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Gifts, answered and unanswered prayers

June 25: 3 gifts today in someone older than you

  • #79: My mom's wisdom and receiving it over iced passion tea, sitting in sunshine
  • #80: Incredible faithfulness to the LORD over decades
  • #81: A steady confidence in God's love and goodness despite difficult circumstances

June 26: 3 gifts in fabric

  • #82: my TOMS!
  • #83: my jean jacket keeping me warm when the air conditioning in my office makes it way too cold
  • #84: falling asleep under a quilt that was skillfully and carefully made

June 27: 3 gifts framed by a frame

  • #85: my LCPC which allows me to do what I love for a living
  • #86: my Make Way Partners sponsored child, Abraham, who smiles out at me from his picture when I pray for him every morning
  • #87: French pictures and prints that excite my imagination

I have been thinking a lot about answered and unanswered prayers in the past week. I am grateful to say that God has been answering almost all of my work-related prayers in record time. I terminated with three clients in the past few weeks and found that I had a lot of nervous feelings about whether or not I would be able to gain new clients and continue building my practice as we move deeper into the summer. Traditionally, people feel much better during the summer and counseling referrals tend to be a lot lower. I had no sooner shared these feelings when I had a new client start last week and two more this week! I have also been praying a lot for God to increase my collections in the past month. And, it's been happening! Thank you, God. Unfortunately, my personal prayers have not had quite the same response and I have been feeling discouraged.

I recently started playing a game with God where I listen to KLOVE on my way to and from work and request that He play certain songs that I enjoy. It has been incredible to see how He will answer these requests at exactly the right moment. Just when I am praying about something that has been unanswered for a long time, one of these songs will come on and it almost takes my breath away. I know that having a song I like come on the radio is a small thing, but to me it is God saying, "I see you. I hear you. I move at the sound of your voice." This has happened a few different times when I was literally in the midst of crying and pleading with God to answer one prayer or another. I felt so loved. Even though my unanswered prayer still seemed unanswered, I felt comforted that God is attentive to me and that He cares about my feelings and my desires.

I have a few unanswered prayers that are feeling heavy again. I seem to have seasons where they are quieter and it is easy for me to enjoy my life and to trust God for my future. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, those unfulfilled longings come back up to the surface of my awareness and I feel the lack of their fulfillment. This is always hard for me and I feel frustrated that I cannot manage my feelings differently and get to the point where I no longer struggle with doubting God's goodness toward me and His desire to give me the desires of my heart. Why can't I just believe what the Bible tells me is true about God? Why do I want to believe what my experiences seem to say instead of Him?

There is a bitter-sweetness to those prayers that are fulfilled in the midst of the weight of the longing for those that are yet to be. I hear God's still, small, gentle and loving voice say, "I hear and answer every prayer. Trust me when you don't like the answer. Connect with me when you are feeling unfulfilled. I want to satisfy you and give you the desires of your heart. Just keep coming back to me." Somehow this calms and settles me in a way that I cannot settle myself. In these moments I like to imagine that I wrap my arms around God and lean into His strength. I trust in Him to see me through any feeling that comes my way and to provide everything that I need. The answered prayers help me to keep trusting Him for those that are still unanswered. They stir my hope and my faith for what I cannot see and help me to feel more confident that my God is exactly who He says He is and that I can trust Him.

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