For This Fire Pit I Prayed
Exactly 365 days ago I sat at a fire pit in the middle of beautiful, snow-covered Minnesota. I was there for a Christian yoga retreat and the days were scheduled and full. But in the way that God always does when we pull away and lean into him, he was meeting me in the quiet places and speaking over me promises from long ago.
More than 10 years ago God first gave me a dream and a vision of sharing God’s Word with his people. It’s been a long, roller coaster of a journey to walk that out with him. I have had seasons of feeling that it is all coming to fruition but also seasons where it felt that the dream was gone and had passed me by. And none of it has happened in a way that felt particularly orderly and organized. A few steps forward followed by, what felt like, many steps back, or stepping out altogether.
But God in his goodness has always been working. We’ve always been moving forward even when I didn’t realize it. His timing is perfect and his steps are ordained.
One year ago, in the snow, I felt like God was finally saying, “Here we go.” He gave me the idea and the first words to the book, Journey to Joy. He started reminding me of all we had done and showing me all that was still yet to be.
In that week, in the snow, and on that day in front of a fire pit, I was dreaming with God. Dreaming about what could be. Dreaming about continuing our conversation for the weeks, months and years to come.
I decided on that trip that I needed a fire pit. Yes, wanted but also needed! :) I feel like I hear God more clearly in nature. Something about being surrounded by his creation. Often the stillness and silence just usher his presence in. And I wanted a place at home where I could be outside and be reminded of our time together in Minnesota.
I had to wait a year but I finally have that place.
I’ve had to wait more than 10 years but I also finally see the dream and vision from long ago coming into view.
The title of this post, For This Fire Pit I Prayed, is my somewhat playful take on a line from a story in 1 Samuel 1 in the Bible. A woman named Hannah was in a very difficult situation. She desperately wanted a child but had not been able to have any. After praying and petitioning the Lord for a child he ultimately blessed her with a son. After he was born, she said “for this child I prayed.” (that is a very CliffNotes version of her story. I encourage you to check it out in its entirety in 1 Samuel 1-2)
I am not at all making light of Hannah’s story or her fervent prayer. And I am not saying that praying for a fire pit is the same as praying for a child. I am simply reminding all of us about God’s perfect timing when it comes to all of our prayers, dreams, hopes and desires.
He hears us. Our prayers are never wasted. But we HAVE to be willing to trust his timing as well as his ultimate plan. Sometimes we have to wait a year for a fire pit, or more than a decade for the dream of our future to become a reality.
Sometimes we have to wait, and then we see what we’ve waited for.
But sometimes we have to wait and be willing to let the picture of what we are waiting for be changed by God.
See, I also prayed for a child. In my twenties, like a lot of young women, I prayed for a family. For children of my own. As I headed towards my mid-thirties - still unmarried with no kids - God and I started having different conversations about kids. The picture had always looked a certain way in my head. Me, giving birth to babies and loving them and raising them. But over time, the picture began to shift and those specific images began to fade as a new picture began to take shape.
Someone else giving birth. Still me loving and helping raise them but as a step-momma. Not a biological momma. But still a hot momma either way. ;)
It’s true. The first time the idea came into my mind that I might not have my own mini-me versions running around I cried. I was sad. I mourned and grieved what I always thought things would look like.
But honestly, that period of grieving was short-lived. In the way that only God can, he replaced my ideas with his own. And they filled my heart and gave me a new hope and expectancy for my future.
And then, one day, three little people were brought over, by their dad, to meet me in the atrium of my church. (I’ll save the amazing and hilarious story of that first interaction with them for another day but oh my gosh, it’s a good one.)
My whole future stood before me that day in my would-be husband and step-kids.
Because I had decided to trust God with the picture of my future, I was able to recognize it.
It might not have looked the way I had pictured in my twenties but God had prepared me so well for where the picture ended up. And oh, sweet friend, how I wouldn’t trade it now for anything else I could have imagined for myself. Truly. These four were so perfect for me and I like to think he’s using me to be my own version of perfect for them. I needed them. I had Paul, Caleb, Riley and Remi shaped holes in my heart.
We can trust God with our dreams. He knows all we long for and even better, he knows exactly what we need.
Do you dream with God? Will you start? Talk to him in whatever way works for you. Outloud, silently, as you journal. What do you hope for? Dream for? Long for?
My guess is that those dreams, or some form of them actually came from him anyway, so who better to help you walk them out?
He is a good God. And you are his beloved. You can trust where he wants to take you. And you can also trust every tweak in the picture. Every iteration of the dream.
For our fire pits, our futures and our families.
Because where we will end up, if we are following Him, is the only place we'll actually want to be.