I have been fighting – unsuccessfully – a miserable cold the last few days so asked my oldest daughter, Maryanne, whether I could post something she had written. Maryanne used to have a very active blog several years ago but let it go. She now is writing privately, with the intention of possible resurrecting it under a new name, and from a more mature perspective. So:

I have been reading several books lately, all thematically similar: the process of living a pared-down life.  So thankful for a library card, and the ability to check out a week’s worth of other people’s experiential wisdom!

One account I have enjoyed is the story “Almost Amish”, chronicling an ER doctor’s impression that affluence should matter less than the careful stewardship of prosperity.  He and his wife include multiple illustrations of how they have lived on less, in order to give more and enjoy life and family with less distraction.

A quote I quickly journalled that has impacted me (and I committed it to paper, so that it can continue to impact me!) is an old Amish proverb:

Before we can pray, Thy Kingdom come, we must first pray, My Kingdom go.

Before.  There is always a before with God.  In order to attain the life that is truly life, there is always a preview which is vital to the show.  It is not natural to jump into life as a Christian without first being stripped of clutter.

When I pray: Lord, help me to love my husband- the first step is often to first pray for a softening of my heart.  A hard heart cannot love.

When I pray: Lord, give me patience with my children- the first step is often to pray for the a tender heart toward them.  An impatient heart meets its match in children.

When I pray: Lord, give me grace to serve- the first step is often to pray for discernment in my activities and commitments.  So, that I do not take on what is not necessary and squeeze people out of my existence.

I have learned much more through the years about the deeper motives and direction of my heart.  And I have concluded: My heart always leads me back to me.  And I am such an impaired God to serve.

But when I pray the deconstruction prayers: Lord – remove, unclutter, undistract, change – then I am able to pursue the next steps.

His Kingdom is only ushered in when mine is ushered out.

When I make no mistake about who is really on the Throne.