Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter Prayers

I wonder what you expect when you visit my praying chairs.
Probably not grumblings, so you might want to stop now and choose another link.

It has been a hard, dry winter.

Often, my offerings on these pages are flimsy, meaningless, superficial.
On occasion, the words uplift, encourage, and maybe even heal.

Not today. It is a warm, cloudy, WINTER day in February. In Texas the land is brown, the trees bare, the landscape dead, dusty, and dirty. Bland, bla, bla. Plain. Colorless.  Nothing but gray and brown.

I wander.
In and out.
Here and there.
Even back and forth.

My prayers usually do the same as I weakly seek and sing and praise and cry.

Then I pen words to fill those spaces.
So often restless, I move from chair to chair to chair, writing and praying over mundane doings.
          Sometimes, the words flit from flower to flower, friend to friend and I write frivolous thoughts while my heart grieves… until the pain eases and I can breathe again.
My grandson calls those “Memaw’s Rabbit Trails.” Ah, so.
There is rest on a quiet, side trail where I don’t have to face up to life and grapple with God.
Rather than scream at my Holy Father, “It just hurts too much!” . . . . .
I simply turn aside into empty musings.
          The loss of friends—precious earthy vessels—over and over and over gets to be too much, especially because:
 I’m the strong one. I’m the woman of faith. I’m the elder. I’ve survived the hard places. I walk with Jesus. “Hey, Liz, you can’t crack; you have to set the example!”
 I’m supposed to know how to live it out.

So, I write. I pray. I read. I beg. I pray. I write.
I clean and shop and cook and toss and turn while I pray; but the words hover in my head.

Until… I stumble across a memory…a word… strains of a song.
His Word.
Blessed Assurance.
Jesus IS mine.
I slowly pull the warm blanket of His Word closer around me and quietly nestle.
BUT WAIT!!! I forgot.
WINTER. Oh. I forgot.
          My petunias and yellow bells and orange trumpets and bluebonnets cannot bloom next month… UNLESS they winter over and lie dormant--still and quiet and dead under the covering of heaps of brown, dead leaves. The flowers of my field that will peek purple and yellow and orange and blue blossoms through death next month have shivered in the long night of cold and ice and snow and been soaked by winter’s rains.

There is no Easter morning without the blood; without the cross.

There is no resurrection without death.

I have “wintered-over” these last months. Tired. Empty.  But in this dormant time, I whisper to the Holy Spirit and I take on the winter rains of Scripture, lift up shivering heart murmurings so that I, too, can bloom again.

And when I bloom, I WILL bring to my writing many bouquets of promises and love and encouragement from God’s own sure and Holy Word.

          But for now, in these waning days of a drab winter, I rest in God's Word and ponder the words of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians. Chapter 4, verses 6 and 7 of The Message:

Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, PRAY.
          Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down
It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.  (4: 6,7 The Message)

But, Holy Father, HOW do I stop the worry and the fret????Oh. OH! I remember. Finish the passage.
J Paul continues in verses 8. I like the way it reads in the NIV 2010:

Finally, brothers and sisters…
          whatever is true,
          whatever is noble,
          whatever is right,
          whatever is pure,
          whatever is lovely,
          whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.

         May His Perfect peace keep you safe and watered through the waning days of this drab winter.


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