The Wave

Every Mother experiences the "dropoff emotions" at some point in her mothering career.  You know the crazy emotions you feel when you drop your kid off at Kindergarten, a playdate, a Sunday school classroom... c-o-l-l-e-g-e.  Sometimes it is difficult, there are tears, long hugs, and delayed exits.  Other times you pretty much want to kick them out of your moving swagger wagon and wave your arm out the driver's side window as you pull away.

I had one of these goodbyes this morning.  Mine was a tender and precious moment that I want to savor for a very long time.  There were no tears or a speedy dropoff, just a simple departure.  I walked up to the check-in for tennis camp, thinking my son would need me for something (even if it was just moral support).  He signed himself in, gave me a glance that said "see ya later Mom", and off he went to tennis camp.

I turned and headed for my van but, something stopped me.  I turned on my heel to watch him as he wandered into the tennis court, racket in one hand, grabbing a ball with the other.  No one ran to greet him and he wasn't looking for anyone, yet he walked with a quiet confidence.  I watched him as he headed over to the furthest tennis court to start practicing.
[Here's the part where I hope other Mom's can relate
to my "dropoff emotions"!]
As I stood there, I was instantly thrown into this private conversation between my heart and my brain...

Brain.  He looks so cute out there.  I'm glad he's enjoying it.
Heart.  Why isn't anyone talking to him?
Brain.  He's shy, he doesn't seek people out.
Heart.  Oh my gosh, is he nervous?  Afraid?
Brain.  He just got on the court, you spaz!!!
Heart.  What if he doesn't make any friends?  These kids need to know how amazing my kid is!

As this conversation is going on in my head (literally seconds long), my sweet boy notices his Mama standing by the fence.  This is my favorite part....  he looks at me for a second and then lifts his hand in a quick, cool wave and carries on with his tennis.  Oh my heart.  I don't know why but, this struck me as precious as pie.  His wave said so many things to me... Mom, I'm alright, you can go.  Mom, I love you and I'm not too cool to wave at you.  Mom, thanks for watching, I see you.

As I drove home, I thought about how God is always standing and watching me with nothing but massive love.  He waits patiently until I turn to Him.  He never leaves and He never worries, He just watches.  He's there when I need him.  His heart fills with absolute joy when I turn and "wave" at Him.  He. Loves. Me.
But the Lord longs to show you his favor.He wants to give you his tender love.
(Isaiah 30:18a)
 As I pick my kid up from tennis camp, I ask him to tell me all about his day.  Ya know, the usual Mom question drill.  This was his response:
"I learned how to make my face look like a waffle!"

Recycled Checklist

Over the past 4-5 months, my heart has been rocked by a new truth.  The truth that where I end up after this life, is not dependent on what I do.

I have been exposed to Christian ideals, practices, and teachings since I took my first breath.  It wasn't until I hit an "adolescent low" late in my teenage years that I made the choice to live for Jesus. I must confess, at the time that only encouraged me to create a mental "do-good checklist".  The list included things like, go to church every Sunday, follow the 10 Commandments, do your daily devotions, pray before meals, and on and on.  I  studied deeper theology in college and filled my brain with knowledge. The big problem was 14".  The inches from my head to my heart were disconnected.

I've heard a lot of "Do this! Do that!" preaching that continues to add more to my spiritual checklist, all with good intentions, I'm sure. But.

I'm over it. My checklist is being recycled.

I am tired of feeling guilt because I didn't join an official community group or go on a missions trip.  Loving Jesus means being on mission where I am, where He has called me.  I no longer want to live by trying to fulfill man's agenda for a spiritual life.
I just want to live by Jesus' checklist, "LOVE ME and KNOW ME".
That is all I have to do, love & know Jesus.

What God has placed in my heart should compel me to move.  When Jesus was faced with a hungry crowd of people at the end of a long day, he saw their need for food, he felt compassion for them, and he moved into action (Mark 8:1-13).  He was on mission right where he stood.
I am hearing a lot of move and you will know God.
I want to know God and move.
I could feed a city of hungry people, I could travel into the depths of a third world country, I could serve a million Sundays in the nursery at church, I could give away every penny I have in the name of Jesus and none of it would change my eternal status.  If He calls me to something, I will go.  No more feeling pressure from others to do what is outside of God's plan for me.  He is the author of my days and because he wrote the world into existence, I will trust him.

In Titus 3:5-7, it says that Jesus came to save me.  No way did I earn it by good works or righteous deeds, he came out of mercy.  He revealed a new life through the Holy Spirit by giving up his life for mine.  Its already been done, covered by Jesus' blood.  Out of God's grace I am allowed to enter His family and become His heir, for eternity.  So there is no amount of service projects I can do that will save me more than I've already been saved.  Its like trying to climb a mountain when I've already reached the top!
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith ~ and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God ~ not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Oh, it's on, this is war.

I strongly believe there is an unseen battle raging all around us. I know this sounds wacko and bordering on conspiracy theory, just listen up anyway.  No matter your religious beliefs, everyone knows of good and evil.  We see it played out in our lives and constantly on the big screen like 

Woody and Buzz v. Emperor Zurg.  

Did you know there is a battle happening right now as you read my post? Oh yes, there are forces waging an all out war to win your soul.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

No joke. This stuff is real.  I've felt the battle surround me with a breath-stealing weight that carries with it an umbrella of overwhelming heaviness. Nothing visible to run from or to confront head on, just darkness in a fluorescent-lit room.  

This is not an anxiety attack, a depression swing, or PMS.  This is, without a doubt, spiritual war. I have felt this darkness surround me a handful of times in my life and I usually notice the following:

1. I am about to hear or share about The Gospel (or someone near me is about to hear it).

2. I am doubting my faith in God or something about His character.

3. I am separated from others. (Like the baby gazelle who can't run fast enough to escape the lion!)

Let me share a very recent example from tonight. I am a youth group leader and we meet every Wednesday night.  We start off the evening with some social-chatty time, then begin worship. After worship there is a brief teaching/sharing time and then we move out into smaller groups. I have made it a habit, during song time, to pray over the nights festivities.  I pray for the students, the band, the leaders, everyone in that place, I lift 'em up. Tonight, I couldn't even bring myself to sing. I stood there in the back of the room checking my pulse because seriously, I like to sing loud and give glory to the Most High.  That's when I felt it.  It rolled over me like a soft, feather comforter, slow, heavy, and almost choking.  As the worship music played on and I watched these awesome high schoolers lifting their hands and

dancing like David, I felt as if I had disappeared and all I could feel was the weight of the room.  I immediately began to pray and I prayed hard.  I texted a friend to ask her help in prayer because this felt big and a tad scary. I was trembling in knowing that God's Army was fighting against the Enemy and that Hell would lose.  As the worship set came to an end and a friend shared his testimony, I could still feel the darkness over me, I continued my prayers. I could feel with each step as we walked to our corners of the church, the heavy weight was leaving me. I couldn't even talk about what had just happened to those around me. There was a peace and an understanding of what just took place, I knew my words couldn't explain it.  I may never know what that particular battle was about but, I am thankful God allowed me to feel it. To know it.  There are endless amounts of those wars happening daily and we just have no idea.  Roadblocks to keep us from walking into truth.

So here's the deal. If you haven't ordered up a straight jacket for me yet, thank you. I need you to understand that I absolutely believe in a God who loves each of us with a supernatural, pure, unfailing love.  He has an unimaginable army fighting for our souls with every breath we take and He. Is. Relentless.  Once you get to know Him, you will see that He does impossible things all the time.

Make a case against those who struggle with me, Eternal One.
Battle against those who battle against me. Be my shield and protection;
stand with me and rescue me!
Draw the spear and javelin to meet my pursuers.
Reassure my soul and say, “I will deliver you.” (Psalm 35:1-3)

How do we protect ourselves in this battle to win our hearts? Armor.

Soldiers don't go into war without preparation, training, and gear, right?  I'm talking helmet, sword, breastplate, boots, and shield (find out more details about this armor in Ephesians 6:10-18). We HAVE to cover ourselves in prayer everyday, we must live by our faith, there is no doubt we must read God's Word to know our true Commander-In-Chief.

I know what you've just read sounds a little crazy (or a lot crazy) but, I ask that you consider what I say is true. If there is a war happening for your heart, don't you want to know who's fighting for you?  And more importantly, what happens when there is a victory?

How to support your husband in 1 easy step!

This morning, I prayed something bold.  My request was that my husband would love the Lord more than his family, more than me.
LUKE 10: 27
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
MARK 12:30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
When something is repeated multiple times, I listen.  In one simple act of obedience, love and support, we can pray this over our husbands.  That's it, just pray for your husband (or husband to be).  Pray that your husbands heart would be captured to love the Lord with all his soul, strength, and mind.

I want my husband to deeply know God more than anything else on earth.
I want my husband to find strength in the supernatural power of our God.
I want my husband to seek wisdom from the Almighty who has seen and heard it all from the beginning of time.
I want my husband to know the character of God and to strive to be more like Christ.

When my husband takes on the character of Christ, whoa Baby.  My Man is the sexiest thing on earth.  Go ahead, shout Amen, Lady Friends!  There is nothing more attractive to me than when my husband displays Godly character.

I challenge you Girlfriends, pray over your husbands daily.  Let me repeat... every single day, pray for your husband.  They fight battles we will never understand as women.  Our husbands have been established as the leaders of our home (Ephesians 5:22-33) and we need to come alongside of them to support them as best we can.

I understand some of you reading this may not have a strong marriage.  You may be at the end of your rope and ready to call it quits.  Take on my challenge.  Begin to pray over your husband, over your marriage.

There also may be someone reading this who has not yet met her Prince Charming.  You can still be praying over him!  (God knows exactly who he is, where he is and when you two will meet!  How exciting is that?)

I came across this great way to pray for your husband "from head to toe", by Sharon Jaynes:
Dear Lord, today I pray for my husband, from head to toe.
  • His Head –That he will look to You as Lord of his life. (1 Corinthians 11:13)
  • His Mind – That he will have the mind of Christ and think as the Holy Spirit would lead him and not the flesh. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
  • His Eyes –That You will keep his eyes from temptation and that he will turn his eyes from sin. (Matthew 6:13, Mark 9:47)
  • His Ears – That he will hear Your still small voice instructing him. (1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 32:8)
  • His Mouth – That his words will be pleasing to You. (Proverbs 19:14)
  • His Neck –That he will humble himself before You and be strong, courageous, and careful to do everything written in Your Word so that he will be prosperous and successful. (James 4:10, Joshua 1:8-9)
  • His Heart-That he will love and trust You with his whole heart. (Deuteronomy 6:5;  Proverbs 3:5)
  • His Arms-That You will be his strength. (Psalm 73:26)
  • His Hands-That he will enjoy the work of his hands and see it as a gift from You. (Ecclesiastes 3:13, 5:19)
  • His Ring Finger – That he will be true to our marriage vows and that our love will never wane. (Proverb 3:3; Malachi 2:16)
  • His Legs – That he will stand firm in his faith and not waver. (Psalm 62:6)
  • His feet – That You will order his steps and that he will walk in Your truth. (Proverbs 4:25, Psalm 26:3)
Who will join me in lifting up our husbands in prayer?  One simple step, prayer.  Would you please comment below if you will join me in this challenge?  I would love to pray over you and your marriage.
Lets watch God do His impossible things...