Monday, May 19, 2014

Are you there, God? It's me Jane.

I know.
That's not the actual title.
In real life, her name is Margaret.

I loved this book.

So hard.

I can't remember the details, but I think it's about a 12 year old girl, moving to a new neighbourhood, waiting for her period to start already. I read it when I was about 12, the new girl, just moved to the farm, wondering when I'd get my period. This book was her conversations with God during that confusing time in her life.

Now. Years Later.
I'm old. Living in a new neighbourhood. And waiting for my period to end.

(And with that we say goodbye to the last male readers I had.)


Dear God,

Hi. It's me, again.

I'm not really waiting for menopause to begin/my period to end. I know it'll happen eventually. And to be honest, I'm not in a hurry. I'd be OK having it for another 10 years. I don't handle change very well, so keeping things the same, indefinitely, is fine by me.

Although, I'm not sure about my living arrangements. Maybe that could change? How should I be praying about that?

I have a hard time talking to You about me. Have you noticed that too? I blather on and on about the peeps I love, but hardly ever get around to chatting about myself. I never know what to say. I'm never sure what I should be asking for. Or if I even should be asking for anything. And saying sorry is so embarrassing. I hate having to say it. You've probably noticed that too... my hesitancy to own up when I screw up.

(That's one of the amazing things I love about the NA community. They keep reminding each other to 'own your shit'. When you make a mess of things, own it, apologize for it, learn from it AND MOVE ON.)

So most of my 'formal' prayers are a long list of 'thank you's'.  And 'please can you's'. This one? Won't be any different.

Thank you, God, for, providing my dad with a safe place to live. For a new facility that doesn't smell, isn't falling apart, is comfortable, and has professional staff caring for it's residents. Thank you that he has a nice room, overlooking the gardens, with a flat screen TV on which to watch his favorite movies. Thank you for keeping him pain-free. Thank you for the friends who drop by to visit him; God, please bless them in a special way for remembering. Thank you for choosing him to be my dad. Thank you for equipping him to be a loving, selfless, outrageously extravagant man. I won the dad lottery when you decided to make me his first-born. Thank you.

Thank you, God, for my mom. Thank you for enabling her to love my dad through this season. Thank you that she is able to visit him every day. Thank you for providing her with the strength and means to spend every afternoon by his side. God? Could you surprise her with an unexpected source of joy? In a deeply personal way could You let her know that You are well-pleased with her faithfulness? Remind her that You love her, and are proud of her. Thank you for her unwavering love for her family. I am benefiting from her generous nature - thank you for making those arrangements (that I'd be her daughter) even before I was conceived.

Hmmm. God? There are so many people whom I love that don't know you. Could You get on that? Or, rather, keep on it? Keep pestering them. Keep overwhelming them. Keep inviting them. Keep reminding them. Keep doing intensely personal things to get their attention. Keep handpicking their companions, guiding their footsteps, choosing their job opportunities, protecting their dwelling places, guarding their rooftops, hovering over them in their activities, blessing them with good friends, speaking quietly to them in their fears, shouting loudly to them when they're being retarded, carrying them when they have no strength left, whispering words of love to them when they've hit the bottom, equipping the churches in their neighbourhoods to be ready when they show up, and doing all these things to their best friends as well. Peers trump families, so God, I pray that You would be at work, not only in my loved ones lives, but in all their closest friends lives too. That's a list of 78 people. I've forwarded that list to you... so You know who I'm talkin bout.  God? Please? Your will be done. Your will be done in all these lives.

God? I just thought of something I could pray about for myself. Please help me not grow weary about praying for these people. Some days, its just so discouraging. Like, do these words of mine even make a difference? Most of these people? I don't even know personally. I just know their names and have a huge burden to pray. Help me not to give up when I don't see results. AND HELP ME NOT TO JUDGE THE RESULTS. I've come to realize that everyone's journey towards (and with) You looks different. My relationship with you is not going to be the template for these 78 others. Their circumstances, communities, and cultures are worlds apart from mine... so give me an extra dose of patience as I watch and wait and pray and rejoice and cry and lament and pray some more.

Another thing on my heart alot lately... those 300 girls that got kidnapped. And all the other kids around the world that are kidnapped. And all the sex-trafficking and abuse that goes on in dark places. God? Are You are work? Can you protect those who have no voice? Prompt me where You think I should do something. Show me what You want me to do. Can you bring the kidnappers to justice. I know You are a just God. Go at them. Unleash Your holy justice on their asses. Your will be done.

And God? Thank you.
Thank you for:

  • being at work in the entertainment industry. Thank you for providing work for actors, directors, editors, writers, musicians, artists, and so on. Thank you for providing audiences to support their work. Please continue to meddle in this industry. Use their stories for Your purposes. Bring together teams of Your choosing for Your reasons. Your will be done. 
  • being at work in the NA and AA communities around the world. 
  • surprising us at Focus with Cinneplex's request, based on that unexpected positive response to Irreplaceable, for an ENCORE SHOWING. God, I pray You would fill seats again, on May 28. 
  • families. And thank you for the purpose of families. God, I pray that we would get it right. 
  • the color green. Oh. My. Goodness. I always forget, during the bleakness of winter, just how rich and vibrant and varied the color green is in Spring. Thank you for green. And all it stands for. 
  • leaders. Thank You for equipping men and women to step up. Thank you for giving them wingmen to stand alongside. Thank you for the opportunities you're providing young leaders with in order to help them develop and grow.
  • mentors. Thank you for inventing the concept of mentorship. Help us to be actively looking for mentors to show us the way in parenting, marriage, careers, life skills, overcoming addictions ... And if we've made it to the other side, (of whatever challenged us) may we be willing to mentor those following behind.
  • music. Is there anything that makes life richer? I think not. Well, other than color. That was a good invention too.
  • stories. Especially ones that we can learn from. Like this one: 
There is a tribe in Africa called the Himba tribe, where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.

And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.

In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.

The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.

And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.

You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.

(from The Mind Unleashed.)

(Whoa man, I love this.
God created you specifically and uniquely, to sing an intensely personal song. Most people in your life recognize which song is yours, maybe even before you're fully aware of it. So when you do that thing you were created to do (write, build, lay bricks, act, sing, dance, lead, mentor, teach, clean, drive, sweep, plant, make lists, push pixels, make pipe, put out fires, plan, balance, serve, bake, wash, whatever ...) everyone benefits. With you in your sweet spot, singing your song with brilliance and confidence? Those around you can go about singing their songs.

Once again, I tell ya, there's nothing like watching people do what they were called to do. So appealing/attractive. So damn sexy. So perfect.)

Shoot. I was in the middle of praying wasn't I? And I said damn. And sexy. And shit and asses. There goes my PG rating.)
Thank you God for listening to me even when I'm not really praying. Thanks for listening when I'm mostly talking to myself and just mulling things over. Thanks for not tuning out after 5 sentences, like some of those other people you created do. Hahaha

God? Be with us the rest of this week.
Guide our footsteps. Limit our options. Point us in the right direction. When we forget the words to our songs, send someone to remind us.



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