silence 

Did you catch what this self-assured judge said? If he can be moved to act justly, won’t God bring justice for His chosen people when they cry to Him day and night? Will He be slow to bring them justice?” Mark 8:6-7

God’s determination to help His people has little to do with our resolve to act rightly. He seeks to help those who seek Him, whether or not we are privy to His reality. God is not dependent upon any human behavior to justify His response. Jesus’ death on the cross gave His believers the opportunity to cry out to the Father in prayer, and trust that He hears and answers.recall12-feb-3

Gossip hurts. Isolation stings. Injury is painful. Sickness is defeating. Loss is agonizing. God’s voice can seem deafeningly quiet to us when our situation is bleak and our hearts are broken. Though we may not see and here God the way we seek to, the promise of His presence is always present. In a conversation so personal we couldn’t describe it if we wanted to, He leads us through every season in the silent wanderings of our prayers.

4. Omnipotence

(Jesus emphasizes that the kingdom of God will not come through valiant efforts but as people pray, “may Your kingdom come,” with persistence and with humility.)” Luke 18:8 (VOICE)

Trust that God controls what we do not: healing, death, conception, time, creation and purpose. Ending our prayers “In Jesus Name,” declares our faith in His will over our prayer requests and our lives. We must be careful to pour our hearts out in prayer to Him and then let go. Grasping for control only causes us to sink further into our plight. But when we let go of the answer we want to hear and listen for the one He is laying out before us, miracles become visible. Coincidence connects answered prayer.

recall12-feb-2The conversations we have with the Father bleed out onto and into life.  He’s privy to our seat in the auditorium. Pop in the flash drive, transfer the data over to Him, and download His answer. It’s what Jesus died for …relationship with God.

Father, Praise You for Your listening ear and compassion for us. You tell us to pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1) You are powerful to trump any form of justice set upon this earth with Your omnipotent hand. God, You ARE love. You ARE grace. 

Praise for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, allowing us to pour our hearts into Your healing hands. In conversation with You, keep our eyes open and our ears attentive to Your will for our lives over our prayer requests. Surround us with Your purpose for our lives, and compassionate love when life is impossible.

Forgive us for our lack of stamina, and remind us of Jesus death on the cross. Bless Your Spirit to our hearts and minds to remember this verse today, and always. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Happy Downloading,

Megs

Click here or the image below for FREE verse memory cards!feb-recall-12

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Find your favorite place to hang out, and make some new friends! Link-up with us!!

Happy Link-ing!!!  Megs

Mondays…Mommy Moments Modest MondayOpen Mic MondaySoul SurvivalHomemaking MondaysGood Morning MondaysMake Your Home SingInspire Me Monday Motivation Monday Motivational MondayOver the Moon, Thank Goodness it’s Monday Inspire Me Monday

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Wednesdays…#TellHisStory, OhMyHeartsieGirlsCoffee for Your HeartFrom Messes to MessagesWordless WednesdayAmanda’s Books and More LinkyCoffee and Conversation,Wow Me Wednesday,Wine’d Down Wednesday,

Thursdays…Thought Provoking ThursdayLive Free ThursdaySincerely, PaulaHeart Encouragement Think Tank Thursday, 

Fridays…Faith Filled FridayDance with Jesus, Friendship Friday, High Five for Friday, 

Saturdays… Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share, Our Mini Linky PartySaturday Sharefest

Stay encouraged!

The Invisible Fire.

My little girl’s tears streamed onto my cheeks as she hugged me tight. Fearful that in the darkness of night our house would catch on fire, unreasonable emotion gripped her blotchy red face. Her pierced blue eyes searched mine for an answer …for comfort …for reassurance …all of which I was unqualified to promise her.invisible-fire-2

The anxieties we answer to in this life grab us much like Lauren’s sweet six-year-old heart, that can’t bear the thought of being separated from her teddy bear. Life is fragile. We want to look around and depend on each other to get through things that may never happen. We want to believe that everything is going to be ok, but it’s simply not always going to be. In fact, we’re promised that it will get much worse.

We can help our children cope with fear and anxiety by teaching them to pray these Words of God:

“Do not worry.” Matthew 6:34

“Do not fear.” Isaiah 41:10

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Step Back.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

Our duty as parents is not to have all the answers, but to point to the One who does. We can aim to protect our children but we cannot promise them safety. Only God is sovereign to make good on the assured direction of their future.

“Lauren, can I pray for you?”

She nodded ‘yes’ through slowing sobs.

“Lord, you tell us not to fear, and not to worry. But that’s hard. We need Your help. Help Lauren not to worry, and not to be afraid. Let her rest in knowing how much you love her. God we pray that You protect and bless our home. Keep it and us safe. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

My godly duty as her mother is to reassure that she is loved …not just by me, but far invisible-fire-3greater. Her little heart needs to hear that He is good, that she can trust Him, and that He he cares about her fears and worries.

“Jesus explains the futility of such worry for one’s life (Mt 6:25), time (6:27, 34), clothes (6:28), and even what one will eat (6:31). Such a focus is not only a wasted effort on something that one cannot change (cf. Lk 12:25), but it leads to unhealthy anxiety.” Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

If the thing I want to be able to promise will never harm a hair on her head singes her life, He will get her through. He will love her. He will grow her. He will never leave her side.

Through the calamity of this world, God does not promise Christians a free pass from pain. He gifts us the grace, peace and hope to keep walking through it. We grip Him in fear, look to Him in awe, and trust Him with it all …through it all.

Let Go.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Night after night my little Lo cried at bedtime, afraid our house would catch on fire. Night after night we prayed together, and repeated those truths to her tiny heart and my overwhelmed one. Until one night, her brave blue eyes stared right into mine and with a small, still voice, wondered:

“Mom, can I say a special prayer?” I nodded, misty-eyed.

“Dear God, Please bless us and don’t let our house catch on fire. Keep everyone in our family safe, and my teddy and blankie and all of my toys. We love you God and Jesus, Amen.”

Our great God hears the prayers of tender little hearts, and understands their fears.

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Sometimes it takes months, years, decades, lifetimes …before the discipline to turn to God first replaces our knee-jerk reaction to solve humanity’s dysfunctional fears and worries. But I believe that when God’s truth repeated is alive,  powerful, and in motion.

My greatest prayer as a mother is that my daughters will know that God loves them perfectly, even when I do not.

“The scope of these verses is to silence the fears, and encourage the faith, of the servants of God in their distresses.“ Matthew Henry Commentary on Isaiah 41:10-20

Prayer becomes powerful conversation. The grace of accepting Jesus’ sacrifice as allows us to experience a power that is not of this world. Discernment of text that is much more that black and white letters on a page. It’s much more than a good story. He is God.  He was here. And now His Spirit lives in us.

Invisible fire, indeed.

Happy praying,

Megs

 

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The Broken Bunny

In an adventure to the craft store, my oldest daughter fell in love with a broken bunny.  Anxious to pick out a craft in preparation for what could be yet another snow day tomorrow, she and I both decided that a cute little cloth bunny would be the perfect guinea pig for us as we learn to sew.

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If only my three-year old were that easily sufficed.  She’s not.  I negotiate shopping trips on lollipops.  With dreams of being able to wander aimlessly with my toddler toting happily beside me throughout the store entertained by a sweet treat, I hand that first one over like it’s the absolute solution to all that is mayhem in shopping with toddlers.

Little Lo skipped happily around the store picking bouquets of fake flowers for me to smell. But before long, I started to catch that ornery glance through her static-attacked hair (that looked like it hadn’t been brushed in weeks….yet was just hours before.).  If only there was a lollipop that she could never finish…

Brianne played happily with her bunny as she toted it along to look at artificial flowers and buttons and thread.  She held up multiple fabric squares to the little stuffed creature, then decided that giraffe was a pattern that would fit it perfectly, along with another.  Then, I noticed that her precious bunny’s arm was only hanging on by a couple of loose threads.

“Brianne, that bunny’s arm is about to pop off,” I pointed out to her.  “Why don’t you put him back and pick out another one?” I suggested.  After being distracted briefly by my younger child’s temporary disappearance from my line of sight, I looked expectedly to Brianne to go switch out the bunny.

The look I received did not reflect that of the realistic, and quite logical, request that I had just made.  No-no, the look I got instead was one of heartbreak.

“Mom!  No!  I love this one!” she replied.

“Are you sure?” I plodded.  “Don’t you want to pick a bunny that’s not broken?”

After the third and fourth request, and then walking over to the bin of bunnies with her to pick another…hoping a visual would seal the deal…her eyes welled up with tears, and she said to me again,

“I’m already attached to this one,” and held her broken bunny tight….all the way to the checkout line.

That’s my Brianne.  To her, that bunny wasn’t broken, it needed to be rescued.  It was just as good as any other bunny.  It just needed some extra love and a little mending.  She is such a creative spirit, and no doubt sees that bunny as an empty canvas for all kinds of new outfits and adventures.

Wouldn’t the world be a more refreshing place if we all took each other at face value, without looking to see if there are ripped seams?  What a novel idea it would be to consider who might be hanging on by a couple of threads before we launch into our opinion on their shoes…their job…their kid…their life.

There are lots of days when I feel like more than just my arm is hanging on by a few loose threads.  When the chronic pain that I endure simply starts to eat me up.  There are many times that I am overcome with doubt about every possible area of my life.

Some days, I just feel like I’m under attack…

And on those days, sometimes after much wallowing on my part…God picks me up, gives me a hug, and says,

“I love this one….I’m already attached.”

Burdened by pain that I can’t explain, confused as all get out at which direction I should go next, feelings at times seemingly hurt beyond repair…life can be crushing sometimes.  I’ve trained my daughters to rally in those situations.  To let their emotions flow out of them, and then put the pieces back together through hugs and prayers.

As I sat in tears through one such moment yesterday, it was my daughters who came clamoring up the stairs and jumped on my bed, with hugs and “I love you’s,” and so much silliness that I eventually ended up in a pile of cuddles and laughter.  What a blessing it is, to be a mother.  Through all the doubt it entails, it’s so rewarding to be the recipient of a warm embrace like those we so often give out throughout the day.  It’s heavenly encouragement that we’ve done something right.

I think it really is that simple.  Like Brianne saw the potential for all kinds of magical things in her broken bunny, God already knows the abundant blessings that will unfold in our lives.

When our spirits are under attack, when we’re feeling like everything is unraveling before our eyes…like the pain is too much to bear, and the circumstances are too hard to understand…He is there, watching it all unfold as planned…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.- Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

A giraffe print dress for a stuffed bunny.

Happy Sewing!

Megs

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