Unprayed Answers

Unprayed Answers

Whenever I am seated at the piano on Sunday mornings leading our congregation in song along with our church praise team, I consider it to be one of the sweetest blessings in my life. In addition to me, the team presently includes three vocalists, a bass guitarist, an occasional drummer, and an acoustic guitar player. 

In the early 2000s, as I sat on a padded metal chair in a conference room filled with hundreds of other women at a Christian event, a husband and wife duo performed several moving songs. She sang and he played guitar. Listening to them share their love of Jesus and music in such a special way made an impact on me. For a few months after the conference, my mind revisited how touching it was that they had the opportunity to participate in a music ministry together as husband and wife. However, as time went on, the memory of that duo disappeared from my mind.

A few years later, on a whim, my husband and I both attempted to teach ourselves how to play guitar. He learned much more easily and quickly than I did, and my ego took a hit, so I quit. I never tried learning guitar again, and I might just be a little bitter about my husband having such a seemingly easy time mastering a new instrument, especially since I am the one with a music degree and background. (By the way, if you were expecting a post about perseverance when the going gets tough, this is not it.) 😉

More than a decade later on a Sunday morning in 2017, as I sat in front of the sanctuary leading a worship song with the praise team, the memory of that husband and wife duo unexpectedly reappeared in my mind. I immediately began to tear up. I confess that I frequently tear up during the music portion of our church service because when the song lyrics proclaim the greatness of God’s love and faithfulness, my gratitude causes an emotional response. But this particular time, my tears were due to the fact that I had overlooked for several years. You see, I love Jesus with all my heart and I thoroughly love to sing, so I am definitely thankful that I sing on a church praise team. But on that particular morning, I was struck by the added detail that my husband is part of that praise team with me, playing the aforementioned acoustic guitar. I am sure that a combination of factors was involved in God inspiring Darren to learn how to play guitar and join the praise team. I can’t help but think that I know what one of them was: God wanted to accomplish something in my marriage which I had deemed impossible. 

It is amazing that we serve a God who sometimes honors dreams that are shoved down deep into our hearts or almost entirely dismissed. Dreams we don’t even bother to transform into prayer, because we have already decided they are out of the realm of reality.

The idea of sharing in a music ministry together as a couple never became more than an intriguing thought. Not a wish. Not a prayer. In fact, it had been forgotten. But even so, God orchestrated that forgotten idea in our lives years later, and it is an incredible, straight-from-God gift. Because of His great love, God answers prayers we never even consider praying.

No one I would rather write my story with

IMG_4308This man. I love him more than I ever thought I could. Okay – that’s corny, but I remember literally thinking on our wedding day, “How could I possibly love him more than I do today?”

For our wedding, I wrote a song entitled, “In His Plan” thanking God for creating us with each other in mind. A year ago, I wrote a new song for him in which the chorus begins with these lyrics: “There’s no one I would rather write my story with.” Ours has been my favorite love story thus far complete with four kids that I, with much self-admitted bias, find to be quite amazing.

I love that I get to parent side-by-side with him and watch him be a dad to those four amazing kids. He teaches our sons to be Godly men and models it as well. He treats our daughter like a princess, and is doing a good job of making it difficult for her to ever find a guy that compares to her father! He is an extremely wise man. Maybe more of a ‘wise guy’ sometimes…but his kids are truly blessed to have a father that they can go to anytime for wise advice. And they can go to him for so much more: assurance, assistance, allowance 😄, and most of all, unconditional love.

I love that he plays a lot of roles in his life, and he does it to the best of his ability while being principled and loyal. Roles such as husband, father, insurance agent/owner, coach, and more. As his wife, I can attest that his dedication to each role is second to none.

So is his ability to drive me crazy, and I’ve never hidden that fact from him! Being married for over 23 years gives a married couple many opportunities to do and say things that get on each other’s nerves. And although I could sometimes swear that some of his choices are made just to bug me, through the years I’ve come to respect the manner in which he approaches his endeavors. In other words, there may be times when I don’t agree with or even like a particular choice, but I certainly admire him for having well-thought-out reasons for his decisions and genuinely trying to make the decisions that best serve his family, friends, basketball players, and customers…depending on which hat he’s wearing for that particular decision. And when we face the numerous types of decisions that we must make together, we’ve developed a pretty darn respectful-of-each-other’s-views process that we go through.

I love that he’s a ‘Jesus-first. Family-second. All-else-third.’ type of guy. I love that he kisses me goodbye every morning before work. I love that I get to listen to him sing with the radio while I fake-sleep in the car. I love that he has a slightly weird obsession with the upkeep of our yard. I love that he loves to cook and grill and try new recipes. I love that we both love spending time together, and that we still make each other laugh like no one else does. I love that we’ve tackled some tough marriage and parenting issues together, and it’s brought us closer to each other instead of driving us apart. I love that we start many days off by praying with each other. Nothing helps someone see inside the heart of their spouse like seeking God’s will together in prayer. I love that he’s a man of integrity, that he’s a hard-worker, that he’s gorgeous, and that he’s mine. I love that God created us with each other in mind.

I’m assuming he will continue to sometimes drive me crazy until the end of time. To be perfectly honest, I’m good with that, because there’s no one I would rather write my story with. Good, bad, and crazy chapters and all.

 

Coincidence? God answers in time of doubt

Coincidence? God answers in time of doubt

During the early years of my marriage, I went through a phase of feeling very inadequate. The voice that casts doubts on whether we are good enough, smart enough, witty enough, pretty enough, interesting enough, capable enough etc. was screaming at me, and I was listening.

You know that voice? Sure, you do. It whispers, speaks, or shouts at different levels and at different times during our lives. Some of us are just much better than others at quieting it. Some of us have even found a way to turn the voice off. Unfortunately, at that point in my life, I didn’t know that not listening was an option.

I vividly remember one early morning sitting down in my living room recliner asking God through tears why I couldn’t be this…or that…or more this…or more that. And that particular morning that voice had convinced me that my husband was wishing or hoping or even praying that I was more than I was. What I was struggling with the most was that I didn’t feel beautiful enough…on the outside or inside. Mirrors constantly reminded me that I had never seen myself as beautiful. And comparing myself to others constantly reminded me that I wasn’t interesting enough to ever be described as having a “beautiful” personality.

My Bible was in my hands. I opened it, and it ‘happened’ to be these words that I read on page 1384: “Instead, it (beauty) should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” A rush of tears came and fell. I wept because He answered me so specifically, so intimately, and so perfectly. God heard me. God cared about me. And God cared about what I cared about. Goodness gracious…my Bible “fell open” to that particular verse…a verse I had never noticed before…a verse that hit the nail precisely on the head with my pain of feeling like I lacked beauty inside and out! He’s just that good. What I received from that answer to my tearful prayer was the promise that God says that the quiet, gentle trust I have placed in Him makes me beautiful, and it’s a beauty that does not fade. (1 Peter 3:4) The Bible says so.

I should mention that my husband hadn’t done anything to make me feel like I am not enough. This mindset was invented courtesy of me and the voice I hadn’t learned to hush. I am now confident that when he looks at me, he sees inside and outside beauty that he’s pretty thrilled with! I should also mention that I’m not saying a woman has to be reserved and quiet in order for God to find her valuable! The Bible doesn’t say a gentle and quiet personality…it says a gentle and quiet spirit. A gentle and quiet spirit comes from an assurance that God is taking care of you and that He loves you, despite what life’s circumstances might lead you to believe. It’s the type of assurance that gives us the peace that “transcends understanding,” talked about in Philippians 4:7. Our spirit doesn’t have to be caught up in the rush of anxiety and “disquiet”. We don’t need to be controlled by unrest, wondering if He has our best interests at heart. He does…and He proves His faithfulness over and over.

God gave me a confidence that day. It was placed in me by the One who knit me together in my mother’s womb. Wow! It’s a confidence that says I am of great worth in His sight. You can have that confidence too! That is a beautiful truth about a beautiful God who created people that He finds beautiful. People that sometimes just happen to open the Bible to the exact verse that speaks to their exact issue at that exact moment. What a beautiful coincidence.