Out of the box is an idiom that is used to refer to something unconventional, something outside the norm. Or in the context that I am using it, something that pushes me outside the things I know and am comfortable with. Here I am, with my fingers on the keyboard, way out of my box. I am writing the first entry for a blog, my blog. How did I get here? A simple case of out of the frying pan and into the fire. Another idiom I have become more intimate with in the past few months.
This adventure began because I started creating written prayers to help teachers and parents pray for their children and our school community. Quite a number of people over the past two years have said to me, “You should publish these in a book.” I would smile and nod. “Indeed, it would be nice, but I don’t know anything about publishing a book.” Slowly, but surely, I began to suspect God’s hand in all these admonitions to publish. So, I tentatively began to research. Each time I was ready to throw up my hands and say, “See, I knew it was beyond me,” someone would come along with just the encouragement or support I needed to move forward. I jumped into the “frying pan” and signed a contract with an independent publisher, Redemption Press, to publish my book Proven Character: Praying for Our Children. Then, it was “out of the frying pan and into the fire” of developing a website and starting a blog to go with the book. It all still seems a little overwhelming, but God is proving faithful each step of the journey.
Over the years God has consistently led me ever increasingly on a journey of prayer. I am an intercessor. It’s the “box” I function in most comfortably. Although as I write that, I am forced to chuckle. In my late twenties, my roommate, Leanne and I hosted an intercessory prayer group in our apartment started by a British graduate student. Those prayer meetings pushed and broadened my understanding of prayer in mighty ways. When Patrick was preparing to return to England, he told me he felt I was the person to take over leading the group. I very carefully explained to him, that I didn’t know anything about leading a prayer group and couldn’t do it. He told me, God would direct me when I was in charge. He then proceeded to meet with me every Sunday over the next three months and taught me about prayer. It is good to remember that the prayer “box” was not at all comfortable at first. And yet, how precious and worthwhile the journey has been learning to trust God and grow with Him.
So, as I struggle with my current “out of the box,” “out of the frying pan into the fire” feelings, I choose to stand on this verse.
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail or forsake you until all the work in the service of the Lord is finished.” 1 Chronicles 28:20