When God Uses You to Answer Your Own Prayers

Prayer

I was sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops, drinking one of my favorite drinks and enjoying conversation with one of my favorite people. We laughed at the fact that I was momentarily distracted by a bearded man who walked in the door. We laughed at inside jokes and movie quotes. We laughed at the bodybuilder sized patron who left hurriedly when the lights went out momentarily.

Conversation would volley from serious to hilarious in a moments time, which made the more difficult confessions easier to admit.

My friend was….is….hurting.

I saw it in his eyes. The familiar, all too familiar, look of pain.

He’d share. I’d listen.

I’d share. He’d listen.

It happened like this for a few hours, until it felt like all that could be said had been said. Before we parted ways, I suggested I pray for him. A tad bit out of my comfort zone, we sat on a bench outside the coffee shop and we prayed.

The prayer I prayed was nothing earth shaking. Just a simple kid, praying a simple prayer, for someone she loved. 

God, speak to his heart. Remind him of Your Truth. Lavish him with Your love….

As I prayed, I heard the Lord say, “Speak to him.”

After a few moments, my prayer was concluded, a hug was exchanged and we got into our cars and left. In the quiet of my car, I continued praying for my friend and God continued pestering me.

Speak, Holly, speak.

“God, YOU need to encourage his heart.”

     “I will.”

“You’ve got to remind Him of Your Truth.”

     “I will.”

“You’ve got to love on him like crazy.”

     “I will.”

My heart seemed to lighten a bit.

“I’m going to use you to do that.”

….

“But God wouldn’t it be so much more effective if you parted the clouds and shouted from the Heavens.”

And from there, God continued to remind me how time and time again He used people to speak on His behalf. Not “all together” type people, either. Not just the pastors of churches. Or revival evangelists. Or Bible school professors. Just willing imperfect people. 

Just a few days earlier, I had experienced it myself. I was sitting at a table with nine girls in a crowded Cafeteria where I had served that week as their counselor. We’d be leaving camp in a few short hours, so we were doing the best to savor our last moments together. As we got ready to go finish packing, one of my girls got on top of our table and called everyone to attention.

I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get fired for this one, I thought. The entire camp silenced and turned their gazes towards her.

In the following moments, she began to tell the camp how they (my cabin of girls) had decided that I was THE BEST COUNSELOR. They’d made me a book full of encouraging Scriptures and notes and presented it to me there. The room filled with clapping and cheering and hugging and at that moment, my heart could barely grasp the love I had just been lavished. 

photo (1)

God had used a cabin full of teen girls to share His amazing love for me. It made an imprint on my heart that will never disappear.

Speak, Holly, speak.

One year ago, God spoke the same message to my heart. It was then that the Common Queen Blog was started. I knew that there were things God wanted to share with people and that He wanted to use me to do it. I wasn’t sure if anyone would read it or get anything from it, I just knew I needed to speak…or write as the case may be. It was a burning that had been in my heart for years, but because of fears, insecurities, and endless excuses I had chosen to dismiss it.

That was, of course, until last year. I didn’t (and don’t) feel qualified, or “good enough” or any of that business, but I’m willing to let God speak through me.

And He has.

Not only here on the blog, but in a cabin full of giggling girls and a coffee shop with a friend. 

He’s asking me to speak– to speak love, Truth and encouragement to so many hearts in need of it. He’s asking me to be the answer to my own prayers. 

I’m speaking, Jesus. I’m speaking.

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Thoughts from my hospital bed

hospital

Sometimes I grunt at God.

I’m pretty sure He gets my drift. The sheer disgust of my current state. The discouraged exhale of a fed up girl not getting her way. The disgruntled wordless bemoaning. The eye rolls. Yes, those silly little eye rolls emphasizing the depth of my frustrations.

I got a text from a friend day #2 into a 6 day hospital stay. He asked me what God had been speaking to me while I was laid up. OF COURSE, this was the perfect opportunity to hear from God. No distractions. No busy schedule. Just me stuck in my hospital bed with absolutely no energy, no real concrete thoughts or deep theological revelation. I did what any good Christian would do. I lied.

I shared something that God has been speaking to me about, but something that has been simmering for months (you’ll be hearing about this more shortly). I couldn’t bring myself to tell this friend that I felt like God had been silent during this “vacation” of mine. I couldn’t actually tell this friend that my desire was to just get through the pain and get to the other side of this affliction.

My pride is my biggest hurdle to true honesty. If I were actually honest with my friend he might think less of me. Maybe he’d start praying for me convinced I was some kind of “backslider”. I’m being silly, but isn’t that where out mind goes? If I’m honest, maybe people won’t like the real me.

During my hospital stay, I didn’t necessarily hear God say anything, but I can tell you something He showed me. I saw love in the flesh. I saw friends rally around me offering their time to sit with me for hours, sometimes in silence. I saw flowers flooding my bed-side table from friends near and far letting me know they were thinking of me and praying for me. I saw nurses in beautiful kindness bring me comfort in forms of painkiller and jell-o.

Maybe, God didn’t say anything. Or maybe He decided to SHOW me something instead.

To be known.

It’s been almost 2-weeks since I received the phone call.

The phone call that no one expects, but secretly dreads. The phone call that changes the course of your day, your week, your year. The phone call that leaves you in shock and denial and anger all rolled up into one.

It was a wonderful Friday afternoon spent with my best friend and her daughter. We had been giggling and shopping and enjoying the things that girls (little and not so little) enjoy. We were just sitting down to dinner when I got the previous mentioned phone call.

It was during that phone call that I was told a friend had died unexpectedly. The same friend I had shared dinner with just 3 nights previous. The same friend who had remarked on how he liked my dress that evening and I jokingly retorted that he liked my legs in the dress. The phone call was brief, but packed with emotions and questions like those types of phone calls usually are. The next few days, were full of friends and love and comforting words. We lived in a weird state of flux from tear drenched faces to mouths full of laughter. Each moment a different memory and yet a continual phrase repeated, “We miss him”. Our world seemingly stunned by grief and yet everyone else’s unaffected.

A few short days ago, we stood in a not so short line to offer our condolences to the family of our friend. I’d never met his family before since it had only been a a few months since he entered our lives. His entrance was swift, but cemented instantly. He was easily lovable and a true joy to have around. And he thought I was funny– that’s usually all it takes for me to call someone a friend. Standing before his mom, I struggled to get the words out as I shared how much we loved her son. She wrapped her arms around me and in the midst of her kind words she said something simple and meaningful.

“He told us so much about you!”

Sitting on the hard, wooden pews waiting for the memorial to begin I wondered why that small statement made such an impact on my heart. Then, I realized, it was because I had been KNOWN. He claimed me as a friend.

One of the greatest feelings in the world is to be known. To be claimed. To be recognized.

It’s a wonderful feeling to know your friends and family love you, but how much more intoxicating is the fact that the very Creator of the universe knows me. I am, in a very literal sense, His dream come true. I was His idea. His creation. His handiwork. He not only knows all about me– the fact that I enjoy Starbucks white chocolate mochas, hugs, sarcasm, scarf wearing weather and Jane Austen books, but He knows me intimately. He knows every dream I’ve longed for. Every whispered prayer. Every bitter restrained comment. He’s been there for every heart break. He’s captured everyone of my tears.

He knows me.

There’s nothing more fulfilling than that. To you, I may just be another girl lost in the crowd, but to Him I’m a special treasure and a target of His love.

The person who loves God is the one God knows and cares for. (1 Cor. 8:3)