Saturday, June 26, 2010

Prayer. Period.

If you’re a consistent reader, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. I’m not sure why. I have plenty to talk about. Plenty I’m learning. But some of the issues I’m most passionately thinking about daily seem too personal. Me thinking something is too personal to share? Me, who is vulnerable to the point of tears sometimes while she writes this? Yes, I want to make sure that everyone I know has confidence in me that I wont write something to telling of their soul. After all, it’s not mine to share. It is theirs.

So I’ll stick to what I’ve been thinking about for the past two weeks.


“You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.”
Isaiah 26:3

I’ve experienced so much peace lately. However, the past few nights I’ve been awakened at 2:45 a.m., and all I hear to do is pray. I pray over the next day’s events, over my heart, over the people I will see, over the will that God has for me and others. And I send up prayers for healing, prayers for the fullness of real, authentic love for my friends. I weep as I say them because I know my God, who is rich in mercy and abounding in love, my God who tell the stars to shine and sends lightening form his throne, my God who makes the blind to see and sets us, as captives, free, he is listening to me. He is hearing me as I ask him to do everything because I can do nothing. He remembers me in my low estate, Psalm 136:23, and still loves me forever.

I’m weeping even now as I write this because I want you to know this. This God that I love, he can be your God, too. He is your God. He loves you and wants to hear your prayers. He wants to love you uncontrollably. He’s doing everything he can to chase you, pursue you, find you. And you do so much to hide from him. Oh, that you would take away your barriers and let the God of all love pour over you his goodness and love.

Everything I read these days is knowledge. I tend to pray through it. Every time I pray, it becomes experience. I don’t want any more head knowledge. I just want to access more and more of God’s love through prayer.

Toady, I’m taking that time. I’ve holed myself up in my room, not to see anyone, which is probably better for them. My tearstained cheeks and red eyes aren’t a sight to see. However, the heart behind it is. I only want that God hears my prayers and so amazingly answers them that no one can say anything except, “The Lord—He is God!”

Now prayer isn’t something too many people get excited about. I find in the church, anything related to food and fellowship receives great attendance. Prayer meetings are for the mystical, hyper-spiritual or super charismatic. But fellowship isn’t powerful. What does it say in James? “The prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective.” (5:16b) I’m not saying to stop going to fellowship opportunities. But tell me, what makes your peace increase? Is it talking with a stranger, or talking with an almighty God that says, “Cast your cares upon me and I will give you rest”? I like good barbeque, but I just want more than food that does not satisfy. I just want to be with the Lord, corporately. I want others to fan into flame a passion to talk with God together. I want people to be excited about what our God can do. I want to see that passion and hunger increase, not for myself, but because prayer is effective. Prayer is amazing. And if we are willing to wait on an almighty God for answers, just imagine what is possible. We who can do nothing can have everything change through our God.

For the next two weeks, I’m going to take prayer very seriously. For two dedicated hours each day, I will be going to my God, my king and petitioning him for help, praising him for who he is, and asking for direction, clarity and peace.

“Never weary in prayer. When one day man sees how marvelously his prayer has been answered, then he will deeply, so deeply, regret he prayed so little.” God Calling, May 16

Be blessed as you are in the presence of our Lord through prayer in Jesus’s name.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jackie Chan Meets Pink Linens

Surrounded on four walls by athletes including Kobe Bryant and Jackie Chan, I find my pink bedding a stranger to this boyland. My new place is fantastic. I have my own space and ample storage. But the best part: three new brothers.

I recently moved to Forest Lake after feeling that I needed to move from my sister’s 750 sq. ft. apartment. For the six months I was there, I bunked up with my two-year-old niece. At the beginning of our room sharing experience, she would often shut me out of the room saying, “Kenna’s room. Get out, Doy.” However, by the end of it all, I found that I love her more than really any other kid.

I remember one night when Mel and Stefan went to the airport at 4 a.m. Just after leaving, McKenna woke up and began searching for them. I was in a deep slumber. McKenna reasoned that going outside on this chilly night in November, without shoes mind you, would be a great way to remedy her problem of missing parents. Wandering around the neighborhood, wailing, my neighbor awoke. Praise God she brought her home. I’m sure the neighbors thought I was a delinquent aunt, but at 4 a.m., what would you expect? After she was returned I watched her with eyes wide open until Melody returned.

I don’t anticipate that my new brothers will be doing anything like this. However, stories will be told.
Here they are, eldest to youngest,
Ryan, who is 17 years old, lives in the basement. He’s tall and thin with beautiful blue eyes and a small gap in his teeth. But he’s become very shy. For years his identity was vested in sports. Ryan wasn’t a boy; he was an athlete, complete with detachable glove and shooting arm. After being cut from the basketball team last November, he has burrowed himself deep into a cave of depression. He remains reclusive in a dank and chilly basement.

Nate, the middle child, is amazingly gifted with music. He is trendy with a thin figure. When we were younger, he joked with me about all sorts of silliness. I often stole one-liners from him. He coined the phrase, “That’s the way it should be.” But now, he closes himself off with an iPod. He attends a charter school where he says there isn’t much diversity. Watching the kids disperse after I picked him up from school yesterday, I find this to be true. There are two black kids. The third was expelled after selling her Adderall to classmates, he says. I’m not sure if this is the diversity he speaks of, but if so, he’s dead on. I ask him about friends, he says all the kids at school use drugs. I say, “Good boy. Stay away from that stuff.” Tough he remains solo at school, I find him great company.

The youngest, Dylan, has become a bookworm in his short 10 years. His silliness has taken the space where once Nathan’s was able to use his quick wit. Though he was chubby for much of his childhood, a newfound excitement in baseball is becoming his haven for weight loss and friend making. Slimming out, he’s becoming less of a little kid and more of a boy. He always has something new to talk about and much of the time will tell you new and interesting facts about children’s fiction. I adore his precociousness and buzzed haircut.

I don’t live with them because of the free rent. I feel that God has brought me to just this place for one reason: love.

They’re all going through things, even the parents. I won’t get into detail, but I will say, the only reason I’m living in this place is because God made it happen. I prayed for a family to take me in. The next day Julie asks me to live there for the summer. I knew I needed to take time for the boys, so what happens? God works out my schedule so my jobs consume fewer hours. All the while, the income remains the same, if not more. My God is good.

Though, I’m finding myself caught between patterns of the past, which are not desired anymore, and the near future. The choices are clear. I can lazily take my days as they come, or be intentional, setting aside hours of the day for the boys and making the days off meaningful. I can procrastinate writing assignments or I can work them out quickly so to have more time to do other things. I can fill every hour with lunch dates or coffee dates with people at church, or I can slow down and limit myself a bit. I want to make wise decisions. With God’s help, I will.

If you think of it, pray for this family. I’ve been interceding for them. Every time I think something should be happening, and I get frustrated, God reminds me, “It’s just a matter of time.”

I’m still waiting on a few promises, but that doesn’t mean my God isn’t faithful. It means that he’s giving me time to take in the goodness that he shells out to me everyday. If he fulfilled everything now, I’d have a heart attack. It’s how Peter explains it in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

As my faith increases, God puts more on my plate. I find this all a blessing. Though, sometimes its difficult and I feel like a screw up, I know he’s got a plan. And because I’m weak, he’s stronger. We are weak warriors. And will we be overcome? “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37