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  • Jesus Spoke to Me Through Adele

    I was walking through a store and started humming the song “Hello,” by Adele (it had been on my playlist from the day before). A few moments later it came on the radio above me. I thought, hmm, that’s weird. Then, I was in the car when one of my besties called and told me stories of miracles and hearing God’s voice. After I hung up I thought, “Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve felt that way. So long since I believed that was possible.” When I got home I searched youtube for “seeking God” and listened to the first sermon that came up. It was by TD Jakes (who I didn’t realize at the time another friend had been encouraging me to watch). TD Jakes said we have to pursue God in the same way He has pursued us. He said, maybe you need to go somewhere. Maybe you need to do something drastic. He even said, “If anyone is listening on the internet right now, he may be calling you to get up and go somewhere.” So I hit the road. I thought I could drive to the International House of Prayer just outside of Atlanta. I was just hoping to hear God’s voice. I had felt distant from God for so long. Numb in all areas of my life. But that is what has allowed me to be content. Quiet. Empty. Content. No more pain. I didn’t have to deal with desire because I didn’t let myself care deeply about anything anymore. I got stuck in traffic and realized I might not get any time at the actual House of Prayer! God, you might have to tell it to me now, here in traffic. I remembered the Adele song that had popped up twice earlier in the day. I shrugged and put the song on. Maybe God could speak through an Adele song. (to hear the song and keep reading, push play below) Raw Spoon

  • STORY: Christmas Dancer Boy

    Jakar tried to hide it so it didn’t show up in his walk. Or maybe he could just finally be his true self in how he walked and moved and talked, now that his dad had finally kicked him out. Jakar adjusted his hood to deflect the rain. So rarely did it rain here in Jerusalem. But it seemed only appropriate on the night he felt most desperately like crying. But he had to be strong. He had been on the streets for 5 days and was famished, dirty, cold and tired. He had just been kicked out from the alleyway stoop under which he had been squatting for the last two days. Things had just been so hard in Jerusalem for as long as he could remember. Fighting all the time. There were a few conspiracy theory bloggers who had been speculating about the return to power of Hezekiah’s family line. Two and a half thousand years prior, there had been a family of rulers known for their justice, wisdom, and virtue. They had been full of integrity and they made righteousness a prized virtue which all seemed inspired to pursue. They purified the city of corruption. They say this kingdom of Hezakiah had been peaceful and all were provided for and productive. Jakar wished a Jerusalem like that were really possible. The weird thing was though, that one of the current Prime Minister’s head aids had retired saying he had strange and ominous intel. He was caught saying in a rather obscure internet video, “The kin of of king Hezakiah is at hand.” Jakar almost couldn’t even let himself hope in that. Now as he walked through the streets the buildings got smaller and further apart. He felt like he would have to find a place outside of the city in order for no one to bother him. He looked up at the series of lights along the dirt road that ran over the hill outside the city. He saw the tip of a small structure, a shepherd’s stable, over the top of the hill, a ways from the road. Surely the shepherd would not be there in this weather and maybe there would be some food, at least what was meant to feed the beasts. As he got further from the lights of the city he let his delicate hips sway a little more naturally as he walked. He should have locked his bedroom door when he heard the music coming through the window, at least before he let himself dance to it. Why did it have to be the absolute worst person who caught him at just that moment. He climbed the road up the hill, his hood low over his head. He left the road when he was closest to the stable. The leather of his shoes were soaked in cold after only a minute of walking in the grass. He saw something move in the stable, a dim movement of light coming from the doorway. He slowed and stabilized his walk. It wasn’t like he would let himself fall in love with a man or anything. That was probably what his father thought it meant. He still wanted to try and marry a nice woman and raise a family. Jakar understood it was shameful to be a girly boy. But it was who he was. He approached the stable very slowly. He stopped at the doorway and called, putting on a masculine air. “Hello. Shalom. Any room for a wet man in there?” A baby’s cry surprised him. And then a mother’s pleased cooing. A man responded. “Show yourself, please.” Jakar pulled off his hood and carefully pulled back the curtain which was a blanket draped over a wire, so they could see him. A mother was tending to her child, lying in a sheep trough padded with an old down jacket. The man walked toward Jakar gripping something underneath his cloak. A gun, perhaps, Jakar thought. The man stopped when he saw him clearly, and after a moment’s discernment looked back at the mother. She seemed pleasantly occupied with the baby and the man gestured to Jakar, “Yes, young man. Come in.” Jakar ducked past the curtains and tucked himself against the wall, wide eyes. The man saw he meant no harm and reached a hand out to welcome him. Jakar gave his best manly handshake and nodded. “Thank you.” They quickly both looked back at the baby. The woman looked up, her kind eyes met Jakar’s and she said, “You made him laugh. He heard your voice. First time in a while he’s laughed.” She saw Jakar was enthralled by the baby so she motioned him to come nearer. And he did. When he was close enough the baby’s eyes went to him. And did not leave. Jakar knelt beside the trough. The baby was silent, studying him. Jakar smiled. A moment later the baby smiled back. He must have been only a few months old. Those eyes. So clear and innocent. Jakar kind of wished the baby could see into him. This baby wouldn’t judge. “We’ve had a pretty hard journey.” The mother said, obviously pleased the baby seemed happy. “It’s been hard on this little one. But look, he’s smiling now.” Jakar bobbed his head and he smiled at the babe. He opened his eyes and mouth wide. It wasn’t a strong man’s gesture, but the baby laughed and kept watching him intensely. Jakar brought his hands in front of him, with stiff strong fingers, snapping lightly. The baby kept his eyes on Jakar’s eyes. Only when he let his hands loosen and move more gracefully did the baby look at them and release another delighted squeak. Then they heard several sets of footsteps outside. The man got up and pulled the gun fully out this time. A man’s deep foreign accent said, “Greetings. We come to pay our reverent respects.” In a few moments they were inside. Seeing who it was the father quickly put his gun down. Three dark-skinned men. Perhaps from Africa. Two of them were the body guards of the third. He was dressed in a very fine suit, a black tie, and a fashionable trench coat. They bowed at the door, a very awkward motion. Jakar didn’t see anyone bow these days, except in prayer. The man slowly looked up and saw the child. He looked to the parents and said, “I flew in as soon as I heard about the arrival. Just this afternoon. We took an old Fiat, or something, and left it a mile back, behind the closed fueling station, just so no one would raise any questions and find you. The father nodded and said, “Yes, okay. Please– please yes enter.” The father said it in a reverent way that made Jakar conclude this was a very important man. “How did you find us, if you don’t mind me asking. I just don’t want others to find us.” Then the new man rose as he took out his cell phone. He approached cautiously to show it to the father. It was a text from somebody with a google map link attached. The father glanced to the top to see who it was from and immediately nodded. “Okay yes. It’s very much an honor to have you visit us. Sorry for these humble surroundings.” The well dressed man pointed to his phone indicating who the text was from as he said, “The boy’s father warned me it would be like this. But knowing him, I wouldn’t expect anything less. Any level of luxury seems to be just fine for him.” The man with the gun must not be the boy’s father, Jakar realized. Maybe just the baby’s body guard. To take care of the baby and his mother. “I told him I wanted to come meet the newborn,” The black man’s deep voice filled the room. “I would not receive no for an answer. I absolutely had to be present to honor the next king of Hezakiah’s line. I have brought this for the young prince.” He turned his attention to the baby as he reached back for his assistant to give him something. It was an intricately adorned box. The man bowed low in front of the baby and then held the box in two hands over him. He opened it and it quietly began to play. It was a beautiful music box. The man reached into the box and retrieved an envelope. “This is the paperwork for a $50 million dollar endowment in the young prince’s name. It is a gift from my kingdom to the destiny of yours. I look forward to the day when my people will live in peace with your great kingdom.” They all looked down to the baby, whose eyes looked at the guilded box for a moment, then to the well-dressed man. But then the baby looked back to Jakar huddled in the corner. The man handed the box to the woman who received it graciously. She set it beside her and let the music chime slowly and beautifully. The well-dressed man and his men settled against the wall, as they realized how enthralled the baby was with the thin boy, (or was that a girl? No just a pretty boy) in the corner. “He likes you quite a lot.” He mused kindly. A deep voice. One that probably commanded troops and made decisions for his nation. “Why don’t you come near, young one. Be brave and be loved by this little one, for his kingdom will be love.” Jakar swallowed and slowly pulled himself out of the shadow, obeying the powerful man. And as he approached the baby smiled wildly again. He wiggled his tiny hands in excitement. Jakar bobbed up and down again, near and far, back and forth. The baby’s eyes tried to track and he broke out in giggles. It bled out into the night but it was such a beautiful sound to all, they deemed it worth the added risk. A few moments later the sound of many feet, and… was that hooves approaching outside? All the men pulled out guns and aimed them at the door. “Hello.” Came a man’s soft voice. “I come in peace. I saw you in a dream. May I please approach?” And a moment later they saw a face peek around the curtain. It was a sun-baked and bearded shepherd. His sheep were following him. “Last month I had a dream that said the great family of. . .” he struggled to say it, looking at all the people in the tiny hut, “the family of the king Hezakiah would visit this place tonight.” He glanced down at the baby and his eyes filled with dumfounded awe. The mother spoke up. “Oh yes, come in. I saw you in your house as we passed through the city and God told me you would visit. “I wondered if I heard correctly. And here you are. Please don’t fret. Come in please, good shepherd. Thank you for letting us stay in your stable. I think it is yours?” The man nodded but his eyes were watering, still staring at the baby. It was only a whisper that could come out of his mouth, “I have hoped for your kingdom to come for so long. My grandparents starved to death in this stable, discarded by this regime. And today you have forever redeemed my broken family by coming to this place.” He came near and looked at the other men to assure them of what he was about to do. “I brought a gift.” He pointed to his coat before slowly pulling it out. It looked like a slightly larger cel phone. “Members of my family own the companies developing technology for the state of Israel. We have many technologies far more advanced than public tech in this world. What we have developed could almost assuredly hack into and bring down most of the empires in the world today. This phone is like a key to the whole system, it has all the automated software to do so, and once it’s in cel tower range it will stay always updated. Of course the current regime would never let go of this. But I give it to this little one in good faith as my allegiance to his office and his court.” He showed the screen to the mother and said, we developed this app for when the time is right.” He turned it on, swiped to a screen and touched an app icon. She nodded her understanding. Then he turned it back to the child as beautiful colors moved across the screen. He watched the baby as he said, “But for now the app displays colors that are calculated to entertain and develop the mind of young ones. When the time is right he will be able to unlock all the power inside.” They all watched the baby glance at the screen for a moment, then glance at the man, and lock back on Jakar. The mother nodded and received the phone with a reverent “Thank you.” The new man settled in and they all marveled as the baby would not take his eyes off of Jakar, against the wall again. The mother said, “I think he loves you, tender hearted one. Please come, if you would like, and let him see you again.” And then with the intuition of a mother she tenderly added. “I think he would like to see all of you.” Jakar slowly, cautiously approached again. So scared. He glanced at the other men in the room. Men of such import. And yet this child wanted to look at him. Jakar bobbed his head and his eyebrows up and down and back and forth again. He began to do it in time with the music box. The baby laughed in delight. He loved watching Jakar. And slowly Jakar started moving the rest of his body. More of it. First in a mechanical, strong and masculine way. But it seemed to only get him so far with the child, who would not stop looking at Jakar’s face. Jakar could feel the dance inside of him wanting to get out. He felt his arms and legs want to break off the fear and shame of what society expected of him like a shell. His hips wanted to loosen and he knew how he would throw his head and shoulder-length hair. Then the finely dressed man laughed a good-hearted laugh and spoke as Jakar danced. “Young one. What did you bring for this little baby!? What gift do you bring for your king?” The boy heard it as condemnation. That gruff voice saying he was not enough. But he didn’t care. That man could hurt him later but this moment with this special baby who seemed to see and love him right now was his. But the man continued, in a strong African accent, although a thread of kindness and joy become more evident. “I brought lots and lots of money, and he brought power.” He gestured to the shepherd. “You may think you have nothing to give. But behold, this baby just wants you. Give him all of you, young one! I can see it in you. Give him the gift you have in you!” And a boisterous laugh came out of the man. This startled Jakar into a new freedom. It cracked whatever shell was left on him. Jakar let his arms and head and hips and legs flow in rhythm and melody with the beautiful music box. Spinning and swinging low to the ground. It no longer became masculine or feminine. It was pure objective beauty in shape and movement. Flexibility balanced with strength, arching limbs. Spins and leaps. Even the fingertips hovered before the baby making their own fascinating stories. It was becoming one of his best dances. All watched in awe. But it was most joyously received by the baby who laughed and swung his arms and legs as if he too wanted to dance with as much of himself as Jakar did. Jakar had nothing to give as a gift but himself. His true self. So he gave all he had. And he gave it for the shining eyes of that joyful little heart. That heart that saw and loved all of him more than sparkling riches or consuming power. Raw Spoon, 12-9-18

  • Know Your Local Homeless: Pamela

    The Decatur Book Festival ended at 6pm on Saturday, but I decided to keep my booth open until 6:30 for any stragglers. It was about 6:15 when Pamela came up to me. She said she was one of the volunteers and she told me she had been assigned to help me at my booth, but accidentally got the wrong booth and helped at the wrong one all day. She asked about my books on display and after I told her about my book of miracles happening in Ethiopia she said something like, “Hunny, now that is something I could use. I need a miracle.” I asked her what she meant. As she started to tell me, I realized I wanted to hear more. I pulled over a chair and asked if I could hear her story. This is what she told me. Here’s the interview and my portrayal of her face using salt (it’s long but you could push play and listen while you’re doing other things). I’ve written the highlights of her hard and gory story below. Turns out she’s homeless. She’s struggling to be done with crack and stop hooking. But her friends have made that extra hard, even though some of their friends have had their throats cut and been hung from trees while living this precarious life. And apparently now she volunteers at book festivals in her free time. I wouldn’t have immediately guessed she was homeless by the way she was dressed. She said she doesn’t think that if you’re homeless you have to let yourself dress like you’re homeless. In fact she thinks it’s unfair that people who let themselves get all dirty and smelly get people’s help. People are less likely to help you if you’re clean, because they don’t believe you’re homeless. She says she panhandles to try and earn enough money to help her get on her feet, and pull herself out of this hole. She needs to get an ID, a place to live, a phone, a car, an ID and a job again. And when she panhandles, she chooses to use a ‘positive sign,’ even though she says that negative signs like “Hungry. Homeless. Sleeping outside.” work better. She shows me her sign and it says, “Hello this is my findraiser for better life. If you can help, or will, I hope, may God bless.” And she says that with what God has now put in her heart and her mind she’s smarter than she has ever been before in her life, as far as being able to read and take care of herself. She’s smarter to run her life better than she ever has. And she trusts God to take care of her. But she told me about her battles with cocaine and the people who want her to go back to using it. For 15 years she hooked and hustled to get enough money for it. She says, food is easy to get, “everybody will give you food.” But she had to hustle to find enough money when she needed crack. But she said that God totally delivered her from being addicted after 15 years of using cocaine. And because of that she was able to hold down a job for three years. Her job was driving a shuttle bus at the airport for Delta. But what she didn’t know about God delivering her from addiction was that if she went back to it, “It was on me.” How she got back into it was that people from her old life started coming to her and wanting her to change back to her old ways. And she learned the hard way “that no one has to change you but you. This is your life.” She fell into doing crack again. When she had a job, it was easier to resist it because she always knew she had to be sober to work. But eventually she found herself hooking with the old folks to earn the money for cocaine again. But she doesn’t really think of the hooking that she did as prostituting. She said what she did earned so little money that it’s not even considered prostitution by the police. When she told me the police term for it, in her thick southern accent it sounded like “Ottering Lottering”, but I’m guessing it was a term for some form of “Loitering.” But she also told me how dangerous it can be on the streets. She told me that one time “…these girls was goin out (and I was too)– and I don’t know if they was getting in trouble or there was a mad person out there– but they were getting their necks cut, getting their pipes stuck up their butts, and getting hung from trees.” One time Pamela and one of the ladies were sitting outside on the street at 3 or 4am and they felt that some sort of ‘eery spirit went across’. They looked at each other and asked, “Did you feel that?” The other woman got up and left quickly but Pamela was left thinking, “Okay, God?” But suddenly for some reason she was so interested in going and getting another dope (fix) that she wasn’t able to hear what God was trying to tell her. “You could be next. How do you know that wasn’t the demon of death trying to destroy you?” And she went and found just enough dope to keep the urge at bay. She’s trying just to panhandle now. She said she has an old house she could go back to but a lot of people there want her to do more drugs so she’d rather stay homeless. As we are talking, a new friend of mine named Kayla walked by. I met her at a ministry called “Love is a Verb” in which she informed us about her project to provide homeless folks with Christmas presents (including the novel she wrote, and happened to be selling a few booths down from me). So I introduced them and we got Pamela’s contact information so we could get her a present at Christmas. We asked Pamela what is the best way we can help, what she needs. She said what she would really like is employment. Her preference would be to work in a warehouse where she doesn’t have to interact with a lot of people. But because she’s had a hard time working with and for people (“for some reason after a while they hate me.”) she would really like a way to somehow run her own business. When we decided it was time to go, we prayed together, and went and got some food. I didn’t ask Pamela where she normally panhandles, but watch for her sign, and if you have an idea for employment or self employment I think she would be grateful. And if you yourself are having struggles with addiction, Pamela has defeated it once with God’s help, and may have advice to help you. Raw Spoon, 10-14-15

  • God's Employee

    Hello sir or Madam, It sucks when a boss tells us how to do something when we think there’s a better way. How do we respond? I’ve been known to do it my way anyway to prove myself right. When I walked out of my boss’ office the other day, after being proven wrong, I realized something: God’s ultimate goal for us is to teach us to obey his commands, even when we don’t understand them, kind of like a boss. So, what better way do we have to practice and demonstrate this trust and devotion than being a loyal employee here on earth and giving our bosses exactly what they ask for. Especially when we think they’re wrong. Raw Spoon

  • Fathers Against Sons

    A thin, pale boy walked alone through the desert with two empty buckets. The walls of the city shrunk in the distance as he re-enacted the conversation he had with his dad that morning. “You’re such a sickly boy.” He said in an uncaring voice, just like His father had. “Stop complaining. This work will make you stronger.” The pale boy spoke into the air, much bolder and more assuredly than when he had really said it to his dad, “But it isn’t fair that we have to carry two buckets for several hours, when one of them goes directly to the King.Why doesn’t he get his own water?! He uses people to get what he wants. He doesn’t care about us!” He recited mockingly how his father had replied, “Son, you know how important it is that I look like a good and trustworthy servant to this king? If he makes me a royal guard we could live on the royal grounds and eat of his leftovers, and drink of the water that peasants like you bring to him.” The boy rolled his eyes and swung one bucket into the air like an uppercut, “Then why don’t you get the water?! You know you aren’t going to make important connections like you say you will tonight, and you’re not going to work, it’s called the tavern.” The boy hadn’t really said that to his father, but he wanted to use his dad’s own words to lay bear his father’s false motives. The boy knew the system was corrupt, but his dad was working for the system, trying to win the stupid system’s game. He was just continuing the cycle. If only the real king would come back. But it had been two generations, 60 years, since the true king had been run out by the tyrants who had turned the city into this. The weak, pale boy waited at a distance from the well until some women in rags were done drawing their water in front of him. Ever since the new king had taken power, the natural way was to never make contact with people lower than yourself. It didn’t make much sense to the little boy, though. They looked pretty nice, and were even laughing a little bit with each other. The laughter seemed as fresh as water. Both were seldom to come by. When they were done and at a safe distance, the little boy carried his buckets up to the well and attached them to the rope.He let the rope down for each one, and then pulled it up, hand over hand, laboriously lifting the heavy water. It took several minutes and almost all of his strength to pull up each bucket of water. As he sat, catching his breath, on the edge of the well, he looked at the heavy buckets of tepid, dirty water setting on the ground in front of him. He looked into the desert in the direction that the city was, an hour and a half away, and sighed, already exhausted. “Hello.” An unexpected voice came from behind him. The boy leaped like a skin-and-bones cat from the well, landed on his hands and knees in the dirt and looked back. A man walked up to the well. He was thin and maybe 35 years old.His clothes weren’t dry, long faded fabric like the boy was used to seeing. Around his upper body were thick brown vines woven into straps, holding on a backpack in which was woven pockets and tools of many types.He wore an animal skin around his waist and upper legs but instead of fabric wrapped heavily around his feet and ankles he simply wore a sole of pliable wood wrapped in leather that became straps that tied around his feet.He wore a big fresh green leaf on his head for shade.  He must be from the mountain forest country in the other direction. As he walked to the well, he pulled his backpack off and set it on the well. He pulled a pouch made of animal skin from a pocket in his back pack and unrolled it.  He knelt against the well and rested his elbows on it.  He opened the pouch and connected the rope to it.  He looked over at the boy and held it out to him.  “Will you please draw me some water?” The boy hesitated.  His dad and others asked him to bring them water quite often, just because he was weak and couldn’t defend himself.  But this man seemed to have different motives.  Even just the “Please” and his small smile, and the way that he waited for him patiently, made him seem different. The little boy was accustomed to obeying and serving so it came as second nature to get up, and do it yet again for this man. He took the rope and lowered it, let the large pouch fill, and then drew it back up, again using almost all of his reserve energy.  He handed the leather pouch to the man and started to turn around so he could catch his breath in the shade of the well. But the man said, “Wait.” He dropped a drip from a small vile in his hand into the water, and then held the pouch out to the boy and said, “This one is for you to drink.” The boy looked at him questioningly. “Why would you ask me to draw water for you and then give it to me?” “Because that is the type of king that i am. You have proven yourself worthy of my kingdom. Now drink it.” The little boy had known it! there was something different and special about this man! But the boy had been trained to be skeptical so he asked, “Why should i believe that you are a king?” “Don’t you already know it?  The ones who are worthy of my kingdom recognize my ways.  Drink, my friend.” The man’s smile was almost brimming over with tears; he was so full of joy! It was as if he had been searching for members of his kingdom for years and he had finally found one. The boy smiled slightly.  He put the water skin up to his lips and tasted it.  It was sweet.  He glanced down at it.  It was clean and glistening as well. The boy lifted it and continued drinking until the whole pouch was emptied. He knew who this man was.  He was the son of the king who had been run off years ago.  This man spoke justice.  He had given water to one who deserved it, instead of commanding someone to draw it and then taking it from them. And this man knew how to make the water clean and good. The boy sighed and let the water run down and fill his stomach.  It seemed to rejuvenate his system as it soaked into him. He felt stronger, even before drawing the pouch up. He looked back up at the man and said, “Why did you come?” “I came to divide people,” he said.  “I came to start the war.  I came to bring a new way of life to those who want it. Can you tell your parents that you will no longer draw water for that rat king?” “I don’t know!” The thought of it horrified the little boy.  “My mother and father would disown me.” “Could you do that, if it meant that it would help my kingdom take over in your city?” The boy thought about it. “But my family is all i have.” “Could you do it?” The boy swallowed and looked into the moist pouch as he pondered. “I could do it if that’s the only way. They love their kingdom.  I hate it.” “Then you are worthy to be in my courts with me.” The man said with a somber smile. “For now, my trusted vassal, you should do everything your parents say except for things that would help that impostor king. In that way they will know where you stand, even as you love them and honor them.  They will see my kingdom coming in you before the rest of my army arrives.  And if they do reject you, and you have no where to go, come and find me.  Now, go do good work, my boy.  I will return soon. Tell others, and prepare the way for me.” “Yes, my Lord. It will be my honor to obey.” The boy swallowed, just now realizing the gravity of what he was about to go back to. This would divide his household, but it was the only way. It was long past time for the new king’s kingdom to come, and he would in no way turn it down after waiting so long. And maybe even his parents would believe him and invite this new kingdom, but if they didn’t, the boy still had to try. The boy loaded up the two buckets onto his shoulders, turned and whispered a genuine “thank you” and set out for home. He seemed to have new energy. He seemed to have an inner strength.  He no longer felt weak and sickly in the core of his being. He was ready to stand up to his father when he needed to, and ready to serve him when that was necessary too, because both would be serving the real king. It was going to take incredible strength that was rarely seen in his city.  But he was confident that he now had it.  And he wasn’t sure if it was just something in that water, or if the man truly had the power to bring a new kingdom into the city, and a new life into the hearts of his people. The quiet revolution had begun and he was ready to risk all to bring it home. Matthew 10:34-39 Raw Spoon

  • Click into the story

    So again, I woke up with a racing mind. Many unproductive directions. An hour or two into my day I was still like, "Where is all this going?" I feel like I'm wasting precious hours of my day stuck in unproductive, unhappy cycles. And so then I came to do this prayer time I've committed to every morning at this coffee shop. (I put it on my website so anyone could show up to join me. It holds me accountable). And since I've been committed to this prayer time I've been learning about pressing in. So as I prayed and it seemed like wasted time, like my mind was playground of unruly children running in all directions, I just kept trying. I kept pressing in. A critical part of this blog is this little detail: I was listening to this playlist of music as I tried to pray. I often listen to it. It's my prayer time playlist. And at about 45 minutes of sitting in silence at this coffee shop, struggling through wildly wandering thoughts I started to cry. Something was starting to engage. It was partly because of the music. I'll tell you why in a second. But first a little about the playlist. It's a weird playlist. Like, I have Adele's "Hello" up first because she says, Hello, it's me I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet To go over everything and then she says, Hello from the other side I must've called a thousand times And I like to picture her voice as God saying, I've been waiting for you here. And she sings it with such heartbreaking longing that I begin to get an idea that God really, really wants to connect with me again. And another song is John Mayer's "Say." I really like the song and think it applies pretty well to trying to pray. It says, Take all of your wasted honor Every little past frustration Take all of your so-called problems, Better put 'em in quotations Say what you need to say Say what you need to say Say what you need to say And there are also a bunch of worship songs on the playlist by John Mark McMillan and Hillsong and stuff. But I think I realized why this stuff helps me in prayer. It clicks me into a story. A story with a soundtrack. Something about soundtracks in movies tell us this moment of struggle is for a purpose. This hard emotion is beautiful and has a purpose to forwarding this beautiful story. Clicks me into a story. Being part of a story suddenly makes things make sense. All of the wandering events and thoughts have a purpose. They all are part of this story of me wandering through a desert of distraction trying to find the love that is searching for me. And then the wandering, the pressing in no longer just feels like a random psychological lasso-ing practice, but an underdog in need fighting off enemies of distraction and depression trying to hear the voice of her lover pursuing her. And we see somewhere that her lover is pushing through all the distractions and climbing over the mountains in the landscape in pursuit of her. Raw Spoon, Jan 11, 2020

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