“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer 29:11).
I recently shared a message on grieving loss at my local parish. When preparing for the session I was reminded of a story I heard years ago about a little girl with serious problems with her legs. They were deeply scarred, and she was in continual pain. What particularly struck me about the story was the response of her father. He stood beside her over the years of struggle with this focused message: “Honey, I want you to walk through the pain with your eyes on Jesus.” It was a loving, compassionate litany that helped to carry her through.
I believe that the Lord is saying now to you and me, as we look at this new year with a renewed sense of purpose: “Walk through your challenges with your eyes on Me.” Part of that renewal of purpose, is letting go of the things that hold us down.
I have been grieving. My beloved sister, Cherrill, died on January 5, 2014, of the terrible disease of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. At 3:00 a.m. on the day of her death my niece called me from Cherrill’s hospital room in Oregon. She put her phone on speaker near my sister and I prayed through the agonizing sounds, mostly in tongues, the language of the Spirit. As I prayed (alone at home in San Jose, CA, for over an hour, with tears streaming down my face), there was a clear sense of removing obstacles, pouring in mercy. I was helping her walk through the pain with her eyes on Jesus. She died several hours later. In all of our decades of years together, it was surely the most intimate, painful, loving, spiritual time I ever had with my sister. Poured out love.
Now it is time for deep reflection, and a fresh movement forward. I am limited in ways I wasn’t in years past as I traveled around the world. The lymphoma cancer that had been in remission seems to have returned. (Hopefully temporarily.) And just a few days ago I began seriously praying for a renewed sense of purpose. The first word that came to me from the Lord was “I want you to help others.” I am thinking out loud here, as I hope this might encourage you to do also. When I wrote books, I would pray, “Lord show me a need, and show me how to meet that need.” This is a very good prayer!
Years ago I developed a line of “Hugs” greeting cards, with dopey little cartoons, that had a certain popularity. I just gave them over to my nieces in Oregon, to do with what they will. I might do some more writing, but not printed books. I do pray with people over the phone, and sometimes help people get released in the gift of tongues, over the phone. We have the monthly Power Tongues International sessions that are quite amazing (check the blog on my website). I have thought about skype sessions, maybe. Maybe not.
Now following those random thoughts, I want to pray for you, that you will have a time of mental and spiritual exploration to uncover the gifts that the Lord wants to bring forth in the coming months. And that if there are areas of grieving or unfinished business holding you back, that you will bravely face them; that you will walk through them honestly and steadily with your eyes on Jesus, and make some serious steps forward. Do you agree? Then pray with me:
Lord Jesus, I open my life to you now in a deeper way than ever before. Please forgive me for any way I have offended you. I give my life to you. Please help me to see the areas where I am stuck. Show me where I am grieving and help me to face and walk through the grief with my eyes on you. If there is unforgiveness, give me the grace to forgive. If there is unrepented sin, guide me to a cleansing confession. If there are areas where I just feel shut down, and don’t know why, please bring it to light and guide me to freedom. And Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me a renewed sense of purpose. I want every dream in my heart that comes from you, to be fulfilled. You have wonderful plans for my life. Thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit, guiding me to the fulfillment of your purpose for my life. “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:12-13).
With love and prayers, Linda Schubert