“But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!” (Jude 1:20).
Arms outstretched and open, that’s how I want to be with God – like a child standing before my Father, arms outstretched and open, wanting to be lifted, held – and knowing it, owning it that the Father will pick me up, hold me close, carry me, protect me, comfort me.
Praying in the Holy Spirit, though, that lifts straight into the center of God’s love, into the Father’s arms.
Arms outstretched anticipates, believes. Bold. Confident. Assurance of being wanted, loved, valued: Is my daddy going to pick me up? No doubt – especially when that daddy is Father God.
Arms outstretched believes whole-heartedly – and it is my job to either say, pray and lay that foundation in my son’s lives, regardless of age.
Last week, a lot of foundation work went on at many structure levels. It was a prayer-results-emerging week, too. Not a gut-wrenching, take-me-to-my-knees week. It was one of those weeks where the stone-laying went smoothly. Where everything seemed to go just right. Progress was made.
Progress because of a lot of behind the scenes building through praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping centered on God’s love and not giving up. Living arms-outstretched, reaching, so ready for His mercy – that’s how last week happened.
Only with arms outstretched, hoping, believing, expecting can we received the blessings, the answered prayers.
Still joining with Ann in my journey to 1,000 gifts. Each day, there are gifts, some so simply, they could be easily over-looked. Some just roll over you like like a an army – you can’t miss it. Vintaging my week? Love Letters from God? So many treasures of His love!
278) My acorn turned 17 (See Growing Up My Acorn)
279) the same night another son played a middle school soccer game
280) This acorn, he came, hung out, laughed and tormented the littlest brother
281) hung out with friends on the lacrosse field, old and new friends
282) and he smiled, genuine smiles, feeling-at-home smiles that were, though he didn’t know it, answer-to-prayer smiles.
283) His biggest brother, sweet wife and baby girl came to dinner at our favorite celebration restaurant,
284) I got to hold baby girl all through dinner, her Papaw did, too
285) Dinner had our favorite dishes, silly smiles, feeling that family feeling that is just blessing, a gift from God, those moments you pray happen, except we were missing one
286) missing the one who has made better-man choices all year long, better-man choices that take him fishing, better-man choices that are answered prayers.
287) A carrot juice smoothie with a friend over lunch
288) My littlest guy, winning the sub-region 4-H Science Fair in Electricity. He came home from school in January wanting to do his project over Series and Parallel Circuits – and hounded us. Self-motivation is a blessing from God – and he has that.
289) Report cards that show healthy work ethics.
290) Knowing that prayer can change things that need to be changed.
291) Pansies in my flower boxes really blooming from Fall plantings – reminding that faith is believing in things that seem unbelievable.
292) Sitting around the chiminea with friends until a thunderstorm rolls in with lightening and hail, but we have a Holy Cow cake and a Kentucky basketball game to take its place.
293) Sleeping until 9 a.m. on Saturday morning
294) The red cardinals, still nesting in my yard, still singing their songs. Even at 1 a.m. There’s such an abundance – that it’s like God, instead of dropping confetti in my life to say, “Your faithfulness brought you home,” he filled my yard with cardinals instead.
295) My minister did a sermon on 1 Samuel 30: – where after David left home to do what God wanted him to do, when he returned, his family and the family of all his mighty soldiers had been taken. David grieved – the situation tore his heart. His men felt it was David’s fault and thought about stoning him – but David took it to God, believed in God’s plan – and ultimately retrieved not only his family but all the soldier’s families. This story so blessed me, reminding me that the journey God sent us on 2 1/2 years ago, where at times I felt like I was losing my sons, my home because the challenges were so hard – that because we took that journey because God told us to, that during the challenges we never lost faith, we continued leading our young men in the ways of God along with much praying, that He not only brought us safely home, but not one of our sons will be lost through the challenges because of our faith, our never taking our hearts off Him. It was like God whispering to me, “Like David, you will not lose one. Not one!” My God is a mighty God who lays stepping stones to my life that I cannot always fathom but I can take each step in faith and trust. Thank you, Father!
296) Faith that growing pains are just that – evidence of growing opportunities.
297) Blackberry Currant tea in an “I love you this much” cup at my desk at work.
298) Living encouragement, the power of positive thinking, and always looking for confetti moments – the desire for everyday living to never get old.
299) Finding a diet dr. pepper hid behind a book and another under a straw hat – and sharing one with my littlest guy.
300) That I don’t give up on bed-time tuck-in moments.
301) Morning prayer on the way to school: one leading the Lords’s prayer, one the 23rd psalm and the teen picking a proverb, and me praying, asking each boy to find 3 people to pray for each day