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For the Girls

Today is the International Day of the Girl. The girl, who in so many places is denied education; is denied a voice as her future and even sometimes her spouse is decided for her; is denied a childhood as she is married off at barely double digits; is aborted or given up because she is the less desirable gender to bring into this world; is denied. Here in the United States where she’s far more fortunate, her struggles will be confined to unequal salary, to being objectified and occasionally harassed by those around her, and to avoiding being that one out of every six females over age 12 who will have a rape attempt made against her. The girl, who will grow into a woman – at once nurturing to those around her with a backbone of steel. The girl, formed of the rib of Adam, perfectly designed and destined for her partner – the only reason why life continues to cycle. The girl. Behind the innocent smiles and laughter, she will have so much to navigate in her life. And so today I’ve spent a lot of time praying for girls everywhere. I’m sharing my biggest prayers here, in the hopes that you’ll stand with me in agreement. It’s time they all know that we stand with them:

-I pray that you know you are here for a reason and nobody else can fulfill it for you. You were made on purpose, with specific gifts and callings. The world is a more beautiful place because you’re in it. So that voice in your head that says you’re not enough, that you can’t, and that you’re worthless and alone….I rebuke all that right now and call it out for the lie that it is. I pray you be who you are, boldly and freely.
-I pray that even in the deepest darkest parts of your heart you KNOW you were fearfully and wonderfullly made. That you would know you are valuable beyond words or price. That you would know there is nothing on this earth that can diminish you. No words, no abuse is stronger than what was inherently woven into your creation. Whatever you face in your life, I pray you know it doesn’t define you. Your identity comes from somewhere so much higher. You and your truth are seen, known and loved and IN THE NAME OF JESUS, may you know it.
-I pray you know your strength – and its source. You were made with authority and IN HIM you can overcome anything.
-I pray that you have freedom to access the education and resources that you need to cultivate the gifts you carry, and I pray your voice is never silenced. I pray right now against any chains or oppression that would come your way because girl, you were created to be Royalty. I pray you be infused with a faith stronger than hardship, that you would know you have a Provider and Protector even when all seems lost and it seems you’re out of options.
-I pray you honor your body. It’s the only one you get and it was created with just as much value as the rest of you. I pray you never resort to thinking it defines you, and that you never feel the need to craft your self-worth around it. Treat it like it belongs to someone you love. I know there’s a vast number of girls who live in areas where their bodies are their only means of survival and provision for their families. If you’re in one of them I pray you see that for the lie that it is. You were created by a God of abundance, who hears and answers your cries, who can fill your every need. You are never alone, you’re never forsaken and you don’t have to live as if you are.
-I pray you don’t cast your pearls before swine.There’s a time to cut your losses and move on. Know it and do it. You’re worth more than that.
-I pray you know, and I mean KNOW, that wherever you find yourself, whatever choices you’ve made or dark paths you’ve walked, you’re never too far gone. There’s always hope. Shame be off you in the name of Jesus. There’s no condemnation, not here, not in Him.
-And finally I pray you know that you are celebrated not just today but every day, and that the delight of the Father is on you always as His daughter. Let that knowledge nourish your spirit and fuel your soul.
From the newborn girl to the young-at-heart, from the girl down the street, to the teenage prostitute on another continent, I’m for you. The prayers of my heart are for you. Because you’re a girl. And today, the world stands with you.

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The Waiting Room

I’m in the waiting room of my Gynecologist’s office. The almost eerie silence is pierced every couple of minutes by the sound of a door swinging open and a soft woman with a wide smile calling a name. I’m hyper-focused on the slight creek the door makes with every swing. I wonder how the receptionists can stand to listen to it all day, every day.

I make my way to the restroom and I’m greeted by a sign that reminds me to check with the front desk before urinating in case the doctor will want a sample. But I know the doctor won’t want a sample because I’m not here for a UTI and there’s no chance that I’m pregnant.

The sign seems to mock me.

How many times have peed on a stick in the hopes of seeing a second line? How many times has my husband said, “I really think this time is it!” when my gut already tells me it isn’t? How long has it been since he stopped saying that because the disappointment hurts too much?

Back in the waiting room there are three other women sitting in chairs, all of whom are obviously pregnant. There is another woman standing at the reception desk who doesn’t look pregnant so for a moment I assume, like me, she’s just here for a routine exam. But she’s speaking loudly so she is easily overheard. At least it seems loud in such a quiet space. She’s complaining because she’s pregnant and getting married in a few weeks. She can’t believe her terrible luck that she will have to spend her honeymoon pregnant. “Can you believe this happened?” she groans to the receptionist. I ponder whether she understands how these things come about and I wonder if she grasps just how blessed she is that it came so easily to her. Then she gripes that this is her second pregnancy in just a few months, and that she took a bunch of Morning After pills the last time so she would miscarry. “I miscarried that baby and it just figures that now I’m pregnant again!” she exclaims.

You didn’t miscarry that baby, you aborted it, I think to myself. A miscarriage happens to something you love. Something you wanted more than anything else in the world. I’ve miscarried and I can assure you it is nothing like you’ve described.

A chemical abortion is still an abortion.

For a moment I have an overwhelming urge to kick her. I’m not proud of that. I probably wouldn’t admit that to someone in person, but we’ve always strived to be real on our anonymous little blog. The feeling was almost tangible. I actually pictured myself doing it. Then in shame, I sent up a silent repentant prayer. It was judgment, jealousy, and violence all rolled into one sinful thought.

Infertility is hard. Really hard.

When my name is called, I follow the soft smiling woman beyond the creaky door toward the examination rooms. The walls are lined with pictures. Picture after picture after picture of adorable, chubby little babies. The offspring of the women who have received their care here.

The pictures taunt me.

“You’re not a real woman” they say.

Women were made to make babies.
You have no purpose.
You’re broken.
You waited too long.
You’ll never be a mother.
You don’t deserve it.
 
Sometimes I think that Gynecology offices should be separate from Obstetrics offices to spare us infertile women the emotional trauma of a visit to the lady bits doctor. Because let’s be honest, going to the Gynecologist is already traumatizing enough without adding in those jeering beautiful infant photos lining the hallways.
 
My doctor tells me even if I didn’t have a chromosomal disorder and even if I didn’t have PCOS and even if I weren’t overweight, I’d still have almost zero chance of conceiving because at my age all my eggs are dead. He also informs me that at his age, my husband’s sperm is dead too. He didn’t use those exact words, but he may as well have.

I feel silenced from talking about this pain because everyone around me seems to think I shouldn’t even want children, what with my age and the fact that I already have step-children. But there is a biological drive to reproduce. There is something deeply ingrained in a woman to be a mother. God created us this way. My step-children are wonderful and amazing and a huge blessing in my life, but I will never be their mother. I can love them, nurture them, and guide them, but I can never be theirs. They already have a mother, and I cannot (and should not) take her place.

They will never call me mom.

Every children’s birthday party, every pregnancy announcement, every baby shower, and every gender reveal is like another stab in an already shattered heart. You avoid the babies in your life. You desperately want to hold them, and yet you don’t, because you know if you do, you will absolutely fall apart. Your façade will slip, your truth revealed. In these situations, it is reality to be authentically happy for others, but almost inconsolably sad for yourself.

And then comes the guilt. Guilt for feeling that way. Guilt for being too-self-focused. Guilt for failing your husband yet again. Guilt for not taking it better. Guilt for not always praising God through the storm. Every month the grieving process starts all over again. You try not to get your hopes up, but you can’t help hoping this is the month for your miracle. Followed by the inevitable let-down, indescribable grief, and the return of the guilt. Did you know that more than half of women experiencing infertility say that it is the most upsetting experience of their lives? Another study showed that women with infertility feel as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer.

I have no idea how people do it without God.

Because I know God, it’s not all consuming for me. The Lord has blessed me tremendously and I am very thankful. I have an amazing husband and an incredible family. I am truly happier in my life now than I have ever been. I have a God whose love IS all consuming.

In my pain and sorrow, He is there. Always there. I can’t say why my prayers haven’t been answered or if they ever will be, but I can say without any doubt that I know He’s heard me. He knows my tears. He sees my struggles. Even when my attitude hasn’t always been right, He has continued loving me through it all. I am forever grateful for that.

He is a God of the impossible. It was but a few short years ago that I was on this blog moaning that I was still single in a sea of unhitched Christian women with nary a single Christian man in sight. I saw all the impossibilities: the high ratio of single women to men, my below average looks, being beyond the average age for a first marriage, and being too busy, too shy, and too anxious to date, among other things. By my human reasoning, there was no way I’d ever find a mate so there were times that I doubted whether God would send me a one. Still, I was never quite able to give up my hope and when the time was right, God answered my prayers for a spouse in a way that went far beyond my expectations. My husband is so incredibly good to me. He makes me feel loved and valued every single day. He has a tremendous faith in God. He is everything I ever wanted in a partner.

If God can answer that prayer, I know that He can make me a mother. If He doesn’t, then I know He had His perfect reasons for not doing so.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

 

Learned Helplessness

I mentioned in my last post that my husband and I were starting a Bible Study with a young lady who is new to our church. We have been able to do a couple of lessons with her and through the Lord, I believe that we are off to a good start. It is a blessing to be able to teach with my husband. In the past when I have taught Bible Studies I have done so on my own so I am keenly aware of some of the subtle differences. We are able to play off each other’s strengths in Bible knowledge to give a more well-rounded approach to the Scriptures. Where I might forget or overlook an important detail, he is able to jump in and offer additional insight. I appreciate his love for the Word and for this opportunity to be able to partner together in ministry.

The young woman we are working with is tormented by fears and anxiety. Her need for constant reassurance is heartbreaking. She wants to call and text at all hours of the day and night. The amount of free time I have in my schedule is very limited so these constant interruptions can be taxing. I have had to set boundaries with her as far as when and how often I can talk to her. She has a deep-seated fear of abandonment so I want her to know that we aren’t going anywhere, but also establish appropriate parameters so that I am not too drained to be a benefit to her spiritual walk.

What we’ve learned about her story is disheartening. The state removed her from her mother’s custody as a toddler due to abuse and drug addiction in the home. She then bounced around in the foster care system for the next six years. These were not always the best environments for a young child. Finally, an aunt took her in. Her aunt did her best to love her and help her, but because of her past she was not always the easiest child to raise. At sixteen years old she got involved with the wrong crowd and ran away from home. She moved from couch to couch living with friends and boyfriends, suffering abusive relationships, and experiencing many things that she harbors deep shame over. After a few years of this, she eventually returned to her aunt’s house.

She has a number of learning disabilities and mental health issues so the aunt was quite overprotective of her at times. Over the years she essentially learned from her aunt that she isn’t capable of doing anything on her own. The aunt constantly reinforced her learning disabilities and did everything for her to the point that she genuinely believes she isn’t capable of living on her own. She now lives with a sister that she only met a few months ago and readily admits that her sister has to take care of her almost as if she is one of her children.

It won’t happen overnight, but I truly believe this girl is capable of living on her own. It’s going to take some work, a little faith, and a lot of Jesus, but this is not beyond her. With God, all things are possible! She will need some help to learn some basic skills such as applying for a job, how to cook, and how to do laundry on her own, but it’s not as if these things are beyond her intellectual capacity. Yes, she may have some learning challenges that will have to be taken into consideration, but there are people with significantly more severe disabilities that live independently. Her main obstacle is not her ability to master these skills, it’s with her ingrained belief that she can’t.

The God we serve is a God of transformation. He is well able to take an anxious insecure girl and turn her into confident and capable woman. As she grows spiritually, I expect to see that she will also grow toward independence in the natural. It is my prayer that her learned helplessness and dependence on others will shift to an unequivocal and faithful dependence on the Lord. I am excited to see where God will bring her on this journey. I am not sure where my husband and I fit into her spiritual walk, but I am humbled to have an opportunity to witness even a tiny part of it.

Dear Readers, if you have read this far, I would like to ask you to take just a moment of your time to say a prayer for this young lady. Pray peace over her life. Pray for spiritual discernment and a deep abiding love of the Almighty. Pray the Lord would send her helpers that don’t hinder her by doing everything for her, but rather help to do it on her own. If you’re feeling particularly generous, say a prayer for my husband and I that when we feel drained that God would supernaturally fill us up. Pray that we generously give of ourselves in love and service to our wonderful Savior, Jesus the Christ.

We serve an amazing God!

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

Discipleship

“To all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.” – John 1:12

A few weeks ago our pastor contacted my husband and me regarding a young woman who has just moved into the area and is looking for a church. She doesn’t drive so my husband and I were asked if we would be willing to pick her up for the following service. Of course we said yes without hesitating. She has attended nearly every service with us since.

She is only about four years older than our teen so to us she seems a lot like a kid, though legally, she is an adult. From what we’ve gathered, she’s experienced far more in her young life than she should have had to. That said, she knows what she needs is the Lord and she is hungry to get to know Him better. I’ve been praying that she will experience true healing as only the Lord can give.

There is something about this girl that reminds me of a lost neglected puppy. She seems almost desperate for someone to care for her. She doesn’t appear to have learned the basic characteristics of responsibility, communication, or being accountable for one’s own actions.

She comes across as very unsure of herself. In one moment she has the capability of carrying on intelligent conversation; in the next, she struggles to answer even the most basic questions about herself. When asked where in Connecticut she moved from, she could tell us the town, but not anything about the town or even what other cities are located near it for reference. She eventually said that she wasn’t from there; she is originally from Boston. So trying to make conversation, I asked her what part of Boston she is from. Everyone I have ever known from Boston will quickly tell you they are from Beacon Hill, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Southie, Hyde Park etc. and usually with such pride that when you ask where they are from, they may not even say Boston at all, but will jump right to the neighborhood they hail from. When I asked her this question she looked really confused and told me, “Massachusetts”, as if Massachusetts were a part of Boston instead of the other way around.

In another instance, she seemed really unsure of where we are in comparison to other places. She referred to places south of us as being north etc. She also hasn’t given us the slightest idea of how long she has lived at any of the three places she has mentioned or whether she’s lived anywhere else. She only mustered a feeble, “not very long” in reference to her current residence and gave the same response to the residence just prior to this one. I get the feeling she may have moved around a lot.  I am not sure if she really knows so little about where she is and where she comes from or if she is just evading the questions because she doesn’t want us to know too much about her. She is a sweet girl, but something appears to be lacking in her basic comprehension abilities. My husband and I have decided not to push her, but to let her open up to us as she feels able and comfortable.

Her first service at our church she went right to the altar and cried at His feet. She experienced the amazing infilling of His Spirit. Unfortunately, shortly after that, she experienced a panic attack in our fellowship hall. Thankfully, another sister and I were able to pray with her until she regained a sense of calm.

She readily agreed to come again the following service. It was after that service that she began to expound on some of her health issues both physical and mental. She struggles with anxiety and depression as well as a sense of being invisible to the world around her. She also confided that she has had long time stomach and digestive issues that cause her great discomfort and a fear of food.

During her third service at our church, she asked me to pray for her mother and revealed that her mother is a drug addict. The next service she disclosed that she is living with her sister and that she just met her sister for the first time a couple of months ago. She recently disclosed that she also has a brother that she has just met.

We are unsure exactly why she had to move in with a sister she barely knows, but we suspect her mother’s drug addiction may have something to do with that. It might also be the debilitating anxiety she is constantly under. She sometimes texts me dozens of times in a day asking the same questions over and over and practically begging for some reassurance that she’s doing okay, that she hasn’t lost her salvation, and that God won’t leave her.

My husband and I will be starting a Bible Study with her this week in the hopes of discipling her in her walk with the Lord. The Bible Study is a twelve week course that is designed to give a basic overview of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Please pray for my husband and me as we embark on this journey with her. It is our prayer that the Lord will anoint us for the task, help us to be sensitive to her needs, and give us the spirit of discernment to best be able to serve her. Most importantly, we are praying for her spiritual development and salvation.

Though we don’t yet know all the details of her situation, we know that “all things work together for good to them that love Him” (Romans 8:28) and we believe that God “makes all things new” (Revelation 21:5). She has begun a beautiful journey in the Lord and we feel blessed to be given an opportunity to witness it.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

Reflections

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. –Psalm 27:14

When we first started this blog, I was a single woman still grieving a breakup that had happened a couple years prior. I struggled to move on from that relationship even though I knew it wasn’t God’s will for me. Every year that went by became more distressing as I saw my chances at motherhood waning.

There were times during this period that I was blissfully aware of God’s presence and provision. I was content to wait for His best for me. I recognized that my singlehood brought unique opportunities to serve Him. Yet, there were painful stretches of time where I failed to see Him through my loneliness and despair. There were many difficult days. The years of being alone weighed on me. I constantly felt guilty because I knew that He was everything that I needed, and yet I still desired human companionship.

Today I am a married woman with three beautiful step-children. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for these precious gifts in my life! My husband is so loving and caring. He is very attentive to my needs and treats me far better than I deserve. He treats me so well that I have trouble accepting it. I never quite believed that anyone could care about me enough to treat me the way he does.

My step-children are sweet and respectful. They accepted me into the family almost immediately. Growing closer to them has probably been the most fulfilling aspect of my life to date. It was the day I met them that I knew my relationship with their father could work. I would not allow myself to fall for him until I knew I could love his children too. Really love them. It would not have been fair to the children or their dad if I could not.

I wish I could go back and tell my single self that she will be okay. I would tell her that the years of singlehood will be worth the wait. That God is setting everything up and not to lament the period of preparation. I would tell her that I couldn’t have met my husband sooner because neither of us were in the place we needed to be yet, but that it would make our meeting that much sweeter when the time came. People tried to tell me this, but I struggled to believe them.

That’s not to say that marriage and step-parenting is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s hard work. It’s draining. But it’s so rewarding. It is so beautiful. It is everything I hoped it would be.

God has been by my side through all of it. Through the lonely days that came before and the sometimes all-consuming days I experience now. God truly has our best in mind. He sincerely takes care of our every need. He loves us more than anyone else ever has or ever can. He is all in all. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him.

If you are single (or in some other period of waiting), please believe me, God is working things out for your good. He sees your struggle. He knows your tears. He’s allowing this trial in your life because He knows you are growing through it. Lean into Him and give Him all your cares. Put your trust in Him. His timing is impeccable.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

 

Meeting Isaac

I have been woefully neglectful in keeping up with this blog. In fact, it has been over a year since my last post! And what a year it has been! I have MUCH to update you on. In my last post I was lamenting my long time single status and sharing that I was intentionally putting myself “out there” a little more to better position myself to be found by the one God had chosen to be my partner in this life.

Amazingly, just days after that post was written I met him! It was sort of by accident, though not by coincidence. After waiting years for the right guy to just show up at my church, I dreadfully joined a couple of Christian dating sites that espouse the doctrines of my local congregation. I was always against meeting someone online, but being very introverted and having no single guys in our church I finally started opening up to the idea. It was a pretty horrible experience. I talked to several men, all of whom were clearly not the one. There was the guy who outright told me that I was ugly. There was the guy who upon a Google search (yes, guys, we google you) was found to be on several porn sites in addition to the Christian dating site. There was the guy who rejected me because I wasn’t a virgin (I didn’t become a Christian until my mid twenties). He told me that he knew my past was under the blood, but he just couldn’t get past it. Then there was the guy who seemed great on paper, but in all of our conversations, he never asked me a single thing about me. I was good enough to date, but not good enough to actually get to know. His thinking was that I would be his helpmate which meant that I would be helping him with his ministry and therefore my dreams and goals in life didn’t matter. He was not interested in who I am as a person at all. I was very frustrated by these encounters and had almost resigned myself to being single forever.

Then one day one of my friends (who writes tech reviews for a living) asked for some volunteers to download a new app and tell her what we thought of it so that she could write a review. It was not a dating app, it was just a platform where ideas could be exchanged.  I decided to help her out and give this new app a try. Someone on the app posted something and I posted a response. While I was responding, someone else also responded. This sparked a conversation between the other responder and myself. The original poster never returned to the thread, but I hit it off right away with the other guy that had also responded. We talked all night long. In that very first conversation he already knew more about me than the last guy had learned in all the time we had been talking. We chatted for hours the next day too. And the day after that. I vacillated between being utterly drawn to him and holding back out of fear. There were a hundred different times that I almost ended the conversation because it seemed crazy that I was talking for so long to a stranger. He could be anyone. He could say anything and I would have no way of knowing if he was telling the truth. I was very nervous about the entire thing. I always jump ship even when there is no sign of a leak so I kept having to remind myself that he hadn’t said anything wrong yet. I kept reminding myself that I had committed to putting myself out there a little more and that until he gave me a legitimate reason to end the conversation there was no need to do so. He didn’t know where I was or any identifiable information about me. The worst thing that could happen would be that I would have wasted a few hours of my life.

I learned that this man was raised an Orthodox Jew, but had converted to Christianity in his early adulthood. He had attended Bible College only twenty minutes from where I lived and that he lives only about 15 minutes from where I go to church. I was intrigued! Eventually, I gave him my number so that we could text directly. After a while he asked if he could call me. I said yes, and then didn’t answer the phone when he called! At this point, he still didn’t know what I looked like. I was sure once he saw me that he would run for the hills. I didn’t want to get my hopes up only to have them dashed. We ended up connecting on Facebook. It was after we connected there that I could see he was probably being truthful about the things that he had told me so far. His Facebook page had been created years prior so I knew it wasn’t likely to be a fake account. It also confirmed the things he had told me and it started to put me at ease. Amazingly, he wasn’t scared off by my profile picture. Ha! Eventually, we met in person (in a public setting of course). That’s when things got real. He and I were a great fit! Only a couple of weeks before we connected I had made a list of all the qualities I would like in a husband. I wrote down 32 items and he perfectly matched 31 of them! Interestingly, the new app didn’t last long. It was shut down only days after we met. We like to think it only existed for that short time so that the two of us could meet.

We often joke on this blog that we are “looking for our Isaac.” Wouldn’t you know that this man’s Hebrew name is Isaac! There are many things that my “Isaac” had been prophesied to be. I never put much stock in these prophesies because I think that people tend to fit them to what they want rather than what is, but here was this man fitting every one of them!

I spent much time in prayer as I was getting to know him. I kept asking God to close the door if he wasn’t the one, but every time I asked this, the door kept opening wider. He began attending my church shortly after we met and has been faithfully attending since. I watched prayerfully as he interacted with my friends, family, and brothers and sisters in the Lord. I spent a lot of time on my knees while we were dating. I took some time off away from him to be sure he was the one.

Things moved quickly for us. Within a few months he had given me a promise ring. A few months later and we were engaged. Now a year after meeting him, we have just recently been married!

I never imagined that my life would change so quickly, but it has been an amazing journey. He is thoughtful and sweet. He treats me so well that I have trouble accepting it at times. He is not without flaws, but nothing has ever felt so right as knowing he is the one God meant for me. He is the one I have been waiting all these years for.

I cannot describe how glad I am that I waited. There were many times where I considered settling. There were times that I was tempted to compromise my holiness and standards. There were times when I was so lonely that I almost wished I lived somewhere where they do arranged marriages. That thought frightens me now. I could have missed out. I might have missed all of these blessings.

If you are still waiting for your Isaac. Please don’t give up or do anything you might later regret. If God has not said no to marriage for you, keep waiting for God’s best for you! Do not give up or give in to temptation. Keep waiting!

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

In A Golden Vial

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” ~ (Rev 5:8 KJV)

Growing up in the Catholic Church, I used to believe that the term “saints” encompassed a specific group of people that met certain criteria of godliness, miracles, and being dead, and were subsequently canonized by the pope. I have since come to realize that God’s miracles are not bound by the lives of a chosen few. As His children, we are given an inheritance, an authority to call on His power during our stewardship in this world. Believers, as God’s people, are saints. There are other translations of this verse that even use the phrase “God’s people” instead. We are saints. I am a saint.

And when I pray, God holds the words precious. Precious. He holds my communion precious. Now, when I first read this, I thought “vial of odours” meant perfume. Vials hold liquid, right? I thought my prayers were like a sweet-smelling perfume to the Lord. It’s a lovely thought.

As it turns out, it’s even better than that. I read a few other translations which instead of “odours” say “incense”. Perfume in the bible was valuable and could even comprise an inheritance. But sweet incense was in another league altogether. It was used in the tabernacle on the altar of incense and was for sacred use only. It was so precious that God didn’t allow any personal use of it at all.

That is what our prayers comprise. That is what adorns the throne room in golden vials. Too precious to use on earth, too valuable to be used for anything other than God Himself, this is what our prayers to Him become – so highly does He value them.

That is beautiful. That is amazing and humbling. And it’s also convicting. How many times have I prayed in a hurry, prayed while multitasking, prayed for mundane or worthless things? How often have I prayed for selfish things? How often has my prayer life been focused on myself and not the Kingdom? All I could think about after reading this verse was a back room full of my selfish and rushed prayers that were not sweet-smelling at all, but instead were stinking up the place.

Granted, a large part of my prayer life, especially lately, has been focused on Jesus Himself – more intimacy with Him, more of His heart and less of mine, just more of Him. After reading this verse I was pretty glad of that! But the major cry of my heart today is still this:

I want a prayer life that reflects the value God places on it.

Then the more I meditated on this verse, the more I realized something. It doesn’t talk about a back room of hidden-away, less-than-perfect prayers. There’s no hidden shelf labelled “Rebekah A’s stank pile”. There’s a golden vial of incense, held safe in the hands of the elders.

That’s what mercy is. That’s what grace is. That’s who God is.

He deserves every second of time that I have. He deserves every ounce of my energy. He’s GOD – He deserves every bit of passion in my heart. Sometimes I give it to Him, and He counts it precious. Sometimes I give Him the dregs, the tired leftovers after the world has had first dibs. He counts it precious. His love is steadfast no matter what, and to me that’s miraculous and mind-blowing.

So I encourage you to bask in that mercy today. Don’t be judged by it, be encouraged. Encouraged that no matter what your prayer life is looking like these days, it’s never too late to reconnect. God has been cherishing it all along. So let’s tune our hearts to His and place a golden vial in our own hearts – one that cannot be filled but for Him. Let’s count it precious. Let’s have prayer lives that SHOW how much we value His presence.

Ever awed by His tender grace, I pray deeper communion over you today. I pray your heart beat just a little bit closer in time with His. May He fill your mouth with prayers that move mountains. And may His golden vials be ever filled with your sweet-smelling words.

~Rebekah A