Day 25: Capture #write31days2018

When I first saw this prompt, my mind went straight to the idea of capturing moments and memories, thus, the camera graphic. As I sit down to write tonight, however, I am more drawn to the verse below about taking every thought captive to obey Christ.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

My tendency is toward worry and anxiety and negative thought patterns. Over the past year in particular, life has changed in many ways, and I am on a journey to better mental and emotional health. This verse is a big part of my healing. I am learning how to stop the negative thoughts through prayer and surrendering to God.

And today I had to do that very thing, as I was nervous about a new book group I am starting and inviting to my home this weekend. I have been worried about what the ladies coming with think of our little rental house and how things will go meeting these people for the first time. New things are scary. But I was reminded to take that concern straight to the Lord. I know He has called me to do this at this time, so I can be confident that He is in it and will bless it.

I also was reminded by an old Elisabeth Elliot radio program today to do this same thing with forgiveness. She was talking about keeping a record of past hurts that people have inflicted on us. This verse came to mind as I considered how to fight the temptation to bring up those things with the people I love. I have to take those thoughts to Christ and remind myself that His blood covers all those sins, so I don’t need to hold onto them. Instead, I can choose to let them go and be free to love the people in my life with grace. May you do the same, as well!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 16: Pray #write31days2018

Not a day goes by that I don’t pray several times for help from God. Most of the time, it’s a quick prayer in the midst of sibling conflict between my two children. But in the morning, I usually do  have time for more focussed, less desperate prayers.

However, I have found that those short send-ups for patience, wisdom and grace in moments of desperation are still meaningful. I am learning these days that I cannot control my children or the outcome of my parenting. I can only do what I think is best at the time and pray for the Lord’s will to be done in their lives. The Lord alone knows what is best for them, and I need Him desperately in these days. I am not the potter. I am here to nurture my children and to teach them all I can about making godly choices. But I am not able to determine the path they will go. This is a humbling, and in many ways frightening, realization.

So I pray. A lot. I pray that I will faithfully mother these precious souls. I pray that they will see Christ in me, even through my many flaws and failures. And I pray with gratitude that my God is big enough to draw them to Himself no matter how much I may mess up in the day to day.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 14: Ask #write31days2018

I’m playing catch-up again tonight! Here’s a late post with the prompt from yesterday…

The act of asking questions is the beginning of contemplation. When I contemplate, I ask questions of myself, of the world and of God. . . Questions that don’t always have to have an answer. . . Questions that make me think beyond my daily concerns.

Contemplation is my soul searching, my mind seeking, my heart longing for something beyond myself.

I ask life’s philosophical questions. I ask practical and pragmatic questions. I sit and think and wonder and listen.

Contemplation requires asking. It also requires silence and time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It requires an attitude of openness and of focus.

Asking questions leaves me vulnerable. Contemplation is not a proud occupation. It is humble. Contemplation acknowledges my smallness, my lack of knowledge, my need for the One Who Knows.

In contemplation I find peace, resting in the fact that I belong to the God who has all the answers to anything I ask.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 12: Praise #write31days2018

As the wife of a music pastor, the words “praise and worship” carry a lot of connotations and ideas with them that I don’t have time to go into here. But one of the things about being involved in leading church music is this: Sometimes I have to praise God when I don’t feel like it. And I have to do it in front of people.

Now, I know that may sound like I’m saying that I sometimes I’m being fake and just putting on a show. But no. Actually, the truth is that when I get up to sing with my husband and lead the congregation in song to the Lord, that is often the time when God works on my heart most during the whole church service.

It is in those times I can almost forget the room full of people in front of me, and I feel like I am alone with my Savior. Sometimes I come with a heavy heart or a weary mind, and I don’t want to praise Him. But when I open my mouth and sing the words of truth about Who He is, something happens in my heart that washes His Spirit’s power over me in a way that nothing else can.

I wrote earlier in the week about doing creative things even when I’m not feeling inspired. Praising God in the times when I don’t feel like praising Him is similar, but even more powerful.

Praising God tells Satan and his minions that I am on the side of the Victor, even when the battle feels like it’s going badly. Praising God reminds me that my feelings are not always telling me what is True. Praising God shows the Lord obedience and love and faithfulness, and He always rewards that act. So I would challenge you today, bring your sacrifice of praise and see what blessing He will pour out as a result. I think you will be glad you did!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

 

I am also linking up with the Five Minute Friday community today. To read more posts by bloggers on this prompt “praise” visit the link-up.

Day 8: Comfort #write31days2018

I have been contemplating the idea of comfort often of late. There are many ways we seek comfort in life: comfort food, comfy clothes, a cozy blanket on the couch, hot tea on a chilly morning. And those are just examples of physical comfort. As modern Americans, we do not like to be uncomfortable. We like to be happy and healthy. And when we are uncomfortable we want to fix it.

I’m not saying being comfortable is all bad. We need some level of peace and rest in life to recover. But this life is not free of pain, discomfort and inconvenience because we live in a sin-sick world. We will always have struggle and pain here on earth. The pain of earthly life points us to look forward to the relief of all hurt in heaven.

I am saying that instead of seeking to avoid all pain and numb all discomfort, we need to learn to deal with it. Where can we go for the ultimate soothing of our souls? Jesus. He is the Comforter. He alone can give us the inner peace and rest we need as we travel this weary land. He understands our needs. He knew hunger, thirst, weariness, pain, abandonment, poverty… Because He knows our need, He is the one we must seek for true and lasting comfort. Let’s lean into Jesus, the Comforter of our souls.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”