You have personality differences, communication differences, organizational differences, anatomical differences (sorry, just thought it’d be funny to throw that one in there. I didn’t have brothers growing up. Living with a BOY was new to me a year and a half ago).
Here’s the one that I think has been the weirdest to try and connect on: the way Noland and I communicate with God is different.
We spend time with God differently in the mornings. We’re spiritually gifted in different ways. His prayer life looks different from mine. We read scripture differently. We see things of the kingdom through different lenses.
Sometimes that’s a huge blessing, because we tend to point out things to one another that we wouldn’t have seen on our own. But sometimes it’s hard, like when we’re believing for big things together, but we don’t necessarily fight for those things in the same way.
Prayer is communication — a conversation with God, right? So let’s talk about how Noland and I communicate.
He’s a linear thinker. He goes from here ———> to here ———> to here.
I’m all over the map. Up, down, left, right, do a few somersaults, stop and smell the flowers, moonwalk … and we’re there.
Noland processes things externally. He needs to talk things through. His brain lives outside of his body.
I process internally. I need to get some space, write some things down, connect the dots, and then talk about it.
Then you throw in our emotions, because communication is emotional!
Noland is steady. Even if he’s about to explode internally, he has this cooling filter that all his words go through to calm them before they come out. It’s quite remarkable.
I lack said filter. My feelings are coming out the same exact way they look on the inside. Blood, guts, tears. It all comes out.
So when we’re praying through the things we feel like God has promised, the things we’re believing for in our life, it looks different.
Noland speaks things forth in such a way that makes you think they must have happened already. He’s already thought logically through the whole thing. So nonchalant. For him, it’s as simple as, “ask and you shall receive.” He’s confident and cool, and he’s so good at that part that sometimes makes me feel anxious to say out loud, “Your will be done.”
He always says to me when I get anxious about our future, “Sara, God doesn’t give us second best. We get the best. He knows.”
Well, I’m a little bit more of a shout-down-the-gates-of-hell prayer warrior. Still just as confident as Noland that the things God has promised will come to pass, and just as eager to partner with God to see those things happen. I just pray for things with a little more volume and a lot more tears. I feel them through every step of the process.
So as we’ve been believing for some big promises in our life this year, we’ve had some conflict about whether or not we’re on the same page with the things we’re praying. I’d get frustrated because he didn’t seem as emotionally involved as me. He’d get frustrated because he felt bad for not seeming to feel things as deeply and emotionally as I do.
It was hard! It’s not fun to feel disconnected from your spouse. I had to reconcile with God that I knew Noland was believing for the same things I was. I had to reconcile that I still believed, although he didn’t carry them like I do, that he cares for them like I do.
This had gone on for months. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when I was in Charlotte. When I have to work away from home, I use our iPad, which is connected to Noland’s phone on the iCloud. So I opened the iPad late one night to make a few notes of what I needed to do the next day for work, and I found something.
It was a note Noland had made on his phone, that popped up on the iPad when I turned on the wifi. I saw in the sidebar something titled, “Prayer for Sara.” Obviously I opened it.
In this note were 10 different prayers. Each of them was a paragraph long, beautifully crafted and quoting scripture throughout them. He was asking God, on my behalf, for some of the deepest longings of my heart. And he was asking Him using God’s own words. (And now I’m feeling a little convicted that, although I pray for him daily, I have never prayed such beautiful prayers for Noland.)
I’m weeping. I mean, like, ugly crying, in my friend’s living room alone.
All this time I’m wondering if he’s carrying God’s promises the same way I am, and all this time he’s simply carrying me. Alone, in the secret place with God, I’m the one he’s talking about. And I never would have known it had I not stumbled upon that note.
I read it over and over. It was the best bedtime story I’d ever heard.
I thanked God over and over, and I repented over and over for ever believing a lie that we weren’t fighting for the same things.
Never again will I be uncertain or insecure about us being on the same page in our prayer life. Those words Noland always speaks were ringing in my head as I fell asleep that night in North Carolina.
“God never gives us second best. He knows.”
I had never been more certain that I had been given the best.