I have a friend who keeps a gratitude journal and aims for 100 items each day. As I prepare for Thanksgiving, I start to list the people and things for which I’m thankful. Then I realize the list will be too long, oh Lord! If I were to read everything into a Thanksgiving blessing, the food would be dreadfully cold and my guests would be out of patience by the time I’m done.

Cornucopia

Unimaginable One,

I come to you this morning knowing that I am poor and helpless. Only through you and your loving creating energy can I even breath, much less stand and clean and cook and prepare to welcome my family and friends tomorrow! You called the heavens and the earth into being, so long ago that we can only try to reconstruct how and when it happened. I praise you endlessly. You are amazing!

Loving Lord,

I pray today for joy and energy and patience, patience with myself, Steve, Thea, Adrienne, the dogs. I so want this Thanksgiving to be evidence of your love for us all, through me. I pray that you will continue to bless us, as you already have – to such a marvelous extent that the cornucopias of our lives are overflowing. I pray that you will remove me from the bondage of self, so that I may give without reservation.

I pray for those who are traveling, including Kate and Will, Chris and Margaret, Peggy and her family. I pray for those who will be alone by choice, hoping that at the last moment, if they want companionship that you will provide. I pray for those who will be alone not be choice; point them to my house, Lord, and let me lavish them with food and your love. I pray there will be enough chairs and enough room at the tables.

Generous and Glorious Giver,

You have granted us such bounty, of food and belongings and friends and family. I have so much more than I could ever need. Bless it all to your purpose. Thank you for dogs. Thank you for heat. Thank you for the turkey. Thank you for sight and taste and smell and hearing and feeling. Thank you for intuition. Thank you for all the people and things that would make this prayer go on for pages and days. It is all from you, everything I have and everything I am. I am incredibly grateful.

Jesus promised that if I ask in his name, it will be granted. And so, I call on Jesus’ mighty name.

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Love always,

Melissa

Inspired Coaching, Melissa Pazen

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

 

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

Advertisements

… I sit quietly and look at this image:
jesus-reaching-in

And then I feel better.

Today’s devotional is one of those that helps me. If you haven’t already, I hope you take the time to read it.

Times of trial are definitely times for reflection and determination to change ourselves for the better. I add to Rev. Robinson’s thoughts one more: Try to stop saying “why me?” instead say “of course me, every human – even Jesus – suffer times of trial. Now, what can I do to make something good come from this?”. Focusing on what God would have me do has been the best way for me to again feel God’s power. And when I feel God’s exquisite energy working through me, the importance of the trial melts away.

Still-speaking Sovereign God,
gold ore

You are the creator of all the elements of this earth.

gold oreYou are the fire that allows gold to become closer to pure. You are the ever-present energy that is the force to keep the world spinning. You are my creator. You are amazing!

Loving Lord,

This morning I have all my regular requests that I bring to you. I bring my sister, once again, as she struggles to continue her life here. If it please you, heal her completely and remove these recurring cancers. Make the chemo effective to the point that it totally removes the cells that mutate. Please keep Susan healthy and happy. Bring Bill Gunderson, Jill Thompson, and so many back to complete health, please. I pray of you to heal relationships and bring battling people to realize that they are merely your creations and they should, before all else, love.

Generous, Giving God,

Thank you for blood moons, to watch and revel in the glories of your creation. Thank you for Tom, who rescued me from a truly unattractive yard. Thank you for Helen, who went so far as to give of her bone marrow. Thank you for Susan and all friends who lift me up. Thank you for the world. Thank you for my life. Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in Jesus’ 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.com

 

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

 

I’ve had “the weepies” since Saturday.  Today is Friday.  I’m stronger by the day, but I’m still emotionally fragile.  WeepiesAnd then this morning, I found this daily devotional in my email inbox. Maren Tirabassi writes such good stories. And prayers.

I know there are people with worse troubles than mine. I live in suburban US, spring has come; I don’t live in a war-zone or gang-ridden neighborhood, I’m not starving (far from it!) nor freezing. But my spirit is weak and my emotions are fragile.  Will you pray with me, please?

Inscrutable Imagineer,

The layers of your love and your plan go on forever; I can’t know them all, but I sure do love them! You are amazing and I love seeing ‘what happens next’, even when it brings me to tears. Only you can interrupt the mortal actions throughout my day, reminding me to focus on you… on your compassion… your brilliance.

Compassionate Creator,

I bring Thea and Jim and my own self to you.  I pray that your will be done, and if you don’t have a strong preference, I pray that Thea not have to go through chemo again.  She’s only 62 and I’m not ready to lose her.

self care - 12 steps

Hold my brother close, please, and remind him to take care of the marvelous being you have created, the one that we know as Jim.

And me: strengthen me. Grant me intelligent compassion: the ability to care for others and to care for myself just as much and to take care of myself. And help me to come, and to come to, and come to know, and come to know you.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for sunshine, and cold dew on the grass, and plants to ‘harden off’ as they prepare to go in the garden. Thank you for bleeding heart that came back, after Pat Hummel gave me replacements for the one I lost in the drought. Thank you for the pond and thank you in advance for the waterfall and the goldfish.  Thank you for popups that tell me of a book written by John Shelby Spong. Now I want to read it and Amazon has it for a penny. Thank you for sisters in Christ who pray with/for me. Thank you for my life.

In Jesus’ 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.com

 

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

 

Today’s StillSpeaking Devotional, written by Elissa Johnk, quotes this scripture:

“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. […] To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people . . . .” – I Corinthians 9:19-23

So, she wrote this with me in mind (and people like me, all around the world).  I read it, then prayed the prayer, then went into the kitchen where Steve is washing dishes, and read parts of it to Steve.  And I prayed the prayer again, right in front of him. Those of you who know Steve know he hates organized religion and preachiness. I read and prayed anyway, because I want him to know I’ll try to love him better and occasionally take a pass on loving strangers.

arguing-coupleI’ve wondered for a long time how I can be so pleasant to friends and even strangers, and even do lots of stuff for them, but I won’t remember to do that for Steve. I’m not a tent-maker and don’t even want to be (heck, I’m a seminary drop out).  Yet, I believe it IS my Christian duty to show love to all people. It seems to me that if I wear a cross, I need to be a good representative of Jesus.

But here’s the thing. I need to remember to be good to Steve or else HE gets a bad representation of Jesus. Do you think Jesus went home to Mary and wouldn’t help mend the broken things that a carpenter could do?  (Mind you, one Gospel has him calling his mother “Woman” at the wedding feast of Cana, and being pretty nasty to her when she asks him to do something about the lack o’wine.) I hope he could curtail his expectations of his mother and treat her with love and respect.

LoveWordCloudDid Jesus have siblings? Popular opinion states that he did. I hope Mary & Joseph taught him respect for all family members. I spent years trying to show my parents just how wonderful I was. Much of this was at the expense of my poor sister and younger brothers. I try now to treat them well, even when they royally annoy me (as they so often do and I so often annoy them!). (I can’t explain why James, his brother, is such an authoritarian. He was raised by the same people as Jesus.)

Was Jesus married? Do I even need to care? If so, I hope his wife embraced his mission and travelled with him. I hope he treated her like a queen. I hope, in his perfect-Jesusness, his son-of-Godness, that he treated his wife and children well.

So here’s my prayer, and if you are like I am, and continue to strive to embody love, compassion, kindness; I invite you to pray with me.

God of Graciousness,

You make the goodness in the world. You still speak and since the beginning, your words are you. Your word is light, shutting out darkness. You are not evil. You are not the god who plays chess with the incarnate evil and sends bad things to happen to good people. You are goodness. You are kindness. You are love. You are amazing!

Lord of Light and Love,

I pray that today you will replace all selfishness with love. Help me to take enough time to replenish my resources, so that I remember to think before I speak or act. Write the words love and loving-kindness on the inside of my eyelids. Grant me patience. Grant me grace. Grant me compassion. Take me back to where I was in the honeymoon of my love for Steve. Give me new eyes to see all the good he does. Remind me that I don’t need to cure every ill of the world. Remind me to cure the ills at home.

And I bring to you those with ills of mind and body. I bring those who aren’t handling life as well as they should and those who don’t have the resources to manage things well. I bring those who cannot bring themselves as well as those who don’t realize that they can bring themselves to you. I pray for a better and just economy. I pray for wisdom for the world’s leaders. I pray that your kingdom come on earth and turn upside down the belief that all resources are finite and insufficient.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for sunlight and lamps that bring the full spectrum of light indoors. Thank you for a husband who washes dishes and cleans the patio after the winter. Thank you for the promise of spring in the bulbs that stick their heads out. Thank you for colors, especially the green of growth. Thank you for my life.  I love you so much.

I pray claiming the promise of Jesus. That if we ask in his name, our joy will be made full.

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Love always,

Melissa

© Melissa Pazen, 2015
LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

Again, a Stillspeaking Devotional touches me.  Mary Luti writes of 

in si·tu
ˌin ˈsīto͞o,ˈsē-/
adverb & adjective
  1. in its original place.
    “mosaics and frescoes have been left in situ”
  2. in position.
    “her guests were all in situ”

When I had breast cancer, in 2007, the tumor was “in situ”.  This means it hadn’t moved beyond the milk duct where it originally formed.  I give glory to God for having found it when it was SO small (6 mm – about 3/16 inch, photo is actual size).

6 mm - actual size

 

On Wednesday, I will have a repeat mammogram on the same (left) breast because it appears I have another calcification, often the precursor of cancer.  I know I’m not in control of these things, and I try not to worry.  

I keep giving this over to God and LET-NOT-YOUR-HEART-BE-TROUBLED-smtrusting.  Five minutes later, I’m giving it over again.  Sometimes I wish my humanity weren’t so human.  I know I’m not meant to be perfect, yet I long for serenity.  I long to be comforted and held secure in Jesus’ arms. I long to be able to rise above this.  As long as I keep my mind occupied with something else, something positive, I am safe.  My idle mind goes back to this over and over.  I guess the idle mind IS the devil’s playground.  I don’t believe in a personified devil, but I know there are forces of evil at work in the universe.  These are mine (and yours?) every time I slip from God’s embrace.  Will you pray with me, please?

 

Amazing Architect,

You created the universe and somehow you chose to create a wretch like me.  I praise you for finding me, for letting my blind eyes see you and the beauty of all your works.  I praise that you are creating still.  That you speak to us, not only from a document that is almost 2000 years old, but in the words of friends and your whispering voice.  I “hear” you in my quiet mind, with words you would have me think.  I worship you for this, the ability to turn my heart and my mind to the good, INSTEAD of dwelling on the bad… on my fears.  You are more than I could ever imagine; more powerful, more loving.  You are amazing!

Lord who Longs to make my joy full,

Joy-FullI pray you will be with me today.  I pray you will keep your loving arms around me and let me languish on your lap. I pray that in my time at church and my time with Kate & Will & Steve, you will keep my heart and mind on YOU. I pray you will banish my fears. I pray you will hold me close and remind me to lean on your perfect strength. I pray you will remind me that if you are for me, nothing greater can be against me. I pray that you will let nothing separate me from your love, even sickness – if it shall be so, even death whenever it comes (may it be years away!)

I pray for others who suffer with fear and illness: Craig, Thea, and many too numerous to mention – yet you know their names and my intent. I pray for all the littluns who arrived earlier than their parents planned: Emilie, Hayden & Ethan, Nick & Alex and many too numerous to mention. I pray for my congregation as we seek your will in becoming “Open and Affirming” of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders — and of all those for whom we see the differences and forget the similarities.

I pray that you will remind us we are your precious children, that each of us have a life that matters dearly to you.

Magnificent Maker,

You are the source of everything I sense – see, hear, smell, taste and feel.  You have given it all to me and my brothers & sisters in this world — and every human is my brother or my sister! I am filled with gratitude and I thank you.  And, Lord, thank you.  And by the way, Lord, thank you. May I ever be in awe of what you have done for me, and continue to do, and will do forever.

And I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2015

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Have you read the stillspeaking devotional for today? If not, click here. It’s a God-moment, when we turn everything upside down; just like Jesus told us to do.

“Blessed are those who appreciate it when they get head lice, for theirs is the kingdom of good parenting and good relationships.”

~ the gospel according to Melissa (the heretic)

(clearly NEVER to be included in the formal church tradition)

 

I’ve had head lice. Kate was then Katie. She was in first grade and had longer hair and brought them home. Louse - adult male that lives on h;umansChris never got them. Katie and I shampooed with a nasty potion every three days and tried to comb out the nits. We washed combs, brushes and anything that touched hair. Mostly we wanted to stop itching!

But God! God helps us to reframe our thoughts about these little parasites, even while we strive to eliminate them.  Lice show us that love and affection have taken place and love is always a good thing.  Will you pray with me, please?

Lord of Lice and Love,

You created everything, even lice. Each has a purpose and a place in your world. Monkeys eat lice. I guess it’s part of their balancing of their diets.  

You are bigger than just the creator of humans, monkeys and headlice. You called the universe into being. You were there before it existed. You will be here long after all of us have turned to dust. You are amazing!

Light of Love,

I humbly approach you this morning. I bring all of my brokenness and I pray for healing. I pray for forgiveness, for me and all who have wronged me OR YOU. Part of getting over things for me is to understand. Yet even when I can’t understand, help me to forgive. Help me to allow people to be less than perfect. Help me to enjoy the journey with them, help me to ask your forgiveness for my sin and to forgive those who have wronged me, deliberately or inadvertently. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus is said to have taught disciples to pray:
Abba, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation. (Luke 11:2-4)
 Jesus turns the world upside down
Tall order! And I pray you will help me to forgive those who I feel should be indebted to me in any way; for those who have trespassed or sinned against me.  I find my judgment runs rampant like: 

“Losing” (Tenth Avenue North)

I can’t believe what she said
I can’t believe what he did
Oh, don’t they know it’s wrong, yeah?
Don’t they know it’s wrong, yeah?
Maybe there’s something I missed
But how could they treat me like this?
It’s wearing out my heart
The way they disregard
This is love, this is hate…
We all have a choice to make
Oh, Father won’t You forgive them?
They don’t know what they’ve been doin’ (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’
Well it’s only the dead that can live
But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that’s mine
Seventy times seven times
‘Cause Lord it doesn’t feel right
For me to turn a blind eye
Though I guess it’s not that much
When I think of what You’ve done.
This is love, this is hate…
We’ve got a choice to make
Oh, Father won’t You forgive them?
They don’t know what they’ve been doin’ (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’
Oh, no!
Why do we think that hate’s gonna change their heart?
We’re up in arms over wars that don’t need to be fought
But pride won’t let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but just to burn them down
We think pain is owed apologies and then it’ll stop
But truth be told it doesn’t matter if they’re sorry or not
Freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down
Oh, Father won’t you forgive them?
They don’t know what they’ve been doin’ (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’
Yeah, I feel like I’ve been losing
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’
I feel like I’ve been losin’
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’

Lord, I pray for your grace. Heal me from sin, especially the sin of judgment when I’m hurt. Marianne Williamson wrote:

At a certain point, we forgive because we decide to forgive. Healing occurs in the present, not the past. We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present.

Lord, help me to love.  And Lord, help me to love. And Lord, when I forget, help me to love.

Generous Giver,

You’ve given me all that I have, especially the ability to forgive.  I am truly grateful.  Thank you for full spectrum lights to use even in the darkest winter.  Thank you for green tea.  Thank you for technology and the ability to write my prayer to you and the memory to remember to pray. Thank you for my life. Thank you for the lives of those around me, and the lessons I learn from my community. Lord, I love you so much!

Jesus taught me that when I ask in his name, I shall receive, that my joy be made full.  I pray for that joy and your peace as I pray

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2015

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Astonishing Architect,

bright mountains winterOnly you can bring a morning of exquisite sunshine to a bleak mid-wintery kind of day.  You are the energy and creative force of the universe. You are the word, and the word is love. I fall to my figurative knees in front of you, as I type these words to you. You are more than I could ever imagine.

Loving Light,

dawn of creationI bring my brother, Jim, to you this morning. I thank you for his new job. I pray you will remind him in the darkest of times to lean on your perfect strength and let you guide him. Help him to know that you control all things and that the job for us poor mortals is to appreciate the beauty of how you make all things fit together. Help Jim to relax and look for good, look for the love in Helen’s eye and the good intention in Angela’s movements. Let Jim know that a hug goes a long way for all of us.  Remind him to be loving and kind… even to try it, just for today. And, Lord, let Jim know that we love him.  We simply do.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for a Christmas that was indeed ‘dayenu’, it would have been enough just to have my children with me. It would have been enough just to have Steve’s loving attempts at presents to please me. It would have been enough to make them happy with gifts you inspired me to bestow on them. And yet, You – Lord of all land and below and above – You saw to it that we enjoyed one another’s company and that I got to have my children, now numbering three, tucked in their beds here on Christmas Eve. Thank you for helping me, over the years, to let go of my expectations for great times and find the beauty in the good times, because they become great when viewed in the proper way through the proper lens with the proper focus. Thank you and thank you again. Lord, I love you so much.

Jesus told us that if we would ask in his name, we would receive, that our joy be made full.  And so I ask in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

“So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one either side, with Jesus between them.” – John 19:17-18 

This morning’s StillSpeaking Devotional is simply entitled “Good Friday“.  In it, Matt Fitzgerald states “I don’t believe God sacrificed Jesus.”  I’ve wrestled with the “Jesus had to die to fulfill the scriptures” line in the past. I had a little trouble at last night’s wonderful Maundy Thursday (I’ll always think of it as Holy Thursday) service thinking of “the sacrifice to come”. Perhaps there is a cross, not a ruler (not even the golden one…) nor a lesson plan on our altars — but, to me it’s logical.  The Messiah came to love and serve and that’s the opposite of what was expected — even what was hoped for, desired.

love-cross-upside-down1

Jesus taught love and servanthood and the world — humanity, evil incarnate — couldn’t tolerate substituting those for the law.  To those in power, it may have been seen as justice.  And when justice is at odds with love, with continuing to be true to what one knows is true, I have to hope I could stand, as Jesus did.

I’ve been awake for the last hour, and perhaps this has been my vigil (it’s 5 am my time).  I was disappointed that we weren’t able to populate an overnight vigil at our church, that people weren’t willing to spend time in the sanctuary, but perhaps I need to merely be happy for those who participated in the “do it yourself vigil”.  I’ve been re-reading Jan Karon’s Mitford series.  (The tales of Tim Kavenaugh are sweet.)  

Last night, I had the privilege of sitting with a friend who was moved to tears at Taylor Churney’s singing – perhaps it was the song, or some still incomplete mourning, or merely being with God in the moment.  Whatever it was, I love that our congregation has created a little Mitford here in Batavia.  We are able to be our transparent, authentic selves with one another, that we can be true to our God and ourselves.  I believe we can ask little that is more valuable.

This is disjointed, but I hope you find the thread that weaves it together: love.  Will you pray with me, please?

God of grace,

You started this whole thing, from the cosmos on through history to the present and beyond.  You were there at the beginning and made it begin.  Your power creates all things.  And it is love.  I am but a mere mortal, one of your creations.  You are amazing!

Lord of love,

I wish I could say I wouldn’t have betrayed Jesus or deserted him in the garden.  In my heart, I know my weaknesses; I could easily have rationalized handing him over to the Romans and I know if I were tired after a good Seder with wine, I would have fallen asleep.  Lord, I cannot believe it was your intent for Jesus to die, but I cannot believe his life could have culminated in any other way. Those who live in darkness thought they could extinguish his light.  And, OH, were they wrong!

CrossHeart

Perfect Parent,

Thank you.  Thank you for my life.  Thank you for Jesus’ life. Thank you for lights that keep out the darkness and help us to have glimpses of your eternal love.

Lord, I love you so much.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen. 

 

Love to you this Eastertide

and always.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2014

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

 

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

~Phil. 4:13

Do you believe God hands you ‘tests’? I’m not sure I do. I strive to file these under the heading “5h%t happens” and set about making good things come from them.

Will you pray with me, please?

Bad_things_happen_glitterBeautiful Builder,
I know you called the worlds into being and set the earth spinning. When bad or hard things happen around me, I’m not sure these are the works of your hands. I know you can do all things, but I have a hard time imagining you playing chess with Satan and letting him mess up Job’s life. Is that how you are? I don’t know, but I know you are amazing!

Loving Lord,
Remind me to focus the energy you give me on things I can control. Let me work diligently on making situations better. When I run out of resources, help me to lean on your strength and talk it over with you. Remind me that I, along with your other creations can bring your kingdom to come on earth. Humble me enough to remember to make paths of love and peace.

phil_4_13Generous Giver,
As I look at a crisp spring morning and hear birds who’ve returned after winter, I thank you for the seasons of life. I am grateful for the resources you’ve built into me and for the beauty all around me. Lord, I love you so much.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen. 

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2014

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 313 other followers

Posting Dates

November 2017
S M T W T F S
« Jun    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Blog Stats

  • 5,075 hits