Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Unanswered Prayers

I love country music, partly because I can decipher the lyrics, but also because the lyrics actually make sense to me... they tell a story, and often, they express my thoughts and feelings in ways that are much more eloquent that I ever could.

For the past few days, I've been reminded of a favorite Garth Brooks song, which says that "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." Sometimes I just shake my head when I think of the boyfriends that I couldn't live without, the jobs I just had to have, the houses that were built just for me, and the winning lottery ticket that I'd use to help change the world. If God had given me half the things I prayed for, my life would have been an even bigger mess than it was. I'm so glad that He is in control, and not me, because He sees the bigger picture, He understands how and where all the pieces fit, and He knows the ending of the movie that is my life before I even get through the opening credits.

If you've been following this blog for a while now, you know that I placed a contract on a beautiful B&B to use as a permanent retreat for women who have been victimized by sexual assault. You also know that I underwent an intensive and aggressive fundraising campaign to raise the funds to purchase the property. The closing was scheduled for today.

You may not know that I've never prayed for anything so hard in my entire life, or been so confused about how I could have so completely missed the boat in thinking that the funding would be there. Yet here I am, on the night that I should have been celebrating the purchase of the property, celebrating something else instead, the clarity of knowing that some of God's greatest gifts are indeed unanswered prayers.

Over the past few weeks, I've really gotten honest with God about this ministry, being as honest as I could with Him about my thoughts, my plans and my fears. I've also prayed for His guidance and wisdom to help me understand why things weren't working out the way I thoughgt they *should*. What I've learned has been amazing. Sometimes when we think God is saying "No", He's not. He's saying "Not yet"... "Not here"... or "Not this way." I have a much clearer vision of the direction this ministry is to take now, and it should come as no surprise that God's plan is much bigger and better than any I could have imagined! Rather than investing the time and energy in *running* a B&B, the retreats are to be held in existing B&B's around the country instead. The benefits are so obvious that I can't believe I didn't think of this... the financial savings are tremendous, more women from different parts of the country can be served more easily, Grace Bay Charities can focus our energies and our funds where they need to be - with the women we are being called to serve, rather than being bogged down in the day-to-day challenges of running a B&B.

During what can only be called a "divine appointment" with a gracious and wise woman that I met on my last trip to the Shore, I came to understand that although the outcome of my efforts over the past 2 months are not what I'd originally thought they'd be, that time was not lost. God knew there were things I needed to see, people I needed to meet, lessons I needed to learn, and a lot of things I needed to get done, and everything worked out as exactly as it needed to for those things to happen.

So, here I am, facing not a disappointing ending, but an exciting new beginning. I thank God that He loves me enough NOT to give me everything I ask for!


Bea said...

Oh Sydney! What a BEAUTIFUL testimony! I feels so blessed just reading of your encounter with Grace! What a blessing.

Praying for you to continue your walk close by His side -


Mary said...

Isn't it amazing the interesting paths He leads us down? I'm excited for this new development in your ministry. Keep us posted! :-)

Lisa said...


I was praying about your ministry this morning and then I read this entry. I continue to stand in awe of how big God is and how little we try to make our dreams. I am overyjoyed with excitement about the possibilities this new vision will bring and the hope women will receive.


Julie said...

WOW... that story really touched me for more than one reason. I would love to hear more about the ministry for battered women. I worked at a homeless shelter for battered women and children for 2+ years and though I am not there currently they are in my heart and mind always. I love them very much and will always have a heart for that ministry. Also, I love country music as well. And lastly I really understand what you mean by asking God for things and Him not giving them to you and then finding out later that OFCOURSE He was right.