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God of sun and rain, God of calm and catastrophe,
Only you can heal our church, only you can heal our souls. You called the world into being; you were there before the beginning and you will be there long after the end. You seek in Holy Love to save us from aimlessness and sin. You are amazing!
Loving Lord,
I call you to be with us. Hold each of us close to you, support us with love, wrap your arms around us, let us cry if we must and help us to heal. Remove our anger and our doubt. I pray that, if it is your will, you will heal my church; that all may be one and that any conflict may be resolved: peacefully, fully and to your Glory. And, Lord, let me be a blessing. Let me be a peacemaker.

Almighty Architect,

We thank you for all that you have given us: millions of shades of green in the gardens, more than enough resources to sustain us, and people who strive to emulate you, who love with us and work with us.
I pray in Jesus’ mighty and loving 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, 2017

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Omnipotent One,

lung_cancer_sm_cellI talked yesterday about Carol. I had hoped to visit her tomorrow, but, as you know,she just called to tell me that she doesn’t feel well enough to have visitors.  She can only talk for a few minutes before she’s out of breath and her throat hurts.  I’m so sad this has happened to her.

But God, she called me. I had a chance to talk with her for a little while and I’m grateful, so grateful.

cancer-survivorI’ve been worried, as she continues to cancel via emails that I wouldn’t speak with her again. And now we have and I’ve heard the areas in which she’s healing and I’m reminded that I don’t need to worry, because you are trustworthy.

Thank you. And thank you again. And amen.

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.net

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 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 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!

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  

~ Phil. 4:8

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????My blood type is B positive.  I used to say this is why I’m such an optimist.  These days, however, I can be cranky for what seems like weeks on end.  That’s not fair to others and it’s not fair to me and it’s really not fair to God.

I noticed last night that I’m irritated about this extreme cold that keeps me indoors with my car garaged.  There have been warnings on the radio to avoid going out at almost any cost.  My office is closed and I know that’s good because my car would likely give trouble trying to start after sitting in the wind-blown parking lot.  But I’m tired of the things that normally occupy me.  Mind you, I could make a lengthy list of things that could occupy my time well.  And so, I must.  But first, I need to talk with God.

Will you pray with me, please?

Everpresent Energy,

I’m getting bored in the house. You have made a universe that allows for beauty in every hour, and I am on the verge of sin as I refuse to enjoy it. As I meditate on the possibilities for this day of potential solitude, I know that you would want me to focus on doing good. You are perfect, you are wisdom, and just the fact that you ARE makes you worthy of my praise and adoration.  You are more than I could ever conceive.  You are amazing!

Loving Lord,

I pray that you’ll help me to adjust my attitude. Help me to fix my thoughts on purely pleasing you. Lighten my mood and remind me of my purpose, to help others. There is much I could do and now I shall make a list of a few of those things so that I can sense achievement when all items are checked complete.  And if I need to make a second list, inspire it.

Bee PositiveAs I share my home with Steve and the dogs, let me keep my mind focused as you would have me do. Strengthen our relationship and bless it. Let us find happiness in one another – not annoyance or blaming our discomforts on the other. Be with me always; put your hand on my mouth, if necessary to stop me from speaking meanness.  Let your blessed fingers unfurrow my brow and make my face a light of your love.

I bring to you also, those who are forced to be outside in such dangerous conditions. Show them ways to get warm and safe. Ensure that all have good nutrition and hydration to stay healthy.

I think of those who struggle with illness and injury. Lord, I pray you will be present in healing each of them, and when healing is not possible I pray you will keep them from suffering.

Generous Grandother,

Be PositiveYou have given us so much. Let me remember to be grateful for the light and warming energy of the sun. Let me thank you for water and coffee.  Let me revel in the fact that you have granted those in my circumstances more than enough to survive, you have granted me all I need to thrive and Lord, I pray I can thank you by using all these gifts as your faithful steward.  I am grateful.  Lord, I love you so much.

And I pray 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!

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