Category Archives: prayer

Ten Years.

In many ways it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  In so many other ways, it really does.  Ten years ago at this time, I was two months pregnant with John Henry.  And, his dad left.

I guess I never imagined I would be in that place.  I certainly never saw myself divorced.  I never thought I’d be a single mother.  It was the single most heart-breaking, devastating time in my life.  Words were said that pierced me.  Actions taken that floored me.  And, I couldn’t imagine that my life would ever be restored back to where it was.

I spent the next few months busying myself with work, getting ready for a baby, and involving myself in the community.  I traveled to Chicago to an Arts Conference hosted by Willow Creek Church.  I headed up the campaign for my uncle who was running for County Commissioner.  He won, by the way.  And, I joined with city leaders in putting together a Memorial Service for the one year anniversary of 9/11.   And, in my down time, I cried.

But, I also prayed.

I prayed scriptures over Bryan’s life every single night of my pregnancy.  I prayed blessings over him.  In the middle of my pain, I cried out to the Redeemer.  And, I released forgiveness little by little until I no longer carried any anger or resentment.

I was still heartbroken.  There were times I would feel sorry for myself.  I’d cry the ugly cry.  My countenance would be less than inviting.  I remember during one of my pity parties, my dad told me, “You never know how you’re going to feel tomorrow.”  Of course, I knew how I was going to feel.  Exactly like I was feeling at that moment.

Until one day, you wake up, and the weight of it all seems a little less.  The hurt isn’t quite as painful.  And, before you know it, you are smiling.  And, you are staring into the eyes of a little blue-eyed baby boy who has changed everything.

September 24, 2002, I held John Henry.  I looked at my parents and said, “My world is right.”  It was.  The hurt was still there.  But it became less.  A few months later, Kris Takle flew into my life.  Literally.  Six months later?  We were married.  Six months after that?  We were pregnant with Anna Takle.

And, now ten years later?  My life is full.

It is redeemed.

I never believe that divorce is God’s best for one’s life.  But, I do believe He is a God of redemption and will make good out of messes.  I will never write about the nit and the grit of the words said or the actions during it all.  I really see no need, honestly.  It’s not where I live.  I don’t ever want it printed and posted to hurt John Henry or Bryan.

As for Bryan, he has allowed God to work in his life.  He is a great father to John Henry.  He is a great friend to Kris.  And, Kris is a great friend to him.  We celebrate holidays together.  We have vacationed together.  We aren’t “normal.”  We really didn’t think “normal” was working.  So, we just do things differently.

I would defend Bryan’s name until my last breath on earth.  Because, he is a good man.  And, I am forever grateful to him for John Henry Landreth.  I have learned more about compassion and forgiveness because of that little boy than I ever imagined possible.

John Henry is a constant reminder to me of how GOOD God is.

Anna and Jett are constant reminders of His redemption.

And, Kris Takle.  Well, you know what he is.

The one who made my heart beat fast again.

It’s been a good ten years.

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Filed under disappointment, divorce, gratitude, Life Experiences, Love, Motherhood, prayer, Writing

You’re A Hard Habit to Break.

I’m doing it.  I’m really doing it.

I’m giving up social networking for Lent.  I’m saying goodbye to the Facebook and the Twitter beginning this Ash Wednesday.  I’ll see y’all again Easter Sunday.  That’s, April 8th, friends.  That’s more than six weeks.   I’d be lying to say it’s going to be easy.  It’s not.  Truth is, I LOVE keeping up with your crazy lives and posting pics and statuses to keep you up with mine.  I mean, I love y’all.  I do.

I love the cute pics of your toddler jumping in puddles.

The pics of your husband obliging you by posing for a “Facebook shot” on your date night.

The funny thing your seven year old said on the way to school.

The awesome job your daughter did on her school project.

The pic of the fabulous meal you cooked.

I love it all.

The hardest part for me will be not being aware of your immediate prayer needs.  So, I’m asking that you email me any time I can pray for you.  Email me at durstee@aol.com.  Yes, I’m still AOL.  You might call AOL old school and lame.  I call it loyalty.  So, there.

I’ve asked Kris to hold me accountable in this.  As a matter of fact, I’m letting him change my password on both accounts and not tell me what it is until Easter Sunday.  He will only share it with my mom.  And, that lady is a dadgum vault.

That being said, I’m going to be blogging during these next six weeks.  Because, some of you read my posts and connect to them through Facebook and Twitter, Kris or my sweet momma will be posting the link to the blogs on my Facebook account.  It won’t be me.  So, I won’t see your comments, wall posts, messages, etc.  I will only be checking my email.  And, you’ve got that now, right?  Right.

So, why give up social networking?  Why not sugar?  Or television?  Or exercise?  (I only jest on that last one.  Ahem.)  Well, if I’m honest.  My Junior Mint consumption takes up a whole five seconds of my day.  I can inhale them like no other.  So, really.  Where’s the sacrifice in that?

And, television?  Sure.  I’ll sacrifice The Wiggles, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Big Time Rush, and Victorious.

This is truly a sacrifice for me.  And, I plan to spend the time away by giving it to the people I come into contact with each day.  I plan to spend it with my husband and children.  I plan to spend it seeking His face.  And, while I have a little anxiety in giving it up, I have greater excitement as to what He will open my eyes to.  And, what He will do in and through me.  That’s why I want to continue blogging.  I want to be able journal what I see, feel, and do as I become more sensitive to the Spirit during this time.

If you have decided to fast for Lent, what are you giving up?

Lent is a time when Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting and spiritual discipline.  Disclaimer:  God won’t love you any less if you don’t fast.  That’s just not His style.  It’s a personal choice. So, don’t judge anyone who doesn’t fast, m’kay?

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Filed under prayer, Spiritual Journey, Writing

Geek Prayer Warrior.

Writing is a spiritual discipline for me now.  I know this.  I know this, because, I feel a sense of guilt when I don’t write.  Not a condemnation kind of guilt.  That’s not God’s style.  Rather, the kind of guilt you feel when you know you aren’t doing what God wants you to do in your life at this given moment.  I mean, obviously, I haven’t felt a GREAT DEAL of guilt about it in the past given my lengthy sabbaticals since kid three arrived.  Because, clearly, I’ve been able to still eat with this kind of guilt.

I guess it’s kind of like physical exercise.  You don’t always want to do it, but after you do, you feel so much better.  So, I’ve been thinking about ways to organize my writing time.  I figure if I make plans to write, I will.  Just like everything else in life.  We do what we make the time to do.  So, while, I am reading other people’s material and advice on how to help writing schedule, I thought I’d share with you how I make time to pray for people.  Or better yet, how I remember to pray for people and their specific needs.

When I someone asks me to pray for them, or if I commit to pray for someone, I pray for them the moment they ask.  The very moment.  Even if I’m in their presence, I make a conscious choice to pray silently right then and there.  If I read on Facebook or Twitter or receive an email that someone needs prayer, I pray immediately.  I don’t wait.  Because, then, I will surely forget.  But, once I pray that one time, something clicks.  And, that need someone has stays with me.  That need will continue to flow through my mind as the days and weeks come and go.  Then, whenever I think about that person, I pray for them. 

So, if you ask me, in person, to pray for you, and you suddenly think I’ve exited the planet, I’m still here.  It’s just my thing.  It seals that need into my memory bank. 

Now, suddenly, I feel very much like the geek prayer warrior.  Which brings up another factoid about me.  I never title my blog posts until I’m half-way through writing it.  It’s at this point in my post I’ve decided to name it “Geek Prayer Warrior.”

And, the little snippet above has nothing to do with this post.  Of course. 

So, the next time someone asks you to pray for them, try my little trick.  Heck, it may not work for ya.  I’m just sayin’.  Try it.  I have learned the more I think about other people, the more I pray for them.  And, the more I pray for other people, the less I think of myself.  And, the less I think of myself, the more I think on Him.  And, the more I think on Him, the more He becomes center.

And, well, everything is better when He is center.

Amen? 

Amen???

Thank you.  A-MEN.

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Filed under prayer, Spiritual Journey, Writing

Right This Minute.

Right this minute.

I know a woman bed-ridden with a cancer that is trying to consume her body.  And, it wrecks me.

Right this minute.

I know a woman who is putting every single ounce of trust into her Savior as she comforts her two daughters who probably don’t understand why their father has walked out.  And, it wrecks me.

Right this minute.

I know a man who is caring for a wife who has been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia while struggling to keep his business afloat.  And, it wrecks me.

Right this minute.

I know a woman who doesn’t comprehend her value and is selling out to lies that she will never be good enough.  And, it wrecks me.

I know every single one of these people.

And, these things are happening.  Right this minute.

And, it wrecks me.

It wrecks me until I remember…..

The Roman Centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant, and Jesus just spoke the words, and He was healed.

And, I remember that God will be a father to the fatherless, and He will redeem everything that is lost.

I remember that all things are possible with the One who provides for us and never leaves us and goes with us all the way to the end.  And, the end is always glorious.

I remember that I am the arms and feet of Christ, and I can love with His amazing love so that person hurting sees only God lifting her up, holding her in His arms, until she knows how He loves her from the inside out.

You see, nothing….NOTHING is beyond repair.  Nothing is beyond redemption.  Nothing is beyond the MIRACLE.

And, I won’t stop praying.  I won’t stop serving.  I won’t stop fighting for people.

Because, I am a WARRIOR.

And, He is KING.  In whom ALL things are POSSIBLE

Right.  This.  Minute.

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, making an impact, prayer

The Pastor.

We picked up our wings.  That’s code for there is some football game thing, and I need food to bear through it.  Sorry, Falcons fans.  No.  Really.  Sorry.  Anyhoo, a very good friend of mine (who is also my hair stylist which is code for VERY good friend) sent me a text to pray for her baby boy.  Poor thing had slipped out of his big sister’s hands, hit his noggin’, and scared his momma to pieces.  ‘Cause we mommas are good at getting scared to pieces.

I called her back immediately and prayed with her over the phone.  Then, I knew I couldn’t just sit and wait on her to call me back from the Emergency Room.  And, after I told Dad what was going on, he got all, “Um, I’m there pastor, I need to be there.”  So, off we went together.

I watched Dad pray for this sweet, baby boy.  Then, as we were leaving, I watched him pray for someone else. 

It was an elderly lady waiting to be checked after a fall.

“Has anyone prayed for you?”  He asked her.

“No, sir,” she told him.

So, he prayed.

As we drove away, Dad said something to me that has stayed with me.

“One of the greatest joys of being a pastor and doing what I do is getting to pray for people.”

I’ve never heard Dad say, one of the greatest joys of being a pastor is growing the largest church.  Although, I know that changed lives matter to him. 

But, I know that people matter to him most. 

I left that hospital with a full heart and a holy perspective on what it means to be a pastor. 

I hope I still say after 35 years in ministry, I GET to pray for people.

As for the sweet, baby boy?  He is just fine.  And, that scared momma?  Well, I don’t even think she noticed the Falcons lost.

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Filed under making an impact, prayer

No Matter Your Circumstances.

My friend, Lynn, sent this video to me.  I wept watching this very brave, young man worship God in his difficult circumstances.  May we all learn to worship God no matter where we are in our  journey.  I’m grateful for people like Steve Fee who paused his day for this moment in young Creed’s life. 

Today, I am praying for a young man whom I have never met. 

Have a great weekend.  And, take a moment to worship God. 

No matter your circumstances.

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Filed under God Stuff, making an impact, prayer

The Warrior.

(Lynn with her sweet grandchildren)

She’s one of the greatest women of God I’ve ever known.

She loves her family the way I imagine God called all mothers and daughters to love their families.

She loves the local the church and never misses a day in His courts unless necessary.

She loves her friends, and her thoughtfulness is always evident.

I honestly don’t know many more selfless human beings than Lynn Chambers.

I really don’t know how I would have pressed through my difficult times without her encouragement.

And, I don’t know a greater prayer warrior than she.

But, I do know that she loves with a love that must melt the heart of God.

She is my prayer warrior.

And, she’s probably yours.

Happy Birthday Lynn Chambers.  I love you more than I could ever express.  Thank you for believing in the power of prayer.  It’s an honor to call you friend.

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Filed under Friendship, prayer

Dear Oklahoma.

Dear Oklahoma,

I didn’t know you on April 19, 1995.  But, I know you today.  When I think of how you hurt 15 years ago, it hurts my heart.  I admire how you honor and remember those affected by the Alfred P. Murrah federal building bombing. 

And, I love how you continue to hold onto hope.

So, today, I honor you.  I pray for those who are still affected by that day.

And, I remember with you.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

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Filed under life, prayer

Sweetly Broken.

Pregnancy means waking up to pee every hour on the hour.  When I woke up at 4:00 am, I just couldn’t drift back off into sleepy town.  It happens often these days.  It’s usually because of my athlete in training or my mind running ramped of things I need to accomplish.  Then, there are times I just wake up and pray.  I pray for my children.  I pray for Kris.  I pray for people in need of healing.  I just pray.

It’s easy, especially in this stage of my journey carrying a child, to become self-focused.  I still read scriptures.  I’m still very aware of God’s presence in my life.  But, I can still focus much too much on wanting this baby-carrying journey to end.  So, when God centers me again, I want to fall down at the cross and thank Him for it.  He does it for me often.  He did it again at 4:00 am.

I made a little delivery room playlist on my iPod.  The first song on that playlist is Jeremy Riddle’s “Sweetly Broken.”  I haven’t been able to get these lyrics out of my head since my little wake-up call:

At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

I’m so thankful for a Father who continues to beckon me, even when I become self-consumed.  I’m so thankful that He allows me to surrender my stuff to Him – sometimes the same stuff more than once or ten times.  I’m so thankful I’m in love with Him. 

And, that He first loved me.

Sweetly broken.  That’s me today.

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Filed under prayer, pregnancy, Spiritual Journey

Aunt Kate Talks With Unknown Teeth.

I know alla y’all know Big Mama by now.  Do you remember her 94 year old sister, Kate?  Here she is.

Well, Aunt Kate fell and broke her sweet, little hip.  She is having surgery this morning.  According to my momma, she has not lost her ability to “talk up a storm.”  As a matter of fact, when the good doctor asked her if her teeth belonged to her, she cleverly pointed to a couple that did.  Then, added while pointing to other various teeth, “Now, I don’t know who that one belongs to, or that one, or that one….”

There is only one Aunt Kate.  And, one Big Mama.  I love them both.

Say a prayer for Aunt Kate today.  And, pray for Big Mama who will endure her endless gabbing.  Because, she will not leave her side.

Love y’all.  Mean it.

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Filed under Big Mama, prayer