ALTERNATE ROUTES TOWARD YOUR BLESSING
This spring brought the culmination of a year’s worth of work opening a new film and the excitement, exhaustion and all that goes with a movie campaign’s gargantuan team effort. All the toil, never ending days of work and travel encircled my whole being this past weekend upon opening weekend. And then the crash. . . body burn out, adrenaline rush to a screeching halt and not knowing if you should head first to the bed, the refrigerator or the gym became almost like a major life decision resulting in ignoring them all. So when my sister friend spontaneously called me and said “we need to get out of here and go somewhere holy to pray,” at first I was like YES and then all the excuses morphed like it would be better to have an entire day of sleep and a day of maid service, aka my own Cinderella style spin around my cottage that currently looked like it had been ransacked.
Yet amid fatigue, a mini pilgrimage up the 101 to the Old Santa Barbara Mission was exactly how God wanted me to press in and get my mojo back. Because this is the lesson of life. This is the lesson of the spiritual realm. A week prior, another friend and I were pleading God for a miracle for an unborn baby expected to die upon birth unless God intervened. We were appealing to Fulton Sheen, our hero who is rife for another miracle right about now, and why not for this mama and baby? I had an exchange with a nun in the Midwest with about this urgent prayer need who concluded our conversation with, “Alexis, thanks for your prayer fight.” PRAYER FIGHT. Exactly. Her words really moved my heart.
We need to fight. You see the enemy wants us tired. The enemy wants us discouraged. The enemy wants to use the negative reports and the natural to depress the spiritual within us and convince us that what God has promised or that thing we are praying for isn’t possible and maybe even ludicrous or even to make us think He’s not with us. It’s at this very time of fatigue, questioning and at the final push, we need to FIGHT.
God recently gave me the word “at hand” about some of the prayers I’m praying and really that to me means – NOW – at the door – not tomorrow, next month or next year, but IMMINENT – this instant, any minute. In the natural realm, nothing is really feeling “at hand” and such is my quick-witted personality to quip back to our Lord about his snail’s pace, “Are you coming again before this goes down?” God also showed me that it’s better to wait for His Will than to, as Frank Sinatra sang, do it my way. He’s doing things behind the scenes that we can’t necessarily see. As a Broadway show opens, there are a lot of things that happen that the audience cannot see such as the writing of the script, the casting, the rehearsals, set design and costuming. All that has to happen before the curtain goes up. Everything has to be prepared, perfected and in order otherwise the show bombs.
I was able to enter into my “prayer fight” on the first Sunday of Lent and just sit before His throne and remind God that I’m still in it. Our Sunday escape landed us at the Old Santa Barbara Mission. Weak, tired, but in it, I stayed there in the silence of a couple of hours to show Him that He’s forever the first portion, that I’m reminding him by sitting before Him of His promise to me, that as I sit, He can fill me and ready me, costume me, put me center stage and put the new song and script on my heart. There was an extra shot of grace because at the Old Mission of Santa Barbara, faith built this spiritual haven – the saints trod there. Grace was flowing. The presence of God and the mystical body of Christ – profound – a manifest feeling of a convergence of collaborative grace. As I looked at St. Clare and St. Francis, God reminded me that when they joined together in prayer, Holy Spirit FIRE! I also like that Saint Barbara is a patron of fireworks because, come on, Lord, through the intercession of St. Barbara, light some pyrotechnics under some of these long awaited promises. Are you feeling me?
The evening culminated with Mass at a nearby parish, where as visitors from LA, we were zealously greeted by the leadership with special devotional books to St. Raphael. On the one hand I just wanted to sink into the anonymity of prayer in a town with no added pressures or pressing in from humanity, yet at the same time I felt like a little schoolgirl getting singled out and receiving a gift at church. After Mass I wanted to retreat more into the word and devotion blossoming from this day and not just toss the gift in the abyss of my giant purse to be lost into time and girlie space. When I opened it and refreshed my memory with the awesomeness of Saint Raphael and the miracles recounted in the Book of Tobit, it’s scripture that we know and have read again and again, but pushing into the prayer fight and little pilgrimage up the 101, God confirmed what He’s doing with these words from St. Raphael:
“Joy be to thee always…Be of good courage, thy cure from God is at hand.”
– St. Raphael (Tobias 9:10-11)
I could have stayed home to do laundry, that Cinderella spin around a dusty cottage, hit the movies, my dance class, tune out, zone out, get my nails done, whatever. But sometimes we have to get up, move, and go somewhere else to see and hear what God is doing for us behind the scenes. Don’t give up because your miracle, too, is at hand.
Fight on my sweet friends.
Praying for you+