Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Confirm the Work of Our Hands

As many of you know, I’m in the habit of praying the Psalms. This is something I began doing when I became so sick with Lyme three years ago, and I still go through ten psalms each morning (although 119 takes a day in itself). At this rate, I’ve gone through the Psalms many, many times. I turn the Psalms into personal prayers using the BPV—Brandilyn’s Prayer Version. There are Psalms of praise and those of petition—all relevant today. A few days ago I read Psalm 90, which ends with this verse (BPV): God, confirm for me the work of my hands. Yes, confirm the work of my hands. I thought I was praying about my writing as my work. God had other ideas.

Since then, I’ve received three “confirming” letters. Two came in yesterday. These e-mails were not about my writing. They had to do with my praying for others and my words of encouragement at the ACFW Conference.

These letters didn’t have to be sent. I had no expectations of receiving them. This is why they are such true and wonderful gifts. These people took time to tell me that something I did or said has helped them. God nudged them—and they listened. Through their obedience, God was able to send me a wonderful message: I confirm the work of your hands.

Each of these letters made me all teary-eyed. First, because it’s so incredible to see what God is doing in the lives of others. At such reminders of His mercy and gentle love, I feel overwhelmed. Second, because I felt so humbled and touched by these folks’ gestures toward me. That they would take time out of their day to write me letters—two of them very long—and pour our their hearts. They thought they were saying “Thank you.” Well, yes, they were. But I was the one who felt like I’d been given a gift.

Some necessary backstory (there’s that “B” word again!) for those who weren’t at the ACFW conference. After the Sunday morning worship service, Kim Sawyer gave her testimony of healing. After that I’d been asked if I would pray a healing prayer in closing. Little did I know what I was getting into when I agreed to do this.

Our God is a very efficient God. He uses our experiences—and the mercy He has shown us—to help us reach out to others. After my own healing 2 1/2 years ago, God saw fit to allow me to participate in the gifts of healing and word of knowledge. Those of you who’ve read my Never-Ending Saga on this blog will remember that I’ve mentioned this. Other than telling a few stories along these lines in blog posts, I really haven’t talked about this publicly, and I’ve certainly never prayed publicly in this way. Good grief, I never know what God’s going to do. Sometimes He gives me special words for people, sometimes not. If they come, I know the prayers are straight from Him. If they don’t, I pray as best I know for the person in a general way.

If I had known God expected me to pray in front of everybody at the ACFW conference through hearing His words of knowledge, I’d have wanted to hide in my hotel room.

But that’s just what happened. After Kim’s incredible testimony, I stepped up to the mic, expecting to pray a general prayer—and something happened. God just took over. I can’t even tell you how long the prayers went. I can’t tell you what I prayed for. I simply don’t remember. Well, that’s not true. I remember one comical thing. Just the night before I’d prayed with someone about her hand. Then on Sunday morning, God gave me a word about someone’s hand being healed. I have this vague memory of saying, “It’s not so-and-so’s hand, it’s someone else’s.” Later, I thought, how funny. It must have sounded to people like I was telling that person her hand would not be healed, but someone else’s would. But no—God was simply saying, “This is a second person, someone you don’t know about.”

God is so merciful. He absolutely took control of my mind and helped me just listen to Him. There was no room for Satan to get in there with the thought—Hey, girl, what are you doing? Don’t you know you sound like an idiot? Or even worse, a charlatan? One little thought like that coming through, and I’d have clammed up. I’m too weak, too frail as God’s servant. But He had plans for that service. And by gum, He was gonna carry them out.

Two days after the conference, I heard about the person (someone I didn’t know) whose hand was healed. As the days went by, I heard of other answers to prayer. Some immediate, some the beginning of a journey toward healing.

Fast forward to these e-mails I recently received after I’d prayed Psalm 90:17–-Confirm for me the work of my hands. God, again in His mercy, prompted some dear folks to write me. Not because He had to. Just to give me a gift—a special answer to that Psalm prayer.

Even as I write this post, I’ve been tempted numerous times to nix it and write another topic. I’m still shy and wary of talking about this kind of thing in public. But God really spoke to me through these people’s letters. I’m thinking perhaps some of you will benefit from what He impressed upon me.

1. When we take the time to write someone and tell that person what he/she has done to help us, we are giving a tremendous gift. If someone has helped you—take the time to tell that person so. God can use you to encourage this person, who may be in special need of it that very day.

2. I urge you to pray Psalm 90:17 for yourselves. Pray it often, and see what God does to encourage you in your walk. He may answer in ways you’d never have guessed.

God, confirm for us the work of our hands. Yes, confirm the work of our hands.


Gina Conroy said...

Thank you Brandilyn for not nixing your post. Though I've been silent for a while, your posts continue to encourage me. I am the kind of person that usually wears my heart on my sleeve so to speak and I'm not reluctant to write that kind of letter you wrote about in today's blog. But tonight I was feeling a little worried and anxious about "stuff" and your post helped switch my focus off myself and on to others. Thank you! It was a timely encouragement for me.

Pammer said...

You have touched me more than once Brandilyn, although the first time you prayed for me, still confuses me, I know it will become clear in God's own time. During your general prayer, you said one specific thing that was me and I cried so hard. You remember, I asked you for a kleenix. :0)
I thank God for your gift, and I thank God for you.

God delights in you and the works of your hands.

Camy Tang said...

Amen! Thanks for being so willing and open to using your God-given gifts, Brandilyn. You've blessed me in ways you'll never know--"never know" because I'm so danged strange in the head. :)

Cara Putman said...

One of the things I respect about you is the way you aren't afraid to share the gifts God has given you: including the gift of prayer and word of knowledge. And I really appreciate your obedience. I know that God could always use another if we refuse to say the words He wants, but because you spoke, He confirmed what was being whispered in my heart. Those simple words still ring through my head and heart as a challenge/caution and an incredible encouragement. I'm working through A Heart LIke His (Beth Moore study) with a group of ladies at church, and God continues to affirm the words He used you to say. He is very good.

I pray that He would confirm the work of all of our hands. There truly is nothing like knowing He has used you in a life, especially when you weren't even aware of the way He did it.

Marjorie Vawter said...

I don't post very often, either, Brandilyn. And thank you for sharing this today. I had to leave the conference early and wasn't in the service, but I ordered the CD. Kim is a very special and dear friend, and I didn't want to miss what she had to say. But I must say that God used your prayer to speak specifically to me when I listened to it two weeks later. I'm glad that God is confirming the work of your hands. Thank you. I'm seeing where God is confirming that prayer in my life, too. I needed these words of encouragement today.

Karen Eve said...

Thank you for posting this Brandilyn. It is so important that we're obedient in all things, including this blog. God works in amazing ways and even uses the most unlikely of vehicles (his kids). I remember meeting you in Mt Hermon before Lymes and the next year in your wheel chair. Then the healing. It is incredible, but our God is not limited and is capable of things beyond our wildest imaginations, and that says a lot when you're talking about novelists. Just think what He can do with out imaginations and our writing. When I get myself worked up in a tizzy about how I'm never going to publish anything, bla, bla, bla; I just have to rein it in and remember who's really in charge here and submit to Him. Thanks again Brandilyn. I'm so glad you're continuing to post to this blog. It's really a blessing and doesn't always have to be "writing related".
God Bless,

Unknown said...

Brandilyn, I posted this on my blog some time ago but I went to the ACFW conference to network and maybe get a contract. The biggest blessing I received was that day during your prayers for me and others. God used your mouth, my friend Ane's arms and Karen Ball's testimony to minister to me in a mighty way. If I hadn't thanked you. Thank you. You blessed me greatly and continue to!

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Brandilyn, God's work through you is a great gift, follow His lead for your life and you'll never go wrong.

It's very interesting that you speak of Psalm 90. That Psalm was my devotion scripture today. I use the Daily Bread Devotional published by RBC Ministries.

God is so good. Keep up your work, in His name.

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised but definitely delighted you were guided to write on this topic. Psalm 90:17 is my signing verse--what I sign in the front with my signature. But God has recently had me reading that verse again (like this morning;-). I immediately thought it was in response to writing but now I need to pray and ask for guidance. Perhaps it is in that arena, but perhaps not. Thank you for being brave enough to post this and not going with what would be more comfortable.
Abundant blessings!

C.J. Darlington said...

I really appreciate your being obedient to the Lord, Brandilyn. It's sometimes a challenge to step out of our comfort zones, but those who do are richly rewarded.

Dineen A. Miller said...

Brendilyn, I knew the first time I met you at a booksigning that I wanted you to pray for me. (Remember the frog face? LOL) Then at the conference you did! I am so grateful too. I don't know if you remember, but those roots are growing, in ways I never expected. Thank you!