Praying for Open Hands

I am hesitant to ask for prayer mainly because my problems seem relatively minor compared to most.  However, I am extremely stressed and overwhelmed.  Things at work have changed supposedly for the better, and yet things are different.  (And even though, in this case, different and better are good; they are still stressful.)  The place where I live is being placed on the market to be sold.  Searching for another place is difficult at best (especially considering my very limited income).  The wonderful people who are a part of my local church and small group are so loving and kind, and yet I still so very often feel alone.  Considering the lilies of the field and the birds of the air (and how God provides for them) is great until my feet have to hit the pavement.  Trusting the Lord, completely, has been and continues to be one of the most difficult things. I am not even sure what to ask you to pray for, but thank you to whomever does pray.

This song by Laura Story featuring Mac Powell from Third Day is one of many that comes to mind:

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Seeking success through Clarity or Trust?

Those of you who know me and/or have read my blog in the past know that I struggle with on-going depression.  For the majority of my adult life (since I was 21 or 22 years old), I’ve struggled with it.   I’ve taken meds.  I’ve seen doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists (and yes, there is a difference between the last two).  I’ve been hospitalized as an inpatient and as an outpatient.  I’ve gone to several therapists and counselors, stringing out over several years.  I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will most likely struggle with depression in some way for the rest of my life.  Does this mean I’ve given up hope?  No.  It means that I’ve accepted it and am learning how to live and cope with it.

So as one might imagine, when I see things like this video1 which basically say that it’s a matter of my outlook on life, I struggle again.  I wonder to myself, “Is it as ‘simple’ as he says?” I’d never heard of Tony Robbins (a motivational speaker) before seeing this video a few days ago posted on a Facebook friend’s wall.  Based on my new-found knowledge of Tony, I asked myself, “Just because he’s apparently a successful businessman, does that make him an expert?”  Somehow, I think not.  (No offense, Tony, if you happen to ever read this.)  Granted, I don’t think he meant for this to be a cure-all for people who have been diagnosed with depression.  But, he does mention that he no longer gets depressed because he changed his habits.  He says he used to be depressed all the time.  He changed his way of thinking.  He mentions doing it for something greater than yourself.  (Prior to hearing who he mentions, I immediately thought of the Lord.)

Additionally, I recently saw this motivational video2 by Steve Harvey.  (Many know him from Family Feud.  He also has a national radio program and has been successful in other ways.)  There’s another version of the video that shows him on the set of Family Feud, sharing something with the studio audience.  Basically, he claims that in order to be successful, you have to jump.  You have to take a risk.  I agree.  Risks have to be taken.  I ask myself this, “How can (if indeed it can) ‘jumping’ help me overcome depression?”

But it’s not just these two videos or even the articles and video that I mentioned on Friday that have me thinking.  My own pastor has been talking about “Decisions” this year.  Our biggest decision that I believe any of us will ever make is the decision to follow Christ.  Outside of that, the decision to continue following Him often leads many believers to Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”  My pastor puts emphasis on the first use of the word “all.”  If we truly want success in life, we need to strive to trust God with ALL of our heart… not just part of it.

Today, the pastor took it a step further.  He said when we seek direction from the Lord, “a lack of clarity is a wonderful thing.”  That may not make any sense whatsoever, if we’re seeking direction.  But, let me tell you how he explained it.  He read a story from Brennan Manning’s book, Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God.  (I did a little bit of research, and it seems to be a story that’s been told several times.)  John Kavanaugh, a Jesuit priest, travelled to India from the United States to visit Mother Teresa and asked her to pray for him to have clarity.  Here is how she replied…

She said firmly, “No, I will not do that.”    When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.”  When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust.  So I will pray that you trust God.”

My pastor went on to share three things that a lack of clarity will create for us:  1) intimacy with God, 2) leaps in our faith, 3)paralysis (meaning we have to stop and rest… as Psalm 46:10a says, “Cease striving and know that I am God;” or in another translation, “Be still, and know that I am God”).   I guess all of this particularly ‘hit home’ with me because I’ve been telling God I trust Him, but I have also been praying for clarity… using that specific word in a prayer I voiced just within the past 24 hours before I went to church services this morning.

kitaoka_out_of_focus

It’s almost as if we’re waiting for something to come into focus (clarity).  And, until we put on the proper lenses (completely trust), we will continue to fret, worry, and wander around aimlessly.

(back)1How to Pull Yourself Out of a Funk, Tony Robbins, 31 Dec. 2015.
(back)2You Gotta Jump, Steve Harvey, 14 Apr. 2014.

Rapper Names and a Lack of ‘True’ Focus

Find Your Rapper NameI saw this on Facebook when my friend Kristie posted it.   It’s kinda silly and fun to see what kinds of names you can create.  🙂

Then, I received a call from my mom.  She was wondering why more people couldn’t (or didn’t) show up to pray for “the lost” at her church’s prayer meetings.  (She indicated that about eight people showed up, and they had a list of over 1,000 people for whom to pray.  And, she attends a church with several hundred in ‘normal’ Sunday morning attendance.)  We talked some about that and how much our lives revolve around electronic devices… whether it be cellphones, iPads, iPods, iPhones, smartphones, DVR’s, Facebook, laptops, MP3 players (do people still have these?), and the list goes on and on.

Do we have our focus on the ‘wrong’ things?  Stuff like this ‘fun’ thing on Facebook (“Find Your Rapper Name”) IS fun, but do we focus on stuff like this too much?

Thankfulness in the midst of tragedy…

It’s late, and I need to get to bed… but, I wanted to ask you to keep the flood victims in Oklahoma in your prayers.  Melissa (of Consumer Queen) and her family had quite a bit of flood damage to their new home.  She wasn’t even certain if they have flood insurance.

(I remember being REQUIRED to get flood insurance on the house we purchased in Texas because it was in a 100 year flood plain.  It was not inexpensive and a fairly big “hassle” as I recall.)

Anyway, please remember to pray… and while you’re at it, thank God for Melissa’s dependence on the Lord.  Tragedy is even worse when we do not have Him to lean on.

Thanks to Robyn’s Online World and Mommy Brain Reports for their loving support of Melissa during this time.

Global Aid Network in Haiti

Global Aid Network is the humanitarian aid arm of Campus Crusade for Christ International.  Duane Zook, President of Global Aid Network, recently returned from Haiti where he experienced the second earthquake to hit this third world nation in less than two weeks.  Having worked briefly under Duane’s leadership, I can unequivocally vouch for his integrity.  I hope you will take the time to listen to the various reports he sent from Haiti and then to pray for Haiti and consider giving to help with the aid efforts.

Please let me know if you have any problems accessing their website.  Thank you.

Heartache

I’m struggling to find the right words…  Perhaps it is fitting that today is Wednesday, the day when so many in the blog world create “Wordless Wednesday” blog entries.  With much of the media’s attention on the tragic earthquake in Haiti, the mom blogging world has its eyes on a beautiful young woman who decided to end her own life.

While I’m not going to take the time or space to set up a Mr. Linky, I do want to post as many tributes to (and mentions of) this dear sweet child of God as I’m able.  If you have a loving tribute that’s not included here and you’d like for me to add it, please let me know.  (My email address is under my “about me” page, or you can simply leave a comment.)  Also, if I’ve linked to your site and you’d prefer that I didn’t, please let me know.

By linking to the following websites and blogs, I am not saying I agree or disagree with any content that you may find there.  (Even though there are duplicate titles, I’ve made every effort not to repeat any links.)

Update:  The following links were added on Jan. 14th…

Update:  The following links were added on Jan. 15th…

Update:  The following link was added on Jan. 16th…

To any who might even begin to think that I’m trying to drive up “traffic” to my blog, may God have mercy.  That’s all I’m saying at this juncture.

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As of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, January 14, 2010…  there are 73 different links in this list.

As of 12:58 a.m. on Friday, January 15, 2010… there are 93 different links.

Thank you

I so appreciate all who left me a comment on my last blog entry.   Thanks for the insight!  It seems that many of you have similar “issues” with blogging yet you do so anyway.  Now I know that I’m not alone.  🙂

I hope to be more open, assuming certain people in my life will allow me to be.  However, that’s part of my dilemma, too.  May I ask simply that you pray for me?  Please?  And, if you do… genuinely do, please let me know either by leaving a comment or emailing me.  (You can find my email address on my “About” page.)

Thank you again, my dear, sweet friends!