Wrestle Well

It’s a funny thing. Not funny – ha ha. But, funny in a head-tilting kind of way. Some people like to make others think that everything is always ‘happy, happy, joy, joy’.  Facebook is full of people painting pictures of their rewarding lives filled with awesome food, pictures of themselves in a mirror, caring and supporting husbands, the best children who get the gold star at school, the touchdown or home run, the best coloring award,etc., and all those relaxing, fun-filled vacations (which you will soon see from our upcoming trip to Florida!!!).  I’ve even had FB friends delete comments that were challenging or went against this picture they were trying to paint for everyone at a distance.

When someone shares something somewhat challenging and real (in light of the fact that we live in a confusing, dark, sinful, sometimes frightening world) , many FB friends don’t know what to do with it.  Yes…I know…my hope comes in the fact that I know and experience the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ every day.  But, sometimes… I just don’t get it. When life slings things my way – disrespect, unpleasant surprises, gossip and slander, disregard, confusion, etc. what I don’t need or want are platitudes, Joel Osteen quotes or other pithy comments. I need a trusting, loving ear who will allow me the chance to wrestle with God over the injustices, the pain, the unfairness, the attack… until I can release it back to Him or until He blesses me.  It makes me think of Jacob in Genesis 32….wrestling with God until he was blessed.  Sometimes, I need to wrestle with God until he blesses me with understanding and peace.

Donald Miller wrote this post regarding his real life friendship with Brennan Manning. “Reflections on Brennan Manning’s Wrestling Match With God”  where he writes of Manning’s death…

Brennan Manning, called back. Done wrestling. Knows it’s true. Can’t write about it now. May we wrestle half as well.

Can we give each other permission to have a bad day? to feel raw unfiltered emotions? to wrestle with God? to doubt and to wonder? to find our way? to keep it real? I’m hungry for real.

“May we wrestle half as well.” – Donald Miller

Pray for Trust…not Clarity

What a year it has been!  And…how quickly it has come and gone!  A year ago today, I started the Miss Marti’s House blog.  I spent some time this morning, reviewing some of my 120 posts….summarized below…

February, March and April ~ I started the blog as a Lenten project documenting the story of how I moved to SBH, the people I met along the way, the way my life has forever been changed, how I met the other half of my pair…in ministry and life….Louis, Frank getting shot 9 times and living, to name a few.

May ~ Well…May was a slow writing month!  It was a time of introspection, which I didn’t always feel like making public!  But, 2 posts stand out…Live Like You Were Dying and OH.HAPPY.DAY stand out!  How encouraging it is to read them again at this time!  I needed to be reminded of what God was saying to me in May 2010!

You might say I have been a little bit of a funk lately ~ adjusting to the new…slower…different pace of unemployment, death of a friend, illness in my family, change as a whole, etc.  and this often causes everyday struggles and disappointments to appear ginormous!!  It also serves to distract me from what I have been called to do!

But, after reading these 2 posts, like I was taking a look in my journal, I was reminded of my calling and his many provisions.  And…as I read Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning for the second time in a month, I also remember him saying this on page 5 ~

In first century Palestine the question dominating religious discussion was, How do we hasten the advent of the Kingdom of God?  Jesus proposed a single way:  the way of trust.  He never asked his disciples to trust in God.  Rather he demanded of them bluntly, “Trust in God and trust in me” (John 14:1.  Trust was not some feature out at the edges of Jesus’ teaching; it was its heart and center.  This and only this would bring on speedily the n of God.

When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at “the house of dying” in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life.  On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa.  She asked, “And what can I do for you?”  Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him.

“What do you want me to pray for?” she asked.  He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the United States: “Pray that I have clarity.”

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 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 have trust God.”2

So, that’s my prayer for 2011 and beyond.  That I will trust God.  On page 6 Manning shares,

“We ourselves have known and put our trust in God’s love toward ourselves” (1 John 4:16).  Craving clarity, we attempt to eliminate the risk of trusting God.  Fear of the unknown path stretching ahead of us destroys childlike trust in the Father’s active goodness and unrestricted love.

I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed for and asked for prayer for clarity.  Now…my prayer request is…that I will trust God…and that I will learn to Enjoy the Journey, another reminder from a April 2010.  Join me…in praying for Trust!

Prayer for Trust

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.

(By St. Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556)