How many times would you pray for something? If you are single, how many times will you pray for a mate? If you are unemployed, how many times will you pray for a job? If you are in a fading marriage, how many times will you pray for a spark? If you are lonely, how many times will you pray for a friend? If you are confused in your parenting, how many times will you pray for wisdom? Since November, I’ve prayed every day for something–that’s approx. 240 days so that’s approx. 240 prayers. It hasn’t been answered. So at what point do I stop praying for this? At this point, I don’t feel I’m ready to stop. The bible doesn’t quantify prayer. It doesn’t give us a list of how many times, based on how big of the need. The bible does say this, “Never stop praying.” As long as I have this prayer, I will keep praying for it. Why not? I don’t believe in wishing on a star. I do believe in God answering prayers. So I’ll keep praying to Him. Have you been praying a long time for something?
Unbeknownst to me, while DJ was eating his cheeseburger, he was making faces with it, taking pix & emailing them. Normally this would have warranted a “talking to” but since it inspired a blog post, he’s getting away with it. When I was a punk in highschool & college, I was mean & I justified it by saying, “that’s just the way I am.” When I was in my 20s and 30s, I softened my edges a little–I learned to curb verbal outbursts, but my mean facial expressions loudly communicated what I wasn’t saying. And then, one day, the table turned. I had three people come together in a united assault & be mean to me. It was so ugly & so painful it whirled me into a year of depression & another year to get out of it. As I encroach on another decade in my life, I hope to leave mean actions, mean words & a mean heart (from which words & expressions flow) behind. I’ve wasted almost half a life being mean & learning from the pain of it. I hope the other half of my life is invested in being kind so that one day, someone might be able to say, “she started mean, but finished kind.” If you have the propensity to be mean, don’t accept that. God didn’t make you that way. We lie to ourselves when we say “it’s just the way I am. God is kind. We are made in God’s image. So WE can be kind. Kindness IS a virtue that God has put in you. Sometimes, some of us just need a lil extra help unleashing it.
The NY Times Bestseller, “50 Shades of Grey,” is in the headlines a lot. As a matter of fact, just today, it was the opening convo on Today’s “Kathi Lee and Hoda” as well as the front page of the New York Times. Since it’s all the jabber, I thought I’d jabber too. People have asked me what I think–and I have based my (non-expert) opinion on: the bible; pastors I respect; secular & Christian excerpts about the book. I have not read the book because in the excerpts (both Christian & secular) it has been described as “soft porn.” That was enough for me to arrive to my conviction. The bible speaks to porn–that I should stay away from it & all sexual immorality. The Greek word in the original New Testament for sexual immorality is “porneo” (which is where we get our English word “pornography” from). Now this might raise another question: what’s wrong with porn? Well, again, I defer to the bible. The bible teaches me that marriage is a sacred union between a man & a woman. The bible says it is TWO becoming ONE. That being said, if I read or watch porn, I feel I’m letting a 3rd person into a union meant for two. Even though this book is “just a book,” it still introduces a third (fantasized) party into my head. And frankly, I just don’t need that. “But Heather,” you might be saying, “my hubs & I could use this to spice things up.” That’s not a bad thought. Yes, we should aspire to spice things up in our marriages. But PRAYER is more powerful than PORN. Porn didn’t create great marriages. God did. God designed sex, sexual organs & sexual fun to fit together intimately, sensually & perfectly under the protection of marriage. Well, I’m gonna end here. I think I’ve jabbered enough. Would love to convo! Leave an anonymous comment if you want. All thoughts welcome at WondHerful! 🙂
When I was about 24 inches, my Dad was 6’4″ & when I needed him, my little face cried at his knee-caps, ‘cause that’s where our heights had us. Until I discovered that if I climbed into his lap & turned his face toward mine, there was something to gain. It was then that his focus was me & not something else. I could see where his eyes were & I knew they were looking into mine. Sometimes, I think we get mad at God ‘cause we can’t climb into his lap. Our flesh is wired to think that’s the only way to be comforted. But a parent’s eyes? A parent’s lap? God does even better than that. When it hurts so bad, God is in your heart. I always thought you couldn’t get closer to comfort than a parent’s lap. But you can. The closest anyone can get is inside your heart. You just can’t get closer than the heart. And that is where God is, And that is where you can find Him, And that is where He will comfort you if you ask Him. Til heaven when we can all sit in His lap, today, let Him hold you in your heart.
Where are my manners? I’ve had WondHerful.com up & running for over a month now & I haven’t introduced you to my VIP Fab 3! Without further ado…
- First and foremost, My Cuban (aka, Raul). Raul has been my better whole for 13 years. He is everything I am not but wish I could be. I don’t mean that insecurely, but truly, he is. Raul is patient, committed, principled, honest, wise, understanding, intelligent & confident–as a husband, dad, pastor & friend. He’s 360 degrees sharp. I don’t deserve him, but I give God thanks every day that I got him!
- DJ. My firstborn. DJ came into this world 9 weeks to soon & spent 3 weeks in the ICU. He started off his life fighting for it & that attribute has stuck with him to this day. DJ is a fighter & protector for justice, his family & good choices. Though I am proud of this instinct in DJ, I stay on my knees praying that it never goes away.
- Andy. My baby. Well, youngest. He is just a delight. Andy & I have bonded on something really cool–we enjoy public speaking. I love seeing this in him. Pastor David & Pastor Fred have been so kind to let him join them on our church stage. It melted my heart to see him walk out there with his lil swagger. I’m proud of Andy for his innate confidence, but I stay on my knees praying it never ruins him.
So that’s my Fab 3. I’d love to know who’s on your “Fab” list. Leave a comment, yo!
Serving under Pastor David and Lisa’s leadership at Church by the Glades has given me the cool opportunity to watch their son, Zane, grow into a little man. These days, Zane goes out in public with his hat, hook and sword. And don’t confuse it (like I did)…he’s NOT Peter Pan, he’s Captain Hook! It’s great to see Zane be consistently comfortable with himself, no matter where he is or who he is around. He could care less! And I think he’s having an impact on me. Somewhere along the timeline of life, we lose being consistently comfy with who we are. It’s like we grow awkward in our OWN skin. That’s crazy! But can I tell you how many times I have reconfigured myself depending on where I was or who I was around? God made us who we are because, as the world turns, He needed us to be that way to keep it turning. As the old saying goes, “be yourself, everybody else is taken.” So embrace, accept and love who you are cuz you are gonna do great things…in the skin you’re in!
You know the adage, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try again.” Shah! As if! As a youngin,’ that wasn’t the adage I lived by. If I tried something and didn’t succeed right away, I quit. I quit choir, gymnastics, band, track, cheerleading…you name it. I wasn’t born a failure, but I lived to fail. Sad. But my sadness has been redeemed! In the last week, Andy and DJ have tried something that either A) they didn’t succeed at right away or B) they didn’t know if they would. But it didn’t stop them. DJ created & launched his very own blog ( http://fourthgradedj.blogspot.com ) and Andy learned how to ride a bike. Maybe you are reading this right now and you feel like quitting. I implore you…don’t. God created you to succeed. Would a Creator make a masterpiece designed to be a failure? That contradicts itself! You are made to succeed. Whatever it is you feel like quitting on, remember that your SPIRIT TO TRY is greater than your EMOTION TO QUIT. Friend, you got this!
Marilyn Malara is my friend at Church by the Glades who graciously agreed to be my first (EVER!) guest-blogger. I love her perspective in the following & hope it encourages you the way it encouraged me…
As a college student with little accountability when it comes to bedtime, I’m occasionally awake during the wee-hours of the morning doing nothing in particular. Sometimes during these late nights alone, I find my thoughts wandering around my insecurities, poking at them, coaxing them out of their tiny hiding places. Some nights I found myself staring into a mirror, loathing my appearance. Other nights, my skills and intellect would be harassed, leaving me feeling unworthy and stupid. I was being attacked! I realized there were a lot of factors that allowed the enemy to get so close to my heart, three having to do with my being alone, mentally tired, and unwilling to guard my heart with the Word. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” I heard somewhere once that the only human who can entirely resist the devil’s persuasive attempts while alone, tired, and hungry was Jesus. However, we, being fallen and often vulnerable, should avoid total isolation because we know from Matthew 4:1-11 that the enemy quickly tries to take advantage of opportunities to lead us into darkness. Knowing this, I decided to begin going to sleep at a reasonable time, letting the Lord recharge and prepare my heart, body, and mind for serving Him the following day. I now spend the time I previously spent alone and sad resting in the Lord instead, which is so much better! I’ve also decided to spend less time on the Internet, especially at night, as most of my insecurities were stemming from it. Another thing I felt I should do was to keep the Word closer to my heart, as Jesus did when being tempted by the devil in Matthew. Whenever the devil attempted to persuade Jesus to blaspheme or sin, Jesus quickly defended His heart and caught the devil in his lies with memorized scripture. I can confidently say that I have found freedom from these late-night sessions of heightened insecurity. If you are struggling with some similar problems, remember that the Lord doesn’t keep freedom for Himself, but gives it away generously without restraint. Have faith in that!
“I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10) Why was Adam afraid & hiding? Consider these: Teacher, I heard you were tough, but I was afraid, so I cheated; Boss, I heard you’d be in today, but I was afraid, so I called in sick; Church, I heard what the sermon was about, but I was afraid, so I didn’t go; Spouse, I heard you come home, but I was afraid, so I turned off the computer; God, I heard your voice in my heart, but I was afraid, so I hid behind denial.
In Genesis 3:10 the root meaning of “voice” means “to call aloud.” So Adam definitely heard God calling him–he wouldn’t have hid if he didn’t. Is there something God’s calling me on but I am hiding from Him? It’s a good sign if there’s a “voice” in my tummy that I can’t seem to get rid of. This voice does not mean we have to hide; it means we can come OUT of hiding & make something right. We aren’t in trouble with God when we confess our stuff to Him. Rather, the trouble we get in, is when we don’t go to Him at all. There’s alot more trouble in hiding, than standing there, naked in our “crap.” God can make ALL wrongs right. Out of amazing love, God seeks us when we do wrong. And it’s our gateway to freedom when we let Him.