Sunday, September 29, 2013

Exactly What I Asked For...

Back in August, I shared a story about a fabulous dress, a dress that prompted me to seriously re-evaluate how I was praying for the things I wanted. It's funny, how the smallest thing can prompt us to completely change how we look at and even approach a situation.

You see, I was in the middle of stressing myself out with regards to looking for an apartment. I was telling myself that I was trusting the Lord to provide, when in actuality I was praying only according to what I could see myself affording. Yeah, my faith was "huge"....

As called around, looking for an affordable apartment, I quickly became discouraged, because 1) the UW students took all of my available studio apartments, and 2) I was quickly realizing the budget I had to work with wasn't exactly conducive with the amenities I was seeking.

Earlier in the afternoon on the day Jesus gave me that amazing dress, I had gone to see an apartment. From the internet ad, it seemed really nice. Not all the amenities I was hoping for, but definitely the ones I needed. However, when I arrived, it seemed the pictures had been slightly.....deceiving. The smell of mildew was heavy in the air, the kitchen tiles were peeling at the corners, and there were rat droppings in the garage. Slightly disheartening, if I do say so myself.

I left the apartment, and took a drive, looking for other options. As I was driving, I had this conversation with the Lord.

Me: "Really? Is this really all my budget can afford? I don't mean to be ungrateful, but I really don't want to live there....."

Jesus: "Then stop praying according to your budget."

Me: "But Lord, I know what I can afford, and I can't afford anything super nice."

Jesus: "No, you can't, but remember, I can. I own the cattle on a thousand hills, and I can get you the best apartment ever. You just have to ask."

Now, whenever I have these types of conversations with the Lord, my default mode is to feel really guilty. To feel as if I am asking to much. To feel as if I don't have the right to ask. 

Because, I still am humbled by the fact that He answers my prayers at all, and also, I never want to become cocky or arrogant over the fact that He answers my prayers in the affirmative. And maybe there is a little bit of guilt over feeling selfish for asking for nice things. I don't really know what that is all about, but when I figure it out, I will probably blog about it, lol.

After that conversation, I then found my rockin' dress, went home and had another talk with the Lord. I guess you could say that it was a "Name It, and Claim It" type of prayer. 

However, let me say this - I don't know that I am a huge fan of naming what you want, claiming it in Jesus' name and then expecting to receive it. He doesn't always say 'yes'. I am a huge fan of being really specific though, and letting Jesus know what you want. At least you will know that you were clear on what you wanted, even if He says 'no'. 

The next morning, I woke up and said, "Lord, I want exactly what I have here with Faith and Steve, but better." And that was it, that was my prayer. Short, sweet and specific. My situation was amazing. It was safe, there were nice perks, and to be perfectly honest? I selfishly didn't want to give that up for a nasty apartment with rat poop everywhere. So I told the Lord what I wanted, and waited to see what He was going to do about it, haha.

 When I was visiting some people at the nursing home later that morning, an old co-worker said, "Oh my gosh, you need to go check the break room right now! Someone is renting a 1 bedroom basement apartment and you need to call them. Jesus wants you to have this apartment!" Wow Lord.... that was fast.... A new record, answered prayer in 2 hours flat!

I walked into the break room to take down the information, and as I read the list of amenities and the cost of the rent, I almost couldn't believe it. It was everything I had prayed for and then some. Plus, it was $20 under budget.

So here I am, sitting at my kitchen counter, in my new apartment, writing this post about this stinking AWESOME answer to prayer. Oh, and those "amenities" I couldn't afford? I have all of them, and then some... I am one humbly blessed girl tonight!

the perk I am most excited about!!!!

My faith was weak, although I wouldn't have wanted to admit it. My prayers were in accordance with what I thought was possible, not what God could make happen. 

I feel as if the Lord is constantly teaching me something. It used to be discouraging, because every time I learned something new, I felt as if I was a failure because I hadn't "got it" yet. Then I realized that I will never get to a place where I stop learning. And if I do, then that is when I really need to be concerned.

So what did I learn this time? I learned to stop thinking so much, but instead to start praying more. I learned that HIS possibilities are endless, and that I need to stop complicating that which He has already simplified. I learned to feel confident in the promises HE has made to me in His Word. Mostly, I have learned that wherever HE is, I am home. And that regardless of the perks a dwelling might possess, if HE is not the main amenity, then it isn't perfect.

Pray for me during this next stage in my life. I am super excited to see what Jesus is going to do. I am ready, I am willing and I am feeling adventurous. Please also pray that my home will be a place of prayer and fellowship. I want my home to be a place where people can pray together, be spiritually refreshed and can see the miracles of God in a mighty, might way. 

Life with Jesus is EPIC!!!

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Matthew 18:20

Friday, September 27, 2013

Socks with Sandals

There is a perception in the PNW (Pacific Northwest) that wearing socks with sandals is not only an acceptable fashion statement, but also a requirement. And even though I am a Northwest girl, born and bred, I tend to disagree, ALOT....

To be truthful, it was not something I learned from watching my friends or even from watching "What Not To Wear". No, it is a deeply rooted belief, established firmly by my loving father. You see, dear dad knew what was important in life. Next to loving Jesus, you must love baseball, you must iron your jeans before wearing them, and you must never wear socks with sandals. (And according to my sister, Dad said Birkenstocks were hippie shoes, and were not allowed in our house, lol)
Up until yesterday, I would say I was doing pretty good with 2 out of 3.....

Alas, I must now hang my head in shame and dispair..... for I have failed.... on a level of epic proportion.....

However, I tend to give myself a certain amount grace when I am sick.... which is why I feel that this fashion faux pas can be overlooked, at least this one time.

First of all, it must be stated that I am the worst person in the WORLD at dressing according to the weather. Like, I will wear sleeveless in the snow and sweaters in the sunshine. I do not plan well at all. So yesterday, as I ran out the door to catch the bus, it did not register how impractical my sandals were going to be. In fact, it really didn't register how COLD it was until it was too late.
There I was, sniffling away on the bus, wearing my cotton dress and sandals..... (insert face palm)
I arrived at work, miserable, coughing up a lung, with cold feet and desperately in need of a cup of coffee.

On my break I went over to Safeway to buy medicine and my much needed jolt of java. And then I did something I told myself I would never do.

I searched for and found the desired item, quickly paid for it and came back to my office to proceed with shame....
Slowly, and with a huge sigh, I cut the tag off the socks I had just purchased at the grocery store. Oh yeah baby, desperate times call for you to embarrass yourself in lieu of comfort and wellness.

And there I was, in all my fashionable glory, bundled up with my scarf, warm coat, socks and sexy sandals. BAM! Smokin...

Some people had the guts to ask, while others stared on in awe (probably not awe, but because they didn't clarify, I choose awe). For those who had the guts to ask, I told them. I told them that is was a great Thursday - my coffee was cold, I wanted Alka-Seltzer in an IV, I just bought socks at the grocery store and now I am wearing them with my sandals. All in all, I had hit a new low, even for me. (insert another face palm)
Finally my feet warmed up and the socks could be retired. The rest of the day was productive and no one creepy sat next to me on the bus ride home. A winner of day if you ask me.
So, how was Thursday? Hope it was as exciting and fabulous as mine turned out to be.

Remember, laugh at yourself, have a good time, don't sweat the small stuff and don't wear socks with sandals.
If you nail that one, you are set for life!
Happy Friday All!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When He Can, He Will

Almost three weeks ago, I shared about my awesome answer to prayer regarding a certain dress... The very next day I had ANOTHER incredible answered prayer (which I will most definitely be sharing within the next couple of days).

But for today's post, I want to focus on my answered prayer from yesterday, because, it was soo precious....

First, we need to go back a few years....

Growing up, I probably heard every verse, phrase, quote about prayer that there was. I heard that we should "pray without ceasing". I heard that we should have "George Mueller faith" when we prayed. I heard people wax eloquently about how their prayers were answered.

I didn't always understand it, but I knew, deep down, that I wanted to understand what prayer was all about. I wanted to know how people reached this level of prayer perfection where everything they seemingly spoke to God the Father was answered with a deep and resounding "YES!!!"

How did they do it? What was the secret formula? What were they doing that I wasn't?

Now, don't get too excited, because there isn't a secret formula to prayer, at least not one that I have found. I still don't understand why some prayers are answered in the affirmative while others are a definite "no". All I know, is that answered prayer is precious, and sometimes, just sometimes, it is more precious to us after we have received a lot of no's.

Fast-forward to yesterday....

Yesterday, I was driving back from Anacortes, listening to the radio and having some sweet, quiet time with the Lord. As I was listening to the radio, an ad came on stating that one of my all time, favorite Christian bands (Tenth Avenue North ) was going to be playing at the Puyallup Fair THAT VERY NIGHT! When I heard that, I thought, "Lord, I love that band. It sure would be great if I could go to that."

The day got away from me, and I forgot about my "on a whim" prayer. But see, HE had not forgotten... Later that afternoon, a co-worker (who knew nothing of my prayer), approached me and asked if I would like a free ticket to the Puyallup Fair to hear..... Tenth Avenue North!!! Needless to say, I freaked out a little ALOT!!! And yes, I snatched them up right away. And yes, I drove all that way. And went by myself. And sat in the rain. AND hugged a toothless guy playing Jesus songs on his saxophone......let's not talk about that one....

Here is what was soo incredibly humbling and amazing to me about those tickets.... IT MATTERED TO JESUS. It mattered to Him that I really wanted to go. That my heart would be full of Him either way, yet still He answered the smallest of prayers.

You see, I have had a lot of no's....

No to my Dad staying alive.
No to my MS being healed immediately.
No to changes of heart in the people that I love...

And amidst all of those no's, Jesus still found time to give me a yes or two along the way. Because, the yes's are so much sweeter after the no's.

Why you ask? Well, for starters, we shouldn't get everything that we ask for. We don't need it. Don't truly want it. And would become spoiled if everything we wanted was at our fingertips. Jesus had to say no to me on a great many things. He said no because it was His will and because it was best for me.

The precious, sweet aspect of the unexpected answered prayers, are that they are HIS way of reminding me that when He can say 'yes', He will.

He loves me, and when He can, He will.
"You may pray for an hour and still not pray.
You may meet God for a moment and then
be in touch with Him all day."
- Fredrik Wisloff