The valley of the shadow of death

The Valley of the Shadow of Death / OrthoChristian.Com

Some days it feels as if I’ve pitched a tent in ‘The Valley’ and have made it my home. Changes in our family dynamic, the evil leadership our nation is now under, ill health all around, etc., etc., etc. I hate trite Christian sayings, ‘Let go and let God’ does nothing to heal or help someone going through a rough path. That saying could easily be changed slightly to, ‘Let go of God and run away!’.

The above icon is of Mary speaking with the angel Gabriel. Gabriel is telling her of the plans God has for her life. Plans that could easily have ended up with her being stoned to death had not God been guarding her during her entire life.

Here is a scripture to accompany this icon:

Luke 1:38 Mary’s response to what she has been told is to declare,38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Complete submission to God no matter what came at her in her life. I would love to be able to say I have an obedient and humble heart like, Mary… but I cannot.

The sad truth is that I cry and yell and demand God show up and answer my prayers how I want them to be answered. My husband and I will celebrate?/commemorate 17 years of marriage this December. While I have grown during this time I need a break from the ‘lessons’. I’m worn out.

I was reminded today, as I watched the testimony of Caralynn Collar whose blog is; beautybeyondbones, about her struggle with, and ultimate recovery from, anorexia. She celebrates her 14th year of freedom this week.

Her attitude is amazing. I find her writing to be encouraging.

Are you struggling as a Christian with all that is going on around you? It seems as if the world has lost its mind beginning with the current administration. The speed of the leader it the speed of the gang. As our government goes so will the country.

If MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES & PRAY &  SEEK MY FACE & TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN & I

Exactly how many people are needed for this to happen? How many people need to repent (humble themselves), pray and seek God? ONE… YOU. One… me. It is easy to forget what we need to do when the world is pulling at us for attention.

Prayers for Repentance
God, my good and loving Lord, I acknowledge all the sins which I have committed every day in my life, whether in thought, word or deed. I ask for forgiveness from the depths of my heart for offending You and others and repent of my old ways. Help me by Your grace to change, to sin no more and to walk in the way of righteousness and to praise and glorify Your Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

O Lord my God, I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word and deed. I have also omitted to do what Your holy law requires of me. But now with repentance and contrition I turn again to Your love and mercy. I entreat You to forgive me all my transgressions and to cleanse me from all my sins. Lord, fill my heart with the light of Your truth. Strengthen my will by Your grace. Teach me both to desire and to do only what pleases You. Amen.

After you have repented, here are some other ideas for prayer:

Prayer Against Demonic Influence
Almighty God, Who delivered Your people from the bondage of the adversary, and through Your Son cast down Satan like lightning, deliver me also from every influence of unclean spirits. Command Satan to depart far from me by the power of Your only begotten Son. Rescue me from demonic imaginings and darkness. Fill me with the light of the Holy Spirit that I may be guarded against all snares of crafty demons. Grant that an angel will always go before me and lead me to the path of righteousness all the days of my life, to the honor of Your glorious Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for Peace
Almighty God and Creator, You are the Father of all people on the earth. Guide, I pray, all the nations and their leaders in the ways of justice and peace. Protect us from the evils of injustice, prejudice, exploitation, conflict and war. Help us to put away mistrust, bitterness and hatred. Teach us to cease the storing and using of implements of war. Lead us to find peace, respect and freedom. Unite us in the making and sharing of tools of peace against ignorance, poverty, disease and oppression. Grant that we may grow in harmony and friendship as brothers and sisters created in Your image, to Your honor and praise. Amen.


Thanksgiving After Trouble
Almighty and merciful God, I most humbly and heartily thank Your divine majesty for Your loving kindness and tender mercies, that You have heard my humble prayer, and graciously granted me deliverance from my trouble and misery. I pray to you to continue granting Your helping grace, that I may lead a life pleasing to You, that I may continually offer to You a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayer Toward the Unknown
O Lord, You who steadied the hand of Peter as he began to sink on the stormy sea, if you are with me, no one is against me. Grant to me the shield of faith and the mighty armor of the Holy Spirit to protect me and guide me to do Your will. The future I put into Your hands, O Lord, and I follow You to a life in Christ. Amen

Prayer Before Studying the Bible
Master who loves us, shine Your eternal light in our hearts that we may better know you. Help us to fully understand Your gospel message. Instill in us respect for Your holy commandments, that by overcoming our worldly desires we might live a spiritual life of thoughts and deeds which pleases You. We ask this of You, O Christ our god, for You are the light of our souls and bodies and You we glorify with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy good and life-giving Spirit now and forever. Amen.

Shine within my heart, loving Master, the pure light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of my mind that I may understand Your teachings. Instill in me also reverence for Your blessed commandments, so that having conquered sinful desires I may pursue a spiritual way of life, thinking and doing all those things that are pleasing to You. For You, Christ my God, are my light, and to You I give glory together with Your Father and Your Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers from the website: Other Orthodox Prayers

And now, as my husband has recommended; I am pulling up the tent pegs, packing away my tent and moving on.


Truth and transparency

brow rabbit
Photo by Valentin Petkov from Unsplash

I have been having a hard time dropping the weight I gained over Thanksgiving. I wish I could say I perfectly handled the holidays but, well, I did not. I have been extremely stressed out, and emotional, since the election. While I am not binge eating as I have in the past, carbs are still my go-to drug of choice. Also, I have not been exercising as much as I know I need to in order to lose and maintain my weight loss.

The difference between this weight gain and past weight gains is; I am NOT throwing in the towel this time. It is not the falling down that puts us back where we started; it is the not getting back up, and keeping going that puts back at zero.

Keep going. Get back on that horse when you fall off. Losing weight is not easy, keeping it off feels even harder. But none of it is as hard as being obese. Even missing a couple of workout days can set you back. Getting back in the groove can be difficult but the longer it takes, the harder it becomes. I have been doing walks, but not intense weight training until last night. As I said I am eating too many carbs so it’s back to the original eating plan.

How did you do over Thanksgiving? Do you need to get back into your workout and eating groove? Try to get going again today. You can do this.

Is my transparency off putting or does it help you in your fitness journey to know someone writing about their successes also has struggles?