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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Mother`s Journal: an unexpected gift

A few years ago our church held small group Bible studies during Lent. I don't remember all the details of what we studied, but one thing that stuck with me is the practice of journaling. I started journaling during my morning devotions, and it revolutionized my prayer life.

Journaling gives my prayer time focus and keeps me consistent; additionally, I find scripture makes a deeper impression on me when I write it out. It becomes indelible. Once I have written out the scripture, I write out my responsive prayers. They are prayers of confession, thanksgiving and intercession, not always in that order.

The other day, I came to the end of a notebook and couldn't find another. Today, I woke determined to find a notebook. In my search I came across one of my mother`s notebooks; she was also a journaler. I discovered blank pages in the center of her notebook, and decided to start where she finished.
As I held my mother`s notebook in my hand I turned to the second page, and found a prayer she`d written for me. It must have been written years ago after the birth of one of my children because it is a prayer for me and my child.

Mother and Daughter

Lord I see them there
sleeping peacefully beside one another.
Keep them safe Father,
under the shadow of your wings,
my daughter and her child.

Thank you that you know
that they are yours.
I know the times may come 
when the going is rough.
May they always stay close to you Jesus
like the little lamb with the broken leg.
Help them not to wander astray,
but stay close to you Lord, the
Good Shepherd.
Lord hear my prayer. 

I thank God for a loving, and praying mother; she has blessed me over and over. Although my mother has been gone for six years her voice speaks to me because of her habit of jounaling. I am thankful for her prayers, they reach beyond her life to future generations. My mother left a wonderful gift, because her prayers continue to touch me and my loved ones. 

Snippets of scripture from my journal this month:

Lamentaion 3:22-23
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

 Psalm 62:1-2
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Psalm 50:9-12
I have no need of a bull from your stall
    or of goats from your pens,
 for every animal of the forest is mine,
    and the cattle on a thousand hills.
 I know every bird in the mountains,
    and the insects in the fields are mine.
 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
    for the world is mine, and all that is in it.

Snippets from Psalm 90
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 91:1-2
 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Monday, 17 March 2014

Hillsong United-Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Lyric Video

Called by name

Since Pete was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, it has been a bumpier road than I anticipated. We thought it would be a simple matter of removing the lesion with surgery, but things don't always go the way we foresee them. We have attended doctor's appointments where we left feeling like we'd just been toppled by a tidal wave, then we've felt overwhelming relief, followed by being knocked over again.

Pete has squamous cell carcinoma of the vocal cords, which has spread to his lymph nodes. He also has a mass on his lung, and many spots. He's been tested for latent TB and Hep C and B; all those tests were negative. Last week I decided to look for some answers on the internet. It was a big mistake because as I read, fear gripped my heart, and wouldn't let go. I couldn't concentrate on anything, so I decided to tackle shoveling the driveway and walkways. After an hour and forty-five minutes, the driveway, and walkways were clear; however, I was still disturbed, so I cleaned the house and went to work. After work I distracted myself with TV for a bit, and went to bed. I woke at three am feeling like I had a knife in my chest. I prayed, O God help me, I can't let go of this fear. At about 3:30am, I decided to get up and read for a bit. I took my book and left the room thinking that I would lie on the couch till I fell asleep; instead I decided to go into the guest room and lie down in that bed. As I got into bed, I noticed a little devotional book that Anna had left behind called His Footsteps, My Pathway. I began to read, and this is what I read: "Jesus said to them, 'It is I do not be afraid.'" (John 6:20) Trust Him; "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep."(John 10:11); "I have summoned you by name; you are mine."(Isaiah 43:1); "He himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5); "The Lord holds your future". Peace flooded my soul. I let go of my fears and held everything up to Him who is "the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end"(Rev:22:13). As I prayed, I realized that these promises are not just true for me; they are true for Pete. The Lord is Pete's good shepherd; the Lord has called Pete by name and he belongs to the Him; the Lord will never leave nor forsake Pete; the Lord holds Pete's future. As much as I love my husband, the Lord loves him more, and will care for him. I was able to let go, because Pete is in the best possible hands. His Father is the Father of all fathers--completely trustworthy. When I finished praying I got up, went back to bed, put my arm around Pete, and quickly fell asleep.

Something interesting happened that day as well. My friend Reta came to the door, and I let her in. She asked me how I was doing, and I started crying and told her about my fears. She hugged me and told me she would pray. I know Reta went away and prayed. I believe it was her prayers that helped win a victory for me that night. I know that many other people are praying, and I thank everyone of you. When we pray, we battle the unseen and win victories.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

I want to be there for Pete and help him through this, and the best way I can do that is to trust fully on my Lord.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;" Isaiah 43:1b&2a