>Kiss it, [insert name of credit card company here]!

>”What is your name?”
“Elizabeth W——-.”
“Thank you for calling. How can we assist you today?”
“I want to close my account.”
“Is there a reason you want to close it? Any problems?”
“No, just working on getting out of debt and this is our last card to close out of six.”
“Congratulations on paying off some debt. I would like to remind you that your card has no annual fee and you have a nice credit limit of $9,000.”
“No thanks, I would just like to close the account.”
“Okay, I understand. I would also like to remind you that you might want to keep it at a zero balance and just keep it open for emergencies.”
“That’s why I have an emergency fund. I would like to close the account please.”
“Okay, I understand. The account is closed and thank you for your business with us over the past four years.”
“Thanks! Have a great day.”

I used to get angry when I called customer service to close the account because of their persistence. This time I almost laughed all the way through. I forgot to ask about written confirmation, and also that it would show up on our credit report as closed per our request.

How do these people sleep at night? I guess most of America does not consider credit cards to be an issue. Really, if one has the responsibility to pay them off, then it’s fine, right? Not for us. We are both spenders. Dave Ramsey says that there is a spender and a saver. Hmm. We both like to spend money.

The guy told me to cut up my card. I didn’t get a chance to tell him that we did that eighteen months ago when we kissed that way of life goodbye.

I’m glad that at JoAnn’s, all we ask people to do is sign up for coupons through the mail. There’s no way I could ask people to sign up for a credit card.

Consider these verses:

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

>Anxiety = antithesis of faith

>This principle has really been impressed upon my spirit lately. I’m not even sure how to go about blogging about it simply because there’s just so much to say about faith and believing God and anxiety.

It is a command in Philippians 4 to not worry, but in everything, pray. From Blue Letter Bible:

It is not for us to be worried about tomorrow. Jesus says in Matthew that tomorrow has enough trouble of its own. There are so many scriptures that teach us to not worry or be anxious. The story of Joshua; the story of David. Jeremiah 29:11. “The steps of the righteous are ordered of the Lord.”

Here’s my logic, which you also might share: I can do everything in my power to be a responsible person and good steward of all I’ve been given (time, money, relationships, etc). But when truly following Jesus, His will will be done in the end; He truly holds the world. “Who by worrying can add an hour to his life?” If anything, the stress that comes from worry and anxiety will only shorten our lives.

In our video session tonight for Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed, Priscilla Shirer pointed out how important prayer is. It’s our most powerful weapon. David, in the same predicament more than once, prayed before each time. He didn’t rely on the same answer for both times, but instead sought a new word from the Lord.

When I pray about finances or Korea or my family, I need to pray more than once. If a problem arises in any of these areas, the Lord knows best on what approach I should employ to help solve the problem.

So, what does faith look like adjacent to worry?

If my car breaks down, I will [actually this happened tonight]…
think of every possible bad scenario. Call my dad, probably crying, and play out every solution in my mind. Panic.
stay calm. Call my dad, let him know what’s up. Call a friend to take me home. Call off work tomorrow and then plan to call Toyota tomorrow. No reason to worry about money since we are good stewards and have a special savings account for car repairs.

If a customer treats me poorly at work, I will…

…get upset internally, vent to a coworker later, and then when people ask about my day I will vent to each person and let them know just how poorly I was treated and how that person’s momma never taught them anything.
…treat the person with kindness, pray for them as they walk out the door [who knows what they’re going through to act like that] and let it go.

If I worry about the salvation of people I love, I will…

…cry out to God (and others) in frustration that I can’t get them saved and think about how badly their decisions are affecting their lives, as if I have control over what they’re doing.
…cry out to God asking Him to make Himself known to them in some way, through some person. Ask Him to help me be the best example I can be, and to give me a continued compassion. Pray continually.

If I feel the enemy trying to remind me of my past, I will…

…get upset that I sinned in an area I never thought I would. Ponder over and over how it could have possibly happened. Lament the example I was to others during that time and how it might affect their salvation.

…thank Jesus for His faithfulness to forgive, and to heal, and dwell in the love that He has for me. Pray about apologizing to others for my actions out of anger, anxiety, etc.

Think before hand of  how your reaction to trials will affect others, believers or not. How we react to life’s toughest circumstances says how much we trust God. Do we trust Him with 10%? Only certain people? Only a certain portion of our income? No. We need to trust Him 100%, every day and in every circumstance.

Obviously we are all works in progress. But as we know from Scripture He is faithful to complete the good work He began in all of us. We should not be discouraged by the prospect that we might fail. We will fail, many times. That is part of being human. But we can live blamelessly in the spirit of God by prayer and thanksgiving.

I am saying all this for my benefit as much as anyone else’s. I will say, though, that the Lord has brought me to a place of faith that I could not have seen six months ago. I saw only the tall wall in front of me. Now I’m standing on that plateau, looking down at where I came from. It wasn’t easy, but it’s been well worth the trip.

>A few favorite things


 Button-down sweaters. Most of these are from Target. I haven’t paid more than $14 for any of them. The hoodie is my VS Pink Army one that Aaron got me for Christmas.

 My students can tell you that I looooove big earrings. Here is my stash, which I don’t pay more than $4 a pair for. A lot are Kohl’s, Old Navy and Target clearance.

 Got these tonight! Love!!!

 Flats. I have a few more pairs than this. A lot are from American Eagle clearance. Old Navy, Vanity, Shoe Dept. No more than $15 a pair.

Scarves. Many are from Claire’s actually –  they had a huge sale and were only like $3 each! Then of course my thrift store finds and Walmart ones.

Tea! Emily is a shift supervisor at Starbucks so I benefit from that greatly with the Tazo Tea.

My other favorite thing is skinny jeans. I never thought I’d like them, much less wear them and love it. When I was bigger I really didn’t have the confidence to wear them but I could have anyway. I think if you get the right cut and wash they can flatter just about any figure. These are the ones I bought (obviously not me as this chick is like a size 2):

I got the longs and I roll them up one time. So cute and comfortable. If I were rich I’d buy multiple pairs of this one jean. And I will pay full price for a jean that fits well and you know will last. I love American Eagle’s selection. I can even dry them and they don’t end up too short!

I’m by no means a fashionista, but I know what I like and I know how to spend my clothing budget wisely, and I also try to dress my body well. I haven’t always attempted to be stylish, but now for the first time in my life I’m comfortable with my style.

>Thoughts on a long drive home

>Last night I drove home from Elgin all by myself in the dark. Roughly three and a half hours. Not a big deal, right? Wrong. It was a mental test. Proceed with caution as these are the true, unadulterated and obnoxious thoughts of a paranoid driver alone at night. Mile markers are approximate.

Mile 1 – Crap. I think I know how to get out of Elgin. The streets in this town are messed up. Do I have enough change for the toll? I need an I-Pass. Lord, protect me on my way home.

Mile 15 – Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. It’s dark. Why doesn’t that guy have his headlights on? Idiot. Turn on your headlights! Maybe I’ll flash my headlights at him. But maybe he has a loaded shotgun in the backseat and a hot temper. Better not. You just never know.

Belvidere Oasis – There’s Starbucks. It’s tempting, but I just want to get home. I don’t even have to pee yet. I’m tired. Bye bye Starbucks.

Mile 30 – Whoops. Almost had an accident merging onto 39. Didn’t even see that car coming. Thank you Jesus for helping me avoid an accident. I trust You. I trust You. [[tearing up, realizing that I trust Him for a lot more than just this measly drive home]] I trust You. That’s it.

Mile 33 – My iPod just died. This makes me really sad. Try to find a decent radio station. Ehhh, screw it. Hillsong works (CD in car).

Mile 38 – Wow. This road is really really long. And straight. And boring without Aaron. Last time we were on this road, it was February and there was a near-blizzard. I was so scared but glad he was with me.

Mile 40 – Glad I put in some fuel injector cleaner. Haven’t had any burps at all this whole trip. Daddy would be proud that I knew how to use it.

Mile 43 – I don’t even know how to check my tire pressure. Fail. Daddy would not be proud of me for that. I hope my tires are okay. And I think I’m good for another thousand miles before I need an oil change. This car has a lot of miles. But maybe it will last until like 400,000. That would be awesome.

Mile 60 – I still have a long way to go. I can’t wait until I’m home. Even in Peoria. Man, even in Bloomington. I need a drink of water but Emily ate all the ice that was in my water bottle. Ice eater.

Mile 74 – Wow, there are a bunch of tiny towns in the middle of nowhere. I bet they hate driving on two-lane roads all the time. GPS says I should take Route 24 home. But I hate two-lane roads. What if I hit a deer? What if I don’t? What if it takes longer if I take 74? What if I hit a deer on 74? What if I total my car and die? I guess I’m going to heaven. But I would feel sad for Aaron in heaven. Can you feel sad in heaven?

Mile 81 – I need to stop and pee. Where is the next exit? I hate stopping at night by myself. I will find a nice well-lit gas station.

Mile 90 – Mendota’s coming up soon. I’ll stop there and go pee and get some water. Or caffeine. Hmm. Starbucks sounds good. But I should drink water. But I want caffeine. But I’ll drink the caffeine faster.

Mile 93 – Okay, stopping in Mendota. I don’t want to make any more stops on this trip because I just want to get home. Aaron’s supposed to call at eleven. And I need to wash those dishes I left sit since who knows when. Gross. Man, I’m going to be tired when I get home.

Mile 100 – Okay, this isn’t so bad. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. Jesus, thank you for caffeine. Maybe I should pray. That would be a good idea. Oh! I have music on my phone. It has two bars left; I should be okay to play some music.

Mile 105 – Jesus, thank you for everything in my life. Thank you for the opportunities that you give to me, to my husband. Thank you for bringing me through even when I made my bed in hell. You are good. You have protected me. You’ve been with me.

Mile 120 – Okay, almost to Bloomington. Yay. Getting there. I remember driving this route from Varna when I’d come visit my grandparents after work. Can’t believe I wanted to stay here and go to ISU for my Master’s. So glad I don’t have to drive that far to work every day. I’ll need gas tomorrow.

Mile 130 – Yay, Bloomington! It’s gravy from here. That hill right before Goodfield creeps me out though. Lots of trees. Lots of deer…

Mile 163 – Peoria’s skyline is so pretty. I really like Peoria, although I get scared sometimes driving up Knoxville this late at night. GPS was right on on the time. My spedometer is fast. No wonder I haven’t gotten a ticket when I thought I was driving 78 on the interstate.. I was only going 75/76. Only? Hmm.

Mile 165 – Home! Yay! Not even going to check the mail. I’m tired. And I have dishes to do. Oh man. But Aaron’s calling soon! I love him….

>6.2 mi/10K – half of a half marathon ;)

>I had a great time this morning at the Morton Pumpkin Festival 10K with my friend Gabriela. I picked her up at 6:15, and we headed over to the race site. We had to pick up our shirts and bibs since we didn’t get them last night. We went to the gas station, had some coffee, stretched, and the race started at 7:30.

I did my first mile in about 10:20, which is a great race pace for me for longer distances. I was even focusing on holding back for at least the first four miles. I felt great the entire time. I had no pain or side stitches. I focused too on my form and kept my upper body loose. I finished the fifth mile at 51:59, I think, from what the person at the mile post said.

The weather was beautiful, and there was a portion of the race where we were running in the country. With the angle of the sun, pattern of the clouds, and the fields harvested, it made for a perfect way to start the day. One of my favorite parts was when I heard a few seconds of silence in between songs on my playlist and all I heard were the light steps of shoes on the pavement.

At the fourth mile, I knew I was going to finish strong. About the last half mile I really pushed myself, and I sprinted the last two-tenths of the race. I didn’t use my upper body so much to propel myself, but my legs. It’s almost impossible to not have an adrenaline rush with all the people gathered around the finish line and the time clock in sight.

It was such a great experience. Afterwards, Gabriela and her family and I walked over to McDonald’s for breakfast. Yesterday I had stayed hydrated and ate well. This morning I had a banana and two pieces of turkey bacon for breakfast, and even a little coffee on my way there.

Here are a couple pics taken by Petr:

 After finishing strong : 1:03:51, 10:17 pace!

Gabriela met me at the finish line! She did an awesome job.

I think we may do some long runs together in preparation for a marathon next spring. I’m planning on running in Korea, she in Urbana.

I’m telling you, once you start, you get hooked. It’s an incredible mix of the adrenaline, belonging to something greater than yourself, fun at races (including shirts! haha), doing something great for your body and just the sense of accomplishment.

>In everything, give thanks; and meet Elizabeth the homebody

>This command from I Thessalonians in on my mind tonight.

The waitlist has not moved. We are still #11, and they’ve added even more families. Now the list holds 157 families all waiting to get to Korea to be with their soldier. Maybe some of them are already there, just waiting for command sponsorship to go through.

I am thankful, though. How did I get to the point where I can truly say that? My eyes tear up as I think about what the Lord has done in my life. Makes me think about the song..

“When I think about the Lord, how He saved me, how He raised me.. how He filled me with the Holy Ghost, how He healed me to the uttermost… when I think about the Lord, how He picked me up, turned me around, set my feet on solid ground…”

I’ve been settling into my job at the fabric store. I find myself very comfortable there after only six weeks. I feel like I’ve known my coworkers for much longer, and that generally I can answer customers’ questions. I’ve definitely been tested. Customer service/retail is an interesting industry. You deal with all types of people from all walks of life. Some are friendly, some are rude. You learn to deal.

I have been getting 34-38 hours per week, which after you do the math with minimum wage ($8.25) lets me put about $500 down on our debt every two weeks. Not too shabby – $1000 a month! Maybe we’ll have this next loan paid off before I go to Korea. That’s one more minimum payment that we won’t have. And we’ll be that much closer to being debt free. I’m making considerably less than what I was teaching, but we are really using all of my income now on debt. Last year we had trips planned all the time and used extra money for those.

When I get to Korea, I’m totally going to ride on the plan that God has for me. I’m not going to worry about tomorrow, what I will eat or where I will live. I’m not going to submit 571658 job applications and get myself in a frenzy about getting a call about them. Aaron and I are both really looking forward to living together again, cooking dinner, going to church, et cetera. He’s been working nights recently, so if I’m able to switch my schedule around to accommodate his, that would be wonderful.

I know that the Lord goes before me. He’s knitting together relationships and connections there, opportunities for ministry, opportunities for me and Aaron. In all things He works it together for our good.

I’m thankful for all the relationships that have grown in the past several months (as I posted about last night). Thankful to be around family, to be here for Addy’s first year of life, to be here to see my nieces, nephew and the rest of the W clan. Thankful to be here for my Grammie’s surgery, for Bible study, for worship team, for FALL.

How I adore fall! Today was beautiful. I love chilly overcast days. I love the feeling of putting on a sweater for the first time, for a hot cup of coffee or tea. I love also the feeling when you wake up in the morning of being all cozy in bed while the air is still cool, breeze blowing through the window. Of waking up at six-something in the morning and it still being relatively dark out. Of daylight savings time ending and gaining an hour of sleep.

My goals over the next few weeks are to:
1) continually improve and check my attitude at work
2) strive to make a positive contribution there
3) grow even more in my prayer/study life
4) enjoy time in the morning with coffee and the Word
5) nurture friendships with friends and family
6) enjoy being at home
7) increase my running distance and begin training for a marathon

#6 is something I’ve always strived to do. Sometimes it seems easier to go to Starbucks or Panera and wind down there with a book or my laptop. But I have a perfectly cozy and usually clean apartment (not guaranteeing clutter-free though!) where I can relax. Not having a TV has been a great experience. I like sitting in the living room chair, or curled up on the couch, reading or knitting and talking to Aaron on Skype.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 is not a suggestion; it is a commandment.

Be joyful always; 
pray continually; 
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I want to strive to do the Lord’s will, don’t you?

>Created for relationship

>Though I work early-ish tomorrow and have a busy weekend ahead, I can’t help but get some thoughts down about relationship.

We were created in God’s image. We were created for two types of relationships: one with the Lord and one with people. To live a fulfilled life with a purpose, one has to have both.

I think it’s a beautiful concept. I think the fact that we’re created in God’s image is just beautiful in itself. I grew up hearing those words from Genesis. Remember the felt Bible characters in Sunday school? Coloring pages? It was all there. It wasn’t until I went to Beth Moore in St. Louis in June with Darla that I really understood what it meant to be made in His image.

Since Aaron left for Basic a long time ago (17 months now) I threw myself into Bible study, hanging out with people and felt like I’ve poured out myself. I know there is something to spending time with the Lord alone with no one else around. That’s so important. It’s just funny because I’ve never considered myself a “social” person. And lately, within the last few months, I’ve been spending time with lots of people. Family, and friends. And out of my friends, a lot of ladies from church of all ages.

Some are five years younger, some are fifteen years older. I have gleaned so much wisdom and truth from my friends, and I feel like I have innumerable sisters, aunts and moms. (I love my mom, of course. I just love to have that type nurturing though from other ladies I know.)

One of the most beautiful things I’ve seen is the willingness to encourage and edify. It’s really brought Scripture to life for me.

Ephesians 4:29: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 
Hebrews 10:24-25: 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

In no particular order, thanks to Amelia, Darla, Tammy, Kristen, Gabriela, Leigh Ann and Lee Ann, Kim, Karen, Trish, my two Megans, Lois, my two Sherris, Carey, Malory, Heather, Hannah, Cathy, Kathy, Suzie, Lanelle, Dana, Hayley, Tina, Marta, Trixie, Mila, Michelle, Jessica… I could literally list dozens of women who have spoken into my life and been such an encouragement to me.

You all will never know the extent of the seeds you’ve planted. You’ve prayed with me and listened to me. You’ve inspired me to strive for that Proverbs 31 woman that you all exemplify. You’ve shared difficult times, happy times, advice about parenting, advice about marriage. Thank you for asking how I’m doing. Thank you for sharing about what the Lord has done in your life. Thank you for the countless hugs and cups of coffee. Thank you for the sisters, moms, daughters, and wives you are.

To turn a corner, tonight at small group we prayed for someone in our group who recently had a very hard time. It brought tears to my eyes as she shared her struggle and I was almost immediately on my feet to lay hands and pray for her.

Isn’t it beautiful how we spur one another to good works? How we pray for one another, even if we don’t know each other well? How we make ourselves vulnerable so that we can let God work and weave together a friendship that could very well last a lifetime?

My faith in friendship with women has been renewed. My expectations are not of the people I’m in relationship with, but in the Lord to provide the fruits of the spirit for that relationship.

Genesis 1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

>The compassion of Jesus

>[[I started this blog last night]]

I have to admit, I’ve never always had a “passion for the lost”. It used to be just a bunch of buzz words to me. In all honesty, in the past I’m not sure I really cared, even in the same breath that I said I loved Jesus. But as I started going through life, trying some things on my own (unfortunately the big things), I realized how much I need Jesus. For grace. For the sustenance that pure and unadulterated truth brings to my soul. For a sense of self that goes beyond me. As I began to trust Him in my weaknesses, even the big ones, I was strengthened. I didn’t have to be in a pit of depression, addicted to feeding my own self-pity. And I began to see that no one needed to be addicted to, well, anything. Emotional or physical.

And I think that’s when my heart of compassion began to grow. Let me give you a little visual here. This is where my heart of compassion used to be.

 For my first “real” job I worked at a grocery store (I taught piano before that). In a store like that, you see every type of person. Rich, poor, young, old, big, small. Everyone needs food, right? Well, there was this one lady who came in a lot. You have a lot of people pass through the lanes every week, but some are regulars. She was one of them. I used to make fun of her, either in my mind or with other fellow customer service associates behind the desk.

She had faded, grown-out bleached blonde hair, probably hadn’t had a shower in awhile, and old clothes that weren’t clean and didn’t match. She would buy the most random things, which was one funny thing. But the kicker was that she was probably either high or in between highs. She twitched, her hands shook and she stuttered a lot. She wasn’t always the nicest person either. I don’t have experience in that area but it was easy to tell that she had.

So, you know, there were the obvious comments, and making fun of not only her but how she of course single-handedly characterized the town I grew up in.

The other day on my third job in retail, I was working the register and guess who I saw. Her. The same lady. I hadn’t worked at the grocery store in two years, but she was still the same. And at first I had my same old reaction: defensive just in case she was rude and judgmental just in case she was high.

And then I realized that I was playing favorites. I was being nicer to the people who looked nicer or who were friendly and chatty with me, and had a blanket smile with everyone else. I realized what I was doing in my own head (granted this is a whole two seconds of my life that I had this conversation with myself) and all of a sudden I felt such a heaviness on my heart for her.

What had she been through in life? Was she addicted? Did she have children she was trying to care for? Had her children been taken away? Had she been clean and now her chemical makeup was permanently altered? Or had she never taken substances and just been born with mannerisms she couldn’t control? Then I began to think more, all while ringing up her purchase of $3 and answering her questions about how much fabric costs and how to make a scarf. Had anyone shown her compassion a day in her life? Had she ever known true love, from a man or anyone else? The biggest question to me was: Had she ever heard of someone named Jesus? And if so, did she know that He loves her?

I wanted to just reach out right there and give her a hug and talk to her, ask her about her life. I was reminded that all of us were created with a God-given purpose in mind. We all deserve to have dignity, and it can be restored if it’s been shattered. We all have come from dust, and He remembers that because He made us. I was reminded of the woman at the well and the compassion Jesus showed her that day, and how her life was changed forever.

I have prayed for a heart of compassion, both for people I know and people I meet elsewhere. I know that the Lord has started this work in me for a purpose. Sometimes I hear about things that happen in people’s lives that are just so atrocious and horrific and I just want to bawl. Cry for what, I’m not sure. For their pain, their loss.

I think a major part of this journey of compassion for me has been teaching. Since 2000 when I started teaching piano, I have met so many different kinds of students and families. When a student acted out, I really tried to understand why. Sometimes the reasons boggled my mind. And instead then of getting frustrated right away, I would personify who they were and get them out of this mental box I had put them in.

This practice helped me keep so much patience when teaching 100 students per day. Every morning before classes started I would just think through how I would react to certain situations. Sometimes when they were at their desks or working quietly (or not haha) in groups I would silently pray for them. I rarely lost my patience, and very rarely did I act out in anger. I also tried to be very intuitive with how each and every one of my students was feeling that day. My first goal was not to teach Spanish; it was to let them know that I cared.

In no way with this am I trying to say that people are not responsible for their actions. When Jesus talked with the woman at the well, He acknowledged her sin. Then He forgave her and told her to sin no more. But he had compassion on her first. I want my heart of compassion to grow bigger, especially for the people I’m already in relationship with. So big that I’m not even capable of judging first but of loving.

So here is a visual of how my heart feels now:

>A new goal

>After talking with Aaron about finding races to run in Korea, we opted to start training soon for the Seoul International Marathon next spring (March). This race has about 30,000 runners from all over the world, though most are Korean. You run through the city, among places of fame and history, and finish the race in the Olympic Stadium. Can you even imagine?

Entry is only $40, and the race has to be completed in five hours. That leaves us with about six months to train. That means my average pace needs to be about 11:45 to finish in five hours.

My goal when I started running 18 months ago was to finish a marathon by age 30. If we do this next March, that will be a month before my 25th birthday. How awesome would that be?

Here is the schedule I’d like to follow:

It assumes a person has been running for 6-10 weeks, and can run for more than 30 minutes at a time without stopping. Check and check. I have my 10K on Saturday. I plan on getting my nutrition down to a science, and then start training. Not sure if Aaron and I will run together. We will have to see what our race pace would be.
It would be cool to include a couple more races in the mix, maybe another 10K or a half marathon. And since the schedule is for 16 weeks, I can modify it to fill out about 26 weeks. Week 1 is very typical of what I can do now.
Gabriela and I ran last night at Detweiller. We did about 3.8 miles with a 10:00 pace. Felt great afterwards, like I could keep going for much longer. In fact, I didn’t really feel like I had a hard workout. When did I get to that point?! Feels great!!
I spent some time today making chili and spaghetti sauce. I will make the noodles later. I cooked up a pound of lean ground beef and a pound of ground turkey and used half and half in each recipe. The chili is amazing! Those two meals will be my lunches and dinners for awhile. I don’t mind eating the same things over as long as they’re good. And now that we’d taken an income decrease it serves us well to cook in bulk like that. Can’t wait to cook for my husband.

>If My people pray

>Just a quick post. Believing while praying is so essential, and I can’t believe I went the first 23-ish years of my life without truly believing what I was praying most of the time. It’s incredible the results that follow! Here are my experiences in prayer lately:

  • If you pray for patience, the Lord will let you be placed in circumstances beyond your control. Over and over, in every area of your life.
  • If you pray for compassion, He will give you ample opportunity to express this to people, and may use your past experiences as a springboard.
  • If you pray for a burden for the lost, He will give you a righteous anger for what the enemy has done to turn away the hearts of the once-committed, or to let people live their entire lives in half-truths.
  • If you pray for Him to be your best friend, He will let you see that the only one you can ever rely on 100% is Him. Best friends in this world are great and God-given, but He is the only one who will not disappoint.
  • If you pray to think on good things (Phil. 4:8), He will truly give you a thirst for the good things and a repulsion to the bad.
  • If you pray for grace to be sufficient for the day, it will be. Then tomorrow you pray for grace to be sufficient for that day. And so on.
  • If you pray for a transparent heart [of worship], He will create in you a heart that’s worn on your sleeve, in a good way. (A keyboard needs to be created with a built-in tissue dispenser.)

Can you personally relate to any of these?