Rock Therapy

There is something therapeutic for doing something physical for how you feel emotionally. I found this to be true when I cracked a clay pot and I found it to be true again by throwing rocks. Let me explain in more detail.

Over Father’s Day weekend, my boys were up north with their dad and I enjoyed a day alone at the beach. This is one of my favorite things to do; the beach is my happy place and I love sitting there reading with the sound of the crashing waves. It is like therapy to me! So, this weekend, not only was I reading but I had gone to the beach on a mission- to throw rocks.

Just weeks before, I was reading a book and the chapter was called tossing rocks. Listen to what she says, “There’s something incredibly freeing about naming the things that are hanging us up, claiming the promises of God over them, and then letting them go.” The author talks about this special place to her family called the Lodge in Canada.   She says, “Tossing rocks into the water has always been a tradition for our friends at the Lodge. It’s a way of symbolizing something they’ve been carrying around for years, and no longer has a place in their life. It’s a tangible sign of letting go.” I loved this idea and decided I was going to do this at the beach.

So before I left that morning, I wrote in my journal what I needed to let go and also what I wanted to fully surrender to God that day at the beach. I think sometimes as women we want control and I felt God was asking me to fully let go of my plans and give him full reigns over my life. After journaling that morning, I had decided to throw 6 rocks representing different areas in my life that I needed to let God take control.

Again, there is something freeing and therapeutic about doing something physical for how you are feeling emotionally. When I got to the beach, I gathered different rocks. Some bigger than others- honestly, one thing felt super big so I wanted a super big rock to represent it. One at a time, I quietly talked to myself about what I was letting go and surrendering and then I tossed that rock into the water.   It was very special and I plan to do this often.

I highly recommend it to you too. Do you have something in your life that you need to let go of?

A person that you need to forgive                                                                                                       A dream that you need to surrender fully to God                                                                       A child that you want to release to God and allow God’s purpose for their life to flourish

The book I was reading and would like to recommend for August is called “Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need In A World Telling You What You Want” by Maria Goff. I was excited to read this book because about 3 years ago, I read her husband’s book, “Love Does: Discover A Secretly Incredible Life In A Ordinary World” by Bob Goff. Note- this is another phenomenal book that I recommend too! Bob’s stories in his book were mind blowing and captivating so I could not wait to read from the perspective of his wife. So glad that I did- it was a wonderful book. Again, I highly recommend it.

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I mentioned their Lodge to you- honestly, this place sounds amazing!! What I love most about the Lodge is that the Goffs use it to bless many people- pastors to get a weekend away, friends to come rejuvenate… Interestingly, I have read a couple other books where the author talks about going to their Lodge and how life changing it was. In fact, at church this weekend, the speaker mentioned going there too. It must truly be a special place.

In her book, Maria sadly talks about a fire that happened at their lodge and how heartbreaking its loss was. So I would like to end this post with her chapter on loss because I know some people are hurting and grieving right now. She says, “Loss visits all of us. None of us gets to opt out. Rather than praying that I never experience loss again, my prayer has been that God would show me what’s possible on the other side of the loss. While we’re waiting to find out what God might have for us, we might be sad for a while but we’re not going to be stuck.” I love her perspective. First of all, instead of asking why me, she asks what does God have for me on the other side of this loss? Secondly, she knows there will be sadness for a while. I think everyone needs to allow themselves time to grieve and feel the emotions. But I love that she says we will not get stuck there.

If you have experienced a loss recently, let me first say that I am truly so sorry. I know the pain is real. I will be praying that you can lean on God through this hard time because He is faithful. I know this first hand but I know it is not easy. I want to end the post with this quote from her book; I hope it encourages you like it did me. “What I think God does is to allow each of us to go through difficult times to show us His presences through it. It’s as if He reminds each of us in our most difficult circumstances that the most beautiful waterfalls only happen in the steepest places in our lives.”

Dear God, I love that you will make beauty out of ashes. I love that you take our pain and use it for a purpose. I pray for those in the midst of a hard time right now that you will comfort them and give them strength. Thank you for your presence during these difficult times. Please make beautiful waterfalls in these steep places in our lives. In Jesus name, Amen

The Circle Maker

My July Book Recommendation is The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.

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I was given this book as a birthday gift and have truly loved it. Honestly, it is the best book I have ever read on prayer. When I read books, I like to underline parts that I like or quotes that I want to remember. As I read The Circle Maker, I feel like I was underlining almost the whole book!   It was that good!

There are so many good nuggets and challenges in this book. Let me share with you 2-3 of my favorites:

The book begins with him explaining the legend of the circle maker. I will let you read it for yourself but he refers to drawing circles around our prayers from this story. He encourages us to draw a circle around the impossible situation in our lives and then invite God to intervene. He refers to the story of Jericho in the Bible where God asks Joshua and his people to circle the city once a day for 6 days and then on the seventh day to march around 7 times. Then God delivers on the promise and the walls come tumbling down.   Mark says, “Drawing prayer circles begins with identifying your Jericho. You’ve got to define the promises God wants you to stake claim to, the miracle God wants you to believe for and the dreams God wants you to pursue.” He gives some examples and says, “Jericho is spelled many different ways. If you have cancer, it’s spelled healing. If your child is far from God, it’s spelled salvation. If your marriage is falling apart, it’s spelled reconciliation. If you have a vision beyond your resources, it’s spelled provision. But whatever it is, you have to spell it out.” So my question to you is what is your Jericho? What do you need to start circling in prayer? Who do you need to start circling in prayer?

Mark talks about how his Jericho is spelled 3 different ways- the names of his 3 kids. As a parent, I could totally relate to my Jericho being my kids. As I was reading this book, I thought about how I could put these ideas into action. As many of you know, I have a big black lab named Shadow that needs to be walked. I live right across from a park where I daily circle around it and walk my dog. I usually use this time to return phone calls or check email but this book has inspired me so much that I now use my walking Shadow time as my prayer circle time! Shadow and I circle the park at least 2 times so I can pray circles around each of my boys as well as myself and my family and friends. Mark says, “One of my responsibilities as a parent is not only circling my children in prayer but also teaching them to circle the promises of God.”   He talks about how he prays scripture verses over his children. I got super excited about this because each of my boys picked a life verse when they were baptized. Kyle chose Proverbs 3:5-6 and Conor chose Philippians 4:6-7. So as I walk the park, not only to I pray over things going on in their life but I also pray their life verse over them.   I pray that Kyle will “trust in the Lord with all his heart and lean not on his own understanding but in all his ways acknowledge him and God will make his paths straight.” I pray that Conor “will not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, he will present his requests to God so that the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard his heart and his mind in Christ Jesus.” When I had them pick their life verse years before at their baptism, I never thought about praying it over them. Again, this book is opening my eyes to so many cool things about prayer.

On a funny note, Shadow is only use to circling the park 1 or 2 times on his walks and the other day, I was praying circles and wanted to go a third time around and he was literally pulling me home because he was so tired. I was like come on Shadow- I have lots more to pray about!! I will be working on his endurance as I do my prayer circles!

Let me say that you don’t have to walk in a circle to pray circles around the people in your life. In the book, he talks about a parent who prays in each of his kid’s rooms. He also talks about keeping a prayer journal and writing out your prayers. I think I got the idea to physically walk in a circle because Mark is a Pastor in Washington DC and in the book, he talks about going on prayer walks around the city. His stories of how God provided different properties for his church are just amazing. Honestly, the stories in this book of how God answered prayers are inspiring and will ignite in you the desire to pray more, dream bigger and trust God than ever before. I was truly moved by this book!

Lastly, the book is divided into 3 sections: Dream Big, Pray Hard, and Think Long. In the Think Long section, he encourages you to make a life goal list. Now you might be thinking, how does setting goal have to do with prayer. Well this is what Mark says, “Goals are the cause and effect of praying hard. On the front end, prayer is a goal incubator. The more you pray, the more God sized goals you’ll be inspired to go after. But prayer doesn’t just inspire godly goals, it also ensures that you keep praying hard because it is the only way you’ll accomplish a God- sized goal. Simply put, prayers naturally turn into goals, and goals naturally turn into prayers. Goals give you a prayer target.” In this book, Mark goes into detail about how to set life goals with ten steps to goal setting, and he even shares his life goals with us in the book. I found this part of the book super helpful especially since my personality does not naturally dream big. It was hard for me but I started my life goal list!   Again, what I love about this book is that it gives you very practical steps for each of the 3 sections: Dream Big, Pray Hard, and Think Long. Mark also shares lots of examples as well which are so helpful!

So who wants to start praying more boldly, more confidently and more specifically! Again, this book is life changing and I highly recommend it. I want to end with this quote for his book, “If you pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you, look out.”

God, help us all pray more audacious prayers! Help us pray circles around our loved ones, around our dreams and God sized goals that you have put in our hearts. We pray that you will ignite in us a desire to pray harder and leave behind a prayer legacy for our kids! In Jesus name, Amen!