Yesterday, I turned 33.
In some ways, I love my thirties. I am no longer an unsure twenty-something trying to find my way in life. I have direction and purpose. And yet, in some ways, I don’t want to grow older. With age, comes worry. Fear. The more I know about the world, the more I realize all that could go wrong.
Can you relate?
I used to live a carefree life, not a worry in the world. But now, I find myself staring at my sleeping children praying that the awful things I’ve seen will never happen to them.
Fear Can Paralyze Us
Ten years ago, I stood in the Emergency Room over two 21-year-olds barely hanging onto life. They had fallen 50 feet off a downtown building and landed on the road below. Just two years older than them, I was a chaplain-intern at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital and was on-call that night. It was five in the morning and I had two hours left of my shift.
There was nothing for me to do other than pray. These two people had not yet been identified. No family had been contacted.
I stood over them praying life into them as the ER team frantically did all they could.
I prayed for a miracle, but in my head, I knew my prayer wouldn’t be answered. I prayed for healing, but I knew it wouldn’t come. I knew the inevitable. They would die that day.
Seven years ago, I sat in the same hospital as a patient. I was three months pregnant with my first child, but something had gone wrong. Despite my prayers and pleading, my child died. My body went into early labor, actively trying to get the baby out, putting me into so much pain I could barely walk upright. Hours later, I held my baby’s frail little body in the palm of my hand as I memorized ten tiny fingers and toes.
When Life Gets Rough, It Is Easy to Give into Fear
At twenty-six, I knew too much. I had seen way too many young people die. I had stood next to way too many grieving families with no words of comfort to offer them. I knew the millions of ways one’s life could shatter in the blink of an eye. My life was no longer carefree. It was no longer without worry.
I still prayed to the one true God who I knew performed miracles, but sometimes I doubted my prayers. I questioned God’s faithfulness. I was praying, but did I truly believe in the power of God’s love? Was I praying just for the sake of praying? Or did I truly expect God to be active?
When My Children Pray, They EXPECT God to Be Active
Not too long ago, we were in a drought. It hadn’t rained for months and months. The land was parched, the river was low, and wildfires were spreading across the state. We would step outside and be overwhelmed by the smell of smoke.
That Sunday, after worship, my six-year-old son went up to the front of the church and knelt before God. I noticed him out of the corner of my eye. He had his hands folded and his eyes closed. A few minutes later, he ran up to me and excitedly said,
“Do you know what I was doing Mommy? I was praying for rain. Now we aren’t in a drought anymore!”
And with that, he ran off. He was so incredibly sure that God would actively answer his prayer. He never doubted that rain would come.
It started raining that afternoon.
And it rained for two weeks straight.
When we believe in a God who fervently answers our prayers, we see miracles.
Pay Attention- God Is Active
When I pay attention, I can see God actively working in my life, in those around me, and in others throughout the world. The other day, I heard news of a boy with cancer in our town. His ANC number had dropped two weeks in a row. I’m not a doctor, but I understand these are the type of white blood cells that fight infection. Overnight people prayed over him for his numbers to go up. Sisters and Brothers in Christ interceded for him in prayer. The next morning, as the doctors and nurses drew his labs, they saw that his numbers had increased by over one thousand. JESUS. Nothing else could explain how his numbers could increase without treatment. GOD is active in our lives, answering our prayers.
God Gives Us Life, Life Abundantly
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10
I began asking myself, “Do my actions show that I believe what God has to say? Do I believe that God wants nothing more than to give me life? When life is rough, when things don’t go as planned, when I experience pain and hurt, do I believe in a God who answers prayers and gives life abundantly? Do I believe in a God who is actively working miracles, even when I don’t see them?
This Year I’m Choosing Life Over Fear
As I sat in my parent’s living room on my birthday last night, surrounded by family who loves me more than anything, I noticed this incredible life God has given me.
This life I so desperately wanted as I miscarried my first child.
I saw how God took hurt and pain and is weaving it into the most grace-filled love story of all time.
Why would I resist growing older? As each year passes, God’s grace becomes clearer. Each year, more of God’s grace-filled love story is revealed. So this year, I will not choose fear. Instead, I will pray expecting God to be active.
I will pray knowing that God is bigger than any of my fears. That God is bigger than anything in this world. God is love. God is life.
This year I will choose life.
Will you choose it alongside me?
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