Thursday, June 7, 2012

Reflections - Prayer

What a week it has been... man oh man has God been at work on me.

Let me start at the beginning...

About three weeks ago I found myself at a point where I was really overwhelmed.  I am frequently on a soap box here encouraging others to ask for help or to give something up instead of overloading themselves.  I'd also blog about how busy our life was, but how much joy we were getting out of the busy-ness.  But do you know what was actually happening?  Life was getting busier and busier, and I was getting farther and farther away from God.  To the point that I physically could not talk to Him.  I would try of course, but I literally felt uncomfortable when I tried to pray.  To you that may seem silly, but it was born out of my own knowledge that I was not seeking Him daily.  Or even weekly to be honest.  I was writing these weekly posts and that was about the extent of it.  So when I'd go to pray, I felt like it was not heartfelt and that God would not like that.  And that made me feel a bit... well... dumb really.  I happen to know deep down that God likes all prayers, whether they are silent meditations or quick little snippets in a quiet moment throughout the day, but for me, I could not settle my spirit enough to bring any meaningful words to Him.  The noise all around me was just too loud and even when I tried I could not block it out and just focus on Him.  And that made me feel guilty, too, and pushed me farther away.  And I hated it.  I knew deep down something wasn't right.

So you know what I decided?  Instead of just going to Him and seeking His help (like I encourage you all to do each week... and still stand firm in that encouragement, by the way, but sometimes need to take my own advice) I decided that I should probably give something up;  something that was sucking up my personal time.  So as you might have guessed, my blog is what was almost put on the chopping blog.  I say "almost" because my mind has since been changed on this decision, but I'll get to that in a minute.  So yes, a few weeks ago I decided that I'd stick it out for a few more weeks and then I'd shut her down.  I didn't have time for it and even though it's something I love to do, I didn't feel like it was a valuable use of my time.  My mind was made up.

Then we posted on humility last week.  I have to admit, that verse ("Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up" ~James 4:10) resonated with something deep inside of me.  I had at some point over the course of the past few months taken on an "I-can-do-it-all-without-You" attitude and hadn't even realized it.  But after I wrote my post on humility, it was as if that verse took a tiny little hammer and started chiseling away at whatever wall I had managed to build between me and God.  And then I posted that this week's topic would be prayer.  (I'm getting to my point... I promise... just bear with me).

Fast forward to Friday of last week.  Josh and I had plans to go out of town and I felt like we had a million things to get done before we left.  My car was in the shop and Josh's dad came by to pick him up to go get it.  Without me asking, he said that he'd go ahead and take the kids with them so I could wrap up my work for the week.  Perfect.  The door shut behind them and I went back up to my office and sat in front of my computer, fully intending to get some work done.  But instead, reveling in the silence for a few moments, I procrastinated and perused a few blogs.  I have a few that I frequent and one is written by a girl I went to college with who has over 1000 followers.  She generally blogs about her life, fashion, and events... a light read and something to break up the monotony of my day.  But on this particular day, she posted about her faith.  Do not ask me why, but reading that post broke me down.  I sat there and sobbed because she was posting on something that I had been trying to get across to people- that God fills a void in our lives and turns things around for the better like nothing else can.  Only she had 1000+ people reading it!  And then I felt guilty (again) for feeling this way because again, it's not about me.  It's not about how many followers I have.  But I guess in that moment I confirmed (in my own mind) that my words out here in blog-land don't really make a difference.  That nobody even really reads this.  It was my own sick, twisted "woe is me" moment.  Plus, I should have rejoiced that someone with a big following who never posts about that aspect of her life was sharing the good news about God.  Again, sick and twisted.

But this is what I love about God.  Sometimes it takes us coming to our breaking point for Him to give us a breakthrough.  In the quiet of the house I prayed like I haven't prayed in a very long time (between sobs) for Him to take that feeling of "it's about me" away.  I begged Him to not let me feel silly or stupid or half-hearted every time I tried to pray.  I prayed for my kids and my husband, something I should be doing every day.  I prayed for every single person in the church and for the ones I haven't met yet.  I prayed for friends who are going through difficult times, because I told them I would and want to make good on that promise.  Besides, I know prayer works... I have seen it time and again in my own life, so the least I can do is pray for others.  I think I cried and prayed out every ounce of self-pity that I could have possibly found within me and asked Him to take it.  I don't want it any more and I cannot carry it around with me.  It's not welcome here... He can have it and I know He can handle it better than I can on my own.  And when I said my "Amen," the crying stopped.  Just like that.  It was strange, because I am pretty much the ugliest cry-er around, but when Josh returned he couldn't even tell.  I had to fill him in later all about my breakdown.

We went out of town Friday night to celebrate our anniversary a little early and had a a great time getting away from it all.  And when I got back, I noticed that not one, but two people had linked up on our Reflections post last week, which was a first.  It was as if God was saying, "look... people do read this and want to help minister to others, too!"  And then I got a Facebook message from someone I hadn't talked to in awhile thanking me for a post that was helping her through a difficult time.  Alright, God... you have my attention.  And then here's the kicker: I met a lady at the church who showed up on a Sunday morning because a friend of hers in Illinois reads my blog and knew she lived here in town and should come check out the work we're doing.  Say what??  Okay, God... now you're just showing off!  :)

This whole story may sound silly and petty to you... but it was the absolute confirmation that I needed.  He came through.  He always does... but He was just waiting for me to ask.  I made the decision to give up blogging on my own and He answered with a "Had you just asked me, I would have shown you sooner to stick with it."  I do write this blog for me and it is something that I am passionate about and love doing, but He showed me that it does matter to others, too, even if it's just a handful of people.  And that's okay with me because even if it just helps one person, that person matters.  I also realized that until I do prioritize my time and find ways to cancel out the noise for a few moments everyday to seek Him out, He's not going to give me a bigger following (which is not what it's all about... like I just said).  If I'm not pouring His word into myself, why should He trust me to be able to pour into others?  An empty pitcher cannot fill up any cups- it's as simple as that.  I read a book by the incredible Lynne Hybels (look her up if you've never heard of her) and she illustrated the most perfect word picture:

She wrote something to the effect of if you're juggling all kinds of balls in the air trying to keep them all close to God, don't forget that you're then the farthest away.  We try to hold our husbands up, keeping them nearer to God.  We definitely try and keep our kids way up there, showing them God everyday.  And maybe we serve at church or lead a team and try and keep that one up there, too.  But when you're holding everything above yourself to keep them nearer to God, you're the one left at the bottom... farthest away from Him.  All of these things ultimately get in the way of our direct connection with our Father if we're not careful in how we juggle.

So this week, I hope you can cancel out the noise in your life for a moment or two each day to lift up your praise and needs to God.  He doesn't need some eloquent speech either... just talk to Him like you would a friend, because that it who He is.  If He is truly our father in heaven, you can come to Him when you're busy, tired, scared, happy, or confused.  He just wants you to seek Him out.  Whether it's down on your knees or driving down the road, talk to Him... bring your worries, problems, frustrations, and doubts to Him.  He's always there and always waiting.
 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Thank you for being a bit of an emotional dumping-ground for me today.  I usually do not get this personal here, but I think if we all just got real with one another we'd realize that we're not alone in our times of doubt and self-pity.  My problems are small compared to many, but I am a work in progress just like everyone else.

For a different take on the topic, please visit Brittany over at Daughter... Wife... Mom... Sis for her insights.  And of course, if you posted on the topic, please leave a comment or link up below.  And whether you like it or not, this blog is not going anywhere for awhile!

Brittany picked the topic for this week and I am excited about it... if you've never heard of Christine Caine, look her up RIGHT. NOW.  She is incredible and has done amazing things through her ministry career and the A21 campaign.  Here's what Brittany posted:

I would like for us to listen to this podcast by Christine Caine.  It was recommended to me last week by a friend and I'm so thankful for the timely encouragement and challenge that came with me listening to it!  Enjoy this amazing woman of God...
Christine Caine - Women in Leadership Principles 


  1. I appreciate your blog and am glad that you decided to keep it!

  2. This was an excellent post, Kim. I'm actually in the same boat right now. I laid in bed last night trying to pray for the first time in who knows how long. I'm the type who prays short sentences whenever the moment hits, but when I tried to spend concentrated time in prayer last night it was a total flop. My mind was blank. So I prayed Romans 8:26 (which I had to google) and asked the Holy Spirit to pray on my behalf. I constantly feel like I'm coming up short (or empty) spiritually because I never have a moment just to think. There are two little people who need me CONSTANTLY, and then at the end of the day, when I'm at the end of myself, there's a husband who needs me too.

    I don't want to be discouraging, but things are going to get even busier on the home front when Lilly starts walking and getting into Jake's business. On top of everything you already do you'll be constantly breaking up whining/crying toddlers.

    I love your blog, and I always read your posts. I wish I could link up. I wish I could think in peace long enough to have something of value to say. I wish I could engage in deep conversation. I wish I had girl friends to have conversation with! You are reaching more people than you think. BUT... you are a Wife, a Mom, an employee, a preacher's wife (with a new Church), a sister, a daughter, a friend, etc etc. It's TOTALLY understandable to feel like there isn't enough time and like your spiritual tank is running low. I hope you keep blogging even if the commitment to do so every week is too much. I praise God for your words tonight that helped me feel like I'm not alone in the way I've been feeling. Keep up the good work, and when time allows, let's talk about an idea I've had running around in my head for a while that involves one weekend, one cabin, and several Mommy friends who just need some time and space to think! A spiritual retreat!

    PS- I had an ugly-cry breakdown last week, too. Being everything to everyone and still finding time for yourself is terribly hard.