Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 31

 
Well, I did it. I blogged for 31 days on one topic.
I was reminded of last fall when I blogged almost every day during Fire in the Night. I find that having a challenge to write daily helps me to write more. But, I also tend to put pressure on myself to do it perfectly, which means that I have to post every day. I intentionally chose not to blog on Sundays, to give myself a day of rest, and I took a few more days when I didn’t have anything to write. This protected me from the pressure of perfection because I started with an imperfect goal.
I hope that my heart is tenderer today, October 31, than it was on October 1. But, I am realizing more and more that I have to fight to keep a tender heart. Pursuing the goal to write about having a tender heart almost daily helped me to do more heart checks and take action when I discovered hardened places.
I haven’t had any big discoveries or significant insights. The only thing that felt really different was that I was inviting others into what I was thinking and feeling on a more regular basis. What was happening with me became the material for my posts and I opened the door for other people to see behind my “fine” fa├žade. So many of you shared wonderful feedback with me and I really appreciated your words and reactions.
I have come to accept that I am a “blogger”, though this was much more difficult for me to see than it was for so many of you. I really do enjoy writing. And, I think that there is something valuable and vulnerable and healing in sharing my thoughts and feelings in a public way on a regular basis. I don’t know how often I will be posting now that October is finishing, but I have the intention to make it a regular habit.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #625: How Lily always waits to greet me just outside the bathroom door
·         #626: Making coffee
·         #627: God values me and my work, however small we may seem
·         #628: Teaching others how to fight for joy and overcome suffering
·         #629: Doing things for the first time
·         #630: When Karyn picks out my clothes and everyone complements my outfit
·         #631: Finding a TV show to share
·         #632: Going home at the end of the day

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 30

 
I was counseling a person who is suffering great despair over painful life circumstances. They told me that they were hanging on to their faith by a thread and that they were afraid it would break at any moment. They said that their joy had been taken away and that they were not sure that they would be able to get it back. They said that they were having a hard time locating hope because they cannot see how God is working in their impossible situation.
I was reminded of this as I was reading Lamentations 3 tonight.
He (God) has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains. And though I cry and shout, he shuts out my prayers. He has blocked my path with a high stone wall. He has twisted the road before me with many detours. (7-9) He has made me grind my teeth on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust. Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the LORD is lost!” The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” (16-24) For the LORD does not abandon anyone forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow. (31-33)
I think that we all have seasons of life and painful circumstances that tempt us to believe that God is against us and all hope is lost. But, the truth is that His love never ends and He has given us Himself. So, no matter how impossible our situation may appear, I think that we can always hope in the LORD for our deliverance. I also think that we can look to Him to sustain us with His love and joy while we wait and pray and suffer until our circumstances change.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #616: Too many people showed up to serve at the soup kitchen
·         #617: This made it possible for me and Karyn to leave early and hang out at Katie’s Cup before work
·         #618: Noah singing and dancing in a scarecrow costume
·         #619: Delicious hibachi lunch with Mandy
·         #620: Searching Barnes and Noble for the perfect book to launch our Pearcy ladies book club
·         #621: Hours of fun and freedom in the middle of a work day
·         #622: Mom’s and kid’s
·         #623: New clients
·         #624: Anticipating my Chicago weekend with great delight

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 27


I think I’ve fallen sick with rule-following again.
I hesitated to put lotion on my face this afternoon because I had already done it this morning. My rule is lotion twice a day, once in the morning and once at bed-time. Lotion in the middle of the day, even if my skin feels really dry, is against that rule. I almost didn’t put it on and was about to let my skin suffer until I realized that I was being ridiculous and I am free to put on as much lotion as I want.
I’m here at the House of Prayer for our 12 hour burn and I have hardly said two words to God. I have been too busy serving as a prophetic singer, catching up on my one-year Bible readings, taking care of administrative tasks, reading my next section of Grace for the Good Girl and now, writing. I have been really busy doing things for God, instead of enjoying His sweet presence.
I should have recognized my symptoms when I woke up at 5:30 this morning. I was sure that I am a terrible person. I felt so awful that I started trying to find sins that I could repent of so that I could feel close to God again. Even after I repented of everything that I could think of, God still felt far away and it hurt my heart. I finally fell asleep again, but I wasn’t at rest.
Then, I was singing during a watch this morning and trying to convince myself that God is always close to me, even if I can’t feel Him. I felt completely numb and disconnected. I was also nervously asking myself, “Why do I feel so bad? What is wrong with me? How can I feel close to God again?!”
Fortunately, chapter 6 of Grace for the Good Girl is entitled: the rule follower. As I read, I was deeply relieved to realize that I was striving again to please God through my works and that this explains why I have been feeling so terrible. I am not good enough to please God on my own and this is why I have been feeling such failure and hopelessness.
So, I’m done working now. I’m officially resting now. I am going to put everything away and I am going to draw near to my God. I know that He will be excited to see me and give me rest in His grace.
Still Counting Gifts:

·         #611: I am not under the law, but under grace Romans 6:14
·         #612: The righteousness of God is mine because of my faith in Jesus Christ Romans 3:21-22
·         #613: I am not competent in myself to claim anything for myself, but my competence comes from God. He has made me competent as a minister of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6
·         #614: I can draw near to God in full assurance of faith
·         #615: God wants to give me rest in Him

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 25


I feel sad for trees losing their leaves. They look so exposed and vulnerable with their bare branches.
I felt a bit like that the other day. I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, but every once and a while I will look at other people’s pages. A few days ago, I was looking at a friend’s page and I started having some insecure feelings. We graduated high school in the same year and she is only a few months older than me. But, she, unlike me, has been married for a few years and now has a baby.

I was looking at some of her pictures and I started feeling exposed. The questions that I try to avoid asking myself started coming.
Why is everyone my age married? Why do so many of my friends have children already? Why am I so different from all these people? Is my life less than those of people who are married and have kids?

My singleness and my childlessness felt like bare branches whose leaf covering had fallen away.
I wondered what people my age think when they look at my Facebook page. I think that those close to me understand that I am still single and without children because I am waiting on the fullness of God for the provision of these precious gifts.

But, what about everybody else? Are they seeing these gaps in the leaves and wondering why these branches in my life are so bare and empty? Do I seem obsessed with my career because that is where God is cultivating my life right now?
It’s true that I often try to focus conversation on where I do feel successful: my work. I’m desperate to call your attention to the leaves that are on my tree because I fear your judgment where my branches are showing.

But, when I meet new people and the inevitable question of whether or not I’m married with children comes up, I try to answer authentically. I usually say that I haven’t found someone that I want to have children with yet. This is true. And, people tend to be very gracious when I am this honest. They say things like, “That’s wise.” Or, “It’s worth the wait.” Or, “Good for you.”
So, I’m going to try to stand tall the way the trees do and proudly display my leaves and my bare branches. This is the season of life that the LORD has me in, and it is very good.

Still Counting Gifts:
·         #602: The last bits of warm weather before the cold front
·         #603: Green light after green light on my way to work
·         #604: A hurting human heart exposed
·         #605: A fascinating presentation by Pablo Korona at Rockford Rotary Club
·         #606: Watching a storm roll in
·         #607: A song I really wanted to hear played on the radio just before I got out of the car
·         #608: How God keeps giving me pockets of time and how He uses them to nurture my spirit and help me remember to breathe deeply and rest in Him
·         #609: My business is actually God’s business and I can trust Him to have His way
·         #610: The delicious knowledge that I am taking a day off tomorrow and get to go to the apple orchard (finally!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 24

 
When I go out to the waiting room to get a client, I try to always greet them by name and with a smile. As we cover the short distance from the waiting room to my office, I usually ask, “How are you today?” Almost always, my client will respond, “Fine.” Once we are safely inside my office with the door shut, I will ask this question again and my clients are almost never “fine”. They are angry, sad, depressed, terribly anxious, disappointed and uncertain of how to handle all of their “un-fine” feelings.
I really appreciate this exchange with my clients. I have laughed with several of them over how they really aren’t “fine” and why do they say this when it’s not true? But, I understand the problem because I have it too.
Chances are, if you have ever asked me how I am doing, then I probably responded with, “Fine.” And I can guarantee that some of those times, I really was not fine in that moment.
Why do we do this? Why this obsession with being “fine” all the time? Why not share how we are really feeling?
For me, I think that it has to do with my tendency to classify feelings as “good” or “bad”. I think feelings like sad, angry, disappointed, jealous and scared are “bad” and I should not have them. I feel guilty and I think I’m a bad Christian when these feelings bunch up in me. So, I pretend that I don’t feel these feelings. I hide them under the veneer of “fine.” It doesn’t really feel like lying because I’m not pretending that I’m feeling happy or content. I’m just not sharing my feelings honestly. And, I don’t want to have these feelings, so it’s hard to own them.  
I just finished reading chapter 4: with a wink and a smile, hiding behind her fake “fine” with Emily P. Freeman and Grace for the Good Girl. She explores why good girls use “fine” all the time. Emily also writes about the natural swing of emotions that God designed us to have. I underlined almost the whole chapter, but there were two parts that were particularly meaningful to me, so I will quote them here.
So often I feel embarrassed or guilty over my humanness, but our emotions and experiences are all a part of that swing.
Trying not to experience the whole spectrum of emotions is like trying to be inhuman.
Our fluctuating humanness is there on purpose, to remind us of our need and draw us to the One who can meet it. We don’t have to figure out the whys and the origins of every swinging emotion. But it is so important that we admit they are there. To embrace the color and fullness of our emotional, un-fine state is to open wide enough to receive compassion and grace. Only then will we be able to offer that same compassion and grace to others in honest and authentic ways.
To be able to receive and extend compassion and grace sounds wonderful to me. I guess I will have to start embracing my humanness and the color and fullness of my emotional, un-fine state then.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #592: Enough perseverance (or foolishness) to do the 30 day shred video this morning
·         #593: When my dad made extra coffee just for me
·         #594: Turning getting ready into worship
·         #595: Finally being on time this 3rd week of the Zechariah study!
·         #596: How God knows exactly what I need on a daily basis and clients will cancel and open up time in my schedule just when I need it
·         #597: The work in me that still needs to be done is God’s responsibility
·         #598: When my office becomes a prayer closet
·         #599: I can still see fall colors right outside my window
·         #600: God’s love, goodness and faithfulness are all toward me
·         #601: Today, I am really enjoying my life, just as it is

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 23

 
Have you ever been afraid to hope? I have.
I imagine hope like a little plant with bright flowers that wants to grow in the soil of my heart. I’m afraid to let this little plant bloom and grow because it can open the door to disappointment. Disappointment, when it encounters hope in my heart, rushes in like the secret police discovering a fugitive. Cruel disappointment crushes hope and forcibly removes it from my heart. This leaves a gaping hole that hurts. I can feel where hope used to be and how it was torn away.
As a result, I am extremely cautious about letting hope grow in certain areas of my heart. In areas like work, where I perform well and disappointment only visits rarely, I actually enjoy when hope blooms and grows. I will even pitch in and help to cultivate it. But, in other areas, like in the area of hoping to be married, I almost never let it grow.
A good friend from church pointed this out to me the other day. She said that I can feel hopeful every day because any day can be the day that God brings a man into my life. I responded that I can’t do that because every day that my hope is not fulfilled is a day that disappointment comes. And disappointment every day is too crushing to risk. She responded that this was a bad confession on my part.
I knew then, as I know now, that she is absolutely right. My fear of disappointment in the area of meeting a man and getting married is so enormous that I tear out my hope anytime it starts to sprout. I vigilantly watch to make sure that I am not feeling hopeful about ever meeting someone so that I am not at risk for being disappointed. But, as my wise friend observed, this is a bad confession.
Isn’t God big enough to provide for this need in my life? Wouldn’t it be better to let hope grow up in my heart and fill me with all joy and peace in believing that God is at work in my life? (Romans 15:13) And doesn’t God love me enough to comfort me whenever I meet disappointment?
I have decided to open up my heart to hope once more. I confess that it is terrifying. Every time I catch sight of it, I want to run over and tear it up by the roots. I keep listening for disappointment to come banging on the door to punish me for being foolish enough to host hope. Then, God lovingly reminds me that there is no disappointment that He cannot heal. He promises to heal every broken and hurt place in my heart with His mercy and grace, by Jesus’ blood. God reassures me that there is no disappointment that we cannot overcome together and that He will never leave me.
So, don’t be surprised if I start to seem more hopeful to you. I’m growing hope in my heart.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #586: Sharing a bathroom with Karyn and Ava, which allows me to actually see them for 5 minutes in the middle of the week
·         #587: When my schedule changes for my good and I get to eat lunch, spend 2 hours in the prayer room and leave early at the end of the day
·         #588: Opportunities to share with my clients that God really is enough and that He really can give them joy in His presence despite their painful circumstances
·         #589: Sharing intercession with Jesus over these beautiful people that He has entrusted to my care
·         #590: Moments where I encounter someone who already has something I want and I can remind myself that He’s not done with me yet
·         #591: When I ask God to remind me of things that I am certain to forget and He does

Monday, October 22, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 22

 
Yesterday, my sister and I had one of those rare moments where it’s just the two of us and we get to talk for an uninterrupted period of time.
It was wonderful and I delighted in every second of it.
Karyn is one of my best and safest friends, but I still get nervous when I want to be real with her. I was telling her some of my thoughts and feelings that have been provoked by reading Grace for the Good Girl. I started telling her about some of the terrible things my “good girl” says to me when I’ve done something that I should not do. She looked at me with a mixture of surprise and compassion as she said, “Wow, that’s what it’s like in your brain?” It was interesting and helpful for me to see how my perspective looks to her and to hear her perspective on me.
Karyn went on to share with me some of what she is struggling with and I got to share my perspective with her.
Somewhere in this refreshing and authentic exchange, I told Karyn that I really want to offer what we were experiencing to other women. So much of what we think and feel remains hidden behind our exterior “everything is fine” appearance. We don’t realize that other women are also hurting and struggling and we don’t share with other women when we are. Some of us do share these things, but these occasions are the rare exception rather than the rule.
I’m going to challenge myself to share more authentically with the women in my life, especially when I’m struggling. I’m also going to challenge myself to invite women to share more authentically with me when they are struggling. I invite you to join me.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #576: My first run in over a week
·         #577: A quiet house to myself this morning
·         #578: Coffee with Jesus
·         #579: Catching part of a Jon Thurlow watch at IHOP-KC online from the prayer room
·         #580: Time to run errands
·         #581: That all my car needed was gas when it broke down yesterday
·         #582: How God kept speaking to me as He was speaking to my clients through me today
·         #583: More time with Jesus at the prayer room
·         #584: Finding time to take care of life details
·         #585: Another Sunday night bonfire in my backyard

Friday, October 19, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 19

 
I’ve been fighting a cold this week. There, I finally admitted it.
A few people have asked me if this was the case over the past few days and I repeatedly said, “No.” I blamed allergies and changing temperatures initially. And, I’m sure those things contributed to my sore sinuses, my tender and tickling throat and the choking cough that gets provoked. (Those of you at church last weekend will remember what that is.)
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #569: I am thankful for this cold.
·         #570: This is the first time that I have been sick since June 2011!
·         #571: I’m not sick with a sinus infection or bronchitis as I used to be 4 to 5 times a year.
·         #572: I’m not confined to my bed or forced to sleep all day long because I’m so miserable.
·         #573: I’m actually very functional, just a little tired and dragging.
·         #574: This is just the thing that I need to give myself permission to say No to being overly active this weekend.
·         #575: This is a great excuse to spend my time in my pj’s reading my Bible, reading my favorite blogs, reading more of Grace for the good girl, praying, writing, drinking tea and taking naps.
I’m also going to share a few things that I have been reading during my recovery time that I think you may enjoy.
·         This moved me to tears. I have had these ugly moments where I see what is really inside my heart as it explodes out of my mouth and they are so horribly painful. I really appreciate how Ann tells this story and how she resolved that crisis with humility. http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/10/why-the-crazy-sacrifices-are-worth-it-crazy-joy-19/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HolyExperience+%28Holy+Experience%29
·         Joel Rosenberg just posted some videos from the recent Epicenter Conference. I was listening to his State of the Epicenter message about current affairs in the Middle East and it was really interesting. It’s about an hour though, so you will need some time. http://epicenterconference.com/media/video/epicenter_2012_joel_c_rosenberg/
·         During these 31 days of reflecting and writing on keeping a tender heart, I have been realizing how much I am still wrestling with perfectionism on a regular basis. I am committing myself to reading and digesting Grace for the good girl because I know that God wants to use this resource to continue to heal my heart in this area. Here is a link to Emily P. Freeman’s introduction on this book if you are interested: http://www.chattingatthesky.com/2012/05/31/grace-for-the-good-girl-introduction/

Thursday, October 18, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 18

 
Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Ann Voskamp quoted this passage in her blog recently. Then, I read it in my one-year Bible for October 12. Seeing it twice within a week caught my attention.
Verse 16 is: Always be joyful.
This sounds like a command to me and I don’t think God would command us to do something we can’t do. If He tells me to always be joyful, then I believe that it is always possible for me to be joyful and that this is what God desires for me.
Verse 17 is: Keep on praying.
I hear another command. And, it follows the first one, which I understand to mean that prayer is related to being joyful. The joy provokes the prayer; the prayer sustains the joy, or both. Either way, I like how God has placed these two directives right next to each other.
Verse 18: No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
No matter what happens, I can be thankful. God’s will for me, as one who belongs to Christ Jesus is that I would be thankful. This stirs my heart to commit to the regular practice of gratitude all over again.
God wants me to be joyful, constant in prayer and thankful. This is what I hear Him say in this passage, “Be joyful, Jody. Be constant in prayer, Jody. Be thankful, Jody.”
Why does God link these three things? I think He is trying to show that they go together. When I practice gratitude through prayer in every season and situation, I will experience joy in God’s presence. This sounds good to me.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #558: Tea and coffee in the morning
·         #559: Having the freedom to wear jeans to work
·         #560: A short work day in a quiet building
·         #561: An afternoon adventure with my parents to Galena, IL
·         #562: Fall colors that have remained despite wind and rain
·         #563: New smart wool socks!
·         #564: Window shopping
·         #565: An Italian dinner with two of my favorite people
·         #566: Finding a coffee shop that made espresso drinks right before it closed for the day
·         #567: Laughing hard together
·         #568: Car naps

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 17


I had some overwhelmed feelings as I drove home from work tonight. I felt tired from the day and still had important items on my to-do list. I was relieved that the day was almost over and trying to figure out how to persevere through my final tasks for today.

Somewhere around this time, I realized that I had snuck back into partnership with my old friend perfectionism. He always reassures me that I can do absolutely everything with excellence. Perfectionism also tells me that I should never say “No” to anyone. He tells me that I have to help everyone who asks and that my best is not enough. Perfectionism is actually a bully. He weighs me down with heavy burdens that are impossible to lift and insults me when I fail.
I broke off our partnership two years ago, but he hasn’t taken it well. He keeps trying to get back with me. Sometimes, he sneaks back into my life when I’m not watching. We were friends for so long that he feels really familiar and I forget that I don’t want to be associated with him anymore. Holy Spirit is best at noticing when perfectionism is coming back around, so I ask Him to keep watch and warn me.

Tonight, he did. So, I confessed that I had come back into agreement with perfectionism and asked God to forgive me. I broke my partnership with perfectionism again and asked God to help me receive His grace.
God reminded me that His strengths are made perfect in my weakness. So, tonight, I am counting my imperfections from today as gifts.

Still Counting Gifts:
·         #548: I skipped my run for the 2nd time this week and kept sleeping

·         #549: I was really grumpy when I woke up with a sore throat and told God that I would be mad at Him if He let me get sick

·         #550: I went to the Zechariah study out of obligation because I was feeling really tired (Although, I really, really enjoyed it once I was there and God adjusted my attitude!)

·         #551: I rejoiced when I found out my first client had canceled because I didn’t really want to be at work

·         #552: I was easily distracted today and had to keep asking God to help me focus

·         #553: I was encouraging a client to be open to a different explanation at the same time that I wasn’t open to God’s different explanation of what was happening with that person

·         #554: I was really trying to make everyone happy and thought I could accomplish that

·         #555: I am flawed, but while I was still dead in my sins, Jesus died for me so that we can be together forever

·         #556: Playing Apples to Apples with my family was an unexpected treat at the end of the day

·         #557: Blogging on my laptop with Lily asleep beside me, laying against my leg and running in her dream

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 16

 
#538: Today was a beautiful day.
#539: I took a different way to work and got there 5 minutes faster.
#540: I discovered that 3 of my 4 clients had rescheduled and I was finished with work by 10 AM.
#541: I got to hang out at YMCA Camp Winnebago with a group of 8th grade students from Thurgood Marshall School for the Rotary Academy program. The sun was shining, the arm was warm and the students were doing team-building exercises. I spent 2 hours watching them have a great day.
#542: For the first time in over a week, I am caught up on all my paperwork.
#543: I drove around a Rockford neighborhood near the river and looked at fall leaves everywhere in gold, red and orange.
#544: I sat with my mom in the afternoon, a rare treat, and ate popcorn while we sipped coffee.
#545: I visited the neighbor with Karyn. I watched both of them in mom mode, responding to the needs of their children with love and grace, and felt impressed by how they handle the challenges of parenting. I hoped to be a mom like them someday. I enjoyed when we found time to connect even with the noise and chaos of four children.
#546: I had dinner with my parents and talked about what it would look like for me to buy a house, someday. I wondered how far away that day will actually be.
#547: I came to R2HOP and beamed while a good friend gave a fantastic presentation on what a house of prayer is. I relished hearing it from her unique perspective.
Today was a day full of gifts. I thank God for each one and how He wraps me up in His love.

Monday, October 15, 2012

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 15

 
I saw a fox in broad daylight today. This was concerning to me because I saw him yesterday, also in broad daylight and around the same place. He looks thin and unwell. I was on my way to work and I felt scared for the little fox and powerless to help him. I called my mom and left her a message explaining about the fox and asking if she knew who we could call to get him some help. I don’t think I begged her to do something to help him, but she must have heard the fear in my voice because she made several calls and texted me about them.
I felt fragile and tearful after my fox sighting. I was afraid that he would die and I desperately wanted to help him. I felt weak in my impotence to help that creature and this feeling started creeping into my feelings about my work day. I had a full schedule with at least one very challenging client. Suddenly, I felt unprepared, tired and worried. If I can’t even help one small fox, then what do I have to offer people in pain?
So, I prayed. I confessed all my feelings to God and I asked Him to provide for me. I asked Him to take care of the fox and reminded Him that even creation is negatively affected by the spiritual state of our world. I asked Jesus to come back soon. I told Him that all of creation is longing for the day when He will rule the earth from Jerusalem. I told Jesus that even the foxes suffer because of our current leadership by the prince of this age. I admitted that it hurts my heart when I see animals hurting and creation thrashing. I long for that day when Jesus will return to earth and make the wrong things right. I long for the day when we will be able to interact with the animals the way that Adam and Eve did. I long for the day when we will be able to see Jesus face to face here on the earth.
I sent my prayers straight to God’s heart and I imagined them shooting upwards like lights and into that great bowl filled with all the prayers of the saints from all the ages past and present. I joined my prayers with those of every other person who has prayed, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” I believed that my prayers were real and that they have real impact. I felt that I am a part of a great cloud of witnesses and my voice is heard.
I also asked God to cover me. I imagined Him stretching out His arms of love and bringing me into safety close to His heart. I prayed for my clients and asked that God would help me to hear the words He has to say to them and to fill my heart with His love and compassion for them.
Finally, I worshipped. I counted gifts and praised God for who He is. I declared that He is holy and worthy of all glory and honor.
God comforted my heart and my vulnerable feelings from this morning kept me close to Him and leaning in all day long. I know that there are things that God said that I would have missed if I hadn’t positioned myself so closely to Him when I felt so exposed and weak. So, I thank God for:
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #529: A small, frail, exposed fox who provoked my heart
·         #530: Feeling fragile and tender
·         #531: My God who hears me
·         #532: When God shares His heart with me and lets me feel a little bit of how He feels for someone or something
·         #533: Humility to recognize when a session is getting stuck and it’s time to pray
·         #534: Endurance for 5 clients all in a row
·         #535: Allowing myself to receive grace when I run late, all day long
·         #536: Donuts at Bible study when I didn’t have a dinner
·         #537: Time to mull over my thoughts and feelings from the events of this weekend