The Spiritual Discipline of Prayer and Thanksgiving
This last week has been full of detours making my already hectic week even more hectic. A power outage zapped my birthday plans for dinner and a movie with my family; a broken down washer shattered a 4-hour window to do piles of laundry; rushing home late to make dinner and realizing I had forgotten to buy a key ingredient. Hitting… Every… Red… Light… Use your imagination to add to the list, throw in some emotional meltdowns, shake it up and you have a good idea of how my week went.
I assume you have had days or weeks like this filled with a lot of little things to trip you up. In the craziness it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by anger or fear, isn’t it? A couple of days into my week it occurred to me that there was more going on than daily life. It is certain that many of these obstacles were strategically placed in my way by the enemy who is hell-bent on stealing away my family’s joy and focus on God. This realization was helpful and I remembered that even in the detours God is extending an invitation to engage Him and delight in the journey.
Here is what it has looked like for me to walk into that invitation this week. Perhaps it will inspire you in your own response to His invitations to you today.
I have been more intentional about taking deep breaths, exhaling my stress to God and letting go of the tension in my body, noticing and relaxing the tight places. I’ve acknowledged God’s presence with me (whether I felt it or not) asking for peace and direction from Him. I’ve been taking my own detours in my mind from the racing thoughts, if only just for a moment, to gather up some small gifts of grace hidden in my day; the laughter of my children, the sun peeking through the clouds, my unhindered access to God in Christ. Then I breathe out a word of praise and thanksgiving for His goodness. Once I suddenly uttered a stern, “NO! I choose Your joy!” in a moment where fear began to take over. Words are powerful, as my kids will attest to. They were quite startled from whatever they were doing by my sudden, forceful tone which also brought the pleasant side effect of laughter at how crazy their mom is! Laughter is wonderful for breaking cycles of worry.
I have not had time to stop so I have taken these moments as I work, or in the car often with loud music and energetic kids happening. Even though the craziness has not slowed down and the obstacles keep popping up I have been more aware that God is with me in the detours and joy has surprised me even as I hurry along; such gifts of grace! Take that, you stupid joy-stealer!
May the God who walks with you bless you this day. May you have grace to breathe in His goodness and breathe out words of thanksgiving. And may you find joy even in the detours as you remember the goodness of the One Who goes with you. Amen.
Copyright Jennifer Brukiewa
Several years ago, Jennifer Brukiewa set aside her professional stage career and gig as a Disney World actress/singer to pour into the lives of teens working alongside her husband in youth ministry. Currently, as a retreat leader and Certified Spiritual Director, she is honored to create safe places for others to share their stories, joys and struggles and explore with them ways to listen for the heartbeat of God and “breathe the gospel” in their day-to-day life. She loves to garden, art journal, and admits to being slightly addicted to the BBC show Dr Who. Her home is in Elbert, CO where she lives with 1 dog, 3 cats, 14 chickens, 1 hermit crab, 2 rats, 3 daughters (15, 12 and 8) and her incredible husband of 22 years. She and her family have been members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church since 2007. To learn more about her ministry in Spiritual Direction go to www.attendinggrace.com