Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 62: A Call to Prayer

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.”

1 Timothy 2:1

A call to prayer…

For me, there is little that is more serious than a message from a loved one, a friend, my church, my nation, or even the world at large than a Call to Prayer.

Sometimes, it is as close as I can get to help someone, when they are separated by distance, when my hands cannot reach in and help, when nothing that I can accomplish in my human capabilities would be the solution. God is there, sending my love, hearing my concerns, knowing their pain, and loving even more than I possibly can.

Late yesterday evening as I was finishing a time of writing, an urgent message came from a dear friend. Her daughter had just recently delivered a beautiful baby boy, and now both of them were being rushed to the hospital. She was asking for prayer. My heart gripped, and I found myself sitting at my computer, head in my hands, seeking my Father for all I was worth for this tiny boy and his mommy.

Moments later, I was able to share the request with other dear friends that I knew would immediately be moved to prayer as well. And they did, woman after woman, warrior’s on their knees, waging war for a little one and his mother, trusting our Father to intervene.

I understand little about the ways of prayer, and yet I know we are called. Called to call upon a father who sees our every need and is waiting to hear our voices, our groans, our sighs, and of course our outward prayers of our inward trust in Him.

I tossed and turned in my sleep all throughout the evening, yet in brief moments of cloudy awareness, I heard their names in my mind, and I knew even in my sleep, somehow I was still praying for them.

Baby and mama are healing now, but still I know my call is to pray in every way I know how, and they will continue to be on my prayer list, until baby boy grows strong as an oak, and mama knows the rest and peace of God’s gracious hand.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4

A worthy calling; woman of prayer… I pray you will join me in heeding the call.

My Father,

How amazing it is that you not only listen to the words of my heart, my callings, but You first call me. Guide my prayers, and make me a woman who is faithful in prayer, that I make wage a battle worthy of the fight, and see the goodness of your hand in the lives of everyone I know!

Your Beloved

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 61: Pray For Me

“I have one request, dear friends: Pray for me, pray strenuously with and for me –– to God the Father, through the power of the Master Jesus, through the love of the Spirit...”

Romans 15:30

Since the beginning of our courtship, my husband and I have made a habit of leaving messages for each other in one form or another. So many days I would come out to my car to find a tender note tucked in the dashboard, or attached to the window. In response, I began the practice of sending a quick text message when I thought something sweet about him during the day, so as not to let my feelings go unexpressed. Notes have been hidden in lunch totes, and cards of sentiment were carefully chosen to express our love at holidays.

Several of these cards and messages have found their way to a mirror that hangs in our bathroom; a homemade certificate redeemable for a birthday trip to Maui, a Valentine card reminding him that He is my One and Only, a business card with a tiny love note scrawled on the back, each a physical reminder of the thoughts we want each other to carry with them as they go through the day.

Recently, as I finished a time of prayer, talking to my Father, expressing my love, my need and my gratitude, asking Him for so many things, for myself and for so many others, I realized that right at the moment, I too needed to know that I was on someone’s prayer list.

My husband had often expressed to me that he didn’t think he was that good at praying, but he has made a habit of dropping whatever he is doing to pray for me whenever I ask. As far as I am concerned the immediate prayer of a sincere and concerned man is about as good as prayer gets, and so I added one more note to our mirror, a request for prayer:

Pray for Me!!!!
That God will make me the woman He has called me to be.
That He will guide my paths and if it is His will inspire my writing and give me the discipline to write daily.
That He will give me the knowledge, understanding and discipline to finish my Bachelor’s program.
That He will give me health, and help me to eat well, and exercise.
That He will make me a good wife and mother that shines for Him!
I love you and I need your prayers!!!

It doesn’t matter who we are, if our lives are in a season of struggle or abounding in blessing, whether we are young or old, affluent or financially stretched to our limit, each and every one of us needs the prayer and support of our fellow believers.

I don’t often know who is praying for me, and likewise, I know that I pray often for some who may never know that God has put them on my heart. Still there are times when I just have to know that one other person, just one, is in the trenches with me, calling on God on my behalf. I have made a commitment to follow through when a friend, loved one or even someone I am just getting to know asks for prayer. I know that I am not the solution, but I know the One who is.

My husband read my request for prayer, and I know without question that he is bringing me consistently before my Father in heaven. As is our habit, he sent me a message in return filled with words I didn’t even know I needed to hear. The note read:

I am praying for you my wife.
Be stout of heart.
I love you.

I cannot think of better words. I am praying for him, too.


I know that you are not concerned with the beauty of our words, but rather with the intent of our hearts. Thank you that you have given me a husband that is faithful to support me in prayer, and with so very many beautiful words and deeds. He is a gift. Teach me to be faithful I prayer Father, and may others be refreshed, even as I have been refreshed by the gift of knowing that I am not alone in my prayers, nor in life.

Your Beloved

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 60: He Will Never Give Up

“God, who got you started on this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of His Son, and our Master, Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.”

1 Corinthians 1:9

Though my dark and broken days are truly behind me, still the memory of them can almost instantly be before me and try to wrestle the joy of a bright morning into the deep abyss of a black night. Even an answered prayer, a relationship restored, or a wound healed can suddenly be the catalyst for a remembrance of from whence I came, and to say it plainly, WHENCE was not a lovely place, and I have no desire to return, to go a-visiting, or even to recall that locale in my thoughts.

The heartbreak of that time in my life was that it did not occur before I first gave my life to this loving and life altering Savior, but rather it planted itself right it the middle of my Christian life, glaring and grotesque like a fatal accident on a green and grassy highway.

The trouble with this tragedy of my own doing, is that I simply had to go there. I not only lacked in understanding how truly each and every human soul has the capacity for darkness, but I also had a strong dose of human capability that I unwittingly relied on at every turn.

No, neither life, nor death, nor fire, nor loss, nor lack of funds, nor illness could break me.

A household of children, bring it on, add a husband struggling with pain and addiction, let it be…and where empathy and graciousness towards my fellow man should have been the hallmark of my life,I became a clanging gong. Even to the ones I loved most, mercy and grace was not my portion.

Years have passed since the days of my descent in the darkness of mental brokenness, blatant sin, and hurts inflicted on those that I should have loved, and without question I deserved no kindness in return.

The Message translation of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians notes that he writes his letter not to a people who have never known Christ as their Master, but rather to a people who while in Paul’s presence came to know the saving grace of a loving God. In Paul’s absence, young and not mature in their faith, they returned to their old strongholds, and like me relied on tried and true behaviors. Paul does not reject them, nor does he condemn them, but rather he affirms again his love, and even greater the constant love of their savior, Jesus.

I have no tales that I will tell of my past errors in judgment, though others should they choose to, can always point the finger. I am grateful that those days are behind me, and grateful for the enduring love of my Father. My stubborn strength, and my foolish acts brought me to my knees, and gave me the certain understanding that should no man have ever sinned, I alone had failed so greatly, that I would need His tender forgiveness and be oh so desperate, for His healing redemption.

I gave Him my nothing, so that He could give me his everything.

Sometimes I am surprised when suddenly I realize that one more time, He has turned my failure to something sweet, healing the heart of ones that I have wounded, or changing me at the very core to one who truly desires to love and build more than any other thing that I can think of, and again I am reminded that it is His kindness that brings us back to him.

I know it brought me.

"Mercy triumphs over judgment." James 2:13


My merciful Father, heal the wounded hearts of those who have faltered in their relationship with You. Show them with clarity just exactly who you are. I deserved your wrath, and I found your forgiving arms to lay down my weary head. How we need you.

How I need you!

I am forever grateful,

Your Beloved

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 59: His Perfect Day

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD…” Jeremiah 29:11

The day is done, and done beautifully. A gown fitting for my daughter, the beautiful bride-to-be, lunch out at a favorite restaurant and special time spent with my husband, and then an evening of homework. I climb into bed next to my husband, and as the content rumbles of his snoring fill the room, I know that I should be at peace as well, but instead I feel a rush of tension, an all too familiar anxiety. My mind begins to race through the checklist of what I did not accomplish today, this week, this month, and every thought of all that has been so beautifully complete slips from my mind, and I begin to realize that I am bound up by my expectations.

Days planned have turned into plans changed.

Goals set have become so many scattered scraps of paper littering my desk.

And my mind runs to the words of a friend, “Everyday, there is a plan, that is God’s perfect will for us.”

My plans are exhaled out clearing my mind, my heart, my minutes for the fresh new breath that is all that He has for me. Only as I release and trust do I see that right here in these messy-desk moments of my life is He answering my prayers.

I feel my shoulders drop, and I breathe in the goodness of His perfect day.


I cannot see the end of your ways. I have no idea where my life is going, but I am here today my expectations in You alone, to live this day, my heart and my mind yielded to You in obedience to your perfect plan.

With joyful expectance,

Your Beloved

“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

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 58: A Prayer for My Daughter as She Spreads Her Wings

“How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!

And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

O My Abba Father,

How grateful I am that I can come to You, my loving Father, like a little child, laying each and every concern that I have before you, knowing without question that You love me so dearly as the very best father loves his daughter.

Father, I thank you for my daughter, and the beautiful woman that she has become, I pray that You will continue making her the woman that you have called her to be. Like her father, she is hardworking, passionate and perseverant, a faithful friend, courageous to pursue excellence in that which she was designed to do. I pray that as she spreads her wings, still you will guide her paths. I ask that as she begins her new life far from me, that you will surround her with your presence, in the people she meets, in the situations she encounters, and in ways both simple and amazing, and I pray her heart will be opened to see your goodness.

Lavish your love upon her Lord, and draw her close, heal the wounds of her very soul, even as she seeks to be one that brings loving-kindness and healing to others. Bless the work of her hands Father, and let her find favor in the sight of those that employ her. Though she may be miles distant, let her always stand confident in the love of her family. When she is lonely bring her comfort, when she questions Father, soothe her concerns. Use me to bless her from afar, and even more, I ask that you, Lord, will be her very present help in times of need.

I entrust her into your faithful arms, knowing that though my love for her may come from the depths of my heart, yours goes so much deeper still. She is yours.


Your Beloved

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 57: Open My Heart to Hear

“The Lord opened her heart to pay attention…” Acts 16:14

Fasting for spiritual reasons, or for any other reason for that matter, has rarely been a discipline that I have employed over the years in my journey as a Christian. As a younger woman, like donating blood, it was simply something my body would not tolerate due to my health and my body weight. Now as a woman who has recently found herself in a grandmotherly way, neither of these concerns currently applies, and I have found myself being called to times of prayer and fasting.

As a parent, the dreams and desires, the hopes and the hurts, the trying and the tears of each of my children all find a place in my heart. When they rejoice, I rejoice with them. When their heart aches, mine aches as well, and like my Father before me, I find myself wanting to do anything I can to reach into their situation and make life sweet and beautiful again.

Armed with the clarity of understanding that not only does my Father desire what is sweet and beautiful for my children, but that He and He alone knows the perfect pattern of loveliness for each of them, I have found myself choosing to take my concerns to Him, trusting Him for the outcome. When my children were young, it was often easy to simply “fix” their problems; fights could be broken up, issues at school could be remedied, and broken toys could be replaced, and sometimes I found myself carrying a torch that would have been better left unlit. As they grew into pre-teens, teens, and ultimately adults I came to the realization that I simply could not be the fixer of their problems, and often even of my own problems, but rather must become a source of encouragement, support and love as they learned to choose their own paths. With this knowledge came the freedom to truly love with the depths of my heart, while releasing my children to choose for themselves the future that each would pursue. Still the love of a parent does not dim, and my desires for them have found a home in the daily discipline of loving words, constant prayer, and a willingness to seek my Father on their behalf through setting aside a meal or two.

Like prayer, fasting is a discipline that opens our hearts to hear. When I bring myself before my Father with the confident understanding that He loves both me and those that I am praying for I can entrust my concerns to Him, and know that ultimately He will not only hear me, but most assuredly answer. As I seek him boldly and believingly to bring freedom into to the lives of those I bring before him, to change the hearts of those in authority over situations, I can trust that I am seeking only that which He as well truly desires. As I lay aside a moment and a meal, I can also be assured that in the process I change, and my prayers change, and as I lay each of my hopes and hurts before him, I find that my heart becomes utterly tied up in him, that I desire his plan and his plan alone, and that ultimately, the mystery of His ways will become that pattern of loveliness that I seek in my life, and for the lives of those that I so dearly love.


Your ways are mysterious and yet so wonderful. Use me at your will, change me as you desire, and make me the woman you have called me to be. I entrust to you all of my deepest desires and those I so dearly love. Knowing that you and you alone have come to set the captives free and bring to pass the beauty of your plan even as I bow at your knee. Open my heart to hear.

Utterly tied up in You,

Your Beloved

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 56: Trusting Tears

“You put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” Psalm 56:8

In less than 48 hours I will be driving my twenty-five year old daughter to the airport where she will board an airplane and fly across the continent to a new city, a new job, and a new chapter in her adult life.

The last months have been a flurry of activity for her; she has sold her car, and then had to organize a bevy of borrowed vehicles to keep herself in transportation to and from work, she has moved out of her apartment and moved belongings too large to transport at this time into storage, and she has flown back and forth to New York City for interviews and meetings. In the midst of all this she has tried to use every free moment to say her goodbye’s.

I have known this move was coming, and she is not the first to leave the state of her childhood, but like her older sister before her, she has been given wings, and now it is simply time to stretch them. I am intensely proud of her in all the ways that a parent should be, as she is a young woman worthy of respect for her hard work and steadfast commitment to excellence. None the less tears have become my constant companion over the last months preceding her move, and now in these last hours that she has been spending in my home they threaten to spill again and again.

One month ago my oldest daughter gave me my first grandchild. As a new mother, she has been ushered into the beautiful and bittersweet world of parenthood. Love has stretched her heart in ways that she had no idea that it could, and yet with her greater capacity for love she has also found an enlarged capacity for pain and a new struggle with the knowledge that she can only do her best.

When these two beautiful women were yet toddlers I can remember lying in my bed next to their father with an ache filling my heart so deeply that it turned to streams of tears. There as a young mother I realized I could not hold them, that each day would come and it would go, and as it did they would grow, and that God had charged me and my husband with the responsibility of raising them for just exactly that purpose; to become strong capable adults who would leave us. I also realized that try as I might, I could never fully protect them; I could not breathe in and out for them, nor could I follow them through every detail of their daily lives, making sure no unkind word was said, or no harm occurred. I could not even ensure that in our flawed and fallible state my husband and I would always be the very best parents for them. I could only seek to do my best to love them with my whole heart, to protect them where it was wise to do so, to apologize when I erred, and ultimately, to trust the One who gave them to me to do what was very best for each of them.

The years have brought countless tears for this mother, some of joy, and some of the deepest heartbreak imaginable. There were times when the pain threatened to wash over me in waves too heavy to bear, and seasons when the tears of rejoicing washed away the broken pathway I had walked. Today, I sense my Father is using my tears to water gardens I have yet to see, growth green and new springing up in the lives of those He has enlarged my heart to love.

I trust Him, that He is not a God who ignores the eyes of his child as they brim with tears, but rather he sees every drop, and puts every stream, river and wave to His use to grow gardens fresh with new life, and to carve seashores satisfied with the beauty of His plan.

My Father,

I know You know the ache of my heart, and I know You have not let a single tear go unnoticed. I thank you for the joy of watching my children grow into beautiful adults, and like my tears , I entrust each one of them to You, knowing the plans that You have for them are good. And in this knowledge, I rest with tears of gratitude and a heart at peace.

Your Beloved