I Am Taking Care of You

The Holy Spirit echoed these words to me a week ago, as I ran in the dark, early morning hour.  And it was more than words, it was a complete, peaceful feeling that settled deep within my heart.  As I ran with the stars and sliver of moon overhead, I felt the comfort and reassurance of God’s gentle love.  It was 4 days before another half marathon and my prayer became one of total surrender, as I asked God with complete trust and confidence to give me whatever was best for me.  It is a rare, rare thing for me to ask this and to be completely fine with whatever God has in store.  Rare, because, while I may ask God to take care of me, I often find that I have my own preference, my own desire for how I want things to happen.  And that usually, unfortunately, is where I tend to lean.  But, as I said that prayer, that morning, I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that whatever God had in store for me, it was the best thing for me.  I knew it then, and by God’s grace, I still know it now.

Three days later, the day before the half marathon, I developed a bad sinus infection that only grew worse the day of the race.  When I barely had enough strength to get up and make breakfast, I knew the race was out of the question.  Die hard runner that I am, this was a bit devastating for me as I had been looking forward to this race for quite some time.  But deep within my heart, there it still was.  The comforting reassurance that God was taking care of me.  It was there, burning bright, enveloping me in His love.  I didn’t read my daily devotional that day.  I stayed in my bed, barely able to function for the day.  But the next day, as my head started to clear up, I did go back and read my devotional for the day before, the day of the race.  And here was the message:

‘I am taking care of you.  Feel the warmth and security of being enveloped in My loving Presence….If you could see how close I am to you and how constantly I work on your behalf, you would never again doubt that I am wonderfully caring for you…’
–Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

I am finding that this message that God so clearly spoke to me a week ago is still alive in my heart.  As I struggle with future events, with what God’s plan is for me at this time in my life, with what my purpose is right now, God is still reminding me that He is taking care of me.  Today was one of those days where doubt and confusion really took hold of me.  So, I decided to pick up another devotional.  It is one I don’t read very often, but sits at my desk, waiting for me to pick it up.  I went to the passage I had marked as the next one to read.  And here is what God said:

Trust me here and now.  You are in rigorous training–on an adventurous trail designed for you alone.  This path is not of your choosing, but it is My way for you.  I am doing things you can’t understand.  That is why I say, “Trust Me!”….Although you cannot see Me, My Presence with you is rock-solid reality.  Find hope in Me, beloved, for I am taking care of you.’
–Jesus Today by Sarah Young

In all the moments of your life, God is taking care of you.  Let that comfort you when you are clouded with doubt so that your heart and mind become as clear as a starlit morning, enveloped in His love.

 

 

 

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You Are Never Powerless

You are never powerless.  This is what God said to me, after learning that doctors found a spot on my dad’s liver that needed to be biopsied.  

I know that God purposefully put me where I was when my mom texted me the news about my dad.  I was in the first day, in the first hour, of training in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  We were on Habit #1:  Be Proactive.  There I was, learning what it meant to be proactive rather than reactive.  Realizing, that I have a tendency to be a reactive person.  I tend to let worry and stress overtake me quite frequently.  I react to life and try to figure out how I’m going to deal with it, many times feeling overcome with disappointment, overwhelmed with stress, and powerless.  I know how to play the victim.  But there I was learning that proactive people are not victims.  Proactive people realize that, while they may not be able to control the outcome of an event, they can always control the way they respond to the event or to the outcome.  They can control their attitude, their behavior, their outlook.  Proactive people realize that they always have a choice.  Proactive people are never powerless.

So, I was listening to this and feeling empowered.  It really dawned on me, for the first time, that I always have a choice in every event in my life.  The choice lies within me.  I cannot control other people or what life throws at me.  But I can control me.  I decide how I want to respond, how I want to look at what life hands out.  And as I was feeling this wonderful, empowering feeling, my mom texted me that doctors found a spot on my dad’s liver that needed to be biopsied.  And, immediately, I was crushed.  I became worried, stressed, and scared all at once.  And immediately, in my reactive state, I wanted to shout out to the presenter, “Oh yeah, well how can this help me now?  I do not have a choice now, do I?”  And just as soon as I had that thought, God spoke to me.  And He told me that there is always something we can do.  It is the most powerful thing we will ever do in our lifetimes.  He told me that I can pray.  

You see, I know that God purposefully put me in that training when I received that news.  He knew that I needed to be open to the fact that we are never powerless.  He knew that I needed to learn what being proactive was all about, so that He could show me that even in the scariest, worst circumstances in our lives, we always have a choice.

Remember, there is always something you can do when life hits hard.  You can always pray.  You can always hope.  You can always trust.

You are never powerless.

You Can Always Pray

“You can always pray.”  This was the message I received on my oldest son’s 19th birthday. 

Being a parent is hard work.  It is physically demanding when your children are small.  It is emotionally demanding when they grow up.  Being the parent of a 12 and 19 year old, I have been through the baby, toddler and teenage years as a parent.  I always thought that the toddler years were the hardest.  What a stage in life!  Here you have a little person who is discovering their independence for the first time.  They are learning to walk–getting around on their own–going where they want, when they want.  They are learning to talk–and why is it that their favorite word is No!!  They are learning that they can do things on their own and they WANT to do these things on their own.  They WILL put the spoon in their mouth themselves, even though the spoon is upside down.  They WILL NOT sit in the stroller, they want to walk instead!  When you think about it, this assertion of their independence as a two and three year old is much like their assertion of independence as a 17 and 18 year old.  Things circle back around, and now you have a big person who has learned how to drive a car, how to hold a job, how to do things that THEY want to do.  The biggest difference as a parent between these two stages is the amount of control the parent has.  When they were a toddler, yes, they wanted to do things on their own–but ultimately, the parent had more control over which things they did.  As a teenager, yes, I was still able to set some boundaries such as curfew–but the amount of control you as a parent have slowly starts to dwindle.  I can demand that you be home by midnight, but I am not there with you while you are gone, helping you make the right choices.  And while I know it is a good thing to give your child the independence that they so desperately crave so that they become productive, responsible adults…it sure is hard.  For me, being a parent now is much harder than it ever was when my kids were little.  Then, I was their world and I knew what they were doing, when they were doing it and I was able to make sure they were safe and happy.  Now?  I am not their world, nor should I be at this stage.  I HOPE that they are safe.  I HOPE that they are happy.  But my control over that is slowly slipping away.

The night before my son’s 19th birthday, I was at Mass praying.  My heart was so consumed in prayer for my son that tears were streaming from my eyes.  I want so much for him to be happy, to be loved, to find his path and to remain close to God.  Those are my deepest desires for my children–they are what I want more than anything in this world.  At one point in my son’s life, I could provide that.  Now, I must rely on God to provide that for them.  The feeling of helplessness, on my part, filled me with despair. 

The next morning, on my son’s birthday, I read my devotional.  God spoke to me in this sentence, “When you see a need, don’t ever think there is nothing you can do, because you can always pray.” (Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyers)

I pray for my children every day.  I pray for them now more than I ever did when they were little.  When I think about it, I don’t think I prayed much for them when they were little.  Why would I need to?  I was taking care of them.  I was in control.  Silly, yes, but that was my thinking.  Now I realize that as my control slowly begins to fade away, my prayers for them have increased tremendously.  And that has made me realize that now they are in much better hands than they were ever in when I was their world.  Now, they are in God’s hands. 

A parent’s work is never done, it just changes.  God has shown me that as a parent of a young adult, I still do have some control.  I can control how often I pray for my son and what I pray for.  My despair has been turned to hope, knowing that through it all, I can always pray.