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.

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.

Grace of Submission

I don’t always know best. I often think I do.
There were many days this summer on our God sized Project that I really wished I knew best. My way was faster, easier, and ultimately not how it got done.

I know just enough about construction to be dangerous. The creative, artistic part of me can come out a little too much. “It’s close enough.” “Does it really matter?” “Do we have to spend the time to do it that way?”

Shop floor
Shop floor

This entire summer was invested in a proper foundation for our shop, for my future. I would have expected two months at the most to be where we were four months into the project. I know the investment is worth it. That doesn’t automatically make it easy to have a good attitude. Our building season is short and we are really short on space. For too much of the summer I let the pressure of my desires ruin my attitude.

6" of insulation under the entire floor
6″ of insulation under the entire floor

Making sure everything is super insulated has been SO time-consuming. The extra insulation will save us money on heating forever.

 Am I insulating my soul? How do I insulate my soul? Constant feeding on the Living Word of God insulates me from setbacks and discouragement.
So much goes into the foundation. Everything must be square, straight and level. Then there is water-line, electrical, plumbing and heating that all has to be thought of and at least partially included in the foundation. It takes a long time and lots of effort.
River of red tubing
River of red tubing

Our spiritual foundation takes time and effort, too. In a sense it is finished, Jesus is the cornerstone, the author and finisher of our faith. In another sense we must keep building what Jesus has done into our own lives. Just as I had to choose to believe His offer of salvation I have to choose to believe He wants what is best for me, that He loves me, that He has good plans for my future. Submitting to what He says instead of what I feel or see. Chose His eternal truth over facts.
Over and over I have chosen to submit to my husband on the building project and God on the timing. My husband wants what is best and knows far more than I do about building. I submit, defer to his decision on how things must be done. He has patiently listened to my suggestions and questions, my pushing for somehow going faster or easier.

Proof I was doing more than taking pictures :)
Proof I was doing more than taking pictures 🙂

I also know God wants what is best and He is always faithful, never late. As a dear couple at church keep reminding me: Our project is not behind. We are on God’s time.
He is building in me and my family a foundation straight, level and square. We are going to need it. Just as the longevity of our building through wind and weather and even earthquakes depends hugely on the foundation our longevity of loving and serving God rests on our foundation of faith in Jesus and His Word. It would be easy to fall away when storms come without a good foundation.
The grace of submitting means the foundation is being built properly, even if I don’t always like the process or the timing. I can submit knowing the outcome will be what I really want not just what would be nice today.
Choose His eternal truth over facts.

Grace, Please? Thank you!

This week’s post was supposed to be about grace.
Instead I am asking for grace.
Building season, growing season, summer – pretty much everything but winter – is really short here in Alaska.

Doing as much as we can on our own on our God Sized Project keeps me very busy. We make progress every week. We are very grateful for Brian’s schedule that gives us 3 day weekends every week. We also have a LONG way to go. 
So I am asking for grace. I’ve not had the time or mental energy to put together a post for this week.
Thank you!
wpid-wp-1399313177437.jpeg
We burned a outline of Alaska on our building site in April.Fire of Grace in Alaska IMG_1282
We cleared the ground for the foundation in May.Spreading GravelThe void had to be filled. Filling the hole.

Final passes over the pad to compact the fill, press everything into place.
Final passes over the pad to compact the fill, press everything into place.
Compacting for a strong building site.IMG_1772We dug in the footings in July.
IMG_1973Form boards and insulation under and inside the footings. IMG_2179Beginning of August we’re putting steel in the footings and insulating the outside of the footings.
I’ve posted a list of blessings God has given us almost every week, mostly to remind myself of His faithfulness. If you care to see how He’s providing look here: God Sized Project
How have you experienced grace this week?

Waiting Is Grace

Waiting is Grace

Waiting is not something I always do well. Often do not do well really.

I was so excited when I saw that waiting is grace.

Then I spent a month waiting and realized my excitement was quickly lost.

Why does God wait until the last possible second to provide what we need? 
It is grace. 
Think I’m crazy. Stick with me.
Remember Abraham. He waited 25 years for Isaac. That took – or maybe developed – patience. It took grace.
Let’s look at another scene with Abraham and Isaac.
1 Some time after these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” Abraham replied. 2 God said, “Take your son – your only son, whom you love, Isaac – and go to the land of Moriah! Offer him up there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will indicate to you.” 3 Early in the morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took two of his young servants with him, along with his son Isaac. When he had cut the wood for the burnt offering, he started out for the place God had spoken to him about. 4 On the third day Abraham caught sight of the place in the distance.
This instruction makes no sense. Yet Abraham does not hesitate to obey. Amazing!
Let’s look farther on in the scene.

5 So he said to his servants, “You two stay here with the donkey while the boy and I go up there. We will worship and then return to you.” 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Isaac. Then he took the fire and the knife in his hand, and the two of them walked on together. 7 Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father?” “What is it, my son?” he replied. “Here is the fire and the wood,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 “God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham replied. The two of them continued on together.

Faith in the God who has been faithful for so many years.

9 When they came to the place God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood.

He is really doing this!

10 Then he stretched out his hand and grabbed the knife to slaughter his son.

Still doing this!

 11  Just then, an angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered. 12 “Do not harm the boy!” the angel said. “Do not do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God because you did not withhold your son, your only son, from me.” Genesis 22:1-12 NET

Talk about the last possible second! The knife was in the air!

Waiting requires faith, without faith it is not possible to be pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:6). Requiring us to wait in faith is grace, allowing us to be pleasing.

Us waiting brings Him glory. Us waiting in faith brings Him more glory.

Us wandering around wringing our hands about when and how the provision will come robs some of His glory.

Us waiting with Biblical hope, the earnest expectation of a great good, brings Him glory.

We were created to bring Him glory. The waiting is grace.

I am waiting for financial provision or unpleasant situations to shift, not waiting for a way out of sacrificing my child!

I will put the energy of wondering and “hoping” to real hope and patience in faith. My God will supply all my needs.

I will provide the priests with abundant provisions. My people will be filled to the full with the good things I provide.”  Jeremiah 31:14 NET

 

My Life June: Lessons in a New Land

My Life June: Lessons in a New LandWatch, I will bring you to a new land, an unknown land. I will speak to you, declare over you your song. I will speak in the midst of you, at your very core. I will build you a garden, a place to seek me and feel my embrace. I will take your valley of trouble and open through it an eternal door of hope. You will sing again. Sing your song for me. You are free.
Hosea 2:14,15 My version

Christian:

I have been feeling this new and unknown land is a wilderness, not a very friendly one either.

He has a purpose though. This new land is a training ground for my destiny.
This new land contains a garden, a very special place to me spiritually.
He is speaking His plans for a hope and a future. He is singing my song, like the women of this tribe sing a child’s song. I don’t fully hear it yet. He sings anyway.
My Lighthouse

He is giving me gifts, like my lighthouse.

As I have struggled in this new land I thought the lighthouse was to remind me I was strong, I would endure.

It was. It does.

More than strong and enduring He sent me the lighthouse for another lesson, the one I didn’t receive so well the first time.

Lighthouses have needs.

The salt of the sea, the beating of the wind and waves wears down the strongest of lighthouses. Without maintenance their light would not continue to shine. They can no longer serve their purpose. No longer lead people safely to the shore.

I have been struggling to get in a good routine this summer. I spend quiet time with God almost every morning. I talk to Him throughout my day. We even argue sometimes. I don’t always like what He tells me to do. Sometimes I am slower to obey than others. I miss having a structured group to hold me accountable. I think that may be part of my missing maintenance plan.

Wife:
For Father’s Day I gave Brian the best picture of Josiah I could, like I had seen him.

Josiah Dances
Josiah Dances
I am learning to treasure my husband more with each new phase of our project. I also see in this new land I need to again submit to his training me– not like obedience school.
Hear me out.
He is gifted in ways I am not. He sees people and situations very differently than I do. It is very good.
I have been very happy to appreciate those things in him, even call them out and encourage him to use them more. In this new land God is telling me I need to learn to be like him. And Him.
I certainly don’t see why.
I mean – We’re partnered. Isn’t that so he can use his strengths and I can use mine? 
Sort of, but not when its an excuse for me not to grow, not to lean on my Savior to help me do what I cannot on my own.
For loving to learn I am not always a very willing student. Oh and knowing a lesson is so much easier than living one – but more on that later.
It will make a difference in our future. It will help me fix my broken filters, the ones that always hear condemnation and failure.

Mother:

Having children 12, 13, and 14 for me means they like to sleep in. I have been trying their entire lives to get them to sleep in, now when I want them up and productive they can sleep the day away. I really enjoy my quiet mornings though. If I don’t have something specific to accomplish they get to sleep. When there’s work to be done they get woke up and usually fed breakfast.
Karissa crossing
In bits of time here and there I am planning school for the fall. We will be studying world history and physical science with two other families. I am hoping the small group will provide fun for the kids and simplicity for me.
IMG_1559

Author:
I am blogging and waiting on direction. This season in the new land will produce things to write about I am sure. So far this is not the season to be producing anything new to market.

I always love to hear if you have read my books or would like to get a copy. I always have books on hand and sign each one I send.
Do you have a personal maintenance plan?
What things do you need to do your life well?

Compacting the Foundation – Grace in the Shaking

After I dig out the clay – the lies, the misconceptions, the doubt, the ingratitude, the worry, the fear – I need to bring in new material, – reading God’s word, listening to godly people and God Himself.

Then I need to plant it firmly in my soul.
The hole must be filled.

A strong foundation isn’t built over a void.

Bringing in fill in the International Harvester dump truck
The fill had large rocks. Just left as they are they would make the foundation weak. The spaces would allow water to collect, potentially allowing frost heaving or erosion under the foundation. It would allow settling when the weight of the building sits over the voids, even small ones.Leveling it up.

The rocks could be removed, or they could be packed in tight. Compacting takes water. Water, pressure, and shaking.

Filling the hole.
26 Whose voice was the cause of the shaking of the earth; but now he has made an oath, saying, There will be still one more shaking, not only of the earth, but of heaven. 27 And the words, Still one more, make it clear that there will be a taking away of those things which are shaking, as of things which are made, so that there may be only those things of which no shaking is possible. 28 If then, we have a kingdom which will never be moved, let us have grace, so that we may give God such worship as is pleasing to him with fear and respect: 29 For our God is an all-burning fire. Heb 12:26-29 BBE (emphasis mine)

Getting flatter, more solid.

Leaving holes, little voids in my soul allows me to settle.

A little complaining, a little impatience, a little questioning of God’s faithfulness or goodness. Each void can be filled with His word so I am less shaken.

To fill the voids in my soul I need water. Jesus my living water and the washing with His Word. Not just passing my ears, not just on Sunday morning or a few minutes in morning devotions.

Compacting
I need His words pounded deep in my soul. Firmly planted as part of my foundation.

Meditation is the work that firmly plants the word. Think on His word again and again. Each meditation pushes it deeper. The solid truth being pushed deeper, closer, firmer – fills the voids.

Final passes over the pad to compact the fill, press everything into place.
Final passes over the pad to compact the fill, press everything into place.

I know the shaking is grace, I choose to welcome it.
The shaking can be quite unpleasant when we forget who and what is shaking.
The shaking transforms something rough and useless into a prime place to build. What grace!

This is the same rocky spot, now tightly compacted, ready to build.
This is the same rocky spot, now tightly compacted, ready to build.

When we remember God does the shaking, that we have been given an unshakable Kingdom we can rest in the shaking.
The shaking is grace.
We are given grace through the shaking.
We give grace through the shaking as we praise and worship our God of grace.

Are you allowing the shaking to build a firm foundation?

Fire of Grace

Fire of Grace in AlaskaWe lit a fire in communities throughout Alaska and let it spread across the state. Our prophetic prayer for our beloved state. Our prayer for grace to be seen here like never before.

Fire

Fire is powerful, often destructive – certainly when it is out of control. Under control it is quite useful. Our fire burned away the dead, the unfruitful. This will make room for new growth. The black ash draws heat from the sun to warm the soil. Burning the dead grass makes the nutrients more accessible to the living plants.

image

Grace is a holy fire burning everything that will not last in the Kingdom of God. The question is not if grace is under control.

It is – Are we under grace?

The burning will come. Burning away those dead works of ours makes room for growth, nourishes our soul for He makes beauty from ashes.

image

For someone not under grace the fire is devastating, yet still grace, for in devastation one can still turn to Him, still accept His grace. He can take even those ashes, those burned without one having faith. He has already done that for each of us. Ashes from our pre-saved lives are being made beautiful even now, beautiful for eternity.

image

As our dead works are burned away we will grow, refreshingly sweet. Others will see how our ashes became beauty. This is the way of grace. The way of redemption. The way of revival.

Fire of Grace burning along the Iditarod Trail
Fire of Grace burning along the Iditarod Trail

As we burn others will see our freedom and long to burn as well. It will spread until the whole world hears.

image

All is grace. The beauty and the fire.

My Life April

 

This is rough, raw. I wonder whether to post or to polish, perhaps neither.
Obviously I am risking posting, and no I didn’t polish.

Do you have a child you’ve never seen?
I do. Well never seen outside of glimpses of heaven.
No tickling toes, no rubbing noses. We only saw his tiny frame after it had been abandon for heaven by his spirit.
It has been 10 years. 10 years ago I would have recently discovered my fourth pregnancy. 10 years of Mother’s Day’s being very bittersweet.

Why am I writing today?
Because I saw him in a new way, another glimpse of heaven and it is wrecking me.

My life, at least the last 10 years could be told by songs. The song 10 years ago was Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman. I lived and breathed this song.

when I walk through the wilderness. . .
when I am found in the desert place. . .
When the darkness closes in. . .
You give and take away,
yet my heart will choose to say,
blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
~lyrics copyright by Matt Redman 2002

We sang it Sunday in church. First I thought of how the world may not be all as it should be but it is certainly brighter than when this was my song.

It happened at the end of the song.
Seeing Josiah.

I got his name driving home from the sonogram confiming his death. When I got home I had to see what Josiah meant. Names mean something to me. It means “Jehovah heals”. I couldn’t ask for a better name.

So, Sunday I saw him dancing. He was dancing a warrior dance, a dance for healing. I wept. I sobbed. I wanted to grab him and pull him close.
He had to keep dancing.
I must keep dancing.
Josiah Dances

When I told my husband I was weeping again. He has never seen him-his tiny frail body but not him. I didn’t realize the comfort I drew from my glimpses of heaven. My heart broke to realize he has no better picture of his dear son than his lifeless, tiny body. My glimpses of heaven have become even more precious.

It so happens this seasons song is Dance with Me by Chris DePrue.

I will dance.