I promised to share two personal stories of when I’ve asked God for something. I promised to share how He blessed me in both circumstances—by either giving me the desire of my heart and by withholding it. And I will. I promise.
However, I’m going to add one more story to this list.
This morning during worship God spoke directly to my heart, eliciting tears of repentance, thanksgiving, and praise. What He convicted me of is so intertwined with this message that I believe it’s why He prevented me from writing it yesterday–He wasn’t done writing it on my heart yet.
When I was a little girl, I had two big dreams tucked into the secret area of my heart. Theses dreams occupied my thoughts and infiltrated my goals for years to come. I kept these dreams hidden for a long time fearing someone might steal them or try to take them away.
- Having a house on a lake
- Having my own horse to ride whenever I want
A House on The Water
The sound of waves lapping the shore has always mesmerized me. I can feel my body’s inner-most tension slowly untie with each passing moment. The waves lifting the surface of the water as they roll across the lake, are like fingers gently massaging my neck and shoulders. I close my eyes soaking it all in–and a loon calls. Relaxation complete.
From the time I was old enough to appreciate the pleasure of being on the lake, I was old enough to desire the lake life. And shortly after Thad and I were engaged, I let him into that secret place in my heart.
Fast forward several years.
Thad and I started to look for houses on a lake but soon discovered there weren’t many viable options in our price range. Finally, we found one that was large enough for our family, in a great location, and not ancient. However, it was slightly out our range, but it had been on and off the market for a few years, so we put in a lowball offer hoping to get a deal. I was excited! I arranged furniture, divided up the rooms, and organized the kitchen in my mind. I was confident they would accept our offer or at least dicker a little bit. But they didn’t, they told us to take a hike.
I was devastated! How could God not come through? Why didn’t He give me the desire of my heart as He promised? I felt cheated. Ignored. Angry.
Have you ever been there?
“Well, Baby, did you ask? Did you bring me into this decision? Did you seek my will, direction, and blessing?”
Wrecked! I was wholly convicted. I repented of my selfishness and pride. I apologized for not seeking His will and being angry with Him for my stupidity. Seriously, I know better than that! Then I waited for my dream to up in the flames of my self-righteousness.
It didn’t. But the way I prayed for it changed dramatically.
First I handed my desire over to Jesus. I laid it all out at His feet, holding nothing back. Then I said, “It’s all Yours. I give it to you with trembling hand, knowing you could take it away. But if this dream is not in Your will for me, if it doesn’t magnify You or bring You glory; take it and replace it with what does. Your will be done, not mine.”
A few years later He led us to our current home. He led us to a complete fixer-upper. He led us to a house far from perfect but with great potential. He led us to a house that would teach us more of who He is and refine our marriage and family. He led us to a house we can share with others and use for His glory. It hasn’t been a smooth ride, but I can say it’s been worth it. Not just to have a home on a lake, but to have more of Him revealed that otherwise, I might not have been able to see.To Him be the glory.
There’s nothing like being on the back of a horse. Of moving as one unit with one mind. Of feeling all that power harnessed by a bond of shared trust and respect. When I ride, I feel free. Vibrant. Joyfilled.
I was introduced to horses by family friends as a child. And the first time I looked into those big brown eyes and kissed that velvety nose, I knew I was in a forever kind of love. Growing up, I was not able to get a horse, but shortly after Thad and I were married, I had the opportunity to lease one. Peron was a beautiful, temperamental, sassy, chestnut, Arabian. He was perfect.
Over the next year, Peron’s owners watched our bond grow and offered to sell him to me for a song. Of course, I jumped at the offer! I raced home, talked to Thad, and wrote the check intending to make the transaction on Monday.
But then Saturday afternoon I was feeling off–again. I had been feeling sick for a few weeks now, and as I ticked off the possibilities, I realized I could be pregnant. So Sunday I sat with an EPT in one hand and a check in the other debating what to do with Peron. Thad said we could make it work, but I knew God was telling me to let Peron go. And I did.
There are no words to tell you how deeply I grieved. However, I refused to let my dream die. I promised myself I would have a horse when I turned 40.
Then the summer after my 40th birthday we went to Montana for a family vacation. While there, I had the opportunity to ride a mountain horse for a few days. Lawerance was feisty, slightly naughty, and sweet all at the same time. He was beautifully balanced, needed few ques, responded well to my seat, and only required the slightest leg pressure to change direction. I didn’t need to use my reigns at all. He was also smooth and surefooted, which made riding through the rugged terrain a pure delight.
About halfway through the ride, I discovered if I talked to someone else, he would start acting a little naughty but when I gave him my full attention, he was compliant and well behaved. So I waved his mama forward and asked if this was normal behavior for him. She was in the process of asking for clarification when he started being naughty again. I held up my finger, reminded him of my seat, and talked only to him. He simmered down and put his halo back in place. His mama was aghast, mouth wide open. She had never seen him behave that way in her 12 years of owning him. Before she fell back, she said she was going to check-in in a little bit. When she did she concluded; You have a jealous boy there. I can’t lie, her comment pleased me.
The following day, both of our convictions were confirmed when he started to whinny as he saw me coming up the hill. As soon as he heard my voice, he started being so obnoxious His poor mama went to hitch him to the other side of the trailer. However, he was determined to come to me, so she handed me his lead and said, “I guess he’d rather be with you.” Oh, the pleasure that flooded my heart!
When I got back to Minnesota, the desire to recapture that connection was fierce. I started looking at rescue sites and horses for sale with an even greater fervor.
Then I felt the Spirit stirring in my heart. “Baby, we’ve been here before. Let’s not recycle that situation.”
“Oops. True.” So I started praying earnestly. About WHICH horse I should get, WHAT breed, and if it should be a rescue or not.
You know that look you get when you miss someone’s point? I swear I got that look from the Spirit.
Ah, nuts! I confessed my selfishness–again and then prayed as I did for our house.
However, this time, He removed the desire for my heart instead of granting it. He was so sweet and tender; I didn’t even realize its passing. Later, Jesus helped me recognize that His calling on my life does not work well with a horse. In light of my other responsibilities, I wouldn’t have time for one. And any joy in getting one would be replaced by stress. Granted, when I’m given a chance to ride, I take it. However, I’m at peace with this and thankful for Jesus guiding my heart.
As I walk in obedience to God’s call to write and speak, I’m trying to discern where exactly He’s leading me. Daily I ask Him to open doors, pave my path, and light the way. I beg Him to anoint my words and refine my writing. I beg Him to give me His wisdom and show me how to communicate it best. However, I’ve repeatedly neglected to ask for any of this in His Name.
And this morning while I wholeheartedly I sang out, “What a wonderful Name it is, What a powerful Name it is, Jesus Christ, my King!” God whispered to my heart, “Why aren’t you using it?”
In the secret place of my heart, the same one that hid my childhood desires, the same one He has been filling with His desires for me, we had a dialogue:
- Because I’m afraid
- Of what?
- Embarrassing you.
- That’s an excuse. What are you afraid of?
- I’m afraid of pride, and it’s destructive power.
- Remain in me.
- I’m afraid.
- Let my words remain in you.
- I’m scared.
- Remain in me.
- I’m trying.
- I’ve got you. Remain in me.
- I will. I am.
- Then use my Name–ask me
- Do it now
Tearfully, I asked for it all in His name. Everything He has hidden in that secret place. I’m not sure what’s next. But I know I’m asking in His Name for His will to be done. I’m asking in His name that my calling will be accomplished. I’m asking in His name for courage and confidence. I’m asking, In His Name.
What I learned today was this: If you know your calling, are sensing God’s calling, or are trying to determine it—pray it comes to pass in His Name. It’s WONDERFUL. It’s BEAUTIFUL. And it’s POWERFUL!
When we remain in Jesus, and His word abides in us—when we ask for something in His Name, we are not plugging a vending machine. We are asking the Giver of All Good Things for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.