There used to be a time when I felt so connected, so in tune with God and the plans He had for me. I was an intercessor. In prayer, I was a warrior for others. In talking with others, I had answers to their questions I had no way of knowing myself. The gifts He shared with me were so numerable. There used to be a time when my relationship was so obvious, and my focus was so sincere. Where did the time go?
When I think back to a more spiritual, happier time, I think back to when Brent (husband) and I lived in Cody, Wyoming. If you've never been, I will tell you that you are doing yourself a horrible injustice. For what it's worth, Yellowstone National Park is my most favorite place in the universe. (Out of the many places I've been in the universe, which consist of 25 states and Victoria, Canada, Yellowstone National Park is my most favorite.)
We lived 54 miles from the east entrance to the park. The drive there is so majestic - the scenery so picturesque. Raw, rustic, in-your-face nature is all you see. I drove that route a thousand times, and never grew tired of it. To be surrounded by a beauty unobtainable in our own rights, and to know that I had the privilege of seeing it from my kitchen window every day - that was my happy place. That was my heaven on earth. Never did I feel so connected to God, so able to worship Him, than when I would look out to the mountains and see His handiwork.
I used to write in a prayer journal almost every night. In trying to pray aloud, I would find myself becoming so easily distracted and praying would take hours for how my thoughts would stray. I started writing in this prayer journal to keep myself more focused and committed to the specific prayers I needed to communicate for the day. There were prayers of praise, of concern, of anger, and of sorrow. It was my open book - literally - my letters to God every night.
January 1st, 2006, Brent and I moved to Fargo, North Dakota. Everything we could fit into a trailer, two cars, and my parents' pick up came with us. We moved in the dead middle of winter. All I saw for weeks was white (snow) and gray (clouds). I drove on ice until April, that had resulted from a storm the previous November. Yet we moved here as we believed we were told to do so by God. For what purpose, we still don't know. But we knew, without a doubt, Fargo was in His will for us. There are no mountains here. There is no Yellowstone. One day while driving to work, I was excited to see the huge land mass that appeared to be some sort of hill. I found out later that was the dump.
The prayer journal stayed packed for a long time. I remember seeing it in it's box. I remember thinking, "Oh....there it is.....I should......" and going off with another task, another distraction, another deed. At some point it got put in another box, and on to a shelf, before being packed up to move from our apartment to our house.
Since moving to Fargo I have wrestled. I have wrestled with being away from family, away from friends, and away from my happy place. I know moving to Fargo was God's will and I know He spoke to me directly and told me we were to move here. I think, however, on some unknown and mysterious level of my being, I resent Him for bringing me here.
My prayers since moving here have been generic. Rehearsed. Mostly forced. I pray because I know I should, not because I have the desire to do so. I know my relationship with God has suffered, and I know I have lost my spiritual intuitions. I know I have faulted, re-faulted, and faulted again. If "faulted" isn't a word, it is today. I know how it could be, yet still I struggle with making any effort.
This past weekend while steam-cleaning our house, (*note: "steam-clean" is the term I use when I am in fast forward, full steam ahead, cleaning like a crazy lady) I came across the prayer journal. I have to admit, when I first saw it, I looked away. I immediately felt shame when I saw it. A wire-bound notebook was convicting me of my priority structure.
"Oh. There it is. Okay......Look, God....I know I've -......I know I've been neglecting you......"
Seriously? Was I seriously trying to talk my way around leaving a journal on a shelf? I remembered, instantly upon seeing it, that was more than a journal. That was my open book - my venue of one-on-one time with my Maker....with my Savior.
I picked it up. I started to read. March, 2005. Wow.....all these prayers, all these petitions that I had seen answered. Some I had forgotten about. I slowly read and browsed through the pages, trying to remember what I was feeling those days, what had happened, what I might have experienced to prompt me to request something specific. April, May, - all up until the move in December of 2005. Three entries - three - from 2006. Then.....forgotten. In a box, on a shelf, away.
What struck me most was how evident my love for God was in these prayers. Every prayer started with a praise. (Except for the one I wrote apparently immediately after Brent and I had a fight....) The shame grew inside of me.
To look upon what He had done, how He had guided during those times, and how I had responded by going my own way...I can't even tell you how I felt, how I feel about that....
Last night I picked up a pen. I hesitated to date the page. 2008. I confessed, I wrote, about how I had left. I wrote out my prayer. I prayed a real, genuine, intimate prayer. I thought about crying. I was sorry....I am sorry.....but I am healing. Looking back I see the single set of Footprints. It took me finding a journal to realize and to remember, that all this time, He has carried me.
I hope now to make more prayer pages, and leave fewer blank ones. My life can't sit on a shelf, nor can my relationship with Him.