Prepare

I like to be prepared, but I’m learning that much of my preparation has more to do with fear than organization. The unknown can be daunting, so I have always been one to plan ahead. Yesterday, as I was teaching Sunday School, someone asked a question about really knowing we are where we are supposed to be. He was thinking about his grandson who had that beautiful feeling on his mission trip, but I immediately thought about a beautiful moment after the Christmas parade when I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

His question was about hearing and responding to God’s call in way that left no doubt I was doing exactly what He wanted me to do. Some might argue that my moment didn’t fit the definition of a calling, but this gentleman thanked me after class. He’s a wise man and understood completely.

The moment caught me off guard, and I believe that is exactly what God’s moments do. My son and his family were going to park at my home and use my little apartment as a place to take a break during the Christmas parade festivities. I was going to be busy all day, so I didn’t expect to run into them. God had other plans.

There’s nothing I like more than preparing a meal for my son and his family. Had I known they were going to be there for dinner, I would have┬áprepared something special and cleaned the apartment. That’s what prepare means to me, so I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. My frig was empty, and my house was a mess; but I told my son that I did have a lot of food in the freezer.

He sprang into action while I played with baby Kalina. I told everyone what was available, and the girls started making requests. We had pizza, chili, mac and cheese, tortellini, and the delicious cookies and candies I had purchased at my church’s Cookie Walk for dessert. As I held my precious new grand daughter and watched Lillyann and Mylah, I realized the best plans are the ones I don’t make. God smiled, and said, “Exactly!”

The best way to prepare my heart for what God has in mind is to leave the planning to Him and be amazed by the moments He places in my path. I felt the call to serious prayer six years ago and was confused by it. I told a dear friend, who is also wonderful minister, that prayer didn’t seem like much of a call. He smiled and said, “Well, it’s what Jesus does, so isn’t that enough?”

I was humbled in a way I should have been when I first received the call. I smiled and said, “Yes, it’s more than enough.” I learned then, and again on Saturday, not to expect God’s call to fit into my plans. The time of sweet, messy fellowship was better than an intricately planned dinner party, and the times I spend praying for and with those I love and those I have only just met bless me in ways I cannot describe when I let God’s Holy Spirit do the planning and simply prepare my heart to be amazed.

 

Sweet Side Effect:)

Side effect is defined by Bing as “a usually undesirable secondary effect produced by something.” Usually is the key word; the side effect I’m talking about is a very positive one. As I pray, I notice a sweet side effect that helps me understand Christ’s call to prayer. When I pray for someone who has hurt me or treated me unfairly, I notice that my attitude towards them begins to change. It’s a slow process that requires more than one dose of prayer to get the desired result, but the beautiful feeling defies description.

I see why Jesus sits at God’s right hand and prays for me unceasingly. He knows those prayers change me and bring me closer to God. When I understand that, I am also drawn near to those who have been at arm’s length or further away. Barriers are broken, priorities change, and suddenly the distance is absorbed by the love that intercession frees. There is nothing more powerful than intercession or Christ wouldn’t be doing it.

As I told my class this morning at church, if you’re looking for a financial advisor, shopper, lawyer, or sugar daddy, you need to find another Savior. This One is about the business of praying and lifting me up to God. So many look to Christ to get and do and fix. He loves and prays. Others need a superhero who is going to vanquish and kill. He loves and prays. Some might ask if that’s enough. As I’ve come to understand Who Christ is and Who He isn’t, I have come to know it’s more than enough. Prayer is the least and most any of us can do.

It’s only taken me sixty years to come to that understanding, but I’m thankful to finally get it. The fifties allowed me the space to find out who I am and begin to understand Who God is. I’m thinking the sixties is going to be more about what I am here to do. The call to prayer came at 57, but I kept God on hold for three years. I prayed during that time but not as He desired. I came up with my own to-do list and ignored His. I’m humbled that He never hung up on me but rather waited lovingly for me to understand the nature and importance of His call. I often wonder if the human life span is getting longer because it’s taking us longer to figure out what it is He’s trying to teach us while we’re here:) I say that as the slowest and most stubborn learner I know.

I’ve been sixty for almost a month, and I have to say it’s been an eventful twenty-five days. The lessons have been difficult, but the learning has been amazing. Change may be the theme for this decade, and that’s okay with me. Whatever God has in mind, I want to be open and ready to hear and respond with love. The good news is that I’ve lost ten pounds and can wear clothes I haven’t worn in years! I wouldn’t recommend the diet plan to anyone, but I have to say that I learned that I have to make some changes when it comes to what and how much I eat. Another positive side effect!

Change is good, and I know the sixties are going to be wonderful. Lessons in love are pointing me in the right direction, and my heart is changing. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks if you grab her attention and use the right motivation:)