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)

 

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It’s been a while…

I know….I’ve been kinda absent for a while…let’s call it a full month!!! I have left stories hangin’!  Sorry about that!  No excuses…just life gettin’ in the way!  Ouch…just realized that my last real post was early May.  That is B*A*D!  So…let me get you caught up on our present lives and all of our distractions, then in upcoming days…I’ll take you back and finish a story or 2.

A lot has been going on lately, here in SBH and at M2H.   Interestingly enough, on May 4th, I shared in Oh Happy Day! about what a great day I was having…and how the Lord had spoke… “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.”  So…we get this clear message and we are feeling GOOD.  Like we have our marching orders!

Then, WHAM! BLAM! ZING! out of nowhere….distractions hit.  Why is it a surprise that we will be hit with distractions on the heels of a God moment?!?!?  These distractions took the form of relational conflicts (yes, more than one….all at the same time!!!) where Louis was used as a sounding board and a peacemaker of sorts. In addition, a dear friend in Northern Virginia passed away.  Louis gets sick as a dog.  Poor thing was wiped out by a upper respiratory infection. Lastly, there has been a bit of conflict in our community lately…for which we are seeking prayers.

I won’t go into a lot of detail to protect confidences, but we have an AWESOME community!!! The residents of Southern Barton Heights are among the BEST ever!  I have a sense of pride and joy when I look around and think about the many, many friends (dare I say family!!) that I have made…and the cohesive community that has formed and is forming even as we speak.  I have lived here but a short 5 years….and Louis for a 1.5 years…and we know most of our neighbors up and down Barton and Lamb Avenues around our home.  And…we continue to meet more!  Louis and I have lived in a number of communities over the years and have experienced NOTHING like the sense of community that we feel here.  I know more of my neighbors now than in all the other communities combined! I wouldn’t change it for the WORLD!

Although we may differ in our experiences, our opinions and our thoughts, for the most part, we respect one other.  Now, there are some whose thoughts and actions differ GREATLY from where the overall community wants to continue to head and are NOT respecting others and are spreading fear, hate and distrust.  But, we will continue to partner together and with the authorities to minimize these criminal and unlawful activities that we see and experience.

In addition, as reported on the news there was a multiple shooting just a block away, where 2 guys got shot at 4:30p on Friday, 5.28.  Yes…that is 4:30 in the afternoon….when the kids are playing and riding their bikes.  When people are coming home from work ready to start their weekend.  When people are walking to the deli for something cold to drink. Thankfully, the 2 victims will survive! And…an investigation is underway.

Meanwhile, life moves on….the school year comes to an end.  The H*O*T summer seems to have come early.  The Stonehouse Pool in Battery Park is now open and a Memorial Day/Birthday cookout starts us out right.  Pics and vids to come in the next post…

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OH.HAPPY.DAY.

Do you ever have some days that are just better than others?  I guess we all do!  When Louis and I were in Austin for Verge 2010 we learned this song by the Aaron Ivey Band…Oh Happy Day!  It’s not the Oh Happy Day that we have all heard before…but a new and different one.

Oh Happy Day! Happy Day!  You washed my sin away!
Oh Happy Day!  Happy Day!  I’ll never be the same!
Forever I am changed!

Celebrate!  Jesus is alive!

The quality of the video isn’t the best…but take a listen….You will get the drift of it!  While in Austin, we found ourselves jumpin’ up and down just like these kids were!

This is how I feel today!  So, you are probably wondering why.  I’m not quite sure, but I am going to process it here for a minute.  I was just sittin’ here taking a break from work for a moment…looking out the window of my office and was filled with this sense of peace and joy.

My View from the Office

My New Birdbath..and the Birds enjoying their feed!







Louis and I had scheduled our 2nd retreat for yesterday evening, which didn’t turn out quite like we thought it would, for we had planned to go back to Richmond Hill.  But our friend, Marc came by for a visit, which turned out to be a wonderful gift from the Lord!  As we sat and talked for hours, the Lord revealed much to us.  Later, Louis and I decided to review our list of questions from our previous retreat (which can be found in Enjoy the Journey), and we had received answers or confirmations to many of our questions.

In a nutshell….our answers were centered around the verse…Matthew 6:33:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.

So…today, as I reflect on yesterday’s conversation, I look out the window and see how the birds are provided food and water.  Sometimes the Lord uses nature to feed those birds…where the birds have to work and work hard for their keep. Other times…there are people like me who provide it through a feeder and a birdbath…making it really easy for them.  Regardless, the birds…they get some food and water.

So, with Louis going half-time and my job coming to an end some time this year, questions come up like…how are we going to make money and pay the bills?  Sometimes there is a slight panic (or not so slight panic!) that Louis needs to hurry up and find something to earn additional money.  But, we have been sensing… “not yet”.  Then, yesterday…the answer became clear!  Seek ye first the kingdom!  We need to do what the Lord has called us to do to seek the kingdom…not seek money or jobs…but the kingdom.  Then Lord will provide when the time comes. We need to keep our priorities straight.

This thought then led me to when God provided manna from heaven for His people when they wandered in the desert.  As Louis and I had our retreat in our own home, we listed the times just recently that our Lord provided for us in many ways….in surprising ways…to meet our needs….our “manna from heaven”.

Some folks like to say that the Bible isn’t relevant today…or that miracles don’t happen in modern times.  But I am here to encourage you….THEY DO!  We just have to be open to seeing them!

Marc, Louis and I were talking just yesterday….that our journey of faith holds many levels.  First…we READ stories of faith and provision in the Bible…stories of those who have gone before us.  Then, we HEAR the stories of our friends and families who tell of their faith journeys.  Then…the sweet spot…the best…..is when you have your own stories to TELL!

If that isn’t worth shouting about…I don’t know what it!  As Shirley Caesar and Marc taught me…”Hold my mule. I’m gonna shout right now!…That’s how I feel right now!…I feel like praisin’ Him!”

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