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Guest Post: Let’s Pray, by Kelly Johnson

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God has recently put me in touch with some amazing bloggers whose stories need to be shared. Please welcome our new friend, Kelly Johnson.


We were all a mess. Everything felt really, really hard. My teenage daughter was struggling with a heavy burden and we simply didn’t know what to do next.

We had come at this problem from every angle that made sense and nothing had changed.  She felt hopeless and overwhelmed and we felt powerless to make it better. It broke my heart to see the defeated look on her tear stained face, although it more accurately reflected the state of my own spirit than the mask of cheerful confidence I was trying bravely to maintain. We sat there in silence and I thought to myself “I’m the mom.  I should know how to fix this.”

Then I felt the gentle tug on my heart.

Feeling foolish for not thinking of it before, I said, “Let’s pray.”

So, we joined hands, bowed our heads, and we prayed.  We told God that we didn’t know what to do next to fix this situation and we were tired and frustrated.  We told Him that we had tried everything we knew to try and needed Him to show us the next step. We acknowledged that we felt hopeless, but believed that He loved us and wanted to help us out of this mess. We asked that He bring healing and guidance and focus and patience.  And then we said Amen…and tried again.

During the rest of the day, we kept talking and listening.  We cried a little bit at times.  We made brownies and tried to just breathe.  And then we talked some more.  Towards evening, we expanded the circle to include some friends who brought hugs, understanding, and laughter.

It wasn’t until the day was over that we realized that we were better… maybe not fixed…but definitely better. The burden felt lighter and the way seemed clearer.  We didn’t have to try so hard to breathe deeply.

As I lay in bed that night thinking about the day, I gratefully realized that the shift happened when we stopped to pray.  Not a lightening bolt or a miraculous healing, but a way forward that felt manageable.  A letting down and a letting go that allowed us to wade through the fear and worry to a place of hope and calm.   A place that felt safe…a place to begin.

As I said my tearful thank you, I felt Him say “I was just waiting for you to ask.

Originally published on Grace Notes www.kellyjohnsongracenotes.com


Kelly Johnson

Kelly Johnson is a counselor, writer, speaker and teacher with a passion for the poor and hurting in our community. She leads a weekly bible study at the Lamb Center, a day shelter for homeless individuals in Fairfax, VA, where she also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors. Kelly is married to her high school sweetheart, Steve and is proud mom of two college-aged daughters, Alexandra and Brooke. A long time blogger, she writes about life, faith, and her newly empty nest at www.kellyjohnsongracenotes.com

I Want to Smell Like Jesus

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I recently made some homemade tandoori seasoning. It is made by placing all the ingredients in a hot pan and heating them all together for a minute or so to release the goodness. The recipe says “toss ingredients in hot pan… until each of the spices smell heavenly”. And oh it did! Then I took all of the heated spices and put them in my mortar and pestle and ground them together discarding the unwanted bits such as the cardamom shells. My whole house smelled like an Indian restaurant. That, by the way, is perfectly fine with me!

I went to church that same night and kept smelling my tandoori self. Having previously lived in SE Asia, it made me wonder if, to those I was sitting next to, I smelled like people I’d sat next to on the bus or MRT. Indian spices are so strong and permeate every fiber of your clothing and every hair on your head. It’s a wonderful but very strong aroma. And one which many do not necessarily care for.

So, as I sat there smelling like I rolled around in a tub of tandoori seasoning, I thought about how Jesus should permeate every fiber, ever hair. Do I smell like him?

After the bible study I asked the friend I sat next to if she could smell me. She said she couldn’t. I was actually kind of disappointed.

I rather like smelling like Indian food but I want to smell like Jesus more. Gotta work on that.

~Andrea

Lord, heat up all of my ingredients until I smell heavenly and then grind me with your divine mortar and pestle – discarding the unwanted bits. Permeate every fiber of me so I smell strongly of you. Amen