This morning I got up at 8am, showered, nursed Evelyn, drank 2 cups of coffee, and then left the kids with Brad while I went for the last walk of my 30 days. On the way out the door, Brad urged me to take my time and treat myself to something special at the coffee shop.
I walked quickly this morning, whistling “Rise and Shine” to myself. Again I decided this was a good marching song. I walked the whole way around the school property for the first time since the dog jumped on me on Day #13. With only 3 days until Halloween, many houses are now decorated for the holiday. I crunched through the bright leaves, thanking God for the past month of prayer.
As I finished walking and praying, and was almost to the coffee shop, I passed the house on the corner of our street. I’d noticed the “For Rent” sign in the yard, but now 3 little dogs barked at me and the new tenant was raking leaves. I greeted her and we talked about dogs, renting, moving, schools, and the neighborhood. She said she has two high school age sons, so I invited them to our youth ministry Halloween Club tonight. I also invited her to our church, and pointed out our pastor’s house nearby. After a few minutes we parted ways, and I went to the coffee shop for a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream.
Back at home, my Bible study leader called. She asked how the 30 days had gone, and if I’d seen any results yet. As I reflected on her question, I knew without a doubt that I had already seen results. I met Donna & Ray, and Donna’s kids, all of whom work at the coffee shop. We had Club in the coffee shop twice. We had the entire freshmen football team over for dinner twice. Brad took a huge group on a Work Crew weekend. Amanda and Vickie started helping us drive kids to Club, Joanne lent us her car, Steven started helping with photography, Lodie offered to help babysit, and Darla offered to help with whatever she could. I met Jennifer this morning, and spent other mornings talking to my neighbors Cedrick, Emily, Matt & Tara, or waving to Marisa & Juan. I met the women in the school’s front office, helped Rosie in a pinch, and snapped Senior Photos for Jennifer. We updated our phones to make my husband more accessible, and fine-tuned other aspects of how we do ministry. Money for our ministry has turned up in some of the most unlikely places, from a woman who heard some of my story and handed me a $100 bill, to a Roseville pottery vase that we found in our garage and sold on eBay for $90. A gas station donated a substantial amount of meat to our church, which then divided it up and gave us a bag. Much of that meat went into the football team’s spaghetti sauce. And I could go on.
It has often been said that “Prayer changes us, not God.” Indeed, I think the greatest changes this month went on within my own heart. I am a non-confrontational people-pleaser who spent two-thirds of my life being painfully shy and socially awkward. When we faced difficulties, I retreated inward. I stayed home, I was unhelpful, worried, fearful, resentful, and pessimistic. Walking and praying got me out of the house and into our community. As the unfamiliar became familiar, I began to see our school, our neighborhood, our neighbors, our students, and even my husband and children with new eyes. A month of walking and praying has blessed my life in so many ways. I am changed.
I hope that your life has been blessed by these last 30 days of prayer for your local high school. If you joined with me in prayer for the last 30 days, I would love to hear some about what it meant to you, and what results you have seen in your own life!
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2