Thursday, April 14, 2011

How God Answers Prayers

For the past year, I've been asking God to stretch me.  To help me step outside my cozy comfort zone.  To strip away the stuff of "me" and make me a reflection of Him alone.  To build my faith.  To help me leap boldly into the unknown.  To show me the hard places, the Jesus-going places, where His light is needed.  To build a fiercely trusting heart in me.

God answers prayers like these.

He doesn't answer like "I Dream of Jeannie," with a little blink and an instant transformation of my heart into some super-trusting, joy-in-trials mastering, Christian super-hero kind of woman.  

The answer is in the process.  

He allows me to be uncomfortable, and inch by inch, I walk farther from my comfort zone, and I feel the fears that held me there rise up and then slowly slip away.   

He allows me to be in circumstances out of my control, so I have only two options: panic or trust.  Looking at my own strength or clinging to Christ.  As I look behind me, I see that my first response is more calm and trusting now than in seasons past, and I know I'm growing.  

He asks me to walk through places that try my faith, because only through the testing of my faith does it grow.  Only by His Word watering my spirit and His presense in the valleys do I become strong.  

He asks me to leap, and I have a choice: "yes, if" or "yes, period." I used to be a girl with lots of contingencies for God.  My "yes" had terms attached.  Now I'm saying, "Yes, Lord.  Period."  And just leaping.  (God has me mid-air in some places right now.  I'll let you know more about where I land when I get there.  But I know it's going to be good.)

He is opening my eyes to needs around me and burdening my heart with the desire to live a life spent fully and well.  And my definition of a life well spent has been totally and thoroughly turned upside down by Jesus.  I cannot chase a dream of comfort and ease ever again.  I cannot aspire to own a bunch of stuff that impresses me more than I desire to give in a bunch of ways that impress Jesus ever again.  I know God blesses us with wonderful gifts, and he loves for us to enjoy the blessings he pours out on our lives, but my blessings are also tools for blessing others and  for living a life of offering thanks to the One who gives good things.  

So I am thankful to the Lord for answering my prayers.  For being the One who knows precisely how to giftwrap seasons of growth as beautifully and lovingly as He does seasons of ease.  And when I think of the blessings received in my spirit within times of stretching and faith-testing, I start to see it all as a gift to me anyway.  

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, becasue you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  James 1:2-4


  1. "I cannot aspire to own a bunch of stuff that impresses me more than I desire to give in a bunch of ways that impress Jesus ever again." That is so well said!

  2. Hi! I found you through Rachelle Gardner's blog. I too am a housewife, mom, blogger, and aspiring NF writer, so I thought I'd come over and say hi. Enjoyed your space on the internet!

  3. Thanks, Kelly! I appreciate you reaching out. It's nice to meet you! Keep me posted on yoru NF writing - it's inspiring to hear about other writers journeying alongside!

  4. I enjoyed reading this. It made me think of what it says in Romans 5:3-5 Thanks for the reminder.

  5. That's a great one, too! Thank you for sharing it. (Romans 5:3-5 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whome he has given us.") Amen to that!