My Wilderness…and Prayer

Can you tell where my heart has been lately, with all these posts on prayer? In our Bible study on Tuesday mornings, Priscilla Shirer has been talking about the wilderness. Did you know that God led the Israelites into the wilderness? Did you read that…God led them there? (Check it out in Exodus 13:17-17.)These hard times, the times that we struggle most, God led me here?

God didn’t lead us into the wilderness for us to “figure it out,” as Priscilla Shirer shared yesterday in our video. I am such a “fixer.” I want to know WHY I’m struggling, figure out “triggers” and make sure I NEVER come back here again. Oh, but is that what God wants for me? If he led me here, there is purpose. He is pruning me. He is drawing me to Himself.

Could it possibly be that He is giving me this beautiful season of prayer? Could it be that He is teaching me how desperate I am for him that I need more and more communion with Him? When He draws me to Himself and when He says, “Come, all who are thirsty…” He is talking to me. (Isaiah 55:1.) And lately, I have been going to Him. A lot. But I need to change my prayer a bit. Instead of, “Lord take this away, make me normal” I need to be praying… “Lord, if this is your will, I am Your servant. (Luke 1:38) Use me. Change me. Fill me. Hear my cry…and I know You do. Thank You. I trust You. I trust You, even in the wilderness. I trust Your Hand of Sovereignty in my life. I trust You to mold me and do what You need to do in me. No matter how it hurts.”

Well, Ann has done it again…written a fabulous post on prayer.

She talks today of building a house of prayer, going through each of these things listed below.

excerpt:

Lord, cause us not to work to consume or to climb, but to engage in the true work of building houses of prayer, places where You are at Home. Come, find Shelter here, where we find Shelter in You….

To Build a SHELTER of Prayer:
S-Short
H-Helps
E-Establish a Place
L– Lists
T– Together
E– Establish a Time
R– Reminders

Tis so sweet…

Tis so sweet  MercyIsNew.com

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His WORD.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth – praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

“In You, O Lord, I put my trust…deliver me…be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me.” Psalm 31:1-2

Friends, it has been a rough few days for me. Many of you know I had a really difficult struggle with depression about 3-4 years ago. Well, this time around it appears to be a bit different, but possibly headed in that same direction. Maybe anxiety? I don’t know…but the past few weeks and especially 3 days have been very hard for me. When you struggle with something like depression or anxiety, one bad *hour* feels like a bad *year.* A long morning feels like a long decade.

I am not writing this post to share with you how I have overcome depression or anxiety, because quite honestly, I’m in the middle of it right now. I haven’t found a “secret” cure. I have changed my diet, I have been exercising more regularly than ever before in my life…2 things I was hoping and praying would help me. But, they aren’t. I have started a new medication, and so far it is not helping either.

The reason I write this post is because, though it is hard to see past this moment or past my struggles, I trust in Him. Very simple. I trust Him. I’m not sure I could have said this with the same convinction a few years ago. But, it truly IS sweet to trust in Jesus, to take Him at His word. You see, those verses I listed above are my Rock. At times, when there is nothing else I can do, I go hide in the bathroom and cry. And, I hear the Lord speaking gently to me…”I am your Rock. I am your Refuge.” And I trust Him.

I don’t understand why I struggle. Earlier today in the midst of my tears, I cursed the personality God gave me. I worried for my kids, feeling I am ruining by the moment. I don’t understand why. But, I trust Him. I trust His word. And, Jeremiah 29:11 tells me that He has a plan for me. The anxiety, the depression, they don’t take Him by surprise. He doesn’t sit up in heaven and say, “oops, that was not a part of the plan!” He has already written the pages of my life story and prayerfully, every last minute of every long day will be used for His glory.

The times I have spent in the valley have been the times I have most readily clung to Him and His word. The times I have spent in the pit of depression have been the times I have seen just how intense my need for Him is. And ya know, just because I’m clinging to Him doesn’t mean He is going to take it all away. But, I do know that I may never have seen the DEPTH of my NEED for Him had I not fallen into those pits and spent that time in the valley.

So, tonight, as I try my hardest not to keep asking why, I praise Him. I praise Him and I trust Him. I don’t understand, but I don’t have to. He is God, He has a plan and I trust Him. And that is enough.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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Struggling mamas, find more encouragement here!

Learning to pray God’s Word has been one of the best tools on the battlefield of depression I have found. Read more about this spiritual discipline here.

Resources for Women Struggling With Depression

Calm and unperplexed

To be honest, the 2 words in my title do not generally describe me. At all. However, something I read today really has made me stop and think.

From My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers…
“We must never put our dreams of success as God’s purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.
What is my dream of God’s purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process – that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.”

Several things jump out at me as I read this. So many times I hear people praying or discussing how a certain thing must be in God’s will because it is GOOD and will help them be SUCCESSFUL. I don’t know, we are promised life abundantly, God is faithful, I believe He is good…but I don’t believe that His plan for us always to be successful. I believe the world’s view of success has warped our minds so much so that now, even as believers, our view of success is very blurred. Sometimes the biggest and most important lessons in my life have come from hardship and trial…not from success.
I also know that for myself, I am often not calm and unperplexed. When I am distressed, I am showing my lack of trust in the Lord. I love the fact that God isn’t looking to make me into something. He is wanting to mold me, make me, He is looking for a heart that loves Him above all else. But I don’t have to have a position of authority or royalty to do that. Am I trusting Him completely in the waves, in the successes and in the failures, when I can’t see the shoreline at all?
“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” Psalm 27:14.