Crying out of my soul

Recently I read a pray by John Wesley in "Becoming a Woman of Prayer" by Cynthia Heald that its been pivotal in prayer times.
Take the full possession of my heart, raise there your throne, and command there as you do in heaven. Being created by you, let me live to you. Being created for you, let me ever act for your glory. Being redeemed by you, let me render unto you what is yours and let my spirit ever cleave to you alone.
Often my prayers are about me, what it is that I want, what I need and what I think the people I care for need. But when I read prayers like this, I must stop and remember that prayer isn't just a task that gets me what I want when I want it and I shouldn't approach my time in prayer with an arrogant and demanding stance.

Through this bible study by Cynthia Heald, I've come to see how many prayers throughout the Bible especially Matthew 6:9-13, where Jesus modeled prayer for us, are focused on the Father rather than oneself.

So this morning as I picked up my daily reading in Jeremiah, I was struck once again by how passionately Jeremiah pours out his heart to the Lord. Jeremiah 12:1-4 shows him acknowledging who God is and yet pleading with God about how long His judgement will be on the people of Israel. In Jeremiah 20:7-18, you see that Jeremiah praise the Lord, share about the persecution he is receiving from his people and declare that we will always speak the words the Lord gives him. But what I have learned most so far from Jeremiah is how honest he is about his care for his people but keeps it focused on the Lords will for them. He understands that they have given themselves to other gods and longs to see Israel turn from their ways but Jeremiah is still willing to stand in the gap, pass along the words of the Lord and receive any push back that might come with it.

To me, Jeremiah is a wonderful example of someone who lives out John Wesley's prayer. The Lord has full possession of his heart and in turn Jeremiah lives for Him, acts for His glory, renders to Him what is already His and cleaves to Him alone.

Lord, remind me over and over that my life is not my own. I want you to have full possession of my heart. Impress upon me through the day that it is for You that I do my work and it is You alone that I cling to.


Filling my reserves

Yesterday, I read a blog by John Ortberg about being consistent in filling up my reserves. You know, those spiritual tanks that we pull from throughout the day. It's when those tanks get low that we start to do things on our own strength, we become discontent with the things we're doing and we are more easily tempted to sin. These tanks are very important and quality time (not just quantity) with God on a daily basis will keep these tanks overflowing.

I've been pondering this concept for the last 24 hours and it seems like every where I turn things remind me of this post. God, are you trying to tell me something? Recently life has become quite busy and I've had to be VERY disciplined in order to be sure that I'm still getting time with God in the mornings.

(Insert sidenote: Now some of you know that I'm not really a morning person but I've found after living with several morning people that it's one of the best times of the day for me. While I do hate having to get out of that warm, cozy bed, I am able to get quality with God before all the other mental distractions cloud my thoughts. Close sidenote.)

All that said, this morning I really needed to hear from God. I wanted to experience Him and be filled up again. I occasionally read from Morning and Evening, a devotional by Charles H. Spurgeon, and a portion of the devo centered around the verse "I will pour water on the thirsty land." (Isaiah 44:3) went like this: Water refreshes the thirsty: you shall be refreshed; your desires shall be gratified. Water awakens sleeping vegetable life: your life shall be quickened by fresh grace. Water swells the buds and makes the fruits ripen; you shall have fructifying grace: you shall be made fruitful in the ways of God. Whatever good quality there is in divine grace, you shall enjoy it to the full. All the riches of divine grace you shall receive in plenty; you shall be, as it were, drenched with it: and as sometimes the meadows become flooded by the bursting rivers, and the fields are turned into pools, so shall you be - the thirst land shall be springs of water.
Exactly what I needed to hear. And at that point, God reminded me of a section of scripture that my grandmother, probably my hero spiritually, has memorized and quotes regularly - Isaiah 43. After reading this, my heart is full.

God, You are so good! It is because of Your Son that I am able to be called Your child and receive the peace which only comes from being washed clean from sin. Help me to remember today the words which You said through Isaiah, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine," and help me to live today as one who is filled up because of who you say I am.


Delighting in God

"Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4

In Wiktionary, delight is defined as joy or pleasure. In Wikipedia, delight is said to mean "happiness and may refer to someone or something that brings such a state, such as good-tasting food."

As I looked up other verses in efforts to learn what delighting myself in the LORD might look like.

Nehemiah 1:11-"desire to fear Your name"(NKJ), "who delight to revere Your name"(NRSV, NASB)
Psalm 1:1-3-"his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night."
Psalm 111:2-"The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them."
Jeremiah 15:16-"Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart."

His law is on the hearts of and studied by those who delight in the Lord and then becomes the joy and rejoicing of their hearts. So then I must ask the question: Does this describe me?

I really do want to delight solely in the Lord but often I find myself delighting in His many blessings than in the giver of those blessings. I guess He does give us those blessings for us to enjoy but isn't the enjoyment of those blessings greater when you're delighting in the Giver more than the blessing.

Guess this leads to the second part of that verse - "and He will give you the desires of Your heart." Many people manipulate this verse to justify asking for just about anything and thinking God will give it to us. I can say for myself that I've done this before but have come to the conclusion that the desires of my heart can't be trusted. It could be partly because I'm a girl and we all know that girls change their minds often. (we know its true)

I wonder what God thinks sometimes when we ask for things. I'm sure He has laughed at my requests many times and said "Erin, that's not really what you want." Its usually at these points when I get frustrated that God hasn't "answered" my prayer when really what's happened is that He knows that my true desires weren't spoken and He uses time to refine them.

I love this prayer by Charles Spurgeon taken from The Power of a Believers Prayer:
Lord, if what I ask for does not please You, neither would it please me. My desired are put into Your hands to be corrected. Strike the pen through every petition that I offer that is not right. And put in whatever I have omitted, even though I might not have desired it had I considered it...'Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.'"
Lord, I want to delight You in the things that I pray for. Help me to see where my desires must die in order for Your will to be done. Just as Spurgeon prayed - my desires are put into Your hands to be corrected. You are the loving, merciful Father that I need so desperately and I'm so thankful for your gentleness in reshaping the deep desires of my heart. Place this new heart of yours in me and make it beat forever for you!


"Daughter, be of good cheer. Your faith has made you well."

A little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with MS and found myself at the lowest point in my life. The months following my diagnosis were like a roller coaster of fear, sadness, hopelessness and anger. I wonder if these feelings were anywhere close to what the woman in Mark 5: 25-34 was feeling the day that Jesus passed by. For months, I had been questioning God about why I had lost my eyesight and been meeting with many physicians who couldn't answer that question either. I was frustrated but I hadn't been sick for 12 years like this woman. So when Jesus was passing by, she did the only thing left to do - she reached out and touched the garment of Jesus. I wonder if she had one of those moments where time seemed to move in slow motion. I can imagine that she watched her arm reach out so slowly that maybe she thought she wouldn't make it. Maybe she strained to grab on to just the hem of his garment hoping with everything she had left that this would be the last time she'd have to attempt to be healed. And when she finally touched His clothes, she must have been in awe that it was The Healer who had made her well.(Luke 8:43-44)

In all the chaos of the crowd, Jesus said, "Who touched me?" I probably would have acted just as she did as she tried to hide herself in fear that He might be angry. Oh but wouldn't you just want to shout out for joy that you had finally been healed. No one in the crowd that day besides Jesus and this woman could fully understand what had just taken place. She must have been overcome with joy. I felt only a fraction of this when gazed into the sky last 4th of July and reveled in His goodness - He had reached out to me and healed my body.

It was her faith, Jesus said, that made her well. (Luke 8:48; Mark 8:34) She sought out Jesus in faith. In my case, Jesus sought me out in faithfulness and mercy. During those dark days, I knew in head that I should turn to God but I didn't know how I could with all the fear and confusion I was feeling. I wonder if the woman would have reached out to Jesus right when she got sick (if He had been been passing by). Or did God use those 12 years in her life to bring her to a point where she was long past any efforts she could muster?

I'm blessed. God gave me sight back after only a few days and He has surrounded me with friends and family who intercede for me when I can't. He has provided medicine to keep me from having to experience any relapses for over a year! Praise be to God!

Lord, give me faith to reach out to You when I feel hopeless and fearful. I want to have faith like this woman who will squeeze through a moving crowd at the chance to touch just the hem of your garment. You are so good. It's for Your glory that I share my story.



I love my dog and today I got to spend some extra time with him while working from home. As I have sat here on the couch typing away, he has moved from one place to the other sleeping. Occasionally he will notice that I've started snacking on something and it's at that point when I see some I wish I was better at: patience.

I love how Walker nuzzles himself right up next to me and waits until I'm done eating. I know this isn't something a good dog trainer would allow - I believe some call it begging - but I love it. He watches intently in case I just happen to drop something that he can quickly snatch. But then sometimes he does that same thing when I'm not eating. I can just hear him asking me when I'll take him out for a w-a-l-k or when I'll give him a t-r-e-a-t. Oh how patient he is. Ever waiting. Ever watching. Ever anticipating my next move.

So this leaves me wondering if God wants this kind of attention from me. I know God doesn't think of us as his little pets like I have just described but I'm sure he would like us to give him a little more attention sometimes. Or at least watch what he is doing. I want to be more like that.


We are Art

There are many times that I find myself defending Art. As a culture, we have many different ways of participating in art but we don't always acknowledge it as such. I've heard people say before that they aren't very interested in art but I would have them answer the following questions:

Do you watch movies?
Do you decorate your house or landscape?
Do you enjoy listening to music?
Do you like to shop for clothes?

If you have answered 'yes' to any of these questions then you participate in art. Of course there are other forms of art such as dance or painting but these are only two of the many forms that we see around us.

In Refractions by NavPress, Makoto Fujimura talks about art in a way that I have never heard of before. He talks about how it has impacted his life and the lives of those around him. What is also very interesting is that he talks about having lived through 9/11 since he lives a few blocks from Ground Zero. He shares how his art has become even more of a source of self expression after that event.

If you are even remotely interested in art, this is definitely a great book.



My name means 'peace' and I had a friend once say that she really feels like the meaning of a persons name plays a role in who people become. I would say that in my life, peace has been a BIG part of who I have become. I often make major choices after feeling the peace of God. I have longed for the peace of God through troubled times. Peace -- there is nothing like it.

Lately, I have felt a different kind of peace. Usually peace in my life is more of an "okay" about a decision but right now I'm feeling a peace that is more like contentment. I'm at peace with where I am in life, who God has made me to be, and where He is leading me.

While I don't know all the details about where He's taking me, I am at peace with whatever He has for me as long as it is what He wants. He knows way more than me and I trust Him because He only has His best for me.