Turbulent Prayer

Turbulent Prayer

The plane hit a patch of turbulence and shook.

Not wanting to overreact, I clenched my fists, trying not to grab the armrests and betray my worry. But then we soared into another current in the atmosphere and the plane was shaking and I was bracing myself on the seat in front of me, praying under my breath so as not to alarm my fellow passengers.

Despite the fearfulness I was experiencing, I also chuckled a little interiorly. The seat in front of me couldn’t save me. Clinging to the armrest won’t do much good. If the plane was going down, it was going down. How foolish it seemed to grab onto the material things that surrounded me, expecting them to pull me to safety.

Yet it is what I felt compelled to do. I had to actively think about not grabbing onto something in order to remain steadfast, but it took no thought to latch onto anything close at hand in a moment of chaos. It was an impulse, illogical though it may have been in the larger scheme of things. The actions I took weren’t helpful, but they were something.

As the plane continued the flight uneventfully, I knew that the reason I clutched something was because I wanted to hold onto someone. If I was married and flying with my husband, I would have unthinkingly grabbed onto him. If I was with my sister, I probably would have reached for her arm. And while the bumpy flight did leave me longing for a husband to comfort me, it also reminded me that my fictional husband wouldn’t have been able to change the course of that plane. Like the seatback and the armrest, we would have been going down together.

Continue reading “Turbulent Prayer”

Jesus Take the Wheel

“OK, Lord, this is Your classroom.”

That might make you think that I am a very holy teacher.  Trustingly surrendering my classroom to the Divine Teacher and allowing Him to work through me.

In truth, that was a prayer murmured out of necessity.  A final spiritual dropping to my knees and surrendering out of the inability to do anything else.  It was the first day of a new semester and I was becoming nervous again at the prospect of being scrutinized by new seniors with the inevitable assessment of found wanting.  My emotional transition to a new home wasn’t really playing in my favor and to make it a bit more challenging, I forgot my school bag.  Of course I remembered to bring my prayer journal, Bible, cell phone, and prayer materials.  However, I had completely neglected to bring my computer with my introduction PowerPoint and a fun brain activity for them to go through.

At 7:30 in the morning outside my car in the school parking lot, I frantically thought of racing home (15 minutes away) and back to school with my computer.  It was possible, though, that I would come to school late–something I am certain would have led to a melt-down.  Yet if I managed to not be late, I would assuredly come in panicked and short of breath.  This was not a good beginning.

It was here, in the midst of panic and stress that I “surrendered” my class to the Lord.  I realized, as I prayed this silent prayer, that it was because my own means had failed that I was giving God the reins.  If I would have had my computer with the PowerPoint filled with cute family pictures, I would have started the semester in a state of semi-confidence.  Instead, the Lord was given control at the last minute.

This image just come to mind as a plausible analogy of what I did:
I’m in a car driving.  Then the roads get slippery.  My omniscient, omnipotent passenger asks if He can help.  But I’ve got it.  All of sudden the car is careening toward a cliff or an oncoming semi and just when I’m about to slip over the edge or be crushed, I pull my hands from the steering wheel, cradle my head in my hands, and shout, “Fine!  Take over!”

I felt a little guilty surrendering my classroom only after all my plans had failed.  Perhaps it is a lesson for the semester.  I am not in control.  It is better to just give God my classroom and myself right now instead of waiting until things are crashing and burning all around me.

My goal for this brand new semester is to take the passenger seat and allow God to dictate my classes.  Not once I tried my way and it failed.  But His way, always His way.

Who knows—maybe God will have a better method than me.


I’ve never read the book but I am in love with the title of a book that goes to the effect of “The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God.”  That seems to be my life.  I am convinced that if God gave me everything I asked for, I would be extremely miserable.  Yet I still ask for things, unsure if they are desires of my own or of God.  He has shielded me from many injuries and pains because He alone understands my tender heart.  There are experiences that I have never had because of God in His wisdom and mercy.  While I often criticize God for holding out on me, I know He has my best interests in mind.  Even now as I am treading water wondering where I am to go or do, I know He has a beautiful plan.  But this heart of mine is quick to doubt and worry.  I find myself feeling very alone and isolated.  I live at home but I feel that I don’t have a home at times. 

Where am I to be?  Where do I plant roots? 

For some reason the answer for me doesn’t seem to simply be to build a foundation where I lived the first eighteen years of my life.  Home isn’t home.  While I don’t want to leave, I’m not certain how much I want to stay.  I know that “no man is an island” but I feel as though I am a fish swimming in the river, joining up with one school before transitioning to another.  Not forsaken or alone but not tied down.  I am beginning to understand the great desire my heart has to be bound to something or someone.  The media portrays women as independent and never desiring to be anybody’s anything.  Yet how deeply I do!  I want a promise of forever.  My mind and heart long for marriage but I think my truest heart is calling out for Jesus.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

If God were to lead me to a different school every year then I would need to rely solely on God.  The problem is that it is tiring.  Life is a constant battle and I often love that idea and relish the thought of fighting.  But then I get tired and what I long for most ardently is eternal rest.  Perhaps all of these desires are true and natural, maybe even desired by God.  The necessary aspect is to submit to God’s will.  My identity is rooted most securely in Him.  Regardless of what may come, I can always be convinced of being His daughter, His creation, His love.  This is where I am right now and I cannot know what the future holds.  Despite the plethora of uncertainties, I can assuredly know that I have a home that will never be taken from me–nestled in the Eucharistic heart of my Lord.


Some days I simply need to remind myself:

1) I cannot convert my own heart, let alone the hearts of my students.
2) They are not mine; I must give them to the Lord because only He can do what is needed.
3) I am flawed and in need of conversion, too.