The Power of No

alone time, anxiety, balance, Life and Happiness, stress

hurry-2119711_1920.jpgYesterday, I said no.

If you’re like me – a woman who tries to multi-task and do everything for everyone – then you know how difficult saying no can be.  And yet I did it anyway. For my own sanity.

A few months ago, a friend asked if I’d like to join her in a get together and chat with other aspiring writers about writing. I said, “Sure. Let me know the details.” At the time, I thought it wouldn’t be stressful because we had so much time to prepare.

But then the details never came (of no fault, I’m sure, of my friend). Then, two days before the date she asked if I could get together to work something up. My heart dropped because I realized I’d need to tell her no.

*Side note: When a writer pens something like “my heart dropped” I would typically advise them to describe the moment in a better, more descriptive way. However, that’s exactly what I experienced. My heart felt like it dropped into my stomach.

Since my mom has been in need of additional care, my work progress has suffered. I’m behind a lot – something I’ve rarely been in my life. I’m always on time, always prepared, and always on top of things. Yet, despite being behind, like most women, I have still been taking on task after task when asked by friends simply because … well, it’s what we do as women. We can do everything! Right?! Sleep’s not important! What? I didn’t eat today? No problem!

Nope. Not this time. I’d come to the end of my rope that day and was barely holding on. My chest felt tight as I looked over the long list of “little” things I had yet to accomplish. Now I was disappointing a good friend by saying no and that came with additional guilt and stress.

Why do we do that? Add guilt and stress onto an already stressful situation? It’s like a special gift we women have, don’t you think?

I tried to rationalize how I COULD help her out. Don’t we ALL do that? What would I need to do to make it work? Was there any minute left of my day that I could squeeze this in? As I began to consider what would need to happen, my chest grew tighter. I couldn’t breathe. I began to cry.

Last minute things don’t work well for me. I am a prepper. I PREPARE for everything, usually weeks or months in advance. I like to be ahead of things so I can deal with any issues that come along. But I didn’t have time to prepare and I didn’t have time to even … THINK about preparing.

I said no. And I cringed as I did so.

She said she understood. I hope she does.

I still feel bad, but I know she’ll forgive me. I know we’ll still be friends. (I hope.) And I took care of the most important thing – ME. We all are preppers. We like to prepare and be ready to take action. Sometimes, we simply need time to prepare our hearts and minds to start over. That means rest. We need to shield our rest time. We need to make time for rest. Schedule it into our busy calendars. Let our brains breathe for even ten minutes.

I said no. And it gave me time to breathe. It was so freeing, I might say no more often. Shocking, I know. But something has to give and I don’t want it to be my heart, my health, my walk with God, or my marriage. Those are the most important things to me and I need to protect them at all costs.

By saying no.

Advertisements

What I’m Reading

Book Reviews, challenges, reading, Uncategorized

As a book editor, I get to read a ridiculous amount of books every year. However, not every book I read needs editing and comes with a paycheck. I also like to read books for pleasure and for enrichment. (Although all too many of these books could also use some good editing.)

Right now, I’m reading the following books:

  • Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer – Edie Melson recommended this book at the St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference I just attended and I thought I’d check it out. (Mainly because I trust her opinion.) I am, so far, not disappointed.
  • Soul Care When You’re Weary (Embracing God, Exploring Creativity Book 1) by Edie Melson – When I spoke with Edie at the conference, I expressed my recent exhaustion due to my mother’s recent hospice admittance. Being a caregiver can be truly overwhelming and tiring. Edie has had similar experiences with her father and recommended her book (along with some great advice). So I bought it and I’m enjoying it. It has helped me put everything in perspective and to see how much I need to give myself a break even when I don’t think there’s time or I feel guilty doing so.
  • Writing Your Life: Putting Your Past on Paper by Lou W. Stark – A friend donated this one to our writing group’s book shelf and I thought it looked good. I’ve always envisioned writing some kind of memoir in my later years and this seemed like a good way to get some notes down on paper. And it has been. Each chapter is pretty short but encourages you to dig into your memory bank by giving you exercises or ways to conjure up those memories. I write down anything that gets dislodged in a journal. Some day I might put it all into a book.
  • Blues, Butterflies & Murder (Myrtle Grove Garden Club Mystery Book 5) by Loulou Harrington – Okay … so this is really my escape book. I’ve been reading a lot of this cozy mystery books lately … especially ones that seem to have some kind of food theme. I guess it’s a niche. I even have thought about writing my own. Maybe if I read enough of them, I’ll be able to.

Now, of course, I didn’t add in the Bible to this list mainly because I’m not reading it (currently) from beginning to end. Sometimes Edie’s book prompts me to read a passage here and there or sometimes I read something online or listen to a podcast or hear a song that references a passage and I look it up. I’ve also been attempting to journal more about my thoughts and feelings about these verses and what I think God is trying to say to me.

I’m also taking part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. So far I’ve read 44 books. My goal is 75 this year. I think I’m on track. And I have not yet been able to add some in that I’ve edited because they haven’t hit the shelves yet. If you’d like to follow along with me and compare reads, you can do so here.

Feel free to let me know what you’re reading or a book you recommend in the comments!

Happy reading!

Things I Learned At Conference

Christian, Uncategorized, Writing

I’ve just returned from the St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference and I have a lot on my mind. Since I’m on the board of this conference, I see a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on and I don’t often actually attend the workshops. In fact, for the last two years, I’ve not attended many of the workshops mainly because I’ve not been writing – I’ve been editing. This year, I only attended two workshops.

One was a workshop about public speaking by Kathy Carlton Willis. Kathy is an amazing person and is always smiling. That’s probably why she calls herself the God’s Grin Gal. She knows a lot of things about public speaking and is great at it. Unfortunately, I only had time to attend one of her workshops that was part of an ongoing class. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the full affect but I still learned a lot.

Here are just a few things:

  • Be sure to end well by using killer endings. Circle back around so your audience feels like you’ve closed the loop
  • Your job during a speech is to communicate truth, not simply to impress
  • You can add to your value by offering additional services like promotional materials, handouts, and event extras

In addition to Kathy’s class, I also took the entire track of Soul Care for Writers led by Edie Melson. First, I’ll say that Edit is probably one of the most genuine and authentic Christians I’ve ever met. Just listening to how she dealt with difficult circumstances in her own life helped me to contemplate how I could react to the daily struggles I face each day.

Edie’s course included a lot of insights about how God sees us and how He works in our lives. She helped each of us think about fear and doubt and how these emotions can control how we feel about ourselves and our writing.

Here are just a few of the MANY things I learned from Edie’s class:

  • Write down fears. Fear grows when it’s ignored. Seeing your fears in print makes them less rational.
  • Keep writing. Fear thrives on inaction. (Hence why I’m trying to write more – like this blog, for example!)
  • We are not responsible for the results (God is), we’re only responsible for the work
  • Take a chance and hit send (send out that piece you’ve been writing to a publication – what do you have to lose!)

PS – I can’t tell you how hard it was to only write down four things I learned from Edie this past week. I have over six pages of notes! I’ll be exploring a few more of Edie’s insights in coming blog posts so be sure to come back for more!

Apart from the wonderful writing and life lessons I learned from these two great speakers, I also learned the following:

  • It’s important to fellowship with your tribe. I don’t see many of these writers throughout the year – only at conference. Spending time with them reminds me how special each of God’s children are and that He gave each of us specific gifts, but also gifts that, when we share them with others, help our own hearts to grow and heal.
  • Sharing a smile, a meal, and our own heartaches can bring a lot of joy.
  • Even when I’m not writing, I can be soaking in the world around me, even the not-so-great stuff that happens in my daily life. Because, as Edie said during her class, no matter what happens, it’ll make a great story.

Where His Road Leads, Not Mine

God, Life and Happiness, Religion

When I first started doing freelance work, I worried I couldn’t possibly make enough to contribute to my household income. Would it be enough? Would I feel like a contributor?

For almost my entire life I’ve worried about money. Mainly because I never had much. I lived paycheck to paycheck for a good portion of my life right after college – when I had to pay my own bills. I’m not complaining. My parents taught me the value of money and that we have to work hard to achieve it and to pay the bills. I was not blind to the hardships of adulthood.

When I decided to quit my 9-5 office job and the security of that paycheck, my heart just about burst out of my chest. I worried that entire first year that we would be in the poorhouse despite the fact my husband made enough for us to live comfortably.

In my second year of freelance work, I had a huge lull in work from November 2017 to March 2018. I’m talking no work. No income on my half whatsoever. I felt like I’d been wrong and that I’d have to go back into the real workforce – something I dreaded doing because working from home is awesome.

During that time, I decided my word for 2018 would be consistent. I would be consistent in my approach to obtaining work. I wrote down concrete goals including the goal of growing closer to God. Hey, I had time on my hands. I studied the Bible more. I began attending a new group study with all new people. Soon, I became a new person in Christ. I began to let Him lead – what I was doing didn’t seem to be working. And I began to trust Him more. Although work had been slow, I’d had work. We were doing OK. We weren’t in the poorhouse. We still had nice things and enjoyed our life. And I still felt like editing was what I was meant to do.

Slowly, I took on work with new publishers – Christian publishers. I began to let my fears about money go. Christ was supplying our needs. I simply needed to keep doing His work. I read Christian novel after Christian novel – editing the words of an author who had a message of Christ to share with the world. (I rarely edit mainstream novels anymore.)

Then, when November 2018 came around, I told a friend I was gearing up for that lull in my work. I knew it was coming just like it had last year. It was something I just had to deal with in this business. But I determined not to let my heart fear again about the money. God would provide.

And He has. Oh … He has.

I’ve not had one moment of a lull. Not one. Even when I think the lull might be coming, another job hits my desk. I went into partnership with an author last year that has over a dozen books already written and he wants me to edit them all – the work has been consistent. I started working with a Christian publisher that publishes mostly nonfiction books – the work has been consistent from them. Friends have asked for my help consistently.

This year, I decided my word would be refresh. I thought it meant I’d have some down time to relax a bit, spend time with my hubby who is finishing up his doctorate, and to simply enjoy life a bit.

I’m finding out a different meaning to the word.

For the past three months, work has remained consistent, but also scriptural-based. I told a friend the other day I felt like I was immersed in the Word almost every single day simply by editing Christian nonfiction. I check Scripture, ensure the message is clear, edit for context … I’m studying the Word while working. I don’t have a twenty minute devotion time every morning. I spend HOURS in devotion. And my love of the Lord and His Word has been refreshed during this time. My relationship with Him has been refreshed. I feel refreshed. I feel more connected than I ever have. I trust Him now more than ever. I see His hand upon almost everything I do and everything that occurs in my life.

That doesn’t mean I agree with it all or that I don’t worry, but I can find peace about most of it. I know He’s working it out – even if it isn’t in my time. I know it’ll be fine if I just keep letting Him lead. That lull I had was not the end of this journey – it was merely God giving me a rest before using me fully for His purpose.

Today, as my work load had started to thin a little bit and I’m aware of several things coming up in our lives that I could use some rest for – God handed me yet another job. (It’s been this way for weeks now. I think a lull is coming – even a small one – and just at the moment, I get another job.) This job is the biggest one yet and is centered on a controversial topic which I am passionate about. I couldn’t believe it. Shock and awe could only describe my thoughts at that moment.

Sure, I could use some rest, but I do get it now and again. I’ve decided to take today to rest but I’m still writing and getting things done – just in a different pattern than my normal day. It makes me feel restful to switch up where I’m sitting, to get out for a walk (now that the weather has finally turned!), and to just do things at my own pace. But God is using me for His purposes right now – how can I refuse? Why would I want to? Authors are writing His words and I aim to help them put them into the world which so desperately needs to hear them.

I’m ready, Lord. Send me. Expand my territory. Use me for Your purpose. Fill the gaps in my life and my heart. Send me. Use me. Teach me. Amen.

What Good Does A Blog Do?

God, Life and Happiness, Writing

Well, I bet you might have noticed I’ve had blogs for the past several Thursdays, but not today. I didn’t realize it until now – late in the day – so I thought I’d send out a short message about blogging just to keep up my streak.

The past few days have been difficult ones for me. There is a lot going on (that I won’t get into here) in my life that seem to be causing me distress. I told a friend I felt like I was in a holding pattern with no end in sight. Like a dog that continually chases its tail without ever getting the prize. (And then the prize isn’t so great …)

Today, after receiving a particularly disheartened text from me last night, a friend agreed to meet me for lunch to hash out my discontent. Can I just say how thankful I am for friends? Real, true, Christian friends? In any event, we spent a few hours solving the world’s problems (I wish) and then started talking about blogging. My friend has a great blog (check it out here – you’ll be blessed) but she feels disheartened by the lack of interaction with her readers. And when trying to publish a book, what do your agents tell you? Be seen and be heard. Bulk up your social media platform. Build that following! 

What if no one wants to follow? What if no one comments and wants to be social?

She expressed the uncertainty of what to post. What had value? (We hear that enough, too, don’t we?) What did she have to offer? We all struggle with this. What if what we’re posting doesn’t connect to anyone? What if it’s just a bunch of junk? Word vomit on the screen?

I told her my latest mantra on this subject: I write it if God tells me to.

In my opinion, even if what I write has no interaction, it doesn’t mean no one read it. I often get feedback from people, but not for every post. But if someone has read my post and it’s been expressed from my heart – from God’s heart – then it must have accomplished SOMETHING. Perhaps that seed I threw out there got pecked up by the birds. Maybe it was choked out by some weeds. But maybe, just MAYBE, my seed “fell on fertile soil, and … produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (Matthew 13:8 NLT)

We have no idea what impact our words might have on someone else. We must just keep writing – especially if we feel led by God to share His truth. Personally, I’ve heard from some folks that have told me they’d read my posts for years and my words touched them in many ways. But they waited YEARS to tell me! You cannot quit, my sister or brother. God is still at work whether you think what you write has value or is being read. What God lays upon your heart – write. Let Him figure out the rest.

So now, I write what I feel lead to write. If you read it, great. But if you FEEL it, even better. I wish you’d let me know if it does, but even if you don’t … I’ll still keep writing.

Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. (2 Cor. 3:3 NLT)

That Still Small Voice

God, Life and Happiness, Religion, Uncategorized

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind and earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12 NKJV)

My word for 2019 is “refresh.” One of the ways I’m seeking to find refreshment in my life is by trying to listen to the God’s still, small voice.

For years, I’ve not listened to this voice. Mainly because I couldn’t discern how to hear this still small voice. How can a voice be still? It’s an active thing. Instead, I listened to my own voice and the voices of others – you know, the ones you can actually hear. All too often, those voices led me astray. Whether it be down a difficult path or simply keeping me from doing what God wanted me to do.

This year, I’ve endeavored to listen less to myself and others and more to God’s still small voice.

For me, this voice comes when I’m thinking about other things or when I’m overthinking a problem. As my mind goes round and round with whatever it’s struggling with, this other voice – almost indiscernible – is talking in the background. It takes a lot of concentration sometimes to hear this voice. In our world where there is constant noise, it can be even harder.

For instance, I’m sitting in a nice Christian coffeehouse right now. It’s part of a larger mega church in my neighborhood. It’s a lovely, warm place. But it’s noisy. They have Christian music playing – which I like, but I must try to block it out while trying to concentrate. I’m also sitting under a flat screen TV. Usually this TV just plays silent ads about upcoming events at the church. Today it’s playing actual TV shows. The sound is very low, but since I’m sitting right under it, I can hear it. Then there is the noise of people ordering drinks. The ding of the microwave. The beeping of their buzzers.

Our world is a noisy place.

Elijah had to go out into the wilderness to hear the still small voice. What chance do we have midst the noise of our everyday world?

The key is to listen. Learn to block out the world and be ready to listen. I hear God’s still small voice like a child calling in the distance. Or a dog barking from three doors down. It’s faint, but I hear it. It interrupts my thoughts but in a quiet, unassuming way. Now, instead of blocking out that faint noise or let it be drowned out by the noise of the world, I concentrate on it and block out the louder things.

Sometimes the voice only offers one or two words. Sometimes it’s just a concept that comes to mind. This past Sunday during church, I heard the voice tell me to send a card to a woman who has been ill. All I really heard was “send a card” while the pastor was asking for prayer for her. Another time I heard “send an email and reach out” for a friend I hadn’t heard from in a while. When I pray, people’s faces come into my mind and I pray for them – even if I have no clue what they might need prayer for. If God is bringing them to my mind, I pray.

When I hear the voice, I do what it says – that’s my new goal. It’s not, “Okay God, I’ll think about it.” Instead, it’s “Yes, God.”

You cannot imagine how blessed I have been from this exercise. Nor can I describe the impact it has had on others. When we stop hearing the noise, and start listening to the still small voice, and start doing … the change is immediate and refreshing. I hope you’ll try it this week. God bless.

Valentine’s Day Musings

gods love, Life and Happiness, love, Uncategorized

love-3061483_1920.jpgToday is Valentine’s Day, as I’m sure you’ve heard. Instead of thinking about your own love life – or perhaps, the lack of – I’d like to talk about a higher kind of love. God’s love.

God’s love does a multitude of things for us:

  • God’s love is steadfast and unchanging
  • God’s love comforts us
  • God’s love is revealed to us through Jesus Christ
  • God’s love is poured into us through the Holy Spirit
  • God’s love compels us to love one another

How amazing is this list? Now think about your significant other. Do they offer all these things to you? Doubtful. Now, my hubby is an amazing man, but he is also a sinful man (because we’re all sinners). He does comfort me, but I know his love wavers when I’m testing it. Our love for each other does change because we change. When we grow and mature, our love adjusts. Thankfully, it’s adjusted only in good ways so far.

God’s love NEVER changes. It never adjusts. And this is because He knows us from before we were knit in our mother’s womb. What a wonderful thought on this day celebrating love.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)

 

My Storytelling Superpower

adventure, blogging, Uncategorized, Writing

quiz-2058883_1280.pngI’ve been receiving emails from diyMFA.com which helps an author start thinking more about what they write. They’ve been providing me with some writing prompts (good ones) and ideas about who I am as a writer.

Today, they sent me a link to this quiz. The idea is this: “Every writer has a superpower, some aspect of their personality that helps them write their best story. Do you know yours? Take this quiz to find out what your storytelling superpower is and what type of character you should be writing.

I was intrigued so I took the quiz. Obviously, it’s not all that scientific but it was short and fun. The result? My storytelling superpower is writing about The Survivor. The quiz says this: “You’ve got a penchant for characters who will do whatever it takes to survive. Maybe they’re stranded on a desert island, captured by an evil genius, or fighting to beat a terminal illness. Or maybe they want something so desperately that not getting it feels like a matter of life and death. Regardless of their situation, you’re drawn to creating characters your readers will admire for their pluck, determination, and sheer creative willpower.”

Initially, I thought this quiz wouldn’t be that enlightening. But then I got this answer and I thought, “Hm. It’s right.” I do like to write about survivors. I like to read about them too. The best part about this fun little quiz is this: It actually made me start thinking about what I’d like to write! And helped me to write this blog post.

I’m trying to get my writing more on track again this year. Last year, my editing business did well and I want to continue to grow that, but I also want to remember my love of writing as well. It’s a creative expression that helps me relax but I didn’t find much time for it last year.

With these fun and interesting writing prompts, I’m starting to feel my creative juices flow again. I’ve even been writing ideas in my bedside journal lately! (Stay tuned for those blog posts soon!)

In any event, I wanted to share this quiz with my writing friends and say that whatever gets your juices flowing again is a good thing. Embrace it and start writing.

Who is your ideal self?

balance, goal, God, Life and Happiness, Uncategorized

wisdom-92901_1920

This morning on my daily walk (despite it being under 20 degrees outside), I was listening to The Lazy Genius podcast. (You can check out this podcast here. Trust me, you’ll appreciate it.) I listened to episode #90 – Set the Right Goals Without Fizzling Out. Now this episode contains a lot of terrific information, but during the talk, the host mentioned finding your ideal self. This got me to thinking about what that means for me.

In the podcast, host Kendra says, “But our idea of the ideal is often really narrow and maybe not even super kind. And it’s based on what? … Who decided that your ideal self is rested and clear-skinned and a size six and a great cook and successful at a side hustle and always present with her kids or has kids at all. Your ideal self is supposed to have a style, self- awareness, a meal plan, a best friend, money for vacation, a house that can host game nights every month, and a journal to keep track of all the emotions that can’t help spilling out at the end of another grateful day. … When you think of your best self, of your ideal self, what kinds of goals flood your mind in order to make her a thing?” 

Well, to start, all the things she mentioned. I want to be thinner, stronger, more emotionally stable, make more money, and have a hundred plates in the air at all times without a bead of sweat forming on my acne-free brow.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? And yet, we do that (as women) to ourselves on a daily basis. It’s a completely unrealistic woman we’ve formed in our mind. She’s perfect in every way. But that can’t be. You know why? Because only Jesus was perfect. And striving to obtain something that is so obviously out of our reach will exhaust us.

SO. What IS my real ideal self?

  1. A woman who continues to grow every day in all areas of her life. It doesn’t have to be every area, every day, but I never want to stop growing, learning, evolving.
  2. A woman who is kind, forgiving, and giving.
  3. A woman who loves unconditionally.
  4. Number 3 is one that is sometimes just as unrealistic as the others above so I also want to be a woman who gives herself some slack when she fails. There’s this thing called “grace” – we need to give it to ourselves and others.
  5. A woman who knows her worth.

Those sound like attainable goals, right? If I can achieve these ideals, I hope they could even help change the world in some way. But it’s okay if they don’t. It’s okay if I don’t cook a meal every night for my husband, make sure every dust and crumb is swept up, and write a hundred new books or blog posts this year. I’m still worthy. I’m still ideal for who God intended me to be. And when I keep my eyes on Him and HIS goals for my life, those ideals will be even easier to achieve.

The Power of Prayer

God, Life and Happiness, prayer, Uncategorized

study-862994_1920

Last week, a friend of mine sent me an email talking about prayer. In the email, she said, “My prayer has been that 2019 will be a year in which I fully walk in the steps the Lord has placed before me, and none of my own.”

Her sentence resonated with me because I’ve been wanting this exact thing as well.

Then, she said, “I need prayer covering, as do we all. But it’s easy to say that and not do anything about that. I’m asking you if you would consider making that commitment to me, and I would also be praying in a committed way for you.”

I loved this sentiment and readily agreed because I believe in the power of prayer, but I often forget to pray and almost never pray for myself. By having a friend (there will actually be three of us) to pray for helps me to stick with the idea of prayer everyday. In fact, I’m going to start adding it to my morning routine.

Then I began to think about what I needed prayer for that my friend could pray specifically about for me. As different items kept coming into my mind, I began to be overwhelmed.

  • At the time this all came about, my car was on the fritz. I loved that car. It had been my first “me” car. New off the assembly line, just as I’d ordered it. And it had been paid off. I struggled with whether we should trade it or not. (More on this later.)
  • My husband and I have been considering getting a dog again. We want to be intentional about it and want to be sure we give a home to a dog who needs us and fits our life.
  • My husband is finishing up his doctorate and has been ill, which has slowed down his progress a bit.
  • My career…I would like to have more work. I would like to work with more publishers. I would like to write more.
  • My church life has been changed lately. John and I are not sure where we’re being led or where to go to church. We feel a bit lost.

The concerns just kept coming to my mind. It felt like too much. I couldn’t ask prayer for ALL these things! I didn’t want to take advantage of my friend’s good will. I didn’t want to seem needy. But which things needed the most prayer?

Then I realized something: I knew no matter how much my friend told me she needed prayer for – I’d pray for it. And she would do so in turn.

The sheer magnitude of this brought tears to my eyes. For someone to truly want to help me by being an intercessor for me was both amazing and confusing to me. I have good people in my life, but everyone is so busy. We often don’t take time for each other in a significant way anymore. (I’m including myself in that.) But this friend wants to do just that for me. Everyday.

A few days after my friend and I decided this would be our new way of life with each other, my husband and I decided to go car shopping. On the way, I texted my friend (Jill) and told her what was going on and asked her to pray. She said she already had prayed for it and would keep me in prayer. (She also asked prayer from me for traveling she was doing, which I readily did.)

When we arrived at the dealership, at first, we didn’t see the car we’d been admiring online. Defeated, we walked back toward the front door of the dealership. A young lady approached us. A woman salesperson? I was floored. Just two days prior, after leaving another dealership, I’d said to my husband, “Why are all the salespeople men? Do they not allow women to sell cars, or what?” And yet, here was a woman trying to sell me a car. Was it a sign of some sort?

When we entered the store, she sat us at her desk and then went to check on the car (they did have it – on another lot). I turned to my husband and said, “Do you hear that?” He looked confused. “They’re playing Christian music!”

I’d never been in a car dealership playing Christian music before. I texted Jill and told her. “Sounds promising!” was her reply.

Indeed, it was. Our transaction was the smoothest one I’d ever had buying a car. We got the deal we wanted on the car we wanted. No hassles. No hurt feelings. The saleswoman and I are now friends on Facebook! (She loves dogs!)

Prayer did that. My friend’s prayer did that. I drove home in my new car with the greatest feeling of peace.

But prayer isn’t about just getting stuff. In fact, it wasn’t about getting the car at all. It was about feeling God’s presence in that moment. It was about feeling His peace around me and being assured that He would support me in whatever decision we made. The peace that surpasses all understanding.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV

Yes, I’m a bit overwhelmed that my friend wants to pray for me and a bit overwhelmed that I might forget to pray for her. But I know it will result in both of us growing closer to God and hopefully to one another in Christian fellowship. And I cannot wait to see what our prayers bring into our lives.