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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!

 

“… I have chosen (her), and I have filled (her) with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills…”

Exodus 31:2-3

Gracious God,

You have given Debbie to me as my Counselor. Only You could have known of such a perfect fit for one to help me disentangle my thoughts and become truly honest with myself. You gave her a listening heart and light-handed wisdom. You made her with a sweet sense of humor. She is the right Counsel for me.  You are amazing.

Heavenly Healer,

I pray that Thee will bless marriage today.  If it be Thy will, bless mine with Steve and make it grow stronger. Bless Debbie’s with Sean and let them continue to be open with one another. I pray for my son’s upcoming wedding. If it be Thy will, let Chris and Margaret live together in peace, joy, and honesty for many years.

Merciful Maker,

As I look at the trees and the garden outside my window, I remember that it is all from Thee. As I feel the keys on my computer, I know it came through Thy overwhelming abundance. Everything I have is from Thee and I am grateful.

I pray in Jesus’ almighty name,

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 Trusted
That your parents
And their parents
And your grandparents’ great, great grandparents
And those people
all the way back to those Cro-Magnon folks
. . .
God trusted them to make you.
. . .
Now, God was around before the beginning
And God will still be around after it all ends.
. . .
And I don’t know if God sat down and created a chart
that Gregor Mendel discovered;
. . .
I don’t know why you or one of your friends
was conceived through
violence,
or
wasn’t wanted
or
maybe even was wanted.
. . .
(There are many things I don’t know;
and that’s
why
I say “God only knows”
but maybe other people know and just I don’t.)
. . .
Here’s what I know:
. . .
God trusted your parents
and all those progenitors
to make you
One
Beloved
Child
of
God’s
. . .
And it doesn’t matter to me whether your parents wanted you or not.
I know that you are not an accident because
God trusted because
. . .
God wanted you.

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

© Melissa Pazen, 2017

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!

The Lord’s Prayer — Even for Your Enemies

The place to start in praying for our enemies is the prayer that the Lord taught us to pray. Whatever else you pray for your enemies, pray for them like this:

  • Father, grant that my enemy — my colleague who snubs me, my wife who belittles me, my child who disrespects me, the ISIS member who wants to kill me — grant that they would come to hallow your name. Grant that they would treasure you above all, and reverence you, and admire you more than anything.
  • Father, grant that my enemy would come under the saving, purifying sway of your kingly rule and that you would exert your kingly power to make my enemy your own loyal subject.
  • Grant, Father, that my enemy would love to do your will the way the angels do it in heaven with all their might, and without reservation, and with the purest motives, and with great joy.
  • Grant, Father, that my enemy would have all the physical resources of food and clothing and shelter and education and health-care and transportation that he needs to fulfill your calling on his life.
  • And forgive my enemy his sins, as you bring him to repentance, and make him a forgiving person, and protect him from overpowering temptations, and from the destructive power of the devil.

Source:  http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/pray-for-those-who-abuse-you

Today’s Stillspeaking Devotional, written by Donna Schaper, is called “Pointsettias”.  As I was reading, the phrase I’m using for the title jumped out at me and I hurried here to paste it and start my notes for my prayer.  And then, to have integrity, I read and reread the entire devotional. 

“Substituting details for depth” …is that when I buy so many Christmas presents for someone instead of spending time with him? …is that when I criticize the grammar and punctuation instead of lavishing in the thoughts behind the writing? …do I decorate for Christmas instead of contemplating the possibility of Jesus coming as a human and changing the world?

What does “prepare for the glory of the Lord by fixing the universe, despite itself” mean? I long to leave the world better than it was when I arrived, yet I have a bit of trouble realizing that sometimes I need to be ‘accepted the things I cannot change’, in Bonhoeffer’s words. I’m good at attempts to improve the large social ills and need to keep working on keeping my side of the street clean in my closest relationships.  Mindfulness, sometimes a difficult practice to keep in place.  

Quinn Caldwell’s All I Really Want has been a wonderful source of contemplation last advent and this. 

Unimaginable One,

I come to humble myself and to worship you, shouting your praises internally while be quiet externally. Your name should echo throughout the universe and I praise you, adore you. You are the almighty, the all mighty, and I am but one of your creations. Yet, you know me inside out. You know my name and speak to me individually through little bursts of inspiration. You are amazing!

Indescribable God

Loving Lord,

Today, I ask that you will heal Steve’s bruises from his fall. He’s feeling better yet plans to stay off the bruised leg today and that’s a little difficult for me to accept (even though I can’t change it). Thank you for the chance that he might work Saturday to make up the hours. 

I ask for the ability to relax my own aching neck and head today. I try to avoid pain medication for fear it will harm my kidneys and/or lose its effectiveness.

SONY DSC

Super-giving Source,

Thank you for advent meditation opportunities like the one I enjoyed last night. Thank you for Susan, who loves me dearly. Thank you for my faith community who are extensions of family for me. Thank you for a brain to think. I love you so much!

And I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be all 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 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! 

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

And then I feel better.

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