Monday, January 14, 2013

Let God Have His Say

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else." 2 Corinthians 9:13 (NIV)

Before the sun makes its debut I sit at my computer, reading Ann Voskamp’s A Blogger’s Prayer.

I am no longer my own blogger, but Thine, O Lord…

Each day I am humbled by this calling, which has become my passion. I started as a stay at home mother sharing simple, sweet pictures of my babies with my first follower: Mom. And I remember well the initial post where I felt God prompting me to say more. Open my heart. Be vulnerable in black and white … all in His Name.

It was a terrifying step. I battled with feelings of not being qualified. Who was I to try to influence? Would anyone read it? My friends might think I’d become a Jesus freak. What if I share and no one reads it? I’d be embarrassed if it turned out to be nothing more than horribly bad writing.

My doubt, so carefully considered in the beginning, doesn’t matter now. Because God qualifies the called and though I cherish every reader, I write for Him these days. In my little corner of blogosphere, my Lord whispers His words softly to me as I sit down to write. And I say a grateful, “Use me Lord.”

Use me to share a devotion with that reader in China. Open the heart of those people I can see visited my blog from United Arab Emirates. France. India. Costa Rica. Because perhaps they don’t have a mega church down the street? Or a women’s bible study to join. It could be sharing their faith…or exploring it, is a dangerous occupation. Protect them God. Let them know You love them.

Use me God, to share the dire needs of children in poverty around the world. So they can see Jesus. Have fresh water to drink. Shoes. A vegetable crop. Compassion.

The blessings have been all mine on this journey. Stronger relationships with those  I had. Being asked by a girlfriend who didn’t go to church if we could start a bible study. New friendships around the globe. A sense of pride that I am doing what I can to make this world better. To grow God’s Kingdom instead of keeping the treasure of salvation to myself. To change the life of a family, one child at a time.

Sweet friend, my question for you today is this: If you could change your corner of the world today…would you?

Take Out:  How can you use your sphere of influence? It can be something as local as hosting a bible study, volunteering for a non-profit organization, starting a fundraising effort for a group in need or raising awareness. Pray the bold prayer asking God to use you and your life to change this world for the better.

God, we pray that you open our minds and hearts to what your will is for our lives. That we would have the courage to greet your calling so we may influence the lives of those around us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Power Scriptures:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”  Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Luke 10:2 (NIV)

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15 (NIV)

How can you (or are you) use your sphere of influence to change your world? I'd love to hear!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Waking Up on The Wrong Side of a New Year

The nurse slipped out the room just as I woke up. Quiet murmurs in the hallway. The hum of the IV machine near my head. My twenty month old baby sleeping, finally, in the crib next to me...

The first week of the year had started with promise and plans.

I would seek out my God and Savior on a moment-by-moment basis like a breath of sweet air that would revive me. 

I would be at church each week to learn, love and do life with the hearts of those I absolutely cherish. 

I would eat well, exercise and make my body strong again.
I would write. Often. Listening for His soft, still voice amongst the chaos of our social media filled world. 

I would meet deadlines. Because I love writing for God. And I don't want to miss any opportunity to share what He is placing on my humble, grateful heart.  

I would be a present, loving wife and mother - not at the bottom of my to do list, but at the top...somehow balancing all of this life God has blessed me with... 

But then...then, my baby. Her eye swollen shut. My heart beat faster as her doctor mentioned words that included hospital, brain, serious. 

Now, days later I am here. With my baby in this hospital room. 

Why God? I don't understand. Last year? Well, last year...and yes, the year before...they were unbelievably hard. I thought....I imagined THIS year might be different. Joyful. Full of promise. Celebrating all the good. Getting to a point where remembering doesn't leave me crushed. Breathless.

And God, how can I be consistent during this current upheaval in our days? I am missing church, my computer and eating well. It's too much. This is the exact opposite of consistency, Lord!

Fear gripped my heart that night in the hospital. Had I just imagined the severe bacterial infection had spread a bit further down her cheek? Was the pink on her "good" eye just the result of no sleep...or would tomorrow morning reveal a new set of problems which would include dwindling options for antibiotics she could take? What if we hadn't caught it early enough...did it have time to spread to her brain? 

Be joyful in hope. Patient in affliction. Constant in prayer.  Romans 12:12

God whispered, Have you forgotten Romans 12:12?

Ahh. My life verse.  

I felt His peace wash over me. And He asked me to consider that  the Consistency he has asked me to focus on this year can also be applied to constant faith. Persistent prayer. Unrelenting optimism in the face of adversity. 

And then? 

Then He showed me these things in the physical sense played out by courageous, precious children and parents facing serious illness. 

You see, Isla and I made friends in the halls of that children's hospital. Little Lorelai. Troy. And Lucas. I was forever transformed by their bravery. Their optimism and the way they and their parents begin and end each day with faith. Hope. Prayer. 

Would you pray for them today? These next days, weeks and months are critical for them. 

Lorelai is a sweet little redhead like Isla. She was under strict contact restrictions so she couldn't leave her room while we were there but her infectious smile and laugh were a joy. She is Teagan's age and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia this year. If you are on Facebook you can follow her daily updates via the Love for Lorelai team!

Troy is a brave, shy boy who has been in hospital since the first part of Christmas. He's just started his fight against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He, Lorelai and Lucas are all buddies. Pray he gets to go home today for the first time in a long few weeks. You can follow his story at Troy Mathews on CaringBridge. 

Lucas is 21 months old, just a month older than Isla. He has big gorgeous eyes and loves to ride the wagons up and down the hospital halls with his mom, dad and nana. He is back at home this week and is fighting Bilateral Wilms Tumors on both his kidneys. You can follow his story at Lucas Nieman on CaringBridge.

I have one more prayer request for a most treasured friend, Jennifer. She is my next door neighbor, Beth Moore bible study leader, walking buddy and just the most amazing person ever. It breaks my heart that her mom very nearly passed away this week from diverticulitis. Her colon has been removed and we are in fervent prayer that she will not get an infection as she heals. Please remember Brenda in your prayers. 

I hope you and yours have a blessed Friday today! Brian has been traveling tons. Earlier this week he was in California and tomorrow he leaves for England and Ireland. This explains the lack of posting. I am one tired mama trying to catch up on the house after our hospital stay as well as multiple doctor's visits this week. We'll miss my sweets but are happy he'll get to see his family on the last leg of the trip!

Blessings, Michelle

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Way to Pray - Part 2

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

Thanks for joining me for Part 2 of A New Way to Pray. In Part 1 we covered the A.C.T.S. method of praying. But I wanted a way to focus and get to the heart of what I wanted to say in supplication without skimping on adoration, confession, and thanksgiving.

Recently, another blogger gave me just the means to do so. I am sorry to say I can't credit her here as I've been unable to trace that source I found a few weeks ago. Therefore, this idea is by no means original, yet I pray it will energize and inspire you to revamp your prayer time. 

In a nutshell, you will need to break out your Supplication prayer into topics. Then, each day of the week cover a different topic. I've included my list as an example:

Sunday - Prayers for ministry including my church and our missionaries, the ministries of my She Speaks sister's and my own, Encouragement Cafe, Proverbs 31 Ministries and more. 

Mondays - Prayers for my family near and far. In depth prayer for my children, our parenting and preparing them to live in this world, not of it.

Tuesdays - Prayers for resources including fresh water, food, medical supplies and shelter for everyone in this world with a specific mindfulness of the blessings God has showered upon our family.

Wednesdays - Prayers for friends and their requests. Prayers for those at church on our prayer list. Prayers requests received on my blog and through Facebook. 

Thursdays -  Prayers for the poor, mentally and physically ill. Specific prayer for our Compassion International family: Pascaline, Dahling, Elibie, Bethlehelm and Jimmi. Prayer for Compassion, Smaritans Purse, our local food banks and shelters. 

Fridays - Prayers for our country and its leadership. Prayers for our international community, their governments, peace and healing. Peace.Peace. And more peace among all people. 

Saturday - Prayers for the oppressed. Specific prayer for those living in countries where practicing their faith is dangerous. More prayer for missionaries and their families, outreach organization working on behalf of those in highly vulnerable and extreme situations. 

Thanks again for joining me today. Tell us, what are prayers and topics you would add to my list above? And do share, what is your One Word for 2013?

It would be my honor to pray for you and your family. If you have a need, please leave it in the comments below. For more privacy, email me at 

In Jesus' Name, 

  • Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    A New Way To Pray - Part 1

    Happy New Year! I pray you and your family had a wonderful holiday season. I am so excited about 2013! In just a week or two the new blog will be rolling out with giveaways, online bible studies and more. I will be focusing on my One Word: Consistency. I can't wait to see what God does in all of our lives this year. Have you settled on One Word for 2013

    I've been thinking about a new way to pray. For a long time I've used the A.C.T.S. Prayer. Are you familiar with it? It is basically an acronym outlining a guide for personal prayer. 

    A - ADORATION - I begin my personal time with God by praising and worshiping Him. This is a time to recognize His might, greatness and power. If I am honest? I find this step most difficult. It's hard to use words like Almighty, Father in Heaven, glorious, hallowed...and feel like I am connecting with Him. Maybe I get overwhelmed by the greatness of His might that it's hard to fathom His personal, intimate love of a sinner like me? At any rate, at times when I am unsure of how to do this I simply read or sing songs of worship. For example, I love Chris Tomlin's Indescribable:

  • Indescribable, uncontainable
    You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
    You are amazing God
    All powerful, untameable
    Awstruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
    You are amazing God

    C - CONFESSION - This important piece to prayer brings us back to God's side by revealing our repentent heart. Be open and honest in confessing your sin, ask for forgiveness and know it is God's blessing upon us that wipes our slate clean. 
  • T - THANKSGIVING - Here we thank God for the many blessings in our lives including our health, water, shelter, safety, country, leadership, family and friends. And we thank Him for our salvation - the precious gift of life eternal offered to us through the blood of Christ. Oh how He loves you and me!

    S - SUPPLICATION - Finally. This is also known as Intercession. I'll admit, I used to start my prayers with this. It's easy to do. In supplication we ask God for needs, either for ourselves or others. If you are like me, this list is long. Some days? Overwhelmingly long. 

    That's why I am starting a new way to pray in 2013. I wanted a way to focus on my prayers and get to the heart of what I wanted to say in Supplication without skimping on adoration, confession, and thanksgiving. Tune in tomorrow for the scoop on how I am using A.C.T.S. and giving it a new twist!

    Blessings, Michelle