by Kayla Power
Most every morning, I sneak out of bed from whichever limbs have snuggled me through the night. Slipping out from under my three year old’s sweet grasp, being careful to avoid my two year olds wild kicking feet, sometimes even crawling over my five year old, cuddled up at the foot of my bed. I quietly walk down the hallway, very aware of the geckos who have come in to rest on my walls for the night, (I’m still getting used to island life). I then light the three candles near my cozy papasan chair, which my children have aptly named “mama’s special spot”. The way my two year old says it with her little lisp is the best, you mama’s know, one of those cute phrases we then ask our kids to say over and over again because it’s just so precious and we want to sear the sound of it into our memories knowing that too soon they will grow to say those words so differently.
On the floor near my chair there is a larger than necessary stack of books I’m reading, journals I’m writing in, and Bibles I’m studying, all piled on the floor waiting for me. I set my morning’s Bible and journal on the top of the stack the night before, so I easily scoop them up and set them in my lap, then, I just, be. With Him. I sit quietly in the Lord’s presence, breathing slowly, imagining myself walking into His throne room, sitting at His feet. I don’t open up my journal or Bible until I sense I’ve been released to transition from being to doing. Then, I begin praying, journaling and marking up my Bible, asking the Spirit for help to read the words of life for transformation, not just information. Some mornings I end up on my knees face down worshipping to a song He led me to hear, lately as I have been praying for you, it’s been this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryrLGjVoDoQ
Usually though, I quietly meditate on a bit of scripture, then journal the prayers of whatever is on my heart.
There is a connection between my first, just being with Him, practicing hospitality with myself, allowing my whole self the space to be with Him. Just as I am. No matter how broken or beaten, peaceful or prideful, confused or content, whether I like me that morning or not, I give myself permission to just be me, because He’s given me that permission. And, that’s all He wants. Not my sacrifices, or my good works, He just wants me. As I am.
It’s because my choice to authentically, simply, be, that I am then able to move into the deeply sacred moments with Him. In those deeply sacred moments is when I do. I do the praying, the journaling, the worshiping, the dishes, the exercise, the cooking, the cleaning, the playing, the working, the decision making. Usually it doesn’t feel all that magical, but I know it is. Our feelings don’t always point to what is true. The truth is that an invitation to do anything with the Holy Spirit is wildly magical, and the fact that He enjoys our choosing to be with Him, and do with Him even more than we do...wow…
I’d love to share the beginning lines of my morning journal entries over the last 8 days, since I sensed the Lord leading me to change the theme of what I had been writing for you from “messy marriage” to “navigating decisions”...
~“Okay. You’re clever Lord...I think I see where you’re going with this one, thank you for sanctifying me so that I could discern your way, this caught me off guard. I love when you do that.”
~“...God, you alone...you alone...you alone are what we all need...would you meet with each woman who reads this, speak to them what only you can…”
~”Wow. I can’t stop thinking about what you shared with me yesterday about Lunea. I had a hard time sleeping as I played through those times in my life. Desolation comes from decisions made without you as our guide. Thank you for choosing life for me, when I was attempting to take mine, I would have missed this. Being her mom is my favorite, thank you for choosing me.”
~“Papa, do I even know how to navigate decisions well? Who do I think I am writing about this topic? Are you sure?”
~“Holy Spirit, help me. Is this meant to be a how-to make holy decisions blog? Should I share more of my personal memoir in making decisions with you through the difficult times in my life? We’ve made some big decisions together haven’t we? Do they need to be challenged in how to hear your voice and courageously walk in your way? Help me take these 40 pages of ideas I have scribbled out for these women, and narrow it down, please! I feel like I’m all over the place.”
~“Lord, narrowing down the point of this blog has been so difficult. You have given me such a heart for these women, what is it YOU want to say to them?”
~“Interesting huh? Writing a blog about navigating decisions and I’m having a hard time even deciding which words to use, which point to focus in on.”
~”Thanks for taking me through this the hard way, I think I actually get it now. It’s a new day, have your way.”
As I’ve been sitting with Him to discern what it is He has for the PrayerBowl community, I have fallen into a new kind of wonder at our savior.
Of course, it’s authentically simple and deeply sacred.
This is the encouragement He has for us…
“What matters is that they chose Me. Keep choosing Me.”
What matters, is that you chose Him. Keep choosing Him.
If you have chosen to put your hope in Jesus then you get to live with Peace. Peace is a person and His name is Jesus. Peace in every big and small decision throughout your day is His gift to you for life on earth. The enemy would love to complicate your decision making moments, trick you into believing that you can’t know His way, defeat you by drowning you in the fear of making the wrong choice.
The beautifully freeing reality is that the Spirit is our guide, our helper, even before we knew Him, we knew this. While we were still in death, not yet having made that most vital momentous decision to put our faith in Jesus and experience forgiveness, even then, He was guiding us.
Each of us has a different story of how we came to know Christ as our savior, and what I wouldn’t give to sit together and trade stories over a chocolatey cup of coffee. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? We would listen and give thanks for our Father who knew just how to draw us into Himself. If we listened closely enough to each other, we would hear a miraculous consistency in each of very different stories. The Holy Spirit guided us to the person of Jesus, who’s innocent death and powerful resurrection made the way for us to come to the Father.
The way the Holy Spirit guided each of us, the way we sensed our need to follow Him, the way our decisions led us into a life with the Holy Spirit now living in us, only God can work like that.
Once upon a time, not yet with the Spirit of the living God in you, you made the biggest decision of your life, to follow Him. You chose Him. That is what matters most. Now, as we navigate decisions with the Spirit as our guide, we must keep choosing Him.
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and curses. Choose life so that...you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him.” - Deuteronomy 30:19-20
If you were capable of choosing life and blessing, discerning His guidance then, when still in darkness, how much more so now. As you navigate decisions, especially in the current climate of our world, do so in peace, knowing that you have already made the most heaviest decision of all. You chose life! That’s a BIG deal, I’m celebrating!
Did you know that this monthly prayer blog goes out to over 50,000 men & women?! We are an army of followers who have chosen LIFE, fervently praying, and living in a world among so much death. There are so many choices to be made, and we get to do so with the confidence of knowing we have made the best choice before, with the Spirit as our guide, we will continue to make eternity changing, Kingdom building choices. Let us not be burdened by our choices, but rejoice!
A favorite breath prayer of mine when I am feeling the weight of a decision .... with slow & deep breath in through your nose, filling your stomach and expanding your chest with the words “Thank You El Shaddai” … hold the breath in for a moment … slowly exhale through your mouth with the words “for trusting me to choose.”
“Thank you El Shaddai, for trusting me to choose.” Do this as many times as you need to reconnect to yourself so that you can just be. Then do. El Shaddai is Hebrew for Almighty God. Isn’t it such an honor that the God Almighty, invites us to choose, allows us free will, and promises to be with us. Us with Him, Him with us.
Matthew 28:20 "Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
Now, as a woman with her degree in Theology and currently in Seminary, I would love to go into how our decisions post salvation are clear indicators of the assurance of our faith....about how justification is the leap into life eternal, but that sanctification is the root of joy for the journey here and now…
And yet...as I find myself all flustered about how some of us might use this kind of encouragement from the Lord as an excuse to go on sinning, to make choices that bring death even just temporarily for ourselves or others, to make unholy decisions with only this finite life in mind, not thinking of eternity...He invites me into His presence. He helps me to choose to share as He has asked of me and trust the Spirit in each of you to interpret.
When we choose death to ourselves, life with Him, He gives it abundantly. Life abundant can only be found in Him. When we have tasted the sweet juicy fruit of decisions made with the Spirit as our guide we see that it is good, and it makes us hunger for more.
I suppose that is the culmination of what it is He has for us this week. An invitation to remember how wonderful it first tasted when we came to know our Savior, to hunger for righteousness and trust that He is bringing us to it.
He is drawing us back to the joy of our salvation, to revel in the beauty and the glory of that very first decision we made with the Spirit as our guide. In a time in history where we could all use a reminder of the profound joy always available to us.
The simply sacred gospel beckoned us, and we responded just as we were authentically created to, trusting that nothing else matters without the hope of the cross. In there lies the magic of our daily decision making, as we lean into the truth of our creation, present with Him, we simply, decide. Confident that we have already made the most vital decision there is, humbled by the cross we’ve chosen to pick up and follow Him, through the perspective of eternity, we simply, decide. Trusting that just like our very first decision with Him, He is with us, and that is our reward.
I love this prayer, it’s perfect for decision making moments, I’ve been using it on your behalf, trusting that you will do the same for me and each of our PrayerBowl brothers & sisters in arms.
You call us on a journey to a place we do not know,
We are not where we started.
We have not reached our destination.
We are not sure where we are or who we are.
This is not a comfortable place.
Be among us, we pray.
Calm our fears, save us from discouragement,
And help us to stay on course.
Open our hearts to your guidance so that our journey to this
Unknown place continues as a journey of trust.
-Reverend Canon Kristi Philip
I’d love to wrap up with a little homework assignment, everyone gets and A+, promise! I wonder if it might serve each of us to write down the details of the story of our salvation experience. It may take weeks of small moments to get it all down, or only take an hour, but if you'd let me challenge you, I believe there is great power in getting down every sensational detail we can find. Smells, sounds, feelings...get somewhere quiet and comfortable and go back to wherever you were, try to remember who you were. For some of us the moment we first put our faith in Jesus was a very long time ago, regardless of when it was, taking the time to go back there is powerful for restoring the joy of our salvation. Maybe the assurance of your salvation is where your joy comes from, you may have said “yes” to Jesus very young, but there was a later moment in life when you actually believed that you were really saved.
Ask the Spirit to help you go back there, ask Him to guide you through it all again.
Can you feel it? The joy?! The Peace?!
You chose Him. Keep choosing Him.
Maybe we can’t all gather together to share with our chocolatey coffee, but we can share here in the comments. I so look forward to reading your stories!