Bryan and I have endured what I would call a 10 year valley. It's pointless to describe the details of the valley. It's a valley. And although it's had its peaks, much of the time has been spent in the trenches. We have learned a whole lot in this valley. I can't even begin to tell you how God has provided each and every tool we would need to navigate. (That's how Tuesday tool began - I started writing down the raw Truths of God's Word so that I would never forget them and continue to use them.)
Anyway, about 9 months ago God took us deep into the valley, pushing us past what we thought we were capable of handling. We were in survival mode. Still are. And I have wrestled with God over and over because He continues to NOT answer our prayers the way we think they should be answered! I know how ridiculous this sounds, but it's the way I was seeing things to be very honest with you.
See, up to last night, I had been requesting for God to change our very painful circumstances. I'm tired and weary and I want to be able to breathe without pain. And my hearts cry was "How could this long suffering be beneficial to me at this point Lord? I'm barely functioning and it's affecting everyone around me!" I was praying for external changes.
Last night I was sitting in our church, listening to the pastor preach. My heart was heavy and I was about to burst out in tears. So I quietly slipped out and found a spot where I could pray without interruptions. I spent the next 45 minutes pouring out my brokeness to God (which is gold for a mother with 4 kids!). As tears spilled out of my eyes onto the pages of my Bible, I began to notice something. All those verses that I claimed in my trials, I didn't really know how they applied to me." Like, what in the world does "He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings" mean? (Ps. 91:4) Is God a big gigantic bird and I'm to somehow find a metaphorical spot under His wings for safety? I'm kinda joking here, but in my false sense of spirituality, I would pray this verse, but had no idea how God meant it to be applied.
I began to pray, "God, I have no idea what these verses mean. If you are going to keep me in this trial, then teach me who you are in my trials. Because I don't really know. Show me how you can comfort me. Because I need it. Help me really get/feel/understand what it means to hide in the shelter of your wings. Because I need a protective place right now and I don't feel like I have one. How do you redeem my life from the Pit? (Ps. 103) Show me what that is really supposed to mean.
In that moment God spoke to my heart. "Now you are praying for my will, child."
This was a game changer for me! It hadn't occured to me to push into God in a way that showed me who/what He could be in my trial. I had been praying for my outside circumstances to change so that I would have comfort and rest. But God showed me that to find the comfort and rest that I was hoping for, I needed to be praying for God to reveal His character in a greater way. This is probably a given for most of you. You're probably thinking "Gosh Jamie, been there, done that." I am a dumb sheep, a daughter of Eve. You can say it.
Many of you who read this blogpost have been praying for us. So I wanted to share with you this great thing that God is teaching me. Thank you for all your faithful prayers. Please continue to pray for us...