I haven’t been praying honest prayers lately. Well, I guess I’ve been praying honestly, but I haven’t been making honest “prayer requests” from my people. You know, the friends who know you best? The ones who love you through thick and thin? Your people. The deal is our family has been going through some tough financial times lately. Because my husband’s business is seasonal, we try to save as much as possible from our busy summer season in order to cover all our expenses during the slower winter months when there’s not as much work available. But the past several winters have been especially hard. It seems like one thing after another keeps happening to deplete our finances. Something in our house breaks, a major appliance, our water heater, etc. So we dip into our already tight winter budget to get it fixed. Then a few days/weeks later something else breaks, or a car battery wears out, or the washing machine finally calls it quits after only half working most of the time anyway. Super frustrating. And stressful. Today our water went out for the 4th time in 4 weeks. We live out in the woods and have a well for our water supply. We’ve had sand in our water off and on for 2 months now. Our neighbor told us that our pump at the bottom of our well is probably going bad. We don’t have the money right now to have our well dug up and the water filter at the bottom replaced. So tonight when my husband was taking a shower after a long day at work and I was cooking dinner and the water flow stopped again completely, I just stood at the kitchen sink and laughed. Because if I don’t laugh, I’ll start crying.
Being under financial stress is no fun for anyone. It’s hard on your marriage, your relationships, your kids. It bleeds into every part of your life. It affects your sleep, your attitude, your health. It can make everything in your life pretty miserable. Lately, it seems to be getting to me more than it ever has in the past. I don’t know if it’s because the “sandy water” put me past my breaking point, or if I am just so weary from the battle of it all. Or, if I am beginning to believe the lie that it will always be this way. That our situation will never improve. That we’re stuck. All I do know is that I feel fragile, vulnerable, and tired. So, so tired. Tired of being strong, tired of being positive, tired of believing, tired of waiting. Always waiting it seems. That’s what I say to my friends when they ask how they can be praying for me. “Pray for breakthrough”, I always say. But now I feel like saying “Pray for my heart. I’m so sad. I’m so frustrated. I’m so tired.” But I don’t ever say that. And here’s why – many of my friends have situations or circumstances in their lives right now that are much worse than mine. One of my girlfriends is going through a horrible divorce. She spends every day trying to protect her children from an abusive father. Another friend has a dad fighting the advanced stages of cancer and my friend has had to move back home to take care of him. She feels helpless and alone, watching her dad suffer. I could go on and on, tons of people are in the middle of their own tough circumstances. So when I’m speaking with them about how they can pray for me, I feel completely absurd complaining about our “dirty” water, our tiny grocery budget, or that I can’t afford to get a haircut so I just keep wearing a ponytail everywhere I go. My problems feel trivial compared to theirs.
But I think there is something to being authentic and real with our trusted friends about our disappointments and personal struggles. Even when they don’t compare to somebody else’s “bigger” problems. Praying for each other is such a powerful thing. In James 5:16, the Bible tells us to pray for each other because our prayers for each other have “great power”. That verse became a truth in my life today. A dear friend who now lives out-of-state called my cell phone this morning. I didn’t have the energy to have a good attitude at the moment, plus I didn’t want to be Debbie Downer either. So I just didn’t answer. She left me a message saying that God had really put me on her heart all day today and that she was calling to check on me and let me know that she was praying for me. I finally called her back and told her the truth. She patiently listened while I told her what was going on in our lives. And then she did the sweetest thing. She said “Karla, I’m going to be honest. I don’t know why all these things keep happening. And I don’t have any great spiritual answers either. So I don’t know what to say, except that I am praying for you”. I loved that. I loved that she just listened. That she didn’t try to convince me that it was no big deal and I should just get over it. She didn’t make me feel bad for complaining. I loved that she was willing to pray for me. And that’s exactly what I needed.
What tough circumstance are you walking through? Don’t let the enemy lie to you and tell you that you are alone. Or that your situation is never going to change. Or that your circumstances are not going to get better. Because that is just not true. Our God is Faithful. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. And whatever you do, don’t ever stop asking your dear friends for prayer. They care about you. You matter and your problems matter. Be truthful and authentic with the ones that love you. Every time you pray for each other you are bringing heaven to earth in your circumstances, one honest prayer at a time.
2 Corinthians 1:10-11: “We have put our hope in Him that He will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers.”
Love and Hugs,