Come Thou fount of every blessing!

I love this song!  It has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  I even composed a very sad version of it on the piano once while visiting my sister.  She is so sweet, she saved it and every time I visit I can find it tucked safely away in her piano bench.

This song came on while I was running today and it hit me… every thing is a blessing, the good, the bad, the confusing, the hurtful, the funny… EVERY THING.  His fountain is always pouring down on us and it is all good!  There are so many times when we don’t understand or believe that it is good and even times when saying something is good will bring anger, frustration and hatred from others, but His ways are mysterious and His plan is big and every move He makes is made with one thing in mind… bringing all of us home!

Whoever coined the phrase, “S’all good”, knew what they were talking about!

S’all good my friends.  Have faith through your tears, believe through your pain, and say Thank You for EVERY THING!

Thank You My Love for keeping Your focus on bringing us home, despite our tears.

A beautiful change

In Mark 11:24 Jesus says

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,  believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

I love this statement in the Bible.  It has been very close to my heart for a long time and it is one of the reasons I so strongly (and selfishly) believed and prayed for My Best Life for so long and this statement again held true when I began believing and praying for Our Best Life.

I am starting to find it very interesting that the more we believe and the more faith we have, the less we ask for in prayer.  Jesus knew about this beautiful change that happens within our hearts when we believe and He buried this wonderful secret deep within His statement for us to find as our faith and belief increase.

Lord please help me to remember every day, every hour, and every minute to believe and to have faith in Your Will so that my prayers of request decrease and my prayers of love, thanksgiving and gratitude increase despite the weather within my life.

Lord thank You for Your Divine Will… it is full of love and goodness for EVERYONE.

Please let this be my prayer…

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, my Love.

Regrets…

Some believe that Jesus told Judas Iscariot to betray him.

In the Gospel of Judas, Jesus said, “But you will exceed all of them.  For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.”

If this is the case, then Judas acted out of obedience and faith in Jesus and he was given the strength to follow through with Jesus’ request.  Imagine for a moment being Judas once things had been set in motion and he was outside the loving gaze and light of Jesus.  Imagine the torture and suffering he put himself through questioning his actions, wondering if he had acted within the will of God or made a mistake.  Imagine the tortured thoughts he experienced as he second guessed his actions under the criticism and hatred of those who had once called him brother, his fellow disciples.

It is so hard to keep our hearts and our heads clear and open to God’s message, and then once we are bogged down with fear of a mistake or acting selfishly rather than within His will, we pull yet further away from Him and our faith is so quickly drained from us.

I think it is in these moments of fear that we have to breath deep, and know our faith is being tested.  The moment our faith begins draining from us, is moment that we must hold tight to it and thank God for our current suffering, questioning and lack of confidence in our actions or words.  We must continue to reflect even more on His perfect plan and remember that sometimes acting within His will might not be comfortable.  If we have stepped off the path, there is a lesson within each step and we must remember that He loves us so much that He will not let us stray far before He begins nudging us back on track.

I said something a few days ago that I so deeply regret, that I can now actually appreciate why some people take a vow of silence.  I am not sure if I was on track or off track with what I said, but even through my regret I am trying very hard to be thankful for experiencing these feelings of regret, for the increase in my desire to be pleasing to God (through silence if necessary) and for yet another opportunity to empathize with Judas.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for everything.

Praying for Judas…

I love the song The Hammer Holds by Bebo Norman.

When I first heard this song about a year ago I thought of Judas Iscariot.  I thought of the love he must have felt for Jesus when he first met Him.  I thought of how fervently he wanted to follow Him, to be good and to care for and help the poor.  I thought of the dreams he must have had for himself as a follower, a disciple and a friend of Jesus.  He possibly imagined that God was shaping him into a perfect piece of art that would be displayed for all to see.  Then I imagined his pain, his sorrow, his despair and possibly the numbness he felt when he realized that God’s plan was not for him to be displayed as a perfect piece of art, but instead God’s plan was for him to betray Jesus, betray the blood of a guiltless man.  When I thought of this I cried and cried and cried for this man whom it would have been better for if he had not been born (Matthew 26:24).

Tonight I saw that a friend had taken the quiz, Which one of Jesus’s disciples are you? so I decided to take it too.  Guess which disciple I am?  Judas Iscariot.

WOW… I was shocked and so sad that this computer quiz calculated that if I had been there 2000 years ago and been blessed beyond measure to be chosen by Him as one of His 12 disciples, I would have been His betrayer.  I would not have been sleeping in the garden as He prayed, but instead would have been wide awake leading those blind with hatred and envy to Him, my Love.  It would have been me…

Ever since empathizing with Judas Iscariot through Bebo Norman’s song, I have prayed that Judas Iscariot only found the courage and strength to betray Jesus purely out of obedience to Jesus and faith in Jesus.  I still pray for this to be true, and my hope lies in the fact that so many things are upside down and turned around from what they seem, our treasure lies not in the bank but in our love, the first shall be last and the last shall be first, the veil is still drawn, the truth is still hidden, but someday all will be revealed… and until then I am praying for Judas.

Eat, drink and… be Mary!

This is the time of year when we are celebrating, we are throwing parties, we are attending parties and we are being “MERRY”!

A few years ago we threw a Christmas party and our invitation read, “Come, eat, drink and be merry!”  I was thinking about this today because we wanted to throw a party this year, but I didn’t get around to planning it.  When I thought about the invitation we sent a few years ago, I paused on the phrase “be merry”, in my head I changed it to, “be Mary”.

Did “be merry” originate from “be Mary”?

Rather than research the actual origins of this phrase, tonight I would rather come up with my own story!

Maybe years ago when friends were toasting and celebrating together during the Christmas season, they really did use the phrase, “Eat, drink and be Mary!”, with the intention and the prayer that they themselves as well as their friends would live as Mary did, full of faith in God and consumed with love for Jesus!

I pray during this Christmas season and the year to come, that we will all “be Mary”, living like Mary full of faith in God and consumed with love for Jesus!

Be Mary, my friends, be Mary!

Cheerleaders!

About 2 years ago there was an evening when I was working out with my music turned up!  At one point a song came on that really moved me, and for a moment I imagined that I had a cheering squad lined up on either side of my elliptical stretching back behind me to infinity.  The line began with my cousin, my mother-in-law, my grandmother and great-grandmothers, but continued stretching on and on with millions of women cheering for me, cheering me on and telling me that I could do it!  The image didn’t last long, but I was moved to tears in that moment.

I think, when I imagined them that I was actually calling for them and they came and have stayed to cheer for me and help me find the way Home.

They lead me to books, they lead me to teachers, and they have helped lead me to Jesus!

Call for them… they will come and cheer for you too!   Our imaginations are so powerful when we believe my sweet friends!

Look for the little flowers!

This morning I saw a man stop and offer help to an older woman who was pushing her own wheel chair across a parking lot.  It was a lovely scene, quiet and small and probably not noticed by many.  I love seeing these small and beautiful moments of kindness and goodness in the world.  They remind me that God’s tapestry is full of small and beautiful pictures that we can see even now.  I like to think of these small moments of goodness as the little flowers decorating the trim of His tapestry.

I think His tapestry is also full of large scenes of which we only have the ability to see small portions.  When we focus on the small parts of the large scenes, we might see what we perceive to be evil.  We might notice the drops of blood, a weapon, a betrayal, a death and if we don’t have faith to trust that these things are necessary parts leading up to the overall goodness of God’s scene, His plan, His beautiful tapestry, then we lose hope in the goodness of God and His ability to use any and every action of ours to finalize His beautiful and good plan.

I know it is very cliche to say, but I must repeat what so many others have said before me.

Jesus please help us to focus on the small things, help us to seek out the little nuggets of golden goodness You have sprinkled throughout everyday, and when something bad happens help us to remember that our faith is being tested, and that we must believe in You and have faith in You and Your ability to turn anything all around and upside down.

Thank You

Almost every time I pray I ask for my family and friends to be blessed and kept safe, but what does keeping them safe really entail?  What does blessing them really entail?

Do I mean for them to be healthy and kept out of accidents?
Do I mean for them to be comfortable and happy?

Will keeping them safe and blessing them bring them closer to God?  I don’t know.

In Jeremiah 14:11-12
The Lord said to me: Do not pray for the welfare of this people.  Although they fast, I do not hear their cry, and although they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I do not accept them; but by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence I consume them.

Was the Lord asking Jeremiah to refrain from praying for the welfare of these people because He knew that safety, comfort and blessings are not what would bring these people closer to Him?  Is He saying that that they will only cry out to Him, present offerings from their hearts, and truly come closer to Him in times of war, famine and pestilence?

I am not sure, but reading this made me take a step back and wonder.

1.  How often do I cry out to God in true joy and thanksgiving when I am safe, comfortable and blessed?  Do these blessings help bring me closer to Him?

2.  How often do I cry out to God in times of sorrow or conflict?  Do these difficulties and challenges bring me closer to Him?

God wants us to cry out to Him regardless of whether it is in joy or misery.   He wants to be there for us, He wants to be close to us and maybe sometimes we won’t let Him in until the difficult times arise.

God please help us to pray with humility knowing that we don’t know what is best, and help us to have faith that You do know what is best for all of us and will do everything in Your power to help us cry out to You.

Maybe my new prayer should be, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Let the floor fall…

There is something in my life that is really bugging me and it is not getting done.  I am trying to remain calm about it, but I am thinking about it a lot.

I have become very good at telling my family and friends to give their problems and concerns to God, He will handle them and take care of everything and in the end it will work our for the best.  Now is my small test and I can feel myself failing miserably the more I think about it, the more I worry, wonder, ponder about what to do and how to handle it.

I am so sorry for my lack of faith despite the myriad of times in my life when You have clearly taken all of my problems, concerns, issues into Your hands and woven something more beautiful than I could have imagined.

Jesus please help us to remember to let the floor fall right out from under us with full faith and trust that You will catch us!

It is Our Best Life!

Lead from behind, but don’t forget to follow from in front!

I was running today and as I was running I was thinking about St. Patrick’s prayer

Christ be with me
Christ be before me 
Christ be behind me
Christ be within me

As I was thinking this, I thought about the miniature Jesus I used to imagine living in my heart when I was little and laughed at myself.   Then I imagined Jesus running in front of me and running behind me and thought to myself, what a beautiful circle that makes and isn’t it amazing that when Jesus is running behind me He wants me to follow Him!

I hear the saying and use the saying,  Lead from behind, a lot, but I don’t think I have ever heard someone say, Follow from in front.

I don’t think following from in front is easy, but I think it is extremely important.

Take a look at Jesus’ Warriors of Love, women in abusive relationships.  They are not considered leaders according to our man-made criteria, but we should see them as leaders in how to love others recklessly, how to love others as Jesus and God love us despite our flaws and terrible actions and treatment of others and ourselves.

Take a look at the slaves world wide.  They are not considered leaders, but we should see them as leaders in resilience, strength and the faith as they go on living one more day with every dawn.

Take a look at the people of any third world country.  They are not considered leaders, but we should see them as leaders.  They lead us daily in gratitude as they give praise for clean water to drink, a simple meal placed before them and whatever shelter God has provided for them.

Finally, take a look at the sweet and generous widow in the bible.  She was not considered a leader at that time.  She was seen as a quiet and small follower, barely noticed by the powerful leaders at that time, but Jesus saw her, talked about her, placed her in a position to lead from behind, reminding us yet again to Follow from in Front.

Mark 12:44
They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.

I think when the leaders and followers get mixed up as a lot of us are now, leaders, leading from in front and followers, following from behind, we very easily get lost and it becomes very hard to find God.

Let’s get out of the desert, let’s end this aimless wandering, let’s begin following the real leaders of our world.  The poor, the oppressed, and the children.  They have big things to teach us if we are willing to listen!

So many of us have been trying to lead from in front.  Jesus please help us to have faith and trust in You and our fellow brothers and sisters so that we can complete your circle and remember to follow from in front.