When I started a blog, I didn’t know what to do with it. Where to go.
It’s 3 a.m. and blog time.
About me from my website: Janene the Photographer.
A snippet about me from real life in 2015. Whirlwind romance of 5 weeks, dream wedding on a hillside under an open blue sky in the Flint Hills in a $20 dress [which was amazing], holding a handful of prairie flowers, making lifetime vows in front of my pastor Dad, with my new best friend-turned husband who decided he didn’t want to be married to me by that very-same afternoon.
Suddenly, I knew more about abandonment, grief, loss and anger than I’d ever wanted or needed to know. Ginormous [is this a word? Who cares? MS Word doesn’t care. My 3 a.m. blog; my word] trust issues grew like Jack’s bean stalk overnight.
The person I was who started life as an extrovert, turned introvert, turned extrovert, now turned introvert again. And I’m a small business owner whose business would pretty much thrive if she would be more open, and funny, and smiley.
Anyhow, back to the subject of my post. My closet. Actually -- his closet turned my closet. An empty place that sucked air out of me every time I walked past it to bed at night. This spot of vast openness in a very tiny, yet wonderful, place where I live and create [upstairs in my photography studio] has become my Tardis/Wardrobe/Stargate.
The great adventure started with the movie The War Room which I watched when I still believed that there was an inkling of a chance that my lost love would return to me. I cleaned that closet out and set up a reading light, sticky note pad, pen, Bible, propped up my wedding photos and started to ask my unseen, all-powerful Father-God and his loving, giving Son Jesus for hope and help. Feeling very small, I was ready for big miracles.
And I really did see miracles happen. For everyone else. Their jobs, griefs, fears, pain and even broken marriages were healed when I prayed. All their sticky notes of prayer requests on the wall were brought down again because they got answers. All those notes for my sad little marriage remained.
One morning [3 a.m. – surprise!] I woke up, opened my prayer closet and took down all the wedding photos and walked them outside to the trash can. There wasn’t any anger or grief; only the cold, hard, factual knowledge that it was finished.
The prayer closet was abandoned after that. Just another loss in a string of painful losses.
Then I went to an Encounter the Cross retreat for women. Dragging my bedding and barely beating heart, I went back to those Flint Hills under the vast blue sky and boarded a bus with a bunch of strangers. [If you find the courage and need a little electro-shock to jump start you back into fully living life, I recommend this weekend. Click here: Encounter the Cross. If you don’t find the courage, find me because I’ll be attending again as a server and can be your smiley face in a sea of strangers].
There, I laid down my disappointments and fears and found forgiveness and healing. You don’t realize how heavy a dead marriage is until you let it go [future cross stitch pillow]. I was encouraged to start journaling and praying again. When I returned home, I cleaned out that closet for a second time. Sticky notes were abandoned and journaling started. It was all about other people now. They all got answers when I prayed, so I would commit myself to helping others. I would be the secret, saintly Mother Theresa of the Prayer Closet.
That lasted about a month.
Then last fall I met a wonderful, new guy friend, who challenged me to take my belief that Prayers for Myself Don’t Get Answered to the closet. So I did. The closet was cleaned out for a third time and replenished with supplies [tissues].
Guess what folks! Prayers for me do get answered! There are mind-blowing miracles waiting for me to just ask. I went from journaling numerous different prayer notes on a page to giving each person or concern an entire page. Now I’m walking through the day looking for where and when I’ll hear some answer to a prayer. I’m watching/listening for new requests to start a fresh page.
Why do I share about my prayer closet today? I went to sleep last night listening to a recording of our nation’s national prayer breakfast and felt a glimmer of hope [National Prayer Breakfast]. We’ve been through a lot in the past year. I’m probably even going to need to splurge on a second prayer journal soon. But the God who hears us when we pray, but doesn’t always give us the answers we want to hear, is mighty and able to do exceedingly above what we could ever think to ask. Carve out time in your busy life to pray for our nation, our leaders, your family and friends and even leave a page or two for yourself in that journal you are keeping. If your life is as full of crazy bumps, turns and stomach-flipping drops like mine -- you will need it.