Friday, June 28, 2013

Done Praying Things "Away"

It’s true.  I’m done.  If you added it all up, I’ve spent hours, days…maybe months (I’m not that young, you know) praying things away.

“God, take away my temptation! Make it go away!”

“Dear Lord in Heaven! You know my co-worker is hateful, make her hateful attitude disappear!”

“Sweet Jesus! Please, please, please take the pain away!”

Okay. Before everyone in the theological world (and I’m thinking not a ton of those people read my blog) go ballistic…I believe God can take anything away.  I also believe in the power He has to heal.  I’m one of those Holy Rollers.  God can do anything He wants.

But, when we pray for more of Him…well, can things that aren’t of Him truly stick around?


Has God taken my temptation?  Well, I sure have less in certain areas of my life than I used to.  Has God healed relationships with my co-workers or friends?  Sure.  Has He healed me before?  Miraculously. Goose bump stories, for real.

But, something I’ve been noticing is that even when He seems to “take things away,” I’m no more prepared to face the next bad thing that comes my way than I was before. And it’s not God’s fault. It’s mine.

You see, I’ve been praying all wrong.

Sure, I say things like, “Use this for Your glory, Lord.” But, what I’m really saying is, “Please make everything perfect – like I think it should be – and then I’ll be able to give you praise for all to see...with my fabulous life!” Ugh.

Look what I ran across last night…in my Bible.  Of all places. Good stuff. Go figure.

Paul says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” Colossians 4:2-4.

Oh, boy.  Paul prayed for an open door for the message of the mystery of Christ. That supernatural love, forgiveness, power.  Notice he never once asked for anyone to pray that his chains would go away.

Con. Vic. Tion.

We all know, but hate to admit, that our icky life moments are when God shows up biggest and brightest.  The problem is that most of us would rather He just make everything perfect so that we could say to the world, “Look, I’m not in chains.  I’m living the easy life! Live for Christ and things are super!”

Paul was more concerned with doing God’s will. Paul was more concerned with God adding to him the strength he needed to deal with chains so that the Gospel could go forth…than he was with the chains disappearing.   

Paul knew God could use chains.

I love the good times. I could live on the mountain.  But, it will rain on all of us.  More than once.   There are those of us who experience frequent monsoons.

Some of the sin pulls I have will probably be jockeying for position in my life until the day I die.  But, if I’m praying for God’s open doors, His grace, His love, His power…those sin pulls will be pushed to the back corner of my heart’s room each and every time. And I do believe, there are times they are pushed out altogether.  No more room.

Some people will rub me the wrong way…all the days of my life.  But, if I’m praying for more of God’s grace in my life…and in theirs…well, how can human attitudes top that?

Some illnesses will wreck our mortal bodies…and all of us (let me channel my best Sunday School teacher voice here) “unless the Lord comes back first!” will succumb to death.  But, from the moment we asked God to come into our earthly lives…and yes, take away our sins…He began to build an eternal home for us.

We do ask for Him to take away our sins.  But, again…we also ask Him into our hearts.  We add Him. Can sin stay where He dwells?

I know this may seem like semantics.  So be it.

But, today…I’m going to focus less on the chains and more on the open door.

Are you praying for subtraction...or addition? Are you asking for the chains to go…or for the open doors to come?

Monday, June 17, 2013

All the Kings Horses & All the Kings Men

This picture is exactly what it looks like. It's pretty hilarious.


Oldest, compliant child...always trying to please.  Middle child, just simply being a toddler, while mom tries to "reason" with him.  Baby crying...well, that's often typical of babies, regardless.  Young mom not wanting to make anyone upset, so basically doing nothing. She's doing a fabulous job of that, by the way. Husband, frustrated at the lack of support the wife is giving, as he tries to actually parent.

Broken, people.  Messed up.  And news flash...we all are, or have been, or possibly will be again.

We are born into a messed up world. The world is broken. Eden was perfect. We broke it.

So, even when we're given awesome things in life...we have a tendency to break them.

But, the really dumb part?  We try to "fix."

When I face trouble, my basic, fleshly tendency is to "fix." I run to horses and humans. Horses?  I see horses as what I think could or should happen.  My thinking...what's in my figurative stable, or imaginary warehouse of knowledge and expertise.  Sad, I know. "Okay, if I just do this...yes, that's it. Fix!" And humans?  "What would my Aunt Gertie do in this situation?" or, "I just saw this on Dr. Phil...what did he say?"

We should seek wise counsel...but, truly wise counsel will always direct you to even wiser counsel.  And that's where the real fix steps in.

We all know the old nursery rhyme.  We all know that Humpty Dumpty couldn't be fixed by all of the king's horses or his men.

But, what about the king?  I mean, I don't remember anything about him.  Did Humpty ever call out to the king?

Okay, it may sound silly framed within a child's game. But, hang on.  Why do I run to the King's creation and not to the King?  Why do I not think the One Who crafted the very universe, my body, loved me enough to send His only Son...why do I not realize that He would be the ultimate fixer?


To add insult to my own self-inflicted injury, it's been in the Bible for ages.
Isaiah 31:1,"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord." 

In a day of social media, it's like we get Christmas letters from one another each and every day. You know what I'm talking about. Perfect days, perfect families, blah, blah, blah. For those of you feeling's tough. I've been on both sides...perfect looking days...broken days.  Please hold on, I am going to get to some hope for all...

So, we're broken, people.  Broken world. Broken. Broken. Broken.

But, when we remember that long ago, there was a King.  He made a perfect world for His children.  His children broke it. The King knew his horses and men could never fix it.  He knew there was only one fix...and it was all on Him.  He sent His one, perfect, unbroken pay for the messes all of His other kids made. 

He broke the One child Who didn't deserve it...for all of us who did.  And do.  And will. 

So, I'm broken. I said it. Cat's out of the pretty, little, velvet bag. Yes, a new creature in Christ...but, scars from this life are at times more visible than others, and mostly, I am happy to say that I can look at them with peace. 
Peace?  Peace.
Because when the harried young families, depressed middle aged woman, lonely old man, victimized teen or any lost soul stops looking for the fix and finally looks to the Fixer...peace enters the picture.
When I share victories from my's because the King has fixed us.  When I share from a broken's because I have peace that surpasses understanding...knowing that the King has fixed us. Has. Meaning...He has already provided everything we need...if we will just accept it.
Psalm 20:7, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

May we be able to accept it all. The fact we're broken. The fact we can be fixed. Just not by ourselves...horses, chariots or men.

We sit on walls we shouldn't.  We fall far and hard.

Unlike thankful we can be put back together again. My husband and I run to the King, and have to decide to do so whenever we face any sort of "break." We all do. To say otherwise is to lie. And we're all tired of those.

It's a new week. New challenges. Old heartaches. New joys. Old reminders.

It's a new week.  Same King.  Let's trust Him together. He can fix anything.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Worst Hypocrisy

I'm pretty transparent.  I put my flaws out there before anyone else has time to point them out for me.

However, lately...well, you haven't heard from me because...I've succumbed to the worst kind of hypocrisy.

We all know what a hypocrite is.  We maybe have known one...we most likely have been one.

For the past few months, I've let my typically transparent form of encouraging others be overtaken by this sort of thinking:  "Is it really right to think I have something to 'say' or believe I can help others when I have so many issues in my own life?  Isn't that hypocritical?"

I've had what I call "shell" days off and on my entire existence.  Not days at the beach. Days in which I've felt like a shell of a human being.  One foot in front of the other. Step, step, step...sigh. I haven't "felt" it or thought I "looked" it, so I've not "shared" it.

Shared what?  My hope.

For you see, when Shell KyAnne thinks she's the one stepping, it's not - and never has been - her doing the stepping.

Before you go thinking I'm about to copy and paste the "Footprints" poem here...hang with me.

I'm always "referring" to hope.  Hope is all that sets us apart from people who have yet to enter into a true relationship with Jesus Christ.  And not the golden-haired, blue-eyed, serene-looking guy on the wall in the fellowship hall at your granny's church.  The broken-hearted, broken-bodied, filled-with-so-much-love-and-desire-for-you guy, who hung on a cross for all of that junk that makes you feel like a shell. That Jesus.

So, even in my darkest times...I'm still stepping.  I may not "feel" like functioning and I may not be bouncing off the walls...but, I'm moving.  If I didn't have the hope of Christ, I'd be in a fetal position in the corner of my bedroom with a bag of Cheetos and a 2-liter of Dr. Pepper.

I'm going to quote myself and than the Bible.  Yep, the Bible quotes will be way more powerful.

Page 66 in "Diary of a Cavewoman," Shell KyAnne declares, "Don't believe the lie that a person walking in God's peace never appears to have a crazy existence. Quite the opposite, I believe. A person with God's peace has the supernatural ability to live in a crazy existence...and still walk."

The Bible says this, "For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord..." (II Corinthians 4:5) and "'My (Christ's) grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in (your) weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong." (II Corinthians 9 & 10.)

The worst hypocrisy?  Having the hope of Christ in my life (hope that gives me strength to walk when I want to quit), and not constantly sharing it...even in the midst of my weakest times.

So, I'm sorry for the days I haven't shared hope with you...even when I knew God was telling me to.  Forgive me for being a hypocrite.  You may be running today...I hope you are.  I run a lot of days.  But, there are's a prayerful and purposeful one foot in front of the other.  For those of you feeling like a shell today...I know.  He knows.  He's strong, so we don't have to be.  That's the Gospel.