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Week one of my 2019 Lent journey has me excited to continue this fabulous prayer plan in Mark Batterson’s book “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge“. If you haven’t seen my first post for week one – I would encourage you to check it out before continuing to read this post just for the sake of continuity. That being said, let’s jump right in to this week’s reading.
Day 4: This day is entitled, “Don’t Pray Away” which got my attention right up front because the associated verse is one I have taken comfort from time and time again when I’m enduring hard times. It comes from the book of John, chapter 9, verse 3, “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” It is a quote from Jesus when responding to those who questioned whose sin caused a man to be born blind. So often we ask God, why is this happening to me/them/us/whomever and in our own small minds think it must be because of some secret sin or disobedience when really, it may just have happened so God could use it to His glory and honor. The theme of today has been a comfort because I know I have often asked God to “fix” my situation instead of simply asking Him to get me through it in such a way that brings him glory and honor. I get so mad at the situation and my helplessness to fix it or God saying no to my prayer requests that I get rebellious. What a childish way to behave! I loved this quote in particular, “The primary purpose of prayer is not to change circumstances; the primary purpose of prayer is to change us!“ I have work to do! Lord, let not my will be done, but Yours.
Day 5: Well I am ahead of the game for once in my life! Today the author encourages us to write down our prayers and keep a prayer journal. I have always enjoyed writing and journaling so this one comes easily to me. I see the value in this instruction right away because my grandmother once wrote down all the miracles experienced by our family before her passing in 2017. What an incredible list and legacy to have left all of us – spelling out time after time God showed up in mighty and miraculous ways in our very family. I began taking notes during sermons several years ago and it helps me to focus and be able to reference back instruction and prayer requests from our pastor. It also gives me the opportunity to go back and see my own thoughts during different seasons of my life. This makes me realize that I need to have even more focus and intention on my journaling and can help me in my daily prayer and meditation growth. I found there is a companion journal to this study that I wish I’d known about before starting this study but it appears God had it all worked out when He gave me the idea to journal here on my blog. He is truly in the details.
Day 6: I finally feel like I know what I’m supposed to be praying about…drumroll please…my finances. My finances are a wreck right now. I have a good job for this area but it just isn’t enough to really make ends meet, even with a bit of extra help with my son’s pre-school tuition. A side hustle I had fell through so I don’t have any extra steady income right now and my 8-5 job just doesn’t cut it. I am drowning in debt and bills right now and it has me so anxious. Income tax return should help get me caught up but once that runs out I’ll be right back in the same situation. I work in a field where I get a lot of opportunities to do consulting but that will take me away from my little ones so I would need a nanny part of the time. My parents are super supportive but I know they’re already overextending with all the help they give so I’m left wondering what is going to happen. I know God is in the details and this is something I’ve had to lean on Him to bring me through in the past. He knows I need to stretch my faith here. The reading today calls us to be audacious in our prayer requests. Sometimes I feel a little guilty for asking for help financially when so many areas of my life need attention and I know of so many other issues for many other people who have it so much worse than I but this has been weighing heavily on my mind so I’m going to step out in faith and ask God to direct my path. I love my work but I need God to direct my path and open up the right opportunities for me and my children. Instead of trying to fix it myself, I need to trust that His way is the best way as is His timing. My situation probably doesn’t seem impossible to most but I feel like I’m between a rock and hard place with having to choose to spend time with my children and continue to rack up debt or make the decision to be away from them more than I’d like but make 3-4 times what I make in my current position. I need clear direction here, Lord.
Day 7: Do you pray with the belief that God will answer your prayer? This is the theme for today. This is such a hard one for me and I’ll share with you why; I prayed every day for over two years that God would bring my husband home. I believed he would be granted parole and return to reunite our family. I believed it with my whole heart but God said no. The last no came in August of last year and I’ll admit, something broke inside me when we got the last denial. It could be another 9 years before he comes home and I just don’t have the energy to believe he will anymore and go through that rejection again. That’s the raw, honest truth. So now I’m challenged to “put on waders” and believe God’s gonna make it rain. I can’t lie, y’all. I don’t know if I have that kind of faith anymore and it makes me want to cry just writing those words. I know my faith is so weak right now and to step out, once again and face that rejection – well, it’s terrifying. How do I honor God and show that I have faith that he’ll get me out of this hole I’m in with my finances when I’m still recovering from the last no He handed down? Yesterday I got a call about yet another opportunity that would be ideal for my situation but is only a 6 month contract. In that 6 months though, I could make four times what I make now so I’m deciding right now that if I’m offered that job, God is going to work out the logistics with my kids or get me a counter offer from my current job that will take care of my finances. I’m putting my name in the ring this time and trusting the Lord with the details. Truly frightening for this control freak but I’m pulling on my waders and believing He’ll make it rain.
Day 8: There are good ideas and then there are “God-ideas” – that’s the message today. Certain ideas are so inspired, they are directly from God and the many genius uses of the peanut plan developed by famed scientist George Washington Carver is what the author uses to illustrate this point. So how do “God-ideas” come about? The best way is spending intentional time and prayer with the Lord. The question is posed, “Are my problems bigger than God, or is God bigger than my problems?” I know my problems are big. My debt is big. My financial burdens are many but the Creator of the universe is so much bigger! I have seen God move time and time again and know if it is His will, He will make a way. So I’m going to trust Him to inspire solutions to the problems I’m facing and follow where He leads.
Day 9: God inspires the impossible. He turns the unattainable into reality. He is the Dream Maker and we are His vessels. Right now my dream seems impossible. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to travel for work when I have two little ones. How am I going to be able to find a nanny? I have so many questions and doubts but I am going to trust that God gave me this dream. I prayed so desperately before I got this job. When I applied for this job, I really believed it was going to be data entry and it turned out to be a dream job for me. I love my work. I love the people I work with but I also know I need to move to something better in order to be able to support my family. I have been struggling with the decision on whether or not to move into consulting because of all these logistical issues for months now. I don’t have a lot of support from those closest to me because they are afraid it will be too hard on my children with their father already absent from their life. And while I will only be gone a few days a month, I don’t want to make it any harder on them than it already is but I also know that if this is truly God’s will, He will give them the peace and security they need to get through this, right along with their mama. So many doubts but I trust the Lord. I believe He will make it happen if it is His will. And if it is not, He will work out something else. And I will follow, wherever You lead.
Stay salty, friends.