Waiting Part 1: Pray Big!

Before I get started, I just want to say a huge “Thank You!” to Heather for allowing me to be a guest on her blog today. I have been blessed to be in a prayer group with Heather over the last year and a half. We have prayed through valleys together and rejoiced on the mountaintops. I am privileged to call her a sister and friend. Thank you for the invitation, Heather! 🙂

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It is such a blessing to be with you all today and share a message that God continues to grow me through and teach me about: faith during waiting periods.  In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul talks about a “thorn in {his} flesh” that was sent to him to keep him humble. I heard a speaker say once how wonderful it was that Paul’s thorn was never identified. It makes it relatable to us because it can be anything that we encounter! I have come to believe that seasons of waiting have been brought to me to keep me utterly dependent on the Lord. Two verses later in 2 Corinthians 12:9, God states to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This verse has never meant more to me than it does today. For 10 years I have been in periods of waiting. Every time I come out of one, another one has been around the corner. Here is a bit of my story:

A little over 10 years ago, I was a naïve 26 year old sitting in my pastor’s office. My husband and I were in our last session of premarital counseling before our wedding in September, 2002. I remember saying to my pastor how I just couldn’t wait to cook and clean for my husband. (I laugh every time I think about this!) We will buy a house and then within 3 years we will start our family. My husband and I had the first 5 years of marriage all planned out. But, needless to say, God had other plans in mind for us. Our waiting began on our honeymoon.

Adam and I had both saved ourselves for this moment.  So we were both like, “Yes! The moment we have waited for!” Nope. Not even close. Sexual intimacy was so physically painful for me that nothing worked and it was impossible. We left our honeymoon disappointed. I left with disappointment coupled with shame and guilt. Months went by and intimacy was still impossible.

With the months passing by, a wall had been built up and I wanted nothing to do with anything regarding it. Before I knew it, Adam and I were on the brink of divorce. Over time, I found out that there was a physical problem with my pelvis which caused uncontrolled spasms. I felt relief that I had a name for this crazy problem. The shame, though, caused me to internalize everything and I felt so alone.

I felt the world swallowing me up, yet God’s hand was continually lifted out. I went to a specialist where I made a little bit of progress, but not enough for my husband and me to overcome this. Eventually I gave up. At this point, we had been married for 7 years! Nothing was working. I was angry with God. I hated the way I was made and I had never felt so inadequate.

But through all of this, God kept pursuing me until I had nowhere to go but look up to Him. The burden to seek His face was so heavy it was almost paralyzing. I started to earnestly pray for my marriage.

A couple of weeks later I left for a weekend prayer conference and the woman behind me prayed one sentence that changed me forever. She prayed, “God, You have called us to pray big.” I have no idea what else she said but those words pierced my heart so strong I couldn’t ignore them. I knew I had been limiting God in my prayer life.

I was limiting Him to human standards by not measuring Him as the God of the universe and the God who raised His Son from the grave. He has conquered death! Now, girls, that is power! If He has that kind of power, He can heal my marriage. I started praying Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory…” This verse is my power verse.

Do you see those words? “Immeasurably more”?! He can and will go beyond our capacity of thinking. I returned home from this prayer conference set free. Spiritually, I was alive like I had never been. I entered into a deeper level of understanding of who Jesus was in my life. His power has no bounds!

The night that I returned home, I received the answer I had been praying for. After 7 years of pain and guilt, the Lord healed me physically. He brought my husband and me together without any pain. A true miracle. With tears of gratitude and thankfulness, we praised God for His healing hand.

Are you in waiting right now? Do you have feelings of hopelessness? That what you are facing is too big for even the God of this universe? I have listed below 2 tips that have helped me through my waiting periods:

  • Meditate on Scripture: Find a verse that you can claim as your power verse, one that you can go to constantly. Sit in silence and allow each word to be absorbed by your mind and heart. You can’t pray big until you believe in the power that God possesses! We are human. We doubt…a lot! God uses these waiting seasons to bring us into a deeper understanding of His character. For, me I needed to grasp that His power was unlimited. I needed to meditate and let the truth of Ephesians 3:20 seep into the very core of my heart.
  • Pray  Scripture: Girls, the Bible is our weapon. Hebrews 4:12 states that it is alive and active! Wow. I am always amazed by this. Praying the direct words of God breaks down the walls of unbelief and fills the cracks of our doubt with His holiness. It transforms our minds! Do you have days when you feel like you don’t even have words to pray? Pray Scripture. His words will usher you directly to His throne.

It’s one thing to say that you believe in God, but do you believe in who He says He is? Our valleys of waiting can be used to bring our relationship with Jesus to a level we could never imagine if we were always on a mountaintop.  Pray big, friends, PRAY BIG!

My story doesn’t end here. I am still in a waiting period. Heather has been gracious to allow me to post the second part which I will share my husband and I’s adoption adventure!  Thank you for allowing me to share my heart. Waiting is hard and painful. Yet, it can be one of the most treasured times.

Are you in a season of waiting? Does your prayer life need re-energizing to get you through it? I would love to hear how “praying big” has transformed your relationship with God and what verses have been your weapon in this process!

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Colleen is married to Adam, her very best friend, and they are getting ready to celebrate their 10th anniversary on 9/28! They are patiently (not really) waiting for their first child by the blessing of adoption. She is a social worker for a foster care agency north of Boston and is in charge of placing children in quality foster homes. She has a passion for adoption, foster care, and being a voice for “the fatherless”. Colleen’s heart is to help women by sharing her own struggles and pointing them to a deeper relationship with Jesus.  At home, you will find her drinking coffee and  laughing with her husband as they attempt to figure life out together. Follow her on her blog Loved First as she chronicles about adoption, faith, and all of God’s lessons in between.

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11 thoughts on “Waiting Part 1: Pray Big!

  1. Heather, thank you for having Colleen today!
    Dear Colleen,
    I have never given thought to the fact that Paul’s thorn was never identified. What wisdom to see how we can all relate since we each have our own “thorns.” I will follow your lead and I will meditate on and pray scripture for my thorns… the bigger ones… and the daily thorns which are more like splinters. You lead by example… and you also are a powerful teacher through your writing. THANK YOU! I love you Colleen and Heather!

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    1. Noelle~
      You are such an encouragement to me..I love you! I so needed to read your words:) Praying that God gives you just the right Scripture to pray through. His Word is so powerful! Love you and value your friendship!

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  2. Colleen, thank you for sharing your story today. This is something very few women share, let alone open up so openly and honestly. I am praying that God will take your vulnerability and use it to touch women’s hearts. And I pray that God will take His Word as told through your story and bring it ALIVE in their lives so they can see He hears the cry of their heart and is at work in their lives.

    Heather, thank you for sharing your platform with such godly women. I just love your humble heart and your desire to connect people’s faith stories with your on-line community. May He continue to bless the work of your hands.

    Love you,

    Wendy

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  3. Colleen,
    Thank you soooooooooo much for sharing your story on my blog. Thank you for your openness and vulnerability, but especially for sharing God’s healing power in your life. What an amazing testament to our God who draws us closer to Him during our times of waiting.

    I look forward to everyone reading the second part of your story and the power of God working in your life!

    ❤ Heather

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    1. Heather..
      You have no idea how honored I am to post for your blog! What a gift in so many ways:) Thank you for letting me steal 2 days:) I am blessed by your encouragement and teaching, and even more blessed by your friendship. Thankful to have you in my life! xoxo

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  4. Colleen, what an amazing testament to the power of God’s healing hand. Sometimes I think we even are moved to thankfulness for our own “thorns” because God uses them to draw us closer to Him. Your story is such a blessing, thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. Stephanie~
      Thank you so much for sweet words! God has been so faithful and He continues to move in amazing ways. I continue to be amazed at how He can use our trials and pain and turn them into something beautiful. He is gracious and merciful!
      Thank you for stopping by:) You are a blessing!

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  5. Colleen, what an amazing testimony of God’s healing and how He grows us through our trials. I feel similar that my life has been full of a lot of waiting, but like you, I can say that it has kept me close to God. Thank you for being so transparent and honest to help all of us. Your story is powerful. Can’t wait to read the second part. 🙂

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    1. Brenda~
      Thanks for stopping by and being so encouraging. I am praying for you at this moment, that God will continue to draw Him close to you as you wait and that the promises found in His Word continue to usher you close to His heart.

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