Monday, April 14, 2014

Unthinkable {finding hope in the midst of grief}

That night the phone rang and the news was terrible.  That a story reserved for far away evening news reports had happened close to home and our children had suddenly and violently lost a friend.

That across town a mama went home on crutches to a house with an empty bedroom because the lady in the swerving car, she just had to get behind the wheel full of alcohol and empty of sense.  In one awful moment a boy who was helping his mama change a flat tire was taken.  And his twelve year old sister saw the whole thing.

This hurts.  This is true, biting pain.

And in this pain we struggle.   As the pastor said this morning to a roomful of quiet, grieving teenagers, this is where what we know about God in our head becomes real.

This is where our faith becomes solid...or it shatters.

Because in these awful, tragic days either God is real or He is not.

Either God is good, or He is a tyrant.

Either Heaven will be worth it all, or this life is just a cruel, painful joke.

These kids are wrestling.  Who am I kidding?  We are all wrestling.  And, like Jacob, we walk with a limp.  We stumble to the throne and fight for hope, fight for purpose when it all just seems senseless and unfair.

"He was so nice, mom," said my son.

So nice.  The giver, the funny one, the one who volunteered when no one else would, the one who took my boy around on his first day at the tutorial and made sure he met eveyone.

So nice.

And we wonder why and we shake our fists and God, He meets us right there.
With eyes full of kindness and tears running down because, even when Jesus knew the ending of the story, when He knew what He was about to do for Lazarus who lay bound in the grave, He wept.

He wept.  And so do we.

And the end of the story?  The end is redemption, reckoning.  The end is the ceasing of the madness and the ever-thickening darkess because our King...He is coming soon.

Yes, even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Stones of Remembrance: Finding the Fight Within




This past weekend I was part of a wonderful retreat for adoptive mamas called "Made to Love." Oh my, y'all.  

It. Was. Heavenly.  
A dozen sisters in Christ relaxing lakeside over Waffles, coffee, and S'mores, (not necessarily in that order!) deep conversations and tears as we realized the depth of the kindred spirits around us truly refreshed my soul...I came home rested, truly rested.

I am SO looking forward to the next one!  :)

Saturday night I shared what I felt the Lord wanted me to say to encourage these precious women.  It was so humbling to sit before these women, most of whom probably could teach me much more than I could teach them, and remind them of God's faithfulness and the strength they have in Christ.

I'm sure I talked WAY too fast.

Below are the notes I wrote as I prepared for my talk. I promised I would post them here and I hope they are a blessing to you. God is faithful, sweet friends.   




Stones of Remembrace
{Finding the Fight Within}

Hab. 3:19...
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

Trusting God sounds easy and good when we are waiting for our children, doesn’t it? But what about when that child, who you fought long and hard for, rejects you? What about when they appear to despise you and resist your affection? What if parenting and LOVING your child is nothing like you thought it would be and you feel like you are running on empty with nothing left to give...stretched thin and on the verge of falling apart?

What if you are at the end of your rope?

That is when you go to the altar...built of the stones you have gathered along the way.

In the book “Hinds Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard, a girl named Much Afraid learns to do that very thing.  Accompanied, against her better judgement, by her companions named Sorrow and Suffering she walks through obstacle after obstacle as she pursues the High Places…the place where the Shepherd, whom she adores, will transform her and give her the feet of a deer, able to climb and leap and run on jagged rocks and steep cliffs with grace and ease.  She passes through the desert, battles pride, fear, injury, and loneliness, and after surviving to continue her quest reaches down and picks up a single stone to remember the struggle and how the Shepherd brought her through.  Finally she uses those stones of remembrance to build an altar upon which she sacrifices the human love that has taken root in her heart, which is faulty and frail, as a burnt offering.  Upon it’s painful removal, Much Afraid goes down into the healing stream where: her feet are transformed into Hind’s feet (Like the feet of a deer), her name is changed from Much Afraid to Grace and Glory, and the stones of remembrance become beautiful jewels as she is given new companions...Joy and Peace.

I read this book 15 years ago when I was in the darkest days of infertility. I saw the mirror image of myself in Much Afraid. When she reached the desert and wept at the endless expanse of dry and bare sand before her, I wept.  Actually, I sobbed.  I knew that feeling of hopelessness, I was living it and burdened by it as I prayed and prayed for just one child…unable at the time to understand why God had given me this burning need to be a mother, why He supposedly created my body to bear children yet none would ever be birthed from me, and why He made becoming a mom (for me) so very difficult. 
Then, with the rollercoaster of highs and lows accompanying each adoption, I doubted my ability to do what God had asked. But every time He has given us a child He has overcome the impossible to bring them into our family. Every time, I have looked in the mirror and seen the flaws, the weaknesses, the unfinished things littering my past and struggled to believe that He could possibly use me with all of my baggage to raise up one child in the way He wants them to be raised, yet He has given me five of them.

He has brought me through huge deserts, forced me to admit my (major) control issues, plunged me into deep seasons of loneliness, fear and intense spiritual warfare, and shown over and over again that this journey He has set me on is not (and has never been) about me. It is about Him and His purposes.  It is about modeling, for the world to see, a tiny slice of Heaven here on earth.  It is about proving to a world that doubts and dismisses the Grace of God that He does not wait until we are “cleaned up” or “holy enough” to use us, but that He uses us and...in the process...cleans us up and makes us holy.

The battle that rages around families who follow God’s call for them to adopt is all too real. Some may think we are seeking attention or being prideful when we talk about how special adopted children are, but I believe adoption is one of the greatest spiritual battles we will ever face.   And the battle does not end when we arrive home. 

Bringing our child home is just the beginning of a lifetime of fighting for our children. Our kids, our entire families, are targets for an enemy who does not fight fair. We must be on guard, willing to see that there is more than meets the eye when our children struggle.   Satan uses their stories against them and it takes an incredible amount of prayer and faith, along with spiritual blood, sweat and tears to walk our kids through the attacks on their hearts and minds and teach THEM to fight in the name of Jesus. 
Read Habakkuk 3:19 as written in the Amplified Bible:

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! 
Hab. 3:19 (AMP)

He equips us NOT to stand still in terror, but to WALK!

This journey of faith, this journey of motherhood, is a long and winding path. It is hard and it may always be hard. But God has not called us to easy, has He? He has called us to take up our cross and follow Him.

Luke 9:23-24
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.


What does that look like in the life of an adoptive mom? How do we continue to persevere, day after day, when our families seem to be continuously in the crosshairs of the enemy’s target?

We do it by pulling the stones out of our pocket and choosing to remember the faithfulness of God.

There are many stones in my pocket, as I know there are in yours.

Take one now.
Look at it.
What comes to mind when you turn it over in your hand?
What story of God’s faithfulness in your life are you thinking of?
Feel the weight.
Feel the warmth.
In every trial there is the moment that you realize you are at the end of yourself.
Think of the moment you were fully aware that there was absolutely nothing more that could be done by you.
Remember how you felt.
Remember when you realized that, truly, the only thing you could do at that
point was pray and beg God to intervene.
Remember when He said yes, when He intervened.
This stone, the one you hold in your hand, is a reminder that He did.
God did intervene.

He has proven HImself faithful in the past and now He has called you to take up your cross and follow Him.
Follow Him into rejection…
by your child,
by your friends,
by members of your family,
maybe even by your church.
Follow Him into the difficult dance of attachment, the heartbreak of struggling to love a child who is afraid to love you and will do anything to make you leave. Follow Him into the teen years, the hormones and hard questions and the uncertainty of exactly what will become of our kids, these kids we fought so hard and long for.

Follow Him into the darkness and fall on your knees beside your child’s bed, just like Jesus in Gethsemene.

The enemy roars.
He is after you. He hates you, your children your marriage, adoption and everything it stands for in the Kingdom of Heaven. He does not fight fair and he intends to destroy your family and the legacy God has begun. The battle is exhausting, painful, terrifying, filled with danger and the threat of defeat.

But when you follow Jesus, taking up your cross, though you pray the cup will pass,
though you are Much Afraid
you KNOW in the depths of your soul that,
though the pain is great and the sacrifice cuts deep,
though you will bleed and be utterly alone in the darkness…
that you will submit to His will.

Luke 22:42
Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.


Think back to your early days as a believer.
Did you have the maturity that you have now?
Did you love God well and accept everything He told you without question or pushback or attempting to have things your way?
Were you instantly a perfect reflection of the character of Jesus Christ? I know I wasn’t.
We have to remember, as we raise up our kids, how God refined us.
God used pain, loss, fear, and doubt to bring me to the cross.
He allowed me to wallow in the depths of sin and become utterly miserable so that I could recognize my need for Him.
He allowed me to be shackled by the bonds of legalism and rebellion so that I could be brought to the place where my heart was ready to be set free and my spirit could receive His Grace.

But He gave me stones of remembrance along the way so now, when I fear for my children, when I see their hearts grow stubborn or cold and their eyes refuse to meet mine, I can put my hand in the hand of my King and trust that my Heavenly Father who rescued me when I appeared to all the world to be running from Him will do EXACTLY the same with my children.

GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO FIGHT FOR YOUR KIDS JUST AS HE FOUGHT FOR YOU.

If you walk away with nothing else today, I want you to know that your Father in Heaven has given you everything you need in Christ to fight.

YOU MUST FIGHT for your children in the name of Jesus and by the power of His Resurrection! If you don’t do it, who will?  Take your children by the hand and teach THEM to stand and face the Enemy head-on because the battle has already been won on the cross.  You are their mama for a very good reason, God did NOT make a mistake, and you have been given all authority in the spiritual realm to stand in the gap for your children.
DO NOT BACK DOWN.
Record the victories and gather stones when God shows Himself in the midst of your battles. Then, when you are weary, when you are afraid, or when you doubt pull out a stone from your pocket and remember His faithfulness. 

When the enemy whispers lies and tempts you to give up, tell you that your prayers are worthless, you hurl that stone at his face and yell “NO! God IS faithful and I know this is true because I have the proof right here!”

When you do not feel love for your child, pick up a stone and ask Him to make you a vessel for His love and pour it into the wounded places in their heart.
When you feel rejected by your child, pick up a stone and remember how He accepted you despite your sin and depravity and ask Him to cause you to accept and love your child unconditionally.
If (and when) your family is under attack, pick up a stone and ask the Lord to reveal the true enemy, to help you rebuke him and his minions in the name of Jesus and to fill your home, your heart, and the hearts of your children with the light of Christ.

Finally, I challenge you with this:

Jer. 1:8
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.

Psalm 103:11-14
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

He knows we are weak. It is not a surprise to Him! He intended all along for us to be completely dependent on Him!  He is not fooled by the socially acceptable, airbrushed versions of life that we put on Facebook. He knows our faults, yet He is calling us to get down on our knees and get dirty for the sake of our families. You have what it takes to be a prayer warrior for your children because God has called you to do it.

Remember: He always equips those He calls.

Do not be afraid.
Be ready for battle, wielding prayer like a stone placed in a slingshot.
The stone can only bring down the enemy when it is launched.
Take aim.
Your God is mighty to save.
He has given you many stones in your pocket.
Your God has called you into the heat of battle.
Go. In the power of the risen Savior. In His strength, never your own.

Find the fight within and step boldly into the battle.

Eph. 3:14-21

...For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened
with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.
Amen.



Preparing Hearts

I look at my calendar with a bit of trepidation, for Lent is about to begin.  Ever since Christmas I have looked forward to this season.  Spring and growth and the greening of the South as the season of Resurrection begins have brought me through the bitter cold of Winter and I've planned our observance for weeks.

But lately I've felt dry.  Tired.  Worn thin.  We've been too busy and this non-type A girl doesn't function well at high velocity.  Down time is hard to find and the first thing to go when I am too busy is my alone time with Jesus.

Stupid, stupid me.  

But Lent is about to begin, and I feel the hope already.  Fasting is becoming a friend, and this year I will be putting sugar on the shelf...giving up the sweet to remember the bitterness of His suffering.  Even a few of my kids are joining in their own way which makes me happy and hopeful that they will feel the Lord drawing near to them as they fast.  

Yes, Lord, draw near.

 I need Him so desperately.  I too easily allow myself to run dry and regret it every single time.  I sigh and complain and look at all the responsibility weighing on my heart, letting it overwhelm me and rob me of sleep (and joy) and He clicks His tongue, because I'm supposed to let Him carry it.  HIS yoke is easy.  Mine is not.  He has made the tradeoff, yet I refuse to pry my stubborn fingers from the wheel and then whine when I veer off course.  He has the solution bought and paid for, but I continually cheapen the gift.

Stupid, stupid me.

So I look forward to Lent this year in a different way than I have before.  I look forward to the intentional withdrawal and the lighting of candles as I seek His presence, to quiet moments with Jesus and black coffee.  To Spring and Palm Sunday  and Good Friday and, oh the glory of Easter!  

The tomb stands empty, waiting to be filled so that it can be gloriously empty again!


May our hearts be captured anew.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

When the Storm Threatens your Sanity

Bike Helmets
Organic Food
GMO Free Groceries
Grass Fed Beef
Free Range Chicken
Natural Medicine
Car Seats
Knee Pads
Hand Sanitizer
Antibacterial Everything

We go to great lengths to protect our children.  We read labels and research the heck out of just about anything that can go in, on, or around our kids.  We love them and naturally want them to have the very best chance at growing up and living a long, healthy, productive life.

There is nothing wrong with any of the things I listed above.  Each one of them is part of my parenting reportoire.  But one thing I have noticed as I talk to friends and peruse social media is a general lack of balance.  In our effort to weed out the unhealthy and attempt an injury free childhood we often become hyper-focused on preventing illness and pain and lose focus on the One who loves our babies more than we do.  After all, didn't He create them?  Didn't He go to great lengths to make them ours?  

Didn't He die for them?

We make an idol out of food, safety, health, education...you name it.  If it can be carved into an idol, we will find a way to do it.

So I just want to give us all a little reminder:  If we spend more time researching ways to keep our kids safe and healthy than in the Word of God, we have it backwards.  If our first response to fear regarding our children is not falling on our knees in prayer, but Googling "what to do when your child..." then we may be guilty of trying to assume the position of God in the lives of our kids.  

I know I have been.  It is a common battle.

Look at the criticism of King Asa in the Old Testament:
2 Chron. 16:12 says, "In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians."

Now my dear hubby is in the medical field, so I most definitely believe in the healing power of medicine!  I am NOT saying to stop seeing doctors when you are sick!  But doctors are not God.  They are limited in their healing powers by the very fact of their humanity.  If we truly believe in the power of prayer, if we truly believe God hears us, then why is so hard to use prayer as our first resort?

Why do we ever say the phrase, "All I can do is pray" after we have exhausted all earthly options?

Prayer is everything in the life of a thriving Christ-follower.  Prayer is unleashing the power of God into our lives and the live of those we love the most.  I believe the polar opposite of worry is prayer.  Prayer forces us to let go of the worry, to hand it over to our Father and let Him carry it.  It pries open our stubborn fingers and exposes the very heart of our fears for our families.

The world is going crazy.  Our kids are growing up in an incredible storm of immorality and pressure to walk away from the Faith of their Fathers.  Without the power of the Holy Spirit they will never be able to stand. Just thinking about what my kids face that didn't even exist when I was a child can send my mama-heart into a tailspin.  

But God is the One who will calm the storm if only we will trust.  He promises that we are engraved in the palm of His hands, that He will never leave us or forsake us...or our kids.  He promises that all things work for GOOD to them that love Him and are called according to His purpose.  He tells us that He had determined their days before even one of them came to be.

He promises that in the end, no matter how epic the struggle and how rocky the journey, Heaven will be worth it all.

Do I believe that?  Really?  Do I trust when my son falls off the monkey bars and gets a concussion that it is ok for him to continue playing on the monkey bars because he is a BOY?  Do I trust when I live in a city with a known problem of sex trafficking that I can let my kids play outside and ride their bikes because they are KIDS and God says He has not given us a spirit of fear?  I cannot keep my children in a padded room.  I am already homeschooling which protects them from many, many situations that could be harmful to them.  But I can only protect them from so much before I stunt their growth and prevent the maturity that God wants to foster in their lives.  I must exercise wisdom and teach my kids how to make good choices and protect themselves from predators, but I also have to let them face struggles and, sometimes, danger in order to become capable, confident adults.  I have to let them be kids and stop idolizing the ideal put forth on Facebook and other forms of media that promotes the notion of children needing to be protected from every possible form of adversity or injury.

Please.

The truth is, no matter what kind of car seat you use, your child could still be injured in an accident.  No matter how many GMO's you cut out of their diet, you child could still develop cancer.  No matter how many pads your child wears when riding their bike, they could still break their leg and spend 6 weeks in a cast.

We live in a fallen world.  Redemption is coming...it is closer every day...but it is not here yet.

Not just yet.

We must let God be God.  Let Him be their cushion when they fall.  Let Him be their healer when they are ill. Let Him be their protector when danger looms.  He has proven Himself faithful over and over again. Nothing is beyond His reach.  Nothing is beyond His power.  

I need this reminder.  No matter how hard and dark the future may seem, (and I know too many of my precious sisters who do face a difficult future with your families due to illness, special needs, etc) there is a LIGHT at the end.  He promises us that Redemption is coming and one day soon all of this struggle and storm will end.  One day soon we will have absolutely nothing to worry about.

I, for one, can hardly wait.





Friday, March 21, 2014

Blocked

There is some major writer's block going down right now.  We have been on the road with various kids' activities for almost two week and are finally home for a while.  The busyness of life has threatened to overwhelm me as we struggle to get back on a normal schedule and finish the last quarter strong.

So you would think I have plenty to write about, wouldn't you?

But my mind has been occupied and the laundry threatens to take over my bedroom.  And living room.  And kitchen.  Travel fatigue has persisted and I'm sure one (maybe all) of them is going through a growth spurt. Maybe I'M going through a growth spurt because I am TIRED!

Two out of five are fighting colds, one is officially sick, and the trees are releasing pollen much to the chagrin of all our sinuses.  The dogs are shedding and I have a retreat coming up soon that is heavy on my heart (I'm teaching a precious small group of women...so excited!) and did I mention we were out of town for over a week?

That can only mean one thing.  Mama boot camp, aka "get the kids to start following rules again,"

Because they seem to thing this whole "watch movies for hours" thing should continue.

It shall not because t is now officially spring and the first commandment of our home is "get thee outside when the temps are warm!"

Hallelujah!

So, until inspiration hits (and you can ask God to do that because I really don't want to write about me), or we have a rainy day I may be a sporadic writer at best.

If you have any suggestions for a topic, feel free to share!

Happy weekend, friends!  :)


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why are you here?



He is the image of the invisible God; 
the firstborn of all creation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth
visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities-
all things were created through him and for him.
And he is before all things, 
and in him all things hold together.
Col. 1:15-17

This morning, when I read this passage, my heart was drawn to the last part of verse 17...in him all things hold together.  I shared what the Lord showed me on my Facebook page and mulled it over as I prepared breakfast.  In HIM all things hold together, including me.  
When the time came to begin our school day we settled into the comfort of our family room, little hands busy and blankets draped around chilly shoulders.  I read this passage aloud, intending to focus on that point, that Jesus holds us together, but my second time through was different.  There is something about reading aloud that brings to light parts of a story that might have otherwise been skimmed over or overlooked completely.

"All things were created through him and for him," I read.  "Guys, what does 'all things' mean?"

"Us?" said my 9 year old.

"Yes!  Us!  YOU were created through Jesus, FOR JESUS!
Not for fun or happiness, not for doing your own thing your way.  You were created FOR HIM.  That means that there is something He made YOU, specifically, to do.  "

Eyes were on me, sort of understanding but not really seeing why this is earth-shattering news.  They are, after all, in Sunday school each week.  They've heard this.

"Think about it.  If you wanted to be a doctor you would go to medical school, right?  Would you go to medical school to be a gymnast?  Of course not!  It would be a huge waste of time and money!  Doctors spend years training to do their job, and no one would go to all that trouble and then do something completely unrelated.  When they finish their training they look for jobs that will allow them to use their skills.

That is how we are.  We were created with a purpose.  If we look at decisions, like what classes to take or who to choose as friends, through the lens of WHY we were created then it will make our decisions so much easier.

You can look at the choice ahead of you and ask yourself if this lines up with the purpose for which you were created."

If only I had known that when I was young.  What heartache and confusion I might have been spared!  But what joy I have now to have the opportunity to instill this truth into my children...that they were made BY JESUS, FOR JESUS.  Oh, how I pray they get this.  I pray this truth penetrates their hearts and gives them a burning desire to seek their God-given destiny and settle for nothing less than God's perfect path for their lives.  Whether they end up as plumbers or professors, missionaries or mamas, I pray they realize why they are here.  Whether God's call brings adventure and intrigue or load-upon-load of laundry I hope they do it all as unto Him and find deep satisfaction in walking out His purpose for them in such a time as this.

tree lined path road pink buds spring
Photo Credit
Yes, Lord, that is my prayer.  For them...and for me.

Especially when I backtrack just a few verses, to the context from which this truth emerges:  

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, 
asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will 
in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  
so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, 
fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work
 and increasing in the knowledge of God.  
May you be strengthened with all power, 
according to his glorious might, 
for all endurance and patience with joy,  
giving thanks to the Father, 
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  
Col. 1:9-12

And it all boils down to this:  
May we...His Bride, His beloved...walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him because we are keenly aware in the deepest parts of our hearts of why we are here.  May we be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light!  This, my friends, this inheritance...we can look at it as a spiritual doctorate.  We are qualified...so let's seek "employment" that fully uses the skills and gifts that God has given us!  We are here to bring hope and light to an ever-darkening world.  We are here for Jesus.  Period.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Magnifying the Song

The wind howls through the winter-bare trees on an unusually warm February night.  Rockers creak on the old wood as little girls nervously push back on the balls of their feet, trying to be excited like mama but really a bit afraid.  The forecaster barks warnings, impending danger from the East and my heart oddly leaps.

I love thunderstorms.

The tall trees sway and whisper of its coming.  My littlest girl starts banging chairs impatiently and I advise her to relax, to listen.   Listen to the wind and hear the beautiful song being sung.  Feel the power contained in the roar and don't rush it.  Just sit back, close your eyes and listen, sweet girl.  Thunderstorms are powerful.  If you listen, you will hear it.  Just be still.

Just be still.

Creation declares the glory of God.  Whether in the clear blue of summer sky, the majesty of snow-capped mountains, or in the menacing arrival of a thunderstorm God is proclaimed.  Storms like this make me feel like the throne room of God has descended to hover near.

  "From the throne came flashes of lightning and rumbles and peals of thunder..."  Rev. 4:5

"Is that rain?" asks my middle girl.  The last stubborn leaves break loose in the gust of wind and hit the ground.  I can smell the rain on the wind.  

"Not yet."

She loses patience and skips into the house.

Suddenly I am alone on the porch and I hear Him whisper to my heart.  I can almost hear the angels crying, "Holy, holy, holy."  He is near.  

Such power and majesty is displayed by our God.  Often we hide in fear, running for shelter and worrying about the safety of those we love.  Often we ask Him to show Himself in the midst of our suffering, then shy away when He does just that because sometimes He shows Himself in ways that do not make sense

Sometimes He allows things to get worse before they get better in order to open our ears fully to what He is saying.  

He brings us to the point of desperation where we are forced to stop because we have nothing more we can do.  We are brought to our knees and can only be still before Him.  But then...

Stillness magnifies the natural, like a phonograph pumping music from a scratchy record into a grand ballroom.  The record spins but the horn never moves.  It hovers at the point of contact, picking up the vibrations in the needle and magnifying them.  When we are still before the Lord, stopping in the midst of crazy and choosing to listen, we become like that horn that is so simple yet so vital to the performance of the machine.  We tune our ear to the One thing as the world spins wildly around us, and He calls forth the beautiful through us and puts it on display.   Focused listening chooses to drown out the noise and magnify the music.
phonograph victor vintage antique record horn music
Collection of John Lampert-Hopkins


If you are in the path of a storm, stop for a moment and listen.  In the midst of the swirling chaos there is likely a song.  He is near.  Always near.  He wants to sing to you, over you, and through you.  He wants you in the place where you have stopped chasing and learned to trust Him to create the song.  His yoke is easy.  His burden is light.  

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  (Matt. 11:28)

He doesn't say he "might" give you rest.  He doesn't say he will think about it.  He certainly doesn't say He'd like to but, "Sorry, I'm all out of rest today. " He will.  He WILL.

He WILL give you rest.