This is the God who Redeems

Hi Fast.Pray. Friends–

This is our last Monday fasting and praying until September.  We are fasting and praying for good marriages for those who long to be married and for the courage for men and women to become more marriageable–to be willing to change where we each need to change.  If you can, fast during what would be lunch.  And if at all possible, find a friend with whom you can pray.

For the last two weeks, we’ve talked about envy.  Judging from the comments, the discussion has hit home.  We’re glad because none of us wants to be indwelt by the green-eyed monster!  But we’re also glad because, more broadly, the purpose of this blog is to help women (and our few, brave male subscribers) know ever more deeply that 1) you are not alone in your struggles and desires and that 2) there IS a bigger picture, framed and indwelt our by an actively present, loving God.  In other words:  our longings (and sin & aches) matter AND God is at work for big purposes, right where we are.  Each week when Anne (McCain) Brown and I pray by cell phone, we pray that God would multiply the power of the prayers of the fast.pray. subscribers in personal and cultural ways that are wildly disproportionate to our numbers.  “Do beyond what we can ask or imagine, Lord!” we pray almost weekly.

When we kick back off this fall, there are some other sub-topics we want to touch on:  s@xuality, lust, relational mistakes & wounds, friendships & community, more people (& men in particular) entering God’s kingdom, and–always–embracing the journey of faith.  But, as we go into August, let’s go remembering who this God is before whom we fast and pray.  Because at the end of the day, our triune God is the center of his people’s hopes, longings, purpose, freedom, strength, healing, joy…..  This is the God who redeems…

  • He is always with us and everything He has is ours. (Luke 15:31)
  • He calls us to practice today what we he has revealed to us so far. (Luke 6:46)
  • He sees us and his heart goes out to us. (Luke 7:13)
  • He honors our faith.  (Luke 8:48)
  • He can set us free from that which binds us. (Luke 13:16)
  • His heart can be filled with compassion towards us. (Luke 15:20)
  • He knows anguish (Luke 22:44) even as he knows how to throw a party (Luke 15:23 & 24)
  • He loves for us to keep knocking & asking, filled with faith (Luke 18:1ff)

These are some of my favorite attributes about our God.  There are so many more.  Take some time in August to meditate on Him.  And eat some ice cream, exhale whenever possible, and play with some of the people you love.  Meanwhile, feel free to post your thoughts throughout the month, and we’ll look forward to reconnecting come September.

Many Blessings, Connally

P.S.  Feel free to forward to friends you think would be interested and invite them to join with us.

This entry was posted in Author: Connally and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to This is the God who Redeems

  1. faith says:

    I have met a man whom I care so deeply for, I have broken contact because I wish for him to heal, become a Christian and then choose to have a relationship or friendship with me. He has pain and fear over emotional ties following previous relationships and needs space. Having been divorced myself I have empathy but also know he has to go through this process without me “waiting”. 
    He is a true friend and though peaceful about the decision I am in pain. I prayed for my desires to be ones of the spirit and believe that if it’s God’s will that we have a relationship it will be. 
    I am finding it hard to move forwards, I miss him and though he knows I care enormously until he re establishes contact I have to do so quietly and from a distance.
    I want to remain focused ahead on the Lord and ask for this relationship but accept the answer given. I have walked through such a dark valley and am presently rising from that place and feel I am basking in His glory. I love this man, in a way I never thought possible. I pray that my heart is guarded at this time and that I continue on my journey and have the humility and faith to continue without bargaining but instead a genuine acceptance of His plan.

    • Dear Faith – I am there too!! I walked away from a 6 year relationship, partly (and importantly) because he chose not to walk with our Lord. Has it been hard? Absolutely! My ex-boyfriend was devastated and reached out to me several times, I have been steadfast (not easy) keeping my eyes on our ever loving Lord! Only HE knows what is best for us and WE need to get out of His way to let His plan happen.

      I pray that you continue walking in His light, one step at a time, surround yourself with Christians, especially women, and even if you do have contact from this man, do not allow the decision to be his…that should be reached thru prayer.

      Our Lord so does care!!

  2. Susan says:

    Daniela – Congrats!!

    Praise does go to Him!! Keep your focus on that!!

    The rest will fall into place…

    at the exact right pace!
    :^)

  3. Susan says:

    I love reading these stories…it shows me that God does listen to our prayers!!

    without having to double dog dare(s)
    :^)

    ps – Daniela I look forward to reading about what He is doing in your life!!

  4. Daniela says:

    Thank you ladies for this wonderful initiative! I decided to join you with fasting only a few weeks before the summer break. Well, right now it looks very much like something is going to develop – with the most wonderful, spiritual young man I’ve ever met in my life! Anyway, I hope I can give you an update soon. Please keep me in prayer!

    • Katy says:

      I needed to hear this today, thank you! I have been praying for a long time – even before I discovered this site and started fasting…and I have had a couple relationships that seemed great and then they weren’t (and I am grateful they ended)

      But the past few weeks I have thought maybe its all in vain, maybe our prayers are leading nowhere…but stories like yours reminds me that God works in His own time and He is faithful and we should pray.

      I am very excited for you and hope that in a few months I am sharing my exciting story with yall too!

  5. Julie…

    I thank you this morning for the reminder to run it all past our Lord!!

    He will let us know..

    if it is a yes or a no!!

    :^)

  6. Amanda –

    I, too, love your “I will not settle for less than what God has for me. I am no longer broken.”

    I am successfully at that same spot!!

    He knows our lot!!

    Susan

  7. Amanda Smith says:

    I AM NO LONGER BROKEN.
    It is a simple yet powerful statement that I didn’t even realize I believed. For the past several years I have been living as though I were broken while knowing that I am not. This weekend I lived whole, free and overjoyed in my singleness. Without hesitation I was able to confidently proclaim, “I will not settle for less than what God has for me. I am no longer broken.” The ministry and support I have received from the fast. pray. blog is precious to me. Priceless. I love all of you. Praise god for his faithfulness and patience while we bridge the gaps between knowing and believing and living!

    For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV

    • fast. pray. says:

      that is wonderful news. “I will to settle for less than what God has for me” is not an easy statement to really come to, to really own in one’s core. to be able to honestly desire HIS best, HIS purposes, HIS provision, and to see with HIS eyes is such freedom. yay!
      connally

  8. Niki –

    If you put your trust in God and KNOW that He hears our prayers, I would not hesitate in going to any function, but arm yourself with responses to those, who in essence think they are being caring by inquiring, asking you these questions.

    How about “I am loving life and enjoying my singleness until God puts the right man in my path!” – that should stop them cold!

    To Him pray to be Bold!!

  9. Niki says:

    New to this group.
    Why is there a break until September?
    When we all reconnect in September, I hope for a post on dealing with insensitive comments regarding extended involuntarily singleness from family, friends especially those friends you think should be able to emphasise, and just people in general. One of the ways I’m dealing with this is not going to events where family or friends are going to be and basically withdrawing just to avoid those dreaded comments regarding my singleness but the thing is, though I’m trying to protect myself I feel as though I’m building walls which I know isn’t right and causes me to feel very lonely, more than I am already am.

    • fast. pray. says:

      Niki-
      Hey.
      We take a break in August as a sabbath of sorts. Prayer and fasting are labor, and we know that just like with the sabbath rest God speaks of, a sabbath is a good reminder that just because we aren’t laboring, it doesn’t mean God isn’t paying attention or still holding the world together. Though our longings are real, taking a break from actively praying and fasting about it all reminds us that the gift of answered prayer isn’t ultimately in response to our performance. We can rest, because at the end of the day, our provision is in his hands!
      And, also, in response to your situation, you might check out the chapter “So, Why aren’t You Married?” in my book, “Revelations of a Single Woman: loving the life i didn’t expect.” It addresses what you are a talking about. Oh, and also, I totally agree with your statement that you don’t want to feel more lonely–and that cutting oneself off from relationship will only land one there. And so the question really becomes, “Lord, how can I learn to navigate what is a measure of suffering and still have an in-tact, alive soul?” I believe that he can take you there and reveal this to you.
      Blessings in your journey. Glad you are with us.
      Connally

  10. Amy…

    I am praying that our Lord allows you to accept whatever He lays on your table!!

    I know He is able!!

    • Amy says:

      An update for both you and Connally…we have started a relationship, taking it one step at a time! Praise God and thank you for your prayers!

  11. Amy says:

    I hope anyone who reads this might be able to offer up a quick prayer: I know and care about a godly man who has some reservations about the idea of getting married, and is in the process of trying to decide whether to 1) invite me into a process of discernment about being in a serious relationship, one that might be long and difficult as we unpack the baggage that we are both bringing to the table; or 2) to close the door on that possibility and let me go. I want him to choose the former, but I also want God’s will to be done and to be able to accept whatever happens. I would welcome prayers from this wonderful group of believers. Thanks!

  12. Bob Adgate says:

    Four years into Fast.Pray and now going into the fifth year. Hmm, it sure seems like our Redeemer God is doing wildly disproportionate beyond (even outside of the box) what we can ask or imagine (lives changing, 400-plus women and counting signing up for fast.pray, and more). God sure seems to love small beginnings. Who would have thunk the ways God is using three friends who, 4 years ago, limited their analyzing and turned to our God by fasting and praying A real testimony of God doing beyond what we ask or imagine. Well done good and faith servants of the Most High.

    Blessings,
    Bob

  13. Miss R. says:

    Connally,
    You always manage to hit the nail right on the head. You wrote of your prayers asking God to “Do beyond what we ask or can imagine.” That one sentence reminded me of a sweet lesson learned running my second full marathon. I had spent the summer struggling to train even as I continued to experience ankle pain. As the pain continued, I periodically entertained the idea of quitting and even postponed making all the necessary travel arrangements until the last minute for fear my injuries would prevent me from running. Still, I felt compelled to persevere as if God has something to show me. Other potential roadblocks in addition to the ongoing injuries presented themselves but as I lifted each one in prayer, God seemed to intervene and they were removed. The day before the big race arrived and meteorologists predicted rain, and not just rain, but a deluge of biblical proportions. I hate running in the rain, and it seemed wrong that after struggling all summer to train that rain would be my downfall. I bowed my head and prayed. “God, my faith is too small to ask for a total reprieve from the rain, but it’s big enough to ask for the deluge to be downsized to a sprinkling. I can handle running in a little rain, just not a downpour, please.” The clouds had already begun to part before the starting gun went off the next morning and before long I was running under clear blue skies. My ankle pain continued and it was a difficult run, but all the while I felt I heard God whisper, “See, I can do abundantly more than what you ask.” All the training and all the pain was worth it for that one lesson and it has served to give me hope these last few months. I appreciated the little reminder of it in your posting today.
    Blessings,
    Jannette

  14. I was quite restless until my pastor gave a sermon on idols, at which time he specifically said “If you are single, do not make finding a spouse your idol, you are to have one idol and that is our Lord” and I knew he was speaking to me.

    since then anxiety about who and when i have been fairly free

  15. anonymous lady says:

    I love your words “Because at the end of the day, our triune God is the center of his people’s hopes, longings, purpose, freedom, strength, healing, joy….. This is the God who redeems…”

    I continue to pray boldly for marriage AND I continue to hope though its hard. And I have felt God say hope, wait, trust to me this year. But I have a question.. is this just hope for a marriage or can we continue to pray and hope for specific relationships?

    I had a relationship recently end and I thought he was the one and I still really care for him, as long as I am out meeting new men and dating new men, is it wrong for me to pray that this relationship is restored? Can I have hope for a specific relationship or just hope God will bring someone into my life in general…

    • fast. pray. says:

      I can’t imagine that it would be wrong to pray for a relationship that you long for to be restored. Seems to me, for what it’s worth, that the main thing is to offer up your heart–as is, honestly, with all its longings–while also being able to say, but not my will but your will be done. Sometimes the answer is, ‘no,’ and we need to come to the place where we are open to a ‘no’ from God. And if we’re not sure if we can do that with integrity, then simply start by asking that He’d help us to be open to a “no.” But there’s no sense pretending in the meantime! If you long for this relationship, pray for it. Just be willing to hold it as lightly as you know how and try to disrupt fantasy/imaginary scenarios (that some of us our prone towards creating in the midst of unmet longings 🙂 ) by turning your attention to the good things that are in your power to do right now, even in the next hour. That one day at a time thing is a really good philosophy.

      Hope that helps!

    • Sandra says:

      About a year ago I had a relationship end that I really wanted to be restored. I prayed boldly about it for two months according to my heart’s desire. Ultimately I discovered that I no longer had the desire for this relationship to be restored. It turns out that it wasn’t God’s will and He turned my heart according to the proverb “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Proverbs 21:1

      • anonymous lady says:

        How do you know when God is speaking to you? My mom is very against the ideas of “signs” — yet I have been praying about this particular relationship and how to establish friendliness again (background – this relationship didnt end on bad terms, but ended because he was still healing from a long relationship. How I wish he had known that BEFORE we started dating…) At the time, I distinctly felt the Lord say wait – and so I did. I didn’t slam the door in his face and the two of us verbally left the door open for the future….but we quickly found out being friends after dating is hard and so we have failed at being friends and there is a whole host of unspoken emotions between us…

        Anyways, part of me wants to give up on him. Although he is not dating anyone for the time being. I have been praying about this and asking the Lord for guidance… if my time of waiting was over and I needed to move on, so be it. I just wanted to know what to do, even if I dont want to do it, and obey…. and this wkd, I have had two different people approach me and say not to give up on him, not to cross him off the list. And so I took that as encouragement from God to continue praying and start making an effort to be friendly again (its partly my fault we have not been friends the past couple months) – but my mom claims you can make anything a sign.

        Sorry for the long story, but I would love thoughts – from someone objective. I cared deeply for him, but at the same time, part of me wants to let go, mourn and move on…. everytime I try to let go though, something tells me to wait. But I feel I am crazy…does God tell us what to do through others?

        • fast. pray. says:

          i don’t think i can claim anything in terms of pure objectivity! but i did share this with a friend of mine and as we discussed it, we came to conclusion that from both the scriptures and our experience, sometimes God does communicate through signs. and yet sign reading is sort of a tricky business when it comes to women’s hearts and the men they desire, or even sort of desire. i know in my life, it’s the arena where i’m most likely to make up things! i told her the story of how a few years back a man named ‘clarke’ (with an ‘e’) was pursing me. every day on the way to the metro, i’d see a sign that said ‘clarke’ (with an ‘e’). i’d see it everywhere (as it’s the name of a construction company which does lots of building in the dc area). anyhow, it would catch my attention out of nowhere and suddenly i’d be back on ‘clarke.’ i’d be wondering, ‘is this right? should i be in this relationship? God, what are you saying?’ and then i’d see the ‘clarke’ sign and not be able to stop myself from thinking, ‘this must mean something!” embarrassing as it is (and sort of normal, too, i think as our hearts are so made for relationship) i spent a lot of unnecessary mental energy noodling around in my imagination–when in retrospect, the real ‘signs’ were much simpler: in this case, ‘clarke’ really liked me but at the end of the day, i really didn’t enjoy being with him beyond a sort of basic friendliness, and he and i both wanted more than that in a relationship that would go towards marriage. in other words, reading the ‘signs’ isn’t wrong or bad, i don’t believe, but do start with the most basic ones possible: what is he asking of me? how am i responding? anything, Lord, you’d like to say to me about my response?

          more than that, though, this friend with whom i was discussing this offered this wisdom: perhaps instead of focusing on letting go of this guy (b/c let’s face it, that’s easier said than done for most of us when our heart is involved), maybe the starting place is instead continuing to open your heart even a little deeper to embrace Jesus’ will (even if you don’t know how it will play out), rejoicing that He is for you, and asking him to help you be a woman of wisdom and kindness, for his purposes–in this life (which will mostly likely involve some sort of husband)–and into the next. maybe you can just do this a little bit at a time–going one day at a time and simply taking the next set of emotions and longings and desires and hopes and fantasies and fears before him, right now, and saying: here it is. i am yours. lead and love me even as you grow me in wisdom and kindness. and then, simply do the next thing (which might be your laundry or that lingering phone call or your taxes or your toes!).

          i know that such an approach doesn’t settle the unknown about the future, but i think it’s the way to the most rich, God-led and infused future-….whatever that might look like……

          for what this is worth–
          mostly i’ll just pray for you right now,
          connally

    • Julie F says:

      Whenever I find myself thinking repetitively about a man I am interested in I put it to the Lord. I specifically ask God to let me know if this is the man for me. If it’s not, to shut the door quickly and obviously so I know without a doubt he’s not for me. That way there’s no dwelling or lusting after a man that is another woman’s future husband. God has been faithful to clearly answer me every single time. I don’t want to be an adulterer. That may sound odd, but it’s easier for me to put the brakes on my thoughts this way. I also am reminded of, though hard put to actually practice it, the words of my mentor Virginia. She constantly referred me to 2 Cor. 10:5 …” we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” It’s hard to do this, but oh so destructive to dwell on the could’ves, should’ve’s and why’s relating to the men we want but don’t have.

  16. Susan says:

    Thanks for good words, Con . And yes, DEFINITELY i’ll play with some of the people I love!

  17. Ally Avozani says:

    Trusting in the Lord

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s