A Pile of Prayer
"Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." -Philippians 4:6-7,MSG
Days and nights have become one to me as of late with the lack of sleep my almost-8-month-old has lovingly bestowed upon me. So let's see what God can make of the following. I have no reservations though. He always comes through these fingers. Actually, I feel Him best when I am here sometimes which is probably why they say the pen can be mightier than the sword ;)
So onward I go!
I can't describe how much of a blessing it has been with where we are at now, but life is still life, you know? Things get hard, no matter where you are at or who you are with. Life will be, a lot of times, how you allow seasons and situations affect you. Marriage is a beautiful workload. Motherhood is an incredible miracle tacked with growing pains. Relationships with both family and friends are a breathtaking adventure on an up-and-down rollercoaster. And it's the HOW I let it all affect me that determines if the latter outways the former in all of these areas in life. I know it goes without saying that all of us want to enjoy life, that we want more of the good than the bad. When all along, we are the ones who determine if it is more good than bad. God has been much at work in me with the HOW--pruning, pulling, refining, and helping me to see...me. I am the one that allows so much to affect me so crazily, stressfully, and so forth. I admit it. And no matter what I tell myself—marriage, motherhood, family nor any other relationship in my life is to blame for that. It has always been me. So what do I do now? That's where I found myself...
Our church, Celebration Church, did a 15 day Daniel Fast at the beginning of this month. There were many prayer services and challenges given to us as we came together. God did so much in me during this time and it stayed in me, taking root. A passionate prayer life is what I asked for, reached for, and began to walk in. He spoke gently to me for I needed to learn gentleness during this time. He showed me the ugly fragments in me and said, "Let's tackle this together, Erica." It is ongoing now, don't get me wrong. But whew, what freedom there is in the tackling...
Philippians 4:6-7 above could be called an anthem for this time. Did you know the word fret in its noun form means the action of wearing away or erosion? If we fret in life, it's like we are killing ourselves. We are allowing ourselves to wear away, to erode. Thinking of it literally like that, I never want to fret again. And I thought worrying was bad enough. But instead of worrying and fretting, we are TO PRAY. We are to let petitions and prayers shape these worrisome and fretful times into prayers to our most gracious God. We are to let Him know our concerns.
Is the workload outwaying the beautiful in your marriage? Pray. Are the growing pains causing fretfulness as you walk out mother/fatherhood? Pray. Are there downs-after-downs in any of your relationships with family or friends? Pray. Let God know each of these concerns. Refuse to let it weigh on you. Refuse to fret. Refuse to worry. Refuse what the enemy would love for it all to do to you.
Wives, mothers, fathers, I challenge you that as you fold your spouse's and children's laundry to pray for them. I read about doing this in one of my favorite books as of late, Real Moms...Real Jesus. It sounds so simple but it's actually tough to push through our complaining flesh and actually do. But try it! Let each article of clothing be an opportunity to pray for your loved ones individually and specifically. Take advantage of the everyday moments. Turn them into prayerful moments. Those mountains of laundry in front of us, whether literally laundry or whatever the mountain is, are opportunities for us to pray through them as we move them.
Let your worry lead to prayer. Turn those piles into prayers.
And what are the results? As the scripture states—a sense of God's wholeness along with everything coming together. Isn't that what we all long for? God WILL settle us down and displace worry. Everything will come together. I can never think of once in my life where it hasn't.
Fast, pray, praise Him during the start of this New Year. Let Philippians 4:6-7 be your anthem too. Shoot, take the laundry challenge ladies and gents! Do whatever you have got to do to be a better you. How will you let seasons and situations affect you this year?
"It's wonderful when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."
Praying one sock-at-a-time,