Power of prayer

You know, whenever I hear of some tragedy in someone’s life (or experience one in my own),whether big or small, I just have a moment where I think to myself, How on earth does someone get through something like this without God? I mean,I know that in my own life, whenever I encounter struggles, I always feel like I can make it through as long as I have Him.And I have personally experienced the peace and comfort that can surround you in your time of need when you know that you have others who care about you and are praying for you.
It can truly make such a difference, which is why I count it as such a blessing in my own spiritual life to be able to impact someone else’s through the power of prayer–especially someone I personally know and care about.

“The Lord has heard my plea;the Lord accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:9

“Rejoice in hope,be patient in tribulation,be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with shouts of deliverance.Selah. I will instruct you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:6-8

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Healing

I am still sad that I could not participate in the final farewells of my friend Carol, but everything I have heard from all of my friends who were able to attend makes it difficult to feel quite so sad. It makes her loss somewhat easier.

There were hundreds, literally hundreds, of people who showed up to celebrate her radiant life yesterday. The sanctuary was full, the overflow rooms were filled, and people were lining up down the street. She was so much more loved than I think she ever realized. And it has been strikingly evident that, while her family is naturally hurting, they are also at peace. Everyone has said that it really was an uplifting and joyful celebration of her life, and that makes me happy.

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I feel so privileged to have known Carol for so many years and to have gone to school with her every day.

Her death has hit me so hard. It is just such a shocking thing when one of your contemporary friends passes away so young. But her life was full, and most of all it was exemplary. She experienced so much, which is a blessing, but she also has taught so many people so much, both while she was living and through her death.

I know that rings true for myself. When she was alive she taught me to always have a smile on my face and to be kind to others. Through her death she has taught me to appreciate every moment of my life, and to examine my faith in a way that I don’t think I ever have before.

I don’t think we should be sad over her death for the rest of our lives–she wouldn’t want that. But I don’t ever want to forget the impact that her life and passing have had on me.

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“God has blessed me more than I could ever ask for. Perfect husband, amazing family, spot for me in heaven. How do we overlook Him so easily?”
-Carol Michelle Hensley Singletary

“Having a bad day? Hold your hand over your heart…feel that? That beating? It’s called purpose! You’re here for a reason, so make the most out of it.”
-Carol Michelle Hensley Singletary

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“I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.”
-Sylvia Plath

Be calm in the midst of the storm.

“The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning.
It’s time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.
Bless the Lord, O, my soul,
O, my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
O, my soul.
I’ll worship Your holy name.
You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger.
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing,
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.
Bless the Lord, O, my soul,
O, my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
O, my soul.
I’ll worship Your holy name.
And on that day, when my strength is failing,
The end draws near, and my time has come,
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending,
Ten thousand years and then forevermore.
Bless the Lord, O, my soul,
O, my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
O, my soul,
I’ll worship Your holy name.”

-Matt Redman

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Today is a hard and very difficult day for me, and tomorrow will be as well.
A Celebration of Life service is being held for my beautiful friend Carol today, and tomorrow morning she is being laid to rest.
These would be emotional days regardless, but they break my heart even more since I an across the country and am unable to attend and say my last goodbyes in person with all of our mutual friends.

Yet I am continually reminded to hold onto hope, and to keep my eyes on the Lord, who is a God of peace, whilst facing this storm in my life, because without Him I will sink.
I don’t know what tomorrow or the future holds. All I know right now is the pain in my heart, but I hope that this song rings true for me and all the others I know who are grieving right now:

“Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.”

Be thankful to God for your life, because it is not a right, but a privilege and a gift. We are not guaranteed any time on this earth but this immediate moment.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Romans 15:13

Life.

What would you do if you knew when you were going to die?

How would that knowledge impact your life?
Would you make different choices?
Would you be a different kind of person?

Would you spend what time you knew you had appreciating every second, or would you just spend time obsessing about your coming fate?

Would you be ready when the day came?
Would you go gracefully, knowing all along that you made the most of the time you were given? Or would you do everything you could to evade it because you selfishly want more?

Our lives are not forever. When you are young, it is so easy to not contemplate the future. Without even realizing it, we have this idea in our brains that we are invincible, unbreakable. We never question the idea that we will grow old, because that is just what people do.We grow up and we get old and then we die.

But the reality is that we are not given that promise. Our lives could end tomorrow, or even today. We have no idea when our time will come, but when it does, it is not negotiable. So why do we fill our days with meaningless things? Why do we work jobs that make us miserable? Why do we not attempt to live happy lives while trying to make others happy as well? Why do we not help each other as often as we can? Why do we not tell our loved ones how much they mean to us every chance we get?

Life is important.
Life is fragile.
Life is fun.
Life is hard.
Life should be meaningful.
Life is a gift.
Life is fleeting.

Will you be ready when your time is up?

“And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief…”

“The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,
Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sere.
Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie dead;
The rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit’s tread;
The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrubs the jay,
And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy day.
Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately sprang and stood
In brighter light and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood?
Alas!They are all in their graves, the gentle race of flowers
Are lying in their lowly beds, with the fair and good of ours.
The rain is falling where they lie, but the cold November rain
Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.
The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long ago,
And the brier-rose and the orchids died amid the summer glow;
But on the hills the goldenrod, and the aster in the wood,
And the yellow sunflower by the brook in autumn beauty stood,
Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men,
And the brightness of their smile was gone, from upland, glade, and glen.
And now, when comes the calm mild day, as still such days will come,
To call the squirrel and the bee out from their winter home;
When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees are still,
And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill,
The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore,
And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.
And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died,
The fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side.
In the cold moist earth we laid her, when the forests cast the leaf,
And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief:
Yet not unmeet it was that one, like that young friend of ours,
So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers.”

-William Cullen Bryant

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“Music, when soft voices dies,
Vibrates in the memory–
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the beloved’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.”

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Still in shock.
Rest in peace, Carol.

Grief

“I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice an my supplications.
Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore I will call upon
Him as long as I live.
The sorrows of death encompassed me, an the pains of hell gat
hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord; O Lord,
I beseech Thee, deliver my soul.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low,
And He helped me.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath
dealt bountifully with thee.
For Thou hast delivered my soul from death,
mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
I believed, therefore I have spoken:
I was greatly afflicted:
I said in my haste, All men are liars.
What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?
I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all His people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
O Lord, truly I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant, and
the son of Thy handmaid: Thou hast loosed my bonds.
I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and will call upon the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all His people.
In the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.
Praise ye the Lord.”

Psalm 116

“Give sorrow words;the grief that does not speak knits up the o’erwrought heart and bids it break.”-Shakespeare

 “Sing, silent sparrow of the morning.
Drown out the weeping sound of mourning.
Morning comes in waves of sorrow,
Somber as the day that follows.
Still, morning comes.
Wake, though the heavy feeling lingers.
Catch and release it in your fingers,
Then let go.
Morning comes in waves of sorrow,
Somber as the day that follows.
Still, morning comes.
And I’ll never forget you, dear.
When the sun appears,
You’ll be my light.
And though it wasn’t said, my dear,
Every moment here you’ll be my life.
Morning comes in waves of sorrow,
Somber as the days that follow.
Still, morning comes.
So sing, silent sparrow of the morning.”
-Lucy Schwartz

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