Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Value of Answered Prayer

Yesterday was an emotionally hard day for me. I woke up feeling tired, my body ached, my heart ached and I just felt really down. I often have emotionally-hard days and sometimes, I chalk them up as a result of having some sort of spiritual battle. Sometimes, it's because the kids are being- well, kids- and I am having a difficult time being a normal mom. Other days, I really just have no clue. Yesterday, I believe I was battling with something I feel I am constantly battling with: defining my purpose in life, grappling with self-doubt and worry over something major I feel God has asked me to do for Him. I find it incredibly difficult, when it is this type of spiritual battle, to get away from these feelings. And maybe that's the nature of the battle, to foster feelings that root themselves deep within me so as to not allow me to let them go so easily.

My wonderful husband let me go out for a bit all by myself when he got home from work. I didn't have to worry about taking any of the kids and I could do whatever I needed or wanted to do. Getting behind the wheel of my husband's Honda with just my bank card, my license and my sunglasses and keys, I felt unlike I had all day. I felt like me. I felt like a person who had freedom and could fly high above any sad emotions I had experienced through out the day. I pulled out of the driveway and headed north, tuning the Serius radio to a less annoying station than the one my husband had it on.

I decided I wanted to go to the Christian bookstore that was about 10 minutes up Rt.15. I wanted to see if I could find something for my husband for Father's Day and I also needed to do a little bit of market research for a manuscript I have been working on. I spent a lot of time sitting on the floor in the young adults non-fiction section, paging through different books I thought would be relevant to my quest, skimming for content. I came upon a newly-published book geared toward teenage girls and something in me told me to get it. I obviously am not a teenager and I am too young to have a teenager for a child but I just felt like I needed to buy it. I wasn't sure it was even anywhere close to being like my manuscript (the purpose of market research) but I purchased it anyway. It was a whopping $11 total, which I consider expensive for a thin book I knew nothing about but what's $11 when you have such a strong God-directed feeling about something?

I left that bookstore and decided to head over to the Borders that was across the highway, to do a little more market research and maybe sit in the cafe for a bit. I wandered around in the store for awhile, not really finding anything that helped and then I made my way over to the cafe. I picked up a Mothering magazine, bought an oatmeal cranberry raisin cookie (which I had heated up...yummm!!) and a white chocolate mocha. I found a seat in the corner, a comfy leather chair by the window, and sat down to enjoy my purchases and thumb through the borrowed magazine.

With the warmth of the retreating sun shining through the window glass, I enjoyed my semi-quiet aloneness. I couldn't even really pay attention to the magazine I had picked up and just kind of sat, sort of eavesdropping on other people's conversations, making notes in a little notebook I brought in with me of thoughts that were running through my head, thinking about the book I bought at the other bookstore....relishing the fact that the only person I was in charge of was me.

When I got home about an hour and a half later, after getting lost on my way home because I took a wrong turn, I enjoyed the company of our new next-door neighbors and their son along with my husband and daughters (Aidan was already in bed) and just felt so much better than I had earlier in the day. Later, when we went to bed, my husband turned on the t.v. and faded off to sleep as I read my new book. Even though this book was geared toward teenage girls, there was a message in it that anyone searching for answers in life would really appreciate coming across, especially me. And in essence, it truly was an answer to several prayers.

The message stated that God plants dreams (for our lives) in our souls and that these dreams are very closely related to the gifts He made us with, the gifts we were born with, the gifts we need to develop and share in order to do His will. It's not on accident that we have dreams, especially dreams that won't seem to fade and only grow stronger in our life as we progress.

For me, finding this statement in the midst of many other very helpful parts of the book, was a beautiful ending to a somewhat-hard day and an almost-perfect evening. I realized that often when I pray for answers, God delivers them in the most unexpected way. This time, it was buying an $11 book by an unknown author in a Christian book store near my home.


Summary:
Random Christian book by an unknown author: $11
White chocolate Mocha and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie: $5.79
Time by myself (including getting lost) plus a beautiful answer to prayer: PRICELESS

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