Well y’all, I apologize for not getting a separate post out for week 5 but when your role as a human is entrepreneur/blogger, mom, maid, girlfriend, chauffer, sister, aunt, friend and everything in between – well, life happens! If you haven’t seen my previous posts for weeks 1, 2, 3 and 4 – I would definitely encourage you to check those out first! This book, “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge” has truly been a challenge for me. I had gotten out of the habit of daily prayer and meditation and it is still a struggle for me to sit down and take that time with the Lord but I also know how much better my daily life is when I am intentional about my prayer life and Bible study. This book is helping me to get back into that routine in a way that is anything but routine!
Day 23: I can’t remember a time I have gotten a “not yet” answer from God. I’m sure it’s happened but it’s generally either a clear “yes” or definite “no”. I’ll be honest. I’m discouraged. Every job opportunity seems to slip through my fingers and I am so dissatisfied at my current job it is stealing my joy. I know this is not the way I should be feeling but sometimes I just feel like when it’s something that I really want, not necessarily a need, God says no. And to be honest it makes me feel a little bit like the red-headed stepchild. God adopted me into His family but sometimes I still don’t really feel like a part of the Family. I know this isn’t mature on my part but I am trying to be transparent here. To read a book about how God has answered these prayers for this one man and his family and all of these people is overwhelming. I want that kind of favor with God. I don’t know how to get it. And I know God has blessed me, repeatedly. I have two beautiful children, a nice home, a nice vehicle, a good job and the list goes on and on and on. I guess I need to step out of the comparison game because it’s stealing my joy. I don’t want my dreams to be idols. I want my focus to be on God, not my wants. I’m struggling with the holy waiting period that I’m in right now.
Day 24: Reading my Bible used to be a daily part of my life. I read through the Bible using different studies a few different times. But now, it’s become a marginalized part of my life. I realize this is a mistake and I’m working on doing better. If I have time to read a book for pleasure, I have time to read the Holy Word of God in meditation! Social Media has become an idol for far too many of us, myself included. I can’t tell you how often I check my phone to see if there are any new posts. And why? Does it add value to my life? Not usually! Does reading the Word of God? ABSOLUTELY! So I am going to refocus on spending time in the Word and listening to God speak to me as He has so often done.
Day 25: The description of the basketball team and the kids on the team was a knife in the heart today. My kids rarely get to see their incarcerated father and are now going to be a statistic of a “broken home” with my pending divorce. I am fortunate enough to have my father and close male friends who invest in my children and are strong male role models, thank the Lord. I often have to fill this role myself and it is so hard to do. Children need their fathers, this is just a fact. I know that praying for my children is going to be paramount to their success in life. It’s something I have to take seriously and do so with my two biological children and also my four sponsored children that I have sponsored for several years through Compassion International (which I encourage you to check out if you haven’t in the past). I pray that I will have prophetic influence on these six little lives and that God’s Will be manifested in each child. I look forward to someday seeing the fruits of the labor so many have sown into their lives.
Day 26: There’s this verse in the Bible that instructs us to pray continually and I used to do just that. I would see a sunset or a butterfly and take a moment to thank God and praise Him for his majesty and creativity. I would feel anxious about a test and I would spend some time asking God to soothe my nerves. I found instances throughout the day and saw them as opportunities to commune with our Creator. Why did I ever stop that? I got too busy for my own good. So now I’ll be looking for moments to spend re-connecting with my Father. I don’t want to feel this spirit of dissatisfaction and lack of intimacy with my Lord. I want to dwell in His presence as I once did and I need to be intentional in my desire to do so. My anxious spirit is going to help me instead of hinder me!
Day 27: Fasting is something I both enjoy and struggle with. This year for Lent I decided to give up sugar. I failed. Miserably. And I’ve been beating myself up about it but it is what it is. The fasting part of my Lent journey hasn’t gone as planned and honestly neither has reading through this book. I realize that I have been so caught up in my day to day life I’m neglecting the most important thing which is my relationship with the Lord. I need to clear my schedule. I need to spend time on my knees. I need to get the junk out of my life that is cluttering up and taking away time from doing what matters most which is having intimacy with my Creator. My flesh is so weak even though my spirit is willing. Willpower is such a struggle and has been a big focus for me lately with trying to live and eat healthier overall. I hear you, Lord. Forgive me for my busyness.
Day 28: Stop praying and start acting – sounds counterintuitive to a book focused on praying, right? But it’s true! Why do we pray about something we already have the power to achieve ourselves? Prayer is asking for supernatural intervention to accomplish something we cannot do on our own. I am praying right now for help with my job and my financial situation. I realized this week that I have a bad attitude about my current job. Now I could ask God to give me a better attitude but I don’t need to do that. I can simply choose to be the best employee I can be right where I am at and decide I will look for the positives right now. I can tell you I am not naturally a positive person but when I make the choice to be positive, it really changes my entire outlook. Instead of getting mad when someone else takes over a project I had been working on, I see it as lightening my work load so I can focus more on other projects. When someone steps on my toes in a meeting instead of responding in anger or frustration, I take a step back and ask myself what I can do to make the situation better. It really changes my outlook and attitude overall. I like these practical thoughts that are easy to implement in my life right away.
Day 29: A friend shared this video with me and I thought it was very appropriate for this day. Take a look.
I never want to be the kind of person who just goes through the routines. I won’t leave it to chance. I won’t stagnate in my spiritual growth. I refuse to be lukewarm water spit out of my Master’s mouth! Prayer is not going to be just a routine for me, don’t let it become one for you!
Day 30: Not being in the Word has been very detrimental to my intimacy with God. I know this to be true. I look back and see the stagnation that began when I stopped making my time in the Word a daily priority. There is a direct correlation between spending time studying the Bible and the feeling of closeness to my Savior. I have seen the Word transform my faith over the years. In the same way I can see the correlation in my recent stagnation, I can look back further and see the times where I was heavily into God’s Word bring about the biggest periods of spiritual growth I’ve experienced to date. This is a re-awakening for me! I want to be close to Him and I know to do so I must spend time studying my Bible. I recently described my present situation as being between a rock and a hard place, much like the author describes the Israelites when trapped between Pharaoh and his army and the Red Sea. I must be still in His presence to see Him move in my life.
Day 31: Today is a re-affirmation that I need to journal out what I am asking the Lord to do. I’m asking Him to help me either land a better job or find something to help me be more financially sound. I don’t know if that means I need to drastically change my bills, get another side hustle or what so I need Him to guide me into what He has in mind for me. I want to be able to comfortably provide for myself and my children without worrying about relying on anyone else. I need to sit down and list out goals but a few of them are paying off debt, including my home, my vehicle, and my student loans; finding steady childcare apart from my parents so I do not have to rely on them so heavily (this has already partially been answered this summer – thank You, Lord); and lastly bring my children’s father home so he can help with raising them – not so much financially but emotionally is the most important piece of this request. That last one may not sound like it has much to do with the others but I believe it would go a long way to helping us as a whole and it is WHOLLY dependent on God – I have zero control over it so I’m forced to depend on Him completely. So there are some specific prayer requests that I can begin to focus on instead of being vague!
Day 32: One of the most difficult things I have been through in this journey was sharing my testimony. My pastor asked me to do so a couple of years ago and at that time I was still sure God was going to bring my husband home. Even though that did not happen the way I imagined, one thing about my testimony remains true. I believe and shared with my fellow church-members my belief that they saved my husband’s life. It was through their steadfast support during those very first difficult days that my husband saw way Jesus loved Him – without reservation. Even though he made a terrible error in judgment which resulted in his incarceration, our wonderful church never stopped loving him and encouraging him. To this day, even though we are going through a divorce, he is lifted up in prayer and sent notes of encouragement by our church family. That is a true testimony of God’s love in my opinion. I am really glad our pastor encourages members of our congregation to share their current situations and testimonies, it is always uplifting to hear how the Lord is working in our midst.
Day 33: I used to never ask people to pray for me. It felt burdensome and I never wanted to be a burden to anyone. After I got married and began having difficulties in my marriage, I realized the only person I was hurting by being prideful and not asking for intercession was myself! The Lord desires communion within His Church and amongst His members just like He desires communion with His people. Learning to ask folks to intercede on my behalf was a turning point for me. There were so many difficult days in my marriage and life journey and I know for a fact that some days the only reason I was able to get out of bed and face a new day or a new problem was because of the prayers of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I know I am thankful for the prayers of others and it has impressed me to pray for others because I know they are depending on those prayers just like I so often have depended on their prayers for me.
Day 34: I took my children to visit their father today. It is never an easy thing, to enter into a prison to allow your children a couple of hours to feel somewhat normal. Today the message is regarding the fact that it only takes a few faithful believers to raise up a remnant. My marriage is over, the paperwork has been filed, everything else is just a formality. I cried expressing my anguish over this life-altering event to my now ex-husband this morning. I know it is for the best, some things are just too broken to be repaired and the wounds are terribly deep on both sides. I am thankful that he and I are choosing to rise above that heartache and be kind to one another during this time. I am committed to doing what is best for our children and I pray that God will soon reunite them with their father in a more meaningful way than just a couple of hours a month at visitation in prison. Today I’m leaving you with a song that has really helped me get through some of these dark days.
Stay salty, loved ones,