Monday, September 03, 2007

Highs and lows...like skateboarding, kinda...

Thanks all, for your wonderful reassurances about my niceness. You guys rock :)

It was a bit of the agony and the ecstasy for me this Labor Day weekend, as we head into what is my favorite, favorite, undeniably most favoritest time of year. I love September--the idea of a fresh new start, dreaming of what might be possible once I get down to working hard after a summer of relaxation, shopping for cute back-to-school clothes (who says you can't look good while applying your nose to the grindstone?) New England is, in my humble opinion, the best place in the world to be, come September. And yet the weekend, for all it's greatness, left me with one big question as I head into the fall.

First, the ecstasy: I ran 2.5 miles on real ground (not a treadmill) without hurling into the bushes. The nice checkout lady at Ann Taylor used a 15% off coupon on my purchases that I didn't know existed. The US Open is on. (Tennis is the game I would have played, had I not made that wise decision to pursue baton twirling as my primary sport back in the forth grade. ) Next year on this awesome weekend, Steve and I are hoping/praying that we will be at the US Open, buzzing around to check out the action live on a grounds pass.

But then there is the agony: THAT DOG has allergies (???) and has been hopped up on Benedryl (per her vet's instructions) all weekend. I got food poisoning at a famous chef's restaurant downtown. And worst of all, I've been utterly busted by a book called TO BUSY NOT TO PRAY. It sounds like a nice book, doesn't it? I was reading along happily until the author asked: "Do you believe that God answers prayer?" Yes, I thought. Of course I do. That's where he got me: "Do you regularly and diligently, every single day, bring God your worries and hopes and dreams--all the places you need help--trusting that He will intervene in you situation?" Um. Hmmm. No.

Yikes. What a realization. I mean, I'm in the middle of publicity strategy for a book about, among other things, how God came through and answered my audacious prayers for a husband. My face is up on posters all over Boston--on taxi-cabs and in subway stations--in an ad for my church's fall kickoff, with a link to a video about how praying changed my life from totally disappointing to (in the words of our church motto) Impossibly Great. For this week at least, I am literally the poster child for how God answers prayer, and I'm not asking Him for the things I need!?! ARGH. Unbelievable.

Well, at least I know what goes on the top of my "To-do" list for tomorrow :)

How about you? Do you believe God answers prayer? If yes, are you asking God for everything you want and need, trusting that he will intervene in your situation?

(Sorry for the deep questions...you know I get philosophical when I have a few days off!)

11 comments:

LEstes65 said...

Do I believe he answers - hell yes. Do I bring everything to him - mostly. I tend to forget the small things - like my intestinal virus. It's more and more a natural thing in my life as I practice and practice. But I keep finding that God is honoring my attempt. I keep finding that he's already taken care of some things I've forgotten. I keep finding that I don't need formal "our heavenly father" laden prayer. Sometimes just a thought in his direction - all jumbled and confused - does better than the attempted prose I try to send up for his reading pleasure.

God so totally rocks. I love that he's already on things I forgot (like providing the perfect teacher for Liam even though I totally forgot to ask for her).

Don't you worry. Don't feel guilty that you haven't formalized every piece of minutiae on triplicate forms to God. He's got your back.

Patti said...

yes, i believe.

and here's what i did about three years ago when i thought i was falling down on my responsibility (yep, i think it a true responsibility to pray, not only for yourself but for others as well): i took one of the many blank journals that i had collected and started a prayer book. every prayer i have goes in the book. every need that someone has asked of me in prayer goes in the book. everything is in there.

i start every morning praying over the book, and literally stating the specific prayers.

here's a wonderful bonus: as prayers are answered, i note it with the word "successful" next to the request, and then i box the word. if the prayer has been in the book a long time and it is obvious that god's will is different than the request, or that the answer will be longer in coming, i box the words "god's will" next to it. the book is overwhelmingly filled with prayer requests that have a boxed "successful" than anything else.

after about a year of realizing that this was a powerful way to start the day, i started to tell anyone who had a request to please tell me and that i would write it in the book. I also tell them that their request will be prayed over every day, and that one act became a blessing not only to them but also for me, as they have entrusted me with such a personal part of their lives.

and with a book like this i thought that i would be praying for hours at the start of my day, but i have seen quite literally that god is answering prayer way more quickly than i ever imagined (as i hadn't kept tabs on it:)) my book is packed with prayers, and while i haven't timed the time i take each morning, i am estimating it is under 15 minutes. as old ones are answered and tagged, new ones are added.

writing down these prayers has brought me unexpected blessings and understanding.

ohhh, and i have told husband that should i go before him that he should throw the book into the casket with me. give me something to read on the journey...

Em said...

You are so right about New England being the best place to be for fall. Gavin and I both get very nostalgic about being there around this time of year. There is just no place like it:)

I wish I could see your beautiful mug all over town! How cool!!!!

I do believe God answers prayers, most certainly, but sometimes lack the faith to believe He will. Lord, help me:)

It's perfect timing for this book to come into your life, and the campaign from the Vineyard! It's keeping you on your toes, and on your knees:) I love providence!! God is so good - and He's amazing through you, my sista.

Stephanie said...

New England is glorious at this time of the year, though--I mean--layers upon layers of clothing, because you don't know if you'll be hot or cold in any given hour! Kind of makes it hard to pack for a crazy day away from home!

But yeah it's awesome.

And yay for the outdoors running and the lack of yackage.

And the God stuff--I don't know what to say about it all. My ideas on it all are a bit hard to talk about. There's been too much change for me in too small an amount of time. Hmm.

Stacy said...

I think if I really truly believed in the power of prayer, I'd pray more and not just in sucky times. A horrible answer, I'm afraid.

ellesappelle said...

I definitely don't pray enough. I might deign to toss up a few sentences a few times a week, but even though he generally answers even those casual and rather unflattering snippets, I really need to get into prayer big-time.

At the same time, I still haven't quite figured out if I do think God answers prayer. I don't want to sound heretical or anything but why does some prayer go unanswered? I know, I know - the common answer to this is "sometimes God answers prayer with a no" but this has always seemed such a trite and unhelpful answer to me that there is no way I would ever say that to someone who has been constantly refused something by God. And then the whole thing about believing he can do it if he chooses - if I can manage that, it often turns to believing he will do it, and then being grossly disappointed when it doesn't happen, OR, feeling incredibly guilty because I don't think he will do something, and therefore it's my fault if he doesn't. Just writing this down makes me realise how silly I am about it but my head is in quite a tangle over this, so I'm going to have to spend some time on the problem, I can see.

Larramie said...

Does God answer prayers? Well, as you noted, Trish, it IS glorious September and but who else could have created that?

Swishy said...

The ecstasy stuff sounds great! And I want the link of your video!

I totally believe God answers prayers. I just think sometimes it's not the answer we're looking for, or it's not the little package we want it wrapped up in. But the answer's still there.

Clearlykels said...

What a tricky question. Here I am-- last night I was at a Vestry meeting for hours (our church counsel I guess). I teach Sunday School. I am in charge of many other things having to do with the kids and church-- but I don't know about God answering prayers and I am not good about turning things over to God. I believe that things work out for the best, but I don't know about that all being part of God's plan. Of course, my mom died when I was 16, my sister was 12 and my brother 10. I prayed for her health so hard. Then she was in remission and said she had more of a chance being hit by a bus than dying of cancer. She died. On my first birthday after she died when I was about to blow out my candles- I stopped. I didn't have anything to wish for anymore.

I understand that God builds fragility in our lives and with the comes respect, compassion and so many other things. I just don't understand it and being a control freak-- it makes it hard to turn things over to god.

Jane said...

I love New England too. My goal is to move that way once my kids are a bit older and out of high school.

Sounds like a week with lots of ups and downs! Welcome to MY world....I seem to have those highs and lows daily.

Funny thing about your question aboout God. For a huge stretch of time, I was meditating and praying every day and feeling pretty good. Then something happened and I threw up my arms and decided that God was not on my sided. So, I stopped praying. Just this week, I found myself thinking how much better and focused I felt when I was praying. I guess I need to get over my anger with God and start putting my faith there again.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

I miss New England in the fall. Very pretty. And yes, God answers prayers, but I'm with Swishy. It might not always be what we wanted to hear but it might just be exactly what we needed.