There comes a point in every waiting season where we face an internal struggle. Where there is faith living and breathing, there is a fight taking place. The fight is to believe, to keep our eyes open and looking to Jesus, to press on in what’s before us while we wait and hope for something marked for the future. And during these seasons of waiting, there are questions we start to ask in our heart – of ourselves and of God.
Do I believe He is who He says He is? Do I trust Him to do what He’s said He will do? Will I call Him good today, while I’m living in this season? Will I call Him good tomorrow and next month and a year from now, should the season continue?
How long will my wait be? Are you still moving and working in this thing? Do you see my struggle as clearly as you see the days I persevere? Did you change your mind? How do I know that you’re going to do this? When will I be on the other side of this?
These are the moments where you want to trust the Lord, but faith is wearing thin like fabric that’s been hit by the sun in the same place over time. Still there, but beginning to wear.
The beauty in these moments is that our questions draw us to Jesus. When we begin to ask things that only God can answer, it carries us straight back to Him. It ushers us into engaging in another conversation with Him, one that is needed for our faith to grow.
Abraham was no stranger to this. He was promised a child, among other things, as he set out on a holy adventure with God. His “how long, O Lord” moment happens in Genesis 15. He approaches the Lord with his questions and his doubt, engaging in a conversation about the waiting and the trusting: “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless…” The phrase, “for I continue childless” is also translated in this passage to “for I shall die childless.” At this point in his life, Abraham believed he wouldn’t have what He heard the Lord tell him he would have. He didn’t think the Lord would follow through with the promise.
God, I’m still waiting. I continue. I am still longing. I continue. Lord, what will you give me?
I love that God is big enough to shoulder our questions. His response to Abraham is both firm – reiterating the promise He made to him, correcting his doubt back over to belief – and gentle – engaging in the conversation with kindness. He guides Abraham to look up. He does the same for us.
We don’t look at what is missing. We don’t look at what’s not held in hand. We don’t look at our feet as we shuffle ahead. The Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want. We look up, to the God who sees us, knows us and cannot be anything less than faithful to His character and His Word.
We look up. We carry on those conversations with Him in our waiting. We ask the questions that lie heavy on our hearts in times of struggle. We confess where we’re lacking in faith, and let Him lead us back to truth and remind us of who He is. We remember what He has done for us in the past, keep our hope in Him for the future, and engage with what He sets before us in the present.
We trust the Lord – with our questions, with our desires, with the promises He’s given us and the things we’re believing Him for. We trust Him enough to turn to Him with all of it – our present and our future. We trust that our continuing doesn’t mean we’ll never see the other side.
We look up and we keep looking up, trusting Him all the while. For we continue, but we do not do so alone. For we continue, but we continue with help and with hope.
When I say I’m single, I mean I’m single.
Actually, sometimes I like to say that I’m the “singlest of the single.” (As if there were such a thing.)
See, I don’t have a boyfriend and I’m not currently dating.
I was at an event once where a bunch of single, Christian young women were gathered in a room together. The gathering had every intention of being encouraging, and for many of those girls I’m sure it was. But for me? It was a little confusing. Because there seemed to be a cloud of discouragement in the room, a weariness of sorts, and even a twinge of bitterness peppered in at times. I found that I couldn’t quite relate to the depth of heaviness and sadness I felt coming from the room. Because to me, being single wasn’t a burden to be endured for a season until God saw fit to grace me with a husband. I didn’t feel like I was lacking or less than or so full of longing that I couldn’t deal anymore. I didn’t feel incomplete or impatient, even though I did (and still do, for the record) desire to be married.
Not long after, I processed the experience more fully with the Lord. I felt a nudge to start sharing my heart as a single woman who follows Jesus. It felt like I was being led to begin sharing what it looks like for me to be single, diving into heart issues like motivations, focus, and flat-out faith. I felt like I was meant to share the perspective I’d been given and encourage those walking the world of being single, just as I was.
That realization was a few years ago now, and I’ve had a few opportunities to share and speak on being single since then. There have been plenty a conversation in coffee shops, with both single and married friends. (We tend to laugh a lot in those.) There have been fairly impromptu gatherings of single women where I’ve felt led to share an encouraging word. There has even been a speaking engagement or two mixed in there, all from the perspective of being single, if not outright about it.
And now I’m bringing that conversation to these pages. I’ll be sharing my heart, my opinions and experiences, truth from God’s Word, resources I find helpful, and stories that may make you laugh or simply say a heartfelt, “me, too.” My hope in this on-going series is that it will be an encouragement, whether you’re currently struggling with being single or loving every minute of it.
In this space, your heart is welcome and honored. In this space, your feelings are acknowledged and allowed to be fully sat in for a spell. In this space, truth will be shared and hearts will be on sleeves, because the struggle is real for all of us, at one time or another, but we don’t have to shoulder any of it alone.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably be drinking hot tea, even though the humidity is high and the weather warm here in Kentucky. If we wanted to sit outside, though, I’d go for an iced tea latte. It would be a toss up over an iced chai latte with soy milk or an iced green tea latte with coconut milk. No matter what, my order is coming up tea. Always.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you that my favorite tea is Bewley’s Gold Blend, a black tea from Ireland. I had it for the first time on my visit to Dublin in 2011, and since then I’ve been enjoying it almost every morning for years. You can find it at international stores, on Amazon, and sometimes in local coffee shops. I drink mine with a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and it’s so rich and smooth!
If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask you how your heart is after the tragedies of the last week. I’d tell you how my own heart turned, sick and saddened, at each unfolding tragedy, and how I dove in to hashtags and my friends’ posts to listen, to learn, to gain new perspective. I’d tell you it took me over an hour to write and share the simplest Facebook post with my friends, fighting the tensions of finding the words and being brave enough to say them. I’d ask you if you were able to watch the IF:Gathering Unity discussion, Priscilla Shirer’s Periscope, “Talking and praying”, or my friend Retha’s Journey to Balance podcast episode about Latasha Morrison’s call to racial reconciliation within the Church body. I’d tell you that my eyes welled up, my throat got a little tight, and my heart was moved when a simple text message to one of my black friends to say I loved her and was praying for her on Thursday was received with such deep gratitude and kindness. I’d confess that I noticed a deeper level of the whiteness of my world, and started processing with the Lord what to do about it. I would tell you I’ve been studying Romans 12 and it’s so timely; that my pastor was preaching from the book of Judges yesterday, but intentionally turned there and encouraged us to be the Church as pictured in that passage and my heart rejoiced. I’d confess that I logged off of my social media (except for Snapchat, which I put in its own category for some reason) for the weekend and tell you it was so refreshing for my soul.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you how much I love learning about prayer. I’ve been diving in to prayer with the Lord lately, and it’s been so sweet. He’s been showing me how well He can handle my whole being – each and every feeling, thought, confession, and request. He’s been leading me into a greater intentionality with it – praying for friends via the U.S. Postal Service, sending prayer texts, processing life with Him in prayer privately inside of my journal, praying through His Word. As I read books on prayer and continue in the Word, I feel like my soul is expanding and being filled all at the same time. It’s beautiful.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d confess that I’ve had random bouts of body image issues over the last week. After a month of being sick – of not moving much and of eating ice cream (because when you’re sick, what’s better than ice cream?) – I find myself feeling “puffy” off and on and struggling to fit into certain pieces of clothing that used to fit just fine. I’d confess that I know the insecurity is a lie and I’m actually quite lovely. I know I am fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in the image of God. I know this. But even still, I’ve had to pray against the thoughts that bubble up about shorts that don’t want to button comfortably right now, photos where I think I have “fat-face,” and whether or not it’s okay for me to eat a cookie when I’m trying to bounce back to my healthier lifestyle. I’d also tell you that I ate the cookie – two others, even – and had no regrets. That I looked at the photos again this morning and didn’t see “fat-face” but the light in my eyes and joy in my smile. That I’ve been practicing yoga, going for walks, eating my veggies, taking vitamins, and doing my best to stay healthy. I’d tell you that the best thing I think we can do when we feel insecure is to run to the Father in prayer and confess all our junk and let Him wrap us in truth and in love.
If we were on a coffee date and you asked me to share three things I’m hoping to do this summer, I’d say: dive deep into my local community, develop a consistent yoga practice again, and downsize my belongings. I’ve already done a few rounds of purging, but I’m hoping to tackle my closet, clothing, and desk area again. I feel the need to have less lately. My yoga practice is my primary goal for Do Summer 2016 (the secondary one is writing). So far I’ve completed almost three hours of practice (in just over a week), and it’s felt so wonderful to get back to it! As far as community goes, I’m being more intentional with people – making sure I’m at church gatherings, going to community group, initiating time with friends, and saying yes to being with others when I can. Community is important to me, and I want my life to reflect that.
Next on my visit to California, I rented a car to drive five hours down the 99 to meet my friend, Makenzie! I really enjoy road trips, even when I’m by myself. It’s a good time for me to process and unwind. This time was no different! I loved the beautiful scenery I drove by the entire trip, and with some of my favorite podcasts to listen to, the drive seemed pretty short!
Makenzie has been a friend of mine for a few years now! We also first met online, and she became my first ever virtual assistant client. When I made it to Bakersfield, I was able to tag along on one of her high school senior photo shoots and it was at a gorgeous location! I loved being in the mountains and in an orange grove and watching her do her thing! 🙂
I felt like a lot of my time in Bakersfield revolved around food, but let’s be honest – I didn’t mind that one bit! 😉 I was able to experience my first In-N-Out burger, which I was quite excited about. It was pretty delicious! Plus, the kind employees gave me a fun little hat and some In-N-Out stickers when Makenzie told them it was my first time. 🙂
I was also able to visit Dewar’s Candy Shop with Makenzie and her husband, William. Dewar’s has been around since 1909! It’s a really cute place with just the right vibe for ice cream and candy. I loved how colorful everything was – especially the pink seats! I ordered a Black and White, one of their classic sundaes that’s a mix of vanilla ice cream and hot fudge with chocolate ice cream and marshmallow. So. Good. Rich, but good! Dewar’s also makes really delicious taffy, which you can even order online! Makenzie sent me some as a gift once and the taffy chews are pretty amazing. 🙂
I didn’t just eat my way through Bakersfield, though. Makenzie and a friend took me to Wind Wolves Preserve one day for a few hours of hiking and taking in the beauty of the area. It was one of my favorite parts of my entire trip! I hadn’t packed any workout gear, but luckily some jeggings, boots and my Persimmon Prints tank did the trick just fine. 😉
The preserve is absolutely stunning. It was a perfect day to visit – blue sky, warm air, and cool breezes. I loved it!
We walked one of the trails for quite some time… until we heard loud buzzing. It was coming from in between some trees that covered the next portion of the trail. Bees. A lot of bees. Makenzie wanted to charge ahead, but I wasn’t so sure that was a good idea. (I don’t really “do” bees. As Makenzie’s shirt said that day – “Nope!”) I had already started to turn around when Makenzie was stung – in the face! It was crazy. Luckily, Makenzie’s friend wasn’t as freaked by the incident as I was, and she pulled the stinger out of poor Makenzie’s cheek. We turned around after that – and informed a park ranger that there were a lot of bees hanging out over in that area.
Other than that incident, the day there was so lovely. It felt good to enjoy God’s creation for awhile. I love the mountains, and I don’t get to experience them often living in Kentucky. So the preserve was a nice treat for me! 🙂
The last place I visited on my trip was Los Angeles, where I was going to be flying out of my last night in California. Makenzie drove us there, and we were able to have some good chat time in the car together. We went to see the Hollywood sign first, up by Griffith Observatory. Surprise, surprise – it was raining that day! 😉 I’m convinced that I was carrying the rain with me everywhere I went, but that was hardly enough to stop us and we still had a good time. We went from the observatory to downtown, and I saw quite a bit from the car. We stopped to visit the Chinese Theater and stars on the Walk of Fame, then had some lunch at the mall.
From there, we drove over to see my good friend, Suzy, at her house. I try to visit her anytime she’s in Kentucky – where she’s originally from and where she and her husband, Lukas, run a wedding venue – but it was so special to be able to see her home and spend time with her there! We caught up on life over tea and it was so sweet.
The VanDyke family even got me a “welcome to L.A.” gift – which their little man, Wilder, was eager to give me! It was one of the amazing leather travel wallets from their new company, Wild and Free Supply. Lukas and Suzy lived in Honduras for a few months and while there, they created this company to provide jobs for the people of Honduras. It’s pretty incredible and I was so glad to hear about it from them in person! And I use my wallet all the time now. It’s so convenient – and really beautiful!
But my favorite part of our time together was when Suzy asked Makenzie and me if we could pray together. We gathered in her bedroom, and with the door closed we spent time intentionally praying over one another and the things we’d been able to talk about since we’d been in her home. I’ll be honest – I ugly cried. There is just something so beautiful and so powerful about prayer with friends. I’m grateful that I have the kind of friends in my life that will take the time to pray with and for me!
Makenzie and I made one last stop before the airport – and that was to the LA County Museum of Art. We wanted to see The Rain Room, but it said online that it was entirely sold out of tickets! When we arrived, though, we asked anyway… and as luck would have it, two spots had just opened up! So we snatched them up and were able to experience The Rain Room. You walk into a dark room where it’s “raining” from the ceiling. When you walk into the rain area, the water falls around you, but not on you. Pretty neat! I, unfortunately, was wearing mostly black at the time – and dark colors are not recommended – so I got a little bit rained on. 🙂 But I still enjoyed it, and Makenzie got a photo of me doing one of my yoga poses!
It was a great way to end my trip to California! Food, community, nature, and plenty of tourist-y moments for good measure made for a pretty good trip. 🙂 Next time I visit, I’ll take much of the same in terms of seeing friends and exploring, but I’d love to go to Yosemite and hopefully see some more sun. 😉
Have you been to California? What would be on your must-do list for your next trip?
A friend from high school was getting married and my older sister and I were invited to go. Then we found out a movie that one of my younger sisters worked on was being premiered at a film festival in the same city on the same weekend. It seemed too perfectly orchestrated to pass up! So off we went… for my first trip to California!
The wedding took place in Saratoga at Hakone Estate and Gardens, a traditional Japanese garden. It poured the entire time, but thankfully a tent was in place. The rain made beautiful background noise for their ceremony, and hot tea was available to help keep us nice and warm. (You know I was a fan of that! 😉 ) After the ceremony, my sister and I walked around the gardens a bit, despite the rain. It was beautiful! I’d love to go back and visit sometime when it’s sunny. 🙂
The movie premiere at the San Jose film festival, Cinequest, was the next day and really fun! We were able to meet some of the actors and crew of the film my sister worked on in Cincinnati, Josephine Doe. The movie is a psychological drama filmed entirely in black and white. It’s really captivating and explores mental health and trauma in a unique way. If you happen to get the chance to see it – I’d recommend it! After the premiere, we went out to a late dinner with the cast and crew to celebrate. 🙂
My sisters could only stay for the weekend due to their work schedules, so we spent most of Sunday exploring San Francisco. We visited Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf, saw the Painted Ladies, and drove through many areas of the city, including Chinatown. It wasn’t the sunniest of days, but the rain did hold off until we were almost done visiting the Golden Gate Bridge! That was my favorite part of our day in San Francisco. I loved being by the water and walking on such an iconic structure. Running or biking across the bridge may have to be added to my bucket list! 🙂 My second favorite thing would probably have been the spontaneous karaoke of a group of guys at the bar we ate dinner at in the city that night. They burst out singing “I Want It That Way” by The Backstreet Boys at one point and it was pretty hilarious. The nachos I ate were pretty good, too! 😉
I parted ways with my sisters at SFO and met up with my friend, Catie. She lives outside of San Francisco and graciously allowed me to stay with her for a couple of nights! We met online awhile back, but this was the most time we’ve been able to spend together in person. It was so much fun! We laughed together a lot and had some good conversations, too. Catie is also a wonderful baker and gluten free like me – so I was treated to the best scones I’ve had in ages!
Catie wanted to show me around a little bit, and I mentioned a friend in Palo Alto suggested I visit Monterrey. So the next day, we went on a day trip! It was raining on the drive down, but in Monterrey it was lovely! We had a delicious lunch of mahi mahi tacos at El Torito, a Mexican restaurant overlooking the ocean. The restaurant provided binoculars and our table was right by the large windows. I was able to see an otter munching away as he floated on the waves! I loved it. From there, we did some walking and talking and got some tea… and even stumbled upon Disney Press meeting for Finding Dory in a hotel! We drove to Carmel-by-the-Sea as well, and enjoyed a windy, but relaxing walk on the beach as we took in the sights.
More on the second half of my trip to California – Bakersfield, Wind Wolves Preserve, and Los Angeles – will be here soon! 🙂
It’s not because the city has a unique vibe and so much to offer. I go to Nashville because my friend, Kathleen – my Tennessee bestie, is there. Sure, I can expect to have brunch, do a little exploring of the city, and see new sites with her. But that’s just icing. I am perfectly content with the cake – to sit on her couch and talk heart-speak with her as we drink water out of mason jars. To catch up on a walk with her wee man in the stroller, even if we struggle to find any shade. To settle in and see how we’re doing in ways Snapchat, text messages and phone calls can’t quite touch in the same way.
So on my way home from a Chattanooga retreat, I took the long way home – through Nashville. I sat on Kathleen’s couch with her for hours and walked her neighborhood in the brightest of sun. And I enjoyed every minute of it.
With her wee man nestled in the backseat, we made our way outside of Nashville to Castalian Springs, Tennessee. Kelley’s Berry Farm is there and was our destination for gathering strawberries on a warm Sunday evening. The farm offers strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and peaches. Strawberry season is normally through May and June; but with the warm weather, they were able to open early. I’m so glad they did!
It was beautiful out there – row after row of strawberries under a bright blue sky. With Wee Man wrapped up against his mama, Kathleen and I walked the rows and plucked the strawberries that were just the right shade of red. We sampled one each and oh, were they as good as they looked! There’s something about being farm-fresh, you know? 🙂
Of course, both of us having photography backgrounds, we needed to stop and snap a few photos of our little adventure. I took a few of Kathleen and Wee Man, and she took a few of me. It felt nice to do some impromptu portraits again!
I’m hoping that next time I visit, it will still be fruit-picking season. There’s something so relaxing about walking those rows and finding little treasures! And hey, if you’re ever in the Nashville area, head out to Kelley’s Berry Farm and see what delicious fruit you can pick yourself. 🙂
We sang It Is Well at my grandma’s funeral. It was the day before Mother’s Day; the day after my grandpa’s birthday. It was a heavy day, but one with two hands lifted full of hope.
We sat in hard-backed pews in a small-town church called Maranatha (“Our Lord is Coming”). Dressed in black, we, my grandmother’s legacies, filled the church’s center aisle, pew after pew. The eight children of her own. Most of their children’s children. Some of their children’s children.
I couldn’t sing Amazing Grace. I wanted to, but my voice was lost- choked out by a lump in my throat. God, you are good. Your grace, it is amazing. But my voice is struggling to sing right now.
I let it be, listening to the other voices raising up in the church in solemn tones and wobbling sound. I listened to the preacher talk about my grandma’s life- Bible studies taught, children reared, a husband loved for over fifty years. They read her favorite Bible passages, and words of many mansions in the Father’s house filled the chapel.
When peace like a river attendeth my way; when sorrows like sea billows roll…
It was hard, but by the grace of God, I could sing this song. My voice rose and mingled with those of my family, a small choir of legacy and love, as though we had practiced the way it should sound. Full and rounded out. Heart-felt. In grief and weakness, but somehow strong and assured.
It is well with my soul. It is well. It is well with my soul.
Four months later, I found myself in a hotel conference room full of women redeemed by the Lord. I went in with my heavy and my hurt after a season of walking through difficult things. There He told me to rest and receive.
The last night of our gathering, we gathered to praise and to worship. The set list contained kisses from heaven, songs through which the Lord had already spoken to me throughout the year, played while He caught my tears, and used to settle my spirit and give comfort time and again.
Through it all, through it all – my eyes are on you. Through it all, through it all, it is well…
Where at my grandma’s funeral we sang traditionally, piano keys pressed down in a practiced flow, here we sang a modern worship adaptation. Still, the words and the heart of the song remained.
As I sat on the floor, legs crossed over one another, I let the Lord do a work in me. I worshipped Him, holding out my heavy with open hands. Let me carry you – the words He whispered tenderly to my heart. In surrender, in trust, in relief, I sang:
It is well with my soul. It is well. It is well with my soul…
Six months later, I sat settled on my bedroom floor, looking out my window. That’s where we tend to meet, He and I. I had Spanish worship music playing and a song caught my attention…
Estoy bien. Gloria a Dios! Tengo paz en my ser – gloria a Dios!
It Is Well – a song written in the deep heartache and grief of a father who lost his family, now a humble battlecry for so many in their own pain. As I let myself translate the words and focus in, I realized the literal translation. It was so beautiful. Same heart. Same praise to our Father. Same surrender.
I am good. Glory to God! I have peace in my soul – glory to God!
And through it all, with eyes and heart fixed on Jesus, My God, My Savior… it is true. Though my circumstances ebb and flow, even when they are far from good, I am good in Jesus’ name. Glory to God can spring from my lips and dance in my heart because He is my hope, my peace, my very song.
I have peace in my soul because it is made new – and being continually renewed day by day – by the Prince of Peace. I can reach out my hand to His light and touch the power of His presence. He fills me with the fruit of His Spirit, with grace and the kindness that leads my heart to humble repentance, with steadfast and unyielding love that conquers and casts away all fear.
Written by The Influence Network co-founders, Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, Wild and Free is a hope-filled anthem for the woman who feels she is both too much and never enough. That description resonates with my heart so well, and I know it resonates with many others. As I dove into my advanced copy of the book, I saw quickly that these pages are a reminder – of our identity, our purpose, our ability to live free and run wild in Jesus’ name. My heart was both encouraged and challenged by these pages of words of gospel truth, and I quickly began to mark up the pages with my own little scribbles of what was resonating with my heart and truth I need to keep close.
At first, I wasn’t sure how the book would read with Jess and Hayley alternating chapters; but as I read it, I realized that’s the best possible way this book could have been written. Jess and Hayley each offer their unique perspectives and personalities while sharing the same gospel truth to create the whole picture of what wild and free living looks like. I found myself having the most “me, too” moments while reading Hayley’s chapters, while Jess’ words stirred up a lot of excitement and courage in me. The conversational writing styles of both women made this book easy to read. It’s such a beautiful collaborative work!
Wherever you are, however mundane or broken or idyllic your life is– whatever path you find yourself on — the wild and free life is waiting for you. It’s been purchased on the cross, and the kingdom of God is waiting, heaving, groaning– ready for you to take your place. And it’s never too late to say yes. The story isn’t over. It’s just getting started. -Jess Connolly, p. 37
God is freedom. He freely gives to all of us. He gives of Himself most of all, and that is the prize. -Hayley Morgan, p. 91
As I read Wild and Free, I prayed bold prayers as I soaked in gentle yet challenging truths. My heart is lit up in passionate readiness to move with God. Freedom feels near and I lift my hands, ready to run wild in my day-to-day life. This is a book I see myself revisiting with other women. It’s a perfect book to read in a group, whether that be of friends, a church group, or neighbors.
Tears filled my eyes as I read the last lines of the book. I feel like Jess and Hayley have taken my hand and led me on the freedom trail from start to finish. But the truly beautiful thing is that as I went, I almost forgot they were even there – I was talking to my Father and processing with Him. To me, that’s the mark of a good read. 🙂
If Christ is in you, you have access to wild and free living right now. You’re as holy as you’ll ever be, as wild as you’ll ever be, as free as you’ll ever be, and as loved by God as you’ll ever be. -Jess Connolly, p. 130
Wild and Free releases on May 3, 2016 and is available now for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lifeway. See the Wild and Free website for details on pre-order goodies like the first six chapters of the book for immediate download, art prints by Jess and Hayley, and teaching videos to watch in your reading group!
I received this book for free from Zondervan as part of the Wild and Free Launch Team. I was not required to write a review, and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.
I’d been thinking about prayer and interceding for others and what that looked like in my own life. I do a lot of prayer journaling, but it’s not as often that I take the time to intentionally and faithfully pray over others’ specific needs. Not as much as I’d like, anyway.
One day last Spring, I felt this stirring to write out prayers for people. It’s a habit I’d pick up and set aside— a prayer text to a friend here, an Instagram comment there, within Facebook groups or emails. But it had never been an intentional, regular part of my prayer life. This day, though, I felt like God was calling me to commit to praying for one person in particular. And not just to pray over her, but to write the prayers out and send them via email.
I wrote an email to her, and just told her what I felt the Lord was telling me. “I choose you,” I said. “I can’t explain why, but you’re the first one I thought of for this thing and I’m going to choose to believe that it’s a Holy Spirit thing and just go with it.”
And for about six months, I did. I’d sit with my laptop or phone and write up a prayer in an email composer once a month. Then I’d press send and my friend would have a prayer waiting for her in her inbox.
I know there’s power in any prayer. I wholeheartedly believe that to be the case. But I also believe there’s something so special, so powerful about receiving a prayer you can hold on to. When you can remember the words, re-reading them from time to time… I think that’s a beautiful picture of how prayer works— outside of time, because it’s heard by a God who knew it would be prayed, a God who is moving in those situations and people, a God who sees the victory before we’ve even thought to pray for it.
I know how much it’s meant to me to receive prayer over text, email, Skype, and in person. I know how much it means to hear the other person’s actual Spirit-led words over you.
The dawning of 2016 was an exciting new season for me. It felt like the best sort of fresh start. And as I sat, considering the year before and the people who walked through it with me, I began to make a list. It wasn’t anything fancy, just names as they popped into my head, written down on a small 4×6 notecard I had lying around. I thought I was going to send each of them a thank you card, to let them know how grateful I was for them and their friendship.
I felt a whisper in my spirit, though, that it would be more than that.
So I did. I grabbed a stack of notebook paper and one-by-one, I started writing out a prayer for each of my people on this list. When I was finished writing the prayer, I’d write them a separate note on a card, and tuck the notebook paper with my prayer written on it inside of the card. Then I would set it aside until I could put it in the mail.
The reactions have been amazing – so humbling and so beautiful. I have been told that my prayer was received on the perfect day, that the prayer was going to be kept inside of their Bible, that they sobbed because the words were exactly what they needed to hear. I have been told that it is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for them, that I should never stop doing this project because it was such an encouragement to them and they want others to receive the same thing. And it was from those reactions, that I decided to share about this growing work God has been writing in me as I have been writing up prayers.
Imagine how powerful it would be if each of us wrote a prayer to even one other person and mailed it to them. Imagine that person, holding the envelope in their hand, delighted to have received some “happy mail.” Imagine their reaction as they see that you took the time to send them not only a note of encouragement, but also a bold prayer written out by hand.
If you’d like to join me in growing in prayer, in being intentional with your intercession, and in flooding the USPS with prayer-mail — I’d love to have you start to write your own postmarked prayers.
1. Sit with an empty piece of paper or notecard. Pray and ask the Lord to show you who should be on your list. I was surprised by a few of the names that popped up on my list at first! I know it was the Holy Spirit who chose them and it’s so amazing to see that play out!
2. Take a sheet of paper and write the date at the top. I like to write the start time (and come back to write the end time). I’ve had moments where I know that someone is praying for me, and I know how neat it is to find out who was praying over you at that exact time!
3. Start writing your prayer. I like to start with thanking the Lord for that person by name. I tend to write a whole thanksgiving paragraph, then move on to needs. Is this person single, engaged, married, have kids? I pray over those things. Does this person have a specific need right now? Are they waiting on something? Starting something new in life, family, or business? I pray over that. Is the Holy Spirit prompting you to pray for anything in particular? Pay attention to that and write it out!
4. Write up a little note card to tell the person that you’re thinking of them, that you love them, that you’re thankful for them. Whatever encouraging word is on your heart, share it!
5. Tuck the prayer inside the card. Seal it up, address it, put your stamp on it and send it out!
6. Pray and ask God to show you who to write to next!
One of the most beautiful things about this to me is that it’s all God. He gives the names and shows you when to write them a prayer. He guides you to put it in the mail at the right time and He makes sure it’s delivered exactly when it’s meant to arrive to each person. As I hear from my friends, I am so encouraged, so humbled, and so blessed by what God is doing. I know you will be, too.
If you do decide to be apart of the Postmarked Prayers project, I would love to hear about your experience! Send me a note, share on social media with #PostmarkedPrayers, or comment on this post. I’d love to praise the Lord with you over what He’s doing! 🙂
Looking for a little more encouragement these days? I’ll send you an email every now and then with a note to encourage you to press on in what you’re doing. You can join that community here.