The Beauty in Me

When I pray for myself, it’s almost always one of these kind of prayers:
  • Lord, forgive me.
  • Lord, change me.
  • Lord, help me.
  • Lord, why do you even bother with me?
When I pray for others, my heart spills over with grateful praise for how God made them. It’s easy to see the beauty in others, isn’t it?
Today, I choose to see the beauty in me. God dreamed me up and made me real! My heart is His home. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
Part of praying without ceasing is learing to see ourselves the way God sees us. I challenge you to join me in the exercise of praying grateful prayers about you.
I feel a little strange praying for myself. I pray for myself often, but it’s usually prayers for you to help me change. I rarely thank you for the fearfully and wonderfully made person you created me to be. I want to take the time to pray for myself from head-to-toe. I need your touch, Lord.
Lord, I want to start with my head. You have given me a creative and keen mind capable of coming up with solutions and just the right words to say in all kinds of situations. As a sped teacher, I saw how so many people struggle with cognitive difficulties; thank you for giving me a strong mind capable of learning new skills easily. Lord, my head has been pretty downcast lately. Please let me feel your loving hand tucked under my chin lifting up my head to gaze into your faithful face. Fill my mind with unswerving hope and dogged determination to get through this painful time of self-discovery and grief. Soothe my troubled mind so that I can think clearly and have a clear vision of your plan for my life. I only want to be in the center of your will for me.
I thank you for my eyes…eyes that are able to read between the lines and see the needs around me. Let me see something each day that will remind me of your love, your care and your provision. Let me truly see your mercies are new every morning.
Thank you for my ears that function well and can appreciate beautiful music and words of love and affirmation. Thank you that I can hear those little cries for help from deperate hearts. I pray that I will hear your still, small voice. Whisper encouragement in my ears moment-by-moment through your word and through loving friends and family. Help me to refuse to hear and accept lies, but only cling to truth.
Thank you for my mouth…a mouth to speak words of encouragement, a mouth to sing words of worship to you, a mouth to pray. I pray that you would help me to speak only words that lift up and point people to you. Give me the strength to lovingly instruct my sons and the twins I nanny, even when I’m at the end of my rope. Help me to use my mouth to call out to friends and family when I need support. Put holy duct tape over my mouth when I’m tempted to put myself down and speak negativity into my mind and heart.
Thank you for my shoulders; you have made me strong. However, I tend to carry not only my own burdens but also the burdens of others. Help me to lay the junk down and let you be my burden bearer.
Thank you for my tender heart. Love is risky, but it is so worth it. Even though it hurts sometimes, I’m glad You made me compassionate. My heart has been pretty fragile lately; mend the ripped parts and put my heart back together again. Help me to have the courage to love deeply even though my heart has been broken severely. Bring healing to my heart, Lord…..from wounds caused by others and those that were self-inflicted. Help me to never harm my own heart again. 
I pray for my womb. You have blessed me with children who love me and need me. Give me the strength to keep loving and mothering even when I want to give up. You have also blessed me with “bonus kids” who look to me, even when I wish they weren’t looking. I want to influence them in positive ways. I want to love them well.  I want to point them to You.
Thank you for my writer’s hands. I feel the most joy when I write words that speak truth into people. Open doors for me to write to a broader audience, and help me to feel deep satisfaction even when no one reads my writing but me. You see it, Lord, and I want you to be pleased. Help me to be quick to embrace anyone who needs the human touch. Use my hands to impart comfort and care to myself and others.
Thank you for my feet and my ability to stand on them much of the day as I work. So many people would give anything for the chance to take themselves where they want to go. Show me the path you want me to take and help me to stay on it even when it gets narrow and difficult. I am positive you want me on this path toward healing and wholeness. Some days, I want to run and hide, but, with your hand in mine, I will get through this and be all the better for it.
I know that you fully understand my grief, my disappointment, and every other feeling I am having right now. You know. So, I am placing myself in your capable hands. Do your thing, Lord. Bring about a new hope for me. I need you.
I love you and I trust you. In Your precious and holy name I pray, AMEN
When’s the last time you thanked God for the beauty in you? I challenge you to do it today! Let me know how it goes!

Today, I Choose

Is life just plain hard for you right now? Do you have trouble dragging your weary self from bed? Are troubled thoughts bullying your peace? Me too. I think we all have days like that, but sometimes, those days turn into dark seasons that threaten to steal our hope and our perspective.
Here’s the thing. When we let ourselves get all bent-out-of-shape, it doesn’t affect only us. The people we love suffer. They may even wonder if it was something they did that messed us up. Our influence suffers. People watching us may think, “Jesus doesn’t seem to make much difference in her life. I’m in better shape than her. I don't need Jesus.” Christ Himself suffers. Like the prodigal son’s father grieved his son’s rebellious absence, Christ longs to have us near and well.
It’s so much easier to wallow in our shame and self-pity than to bathe in His grace. It’s so much easier to focus on what’s wrong than on what’s right. It’s so much easier to stay down than to stand up.
Sometimes, we just have to make a decision that today, things will be different.
Today, I choose joy.
Today, I choose to trust God.
Today, I choose to behave like the free, blessed Child of God I am.
Will you join me in giving this “today” to God? Even if you’re in the middle of a bunch of ugly uncertainty? Even if you're rejected or misunderstood?  Even if you just don’t feel like it?
I can’t get over how easily I get off-track. Forgive me for allowing less-than-stellar circumstances, other people’s behavior and my own fickle feelings have so much power over my life. Enough! Today, I will choose differently.
Today, I choose joy.
These trials I’m facing will show me Your face like nothing else can. Test me however You need to, Lord. Make me strong through struggle. Keep me reaching my empty hand into Your bottomless bag of wisdom. Keep me practicing my faith until it’s doubtless, single-minded and solid (James 1:2-8).
I resolve, right now, not to let another human being steal my joy. Why? Because the joy is not mine. It is Yours on loan to me. How dare I allow other people play keep-away with something so precious? I will cling to Your joy like priceless treasure. I will not let it out of my sight. “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Though I feel like retreating, I choose to charge forth in joy, knowing You are my shield and my defense against anything I’ll face. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12 NIV).
Today, I choose to trust You.
Lord, You see the decisions I need to make and the things I need to say and the changes I need to make and the challenges I need to face. I choose to trust in You with my whole heart, so there’s no space for doubts to creep in. With my gaze fixed on You, I can’t go wrong (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Though You’ve lavished my life with supportive people, none of them are as trustworthy as You. We hurt each other with careless words and cold shoulders. We fail to show up when it matters most. We get so caught up in ourselves we can’t see the needs right in front of our faces. But, You, Lord, see us. You understand us. You meet us in our muck and lift us out. Forgive me for demanding God-like devotion from people made of clay. I will trust in You, and You alone.
When I trust in You, fear has no room to roam. When I trust in You, anxiety has no leg to stand on. When I trust in You, my feelings are tools not taskmasters.
Today, I choose to behave like the free, blessed Child of God I am.
Forgive me, Lord, for slamming closed prison bars You died to fling open. I am free, and I will live free.
Forgive me, Lord, for letting sin weeds overrun my soul’s garden. Let’s get our hands dirty, Lord. Help me pull every last weed, Lord, and plant the fruit of Your Spirit in their place. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).
With those qualities growing lush in me, I’ll represent You well, no matter my circumstances. No matter how other people behave. No matter if I’m in the mood or not.
My circumstances are the same today as they were yesterday. But, today, I choose to be different. Today, I choose You.
In the joyful, trustworthy name of Jesus, who gives me hope, I say, AMEN and AMEN