When Pain Leads to Prayer

After Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden God said, I will greatly increase your pain in childbearing; withpain you will give birth to children. Genesis 3:16

Was this a punishment or a way of reminding Eve to seek God’s help?

In my own life, periods of suffering have motivated me to communicate with God. When our son was diagnosed with leukemia I experienced great emotional pain. I learned to open my heart and ask God the questions that were weighing heavily. The Psalms were helpful in guiding my prayers. I prayed for God’s help and guidance.

Pain can cause us to pause and seek help.  

For a period of time I attended women who labored and gave birth at home. As labor intensified they sometimes prayed. One mother asked her husband to pray. Another mama asked me to pray.

As I observed the prayers I saw faith and motherhood in a new way. Beginning motherhood with a prayer for God’s help was right.

Christmas is coming. Do you wonder about the birth of Jesus? Certainly Mary experienced pain. What was it like for Mary?

Mary and Manger

Yes, there was pain and stress but God demonstrated great love and grace in the incarnation.

Jesus experienced the ultimate pain as he approached death on the cross. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22: 42-44

Pain, prayer and love are connected.

The prompt for the Five Minute Friday community is: WITH

The manger scene is courtesy of FreeVintageArt.com

Memorable Books that I read in 2018

The local libraries are a wonderful resource. Many of the books I have read this year were from the library. Others I purchased or received as gifts. Here are some that were enlightening, thought provoking or an engaging read.

Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia

Dr. Dunlop explains the progression of the disease along with suggestions for relating with the person with dementia. When the disease is well progressed an individual may not remember the past and have little interest in the future. But they can still enjoy moments in the present. This book gave me insights into important aspects for my mother’s care.

Redeeming the Feminine Soul

Julie Roys discusses terms that come up in the church: patriarchy, complementarianism and egalitarianism. She discusses her own struggle to acknowledge her feminity. She writes: Gender, marriage, sexuality—it was all designed to help us understand God and how he relates to us.

A Place to Land

Kate Motaung’s memoir is a story of God’s grace throughout the events of her life. As she tells her story she takes the reader along with her from Michigan to South Africa. This author shares her moments of struggle and doubt. A thread of brokenness runs through the book—we live in a broken world. We all experience some brokenness in our families. But there is hope.

Until We Reach Home

Lynn Austin’s historical novel captured my interest. Three Swedish sisters immigrate to Chicago. Each sister had a unique story, and a spiritual development. After reading this book I looked for other books by Lynn Austin. Waves of Mercyis another historical novel—this one set in Holland, Michigan.

Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

Ray Rhodes wrote a detailed biography of the wife of Charles Spurgeon, a famous preacher in England during the Victorian era. Although I have heard of Charles  Spurgeon, I did not realize the extent of his popularity. I did not know that Susannah was vital to his ministry. Despite physical frailty she was a constant support for him and had a significant role in the preservation of his sermons. 

Killer Smile

Lisa Scottoline has written a series of books about an all women law practice. They are novels and plot driven. I am careful to pick up a book when I have a space of time to read. Often I end up staying up too late because I can’t put the book down. In this book, lawyer Mary DiNunzio is researching an internment camp for Italian immigrants during WWII.

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies

Dawn Raffel has patched together the story of a man who saved the lives of premature infants in the early 1900s. She gathered research from immigration records, from doctors that had done their own research on Mr. Couney, from interviews with senior adults that had benefited from his incubator care as infants.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis 

Patti Callahan has written a historical novel about Joy Davidman, the woman who married C.S. Lewis. The book is heavily researched and details Joy’s accomplishment as a writer in her own right. It also gives an account of her first marriage to Bill Gresham. Some years ago I read C.S. Lewis’ book, A Grief Observed, and I have always wondered about this woman that Lewis grew to love so deeply.

A Forgotten Place

Charles Todd (the pen name for a mother & son writing team) has written a series of books about a nurse during WWI. This is the latest book about Bess Crawford. I especially enjoyed how well the setting in Wales was conveyed.

For more book recommendations visit Kate Motaung’s link-up. Click here.

This post is also linked with Booknificent Thursday 

Jesus and the Family

This advent season we have attended beautiful concerts. Our grandchildren participated in a Christmas program at their church. The fours & fives sang Away in a Manger. Older children read scripture and sang additional Christmas carols. Advent is a time to share the celebration of Christ’s birth with others. 

I have been writing Christmas cards and receiving messages from friends that date back to my high school and college days. Our friendship continues.

Christmas is a time that ties family and friends together. And yet, some of the deepest pain comes from loss and broken relationships during the holidays.

God sent Jesus to an imperfect human family. This is significant. Jesus lived a sinless life in a human family and then offered himself as payment for our sin. He offers us salvation and the opportunity to become a member of God’s family . . . forever!


Nativity

When we reflect on this truth we see God’s great love for us and find the joy of Christmas.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46: 10

The prompt for the Five Minute Friday community is: STILL