February 28, 2013

Praying Circles

For those that don't know, I'm a bookworm.
I absolutely love to curl up with a good book. 
In fact, I love it so much that it has become a habit to go to bed 
when my hubby does and after he falls asleep I head for a hot bath and read until I know I won't be able to function the next day unless I stop. Guilty!
I normally don't read just one book, either. At any given time
I probably have at least 3 going. Depends on my mood 
which one I will choose to read at any particular moment.
All that rambling to tell you that I've been reading a book 
called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.
I will try to say this carefully and attempt not to offend anyone... but I'm typically a skeptic about "formulas" for anything related to my own personal faith. I don't like to be given a recipe on how to pray in order to manipulate God into giving me what I want. 
(Actually...I guess I don't follow recipes for much of anything-cooking included!)
Let me assure you that this book is NOT a recipe/formula type
of prayer book. He does say things to stretch the reader beyond his/her comfort
zone but I appreciate the way he continues to let you know that 
ultimately God is in control and there's no magic formula that we can use to manipulate God.
One of my favorite things about the book so far, is that Batterson encourages us
to pray big. He says that our "safe" prayers (the kind you are confident God will answer)
are almost insulting to a God that is bigger than all of our dreams. He urges the reader to pray beyond the safe stuff. 
I love that.
Isn't it so true that we often hesitate to ask God for the big things because
we fear that we will appear to be crazy when they don't happen?
I won't continue to tell you all about it, in hopes that I've told you enough to make you want to read it. It is such an encouraging wealth of knowledge and great perspective about prayer and God's desire for us. Mixing this book with my favorite verse about faith in prayer, I'm feeling incredibly uplifted today. I'll leave you with Matthew 17:20...
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 

February 1, 2013

While I Wait....

I've never been accused of doing it well.
In fact, I know of very few that could accurately accept that accusation. Its not in our nature to be patient. But it seems that our lives have been nestled deep within a season of waiting. 
Waiting on decisions to be made on our behalf....
waiting to make decisions on behalf of our household...
waiting to be free from the financial struggle we've walked through...
waiting for miracles for those we love and pray diligently for...
waiting for answers.
Our worship leader at the church we've been involved with for about a year and a half now is an awesome songwriter. He's written so many powerful songs, some of which are sung all over the world. (Pretty cool in my opinion!!) This week he is hosting a CD release party that we are so excited to attend. As we were all buzzing about the release, we were looking at a series of videos/stories on the website that you can watch here: Let Hope In
and something Taylor (his wife) said just really hit home.
She said that God spoke to her and told her all she was responsible for was letting hope in. She made the choice to keep hoping in her Savior who wants the best for her...and who loves her. 
Wow. So powerful.
Not hoping in the circumstances or even in anticipation of a desired outcome.
Not hoping that we are correct in what we think God has for us. 
No. Just hoping in the One who created us. The One who created hope to begin with. 
So as we watch each day pass... as we wait for answers, outcomes, babies, money, or whatever else you might fill in that blank...
I pray that along with me you can also learn to let hope in.
So many things I wait for right now I really can't even guess how they will work out. God may orchestrate something beyond my comprehension at this time. Regardless of what the final 
outcome looks like, I will put my protective wall down and there I will see hope flooding in.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1