Friday, May 13, 2011

Thoughts on busyness and prayer

I’ve had two opportunities to post a little something this week, but each time Blogger has been down for maintenance. So this is being written Thursday night in a word document, and I’ll post it when blogger’s up and running again, or when I have an opportunity.

There’s lots I could write it seems, as this week has been full and there’s lots I’m thinking about and working through. It seems that the harder times are the times we learn the most. Not that this week has been super difficult on a scale of 1 to 10, but difficult in terms of the things I need to process, and in sharing the burden of others.

There were lots of memorable things as well, especially little things the boys said that I thought were funny. For instance, moments after the children presented me with their little gifts on Mother’s Day, their questions turned to, “So whose do you like the most?” and, “Are you going to wear mine to church?” (I couldn’t possible wear all the necklaces at once!) Andrew looked at the pendant he picked out for me and sheepishly said, “I think this is really cool. Um, do you think I could just keep it?” Then during lunch, Jacob got out of his chair to give me the sweetest hug. Looking straight at me he said, “Happy Muhver’s Day... (insert pause)... Um, like, you know how we gave you gifts? Well are you going to give us gifts too?”

Tomorrow night there will be a wedding reception on our street. We live on a private cul-de-sac, and this type of thing is not really unusual here. There are always events and gatherings taking place, and even film crews use the houses and yards for movies and TV show sets. However, a wedding reception on our street and front lawn will be the first for us since we moved here nearly two years ago. The kids are super excited. Andrew is especially going beyond what I would expect of him. He asked me if we were going to be on the news! Then, in all seriousness at the dinner table last night, he thanked God for the food and for the day, then asked God to, “‘Pwease’ help me find someone to dance with at the wedding.” 

We will see.

On Tuesday I took pictures of Michael because his smile and facial structure will be changing due to braces and various orthodontal contraptions. It’s good-bye to my little bulldog. 



I’m going to miss that smile and pouty lower lip that comes when he is deep in thought. He’s had the cutest underbite ever since his teeth came in as a baby, but we are aware that as he gets older this will become problematic for him. 


Wednesday he was fitted with an expander on the roof of his mouth. I’ll cranking it twice a day to expend the top back teeth, and he will get braces in a month. It’s uncomfortable and awkward for him, poor guy.



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Jon read Micah 6:8 on Sunday and it has stayed with me all week:

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
  and what does the LORD require of you
 but to do justice, and to love kindness,
  and to walk humbly with your God?”

I’ve thought of these words from so many perspectives this week, and I have prayed that our lives would be marked by doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God. It was the perfect verse for us this week. I want righteousness, a life that glorifies God no matter what the cost. 

There will always be risk, and therefore temptation to compromise. Maybe it is loss of friends, reputation, money, work. Maybe living out what is right leads to others misinterpreting motives; often doing what is right is counter-cultural and weird. Often there are undesirable stereotypes attached. 

I want to keep my eyes on the goal. This week I have felt like the needed position is with a wide stance, center of gravity lowered, head down, and plowing forward full force. There may be bumps, even falls, but there must be a determination and a refusal to give up.

And that’s how I want to pray too. The more I get into the realities of life, the more I realize that prayer is an absolute necessity.  I want to come boldly, and to pray fervently and relentlessly, knowing that our God is power. There is too much at stake.

And though prayer is exhausting at times - as we unload our burden and plea for help and wisdom, souls saved - it is not always so. Prayer has been a sweetness in my week as well, like refreshment to a worn out soul.

I had an encouraging conversation with an older lady this week, and the Lord used her to reinforce truths and convictions that were directly applicable to me. I came away with so many nuggets of truth for wise living, and encouraged to do what I know the Lord has called and enabled me to do, regardless of what others may expect or require of me. 

We also discussed the busyness that is characteristic of life in the modern day church, and how, if one could imagine, family and church life would be different if activities, programs, ministries, etc. were pared down to the very basics. What if each family stepped back from the crazy demands that come with too much involvement and really focused on the spiritual health of those in their household, and then extend care to others in a less formal way? I would imagine we would have healthier families, and therefore healthier churches. 

Today, I was able to sneak a little time to read during Olivia’s lesson, and providentially  this is what I read:

“Modern Christians tend to make busyness their religion. We admire and imitate, and so become, Christian workaholics, supposing that the busiest believers are always the best. Those who love the Lord will indeed be busy for him, no doubt about that; but the spirit of our busyness is constantly wrong. We run round doing things for God and leave ourselves no time for prayer... But we do not feel the need to pray, because we have grown self-confident and self-reliant in our work. We take for granted that our skills and resources and the fine quality or our programs will of themselves bring forth fruit; we have forgotten that apart from Christ - Christ trusted, obeyed, looked to, relied on - we can achieve nothing (see John 15:5)... But activism [busyness] is not holiness, nor is it the fruit of holiness, and the activist’s preoccupation with his own plans and schemes and know-how tends to keep him from either seeking holiness or increasing in it...

“...For self-reliant busyness, so far from being a form or expression of holiness, is actually a negation of it and a distraction from it.”

(Keep in Step with the Spirit, p. 98, 99)

Obviously there are different seasons of life and the busyness of each season is vastly different, but I think we need to carefully consider what we are so busy with. I want to make sure my busyness is not at the expense of the one basic thing: My relationship with God. And if that relationship is real, alive and healthy, the next most important things will fall into place more naturally.

I know my thoughts are still fragmented, but somehow it will begin to make sense. I pray that I would search and desire clarity so that I can apply what the Lord is teaching me.

The lyrics to Bebo Norman’s song “I Will Lift My Eyes” have been helpful in redirecting my thoughts this week as I drive around in my busyness. These words in particular:

God, my God, I cry out

Your beloved needs You now

God, be near, calm my fear

And take my doubt



Your kindness is what pulls me up

Your love is all that draws me in



I will lift my eyes to the Maker

Of the mountains I can't climb

I will lift my eyes to the Calmer

Of the oceans raging wild


I will lift my eyes to the Healer

Of the hurt I hold inside

I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes 
To You

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Olivia's summer freckles are coming through... Beautiful girlhood!



And here's what the boys looked like when I called them in for dinner. They can make me laugh so hard, even if I do want to cry at the same time! Do you realize the scrubbing they needed? I told Michael I needed to scrub the top layer of his skin off before he was clean.




Happy weekend everyone!




~Katherine




2 comments:

  1. I needed this so much! Thank you Katherine! I often think (although we are busy in other ways with ministry here) that our kids are "missing out" on programs, activites, co-ops etc...but I should really be thankful for the simple, uncomplicated life we live and that even when we are lacking in activities and friends, they just LOVE to be at home with their own family. I am thankful for the time we have to invest in their spiritual lives.
    Thanks for your perspective!

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  2. Oh, how I can picture Michael as a baby with his underbite!
    Sweet, child! He has grown into a handsome boy.

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