In July God told me He has called me to be a person of prayer. This was no surprise to me because at the time I had been placed in a situation that needed to be completely saturated in prayer.
Zach’s mom was very sick with Leukemia. She had been in remission but it came back and it came back hard. We were faced with a choice. We knew because of the leading of the Holy Spirit, that we did not have much longer for her to be here with us. Some may say it’s ridiculous for me to say it was the Holy Spirit that told me she was getting sick but it truly was Him. We prayed for her to be healed and we believed God wanted to heal her, but He kept ordering our steps in a way we knew He was preparing us for a very bittersweet day.
You always imagine your wedding day involving the people who matter the most to you. So we wanted to make that happen.
Fast-forward 3 days later, we got married in the hospital and our lovely Becky was with us- body and mind. It was a God-anointed time and we could not have had a more perfect ceremony. Just like He is always faithful to do, God came through and delivered on his promises to us. We were married! And it was not at all what either of us imagined it would look like, but it was so much better. After two nights of wedded bliss we received the call that we needed to come to the hospital because it wouldn’t be long before my sweet mother-in-law would leave us and go to be at the feet of her King.
How beautiful it was that God was speaking to me in the midst of all the chaos. I have waited so long to be married and now I am! Glorious! But what I walked in to was something that truly only God could carry me through.
We spent the next 48 hours awake at the hospital. I heard so many stories and made deep connections with my new family. But I also saw was how deeply this woman touched each person she came in contact with.We listened to the recordings of her piano playing, we sang hymns, and we talked about everything she was going to soon get to experience in Heaven. It honestly created a longing for Heaven in my heart.
“God, thank you so much for being here with us in this situation. Thank you for my husband. But God, what am I supposed to do? This situation is over-whelming. I don’t know how I am supposed to help in this situation, but you sent me here now for a reason. What’s the reason? Why me, and why now? Why does my sweet husband have to endure this just days after our marriage? And how in the world am I supposed to comfort him in this time? God- you orchestrated this to happen the way it did for a reason, but what is the reason? HELP. SOS. I cannot do this, even if I knew what it was that I am supposed to be doing.”
There were a few times I would go out of the room and down the hall to the furthest bathroom and fall to my knees and lose my composure crying out for the pain that my family was enduring. I was exhausted, physically and mentally. The last week had been a complete whirlwind. I had my marriage license before I was even engaged and was married two days after being engaged. My new mother in law would be leaving us soon, and here I am. Sent. He sent me to be the one to stand and pray for my family. Not just in the current situation but God told me that because he was giving me a new calling over my life.
God told me to read about Hannah in the bible, so I did. Her prayers for a child went on for years and years but she persisted. She never stopped praying. She was faithful, and not only was she faithful to pray but she believed her prayers would be answered. She was devout and she was humble and she allowed God to strengthen her during her many years of praying. This is what God was calling me to do.
So, I ran with it. I reached out into the world and found where prayer was needed and it’s pretty much everywhere. God started throwing it at me. Pray. Pray. Pray. I got on the intercessory prayer team at church. I started asking for prayer requests on Facebook. I began asking for the prayer request cards at church so I can pray over them during the week. I do my absolute best to actually write down every need, dream, desire, and thought that people bring to me. I pray over that journal that has the words written on it “Yes and amen.” Because that is His answer to us.
I do not have it all together. None of us do. I pray because I know I need him. I know you need Him. I know that with every fiber of my being and coming to Him in prayer keeps me in my right position. At the Fathers feet. Your prayers don’t need to sound fancy or eloquent or use big words, they just need to be honest.
I am saturating my circle in prayer. I am reading the bible looking for people who were also faithful in prayer. I am looking to see where prayer was ineffective and asking the Holy Spirit why? I am also seeing where it had great power. We get to have conversations with the Holiest of Holies and that is what will draw us near to Him. The best thing about prayer is that to deepen our intimacy with God, all we have to do is speak and listen.
I am not sure what your prayer life looks like, or if you even pray at all. Dude, maybe you don’t even believe in God or maybe you believe in another god. Regardless of how much you pray or who you pray to, you cannot deny your inner need to connect to someone or something. For me, I have found the strongest connection in Jesus Christ. In Emmanuel. And with that being said, I want to pray like Hannah. Relentlessly. Fervently. Passionately. Honestly. Faithfully.
So, let us pray.
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A while back I heard a song that really spoke to me. I am super into music and lyrically this song spoke straight to my soul. Do you have a song like that? Sometimes a song will take us back to a moment in life or make us dream of a future moment. It really is neat to me how when words and melodies are combined they can tell us a story or provoke a certain feeling in us. When I heard this song it immediately took me straight to the throne of Jesus. It took me to a new place of surrender.
I have this problem where I really feel anxious when I am unsure of what is to come. I never realized how much I struggled with needing to feel like I was in control of my life. When I think about it, it is actually pretty funny because the longer I live the more I also realize that I don’t have much control at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I make choices and those choices determine a lot of things. What career to have, who to marry, where to live? All of these are decisions that I get to make, things that I can control. But then there are some decisions that really aren’t up to me. Sometimes other peoples decisions decide for us what our circumstances look like. THIS part of life I know a lot about. A ton of things in my life for the last 8 years have been so unknown to me because they dealt directly on waiting on another person to make a decision. And whatever their decision was would in turn direct my next steps. Their decision would begin the words to the next chapter in my story.
When I think about it I am pretty sure that’s when my issue for needing control all began. I sat anxiously waiting for someone else to determine what they felt would be best for them and then work my life around it. The scary part of that was the fact that this person was selfish. In it for himself. This person didn’t care a lick about my life or what happened to me or how I felt. He was not trustworthy.
Im here to say that when I heard this song for the first time I realized not only was I okay with walking into unknown places but I was truly desiring it. It sounded thrilling and exhilarating. A great adventure! So what was the difference? The difference was who was calling me into the unknown.
God vs. Man.
_MAN had proven to be selfish, needy, greedy, prideful, deceitful, and dangerous.
_GOD had proven to be just, faithful, loving, gracious, selfless, forgiving, and safe.
I can hear the words of this song and be filled with peace instead of anxiety. I can be filled with hopeful expectation instead of dread of the future. I can listen with excited ears instead of apathetic ears. Who knew that walking into a wilderness that you have never ventured into before could leave you feeling an overwhelming sense of harmony? This is what happens when you decide to let the perfect God be your guidance into the unknown. His voice as your arrow.
You will walk into the unknown places in perfect peace and then in the most perfect timing you will see the light break through.
“My forever in Your heart, Your steps I will follow. I put my trust in who You are, Your voice is my arrow. And I will walk into the dark to see how the light breaks through. I will run into Your arms, I will hold on to You. I will lift my eyes to things unseen to the promise in Your victory and I will build my life on the mystery of where You call me, and I will go into the unknown. I can’t be shaken with Your words hidden in my heart. I can’t contain what I have seen, light rising from the dark. I will lift my eyes to things unseen, to the promise in Your victory. And I will build my life on the mystery of where You call me, and I will go into the unknown.”
–Unknown, Mosaic MSC
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Genesis 9:7 “And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”
We hear this verse and we automatically always look at it through the eyes of sexuality. While I believe that was the context God was using when he gave this command, I want us to look at it through metaphorical eyes today.
Elijah had been saving up his reward points (we give points for chores and good behavior, etc) for almost 2 months now. He finally decided to cash them in today! He decided on bowling and pizza, so we picked up one of his friends and took off for a fun afternoon! We got there and got the boys shoes and ordered a cheese pizza. We waited and waited, and the boys bowled and bowled. We had about 5 minutes left of bowling and still our pizza had not come out.
The manager had come over to us a couple of times so I decided to let him know our pizza never did come out, and now we were already done bowling. I was not hateful or rude, and honestly I wasn’t even really that irritated. We simply moved from our lane and to a table and waited. The pizza finally came and the boys went to town.
When it was time to pay the manager came up and apologized again that our pizza had not been placed and gave us our ticket which he had given us the pizza for half the price. I was appreciative and payed and we packed up what was left into the box, which happened to be half of the pizza. It was an 8 slice pizza and we packed up 4 pieces. The boys wanted to go back outside and play a round of Jenga before we left so I said sure.
When we got outside I noticed a homeless man sitting by the riverwalk going on and on talking to himself. I asked the boys if they would want me to give him the rest of their pizza and they both agreed, yes. So I walked over to him, keeping the boys in eye sight but not having them come with me, and I asked him if he would like some pizza. He said “Oh, yes! Thank you, bless you, you are oh so pretty.” I thanked him and told him to enjoy the pizza. I made my way back over to the boys and explained to them that this man could be mentally ill or on drugs but that they showed the love of Jesus by sacrificing their pizza so he could have something warm and fresh to eat.
They continued to play their game of Jenga and we periodically glanced over at him and watched him talk away to whoever it was he was imagining sitting with him. It was so neat to see him open that box and eat that pizza, but you’ll never guess what happened next.
Two men, also obviously homeless, walked up to him and started chatting. This man opened up his pizza box and gave away two pieces of his pizza. He gave away warm food that he had been freely given. My mind was blown. I could not believe how he could be so selfless, but I guess that’s probably because he knows what it is like to have nothing.
We are so hesitant to give things away, and we have SO much. We have excess. We don’t want to give someone $5 or spend $5 to buy someone a warm meal meanwhile we have 8 different options for breakfast ALONE in our cabinet plus extra refrigerators in our garage because the one inside is already full. Our closets are overflowing and we have to store clothes under our beds depending on which season it is because it won’t all hang up or fit in our drawers. Our kids have their own iPad’s and we have our iPad, iPhone, and Macbook. And we don’t want to give someone $5 because what if they use it on alcohol or drugs? What if the point of giving to someone wasn’t about finances or moral standards or judgements or what if’s? What IF it was based on love?
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