Tag Archives: family

Daily, Mindful Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, January 20, 2017

Daily, Mindful Prayer.

flower-in-rocks-mindfulness

Sometimes, life happens. In my life, other people’s lives. Mindfulness helps when life happens. Daily, mindful prayer.

I went through life, as usual. Yeah, I encountered some rough spots, as well as some great times. Sometimes stuff happens to me, and sometimes stuff happens to my family. Like, when an elderly loved one of mine had a serious illness in November, and the doctors finally told the family that he needed to enter hospice at the beginning of December. Then, two weeks later, he died. So, the extended family had to deal with something quite serious—a death in the family. On top of which, things were complicated by the holidays.

Sometimes stuff just happens. All during the fall, during my loved one’s illness, I was reminded that I could pray and meditate anywhere.

Prayer and meditation are not determined by anyone’s position. Sitting, standing, walking—however you would like to practice, it works. What’s more, prayer, meditation and mindfulness are is not exclusive, or only for one particular group of people. Each one of us has the opportunity to reach for the stars.

Each day, each night, mindful meditation and prayer are good options. I need to remember that. Gracious God, help me. Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to come before You, at any time, any place.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Community? In the Midst of Imperfections.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, December 20, 2015

church gathering - meant to be a church choir

Community? In the Midst of Imperfections.

I serve as a pastor. Yet, I feel especially called by God to be a pastoral care giver. To come alongside of people, and walk with them for a bit. Through problems, trials, and difficulties.

Especially at this holiday time of the year, I hear about the difficulties people have with family members. Sometimes, whole sections of families. And often, these people are having fear and anxiety over family gatherings. Supposedly festive times, but somehow morphed into awful, judgmental, anxiety-ridden occasions.

I seldom can do anything for people other than listen. If they ask, I do have several simple things to suggest. For example, limit the time spent with these difficult family members. Yes, show up, if necessary, but often you can choose how long you spend in their company. Be selective when accepting holiday invitations. You do not need to attend every party or dinner or function. And, most important, try to have your own transportation when possible. If the family members are becoming unbearable, you can excuse yourself. It is all right. Do what you need to do.

In my Advent meditation for today, Henri Nouwen brings up Parker Palmer and his writings on community. I know that many people think that “community” and “family” are places where we are all feeling warm and fuzzy feelings about each other. And in the best of all possible worlds, that kind of community and family would be marvelous. A portion of people even get to experience that warm, genial, loving kind of community and family, on a regular basis. But, many people do not.

Nouwen says that Palmer says: “community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives….Community is in fact the place where you are purified, where your love is tested, where your childhood of God is constantly put through the mill of human relationships.” [1]

I know I have idiosyncracies that can drive other people up the wall. Just as much as others’ habits and manners and ways of doing things can drive me wild, too. God, help me not to bug other people. Help me to be careful not to be too annoying. Help me to do my part. And, I have faith that You will take care of the rest.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 44.

Fifth Sunday in Lent – Number our Days, in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 22, 2015

praying hands 2

Fifth Sunday in Lent – Number our Days, in Prayer

I have visited hospitals and a hospice myself during the past few weeks, so I have been thinking about serious illness and death. On top of that, I am currently walking with and praying with several acquaintances as they prepare to transition from this world to the next. I try to be supportive to their families and loved ones, as well, offering to do what I can. Sometimes, I sit quietly in the room beside the family as they prepare for the transition. Whatever they might need, I try to supply it.

Several days ago, I attended a panel discussion sponsored by Life Matters at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The discussion centered on end-of-life concerns. I was particularly interested in how the representatives on the panel came from different religious groups, yet had so much in common when having end-of-life discussions. The most poignant remark (and my take-away for the evening) came from my acquaintance Rabbi Joe Ozarowski with Jewish Child and Family Services. He quoted his mentor: “Everyone has an expiration date.”

So true! Especially at such a thoughtful season of the year as the Lenten season, it is good to consider our mortality. As I am reminded by Psalm 90, teach us to number our days. For a few days more! In just a matter of days, Lent will have come and gone, Palm Sunday and Holy Week will be past, and the blessed celebration of Easter will once again be here.

I am encouraging us all to consider our expiration date in the revealing light of Lent as well as the blessed light of Easter. Yes, these are serious things to consider. However, we can make each day count by numbering our days.

Dear God, allow each of us to come before You in spirit and in truth. Help each one to be aware of our human-ness and our mortality. I think those are good things to consider, prayerfully. Dear Jesus, help each of us to remember You and Your journey to Jerusalem as Lent comes to a close. For each of us, please provide the knowledge, opportunities and experience each of us needs to not only live, but to flourish. In Jesus’ name, amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Freedom From Fear

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, January 11, 2014

crocuses in Portland

crocuses in Portland

Freedom from Fear

Among other things, I’m a mom. Although I am also a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend, I have begotten four children. I go through cycles where I feel the urge to pray for other things and other people. However, sometimes God instructs me to pray specifically for my children. During the past few weeks, I felt that instruction. So, I did—on a fairly regular basis.

I know there are many ways to pray for loved ones. However, I have been using a wonderful book by Stormie Omartian called The Power of a Praying Parent for years when I pray for my children. On and off, I mean. I do not hold myself up as any paragon of prayer, by any means. (Not like Stormie! And not like my former prayer partner, Zhou Hui, either! Both are awesome women of prayer.)

Today, I was reminded of a chapter in this book where Stormie gives some pointers on how to pray against fear in our children’s lives. Some days ago, I prayed through this chapter. I petitioned God on my children’s behalf, asking among other things that God give them wisdom from above, protect them from evil influences, and bless them in all they do. I prayed for this wonderful prayer of Stormie’s to be applicable in my husband’s life and in mine, too.

Today, I remembered the acronym for FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real, and how fear could blindside me when I least expected it. I remembered that I had prayed to be free from fear. Today, this freedom from fear touched me, too, in a very deep way. Honestly, I have not had the easiest last few months. Some significant challenges have come my way. But, I have met them with the help of God, the love of my family, the help and fellowship from my friends, prayer, and the readings in some very helpful books.

I quote again one of my all-time favorite hymns—thanks for God’s promise from the Hebrew Scriptures, Isaiah 41:10. “Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed/For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.”  These words give me comfort, and give me a place to run to. My God has promised not to leave me, nor forsake me. Whether from the Hebrew Scriptures or from the New Testament, God’s promises will not fail. I don’t need to fear. And neither do my children.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for Your Word. Thanks for Your promise to hear us and deliver us from all of our fears. God, forgive me for doubting You. Forgive me for running away from all Your blessings. Show me the way to You, God, so that I may take my fears and anxieties to You and receive freedom from fear. Remembering Your goodness and faithfulness to me and my family, new every morning, Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Gratitude List

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, January 4, 2014

forest and rainbow

Gratitude List

God, I haven’t intentionally written a gratitude list for some time. Several of my friends and acquaintances write gratitude lists on a regular basis. It’s definitely a worthwhile practice! However, I have never gotten into that particular habit.

Still, I have written them on occasion. A gratitude list came to my mind for some reason this evening. I will take advantage of my being at the computer. I’ll start writing my list.

I am grateful for good health—for me. Without that, life would be very different. I am grateful for my husband and family. My husband is a wonderful, interesting, intelligent, straight-forward person, and I thank God for him. My family—three lovely daughters and one good-looking son—is a joy and a blessing to me. (Even though the second two are still teens.) All are healthy, all inquisitive, all intelligent. I love my children and am so grateful for them.

I am grateful for friends, for acquaintances, even for people I see on an occasional basis but don’t know their names. These people are touchpoints and my foundation, and without them my life would be infinitely poorer. I am grateful for the varying places in my life, my community, my church, my workplace. These are all the scenery and backdrops for my life.

I am grateful for our snug condominium and the fascinating, diverse town where we live. I am grateful for the excellent public transportation system in our town (linking us to downtown Chicago—the big train is four blocks from our house, the Elevated train two blocks away, and a bus stops on the corner). I am grateful for employment—my husband full-time and me part-time. I am grateful for a working car and for money for gas and car expenses. I am grateful for computers (plural—we have several laptops).

I am grateful for food to eat, extra food in the cupboards, clothes and shoes to wear. I am grateful for enough. I am grateful for a piano (thank you, Grandpy!), for music—in general, and for the gift of being able to make and enjoy many different varieties of music. I am especially grateful for the endless inventive and creative nature God has given to humans so that they might compose music, write books and produce artwork of all kinds. I am grateful that I have the use of all of my limbs and my physical capabilities, and I show my gratitude by going to the gym on a regular basis. Sure, I have complaints. Gripes. Things may even be significantly wrong, or at least not to my liking. I wonder what God is doing, sometimes! But if I look at the big picture, my life is amazingly blessed.

Let’s pray. Thank You, God, for blessing me and my family with such abundance. Thank You for graciously providing for our needs, one day at a time. Forgive me for my gripes and complaints, even though You pour out your abundant blessings on us, new every morning. Thank You for the gift of Your grace and Your glory poured out upon us. I know I can never thank You enough, but I can try. Thank You again.

@chaplaineliza

Be Thankful. No Matter What.

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, November 28, 2013

I woke up this morning, went out to the car to do an errand, and found it had a flat tire. On Thanksgiving morning.

I was able to get the tire half-inflated, and drove over to the nearby car repair shop, which WILL be open tomorrow. However, that incident throws a monkey wrench in our Thanksgiving Day plans.

Upon reflection, that monkey wrench does not seem TOO serious. My family is currently all in one piece—no accidents or catastrophic events. We are healthy, have (lots of!) food in the refrigerator, a warm place to live, and plenty of warm clothes in our closets. It may not always be that way, but it is for right now.

I do have friends who have sick relatives, one whose sibling just died several days ago, and several more who have chronic health concerns of their own. But God can see us through. God has not failed me yet. I understand from many, many people that God hasn’t failed them, either.

I think of the verse from the first letter to the believers in Thessalonica, where Paul advises the Thessalonians to “be thankful in all circumstances.” I know that Paul was familiar with trials and tribulations in his journeys and voyages around Asia. He did not have an easy time of it, all the time, either. He also had faith that God would be with him, no matter what happened to him, where he went, or who he was with. I ought to follow the example of the Apostle Paul, instead of griping about my personal trials and tribulations. Happy Thanksgiving Day, indeed!

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for a day set aside to give thanks. Thank You for seeing me through my various trials, just as You have been with countless believers in You, over the centuries. Dear God, be with all those who are lacking provision for their physical needs, today. Lead them to people and places that can provide for them. And thanks for the promise we have from Matthew 6, that You do provide for us, one day at a time. What a great Thanksgiving. Amen.