Before all else… things I’m thankful for:
The breath within my lungs. Stillness. The heartbreakingly beautiful sunset and ocean and canyons that captivate me. The breeze. My family. The friends who won’t let me fall. Grace. And my God, my God, my God beyond my conception.
This has been a very difficult week for me. In five days, I’m not sure if I’ll have a roof over my head, I don’t know that I will have money for gas and food after my rent (should I be lucky enough to have rent to pay), or how I will be paying for next months rent. Dad has instructed me to look for flights home for Christmas now before they get too expensive and they are already out of my price range, not to mention how I will be getting gifts for everyone. My credit card remains full of charges from my best friends wedding this past month, and the list goes on.
At my community group this week, the lesson confronted each person about what they would like to be prayed for. Prayer and I do not always mix. I have a horrible problem with vocalizing prayer and when given the option, I’ll always pass on praying out loud. I also have a very difficult time asking for prayer for myself. This past year I came to a better understanding of prayer and really delved deep into my heart and considered, “What if… What if I really believed in the power of prayer? What if we all really believed that prayer is an active, living thing that has purpose and authority? I know we all are supposed to believe it, but do we really?” I finally came to the understanding that it’s not a matter of What if, but It already is! and that is truth. The power of prayer can be a terrifying thing, especially if you’re not sure you are doing it correctly.
Fully believing in prayer has given me a strength, but also a severe reluctance. I’ve always been the suck-it-up and walk-it-off kind of person. I have a desire to provide and protect, but I stop short when it comes to myself. Knowing what others are going through, knowing that my concerns are minute in comparison, and knowing the power of prayer… how could I possibly ask for prayer when I KNOW there are others in the very same room who need it more than I? And that’s where I find myself; too ashamed to ask for prayer even though I know I need help.
So when it was my turn, after hearing the difficulties my friends needed prayer for, I was simply going to ask for some kind of general prayer but as the words came out of my mouth I just seethed. I couldn’t take it. Holding back tears I explained that it was impossible for me to ask for prayer when people are struggling with worse. It’s simply not fair for me to take that away from them.
Once again my friends proved just how important they are to me. My friend Jenn explained that she considered it a privilege to pray for me and I should never deny someone the joy of being able to do that for me. I do understand. I feel the same when I pray for others. So when everyone prayed aloud for each other, I could hear Jenn praying for me and at that point I couldn’t keep the tears back any longer. I wonder if that is what Peter felt when Jesus knelt down and washed his feet.
Sometimes I wonder what wicked forces still lurk within me. I wonder if I harbor demons and fight with them every day. I know they often blind my eyes and whisper lies to me, and become a barrier to the movement of the spirit. But, oh those times when the wickedness weakens, the demons untangle their fingers from my mind and release their icy grip on my lungs. Those times when I am washed in the spirit and feel humbled by God’s grace. Those fleeting moments when my heart sings out praises and the doubt fades away and the darkness flees and I KNOW I am loved completely… those moments break every reserve within me and builds me up renewed.
Tonight at the Flood service, Matt announced that he joined the board for COTN. I was so excited I wanted to jump out of my chair. To see so many people with such spiritual strength joining COTN is such an encouragement. It reaffirms the heart of this organization. It’s another little road sign telling me that I’m on the right path.
Something else Matt said tonight as he described the journey of Chris (COTN’s founder) and his father to accept the task of helping children in Malawi, was, “That’s a hard call to take”. I think all of us who have committed to serving the Lord through COTN are taking a hard call. I believe it puts us at the front lines in a spiritual war. I’ve heard many amazing stories, but they have come out of great struggle. The common factor is not giving up and having faith in God. As I look at my battles and difficulties and am acutely aware of the uncertainty of tomorrow, I know the devil doesn’t give up easily.
But God doesn’t give up. Period!
The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. - Psalm 121:7-8
Each night before you go to bed, my baby
Whisper a little prayer for me, my baby
‘Cause you know it’s hard for me, my baby
When the darkest hour is just before dawn
(Dedicated to the One I Love) – Mamas & The Papas