Friday, May 6, 2011

The prayer for trauma

A couple of years ago I started the Beth Moore Bible study on the life of John the Beloved disciple. In one of the first few weeks Beth told a heart-wrenching story of a traumatic loss for a family she was close to and she shared the prayer she prays for times of trauma,when you just don't know what to pray. I remember it like this: "Lord, if you don't show up, we will not survive." Sometimes the grief and devastation is too much to bear.

A few days after that Bible study session, Jon and I went into our doctor's office with a list of hopeful questions for our almost eleven week pregnancy. We were so excited to see the baby's sonogram image. But when we saw the image, the baby was so still. No heartbeat. Our doctor was amazingly compassionate. He said and did all the right things. But in that moment, we needed more than anything the ministry of The Great Physician, to pray for us in groans we could not express. I prayed that prayer for trauma. "Lord, if you don't show up, we will not survive. Please show up here." And in the grief filled days and weeks and months that followed, He did. He showed up in astonishing ways at times, unexpected ways, but He showed up. I trust Him more after walking through that time than I trusted Him before. We passed through the waters and we did not drown.

Since that time, we have seen other families walk through similar and much much more difficult traumas and unimaginable grief. I have prayed every time that God would show up for them like He showed up for us, that He would be gracious tCheck Spellingo them, to rise to show them compassion. Something else I learned from Beth Moore was to place the hard questions in this world right between the bookends of God's love and His sovereignty. We will not always find the answers to why these things happen here, but we can always trust in His love and His sovereignty. This means everything to me.

Tonight I am sharing this with you because I just learned that Ashley in Alabama has passed away. Apparently there were more complications than they knew and she died during surgery. I want to ask you to pray for her family. They have lost so much. How can they stand it unless God shows up? Please pray. I have asked our mutual friend to send me her husband's name and I will share it in a comment of this post when she sends it to me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prayer need

I just saw this prayer request on facebook and thought I'd pass it on. Please pray for Ashley in Alabama. She lost her home and her pets in the tornadoes and is now in active labor at 22 weeks in the hallway of an overcrowded hospital. This is not somebody that I know so I can't promise any updates, but please pray for her. What trauma.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sleeping on the job

Having a two-year-old is amazing, but I feel like I need to be doing something all the time. All. The. Time. If I don't constantly pick up things around the house, it suddenly looks like a disaster zone. This can happen quickly. In the span of an hour it can look simultaneously like a house that's been lived in for decades and one that is half unpacked. Yesterday I spent Benjamin's naptime cleaning out the car and carseat instead of picking up the house a bit like I usually do. I was feeling really great about the way the car was looking when I walked into the house and saw that what I hadn't picked up seemed to have magically multiplied. By that time, Benjamin was waking so I didn't do anything about it.

Needless to say, by his naptime this afternoon it had multiplied to outrageous proportions. I just kept waiting for the governor to come by and declare it a state of emergency. Benjamin and I had spent the morning with friends at the zoo, shopping, at lunch, and we were both pretty tuckered by naptime. I have been making it a point when he goes down to read at least part of a children's book to keep my children's book blog from getting stuck in a rut of the same old books I know by heart. So despite the mess around me, I stretched out on the couch with Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder and read a chapter. But as Almanzo and his father hewed crossbeams for a bobsled, my eyes started to get heavier and heavier until I found myself dreaming weirdly of shopping at CVS for a bobsled and trying to use my coupons. Before I knew it, I had slept for close to an hour, Benjamin was waking up, and I still hadn't picked up the house.

It actuallydidn't take long to get it in some order once I popped a Toy Story dvd in for Benjamin and gave him a snack. I am constantly thankful for my Shark floorsweeper, the lifesaver of any mother of a toddler. But the whole chaotic house week got me thinking.

I think my spirit is a lot like my house. If I neglect it for even a day, it starts to get cluttered up with so much laundry and dust, stinky shoes, and crayon marks on the furniture. I start to feel overwhelmed, to dwell on the wrong things, to feel more and more inclined to sleep on the job. It is my job to fill my mind with whatever is good, pure, lovely, and praise-worthy. But if I'm too tired for a few nights and I go to sleep instead of doing my Bible study, or I spend several days reading a Jennifer Weiner book and NOT reading something uplifting, I start to feel cluttered and dusty. I forget the good and lovely things and I get grumpy and short tempered. You know, no matter how often you dust your shelves, there will always be more dust accumulating (that's why I hate dusting, by they way). Cleanliness doesn't last on its own but a mess does. Neatness doesn't grow without help but clutter does. It's the same with my mind and my spirit. The growly thoughts grow without much help. The lovely thoughts need to be polished and shined and scented with lemon every day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hard To Get

This song is strong on my heart today. It was written by the inimitable Rich Mullins but is covered beautifully here by Phil Stacey. It is a great song for those times when you are struggling with so many questions. Like the psalmist David so long ago, we can know that our gracious Lord is willing to hear our hard questions and though He is hard to get, He wants to be known.

I hope this song speaks to you today the way it speaks to me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let me hide

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee

I love old hyms. The church that Jon and I are a part of does not often sing them, but I find myself returning to them again and again in times of need. It seems just now that my prayer list is heavy and that my heart will break. From international devastation to the illnesses and personal losses of friends, I find myself in need of a Rock. A hiding place.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beginning to sink

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:29-31

It has been nearly eight years since the end of Jacob's Well, the ministry I worked for. I still dream about it sometimes. A lot, lately. In the past eight years I've noticed a tendency to turn myself over to grief when I think about it too much. I still feel it so.

I still feel betrayed. I still feel embarrassed and guilty that I didn't have more discernment. I still feel an unbearable weight on my chest when I think of the friend whose marriage was taken by the enemy and so much more. I still sometimes weep when I wonder about the girls. And I still feel confused.

I could sink in these feelings. And sink and sink. And drown. Gulp the water and feel it burn my lungs until I am finally beyond feeling. I could do that.

Or I could do what Peter did. I could cry out, "Lord, save me!" and feel His hand catch me up. Feel Him set me in a spacious place. On solid ground.

This time I choose this again. How many times has He saved me since the cross? I ask Him to do it again. I ask Him to cease my trembling and lift my chin. I ask Him to woo my friend, to lavish her with His unfailing love. I ask Him to seal the girls as His own forever. I beg that they will not reject the gospel because they saw it so abused.

And I pray for the grace to cry out again the next time I begin to sink. His salvation is immediate even when my faith falters.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Book Give-Away Today!

Today, on my Children's Book Quote of the Day blog, I'm giving away one of my favorite Christmas books! This would make a great gift for any adult or child on your list ;)

You have until midnight tomorrow night to enter. Good luck!