Sick Kids

It is so hard when one of the kids is sick.  It really takes a lot for me to let them stay home from school; they practically have to be on their deathbed.  My four year-old has missed this entire week of school, so you can imagine how bad it has been.  Poor thing had a 103.7 degree fever at the doctor only to be told that it is just a virus and it needs to run its course.  It’s day five now, and we are still running.

Staying at home with a sick kid also means that my life is out of procedures.  Everything happening in my schedule has had to be rearranged, not to mention my six year-old’s obligations.  I have been so thankful this week for good friends and my mom who have stepped up to help.

I had a friend ask me yesterday how I stay so calm most of the time.  This was after a crazy Girl Scout meeting with 15 six and seven year-olds.  It also was probably the first time someone had asked me that.  I told her that it has been something I have really been working on.  Truthfully, I have been practicing my prayers and learning to let the little things go.  Ultimately, God is the one in control.  Girl Scout meetings may not go perfectly, my kids will get sick, but He is the one who has the plan.

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Becoming Me – Prayer

We are created in God’s image and not in the image of someone else.  The Holy Spirit is the presence of God and is a powerful force.  God uses His power to save all of creation and restore it.  The Holy Spirit is alive in me.  Galatians 5:25 says that because we live by the Spirit, we must keep in step with it.  We need to live life in sync with what God is doing.

Spiritual disciplines help cultivate our heart and soul so that we can walk in step with God.  One of these is prayer, essentially just talking to God.  What if there is a right way to pray?  In Luke 11:1, Jesus has just finished praying and one of his disciples asks him to teach them to pray.  There must have been something different in how Jesus prayed.

Jesus does explain ways to not pray.  Matthew 6:6 says when you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who want to be seen by others.  They have already received their payment in full (recognition).  We are not supposed to pray in public to impress people.  If this is how you pray, you already have your recognition.  Instead, Jesus says to go into your room and close your door.  Then, the Father who sees you in secret will reward you.  Verses 7 and 8 say to not babble like the pagans.  God already knows what you need before you even ask Him.  You cannot manipulate God.

If God knows what I need, why even ask?  The purpose of prayer is not to get Got to do what I want.  In verse 9, Jesus explains how to start a prayer: Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name.  First we need to recognize who God is.  Jesus refers to God essentially as Daddy, which was revolutionary as it evokes, intimacy and respect.  This is a reminder that God is in control and gives peace in our lives.

Verse 10 says to continue the prayer: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  We need to surrender everything to God.  The purpose of prayer is to surrender our will, not impose it.  Our reward is the peace and joy that is found in surrender.  Verses 11-13 conclude the prayer: Give us our daily brea, forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors, lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.  This is a list of our requests to God.

Often, prayer in Scripture is not formal. If you looks at many Psalms, you can find examples of this.  One of the Old Testament prophets, Jeremiah, prays like Jesus.  Jeremiah was a prophet in Judah and was chosen before he was born.  See Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and set you apart.  Jeremiah had the unfortunate job of telling the nation that it was over for them.  They had rejected God enough, and there was no hope.  This was not a welcome message and he was put in the stocks.  Here are some examples of Jeremiah’s prayer: Jer. 20:7-8: You deceived me, Lord. I am ridiculed all day.  The Word of the Lord has brought me insult all day.  Verses 14-18: Curses be the day I was born.  Cursed be the man who brought my father news of me.  Why did I ever come out of the womb?  These prayers are incredibly honest about saying what needs to be said.

Despite Jeremiah’s anguish and crying out to God, he still maintains his faith.  Verse 9: But if I saw I will not say the Lord’s Word, it is like a fire in my heart.  I can’t hold it in.  God still has Jeremiah’s heart and he is surrendered to God.  Verses 10-13: I hear whispers about me.  But the Lord is with me and my persecutors will stumble.  Let me see Your vengeance of them.  Praise to God because You are saving me.  The way people are treating him does not change, but prayer changes Jeremiah instead.  Prayer should be a daily reminder of who God is and that I belong to Him.

Be alone, be honest, and surrender.

Hearing the Voice of God

Habakkuk provides a 5-step model for hearing the voice of God:

  1. Go off by yourself
  2. Be silent
  3. Read the Word of God
  4. Write down what God tells you
  5. Review it

I feel like I am pretty good with 3 through 5.  I read and listen to God’s Word, I journal and I talk about it with my small group and others.  What I really struggle with though is being completely silent.  I mean, even when I shower, I am listening to a podcast or music most of the time.  It’s the same thing when I run.  It’s like I’m afraid of just being silent, like I would be wasting time or something.

How is God really supposed to speak to me if I am constantly busy and noisy?  As a busy mom, I don’t have a lot of time to just sit and be still.  There is always something to do…house to be cleaned, kids to get ready, or one of the hundred other things that has to get done.  I know that I need to make sitting still and listening and praying to God a true priority in my life.  Sometimes setting large goals can be overwhelming, so I am going to start small.  Twice a week, I am going to just sit and be still in the morning…no television, no laptop, no music, and (hopefully) no kids.  I am confident that God has a lot to say to me if I would just sit and listen.

Salvation Prayer

We are entering new territory with our oldest right now.  She is just about six and has been asking a ton of questions recently about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian.  On Monday, my husband took the kids on a walk on the beach.  This is a fairly normal occurrence; they often do this in the evening to give me some time alone and also to talk and goof off.

On this most recent walk, however, my daughter was asking more questions and my husband told her about the prayer he prayed when he became a Christian.  She immediately said that she wanted to say that prayer too.  They stopped and said the Salvation Prayer.  When they came home, my daughter immediately ran to me and with the biggest smile on her face told me that she was a Christian now.

I am beyond happy for her (except for conflicting feelings about not being there when it happened, a topic for another post) and we are now beginning the process of learning what the next steps are for her.  Our church does baptisms once a person decides to follow Jesus, but we are not sure yet what they will say about someone so young.  We have a booklet from our friend, who is on staff at the church, on baptism to go through with her, so we are going to start with that.