Sue’s Note: Today’s post is the second part of a story I wrote during the early 2000’s.
I hope you’ll enjoy this post, and that in reading about how God intersected my story, you will recognize ways in which God has intersected your story.
The last post ended:
…On this ordinary autumn workday, I imagine God may have said, “It’s time I reveal something to my child. While she may be ordinary, I am not.”
The Old Testament prophet, Elijah, described hearing God in a “still, small voice.” That morning, while driving to work in my Toyota Camry on I-90, somewhere between Idaho and Washington, I felt certain the same voice, which had spoken to Elijah millennia before, spoke to me. Though not audible, the “still, small voice” pressed into the depths of my spirit, and I recognized the message.
That memorable morning the voice said, “I want you to live in Coeur d’Alene; I want you to work in Spokane; and furthermore, I want you to turn this car into your prayer closet.”
Now, I continue…
The term prayer closet would seem strange to some, but resonated with me. I often heard it while growing up in church and knew the prayer closet was a special place where one retreated to pray with earnest purpose. The “still, small voice,” giving me the prayer-closet instructions in old King James vernacular, was unmistakable, credible and convincing. I responded audibly, “Okay, God, I can do that!”
As well as being ordinary, I’m also inclined to be a “project person.” I approach tasks in the beginning, assuming each has a middle and ending. Somehow, I knew my new commitment to prayer must not become another project. Never before had the “still, small voice” prompted me to pray. I knew this life of prayer was not merely another project. I felt I was about to embark on a special, unique journey. That it began during my daily commute was only symbolic of a greater life journey I suspected was beginning.
I determined since God had taken time to speak to me, He wanted to be my travel companion.
My first prayer was one of confession. I acknowledged my relationship with God had been haphazard, that I had allowed the noise of the world and my own thoughts to drown out the voice of the Divine.
I told God I wanted to learn to be an obedient, godly woman.
I wanted to quiet down and learn to listen.
For too many years I had tried to be what I thought I should be or what I thought someone else thought I should be. Now, I wanted to begin the journey of being an authentic woman.
A seed of desire was planted that God’s approval was going to be all that mattered.
Remaining focused on prayer presented a distinct challenge. Some word or thought easily triggered my active imagination. Before long, a prayer took on a life of its own, becoming another of my fantasies
I needed a plan to keep me on track.
The solution, I determined, was to pray according to exit markers. My husband had started working in a new sales territory coinciding roughly between Exits 287 and 283, so I started praying for Ron daily, one exit marker to the next. Each daughter, son-in-law, and precious grandchild soon had designated exits. Other family members, friends, our church, the nation and my own needs were prayed for one exit sign to the next.
Though quirky, this method worked. It fit with my penchant for projects.
I was concerned my unconventional prayer routine was weird. I’d never heard of anyone praying this way. But, it felt right. I sensed God was pleased with me, possibly even smiling. For the first time, I realized the thought of making God smile was motivating. Imagining I pleased God felt great.
My journey continued—day after day—week after week—month after month. I looked forward to the commute. Circumstances didn’t change. I continued to drive on the same freeway with the same road conditions. I was changing, and the sincere transformation occurred from the inside out.
My traveling prayer closet became a place where intimate “soul talk” occurred. I spent less time thinking about my preferences and more time thinking about the awesome wonder of God. I realized my prayers involved less “whining” and a whole lot more “worshiping.”
Several months passed, and I decided I needed a partner to support my new spiritual journey. I asked my friend, Jackie, if I could routinely check in with her. We started meeting weekly. One week we discussed the short-term mission trip to Africa she would make with her husband, Duane, a surgeon.
While Duane spent long hours in a Cameroon mission hospital, Jackie experienced great joy conducting Bible studies for native women searching for truth that transcends time, ethnicity, age, race or gender. My friend updated me regularly via e-mail messages providing personal glimpses into rich African culture.
One of Jackie’s messages altered my life.
- What spiritual discipline or practice—unorthodox or conventional—have you developed that has altered your journey of faith?
- Imagine a time when a behavior you chose may have caused God to smile. Complete this sentence: Imaging I pleased God feels _____________________.
Until next time, I pray our extraordinary God will bless our ordinary days…
- In 2007, this story was published in Therese Marszalek’s book of short stories entitled, Extraordinary Miracles in the Lives of Ordinary People…Inspiring Stories of Divine Intervention. ↑