Faith Search

I search for you,

In the rooms  I enter,

In the quiet of my fear;

I look for you.

Are you really there?

Do you see me?

Do you really love me?

Is it me, or is it you?

I am weak.

I am unsure.

I am alone.

And yet, I feel you near.

Fill my heart.

Fill my mind.

Change my heart.

Change my life.

Out of the shadows I come,

Into your light I run

Into your presence I sit

Here you are real

Here I believe.

Here I thirst.

In the light I find hope.

In this corner I grow.

Forever changing

Forever healing

Forever searching

Forever Finding You

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Christmas Candles

My cousin posted this picture on Facebook the other day. For some reason it really caught my attention. Usually I see things like this and scroll right past. This one made me stop. I have gone back to it a number of times, trying to figure out why.

There is something simple and beautiful about this picture. Maybe it tugs at my Catholic roots and reminds me of all those burning red candles we used to light. I know it made me stop and think about our parents, especially the sisters through whom we are tied. Or maybe the husbands we lost too early and miss this time of year. It brought up sadness and peace at the same time.

This time of year tends to bring to mind those who are gone. If we are not careful we can find ourselves in a sea of sadness. This picture reminds me that as a believer in Jesus Christ I can be sad for me and feel joy for them. There is an empty spot in my life, but as a Christian I believe in life eternal and know that we will one day be united. I trust that God has welcomed them to a place I can only begin to imagine and that the angels sang when they came home.

If you are missing a loved one this Christmas season and it is bringing you great sadness, I encourage you to talk to someone and share your sorrow. Share what you are thinking with someone who will listen with kindness and encourage you to find joy in the days you shared. Light a candle if it helps. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessing of time together. And ask that God would fill the empty spot in your life with joy.

One way to fill that hole is in service to others. This is a great time to take the love you remember and pass it on to those in need. Remember that little thing Jesus said about when we take care of others in need, we take care of him. And through your acts of giving, others might see that glimmer of Jesus in you and find peace and comfort in the midst of their bad day. I promise that you too will be blessed and when you think of this picture, you too will find a way to smile.

So thank you, dear cousin, for the tears and the smile. Thank you for the reminder that Christmas is about remembering our loved ones and honoring them in the way we live today.

God speed.

Maggie

Morning Light

From my prayer seat;
I watch the sun slice into darkness.
God’s reminder of a fresh start.
Each new moment,
replacing the one before.

Light fills the sky;
Shades of yellow replacing the grey.
God’s workmanship revealed again.
Lighting the path,
I seek his inspiration.

Words become alive;
Perfect knowledge guiding the day.
Inspiration feeding the soul.
God’s grace and peace,
Strengthening and encouraging

The sun is up;
Light pushing darkness out of the day.
Words bringing hope to move ahead.
The Son with us,
Sharing his love in all I do.

The path well lit;
The body and spirit well fed.
Called out from my sanctuary.
Into the day,
Anticipating Glory

© maggiemarcum.com

See Psalm 139 and Romans 1-2

Letting Go of Resentments with Mercy

Holding on to our resentments does less to the person we are angry with and more to hurt ourselves. Learning to release the person who offended us from our hate list may take real effort on our part, especially if they have been on the list for some time. Did you know that resentment is just another word for jealous? Did you know that mercy is the greatest gift you can offer another and yourself at the same time?

Offering mercy may take a deliberate effort on your part. It means offering forgiveness and meaning it. It means treating the other person with God’s love when your love isn’t there. It means being kind and treating the other person with understanding that we too are not perfect and we may have some responsibility for the situation. It means being compassionate when they hurt instead of laughing. And it does mean celebrating when good things come their way, even when we would like to think the good fortune should be ours. Mercy is sincere—it can’t be faked because above all, mercy means that we pray for all things God would have in their lives. We especially pray that they know the Lord and are transformed by his love and mercy. We ask that we too are transformed as we pray for them.

My daughter is one the greatest examples of a mercy-giver that I know. Even as a teenager she could find a way to forgive or overlook a person’s misdeeds toward her. She always seems to take the high road in relationships and give it one—or seven times seven— more chances. I have seen her rekindle relationships that I would never have gone back to and I have seen her grow more as she let go of her resentment. I have seen the freedom that comes from her mercy. She is the kid whose friends turned away from her when she wouldn’t go down the path they were heading, and still she managed to re-establish friendships with some of those people years later because she was willing to let the past be in the past. Like many young women, she has been hurt in relationships, and yet she has found a way to forgive and accept rich friendships on new terms. She has even shown her old mom mercy from time to time, understanding that I make mistakes and sometimes my problems have caused rather uncomfortable circumstances for us. She keeps moving forward and she inspires me to be all those things Jesus told us to be. She is one of the best examples I have of living a life in the image of Jesus.

As we ask for God’s mercy when we are in distress or have acted in a way that does not honor him, let us ask that he show us to whom we need to extend the same kind of mercy. We ask that he change our hearts and save us from carrying a burning coal that eats through our own heart. We ask for all things good for those we resent or envy and that we can be happy for their success. We ask to see them as God does, knowing he loves them. We ask that he inspire us to get on a path that takes us forward and frees us of the burden of disdain we carry.

Do you have a way you approach others with mercy? Do you have a success story of a time you gave or received mercy? I would love to hear your story. Please share it in the comments below.

“Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and in deep distress.” Psalm 25:16
© maggiemarcum.com

When I Forget to Pray

I have days, sometimes many days, in which I rush out the door and I forget to take the time to pray. It shows in everything I do, from not writing here to a less than gracious attitude with people. I have to feed my heart and soul everyday with the truth or I find myself living the lies again.

Praying for me begins with a reading from the Bible—usually Psalm 25 and something from the New Testament. I like the so-called “red letter words,” or those words spoken by Jesus. I also like to read other scriptures that remind me I will always be on a road of transformation because no matter how deep my faith runs, I can always be better. I can always learn more and be more for others. I can never be satisfied that God turned my life around because I know without digging into the words and praying regularly, I am just as capable of slipping into poor behavior as the next guy.

In Matthew 26:41 Jesus said to the disciples: “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” (NLT) Temptation comes to us all. We are foolish to think that we are immune to it or somehow set apart because we are believers in Jesus Christ. We all want to remain faithful. None of us wants to walk on the dark side, especially if we have been there before. Watch and pray—be guarded and ask for the strength to do the next right thing when you feel pulled in a different direction. Our spirit may want to stay on the path set before us, but as humans our bodies can fail us. Our body—including our minds—can overtake us if we are not careful. If we want to avoid making the same mistakes of the past, or finding new mistakes to make, we must be diligent and feed the spirit with positive words that our actions may follow along.

My new commitment is rather simple. Before the feet hit the floor, I will take time to think about the day ahead. I will take time to ask for God’s blessing on my life and on those who come to mind. I will ask that the next hour or so be focused on his word and dedicated to sharing what God reveals in the morning hours. Before I walk out the door, I will make sure that I am spiritually fed and better equipped to face the challenges of the day. And as the day progresses, I will pray for guidance and wisdom in all my activities. Starting my day with God, even if it is only the prayers in bed, I know I am better positioned to make the right choices I desire to make.

How do you keep a prayerful life? Do you have suggestions you can share that might inspire others? Click on LEAVE A REPLY below – We would love to hear from you.

Stuck

There are days when the mud seems to rise too high for us to fight it back. Maybe we have become entangled in a net and can’t get loose. Stuck, trapped, snared, and unable to move. We have forgotten what light looks like anymore and we fear we may never see it again; if we ever really saw the light in the first place. It is a hard place to be and even harder to explain it to another.

I can remember those times all too well in my life. I would lie curled up in my bed and ask myself: “how on earth did I ever get into this mess?” Sometimes I knew it was because of the decisions I had made, other times I wasn’t as sure. You know that feeling: your stomach churns and the tears flow and you hide from your family and friends because you don’t want to be a burden? Those are the days when we don’t even want to see our counselor or hit a meeting because we are so sure that even they would never get it.

What if you could see just a sliver of light? Would you be willing to take advantage of that sliver of light and believe that maybe, just maybe there was more where that came from? For me it started with a prayer. Oh, I couldn’t pray it. I had to ask someone else to pray it until I could. Yes, that meant I actually had to answer the phone or the text!!

I needed a rescue. No one I knew could give it to me; however, there were people who would help me to find it. I didn’t want to feel the way I was feeling forever and the only way out was to send a distress signal out to a friend. That friend needed to be someone I could trust and someone who I knew would send up prayers on my behalf. I knew my eyes needed to be on God to get out of the mess, but I just didn’t have it in me.

Slowly, I was able to look forward because looking back did no good. I couldn’t change what had happened but I could change the present and thus the future. Those prayers eventually became my prayer. Psalm 25 became my strength. I couldn’t read it all but I kept asking God to show me what to do next, even if next was only getting up and going to work. Hours became days became weeks became months became years.

My ability to stand up and let go of the pain did not come overnight. It came by having someone else help me cut the net from my feet and pull me out of the mud. And once out, it took my commitment and motivation to change. It is a daily struggle, because life is a daily struggle. Today I get out of the mud a lot faster. I tell others quicker. I pray before I slip into the mud bath and I don’t get tangled up like I used to.

Please, please; reach out today if this is your story. If there is no one you know, look up a church with a prayer line and call them. Just tell them you hurt and you need prayer. Get up and find a counselor whose name you like and give them a try. Go to a Celebrate Recovery meeting or other 12 step and meet people who have walked where you have walked. Look up. God is there and you will find his love and his strength until you have your own.

“My eyes are always looking to the Lord for help, for he alone can rescue me from the traps of my enemies.” Psalm 25: 15