Two Steps to Take When You Realize Your Prayer is a Fake

For a couple of weeks before Christmas we prayed a lot for our daughters, Maggie and Katy.

Maggie said she was afraid she might fail her statistics class in grad school because our family doesn’t do math.  This is the Instagram she posted.

math blackboard

And Katy was under a lot of pressure at work because, well, she had to coerce motivate people to do what they didn’t want to do.

I mobilized pray-ers.  Family.  Friends.  The occasional stranger who looked bored. Continue reading

When is Your Zero Dark Thirty?

This morning I walked outside in the winter cold at zero dark thirty and looked up to see a partial moon and a few fragile stars clinging to the night.  It struck me that looking up is always the holiest part of my day.  I spend so much time looking down, mired in the minutia, pondering problems without the perspective of Power.  Looking up reminds me to bow down.  It made me think of this post from last year…

I’m not good at the practice of silence and solitude.  I like chatter and hustle and bustle because they feel productive.

Silence and solitude, at least from a distance, seem well, lonely and unconstructive. Like  waiting for a bus you’re not sure is coming.

However, though it’s not my go-to mode, over the years I’ve grudgingly come to experience great value in the discipline of being alone and quiet with God.

When I look at the account of the first Christmas, it’s not that there wasn’t chaos, confusion, and noise.  “The little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes”??  Are you kidding? Continue reading

You Talkin’ to Me??

Years ago we were living in Washington D.C.  You know…the city where everyone is someone and power is capital.

I was young, and I had two children under the age of two.  I was sleep-deprived.  And I don’t really “do” politics.  I can’t name all the justices of the Supreme Court.  I was about a year behind with most current events (I was currently un-current).  And did I mention I was young?

John and I were invited to a party in Kenwood around someone’s pool at a big, fancy home with a park-like yard.  Great!  I love people and I love beautiful homes and I love parties (even sleep-deprived).  And if I’m outside, all the better.

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It was a delightful kid-free time, and I spent a long chunk of it chatting with a very nice distinguished-looking man by the pool.  I can’t remember what we talked about, but it certainly wasn’t world affairs.

Afterwards, as John and I were driving home and this was our conversation.

John: Laura do you KNOW who you were talking to back there?

Continue reading

Sprinkles and Naming Stuff

It’s Fearless Friday!  I hope you’ll join us on our One Word adventure this year.

Recently I was with two different friends, at different times, in different places who, with hesitation and eyes cast down, admitted their dreams to me.

You know,the big dreams of what they’d really like to do and be. They were afraid to say them out loud.  Afraid they’d seem too…big.  Too crazy.

But they were brave and told the truth.  And it made me think of this video I saw recently.

I watch this and I think, aren’t we all just like this little guy with evidence smeared all over, afraid of admitting to God what He already knows?

Afraid to name either the smelly garbage or the shiny brilliant hopes that seem crazy, but that are as clear to Him as the sprinkles on our face.

What is it that you’re afraid to name?

It’s not like God doesn’t know, but still He graciously asks us the same the questions He’s been asking for centuries.

“What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)

“Why are you here?” (1 Kings 19:9)

And maybe most importantly, “Why are you so afraid?” (Mark 4:40)

You know what terrible thing happened when my friends shared what was in their hearts with me?

Absolutely nothing.  They didn’t implode and disintegrate.  Bob Costas didn’t come on T.V. and broadcast the ridiculous news that two idiots had said some wacko stuff.

When they told me I was delighted!  I was excited for them and I wanted to enter in and roll up my sleeves and help.  And with my response, there was, on their faces this look of relief…and almost wonder that they had named this big thing and were still there and it was ok and not so scary after all.

Could it be that even though God sees all of our sprinkles – the evidence of every hope and fear, every dream and sin and wound – He invites us with His questions to come to Him and name it all so that we see that it’s not so powerful or scary after all.

And then He brushes the sprinkles off our face and says, “Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it!”

And so begins His work of refining and redeeming, equipping, and guiding.

What is something you’ve been afraid to talk to God about – a crazy dream, a deep wound, a secret sin, a profound desire – and what’s happened when you’ve named it with Him?

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Chariots or “Likes”?

A friend of mine has 52,216 followers on Twitter.  Another has 36,333.

Last time I looked, I had 42 :).

That doesn’t bother me, but this on another friend’s blog…

Hmmm… Deep breath.

There are days when I’m humming along, feeling pretty good, and then, even accidentally sometimes, I’ll see a number, and I turn small and envious, and discontent.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but am I the only one?  Which numbers affect your sense of well-being?    Number of dates you’ve had in the last year?  The number on your scale?  Number of days since your kids called?  Number of sales? Number of friends on Facebook?

So Monday I read, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”  Ps. 20:7

I don’t know about you, but there aren’t many horses or chariots in my neighborhood, so it is not a temptation for me to trust that Charlton Heston is going to come careening down my street, whip in hand, vanquishing all my foes, cleaning up all my insecurities.

But there IS the temptation to trust in other things.

I’m wondering…if this verse were written today (no, I’m not changing scripture, just wondering) might it read:

“Some trust in ‘followers’,  ‘likes’, ‘hits’, ‘friends’ and full email boxes, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

But here’s a hard question.  What does that look like?  Trusting in God?  And not being derailed by either praise or the lack of it?

How do I resist having praise go straight to my head and criticism straight to my heart?

A couple of years ago I learned about a “Welcoming Prayer”, originated by Mary Mrozowski, that I have adapted and personalized for my own use most mornings.  Maybe part of trusting God is reminding ourselves and preparing for the battle we face each day.

Here’s my version of the Welcoming Prayer, prayed with hands open upwards:

Holy Spirit,  Welcome.

I let go of my need for affirmation and approval…

I let go of my need for recognition from…(This is the most important part for me. I insert here, specific people or places I’m tempted to look to for approval)

Holy Spirit, Welcome.

I let go of my need for power and control…

I let go of my need to change…(I insert here, specific people or situations I’m tempted to try to control)

Holy Spirit, Welcome.

Find rest my soul, in God alone.
For my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
He is my fortress; I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Psalm 62:5-7

Lord, help me to be a follower instead of seeking followers.  You are enough.

Which derails you most often? Praise or the lack of it?