“Hi Ladies, I feel like I am constantly coming to you all with prayer requests, but I guess that is what friends are for :)” RADiCAL Woman to her support group members
The blog below is a response to the RADiCAL woman above who described a scary, stressful situation and who asked for prayers from the rest of her RADiCAL group members. (That’s one of the great things about having a physical group of women — you can ask for prayers or for help with moving or help after you’ve had surgery or whatever.) This group is like that. I get copied on their emails. Here is my response:
Okay guys. R’s message hit a chord with me. Usually every day, I wake up at 4:30 or so …. pray and make myself stay in bed until a more reasonable hour. (5:00 at least!) This morning I woke up feeling lousy… nauseated, stressed, teary … I felt awful physically and emotionally and spiritually. I started going through my list of people to pray for (including all the RADiCALs), and that seems to always refocus me. But this morning I had a serious talk with God. I have been seeking God’s will about Midlife Divorce Recovery (I can’t seem to get things going fast enough – I’m impatient!). I’m worried about the money. I’m worried about my grandson who was just diagnosed with dyslexia. I’m worried about our country. I’m worried about people who want to either convert us or destroy us. And I worry that because I talk all the time about trusting God and I tell everyone else everything you’re supposed to do to move forward every day, that if I admit my own doubts and fears people will think I’m a sham.
Anyway, in the wee hours this morning, I got out my Jesus Calling book (a gift from another RADiCAL woman) and one of the references for today was Psalm 4. Here’s the part that really struck me:
“Mark this well: The Lord has set apart the redeemed for himself. Therefore he will listen to me and answer when I call to him. Stand before the Lord in awe, and do not sin against him. Lie quietly upon your bed in silent meditation. Put your trust in the Lord, and offer him pleasing sacrifices. ” Psalm 4:3-5
Then, I wrote down on my notebook everything I’m worried about (it filled the page).
Then I wrote down:
“What does God want me to do?”
Here’s what I think it is from those verses in Psalms:
- Trust him
- Stand in awe before him
- Do not sin against him (worry? lack of trust?)
- Meditate on him
- Offer him pleasing sacrifices
Then I wrote:
“What sacrifices can I offer him?”
- Joy (No matter what)
- Loving him with all my mind, heart and soul
- Loving others as myself
- An offering of peace (in my heart)
- The sacrifice of praise.
The above section of Psalms went on with this: “Many say that God will never help us. Prove them wrong, O Lord by letting the light of your face shine down upon us.” Psalm 4:6 (The Living Bible)
After praying that, later in the Psalms (Psalm 7:8) David says, ” Tell me clearly what to do, which way to turn.”
After all that, I got dressed, put on my tennis shoes and went for a walk. During the walk I cried. I complained to God and told him I couldn’t understand why he didn’t make himself more clear to us. I fussed at him that when he says he will never forsake us, and he will give us our heart’s desires, he then lets really bad stuff happen to his people. (The holocaust; persecuted Christians everywhere, even today; good people who go through cancer (L); and abandonment, and suffering (so many people everywhere.) Then I apologized and said “I know your ways are higher than our ways, but it just seems like you’re not keeping your promises to us.” …. Is it just heaven you mean? I get that, but what about here on earth everyday? So much sadness, hurt, pain? — and that’s for people who love you.”
Anyway, I had this long drawn out conversation with God. Then I said, “Okay, even though I don’t know why you don’t make yourself more clear to everyone, I’m going to try to do what you ask us to do.” I said something like, “You have told us before that we can only take care of this one day.” So I’m only going to worry about what pleasing sacrifices I can offer you today.
Then, I turned my palms up, and as I walked along I sang that song …
“Father, I love you … I worship and adore you …. glorify thy name in all the earth. Glorify thy name. Glorify thy name … glorify thy name in all the earth. Then I sang the same tune with “Jesus, I love you … I worship and adore you … glorify thy name in all the earth. Glorify thy name. Glorify thy name. Glorify thy name in all the earth.” Then, “Spirit I love you … I worship and adore you … glorify thy name in all the earth. Glorify thy name. Glorify thy name. Glorify thy name in all the earth.” It’s a beautiful, simple song I used to sing riding my bike during my divorce.
Before I actually quite finished the song, there was a white haired guy with a white beard but about my age, (yikes! He might have even been younger!) standing in the middle of the sidewalk figuring out how to trim some limbs off of an overhanging tree. He had recently moved into the neighborhood (with his retired physicist wife) and so we talked and before I knew it, I had his name and said I would call and have them over for dinner or something.”
When I got home, I felt better physically, fixed myself some fruit and yogurt and granola and read the “Wall Street Journal” where there was an article that gave me a great idea for RADiCAL women and a great article to share with my nephew who starts teaching at K.U. this week. I feel more at peace, and I’m going to just keep offering whatever pleasing sacrifices I can to God today. Now, I’m hoping some money will drop from the sky to pay my bills! And I’m waiting patiently for some direction on a couple of big decisions I need to make.
But in this one day … for now … I’m going to offer the “pleasing sacrifices” of:
- and Praise to God
Even with my weak knees and sometimes doubting heart, I’m doing my job the best I can. I’m going to trust that God knows what he’s doing and has a purpose for whatever he’s doing that will be for his glory (and my good!) He’s promised that.
Radically and with love,
P.S. R, I go back to that verse (Romans 5:3-5) often myself. And I had to apologize for complaining to God this morning when “I have such an amazingly blessed life …. food, water, no one shooting at me, no one I love being shot at every day!) But when I read the Psalms, David complained often and also asked for God to destroy his enemies and “break off their teeth!” God also said David was a man after his own heart. I think God wants us to be honest with him. He can take it … and he knows what’s in our heart anyway. Then, after listening to our groveling and complaining and praising and singing, he will do what he wants (what is best for us and what furthers his will on this earth).