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This week we will use 7 of the songs of Korah from the psalms we have just studied,

as a springboard for our prayer, for as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:

It is a dangerous error, certainly very widespread among Christians, to think that the heart can pray by itself. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. If we wish to pray with confidence and gladness, whether the heart is full or empty, then the words of Holy Scripture will have to be the solid basis of our prayer. For this we need the psalms…

I will keep it fairly simple this week so that you can enter in, despite all you may have to do.

Share freely for this is a different kind of week.

You may also find help from this week for sharing at your Thanksgiving tables, particularly Thursday and Friday.

Let me say how thankful I am for you, and how your fellowship gives me joy.

Next week Advent begins and I’m excited for the journey I believe He is taking us on!

Sunday Icebreaker

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

Monday: Psalms 42/43

Prepare your heart:

When God shakes the foundations of our world, the way he shattered this dock next to my home in a storm this fall, instead of falling apart with it, we can give thanks, as Hebrews says, that we have an unshakeable Kingdom, whose builder and architect is God.


 In psalms 42 and 43, the psalmist’s world has been shaken. He cannot find God, he is isolated, and he is depressed. But he is talking to his soul, telling her repeatedly “to put your hope in God.” The enemy as well, is whispering, “Where is your God?”

2. What do you remember about Psalms 42 and 43?

3. Take Psalm 42 and pray it, telling your soul reasons to be thankful, even in the midst of want and trouble and loneliness, because you have a salvation and an eternal Kingdom and a God who is good. Make it as personal as you can. I’m going to pray it first — and then you do it. Our lives are all different, but there is power in using Scripture to guide us.

Father, I am driving to Iowa to see Beth and Seth, who are experiencing unemployment, want, fear, and discouragement. How I pray that they would remember they have a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, and help them look forward to the city that You have built. Please make them fruitful in the land of their suffering. I have heard Seth express despair in You, and how I pray that instead of backing away from You, that he would seek you, as this psalmist does, for this psalmist finally hears your deep voice speaking deep into his soul. I want to thank you for a few unshakeable truths so that I too might put my hope in You:

  • Death is the final enemy — but one day we who are yours, my parents, my husband, my friends who have died will be raised as You were raised.
  • I love love love how you turned in sympathy to your disciples and promised that you were preparing a place for them, and if it were not true, you would have told them.
  • One day Beth will have her arm restored — for you are going to make all things new.

Read Psalm 42:5 and pray it for your own life circumstances.

Tuesday: Psalm 44


Prepare your heart for this psalm by singing along with this:


Our God is so mysterious, sometimes it feels like He is sleeping. His ways are not our ways, He allows some of His best to die terrible deaths.


27 - Led like a lamb to the slaughter

How do we use a psalm like this that actually ends with “Why are sleeping, Lord?” during Thanksgiving week? We see Jesus in this psalm and give thanks for the time when he was taunted, on the cross, by his enemies, when it seemed His Father was sleeping. For He did it for us.

4. What do you remember about Psalm 44?

5. Take Psalm 44:13-24 and, remembering what Jesus endured for us, give thanks to Him for that, being specific.


Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day: Psalm 45:1-9Your throne


Prepare your heart with this:


6. You can actually pray Psalm 45:1-9 as a thanksgiving praise to our fair Lord. Read a verse and then come here and let it lead you to praise. It may lead you to questions too, which is fine — if you have questions, so your sisters can better see them, CAPITALIZE THEM. Go for it!




The bride, the body of Christ, is beautiful because she is joined to Christ. This is the tie that binds. This is what makes us love as well as we do. Prepare your heart with this:

Sara Groves – Blessed Be The Tie (Official) from sara-groves on GodTube.

6.  If you are at a Thanksgiving table with others, even if they are unbelievers, you can have a time of thanksgiving for qualities you see and admire in each. For even if they do not know Him, they are made in the image of God, and you should be able to find something beautiful in them.  (Tomorrow’s lesson would also work around the table) Think ahead what you might say, and if you do not have a chance to express it, send them an e-mail or a note expressing why you are thankful for them. I encourage you to do this today and report back how it went!

Friday: Psalm 46

Prepare your heart with: 


7. What do you remember about psalm 46?

8. Praise God for ways He has been your refuge and strength in times of trouble. Be specific.

9. In the midst of turmoil, the Lord of host is with us. Share a way He has been mindful of you this year.


10. What is your take-a-way and why?








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  1. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Ephraim, His beautiful artwork there and how grateful I am for the times Dee has so graciously invited me to come. I love it there. Steve’s grave-heavy- but joyful for He is Dee’s refuge and strength a very present help and comfort in her suffering.
    The Pilgrims and the pastor having to bury his children-as some of our dear sisters here have had to, like Chris..Yet I see in Chris’ heart His joy and thankfulness in her suffering and grief..from what I understand the grieving never ‘goes away’. The Pilgrims took refuge in Him in their suffering for I am sure it was a tough road just getting there and celebrating and that sting of loss and aloneness grieving loved ones. They were deep in grief yet joyful in thankfulness to God. I know I am only capable of a thankful heart because of Him-knowing Him, and in taking refuge in Him. I need Him and He does the work in my heart.
    I look forward every year to Dee’s ideas on ways to love on our family members at Thanksgiving.  🙂 

  2. What a perfect kickoff to Thanksgiving week – a review and reflection upon the past weeks’ studies of the Psalms!  Even though a week of study has been given to each of these Psalms, I feel the need to pause (Selah??  🙂  ) and let their timeless truths sink ever deeper into my wounded heart. 
    Standouts from the introduction for me were :  1. the beauty of your little village….and the spiritual beauty of it’s founding  2. the stark reality of the pilgrim’s suffering – and yet their fortitude in giving thanks….. and 3.  most of all, the standout to me was Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s quote:  “It is a dangerous error, certainly very widespread among Christians, to think that the heart can pray by itself.  Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart.  If we wish to pray with confidence and gladness, whether the heart is full or empty, then the words of Holy Scripture will have to be the solid basis of our prayer.  For this we need the psalms….”  Dee, you led us so preciously in your prayer.  You gave a solid example of how the truths of Scripture can kiss the suffering circumstances of our daily lives. 

    1. Jackie, 
      I have been praying and wondering how your daughter is doing? How are you doing? Thankful for you.

  3. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Oh, once again, EVERYTHING stood out.  This time, I was struck that the reason everything stood out is because of how all the parts fit together to point us to the Lord.  (I’d been reflecting on how some circles in which I travel are unbalanced, have missing pieces, or don’t fit together at all — and like an unbalanced washing machine, these systems eventually will cease functioning).  Focus on the Lord, having the Lord at the center, pulls the pieces of life together so that in Him, even the broken wheel becomes functional (though not always in the eyes of other people).

    Specifically, when I read this post about an hour & a half ago, what first struck me is that it was here.  Dee, thank you SO MUCH for your faithfulness in preparation and posting each week.  I’m grinning as I remember back several years when I stayed up until from midnight to 3 in the morning refreshing the screen in case Dee set the post to be automatically released at a certain time.  Of course, if I was up at 3 am, I wasn’t up in the morning when the post was first available 😀

    Other specifics:  the cemetery in Ephraim, the pilgrims, the suffering.  I’ve had similar thoughts when wandering through cemeteries that contain sections of graves from early settlers, including ancestors — and during the summer, I saw a cemetery with names of the same families on the other side of the ocean…God’s hand over many generations over centuries.

      Praying the Psalm and the Bonhoeffer quote.  Oh, how I need that anchor of remembering how to pray the Psalms.  I see that I must have scanned ahead and read the prayer for Beth and Seth (joining you in that prayer).  One of my thoughts was “Oh good, this is other-centered.”  I decided that I was sick of focusing on myself, started mentally whining about how bad I am, how I am a wimp, couldn’t handle the suffering of the pilgrims, etc.  Then God stopped me in my tracks (if I can have tracks before I get out of bed) and reminded who I am in Him, that I have a new identity, and He is my strength.  Now, I see that this is at the heart of what Bonhoeffer said, “prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. ..the words of Holy Scripture will have to be the solid basis of our prayer. For this we need the psalms…

    “Oooh… and Advent coming up.  On Friday, I excitedly told a couple of people that we get to cover Advent and Lent in this group.  I guess I didn’t know for sure that we would be taking the Advent journey… just kinda assumed 🙂

    Sooooo, in conclusion, I am so thankful for Dee, for all of you, for this study and most of all for God’s grace and mercy in always drawing me to Himself, pointing me in the right direction.  I get stuck thinking how bad I am (including how I haven’t been doing this study very well for a few weeks), how some situations “never” change, and it’s not surprising that I get discouraged with that focus.  Earlier, when I first read this, the Holy Spirit jolted me into realizing that though I am bad and some situations may not change, I am redeemed.  Because of Jesus, I am redeemed and my identity is in Him.  May He be fruitful in and through my suffering, including that which I bring on myself through.

    I’ve looked at research on gratitude to prepare for class this week, and this post is helping me to be grateful for the right reasons.

  4. Dee ~   I agree with Jackie.   I too feel such a need to pause and reflect over these past few weeks of study.   So, thank you for leading us this way this week.
    What stands out this morning?
    ~ I love the picturesque beauty of this town.  (Traveling by train from Montana across Minnesota, Wisconsin and on over the the east coast in the autumn has been on my bucket list for the past seven years….. I’m convinced by this picture that that must take place in the autumn.)    And I love the depth of the history.   The sorrow that the grave markers represent makes me want to know the story of the parents and how the Lord met them in their darkest places.    (I have, at times, walked to a very old cemetery down the country road from my in-laws.    Always such a strong reminder that many others have suffered the loss of a child…. I am not alone.)
    This week marks the 35th birthday of our firstborn who went to heaven at 14 months of age after open heart surgery.   It also marks the 35th birthday of our godson, who was born the same night, same hospital.   His mom contacted me yesterday to say that she hasn’t forgotten.   Sweet friend.     I am reminded of how He has rescued me and redeemed such a sorrowful time.    Only our Lord could bring such healing to my very broken heart.    
    ~ And Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words……. I am so grateful to have a partner in prayer who has taught me how to pray scripture.  Nancy has been such a treasure over the past seven years.  She often interweaves prayer throughout our conversation, just naturally stopping, praying, then continuing on in our conversation  
    Also, loved the reminder of Dietrich’s life.   His biography by Eric Metaxas was such an encouragement.

    1. Nila, your words touch me this morning.  35 years.  Your heart will always remember.  I pray it will be a week of blessing for you.

      1. Dee,
        In my attempt to be brief, I may have been hard to follow.   Our daughter Abby was born the same night as our godson, Ben.   We celebrated their first birthdays together.  Two months later, the Lord took her to heaven.    On her tombstone are inscribed these words:   She was so small, But her influence is so great.   With the verse:  of such is the kingdom of Heaven.   Matt. 19:14

        1. Oh My Nila…I just cant imagine:(
          Your daughter too?

    2. Oh Nila. I had the scripture come to my mind reading this. The Lord Gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21

    3. Nila…how hard it must of been to bury your 14 month old baby….I’m so sorry.  I’ve heard your story befor and my heart goes out to you so much.  Prayers for you

  5. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?     The markers in the cemetery.  So touching.  I am one who finds cemeteries generally peaceful and of great interest.  I do like to pause and ponder when I read inscriptions and when I don’t know the story, I often find myself musing about the circumstances.  The heavenly reunion of that pastor and his children is stunning to think of…but oh the earthly pain, he (and presumably, his wife) endured.    The chart of the Puritans who died in the first winter in America is also stunning.  Though I’ve heard the numbers, the visual takes me aback.    Scrolling through the lesson, the Bonhoeffer quote is one of my favorites since I read his book on psalms.  That book was so instrumental in my placing a high value on praying the words of scripture and not just ‘pouring out my heart’ randomly.  Something I am working on, which comes slowly.  And I did love to see several songs posted!  I was thinking I may need to bow out this week, but I am quite sure I will not want to miss any of this and will try really hard to be here!  

    oops. Did not mean for this to be all bold!

  6. This week looks like food for my soul! I love Thanksgiving. Growing up it was always the “one day” of football and turkey, but I make a big deal of it now–we spend the whole month with special devotions, a tree of verses, and seeking to open our eyes to all we have been blessed with. I love this from Dee, “FOR WHEN WE GIVE THANKS FROM OUR HEARTS, WHATEVER OUR LOT,IT WILL ALLOW GOD TO MAKE US “FRUITFUL IN THE LAND OF OUR SUFFERING.” This year I feel He has especially allowed us to feel His presence even more in our thanks. Yesterday we joined a small Church group to deliver Thanksgiving groceries to a very poor “project” neighborhood. Our kids came too, and seeing 1-room units with literally no furniture, was shocking, humbling. But as we left, my youngest, who had prayed on his own with one of the residents, and played with the young kids outside–kept talking about how “happy” they were. It was a rare time to see face to face how the love of Christ, if we drink it in, brings a joy that goes beyond all circumstances. 
    I also love the Bonhoeffer quote “Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. If we wish to pray with confidence and gladness, whether the heart is full or empty, then the words of Holy Scripture will have to be the solid basis of our prayer.”

    1. Such a great family experience, Elizabeth.  I love your son’s heart. Your kids will remember and it will shape them.   (My husband’s first 9 years of life were in the ‘projects’ of Fresno, CA.  He’s carried a heart for the poor his whole life, so we tried to instill that in our children too.  I see their compassion today stemming from those kinds of exposures.)  

      1. Elizabeth, I so love your story, and your little guy who is a boy after God’s heart. :)))  I love to hear as Wanda said, how God is shaping your children through these opportunities. 
        Wanda-I didn’t know that about your husband..wow..so true how that shapes our children. 

    2. Elizabeth, love this story about how your family celebrates the entire month, and how you involved your kids in delivering the meals…I’m quite sure it will make a lasting impression on their hearts.

  7. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    As always, there is lots to comment on, but,  I must admit I scanned a bit ahead and, oh, especially, my heart goes out to Seth and Beth, who are struggling with unemployment and such discouragement. Oh Father, meet them in their suffering. Help them to turn to you and find you more than sufficient for their needs. Open their eyes to your deep love for them and for others who also are suffering around the world, as well as those next door. Lord, may Dee be a light of hope to them as she visits this week to turn their eyes to your beauty and love with hearts of thanksgiving. 

    1. Diane, is Krista working? I can’t remember if she got the job when she was going on all those interviews. 

      1. Laura dancer, thanks for asking. Krista is NOT working. She thought she had a job at a Christian day care in conjunction with a government employment program. ! It seemed like an answer to prayer! She has even been volunteering there a couple of days a week. But after waiting since September to get confirmation that all the paperwork was done, she found out that the daycare has to pay her first and then get reimbursed by the government and they are saying that they cannot afford to do that. We just found this out last week. Very disappointing!
        Again, we do not know what God is doing, but we keep praying and moving forward. I know He is teaching me to just trust God now matter what is going on. I have a kind of peace about this. I’m trying to grow into what it means that I am called to be a caregiver in my home to an adult unemployed divorced daughter and three little boys torn between their mother and father. I am thankful that our daughter loves and trusts us, even if her world looks a whole lot different than she would like it to be.

        1. Diane–so sorry to hear this about Krista and the daycare–I had so hoped that would work out. Continuing prayers for you all–especially for peace in the waiting

  8. Just have to say that the sermon at my church this morning was from Ephesians 1:19-23 and the theme of Jesus being Lord over all.  I kept seeing all the parallels to Psalm 47 and it made my heart swell!  Another strong point that was made was that we pray the scriptures and I thought of the Bonhoeffer quote included in this lesson and what that whole concept has meant to me this year.  This all felt so good to me that I was prompted to share my heart about it in my fellowship group following.  I really am blessed by that group.  And I am grateful for feeling at peace leaving church today.  

    1. Wanda–what a praise! Love how your sermon tied in, your fellowship time–and that you have felt peace today–not your old “Sunday blues”! Love too this added info on your husband’s life. He got my heart when you mentioned how he “counsels” his friends while fishing…just have a picture of him in my head, I think my husband would so enjoy him! My husband never knew his dad and had a very rough youth–sorry, I digressed, but thank you for sharing this. 

      1. My husband also never knew his dad and had major dysfunction in both family of origin and his adopted family.  Yes, I think they could have a very long talk, Elizabeth!

    2. Getting a late start reading some things so just saw this, Wanda, but wow, praise God!  He does give us some times of refreshing and I’m grateful He gave that to you on Sunday.

    3. Wanda-love to hear how God came to you at church and how he gave you his peace. Sweet.

  9. hello everyone. I have missed you all and hope to be able to join you over the holidays. 
    I agree with Renee that this post ties together so well. Our lives are so different as Dee noted, yet in Christ we are united as one.
    the thing that really stood out to me was the chart of Mayflower survivors and in particular the one lone woman in the middle. I cant imagine pioneer life and then to lose all of her family in one winter. It has me thinking so much. They were such different people than Amercans today. They were strong and close to God. They knew Him or they would not have been able to give thanks in their suffering. It bears out all that Dee has taught us about suffering.

    1. Anne, So good to have you back here again.  Wish I could give you a hug!

    2. HI ANNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)))))))))))))  So good to have you back!

      1. thank you both. A hug would be wonderful. It’s a virtual hug, back to you!

        1. <3    🙂

        2. Anne, 🙂

    3. Anne!–have no idea why my post didn’t show–but have missed you, SO good to see you!

      1. thank you Elizabeth. There are so many blessings here and you are one of them. I think of you often. I hope you are feeling better.

        1. I’ve missed you Anne…so glad your back!

      1. Thank you Dee 🙂 I’m so blessed to be here. This is another wonderful post.

    4. Anne ~   Thank you for this post.   They knew Him or they would not have been able to give thanks in their suffering.    

      1. You know what I mean Nila. I’m so sorry about the loss of your child.

  10. Wanda, Love how your sermon tied in! Ours has been as well each week. We have been in Habakkuk..and oh my I am blown away by how it has tied in to Dee’s blog..being thankful, clinging to Him even in pain.  

  11. As I read the introduction, I was so touched by the lovely village and the old cemetery markers. Yes, these reminders of lost loved ones touched me and reminded me again of  Psalm 46: The Lord is my refuge and strength. And I am so thankful for the  help from praying the Psalms.
    Reviewing the psalms that we have studied this week is a blessing. I am glad for this pause.
    Yesterday I had the privilege of ministering in music at a local nursing home. These folks had such pleasure in this gift of music, prayer and the reading of Psalm 23 and the Apostles’ Creed. It was very touching to me and made me very thankful for our Savior’s great love to us.

  12. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I love seeing the photo of Ephraim again.    It just looks almost too good to be real 🙂    I see there is a church on the left and also on the right in the photo.   Dee, since you have said you are involved with a church start, I would guess neither of these churches is yours.     It would give me a good feeling to live in a town that was founded by believers.       I was also very impressed with the chart of pilgrim survivors of the first winter.    How desperate it must have made them to watch their family and friends disappearing right and left all around them!

    I look forward to enjoying the songs this week, and perhaps taking it a slight bit easier during this “Thanksgiving week — but also looking forward to being a bit more thankful than I might be normally.   Thank you, Dee, for pulling all of this together for us, even though you are traveling to visit your daughters.   Thanks again for locating my missing post at the end of last week!    I hope you thoroughly enjoy your visiting.   Praying for safe travels for you and others.    I will only have to travel across town for Thanksgiving.

  13. I have to agree with Anne (so happy you are back with us)….the “Pilgram poster” moves me to the core. They risked so much to come here. They lost so much, yet they thanked God anyway. I live in the NE, and the “oldness” of this area is apparent everywhere you go. Whether it’s an old cemetery, an old church, or whatever, you have reminders of that age so long ago that aren’t visible in the rest of the country. 
    I love Thanksgiving as well. My mom was an exceptional cook and we always had a 7 course meal made from scratch! I can never compare to her; from the cloth linens, to the beautiful china she covered it all. I try to get my family to say what they are thankful for before we eat, but it doesn’t always turn out the way I envision it in my mind!

    1. Laura I know what you mean about the northeast. I grew up in Rhode Island. We had field trips to Plymoth and many other historic places. The church I went to had a cemetery with really old graves, 1700’s. I was fascinated and spent a lot of time there.

    2. Laura, will be thinking about you this Thanksgiving for you are freshly grieving still..am thinking about Dee, Chris and others here on the blog as well at Thanksgiving..it is sweet to know He is with you in your grieving. 🙂

  14. Loved the 2 churches in the picture of Ephraim…look like sentinels overlooking the cluster of buildings! I can also relate to the imagery evoked by the words “What must it be like to. Bury one child after another?” I hear what must it be like to lose one cherished piece of life after another? The Lord has called my to entrust many losses to Him in this past year…not losses of physical death but losses of loved ones to memory disorders, loss of health to cancer diagnoses, loss of yet another family members marriage. In the midst God has whispered I AM and I AM on My throne!

    1. Lucy, I love how God spoke to you in your losses. So tender.

    2. Lucy H. Amen, and my heart breaks that you are hearing so much bad news in such a short amount of time.
      How long God? How long must this suffering go on before you come and make everything new? We are growing tired as this world seems to be getting worse..You didn’t design us for this kind of world-watching the ones we love deteriorate while we do..help us, help Lucy, help me continue to cling to you in the assurance that you are in control and that one day you will restore us completely..You came to Lucy in a whisper and that was all she needed..I love that..love that about you and love her heart that you are molding for you have established your throne in the heavens and your sovereignty rules over all. 

    3. Such poignant words, Lucy.  May Thanksgiving bring joy in the midst of many losses.  Immanuel. 

    4. Lucy,
      Thank you for your post here:   In the midst God has whispered I AM and I AM on My throne!   Such encouragement.

    5. Lucy
      May the God of all grace fill you with all the more.

    6. Lucy, love the Lord’s reminder of “I AM and I AM on My Throne”…even when things seem so out of whack, what a comfort to know that the Lord is still in charge and control…and how cool that He reminded you in a whisper (gentle, loving God).  So sorry for your many sufferings over this past year…thank you for your witness of faith in our Lord in the midst of much grief.

  15. Grateful for the review and to revisit the Psalms we have been through. I have really enjoyed studying them and have already shared some with others as it has been so rich and inspiring to me. I think what stood out to me was the Pastor losing his 3 children. My Mom has lost 3 children, One as a 9 month old baby and 2 who were grown. One being the day before Thanksgiving. We gathered the same the next day and gave thanks with our hearts still heavy. Thinking of the Pilgrims and that chart seeing how few survived in some of those families and thinking in the present for those in the midst right now of a loss.
    “For when we give thanks from our hearts whatever our lot, It will allow God to make us fruitful in the land of our suffering”
    Another standout is the Bonhoeffer quote on prayer.  For a heart that loves to pray that will be an adventure I will want to take. Thank you Dee for all you share here with us. Thank you to all for the sharing you give here as well.

    1. Blessings and peace to you and your family, Liz.  I’m sure every year, you remember the year of such raw grief.  What pain your mom has endured.  Is she still living?  May Thanksgiving be a joy for you.

      1. Thank you Wanda. Yes my Mom turned 78 this year, She has been thru MUCH! Including losing my father at 54. She has been on her own since. She has been an example of strength and thanksgiving thru her faith. I pray you have a Thanksgiving filled with much joy as well.

    2. Liz, I have no words…my heart aches for your Mom…I can’t imagine.  So thankful for her strong and enduring faith and reliance on God; how else could she have survived this immense suffering?

    3. Oh Liz-yes..I agree, what a model for us this week. I can’t imagine the enduring pain your mom and you all went through and yet another tragedy the day before Thanksgiving yet on Thanksgiving day all with heavy hearts gave thanks. 

    4. Liz, your mom is truly a model for us all…”We gathered the same the next day and gave thanks with our hearts still heavy.” This really impresses me. The year my nephew died (in July), my family did not want to celebrate Thanksgiving as usual at my parents’ home, or anywhere else. Too, several in my family are not believers. I am sure it was not easy for your mom to do what she did, but you will always remember her faith and her courage.

    5. Oh Liz…so sorry for your mom.  This reminds me that my husbands grandma outlived all her children…she buried them all….all 4 of them by the time she died at 99 and 1/2 years old.

  16. 3. Take Psalm 42 and pray it…
    Dearest Jesus, oh, how I sin over and over again! I will never learn I guess. I’m just like the Israelites, repeatedly forgetting you and making awful choices. A year ago, when Sarah wanted to go to school in NYC, we stupidly allowed it because we weren’t listening for your guidance. We were fools thinking she could handle the task. A year later, we are broke, she has nothing to show for the 10 months in school, and now she has no job. Her life is empty and lonely from my viewpoint. She only calls us when she needs something. She doesn’t care about family; I am sad. She won’t listen to reason. She won’t use the one talent you gave her to help herself out of this situation. She thinks she knows better, just as we thought we did last year. I guess I can’t blame her; we all think we can control situations, when in reality, You are the only One who can help us. I have prayed for Sarah’s life, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. I get crickets! Please Lord, although it may not be in my timing, would You soften my daughter’s hard heart? Would You guide a Christian to be her friend? She doesn’t have true friends; no one cares. Would you show her that her talent is caring for animals and help guide her to that path; whether it be in a grooming salon or as a vet assistant? 
    While I wait (and I have truly waited a LONG time to hear from You Lord – I have been patient), I will thank You. I thank You for keeping her safe in that awful, messy city. I thank You for helping me stay calm this year and not worrying about her, but knowing You are in charge. I thank You that she is willing to come with us this Thursday to have dinner with our family. I thank You for helping us financially this year. It has been hard, but You have provided so much for us! Thank You Lord! You are King! You are mine and I am Yours forever, no matter what. I love You Lord Jesus. Amen.

    1. Yes, Laura, thank you for your honest, heartfelt prayer here this morning, that many of us mamas can identify with.  

    2. Lord, I am praying in agreement with Laura right now.  Please send one, two, or even more strong, committed Christians into her life as friends who could encourage her and point her to You.  Please unfold before her the way in which You would have her to walk, Father.  It is so hard to be in “limbo” God.  To sense no clear direction.  Please give her and sense of purpose and direction, Father.  And God, thank You for Laura’s sacrifice of praise to You in the midst of this.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.

    3. Lord it seems that Sarah is in the wilderness. I pray that you would speak tenderly to her, persuade her and there give her vineyards back to her and make the Valley of Achor into a gateway of hope. There she will respond as she did in the days of her youth, as in the day she came out of the land of Egypt. (‭Hosea‬ ‭2‬:‭15‬ HCSB)

    4. Laura I love how you ended this prayer with many thanks:)

    5. Amen…dear Laura, the ache in a mother’s heart…we only want what is best for our kids and it is so hard watching them falter. Praying for you and yours…may the Lord bring Sarah through this wilderness…may He bring to Sarah a few responsible, trusted, authentic, believing friends…may Sarah be safe…may Sarah be drawn into the Lord’s loving embrace accepting the greatest gift of all that only He offers.

    6. Laura, you model honesty so here with your great questions and your prayers. I am grateful for you. 

    7. Laura, you have a gift of articulating just what you are feeling in your heart and being so honest…you have walked a long, hard road with this child. We will pray along with you, Laura. I love how you ended your prayer, after your lament, with a turning to hope in Him and remembering His faithfulness to you. (Just like David you are!)

    8. Laura, I have been praying and thinking about Sarah. You have shared she has autistic like tendencies. I can see that in the stories you have shared about her friends taking advantage of her and the struggle she has in discerning character when choosing friends. My 14 year old with autism is like this too.  Perhaps this might come as an encouragement..He isn’t grown and gone so I can control more here at home, but I SO SO SO admire your faith in ‘letting go’ of Sarah and trusting God with her through the years. You have had to take so many steps of faith yet your honesty at the same time ministers to me so for you even tell us when you fail in trusting..I love that about you. Your mammas heart is like ours as Nila said. Your concerns, worries, having to relinquish control of Sarah to Him. You don’t know how you encourage me for when my son steps out on his own some day. Your prayer means so much to me for your faith is exposed in your pain your thankfulness for how he has protected and provided for her.  I too have so much to be thankful for for my son how God has protected him thus far. Thank you for leading me in that.
      Just yesterday I was at Walmart and saw an employee, a grown man walking down the isle talking and smiling to himself possibly having autism as if he were oblivious to anyone else around him. He looked like he didn’t care what he wore or what he looked like. But I saw my son in him for that is what my son does. Then the fear crept in..God what if? What if my son grows up and is on his own and works at a store like this and people like me get a creepy feeling when he passes by smiling and talking to himself. My son is NOT creepy..This man is NOT creepy..They are made in God’s image and God in His mystery has a plan for this man and for Isaac.He wired them this way..and in the future my son’s autism will be no more-he will glorify Him and His glory will be all over my son. This is reality and I am clinging and learning to rest with you sister. 🙂

      1. Rebecca, I’m just seeing this…thank you for your encouragement! I have had to rely on God because no one else seemed to be able to help us. Sarah isn’t one of the intelligent aspergers/autistic types; she has a low IQ as well. You wouldn’t know any of this until you got to know her…that’s the problem. People look at her and think she is normal. I suppose she is normal in God’s eyes, right?! We would try to get her help, and some sort of stumbling block would come along; she wouldn’t agree, the social worker thought we were crazy when we tried to get power of attorney to make decisions for her, telling us that’s some Down’s syndrome people live on their own, etc. No one could ever tell us exactly what was “wrong” with her. She is technically called “non-verbal,” but I see a lot of quirky behaviors that lead me to believe she is “on the spectrum.” It was an uphill battle that we finally gave up, and gave in to God. She is the one who managed enough courage to call the cosmetology school and make the appointment to go for a tour. When she did that, I thought, “I can’t discourage her. We will go.” Never thought to ask God 🙁 I wanted it to work for her so much! SO sad when reality hit and she couldn’t pass the chemistry test. If she had told me, I would have gone down there all summer and tutored her. She is good at things that are repetitive, and I could have taught her ways to remember the chemistry! I teach basic chem at high school. She never told me 🙁 and they kicked her out. I’m guessing because she was discouraged and was skipping classes.
        I do think she can live on her own, but it would be good if someone could help her learn how to save money! I am a HUGE proponent of people being self reliant. Sarah has a good quality of finding people who can help her when she is in need;she is resourceful. She really just needs someone who could check in on her every so often; to hold her accountable. Not us, because for some reason she sees us as a threat to her. God knows what she needs. I’m not sure where we fit in the picture. In fact, as I write this I am coming up with a plan that might work and I have no idea where it came from! Must be God talking to me 🙂 
        Thank you you for sharing your thoughts….maybe our discussion will help others somewhere in the world. Hugs (()) to you sweet sister!!!

        1. Laura – I’m going to try and message you on FB about Sarah…..just wondering…..it might not be til tomorrow, however.

    9. Oh Laura how that breaks my heart about Sarah.  Lord please let this time of pain and sorrow and trials led Sarah to you!

  17. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I am with many of my sisters…the Mayflower survivor chart is striking; how many were lost, yet there were three families where every one of them survived. 
    The above got me thinking about “hard eucharisteo”…the difficulty and persistence needed in being grateful in times of hard thanksgivings, but how in giving thanks to the Lord at these times brings a mysterious peace.  I was reading my Jesus Calling devotional this morning and the following is an excerpt of what I read…”you give me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you joy (regardless of your circumstance). This is a spiritual act of obedience–at times, blind obedience.  … those who obey Me in this way are invariable blessed, even though difficulties may remain. Thankfulness opens your heart to My presence and your mind to My thoughts.  You may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My perspective.”   Interestingly ironic, huh?…:)
    I must confess that I need to be more patient and persistent in praying the psalms and scripture.  When I have made the effort, it has been good.  I bristled a bit when reading Bonhoeffer’s quote, “It is a dangerous error, certainly very widespread among Christians, to think that the heart can pray by itself. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. If we wish to pray with confidence and gladness, whether the heart is full or empty, then the words of Holy Scripture will have to be the solid basis of our prayer.”  I understand that our hearts can be quite wretched, but sometimes I do need to simply pour out my heart to the Lord and I trust the the Holy Spirit assists me in this effort.  Scripture tells me that the Lord understands me better than I understand myself, and in these times I’m sure He does understand.  

    1. Nanci – your last paragraph touched me.  I believe that there are times when we are pouring out our hearts before the Lord….and we ARE praying as Scripture would have us pray.  I’m thinking especially of the familiar and precious verses in Romans 8 – v. 26&27… “Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”  I think that when our hearts are crying out “Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come….” the Spirit is surely at work in our prayers!  

      1. Nanci and Jackie,   
        Thank you for your posts here this morning.
        Sometimes my prayers are silent…… just acknowledging that he knows my thoughts………and knowing that He alone can interpret our tears.     And other times, I’m so grateful for a psalm that puts words around what I am experiencing.          

    2. Nanci:  Here’s how I interpret Bonhoeffer’s quote.  (because I know what you mean.  Sometimes, actually often, we must pour out our hearts)  In his book, Psalms, the Prayerbook of the Bible, he says this,  “The child learns to speak because his father speaks to him.  He learns the speech of his father.  So we learn to speak to God because God has spoken to us and speaks to us.  By means of the speech of his Father in heaven his children learn to speak with Him.  Repeating God’s own words after him, we begin to pray to him.”   I agree that it sounds exclusive of spontaneous, heart wrenching prayers or even spontaneous praise, to only use the words of scripture and I doubt that Bonhoeffer means to prohibit that kind of prayer.  He does talk a lot in his little book about how important the Psalter is to this end though.  For me, it was refreshing to read, because I have been wrestling with hearing the kind of prayers that so specifically ask God for things that it becomes a ‘shopping list’.  A few years ago, when I very specifically asked for two things for God to bring into my son’s life, I heard two very specific ‘no’s’ to those prayers.  It shook me because I believed them to be godly requests.  But, it made me realize that I am not able to discern His working and His ways and how He will work in anyone’s life. And so, I thought, ‘well, then I will not be specific but just pray.  ‘Lord, bring them (my kids) safely to heaven.  Your will be done’.  I like this, but I still need to pray for some specifics as it lifts my heart, in doing.   I like how Dee has modeled this when she says “This is my idea, Lord, but You may have another way.”   So, though I have not developed the discipline at all yet, it does help me to know that the words of scripture are words for me to pray for my kids and for other needs.  A dear friend of mine, just had a remarkable answer to prayer, as she has been praying specific verses of scripture for her kids.  I know this doesn’t mean there is a ‘formula’ or a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but it was a very striking experience for her.  

    3. Bonhoeffer would not intend you to stop pouring out your heart to the Lord, Nanci. He spoke of Scripture as the solid basis of our prayer. Dee used the word springboard. Scripture is the foundation of our prayers, and the Holy Spirit builds on that foundation. Our prayers need consistent exposure to Scripture – Keller reads or prays psalms every day – but that is not the only sort of prayer. It’s the starting point.

    4. Thanks for your perspectives ladies…I much appreciate your thoughts. Scripture as a foundation is without question; I just know that sometimes my prayers are rather haphazard, heart pouring or silent pondering/contemplation and I think the Lord is okay with that too.

  18. 2. What do you remember about Psalms 42 and 43?
    I love the honest cries of Psalm 42 and 43, the way they echo back to one another the truth of God’s sovereignty, His presence in the storms. I love what Patrick Henry Reardon says of these 2 psalms “God’s roaring waterfalls, His overwhelming waves and billows, describe the infinite, frightful abyss of the longing that He evokes from the human spirit, the very depths of God calling out to the depths of the soul. The forlorn poet prays: “Why are you cast down, my soul? And why so disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, my help and my God.” What this psalm describes is a fairly common experience of the life in Christ. The message is one of encouragement, an inner exhortation to trust the memory of earlier grace and to hope for its abundant return.”
    3. Take Psalm 42 and pray it, telling your soul reasons to be thankful, even in the midst of want and trouble and loneliness, because you have a salvation and an eternal Kingdom and a God who is good. Make it as personal as you can. 
    Dear Father,
    I am humbled by all You so graciously give, Your forgiveness, Your patience, Your mercy. In the dark of the unknown, my heart longs to be Home with You, in the safety of Your arms. The enemy whispers—condemning thoughts, provoking fear, but You call to me in the night, You sing to me, and remind me You are with me. My sin is not too great. You are my Defender, my Protector. You are shaping and refining me—oh that I would release my stubborn defenses, and let You mold me completely. Help me hold nothing back Lord. Thank You for Your holy power. You are unshakable. You are not surprised by the future. You are the Living God, my Salvation, my Rock. I have nothing to fear. 

    1. Thank you for this post Elizabeth. Your prayer lifts me this morning. i am SO discouraged right now. The storm coming is foiling our plans to drive south this Thanksgiving to be with family. That includes Sarah. Most likely she will be alone on Thanksgiving day. My heart is breaking because I have no control. My sisters in law would probably go get her, but she would have to agree. With her “autistic-ness” she won’t (most likely); she will feel awkward. The other choice is to hitch a ride with a friend who works in the city and will be driving through the storm. Again, she probably will decline. SO sad right now. The devil definitely prowls. I know his will make beauty from ashes as he always does. 

      1. Lord, I lift up Laura to You now, she is heavy on my heart–would You rescue her? Cover her with Your peace, remind her of her complete acceptance by You, Your overwhelming love for her. Meet Sarah where she is, and call her to You Lord. I pray Your blessings upon them this Thanksgiving–may Your presence be obvious, and Your joy fill the emptiness

      2. Laura,
        Saddened to hear of your understandable discouragement.   Looks like our Mark will also be alone on Thanksgiving, and I can’t fix it.     Lord, we really do need You to meet the needs of our children…… once again.

        1. Thank you all for praying; Nila, I am sorry to hear about Mark. Sarah doesn’t seem to care about us at all. It has led me to some deep reflection of myself and my own mother. Painful memories of my own youth. I can honestly say that I probably made my mom feel this way, and that makes me sad. There were differences in our situations, but I do remember it; losing my dad and 5 years later running out the door to “leave it all behind.” I never thought about her, it was all about me. Selfish, young, and a “know it all.” I did start by living with my sister, but it was 14 hours from mom. I don’t remember ever being alone for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It was unheard of, right? Then my husband tells me how he had one Thanksgiving alone and learned it wasn’t fun being alone for the holidays. She will be distracted with the bustle of NYC, and her “friends.” I will pray for our children.    

  19. 1.  What stood out to you from the above and why?  Well…like Diane, I also scanned ahead a bit and Beth and Seth’s situation also stood out to me and my heart goes out to Seth, struggling with God a bit.  I have certainly been there and I’m so grateful that He always helped me to see that He is good, even when my faith was wavering.  I could look out the window and know that no evil being could have created all of this.  I pray that God will restore Seth’s faith in His goodness, even despite the circumstances they find themselves in now.  Also, like several others have mentioned, I was moved by the poster of the pilgrims who survived/died during the very first winter here.  Since my recent diagnosis, I have often thought (and often been reminded by my mom and brother) how 48 years of life (which I just turned) is really a very long life in some third world countries and probably was well above the average lifespan of the pilgrims who came to the USA.  I look at that poster and see one entire family wiped out and some where only one or two members survived.  Like you mention at the end, Dee, praise God this life is not all there is!  He has a place prepared for us!  I sense your heart and soul in this weeks study, Dee, as is often evident… but such open-hearted tenderness especially this week.

    1. Mary E. ~  Yes, I agree with you.  praise God this life is not all there is!

      1. You are so insightful about Mary Dee-so true.

  20. Dee, I loved what you said in your last paragraph for Monday’s “assignment”.   
    I love love love how you turned in sympathy to your disciples and promised that you were preparing a place for them, and if it were not true, you would have told them.
    A week ago today, I was in Wyoming, celebrating my 86 year old father’s birthday.  He suffers greatly from alzheimers and another trying physical condition.    We had a beautiful conversation about John 14 and though my dad’s mind is so confused, his spirit was very much alive to this promise of a place being prepared for him.   He tenderly and clearly thanked me for reminding him.    (56 years ago my dad carried a little gospel of John in his pocket for many months,  as he struggled over the sudden loss of my 9 month old baby brother….)     God.  Remains.  Faithful.   (despite our fluctuating feelings and circumstances)

    1. Nila…this time with your dad really touches my heart. I have seen that ‘spirit coming alive’ with confused elderly and it is such an assurance of God’s faithfulness in their lives.  Even though we long for them to be free of the pain and confusion, God is still meeting them. And to hear that your parents as well as you and your husband share that sorrowful bond of losing a baby.  Oh, how God’s Word brings peace through the sorrow.

    2. Nila, I’m so glad that you were able to have such a lovely conversation with your Dad…what a gift for both of you the Lord provided.

  21. Psalm 42 took me back to my eye surgery and my face-down recovery.  To heal, I needed to be obedient to the call of the doctor to be face-down for 24/7 until she said I could sit upright.  Her statement to me, when she told me I could finally sit upright was:  If you cannot obey fully, then why bother?  Full obedience is required to save the sight.  Anything less will result in blindness.
    As I shared earlier, the affliction and its recovery was a reminder that God allows hardships to bring us closer to Him.  When we are weakest, He is the strongest.  I shared with a nursing home group yesterday that I am again reminded that the Lord wants me to be totally dependent on Him, totally obedient to Him, whatever He asks.  Therefore, much of our Thanksgiving should be over the lessons we are learning while struggling to perfect our obedience.  Nothing less than full compliance is acceptable.  Thank goodness He sent His Spirit to guide us toward that obedience.  
    So, Lord, why do I persist in bemoaning my struggles, my afflictions, my sufferings?  I know you.  Change my focus from me to you.  I trust you will guide me through the hard times and teach me what I need to learn.  I also believe you will use my struggles and afflictions to touch someone else’s heart and lead them to you.  May I bring glory to you as I cope in these difficult times.  Amen.

    1. Sherryl, this really touched my heart. God is teaching you so much through your difficulties. The doctor’s words really struck me:

      If you cannot obey fully, then why bother? 

      and your application:

      Nothing less than full compliance is acceptable.

      Wow! This is true but even we who know Him well, cringe at the implications. Today as I was frustrated with my grandson’s reluctance to obey clear instructions for his own good, I was reminded our how sad our Father must be when we willfully disobey him, thinking we know better than He does. Thanks for giving us a clear challenge to obey.

    2. Sherryl….I say AMEN too !!

  22. Please send me your blog.  thank you…praying, Laura S.

  23. 2. I did not study these psalms with you but as I read over them some things stand out to me. It seems that the source of the psalmists anguish is that the Lord is not near him. He does not sense His presence nor His protection. It really stands out that he never blames himself or searches his heart for sin. Like Job, he knew that sin was not the problem. If sin was the problem, God would tell him. He would make it very clear. I am thinking of Exodus 33:3 when He did not go with the Israelites into the promised land. As Dee has taught us there are dry times that we just can’t understand. We must not blame ourselves or blame God but cling to Him as the psalmist has done.

  24. 3. Oh Lord, You know my heart. You know that You are my deepest desire, the longing of my heart. You formed me from dust and it was You who placed this desire in me. Yet I am broken, You know that too. I have this broken bent, a narrowness of soul that seeks to fill itself on everything but You. You are the Bread of Life, the Living Water. For this I give thanks. I rejoice in the God of my life who sustains me with Himself. As the land of Jordan is watered from the peaks of Hermon and from Mount Mizar You nourish my body and my soul. Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me. Let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to Your dwelling place. Then I will come to the altar of God, to God, my greatest joy. I will praise You with the lyre, God, my God. 

  25. Oh Father who art in heaven , may your name be praised!
    Why so downcast, oh, my soul, put your hope in God!
    Yes, as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
    Our tears have been my food day and night :we cry for our children
     and their children, Father. We cry for our bodies that give us distress. We cry for our country in turmoil,
     with pride and arrogance seeming to take first place. We cry for all nations where evil abounds, where people suffer, where false religions are the evil that corrupts and kills. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Where can I go and meet with God?
    As he psalmist said, I used to go with the multitude leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving…
    Why are you downcast, o my soul, why so disturbed within me?
     Yes, I will put my hope in God, for I Will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
     I pray that you send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me, let them bring me to your holy mountain to the place where you dwell.
    Yes, God, you are my joy and my delight and I will always praise you.
    Bless my friend and her family. Be with each of us, Father even in times of our distress. We  love you and we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen
    How these psalms speak to my heart. And I pray this for my friend with chronic pain.

  26. Psalm 42 and 43 are a single contemplative poem that was likely set to music. The writer was isolated and away from his homeland. This song begins with expressions of sorrow and deep distress but shifts to a more joyous tone.
    Dear Holy Father: You have led me by the hard way and my soul indeed pants for Thee in the midst of this difficult journey. I used to go along with the other worshipers in my church but our fellowship seems so strained by legalism. It feels as if my spiritual family has been torn asunder and I miss the sweet comforts of corporate worship. Why are you in despair oh my soul? Just because you have faced cancer and complications from surgery? Are you disturbed by all the smoke and mirrors of your circumstances? The world will tell you that “reality” is that your father has cancer, you have cancer, you are caregivers to multiple family members with dementia and your soul has every right to be in despair. The world would tell you that tears are the rightful food of someone with such circumstances. But You Oh Lord are the one who has freed me from slavery and from the bondage of Egypt. You are the one who commands (strong word) Your Lovingkindness in the day and You sing  over me in the night. Teach me to listen for Your song. I will hope in You for I shall yet praise You! I will choose to fight back with joy as a friend of mine says.
    Lord, teach me to talk to my soul with encouraging words and in doing so to drown out the voices of my adversaries. Lord, I will yet praise You the Glory and the Lifter of my head!

    1. Amen to your prayer, Lucy, and the prayers of others here on your behalf. My heart goes out for you. You are fighting such a tough battle. God is our only hope. Hope thou in God, though all around seems dark.

    2. Lucy, I’m so sorry for all that you are going through. It’s so much from so many different directions. I pray the Lord will encourage your heart this day, in His way. 

    3. Lucy – none of us are without trials and heartaches…..but I am just really so sorry that you seem to be having such a cluster of truly hard trials ALL AT ONCE.  Any ONE of those things you so tenderly prayed about is enough to assault our souls….but you are in a true spiritual battle and the arrows are coming in at you from all directions it would seem. I feel certain you can relate to Psalm 42:3….”My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, ‘where is your God?”.   I just want to echo Diane and Anne’s wise words to you….They both offered you so much in just a few sentences. 

      1. Thanks to you all for your prayers and comforting words.

  27. 2. What do you remember about Psalm 42 and 43?
    The necessity and benefit to speaking truths to my soul…despite discouragement and sadness put hope in the Lord.
    3. Pray Psalm 42.
    Lord, I hear the sorrows and longings of my daughter, she didn’t envision this being her or her child’s life.  Lord, help her to put her trust in you, to speak Your truth and promises to her soul.  Don’t let despair envelop her, but allow hope, gratitude, and joy to flourish.  You never leave or forsake us, You know the plans You have for us and they are good, You love us with a faithful love, You know the number of hairs upon our heads and knew us before we were born…oh Lord, may she digest Your truths and promises knowing that You have a plan for her, Your will is best, and You love her and Meyah with an everlasting love.

  28. 3. Lord you had Samuel’s letter reach me from Africa yesterday and I felt both convicted, angry, and yet so glad that you are the tie that binds us as one-thank you. His hope is that we meet in the future..that is mine too. Unless you have a better plan I hope we can meet.  Samuel’s living conditions in Africa are harsh and he is poverty stricken. My heart is heavy yet glad for he wants to grow up to be a man after your heart. Like this Psalmist, at 4 years old, Samuel is desiring your presence. Help me to be like him..like a child coming to you and not backing away. Lord I am struggling with my comfort idol..and am convicted. My soul is disturbed within me for my bend toward idolatry and self centeredness I hate it and how I pass that on to my boys. We have everything and Samuel has nothing-but his sweet heart is bending toward you in his ‘nothing’ because you are his everything. I know as he grows he will be tempted more by the evil one but his heart-oh.  Remember when I told you I hate it when the rocks get in the way, well my rocks are pebbles compared to Samuels boulders. Strengthen Samuel’s and my faith in our valleys and when the enemy says to us where is your God? May we say with a humble confidence “Hope in God for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”

    1. Rebecca ~   Amen to this:  May we say with a humble confidence “Hope in God for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”

    2. Rebecca, who  is Samuel? Sorry. It’s the bad thing about being gone. I missed so much.

      1. Anne, Samuel is our ‘compassion child’. God has blessed us for the purpose of helping him. He is providing for this little one-He is good.  🙂 

        1. i thought he might be. I will pray for him too.

  29. Psalm 44:  I do not think that God has forgotten our afflictions, but rather, we forget how God has helped us through our past afflictions.  Perhaps God desires us to remember Him and His help from earlier in our life, so that we will be more cognizant of our hope and trust in Him as we continue to walk through difficulties.  Perhaps He desires us to become more in tune with Him by the seeming dry spells, bringing our will into compliance with His desires.  Most assuredly, He desires that we be more than just a taker in the relationship with Him.  We must participate more fully and that requires our true emotional responses.  Emotional people hurt, get frustrated, show anger, ask questions – yet emotional people also love with intense loyalty and trust without expecting guarantees.  Father, make me more willing to trust you based on the past experiences I have had with you.  Remind me to teach those experiences to others so they may have your love and comfort in tough times, also.  Help me to be more passionate about my prayer life, as well.  Enable me to let you control my retirement experiences so that you may gain the glory.  Amen. 

    1. Sherryl,  Such good insight about emotions and the passion we can have in prayer and in God’s kingdom.  I was also really touched by the wisdom you shared regarding the time you had to spend facedown in recovery.  Honest wisdom borne from suffering.  God bless you.

      1. Thank you, Wanda.  I am convinced that God wants His people to speak honestly about issues they are facing.  I fear, though, that too many hide behind masks and we never really see how God has really impacted their lives.  May we all continue to be open and vulnerable so others can see Christ in us as we struggle to follow Him.

        1. Amen!

  30. Feeling overwhelmed by the busy-ness of this week but I am  reading and thinking of these psalms.  Trying to meditate on a verse or two each day.  I am also struck again by the struggles that everyone bears.  And I’m trying to be faithful in prayer. 
    From Psalm 43:  “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.”
    Oh Lord, help me to come to you often this week, seeking YOUR light and YOUR truth.  My soul despairs when I read of pain and injustice and when I see so much indifference toward the hurt of others.  My heart despairs when I don’t know ‘what IS truth’ and how to filter through the biases and the twisting of truth in what I read and hear.  And my heart despairs when I continue to see those I love avoiding the light and truth of YOU.  Sometimes, I don’t know how to pray for my loved ones anymore, except to say, ‘please bring them safely to heaven.’  but I can’t visualize how YOU will break through to them and lead them there.  I don’t know how YOU are working.  And so, I pray ‘Lord,  send forth YOUR light and YOUR truth, let them lead me.  Let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.’.   And I know that YOU alone are the ONE with the pure heart, the only ONE who can ascend to the Holy Hill.  But, through YOUR great love and mercy, YOU have clothed me in YOUR righteousness and will bring me to dwell with YOU.  And so, I pray this for my loved ones.  “Send forth YOUR light and YOUR truth.  Let them guide them.….my children, my friend’s children, many of the children of the sisters who have shared their hearts on this blog.  In YOUR holy NAME, I ask YOU Lord, to lead them all.  And as I again, put my hope in God, may I praise YOU with an honest heart.  May I rejoice in YOU, my Savior and my God.”  Amen.

    1. Amen and Amen.

  31. 2. What do you remember about Psalms 42 and 43?
    I remember we talked about “thirst” for God.  Also the psalmist recalling better days when he was involved in celebration and praise at the temple.  A third item in Psalm 42 was all of the “water images” and “deep calling to the deep.”      The short psalm 43 continues the theme of the psalmist being upset inside and depressed, but continuing to state he will “hope in God.”    
    3. Take Psalm 42 and pray it, telling your soul reasons to be thankful, even in the midst of want and trouble and loneliness, because you have a salvation and an eternal Kingdom and a God who is good. Make it as personal as you can. I’m going to pray it first — and then you do it. Our lives are all different, but there is power in using Scripture to guide us.  Read Psalm 42:5 and pray it for your own life circumstances.
    Dear God, my heavenly father, As I read the psalms, I feel that I can easily identify with the psalmist’s emotions.   There are things that just sort of “hang over me,” and I pray about them, but the answers are not coming very fast, it seems.   I try not to get caught up in my daughter’s life, but it seems that I cannot stay totally disengaged from it.   Please have mercy upon my daughter, Wendy, and her fiancé, Thomas; and help Thomas to find a job and to sell his house before the ultimate happens and he loses the house financially.    Please help them to get their lives situated so they are both here in the state of Ohio, as it is so hard for them to keep commuting back and forth between West Virginia and Ohio to see one another.   Through all of this struggle, I hope their bonds grow stronger both with one another, but also with you.   I know that Wendy’s faith is stronger than Thomas’, so I ask you to call directly to him and draw him into close relationship with you.  I would also ask for your guidance for all of us as we plan the August wedding.   May we get our tasks completed, and may your spirit be evident in the results.  All of it will be impossible without your help, O God, for our hope is in you!   Amen.    

  32. 3. Take Psalm 42 and pray it, telling your soul reasons to be thankful, even in the midst of want and trouble and loneliness, because you have a salvation and an eternal Kingdom and a God who is good. Make it as personal as you can. I’m going to pray it first — and then you do it. Our lives are all different, but there is power in using Scripture to guide us.
    Father, how I long for more of You.  To be drawn in nearer and nearer to You and to know You more and more is my deepest desire.  My life is filled with such uncertainty right now, Lord.  Health seems to impact every area of life, including what type of work we are able to do.  I had dreams for my future, just like others have.  I was saving to buy a home, hoping to maybe visit some other places and possibly go on more mission trips.  But the truth is, life does not consist of our possessions or of how many places we have been or experiences we have had.  You have always been faithful to me, Father, You have always provided me with more than enough to meet my needs and I have no reason to think that You will suddenly stop now.  You know my desires Father, but they are much too small and temporal  Help me to dream the dreams You have for me, Lord.  Put Your desires in my heart and be glorified, Father.  I am asking this in the name of Jesus.

    1. mary–this is so beautiful–really ministered to me today–I am going to share this with my family (I do talk of you all enough that my husband feels he’s part of “us”!) This is a wonderful perspective-shifting-prayer for all of us. 

    2. Mary – Amen and amen to your prayer.  I cannot fathom why, but I suddenly starting thinking about the poor widow throwing in her tiny offering as Jesus watched.  “And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box.  Many rich people put in large sums.  And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.  And he called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.'”  Mark 12:41-44.  I’ve long been astonished by her faith-in-action.  She put in EVERYTHING SHE HAD, ALL SHE HAD TO LIVE ON.  She surely wasn’t living a grand life at the time….but oh my, can you IMAGINE the life she’s been living now in eternity???  And a heart like hers….even in the sufferings and want of this life….must surely be a heart of praise and peace and rest.  She trusted Him with everything she had….she was a lionhearted woman – and so are you Mary.  I know I wandered away from the Psalms…..but HIs Word is seamless and consistent even so.  I surely see the poor widow in these verses….”As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. ….”

      1. Wow, Jackie, this is so true!  “but oh my, can you IMAGINE the life she’s been living now in eternity??? ”  She laid up her treasures in heaven! And really, I have had a very blessed life.  The Lord has been very good to me.  

    3. Mary, your prayer is such an awesome surrender of your life to God. Such beauty! And I love Jackie’s analogy and the widow and her mite.

    4. Mary-your prayer..your thankful heart..how you are responding to Him in your dark valley. Thank you..God is really present here. If I were there I would give you a hug..wish I could.

    5. Mary, This post along with what you said awhile back about prosperity gospel teaching having a small view of God (a comment I copied and saved!) really shows me how God is giving you such a BIG view of Himself.  Your words speak to my heart because I know they are genuine and have come as a result of the refiner’s fire.  Blessings to you!

      1. Yes, I am adding my blessings to you, also, Mary. Your faith is beautiful and inspiring to me. thanks for your willingness to share all that God is doing in you.

  33. Psalm 44 is a Psalm of Lamentation possibly a prayer cried out by the nation during a time of great need. Dear Lord. I can relate to a time of lamentation and grief. Thank you for the wonderful picture of a high Priest who has suffered in the same way in order that we can come boldly before Your Throne of Grace even as we lift up our sorrows. When I am made a reproach to my friends, coworkers and neighbors, thank you that You have been there before me. I am not alone even when I feel like a laughingstock among the people…I praise You that I can meet You there. Lord, let me learn to be humble as You were humble when the world held You in dishonor and humiliated You. Let me never forget You but cling to You tightly when the voice of my enemy who reproaches and reviles me and his presence seems so strong. I praise You that You have forever overcome my enemy through Your death on the cross. Let me never deal falsely with Thy covenant. I praise You that You know the secrets of my heart and they are safe with You. Even if my loyalty to You puts me in a seeming bad light in this world may my heart praise You continually for the price You paid to win me eternal freedom. Arouse Thyself Lord, do not reject me forever. Do not hide Your face from me for I am Your Beloved and I am longing to see You face to face. Do not forget the price that You paid to ransom me from my enemies. Hear me as I sing my praises to You from the heart of one who has been redeemed.

  34. 5. Take Psalm 44:13-24 and, remembering what Jesus endured for us, give thanks to Him for that, being specific.
    Dearest Jesus, thank you for loving us so much that you hung on a tree and died so I could know you. You know what it is like to be humiliated, to be alone, to be forgotten, to be in physical pain, to be in mental pain, to be betrayed, to be mocked, to be judged, to be sad, and to be scared. But then, there is the resurrection! Light, lifting, life-giver! Thank you Dear One for taking all the sin of the world on Your back, for me. You are truly my rock and redeemer. Amen.

    1. Laura Amen to your prayer . Jesus do that all for us. May all the world one day see that.Lord help us to keep our eyes on You.

      1. My edit tool did not work on my IPad. Jesus did that all for us:) Thank you for that beautiful prayer Laura.

    2. You said it perfectly, Laura!  He can totally relate! 

    3. Laura, beautiful prayer..love what he is doing to your heart. 🙂

  35. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Each Thanksgiving, I read aloud…now only to my daughter…a book I purchased from Family Life about Thanksgiving and the brave men, women, and children who journeyed here. It is a very factual account and it helps to remember the sacrifices these people made and the hardships they endured – things I don’t think I could’ve handled. Their faith is inspiring. I just heard a program on Janet Parshall about the book, The Pilgrim Chronicles, and much of the information shared is in the book I have. I was also struck by the fact that people have such the wrong idea about these people, that they were somber, or prudish. The Quakers accused them of “liking ribbons and lace too much”, and they loved to play games together and had a joy for life. I cannot fathom arriving in a new country, in winter, with nothing…having to build a home and find food, and dealing with so much loss of lives of loved ones. Love the beautiful fall picture of Ephraim, too.

  36. As I read Psalm 45:1-9 I am impacted by the glory of the King, the core values from which He rules.  He rides on victoriously for the cause of truth and in defense of the right; he aims arrows to pierce the heart of those who stand against Him; and He carries a scepter of equity.  This is the kingdom we have been adopted into, therefore it is our need and duty to participate in this battle.
    Father, make me quick to see injustice, courageous to speak against injustice, and to be a ready servant to protect what is right and true.  Do not let me be fooled into thinking that this battle is only for the King and his paid workers.  Keep me strong so I can do my part.  Let me welcome all with equity. just as You do.  Let me truly represent Your love to everyone I come into contact with.  May I be the servant You desire me to be.  Amen.

  37. Dee, John Raymond sent me a copy of your letter mentioning my book Vanishing Grace.  Truly, you are a grace dispenser!  God bless you in that important work.  We miss Door County, a retreat from the city in days we lived in Chicago.  Now we’re in Colorado, a retreat just by looking out my window!

      1. Dee, 🙂

      2. Dee, I am so thrilled that Philip Yancey would come on here and honor you in this way! I heard him speak here a year ago. He seems like such a humble man. I love his writing! I will definitely be buying “Vanishing Grace”.

    1. Mr. Yancey; if you see this, know that I am almost never without a Yancey book within close reach.  I read, re-read and share them.  My friend and I have been going through ‘Prayer’ for the past several months.  I couldn’t begin to describe the impact it has had on both of us.  My sincere thanks for all that you write.  Blessings.    

  38. Psalms‬ ‭44‬:‭13-24‬
    Lord, You have allowed Your people to share in Your suffering. It is our part with You and I thank You for it. I have seen people who seem to gain favor, respect and even love wherever they go. My flesh wants what they have but there is one thing I know for sure. It would separate me from You and I want You above all. Whatever I suffer in this life is nothing to what You, Lord Jesus suffered. Your loving heart was reviled, rejected, and broken by the ones You came to. Of course I cannot fathom Your heart, but I want to. I want Your heart in my chest though I do fear the pain of loving like You do. Lord help me to surrender to You completely. Nothing held back.
    Thank You my Lord Jesus Christ for all that You suffered for me. Your suffering was greater than I can fathom and far greater than anything I could suffer on this earth. With it You bought me. You paid my debt and set me free from sin and death. You desired me that much. Oh help me to live as Your beloved, my beloved.
    There is this evil bent in me that wants gods that I can see and touch. I know that this is idolatry. Oh tune my heart to You my Living God, Holy Spirit my Living Water, Lord Jesus my Bread of Life, sustain me. Ravish my heart oh three personed God.

    1. Oh, Anne. This prayer is so beautiful. I pray this prayer too. Tears!

      1. Diane I appreciate your affirmation. I wasn’t going to post it. My heart is all over the place. I want to be focused and sincere but I am struggling with it.

      2. Yes, this prayer is beautiful. Christ suffered so much for us.
        I, too, am ashamed for my desire for comfort. May all my thanks be to my Lord and Savior who gave all that I might be forgiven.
        Thanks for each one’s open sharing and encouragement to one another.

    2. Anne – this Thanksgiving morning I am THANKFUL for your prayer.  I actually prayed your prayer just now, as it spoke to my heart just that succinctly.  As you have prayed, I too have been realizing that so much of what I desire in my flesh – much of that “good” things – would separate me from God.  From turning my eyes toward Him again and again each day….from hungering more deeply for Him. 

    3. Anne, I wanted to welcome you back…I think of you often and I’ve wondered how you are, so I was glad to see your beautiful deep pink azaleas here! Thank you for your honest prayer…I’m glad you did post it. You have put words in this prayer, and in your reply to Diane, to feelings that I have too, and I’m sure many others struggle with…“My heart is all over the place. I want to be focused and sincere but I am struggling with it.”

    4. Anne~
      Grateful for your prayer here…..  and Amen ~
      There is this evil bent in me that wants gods that I can see and touch. I know that this is idolatry. Oh tune my heart to You my Living God, Holy Spirit my Living Water, Lord Jesus my Bread of Life, sustain me. Ravish my heart oh three personed God.

  39. Anne, I praise God with you and all of us sisters for all our  blessings from God and for all our trials too….for without the trials we may not even know God and would not be on this wonderful blog…enjoying each other through him….our awesome and loving Lord.I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving now as I may not be able to read the blog tomorrow. May you all be with family or loved ones or helping others in some way.  Bless you all and   I love you all.

    1. Joyce, I’ve been missing you here…I do hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving with your family and thank you for reminding us to be thankful in our trials, too. Love to you, Joyce.

      1. Thank you Susan ….love to you too!

  40. Blessed Thanksgiving to all of you. I love you. Lord please give stamina to those who serve today. May every table be knit together in Your Spirit.
    This morning I am looking in Exodus when Moses asked to see the Lord’s glory, for I am still doing that study until we break for the holidays. Moses wanted to see the Lord just as we do, that’s why we are here. I was struck with the thought that He has given us His word. That is Him, deep and rich. What I wanted to share with you is my mind’s eye picture of us all standing around and peering in. Kind of like that painting of Thomas putting his finger in the Lord’s side while the other disciples looked on. What wonder on their faces.

  41. 2. What do you remember about Psalms 42 and 43?
    I remember Psalm 42 as my “go to Psalm” when I need to ask, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” I remember how we learned through this psalm to take our soul in hand, to talk to her, to speak the truth to her. Yet it can be hard, as the psalmist asks this question over and over, and on into Psalm 43. Sometimes, feelings and emotions of sadness, depression, and despair as well as lies don’t give up or go away easily. I also always connect Psalm 42:7, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me” with the hymn, O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus, and I see it as a more positive image of being swept over with the waves of His love, with the sound of His voice speaking to somewhere deep within me, getting my attention, causing me to look up, giving a glimmer of hope, an invitation to just relax and be swept away in the current of His love and care.
    3. Take Psalm 42 and pray it…
    Lord, why is my soul downcast and disturbed within me? I have been feeling so unsettled lately. I am having a very hard time managing my time and being organized, and I’m starting to feel overwhelmed and under pressure. Some of it is due to starting to work two to three days a week. I feel I’m not keeping up with things at home. Some days I’m not getting up early enough to have any time with You. I read and study in my Bible study from church that the truest thing about me is that I belong to You, yet for some reason, when I walk out the door I find that truth evaporating. I feel disconnected from You and out of sorts. I worry about “fitting in” in my new work setting. Yet, You have blessed me because I know at least two of my co-workers are Christians and they are wonderful to work with. Why do I feel new opportunities opening up for me and yet feel threatened at the same time? I worry so much about being liked and accepted, about how others see me, and I know this is an approval idol. Thanksgiving and Christmas also bring a mixed bag of feelings for me, Lord. I can feel very much alone in wanting to bring You into this season, yet, except for my daughter, no one else shares this desire. I often feel inadequate and guilty for not having a “spiritual” home.  Lord, help me to keep hoping in You. I remember when I used to take all of my children to church, when we would sit around the Advent wreath and read Scripture together and talk about You. My sons seem to have little interest in You now. Sometimes I pray that when they go to bed at night and lay there in the dark, thinking about things, that there would be a still, small voice, that they would know, deep down, that they are missing something – You.
    Lord, I can’t seem to grasp what You are doing in my life or how You are working in my life. Yet I thank You for rescuing me, for knowing me, for protecting me, for saying that I am Your treasured possession. You personally acquired me for Yourself…Your Son, Jesus, came and died…His blood paid the price for You to own me. You say that You love, cherish, and value me, that You treasure me. Those are words of a Husband to His Bride. When I am feeling adrift, as I often do, I will remember Your un-breakable vows to me.

    1. Susan:
      Your quoting of Ps. 42:7 “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me” and being reminded of the Hymn Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus…reminds me of a passage I read in a booklet about the verse found in John 1:16 “For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” The author described this as that which happens when we watch the ocean…a wave comes in and as it is starting to recede it is met with another wave coming in. There the water makes a big splash which describes what happens in our loives as deep calls to deep and grace crashes in upon more grace!
      Thanks for your post which spoke into my heart!

    2. Susan thank you for posting this prayer. I could relate to so much of it. I will lift you in prayer.

  42. I do want to wish everyone here a very Happy Thanksgiving…safe travel to those who will be travelling…time spent with family and friends that will be long remembered after the day is over, and precious moments to “come away with Him” and to rejoice in our hearts in God our Savior. You are all a blessing to me and I am thankful for our fellowship here…for the love that we have for one another.

  43. HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone!  You all (blog sisters) are one of the HUGE things I’m thankful for!  

    1. Ditto Mary!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  44. 6. You can actually pray Psalm 45:1-9 as a thanksgiving praise to our fair Lord. Read a verse and then come here and let it lead you to praise. It may lead you to questions too, which is fine — if you have questions, so your sisters can better see them, CAPITALIZE THEM. Go for it!
    Dear Jesus, thank You for being my “right hand” in all I do. Thank You for standing up for me with Your battle gear, ready to take on any issue I have. You are my King and my Protector. I am thankful that I know You. How could I live without You dear one? I want to be near You forever and ever. Amen.

  45. I am combining the last few questions. 
    My children are all very giving people (to others). I’m not sure how that happened, as my husband and I tend to be pretty selfish at times; we weren’t always the best at modeling giving behaviors 🙁 . We did used to bake cookies and take them to the local firemen on the holidays (Hubby’s idea), and I took the kids to help serve at a local soup kitchen (my idea). They were raised in church so maybe they saw the giving there. Anyway, for example, my youngest is making pancakes for his co-workers who worked all night. Sweet boy. They all are extremely accepting of those who are very different from them. I am happy for that. 
    God has met me many times this year, however my moms funeral was a culminating event where He shone brightest on my family. To explain, you have to know a little bit about our family. My youngest gets annoyed with our family at holidays because we are loud and even sometimes tend to argue a bit. I think we are stressed and want things to be perfect, so everyone is on edge. We have chilled in our later years, but he does have a point; we are not the model family at holidays 🙁 coming together for mom’s funeral though, was sweet. Everyone was on their “best” behavior and we actually enjoyed each other’s company! It was nice. I knew He was with us. He was in our midst. I thank You Lord for that beautiful memory. Maybe I will post the picture of all of us on the FB page. The only one missing is my “chef” son who was in school and couldn’t leave unless he dropped a class. I told him to stay at school because his grandma wouldn’t have wanted him to do that. 
    I hope everyone has a restful weekend and peaceful beginning of the advent season!

    1. Laura–this is a beautiful post. I love picturing your son making pancakes for co-workers!…and that you saw Him meet you at your mom’s funeral–to see Him love you in your darkest times, that says so much of your heart and faith

    2. Laura I’m very sorry for your loss of you mother. It is wonderful that you were comforted at the funeral. It sounds like your family really ministered to you. and the Lord was there in the mist of you. so good that you are left with a sweet memory.

  46. 6. You can actually pray Psalm 45:1-9 as a thanksgiving praise to our fair Lord. Read a verse and then come here and let it lead you to praise. It may lead you to questions too, which is fine — if you have questions, so your sisters can better see them, CAPITALIZE THEM. Go for it!
    O Lord, you are the most handsome of the sons of men. Your grace pours forth on your creation. Today as the sunlight glints like starry jewels on the fresh snow of the fields and bowing trees here, I think that, even as this flawed earth reflects your splendour, how much more magnificent will YOU be when at last we see you, and understand more fully WHO YOU ARE. Will we ever fully understand your grace, your beauty, Lord? May I, as the angels (and the birds), praise your name as you deserve. And, Lord, may I, in some faint measure, be the bearer of your beauty to the dark and dying world around me. We need you so much, Lord, and we are so blind. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

    1. a beautiful prayer Diane. Amen

  47. Ps. 45: 1-9 A song of praise and adoration. Oh Lord, You and You alone cause my heart to overflow its bank…spilling beauty and goodness on those who surround me.Words of adoration well up within me when I gaze upon the beauty of your face and my ears hear the gracefulness that comes forth from Your lips. You remind me to gird on my sword of truth and speak words of absolute truth to my soul…words that proclaim Your goodness…words that remind me of Your great LOVE for me…words that will light up my darkness…words that cause my soul to marvel…I can scarce believe that I am Your Bride! I am safe at last from my enemy because You wield Your sword for the cause of truth, meekness, and righteousness. Your arrows are sharp and ever find their mark. Thy throne is indeed forever and ever…AMEN

    1. Lucy, I love this “Your arrows are sharp and ever find their mark”. His word goes forth and never comes back to Him empty.

  48. Around my Thanksgiving table were my husband, myself and our 2 sons…all of whom are believers…so I am blessed indeed. Then a trip to the assisted living…how much easier it is to visit with someone whose memory is failing when you come with a heart full of praise. I am so very thankful for the many ways communication takes place. When our words come easily and we are verbal it is easy to convince ourselves that we are truly communicating. However, there are many times when what we are saying verbally does not match up with what our words are saying. Never is this more clear than when I am with someone whose speech is difficult. They have a much better grasp on what we are “saying” than we do ourselves. Lord, may I always communicate You to those around me.