Girls in SUVs Talking Out Loud to Jesus: How to Perfect Your Prayer Life
I know. It has been a while. I opened my laptop and stared at the blank screen for what seemed an eternity.
A writer can get caught up in a personal head game of writer’s block and easily confuse it with early onset dementia.
I may have both.
Dementia and writer’s block that is… or I may be having some kind of crisis, midlife or otherwise. I mean, what the heck is going on with me? Granted, I have only been what one might call a “professional” writer for about 3 years. Book two launches in two trim months, book three is due in 37 days… *Note to self: Go cry in the bathtub. Take chocolate and wine.
Believe me, I know what I want to say. I know what I need to flow from this brain and fingertips. Still, life seems to be chasing me hard and fast, like an ax murderer in a dank, rainy summer camp, with horny, naked teenagers, and a disturbed camp counselor crazed for some peculiar revenge.
It is cliché and burdensome, still… when he jumps out to slice your throat, you startle just the same.
See there, I can rock out the metaphor… I just need the mental and physical time and space to get the words onto the screen and out into the world. I lack not for the stories… and yes, you knew they were coming.
23 days ago I bought a little blue crossover-SUV-hatchback. It was navy with a slick black leather interior. Flashy, yet practical. As I drove it home, I grieved just a bit for the days of the 12 passenger van full of my babies chanting Latin derivatives. But, as I whipped in and out of traffic, the sunroof wide open and Def Leppard begging sugar be poured, I quickly moved onto the next season of my life. #LOVEBITES
It was only about 12 minutes from home that I heard a little … rattle.
The next morning I drove the 5-seater to the airport and heard it again. When I returned from the So-Cal Writers conference, it barely started. When I pulled up at my parent’s house, my dad and husband swung around, with expressions of sheer alarm. My dad, a devout Ford guy, shook his head, and I saw him mouth, “Chevies…”
For the shame.
They messed with the car for a little bit and then it was determined it had to go back to the dealer for a once over. In the meantime…
My laptop was destroyed, I lost about 70% of my brain in the tragedy.
I fell off some awesome denim platform heels, skinned my knees, and sprained my wrist.
Stopped and started a keto diet, 5 times.
I purchased and moved into a new house.
Saved a puppy’s life.
I flew to Michigan to surprise my friend Katie at the launch of her book.
Gained a future daughter-in-law.
I had a botched spray tan.
Said goodbye to our Marine… for 9 long months.
Sent the Hippie Baby to yoga training in the mountains.
Grieved like a boss for a past I cannot fix, and a future I cannot forecast.
Decorated a new house on a quiet corner. Planted plants, arranged flowers, made the beds, and slept well, awful, great, and not a wink.
And after 23 days without a resolution to the rattle in my new blue crossover-SUV-hatchback, I went back to the dealer to pick a new car that didn’t scream lemon.
I drove the blue crossover-SUV-hatchback one last time. As I sped along, I listened to a few more 80’s licks, parked it and met the salesman in the lobby. Then, I picked out a Jeep Latitude, white, with slick black leather seats, a sunroof, and a better sound system. And I signed on the dotted the line, wrote out a check for the difference, and then a commotion caught my attention. My salesman stepped away and whispered in the corner with two other employees.
I stretched my neck to try and see the fuss.
No kidding Y’all, someone in the parking lot had slammed into the blue crossover-SUV-hatchback I had loved for just a few days, demolishing the back end and driver’s side rear door.
It had ceased to be mine a mere 3 minutes before the collision.
The Lord continues to provide me with material, so why haven’t I said anything?
What is it with the analyzation of words; out loud, whimpered, private, public, sacrilegious, bad-mannered, ugly, and perfect?
I drove home at a snail’s pace, not because I didn’t want to crank up the stereo and feel the wind in my hair and relish in the new car smell… but because I was in standstill Houston traffic. And that is when I noticed, girls in SUVs talking out loud to Jesus.
Some seemed to be in tears, desperate, heartfelt cries. Others, well, they may have actually been on their Bluetooth phones, but they were talking, passionately; hands waving erratically, none the less. And it was then I realized, I hadn’t talked out loud to Jesus in a while, well not intentionally.
I had neglected to pray for wisdom in car selection, house hunting, dog saving, and shoe picking. In my busy state, I had whimpered a prayer or two on a bumpy flight, and heaven knows I called on Jesus right after I fell off the keto wagon and ate those Snickers. Yes, I am clinging to the miraculous hope that Jesus and I defied science and the Snickers carbs disappeared.
I had failed to ask Him for important words, chapter titles, and inspiration.
Perhaps I have given thanks before a meal and right before bed with the vandals, our 4 and 6-year-old sons. I had contentedly offered thanks for a bride to be, a sea bound Marine, and a Namaste to a man-baby on a quest to become a Yogi.
But I couldn’t remember any intentional prayers as of late.
You know the ones. The big prayers you pray on purpose before anyone wakes up. Before Jesus gets super busy, and cannot hear you over the clamor.
Yeah, those prayers.
My schedule seems to be getting crazier than I would have imagined… or allowed.
I can recall, several mornings ago I sat outside and tried to pray. My mind was too cluttered. For an instant, I toyed with the notion God was disgusted with my busy brain.
Then… I remembered.
He knows me. This God loves me. And He craved my company unto the death of His only Beloved Son.
Who am I to question His gift? Who am I to try and barter with Him for recompense? And who am I to question what He considers the mind of this daughter… flawless?
That morning I sat, coffee and bible in hand, my mind volleying between all the things I must do and random data that offers me nothing; grocery list, the name of that girl I met at a shoe store in 1985, what to do about that blue crossover-SUV-hatchback I love, and complete blankness.
Finally, I let go and just let my mind go to recess. 15 minutes later a wash of the Holy Spirit flooded me. And I gave thanks.
In the fog of that memory, coupled with heat, creeping traffic, and the rattle free sound of my new Jeep engine, I found great comfort.
As traffic skulked along I-45 at 5:00 pm on a Monday, I recounted my shortcomings, successes, skinned knees and glanced from side to side and saw many a daughter talking out loud to Jesus.
Here among the broken-hearted, hopeful, and lukewarm, He is always with me… us. Sometimes, in a relationship, we fake good conversation, but genuine interaction is at the core of the connection. Wait on Him, trust Him… know that He is God. He will show up. You will know it is Him. And the blessing of authenticity cannot be contrived.
Any words are pleasing to Him that died for us. He loves us. And whether it is formal with all the pomp and circumstance, or complete nonsense, messes, and curse words too, He hears us and is totally invested in what we have to say. Relational conversation is what He died to accomplish with us. Nothing stands between His girls and He who calls us friend.
I gave myself the much-needed grace of knowing He knows me. Then, I took the free time, waiting for traffic to move to talk out loud to Him. I thanked Him for dozens of things, and ask for help with a dozen more. It was cathartic and hopeful. And as the lanes began to open, words bubbled up from somewhere. I hit the sunroof button on my new to me little white crossover-SUV-hatchback, turned up my 80’s tracks and drove home too fast, to capture all the words.
Call out to Him you girls in SUVs, no matter the time away. Ignore the formalities. Question, not your heart, motives, or position. You are bought and paid for, He waits to hear you call His name. Each time you do, it is the perfect prayer.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
“The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip.” Psalm 37:30-31