Throwback Thursday: DESCENT INTO MADNESS

I feel them climbing over my feet, in between the lacy design of my leather sandals. Fire Ants. I know their vicious attacks anywhere. Itching and burning violently follow. I quickly kick off my sandals and stare down at my feet waiting to see the damage. My pale feet stare back at me, the skin unmarred, yet I can still feel them crawling over me. I can feel the tenderness of my feet beneath their sharp, sudden attacks, but I see no sign of them. I rub my hands over my feet expecting to feel the ants, but nothing. I rise, picking up my sandals from the other side of the room, examining them and the floor around them for evidence of the uninvited army. I see nothing.

This is the beginning of my descent into madness. The end of my grasp of reality.

© 2021 Raelyn Pracht

Throwback Thursday: LISTEN (Lent 2017)

“for gaining wisdom and instruction;
    for understanding words of insight;
 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
    doing what is right and just and fair;
 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the young—
 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—
 for understanding proverbs and parables,
    the sayings and riddles of the wise.

 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  Proverbs 1:1-7

We spend so much time in prayer, which of course is something we are called to do.  It’s a vital part of our walk with Christ and a meaningful, deep focus during Lent.  However, sometimes we get so absorbed with the “talking” part to God that we forget about the listening part.  

Solomon tells us in Proverbs 1:5 that the “wise listen and add to their learning.” If all we ever do is talk then how can we listen?  How can we hear that still, small voice?   

Keep praying daily but stop and listen as well.  It is how we can grow in our relationship and gain wisdom and understanding.

Psalm 34:11; John 10:16; John 10:27

PRAYER

Lord, help me to listen, to focus on hearing your voice. Quiet my mind from distractions and help me to hear only You.

©2017 Raelyn Pracht

IN JESUS NAME

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:12-14

Wonderful Counselor. Redeemer. The Alpha and the Omega. Light of the World. Good Shepherd. King of Kings. Immanuel. I Am.  These are just some examples of the names of Jesus.  

When we pray, we ask for things in Jesus name.  This is more than just repeating things we were taught to say.  Those words have incredible meaning.  They are reminders to us that we have a mediator, an advocate, who is there to answer our prayers and bring glory to the Father through them.  It is in His name that we pray.  It is because of His name that we can come boldly before the throne of God.  

Revelation 3:21; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 John 2:1

PRAYER

Lord, may I always remember the many different roles You have in my life.  Thank you that I can come boldly before the throne and have confidence in praying in your Holy name.  Thank you for being my advocate, my counselor, my father, my friend and so much more.  Amen.

© Raelyn Pracht 2017

FORGIVING OURSELVES

“He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:9-12

There has been a lot of teaching on forgiveness in our homes, schools and churches. However, I believe the subject of forgiving yourself sometimes gets pushed aside. We are taught that in order to be able to care for someone else, we must take care of ourselves first.  The same can be said of forgiveness.  If we can’t forgive ourselves for things we have done, or perhaps hurt we have caused, then how can we truly forgive others?

The truth and the promise is that God has removed our sins and our transgressions as far from the east is from the west.  If He can forgive us, and not let our past come between Him and His love for us, then shouldn’t we do the same for ourselves?

What are you walking around with, deep inside, that you feel you can’t forgive yourself for?  Shame? Guilt? Pain? Lift it up to Him who has forgiven you and believe your sins are forgiven.

Lord, You know what I am struggling with. You know that I can’t seem to put this sin behind me.  Help me to fully accept your love and forgiveness.  Help me see myself through Your eyes.  Amen.

1 John 1:9; Acts 3:19; Luke 7:47

IN EVERYTHING: A Reminder that God Cares about the Little Things too

As I am reflecting on the last week of the awful weather here in Texas, I find myself crying tears of praise and thanksgiving. My family and I have so much to be thankful for.

We only lost some branches off a few trees.

We did lose power, but were able to find ways to create heat. Mainly, we heated up cast iron skillets on the gas stove and hovered around them.

We never lost water.

Our pipes never burst or froze.

We were able to have a hot meal every night.

The above large subjects were mostly what I prayed about for myself and others. However, I was reminded of something I had forgotten: How much God cares about the little things.

With the snow and ice finally melted, we ventured out to the grocery store. There was one thing we needed more than anything- dog food. We walked into the store and I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety. The shelves were emptier than even when Covid first hit.

As we got closer to the pet food aisle, I found myself praying for God to provide, for there to be dog food for Cooper. When I turned the corner, it did not look promising. With my heart beating fast, I made my way to the end where the dog food is. There were three bags left in the whole store and one was his exact dog food. A brand we recently changed to. God had provided.

Sometimes we forget that God wants us to bring everything to him . . . the big things like prayers for healing; the little things like prayers for dog food; and everything in between.

When in doubt, turn to the loving command in Philippians 4:6-7:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

In everything.

Not, in some things.

In everything.

Eleanor: A Beginning

Eleanor closed her husband’s worn Bible, taking a moment to run her index finger across his name imprinted in gold. She exhaled with a slight smile and set it back into the drawer of the end table. She rose slowly from her wooden rocking chair, making an audible sigh as she shuffled her feet the short distance to the small kitchen in her apartment at River Oaks Senior Living Community. 

She grabbed the cherry-red teapot, removed the yellow post-it note stuck to it,  and filled it with tap water. Carefully, she set it on the front burner. No, she thought, back burner only. That was what Zie, otherwise known as Nurse Mackenzie had told her to do. Eleanor promptly moved it to the left, back burner and turned on the gas stove. 

While she waited for the familiar sound of the whistle alerting her to the water being ready, she looked around her kitchen. The yellow post-it notes surrounded her, all reminders for herself. Eleanor was angry when Zie first suggested it, but she made a promise to try it for a week. The suggestion came after she had left the bath running. Eleanor had every intention of taking a hot bath, but then her daughter called and she got distracted. That was all. Just distracted. 

She looked at the yellow piece of paper that she was holding.  It simply said in black magic marker:

THE TEAPOT IS ON. TURN OFF STOVE.

How did I get here? she wondered. It was just last year when Frank and I moved to this town. 

Frank and Eleanor spent nearly every moment together since he had officially retired from the restaurant business. They would watch movies, take walks and explore the new town they moved to. There was so much exploring to do in this new place and they wanted to take it all in. They never got to, though. They weren’t even in the house a year before his heart gave way.  

How did I get here? she wondered.  It was just last year when Frank and I moved to this town. 

Only it wasn’t just last year when they moved to Abingdon. It was seven years ago. In those seven years, grief took more than its fair share of Eleanor’s heart. It took pieces of her mind too. 

© 2021 Raelyn Pracht

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