I’m not one to pray out loud

DSC_0763That hasn’t changed for me ever in my life, and sure I could say the same thing about how I feel when I have to speak in a group about anything, but praying out loud is somehow heavier. So what happened today may be God doing what he always does, or God doing specifically what he had in mind when I prayed what I prayed, or God doing what he was going to do aside from anything I prayed. I wonder?

There’s more to it… I struggle with the repetitious nature of group prayers, the competitive feel of it sometimes, the limited vocab we use, the way I believe God might find what I say trite or redundant given he already knows everything there is to know. Still there is mystery in prayer, and I have been reading a book lately that points to a way of being with prayer that is quite attractive to me…to live my life as a prayer…everything matters…everything counts…when my heart is in a posture of reverence and gratitude before the Father. These days I am leaning more into a contemplative way of being in prayer. It’s a learned way. It’s a way I want to learn more about.

But prayer can also be specific, and at a given time, alone or in groups. And as the various members of our group prayed around the circle today I wondered, what on earth can I offer with integrity?

All I know is this…sometime between 2:15 and 2:45 pm today I prayed a short prayer out loud in a group setting. Very short. Pretty much these words;

God, we have so many needs here. And you are a God with lots of connections. Could you please send people to help us?

And when I was done praying I began to do what I always do…self analysis, critical dissection of my choice of words and how odd and how silly and really, couldn’t I have said something a little more eloquent than that? Condemnation…yes!

Fast forward 30 min to when a member of our community joined our meeting with a huge  smile, and we soon found out why. In another meeting that kept them late from ours, a meeting where our representative often feels unheard; today tangible and wide support was offered up to us in ways that left our representative dumbstruck. A shift occurred this afternoon. Between 2:15 and 2:45 pm.

Coincidence? Reading something into nothing? Or, could a short prayer offered up in earnestness count for something in the spirit world that changes something in the real world?

I wonder…

Someone at the meeting said maybe I should pray out loud more often… :) I’m not convinced yet.


Welcome, love and fear

DSC_0593Every human being is motivated by either love or fear, he said, in every  action ever taken. I contemplated his statement, wondering how true it really was for me. Just as I held each statement this wise counselor spoke, and everything I said as well, weighing out my authenticity, the truth of my disclosures. Was I creating something more, or simply telling my story?

So, he asked, when is the last time you were able to say I trust you with my life, my love, my everything? I don’t know, I said. Maybe never. There is no right or wrong answer, he said, it’s just what you know is true in your life experience. How could this be, I thought, have I never fully trusted, have I never felt freedom in love? My mind jumped back 30 years, then more recently, then to last week, and the reason for seeking counsel in the first place. My lack of trust, and my longing to belong, and what did it all mean?

The conversation continued to how mistrust of others and a possible deeper underlying fear of rejection can result in missing out on the beautiful potential of enjoying the fullness of loving community. Fear of rejection leads to withdrawal and isolation, and the vicious self perpetuating circle of fear, mistrust, and withdrawal from relationships continues. Allowing myself to fully engage in loving community could break down my walls, crack open my heart, and trust and belonging would grow. But fear of rejection is undermining what I desire. I wonder, is this true of me? Really? I want to argue it. I want to ignore it. I want to call it psycho babble.

Today I experienced how my view of life impacts not only me but my family. And I felt a little sick to my stomach as I considered the truth; my fears are rippling out into their lives. So maybe identifying the core issue and making room for a new reality is the way forward? Rather than denial or avoidance, to welcome all in, in a new way, following some recent teaching at SoulStream, Living From the Heart. I have been learning a posture of opening to the difficult and painful things in me that need the touch of Jesus. It is called Welcoming Prayer. I feel it may be the way…in this quiet welcoming way of the heart. And so I say…

Hello fear, welcome. Hello mistrust, welcome. Hello self protection, welcome. Hello rejection, welcome. Hello disappointment, welcome. Hello hunger for love, welcome. Hello. You are welcome here. You too are loved.

The good book tells me Jesus was despised and rejected of men. Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Who better to understand what I do not yet, than the one who knows me and these newly defined feelings, from his firsthand experience. Who best to be with me as I welcome all those things that make me much afraid…

Jesus, what would you say to me in the presence of all my fears and feelings that we have welcomed here together? What would you say to my heart? I’m asking…

Come to me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Come, my beloved. Bring your love and your fear to me. All is welcome here. Come and rest in me. Just come. Let us consider these things together.

What about superficial hope?

My hope quotient can be increased by things like sunlight, fresh air, and good news. Does that make me superficial, or even fickle?

My hopes are dashed when a series of negative events pile up and I feel that I can no longer shoulder the load. Does that make me weak?

My hope in the future, even my eternal perspective, can be overshadowed by the cares of today, the needs of the moment, the unknowns of tomorrow. Does that make me faithless, or just human?

And my mood, being the complicated spaghetti mess that that it is with so many twists and turns, can over-ride hope, or smother it. So does that mean my hormones rule?

I don’t think there are any clear answers to these questions. I ask them in the desire to draw you into this conversation on hope, and to let you know that I don’t pretend to be an expert on it. I have lots of questions, just like you probably do.

Yet, I also have hope. I have the kind of hope that’s like a roller-coaster, up and down and upside down, in dark of tunnels, screaming down steep inclines, almost losing my lunch on the bends, but it NEVER leaves the track. The coaster rattles and squeaks and it feels like it’s going to fly off, or throw me off anyway, but somehow, miracle of miracles and gravity, I stick. God’s got to be the chief engineer on this ride… if not, then who? ‘Cause I should have fallen off a long time ago.

How about you?


Hope for the future…

Step One…

Yesterday was a wonderful day. I had three meetings, all with people that I needed to meet, but for very different reasons. ‘One’ was informative… mostly a meeting of the minds and a download of information. I came away almost limp from my effort to take everything in, but with some very helpful contact names and initiatives to research.

Meeting ‘two’ was needful as well, a meeting of hearts and souls and a buoying up of spirits. I came away with a renewed sense of purpose, excitement, and a very specific task to do. My friend and writing mentor wisely suggested that I needed to take the first step.” So what is step one”, she asked, after we had determined that what I want to do is exciting, makes me happy, is what I’m good at, and will bring delight to others.

In other words, enough talk and enough think and time for some action! So today I am taking Step One with fear and trepidation, yet a burgeoning courage.

Step One is to call the manager of a care facility and request a meeting to discuss my program idea. I’m already familiar with this individual through my son, who does the “Pets and People Program” with our dog at her facility.

Then, last night proved to be the predestined crowning glory of my day. I sat at meeting ‘Three’… a dinner with my husband and a group of his business associates. I was in a supportive role this time, along with two other wives present. So you can imagine that I almost fell over when one lovely woman shared her career path with me, and I learned that she is manager of a large care facility in Kelowna. And over the course of the evening I shared my new program ideas and she gave me a warm invitation to call her to pursue this new venture together.

I came away from that meeting with my heart on fire for the God who puts all these plans into action and just waits (perhaps with a giddy, butterflies type excitement?) for us to discover things!

So, as I review the concept of ‘step one’, I’m overwhelmed with what can happen when you (just) step out. As my mentor said, “I believe God will then show you the next step and the next step and the next. But you have to make the first move.”

Blown away…