Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Monday, September 19, 2011

From Despair to Prayer - Part 2

Before I go any farther in detailing this little journey I've been on, please note the title is "From Despair to Prayer" - not "From Despair to No Cares".  Even as I write this, there are things going on in my life that are burdensome, uncharted, possibly life-altering territory and if I'm going to make it through, I need to cling to God...hard.  Note too, that prayer isn't a magic little pill you swallow that turns everything to sunshine and rainbows.  But prayer will give you strength and focus and keep you from drowning in that sea of despair.  It is that lifeline that connects you to the One who holds you fast.  I've heard it said that the day you have no troubles is the day you wake up in heaven.  We live in a fallen world with a real enemy who, even though he may have lost the battle for our soul if we're believers, still intends to do everything in his power to keep us from living joyous, power-filled and victorious Christian lives.  He can't alter our future, but he can mess with our present if we allow him to.  The thing to remember is, greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world. 

Yesterday I said "all of a sudden, I found myself in the desert".  It's not that the trip into the desert was sudden, it was more the actual realization that I had grit in my teeth and was parched, that was kind of overnight.  Looking back, I see that things had been piling up, one by one.  That's always the way, isn't it?  Like the Casting Crowns song says:

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

I was burning the candle at both ends, and letting things fall through the cracks.  Before I knew it, I was so busy dealing with the squeakiest wheels, I had no time to slow down and hear the still small voice calling me.  The more I didn't pray, the more I didn't want to pray.

By the weekend before I left on vacation I was physically spent, emotionally raw and spiritually empty.  Sunday I went to church, but I didn't want to go in and sit down.  I saw a friend in the lobby and I began to share with her that I had an overwhelming sadness I couldn't explain and that the big picture looked so insurmountable that I didn't even know where or how to take my next step.  She asked if I'd been in to the service yet, and I confessed I really wasn't sure I wanted to go.  "You need to hear it" she said..."he's talking to you right where you are."  I begrudgingly slipped into a seat in the balcony .

That Sunday was the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  The sermon was out of Habakkuk, and the message was about moving from despair to praise.  I began to weep.  I wasn't ready to praise.  I walked out and tried to regroup.  Eventually, I walked back into the sanctuary downstairs, not taking a seat, but standing where no one could see my red eyes.  On the screen flashed verses from Psalm 42.  Several times I read the words "Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?"  That's when the tear ducts really opened up. Like the psalmist, I didn't know why, but I knew my soul was downcast.  I couldn't stand anymore.  I turned on my heel and left.

That night, before I packed to leave for the shore, I called a friend.  I shared some of what I was feeling.  She gave me an assignment.  "You're going for 3 days, right?"  I confirmed.  "Okay...each day, I want you to read a chapter out of Habakkuk - there are only 3!"  She gave me some other instructions, and said she would be praying for me.

I hung up and set about the task of packing my bags, grateful to be going far enough away that I didn't have to deal with anyone I knew for a few days. 

Tomorrow, the praying begins...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post, and I'm so thankful for your blog. I'm looking forward to the rest of your journey, and I am praying you have a restful three days.