I’m Not the Breast

Not long ago a friend came to me exhausted, overwhelmed, and ready to give up. She was physically, spiritually, and emotionally spent trying to balance her career with her role as a mother, wife, friend, and the kind of Christian she thought she needed to be.  The kind of Christian who says yes more than no because Christianity is about sacrifice. The kind of Christian who helps everyone even if it means sacrificing those closest to her.

I knew exactly how my friend was feeling because I had been there too. If I’m honest, I still find myself there far more often than I should.

We prayed and invited Jesus into our conversation and He reminded her of a situation in her past when she felt like she was feeling that day.

My friend told me about a time when she had small children and desperately wanted to help a needy younger mother from church. She believed that it was her Christian duty to make herself and her home available to the needy mother any time she needed. The needy mother wasn’t even all that nice to my friend, but she believed Jesus would want her to be available no matter what.

One day the needy mother dropped by with her baby and said, “I have to go somewhere today. Will you watch her for me?” My friend automatically said “Yeah…sure.” Without hesitating, the needy mother handed her baby over and left.

My friend stood in her small living room surrounded by her own small children, one of which was an infant who still needed to be nursed, wondering how she was going to care for all of these children. When the infant she was babysitting started to cry, she did what any babysitter would do. She looked for a bottle to feed the hungry baby, but her needy mother hadn’t left a bottle.  My friend had no way to contact the mother to let her know she had left behind a hungry baby. So she did the only thing she knew to do.

With tears streaming down her face, she held another woman’s baby up to her breast to offer the only thing she could. The baby fussed, not wanting to suck at this stranger’s breast. It wasn’t her mother, but after a few minutes of struggling, hunger and instinct latched on.  Nothing about this intimate moment was comfortable. Everything inside of my friend was screaming “NO! Make it stop!” 

Sometimes we say yes when everything inside is screaming “NO! Make it stop!” 

As I listened to my friend struggle through tears to tell me her story, I could see how the pattern had repeated itself over and over in her life. She wanted to be able to say yes without fear and know that if she said no that she was going to be OK. She needed to know that God would love her anyway and that God would take care of the person she told no. She wondered if she could be liked and accepted without saying yes to everyone.

We cried. We prayed, and in my spirit I heard the Lord prompt me to tell her,

“You’re not the breast. I AM.”

Even as the words were coming out of my mouth I wanted to laugh because they sounded so absurd. I don’t remember ever hearing a Sunday School lesson about God being the breast. What I do remember is being told over and over about how God (El Shaddai) is all sufficient, powerful, provider, healer, peace, faithful…that He is everything we could ever want or need.

There are many references to “breasts” in the Bible. These are usually the verses that get my husband’s attention. Hey, whatever it takes. After doing some ‘Names of God’ searching, I learned that the Hebrew word “shad” (Shaddai) signifies the One who mightily nourishes, satisfies, protects, and supplies His people. Isaiah 60:16 NIV God tells His people that “they will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” Isaiah 66:11-13 paints a similar picture. God is the one who sustains and comforts.

…to experience God’s sufficiency, we must realize our own insufficiency.–Nathan Stone

That day my friend needed to know it wasn’t up to her to be all sufficient. It wasn’t her job to fulfill everyone’s needs and solve their problems. My friend needed to be reminded that our God is everything we will ever need. He lacks nothing. He loves us. He’s already paid the ultimate sacrifice by sending Jesus to die for our sins. He wanted us to know that it was time to stop thinking we were the breast. We get to be part of how He provides from time to time, but it is all about Him. ALL OF THE TIME. He wants us to have the joy that comes from knowing we’re loved and that no one can take His love away from us.

This encounter with my friend was meant to encourage and strengthen her to let go of the guilt and shame she had been holding on to for so long. It was beautiful to watch Jesus set her free to love others more freely. I had no idea how it would affect me, but it has.

I’m not the breast.

It sounds silly, but saying those words (usually under my breath so my boys don’t think I’m crazier than they already do) when I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders has saved me from a good crushing lately.

If this is something you’re struggling with, I pray that God will use it to free you too.

 

You’re Not Trapped

My seventh grader’s school year ended about a month earlier than intended. It did not end well. In fact, it didn’t turn out like I thought it would at all.

I’ve been trying to home school my sons for a few years. Last fall it became very apparent that my youngest son did not want to be home schooled anymore and I was really OK with that. We made a few phone calls and enrolled him in a local Christian school. It wasn’t easy for me to admit defeat (again), but it was what he needed. It was what I needed. And I really thought it was going to fix everything.

But it didn’t.

Before my boys were school aged I had made a decision to home school them. I knew several other mothers who were doing it and looked like it was a really good thing for their family. I needed to do something good for my family. You see, I was falling apart and not mothering well. My solution at that time was to just do what the good moms were doing and everything would be OK. I tried teaching my kindergartner for about six weeks before realizing something was very wrong. He had a learning disability that I couldn’t recognize. Instead, I assumed it was because I wasn’t doing it right which made my depression even worse. I didn’t know how to get out of the mess I had made.

I didn’t know how to ask for help. Asking for help would alert everyone that I did NOT have a clue how to teach my child. Asking for help would expose me for the mothering mess that I was. I felt trapped. Months went by while I spiraled deeper into depression because I couldn’t fix it.

So now my boys are older, and by the grace of God, I’m not quite the mess I used to be. We have options. We’ve learned some tough lessons along the way.

But it’s still hard to ask for help.

I recently sat down with our home school coordinator and told her how things were going. I told her how my plan to fix everything had failed. I told her that the future plan is to home school both boys unless God provides another solution. The rapture sounds pretty good. I explained how I really just want to facilitate their education. I’m willing to write checks for tutoring or whatever it takes. And then I said the words I’ve been afraid to say to her for 8 years. I don’t like teaching. I don’t. There, I said it.

I waited for her to fall off of her chair or for some denim jumper wearing home schooling mom flash mob to drag me to the dungeon.  It never happened. Instead, she encouraged me by telling me she has friends who feel the same way. Never once did she look at me and say, “You’re right. You can’t do this. You are a failure and I’m calling the school district right now.”

We spent the next hour or so talking about some creative ways to educate teenaged boys while fleshing out the doubt and fear in my heart. It was incredibly helpful.

Now, I wish I had something fantastic to write here about how I woke up this morning with a burning desire to teach my kids and feed their minds with Latin and Shakespeare. That’s not my reality. I will tell you that I don’t feel quite as desperate this morning. It feels good to have admitted that I’m not a hard core educator like it appears most of the other moms in our group are. For the past 5 years I have gone to every single meeting wishing I could wear a t-shirt that says “I Love My Kids Most When They Are At School”. When educational ideas for co-ops were passed around and my turn to volunteer for something (anything) would arrive, I would ask if there were going to be any parties. I kid you not.

And yet, for reasons I do not understand, this is something that God has not released me from. So I need to hang on to that if He has called me to do this, that He alone will equip me to do it. With help. And that the way we educate doesn’t need to look anything like the way other people do it. We’re not trapped. We’re free. Do you know that?

You’re not trapped. You’re free.

I’d like to pray for us:

Heavenly Father, You know our every weakness and still, You call us to do things that are beyond our skill set not to make us look foolish or weak, but so that You can show your power and might. Kill the pride that keeps us from asking for help. You have not set a trap for us, but have set us free to live for You and to trust You with every area of our lives. Strengthen our hands to do the work that You have called us to do. Renew our minds so that we don’t have to spiral downward into depression because we think there’s no way out. I thank you for the encouragement I received yesterday and ask that You spread it beyond this page to every person who needs it. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 

 

Lilacs and High School Graduations

Spring is a teenage drama queen.

It was only two weeks ago that I drove through a snowstorm. Two days ago it was in the low 90’s. It’s the kind of thing that drives me crazy because I was raised on the West Coast where temperatures are slightly more predictable.

I like predictable. However, I’ve also fallen head over heels with simple things like green leaves on trees…any trees, fruit tree blossoms, and Lilacs. I. Love. Lilacs. Over the years I’ve expressed the desire to have lilacs in my yard, but my husband doesn’t think they’re worth the effort. After all, they only bloom for a few weeks and then they just look like a bush.

lilac bush

But while they bloom…wow. The color. The fragrance. There’s nothing quite like it. Yankee Candle doesn’t even come close. For me, lilacs are the opening act after a long, hard winter…they are the first song that grabs my attention inviting me to a symphony of peonies, roses, pansies, petunias, and so much more.

Yesterday I shuffled through the pile of mail on the kitchen island and found two envelopes from the same address. One was an invitation to honor a family’s high school graduate. The other was an invitation to say goodbye to their daughter who is moving to California. I couldn’t believe how quickly this little boy had become a young man. My heart ached for the loss of this beautiful woman who has touched my life so deeply. And then my heart grieved for the mother, my friend, who is in the eye of the most unpredictable season she’s ever known. This ache reminded me that I needed to continue to pray for my friend.

So today I want to extend this prayer that I’ve been praying for my friend to you:

Father God, thank You for the blessing and the often painful privilege of mothering children. They have captured our affection in a way that even the most beautiful flowers have not been able to even come close. For every reader who finds themselves in the eye of this unpredictable season of change, I ask that You would remind them of Your great faithfulness. You alone have sustained them all along this long, hard journey and you alone will continue to sustain them. You’ve been there during the sleepless nights. You’ve caught every tear that has been shed. You see what WILL BE when it feels like everyone is stumbling in the dark. Your great mercy shines the Light that will lead the way one step at a time for these children and their mothers. In the beautiful name of Jesus, Amen.

I’m watching you, brave mothers, and I what I see is stunning. They are worth the effort. Thank you.

 

How Can Anything Grow in This Hard Season?

Hello.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on the blog because I’ve been in Fantasyland. Literally. Sadly, the Disney vacation is over and it’s time to dig back into reality.

Sometimes you don’t know just how much you need a break because your crazy normal is all you know.

It was soooo nice to escape the every day stuff here at home.  You know–laundry, home-cooked meals, homework, jobs, bills, dogs, sports, etc… I was in way over my head with all of the things that make for a full life, maybe a little too full, and needed a break.

Perhaps you can relate to being so stressed out by getting ready for your vacation that when you finally do get in the car to leave town you have a mini-nervous breakdown?

As hard as I might try to put on my brave face, I cannot deny that this has been a HARD season. It’s like being pregnant without having a due date. I anticipate and dream and get fat and uncomfortable never knowing when it will be over. When will I have something to show for all of this? It’s a question that remains unanswered.

While we were on our vacation I had an unexpected encounter with the Lord at of all places–a wine tasting event. I know drinking alcohol of any kind is often controversial amongst Jesus-loving people, so please hear my heart instead of being tempted to judge. My brother and his wife have visited several wineries in the Napa Valley and were kind enough to make reservations for the four us at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.

I know very little about wine other than whether I think it tastes good or not. When wine connoisseurs use words like round, buttery, oak, balanced, vibrant…my eyes tend to glaze over. What made this event bearable is that the winery representative used some of those words along with words that someone inexperienced like me could understand.

This particular brand of wine is called Las Rocas and comes from Spain.

It was when our host began to talk about where the grapes are grown that she really caught my attention. She showed us pictures of a landscape that looked more like an Arizona desert than a Spanish vineyard. Then she began to talk about the extreme climate where the grapes are grown. Hot summers and very cold winters.  She showed us close-up photographs of the soil. These vines are surrounded by slate and red dirt. NOTHING SHOULD GROW IN THOSE CONDITIONS. Except maybe cactus. But I don’t think cactus even grows there.

She went on to explain why the grapes flourish in their extreme environment:

Rocky, nutrient-poor soils are the key to Calatayud’s phenomenal terroir. As the vines struggle to survive, they concentrate their energy into fewer berry clusters, yielding Garnacha grapes with rich, robust flavors. The porous rocks retain rainwater and heat, delivering enough water to the vines, while protecting them from harsh winter conditions. The rocks here give Las Rocas Garnacha its signature spiciness and minerality.“– excerpt taken from lasrocaswine.com

Just when I thought my brain would shut down due to information overload and a vacation science lesson, the Holy Spirit began to stir in me. He whispered:

I know you don’t see how anything good can come from the conditions you find yourself in right now.

You see rocks everywhere and feel exposed to every wind that blows your way, threatening to knock you over and take everything away from you.

You feel alone.

You long for deeper things than you dare to even admit.

You don’t know how you’re going to make it.

But I can grow something rich and beautiful in you because of these conditions. You need Me more than ever. Your roots are growing deeper and deeper because the deeper soil is full of the nutrients you need to thrive. You cannot produce anything good without Me. Trust Me to make something beautiful out of this. TRUST ME.

Friend, I have wrestled with writing this post for days. I thought that maybe it would go away and I could just journal about it and keep it for myself and a few of my closest friends. It’s safer that way.

But that’s not why I write.

Today I pray that whatever you needed to read from this post will encourage you. The One who turns water into wine is able to do far more than we’ve ever dared to ask. He is making something beautiful out of your HARD place right now. It’s difficult to see, but rest assured…it will be stunning because it will be HIM.

To HIM be the glory for ever and ever.

Holding on to the Promises part 1

When I got married I thought traditional vows were so over-used and held no real meaning anymore so I wanted something a little more original.  After doing some digging, I found some that were beautiful…they said things like, “I promise to love you as an act of my will…and will respect you as the leader of our home, I promise to never belittle you.” My groom promised to lead family devotions. Seriously.  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into and man have they been hard to live up to! I remember Matthew’s dad telling him, “You sure promised her a lot.” Yes he did.

Hebrews 11 says

Now FAITH is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…Hebrews 11

Couples have no idea what the future holds and yet they make promises. GREAT BIG FAT PROMISES in front of a church full of people and document the whole thing with pictures. We have no idea.

A few months ago the Holy Spirit began to whisper “Just hold on” in my spirit. “Just hold on to what?” is what I kept asking. I’ll admit, I’ve been assuming something bad is going to happen. Perhaps it’s the Eeyore in me who’s lost her tail one too many times that has a hard time believing that something wonderful could be on the horizon.

At the time I was feeling discouraged because the plans I thought God and I had made together were not exactly working out like I planned. I know I’ve heard the Lord very specifically about certain things and I was tired of waiting for the grand finale.  I mean, good grief…I was about to turn 40 and I really thought we’d have some things settled by then. Then I began to experience some health issues I thought were long gone.  Again. I also know some people who have been living lives of great faith and I felt frustrated for them because they weren’t seeing a breakthrough in their circumstances either.

When your issue or a loved one’s issue doesn’t wrap itself up nice and neat with a bow on top in a reasonable amount of time…what do you do? What have you done?

Today I want you to think back to when your faith was new…or revived. Do you remember? Do you remember how you were willing to follow Him anywhere and do whatever he asked you to do?  How about that time he healed something you never thought could be healed? Remember how he restored that relationship you thought couldn’t be salvaged? Or provided for your needs beyond any reasonable explanation? Do you remember?

It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.  Hebrews 11:6 The Message

Do you believe that he cares enough about you to JUST HOLD ON?

Heavenly Father, I don’t know what kind of situation my friend is in today, but I do know without any doubts whatsoever that you want them to trust you and HOLD ON. You know the future. We don’t. We have a past that constantly berates us with our mistakes. We have an enemy who lies to us and tells us that You won’t hold on to us and that we have to make everything happen on our own. Forgive us for believing the lies. We receive precious grace and mercy today to do what is beyond normal for us. Thank You for loving us beyond what we’ve dared to imagine. Open our eyes to the Truth today. In Jesus’ name.

 

 

It’s Harder Than It Looks

Tonight one of my favorite television shows is back!! Dancing With The Stars: All Stars and I cannot wait!

If I had a bucket list, learning to dance like the contestants on DWTS would be near the top. Dancing has always been something I’ve admired from a distance. You see, dancing was taboo in my church when I was a kid. There are no memories of ballet shoes or fluffy tutus for this girl. But no matter how ‘bad’ dancing was, I couldn’t watch enough of it. My favorite movies were musicals with lots of dancing. Grease, Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Footloose, just to name a few.

Several years ago I went to a Captivating retreat out in Colorado. Everything about the weekend was breathtaking. However, I was completely caught off guard when one of our speakers started incorporating ‘dance’ themes into her talk about how we relate to God. The whole ‘letting him lead’ thing really messed me up. We watched clips from different movies about dance. I didn’t have enough Kleenex to sop up the mess. She hit a nerve that I didn’t even know existed. The pain was too much to deal with after a lifetime of watching from the sidelines, secretly wanting to be the beautiful girl being led around the ballroom by a handsome man. The desire to be swept up in the dance was too strong to ignore that day.

The Lord did a powerful work in my heart in the Rockies that day. He cut through the legalism. He asked me to dance. He dared me to take his hand and allow him to lead even when I don’t know the steps.

The truth is, I thought it would be easier. It isn’t.

My husband listened to me tell him about my ‘dance’ encounter with Jesus in Colorado. He watched ‘Shall We Dance?’ with me trying to understand what had got me so worked up. A few months later, he offered to take a beginning ballroom dance class with me. I had our class scheduled so fast we both had whiplash. I couldn’t wait!!

The truth is, I thought it would be easier. It wasn’t.

It was dang hard. Turns out I like to lead a lot more than follow. Allowing my husband to lead me around an elementary school gym floor was excruciating. We left many a class barely speaking to one another. So much for my romantic fantasy.

Too much of life feels like those dance classes right now. Jesus has asked me to trust him with our home, my children and their education, my job, vacations…the list goes on. He wants to lead.

It’s hard to follow even though I know it’s harder when I don’t.

Maybe you can relate.

My favorite dances to watch are the ones where there are a lot of stunts. You know, the dips, the flips, the crazy stuff. Watching from the sidelines is so much safer than participating. It’s also filled with regret, envy, and a whole lot of “I wonder if I could ever…”

These verses are reminding me that participating in the dance is the only way I’ll ever truly be safe:

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”–Psalm 91:14-16 The Message

The God who is willing to rescue us and then throw a party (which would definitely include dancing!) extends his mighty hand and is asking

“May I have this dance for the rest of your life?”

He waits for our response. He wants to lead. We want to follow. Deep down, we really do. We just need a lot more practice. It’s harder than it looks, but it’s OK. He’ll teach us the steps.

Have you taken dance lessons? Have you wanted to? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your story.

 

You Made It!

Do you ever get to the end of the week and want to throw yourself face down on the floor and kiss the carpet simply because you made it?

Today happens to be one of those days.

When my boys were little I dreaded Monday because I knew my husband would have to go back to work and leave me alone with a less furry version of Thing One and Thing Two. Friday meant VICTORY. We survived another week alone at sea. We made a touchdown. We crossed the finish line. You get the point. I’m pretty sure it’s the closest thing I’ll ever experience on an athletic level.

This week marked a couple of BIG milestones for my family.

1. Our house is finally on the market.

 

2. My 7th grader started school…as in he’s no longer being home schooled.

Today I can’t shake any pom poms and declare any kind of victory other than WE MADE IT. There were moments this past week when I felt like my chest was going to explode from the stress. If I owned a pair of running shoes, I’m pretty sure they’d be worn out from the treadmill I’ve been on this week. I seriously doubt the stressful stuff is over, but I’m celebrating today anyway.

This is the promise I’ve been hanging onto this week:

Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing. Isaiah 26:4 The Message

At a time in our lives where very little is a sure thing, we need to know that in the Lord God we have a sure thing. Amen?

If you’re feeling like you deserve a medal just for making it to today like I do, please step up to the platform and allow me to congratulate you. Well done!

YOU MADE IT! Enjoy your weekend. Lord knows you’ve earned it.

P.S. Next week I have the honor and privilege to be a guest blogger over at Glory Girl who also happens to be my bff.  Julie has a series this month called “I Spy…Jesus” that I know you’ll enjoy so hop on over and check it out.

 

 

He Trusts Me Too

Yesterday I told you about my adventures as a new bride moving from California to Texas with a truckload of love and little else. After only one meeting with the university admissions office, our hopes had been smashed. Shame quickly made itself very comfortable. There was plenty of room for guilt as well.  Resentment replaced romance in the front seat of the moving truck. Our conversation shifted from dreams to dread as we made our way back to California. Miles of silence. January’s bitter chill seeped into my bones even with the heater on.

The enemy taunted me ruthlessly from Texas to California. I didn’t recognize his voice back then the way that I do now. Instead I believed the lies he whispered about my husband and our situation. He knew my past well. He had charted every open door of failure and had been waiting for an opportunity to pounce. I was vulnerable prey. Like a wolf going after a wounded animal, he could already smell the blood. All he had to do was make his move. I let despair swallow me whole without a fight.

One of the ways I knew he was coming after me again the other evening is because of his message…

“Remember how ashamed you were when you had to move back to California? Remember how you wanted an annulment? Remember how your husband tricked you into believing that he would take care of you? Do you really want that to happen all over again when you sell your house…if it even sells?”

All of those things felt true because they were true all those years ago. Funny how he never reminds me of anything good.

My enemy would like me to believe that my past dictates my future. It doesn’t. Jesus Christ is redeeming every stinking thing from my past and giving me a glorious future. Jesus dictates my future because I’ve placed my life, my husband, and my children in his hands. He leads, I follow. That’s the new arrangement. I’m trusting God to guide us and protect us along the way no matter where he leads.

He trusts me too.

The King of Kings and Lord of Lords trusts me to do what he leads me to do. It’s a huge risk on his part and yet he does it anyway. Jesus knows I’ve been wounded because he’s been faithfully healing my wounds for years. He knows my doubts because he knows every thought in my head before I do. He knows my fears because he knows what it’s like to be a human. He’s been here. He had to lay his life down and trust that his Father would make it right and He did. Oh yes He did.

We’re not following blindly behind someone who’s making stuff up as he goes. We’re not puppets. We make a choice to follow the One with the plan and trust that he will make it right. He knows we’re not going to do it perfectly and he’s OK with it. Let’s face it, if he wanted it done perfectly, he’d do it himself. When we follow him in obedience we become a beautiful display of his glory. It’s win-win. He LOVES to show off his glory through us and we LOVE to see it.

We have to know who God’s shown himself to be so that we can choose to believe the Truth over our enemy’s lies. Satan will always twist truth from your past to deceive you. It will feel true because it’s been true. That doesn’t mean it is true anymore though. We have to wise up and believe what God says about us.

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine.

When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.

When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end-Because I am God, your personal God, the Holy of Israel, your Savior.

I paid a huge price for you…that’s how much you meant to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.

So don’t be afraid. I’m with you…

You’re my handpicked servant so that you’ll come to know and trust me, understand both that I am and who I am. I am God. I’ve always been God and I always will be God.

No one can take anything from me. I make; who can unmake it?”–Isaiah 43:1-13 The Message

He loves you. He calls you by name. You’re his. He’s with you. No matter what. No one can take him from you. He trusts you. Trust him.

I’m asking the Lord for a mighty revelation of Truth on your behalf today. Your future depends on it.

See you Monday.

Anything Can Happen

Trust has been the theme for this week’s post because I’m smack dab in the middle of an intense trust session. Again. I wish these posts could be all about you and I could write from a ‘been there, done that’ perspective, but that would be a nasty imitation. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything to do with fake stuff. Give it to me real, or don’t bother. So here goes.

My husband and I are in the process of getting our house ready to sell. This means purging, painting, packing, polishing, and power-washing, just for starters. At this point we don’t know where we’re moving next, we just know we’re supposed to sell the house. It’s a gut feeling we’ve both had for over a year. We’ve prayed about it, hoping God would change our minds or dangle some carrot out in front of us to work toward a known goal. Instead we are trusting that he’ll show us the next step after we’ve taken the first one. Sell the house.

While I was busy cleaning up the living room last night, the enemy (Satan) was busy reminding me of some pretty miserable times in our past. He reminded me of how we packed up all of our things just a week after our honeymoon and drove from San Jose, California to Longview, Texas with big dreams of Matthew becoming an airline pilot. After driving for three long days, we pulled onto the university campus into married housing and began to unpack our truck. It was our first apartment and I couldn’t wait to play house.

The next morning Matthew went to check in and get all of his ducks in a row to start classes. I stayed home to unpack and get things in order. I will never forget the look on his face when he came home. He explained to me that the university would not accept any of the credits he’d earned at junior college. We believed he would be starting as a junior, but they said he would be starting over as a freshman. The news was devastating to him and our imaginary finances. We were hurt and angry. We felt completely duped by the school and by God. Why in the world would he bring us all this way to have a gigantic door slammed in our faces? We thought this was what he wanted us to do. We trusted him.

We did the only thing we thought we could. We moved back home.

Fear gripped my heart again last night like it did almost seventeen years ago. The ‘what if’ questions began to pelt me like golf ball sized hail. I began to doubt my husband’s leadership. Again. Worry worked its way into my gut. My stomach hurt. My security felt like it was slipping away. Again.

In the past I would have allowed those memories to pull me deeper and relive them over and over again. I would have been tempted to agree with the enemy that God had disappointed us then and he would surely disappoint us again if we didn’t abandon this crazy idea right now. Agreements like that are exactly what the enemy needs to get me off the path of trust and back into clutching false security. I’ve been down this road before. My memory is a virtual scrapbook full of failure, disappointment, mistakes, regrets, sin, and hopelessness. It’s why I have to work hard to renew my mind and allow the Holy Spirit to transform it. I can’t mess around with this stuff if I want to stay free from depression and the darkness I used to call ‘home’.

Last night I sent a quick text to people who I know love me and will pray. Next, I sat down at the kitchen table to find some scriptures to quiet my anxious spirit. I read the story where Jesus healed the boy with a demonic spirit. This boy’s father was desperate to see his son free of this thing that had been physically assaulting him from childhood. Our enemy is relentless. So is our God.

The boy’s father said, “If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!”-Mark 9:23-24 The Message

With that reminder I was able to take up my shield of faith that extinguishes all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Just because I have a history of doubt and a tendency to ask “what if?” doesn’t mean I can’t trust God with my future. Jesus is helping me with my doubts. My shield of faith gets thicker every time I say, “Satan, you’re a liar. I’m believing God.” My spirit is strengthened and my resolve is renewed.

I can’t go back in a time and tell that frightened young couple to stay put, stick it out and see what kind of miracles God would do for them. I can, however, tell my anxious heart to stay put, stick it out and see what kind of miracles God will do now.

Anything can happen.

 

A Pattern of Trust

This morning I woke up with this movie quote running through my head: “Trust is the basis of any relationship.”

It took me awhile to remember exactly which classic John Hughes movie from the 80’s vault this quote came from, but I was pretty sure it was from someone who shouldn’t be trusted.

The words are true, but that doesn’t mean the person saying them can be trusted. Especially if he has a record of being a lying cheating snake like Hardy Jenns in ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’. Why in the world would the beautiful Amanda go out with a guy like Hardy when she knew he had a reputation for being exactly what he was? It’s classic John Hughes teenage angst and I couldn’t get enough of it. I’m pretty sure I watched that movie every single day the summer it came out on video.

I don’t quote Oprah very often, but she said something a while back that has stuck with me: When people show you who they are, believe them.

If you and I are going to put our trust in someone, we need to know who they are and believe them. If you and I are going to trust God to lead us in the choices we make, we need to know who he shows us he is and believe him. The Bible is full of God showing us who he is. Your life is too. You may not have time right now in your busy life to spend hours studying the Old Testament, but you have a memory. It may be a bit fuzzy if you’re sleep deprived, but you have a record with God whether you’ve been following him for a week or 40 years.

Today I want to challenge you to remember how God has shown himself to you. How has he been there for you? How has he shown himself to the people you love? How is he showing himself to be trustworthy today?

Heavenly Father, I ask you to show us who you are today by helping us to remember who you’ve been in our lives. Thank you for being faithful and true before we were. Thank you for your unfailing love. Show us why we can put our trust in You so that we may trust you more.

So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be.-Psalm 62:8 The Message

There is someone reading this today who needs to read WHO God has shown himself to be in your life. Let’s get some testimonies going in the comments today and spread His Glory like a wildfire.

 

 

 

 

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