I’m finishing Max Lucado’s Before Amen. And boyyyyy did I need chapter 8. Max made a list of everything he’s thankful for. He wrote: “Gratitude is a dialysis of sorts. It flushes the self-pity out of our systems.” That is exactly what I needed today.
For the past few weeks, things have not been exactly going my way. You are still good has become my daily prayer. I knew it was true, but sometimes it is hard to believe, especially when things are uncertain and confusing. I thought my last semester was going to tie a pretty little bow on all my hard work. Of course, I was completely wrong. This semester has not been easy, but it’s still been good. This is not at all the way I thought my plan was going to be working out. My ten-year plan had me graduated last year, starting a fabulous career immediately following graduation, and getting married this August. We both know that was never Your plan, Lord and I’ve had a littleeeee bit of a hard time accepting that. (When I say a little, I might be down playing some of my…ummm resentment.)
Towards the end of the book, Max says to note what pulls me towards prayer and what pushes me away from prayer. Knowing what pulls me to prayer is easy. It is slowing down everything. It’s a song on the radio and the words were exactly right. It’s a line in a movie or a TV show that makes me see something new. It’s a small gesture of love from a friend. It’s the trees lined up along the road on the way to my apartment. It’s seeing You, everywhere I go and in everyone I meet. It’s seeing Your hand in the world around me. What pushes me away from prayer is a little harder for me to pinpoint because it’s a slow fade and sometimes I don’t even notice how far from You, I’ve become. It’s the busyness like Max said. It’s my fear I let get in the way. It’s my selfishness. It’s my lack of understanding. It’s my need for a plan and control. It’s prayers that are left unanswered or answers I didn’t want or simply understand.
Max wrote about a time that he tried to take control and made a mess of things. Then he wrote: “Why was it hard to trust God in that situation?” Psalm 46:10 says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ Take a moment to be still. Meditate on God’s goodness and power by reading Psalm 19.” Then he says: “Ask God to let this truth bring peace to your heart.”
Peace is exactly what I’ve been asking for. So, as I’m reading Psalm 19, I make my list of things I’m thankful for:
- Bubbles, Bath tubs, and Books.
- my college Degree.
- English classes that taught me how to write.
- best friends Forever and one day a Forever and always love.
- Grace that I need far too often.
- Heaven. A friend of mine posted on the anniversary of the day that he went to Your Home, she wrote: “Although Christopher is gone from this physical world, he is standing in front of the Father in complete worship – and that is #goals.” The other day on the radio, one of the guys from Mercy Me was talking about their song, Finally Home. The song is about his father who went to Home and he said it was like the final chapter to I can only imagine. What struck me right to the core was he said he didn’t think his father was watching over him because he had better things to do like worshiping You, Lord. I was in complete awe. Lord, thank you so much for Heaven and for Your promises and for allowing us to worship You.
- Ice in my coke.
- Juggling schedules.
- Kind words.
- Lunches with good friends.
- Music, especially in the car.
- New things to get me out of my comfort zone.
- Oranges that I used to hate and now love.
- People and Puppies and Prayer.
- Quirks, which I have plenty of.
- Red lights to make you slow down and stop every once in a while and appreciate the world around you and make you remember to let others have a turn.
- Safety because I crave it and it took me making this list to realize that I already found the ultimate security in You. Psalm 19:6 says: It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
“I’m reckless, and senseless, I’ve jumped off the fences, abandon all the rules, and crashed like a fool, out of control, so criminal, You could have let me drown, but You reached Your hand out.”
- Tests and Trials to make me stronger.
- the Universe You created.
- Walks with friends, which was also Max’s and it reminded me of the walk during Spring Break that my person and I took on the beach. I’m pretty sure we walked from Gulf Shores to Dauphin Island and back. She asked me to be her maid of honor on that walk. I am so thankful for that walk.
- my Youth and all I’ve learned along the way.
So, that is my prayer today. Thank you a million times for a million different things. Thank you for everything I’ve listed and soooo much more. I could never even begin to thank you enough. Lord, my Rock, my Redeemer, my Father, my Everything. I am in awe of you and all you’ve done. You created this beautiful, confusing, inspiring, beyond comprehension universe. You created the Heavens and the Earth. You created everything around me from the people to the trees to the lakes and oceans and everything in-between. I do not say it nearly enough, so thank you. Your ways are not my ways and your plans are not my plans. Thank you for that because yours are so much greater. Thank you painting an eternal picture instead of my 5 year outlook. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for showing me. Thank you for unanswered prayers. And thank you for the answers I wasn’t looking for and for the answers I didn’t understand and for the answers I wasn’t expecting. Thank you for loving me even when I’m reckless. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.