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.

Do you believe in the power of a mother's prayers?

The Power of Mothers who Pray

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

This poem explores the power of prayer, especially the prayers of mothers, who pray together for needs of each other’s children. Enjoy! 

The Power of Mothers who Pray

Is there anything more powerful than a mother who prays?
She doesn’t look like much, I know …
on bended knee, alone
But isn’t there something about a woman who opens her heart to the Lord?
Who is brave enough to realize her own vulnerability in loving these children so much?
Who is strong enough to admit she can’t raise them alone?

Is there anything more powerful than a mother who puts her trust in the Lord?
She seems a little crazy, I know.
Pouring her heart out to a man, who is invisible.
But isn’t there something about a woman, who is wise enough to let go of her illusions of control?
Who is brave enough to admit that even Her love for them isn’t enough?
Who is strong enough to believe a sacred truth she can feel deep in her soul?

What about a group of mothers who pray together?
Busy women, who take time out of their schedules to meet each week,
entrusting each other and God with their concerns?

What about the mothers, who are brave enough
to unite in faith and friendship,
lifting each other up and praying
as passionately for the needs of each other’s children as their own?

What about a group of women,
who open their hearts to lift up the needs of a larger family,
a school?
an entire community?
children they may never know?
How powerful can they be?

I’m not kidding myself.
I know that even together, we don’t have the power to move mountains or part seas.
But I also know the deeper truth that
United in prayer as mothers,
we can expect to see God do even greater things.
I pray He gives us the eyes to see His miraculous love all around us.

Reflection: Are you a praying mama? If not, how can you incorporate more prayer into your busy life? 

Prayer: God bless women to be inspired to turn to you and entrust their children to You. Help increase faith and trust in You! 

Action Step: Get up 15 minutes early to spend time in contemplative prayer! Have you tried lectio Divina? Grab some girlfriends and meet weekly to pray together! 

Do you know what God is calling you to do? www.uniteinprayer.org

Answering the Calling

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

This poem explores the beauty of following a calling from God, even though it takes us through times of trial. Enjoy! 

Answering the Calling

It’s like a little ball of light in your heart that glows
and gets bigger the longer you follow it.
Brighter
and bolder too.

It will help to know some things in advance.

While mesmerized by the brilliance of it,
You can fully expect to be led into dark places that terrify you
and make your soul scream with the heaviness of every emotion you’ve ever avoided.
You will ache deeply.

The light will be your only consolation until it’s gone.

One day after putting all your hope and trust in it for years and
letting go of everything else in the process,
it will disappear entirely from your view.
You will be left alone,
lost in the deepest woods to fend for yourself with no comfort.

Being prepared for this won’t make it any easier.
But please know in advance that this journey is worth the toll it takes.

You are going somewhere.
Your trust was not misplaced, and
when the light comes back it will be more radiant than the brightest dawn.

You will be illuminated with every love, joy and truth known to man.
The glistening purity will pierce your soul, and
You will know the difference between who you are and what it is

Suddenly, you will be free to do more than blindly follow:
You will become one with the light.
Others will sense something luminous in you and have an opportunity to decide for themselves.

Is there any other path to freedom?

Reflection: Have you ever thought about what your calling from God is before? Have you ever had a sense that God was nudging you to follow him in a particular way? Did you listen? Have you ever prayed to God for guidance? Do you have the courage to follow Him even if He asks you to do hard things? 

Prayer: God bless everyone reading this to hear Your calling for their life! Fill their heart with a sense of Your presence, adn give them the courage to follow Your voice, along with the strength to persevere through their highest calling from You. 

Spiritual Toolbox: If you’re still learning to tune into Divine Guidance, I encourage you to try Lectio Divina. It’s an ancient practice of diving into the Word of God in order to receive guidance from the Holy Spirit. Learn more here. 

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

Gorgeous Chaos

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

This poem explores the benefits of letting go of control to trust God with our lives. It also encourages us to live in the present moment and have gratitude for the little blessings life offers us. 

Gorgeous Chaos

There are some things we want
that we can’t work for to get.

Snow falls down from the sky on a Tuesday
and stops
that night without ever asking if we had enough
or even if we wanted it in the first place.

Of course, we did.
at least a part of us did;
the part that likes to gaze out the window at fluffy beauty raining down like joy …
the open part of us,
the awe and wonder.
The stalwart core of us that’s willing to embrace the cold and bundle up
to experience magic first hand at a moment’s notice,
oblivious to the bitter chill in the air.

www-uniteinprayer-org-8

There are things we can work for too.
we can set goals and accomplish them.
we can make money and keep things orderly.
we can stick to the plan no matter what’s falling from the sky.

I think we have a choice to make when snow comes.
It makes sense to decide it’s too cold and wet to go outside;
There really will be too much laundry.
But will we reject an outpouring of gifts from the heavens because of a little mess?

Who created this gorgeous chaos anyway?
Don’t you think He wants us to experience it?

who-created-this-gorgeous-chaos-anyway

I opened up the deepest chamber of my heart and made a choice.
Then suddenly, I felt something in my soul hop on her sled.
She slipped down to the edge of the yard faster than she expected.
I found her beaming at the bottom of the hill
with fluffy flakes swirling around her face like a picture frame,
expressing the purest joy.

Reflection: This poem is not about the snow!  It’s about accepting God’s grace, which isn’t always easy or practical. We all know God’s plan for our lives is more amazing than we can imagine, but we don’t all have the courage to follow it. Are you open to the gorgeous chaos of God’s vision for your life? Or are you missing the blessings because you’re so focused on being in control?

Prayer: God, give us the eyes to see the gifts and guidance you give us and the courage to accept them with open hearts and minds. Amen.