Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mom

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

I am a slow reader; it takes me twice as long to read as it does Jill. If we happen to be reading the same page in a book, restaurant menu or event program, she has time to do her hair and nails while waiting for me to catch up with her faster eyes. I’ve always been a slow reader and one of the things I dreaded most in life was to be asked to read out loud before my classmates.

Now, as an adult who is more involved in church than he has ever been, I’ve remembered that what I fear more than being asked to read out loud is to be asked to lead a group in pray. Many years ago when I was attending my girlfriend’s church the minister asked me if I prayed out loud. I thought it was a strange question because I always said my prayers to myself in my head, but I told him sure, I pray out loud. When my girlfriend explained to me later that he meant would I pray out loud before the congregation I nearly wet my pants.

She and I broke up shortly after that. I can’t say that my reluctance to go back to church with her had nothing to do with it.

Anyway, as I attend more and more activities at our church I’m realizing different people are being called on to pray before and after each event. As I meet more and more people in the church I’m sure I’m only increasing the odds that I’ll be called on one day to pray. It’s as if there is a countdown clock ticking away and my fear index is skyrocketing. Just the other day I realized I exhaled a noticeable sigh of relief when I was able to get through another meeting without being called on to pray.

So guess what I’m doing now. I’m praying for the bravery to overcome my anxiety. I’m praying for words to come to me and that assuredness be in my voice when someone asks me, “Greg, will you lead us in prayer.”

Silly, I know, but true. I am taking baby steps though. I now have, for the first time, a prayer partner. Once a week we tell each other what our burdens are and then agree to pray for each other. It feels good. This week my prayer partner Carla is wrestling with a major decision and she has asked me to pray for God to guide her decision. And now I’ll ask you to add Carla to your prayers in the next few days. Her need is far more important than mine right now. And besides, I should put my boots on, overcome my anxiety and pray out loud when I’m asked.

BTW, today is my dear Mother’s birthday and in her honor I want to post an excerpt from one of the books I wrote for her, “Thank You, Mom”:

“Even though I now say the things my mother has done for me are countless and I attempt with this book to express my gratitude for them all and give her this praise, the truth is I rarely showed appreciation for what she did for me when I was young. I simply did not say “thank you” when I should have. Maybe I was na├»ve, oblivious to the tasks and challenges of parenting, or just thought I was entitled to good treatment, but no matter what the excuse or belated confession, the fact remains my mother did what she did with little reward at the time. Albeit late and thankfully before I have regrets I never told her, the time for her reward has come.

So here I am, all these years later, writing this book to say “Thank you, Mom.” With it I recognize and acknowledge the many sacrifices she made on my behalf and the caring gestures she has extended to me for over forty-six years. I am using these pages to tell her, “I can’t possibly thank you enough for everything you did, but I’m going to try.” Even then, the expressions of gratitude that follow, whether simple, silly or profound, are only the beginning of what I want to say to my mom.

I believe that a child cannot express enough gratitude for what a mother has done. I know that I cannot, but I also know my mother will be delighted I gave it a try. I love you, Mom, and thank you so very much for everything.”

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!

1 comment:

Ginny said...

Hi Greg
I would encourage you to consider that simple is best in most areas of life, including prayer. The fear of praying out loud can be based on our concern that we might displease God by not using the "right words" or perhaps that we won't measure up to others' expectations. We need to remind ourselves that when we pray, whether in silence or out loud, we are speaking to Someone who loves us immensely. Simple words of adoration, thanks, and petition are all that God asks of us.