Tag Archives: fear

What to Pray When You Feel All Alone

Boy, aren’t there times when we feel alone?

Suffering. Depression. Anxiety. Infertility.

Health. Jobs. Kids. Family.

Oppression. Isolation. Addiction.

What if you’re married… and you still feel alone? Even worse – what if you feel like your husband is the enemy?

What to Pray When You Feel Alone

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geekounet/ (changes mine)

Perhaps your husband is abusing you. If so, it’s time to tell someone. Tell your pastor. Tell your friend. Call a counselor. Ask for help. Please.

Maybe your husband is simply passive; you’re not united. You’re always at odds.

Even a vibrant, God-seeking marriage can feel like a lonely island. You talk, but he doesn’t hear. He doesn’t understand, or he’s not seeking to. What then?

After all, if the enemy can take down marriage, he’s taken down one of God’s primary illustrations of Himself.

If you’re single, you still have the same enemy. Loneliness and aloneness still knock.

We know God is there, but it’s hard to feel it. We don’t sense Him. We’re not opening that Bible because we aren’t connected to the vine.

Or we open and it feels like jibberish.

More piercing, we may read and feel anger at the Lord.

When I’m suffering with intense emotions, I can only pray through Scripture itself. I tell God how I’m feeling, but I must must come back to truth. Reciting it reorients my heart and mind, sometimes only with repetition and time.

So if you’re in any of the states I’ve described – or one I’ve obviously missed – here is a Scripture to pray through.

For context, David was hiding from his enemy in a cave when he wrote this.

I cry aloud to the Lord;
    I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
    before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
    people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
    no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
    no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”

Listen to my cry,
    for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
    for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
    that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
    because of your goodness to me.(Psalm 142, emphasis mine)

Trusting When I Fall Flat on My Face

This past Saturday, I had a very fun day set up. We were taking maternity pictures with Bobby, then I was going to get a facial that my mom gave me for mother’s day last year (yes, it took me that long to make the appointment), then I was going to a baby shower for a friend.

It was beautiful, albeit windy, outside as we took super fun family pictures, celebrating the baby bump with friends (Bobby and his wife and baby)!

Towards the end of the session, though, I did something really stupid.

In all of my pregnant-glory, I tried to climb a rocky creek wall to get that next perfect shot. Can you guess what happened?

My toe caught something, and I tripped. I put my hands out to catch myself, and I felt like I was just going to hit my knees – which I certainly did, enough to pop the blood vessels – but then I just kept falling. And my belly hit the ground before my hands. It hit hard, with all of my weight.

I laid there stunned, not knowing how I could have just fallen like that! I was slightly embarassed, but I was mostly confused. This changed body caught me off guard, and then my thoughts immediately went to Emma. The cracked toenail and scraped knee had no pain in those moments as I gripped my baby bump.

I didn’t know what to say. Everyone was pulling me up and brushing grass off of me and asking how I felt. I felt…. numb. Dumbstruck. Scared. My lips were dry, and I licked them as I mumbled something about calling the doctor.

We decided to end the picture-taking (wouldn’t those be some interesting shots?), and I called the doctor – Why do these things happen on Saturday anyway!?

The doc said if I wasn’t bleeding and the baby was still moving, that the uterus, placenta, and fluid are still very protective, and everything was likely OK.

I hadn’t felt Emma move since the fall. Her and I had been up half the night, so I was hoping she was taking a biiiiiiig nap. Doc also said to lie down in a quiet place to see if she would move. I thought I felt her, just a twinge, so I decided to keep my facial appointment – quiet place to lie down, right!? I didn’t know if it was selfish or the right thing to do, but I did it. And then I went to the baby shower. All the while, I kept thinking, Is she moving? Maybe that was a spasm. She seems more still than usual. Not as strong.

And honestly, my ab muscles hurt badly the rest of the day from the impact, so I just didn’t feel right overall.

Since then, I’ve been feeling her move, but the paranoia in me is telling me that it’s not as much. Not as strong. Not enough to be OK in my mind. To give me peace.

When my husband Brad dropped me off for the facial, we had prayed for Emma, and he reminded me She’s in good hands.

It was everything I needed to hear. That Emma is loved way more by my Heavenly Father than I could ever love her. That He is holding her. That I cannot thwart His will for her life.

That He is trustworthy.

What reminds you of God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness when you’re scared and anxious?

Tips for Praying Aloud

Tips for Praying Aloud

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nanaz/

What’s so hard about praying aloud? Well…it’s Out.Loud. And other people are there. They’re listening, and they all seem to know exactly what to say to God. They know the lingo, they don’t stumble over their words, and they seem to find a way to come up with a beginning, middle, and end on the spot.

It’s like PUBLIC SPEAKING. Worse – it’s IMPROMPTU PUBLIC SPEAKING!

If you are petrified of praying aloud, it’s OK! Many people are. You’re laying your heart to God out in the open for all to see (hear). But can I ask for you to try to do it anyway? Whether it’s with your family, friends, community group, or at a prayer meeting?

Why should you pray corporately?

  • It’s Biblical. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” (Acts 1:14, NETBible) See also Acts 12. The early church seemed to pray together often. Why? Because they saw their need for prayer. It was right in front of their face in the form of persecution. We don’t see much of a need because we are not threatened with death or prison, but our need is perhaps greater because we are traversing life without praying together (see other points below).
  • It breeds unity. When we pray together, we hear each other’s hearts in a way that we wouldn’t hear by “going around the circle.” Hearing one another’s depth of need for God binds us spiritually.
  • It encourages other believers. Hearing your own prayer requests prayed over you by a brother or sister in Christ brings  peace and confidence in the Lord.
  • It disciples those younger in the faith by teaching them how to pray. (Hey – if Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, then we must need to be taught too!)
  • I’m sure there are more reasons – if you think of one, add it in the comments below!

So what happens when it’s actually time to pray? Out loud?

Be yourself.

It’s OK to talk to God like you talk to a friend. I think praying brings a natural reverance to our tone and demeanor, and that’s OK too! But don’t be intimidated by watching and listening to others pray. Simply be you.

Write something down.

If you feel like you’re in speech and debate class all over again (or that recurring nightmare you have where you forget all of your lines), go ahead and write something down before you pray. Jot a few points down on a scratch piece of paper if it helps you not feel lost when praying out loud. It’s OK to peek at your list!

Break the barrier if needed.

Are you ever praying for so-and-so’s cousin, and you totally blank on their name? I just ask what their name is mid-prayer! Maybe it’s tacky, but I’d rather pray for them by name, so I just pause and say, “Was it Ron?” or something like that. Then, I just carry on.

Pray Scripture.

Praying God’s Word, whether for someone (inserting their name into the verses) or as acknowledgement of who God is, is never a bad idea! In fact, it connects God’s Word to me personally way more than simply reading or studying the Bible. So feel free to crack open the Word and pray straight from it. Then, you always know what to say. 🙂

Accept peace from the Spirit.

If you are feeling very nervous or emotional while praying, it’s OK to acknowledge that you can’t put your thoughts into words. Take heart in this:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. (Romans 8:26, NETBible)

What other tips would you offer?

Paralyzed

Now that school is back in full swing (you know, for the rest of the world – none of us are in school right now!), I have been thinking often of my blog and how much I miss writing and connecting with you guys. And connecting with the Lord – this is one of my most powerful tools for spiritual growth.

I’ve even written a couple of drafts in the past month, and I’ve had tons of posts swirling in my head. But something has been holding me back from posting.

Fear.

I feel caught, like a deer in the headlights, with nothing to say. Well, I have things to say, but I don’t feel they’re good enough.

I know you’ve been there with me – these feelings of ineptitude, insecurity, and isolation. There are many things that can contribute to these feelings, but I don’t think that’s wholly what’s important. The important thing is that these feelings are reflections of where I am with God right now… and when you feel this way, perhaps that’s where you are with God?

My faithlessness has been strong (Lord, increase my faith.)

I don’t feel worthy to come before Him. (I’m not.)

Therefore, I ignore spiritual connection with Him and with my community of believers. (Even though I’m not really alone.)

All I can do at this point is cry out to Him. Confess where my heart has been and put it back on the altar stained with the blood of Christ where it belongs.

Don’t Run for Fear: Beauty, Part 3

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

I started off this series by saying that I feel the pressure to exercise, and then I never told you why.

That postpartum skin and bones? They’re going away. My hormones are changing as Samuel gets older, and my body is starting to take its normal shape again.

So why all of a sudden do I feel the need to run 5 miles?…and the reason is not for cardiovascular health.

Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely think exercise is important for health, good stewardship, etc. I just don’t want to do it because of how I look.

I don’t want to lift weights, do yoga, run, walk, ride bikes, swim, or whatever because I’m afraid. Afraid of who I am. Of how God made me. Of what the world will see.

Before getting pregnant, I exercised regularly for years, usually 2-3 times a week. It was very moderate stuff (except for when I trained for a half-marathon). Healthy stuff. But I rarely let myself skip. Because of fear.

So I want to give you permission, love. Don’t run for fear of what your body will look like tomorrow. Don’t run because you’ve always been thin, and if you gain 1 pound, everyone will look at you differently. Don’t run because you’re pregnant and scared of what you’ll look like once the baby comes. Don’t run because you’re heavy, and running makes you think you are worthy to eat.

And please meditate on these things with me.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. (Proverbs 31:30, NETBible)

In the same way, wives, be subject to your own husbands. Then, even if some are disobedient to the word, they will be won over without a word by the way you live, when they see your pure and reverent conduct. Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight. For in the same way the holy women who hoped in God long ago adorned themselves by being subject to their husbands, like Sarah who obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You become her children when you do what is good and have no fear in doing so. (1 Peter 3:2-6, NETBible)

Gifts Abound

Right now, as I type, God is answering prayers in my life. And I’m humbled.

They aren’t what you might think of as the biggie prayers. But they are important to me and my family.

I am not extremely superstitious. However, in the last week, certain things have happened so specifically that we knew God was opening doors. Have you ever had that happen (do tell!)? It was kinda creepy…

And I’m scared.

Scared because I will lose control. The vicegrip I have on security – it will be gone.

Scared because I will fail. And I will be the one to blame.

Scared because it will be new. And the old – the comfortable? – it will be gone.

Scared because I will have to trust God. And trust my husband. And I’m used to trusting me.

So while I’m sitting here just thanking God for caring about the little things in our life, I’m also shaking in my boots. Peace is there, but courage is lacking. Could you pray for courage for me?

Courage that I will trust?

Courage that I will be able to say good-bye to my comfort and my control?

Thanks.

P.S. Sorry to be so cryptic, but nothing is completely decided yet. I will definitely share at a later date. I promise!