Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 2017: Beauty in Winter

The infamous Blizzard of New Year's Eve left behind a foot of white, fluffy, cold, pretty snowflakes that took our breath away. Our colourful world was rendered blue and white.

That snow?
Stuck to every surface.

The past was covered, nothing but new ahead.

Dear God.
This just feels like a fresh start to the upcoming year.
So clean.
So hopeful.
So serene.
So quiet.

Can I start over?
Can I say sorry and can You forgive me and can today be all fresh and new and squeaky clean?
And I can stop feeling guilty?
And can we try again? And by this I mean, can Your will be done in my life, and can I be better at allowing that to happen?

Can you direct my paths?
Guide me, even if I'm looking the wrong way?
Trip me up and turn me around when I'm heading off in a direction that is not part of Your plan.

Can You open and close doors according to Your purposes and plans for my life?
Can you help me learn to accept those plans with a better attitude, and without the constant nudging on closed doors just to see if maybe they aren't really shut and locked?

Can You please continue to bring into and take out of my life people of your choosing? And can You help me not whine about it? Can You help me not run after or long for people You've said no about? And can You help me embrace and love those that You've chosen for me to spend time with?

Can I ask You again, a couple times a day (and sometimes a couple times an hour) to protect and love my people?

Haha. "My people."
My people, which You have given to me:


Your will be done in their lives.
Your will be done.

God, I pray for my kids, their friends, my friends, their kids, my extended family, my "12" ...
I pray for our leaders.
Our churches.
Our church leaders.

I pray for our places of employment.

I ask for Your protection and blessing on rehab and detox facilities.
I ask for Your presence at Universities and Colleges.
I ask for Your blessing on care homes and senior's facilities.

God? Syria? And other war torn countries? How should I pray? That Your spirit of peace would prevail in that place? That Godly leaders would be raised up? That evil will be overcome? That families will be reunited? That Your will be done.

God? Folks who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions are heavy on my mind. Please, please, please ... surround them with people who speak their language and can provide them with hope. Be there, right beside them, in that pit of "the bottom" so when they hit it, they have a way out. Provide them with counselors, role models, sponsors, friends to walk alongside.

God. I pray that as they chalk up clean time, they will feel a lightness and a peace. I pray that once their minds and bodies are clear, Your message of hope and healing would be heard clearly.

Give their families peace. Give them courage. Provide them with friends who've gone ahead and understand.

God, let them be brave enough to share their stories. May all the glory be Yours.

God, I pray for students.
I pray for focus and limited distractions and discipline as they say no to fun things in order to study and write. I pray, that with Your help, they'll be able to keep their eyes on the end prize, and work with diligence towards it.

I pray for their learning environments, their instructors and teachers, their study partners and group-project-team- members. I pray for their minds and brains and their bodies...

If discouragement sets in, God, I pray you provide support. If lack of understanding becomes an issue, God, I pray they would set aside their pride and ask for help. If financial stresses become overwhelming, I pray You would help them find a source of income.

God I pray for the success of today's students. I pray You will cover them with your protection and use them to build Your kingdom.

And I pray for those looking for meaningful work. Protect them from despair. Guide them to organizations that would appreciate and benefit from their involvement.
Swing open doors of opportunity; handpick their places of employment according to Your plans for their lives. I pray for employers who are kind, supportive, worthy of praise. I pray for work that is life-giving, and challenging and makes a difference in this world.

I pray for co-workers who are hardworking, fun, experienced, encouraging.

I pray Your will be done in the lives of those needing work.

God? I pray for our parents.
The circle of life, which is a term I never understood before, as life looked linear to me, is now becoming evident.
And this is how You always intended it to be...
The Bible is filled with stories of Your people becoming very frail and dependent at the end of their lives. And as it was then, so it is now.

No one wants to be needy or reliant.
But it was always part of Your plan, yes? Each generation looks after their children and then their parents, in turn.

Give us wisdom and compassion and strength as we do so.
It's a tricky thing, as pride and self-reliance, factor in on one side. And fatigue and selfishness come into play at the other. God I pray You would intervene. Show us how to do this well.

So many people I love are caring for ailing parents, while working, and babysitting grandchildren. It's a busy season, and we need You to provide us with energy and wisdom. Keep us strong as we care for those entrusted to us. Provide us with good options when we need them. Show us how to be good stewards of time and money.

I pray for the retirement communities, care homes, senior housing ... God I pray these would be places of peace and rest and dignity and care. Fill these places with workers gifted in caring for folks who might need special handling and a gentle touch. Give the residents an extra measure of patience as they adjust to a life that turned out different than they expected.

I pray for our parents as they make adjustments and plan for their futures. Fill their lives with meaning, and purpose, and friendships, and opportunities to be light and love where ever they go. God I pray that this generation would bless and encourage those they come into contact with; health care workers, retail clerks, lab assistants, delivery people, grandchildren, neighbours... I pray for the legacy they leave behind; may it be rich with examples of Your grace and provision in their lives.

And God?
Oh my goodness.
It feels like an epidemic...
So many people struggling with anxiety and depression right now.
Oh. My. Goodness.

What is happening to us?
We so need You.
I pray for healing for those who are being crippled by emotions that are running amok. Give them peace. Calm their spirits. Flood them with peace. Pour buckets of hope over their aching souls. Direct them to doctors and counselors who can help. I pray for correct diagnosis's, helpful medications, healing conversations, nights of deep rest, friends who walk beside, employers who understand, families who surround with love, church communities who extend support, and I beg for complete and total healing for those inflicted.

I pray Your will be done.

And now, like always, I pray for those who don't know You.
Can You reveal Yourself to them in a profoundly personal, deeply loving, totally unexpected, completely overwhelming way in Your perfect timing? Please enable them to respond wholly and utterly to Your call on their lives.

Please stand between them and the temptations and lies that don't allow them to see you clearly.
I pray that they chains that tie them to fear, or disbelief, or apathy, or confusion, or disappointment, would be broken so they could see clearly Your love.

I pray that You would declare, by bellowing to the heavens and the earth, "THIS ONE IS MINE. I am going to be unrelenting in My pursuit of him/her. He/she is MY lost lamb and I will not let go. So, stand down because I'm prepared to battle, and YOU HAVE ALREADY LOST."

I pray that not only they, but also their best and closest friends would become Your followers.
I pray that communities would be shaken up by Your hand at work and the response afterwards.
I pray for families and work places and communities and neighbourhoods and clubs and teams and classrooms that will be forever changed because You called and people responded.

God I pray that 2017 would be The Year.



And then the next day (Jan 2) Mandi (and her dad n mom) loaded everything she owns into a U-haul trailer, so that they following day (Jan 3) her things would travel across the mountains to her new home in Calgary.

A new chapter for our girl.

Dear God,

Keep her safe; protect her and guide her.
Thank you for her new place, her new job, her new semester of school.
Watch over her, please. Provide her with a community of friends who love and support her in a city where she knows no one.

Hold her close, I pray.

And as day shifted to night, we celebrated my mom's 77th birthday.

At the Keg:

The following night, I met Marg and Patrica for dinner and a movie:

Apparently, according to the reviews, Fences is 'an important and challenging movie about family, fidelity, fatherhood and grace.'

It was challenging alright.
And yes, it was definitely about fidelity, family and fatherhood. 
And yes, grace.

But so hard to watch - it was an intense two hours for sure. 

And Viola Davis absolutely deserved that Golden Globe. She was awesome.

On Jan 6, Heather and I saw Manchester by the Sea:

Rotten Tomatoes gave it 97% and Casey Affleck won the Golden Globe for his performance which I predicted because Oh My Goodness, he was perfect.

But this is a sad movie about a sad topic in a town that is dismal and grey and somber. I like leaving movies feeling like I've been entertained or enlightened and this one? Just made my heart heavy. SO much pain.

Hoping for something a bit lighter, Marj, Shelly, Terry, Sandra and I saw Hidden Figures on Thursday:

A perfect movie. 
GREAT acting, inspiring story, amazing script. Hans Zimmer score. 

Go see it.
No really, go see it. 
I'm serious. 

Not only did I learn about these three women, and their strength, I ended up with a bit of a crush on the recently deceased John Glenn. Haha. THAT was unexpected. 


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. A weekend at the lake to think and process and sleep and walk and nap and pray and not talk. (Haha. I'm here by myself and haven't spoken out loud in 40 hours.)

2. People who write books. Just finished A Secret Chord and it has me investigating/researching reading more about David. And re-listening to the sermon series from last year entitled, "Dave".

3. As ever, I'm thankful for actors, and writers, and directors and producers and make up artists and scupltors and casting agents and set designers for their part in the entertainment industry that I am single-handedly supporting financially.


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