Wait, I Think I’m Praying This All Wrong

She was tired.

Tired of looking at her messed up house.

Tired of contacting contractors.

Tired of waiting on contractors.

Tired of talking to contractors.

Tired of researching contractors.

Tired of talking about contractors.

Tired of thinking about contractors.

Tired. Tired. Tired.

“God,” she prayed over and over. “Who do I pick? There are so many scams and bad contractors around here since the hurricane, how do I know which one to pick? Please, give me wisdom.”

But no answer came.

Then, one day a thought hit her as she took her morning walk.0118190433 (3)

“Wait,” she said to herself. “I think I’m praying this all wrong!”

“God,” she prayed. “Fix my house, please.”

“Finally,” He answered her.

And immediately an enormous weight was lifted from her shoulders and her steps became lighter. It felt to her as if sunshine was breaking through the gray sky and everything began to look better. It felt so good!

“What an amazing concept!” she thought. “Letting my heavenly Father take care of my needs instead of me trying to work it all out myself!”

Bella, part 2 – Distractions

Bella headed to her computer. Maybe I just need to learn a little more before deciding whether to go back to that church or not, she thought. She opened up the search bar. Instead of typing in ‘church that is bigger on the inside’, she typed in ‘Pastor Toby’.

“Whoa!” she said out loud. She would never have guessed there was so much information on that man.

She began scrolling down, stopping every now and then to check out a blog, website, book reference, or sermon that caught her attention. Just like for the church, opinions varied widely.

After a few hours, she gave up trying to find the truth on the internet. She would have to go to the church and find out for herself. She got up, stretched, then headed for her bedroom to change her clothes. Maybe if she dressed well enough, she would have a better chance of being accepted by Pastor Toby.

Maybe you should eat before you go.

As she passed the kitchen on her way to the front door, she was struck by how hungry she was.  What time was it? She checked the wall clock. Almost noon.  Ah… that’s why. It was lunchtime! She decided to eat something before leaving.

She fixed herself a sandwich and a glass of sweet tea and sat down in front of her computer to eat.  I’ll do another search while I eat, she thought. This time on the pastor’s son.

Why don’t you play Spider Solitaire?

She paused.  A search could take a long time. It wouldn’t take long to eat her sandwich. She should do something that could be finished in a few minutes. She clicked on the Spider Solitaire icon.

Sometime later, her empty plate set to the side and forgotten, she stared at the game in frustration. This should have been a simple game to win. Why was it taking so long? Maybe she should give up. Maybe she finally ran into a game that couldn’t be won.

That will end your winning streak. You’re up to 89 games. Do you want to have to start over?

No! She was determined to win it before shutting down her computer. This game was NOT going to break her winning streak!

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When she finally got to see the fireworks shooting off as she won the game, she sat back in satisfaction. It had been hard, but so worth it! 90 games! Picking up her plate and glass, she headed back to the kitchen. What was it she going to do before she had lunch? Oh, yeah, go to the church. She glanced at the stove clock. There’s still plenty of time. As she headed to the front door again, she wondered what Pastor Toby was doing. Was he outside in his garden? That’s where she’d be if she owned that church.

He might be getting ready for his next sermon and won’t be happy to be interrupted.

Maybe he was busy. Maybe she should call first. But she didn’t have the number. Should she go and take the chance that he wasn’t busy? Of course he’d be busy. He was a pastor. Aren’t they always busy? There was probably someone already there needing his counsel.

She hesitated at the door, not sure what to do.

Why don’t you take a nap and see how you feel when you wake up?

She yawned as she debated whether to go or not. This is too tiring, she thought. I need a nap. She turned and headed to her bedroom. “I’ll decide when I wake up.”

 

related links

Bella, part 1 – Heart VS Brain

(Bella’s first trip to the church can be found in I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, part 1 and I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, part 2)

 

The Love of the Lord is My Strength

After some very rough years, she found some of her old journals and read through them. Many brought back fond memories. Others memories weren’t so pleasant. But she found it interesting to compare her earliest years as a Christian with what she knew now as a more mature Christian. Then she ran into an entry that stopped her cold.

She read:

“OK, Lord, I did my Bible study even though I’m very tired. Before I go to bed, do you have anything to say?

“I love you. I always has loved you and I always will love you. Believe Me when I say this. It will be a strength to you. You’ll need it in the future. Don’t forget.”

She thought about that. His love is her strength?

When I’m sick with the flu, how will knowing He loves me strengthen me?

When my boss is on a rampage and I get the brunt of it, how will knowing God loves me strengthen me?

If my kids are misbehaving and I’m worn out from the daily stresses of life, how will knowing God loves me strengthen me?

“Lord, I don’t know if I understand. I believe You love me and always will. And I know that I’m going to need your strength in the future. But what do You mean that knowing Your love for me will be my strength?

“You don’t need to understand right now. Trust Me and get to know your strength – My love – now before it’s too late.”

“If You say so. How do I get to know Your love?”

“Read My book. Ask Me questions and listen for the answers.. Learn. Study. Memorize verses that will help. Talk with the spiritually mature about Me. And most importantly, talk with Me as I give you opportunities to experience My love.”

She had accepted His words and agreed to study and pray. And she did for a number of years. But then things changed and life happened and seeking to know His love got pushed farther and farther into the background until she had forgotten all about it.

Wow, she thought now. I didn’t understand then, but I do now. Knowing He loves me is all that matters. It outweighs everything around me.

When I’m sick, knowing He loves me gives me the strength to walk out that path. It reassures me that I’m not alone, He’s right there with me, watching over me, doing what’s best for me whether I’m healed quickly or slowly or not at all. Besides, I may be sick physically, but I’m not sick spiritually. No illness on earth can hurt me spiritually.

When my boss mistreats me, knowing God loves me gives me the strength to keep my head up. It protects me from letting those words and actions deep inside me where it can cause damage. No matter what the boss says, God says I’m loved and valued and treasured. I can shake off the abusive words like a dog shakes off water after a bath. And I can rest assured that if action needs to be taken, God will take care of it.

When my kids are misbehaving and I’m worn out from the daily stresses of life, knowing God’s love gives me the strength to keep going.  Knowing that He understands my weariness and frustrations and loves me anyway and that I don’t have to do anything to earn that love, gives me the confidence to rest in His arms and let Him fill me. His love can energize me to handle the kids and stresses. I can be renewed and refreshed each day.

And He was right about not waiting until it was too late, she thought regretfully. If I had persevered in getting to know His love back then like I should have, my life could have been so different. Much less pain, confusion, fear, and anger. It could have been so much more amazing, effective and powerful for the Kingdom.

She felt bad. If only she had heeded His words. But there was no way to go back and change anything.

Well, she thought, if I can’t go back to change my past, maybe I can share my story with someone and change their future.

Friends, get to know God’s love for you. Not just about it in your head, but really deep down in your guts know it.  It will be a strength to you. Trust me on this.  Better yet, trust God!

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