April 9, 2012

A Prayer For You

Hey friends!

I don’t know what you’ve endured, what’s crushed you. Not sure how long you’ve been in the ashes. There is only one thing I am positive of…

Christ is for you.
Jesus is with you.
God is yours.

And He will never leave you. He won’t leave you stuck in your past. He won’t leave you in your pain. He won’t leave you all alone.

Yet while He may not leave, He does ask us to go. To come away with Him; away from the pity and relentless memories. Might today be the day you say “Yes. I’ll take a first step out of these ashes”?

I know you may be tired and weary; dreading the thought of even thinking about hope. May I pray for you?

Dear Lord, only You fully know the angst and devastation faced. You are aware of every grain of ash that makes up this heap my friend is in. God, today, will You please fight for joy on her behalf? Polish her mired view of the present . . . so she can rightly see what good lays ahead. Please be the lifter of her head and the giver of hope. Unexpected, decadent, refreshing hope. And Lord, I ask that You please soften her heart to receive all You have for her and for courage to walk in obedience. Thanks so much Jesus. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

 

Today, I’d love to do something kinda unique. Might we leave a prayer for someone we know needs help to see the beauty from ashes? Please leave as a comment. Many thanks~

xoxo,
Sam

March 7, 2012

Making Our Way Toward Peace

I once lugged a brand spankin’ new boyfriend to the ballet. I know, I know … not the optimal way to woo him. But he dragged me to college football games. All’s fair in love and war, eh?

Eventually I warmed to the beauty of football, but he never took a liking to dance. Which seems odd as football is a dance of sorts. {That’s an analogy for another day.} My point in telling this tale of love lost {we broke up} and love found {I count the days till the next football season starts} is that I love dance. All forms except one.

I don’t dig the dance we do with our thoughts.

True, some thoughts gracefully glide us across the dance floor of life. Warm memories, kind words, happy encouragements.

But other thoughts? Those that steal our peace … like we’re not as pretty as so-and-so. Or as bright as smarty-pants PhD. How about the thought that life will forever be hard? Or that loneliness, depression, anxiety, {fill in the blank} is our lot in life.

I danced with this one for years: I’ll always be fearful.

In hindsight, that feels melodramatic. But I spent years in the absence of peace because I was afraid. Negative thoughts swung me around till I got sick of being frightened and tired of having no peace.

Maybe you’re exhausted from being haunted by a negative thought too? You think, “Something’s gotta give.” You’re to the point you can’t dance another day, but you don’t want to be left hanging on the dance floor. That’s when we need something else to step in and replace our {_____}.

I wish I had an oh-so-fab 10 Steps to Peace Program. I don’t. But I’ll tell you what’s helped me end fear’s dance.

Prayer… asking God to help set me free.

Counseling… talking the dark thoughts out into the light {helped a ton!}

Music… consuming worship music filled my soul with hope.

The Bible… Every time fear grasped my hand for a spin, I shook it off with a scripture, repeating positive truths over and over.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. ~Psalm 94:18-19

I’ll be honest. Changing dance partners wasn’t the easiest. Negative thoughts break-danced and cha-cha’ed around my knocking knees. I had to fight them off in order to dance with peace. But over time and through prayer, counseling, worship and determined focus on Scripture the negative thoughts have lessened and peace has increased.

Can I encourage you to try a combo or all four of these to help you shake {_____} too?

 

xoxo,
Sam

February 25, 2012

When Life Squeezes Us

The chair creaked as my friend shifted her weight. I never liked that scrawny chair in my office in the counseling center. Its arms, too close for comfort, seemed to intentionally squeeze the pain right out of my clients. Seemed to be having the same affect on my friend visiting me. This chair was too lightweight to carry the load of hurting people and heavy hearts. I sat across from her, hoping her tears shed were lightening her load.

For a week she’d carried the hopeful joy of what she thought was an unexpected pregnancy. But this was a hope to be deferred. It wasn’t time; not yet.

Not for quite a while. And then one day she joined us for dinner; we feasted on good news as we stood in the kitchen. Arms and elation entangled, we cried again. This time, it was time.

I remember the day she was born; a day when life was squeezing the pain right out of me. I shared my hurt with a friend on the way to the hospital. “You must believe He’s faithful. Don’t let the days slip by in doubt, no matter how long this hope is deferred.” I held that truth and I held that sweet baby, Sophie Brooke.

Her name means Wisdom and Peaceful waters. And aren’t those the things we need when the load is painful and hope is put on hold? Wisdom reminds us of His faithfulness to ease our load. And peace calls us to a place where pain doesn’t squeeze us so hard. For every season and stage of life. For when wombs are barren – to when cribs are full – to when the nest clears out … and every moment in between. Because the days are fleeting and I need Him every hour. I need to say yes to seeking His wisdom and resting where He guides me. Even when — especially when — life closes in and hope seems distant.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Psalm 23

{Sophie’s Sweet Feet}

xoxo,
Sam

January 27, 2012

One Good Man

“I see Mercy’s dating you,” she says as if it’s common to say such things. As if I knew this fact. {I didn’t.}

True, there have been glints of Mercy hanging around: softer heart, gentler words. But dating? One must tread lightly; such things could lead to a lifetime commitment.

A laugh tries to move past her statement, but it sticks. Though she and I are editing 10’s of 100’s of 1000’s of so many words during our meeting, hers won’t go away. Days after, they trail me and greet me at my front door and bid me good morning.

There’s this list I etched in the early spring of life. Qualities of a dreamed of man-husband. Some sweet, most naive, like flowers that bloom too early, before the frost has been chased away till winter. Give him blue eyes, tall legs, guitar fingers and a fondness for snow, Lord. And a passion for You, a heart for missions, goofy humor, and desire to have a house full of children . And swirl in this and that and the list went off the margins.

Now? In the summer of my time, the list blooms with  just one characteristic sure to weather all seasons: good.

Because surely goodness and mercy walk hand-n-hand. Dream of giving love and money and peace. Care for the least and the more than enough and everyone in between. Ride the wave of justice to set captives free. Walk humbly with God.

Surely, goodness loves Mercy. This Mercy dating me, asking for my hand, my heart, my life.

I can’t help but think: if this is what the Lord requires of a man… must I need more?

Oh sure, my heart still leans toward many of those things on my adolescent list. I’ll gladly lay them down though for that greater characteristic. Then again, many of them are embedded in good. So, I’ll whittle my list down to that one thing: good. Well, perhaps there’s one more quality I’d want a husband to have: a desire for a good wife.

And so, I’m accepting Mercy’s hand as I wait for one good man.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8

 

 

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xoxo,
Sam