I can admit that I still struggle. Struggle to accept the grace of God. I have such a works mentality. Yesterday I missed my quiet time with the Lord. This was not intentional but baby number 6 got up earlier than usual and required my attention. I am almost ashamed to admit it but I was beating myself up for missing this time. I felt that somehow God was not gonna move on my behalf because I didn’t put in the “work” that morning. Therein lies the problem, there is too much of an emphasis on me doing as opposed to resting and receiving what Christ has already done. Gods grace is not to be abused or taken for granted, nor is it to be rejected…such a delicate balance. Yes we should strive to have daily communion with God, it is a great benefit to us and it pleases the Father. But we must not reject the grace of God when unpredictable moments happen; trust that the Lord sees and will honor the desire that we have to be in His presence.
Take me to the place where I don’t matter. Take me to the place where I am not easily offended. An offense is often present when I think too much of myself…How dare they, do they know who I am? Consume me Lord. Fire of God burn it out. Restore every broken place. Take me to the place where I don’t even notice if I am not noticed! To that place where I am not waiting to hear my name mentioned. TO that place of not caring if I look or talk the part. TO that place where no one, not even me matters, ONLY YOU! God I am so far from that place and only you can bridge this gap. I know that you are not asking me to get to this place on my own, because in my strength it is impossible. You were waiting on me Lord. Waiting on me to desire true humility, waiting on me to be disgusted with pride, my personal pride. God hear the cry of my heart, the deepest places that no one else sees but you. All of you Lord and none of me. Here I am, forgive me.
I’m amazed at how God can create strength during a season of difficulty. I was at the hospital last night visiting Faith (baby # 6) and I had an opportunity to connect with another mom whose son was also in neonatal intensive care unit (nicu). We swapped our stories and the stress associated with having a newborn in the nicu. We were both physically exhausted but God allowed her to see something in me beyond my physical exhaustion. She mentioned that it was evident that I had peace. Here I was physically and emotionally exhausted from running back and forth to the hospital while still trying to maintain some sense of normalcy for the other five children at home, but God allowed this women to see beyond that. She saw something that I couldn’t fabricate. He allowed her to see that He was the one carrying me and that His grace is sufficient . As I encouraged this distraught mom, I in turn began to be reminded of what I knew to be true, God is faithful! I told her of my past experience in the nicu with baby number 5, I told her the lessons I learned, I told her this was working for my good and there was a purpose in all of this. I spoke to her from a sincere place, not from what I heard or read but what I had experienced during my previous seasons of difficulty. I experienced God in a powerful way which birth a greater level of confidence. A confidence that radiates peace even when my body is weary. At the end of the conversation a prayer was said, tears were shed, and hugs were exchanged. I walked away with a renewed strength for the journey because I was reminded.
Difficulty is a thread that has been woven into my life but it has brought such a sweet return. Going through doesn’t feel good, it hurts and yes I have had moments of crying, feeling overwhelmed and being very emotional. I want my baby home with me and not in the hospital . But I cannot deny the beauty on the other side of suffering, and this time around, I am catching glimpses of beauty before the trial even ends. It seems like a contradiction, beauty for ashes? Very true, it’s my reality.
I must confess that I am addicted to prayer. Not because I am super spiritual but because I am human with many frailties. I cannot function and my days seem to fall apart without prayer. I really am a hot mess without it, ask my husband and children. There is just something about throwing myself at the feet of Jesus, telling Him all my unedited thoughts. In prayer I don’t have to tell Him what I think He wants to hear. I tell Him what I am really feeling, the good, the bad and the ugly. Then I take Him up on His word and ask Him to fix me. Fix the mess, the pain and the hurt.
There are times when I just sit and cry but I am fully convinced that He understands the meaning of each tear. While the cause of my pain may not immediately go away, just being in God’s presence crying like a baby gives me a peace beyond my understanding. I leave with a confidence that it is going to be alright. I may not know how it will work out, but our time together reminds me that it will and all for my good.
Then there are those times I run to prayer begging the Lord to tell me that I am not crazy for standing in faith even though I feel bullied by doubt and all his buddies. The times where the comments of others cause me to question if I am being too extreme, taking this faith thing a little too far. Ever been there? The times where I need to have the Lord comfort me and remind me that walking by faith will seem foolish to the world but it pleases Him, and in the end that’s all that matters.
I also have times of carrying the burdens of those I love, rolling over in my head how to fix them and their situation. At times the burden leaves me paralyzed because I want to make it all better. Then I am reminded that while I have no power to fix anything or anyone, I can pray. I become even more confident when I remember that God hears my prayer and is able to change any situation, no matter how hopeless. So I come to God on their behalf and do what I should have done in the first place…PRAY!
Then there are times where praise and adoration flow from my lips and I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving. The more I rehearse His goodness, the more I become aware of how awesome He is and I don’t want the moment to stop. I look for the pause button in these moments of sweet communion, hoping the phone wont ring and the children will remain asleep. But inevitably these moments of prayer have to come to an end, but the residue of praise remains.
Yes I am addicted. I am not looking for a cure, just for more! How about you, are you addicted to prayer? How has prayer benefited you?
1 Thessalonians 5:17: NEVER STOP PRAYING