Monday, April 30, 2007

When do Prayers Work?

The other day I was talking with someone whose spouse has had a lot of health issues. Thankfully things are looking better and as she was explaining that to me, she said "it looks like everyone's prayers are finally working." It got me thinking how we only feel that our prayers are "working" or being answered when we get what we are praying for.

Well I couldn't shake this conversation from my mind. It can't be that for all the times we pray and feel like we are getting no answer that our prayers aren't working! Certainly it feels that way, but are the weeks, months and years of praying worthless? The verses that came to mind that confirmed this ISN'T true are:

Psalm 10:17: The Lord hears our prayers, and encourages us during that time! While our prayers may not be answered the way we desire at the moment, the Lord uses this time of turning to Him to encourage us!

Psalm 28:6: Again the Lord hears our cries for mercy! He hears EVERY cry for mercy - not just ones we make on days when we are good and righteous.

The Bible is filled with verses on how the Lord hears our cries (our prayers) for help. I would never have the time to write them here (go to and do a search for prayer or hear)

Psalm 40:1-3 shows how the psalmist waited patiently for the Lord. Verse 3 says how the Lord put a new song in his mouth. Just think as the psalmist was waiting patiently on the Lord (probably for an answer to prayer or for direction for a choice he faced), his focus was turned on worshipping the Lord. Rarely do I do this, I just keep my focus on me.

Finally, remember that God has said in Hebrews 13:5 that He will NEVER leave you or forsake (to quit or leave entirely; abandon; desert) you. That means during the times you are praying and it feels like it is falling on deaf ears, remember God did not abandon you! In Psalm 13, the psalmist felt EXACTLY this way, but he chose to TRUST in God's UNFAILING LOVE.

So, to wrap up what my thoughts were wrestling with this weekend - YES our prayers do WORK - every single one of them! So as the Bible says simply in I Thessalonians 5:17 PRAY CONTINUALLY!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Random Questions Answered!

Karen at Surviving Motherhood posted some random questions - so here are my answers!

1. How is mothering, in reality, different from what you expected it to be? I didn't expect or anticipate that my children are individuals! I expected robots I think and that I would ask them to do something and they just would without any training on my part! If I wanted my baby to sleep through the night, she just would because that's what I wanted. If I wanted my kids to eat brussel sprouts, they just would and love them! I guess I expected I could control any and every situation I faced in motherhood!

2. What is something you, as a kid, vowed you would never say to your own kids? Have you kept the vow? "Because I said so" No, I say it all the time :)

3. If someone stopped in to your house for a surprise visit, would you be glad for the company, or self-conscious by the condition of your home? Why? This is a great question - the old me probably would act like I wasn't home if company stopped in for a visit if my house was a disaster (which was all the time!) Now I would be so glad for the company, and not self-conscious of the condition of my home. This is for a few reasons 1. Most importantly, I've learned that its not how clean, or beautifully decorated your home is, but it is the warmth of conversation, the offering of drink and food, and most importantly listening, that makes someone feel at home. 2. I've also learned to never let my house get SO out of hand that I'm not a few minutes away from getting it into decent shape. Also, I've worked on a way to regularly clean my house a little bit each day, so its not grimy and non-hygenic (sp?) :)

4. Describe your ideal date with your husband. Going to a bed and breakfast for a night. We'd start out with a nice dinner out on a patio. Then we'd go for a walk, and just talk WITHOUT INTERRUPTION until as late as we wanted! We'd make our way back to our room and (I'll let you figure the next part out :) ), and we'd SLEEP LATE the next morning (because we were up so late talking ;). Then we'd have a delicious hot breakfast before heading to pick up our kids from Grammie and Grampie's house!

5. If you were sitting face to face with God and could ask Him any question, what would it be? Why did sin have to enter the world?

In a few days I will post some random questions - keep checking back!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Works for me Wednesday

I've been lurking over at Rocks in My Dryer for sometime, and love reading what "Works for [Others] Wednesday! So today I decided to also jump in!

A great thing that has proven to work for me (and I kick myself on mornings I don't do this) is every night before bed, I run the dishwasher. The next morning I RACE the coffee maker and try to empty the dishwasher before the coffee is done. One thing I've discovered about myself is I have a real competitive side, and I actually try to make a race out of most chores around my home (works great with my preschooler too!). Also, I'm such a coffee junkie, that my reward for quickly emptying the dishwasher is a nice cup of coffee (or 2 or 3!) Then once I'm done with my coffee and my kids are done with breakfast - the dishwasher is all ready to start filling up with those dishes.

It works for me!



Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Though Your Riches Increase

Psalm 62:10b "though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them."

I am blessed that situations in our life have changed so that in many ways our riches have increased. Because of a change in job for my husband, and because we sold a home, we now have "more wiggle room" as the saying goes. A day hasn't passed since this happened last fall, where I have not dreamed about what to do with this increase in our riches.

Today, WHAM! I came across this verse. It hit me hard that my sight is set on all the earthly things I want to do with this increase - but here it is, God plainly tells me not to do that. What then is my heart to be set on? Deuteronomy 6:5 and 6 say to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts." My heart is to be set on God! Psalm 37:4 says "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." My focus on this verse tends to self-centered "...and He will give you the desires of your heart." I realize that the real point of this verse is in the first half - "Delight yourself in the Lord." James 4:3 says "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." Here is the problem, when I ask for the desires of my heart, I would dare say that most of the time it is with the wrong motives - it is for self-gain. As I delight myself in the Lord, my desires will become more God-centered and less self-centered, and only then will my motives be right and pure.

So there is the challenge for myself this week - to set my heart upon loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind and to stop focusing on earthly riches.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Celebrating My Home, My Life

As we reflect on the resurrection of our Lord, write a post that celebrates life.
Last fall my husband and I sold our first home. Our realtor told us that our counters and refrigerator had to be bare and our house had to be decluttered. Much of my kitchen got packed into boxes, and for a few months, I didn't miss any of it! How many useless extra appliances did I HAVE to have, that just took up valuable space? Also, about 2/3 of my kids toys got packed, and they didn't miss any of it. Two positive things I learned was A. how much we really do NOT need; and B. by keeping my home free of clutter, clean up time was super quick.

But let me be honest. If you walked in my home during that time - it was lifeless. No personal pictures of family and friends. None of my kids artwork on the fridge. No toaster on the counter revealing what my family has for breakfast most mornings. As free and easy as it was on one hand, my house felt dead to me. So while I learned some practical things that I continue to do as an attempt to keep my house clean and decluttered; on a spiritual sense, I learned that your home is where your family is. During that time, my home was not together. My husband was away working during the week. When my son brought art projects home from church, they went right in a box to be packed. Nothing in that house represented our life. I learned that your HOME is the daily companionship of your family, the daily messes, the never-ending laundry, the bills that need to be paid, the pot soaking in a sink from a delicious meal that fed your family-home is your life and not the four walls and roof that you call your house.

So here I am in my new house, its cluttered again - not entirely with useless things but its cluttered with things that represent our life - my kids' muddy shoes are sitting by the door. I have their artwork displayed with pride - not only on the fridge, but on windows and bedroom walls. The playroom never looks like it belongs in the current issue of an organizational magazine, but its because my kids are playing there. There are sippy-cups in the sink at any given time. We have our towels from this morning hanging on a hook to dry, and our toothbrushes are sitting on our upstairs bathroom sink. All of these are major no-nos when selling a house, but it is our home. Yeah its lived in, and I love it!


This article is my submission to the blog challenge sponsored by Art Bookbindery, "Empowering Writers to Self Publish."

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow