Don’t get me wrong, there is no right or wrong way to pray. If super formal communication is how you feel connected, then by all means, keep doing you. My point is that no matter how you do pray, it’s incredibly important that you do.
While God does not keep score, I tend to do so.
This past year, I started a “prayers” note on my iPhone. Whenever I feel like a threw a Hail Mary up to the literal heavens, I write it down in my notes to see where it landed, and folks, it has been life changing.
I would write things down and completely forget about them, and most of the time, I would forget that I even had the notes on my phone. What usually ends up happening is I’m going through my notes looking for my most current grocery list and BOOM all my prayers are written down.
And I’m not kidding you, each time I recheck the note, another prayer has been answered. Somethings are small, like one-time God helped me pull of a surprise for a friend, but some of them are big like the fact that I’m living in a house right now.
There is no better way to reassure your own faith then to be behind the scenes as God moves mountains.
But the even funnier thing, is that sometimes prayers do not get answered in the way you would expect.
For example, I really love singing. I had a blast getting to lead worship back when I was in college, but the church we go to now is currently just too big. So, I’d never given singing another thought.
Then a couple of weeks ago, Luke’s hometown church reached out and said they were looking for people to join the worship team they were going to start up. I immediately reached out and said I was interested.
As it turns out, the guy who was going to be leading the new team, was from my home town, went to my home town church, and helped start the campus ministry where I had fell in love with leading worship in the first place, and finally was leading worship in my husband’s middle-of-no-where-small-town-Iowa. What are the odds of that my friends.
And maybe this story doesn’t blow you away, maybe you think that something like that shouldn’t matter as much as it did to me. If that’s the case, come have coffee with me sometime and let me tell you the hundreds of stories I could tell about Hail Mary passes that became touchdowns (Did you like my sports pun? ;) ).
My mind was absolutely blown. The intricacy and attention to detail that God uses to tell the story of our lives will never not be amazing.
My point is, prayers matter. They matter because they show that you’re willing to trust. They show that you’re willing to listen, and they show that you know God’s going to show up.
I don’t believe in things like coincidences. I get this super weird feeling in my chest when what other people would consider “coincidences” happen to me. It’s not just by happenstance, it’s on purpose, and that purpose is for you and me.
So I don’t care how you pray. I don’t care if you write it down. I don’t care if you speak authentic Hebrew up to Heaven.
Pray for big things and for small things and everything in between and watch the Lord move mountains for you in ways you couldn’t write yourself.
Before anyone panics, yes we are all okay. This post is not a pity party, or a sympathy grab, and if it comes across that way, I'm definitely not meaning for it to, but there is a story I want to tell.
I've known Luke for about 3 years now, and ever since I've known him, I've come to learn that the kid has got a very sensitive stomach. I will spare you the details.
At the beginning of our relationship, we all began suspecting that something was up with his stomach. He constantly felt sick and bloated, he couldn't gain weight, and he was tired ALL the time. So he decided to consult his family physician. Who then got him an appointment with a gastrointestinologist (GI) who decided to do some scope work to determine if Luke had Crohn's Disease.
After a series of tests and scopes, the results came back mostly inconclusive. His blood work was consistent with someone who had Crohn's, but the biopsies came back negative.
Flash forward to this October, nearly 2 years later and we are married instead of dating. His stomach issues only continue to get worse. In fact, Luke was so sick during parts of our honeymoon, he had me memorize the address to our condo so that way if I had to call 911 I could tell the ambulance where to go.
As his symptoms got worse, we decided it was probably time to go get checked again. So we head back to the family physician, and during our consultation his physician says "Well, you know you have Crohn's Disease right?" We were shocked, because two years ago we were told everything was inconclusive, but right there in his file, that was his diagnosis. So they send us back to a GI specialist, but this time at a different hospital.
It's November by the time we are able to get into this new specialist, and she asks Luke sooo many questions about his symptoms and everything that has been going on for the past two years. Based off Luke's answers, they are able to rule out Crohn's' Disease (Thank The Lord) but do want to run some tests to double check everything.
We get a call in December that Luke's blood work is consistent with someone who has Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that makes a person's body intolerant to gluten, and suggest that he goes back in for another scope.
It's January now, and Luke's scope was 2 weeks ago. Everything went according to plan until it didn't. The scope was successful, but at some point where they took the biopsies didn't heal quite right and he had minor internal bleeding, which landed us in the emergency room Sunday afternoon, and it was there that we did get to see his results confirming celiac disease. To put it in perspective, a normal person's antibodies for this disease register at 15, Luke's number was 250.
And I am not a marriage expert, not even close, but what I do know is that when Luke came to from being under anesthesia and the first words out of his mouth were "I love you so much," I knew there was no where else I would rather be, because in reality, I didn't cross my fingers when I said "in sickness and in health," and I know if it were me laying in that bed, he would have been right there by my side too.
The second thing, is that we are incredibly lucky with where we ended up. Celiac disease is nothing compared to the Crohn's Diagnosis I thought we were facing. Or the millions of other things that could have been wrong. We are incredibly lucky, and if this is the most stressful situation we face, I would consider our lives a miracle. Celiac is entirely treatable and manageable.
The third thing, is that, I am not a good cook, not even with spaghetti, so my kitchen has been turned upside down because we are officially a gluten free family. SO maybe you're celiac, maybe you're allergic to gluten, maybe you just don't eat gluten, OR maybe you just want to help the newly weds out. If you have ANY recipes that you love or can't live without that are gluten free, snack ideas, supper ideas, anything, please send them our way.
Who knows, maybe this will become a gluten free foodie blog...
But it probably wont ;)
Anyways, for better or for worse, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health, whatever the weather, I'm sure I'll have lots more stories where these come from.
A lot of people do New Year's Resolutions, and maybe you're one of them.
I set them too, and I'll have a blog about those later, but goals for me are hard. They set up parameters that determine if you pass or fail. You either complete them or you crash and burn in week two.
In fact, research is showing that by January 12th 80% of us will have already given up on what we set out to do.
That being said, I decided to add something new to the mix this year. I've spoken with several people, and seen several articles about choosing a word for 2019.
The word can be anything. Any word that you feel encapsulates what your goals would have been, or will be if you set them.
For example, a lot of people start the year with a resolution to go to the gym more. So they set goals like, get to the gym x amount of times a week, don't eat fast food, drink plenty of water, etc.
And those goals are great, there's nothing wrong with having a specific task in mind, but there is something I see wrong right off the bat.
All of those goals are pass fail, you either get to the gym or you don't. You either eat fast food or you don't. You either drink the right amount of water or you don't.
Where is there any room for grace????
Instead of setting yourself up for a test, set yourself up for some grace.
If your the person, like me, who had a long list of resolutions that seem daunting and overwhelming, take the pressure off yourself and just pick a theme. Say something like...
"In 2019 I want to be healthy."
"In 2019 I want to be strong."
Maybe you aren't trying to hit the gym, other things work too like...
"I want to be disciplined."
"I want to be focused."
Healthy, strong, happy, disciplined, focused, organized, kind, meek, creative, successful, all of these words set your tone for 2019, and give you space to do what you need to do to maintain that theme.
There's no check boxes, or to do's just an idea of a person you want to become and it's up to you how you chose to pursue it.
I think one of the most exciting things is reflecting on you think you can meet these ideas. Maybe instead of losing 10lbs you find a great group of friends at the gym, that's still healthy.
Or instead of meeting five new people every month, you find joy in spending time with yourself. That's still happy.
Really what we need is less "I have too's" and a lot more grace.
For me, 2019 is all about growth. Growing in my faith, my love for my hubby, my blog, a business and a career.
But ask me in December what God does with my word, and I'm sure it will be better than what I had planned.
What's your word for 2019?
To express, explain, and exclaim the lessons life continually throws at me, and my take on how to deal.