It was a Sunday smack dab in the middle of October. I sat down after leading the opening worship set, just as the prayer leader made her way to the front.  I was alone – it was first service and my family doesn’t join me until second service.  I felt relaxed, at home, ready to engage in the rest of the service.

And then the prayer leader began to speak. In a slow, firm, gentle voice she read:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

By the time she got to the word “anxious,” tears were streaming down my face.  I was totally puzzled.  I wasn’t feeling anxious about anything.  No situation or particular worry sprang to mind as she read.  And yet, these tears.

Emily Freeman, in A Million Little Ways, encourages us to pay attention to our tears.  And so I made a note in my journal, copied down the familiar scripture, and went on my way.

Enter November.

Want to know what I’ve been up to in November?

I can sum it up for you in two words, but it isn’t pretty:

Being anxious.  

Yep.  There it is.

‘Tis the season, for one thing.  When you’re a mom in ministry, the months leading up to Christmas are a constant tug of war in which you pretty much always feel like you’re on the losing end of the rope.

And there’s change looming on the horizon.  In January I start seminary and Brad leaves for Africa for a month.

And there’s just some stuff going on.  Heartbreak and loss and confusion and fear and pain on several fronts right now.

And so my heart beats fast in my chest.  And my stomach churns.  And that little verse from Philippians sits forgotten in my journal.

Do not be anxious.

About the middle of November, I pull out my copy of Jesus Calling and dust it off.  I open to November 20 and read this:

The Light of My Love shines on you continually, regardless of your feelings or behavior. Your responsibility is to be receptive to this unconditional Love. Thankfulness and trust are your primary receptors. Thank Me for everything; trust in Me at all times.

My responsibility is to be receptive to the unconditional love of God.

Say it with me: My responsibility is to receive love.  

 

58H

I feel like I can take a deep, full breath for the first time in weeks.

Somehow this trumps my to-do list.

Fix. Perform. Produce.

is replaced with

Receive. 

Thank. 

Trust.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And breathe deeply of the peace that passes understanding as it guards your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

***

Here’s what I’m thankful for this month: 

beautiful, magical snow that makes and re-makes the world anew

children who love to read

West Wing on Netflix

new babies for friends who’ve been long awaiting them

Ticket to Ride

neighborhood dinners

the Snickers Latte at Impact Coffee Bar

the Sound of Music at DHS

God’s Word, living and active

No-mess November (the boys kept their room clean for 30 straight days — I mean, seriously: so much thankfulness)

sweet potato tots at the Armory

the crazy beautiful people that make up God’s Church

 

How about you? What’s got you feeling anxious?  And what can you thank God for today?  I’ll meet you in the comments…(or at the Armory for some tots!!)

 

 

 

 

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