Stand in the Gap

If you know me, you know how much I value prayer. I could write a book about prayer. I have prayer books. And notebooks. And notecards. Ask my kiddos – I send up short little arrow prayers constantly! There are so many verses in the Bible about prayer, but one of my favorites is in Revelation.

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I love what this illustrates about our prayers being before God. I don’t pretend to understand all of the book of Revelation, but I love to visualize this verse when I pray. We have a real God to pray to, and he doesn’t just collect prayers and put them in a box for storage. They go before Him!

One thing I’ve learned this year in regards to prayer is the importance and power of prayer partners. Now I do think it’s good to have a whole circle of people around you to pray for and with you. Honestly, I have a long list of people I text when I need prayer, and I am very grateful for the time we get to share our prayer requests in church. The more people praying for you, the better!

But there is something powerful and special about a small, close group of people who you know will stop and pray for you immediately, no matter what is going on.

Ezekiel 22:30 says, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

I love that language of “stand in the gap”. It’s another visual for prayer. And to have people who are ready and armed with the Armor of God and prepared to do spiritual battle for you – to stand in the gap for you– is a precious, precious gift.

I’m so blessed to have a few of these people in my life. My husband, my parents, my sister Sarah, and my dear friend Suzanne. I know that anytime I call upon one of these people for prayer, not only will they say a prayer, they will earnestly seek God and intercede on my behalf. This is huge! I can’t tell you the number of times in the last several weeks I have been strengthened – like, physically felt stronger – because I knew that one of these people was praying for me in that moment.

I remember hearing a wise woman once say, don’t tell someone you’re praying for them if you’re not. That sounds harsh. But I really took it to heart. How often do we say “I’ll pray for you” or “I’m praying for you today” when we really aren’t? Or maybe we intend to, but we get busy and we don’t get around to it? In recent years, I’ve really made it a point to only say that when I can legitimately stop what I’m doing to pray in that exact moment.

And that is what these people do for me.

God’s Word tells us, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).

There is power in prayer, and there is power in praying with another believer.

Find these people in your life, and be this person in someone’s life! It really will make a difference.

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Sowing Seeds

It has been awhile since I wrote anything. I’ve had a lot of words that I wanted to put on paper. But the last few weeks have not been the fairy tale I expected them to be.

Life is funny like that sometimes, isn’t it?

Let me first say that I am unexplainably happy that Jake is home. Getting to see him graduate and finding out that he could come home with me was the highlight of my 2018 so far. And nothing in the world compares to having my partner back by my side. After Jake got home, we moved the boys back into our house. We had a wonderful, lazy, family weekend.

And then reality set in.

I had expected that all the anxiety and fear and worry would disappear once Jake was back. I thought things would “go back to normal” and life would be exactly like it was before he left. I planned to be back in control of the way everything went.

But none of that was the case.

It’s been almost 8 weeks since Archer’s 2nd seizure. And the memory of that night still shakes me to my core. I can’t even put into words the way I feel every night when it’s time for him to go to sleep. Other than to say it’s almost paralyzing.

I’m no stranger to crippling depression – I know I’m not the only one. Six years ago, I went through a period of time, similar to this, where nighttime was not my friend. But this is different. Six years ago, I was in control of my situation. I was the focus of my worries. My decisions could make or break each day. And my strength and support pulled me to health. This time, I can’t control outcomes. And even more than that – it’s my baby at stake here. The little boy who God sent me when I didn’t even know to ask for him. A child who changed my entire perspective on life.

I’ve found this anxiety to be a million times worse than any depression I’ve ever faced.

2018 has not been the year I thought it would be. It’s been harder than it was supposed to be – full of challenges, sadness, loneliness, exhaustion, anxiety, fear, worry, dread, sickness, and frustration.

But it has also been a year where my faith has grown. I’ve asked for help more than ever before. I’ve been shown unconditional love. I’ve received grace when before I wouldn’t have. My prayers have become more earnest and fervent. My ability to seek and find joy in the hard times has increased.

I’ve seen God in ways more intimate that I ever imagined.

God has shown Himself to be faithful over and over and over again. On the worst days (and nights), God’s Word has remained true. He has always been faithful. His promises are enduring. He has provided and sustained. He has carried me and stayed by my side.

Praise God for a faithful Lord!

One of the biggest things I’ve learned in the last three months is about sowing seeds.

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The waiting part is something I think we all can identify with as a challenge. God’s been working on that one in me for a long time. But the sowing seeds part is a new one I’ve come to think about. Good things take time. They take investment. We all know this about relationships. And money. And something you want to get better at. You have to work at it. Many times, I remind myself of the verse in Galatians 6, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (verse 9).

I’m reading this verse in a new light these days, and I really do think about the future differently. I was so desperate for Jake to get home, partly to have my husband back, but also partly to make things “normal” again. And when that didn’t happen perfectly, I was devastated. Now, I see that “normal” will take some time. “Normal” will take me sowing some seeds.

Sowing seeds of peace. Sowing seeds of faith. Sowing seeds of joy.

Giving grace and accepting grace.

Sowing seeds, and patiently waiting for the result. Not growing weary, but trusting God’s promises.

Every time I choose to sow these seeds, I’m making an investment. I can sow seeds of fear, or I can sow seeds of faith. The harvest I will reap is not immediate. But I can know that as I patiently wait, a work is being done behind the scenes. And one day I WILL reap the reward of sowing these seeds of faith.

This past week has been very enlightening for me. As I’ve considered this idea of sowing seeds and patiently waiting for God’s goodness, I’ve been able to rest much more. I’ve been more at peace. Each night I still battle demons of anxiety, fear, and doubt. But I know that God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). And so I’ll pray that verse every night, with the understanding that these are not magic words to make everything feel warm and fuzzy again. But that these words are Truth, and as I sow these seeds, I will one day reap the reward of peace of rest. And in the meantime, I will fix my eyes and my heart on God’s Word and His promises.

“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3