Friday, 1 November 2019

When You're Guilty of Being a Prayer Procrastinator


I have big plans when it comes to prayer.

I mean, why shouldn’t I? The Creator of the universe has invited me, through His son Jesus Christ, to partner with Him in accomplishing His purposes.

It’s a privilege too amazing to grasp fully. Even as I think of it, I really can’t find anything to compare it to.

The mystery of prayer fascinates me, humbles me, and leaves me standing in awe of our incredible God.

So, yes, I have great, big plans to fully participate in this inexplicable gift.

Except that sometimes my plans remain as bare, fruitless branches bearing only the hint of promise.

Does that ever happen to you? 

With the privilege of prayer comes the feeling of responsibility. Of wanting to get it right, of not wasting the opportunity. A desire to ensure I cover all the bases. The burden is almost too heavy for me at times.

When that happens, I need to stop. Shake off the heaviness, the dutiful press of prayer and remember the sweetness.

Remember that my prayers, as scattered as they might be, waft up like a sweet fragrance into the very presence of God.

Soak in the bursting with goodness promise that I can boldly approach God’s throne at any time, day or night, and be welcomed there.

Relish the awe-inspiring truth that I never pray alone. I have God’s very own Spirit, the Holy Spirit, praying with me and for me, giving voice to the words I can’t seem to find.

Oh my, when I remember the exquisite goodness of prayer, it changes everything. 


I embrace the gift when I accept that my stumbling words and contrite heart delight my Father in heaven.

Free to experiment with various styles of prayer, the guilt withers away.

Sometimes, I settle in for a nice, long chat with my Father. I open my prayer box, and as the sweet aroma of potpourri fills the air, I lift names, concerns, and thanks to God.

Other times, my prayers consist of heart whispers throughout my day, continually, as if I’m talking to a friend who understands my thoughts.

But times when the topics up for discussion are heavy and rich with anxiety-producing buds, I procrastinate. Not even wanting to talk about the issues that I dread, I push back our meeting time.

Then I remember God's welcome mat. The invitation to come when I’m tired and weary, and I crawl gratefully up into His lap.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to open God’s love letter to us--His Holy Word. I hear His voice as I read His words. I glimpse His heart, and I offer Him my own. Intimate moments of fellowship follow.

During all these times, my prayers are mercifully transformed from fruitless branches to blossoms bursting with hope.

Not because I’ve gotten it right, but because He has, and my heart sees that.

I haven’t fully figured out the mystery of prayer, and I never will. Perhaps, I will never feel that I have it right, and that’s okay because it’s not about me.

Although I still have days when the guilt threatens to overrun me, more and more I’m beginning to accept the seasonal beauty of my prayer life.

My prayers may be scattered and small, I may procrastinate and fail to pour out, but my faithful Father is always listening. With a sparkle in His eyes and a smile on His face, He welcomes me each time, lovingly rewarding me with a closer walk with Him.

A closer walk with Him. A deeper appreciation for Who He really is. Turns out God has greater plans for my prayers than I do.



******************
What about you?

Do you experience guilt in your prayer life?
Just for today why not shake off the guilt and embrace the sweetness of the gift. 
It'll have you running into the Father's arms.

Here are some verses to help as you ponder this amazing privilege:

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! (Psalm 141:2)

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence. (Ephesians 3:12)

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 
(Romans 8:26)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." 
(Matthew 11:28)


Grace and peace to you,
Carlie 





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Live Amazed



Live Amazed - Embracing the Gifts of God in Longing, Loss, and Life, available now on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Books A Million is a 30-day devotional designed to help us savor God's unending goodness even in the midst of our chaos. 

(You may click on the highlighted links to purchase.)

Sunday, 6 October 2019

How to Crush Your Negative Thoughts and Experience Freedom



I’m sitting on the front-line, watching as the battle unfolds before my eyes. 

My daughter is grappling with her fear of failure yet again; my son’s in the middle of a clash, searching for the courage to stand for the right. The struggle continues, day in and day out; it never stops. 

I want to reach in and rescue them. To snatch them from the battlefield, raise them high on my shoulders and carry them to a safe place. 

I wish I could protect them from the life scars that run deep, for I know how painfully vulnerable we are. Yes, I've been there, battle-weary and scarred, an unwitting victim of my own negative thoughts.

But as much as my heart bleeds for them, I am powerless to crawl into the recesses of their minds and fight for them. This is a battle we each must fight alone. 

No, I can't rescue them, but I can teach them. Teach them to recognize the attacks, show them the weapons at their disposal, and encourage them to fight. 

I tell them it starts with cunning innocence. A random thought alights and then stays for a while. You begin to mull it over in your mind. Before long, its snowballing effects have left you defeated, discouraged, angry, resentful, entitled . . . speeding on a runaway train headed straight for destruction.  

But it doesn't have to be this way. We can jump off that train and choose another. God has designed us to observe our own thoughts, capture the bad ones and replace them with the truth.

Sadly, we misjudge the terrible danger of our irresponsible thoughts and words and all too often we lose the battle. The effects can be far-reaching, often causing a multitude of mental and physical illnesses.  Many of us trudge through life dragging behind us the paralyzing effects of our own destructive thinking.

How then can I spare my children this pain? Thanks to God, in Christ Jesus there is hope.

God has given us the power to choose. 

So, I encourage my children to choose which thoughts they allow to have lasting power in their lives. I remind them that our thoughts have tremendous power for good or bad. They can search through their minds for their 'daily round of thinking and ferret out the enemies' (Psychology Magazine 1957). They can choose to replace toxic thoughts with life-giving ones.

And when they come to the end of themselves, as we all do, powerless to resist the relentless lure of their destructive thoughts, I remind them that they do not fight alone. 

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ . . . (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) 

I urge them to take up ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’ and fight, to destroy the lies of the enemy with repeated use of the lifesaving promises and truths of God's word. (Ephesians 6:17)

It was against this backdrop—standing alongside my children in the fight—that I joined the launch team for Transforming Your Thought Life – Christian Meditation in Focus by Sarah Geringer.


The title alone drew me in, and I knew the message would help guide my Sword-wielding.

I asked Sarah, “How can Christian meditation help someone conquer thought life problems?”

This is what she said, “Christian meditation is simply focusing on a scripture and thinking about it with intent. The more you focus on God’s Word through meditation, the more you learn about God’s will for your life. You can apply scriptural truths directly to specific thought life problems and experience freedom. For example, if you struggle with painful thoughts, you can meditate on verses about God’s comfort. By repeating these verses every time you experience a painful memory, you can begin to reroute the neural pathways in your brain. When you do this over and over, you begin to think differently because God’s truth replaces the lies planted by your enemy Satan.”

The thoughts of experiencing freedom and having God’s truth replace the lies convinced me that not only was I on the right track, but that I had found an invaluable resource in Sarah’s book.

So, digging a little deeper I asked her, “Does a transformed thought life help someone develop a closer relationship to God?”

Her answer was like a balm for the weary soul.

“When you meditate on God’s Word, you are hiding it in your heart and mind. As you learn God’s language of truth and love in Scripture, you will learn more about his character and his ways. Christian meditation helps you worship God and cultivate a closer walk with him. When you experience the freedom that comes with thought life transformation, you will realize that God deserves credit for setting you free. Scripture meditation will inspire your adoration, praise and thanksgiving to God. It has the potential to take your faith to new heights in only a few minutes every day.”

That was it. I started digging into the book, and I found it to be so relatable in the struggle, yet so inspiring and helpful as it guided me and my children in the use of scripture to transform our thought lives.

I’m sure we’re not the only ones who contend daily with unhealthy thoughts, so I’m spreading the word. If you need help in conquering your thought life and experiencing the victorious life God has promised us, then click on over and get your copy of TransformingYour Thought Life – Christian Meditation in Focus. It is available right now on Amazon. You can click here to get your copy.

Thanks, Sarah, for pointing us to the word of God and for showing us how we can experience freedom through the power of Christian meditation. I know many lives will be enriched and God will be glorified.

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Sarah Geringer writes and speaks about finding peace in God’s Word. You can follow her blog at sarahgeringer.com or find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Goodreads



Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Live Amazed - A Season of Celebration


I don’t know what I expected. But I don’t think it was this.

It’s a bit surreal. I’m not even sure how I feel.

I guess that shouldn't surprise me. I am, after all, an introvert.

I need time with just me and my thoughts, to reflect, and sort through the jumble of expectations in my head.

As I approached this milestone birthday, many thoughts flitted through my mind. Honestly, they weren’t all pleasing to my self-esteem. Many of them began with ‘shouldn’t I’. Shouldn’t I be further along by now? Shouldn’t I have it all figured out? Shouldn’t I be more at ease with myself?

‘Shouldn’t I’ questions never offer congratulatory remarks. Instead, they mock and taunt and remind me of what I haven’t done or how I wish I could feel.

Sometimes, I guess, I think too much of myself.

Then I wondered, “Does God celebrate birthdays?”

I know; I think too much.

But the good thing is—it got me to switch my focus from me.

And when I looked up . . . I found oh so many reasons to celebrate. The ‘shouldn’t I’ questions didn’t stand a chance.

I am so incredibly blessed, and the best part—it has nothing to do with me.

When I think of all the milestones in my life, I see God’s gracious hand over them all.

He is truly the God of all my days: ordinary days, sad days, mountaintop days, and yes, even milestone birthdays.

I can’t imagine life without Him.

I think of His mercy each time I stumble, how He picks me up and assures me it’s okay.

I feel His comfort through the valleys, His strength lifting me up, and His love that keeps on loving no matter how unloving and unlovable I tend to be.

I’m blown away by all the good gifts He showers on me.

And I appreciate His incredible patience with me when I struggle to believe who He says I am.

Oh, so many reasons to celebrate . . . to live amazed every single day!


To mark this season of celebration, I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of ‘Live Amazed – Embracing the Gifts of God in Longing, Loss, and Life’, a thirty-day devotional that celebrates who God is!

God blossomed a tiny seed of a dream that He planted in my heart many seasons ago. A desire to write. All in His time and by His plan.

Live Amazed invites us to look beyond our secret longings, staggering losses, and day-to-day worries to savor God’s unending goodness, love, mercy, and power . . . to marvel at God! Through scripture and real-life struggles, these daily reflections guide us to embrace what is already ours through Christ. Included are thought-provoking questions that guide us to peace within our longings, remind us of hope inside our deepest losses, and pour grace over circumstances that threaten to define our lives.

I hope you’ll join me in the celebration and live amazed at our all-powerful Creator.

***************

What about you?
Can you trace the hand of God throughout all your seasons?
There’s cause for celebration in every season, what are you celebrating today?
How can you live amazed right now, right where you are?

***************


For more information about ‘Live Amazed – Embracing the Gifts of God in Longing, Loss, and Life’ click here.


Grace and peace to you,
Carlie

Thursday, 12 September 2019

How to Embrace the Gift of Small Beginnings



When it comes to shining for God, sometimes we think it must be BIG . . . like a floodlight. 
We envision big platforms in which we reach far and wide for the sake of Christ. With our eyes and hearts set on the grand scale, we can sometimes forget the illuminating impact of a tiny candle in a room of darkness . . . the amazing impact of shining for Christ in the small, every day, mundane areas of our lives.

It’s just one drop we tell ourselves.

It seems so insignificant . . .  so minuscule . . .  so painfully small. One might even doubt its worth. Doubt the value one drop could add to an infinite sea . . . a vast sea of unrealized goals or plans, unlived dreams, ‘waiting-to-be-prayed’ prayers, unmet needs of a thirsty people.

But . . .

There is an amazing rippling beauty in just one tiny drop.

In a world where quantity is often a benchmark for success, we sometimes overlook the powerful impact and influence of one.

Yes, I know the feeling. I’ve been there. It’s September, and you’ve long since wandered away from your ‘this-time-it’s-going-to-be-different’ resolutions, your well-intentioned goals or the focus on your ‘one word’. You’re disappointed with yourself . . .  again. Maybe this is the way it will always be you tell yourself; I might as well just accept it.

But . . .

it just takes one.

This post continues over at Sun Sparkle Shine. I'd love for you to join me there. It is one of the many encouraging posts that my sister, Marva, is featuring in her Shining Like Stars series.  In case you've missed out, you can catch up on all the other posts here.  

Blessings,
Carlie

@embracingtheunexpected

Friday, 14 June 2019

Looking to God for Help in the Fiery Middle



Easy is not my idol.

I’ve never wanted it easy. In fact, I value hard work. Sometimes, even a bit too much. (You can read about my love affair with effort, here.)

No, easy is not what I’m after.

But sometimes, I wish my fire was different.

I wish I could choose my struggles.

Struggles that stretch me and pull me and make me stronger in a predictable pattern.

Normal every day, garden variety struggles.

You see because even though easy is not my idol, predictability is.

I’d like a guarantee for all the hard work I put in.

You know, the kind that says my kids will turn out just fine because I’ve been a good parent.

Or that I listened to God, followed a path less trod, and although it is hard, the rewards at the end of the journey are exactly like the ones I conjure up in my mind.

But I don’t get to choose.

And the more I walk through the fires—the ones that God has chosen for me—the more I realize it’s a good thing.

Because God is after much more than I am.

He desires to transform me, not just make me stronger.

To rob me of my pride, which He knows stands in our way.

To draw me into His life so that I may reflect His glory.

So all of us who have had the veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. John 17:21 (NLT)
Yep, my goals for my struggles are just not ‘divine’ enough.

But I don’t like my fires. I don’t like the ones God has chosen. Yet I love how near God draws to me as I’m walking through them. How daily He reassures me of His presence, His power, and His protection.

Still, some days, I cry out, ‘Please turn the heat down, God!’ If you’re passing through a fire right now, you know the refining is not easy to bear. Yet I’m beginning to appreciate the chiseling that’s taking place, and I’m growing ever more grateful for His patience with me when I continually ‘kick against the goads’. (Acts 26:14b)

It is useless for you to fight against my will. Acts 26:14b(NLT)

What about you? Do you ever wish you could peep to the end of your story and know that it all turns out all right? Maybe then, you tell yourself, you can be bold and share your struggle. Maybe then it could encourage another because after all, it turned out fine.

But God doesn’t give us that. Instead, He gives us just a misty, refreshing spritz for each fiery step we’re on in the middle of our story.

And do you know what? With each spray you recognize that right here, caught in the blazing furnace, you’re not alone. God is with you.

Deep down, you know this is true. Because you feel it in the unexplainable peace that rushes in when fear tries to sear your faith, or in the strength you find to step into the fire day after day, or the light that shines in the darkest moments guiding your next step. You know God is with you.


And maybe someone else needs to know that, too.

Needs to know that we may not be sure of how our earthly story ends, but we can be sure of one thing--our God is with us always. He never leaves our side. He loves us, strengthens us, and is actively preparing a place for us.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39 (ESV)

So no, I don’t like my struggles, and I’m not guaranteed the earthly ending I imagine, but I can walk through the fires because I’m not alone and my God, my fellow Fire-walker, wants much more for me than I want for myself. And. I. Can. Trust. Him. 

I hope this encourages you as you walk through your very own fire today.

*******************
What about you?

Do you sometimes wish you could choose a different struggle? Or perhaps just see to the end of this one? Maybe you feel like you’re the only one being scorched by a fire today. Take comfort, my friend, you’re not alone. Our God is greater than the blaze, and He’s right there with you; may you find strength in Him today.

And one more thing, if you’ve been comforted by God’s refreshing misty presence in the middle of your fire, why not reach out to another, yes, right there in the fiery middle, why not invite them to share in the relief God offers? Who knows who you might encourage today.

Grace and peace to you,

Carlie



@Embracingtheunexpected






(Post image by Kiên Trịnh from Pixabay)

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Who Are You Praying To?



“Just stay with him.”

I knew what they meant. I knew that my father was dying. Despite his sharp mind and intellect, his body was tired, and the end was drawing near. Yet, that last night, with my body aching and my soul tired from hours of being ‘strong and present’, I left for home. In desperate need of a rest, I missed my father’s passing.

Don’t worry, I’ve come to grips with not being there. But what still haunts me is my surprise when I got the call. It’s not that I didn’t know to expect it—with my training in the medical field I had seen all the signs. I had even helped prepare my family. But secretly and silently I had been praying that God would extend his life just a little bit longer . . . long enough to get home, long enough for my sister to arrive . . . long enough . . .  to prove the doctor’s wrong.

But God didn’t.

Neither did He answer the way I longed for when my brother went missing at sea. I prayed for a miracle. I imagined all the ways the story could end, not wanting to let my mind pause too long on the one ending that grew more and more probable as time went on. But eventually, I had to accept that he wasn’t coming home and there would be no answers. 

God had chosen another way, again.

Psychologists say that we tend to remember the negative in greater detail than the positive. Perhaps, that is why when I’m praying about the big mountains in my life, somewhere in the back of my mind I tend to remember when God didn’t. By allowing my thoughts to drift and settle on my unanswered prayers, I unwittingly open the door for doubt to saunter in . . . doubts about God’s willingness and His goodness.

It is then that I need to remember who I am praying to.

God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. ~ Westminster Shorter Catechism ~
Just reading those words brings the truth front and center—I am not God and God is not me.

If I were to unpack them ever so slightly, this is what I would find.

From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Psalm 90:2

Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? Saith the Lord. Jeremiah 23:24

It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them as a tent to dwell in. Isaiah 40:22

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and lofty place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deut.32:4

For the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5

And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Exodus 34:6

For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord. Psalm 117:2

When I chew on those verses, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that this infinite, eternal, all-powerful God should think of me, and I’m reminded of all the times that He cared for me.

Like the time I started having preterm contractions at just 14 weeks pregnant, and I prayed earnestly for God to save my baby. What followed was bed rest for most of my pregnancy and a wonderful opportunity to learn dependence on God in a whole new way. When I held my healthy newborn in my arms, I praised God for answered prayer.

Or the time I prayed for my father to make it back to our island home after a medical procedure overseas that went awry. Watching him have those last few months in the company of his grandchildren was an answer to prayer I would always be grateful for.

There have been many more answered prayers—prayers for protection, for healing, for wisdom, for provision, and countless outpourings of mercy.

Turns out I need to be intentional.

When I sit before God, facing another mountain and crying out to Him for help, when the doubts creep in and threaten to confound my prayers, I need to remember who I am praying to.


I need to purposefully remember all the answered prayers, all the undeserved mercy, all the good He has bestowed on me. I need to take the time to list them out, to review them, to remember His faithfulness to me.

I need to remember that God’s wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth have no limits. They are infinite, eternal, unchangeable. His work is perfect, and He does not withhold anything good from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11 - Thank you, Jesus!). God sees what I cannot. He always knows what is best, and He always does what He says He will do. He can do far more abundantly than all that I ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).  In other words, God has the power and the wisdom and the goodness to answer my prayers in the best way even when I don’t understand. 

As a limited human being this is hard to accept sometimes. Yet when those hard times come, God walks right beside me just as He promised he will. And with a oh-so-personal touch, He comforts me and reassures me that I can be real with Him. I can pour out my hesitations, my uncertainties to Him, I can trust that He understands . . . and I can depend on Him to guide me, sustain me, and answer my prayers.

This is the God I pray to.

*******************
What about you?

Who do you pray to?
Do you sometimes allow your doubts and unanswered prayers 
to distract you from who God really is?

If that is the case, I invite you to spend some time 
meditating on God’s word and recalling His faithfulness to you.

There is none like God, O Jeshurun, 
who rides through the heavens to your help, 
through the skies in his majesty. Deut. 33:26


Grace and peace to you, 

Carlie


Friday, 19 April 2019

What You Are Missing When You're Not Honest With God

 “Prayer is the place where I’m invited to present the parts of myself that no one else sees to a God who already knows and loves me anyway.” The Prayer Coin - Elisa Morgan

When I read those words, I knew it right away—sometimes I haven’t been fully honest with God.

Absurd, right?

I mean He knows my every thought. I know that.

Yet, still there have been times, more than I’m proud to admit, where I’ve held back.

And I always had a reason why.

Yet, now that I think about it, it’s been more like excuses than valid reasons.

Maybe you can relate.

Just so that we’re on the same page, when I speak of being honest with God, I’m referring to the Garden-of-Eden variety—naked, exposed truth-telling. The kind of honesty that lays you bare . . . no holds barred . . . everything out in the open. Did I mention e-x-p-o-s-e-d?


Are you comfortable being honest with God like that?

Why or why not?

Here are my main why-nots—reasons I haven’t always been honest with God:

It’s scary.

I’m afraid God will be disappointed in me. As a Christian, I know He’s no longer angry at me—God’s sin-directed wrath was absorbed by Christ at the cross. But sometimes, I can’t shake the feeling that He might be disappointed, and somehow that feels even worse.

And what if he doesn’t understand? Isn’t that one of our greatest fears? Ending up rejected and alone . . . abandoned and misunderstood because what we shared was just too ugly.

But scariest of all is this—what if I share exactly how I feel, and He doesn’t care? Or He asks me to do something I don’t want to do?

Yep, many times I didn’t like taking that risk.

But these what-if fears weren’t the only reasons, I often shied away from being naked before God because . . . it can also be draining . . . painfully so.

I don’t always have the energy for this ultra-level honesty. Sometimes, it feels like surface level honesty is all I can muster up. Digging deep into heart issues is tough work. It requires facing some thoughts and feelings that surprise even me. At the end of a long day or in the middle of a life-storm I’m often too tired or, if we’re being truthful, too lazy to do the work of being honest . . . so, often I choose easy.

And easy looks like this—I’m supposed to pray ‘Your will be done’ and so I do and miss the heart-to-heart God is inviting me to. Am I the only one guilty of praying the ‘right’ words but not the real ones?

‘We can easily default to what I call an “auto-abandon.” As if we’re supposed to surrender, so we do. Auto-abandon isn’t really abandon. It’s something more like resignation.’ The Prayer Coin- Elisa Morgan



There you have it—confessions of a lazy, scared Christian.

A Christian who had for too long missed out on what God was offering her.

But God never leaves us where He finds us, and over time, He has mercifully offered me a balm for every sore exposed in my prayer life. It’s part of His promise to finish the work He has started in me, and I’m so thankful for His overflowing compassion, His never-running-out patience, and His above-all wisdom.

With His out-of-the-box creativity and personal touch, God continually finds a myriad of ways to beckon me closer . . . calling me to come just as I am.

“The prayer preceding all prayers is, ‘May it be the real I who speaks. May it be the real Thou that I speak to.’” C.S. Lewis via The Prayer Coin - Elisa Morgan

The Prayer Coin: Daring to Pray with Honest Abandon by Elisa Morgan is one of the ways God recently got my attention. Just when I was delving into the Gospels, intrigued by what Jesus might be praying all those times He went off on His own to pray, I ‘stumbled upon’ this close-up examination of Jesus’s anguished prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Thank you, Alyson.)

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:39

In the book, Elisa exposes the prayer’s dual sides of honest (take this cup) and abandon (not my will, but yours) and outlines how I can also follow Jesus’ example.

Reading through the book reminded me of those times when I’ve poured it all out and highlighted the many times I have not. I yearned for what I knew was possible.

So, I did what any God-fearing woman would do—I prayed, ‘Help me, Lord. Help me to come to you.’

Then I pushed through the fear and fatigue because I knew God wanted more for me. And the more I prayed honest . . . the more I got to taste the intimacy he’s invited me to share.

And usually what I think might be harrowing is often healing.

Elisa reminds me:

 'Honest opens us to help. And help that wholly heals comes from God alone.’

My fears dissipate, and I feel rested in His love. 

‘I had feared that if I dared go honest, I’d be cosmically zapped, that I’d be forever misunderstood—even rejected. I wasn’t. Instead, I was scooped up and held in a safe embrace. Then I assumed I’d be sizzled into abandon—forced to utterly give up my honest desires. In reality, I yielded tender toward God and what I knew he ultimately wanted for me. Instead of being lost in abandon, I was found. Really, the one thing I’ve given up in this journey is the very fear I was running from.’ The Prayer Coin - Elisa Morgan

Amen, Elisa. I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for being used by God to draw me, once again, into His embrace.

So, my friend, you don’t have to miss out, learn from my mistake. 

God says come . . . come scared, come weary, just come . . . pour out your heart to Him. Really pray. Face your fears. Do the work. Embrace the gift . . . embrace what God is offering you—a closer, more intimate walk with Him . . . ‘all because of Jesus, and all in His name.

Grace and peace to you,

Carlie


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What About You?


What's stopping you from presenting the real you to the real God?
When last have you dared to pray honest--questions, doubts, laments and all?

You can pick up your own copy of 'The Prayer Coin' here.  
You're welcome, in advance. :)