Friday, October 28, 2011

a Father's guidance

I snapped these pictures because it reminded me of when I was a little girl and my dad would let me come out and "help" him mow the lawn.  I loved that so much.  I'm pretty sure I was in the way more than anything, but I loved that he let me walk along with him.

These pictures of Zach and Bryan are wonderful.  Bryan is sincerely trying to teach him how to mow - as opposed to years prior when Zach was just out there for fun (like I was).  It reminds me so much of how our Heavenly Father is constantly teaching and guiding us, prompting us to try something that feels "too hard" or "beyond our abilities".

I love how Zach is behind the mower all by himself here, with his father at his side, ready to assist at any moment.  Zach is not alone.  His father is even looking ahead to see what is coming - taller, wiser, with a better vantage point...while Zach's eyes are planted firmly on the mower directly in front of him.

This photo just gives me such a beautiful visual of what my journey is like with my Heavenly Father beside me.  I'm overwhelmed by difficulty and focused on what's right in front of me - or I'm thinking about how super smart, independent and capable I am - while He is patient, ever-present and faithful to provide direction, guidance, help, encouragement, reassurance...and he knows what lies ahead and is ready to walk me through it. 

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8 

"You go before me and follow me.  You place your hand of blessing on my head." Psalm 139:5

"even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me." Psalm 139:10

And, of course, a very favorite piece of scripture:  “I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains.  I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron."  Isaiah 45:2

As I watched Bryan and Zach mow the yard, I saw Bryan help maneuver the mower through tricky turns, push it up a steep slope, and remove sticks and rocks that were in Zach's way.  Knowing that God loves Zach even more than Bryan does, how can we even conceive of how much more willing and able God is to help Zach - and all of His children - as we journey through life?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Missing: My prayer life

The strangest thing happened to me today.  Twice.

First, a friend called me asking for prayer.  No one ever calls me wanting prayer.  Then, about an hour later, another friend texted wanting prayer.  Texting is more like it.  Short, sweet, easier to ask and easier for the receiver to not commit to.

But I have this thing about prayer requests and commitments to pray.  If I say I will, I will.

So, after praying for my friends, I honestly chuckled and looked towards the heavens and asked, "Is this your way of getting my attention?  Get me busy praying for that I will ultimately begin praying for myself?"

I have openly admitted to just about every small group and Bible study that I've ever been a part of that I am not a prayer warrior.  I've never been one to go through her entire day in a constant state of prayer, but I was once much better than I am now.  I pray with my family at dinner and at bedtime most nights - but often those bedtime prayers wind up being my personal daily closing prayer too.  I used to pray with the kids on the way to school every day, but I don't drive Zach to school anymore so we're out of that habit.  And I used to pray in the shower every day...and I still shower, but I almost never use that time to pray anymore.  I used to pray out loud whenever I was in the car without kids, but now I just drive in silence or make a phone call.  I have (almost) totally lost my prayer life!

And I've always been quite terrible at praying for myself.  It almost feels selfish.  I can ask for "clear direction", "His peace", or "to be used", but I never really lay out for God what I want.  I wonder if that's the root of my silence.

As I try to recall the last time I felt I had a rich prayer life, I think it would be around the time that I found out that my birth father was dead.  And my grandparents wouldn't respond to my letters.  And my half-brother is still unidentified.  And then Bryan lost his job...  And then life just continued happening, and perhaps it's not all going my way and I don't really want to talk about it.

Phew.  Talk about a woman needing a therapy session.  Or, better yet, a meeting with the great I Am.

As I prayed for my sweet friends today, I felt God nudging me, looking at me sideways with a gentle smirk on his face, asking me why I don't come to Him with my own heart's desires, excitement, hopes, heartache, confusion and difficulty.

Honestly, in all the busyness of life, I could feel the disconnect in my heart, but couldn't pinpoint what was off.  How could I have stepped so far away...gone so long between meetings...without realizing just how much time had passed and what I was missing?

I'm grateful for my friends who prompted me to pray today and helped to remind me of what I've been missing.  And I'm forever grateful for those who know me well, who know my heart, who pray for me...even when I don't ask for it and forget to pray for myself.

Beginning now...I pray that I get better - and more vulnerable - at this whole prayer thing.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Luke's last game

Outdoor fall soccer is officially for Luke.  We had a great season.  It was loads of fun spending time with friends, running around outside, and gaining a better understanding of the game of soccer.  We are already looking forward to spring soccer!

But...first...we will get through indoor winter soccer with Luke, followed by basketball for Zachary!  Always busy, busy, busy.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

FamFest 2011

Another great year at FamFest.  We are so blessed to be a part of a church that offers something like this to the community.  It is such a blast to run into friends from church, school, sports, the neighborhood, etc.  This year, I even had a woman introduce herself to me, as SHE READS MY BLOG occasionally.  I've never had something like that happen!  How fun.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Budding soccer star

Luke is playing soccer again this fall.  He's on the same team; however, many of the players are "new".  New to the team...but not new to us.  Most are friends from preschool, so that's a lot of fun. 

Luke scored his first goal today.  He dribbled it down the sideline, cut to the center, and shot it!  It was awesome.

And after the game...the boys enjoyed snacks!