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Prayer Devotional: Day 77

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. – 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

Sometimes our minds are so full of thoughts and worries, that we can’t remember what it feels like to be free of that negative pattern of thinking.

The Holy Spirit guides us and helps us to transform our thoughts from negative to positive, resentful to grateful.

Our Lord sets us free, in more ways than one. Amen.

Prayer Journal: Day 276

Day 276

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. – Isaiah 26:3 NIV

Peace doesn’t come easily. How many times do our minds wander away from God?

Just like in meditation, when we sense ourselves feeling down, we can return our thoughts to trusting in God. He is in control. He knows the future. We don’t have to worry because He knows what He is doing. Everything happens for a reason. God will always help us get over whatever is bothering us. Amen. 

Prayer Journal: Day 165

Day 165

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with all of you. – 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV 

The one thing that we can find comfort in during the midst of change is that the Lord will be with us always. 

No matter what changes, the Lord and His ever-presence stays the same. He can give us peace if we let Him in. It is tempting to get lost in our own thoughts and worries, but we can gently and firmly guide our attention back to Him. 

He knows what He is doing. He created the universe with perfect order. It is man who brings disorder to God’s creations. The Lord can set things right again. He can rebuild what is broken. Amen. 

Prayer Journal: Day 156

Day 156

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. – Hebrews 3:1 NIV 

When our thoughts turn to Jesus, there is less room to worry about things that don’t matter. In most cases, the things that we worry about today, we won’t even remember in five years.

Returning our thoughts to Jesus is a meditative practice. It is normal for our minds to wander, and when we catch ourselves over-thinking, we can gently turn our thoughts back to Jesus. Then we can experience peace. 

Jesus is our high priest. He is worthy of praise.

Excessive worry–and turning our thoughts away from Jesus–can be a form of idolatry. Idolatry can be anything that takes our attention away from God, but He is able to transform our thoughts. Amen. 

Prayer Journal: Day 152

Day 152

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. – Psalm 8:3-5 NIV 

We are precious in God’s sight. When we look up and behold the beauty of the heavens, we can remember how beautifully our Lord made us. He is mindful of us. He gives us glory and honor when we follow Him. He makes our paths clear.

We can be thankful for every part of ourselves–for He has made us who we are. He inspires and teaches us. He disciplines us like a kind parent would when we need to rethink how we do things. He leads us along the path that we were meant to follow. Amen. 

A Tribute to My Dad on the Anniversary of His Death

Today is the three-year anniversary of the death of my dad. In life, my dad taught me many things, but in death, he continues to teach me, although he is physically no longer with us.

This year, the lesson is mindfulness. Last year, I failed to completely unplug from technology on March 14th, which disrupted the way I wished to honor my dad on the anniversary of his death and left me reeling, enraged, and struggling with unforgiveness for the rest of the year. At first I blamed others for violating such an important day to me. If they only knew what I had been through and what my family had endured after my dad suffered from Alzheimer’s for 12 years, they would not be bugging me via PM on Facebook.

Now I realize I have control over what I take into my life, and what I choose NOT to allow in.

This year, I have decided to completely unplug from technology on March 14th. My phone is in airplane mode. My Kindles are silenced. My email is set to an away message. I won’t be checking Facebook. I especially won’t be responding to private messages. My laptops are off. This very blog post is prescheduled.

Being in the present moment has always been hard for me. I often find myself worried about the future, about work, and about how others have treated me in the past. The Bible tells us not to worry. I’m still working on that.

This year mindfulness is especially important because I have my beautiful baby boy, Jacob Henry, who is 9 months old. Henry was my father’s name.

One thing that I have observed about Little Jacob Henry is that he lives in the present. If he falls and bonks his head, he cries. And then he gets over it.

He eats mindfully. Every new food and texture is an opportunity to learn and explore. He nurses. He clicks his tongue and smacks his lips when he’s done.

He naps. He plays. He drools. He crawls. He giggles. He sighs deeply when he’s bored.

The similarities between babies and the elderly before they part this earth are notable. Jacob Henry wears diapers. So did my dad before he died. Jacob Henry eats mushy foods. So did my dad. Jacob Henry is almost completely reliant on me and my husband as his caregivers. So it was with my dad and my mom, who was an amazing caregiver to him. My dad was a man of few words, but when he spoke it counted. So it is with Jacob Henry. Jacob occasionally says “mama and dada.”

In Jacob Henry is a little bit of my dad, Henry. I wouldn’t have it any other way. They never got to meet each other in life, but they sure are alike.

Today I’ve set the intention to do one thing: breathe. Breath is a gift from God. Now that I have seen my dad take his last breath and have also seen my son take his first breath, the breath has even more significance to me.

Henry Akao and Gina
Jacob Henry Decker, 9 months old, and Gina Decker
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