Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Be Careful What You Promise God, or You May Learn a Lesson the Hard Way by Zoe M. McCarthy

Image by romankac

Early in my faith walk, a woman in my prayer group emptied her heart about her daughter on drugs. Her daughter’s addiction affected her entire family. Her husband spent nights in his car outside their daughter’s apartment so he’d catch her if she left to buy drugs. Their daughter attended three-month treatment programs but quit mid program. 

As I prayed for this family, I cried to the Lord, “Why can’t this young woman see what she’s doing to herself and her family! They’re all sucked into her problem. Why can’t she stop using drugs?” 

Immediately, a voice within said, “How many times in your dieting have you failed to resist eating a simple cookie? How much more is this young woman’s addiction?” 

I needed to understand this young woman’s plight as I prayed for her. I set up tasks to help me understand. These are the promises I made to God. 
  1. I’d eat nothing after 7 p.m. 
  2. I’d walk 20 minutes 3 times a week.
  3. I’d pray for the daughter and family. 
  4. I’d do these things until the daughter completed the 3-month program or died.
  5. I’d keep the details of this promise to myself until the daughter succeeded or died. This prevented me from the temptation to garner peoples’ sympathy or have them think me noble. 
  6. I’d tell people who asked why I couldn’t eat food that I’d made a promise to God. 
My prayer group didn’t know I was doing this. 

After remaining faithful to my promises for two weeks, the woman announced that her family was moving away. My jaw dropped. We weren’t close friends. How would I know whether her daughter completed the program? Would I be keeping my promises for the rest of my life? 

Rashly or not, I had made these promises, and I had to keep them. 

Many times, I ran to food to eat something before 7 p.m. For an out-of-state business dinner, our group didn’t arrive at the restaurant until after 7 p.m. I dreaded telling our host I couldn’t eat because of promises I made to God. But I did.

After a month, my promises were obvious to friends, family, and colleagues. Having no idea why I made the promises, they did such things as invite us to dinner well before 7 p.m. My husband scheduled activities around my walks and often joined me. 

I hadn’t anticipated care and kindness from others in my self-imposed predicament. The promises were about teaching, not blessing, me. I expected responses like, “You idiot. What we’re you thinking?” But God favored me. 

Months passed. Often I went without dinner and sometimes I trudged 20 minutes in driving rain under an umbrella begging for a lightening bolt. Or in the dark when I forgot to walk earlier. 

I botched my promises only three times. Two bites and one missed walk. 

My promises seemed to control my life. On my walks, I told God I trusted Him to somehow let me know about the daughter’s progress. As I prayed for her, I felt a tie growing. 

After five months, I entered the prayer group and there sat the woman! My heart beat wildly. She talked and talked, but said nothing about her daughter. I squirmed. Was continued bondage in my future? Certainly, God wouldn’t mock me with her presence.

Then she said it. Her daughter had completed the program, was doing well, lived with a family out West, and had a job. I burst into tears. Everyone gaped at me. Freed from silence, I related my pledge in a gush. The woman said those three times I failed in keeping my promise were like her daughter shooting up. 

Looking back, I wonder whether God did more than bless me for my faithfulness to an impulsive vow. His great orchestrations come to mind. However, I’m now careful about my promises to God.

When have you made a promise to God that was difficult to keep?

About the Author
Zoe M. McCarthy
Zoe M. McCarthy believes the little known fact that opposites distract. Thus, she spins Christian contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is: Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites. Now retired actuaries, Zoe and her husband evaluated the financial risks for insurance companies. Nick, in Zoe’s debut novel, Calculated Risk, is an actuary. Christian Fiction Online Magazine published two of her short stories. Zoe self-published two books of contemporary Christian short stories. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys leading workshops on the craft of writing; speaking about her faith; planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren; and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John. 
Learn more about Zoe M. McCarthy at her website: http://zoemmccarthy.com

Calculated Risk
Calculated Risk
by Zoe M. McCarthy

What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing Rep? Romance is a calculated risk…

Jilted by the latest of her father’s choices of “real men,” Cisney Baldwin rashly accepts an invitation to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a sympathetic colleague and his family. Nick LeCrone is a man too much her opposite to interest her and too mild-mannered to make her overbearing father’s “list.” Now, Cisney fears Nick wants to take advantage of her vulnerable state over the holiday. Boy, is she wrong.

Nick wants little to do with Cisney. She drives him crazy with all her sticky notes and quirks. He extended an invitation because he felt sorry for her. Now he’s stuck, and to make matters worse, his family thinks she’s his perfect match. He’ll do what he can to keep his distance, but there’s just one problem—he’s starting to believe Cisney’s magnetism is stronger than he can resist.

Purchase links for Calculated Risk: http://zoemmccarthy.com/books,