Posts Tagged ‘Answered Prayers’


I wanted to write about cool pillows, blue cotton blankets, orange dulce tea and wrapped up in a good book. No stress. No gracelessness. Just rest. A Holiday-kind of rest where nothing from the outside nibbles away at the inside.

That kind of rest is not today. Not right now.

Somehow, when the children were littler – even if fevers spiked and cheeks flushed, if brothers squabbled and food spilled – I could usher in rest in afternoon naps or evening bedtimes – rest re-setting everyone’s hearts. I was graceful at that. Temper tantrums and Mid-night wakes? Graceful! Where little hearts unburdened themselves trusting I could help them sort it out – wanting me to help sort to rightness. Graceful!

The teen years – where sleeps don’t re-set hearts, where I cannot site the source for every word, every thought they bring home, where boys-to-men hearts don’t unburden themselves, hide themselves, where home is a cage – and they don’t want to be there, where maybe they don’t quite love themselves like we do – oh, I am graceless here. graceless in rejection. graceless watching my boy-to-man facing challenges God did not design him to face.

and all I have is faith

To rest my head against
The heart of a mighty father,
A mighty brother
A mighty bride groom

While challenges scratch
Not just at this heart
That loves
That prays
The breathes in
Jesus Christ
Breathes out
Have mercy
Challenges that scratch
This mother’s heart
And scratch
This mother’s child

To rest my head against
The heart of a mighty Father
A mighty brother
A mighty bride groom

It is there that my faith
My hope
My trust
I believe
That He meets
My child
To lead him out
Of the challenge
Into the light
Into His plan
Into Salvation
Into Redemption
And living water

To rest my head against
The heart of the great I Am
the holy shepherd
is to breath life
into this faith, this hope,
this unconditional love He taught me
how to love
how to trust Him
that this is the only way
to walk this mother’s walk

I am not a perfect mom. I am a mom not good enough. I don’t give up, though. I don’t stop trying. I don’t stop loving. I don’t stop believing in Him.

I am resting my head against Shaddai, against His promise that to me, to you, to each of my sons – that He will be like the shepherd who pursues, searches and FINDS the lost sheep – my lost sheep – your lost sheep:

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue” (Luke 15:4-7).

We all struggle. Each of our children face challenges. I’ve been here before. Prayers sent out a few years ago for one son returned this week, returned answered – only to brush up against prayers sent out for another son.

Bitter sweet. How can a heart rejoice and grieve at the same time? Yet, mine does.

I rest in the faith that the Holy Spirit will breathe a fire into the embers of faith planted deep, and that Holy Spirit fire will consume and burn away things not of the Father – revealing a life restored, the journey of a prayer answered returning home.

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butterflyd10 copy_edited-1On holiday at the beach when the sun and clouds pulled closer to my patch of earth and the tree leaves looked like patchwork quilts of oranges, reds, yellows and fuchsias – my husband and I found ourselves floating quietly by ourselves in a sea of salt.

Our boys had abandoned us for a lazy river and video games. The littlest, he’d constructed a half-hearted sandcastle – only because I said we’d needed one – and he’d not grown up enough to relish not heeding me yet.

I bobbed and my husband floated along the currents, savoring the peacefulness of it all, me not quite trusting the quiet; my husband taking it all in stride when a Monarch butterfly beat its wings up and down from shore toward us, past us – and we watched, our bobbing and floating turning to follow his journey beyond where we could see.  We watched, expectantly – and gossiped about its journey until the current pulled our attention to where we wandered – and we set to working ourselves back to align with our beach side property of chairs, blankets and bags.

In the bobbing and floating, trying to catch a good wave – both our attention was caught by a Monarch butterfly beating its wings up and down, out of the distance, past us without a pause, to the beach, straight to the Beggar’s Ticks beyond the beach walk.

We paused – wondering if this was the one that had just left – or if maybe this was one come from across the gulf.

I kept wondering what message those butterflies carried from God – Nothing ever goes to waste if we just pay close enough attention.

A few weeks ago, the message in those butterflies revealed itself like moon runes (The Hobbit).

A prayer – I don’t’ know if it was one prayer sent 2 years ago or the book of prayers sent out 15 years ago for one son – sent out on a journey like a Monarch butterfly. The Journey takes time – maybe one minute, 2 years or 15 years – but a prayer I sent out came back, like that Monarch returning – it came by answered.

Just like Daniel’s prayer sent out on a journey before it returned answered:

“‘Relax, Daniel,’ he continued, ‘don’t be afraid. From the moment you decided to humble yourself to receive understanding, your prayer was heard, and I set out to come to you. But I was waylaid by the angel-prince of the kingdom of Persia and was delayed for a good three weeks. But then Michael, one of the chief angel-princes, intervened to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia. And now I’m here to help you. . . .’?(Daniel 10: 12-14, The Message)

Oh, yes – I long ago decided – I couldn’t raise these boys with just what I had or my husband had. It is humbling to realize sheer determination cannot generate the results I want. I cannot  love my boys good enough. I cannot teach or talk good enough to save them from a fallen world. Humbling myself to the Father – saying to Him “only you can”  – and it liberated me – and it saves them.

When I sent those prayers out, “Save him” – this Father God heard – and He set out to come for me to save each of my sons.  Like in Daniel’s story – it was a journey to answer that prayer. He loves us like that – He loves my sons like that.

He came. He helped – and that prayer answered came one night  up my drive way, beating its wings up and down, up and down – and as it hit my porch steps – and it brushed against a new prayer being sent out – a similar prayer being sent out – for another son, another teen facing challenges, wanting to leave before it was time.

Long ago God told me about this son – that his mouth would be loosened – and it did – the stuttering stopped. That his ears would be opened – and we learned how he heard differently – that his mind would be freed, (I believe children diagnosed late with things like Central Auditory Processing Disorder or Dyslexia often develop patterns of frustration that need overcoming) – and then he would turn to Him and be healed.

That brush with that prayer going out knocked out the scales that blinded his soul eyes –  repentant heart revealed, eyes suddenly selfless seeing and in the seeing grieving. Self-centered emerging selfless”– an answered prayer come home.

The prayer leaving? Another teen, he wanted to check out of high school when he was 18 – and go back to the high school he went to Ky in for 2 years, check in, graduate there and in the process minister to his atheist friends.

A prayer returning brushing up against a prayer leaving.

Just like the sun can shine in a rain downpour, my heart rejoiced and cried at the same time.

Hint: from my blessings list in Butterflies and Beggar’s Ticks:

  • oceanfly

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In February of 2011, Lydia at Crown of Beauty is a stone collector. Not like the stone collectors in the university geology department – but a Joshua-like stone collector.

“My stones are personal ones, reminders of certain special events in my life of faith. Somehow these stones remind me of important stages in my journey… times when the Lord broke through for me” (Crown of Beauty, Lydia)

In early 2011, as I read Lydia’s post, I visualized a rock collection – choosing each kind of rock to put in my garden, each rock telling a story.

A rock for the husband He had sent me – that is a kind of coming through. Another stone reminding of how he’d saved our 4th son on the day he was born. Other stones, too – but those stones were of challenges already overcome.

I wanted to gather stones – but I was in the midst of challenges, in the midst of prayers, in the midst of lots of standing – a lot of not quite knowing where the path was leading, a lot of “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” day-to-day, minute-to-minute living. These were challenges that started in 2009. Challenges are sometimes a journey, not over in a day’s time.

The living along the journey path didn’t leave hints about answered prayers. Maybe they were there. I didn’t know how to vintage the blessings and the love letters the Father sent me then.

The one thing I did know is that He is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, though – and I held on to Him, to His promises.

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strong rock, in him will I trust; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower”(Psalm 18:2)

I am seeing the end to those journey challenges that started in 2009. He has brought not just me but my family through – and in the wrapping up of those challenges, I thought about gathering stones to testify to His faithfulness.

I have a garden filled with starts from my aunt, my grandmother, friends – and their beauty reminds me of their stories.

A garden filled with stones, each one telling a story about the miracles of what God has done for my family – that is a powerful garden. Would that rock garden really be a praise garden? Could I call it that?

I would walk there with my husband and sons, pointing to a rock, telling them a story of faith. I would walk there with my granddaughter and read the story of those rocks to her like a book of wonderful stories. Maybe one day, when they needed encouragement, they would walk in that garden, remembering those stories at a time when they need remembering.

“As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out’(Luke 19:37-40)

I had a birthday – the big birthday – 5 0 – 50 started so much better than 49.

My rock, my fortress, my deliver is making 50 feel like a jubilee kind of year.

He sent me into 50 with a healthy, whole body, with more energy than I’d had in decades. Healthy means more ability to cope, to multi-task, to have the desire to fulfill my mission statement of teaching my sons how to grow old loving the Lord. That would be a stone for my garden.

A few days before my birthday, our church hosted a wedding vow renewal ceremony. My best friend of 29 years (today!), we renewed our vows – and it seemed the perfect time – a new beginning time, having come through mighty challenges to where we are now. It was a celebration of overcoming, of enduring and faithful love. That would be another stone for my garden.

Answered prayers for provision in surprising and unexpected way at just the right time – another stone reminding us of God’s great mercy.

It was a birthday of designed for praising God’s faithfulness to His promises. My birthday started out getting the boys ready for school, dropping them off and heading to work. At work, my sweet office-mates had rolled my desk, white toilet paper drapped artistically  from my computer to my window to my file drawers – and chair. “The witch is in” hung from the back of my chair – and, compliments of this playful crew, was a broom stick. Since I joke about flying around on my broomstick at home, they thought I’d need one for the office.

These ladies cooked up breakfast – sausage and egg casserole, hash browns, biscuits and chocolate gravy. They let me bring cupcakes because I just love cooking for friends. An awesome surprise beginning to my day!

Around 10, someone said, “Turn around” and their was my soul sister from another mother, pink roses, balloons that advertised my 50-ness – and a gift with ribbons – a prayer-book of scripture for my children she’d made. Another un-looked for surprise!

I meet another friend for lunch – she surprised me with yellow daisies and a funny card. Birthdays are made for friendship, I think. It poured buckets of rain then, at the end of lunch – and poured all afternoon – I love rain. I love that it rained on my birthday – the Father knew just what to give me!

I didn’t think the day would get any better. Surely, all the surprises were exhausted. After all, how blessed can one girl be in one day.

The last surprise overshadowed all the others:

Around 2 I got a phone call from my soldier-son. “Garble Garble Garble hallway,” he said.

“My phone gets bad reception in the hallway, too. You might want to go to the kitchen, “I said.

He called back. “Step out into the hallway,” he said.

Surprise, then understanding dawning – I walked out of my office. I’d never asked my sons to stop by or come in because I never wanted them to feel like they were puppets to show off. This particular son used to be even more uncomfortable going out of his comfort zone. The military has grown him in amazing and beautiful ways – can I say that about a soldier?

I worked my way to the main hallway to see him leaning against a doorpost, holding a bucket of jolly ranchers with a balloon – his bashful, handsome smile all across his face – this from the son who had told me often he never wanted to see me again, that he couldn’t wait to get out, and, then one day that he wanted to come home and find God.

Inside, I was bursting into joy tears. Inside, I was dancing joy. Walking toward me was the evidence of an answered prayer – one prayer answered on the day he was born – and another the day he became the man I knew he could be – the result of believing God-things I couldn’t see when the path of the journey showed no evidence of that hope.

There he was, holding a bucket of jolly ranchers with a birthday balloon for me, his mom – on my birthday – that he went out of his comfort zone said so much more than “I love you, Mom.”

It made me wish I had a set of stones to place to commemorate what God has done for me, for my family – to remind each of us of the real life story where God is always the hero who saves.

There is a stone shopping spree on my to-do list, with my husband, to remind us of the not only what He has brought us through but how He has brought us through.

“When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever” (Joshua 4:6-7)

611-619  gifts listed above

620) Friends like Lidj who have encouraged me through this challenge journey He has brought us through.
621) Dinner with the family at my favorite restaurant.
622) A surprise luncheon with friends, planned by my husband – something not in his comfort zone but he did because he loves me.
623) 16 quarts of canned tomatoes
624) 16 pints of my grandmother’s chili sauce
625) going with a friend to the blueberry patch, only to discover it close – but what a blessing to spend time with her!
626) Having the energy to knit again – and not have it be such a struggle
627) A love gift from my husband – a diet Dr Pepper
628) my 4th son coming up to hug me just because
629) Saturday Morning at the Farmer’s Market with my husband
630) Peace in the house
631) Morning prayer: one son leading the 23rd psalm, another leading the Lord’s Prayer, the 3rd choosing a Proverb, me praying for their day.
632) An e-mail and phone call confirming direction for action that I’ve been praying about. I needed that encouragement.
633) Seeds I planted, zinnia seeds, blooming and re-blooming.

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A stomach bug has been creeping around our house. The blessings, in their usual places, don’t comfort me. The yard cardinals, my growing-tall zinnias, my burning bushes, the squirrels on the sidewalk to my office – even the hammock under the tree.

503) Some days, like stomach bug days, the blessing is the comfort in a blanket wrapped around,
504) the hum of  a galaxy
505) tiredness resting on a soft pillow
506) and the quiet, the sleep.
507) The blessing is in the doing of others
508) the folding of laundry,
509) the preparing of dinner
510) and the cleaning up.
511) A beet-mango smoothie with ginger soothing after work when anything more is uncomfortable.
512) The comfort in my husband’s hand rubbing my back,
513) one of my sons leaning his head against mine for a sit-down moment.
514) A slow rain on a Sunday that slowed everyone down so much,
515) they just paused beside us on the porch and lingered
516) repeatedly returning and lingering as we sat there, watching.
517) It amazes me the sweet living in the pause.

I am discovering that some days, the Father’s love letters are written outside of me, in the landscape. On other days, they are written in my heart, like the simmering rejoicing of an answered prayer that fills me up inside.

This week has been a rejoicing week, despite a creeping bug.
518) Rejoicing in answered prayers,
519)in sitting in church with my husband and sons
520) hands reaching, shaking my reserve soldier son’s hand, rejoicing that he is home
521) a very old friend, a spiritual grandfather to my son, speaking blessing over my son, with his words, his hands, his expressions – showing my son God’s amazing love –
522) After a long waiting on which steps to take, God revealing
523) The relief in the revealing
524) The lingering in the quiet with the Father, joyful, smiling, excited and quiet all at once – because He is faithful, amazingly, beautifully Faithful!
525) Faith of God’s mighty power eradicating this creeping stomach bug

“For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does
(Psalm 33: 4)

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A prayer is a journey released.

I believe

That when you pray for other people, that prayer goes on a journey,

And like all journeys, come back home.

Prayer returned home.

Come back home in the manner it was released – with either faith, hope and love or faithless, hopeless and loveless.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:36)

I remember praying healing for someone who had experienced a life-threatening injury

And through the journey of the prayer

Over months and months

That healing prayer came back to heal us of secondary infertility.

“I exhort therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).

 Over the last few months, our family has been praying

For Annie to return, to come home  (see this post) – praying with faith, hope and love.

While we prayed for Annie, we prayed for a son (see this post), prayed with faith, hope and love – For this son to sell out to Jesus.

This son who couldn’t wait to leave home, busted out of home when he graduated from high school last year, signed up for the reserves and has become a better man, Friday night, he said, “It’s come my time to find God and come home.” He didn’t just say it to me; he said it on Facebook, kind of like he needed to say it to the world.

Prayer sent out on a journey returned home.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 6: 30).

24 hours later, Annie came home, too. We were in our car, returning from a far-away wedding, celebrating a heart-friend’s daughter’s marriage, a marriage beginning God-centered, faith-centered – and I wanted to dance, to celebrate God’s amazing love, His never-give-up-ness with this answered prayer returned home from its journey.

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven”(Psalm 107:28-30).

 Praying is not a stagnant action. A prayer is a journey released, returning home returning home in the manner released. Unasked for. Unexpected.

480) The daily, familiar blessings, like the cardinals, mockingbirds, dove calls
481) Squirrels rummaging through the hay outside my work window
482) Strawberry, Watermelon and lemonade icy smoothy
483) “You have made me glad. I’ll say of the Lord you are my shield, my strength, my portion deliver, My shelter, Strong Tower, My very Present Help in time of need” (Made Me Glad, Hillsong) – a song in my heart whether at my work desk, in my car, my kitchen, or in a hammock under my tree – Releasing that song in my heart – no one else could hear it – but me and God!
484) Boys worn out from swimming, the evidence of sunshine on their cheeks.
485) A date day with my husband, with a heart-friend’s daughter’s wedding.
486) Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory – my favorite Club Sandwich and a cup of coffee.
487) Walking in a real mall, window shopping and some real shopping
488) My husband gifting me with Tocca’s Stella perfume which I have wanted since January.
489) Good haircuts on my boys – I don’t know why but a good haircut makes me feel like everything is on the right track.
490) My littlest guy coming up, wrapping me in a hug, “I love you, Mom.”
491) Laughing with my new senior son! He’s going to be a camp counselor-in-training. No flirting allowed. I tried coaching him to say, “I’m here to serve Jesus. Please respect my decision” when girls hit on him. Instead of repeating after me, he said, “Send me your number. I’ll call you when camp is over” – I couldn’t stop laughing because, while he has great lines, he’s not a smooth, shallow pick-up guy. He is so full of the Joy of the Lord.
492) Wheat fields, swaying in a cool 78 degree breeze
493) My camera through which I have learned to live more fully where I am – we arrived at the South Union Shaker Village wedding site early taking in detail in an intentional way, not a skimmed-over-way.
494) Hugs from dear friends not seen enough
495) new love consecrated in marriage, made one through the Holy Spirit – and the couple inviting God into their union knowingly, whole-heartedly, eyes wide open.
496) My sons jeep pulling into the driveway.
497) Brother’s smiling, not saying but actions speaking loudly, welcoming a brother home.
498) Showing my neighbor’s 4 year old how to draw cats on the sidewalk with the sidewalk chalk and little girls in polka dot dresses.
499) People caring enough to pray, to connect, to have relationship – people caring enough to send their prayers on a journey.
500) Nikki at Simply Striving who read “Bicycling with Ava” to her son and she telling me he asked to hear it again. I’m still smiling!
501) Annie coming home!
502) Understanding that the coming home is just the beginning of another journey.

The Bride Arrived in a Red Car

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