Joe took me on a real vacation- or perhaps it was a trip. I'm not sure. My friend Josh told me that vacations are when your children don't come. If you have kids with you, you're only taking a trip. Regardless, we had a great trip. It was time for our little family to spend some quality time together. No TV, phones only for necessity. Good food, good reads, good hikes and lots of playing on the floor with Edwin.
First- I want to thank you, church, for allowing me the privilege to answer my call as a mother and wife. While my vocation as a pastor is of utmost importance, I have also been called to live in the community of a family. You, dear church, respect that call and in doing so set an example for so many other churches and pastors around us. Thank you for prioritizing training lay leaders and other staff to take the reigns when I am worshiping elsewhere on Sunday AM. Thank you Pastor Darren, Tim, Josh, Ron and Mark. You are a brave church to see your pastor as a human being, not just to value him/her for their service to you. Given our human proclivity to brokenness and sin (particularly evident in church fellowships), this gracious act is an exception among churches, not a rule. Thank you for being an exceptional church.
Second- I want to remind you of the power of prayer. Jesus, the Christ, was a living prayer, constantly in communion with God. Because of that steadfast and faithful communion He was able to do and accomplish and resist many great things. All last week I feasted on psalm 143. I encourage you to read it too- I love how the psalmist is sure of God's faithful love and cries out for healing and redemption. Verse 6 is my favorite: "I reach out my hands to you..."
I've got a little boy who is just learning to reach out his hands when he wants to be held or lifted up. That's a powerful image.
Friends, do not underestimate what God can do through you and in you when you lift up your hands to God. God can make a full recovery from a catastrophic stroke. God can make a lump and suspicious scan completely disappear. God can soften the hearts of those who are angry and God can teach even the most stubborn of people to forgive. God can manifest peace in the midst of life's storms or cultivate mutual respect between people who hold two entirely different world, political and social views. God can redeem the most broken, jacked-up and cracked-out situations.
Sometime today- go to a quiet place where you are alone, the corner of your office, your closet, the bathroom stall (?) and physically lift up your hands. Yes, you will feel foolish and self-conscious, but just do it anyway. Close your eyes, bow your heart and lift your hands high and breath. Offer to God all that weighs you down and lays heavy on your shoulders. Feel the freedom of redemption and feel the power of blessed assurance. Wherever you are, whatever you do or have done in the past, or will do in the future is nothing compared to WHO YOU ARE TO GOD. You are God's child. So lift up your hands, reach out and know the father's deep love is reaching back to hold you.
If you need more assurance that you or whatever situation is on your heart is covered in prayer- just send me an email, let us know what's going on and we will pray on behalf of you.