Sinking.

on March 18, 2008 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 18 comments by

I was really nervous when I made my CaliPrayin’ list. What kind of fool puts a list of prayer requests on her blog for the world to see? I want my dreams and deep heart prayers to be secret- so no one, including myself, ends up disappointed in the end. If zero people know what I’m praying for, zero people see it not work out.

But that’s not brave. And we all know if there is one thing I’m shooting for it’s to increase my brave-o-meter. So instead, I invite you in to my fear, hoping that the company I keep, and the God I serve, will be my courage.

I asked God for too much this week. A nicer person, someone more rational, would have made a shorter list for Him. Not all these- divine appointments, safety, conversations with Him, wisdom, courage. And this….

Please God, just send me one friend. I’m really scared to be alone in California. I’ll survive if I end up sitting by myself at everything, but if its alright, could I laugh this week with someone?

Then I told God, in too many words, how scary my life feels right now. How Mt. Hermon feels like a practice Nashville. And how I need Him.

And His response. Oh. His response. I asked for too much …. and He gave more.

He knows me, y’all. He knows me so well it’s ridiculous. Because He knew when I asked for one, He wanted to give me three. And a Canadian pastor. The ratio is one to four. 1 to 4. That is too much.

First was Mel. A soft spoken, kind hearted blogger, who within minutes of my first email, replied with enthusiasm. And more than that, offered me a seat at her lunch table. And we ate every meal together from then on.

Then Linda. She’s completely irreverent and hilarious, much like someone else you may know [ahem]. And at the same time, she is Godly and compassionate and caring.

Then Sarah. A true friend. When she writes, it’s like listening to a violin. Beautiful. Her heart, the calm that surrounds her, TALKING to her, is the symphony. Her writing is just a part.

How? How did He know? How did He make four women truly love each other in mere days? It’s more than I understand. Truly.

(Then yesterday, the addition of the Canadian pastor, Brad, only added to the hilarity and good times. He’s also a Mennonite, which means GOOD CINNAMON ROLLS, people. And he’s wise and a great writer- always good to combine with quality humor.)

And I’ve done a poor job explaining the fullness of these people to you. I apologize to you and them. But when you buy their books, or read their blogs, you will see their hearts and know I am blessed. Or watch the video. Videos. Because we are funny.

Last night, pre-most hilarious video ever, we had a service. On my left in the pew, the three women. On my right, the Canadian pastor. And as I sat there, tears came to my eyes [If you are surprised, welcome to my blog. You are new. I cry a lot- including now as I type].

I was sitting in the MIDDLE OF THE BLESSING. I was literally SITTING IN AN ABUNDANTLY ANSWERED PRAYER. And what we see with our physical eyes, y’all. It’s only a glimpse. All those other prayers? He answered those, too. In a 1 to 4 fashion that amazed me. Amazes me now.

Someone later stopped me. I had never met this older woman but she jabbed me in the nametag and said, “Do you know what Annie means?”

After recovering from the awkward personal touching moment, I said, “No ma’am.”

“Grace,” she replied, “and do you know what grace is?”

That is one of those questions that you don’t know how to answer. “Yes …. I think… I mean, no … maybe …. is this a trick question?”

She looked me in the eyes, finger still touching my name, and said, “It means that God gives abundantly simply because of His great love for us.”

Her answer stopped me in my tracks.

And that same song sang through my head.

If grace is an ocean, I am sinking.

18 comments

  1. Becoming Me
    posted on Mar 18, 2008 at 10:35 PM  |  reply

    What a beautiful post Annie. How precious that you have learned at a young age that it is not only OK to pour your heart out to the Lord, it is desired. He knows it anyway and wants you to openly share it so you can revel in His closeness. I’m so glad that you met wonderful friends at the conference (I found your blog on Sarah’s site which I found a few weeks ago…she’s one of my favorite bloggers). Blessings to you. Angela

  2. leahcurtright
    posted on Mar 18, 2008 at 11:28 PM  |  reply

    This post brought tears to my eyes. God is so good to us.

  3. eiks
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 2:04 AM  |  reply

    this is amazing annie! i am so glad the conference was everything you hoped it would be and more. πŸ™‚ God is incredibly faithful if we just pay attention…and i’m so glad you were so in tune with God so that you you could capture all of those little moments with Him and write this beautiful blog about it so that i could read it. πŸ™‚

    well done. πŸ™‚
    it is very much inspiring to me in my own Nashville and following-God dreams.

    i also am admiring how you’re talking about needing God to increase your braveness…

    Me Too.

    I also cry a lot. πŸ™‚
    We will be working on these things together, with God, thousands of miles away from each other in 2008. πŸ™‚

  4. Jennifer
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 2:39 AM  |  reply

    It has been so fun to read Sarah’s posts, then read yours… I guess I should go look up the others now, since I seem to be on a roll!

    I just posted tonight about my daughter, Courtney, and her “word…” which is, you guessed it, GRACE: “The favor of God rests upon you, HIGHLY. FAVORED. ONE.”

    This was a beautiful post, and I share in your blessing tonight just reading it!

  5. Chip
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 2:59 AM  |  reply

    Cool friends … funny blogs. Now get the heck home before we find you gone to Knashtown and all famous and you don’t remember our names. I can see it now … the famous author Annie Downs signing my copy of her latest book, “To my fan Chet …”

  6. Chip
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 3:02 AM  |  reply

    And by the by … generally speaking, guys don’t like to be grouped into a collective that ends in “istas.” Your Canadian pastor friend does appear to be of the testosterone gender. Just a thought for consideration.

  7. carolineb
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 3:05 AM  |  reply

    I always thought it said, “if grace is a notion, we’re all sinking.” I think that’s also true.

  8. Annie
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 3:43 AM  |  reply

    Y’all are sweet.

    Chip, we’ll see what Canadian pastor says. He may revolt- I’ll keep you updated.

  9. AtlantaMama
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 4:22 AM  |  reply

    I LOVE YOU ANNIE!! Also, I want to be in that book singing line with Chip…

  10. Melinda
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 6:56 AM  |  reply

    Crying. Going to school. Because God is great all the days. But some days, he gives more for us to go to school for. And I was just reminded.

  11. Kels
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 1:35 PM  |  reply

    Thank you for the reminder, Annie. I need to hear what grace means everday. It never gets old.

  12. Sarah Markley
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 3:43 PM  |  reply

    Talk about a violin….You are the violin, my friend.

  13. Brad Huebert
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 4:20 PM  |  reply

    Hey.

    Honestly, I’d have to agree with Chip… I’ve never really been an “ista” person. “Usta,” maybe. Or “ugger.” Grunt grunt.

    But really, nice post Annie. Glad to be a part of your prayer, though you guys never did really give me a choice on that…

    Kidding. You’re awesome. And by the way, due to the stifling guilt you dumped my way, I posted again this AM.

  14. Brad Huebert
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 4:34 PM  |  reply

    Oh, I almost forgot….

    Have you read my “Oh, poop” entry yet? You’ll get a kick out of it. Come to think of it, anyone would. At my expense.

  15. Mel
    posted on Mar 19, 2008 at 5:46 PM  |  reply

    Hand me a tissue.

  16. E & G
    posted on Mar 20, 2008 at 12:42 AM  |  reply

    love this, love that you loved california, love GRACE, & love u! Gary & I just watched the videos & caught up with the whole trip. So Cool! God is good & cool! Emily

  17. Jonathan
    posted on Mar 20, 2008 at 5:38 PM  |  reply

    amy here,

    beautiful annie!

  18. KateVonGlahn
    posted on Mar 21, 2008 at 1:36 AM  |  reply

    I love your heart.

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