Star-spangled moments

*Today’s post is by my friend Debra Dickey, a frequent contributor to this blog. I’m thankful for Debra’s courage to share her own journey in writing because each time she does, I learn and grow.*

 

1)  A weighty concern regarding the possibility of an expensive vehicle repair — gratefully, did not need to happen.

2)  Frozen, burst water pipes — managed by the appropriate people with no liability to us.  Another Alleluia moment!

3)  A friend’s frozen water issues — easily thawed with an inexpensive heater at minimal inconvenience.  Yay!

4)  My brother, rushed to the hospital with potentially life-threatening symptoms.  Five frightening days of waiting, watching, and wondering.  Again, through the Grace and Power of the Almighty, he was safely carried through the danger, and recovery is imminent.  Praise God!

5)  A dog . . . . a skunk  —  a 10-second imagination-run-wild episode that turned out to be quite comical!

6)  Add to that a treacherous 25-mile drive home on ice-slick roads that can only be described as ‘harrowing’, yet, in its finality, by the Grace of God and one hour later, concluding safely.

7)  And to top off this mere three-week time span, exhausting illness x 2, plus a major health concern of another sort, and a family situation en crises, presently in the hands of God:  starbursts of amethyst and gold — moments in waiting!

FireworksStar-spangled moments.  Decipherable moments of Exquisite Presence.  Moments of gratefulness.  Joyous moments.  Praise-filled moments.  Laughable moments.  Challenging moments.  Gut-wrenching, heart-numbing, fear-gripped  moments.  Humble moments.  Moments of fireworks and awe.  He is in them all.  He answers my prayers, thankfully sometimes even before I know to pray them.

I experience all these kinds of moments and more, almost on a daily basis.  So not only am I grateful for the blessings of things that do happen, I am most often even more grateful for the blessings of things that don’t happen.  Those particularly worrisome events that somehow seem to juuusst barely sideswipe my wee crotchety life as they eek past on their little slippery skates of uncertainty.  Yes, I hear God in the still.  I see God in the small.  And I feel God in each moment.  There is no possible way that I could deflect nor withstand even a fraction of everything that comes at me without Help – I’m not the victor in those wrestling matches – but God is, so it doesn’t matter if I am or not!

My word for 2013 was ‘miracles’, and there have been so many!  What I have come to know is that often before you get to the miracles, that there are a colossal amount of challenges, stumbling blocks, and hurdles — virtual tidal waves of worry, heartache, fear and concern — which require an enormous amount of personal strength, effort, fortitude, and prayer to be able to walk through all the scary situations, the soul-searching days and nights, and the miry swamps of the unknown, before you get to those star-spangled moments, those miracles!!  Those precursors are fiercely and incredibly draining, at times leaving me broken, battered, bruised, and bleeding in the dust.

But because I know that God is the Author of the miracles that I seek, then I also recognize that I must possess strength, courage, and endurance to travel the road that is before me, and to navigate the sometimes perilous journey that will lead to those miracles.  So I shall ever seek His Promises of strength and protection, always by my side in Perfect Love, so that I can get back up and keep going.

His Word assures me:  “He will shelter you with his wings….He will order His angels to protect you…they will hold you up with their hands…  The Lord says I will protect those who trust in My Name.”  Psalm 91:4-12

*I continually pray for God to build a hedge of protection around me and my loved ones, a sphere of God’s glory that carries a vibration of Heaven that will hide us and keep us safe when principalities and powers may threaten our spiritual realm.  Let us commit our lives to God and strive to stay in the center of His Will, so that the enemy will not have access to what has been given to us according to that promise.  Thank You for Your Divine Protection in Jesus’ Name.   Amen.   [missionariesofprayer.org]

I eternally acknowledge the Divine Intervention that is evidenced within the subsistence of my life throughout each moment of my being.  Moments of forever.  Moments of now.  Moments of Grace and Strength and Love.  Small moments, enormous moments, amazing moments, unexpected and surprising moments.  Moments without end.  So many star-spangled moments!

It’s all God

*Special thanks to my friend Debra Dickey for serving as today’s guest contributor!*

Every image, every application, every petition that is granted, every prayer that is answered, it’s all God.  Every beautiful flower, every new kitten, every cake that rises, it’s all God.  Every musical note, every laugh, every talent, every shade of color, every blade of grass, every surprise of wonder, it’s all God.  Every drop of rain, every new plant, every field that is plowed, it’s all God.

Every hug, every ounce of love, every tear that falls, every knowledge on earth, it’s all God.  Every child, every person, every gift, every joy, every challenge, it’s all God.  Every blessing, every harvest, every snowfall, every successful endeavor, every lesson learned, it’s all God.  Every thoughtful gesture, every kind word, every safe passing, every road traveled, every insight, it’s all God.  Everything that matters, every opportunity for good, everything that creates a miracle, everything that happens, it’s all God.  Everything is God.  Every communication, every prayer, every meditation, every devotion, it’s all God.

For a while now, my children and I have faced challenges that have been and continue to be initiated by situations in every way beyond our control.  I have been at the business of prayer for many, many months and many, many years seeking answers, guidance, healing, and miracles.  Just recently I sat in a doctor’s office praying lengthily for a definitive outcome regarding a test that my son was having.  That prayer was answered, positively, and with good care and advice for the next steps.  I was overjoyed, elated, and grateful, sending praise and hallelujahs to the One whom my faith is directed towards that makes miracles happen.   To myself I thought, “At last, finally, one burden that I can lay down.”  It is all God.

Just two days later my daughter called with a daunting, urgent issue that needed to be resolved, and requested my assistance in working through the questions, considering appropriate and advantageous options, navigating a process new to her but which I had experience and connections with regard to, and then making the arrangements and following up to help her successfully accomplish what needed to be done.

Well _2To my own discredit, my initial reaction when I received that call was, “Oh my word, I’ve just prayed for and received a monumental blessing and divine miracle for which I am SO eternally grateful — How many times can I keep coming back and dipping in this well????”  Seriously, God, just moments ago You answered my humble prayers and bestowed Your Mighty blessing upon us . . . . and here I am, AGAIN… making another petition, asking for another favor, seeking Your authorship and benevolence for yet another problem!!”   This surely can’t be real.  My heart melts like wax, my emotions swoon within me.  How much can I ask of you, O God?   I am fearful, but I hold up my shield of faith, approach His Throne of Grace, offer my prayer, ask for God’s Omnipotence and Omniscience, beseech Care, Guidance, and Wisdom from Jesus Christ my Lord, and call upon His Holy Spirit to fill the space with Presence.   He made it happen.  More praise and hallelujahs!!  My heart overflows because of His Goodness.  I am humbled by His Greatness, and my soul cannot comprehend the depths of His Love.  There are not enough words in any language to fully praise Him.  Another worry allayed.  Thank you!  It’s all God!

As per the seeming dictums of my life, yesterday my son came to me to discuss yet another genuine concern that might be heading his direction.  I will take it to God.  Always and inevitably more.  This is my life — apprehensive; embroiled and entrenched, seemingly without an endpoint…..continual hurdles, inveterate mountains – and so necessarily absolute with me, embedded in incomparable prayer without ceasing.  It’s not that I don’t believe that my God is big enough, it’s just that there appears to be much before me of inordinate measure, and I don’t ever want to use up all of my favors with Him – the Source of All Living Waters.

The comfort flows plentifully and constantly as a river; strong as a stream to bear down the opposition of doubts and fears. The Spirit dwelling and working in believers, is as a fountain of living, running water, out of which plentiful streams flow,”  [biblehub.com]  Amen.

Silly prayers

Last week, our pastor shared a sermon about praying silly prayers.

My friend Mary’s sons, Carson and Jack, piped up every time the preacher said “silly prayers.” I could hear them giggling and repeating the phrase, “SILLY prayers!”

Basically, silly prayers are the prayers we pray reluctantly, hesitant to ask God for something that seems trivial, selfish, or minute in the grand scheme of things. Our pastor shared examples of silly prayers others had prayed–and how God had answered each of those silly prayers. He reminded us that God really does care enough to listen to and answer our prayers, no matter how silly they seem to us.

As he shared this sermon, I realized that many of my prayers could be categorized as silly prayers. I have come to believe in a Power Greater Than Myself and in His ability to do anything He wants to do, however He wants to do it. I trust Him enough to simply ask for His will be to be done. But I also know that He takes delight in fulfilling the God-given desires of my heart. So sometimes I ask Him for things that other people might scoff at or believe to be unimportant. God doesn’t scoff, though. He answers me. He doesn’t always say yes, but He always answers.

A few years ago, my husband (boyfriend at the time) took me hunting for the first time. I don’t know why it mattered to me, but I was determined to have a successful hunting trip–I wanted to kill a deer. And not just a deer–a deer with horns (technically referred to as a buck, but in  girly terms, “deer with horns” worked just fine). So I asked God for this, and He understood my lingo just fine. The next day, I killed a buck with one shot on my very first hunting trip. Trust me, this is nothing short of a miracle for me.

Recently, I asked God to give me an idea to pass on to a friend who was struggling with her daughter’s behavior. She’d asked for tips or suggestions, and my mind drew a blank. I’d had six years of experience as a stepmom, and I was very familiar with her daughter’s age-range and issues children have at that age, but I couldn’t think of a single thing at first. The next day, as I prayed for my friend and her daughter, God flooded my brain with questions and ideas and memories about my own childhood and children I’d helped care for who had similar problems. I shared all this information with my friend and told her I had no idea if it would be helpful or relevant. Turns out, the suggestions she implemented are working.

The past few months, I’ve been praying that God would grow our little local recovery program. I asked Him to bless and double our efforts. The next week, we literally had twice as many in attendance. That trend has continued week after week. People have begun asking questions, unprovoked and without any effort on my part. The local newspaper offered to run a full feature article on our program, and all I’d asked for was a free temporary classified ad. Last night, a new participant at the meeting (who was obviously in considerable emotional pain) asked if she could borrow a book which contains daily readings relevant to recovery and the 12 steps. I eagerly loaned her the book. When I explained that most people read one page each day, she asked, “Is it okay if I read more than one a day?” Well, of course! On my way home last night, I thanked God for answering my prayer in a bigger and more comprehensive way than I’d prayed it.

God didn’t have to let me kill a deer. We certainly harvested and utilized all of the meat, but it wasn’t necessarily a nutritional need being met. He must have just known that I would benefit tremendously from His response to my prayer. And I did.

God didn’t have to give me ideas to share with my friend. After all, it wasn’t even my child I was praying for. But He did. And I know my friend well enough to know that she understands the Source of the successful ideas.

He didn’t have to bring more people to our recovery program. He could help them all in other ways and through other means. But for some reason, He continues to grow our program, and in turn, strengthen my belief in the power of prayer.

Right now, I’m praying a few silly prayers daily. I won’t share them yet–some things must remain between me and Him. One of my silly prayers (which I’ve been praying for about a month now) seems to have been partially answered today, through the help of a friend who had no idea that I’d been praying about the very thing.

I’m so grateful that I repeatedly took the action of praying and asking God for things I felt were silly, and that His responses to my prayers have changed my feelings and strengthened my faith. I’m grateful that I don’t consider anything too silly to pray about now.

As my friend Kathy says, “Nothing ‘just happens’ in God’s world.”