Another Puritan Prayer

Sometimes, I don’t know what to pray. In those moments, I allow pre-written prayers of saints gone by to minister to my spirit and remind me how to pray.

O Lord,

Whose power is infinite and wisdom infallible, order things that they may neither hinder, nor discourage me, nor prove obstacles to the progress of Your cause.

Stand between me and all strife, that no evil befall, no sin corrupt my gifts, zeal, attainments. May I follow duty and not any foolish device of my own. Permit me not to labour at work which You will not bless, that I may serve You without disgrace or debt.

Let me dwell in Your most secret place under Your shadow, where is safe impenetrable protection from the arrow that flies by day, the pestilence that walks in darkness, the strife of tongues, the malice of ill-will, the hurt of unkind talk, the snares of company, the perils of youth, the temptations of middle life, the moumings of old age, the fear of death.

I am entirely dependent upon You for support, counsel, consolation. Uphold me by Your free Spirit, and may I not think it enough to be preserved from falling, but may I always go forward, always abounding in the work You give me to do. Strengthen me by Your Spirit in my inner self for every purpose of my Christian life.

All my jewels I give to the shadow of the safety that is in You—my name anew in Christ, my body, soul, talents, character, my success, spouse, children, friends, work, my present, my future, my end. Take them, they are Yours, and I am Yours, now and for ever.

Amen

When God Gave Me a New Bedroom Set

I love writing notes to people. Often, I will type it up on a word document, and then transfer it to pen and paper once I have it saying exactly what I want it to say! Tonight I found this draft of the letter I wrote almost 3 years ago! It was encouraging to read and remember the gift that was given to me by God and his servant. And so I share it with you with the hope that it encourages you to be creatively and wonderfully generous, and also deeply grateful for every good thing God sends your way!

Dearest Marian,

As you are faithful and generous to the people God has cross your path, He uses your generosity in their lives in many ways. I am sure that many times you are never aware of how He uses you, but for this instance, I would love to share with you the blessing God brought into my life through your giving.

I had been dating (and hoping to marry) a young man for almost 4 years. He bought a house a few years ago and we have been working on it together. I never bought “house items” for myself, because in the back of my mind, we were going to be married any day and I wouldn’t need my own furniture, décor, etc. Well, just as Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”. The Lord seems to have hardened his heart against me, and gave him no peace about marrying me.

But in God’s foreknowledge, just weeks before our breakup, He moved me out of my duplex with unbelievers, and into a new and beautiful home with 2 godly young women. In this beautiful space, God used YOU to provide a “fresh start” to my bedroom. My bedroom, instead of being filled with memories of my ex, was now a steadfast reminder of God’s gracious provision and kindness in my life. Because of your willingness to be generous, I have a night stand filled with my Bible, journal, devotional book, and prayer list by my comfy “new” prayer chair! I call it my “Jesus Drawer” and get to comfortably meet Him each morning in my room. I have already journeled many times of my gratefulness for such an inviting atmosphere to commune with God. It truly is a gift! In fact, each of your gifts can remind me of a different truth about our God:

My lamps: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

My pillows: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

My bed: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29

My night stands: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 5:15

My blankets: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” 1 Peter 4: 7-10

All this to say thank you for allowing me to be the recipient of your bedroom set and desk-because in receiving it, I gained more than furniture, I received the gift of encouragement. Encouragement that God knew what my heartbreak would be and he provided for it before it even happened. Encouragement that God knows how much I love ambiance, and though not necessary, He graciously allows me to have a beautiful bedroom that brings me joy.

With Love and Gratitude to the Lord,

Betty

Give Journaling a Try!

I met with a dear friend this morning who’s husband is overseas in Germany and they have been separated for FAR TOO LONG! She mentioned how during the stints of time they have to go without ANY communication, she clings to memories, voicemails, old texts, and video messages gone back and forth.

Don’t we all do that? Our hearts love to treasure memories, and our minds need to recount learned truths to ourselves over and over again in times of doubt.

This premise is one of the reasons I advocate SO strongly for journaling about or to God! It allows you the opportunity to look back at your relationship with God and see the times where he was especially sweet, and also the times he felt distant–only to be followed again by a time of nearness.  It shows you the lessons you’ve had to learn time and time again, the prayers he has graciously answered, and the power of being in the Word.

Try writing out your prayers to him, or outlining your prayers each day. Or try journaling ONE take away each time you read the word. Write a poem, or doodle the lyrics or images relating to your favorite song or hymn. There are a million ways to do it; figure out what works for you! Let me know what journaling does in you, and let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns!

(Also, journaling should not trump or replace your time in the Word, but supplement and fortify it :))

Lastly, here’s a little video about my journaling history and habits 🙂

Much Love,

Betty

God: The Punisher?

I grew up in the 90’s, and so one of the things my dad and I did together was watch professional wrestling. I’m talkin’ WWE Smackdown, The Nature Boy Ric Flair, The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels-kind of wrestling.

I believe it shaped me into the strong, dramatic, theatrical, ridiculous woman I am today ;P

A lot of wrestlers had names that attempted to explain who they were. Big Show obviously was enormous. The Undertaker had that weird death vibe. Hulk Hogan was ripped like the Hulk (Side Note: in my family-we are big Ric Flair supporters, so even just TYPING Hulk Hogan’s name could be taken as Pompell treason ;))

I read 1 Chronicles 9 today and was reminded that in SO many people’s eyes, God’s wrestler name would be

“The Punisher”.

And I totally understand why! Verse one ends saying, “And Judah was taken into exile in Babylon because of their breach of faith” and there are SO many verses in the Old Testament about the consequences God bestows on people due to their sin. We may be tempted to believe that God still functions this way. When something negative happens in our life, it is an easy thought to jump to- “God is punishing me”.

Here’s the thing, though. He isn’t. God is immutable–meaning he is unchanging, BUT this is an aspect of his character that shifted after the cross.

Per God’s perfect plan, Christ took upon himself ALL of God’s wrath on the cross. ALL OF IT.  ALL of the punishment. ALL of the payment for sin. There is NO punishment left for us to bear! Yes, there are natural consequences for sins. And yes, God allows unfortunate things in our lives for our good and his perfect purpose–but HE IS NEVER PUNISHING YOU. That’s not how he rolls. Absolute pardon and forgiveness is ours, and God did it completely, unequivocally, and solitarily.

How sweet that truth is. Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as soon.

My Top 10 TV Shows

In no particular order (except the last 4) below are my favorite TV shows! You will see a pattern–I like laughing. 🙂 There are a NUMBER of amazing dramas, documentaries, and mysteries out there that i’m sure would be wonderfully captivating…buuuuut when I watch TV (for the most part) I don’t want to think too hard. I don’t want to feel too much. I just want to laugh! And these are the shows that do that for me:

  1.  Arrested Development
  2. How I Met Your Mother
  3. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  4.  Saturday Night Live
  5.  Scrubs
  6. New Girl
  7. Gilmore Girls
  8.  The Office
  9.  The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  10. Parks and Recreation

I think because a big part of my job (and life) is counseling people through difficult circumstances, I don’t particularly want to come home and watch more heartache. I see it or hear about it most days, and so when I’m scrolling through Netflix-I’m looking for a change a pace from that, ya know?

What about you? What do you want to do when you watch TV? Be entertained? Be challenged? Be scared? Why do you think that is?