Me…working on being a prayer warrior

Ok…I think if you click on “Me…working on being a prayer warrior” it’ll take you to my blog at FamilyMatters.net …Here’s hoping!!! Blessings, Sue 

PS Please check out Family Matters…its a great ministry!

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A Quiver Full of Wonderful

family shot for churchRecently I was interviewed for an article in an absolutely beautiful Christian magazine. It was a pleasure to speak to the interviewer and I hoped that my message would be a blessing to anyone who read the article.

Unfortunately, I was not blessed by reading the article. I was distraught. I was so surprised by the things I was quoted as saying. I can’t imagine saying them. In fact, I’m pretty sure I didn’t. If I did, I need to apologize to every reader. I really truly hope I didn’t.

There were several quotes that frustrated me but one that simply pushed me over the edge.

“I don’t think I was a bad wife. We just had lots of kids,
and life got in the way of our marriage.”

WHAT????? I can’t believe those words would have come out of my mouth! Lots of kids…well…yeah, but they are a BLESSING!!!!!

And life got in the way of our marriage? Our life was part of our marriage…the choices we made together to raise children, adopt children, homeschool children, work a high-pressured job, and be involved in our church and community were things that together we decided would enrich our marriage, our family, and our life.

I NEVER EVER EVER want my children to think that they in ANY WAY had ANY PART in the divorce of their parents. THEY DID NOT!!!!

My husband leaving was solely his deal. His issue…not mine and most definitely NOT THEIRS!

I’m not sure if you can tell that I’m quite passionate about this…quite annoyed too.

This is exactly the message I hear so often – “Well, your life was really full…” as if full is a bad thing!?!

Full of what?

Children?

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

God has a wonderful way of describing a house full of children – a heritage, a reward, arrows, a blessing…what’s not to like about that!

YES! Our life was full…it was full of…LIFE!

Meals shared, prayers uttered, stories read, games played, hugs and kisses given, bedtime snuggles, wrestling matches, workdays, school book studying, chores nagging, yard work doing, church services worshipping, Bible study learning, small group getting-together, pool splashing, bike riding, football throwing, soccer ball booting, basketball shooting, scraped knees and broken bone comforting, vacation loving, family visiting, being and growing and doing this whole living thing together!

It was not perfect, but it was beautiful. It was crazy. It was fun. It was frustrating. It was difficult. It was loving. It was a blessing. It was our life. And it was worth fighting for.

I guess I just want to say that I don’t believe that I was perfect nor do I believe that our life was perfect, but I do believe that it was just right for us. I believe that our children were and still are blessings…wonderful, silly, sometimes stinky blessings.

I believe that the challenges are worth it.

I believe that the day to day living of life as a family is exquisite.

I know I cannot go back and fix my family or that article…but I can tell you that it has given me a new resolve to enjoy my family…all the exhaustion, all the chaos, all the challenges… it has reminded me that this life is a blessing that I don’t want to miss.

Lately I’ve uttered words to God like, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” and “I can’t do this anymore.” But God is reminding me that I do really want to do this life…that I love this life. And He is showing me that I can do this because I have Him…and it is worth the fight.

I might have lost the fight for my marriage, but I did not lose the fight for my family. I have them right here with me and I’m proud to say that I have a full quiver of arrows! I will be the mighty warrior in this family and protect and fight for it!

Are You Stuck in a Miry Bog Too?

swamp 1
A lot of people have told me lately that I’m too hard on myself. That I refer to myself as a mess way too much.
I believe them.

The problem is that I feel like a mess…I feel like I just can’t get my life together…any part of it.
I told a friend recently that I feel like a spinning top…all wobbly and going in circles. See…that’s not positive either. Honest but not positive.

My friend replied that I’m not a spinning top. I just have a lot of spinning plates and some of them are wobbly. I think they are all wobbly…but that’s just me.

The problem is that my life is messy….maybe I’m not the mess…maybe it’s my life. And I’ve never been partial to playing in the mud.

I believe I’m kinda in the muck right now. It’s a rather yucky place to be. I’m not very fond of it.

Muck reminds me of some verses:

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon the rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:1-3

Do you know what a miry bog is? It’s like a muddy swamp. When I think of a swamp I think of a slimy, smelly, wet place. (Actually it also makes me think of Scooby-Doo….the swamp monster or beast or whatever it was called. There are days when I think I might be the swamp monster!?!)

A miry bog is a place where our feet get trapped in mud…where we can sink down and get stuck.

Right now, miry bog feels about right. I’m feeling rather swampy…although I don’t believe I’m slimy or smelly or wet. Just a bit…
ugh…a bit down and stuck.

It’s a difficult place for me. I thought I was done with down. I did the down and stuck thing when my husband left…I don’t want to do it again.

So in the midst of my swamp, what am I to do?

Psalm 40 says I’m to wait patiently for the Lord…at least that’s what the psalmist did. I can do that…I think. I mean honestly my feet are kinda stuck here…my heart is sinking…and my mind is definitely muddy.

Stuck feet…sinking heart…muddy mind. Oh dear.

The cool thing about reading a whole passage of Scripture not a verse or two is that you often get a very beautiful thing…a lovely present from God.

I decided to read all of Psalm 40 and how very glad I am that I did. God showed me is that this psalmist is speaking my heart.

The psalm begins with a remembrance of God’s deliverance and a time of praising God for all He has done…for His continued faithfulness and provision.

The psalmist also reminds God that he has been faithful to share all the wonderful things God has done.

I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. (9-10)

The next part of the passage is the psalmist asking again for God’s deliverance. He’s facing new trials.

For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me! (12-13)

That’s how I’m feeling right now. When my husband left and divorce became a reality and single parenting became my life, God faithfully inclined his ear to me and heard my cry. He delivered me. He gave me a song of praise to share.

But now things are all wonky again and I need some serious rescuing…again.

And, like the psalmist, I believe and trust that God is going to deliver me. I even on some level have an excitement about what God is going to do. I just know that He is going to do something grand in my life. Even if it isn’t grand by the world’s standards, it will be a blessing by mine.

As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God! (17)

How often have I wanted to say, “Do not delay God! Please work quickly!”

I know that God’s timing is always perfect…maybe I should say that it always results in the perfect thing, but His timing definitely does NOT feel perfect sometimes. Sometimes perfect to me means RIGHT NOW!! Who am I kidding…not sometimes, ALL THE TIME!

BUT I trust Him. I know Him to be faithful and I know that He will always and only do what is the very best thing for me and mine.

As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! (11)

He’s taking me to a deeper understanding of His love for me…it’s a glorious thing but oh I have so much to work through in my own heart so that I can receive all that He has in store for me.

Thankfully He does not leave me to work alone…He is totally in charge of the work and the worksite! I’m excited to see what He does and where He takes me in His word and in my life.

God is teaching me so much about Himself and myself. I can’t wait to share. I just want to get my thoughts in order and make sure that what I share blesses you.

Praying that you will seek God, be glad in Him and continually say, “Great is the LORD!”

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!” (16)

Loving the Unlovable…Seriously Unlovable

flashing heart

A few weeks ago I posted about being done.   These past several weeks have been a bit difficult with regard to my attitude about my ex-husband. 

I forgave him 3 years ago, but sometimes I still get annoyed with him.  Sometimes I just want him to be nice. And sometimes I want him to just go away already! 

I’ve been pondering the whole response to an ex that ain’t perfect.  And I’m acknowledging right here and now that neither am I.  Sometimes he just seems a lot less perfect than me…but then again, I know that isn’t exactly accurate either.  I have my own issues and only by the grace of God do I live.

And although at this time in my life I’m writing as it relates to my ex-husband, I believe that God is showing me this is the way I’m to live period…in an attitude of love, goodness, blessing and prayer.  My eyes focused not on my life, not on my circumstances, and not on the wrongs done to me, but rather focused with laser intensity on Jesus!

The verse that God is continually bringing me to is Luke 6:27-28

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 

It seems harsh to refer to my ex-husband as my enemy…although sometimes it feels that way.  I believe that he isn’t my enemy.  I think I feel like I’m in a battle with him, but maybe we are more like opponents in a tennis match…but there’s definitely no love in the score.

“Love your enemies” 

Awww Lord, really?

Love…do good…bless…pray…

Love him?  Love him.  Really?

What does that even look like?  ‘Cause I did that for a long time and it didn’t end so well.  So I’m praying as I write because I really don’t know what that looks like. 

Talking about love always reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  Love is:

Patient, Kind, Does not envy or boast, Not arrogant or rude, Does not insist on its own way, Is not irritable or resentful, Does not rejoice in wrongdoing, Rejoices in the truth, BEARS ALL THINGS, BELIEVES ALL THINGS, HOPES ALL THINGS, ENDURES ALL THINGS

Ok, I’m seriously convicted. 

Am I patient with God’s dealing with my situation and my ex?  Am I kind in the face of my ex’s attitudes, accusations, and actions?  Am I rude when I could choose to be kind?  Do I insist that things go my way regardless of God’s plan?  Am I irritable and resentful?  (ugh…definitely)  I do not believe I rejoice in my ex’s wrongdoings but maybe I do a bit when it’s me trying to justify my angry response to him.  Do I rejoice in the truth?  Golly, I hope so. 

But in this circumstance do I bear, believe, hope and endure all things?  Nope, I wanna crawl in my closet and hide.  And when that doesn’t happen I want to yell and argue and fight with my ex.   

Who am I kidding…I can’t do those things?  Love like that?  That’s not logical.

But when has God called me to do something that He hasn’t enabled me to do?  Seriously never! 

Once again I’m gonna have to rely solely on Jesus.  After all He has given us “a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

And I’m totally going to need that spirit in my life because not only am I called to love that man, but do good, bless and pray for him.

Do good too? 

Bless Him?!?! 

Pray for him…okay I can do that. 

I checked out Matthew 5:43-48 in The Message.  (That Bible phone app rocks!) 

You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that.  I’m telling you to love your enemies.  Let them bring out the best in you, not the worse.  When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.  This is what God does.  He gives his best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless:  the good and bad, the nice and nasty.  If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus?  Anybody can do that… “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up.  You’re kingdom subjects.  Now live like it.  Live out your God-created identity.  Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Well that kinda puts it all in perspective. Let them bring out the best in you…respond with the energies of prayer.

Respond with prayer to someone who is a pain. 

God keeps reminding me of that prayer thing.  It IS the only answer.  I believe maybe I need to be putting my energies into prayer rather than thinking about how angry I am or even figuring out how not to be angry. 

And praying will certainly help me be my best…my God-created best.  And that will definitely help me live generously and graciously toward my ex-husband. 

I believe I will pray for God to enable me to live the way God lives toward me!

Prayer and My Best Friend

boat on the water picI’ve been wanting to write about prayer for several days now.

Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer and I didn’t realize it until I checked Facebook. I love it when a plan comes together!

Prayer. There is something about that word…it’s peaceful to me. It’s like a sigh.

My prayers have been many things though….sighs, sobs, rants, complaints, praises, thanks, and everything in between.

And honestly, sometimes my prayers have been quite lame. By that I mean, they’ve been few and far between or just, what I call, “hail mary” prayers…thrown up in a time of need or exasperation. Those are never pretty.

Pondering prayer brings to mind all those friends I enjoy talking to, the friends who are willing to listen, help, comfort, guide, hold me accountable, advise, and be part of my life. I’m so thankful for them. And I long to bless them…to talk to them, encourage them, thank them, share the good things with them, share my concerns with them, and love them well.

And thinking about their willingness to be part of my life reminds me of how much my Lord enjoys being a part of my life.

It makes my day to get a letter, call or text from someone I love. I imagine God is the same way when we take the time to think of Him, talk to Him, or share with Him. He loves us so much.

And I know that He desires a relationship with me. I think to some degree…or maybe mostly…that relationship is very much up to me. He’s always willing and waiting every moment of every day…I just need to make the time.

The great people of the earth are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; not those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time and pray. They have not time. It must be taken from something else. This something else is important – very important and pressing, but still less important and pressing than prayer.” SD Gordon

I found that quote in a little brochure about praying for my children. It’s so convicting to me – I talk a lot about praying, but I could stand to talk less and pray A LOT more.

Just like when we think of our friends and reach out to them, I know the Lord is happy when I think of Him and reach out to Him. I’m determined when I think of Him I’m gonna talk to Him.

Just like my friends, I want to bless Him however I can. And any time in His presence absolutely blesses me.

Prayer…my sweet peace is with Him. I think it’s time to talk to my Best Friend.