Tag Archives: Small Groups

She Lied

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She Lied

This is part six of a series on prayer asked and answered however, this post is the finale of the second act which began last Monday and continued Wednesday, if you need to return and catch up.

Over the next few months Lisa and I found each other on Facebook and I got to be a part of her life watching her son flourish and listening to tales from her job.  At some point I started seeing pictures of her and her son with her family, her son playing with his grandfather, trips together to exotic places.  I thought to myself, wait a minute, I thought these were the brutally, abusive grandparents?  There were spa trips with her mom while dad watched her child and professions of love for him on his birthday and father’s day.  The crux of all our prayer and concern was because she was a single mom with no family to turn to.  Now it seemed we had a very happy and well-to-do family that didn’t seem at all to be as she originally painted them.  I’m all for people changing but …

Should I be praising the Lord for a remarkable turnaround?

I started to wonder, could the whole thing have been a lie?  Did she just play us to get situated in a new apartment with money, food, and possessions?  We’d even fed her out of the women’s ministry emergency pantry – had she taken food that could have helped someone truly needy?  I asked God these questions, never receiving a clear answer, and continued to watch her life unfold on Facebook and at church.

Over the course of the following year I discovered that she actually had run from a bad situation in her previous marriage.  The ex-husband had committed adultery and was still attempting to get full custody of their child and other friends had been involved in transporting her to court.  Yet there was still no sign of an abusive relationship with her parents.  Lisa willingly and often put herself and her son in their home and continually posted pictures of her happy family.  I wondered if I should confront her and prayed, asking God that same question.  Still, no answer.

Sometime later we ended up at the same table for a function at church.  She sat next to me and we began to reminisce about when we’d met.  I pulled up my phone and retrieved the original blog post I’d written about her (essentially what you read on Monday and Wednesday of this week) and watched as she silently moved through the blog, reading.  At the end she gave me back my phone.  “That was a different time,” she said quietly, her head down.  I nodded and waited for more, kinda hoping for some inkling of regret or modicum of remorse and got nothing.

You, dear reader, are the first to hear the rest of the story.  Well … except for Paula.  I told her the rest of the story last week and it’s because of her that you’re hearing about it now.  Why?  Because as I was telling her the story I was thinking to myself ‘We may have been sucked into her tale of woe, but God doesn’t get duped.’

Why would God have provided all that He did for a liar and a cheat?

I’d asked Paula if she had an answer to that question and that’s when it hit me – to grow our faith.  The faith of everyone involved in God’s miraculous answer to prayer.

He grew Lisa’s faith by showing her how He works in the real world.  How she may have come out of a hopeless and loveless situation (and she did) but here were people who actually cared about her.  Godly women who didn’t know one iota about her dropped everything over the course of four days and with the help of the Lord, took care of her and her son.  The amount of love she felt had to have been overwhelming.  Other than the fact she was a young Christian, I had no idea where she was in her Christian walk at the time of our meeting.  Now I can see that she might have been having severe issues with her faith as her marriage had broken down.  I do know that she became a stronger woman of faith over the past few years.  Perhaps she had to witness the selfless love of others to get her started on that journey.

The entire situation also strengthened the faith of nine other women (and untold others on our periphery)  who got to be used by God to help the miracle play out.  From the moment that we prayed Ephesians 3:20 in the Spirit on Wednesday night until the last $20 bill came to me on Sunday morning, God continued to amaze and confound and astound.

Could it have been that all along?  That we all needed a big dose of faith-building?

Oh yeah … and I never did miss any of the money I spent on Lisa.  God has a marvelous way of altering what matters in your life.

So, what’s going on in your life where you need to pray the Ephesians 3:20 prayer?  Let me know so I can pray for you!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Stronger in Prayer ~ Praying Boldly

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Stronger in Prayer ~ Praying Boldly

We’re still talking about answered prayer and I wanted to relate this story specifically because even though God did mighty things at the time (2012) in hind sight (natch!) I can see immeasurably more purpose to His answering one simple prayer of a few women.  If you missed …   Monday, Wednesday, and/or Friday.

I looked up to find the women’s ministry director leading a young girl I’d never seen before to my table.  We’d finished our Priscilla Shirer program the week before and were set to see a new, stand-alone Priscilla video this evening.  Deb introduced me to the young woman (whom I’ll call Lisa) telling me that she had just wandered in, was given the option of our program or the Beth Moore study happening in the other room, and had chosen Priscilla.  I welcomed Lisa and pulled out the chair next to me.  Before the rest of my ladies arrived at the table, I discovered that she was a single mom of a 2 ½ year old boy and although she hadn’t quite said as much, she seemed to be in a bad place.

We watched the video which focused on the principles found in Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV):

20Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen. 

Priscilla’s main point was that God is able to do – for you – immeasurably more than you can imagine.  How many times do we squander our time with God asking for the easy?  The video had affected all of us at the table as several women, and Lisa sniffed and wiped away an errant tear or two.  I thought about my own expectations of God.  I realized I was tired of asking God for the minimum because I felt some sort of embarrassment regarding my need.

At the end of the video Priscilla had us turn to each other and speak truth into each other’s lives.  I turned immediately to Lisa and am not really sure what I said (evidence that the Holy Spirit had taken over) I just knew that by the time I was done she and I and half the table were crying.  I laughed as I wiped away the tears that were coursing down my cheeks saying, “Sorry, it’s the Holy Spirit.”  Lisa was smiling brightly and her eyes shown as if lit by some inner light.  It was clear that whatever the Holy Spirit had spoken to her, it was as if some sort of weight had been lifted from her soul.  That was when she told us her story.

Lisa had been a Christian for just a few short years, divorced her husband for adultery, received full custody of her child, and moved back to Florida to live with her parents.  She had been abused by her father when she was a child, but had some hope that he’d changed with age?  Time?  I don’t know, but she was proven wrong.  When her father continued his abuse of her and had included her child, she left.  Now it seemed she was working a part-time job, was unable to find an apartment due to her husband’s poor credit and her non-credit, and was couch hopping between a few friends – and on the days she couldn’t stay with them – was sleeping in her car.

The one bright spot in her tale of woe was that she did have an interview for a full-time position the following day.  One of the ladies at the table said, “We’ll pray for you.”  The same way we Christians always say, “I’ll pray for you,” and may or may not.  But I couldn’t get the message we’d just heard out of my mind and held out my hands to the young girl and the woman on my right and said, “With what we’ve just heard about Ephesians 3:20, let’s pray right now.”

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us …  ~ Ephesians 3:20

I opened the prayer thanking God for bringing Lisa to our table … and then I thought about the promise of Ephesians 3:20 … and then I didn’t hold any punches.  I told God there was a reason He brought her to our table and asked Him squarely for a full-time job and an apartment for our young friend and her son.  She needed it now and not next month.  As the prayer grew and roamed around the table, the other ladies were equally as dynamic.  God had never heard such fervor from this group of women in any of our corporate prayer to this point.  We ended that that evening with my ladies pouring their hearts into this young woman and opening their wallets in aide.

The events in this post occurred on a Wednesday.  We Christians always talk about waiting on God because we’re also human and usually very impatient.  Some of my prayers take months and years to be answered (or at least for me to recognize the answer) and I often remind myself, “in God’s timing, not mine.”  But, it is absolutely refreshing when we can witness God work in an instant.  You’ll hear the rest of the story on Wednesday.

Please come back.