Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘friends’

There are times where I just need to get out of my own head. Sometimes due to stresses, circumstances, and the snowball effect that seems like life, I need reminders.

Hebrews 11 is a great chapter for me to go to when I need to just remember what great things other people have done. Hebrews 11 if filled with snap shots of great faith.

There are some glimpses of amazing faith journeys people have had with God in Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews calls these amazing people of faith our “great cloud of witnesses.

This great cloud of witnesses helps me get out of myself and remind me of things bigger than me. I can get self-focused when it comes to working through hard times. This pattern of thinking is not helpful to anyone, especially me.

Reading these amazing stories of faith ushers in the perspective I need to refocus.

I know these stories are not the only great cloud of witnesses we have in life. I have some great clouds that helps me remember where to focus. I have some go-to podcasts, books, blogs, and friends. They make my life rich. They help me get out of me.

I would love to know your cloud of witnesses.

Who are some of your go-to’s to help you refocus and remember?

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

My heart feels prayer consumed. I can’t seem to talk to him enough. I don’t want to get to the point where I feel like I have talked to him enough, but this is where my heart is.

Praying means a lot to me. I pray using the model of John 17.

Jesus prays for himself.

-Jesus prays for his friends.

-Jesus prays for all believers.

Maybe you are feeling like you need some talk time with him as well. I would love for you to pray with me or even take some space on here to pray for you.

Father, my heart is heavy. I feel heavy with conversation. I feel like we haven’t really talked in so long. I feel like there is so much to catch up on with one another, but you still know all things. You have seen my every day and every moment. I have left you hanging and sidelined in me for too long. I wonder why I am tired. Thank you for your grace and patience with me. Thank you for forgiving me every time I just take information about you and run with it without abiding. Forgive me for my walls of control and protection. I never need protection from you. I never need control when it comes to you.

My heart is tired. Well, all of me is tired. For the first time in a while, I feel like my soul is waking up. I feel like I have been telling my heart over and over to wake up, and now new dawn seems to be peaking through. What does that mean? Help me to trust.

Father, I pray for my friends. I pray for the dreams and hopes of my friends. I know I try and step in too much to where you are supposed to be. I love those you have given me so much. I know I forget you are the one who gave them as gifts. Forgive me for holding too tight to them. Forgive me for the fears and jealousy that comes out of holding too tight to them. Forgive me for the places that they fill me where you are wanting to. Thank you for gently restoring my failures. Help us to love each other with healthy and open handed love. Help us to forgive much so we can love much. Help us to speak in times of speaking, whether tough love or tender, and help us to listen when silence is needed. Thank you for your gifts.

Father, you know all the temptations that threats to your church. Provide strength, joy, and courage to speak your truth. Give believers a real hunger to want you, to crave intimacy with you. Give us means and wisdom to know how to stand up for intimacy with you. Let the lies of this culture be silenced. Give us a voice that sounds and looks like one. Jesus desired that we would be one like you are one with each other. I pray that. I pray that we would value greatly knowing you and making you known. Show us your favor Lord. Help us give you space, time, value, and authority. Help us to pursue the life of just believing in you.

Thank you for knowing me. Thank you for your love, grace, and gentleness. I love you, father. In your sons name, amen.

Read Full Post »

Sometimes you just need a place to pray and talk to God. My model for talking to God is from John 17.

I would love for this to be  a place where you can talk freely to God. if you want to listen to the prayers and thoughts of others, please do.

Here is my heart. Pray with me.

Father, I sit at your feet today blessed with the chance for a break from “normal” life. Thank you for your grace that leaves me quiet. I am learning the reality of not taking your forgiveness and grace lightly. Forgive me that I have treated those values flippantly. I dismiss you too much in my life. I am trying to sit in my emptiness and exhaustion to leave space for your peace. I know that my self-sufficiency has enabled my exhaustion. Forgive me for leaving you out of my life too much. I am so quick to think I can handle this life on my own. But father, I don’t want the life that I can manage. I want to experience a life where I have to depend on your logic and ways. I want to be bold enough to look foolish to this world and culture. My heart has an ache of a dream that seems to be of you. I ask that you would lead me I your way of understanding so that I can move toward your dream for me. Fears affect my steps as well as my faith too much. I hate that. I am sorry for the one step forward and the two steps back of trust. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your gentleness with my heart. Thank you that you love me and take on my debt every day. Help me not to take that lightly. Be with me on this vacation and lead my smile and laughter.

Father, be with my friends who desire you as well. Be with my friends who are also exhausted and need your larger than life presence. Strengthen the bruised reeds of their heart. Love on my friends so deeply. Grow our friendship together in a way that shows your face and your character. Help us to learn how to lay our selfish wants and desires down. Help us to place the other person above ourselves. Please help us to always move towards healthy goodness in you. Please help us to know how to celebrate one another more and more as our friendships grow more intimate. We desire intimacy with you. I pray that we would find that in you first. I pray that we would pursue you first for the sake of a right friendship. Father, thank you for how I know you more because of my friends. I am so grateful for the ones I know face to face and the ones I know by heart. I am so grateful for the richness of these great friends. They are yours. Help me to keep them that way. Help me to love friends with open hands to you. Thank you for friendship. Thank you for the chance to experience life with my great friends. I praise you for that.

And father I pray for all those who need your peace today. I pray for the hearts that are struggling to find your voice and presence. Be father in a real way to those who know you, as well as, those who are curious about you. Provide places of comfort for those who need it. Provide wisdom for those who are seeking understanding. Provide your name for those who are in need of your power. You know all hearts. You know all things. I pray for those who are tired and slow to bounce back. Provide your place of rest.

This culture needs your name. This culture is desperately seeking something of value and power. You are the one who is good. You are the one hope for life in this world. Apart from you, we are nothing. I pray that you would remind this culture of your desire for us. You desperately want intimacy with your children. Rise up community and real authentic people to provide your voice and name. Not just this culture, but all cultures known and unknown. You are known, and claim all by name. I hope for change.

It’s in your illogical name I pray these thoughts and words. Amen.

Read Full Post »

The other day my friend, Stephanie, and I went on a hike. I love hiking. I love me some outdoors. Saturday was just a day that I needed to be doing something physically exhilarating. Sometimes I just need to sweat it out. Hiking takes my mind off of my messy heart.

Stephanie and I have done this trail a hundred times. We love it. We know it backwards and forwards. There is this one part on the trail that is intense. It is directly in the middle of the trail. This part is a bit challenging to anyone. From our perspective, it was fiercely jagged and up hill. Steph and I love this part and usually make up our own way up.

On our way up, we saw this mom and her ten year old daughter, Meredith. Meredith wasn’t having it. She was not taking on the climb. Her mom was trying everything she could to get her daughter to be brave long enough to make it up the rock. Steph and I saw this going down and first raced up the rock face. At the top we watched as Meredith’s mom tried to coax her up the hill.

I looked at Steph and said, “she’s gonna need some more hands.”

Down the rock face we head. We asked the mom if we could help try and get Meredith to attempt the climb. Meredith was not having it with us either. We tried everything. After twenty minutes, we told Meredith that we had to go, but she wanted us to help her now was the time. I told her that she could yell and cry all the way up the rock.

Meredith weighed her options and inched her way towards the rock. Meredith’s mom led the way, Stephanie on her side, and me bringing up the rear. (I literally had my hand on her rear the whole way up). Meredith cried and groaned through her tears all the way up. She stopped half way with thoughts of reconsideration. We quickly nudged her fear forward. Every restart, Meredith would yell, “Stephanie don’t leave me!!” I couldn’t help but chuckle as Meredith was so grateful while sobbing. She was yelling, “THANK YOU SO MUCH!!” as we were helping her along.

We finally reached the top of the climb and Meredith let out a huge cry. Her mother asked if she wanted to turn around and see what she just conquered, and Meredith yelled, “NOOOOOO!!!!

Stephanie and I cheered Meredith on as she conquered a fear. Meredith soon calmed down and felt proud of her accomplishment. Stephanie and I gathered our packs and started to head on. Meredith realized we were leaving and told her mom, “mom we can stay with them! We can finish this with them!

I thought about Meredith’s words for the rest of the trail. I realized that Meredith didn’t just want to be with us because we were cool girls, but she knew we were safe and could get her through hard parts of the trial. She trusted our strength and words by then. Meredith was ready to leave her mother behind and take to the trail with us.

I thought, what a great picture for our relationship with Christ. Christ does everything to stay by my side, and he has definitely hiked me through some really hard times. So why don’t I have the same response as Meredith? Meredith was ready to do anything she could to stay with us. Why don’t I respond that way with the one who has helped me through more than a climb? Why don’t I run to stay with the one who has proved himself safe, faithful, and trustworthy.

Instead I take on the rest of the trail by myself. As if God is only good enough for the hard parts. I want to stay with the one who can lead me through the whole path. I don’t want to remain in a place where I think I can take on the whole hike on my own.

Where are you on your hike?

Read Full Post »

It’s just time for some prayer. I love me some prayer. I feel like it’s a good time in the week to just focus on praying.

My model for prayer comes from John 17. Jesus prays to the Father in three ways and in this order: himself, his close friends (disciples), and for all believers. I would love to pray for you and with you today.

Let me know what I can be talking about with him for you today. I would love this to be a place where you feel like you can pray as well. I would love for you to take a minute and pray with me.

Father, sometimes I don’t even know where to begin with my own heart. I feel like my heart is a messy place. I feel like I don’t know what to even say sometimes. You know my heart. You know my struggles, fears, and weakness. Please be present in all of those areas today. Please teach me how to abide in your great invitation to stay with you. Please show me your kindness and gentleness as we work, slowly, through the caverns of my deep heart. Only you know my dark places. You know them more than me.

Father, I am scared of what could be revealed by asking you to work out my fears. I’m trying to believe you are enough. I know I don’t always respond in that belief, but I want to try.

I pray for my character. I ask that you would teach me to be a woman after your own heart. I am knee bound by the weight of that desire, but I believe you can teach even me. Thank you for your love for me. Thank you that you are patient and grace filled. I mess up. I ask for your forgiveness in those areas. Thank you for the humility of your grace. Help me to not take on condemnation for myself.

Father, I also pray for my friends you have given me. They are such gifts. They make my life so rich. Help us push each other towards you. Help me keep your gift of people as gifts and not possessions. Teach us how to love one another with the model of you and your son, Jesus. Lord, I know I can place these friendships in place of you. Help us to keep you there. Teach us to forgive one another. I so desire these friendships to be models of right relationships. I crave my friendships to show your character, grace, unconditional love, commitment, gratitude, and selflessness. They are yours Lord. Help us to keep that perspective with one another. Your word states that “others will know we are your disciples by how we love one another.” I pray that these rich friendships of mine would do just that. Thank you for the gift of friends.

Father, I love people, and thank you for them. I pray for the families around me that might know you. I pray for my family, that they would soften their hearts long enough to hear you and catch a glimpse of your goodness. I pray for protection over missions and people traveling overseas to be your word. I pray for strengthened faith for the community of believers as this culture rapidly decreases with any sense of life. Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Give your people a boldness to stand up. Give us a hunger to follow after your, truth. Your desire is that all experience being one as you and the father are one. I pray for that to grow everywhere and in everyone. You are power. Your name is power.

I life my heart up to you, those close to my heart, and to all who call on and are curious about your name. To you alone be glory.

Amen

Read Full Post »

This past week I was blessed with the chance to hang out with some old friends. Two of my good friends have some of my favorite kids in the world. I love interacting with their kids. Both sets of kids are very different in age and seasons of life. My friend Marcy has three great kids under the age of seven. My other friend Kelley has three kids, but two are still at home in middle school. I had to laugh on my flight home today thinking about how some of the mentality between theses kids are very similar.

On two separate occasions, I watched as both my friends kids asked for a reward for doing something either they were asked to do, or were supposed to do anyway. For example, little Thomas is three-years-old. He is so cute. I watched him tell his mom, a couple different times, good things he had done. Both Marcy and I lovingly congratulated him for his great deeds. Another example would be not so little in age Allie, thirteen, loves announcing to her mom the good things she is doing. Again, both of us cheered for her with “good jobs.”

This got me thinking. How many times do I do this? How many times do I look for blessings or expect to be rewarded for things I already should be doing?

The words of Jesus in Matthew 5 came to mind as I was marinating on this thought. In Matthew 5, Jesus is talking to a crowd of people about this concept of looking for rewards in the things they should already be doing. Jesus states, “46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

Jesus wants us to be different. Doing the right thing, or what we are “supposed” to be doing is the reward. There is freedom and no condemnation in doing what is right. I often think that I should be extra rewarded for those things.

I will even go so far to say that when I start to redirect my sin back to doing what is right, I think I should be rewarded by God. What is with that!? How selfish am I? God nicely smiles and says, “Tracee, doing the right thing is the blessing and the reward.” Something inside me expects to hear, “congrats” or some cheer leading for me.

It is when we are in the midst of persecution and being a second mile person is where the we are reward worthy. There is so much blessing in loving people, especially our enemies. I want my character to just enjoy doing what is right and what is good, and that would be enough. I am gonna try this awareness out. Wanna try with me?

How do you look for rewards and blessings?

Read Full Post »