A term I would never imagined I would think of using - estranged - now describes the relationship between me and my dad. I haven't seen him for almost 6 months and I'm at an unfortunate part for my own sanity that I can no longer even communicate with him. Text messages are blocked, emails are blocked, and I don't even have voicemail on my phone because I do not want to hear "it". He is sick, very sick mentally. It's at a point where no matter what I (or anyone else, for that matter) says or does, he will not listen and he does what he wants anyway. There comes a point where if you stick around, you end up hurting yourself and enabling the behavior.
I haven't done a #SheReadsTruth update in awhile. I could do a full-on post every day, but I am really enjoying this intimate relationship with God that I'm forming and I feel that so much of it is private. I finished the first "Living The Surrendered Life" study a couple of weeks ago, and dove right into the next 21 day "Prayer" study which is currently on day 19. I thought I'd share with you some highlights of my "Prayer" study and why I need this in my life right now.
As I said, my dad is ill. He has a disease. Not many people consider alcoholism to be a disease, but it is defined as one, and as an ER nurse I see it in my profession on a daily basis. He has said and done some very hurtful things to me and my family in the past week...perhaps some irreparable damage. One thing he texted to Jay that struck me to my core was "tell Sarah to pray all she wants." He knows I am a Christian and that my faith is growing. I've sent him scripture through the course of my involvement in his disease for the last 1.5 years. The last good talk I had with him was after I had read Romans 12:12. I told him he needed to be joyful in hope, patient in his suffering, and faithful in his prayer. Only God could help him, but he had to try and help himself too. I would email him certain scriptures I had come across over this study but wouldn't hear back. Until that text. Ouch. That was my first reaction - ouch. He's making fun of me? He doesn't believe in the power of prayer? I have spent the last 19 days learning about and appreciating prayer more than I ever thought I was capable of. I do my studies in the evening. Braden is asleep, it's quiet and calm and I can focus on Him. You know what the scripture was that night?
As I opened up my YouVersion Bible app (you need this app - seriously!) I had it set on The Message version of the bible, and I needed to read it in those words. PRAY ALL THE TIME! THIS IS THE WAY GOD WANTS ME TO LIVE! Wow. I smiled a big smile...then cried tears of joy and showed Jay my phone. "He can't bring me down with his words." I told Jay. "I'll never stop praying!" And I won't. I'll never stop praying for my dad. Jay told me that God tells us what we need to hear, when we need to hear it...boy was he ever right. Bless my husband!
I am still using my "Grateful" app. Not as faithfully as I should, I really need to remind myself to try and do it every night, because there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for at the end of every day, even if it's a bad day, there's always something! Many of the scriptures have a recurring theme of "cry out to the Lord". Let me tell you, I've been crying out and He is listening AND answering. When I first started this study I felt totally lost without the devotional. It was just scripture and I was left to my own devices as to what to make of it. As I chatted with some of the #SheReadsTruth ladies via the Instagram feed, I learned to look at different versions of the scripture - The Message, NIV, KJV, etc...and it's amazing how the same message can be conveyed so clearly in a different wording of it! I thought it would be over my head...me trying to interpret the Word all by my lonesome! But you know what? It's not intimidating anymore and I don't have to "cheat" and look what others are saying, though I still like to see how they interpret it too.
God spoke to me again this week, words that I needed to read. For my life and understanding about my dad right now. This was Saturday, Day 17's scripture:
Don't shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think. Don't be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear. God's in charge, not you -- the less you speak, the better. Overwork makes for restless sleep. Over talk shows you up as a fool. When you tell God you'll do something, do it -- now. God takes no pleasure in foolish gabble. Vow it, then do it. Far better not to vow in the first place than to vow and not pay up. Don't let your mouth make a total sinner of you. When called to account, you won't get by with "Sorry, I didn't mean it." Why risk provoking God to angry retaliation? But against all illusion and fantasy and empty talk, there's always this rock foundation: Fear God!
-- Ecclesiates 5:2-7 (MSG)
Don't run your mouth - the less you speak - the better. God is in charge - not you! Another big THANK YOU for having this study in my life. I don't think I could have found more perfect scripture if I tried. God is working wonders in my life, and that is why I am so at peace with my life. I'm not happy about the relationship my dad has created between us and the rest of our family, but it is out of my control, and knowing that it is in God's hands is pretty much the only thing getting me through it.
I have been reading my bible and doing devotionals for 40 days now. This something I've been striving for and felt that I have needed, and as I said when this started, it was an answer to my prayers!
Thank you for reading this, if you have. It's something I've been waiting for the right moment to share, and God is telling me that now is the time.