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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Prayer of Jabez revisited

Today in reading the scriptures Psalms 127: 3 makes me stop. “Children are a gift from the Lord.” It almost hurts to read these words when we are surrounded by miscarriage and barrenness in so many relationships. The words of my dear friend reverberate in my mind: barrenness is not of the Lord. I agree. It is not the Lord’s desire for us to be barren. And so I think of the little book that was popular a few years ago, which my mother gave me a copy of: The Prayer of Jabez, by Bruce Wilkinson. This book builds a message on the verse I Chronicles 4:9 “Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil.”

So today I pray with scripture to support me: “Oh that You would bless me and I ask that you bless me with the gift of a child! That you would enlarge my family and my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, and remove this barrenness.”

I know that God wants to bless His children! I know this and yet, I hesitate to pray with confidence this prayer for blessing into my life and into the lives of those so dear waiting for children.

Bruce Wilkinson says in his book (p23):

When we ask for God’s blessing, we’re not asking for more of what we could get for ourselves. We’re crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or give to us.

In the past months it has come to my attention that I cannot create a child on my own accord. Sure my husband and I can try and it seems that a child should be created. But month after month, we still wait. Our friends still wait. The science of it is well known, and yet it doesn’t always work. A child is a miracle of God. This has become so evident!

In a way this reminds me of when I was first learning to drive. My mom took me to a large parking lot. She spoke to me of the power of the vehicle I was about to drive. She cautioned me that she thought I was over-confident, that she thought I didn’t fully grasp the position driving this vehicle placed me in. She instructed me that I was driving a vehicle with much capability and that was to be taken seriously to avoid harm. Now too, I think back 10 months, to first trying to have a child. I was confident, cocky even. We’ll have no problem with this. We’re healthy, we’re educated, we understand science. We can make a baby, and in fact I think we can make one in quick time. Sure I prayed for wisdom to raise a child. But did I pray for the procreation of that child? No. Without realizing it I felt I didn’t need God’s hands to create the child. Ten months ago I did not grasp that the procreation of life is a blessing and complete miracle of God. So as my mother sought to speak words of instruction into my life that day in our mini-van to help me grasp that which I, in my over-confidence, didn’t acknowledge or understand, in these 10 months the Lord has spoken wise words into my life which have humbled me.

Perhaps the parallels of these 2 examples seem somewhat weak to you. However, I spend time on a weekly basis with teenagers as a youth leader. Getting your drivers license is HUGE when you are in high-school. It is, for most of the students, the biggest accomplishment yet of their lives. It is a token of growing up, of independence, of capability. I remember clearly getting my drivers license. Next comes graduation, then (for me, this order) marriage, convocation, passing a stressful exam to become licensed as a professional. Next step: start a family. As our lives pace forward there are these momentous steps and at each step there is much to be learned. Much to be learned.

So today I pray expectantly. I pray that God would bless Ryan and I with the gift of a child. A gift that only God can give. I ask that God would expand our territory, our opportunity zone to share His great goodness. I pray that God’s hand would be on our family. I pray that He would protect us from evil. I pray that He would fill us with the Holy Spirit and that we would have ears to hear and eyes to see.

And in this prayer, I pray the same thing for those dear to me. For those who have lost children in the past and await the cries of their child in their arms: for CF & VF, for JW & AW, for RF & TF, for NT & MT, for RM & MM, for MK& AK, and for BG& JG.

And for those dear to us who await the birth of their child, who have not endured miscarriage and loss, but who hope for a healthy child growing within them and for wisdom to raise them well: for JR & CR, for CS & ES, for BM & AM.


"You know beyond a doubt that you were redeemed for this: to ask Him for the God-sized best He has in mind for you, and to ask for it with all your heart." (Prayer of Jabez, p91)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The joys of life:Half marathon and patio furniture

Here I am enjoying my new place of “retreat”: the deck. We got this fabulous outdoor furniture and our whole family loves it, Fritz included, in fact there he is sitting on a chair beside me having a bath! So though the day is cool and overcast and I am wearing 2 sweaters, have a blanket, and have my fluffy lamb slippers on (truly why not wear them outside since I haven’t had much opportunity to don them since my mom gave them to me in April), I am thoroughly enjoying this opportunity to retreat to the outdoors, while enjoying the convenience of being at home!

This is a blog of a different sort for me today. Perhaps it is more of what you expect from most blogs: an update of the past days in my life. I am excited to take this opportunity to sit down and write. It feels I have been away from my word documents too much lately, caught up in the busyness of work, I suppose? Whatever the reason, it is good to write, but at the same time I don’t know that I have any pearls to share and so it will be.

Race Day: Race day was more than I had hoped it to be. I felt great that day! My legs were strong, my lungs were fit, and as the race progressed I experienced the fuel of competition and race day excitement that drove my performance. I finished well and am proud of my first half-marathon time of 2 hours 47 seconds.* At the finish line I was greeted by Ryan and friends, how fabulous to do this together! And my friend gave me a lovely card at the finish line which she had made. Its words were perfect for that day, it read: “prayer for a symbolic day, persevere, strength to endure, comfort in His love to rest”. I called the day a beautiful ‘distraction’ but it was more than that and I am glad my soul was well that day.

Now to hope that summer weather will actually come. Regardless of the weather, however, I look forward to watersliding, white water rafting, hiking, camping (if we get organized enough), and putting the zodiac boat in the lake. And of course, enjoying time in the fresh outdoors, even while at home!!!! Ryan and I stop to acknowledge how lucky we are to live where we do on many occasions. I walk to the grocery store and I soak in the view of the mountains. I wake each morning to look out my living room window to see how much snow has melted off Cheam mountain. If we want to go for a hike, it’s minutes away to the trail head. I was out at Cultus Lake this morning running in the forest (aka the horse trails). I take one step outdoors and I can immediately smell nature. The air out here smells so green. You can smell the trees and water and air. I love it! This is where I live! Day in day out, this is home! Breathe deep the blessings!

(*I am thankful for my running partner, Sarah. There is no way I could have done this race without her. And to boot she’s an awesome personal trainer/group fitness instructor to help anyone with their fitness goals, whatever they are. Check her out at lightenupfitness.blogspot.com)