Life Speakers and Bad Breath Breathers

Isn’t it funny how a breath mint can be the difference between a moment with someone being sentimental and precious vs. terrible and nasty?

There are times when I’ve been in close quarters with someone and all I can think about is how little I can breathe from the fog-cloud they are creating between us and how much I’d like to throw a breath mint in their mouth while they are talking. I hate to say it, but I have noticed that this problem seems to rage to special heights in churches. Who’s idea was it to serve everyone coffee before social time? What a ministry.

Maybe our true church ministry should be providing breath mints to the needy.

I love coffee. So I’ve often found myself in this awkward position of having just inhaled a cup or two during a service and then realized that the Lord is putting it on my heart to go and pray for someone. So then there’s the mad “gum scramble”, during which we have about fifteen seconds to ask everyone in our row if they remembered to come prepared. Usually they haven’t. And so the apologies to the one seeking prayer begin.

In a way the coffee-breath ministry can be easily related to our words, and ultimately our hearts, because the Bible says that our words are a reflection of what we have inside. I think it’s probably wise for each of us to ask ourselves every once in a while, “What is coming out of my mouth?”

God has made it abundantly clear to me and my husband during this season of our lives that He is going to battle for us. It’s cool to think about, but only for a second or two. Because after He confirmed that to us, we quickly realized that meant we had been put on the sidelines. Yes, we are out of the game. We have given the Lord permission to go to bat for us, but that means we aren’t going to bat at all.

On the plus side, God has never lost a game.

On the down side…It means we need to constantly check ourselves so that we make sure we aren’t picking up any spare sports equipment to try and jump into the game. If I rush out there the ref will blow the whistle for having too many players on the field and I’m either going to take a penalty and get suspended from the game, or worse, the whole season. This is something I have learned a lot about these past few years, that when God tells us to trust Him, we have to. There is no alternative. There is no “Maybe I’ll just do this one thing,” or “Things would be better if I just spoke up and told my side of the story.”

Stop it, you. Just stop. When God says to trust Him, then TRUST HIM.

Ugh, the agony. No one likes to sit on the sidelines. But I have begun to realize how peaceful it is over here.

Distrust in God always has way more consequences than trusting Him.

That is a statement I should tattoo to my own forehead. Because the person who took the biggest hit from my distrust last season was me. It’s been a long break between seasons and God has revealed so much to me about those times, and taught me so many things about my own life as I have been on this break. He called a penalty on me and I was forced back onto the sidelines for a while. Even writing blogs was out of the question for a time, as I learned to “trust myself to trust God”. Distrust has consequences. But even more than that, it carries baggage. My heart has always been to minister to the broken-hearted, and to share His unrestrained love to those who feel hopeless. If that’s truly my heart, then God will give me those opportunities. I don’t need to try and find them myself.

The strange part about this new season is how much more prepared I am going into it. Learning, even if it’s by mistakes, is invaluable. At first it seemed like punishment, God calling me to stay at home and be involved in less in every area of my life, but over time I realized that He wasn’t mad. He was just equipping me to get back out there, patting the dirt off my jersey and giving me a Coach’s speech so that when I did re-enter the game I would be ready for it this time.

I think that God brings us through the same tests that we have failed in the past, so that we have another chance to pass them. This season is different in some ways, yet there are many similarities to what we as a family are experiencing. It would be easy to default to my former self, the one who would have felt the need to plead my case and speak up to defend myself when people are getting the wrong idea about what is happening. But the biggest difference between this season and the last one, is me. God is pulling on his batting gloves and scanning the field. Something major is about to happen and I don’t want to ruin it by jumping in and giving my team a penalty. And if I can wait, and trust in Him, we might just walk away with a trophy or two.

One thing that the Lord has been majorly pressing into us is that right now He is watching and waiting. During the stretches of desert that we seemed to be trudging through as we were trying for a baby, and wondering what God’s plans were for what is now our home in Shingletown, He told us over and over again that His timing was perfect, and He sees all things. Rushing wasn’t on His agenda, so we had to take it off ours. We couldn’t push God’s timing, or there would be consequences. We couldn’t make a move without His leading, or kick open the doors that He hadn’t opened yet. HIS timing is perfect. And He sees ALL things.

Here, take some of His peace. You can have it. It’s free. *Hand thrust forward* 

Trust really is its own therapy, once we finally give in and let it be our way. I’m sure this is the way God intended us to live as Christians, to love everyone, address every person with respect, and forgive no matter what. The hardest people to forgive are the ones who need it the most, and are probably suffering from something themselves. When we love and pray for those that make things harder on us, we are releasing Heaven into the atmosphere and breaking chains that the enemy has tried to place over us.

Jesus is the King of Love, and He dishes it out in handfuls. It’s easy to love others when we remember just how much He loves us, and what He’s willing to do for us (which is everything, even dying). So I’m sitting out for this season, until the Lord hands me a catcher’s glove and sends me out onto the field. His timing is perfect. He sees all things. And right now, He’s watching, He’s studying the game and all of the players, and He’s waiting…

God has called all of us to be speakers of life into every situation, and to contribute to the trust we are supposed to have in Him. He has called us to be unified before His throne and to keep our eyes on the things of Heaven. I don’t want to be a bad-breath-breather. I would rather muzzle myself than speak negativity into the situations around me. Instead I think I will let God bring everything into being, since that’s sort of His thing, and watch in amazement as the incredible begins to happen.

Thank you Jesus for everything. Every accomplishment and moment of glory goes straight up to you.

So there you have it. Now let’s all go buy a whopping bag of breath mints for Sunday. Bring enough to share.

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Wilderness People

Pregnancy is weird.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. But even though there is an Olympic-level soccer athlete inside my tummy trying to kick its way out, it seems to only be a slice of what I’m focused on right now. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean it like I asked for a slice in my life and God handed me a whole cake.

It just shocks me that a year ago things were so different. I found myself in a place of waiting for everything. It was tough, praying every night before we went to sleep that we would get pregnant and not seeing it happen, praying for the Lord’s army to rush in and spring forward the timeline for the house we had just decided to build. Waiting, waiting, waiting. God was teaching us so much back then and we knew it, but it didn’t make it any easier. The message He made so clear to us was that His timing was perfect.

“Your timing is perfect. And you see all things.”

That was how we ended all of our prayers.

Not a lot of people know that I actually had a miscarriage this year, after seven months of trying to get pregnant and not succeeding. I know seven months isn’t a long time to try for a baby, many people have to try for much longer. And I know that miscarriages are extremely common. But it still stung.

I remember driving to the hospital at 3am the night that I woke up with minor contractions and I won’t even begin to tell you about what else was happening to my body. We had JUST found out we were pregnant too. I was so heartbroken that through my sobs I sang the bridge of a song by Elevation Worship that I had led recently as part of the worship team at my church, “By your Spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat, the resurrecting King, is resurrecting me. In your name I come alive, to declare your victory. The resurrecting King, is resurrecting me.” I sang this because I was trying to bring my baby back to life. I knew that I was losing it and I was trying to bring it back. I was doing the only thing that I was able as my body rejected it; I was worshipping. Jesus, the One who raises the dead back to life, because He was my first and last resort.

The thing was that it finally seemed like we were experiencing some breakthrough. We had finally gotten pregnant. We had finally started to see some forward movement with the property we were purchasing to build a house. But God’s timing really is perfect, even when it doesn’t seem that way. And He sees ALL things. Every corner of our hearts and what we are feeling. He knows every word we speak and every word spoken against us. He knows everything.

Well it was a few weeks after the miscarriage that I started feeling pretty ill. I thought it was just a regular old sickness of some kind. I started falling asleep everywhere too, which really isn’t like me. And then at a family gathering my sister, whom I believe said this by the nudging of the Lord even though she may not have known it, suggested the possibility of me being pregnant. The thing was that I had just gone through the whole miscarriage thing and I didn’t think it was possible for me to be pregnant that fast. But since she said it, I couldn’t just let the thought slide, not after everything. And I’m so grateful that she had the courage to ask the question even though it was probably hard to ask, because it was that same day I buckled and went in to buy a pregnancy test. Oh pregnancy tests. How I loathed them by this point. But as it turned out, I was pregnant after all. And I was already several weeks into the pregnancy.

What?!

Everything was a bit behind schedule, even my first Dr. appointment which is supposed to be around 9 weeks didn’t happen until 12 weeks because before I saw the doctor I had to have an ultrasound to see how far along I was before I could book my first appointment. Then, because of how behind that all was, I missed the ultrasound deadline for screening, which isn’t imperative or anything but still, it was something to chuckle about considering how slow everything seemed to be moving in my life before. Suddenly everything was full throttle, and when my first trimester hit it was a sudden uncoordinated mess of sleeping all the time or barfing all the time. It seemed like in a flash I was right out of the game altogether and couldn’t even function at regular life.

Now instead of everything moving at the speed of a slug, time was getting away from me. I was halfway through my pregnancy before I had even registered completely that I was actually going to have a baby. And a GIRL no less! Suddenly I was sitting on my bed in a state of shock, with all kinds of bizarre thoughts going through my head, “A girl…? Really? I don’t know how to take care of a girl! I only have experience with a boy! I don’t even have any girl clothes, or pink things, or pretty stuff. How am I suppose to raise a girl?”

Well if there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that God DOES know how to take care of our children. And our homes. And our good old well being. This has been such an incredible time of growing (spiritually and literally) for me. We have kept to this prayer, “Your timing is perfect, and You see all things” because it has gotten us through the dry parts of the wilderness. The walk was long, hot, dry, and sometimes uncomfortable, but we knew that if we were faithful and trusted in the Lord, He really was going to bring us into the promised land, the place that we just couldn’t see over the dry hills until we crossed them.

But it wasn’t just the baby. Like I said, that is just a slice. An itty-bitty four pound home-slice, to be exact. There was more. There was the house. The home. The place the Lord was preparing for us. God has a funny way of hiding the opportunities until the time is right, even when we are praying for them. Sometimes when we are in the wilderness we look around and don’t see much of anything, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something just behind that next hill, or the next one. Don’t let doubt make you stop walking. You will lose your way and it won’t look good on you. Keep your trust and keep your head on straight, eyes up to Heaven. Or you will quickly start to look like a wild wilderness monster, and you will probably sound like one too.

Worship is something that is very close to my heart, especially since I first found out I was pregnant with Chase, our first child. Over him I prayed for a Heart of Worship during my whole pregnancy, and that he would be anchored in the Father’s Heart. I also prayed that he would be a joyful child and tagged on that it would be really cool if he would sleep well through the night. Boy did I get that. But now a girl is coming. A sweet little princess…at least I think that’s the right thing to say about upcoming girls. I wasn’t a sweet little princess growing up. More like a sneaky, misbehaving, dirt-faced, toad who would put war paint across my face and run through the trees after squirrels. So it begs the question, what am I going to pray over this little girl?

Many ideas swarmed my mind at first. I thought I would pray for a little missionary, or more specifically, a trailblazer, who would head into uncharted territory with the gospel! But that didn’t feel right. Then I thought maybe she was more the dreaming type, and I would pray for big dreams and maybe even add on a prayer for the gift of dream interpretation, along with wild visions as a prophetic painter! But that didn’t feel right either. Teaching/Pastoral? A leader? Walking in the prophetic? Filled with words of knowledge? Wisdom and Creativity? No, I don’t think so. I mean I would love for her to have all these things but there wasn’t one thing in particular that stood out. Nothing seemed right to me until the image of mountains came into my mind. Mountains. Mover of mountains.

Yes. That was it.

Instantly I knew that what I was going to be praying over this child was for supernatural faith. The kind of faith that will see the mountains moved. Our little mountain mover. Prayers flooded my mind for unshakeable faith, someone who would go to war until the mountains before her started to tremble. Yes, this was definitely it. A prayer warrior in my own home? Yes, please! There were a few other things too, like patience, which may have just been a result of dealing with Chase and his business for the past two years and hoping for a child that might end up being a little more relaxed (ha!) I’m so excited for this baby, to look into her little eyes and tell her how much I love her. I’m so excited to paint gold mountains on the walls of her bedroom, so that she always remembers what she is capable of. I’m so excited to see what she grows up to be like.

Thank you, Jesus, for bringing us through the wilderness, and thank you that we didn’t lose sight of your plans, your perfect timing, and your wisdom when it would have been easy to do so.

Sorry this got so long, but it’s been a while and I guess I had a lot to tell. This walk through the wilderness has been a long one. But I believe it’s God’s heart that everyone makes it to the promised land. So hang in there.

Peace.