Last Monday our family of five decided to pray in two specific ways. First, we would gather each evening of the week and write down 100 “gifts.” We took turns speaking aloud the names of people, things, and the stories for which we are thankful.
It seemed it would be a healthy and easy task to name 100 gratitudes each evening. But it wasn’t easy. The first evening went fairly quick…but as we started the second, we discovered it was going to take effort to not repeat ourselves. This was not for lack of things we were grateful for…but a lack of practice to recognize and name the gifts around us. We slogged our way through the evenings, writing down 100 thanksgivings each night.
Our second prayer was simple: “Friday at 3.” Why Friday at 3? No particular reason. Perhaps it represented the end of the work week or the time our children are dismissed from school…but more likely, it represented the end of our effort.
It was sixteen months ago when we committed to this journey. Sixteen months of wandering, healing, praying, listening, job-applying, proposal writing, growing, reading, praying, scrambling, hoping, praying, and…doubting. We began wondering if we had missed a turn in the trail. We began to doubt the path of calling we were following. We felt the shame of foolishness. We heard the whispers of our observers.
Every day we confessed our fears to one another in order to arise with hope and trek forward again the next day. But last week, we had reached the end. Our self-mustered courage was exhausted. Our meager provisions gone. Our adventurous spirit crippled with fear. Our knees too weak to remain standing in the emotional storm. Our map was too tear-stained to know where to go next.
Psalm 3 became our model for desperate prayer; “God, get up and do something! Show yourself to be God.”
It would be impossible to detail all the events from last Friday at 3. The perfect job. A life-changing gift. A farm. A home.
It’s as if the voice of calling who once said, “Go, and in your going I’ll show you where you’re headed” finally spoke again. This time the voice from elsewhere said, “Yes, continue toward the call.”