How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why, My Soul, Are You So Downcast?

"Why, my soul, are you so downcast?  Why are you so disturbed within you?"  This morning...I could feel soul downcast and disturbed.  At first I just felt it...the lump rising in my throat...the heaviness as I walked through my empty house doing the mundane.  Then I remembered...ask your soul...why?  And the answers came…

Why?  Because my heart is heavy for a friend whose two year old grand niece, Anna Mae, is suffering from an incurable and devastating disease.  I watched the video, “Judson’s Eyes,” about  Krabbe Disease—a rare, genetic, incurable leukodystrophy and through streams of tears, thought of the family who is facing this heartbreaking journey.   I especially thought of the mother, the grandmothers, the aunts, because I can relate to them.

Why so downcast and disturbed, O my soul? Because I have a sweet young friend who waits...praying with all her heart for an unborn baby whose life hangs tenuously in her womb.  She hopes for the little one within and dreams of a life that could be, but the dark clouds of "what if" hover over her and she cannot get away from the truth that this precious life is tenuous.  I feel her pain...I've been there.

 What disturbs me?  The news that a pregnant Sudanese woman, Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim, who has been jailed along with her 20 month old son, was sentenced to death for apostasy...she will not recant her Christian faith.  She is scheduled to die by hanging after her baby is born.

And again...why?  Because my heart is broken for the over two hundred young girls in Nigeria who have been kidnapped and sold into slavery.  I grieve as I look at pictures of the families and their signs begging “Bring Back Our Girls!”  I think of their mothers and sisters, their aunts and grandmothers…their friends.  I think of my own daughters and granddaughters, my nieces and sisters...and just for a moment empathize with the horror in the thought, “What if?”  In that split second, I feel the unbearable, the unthinkable and I realize with tears in my eyes as I type this…these sisters of mine…of yours are living it…right now.  And I want to DO something.

 I love women and working in "women's ministry."  Women’s ministry, put simply, is ministering and serving women.   So which women am I called to serve?  Only the women in the Bible study on Tuesday nights?  Or the women in my church?  Or the women in my community?  This country?  Or maybe only Christian women?  How about you?  Are you a woman?  Do you have women you care about and love?  We are…everyone of us…”in women’s ministry,” and God’s scope on HIS women’s ministry is global and all inclusive.  Here’s how I know this:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intersessions and thanksgivings be made for all people…”  I Timothy 2:1.

Pray.  Here’s the irony about prayer…It many times has one small four letter word in front of it…"just.”   All we can do is "just" pray…  Nearly every time I have heard this or said this myself…it is with resignation.  After a long conversation detailing the trouble or pain..."Well, all you can do is just pray."  We are finally left, after all else has failed, to “just pray."  Really?  Talking to the Creator of the Universe is "just" conversation?  Can I throw something out there for you to consider?   Prayer is powerful because it makes you immediately “present” in a situation or with someone.  You can be present with Anna Mae and her reeling family.  You can be present with those girls in Nigeria and their grieving families. You can be present with Meriam, her unborn child, and her son in their jail cell.  You can be present with an expectant young mom as she anxiously waits and hopes for a safe birth and healthy baby.  You can be present with a son or daughter in distress or wandering.  Prayer makes us present in the midst of those who are suffering even if they are a world away…even if you have never met them. Actually, if prayer is what God's Word says (And I believe it is), then we can't be MORE present or MORE useful.  A young mom put this up on her status on Facebook one morning and I have never forgotten it:  “When we get to heaven, we will wish we had prayed MORE.”  "More" is the exact opposite of "just." 

God's Word tells us to "trust in the Lord and do good."  My sister, Joni, is an example of this.  She prays for others then she waits...trusting the Lord is at work, but in the meantime, she writes cards, makes phone calls, bakes cookies.  She does "good" while she prays, trusts and waits.  So absolutely do  something while you pray for people and situations: sign petitions, #Bring Back Our Girls on Twitter, "share" articles and videos that will raise awareness for those in need, give what you can in whatever way you can, write letters and e-mails on behalf of our Sundanese sister and all our young sisters in Nigeria or any friend in need, bring meals and encourage.  You can keep up with Anna Mae and her family at: and add them to your prayer list.  This is what we are called to do as Christ followers, so by all means do good,  but for cryin’ out loud…Cry out loud to God on behalf of those who suffer.  In this way, we all minister and serve others wherever they might be.

The way I read the Bible, it seems that a praying people is a force that can't be reckoned with.  Prayer can bring the miraculous...peace, joy, restoration, redemption, counsel, wisdom...hope.  The end of the verse "Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?"..."Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and God."
Oh, I love you, my sisters...thank you for allowing me to "think" things out on the pages of this blog.  Please share how you work out this praying, trusting, hoping and doing good by leaving a comment or a prayer to encourage us all.
Hoping in my Savior and my God,

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