I was recently shopping at a Toy Store with a friend of mine who has had horrible pain with kidney stones. She was in the hospital for a week over the issue and was sent home with a treatment of time, medicine and “come back for a consult about having surgery” if you haven’t passed the four stones. Her pain was manageable but it still looked like surgery was necessary. Her concern was that she wasn’t able to get scheduled very quickly with the Doctor. They weren’t able to make any room for her any earlier than several weeks out. So when she got a phone call from the Dr’s office, while we were shopping, saying they were able to get her in the to the Dr. just a few days later she was relieved and excited. As soon as she got off the phone she quietly but audibly let out the most genuine and sincere, “Oh Father, thank you so much.” I don’t know why it struck me as it did but I’ve not forgotten that moment. It was like it was just she and God and she didn’t care who was around and she just thanked Him out loud in the middle of a crowded toy store. Well, she had a few days before she went to the Doctor and she passed the largest kidney stone over the weekend and was so glad to have that behind her. But she still had like four more so when she got to the Doctor they did an ultrasound and he said, “Well, I’m glad to tell you that you have no kidney stones at all. They’re all gone.” Of course she was shocked and excited. Many people had been praying for her and for those kidney stones to leave and I don’t know what all God used to heal my friend but deep down in my heart I just keep thinking about those words of praise and thanksgiving offered up to the Lord in a public place, out of heart of true thanksgiving and praise. And then a few days later those stones are gone. All of them.
I’m switching gears but hang tight. This past Friday at Mom’s in Prayer we had a really neat experience. I came to our group with a heavy heart and quite weary. Mitchell and I had just had a fight in the car over him needing to wear a jacket. Attitudes and words were exchanged and I ended up showing my tale. And then found it really hard to waltz into our prayer time. I shared this with the Moms and said I just felt a “off”. We opened in our traditional time of praising God where we focus on an attribute of God and read scripture that shows us what the attribute looks like in the Word. Then we always move into a time of silent confession. I sat there silently and then just felt the Holy Spirit move me to confess publically. I asked for God’s forgiveness through tears. And then He swept among others to pray aloud their own confessions. By the time the last person had confessed there was this common thread among us – feeling so overwhelmed and stressed that our tongues become short with our children and families, those we love most. Of course I’m doing a Bible Study that talked about this very thing yet I keep tripping up in this area. From there our usual format was trumped by the moving and guiding of the Spirit and it was really quite beautiful. One Mom said, “You know, we entered feeling so weighted down and are leaving feeling so light.” Couldn’t have been said any better.
Here’s the cool thing. I left our prayer time to pick up a friend, the same friend who had kidney stones, to go visit someone in the hospital. She once was a committed MIP er when he boys were in school too. I told her about our prayer time and how it was unlike any of the others. She said to me, “That’s really interesting. I was walking this morning and I prayed for ya’ll's MIP time. And I asked the Holy Spirit to fall on your group in new ways.” I said, “Are you serious?!!!!” I couldn’t believe it because it was exactly what we experienced.
So I’ve been mulling these experiences over in my heart every day since. From my friend with kidney stones, I feel like God is showing me that He honors the knee-jerk, immediate response of praise and thanksgiving to Him. And through our Mom’s In Prayer time, I feel like God linked a public confession time to one of the most powerful prayer times we’ve had to date.
Public praise. Public confession. Two powerful things that are impacting my faith.