Pondering this prayer during Lent. Pastor Brian shared it during our Ash Wednesday service at Crossroads Church.
I’ve read this passage so many times.
I memorized it as a child.
It was given to me in cards and notes over and over again after Leisha died.
God has plans to prosper me- not harm me
God has plans to give me hope and a future.
But I today I read the verse in context of chapter 29.
This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
First thing I notice is to be in exile is the condition of someone being sent or kept away from their own country, village, home, etc. CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH DICTIONARY
The Lord tells them through Jeremiah to:
Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
Hmmm? Sounds like God is saying make the most of the situation you are in – whether it is good or not, whether it is where you want to be or not.
Then in verse 10 the Lord says; ”
When seventy years are completed in Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.
And that is where Jeremiah 29:11 comes in.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I was challenged by my story partner friend to take Kate Motaung’s challenge to write a letter to grief. Since it ties in with my recent series on Living Open Handed, I choose to share this here also.
I don’t think I want to talk to you!
I’ve spent so many years struggling to survive your choke hold on my life!
I’ve crawled through your tunnel
Filled with muck- dark and slimy
So deep that with each step I sunk farther
Until it began to paralyze my legs
Then my torso and my arms
Finally my face
Silencing my voice
Blind folding my sight
Dulling my ability to hear as you filled my ears with your lies.
I could barely find my next breath
let alone move.
This is the 4th and final post in the series Living Open Handed in a White Knuckle World. If you have missed the previous posts, it would be helpful to go back and read them in order to understand how we got to this post. Links are provided below.
Through these posts,
Now we are ready to open the middle finger which stands for P: PIVOT. Continue reading Living Open Handed: Pivot to See God
This is the third in a series on LIVING OPEN HANDED. If you missed them, it might be helpful to go back so you understand how we got to this post.
1. LIVING OPEN HANDED: Do Not Fear
But this day a woman I barely knew sat across the table in my leaders huddle. She spoke, hesitant of sharing such an intimate story with a group of strangers. Her parents had both died in an accident when she was young. Life had been hard. But now, so many years later she heard God saying to her, “I want to make you whole again.”
In my heart I whispered, “I’ll never be whole. I’ll always live broken.” Leisha’s death left me broken- heart is too ripped, too many pieces have been lost. Some Doctors say I can’t be healed. I can’t be fixed.
But the rest of the day those words rumbled around in my brain. Continue reading Broken… to Whole
We are headed back to the DEEP WOODS to pray! We want you- and your spouse, or your friends, or even family to join us.
FRIDAY EVENING, August 1st: anytime after 5:30pm- you can stop by the DEEP WOODS for a few minutes or for the whole evening.
The DEEP WOODS is located behind Crossroads Church, 775 S. Thayer Road, Lima, OH 45806. Click here for directions.
We’re going to meet to pray- as individuals, as couples, as a group. There is no agenda- just a challenge to PRAY!
But through it all we will pray!
Bring your own requests- to share- or to speak privately.
If you don’t live close- but feel God stirring your heart to pray for these things as well- Please join us in prayer! Last time we went to the woods, women from Texas to Minnesota, from Pennsylvania to Colorado were praying with us! We would love to hear from you!
Come to the WOODS! God will meet you in this sacred space!
See you Friday!
A few days ago, a business woman asked me if I thought I was doing the right thing by focusing so much of my coaching business/ministry these days on someone else’s ministry. She was referring to all the Facebook sharing and blog posts I have written that have to do with Authentic Intimacy. Her concern was that I was building their business and not my own.
You see, 35 years ago, I was given a book called Creative Counterpart written by Linda Dillow. It was a book I went back to time and again early in my marriage and have reviewed often since.
Through the years I’ve had several opportunities to not only hear her speak – but spend time with Linda. I’ve listened as she lived out in her spoken words what she had written in several books by now, including ‘Calm My Anxious Heart” or Intimate Issues, Intimacy Ignited or more recently What’s it Like to Be Married to Me, and Passion Pursuit. (See titles below)
In 2002, I was invited to lead a worship team for a women’s ministry retreat in Kiev, Ukraine. I was thrilled when I learned the speaker was none other than Linda Dillow.
Her topic was worship- it was the beginning of her book called “Satisfy My Thirsty Soul”. I was the so-called worship leader- but she was the one who led me in into the Presence of the Blessed Controller.
Just the two of us kneeling at her couch.
Just the two of us sitting on her big rock near her home in the foothills of Colorado.
Then with my team in Ukraine!
Precious, intimate moments with our God!
For me, this opportunity to bring Linda Dillow and Juli Slattery to the Lima area for the NAKED TRUTH conference is an answer to a 20 year long prayer. I told Linda then that someday, I would build a platform for her to speak her voice, God’s message to the people in my world.
It’s not just her books,
or the times she has emailed me
or the times she has cried with me,
prayed with me
worshiped with me
always showing up in my life just when I needed her message.
But that is just the point- for 35 years, she has shown up in my life through her books,
with a consistent message.
A message that pointed me time and time again to see the Lord; lifting my chin to see His face.
That’s a message I want to be part of!
It’s an act I want to be known for!
It’s a voice I want to not only have- but build a platform for when I hear others speaking that same message.
This isn’t about my ‘business’ – or even Linda’s ministry.
It’s about what God is saying and doing in the heart of women all over the world.
Those are the voices I love listening for!
How about you?
I challenge you to listen and heed the message that Linda & Juli have to give all of us in October. Click here to find out more!
Several days ago I wrote that I woke with a LONGING to be in God’s presence to bring to Him all the dreams and desires building in my heart for women to hear THE NAKED TRUTH about God’s great love and passion for them.
If you remember, I invited you to join me in the WOODS for prayer.
Even though many weren’t able to join me in the WOODS- several let me know they were praying- from Texas to Colorado- to Pennsylvania and lot’s of places nearer. Women lifting this conference – and all the women who will take part to the Lord.
But I got to share my prayer time with Janet; passionate prayer warrior, encouraging friend and champion of all things DEEP WOODS. We’ve spent other times together in this sacred space, but today we shared our hearts as we acknowledged our Great God and voiced our petitions for each other,
for the conference,
for Linda & Juli,
for our marriages
for our churches
for their leaders
for our husbands & precious families.
Then we walked the path and spoke of God things that are happening- in the WOODS and in our lives. We took the footpath to the back of the woods and as we turned the corner I was amazed at this sight. The image immediately spoke volumes to me.
I am like that tree- erosion has exposed my roots many times already, but I continue to stand- only as I continue to dig my roots into the soul and drink from the water that gives life.
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7
I woke up this morning LONGING!
for rest, for calm, for peace,
for space that inspires me to breathe new life
for extended time in His presence
Maybe you feel that way too!
Well, Saturday morning, July 12th, I’m going to the WOODS- Deep Woods. It’s a spiritual retreat center in the 25 acre woods behind Crossroads Church.
I would love for you to join me!
I’m not really looking for a ‘social’ visit- but I’m looking for prayer partners to join me in prayer:
Will you meet me there? I invite you to wear shoes you don’t mind getting dirty and bring your bug spray. There is a mile long hiking trail that ends where it begins. And there are cabins with comfortable seating and even beds if you need to find rest physically.
I probably won’t get there much before 9:00am. But you are welcome to come earlier to walk the trails or use the prayer stations along the way. I’m planning on staying till noon.
If you let me know your coming ahead of time, I can be sure I’ve reserved enough cabins if we need them because of the weather. But if you forget to let me know- just come! Your presence is welcome.
God is at work! I see it! I feel it every day! I want to be sure I’m listening well, seeking him daily so that I can be in right partnership with him.
Join me in the DEEP WOODS- any time between 9:00am -12:00 noon -rain or shine. Behind Crossroads Church 775 S Thayer Road, Lima, Oh 45806.
If you can’t come- but still want to join me in prayer- or if you have questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call me at 419-306-8311.
I’ll meet you at the cross!