Intercession: it’s like intermission without the mike&ikes and long bathroom lines.

This week I have really felt the weight of distractions as we continue to press on physically and relationally.  It has been a great week here where progress has been made and memories have been created.  But my heart has been greatly burdened for certain people and situations back home. 

Some of this heaviness was from hearing last Saturday (our weekly communication day) about life at home and things that are happening—changes, decisions, and events.  But along with keeping up to date with my friends and family, the Lord has been putting specific people and situations on my heart—seemingly randomly.   I will wake up in the middle of the night panicking about someone I haven’t talked to in months.  I will be journaling and all of a sudden be filled with an urgency that a certain family I know is in need.  These feelings are intense, consistent, and at first I had no idea how to handle them.  I became really frustrated because my instinct was that I wanted to pick up the phone and check on the person I was feeling burdened for.  I wanted to be able to reach out and communicate that I was “here for them”.  I wanted Ansley to be able to come to the rescue.  But the thing about living in a village in Cambodia is that kind of communication is not an option.  And once this dawned on me I was devastated.  I didn’t understand why the Lord would give me these deep burdens if there was no way for me to help. 

But then it hit me. 

I, Ansley, am NEVER supposed to be the one to help.  Ever.

Oh man.  I have spent my whole life trying to “be there” for people.  I have strived to be someone that people desire to confide in.  I thrive on a sense of self-satisfaction that I am meeting the needs of others.  And that is such a sin.  What do I have to offer others?  Nothing.  I myself am a broken and dirty vessel constantly in need of my Father’s grace and forgiveness.  I have spent years fooling myself into thinking I can fill the void in people’s lives.  Nope, I definitely cannot.  Blast.

It took being here in Cambodia—forcefully away from friends and family, to realize all of this.  But once I did, then came the super-duper exciting, encouraging, and uplifting “revelation” part. Praise!

Once I came to the end of myself and asked the Lord what was supposed to happen when I felt these burdens, He showed me the incredible beauty and power of intercessory prayer.  Before this I knew what intercession was, and as a dutiful Christian I would incorporate it into my daily prayer life.  But guys, never (until now) have I experienced the mighty, wind blowing, goose-bump giving, pleading with my face on the floor prayer that is what we as followers of Christ are called to.  And I think what makes it so much more powerful in my life is that it is literally all I can do with these situations.  I have no way of reaching out to these people, I have no way of even knowing what is going on in their lives—why they are such burdens on my heart.  But what I do know is that there is POWER in the name of Jesus.  And that because of His love I can boldly and confidently approach the throne and pray on behalf of those He lays on my heart.  And the peace He washes over me as I lay these burdens at His feet is so much more satisfying than any of my own vain efforts to help others. 

As this blog comes to a close I want to be very clear in saying that there is nothing wrong with helping people.  God commands us to comfort those who are hurting, provide for those in need, and minister to those who are lonely.  I wholeheartedly believe that.  But what I have now realized is that these efforts should never be done in the name of or for the sake of our own benefit.  It should never be “Ansley” fixing the world’s problems.  Because Ansley cannot.  But when I submit myself to the Lord, allowing Him to use me– that is when mountains are moved and relationships are restored.   

Even as frustrating as it was at first, it has been so good for me to not be able to do anything except pray for the people I am burdened for.  Having no control over situations (or even knowledge of them) is such an effective trust exercise.  Ha.  But really, I am so thankful for how the Lord chooses to teach us and mold us into His image.  He is so intentional it drives me crazy.  (But good crazy).  Yep.

peace & blessins’ yall.

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