This week our five children returned to school. Our oldest entered 8th grade and our baby, kindergarten. The beginning of a new school year brings excitement and a return to routine in our daily life: homework, extra-curricular activities, dinner as a family at the table, and earlier bedtimes. During the summer, when our schedules were more relaxed, I had set a personal goal of reading small bits of scripture with my children, hoping the stories would become more ingrained in their heart and mind, and that they would come to know better who Jesus was to them. Our 4th grader was very interested in reading her children’s bible on most nights, but I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped with the others. As parents, we establish the family values, goals and expectations; I wonder which ones will take root and still be with my children when they are grown.
Summer also brought a fall for my mom, resulting in fractures that required her to spend 7 weeks in a rehab center. Because she would be going home with a walker, my siblings decided to de-clutter her house to make getting around easier for her. Have you ever cleaned out your parents’ home, while they were in the hospital, or after they passed away? It can be a rather odd experience, going through their drawers, closets, and personal belongings, finding old letters that were written to loved ones, jewelry that had been saved from a deceased relative or everyday items that were stashed in a special drawer, clues to what your mom or dad held close. Sifting through your parents’ possessions while trying to protect their privacy and dignity can be an overwhelming, frustrating and emotional experience. (I’m blessed that my older siblings let me “off the hook” this time, and shared this chore between them.)
My mom is turning 85 at the end of the month, and has been known for writing in a journal. She jotted down memories of us growing up in little notebooks or even scraps of paper, and documented important dates or events with a photo attached. She even recorded details of my dad’s deteriorating health last year as she cared for him up to his death. My mom also wrote down many prayers and scripture passages over the years that were meaningful to her. While tidying her home, my eldest sister, Debbie, found this prayer. It was typed on an old-fashioned type writer, and the paper was slightly yellowed. It was tucked into a big stack of books in the corner of her home, and could have easily been overlooked. My sister shared it with me, and it reminded me of my daily struggles and how I wrestle with who is in control: God or me?
Our Thinking versus God’s Promises
All things are possible. (Luke 18:27)
I’m too tired.
I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Nobody really loves me.
I love you. (John 3:16)
I can’t go on.
My grace is sufficient. (11 Cor. 12:19)
I can’t figure things out.
I will direct your steps. (Proverbs 20:24)
I can’t do it.
You can do all things. (Phil 4:13)
I’m not able.
I am able. (11 Co. 9:8)
It’s not worth it.
It will be worth it. (Rom. 8:28)
I can’t forgive myself.
I will supply all your needs. (Phil. 4:19)
I have not given you a spirit of fear. (11 Tim. 1:7)
I’m always worried and frustrated.
Cast all your cares on Me. (1 Peter 5:7)
I don’t have enough faith.
I’ve given everyone a measure of faith. (Rom. 12:8)
I’m not smart enough.
I give you wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:30)
I feel all alone.
I will never leave you or forsake you. (Heb. 13:5)
This prayer is a beautiful reminder that God’s promises are far better than what we come up with on our own, in our human condition. Often, we fall short when we rely on Our Thinking, but if we instead entrust ourselves to God’s Promises, our lives will be a lot easier!
This week is the one-year anniversary of my ministry, Creating Space, and my blog. As I look back over the year, and even just this summer, I see that some things I had hoped to achieve didn’t happen; my children didn’t memorize scripture (a discipline I admire in our protestant brothers and sisters). Yet in finding this prayer that my mom had tucked away, I can see how she relied on scripture throughout her life, and without using actual words, she taught me to do the same. Perhaps when my children are 45 they will find my old-fashion blog writings, and have a glimpse of how scripture played a part in my faith, and hopefully their own, as well.
This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “New App For your Phone Connect your Parish, Growing the Faith, One Parish” and “Extending Compassion, Losing a Child & Evangelization” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com