name='verify-v1'/> Big God - little d: December 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Friday morning - I am up by 5. Instead of going to Chapel for the morning service I decide to stay put and watch the sunrise. Bundled up to ward off the chill, I settle into a chair and wait.

Out in the darkness, masses of turkeys begin sounding off from opposite sides of the camp. How to describe a turkey call? It is unlike anything else I have ever heard. Rusty, grating notes are dotted with occasional gobbles. After five minutes or so it becomes they are having a pep rally in the dark. "We've got spirit, yes, we do. We've got spirit. How 'bout you?!" After fifteen minutes or so, they stop and the silence is deafening.

Two owls begin a dialogue. They, too, take turns hooting back and forth to one another. One voice is deep and strong. The other voice is higher and belongs to a smaller bird. I wonder...are they mates? or parent and child? I find myself smiling at their steady conversation.

The sun rises. Without fanfare. Hmm. I had expected to be dazzled but instead the colors are muted and hazy. Disappointed, I hear myself thinking (rather ungraciously),

That's it? I skipped Chapel for that?

Grabbing my journal, I head to the third floor of the Big House where there is a small steel staircase that leads to "Mt. Sinai" -- the lookout tower on the roof. It has become a part of my routine to spend some time here before I leave. From this vantage point I can see for miles in all directions.

Looking out over the palm trees and the retreat grounds, I try to pinpoint the shift that has taken place within me since yesterday morning, when I woke up giddy with joy. It started during my walk on The Way of Peace..continued back in my room with the unwelcome pop-up image that made its way into my mind...and persisted after my nap when I woke up with the strong desire to go home. I may have resisted the urge to leave, yesterday, but my staying came with a price. Now I feel weighted down...somber, serious, heavy with something I can't name...

As I ponder the last 24 hours, fog rolls in before my eyes. The heavy clouds of moisture are traveling so low that their droplets touch my skin as they move past. Within minutes the retreat grounds are shrouded in a blanket of mist. I can see the sky above the fog but the grounds are no longer visible.

I decide the morning fits my mood or maybe it is my mood that fits the morning.

I came seeking God's voice. What did I hear? What have I learned?

I long to fly but I am afraid.
Pruning by the Father is a necessary part of growing.
Flying and dying go hand-in-hand when you follow Christ.
Peace is a byproduct of seeking God's direction.
Seasons in the wilderness allow God to reveal new beginnings.
Healing comes through intentional reflection.
Duty is a part of being a servant of Christ.
Spiritual lessons cycle us higher/closer to the Father.
"The reality of the unknown is fear." -- Father Kelly
"The reality of the Mystery of God is peace." -- Father Kelly
My soul needs regularly scheduled Sabbath time.
Giving thanks dispels fear and anxiety and invites God's peace.

Yesterday's Chapel message runs through my mind: Wisdom trumps everything, including evil, because it comes from God. It occurs to me that what I am feeling, right now, is the weight of wisdom. The lessons the Lord has taught me these past few days are heavy with the fullness of a deeper understanding...

I must be diligent about naming my fears and claiming God's truth over them.
Flying requires surrender and focus on Christ.
Evil is real and knows my name but will always flee at the name of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is with me, always.
I serve, love, and belong to the God of Job. He doesn't have to explain Himself to me.
The Great I AM is my Father.
Living a life of faith requires embracing the mystery of God.

I have the sense that God is waiting for me to respond to all that He has revealed.

I am distracted by the sound of stirring birds. The palm trees to my right are filled with a dozen or more roosting vultures. Each tree's branches bend under their load.

One by one, the birds launch from their resting site. They flap their heavy wings; looking awkward and clumsy. The air pulses from their efforts to stay afloat. In a matter of seconds, though, they find their rhythm and the air current that allows them to soar.

I watch as they move into the distance and begin their lazy spirals in the sky...their view of the ground completely obscured. The Lord uses the image to issue an invitation to me. The Spirit whispers in my ear,

"Come fly with Me. Explore the mystery of Me. Do not be afraid to venture into the unknown. I will be your Guide."

Yes, Lord, take me flying.

Impressions from Henri Nouwen's Sabbatical Journey come to mind. I appreciate this holy man's brilliance (his gifting, really), for putting the experiences of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit into words that an ordinary person, like me, can grasp. But the thing that I most closely identify with is his transparency; his willingness to reveal his own needs and insecurities even in the light of knowing Christ.

I want to be this kind of writer for you, Lord. I want my struggle to be plain even as my hope and faith in You is evident. Show me how...

With that declaration, I climb down the stairs and head to my van. The fog cocoons my vehicle as I drive away from the retreat center. I leave as I came...slowly and with anticipation...only this time, the wisdom of Father Kelly's words ring in my ears,

"The reality of the Mystery of God is peace."

"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly
make known the mystery of the gospel,
for which I am an ambassador in chains.
Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

-- Ephesians 6:19-20

Monday, December 28, 2009


Thursday - It is 5 a.m. and I am wide awake. Bedtime, the night before, was 7:45. Nine + hours of sleep. No wonder I feel so rested.

I throw a blanket around my shoulders and head to the veranda. The turkeys call back and forth to one another in the dark. The angry squeal of a javelina sends chills up my spine and propels me back inside. Until it is time to leave for morning Chapel, I review the finished list of life events/Scriptures from the past four years.

During Chapel time, two messages resonate with me. "The Kingdom of God is within you" from Luke 17:21. The other is from the Book of Wisdom; even as darkness must yield to light, all things must yield to wisdom. is one of the things I continually seek from God.

Lord, please grant me wisdom that my words would bring You glory.

At breakfast, after nearly bumping into two different people, it is apparent that I am moving at a different speed than everyone else in the room. is bubbling up inside and spilling over. I cannot seem to help myself. There is nothing gentle and/or slow about my movements. I do not linger over my meal. I cannot. I am too full of energy. It takes everything in me not to shout aloud!

Back in my room, the rising sun casts beckoning rays of light just beyond the screen door. I step onto the veranda and position the rocking chair to take maximum advantage of the sunbeam. With eyes closed, I rock and concentrate on the purity of the light bathing me in its warm glow. My spirit sings in union with the Holy Spirit and before I know it the better part of an hour has come and gone.

The sunbeam has moved on. It is time for me to do the same. I grab a map of some of the retreat center's many trails and head outside. There are two trails I am interested in this morning: Derek Ahabah (Way of Love) and Derek Shalom (Way of Peace).

I follow the main path for twenty minutes or so until I reach the path for Derek Ahabah. Its name, The Way of Love, is based on Song of Songs 8:5-7. Verses six and seven, in particular, speak to me as they bring to mind one of my favorite worship songs.

"Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned."

God's love for understanding is so limited. My love for so small in comparison. I have so much to learn about love.

Jesus, show me how to love like you.

Eventually the lengthy, sprawling loop meets up with the main trail. I follow the path markers to Derek Shalom. The Way of Peace is based on Psalm 29:11,

"The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace."

The trail for this path is much more difficult than the prior one. It fades into the grass and sandy turf and, more than once, I wonder if I am going the right way. Instead of finding peace, I am becoming stressed out. My stomach is now upset and my need for adventure evaporates.

It seems that everytime I turn around a bend in the path there are a large group of turkeys, nearby. At first, I wonder if the same group is moving around and popping up somewhere else along the path but the group size keeps changing... 11, 15, 13.

Seeing the turkeys makes me think of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. It also brings to mind Father Kelly's words from the other morning, "The Lord isn't thanked enough."

The Spirit prompts me to focus on giving thanks. I force my mind away from my physical discomfort and mental distress. My litany of thanks is forced and has a desperate edge. Seeing a new group of turkeys encourages me to keep walking and giving thanks. After a few minutes, it gets easier.

According to the map, I am close to the halfway point. The path is supposed to swing around a trail marker and head back towards the main trail. In reality, the path completely evaporates. The irony does not escape me: for me, there is no peace on the The Way of Peace. I turn back and retrace my steps.

I don't get it, God. Have I failed You, somehow? Should I have been willing to walk forward without a path or a clear sense of direction? It seems my peace is strongest when I am certain I am clearly on Your path. Is that the lesson You had for me, today?


Eventually, I arrive at the Big House. Lunch is a welcome reward after the 1-1/2 hour walking adventure. Unfortunately, my stomach does not agree. I try reading as a distraction but it doesn't work. I feel awful, vulnerable, strange and suddenly, very, very tired.

I curl up on my bed hoping a nap will help. I can barely keep my eyes open. Unbidden, a disturbing image flashes through my mind; it is pornographic in nature. Ugh. Without hesitation, I rebuke the image in the name of Jesus Christ. In the same breath, I claim the blood of Jesus over myself and fall fast asleep.

Thirty minutes later, I wake up feeling disoriented and awful. My knuckles ache. My body is stiff. A thought voices itself in my head,

I want to go home.

Then it corrects itself,

I want to be home. Now.

That awful image that made its way into my mind just before I fell asleep has irritated me. I know the attack for what it is: warfare. I am also determined not to be ruled by it. I send up a prayer of thanks for all of those who are praying for me and my family while I am on this trip.

I am agitated and restless but not in the good way of this morning. Needing something to do, I pack up everything but the absolute necessities needed for the remainder of my trip. My journals, extra clothing, all of it gets packed and placed in my van.

The physical act of packing has spiritual implications, as well. My work, here, is done. Or maybe my ability to work is done. Whatever the case, I have heard enough. God has given me plenty to process in the days and weeks to come.

I spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening reading Henri Nouwen's book, Sabbatical Journey. After so many days of concentrating on my own, it is refreshing to read about someone else's journey of faith. I find myself copying more than one of his quotes into my journal:

"We are called to be fearless people in a fearful world."

"Our parents, brothers, and sisters do not own us. Without leaving them it is hard to fully become free and listen to the One who called us even before we were born."

"That's the loneliness of a mystic. Having seen and experienced what cannot be expressed in words and still must be communicated."

The sky turns dark outside. I ponder the events that have taken place since I woke up this morning. What a strange day it has turned out to be. It is my last night in this place and I find myself full of gratitude...glad that I came, glad for what I've learned, glad to be going home in the morning, glad for the journey of faith that is still ahead of me...

"Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything,
by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Wednesday - After my time with Father Kelly I am acutely aware of God's faithfulness to give me what I need...even if it isn't what I asked for. I thought my reason for coming to this retreat center was so that I could hear God more clearly in regards to "the book." It is why I willingly made the 475 mile drive. As it turns out, God's reasons for my being here are different than mine.

We aren't going to talk about the book at all, are we, God?

Peaceful silence fills the void.

No surprise, really. I'm not even disappointed although I don't know if I would have felt the same way on Monday or Tuesday. We have covered a lot of stuff since my arrival. I rest in the knowledge that the instructions and words for the book will come when God decides so. For now, there are other things He has planned for this time away. In my head, I modify my original goal:

My reason for coming to this retreat center is so that I can hear God more clearly. Period.

Before dinner, I head outside for a stroll. I follow the paved road that winds its way around the compound. A large group of turkeys are scratching and pecking at the ground. Eleven turkeys. Amazing! They keep one eye on me and the other on their work but they do not run or fly away. I am grateful for the opportunity to study them up close. I wish I had a camera.

A while later I hear someone following me. There are other retreat participants on site so I am not alarmed. But after awhile, curiosity takes hold and I turn around for a look. Imagine my surprise when I see that my shadow is of the four-footed variety. A magnificent buck stands less than 20 feet away. We study each other for a moment.

Turning around slowly, I resume my walk. Once again, the footsteps continue behind me. After another 20 feet I cannot resist the urge to stop and look. He stops, as well. He waits. The beauty of this creature moves me from deep within. I am thrilled beyond explanation. I cannot stop smiling.

Eventually, I leave the buck behind and step off the path to explore the estate's historical chapel and family cemetery. It is the place where the original owners, the Kenedy family and workers, worshiped and held weddings, funerals and baptisms. I study the monuments and the grotto that are within the cemetery and wonder about the people who used to live here.

My growling stomach reminds me that it is almost time for dinner. I head back towards the Big House. The path takes me directly alongside the buck who has stepped into the grass for a snack. I hold my breath and walk within eight feet of him. His head bows under a full nine point rack. He grazes without fear. I silently praise God as I marvel at the buck's impressive features. Unbelievable!

That experience, alone, would be enough to carry me through a full day. Add that to my time with Father Kelly and I am full to overflowing.

That's more than enough, Lord. Thanks for today's gifts of beauty and wisdom.

God uses that moment to remind me that I am like a sponge. I can only hold so much before I reach my saturation level. I ponder this for a moment and the spiritual application is clear. I have been a sopping wet sponge for a long time...the multi-paged list of bullet points sitting on the desk in my room testifies to this.

God is using this time and place to empty me from the fullness of these past two years. He is literally squeezing the water from my soggy soul. No wonder I didn't feel as if I could hear him clearly back home. I was too full to hold anything else.

So, if I am to stay healthy and effective in my ministry with You then I must decompress at least once a year. I need an extended block of time for prayer and silence in order to hear You, in order to restore my soul, in order to prepare for the next stage of my journey. It isn't just something I want...although I do want it. It is something I need. Isn't it, Lord? It is critical to my walk with You.

I vow to build time into my yearly schedule as a part of honoring the Sabbath and my God. With the vow comes a peace that blankets me in communion with my Maker.

"If you keep your feet from
breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please
on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going
your own way
and not doing as you please
or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy
in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride
on the delights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance
of your father Jacob.
The mouth of the LORD has spoken."
Isaiah 58:13-14

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fear Not

"When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid." --John 6:19-20

Wednesday - After lunch, I return to my room and my journals. There is still an hour and a half before my appointment with Father Kelly. Events from Years 3 and 4 are added to the growing list. The command to "Stand firm!" continually echoes through the pages. Scripture after scripture testifies to the Lord's order not to turn tail and run.

Through a multitude of relationships and experiences, I see how the Lord continues to challenge me in this area:

* Walk alongside this friend even though it will be messy.
* Say "no" even though it will damage your relationship with the one you deny.
* Dance with Me even though you risk being misunderstood.
* Pray for another even though it will break your heart.
* Speak the truth in love even though you dread the consequences.
* Write about your struggles even though you will feel exposed and vulnerable.
* Move your family even though it means leaving your church and your friends.
* Share your stories even though there is no guarantee that it will make a difference.
* Stand in the gap for others even though it means the enemy will breathe down your neck.
* Grieve with Me over the sins of My people even though it means suffering like you have never known.
* Take up your cross and follow Me even though it means dying to yourself.

Stand firm even though it will cost you much...
Even though it will cost you everything.

It is the cost that keeps me from choosing easily. Saying "yes" to Jesus means saying "no" to my pride, to my fear, to my doubt. It is clear that Jesus wants all of me. And each time I stand firm in my faith and follow where he leads, I give him access to those places within myself that need encouragement, healing, strengthening, and correction.

Thank You, Lord, for Your grace and mercy.

My stomach decides to stage a revolt. After multiple trips to the bathroom it occurs to me that my insides are purging in concert with the processing of the last two years. With only thirty minutes until my appointment, I begin praying in earnest,

Lord, I am seeing Father Kelly, soon. Please restore order to my body so that I can keep my meeting.

Five minutes before my meeting, I offer up one more prayer and head to Father Kelly's cabin. The concrete path winds through a stand of palm trees and other brush. I stop a short distance from what appears to be a large, black hose laying across the path. My heart beats a little faster as it begins to move. I watch as all six feet of it slowly slithers into the brush to my right. When I resume walking, the snake stops his progress and turns to look at me. I look at him. We both go our separate ways. Very odd.

I reach the steps of Father Kelly's cabin at the same time he does. The small wooden dwelling is built on stilts and overlooks a small clearing. He invites me in and I take a seat in the screened in porch. Father Kelly excuses himself while he removes his hat and jacket. Hearing a small sound at the screen door, I turn to investigate. A cat sits on the top step, his face pressed to the screen, peering wistfully inside. It is obvious he is a regular visitor.

Father Kelly takes a seat opposite me. How to describe this holy man? He is elderly but I have no idea how old. Gray hair cropped in a no nonsense crew cut. Tall, slender build. Tanned skin testifies to time out in the elements. Sturdy glasses frame piercing blue eyes. There is something ageless about him.

I take a deep breath and begin a brief overview of the last several years of my faith journey including my Sabbath Year, past visits to Lebh Shomea, our family's move, my call to pray for others, and my writing.

All the while I am talking, I am conscious of the way in which he is listening. He watches my hands as I move them to emphasize a point. He is fully present to me and my story. I am the only thing that matters in that moment. It is a blessing to be received in such a way.

I speak to him of my ongoing struggle with fear; of writing a book for which I have no words, of following God into the unknown; of my brushes with the enemy. He listens carefully. I offer up a sample of my writing A Strong Hedge - Prayer Part 1. He scans the article and makes no comment about anything he reads. Instead he asks me questions which I do my best to answer:

Q: "What is your purpose in giving this to me?"
A. "I wanted you to understand the intensity of the warfare I have experienced."
Q: "What does your husband think of your writing?"
A: "He supports me and encourages me to continue to follow God down this path."
Q: "What did your pastor have to say about this ?" (refers to my writing sample)
A: "He checked my words for theological soundness and believed that what I wrote was of God."

After a few questions about the book with nine chapters, Father Kelly turns to the subject which has brought me to this place. Fear. He begins to speak; slowly measuring each word,

"Fear of the unknown keeps us from living = death."

"Job's initial understanding of God was '---' (he uses a word I am unfamiliar with but implies Job's friendship with God). Job's friends understood God to be legalistic. The truth is that God is God. He is more than we can understand. He is answerable to no one. He cannot be measured or defined by man."

"The mystery of the unknown is fear - man's need to be in control."

"The reality of the mystery of God is peace."

"When Jesus walks on the water he tells his disciples to 'Fear not; It is I.' (John 6:20) If we are in Christ then there is no need to fear. You must submit. You must surrender your fear, your need for control. Embrace the mystery of God and accept that He IS."

With his last statement it is clear that our time is finished. I thank him and leave the cabin...puzzled, unsatisfied, humbled.

I need to think about what Father Kelly has said. He didn't give me what I wanted. He gave me what I needed. My spirit already knows this even if it is taking longer for my brain to come to the same conclusion. I came expecting to hear something else and my disappointment initially gets in the way of the wisdom that he shared. I had hoped he would validate my fears. Instead he challenged me to refocus my eyes on Christ.

With new clarity, I laugh at my own naive hopes that he would tie everything up in a neat little package with a pretty bow. Instead, he pushed me out into the vast, undefinable mystery that shrouds the great I AM. Walking with God means walking in the mystery that is a part of Him. Can I surrender my fear and follow Him into the unknown? It is the only way I will know the peace my soul craves.

Jesus help me to surrender my fear. I know now that this will be a lifelong process. Even if it were possible, I do not want to do this on my own. A life without you is meaningless. I want to live in the reality of the mystery of God. Teach me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Duty and Cycles

Wednesday - Breakfast is out of the way and I am ready to do some work. With a fresh sheet of paper and a pen in hand, I prepare to make a bullet point list of significant events and lessons learned. I start with my Sabbath Journal. It is the culmination of life lessons God taught me during my Sabbath Year in '05-'06. I wrote it during my first visit to this holy retreat center back in August of 2006.

I hadn't realized it before now but aside from God's Word it has become the most important book in my life. God has used my Sabbath Year lessons to shape my future. In the past three years, I have pulled this book out, over and over again, because it grounds me; reminding me of who I am and who God has called me to be.

I come across a question God asked me on my first trip around the desert path - A Way in the Wilderness,

"Why is it such duty to pray for your family while you consider it an honor/privilege to pray for others?"

I remember this question. I was at the retreat center seeking discernment about my Sabbath year. It was my first time around the daunting trail. In a single sentence God stripped me bare and exposed my internal struggle which was an ongoing source of guilt and shame. Why did praying for my family always feel like hard work while praying for others felt like ministry? I didn't have an answer for God's "why" I only knew that what He spoke was true. It was one of those moments that made a lasting impression. I added it to the list.

For the remainder of the morning, I work my way through journals for Years 2 and 3. My list expands quickly. I marvel at the ways God has allowed me to participate in Kingdom building relationships and ministry. I also see repeated patterns of great fear and faith struggles as God calls me to deeper ministry.

I take the journal I am reading and head to the rocking chair on the veranda. I lose myself in the movement of the soaring vultures. They circle in slow, effortless spirals that take them higher and higher into the sky.

Their movement triggers the memory of a recent conversation with a friend about the frustrations and heartache of stumbling along the journey of faith. She was discouraged with a recent failure and felt as if she were starting her faith journey all over again...back to the beginning, so to speak. I recall saying this was not the case, instead, my friend had learned much during her walk with the Lord. She may have cycled around to her "stumbling point" but she was not back at the beginning of her journey. Instead, she had cycled to a higher level of relationship with God, a deeper faith, a greater sorrow over her sin, and with newfound wisdom to see how she'd gotten there. What she labeled as failure I saw as growth and a reason to celebrate.

The Spirit nudges me to view my growing list of experiences in the same light. God has used my so-called failures as opportunities to develop my relationship with Him, deepen my faith, increase my sorrow over my sin, and impart wisdom so that I might choose better in the future. Wow!

At lunch the Lord brings up the word duty. I recall yesterday's lesson from the reading in Luke 17:7-10 (subtitled "duty") and my take-away, "A servant should not expect to be thanked." I recall the question from my journal reading earlier today, "Why is it such duty to pray for your family while you consider it an honor/privilege to pray for others?" Then I proceed to have one of those "Aha" moments where everything becomes crystal clear.

The purpose of God's original question was to uncover my faulty thinking and lead me to a deeper truth. My response was to hang my head in shame and seek the answer on my own. It hadn't occurred to me that God was inviting me to say, "I don't know God. Why do I feel this way?" Three years later, we have cycled around to the same question but I am no longer the same woman. I want to know. I am ready to learn. And so, I ask,

God, what do You have to say about duty and prayer and me?

"When I first asked you this question you were struggling to reconcile the disparity of your feelings between praying for your family and praying for others because you approached them from two different mindsets:

Prayer for your family was serving your family.
Prayer for others was serving Me.

In reality, both were serving Me but because your marriage and your children came before you committed your life to Me you associated them as set apart from Me. And apart from Me there is no joy... even when you are praying for those you love most.

You gladly prayed for other people without expectations or need for appreciation because you were doing so out of love and obedience for Me. The honor and privilege you felt stemmed from your relationship and willingness to serve Me. It didn't hurt that each assignment had a beginning and an end. You enjoyed the variety of opportunities to pray and the mystery of what might come next. You also loved the indescribable thrill of using your gifts in tandem with the power of the Holy Spirit to make a difference in My Kingdom here on earth.

Your understanding of prayer has changed since I first put this question to you. We have been working on bringing the parts of your life established before your commitment to Me into alignment with the parts of your life established since your commitment to Me. Check in your heart and you will see that this is true.

Now, let's talk about My definition of duty.

You are a wife and a mother. It is your obligation to pray for your family. This is My order for marriage and family. And the reason it feels like hard work is because it is hard work.

You feel the weight of responsibility and there are times when you wish it didn't matter so much. But the fact of the matter is your prayers matter. Your obedience affects your entire family.

The commitment I am calling you to increases by the day. As years are added to your marriage and as your children grow older, you understand on a deeper level that you will pray for them until you die. It is a life long commitment and you no longer take that lightly.

You chafe under the discipline required for this type of prayer. You like praying for others because the assignments have a beginning and an end and you can cross them off your list when you are finished. You rely on the Spirit to prompt you. Praying for your family requires you to discipline your time and your mind and your spirit. I expect you to take an active role in this process.

It is an honor and a privilege to come to Me on behalf of your family. It is also your Me...for them. Your prayers invite Me to undergird the foundation of your marriage and your children's future. There will never be a more worthy use of your time and energy.

You already know this kind of prayer will bring you face-to-face with your own shortcomings, over and over again. You cannot succeed if you rely on your own strength and your own love. Apart from Me you can do nothing."

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing." --John 15:5