Tag: Prayer

Two Thousand Eighteen

They say that what you’re doing at midnight as the new year begins is what you will do for the rest of the year.

Two thousand eighteen found me, the solitary occupant of the pew I was sitting in, with my bare toes curled upon the cold wood floors of the church that raised me.

I don’t know what that says about how my year will go.

New Year’s Eve service is a longstanding tradition in my home church. We call it “watch night service,” a nod to how the church continues to wait for the return of her bridegroom. In years past, I’ve held on to my little white candle, flanked by my parents as I watched the secondhand creep to twelve. Other years I’ve linked arms with my dearest friends, women of faith who have created some of my happiest memories with me. But this year, I sat alone.

Which seemed strangely fitting because I’ve spent most of last year feeling awfully alone.

A majority of that stems from my depression, which I have battled against in 2017 more than any other time of my life. I’ve walked through the darkest depths of my mental health, almost scaring myself with how far I’ve tumbled down this rabbit hole. And depression, great and terrible beast that it is, keeps me in the land of darkness, alone and feeling like I am separated from the great love of the Father.

What is it about darkness? It scares us as children, transforming shadows into monsters that hide in our closets and take residence under our beds. When we grow into adults, the darkness reminds us of our vulnerability. Racing hearts betray our bravado. Fear lives in the darkness.

And the early moments of 2018 greeted me with darkness once again, as the lights of the church were flipped off, one by one.

But when I looked to the altar, fire burned.

The motto of our church is “Lighted to Lighten.” It speaks of the incredible experience of grace, and the truths that spill from the beginning of John’s Gospel and the beginning of the world.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

John 1: 1-5, 9 (NASB)

In the beginning, God spoke light into the darkness and it’s been shining ever since. Through Christ, we receive the Light of the World and as believers, we take on the great commission that commands us to go into all corners of the earth, bringing light into the darkness.

So on New Year’s Eve, I sat in the darkness of my home church, a church that lay my foundations but has also broken my heart.  And when midnight came, the year of our Lord 2018, six candles centered around the cross gave us light.

Our reverend took one flame from the altar and lit his neighbor’s candle. Who lit another’s. Who lit another’s. Until the entire congregation was ignited.

Let there be. Lighted to Lighten.

There is something about the sacredness of the Creation story that repeats in the first breath of a new year. Out of darkness comes a new beginning. And the hope that He will look at His creation and say, “It is good.”

I have spent so much of this last year feeling like I am not good. That my shortcomings far outnumber my successes. That I will remain in the valley of the shadow of death. That even in a place of worship, I am alone.

Yet the fire burns on.

This is my reminder. That even in my darkness, there is Light at the cross. And although depression ravages my heart, it cannot extinguish the flame. The darkness cannot comprehend it.

So I walk in the darkness, with my bare feet treading this hallowed ground. Holy even in the trials. And while depression and doubt fill my thoughts, the promise of God tells me that the Light will conquer the darkness. Victory is already won.

This little light of mine.

Happy New Year.

On Depression

Every time I post something on this blog, I think, This is it. This is the farthest you can go. You’re showing too much of your heart in this one.  You can’t do this again on the next post. Stop right here.

But the problem with censoring myself is it makes it hard to find something else worth writing about. I putter around for a few months trying to find a neater version of myself to share. I never seem to come up with anything.

So here I am, friends, showing you the rawest parts of my heart because honestly, I don’t have the words for anything else.

I’ve had a rough few months. Or perhaps, more accurately, a rough year. Maybe a rough couple years.

And I’ve been sad. So sad. Even when I am happy, there is an undercurrent of sadness and there are moments when I fear it will swallow me whole. There are moments when I wish it would.

Mental health is a strange thing, isn’t it? We seem to be talking about it more in our world as we consider gun violence and terrorism and free will and sickness but I don’t know if we’ve ever really gotten to the root of it. What I do know is that I’ve struggled with mine for a very long time.

The Church, from what I have seen, does a poor job addressing mental health. We dismiss people’s pain as a direct result of their sin. We claim that there is no need for professional help or medication if only we pray hard enough.

I don’t discount the power of prayer. Far from it. One of my favorite gospel stories is the one of Jesus healing the demon-possessed boy who was deaf and mute. He commands the spirit out of the boy and when His disciples see him healed, they ask Jesus why they were not able to do the same. Jesus responds, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer” (Mark 9:29, NASB).

I’ve held on to that verse through many dark times. It has reassured me that with prayer, healing is possible.

But, Jesus? I’ve been praying a long time now. And I’m still sad.

Depression makes me doubt everything about myself. Admittedly, I am in a difficult season of life, regardless the state of my mental health, but depression takes this string of upsets and tells me, You have not succeeded at anything you have tried to achieve. Your best days will never come. 

It infects all of the relationships in my life by placing in me a crippling fear that I am not good enough and thus, entirely replaceable.These people who I call mine deserve better and surely, they could find better in another woman. It is an awful thing to feel as though you are a disappointment of a daughter and a failure as a friend.

But the worst part of depression is the way it attacks the foundations of my faith. It calls into question the very nature of God so I no longer know what is true.

When you lose track of the Truth, there is only room for lies.

He isn’t listening. He isn’t here. If He loved you, He wouldn’t let you feel such pain. 

There is no purpose in this suffering.

This is not for your good.

He is not good.

Depression, you dark and terrible beast. How long will you have your grip on me? Why must you possess me like a demon?

They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him…”

Mark 9: 20-22 (NASB)

Like the demon-possessed boy, depression leaves me incapable of hearing or speaking Truth. It pulls me into its flames where it consumes and destroys.

Will you continue to rage inside of me until there is nothing left but ashes and dust?

Ashes and dust.

Oh, Great God. Can it be?

When I was getting my minor in Jewish studies, my professor taught us of the Old Testament commandments to keep the fire on the temple altar continually burning. The flames would burn low throughout the night and a priest would rekindle the fire every morning, sifting through the ashes to reignite it.

Rabbi Viñas had an uncanny ability to know when the stories of old could be reminders for today.

The priests didn’t have to light a new flame every morning. If they dug deep enough in the ashes, they would find an ember. A glowing remnant of what once was.

From these ashes, you can build a fire still.

Somewhere in the ashes of my ravaged heart lies a lone ember. A stubborn trace of something called faith.

But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Mark 9: 22-24 (NASB)

Depression fills me with doubt that God is who He says He is. But even in the throes my darkest times, I wonder if there is a small voice that cries out, “I believe. Help my unbelief.”

When I long to be around people and have conversations, but have no energy to seek them.

I believe. Help my unbelief.

When I lay in bed late at night, unable to fall asleep as the clock strikes 2, 3, 4, because my mind is racing and my fears are stacking.

I believe. Help my unbelief.

When I mourn a soul lost by his own hands and know what he must have felt in those final moments.

I believe. Help my unbelief.

When I weep over a desperate prayer, asking God to come find me in my brokenness because I cannot reach Him on my own.

I believe. Help my unbelief.

There is hope in this paradox. A hope that being weak of faith does not mean I am forever lost. A hope that admitting my weakness allows Jesus to come and save.

It is a misconception in the Church that those who struggle in their faith never genuinely believed in the first place. I am too aware of my own sin to make claims of how “good” of a Christian I am but my instincts tell me that is not how faith works. I think God has long since accepted that His children teeter between moments of conviction and seasons of despair.

David, master musician, wrote psalms of thanksgiving to celebrate the faithfulness of God. He invited nations (Psalm 67:4) and generations (Psalm 145: 4) to join with him in worshiping the Creator.

But he also knew what it felt like to cry for so long you can’t see straight anymore (Psalm 69: 3). He knew fear and horror (Psalm 55:5) and weariness (Psalm 6:6). He asked God how long He would forget him (Psalm 13:1).

David shows us that it is possible to write both songs of praise and songs of lament. It is possible to believe God is able yet doubt if He will.

Depression threatens to rob me of my faith but somewhere in my soul I still say, I believe. Help my unbelief.

I might battle depression for the rest of my life. I wish I wouldn’t and I pray for healing but I know that this may be my version of a thorn in the flesh. And if He could do it for Paul, maybe God will use mental illness to teach me about grace sufficient.

Depression, although it continues to hold me tight, will not ruin me. There is a light in the ashes.

I believe.

Dear America

Dear America,

Up until the early hours of Wednesday morning, I thought I was going to address this letter to Madam President.

Oh, from what lofty heights we fall.

I don’t know what to say, my friends. And yet, I don’t know how to stay silent. The words spill from the overflow of my heart.

Fear. That is the word I hear being repeated over and over today, as we transition to a new presidency. People have come into work crying. Some are questioning whether the things that define them have now made it unsafe to live in this country.

And it seems that a good chunk of the Christian community is a little too quick to brush off such sentiment with hurried reassurances that as long as God sits on His throne, we have nothing to fear.

This is true. He is still King and He is still Lord of my broken heart.

But, America.

Jesus wept.

Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.

John 11: 30-35 (NASB)

As a witness to the unspeakable grief of friends and family, Jesus wept. Jesus wept despite knowing, more certainly than anyone else ever has, that this story, that no story, ends in death. So perhaps grief and fear are not one and the same but ultimately, the tears of Christ remind me that we are entitled to sadness.

Remember that, America. It’s okay to be sad. We can take a moment to mourn the future we had planned and process the reality of the present.

And because He is our perfect example, we can turn to Jesus to show us what to do in the midst of our tears.

So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”

John 11: 41 (NASB)

I wonder if I’ve been staring at this glass ceiling for so long that I have neglected to look heavenward. Maybe we all have. But if we look to the Lord in prayer, we can say with full confidence that He hears us.

America. Land that I love. God hears us.

And since He hears us, we can go forth and do. Because after Jesus prays, He calls Lazarus from the dead.

Death is not the end of our story.

I do not pretend to have the wisdom to know what will heal the divisive wounds left on this nation but I remember what Scripture tells us: There is no fear in love.

Some of us wonder what exactly people are so scared of today. And of course, much of it centers on policies and promises and potential reforms. But as I watched the numbers pour in last night, the thing I was most afraid of was an environment of hatred. A pervasive and debilitating allowance for intolerance.

But love is a choice, America. And no matter who is in office, we can choose to love.

They say love is blind but I don’t know if that’s true. I think love sees full well the faults and flaws of its beloved. But it chooses to love anyway.

Which is why I think we’re called to love our neighbors, America, even if we don’t agree with them. Our neighbors of color who are afraid of having years of progress erased. Our Muslim neighbors who maybe thought twice before donning a hijab today. Our LGBT neighbors who don’t know if there is enough grace left in this country for them. Our neighbors across party lines. Our neighbors who hate us and what we stand for.

Oh yes, America, even them. It is perhaps the hardest choice we will have to make but if Jesus chose love on the cross for us while we were yet sinners, I think we need to do the same.

And maybe this is too much to include in an open letter to the United States but to the daughters I hope to one day mother. My precious girls. In this life you will see unthinkable evil and experience grave injustice. Fight against it. Stand in the gap with the unwavering conviction that you are dearly loved and uniquely capable. And while I pray that I will be someone you can look to in uncertain times, I know the better bet is Jesus. Fix your gaze on the one who sits at the right hand of your Father in Heaven.

Because there are no ceilings in the kingdom of heaven, my dears.

There are people who want to leave you, America. I will not. I pledge my allegiance to this flag.

But it is God in whom I trust.

God bless you, America.

Love always,


I Get It From My Mama

I come from a long line of strong women.

And for the longest time, I thought that was because of my dad.

I grew up halfway across the world from all four of my grandparents but my dad’s mom came to live with us twice when I was little. She’s the center of some of my favorite childhood memories. I used to sneak into her room as she was napping and beg her to wake up and come sit outside on the stoop with me. I can’t remember her ever saying no. And even though my time with her on this earth was much too short, she has visited me in dreams to remind me that the ones we love never truly leave us.

She raised eight babies of her own and somehow kept them all healthy and happy. And she always had food for anyone who came to her door hungry. She had an impressive resilience and independence, in a time and place where women were never described as such.

So as I got older and forged my own way in the world, I prided myself in thinking that I was strong because I was her grandbaby.

And then my mom got sick.

I don’t think I would have ever said my mom and I were close. All our lives, my brother was clearly her favorite, which sounds unfair but it’s true and I’m okay with it. And it’s not like my mom and I fought all the time. Most of the time we got along just fine. But I never thought of her as my best friend. We just didn’t have that kind of relationship.

But there is something about cancer that makes you rethink everything.

The day we found out about her diagnosis, I climbed into her bed and wept. She held me as I choked out great big tears and heaved until I couldn’t talk without gasping for air, that little girl cry. She told me it would be alright; she’d make it through. I couldn’t sleep that night so I got back into her bed while it was still dark out and she stroked my hair until the sun came up.

It doesn’t matter that you’re nearly twenty-one years old. It doesn’t matter that her body is betraying her. A mama is always gonna act like a mama.

In the months that followed, my mother faced her diagnosis with an unrelenting determination. Never one to draw attention to herself, she reached out to just a few close friends and family to pray for her as she readied her mind for the daunting road ahead. Surgery. Weekly chemotherapy. Daily radiation.

I sat behind her in the salon as they chopped her mid-length hair into a pixie cut. I nodded my approval as she tried on wigs. I swept the locks off the kitchen floor when my dad finally shaved her head bald.

My mom is a really good looking lady. Honestly. She’s tall and has great skin and the most impeccable sense of style that I’ve ever seen. And everyone knows it. Even if she’s just putting on a pair of scrubs for work, my mom will be sure that her clothes are neatly ironed with a perfect crease down her pants.

Which is great for her but it’s caused me much grief over the years. Because as the attractive woman she is, she takes a lot of pride in making sure her kids look nice. And being her daughter, that leaves a lot of pressure on me. She didn’t let me pick out my own clothes until almost middle school so most of my elementary school pictures show my friends wearing mismatched socks and multicolored t-shirts of their own choosing while I’m donned in my Sunday best.

She lets me pick out what I want to wear now but she’s always got an opinion to share before I leave the house. My mom’s not one of many words but when she talks to me, she’s brutally honest. Even when the truth hurts.

So for most of my life, I felt this unshakable need to look as pretty as my mom. And while I’ve slowly grown in confidence and self-esteem over the years, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that every time I buy new clothes, my first question to myself is, “Would Mom like me in this?”

I was still chasing those lofty and misguided notions of beauty when she was diagnosed. But one night, we were having some prayer time together in the living room. My mom began to pray out loud and as the words tumbled from her mouth, I opened my eyes to look at her. (Don’t judge. We’ve all done it.)

She was in a threadbare nightgown, misshapen and baggy, but the only thing she could wear without irritating her surgery scars. Not only was all her hair gone, but her eyebrows were starting to thin out too. She had lost the glow in her skin.

But as she sat on the floor, humbled and vulnerable before the God of her foremothers, I could only think one thing.

Oh, Ma. You are so very beautiful.

My maternal grandmother passed away before my mom got sick. Unfortunately, I didn’t know her very well. But when I picture her, I see her standing at the doorway of my mother’s childhood home, waiting to welcome me with a tremble in her hands as she pulls me close and breathes me in.

My grandmother suffered a stroke about a year before she passed. It left her confused and disoriented and it stole some of her most precious memories. She didn’t always recognize her children.

And yet.

And yet, when the clock struck five each evening, she would lift herself from her chair to make her husband a cup of tea, as she had done every day of their marriage.

And my mama, as the cancer and the chemo flooded her body, did the very same thing.

I like to think I’ve learned a lot about of love in my quarter century of life. But it was in their sickness that my mother and grandmother taught me the truth about marriage. Maybe love, the kind of love that lasts, isn’t about grand gestures and bold proclamations. Maybe it’s in the little things. The everyday things.

What if love unconditional is found in a cup of tea?

I had always believed I was strong willed and opinionated because of my dad and his side of the family. Growing up, he was the one to encourage me to stay informed and debated with me about my stance while my mom nervously asked us to talk about something else. And as in all things, I’m sure my dad has influenced the woman I am today.

But I know enough now to realize that my mom, who I underestimated for most of my life, has shaped me in ways I may never fully grasp. I will always use my words to show how I feel, what I think. But there is equal strength in the quiet poise and grace my mother exudes.

Last month, my mom hit five years since she was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. It’s been a crazy journey but she’s in remission and the future is looking bright and healthy. It’s a future I wasn’t sure I would ever get with my mom. But I am the grateful daughter of a fierce survivor and a Good Father.

Happy Mother’s Day, Ma. I love you.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” -Unknown

The Fear of Answered Prayers

So like I mentioned earlier, the past few months have been a season of growth in prayer. Which has been good for me. I’m learning that being faithful in the little things is a really big thing. It’s amazing how differently my day pans out when I keep an open line of constant communication with God.

But I’m not gonna lie. These past few months have also been difficult ones. Ones of doubt and questions and wondering if maybe I heard the wrong calling.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m a med student. I spent about two years away from everyone I loved so I could sit in a classroom and study for 15+ hours a day (everyday, even weekends, even Sundays, even during nap time) while all my hair turned grey, my body got fatter, and my wallet got thinner. Y’all, it was hard. But I did it and I didn’t regret it because it was part of the process. I needed to learn these things so I could come home, take my boards, do rotations in a hospital for two years, take some more boards and then finally, finally be an MD.

You guys. Studying for boards is hard. I’ve been home for a while now but I haven’t started rotations yet because studying is taking so much longer than I anticipated. And it’s hard. Did I mention that? Med school is hard.

Med school is so hard that I did pretty awful on my last exam and had to ask for approval to take it again. And as in all things, waiting for an answer was the hardest part.

I think back on the years I’ve spent working towards this goal. It’s been such a long journey and I’ve faced more obstacles than I ever could have expected. Waiting to hear about my retake gave me some time to reflect on them. Well, maybe less reflecting and more agonizing. Because when you look back on your failures in isolation, it makes it hard to imagine a successful future. I started to question if God really did want me to be a doctor. Could I have gotten it all wrong?

So I prayed my fears. I asked God that if He truly called me into medicine, He needed to remind me of it. Make me sure. Give me a sign that this is Your will by letting this approval come through. I literally wrote down those words in a journaled prayer. And I told God that if this wasn’t what He wanted for me, He needed to open doors to show me what the next move was.

I received word last week that I was approved to take my exam again in a few months.

And I had no idea how to feel.

I waited to feel a sense of elation. Triumph. Validation. Something.

But all I was met with was a distinct sense of fear. I had essentially been told that I had another chance to study for the hardest exam I’ve ever had to take. Another few months of stretching my brain to its farthest limits, without any assurance that I’d see a different outcome.

I am so well acquainted with failure. What if failure is all I will know?

So I prayed again. I asked God why I was afraid. And as soon as I did, I remembered Peter.

Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 
Matthew 14:22-31 (NASB)

I think Peter is such a crowd favorite when it comes to the disciples because he’s so flawed. Sure, now he’s the gatekeeper of Heaven, but back in the day, Peter was a little bit of a psycho. He was impulsive. He spoke without thinking and he had a tendency towards violence. Yet there is something rather endearing about a man who was passionate and eager but who got things wrong sometimes. It reminds me that God has long been in the business of using imperfect people.

But I have always had an issue with Peter in this story. Peter. Buddy. Listen. You have no right to complain about drowning in the sea because you asked for it. You literally asked for it. You asked Jesus to command you to walk on water with him. So He did, obviously. And only then does it occur to you to be afraid? Why would you ask for something, get what you asked for, and then be scared that Jesus did what you asked?

Oh. Oh.

Sometimes the weight of God’s revelation hits me so hard and so fast, it leaves me a little breathless.

Beloved, what if our deepest fear isn’t that God will say no to our prayers, but that He will invite us into miracles to say yes? What if we are scared for our turn to walk on water?

I wonder if I am too quick to throw out a bold prayer at times. I’m faced with uncertainty and almost without thinking, I ask God to intervene. But I don’t know if I always believe that He’s going follow through. If I’m honest, I think I was praying about my exam with a bit of an empty faith. Have I made God so small that part of me believed there was no way I would get a second chance?

“You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

When I quiet my heart, I can feel Jesus ask me this question. And the thing is, it’s about so much more than med school. There are moments when my faith is so frail that I doubt if God is able to see me safely to the other side.

But I believe that faith, like a mustard seed, can grow.

In this season, I’m learning that faith is believing in the sovereignty of God. Not only can He answer my prayer in the way He knows to be best but He can also use me in the process. And really, that’s been the story since the beginning of mankind. God calls us to be intricately entangled in the fulfillment of His will, even and especially when it seems humanly impossible. Which means that Jesus will invite me into scary situations sometimes. Places where I cannot stand in my own strength. But He is still Lord over all. When the waves seem too big and when the storm seems too wild, I can be sure that He knows what He’s doing. He will not let me sink. He’s holding on.

So I’m back to studying, y’all. And I’ll admit, it’s still scary. I have no assurances that things will turn out differently this time. But I’m trusting that the God who answers my prayers will be faithful to accomplish the work He started in me.

And out on the water, in the midst of the sea, my faith will grow.

When God Doesn’t Talk To You

It’s either the tail end of today or the wee morning hours of tomorrow, depending on how you look at it. Regardless, this chunk of time is prime reading time for me because the rest of the world turns off which means my mind can turn on. So I’ve been turning pages and scrolling through blogs and I just read one that said, “God told me…”

Fair enough, right? God told you. You were talking to him and you were listening and you heard what He told you. Ok. Sweet.

You guys, can I just say something? I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard the audible voice of God. Which isn’t for lack of trying. You don’t even know how many times I’ve been sitting around praying and said, “Ok God, your turn. Go ahead. Speak.” And you know what happened?


I spent a long time being upset about this because it’s frustrating, you know? Wanting to hear from God and knowing people who truly believe that they’ve heard Him say something profound. It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough or “spiritual” enough to have God talk to me.

And then I learned better. Because I don’t think that’s the way God works. He doesn’t attach a meter to me and say, “Sorry dear, you’re about 12% short on the holiness factor. You don’t get to hear My voice.”

The fact of the matter is that God knows me well enough to know what medium to use to get through to me in the best way. Sometimes it’s a song with lyrics that speak to my spirit and uplift me. Other times it’s a conversation with my best friend and wise counsel. In the last couple years, God has been teaching me through Scripture, revealing parts of Himself through Living Word.

But most recently, God has been meeting me in the silence.

A few months ago, I hit a crossroads of sorts and prayed for God to give me clear direction. Which sounds like a pretty reasonable request considering the whole “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it'” thing. So I prayed. And I listened to music and I sought counsel and I read my bible and you know what happened?


So I spent some time being upset again. Because how else do you feel when God doesn’t talk to you? I couldn’t make any sense of it because here I was asking God to answer just one question for me with absolutely no response. None of His usual avenues of speaking to me were working. Not the slightest inkling of acknowledgement.

And I was praying about this constantly, friends. The persistent widow had nothing on me. I had been more faithful in praying for an answer to this question than I had been in praying for anything else in months.

And therein lies the problem.

Sometimes I abuse prayer, you guys. Which is sad because God has given me a heart for prayer. I honestly find joy in interceding for others; it’s part of my ministry. But I’ve found that I hinder my prayer life when I spend more of my time on the things I am praying for rather than the God I am praying to. Too often I allow supplication to overshadow adoration and confession and thanksgiving.

I’ve been given free access to the throne of Grace but I forget that I tread on hallowed ground.

So I’ve been shifting my focus a bit. I’m learning how to be faithful in resting in God’s presence. I’m trying to pray not just to ask for things or answers or on behalf of others. I pray so that I can climb up onto the lap of the Creator of the universe and address Him as my Father. I pray so that I can lean my head against His chest when all I’ve been doing is go, go, go and find in Him my safe haven.

And it’s been so much better, you guys. Because this God I serve knows me perfectly. He sees my Elijah heart and knows that I don’t need to hear a booming sound to know He’s present. It’s only your best friend who can sit with you in the silence and still leave you feeling better than someone else’s thousand words.

I eventually got the answer to the question I was asking. It wasn’t the one I was hoping for but I’ve been surprisingly ok with it. I guess that’s what happens when you’re less concerned about knowing the answers and more concerned about knowing God.

Oh to be still and know.