Friday, July 29, 2011

Pity Party

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Sometimes before you get to being grateful, you throw a pity party. Your pity party may last a moment, a week, a month or a lifetime.

The dominant theme of a pity party is “woe is me, my life is horrid, and I’m the worse person in the world!” How do I know this so well? I’ve thrown a few pity parties in my time and according to my husband, “I throw the worse pity parties!” (Thank God for him). Life throws us curveballs, sometimes you may have a legitimate reason and other times you’re just down on yourself.

Job in the Bible had the ultimate reason to have a pity party: he lost everything he had including his wife and children, he got physically ill, and his friends weren’t really good friends – they thought he did something to deserve all this trouble. Ultimately Job acknowledged God’s sovereignty even in his trials – Job 42: 2-6.
In the end, Job’s latter was greater than his beginning – he had a lot in the beginning and he had even more at the end.

I recently read a book called Miles To Go by Richard Paul Evans which echoes the above theme. The main character loses everything and goes through additional suffering before finally realizing why. I like many quotes from the book, but these two I will leave with you – “For there are moments in all lives, great and small that we must trudge alone our forlorn roads into infinite wilderness to endure our midnight hours of pain and sorrow – the Gethsemane moments when we are on our knees or backs crying out to a universe that seems to have abandoned us. These are the greatest moments, where we show our souls. These are our “finest hours”. That these moments are given to us is neither accidental nor cruel. Without great mountains we cannot reach great heights.”

“I tell my children never forget that man is not a complete being in himself. There’s something greater than he that moves him.”

You are worthy. You may be going through, but so are many others. Turn to God and “Be still” and let Him work out in you what needs to be worked out.

May your pity party end with the clarity that you need so that you can move on.


Are your pity parties enjoyable? Do you wish you never had them? How do you move on from a pity party?


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grateful

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Life changes in an instant – one day you’re on top of the world, the next day you feel totally humiliated.

Sometimes you feel like a loser and nothing’s going your way, and then you get that unexpected call and things start looking up.

One day you’re healthy and then you pass out in the park in a near death experience and discover you have vasovagal syncope.

Sometimes in life we want things so bad and we wonder why it’s not happening.
Some want to be married.
Some want children.
Some want a job.
Some want a new house.
This list could go on and on.

And then we see others who have what we do not have and sometimes it’s all we can do to keep smiling, because really, you’re hurting, frustrated, aggravated.

So though I get discouraged, I do know that I don’t have to stay discouraged. I’m grateful that I have God in my life, because honestly I don’t know how I would make it without Him. This peace that comes is surreal. I can go through difficult situations and somewhere in them realize that He is with me, and know that this too will pass. Some phrases sound so cliché, but I like this one – "With Christ in the ship, I can smile at the storm."

I’m grateful. In spite of circumstances, I choose to be grateful.

What’s happening with you? Are you grateful?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mummy, Can You Pray For Me?

I wrote this article approximately nine years ago and thought it would serve as a great end to my series on prayer. It highlights the lessons learned from a simple request from a child.


This is the question my son asked me recently, when he was in the throes of a serious asthma attack. Our son has been diagnosed with chronic asthma. We have our seasons with this illness and most recently we were going through a time where he started off wheezing but then the coughing quickly progressed to bronchitis. For a child, this can be very traumatic, as it becomes very difficult to breathe.

My spirit was quickened as I granted his request. Sometimes as parents, we get discouraged and often wonder if anything we do makes a difference in our children's lives. Upon reflection, I thought it was a great testimony, because it means:
  • My child knows the power of prayer. At a young age he knows that pray changes things. After going to doctors and taking a regimen of medicines he recognizes that when there’s nothing left, there’s prayer. He knows that God hears our prays.
  • My child recognizes the beauty of a praying parent. Under normal circumstances my husband and I pray for our children on a regular basis. In other cultures, particularly the Jewish culture it is a treasured custom for parents to bless their children with spiritual and material success. While we do not often pray for material success, we do call each of them by name and ask the Lord’s blessings on their lives. We pray for spiritual direction and awareness. We believe the most important thing in their lives is having a relationship with the Lord - Matt 6:33, and we pray this on them. We also pray for the little things – doing well on tests, making peace with friends, telling a friend about Jesus, not being vain and self centered. We feel that there is nothing so inconsequential that it’s not worthy of prayer.
  • My child is proving the Lord. He’s learning how to trust. He’s learning the importance of intercessory prayer. "If I can’t do it myself, I can let someone who cares for me and loves me, intercede on my behalf."
  • Also, I can’t prove this yet, but I believe praying for children makes them feel special. My girlfriend recently told me how one night she was so tired, she just muttered a one-line prayer over her son and said Amen. Her son said, "Aw man – I thought you were going to pray longer for me!"
A child's spirit is quickened knowing that his parents love and care for him so deeply that they are able to bring them before the Almighty. I think children recognize this, more than anything else as true love.

When teaching our children to pray, they oftentimes don't have that level of spontaneity that we'd like to see. On the flip side, sometimes they are so exuberant, they pray for things that we as adults think they shouldn't be praying about! But God doesn't censor our prayers, and we shouldn't either. We should guide them based on the Word. Our guidance is only as good as our relationship with the Lord. Praying may be hard for children at first because they have not yet cultivated that relationship. Children recognize that praying isn't always easy (because it's not for them initially), but yet their parents pray for them.

I don’t view myself as some great prayer warrior. Prayer may be the responsibility of a caring parent, but this is one responsibility that won’t weigh me down. Lamentations 2:19 encourages us to, "Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children."

Prayer lifts me up. Prayer stops me from worrying. Once I pray, especially if I’m worried, after saying "Amen" there’s a switch in me that won’t allow me to worry any more. Worries disappear because I pray. When I don’t pray, worries multiply. Prayer takes a load off. Prayer stops wrinkles! Prayer changes things. Parents reach their greatest holiness when they are praying for their children.

Well, I prayed for him. I laid my hands on him and I earnestly prayed, asking the Lord to touch his body, to heal and to grant peace. While praying, I believed that the Lord was able. Able to do more than I thought. Able to work quicker, better, faster than all the medications he was taking. Able. And He did.

I’m so glad my son asked me to pray for him, and I was glad to oblige.

If you are a parent, do your children see you praying? Do you pray with your children?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rest & Reunion



Come aside and rest awhile - and that's exactly what I've been doing these past two weeks. I knew I needed a break when I felt as if I couldn't think anymore and I was on auto pilot. I knew I needed a break, because I was just plain old TIRED.

I have a large family by today's standards - four children. The three older ones were in various locations until our 2nd weekend in NY. For the first week, we took a mini vacation in the Poconos - it was restful and relaxing and our cabin did have that hot tub in it that you saw in the commercials, but it wasn't heart shaped. The scenery in the mountains is beautiful and the humidity was non-existent. The older I get the more I appreciate nature; I've noticed this trait in my husband also, and I love it.

The purpose of this vacation was to rest and also have our first family reunion on my side. One of the drivers for this event was the death of my brother last year; he was the first to die in the family. When we came together for the funeral - though it was sad, a common theme was that we needed to be intentional about getting together before tragedy strikes. And so after much hard work the Family Reunion took place the 2nd weekend in July and it was a blast! We met family members from overseas, reconnected with those we had not seen in years, talked, laughed, ate, and cried. There's a beloved uncle (my father's brother) who now has Alzheimer’s and it was heart wrenching to see him - he didn’t recognize anyone and this disease turns you in to a child. Unfortunately his wife passed away during this time so we went to her funeral Friday night.

I love to see the younger generations connecting and genuinely getting along with each other. I love hearing what each person does.

I was able to rest and reconnect with family. I do think Family is one of God's greatest gifts which we often take for granted probably because we get too tired to see the blessings that they are.

I hope you're getting some much needed rest this summer.

Does your family have a reunion? If not, why not? If yes I'd love to hear more. Any additional plans for the summer?