My Awefull Life » A Pilgrimage of Wonder

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The minis and I were stuck in terrible traffic for over an hour earlier today. Hungry and tired after hashing out some challenging behavior from a member of my brood, I was just grateful we had plenty of gas in the car and no one was screaming for a toilet. Later, safe at home, fed and taking a moment of rest I start to read about Christians in Iraq- mamas with minis just like me, who believe in the One true God, just like me- being driven from their homes, brutally assaulted, and stuck in the wilderness with no food or water. The ferocity of our polar realities is almost too much- I have to walk outside, try and catch my breath in the August heat, let tears fall to the grass as I walk. I don’t know how to reconcile it all- the traffic jams and the terrorists, the fighting siblings and the fight to survive- all of us walking the same planet, crying out to the same God, but such vast difference to our individual worlds. And whether it’s the prayers from these Tennessee hills, or the desert mountains of Iraq, I know He hears us; I know He never abandons us on any hillside or any mountain. I know it. So even as I can’t find a way to see it, I say it, and I stand on it. As I walk back to the house I find myself imagining a mama on the other side of the world hearing my voice, my tears, mixed with her’s in prayer and hoping she knows she is not alone.


  • Rachel Quebedeaux - yes!! None of us more important, none less… all in love with our Father and joined together with Him….

  • MatthewandCourtney Aston - I’ve thought about this so much too. Trying to reconcile the fairness of it all. And I just can’t. Trying to be faithful where I’m at, knowing that God desires wholehearted disciples committed to following him, no matter where we live.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Bowman Cantrell - I just heard the US is going to airdrop food, water and medicines tomorrow morning to those who are trapped on a mountaintop in Iraq. ISIS has attempted to starve these people (including Christians) who have been driven from their homes just because they will not convert to Islam. God has heard prayers, moved hearts and now we must continue praying for these dear people all around the world….a world that seems to be on fire. Oh, Lord, how we need you every day, hour, minute, second…may our hearts break over the things that break your heart…may we be light in darkness…Amen. ReplyCancel

It always pains me to take Lu’s braids out- thinking of all the work they are to create. Most often the majority of the style remains intact and neat, but the wear and tear in other places gets to a point where all you see is the messy surrounding the beauty underneath all that frizz.


As I sit and gently undo each cord of three- so not to damage the individual strands- I can almost see Jesus standing over watching my work. His words acknowledging my thoughts like a kind squeeze to the shoulder.

For several days now I have been grieving a similar undoing in our family’s life. As with these simple braids, there is a mourning after the effort and time we have committed to building something beautiful but over years has become messy around the edges, dull from the stresses of living. Those stray pieces detracting from the canvas as a whole, we commit to a change – to a new design for our life for a season.

The only way to build again is to first undo.

So with care- and some tears, the dismantling of what was commences; not to leave us wayward and wild, unbraided from His vision, but to clear the grounds, wash us clean and strand by strand create something new. something beautiful.


Day Five:

Though the mirror I look through be dim, my path remains lit a step before my stride

While I wrestle with justice- grieving with mothers on either side of borders, still You are near

As I seek, You draw me closer, mind and temper afire calm, vision focuses and the mirror still hazy in places, reflects clearer in others

God, I ask and believe for my eyes to open to my weakness in Spirit, that I may know my need for You deeper

May my sin halt me in my tracks, causing me to mourn where I have hardened against Your heart

Grow in me meekness to soften hard edges, pulling up weeds of arrogance and self-righteous indignation

Increase my appetite for pure righteousness- cleansing intentions of heart and mind

Expand my capacity for mercy- for the wicked and the just- as I myself have been both, and merciful you are with me

Turning from my sin, create a purity of heart, that though I may not see the road ahead clearly I walk step by step to your Voice with integrity

Stoke a flame of peace within me, forgiving others quickly, with empathy and reconciliation spoken in sincerity

Thank you for the opportunity to come under persecution for your name, God. With hopeful resolve, keep my gaze set on the things above this earth no matter what people may think or say.   

Thank you for delighting in the prayers of your people. Hear our cry this day for Your Kingdom to come, here on Earth as we ache with every passing day to reign with you in Heaven. 


(1 Corinthians 13; Matthew 5)


These photos were taken from the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus took his disciples to teach what we know as the Sermon on the Mount. The Bible tells us Jesus went up to the mountain because of the crowds following him. The acoustics of the cove where the Mount sits has been the subject of studies and discussion, because it is believed the masses on the hillside and shoreline below were able to take in Jesus’s teaching. Modern-day pilgrims continue to test the theory, finding it is possible to hear one speaking from on top of the Mount (where the above photo was taken), down on the hillside leading to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. You can read more here and here.




  • Susan Bowman Cantrell - Words of Life still echo through the cove to the Sea…reminders that God’s Word is eternalReplyCancel

  • Allison Allen - Beautiful ReplyCancel

When it seems all the prayers have been prayed

We pray them again

When words begin to taste stale upon lips, we ask for fresh seasoning and speak them again

When our spirit is willing but flesh sleepy and weak, we reach for the Scriptures reminding us our  battle is against powers of darkness and our flesh needs to submit, get over it and pray on

When things appear to worsen- death tolls rise, protests grow, terror spreads not recedes; When discouragement whispers our prayers are like fruitless trees, we dig in our knees harder and refuse to give up

When it seems all the prayers have been prayed,

we rise up,

we link arms,

and we pray them again


“The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil everywhere. Prayer, in one phase of its operation, is a disinfectant and a preventive. It purifies the air; it destroys the contagion of evil. Prayer is no fitful, short-lived thing. It is no voice crying unheard and unheeded in the silence. It is a voice which goes into God’s ear, and it lives as long as God’s ear is open to holy pleas, as long as God’s heart is alive to holy things.
God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. The lips that uttered them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.” – E.M. Bounds


 “I went on praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people, pleading with the Lord my God for Jerusalem, his holy mountain.  As I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice. He explained to me, “Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.” Daniel 9:20-23



Day Four:

God, protect the innocent, bring forth your justice- not man’s revenge- upon the wicked, 

Calm the skies, the seas and the hearts of the persecuted and afraid

Unite us Lord, nation with nation sharing compassion and love for one another, drive out hate from our streets and squares,

In all ways make your Name and power known throughout all Creation, we pray today, tomorrow and forevermore,




  • Susie - I am absolutely drinking in your posts…so profoundly transparent and richly deep in spiritual wisdom. Thank you…thank you…thank you…for this wonderful haven of faith.ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - So kind and encouraging – thank you for reading!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Bowman Cantrell - What Bible translation did you use for Daniel…I really found it a wonderful passage…Loved this post…We all need to pray and then pray some more…We are just a breath away from His presence.

    • sarahrichmond - I believe that was the New Living Translation. I felt like it explained the heart of Gabriel’s message a bit easier to understand without having to explain the Hebrew meanings of the words. Basically, wanting to communicate that Daniel’s prayer was heard from the first he had prayed – he wasn’t being ignored.ReplyCancel

  • Pete Ekle - Thanks for sharing this piece of your prayer life with us. I am currently very far from home and all I can do is pray. It seems so futile sometimes because I want to be there and do it myself. I want to rescue, fix, encourage, hug, supervise and the like. But I keep hearing the Holy Spirit say that God has always done that for my family. This was a timely reminder that our prayers are not in vain.