Wednesday Prayers: Surprise Me

One of my better qualities is resourcefulness.  (I suspect that's related to my less attractive quality of stubbornness.)  

I'm resourceful, but I'm not miraculous.  I can't make wine from water, or get that water from a dry stone.  That means that sometimes I have to throw my hands in the air and just pray, "surprise me."  

For the upcoming year, Oh Lord:  surprise me.

Has God surprised you?  Would you tell me about it, so that I can remember God's creativity and be encouraged by it?

Family of Choice

A gorgeous friend (maybe my oldest friendship) sent me Shauna Neiquist's Bread and Wine (remember how much I loved Bittersweet?).  I keep crying when I read about Neiquist's weekly dinners with her small church group in Michigan, and her monthly supper club in Chicago.  

Growing up as a military brat, there was a built-in cultural net, and family-of-choice (or of necessity) was common and strong.  I remember holiday dinners with Marines in Frankfurt (still West Germany then), and the hostess whose hospitality formed the foundation of my idea of ministry.  12-Step groups entered my life in middle school, and family-of-choice was part of that system, too.  I've lost count of the number of caring adults who nurtured me there, but some of them I treasure as those who (through the preventive medicine of compassion and truth-telling) surely saved my life.  

Where I live now, people's social lives often center (sometimes nearly exclusively) around their extended families. For a lot of reasons, that's not an option for my household.  We have friends here, but we don't have a group of friends.  Rather than a net, we have a number of separate ropes.  (In fact, we have ropes all over the country, which is marvelous... but it's not a net.)  Living here, both being Not From Here (and worse:  not being from anywhere, which is next to impossible for many to imagine), and not being part of a family feels precarious.  It can be lonely, but I can work around that-- lunch with one friend, coffee with another.  What's trickier is that when there's Big Stuff, being held by totally separate threads doesn't seem to work as well as when they're interlaced.  

As Dave and I think about where we might be next, I'm wondering how you all experience family-of-choice vs. family-by-blood in your particular geographic region.  It feels like the emphasis on family-by-blood is especially strong here, but I want a reality check.  Do you have a group of local friends who support each other well? A workout group?  An especially close Bible study?  Anybody willing to tell me about their experience?


Wednesday Prayer: On the Road Again

I'm heading off on a teeny road trip today, an act which almost always Restoreth My Soul.  Feeling free is a wordless prayer to me, and alone on the highway is where God most often encourages me, and reminds me of who I am.  I'm hopeful that will be true this week, but even if it's not, I'm grateful for the opportunity to remember where God has been with me on other trips.

Is there a particular place where you feel particularly known and loved by God?  Will you be there soon?


Wednesday Prayers: Discipline

One of the ways my (slight) extroversion shows up is in discipline.  If I'm around other people, I can get anything done.  More than a dozen other people combined.  Energy of a hummingbird.  

When I'm alone, though, I'm bored, distractable, lonely.  Very little gets done. Right now, after graduation and before Whatever's Next, I'm alone a lot.  And not productive.  I don't mean that in a lovely spacious, happy way, but in a dull, dragging way.  I'm trying to see loved ones often enough to make a dent in the torpor, but I also need to discipline to use this open space well.

That's my prayer for this week:  motivation, and the satisfaction of productivity.  Solo service, instead of communal.

How about you?  Is there an area where you're dragging?  Can I hold it in prayer for you?