I wondered how to pursue my desire when as a young mother, I felt so tired. Physically tired from running after a spirited three-year-old girl during the day and waking up six to seven times each night with a darling, but restless little boy with chronic ear infections. Emotionally wiped-out from dealing with people’s demands and my church commitments as a pastor’s wife, Sunday School teacher and children’s choir director.Spiritually drained from giving out without much input, and relationally starved due to lack of time and energy for cultivating friendships. (I ran a part-time daycare in my home plus another small business.) About that same time, I began writing a children’s book. I so enjoyed all these blessings, yet what I really wanted was to fulfill my desire. (And I wanted to do it right—whatever that meant!)
Simple Request: “Help, Lord,” I whispered.
God heard and moved mountains just for me. Well, not exactly and not immediately, but several years later, He moved our family through the mountains from Visalia, California to Shawnee Mission, Kansas. And up from my deeply planted desire grew a tiny sprout. God seemed to say, “See this seedling, Joan? Its name is Prayer. Nourish it. Water it. Watch it grow. This is the way to know Me.”
Simple Act: Setting the alarm a few minutes earlier than usual, I planned to spend those moments alone with God. I purchased a small yellow notepad and wrote the word P-R-A-Y-E-R at the top of the first page. On the notepad, I listed my family’s names. Under each name I wrote one or two words describing my prayer request for that person.
Imperfect AND Rewarding Results: My prayer time didn’t always work the way I envisioned it would. Sometimes (well, quite often) the children awakened before my alarm sounded. Surprisingly, I learned to have my alone times with them running circles around my chair. What happened during these imperfect God-meetings astonished me.
More later. . .
(This personal story is adapted from The Relief of Imperfection.)