Don’t you just love the fine print? You know what I’m talking about, the extremely small print at the bottom of contests, sweepstakes, contracts, credit card offers, and prescription commercials. This is where the company places any exclusions or conditions. I personally hate these. I mean I believe a company needs to be upfront with me and not try and hide anything or deceive me. I can’t believe the nerve – something must be done.
However, as I contemplate whom I need to contact and what I need to say, I begin to examine my own life – specifically my prayer life. I know you must be shocked, but please stay with me and see what I mean.
I am one who thoroughly believes in the power of prayer. I take requests and praises before God daily. As I thought about my prayers, God began to show me that I was including a great deal of fine print – disclaimers. Who me? I can’t imagine and then I begin to think back. Many times I have brought a situation before God only to follow it up with one disclaimer after another. Let me give you some examples. Some time ago, I read What Happens When Women Say Yes to God and I started saying YES to God’s leading in my life, but I immediately followed it with conditions, “I will go serve for missions, as long as it’s not far away,” “I will do whatever you want, just don’t take my kids away,” and “I will continue to serve you in any way, but I must be healthy and strong.”
When we put disclaimers on our prayers, we are telling God we know better than Him how our lives should play out. In fact, we are limiting God and delaying the purpose and plan He has for us. You and I must decide whether we are going to be completely sold out and following Him or if we are just going to be a fair-weather friend. I am going to be straight with you, following Christ will not be easy and will cost you more than you would think at times, but trust me the sacrifice and submission to God will bring forth blessings far greater than you could ever imagine. I’ll go back to the disclaimers I previously mentioned and show you what I mean.
“I will go serve for missions, as long as it’s not far away,” – I struggled with going on a mission trip to Barbados. I had every excuse/justification to back out – five kids (two really small), my husband and I would both be out of the country (what if something happened), and I just had a mole removed from the bottom of my foot, basal cell (so I needed to limit sun exposure, obviously somewhere closer to the equator couldn’t be what God had in mind). Through much prayer and faith, I finally decided to take away all the disclaimers and board the plane. My time in Barbados will not be forgotten. I got the opportunity to help begin construction on a church and interact with the people on the island. It gave me a whole new perspective on what we have in this country and take for granted all the time. Missions still has a place in my heart. We haven’t had the opportunity to go abroad again, but we are hosting two children through Compassion International in Bolivia and will go, if and when God leads us.
“I will do whatever you want, just don’t take my kids away,” – This disclaimer has actually come up more than once. About four years ago, my ex-husband decided that he wanted to exercise his summer visitation with the older kids. This was so difficult. I had never been apart from them for more than a couple of days at a time, how could we survive 7 weeks? This could not be what God wants for them. Although, I still do not understand it all, I do know that it has made our entire family stronger. We do not take our time together for granted as much. I also believe that they are shining Christ’s light into the lives of people states away. They are learning to trust and rely on God because He loves them even more than I do.
There was also another instance I prayed for God not to take my child away. It was a little over six years ago. My husband took me to the ER for a gallbladder attack only to be told I was pregnant. To say we were surprised would be an understatement; our youngest was just 4 months old. However, we adjusted to the news and were excited about this little one. At about 12 weeks, I went to the doctor and they couldn’t find a heartbeat. My doctor wasn’t too concerned; he just set up an ultrasound appointment for me at the hospital a couple days later. My husband and I waited and prayed. However, our little Mackenzie didn’t make it. I was so upset and didn’t understand how God could let this happen. Since then, I have been given the opportunity to share with other women who have experienced this. There is still a place in my heart for that little one, but I know I will see her one day in heaven.
“I will continue to serve you in any way, but I must be healthy and strong.” – This is my most recent disclaimer. I was having some female issues, so I scheduled an appointment back in the end of August. I continued to have problems so a scope was scheduled for Halloween. Everything seemed to go just fine. I was recovering and beginning to get back to feeling like myself. However, my world forever changed on my birthday, November 15th. My doctor said the path results were not good and we needed to talk. Cancer cells were discovered in the lining. I must see a specialist and have a complete hysterectomy. The “C” word has been bad news in my family in the past. It rocked me to the core. How could this happen? I have five small children. I thought God was going to use me, how can I work for Him if my health wasn’t good? My amazing friends, family and Online Bible Study family stepped up in a major way and sent cards, emails, food, flowers and numerous prayers. I decided to hand over the control – remove the disclaimers and simply rely on God and His plan. Fast forward to the week after my surgery, the phone rang and it was the doctor’s office. I thought they were just calling to check on me regarding the surgery. Path results were not due for two more weeks. However, the results were in – everything was taken care of and no further treatments were needed. I was overwhelmed and dropped to my knees and thanked God. He gets all the glory for this.
I am not saying that disclaimers will never come up again in my prayers, but I have certainly witnessed God working, especially when I set everything aside – my pride, fears and control – to let Him have complete control.
I challenge you to examine your own life. Are you putting limitations on your submission and service to God? If so, let Him edit out all those disclaimers and see the blessings flow into your life.