Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Secrets Of A Housewife... Part IV PRAY FOR YO MAN!

So I know that when Shepherd had to go into the hospital, I abandoned the Secrets of a Housewife series.  Instead, I shared photos and stories of our never-ending drama.  Now that the drama is over (praise the Lord!!!) I'm moving on to writing about other things.  As I was trying to think about what to write, I actually received a couple of requests to re-start said series.  I know... seriously.  I was shocked, too.  I've never gotten a specific request before and I hate to leave you all hanging.

Aaaaaaand, seeing as how I spent so much time working out the details of this series I'm somewhat excited to move on with it.  I mean, you all can only read so many posts about my ever-so-entertaining-(but only in hindsight)-grocery store trips.  So, here she is- the housewife!

In case you are just now joining us, in Part I of the series, FOUND HERE, we discussed the importance of playing with your man... and I don't want to get into too much trouble, so I'll just say read the blog... and go play. ;)  I know it's been a while- take some time to re-read it.  I just did and it was a helpful reminder for today.  In Part II, I reminded each of us (yes, myself included) not to sweat the small stuff.  You can check it out BY CLICKING HERE.  Part III was a very helpful reminder (one I'm sure your friends will also appreciate) about making an effort- bathing every once in a while (and so much more.)  Read about that HERE.

Now on to part IV.  There are so many specific topics I want to address.  Some funny some not-so-much.  Today I'd like to share a little something that I have been learning.

Prayer.  I know I've blogged much in the past about prayer.  I've read dozens and dozens of books on prayer and sat through countless studies and sermons on prayer.  But the thing that has really rocked my world with regards to prayer lately is this- a friend asked me to organize a group of women from our church to pray for the men in our church who were going to retreat.  At first I was confused- I thought surely she'd chosen the wrong girl.  I mean, I am only 32!  I am just a normal girl.  I'm not anything special.  Shouldn't that be handled by someone who is like "in" with God??  Shouldn't that be handled by an elder or someone more mature?!??!

There were 12847123 questions and doubts in my mind, but I felt like in spite of those questions and doubts, I was supposed to do this.  So I agreed.  And I don't think I'll ever be the same again.

As with anything I put my name on, I try to make it excellent- like every detail perfectly planned and carried out.  You want a meal?  I'll do it, and I'll go all out.  You need help planning an event or throwing a party?  I'm your girl- expect perfection.  That's how my mind works.  If I am going to put my name on something, I want it to be EXCELLENT.  And this prayer shield was no different.   I was convinced I had to make this fantastic!

I know you're thinking- what's the big deal?  You pray. With people.  Over e-mail.  While in your jammies- you don't even have to bathe!  Why is this so complicated?  Here it is, sister...  I love to pray.  I love to pray for my friends, with my friends, and with people I don't know.  I'm all about that.

But still I worried.  In spite of the internal drive to make it perfect, I wrestled with doubt.  This- this husbands and men thing was so much bigger than me- than just praying for a minute or two and walking away.  It was greater than sending out an e-mail or two and then going on with my life.  This was me, submitting to God, fully- and allowing Him to work through me in one of the major areas where I was still trying to hold on to "CONTROL".  My husband... and my church.

And so what if retreat didn't go well???  And what if none of the men experienced change?  What if they all came back exactly the same as when they'd left?  I wrestled with these thoughts and in doing so, I took on a burden that wasn't mine to bear.  I thought that if something went wrong and it wasn't the greatest retreat ever, that maybe God was trying to send a message- that I wasn't the right girl for the job or that my prayers weren't "good enough".  HA!!!!  Yes, you read that right...  I seriously worried that if it wasn't completely perfect, God would hold me accountable.

But as I began this journey, I started to write out prayers specifically for The Hottie... and then it grew to some other people I knew who were attending retreat, and then, like wildfire, the passion inside of me ignited and I wanted to pray for everyone would would even step foot on that retreat campus.  I don't know why, but I became impassioned with a desire to surrender every single one of these men to The Lord.  I wanted God to move in a way I had only imagined before.   Re-read that.  I wanted God to move....

Somewhere along the way, it hit me.  It's never been my responsibility to change The Hottie or to change the men of WoodsEdge.  It's never been my burden to bear.  It's all fully, and completely God's.  But I had to be in an active attitude of submission and surrender before I could see that.  I can remember reading Stormy Omartian's book- THE POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE, and thinking... yeah, yeah... but you don't understand....  my situation is so different.  But it was really I who did not understand.

You see, that weekend, God was not waiting for me to pray or to organize a large group of others in prayer so that He could begin His work.  I'm confident He would have moved even if we hadn't prayed.  But praying for The Hottie and the other men changed me. No, it didn't cause a tremendous revival....  at least not yet, anyway.  But it CHANGED ME.  God did a work in me during those few days that I will not soon forget.  He stirred the flames inside of me, causing me to hunger and thirst for HIS WORDS (scripture) and HIS PLAN for our men... not my own.  He opened my blind eyes to see His hand moving in the hearts and souls of the men at our church- especially my own precious husband.

I challenged myself and others to fast during this weekend- going all out in this commitment to pray for our husbands.  I chose to fast from several things, but one huge sacrifice for me was fasting from my online TV shows.  Instead of playing on Facebook or watching my shows, I dove into scripture with a hunger and fervor that I haven't experienced since college.   I prayed while I was cleaning.  I prayed while I was doing the ordinary, mundane tasks that are associated with my particular role.  I prayed as I was going to sleep and when I woke up.   I went on with life that weekend, but at most any given moment, my heart was in an attitude of prayer.  And I don't say that to boast- not at all...  I say that because I expected myself to fail.  I expected to get distracted or to forget.  I expected to let myself, God, and others down...  but after spending so much time preparing and praying for that weekend, my expectations changed.  Instead of expecting things from myself or from others, I expected God to move, and trusted that He would.

And when Kyle came home, I experienced a peace and a joy that I haven't felt in such a long time.  I felt like everything I'd tried to control in the past- everything I'd tried to change about The Hottie to make him into who I thought he should be....  it felt like none of that mattered because God was doing a work in Him- so much greater than anything I could have ever done on my own.

Psalm 127:1 says 
" 1 Unless the LORD builds the house, 
   the builders labor in vain. 
Unless the LORD watches over the city, 
   the guards stand watch in vain."

So basically, I've been laboring in vain for a reeeeeeeeeeeeally long time.  As long as I tried to change my husband into who I thought he should be, I was laboring in vain.  But the moment I chose to fully surrender all of my hopes, dreams, desires to The Lord, HE CHANGED ME and he revealed to me that His plan for Kyle is SO MUCH MORE AWESOME than anything I'd ever be able to accomplish on my own!!  And better yet- His plan was for me to love Kyle RIGHT NOW.  RIGHT WHERE HE IS and then let God do the work of transforming The Hottie into the man God created him to be.

And I know I've said it before, but I don't think I really got it.  Until now.  God wanted to change both of us and He wanted me to be in a place of surrender so he could do just that.  

All 8973 paragraphs of that to say this.  Today's secret- pray for your man.  It's not like I've never prayed for Kyle before.  I pray for him all of the time. But I've surely never completely let go of that "control" that I thought I had...  I've never fully surrendered him to God.  And when I say this, I want you to understand.  I don't fully "get" everything there is to "get" about prayer, but I know that when there is a life-threatening illness or we can't afford to feed our children, I pray with a desperation that comes from deep within my soul.  I cry out, pleading with God to move- and I BELIEVE with everything that is inside of me, that HE WILL!

I think instead of just "talking to God" about my husband, I had to reach that same desperate place...  And we have a great, fun-loving marriage.  But I wanted more.  I wanted God to be the center of US... and so I reached that same desperate place and I cried out from the depths of my soul!  I pleaded with God for my husband and for all of the men in our church.  I petitioned Him for marriages, lost souls, children, and so much more!  

I've spent years and years and years and countless hours trying to figure out in my own humanness what to say to him or how to manipulate or encourage him into becoming the man I wanted him to be (or thought he should be).  And the things I wanted for him were all good things, but not necessarily God's ideal for him- for this man that HE created.  He knew what Kyle needed.  I didn't.  In my own pride, I was blinded to God and to truth and continued to follow my own plan... and it got me no where.

All God wanted me to do was give it over to Him- COMPLETELY and watch Him work.  In the past I've considered counseling, divorce, and so many other nonsensical options.  And I say nonsensical because none of those would have been a solution for the real issues.  I thought if Kyle couldn't change, then we could never be truly happy or experience God's plan for our lives.  But clearly he wasn't the only one who had some growing to do. ;)  And God knew this.  He is working His plan and changing both of us.  And it is, perhaps, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  

So give it a shot, sister...  you might be surprised.  

God has things up His sleeve that will blow your mind... if you let Him.

No Longer In Control,

No Longer I,

The Real Life Mom

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