Places I love

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Heaven Lit Prayer for our Black Forest

The worst fire in Colorado history occurred this past week in my hometown of Colorado Springs, more specifically in the Black Forest area. Many people have lost their homes and many of those have been my dear friends and members in our church. There are no words at a time like this when you watch something change lives right before your eyes.

I sat at my desk yesterday morning with nothing to say, nothing to pray. So, I prayed for a prayer. The following is what poured from my pen.

Oh God, tend to our grieving hearts, we so desperately need you. Revive our hearts and teach us to live again. Strengthen us for the road that now lays ahead. We are a broken people, but we are yours O God. Let our hearts not faint or grow weary beyond words, but let our mouths be filled to the brim with the unchanging truth of your goodness and faithfulness. 

Remind us that your character is not founded in circumstances, it is not changed by tragedies, your character is the same yesterday, today, and forever because you yourself are the immovable unchangeable foundation upon which all good things are built. May we declare together that you are our rock and refuge in times of trouble. That you are our God and your faithfulness and love towards us as your people has no end. When we walk through the rubble and the fragility of our lives remind us that you are established and Your kingdom shall never perish or fade. Though our foundations have crumbled, you O God, you have not. 

Thank you that you are a God who rouses Himself from His throne and draws near to hear the cries of His people. I can see you tilting your head to our voices and sprinkling us and our land with your tears of love in answer to our prayers. You have not moved away from those who call upon your name. Though the mountains be leveled around us, you O God are our firm foundation and our pleasant boundary. With you, our treasures are secure. 

We have come to you O Lord, lifting our grief, our deep sadness, our loss to you. Holy Spirit we ask that with the power you exerted to raise Christ from the dead that you would lift our swollen tear soaked eyes to you. May our eyes find new light and joy in the reflection of your glorious face. For you are not a dead Savior. You are risen and seated with the head of our family, our Father, the head of the Kingdom which even now, holds rooms and places prepared just for us. Raise us up O God, out of the ashes that are our lives. Set our feet, strengthen our feeble knees and remind us of the glorious kingdom that longs for us all to be together, to be home. 

Let our weeping work its way into worship. Let truth be the foundation of our hearts. May your words, the power of your Holy Spirit, and your unending love towards those who believe demonstrate that we are more than conquerors because we abide in Christ Jesus our Lord, our Savior, our King in whom no death or defeat is found. 

May we see the glorious end to our grief through the eyes of your grace. Help us to look up and hear you whisper that there is a day coming when our suffering will meet its complete end. We are not a people who shrink back because you are not a God who waivers in His will. Your face is set and your heart committed to us, your people, the ones who are called to carry your glory. 

May we bless you in our brokenness. May we worship you in our weakness. May we love you with our lives, now and forevermore. For as we walk this road with perseverance let us find our character has grown to look more like yours Jesus. As we find ourselves different than we were before, may hope be the strength that carries us down the road you have set before us. And O God, let that hope sustain us as you pour it to overflowing into our hearts as we continue to walk with you.   

O you people of the one and only God, stand in your place within the grace that has covered you. Have your fill of His peace. Rest O you people in the presence of love. All is not lost. There is still life in you.

To you our GOD be the glory forever and forever, AMEN.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Because I Can...

I woke up this morning at 5:30.  This is unusual for me. I normally am catching my good z's at around that time; however, when my eyes opened, I realized I was awake. The "I won't be able to go back to sleep now" kind of awake. This also is unusual for me. My husband normally has to employ many different tactics to get me to join the world in the morning, but today I woke up and my husband was soundly sleeping at my side.

I looked at him and I couldn't decide if I wanted to get up or not, so I laid there for a moment before I determined that I could at least go to the bathroom. Up I went and as I turned out of my bedroom, I saw a pink glow rising softly outside the windows in the next room. I asked God to wait for me as He painted the sky while I went to the bathroom real quick.

There is one window on the east side of the house and so I went there. The sunrise had simple beauty. Pure pink shades spread out across the entire horizon. I smiled, said good morning to God, and went into the kitchen. One thing led to another. I unloaded the dishwasher. Made some coffee for my hubs. Then I looked out the window and looked around the kitchen and yawned. My body had all the sudden realized it was awake way earlier than normal.

I thanked God for waking me up, but I stood there staring out the window and thought, well, what should I do now. See, I am a doer. I do things. The whole being still thing I am not so good at. I can always find things to do, even when there might be something else I should be doing.  Should I read my Bible? Should I start a load of laundry first? Should I go back to bed?  I live in this constant cycle of doing things and feeling like there is always something else I should have done.

Then God whispered something unexpected to me. Honestly, at first I thought it was me. Go back to bed? Cuddle my sleeping husband? Surely, that was me. Then I heard God tell me that He wanted me to begin looking at this season in our lives a little differently. See, we are both still unemployed and my husband hurt his back a month ago and needs to do something different in the future than construction. He has started college classes and so our schedule is not traditional at the moment. Although, I am looking for something part-time, I am focusing on my writing, it is time.

Yet are any of you like me? I fill my days with so many "should do's" and then I feel guilty when I include something I want to do. This is something I know God is trying to break me of because in the midst of trying to do what I think He wants me to do, I am missing often the things He just wants to do with me. I miss the relationship. My daily schedule lately has not demonstrated that my God is fun and likes to share experiences with me and show me wonderful things. I have not been allowing the romance lately.

This morning God woke me up to teach me that I don't need permission to enjoy Him or what He's given me. He reminded me that when I fully embrace Him and what He's given that His glory radiates. So, with only a tinge of guilt (because I'm still learning), I went downstairs and crawled back into bed with my sleepy man. I wrapped my arms around him and fell asleep soundly. I rested.

God told me to go snuggle with my husband because I can. This season allows for that. What season are you in? What might God be giving you permission to do that will result in His glory radiating to this world and will allow Him to romance you again?

Go for a walk and don't time yourself.
Sit down and read a few chapters (or more) in that book you have been meaning to read.
Sit at your window and watch a bird for at least 10 minutes.
Get up in time to see a sunrise or position your life to watch a sunset. (I don't mean glance out the window and move on either. I mean sit, watch it rise or set, all the way.
Make your child laugh, or heck, ask them to make you laugh.

God's waiting for you to enjoy Him and what He's given.

Do it because you can...

I'd love to hear what you intentionally chose to do different in your day today to enjoy Him. Comment or send me an email. Have fun!

The following is a picture I took a different day. But isn't it something?