A Letter to the Struggling Loved One

To my struggling loved one,

For the first time in months when I looked at that picture of us I smiled. I didn’t feel hurt or pain. I simply smiled. That picture was the start of something wonderful, and glorious, but also something extremely painful. The last four months have been agonizing for me. Like my heart was yanked out of my chest. I wasn’t sure what else there was for God to teach me through hurts because I have been hurt so much in the last year. I have lost one thing after the other and honestly have faced some of the most terrible times in my life. I have fallen to the floor in uncontrollable sobs, cried myself to sleep, and called my mom and bestfriends crying more times than I would like to mention. This year my strength has been tested but I also watched my prayer life with God grow. I had forgotten that throughout life you are always learning; there will never be a time you are not learning. I made a prayer wall. I spent hours upon hours upon hours praying for you, my family, and friends. I start my day with a prayer. I sit in my office and type it out every morning because most of the time if I speak it, it just comes out jumbled. I not only learned to pray but I learned to listen to God too. I learned from times in the past where I thought I had heard God and was wrong and now as I listen I can hear him ever so clearly. He’s given me visions of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. God has revealed how He will bring some of my hearts deepest desire, desires He planted in my heart, to fruition. He is teaching me faith and patience as I wait for those visions to be fulfilled and to be blessed with the things he has promised me. Waiting isn’t easy. Matter of fact it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I trust God. My God is a BIG God, but sometimes I still cry. After all I am only human. But when I start praying and a sense of peace washes over me because I remember what I have heard. This hasn’t been easy for me. People say that if we trust God then we shouldn’t worry. I lay down my worries at his feet constantly. I have to do it over and over and over again but I also have to fight doubt with myself. I fight the doubt in myself that Satan has planted and continues to plant as other people question whether I heard God right. I’ve heard God wrong before, maybe I heard him wrong this time too? Then it goes away, because I have never been so certain about something in my life. I pray that you develop the same relationship with God as I have. I know you’re struggling right now too. I know that the reason you have hurt me is because you are struggling and “Hurt people, hurt people” – Levi Lusko. I have a very forgiving heart. I have already forgiven you. Can you forgive me for the times I have put you down when I became angry with you? I hate the animosity that has developed between us when we used to have so much fun together. I miss you. Just because I don’t talk to you doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. I just can’t get through to you anymore so I choose to do all my fighting through prayer. I lift you up in prayer daily. Do you pray for me? I hope you remember how much you are loved. I hope you remember that you deserve to be happy. I hope you find your way again. Most importantly, I hope you turn to God to lead you. You can always return to God. His arms are always open. He is waiting for you.

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” Luke 15: 22-24

Sincerely,

Someone who cares about you.

Letting Go

I was a born fighter. I am known for getting back up swinging after being knocked down. As a high schooler that fight was mainly focused on my dreams and goals; things like winning livestock shows and speech contests, and I was very successful. But as I’ve matured and do almost no competing I have found that the fight has shifted somewhere else. I have this thing where I don’t give up on people easily. Although, I have also found that my control over this is far less than the control I had at being successful. I would say my speech to my dad in the living room 9 times in one night. We would write down questions as we were driving from place to place so I could spend my Ag period at school looking up the answers. When I was finished with my work in Trig I’d write my speech in the back of my notebook making sure I had it down to a “T”. While I couldn’t control how the judges chose or how much someone else practiced I could control how prepared I was when I walked into the room. With people it is far different.

img_8649Koda likes to join in on prayer time!

I’m a believer in the whole “cross oceans even if they wouldn’t do it for you” theory. I want to be a Godly example of someone who cares, but caring often leads to hurt. Tonight I did my best to let go of that hurt. You see that hurt made me angry, and that anger weighed me down. That anger was only hurting me. As a Christian I sought council for guidance to help me let go of the feelings I was harboring. After a conversation with my youth minister’s wife I sat down and made two lists: a list of hurts and list of all the things I loved about the person who hurt me. You know what? The list of loves was significantly longer than the list of hurts! It is so easy to focus on the bad that we forget the good we see in people! When I finished my lists I taped the “love list” to my prayer wall and I burned the hurt list. Yes, I burned it, in my sink, I was safe I promise! I prayed that as this list disappears so do all of the feelings I’ve been holding onto. It’s called GRACE and God freely gives it to us!
img_8648-1Koda on his rug by my prayer wall… he doesn’t leave my side! 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
We do not deserve God’s grace but he gives it anyways. In our walk to be more like Christ, we should also do the same for others.
img_8650-1My prayer wall. 

I heard this quote several days ago:

“The only thing harder than forgiveness is asking for it.”

Maybe for some people, for me I find the act of forgiveness far more difficult. Regardless God calls us to forgive. When you do you’ll find this amazing weight lifted off your shoulders (or maybe it’s just the endorphins from catching stuff on fire, only God knows!)
img_8644-1When you’re done all your left with is ashes. You can’t make heads or tails of once was, it has all been burned away. 

God’s Direct Hotline

You know that feeling you get right after you have a big, juicy steak? The satisfaction (and also the tightness of your pants) is overwhelming! The kind of satisfaction that makes you just want to take the rest of the evening easy. That kind of satisfaction is what we need to have in our daily life. We need to be so satisfied with God that we don’t need any other wordly fulfillment to briefly appease us.

I have a problem with modern day communication, if you want to even call it communication. Facebook is full of whining, Snapchat can’t even be considered communication, and even worse phone calls seem to be a thing of the past. Instead of communication they serve as distractions from the life and people in front of us, and that disappoints me. Like any 22 year old I am probably on my phone more than I should be. I check Facebook and Snapchat multiple times a day to keep up with my friends and family BUT I try really hard not to fall into the trap of letting it become my primary source of communication. I can’t hear their tone of voice or their emotion through Snapchat or Facebook. There have been times where I have deleted Snapchat because I have gotten so frustrated with its use. I was once asked one time, “What if we picked up our bible as much as we picked up our phone? After all it is our direct line to God.” We can search for satisfaction through social media but we will never find true satisfaction until we are satisfied through God.

Likes and watches can’t make you feel better. Having your phone blown up by a multitude of people on the daily only temporarily boosts your self-esteem. You have to find your true value through God, not the value of this world. Don’t look out, look up He’ll be there every time. I encourage you next time you desire to look for satisfaction outwardly, instead pick up God’s direct hotline. You will find just how much God loves you there and the satisfaction will be much much greater.

You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears. 1 Corinthians 7:23

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11

Prodigal Resources

There is a prodigal that I have been vividly praying for. I wasn’t sure what to pray so I began looking for some resources. I found two really great articles and put together a list of prayers that I gathered from Kathie at The Character Corner page and B.J. Reinhard at the Encouragements From the Piper’s Wife page. I also did my own research and put together a list of awesome bible verses that will help you and your prodigal as you begin this journey of praying for them. I need visual things when I pray… I tape verses, prayers, etc. to my bathroom wall. I keep notecards with verses and prayers in my prayer journal so I can flip through them easily. Here is the list of verses and prayers BUT I also provided a download where you can print them off onto index cards! These new awesome printers these days have the awesome ability to change paper sizes to allow you to put little things like index cards in there! Give it a try! (I find it really helpful to put the cards on one of those nifty little book rings!)

Love,

Shiann

Verses:

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of a sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Galatians 6:1
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

Matthew 6:13
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

Matthew 26:41
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Luke 10:19
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Isaiah 58:6-9
“This not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free,And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Isaiah 50:10
Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on their God.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Hebrews 12:11
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Psalm 31:2
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.

Psalm 40:11
Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.

Psalm 40:2
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

Galatians 6:9-10
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.  So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Prayers:

  1. “Father, please allow their path to be filled with misery, frustration and irritation.” (Hosea 2:6a) This isn’t to be mean. We pray this because we love them. (Proverbs 19:11)
  2. “Father, please make them unable to clearly see what to do; please cause confusion.” (Hosea 2:6b)
  3. “Father, please keep them from finding the satisfaction for which they are searching.” (Hosea 2:7a)
  4. “Father, please allow her to see herself as You see her and create a desire to come back.(Hosea 2:7b) No prodigal will come back to God until they first come to themselves. This means that they recognize that they got themselves where they are, and it’s their responsibility to do what it takes to get out.
  5. “Father, please bring to their mind the good and allow them to forget the bad, pain, hurt, etc.” (Hosea 2:7c-8)
  6. “Lord, protect them.  Build a hedge around them to guard him physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Block their paths so that he cannot move toward activities and relationships that would harm them.” (Job 1:10; Hos. 2:6-7)
  7. “Deliver them from evil.  Rescue them from a destructive lifestyle.  Restore them to their senses, bring them home from the land of the enemy.”  (Mt. 6:13; Ps. 91:14; Lk.15:17; Jer. 31:16-17)
  8. “Guide them into truth.  Teach them to recognize deceptive ideas and thoughts.  Make them alert to the lies of the enemy, and teach them how to resist the devil by faith.” (Jn. 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:16; 1 Pet. 5:8-9)
  9. “Give them the courage to be honest with their self and with You.  Spirit of God, convict them of sin and their need for You.  Don’t allow them to blame other for troubles in his life.  Show them that he alone is responsible for their choices.” (Jn. 16:8; Gen. 3:12-13; Ezk. 18:20)
  10. “Lord, thank You for drawing them with love and tenderness to Yourself, even in their desert place.  Show them that You are with them.  You delight in him them.  Amid the clamor for their attention and affections, may they hear Your voice calling to them and respond to Your deep, deep love.” (Jer. 31:3; Hos. 2:14; Zeph. 3:17)
  11. “Cause them to call out to You in their distress and confusion.  Cause them to seek You with abandon.  Thank You for promising to answer him.” (Ps. 91:15; Jer. 29:13)
  12. “Remove their heart of stone and replace it with a new, soft heart.  Make this heart into a bed of fertile soil so that the seed of truth sown into it will grow deep roots and bring forth a rich crop of life.” (Ezk.36:26-27; Mt.13:23; Col.2:6-7)
  13. “Lord Jesus, reveal to them that lasting refreshment and satisfaction can only be found in You.  In You they will find an abundant life.” (Jn.4:10, 10:10; Ps.1:3)
  14. “Lead them to friends who will graciously point them to You.  Cause them to be attracted to those who are attracted to You.  Scatter like chaff in the wind any friends who will bring them harm.  Give them the courage to please You, not man.” (Prov.13:20; Gal.1:10)
  15. “Produce in them a humble spirit that is yielded to You. Teach them how to live in You, and show them that apart from You they can do nothing.” (Jas.4:10; Ro.6:13; Jn.15:5)
  16. “Lord, reveal to them how valuable and significant their life is.  Give them a vision for their purpose in the world, and show them the possibilities for their future.  Through You, they can do all things.” (Is.43:7; Jer.29:11; Phil.4:13)
  17. “Help them to see that they don’t need to condemn themselves.  Show them that they can experience complete forgiveness through the work You’ve already finished on their behalf.  Give them the grace to repent of and let go of the past.” (Jn.19:30; Acts3:19; Is.43:18-19)
  18. “Thank You for offering hope and comfort to them.  Thank You for restoring the years the locusts have eaten and bestowing on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.” (Is.57:18; Joel 2:25; Is.61:3)
  19. “Teach them that following You is not about following rules.  Show them that what You long for is a genuine relationship with them.” (Ro.6:14; Jer.9:24; Phil. 3:8,10)
  20. “Lord, cause them to grow up in You, maturing into an oak of righteousness for the display of Your splendor.  Help them to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with You and with man.” (Eph.4:15; Is.61:3; Lk.2:52)
  21. “Teach them to live in freedom, animated and motivated by Your Spirit and in step with Him.” (Gal.5:16,25)
  22. “Teach them to walk by faith.  Help them to see beyond their circumstances and trust You with every part of their life.” (2Cor.5:7; Heb.11:1; Prov.3:5-6)
  23. “Impress on them the need to protect their mind, guarding its purity through the choices they makes about what they looks at, listens to, and thinks about.” (Phil.4:8; 2Cor.10:5)

Download here:

Verses.

Prodigal Prayers

B.J.& Kathie’s Pages

http://thecharactercorner.com/5-things-to-pray-for-the-prodigal/

http://fromthepiperswife.blogspot.com/2011/12/prayers-for-prodigals-by-bj-reinhard-5.html

Prayer Strategy

Hi ladies!

It seems all I find myself doing in my free time is praying although sometimes it just doesn’t feel like I am doing it right. I wanted to be more prolific in my prayer life so I decided to attempt to model it after Mrs. Clara’s prayer life in War Room. However, when I began to research ways to improve my prayer life it took me awhile to find suggestions that I actually thought were in the direction I wanted to go in. When I did find it I needed some way to organize my thoughts. So, I put together this little prayer strategy sheet to help me out and thought it might be beneficial to y’all as well. Enjoy!

Love,

Shiann

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 2.34.15 PM

Download here:

Prayer Strategy-Blank

If you need guidance filling it out this amazing article is where I got my inspiration for this worksheet!

http://www.rosilindjukic.com/write-prayer-strategy-war-room/

Pray About It

I am constantly in awe of God. I see miracles happen constantly and every time I am in awe at just how awesome our God is. Lets just say my life has been rough lately, to put it lightly. I moved 12 hours away from my beloved home and loved ones, only for things at home to go completely awry shortly after I settled in here at Las Cruces. On top of that I am a fixer. I tend to want to take charge and “mother hen” the situation. I want to take care of my loved ones and fix the situations. That gets complicated when you are 12 hours away, and things are more than slightly out of your control anyways. And let me tell you I am not good with out of control. I like for everything to have its place, I want a plan. I want to know what is going on. I like everything neatly packaged with a nice little bow but basically, life is anything but neatly packaged with a nice little bow. I think it is easy to say that what I am currently going through is the roughest time of my young life but God has done something amazing for me.

Let me rewind for a second. I want to share a snippet of my testimony because, to me, it is just so aweing. I had an unofficial deal worked out so that I would be able to get my Masters at Oklahoma State, and then it fell through; little did I know God was at work. A few weeks later I would board a plane for a conference with the Auburn Animal Science Department Head. The next morning I received an email from a professor there with a graduate offer. The following week I was in Alabama. Several days after receiving this offer, before I made my voyage to Auburn I had also received an offer to New Mexico State with my current undergraduate advisors from OSU. So, I had a lot to contemplate on this 13-hour journey. I knew immediately that Auburn was not for me. Nothing against the school, the campus was gorgeous and the people were great, but I just knew. Shortly after, I made my visit to New Mexico and fell in love. The tell-tell sign that gave it away was I saw my opportunity in my meeting to bring up churches in the area, to which the professor replied, “I am glad you asked! Many of us go to church together and one of the professors holds bible study at his house every week for the graduate students.” I was sold. This is where God wanted me. But God had to take me to Auburn to open my heart up to be willing to move to New Mexico (I tend to want to keep my feet firmly planted at home). The fact that God took all of these intricate steps to get my heart in the right place is just astounding to me.

Now back to the original story. It is these amazing people at this amazing bible study that have not only helped me through this tough time but also opened my eyes. When I came to them with my difficult situation there was nothing but wide-open, loving arms, and acceptance and ever since then the advice has always been to “follow God, listen to what he has to say, and pray.” Wow! I am literally surrounded by such a great cohort (yes, this is an animal science term, I had to throw it in there somewhere) of people that I get to call my friends. They have truly opened my eyes to how I want to be. I was once the opinionated person that when someone would come to me for advice I had no problem giving it to them but I am learning to simply listen and provide the kind words that simply say “pray about it”.

“Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

Life is tough. We live in a new day and age where we as young adults are experiencing challenges that the older generation doesn’t really know how to cope with. Life simply isn’t black and white and to learn how to deal with the gray we have to turn to God. I have been blessed to be surrounded by so many open minded, loving, Godly people. Not only here at NMSU but literally around the U.S. In bible study this week we read a passage from Job where his friend is essentially telling him he is a sinner and he should repent. His friend thought he was giving Godly advice. However, this friend didn’t know the full situation, only God did. To me this was a reminder to keep an open mind and to not only turn to God for advice but to also remember to advise others to seek God’s advice instead of interjecting my own. You never know what is going on behind the scenes, just like with Job. Only you know what God is speaking to you. In closing, I’ll leave you this:

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31