Sometimes I find it hard to write about a story in my life.
I struggle to be vulnerable when things are hard and happening furiously around me, when life is not perfect and when the circumstances are uncomfortable. These are the times when I want to hide away from the rest of the world and shut off my phone and sleep until the problem goes away and I can emerge as a new and refreshed human.
Does anyone else feel that way?
Last year, my relationship was not ideal. I thought it was the year of engagement for me and when the year almost came to an end and with no engagement in sight, I did not take it too well.
I was anxious and constantly wrecked with disappointment and discouragement about the uncertainty of the future. I would get myself into a terrible snit thinking about all that I wanted and all that I had no clarity on and lash out terribly to the people closest to me. I was so mad and hurt for not having my plan A, B & C go according to how I saw it fit to be.
I prayed daily for this sense of hopelessness to go away. I waited. And cried. And endured. Yet, nothing changed about my circumstances. Nothing changed overnight.
Why am I sharing all of this?
It’s because I know I am not the only one with something hard and a bit ugly in my story that I am tempted to hide until the trees clear and life goes back to “normal.” That is so many of us right now.
But God has a thing for using the ugly to get the most glory.
I don’t always understand it. I am tempted to want to ignore it. But there, in the midst of all the ugly, God is working.
It’s easy to write about prayer when it seems like prayers are getting answered. It’s harder to even utter the word, or talk about the practice, when you feel like you’re in a desert – in a standstill – at a place where God just doesn’t hear you.
Or when He does hear you, and He groans with you, but that does not mean He is changing the plan.
There’s a verse in Matthew where Jesus tells people to go into a room and shut the door when they pray. There in secret, your Father sees you.
In the secret place, I was reminded again and again that God is the answer to the prayer.
Not the engagement.
Not the remedy that works.
Not the job offer.
Not the anxiety subsiding.
He, just as he is, is the answer to the prayer… the thing we need to seek above all other things.
And that’s hard for me. VERY hard for me.
What I realized during that period was I needed to shift my posture back to Him.
I needed to see God as the hope in the storm, not create my own hope because the waiting felt so uncomfortable. I had to say “yes” to God using my messy and hard for something I could not yet see even though every part of me just wanted to fix it myself.
I had to be okay with the story not going my way and still walk it out with as much grace and expectation as I could, knowing God was the answer to the prayers I was muttering.
He is the only solution to my wanting.
I don’t know all the prayers you say or the things you wish for. I don’t know the map of your life but I do know this:
God sees you in the unspeakable pain.
He stands with you in the storms. He fights for you when your strength is fading and even at the moments when you feel your internal battery is at 0 percent.
He is the helper, no matter what you and I think might help a little more at this present moment.
It’s a constant decision to keep putting your eyes back on God as the answer when you want an answer to arrive in a sweet little package, or on your phone, or in your inbox or in the form of a ring.
It’s a small, continual shift of your gaze back in His direction. With each small shift, you inhale the truth:
God is Plan A and never Plan B.
Plan A. Plan A. Plan A.
He is the answer to the broken, bruised prayers you cry out. He’s the God who orchestrates redemption stories all the time. He hears you, sweet one. He isn’t turning away and He isn’t distant. Keep shifting your gaze back to Him. Keep counting on Him to be big. And don’t quit before the miracles start to happen.
Find your hope in Him.