Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

See Jesus

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 6:16:21, we read about the storm on the sea. The disciples were out on the sea in a boat, and a terrible storm blew up. We read, “When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them,” It is I. Do not be afraid.” (NAB)

How often have we been completely tensed with worry about our lives, and so sure that, round the next corner would come horrible things? In our illnesses, we might be anxious about what might happen if we get worse. The loss of a job can bring tremendous worry about the very basic necessities of life: paying for food, clothing, housing.

Often, especially if we face great challenges, we might even find it difficult to be peaceful in prayer, present at religious services, or faithful in our reading of the Word and continuing to develop our spiritual selves. Yet, as with our good days and time, Jesus is present in our problems, even in those things that terrify us. And, he tells us, “Do not be afraid.”

The more remind ourselves to see, really see Jesus, as he is, all loving, all protective, and all knowing, the more we can gain strength in the midst of the storms in our lives. Jesus is not a problem for us, he is the solution. He is not to be feared, but rather, embraced.

If you are troubled, open your eyes. See Jesus. And let him carry you and calm the raging seas.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Is It Hard to Read the Signs?

posted by mpratt

Santa monica parkingOne day, I noticed these signs on a street in a quiet residential neighborhood where, most days, little traffic flows. I couldnt’ resist taking a picture – such a complicated set of do’s and don’t’s when, I’d imagine, simplicity would suffice.

Beyond the obvious humor, however, I thought about how we often find it hard to read the signs that mark moments or decisions in our own lives. For example, if you have been recently diagnosed with an illness, you might find that lots of people have lots of ideas about what you should do next. And, you might wonder, “Which way do I go?”

Or, perhaps you face a major decision about work, a relationship, or even where you might live. And, you’ll lay awake at night wondering, “Which way should I go?”

Finding, or, rather, recognizing, God’s path for our lives can be equally confusing, especially if we cannot get out of our own way. With all of my recent difficult times that involved my own health, people close to me dying, and an auto accident, I did find myself wondering, “What do these things mean in the ‘big picture’ of my life?” and also wondering about other “signs” that God sends.

As I mulled over these things while driving by in my car, another thought popped into my head. I’d paused and gotten out of my car to take this picture. But, I realized, as I drove by the signs, even at a slow pace, it was difficult for me to read everything posted. It was only when I stopped, stood, and took enough time that I was able to understand it all.

So, too, with those of us striving to read the signs in our own lives. We can’t really ‘get the message’ if we’re on the go all the time, not listening, not even dreaming!

If it’s hard to read your signs, try pausing. Pray. And let God’s message and purpose unfold for you.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

What Is Your ‘All?’

posted by mpratt

presents by photoexplorerAs we move into autumn and toward the holiday season, I’m already receiving solicitations for end-of-the-year donations. No doubt, more will be forthcoming, as well as requests for my participation in activities related various causes.

Scripturally, we can find much justification, indeed much impertive, for “giving our all.” But when we live with chronic illness and pain, and are limited physically, emotionally, and, frequently, financially, just what is our “all?” And who determines what that “all” is, exactly?

There are plenty of people who think they know what we should give and how much, and they can be very strong about their ideas, even to the point of being forceful. There’s the guilt approach, “Others are worse off than you,” and the heartstrings approach, “Could you stand it if this cause/organization/entity failed?” There is the celebrity approach, built on the premise that a famous celebrity will certainly be able to persuad their fans to give simply because they support one or another cause. There is the “everyone must share equally in the efforts here,” which does not take into account that some people might have ample energy and physical ability to participate while others are more challenged in these regards. There’s even the public attempt at shaming you into giving, as I’ve experienced more than once at a store checkout. The conversation goes like this:

“Would you like to give $1.00 to needy children?” The clerk asks, loudly.

“Not today.” I say, gently.

“Oh. Okay. Thank you Ms. Pratt.” The clerk says, frowning, louder – for the rest of the line of customers to hear.

But for all this gauntlet of solicitation, there is only one person who can determine to what and how much time, money, and energy any of us gives. That person is ourselves, individually, in prayer and consultation with God via that prayer and faithful study of Scripture.

Understand your abilities, the time and energy and other physical characteristics that you have to give to an organization or activity. Understand your resources, money, of course, but also things like transportation and accessibility. Lift up the desires of your heart to God – how you want to help, and what priorities you have. Then, move forward and stay firm, keeping strong in the face of guilt and others tactics.

In this way, you will be able to make a more significant difference in the things that are more important, and will feel even more that you are a servant for the Lord, with special gifts that He is guiding you and supporting you to give.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

You Are Brave!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicYou might not have rushed into a burning building, or swam out to rescue someone drowning in choppy surf. But you have gone into the proverbial lion’s den – and you are brave!

You live with chronic illness daily, pain is your constant companion. Your body betrays you often – you cannot do things you would like to do, and those that you can do sap your energy and challenge your spirit.

But, you move on. And more, you keep the faith!

With “sickness” often associated with “weakness,” it’s hard to think of an unhealthy person as being particularly filled with courage and acting bravely.  Certainly, we do not get medals for our activities, nor do we get our names engraved on shining silver trophies after a particularly difficult patch.

No, we don’t exactly get rewarded for living our lives with as much determination and drive as we can. But, I think that makes us all the more brave and our lives all the more rich.

For example, you know that when you can accomplish something, even a small thing, such as remembering to send a birthday card to a friend, or pray long and ardently for someone else, you have crossed the finish line after a long and hard race. When you get up in the morning and face the day with a smile, and bestow that smile on others, you have achieved triumph over tragedy. And when you gut out a difficult day, and you know that you’ve done your best, and you feel God comforting you and bringing His calm, well, you’ve made your own “personal best.”

For all the obstacles you move over and through, and for all the times when you praise God despite your pain – you are brave! And you show the world that faith fosters strength, and courage stems from it, too.

Yes, you are brave! Rejoice!

Blessings for the day,
Maureen

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