Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Desperate Prayers and a Thankful Heart—3

Labor Day itself was rather quiet. My husband and I spent the day at our cabin. Another place full of family history and memories. It is truly one of the Lord’s blessings for which we thank Him often. At 9000 ft. six or seven hiking miles east of the Continental Divide (and 3000–4000 ft. lower, depending on where you cross it), we literally own a tiny piece of God’s Country! Cell phones don’t work there; no electricity; no running water (except for the spring behind the cabin!)—a place where we often meet God. A great place to get away from the noise of our world. Something I don't take advantage of often enough.

We hiked to Lost Lake, something we’d not been able to do all summer because of my eye surgery in June. On the hike I pondered what the Lord was doing within me, and when we got to the lake, my favorite rock jutting into the lake was empty! A miracle really, on a holiday weekend that sees many, many people in this popular area. I was able to look across the lake to the west at the mountains that make up the Divide and praise God for His creation, His love, His awesome majesty. Just what I needed to encourage me that day.

The next two weeks were rather quiet as I prepared for the conference and continued to work. I sought the Lord often to show me the next steps, but all I had was a sense of confusion, which I knew wasn’t of God. Before I knew it the conference began, and in the very first session, I found myself crying all through the praise and worship time. I was so dry, so confused. I longed for the Lord to work in me. Other than journaling and the few blog posts I’d done over the summer, I’d done no writing in over nine months. Why I was even at the conference was a mystery to me! A woman I’d just met prayed over me right there while everyone was singing. Thank you, Sammi! I had peace that the Lord had me there for a reason.

But by Saturday morning, I was ready to tell my agent to drop me. Every editor appointment (I had two) seemed to put me deeper into the despair of ever writing a publishable word again. Okay, that was me, not the two wonderful ladies I had appointments with! In fact, I was so deep into that funk, I didn’t even hear the suggestion one of those editors had for me. That morning before I went down to breakfast, I was reading my Bible and felt the Lord’s nudging me to talk with Brandilyn Collins about praying with me that day.

Brandilyn emcees the ACFW conferences. She’s a great writer and a wonderful teacher. I’ve learned much from reading her blog, Forensics and Faith. After the Lord healed her several years ago from lyme disease, He has given her a fruitful ministry of intercessory prayer. I’d seen the results in many of my friends in previous conferences and in this one. I longed for the peace that radiated from their entire beings! I even know Brandilyn. She’d chosen me as one of the original writers for her Kanner Lake blog. But still I hesitated to ask her to pray for me. Pride, I guess. I didn’t want to admit I was struggling.

But the Lord wouldn’t leave me alone. And He reminded me of my promise to be obedient to Him, no matter what the cost. So . . . I swallowed my pride, interrupted my breakfast, and went across the huge ballroom where our meals were served in search of Brandilyn. She had an opening later that morning, after my appointments with an editor and my agent. The agent who refused to let me go, by the way. Instead she encouraged me, saying she believed the Lord still had much for me to write, and she wasn’t giving up on me just because I’d hit a dry spell. Another blessing from the Lord, for which I’m extremely thankful.

I met Brandilyn in the prayer room. After she prayed for a friend, she placed me before her and asked why I’d wanted prayer. Two friends who had prayed with Brandilyn the day before stayed to pray with us. I told Brandilyn of my confusion; spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental dryness; and of my grief over my mother-in-law and mother. She asked about our family, and I mentioned I wanted continued prayer for my daughter whom the Lord had asked me to let go. I explained she was moving to London in January, working as a tax accountant for the UK division of the accounting firm she works for here in Denver. Then she started to pray.

She first asked the Lord to reveal to her how to pray for me. A few minutes later she stood, placed her hands on my shoulders and neck, and asked me why the Lord had directed her to do so. The picture, and feeling, I had as soon as she touched me was that of a backpack fully loaded and strapped on. Brandilyn asked Kathy and Eileen to place their hands on my shoulders. Then she prayed for the Lord to break the bonds holding the burden in place, to release me, and to roll it off.

Almost immediately she took one hand off my shoulder and said she was to put her fist in my gut, deep down. When I gave permission, she did, saying that was where my grief had settled—way deep down in my spirit, in my body. The whole lower section of my torso burned and felt like a vise squeezing it. She then prayed the Lord would release me from grief over Mom’s death and my daughter’s leaving for London (another “loss”) a year later. Then she asked the Lord to bring all the grief up and out of my body, to again release me from the pain and heartache and to replace it with joy. By this time I was crying pretty hard, though not loudly, even though the pain increased under Brandilyn’s fist. After a few minutes, she said that even though I was so quiet she sensed the grief rising like a flooding river and pouring out of me. After several more minutes I began to feel a glimmer of hope, release, and best of all, joy. She prayed that I would have joy in the midst of tears, that tears were good and that I would still grieve, but it is no longer bottled up within me and therefore would be healing.

Then she placed her hands on my sides, running them up and down from under my arms down to my hips. Again she asked why the Lord had directed her there. I had no idea and said so. So she waited a few minutes then began to pray the Lord’s healing and protection for whatever that area signified. Two things came to mind: Mom’s leukemia because of the many lymph nodes in that area, and my weight gain from lack of exercise due to all the physical problems I’ve had this past year. Brandilyn prayed specifically for my lymph nodes, not knowing about Mom’s cause of death. But still she wasn’t sure what the Lord meant by having her put her hands there. And I’m still not sure why. God will reveal it in His time.

After that, Brandilyn started praying over my spine and said that all things in my life are being realigned—physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. As her hands moved up and down my spine, she prayed for my writing, for clarity in direction, for a return of joy in doing what I’ve been gifted to do. She then told me that when it was the right time, my writing will be like a spring bubbling up from the ground, not like a pool but more like a fountain, water gushing from a small pipe—constant, overflowing, and plentiful, refreshing. (Note: Yesterday the Lord drew my attention to Isaiah 58:11: "And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail." My written promise from the Lord! He is so good!)

Then she put her hand on my head and prayed for my editing business, that it would prosper and bring forth fruit and be refreshing to those I worked with, that in all things I would be blessed, not just in the editing and writing. She told me she could see God showering me with blessing—a virtual rainstorm of blessing pouring down on me. At one point she tried to take her hands off, but put them back immediately saying the rainstorm hadn’t ended. While she was waiting for the showers to end, I quit crying and felt my being fill with peace and joy. I couldn’t keep a smile from breaking out. Not that I wanted to!

Then I returned home to a pile of editing projects that I was so behind on, to writing that I still couldn’t find the solution to, plus friends and family who wanted detailed reports of the conference. I didn’t feel ready to face any of that, other than I knew things had changed. The joy and peace were still there, the spring bubbling up in me at odd times. And people noticed the change in my countenance. Two days after I returned from the conference, I had yet another appointment of a long string of appointments this year with my ophthalmologist. I gave my sign-in sheet to the distracted receptionist (who by this time knows me by name ) and sat down to wait my turn. When she finished her phone call, she looked up to acknowledge me, then said something was different. She hardly recognized me, and in fact, hadn't until she looked at the sheet I'd given her. Whatever it was, she couldn't pinpoint it, I looked great!! Thank You, God! What an affirmation of the peace and joy within me that was so different from previous visits.

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