Protected: Prayer

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Bearing Witness To Another’s Pain

Last night around seven, my client called me crying.

I don’t think it was a mistake that I had accidentally left my phone on.

Because my phone was on, I was able to talk to her when she really needed me, and then, when words stopped being appropriate, I was able to just sit here with her while she cried.

Sometimes people aren’t ready to be built back up. Sometimes they aren’t ready to be encouraged or validated. Sometimes they don’t want to HEAR or PROCESS anything. Sometimes they just don’t have the strength to try and get their hearts or minds to believe anything other than what they’re feeling.

And that’s okay because, as my clients are forever teaching me, just sitting with someone while they cry can be as powerful a form of therapy as anything they taught me in school.

Even though I cannot take care of myself right now, even though I’m really struggling… God is still using me. That’s a bafflingly beautiful thing. Only He could use me in this place I’m in. Only He could give me family who loves me even when I’m awkward and depressed and insecure and have literally no words in my head to make conversation.

Our God is so, so big.

Help me not doubt that You are bigger than anything I am or am not.

Paint my life, Lord. Color it beautiful. Stain it with Your undeniable presence and holiness. I need You. Desperately, I need You.

Protected: A Letter

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He Calls Me Daughter

“She was afraid to hope. She had nothing left to offer. She was clinging onto her last bit of faith because she didn’t know where she’d be without it. That this wasn’t what she’d expected. That this wasn’t where she’d hoped her life would land when she’d whispered to God that she would follow Him.”

Thank You, Lord, that this isn’t where my story ends.

And thank You for the hope that’s slowly begun to swirl within me.

I don’t have a plan, Lord. And that ordinarily would scare me, but I’m too exhausted and tired to feel fear. So instead, I throw my arms open wide. I surrender all of me to You. Have Your way with me, Lord. Use me. Heal me.

And please, Lord, please bless me.

I feel entitled asking for You to bless me, but it’s the timid, yet passionate cry of my heart. Please, Lord. Please bless me.

I know that all of You is more than enough. I know You’ve already given me the best gift in sending Your son to die for me. It feels selfish to ask for any more than that. But I also know that You delight in giving good gifts to Your children.

You want us to grow and mature and become more like Jesus, but You also want to bless us. You want to know our thoughts, our hurts, our fears, our worries, our questions, our desires, what makes us laugh, and what makes us cry. There is no area of my life, no matter how small, that doesn’t interest You. There is no topic that’s off limits.

And so, I feel safe as Your child to approach You and ask that You bless me. It isn’t the demand of a spoiled child, it is the petition of a child who comes before You in awe and reverence and with a tired, broken heart.

Also, Lord, I ask that You fill me up with joy and wholeness and peace and an all-consuming fire for You.

Take all of me, Lord, and make my life something beautiful and pleasing to You.

Help me to delight in each day. Help me to see life as a gift. And fill my heart up with love and the knowledge that I am loved.

Thank You, thank You, thank You that we’re not meant to do life alone. We’re created in Your image, and You are triune–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–and You are Love. We are meant to do life together. We are designed to love and be loved. Thank You for designing us that way, Lord.

Colors get brighter and life gets richer and deeper and more holy once we know, not just with our heads but with our hearts, that we are loved.

Thank You that You heard my desperate prayers for family. Thank You that You know what I need. Thank You for what You’re doing in my life. Thank You for never leaving things broken, but for being the Master Rebuilder, the Sovereign Redeemer, the Protective Father, the Holy King.

Help me to honor and glorify and praise You regardless of my circumstances. Help me to trust You regardless of whether or not things make sense.

Help my love for You grow daily and be completely independent of whether or not I’m in a season of life where You seem to be giving or taking away.

I am weak, Lord. But I am still Your daughter, and as Your child, I have authority over anything that might try to come against me. Help me to remember that and live that out. I don’t have to feel strong, that’s Your role, but I can stand firm. I am not too weak to stand, to arm myself with Truth, and wait for You to save me. It’s not my job to save myself, (I couldn’t even if I tried), it’s just my job not to forget Who I belong to and what scripture says.

Lord, help me not believe any lies.

Thank You for taking care of me.

Thank You for loving me.

Thank You for not leaving me an orphan.

Lord, Give Me Eyes To See. (A Quote)

“I kept waiting for God to come in strength and power. I kept staring at the doors that had slammed closed, willing Him to walk through one of them. And then I read that line from the story of Noah: ‘And the LORD shut him in [the ark].’ (Gen 7:16) I don’t know how many times I had read it without seeing it. I don’t know how many times the driving rain had shifted my attention from the hand of God.

I thought that I was building a boat. It turns out I was building an ark. I had anticipated an exciting destination. God had anticipated the storm. I had expected direction and purpose. God had planned preservation and rest.

When the doors slammed shut, and the waters started rising, I looked around that dimly lit ark, and I wondered where in the world my God had gone. But it was the LORD who shut Noah in the ark.

Sometimes God’s protection isn’t ‘pretty’. Noah’s certainly wasn’t. His was filled with the chaos of every kind of animal. His was tossed upon a raging sea that had consumed all evidence of land. With every creak of the wooden vessel, they probably wondered if the water would engulf it. They probably got seasick. They probably got sick of each other. They probably wondered if it would ever end.

Haven’t we all?
I did.

I wore myself out banging on the door of my ark. Then I dropped to my knees and cried for rescue. And then I just lay there. Exhausted. Disillusioned. More than a little confused. Until I whispered my confession: That I didn’t know where God was. That I didn’t know where I was. Then I saw it, the faintest impression of the hand of God upon the sealed-shut door. And I knew, in a place much deeper than my mind, that I had been tucked away in what felt like isolation, protected by what felt like obscurity, and all the while, my faithful God had been working hard on my behalf.

He hems us in, and we balk as we lose the illusion of control. The ark is not always clean. His protection is not always pretty. Sometimes the rain destroys all that was familiar. Sometimes the ark feels more like a prison. Sometimes the days are long and dreary. Sometimes the flood keeps tossing us upon the waves long after the storm has stopped. Finally, we lie down or cry out or look up, and we find hope where we did not expect it. We find God right there where we thought He had left us.”

(Quote from here.)