Sometimes life is messy. Our life can be like sloshing through thick, miry mud in clunky wellies when we would prefer to be in strolling along in stylish sandals.
Let my prayer come before You;
Incline Your ear to my cry.
For my soul is full of troubles,
And my life draws near to the grave.
I am counted with those who go down to the pit;
I am like a man who has no strength. Psalm 88:2-4, NKJV
Circle 2 Plus Ministries was a precious response from my Abba Father to my nose-in-the-carpet, tears streaming, snotty nose, cry of desperation. We had moved from a place where friends surrounded me in a close-knit neighborhood to a new town half way across the country into a community with only one other house. I had 3 young sons and a new baby with colic. My only acquaintance was a lady who's husband worked with mine. Each morning she would call to tell me all the events she had planned for the day. Most days my main accomplishment was brushing my teeth in between rocking and attempting to sooth the crying baby. I craved community.
That was over 20 years ago.
I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth-- Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:1-3, NKJV
Petra prayer groups began out of that mucky season. Soon God surrounded me with precious women, prayerful mothers, and wise mentors who each week poured out their hearts in supplication for their families and were unending encouragement for me and mine. Wise grandmothers refocused younger mom's concerns about non-Kingdom struggles. We picked up each others' sick kids, prepared meals when someone was ill, studied God's word, laughed, cried, and prayed some more. We learned to seek the LORD's will for our families and each other. My days of isolation were now filled with a sisterhood, encouragement, and Scripture. That was then.
Today, I find myself back in the muck with my nose in the carpet. The kids have successfully taken flight to begin their own lives, starting careers in new places. The LORD is faithfully leading them on their own unique paths. Instead of the noise and chaos that once filled our home, there is silence. My community that for years surrounded me, in prayer and companionship in the bleachers, has also gone on to other places. Our freedom from kid activities has allowed us the freedom to do other things also. We may see each other at the grocery and church, stop to chat for a few minutes to get the highlights of each other's lives, but these random interactions lack the connection that once filled our weekly prayer time. Since we are no longer required to be in a location at a specific time, we just don't. Now what? Is this as it should be?
"Your mother was like a vine in your bloodline, Planted by the waters, Fruitful and full of branches Because of many waters. She had strong branches for scepters of rulers. She towered in stature above the thick branches, And was seen in her height amid the dense foliage. But she was plucked up in fury, She was cast down to the ground, And the east wind dried her fruit. Her strong branches were broken and withered; The fire consumed them. And now she is planted in the wilderness, In a dry and thirsty land. Fire has come out from a rod of her branches And devoured her fruit, So that she has no strong branch--a scepter for ruling." This is a lamentation, and has become a lamentation. Ezekiel 19:10-14 NKJV
My prayer of lament. Why O LORD are we isolated? Are the lives of my family, their needs, spiritual growth, and relationships in less need of Your omnipotent help than 20 years ago? Why has gathering to pray for our children become less important? Does our grammar school child's scraped knee or interactions with the playground bully hurt more than the oppressive boss, manipulative co-worker, or financial burdens of our young adult? When our kids were small we interacted with them every day, knowing their concerns and struggles. Have we forgotten what You have done before? How You have rescued in the past? The blessings You provided when when two or more called upon Your name?
I cried out to You, O Lord; And to the Lord I made supplication: "What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper!" You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Psalm 30:8-12, NKJV
It's all very mucky. Where is your community? Who are the friends you pray with, encourage and study God's word with? It is easy to sit in a large group and listen to Scripture lessons with no accountability, but who is your community who knows the good, the bad and the ugly parts of your life? Where is the person you trust enough to be real and transparent about the hard things? Are you pouring into others, listening to their hurts, or just coasting? Who is wearing wellies with you in the mud, cheering you along as you walk together through the difficulty yucky parts of this life?
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25, NKJV
Pull on your galoshes, find one friend to pray with each week, get walking through the muck. Get on your knees with someone and cry out to your Savior together.
Our LORD is able to bring you up from the miry clay and set your feet on the Rock. If not for yourself, for your friend, because the day will come when you will need them to pull on their galoshes and walk with you.
Praise the Name of HaShem to Him be all the glory forever. Amen.