Wednesday, September 7, 2016

because I need to be reminded to pray

I wasn't planning on writing today.  Yes, I know Wednesday is my day, the day I set aside all the to-dos no matter what and try to put into words the thoughts that seem to just float around in my head until they are snatched up and tailored to make sense. But not today, today was a day when the no matter whats mattered a little more than normal. 

Tomorrow evening a group of people who have each left a piece of their heart in Romania are gathering at our home to fellowship with and love on the family God used to draw us there.  This loving missionary family and it's many branches are in the US from RO and we are eager to hear the hardships and successes being faced and to assist in filling them up with love so that they can overflow on those so very far away when they return.

Because of this, I had pre-warned my mind that no thoughts were going to be processed today so it would get a little rest, but amidst the cleaning and fall decorating my eyes kept glancing from one object to another and my mind decided it wasn't on vacation after all.

To anyone who knows me well, they know that decorating is one of my favorite things.  It is a hobby that brings me joy, relaxes me, and gives me a creative outlet.  I still have not figured out how to convince my friends to really make good on the request that I come in their homes to help reorganize, rearrange, and redecorate, but one of these days I will hopefully sucker at least one into it.

Though there is an ongoing list in my head of items I'm searching for, I never know when that one special treasure is going to to pop out at me.  While I love the typical spots like Target, Homegoods, and Hobby Lobby, my favorite places are full of once loved and forgotten items or even better, another's free trash that can become my treasure.  The items in my home that bring the biggest smiles are ones that have a story beyond factory to store shelves.  They have either been through something, seen it all and then some, been unearthed from piles others thought were filled with nothing, or been created with the two hands of a loving friend or family member.

Within this treasure trove are a handful of special keepsakes, specifically chosen to remind me of one thing, to pray.  More than souvenirs, these have been taken from special places and purchased from special people and their point extends far beyond home decor.

Leaning on a wall in our entryway is a solid wood door covered in layers of paint.  This door came from the home of a woman forced to leave her home after it had been condemned, a woman living in an area of town ravaged by drugs.  This door stands still not only for looks but to remind me of the families struggling because of addiction, of the children being raised without the basic needs we so often take for granted, of hearts that need healing.

On a shelf in the living room is a watercolor print made by a dear friend, Never Ceases is its infinite reminder.  The picture faithfully sits to remind me to pray for her and her husband as they serve as missionaries in Bogota, as they struggle with the joy and sadness that mixes together when you know you are answering a call in your life but are having to do it so far away from family and friends.

The words are there to remind me to pray for myself and others who need to be reminded that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning, great is His faithfulness.

Next to that sweet and beautiful reminder is a metal square with a number and a beautiful white engraved plate.  The number was taken from a home in Romania. This home that looked like it was beyond repair, has now been turned into a two story orphanage, Laney's House, and almost ready to give a loving home to abandoned girls.  Oh how I want to remember those young lives in prayer.

Next to it the plate, handmade by Romanian hands, waits there reminding me to lift up those hands working for it's very life and the lies they are trying to support.

Each of their purposes is great and they do their job faithfully and without complaint, but there is a different truth that happens more often than not.  I walk right by.

Daily, I pass by the beautiful solid wood door, brimming with stories of happiness and heartache, and I do nothing.  Daily, I stare at a shelf filled with beautiful things made for beautiful purposes by beautiful people and my eyes glaze over, recognizing nothing.

Objects are wonderful reminders, when you remember them.  My heart may have the best of intentions to lift others up but on my own I will fail every time.  My heart needs more than visual reminders of a people in need, my heart needs compassion for those people, an ache of love and longing only available through the righteousness given to me through Christ.

Because of Him I am a new creation and because of that I am Holy and Dearly loved and am able to put on a compassionate heart (Colossians 3)

Without the compassion shown to me over and over again from my dear Heavenly Father, I would have no ability to show compassion to another and compassion is a key ingredient when praying for the needs of another.  Compassion fuels your heart's ability to love, to sympathize, to want to help, to want to understand, and to know that there is Hope in the end because the compassion did not come from me it came from and through a Perfect Unfailing Love.  And when I try yet again to remember everything on my own and fail again when I forget everything on my own, that same compassion is what reminds me that I too am in need of the same love, and that I too have it unfailingly.

I don't know how you remind yourself to pray or who is on your heart full of desire to lift up, but I do know that you can't do it alone.

I am praying for compassion to make its way in.

Pray for me, I'll be praying for you.

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