Falling Does Not Mean Failing

Matthew 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of Me. For it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

Falling Away

My grand entrance into the writer’s conference I am attending this week was falling down the stairs, in the pouring rain. Praise God, no physical injuries. But the internal wounds, the thoughts and false beliefs I have about myself when I fall . . . Many of us believe we are a failure anytime time something bad happens. So we fall deeper into sin, or reject God altogether.

The disciples drank the blood and ate the body broken for them–they were committed– but within hours they would all betray him.

Many would stay down after such a breach of loyalty. Judas did. But falling does not equal failure in God’s plan! Jesus went on to say, “But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” He didn’t dwell on their betrayal. I can just picture Jesus as Friday on Dragnet, “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts.” Our stumbles put on display the mighty works of God! You may be convinced that God can’t do anything with you. Your laying in the puddle and questioning why try.  I am convinced of God’s compassion for us, and that his plans will not be hindered by anything! There are people in our lives that need to witness the miracle of God’s faithfulness in our battling depression! Jesus is faithful, and he does not treat us as our sin’s deserve

How do you maintain the truth of who God is and who he created you to be when circumstances go sideways in your life? Do you believe you are beautifully and wonderfully made? (Psalm 139) Do you believe the covenant of the cross; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us? (Romans 5) Do you believe his plans never fail! How many of us stop living before we see the fruits of what God can do in our lives? My son did. He died believing he was a failure.

May I lift your chin, look into your eyes, and declare with certainty, “God cares for you! His loving kindness will not fail you. Many times we will stumble, but God never falters. There is absolutely nothing you have done, or could ever do that will make him stop loving you.”

Prayer of Restoration

Father, when I falter, may I find my identity in you! You alone redeem me, and you alone take me to the mountain to see more clearly who you are and who you have made me to be. May we trust that you go ahead of our circumstances today to prepare a place for us. Amen

Thanksgiving, The WD-40 of Faith

Despair rusts my resolve.

Construction of new life halts,

when tears of losing oxidize into

bitterness.

The strength of my steel,

tested too long, flake away,

weakening exposed beams.

 

 

Thankfulness is my WD-40.

When worked into my frame

I remember Your goodness.

You built a firm foundation of

faith, hope, and love.

 

No matter the damage I withstand,

I can count on the sturdiness of my God.

More to Come: Chose Abundant Life!

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness. 

The contrast between my son’s life and death is always the strongest on this day! He cared about people deeply. He was always looking to help, encourage, and equip others, even as his own resources felt limited. His smile could brighten the darkest of rooms even as the embers were being snuffed out in his own soul. He defended underdogs, even when he couldn’t defend himself from the pain others inflicted upon him.

Today my son would have turned twenty-one. No mater what you think your life is worth, there is so much more to you. You were born for a purpose! I turn the page on my sorrow because I know that God valued my son, He is greatly grieved, and will hold to account those who hurt him. I pray that God turns the page on your despair. I say God, because for some of us, it is impossible for us to stop self-destructing. The Lord must remove the oppressive thief. I acknowledge that the thief is powerful, but nothing is impossible for God. He uses that power to give us life!

May the scales of who we think we are fall from our eyes and we now revere the sacredness of human life. God shaped us with his own DNA!!!! No other aspect of creation has that distinction. As long as we have breath, God gives us the opportunity for the fullest life through his son Jesus Christ! Mother Theresa and The Little Sister’s of the Poor, exemplify loving and valuing those the world casts out as worthless. Please hear me, you matter to me! The very fact that many of you chose to share your journey with me, encourages me on the darkest days. Fight! Allow God to heal the deepest wounds the enemy has placed in your life. Shout from the mountain tops that no one is worthless. It is God’s will that none should perish, therefore, it breaks his heart when we despair of life.

On my son’s birthday chose to embrace life!

God’s Gym: Working Out Depression

 

Suicide doesn’t water down my faith with

flowery prose about God.

I take my doubts to the mat and wrestle

with who I believe Him to be.

Depression is the resistance between

my will and Yours being done.

Sacrifice, daily dripping with sweat,

works out belief on the gym floor of reality.

 Muscles cry out at the strain of discipline.

But still you coach me beyond what

I think I can reach. “Just one more breath!”

Shaping and toning my soul into your image.

Turning heads with a foxy endurance

that is not of this world!

Redemption Butterflies

When I gaze too long at the hard shell of the grave,

I despair without your physical presence, and

when I rubberneck the collision of God and man on the cross,

I am overwhelmed by the required suffering sin must pay.

But, when I fix my eyes upon the reality of resurrection,

your authority surges through my veins!

I  testify, the cracked grave and crude cross are

the transforming chrysalis, where redemption butterflies emerge!

The Infinity Puzzle can Only be Solved by God

Psalm 139: 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

I love jigsaw puzzles. The bigger, the more intricate, the better. I don’t just put the pieces together with the picture in mind, I separate, organize, divide the puzzle into manageable sections. It helps that the picture is framed, no matter how challenging it always has boundaries. My life on the other hand . . .

I have a lot of pieces, but I’m not sure how they fit together. Right now, the health of my family lays before me–my son in particular. I have stared at the minute details until I am cross-eyed and frustrated. Each doctor finds a new aspect Daniel is struggling with, but no one will frame my child as a whole person. No one sees how he fits together . . .

God does. I keep looking for man to answer my questions, but the Creator framed Daniel, He designed in the human body a puzzle so intricate, cells so complex that the doctors,  I want so badly to help my child, can’t even begin to scratch the surface of the body’s complexity. They do not have all the answers to my son’s illness, and neither will I, if the only thing I lean on and into is my human knowledge and understanding.

So, Lord I lay Google search at your feet and trust you more deeply. Amen

God has a purpose for Daniel, and I can either miss out on the glorious joy of watching the puzzle unfold, or be angry that can’t fit all the pieces together. Here are some of the things I notice about my son. Even though he is scared by what is happening to his body, he praises God. When he struggles with one more blood test, he laughs and faces his giants. He sings, dances, and meditates on the promises of God. He laughs, encourages, grieves, and hurts. He is a whole person, made in the image of God.

Jesus came that Daniel would have life to the fullest, and it is in this frame that I now place his illness. I open myself to the pleasure of a picture of infinity pieces, and only one who has put it together from beginning to end.

Putting On Armor that Fits: Facing Fear With the Tools We are Given

Scripture

1 Samuel 17:8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9“If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10 Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. . .

31 When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.”34But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.” 38Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. 39David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. 40He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.

 

Thoughts

“Time to cut the apron strings, mom.” The gruff voice said on the other side. It isn’t my apron strings I wanted to use to strangle the man with, through the phone. Until this moment, I lived under the illusion that I do not let my fears, of harm coming to my children because it has happened to me, keep them from something they love, or a calling by God. But for the past two days I have been almost crippled with fear of my son going to camp.

My stomach was in my throat most of today as I considered my 10-year-old being two hours away  with strangers for 5 days and 4 nights. Suddenly he looked so much smaller and the adventure way too big for him. Daniel had saved up his own money for this trip, but was voicing fear of staying the night. Fear that echoed my own. I asked Daniel to pray, which he did and reported that God told him to go. So,now he was settled, but I was not. So I called the director of the camp for reassurance, but instead I felt like I was being pegged as a ridiculous overprotective mother.

When my husband got home I told him what the director said, expecting validation. Instead, my husband agreed with the man’s assessment. NO PHONE TO KEEP HIM SAFE!!! Everything in me was screaming and my voice kept getting more agitated as our “intense fellowship” ensued. (Thank’s to the marriage conference we just attended this weekend, I quickly got a grip, took in a breath, and asked for forgiveness from my husband.) No matter how afraid I was, I knew my fear was now messing with relationships, and I’ve learned enough to know that I had to reassess what was happening.

Once again Israel is facing giants. Egypt, slavery, enemies, and walls had all crumbled before the God who lead them. Goliath wasn’t the reason Israel could not defeat the Philistines. Saul had experiences of deep and devastating losses to the Philistines.This giant had been mocking them for some time. And now a little boy was claiming he could take the giant down? David knew nothing of fighting giants, Saul reasoned. But, Saul also had a lot of experience with victory and the power of God. So why, in this situation did he not equally apply that knowledge? He didn’t because fear of ___________ separate us from the truth about who God is. Even when fears are logical and come from a real, and often very frightening place, being controlled by fear, drives a wedge between, our spirit, God, those who love us, and even reality. So we put on our heavy-duty armor and prepare for battle, even if we think we are facing defeat.

I was preparing for a battle, but I was fighting the wrong enemy. I need to focus on equipping my son with armor that fits.We have big fears, so we try to put on our thick armor, but it takes the faith of a child to teach us that giants can be taken down with a sling, smooth stones, and total belief in the power of our mighty God! Equipping Daniel to trust God, regardless of whether he goes to camp, should be my focus. What God can and will do through Daniel will be spectacular.  In the end, it isn’t just Daniel that steps into manhood, but I face down some of my own giants. As I finish this post my giant fear crumbles to the ground.  What giant do you need to slay? Use the armor that you have been given, suite up and see the mighty power of God!

 

Prayer

Lord, help me to use the armor that you haven given me. You have slayed so many giants in my life, and this one is no exception. I praise you for giving me relief in my weakness. You are a mighty God. Help me to focus on what is possible in your power, and to invite others to claim the same mighty victories.

Poetry by Elizabeth Barret Browning

Grief

I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless;
That only men incredulous of despair,
Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air
Beat upward to God’s throne in loud access
Of shrieking and reproach. Full desertness,
In souls as countries, lieth silent-bare
Under the blanching, vertical eye-glare
Of the absolute heavens. Deep-hearted man, express
Grief for thy dead in silence like to death—
Most like a monumental statue set
In everlasting watch and moveless woe
Till itself crumble to the dust beneath.
Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet:
If it could weep, it could arise and go.