At the beginning of the year I set out goals for this year. One of those goals was to become a woman of prayer. I wish I could say I’m even a fraction closer to what I desire for myself in this area but that would be a lie.
I’ve been reminded of this the past day or two. Little nuances in my day that hurtle me back to wanting to be a pray-er. This morning just recently as I read and commented on this post.
My desire is not to just say I will pray but to actually take the steps to doing it and then doing it. To not leave the prayer in the skillet on the back burner to get cold and crusty.
Prayer is not only meant to share my heart with God but makes me quiet my heart and listen to His. While it is important to take petitions to His throne (wow that is such an amazing thought and privilege) my time there shouldn’t be spent trying to get a cart full of items through the express lane.
I want my life to reflect my prayer life. Listening to His voice as I raise up mine in praise & petition, and allowing my heart to be paralleled with His.
Interestingly, a synonym for request is invitation. As I pray it should be an invitation to God to speak to me, to align myself with Him. One doesn’t give an invitation to a intimate moment only to demand all of attention of the person being invited. Invitation is giving, serving, and in the art of prayer – receiving.
I take for granted that my heart works. It vigorously pumps blood throughout my branching veins. It thump-thumps in rhythm like the beat in a great song. Sure it goes a little fast some times, skips a beat, but all in all…..it works well.
Meet Achile. Achile’s heart doesn’t work very well. He is an 8-year-old boy in Burkina Faso with a congenital heart defect known as tetralogy of Fallot. On Jun 17th, he arrived in India for heart surgery. This precious little boy needs heart surgery. His pain is great, and for the last five (5) years has been unable to attend school on a regular basis.
Achile has the privilege of being in the Compassion program in Burkina Faso. More than that, when Compassion HQ contacted Shaun Groves that he needed to pull his child sponsorship info from the boxes that would be shared at concerts & conferences Shaun more than stepped up to the plate. Actually…his son did.
Not only is Achile part of Compassion, he’s sponsored. By none other than Shaun’s son. He get’s the chance for life years from now, and gets to hear about Jesus, and gets to be loved on by a little boy and his family in Tennessee, USA.
Of course with any surgery, this isn’t cheap: $20,449. You can help. I encourage you to give towards helping pay for the surgery & airfare to save this little boy’s life.
In Matthew Jesus tells His disciples that when we’ve given to the least of these (the poor, the needy, the alien, the orphan) we have done these to Jesus himself. Click the link below, donate. Touch not only the heart of Achile, but also the heart of Jesus.
Update on Achille.
Today I’m choosing:
To not allow thoughts of bitterness to entertain my day.
To choose joy over “just dealing”.
To accept I can’t make everyone happy, & others happiness isn’t my responsibility.
To not let the things of the day get me down.
To be happy.
To be gracious.
I had the chance opportunity of a lifetime while in San Diego. No I didn’t go swim with sharks.
If I believed in stars aligning to correct coordinates causing unbelievable things to happen I’d say the stars, planets, and moons were all in perfect order. But I don’t, so I’ll just say what I’ve uttered over and over it was totally God.
I literally Googled my way into Alece’s life. Literally. I was looking for an image for this blog post when I found an image on her site among the images Google returned. I was drawn to her like I am to latte’s and cupcakes. From there she only continued to make a huge impact on my life.
The thing is, I never imagined we’d meet. She lives in South Africa y’all. That’s like…yeah very far away. And when she’s not in SA, she’s living it up in Atlanta which seems just as far away from this Arizona bound lady. Short of God taking me on a mission trip to SA, I just didn’t think we’d ever look at each other face to face. Then I saw it. A tweet from this lovely lady. “@gritandglory when will you be in San Diego?” Shawn and I were on our way to dinner and I flipped. I immediately DM’d Alece. And wouldn’t you know………our time in San Diego overlapped one evening. Heidi, Alece, and I set on a course to meet up.
Heidi & Alece were the first tweeple/bloggers I’ve met. Tam, Jenni, & Sarah had the pleasure of spending a week (or more) with Miss Alece so we had to fit a week’s worth of fun into a few hours. So we hopped on a wagon and got to it.
Shawn did an excellent job of capturing the sincere heart-felt moments between the three of us.
This pic was just moments before this one:
In the top one I’d nearly just fallen off the wagon, in the second we just pretended (or were they trying to throw me off?:))
We discovered Alece’s deepest fear that she’ll have to become a wrestler to raise money for Thrive Africa if people don’t start giving to 10 Buck Tuesday. Give people, I don’t think the mask suits her.
Shawn and I both commented though, that our favorite part of the evening was spent in a little Italian cafe in the heart of Little Italy. Over coffee and dessert we heard and shared passions. I’d only been following Heidi a short while so it was great to hear straight from her, about her and her life. Being a mom to three kids and the daughter of a elected government official. Hearing straight from Alece’s heart, her love and deep, deep passions for Africa – while I sat immediately across from her. My love for these women grew that night. No pictures were taken during those last moments but my mind and heart are filled with images that could never be captured by a camera, and will last a lifetime. Or until I start losing my memory.
Part 1 here.
As I mentioned yesterday I needed some ocean and beach in my life, which contributed to San Diego being our destination of choice for our trip. We, unfortunately, didn’t have time to go to the actual beach but Sea Port Village was a wonderful substitute.
It is situated right on San Diego Bay across from Coronado Island. We spent most of Monday under blue skies meandering through little shops, grassy areas, and ocean bordered walkways.
We filled our bellies with Greek food as we overlooked the bay. I could almost imagine it was the Mediterranean and not the Pacific.
It was a wonderful day under the sun (the only warm day we were there). Being together. Being in love.
Tomorrow – a chance of a life time.
(All photos in gallery by Shawn, except the Seagull, the aircraft carrier, & the top middle one.)
Shawn and I always attempt to take a trip over/around our anniversary. The past few years we’ve gone to Northern California and visited his youngest brother. We love Nor Cal and San Francisco, but we decided this year we needed to take a “just us” vacation. We decided on San Diego….I needed some ocean and beach.
As much as we had intended in the beginning to have a relaxing, just us time, we soon found our days filled with friends. And we wouldn’t have changed a moment.
We decided to head up to Riverside Sunday morning and visit some friends and their church. We had a wonderful time hanging all day with our friends and made new friends that literally had us laughing until we cried.
They’re currently meeting in the Life Arts Center in downtown Riverside. This September they’re moving locations to better serve their community.
Our hotel was on the border of Little Italy. We loved staying in that area and would do so again. The only time we drove anywhere to eat was Sunday on our way to Riverside and Monday evening when we met friends in Old Town. We walked a lot.
And my paparazzi picture.
Check in tomorrow for part two, including but not limited to ocean views.
(all pictures by Shawn)
How do you view grace? Do you view it as a tangible thing or merely a mental electrical output and decision of the heart?
I have the honor of guest blogging today for Elora Nicole. She is currently jetting across blue skies from the Texas Music City of Austin to the slums of Kibera, Kenya. Her theme for her blog while she is gone is “Story”. This post, a short story of sorts, was pretty much written within a half hour as I attempted to fall asleep the other night. Fear that I’d forget everything, I grabbed a journal, my glasses, and a pencil and wrote out the major themes about 11 pm in our master bath.
So I ask, what does grace look like to you? Experience it here through the eyes of a child.
Wednesday, I wrote about the battle I’ve been fighting with loneliness and the lies that it’s telling me. Lies that no one really likes me, that I’m not wanted, that I should just give in.
I did not have an easy childhood. I was the ridicule of not only my class in school but also the age groups around mine. Those words above that are lies now were the blatant truth from about the age of five to ten. I rarely had friends and when I did it was the result of a parent telling their child to just play with me or until a new kid at school learned from the more popular kids (the rest of the class for the most part) that I was an untouchable. My childhood was spent alone or being humored.
I am introverted by nature and the events of my childhood have helped spur that on. I am much more content to be by myself than with a group. But as much as I may like spending my time sitting on my couch alone & reading, loneliness likes to tag along and sit in my lap like one of my dogs.
Loneliness is an unfortunate byproduct of introvertedness. Despite it being your own choice to not engage you can feel desperately unwanted and alone. It can be a constant struggle.
I tend to judge others actions (or lack of) towards me. I second guess what people say. It’s a dangerous road that takes me to loneliness nearly every time. I am learning – in a hard way – to trust.
I’ve been battling loneliness for the past couple weeks. A loneliness that burrows deep into my heart and sends lies to my brain and back to my heart itself.
Yesterday, I tweeted that some days I feel like the crowd watching a monkey at the zoo, and most days I feel like the monkey in the tree watching the crowd. I feel like I’m just sitting there watching the world go by and every now and then the monkey gets a banana.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt loneliness like this. And it was those many years ago that cause me to believe the lies that are whispered silently and effectively into my soul that just wants to be loved.
I’m not sure how to deal with these lies that were once truths. My heart is so quick to just accept them again, and I feel the tendrils of depression grabbing at me to drag me into its sticky and oily marshes.
So….I press on. Do my best not to believe. To trust in the One who only speaks truth into that longing soul. To seek Him. I remind myself over and over that they are but lies.
If there is one thing that God has consistently been teaching me is to not walk/operate in fear. The desire to fear keeps showing up in so many aspects of my life. Even when we were on vacation I feared what if something happens to the plane? We’d be out walking and I’d fear what if someone walks up and mugs us? What if we’re in a car accident? This is strange because I just don’t think this way. I don’t fret about being mugged or being in a car accident or being in a plane crash, but fear has been doing it’s best to worm its way into my mind.
God is doing some amazing things in Shawn’s and my life. He’s guiding us in ways we didn’t know He would or think He’d take us. In a conversation we had the other evening I said that I’m not fearful, I’ve got a kind of scared excited anxiousness going on but of all the things I could be fearful in I’m not fearful in this.
My desire in life is to be like Peter and step out of the boat onto the lake, but instead of fearing that I’ll drown once uncertainty shows up I want to trust. I need to always remember what God has done previously. To trust that steps we’re taking that He’s still there beside us.
About a month and a half ago fear completely grabbed my heart. Steps that we thought God might be calling us to take literally sent me into a tailspin. After emails back and forth with a friend and an examination of my heart there was an adjustment of my attitude. Did that make the idea of what God could be calling us to any easier to swallow? No, but my focus was taken off of what I could try and do, and put on what He’s done in the past and what He is faithful to do in the future.
So not only am I learning to not walk in fear, I’m learning to trust. To lean so heavily on Him. If I’m fearful that He’s not going to hold me us I am going to fall. So here’s to taking steps and trusting that the next one will appear over that raging chasm.
Nine years of struggles.
Nine years of fighting for future years.
Nine years making a home.
Nine years of love.
On May 26th Shawn and I celebrated nine years of marriage. The good times, and the bad ones. God has blessed our marriage more than I could have dreamed. I love this man more than I did that day when I walked down the aisle. The things I’ve seen God do in His life & heart makes me fall for him all over again.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.