Five Minute Friday: Color This Week Over

Color this week over, I’m glad it’s done.  It was a hard week, a challenging week in many ways: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  It left me feeling blue.  I did some wrestling with God this week in prayer.  There were tears shed.  I wondered if my prayers did any good.  It seems I pray and pray and pray, but it comes to naught.  Right about then God does a big work in the life of someone I’ve been praying for.  It kind of feels like a poke in the chest and God saying, “See I hear your prayers and I do answer them, but in My time frame and according to My plan.” 

After struggling with prayer today, I realized that it was the enemy trying to discourage me.  When I got a hold of that…I prayed those faithful prayers, that Lord willing He will answer.  Especially the prayers for the salvation of my family and friends, Lord willing.

This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  

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For a Season


Oh Lord, in these days
The place where we meet
Has been denied me for a season

My soul longs for
Cries out
For our time to connect

You have answered my prayers
Given me my heart’s desire
In ways that are more than I can ask or imagine

Yet that place where we meet
Where my mind processes all that is going on
Has been held at bay

It’s been replaced
By busyness and plans
That will soon come to fruition

But it’s in writing
That I reflect
So clearly see Your presence in my life

It’s when my fingers strike the keyboard
That I work through the emotions
Through the grid of Your Word and the Holy Spirit’s leading

As much as I love my betrothed
Look forward with eager anticipation to that day when we become one
My heart cries out and I long for You, Oh God

May I never say
My name is Ichabod
That the glory of the Lord has departed from my life

May I be mindful
Of Your presence in my life
Your leading, Your guidance, Your tender correction

There are not enough sermons
Nor Bible studies attended
That can take the place of time spend with You

Oh God…carry me through this season
Restore unto me the time and place
And let us meet once again…daily commune

Until then God
Carry me, enable me, strengthen me…bring me through
To that private place where we meet again, one day face to face

Susan Bunts
September 16, 2008

Engaged

“You’ve not been engaged with God this week.” was Chris’ keen observation after watching me in the middle of an overwhelming week.

I’m a wrestler…I wrestle with God regularly. For so long I thought that was a bad thing…that indicated a lack of faith. But I think I’ve come to realize it’s not bad…it’s not bad at all. When I’m wrestling…I’m right there with God…as I work through the issue. We are up close and personal. There are times, like Jacob, I feel as if God touches me and I walk away with a limp that will remain for the rest of my life. Wrestling with God is preferable to being disengaged from God.

Disengaged means that I’m attempting to handle the situation on my own. Taking care of things on my own strength, power, ability and wisdom. I think I was driving back from lunch when it hit me…I realized that I had been trying to handle everything on my own. Unsuccessfully I might add. That realization helped me to turn the situation over to God. I asked Him to work out the details. I had a preference for how it would turn out…but I was ready and willing to accept God’s will in the situation.

Just days after I had to have my 16 year old kitty Nathan put to sleep, my mom was hospitalized with pneumonia and congestive heart failure. There were several times during the week that I felt certain my mom was going to die. If not die…she was languishing in a hospital bed, now known only known as the patient in bed C, not as Gayle. Even in her Alzheimer’s state she was scared and depressed…she was giving up.

Try as I might…I couldn’t make it better. I couldn’t work out the details to get my mom transferred back to her assisted living facility. I was dealing with a cold uncaring discharge planner who lied and had no compassion on my mother…relegating her to a rehab center in which I was certain she would die. I felt desperate…yet I didn’t turn to God for help, guidance and wisdom. Like the Energizer Bunny…I kept on going…but that was about to stop.

The revelation that I had been trying to handle it all instead of giving it to God…was God’s merciful turning point. It started with a text message from Chris…with a reminder that I was to walk by faith and believe God. The hammer hit the nail on the head when Chris texted me John 15:5…abiding in God and without Him I could do nothing. Indeed that was painfully true. I was coming up short at every turn.

Not sure why I didn’t automatically turn it over to God? But I do know the circumstances, as they were, kept me from my normal Bible studies and fellowship. Instead of being at church, a prayer meeting or at BSF…I was at the hospital. A painful reminder on how quickly I can fail when I’m not regularly, daily in the study of His word and in prayer. When I have a relationship…it’s natural to share what’s going on in my life. When that fellowship is broken…I’m not thinking about sharing with God.

At times…I was exhausted…numb…my mind could not focus enough to pray. But that’s when I needed to do that the most. I suppose at that point…my best bet is to grab a friend…and have them pray with me. Prayer brings me back to God. It begins and ends with God.

Once I realized that I needed to hand it over to God…I was reminded that death is a divine appoint. There is no panic in heaven, only plans. That God could use even these circumstances and bring good out of it.

Once I turned it over to God…and asked Him to work out all the details, He brought in to my path Hospice. It was recommended by the Rehab doctor. I never would have thought to bring in Hospice. But thank You Lord…You were working out the details. The people were compassionate and caring…wanting what was best for my mom. They were able to arrange for my mom to be brought back to her home for the last six years. A place where she is well known and well loved.

Perhaps this was God’s way of getting these people in our lives now…and in the future where we will need their help even more. Today I was able to share with the Hospice Chaplain that I am uncertain of my mother’s salvation. I asked him to make sure that is his primary focus when he sees her.

I thank God for bringing Chris in to my life. He reached out…and brought my focus back to God. He reached out…and kept reaching out with kindness, care and compassion.

It felt so good tonight to be back to Bible Study Fellowship. As I did my lesson this weekend…God showed me that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Oh Lord….may I diligently seek You and be ready next time to wrestle with You and be engaged. Trust me…there will be a next time.

Smack, Dab, Center

Honest and truly…my parents could have named me Jacob and it would have been most appropriate. Jacob and me…we have something in common. We both like to wrestle with God. Actually…I’m not sure I can say I like it…but goodness knows…I sure end up in a wrestling match more often than I’d like to admit.

Thank You Lord…that You are patient with me. This time around…there was wrestling going on…but it wasn’t for a long and extended period. I’d say God had me in a full nelson…and was whispering my ear until I cried uncle.

“Susan….when you responded the other day…you made it clear what your will was. Did you ever ask what my will is?”

“Uhhhhh…no God, I didn’t. Surely this can’t be Your will, can it?”

I should have known better than to ask that. After all God loves obstacles and overwhelming circumstances. In fact he specializes in them. He specializes in taking broken people and mending them. He loves to take the weak and despised things of this world…and use them for His glory.

While I don’t fully know what God wants to do in my situation…I do know that He has a perfect will and plan. He desires that I want His will for my life…to obey and follow Him.

I learned that lesson last year. I learned that there is no better place to be than in God’s will.

My circumstances seem impossible…huge. Beyond me…by any measure. But I do know this…I want to be smack dab in the center of God’s will. No matter what. I don’t want to turn to the right or to the left. I don’t want to go my own way. I want to be right where He wants me to be and no further.

In the center of His will is where I have peace. It’s where He will strengthen me…encourage me…and enable me. He’ll even fight for me…when I’m in the battle that He has designated for me.

So…I made a phone call. “I don’t know what God’s will is in this…but whatever it is…I want it. This seems impossible…it’s huge…far beyond me. I’m scared. But we serve a Big God…One who is more than able to accomplish…with ease…everything that concerns me today, tomorrow and always.”

Once I yielded to God’s will…I had peace. When I stopped trying to figure out all the details…I was able to turn the reins of this situation over to God. So He’s in charge now. My orders are not to figure out how to make it work…but to instead listen and closely follow God’s lead.

Smack, Dab, Center God…that’s where I want to be.

I will call you Israel!


“I’m going to call you Israel from now on.” That was Mason’s response after I had asked for prayer on Sunday evening. I explained that recently I felt like I was Jacob wrestling with God…and I was growing weary and want this episode to come to an end. Yet…I will not let go…no…I will not…until God blesses me.

While I love God and will serve Him…no matter what…I would rather God take me home than to let my life continue on as it has been for low these many years.

Yet this is a stronghold…and it will not be demolished and nothing will be accomplished without God’s hand in it. I desire to praise Him and testify to His goodness, mercy and love to one so undeserving as He gives me the desires of my heart.

Sometimes I find it humbling and difficult to ask a person to pray for something that’s very personal. It’s embarrassing to ask people to pray for me. Why? Probably because I feel such huge failure and I’m not able to accomplish something on my own that people do everyday with ease. But more than that it touches my heart in such a deep place…a vulnerable spot that I don’t feel comfortable having exposed.

I guess having my hope deferred for all these years has made it…if not easier…than at least necessary to ask for others prayers in this situation.

Mason has a logical way of approaching things…and even faith seemed simple and easy when Mason offered a word of encouragement.

When I said it was hard to ask for prayer on this…Mason asked “Why would you deprive your brothers and sisters in Christ the opportunity to be in prayer for you and see God at work in your situation? They will be part of the process…and God will use it to build up their faith in addition to your own.”

He assured me that “it’s the journey that’s important…not just the end”. Indeed I know that’s true…but I also look forward to the end destination of this journey…knowing that the next one will begin as this one concludes.

When Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord, he wrestled all night long. Many believe this to be the pre-incarnate Christ. As day break approached the angel told Jacob to let him go…but Jacob held tight and said he would not let go until he was blessed. The angel asked Jacob what his name was…and Jacob told him his name. “I am Jacob”…this one who had lied and deceived…he who was known as a supplanter gave his name correctly this time around because he wanted to be blessed.

Indeed he was blessed. The angel told Jacob that he would now be called Israel for he had struggled with God and with man and had overcome.

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” – Genesis 32:24-30

As I wrestle with God…I wonder what will He call me? In Revelation God tells us that He will give us a new name that only He will know.

I wonder…what will be my name? Will it be Faith? Steadfast? Overcomer? Immovable? Patient? Waited Upon the Lord? Beloved?

Or will I hang my head in shame as I bear the name “Oh ye of little faith”? Failure? Weak Willed? Believed the Lies of the Enemy?

Israel…I would gladly bear that name. Oh to be known as one who struggled with God and man and who over came. I continue to wrestle with God and will do so until He blesses me. I would be most grateful for your prayers on my behalf.

Mason…this is dedicated to you…thanks for being a faith encourager!