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...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Despair to Prayer Chronicles - Part 3

Four years ago I took a journey from despair to prayer. I'm sharing those posts again because the things I learned and experienced are as valid today as they were then. For the full back story, check out Part 1 and Part 2.

I knew a friend of mine was going to allow me the use of his beach house for a few days, but I didn't know exactly when until the week before.  Luckily, the God who created the entire universe also knows exactly what each of us needs and when.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect.  When I thought I was at my breaking point, I was given the opportunity to slip away, reconnect with God, and get back on track.

So here it was, Monday morning, and I was heading down to Ocean City, New Jersey.

I took my time driving down.  It was a picture perfect September day-a deep blue sky with fluffy white clouds ambling across the heavens, and temps in the high 70s. The sun warmed my face, and I rode with the window down to enjoy the slight breeze.

Half an hour in, I stopped at a farmer's market for plums. I really wanted blueberries for pancakes in the morning, but they weren't in season.

Another 45 minutes or so down the road, I grabbed a sweet tea at a McDonald's. The more miles I put between me and my stresses, the better I began to feel.

With no one calling my name, no one pulling me in ten different directions at once, I could let my guard down and open up the dialog I'd been avoiding for a long time.

In the quiet of my car, I began to talk to God for the first time in weeks.

Soon it all came tumbling out as I shared with Him my frustrations, uncertainties, and anger, especially with regard to one relationship in my life. I was able to articulate things I couldn't before, but I was also taking ownership of certain feelings I didn't realize had been festering, instead of pointing fingers and casting blame.

I asked for His forgiveness for my pride, my critical spirit, and my judgmental attitude. The ability to correctly read the heart belonged to God alone.  My job was to make sure that MY heart was right before God.  That I was seeking and doing His will. I could pray for others, that they too were seeking God's face in decisions they were making, but beyond that, I needed to hang up my robe and set down the gavel.

I realized two things that day. My broken human relationship had affected my heavenly one, and I didn't have to take on responsibility for the actions of another.

A huge weight was removed.

Part of that statement might be a no-brainer for you, but as a people-pleaser, it's hard for me not to take things on that aren't mine to bear. I'm always trying to smooth things out and make them right. I hate conflict, even when I'm receiving the brunt of the unfair treatment.

At 11 a.m., I arrived at my destination, now with a lighter heart. I slipped the key into the lock and took a look around.  Just as I remembered it...bright, clean, quiet, with a back porch view of the breakers. I could hardly wait to hit the beach.

Once the food was put away I dug out my bathing suit, slipped it on, and lathered up the sun screen.  With cooler bag, chair and umbrella slung over my shoulder, I headed for the sand.

It was just a few dozen yards up the path to the beach, which was far more full than I had anticipated at this time of year. Eventually, I found an empty patch of sand and dropped my gear.

The chair was positioned so I could look straight out at the ocean. To me, there is nothing more healing than listening to the sounds of waves and staring into the enormity of the sea.

The umbrella was plunged into the sand directly behind the chair. I plopped myself into the seat, dug out a bottle of water, pulled out my devotional, Jesus Calling, and opened it to the entry for September 12th.  "Receive my peace. It is my continual gift to you. The best way to receive this gift is to sit quietly in My Presence, trusting Me in every area of your life. Quietness and trust accomplish far more than you can imagine: not only in you, but also on earth, and in heaven. When you trust Me in a given area, you release that problem or person into my care.  Spending alone time with me can be a difficult discipline, because it goes against the activity addiction of this age. You may appear to be doing nothing; but actually, you are participating in battles going on in spiritual realms. You are waging war-not with the weapons of the world, but with heavenly weapons; which have divine power to demolish strongholds. Living close to Me is a sure defense against evil."

As my friend Agnes says, "sometimes that book is just freaky. It says what you need to hear, just at the right time."

Truer words never spoken.

I closed my eyes and, for the first time in a long time, sat quietly resting in the presence of my King.

Tomorrow, we take a look at the rest of Psalm 42...

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