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“This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.”  ~ C. S. Lewis

I was listening to the sermon Sunday when it struck me:  “I’m so lousy at relationships that I’d be better as a hermit living alone. Or maybe I should get walled into an ante-room of a Cathedral as an anchorite.  Nah, they don’t do that anymore.”

The point is, I could see myself being very happy alone with a pile of illuminated manuscript to prepare, or a list of people from the nearby village for whom to pray. And I really am crummy at being good, day in and day out, to one person.  Poor Steve!  How he hasn’t divorced me, I just don’t know.  Then yesterday, Lillian Daniel mentioned C S Lewis, and his belief that love is a decision.  I have Erich Fromm’s quote posted at my desk.  So I searched, and found the Lewis quote above.  Lewis uses choice; Fromm uses decision:

“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise.  If love were only a feeling there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever.  A feeling comes and it may go.”


I keep hoping, praying even, that I can grow a loving mindset toward poor Steve. See, I’ve been married before and I find it easy to fall out of love.  It’s as easy for me as falling into love.  And Steve is a great guy.  And I’m an ingrate, and a typically cranky one at that!  

Will you pray with me, please?

It’s me again, God, with the same request I bring to you so often.

Almighty Architect,

I bring my requests to you because only you are the power to make things happen. I can’t do this by myself. And my memory is not good. I don’t remember my resolutions from one day to the next. But I know that I can do all things in you, because you can do all things. You are amazing!


Majestic Maker,

Make me love.  Make me remember to choose to love.  It seems so easy in the abstract, but I am so easily annoyed! Be the string around my finger and remind me, every time I start to be nasty. Make the good shine through Steve’s actions; show me his honorable intent. Humble me, God. I have no more words for this request, but that it be on my lips all day long.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for new fallen snow, beautiful and shiny. Thank you for the heat and energy of the sun that melts the snow on the walk ways and drive ways. Thank you for enough money to buy Christmas presents, even a little extravagantly this year. Thank you for love. Thank you for reminding me to choose to be loving. Lord, I love you so much!

In Jesus’ name,


To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

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


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
…A time to kill, and a time to heal

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

AP_FALL_BACK_TIMERecently, I’ve watched a lot of people deal with loved ones end of life (or the over it).  Today in the US, it’s “Return to God’s Time” as daylight savings time ended at 2 a.m.   (I wasn’t up to count THAT down.)  My garden is brown or frozen because it’s -3ªc or 20ªf outside!  All the lovely blooms are gone and the annuals are too, except for tarragon & rosemary that I haven’t harvested yet.

This all reminds me of the seasonality of all living things.  Rod McKuen called it ‘Seasons in the Son’.  Leslie Bricusse talked about the morning, noon and evening of one’s life in Fill the World with Love in the musical “Good-bye, Mr. Chips”.  I simply wax nostalgic.

I remember my women’s theology group (Monday Night Bible Study or MonNtBS as I irreverently named my e-Mail group), working through the book of Job.  I went into it thinking “God and the Devil playing a game with a man’s life… RIGHT!”  But here’s the thing, I came out of it with a six word answer to many of our theological musings.  “I am God and you’re not.”  

Will you pray with me please?

Everlasting Energy,

You named yourself to our ancestors, “I am”. I can only agree, “Yes, God, YOU ARE.”  Job asked why he was smited and covered with sores. You asked if he was present when you called the world into being and hung the sun and moon.  Of course, Job wasn’t.  But “YOU WERE/ARE/WILL BE”.  Merely the fact of your infinite nature brings me figuratively to my knees while my literal fingers are on this keyboard.  I adore you, God.  You are AMAZING!

Lover of Light,

Perhaps you inspired daylight savings time.  (Wait, did I SAY that?  Of course, YOU DID!).

Responsive Ruler,

Jesus told the disciples that we should ask in his name, that our joy be made full.  I rarely ask for miracles, though.  When my 92 year-old mother-in-law went to the hospital, I thought, “This could be the end.  She’s lived a long time.” Then when she was moved to a rehabilitation center, I thought “Ah, an easier transition to this continuum of care facility.  She’ll move on to the other assisted living centers.”  Now she is home.  I praise you!  Only you could make this happen!

Annamae with Savannah

Responder to our Requests,

YOU ARE.  You answer the desires of our hearts that we dare not articulate — sometimes.  Then there is Mary’s 95 year-old mother, who cannot live unassisted anymore and has been moved to her son’s house, after hospitalization, then skilled nursing care, then home.  She can’t make it without someone strong to lift her. I suspect she’ll either die eventually in another skilled care facility or have hospice care at her son’s house.  So what of her? What should I ask of you?

Mary is sad and harried.  The weight of this is heavy on her shoulders.  God, will you inspire her with your peace?  I pray of thee, surround Mary and her family with your love and a bit of joy through this dark time of the soul.  Remind them, especially my good, good friend that the clouds will lift as they have this bright morning.  That while we go through autumn and winter, that your energy and spirit are always willing to support us, to let us lean on you.

Is this what it will take to get Mary back to church, God?  She has suffered with the guilt of a divorce, but you always forgive the penitent. I know  you still yearn for her; crave her attention.  You want her to worship YOU, not a religious rule that blocks her ability to seek you.  Put it on her heart at just the right time, to go to Mass or a Worship Service.  In your time, may this be done — not mine.  Remind her that communion in any form or any sense is bringing her soul to yours.  Let her commune with you and with other seekers of your kingdom.


Or perhaps, you will use her daughter’s new baby.  Remind Mary that the love is in that new life, too; that her relationship with her own granddaughter and daughter is equally important as her relationship with her mother.  Remind Mary to spend less time on worry and more time on “OPTIMISM” and peace and rest and self-care.  If she runs out of energy to replenish her own body, remind her that she must rebuild herself before she can build or rebuild others, I pray of thee, God.

Yet not my will, but yours, God.  Not in my time, but yours. Not to my glory, but to you be the glory,

Generous Giver,

Thank you for the mouse and the red underscores that help me to correct my mistakes.  Thank you for the ability to confess and apologize when I sin.  Thank you for Samantha Madhosingh’s month of gratitude.  Thank you for Jean Stone who taught me about gratitude even during those dark nights of the soul.  Thank you for the internet.  Thank you for daylong retreats and Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel and Rev. Merlyn Lawrence and for all the Sisters, Saints & Sinners who went with me.  Thank you for living my life with me and letting me live it for you.  Let me live to bring your kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven.  Let me live according to your will and to love, and to love and to love.

I dare to pray in Jesus’ name,


To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

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

Having been raised by a mother who was “gonna take a train”, I think Lillian Daniel (author of this morning’s StillSpeaking Devotional from the UCC) is in great company.  Our mother, Mary Jane (Peppard) Pazen was the daughter of a railroad man.  Whenever she was truly frustrated, she would say “I’m gonna take a train…” meaning she was gonna run away from home.  She never did that, but she certainly died too young, in my humble opinion. 

When my kids were little and had the abandonment fears, I always made certain they knew I would never leave them and that I wouldn’t die when they were young, if it were within my power to avoid it!  I saw Kate a few weeks ago and I hugged her with all the strength in me.  I wonder if my kids know how very precious they are to me.  Wowee! 

Everpresent Energy,

You created the universe, I’m relatively new here.  Yet you gave me memories of my childhood and adulthood.  You created relationships and we are tasked with making the best of these.  Amazing!

elephant lady

Loving Lord,

I think today of my sisters. Thea, my biological sister, has another chemotherapy session this morning.  I pray you will hold her close as she undergoes this wretched nuisance in order to keep her body from developing cancer again.  Susan, my sister in Christ, continues to deal with family issues around her upcoming wedding. I pray you will send  you love and inspiration to her as she talks with her children and as Matt talks with his.

I think of Steve, my true love.  While he hasn’t received an answer from his interview last week, Lord, they said he would know several days ago.  If it is meant to be, he’s ready, Lord and I pray you will keep him healthy and strong.  If it is not what you want for Steve, I pray you would give him a final answer and send  your strength to him.  Perhaps this is the wakeup call for him to lose weight and stop smoking.  If so, give him LOTS of strength, patience, and a cheerful attitude whenever he can remember.  I know it would be hard for him, Lord, but I know with you beside him he could feel very good about having made the decision to improve his health. 

I think of my own self, Lord.  I thank you for the data analysis position.  I love the work.  I need, however, stamina.  It is hard for me to get up so early and work so long.  I pray you will continue to show me ways to even our financial situation.  I thank you for all you’ve done so far.

take-the-a-train-c Generous Giver,

You’ve handed us so much — for free, and sometimes we forget to  be grateful.  I appreciate my car, the circus, trains, my friends & family, and the memory of my mother.  Oh, and I appreciate dry skin cream.  Lord, I love you so much!

In Jesus’ name,


To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

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

In this morning’s Stillspeaking Devotional, the Rev. Lillian Daniel writes of a gay man from a conservative background, and how he felt alone both at church and with LGBTQ individuals who didn’t share his religious heritage. I love that she says:  “And I am grateful to the UCC for its early and extravagant welcome to those who have been wounded by other churches.” 

Jesus ate with the unclean, publicans & sinners.  He might even have been willing to share a meal with me.  How can I do anything less?  I continue to find the loving spirits in those who disagree with me most strongly, because Jesus showed me how.

Chicago pre-dawn

Omnipotent One,

Only you could call the worlds into being.  Only you would have thought to create species and breeds with such variety; from manx to tabbies, from lipizzaner to quarter, from pug to wolf hound, from gay to straight, from conservative evangelical to post-modern liberal.  All of us are your creations.  Amazing!

Lord of Light,

In this pre-dawn time when the sky lightens, I come to you. I think of Thea and her upcoming transfusion today; remind her that while with you, she will come to no harm.  Let her feel a sense of energy as blood filled with hemoglobin and good counts of white and red cells flow into her body.  Strengthen her in body and faith.  Let her remember that our love surrounds her and let that be a comfort; fill her with a sense of calm.

As the day begins, I bring Susan and Matt to you.  Let them take their time and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they should be friends, committed to one another, or married.  Lead them to the proper outcome for all the right reasons, Lord.  Show them your will for them, Lord.  Open the hearts of each of their family members.  Let them revel in the love you have created in them.

Just before the sun rises, I remember Steve and his interview on Friday.  It feels as if it might be a longshot, but Lord, it would be such a gift to us to not need to strugglewith money!  I know he could do the management aspects of the job and I only hope he would be happy with it.  Please, Lord, if it be your will, let him get it!

Now as I turn to my workday, I pray you will remind me you are beside me always.  Inspire my work and  my work choices.  Let me be a blessing and a purveyor of your light, your enlightenment.  Let me help to bring your kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven.

Gracious God,

We have everything we need.  In you, we have our refuge and our strength.  I am so grateful; Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in the most holy name of Jesus,


To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

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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April 2018
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