Are You Hovering in Prayer?

I know many of you  have children of all ages. Even before they were born we had hopes for them, hopes for success and happiness. Then after they were born, we exposed them to various sports and activities before they entered kindergarten. We wanted them to see and do as much as possible so their little brains would grow, so they would experience this wonderful world we live in, so they could have an enormous amount of choices for their life directions.

Some of us turned into helicopter parents, always hovering over the child’s every move. It became a permanent position for some parents, hovering over the kids well after they were adults themselves.  Why are we afraid? Is it a symptom that means we don’t believe we did a good job parenting and have reared inadequate offspring?

Looking back, I think I hovered too much in some areas and not enough in others. My husband and I have two wonderful sons. We are very proud of them and give God the glory for it. I do hope they have forgiven us for all the mistakes we made.

When my first son was about nine months old I worked part time in child care. One of the other workers also had an infant in the room.  Sometimes she would look at her daughter and wish she could stay little forever. Once I told her that I felt just the opposite. I wanted to hurry and see what kind of man he would be. Would I like him? What would he do for a living?  He would be able to tell us his thoughts and opinions!  Unknown to me at the time it was happening as fast as a flash of lightening! And, yes, I do like him! I like him a lot!

 

I may have mentioned this before but I became an empty nester in one fell swoop. My older son who was living in the basement apartment got married and took the dog. My younger one left for college about two hours away. I was so happy for them and was looking forward to doing some things with my husband. Empty nest syndrome didn’t come to light until six years later! One morning I woke up wondering where the time had gone. Had I prepared them well? I couldn’t comprehend that those adorable boys had become handsome men. I needed more time with them! There were many more things I should have taught them! Now the opportunity was gone. I crashed for several days before I got my equilibrium back.

They are God’s children not mine. He only gave them to me for a short while. I am a strong believer in the sovereignty of God. An imperfect parent does not make a lousy child only an imperfect one such as we are. In the end, God is Lord  of all. He directs their paths. There is so much of that concept I do not understand. That’s where faith comes in.

Several years ago, I had a similar experience. It wasn’t about being an empty nester but it was about my helicopter. The boys were too old for me to hover over them which made God the only one who could watch over them and teach them. It was an exercise in trust for me that has become pivotal in my relationships with them.

So as not to create misunderstandings, I don’t believe in spiritualizing Scripture. I believe we must look at the context of the verse(s) and understand who it was written to and why. Still, as I was fretting over my poor parenting skills, I looked down at my Bible. It was opened to Isaiah 54. My eyes fell onto verses 11-13. It was the first part of verse 11 and then 13 that immediately caught my eye.

“O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted.  .   .  All your sons will be taught of the Lord;
And the well-being of your sons will be great.”

I was left with my jaw dropped! Was this a word from God or a blatant misuse of God’s Word? It was so very timely and seemed to jump right off the page! Whatever the case, I was extremely comforted because that first line described me. God would teach where I was deficient and my sons would be just fine. More than just fine!

There’s nothing more important to me than my children’s eternal security.Their well-being could not be great unless their salvation was secure.  To say the least!

To those of you who say this is not how the Bible was meant to be read, I agree. I can’t explain though how personal this was for me. I have had sentences jump off the page toward me in other books as well. It seems that the printed word is the medium God uses to get my attention.

If your biggest concern is for your child’s salvation, keep praying!  God hears the  prayers of a righteous man (and woman.) Let them know you are praying for them.And, bring them before the Lord daily. He will answer you . If you have to hover, hover before the throne of God. Don’t let him go!

 

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God Has Us Where He Wants Us

The sun is beautiful here today with a slight breeze! The trees behind my condo are waving in various shades of green. But I’m not on my deck enjoying it. I am on my sofa. The two large windows on either side of my fireplace were a deal maker when we bought the condo. I love the view! The sun makes my fibromyalgia much worse. So I enjoy the summer from afar.

When I was young, I soaked up the sun for hours at a time on the beach. Now we go to the beach in the off season and make sure we have a room with a view.

I am glad my bucket list was emptied when I was young. I have traveled on other continents and to a large number of countries in eastern and western Europe. My number one item on my list was to visit the Soviet Union when it was still behind the iron curtain.  I did that in the 70’s on a bus. I flew into Warsaw  where I got a bus into the Soviet Union. I spent three weeks before coming out in Helsinki where I caught a flight back to Spain.

My husband still has the Grand Canyon on his bucket list. I am OK with it but it isn’t on my list.

God has been so good to me knowing, of course, I would be more confined in my later years. His timing is perfect.

I’m sure you too have stories of God’s faithfulness to you. Not just stories of pleasure as I have mentioned above but in weightier matters. The gospel is God’s good news to us in the weightiest of all matters.  Some of us have heard from childhood the account of Christ dying for our sins and our need for believing that through faith. There is no current physical evidence. Our faith is our evidence. (Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the evidence of things not seen.)

I think sometimes we leave it in the past or at least on a back burner. However, it should always be forefront. Rehearsing every day the grace God has offered us keeps us in tune with God and never lets our memories of his sacrifice grow stale.

A valuable place to start if you would like to daily remind yourself of the good news is Ephesians 2 in the New Testament. This is Ephesians 2 from a version called The Message:

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role.

Isn’t that the greatest news in the  world? Shouldn’t we want to hear it every day? Nothing in this world is more worthy of our time.

A few years ago, I committed to read that Scripture every morning  as a reminder of what Jesus has done for us.  It has been at least a year since I did that. Starting back sounds like a good idea. It would be something of worth I could do from my sofa.

 

Precious in His Sight

I slept last night! And, for one of the very few times in my life I woke up rested. You see, to say that I have never been a morning person is an understatement.When I had a job that required me to be there at 8 a.m. I set my alarm an extra hour early in which I did nothing but drink coffee, listen to the radio and stare at the wall. Then getting in the shower was still torturous. Once as a little girl sitting on my dad’s lap at Saturday breakfast he told me he pitied the man I would marry! This was all because I was so grumpy I didn’t even talk, I just grunted.

Nothing changed as I grew older, mornings and I do not get along well. To make matters worse, as I have aged, I seem to only require 6 hours of sleep. At least that’s all my body will give me. So I wake up about 3:30.  By 9 p.m. I am exhausted and head to bed. I try to stretch that time out to 10 or so but my husband has to rise early so he heads to bed early and I join him. I can’t seem to break this cycle.

I believe if I got more exercise during the day it would help me sleep longer. During this past long fibromyalgia flare it has been very hard to be active. Now that it is subsiding, I’ve got to man up and attempt moving more. Please pray for me about this as I tend to be very protective to keep myself out of pain. Pain is something you never get accustomed to. It hurts just as badly from day one to year 20. And, benign movements can cause a long flare.

Another problem I experience is a loss of balance. I have gained so much weight from not moving that it throws off my balance and that is enhanced by the powerful pain killers I take. I have been told I need physical therapy and counseling with a pain specialist but we can’t afford it right now. The budget can only shift money around, not create it.  Please pray about this also.

I have a favorite Scripture that I go back to sometimes every day, sometimes every few days. It’s the first part of Isaiah 43. Originally written to the Israelites, it can apply to today’s believers.

Although it has nothing to do with a  lack of money or a lack of sleep, it reminds me of who I am in Christ. And that is more important.

 

1But now, this is what the Lord says—

he who created you, Jacob,

he who formed you, Israel:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

2When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

3For I am the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

I give Egypt for your ransom,

Cusha and Seba in your stead.

4Since you are precious and honored in my sight,

and because I love you,

I will give people in exchange for you,

nations in exchange for your life.

5Do not be afraid, for I am with you.

To be precious to the King of the Universe is more important to me than anything in this world!

And before I forget. . .

Happy Mother’s Day!

I’ve Changed My Mind

You know, sometimes I think about thinking.  Do you ever wonder what you think about or are you more self aware than that? Where does your mind by default go  when you aren’t thinking seriously about something? Or, what is that tape that plays behind your more relevant thoughts?  You know that catchy tune you can’t get out of your mind? It seems like it doesn’t shut off no matter how deep the conversation.

What would you think about training that part of your mind? I’m not talking about mind tricks and games to enhance memory that are so popular. I’m just wondering if we can teach our brain to think differently even when it is on auto-pilot. We will probably never eradicate those annoying jingles. But, I believe we can make some progress.

The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. (1Thessalonians 5:17) Is it possible to get rid of that default tape in our heads?  I believe it is.

Romans 12:2 says 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. 

I can’t think of anyone I know who wouldn’t want their mind renewed. Garbage out, Peace in. The way to this kind of mental transformation is not to imitate the world. Not it’s clothing, it’s music nor it’s  trends. In order to do this the Scriptures must be read daily and the passages that are meaningful to you on your journey memorized so you can replace those default ways of thinking with new patterns. The old ones won’t die. They must be pushed out with the new. And it takes some effort. Most productive things do.

The reason most Christians look like their worldly neighbors is that change takes work. 

In time the work becomes a pleasure as the Holy Spirit forms us into the spiritual likeness of Jesus. What a joyful job!  Praying in the back of our minds will become second nature. Prayer does not always mean interceding for someone else. It includes praise, thanks, and conversation.

If you have a contemporary Christian radio station where you live (or whatever Christian music you like), try filling your mind with those praise songs instead of the songs written and performed by non believers. These will also become your default songs.

And, finally, I can’t be honest without telling you that you need to lean closer to your Christian friends. Don’t have any? Find a church and hang out with people of your age there.

I know what I am saying is not easy but it is necessary.

When your mind is renewed it is much easier to figure out what your purpose is on this planet. (Romans 12:2) And, that is absolutely worth renewing your mind!