family

A touch of prayer

Let me hold you in my heart today. Let me lift you up in prayer for a moment. Let me unite myself to you in this prayer for you that you may in this moment have comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Let this prayer touch your soul.

I can feel the connection to you through this prayer. It’s as though you are next to me. It’s as if we are holding hands and I am looking into your eyes, praying for you and with you. You may be far away but we are connected outside time, enveloped in the majesty of God’s great love when I hold you deep in my prayer. I can feel you breathe; I can feel your pain; I can feel your joy. I am connected to you in ways I cannot explain. It’s the beautiful connecting of two souls. We are wrapped up in each other, united in prayer, sitting before God together.

Prayer melts my hardened heart, calms the emotional storms, and makes straight the path to you. Although you are far away, in praying for you I am given the gift to just be with you in this moment. May this prayer of love that connects us through time and eternity sustain you today. I know that we will forever be connected, that our time together serves a purpose. May my prayer bring you comfort where you are. May my sitting in God’s presence while holding you in my heart give you the gift of knowing that He is near and He loves you through all things.

I may not be able to be with you right now, but when I pray for you, we are one in His love. For that moment in time we are united in unexplainable ways. Isn’t that the beauty of a prayer? The connecting of two souls to the Father.

Just be. Let my prayer of love allow you to just be with God for a moment. Let this prayer seep in through the scars on your soul that you may be healed from the inside out by the God who is love. My prayers are to be beside you in Christ. That through this prayer He would find you and find softness in your heart, an opening that he can enter to be with you and fill you.

With each breath as I hold you in prayer, I see you from deep in my soul. I see you in your joy, your pain, your struggle, your confusion, your temptation, and your doubt. I feel the torment you are experiencing and I ache to relieve you. I cannot take away the torment on my own, but may this prayer be united with the crucified Christ who knows torment and temptation so that He may give you comfort, rest, and strength. As I pray, I am running toward you, just to be with you in spirit. May my prayer bring you comfort even if you don’t know where the comfort came from. May my prayer bring you hope in the darkest of circumstances. May my prayer remind you that you are never alone.

You are never alone because I will always lift you up in prayer and I know that when I do He will be right by your side, ready to envelop you in His love, truth, and mercy if you even for a second open the doors. You are never alone because my prayers are that God would cover you with His love at all times. You are never alone because we are one body.

Oh the power of a simple prayer for another. That in that brief moment, the soul of another is touched, hears a whisper, and is not alone in the world. That for that time in prayer, that person’s soul experiences God. We may never know the power or impact of a simple prayer on someone else’s life, but we know that for a moment that person’s life was touched with love, grace, mercy, and charity. As I pray for you, you are surrounded by God, His angels, the saints, the faithful departed, and the faithful body of Christ on earth. In that moment you are touched by heaven which is a communion of love in it’s purest form. May we always bless those we meet and those we love with a touch of prayer.

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The Foot of the Cross – The Source of Love

“Come with me” he says. “Come follow me.” “Come deeper with me.” “Trust me.” He tells me this constantly. He comes to me in my moments of despair, in my moments of weakness, and in my moments of great joy and tells me to come with him. To go with him to that place on Calvary where he died, because he has more to show me.

Then he takes me there. I am walking through the desert with him by my side. We walk up the hill of Calvary. At the top of the hill he points to the cross. There he is. He is on the cross. He is suffering. He is in so much pain and so much hurt. He is weak and wounded. The air is filled with a deep somber sense as if the entire world has been paused.

We walk up to the foot of the cross. I am standing right at the foot of the cross. His blood is pouring down on me. I can hear him, hear him struggling for breath, crying out. I see him looking up to heaven, to his father, wishing for relief, wishing all the pain he was experiencing would be taken away and healed. But although he hopes so dearly for the pain to go away, he courageously accepts the knowledge that God’s will and God’s plan is greater than his own human desire to never experience pain. He has perfect trust in God his Father and the plan that God has for him. He embraces his cross with a strength so unknown to this world.

Then He looks at me. He looks right at me. When I dare to look back up, directly into his eyes I feel as though I can see straight into his soul and he into mine. His eyes are full of pain. I can see every part of his body is in intense pain. I have never seen so much pain in my life. But although he is in great pain, there is something else in his eyes that overtakes the pain. There is love. There is love, great love in his eyes. It is a piercing love like I have never experienced before. A love so deep and so pure. It is a love for me. A love for my husband. A love for our children. A love for each and every person who has ever existed and who ever will exist in this world. This love in His eyes is the calm in the storm.

He doesn’t say anything to me while our eyes are locked but it is as if his gaze speaks directly to my soul. I can hear his soul speaking to mine and he says “I love you. You are a daughter of God and you are so deeply loved. You have so much immense worth. I have so much planned for you and it is greater than you could ever imagine. I forgive you for all that you have done and all that you will do. There is nothing you can do that will change my love for you. There is nothing you can do to make me stop loving you. I love you. I love you exactly where you are, who you are, and no matter what you do. I will love you at every moment of every day for eternity. I want you to accept my love, to let me love you. But I want you to choose my love. I freely give my love to you at all times and through all things. I will love you if you accept my love, if you reject it, deny it, run from it, ignore it, or embrace it, because my love for you isn’t based on what you do, it is my conscious choice to love you no matter what. I love you with all that I have. I suffer for you. I rejoice for you and in you. I delight in you.”

When I feel his immense love for me I am paralyzed. I can’t move. I fall down. Fall straight on my knees with my face on the ground and my hands raised to heaven. I am overcome. Overcome with this love that I cannot understand. This love that is greater than any sin or anything in this world. This unconditional love like I have never experienced. This love that he pours down on me overtakes me. It overtakes every part of my being and fills my soul. It fills my soul with everything I could ever want and everything I could ever need. For the first time in my life I feel complete – I feel full – I feel alive – I feel like I am who I am meant to be, who I was made to be. I am so full of His love that all I want to do is give this love to others.

Then Jesus takes me up on the cross with him. He unites my suffering to his on the cross. And while I am up there I see everyone who has ever hurt me. I see them standing at the foot of the cross and I am looking down at them. Sometimes it is many people, sometimes just one person, and sometimes it is myself. Then he says to me “see them as I do. Look at them through my eyes.” He shows me how although I may be hurting, they are hurting too. He shows me how I have played a part in their suffering, pain, joy, and triumphs. It’s so humbling. He opens my eyes to see those in my life in the most incredible ways, to see how he sees them as His children who are so incredible, special, and important to the world in their own individual ways. For each one of us is a part of His body and as a part of His body has an integral role to play in the salvation of this world. But as He lets me see each person through His eyes, He also shows me how broken and hurt each one of them is. He always has me focus on my spouse in a particular way since He especially calls me to love my spouse as He loves.

He reminds me that He loves me for where I am in each moment. He shows me that although I have failed Him and hurt Him, He has never left my side. He gently reminds me that for all the times I have betrayed and hurt Him, He has forgiven me. He loves me in my imperfection and He wants me to love others in that same way. He wants me to meet those in my life where they are, for who they are, and embrace and encourage them to grow into who they were created to be because that is what He does for me. He sees who I should be, who I was created to be, and yet loves me when I fall short.

To help me love those who have hurt me, He fills me with the same love that He has them. He says to me that I am to forgive for any wrong or hurt that I have felt. And while I am up on the cross with him, all I want to do is forgive. All I want to do is pour out my love to them. All I want to do is offer up my suffering, my pain, and my love to God for their healing, their forgiveness, and their peace. All I want is to continue to pour out my love for them with all that I have forever and ever. All I want is to show them, to tell them how much I love them and to pick them up, embrace, and comfort them in their woundedness. All I want is show them how amazing they are, to show them how inspiring they are, to show them how loved they are. All I want is to take away all of their hurt, all of their pain, all of their suffering, all of their loneliness, all of their frustration, all of their confusion, all that is hurting them and all that is holding them back and replace it with love. All I want is for them to know their immense worth in the eyes of God. All I want to do is tell them how sorry I am for all the ways I have wronged them. It’s amazing how much we all fall short and wrong those in our lives. While I am up on the cross looking down at them through His eyes, all I have is compassion, forgiveness, and love for them.

And while I am on the cross looking down with the same love for them in my heart that Christ has for me and my suffering united to his for the greater glory of God, He urges me to say these words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

 

One body

Why is it that we are so quick to dismiss and walk away from people in our lives who hurt us?

What would happen if we truly looked at our brothers and sisters as being one with us in the body of Christ? How would our responses to others change if we looked at each person in this world as a part of the body of Christ, where Christ is the head of the body and each one of us is a part of the body?

When I look at others through this lens, each person’s worth and value becomes so much greater. Not only are they my brother and sister, but they are integral in my salvation and my life. I begin to see how we were created to help each other and to work together.

If you think about the body, it is miraculous how all the parts of the body work together to keep you alive. Each part has a specific role and function unique to it. The body of Christ is the same way. Each one of us has a specific role to play based on the gifts and talents that God gave each of us. When each one of us uses our gifts to their potential and works together, the body of Christ is strong and healthy. However, sin and turning away from these gifts can cause a cancer in the body of Christ and our community.

It starts small, one small sin against a brother or sister, but since we are all connected it impacts the entire body in ways we cannot see.

Many times, our natural response to being wronged or hurt is to either seek revenge or cut that person out of our lives. However, God calls us to love everyone – even our enemies. He calls us to forgive and heal. I think the reason he says this is because we are so interdependent in ways that only God can see and understand.

But what if we think about it this way:  If your wrist was broken, would you elect to have it amputated, would you seek revenge and make it worse, or would you work to heal the broken bone? Most would choose to heal the broken bone. If we believe we are one body and your brother or sister in Christ has done something to wrong you or is hurting in some way, shouldn’t we try to help heal the wrongdoing and therefore heal the entire body rather than cutting that person off or leaving them without aid?

What happens when we look at the world in this way? Does it change the way we interact with others?

This is why the family – marriage and parenting -are so important. They are a model for the world of this kind of oneness and love that we should have for everyone. 

It starts small with loving, forgiving, and caring for your spouse. The two of you were joined and became one in marriage. So this type of oneness and unity in love is shown through your marriage. You work to heal wrong doings and preserve and strengthen your marriage. The marriage is the joining of two to become one team who respects, protects, supports, and heals each other. When mistakes are made and the relationship is injured, it requires healing and sometimes rehabilitation. 

Then that same love you have with and for your spouse is extended to your family, your children. You love your children and they love you and together you all are a unit, a family, and you care for, protect, and love each other through healing forgiveness and mercy when one of you is hurting. Because if one of your family members is hurting, you all are affected. 

This love is further extended to all you meet in the body of Christ for we are all connected through him. 

Are we ready and willing to heal the wounds and hurts in the body of Christ? I think it starts with focusing healing yourself, then your marriage and family, and then extending that to the world. 

Breathing Love

You can’t give what you don’t have. 

The first step in loving those who don’t love you is to first be filled with love yourself. If you don’t have love in you, you can’t give it to others. It’s impossible. The question is how can you be filled with love when you don’t receive love from that person. The answer is in the word love itself. God is love so we must go straight to God to receive the love we need for this seemingly impossible mission. 

I once heard that receiving God’s love is like breathing. If your lungs are empty, you become weak and cannot live for long. We cannot live or love fully without God’s love. When you inhale it’s like receiving his love. Your lungs fill with his love and you receive life. You are filled, satisfied, and can delight and treasure his love. But you can’t keep your lungs full constantly and you have to exhale and let the air out. This releasing part is what happens when God’s love overtakes you – there is so much that you cannot contain it inside and must share it with those around you. When God fills you with love, he gives you more than you need so that you can then be his love to those around you. 

God desires to fill each one of us with his love, not just to make us feel loved, but to fill us so full of love that we can’t contain that love and want to love others like he does. This is his greatest desire and makes him so happy. 

In every moment he is longing for us to surrender to him and to let him love us. He wants us to open up ourselves to him to receive this love. To do this we have to be willing to completely surrender. He can’t force his love on us, so we can only receive it when we are open to it. When we do let him love us it is life giving and life changing.

This love I have received from God has filled me so fully in ways I never knew were possible. It has opened my eyes and completely changed my thoughts on love. It has given me everything I need and more to love those in my life even when I don’t “feel” like it or when I don’t feel loved by them. In the moments in my marriage where I feel unloved or hurt, God’s love has sustained me, reminded me of my immense worth as a daughter of God, and given me so much love to pour out on my husband. 

In my moments of frustration and hurt when I wonder how I can love someone who I don’t feel like loving or someone who isn’t showing me love, I breathe slowly. Each time I inhale I ask God to fill me with his love. I hold my breath for a second, just thinking about his love for me. Then I exhale and imagine the air I exhale as being the love I want to give and respond with that love that God had placed on my heart. 

Just as God can’t force his love on us, we can’t force others to receive our love, but we can choose to love them anyway. God is the source of love and he fills us with the love we need to love others when we don’t feel loved by them. When we let him fill us we receive love and can then give to others what we have received. 

For me it’s a simple reminder to always breathe love.