Field Notes From A Prayer Warrior

-trail guide: someone who assists others as they travel to reach a destination on a path across a wild region over rough terrain

-Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

–2 Corinthians 1:3-4

-In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

–Proverbs 16:9

I was born, it would seem, to be a morning person…usually up at dawn, without an alarm, smiling, singing, sometimes dancing (yes, one of those people)…a fact that makes the events of July 2020 even more perplexing…

Laser beams of sunrise lance between the curtains and pry my lids up. Ugh. Too early. Snoooooore…

Again…Nah. Roll over. Zzzzz…

Blink…blink…”Um…I want to get up, but I don’t want to get up,…and I don’t. know. why! Hmmm…okay…maybe more sleep?”

VIOLENT JOLT! I twist my neck, check time…after 10! I feel panic…and this weird sense of dread. There is a great weight pressing down on my chest, and I can’t shake it off. My stomach is growling, my head thumping from caffeine withdrawal, and I CAN NOT MOVE. I lie in this bizarre catatonic limbo for an hour, my mind intoning “Why?…Why?…Why?…”

For an hour.

“It’s almost lunchtime…and I’m still in bed! What is wrong with me? Have I…snapped? What do I do? Is there anything I can do?”

“You could pray. DUH.”

“Oh…yeah…sure…uh, Lord…hi…I’m lying here, and I can’t get out of bed. Help.”

And He said, “Okay, Shelbo, one move at a time. Do not, I repeat, do NOT try to jump ahead. Do not try to make a LIST. I’m going to give you the first task, and after you’ve done that, I’ll give you the next one, and we’ll keep doing that until you get past this.”

“Okay.”

(Normally I would’ve put up a little resistance, especially about the “no list” part, but, well, I had nothing left. Much to His relief, I’m sure.)

“First, you are going to get out of bed…DON’T MAKE IT! (yes, I’m also one of those people)…just get up…now go to the kitchen.”

And so it proceeded…

“Make breakfast.”

“Next?”

“Eat.”

“Now?”

“Read one verse.”

“Done.”

“Brush your teeth.”

You get the idea…

Once I was in the clear, so to speak, I celebrated with a prayer of gratitude…

“Lord, thank You! I know You are always with me…but that was way crazy! I was seriously freaked out…but now, thank You! I know what to do if…who am I kidding?… when I get stuck like that again…I’ll pray and let You guide me a step at a time. Good lesson out of the darkness, Lord! You ROCK, and You are my Rock!”

A month later, chugging through my morning routine…phone blinking…missed call. I check…a fellow sister from church.

Groan.

“Man…” I wince. “I REALLY don’t have time…”

Except…every day I pray, “Lord, make me interruptible. Let me not hurry past or avoid important connections.”

Sigh.

She picks up immediately. “Shelby, I need your help. I don’t know why, but something told me to call you. I’ve been lying in bed for hours and I can’t get up…what do I do?”

After hanging up some time later, my first thought was “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). He called me. So I called her.

Today, I was trekking through a local park and thought, “Wow…that morning of darkness was like a mini trust-journey with God…rather like this hike…”

Moving forward, one moment at a time, under the direction of my Trail Guide…He’s pointing out the spots to plant my feet as I scale the inclines, giving me a Hand up if needed, steering me over roots and scree, around every twist and turn…He knows the way perfectly, and will not let me stumble, if only I listen…and follow Him…

Every morning, the bed is my trailhead…how much better when I start the day, not alone, but with Him! In my pack I stuff trust and perseverance…He’s stowed away patience and mercy in infinite amounts…

and His Light illuminates my path.

If I stray off…find myself lost…in dark corners…

Or under twisted sheets…

I need only call His name.

He’s right there…faithful, waiting, loving…ALWAYS.

To haul me back where I need to be.

Then we strike out from there…

Together.

Me and my Trail Guide.

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