Monday, August 6, 2018

Be Still

I sit here torn.

My first "baby" is heading to college on Friday.  I am proud of all the hard work he has put in to get to this point.  I am so glad he wants to further his education and understands the value of a college degree in this crazy world we live in.  I am happy that by all outward appearances he seems 'ready' to be fully independent.

BUT

I wonder

Did I empower him enough to stand against everything that this world will throw at him?  Have I helped him build a strong enough foundation to withstand the shaking he is about to receive?   Will he run to God or away when temptations comes knocking?  Have I given him enough to stand on his own to 2 feet?

I draw comfort in knowing I have laid the tools in his hands.  It is his choice how he yields them.

Was I a perfect parent...hahahaha...who ever is???  I do know I have loved him fiercely.  I have and will always 'go to battle' in prayer for him.  The devil knows Ethan has a 5'3" mamma fighting tooth and nail for his soul!  The devil knows, cross me and he has to deal with the armies of Heaven!

Ethan is incredibly smart and wonderfully resourceful.  His level of stubbornness can cause me to stop and wonder if I should be impressed or horrified!  When he sets his mind to something you can be absolutely sure NOTHING will change it!!  He has a very tender spirit and a kind heart.  His level of intuition, when it comes to reading peoples intentions, is amazing.  He is a very 'old soul' trapped in a young man's body.

I pray all the things that make up my son comes together and propels him to the next level.  When the ground begins to shake under him I pray that stubbornness kicks in and he grabs hold of God.  I pray when the devil comes knocking Ethan's intuition tells him 'to hit the road'.  I pray he sets his mind on things above and not on things of this world.

But my biggest prayer is that this will be the time that Ethan chooses for himself who he will serve!  That he finds who he is in Christ and who Christ is in him.  That God will become very real and a close friend to him.  That the God of his childhood will become the glorious victor he has heard so much about!

Please pray these things with me as Ethan takes one of the biggest steps he will ever have to take.

I can't write a blog without this...

I was asked a few weeks back by a very close friend to pray about something with her.  I did not know the situation but I prayed throughout the night and kept hearing "be still and know that I am God."  I thought...well, ok God, great, if that is not the most "christainese" thing you can say to me to tell her then I don't know what is!!  Not helping...lol...but I kept hearing it.

Morning hit and I decide I was not going to get anything else for her.  So ok, fine...let's see where this goes.  I was drawn to Exodus 14:14.  Wait a minute...I can tell you the 'be still and know' verse is not found in Exodus it is Psalm 46:10.  Come on everyone has a meme or picture or hey, I even have it on the cutest little piece of wood over my kitchen doorway.  Why God, would you ever direct me to Exodus 14:14...what does it even say?

Exodus 14:14 (NIV)  "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still."

Exodus 14:13, 14 (NLT)   "Don't be afraid.  Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today.  The Lord himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm."

Ok, wow, these are awesome!  Moses was reassuring the people under him with these words.  This is great.  I love it, thanks God!  I will write her this...Wait...What?? Read More...Why???

Exodus 14:15 "Then the Lord said to Moses. "why are you crying out to me?  Tell the people to GET MOVING!  Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea.  Divide the water so the Israelite can walk though the middle of the sea on dry ground.  And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians.  My great glory will be on display then all of Egypt will see my glory and know that I am God."

A quick back step...this is taking place as the Israelites were facing the Red Sea.  The Sea is before them the Egyptian army quickly catching up behind them.

So let me get this straight.  Moses is saying things we have all heard at one point or another in our Christian walk.  "Be still, know He is God, let him fight your battles."  What a wonderful comforting reminder!  Why would I want to read on?  I had to ask God what was up.

I felt he showed me there are 2 kinds of "be still".  The Exodus vs the Psalms.  There are times we are to 'be still', let God fight for us.  BUT there are other times Exodus comes into play...

As soon as Moses gets done telling the people to 'stand still and watch God.'  The very next verse God tells Moses "Wait a minute, buddy, tell the people to get moving!" in other words "There are things YOU NEED to do as I FIGHT FOR YOU!" "Pick up your staff" "Raise your hand" "Divide the water" and THEN "I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, my glory will be on display."

God showed me that as Moses did the physical work God did the Spiritual work.  Could Moses part the Red Sea?  Nope.  Could Moses change the hearts of the Egyptians?  Nope.

But he had to begin to do HIS PART to activate God's hand.  Moses had a list he had to complete WHILE God changed the atmosphere.

Look at this cool verse:

"Then the angel of God who was leading the people, moved to the rear of the camp...the cloud settled between the Egyptians and Israelite." Exodus 14:19,20

I love it!!  God, of course, was going to completely wipe out the Egyptians but he wanted Moses to have 'some skin' in the game.  He wanted Moses to take the steps to show God that he had faith that God would do what he said he would.  God didn't leave him open for attack.  God moved his angel to set up a perimeter of protection while He and Moses worked.

What are you facing in your life at this very moment?

Ask God what "be still" is to be applied to this situation?  Is it the beautiful Psalms "be still," rest, let God display is mighty power before you?  OR is it the Exodus "be still"?  Where you have some physical things to do as God works in the spiritual realm over you.  I find this one just as beautiful!  God and I teaming up, me in my limited strength holding my hands up showing him I know I can do nothing without him.  Moses probably laughed a little inside...what God? me part the Red Sea?  But I think he knew God was just asking him to show his faithfulness by picking up his staff and lifting his hands.

Ask God what is the 'physical work you have to do so He will work in the Spiritual realm.'  Ask God to move the angels to set up a boundary between you and whatever it is you are facing while you and God are at work!

"Let's get out of here away from these Isrealites- the Egyptians shouted,- the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt!" Exodus 14:25












Sunday, April 29, 2018

Where are they now?

Full time missions work to Germany has had to take a back seat.  No matter what we did nor how many hundreds of calls we made, all around the states to different churches, part-time was what God had in store for us.  The cost to live in Germany full time was becoming astronomical and many things were changing with the influx of immigrants.  It was 1 step forward 2 steps back many times over.

We did have so many amazing people come along side us throughout the journey and we are so incredibly thankful!  I could fill many pages with the miracles, here and in Germany, as we watched God have his way through our lives.  I am eternally grateful for the time spent there.  God moved in such amazing ways.  We treasure every moment we were used by God to spread his love.  So many connections made, so many lives changed.  Even the littler things were life altering...for example, our boys were immersed in another culture and saw much of our great big world.  There are so many 'God moments' that can never be taken away nor denied. 

I am not going to say it was easy to say goodbye to a dream.  It was in fact heart-breaking.  I spend many anguished moments questioning why?  Why did we start a journey to not see it completed (in our minds)?  Why did we give up everything to have 'nothing'?  Why did we work so hard to continually be set back?

I don't have answer to these questions but I can look back now and see the beautiful threads that are Germany weaved into the tapestry of our lives!  We are limited by human perception to know the effects we have had eternally.  We planned our way but it is God who ultimately decides the path!  I feel at peace knowing we were obedient to God.

God's hand of blessing has been heavy on us since our return back to the states.  We came home with literally nothing to our names.  Every dime was spent on the field doing the work.

We now own a townhouse and 'new to us' vehicles.  Ethan will graduate from high school with almost 2 years of college paid for.  He is 1 semester shy of having his Associate of Arts degree.  Joel will be taking the college placement exam next week so he can also take advantage of the same program.  Both Mike and I have full time work.

My job was completely a "fluke".  I walked into Hobby Lobby in November looking for something different after being weary from working in the mall.  I knew it was a LONG shot...I was right...they said they didn't have any open positions but I 'kept on talking' and eventually found myself in front of the big boss, by God's grace, I started work as a part-time seasonal cashier.  I was asked to stay on after Christmas.

Two weeks ago I was given a huge gift...anyone that knows the Hobby Lobby culture knows that full-time is not something that is handed out.  Some people at my work have been there a few years waiting for full-time!  Anyways, the boss brought me into his office and said they were so impressed with me that he wanted to offer me full-time as head of the Home Decor department.  HUGE JOB but God must know I can handle it :)  So I went from part time seasonal to a full time department head in 6 month!

We can't deny this is what God has for us right now.  It doesn't look anything like what we planned when we first started down the mission's road.  I don't know how to explain it.  We have always walked 'with God's blessing' on our lives, but this is a new season even for us.  I feel so loved on and cared for by my heavenly father right now.  Are things peaches and cream?  Absolutely NOT...we work very, very hard and have had to lay many things down.  Some days it feels like we are doing all we can to just keep our heads above water.  But even when doors close, it is a peaceful close...like God is saying "no my child, it's not time for that yet.  I have something so much better in store for you.  Rest, enjoy, let me fill your cup to overflowing so that when the time comes you'll be ready and empowered for all that I have for you...just wait till you see it!!!" 

I know this is a bit different then past blogs.  I wanted to invite you for a quick peek into where we are at now in our lives.  Thank you for all the prayers that I know you have sent up for us.  Your love and support have moved mountains in our lives.  I leave you with this:

"When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that's when passion is born." ~ Zig Ziglar ~