January 23, 2012

Winter and Prayer

Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all. -D.L. Moody
Winter grows pure faith. It grows almost nothing, but it grows biblical faith like no other can... Prayer is the ongoing work of winter. -Unknown
I don't know if you noticed or not, but I didn't write any type of post relating to the New Year or making resolutions. There are several reasons for this, the main one being that 2011 was pretty much one of the worst years in my life thus far. I'm not going to sugarcoat the truth. It was awful. I spent the majority of the time feeling incredibly alone, depressed, confused, sick, overly stressed, insecure, fearful, anxious, worried, and feeling like a failure because I hadn't been making (what I deem) enough progress or successes with my life. Toss in there both parents without work as well (nothing says "Merry Christmas" like loosing your job). Needless to say I got really good at crying myself to sleep, which I think says a lot since up until last year I never would have labeled myself as a crier. All in all I'd define that as a bit of a wreck. And wrecks tend to leave you feeling bruised and sore.

I've spent a lot of time questioning God. Does He really love and delight in me? Because I sure don't feel like He does. Does He have a plan for my life? Because it sure doesn't seem like it right now. It seems like He's got a plan for everybody else. Does my life have any value or significance? Because I don't feel like anything I do has meaning. Have I done something wrong? Because if I have I'd like to know what it was and how I can fix it. Is God holding back on me until I get my act together? Because I feel left out. Everyone else is moving forward and in many ways it feels like my life has been put on hold by circumstances that are out of my hands.

Yet during all this my prayer life swelled to proportions like never before. They weren't the sweet kind of prayers though. They were more like laments. More like cry-fests... and getting all slobbery because I'm an ugly crier. They were infused with anger, bitterness, and accusations... when in reality I had no right to be angry or bitter towards God, nor to accuse Him of anything. He's God and I am not. I'd crash from exhaustion nearly every time afterwards. Too tired to speak or think anymore.

And in many ways it's still like that. No, my circumstances haven't changed for better (yet). But, I'm slowly learning how to find my comfort in Christ. How to adapt to changes I don't like or desire. How to still find something to be grateful for. To take one day at a time, because I've personally learned that "anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows but only empties today of its strength" (Charles Spurgeon). Ultimately, learning how to trust in Him and hold onto hope. I'm not saying it's easy. It's incredibly hard. If I make progress it's only by God's grace that I do, because I have no strength of my own left. Some days are better than others, and for the ugly days there's even more grace abounding. Even if I don't see it or sense it.

It's this whole season of feeling broken in every sense that drives me to seek Christ. The talking with God so openly and frankly... it's not like I do that with many around me. (Confession #2:  I'm an imploder. (See! I was paying attention during last week's sermon!)).

So I wouldn't say that I have any resolutions or am feeling to optimistic for this upcoming year. You'll have to forgive me for that. But, I do want to toil with God more, because it's through this I feel closer to Him. And more than anything to see prayer requests answered. I'd like to see all that labor and hope lead to fruit of some kind. I want to be more aware of God's goodness this year.

Let us be so in the habit of prayer, so devoted to prayer, so filled with its rich spices, so ardent by its holy flame, that all heaven and earth will be perfumed by its aroma... -E.M. Bounds
When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure. -Peter Marshall


  1. I've had a couple years like the one you described. You're definitely not alone in that.

  2. During the torment and trial, it's the season of growing closer to God. I really believe that one day, you'll look back on this and say "God was totally in that. It was the sweetest time of my life." Even if it is bittersweet, this will be a bountiful blessing one day :) You are definitely not alone!!

  3. I love all of these quotes! My pastor is doing a series on prayer and my bible study is reading power of a praying woman. The chapter this week...on how to stop being negative and I needed to hear it! Praying this year is an amazing one for you! Oh and I tagged you on my blog...

  4. Oh girl, I hope this year proves to be a wonderful transition for you and your parents.

    I think God loves when we're direct with Him.
    And I know all about the ugly cries to God. You'll make it! I have faith. :)
    Emily at Amazing Grapes

  5. Taking into consideration each year as a whole, 2011 was easily the worst year of my life, too. Although more specifically, the 2010-11 "Academic year" was the worst period of all. (This after I vowed not to allow my life to get worse after graduation.)

    For a good chunk of it, I had no job, no social life, and felt like I had no friends...this post really resonates. Thank you.



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