“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I wish I could tell you that I was standing on my faith as sure as it was a stone itself, but lately my faith has felt more like one of those bouncy houses – solid until I want to take a step, or someone else walks around me, and then I’m struggling to keep my balance. I’ve even felt that if someone flipped a switch, my faith would deflate – leaving me hopeless – sunken in a pile of plastic tarp and netting – a horrific trap in itself!
You see, Mike and I have dreamed of living in the country – far enough away from everyone else that going home would be like a retreat – no cars, no neighbors – just the trees, the grass, and the wind. A place where our boys could begin making memories to come “home” to. A place that was “ours”. A place that was permanent. I mean, now that we are retired from the military, I want to find that “home”… our home.
It’s not that we live in a horrible place now – on the contrary, we live in a beautiful home, and we have fantastic neighbors! So, even dreaming for more – let alone asking God for more – left me feeling…”chumpish” – shallow really. Like I wasn’t appreciative of all the blessings God has already generously bestowed upon us.
I know in my heart I can ask God for anything. Sometimes He answers “yes”, sometimes “wait”, and sometimes He answers “no”. But if you don’t ask the question, you don’t get an answer. So before I asked for, I asked why.
Why did I want these things – this “new” house in the country?
I wrestled with that question. I talked to God about it – even out loud at times (only in my car of course – where no one else could hear!) for a long time.
You see, I felt bad, because I was asking God for a house in the country when I had a perfectly good roof over my own head. I felt shallow because I knew there were far greater miracles for God to perform than granting my “house in the country” desire. In all my ranting, I was also telling God why he probably shouldn’t give me what I was asking for – because in comparison it probably wasn’t something with which I should be troubling Him.
So I talked and talked and talked, and finally ran out of things to say to God. When I was finally able to quiet my soul and listen, His Spirit gently reminded me that it was okay.
It was okay for me to want a house in the country, that would be permanent, and a place for the boys to make memories – those desires are not bad! And it was okay for me to talk to Him about it! He WANTS me to talk to Him about those things!
Maybe the rest of the world thinks I’m foolish to ask for such desires, but God says it’s okay. He says it’s okay, because He knows those things are important to me. And unlike myself, God does not compare me with others. He looks at me for me.
In these quiet moments I share with my Father, I feel my faith growing firmer – not solid, but steady. Not because I think He will give me what I want, but because I’m learning that it’s okay for me to be myself with Him. His love remains the same.
“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.” (The Message)
I don’t know what will happen with “our” house in the country. Maybe someday we will move there and maybe not. But this idea of “moving” did move me. It released me from worry’s powerful grip, and moved me closer to Him.
Thank you for your Son’s sacrifice – that I may come to you just as I am with the things weighing on my heart. Thank you for hearing my prayers, and answering them. Even when the answer is hard for me to accept, you are still there offering your peace. I’m so grateful for your presence and faithfulness in my life.