The Power of Prayer—Never Underestimate It

April 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Lori Freeland –

My son came home yesterday and greeted me with a few of the most terrifying words a mom never wants to hear. “I almost got killed at the El Dorado intersection in McKinney this morning.” Then he gave me a hug and walked on past.

“What?” I followed him down the hall, my heart racing ahead of me, already up the stairway and in the next room. Didn’t matter the incident was hours old and my tardy visceral response did nothing but hike my blood pressure.

Kyle turned and proceeded to tell me he’d been waiting to turn left, completely missed the guy going straight—you know the guy with the Right of Way?—and he had to swerve, hit the curb, and almost popped his tire.

After I leashed my heart and stuck in back inside my chest for optimal performance, I sagged against the stairs. My first thought? The prayer I’d murmured over him this morning before he’d walked out the door.

The same prayer I played on repeat day after day since he’d slid into that car alone and I whimpered as his tail lights disappeared down the street.

Thank you, Lord for hearing me when I pray!

Don’t ever underestimate, devalue, or ignore the power of prayer. God is listening to you—sometimes you just can’t feel it.

“Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth” (Psalm 54:2 NIV).

“But I cry to you for help, LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you” (Psalm 88:13).

Fine Lines—Just Walk ‘Em

March 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Lori Freeland –

This week I found myself thinking a lot about fine lines. While walking a fine line is a tired cliché, the words paint a clear picture that fits with my current mindset. Imagine a child following a thin shadow line down the sidewalk step by careful step, a little wobbly, yet just making that next move forward one small shoe at a time.

Here are a few of my fine lines. Can you relate?

Trust myself. Yes, I need advice. On many topics. Being a kind wife and a focused mother, keeping strong finances, crafting an engaging story, and editing and tightening my articles. Other people ahead in the journey offer wisdom I haven’t gained and skills I haven’t mastered. But I need to listen with my ears open and decide with my heart closed. I can seek out opinions and that’s what I’m going to get—opinions. There may be a small percentage of truth in even the worst advice and I try to find it. But then I need to come back home, close the door, and sift through the information alone. In my heart, I will find what’s right for me.

Love my work. For me it’s my writing. If I’m not madly in love with my story, why should anyone else be? But I can’t love it so much I close my ears to solid advice. That’s a fine line if I ever saw one! Love it, but let it go. Still working that one out!

Release my children. No, not into the wild, but my natural inclination to yell “duck and cover,” throw my body over my kids, and protect them from the world may not be the best plan to grow them into the people I want them to be. The statement, “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” finally makes sense now that I’m striding in my mother’s slippers. When my kids hurt, I ache. I’d do anything for my little and not so little people. But that may damage them the most. Failure is the first step to success. And to endurance. Real life requires both.

Set myself apart. As a Christian, I am to be different. Set apart. A light in the dark. But if I lock myself in a brightly lit room, how will I know if my light is on? I need to step into the dark and check my batteries. I also need to remember the point of my light isn’t to clear the room; it’s to provide a safe warm place for people to come together and support each other. I need to remember, “But the greatest of these is LOVE” (I Cor. 13:13 NIV emphasis mine). But means stop and go the other direction. I can sit and judge others all day. I’m not winning anyone to Christ that way. Relationship over ranting. I can do that one!

What fine lines are you walking today? Leave a comment and share!

Just Do It

January 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Lori Freeland –

Remember when the Nike catch phrase—Just Do It–first came out?

Yes, that dates me, but the words have stuck. I think I still have the t-shirt buried in a box of high school memories somewhere.

A lot of life just needs to happen without forethought. Hence the motto—Just Do It. Here are a few things we can do without much pondering.

Send your friends an email telling them how grateful you are to have them in your life. Even if they didn’t come to your ten times removed second cousin’s piano recital.

Reach out to your daughter, love on her, tell her how beautiful she is. Even if she hasn’t combed her hair in a week and a giant ketchup stain mars her shirt—the brand new one you bought that wasn’t on sale.

Corner you son, even if he is now a foot taller than you, and love on him. And even if you can’t see it yet, tell him he’s going to be a great man.

Buy your sister a book on her wish list and mail it with a card that says, “I’m sorry I stole your boyfriend in the seventh grade.” Trust me, she still remembers.

Call your brother, say, “I love you,” then hang up. Because men don’t like to talk on the phone.

Mail your mother a card with a flower on it. Thank her for cooking your meals and making your bed and doing your laundry.

Text your father. Thank him for showing up for all those band and choir concerts. And your three-hour long high school graduation.

Thank your parents—even if they weren’t perfect. They tried. Parenting is hard. The hardest project I’ve ever undertaken—second to marriage.

Which brings me to—

Be grateful for your spouse. God is using your husband or wife to make you a better person. Don’t forget, iron sharpens iron, even if it hurts sometimes.

Hug your husband before he leaves for work. Even if he left his underwear at the foot of the bed and forgot to brush his teeth.

Kiss your wife just because you can—not because you want something else.

Encourage random people today. Even if they’re mean to you in the Starbucks line. It’s easy to be nice when others are nice—not so much when someone irritates the snot out of you. That takes real control.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:13 NIV).

Your Name

December 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Lori Freeland –

Eighteen years ago, my husband and I each scribbled two names on ripped pieces of a receipt, and stuck them in a baseball cap. Pat shook them up and I drew one out.

I opened the folded paper and frowned. “Not the right one.”

“Best of three.” Pat suggested.

After two more draws, I changed it to the best of five.

He agreed even though his top choice had made best of three.

The wrinkled paper that turned out to be best out of five read Kyle.

With a smile, because my handwriting scrawled over that part of the receipt, I lifted our brand new son out of the bassinet and stared into his bright blue eyes. “Hi, Kyle.”

“Ahem,” a voice cleared across the room.

Oops. I’d forgotten we weren’t alone. I turned to the nurse waiting on the chair by the door holding a clipboard in her hand. “We’ve decided.”

“Finally.” She walked to my husband and handed him a pen. “Name this child so you can take him home.”

My husband quickly filled in the word it had taken us more than three days to agree on and our new addition became someone.

He became a Kyle. But not just any Kyle. Kyle Patrick Freeland. These three words would now identify him, walk before him, introduce him. And right there in the room, we prayed for him to grow up to be the fortress that his name called him to be.

Names are important. Jesus has many names. And he lives up to all of them. Each of them backed with power from the Father.

“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe” (Psalm 61:3 NIV).

“ …and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence” (Revelation 7:15 NIV).

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Paul Baloche shares my heart for the magnificent name of Jesus best in his song, Your Name. “Your name is a strong and mighty tower. Your name is a shelter like no other… Nothing has the power to save, but Your name.”
Have you ever called on the Name of Jesus? Out loud? Alone or in a group?

I have and every time I’m amazed at the power, the peace, the love that comes with speaking aloud the name of Jesus.

If you’ve read my post Be a Dork for Jesus, you aren’t surprised by this. Are you picturing me dancing around the kitchen in those pink footie pajamas?

I lift you up, Jesus. I call upon your name in my hour of need, in my moment of rest, in the trials of indecision.

The Miracle Manifested Part Two

October 8, 2020 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Lori Freeland –

Quick Recap of Where is the Miracle?
I ask myself, what happened to The Miracle? A question I mulled a lot while Kyle suffered. What sin kept The Miracle away? What treatment did his doctors leave out? What did I do wrong? What did I miss? What prayers did I leave out? Why did Kyle suffer for four years before we got our lives back? Why did the sweet little girl in the hospital room next to ours go through three years of agony and never get her life back? We all ask these hard questions—controversial faith altering questions and God tells us, “…my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8 NIV).

What if The Miracle did occur and I missed it?

What if The Miracle had nothing to do with the end result?

And everything to do with the journey?

In the middle of Kyle’s battle with leukemia, my friend Robin and I were having coffee and talking about our kids and the worst thing that could happen to them. At the time, caught up in Kyle’s cancer, I immediately said, “death.”

She shook her head to disagree. “Eternal separation from God.”

Wow.

All I could think about revolved around Kyle’s life now. Here. With me. And what it would be like to live without him.

But what if my earthly perspective on suffering and death didn’t fit with God’s perspective on eternity? Wrapping my head around The Miracle in the journey seemed as impossible as stretching out my hand in Plano, Texas to touch my mother in Madison, Wisconsin.

What if God saw suffering like this—the life of one small, vulnerable child or one broken-hearted mother could impact the eternal lives of two people? Or four? Or forty?

What if The Miracle in the journey gave me a glimpse of God in a way I never would have seen? I am a new person. A different person. A better person in so many ways. And so is Kyle. What if I learned that trust came in different forms and brought unique blessings—one of them being my son’s relationship with Jesus and his life goal. After high school graduation this May, his heart’s desire is to go to nursing school and then work in pediatric oncology.

I need to re-examine my journey. The moments. The day by day. I need to stop looking for The Miracle at the end and open my eyes to search for it in the midst—the midst of pain, fear, frustration, and hopelessness.

That takes a special pair of eyes.

Eyes that I don’t have.

But I know where I can get them. God’s Word spills over with His perspective. His ways. His miracles. I believe the Bible when I am encouraged to, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 NIV). I hang onto to the promise that, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding” (Proverbs 3:13 NIV).

What could it hurt to ponder The Miracle being in the journey rather than at the end of it? We’re going to walk the walk no matter what. If suffering, pain, and death must be part of that journey, anger and denial won’t change a thing.

But looking for The Miracle in the midst just might.

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