Wordless Sighs

I know. I know: a blog is not the place to become wordless!

Yet, here am with my fingers poised on the keys, less than 1 week before our Summer Bible Study: Dwelling, and I can’t squish all my feelings and thoughts neatly into vowels and consonants.

Turns out this has happened before, to me and countless others. Just when we think we need to explain ourselves … or promote ourselves … or defend ourselves. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Paul finally got a handle on it and left us with this encouragement:

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28, The Message

Wordless sighs … yes!

Aching groans … absolutely!

God’s Spirit right alongside us … I’m counting in it, aren’t you?!

Meanwhile … give a listen to this song on our Dwelling playlist:

Click over here by June 1st to register for our Dwelling class and it’s FREE. http://www.lincolnberean.org/happenings/women

We’d love to see you in person. But if you can’t join us there, join us here for our online Bible study: Knees to the Earth. It comes directly to your email when you subscribe.

Online Prayer Class Coming Soon

teach us to prayKnees to the Earth. What comes to mind when you hear that phrase? Desperation?Humility? Reverence? Those words remind me of a quote by Abraham Lincoln:

 “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

To the world, a person on his knees might look weak—like a slave, beggar, or anyone who puts himself at the mercy of another. But in Christ’s world, we are never stronger than when we are on our knees.

God’s world is full of paradoxes. The Bible tells of the servant leader, the last who become first, treasures in jars of clay, and being strongest when we are weak. I truly believe the greatest warrior in God’s kingdom will not be a fiery pastor, or an eloquent evangelist or even a charismatic leader—she might well turn out to be a crippled old lady in some forgotten corner who spends hours every day in prayer.

I gave the figurine pictured above to my mom a year or two before she died. She was feeling useless. Her life had been one long history of Christian service—missionary, pastor’s wife, women’s bible teacher, but in the end, with her health failing, all she could do was pray. ALL. Maybe those years were the most effective years of her life.

In two weeks, we will be starting our online bible study: Knees to the Earth; Prayer that Empowers a Woman’s Life. It will be a re-working of a class Shereen and I taught on Tuesday Mornings back in the fall of 2012.

The class is built around the framework of the Lord’s Prayer. There are many great examples of prayer in the Bible, but when Shereen and I were preparing this study, we always came back to the best example—Jesus.

His disciples recognized this. Luke 11 tells us Jesus was praying one day “in a certain place.” Maybe they’d seen him pray there before. Maybe it was his daily habit. Maybe he prayed more than once a day. Whatever the case, they were spurred to ask him specifically, “Master, teach us to pray.”

His answer was a simple prayer, a few lines long, one most of us have heard and recited so often it may have lost its meaning. Yet, if we look closely at what it says, I think we’ll see it holds everything we need to know about prayer. Over the next 11 weeks, we’re going to look at it closely—line by line— with examples of people throughout the Bible who have been men and women of prayer.

I hope you will join us. The beauty of an online class during the summer is its flexibility. If you have a busy week or take off on a vacation, you can always catch up when you get back. We also hope you will get involved by doing the homework and leaving comments for others to read. In fact, we value your interaction so much, we are prepared to offer a prize each week to someone who joins in our discussion.

Flexibility, online community, prizes–what could be better? And if you don’t already receive a copy of our posts each week in an email, then go to our HOME page at equipherlife.com and sign up under the subscribe button in the right hand column. That way you won’t forget and accidentally miss a lesson.

See you on June 4th!

Letting Go

Today’s post is dedicated to all of you who have children graduating this month and is a great reminder to all of us to hold the ones we love on the palm of our hand. I wrote it two years ago when our oldest graduated from high school and was reminded of the words again this week when that same child headed out for a summer job nine hours away. With our youngest perched right on the edge of the nest as she finishes her junior year of high school, I know I will need to practice trust again and again in the months to come.

butterfly hand

Shereen and I watched our sons walk across the stage for their high school diplomas last weekend. A proud and bittersweet moment in any parent’s heart, but maybe it’s especially poignant when it’s your first. Whatever the case, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about letting go. For what is parenting, really, other than a long series of “letting go”?

When I mentioned this to my husband, he reminded me that our initiation into the practice of letting go began long before we were even parents. He’s right. During our nine year struggle with infertility, we did a lot of letting go—of dreams . . . of expectations . . . of control. But my first truly memorable lesson in letting go of our son came a few weeks into his life.

I can clearly remember the day we took him home from the hospital. We had strapped him into his car seat and stood there marveling that after all those years of waiting and praying, we had a real, live baby boy in the back seat of our car. I remember Kurt looking at me and saying, “Should we just get in the car and drive as far away as we possibly can?”

I laughed but knew exactly what he was feeling— so many of our adoption dreams had fallen through before. Instead, we did the responsible thing and drove to the lawyer’s office to begin the process of making him legally ours. A few weeks later we got a call from that lawyer telling us she had found the baby’s birth father.  This news was potentially good since it would mean we could tie up all loose ends, but also fraught with fear because the birth father could easily choose differently than the birth mother and decide to parent our baby himself.

I say “our” baby because by then that’s exactly how I felt. My relationship with this boy had been, on my side at least, one of love at first sight. It was as if God had looked into my heart at my most secret hopes and dreams for a baby and delivered them to me in this little guy. As far as I was concerned he was mine, and I wanted to hold onto him with all the white-knuckled intensity I could muster.

After a second call from the lawyer to tell us they’d extended the birth father’s court date by two weeks, I remember sitting on the floor next to my son’s crib, watching his precious face while he slept and arguing with God. How could He possible expect me to let this baby go? No one could love this child like I did. How would they know the special way he liked to sleep, how to comfort him when he cried, the way he liked to swing when he was fussy and the many other special things I knew about him? What if they didn’t love him the way I did? What if it wasn’t safe? How could I let my child go somewhere that wasn’t safe?

God’s answer was clear: “Trust Me,” he said.” I loved this child long before you ever did.  He is my child too. I know my plans for him and whether they include you in his life or not, trust me they will be for his best.”  I held my baby on an open palm that day, my Isaac, choosing like Abraham to believe God’s promises.

Little did I know that moment was merely a training ground for the many parenting moments that lay ahead.

Letting go of his chubby fingers for his first shaky steps across the living room floor.

Letting go of the bicycle seat for that first wobbly ride down the drive way.

Letting go of that small hand for those first tentative steps into the school bus.

Letting go of the car keys for that first solo drive to school.

Letting. Go.

In a few short months, we’ll be letting go again as he takes off for college. I find myself falling back into the mire of the “what ifs.” What if he’s not ready? What if he makes poor choices? What if it’s not safe? The answer remains the same: Trust Me.

And I know now from experience—lots of experience—that I can let go, knowing I’m releasing him into the hand of the One who has proven Himself trustworthy. The One who by his sacrifice on the cross demonstrated a love that never lets us go.

Rest within the Storm

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It’s been a stormy week here in our neck of Nebraska. Hail, tornado warnings, floods and yes, rainbows. The six-plus inches that fell at our place last night filled our pond fuller than I’ve ever seen it. The concrete drain on … Continue reading

Spring Hiatus

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During this break between our winter session on Tuesday mornings and our summer class here on the blog, I thought it might be fun to resurrect a few posts we’ve run in the past. I wrote today’s post back in … Continue reading