PRAY BIG.

This year has been quite the journey. Quite. The. Journey. And what will forever stand out the most to me is that it’s the year I drew closer to the Lord.

For the last 8 years or so I’ve felt very distant from God. For a long time it was a choice and then it became habit. Then a couple of years ago I wanted to start praying again but felt, well, distant. It literally felt like an old friend I had purposely ignored for years and then suddenly wanted them back in my life. But I felt so guilty I pushed it off. As if to start praying again I’d have to sit down and have a super long discussion about where I’d been and why I’d ignored Him and what I’d been doing. Which I know sounds crazy but it’s honestly how I felt.

And then three things happened in my life this year that all aligned perfectly I guess.

1. I became friends with Adriane.

2. I started ONLY listening to 99.1 Joy FM (a new local Christian station)

3. We moved in with family.

Adriane has the most amazing heart for the Lord I’ve ever seen. Bearing witness to her loving her children, raising her children as Christians and getting to know her heart+spirit better has been the most incredible example to me. She’s also been an awesome friend, but I have awesome friends. The impact she’s had in my life is more of me watching her mother her four kids than anything else I think.

Listening to a new radio station sounds so simple but this has been literally life changing for me. I think one of my spiritual pathways is through music. Which is funny b/c I do NOT have any musical talent, but singing praise songs is when I feel God the most. SO having Christian music on day in and day out, in the house, the car, my iPhone, etc. has been so good. It’s also opened up so many discussions between me and the kids. They ask questions about what songs mean and since they are all about God in some way we’ve been having oodles of conversations revolving around the Lord. It also, I think, was the catalyst that opened my heart to prayer again. I started noticing that as I drove and sang I was praying. And the first time it happened it actually surprised me a little! As if it started in my head without me even noticing! When I listen to people calling in I noticed I would start praying for them, the kids and I started praying in the car on the way to school each morning (something we’d never done before) and slowly but surely prayer entered my life again.

Moving in with family was sort of a last ditch effort to get our life in order. To figure out our finances. To get a grip on our life. To understand budgeting (which I still REALLY struggle with) and credit scores and saving. It’s been hard. Harder than I ever imagined. I’ll do a whole blog post soon about how awesome it’s been but it’s the hard that drew me closer to the Lord. Because we were stuck. We had no where else to go. We needed our parents help ONE MORE TIME (and I’m sure not the last unfortunately!) to get things straightened out so we could buy a home and stop renting. And thus started my daily struggle of guilt. Every day for the last 10 months I’ve had an overwhelming sense of guilt from the moment I wake up until the minute I fall asleep. For making life harder on our parents, for disrupting their lives, for making messes in someone elses house, for having loud children, for getting frustrated when i should feel thankful, and the list goes on. And so through all of my struggle came a desire and need and URGENCY to pray.

All of this aligned in the last 10 months and suddenly I find myself, somedays, in an almost constant state of prayer. Praying as I drive, as I shower, as I work, as I run, etc. And at first they were little prayers but as my prayer life repaired itself they got bigger and bigger. Praying for things I’ve never prayed for, as if praying for them would mean i thought I deserved them. Because I don’t feel, ever, like I deserve anything good. I started praying for my marriage and my kids (in BIG ways and for future things) and our finances and my own sin.

I always find myself starting my prayer time, which is sometimes almost happening without me realizing it, by making sure God knows I accept HIS timing for my life. Thy will be done, as my sister reminded me one day. HIS will be done. It’s like I have to remind Him AND myself that I’m ok with His timing in everything. And because I pray for this constantly, it’s hard for me to truly open up and let God know my heart. Especially because I believe strongly that He already knows my heart so I kind of feel like I’m just restating the obvious. I have issues! HA!

Anyway, for the first time all year, this morning I asked God to give me my hearts desire. I prayed and prayed that the seller of the house we’re trying to purchase would sign our counter offer today and we could start the closing process. I prayed that the process be smooth, the offer accepted, the finances worked out, etc.

SO when we got the call this afternoon that SHE SIGNED I almost burst into tears of gratitude! THANK YOU LORD JESUS FOR GIVING US A HOUSE! Because I truly believe this was all because of Him. We found our little house one rainy Sunday afternoon when we happened to see a sign for an open house. We walked in and I felt a sense of comfort like I’ve never felt before. I knew that was our house.

AND NOW IT IS!

Or it ALMOST is as our closing date is the 27th!

I have had my stressed out days for sure. And I haven’t slept much the last week during contract negotiations. But now I feel at peace. I feel like God has walked with me and rejoiced when I opened my arms to Him again this year. Truly, I felt like Jesus did a happy dance in heaven the day I realized I was praying again. Not stumbling through what I thought prayer should be but just PRAYING. I have a long way to go on my spiritual journey and that’s ok. I have a LONG way to go on my financial journey as well. And that’s ok. I have a long way to go on my parenting journey, my marriage journey, my creative journey… I have a long way to go in life. And that’s ok. Because now I know I have God, once again, walking right here with me. He’s on this journey with me. He was just as happy as we were that the home owner signed today!

Yesterday I bought myself a little treat. It’s a sign that says, “PRAY BIG” and I bought it so that I will always remember what this year brought me. It didn’t just bring me a house. It brought me SO much more!

I will try my best to blog in the coming weeks as we close, pack and MOVE! I’ve already asked a few photog friends to help me document this time in our lives! And I have LOTS of random posts of older stuff we’ve had going on. But I will do my best to keep this updated because I KNOW so many of you were praying for our family when even i couldn’t and that means the world to me. So THANK YOU for the prayers!

WE’RE BUYING OUR FIRST HOME!!!

13 thoughts on “PRAY BIG.

  1. Pingback: The Allen’s Buy a House! | Fresh Art Photography - St. Louis Modern Lifestyle Photography

  2. It’s nice to know that even with a string of “no” as the answer, a “yes” comes along. You give me strength. Thank you, and congrats!

  3. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! This is so exciting for you. We are thrilled and look forward to seeing your new place. Love you all.

  4. Amazing news! Congrats Jodie. I am so excited for you and your family!

  5. Congratulations, and praise be to God!

    And years ago I made the same decision about Christian radio/music… and it’s big. That change has made all the difference in some very difficult times.

    What a blessing to be able to look back on a somewhat trying time and be able to see the hand of God walking you through the cloudy days.

  6. Jodie–

    So, SO happy for you, friend!!! Love the end result (the house), but I also know it would be nowhere near as sweet without the story behind it. Can’t wait to see what you have planned for your new home, I know it will be fabulous!! Now, go celebrate with a mountain dew!

  7. AHHHHHH!!! I love this for you! So excited to see your house and what you do with it! Let me know how I can help!

  8. That is very exciting! I am not a follower to your work but somehow I found myself on your personal blog. I just have to say that I am Christian and consider my religion and spirituality #1 but I don’t express it publicly like I ought to. I am afraid others will think I am strange or be afraid I am trying to convert them. I have to admit, it is refreshing to read/see you express so openly your commitment to God and your personal testimony of the things you know to be true, right and good!

  9. Its very inspiring to hear where other people are in their walk with the Lord. And I can totally relate to ‘falling away’, not making much time for God or any… and then something totally ‘just clicking’ and soon being very ‘on fire’ for God.. and totally in tune. If that makes sense. I’ve been in a bit of a dry spell here lately myself. I can totally relate to the power of listening to God through music. Anyway.. I’m babbling and you don’t even know me. Thanks for sharing.. and I’m thankful I stumbled across your blog! -Deb

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