Can a sobbing shout to God be prayer?
Can a stomped foot and an angry finger pointed skyward be as effective as prayerful hands folded whilst kneeling, head bowed, softly petitioning the Heavenly Father?
God judges our hearts when we cry out to Him and that day God saw my brokenness and had mercy on me.
A struggling single mother of two rambunctious preschoolers, I worked a respectable office job during the day on Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio. At night I drove to an unhappy part of town to work as a cocktail waitress at a club. Working two jobs turned my family upside down. My kids spent too much time at the babysitter’s house. I felt frustrated and guilty, but contended that we needed the money.
I wasn’t the mother I knew I should be. Ashamed, thoughts of suicide taunted me periodically. Everyone would be better off without you. But, I couldn’t leave my kids. Their father had abandoned them and I knew they needed me. I chose to live for them.
An emergency appendectomy forced me into five weeks of sick leave from both jobs. I convalesced at home and became reacquainted with my children. Although a meaningful time, the bills continued to roll in and I panicked.
My friend Sue and I frequented a dance club over 30 miles from my house. While there one evening, I met a handsome young man named Mark. I learned that his sister was my neighbor—extremely odd since I lived so far away in a little mobile home park.
Not odd; clearly God.
His sister and her new husband lived in the trailer right beside me.
The next week Mark visited me at home. Soon we were dating and he introduced me to his family. They showed us true Christian love. They didn’t judge me or my lax parenting skills. They didn’t judge my bratty little kids. They just loved us.
One day he came over to say that his brother-in- law (my neighbor) paid for me to attend a women’s retreat with his mother and sisters.
Although I felt shanghaied, I went to the Christian event. While there, I watched those other women carefully. They weren’t at all like me. They didn’t dress like me. They didn’t talk like me. They didn’t seem to have the bitterness that I felt. There was something special about them and I wanted to be like them.
I left one of the services during the day and went up into my hotel room, alone. Very quietly, I knelt down on the bathroom floor and asked Jesus to take control of my life because my life was so very out of control.
I felt a weight lifted off of my chest.
Overcome with joy like never before, I knew everything would be alright now . . . now that God was in charge.
Sunday afternoon I returned home to my life of two naughty children, unpaid bills, and an empty bank account. Contrary to what I’d hoped, my life didn’t smooth out instantly. Tiny cartoon animals didn’t help me put on my ball gown and tiara. My baby-poop-yellow Ford Pinto didn’t magically transform into a horse-drawn coach. The evening job didn’t correspond with my new “clean” lifestyle. I was tempted to return to the nightclub that threatened to suck my soul back into the darkness. While arguing with Mark about finances, job choices, and such, an old notion crept back into my head. Everyone would be better off if you were dead.
I asked why God wouldn’t take my money problems away. Couldn’t He just clean up my mess?
I stomped my foot and turned my tear-streaked face heavenward. Pointing my finger at God I screamed, “God, fly this plane or I’m crashin’!”
Mark smiled. That made me angrier.
“What’s so funny?”
“That’s exactly what He wants from you—surrender. That’s where He wants you.”
Mark wisely left at that point.
I was full of questions. One night we sat on the floor in my living room, cross-legged, knees to knees. One table lamp lit the room, casting a warm orange glow in my fourteen-foot wide trailer. I shot questions at him one after another about God, the Bible, heaven, hell, and everything else I had been pondering since my salvation experience. Hours passed.
He answered every question. At one point I said, “How do you know these things? How can you be sure?”
He was calm, his face soft and somewhat perplexed. He chose his words carefully.
“I don’t necessarily know all these things, but I can tell when it’s God speaking through me and He is right now.”
Again, a loving God who would use a fallible man to speak truth and love into my soul was a God I wanted to know more intimately.
Mark left. I went to bed with a sense of awe and reverence as I drifted to sleep pondering the Lord and His complexity and mercy.
I surrendered to God, giving Him full sway. As I obeyed Him and strived to live how the Bible said I should live my life, my path straightened.
My money problems minimized, relationships with my family improved, and my days just seemed brighter. Even during the rain I could see the sun, or should I say, the Son, guiding me through each day.
“Fly this plane or I’m crashin’,” was my flippant, angry prayer. But fly it He did. I had lived for my kids, but now I wanted to live for Jesus Christ!