Ask For It

Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.   -Matthew 6:8

 

Why do you hold out on asking God for what you need? Why is bringing your requests to Him so terrifying?

It’s a vulnerable thing to stretch wide your hopes and wonder whether you’ll be wounded.

There are intimate requests. They mean the most to you, and so you’re hesitant to bring them before God and hand them over.

But you cannot keep it from God. He knows what is at your core, because He made you. He knows everything about you, and as He formed you in your mother’s womb, He intimately placed these needs inside of you. Nothing is hidden from Him, nothing can be hidden from Him as to your Creator the darkness is as light.

He isn’t going to take your most treasured desires and requests and air them out to the world. He isn’t going to trample your heart, either. He knows, and He sees, everything that you’re lacking, everything you long for.

Needs are what you cannot live without. What you must have to function and exist. These are vital pieces that stir you to respond to them, perhaps even subconsciously. Maybe you don’t even understand why you long for things you can’t quite place a finger on or define. Maybe you can’t name the need, but know that it is embedded in importance.

Prayer is simple communication. It’s honesty, opening up to your Father and trusting Him with the exposure of yourself. And God wants intimacy with you. He wants this communication, is waiting for you to bring what’s thrumming in your heart to Him. Tell him what you want, and then in the same breath, tell Him how you are afraid. He can handle it. He can also help.

God put what you want within you. He is all around, under and within. Do not be afraid to share your heart. You can boldly come before the throne and approach with confidence that He is protecting and defending you, His child, which includes hearing what’s on your heart and the things that you need. The situation that just doesn’t seem to go away. The mountains that need to be moved. The longing for increased faith. The strength to even believe. He has promised that He will meet you where you are most in need.

Get alone with God and don’t hold back. It’s amazing how much lighter you will feel by simply getting the deep, hidden thoughts off your chest. And there, in your openness and trust, is where He can begin to tend to those things. He is a good Father, who knows precisely how to bring His best to you. So do not fear to give Him the treasures you hold so close. You can depend on Him. Speak and share, and then watch in wonder at what He does with your offering.

 

You Have Promised

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.
-Romans 4:20-21

 

How can I doubt that You are watching over me, taking extra care in my discomfort and sheltering me in Your solid, stoic arms?

Am I that consumed with myself that I see the surface and all that swims around me and think that You have left me to fend for myself, bobbing in the deep and deliriously unaware of my surroundings?

You have provided so much for me in so many ways, so many tiny details each and every hour I cannot contain the numbers of each miniscule miracle. I play the victim in the Woe is Me one act performance, providing excuse after excuse for why I keep myself chained in confusion. Why I cannot claim to clear my conscious when deep within, I know with all certainty, that You are prodding me, chipping away at the scales that have rusted to my skin. You have my purpose resting in Your palms, and You are quietly calling me to reach to You and take what You are promising.

I have been selfish and shallow, wallowing in self-inflicted self-pity, crying out to You to help bring me from the dungeon of doubt that has locked me in. Yes, I have been tested, my walls breached. But if I would lift the shield of faith high above me, I can ward off the arrows that swiftly fly towards my soul. With Your Spirit of truth, I can trust that You are all You say You are, and that You have never left me, nor will You ever forsake me. You have Your righteous hand upon me, watching me, guiding me, and the things I think are tragic will turn to triumph for Your glory.

How dare I delve into the abyss and think You just a figure on my shoulder, a charm around my neck. You are beyond this world, You’ve brought galaxies to life and expelled evil from Your sight. How can I forget the fire You’ve set within my heart?

Forgive me for my frail faith, for not honoring You as I should and for my brittle belief. You are all You say You are, and only by Your power can I exist at all. Persuade me to pay closer attention to You, to pay closer attention to Your details in my day. Help me reconstruct my walls of wisdom and regain my fortress in Your foresight. Deliver me once again into Your corner. Let me remember that my battles are Yours to fight, and that You have the power to do all that You have promised with me.

 

No Easy Way

What part of this did You say would be easy?

You didn’t say.

 

You never guaranteed safe passage through this voyage of life. Never said I wouldn’t struggle, that I’d never be thrown curves in a series of fastballs. You said I would have troubles in this life. But You also said to take heart and not be afraid, because You have taken care of all things terrifying.

And that You would be with me every length of the way. Even when Your footprints are not seen.

You keep coaxing me out of the boat, to take a leg and swing it over the side to stand on water. To take one step into the sea, and then another.

So I do. Warily, confidently, I lift my eyes to the light a thousand yards away. I move as if my feet were touching pavement.

Then I sneak a glance over my shoulder and realize how far from the boat I am. And how far off You still seem to be. Suddenly, the ground beneath me shivers, and I find myself sinking. How fast my faith has faltered. How easily I slip beneath the surface.

I am weighed down, but You arrive where I have fallen and reach beneath the surface to grab my arm and anchor me up. You brush off my bruises and hold me as I begin to understand the need to keep straining for the shore. You hand me a life vest in case I slip again, and guide me once more through the waves. And I want to please You, so I keep moving.

You never guaranteed clarity in this murky world. You never stretched the winding streets before me into straight passage. You only warned me that the air would be full of flying arrows aimed at me heart. But You gave me a shield and a strength to navigate and protect me once I hit the open road.

And, along the trail, lingering beside me, a pair of footprints follows, closely entwined with my own.

 

 

You never said it would be easy to take up my cross and follow You. You simply encouraged me to take heart that You are with me along the way. The road is long, the course uncharted. Please navigate me and reach out to me when I veer off course. You promise to be with me. I am holding You to it. Amen.

 

Reconstruct Me

But He knows the way I take;
When He has tested me,
I will come forth as gold.
-Job 23:10

 

I step through jagged
stones of glass,
cutting the innocent
softness of the underside
of my feet.
though I tread carefully,
pieces of the pain
embed into me,
a reminder that where I go,
I am fallen.
Walk with me.
when I crumble,
be the One
to reconstruct me.
You know my paths,
know which sands
will slice my skin.
You see me scream
my confusion into the
silent sheet of night.
Observe me,
but ready Your hand
to pull me from the mire
when I slip into
its cunning grasp.

 

Empty and Alive

When things are empty, it’s usually not a good sign.

An empty wallet signifies a lack of money, hardest when bills pile up and income wobbles.

An empty glass means you’re out of your favorite beverage, or out of a positive outlook.

An empty brain signals no one’s home upstairs. Usually not good in a school setting.

An empty room- void of warmth and activity.

An empty promise is a hard burden to bear.

An empty heart cries out from the depth of its echo, longing for another soul to smile and let them know they are not alone.

 

But an empty tomb… now that is a very good thing.

A beautiful sign.

A refreshment to our souls.

Because an empty tomb means a risen King! Because the stones scraped together could not contain the power and the glory of the One whom was placed behind the boulder three days previous. When the tomb was opened and no one lay inside, a light pierced the hearts of those who turned and saw the Savior standing before them, with a beating heart and mankind’s hope fulfilled.

A chamber cleansed of death. A new arrival that lifted us to life. A symbol of sadness turned to joy. A bare room, empty and alive. The Son of God, full of flesh. Vibrant. Victorious.

 

An empty tomb took us to a place of astonishment, as the impossible turned possible before our eyes and the breath in our hearts cried out, “Hallelujah! He is risen!”

 

He is risen, indeed!

 

Prayer:

You conquered death and the wrath of God for my sake. Not simply for the whole of the earth, but for ME, the tiny one who stumbles and shakes with fear. You have made me victorious through Your scars, so I may stand cleansed in front of the Father. Because of Your triumph, I am Yours. Thank You for this new and enchanting, eternal life! Amen.

 

Love Like That

The crowds. The echoing screams. The choice. They released a murderer and sent Him to the cross. As it was meant to be. Because while His face swelled with bruises and lips tasted sour vinegar, as His breathing labored and the sky draped itself in dreary mourning, your face flashed through His mind. Your name rested on His tongue, which was parched and took every last ounce to utter words that sealed fate: “It is finished.” Then He dropped his head, crown of thorns wrapped in matted hair, and the temple curtain tore in two, breaking the barrier between your spot in darkness and the welcoming embrace from the mighty Creator of the heavens and earth. For while He fought sin, became immersed in every thought, word and action you would cast, He know the trade was worth it. Worth the pain and humility this lowly death would take to raise you up with Him into eternity. He chose the blows that bled His breath from His lungs, because He saw the love of the Father reflected in your clear, searching eyes, begging to be rescued.

So He fought. Laid His life down for you to lift yours to sit at His right hand, the hand that held the nails and secured your salvation.

 

You’ve never experienced a love like that before. I guarantee it.

 

Prayer:

Thank You for thinking of me while I was not yet a glimpse in this life. Thank You for the nails, and for the battle against death won to save me from my sins. Please let me remember how You love, so I may show that love to others around me. Amen.

 

No More Mourning

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
-Revelation 21:4

 

You came for us while we mourned, while we wailed against the injustice, the suffering, the sting of heart that stayed a companion as we strained our eyes to catch a glimpse of You. Your heart understood ours, cracked and bled and gnarled itself up in sorrow, well acquainted with grief. Did we ever understand? Could we?

How You wept into the city, seeing how we couldn’t see. All around, religious piety and rules, regulations that wrapped us in a choke hold, one You broke free for us. But it took the shadows, the whispers, the exchange of hands for slick coins, the passing of Your body from one inquisitor to the next. And You stood silent, a lamb come for the stain of the world. Your body, blistered from whips and crushed by a crown of thorns, and still they made You climb with a cross close to You, a reminder of what was coming. Hands drilled, ankles torn by nails, a life-size painting perched for all to watch. Breath, rattled, eyes smeared with blood.

Did You imagine what it would feel like, when You nodded consent to the Father and took our  form? Did you knowingly shed glory for gore? Was it my face that crossed Your mind as You trembled on the wood?

All that Your beautiful hands had done. Crafted tables, turned them over, stroked your mother’s hair. Mixing mud and saliva so a man could see, tearing the bread, holding Mary as she wept for her brother. Those mangled hands held galaxies, transformed fish into a banquet.

You have made rough places smooth. Life from death. Light from dark. Air from clumps of earth. While we mourned, You made things new. We came to You, ourselves broken and bleeding, belief on the brink. We were so helpless and scared, yet You took mercy, even while we hurled our insults. Did we know what we were doing? Did we understand?

Our hearts are tired of crying. And You said we’d mourn no more. So we looked to You, as Your voice scratched out that it was finished, and You gave us a lifeline, revival for our searching souls.

 

Prayer:

You made a way where there was none. You gave up Your glory to become like us, misunderstood, mistreated. And You stayed the Father’s course, obedient until the last breath. Thank You for Your sacrifice, thank You for the love that permeated every inch of You, every heartbeat that broke for this world. Thank You that You have made a way for us to see the Father. Amen.

 

Calm Yourself

Stop yourself for a moment. Do you hear what you are saying? The same words flow off your tongue, the same questions quiver in your mind. Over and over again, you stitch them together so no answer can slip through the barrier you have constructed by your own human heart.

You are wearing yourself thin, spinning in circles as you are. You say you want answers, yet when I speak, you push over My words as if you did not hear them, as if they could not be the answer I would give you. So you press on, raising more doubts, entangling yourself in lies when it has been My truth holding onto you this entire time.

You walk with blinders, you rub yourself raw. You keep your head directed to the ground and tune your ears to the noise that swirls around you. Can you not see Me? I am right in front of you. Lift your weary, heavy head and see Me, leading you on, holding out My hand to guide you.

I am here. Always have been. But you have been so persistent, scanning your eyes for what you already know. Round and round you go, winding yourself up so tightly in your mind your heart has no room to breathe, to beat in tune to what I am singing. You are a broken record that skips the best parts of your favorite song. You are a clinging vine of fear that coils around your mind, squeezes tight and clamps down and spills a paralyzing poison in your heart. How you writhe and in place and choke the most important pieces of you!

Relax; don’t strain. Don’t flail in desperation or forsake how far you’ve come. Don’t get so distracted with the roaming rambles of your worries. Your heels are scratching into the sand from attempting to draw near to Me on your own. And you are not moving.

Stand still. Allow Me to come to you. Loosen your limbs, release what you can never control. Close your eyes and feel the whisper of My voice, flowing in your ear and washing through your heart. Let it take root, find its footing and settle in for the long haul. What I have for you may not be what you expected, but I am with you and wish for you so ardently to see and accept.

So calm yourself, beloved. Calm yourself. Sit down beside Me and open your heart. You cannot let Me love you if you are clutching so tightly to your own thoughts. What you have is fine. The way you are has worked alright until this point. This is true. You have been ok.

But you are meant to be more than ok. You are meant to be so much more.

Will you listen for Me? Can you clear your heart and mind and let Me in to revive you, to untangle you from the webs you have spun so haphazardly around your soul?

Unclench your deepest hurt, that vulnerability you try desperately to hide. Let it into the light. Let Me touch those wounded places, that we may be gentle together and begin in a safe place to heal.

 

I promise, it will be worth it.

 

Prayer:

Father, can I relinquish all that I have been holding to You? You promise me it is worth it, though it isn’t easy. I have held so tightly to my own thoughts and ways, yet I see they have gotten me nowhere. Oh Lord, how I long to release myself and trust You! Help me to be strong, and have the courage to follow where You lead. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Whole

You are not whole.

 

Can you feel it? The gap between your lungs? Air flickers through the void, aimless, without weight. It clears your soul to hover in an uncomfortable unknown.

Because of it, you feel heavy. Anchored to some invisible line, leading to blackness. It clips your throat and steals your breath. You cycle through emotionless day after emotionless day, forging ahead, filling your mind with trivial details you won’t remember the next week just to keep yourself from acknowledging the aching in your heart. From acknowledging the tear across your aorta where dreams disband and darkness develops. It is forbidden to feel. You will not let yourself admit to your misery because that would mean relying on someone other than yourself.

You’ve attached yourself to a plethora of people who welcome you for a time but rid you when you’ve served your purpose. All you want is for the dullness inside to deepen, to take root and twist around you so you are wrapped in something that won’t let you go. Each day is the same strain to keep together; each night brings terrors that reach for you with chilling hands. How much more heartache can you handle before you slip into nothing, a shell of the woman you once dreamed to be?

You are still a little girl inside. Still vulnerable, still hopeful beyond rational reason. You play with perfection, watch it slip to the molting earth and wonder when it was, that moment you stopped believing.

What can you say when your voice is taken from you, when you call out for answers and are met with silence? There is a mystery in the caverns of your cry, deep enough to hide in yet easily accessible. When you slip the door open a crack, trying to trust, an intruder bursts in and upturns your lamps, the fire that keeps you ignited. It is a whirlwind, tearing through with no warning, and you are left sitting in the ashes of apathy. Better not to give yourself away, you think. Better to burn out than attempt to kindle any kind of resolution from the mistakes you’ve made.

That missing part of yours still longs to be put together. To find its counterpart and feel, for once, that just maybe you are meant to be taken care of. Meant to be treasured, a pearl in a sea of stained stones.

So you dare to look around the darkness. Dare to face the light that is turning on your hope. Because in the depths of your disappointment, you know that there is more outside these walls you’ve constructed. A bridge across the canyon between your ribcage. A soft landing from your hard fall.

You are spinning. So uncertain, confused at the yearning inside. But movement is good. Movement means there is direction. There is a voice that continues to call. And you follow, hesitantly at first, because you are scared to step away from the prison you’ve preserved. But with each step, the voice grows stronger, sweeter. And the indentation in your soul craves to converse with it. Your soul is smart. It knows what it needs. It knows where to tug, where to pull you. It knows it is meant to be whole.

 

 

Lord, I am missing some key pieces. I’ve kept the buried deep in my heart, closed up and refused to bring them to the surface. I am ashes and emptiness. But I long for the light. Help me move towards You, even if it’s a slow pace and with small steps. I want to be closer to You, want the love and the healing You offer. Guide me to those missing pieces, my God. Amen.

 

Only You

It’s only You.

Only You can save my heart, even when You’re the only who can cut down deep enough to excavate what needs to go. It is a surgical procedure, and Your scalpel is swift and sharp, but I am finally at the point where I know You want to help me, it’s necessary to my survival, that I allow this surgery to happen.

So I sign over my permission, release my clutching hands from around my heart, leave my flesh exposed, wound open and sensitive to every small speck that finds its way to touch the surface. I am fully trusting You to operate, and receive me well.

It hurts, though. Oh sweet mercy, how Your incisions are painful! My bleeding heart, cut by Your blade. I cup my hands to catch what flows down and hold it all out to You. These intimate, tender pieces—they are Yours. Absorb them into Yourself. I scream out, for I am awake for this procedure and acutely aware of each place You stitch. Every cut I feel, antiseptic stings like madness. But such a fierce burn soon cools to a nurturing salve, even as I twist and coil, searching for comfort.

My chest parted and most delicate organ on display, I am determined to let Your fingers continue to massage, scrape, rearrange. Use the instruments You must, take time to do it right. This holy healing rips my sensors, strengthens my soul. Only You reach where others cannot, bend Your mouth to whisper words that sustain me in this state of suffering. Only You see what will be; bones must break before they reset, scrapes must be swiped clean as to avoid infection from meddlesome debris.

Strange thing is, I am more certain of Your presence here with me on this cold, metal table, than I’ve been in years. This pain still blazes, sharp and slicing through my raw heart, but You delve in to it with a willingness of Your own, reassurance that there is something eternal going on in the here and now.

Hold me. May I move as You move, bend as You bend, and lay supine for the remainder of this reconstruction. Surrendered to Your steady hand, counting breaths as Yours merge with mine. Eyes calm and locked on You, lovingly tending to this work within. This is for my good and Your glory. Chip away. I trust You with the pain, in the wire cuts, rub of my red heart. Only You feel what I feel. Only You know how to heal. Only You can truly bring me back to life.

 

Lord, this does not feel good. I have never been so acutely aware of the pain, yet also of Your presence. This is You with me, in the tapping of my bones. You are my sustenance, my comfort, my healer. I need to within me, to massage my soul from the inside out. We will walk this together, as I keep holding my heart out to You. Amen.