The consequence of commitment

We said yes in 2015.

We said yes to leadership opportunities.

We said yes financially to a church building campaign.

We said yes to renewed pursuit of dissolved dreams revived by a gracious God.

And each time we said yes, the paved walkway beneath our confident feet crumbled. Soon our beautiful roadway was nothing more than a dirt foot trail filled with pot holes and stumbling blocks lingering in opportunity to stall progress.

Our normally healthy kiddo, hospitalized during Thanksgiving.

Financial strain we haven’t experienced in years.

Struggling census creating a bit of job insecurity.

Behavior issues with my kids requiring professional intervention.

Turmoil. Pressure. Struggle.

A pendulum of priorities vying for my attention.

Adopting an attitude expecting the unexpected. Waking each day wondering how my well planned life became such a hot mess.

God, is this what is means to say yes to you?

I struggled with this question.  For months. It caused me to pause in writing. It caused me to dig deeper and differently into his truth. It caused me to review my base motives.

And one day, God spoke:

Why are you above the struggle?

Why indeed?

The course of the last few months have shaken the core foundation of my jaded beliefs and caused me to reinforce the cracks with concrete evidence of God’s truth. The truth about who I am and the truth about why I am here.

And seriously, it’s not about me at all.

It’s not about my comfort.

It’s not about living on my own steam.

For a good percentage of my life, I have lived with the misconception that if the call comes from God, it should be easy. Friends, this is a lie.

When we said yes, when I said yes, I told God I was willing to stretch beyond my comfort in order that I could lean upon his strength. “I can do all things,” is no longer a fancy t-shirt slogan. It’s a core belief. Right when life seems impossible and it seems we have nothing left, God shows up in a provisional way time and time again.

I’ve also learned when I have nothing left, God still wants me to give. My time, energy, resources, finances- the list is endless. But it’s his. The calling is still mine.  No one else is going to pursue it, even when I don’t feel like it. No one else is going to type the words he lays on my heart to say. No one else is going to make tough calls on behalf of my marriage, family and home. No one else is performing the hard work it takes to live the life he created for ME to live.

I’ve learned I cannot live my call alone. The people he has handpicked for my life are mine.  My job? Learn who they are. What makes them tick. Discover their love language and encourage them in their own pursuit of his purpose. Above anything, I am learning to be the friend, wife and mother that I want to have.

I have learned I don’t have to know everything. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to allow others into my weakness. Each day, I can look to God and the amazing community surrounding me for wisdom, prayer and strength.

When I continue to give my whispered yes to God from the deepest valley of life, I live life in a way I have never before experienced. I carry my cross to the finish line of faith. I learn the communication work it takes to become one-minded with fellow believers.

Daily, I ask God for my portion and daily I thank him for the grace extended to me as I die to self and increase in his image. Daily I ask for divine appointment, divine opportunity to share his love with those who most need it. I commit to him my whitespace for the day _and then the roller coaster begins. Friends, I don’t want it any other way.

Life without God is not living at all.

The consequence of commitment is a life directed by God – the author and creator of the big picture. The masterpiece I am likely to miss when I am intently focused on the snapshot of the season.

 

Redeeming Resolutions

I have a love/hate relationship with my husband’s truck. It’s big and bulky in comparison to my midsized sedan. The cup holders are always occupied and it smells funny.  The gas pedal is touchy and I can never adjust the mirrors quite right. I’m a bit insecure behind the wheel and have to pay attention to every detail while driving – namely so I don’t hit anything.

It’s expensive. I hate car payments.

But driving the testosterone truck typically serves a necessary purpose in my day – Moving new residents into my building. Escorting seniors to a safe and secure environment while making sure they have the belongings to make their new apartment feel like home.

Driving the truck is a temporary inconvenience.

Resolutions feel much the same way. They are big, bulky and overwhelming. They drag me out of my comfortable setting and they cause me to refocus and reevaluate my priorities. Unfortunately, instead of treating them as a valuable tool, I treat them as a temporary inconvenience. Something I try for a while, only to retreat to what is comfortable and convenient.

Mostly because my execution is less than perfect on the first try.  I’m a go big or go home kind of girl.  Baby steps have never really been my thing.  Oh, and obstacles?  My stars.  How many hurdles must I  jump to achieve my new goal.

In December I set a goal to work out six days a week knowing I was building up to a habit.  In January, my goal moved to working out six days a week, but doing so first thing in the morning.  This means my alarm sounds at zero dark thirty.  After my second week, I woke with my alarm ready to tackle the day.  I got up, let the dog out and saw her jet from her normal potty spot and right back to the door.

“Such a wimp”, I thought as I popped open the door to step out. Only I heard something:

 

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Mmm hmm.  Our diva dog found a kitty.  A kitty she loved upon first sight. A kitty I was not prepared to adopt at zero dark thirty on a cold Monday morning.

Then, I committed to getting my blog back on track. Ahem:

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It seems like it never ends.

So how do busy, distracted girls redeem their resolutions?  Here are a few tips and tricks I have found along the way.

Write down your resolution.

What in your life do you want to change?  Write it down.

What will it take to start your change? Write it down.

Who do you need to recruit to help or keep you accountable? Write it down.

Write down your new schedule.

In The Best Yes by Lisa Terkuerst, she makes a recommendation to take a time inventory. I took it just one step further and penciled in the schedule of my desired week fitting in my new workout and writing plans into existing white space.

Be realistic.

Can you fit this new resolution into your life?  A couple of years ago, my answer was no. I couldn’t.  My kids were little. My husband works third shift and it wouldn’t have been safe to leave them home alone in the early morning hours.  Now, they are a bit older.  A bit wiser. A bit busier. This resolution fits with my life season.

The other thing I have to consider before adding something to my life is making a serious consideration of what I need to take away. My burden might be someone else’s blessing.  What doesn’t fit into the perimeters of your life any longer?  Let go so someone else can grab on.

Count your wins

Counting your wins, no matter how small they be, is a guaranteed way to track progress. Even though I hadn’t counted on adopting a cat at dark thirty Monday morning, I still got her settled, made it to the gym, shortened my workout schedule and went on with my day.  Did I win? Yes. Because I went.  Going was the goal.

What will your wins look like?

Don’t stop

When I started running, my husband said, “If you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you won’t stop.” Keep stepping and soon your resolution will graduate to a habit. And on the days you don’t feel like stepping, step anyway.  Those days are the most important to progress.

Redeeming resolutions is a simple as making the decision to start small.  One little change today. One little change tomorrow.  One big goal met a bit more down the road. Celebrate your wins.  Don’t stop stepping.

The slogan “press on” has always solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Calvin Coolidge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you trust me?

“You don’t trust me.”

Exhausted, I sit clasping the bread and the cup surrounded by people but feeling empty and alone.

“God, you’re right. I don’t. Help me trust you.”

This has been a long week.

After a few days fighting with a flu bug, my youngest Madi was hospitalized for dehydration.  It was only supposed to be 24 hours.  Compiled with a shortened work week, I was already on sick day number two of a three-day week.

But my kids will always come first.

Yet, as Thanksgiving morning dawned, two days later, her condition worsened.  She just couldn’t get over the hump. Each day I prayed for healing and each day the prayer seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Madi Hosp

It’s in these moments I realize I don’t really hold control.

And it really bugs me.

Suddenly, it’s not about me anymore.

This was the place in my heart God was speaking to.

You see, he had to remove me from the throne of my life so he could take his rightful place.

In a year of big growth, change and opportunity, God had to remind me he was still in charge.  I could whine and mope about how uncomfortable I was, but in reality, it was a thankless attitude. And now, it’s time to rebuild.

So, it’s been a couple of months since you have heard from me.  Here’s a quick update.

Madi released from the hospital the Friday after Thanksgiving. Eight straight days of vomit. If you know me well, you know this is my personal hell. I hate puke. Hate it.

Her condition amounted to nothing more than constipation. What cannot go down, goes up.

True story.

Seriously.  I’m not kidding. My kid was full of poop.

But we knew that already.

Four days later, the washer broke and by December 10th, my kids were certain we weren’t going to have a Christmas tree.

I mean, I didn’t have anywhere to put it.  We had laundry everywhere. I guess we could have strung some lights around the piles of laundry.

(insert sigh)

It was the very moment I stopped fighting for things to go my way and surrendered to the mess that God met me.

He infused me with peace.

He showed me where to start.

He provided resource.

He sent people.

He provided opportunity for service.

What started as a very complicated season turned into the simplest, most wonderful Christmas we’ve had in quite some time.

I’m continuing to learn contentment in wins both small and large.

I’m looking forward to sharing more about that with you as the month goes on.

So, if you’ve made it this far- Thank you.  I know it’s a little rusty but I promise to keep polishing as we go. Today, it was just important to start getting thoughts down on paper once more.

It’s my win for the day 🙂

 

 

 

Draining the Drama: Embracing my struggle

 

This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly all believers.” 1 Tim 4:10 NIV

“Is it necessary to go the hard way?” I ask as I squeeze my size 16 curves through a size 10 passage of a rock wall.

“Mom”, my son states in a matter of fact tone, “you have to go the hard way until it’s not hard anymore.”

Can I get an Amen?

I ponder his statement as we attempt a trail filled with steep cliffs and cozy caverns. Each step is a reminder of the demands waiting for me when I return home. I am in a season of growth. Opportunity abounds from every direction. I send a small request to God asking for relief from the burden of responsibility he has placed on my shoulders. I long for a small glimpse of his presence as I grapple with how to manage all that lies before me. I’m overpowered by good in a season when I refuse to accept anything less than Gods best.

Lord, can’t you take this from me?

Did I say yes too soon? I just want to live simply and safely under the radar. I like my comfort zone.

Lord, I don’t want to mess up again! I desperately long to get it right this time.

In this moment of distress, I sense God directing me to embrace my deficiency while allowing the power of pain to bring perspective. To position myself in the shelter of his wings while he mends my brokeness, prioritizes the pieces of his promise and makes miracles of my messes. Owning my struggle brings humility while traveling the hard way develops resilience for the roads yet to come.

I learn to pray gut honest prayers. I expose every feeling to his healing light.

I learn to power through emotions threatening to overtake me by standing firmly on truth.

I praise God for what is happening before me and I praise him for what is yet to come.

God did not create me to live under the radar. His purpose is profound and it requires much of me. Hard work when I would rather sit down to break from my toils. Sacrifice my preference for easy. Surrender my beloved to-do list in exchange for his plan and purpose for my day. God did not create me for safety. He longs to purify my heart while increasing my passion for his people.

He encourages me to continue taking the hard road until it’s not hard any longer.

We are now standing on the highest rock far above the tallest trees in the forest. There is a big picture I cannot yet see. I know one day I will. I have chosen to own the struggle knowing the creator of magnificence is traveling right by my side.

Regardless of the narrow path, victory will be mine.

 

 

Finding grace in the gaps

For 358 days of the year, I am a mostly responsible adult.  Then, day 359 sweeps in to hinder my momentum.

I wake up feeling a pit of anxiety in my tummy.  “Stay in bed”, it says.  “Nothing good is coming of this day.”

I get up anyway.

The kids, however.  Not so much.  They are still in summer break mode.  But band camp starts today. My teenager is in Mexico.  The youngest is spending her day with Grandma.  I have to leave town by eight.

But they sleep anyway.

And so goes the pace of my week.  I pull into work, send a poorly timed text to hubby which results in my son being late to his first day of band camp.  (They finally got up). My new regional made an appearance at work.  (Thank God I did my hair today). Yet I was unprepared for the visit.  Our ability to communicate is  hindered by the nerves of new relationship.  Instead of appearing competent and capable, I did my best impersonation of Ellie Mae from the cornfields.

Tuesday was spent in fast paced preparation for my half day Wednesday.  You know, school registration.

This mommy of the year registered her 2nd grader back into 1st. Might be why they couldn’t find her paperwork from last year. Please don’t judge. This is my reality.

Thursday closes the week with a big finish.  My well kept sales program is completely wiped clean from all past, present and future activities.

What am I doing today?  Only cyberspace knows.

So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world.

Ecc. 2:20

Have you had this kind of week before?

Day 359 reminds me I need grace to fill my gaps.  I can’t control my world on my own.  It’s almost as if God allows everything to fall apart as a reminder that I need him to be the glue to hold everything together.

Daily, I need to ask for an eagerness for him instead of ________(money, recognition, pride, ego).  Depart from the mediocre and seek life through his word.  Seek assurance in his promise made to those who fear him.

My worth is not measured by the worst of my days.  Restoration only occurs when I return to my rescuer.  Jesus fills my gaps with grace and assures my footing for the rocky road ahead. He is my source of wisdom and strength when everything else seems to fail.

Lord, perfect your power in my weakness.

Position my eyes upon your face.

Point my heart to your truth.

Permit your promises to manifest in my life.

Redeem even the most rotten of my days.

Amen.

 

Fighting my way to the finish line, even when it’s hard.

“People really do this for fun?”, I think to myself as I contentrate on air intake.

Breathe, 2, 3, 4

Exhale, 2, 3, 4

It’s day three of couch to 5k.  The worst day yet.  My body and my lungs are not aligning. I think it’s the piece of gum I decided to chew.  I long to sprint like a gazelle, but today, I’m resembling Jumbo the elephant.

Thump, Thump, Thump.

Is it time to walk yet?

And while we’re here, let’s talk about sports bra’s.  Are these things manufactured on the darkside by minions of the devil?

I remind myself that this is not forever, just today.  I remind myself that I have 35 years of poor habits to correct. Achieving this goal will be a process.  I envision crossing the finish line at the 5k I have signed up for in July.  I envision leading my youngest daughter’s girls on the run group next year.  I envision the size 10 waist  I will have when I reach my final weight loss goal. I envision participating alongside of my husband in the physically challenging courses he likes to run.

I envision ditching the steroid prescription I have been given to manage my asthma.

But i’m aggravated. How did I let myself get to this point?

I’m embarrassed about how hard this is to figure out when experienced runners make it look so easy. If I can barely make it through a minute, how on earth am I going to make it through 30 minutes in just a few short weeks?  Plus, I am sore in places that I don’t even want to talk about.  When will I see progress?

It’s the hard that makes me want to quit.

It’s the impossible that encourages me to stop before I start.

It’s discomfort that leads me to hide in my comfort zone.

 I must decide now that I can run after the things I want from life, or I can let them get away. Only I can decide.

A plan must be formed the moment I decide to chase a goal. My plan is my course of action to reach the goal.  My plan is my road map.  It keeps me on track. My plan reflects benchmarks as well as progress toward the finish line.

I must then set my eyes on the goal as opposed to the things I am leaving behind. When I start a new goal, I write down the reason why.  My reason why is the driving force to get me moving when I would rather sleep a little longer or park my happy hiney on the couch (sans sports bra) with a good read. My reason why redirects my attention from what I am missing to what I will be gaining.

Then I will be ready to push myself past my current limits.  In this case, I enlisted my husband as a running partner. Part for expertiece and part for accountability.  He molds my perceived weakness into perspective.  He runs along side me with patience.  He coaches when necessary.  The gum was his idea.  Hmm???

It has taken me a long time to realize that a life worth living is not driven by comfort.  It is driven by the pursuit of growth.  Every single step I take in pursuit of my goal adds a building block of character that honors the purpose God has created me for.

I firmly believe that you fight for the things that mean most to you.  My health is worth fighting for.  Time spent with my husband and kids is worth fighting for.  My dreams are worth fighting for.  I have decided running is worth my effort even when it’s a fight to reach the finish line.

 

 

 

Despite all evidence surrounding you; you’re not alone.

How pathetic am I?

It’s my only thought as I sit on an acute care bed with a nebulizer treatment hard at work and a throbbing pain in my right lower back, courtesy of the steroid shot I had just received for an exacerbated asthma condition.

Apparently, I am more allergic to Tennessee than my home state of Illinois.

After fighting a nagging cough for most of the night, I navigated a confusing stretch of roads through the pouring rain to find an urgent care in Nashville.

Here I sit.

Alone.

Fighting back tears.

Wanting someone to come along side me and say, “It’s okay. We’ll get this squared away and you’ll be good to go.”  I full well knew I just needed to pull up my big girl pants and deal with it.  I mean, this is just a glorified Doctor visit.

Yet, in midst of my pity party, I  just wanted the familiarity of home.  Someone to text.  Someone just to talk to in that moment.  I’m in Nashville for 12 hours and I already have the lyrics for my first country song.

In that bright blue room, on that hard uncomfortable bed, I prayed for God to enlighten me with peace and wisdom in that moment.  For the strength not to break down in tears.  My P.A. and Nurse were both men.  I didn’t want to add embarrassment and awkwardness to my list of pathetic.

I prayed for his word to come alive in my heart.  I prayed for God to reveal his presence.  Despite the circumstances, I am not alone.  I know that with my head yet in that moment I cannot make it resonate with my heart.

Loneliness is a common emotion believers often experience.  You don’t have to think very hard to recall stories of God’s people facing isolation and grief.  For me it comes in the most mundane situations:

In daily household chores and never-ending responsibilities.

At a table of virtual strangers in which you have little to nothing in common with.

In the midst of a long, sleepless night.

Walking through the process of pursuing a calling that God has placed on your heart.

How about you?  Can you relate?

As I prayed, Hagar came to my mind.  She was Sarai’s maid given the task of procreating with Abram in order to provide an heir.  (Did she get hazard pay for that?)  When Hagar found out she was expecting and the plan had succeeded, Hagar began to treat Sarai with disrespect.  Abram gave Sarai permission to deal with Hagar in whatever manner she chose.  Sarai chose to mistreat Hagar and Hagar fled from Sarai.

She finds herself sitting at a spring in the desert.  Can you imagine how she is feeling as the hot sun beats down? Lost.  Lonely.  Dejected.  Just needing wisdom for the next step.

In those moments, an angel appears to her at that very spring.  He tells her to go back to her mistress and submit to her.  He gives her a glimpse of the man she bears within her.  He blesses her with future children.

“You are the God who see’s me,” for she said, “I have seen the one who see’s me.”

God. See’s. Me.

God. See’s. You.

Whether sitting at a spring in the desert, a carpool line or an acute care room in Nashville, Tennessee.  God see’s me. God see’s you.

It’s in those moments of abandon that:

God reveals his presence.

He bears the wisdom and resources you need for the moment.

He blesses you when you walk in obedience to the command he has laid on your heart.

“Be strong and courageous”, became the mantra of my heart that day. “For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.”

Do not be afraid.

Do not be discouraged.

Despite the evidence surrounding you, You are not alone.

 

Sometimes, cheaters win

#Deflategate

The national icon of Superbowl 49 starring a quarterback who is said to be the best the NFL has ever seen.  A quarterback who is now accused of cheating for gain.

A dilemma to moms everywhere.

As  a mom, I constantly reinforce, “Do the right thing and you will get the right result”, to my kids.  I tell them to persevere. Even when failure seems to be lurking at every corner, a breakthrough will happen.  But, you have to work to make it happen.  Just don’t quit.  Don’t even dream of taking the easy way out.

I know I’m not alone here. We all want our kids to succeed, but we want them to do so with character.  Which means no easy road exists.  Hard work and perseverance always pay off.

So when Tom Brady was allowed to win his 6th Superbowl ring in the midst of and undecided scandal, I wont lie when I say I was deeply disappointed.

He didn’t once deny that he had given the directive to have the ball deflated.  He presented himself, polished as a politician, and gave vague answers as he sat in the hot seat of national media.  Moments of awkward silence as he likely thought of his coached answers.  The whole interview was uncomfortable to watch. The most uncomfortable part?  Trying to reconcile how to explain that sometimes cheaters win to my kids whom I am working to raise with integrity.

The thing about cheating is that it can be done easily.  Some times without recognition of the people who live and work the closest around you.  A well placed secret between you and God that allows you to advance and appear to be someone you are not.  Sometimes people catch on.  Sometimes they don’t.  But at the core of cheating is the heart of a liar.  One who covers weakness to make others believe in a façade.

And as a mom, I do not want to participate in, nor imply that this behavior is ever okay to the little eyes that may be watching.

We live in a world that is fallen. It’s ruled by a prince who came to steal, kill and destroy.  We are witness to this evidence of destruction everyday.  The good news I that we await a king who will return to bring life and life in abundance.  Peace in the midst of conflict.  Hope in situations that seem hopeless.

Tom Brady may have his fancy new ring and a little slap on the hand for a bad decision.  My beloved Michigan Wolverines may be able to brag about producing champion quality quarterbacks. But the truth will always be revealed.

Cheaters may sometimes win but the victory will be hollow and temporary.  One day, we will have to give an account for our actions.

When we make the choice to live with integrity, even when no one is looking, then we can then walk with confidence.  Never worried about something that can slip us up.

We can speak with boldness when we aren’t worried about covering our tracks or keeping our story straight.

Never give up.  Do what is right.  Confidently expect that right will win in the end.  This is the message I will continue to reinforce to my kids, even when cheaters win.

 

 

 

 

The fall of pride. A review of motives. A lesson in humility.

I stood at the altar clutching my fleece creation as I finished my call for volunteers.  I had a great project in mind and I was in need of some extra hands  to pull it off.

I met eyes with the head of personnel as I turned to exit the stage and nodded a brief hello.  Which is the exact last thing I remember before hearing a collective “OH!”, as I tumbled from the edge of the altar and on to my hands and knees.

No stairs required.

I did a quick pain check and prayed a quick prayer that God would maybe just take me away from the moment.  A little vanishing act to finish the show would certainly be appropriate.  To no avail, I stood to my feet. I looked back to the congregation with a brief wave acknowledging I was okay and immediately left the room in a rush to get back to my office.  No harm.  No foul.

A lesson in humility learned in front of an audience of about 100 people.

No biggie.

Except it was.  Because when you fall off the altar in front of the entire church, everyone wants to follow up and make sure you’re okay.  It was like reliving the fall over and over again which was a hard pill to swallow.

Because in this season of ministry, it was all about me.

How can I make a name for myself?

How can I turn heads? 

How can I win more people to my cause?

It didn’t take me long to acknowledge my error.  Let’s say this moment was the beginning of the end.  It was in the weeks and months to follow that I realized that the purpose of ministry is to point people to Jesus.  Not to me.

I told myself I was pointing people to Jesus but that was a lie.

The truth is that it fed my ego when people acknowledged me and the success we were having in our children’s ministry and my motive for taking the director position was not exactly pure.  It was a chance to make a name for myself and prove that I was not the screw up that I believed myself to be.

God did a powerful work in my life in that season.  The most powerful work occurred in his silence.  At times when I desperately needed to hear his voice for wisdom and direction, he was quiet.  He was with me, but he just didn’t have much to say.  There were many moments when I had to stand on my own against popular opinion.  There were moments when people I respected shut me out.

Yet even in silence, God is still good.

It was in those moments I knew I was running the ministry God gave me in the exact way he was calling me to run it. I wasn’t doing it for me anymore. It was all for him.  And regardless of the noise happening around me, I was at peace.

At the end of that season, I left the ministry he gave me and started a new chapter in my life.  A new church.  It was a while before I got involved in a new ministry.  This time, I wanted my service to be different.  I wanted my service to be for him.  So I waited.  Nearly two years I waited.  At some points, I felt that maybe I had burned my bridges, so to speak.  I had my chance.  No more doors would be opening for me.

The thing about God is that he is not finished with me. Even now.

 In that time of waiting, I have rebalanced my priorities.  I have prayed.  I have reconnected with him. Even though I’m still under construction, he is starting to open doors for me once more.  Not only for me, but for my family as well.

I am done forcing open doors and windows of opportunities for service.  When ministry starts to feel like a burden, I do a heart check.

Is this really where I am supposed to serve or am I blocking someone else’s opportunity to serve joyfully? 

Does my choice to serve in this capacity offer an opportunity to point people to God? 

 Is this just an opportunity to make a name for me?

Each day I wake up and ask for ways to serve the Lord.  I am grateful for every opportunity he gives me, even when I receive no earthly recognition for my efforts. I ask God for a heart of contentment in knowing that I am his fragrance here on earth.  The girl longing for recognition still lives inside of me.  But with prayer and intentional surrender, God helps me to keep my focus where it belongs.

On Him.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
1 Peter 4: 1-2

The bravest hearts come in small packages

We pull in to the K-Mart parking lot in Freeport, just outside of Applebee’s.  I can feel the tears burning my eyes. I’m trying to be strong but failing miserably.  I take off my seatbelt as I glance in the rearview mirror.  My Chloe, then third grader, was folded over crying silently.  I look over at my husband as he gets out of our magic van.  He pops open the side door as I walk around to take the driver seat.

This is where we say goodbye. I wish I had a fast forward button I could push.  I’m really not ready for this.

“Dad”, our 5 year old Lucas says, “Chloe is just afraid that this is the last time she is going to see you before you die.  But I know that Jesus is going with you and he is going to kick the bad guys butts.”

I will live and die to claim that these are and will be the hardest words I will ever heard one my kids say.  The hardest moment I have ever had to move through. We were prepared physically. In the last few weeks, we had attended every family meeting the national guard had offered.  We got our financial affairs in order.  Arranged for activities to keep the kids busy.  My work schedule altered to accommodate my new single mom status.

We planned for the worst while expecting the best.  But no one told me how to walk away. To leave my man behind to go and fight a war while I proceeded forward with my regularly scheduled life.

Yet, in that moment of brokenness, sheer wisdom came from the mouth of our kindergartener.

You’re not going alone. 

Jesus is with you.  

Jesus has your back.

When our greatest fears threaten to paralyze us, we have to stand on the fact that the power of God will fuel us with exactly the thing we need to move us toward his purpose, even when all evidence says we can’t.

He gave a stuttering murderer the power to part the red sea with his staff.

He projected a rock from the sling of a small boy to the exact coordinates needed to slay a giant.

He arranged a marriage for a pregnant, unwed teen mom that her reputation & future would be restored so she could fulfill her “yes” to him.

He granted his son the power to defeat a sinners death on the cross that all who believed could live in relationship with him.

He granted peace of mind to a 5 year old boy and his family that was separating for deployment.

What is paralyzing you today?

What is that thing you are facing that leaves your palms sweating?

What is the thing that leaves your stomach in knots of anxiety?

God is there.  He has gone before you.  He is with you now.

He has already kicked bad guy butt.

Allow his mighty power to move on your behalf today.