Shift your focus to faith

To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.
– Walt Whitman

To fully experience the joy a life of faith can offer, we must cultivate a spirit of gratitude. Life can be hard, but the truth is: God is walking with us through it all, whether our hearts are open enough to appreciate His works and wonders or not.

Personally, I’ve been blessed to witness the mind blowing, faith-enhancing miraculous healing of my middle child from kidney disease, which doctor’s thought he’d have for his whole life.

Daniel 4:2-3: “It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me. “How great are His signs And how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom And His dominion is from generation to generation.”

I’ve also struggled through seasons of sorrow, where my heartfelt prayers seemed powerless to change a harsh reality I was facing.

John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Through it all, my faith has grown into a deep appreciation not only for the awe-inspiring ways God blesses us with the desires of our hearts but also for the ways God purifies our souls through trials and tribulation.

James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I have questioned deeply what the most powerful way to share faith is. How can I share the joy of my spirituality and belief in miracles, while also being real about struggles? Let’s face it, many parts of our faith journey involve waiting on the Lord, which can feel excruciating.

We know “all things work for the good of those, who love God and are called according to His purposes,” but how do we experience this in our daily lives when we’re struggling?

This is a big question with many answers I hope to blog about over time. One thing I think helps tremendously is to cultivate a miraculous mindset.

A miraculous mindset is just a choice to intentionally focus on all the serendipitous encounters, moments of grace and mini miracles of daily life.  They’re there if we look for them, but all to often we fail to notice. 

The more we focus on God’s actions in our lives, the more we witness them and appreciate His steadfast presence in good times and bad. This increases our faith and naturally motivates us to praise Him and pray, which starts a ripple effect of receiving increasingly more grace and miracles over time. It’s that simple!

Prayer works, but we have to wait sometimes. And one way to keep our spirits up is to focus on the good and miraculous things God is doing for us in daily life.

So, the question is: what wonders is God working in your life lately? Has He given you perfect weather and sweet words from a toddler you love or arranged a chance meeting with an old friend that meant a lot to you? Has He given you a sense of His loving spiritual presence or performed a dramatic miraculous healing in your life? (I can vouch that they happen!)

To get you thinking, here are some miniature miracles I’ve experienced in recent weeks. These are actually what I consider big ones, praise God for having an amazing couple of weeks!

On a recent trip to the ocean, on our first night there we saw whales spouting from our living room window in the distance and were able to cuddle up as a family and watch them for hours. This was a total dream come true and a magical memory our whole family will always treasure. I had prayed that God show us the wonders of nature, and I believe He orchestrated that to razzle dazzle us on night one, which he proceeded to do for the entire trip. I actually think even just getting away for a vacation to such a beautiful place was a miracle with our busy lives. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the priceless experiences we shared.

Just yesterday, I received a snail mail letter of love, appreciation and encouragement from a dear friend, as if her consistent loving presence in my life isn’t enough of a gift from God. This letter melted my heart in a big way. I’m someone, who has walked through seasons of  loneliness and experienced extreme lack of supportive community. Though I now see how God used those times to forge a deeper relationship directly with Him, they were very hard at the time. So now after all these years to be nourished with so much support from faith-filled friends is truly a miracle to me, I am so grateful!

These are just a few personal examples! I could go on about all the sweet miraculous moments of everyday life as a mother, even though my kids truly drive me crazy very often. I’ll save the grit and grace of praying through motherhood for another blog post!

But I write this to help YOU get thinking about the miniature miracles in your own life.

Prayer
God bless anyone reading this to receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and to be filled with the grace to realize Your Powerful Presence in every aspect of their lives. Bless them immeasurably and help them to appreciate all the gifts you are constantly pouring into them.

Reflection Questions
What beautiful thing happened to you lately that you couldn’t have orchestrated yourself? How does God work through the people and experiences of your life to bless you through good times and bad? 

Action Step
Start a gratitude journal! Write three loving things God did for you every single day before you go to bed, and watch your perception of life shift. Miracles truly are a mindset you can cultivate with a little intentionality, and you will be so glad you did. 

Share a mini miracle you’ve experienced in the comments below. We’ll praise God for all the ways He’s blessing your life and pray for you to receive ever-more grace from Him.

Your broken heart can be your breakthrough

 You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
-John 16:20

Out of difficulties grow miracles.
-Jean de La Bruyère

Who longs for suffering? Only the saints. Rather than welcome sorrow, most of us would do anything to avoid it.

When pain sneaks into our hearts like a Trojan horse anyway, we may start to notice that others would do anything to avoid us because they’re as uncomfortable with our sadness as we would be with theirs.

This can complicate our grief with loneliness. When the deepest parts of our emotional experiences of are treated as untouchable by others, we can feel kind of like a leper must have in biblical times. We may be tempted to hide our pain with a happy face, but even if we manage to accomplish that, the sadness catches up with us in our quiet hours.

Anyone who has experienced grief knows that sorrow demands to be  experienced until it’s fully processed, no matter how unwelcome it is.

But paradoxically, Jesus declared “Blessed are those, who mourn.” So how can we experience the blessings Christ promised to us through our own sorrows, which ache in the very foundations of our being?

How can we begin to think like Saint Peter, who said “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4 12-13)

Here area few ideas:

1-Forgive everyone
Whether we blame God, ourselves, a loved one or a stranger, if we want to experience the blessings of grief, we have to get in touch with any feelings of resentment we’re harboring and let go of them to grow in compassion and mercy.

2-Accept everything about the situation
When we are brave enough to experience the full reality of all of our heartache and allow ourselves to feel the depths of our sorrow, rather than avoid feelings through escapism and denial, we are able to grow stronger through the grief process.

3-Open your heart to others
We can choose to cultivate empathy by developing compassion for those, who are going through similar struggles, rather than focusing entirely on our own pain.

4-Choose gratitude for what you still have
We can  open up to grace by choosing to treasure what we still have or we can become bitter, due to what we’ve lost – it’s our choice.

5-Detach from the superficial
If we allow it to, a gut wrenching loss can help us gain a big picture perspective of what’s truly important in life, rather than sweating the small stuff.

6-Embrace the spiritual side of life
When we lose what’s most important to us on the physical plane, we can grow a deeper sense of spirituality through prayer and meditation, which can never be taken from us.

7-Cultivate resilience
It’s empowering to realize we can survive a loss and faith is really all we need.

8-Embrace humility
In experiencing the powerlessness of a tragedy, we can let go of illusions of control and more fully realize our dependence on God’s grace.

9-Expect more happiness than ever before 
Our faith promises resurrection after death, blessings out of burdens, but we need to have faith to stay open to receiving them.

10-Seek wisdom
If we open up to receiving grace through hard times, even we can begin to see and experience the gifts of suffering like the saints. It may even begin to seem desirable to us for spiritual growth, like it was for them(we are all called to sainthood after all).

These aren’t easy blessings to embrace! But they truly are gifts from God, which can be attained through suffering if we pray are way through it and have the courage to lean into our feelings instead of falling into the temptation to close our hearts.

Christianity isn’t an easy road, but as the Psalmist said “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” My prayer is that you can feel His loving presence, as you work to embrace whatever difficult life lessons you’re going through, so you can more fully experience the joy He has for you.

Are you in a process of grieving? Comment below, and we’ll pray you through this challenging time. 

 

Prayer for Healing Addictions

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone, the new is here.”
-2 Corinthians 5:17

God bless and heal our loved ones, who are struggling to break free from addiction to harmful substances and behaviors.  

Sometimes it feels like we’re losing them to the darkness of their issues. They’ve changed so much it feels like their bright, beautiful spirits are fading away. We love them, and we’ve tried so hard to help them!

But Lord, our efforts have failed to heal this disease of substance abuse. We’ve learned that all we can do is surrender them with prayer into Your loving arms and hope for the best.

Only You have the power to break the chains of their addictions. Only You have the power to heal them and restore them into the loving people we once could trust. 

Please pour Your grace over every aspect of their lives!

Bring Your spirit of healing into any underlying issues, which made them vulnerable to addiction in the first place.

Help them experience Your love, which we know is what they’re really craving, even as they try to find comfort in dangerous substitutes.

Fill them with the supernatural courage it will take to find healthy replacements for every one of their addictive behaviors.

Strengthen the very essence of their being, so they can break free from all of the harmful patterns they keep repeating.

Surround them with supportive people, who have overcome similar issues and can lovingly walk them through every step of the recovery process.

Help them to realize how deeply they are loved and how very much they will be able offer others, when they are restored to health again. Open their hearts to realize they are totally forgiven by You for all of their mistakes, no matter what they’ve done: all they have to do is let go of their addiction.

Guide them to the perfect 12-step program, along with doctors and counsellors to address all their medical needs on their path to wellness.

Give them hope in You and a vision for a better life! Give them strength to persevere through the recovery process, no matter how long it takes.  

Please provide protection and healing for those, who have been hurt by the behaviors stemming from their addiction as well. Let this addictive pattern stop here, Lord.

We entrust them to the power of Your Divine Mercy, forgiveness and healing always! Thank you Jesus! Amen.

Do you have a loved one, who is suffering from a problem with addiction? Please share your story below, and we will lift them up in prayer right alongside you!  God bless.

Have you found true spiritual freedom?

American Soul

Did you Did you know that poetry can be considered contemplative prayer on paper? Or in this case, a computer screen;) Dive into a deeper life of faith by pondering the meaning of the words below and reflecting on the questions afterwards. God bless you on your spiritual journey! 

American Soul

I think my soul is getting too big for this place

It’s like trying to fit a magenta sunrise over the pacific ocean
with fluffy marshmallow clouds and the joy of leaping of dolphins

into a tiny
plastic
cup,

And I don’t want anyone to try and drink
a squished version of me
or even take a tiny sip that doesn’t reflect my diversity.

I know who I am
and how long it took for me to become this radiant, enormous being

How many times did the volcano have to erupt before it created this island of my soul?
I stopped counting and surrendered into the Fire bigger than myself,
flowing out of myself.

It wasn’t my plan, it burned.
But I survived,
and here I am like the radiant dawn herself.

Now that it’s time for palm trees, cool evening breezes and wild flowering trees,
I don’t even need time anymore
or ballot boxes,

at least not to tell me who I am.

I know
politics can’t contain this love in me,
this compassion.
That tiny list of who I can vote for is a joke.

As if I could choose between unborn babies and refugees or teenage mothers with no support, who are scared to death and make a choice. Don’t get me started about the prisoners on death row …

What happened to them to stunt their growth?

I just want them ALL to come to my shores.
I want everyone to feel the breeze of Truth and Mercy that blows here
and sustained me through my own trial-filled years.
I want them to be still and rest quietly,
listening to the waves of love crashing on my rocky coastline.
I want them to bask under the gorgeousness of my stars
and begin to get a sense of their own inherent vastness.

Will I erupt again?
I don’t know,
I am not in control of this life I’ve been given,

But I have noticed how much bigger I’m getting …
I don’t fit here anymore,
It’s like trying to squeeze the size of  purple mountain majesty into a tiny box
with a check mark on it …

I am open for more.

I’m outgrowing this,
but I’m not going anywhere,
And you can’t move me either.

I’m too big for politics
but just the right size for grace
and Truth that can move mountains and create whole new spaces.

You don’t need a plane ticket or freedom, food, water or shelter to rest on my shores.
You don’t even need to know about me.
My heart is open like an island rose,
and YOU are here in my prayers, which are powerful.

I look forward to watching you grow.

Reflection:
I wrote this trying to reconcile all of my feelings about the goodness of America in contrast to the the way our political landscape has divided our nation to such a dramatic degree. I invite you to reflect on where your own spirituality fits in with your politics. I also invite you to reflect on ways you can begin to help be a healer and a peacemaker in these troubled times. Are you willing to reach out to someone, whose beliefs are different than yours to try and find common ground? Are you willing to see the best in others, even when you don’t agree? Are there ways you can bring more of God’s healing love into our troubled world? 

Prayer: 
God please bless our nation to truly be guided by Your Highest Truth, Mercy and Unconditional Love always! Heal us, bring us together as one for the common good and Your Glory. Amen. 

Copywrite Nicky Gant 2/2/2017

Prayer for Unity in America

Prayer for Unity in America

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall. – Ephesians 2:14

“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”  – Gwendolyn Brooks

As a nation, we are hurting. We’ve been through so much together through this election cycle, and we’re all processing it in different ways.

God, help us begin to heal and move forward.

Where the sting of grief weighs down our souls, bring Your comfort.

Where fear of discrimination disturbs our peace of mind, fill us with trust in You.

Where unfair judgements shroud our ability to see the good in each other, help us connect at the heart of our common humanity.

Where the darkness of hatred hides within us, bring it to light and replace it with Your love.

Unite in Prayer

Remove the blinders of predjudice from our eyes; help us to see each other clearly as Your beloved children..

Give us the courage to be accountable for our actions and attitudes which harm others, and give us the strength to forgive those, who have wounded us.

Open our hearts to be kind to one another, as we learn and grow.

Strengthen us in our most broken places; Make something beautiful out of our pain.

Illuminate our minds with Your Truth.

We need Your justice, mercy and love more than ever, Lord.

We need Your wisdom, guidance and vision for the future.

We need You to create a new path for us, and fill us with the grace to follow it.

Though it feels like we’re being torn apart at the seams, we know You are with us.

Help us to rise as a stronger, more empathic people.

Awaken a Holy passion and conviction of what is right in us.

Help us unite in our desires for peace.

Give us the strength to work together for the common good.

We praise You, we thank You and we aspire only to do Your will!

In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Please share your prayers for unity below, and we will lift them with you!