Get your sword!

Last night, I received a call from my 21 year old daughter who is away at college.  She is in a seminary internship and has many opportunities to minister to young girls.  She shared with me that two of the girls in her group have a parent suffering through a battle with cancer and need prayer.  And this morning, one of the moms lost the fight.  She is now with the Lord and whole again but her young daughter is broken with grief.  

Then this morning, I’m sitting in a Doctor’s office with one of my best girlfriends as she waits to have a cervical biopsy done, as her annual exam showed some abnormalities.  Last year she lost her mom unexpectedly from complications of a routine surgery and dealing with that grief.  She’s a single mother of two and works hard to raise them in righteousness on her own, away from her own family.

The point of sharing some of these details is to point out the ways that these two completely different females, at two very different times in their lives are under attack.  And the enemy of our souls is using similar tactics to batter them both.  Cancer is a disease that has been around for too long.  It creeps in and steals your peace of mind, clouding your thoughts in fear and “what if’s”, and pulling you into a world of uncertainty.  The enemy is clever.  He doesn’t have to work very hard.  The word alone rushes in fear beyond our control!  When someone says “cancer”, no matter what the context, our hearts get a little jolted.  

Well, as I am sitting here in the office, waiting for my friend, I’m moved.  Not in fear but in determination, in ferocity.  In my spirit, I feel a building up of energy that breaks out in intercesery prayer that covers the ladies I spoke of earlier and all others who suffer and battle with them.  I’m moved by the Holy Spirit to begin seeing this battle as not one for individuals but for all womankind.  

Woman were created to be nurturers, builders of self and family.  We are the ones that children and husbands come to for strength, encouragement and reassurance.  In Lisa Bevere’s “Girls with Swords”, she tells how we are targets.  Just by being who God created us to be, we are a target for the enemy’s attack.  Because the enemy knows our place in this world, our value, we become his target.  Although this is true, we are also soldiers in an army led by the most high God!  And He is summoning us, His warriors.  We have been called for such a time as this!  

The enemy does not win in the end but that doesn’t mean we just sit and passively wait for God’s victory. Now is when we stand, and fight, and pray, and battle for the sake of Gods glory in victory!  Ladies, I believe that in this moment we are being called to take up our swords and fight for our salvation, for our peace, for our emotional strength, for our common guard, for our joy and for our husbands, daughters and sons, and families and friends.

Stand up!  Physically stand up and plant your feet firmly on the  ground and take your rightful place in the battle!  Standing on the front lines!  This battle belongs to the Lord but we are His warriors!  Take up your sword ladies, it’s time to claim victory!  Let God be the Glory!  

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Abundant Grace and Mercy

Its been awhile since I last wrote, life has been throwing me some curve balls.  I was injured early last year during work and I’ve been struggling with chronic pain ever since.  As many know, chronic pain can take its toll on your mental state.  I’ve been cranky, sad and disengaged, even downright angry.  Going from being completely healthy and active to being challenged just to get up and use the restroom.  It was more than I could take.  Instead of obedience to God’s word, I chose rebellion as my guide and began to walk in darkness, of which I am just beginning to find my way out of.

My life’s verse is “be still and know that I am God…” Ps 46:10.  Mostly because I am always trying to do it all, all on my own.  But after my injury, I have been “still” much more than I would like.  And even in that stillness, I have not been still.  Instead, I wrapped myself up in social media, television and anything that would keep my mind busy, even though my body was still.  I quickly began to see this ugly, mean-spirited person develop.  I went with it, thinking that I would soon have all the answers. Doctors would give me a diagnosis and then I could begin to rebuild my body and make it back to where I was.  However, when I received a diagnosis I didn’t agree with, I was back at square one.  Starting the whole process over was unbearable.  I broke down and began to weep, yelling at the Lord that I was tired and didn’t want to hurt anymore.  I was resolved to just being angry all the time.  I began to alienate myself from my family.  Just like the story of Jacob and Esau, reconciliation was difficult.  Just like Jacob, I have to abandon MY ways and follow the Lord’s ways in order to be reconciled, with family, myself, and God.

I recently received news that a wonderful woman of God from my church had passed unexpectedly.  Life and death has a way of making us reevaluate our circumstances.  Her death made me question my heart.  The reflection in the mirror wasn’t pretty and I decided to call on the Lord to help me straighten it out, reconcile.  God so gently corrects us.  He didn’t scold me or scorn me, ridicule me or shout at me.  He didn’t belittle me or tear me down.  He quietly and gently showed me that my life was His gift, it had worth.  I was not giving room to the plans He had for me.  His purpose for my life was greater than I allowed for.  He rewarded me with the sweetness of friendship that was revealed in a single moment.  A friendship had blossomed where I didn’t expect.  I prayed for it but did not believe it was possible.  In that moment, God showed his depth of love for me.  My prayers have been heard, and what the enemy had been trying to tear down, God reclaimed for me.  Such a sweet, sweet moment.

So, I am on the road to stepping up, healing and learning that no matter what my circumstances, God has a plan for me.  Rebellion and anger are nasty little words that can wreak big havoc and sting our spirit, but my God loves.  His love is enough; more than enough.  It’s overflowing and I am overwhelmed.  Hallelujah!  Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness to love us, even when we are unlovable.

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FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS

Have you ever offered someone directions only to realize that after they have departed, your directions were wrong? You gave them instructions to turn left when they should be turning right? You panic for a moment and try to recover but they are already on their way. So you make yourself feel better by telling yourself, “they’re smart enough to figure it out”, or maybe say a little prayer that God will help redirect them in the right direction.

How often do we ourselves take a left when God is saying to turn right, or rush ahead when He says to “wait”. How about when the Lord’s directions seem so much longer, so we look for a faster way to the destination. Then we give ourselves permission to say, “let’s go this way instead”. But what are we missing?

Sometimes we set out to do something that we consider to be from God. He’s given us instructions on a project that seems right, almost admirable. Our hearts are obedient to His call and full of hope in making a difference. However, it is very easy to get lost and take a wrong turn. The easy way is not necessarily the right way, or the best way. You see, God sends us on a path to not only seek the final destination, but for the discovery of other things along the way.

In our earthly flesh, we put limitations on ourselves to see the one thing we are looking for, failing to see the beauty of the our surroundings. God always has treasures for us when we listen to His instructions and follow them accordingly. There are things we cannot see that He knows can bless us, build and teach us, that we don’t want to miss. In addition, what things might He be protecting us from? For instance, when we see our destination on the faster pathway, do we also see the wolves who are ready to devour us?

Our Father will never send us out into the land without providing for our journey. Matthew 6:33 says,  “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”. God’s grace is sufficient and His mercies are new every morning. Remember the purpose you are working in. Distractions are the enemy’s way of tripping us up, confusing us. Don’t get lost. But remember, if you do, He is always there waiting to bring you back to where you belong.

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Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…”

I sometimes forget that I am only human and God is so much bigger.., than everything. This has been a life verse for me since my late 20’s, maybe even before that without my knowledge, and I still struggle with letting God be my guide. As the seventh child of eight, I grew up exploring and finding my way mostly on my own. So it’s in my nature to just figure it out and try my luck and hope for the best results. It doesn’t always turn out that way.

In a large family one always competes for attention and its easy to get lost among the crowd. In fact, I was lost once as a child when my family was eating at a local restaurant, “The Copper Penny”. I was about 5 years old and we were all on our way to see our new home. Mom told us all to go use the bathroom and wash up so we could head on over to the house. When I entered the restroom, I decided that the mirrors needed cleaning. So I hopped up on the sink and started to wipe away. One by one my siblings and friends entered and left, reminding me that we were leaving. When I finally finished in the restroom, I returned to the table to find my family and friends were gone! I was left behind! Can you imagine how frightened and alone I felt? Fear overcame me instantly and I began to cry. The waitress came over and introduced me to 2 officers eating their breakfast and after Hershey bars and hot chocolate at the police station, I was reunited with my family.

The point of telling this story is to illustrate how I chose to go my own way. I didn’t follow instructions from my guide (Mom) and I got lost. The same is true when we step away from the loving presence of our Lord. He is our guide at all times. Isaiah 41:10 says, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” When we listen to His instructions, we can be assured of peace and protection within His covering. God is more aware of all the circumstances surrounding our event and therefore His wisdom is greater than our own. Truly we are never alone, God is always present.

As I look back over the years where I have suffered failures, I realize how I didn’t call on the Lord for His wisdom. I tried to take control and in many of those moments, the results were devastating.

What are you struggling with today? This week? This month? Have you called on His wisdom? Start today. Let Him carry your burden and “Be still and know that He is God”!

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