When I was in high school, Garth Brooks put out the popular song "Unanswered Prayers" and at the time I loved the message because I felt like all of my prayers were unanswered. I was young in years and even younger in Faith, so my prayers sounded like this: "God (oh thou scary, judgmental guy far away), please don't let that speeding ticket I just received, actually be recorded; don't let me get in trouble; tell my parents that it's okay that I go to my friend's unsupervised party this weekend, and spend the night with her; I have lots of friends already but can you turn me into one of the "popular" kids that is invited to so many things they don't have time for the "nerdy" things that I'm into; can you make the teacher give me an "A" on the test I just took..." These were literally some of the exact prayers that have come out of my mouth!
I could take this disgusting list out even farther to include all the silly things I asked for, but that would just embarrass both of us. As you can imagine, not one of my prayers were answered. God apparently did not care if I got in trouble, was liked by people, got to enjoy His earth with my friends (even had friends for that matter), or did well in school. So when Garth Brooks' song came out in 1989 (ish) what I got from his lyrics was not what I should have (that sometimes we ask for things that we don't need, and only God knows that at the time), but instead what I took away was, "well at least I'm not the only person whose prayers do not get answered." How sad a life is THAT, to believe that even in Heaven there is a popular crowd and AND that apparently I was not in God's popular crowd. Isn't that how we sometimes see God, though? Do you see Him as a mean dictator, sitting in a big throne somewhere way above you, so far away that He doesn't really know what's going on in your daily life, but still making things happen in your life? I honestly used to see Him that way.
I've heard that however you see your earthly father is probably how you see God. That's not the case for me. My daddy has always been a loving father who gave me the impression (because it is true) that I could come to him anytime I got myself in trouble, needed help, or just wanted to talk. My earthly father didn't create the messed up version of God that was in my own mind -- my mind got tricked into that because I never set it up to believe anything different. The question is, "HOW, if I was raised in church, and have read the Bible in entirety, and quoted verses in my high school annual, did I grow up believing this LIE about God?" That is easy to answer -- I was attacked for deceit, by the king of LIES and I hadn't filled my heart and mind with enough scripture to fight off those attacks. Today, I see God for what He tells me that He is - He loves me enough to sacrifice Himself FOR ME; He loves me more than anything else He has ever created; I am His world; I am His treasure; I am His creation; He loves me more than my earthly parents ever could (and that's a whole LOT!); I AM HIS!! He created me wonderfully and fearfully for a purpose and THAT is what should fill my thoughts. Instead of wondering "why" some of my prayers are answered, and "why" some are not, my question should be "What do you want me to do here?"
Even after this revelation, I feel like I am still under a daily attack. We have family Bible time every day at 8am, and we read one chapter and discuss it. Outside of that, I feel like I truly NEED some time alone to sit and read a message that is JUST meant for me. I whole-heartedly feel that God is just sitting and waiting for me to slow down so I can listen to what He wants to tell. But just like most moms, those moments of "slow down and get your own message" never come easy. They come at a price and that price is usually called "time serving your family". I wonder how many of those times that we can't manage to have alone time with God, are a result of a full-on attack to keep us from just that. A prime example of an attack like that has come to me this week. Months ago, before we moved out of Alaska, I registered for a True Women 2018 Conference. They are held in Indiana, but this year I noticed that you could also live stream the entire thing! I was so excited and I signed up, thinking that when I settled somewhere I would get a group of women together (2-3) and we could "refill ourselves" together. Well, we didn't really settle yet and the conference was this weekend and in the meanwhile "life" got involved and I wasn't able to listen to even 1/3 of the classes. What I did hear was enough to give me a nugget of God's message, and that is "Do Not Be Deceived". I hope to watch the rest of the classes when "things slow down" (haha that's a big fat joke because we know that life never slows down until you make it slow down). We can move into our house soon, I can unpack my clothes from the suitcases, put away all the stuff that is filling up my car, and find a place for my backside and my laptop to sit and watch these classes.
In the meanwhile, I want us all to think about the ways that we are deceived DAILY. The women's conference was focused on finding THE TRUTH. Nancy Leigh Demoss apparently got married in 2015 and is now Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth, and has authored a book called "The Lies Women Believe." I haven't gotten around to getting her book yet, but I saw that her husband (Robert Wolgemuth) just authored "Lies Men Believe" and I just got that as an audiobook for a trip we are about to take. I hope it's kid-friendly because we will all be in the car together as it plays. Two of the lies that stood out to me, from a partial online class I watched, are (1) God is not enough to fix my problems, and (2) I should not have to live with unfilled longings. I am going to think about those two, pray about them, and tell you my thoughts. But -- I would LOVE to hear YOUR thoughts!!