When You Pray Anything

It's only fitting that the final post for 2013 go back to the beginning.  The first post of 2013 was simply titled Anything.  It remains one of the top 5 most visited posts. "The prayer that unlocked my God and my soul".   Who knew that those nights that I spent awake, heart pounding, as if the scales were falling off my eyes what the year would bring.  When I woke Justin up in the middle of the night last January and said "something is happening. Life has to be about more than what we have made it. I don't know what's changing but something is.  God is doing something in me." As I would later tell our friends in recounting this story, He was preparing to "wreck" my life.  2013 was a display of God's glory and His faithfulness when we open our lives and simply pray "anything".  

The year started off with the loss of my grandmother, MeMaw (Francis Roberts), and ended her struggle with dementia.  We found joy among the sorrows and joy in celebrating her life.  After returning home we made the decision to put our house that we lived in 4 years on the market. 

Then came the endless days of repairs, upkeep, and showing after showing after showing.  

After 75 showings, Justin and I made the decision to take the house off the market.  With that many showings and no offers, and the nudging I kept having, I finally convinced him that we should wait and go back to enjoying life and our house.

One of the BEST parts of 2013 was our ability to travel.  The joys and freedoms of staying at home were such a blessing.  We were able to go home for weddings, beach trips, family time, cabin time, farm time, and just relaxing time.  We surprised my dad for his 60th and even got to spend some cousin time in Arkansas!

Alabama Cousins

Arkansas Cousins

Florida Cousin 
It was at home on one of these trips that God began to put His plans for my life in fast forward.   The phone call came while I was at the beach that put in motion an opportunity at our church, Faithbridge.  I will never forget standing on the balcony talking on the phone about it.  Crying.  Heart pounding.  Considering the thought of putting the boys back in school and going to work full time.   In the moments of fear and panic that followed I can so could so clearly hear "but you said anything. right?"  And that didn't just include Honduras.  

And about that house we wanted to sell?  After I accepted the job at Faithbridge Justin and I decided that we wanted to get serious about moving closer to the church.  We prayed about it and decided to put the house up for rent since it didn't sell before.  No interest for 4 days.  On my second day of work, Justin sends me a text he decided to put it back on the market.  It sold the next day for FULL ASKING PRICE.  Nothing different.  Nothing changed from month's before except that now, we were clearly walking in God's will for our lives.   New house?  We have looked for 2 years.  When I got back from Honduras Justin had already been looking while I was gone.  After being disappointed about what was available and making a couple of offers that we lost, Justin said to me "the house that you are looking for, that has these things that you want, at this price, does not exists." I began praying earnestly about where we should move and what house.  That Sunday night, a house came on the market with no pictures just basic information and neighborhood.  Justin called the realtor to see it just based on the fact it had the right number of rooms, a pool, and in one of our top neighborhoods.  We saw it Monday at 9am. It had everything that was on the list and in our price range. Put in an offer, got it and closed both houses in 30 days!  God is good.  (when you wait on His timing of course :-)

Consistently both Justin and I have prayed and expressed our desire for this to be the Lord's  house and for Him to use it for His purpose.   A month after we moved in we held a grow group meeting here.  We were intensely praying for our group and what God's plan was for the group and we broke into small sub groups to pray.  After I was done I walked to the kitchen and I could see in each corner of the room, the dining room, the office, and around the island, people praying.  On their knees, in chairs, standing, hands adjoined and I felt such peace about our decision and confirmation!  I shed quite a few tears that night :-)

The sweet beauty of this year is not just the changes God was stirring in my heart, but that He brought Justin to the same point.  We made a decision late spring that we would forgo the planned Disney trip vacation in order to be able to do mission trips.   Even though he had another vacation type over seas trip that he could have taken, he too felt called to go and serve and be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Between us we were a part of drilling 3 wells that brought fresh, clean water to 3 different communities.  His in Haiti and mine in Honduras.  

I had a hard adjustment back to work.  There were a lot of tears.  From all 3 of us.  A lot of transition time to find the right combination of childcare and work/life balance.  Quite a bit of grieving on my part in missing the sweet precious limitless time that I had enjoyed with the boys for the last 2 years.  It was hard.  And some days, it is still hard.  But God is merciful.  "All that I needed, His hand has provided."  He has literally answered prayers in front of my eyes.  He has comforted me, He has challenged and grown me.  He has given me grace when I failed or feel like I failed in some capacity in any given day and am unable to give myself grace. 

2013 changed our hearts.  It changed the way we look at life.  We are no longer content to sit on the sidelines and see the hurt, broken, and injustices of the world and sit quietly by.  We are no longer ok to just strive for a life full of "us" and more things and more comforts.  This year consisted of moments like this (taken from one of my posts about my time in Honduras

On the playground one afternoon there were just a few kids left.  Felicia was sitting on a bench and we were talking.  A couple of kids climbed on the swings so I jumped up to push them.  As I was pushing them I started singing Jesus Loves Me to them just like I do my kids.  Felicia joined in and sang beautifully.  As I pushed them and looked around at the conditions.  The dirty water they were drinking.  The bathroom conditions.  The classroom with minimal supplies.  My mind could not wrap around how blessed we are in the US in comparison.  I thought these easily could be my kids. I could have been born here. This could be my life.  My eyes teared up as I was just overwhelmed by this life and distinction between birthright and where you are born.  I said to God, why me?  I am so underserving of your blessings. Your abundant over flowing blessings. At that moment, one of the teenagers walked by wearing my hard hat and I saw the verse that I put on my hat.  Luke 12:48 - From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.  God didn't bless me so that I could just enjoy this life and bask in his bounty and goodness.  He blessed me so that I could bless others.  What I have is not mine.  My treasure does not lie here.  God entrusts us with his resources to be good stewards.  To have the ability to help those less fortunate here and abroad.  To have the resources to spread the Gospel. 

In 2013, we lived abundantly.  We lived joyfully.  We enjoyed every season and the fun that God blessed us with.  We played hard and loved hard.  We took time to eat ice cream and roast marsh mellows on the beach.  We saw monster trucks and hunted treasure like pirates.  We giggled under blankets eating popcorn watching movies and warmed our piggies by the fire while drinking hot chocolate.  We traveled and experienced new places.  A year full of the love of family and the warmth of friends.  We swam until our bodies were wrinkled and then snacked in the salty air by the ocean.  We slept with the windows open so we could hear the waves.  We dressed up like superheroes and some days never got out of our pajamas. We rode bikes and took walks.  We chased butterflies and collected leaves. The boys had their first inner tube ride and fell in love with boats and lake life.  We celebrated 9 years of marriage.  We painted, baked, danced, and broke in our new kitchen.  We made HUGE messes and rewarded ourselves with chocolate for cleaning them up!  In each moment, in each memory, we continue to be grateful for each other and for the year 2013. 

The Riley FamilyComment