That Time I Prayed to be Invisible

My mother and I were in Birmingham for an event. We arrived on a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon. I parked my car in the parking garage and we made our way to the venue two blocks away.

After enjoying the teaching and the music, ten thousand women exited the arena to make their ways to their vehicles. My mother and I turned to the right and began to walk and no one (not a single woman) followed us.

I don’t know how 9,998 other women all knew to park in the opposite direction. All I know is that my mother and I were left to walk alone, in the dark, to a parking garage two blocks away. Between us and the vehicle were abandoned buildings, empty parking lots and several men wandering the streets.

In that moment, all I could think to do was to pray that we were invisible. I asked the Lord that, if any of those men had any evil intentions, they simply would not see us. Now, I’m not saying that God made me invisible (although I’m not saying He didn’t either.) I do believe that God blinded the eyes of any potential enemy that night.

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I told that story at a recent women’s event to illustrate the power of prayer. I had forgotten about this incident and it came to me at the last minute. I couldn’t help but laugh as, as we walked those two blocks, I kept repeating, “It’s fine. They can’t see us. We’re invisible.”

Here’s the thing, though. I totally believed that God could do it. And, if I’m honest, it isn’t the first time I’ve prayed such a thing. Sometimes, at night, my spirit will feel unsettled and I’ll pray.

Lord, if there is anyone currently roaming the streets with ill intentions, let them not even take notice of our home.

God, if my children are out in public and the enemy is on the prowl, draw his attention away from my babies.

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It’s a prayer I’ve prayed often but never mentioned to anyone. It’s not exactly the parenting advice people expect.

What advice would you give for raising children in this broken world?

Oh, I just pray we’re all invisible.

Yeah. Hmm.

BUT – I found the coolest verse today.

Are you ready?

Wait for it…

Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked. – Psalm 64:2

I wanted to do the slow clap after reading it. Essentially, y’all, David just prayed to be invisible. Do with it what you will.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

 

You’ll Never Regret Showing Up

I sat beside his hospital bed and held his hand; his voice was barely audible over the sound of the ventilator. He kept his eyes closed most of the time but, every so often, his hand would grip mine a little tighter as if to make sure I was still there.

I drove nine hours to be there but, I have to be honest, I’ve not always been the best at showing up. I always worried about saying the wrong thing, appearing awkward, and a host of other self-centered concerns. I went back and forth on whether I should make this particular trip. But, as I drove that entire day, I felt God whispering, “You’ll never regret showing up for someone.”

Fence

At one point, he asked for me. Though we had interacted on Facebook, I hadn’t seen my uncle in ten years. Yet, as I waited outside of his room while others visited, he asked for me and said that he loved me.

I was in the room when the nurse commented on what a wonderful family he had and my uncle replied, “Hmph, they’re okay.” Then, he winked at me.

I was present when the nurse came in to remove the ventilator and he whispered, “I’m going to die, today.”

Then, as he lay unconscious, I ran my fingers through his hair, caressed his face and held his hands. It was, by far, the saddest and hardest thing I’ve ever done. But, as I drove home 72 hours later having never left the hospital and still wearing the same clothes I showed up in, I knew those moments were all gifts from the Lord.

You’ll never regret showing up for someone.

rainy day

Do the hard thing.

Show up.

Get your hands dirty.

Love people well.

Enter into someone else’s grief.

Be uncomfortable.

You won’t regret it.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

 

 

At the Eleventh Hour

There is a parable about the master of a great vineyard. Early in the morning, he goes out seeking laborers to work for him. He finds some workers in the marketplace, they agree on a wage and head off to begin their work. It’s easy to focus on this first group; they bore the burden of the day and the scorching heat (Matthew 20:12.) We tend to highlight these individuals; the early bird gets the worm.

As the day wore on, the master continued to go to the marketplace to seek laborers. At the third, sixth and ninth hour, he added more workers. Only, with these workers, he sent them into the field without an agreed upon wage. They were simply promised that they would be given “what is right.” A person would certainly have to view the master as someone they could trust or else their labor may be in vain.

Finally, at the eleventh hour, the master returns to the marketplace. With only an hour left in the work day, there are still people roaming around. When asked why they had spent the entire day idle, their answer is heart-wrenching. “Because no one hired us,” they say. No one wanted them. They had stood unwanted and overlooked hour after hour.

I’ve often sympathized with the first ones hired. They were the ones in the vineyard bright and early. They worked the entire day in the heat of summer. Or, sometimes, I would admire the faith of those next few groups. The master chose them and they set to work without knowing how they would be compensated. They trusted him to be just in his dealings with them.

Yet, this time, as I read the passage (Matthew 20:1-16,) my heart was stirred for the last group – those chosen at the eleventh hour. I began to brainstorm all of the reasons that someone would be not chosen hour after hour.

Had they proven untrustworthy in the past? Were they too old, too young, too small? Was their strength, endurance or work ethic being judged based on their appearance? Did they show up late to the marketplace? Were they withdrawn and quiet? Did they fail to sell themselves properly? Perhaps, they didn’t know the right people.

And then I began to think about those who, today, may feel like they’re at the eleventh hour. They’ve watched as others seem to have been chosen to work in the vineyard – to serve the Master. The clock keeps ticking, others keep getting chosen and, still, they wait.

They wonder if they’re too bad or too broken to be used by God. Perhaps, they fear they’ve wasted too many years and it’s simply too late. Maybe others have come, given them the once over and deemed them unworthy. It could be that, at one time, they were the ones in the field at first light. Now, they find themselves in a different season and wonder if their usefulness is over.

In Philippians, Paul is weighing the pros and cons of remaining in the flesh or going to be with Christ. To be with Christ, he says, is far better. To remain in the flesh, however, means fruitful labor (Philippians 1:22.) If there is, at any point, no longer work for us to do, God will call us home. None of us remain here to simply stand idle in the marketplace and pass the time. If we are still breathing then there is, not just labor, but fruitful labor for us to do.

God has work for you to do. You are not too damaged, too old, or too far gone for Him to use. You are not too late to the party, too awkward or too much for Him. If you have ever wondered if God can use you, then let Matthew 20:7 encourage your heart.

He said to them, “You go into the vineyard too.”

He chooses you, too. If no one else in the entire world chooses you. If everyone else only sees your flaws. When others don’t even give you a second glance. When you look in the mirror and don’t see anything desirable. God chooses you, too.

Now, get out there and be fruitful.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

4 Ways to Know You Have an Idol in Your Life

14305256_1737031053206700_2219233568440604115_oConfession time: I’ve had an idol or two in my day.

I’ve been reading in Isaiah the last several days and there is a constant theme of idols in the lives of God’s people. Perhaps, you think you can’t relate; it’s not like you’re carrying around a golden calf in your pocket. Or are you?

Many years ago, I was a working mom with a strong desire to stay home with my children. And, by strong, I mean a cry every Sunday night, stalk every stay at home mom on Facebook, imagine all the ways my children were going to suffer because I worked desire.

Then, after ten years of patient waiting, calm petitions, weeping and wailing, God granted my request. Here’s the thing, I love being home. In many ways, it’s everything I hoped. But, y’all, it comes with a whole different set of issues. It wasn’t the be all – end all that I believed.

Fast forward a couple years. I’d been blogging and writing my little heart out with my eye on the prize – my own book. It seemed like everybody and their mama had a book deal and I wanted it something awful. When someone chose to take a chance on me and offer me that opportunity, I was certain it was going be awesome in every way.

And it was. For a while.

All it took, for that idol to begin to crumble, was one person leaving a mediocre review. Not a bad one, mind you. Just meh. Some random somebody left a review that they really enjoyed the book, that it was a great addition to their morning Bible study, and the person gave it…2 Stars. In my flesh, I was offended. Seriously, what did they want it to do for them? Make their morning coffee as well?

Here’s the scary part; in the moment, I didn’t realize these things were idols. So, as I was reading through Isaiah, I began looking for idol signs – things that would be warnings for those of us who wish to avoid the pitfalls of idol worship.

FOUR WAYS TO KNOW YOU HAVE AN IDOL IN YOUR LIFE

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You are loved. ❤

When Buddying Up Leads to Betrayal

I’ve been thinking a lot about The Buddy System and what it looks like for grown women trying to walk it out. The fact is that we’re all a little broken and it’s just a matter of time before we cut one another. Often it’s the person closest to us that gets hurt the most or, on the flip side, who hurts us the most.

If you’ve ever experienced the betrayal of a buddy, you’ve probably thought one (or more) of these things:

  1. I must have picked the wrong buddy.
  2. I must have been a bad buddy.
  3. I won’t buddy up ever again.

We always seem shocked when someone lets us down, don’t we? Perhaps, we had our expectations a little too high. We expect people to understand us completely and to always behave like we want them to behave.

As I was reading through the gospel of Luke, I came across the passage where Jesus selects His apostles. At this point in time, He had thousands of disciples. {A disciple is simply a follower.} Out of the mass of followers, Jesus was ready to pick his inner circle. He was ready to buddy up, so to speak.

I must have picked the wrong buddy.

The first thing Jesus did, prior to choosing His apostles, was to pray. In fact, Scripture tells us that He prayed “all night” (Luke 6:12.) After spending the entire night speaking to and listening to His Father, Jesus selects the twelve men who will be His closest confidants. What I’m trying to convey to you is that Christ did not pick the wrong people. He buddied up with the exact men that God wanted. And yet…

When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:13-16) emphasis mine

Do you see it? Jesus prayed fervently and chose the men God told Him to choose and there, in the midst, was one who would betray. There are times when we buddy up with someone who will break our heart. We will invest in them and they will walk away. That doesn’t mean you chose the wrong buddy.

I must have been a bad buddy.

Can we all agree that Jesus was a perfect buddy? There was nothing He did to warrant Judas’ betrayal. Think about it. One night at dinner, Jesus announced that one of the apostles was going to betray Him.

And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” Matthew 26:21

Did they all give each other a knowing look and give the side eye to Judas? No, they all were shocked and asking the Lord if it was them! Why? Because Jesus treated Judas just like every other disciple. He loved Judas like the others; He broke bread with Judas like the others. He washed Judas’ feet like the others!

Someone’s betrayal is not a reflection on you. Christ was the perfect buddy and, in the end, Judas still chose to be a traitor.

I won’t buddy up ever again.

It’s happened to all of us. We’ve been wounded by another woman and we’ve promised ourselves it won’t happen again. We aren’t playing this game anymore; we’re taking our ball and going home. No one will get that close to us again. It seemed to be all pain and no gain. Peace out, ladies, the buddy system isn’t for me.

The apostles certainly could have chosen that route. They had walked side by side with Judas. They experienced trials and triumph together. They were the chosen few and he had played them. One man short, they could have just tightened the circle a little and refused to allow another possible traitor to join their ranks.

The apostles must have been paying attention because they did what they had seen Jesus do. They prayed about who should take Judas’ place. They sought God’s will on their next buddy. They selected two men who had been with them from the beginning – someone who had been faithfully on the fringe for Jesus’ entire ministry. They presented the two names before the Lord and waited.

And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen.” Acts 1:24 emphasis mine

They were brave enough to buddy up again. To risk betrayal again. To not place the sin of one man on every man that came after him.  They didn’t ask God for “a good buddy” this time. They simply wanted the one God had chosen.

Ministry is messy and there will be many who turn away. But those of us who are committed – we carry on. We link arms with another woman and keep moving. There is much work to be done.

You are loved!