Recently, I have been struggling with feeling useless. It is no surprise to anyone that I strive to be productive, to help, to do things, to engage, to participate… however you want to describe it. I like to be an active participant in life.

So, this period of life has made me feel trapped and useless. I feel as though I am stuck in quicksand or tar, and totally helpless and at the mercy of others…. However, realistically this is a great place for me to be, and exactly right. Learning to accept help from those around me is a fantastic thing to learn because I am pretty bad at it naturally.

In this season, I cannot help myself, I cannot work my way out of the situation, and sadly, I cannot even really help others the way I desire to, which just frustrates me… So, I have been struggling with feeling useless.

God has a purpose for me, I am sure of this, but is this period of me unable to do anything truly a part of this purpose?

I mean, being a follower of Christ mixed with my unique blend of characteristics and personality, it is no surprise that I desire to be doing and helping others, but because of my inability, I feel incredibly limited and frustrated. All of the feelings have caused me to spend a great deal of time praying and asking God to show me what He is doing. Help me learn, and see things correctly… But, probably most of all, I want to have the attitude I need throughout everything.

I have found myself having to purposefully not do things (like read my bible) in order to temper my desire to utilize “works” to get myself out of this season faster. Because, as much as I want this period of my life to be over yesterday, I do not want at all to come out on the other side of this and feel as though I did it, I succeeded, or I was the one who fixed my situation. I want the correct perspective on the other side, and a real, authentic understanding of what happened during this time period, not a cliché answer.

I have spent a great deal of time thinking, debating, and praying during all of this stuff  going on in my life… And, unfortunately on more than one occasion, I have found myself thinking, “I should read my Bible, because this season will surely get over sooner if I do..” And, instantly I am reminded that BY GRACE ALONE I am saved, not by how much I do or pray or read the Bible.

However, the other day, I felt the familiar “Today is a great night to read my Bible for a while..” So, I looked at my chart of the books and chapters I have yet to read in order to complete one of my goals for the year, and I landed on 2 Peter.

“Now for this very reason also,
applying all diligence,
in your faith
 supply moral excellence,
and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
and in your knowledge, self-control,
and in your self-control, perseverance,
and in your perseverance, godliness,
and in your godliness, brotherly kindness,
and in your brotherly kindness, love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing,
they render you neither useless nor unfruitful
in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:5-8

Which, then reminded me of Romans 5:

“Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith
into this grace in which we stand;
and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
And not only this,
but we also exult in our tribulations,
knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope;
and hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” – Romans 5:1-6

Ok, so two separate sections of scripture reference the process of growing and learning throughout struggles.

Which means, I am neither useless or unfruitful.
It is in my helplessness that Christ died.
Struggles and bad times ultimately bring hope and cultivate love.

Community Prayer…

Community is something that God is pretty clear about how important it is to Him. Even HE is a community of sorts (the Trinity.. Three in one..) He decided it was not good for Adam to be alone, that he needed a community, but not just a group that was exactly like him, Adam needed diversity and companionship. Which means, we are supposed to have community, which is hard, and messy, and beautifully diverse, and it literally changes our lives.

Literally, all throughout scripture you see community being incredibly important. Even in the New Testament Jesus pulls a community of people around him. There are spheres even in his circles, He had his three close “inner circle,” then he had the twelve, then there was a much larger group that included women, even his mom and brothers.. and it was more than 100 people!

Community is important. Very important.

But, it goes much deeper than simply just wanting people to be around. We need their faith, their wisdom, support, love, care, sometimes we physically need their help (especially as a woman), and other times we just need them to physically be present in our hurting… But, I would also say that a crucial and sometimes forgotten part to the community puzzle is the prayer for each other.

Oh sure, we remember to pray on occasion for each other, and sometimes we even remember to regularly offer up quick prayers.. But, that is not the kind of prayer I am talking about. I am talking about touching someone and praying the intense, purposeful, expectant of answers, and sometimes the petitions on our knees before our Creator God kind of prayers.

Please do not misunderstand me, both are good things, and prayer is important no matter what, but I have (re)discovered recently just how profoundly different it is to be prayed over with intensity, intentionality, and expectation. Something about community prayer changes things. I know God made it that way, but it amazes me how much it truly makes a difference. Two weeks ago I was prayed over by a few people, and a couple of them said things that literally caused something to shift inside of me, a switch to be flipped, and suddenly the pressure of things I was using to beat myself up with were gone. Without their prayers over me, I am confident I would still be struggling under the weight of those things.

I want to understand what Jesus meant when He said in John 16,In my discovery, the prayers over the 3×5 cards on my bathroom mirror have started to shift slightly. I am really trying to learn how to pray, and asking God to teach me.

“…Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.”

.. Because in my book, anything is actually pretty specific… So, I am asking God to show me and teach me.

I re-discovered literally last night, after spending the vast majority of my day dwelling in and spending quality time with my Lord, the evil one really begins attacking. I knew exactly why he was attacking, and I knew the area in my life he was hitting… I also was keenly aware of the fact that I needed reinforcements, so I reached out to my bff. She knew exactly how to pray for me, and we were able to talk, she was able to share her insight and wisdom, and when all was said and done, I was left amazed at God even more than before.

Prayer changes everything, and community prayer multiplies that ridiculously.