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I Lift My Eyes

 

 

Look Up Child By Lauren Daigle

Where are You now
When darkness seems to win?
Where are You now
When the world is crumbling?

Oh I, I-I-I, I hear You say
I hear You say
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, ayy
Where are You now (where are You?)
When all I feel is doubt?
Oh, where are You now
When I can’t figure it out?
Oh I, I-I-I, I hear You say
I hear You say
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, ayy
Look up
You’re not threatened by the war
You’re not shaken by the storm
I know You’re in control
Even in our suffering
Even when it can’t be seen
I know You’re in control
Oh I, I-I-I, I hear You say
I hear You say
Look up child, ayy
Look up child, ayy
I LOVE this song by Lauren Daigle! It is that windows down, sing at the top of my lungs kind of song. The kind of song that reminds you that no matter what life is throwing at you right now, LOOK UP! God is still on His throne and He is still in control.
I remember the dark days of trying to deal with my own emotional baggage from a failed marriage and still try to take care of five kids without messing them up to much. I remember the pain and anger of lost dreams and living a reality of poverty and struggling alone. I remember the days of doubting myself as a mom and not knowing if I would ever get it right.
I know that you have your own story, your own single mom journey, that you are struggling through. Maybe you are wondering how you will ever get through it.

 

Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Whatever you are going through today, LOOK UP CHILD! Lift your eyes unto the hills! Your help comes from the Lord and if He made the heavens and the earth, He can certainly help you in your situation today.

When the world comes against you, LOOK UP CHILD!

When you don’t know how you will pay your bills, LOOK UP CHILD!

When you are facing a custody case and could lose your kids, LOOK UP CHILD!

When you are desperate for answers, LOOK UP CHILD!

You are NOT alone in your struggle single mom! Let me know if I can pray for you or walk with you through your journey.  You are never alone!

 

 

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“After all, our only support, our only strength is God.” Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

“Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us” Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

“But our hope is in the providence of God, which has protected us until the present and which will provide, somehow, for our future needs…” Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

“We had but one dollar remaining…and we did not know where to get a cent for the want of the house. Still, how could I mistrust Divine Providence?” Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

 

 

After eight years of serving the Sisters in the food service department at the Sisters of Providence, I will be leaving. I am moving from Indiana to Georgia in the middle of May. I have written about my frustration at being “stuck” in food service and not being able to realize my dream of working with single moms. God has answered my prayers and I am moving to Georgia to work with a non-profit that serves single moms and their children. I will move in May and am so excited to see what God has in store for me. The move is bitter-sweet. I am leaving behind a community of women that I have grown to love and respect. These women have been my strength when I struggled in my job and personal life. They will never know how much they have taught me about serving God and life. They have taught me many lessons that I will carry with me as I leave the nest:

  1. Community – The Sisters are a community of over 300 women religious. They have been an example of what living in a christian community should look like. They have different personalities and different perspectives, but they respect each other. They listen to each other and they find that common ground that brings them together. They celebrate the good, they mourn the losses, they pray, they worship, they serve…TOGETHER. These women pray for each other, they encourage each other and they support each other through good and bad. No matter where they are serving, they still do life TOGETHER.
  2. Prayer – The Sisters pray continually. They pray through the nightly news. They take turns praying the hour in the Blessed Sacrament chapel, praying for justice in a world of injustice. They meet together to pray, knowing that where two or three are gathered together, God is there in the midst of them. I will forever treasure the memory of seeing two Sisters, who are biological sisters, praying the rosary together in a quiet corner of the convent. Prayer is an integral part of their lives and they model this effortlessly.
  3. Service – Every Sister has a ministry outside of her religious life. Many of the Sisters are now retired educators. They have been teachers, principals, and administrators in all levels of education. There are Sisters that serve in the medical field, in different roles in the Catholic church, empowering the powerless through justice organizations and they serve in other ministries in housing, food distribution, advocating for the poor. They take on whatever ministry God calls them too. They never shrink from a challenge, but embrace the opportunities to minister to all.
  4. Providence – Providence is the foreseeing protective care and the guidance of God. I have learned to trust in a Provident God. I have learned to have faith in a God that has ALL things under control and has access to ALL resources. I am used to hearing the Sisters comment on the providence of God when things come together in supernatural ways. I have learned to open my heart to those instances when circumstances are aligned in ways that only God could have aligned them. I take with me the faith that a Provident God will continue to provide and protect me in miraculous ways as I serve Him and others.
  5. Courage – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin was the epitome of courage. In 1840, she led a group of nuns from France to establish an academy for women in the wilderness of Indiana. She was often ill, but still founded what is now Saint Mary of the Woods College, the oldest Catholic College in Indiana. She is also the founder of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana. The Sisters of Providence are an order of women religious who have welcomed over 5,000 women as Sisters in the 179 years since their founding. Following the lead of their courageous leader, the Sisters have opened schools, health clinics, food pantries, reunification programs for children in foster care, and a myriad of other programs that address the needs of the poor. I have watched as Sisters courageously battle cancer and other illnesses. I have watched as they have courageously tackled financial struggles and I have watched as they continue to fearlessly face the future.
  6. Love – The Sisters LOVE ALL that walk through their doors. I have felt that love for 8 years, as I have been prayed for, encouraged, shown appreciation for my work, and blessed in so many different ways. The Sisters are an example of God’s love in this world. They truly love those they serve. It isn’t just lip service. When the Sisters say they care, they really do. They welcome strangers into their midst, hoping that the love and peace found at the Woods will be carried in the hearts of those who wander in. No one who encounters a Sister walks away without knowing that they are deeply loved. They don’t care about imperfections and sins of the past. They love simply because God loves. Love is part of their DNA. It is a part of who they are and I have been a blessed recipient of that love.

 

As I face this next chapter of my life, I will remain in community with the Sisters as a Providence Associate. I will continue to join with them in praying for justice where injustice reigns and I know that I carry their prayers with me wherever I go. I will serve where God calls and in Georgia that means that I will be doing what I have dreamed of for thirteen years, serving single moms with a faith based non-profit organization. I will continue to place myself gently in the hands of providence, trusting in a Provident God, who will continue to provide for me as I find resources to provide for other single moms. I will face my future with courage. There are unknowns and obstacles, but I serve a God who is in control of ALL circumstances and I will fearlessly walk forward in faith. I will welcome those around me with the same love that I was welcomed. I will love others despite imperfections and past transgressions. No one is perfect and God loves us ALL.  The Sisters will remain forever in my heart and I will miss their kind words, their laughter and jokes, their good natured teasing of each other and me, and I will miss their patience when I am flustered and stressed. They each go with me as I journey forth. I will never forget the Women of the Woods.

 

To know more about the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana visit their website at www.spsmw.org

 

 

 

Acts 1:13-14

13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Acts 2:42

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Acts 12:11-12

11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” 12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.

My last post was on individual prayer and praying in private. I wanted this post to focus on community (or corporate) prayer. Community prayer is just as important as individual prayer. In these three scriptures we find the early believers joining together constantly in prayer, devoting themselves to prayer, and gathering to pray. When believers join together in prayer, miracles happen.  When believers join together in prayer, healing happens. When believers join together in prayer, communities are transformed.

In order for our prayers to result in miracles and transformations, God asks three things from us:

Repentance – We can not expect God to answer our prayers if we are carrying around unrepented sin in our hearts. When we come together in prayer, we need to make sure that each one of us is asking God to forgive us for any sin that we are harboring in our hearts.

Humility – We need to come together with humble hearts. If we come together wanting to be the center of attention, showing off our flowery prayers for all to admire, God will not answer our prayers. We can not expect God to honor our requests if we do not have humble hearts.

Love – We need to cultivate love in our hearts for each other and those around us. We need to allow the love of God to bring us together, so our prayers are prayers of love and compassion. We can not expect God to answer our prayers if they do not come from a place of love.

In a time when we see more pain and chaos in the world around us than ever before, we need to come together to pray for our communities and the world as a whole. God calls us, as believers, to seek His face together.

Challenge: Find a church or body of believers and join together on a regular basis in prayer for each other and for issues that we are facing as a nation. Find a body of believers who join together on a regular basis to pray for the world. We need to be on our knees in prayer now more than ever. Prayer is what brings us together as believers. Prayer is what brings us to the heart of God.

Prayer is the only thing that can transform hearts and communities. When we pray, God performs miracles.

 

 

Psalm 62:5

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

 

In the first part of this verse, we are told to find rest in God. Let’s break this down a bit:

Find – discover, become aware,

Rest – cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.

In – to be enclosed or surrounded by something else

It is not easy to find rest these days. Time seems to be rushing by and leaving me a bit breathless. There is barely time to get done what needs to be done and when we find rest physically our minds are going a mile a minute trying to remember everything that still needs to be done. I have found that even on vacation, I have an itinerary of things that need to be done or seen in order to make the trip successful. I usually end up tired, stressed and cranky. But, the Bible commands us to find rest in God.

We need to discover or become aware of ways to cease work or movement (including mental movement) in order to relax, refresh and recover strength, surrounded and enclosed by the arms of God where we are safe and protected from the world around us. 

Rest is so important physically, as well as, mentally. When we are constantly running on the hamster wheel of life we burn out. We become physically and mentally exhausted. We become susceptible to depression, anxiety and the schemes of the evil one. We become so tired and overwhelmed that we lose our hope. When we lose our hope, the devil wins. The second part of this verse tells us that our hope comes from God.

Hope – a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. A feeling of trust.

When we lose that feeling of expectation in the good that is God, when we lose that feeling of trust in our God given purpose, the devil wins. The devil wants to keep us running a race that keeps us burned out and overwhelmed. The devil wants us to stay focused on our to-do lists so we take our focus off of God and the hope we have in Him.

WE CAN’T LET THE DEVIL WIN!!!

Challenge: I am challenging you to take time either in the mornings or evenings to find rest in God. Grab your Bible, a notebook and a pen and write whatever God brings to mind. Look up verses on rest and hope. Research verses on God as our refuge from the chaos around us. Write about your hopes and dreams. Define your God-given purpose and in writing put your trust in a God that has EVERYTHING under control. Journal everything that keeps you from resting mentally. I have found that the days I journal and lay it all at God’s feet that I feel peace.

Find that rest in God and never lose hope that God has everything under control.

 

 

 

Matthew 6:5-8

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

I have always felt that God wrote this verse for me and other introverts who sometimes feel our prayers are inadequate compared to the eloquent prayers of others. I spent a few months in the Fall of 2012 and early 2013 spending many hours in the prayer room of our local house of prayer. It was modeled after the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. Integrated into the intercession sets were times of rapid fire prayer and intercessory prayer. For both types of prayer the intercessors would pray on the microphone. The only difference between the two being that the rapid fire prayer segment was intercessors giving 15 second prayers instead of longer, more eloquent prayers. I learned so much during these months about prayer and the end times and I loved spending hours in the prayer room, sitting at the feet of my Savior, but I struggled with the idea of having to pray on the microphone in front of everyone else. Part of what we were taught was that “we are all meant to be outgoing and extroverts.” I knew that God did not make extroverts and then suddenly forget what He was doing with the rest of us. We are introverts for a reason. We are not mistakes and some of us do not feel the leading of the Holy Spirit to pray publicly. We may be in agreement with what others are praying, but that doesn’t mean that God is leading ALL of us to pray publicly. I was made to feel somehow less than because of my introverted ways.

There is a place in God’s kingdom for introverts. There is a place in God’s kingdom for those of us who pray simple, honest prayers from humble hearts. I don’t feel like I need to stand on the street corners or pray on the microphone in a House of Prayer for God to hear me and answer my prayers. I don’t need to pray long, eloquent prayers to get God’s attention. Honestly, God answers my prayers daily and my prayers are usually short and to the point.

There is a place for praying as a community and coming together in agreement. God tells us that too, but I believe that the majority of our prayers are said when we are alone. There is something very special about that time when we meet with Jesus and can share our innermost secrets with our Savior in private. We don’t need wordy, flowery prayers. We don’t need for others to hear us. We can be certain that God hears the prayers of the introvert. We can be certain that God hears the prayers of the shy, quiet, sensitive, anxiety ridden heart and He WILL answer those prayers.

Never think that your prayers aren’t good enough, loud enough or flowery enough. Just because someone in a leadership position tells you that you need to pray a certain way in order for God to hear you does not make it true. Go to the heart of God, His Word, and find out for yourself what the truth is.

CHALLENGE: Read the story of Moses and see for yourself how God used a reluctant man, who by his own admission (Exodus 4:10) was not good with words, to lead a nation to freedom.

Remember Moses and never think that your prayers are not good enough.

 

Rest For The Weary

 

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

I realize I haven’t written for awhile. There are times when I feel exhausted and just can’t bring it together. I am sick with the flu at this moment and feel drained. My diabetes and high blood pressure make it important for me to keep stress at a minimum and practice self-care. It has been hard to do with the stress at work and the stress of the Winter. Sometimes, I get buried in the chaos and stress of life and I forget to breathe. I forget to look forward to the Spring, but the Spring is coming. Jesus is coming! I hang on to Him and look forward.

He is inviting ALL of us who are exhausted and beat down by life to come to Him. When we run to Jesus, He WILL give us rest. Today, I rest in the shelter of my Savior’s arms. I don’t know how long this will last, but I know that I can find rest in Jesus. If you are exhausted and drained by the busyness of life, I urge you to run to Jesus and find rest in the arms of the Savior. Life is hard. Take care of yourself. Find rest in Jesus.

Day 3: Do Not Fret

 

Psalm 37:7-9

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

I have had jobs where another woman or two were bent on making my life a living Hell. From the day I started those jobs, these women were mean and hateful towards me. I never understood why. I had no prior relationship with them. They did not know me or the kind of person I am, but they set out to cause me as much pain as they possibly could. It is hard for me to understand why we attack each other the way we do. We are set on causing other people heartache and frustration. It hurts. If you have been the victim of hateful actions or words from another person, God gives us a blueprint for handling these situations:

  1. Be Still – God tells us to BE STILL. We are to sit and wait…
  2. Wait Patiently – We are to sit and wait PATIENTLY for God. The definition of patience is the capacity to accept delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. This is the hard part. It is normal to get upset and angry when someone is harassing you and causing you pain. God tells us to wait without getting upset or angry. He tells us to wait patiently for Him.
  3. Do Not Fret – To fret means to be constantly or visibly worried or anxious. I am guilty of this! I fret over little things and I fret over big things! I am a work in progress, but this one command is so important that it is mentioned TWICE! Verse 7 tells us DO NOT FRET when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Verse 8 says, “DO NOT FRET – it leads only to evil” When we worry constantly or live in our anxiety it leads us to evil.
  4. Refrain From Anger – God tells us to refrain from anger and turn from wrath. It is normal to feel anger, but dwelling on our anger or the wrong being done to us will lead us to sin against another person and against God. We can scream in our pillow, write out our feelings of anger in a journal or talk to someone safe, but we must NEVER allow those feelings of anger to lead us to doing something that will hurt someone else or separate us from God.

 

God gives us a promise. He tells us that if we can sit and accept our trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. If we can keep from worrying constantly or sitting in our anxiety then:

Those who are evil will be destroyed – God has your back! If you obey His commands, He WILL fight for you! He will bring to justice those who are out to get you!

Those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land – Those who find their hope in God will find their joy in heaven. But what about here on earth? The blessings of God will follow those whose hope is in Him all the days of their lives.

If someone is tormenting you and causing your life to be a living hell, take it to God. Follow the commands above and trust that God will deal with those who are evil. If you need someone to pray with you, I am always here. Let me know how I can pray for you.