Can We Just Pray, Please? {The Grove – Fearless}

I tried. I really tried.

I had high aspirations to write you something of a she-version of William Wallaces’ Braveheart speech, something to inspire us kingdom lady warriors into fearlessness.

But can I chuck that plan? Because it’s just not going to happen. This post goes live in six hours.

I’m feeling quite the opposite of a Willamina Wallace right now. More like a worn out mama, weary of battling the fears that keep piling high.

I have no inspiration to offer you today.

So how about a confession instead?

Since the Velvet Ashes Retreat, some unexpected blows have hit me hard. I’m sure I’ll share about them when the time is right. But for now, I’ll say this:

All that talk about fear and desire and God’s invitation? That can be a nice journal exercise. Or, as I’ve experienced it in these last weeks, it can be an all out ugly battle.

I’m guessing that maybe… I’m not alone. Any other women out there feeling the opposite of fearless?

I have no brave inspiration to give you. But I can sit in togetherness with you if you’re broken and weary. I’ll let you know you’re not alone. I’m right there with you.

It’s been a while since we’ve done a prayer request post. So can we do that today? Can we just pray for each other?  Please?

Will you pray for me?

Can I pray for you?

Can we come before the God who loves us and be authentically broken before him?

I think that’s what I need today. How about you?

If you’re ready to share, this is a safe place.  If like me, you can’t share details now, we’re here to listen to how you’re feeling, to offer that to God… together.

*****

This is The Grove.  It’s where we gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art.  So join us in the comments.  Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt.  Click here for details and instructions. 

51 Comments

  1. Rhonda May 5, 2016

    Hear ya sister! feeling the same. Will be keeping you uplifted. Hang in there.

  2. Laura May 5, 2016

    Praying for you, Danielle!

  3. Ann van Wijgerden May 5, 2016

    Praying for you too, Danielle.

    And thank you for your honesty. You need to know that that honesty of yours is a precious example inspiring fearlessness.

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Thank you, Ann.  Only in God’s upside down kingdom does brokenness inspire fearlessness, right?  Thank you for the reminder.

  4. Patty Stallings May 5, 2016

    I love you, Danielle!

  5. Therese May 5, 2016

    I am in that place with you dear friend. Thank you for sharing your heart. Praying for you!!

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Ugh. Sad that you’re there too, friend.  But comforted by togetherness.  Praying for you and wishing for a long talk over a foot massage!

  6. Linda Watt May 5, 2016

    Before the retreat I was feeling very fearful. I wasn’t able to do the retreat but printed out the sessions and got through some of them. For me, there were a lot of fears–fear of the future, financial fears, fear the kids would fail, and that would reflect on me, etc. Fear we would not be able to raise our support, fear that I would not find a job, on and on! I would have anxiety attack! Philippians says to cast all your anxiety on Him. Simple but not an easy task. It has been a battle. I also read about facing your fears little by little–this was in some grief work I was doing. So I began doing that. My relationship with the Lord is stonger but I admit it is a battle. Also in my walk with the Lord whenever we come from a mountaintop experience we can expect a battle. But we have a mighty warrior fighting our battles and he is defending us. We do not have to go ahead of him or even enter the battle. We are protected as he fights for us.

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Grief work – facing your fears little by little, what a powerful definition.  We’d like the battle to be done in one fell swoop, don’t we?  But one step and a time, leaning on the One who fights for us and holds the victory.  Such a beautiful image.

      Thank you for sharing your story, Linda.

  7. Elizabeth May 5, 2016

    Oh dear friend, I had been wondering if something was wrong. I’m so, so sorry. I know this community will be ready to receive you and your hurting heart whenever you feel ready to share it.

    Until then, we will pray, and we will support you. And know that it’s OK not to have inspiration or encouragement sometimes. This is the body. We carry each other. You don’t always have to be the one carrying others. You can be carried too.

    Much love to you dear friend.

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Thank you, Elizabeth.  So grateful to be carried!  Much love back across the ocean to you, dear friend.

  8. Emily Smith May 5, 2016

    Feeling the opposite of fearless…yes. Having trust in God and his faithfulness be an all out ugly battle…yes.

    Yet this post was fearless. Honest. Authentic. And quite possibly more inspiring than anything else you were trying to write. For you to be able to encourage others in your hurt and brokenness and not merely in spite of your hurting heart, that is a special gift you have offered to so many. Thank you.

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Thank you for your kind words, Emily.  I had to smile at “quite possibly more inspiring than anything else you were trying to write.”  Everything else was falling flat and hollow, so yeah, I just had to get real.

      Thank you for reaching out and encouraging in the midst of your own healing.  So glad you’re part of this community.

  9. Patricia May 5, 2016

    Oh my….just sitting there in the middle of it with you. I’m so grateful for this group of women who “get it” and are real. It makes me think of a line in a song I heard recently…”You bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine.” I hardly ever comment but felt compelled tonight. Joining you in prayer and in the middle of the brokenness…clinging to the truth that He sees, He’s here and He cares even when Satan tries to persuade otherwise. Much love and prayers from Mexico.

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Oh, I’m so glad you did comment, Patricia!  Yes, yes, yes.  “You bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine.”  Praying for you too, as we sit in the middle of it all.

      Someone shared this song/video with me, and oh, my…  I think it’s for you too, for all of us in the middle of brokenness:

      http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=thy+wil+be+done+hillary&&view=detail&mid=97CD1C8DD0A80FE35A7997CD1C8DD0A80FE35A79&rvsmid=97CD1C8DD0A80FE35A7997CD1C8DD0A80FE35A79&fsscr=0&FORM=VDMCNL

       

  10. Amy Liz May 6, 2016

    You hit it on the spot.  I was thinking something similar earlier today.  It is the National Day of Prayer in America here on May 5.  I was feeling like I needed just to take some time to be real, open, & broken before the Lord and, perhaps, some fellow believers.  I will mention you as I go before Him this evening.  Thanks for your entry.

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Oh, man.  I probably should have known that it was National Day of Prayer, but I didn’t!  Well, all the more appropriate then.  Thank you for your prayers, Amy.

  11. eeyorin May 6, 2016

    Fear & hurting, without adequate words to express…

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Thank you for making your presence and your pain known, dear one.  Praying for you now.

  12. Sarah H May 6, 2016

    Thank you for your honesty, Danielle! Sometimes we need those Braveheart speeches and sometimes we need the honest and vulnerable words of a sister in the trenches with us. Some of my fears came to the surface during the retreat and I named them and brought them to Jesus, and it has felt in the weeks since that those are fears that are coming true, being realized. Yet, it has to push me to Jesus because I don’t know where else to go with them. Praying for you as you draw near and let His comfort flow over you.

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Thank you, Sarah.  So true, the only thing to do in the midst of fear is be pushed to Jesus.  Praying that same nearness and comfort for you too, sister.

  13. L May 6, 2016

    I’m so afraid of being authentically broken. Instead I live on the autopilot of appearing to have it together while looking down at my host culture for being so obsessed with appearances. The truth is I haven’t “had it together” in a long time, if ever. The truth is that bitterness took the place of joy in the pain of unmet expectations and I don’t know how to go back. The truth is that I don’t let myself feel anymore, because I can’t handle the tears that come when I do. The truth is that God and I haven’t really talked in a long time. The truth is that I haven’t even opened my Bible in weeks and I’m afraid to answer when my husband asks where I’m reading. The truth is that I think I have postpartum depression, but I’m afraid to ask for help. The truth is that I want to go home and a month of furlough won’t be enough. The truth is that sometimes the pull to go back is so strong I think about leaving my husband. The truth is ugly and I need help.

    1. Brandie Green May 6, 2016

      Dearest L,

      Sometimes I just glance through responses, it depends on the timing of my sit-down-to-read time and how busy any given day is. One sentence of yours grabbed me so hard. “The truth is that bitterness took the place of joy in the pain of unmet expectations and I don’t know how to go back.” That is a life story all in one sentence. If it encourages you then know that many, yes many, women have lived and are living that story. Myself included.

      You have done something daring though, you have put it out here to be seen by however many women who will pray for you. You have said the words that can be so hard to say, “I need help.” You have conquered your fear just in the asking. Step one is done.

      I don’t know you, I don’t know where you are, I don’t know what people you have to stand with you, to help you through this part of your life’s story. I’m sure I’m a long ways away but I hold my hand out to you across the miles, as will others, and say “I would be honoured, yes honoured, to walk this part with you”. Courage, unknown friend, courage to take the next step ~ grab someone’s hand.

    2. Kathy Vaughan May 6, 2016

      Dear L,

      Wow, you are so brave! The truth is, many of us have been in a similar place.  I know I have. My heart aches for you. I don’t know the words that would offer the encouragement your heart needs right now, but I know the Great Encourager, and I am going to be praying for you, just as others prayed for me when I was struggling with bitterness over unmet expectations.  There is freedom!  There is joy again! Praying for you, my sister.

    3. Christina Davis May 6, 2016

      L, thank you for being open here, where others of us can enter in and share in your story. Let me say first, being broken means God is at work in you!. May I encourage you just now, in the midst of whatever to say out loud “thank you Lord”. Say it over and over. Yes you are broken, and that means God is at work! He is alive in you and He sees you. It is not so long since I have been in that place of brokenness, and though I cannot yet say I am fully healed, I am healing. Its a process, part of the journey. Its OK to go to the bottom, and have nothing together, or just be empty and sit in his presence (even with babe in arms) He will meet you there. Ask only for mercy and just sit there, tell Him you need Him, and then just be. Wait…I waited a LONG time! I despaired even of life, I failed at everything, and I certainly did not have it all together…but He met then, and told me He knew all those things and it didn’t matter He just loved me, not for what I did or didn’t do or feel or for any other reason than that He created me.          Full Stop! I will pray that the Lord will open up a place and time for you to share your need with someone who can advocate for you. Its OK to stop and re-group, that is why God refers to seasons in Ecclesiates. Maybe you need a season of Sabbath, be it where you are or elsewhere. The need for rest and renewal  in our culture, sometimes are interpreted as failure in some aspect, but not in God’s Kingdom, in the life of Christ we see One who went frequently “apart” to be with the Father, should we expect less from ourselves? I will pray the Father will help you hear only His voice, and make you courageous to follow it. Rest in Him He delights in you. You stand only before Him, and He is a kind and gracious Father, Husband, Lord and Healer of the broken.

    4. Christine May 6, 2016

      Dear Sister,

      Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty. While you may feel defeated, you have shown great courage in ‘going there’, acknowledging this deadened, darkened place within. In your succinct writing you show clear insight to the pain/numbness in your life. I pray that you would have the courage and emotional energy necessary to combat those stone walls in your life and find/receive healing. Know that my prayers are with you today and in the coming days and weeks. That freedom of heart, mind, body, and soul will be found. You are not alone on this journey!

    5. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Echoing all the love and prayers that have been offered for you, L.  You are so brave.    PPD is so real, and not something to fight alone.  Praying you can take that next step and express your need to your husband.

      We’ve recently learned about Oaks Counseling. http://oakscounseling.org/  I don’t have any personal experience or connections with them, but they offer counseling to people overseas and try to arrange it with a counselor in a home state (if you’re from the US), so that you can continue in person during a furlough.  Maybe this is that hand to grab hold of?

      So much love and prayer for you, sister.  Know that we all are here, and would love to know how you’re doing.  You can keep coming back and commenting here on this post whenever you want to!  We’re here for you.  Thank you for offering your brokenness when I offered mine.

    6. J May 6, 2016

      Dear L,

      As others as said, you have made the first step in reaching out and asking for prayer. I can’t say I know what you are going through but our first couple of years on the field were hard and it caused some problems between my husband and I. God has been so gracious and is bringing us through. I will pray for you.

      I know you feel like you need to pretend to have it together but please find a few close friends or family you can open up to and be honest about how you are feeling. Those who love you and you can trust will not judge you.  I have found that opening up can be a great relief. Your husband probably already knows that you are struggling and wants to help. Please don’t feel like you have to face all this alone.

      You are in my prayers,

      J.

    7. L August 10, 2016

      Thank you to all of you for praying for me and encouraging me.
      I can’t even express how much has changed in the last three months. God has been very gracious to me… I feel like I have messed up over and over and I’m still having a hard time really seeking after God, but the hardness in my heart is softening. I’ve been able to open up to my husband and go through some counseling together and through some hard but good conversations we are back to being people in love instead of grumpy roommates. While on furlough I saw a doctor and got onto medication for PPD, which has completely changed my world. Together, my husband and I reached out for help from our organization and were able to stay longer to work through the issues more and also be able to rest. That time was so blessed by God — and really felt like it was arranged ahead of time! We were able to change our tickets without any additional cost and we stayed with family, so we also had help with the baby during that time.
      We’ve just come back to the field and I’m finding that I’m excited to be back. It’s a little scary still, knowing how deep I fell into the pit before, but just to feel excitement about being here is such an unexpected joy! Part of it is knowing that I’m not alone anymore and that my husband would be willing to go back permanently if I needed to.

      1. Michele August 10, 2016

        That is beautiful news to read first thing in the morning! Thank you so much for updating us! What a difference freedom can make. Just knowing we do have the option to leave makes staying more of a joy. Blessings!

        1. Cecily August 11, 2016

          I can echo that, Michele! I used to be so miserable– feeling so trapped here in this difficult place. Then one day Father said to me, “You know, dear one, I am not making you stay here. If you want to return to the USA, you are free to do so.” That changed everything! And even now I a passing through one of the most challenging phases of my time here, but there is no desire to back down now. It is tough, but what else is there? I won’t trade this.
          That isn’t to say that when it is time for someone to go back home, temporarily or permanently, that that is not perfectly okay. But for me, in this moment, I want to find strength and help to keep going 🙂

      2. Kathy August 18, 2016

        So happy to hear this good report, and see God’s work in your life. He is good, and He is faithful!

  14. Michele May 6, 2016

    You’re afraid to ask for help, but I think you just did.  And I think it was super-brave, and probably a much bigger step than you realized when you hit the ‘submit’ button on this one.  I am praying for you right now, L, and will continue to pray because I’m so thankful someone prayed for me when I was going through it, and I trust there will be someone to pray  when I go through it again.  I know it might sound just a bit too positive right now, but I am absolutely positive you’ll get through this and you will feel alive again, connected to God and people again.  I know it’s hard to believe right now so let me believe it for you.

    I’m praying specifically that you get more than a month of rest, that you get the help you need, that opening up here will give you the guts to open up to your husband also and that he’s ready to hear it and ready to do whatever it takes to help you through this.  Thanks for trusting us enough to be honest!

  15. Amy Young May 6, 2016

    Dearest Danielle and everyone, as I read through the post, requests and prayers for each other, I was stirred to look in my prayer book The Valley of Vision and share a prayer for you, for us. This called “Need of Jesusl” (if you have the book, pages 186 and 187).

    ///

    Lord Jesus,I am blind, be thou my light,

    ignorant, be thou my wisdom,Self-willed, be thou my mind.
    Open my ear to grasp quickly thy Spirit’s voice,
    And delightfully run after his beckoning hand;
    Melt my conscience that no hardness remain,
    make it alive to evil/s slightest touch,

    When Satan approaches me I fleet to thy wounds,
    and there cease to tremble at all alarms.

    Be my good shepherd to lead me into
    The green pastures of the Word,
    And cause me to lie down beside the rivers of its comfort.

    Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales
     may ruffle the calm surface of my soul.

    Thy cross was upraised to be my refuge,
    Thy blood streamed forth to wash me clean,
    Thy death occurred to give me a surety,
    Thy name is my property to save me,
    By thee all heaven is poured into my heart,
    but it is too narrow to comprehend thy love.

    I was a stranger, an outcast, a slave, a rebel,
    but thy cross has brought me near,
    Has softened my heart,
    Has made thy father’s child,
    has admitted me to thy family,
    has made me joint-heir with thyself.

    Oh that I may love thee as thou lovest me,
    that I may walk worthy of thee, my Lord,
    thai I may reflect the image of heaven’s firstborn.

    May I always see thy beauty with the clear eye of faith,
    and feel the power of thy spirit in my heart,
     for unless he move me mightily in me
     no inward fire will be kindled.
    Amen
     

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Thank you, Amy.  There’s the Shepherd and green pastures reminder, yet again!  So beautiful. So grateful to journey with you…

  16. Paula Troutman May 6, 2016

    Oh, how my heart aches for you, because I think I know just how you feel. I am going through a deep and dark valley. It hasn’t been pretty. There have been buckets of tears. And it isn’t over yet. So, yes, I will pray for you and agree that sometimes we have to admit our brokenness and our need of being lifted up in prayer by others. And that is hard for this independent girl! May you feel the Lord’s Presence and be strengthened and comforted by the many prayers going up for you.

    1. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

      Thank you, Paula.  I keep clinging to the promise that when God brings us through the valley he brings us into greater intimacy and transformation than we would have ever had without the valley.  I am so comforted by the many prayers.  I am praying  Presence, strength and comfort over you too, sister.

  17. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2016

    Can I just say how much I love you all?  This sweet community is so beautiful.  I can be my authentic self with you all and be met with such loving arms.  His grace and mercy is poured out through you, and I’m so grateful to get to journey with you all.  Thank you for your kindness, your prayers, your solidarity.

  18. Cecily May 7, 2016

    Today we had a great big rainbow, spanning the eastern sky of our city.  I phoned friends to tell them to look outside and I took photos.  I just stood there and looked at the beauty God gives us in the stormy times.  There is no rainbow when the weather is all sunshiny and bright, but in the storm the sun peeks out and colors the sky.  So, ladies, in your storm, may the Lord color your dark sky with His rainbow of promise.  He’s not forgotten you!

  19. Ashley Felder May 7, 2016

    Love you, friend. Praying for you now. Can’t wait to process with you in person soon!

    1. Ashley Felder May 7, 2016

      As I was praying, I was struck with how many amazing stories you have about God’s faithfulness, in His perfect timing. I mean, there are a lot! And I don’t even know them all! I pray you remember and reflect on those to block out any fears the enemy is feeding you.

  20. Bayta May 8, 2016

    “I have no brave inspiration to give you. But I can sit in togetherness with you if you’re broken and weary. I’ll let you know you’re not alone. I’m right there with you.” This sums up so beautifully a lot of what I appreciate so much about Velvet Ashes. The space to be real without someone trying to fix you. The courage the face the pain and the questions, the willingness to live with the tension of no answers. Yet at the same time, community infuses all this with hope and lifts my eyes back to the Lord. What a gift!

  21. Ellie May 8, 2016

    Hello lovely ladies,

    I wrote this prayer/poem for me today as an attempt to express something of pain I can’t quite access/process right at the moment and now reading this post wondering if it could help anyone else so trying to be brave to post!

    A Prayer for when grief overwhelms (or threatens to overwhelm)

    As the waves of the sea

    Grief and pain sweep over me

    uncaring; I am a plaything, nothing

    losing myself in the swirling nothingness

    Dark water and seaweed

    no foothold

    No light

    No wisdom

    No onward path

    Swirling, swirling

     

    But you hold this sea

    in a part of your world

    in a part of your universe

    as part of the many galaxies you created, mind and made.

     

    And it is your job, not mine

    to be an anchor

    To be outside it all

    It is your job to know it all

    To think it all

    To understand all the countless intricacies

     

    So I swirl and I hurt

    But you are the bed rock; not swirling

    You are the primeval cradle; not rocking

    And at some point when this rocking stops

    You’ll be there, still.

     

     

    Hugs to us all and for those of us who hardly know if we are praying and can’t hold up ourselves and others in our usual way I remember a pastor of ours who said once in a sermon that sometimes even “thinking about praying” counts as prayer with God.

    1. Cecily May 8, 2016

      Dear Ellie, your poem reminds me of Jonah’s cry to the Lord.  And surely your poem touches the heart of your Father.   “In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” Isaiah 63:9 (NIV2011)

      He is with you in all the swirling, for underneath are His everlasting arms. (See Deuteronomy 33:27)

       

       

    2. Cecily May 17, 2016

      Dear Ellie,

      The past few days I have been thinking about you, remembering this poem that you wrote, and I am wondering how you are these days.  This morning I was reading Psalm 18, and I thought of you again.  If you would like to connect, you can find me on Facebook (Cecily Willard).  If not, that’s okay, too.  I just wanted to say that you have been on my heart and mind lately.

  22. Monica F May 12, 2016

    Thanks Danielle, just for sharing and being real.  It’s because of a post you wrote over a year ago that I was able to start being real too.  You  (and the VA crew) have blessed more women than you will ever know.  I am praying for you.  Thank you.

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