Sunday, September 29, 2013

A new way to pray

So lately God has been calling me to prayer.  Which sounds really stupid to say, because doesn't He always?  Isn't that part of life with him?  It's like saying "So lately I feel led to feed my child and put them to bed at night".  Duh.

I guess what I should say is that lately I've actually been following his command and desire for me to be in prayer.  And I've been putting into practice the whole "do not worry" thing.  I love how this version puts it:

Philippians 4:6-7

The Message (MSG)
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

"Let petitions and prayers shape your worries into prayers."  Oh man, there is such wisdom in this.  I read a quote once that said the not praying is the greatest sign of dependence on self and not on God (it was worded way more eloquently than that but you get the point).  It's true.  My refusal to pray means I'm keeping things to myself and ultimately counting on myself or time or fate or whatever to make things right, and not God.

I am a worrier by nature (a sinful nature), and, as self serving as it sounds (and is), turning worries into prayers has been incredibly calming to me.  It helps me throw those anxieties back on God.

And here's a story about how important systems are.  I've tried keeping prayer journals before, and have kept them.  But I found them hard to work with because I kept having to flip back to old requests and it just was not a good system for me.  Enter index cards.



I started writing prayers on index cards, dating them on the back when I started praying for whatever thing or person on there.  I cross out stuff and adjust and write the date when the pray gets answered, then keep the answered cards in an envelope.  

I love a tangible stack that I can see and add to and edit easily.  I need things written down.  I like having cards I can shuffle and pray over daily.  I love being able to write how God answered a prayer and the date on the card.  He works faster than we give Him credit for sometimes.  This works for me.  And I have found that a working system has been really helpful.  

Here's just a sample of things on my cards.  Some things are little (you'll notice a dishwasher on my list).  Some are big.  Some are people who will be on there until they get healed or get home.  Some will be on here until they come to know Jesus.  I love the mix.  All these requests.  All these worries and things that press upon me, some in big ways, some in small.

I pray over these daily, casting them on Jesus, expecting Him to answer.

You see that card in the lower right hand corner?  I put a date on that card this week and tucked it in my envelope of prayers answered.  This boy whose body had been afflicted with cancer got his ultimate healing and went home to Jesus this week.

Sometimes God answers prayers in ways we wouldn't want or wouldn't choose.  But prayers for healing have been answered.  God used that boy to reflect His glory, and His testimony was done.  Jesus called him home.


I'm so thankful that God calls us to prayer.  For each other, for ourselves.  We need each other's prayers.  We need to press our needs and desires into the person of Christ.

I came across this quote this week:

You are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image to reflect His image. Part of who He made you, is to be dependent, to have needs, to be provided for. Basically, He made us with a beautiful need for Him! David realized this beauty when he said, "I have no good besides You God". Take a minute to thank your wise and loving Creator for making you with the best need and for giving us Himself and promising to meet all of our other needs.

So this week, turn your worries into prayers.  Shape your needs into petitions.  And let him know.  Maybe get a stack of index cards and have at it.



Friday, September 27, 2013

Kitchen Art

So if you read this you more than likely know me, which means you are well aware that I am a big dork.  And totally okay with it.  Think not?  Please, meet me for coffee.  I will prove it! :)

We don't have any pictures or anything up on our walls yet (we are getting there, people).  I had found some cute prints on Pinterest that were free that I printed our and last Friday when I was home just noticed that I had a spare green frame that matched the print.  Add a little washi tape to pick up the colors in my kitchen and bam.  Kitchen art.


Washi tape is wonderful.  It's like crafting for dummies.

Total quirk, yes?  I love it.  It's not hanging yet, but it's going to be.  And people will see it and either laugh or think we're bonkers.  I shall smile every time I see it.  :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book review: Attachments


Ya'll, this book was just so darn cute.

It's written in such an unconventional way.  The story is about two coworkers, Beth and Jennifer, and their emails back and forth.  And it's about Lincoln, the guy hired to read interoffice email and make sure everyone is following the rules.  He gets caught up in the back and forth between Beth and Jennifer. It's interesting because some chapters are just the email back and forth and then others are about Lincoln and his struggle find life after grad school, living with his mom and wondering what to do with himself.

I loved this.  I loved how it was told and how you get to know Beth and Jennifer the same way Lincoln does, through their email.  The ending is simply to die for cute.  Loved it.  It was funny, and witty, and gives a pretty accurate look at the inner workings of the brain of a "delayed adult".  It gives hope too.  And totally crushes the lie that just because you haven't found a career and "the one" at 24 that it's never gonna happen.

Read it!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Happenings

This weekend was bliss.  And I'll tell you why.

I ended up taking Friday off because of car issues which we at first were going to attempt to resolve that day but then didn't, but I've had a rough few weeks at work so decided just to take the day off anyways seeing as how I couldn't drive my car and all.

Wanna know how I de-stress?  I get things done.  No hot baths and books and days of doing nothing.  Those things are great, but if I'm super dooper stressed they don't do a thing.  Progress, that's what I love.  Burn through to-do lists, smash down projects.  That's how I roll.  This was something fully disclosed to my husband before we got married so don't go feeling sorry for him.  He knew what he was getting into.

So I got lots done Friday.  And then we got lots done Saturday.  And then Sunday turned into a total Gimme Day where I baked and took a nap and a bath and watched TV an awful lot.  Loved it all.

The big news from the weekend is that our rooms are starting to look like what they are supposed to be.  It's pretty grand I tell you.


Our dining room furniture is actually in our dining room. I don't think I can convey how much this dining room makes me happy.   In our old house, these chairs were stored in closets, in corners, on top of things, etc.  The dining room table barely fit in its nook and that was without the leaf in it.  Now, we have room not only for all of this, but Dave and I can run circles around it if we wanted to.  I'm not saying that we didn't do that either.  
And it's not even done yet.  That wallpaper is so coming down and the whole thing is getting repainted.  You just wait.  It's going to be great.  And the table will no longer serve as storage for things but we can actually use it for strange and new things like eating off of it.  


Here is our spare bedroom and it actually looks like a bedroom now and not a storage unit.  

Well, minus the two toilets and the medicine cabinet.  But still, you have to admit it looks a lot like a bedroom, right?  Right.

This little baby is going to replace the gaudy chandelier that is currently in our dining room.  $35 for this, and one father in law who is coming soon to install it.  He doesn't know this yet, as I have saved my to-do list for him as a sort of gift.  Some people put gift baskets or containers of snack food out for their guests.  We give them things to do.  I know you will all be beating the door down now to want and come stay with us.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Always up to something: Bible Flannel Board on Ruth

Lately I've been reading in the book of Ruth.  I love short books of the Bible because you reread them over and over and in different versions and it helps me wrap my mind around it and ponder it (meditation as we church goers like to call it).

Anyways, what has stuck out most to me as I've reread this lovely little, most unconventional love story is how much God works behind the scenes to orchestrate his purposes.

Here's a cliff notes version of Ruth:

1.  Famine in Israel.  A man (we'll call him Eli) moves his wife and 2 sons to a different country where there is food.
2.  His sons take foreign wives ( a big no-no for because foreign wives = foreign gods)
3.  Tragedy strikes and Eli and his sons die.  Being a widow at this time was not a good thing because as a woman you had very little (if any) social status.  How were these women going to survive?
4.  Eli's wife Naomi returns home to Israel with one daughter in law, Ruth.
5.  Ruth goes out to glean ( process that was God's own version of the welfare system to make sure the poor had something to eat)
6.  Lo and behold Ruth ended up going to Boaz's field.  Boaz was a cousin of Eli and by custom was eligible to take over dead Eli's property and marry Ruth so that she could have a baby to continue her husband's family name (a big deal to people back then).  Now, many pictures and people will present Boaz as an old geezer and Ruth as a hot 20 something babe, which, let's be frank, is just gross.  Yes, he was probably older  But let's just imagine he's a hunky older guy like him



Or him



7.  Naomi sees what God is up to and tells Ruth to take a bath and go wait til Boaz is drunk and happy, lay down at his feet (at his feet you see, not spoon with him; let's have some modesty for pete's sake).  So Ruth does it and presumably scares the crap out of him, but they talk and he agrees that he could marry her and golly,  that sounds like a good plan.
8.  Boaz goes out cause in this whole "kinsmen redeemer" thing he's second in line.  Ah, but the first guy couldn't do it because it would have nullified his own inheritance which evidently was a bit swankier and may have included better land and a girl hotter than Ruth for all we know.  (I'm being very liberal with my interpretation of this story).  So he declines it.
9.  Boaz wins this rose ceremony, gets Eli's land, marries Ruth and they have a baby.  Who is an ancestor to Jesus.  And who, interestingly, kinda had two dads because even though he was the biological child of Boaz he carried the name of Ruth's dead husband.


So, you may have missed it, but do you see all that had to come together so that this would work?

Something prompted Ruth to go with Naomi and want to travel to a distant land knowing they had no way to make a living.

Boaz was rich and single (and hunky according to me).  How is it that he had not taken a wife already?  He was a catch.  Ah, because God was up to something!

How is it that of all the fields Ruth could have gone to she went to the field of Boaz?  And that Boaz just happened to be a really cool boss who checked up on his workers and made sure everything was all right and noticed this chick?  He had developed a good work ethic and was a good boss, all for a reason.

Things could have turned out really badly the night Ruth snuck up on Boaz as he lay sleeping.  Someone could have seen her and ruined her reputation.  Boaz could have responded differently.

First dibs guy could have taken Ruth but he already had an inheritance lined up.

Ruth hadn't been able to have children for whatever reason with her first husband but did with Boaz.

Coincidences, all of these?  I think not.

God was moving YEARS BEFORE in preparation for this story to unfold just as it did.  And really, we are only given about 4 pages of it, and you know there were probably a gazillion other things involved in this story than we know about.

Do you understand?  God is always working, always moving setting things up behind the scenes.  "Happen or happen not, there is no coincidence" Yoda might say.

I don't have any great wisdom about this other than to remind you that God is always moving, always working.  He is not lazy.  He does not take breaks.  He does not sleep.  Trust him with your story.  Let it unfold and play out and see Him in it.  He is everywhere, on every page of your story.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Life Lately

// Reading // 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, which really, I'm over half way through and unsure about how I feel about it.  I just finished 'Defiance' by CJ Redwine which I loved and wish the library had the sequel for (enter weekly library grumble here).  I am challenging myself to read all of the books on my "To Read" list on Goodreads before I add more to it.  Great idea.  Then I realized I also had a separate book list on amazon so that almost doubled the list.  We'll see how it goes.

// Watching // Season 6 of 24 which is so good!  I swear, each season gets better.  We'll see if that holds true with this one.  Eager to start watching the Agents of Shield show that starts next Tuesday.

// Listening to // Lennon and Maisy.  Have you heard them sing?  Sweet stars, they are so doggone good.  Their version of this song is my favorite:

  
And move over Johnny Cash, they totally made your song better:



// Working on // The ending of my story which I just cannot get to come together.  I think because there's no more action that the story is leading into; it's just winding down....until book 2 which I've already put together in my head and stars, it is so good.  Hit me all at once while I was driving down I-40.  I pulled into the Kroger parking lot and wrote the outline that had just come to me like a crazy woman because that is how I roll.

// Looking forward to //  this weekend because we have nothing specific on the schedule.  Hopefully we can get loads down on the house and enjoy the nice weather which I hope continues.  

// Loving // the weather (perfection); sitting outside on our huge deck in said nice weather and enjoying it (despite the fact that mosquitoes lust after me in a totally unholy way and take advantage of me; cads, those mosquitoes!); the fact that I have been doing hour long workouts again and my little chronic fatigue syndrome is either tolerating it well or has taken a vacation or been abducted (one can only hope); and my hubby.  He's just so fun to hang out with.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hall Closet

We have a hall closet now, which excites me more than it probably should.  In our old house there was nowhere good to hang your jacket which made it really interesting in winter because I have an inability to get warm and require more layers than a parfait.

Up until this weekend the hall closet was where we were storing paint and paint brushes and outlet covers and wax ring kits for toilets and big containers of odor-ban and well, you get the picture.  So I cleaned it out and moved stuff to other parts of the house (because really, that is the only organization going on-I just move stuff from one area I want to be clean and add it to the clutter somewhere else).

Ah, all cleared out.  And gross.  Do you see all those marks on the wall?  

This part used to have carpet on it.  Which didn't make sense to us.  And it was gross and smelled (just like the rest of the carpet throughout the house) so we got rid of it. Eventually we'll put a linoleum remnant down there.  

Some leftover paint and ten minutes, and there you go.  Much better.

Love it.  It's deep enough to hide a cache of weapons if you needed to.  Or all the layers that my "I don't do winter" self requires.  Whichever.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Adventure in Home Ownership- What we've been up to lately

We've lived in the house a month now, which is weird because in some ways it feels like we've been living there for so much longer.  Weird how the transition from our old house to this one was so seamless.  I haven't missed the old house at all.

So here's what we've been up to lately:

The monstrosity of a hot tub.  Our contractor had quite the adventure getting this puppy out.  It weighed a ton.   

And left a gaping hole in the deck that our home insurance people weren't so thrilled about.  I mean really, I understand it,'s a hazard but if someone's dumb enough to fall into a hole that big I really think they deserve what's coming to them.  Hubs fixed it up and now we have a convenient shelf underneath the deck to hide bodies if the situation calls for it.


Ah, living on subfloor in the kitchen and dining room got old pretty quickly.  

So we bought some flooring.  And discovered that laying down linouleum is something we never want to do again.  It was rolled the wrong way we needed it so we had to unroll it in the dining room, which it was way bigger than.  Horrid experience I tell you.  Never again.

Ah, but now we have flooring!  Love this blue color on my kitchen wall by the way.  Now we have to finish the trim, fill some nail holes, and touch up the paint and my kitchen can be put together again.  

No more subfloor!  My toes are happy!

Slowly we're going through the stuff  piled in the garage and getting it sorted.  Came across this little guy which brings back good college memories.  I had some crazy friends at Auburn!

We weren't too keen on storing boxes over 4 inches of drywall dust so I scrubbed this floor until I could actually see it.  Amazing what a good old mop and some elbow grease can do!

Sometimes the level of disorganization we have going on stresses me out just a wee bit.  So to make myself feel better I organized my laundry products.  I'm telling you people, I am nuts, and there are few things in life a well organized space  can't fix for me.

No more baby Ethan!  Our contractor is finally finished.  Well, at least until we have him do stage 2 renovations, which won't be for a couple of years.

The current mess in the garage.  It's a good thing we don't have kids or else we probably would have lost one down there.  As it is, if you are missing a medium sized animal or a child, feel free to come dig through this and see what you find.

Painting trim!

We Ungleichs are good at destressing with food.  Here is the hub's bowl of ice cream.  Note the normal sized bowl on the left for a comparison.  Go big or go live somewhere else is what say.

I made the most delicious cheesecake the other day.  I won't tell how many days it took us to eat it, as the low number would surely make you all think badly of us.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Heart of a Storyteller

All my life I have been a storyteller.

It's something that I don't think I realized about myself until I was an adult.  I love stories.  It's why I devour books and cry over movies and love the personal story pieces that ESPN does.  I love to tell stories too.  Girls in my small group used to tell me I had the best stories.  Friends always wanted me to be the narrator when we played Mafia.  A handful of people throughout my life have told me that I'm a storyteller, and it's been the highest compliment I've ever been given.

I've been writing and telling stories in my head all my life.  But I've never tried to put one of my stories down on paper.  Until recently.

Back in the winter, I kept feeling this urgency to start writing this story I've carried around and developed in my mind for years.  I was so scared to do it; scared that I would run out of words.  But oh, how the words have grown and carried.  I fell in love with making and refining this story.

I would write 34 pages, all of which would end up being tossed out, but I loved it, because it led me to finding my voice and finding my story buried somewhere under the first and second and third drafts.  Constantly this story fills me.  I think about it when I weed our flowerbed or when I'm driving down I-40.  Scenes and words and character traits and conversations come to me in bits and pieces.  I'm so tangled up in it.

And it's incredible.

I feel that I am finally doing what I have been called to do.

No, I'm not quitting my day job and I don't even think I'll have this story published.  But writing it--embracing this identity of storyteller--has been so incredibly life giving.  It's been amazing to connect to God in this way.  God, the ultimate story teller, who dreamed us all up and determined our own stories--has placed a little bit of that in me.  I write my own little tale and am taken aback sometimes.  And I ask God out loud, "Is this what it's like for You?"  This exhilaration that comes from shaping a character or editing a story and making it just so.  Crazy to think he has done that with each of us.  Shaped the story, shaped who we are in it and how the story is around us.  I am so thankful that He's allowed me to experience Him in this way.

And this week another lesson hit me.  I read this beautiful post about getting through hard times.  I cried when I reached the point where she says

"God, we're confused."
And He answered, "I'm not done yet."

I cried when I read it.  Right now I writing the bad part of story.  The part where bad things happen to my character.  And when I started on this section last week I got so excited to write it, which sounds really horrid but bear with me.  I am excited to write this part because even though it's horrible it is wonderful because it sets the stage for the redemption that is to come.  Without this horrible, awful, no good middle, the end would be worthless.  The magic of the story would not exist and the characters would not have lived and would not know the love, the goodness, that awaits in the next chapter.

In essence, I am saying to my story, to my protagonist and all that love her:  "I'm not done yet."

And it just hit me because I'm in the middle of my story this way, how God does the same thing.  He is not done.

Is.

Not.

Done.

All these pieces of my life that are unsettled or unanswered or confusing (the sobbing, wailing, breaking of the heart kind).  He's not done.  And I get it now in ways I haven't before.  I get how the horrible, awful, no good middle makes for the most beautiful type of ending.  Katniss had to take her sister's place and Tris had be taken my Jeanine and Buttercup had to be kidnapped and Ruth's husband had to die and Abraham had to be infertile and Jesus had to die this horrid death....all that so that the next chapter could unfold the way it was meant to.

I think we're so tempted in life to want to jump to the last chapter.  But without the middle, would we even want it?  Would it satisfy us or make sense?

Probably not.

Our Storyteller is not finished.  Is not finished.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Today

Listening: to my "Lumineers" station on Pandora.  Love the feel of that station.  And I have been introduced to Ellie Holcomb, who I have found that I like immensely.

Eating: an apple.  Normally I don't eat fruit much anymore because mono destroyed my body's ability to digest anything, and fruit is it's nemesis.  It's apple season though and who can refuse a good Gala apple?  Not this girl. Oh man, makes me crave an apple fritter from Penland's Apples in Elijay.

Drinking: Water.  We had to replace our water filters in our house because they got so full they weren't working, and we haven't had time to hook them up yet and our tap water is the type of stuff you give to prisoners of war to break them, so I have been craving water like an addict in rehab craves the good stuff.  Could drink it forever.

Wearing: as many summer things as possible as the changing of the seasons is in the air and I do not like it one little bit.  Admittedly, I love fall, but I hate it because I know cold and dark mornings and dark evenings and dry skin and all things blah follow it.  Boo hiss.

Feeling: Ready for a room in our house to be put together.  Eager to start baking and cooking in my new kitchen (things are still so strewn about that I haven't gotten into it).  Mournful over the fact that summer is coming to a close.

Weather: Still warm and summery but with a hint of fall in the air.  It's breezy and the sky is a deeper shade of blue.

Wanting: To sit and read and read and read for hours on end.  A good run outside (still too hot in the afternoon for that, at least for me. I am not that hard core).  A pumpkin spice latte.  Still a little too hot out for that too but really, I could enjoy one A-ok despite the heat.

Needing: A good night's sleep.  I keep waking up and immediately my brain starts whirring around like a hamster on a wheel and I can't get it to be quiet and settle down.  My brain is like a 4 year old child evidently.

Thinking: Too much about everything lately.  Although, to be fair, when do I not?  Thinking about is it worth it to pay for amazon prime and what is going to happen at the end of the season of 24 that we are watching and I wonder if I can find an all natural substitute for Crisco and what movies are coming out soon and I need to remember to wash the sheets at home tonight.

Enjoying: Owning a house and how good it feels to go home to it each day, despite the work that awaits me there.  Trying to enjoy the process and the moments and not wish myself to the end too soon.  Enjoying having health insurance including vision coverage (hello eye exam, it has been too long!).  Enjoying coffee in the morning and leg workouts that make me sore as can be and season 5 of 24 and putting books on hold at the library.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Job Decription

Sometimes you get frustrated at work and need an outlet.  Last week was horrid, and I was feeling overworked and underappreciated and thought to myself, I wonder how hard it would be to find someone to replace me?  So I typed up my own job description.  Great stress relief and good entertainment value :)

Wanted:  Full time secretary for church to perform the following duties:

  • Answer the phone all the time.  Be nice, even if it's someone who rips you a new one for not driving to Kroger to buy them groceries or someone who is upset that you left your office for exactly 94 seconds to go pee and didn't answer them the first time they called.
  • Deal with vendors.  The majority of these will be ones you don't know are coming and you don't know what they are there to fix because no one will tell you.  
  • Write checks, pay taxes, do reports, enter the budget.  This is harder than you think because even Jesus lovers are a little irrational when it comes to money.  Must be willing to deal with pastors who cannot budget and need a financial babysitter and who think we have money trees growing up behind the baptistry.
  • Post all donations and contributions and mail out end of year reports.  Deal with people who call on April 14th that they can't find theirs and are going to their tax guy in 18 minutes and who demand very rudely that you get it to them right away as they don't have time to wait on you.
  • Handle all membership, contact cards, calendar, facilities and events, walk-ins for food pantry, benevolence, etc.
  • Nag and intimidate pastors into handing over receipts that they have lost and can't remember ever having. Spend hours on the phone with Walgreens headquarters figuring out who charged $4.67 on June 7th to the church visa.  
  • Put postage on everything everyone else needs mailed because even though these men are responsible for the spiritual health of a body of people, they are incapable of learning how to use the postage machine.
  • Must be interested in wildlife as you will encounter all manner of vermin in this building including but not limited to squirrels, mice, and snakes.
  • Perform tasks which others are capable of doing on their own and which fall under their job description and not your own.
  • Ability to lift 200+ pounds when you get tired of certain staff who cannot be reasoned with and you need to hide their body somewhere.  You will probably have assistance with this from coworkers who not only will help but will give you an alibi.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

August recap

How is it September already?  We only have about a month left of summer and I don't like it one bit.  Have you noticed it's already getting darker so much sooner than it did a month ago?  Sigh...I feel like we missed so much of this summer because of working on the house (mostly inside of it) nonstop.

We got a lot done in August.  House wise we:
1.  Moved in
2.  I painted the kitchen
3.  We put flooring down in the kitchen and dining room (pics to come soon on that)
4.  The basement is finished!  We started putting that space together which is helping the other rooms come together as stuff to be stored in the basement is everywhere.

We have a long to-do list for September including finishing trim in the dining room and kitchen, painting the dining room, putting in new toilets upstairs, and getting rooms organized.  I would love to get to the point where we are putting pictures up on the walls.  As it is, we've just had too many other projects to tackle to get to stuff like that.

We have some traveling coming up in September so hopefully we'll be able to get through the list.  Admittedly it's hard for me and my type-a-must-have-everything-in-order to live in a house that has so much going on at once.  Bit by bit I keep telling myself.

We have our first house guests in August, and our first group over to eat Hoffman hotdogs and watch the Syracuse game.  Love that even though we are a mess, we are having people fill up our house. That is my desire and prayer for this house of ours; that God would bless it and fill it.  That it would be a place of community and of building up people.  May he fill it as he sees fit!

In other news, I have challenged myself to read all the books on my Goodreads 'To Read' Shelf before I add more books to it.  This is a challenge to me.  There are 44 books on the list.  There were 45 and I have already read one.  Plus I am about to start "Catching Fire" again so I can refresh my mind before the movie comes out, and that one's not on the list but is getting read anyways.  Let's see how much progress I can make in September!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Let's talk about praying for our enemies

Sometime we get to parts of the Bible that we just don't like.  Parts that we read over quickly 'cause we really don't want to actually do what it says 'cause it's just hard and we'd rather rot in sin than be uncomfortable and obey (I'm looking at you book of James!).  I am absolutely of the opinion that if we stopped each time the Bible told us to do something and actually did it before going further that
1.  our lives would be changed powerfully
2.  the gospel would be unleashed on the world
3.  we'd never get past the one thing we were trying to be obedient in because obedience is not a one time "check it off your list" type of thing.

Recently the Spirit has impressed upon me one of those horrid little commands.  Enter "love and pray for your enemies" (Matthew 5:44)

Let's start with the basics.  What is an enemy?  The Bible characterizes an enemy as someone hateful or hostile.  Good ole google says an enemy is "a person actively opposed or hostile to someone."

I don't think everyone has an enemy (other than Satan.  I'm talking people enemies).  I think we all have people that annoy us or that constantly disagree with us or live life different or don't think well of us or whatever.  But an enemy, ah, that is a different breed of person.

I have an enemy. Do they oppose me?  Yes.  Hostile?  Yep.  Hateful?  Oh yeah.  This person told me that they "didn't even consider me a human".  Classy.  They have told lies and spread lies about me.  Yelled at me, cursed at me.  Taken things from me.  Yep, they fit the enemy description.

So the Lord grabbed a hold of my little selfish heart and told me to pray for this person.

To which my little Christian self told Jesus that I'd rather clean the floor of a tuberculosis clinic with my tongue.

Enter a battle between me and God that God won (currently I am 0-789,429 in winning against God in a wrestling match).

So I started praying for this person.  At first the prayers went a little like this:
"Lord I pray for x even though I don't want to."
"Lord, please don't let x die via an intestinal parasite today."
"Jesus, I hope x's car doesn't explode on the highway."

I really, really, struggled with praying for this person.  I didn't want to.  I didn't know what to pray for.  How do you pray good things for a person who most recently told you that they "didn't even consider you a human"?

Ah, the Spirit is powerful.

Because soon I started not only praying for general things but also praying that God would bless this person.  Give him health and blessing.  Grant him favor at work.  Fill him with wisdom and kindness.  Bless his family.

I'll be honest and say I still don't enjoy praying for this person.  And I do it because it is commanded of me in Scripture and not because I want to.  But it's so much easier to forgive a person and to not let their hurtful words sting you when you are praying not only for them, but praying blessings over them.  It honestly is one of the most freeing experiences I think we can have as Christians.  It opens up avenues to forgiveness and grace and love.  It serves as a protective blanket that separates us from that person and their callousness.  Prayer is effective.  In more ways than one.  How wise of God to command us to pray for those that hate us because he knows our flesh wouldn't naturally choose to do it.

Do you have an enemy?  Pray blessings over them.  Be amazed at how they upset you less than they used to, and how the words they have spoken are diminished in power.  It's a powerful tool.