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Check out week one, week two and week three before diving into this week of My 2019 Lent journey as I work through the book Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by bestselling author Mark Batterson. It has been a journey of ups and downs so far and this week has proven to be no different!
Day 16: Lord, surprise us. Seems like a simple enough prayer right? I don’t think I’ve ever prayed this prayer because I don’t like surprises. I like to be in control. I like to plan and prepare for every possibility. My motto has always been, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Some call it cynical, I call it realistic. So today, I’m going to step out in faith and trust that God has good surprises for me. Not too long ago He brought someone into my life that I was completely unprepared for and it has surprised me in completely unexpected ways. It has been the best kind of surprise and I am so thankful for God’s provision. I trust that in the area of my finances and job, He will surprise me in a good way. I’m going to the Source of gift giving and trusting He’ll throw a party as only He can.
Day 17: When my ex-husband was first arrested, I got a prayer book and began praying through it. I just knew God was going to bring him home and reunite our family. But it was not meant to be and he is still incarcerated. I pray that he will soon be released so he and our children can begin the healing process but I’ve realized though this was what I wanted it wasn’t what God intended. Our marriage was broken before it even began and I couldn’t see it because I was so blinded by what I wanted, I ignored all the warning signs God threw in my way. I stuck by his side through thick and thin, betrayal after betrayal until God had to literally take him out of the picture completely to show me He has something better in mind for me. Being alone and single the rest of my life would be better than going through that constant cycle of chaos and heartbreak. The peace I have in my home and life now is something I never could have imagined before this life altering event. That isn’t to say that I’m not deeply saddened by this divorce and heartbroken over it – I am and part of me always will be – but I know now that God has something better for me. I was a lot like the author, I wanted God to answer my prayers in the way I wanted Him to answer, as soon as possible. I know now, God’s timing isn’t my timing and what He wants isn’t necessarily what I want but I also trust now that what He intends is better than I can possibly fathom and my faith is stronger for it. So now I join Mark in asking, as long as it takes, Lord.
Day 18: Timing and patience are a major struggle for me. I’ve talked about repeatedly trusting God’s timing but am about the most impatient person there is so it’s a constant battle for me. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking. Today I’m in the keep on keeping on mode. I’m still getting emails about potential job offers but they all seem just out of reach and nothing ever seems to pan out. I get my hopes up for nothing. It is frustrating. Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. Don’t lose faith. Don’t lose patience. I have to put those on repeat in my head! I’m tired of having my faith stretched. For once, I’d like it if an answer came right away but I know I also don’t grow in those instances. So I have to keep trusting, keep believing and keep praying.
Day 19: I have been blessed with a legacy of praying parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and beyond. I’ve talked about before how my Nana wrote out a list of answered prayers and miracles before she passed in 2017 but she is only one of many family members that has circled me and my children in prayer. Not to mention, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. I have so many people praying for me, I have often been overwhelmed by the support, especially when I’m going through tough times. I have literally felt prayers lift me out of bed on days I did not want to face the day. It is humbling to think of all the time people have invested praying for me and my family. But that’s what prayer is, right? An investment because God always gives us a return. Even a “no” answer or a “not right now” is a supernatural return on our spiritual growth. Today’s reading gave me goosebumps because I can still hear my Nana praying for me and asking God to help me and I am so thankful for her and the countless others. The least I can do for my children is continue that heritage.
Day 20: Whew, we’re halfway there, y’all. You’ll never be ready. That’s how the message starts today and I can 100% relate to this sentiment. I’ve never had enough education, time, or money to do the things I want to do or even what I feel God is leading me toward and yet God has always provided a way for the things He intended me to do. This blog is a prime example of that – I wasn’t ready to start writing. I don’t have the time or the money to invest in something that isn’t paying me but I still felt like it was something God wanted me to do. I’m a mess and I’ll be the first to admit I’m a terrible example to follow. I was afraid of being a stumbling block to others by being myself but I also know God created my little prickly attitude, hard-headed, big-hearted, over-anxious, control-freak self to bring glory and honor to Him. When I started writing I thought, no one is going to read this and if they do and I’m really honest in my writing, man, they’re going to judge me. And I still have a small audience and all those insecurities but I feel like God has a reason for giving me this outlet so I’m going to be faithful in doing what I feel led to do and see what God does with it.
Day 21: The author draws from my favorite book of the Bible today – Joshua. Have you read much about Joshua? He is my favorite Biblical person. I feel like he was the most faithful and dependable person. Everything God asked Him to do, no matter how ridiculous it seemed, Joshua did without question. I wish I had the faith and dedication of Joshua. Perhaps one day I will. Joshua led the Israelites around the city of Jericho and the Lord responded by delivering the impossible – he felled the walls and gave the city to His faithful people. Even though it seemed impossible, crazy even, to simply walk around a city and blow trumpets, Joshua did what was asked of him and the Lord gave him more than he likely ever expected. So I too, will circle my prayers and ask that the Lord make my will match His will.
Day 22: The reading today talks about prayer fleeces and how Gideon used them to ensure God was with him. My Mama is one of the strongest Christians I know and frequently uses a “fleece” to help her discern God’s will for important decision in her life. I don’t know that I’ve ever used a prayer fleece because I’m afraid of testing the Lord. I do feel uncertain most of the time so it would be good to have a sign to indicate my desire to move into consulting is what the Lord desires for me and isn’t just my own whim. I often feel like Gideon; the least in my own tribe. My brother is the smart one of our family and I’ve always been the black sheep. That’s not to say that my family treats me differently, in fact, they love me with a grace I don’t deserve with all the heartache I’ve caused them. I love that they’ve given me the grace to be who I am just as Jesus gives us the opportunity to be who we are while simultaneously depending on Him to meet our needs. I often try to fix things myself. Cars, appliances, plumbing, you name it, I’ve probably tried my hand at fixing it and you know what, I’ve been fairly successful in fixing things but that doesn’t mean I can fix everything! I need the Lord to fix my path and place me where He wants me to be. Where you lead, Lord, I will follow.
I know I should’ve posted this last Friday but sometimes life happens! This gives me the opportunity to make my posts match more of what the reading has with a Monday – Saturday format. I battled a fever of 103 degrees Sunday but am feeling a lot better today. Hope you’re all having a great week and continuing to circle your prayers.
Stay salty, fam,