The Power of our Belief in Prayer

When we start believing what we pray…

When we pray seeking what God desires for our lives and stop trying to figure everything out on our own…

When we seek Him first in prayer instead of turning to worry as our immediate response…

When we pray with a surrendered spirit and a trust in God’s goodness…

Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24

Prayer is our communication with God. He wants to hear from us. He desires that connection with us. Prayer takes practice. Not sure what to pray or how to pray? Ask God to reveal to you what you need to be praying about. He will. He honors a faithful heart.

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The Sign Lady

There is a sign that I passed every day on the way to work, and on this sign are names of people and their birthdays and  anniversaries. It’s in a rural area. I don’t even know if you can call it a town. It’s a small area with a Catholic school, a meat market, a huge cemetery, a carry out and a few small businesses but nothing much more. 

I met this sign lady who changes the sign every morning at a musical event at the nursing home where I worked. After that, sometimes I would see her in the morning changing her sign. She highlights people’s everyday events…their birthdays and anniversaries. These are things that matter to people. She cares enough to remember their important dates of their life stories.

 I think sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget that everyday moments matter. Facebook is a great way to connect with people but it’s also easy to get lost in other people’s lives. We forget that Facebook is a reel of the highlights of their life. It captures their special moments, the good stuff in their life. There are some people who put their dirty laundry on Facebook, but the majority of people like to put pictures of kids, vacations, and the special events. Most people don’t put the areas in their life where they are hurting or struggling. I think we all need reminded that our lives are unique and matter. The ordinary every day stuff matters.

I took a different way home tonight after my chiropractic appointment, and I passed the sign. I haven’t seen that sign in quite a while since I changed jobs. I smiled as I passed the sign. The sign reminded me that everyday moments matter, and this woman is still changing her sign everyday. 

Connections are everything. Without each other life just isn’t as easy. God gives us one another to lean on in the toughest of times and to share everyday moments. Sometimes simply to be with one another is what we need.

This sign lady definitely has a unique ministry. Each of us have the opportunity to touch lives every day.

Sunday Reflections

When the things of the world seem uncertain or out of control or when your own life feels like it is spiraling, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to push an exit button and just hide away from everything for a little while??

We all know life isn’t like that. 

When I look back at some of my greatest times of growth in my life, I recall the challenging circumstances that embodied those times. Those times were often painful times of taking things one step at a time.

I heard a Christmas sermon a few years ago about joy and pain coexisting. I think they do. It is often a matter of perspective and self reflection. This verse comes to mind…

Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.      James 1:2-4 NIV

I have spent some time the past few days reflecting over a conversation I had with someone. Admittedly, I was in a hurry, needing to work my way through a “to do” list when I had spoken with her. I didn’t realize until later that my non-verbal communication communicated just that…I was in hurry. She interpretted this as she was inconveniencing me and taking time from me she was unworthy of deserving.  

I am choosing to use this interaction as an opportunity for me to self-reflect. Life is busy. Life is messy. Life often does not go as planned. Since there is no exit button of temporary escape, how can I endure the pain and embrace the joy simultaneously? In those times when I am feeling overwhelmed, how can I make my interactions with others meaningful despite my own issues?

True, there are times when we need lifted up and supported, but how can we lift up and support others through our own struggles? 

I want to be that person that encourages, coaches, lifts up, and slows down. I am not always that person. The lessons I am taking away from my interaction with this woman are…

1. Every interaction matters.

2. Our non-verbal communication often communicates louder than our spoken words.

3. Everyone has a story and that story often impacts our communication.

4. Slow down. 

5. Perception is reality.

5. Everyday trials hold lessons from God to grow us.

6. Just listen. Listen attentively. Listen a lot. 

Loving Difficult People 

It’s easy to love people who love us. 

It’s not so easy to love “difficult” people…those who jab at us, put us down, demean us, ridicule us…

I have had some very challenging situations the past couple weeks with some people I would be quick to label as difficult. Each conversation and interaction, I have prayed for His guidance in the words coming out of my mouth. I definitely needed wisdom on when to listen and when to hold my tongue!

I feel God asking me to love this difficult person. And this difficult person. And this one. You get the drift.

The reality is…

We have never walked a mile in their shoes or even a step. These people we label as difficult have stories. Is it right the way they are treating us? No, usually not, but I have found it helpful to remember I do not know their story.

Instead of being bitter and resentful, I am praying and extending grace towards them. God has extended grace to me time after time. I know He is asking me to extend grace and show love. 

In this post-election aftermath, I am sure you have heard hateful remarks. You may be dealing with your own difficult people. Pray over the situation and pray for them. God truly can and will move mountains, but we have to be willing to open our hearts to loving those difficult people.

I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true self, your God-created self. Matthew 5:44-45 the Message