The Impact of Closet Prayers

For most of us, there is one moment- at minimum- that you regret more than any other moment. The reasons for the regret can be multiple, but the key is, it can’t be changed, or deleted. The moment happened. I have that moment stored, and I hold it close, because to expose that moment would break me, and everyone around me. I have allowed that moment to hold me captive for years. I look at it and remember it all the time. I will expose some of that moment now, so that it can’t haunt me any longer, and I will give God glory- because He is faithful and He is light in the darkness.

As I have shared before, I lost my step father in July of 2008 while I was separated from my husband, Tim. It was a difficult time and a horrendous loss of life. Even knowing he is with God, I am unable to find total peace. I desire too, but there is a weight upon me. I heard of Chris’ injury and went to see him, and while I was there I was making plans for my night. I left that day and went to watch my brother play softball, and when I left there I went somewhere else. The problem here is that normally, I am the one who goes to the hospital and stays until someone forces me to leave, unfortunately, my heart was so mixed up I selfishly left Chris and my mom to deal with it. While I was out in places I shouldn’t have been, my step father who I so desperately love, was slipping away and I wasn’t there to catch him. Even after he caught me so many times, and balanced me back out.

The last few weeks have been stressful and what happens to me, may happen to you, I get overwhelmed and I go to a place of darkness and I sit there and think of all of my mistakes, my errors- much like King David. Not that I am a Queen or Royalty, but I can read my own thoughts in the Psalms. Last night I had some worship music on and I felt like I needed to go to my closet to pray. Yes, my closet- I even cleaned it so I would have room on the floor to get on my face before the Lord. I opened my Bible and turned straight to Psalms 51, and I wept; because-there are not coincidences in His word, and the moment that you read it. He has a direct goal to bring you into His presence, to speak to you.

Psalms 51 is David crying out for God’s forgiveness after his sin with Bathsheba. He is asking God to restore his joy, to reunite his spirit with the heart of God. As I read this, I could relate on such a level that I almost felt like I was in the Kings palace, knowing I have everything, but not allowing that to satisfy me, and then carrying the weight of my sin along with all of my armor. The load is heavy, but He- Oh the Lord is faithful. As I was weeping I heard the closet door open, and felt a little body slip in. I didn’t look up, just continued to cry and pray to the Lord, and I heard a sweet voice calling out for God to come- to be with us in mommy’s closet. I looked up and my son-7 has his face on the carpet crying out to the Lord, and I broke.

That is our God. That is His presence and His love. He calls us to a place of brokenness and then He showers us with blessings and favor far beyond what we deserve. My sin deserved death. My God exchanged my sentence and instead gave me life. My heart exalts the Lord, exhorts His Name. He is a faithful, and just God. He is a loving father, and a joyful friend. He is one who mourns with you, and calls you back to joy.

I cannot take back my errors or my decisions, and despite how highly I thought of myself, I could not save my dear step father- I am not God. He allowed the loss, and while I may carry the pain and guilt of that for years to come, I know that I am forgiven and I am loved- beyond measure, against all odds, He calls to me, and says, “My Beloved, come.”

He says that to you today as well, “My Beloved, come.” He wants you to bring Him nothing but yourself, broken, used, devastated, heart broken, hurting, lonely, empty. He wants to take us from paupers, commoners and promote us to Royalty. He says- “For you and You alone, I would send my son to die, a sinner’s death- your death- on a cross- because I so desperately love you, that I had to tear the veil to give you access to my Holy Places.”

Go to Him today- and lay yourself before the Lord- and let your children see a contrite heart before the Lord. Show them the access that Jesus paid for- teach them to pave a way into His presence.

Blessings,

mel

A Crown of Prayer

“Know the state of your flocks,

and put your heart into caring for your herds,

for riches don’t last forever,

and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.”

Proverbs 27: 23-24

I have never seen or read this with impact until today. Before I became a mother, I would read right past things like this, not with intent, but simply because I didn’t get it. I did this morning and it wounded my heart a little. I realize now that it has everything to do with my family- my children, my grandchildren and great- grandchildren. If I am now covering them in prayer- even now before they are conceived, if I am not laying my hands on their precious heads every night or filling them with the gospel of our salvation, I am laying waste to all the prayer I and those who have gone before me have worked to accomplish. How utterly terrifying.

When I read about the Crown it says many things to me,

  • A place of Honor in the Family line
  • A status symbol that we are wealthy- financially secure
  • A gift bestowed upon us by someone of authority
  • Influence- to move others- encourage others and guide others
  • Faith- the very essence of things not seen- but hoped for- the ability to stand until it is seen
  • A position of great courage and Bravery

I am sure you can think of more, probably even better symbolic references to your families crown. This is all I could come up with this morning!🙂

I am part of a strong and influential family- we don’t have the ability to whisper guidance, to our Governmental leaders, we can’t create mandates and dictates of what should and shouldn’t be done, but we are large- and we are able to stand for something, or die on the sword fighting for it. I had praying Great Grandma’s, and a praying Nannie who today will offer prayers on my behalf- and they work. I don’t know if any of my Grandfather’s prayed, I mean them no disrespect, but I am unsure if they even prayed over something as simple as a meal, much less laid their hands upon their little ones sick bodies and believed for healing. I am grateful that while Tim and I struggle in a great many things, we do not struggle to believe for healing, or to show by example that the power of two gathered in the name of Jesus, can do anything.

When I complain about a headache, or not feeling well, 4 little hands come to my body and they pray- and they believe something will happen- because they prayed. When I say they pray- I mean they don’t care what it sounds like to me, or to anyone else, they have no need to gain praise for their words issued as a plea to Heaven. They don’t close their eyes, and squeeze them shut so they can’t see- they stand open hearted and they pray. Recently a friend received news that she may miscarry, I happened to be at home at the time, and I said- kids- we have an opportunity to ask God to save a little baby still in his mama’s tummy- will you pray with me?

I pray that I can hear my children pray over me for the rest of my life. Their beautiful hearts called out to God on that little ones behalf and a few days later I was able to go home and tell them- God heard our prayers and that little baby is ok! They looked at me and said, “well- we prayed”…. open looks of “duh”. It pleased my heart and more importantly- they touched God’s heart.

We have a choice to leave a legacy of children with a heart after God, or the world. Believe it or not- it is our choice. Will they have a decision to make one day? Yep. Could they turn away- yes. Is there a promise that He complete’s every good work He begins- Yes. So, if I cover them in prayer- truly take time out of my day and cover them and their decisions, aren’t their chances of staying with Him, or drawing back to Him more likely. I have to believe the chances are far greater with a consistent praying momma, than without!

Lift your Little, and Big ones up today- they are desperate for your prayers- as are the generations that follow you.

Blessings,

mel

Projects and Journeys

What an adventure life is. Such an eventful journey. I have had to learn to trust God in new ways over the last year, and it hasn’t been easy. I have not lived an easy life, but I have lived a blessed life. I have endured tragedy, heartbreak, insecurity, desperation, and fear. I have also experienced breakthroughs that would blow your mind. I have had moments of such serenity that it was almost a glimpse to a life of perfect peace when we join our Father, Creator, Maker- in Heaven.

I have met people along this journey that have marked me forever. I have expressed thanks to many of them throughout my time writing.  I have learned things by those who mark me, some because they push me to attempt more, to apply myself more, to grow more. One of those people has recently become a part of my life. Isn’t it amazing how many people share a piece of your life? A moment, a day, a week, a month- years? While my Step Mother in Law battled for her life we had some nurses who became her literally angels. They cared for her beyond the requirements, and they cared for us by extension the same way. In abundance, overwhelmingly loving, kind, and generous, with time, energy, comfort and even food. The took their commitment to their occupation to a new level.

I recently met someone who is much like those nurses who cared for Sheryl. She is driven. She is brave. She is a force to be reckoned with, and she is kind. There are few like her. She works unto the Lord, with an incredible work ethic, and a desire to excel- which she clearly does.

Recently I found out that she has gone into remission for a cancer I didn’t know she had. She is back in school- because she wants more than a Master’s, and is the lead on a huge project that will begin her Company’s use of a new Electronic Medical Record System. She has insight that surprises me, and while I would like to deny it, I may have a case of hero worship going on. The information she holds in her mind for 20 minutes would exhaust me and yet it seems to be effortless. She pushes me though she doesn’t know it. She encourages me to keep working to be better. To never settle for less than I can do with the strength of the Lord.

There is more I can say- but mostly- I wanted you to know that with the Lord, all things are possible. Nothing can stop you from accomplishing what you and the Lord agree to do. Not Cancer, not Heart Disease, not people disappointing you, or people telling you that you can’t do it. Nothing can hold the Lord back from His promise- but you.

If there is something you have been waiting on doing, because you aren’t sufficient to complete the task, or you doubt your ability- trust His ability. He is sufficient in all things. He will complete what He begins. Trust Him to complete what He has given you to do.

Blessings,

mel

The Grace of God

jan 18 15 acts 20 24

I have always loved the Jeremiah 29:11 verse, but over the last few months I have adopted a new verse, Acts 20:24.

I am not good at telling the unsaved about Christ. It is my greatest weakness. What I am good at is interjecting into converations who God is , and what He is able to do.

At the end of everyday I can lay my head on my pillow with confidence that He is able and willing to do all things on my behalf, and most importantly, that I am never alone.

Blessings,

mel

2015- The Beginning

So- It’s been a few months, sorry about that. Life has been real and happening in the Summa house and we have been rolling with the punches to come out unscathed!

I hope your holiday season was everything you believed it would be. I can speak for us, and it was wonderful! I can’t ask for more than the Lord gives me. My dreams come true all of the time, and not just because I have small dreams!🙂

I have some interesting news for those who have been following along in this journey.

I met with my dad a few months ago, quite unexpectedly and we are working to restore a broken relationship. Please pray for us, as in growth, there is pain.

When I stopped writing a few months ago, I decided that maybe I would stop altogether, especially since it didn’t seem that what I wrote really affected anyone or anything. As I began 2015, I started to miss the gentle tapping of the keys and the clearness of mind that always comes after a particularly special message. What I write isn’t for you. I guess saying it and knowing it are two different things. I write to Him. I tell my deepest secrets to Him, and while you are certainly a part of that journey, it’s not your journey that I journal, it’s mine. Can He use my weakness? My tears, challenges, pain, and joy to show you the way to His heart?  – well of course, He is God.

What does this year bring? I don’t know. I know what is ahead and behind me is covered by the grace and mercy of God, and I will keep walking. There are days my head is heavy, and I can barely lift it for the shame, or disappointment that I carry. There are other days when I feel like I actually am Wonder Woman, and no obstacle can conquer my mission. The remaining time, I realize that I am simply here for a short time; that my real life begins, when I meet my Savior face to face.

What I will tell you whether you are new or a returning visitor- God is Able, Faithful, Incredible and He wants to come along for your journey- but He won’t invite Himself.

 

Blessings,

mel

 

Fully Invested Moments

There are defining moments in every persons life. My moments have been like yours, some grab you and you feel completely unable to handle the battle in front of you. You are David and Goliath is standing there, and the stones are slipping from your hands, as the sword is thrust powerfully through your armor and you are completely unprepared for the wound that hides under the armor.

Other moments, you already have the sling in the air, and the whirring sound of it whizzing around is more deafening than the shaking of an entire armies armor. The stone connects and you didn’t even realize you released it.

stone

I don’t know what moment this is for me. It is a moment, something is changing, something deep within me, that is un-content with the same ole stuff. Dreams are coming back to life that I buried long ago, and they came back bigger. Like a weed does, with those dreams coming back bigger, fears have grown until they tower over me. I am learning that my greatest fear is to be forgotten.

That my  life will have counted-for nothing. I am nothing but a vapor anyway. I don’t know about you, I really don’t. Most of you, if you follow this, I don’t know your names, I haven’t even figured out (despite being quite tech savy) how to figure out who does or doesn’t get a copy of this in their email everyday. I don’t know your life, your story. Your hopes, dreams, failures- epic failures. I just know we are all the same, because we have them. I believe you, like I have hopes that are gigantic, and wonderful and could change so many lives for the better, and I have fears that even if I accomplish those things they will all come crumbling down. My main purpose of this has always been to be real. To not be the one everyone wants to be like. There are some bloggers, and I sit in amazement at their accomplishments, both personally and professionally and I think how much I wish I was like them. But, I am not. I am me, and my life is quite messy and my best guess is, your’s is too. Marriage isn’t easy. Children aren’t easy. Work isn’t easy, both in and out of the home. Recreation isn’t easy, and relationships in general… well… they aren’t easy.

The one thing that is easy: Prayer. Because in the midst of your “I don’t know if I can keep doing this moment”, there is a still small voice. The one that spoke you into existence that says, “my strength is made perfect in your weakness”. It’s true isn’t it? When we can no longer hold our head up, mysteriously and miraculously, it somehow sits up there… and not only is it functional as a hat holder- there is a smile that comes from deep within, that the God of the Universe is FULLY invested in my mess. He isn’t a Jeanie in the bottle— we can’t “rub” Him the right way- He doesn’t work like that, but He is fully capable and incredibly able to make all of your yucky days; well. He can turn the dark skies to sunny in an instant, and He wants too. That’s my favorite part. He wants to hold my hand. He wants to tell me He loves me, and He wants more than anything to be my everything.

No matter where you are in this journey of life, grace and faith; He is there, and He loves you. So much.

Blessings Friends- whose names I do not know,

mel

In the Action!

Hey There!

I have missed you. I wonder sometimes what would happen if I just stopped writing, and then due to a crazy unexpected week, I did, and I realized exactly what would happen… I begin to go… well crazy.

Tim, and the kids don’t deserve crazy me, so if I stop writing- pray for them, they need it!🙂

We have had a week. I won’t go into details, but hear me when I say, this week could not have been more unexpected. If you are having one of those days, weeks, months or years, my family has been there. We have walked almost every crisis on the planet. Literally- this is not an exaggeration. We have learned one thing in this process. God is Faithful. Always.

He never misses the opportunity to turn your life around. He never is caught unaware of what is coming your way.

He is always able, and always willing to inject Himself into your mess- self created or otherwise.

He is God, He is incredible and His grace is enough for you. No matter what you are walking through, or what you have put someone else through.

If you have a moment- please pray for our family today, or whenever you read this, that God will give us grace to forgive, as He has forgiven us. Don’t believe for a moment that the Lord has forgotten you, or misplaced you. Continue to cry out to Him, His ears are open— does God have ears?

I’ll leave you with that thought!

Blessings,

mel

 

Financial Peace Victory!

Today we are celebrating a financial victory. It’s a small one to many- but a big one to us.

We went to Kentucky this past weekend where my husband’s family comes from. It is beautiful, and wild, and absolutely wonderful! Spending time with his aunts, uncles and cousins is a true pleasure and I am honored to know each and every one of them. I’ll tell you more about them another time; today, I want to tell you what God has been doing for us!

We left thursday afternoon and about 40 minutes down the road from home, our tire blew. We heard a “pop”, and there she went. Thankfully the Lord somehow in His awesomeness it maintained air and we were able to turn back towards civilization instead of embarking on the long road ahead and getting stuck. We started using our brains, we had a spare tire but for the first time… no jack. We thought fast and went to Walmart (since it was after 5 and most places were closed) and bought a jack.

Last year that alone could have had us turning around, and missing out on the trip. Instead, we had a vehicle fund. We began doing Financial Peace earlier this year and that caused us to learn to separate our money so that it goes where it should- everytime. We just moved the money over to our checking and kept moving.

We fueled up at 1.99 a gallon because we buy shell gas cards from Kroger and after buying 3 at 100.00 a pop, we had earned 1200 fuel points equaling $1.00 off each gallon up to 35 gallons. We mapped our trip and stopped at only shell stations to fuel up. We still have money left over although our drive was 8 hours each way with an extra 4 1/2 hours added in between in a Ford F150. If we had a smaller vehicle that sips instead of gulps I am amazed by how inexpensively we could have traveled.

We bought a tire and had the oil changed while we were on our trip- still using the vehicle fund- and not impacting our trip in any way.

The day before we left, I went Christmas shopping online and without one guilty moment still spent only a small part of what was in our Christmas fund, and have only a few small items left to purchase.

Is our life different since FPU?

Yes. Drastically so?

No. We say no a lot. That is the hardest part, wanting to do something, but focusing instead on the bigger picture. It’s also inconvenient. We had to wait to say yes to things. We have to deal with other people looking at us like we are doing this all wrong, when we really believe the Lord is in this with us. Do we have money? Yes. But every dollar we have, is accounted for and working towards a specific purpose and goal.

This trip- was the absolute best we have ever had. We did everything we set out to do and never wondered if we were going to miss a bill, or struggle to eat when we got home.

If you haven’t taken FPU- if you feel hopeless, if you think you are in over your head- find a class nearby. You will have to pay to take the class, but believe me. It is worth every penny, to learn the techniques that will gain you the peace you have been longing for.

http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/classfinder

Blessings!

mel

Character Begins With You

I promised an Old Testament moment- journey with me, will ya?

I loved the first time I read that Isaac loved Rebekah. I re-read it over and over, because I had never seen anywhere in the Bible where a husband and wife loved each other. Instead it was all legalistic rules about daughters being sold, or given as property over to another. It made me sad for the, but somewhere inside of me, I always believed I could be in a loveless marriage and bring love and joy to it. I don’t know why I believed I had super powers: for the record- I don’t and I do love my husband and he loves me too.

I started to read about Isaac and Rebekah again last night and I was captivated by the kindness of this woman who loved her husband, and was a selfless individual. She was kind to a stranger and his animals. In Genesis we read that she not only got water for this stranger, but also for his camels, and she didn’t dawdle or take her time, she ran to care for them. That impressed me. I thought- this chick puts me to shame. I started to study what I was reading, and the more I read, the more I realized that I really don’t understand, or attempt to learn enough about what God has said to us in days past to support His dream for our future.

Rebekah marries Isaac when he is 40. It says that she was a great comfort to him at the death of his mother. We learn that Isaac was given two similar situation to his fathers; he lied about his wife being his sister- gross- stop doing that guys! He got busted because he and his “wife” didn’t get a room; instead it says, ahem, “he groped her in public”… yep- that happened and I bet most of you ladies understand Rebekah’s plight- groping is never a good thing! His second issue like his father’s was a seemingly barren wife, and he prayed for 20 years before Rebekah became pregnant.

She of course in true God awesomeness was pregnant with twins. God is cool like that. At some point within her pregnancy she had to go to God for prayer because her twins were fighting each other in the womb… what in the world. What would that even be like? How incredibly painful. I know there were days that just one in my belly caused me anguish, but to have two battling so severely that I have to go to God for answers as to why? Well, that is an entirely different situation. God not only answered her with a simple- “because they will be rival nations”, but followed it up with- “oh, by the way- I hope this doesn’t affect you in your ooey gooey mommy heart- but your oldest sons descendants will serve the youngest sons descendants.”  The End… Just kidding.

Well as all mothers know, it affects us very deeply indeed to see injustice with our children and as uncommon births go, this one got interesting. Instead of a traditional baby boy a Big Foot was born. A hairy little baby, with his not so hairy brother holding his heel… smile- photo time! What’s a mom to do but love on the “normal” baby. I wonder if Esau and his hairy self was treated differently by his mother? So differently in fact that a parental preference is shown from mother to youngest son, Jacob and father to olde son, Esau. Jacob was at home more often with his mother in the house, while Esau joined his father and other men hunting and gathering; developing incredible skills outside.

Rebekah has spent the last 20 years of so hearing the words of the Lord rattling around in her head, and I wonder if she had ever shared them with Isaac?  Would that have changed his decision on his blessing? More of that in a few. Jacob proves that he has been under his mothers control using food as a weapon against his very hungry hunting, working out in the elements brother, and essentially trades his literal birthright because of his body’s physical need. I have to say I was shocked that He didn’t eat in the wild, or that he appeared back at home hungry, but more so that in his day and age he didn’t care about his birthright. It just doesn’t make sense- he was the grandson of Abraham! His grandfather was literally called the “Father of Nations”… that’s a wealthy guy, and the inheritance Isaac received was full and incredible. What person could care so little when status mattered sooo very much! Apparently Esau.

Jacob is well please with himself- but should he have been, I mean dudes typically just lie, women more often deceive- throw stones if you want- but it’s true. He resorted to what he had to have learned from life with his mother.

Time goes by- I didn’t study the timing… my bad.

Rebekah hears that Isaac is prepared to offer his blessing on Esau and she panics. She creates a plan to deceive her husband in a benefit to her youngest son. I am sure that what the Lord had said was in her mind throughout this and she was probably proud of herself, like she was bringing God’s plans to pass- how many of you know that while interesting in thought- that actually doesn’t work. His plans are good enough- He really doesn’t need you to do the planning, just the carrying out!  She actually sews and makes hairy items to cloak Jacob in. He goes to his father and receives the blessing, despite Isaac’s uneasiness at Jacob’s voice coming from Esau’s body. Don’t dupe blind people guys- It’s not cool.

Esau comes in from outside and prepares the meal as Jacob had already done and went to his father’s side, where Isaac learns that he has blessed the wrong son, and is unable to retract it. Esau weeps. I can not imagine the bitterness that I would feel at my brother, and certainly my mother when I found out her involvement. How could they take not only his birthright and the place of the first born son- but to steal the blessing- ouch.

His father gave a minimal blessing after this to Esau and what we see of Isaac’s interaction with Rebekah doesn’t show any antagonism at all… I know my husband would be furious with me. I don’t understand, and more so I am lost as to Rebekah’s change. How do you go from being the kind of woman that runs to get water for a strangers 10 camels to a women who deceives the man who loves her? Where did the change occur? Did bitterness come when she believed herself to be barren? Was she angry with the Lord for giving her a hairy son, maybe one who embarrassed her? What was it? Was it Isaac’s favoritism for Esau or just her love for Jacob? Did she just lose herself somewhere along the way? I don’t know. I have looked, I can’t see where a direct answer is given for why she would do these things.

I can tell you what I have learned from my short time being a wife and mother- I fail so often. I believe as women, we can get swept away in our failures, and what we can present to others matters far more than it should. Rebekah wasn’t unlike any of us. Each of us has hurdles to jump. I remember when I was sweet and kind, and completely un-jaded by life. A time before I knew agony in marriage, agony in death, and agony in dreams. I was different. I bet you were too. Back before you made that one mistake that has marked you. I bet if we got all of Rebekah’s story we would learn that there was a moment where everything changed. An event, a word, a heartbreak, that caused her to nosedive big time. Can you imagine what the cost of her deception was in monetary form? I bet none of us has ever cost one of our children a million bucks. The value of the inheritance Abraham left to Isaac was significant. I bet none of us has ever tried for literally 20 years to get pregnant. If you have- Bless your heart- and leave a comment- because we want to celebrate God’s faithfulness with you. I bet none of us are prepared to see what our lives would look like written out by someone else’s hand. The shame I would feel- would be overwhelming; but for His grace and mercy.

What we learn from Rebekah is that when God makes a promise to you, He does not need your help, deceitful or faithful to make it happen. He just needs you to be willing to carry out what He asks of you. There is beauty in that. In knowing that He has a plan that goes beyond you. If we didn’t believe that in the depths of our souls where would we rest? What we learn from her is that the beginning of our story doesn’t have to end the same, and vice versa. If you were like Rebekah- like the un-jaded me- we don’t have to stay in our “new”state- we can become even “newer” and reflect Him. We in fact, are called to look more like Him. There is more on the line than the way other people perceive us ladies, there is the internal perception our children not only see from us, but will reflect in themselves. We can build their character or break it. We can be a blessing to our husband or we can be a curse. It actually is, up to us.

May you have new strength to walk out His plans and purposes for you, May He show you the area of weakness that He will make strong, and may you choose to make today more than yesterday and the days before.

Blessings,

mel

How Can It Be

Old Testament Alert

Yes, the Old Testament. It rocks my world, because although God never changes the law changed for you and I when He sent His son.

I am working on the post- be ready- I think God will reveal some things to us in it.

For now- Here is an incredible song that really moves me- hope it moves you too!

How Can It Be

Lauren Daigle- Bless you and that incredible voice! Thank you for sharing this song with the world and reminding us of Who He IS, and what He did!

Blessings,

mel