I believe there is a sweet spot in our relationship with God that is a refuge and a guide to us in the many and diverse difficulties in our lives. From the heavy duty issues like grappling with a terminal illness, a debilitating accident, a broken marriage, depression, or to the prickly thorns of our insecurities and the stresses of everyday relationships and activities.
I've recently been faced with mourning the loss of my father, again. I didn't grow up with my father. I lived with him briefly the summer before starting high school. We were not close when he died over 10 years ago. I didn't want to go to the funeral and I remember being so angry at him for taking his own life. A wise mentor and friend told me at that time, "Go, you will mourn this loss at different stages in your life. Go, or you will regret it." So, I went. Looking back now, I am glad I did.
In my quest to worship and praise God, I came across some scriptures that revealed another way we can praise him. This involves remembering and proclaiming the deeds of God. The scriptures below reveal the connection between praising God and remembering and proclaiming his great deeds:
I am amazed by the perseverance of women in my life who allow tough times to strengthen them. I know a young woman who lived through the midst of the Civil War in Liberia. Rape and molestation were rampant. She became pregnant when she was 14 years old and her parents abandoned her.
Recent conversation between my daughter and granddaughter:
Gracie: Mommy, can you take my trash? (Gracie holds out a chewed on apple core.)
Mommy: Gracie, I'm driving. You can just put it in the paper bag you are holding.
Gracie: I need you to take it.
Why does God allow difficult things to happen? I do not know the answer. Every time I read the news, look at Facebook, or talk to friends, I hear bad news. I often get sad and sometimes I get angry, but it bolsters my belief that I have to keep my mind set on things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2). I do not know the purpose of me being paralyzed, but I do believe that suffering is part of our journey.
I sink into my friend's cushy new loveseat with a grateful sigh. The eight-hour drive from my house to hers has left me exhausted—I don't have great stamina as a long-distance driver, but today Cassidy and I have braved the long country roads between North Carolina and Georgia, just the two of us, for the rare treat of a mother-daughter trip to visit friends.
On August 18, 2013, I suddenly felt dizzy. It had been a nice Sunday afternoon. I remember what I was wearing: a mauve colored peasant blouse and white pedal pusher pants. And I remember that the sun was shining through the dining room windows and my cats were curled up on the couch. It had been a good day, because I had spent the day in prayer. And I fasted for eight hours that day. Only eight hours. I had fasted several times before, for more than 24 hours on a few occasions, and never had a problem. This day was different.
I'll be honest: I'm not a big new year's resolution girl. I find the idea of making a list of commitments for an entire year daunting. Perfectionist that I am, new year's resolutions feel like an invitation to fail and feel guilty, all year long. (I know, I'm kind of dramatic. I'm working on it.)
I am on a quest to learn what it means to "worship" God. I can think back to several "worship" experiences. When I was young, I attended many worship services which consisted of rote and routine practice of words, and actions. It was meaningful to me because of what I believed.