Tag Archives: prayer

About Community

Let me introduce you to my mom friends.  This is a group of women who have been praying most Wednesday mornings for the past 12 years; the subject of our prayers . . . our children, which now range in age from 5-22 years old.  Our fearless leader started this “Moms in Prayer” group, with two other ladies, when her son was in kindergarten and he is now finishing up his junior year of high school.  In the past couple of years we have had six graduates (two graduating tonight!).

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I personally have been a part of the group for the past eight years, as have most of the others.  Yet, an amazing thing happened to this group this past December.  It was the Wednesday before Christmas vacation, and each year we have a party where we eat goodies, exchange gifts and pray for each other, not our kids, but each other.  A few of our friends had to head off to other responsibilities, but as we were wrapping up our time together, something extraordinary happened.  We experienced a holy moment that is hard to articulate, yet all could sense it.  I think it dawned on us that after lo these many years of praying for our children, God had done a miracle in each of our hearts.  Over the years, prayer by prayer, week after week, stitch by stitch, He had knit us together so tightly that we realized we had grown to deeply, deeply love each other.  I think the reason why the moment was so holy is because we realized that this was something none of us had anticipated or set out to do.  We didn’t join the group looking for friendship, support and community.  We joined the group to cover our children and their schools in prayer.  Yet, God saw fit to orchestrate it that although we joined “Moms in Prayer” for our kids, what we found was true community; a sisterhood that meant more to us than we could have ever imagined.

The picture above was at our last gathering for the school year where we specifically prayed over the two 2016 graduates and their sweet Mamas.  The next day I posted the picture on Instagram and God gave me the idea for this blog post.  You see, I know that community is something we all crave as women.  We see posts on social media about friendship and community and our souls long for it.  If we don’t have the type of community we desire, there is a deep yearning and even emptiness inside of us.

Can I share with you a few things being a part of this group has taught me about community?

  • Community doesn’t happen overnight. Like I mentioned, it was eight to twelve years before this particular group of women became a community.  Often times we look at those who seem so well connected and fail to realize it took a long time for them to get there.    
  • Priorities require faithfulness. Community happens as you faithfully show up week after week, year after year. Community requires an investment and to truly invest in something means you make it a priority.  For me personally, there are only a couple of things that would take precedence over Wednesday mornings from 8:30-10:00am.    
  • Community isn’t built in isolation. As obvious as it may seem, it is important to note that community requires vulnerability.  The more vulnerable you are willing to become the greater degree of closeness you will experience.  There have been times, this past year, where I am dying inside and the last thing I want to do is go pray and let others see my struggles and heartbreaks.  I much rather isolate, but I have to fight against that if I want community.
  • You can’t force community. Because community is God-ordained, God’s Spirit is the Holy Orchestrator of knitting hearts and lives together.  Often the places where you think you could, or even should, find connection; it eludes you, which can lead to disappointment and the frustration of unmet expectations.  But the simple fact of the matter is  . . . you just can’t force it.

I am grateful for this group that God has given me.  I see it as a gift straight from His hand . . . for this season.  Yet, there have been many times in life where I have not had a sense of belonging and I bet there will be similar seasons in the future as well.  But for this season, I will thank Him for my mom friends and thoroughly enjoy the journey.

What about you, dear reader?  What have you learned about building community for yourself?  Do you have a sense of community in your life?  Or, does this blog post bring up feelings of sadness, emptiness, or longing?  If so, let me encourage you to pray and ask God to send you like-minded people who will do life with you.  Until He does, remember that although you may not have the type of community you would desire, you always have Jesus.  He truly is the nearest and dearest friend you could ever have (and that’s not just a platitude, but the honest truth!).  He often uses these seasons to draw you closer to Him.

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

Why Ministry is the Best Gig in the World . . . Answered Prayers!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog sharing one of the reasons why I love ministry, but on Sunday me and Jesus had a moment and it is one I want to share with you.

This past weekend was full of activity – adorable house guests,

Tj and baby

 

an epic EWU football game with a win in OT,

EWU game

 

introducing an assistant pastor to our Cheney Faith Center family,

new pastor

 

Our small group discipleship time with our interns, (I don’t have a picture, but will share more about this another time),

 

and then no school on Monday, so we had a pumpkin party with different friends coming over for pumpkin carving, carmel apples, pizza and fun.

pumpkin carving

Aj and pumpkin

Tj and friends

 

Full weekends like this one are exciting and enjoyable for most of the members of my family who like to be around people. For those of us who need some solitude, weekends like this can be a challenge, but we just make sure said person/s get some alone time in the midst of the chaos!

I like how God brings people into your life. Some people he brings for a lifetime, some for a season, and some for the briefest of moments. The people God brings into my life inevitably work their way into my tender heart, especially the longer they stick around. Once they have worked their way into my heart, I can’t help but love them, and as I’ve said before, the best way to love someone is to pray for them . . . which leads me to my Jesus moment on Sunday.

I was standing in our Auditorium during the second service. It was Worship time and as we were singing I realized that I was both holding a little miracle and standing next to a miracle as well.  The miracle I was holding was a dear friend’s five month old baby. For about 7 years, I prayed with and for this friend to find a husband. But, it couldn’t be just any man, he had to be Godly, and he had to be at least six feet. Talk about a tall order (pun intended *smile*). Well after many years of faithful prayer, God moved this friend away from our town, much to my heart’s sadness, and sure enough, she met her husband. They got married last July and had a baby nine months and two weeks later. This was the precious baby I was holding in my arms. Looking down into her sweet little face, I was overcome with emotion as I thanked God for His goodness and faithfulness to send my friend a husband and then bless her with a little baby girl. All babies are miracles, but this one especially so, since I had been so invested through praying for her mama.

Then, I realized that not only was I holding a miracle, I was standing next to one as well. Another dear friend is just now able to attend church after her leukemia diagnosis in November, 2013. What a loooong two years it has been as she underwent chemotherapy, was put on the wait list for a bone marrow donor, went through the bone marrow transplant and now is still recovering from the toll all of that took on her body. As soon as she was diagnosed, I knew she would need intense and regular prayer, so we assembled a seven woman prayer team and each lady chose a day of the week to pray over our sister, so that she got daily prayer covering. We prayed and encouraged our sister through this most difficult time of her life. To be able to stand next to this friend and hear her singing God’s praises in her beautiful singing voice brought me to tears as I recognized God’s goodness and faithfulness in keeping her alive.

When your life is full of people, whether you serve in full-time ministry or not, your life becomes intertwined with theirs. Their joys fill your heart with joy and your heart becomes connected with their hurt. As you pray and support them through their hurt, you get to witness miracles, both big and small. These miracles allow your faith to grow as you continue to pray for the miracles you’ve yet to see, such as healing for a friend, or another child for a couple you love, or hope in a troubled marriage.

Let’s be people who embrace those God puts in our life. Let’s love them well and allow our hearts to become connected to theirs. Let’s pray big and bold prayers for them. As we do, we get the blessing of being a part of the miracles God works in their lives!

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

 

Preparing for the Holidays, Part 5 – The Candle of Peace

Happy first day of December! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was very full as we celebrated both Thanksgiving and our daughter’s 16th birthday. There was a lot of celebrating, counting our blessings, shopping, eating and decorating going on around our house this past weekend.

I am grateful for a still and quiet morning as I sit by my Christmas tree and write this blog post.

Quiet morningWe have been in a series about “Preparing for the Holidays”. I began with how you can practically prepare by getting organized and doing one thing per day. The focus now, is preparing your heart. Heart work is done in secret, but its fruit (or lack thereof) is evident to everyone you come in contact with from your husband to the grocery clerk.

In part 4  of this series, I wrote about some of the most common stressors this time of year and how we can combat those stressors by doing one thing well, pleasing the Lord. The end-result of pleasing God is peace.

Peace is something I long for, how about you? I believe most women function better when they have a sense of peace in their soul. In fact, Proverbs 14:30a puts it this way, “a heart at peace brings life to the body”. When your heart is at peace, your mind, spirit and even your physical body are at rest.

So, how do you get your heart to be “at peace”? Let me share a simple ritual I began using during the holidays the past couple of years, “The Candle of Peace”.

  • Purchase a large candle. I love sparkling cinnamon from Yankee Candle. They are expensive, but sure fill the house with delightful scents!
  • Place it in a central location of your home. Mine is on the wall in our kitchen area.

Candle of Peace

  • Light it each morning and as you do, pray for “peace in each heart, peace in each relationship and peace in your home.”

lighting candle

  • As you catch the candle light flickering around you, and smell its wonderful scent, continue to pray for peace to pervade both your heart and your home.

Candle burning

  • Leave it burning for as long as you desire, (just be sure to blow it out when you leave that area of your home!).
  • Relight it as often as necessary during the day. I have been known to have my children light it when they are arguing with each other. I would simply say, “This is a peaceful house, and you are disrupting that, go light The Candle of Peace”. It sounds a bit corny (and make no mistake, my kids have teased me about “The Candle of Peace”) but the simple act of lighting a candle, does something to extinguish bickering/arguing and to light a spirit of unity and peace in its place. Now if, by chance, I forget to light the candle in the morning, they will take it upon themselves to do it for me.  Or, if there is tension or stress in our home, they will light it as well.  This candle has become an unspoken reminder to allow God’s peace to dwell in our home.

Jesus is our Prince of Peace. His birth was to bring peace to a messed up world. The amazing thing about Jesus’ peace is that it is not based on circumstances. It is constant, even when your world may be falling apart.

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. Isaiah 9:6-7a

I encourage you to go get a candle and make it your “Candle of Peace”. Then, as you light it, begin praying for God’s peace in your heart, your relationships and your home. Watch and be amazed at how the peace of Christ can permeate your soul this holiday season. I am praying God’s peace over you right now too!

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3