Archives for posts with tag: Prayer

In 1980 an EF1 tornado hit my small Oklahoma town and became the author of the hundreds of tornado nightmares I’ve had since.

In relation to the EF4s and EF5s we’ve seen in Greensburg, Joplin, Tuscaloosa and yesterday in Moore, my tornado was not too bad. EF1s typically result in what would be called mild damage. Mobile homes can be pushed off their foundations, moving cars pushed off the road, the surface may peel off of roofs.

I was 5 years old so I don’t remember a lot. But what I do remember I will probably never forget. The surface of the roof of our house did not peel off. Our entire roof blew away. I could feel our house swaying back and forth. The front door kept banging open in spite of our efforts to secure it closed. We had no basement. My grandma sat with me at the kitchen table and tried to distract me with a game of cards. My mom, who was a nurse, ran out into the wind to go help the injured. My step-dad yelled for her to put a coat on. She kept running with bare arms and wind whipping her hair into her face.

Obviously, the adults around me knew we were not going to die but I was terrified.

I had family in Greensburg. I have family in Joplin. I have a dear friend who is closely connected to Tuscaloosa. I have lived in the midwest almost my entire life. This is part of our reality and as we go through it again and again I can’t pretend to know the pain of those who have endured these monstrous tornados and the horrific devastation they bring with them.

But I know my pain…my little EF1 pain. I know that tornado sirens often bring me to tears and can sometimes even lead to full blown panic attacks. I know that I’m always looking for a “safe place” wherever I am…even driving down the highway. I know that the majority of my life I’ve endured nightmares in which tornados become living breathing entities striving to devour me and my family.

We live in a fallen world. We are not in control. Bad things happen and we can not stop many of them. We are not safe. That is reality.

I’ve been memorizing a passage of the Bible that helps me in times like this.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

I love the promise there. If we will pray instead of worry, if we present our requests to God with thanksgiving, the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds. The Bible never promises that bad things will not happen. But it does promise the protection of our hearts and minds…IF we will lean into God in every situation. IF will lay down our worry and pray instead. I’m not great at this but I’m learning.

So let’s lean today…for ourselves, for the families in Moore and in Joplin and elsewhere. On behalf of those who’ve met the crisis that will become the author of their nightmares, let’s lean into God today and pray.

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I unexpectedly became a college student last week. Four hours before class started I called the director of the program and worked out the details.

I’m excited and nervous at the same time! I’ve taken traditional college classes before.

The program I’m enrolled in is a one year ministry training program and our first class is Practical Christian Living. We’re studying spiritual formation.

As we study the spiritual disciplines I’ve realized how fortunate I am to have a strong spiritual mentor in my life. He is so good at pointing my back to God when I am so focused on my own problems that I’m overwhelmed. And he’s encouraged me to practice the spiritual disciplines in an authentic and organic way.

It’s easy to start thinking of the spiritual disciplines as a checklist. Prayer? Check. Study? Check.

I don’t think this is what God is looking for. I thinking He’s looking for interaction and dependence on our part. It’s easy to perform a ritual and check it off the list without ever really encountering God.

Ken Boa (the writer of my textbook) says, “Spiritual disciplines are good servants but poor masters; they are useful means but inadequate ends.” I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. I pray and study and worship etc. because I love Jesus and want to live my life with Him! But I don’t feel bad if one season is more focused on Bible study and another is more focused on prayer.

I do have to be careful to pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s leading in me. If I’m not intentional about listening I can become distracted and lonely for the Lord. But I think this weakness is also a strength. I like having to be attentive to God.

What about you? What are your thoughts on spiritual formation? Or what adventure does God have you on right now?

It’s back to school day!

My youngest starts 4th grade today at a private Christian school down the street from our house. My oldest is in 7th grade, still homeschooling and attending a homeschool enrichment program 2 days a week. Today is the first day of the enrichment program.

So both boys have a new start today with the new school year.  And I begin mothering them, guiding them and praying for them on their new adventures.

I can sometimes get so bogged down with making lunches, washing laundry, helping with homework and double checking back packs that I forget what the other side of mothering is all about.

On one side the daily management of our homes matters. Last year I found myself buying fast food for breakfast and sending my kids to school with dirty jeans on far more often then I’d care to admit. (I can’t believe I just admitted it at all actually.) So I’ve committed to doing a better job of managing my home this year.

I want my boys to start each day with confidence and strength, not watching me scramble to get it together.

On the other side, I know that mothering is more than clean clothes and nutritious meals.

I thought I would make a short little list of a couple of the things that mothering means beyond the day to day duties, but I quickly realized that it’s impossible to sum it up.

There is so much to being a good mom…knowing when to solve problems and when to just listen, knowing when to cuddle and when they’re not in the mood, balancing discipline with grace. I could go on and on.

Parenting is such a big job, such a tall order. It can be overwhelming. We can sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders.

The good news is, it’s not. We serve a capable God…who is more than willing and able to succeed where we fail!

So as this new school year begins and each of us get a new start, the most important commitment I’m making is to be my children’s most diligent prayer warrior and to trust God’s promises for them and for me!