Last year Mike and I began a New Year’s tradition we hope to continue for many years to come. We decided to commit to praying for 4 things as a family throughout 2015.
As we are in the last week of the year, we are considering what to pray for in 2016, but are also reading over the list that we prayed over so many times. Two of our prayers were answered in the same day, in the same phone call. The third was a prayer that we knew wouldn’t be answered in 2015, but we definitely wanted to keep it on our radar, and the fourth is similar to the third prayer… it’s a work in progress. Through the answered prayers, and the unanswered prayers, what I learned the most about praying is that the more I pray, the more I see God move. I have watched God move mountains this year, and experienced Him paving the way for me. I have felt God’s comforting hand upon me and my family, and I have heard the silence. I have been at the center of God moving, and also on the sidelines and the bleachers watching Him move in the lives of others. I have witnessed as unexpected unmerited things happened, and sat in expectancy of Him. I have been on the mountain top in the middle of a lake in NH asking God “what do you want?” with Him answering “I want you to know that you know that you know”, and been in the deepest valley where God asks me if I trust him. Through it all, I am more confident in the faithfulness of the God we pray to.
What was the last thing that brought you to your knees?
That is a question I thought a lot about this year. I actually had written in another direction for this post. I was all ready to push the Publish button for tomorrow, and I read something today and I erased most of what I wrote because although what I am about to share is super personal, I feel more strongly the need to share what I am about to write. If you have been following my blog, you know that I had a miscarriage back in September and the journey I have been on since then. My prayer life has changed so much since September, but what you don’t know is that July of 2013 was when I started praying for this event. I remember coming home from work really not feeling well and going to bed really early. While lying in bed trying to sleep I felt something was placed on my heart. That something was that I was going to have a miscarriage. A moment later, I felt better. It was weird, and I had never been “warned” about something before. So I brought it back to God, to see if maybe I was having fear about the possibility of trying to get pregnant in a few months. Again He confirmed what He placed on my heart. I was so confused. Does God warn us about things before they happen? I remember talking to a friend about it the next day, and she said that yes God could be warning me to prepare me, but maybe He was telling me so I can pray against it. So I started praying… I started to pray against having a miscarriage, but I prayed for preparation as well if it that was what was ahead. I remember that when I was pregnant with Charlie I lay on a beach in South Carolina writing in my journal, and I begged God to let me keep him. I am so thankful He did. Charlie is such a great joy, just as God promised us.
A few weeks after the miscarriage, my friend (the one who I talked to about my “warning”) came over and we sat on my couch talking about everything that happened with the miscarriage, how I was seeing Christ as my Rock, how my trust in Him increased, how peaceful and comforted I felt by Him, and how there was a stronger desire in me to serve Him than ever before. She asked me “do you remember that you knew you would have a miscarriage a couple years ago?” I of course said yes, and that I remembered writing in my journal about it after I got pregnant with Charlie. Of course, I grabbed my journal because I was curious what I wrote. What I found floored us. It was October of 2013 when I wrote:
“When I found out I was pregnant I was scared… scared to loose the baby… scared to not love the baby… scared that I will not share loving words with them. Help us be good stewards of the gift and honor you have given us. Protect my baby. Give my baby physical life. Help the baby grow to know your love, and that he/she is wonderfully and beautifully made and loved by You. I know you may have other plans, but please help my baby be healthy!”
But what I didn’t remember writing was in July of 2013 shortly after what had been laid on my heart.
“Give Mike and I a baby in your timing. I believe that you revealed I would loose a child to a miscarriage. So God, prepare me. Be my strength for that. Help me to be comforted by You. Your ways are beyond my ways, so help me to trust you, and not look for answers but to saturate myself in Your peace and comfort. You are my healer. Carry me through whatever you have for me. Set my fire ablaze for you.“
I remember having tears in my eyes during worship at church the next day singing “Love Came Down” at how faithful He is, and also the confidence we can have in Him. I can not describe to you exactly how my faith increased during this trial… but it did. Seeing how God answered my prayers from 2 years prior so specifically blew my mind and comforted my heart. No one should ever have to go through a miscarriage… it is terrible, and I can not sit here and tell you why He allows bad things to happen to those who love Him. But I do know that I am so glad that over 2 years ago, I asked Him to prepare me… and that He was more than willing to provide for our every request! What a good good Father!
“oh, dear one… if you only knew what I was doing”
Sometimes, I get this image of God listening to our prayers and answering “oh, dear one… if you only knew what I was doing”. I am so thankful that He is God, and that He knows the bigger picture and that He works for the good of His kingdom, and not my idea of how things should work out. How Awesome, and Majestic that Truth is.
What was the last thing that brought you to your knees? What was the last thing that caused you to cry out to God? I want to encourage you to start this year off and commit to praying for 4 things over 2016. The 4 things are between you can God (Or your family and God). But take some time to consider what God places on your heart to pray for, then write them down and lift them up often. I believe that part of the reason that God wants us to pray is to help prepare us for what is to come… even if the “something to come” is a good thing. In your prayers even if it doesn’t seem like God is answering you, take heart and be confident in who holds it all together. Take heart that He is good. Take heart that He works for the good of those that love Him. Take heart that His track record is perfect. Take heart that He is in the business of furthering His kingdom. So keep getting on your knees. Keep seeking, and keep the faith that He has a plan and that it is good!