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A prayer request from one in my Congregational UCC of Saint Charles family, Tara –

Please add my cousin Will and his 9 year old daughter, Lucy to your prayers. Will’s wife Ashly and their 7 year old son Vince were involved in a fatal car accident this week. This has been devastating for our entire family

This morning I opened my email to this request and it brings up an internal debate that I’ve been having for a long time:

What about when bad things happen? Does God’s plan intend the untimely death of a seven-year-old and a young mother? How can such terrible things happen to people we believe are good?

My God hasn’t let that happen to me; I’ve reached a ripe old age, older than I dreamed possible since the women in my family have historically died young. In fact, I never planned for retirement since I expected to die at 49 like my mother did. But anyway… I don’t have the ultimate response when someone asks “how could this have happened?” I can only say that I don’t know if God sticks a hand in and causes bad things to happen. I believe God called the world into being, though. I certainly believe that whether good or bad, God calls me to make the best of it. God asks that I make something good and worthy and holy out of every single thing that happens to me. I believe in God.

Will you pray with me, please?

Constant Caller,

I come to thee today filled with questions. I trust that only thee has the answers because only thou are God. I’m not meant to understand certain things because I am merely human. Were these deaths untimely? I don’t know and I’m ok with that. I know my answer isn’t necessarily helpful to the grieving family and I have to be ok with that, too. Thou knows all things, creates all things; do thou end all things deliberately even when it shakes us to our cores? Perhaps. Perhaps the Ecclesiastes author who purported “To everything, there is a season” heard it when thou whispered in her/his ear. I don’t know, but God knows. Thou are amazing!

Re-Freshing Responder,

Today, I bring Ashly, Vince and all who love(d) them to thee. Remind them to rest in thy strong and loving arms. Remind them to be gentle with one another, to be patient and kind, to be respectful. Remind them that self-care must come first so grant them rest and nourishment and time to heal. Remind them that grief is normal and good, that Shiva is a holy time still practiced by Jews and something that all could use. Grant all of them peace. Whisper answers in their expectant ears, be that small voice in the dark night of their souls.

Gracious God,

Thou are the source of all good things, maybe all bad things too. Today, I’m grateful for holiday mugs with my offsprings’ mugs on them. I am grateful for my thoughtful, reflective mind, for candles and antihistamines and tissues into which I can blow my runny nose. I am grateful for immunoglobulin therapy and the possibility that I’ll receive it. I am grateful for Sully and his squeak toys since they remind me to be joyful. I am grateful for the corn casserole recipe and the resources to buy the ingredients to make it. I am grateful for Steve who buys the ingredients and those who grew or combined them. I am grateful for thee, oh Lord. I love thee so much!

And I pray in Jesus supportive name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

Love always,

Melissa

Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

© Melissa Pazen, 2019

 

Today’s UCC Stillspeaking devotional (link) is about a dog that’s been hurt in the past and slowly learns that its rescuing owner means no harm when touching the dog’s back.

Sully MonsterWho would harm a dog?

Not I…  at least not deliberately.Miss Daisy

I always apologize to Sully Monster and Miss Daisy when I step on them. But that not-deliberate hurt still hurts.  My parents didn’t intend to injure my psyche, and I’m mostly over that now. My husband doesn’t mean to hurt my feelings, but sometimes his protection injures my pride!

I find that when I have the time to sit after a trigger is tripped BEFORE speaking, I sometimes can find the truth and gently respond to it instead of reacting to the trigger.  Sometimes I even learn from it!

Will you pray with me, please?

Everpresent Energy,

Thee raise the sun every morning to bring light and overcome the darkness. Thee create every thing, living and inanimate. Only thee could have created dogs, whose unconditional love shows us a side of thee that we would not otherwise see (I get the joke, dog is God spelled backwards!). Thou are amazing!

Request Responder,

Today, I bring myself and my triggers. Remind me to pause and pray before I proceed to put my paw in my piehole! Remind me to be the gentle, loving creature who thee made me to be. Lord, I pray for a job where I can eke out a living for Steve, the dogs and me. I don’t need to keep our big house, but to be able to afford something warm in the winter would be wonderful!  I know only thee can grant the opportunity and only thee can give me the grace to get the gig.

Generous Giver,

I thank thee this morning for life, sobriety, AA, Centering Prayer, Christopher, Kate, Mary, Jennifer, Judy, Sue, Lindsey, Deb, Kristen, running water, Miss Daisy, Sully Monster, Steve and Pat. I thank thee for all those in my faith community.

And I pray in Jesus’ most amazing essence and name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

© Melissa Pazen, 2019

I received a photocopy of this and the source wasn’t cited.  If you know the author, please let me know so I can get permission and cite it properly.

I free you from my anxiety, from my personal idea of what constitutes happiness for you.

I trust the spirit of God in you, to guide you, to show you the way that is right for you — your highest good, the way that means happiness and success for you.

I place you lovingly in the arms of the Creator. I stand by in faith. I refrain from imposing my will on you.

You are God’s child. You are to fulfill your own purpose. As close as I am to you, as much as I love you, I cannot live your life for you. Your destiny, your place, your fulfillment is between you and God.

I know we are one in God. And as I trust God in my life and trust God in your life, all will be well.

 

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

© Melissa Pazen, 2019

God said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”    ~ Genesis 22:2

Yesterday morning, I went to the contemplative worship service at the Congregational United Church of Christ in St. Charles and our scripture was the story of Abraham being told to sacrifice Isaac. In case you don’t remember the story, Isaac (meaning ‘she laughs’) was born to Sarah and Abraham when they were older, maybe even in their 80’s. God had promised Abraham that Isaac would be the beginning of THE Israelite bloodline and that the Israelites would someday be a great nation. Now, in this passage, God is telling Abraham to kill and burn that long-awaited child.

Wait, what?!?

I could imagine Abraham’s dismay, his disappointment, his grief.  But we, as good Christians, are told that Abraham obeyed God. Fortunately, at the last moment, God’s messenger gave Abraham a reprieve. God’s sense of timing, horror, and humor continue to amaze me. I know about hoping for that reprieve. I started seminary and whether I wiggled out of it or God said, “just kidding, Melissa; you don’t have to go anymore,” I still don’t know. But I went saying that I hoped for Abraham’s reprieve.

Yesterday, for a split second, I understood terrorism or one possibility for some terrorists. And the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.  My hand flew over my mouth. “What if this is what the fundamentalist terrorists hear?” I don’t think they hear the one true God, but they do. I could imagine thinking, “God (or whatever name), you tell me to kill people. Please, God, oh please, don’t make me do that.” But they don’t get Abraham’s reprieve.

Will you pray with me, please?

 

Maker Most Mysterious,

I don’t even know if this story actually happened. I do know that only thee could make it happen. Impregnating 80-year-olds then obligating an offering of the offspring, only thee. Only thee could cause Mary to be pre-marital and pregnant. These stories shake me up. Thee make me think, God, and that can’t be bad. Thee are amazing!

 

Lover of Life,

I bring to thee today my family. Keep me married and make that marriage thrive if it be thy will. Give me reason to laugh in my 80’s. Grant children to my daughter, Kate, when/if the time is right. (Perhaps she could name her first daughter ‘Isaica’.)

And, Lord, bring wisdom to those who would otherwise commit acts of terror. Help us all to remember that life and love is always thy will, no matter how hard it may be to feel love. Help me to remain a calm, healthy adult in all circumstances.

 

Generous Giver,

It’s soon to be one of the most busy times of year. Thank thee for the resources to make a Thanksgiving and a Christmas celebration. Thank thee for good smells, not burnt offerings. Thank thee for the ability to await all that is to come, with patience, joy and excitement. God, I love thee so much!

In Jesus’ precious name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

 

Jesus came to Galilee … saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” – Mark 1:14-15 (NRSV)

This UCC devotional, written by the Rev. Vince Amlin, (link) is one I have already sent to my son who, after 9/11, was concerned with clean underwear and a charger for his phone, both given to him by store personnel; yes, GIVEN.  New York University set up free housing in north Central Park hotels for students affected, like my son (he lived 2 blocks east of the Twin Towers) and gave each $200 until they could get back into their apartment-dorms to dust (at least, I think he dusted). I’m grateful to be so cavalier about that fateful day now; I was in a panic and had three co-workers praying with me until we heard that my son was ok.

 

I judged him (though I should never judge another) in the days that followed. He had no classes. He could get to Hoboken to see his girlfriend. He could get to the library to study. He never went south of 14th Street to help with the cleanup.

 

I’m not one who believes that God micromanages us.  I have a hard time asking for a green light or a parking space, unless I’m really, really rushed.  I pray most mornings with a format of ‘praise, ask, thank’. I believe God asks us to make the best of whatever happens to us and I believe that God delights when we do! I’m sure God grieved with all those who touched the lives of those who died that day, terrorist or terrorized. I believe God grieved for the people who piloted planes into the World Trade Center Twin Towers as well as those who died helping others to get to safety.

 

 

I am grateful, and I’m sure God is, for all the people who helped find the survivors and clean up the mess.  I believe God grieved Bin Laden’s death before Bin Laden had a chance to see that hate is not the answer.

 

I wish my son had helped.  I’m not in my son’s skin and I don’t know what PTSD he had in the days afterward. I love my son. God loves my son. God loves me.

 

Will you pray with me, please?

Omnipresent Organizer,
Only thee keep the earth spinning on its axis around our sun. Only thee created it all, part and parcel.  Some people turn good; some turn bad; some are indifferent.  Thee delight, I believe, in those of us who do good things and who are good people and who think good thoughts, no matter how large or small.
Or am I anthropomorphizing?  I think not. I think thou are wonderful. Thee are beyond my imagination and thee are amazing!
Almighty Answerer,
I pray today for a day free of terrorism. I pray for my family, keep us safe if it be thy will. I pray the same for my friends. Lord, thee know I am underemployed and have little money. I pray thee will remind me to be the best job applier I can be so that I can land the job of our dreams, thy and mine. Thy will, not mine, be done. I pray for those who are sick. For those thee will heal, please do so quickly, if it be thy will. For those who will die, please bring them to thy glorious paradise quickly, so they don’t need to suffer — but thee know best and I’m sure sometimes that suffering can serve thy glorious purpose. I pray for those who are too cold in this northern hemisphere and too hot in the southern hemisphere. Climate change scares me a little, but I know thee’ve got it under control in a way I can’t understand.
And forgive me, please, Lord, for being judgmental. I know better; I’m still human, but I keep striving for progress, never claiming perfection.
Generous Giver,
Thank thee for my furnace which hasn’t seemed to stop running this morning of 6 degrees Fahrenheit. Thank thee for the possibility of jobs. Thank thee for the lovely bracelet Mary gave to me for my birthday with a cross and the word ‘blessed’ on it. Thank thee for the Fitbit my kids gave to me that reminds me to walk. Thank thee for all good things which come from heaven above. Thank thee for thy love. Lord, I love thee so much!

In Jesus’ almighty name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

© Melissa Pazen, 2019

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