Prayer for Paula

Paula and I at Hershey Park, 2018

No matter how many times I type and delete this post asking God to give me something better or more eloquent to say, about how amazing and wonderful Paula is, nothing better is flowing out of me. I do not want this post to be about me but about Paula. With that said, here it goes!

Paula and I first crossed paths in January 2008 in a fundamentals of Physical Therapist Assistant course at Central Pennsylvania College. To say Paula was NOT a very big fan of me would be an understatement! As Paula told me yesterday she thought I was “loud and annoying.”

The next class Paula and I together was an oral communications class with like six other people. Paula had NO choice but to hear my “loud and annoying” voice (yea God!). Through this class, Paula and I became friends.

As our classes advanced Paula and I became study partners. Now you have to understand, I am NOT science nor math minded at all! So, to help me learn the origin of muscles, their insertions and primary functions, I made color coated poster board charts of each region of the body and then tacked them all over the walls of my townhouse. The first time Paula saw my work of art all she said was “overachiever!”

What I appreciate the most about Paula and her husband Mike is their heart for Jesus. Paula, Mike and I over the years have had many beautiful, hard and at times heated talks on what it means to live for Christ.

Paula and Mike’s daughter was born on September 17, 2011. It still excites me that Katie and I have the same birthday! (I was 30 when she was born. Less than two years later Paula gave birth to Chris). In November 2011, I found out my dad had stage IV lung cancer. Paula and Mike rallied around my family praying for us. Paula was constantly checking in to see how we were doing. I cannot express in words how much this meant to me!

Paula is one of the most authentic, real and optimistic people I have ever met in my life. Paula is consistent, loyal, funny, a real salt of the earth woman. There is no fakery with Paula. She is who she is. Paula never compromises her faith, nor does she shy away from calling sin, sin. I am SO thankful for my friend Paula!

In the beginning of 2018 Paula was diagnosed with cancer. Paula has been a warrior and fighter for her husband and her children, enduring chemo and radiation. Paula has never waivered in her faith and her love for Jesus. On Monday September 21, 2020 Paula was in the hospital with liver failure. As of yesterday, September 23, 2020 Paula was sent home from the hospital on hospice.

Only Jesus knows what the future looks like for Paula, Mike, Katie and Chris. With tears in my eyes, I humbly ask that you would keep the Weimer family in your prayers.

Father God, thank You for Paula. Lord God, I ask that You surround Paula, Mike, Katie and Chris with Your Presence. Lord God, give the Weimer family peace. Holy Spirit, thank You that when we do not know how or what to pray, that You make our prayers known to the Father. Thank You Jesus for interceding on our behalf. Lord God, I ask that You comfort Paula, Mike, Katie and Chris. Remind each one of them that You know them and that You see them and that You will not abandon them. Lord God, give Paula and Mike courage. Lord God, I ask for Your grace and mercy to be upon each one of them. Lord God, keep the Weimer family in perfect peace. May we never take our time with our loved ones for granted. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Identity

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Today, September 17, 2020 is my 39th birthday. I LOVE my birthday! The reason why I love my birthday is NOT to receive gifts or attention, but rather to take time to reflect and celebrate with others what God has done in our lives. I have always loved having people gather on my birthday NOT to celebrate me but as to thank and celebrate all those who love, encourage and care for me. Folks, I have made SO many mistakes in my life. Each year that God gives me is an opportunity to practice worshiping, loving and serving Him on earth before I am called home to worship, love and serve Him for eternity.

This year I am reminded now, more than ever that my identity is in Christ. As believers our identity is rooted in Galatians 2:20-21 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose” (ESV).

I want to encourage you my dear brothers and sisters that no matter where you are living, no matter your familial role or material status, no matter your political affiliation, your race, sex, gender, ethnicity, occupation you are a Christian before anything else. What I mean by this is that I am a Christian woman, Christian daughter, Christian wife, Christian blogger, Christian American, Christian Caucasian. Christian is the word that defines me, it is unchangeable.

If you live in a country where you are allowed to vote, as a Christian it is your civic duty to do so. It is not Christlike to put your political views before your identity in Christ nor is it Christlike to ruin Christian relationships because someone has differing views.

I have no idea what your identity looks like but I pray that you will take time to reflect that whether you are Christian Filipino, Christian Black, Christian male, Christian single that Christian is what comes first. May we be known for our love and not our divisions and infighting. As a people who have been “crucified with Christ” it is paramount that both our identity and unity be wrapped up in the One who gave His life for us.

For those who are longing for a new identity, or longing to be a part of something bigger than what this world has to offer, I pray that the Holy Spirit will turn your heart and mind toward Him.

Father God, thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, thank You for drawing us to Yourself and pointing us to Jesus. Jesus thank You that we may pray in Your Name knowing that our prayers and petitions are heard by our Heavenly Father. Teach us Lord to put You before any earthly title. Teach us how to manage the tension that our differences cause. Teach us to be Kingdom focused while also being god honoring citizens on earth. Thank You Father for this reader! Thank You for their love, care and encouragement. Lord God, may this reader know that Jesus loves them and so do I! Amen.

September 2020 Prayer

30 August 2020 Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve, Conestoga, PA; photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Lord God, I pray for the kids all over the world who are starting school; whether in person, online or hybrid. Lord God, give the parents of the students grace and mercy when it comes to the teachers learning how to teach at this time. Lord God, may teachers give themselves grace and mercy as well. Lord may parents and teachers NOT take their frustrations out on their children/students. Lord God, thank You for the advancements in technology that make distance learning possible, even when things do not work the way we would like. Lord God, I ask that You help the students focus and concentrate whether learning online or in person wearing a mask. Lord God, my heart breaks for the world that these young people are entering today.

Father God, I ask that You comfort Your people all over the world who are hurting. Lord God, I ask that You will come near the brokenhearted and fill them with the peace of Your Presence. Lord God, this life is NOT easy. The world that we knew last year at this time seems so far away. Lord, may we long for You more than we long for the past. May we fix our eyes on You and not look too far back, forward or sideways. Thank You Jesus that You are the Author and Perfecter of our faith!

Lord God, it does not take a genius to see that the United States is falling. Lord God, I ask that You will strengthen Your people all over the world. As the United States goes, so do many other countries. Lord God, when it comes to identity may we come to depend on You more and more and not depend on the world and its political systems. Lord God, may we live as good citizens in this world until You call us home.

Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Spirit transform Your people into Your image and remind Your people that ALL people are created in Your image. Lord God, help us to live holy and blameless lives. Thank You for this reader. May You stir in them a desire to grow closer to You in this new month. Thank You for the gift of time You have given this reader and myself. May we make the most of the time You have given us. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

We’re Here and It’s Getting There

black home area rug
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Praise the Lord progress has been made since I wrote “Under Construction”. After working on cars all day, covered in grease and sweat, Nathan would drive out to the house and spend hours beating tile for very little reward. Beating/ripping up/removing tile is the most difficult work I have ever done in my life and an experience I will NOT repeat!!!!

While the house was out of commission, Nathan and I stayed with my dad. I have to give my dad a public, “thank you!” for allowing us to stay with him for six weeks! When I gave the leasing office notice that we would be moving out, I never dreamed that we would end up staying with my dad! While I LOVE my dad, I have not lived with my dad for over 30 years (my folks separated when I was six, divorced when I was twelve and I will be thirty nine next month just to give y’all some context!).

As many of you know, my mom lives in Florida. On June 29, 2020 my mom arrived in Pennsylvania. So now my mom, Nathan and I are staying at my dad’s house, talk about strange!! (This is where I have to thank God that my parents are able to get along. I did not appreciate this when I was younger.) At this point Nathan and I have been with my dad for a month and all of us are ready for our departure.

On July 11, 2020 Nathan, mom and I were finally able to move in! While many projects have been completed, there are still more projects and deliveries scheduled for the Fall. There is one project that needs to be scheduled for next Spring. In all honesty, authenticity and transparency, this is the project that eats at me because I want it done now or at least in this calendar year.  How sad/selfish/entitled on my part! No wonder the Lord said to Jeremiah, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds'” (Jer 17:9-10 ESV).

God has made a way for me with this house in ways that I cannot even begin to describe. The fact that I have any agitation about waiting for a patio is horrific! My attitude reminds me of a quote by John Hartley, “Greed prevents a person from enjoying what he has, for it drives one to spend all one’s energy on getting more” (Leviticus, 1992, p. 445). Greed causes discontentment and dissatisfaction. Left uncheck greed can cause one’s heart and mind to become desperately sick.

I want my eyes focused on our Triune God, the Gift Giver and not the gifts He gives. In all honesty, the gifts are meaningless without the Giver! How quickly I can forget this. Praise God for His conviction and for giving us the ability to self-reflect!

Lord God, forgive us for the times that our focus is not where it should be! Lord, forgive me, forgive us for all the times that we do not give You the thanks and praise You deserve. Thank You Lord God for all the things that You have done for us over these past few months. Lord God, now more than ever may we seek to align our hearts with Yours. Father God, thank You for this reader. Thank You for allowing this reader to journey with me and for not giving up on me when I mess up! Lord God, I do not know what greed, discontentment or a disquieted spirit looks like for this reader; however, I ask that they will humbly and sincerely allow You to prune any area that is hindering their walk with You. Lord God, confession is good for the soul! Thank You Lord for all the object lessons that You have given me with this house that correlates to the life of faith. Lord, reveal to us our hidden sins.  May we never take Your forgiveness, mercy and grace for granted. Lead us and teach us. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

August 2020 Prayer

backlit dawn foggy friendship
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Father God, thank You for this new month. Lord God, give us ears to hear and hearts to listen to the pain and hurt that others are experiencing. Lord God, give us empathy and compassion. Help us as we do life online to remember that the one talking on the screen is a person created in Your image. Lord God, I pray for those of us who are huggers and whose love language for lack of a better word is touch. Lord God, may we not lose sight that emotional and physical healing can be found in a person’s touch. Help us to be wise in regards to social distancing and touch, but may we also not use this as an excuse to not make contact with others or to isolate ourselves. I confess Lord I have to be mindful of not becoming a recluse and hermit under the guise of social distancing.

Lord God, help us to be wise with our words and discerning with what we read and hear especially on social media and TV. Give us Your mind and peace as we traverse this earth. Lord God, I pray that we as a Body will strive for unity in the midst of diversity. Lord God, all over the world it is becoming more costly to be Christian. Strengthen Your people, give us courage, boldness and a spirit to endure and persevere.

Lord God, thank You for this reader! I have no clue what challenges and joys they are facing, but I am thankful that You do! Lord God, all of us are being stretched in our dependence on You. Help us to want to depend on You rather than on the world. Help us to be in the world but not of the world. Teach us to be holy as You are holy.

Lord God, help us to look for ways to do good and to share Jesus with others. Wherever we go may people smell Jesus on us. Lord God, now more than ever may we learn to walk by faith and not by sight and emotion. Lord God, You do not call us to give thanks for all things, but to give thanks IN all things. Lord God, no matter the circumstances and challenges that we will face this month, prepare us to give thanks to You. Prepare us to live our faith in this hurting world. Lord God, help us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Lord God, fill us with Your Holy Spirit.

Lord God, each day may we be more aware that we are dust and nothing without You. Lord God, I pray that all believers everywhere will be filled with the peace of Your presence. Lord God, now more than ever may those who are mature in their faith seek out those who are younger in the faith to mentor. May those who are younger in the faith seek a mentor. All of us are called to evangelize in some way or another; however, Lord God, help us to disciple, encourage and come alongside others.

Father God, once again, thank You for this reader. Thank You for the call that You have put on their life. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

July 2020 Prayer

Father God, thank You Lord for this new day and month. Lord, I ask that You strengthen Your people and convict hearts for their need of You. Lord God, may we as individuals and as a corporate body come together, listening and reasoning with each other.

Lord God, we know that You are not the author of confusion. Thank You that You know what is happening and what will happen. Thank You that You are our Divine Director and Producer. Thank You that You are our Divine Editor, correcting our mistakes.

Lord God, the Gospel flourishes in hostile situations. May we represent Jesus well in this time. May we be a pleasing and fragrant aroma that brings You glory.

Lord, I confess, I do not know what or how to pray. Thank You Holy Spirit for bringing this prayer to the Father in accordance to His Will. Thank You Jesus for interceding on our behalf. Lord God, may we be reminded: know Jesus, know peace because where there is no Jesus there is no peace. There is only strife, rebellion, hurt and conflict.

Lord God, may we press into You now more than ever. May we grow in our love and devotion to You. May we become more Christlike in this new month. Thank You Lord for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Under Construction

Hardwood Pile
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

On May 8, 2020 I purchased a house; however, sometimes things are not as they appear! The house is currently under construction which means that Nathan, PQ and I are staying at my dad’s. Nathan and I painted the upstairs and I will be honest, marital harmony necessitates a painter! I do not like spending money; however, I dislike arguments even more! We are replacing all the flooring in the house. I have tremendous appreciation for those who work in flooring! I pried up most the hardwood floor and moved that stack of wood more times then I care to count before it finally found its resting place on the deck. Nathan will take care of busting up the tile, thank God!

Over the past month I have really meditated and found comfort in the fact that Jesus is preparing our heavenly homes (John 14:1-6). Whatever our homes look like I know two things: they will be clean and they will be perfect!

This world is under construction. I want to make it known that I stand with and support my black and brown brothers and sisters who are peacefully protesting racial injustice. I hate racism! I have absolutely no tolerance for people, especially from those who profess to be Christian who discriminate others based on the color of their skin. I have traveled and worked in many different countries. I have experienced first hand what it is like to be the only white person someone has ever met. I am VERY sensitive to make sure that the people I meet in life do not feel like outsiders.

Before I met Nathan, there was a man named Cecil who very much wanted to marry me. Cecil is a wonderful and godly black man. I grieved when Cecil and I came to an end but sometimes God closes doors. I have nothing but love and respect for Cecil and God used Cecil to prepare me for Nathan. I will be honest that some people did not like that Cecil was with a white person. I also had a married couple in my life that did not approve. My response to the them was: “are you saying it would be better for me to be with a white atheist then a black Christian? You are wrong and may God convict you of your small minded, faulty, segregated and racist thinking.”

I would love dear reader if you would ask yourself that same question. If you find that you are more offended by your child, sister, niece, brother, etc. dating or marrying a Christian of a different skin color, than dating or marrying an atheist with the same skin color, I pray and implore the Lord to purge that unbiblical, ungodly, evil way of thinking from you! Unequally yoked has everything to do with one’s spiritual condition not their skin color!

I have no clue why God made me white while another person black or brown. What I do know is that God is a color creating God whether that be in the form of a sunrise, flower or one’s skin color. Another thing I know is that all of us are under construction. All of us are a work in progress. All of us are in need of the Holy Spirit to convict us and purge us from the errors that we have in our thinking.

The Kingdom that is coming has no room for looting and destruction. That is the work of the devil not God. I am so thankful that in Heaven God will wipe away our tears, hurts, pains. The work that we are doing on our physical house is overwhelming and exhausting; however, the end product will be worth it. The work that God does in us is often painful and unenjoyable, but produces joy and richness when we look back and reflect on His working in our lives.

Dear reader, may you take some time today to meet with our Triune God. May you ponder how the Lord has you under construction. May you ask Him to reconstruct, remodel or take away any beliefs that do not align with Him and His Word. May we be a body of believers who seek His Kingdom above all else.

Father God, thank You that all of us are under construction in some way, shape or form. Lord God, I ask for You to purge from us any spirit of segregation, racism or classism that exists in believers hearts. Lord God, thank You that this earth is NOT our home. Thank You that You are preparing our future homes. Remind us that we are a people in the world but not of it. Lord God, help us to be a people who seek unity in our diversity and to place You and Your will above any form of personal pride or self-ambition. Lord God, may we be reminded that You are a color creating God whether that be in a sunrise, a sunset or a person’s skin color. May we see color as a gift and not something to exploit, weaponize, demonize, oppress or reject. Holy God, help us to grow in our love and devotion to You and to each other. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

June 2020 Prayer

planet earth
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For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.           (Rom 8:26b-27 ESV)

Thank You Holy Spirit for interceding on our behalf both individually and corporately. Lord God, there is so much anger and unrest, both justified and unjustified. Lord God for those of us in the United States, lead us to respond to what is happening in a manner that does not bring shame to Jesus’s Name.

Lord God, fill Your people everywhere with courage, faith, hope and love. Lord God, there is NO room for racism both on this earth and in the Kingdom that is coming. Lord God, Jesus said that He “did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matt 10:34); however, Jesus also called and commanded us to love You and love others (Matt 22:36-40). Father God, help us to reconcile that You have not come to bring peace, and that even when times are chaotic, stressful, hostile and angry we are still called “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep o[urselves] unstained from the world” (Jas 1.27).

Lord God, may we never waiver in our pursuit for justice. May we never tire of seeking and living Your Truth. Lord God, may we grow closer to You this month. Lord God, I do not even know what to say or how to pray other than to say, “thank You that You are in control!” Lord God, help Your saints everywhere to hold on, to persist and to endure. Lord God, may we be aware of what is going on in the world, but may we not become fearful, scared and/or numb.

Lord God, protect and provide for my brothers and sisters who are being afflicted with locusts. Lord God, prepare and protect my brothers and sisters who are in the midst of or entering the rainy, hurricane, monsoon, typhoon season. Lord, for those who are in the midst or entering the dry season, may You be in their midst as well. Lord God, thank You that You are our Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who Provides.

Father God, for those who are believers in Jesus Christ, may we never forget that peace is a Person and His Name is Jesus. Lord for the reader who does not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, may today be the day of salvation. Holy Spirit, continue stirring hearts all over this world to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior while there is still time. Thank You Jesus, for the ability and opportunity to pray in Your Name. Please watch over this precious reader today and in this new month. Lord God, only You know the beginning and end of each day, month and year. We love You, we are trusting You and it is in Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

 

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I always feel like my mom gets the shaft because Mother’s Day and her birthday are so close together. I love birthdays (even my own)! I love to celebrate the person who God created in His own image. I hate that COVID-19 is keeping many of us from our loved ones!

My mom is a woman of patience, grace and mercy. I fall SO short of the example she set before me. My mom is quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. My mom loves Jesus and is one of the most obedient people I know. In every situation my mom asks, “What is it that the Lord my God requires of me?”

I have NOT always been close with my mom or Jesus. For ten years (and possibly multiple times a day) I told my mom I hated her, until the one day I thought she was actually going to die. That freaked me out. I learned a valuable lesson on not taking people for granted. My attitude toward my mom did not change over night but it did soften.

One of the best bonding experiences occurred in June 2000 (wow, 20 years, time waits for NO one!). My mom took me on a riverboat cruise of the Loire Valley, France for my Graduation trip. Folks, we were the only two people on this cruise! There were more crew than guests! God is good because we each had our own room, otherwise I do not know how our bodies and our luggage would have fit in that tiny cabin!

Since that time my mom and I have had MANY more bonding experiences and many more trips to France. My mom has ALWAYS dealt fairly with me. From an early age my mom taught me that life is not fair! My mom always let the punishment fit the crime! When my brother and I were young if we went out for dinner and we misbehaved, my mom would make us practice sitting at the dinner table. Seriously, this is no joke we had to practice sitting and talking at the table. It was a minimum of 15 min and if we misbehaved she added time. Let me tell you, this is genius! It worked! It got to the point when my mom would say, “do you want to practice sitting at the table?” we knew to stop our misbehavior!

My mom was and is a woman of principle and conviction. We always knew where we stood with her and what she believed. My mom is one of the funniest people I know. I am similar to my mom in a lot of ways. My dad got me a wood sign that says, “Sometimes when I open my mouth my mother comes out!” I take that as a compliment!

When I was younger I had this great idea that I was going to be taller than my mom and that I would look down on her. Well, God truly has a sense of humor and knows what He is doing. I am 5ft tall and I am still looking up to my mom, literally and figuratively.

Mom, it is an honor and a privilege to be your daughter. I am thankful that not only are you my mom, but you are my best friend. I love you. I value you. You are the most beautiful person I know inside and out. Happy Birthday!

Father God, even in this time of COVID-19 may we not stop celebrating those who are created in Your image. May we look for new and creative ways to express our love and appreciation for those whom we are not with physically. Thank You Lord that for those in Christ there will be a day when no sin, disease, sickness and death separate us from Yourself and from others. Lord God, thank You for my mom. Thank You for her heart for You. May this reader thank You for those who have impacted their journey in the faith. Lord God, lead us and guide us today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Father God, thank You for women. Thank You for all the ways that You love, care and use women to bring people to Christ. Lord God, this Mother’s Day is different. Bring comfort to the hearts of those who cannot see their children or grandchildren. Give comfort to those struggling to have children. Lord God, thank You for the gift of life. Thank You for making women life givers both physically and spiritually. Lord God, thank You for this reader and may they reflect and thank You for the women who have impacted and influenced their life. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.