Be the Right Kind of Warrior

Instinctively, I am one who loves to fight back. I resurrect walls to keep others from hurting me. I walk with a shield to keep things from getting past me. I respond with defensiveness to make sure the fortress stays secure. I grab my weapons so others know that I am a well-protected woman. Bottom line, I am a fighter. I am a regular defender of my own causes. But God is calling me to surrender. He is calling me to wave my white flag. To lay it all down. It’s not so much that he doesn’t want me to be a warrior, but that I have been going about it the wrong way. While I have thought arm up, he says, “Lay it down.” While I have thought keep safe, he says, “Go risky.” While I have thought protect, he says, “Let me be the protector.” He requests one position of me that is the ultimate military gambit.  It is one condition that changes the whole battlefield. He calls me to it. Will I lay down my plans, my armors to make this change? Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the LORD.  (2 Kings 22:19) What is this condition the Lord desires? It is an open, vulnerable, humbled and receptive heart. It is a heart where walls are down,  weapons are abandoned and doors lay wide open so the Lord can...

It’s Your Basic Identity Issues

Maybe insecurity isn’t an issue for you. But I’m betting that if you clicked on this post, it nags at one corner of your heart. Don’t must of us live under some weight of insecurity? It’s the nature of fallen humanity. There’s a fine line between being confident and arrogant. A tightrope between knowing there are areas you need to improve versus focusing only on your weaknesses. We often don’t measure up, whether to our expectations of ourselves or to other’s expectations of us. Yet when we are successful it goes to our head and pride can so easily seep in. Question: can you name five things that you like about yourself? Second question: what are the five (specific) things that define who you are? Are your answers the same? Which question was harder to answer? Do you actually believe your answers at the core of your being or are they your answers simply because you know they should be true or others say they are? It can be convicting to make a list of who you are, what brings you life, and what makes you, you. Not in a vague, Jesus-loves-me kind of way, but in a very tangible, specific, way of articulating the uniquely defining pieces of your identity. Not in a prideful way either. Because at the end of the day, a correct view of our identity is rooted in who we are, and who we are has nothing to do with us or some innate goodness. A correct view of our identity points directly and unequivocally back to Jesus. If you have trouble writing this list then consider going through letters...

Get Over It: You are NOT Qualified

Passage Exodus 4:1-20 “The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” Exodus 4:11 I could see my younger daughter muttering something under her breath as she stared at the beam in front of her. It was time for the frightful cartwheel on beam, part of her gymnastics routine. My heart skipped a beat. “Thank God I’m not a mother of boys,” I thought. Challenging sports are just not good for my heart. Gravity scares this little gymnast. It’s almost an oxymoron, I know, since gymnastics is a gravity-defying sport. Yet, she loves it, even though her fear often stalls her progress. A couple of months ago, she was told that she didn’t make it to the competitive team in her gymnastics academy. As parents, my husband and I were concerned that the decision would make her retreat and give up gymnastics altogether. Instead, she gained new resolve. She understands her limitations, but she refuses to give in to fear. Instead, I watched her reciting the verse of scripture that I taught her, right before facing the dreadful beam: “I can do all things through Christ. I can do all things through Christ.” She is eight years old and already understands it: on her own, she isn’t able to overcome her fear. But through Christ’s strength, she can do all things. I smile as I think about awful fears that I had to overcome in my journey with Christ. One of which was the fear of failure...

My BUT Got in the Way

  My BUT got in the way: from moving forward, from moving on, from checking off goals. But I can’t. But I am not able. But I don’t know enough. But I am not accomplished enough. But I don’t do that. But that is outside my norm, my comfort zone, my own predetermined limitations. At many points, at many turns in the roads, my but got in the way. There is no way of knowing what may have come had I disregarded those thoughts in my mind. What I do know is regret looms large as opportunities pass by. I could have. I would have. I didn’t. My but got in the way. But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13) Moses’ but got in the way. He would lead the Israelites to the land God promised, but he would not set foot in it. He would see it in the distance, from atop the mountain where he would breathe his last. I know. I know I too will miss walking fully in the promises intended for me if I do not trust, if I do not believe. And I? I want to see the all God has for me, for those around me. Have you allowed your “but” to get in the way? Share how you have overcome this dilemma in the comments, or share so that we might pray for...

And God Knew

It is a basic part of the human experience that we walk through seasons in which we feel spiritually alone or forgotten by God. Tragedy strikes, and we wrestle with how God could allow this or that to happen. A longing goes unfulfilled, and we wonder if God has forgotten our plight altogether. God seems silent, distant even. Can’t we all call to mind a season of life when we have felt this way? I know I can. Scripture is replete with stories of individuals who walked through seasons of aloneness, when God seemed silent. In the beginning of Exodus, the Israelites had grown in numbers to the point that the Egyptians felt threatened. So Pharaoh, in a move of political and military might, enslaved the Israelites (Ex. 1:8-14). Incidentally, the more Pharaoh oppressed the people, the more they multiplied. After a failed attempt to wipe out the newborn sons of Israel at the hands of the Hebrew midwives, Pharaoh decreed that every newborn Hebrew son be thrown into the Nile River (Ex. 1:15-22). One can hardly imagine the horrors of such a massacre. Eventually, this wicked Pharaoh died, but the oppression of the Israelites continued. Had God forgotten them? Or was there purpose in His apparent silence? Finally, God’s chosen people decided to call upon their God. “…and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.” Ex. 2:23-25...

Desert Wanderings

The first draft is dated April 29, 2013. I remember writing it. I remember wrestling. I remember walking away from it. Today, I sat down to finish it, nearly 2 years later. It’s by no means 40 years of wandering, but it sure has been a season and while I’m not a huge fan of the desert, I am learning to embrace it and recognize ALL that God is doing in it. Now, maybe it’s just me, but I honestly would love to have the opportunity to plop myself down in the midst of the Israelites’ circumstances to hear and see how the people of God actually responded. We know from what Scripture tells us that the Israelites complained in the desert, and I don’t doubt in any way that they did. They did what most of us do, they recalled the “good old days, through the eyes of a slave, unable to see that the good old days, were simply not all that they remembered them to be.” But let’s be honest, we all know plenty of “squeaky wheels.” (In fact you may even be one.) You know, those folks who are bold in the their complaints. They yell loudest in traffic, and are the first to give “feedback” when they are asked. They’re in a word, complainers. I’m confident that the desert experience with a few hundred thousand of your closest friends, the complainers voices were heard. What about the ones who didn’t complain out loud, but grumbled to themselves as they made their way to the tent for the evening? Their complaints, were still complaints and while they...

Who Am I?

Everything comes full circle. I titled this post almost a year ago and then saved the blank draft, hoping the words in my head would translate onto the page over the next few days. They never did. But after weeks of a relentless attack on my identity, I think I get what I was feeling before. What everyone sort of feels all the time. And now that I’m journaling again, I have some words for it. . . We all live under some weight of insecurity. It’s the nature of fallen humanity. There’s a fine line between being confident versus being cocky, knowing there are areas you need to improve versus focusing only on your weaknesses. We don’t measure up, to our expectations of ourselves or to other’s expectations of us; but when we do, it goes to our head and arrogance seeps in. The other night the weight of this insecurity was heavier than it’s ever been – even more than my dreaded middle school years. I don’t really know why or how the whole thing gets spiraling, but realizing that I couldn’t name five things about myself that defined me, or at least, not ones that I was actually believing in the core of my being, I decided to make a list. I went through letters of encouragement, I flipped through Scriptures of truth, and I commanded my heart to accept the truth of who I am. It’s never enough to stop believing all the things you are not; it’s not enough to just get rid of the lies. Your spirit must be re-filled with truth, otherwise the insecurity continues to fill those...

The God of Now

Most days we live are pretty ordinary. Wake up, drink coffee, read your Bible, get ready for work, work, eat, exercise, eat, visit friends, read, sleep. This would look extremely different if you have children, but you get the picture. The mountaintop experiences aren’t the norm, the valleys are. The valleys are the places in life where we just walk. We walk and walk and walk without seeing a new sight or getting to a new path. Everything around us seems strangely familiar and we keep looking out for the next turn towards a big adventure. Moses was the same way. After he had been raised in the household of Pharoah, the very man who sought to kill every Hebrew child, he killed an Egyptian and ran away out of fear. He arrived in the land of Midian where he met some shepherd girls and married one of them who was named Zipporah. (Exodus 2) He then became a shepherd. Needless to say, he had the same routine, day in and day out, like many of us do. But one day changed everything. It began normal. Moses was simply doing his job and shepherding his sheep. He walked with them to Horeb, known as the mountain of God. As he walked, something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. It was a bush that was burning with fire, yet it was not consumed. I love that Moses’ response to this incredible sight was this: “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” The moment Moses “turned aside,” God spoke. What if Moses...

Honor on the Inside

I thought I understood honor. I mean, I tear up with the rest of us when the military gets applause in the airport. That is certainly honor. Mercy. That gets me. I love standing for someone and clapping for them. I love telling my husband he is an amazing father and husband. I love sticking up for people. I love doctors and teachers and emergency workers. I love people who risk their lives for others. I love telling my kids how amazing they are. Honor. So, now that we have that covered, I recently was shown something by God pertaining to honor. It’s super easy to have honor for those listed (and others) but something I haven’t shown much honor in is the, well, more secret places. my time my thoughts what I feed my body Webster’s Dictionary says this about honor: 1. High respect, esteem 2. a privilege 3. “honor implies the acknowledgment of a person’s right to be honored” So, I have to ask myself, Is there anything in my life that is from God (who is the highest and worthy of all honor) that I do not honor, hold in high respect, esteem, consider a privilege? The answer? Yes. (see list above) If God is the highest in my life who deserves all honor in all areas, then I have to take a look at what areas I’m lacking in in honor.  He is after His own glory, His own honor, and so should I be. When I make that my primary objective…. well, just read this little gem of a scripture. “Wherever I cause my name...

Trust the One Who can Part the Red Sea

This time though, I’m a lot closer in my walk with Him and He lovingly knows how to get my attention. If you think God speaks in all thou’s and whoever’ith, well, He doesn’t with me. This is what He said:

“You can’t even part hair, why won’t you trust the One who parted the Red Sea?”

I laugh thinking about it because this wasn’t an accusing voice, it was an authentic voice that knows me in and out and loves me. He wants the best for me. He’s honest and funny, and yes, holy.