Why Every Woman Should Write Down Words for God

bible with pen

I sat on the small couch, sinking in the middle. The cushions as old as the hills. I was all empty tank and tired and parched for some kind of hope.

To believe again. In anything. To feel again. Just any way.

Then he asked me, “Are you writing?”

“No.”

I said it dry, but my mind was alert. Surprised. Why did he ask me that? Premarital counseling never addressed this. He didn’t know. About the deep down urge to pick up the pen. The way I’d been coming alive through written words since the days of my youth. And how now there was only dry ink, a deadness in me. Because what do you have to offer or say or share when all you see is dark?

“Why,” he asked.

And then the heat started. At the top of my head, like a light shower. Moving down my body, my back. The Spirit was there. In the room. Moving through some kind of lie I didn’t know I had believed.

“Because….” and then I started to break. Like a shaking. Tears welling up. Before I could come up with an answer, he said

“Because that’s what he tried to steal from you. Satan, I mean.”

“Yes,” I replied. Yes. And it had been working.

The lies are sometimes so much easier to believe.

You begin to believe your voice doesn’t matter. Your broken story is too broken indeed. And write about it….What are you thinking? You can’t even write.

Sometimes the loudest critic is in your head. And Satan jumps on that train because,

SISTERS - we have a calling we have yet to fully understand.

That urge to teach, to write, to speak for Him. It’s FROM HIM. Because you were made to know Him and make Him Known.

make Him known2

“You are my witnesses, declares the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.” Isaiah 43:10

And how can you really know Him without wanting to brag on Him? We are His witnesses.

When the Spirit man inside of you is burning with agreement in His Word- there is someone, somewhere who needs that word. Just like you do.

And just when we think we are writing/serving/teaching for others, for Him….we find the healing ourselves.

So HERE IT IS. The Word He has for you. TODAY.

“The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.” Psalm 68:11

mighty throng

 The women who proclaim it.

He is doing something here. In the hearts of women.

He is calling you out.

Throng is defined as a multitude of assembled persons, a large number crowded together.

So you ask yourself: “What does my voice matter? There are enough voices out there.”

He wants more.

The definition actually says this crowd will have “an increase of pressing activity.”

Increase! A pressing in.

We wonder what this blogging sensation is among women. This flocking to conferences and reaching out for community. This generation of women calling for good and holy things. Fighting for justice. Doing the hard things. Speaking into the spiritual realm and calling what is not as though it were.

More proclamations! More of His daughters taking pen and microphone and small classroom and job influence to Make Him Known.

The crowds of women speaking His Name are not a threat to your personal call. That sister that has more followers and published her third book, she is not your competitor.

We are on the same holy team. Oh, He wants you on this team.

Calling you to wear His team jersey in your sphere of influence. Screaming loud for your Coach, because the real bedlam game isn’t about orange vs. red or the rubber laced ball. There’s a real fight going on. He’s calling all warriors. Arise. TOGETHER.

Proclaim: To say or declare something publicly.

The world will tell you to lift high the mantle of self. This mantle of self-promotion that gets heavier by day. Tracking your followers. Your stats and re-tweets.

And what if we all laid down the heavyweight mantle of self-promotion

to lift high the Cross in Proclamation.

Me with my hand-full of “followers” and you with your two thousand because Jesus…He wants so many more followers.

This writing gig?  Your daily gig? This using of your gifts and laboring at your job and breathing every breath- it’s all to line up more people behind Him.

What if we dropped the “I can’ts” and the “I shouldn’ts” and the “I don’t know enoughs” and just trusted Him to speak. Through us. For Him. Right where we are.

How He chooses to use your proclamation and whom He chooses to lead and what doors He opens and those He shuts hard, that’s His perfect orderly business.

He will lay out the details of your call in His time, one day at a time. We don’t get the whole bucket of apples today. Just the way it is.

In the meantime, you can take a few things to the bank:

God wants you to remember. So for those of us who can’t remember what we ate for breakfast yesterday, we better WRITE down what God did for us. In a journal, online or on a posty. Whatever. Write it down. Your going to need that post-it note one day. When the fig tree isn’t producing and there are no cattle in the stalls and you are wondering where your God is. Remember what He has done for you. Remember who He is.

There is beautiful evidence to the power of the written word. To journaling. Etching out your prayers in ink and stumbling on them years later to check off every one: Answered. These are your scrolls of remembrance. My latest read: When I Journal, He Speaks.

“Remember to extol his work.” Job 36:24

“My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you” Psalm 42:6

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” Psalm 77:11

Let us not “fail to remember the miracles He has done among [us.]” Neh. 9:17

He wants you to proclaim His Name. When the world gets loud with the sound of defeat, His Name will hush the soul with peace. His Name will save. He is spreading his glory over all the earth, and He is using His people to do it.

“I believe, therefore I speak.” 2 Cor. 4:13

“Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done. ” Psalm 9:11

“I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, Lord, as you know.” Psalm 40:9

He wants you to testify. Because when I entered my valley of doubt, my slow walk out was through words. His words, your words and all the meaningful words of saints gone before us.

Words proclaiming truth into the rope of lies. Words saying, “Me, too. I’ve been there. Hold on!”

And when His Word felt dry and my soul was parched from doubt, He used the common words of his saints, brushed them with the Life of His Spirit and breathed them over my heart.

“And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” John 15:27

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14

When my story intersects with yours …..and all the sisters I have yet to meet, and we let all the stories of redemption confirm His Word in our souls, that’s a real liberty fest! We use the key that unlocked the lies and we hand it to the next girl.

This is real freedom: when we finally get this ————-> It’s not all about us. Our special call. Our dreams. Our names.

Oh, He gives beautiful dreams. And specific calls. But they are ALL- every one of them, given that we might proclaim Him more.

So that note you’ve been meaning to send, it’s not too late. His Word is timely and it never spoils. That phone call or visit to speak life, it’s needed. Your voice – it’s a gift to be used.

Write a letter to that author who knocked your socks off…even if they will never read it. To your children – to put in stone how you and God really feel about them. To your spouse – because they need your affirmation more than you know. To your pastor, because he/she is laboring for you.

I love the book of Hosea. So many good Words there. And when Hosea is calling out the people of Israel to return to God, here is what he says:

“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” Hos. 14:1-2

Take words with you, Sisters.

The WORD of LIFE. He is the WORD, come alive in you. He will speak for you. May we offer our God the fruit of our lips and the work of our pen and the witness of our lives.

I’m joining the procession in Praise of God. Will you come with me?

I’m linking up today with Holly Gerth and Rebekah Hughes the brave souls exhorting others in Christ. Join us! And….if this word was for you, comment below on how you plan to proclaim His Name as an act of thanks to Him. Be blessed today!

 

 

 

 

Teachers of the Word: Listen

photo (2)

“The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.” Isaiah 50:4

1. He has given you an instructed tongue.

Instructed: furnished with and restricted in action by specific instructions; ordered by informed authority.

He Himself will set the truth in our hearts; He furnishes the very truths we are to share. He also restricts.

There are teachings the Spirit must work out in us. Some words only for you- for a time. The word we truly wrestle with- within- and learn to live out is a greater word when taught. Allow the Spirit to direct when you share and when you await the appointed time.

He has put the words in your mouth. (Isaiah 51:16) Trust in His Spirit to lead you.

2. You must awaken morning by morning to listen and obey

“The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back.” Isaiah 50:5

To receive due instruction, we must listen. Daily. Pressing into His presence.

Some words are hard to hear. Even harder to teach. This is not a time to shrink back. He is calling his prophets to ARISE, his children to proclaim Him.Our time is short, His Word is true. So we must spend time with Him.

The greatest teachers of the WORD are ardent students of God.

3. You must not fear the reproach of man.

“Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults.” (Isaiah 51:7)

Speakers/writers of the truth of God will be insulted. The world will press in. As T.D. Jakes once said, “the more people who love you; the more people who hate you.”

The narrow road is still under His protection. He covers you with the shadow of His hand. (Isaiah 51:16) We cannot be afraid to speak the truth. You can offer grace and still speak truth.

4. Set your face like a flint.

Remaining in the Word – the Sword of truth in a world of untruth – has everything to do with your strength in Him. Black and white are merging today – GRAY IS EVERYWHERE. We must know the HOPE we profess so we can rightly divide and rightly proclaim. We can no longer assume all believers know the word, or even open it. We cannot take for granted the urge – His calling – to put forth counsel from the WHOLE Word of God.

This is how you FIX your eyes on Him. Stay in His Word. Devour it like it is your last meal. And may we spur one another on as we strive to live it out. We cannot teach well what we do not live. And that – is why we need each other.

————-

“You are my witnesses..” declares the Lord.

May we seek Him in the morning and listen like ones being taught. He has much to teach us, that we might bear His truth to the world.

May our prayer today be, “Give me a teachable spirit, O Lord, and I will obey.”

We are Better Together

“Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.,,,,,

the world was not worthy of them……

…these were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that ONLY TOGETHER with us would they be made perfect.” Heb. 11:36-40

Something better. Only TOGETHER.

What is this unity abounding, weaving its way through Scripture? Even in the final days – the glory days He has yet to fulfill. Not just for today. In the church. Within this generation.

He is saving the great reward for ONE BIG DAY.

When we can all be together in His House for the Big Reveal.

God likes togetherness.

group of women

We’ve heard this before. How two are better than one. And Satan will keep pushing back, isolating souls into the weary corner.

Whispering loud of the hurts we have lived, the lack of trust, the ease of sinking back down into the closed doors.

The Lord knows community is not easy. Relationships are tattered. People are faulty. He walked among us. They deserted Him too.

Yet Christ, like Paul, put no confidence in the flesh. Only perfect confidence in His ability to redeem the soul. Of every man.

And even redeemed souls stumble in community. But we also stumble alone – even more so. And the hand that is helped up more quickly – is the one already outstretched.

 We are better together – not only in our falling. But in our rising. Lifting the weight of the cross, each of us a corner piece, raising high the truth of Christ.

When praise of man tempts us with pride, together we are accountable.

When the call of God seems unsure, together we find courage.

When the world screams loud the voice of hate, together we kneel in humble love.

So then….

“If you have ANY encouragement from being united in Christ, if ANY comfort from his love, if ANY fellowship with the Spirit, if ANY tenderness and compassion…”

——Have any of those precious things?—–

“then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil. 2:1-4

Consider others better than yourselves.

Then come to the table of fellowship. Share your “ANY”s with us. My hand is outstretched.

Let’s do life together.

Linking up with Meredith and Holly and Beth and Rebekah today. Join us! Blessings!

 

How to Really Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us RUN….

 

runner

 

with perseverance

the race marked out before us. Let us

FIX. OUR. EYES.

on JESUS,

the author and perfector of our faith..” Heb. 12:1-2a

Fix: to make firm, stable or stationery. To attach definitely, establish.

It’s an unmoved faith that wins the battle.

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” Prov. 4:25

Because you fix on Him long enough, attach your faith to the truth of His Word instead of the circumstances you feel, oh you will start to gaze upon Him.

Establish: to put into a favorable position. (Oh yeah); To put beyond doubt; prove.

Have you established Him?

Is He as real as the chair you’re sitting on?

David set the Lord always before Him. (Ps. 16:8)

To set is to literally place in position. Can you close your eyes and place Him there.

“And Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17

There is so much around us we cannot see. With our physical eyes.

Is Christ really always with you, right beside you, never leaving you? Literally.

This is real vision: Choosing to SEE the reality of Christ with you.

To prove your faith, it must best tested. And all real testing comes when you cannot see with your eyes what you want so much with your heart – to believe.

He must bring all ardent disciples here. To the place of blind faith. Because zeal is important. But He knows you will need more than zeal.

“Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’….

Then Jesus said,

“I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” John 21:17b-18

Here Christ is saying, I know you believe, Peter. And I get that I’m your friend. But that kind of love – that level of zeal – it’s not going to cut it in the long haul.

He knows what is ahead of us. His calling is great.

We will need more than small love, small attention to His Word, His face.

So He let Peter fail. Because sometimes falling, testing is the only way we SEE beyond our own naked ability and striving for righteousness.

He wants to be proved faithful TO YOU. That’s a test that will not fail.

But we cannot look with our physical eyes. We must believe with our heart.

And this is how we FIX our eyes – our face – like FLINT towards Him:

We choose to see the reality of His Word. All around us.

With the only eyes that really matter: the eyes of our heart.

And because His Word says He is with me, even now  – and always – I see Him. Nudging me on.

To run.

This race marked out before me.

And all of life will present these billboards along the road. Grabbing for our attention. Our heart. Our eyes.

He is ahead. Calling us.

Fix. Your. Eyes.

 

 

 

Jesus and the Spirit: What Unity!

How did our Lord relate to the Spirit?

  • He was begotten of the Spirit: Luke 1:35
  • He was baptized by the Spirit: John 1:32-34
  • He was led by the Spirit: Luke 4:1
  • He was anointed by the Spirit: Luke 4:16-21, Acts 10:38
  • He drove out demons by the Spirit: Matthew 12:28
  • He offered Himself as the atonement for sin through the Spirit: Hebrews 9:14
  • The Spirit raised Him from the dead: Romans 8:11
  • He gave commandments by the Spirit: Acts 1:2

So, there is not much they did not do together. If the Spirit of God was so involved in the life and ministry of our Lord, how important is He to us?

Let us see how they worked together. Coherently in all ways. Christ had to be obedient to the leading of the Spirit just as we should be. To walk into the desert knowing not the temptation that lie ahead. To press into His strength when the temptation arrived. To lean into His presence when hanging on the tree. To speak words of truth boldly to crowds that would deny Him.

Even Christ relied on the strength and presence of the Living Spirit of God.

Christ did not come down from His heavenly throne to be served, but to serve. Not only man. Not chiefly man. For He served first and foremost the purpose of the Father…and He obeyed the leading of His very Spirit. What humility! He took last place so He could rightfully ask us to do the same.

We serve others best when we have bowed the knee to our Master.

What an example in the Trinity. Three parts working together – with and through and for the others. What strength there must be in our obedience to the whispers of His Spirit. What true empowerment when we lay down our agenda for the kingdom call.

What the Spirit did for Christ, He can do for us.

He can baptize you with His presence. Anoint you in His work. Pray when you cannot. Lead you in His will. Confirm His Word within.

He hovered over the waters in the beginning. He hovers now. Over us. Within us. Still wooing, speaking, working. For the purpose of the Father. To point to the Son. And to the DAY when we, like Christ, will be raised to NEW LIFE forever.

This is Part 3 in a series on the Person of the Holy Spirit. You can backtrack here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imparter of Wisdom

“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding….” Isa. 11:2

The Holy Spirit is the imparter of all true and good wisdom. Seems everyone wants a new word today. The fresh word. Seems everyone wants to hit “publish” first with that new revelation.

Are we feeding on the revelations themselves or the Person they are from?

Are we giving full credit to the Giver of all holy revelation?

“Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Rom. 11:33-36)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That He should use us to impart HIS wisdom to others for their strengthening, for His kingdom purpose – what a privilege – what a HIGH responsibility.

“Not many of you should be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

Have we wrestled this out? It is a sober reminder to sit at the feet of the true TEACHER, the Spirit of God, if you are to carry His message to the world. If we are to yield the SWORD of truth, we must live within it and it within us.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.” Psalm 111:10

The first deposit of faith comes with a fear of the Lord. It is the beginning. To know our place. That He is God….and we are not. All true wisdom thereafter will point to the main source – God Himself.

How do we test the wisdom that comes from Heaven?

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 

The “word” someone shares…..must first of all be pure.

Pure: not mixed with anything.

We cannot mix His truth with our motives.

Often His Word is hard. It must be. Often His truth will set the heart on fire. It means to. We do not need to soften the Word of the Lord. And forbid we do.

His wisdom is good for us. And those who have the courage to impart the truth of God’s Word in the strength of His Spirit will receive a reward far greater than the approval of man.

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:3

If we are leading anyone – let it be to Him. If we are privileged to receive the pure wisdom from heaven, let us give Him glory!

This is part 2 in a series on the person of the Holy Spirit. You may read the first entry here. Blessings to you in the fellowship of the beautiful Spirit of the living God.

The Ministry of the Spirit

“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” 2 Cor. 4:1

What mercy to impart such a friend in the Spirit! What preparation within for that which lies ahead. What strength to withstand any temptation. What joy we have yet to touch.

Who is God….that He sets His own Spirit within created man.

We cannot fully comprehend the strength He is storing within us, even the power that raised Christ from the dead.

I used to think that every time He warmed my heart, it was to convict.

Oh Spirit, teach us all here.

He is the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11)

And with Him, like Christ, we do not judge by what we see with our eyes or decide by what we hear with our ears.

He turns our face upward and inward and through Him…

we look beyond.

I’m privileged, honored to even learn of Him. I love talking about Him, to Him.

Let us learn of the strength He imparts. Paul exhorted the church at Corinth (2 Cor. 4) to not lose heart, because through Him, we can:

1. Renounce secret and shameful ways

“All of life is repentance”, according to Martin Luther.

There really is no secret thing with God. He is aware.

Have we all had our own little secrets? Just God and us. The Spirit will go with us to the cross. There is nothing dark enough, deep enough that surprises Him. He knows. He is waiting to help you and I. He will burn your heart until you want the light more than any sin. The truth more than any reputation. Here we learn, conviction is not His end game. It’s the starting gate.

Through his Spirit, we have strength to renounce – to speak out loud against those ropes Satan would use to tie us down.

The sin is the darkness – your soul was made for communion with the Light of the World. Bring all into the light. The Spirit will lead you, even do the cleansing.

2. Set forth the truth of God plainly

The Spirit enables the teaching of His truth. Here is the freedom for the prophet, the pastor, the called of God: His word does not go out void. It never falls on deaf ears. It will enter the heart, the mind, the soul. How each soul allows it to churn and change them – that’s God’s business.

We must press into the strength of the Spirit and find GREAT courage to set forth the truth from the WHOLE counsel of the Word of God. His Word is not easy, but it makes it no less true.

He leads us into ALL TRUTH. John 16:13

And because His Sword is the WORD, all leading must agree with that Word. Or truth it is not.

3. Commend ourselves to every man’s conscience

We get caught up by what we hear, see with our eyes, feel with our emotions. The Spirit is not confined by these things. He works where we cannot see. Mending relationships, providing understanding, chiseling away our pride. He works on the conscience of every man. Through Him, we put our upmost confidence in His ability to be our Defender.

We can come before any man, because He goes before us.

We can stay silent when our flesh says to speak out, because He covers our heart with humility.

4. Have triumph in suffering

Have you ever held a jar of clay? Quite breakable, indeed. Mineral dirt and water, dried up.

And within these temporary shells – He sets a treasure. Himself.

He is the unbreakable part of us.

This is why we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; Perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)

Oh we FEEL all those things – because we are still clay jars.

And deep within, there is a renewing. Day by day.

A hope He imparts. A verse He reminds us of. A friend He brings by.

Even His mercies are wrapped in cords of human kindness.

There is a strength, an enabling He offers that we will only experience when we have great need of it.

“as your days are, so shall your strength be.” Dt. 33:25

He is the rising up within you. In the midst of deepest doubt, greatest trial. He is the deep-gut yearning to GET BACK UP. He is the “Yes” in your spirit. You know you will get up again and you will praise Him and you will be there at the end of days to see His face.

James tell us our perseverance must “finish it’s work.” It is a long work to become like Christ.

What a gift in our Great Helper.

Join me this week, as we talk more about the person of the Holy Spirit.

Today, I’m linking up with Lyli at #thoughtprovokingthursday.

The Cloud of Unknowing: When God is Nearer than you Think

dark cloud

 

“He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him – the dark rain clouds of the sky.” – Psalm 18:11

My son Josh likes to play hide and seek. The other day he pulled the covers up in bed and asked me to hide. But when he looked towards the hole, he said, “dark.”

I responded with “Yes, we hide in the dark.”

The hurting, lonely dark. We sometimes hide in the most unsafe places.

Two days later I was reading to my daughter, Annie, before bed. She pointed to a lantern and said “light.” I said, “yes, we need a light to see in the dark.”

We don’t think of darkness as a place we would find God.

Darkness comes in many forms. TRUE light comes in only ONE.

So many are sitting in the dark today. Unanswered questions and weary, knee sore soles aching with a parched mouth hoping they don’t have to keep praying that same prayer today. The medicine’s not working, the relative is not relenting and the sky seems closed to the cries in the night. They keep hoping, somehow, that the next day will be easier.

And my son, Josh, asked me why the monster in his book is scared of the dark.

Because when you can’t see two feet in front of you and your circumstances start to crowd, strangle the WORD you thought you believed – the darkness is smothering.

We are always most afraid of what we do not understand.

There is much we will not understand.

But there is much we can. When we begin to see in the light of His Spirit that – in fact – His WORD defines our circumstances. Not the other way around. When it doesn’t feel like He is “close to the brokenhearted” – He still is. Does that change things for us?

The Lord is so close. In the clouds handing over our heads.

“He spread out a cloud as a covering and a fire to give light at night.” Psalm 105:39

On your darkest day, He is covering you.

And the friends of Job, the scoffers around us will point to hopeless things.

We are crowded in and pushed back and that was Satan’s goal all along. It’s his MOA.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Cor. 4:8-9

Crushed here? Is Stenochoreo in the Greek…..”to crowd into a narrow space. To be unable to express oneself.”

And God is telling us to praise Him and the words JUST CAN’T COME OUT.

We feel in despair and we feel abandoned and we feel crushed.

Just as Jesus felt spiritually, emotionally on the cross.

What if we are nearer to Him now than ever?

“knowing Him in his death”

What if – now – He is the only one who can truly understand our cry:

“My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

What if this -THIS — this trial, this suffering, this unanswered question - is how we will “carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body?”

And though we can’t see it, we can’t feel it – we don’t understand it – there is God.

Riding down to help us.

‘There is NO ONE like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty.” Dt. 33:26

He is riding on those dark clouds – coming after you and your heart.

But there is a work to be done there. In the heart. A gift. Paul called it a treasure.

“For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Cor. 4:5

There is a light of truth we can only find when we have faced the suffering of Christ.

And when you get that light – that true, authentic real-deal light – your bulb won’t run out again. He wants to shine through you. So He is shining His light in your heart, holding you steady as you question Him.

Because those who have walked the rough patch of faith and come out shining will hold out their torch to the world.

It’s a treasure we never ask for. Suffering. Feeling the weight of abandonment. Doubting the faith that we know deep down in our chest.

But it is the treasure we want. To Know Him. To know the break-through praise that shakes the prison walls. To glorify Him when Satan thinks we will surrender.

He calls us to believe, to hope again, in the Light of the World come alive in us.

He “covers us in the shadow of His wings.” Calling us, Rest here.

And underneath…..are the everlasting arms.

 

 

The Living of Grace

I have this thorn in my hand. Been there for over a month. I keep thinking I need to try again – with the needle. But I don’t, and it festers up, this tiny spot on my palm.

Even this is grace: knowing our sore spots.

The Spirit needs time to bring all our thorns to the surface. So we don’t cut into our hands/souls when digging up forgiveness. For ourselves – for them. You know the ones. Causing the festering. They probably don’t even know it. How we ring our hands over that hurt, that word said, that lack of attention.

That rub in your side, where the thorn is festering…it’s where you go. To practice grace. You lean in when it hurts.

There is a fear. To self-protect. It’s natural…for our nature.

And all of Christian life is this battle, this warring, this fight to the finish.

Our sin nature battling to win.

The Spirit saying, Forgive. Release.

We want the healing balm, but the scalpel brings redemption. It would be easier to live this life alone. Comfortable with just God. Loving Him and His Word. Not dealing with all the other people. The not-so-easy-to-love people He loves so much.

There are hurts in all of us. This daily need for grace. To receive and to give the abundant stuff. And we will offer grace to the extent that we truly believe we have received it ourselves.

What if we could dive into grace, like a pool, sinking deep down. Overwhelmed by the saturating. What if we could see how far the east is from the west - the unreachable sins He has forgiven. Could we breath deep then of an unaffected life. Strong in him, less offended.

John the Baptist lived to serve Him. Waited to see Him. Then Jesus arrived on the scene, and John was imprisoned. All the build up, all the fighting for souls, the preparing the way for the Christ.

Christ’s words about him? “Blessed are those who do not take offense on account of me.”

Then John? No applause for his work. No publicist to make his story look good. Just a choice – to release the need for self-promotion. And honor the Lord no matter the outcome.

He was beheaded.

What hurts the deepest tells us something about ourselves. What we do about those hurts - tells us even more.

It’s a hard work, forgiveness. It required a cross. It requires no less for us in the Spirit. To lay down our pride, our need to be right, to get even, mostly to explain our side…..and pick up the cross of love.

Most days I fail. Not on the choice to forgive, or the want to. But the living it out.

And then I remember to “put no confidence in the flesh.” Phil 3:3

This exhortation is not just personal, but corporate. To put no confidence in your human nature or that of any one else. The most devout disciple still has much to learn of Christ. So why are we surprised by sin? By negativity? Or persecution? Are we not aware of each man’s sin nature? Of the evil prowling at every side?

“Jesus Christ never trusted human nature yet wasn’t cynical or suspicious because he had absolute trust in what he could do for human nature.” – Oswald Chambers

Absolute trust.

Cynicism tries to fill the hole we just emptied when we forgave. To keep us from loving, trusting again.

Can we trust Him to work it all out in us…and in them? The changing of our nature. The mending of broken places.

Can we be audacious enough to confess our own weaknesses and then actually accept His covering grace for ourselves? This hope of glory – reforming the wretches we were, that we are.

Because grace is contagious. We want to catch this everlasting hope to infect the world.

The master surgeon has steady hands. To remove the thorn and apply the balm in His time. Let our work be a surrender alone: Yes, Lord. What work He must do in other people…that’s his business.

Our business is grace lived out.

I’m linking up today with Beth at #w2w Wednesday. Join the crew! Encourage someone today. How can we better live out grace? Comment below!

 

 

Extremely Important Intel from a SuperMom

Image

I thought about naming this post How to Eat a Mexican Pizza While Driving, but I truly didn’t have enough good intel on that. A little though.

The kids watched TV for umpteen hours yesterday, because I read something recently about the importance of face to face contact in speech development. And how lots of TV is a bad idea.

That’s okay though. We did flash cards for .2 seconds in the afternoon.

So recently we had a little outing to the local Burger King – to play, of course. As we were exiting, Josh didn’t want to take my hand before crossing the parking lot. I bent down to make eye contact and told him he knew what was right and he would take my hand right then. After a stomping of the foot, he did and we crossed safely to our motor vehicle. As I was strapping the kiddos in, a man approached me.

Let me backtrack. This man was near the doorway as Josh and I had the little hand discussion. He just stood there, like he couldn’t keep going is own way until we were done. We were not in his way. Anyhoo…he saw the whole deal. Which is one reason why I waited until reaching the car to have my longer talk with Josh. Because the best discipline happens in private.

So he came up to me and said,

“I saw what happened between you and your son, and it just broke my heart.”

It’s a good thing I didn’t raise my voice during the little hand-holding lesson. The man may have fallen over dead. I’m glad he has no video surveillance in my home.

I continued to listen, intrigued.

He began to tell me that he brought me a book from his car and he encouraged me to read a paragraph on page 55 about motherhood. And how to mother.

About how to mother.

He actually said that if I read it, I will finally have peace in my home.

[Action shot of me]: Blank stare happening. Smile emerging.

I’m sold. I’m thinking I’ll help him market this one paragraph to the world. Like today.

He said quite a few other things about discipline and such. I kept a calm neutral face while trying not to raise even the tiniest little eyebrow.

My husband was in the driver’s seat, waiting. He’s gracious like that, ya’ll – letting a stranger minister to me in my obvious time of great need.

The man was totally serious and seemed totally sincere. I thanked him, took the book and entered the car. There may have been a slight look given to the husband.

You guys, the paragraph was like the shortest paragraph ever. Definitely it covers ALL of the basics on how to be a good mother. I thought I would add just a few ideas from my own SuperMom book.

Sticks are our friend. Free, long, entertaining. It’s like five toys in one.

IMG_0820

sticks

Cups are also multi-purpose. I’m still not sure how. Just trust me.

IMG_1597 (2)

Mud is great for exfoliation. I use when available.

mud

 

Teach the kids to share their snacks with the pets. It’s cheaper.

snack

 

Always treat kids to be kind to animals. Except squirrels. You can chase them.

park

Where they sleep – not important. Letting them sleep there – mucho importante

ann sleeping

sleeping

Leave shoes laying around. It’s handy.

shoes

Dirt is edible. And high in fiber. When necessary, use a spoon.

IMG_0883

IMG_1372

Quiet =mess. It’s okay. YOU WANT the QUIET.

closet

Encourage them to use their creative side.

IMG_1363

 

When energy abounds, find a dirt pile. Works every time.

dirt pile

dirt pile2

Encourage blood to the brain. Learning is tiring for the young ones.

upside down

 

You guys, I have so much intel on potty training. I cannot. even. I’ll spare photos. Just ask.

No animals or children were harmed in the writing of this post.

Sadly, no picture was staged.

And that man? I bless him. Truly. He was just trying to find an open door to give me a book about his faith. I get that.

All you Moms out there…..

We’re in this thing together. Yeah. Pouring out into the next generation. Don’t worry about how everyone else is doing it. Don’t fret about how you’re doing it. We’re all super in our own way.

How you raise them is one thing. How you LOVE them… It’s EVERYTHING. Love on.

 

easter

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” 1 John 4:7