|My prayer images often include plants and water|
I’ve been praying and journaling every day since Feb. 3, 2017, when I first began to feel that God was leading Aldersgate and me in a new way. I used the Psalms, one by one, as a beginning point each day (I’ve now moved on to Isaiah). Here are some random but important entries:
Feb. 12 – When I look realistically at what and who is left at AUMC, I feel discouraged. But when I think and pray about what God could do, I feel excited. What will God do?
March 8 – I was awake before 3 a.m., and it’s now 4:47 a.m. I need to get this Administrative Council meeting behind me. I need to present well. I want to pay attention and work with God, but also release the outcome to God. There is potential for new life, but I perceive in prayer that the door is closing for this congregation. I hope and pray my discernment comes from God and is not just my own dullness.
April 10 – God seems to tell me just to keep taking the next right step; that it really isn’t so difficult. The sensation of Christ standing right behind me with his arms around me, steering the boat, is very strong. But I doubt myself and my discernment.
April 14 – I continue to be disturbed in spirit, unable to feel joyful even when I’m pretty sure God is doing something good. Why is that? I’m afraid, tired of the work I know is coming, tired of being in ministry alone.
May 1 – In prayer, I saw a pine cone growing on an oak tree, and then an oak tree growing from a mustard seed planted on a beach! I think God is showing me in images that God can do what is both impossible and unexpected.
May 14 – I must admit to another prayer image. I see the familiar yellow, brown, and dying willow tree, and I see most of its roots are rotten. I want to kick it off the embankment, just place my foot against the base of the tree and push. I know I have this power. I could do it. And the seed that Jesus wants to plant would be planted elsewhere. I sensed God asking: I thought you wanted ministry to be fun…? “I’m not having fun,” I answered. “It would be easier just to kick it over.” Don’t you trust me?, I heard. “Yes, well, maybe I just don’t want all the hassle and work,” I replied. …. Ah, I begin to perceive the real problem.
May 26 – I’ve been feeling pretty negative after the low commercial appraisal and the insistence that we continue to pursue “house church.” Is there enough of God’s Spirit in this church and in me to do anything?
May 29 – I am still thinking about my strong anger yesterday; it’s not good. I must get a handle on my own emotions and anxiety – the church needs calm leadership. But boy, was I angry. When I prayed about it, Jesus seemed to tell me to stop being so melodramatic. Again, I sensed a playfulness on the part of the divine that I do not share. It did, however, lighten my mood.
June 18 – (after using Psalm 95 for prayer) Am I like the faithless Israelites, too fearful to go forward? God, give me your grace which is sufficient for today. Help my being with people; help my preaching and leading of worship; help me to go forward in the way that you want.
June 25 (the day before church conference vote) – In prayer, I tell Jesus it’s in HIS hands now; please take it. I picture myself giving the situation to him, but he’s playful about whose hands are on top. I want my hands UNDER his – I’m putting it all in God’s hands. I don’t want it in my hands! Again, this divine playfulness that I do not share, and I broke off the prayer. I will just be glad when the vote is over.
June 28 (my prayer based on Psalm 104:13) – Lord, send forth your Spirit, and we will be created; renew the face of your church!