Being of Service? At a Prayer Meeting! (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, November 21, 2014

be still and know Ps 46-1

Being of Service? At a Prayer Meeting! (Feature Friday!)

I have not attended an old-fashioned prayer meeting for some time. Years, in fact.

I corrected that oversight this evening. I could not be there for the whole prayer meeting, but I came for what I could. Almost the last hour and a half of the meeting. Earnest, honest, heartfelt. Praise and prayer lifted to God.

Where was this prayer meeting held, you wonder? At a smaller church, North Shore Assemblies of God in Skokie, a little ways from my home. But not too far, since I was able to get over there fairly quickly. The church was warm, the congregation friendly.

Like I said, it’s been a while since I was plunged into a pool of prayer like that. As I walked into the sanctuary, I felt the warmth. After the solo was over, the worship leader led in a time of prayer, and then the pastor had people who wished prayer for healing to come forward. The pews emptied—of pray-ers! More than half the congregation were up front to pray alongside of, and with, those who wanted prayer. More singing, and another prayer leader came up. Gave her testimony about her oldest child, and led the congregation in prayer. Small group prayer, this time. We prayed about children and families. Deep time of prayer!

I was amazed at the coincidence. The prayer leader: she drew people’s attention to a book I’ve been using since the beginning of the month. “The Power of a Praying Parent.” Or—was it a God-incidence? I have been praying a chapter of this book each day in the month of November. Just to have this group of friends in Christ pray using the same book, the same words as I do? Wonderful.

(I have been having a fruitful time praying the various chapters from this book each day in November, for my four children, and my friend’s five children. But, that’s another post. Another time.)

The evening of prayer and praise closed with Pastor Fred Sindorf coming to the front and praying. For children and grandchildren (still growing and grown). Most important, praying that God touch each person in attendance tonight.

May God bless Pastor Fred and his flock, including my friends Shirlene, Trisha and Morgan. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers!

@chaplaineliza

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Feeling Sad—but Helping Anyway!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, July 26, 2014

striped cat

Feeling Sad—but Helping Anyway!

Today was my niece Josie’s wedding day, in Tacoma, Washington. (I’ve already seen a photo from the occasion. Lovely! She looked so happy. As all brides ought to.) The wedding took place outside in a beautiful park. Many of my family members attended the wedding, including my two older daughters. But, alas, I was not able to attend. (For a number of reasons, not least of which was that I really needed to go to the two conferences I attended last weekend.)

I felt badly that I was unable to go to Washington, and regretfully told my niece so about a month ago. I did send my best wishes, good thoughts and prayers with my oldest daughter. Plus, I’ll be sending a card next week. A little extra wedding good-wishing, after the fact.

However, this circumstance frees me up to take care of my daughter’s cat. My oldest daughter and her roommate have an apartment not far from where I live. I can easily run over there and pop in on the cat. Give her food and water. A friendly, sometimes attentive cat! While I sat at the dining room table with my laptop, the cat jumped onto my lap a number of times. Rubbed her head and shoulders against my hands and arms, and was insistent about being petted. Accordingly, I petted her willingly enough.

This cat likes people! That is, usually. She does have her moods, and sometimes goes off to hide or to be on her own. But even so soon after my daughter left (early yesterday morning), the cat came running to see me as soon as I came in the back door. Eager to be with company, desiring attention and praise.

Reminds me a little bit of . . . me. Me as I used to be, as a teenager. I wanted attention. I craved praise and admiration. (Strokes, perhaps?) When I was a teenager, and afterwards for a number of years, I had a sad case of low self-esteem. Due to a number of factors, I would strive for attention, help out at school, church, neighbors’ homes, and also my own home. Also, I would go after praise and strokes from others. I seldom heard these compliments at home, so I listened hard whenever anyone sent a compliment my way. I valued them, so very much!

Now, of course, I have gained greatly in self-esteem. Plus, I have a faithful prayer team that lifts me up in supportive prayer on a regular basis. I regularly encourage and support younger and more tentative people. (But enough about me.)

Yesterday and today, I gladly went to take care of my daughter’s cat! I know the cat was very pleased to see me. Moreover, I am pleased to help my daughter, and to be of service when and where I can. Plus, I got to pet a friendly cat! A win-win-win situation.

@chaplaineliza

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Being Kind, Accompanying a Friend

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, April 24, 2014

 

friendship when people know all about you

Being Kind, Accompanying a Friend

I accompanied a friend to a medical visit today. I was happy to! Really.

This reminded me of situations in the hospital or in the care center, where I—the chaplain—would stay with patients and their relatives while medical personnel came into the room and talked at length about their medical condition. Or, about other sensitive or confidential information.

Of course, I would never stay without their permission. Sometimes, if the patient was unable to request my presence, the family members would. And, I understood, oftentimes. If I do say so myself, I have a comforting, less-anxious presence. This is helpful when I deal with upset or anxious patients and loved ones, or even angry and downright upset patients and relatives. And on occasion, the patient or family want me to pray for them, pray for the loved ones at home or scattered throughout the country. Or, pray for healing of body and soul, pray for comfort and encouragement for everyone involved (in the hospital and outside, too).

There’s another reason I remain with them: an extra pair of ears is sometimes helpful, too. I’ve seen it happen again and again. Even though the medical personnel often speak slowly and try to make sure the patient and family understand all the explanations and details and options, sometimes things can be overwhelming. All the information, all the upset, all the distraction. The unfamiliar rooms and beds, the hospital units, the unfamiliar staff coming into the rooms at all hours. And in some hospitals, the sheer size of the facility can be intimidating.

Not that my friend today was involved with any of these unpredictable aspects, but all the things eventually got squared away. I did, however, keep my ears open when the medical personnel came in, and I simply listened. Active listening, I mean. I hold people’s confidences very dear to my heart, and do my very best to get the clear picture from the medical professional. Just as backup for my friend, in case there was any clarification needed or discrepancy found.

My friend and I had a good talk, after the office visit. I am glad I was there to be an extra pair of eyes, ears and way of transportation.

I wonder: will there be anyone to do that for me? I am in fairly good health. (Yay, me!) I don’t think I need to go into the hospital or care centers right now. So, I suspect there will be sometimes when my loved ones need medical care. Or, even me! I might need to go to the doctor or oral surgeon or some other kind of professional. Ya never know. (I don’t!)

@chaplaineliza

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Serve with Enthusiasm Means Be Kind, Positively!

A Year of Being Kind blog –Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pooh, Eeyore and Christopher Robin - illustration by Ernest Shepard

Pooh, Eeyore and Christopher Robin – illustration by Ernest Shepard

Serve with Enthusiasm Means Be Kind, Positively!

Today was a whirlwind day. Running, running from one thing to the next. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoyed everything I did today! However, I also considered the verse I’ve chosen for March again. It comes from Ephesians 6:7. “Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women.”

I was at my new job for a while this morning, then at my old job this afternoon, and back to the new job for the evening Lenten service. My new church is full of life during the week, what with the preschool and small children in many classrooms throughout the north part of the church. I love children, and especially small, exuberant ones. Overwhelmingly, they have almost no inhibitions at all, entering into each experience as a new adventure, or a fascinating curiosity.

This exuberant enthusiasm of these dear children is something I find echoed in the verse I chose for March. (And I chose it for March at the beginning of January, I’ll have you know. Coincidence? Providence? You decide.) Truly, God is blessing people at my work. Not only the congregation, but also the preschool. I pray that it continues!

I also had a bittersweet good-bye today. I said farewell to someone I’ve gotten to know very well. I don’t mean, farewell for good. However, this dear person and I will not see each other very often, now that I have taken this new position. This dear one wished me the best! Imagine the appreciation and kind regard I have in my heart! And I wished the very best for that person, as well.

Question: how did I get in this particular place, anyhow? I still feel like pinching myself, because at the beginning of March, I had no idea that by the third Sunday, I would be leading worship in a new church. Today was the weekly bible study. Already, I am starting to feel the rhythms of this new place. Already, I can enjoy the children as I walk down the halls and say hello to students and staff alike.

It’s good to praise God with enthusiasm! Of course, the pessimistic viewpoint tries to inform me that it may rain tomorrow, and I may lose my keys, and someone might even shut the door on my tail. (Oh, no. Now I’m sounding like Eeyore. Oh, bother!) I much prefer the optimistic view, right now. Happy-go-lucky, one-day-at-a-time thinking. I suspect Winnie the Pooh would approve.

So, whether I am channeling Eeyore, Pooh, Piglet, Tigger or Owl, I hope I can always consider the excellent example of these dear preschool children. And be enthusiastic. Even if I’m not quite as exuberant as Tigger.

@chaplaineliza
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