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.

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