Have you ever unintentionally met someone and had them leave an indelible imprint on your heart? One that will stay with you forever? I first remember meeting Abby in a large quiet hallway at a writer’s conference. As I listened to Abby share her heart about her project and her experience presenting to a publisher I was immediately drawn in. She spoke with such conviction not just of her book’s topic but also of her reader’s heart. This wasn’t just another writer, this was a woman who loves Jesus. Her heart to be with Him is contagiously apparent in her passion to share her journey through her writing. I am so grateful to have met her and am even more honored to host her here today! (We’ll have a little meet and greet after her oh-so-timely post on prayer and walking this life with Him!)
Please Welcome Abby!!
For the One Whose Prayers Are Wearing Thin
I sat on the edge of my seat at the conference, hanging on every word the author was saying. His most recent accomplishment was writing Billy Graham’s memoir, and he recounted the hours spent with this man of God who brought thousands of souls to the Lord.
One afternoon, he didn’t feel like he was getting the substance of the story. He tried to ask the right questions, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, he picked the right one and Rev. Graham lit up.
“How do you keep your spiritual discipline?”
Billy Graham leaned forward as though he was telling the writer a secret. “It’s right there in the scriptures. I spend time in the word. Every day.”
Not just to prepare for a sermon, he went on to explain, but for himself. His Bible lay over on the desk, open.
“And I pray without ceasing.”
I imagine at this point the author’s jaw may have dropped a little.
“Do you really pray without ceasing?” he asked.
As I sat listening, I could have heard a pin drop. The entire audience was riveted.
“I’m praying right now,” Billy Graham responded.
As the author retold the story, his eyes were filled with tears. Mine were too. I felt like I’d just gotten the inside scoop on a headline reading, “This is How You Live a Life for God.” This was the real deal.
Later, as I walked the halls of the hotel during a break, I thought about how often we try to complicate things. And yet here was a man who did exactly what the Bible said, and his life was living proof of God’s anointing on him.
Was it possible to pray without ceasing? Could I replace the continuous conversation in my head with an uplifting conversation with my heavenly Father? I wondered how it would change my own life if I embarked on this journey. To not just talk about the Word, but live it.
A couple of months later, God gave me a glimpse. Not because I was fulfilling these disciplines, but because I was failing.
Our entire family was sick for over a week and I was tired. My Bible sat on the table for days. My prayers grew thin.
As I counted the long hours and dealt with whining babes, my patience wore thin as well. At one point, my temper scared me. I apologized and then immediately cried out to the Lord in prayer.
I’d barely left the house in over a week and I felt like I was suffocating. But in that moment, God gave me a peak into what prayer without ceasing meant. Into what continual time in the Word does.
When we offer up ourselves in prayer in one continuous dance, we allow the Spirit to thrive. We give the Spirit the breath and life it needs to fight against our flesh. Against our selfishness. Against ourselves.
In Romans Paul says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26 ESV)
Even when we do not have the words, if we choose to pray, the Spirit is mediating on our behalf. He knows what to say even if we don’t.
As I continued my day covered in prayer, I could sense a change in my attitude. I was more at peace. Where my flesh was weak, the Spirit was strong.
I realized that this near century old man of God may be onto something. And it was right in front of me all along.
Abby McDonald is mom, a wife and a southern girl, currently living on the mountain side of Maryland, who fell in love with writing at a young age. For most of her life, she never shared her writing with anyone. She started Fearfully Made Mom because she felt God gently pushing her to share her writing with others who may feel alone in their struggles with self-doubt, accepting God’s grace, and finding their identity in Christ. Her desire is to show women they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who will relentlessly pursue them, even during their darkest times.
When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, Abby enjoys hiking, photography, reading, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.
I have been haunted by a comment posed by a friend. She said, after describing the absolute worst day of her life, that she clung to her faith through it all. “Where else would I turn?” she said. Where else would she turn?
It lead me to the true story of a very rich man, who had it all. I mean really, he had it all. He had more money than he knew what to do with, and more than that, he had steady income. Prosperity was endless, his business booming. He had an exquisite family; a lovely wife and a stable, mutually satisfying marriage. Each of his children was healthy, prosperous, and well-rounded. And his faith was alive and active. He was respected and praised around the globe. Watching him from the outside was like looking at perfection. And really, from the inside it was – even God said so. There is no denying that this dude was doing it all right and God honored him for it.
And then the horrible, no-good, VERY, VERY, VERY, bad day happened. Job lost e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Nothing was left, and when I say NOTHING, I really mean nothing. He lost all of his possessions, his family was killed (and violently at that). His business was stolen from under his nose. His wife turned from him and then to boot – He was struck with horrible pain and sickness that shunned him from his community. Job fell from the highest of highs to the bottom of the lowest of lows. Even his dearest friends came to accuse, to offer some explanation for this horrible, no-good, very bad day. As if an explanation, a predictable formula, could make it feel better or perhaps even remedy it. There had to be an explanation for this calamity. The comfortableness of those around him depended on it. Faith feels neat when we can fit into a box of formulas. Like Job’s friends, we think we need life’s tragedy to be avoidable and life’s grandeur to be attainable, right?
What if everything you called “blessing” was stripped from you? What if everything you held as “purpose” or “calling” was erased from your world? What if all the answers you sought were silent?
What would you do? Where would you turn?
Would you seek an explanation, cry out with demanding tears? Or give up and succumb to the weight of the hopelessness?
Life is full of adversity, I don’t need to tell you that. There is no way to avoid it, no way to get around it. Some destruction we cause ourselves, other times it just is. There is no formula to pray or deed to do to prevent trouble or make it go away faster. There just isn’t a guarantee like that. That is a microwavable faith and just when you think you’ve figured it out, the carpet gets pulled and you are faced with a choice:
Worship Him anyway or cling to the empty box you’ve put your faith into.
Job chose worship. Of course he was broken and hurting but he wasn’t wavering. With tears streaming down his face at the agony of his circumstances, Job stands and says of God boldly before His accusers:
“He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, At the boundary of light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble, And are astonished at His rebuke. He stirs up the sea with His power, And by His understanding He breaks up the storm. By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand.”
Faith is forged in the fires of adversity and struggle. It is molded and shaped by the sometimes strenuous activity of walking out the twists and turns of this life.
Real faith is visible in the messiness of trials. It is the shimmery part of celebrations just as much as it is the bloody part of struggle. Regardless of storm or sunshine, God remains. He is sovereign over both the dark and the light, He holds all of life in His hands. If we really stopped to look at all the woe, all the pain, all the suffering that we so desperately want to avoid we’d see that God is right there in the midst of it all. Faith is not the absence of struggle; faith is the rock to cling to in the midst of struggle. ~Tweet That!
If I may challenge you today, turn to your faith and worship through the terrible, horrible, no good days the same way you worship at the glorious, bountiful blessings. The mustard seed of your faith can only grow there, and not even the worst tragedies can take that from you, not ever.
I think I’ve talked about fall for weeks now, but alas it is my favorite season! And it does not last forever. The auburn hues and fiery reds declare glory in ways left untouched by other seasons. I swear this time of year is the Earth’s worship conference.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;he will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Psalm 96:9-12
Have a glorious Sunday!
May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Num. 6:24-26
*Picture Credits: Creative Commons at Flickr.com
So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 MSG
I can see her twirling. Her blond curls bouncing with each pirouette. The sun gliding along her arms and dripping off her finger tips. She is tender, innocent and most definitely free. The wildflowers in lustrous yellows and whites seem to dance along with her to the same sweet rhythm of grace.
She has been redeemed. Pulled from the shadows and exposed to His glorious light.
He did it carefully, gently and with a persistent hand; through healing words of love and consistent faithfulness. He met her in the dark corner unafraid of her pain, and not at all repulsed by her raw heart. Steady love met broken vulnerability. He led her out into wide open spaces with the tender hand of sacrifice.
He is most careful; most careful to hold and heal, to see and make room, to lift up and restore. He is most careful.
Today, I write with a beautiful collection of brave writers who gather around the same prompt to pour over words and sentences for only 5 minutes (give or take a few). It’s crazy fun and the prompts are never left to chance. They seem to be just the right words and just the right time. Come, join us, will you?! All of the details to join or even just to explore other posts on the word,’Care’ , are over here.
Dearest Mommy Friends,
This is the toughest gig out there, and I commend you for sticking it out, staying the course and giving it your all! I hope you know that you are cherished and NO ONE could do what you do in the lives of your littles.
I also know the pull to leave the mess and sit at Jesus’ feet or do something for yourself is hard to navigate when the dishes pile high and the laundry explodes. I walk that line with you every day.
Both serving and worshipping are important. Both caring for your family and caring for your self are vital. Both being present with your faith and keeping your house in order are commendable. And you can be both a Martha AND a Mary in the same day.
Today you can find me sitting at the kitchen table with my friend Abby McDonald over at her blog: Fearfully Made Mom. Come read more about abiding in the middle of the mess with Jesus here.
Have a blessed day my fellow Mommas!