Enemies

They will fight you but they will fall. For I am with you and will take care of you. Jeremiah 1:19

 

They will fight.

Sometimes I forget who “they” is. It feels like Chis (a lot sometimes). Earlier this year it felt like other relatives, and somedays it feels like Nici Bear and Bug, with each snack, nap, show, activity.

And somedays it’s my mom or my sister, or my friends and questionable choices. Satan takes a lot of faces, he takes relationships because that’s where we’re most vulnerable. And he waits until we’re tired and feeling depleted; however, the verse (the promise) continues, “they will fall.”

They, Satan and his army and their many forms will not win this war.

enemiesMy flesh is weak and my mind even more so; they may take some battles. But my heart is firm and His promise prevails. So I may feel the battle scars and look worse for the wear and feel soul exhausted, but perspective is critical. I am at war with heavenly realms. This fight, this season is much bigger than my little life.

 

Satan is digging in though, so I must be some sort of threat, so I cling to a bigger truth,

 

“I am with you AND I will carry you”

 

It’s ok to be too shell shocked to walk or talk or continue, He will carry me because continue we must. Earth is a holy battlefield, exhaustion and setbacks are inevitable. However, we are not each others enemy.

 

It is part of Satans plan to make it feel that way at times, our soul purpose is to help one another, to share God’s love.

 

It’s our job to identify the enemy and pull of his many many masks.

  • J

Another Left Turn

left_turn_only_by_awetumjoygasmI have been praying faithful for God’s will.  Over the past five years, I have learned over and over again that God’s will is always the step I don’t see coming.

God blesses us in ways we don’t see coming when we act in faithfulness and give up the reins of control.  His plan is deeper and better than mine can ever be.  His contains wisdom and longterm vision that I don’t possess.

So, I keep taking each step with the comfort in the knowledge and belief that He knows better than I.  After all He has said..

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

The key is to be patient and not get in the way of God’s plan.  Don’t think I know better or think what God is asking is impossible or ridiculous and try to make my own path or solution.  (For a warning on how that can turn out, check out Sarai’s story in Genesis 16)

This still rings true.  In the last week, God has taken me on a major left turn that I didn’t see coming.  You know what?  It is yet again proof that His hand in my life is way better than when my hands are in control.

His blessings (especially the ones that come out of left field) are so humbling and continue to remind me that I have  a Father who loves me, a Father who goes before me, a Father who has a plan for me, and a Father to whom I owe my soul.

  • S

Just a Battle of the Cosmos

Life is full of temptations. Some big, some small. Some life altering and some just plain stupid.

Yet I’m the slow one.

The bible is very clear about how to deal with temptations of all sizes.

Turn away.

It doesn’t say smile in it’s direction. Just take half.
Use socially acceptable logic to get what you want.

We are not of this world. Worldly logic holds no ground. And earthly temptations numb us to God’s best and God’s purpose

If we are not faithful in the small, He will not trust us in the large.

Lot’s wife is a perfect example. Yes, she followed Lot, yes she left Sodom. But she did not listen 100%.

And like my mom always said obedience is action, attitude, and timely.

Lot’s wife may have listened partially but she looked back after blatant instructions not to do so. She became salt. (Literally)

tumblr_nxu3iw68Cp1r096l7o1_1280
Orion Nebula (just one small picture of our cosmos) photo credit: Cesar Blanco Gonzalez

Our God is loving and merciful AND just. He is jealous for us and our complete obedience. We are in a battle of the cosmos. Good verses evil and what good is a fighter if not faithful?!

My life is full of simple mundane temptations, seemingly silly things that should be a big deal. However, if I choose those things knowing they don’t bring me closer to God or God’s will I am as useful as a pillar of salt.

Every thing large and small, every choice has two outcomes. Walking closer with God or farther.

How different my life would look if I weighed every decision against such a lofty reality.

  • J

I’m Just a Know Nothing

Honestly, faith is easy for me.  Always has been and I hope it always will.  God’s existence and desire for a relationship with me is a given in my walk with Him.  

However, acting in faith can be so hard.  I’m a control freak who struggles with anxiety…talk about wanting a game plan with every potential side step accounted for.

So, the beginning of the story of Abram (not yet having his name changed to Abraham) and God’s relationship as told in Genesis is so powerful and important to me.

“Go from your home…everything and everyone you know…to the land that I will show you.” Genesis 11:1

One word makes this so meaningful for me…WILL.

God WILL show Abram where he needs to go…which means God hasn’t showed him yet.

God asks Abram to leave EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.  And for what?  Literally, all Abram has to go on is his faith in God’s love and promise because God hasn’t even shown him where he is going.  However, Abram has faith that God will take him somewhere and that God has his best interest at heart.  

He doesn’t question it.  He simply went “as the Lord had told him” (Genesis 11:4)

…without details,

…without knowing exactly how everything was going to line up,

…without everything and anything that makes sense in earthly logic.

 

And you know what?

Abram was blessed beyond belief because he had faith

God blesses our faithlessness.  His plan is so much better than ours.  

 

1795770_578624425586487_385537113_nWhen I let go of the control that I’m only pretending to have, I get to witness the miraculous ways that God can and wants to act on my behalf.  
It can be so hard sometiems to truly pray for His will when there are things I want, but it is so worth it.  I just have to remember that I don’t know everything.  In fact, compared to Him, I’m a know nothing who controls nothing…and I like it that way.

  • S

Dark and Twisty

Twice now I’ve been verbally attacked. I slept like crap trying to figure this one out.

The edges are much blurrier. But twice now, I’ve taken the words, I’ve absorbed the anger.

I’m the common denominator; so I sit and wonder why.

Yes, I’m verbal and loud and emotional and rough along the edges. And despite my many, many blessings, showing joy is difficult for me, always has been. (minus with my kids)

Anger and outburst come naturally and satan fans that flame- hard.

And I’m working on it folks, truly. And the progress is decent, at least if you saw me at the beginning.

…But sometimes I still wonder why.

Maybe its simple, maybe its because I can take it. My entire life people have misunderstood me- thought I was one way over another, taken words over passion, but I am strong and deep and a decent swimmer.

I’m a lot of things, including tired. And happy is included in that list, even if I sometimes complain too loud to see it.

dark and twistyI guess that’s why I get thrown ugly sometimes. There are ugly twisted dark sides of me, despite how much light I try to cram in.

Last years words were “give freely,” something I’m still working on…but maybe this years will be “show joy.” Truthfully I can think of a lot of fitting words for 2016, but what good is any of it if I’m not joyful…or only joyful on the inside. Twenty years from now I don’t want to explain to my kids, mommy really was happy, I just held it on the inside. Ummm, what?!

And so maybe sometimes I get thrown other peoples dark and twisty and ugly. And maybe it hurts, but maybe I’m strong enough to carry their ugly and mine, when they need a source to unload.

In the meantime I’ll keep cramming in the light, and trying to show a little more joy.

– J

First World Issues

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress.

He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing Love.

Psalm 107:6-8

 

In the midst of debates and elections and news and broadcasting and refugee crisis and bathroom dilemmas…this struck me.

Loudly.

History repeats itself in so many ways, so many times.

And still, throughout the trouble, God delivers and we sing praise.

 

Sitting in so much privilege, it is easy for me to say this, yet its true nonetheless.

 

So many of my issues are first world inconveniences.

first world

We have no hot water today.

 

We have running water. We have a microwave to heat bottles. We have coffee. We have all the food we could want (even if it’s not brownies). We are safe. We are warm. We have no doubts about which bathroom to use. Or fears in using them. We know where our entire family is and where they will grow. We have healthcare even if it is frustrating.

 

I am blessed. Yet sometimes I sit in the trouble that is small and forget it’s a puddle I can stand in.

 

I pray for eyes to see and a heart to discern daily ways to actively participate in the glory of God. To help those struggling get to a place they too can see His grace.

 

“it is a good think to be without trouble, but it is a better thing to have a trouble and know how to get grace enough to bear it” Ann Voskamp

  • J

Hiding and Fighting

You are my hiding place and my shield, I hope in your word. – Psalm 119:14

Hiding Place and Shield.  

I love how both words are used in this Psalm because there is a time for both.  They are very different and you need them each for different things.

Sometimes retreat is necessary.  Escape is essential.  Sometimes we just need a place for concealment in safety.  This is when you need the hiding place.

If you have a good hiding place, you don’t need a shield. You need a shield when you are fighting.  When you face the enemy head on, you better have a shield ready.

G10868269_753921678035449_4204623332969331978_nod is both.  He is our hiding place – the place we can always go to escape the unbearable heaviness, sadness, and overwhelming limitedness of this world.  However, after we’ve regrouped, He is also our shield against the attempts of the Enemy to work through the world  and powers of darkness to try to defeat us in the battles we fight for Christ daily.

 
He is there in the quiet of hiding and He is there in the roar of battle, by my side every time I need Him.  I don’t need to do it by myself – in fact, I can’t.

-S