Unanswered prayers

Do you know that country song, sung by Garth Brooks, that goes:

“Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”

(Did you know I love country music? I do!)

Man oh man does this song seems particularly relevant to me right now.

Over the past few years I’ve had some pretty specific prayer requests that God (at the time) seemed to gloss over or that He answered in ways I didn’t quite anticipate. For instance, back in 2013 I had a specific prayer request that God would give me a sign about whether I should be at the company I was working for at the time.

I was laid off the next day.

I was strangely at peace with the whole thing at the time, even as my boss was telling me I was being let go, because I thought, “gee, God, I guess you really didn’t want me here and you have better things planned for me!”

Then I got to several final round interviews with awesome companies for great positions, and I prayed specifically that I would get the jobs. I never did. But still, I had faith that God had a better position out there for me.

Sure I was disappointed and felt defeated after several rejections, but I was patient.

Then, I found out I was pregnant and got rejected from yet another company after a final round interview, all within the same few days, and I was made aware of God’s plan for me: I was supposed to pursue motherhood and not my career at this point in my life.

I knew it was the right decision because I felt such peace in my heart about it. So, even though I never envisioned being a SAHM, that’s exactly what I started doing when Clara was born in 2013. (I got a temp job while I was pregnant with her, which I quit when she was born.)

Why I am thanking God for 'unanswered' prayers

Now, a little over after she was born, we’re in Seattle – a place I had always known I was supposed to live. Strangely, God seemed to put this city on my heart years and years before I ever even visited it. I just always knew I would live here. Then, a few months ago, I felt like God put it on my heart to move. So, a job transfer (for Tim) later, and here we are!

It’s amazing to think about how different my life would be if my prayers had been answered the way I had wanted them to be. Maybe I would still be at that job I didn’t love. Maybe I would be pursuing a career I never found fulfilling. We would definitely still be in Chicago. Maybe we wouldn’t even have Clara right now because it wouldn’t have been a good time to get pregnant if I had gotten one of the jobs I applied for.

There are so many times when it has seemed that God wasn’t answering my prayers, when in reality He was waiting to unveil His will to me in His perfect timing. And of course, His plans are always better than anything I could envision for myself.

And now I feel like I’m playing the waiting game again. We’re in Seattle, away from family and friends, and I catch myself thinking, “OK God, what now?! Why are we here? You told us to move here… now what?!” And I’m trying to be patient. A very wise friend (Caitlin) told me last night that instead of asking God why, we should ask what next? So that’s what I’m going to pray now.

What do you want me to do next, God?

Meanwhile, I’m so thankful for the many, many ‘unanswered’ prayers. The relationships that didn’t end the way I wanted them to, the jobs that didn’t work out, the apartments we didn’t get, the opportunities that seemed to pass us by.

Because, it turns out (as the song goes), our unanswered prayers weren’t unanswered at all.

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