2 Ways I’m Praying When Life is Busy

Life homeschooling three teens with an infant is busy. Making time to pray can be tricky. These are two ways that are working for me in this season.

1. Songs

Songs are almost always running through my spirit like a soundtrack. In this season certain ones are prayers for things that concern me or I feel the Lord wants me to pray about.

  • Over the situation in North Korea I sing Reckless Love by Steffany Gertzinger
  • For a friend overcoming cancer God I Look to You by Jenn Johnson
  • No Longer Slaves by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser – Verse one for me, verse two for my children
  • Let it Rain – Jesus Culture – for America
2. Typing

On Facebook there are many people and issues that need prayer. I find that if I just type “praying”. I don’t. I may think of them. And I may not.

If it’s something I care enough to type “praying” then I take the time to actually type a faith filled prayer. One I really believe God wants to answer. Then when I think of them again I already have prayed and it’s easier to pray again.

How do you pray when life is busy?

I’d love to hear from you.

Transforming Culture Starts with Me

Jesus, you are worth it all. Every nation every soul.

Jesus, you are worth it all. Every nation every soul.

Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven let it rain, let it rain.

Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven let it rain, let it rain.

I can hear the sound of rain coming to America again.

I can hear the sound of rain coming to America again.

These lines are on repeat in my spirit. Almost anytime I tune in my spirit is singing these lines.

These were part of the worship by Lindy Conant at Rise Up in Washington DC. Realizing my spirit is still singing them makes me remember the moments and weep. It also makes me rejoice. God is moving in America in the hearts of His people and the hearts of those who don’t know Him yet.

In the weeks leading up to this event I felt led to start a Facebook group. I shared ways to pray and prepare our hearts for what God was doing through posts and live videos. It was a stretching and rewarding experience.

Rise Up was a historic event for me and for our nation.

Rise Up morning session

Rise Up afternoon session

Each one has a part to play. Each one starts from wherever they are with God this moment, the moment they say “Yes, Lord. Anything you ask.” Each “yes” is another step in the shift of our culture, the expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven here on the earth.

It’s time to walk out the changing of history.

We must rise up. Day after day. Situation after situation.

I’m continuing the Facebook group and opening it up to anyone who shares the passion to rise up with the Lord. I am being transformed so I can transform culture. I will share posts of mine and others I find helpful. I will do videos of things the Lord reveals to me. The rest of 2017 I will focus on being very intentional. It is crucial to steward the seeds God has planted through Awaken the Dawn and Rise Up. I invite you to share what the Lord is revealing to you in this season.

It’s fun how God works. This morning as I prayed and felt I led to continue the group. I saw how it fits with my heart and purpose for my blog. I remembered that I had the goal of creating a Facebook community to encourage you on your journey by October. Up until yesterday I didn’t see any way to possibly make that happen. The idea of taking the group that had focused on praying for Rise Up didn’t seem to fit with my blog. It didn’t seem like it would work. He made my dream happen without me realizing it, just by me saying “yes” to sharing what I felt He was telling me.

How is He asking you to rise up?

Where do you need to take a brave step?

Arise! Shine! Your Time Has Come!

My heart and my spirit are so full with what the Lord is doing I don’t even know how to put it into a post.

So I’m doing something different.

I’m giving you some videos to watch and links to follow.

Rise Up

Register or learn more The Call

Awaken the Dawn! What’s Behind the ‘Holy Spirit Woodstock’ Coming to DC

Awaken The Dawn: The Story

I am traveling from Alaska with my daughters to be part of these events in Washington DC.

The Moral Outcry

If you believe abortion is wrong go to The Moral Outcry and sign the  petition. Share this. I am not condemning women who have had an abortion. I believe they are victim, too. I believe they have been deceived in so many ways. There is grace and forgiveness for everyone, for every sin.

For my sons and daughters, for your sons and daughters.

I will rise up.

What are you seeing God doing?

Will you arise?

Simple Ways to Make An Impact

You say I’m an equipper but how am I doing that? I’m not leading women’s ministry anymore. I didn’t even get a Bible study started. I want to be obedient. I want to be making an impact. I sense I’m supposed to do something big.
I don’t know what it is exactly I want to do or feel I am supposed to do. 

As I was in this place during worship asking God what I was supposed to be doing and feeling I didn’t measure up I watched my son worship with flags and dance. I watched as my son handed his flags off to another young man who had gone up front to worship. I watched as he encouraged this young man to flag, to wave the banners in praise and worship.

You equip equippers. You have taught your son to take what he knows and pass it on to those around him.

Say “Yes” in small things

Serving the Lord, partnering with Him, fulfilling our calling – none of it is as complicated as I often make it. He wants relationship. He wants my yes in small things. Small things add up to big things.

Have the conversation

I just read of a woman who went to Ireland to share the gospel because she felt that’s what God wanted her to do. As far as she could tell it was an unfruitful trip. Years later it was reveal that through a conversation she had with one man he developed a passion for the Lord and was a key figure in a revival in Ireland.

Be faithful

Washing dishes. Doing laundry. Giving your best at the same old job. It may seem a futile effort, certainly not of spiritual much less eternal importance.

How we treat our responsibilities matters. People are watching. They are touched by our example of doing all things to the glory of God. Us loving well, staying faithful, being patient, having peace.

We are all called. That doesn’t mean if we’re not Billy Graham we’re missing our calling. We simply do what God has placed before us for His glory and He is pleased. I’m saying simply, not easily but I think that’s another post.

What has He placed in front of you?
What everyday things you do please the Lord? Ask Him.

Why? is the Wrong Question

There are so many things happening right now that make me want to ask “Why?”

  • Global threat of nuclear war from North Korea
  • National hurricanes and forest fires
  • A family in my community lost their five daughters in a house fire
  • A friend had to put down their beloved dog

All these things and so many more can cause me to look to heaven and ask “WHY?” It’s fine to ask why, it’s almost involuntary.

Why is the wrong question. It’s a distraction. It is disempowering.

Why keeps us stuck when we don’t get an answer. And when we do.

When we don’t get an answer we stay stuck:

  • trying to reason it out
  • in bitterness over not getting an answer
  • using mental energy of continuing to ask

When we do get an answer we can:

  • go back to being comfortable
  • go back to not thinking about it anymore.

While we may feel comfortable we’re still stuck.

God did not design us to stay comfortable. He wants us to be at rest in Him not comfortable in our own reasoning. Resting in Him is always on the move expanding His Kingdom, spreading peace, hope, and love.

I can and do ask why. If there isn’t something I can do different then I move on to the next question.

The better question is “What do I do now?”

  • Pray for North Korea to be saved. God wants none to be lost. Agree with Him that Kim Jong-un can be saved and lead his nation to salvation in Jesus Christ.
  • Pray, give, help. God has different answers for each one according to their gifts and situation.
  • Believe in the goodness of God. Ask for ways to shine His light in the darkness.

Do you ask “why” when hard things come?

Try asking “What do I do now?” How different does it feel?

Getting to the Root of Feelings

I feel sick inside.
I have for days.
I’m working on a project very dear to me.
Something I feel God calling me to.

But I feel sick inside.

I am finally learning at past 40 to pay attention to how I feel and that how I feel physically and emotionally are connected. Maybe that’s blatantly obvious to you but I didn’t know that, not in experience anyway, not for me.

In learning to pay attention to how I feel I am also learning to take the time to figure out where the feelings are coming from. God told me this project would stretch me. The good news with that is He will show me a part of Himself I have not known before that He couldn’t show me without the stretching.

My spirit is excited.

My soul is uncomfortable.

So this sick feeling has been bothering me all week. I’ve taken moments here and there to reflect on why I’m feeling this way.

I want people to like what I’m doing, for it to make sense, for it to make an impact. In part I am nervous that none of those things will be true.

What struck me yesterday was that I have gotten feedback that all of them were true and I felt sicker than ever! What is wrong with me?!

God why do I feel this way?
Remember what I told you about this project?
Yes. I cared too much about what people think so that’s part of what the project is about. I commit to run every idea past You. Doing what You lead me to do not going after production or impressing anyone. But what about feeling worse after getting good feedback?
There’s one you’re trying to impress. One who can’t even see your work. Since you’ve made that one most important all the other feedback is empty. Including Mine.
Ouch! Papa, I’m sorry. You approve and say I’m enough. Praise from any person doesn’t matter. Sometimes not getting it hurts, though.
It does.
I grieve the hurt of not getting the feedback from one and rejoice in the feedback from many. Especially You.
You’re learning to serve an audience of One.
Is there anything else You want to say to me?

I see your hurt and I care. I’m proud of your growth. Your “yes” to stretching.

Is there an area God is stretching you? Have you asked Him what He will be for you there?

Is sorting out your feelings natural for you? Do you struggle through like me?

Total. Complete. Failure.

Failure.
Total. Complete. Failure. 
These were the words ringing through my head. The words crossing my lips. The emotions feeling far too real.
While it was terrible to be there. I thankfully don’t live there anymore.
It was only a week or so ago but I’m not really sure what the circumstances were. It may have been not getting my baby to nap. (My other were sleeping well on their own by this age) It may have been engaging in a fight with my teenager. (Who’s the adult here?) Whatever it was I’m sure it was fueled by lack of sleep and unrealistic expectations. There’s always those.
I used to live there – my biggest critic, always ready to condemn. Thankfully I don’t live there anymore. I am still my biggest critic but the critic doesn’t get to beat me up like they used to.
Now I can see it’s a lie. Even if I have failed at something I am not a total complete failure.
I’ve learned to identify lies (some more quickly than others) and replace them with truth. This was a practice I learned doing Beth Moore’s study Breaking Free. It’s a very powerful study but somehow I knew I was missing something. It wasn’t working. Progress was so slow.
A few years ago I did Supernatural Mothering by Ashley Brendle and learned to bring God into the equation. Doing Breaking Free I had brought scripture into the equation. I would identify a lie and find a scripture that said the truth. As hard as I would try I felt I was trying to cover the lies with truth instead of replacing the lie with truth. Doing Supernatural Mothering I learned to reinforce what scripture said by asking God what He wanted me to know. The things that He spoke to me in those times have been the most transformational for me. It’s powerful to know the God of the universe still speaks to me. He speaks to my silly questions.
I say “God, I feel like a total complete failure. I can’t do this.”
That’s not the truth so I renounce the lie that I’m a total complete failure and I repent of believing it.
Then I ask, “What is the truth?”
He says, “You’re precious. You’re growing. You are never, ever identified by your behavior. You are My daughter, righteous by the blood of Jesus.” No failure there.
“God is there anything else you want to say to me?”
“I love you. I long for you to understand how much.”
Have you ever tried asking God to tell you the truth? Asking God what he thinks of you? He says His sheep know His voice. That must mean He speaks.
If you’ve never tried I challenge you to just say, “Jesus, what do you like about me?”
I trust you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
I’d love to hear what He tells you.
(The post What’s in My Heart is an example of replacing lies with truth with my children.)

2 Set-Ups for Failure

I wanted a response. I wanted feedback.

I set myself up for disappointment and failure. Twice.

“I think I’m supposed to lead or organize prayer for the ladies, especially the youth, going to DC from our church.”

I said this to my husband as he was in the final steps of his routine to get out the door. I had chickened out for hours the evening before and a couple more that morning.

As I felt disappointed because I didn’t get a response I thought of a story Cheri Gregory shares in Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity where her husband told her he couldn’t read her mind. She realized she could learn to figure out the feedback she wanted so she could ask for it.

Set up #1:

I set myself up by making a statement instead of stating what I wanted.

Set Up #2:

My timing wasn’t good either. Even if I had asked for feedback I would have been disappointed that he didn’t have time to give it to me right then.

We had a full day yesterday and a late night. This morning over coffee – after chickening out a bit more – I told my husband what I realized.

  • I wanted feedback but didn’t ask for it.
  • I was hurt.
  • It wasn’t okay for me to be upset with him for not knowing what I need if I don’t tell him.

This morning when I did ask for feedback I was blessed and encouraged by his belief in me, my gifts, and my calling.

Do you ever set yourself up for failure?

Do you expect key people in your life to read your mind?

He Loves Each One

Update: August 10, 2017

I’ve been thinking about Carol often this summer. I miss her. I think of her when I see my flower bed and my “pot farm” as she would call it. I think she looks down on my “pot farm” (plants in pots instead of a garden) and laughs. I think I think of her more because she didn’t get to meet my baby. I really hadn’t thought of it and now that I am I’m weeping.

She would have gotten such a kick out of her. Maybe she’s watching and getting a kick out of her now. Maybe she and Josiah are talking about the silly things she does and the amazing things she will do. I’m sure God has let them get a peek into the future.

It’s crazy. I don’t know how I would have made time for her this summer if she were still around. I certainly don’t want her to still be here in the pain and suffering she was for the years I knew her.

Yet I cry.

Original post: January 28, 2015

God loves each one.

It’s a truth I’ve been told. A truth I repeated and taught. Not one I always believe, especially for myself.

I saw this truth in a new light yesterday.
My neighbor Carol has become very dear to me over the past few years. It started with my husband plowing her driveway. He never charged her. This confused her.

“Why would you do that?”

He always said it was because he had a snowplow and she had a driveway that needed to be plowed. God loved her and so he loved her.

On one of these visits about four years ago she told him she had been diagnosed with stage 3-B breast cancer.

That’s where my story with Carol starts. I went to find out how I could help. We prayed. We helped her pack and winterize her house as she decided to go to Washington and do a special diet and other alternative treatments.

She came back to Alaska in the spring. Over the years my family and I helped with food preparations, cleaning, moving, and gardening. There were doctor visits and trips to the airport.

Carol lived a lifetime of adventures.

Mushing the Iditarod trail with a friend. Teaching English in China.  Always studying and learning. She and a friend were planning a summer long float trip on the Yukon river when she was diagnosed. I only got glimpses of her adventures, they were often overshadowed and forgotten by the battle to stay alive.

She had a wonderful sense of humor. Most days she made me laugh, all the way to the end.

She was full of paradox.

Carol was almost always cold yet one of her favorite memories and places was in the Alaskan interior with only her dog team at -40.

She didn’t want to be around people but she loved them, and as I recently learned was well-loved by many.

She had issues with everything in her life being someone else’s fault. She seemed to alienate people. She didn’t trust easily. She denied the existence of God.

She became so dear to me.

On many days of trying to help her – and her not allowing me – there was no reason for this love but the love of God Himself for Her. There were many days I didn’t want to go do another seemingly pointless task. God repeatedly reminded me I was serving Him, obeying Him so it didn’t matter if I thought it was pointless.

She went into hospice Thanksgiving weekend. God had been breaking down her isolation. The people serving and pouring into her were beginning to connect, to find out the others existed. Going into hospice really brought everyone together.

I was astounded to see the faithful believers God had placed in her life – for her whole life. I used to think, “How has she missed it all these years?”

Now I see something else.

God loved her all along.

I would have told you that was true. Now I see more clearly how it was true.

It took her weakened physical state for her to gain spiritual strength and healing. People come to see her, send her cards, and call. New friends have been made, many of whom share God’s love for her. She has come to know God’s love for herself. She has finally been able to forgive and let go of bitterness that she has carried for decades.

Carol dreamed of having a home. Through complicated details I won’t explain she started one this summer. When she went into hospice they moved her to a friend’s house. She wanted to get her house finished enough she could go home.

When she accepted Jesus’s forgiveness I realized God had a home for her. He hadn’t just started on it either. He knew she would be coming home.

I guess it is a living illustration of Romans 5:8. While Carol was denying His existence He was loving her. He was sharing with her the beauty of His creation. He was surrounding her with people who loved her with His love. People to love her and show her truth while she denied His existence for over 60 years.

I think it is His love that did not let her live in regret for wasted years. She is in heaven and knows only good and beauty. She can’t “what if?” or “if only”. She has no pain, no sorrow. She is at peace.

I choose peace.  I will celebrate.

Pictures for Carol

One summer day she was talking about her life, everything falling apart. I saw God holding out His hand catching every piece.  He was holding them to make something beautiful.

At an informal service for Carol a pastor shared the verses he read to Carol just before she died.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 10:27-29

King James Version
by Public Domain

emphasis mine

Another picture I saw was of the beautiful aspen trees over her house being God singing over her. She enjoyed the breeze in them so but could never tell it was Him.

My son had this picture for her. He told her the message.

This is a picture I was given for you. You are in a black cloak. The black cloak is sin, unbelief, anything bad you have done and everything bad that has happened to you. The cloak blocks the beams of light, God’s love and forgiveness, from reaching your heart.
The man in white standing next to you is Jesus. He is waiting to take your cloak. Before He can take your cloak and give you His white robe of righteousness you have to ask Him to take it. He won’t ever force you to take it off. As soon as you are ready to take it off He will help you.
Removing the black cloak and putting on the white is submitting to Him without necessarily understanding it all.

She said, “Thank you for telling me but I don’t believe that.”

Now I wish I had drawn her accepting Jesus’s offer. The reality that happened the Sunday before Christmas – her finally giving Him her guilt and shame. His glory shining in and transforming her. Transformation she felt during her last three weeks.

Transformation that went beyond her. Sisters who hadn’t talked in years reconnected.  A neighbor was blessed to minister to Carol while her own sister suffered with cancer thousands of miles away, ministering to her heart where she had felt helpless.

I was so blessed to know Carol, to meet some of the people who loved her for years and for days, to love her myself.

God loves each one. Those who love Him and those who don’t.

Dealing with the Unexpected

This week marked 23 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart.

In the past year, we’ve commented many times about life not being what we expected. This week we reflected on more ways life has not been what we expected. We concluded that in many ways we didn’t even know what we expected and in other ways what we expected was not to be.

Some unexpected things brought joy.
  • Having a baby in our 40’s when we had three teens
  • Meeting strangers who become family in the grocery store
  • People faithfully giving and supporting us
  • Immediate deep connections with new friends
  • Opportunities to serve as a family
We concluded we did expect:
  • to do it together – whatever life brought our way. Here we are 23 years down the road more connected and committed than ever.
  • to love our kids and have lasting relationships with them.
  • to raise responsible adults. While we have not arrived it would appear we’re on the right track.
  • God to be faithful and He has.
Unmet expectations can derail us.

They open opportunity to accuse God or people. They also open opportunity for grief and growth.

  • Losing a son
  • Getting carbon monoxide poisoning
  • A failed business through no fault of our own
  • Strained relationships
  • Projects taking years longer than planned

Unmet expectations are really a fork in the road, a decision point.

Will we stay disappointed, hurt, or grow bitter? Or will we run to Father God with our hurts, confusion, and questions?

Growing bitter imprisons us.

Running to God opens the door for healing, grace, and new perspective.

What unexpected things has life brought your way?

When you have unmet expectations which path do you take?