When The Words Won’t Come

Prayer is often a struggle for me, if I am honest. This coming from a woman who is constantly asking how and what I can pray on for friends and family. To the woman who used to sit in her church’s war room on Sundays during a service and pray over everyone in that auditorium.

Yes, prayer has become a struggle because I simply cannot find the words beyond a simple, “Lord, be with them.” “Lord, comfort them in their time of grief and need.” “Lord provide in ways only you can.” “Lord, I am sorry.”

That’s about it. Words that don’t seem to have belief behind them. Words that feel dry and rejected being spoken…faith somewhere else than in the One listening to those words.

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A longtime friend recently shared a simple request when prompted for what I could be praying on for them, and so I began to pray these same words over them. Feeling a sense of that God probably wasn’t much into listening to me yet again pander with words what I wasn’t really believing, that He was there and desiring to hear from me. That He could provide and speak into the needs of my intercessions.

So with a loss of words (and I dare say some faith in prayer) I took steps away from time talking to God. I trudged away holding my journal thinking it was all a big waste. It’s then I realized the purposefulness of time spent with Him, a time when I felt unheard and alone that I saw how real God desires a relationship, to hear from me and my heart, the struggles I keep within and those I come to Him with on behalf of others.

But the words still wouldn’t come because it felt weird, like that friend you’ve gone too long in seeing face to face…you aren’t sure where to start or if you can still go deep with them.

So I turned to His Word and what He has said to me and began to pray His truth, affirming it for myself and rejoicing in what He was already doing….

I thank You always concerning my friend for Your grace which was given to them by Christ Jesus, that they are enriched in everything by You in all utterance and all knowledge even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them, so that they come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of You Lord Jesus, that You will also confirm them to the end, that they may be blameless in the day of You. You are faithful, by whom they were called into the fellowship of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

adapted from 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

He has already given us the words when we don’t have them, when we struggle to voice laments, praises, hurts, griefs and sorrows…joy and excitement…all of it. He has given us the words to speak, to pray, to be in relationship with Him when our faith wanes, when the heaviness of this life seems to push down and make us want to trudge away with our own emotions. He speaks, so that we may have the words to come to Him.

This season of words that won’t come is still very present for me, but I also know that to open His Word and pray them over myself, over others, to speak His Name is enough…it’s more than enough because He has provided…He has heard…and He meets me here each and every moment, even in the silence, He knows. So I take up this prayer again…for others, for myself, for Him…to be a part of the relationship I need and He desires for me.

What If?

I sat there in a movie theater with a friend not really knowing what to say. We were at a screening and had decided to use the time to talk about some heart issues we both had been experiencing as of late. She looked at me with such fear and pain in her voice asking “But what if this is it?”

I looked at her and shared that I too had asked that same question, with longing, fear and pain. What if this is it for me?

She looked with such honesty, seeking an answer as if I held some secret. Me, another single female with a job and a mortgage. Me the woman seven years older, and supposedly wiser, yet still single.

What-ifOh my heart hurt, and friends, it still does…because this What If plagues us in some very quiet times-no matter our marital status. It whispers ever so softly that it echoes out into every corner and crevice of our lives. We begin to wonder what if this happens? what if that doesn’t? What if? What if? What if?

Those two words will slither and crawl throughout our lives when we are at our most vulnerable, when we aren’t on guard or we just aren’t prepared. I remember not too long ago my “What if?” snuck up and sucker punched me hard. I had to pull over because I had started to sob. It was speaking fears and doubts I had left unchecked and running loose. It was the reality of no control that I chose to carry with me as if I could control it. Oh that illusion of control will mess you up friends if you aren’t careful. You’ll think you’ve checked off this on your timeline of life and not its time to for that….when in actuality we are on God’s timing and that may mean you don’t get that, or not right now but when He believes you are ready.

I wish I could tell you that it’s easy to answer the what if of my friend, or of my own life. But it’s not. It’s difficult because the what if is a lie. It’s a lie of comparison. It’s a lie that our story has to be like that person or those people. It’s a lie that tells us that we can control it and we are in command. We aren’t.

You aren’t.

Neither am I.

So that night, after sharing that hard conversation with no answers with my friend, I began to wrestle once more with the what ifs? that were circling my own heart and mind. Then very clearly I realized that I had laid down that struggle before of my future but I hadn’t let go of my present. I was still wrangling it with both hands, herding here and there like wild cats. Yet God stood there all the while waiting for me to relinquish and rest. To allow Him His work and me to trust. I go before Him, even in the moments since, seeking to give my present and my future back over to Him when I try to pull it back.

It’s not mine.

Those questions? Well they are a lie that is used as a weapon to distract, manipulate and take us from His truth. And that’s when I cling to His word that tells me exactly where I am if I just keep faith and remember it’s not about me.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

1 Peter 5:6-10

High Impact

Live out who you were designed to be.

Too often I live out what the fears, the doubts, and the inadequacies tell me to be. I live out what the lies would have me to believe about myself. When I live this way, I live out in such a small insignificant way that impacts no one.

Until two weeks ago.

That Friday changed things for me. Friday was an entire hinge moment spanning 24 hours. It came with me missing an opportunity that God had been working on my heart about for months. I’d committed myself to it, then circumstances shifted and I wasn’t able to fulfill something I had been planning to be a part of.

Then an email came. This email blew the hinges off a rather heavy door I’d used to compartmentalize alot of my life into for the last while. I was humbled in many ways by this email. Why you may ask? Because it came from a student that in reality I did not feel I had much interaction with. This individual told me how much I had impacted them over the last few months. I was a complete mess upon reading the email, internalizing the knowledge of how my seemingly small time commitment to this student had such an impact on them above others that they had chosen me to say these words to via email.

Then I started to reflect on why this was throwing me for a loop (still kind of is as I stop to reflect)…why did this student being honest with me about my work with them unhinge me? Over the last few weeks I have attempted intentional living. Living out who God designed me to be, in all facets of my life. Living out a life that emptied me daily of who I am and filled me instead with Who God desires me to be, the reflection of His Son. There are days I utterly fail at this, and am so filled with my own self that my stubbornness won’t allow God to empty me. But I have noticed the heart change in me, and no longer just behavior management that had been going on for a while. It’s been a transformation of the heart and manifestations of Him in me.

I would truly rather fail at living out who God designed me to be and something that matters, than succeed at a false self and things that do not matter. I would rather impact one, because it’s not about quantity it’s about quality.