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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

I want to start this post with a plug for Nee-Nee’s new blog site. It is called: Unbalanced, check her ‘about’ page to find why she chose the title. Yes, I finally made her unbalanced and she is about to tip over. I suggested the blog so she could take  her frustrations out there instead. No, really she came up with the idea, and I thought that it would be a good one.

I am an enemy of God’s. We are all born enemies of God because of our sins. I got this from a lesson we had Wednesday night by a guest speaker, I have known this for a long time, but hearing it fresh like that was a revelation to me. Thankfully God loves His enemies, and we are welcomed back with opened arms. His Son’s blood washed our sins away, He loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son that we, His enemies, might live. The thing is in my life I never thought that I was away from God. I talked to Him all the time. I talked to Him like a friend when I did drugs, after a fight, during and after deception to others, I cried to see Him before blacking out during overdoses, I talked to Him as I was coming out realizing what had happened. I talked to Him constantly, and all the time I was suited up to take battle. I had my armour on and not the right armour either. I held my sword constantly, even when it was sheathed. I wanted God to join my fight, trying to make Him part of my army and not wanting to join His.

He protected me though I fought against Him. I kept Him close, using Him as protection. Using Him only as my bodyguard. Fooling myself all along the way. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I, as a sinner, am God’s enemy, but I made Him my enemy. Not wanting to open my eyes to what He truly had to offer but what I wanted Him to offer. For Him to conform to me, and not me to Him. After I quit using I still walked in that way, even though I was in a new life style, a new Church family, and an earthly family that loves me with all of their hearts, I refused to let go of my sword. Until I decided to truly talk to Him. 

I realized that this time I would have to come to Him with humility, and ask Him to mold me. To take me down a road that I have not traveled. The one that He carved out for me. I repeated my request at first holding still to the tip of my sword, until He showed me His might and I pulled out my sword to lay it down. Trusting enough to let Him guide me. What did I have to lose? After all, the avenues I took led to dead ends. I was wanting to use again, still do but there is a difference now. I knew that the only thing left was to see what road God had intended me to go down. So I continued to pray that prayer. Not talking to Him, telling Him my plans, but actually asking God to show me a path. It was a different road then I thought that it would be. I thought that it would be one of recovery. Getting back into the work force, magically renewing my body like it was before. I laid down my armour and sword to find a fiery road that led to a tunnel where light teases me.

I struggle with addiction daily. I struggle with my place in all of this at times. I struggle with a depression that is always bubbling underneath. But when the fog lifts and I see the people God surrounded me with, the ones that comment to me on the blog, in person, and through e-mails how they have suffered also. The struggles, the fight they see in me the same ones that they can relate to. I realized that God has put me on a road. Not for my comfort like I wanted, but to lift others out of their struggles and in so having us meet at the crossroads of their own fiery paths. Having them there as well to offer water and support knowing the road well.

Some worry about me, as well they should. I worry a lot. But I know that with that worry comes prayers for me that at times I am afraid to pray myself. For that I am thankful. It is hard for me, I catch myself reaching down for the sword to defend myself. But then God’s love overwhelms me. I don’t remember a lot of things, but at those times God floods my mind with His presence. And how He was always there even when I did not want Him. I find it easy to pray for others, I cry for them and their pain. But I find it difficult to pray for myself. Noreen and I were talking and we really don’t have anyone that we consider an enemy, I am thankful for that also. God gives us no more then we can handle, it might be tough sometimes, but we have to make peace with the one that knows us to be His enemy. I would go down this road again, I still pray that prayer, because I feel the growth. At the same time I feel the darkness but it helps me to know I have no fight left in me, against God that is. And He is molding His enemy, not that my load will ever be light on this earth, but that one day I will leave my sword behind and dine not with my enemy but my Father, my Potter, my Shepard.

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Just to ‘Be’

Nee and I have what we call ‘Be Time’ It is a time that we just enjoy each others company and just be. Enjoying a comfortable silence and just be. It’s very renewing, slowing down and just knowing that each other are there, just to be. We learn a lot from each other in these moments of silence. We get on the couch, hold each other and just caress each other, just to be.

Being managers of an apartment complex when we want to have peace we have to go get a hotel room, and so we did this weekend. We picked up the kids to go eat, and we enjoyed ‘be time’ with them. Then we returned to the hotel room and just enjoyed time together. We went to Toad Suck park right outside of Conway, and read the Bible together. Sometimes we would have discussions, sometimes we sit in silence. We had our prayer beads with us and prayed. We both used them in prayer for different reasons, as we did it we just sit there with our eyes closed in ‘be time’ with our Father. The people that I lifted up to God in my minds eye became babes in His arms. He wrapped them in comfort, and held His hand on their heart. This is how I got to know God better in my ‘be time’ with Him. Nee pictured them in their natural sitting, rather their home or at church service. Some she would lift up to the Throne of God. Either way God was present, in silence getting to know Him better.

We returned home and later enjoyed more time together. Sometimes in silence, sometimes in conversation. It might sound easy to have ‘be time’ and it might sound lazy. But it is neither, sometimes we are both too busy to have it, and we notice a difference if we don’t. It isn’t just lying or sitting away from each other, it is contact with each other, learning of each other just through touch, or rest just being. We feel that way with our relationship with God too. If we go too long without that special time, we become detached from Him and we stop learning who God is and what He desires. When Nee and I are together with God at the same time it is beyond description. I am learning more about my wife and my Father, and at the same exact time she is learning about her husband and her Father. The love that surrounds us is overwhelming at times.

With the way the drugs have reshaped me, I have trouble concentrating. I do not remember things, like a piece of my memory has been removed, or I remember things totally different. Not with all of my memories but it seems like a 40/60 split. Even when I get the memory right, I usually make mistakes on the time span. But I remember these times, I can’t describe them, but I remember them. I pray that we never outgrow the times that we enjoy each other and the times that we bring God in…together just to be.

D.

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I had my ninth counselor session today, so on and so forth. I was talking to my friend the other day about the reason why I wanted to get high again. At the time I couldn’t think of a reason. This was odd to me because once I got back just that morning I knew why. It was what made me me. I had become what the drug had made me. Understand? I was comfortable with it, I talked more, I was funny, I was charismatic, I was numb, I was out of it. If I left without using, or if I went without it for a day or two, I would need to recharge, I became withdrawn, I used my coping skills to deal. Coping skills make it sound like I was doing a right thing but even though they can be used in a positive way, the way I used my coping skills were not in that way. I still do use them, I detach myself from the conversation and from others, I size up people,  I became what others wanted me to be, etc. You can say that this was a false sense of security but I don’t think so. Drugs re-wire who you are. Even just the first time you use them they mess with your psyche, your mental wiring. The first time you smoke a joint or snort a line you might not get the high that you were promised or expected, that is why you want to do it again. A little the first time then the next time you use your experience is different, and so on and so forth.

I liken it to a drunk or an alcoholic who makes excuses to why they said something or did something stupid while they were drunk. I have been around it enough to know what they did or said was really how they felt. The state that they were in brought out the real person. The thing is you have short circuited your brain, and the little guy that filters out the misappropriate behaviours has fallen into a deep sleep and lets them pass.

After awhile you don’t have to be high or drunk to do this. The things you hide and are able to control for example if you have a violent undertow then your brain will be re-wired to bring that out more, if you have an underlying depression from your past the drugs will bring that out. Let me elaborate a little better, if a situation that made you upset but normally you can control it and handle it different, that part is gone. Things that are in everyone that we learn to control that control is gone. Steve Hamilton describes the re-wiring like a maze with a door at every turn. While you are stoned you go through the door it shuts behind you, you do not have the key anymore and cannot go back through. So you go on through the next door it too closes and so on until you make it back around to the beginning. You made it back and you might feel the same but those circuits have been tampered with and you will see the difference.

Mine is confusion. I have trouble communicating sometimes, I like to think that I am intelligent enough and the words are screaming to get out, but no matter how hard I try they elude me, leaving the person more confused then understanding my meaning. I forget things easy, someone can tell me what they need done, or what they are going to do and the next time I see them and they ask about it I either cannot recall the conversation at all, or it comes back to me with a different scenario. That is why I like writing, I can look back on what I wrote and hopefully did not repeat or mask what I mean to say.

I want to get high everyday, sometimes more then others. It hangs on, it is like an old friend that has been with me for 28 years. Even when I take cold pills I fill like I just took something that will get me high. I get a certain feeling when the water, and I always drink water with them so it won’t weaken them, hits the back of my throat and I feel the pills go down. I think that in 20 or 30 minutes I am going to feel good. I have to stop myself from taking more within the first 15 minutes like I would do with drugs. New drugs that I would take in pill form I would take two or three to start with, and then after the thirty minutes were up, if I don’t feel it I would take one or two more. That is how I would know how much I could take the next time.

I have started using prayer beads to remind me to pray and to keep my focus. I need to have focus, it is not that I believe they are magic or have spiritual powers I just use them to concentrate. John talks a little more about them on his blog. I recommend them, or anything else that you might use to block out your other thoughts. I had to include a picture of the ones that I made since I can’t be outdone by John. 🙂

Prayer is what gets me through. It is what brings the people into my life as a barrier to return. I have never seen an unanswered prayer, even if it is not what I wanted or expected I find the answer. So for me prayer works. My good friend uses his in a way for focus on prayers for the Church, and you can set up the seven prayers anyway you want, I use seven to focus on asking God for strength and sorting through the confusion, I always use seven for praise and seven for thanksgiving, the other seven are for Nee-Nee, the kids, the blog family and the Church family that is carrying me through this. God is good.

I am not the same as I was when I started using, I have formed a new me. So I will continue to sort through my new wiring and so on and so forth.

D.

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Once in a hundred years we have a 7-7-7 day, that also means every hundred years we have the less popular 6-6-6 day. Take it for what you will.

I have had a wonderful day so far. I met at the church for our monthly men’s prayer breakfast and it was really nice to commune with your family. We talked about how nice it would be if women had a bigger role in church service, I didn’t say anything but it made me think that some things are so engraved in our lives that we would buck God Himself if He came down and told us we had some things wrong. Noreen will lead prayer for us as a family sometimes. One reason is I love to hear her prayers, and another reason is I think that it is important to show the kids that it is okay.

We also talked about prayers. It’s funny how there are so many views on prayer. Should we ask God that our house should sell? Should we ask God for the little things or just the big things? I guess I never had a problem with that, so I never thought of these things. We know that we all have a longing to talk to God, the more prayer time we have the more we will see the answer. God wants us to come to Him, He sees our hearts and He knows what will help our walk and what is selfish desire. When Paul prayed that his infliction would be taken away, God let Him know that His grace was sufficient. Not that God did not answer his prayer, He already had answered that prayer. If someone gives you a set of weights to work out with, and with it a modest bench that allowed you to do everything to achieve your goal, but then you decide that maybe something a little more updated is needed and you ask that person for a Smith Machine for your bench presses, that person would probably say no, you have what is needed.

We get caught up in what we think we need, even if it is for someone not to be taken away from us, but God takes them. Be it a child or someone that has lived a fruitful life, we do not want to say good-bye, but they are spared this world for a better life. Who are we to stand in their way? There is a song by Craig Morgan that talks about a man saving another persons life, and the person he saved was upset with him. He felt the comfort, now he was back in the world. My best friend came down from S. Carolina to visit, his experience with church has not always been the best, but he continues to grow and search. He told me, ‘Who am I to say what God can and cannot do? I mean, He’s God, He knows the outcome.’ He continued with, ‘Not that I don’t have questions, but God knows more then I do.’ I probably butchered that quote, so Mr. Nemec if you want to correct any of that please do. But I thought that was insightful, it is what we need. In her book, ‘Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith’ Anne Lamott tells of a friend whose prayer each morning is, (more…)

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I got that from Donna’s comment, when I answered it I think that my head was in a different spot, so now I want to delve into it a little more. I think that sometimes we are hindered because of what we are taught about prayer, and the structure of it. I pray all the time, some might even say that it is overkill. I pray when I hear an ambulance, I pray right after someone tells me of their problems, I pray when I watch the news, I pray when thoughts of my children come to mind, I pray after I drop someone off from running errands..I think you get the idea. These are not formal prayers at all, if I am driving I don’t pull over to the side of the road to bow my head, if it is in the house I don’t get up and go into a private room to pray, in fact if you were looking at me while I was doing it you might not even know.

I am not saying that I treat God in a passive manner, I know that He understands and sees where true concerns lie. We should always treat God with respect and praise, and when we do fall to our knees in despair, adoration, and praise then we know that He is truly worthy of this and so much more, but there are times that we need to pray and we are unable to go through the outward mechanics, so it shows in our hearts where men does not see but God knows.

One of my favorite scripture is Rom. 8:26-27 which says: ‘ Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. 27) And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.’ Isn’t that comforting? Out of all of my jumbled, clumsy attempts to come to God, the Spirit is already searching my heart and giving it to God in a way that He understands my needs.

We are taught the Lord’s prayer over and over and see the example of prayer, and so at times we don’t realize that God wants us to approach Him, and since He sees our hearts, there isn’t a cut and dry formula to prayer. We know we should praise God, and He is the great provider. He longs to be talked to. 

So why are there times that God might answer a prayer concerning one thing, and does not answer another? I will try and talk about that in my next post. If you have comments, suggestions, or questions on this post or the upcoming one please let me know.

I would like to leave with a prayer from the Psalmist. ‘Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.’ – Psalm 143:8

God bless,

D.

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O lord, You hear my voice in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.-Psalm 5:3

Thank you Donna for your question on the last post. Prayer stems from our dependence on God, and daily prayer teaches us that. He knows our daily struggles and our more loftier ones. Need brings us to God, and that need can grow into something deeper in our lives. We pray in times of need and once we are in His presence we are open to whatever He may do or show us.

Michael Allen shares with us an example in his book, ‘This Time, This Place’,  Michael tells a story of betrayal by his best friend, out of anger Michael pleaded with God to destroy his friend. After realizing the power of God and the haste of his prayer, he tasted his anger. It was bitter to him, he felt hurt that his friend had betrayed him, he cried and asked God to give him his friend back.

As a friend told me, a child is always dependent on her mother for shelter, food, protection the mother loves the child and the child loves the mother but the child could not rely on her own for survival. Need drives us to prayer, and God welcomes us, not that it should be our only time we turn to Him in prayer, we cannot survive without coming to Him in our time of need. We need daily prayer even in our mundane moments it does not have to be a major crises. God knows about our smaller problems that can consume us, and our conversation with God can and should embrace these things. George McDonald said, ‘Anything large enough for a wish to light upon is large enough to hang a prayer on.’

Sometimes we might be shown difficult times because God knows that we will come to Him then. That is biblical right? It is shown to us in the Old Testament and the New. Though we cannot say definitely what God has wrought and what He hasn’t, we still know that we can turn to Him. When we come into His presence with no particular path, it subtly becomes directed by something we were not awake to before. We cannot see this if we do not come to Him with our desires and needs.

So we come to God with need knowing He can provide and comfort. We come to Him as a child to a parents lap, seeking, questioning, and resting. He is awesome, powerful, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, ruler over everything. But He is also our Father who cares and loves us, He longs for us to turn to Him in times of need, and just to share in His presence.

There is a way to enjoy His presence without asking anything. You have to find a quite time for this though, and it might not be for everyone. But if you get a chance I strongly suggest you try. Sit down, clear your head, I usually like to begin with a prayer that God will quite my thoughts during this time. Close your eyes, if thoughts come in, hand them to God, you can get them back later. To some people it is easier to keep your eyes open, whichever is best for you, and just enjoy your time with God. Sometimes it is hard to fight off thoughts, or worries from the day, but don’t give up. Continue and eventually they will go away, if not, pay attention to what keeps popping up it might be God directing you to change.

I hope that might have answered your question, on the next post I will continue with other ways to pray and to enter into His presence. As we look further into prayer I hope that our perception of God continues to change and grow.

D.

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“You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” -St. Augustine Confessions

In ‘The Art of Prayer’ Jones states that there are different questions that hinder our prayer. Is God really approachable? Did God care enough to listen when we speak? What do I say when I pray? I used to feel closer to God, can I get that back? Will God actually respond to our prayers? Is there such a thing as unanswered prayers?

Before I go further let me explain the collective unconscious a little better. We know that we all share a collective unconscious, and since it is unconscious content that can only be guessed, because it is unknown, we use symbols for the longing inside. Jung tells us that in primitive lore all esoteric teaching seek to apprehend the unseen happenings in the psyche. It’s true in even higher degree of the ruling worlds religions. They contain a revealed knowledge that was originally hidden, and they set forth the secrets of the soul in glorious images. Their temples and their sacred writings proclaim in image and word the doctrine hallowed from of old, making it accessible to every believing heart, every sensitive vision, every farthest range of thought. He goes on to explain that with how the symbolism became more complex it brought in an unbearably sophisticated I-You relationship, falling more into magic and novel images of the Eastern symbols. 

Basically this is the feeling that we have, it is God in all hearts, how the personal unconscious reacts with the collective is how we shape our views. Of course we have the word of God to lean on, but without the longing and faith it would just be another book. Our questions come from knowing that God is Holy, God is bigger then us, and so on. But we also know that God longs for us to talk to Him, He longs to help us. We know that we need not fear the proper words because they are translated to Him, and since He knows us better then we know ourselves, He also knows our needs. So why is it that we focus on God being so awesome, and unapproachable, and then we do not focus on His longing for us to turn to Him?

Most of the time prayer is born from distress, when we have no where else to go we plead to God. Both Jones and Jung state this, and we know this also. We need to learn more of ourselves and how we learn more about ourselves is through prayer. Going to God in times of need is a nice starting point but it has to expand. In any relationship if you just came to the other person in time of need, you will never be able to cement a true relationship with that person.

Next one will not be such a heavy read, I tend to go long with what others can sum up easier. I think that this is a start, we have to look at ourselves, and understand our fears on approaching God. To feed the longing that God has put in us and not let our worldly experience hinder our relationship with God.

We will continue the next one looking at some of the questions that were stated at the top of the post. If you have a different understanding then what I do, or if I scrambled everything beyond comprehension please let me know. As I said in my last post I want to grow in understanding and having a closer walk with God.

 God bless,

D.

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