Disruption

This morning I was thinking about all the the normal things that have been disrupted in our world. Churches and schools are closed, businesses are closed and grocery stores shelves are bare of basic items. A term that I have never heard is said constantly, “social distancing”. A virus is upon us and our normal is on hold. However, is this disruption all bad? While I am not at all discounting the threat of this sickness, I do think we need to not give into fear. Standing with eyes fixed on Jesus allows us to see the good in this disruption.

IMG_7860I am reminded of the stories though the New Testament when Jesus entered a town. If large crowds were gathering and social distancing was discouraged, life was not going on as normal when we came to town. People were flocking to Jesus to be taught, to be healed and to receive eternal life. They would remain gathered for days in His presence. Life as they knew it, outside the presence of Christ, came to a stop. I imagine tools left unused in carpenter’s shops. Whatever form of school they had was dismissed because The Teacher was in town. Doctors of the day were not called upon because the Great Physician was here. Those who had lived a life of sin and felt dead, came to the Source of Life and found forgiveness, they became fully alive. I have to think that these desperate, bound by the law, people were more concerned about who was in their presence than what was being disrupted.

What if we took this time and did the same? What if we took this disruption of our normal and sought the presence of Jesus? What if we open our Bibles more and learned from Him? What if we gathered around our tables and caught up with one another? What if we opened our pantry’s, took stock of what we had and then asked the Lord to multiply it to feed anyone who was hungry? What if we called each other and prayed for one another? What if we pulled our family close, read scripture, sang together and prayed together? I would have to believe that we will not be as eager to return to normal when all of this is over. Yes, good can come out of this disruption if we allow it.

I will say that most of this is normal in our home, but we are taking advantage of the disruption. For our family, we have extended our times around the table and laughed a lot. The other night we each came up with 3 questions about ourselves to ask to see who knew us best. When it was my turn, I asked everyone what I had wanted to be when I grew up. Their responses were great! They went anywhere from singer, lawyer, writer to “one of those ladies who wears black and white and preaches”. We laughed a lot and finally the answer was given… a mom. I pray our kids make good memories during this slower time.

Another thing that I discovered this morning was a word I do not usually take note of. The word was “interlude”. It was included in the verse, “For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude.” (Psalm 32:7). I had to look up the word for more understanding because I knew it was important to take note of. It was defined as a pause, between and an intervening period of time according to the search on Google. Are we not in an interlude, my friends? For those of us who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection and are now saved, are we not waiting to go Home? Our life is held in waiting, but not at all inactive. For there is much living to be done now, even in the midst of disruption.

In our interlude and disruption, may we each find Him to be the perfect hiding place and place of protection. May we all be quiet enough and cease complaining to hear Him singing over us with songs of victory. Perhaps when normal returns, the new routines that we found in the pause will be carried over and our lives richer. While we may be kept from large gatherings now, maybe the long awaited gathering in Heaven will have even more souls because of the salvations that come during this time. Yes, there is good to be found in the pause. For beautiful music always has a pause written amongst the notes to be played. May our pause bring Him much glory.

Taking a Walk

Yesterday some of the kids and I went for a walk. It is good to get outside. I usually notice plenty when we walk, but for those closer to the ground, they seem to notice more. Our youngest daughter showed me the most amazing acorns that had split and taken root. I had never seen this before and it was amazing! Slowing down has caused us all to notice more and maybe appreciate the little things. I like this pace much better. Our family will be taking more walks together over the next 3 weeks that the kids are out of school. I have also seen some areas that we need to reset. I have heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Well, that is what we have been given and I consider this a gift.

IMG_7826With the little splitting acorn I was reminded again of roots. How small, daily habits in our home help put down roots that will continue to grow in each of our children. They will grow into oak trees before I know it and I want their roots to be deep and strong. Surface stuff has not cut it in parenting for quite sometime. Behavior is just a reflection of the heart and I am always after their heart. We have been given 21 days to do some heart work. Where there are unhealthy roots, we will use this time to take care of those. We will drink more of the living water Christ offers and less imitations from the world. We will be more creative and catch a glimpse of this aspect of our God that He has placed in each of us. Yes, another gift of this time off.

As a mom, part of me has felt driven to prepare my children for the world. Placing them in public school was not easy, but has been good. I do not want to place them in a bubble and watch it pop when they leave home and encounter the world. However, I had a thought the other day that just seems to have stayed in my mind. Why am I preparing the kids for the world and not the world for these kids? The world is not prepared for children who have their true identity in Christ, hear clearly from the Holy Spirit, love and serve like Jesus because He is their King and they are part of His Kingdom. The world can glitter and shine all it wants, but these kids recognize an imitation from a mile away.

So, during our reset we will sharpen our minds and shine lights into our hearts. Where we need to repent, we will and gladly take the new mercies the Lord offers each of us everyday. New habits will be formed and old ones that are root building, will be reinforced. May the Lord grow us all during these next days. May He find some mighty oaks among His people.

 

Sound the Trumpets

“The sons of Aaron, the priests, are to blow the trumpets. This is to be a lasting ordinance for you and the generations to come. When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blasts on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the LORD your God and rescued from your enemies.”  Numbers 10:8-9

 

We ran to Walmart yesterday for a few things we needed. The store was crowded as most are right now. Because of the size of our family, we go to the store often, but never have I seen shelves cleared and baskets overflowing like yesterday. My husband said that the spirit of fear was heavy and we could both physically feel it. I talked with one mom who had 4 young kids. She told me she was trying not to be fearful, but it was hard. Words of encouragement were shared before I got in line. Fear causes people to reach for what they can control. Stocking up is something we can control, hence the empty shelves.

IMG_7698As fear runs like fire through our county, our President declared last night that Sunday is to be a national day of prayer. He also took off restrictions that have hindered the country in many areas. To me the declaration sounded like trumpets. Gather the country together, unified in prayer, on knees and hearts bent in repentance. Stay home and ask the Lord to search our hearts and expose our sins. Then tell the Lord you are sorry and ask for strength to turn from sin and obey. After repentance, armed with the truth, we stand and fight. Do you not know that the Lord hears our prayers? We can blast our own trumpet as a call for help against this enemy that is oppressing us in our own country. Begin at home and pray for your neighbors, city, state and country. Then, when all is well and the call is made, we can come together and share stories of how we have seen God be powerful and faithful to us. What a mighty blast of trumpets that will be!

Another fear tactic I have seen is the enemy has our eyes focused on the rising deaths of people from this Coronavirus. While this is terribly sad, why are we not grieving and doing something about the staggering number of millions and millions of babies aborted, killed in this country? No one asks for this virus, but a choice is made on the table of a clinic. Why are we not stopping the lie of the choice to pick your gender, all the while seeing suicide rates soar? The only vaccine that can heal our land is truth from the Word of God! While people are screaming in the streets over people placed in power, why are we not standing up and roaring against this spirit of fear and deceit? Why is truth not being lived out in love? We are fighting a real enemy.

Friends, the trumpets are blasting and the enemy is having a hay day in our country. We are being oppressed and God can hear us repenting and asking for help. Do not stop! Lord, please heal our land. Lord, make yourself famous in our day! Let the sound of trumpets of praise be heard and You be glorified! Lord, we look forward to gathering together in worship of you. Heal us please Lord.

*The kids thought we needed a poster of a lion in our room. I think it is perfect! Reminds me that the Lion of Judah is still on His throne.

Eyes Fixed

“The living, the living – they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness. The LORD will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the LORD.”        (Isaiah 38:19-20)

Are you living? I do not mean breathing, I mean living. A machine can assist your breathing, but it is the Lord who gives you His breath and real life. However, when fear and panic abound, we begin to run and we lose our breathe, our minds get cloudy. This sounds like a great strategy for any enemy to use, don’t you think? But here’s the thing, the enemy we see today is the same enemy that whispered lies in the garden. He is not original and fear is a powerful weapon in his bag of tricks. Thankfully, we who have believed and accepted Jesus, have been handed the victory medal. Your medal, like mine, reads, “Free from FEAR and WANT.” You are free my friend and very much alive. Get to living and stop being afraid!

IMG_7740This morning the Lord drove this point home when I opened my Bible to the book of Isaiah. I read chapter after chapter of what could have easily been written about today. King Hezekiah was being attacked verbally by the Assyrian field commander. I have written about this before, but it bears remembering. The commander also proclaimed threats to the people. He told them not to listen to their king who was telling them to trust the Lord and watch Him deliver them. I love how the people responded to this messenger. “But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded them, ‘Do not answer him.” (Isaiah 36:21). Should we not heed this same advice? Should we not respond to fear?

When King Hezekiah heard the report of this messenger sent from the enemy, he tore his clothes and immediately sought the presence of the Lord. He placed the letter that had been written by the enemy before the Lord and he began to pray. He reminded the Lord of who He was and what all He had made. I love the heart of this king! I think in reminding the God of the universe of who He is, the king was also reminding himself of the power of our God. He then asked the Lord the same thing I am asking Him for today. “Now, LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, LORD, are the only God.” (Isaiah 37:20). Word came back to Hezekiah from the Lord by way of a prophet. There is a stern rebuke from the Lord against ones that have ridiculed and blasphemed God. Oh and how He calls out pride!! And then the Lord carried out His plans from long ago. “Then an angel of the LORD went out and put to death 185,000 in the Assyrian camp.” (Isaiah 37:36). The enemy was defeated!!!

Time went on and Hezekiah got very ill. It seemed his time had come. The prophet came to tell him so, but as he was leaving, the Lord gave him another message. The king was getting a second chance. He would live! The response of the king is powerful and the words I am claiming over so many circumstances in our family, our city, state, country and nation. “The LORD will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the LORD.” (Isaiah 38:20). In fact, I have been practicing songs for sometime now. When I am alone you should hear my praises roar! I know whom my God is and I know it is He who is the only One to be worshipped. I will not bow to fear and I will keep singing in great anticipation.

You see friends, the enemy missed his mark this time around with these fear tactics. I do not have my head in the sand, but my head is held secure in the hands of the One that created the sand! I do believe when the enemy drew back his bow and sent his arrow flying to what would have been my heart, he hit my victory medal instead.

We as believers in the all powerful God should not look like the rest of the world at this time. Stand up for goodness sake! Dust that medal off your chest too and watch and see the glory of the Lord ride in. A virus that causes enough panic and fear to sway markets, close events and isolate people is undeniably powerful. However, the enemy, like Goliath, has defied the Living God long enough! As a nation we have become arrogant and prideful. We have made our own rules and even tried to change God’s truth when it comes to marriage, life and gender. People, we need to be on our knees in repentance, not standing in line for toilet paper and soap. Wash our hearts, Lord, of our open rebellion against You. Lord, have mercy on us and give us another chance for we have defiled ourselves. Open blind eyes, deaf ears and start with our hearts. Strike down the enemy that so loudly is shouting right now. May he sound like a tiny kitten when You, the Lion of Judah, ROAR! Fear, you have come far enough. Watch and see what my God can do. Lord, please show yourself faithful as we humble ourselves today. For the knees that are being stubborn to bend and the tongues that are having a hard time admitting You are indeed God, have mercy. Either they bend and speak on their own, or the day will come when they will have no choice.

We have taken Your Living Word and torn up Your truth in our pride and arrogance for all the world to see. We have traded your glory for our own. Lord, please be merciful. We deserve death, but in Your mercy give us life. And like Hezekiah reminded You long ago, “For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise…The living, the living – they praise you, as I am doing today.” (Isaiah 38:18-19). I can think of no better song that will bring unity to us than “Fear is A Liar”, by Zach Williams. Lord willing, we will be seeing him in concert tonight, along with We the Kingdom.

So, Kingdom people, my prayer for us today is that we get on our knees in repentance and then rise with songs of praise on our lips. May our shouts be heard around the world as we watch and see the deliverance of the Living God! My eyes are fixed on You, LORD. I know You will do something in our day that we cannot even imagine and we will tell our children and their children! Show us your GLORY!

*Picture of our group at Moms in Prayer by Corri Robinson

 

 

 

 

Purposefully Broken

“And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.” Mark 14:3

 

This is one of my all time favorite accounts in the Bible. It is one of the last meals Jesus had before He went to the cross. He chose the home of a leper and allowed a woman to anoint Him. I would have loved to have been apart of this story. Both Simon and this woman, who other accounts tell us it was Mary, were not in the most seen group of people, but He saw them. I love the heart of Jesus, don’t you? If He saw them then how can I doubt that He sees me too?

IMG_7712A few verses down from this meal, another took place. This time in an upper room and Jesus and His disciples were celebrating the Passover. “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My body.” (Mark 14:22). The common thread that stuck out to me today was the brokenness. One a costly bottle of perfume and the other the priceless body of God’s Son. Both willingly given and poured out for others. One was a beautiful picture of worship, the other the price paid for us to be able to worship Him forever in eternity. Neither held back, complete surrender. One gave the best she must have had, the other gave Himself. Both knew it was worth the cost. Love is extravagant.

At some point in each of our lives we too must count the cost. Do we go the way of self or the way of Him? My kingdom come and my will be done or His Kingdom and His will? It is a costly decision to be sure. Often the one breaks us completely and for the rest of your life you try and feel whole again. The other breaks us completely, but then we allow the One broken on our behalf to put us back together completely whole. One leads to a life centered on self and eternity separated from God. The other leads to a life centered on Him and eternity in the presence of God. Both lives include worship, one of self the other of Him.

If breaking is inevitable because our world is broken, which life do we want? I have chosen the way of Mary, poured out all I have and allowed Him to make me whole. There are plenty of things to work on, but I am being made into His likeness everyday. A breaking is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, in can be the beginning of a brand new thing if placed in the hands of our Creator. Remember, “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10). Being broken and remade anew makes us a masterpiece intended for good plans. This is a very good offer, friend. May you accept the One who willingly died for you and spend your life in love with Him. Oh! In the end, there will be another meal and those who have accepted Him are invited. I hope we get to sit by one another.

Contagious Words

“Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

The subject of complaining has been on my heart lately. It is an easy trap and a very acceptable form of conversation. I found myself complaining and was not even really aware of it…until now. Every unacceptable word spoken or thought seems to be highlighted. It has been brought to my attention and now I am responsible as to what I will do. My choices are to keep complaining or to stop. I have chosen to stop because these words are not acceptable to our Lord. I am fully aware that I will mess up, but my hearts desire is to honor the Lord with my spoken, written and thought words. I will remember, “He who guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” (Proverbs 21:23). 

IMG_7185If we go back to the book of Numbers, we can read how serious this sin is to the Lord. “Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1). The people of Israel complained about lack of water, food choices and leadership. It can start so small and quickly spread. And like the Israelites, other people can influence our thoughts and then we find ourselves speaking the same complaints. In fact, it was the “mixed multitude” that complained among the Israelites about the food they remembered back in Egypt. Before long others had joined in and began to crave the rich foods too. God heard this complaint as well. He sent quail in response, but He also sent a plague that killed those who had yielded. If God was this serious about complaining then, has His mind changed? Perhaps with the media constantly updating us on this Coronavirus, may it serve as a reminder as how quickly things can spread when given air.

When I read the words the Lord spoke through Solomon and look back at the account with the Israelites, I am convinced of the seriousness of complaining. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21). For me, I am choosing life. I am choosing to speak truth and thanksgiving. There is much to praise the Lord for today and I will focus on Him. With my eyes and heart turned towards Him, praise and thanksgiving will be my response. And when you hear people talking about what they have given up for the season of Lent, maybe we could consider giving up complaining. The good news is instead of being without because we have given something up, we can be filled with life and eat its fruit. Whose with me today?

“Indeed we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body…even so the tongue is a little member boasts great things…The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body…” (James 3:3-6)

 

Marked by Mercy

“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him…” Daniel 9:9

Yesterday a group of moms and I gathered around the table and prayed. It is what we do on Thursday mornings. We have a word that describes our God and scripture to back it up. Mercy was the word of the day. I think it is such a beautiful and powerful word, don’t you? Who of us are in need of mercy today? I have my hand raised. The best part is that God is merciful and forgives each time we are in need. I continue to rebel and He continues to be full of mercy. It is almost too much to try and fit into my heart. I can hardly think of anything else.

IMG_7530As the Lord would have it when He wants to get my attention, mercy is everywhere today. I listened to a 45 second teaching clip from Paul David Tripp. He said, “Parenting is a mission of mercy.” The way he described it was that as parents our children need direction. Our hearts open to them and we help them. We show them mercy because they do not know the way. Sounds so much like our Heavenly Father. He is constantly leading if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Like our children, we tell them go this way and they forget or think they know a better way. Have we not done the same thing? Making up our own rules will never work. We do not know how we function best, but our Creator does. Our children need to be shown, not just told the way they should go. Therefore, it is imperative that we follow Him for they are following us.

Who of us as parents would say to one of our children that our mercy has runout for them? We had this much and they used it up. That is hard to imagine. If we belong to the Lord, because we have accepted Him as our Savior, then we have no fear in using up His mercy either. I do not know about you, but that sure takes the pressure to perform off of me. He can love me no less or no more than He already does. My response to such love is obedience and my heart in return. I can think of nothing else to give. He has all of me and I rest in His strong arms of mercy. It is a wonderful place to be as His child and calms the noise of this world.

His example of mercy also causes me to extend it to others. While I may not agree with someone, I can ask the Lord to help me show them mercy. Recently a decision was made to plant the seed of a lie into countless daughters minds. I contacted the people in charge, but they missed the point entirely. There was this panic to stop the evil, but I was not heard. What could I do? I prayed and asked the Lord what should be the next step. I waited and words came…”you have done all you can do. The choice is now on them and the consequences too.” As we prayed yesterday, I knew to ask the Lord to show them mercy. I prayed for these decision makers, the daughters that would be affected and the seeds that will be planted. I interceded on their behalf and now wait to see what will be the result.

How about you? Is there someone you need to extend mercy too? Is there someone you need to pray for mercy? Are you in need of mercy today? Friend, go to the Father who waits for you. He is ready and willing to give you that part of Himself. A life marked with mercy is quite a legacy. You never know who you will impact. May the Lord mark us with His mercy each and everyday. May it become part of our identity as well. Amen.

A Relay Race

There is a price that comes with writing and it is more than time. It is actually living through or continuing to live what you write about. This was not something I thought about when I started typing awhile ago, but can honestly say it is worth the cost. Yes, sometimes I think my words from my heart are misunderstood or do not sit quite right. I would ask that you take that to the Lord and let Him sort it out for you. For me, I want to always be honest and honoring to my family. I share in hopes that someone else can come to know the Lord a little better, not feel so alone or be encouraged.

IMG_5291Encouraging others is one of my favorite things to do. I have found the time put into cheering someone else on and letting them know they are seen, ends up blessing me more than them. You also meet a lot of people that you normally would not come into contact with. I have been surprised by the number of wonderful people I have talked to just by taking the time to speak a kind word. For the people I already know, a simple text or email seems like no big deal to me, but to them it can change their day. You’ve had that happen to you to before I am sure. The day is not going according to plan and you get encouragement out of the blue and things turn around. I can think of no better way to put our phones to good use than to use them as a source of communicating blessings to others.

We are all racing towards home and some trails get ever so hard. We need each other to remind us of whose we are, what is true and how much we are loved. Our races might not look the same or be marked by the same sufferings, but that does not mean every one of us could not use a cheerleader along the way. Yes, I am aware that I have written about this recently, but just needed to say it again. We need to encourage each other.

Also, we all have a job to do that we have been uniquely crafted for. This was made very clear to me the other night at our daughters track meet. She does a relay race with 3 other girls. Each girl carries the baton once around the track and then hands it to the next girl. Around and around they race trying to be the fastest team. While their team won first place and she received a medal, she was not pleased with her personal performance. She beat herself up all the way from the track to the car. She said how the other girls had to make up for her slower time, she had let her team down. In my eyes she did just fine and they won, but she knew her lap was not her best. I asked if there was something she could do differently to improve. And true to this child’s amazing mind, she had already figured out what she needed to correct. I fully expect her next race to be different.

The lesson I saw here was the body of Christ is like this relay team. We each play a part and carry a gift like a baton. If we get caught up in unforgiveness, blame, anger, selfishness, laziness and any other sin that so easily entangles, we hurt the entire body. How do we carry a baton when our arms are full of blame or shame? How do we breath properly when all our air is used to speak fear instead of praise? How do we run swiftly when a shackle of regret has bound our feet together? How do we remain hydrated when we are not constantly drinking for the Living Water? This life is the only one we are given here on earth. While there is an eternity waiting in Heaven, the choices we make now matter what kind of race we have here. And it helps to have people encouraging each other along the way. Perhaps that is the baton you have in your hand, the gift of encouragement.

Today lets examine our “lap” and see if there is anything that we need to correct. Is repentance needed? Time in prayer and scripture reading? A call to ask forgiveness? I do not know, but I trust the Lord to show each of us. May the rest of our race be ran in His strength, wisdom, love and unity. I am cheering you on!

Free of Want

“Make your way to the everlasting ruins, to all that the enemy has destroyed in the sanctuary.” Psalm 74:3

I believe it is time to share this piece of the story and tell how I am now free from want. It may seem to be a bit of an odd phrase, and I thought the same thing too when I first read it on my grandfather’s medal. Then it became like a key that unlocked a piece of my heart that I did not realize was closed. The unlocking started about 6 years ago and took a bit of time, but was worth the process. Sometimes old locks take some time to open.

IMG_7401I remember the scene like it was yesterday. I know exactly where I was standing and how I wished I could hide. It happened so fast, but the impact was huge. From the time I was 6 weeks old until 9 years old, both my parents worked and I was entrusted into someone else’s care during the day. One of my earliest memories was of being told I was not wanted by this caregiver. This was followed up by telling me I was stupid, looked stupid and asking if I was stupid. It was a lot for a small, quiet child to hear and constantly take into my heart. I remember my favorite book while under this care was to look at and then read was The Sword in the Stone. There was something about the main character that I wanted to copy, but never could figure out how. However, my younger sister has always been the brave, outspoken one and she spoke loudly on that particular day. She happened to have heard the words that I was accustomed to and when my mom came to pick us up, she questioned the caregiver. She wanted to know why this was being said. No answer was ever given.

While we later moved and I grew up, those seeds of rejection were planted. They grew and shaped me in ways that I had no idea. This person has been forgiven and I never would cast a stone. However, I do wonder what had happened to their heart to pierce a child so? Only the Lord knows and I trust Him. He has been a great healer. There have been consequences to those seeds of rejection and goodness did I try and buy my worth. Even in that I see how God has opened my eyes to others who bear the marks of rejection. And I think that is why I have worked so hard as a mom not to ever place that seed in my kids hearts. They will never wonder if they are wanted because my words and actions say otherwise. Our kids will and have faced hard things, but wondering if they are wanted by their parents will never be a question.

The result of rejection takes many forms in my opinion. Mine may look different that yours. However, if anyone knows rejection it is our Savior. Take a look at the cross if you have any doubts. This is where I have taken it all and let Him sort it out. I have allowed Him to dig up the seeds and plant His love. I saw no good in blaming others or wishing it had been different, but I did make sure that this was not passed on to the next generation. A friend and I were talking recently and she said that my kids would probably never know the work that has been done on their behalf. I agree with her and think it has been worth it.

To give you a picture of this work, I’ll describe for you an image one of my son’s pointed out the other day. We were watching the new Sonic movie and the one that raised him was an owl. Danger was coming and she was protecting him. She threw a golden ring to open an escape portal and spread her wings over the opening to ensure his safe exit. Arrows were piercing her, but Sonic was safe. My son even said he saw me as the owl, but the arrows did not kill me. Now, I am no owl and my children are not hedgehogs, but I think you understand what I am saying. As parents we do hard things, painful things, but it is worthy work. Generations from here on out are greatly impacted. To remain in a place of rejection would only give the enemy another garden to sow seeds into using my wounded way of speaking and living.

If the Lord can use the shed blood of His only Son on a cruel cross to pay the price for our sin, then He can also take seeds of rejection and turn them for good. The enemy meant this for evil and thought he could keep me always in fear and want, but God had other plans. I love how Joseph said, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20). The good I see is how my children are growing up, knowing and living loved. The good I see is how I have eyes to see the rejected ones in my everyday and offer hope. The good I see is a hunger for planting seeds of God’s Word daily and watching them grow. The good I see is typing out words of encouragement here for anyone to read. The good I see is exposing a lie and living in truth. And friend, the courage, acceptance, freedom and love that comes from having your identity fully rooted in the Rock is tremendous. He truly does work all things for your good and His glory. I can give you 7 examples that say this is true, for their names all end the same as mine.

Use if all for your glory Lord, Amen.

 

12 Years

“Then David said to Abigal: ‘Blessed is the Lord God of Israel who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed is your advice and blessed are you…” 1 Samuel 25:32-33

Twelve years ago our middle child was born. We named this precious girl Abbey Grace and it fits her perfectly. She reminds me of the wise Abigal in the book of 1 Samuel and she is also full of grace. Her wisdom is beyond her years and her joy is catching. She lives free and courageous. I have watched her navigate change, relationships, unruly hair and boys with acceptance and maturity. You want to spend time with her. She smiles easy and with a light in her eyes.

IMG_7132Our family is blessed because the Lord decided she was just what we needed. My bent towards perfection was met with quite a force with this one. She made it clear to all at the age of 2 that she was a leader. Ask her preschool teacher if you want the story. I have never had to practice the art of following a leader in a line until this one. Seems she knew early on who God created her to be. Thankfully she knows it is He that she takes her orders from and she does so with love.

May the Lord continue to shape this precious child with His grace. May she lead well and in love to all the Lord entrusts to her. May she have wisdom, humility and quick discernment. When a choice for good or best, may she always choose God’s best even when it is not popular. I pray she keeps her eyes on Jesus and the work on the cross. May His gift of life never leave her sights as she presses on. If He is our example to follow, I ask the Lord to give her a heart that easily surrenders to His will too.

When she feels uncertain about the upcoming middle school years, I pray for peace to rain on her as she remembers she will never walk anywhere without His presence. With this peace may she be bold to share with all who will listen the source of her peace. She is not like the world and never will be. She walks to the toon of His drum and it often involves a dance. The one word we often use for this child is FREE. Oh and it is beautiful to glimpse!

So keep leading and dancing sweet girl. Know that I am crazy about you and am so thankful to get the privilege to love you well. May you continue to shine and fall more and more in love with your King.

Happy Birthday Abbey Grace!!!