Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 22nd, 2012

Something sparked a sweet memory in my mind a few days ago that keeps reoccurring in my thoughts. The memory took me back to a cold evening in January, 2011, when a group of amazing sisters in Christ piled into a quaint little chapel at the McGraw Hospice Center to pray for my husband and our family. It was truly a night that was full of love, fellowship, prayer and worship. It will forever be etched in my heart as I was so humbled by all that took place that evening.

 I cannot help but to think about that night and not be flooded with feelings of immense joy and peace. I began to remember that irrefutable feeling of peace that seemed to surround me during the most difficult time in my life, a peace that truly transcended all of my understanding. This is the peace I have come to pray for daily as I find my way on this journey of rebuilding my life.

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

As I continued to reflect on that evening and all that my Heavenly Father had blessed me with, the one thing that was so unforgettable to me was how the body of Christ came together and fearlessly prayed. There is something so powerful when a group of believers join hands and begin to pray without hesitation, boldly approaching His throne of grace with everything they have and not being afraid to lay it all at the feet of Jesus...and leave it there!

Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Prayer helps us to release control over a situation, acknowledge God's sovereign strength over it, trust that He will take care of us, and it brings us peace. One of the lessons that Ruth Bell Graham taught was "Worship and worry cannot exist at the same time in the same heart. The are mutually exclusive." That is a lesson that I often have to be reminded of.

Prayer is not all about asking God for something, but also thanking Him for everything He has so graciously given to us. Giving thanks frees us from our worries and brings about that glorious peace that blankets us.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His court with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good;His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endure to all generations. Psalm 100:4-5

I want to share something that I recently read from a devotional called, "Good Morning, Lord": 

"Concerned about one of her children, Ruth was unable to sleep one night. Realizing the missing ingredient in her heart was thanksgiving, she began to thank God for this son, for his life, for the joy he had brought to their family. Her burden quickly was lifted and she was able to finally rest." Her prayers of thanksgiving brought her peace.

Reading that made me think of the many times I pray and only focus on the problem. I realized that I too, at times, have been missing that special ingredient of just thanking God for His mercy and truth in my life along with ALL other things I have to be so thankful for.

 It's really quite simple: prayers of thanksgiving equate to a peaceful heart!

What a blessing to be able to recall such precious memories of that night. I can close my eyes and go right back to that wonderful little chapel, see all those beautiful faces, listen to each prayer that was sweetly spoken. I can hear the music playing faintly in the background, proudly standing hand in hand with these amazing women knowing just for that moment I was experiencing a little taste of Heaven. Oh the peace that floods my soul!
A nugget of encouragement from Jesus: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27 

May you all come to know His peace. 



Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 9th, 2012

I am sure many of my friends are getting used to the new schedule of their teenagers being away at college. I know I am trying to acclimate to Aaron's. Between school, work and church I rarely see him during the week. But it is all good. He is happy, so momma is happy! Hope all you parents are getting adjusted to the change as well.

Okay, confession time!

Don't get to excited there is nothing too juicy!

I know I wrote about life changes a few blogs ago, but over the last couple of weeks, the Lord has really been convicting me with some much needed heart changes. He has been prompting me to reach out to who and what He places on my heart, and to really look at and accept things outside "my box" that maybe I was not so open to before, things that God wants to bless me through, but maybe I wasn't so willing to bend for. 

 Aaron and I have often debated over these comments that I have spouted out a time or two: "Well, I am who I am!" or "I am too set in my ways!" or the ever-popular " I am too old to change now." 

 I realized how sad it would be if that were really true. We should welcome the change that our Heavenly Father wants to do in us...especially the heart change. Without the heart change there would be no transformation. We wouldn't grow spiritually, let alone emotionally. So the confession...I have some changing to do! We all most likely have some changing within us that needs to take place.

Praise God, I am not who I once was, I am made new in Christ (Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come. 2 Cor 5:17). So, "I am what I am" doesn't really apply any longer. Amen! 

I don't want to be set in "my" ways. Lord knows, that can steer me right off course. Psalm 18:30 tells us God's way is perfect. Not just okay, not just good...but perfect! And He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him. Stay humble now, it doesn't mean you are going to be perfect! 

Friends, we are never too old to change. We should seek a constant heart change through our Heavenly Father every day of our lives by striving to love without boundaries, forgive without conditions, and always help and encourage those who need it. 
(Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2) 

Many times to bring about the true change that God desires to take place in us, we have to remove the scales that are weighing us down or holding us back. We have to be willing to hear, see and feel through our spiritual ears, eyes and heart, and not care about what others will think as we are going through the process, only seeking the approval of the One who brings about the true transformation. I recently came across a quote that resonated with me: "God is far more interested in what you are than who you are." In the eyes of God you are everything! 

I have been so blessed that through the many changes I have gone through and still continue to go through, the Lord has also surrounded me with family and friends that have showered me with unconditional love and compassion and in the process that has changed my heart to be that same way with others who are walking out their own transformation.

The process isn't always an easy one. It requires dying to our flesh and surrendering ourselves in a way that can make us feel, at times, very vulnerable....but the reward is nothing short of spectacular! The change within you and the freedom that it brings is a rare treasure that brings about a soulful satisfaction that nothing can compare to...not this side of eternity, anyway!

As always I thank you all for your love, support and never-ending encouragement. My heart runneth over with much love and gratitude for you all.

Forever Grateful, 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6th, 2012

This particular blog has come up a few times over the last several weeks. I have had readers share some their own stories about their most special prayer times taking place from their recliners, couch, dinner table, etc. I realized I had forgotten all about the "recliner" and that special picture of Nick sitting in it reading his Bible. Hearing those stories prompted me to find it. After reading it I felt led to re-post. I love that God doesn't care where we choose to delve into His Holy Word or pray...He just wants us to do it and He wants to spend that intimate time with us.  

Originally Posted October 21st, 2011:

The photograph above is a priceless one to me. I took it one morning when Nick was sitting in his recliner reading his Bible. He was so engulfed in what he was reading, he was unaware that I even took the picture.

Nick spent a lot of time in that burgundy recliner. I don't know why, but since losing him, we just would not or could not sit in it again. It took me a while to do it, but I finally let it go and now a very sweet lady and her husband are enjoying it. That makes me happy!

That chair was often a place where Nick found rest and comfort when he was weak and weary both physically and emotionally. I would see him sitting there many times just praying.
Then today as I was standing at the kitchen sink and I looked up and saw the empty space where that chair once was, the first thing that came to my mind was this sweet picture of Nick reading his Bible.

It's funny how you don't aways see the lessons in things until God is ready for you too. I smiled when I thought of how that recliner was kind of like Nick's altar, even when he wasn't able to go to church, it didn't stop him from sitting there praying or reading scriptures.

I thought God doesn't care where I choose to pray or read my Bible at. He just yearns for me to do it! He wants to spend that one on one time with me through prayer and through His word. It is always nice to have that quiet place, where there are no distractions and you can really just pour your heart out, but often times we do not have the convenience of doing that. Many times I find myself praying right in the midst of all the chaos. My favorite time to pray has become my morning walks, sometimes it's with the praise and worship music blaring on my iPod, and sometimes it's just me laying it all out to my Heavenly Father.

The memory of Nick praying from his chair reminds me that there are no limitations, guidelines or rules that should stop me from praying or spending time in God's word.

Prayer offers us the chance to express our thankfulness, our faith, our love and our hopes to God and through His word we are able to find guidance, peace, assurance and strength. Find your time and place to pray and spend some time reading His word, no matter where or when it is, God will be there!

Some have been to the mountain. I have been to my knees by the side of my bed.
~Robert Brault

Many Blessings,