Praying with the Psalms

Psalm 91, Safety under His wings, Karen May, Amayzing Graces

Today, we’re going to pray with a Psalm. I love this Psalm for so many reasons. As we swelter in these dog days of summer, I long for the shelter of God’s wings. As I wrestle with vacation plans or summer events gone awry, I remember to watch for God’s care even then.

Read this Psalm slowly, and pay attention to any phrases, words or verses that stand out to you. Go back to those places and read them again. What is God saying to you? Take a moment. Rest in it.

Psalm 91

You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,

            Who abide in the shade of the Almighty,

Say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,

            My God in whom I trust.”

He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare,

            From the destroying plague,

He will shelter you with his pinions,

            And under his wings you may take refuge;

            His faithfulness a protecting shield.

You shall not fear the terror of the night

            Nor the arrow that flies by day,

Nor the pestilence that ravages at noon.

Though a thousand fall at your side,

            Ten thousand at your right hand, near you it shall not come.

You need simply watch;

            The punishment of the wicked you will see.

Because you have the Lord for your refuge

            And have made the Most High your stronghold.

No evil shall befall you,

            No affliction come near your tent.

For he commands his angels with regard to you,

            To guard you wherever you go.

With their hands they shall support you,

            Lest you strike your foot against a stone.

You can tread upon the asp and the viper,

            Trample the lion and the dragon.

Because he clings to me I will deliver him;

            Because he knows my name I will set him on high.

He will call upon me and I will answer;

            I will be with him in distress;

            I will deliver him and give him honor.

With length of days I will satisfy him,

            And fill him with my saving power.

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Music Monday: Best News Ever by Mercy Me

I love how this song reminds us that we already know the end of the story.

Our job is to be a part of the story so that our stories can be so much more than they would be without it. 

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Signals Crossed

I had a recent discussion with my children that left me stunned. I apparently have no idea what I am communicating when I text, and maybe even when I email!

If you are older than a Millennial, you probably don’t know this either. If you are a Millennial or Gen Z, I’m here to tell you, although you probably already know, that we have no idea what we’re saying when we text you.

It all started with a simple word.

Sure

or

Sure.

Did you see what I did there? If you are someone whose formative years happened before cell phones and texting became a thing, you see a simple and generally positive response to a question.

“Can I stop by after I drop off my dog?”

“Sure”

In other words, “No problem,” “You bet,” “Why not?” 

But my children and everyone in their generation feels horror when they get the dreaded “Sure” It’s a rolling-of-the-eyes, passive-aggressive way to say yes when you really want to say no, but you can’t.

Who knew?

Add a period to the end, and the fight is ON! In fact, a period at the end of almost any text is like adding an angry exclamation point to the sentence.

“Come home.” translates to “If you don’t get here in the next thirty seconds, you will regret it for the next thirty years.”

I had no idea I was so angry. I thought I was just writing with good grammatical practices. I’ve been trained NOT to leave periods off of my sentences

(And right there my 7th-grade English teacher loses her mind! Sorry Mrs. Gorman!)

So, to try to keep the peace and a spirit of generosity and forgiveness (***faith tie-in!***), I have this to say to the younger generation:

If you’re not sure about the tone of a text, check the age of the texter. They may have no idea what they just said. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Sure.  

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Finding Peace

Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the inner knowledge that all shall be well, Karen May, Amayzing Graces

In a world full of self-help books, it’s easy to see that many of us are seeking peace. Peace in our families, peace in our communities, peace in our minds, and peace in our souls. It can be hard to find, and even if we find peace, it is easy to lose.

As people of faith, though, we know that the greatest peace is found when we trust in God. We remind ourselves to place our trust in God and remember that it was God who created the universe, who knows every hair on our heads, and who transformed death on a cross into an access point to heaven. Sounds pretty trustworthy, doesn’t it?

We know that there will be conflicts in our lives and in the world. They won’t end until the end of time. But the power of conflict is not nearly as great as the power of faith. We forget that sometimes.

If you have forgotten, let this be your reminder. Turn back to God, ask for His peace to reign. Ask Him to help you see that all will be well. God is so very close. We only need to look.

“Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will change your lot.” (Jeremiah 29:13b-14)

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Music Monday: Fear is a Liar by Zach Williams

I was just listening to “Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice” by Brené Brown. At one point, she talks about processing those moments when you are “hooked” by emotion in a situation. There’s always a story behind the strong emotional response and it’s rarely a truthful one.

She recommends writing it out. What is true, what is untrue, what is fear-based, and what is real? Fear can distort the truth or it can convince us that the truth is actually wrong.

Fear Is a Liar.

If you are caught in the middle of fear, start writing. What is true, what is real? What does God say about it?

When we look straight at what we fear rather than running from it, we will find that the power of fear is rarely as large as we think.

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Living with Joy

I love these guys! 

They always have crazy stunts that bring them and everyone who watches such excitement and happiness. 

 “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Faith isn’t meant to be sad or burdensome. It’s filled with joy and excitement.

Today I challenge you – do something a little crazy, a little challenging, and a lot of fun and let yourself be in the joy of the moment.

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What kind of faith do you have?

Wisdom Wednesday, John 3:17, Karen May, Amayzing Graces

As a birthday gift to my husband, we’re going to look at one of his favorite verses – John 3:17.

You read that right. Not John 3:16 like you see on all of the signs at sports events, but John 3:17. 

Yes, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16), but we miss the point if we don’t read on a little more.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

In this world filled with hate, judgment, and accusation, we forget that our faith isn’t one of rejection and separation, but one of hope and salvation. Ours is a faith of forgiveness and life, not grudges and death.

When we share it that way, it draws people in. When we live it that way, people want to be a part of it. It’s not that people don’t do anything wrong – we all get things wrong on a daily basis. It’s that we have a faith that knows that God loves us enough to help us turn back.

Let’s live like we believe it.

(Happy birthday, my love!)

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Music Monday: The 99 by 7eventh Time Down

The story of the 99 is one that shows the difference between most of us and Jesus. If have 99 of almost anything and I’m missing only one of them, I’m moving generally moving on.

But Jesus sees us differently. Each one of us is a treasure that is worth the search. No matter where we are, no matter what we’ve done, no matter what we’ve said, He’s ready to bring us home. Let’s go.

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We all need people to cheer us on like this

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up

1 Thessalonians 5:11

We all need people who will cheer us on like this when we just can’t seem to do what we want. Go and be that person for someone today.

Happy Friday!

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Do you have any idea what you’re worth?

But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us, Matthew 6:28-29, Karen May, Amayzing Graces

I have the honor of being a part of a wonderful faith journey with my friend Chris. The things she discovers as she wrestles with God are beautiful and immediately shared with those of us who need them. Enjoy this guest post today, as she shares her discovery of the meaning of the cross.


I was starting to panic as I sat in church on April 28th.  I was running out of time.  I had been leading a small group of five girls through our church’s confirmation program this year and we had two more weeks until the big day but no more meetings scheduled.  In two weeks they would walk out of the church in their fancy clothes and I couldn’t be sure when, if ever, they would be back…

Dear God,

How can I let each of these girls know how special she is?  How can I convince each one that she is now and always will be loved by you, be important to you?  All day, every day they are inundated with messages, thoughts, doubts about their purpose, their sexuality, their future, what they stand for, what they believe in.  When I listen to them talk sometimes, I am just exhausted.  How can I convince them that their lives matter, that each of them is worthy?  The words are simply not enough, I am not reaching them with words.  How do I show them?

And it was at that moment that I looked up and into the eyes of Jesus on the cross.  I looked right into His eyes and felt all of the air rush out of my lungs.  How had I looked at the answer all these years and never seen it?

Growing up I had always hated the crucifix.  In Sunday school when the teacher would read the story of the crucifixion, I would start crying when they put the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head and by the time we got to the nails, I was sobbing so loudly I couldn’t hear a thing.  As a child, I had always found the story of the crucifixion to be horrible, like stories of the Holocaust.  I knew if I were hanging on a cross I would be sad and scared and that was all I felt looking at a crucifix.  Later, as a young adult, I had found the stories of the crucifixion to be convoluted and contrived.  Science teaches that the simplest solution is the right one and the story of Jesus seemed ridiculously complicated.  

But in that moment, all of the pieces finally fit together and when I looked at Jesus on the cross, it was breathtakingly clear.  He didn’t look sad and scared and small, he looked powerful and infinite.  And I felt my heart swell… that’s how worthy those girls are… that’s how worthy I am.  And that is why it had to be the cross—because the words were not enough. We needed to be shown.

There are no words to adequately express to another person how much her life matters.  And certainly, none to express how much it matters to God. But the image of the crucifix is visceral—I felt it in my gut.  I know how much my life is worth now when I look at the crucifix.  It’s not a number and it’s not a word.  That image is the only way that it can be conveyed so that I can know not in my head but in my soul that I am worthy.  The story of the crucifixion is complicated and it is messy but for the first time, I understood it to be absolutely necessary and surprisingly logical to convey His message.

That evening I looked online for just the right gift for each of my girls and then I wrote this letter:

Dear Ladies,

If you ever doubt how important your voice is or what you are worth, it is my sincerest hope that you will look to the crucifix to find the answers.  It was not until this year going through the confirmation class with you that I finally realized why Jesus chose to die on the cross and why the Catholic Church insists on displaying the crucifix where other churches hang a cross. The crucifix is to remind you always what your life is worth.  You are worth dying for. As so many of our conversations this year demonstrated, the rest of the world is constantly trying to distract you from this truth. So many facets of our culture are designed to tell us we are less than worthy and to sow doubt and fear.  And as a Catholic it is your job to see yourself as worthy alwaysand to demand that others treat you that way. 

You are each so beautiful and special—created perfectly in the image of God. I hope you will keep this crucifix with you so that when things in this world are difficult, you will remember both who you are and whose you are.  And when you look into Christ’s eyes on the crucifix, you will know in your heart what you are worth to God.  Let that be your guiding light and let the rest fall into place.

And, as is always the case when I volunteer with the church—I have taken more from this experience than I gave to it.  At 45 years of age, I purchased my first crucifix and I will try to make it my guiding light and just let the rest of the pieces fall into place.

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