Prayer is an amazing thing. I've heard this too many times to count. I've even repeated those words to others, but I rarely claimed the truth for myself.
In my mind, I thought prayer was an amazing thing for other people. I thought God would speak to others but not to me. I reminded myself that my words couldn't change the world or our situation. And while I craved growing closer to Him, I didn't believe it would happen. I didn't think that my drawing near to Him would cause Him to draw near to me. I didn't really believe that He would meet me where I was.
I can't explain the reasons for my thoughts. It's evident that He has always been there for me. Even though I made some pretty poor decisions during my adolescence and college years, He protected me from worse things happening. He kept me from going so far into a life of darkness that I couldn't get out of it. I got close, but He made sure there was always some light.
The light came from my friends and my family. They knew I was making poor choices. But they also knew I had to figure it out on my own. They offered their advice and their prayers. When I was ready to come back into the light, they had open arms and shared tears with me. Those moments alone should have been enough to show me that prayer works.
But I am a stubborn person. It often takes several conversations and a few hits over the head before I am able to admit I am wrong and then actually change my ways. It's been the same way with prayer. God has spent much time reminding me that He answers prayer. The past two weeks have finally opened me up to the understanding that prayer works, that God is moving and active, that He hears my cries and that He responds.
It started last Tuesday. Even now, over a week later, I still find myself wondering if that night actually happened. It doesn't seem real. And I struggle with understanding how and why. So much peace accompanies my every thought now because of that night. When I pray, I pray over the words that were spoken. I pray for understanding and for guidance so that my husband and I walk down the path God has set before us.
We're not sure where the path will lead, but I think that is the beautiful thing. It is hard to let go and to walk without knowing where you are headed, but it is also freeing to not have to worry about every step. I am a directionally challenged person. I can't say which direction is north unless I am close to the Interstate, and even then, I have to repeat never eat sour watermelon to remember which way is east and which way is west.
Right now, though, we know that we are in a good place. It feels like our feet are back on solid ground. Is it perfect? No, but we know it never will be. Will there be struggle? Yes, but we know that God will be with us during the struggle and that He will use the struggle to draw us closer to Him and to remind us that He is in control.
My husband was offered a full-time job, a job that will provide benefits after 90 days. It's not the perfect job, but it is with a respectable company and could very easily lead to better things for him and for us. He begins training next Thursday, days after we celebrate our two year wedding anniversary.
It took a long time to get here. At least, it felt like a long time, but really, in the scheme of life, it's not that long. But still. We are finally here.
I don't know what is going to happen. I'm not sure how this will affect us, how much it will or won't help. I'm not sure if this is where we will stay or if things will shift later on. There's a lot I don't know.
What I do know, though, is that this job is a gift from God. I do know this is the direction He is leading us in. I know that He is right here with us, struggling and fighting alongside us. He is calling out to us when we are tired and offering to help. And then, sometimes, He will help even if we don't ask for it.
I'm also learning how important it is to pray for specific things. I don't pray for thousands of dollars (though I would not be opposed to being given this) because I don't feel like that lines up with what He is calling me to. But I do pray for direction and guidance. I ask for the things we need. And I don't stop asking.
His Love Extended quoted E.M. Bounds the other day and then wrote a post on prayer. It touched my heart, and I felt God stirring something inside of me. That night, I prayed specifically that my husband be offered a job the next day. I didn't know which job it would be, but I prayed that a job offer would be put in place. The next day, I received a text message at 10:32am that training would begin on September 16th.
It's all God's doing. He knew the perfect timing. He understands the positions we need to hold when it comes to jobs. And while it might not be easy, and while it doesn't always align with what we expect for our lives, His way is always best.
(title from "light outside" by wakey!wakey!)