Stop praying & start praising.

About a week ago, I got a text. At 6 a.m.

Luckily it was¬†a week morning {I wake up by 5:30 on school mornings – bluh} because ain’t nobody getting away with texting me at that time on a Saturday. ūüėČ

Anyway, it was from a friend & sister-in-Christ of mine from church, and she asked that I call her on my way to work. She said that she’d read something that morning in the bible study she’s doing that she felt like she needed to tell me.

Got my interest, to say the least.

When we got a chance to talk about an hour later, I was amazed at what she had to say. It was one of those must-be-God situations where I knew some of the words she was going to say…before she even said them. There were a couple of things I had been mulling over for a few weeks, and He spoke directly those through her words. Nothing that she said was super new to me, per say, but it was a shift in perspective that put everything into focus and tied all of my wandering thoughts together.

The Sunday School class she leads is working their way through “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson. She read a portion of the book to me, which went through the story of Jericho.

Joshua 6

6¬†Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2¬†Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‚ÄúSee, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3¬†March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4¬†Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams‚Äô horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5¬†When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.‚ÄĚ

The author pointed out something he had never seen before, until one day when he found himself praying again for something he felt like God had promised him and his congregation. As he read about Joshua and the words God had spoken, he found himself struck by the verb tense used.

Look again.

vs. 2¬†– “Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands…’

Have delivered. As in already done. As in finished.

Not will deliver. Not “I’m going to.” Not “ask a little more, try a little harder, plead a little longer.”

I have delivered.

Batterson had these words to say – “God speaks in the past tense, not the future tense. … The significance is this: The battle was won before the battle even began. God had already given them the city. All they had to do was circle it.”

My friend went on to tell me that when God promises us something…when He calls us to something…when He starts a work in us…it is done. He will finish it. He will make good on His promises. Rather than waiting to see if He is going to do it, we are simply waiting for it to play out & living in obedience to Him.

Keep it straight – He doesn’t do it “for” us. He does it for His name – for His glory. Our God is a keeper of promises. It is His very nature; who He is. He cannot not keep His word.

“So, did He? Haven’t you said that God called y’all to [embryo adoption]?” she asked.

In that flash, my mind flashed through the past year. Through the soul-searching and God-seeking. Through considering if our infertility was the result of sin in our lives that needed to be confessed, to if God was calling us to a child-less marriage. Through the way God answered a prayer of mine even in the way He brought us to embryo adoption, and through the ways He continued to pour peace over us as He confirmed His plan.

He knows my hearts desire is to be a mother, and He knows that I laid down the way in which I become a momma to His sovereign will. I know without a doubt that He asked me to lay down pursuing fertility treatments to try & have a biological child, but I also know He never asked me to lay down becoming a mom. He has fed that desire; He has asked me to hand him my fake pearls so that He could give me a set of pearls even more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

“Yes,” I said, “God called us to this, we have no doubt. He has promised me I will be a mother.”

She went on to read {from Batterson’s words} “I felt as¬†though the Spirit of God said to my spirit ‘Stop praying for it and start praising me for it.’ True faith doesn’t just celebrate ex post facto, after the miracle has already happened; true faith celebrates before the miracle happens, as if the miracle has already happened, because you know that God is going to deliver on His promise. … Sometimes you need to quit¬†praying. After you pray through, you need to praise through. You need to quit asking God to do something and start praising Him for what He has already done. Prayer and praise are both expressions of faith, but praise is a higher dimension of faith. Prayer is asking God to do something, future tense; praise is believing God has already done it, past tense.”

Here I had been, ripping off that Band-Aid, unbinding my heart, and making myself vulnerable to God and to true, excited hope again. Here I had been, praising God for the incredible work in answering big, bold, specific prayers for a car in the lives of some of our best friends. And yet, I found myself saying things like “God, it’s going to be so awesome when you answer our prayers.” Wondering with friends, who are sitting through long waits and questions of their own “God, when are you going to do something? Why are we still waiting? Don’t you hear us?”

So to hear those words, to realize that God has already done something, that He has already answered our prayers…it was such¬†a powerful¬†reminder that I can trust in Him and rest in Him. That He does hear me, that He is the one holding my heart and whispering hope to my desires.¬†It made me want to get on my knees in praise as this view of mine, limited as it might be, snapped into focus. {Which is exactly what I did when I got to school…it was all I could do in response to God speaking so clearly to me.}

A bit more from Batterson to wrap up the lesson God taught me that day…”There are moments in life when you need to stop praying and start praising. If God has put a promise in your heart, praise Him for it. You need to celebrate as if it has already happened. You need to stop asking, because God has already answered. And for the record, even if God doesn’t answer the way you want, you still need to praise through. That is when it’s most difficult to praise God, but that is also when our praise is most pure and pleasing to God.”

In the days since hearing this word from the Lord, I have felt much more settled. I have found peace and confidence¬†in the praising. I don’t even mind the waiting as much, and I feel excited to see how God play all of this out. Instead of thinking only of the end product {aka – a baby}, I want to rejoice in the steps He takes to get us there…to see every little piece of glory in the work He is doing.

He continues to write this incredible story of overwhelming love & patience, mercy & grace over me…over Chris…and over the baby{ies} He has for us. He is so good.

Blessed am I.