Field Notes From A Prayer Warrior

“…adrift without a rubric…” –from the book Meet the Frugalwoods

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…” –Jeremiah 29:11

Far away in a land called France there is a kingdom. In that kingdom there is a beautiful palace, encircled by a town, which is surrounded by vast royal hunting grounds…

The Forest of Fontainebleau.

Into this forest one day a farm girl walked. Her soul was in great turmoil. For two years every aspect of her life had been upended, dismantled, and she was still stumbling over the wreckage.

Father, gone. Career, gone. Marriage, gone. House, gone.

So she decided to fly across the world to walk with her Lord.

Because there’s nowhere to walk in the USA, apparently…or she thought He was travelling abroad that time of year.

Her goal for that month was to lay out a game plan…marching orders from God, so to speak. A month’s worth of prayer and walks with Him oughtta be enough, right? No time to waste! Chop, chop!

Uff da.

As she strode down the path, she was two weeks into her quest. Each day had held not a glimmer of direction. Instead, a great and heavy silence, punctuated by bird calls, leaves rustling in the breeze and the stomping of her feet.

“Okay, Lord…what’s next? I’ve been walking in these woods with You for days now. I want to be Your servant. I want to do Your work. I am so grateful that You led me to teaching and gave me that calling for 25 years and now through a series of events my whole world has blown up, so obviously You have something else planned for me and I know I’ve been doing the ‘pull up by the bootstraps’ thing for a while and putting out fires and my ‘what’s next’ has often been just ‘what to do the next morning’ (like, get out of bed), but I flew over here and put myself in the middle of nowhere with no one for miles around so I can truly LISTEN and OBEY You, so, okay, Lord, what’s next? What’s Your plan for me? What’s my next calling? Where do you need me to go? What do you need me to do? WHAT’S NEXT?”

Chirp. Rustle.

Finally. An answer…

“Shelby, what’s next is…you are going to finish this hike and you’re going to go to your favorite patisserie and this time get the Nutella eclair, because you haven’t tried that one yet.”

I stood there a moment, then charged ahead, arms flailing about.

“Really? REALLY?! Really, Lord? That’s. Your. Answer?! Go get the Nutella eclair…of all the cockamamie…hmmm…that does sound pretty flipping good, actually…”

And, oh my gosh, it was.

As I nibbled on this edible slice of heaven, I thought, “Okay, Lord, I get it. The whole ‘Your timing, be still and wait on Me’ stuff. I’m not crazy about it, but I guess if you’re gonna throw an awesome pastry my way occasionally, I’ll learn to deal.”

I’d had a written plan for my life since I was thirteen years old, and a lesson plan for every teaching day (all 4,500 of them). Suddenly, I was adrift without a rubric…so God threw me a Scooby snack and told me as gently as He could…

“Shelby, I’m sorry, but I’m not giving you the whole global view. It would be too much. You are human and frankly, girl, you’re a hot mess right now. I am giving you today exactly what you can handle and nothing more…

I have a plan for you and I will guide you and be right beside you, step by step. Trust that process and trust ME.”

I’m like, “Darn, Lord, why do You have to be right all the time?”

Four years ago I came to a fork on that forest trail…

My path.

Or His path.

No regrets. Just love.

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