My Journey to Joy

May 5, 2012

Anonymous on Prayer

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“I used to see prayer as a way of getting God to do what I wanted. Now I see it as my way of getting in on what God is doing.”

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January 14, 2012

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“God gave us the gift of prayer to turn our times of desperation into relationship opportunities with Him.”  ~Lysa TerKeurst

December 29, 2011

Please

Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Pleasing…Pleasant…Pleasure

I am a people-pleaser by nature.  I care very much what others think of me.  What started out in childhood as “like me, like me, like me!” has grown into: “notice me! acknowledge me!  approve of me!  compliment me!  admire me!”

There’s nothing inherently wrong in this, but it does have it dangers.  If I let it, my desire to please others can, ironically, chip away at who I really am.  If someone disagrees with me, I tend to stay away from that topic.  If I sense a conflict, I try to change the subject, or insert humor into the situation.  If a person is at odds with me, I often avoid them altogether.  (The exception to all of these is with my closest friends.)  I become a performer, willing to present whatever the audience wishes.

To find something on which everyone agrees, it must be bland, indeed.  Whenever there is variation, there is preference.  Or opinion.  Or belief.  Even conviction.  Even God’s Truths are seen through our own perspectives, personality, and schemata.

I have to remind myself often that there is one Person I must please.  Through the myriad of voices telling me what I must be and do comes His.  And His is quiet.  And His is right.  And His is peace.

And so, I pray, again and again, a simple prayer: “Lord, help me to think what you want me to think.  Help me to do what you want me to do.  Help me to say what you want me to say.  Help me to be what you want me to be.”

Mt 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Does anyone else struggle with this?  I’d love to hear your perspectives!

August 20, 2011

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 3:38 PM
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Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous  ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.  ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

August 16, 2011

Songs for the Journey

Filed under: Songs for the Journey — aunthoddy @ 5:32 PM
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I Love the Lord

I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live…

I found trouble and sorrow…

Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.

Psalm 116:1-7

August 4, 2011

Compassion

Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:44 PM
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Psalm 116:1-2 “I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.  Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.”

One of the gifts of this journey has been the empathy that I have discovered.  Details are different, but pain is pain, and I understand it a little better than before.  This isn’t always pleasant; “ignorance is bliss” can really be true.  I feel as if I’ve been given glasses to sharpen my focus.  Whereas before I saw a blur, now others’ pain is often clear to me, and I feel it with them.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m still very selfish and self-centered.  But the option of being unaware is no longer available.

I find myself wondering if I have any real compassion for others.  I see their pain, confusion and fear.  But how long will I listen?  At what point do I become bored or impatient?  Do I let them share their grief with me, or do I cut them off, try to “straighten them out,” or just move on to the next thing?

“God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer…”  Psalm 66:19

I love it when people listen to me, but do I reciprocate?  I’m afraid too often I care very little.  I ration my time and help with stingy fingers.  I follow the story as long as it’s interesting.  I count the cost of involvement, and weigh the benefits.   God help me.

“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”  Psalm 116:7

To whom much has been given, much is required (Luke 12:48), and oh, I’ve been given so much!  I am called to be an imitator of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).  And now, God has given me eyes to seemay my heart and my actions follow.

July 21, 2011

He Knows

Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 7:39 PM
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Daniel and I have been on this journey for several years now.  Some things are different, but many aspects remain the same.  I’ve discovered that even the sweetest, most caring friend can zone out after hearing about common adoption problems or infertility struggles for the 50th time!  At other times, I’ll do my best to explain how I feel, to be met with a blank or puzzled look.  That’s when I realize: they just don’t get it.  As humans, we can’t fully empathize with others.  I’m sure I’ve had that look many times when someone was telling me about their struggles.

God knew that we would be limited in how much we could help each other.  That’s why there’s a greater Resource available to us!  It’s not just up to people…we have an Advocate who is touched with the feeling of our infirmaties (Heb 4:15)!  He sees and understands, even when those we love don’t or can’t.

You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and you know all about me.”  He knows.

But what about when it hurts so much that it’s hard to even pray?  “Before I even speak a word, you know what I will say…”  He knows.

But what about the big, scary possibilities?  We’re so powerless, so liable to be hurt!  “…with your powerful arm you protect me from every side.”

What about those nights, those painful times when it all rushes back in, when the hurt has seemed to last so long, and things that I thought were resolved come back to torture my mind?  “…you see in the dark because daylight and dark are all the same to you.”  He Knows

But why, God?  Why does it have to hurt so much, and for so long?  “Your thoughts are far beyond my understanding, much more than I could ever imagine.”

God, I want to learn the lessons that You have for me.  I believe that you have a purpose for all of this; please don’t let me miss it!  “Look deep into my heart, God, and find out everything I am thinking…lead me in [Your] way.”

And maybe a promise for our little one?  “You are the one who put me together inside my [birth]mother’s body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me.  (Maybe creating even now?!)…with your own eyes you saw my body being formed…”

He knows where I am, and He knows where my baby is.  So thankful that He knows!

Italicized selections in quotations from Psalms 139

July 16, 2011

Andree Seu on God’s Plan

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 7:45 PM
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I need to get away from the habit of being dejected every time prayers are not answered precisely my way.  One thing I have learned by this autumn of my life- that when God does not implement my plan it is because He has an even better one.  ~Andree Seu

July 9, 2011

Stormie OMartian on Prayer

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 7:54 PM
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We may be denied certain things for a time because God wants us to fervently pray and intercede for them.  He wants to do something great in response to our prayers, something that can only be birthed in prayer.  There may be things that won’t happen in your life unless you are praying long and fervently about them…

…when you feel as though you’re not getting anywhere or you’re missing the future God has for you…God is actually preparing you for your future…

…when the time is right, He has been known to do a very quick work.  Draw close to God in prayer, trusting that He is near.  Thank Him that He hears your prayers and will answer in His perfect way…

~Stormie OMartian, The Power of Praying Through the Bible

May 2, 2011

Lament

Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 8:19 PM
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Tonight I saw a link to a blog entitled: “When the Crib Went Empty.”  It was about a woman’s miscarriage, and her subsequent grief.  I haven’t had to go through this, but I comprehend some of her anguish.

My crib is empty.  I’ve shut the door on a beautiful room full of stars and moons, books, toys and blankets.  I’ve tried to shut my heart, for a time, to the yearning that will not relent.  Unsuccessfully.

Our home study is going well.  We’re nearing the end to this part of our journey.  Today our social worker warned us that the fun part was almost over.

Fun?!  We’ve had every vestige of privacy ripped away.  We’ve paid exhorbitant sums of money and stretched our budget to the max.  We’ve rearranged schedules, taken off work, made multiples trips, gone through reams of paperwork, dealt with bureaucracy on many levels.  We’ve jumped through hoops, agonized over decisions, and prayed, prayed, prayed.

Soon, the hard times will come.  Times when we’ll get calls with questions.  Times when our hopes will be raised and dashed.  Times when we’ll think it’s really almost over, almost accomplished…then nothing.

This weekend we attended an adoption education class.  The sessions were wonderful, and it was great to connect with other couples with the same struggles.  One couple in particular stood out to me.  They’ve recently experienced a failed adoption.  They thought their miracle had come.  Their nursery was complete, their dreams about to be fulfilled, their crib…is empty.

They gave it away on Friday.  The sight of it was just too much.  They’re trying to continue with the process, but their hearts are broken.  “Why?  We courted…we were chaste…we would love a child with all our hearts…”  The haunting questions.  Some I have resolved, with God’s help.  Some, I still wonder.

In a comment at the end of the post “When the Crib Went Empty” someone wrote this:

Lament is a form of worship.

And so I join with countless saints, who throughout the ages have cried out to God.

“She weeps bitterly in the night, Her tears are on her cheeks…she finds no rest…she is in bitterness.  My strength and my hope have perished…See, O Lord, that I am in distress… 

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.  Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning.  Great is thy faithfulness!  The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!  The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”  Lamentations 1-3, selections

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