My Blog doesn't really have a theme! It's not really about Frugal Living, although that is something I need to learn how to do. It's not really about Craft, although that is a large part of my life, more now than ever, as it is helping me to hang on to what little sanity I have left. It's not really about Weight Loss, although that is again something I do need to focus on, especially as I have managed to put 3 pounds back on again this week and I can't afford to put on my socks, let alone 3 pounds. I am thinking of getting one of those Goal Progress Bars to help with this. Nor is it intended to overtly be about Religion, but I am a Christian and that is part of my daily living.
I know that Religion is like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it, but there's not really a middle ground. It's also a bit like Politics, it evokes very strong reactions and can be quite controversial. I want to live out my faith, not preach about it, but at the risk of offending anyone, my day today has been about prayer.
I travel an hour to get to my Church. There are three Churches less than 3 minutes from my door. I know there are many more churches along my 45 mile drive to Church, but I choose to go to a particular Church and it really is not because I have family members who go there. I have been to many Churches over the years since the one I was baptised in and I think the Church I go to now is full of the most genuine people I have met. The welcome they gave me, and me then 3yr old, went I first went there far surpasses any other I have received.
That doesn't mean to say that they don't get it wrong sometimes. It doesn't mean that they always get along or that there aren't disagreements just like in any other family, but the vast majority of people who belong there, genuinely care for others. For the odd one or two who don't, that's between them and God, and he will judge them, not me. The rest have a heart for people but they are human after all and they don't always show how much they care. However, as they give me a second chance when I get things wrong, so I should give them a second chance when they don't live up to my expectations or hopes.
Tonight I have started a course with a group of others from my Church looking at Prayer. It is interesting and reassuring to hear that people who have been Christians for 15-20 years struggle just as much with their prayer life as those who have only been a Christian a few months. For this first night we were asked to take along our favourite prayer. Mine was the following, which many of you, have probably read or heard:-
So far today,
I've done all right.
I haven't gossiped.
I haven't lost my temper.
I haven't lied or cheated.
I haven't been greedy, grumpy,
nasty, selfish or overindulgent.
I'm very thankful for that.
But in a few minutes, Lord,
I'm going to get out of bed;
and from then on, I'm probably
going to need a lot more help.
I think it's probably self- explanatory why I like it and chose it. I am still constantly surprised when prayer is answered. (I really shouldn't be!). The other day my very good friend rang me in tears soon after 9am and asked me to pray for a situation. Her husband had put in, by email, an application form for a job which only goes out to advert very rarely, once every 3 years or so. Unfortunately, instead of attaching the application form I know they both put in a lot of hard work writing over a couple of weeks, he attached the blank form he had originally been sent. He realised his mistake instantly, but by the time he had sent in another email with the correct form, probably less than a minute later, they had received over 1000 applications and closed the process without accepting his correct form. My friend asked me to pray that her husband would feel able to ring them and ask again if they would consider his form as he had originally emailed within the time limit, albeit with the wrong form and to pray that they would have a change of heart and accept his application. Both of them were devastated, more because he had not had the chance to show what he could do than anything else. I think if he had been rejected on the basis of his completed form he would have accepted that more, than being frustrated with a foolish mistake and not getting the chance to be considered.
I did indeed sit down to pray for those things she had asked, but I also prayed amongst other things, that they would not carry that sense of frustration and upset with them through the rest of the day, but could set it aside. I prayed that he would do what he could, but then be able to leave it and not keep kicking himself anymore or going over and over it. I prayed that there would be no recriminations between them and that my friend would not say "Well maybe it just wasn't meant to be" to him. I also asked what could I text my friend to help her. The only thing I kept hearing in my head was "Be Still and know that I am Lord". I kept pushing this thought aside and asking God for something concrete I could send heras that wasn't particularly helpful in this situation. In the end I texted I'm sorry not to have something constructive for you but all I can hear is "Be Still and Know that I am God". When I spoke to her a few days later she said she had been able to stop crying and put aside the worry about it for the rest of the day and she had passed my text on to her husband aswell. When he came home from work, he was apparently calm and said to her "Maybe it just wasn't meant to be" but they were both able to spend a pleasant evening together without mentioning it again.
Today, he has heard that the company had a problem with their email system and they are disregarding all those applications. They are opening the process again and will accept all applications no matter how many there are, so at least his will get read! I am delighted that he will get the opportunity to get judged on his merits.
At the course this evening it was clear that we all struggle with a time to pray, a place to pray, staying focussed on prayer, but more than anything on listening to the answer. We spend our prayer time, hopefully saying a few thank yous, if we remember, but more often than not, reeling off a list of requests, whether for ourselves or others, then saying a quick Amen and moving on to the next task. The example above shows how easy it is to push aside the answer even when we're given it - listening is just so difficult.
Our Homework for this week, "Close your eyes and go to a place which is safe in your imagination and invite Jesus to join you there. Imagine what he looks like when he is with you and then ask him one or two of these questions,
1. Jesus, what do you like about me?
2. Jesus, what is grieving you these days and why?
3. Jesus, what is exciting you these days and why?
4. Jesus, if you could take me anywhere, where would it be and why?
5. Jesus, if you could play a game with me, what would it be and why?
6. Jesus, if you could ask me one question, what would it be and why?"
If you are the praying kind, pray for me that I find time to do this activity and its a good experience, you might even like to try it yourself and maybe share your results. If you're not then just wish me luck.
Lots of Love Arwedd xx