I will always feel grateful for the Thanksgiving none of my adult children could come home. That happened two years ago and changed my perspective on a holiday that focuses on being with family. Not that I didn’t want my family with me. But distance separated us and, for the first time ever, none of my three children would be in Minnesota. I could choose to feel sad and alone. Or I could choose to do something that would make others happy. Something that would fit the spirit of giving and of gratitude.
This devotional spoke of God’s care and concern so powerfully to me, I could barely speak! That the God of the Universe would care for me when at times I feel diminished by the enormity of life! I imagine my response is just one of many who experience something similar upon viewing a worship bulletin.
Worship is powerful, but sometimes we need a catalyst to help us get into the right frame of heart and mind for worship, something to help us turn our thoughts toward God. Worship Bulletins help us do just that. They beckon us to seek the Lord. They invite us to meditate on His Word. They remind us of the price God paid for us through Jesus.
I was the wife of a pastor for 17 years until he recently changed vocations. We then found ourselves as regular attendees at a new church. Even though we already knew some people at the church, it still took some time to find our way. The ironic thing is, we know church. We know how it functions, how people get connected, why church exists, and we even know some of the more esoteric language of church.
Welcoming these differing abilities and trying to connect with each student brought its challenges for me as a teacher. I tried right at the beginning of each year to find out what individual students liked and what they thought they were good at. It helped me to know the students better and to plan for learning.
As a child, storms terrified me. Memories of a tornado that killed nine, injured 125 and devastated a small community near my Minnesota hometown lingered into adulthood. Then more storms hit decades later, this time damaging the farm place where I grew up and partially peeling the roof from my childhood church.
My part of the communication equation wasn’t very good. I did what I knew to do in my time of reading the Bible and praying to God my Father. Nevertheless, I definitely experienced a plateau in my spiritual growth, especially during my college days.
My husband and I raised a son who was (and still is) high on the intelligence scale. He was asking deep questions from a young age. I think he would wake up in this deep frame of mind, because he often seemed to ask these kinds of questions while I was trying to get him, his sister, and myself ready on a work-day morning.
In Praying with Purpose: Taking Your Prayers from Vague to Victorious, Haddix presents practical ideas for your prayer life, ways to creatively motivate and guide you in prayer, and suggestions on what to pray. She opens pages in with this strong observation: “When you pray for your loved ones, you unleash eternal impacting power upon their lives.” Those words were enough to make me, a life-long Christian, pause and rethink prayer. Wow, that’s some power.