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"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I See Her


I see her.

Head on the pillow,

Daddy kneeling beside her bed.

He's praying.

So is she.

She starts with the prayer Daddy used to always pray out loud.

He doesn't pray out loud anymore.

She's too old for that.

He prays to himself and she prays to herself.

The words they've said so many times together become the focus of her thoughts:

"Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep."

After she asks God to please bless everybody in the whole wide world,

She starts with her prayer.

It's pretty similar to the one she prayed the last night.

And the night before that.

She tries to pray for everyone she can think of,

People she knows and people she doesn't.

She never wants to leave anyone out,

So she's always following the same pattern.

When she finishes that, she prays the Lord's Prayer

Because that's what they pray every Sunday at church,

So it must be very important.

I see her

And I know.

I am her.


I see her years later

With her high loft bed

That she never could make herself, the way it was built.

Usually her daddy helped her.

He was gone and Mom was there.

I see her mom pass her up a blanket.

She explains that it isn't the right one,

That the blankets absolutely must go on in a certain order

And don't give that to me now

Because I can't sleep if we make the bed like that.

Her mother tells her she's OCD,

And I wonder if one can have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder of the heart?

I see her mother turn the light off,

And she kneels on her bed

And prays a prayer not too different from the one she used to say all those years ago,

Only this time without the childhood favorite,

Without the Lord's Prayer,

Because she knows that prayer is not supposed to be a reciting of mantras

But a communion with the Father,

And yet her prayers still aren't too different,

One night to the next.


I see her,

And,

All these years later,

In a lot of ways, she's still me.

She may be the one who put the purfumes in rainbow order,

And the scrubbie/loofa/pouf things, too . . .

I'm the one who keeps them that way,

Can't stand to have them any other.

It wasn't so long ago that I took the mess of hair ties,

Divided them into individual plastic sandwich bags,

Based on size and color,

Then put those in rainbow order, too.

Shirts, pants, skirts, dresses,

All in order by color, by size,

CDs on the counter in order by artist, release date (except the one in the player),

And the blankets on the bed are still in the same order they always were.


I struggle even now

With the fine line between habit and discipline.

There are prayers now that are different,

But still many that are the same,

And I just feel so often like I won't be doing enough,

Won't be doing what I'm supposed to be doing -

Not exactly in a legalistic sense,

But there are things I feel obligated to keep praying for others,

To keep praying for myself,

Things that I feel that I ought to do,

Even though I can't say I've ever believed God would be angry at me for not doing them -

And there are times I don't know exactly which side of the line I'm on.


The envelope's on the table.

I see the logo, the few words telling me what's inside,

And rip it open as fast as I can.

I read the words she's written me,

Answering my questions,

Telling me about herself,

Her life.

I get to the part where she's responding to my questions about prayer meetings.

I love to pray with my friends,

And asked her if she ever went to any prayer meetings.

When I read her words, though, I think I must've said something wrong

Because it sounds like she feels obligated

And is apologizing that she's never been able to

With all of the responsibilities she has at home

And my heart just sees this reflection of myself -

This idea that this is what I'm supposed to do,

This is how I'm supposed to act,

This is what will make people happy -

If I pray for them,

If I pray as they want me to,

If I . . .

When I sit down with her letter

And a pile of stationery,

I say to her what I want to say to that little girl praying with her daddy,

That little girl kneeling on her bed,

That not-quite-so-little girl bent over a book of prayer requests,

Reading so many chapters of her Bible each day,

Just trying to be disciplined,

To do all the right things,

Wondering if what she's doing is spiritual discipline or empty habit.

I tell her

I hope you don't think that I'm expecting something of you,

That I'll be disappointed in you if you don't.

I am so proud of you,

Your hard work for your family,

For your education.

My greatest hope for you is that you love God and come to know Him more.

Sure, going to prayer meetings is a good thing,

But that's not the point.

The point is growth,

And that happens differently for everyone,

And God always, always makes His people grow.

He is Faithful.

Just love Him.

Whatever that looks like for you,

Just love Him.


That little girl?

I still see her.

Every time I look in the mirror.

I've still got a lot to learn,

But, oh, don't we all?


Reasons 4590-4698 today,

Venturing into Job again

(Basing my counting off this series, for anyone curious),

Trying to see God,

And love Him,

Just love Him:

  1. He is the maker of Israel (Psalm 149:2)
  2. He is the King of Zion (Psalm 149:2)
  3. He takes delight in His people (Psalm 149:4)
  4. He crowns the humble with victory (Psalm 149:4)
  5. His praise is a double-edged sword in the hands of His people (Psalm 149:6)
  6. His praise is a double-edged sword in the hands of His people to inflict vengeance on the nations (Psalm 149:6-7)
  7. His praise is a double-edged sword in the hands of His people to inflict punishment on the peoples (Psalm 149:6-7)
  8. His praise is a double-edged sword in the hands of His people to bind the nations' kings with fetters (Psalm 149:6-8)
  9. His praise is a double-edged sword in the hands of His people to bind the nations' nobles with shackles of iron (Psalm 149:6-8)
  10. His praise is a double-edged sword in the hands of His people to carry out the sentence written against the nations (Psalm 149:6-9)
  11. He is to be praised in His sanctuary (Psalm 150:1)
  12. He is to be praised in His mighty heavens (Psalm 150:1)
  13. He does acts of power (Psalm 150:1)
  14. His Greatness is surpassing (Psalm 150:1)
  15. He considers those who are blameless (Job 1:8)
  16. He considers those who are upright (Job 1:8)
  17. He considers those who fear Him (Job 1:8)
  18. He considers those who shun evil (Job 1:8)
  19. He puts a hedge around those whom He chooses (Job 1:10)
  20. He puts a hedge around the households of those whom He chooses (Job 1:10)
  21. He puts a hedge around everything that those whom He chooses have (Job 1:10)
  22. He blesses the work of the hands of those whom He chooses (Job 1:10)
  23. He blesses the work of the hands of those whom He chooses, so that their flocks and herds are spread throughout the land (Job 1:10)
  24. He allows terrible things to happen to the possessions of those whom He chooses (Job 1:11-12)
  25. He allows terrible things to happen in order to test the upright (Job 1:11-12)
  26. He allows oxen and donkeys to be stolen in order to test the upright (Job 1:11-15)
  27. He allows servants to be killed in order to test the upright (Job 1:11-15)
  28. He allows sheep to be burned in order to test the upright (Job 1:11-16)
  29. He allows servants to be burned in order to test the upright (Job 1:11-16)
  30. He allows camels to be stolen in order to test the upright (Job 1:11-17)
  31. He allows sons and daughters to die in order to test the upright (Job 1:11-17)
  32. He gives (Job 1:21)
  33. He takes away (Job 1:21)
  34. He considers those who maintain their integrity (Job 2:3)
  35. He allows the upright to suffer physically in order to test them (Job 2:4-6)
  36. He allows the upright to be afflicted with painful sores in order to test them (Job 2:7)
  37. He allows the upright to be afflicted with painful sores from the soles of their feet to the crowns of their heads in order to test them (Job 2:7)
  38. He gives good to His people (Job 2:10)
  39. He gives trouble to His people (Job 2:10)
  40. He takes away those skilled in flattery (Job 32:22)
  41. His Spirit makes people (Job 33:4)
  42. His breath gives people life (Job 33:4)
  43. All people are the same in His sight (Job 33:6)
  44. All people are pieces of clay in His sight (Job 33:6)
  45. He is greater than any mortal (Job 33:12)
  46. He does speak (Job 33:14)
  47. He does speak - now one way, now another (Job 33:14)
  48. He does speak - now one way, now another - though no one perceives it (Job 33:14)
  49. He speaks in a dream (Job 33:15)
  50. He speaks in a vision of the night (Job 33:15)
  51. He speaks in a dream when deep sleep falls on people (Job 33:15)
  52. He speaks in a vision of the night when deep sleep falls on people (Job 33:15)
  53. He speaks in a dream when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds (Job 33:15)
  54. He speaks in a vision of the night when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds (Job 33:15)
  55. He speaks in people's ears (Job 33:16)
  56. He terrifies people with warnings (Job 33:16)
  57. He terrifies people with warnings to turn them from wrongdoing (Job 33:16-17)
  58. He terrifies people with warnings to keep them from pride (Job 33:16-17)
  59. He terrifies people with warnings to preserve them from the pit (Job 33:16-18)
  60. He terrifies people with warnings to preserve their lives from perishing by the sword (Job 33:16-18)
  61. He delivers His people from going down to the pit (Job 33:28)
  62. His people shall live to enjoy the light of life (Job 33:28)
  63. He afflicts people - twice, even three times (Job 33:29)
  64. He afflicts people - twice, even three times - to turn them back from the pit (Job 33:29-30)
  65. He afflicts people - twice, even three times - to turn them back from the pit, that the light of life may shine on them (Job 33:29-30)
  66. Far be it from Him to do evil (Job 34:10)
  67. Far be it from Him to do wrong (Job 34:10)
  68. He repays everyone for what they have done (Job 34:11)
  69. He brings on everyone what their conduct deserves (Job 34:11)
  70. It is unthinkable that He would do wrong (Job 34:12)
  71. It is unthinkable that He would pervert justice (Job 34:12)
  72. No one appointed Him over the earth (Job 34:13)
  73. No one put Him in charge of the whole world (Job 34:14)
  74. If it were His intention and He withdrew His Spirit and breath, all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust (Job 34:14-15)
  75. He says to kings, “You are worthless” (Job 34:18)
  76. He says to nobles, “You are wicked” (Job 34:18)
  77. He shows no partiality to princes (Job 34:19)
  78. He does not favor the rich over the poor (Job 34:19)
  79. Both the princes and the poor are the work of His hands (Job 34:19)
  80. His eyes are on the ways of mortals (Job 34:21)
  81. His eyes are on the ways of mortals; He sees their every step (Job 34:21)
  82. There is no deep shadow where evildoers can hide from Him (Job 34:22-23)
  83. There is no utter darkness where evildoers can hide from Him (Job 34:22-23)
  84. He has no need to examine people further, that they should come before Him for judgment (Job 34:23)
  85. Without inquiry He shatters the mighty (Job 34:24)
  86. Without inquiry He shatters the mighty and sets up others in their place (Job 34:24)
  87. He takes note of people's deeds (Job 34:25)
  88. Because He takes note of people's deeds, He overthrows them in the night (Job 34:25)
  89. Because He takes note of people's deeds, He overthrows them in the night and they are crushed (Job 34:25)
  90. He punishes people for their wickedness (Job 34:26)
  91. He punishes people for their wickedness where everyone can see them (Job 34:26)
  92. He punishes people for their wickedness where everyone can see them because they turned from following Him (Job 34:26-27)
  93. He punishes people for their wickedness where everyone can see them because they turned from following Him and had no regard for any of His ways (Job 34:26-27)
  94. He hears the cry of the needy (Job 34:28)
  95. If He remains silent, no one can condemn Him (Job 34:29)
  96. If He hides His face, no one can see Him (Job 34:29)
  97. He is over individual and nation alike (Job 34:29)
  98. He is over individual and nation alike to keep the godless from ruling (Job 34:29-30)
  99. He is over individual and nation alike to keep the godless from ruling, from laying snares for the people (Job 34:29-30)
  100. If people sin, that does not affect Him (Job 35:6)
  101. If people's sins are many, that does nothing to Him (Job 35:6)
  102. The righteous can give Him nothing (Job 35:7)
  103. He receives nothing from the hand of the righteous (Job 35:7)
  104. He gives songs in the night (Job 35:10)
  105. He teaches His people more than He teaches the beasts of the earth (Job 35:11)
  106. He makes His people wiser than the birds in the sky (Job 35:11)
  107. He does not answer when people cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked (Job 35:12)
  108. He does not listen to the empty plea of those who cry out (Job 35:11-12)
  109. He pays no attention to the empty plea of those who cry out (Job 35:11-12)


Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him: 

(Sylvia's already made it to - past - 10,000!  So amazing to think of who He is like this!)



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Counting in community:

It's blog month over here,

Blogging for Compassion,

Trying to get 3,160 children sponsored this month.

Honestly, the ability to make a difference,

The ability to develop a relationship with a child,

To teach,

To learn,

Is one of the greatest gifts God has given me.

Please consider joining us in releasing children from poverty

In Jesus' Name.



2 comments:

Pam said...

Mary, your friend is blessed to have you sharing Him and praying with and for her... Lovely post and I could see you there praying. I miss the beautiful prayer meetings I knew back in college. Don't seem to find them anymore. It was a time when the Holy Spirit was really moving (sometimes called The Jesus Movement nowadays) - such a sweet move of His spirit I pray on all of us today too. Prayer is so close to my heart, always. And I can see Him moving that in you too.

Mary said...

Thank you, Pam. Prayer meetings truly are wonderful! There are many of them at the church I've been going to, as well. Sorry that you've had a hard time finding any . . . prayer truly is so important! God shows up in amazing ways when His people pray! Thank you for sharing, friend!

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