I really really want to go to Bethany. I've picked out my major - I've reviewed the courses and I'm so pumped!
Of course, after leaving Bethany I went to work and listened to a great podcast from Family Life Today about the Bible being taught as an elective course in public schools. The course sounds fantastic, very academic. It's really sad that today's generation is missing such basic knowledge of the Bible but it sounds like from these stats - it's invaluable knowledge - even for non-believers from a secular standpoint.
Finally, in past blogs I've discussed my difficulty with my prayer life. It's uncomfortable at best. It was uncomfortable as a Latter Day Saint - I didn't have those twenty minute elaborate prayers, "Please Lord, bless us as we continue on towards our meetings, bless those who are not with us that they may be with us in spirit and perhaps will be with us next Sunday..." - even though I had almost every lengthy prayer memorized, they just weren't me. And so the few times I was asked to pray, my prayers were always the same. "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for this Sabbath Day. Thank you for those gathered here today to worship You and learn about you. Please allow Your Spirit to be with us and teach us. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." As a "Christ Follower" (aka Christian, aka Evangelical, aka Protestant, aka whatever other labels I fall under) I now feel torn between LDS prayers and the seemingly effortless prayers I've heard other Christians pray. It seems so easy for them and I fear anyone asking me to pray.
When I'm alone in my prayer closet, yoga style, head covered - it's not always so paralyzing because it's just me and God. But always making that time is hard. When I'm in my car and I just have a conversation with Him - a bit easier, but then I have this guilt that I wasn't reverent enough and so my prayers aren't honored.
Some Christians hold hands, some put their hands together, some hold their palms up - what is an ex-Mormon supposed to do when they've always been taught to fold their arms and they were told that this is a Masonic ritual and it's hindering their prayer life? :P
Throughout the past months, I've tried to not fold my arms, but rather place my hands together as I've seen other Christians do.
But I wasn't quite comfortable (outside of "worship" during singing time) of the other positions I had seen other Christians doing.
Top it off, two days ago Beth Moore took me through the obstacle of "prayerlessness" (eh - long word!) and how it affects our relationship with God. I can tell that God is growing me and refining me - it seems every message I listen to, read, or the Word for that day in devotion is speaking about obediance, lack of obediance, and refining. Praise God! How far I've come to realize that He's refining me and praise Him for it instead of gnawing my nails and nervously thinking, "But why God why?!"
So while I've had this on my mind off and on the past few months, I've also been complaining (but not praying) about my "adventures in babysitting". I'll detour from my present train of thought for just a moment - it'll all make sense in a moment, I promise. I've been babysitting since Anya was just a few months old. I've had three "charges" now. The first one, Paris. Her mom was always late picking her up. Drove me insane. Could never make solid plans. The second one I still sit for - baby C - parents never discipline him, they are still LDS (pay me with LDS checks), always seem to be behind and are like pulling teeth to get paid. And my most recent charges come from my GP small group. I was totally excited when I took the two kids. Their mom is a Christian, believes in discipline, pays me on time without being asked or coerced, is polite and kind and serving - she's like a dream. But there are some issues - I won't name them here - mostly with some behavior issues I've had between one of my kids and hers. Instead of praying (like I should have) I complained to two of my closest friends, worried, fretted, and began resenting the whole situation. Weekdays became my nightmares.
Today, she sat down with me and counseled me in prayer. It was simple counseling but I realized that every charge I had, had taught me a lesson that God wanted and needed me to learn. In deed, my devotional just the day before had been about how we suffer with Christ - how God puts us in situations to be able to emphasize with those around us. Even though I felt I was getting progressively worse charges each time, God is blessing me each time with a new life experience and a new preparation for however He will use me in the future. How amazing is that? He's placed this mother in my life to help me in my constant struggle in prayer. Today has been the best day with the kids in a long time. All because of her counseling on prayer. No one has ever taken the time to counsel me on prayer. Why would they? It seems like a pretty straight forward thing doesn't it? And I'm too prideful to really let on to anyone how in need I was in this area.
God is good.