This prayer today is taken from Joyce Rupp’s book “May I Have This Dance”. It is a reflection from A Prayer of Wonder.
Jesus calls his first disciples…..
I’ve been struggling for a few days regarding my blog. I began to get feelings of why bother? What’s the point? No one really cares about your reflections…there are thousands of writers out there, why would yours stand out? Its hopeless. It started when I was listening to a professional speak in a class that I’m taking. She said that there are thousands and thousands of book ideas sent to publishers and very few get chosen. So I kinda got discouraged.
Then this morning while praying God told me to pick up my first ever journal. In it was a prayer sheet that I got back in 1995. This was a reflective prayer given to me by Henry Campion and its based on A Prayer of Wonder, by Joyce Rupp:
Begin by thinking about all the ways you use your hands. Think about all that your hands do for you from the moment you first arise in the morning. How would your day be different if you did not have any hands?
Hold your hands in front of you and notice:
…..the texture of the skin on the palm and on the back side,
…..the feeling of the bones in the hands and the finger joints,
…..the fingernails (they protect the ends of our fingers)
…..the variation of color on the different parts of our hands,
…..the tiny pores for perspiration.
Look at the lines on the palm, notice your fingerprints, look at any spots, warts, hairs, wrinkles, or veins that are a part of your hands…..these are YOUR hands…..they tell much about who you are…..
Sit quietly and look at your hands. Hold your hands with palms up, open before you. Image your life in your hands….see there are many ways that these hands have been gifts to you….
Now close your eyes and picture your hand in the hand of God. Hold hands with God in stillness. When it seems that you have taken enough time with this, close by offering a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God.(Taken from Joyce Rupp’s book “May I Have This Dance?)
This was in the first few years of Jesus getting in my boat. The boat of my life. I didn’t plan it, I didn’t search for it. Jesus found me. It wasn’t some sort of moment of deliverance like some write about. It was a long journey of letting go and redemption.
Prior to this, I was a rebellious young woman. I worked hard at my job and was outwardly successful. Professionally, I had worked my way up from the hostess desk to general manager in the food service industry. I was self disciplined in my work, and worked long hard hours to earn “respect” from management.
I was always the life of the party and had many party “friends”. I would often work from dawn till late in the evening. Working late it seemed that all there was left to do was go to a bar and hang out till closing time, only to get up early then next morning and start all over again. I was strong and independent, so it appeared to outsiders. I had no problem being attractive to men, and there was never a dull moment in my romantic life. Men were just play things and easily sought and disposed of, that is until my husband came around, he wasn’t so easy to let go of….something made him a little bit more interesting.
What made Jeff more interesting, I know now, was his relationship with Jesus. Jesus drew me in….and I didn’t even realize it. Jesus, through Jeff got in my boat.
When Jesus got in my boat back in 1991, I didn’t know what hit me. Every since that time, I’ve had such a deep thirst for God, that it totally changed the trajectory of my life. It started with RCIA, which led to spiritual direction with Henri Campion. Part of what I wrote in my first journal entry was “I am starting something new today. This new way of prayer, (Henry is great, isn’t she?) This new sense of self, hopefully a new relationship with you……are you really there Jesus? I need to feel you.” The writings that is represented by “……” is actual real life stuff. It talks about a fight I was having with my husband, the counselor we were seeing at the time, something my dad said. You know….regular diary type stuff. It was the first CONVERSATION with Jesus that I wrote.
I remember very distinctly not knowing if I was doing this prayer thing right. I didn’t have the proper words, I hadn’t grown up in a religious home so I didn’t know what to do. I was learning on the fly. God sent Henri and the others to show me WHERE to cast my net. To show me HOW to cast it. Many friends along the way guided me through my uncertainty and guided me through the “how to pray” questions I had. If you have those questions, I would encourage you to open up the Bible App or better yet, a Bible and just see what scripture pops up. Then, just start writing, literally. Even if your first words are like mine. “I don’t know what to say………but (whoever) told me to start writing” See what happens. See what comes out. You might be surprised.
When I examined my hands through the Joyce Rupp reflection this morning it reminded me that my story is my story and for some reason, God calls me to write about it. Maybe it’s to practice writing, maybe someone will run across it and find hope for their own life. Maybe it’s just for me, to remind me how God has called me. If you are reading this….well, thank you and I’m sorry. I am sorry that it may be a boring story, or not well written. I thank you because you got this far and for some reason, God called you here, too. I thank you that you listened to the call of the partners that I let out, like Peter did. I stand astonished that God is using my writings to catch fish.
So I am choosing to be obedient in blogging. If I skip a few days, know that I’m struggling with this and I ask you to pray for me….that God speak to me clearly. I am a sinful woman, as we all are, and I fail at times. Back in 1995 I began my life of repentance. What I didn’t realize that this life of repentance lasts a lifetime! If you have some things in your past, that you need to release from those hands….all I have to say is let ‘er rip! Jesus does NOT want you to carry that crap around. You’re not strong enough, but He is. Its a long road, don’t let that garbage weigh you down for this journey of life.
That’s what I did, back in 1991. I pulled my boat up on shore….my professional life, my (everyday) partying, my rebelliousness, my independence-at-all-cost attitude, my whole self, and left everything and followed him. I had to face my demons and sinfulness of the past, and turn them all over to God. Back then I thought it would be a 1 time deal. But I was dead wrong there. I continued to fail and get back up, fail and get back up, fail and ask for forgiveness, fail and get back up. It took years of forgiving MYSELF and seeking the hand of God to lead me through recovery and redemption, and like blogging, obedience.
Lord I thank you that you speak so clearly to me, and again I ask that You use my blog for what You intend it to be. I pray for the person reading this right now, be with them in a special way, heal their hurts and calm their fears. Cause me and the person reading this right now to open our hands and fully grasp the miracle that you have created in each of us.
How can I be praying for you today?