Friday, August 22, 2008

I'll pray for you...or will I?

Aleeyah and I had decided to stay a few extra days in Oklahoma after Chris returned home so that we could spend some time visiting more. Most importantly, we had 2 new babies to hold. My cousin had their baby, Nyla and my friend had her baby, Easton. I knew that we wouldn't be able to squeeze it all in a weekend and boy was I right and we didn't even get a chance to visit everyone we intended on.

I had the opportunity to sit down and have some very meaningful and deep talks with a few friends and family during this time. I hadn't realized how much I needed it until my drive home. Things have been going great here in Kansas and I could go on for days how God helped me refocus my life. He has shown me a bigger picture and I have begun to realize my life cannot be wasted on the little things Satan throws at me. I am so thankful for this redirection.

But it seems like in these moments, Satan gets a little antsy. It makes him sweat and in turn, he starts to breathe down my neck. Before I left for Oklahoma, I began getting angry about the things in my past that I cannot change. I began to get angry with people that didn't even know that their small inactions hurt me. I was beginning to feel abandoned and alone. I felt close to God, but distant from the rest of the world. This is something that Satan uses regularly on me. He knows just the right things to say to hurt me. He knows what pain to bring up so that the feelings can shoot through me quickly. He is good in that way, but what he wasn't prepared for is the time I was able to spend with my friends this weekend.

I needed this weekend for many reasons that I didn't even know. I won't share all of them today, but there is one that I would like to share.

One of the things I struggle with the most is wondering where my relationship stands with other people. I have been struggling with this a lot since moving to Kansas. It's like when you leave high school and you intend on keeping up with your friends. You know that you will care about that person no matter where life takes you. But it never seems to work out that way. You may talk to a couple of friends and the others become people you once knew. I struggle with that because that's not really the way I am geared. I am a relational person. I thrive on relationships. I have had a great opportunity to keep up a few of my friends and several kids at Oakcrest through writing letters, but what about the others? In those moments that I begin to wonder about my relationships I once had, Satan starts whispering in my ear. He tells me they never cared about me. That I never really mattered. He makes me forget that busyness keeps people from really being a true friend to others and it's not necessarily anything against me. He leaves me feeling abandoned yet again.

Thankfully, God is bigger than anything including Satan! I had an amazing conversation over lunch with a couple of friends of mine. I was discussing with them about this problem that I was facing. Through our conversation, I began to see that it's a problem that most all of us face. It's not necessarily a lack of genuine care, but more of the lack of taking the time to let someone know that you genuinely care about them and their struggles.

You know those moments when someone walks by you and says, "Hi, how are you." but never stops for your reply? Have you had those times that it was you saying those words in habit? Maybe you didn't have time to stop and talk. Maybe you didn't want them to unload on you.

This one will be a little harder to swallow. How many times in the last couple of weeks have you told someone you will pray for them? Did you pray for them? Did you earnestly pray for them? Did you pray once and then forget they were struggling? Did you cry out to God for them? Did you call them later in the week to tell them you were thinking about them? Where you there to listen when they opened up to you? Have you thought about how your inactions might have felt to the other person who needed you? I know there are times in my life that I am guilty of such things.

With all my research and time spent understanding how people in the rest of the world live, I wonder how many hungry and starving families wonder what they did wrong. Why their lives turned out the way they did? Why Christians claim to love everyone, but yet turn their heads when they cry out?

I've realized that it's in the little things that we do everyday that either positively or negatively impact others. I've realized that giving a Jesus type love isn't in the huge things in life, but yet the smallest. It's spending $32 a month to feed, educate, and provide health care to children in poverty. It's the card in the mail to a friend that says I am thinking about you or the phone call to say I've prayed for you all week. It's the way we keep our head up in the grocery store to smile at a stranger or the way we let the person behind us move ahead when we have a lot in our basket. It's not rushing to get in the door of the restaurant before someone else or getting mad at the waiter when he has too many tables to wait on.

It's taking the time to sit with friends and discuss the things that are bothering you in your lives so that you know how to pray for each other and where you need to be lifted up. They may be having a crisis within themselves even if it seems small to you. It's completely and utterly disgusting Satan with the love that you share with each other so that he can't stand to hang around.

I encourage you to kick Satan aside and open your heart up to your friends and strangers. Sponsor a child or give to the global food crisis. Find the little things that will make their day and DO IT! Tell them what they mean to you. Let God use you to be a friend to someone who needs one and let God use others to lift you up. Don't be afraid to tell them your struggles because you may find your answers and comfort in their responses.

I know I did!

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