Enough

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O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.

~ Psalm 139:1-3

 “You can be silly or you can be sad.

You can be merry or you can be mad.

You can be grumpy or you can be glad.

God loves you just as you are.

 

You can be short or you can be tall.

You can be big or you can be small.

Your size and your shape don’t matter at all.

God loves you just as you are.

 

You can be messy or you can be neat.

You can be poky or fast on your feet.

March with the others or to your own beat.

God loves you just as you are.

 

You can be dark or you can be light.

You can be shades of the day or the night.

Whatever your color it suits you just right.

God loves you just as you are.

 

God made each part from your head to your toe.

Day in and day out he is helping you grow.

God made you special and that’s how you know:

God loves you just as you are.”[1]

 

I began reading these words to my daughter when she was only a couple weeks old.  I’d nestle her in the warmth and safety of my arms and as we’d rock together in the comfy, oversized chair in her nursery, I’d gently speak into her tiny ear.  Now, I also read these words to my son as together we rock in that same chair.  Nuzzling my cheek into his cheek, and kissing his soft, blonde waves, I hold him close even as he giggles and squirms.

I delight in telling my children how much God loves them because I know how redemptive God’s love is in my own life.  But, how hard it sometimes becomes to understand I’m worthy of such love.  How often I tell myself I’m not good enough, I’m not achieving enough.  I’m not loyal enough, or kind enough, or hard-working enough.

Still, moments of clarity afford me the realization that I am enough.  Not because of what I’ve done or left undone, but because of what Christ has done.  God’s grace, God’s love has always been enough.

Let’s pray together:

Redeeming God,

Love me.  Even when, and especially when, I doubt I’m worthy to receive you.  Shine, beautiful light, into my darkness.  Amen.

[1] Bostrom, Kathleen Long. “God Loves You.” Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, IL, 2001.

Sunday Evening Prayer

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Imaginative God,

When I was little, I liked to pretend.

Pretend I was a princess, or a ballerina, or a fairy.

Pretend I was a superhero or a Jedi knight.

 

Now that I’m older, I still pretend.

I put on the façade that I’m o.k.,

I pretend I’m in charge, I can handle it, I can keep going, it doesn’t matter.

I wear a mask to hide that I’m hurt and angry.

I’m not anything.

Really, I’m fine.

 

Thing is, it’s time to stop pretending.

I’m so desperate for grace.

I need to be heard, listened to, understood.

I’m broken, I’m not fine.

That’s what you’re here for, God.

Can you please scoop me up and put me back together?

Can you make it o.k. to not be o.k.?

Amen.

 

Run, Baby, Run

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… let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…    ~ Hebrews 12:1-2; NRSV

I like to say I’m a runner-in-training.  I’ll never break any records or win a race.  My version of running is a sluggish, heavy-footed plod.  Then again, although I just started running fairly recently, I need to run.  My emotional and spiritual well-being depends on it.  It’s become my prayer time and my refuge-of-sorts.

I’ve come to appreciate running as a metaphor for life and faith.  I often reflect on this as I trudge along.  Here’s some of what I’ve learned:

  1. You never know what the terrain is like until you actually travel it. It’s an adventure to make your way down a new path to see where it leads.
  2. Hills are tough, no two ways about it. But, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  One way or another, you’ll make it.
  3. Rain can be oddly refreshing. It smells as delicious as it feels.  If you find yourself caught in a shower, linger there for a while.
  4. All you really need is a good pair of sneakers and some water. Everything else is icing on the cake.
  5. Someone’s always faster or stronger than you. But, in the end, the race is only with yourself.

Let’s pray together:

Running God,

Sometimes we sail through, other times we plod along slowly.  But, in all times and in all places, you’re right beside us.  Give us strength to run the race with perseverance, whatever leg of the journey we’re on.  Amen.

 

 

Sunday Evening Prayer

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God of Abundance,

It doesn’t feel good to hunger or thirst.

Sometimes, we’re hungry for the dinner that smells so irresistible cooking on the stove,

or pancakes for breakfast,

or, if we’re being honest here- for love, acceptance, or a second chance.

We thirst for grace, welcome, redemption.

 

As unpleasant as it may seem,

open our eyes to the extreme hunger and thirst all around us,

and within ourselves.

Let’s be real with each other,

let’s find one another in our brokenness,

let’s stop putting on the façade that it’s all o.k.,

let’s hunger and thirst together.

Let’s be in this thing together.

We can pine after redemption,

we can take our first steps toward wholeness.

Together.

Amen.

 

Stay Hungry

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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.                    ~ Matthew 5:6

On a spring day in May 1943, at the height of World War II, an aircraft carrying United States bombardier Louis Zamperini crashed into the Pacific Ocean.  For the next 47 days, Zamperini and two others floated on a raft, surrounded by mile after mile of nothing but open sea.  Multiple realities threatened their lives, not the least of which was extreme thirst.  Although surrounded by water, they couldn’t drink any of it because of its extremely high salt content.  Their bodies languished under the stress of dehydration.[1]

Strange as it may sound, I wonder if the Christian life bears some resemblance to those servicemen’s predicament  After all, there’s water all around us, and yet there’s still deep thirst.  There’s an abundance of food, and yet deep hunger.  Following Jesus means we join others in their thirst, that we regard their need as our own.  Our own thirst isn’t quenched until we offer a cup of cold water to satisfy someone else’s thirst.

Frederick Buechner once famously said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”[2]  Where do gladness and hunger meet for you?  How is God summoning you to pick up someone’s else’s heavy bag of need?  Where does God beckon you to join the fold of those who hunger and thirst?

As long as our sisters are hungry, we stay hungry.  As long as our brothers thirst, we also thirst.  We’re all in this together.

Let’s pray together:

God of Abundance,

We’re too content.  We’ve grown complacent.  We believe as long as we have what we need, it’s all o.k.  Give us hearts to join with someone else in her hunger, to see another’s thirst as our own.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] As described in “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” by Laura Hillenbrand.  Published in 2014 by Random House Trade Paperbacks.

[2] From “Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC,” by Frederick Buechner.  Revised and expanded edition published in 1993 by HarperOne.