Thursday, October 25, 2012

still praying

Remember a couple days ago, I was praying for strangers?
Well, today I am still praying. I just can't get them off my mind this week. It is almost distracting, which tells me two things.

1. Chad and Chris still need to be prayed for regardless of which week it is.
2. I need to not worry so much about what could be or will be or anything else, and trust God.

So I pray.

I have been praying for them often this week, and each time I do, I feel a little more at peace. I still have no idea if I'll ever meet -or even talk with- them, but I do know that what they are doing and what I am doing and what we will continue to do in our lives, through any and all changes, God is in control. And that is why we are here on the earth: to do His will and bring Him glory, hopefully while sharing His love and His life with others.

God, wherever Chad is today, bless him. Give him energy, courage, excitement. Help him make decisions for your Kingdom, not for his own glory. Encourage his family. Keep him safe.

Be with Chris also. Let joy flow out of his heart, and let it overflow to those around him. Give him wisdom as he pursues Your will. Give him safety as he strives to bring You glory where he is this moment. May his heart shine brightly and shout that You are near.

Lord, keep these men close to You that each step they take is clearly aligned with the plan You have set before them.


Monday, October 22, 2012

figuring things out

I think I may have just come upon a discovery about myself. And I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Every Monday for the past 3 weeks, I have felt overwhelmed. like, elephant sitting on my chest so I can't breathe overwhelmed. It's really irritating. and it's frustrating because it makes me think that maybe I have a problem that can't be solved. And I can't just keep trying to get through it because it takes until about Wednesday to feel better at all, by which time I'm still so busy that I can hardly keep up and I just pray constantly that the most important things will get done by Friday.

So what I realized today is that when I get a whole lot of information at once, it is overwhelming. If I get it piecemeal, though, it isn't much better. I started thinking about why this is such an issue, and came up with... well.

Here's the weird part: its like word problems in math. I hate those. Seriously, they are the worst ever. Just give me the problem, teach me how to solve it, and let me go. I'm not great at math overall, but word problems have always been one of the hardest things for me to figure out. "But it's just an algebra equation," you say. Yeah, I know. I just don't get them. It's a story, and I know there are things that need to be figured out. That much is clear. And there's a train, and people traveling (or objects), and we'd like to know what time they'll get from A to B or how fast they're going or something. But with the way you've told me the story, my brain just can't figure out which number or letter belongs to which part of the equation to solve it. When I walk through it with someone, it becomes so extremely clear that I can't believe I couldn't see it myself, but I sure couldn't.

It feels the same way when I get a ton of information from anywhere. I know I can figure out eventually what there is to be done, and when it needs to be done, but getting there takes so much work, so much time, that often, I feel like the deadline will pass before I even know what it is that needs doing. So, sitting in a meeting at work, taking notes, highlighting or starring those things that seem like "do" points and making note of their due dates is all well and good. But then I leave the meeting, and there is so much more there than I have specific record of in my notes. It's all there, too, but I just can't see it. And it overwhelms me.

I'm 30! Shouldn't I be able to figure these things out by now without all the stress?

Stupid word problems. I tried to learn you. Really, I did. When they told me in junior high and high school that I'd need these dumb math skills the rest of my life, I believed them. It just didn't seem to help. Cuz word problems are still killing me today.

I don't know how I feel about this. In some ways it makes me feel a little better about how stressed I am because this is something I've always struggled with. On the other hand, it's really awful, because it's something I've always struggled with.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Prayer for Strangers

Tonight I find myself thinking a lot about people I don't know. Specfic people I don't know. Their names are Chad and Chris. They live in Europe, but I don't know exactly where (though I do have a better guess than I'm willing to share for the time being). I don't even know how well they know each other or how much they work together. What I do know is that they have a meeting (meetings?) tomorrow or Tuesday that will impact how they minister in the coming months, possibly years.

Despite how much I don't know, and will likely never know, they have been on my mind much of yesterday and most of today. I feel almost inexplicably that I need to be praying for them, for this (these?) meeting(s), and for the future they will be part of - either separately or together. So I pray, and I trust God; for them, and for me.

Lord God, You know ALL the details. The ones I don't, the ones Chad and Chris don't, the ones Andrew doesn't; You already see how it all works out and comes together. You have a plan for each of their lives from tomorrow to next week to next month to next year. Whatever direction they are looking into for the mission that is their life, I ask that they would have clear minds, pure hearts, and lean on Your guidance in any decisions they need to make. I pray you would give them the clarity to ask pertinent questions, and not to do what they will, but what You will for the future of the people they serve, and serve with. As they move through this week, give them encouragement, give them stamina, give them courage; show them a little more of You through their work, through their families. I know that as they seek to follow Your plan, the outcome will be what is best, and what will glorify You.
Father, I know that you have put Chad and Chris on my mind this weekend for a reason. I don't know if I will ever even have a conversation with them, or if it is just a step along my journey with you that I even have heard their names, but You do. Perhaps it is purely because they needed an extra prayer warrior going into the meeting this week. Maybe its because it is stretching my faith, my obedience to You even in something that seems small, in something that even feels a little odd. To be praying for them by name, though, I feel like Your power is being used through my obedience. So thank You for using me, for not letting me push away the thought of what I feel like You'd asked me to do. Stand beside Chad, stand beside Chris, and even Andrew and his family as they get ready for the field again. Show them that Your strength is holding them, guiding them and their families. Bless them richly for their obedience to You and the calling You've placed on their lives. Amen.

And with that, I say goodnight.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Maybe is a powerful word.

There are so many possibilities in "maybe."
Possibilities for success, for failure, for something new, for no change at all. Possibilities for new relationships to be made, new skills to be learned, new experiences, new places to see. There are (of course) also many unknowns.

Maybe is not a decision. Maybe is the in-between your "yes" or "no." Maybe is the gray area. Maybe is your thought process; or your procrastination.

There may be a change coming in my life. Oh, who am I kidding? Change is happening all around. There are changes at work, changes at home, changes in relationships, changes in plans; this is nothing new.

But some changes are larger and newer and more unknown than others. That is the kind that "may be" coming my way. It is simultaneously exciting and terrifying, but I figure that's how I know I'm within God's will. If it was too easy, or too hard, I'd be outside those bounds - and that's never a good place to be.

I can't give any details, of course, because the "maybe" is still too large, too unknown, too... "may be." Just knowing it's a possibility though, (and likely one that will encompass all the variety of ways a "maybe" can come to fruition) has me on the edge of my seat, waiting - impatiently - to see what God will do next.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Beyond Beginning

Sometimes I find it very hard to start something. But often, while starting is hard, continuing is harder. Whether it be research for something I'm interested in learning, crocheting a blanket (or working on a cross stitch pattern), a project at work, writing, or even just keeping up with a blog of a friend (or *ahem* writing on my own).

It can be for many different reasons. I may be super busy at work for a season and not have time to keep up on my personal pursuits. I may be overwhelmed by the project itself; often I have an idea that is exciting, but once I start working on it or thinking through it, it seems too big (or that I'm unprepared to do it) and the process stops. Sometimes I have good momentum on something but then out of nowhere that 'overwhelmed' feeling creeps in and it all grinds to a halt.

In the last couple weeks I've realized I'm in the middle of at least 8 things like this. Frustrating. Beyond frustrating, actually. I am not a finisher. Well, I am at work, but not in these projects. What does that mean? At work, I usually find the way to keep going because of a deadline or a responsibility that is tied to others. At home, I can set deadlines, but since they usually don't affect anyone but me, it's easy to change, or drop altogether. And then, in time, I find myself disappointed with... myself.

What do you do to get beyond beginning and see something through to the end?