He Trains my hands for battle: How to combat the slumps and train our kids to do the same

“Mommy, I know why you sing. You sing when you are trying not to be angry.”

This guy is watching Mommy's hands and heart be trained for battle- the battle for JOY

This guy is watching Mommy’s hands and heart be trained for battle- the battle for JOY

He trains my hands for battle; He strengthens my hands to bend a bow of bronze. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me. Your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for me, to keep my feet from slipping.

 Psalm 18:34-37

The little guy spilled the milk all over the already-spilled grits and eggs. It splatters all over table chairs and floors. An already-exhausted mother (you know I’m tired when we have breakfast for dinner) holds in every impulse to burst out in frustration, and instead bursts out singing. And that perceptive little boy, saw right into my battle strategy.

“Mommy, I know why you sing. You sing when you are trying not to be angry.”

With nerves short and energy levels low and mental and noise capacity maxed, there is a constant battle going on in my heart, and in my home.  And my kids will either be the victim of the battle or they will be trained by my training in it. They are constantly watching mommy battle for it….or unfortunately fall victim to the battle.

A battle for joy.

A battle for strength.

A battle for perseverance.

A battle for patience.

A battle for the joy of the Lord to be my strength.

So I personally battle. Battle within-which transfers to battling without. And these five little soldiers are watching mommy get trained.  Instead of yelling at my kids to “fall in line” and quit complaining, stop shirking their responsibilities and cease avoiding doing their chores. Instead of calling them to quit the bickering and fighting and irritating of each other, I must teach them to battle the same things I battle:

A complaining spirit.

A surrender to “weakness” and “lack of motivation”.

A desire to give up

A yielding to impatience.

A sinking into despair.

And we battle all of it with the gaze of our minds. A gaze of our hearts. Which can only be overcome with a gaze of praise. And singing through the storms is a sure training exercise that shifts that gaze. For each and every one of us.

What He COULDN’T do….

He turned water into wine.

Multiplied fish and loaves to feed thousands.

Healed sick people.

Raised individuals from the dead.

Walked on water.

Drove demons away.

Caused money to appear out of a fish’s mouth.

Sensed people’s thoughts.

There wasn’t a lot that this God-man, Jesus,  couldn’t do. In fact, some would argue that there’s NOTHING that He couldn’t do.

But right there, tucked between healing a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and raising a little girl from the dead, and then sending out his followers to go do the same, it says it:

He could not do any miracles there…”   Mark 6:5 NIV

And there are areas of my  life, and I’m sure in yours, in which I wonder, “Why Lord? Why don’t you change this in me?  Why don’t you work in this situation?”

And, my guess is, it is for the same reason that Jesus couldn’t do any miracles there.

You see, Jesus was in his hometown. He was a familiar face.  His name was a common one. His family was known, his background was known. He had been placed in a safety zone of predictability by the people around him.

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Mark 6:3

And for those of us who were raised in a Christian home, or have lived in a culture of Christianity, we might just do the same. Jesus becomes predictable. He becomes confined. Confined to Sunday morning worship services, our even to our morning quiet times, or to the One we pray to before meals or at bed. We believe He’s still there, just like his fellow towns people believed he was there, and probably expected him to be a good,  moral, kind, humble individual, just like he had been for the past thirty years. But what if He is ready to do things beyond the box we have confined Him to. And it is our unbelief that keeps Him from doing so…

He could not do any miracles there…..He was amazed at their lack of faith.  Mark 6:5,6 (NIV)

or

“…he marveled at their UNbelief.”  Mark 6:6

Its not that we’re purposely choosing not to believe him….no, it usually comes in the form of a gradual shift of gaze to circumstances instead of to His power, and a gradual dwindling of expectation. Its not so much disbelief, but a slip-in-the-back-door-prefix unbelief, meaning not, absence of, lack of

And his townsfolk had fallen into such a predictable rhythm with him there, a faint presence in the background of their daily lives, that they did not expect him to do anything out of the ordinary.

And we too, get lulled into rhythms of life, jobs to work, school schedules to keep up with, bills to pay, friends to spend time with and we know his faithful presences is faintly there in the backdrop of it all. And, not by our disbelief, but rather our non belief, or non expectation, it ends up that,

that is where we keep Him.

in the backdrop

in the predictable

tucked away in the rhythms of our lives, and our agendas, and our needs.

But this little story in Mark, shows us that

Jesus shows up where he’s expected to.

And I want to wake up each morning expecting to see Jesus do miracles today in and through a fatigued body that needs a God-out-of-the-box to work miracles in my kids lives, in my home life, on my street, in my neighborhood.

I want to wake up to each day and expect Jesus to work resurrection power in a marriage that needs alot of death to self, mainly in myself.

I want to wake up each day in humble expectation that Jesus can and will cast off the strongholds of food reliance and self-image obsession fromone weary individual.

I want to wake up in expectation that Jesus’ hands reaching and love extending can and will happen through me, despite being in a state of such weakness, to those individuals who have yet to hear of His Power and Resurrection or to the weary saint that needs His Voice of encouragement.

I want to watch in expectation for Him to show up.

May simple non-belief not be the box that keeps this Amazing, All-Powerful, Always-Moving, Always-Working God-Man Jesus from doing miracles in my life, through my life and throughout my home, hometown, and nations.

…in the morning I lay my requests before you, and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3

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But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior;

My God will hear me. Micah 7:7

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I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; Psalm 130:5

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But when you ask [God], be sure that you really expect Him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”  James 1:5-6 NLT

Fear…the death grip and how to wring free from it.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart….and  your paths will be straight”  

Proverbs 3:5-6

There’s nothing that makes my paths more crooked than pregnancy, and the hormones, fatigue and sickness it brings.

I plan a course of action, a schedule and an agenda…..and then I don’t have the energy to carry it out.

I want to love my children well…..but patience levels plummet to nil and I find myself bursting out in anger and frustration.

I want to stay fit and trim…..and my body balloons out as it prepares for a growing child. (WHY does this virtual vegetarian crave hamburgers and french fries for a baby that is only two inches long right now?!?)

I want to cling to the Lord and trust on His promises.…but hormones do crazy things to my mind and I can’t find my bearing in the waves of vacillating emotion.

I have a book to finish writing, ONE thing in my life that seems like an attainable goal (when everything else I do is so easily undone )….. and the fatigue and exhaustion dwindles discipline and drive and motivation.

I have a mind brimming with ideas for blog posts, people I want to write letters to, individuals I want to reach out to……and all those ideas are just trapped-trapped in a mind that doesn’t have the time or an able body in which to find fruition.

And we are called to trust the Lord with all our hearts in each of those circumstances.

And I wonder why it is so hard, why I can’t seem to muster up the trust, for on many a day I am crying out to the Lord and He feels far off (you mean, Lord, you’re not just going to send a nanny to my doorstep when I”m struggling through the dinner hour?).  But the only way for trust to take root, is to find what is standing in its way.

And I find that the Giant called Fear takes up residency in a place I long for trust to grow.

Fear?

No, it couldn’t be that. Most of us wouldn’t openly declare, “Hi, I’m ______, and I am filled with fear”

But when levels and layers are uncovered, we find that at the root of our desire and desperate attempts to be in control, fear is the demon driver behind it all. 

We want to be in control, and get things done, and have a schedule. Fear of losing control and God not handling it all, drives the desperate grasping after the schedule. I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.

We want to love our children well. Isn’t that the key to them growing to walk with Jesus and become responsible adults. Isn’t that the caliber by which we judge our devotion to God? Fear, that I might ruin my kids, disappoint God, and be exposed as the selfish, sinful person I am is what unsettles ones’ spirit over personal failures. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.

We want to have a certain image, fit into our culture’s declaration of what beauty is. We want to feel in control of our bodies. It is fear of disapproval, of being looked down upon and judged, fear of spinning out of control of our little kingdom of self found in body building and toning. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of even this.

We want to be “strong in our faith” and stand on promises of God’s word, but fear of not being strong enough to weather the storms of suffering, propels us into guilt and condemnation for not having more faith. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.

We want to accomplish our goals and finish what we start, and fear of never finishing, fear of God never bringing to fruition this faith walk He has led us upon, causes panic, “This will never get done!” (which leads to frustration at little people whose diapers and snotty noses and never-ending appetites are the “VERY” reason why it will never get done).  And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.

We want to be used to bless people, to help people, and we can’t do that if we don’t follow through with the promptings to reach out, can we? It is fear that God is not big enough for that person thought of, that they need ME to be the one to reach out to them and serve them, that leads to a disappointment with self  over not following through. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.

But I am not the only one who struggles with fear.

A million people who had just seen the mighty hand of God  deliver them from slavery, from Egypt along with all the wealth of Egypt, were overcome by fear, despite God’s recent acts of faithfulness and powerful displays of deliverance. Little did they know that the very thing that terrified them (Pharoh’s army pursuing them right up to the Red Sea (Exodus 14:5-9), was the thing God was moving into place to display his glory all the more.

The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen. Exodus 14:18 

God was sending the unsurmountable Egyptian army to pursue his people (after they had just been released from their slavery), not to defeat their hope, their spirits, but to build their hope and the faith in His Might and His Love .

And the promise, the hope, the great fear combatant that God declares through Moses to those fearful people watching the Egyptian army pursue them, is one that rings through the centuries, right into this fearful mother pursued by an army of emotional, spiritual, physical and mental oppressors.

“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today… The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14

And since I think in lists, formulas and simplified terms, scribbled in my journal are the bullet points:

1. FEAR NOT.

2. Stand firm

3. See the salvation of the Lord

4. He will work for you

5. The Lord will fight for you

6. You have only to be silent.

If God is in charge. I need not fear. If I let him be in charge, my only need is to stand firm. If I believe He’s always moving even when this tired mother can’t, I can simply watch.  Watch him work for me. Watch Him fight for me.

I need only be silent and still.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.

Isaiah 30:15

(I am slightly addicted to this song right now….my heart’s faith-cry through the trials)

From the Mouths of Babes…Valentines Day

We tried to make Valentines Day really special this year. The month of February we all memorized I Corinthians 13:4-8 and I John 4:7-11, and the hymn How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.

Our Love Tree. With a listing of all that love is, based on I Corinthians 13

Our Love Tree. With a listing of all that love is, based on I Corinthians 13

We learned about the history of St. Valentine. Then, on February 4, the kids found this sign in the kitchen:

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And each day, they would find a new heart on their door with something their mother loves about them [Can I just HIGHLY recommend doing something like this, especially if you are struggling with appreciating your children, ahem, I mean, not that I don’t always appreciate them, of course. But writing out their good qualities does something to a mother’s heart in thankfulness for the great things about them, and somehow lifts one above the complaining spirits or the bickering or the fact that they always forget to do their chores, and it enables us to see beyond the frustrations that can bog one down] So that by Valentine’s Day, their doors looked like this:

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And My sweet, loving husband, set out dark chocolates and flowers for me after I fell asleep (no huge feat, for I’m falling asleep around 8:30 pm these days). Which looked like this when I got up at 5:00 am to get water and set up the rest of the kid’s surprises (little boxes of chocolate, heart cookies, and waffle mix ready for the waffle maker).

My husband set up the table for me. Soon to be bombarded by the "results of our love".

My husband set up the table for me. Soon to be bombarded by the “results of our love”.

Danny's "Healthy Valentine" from me

Danny’s “Healthy Valentine” from me

After being up for a little while, I headed back to bed to doze for a few minutes before the masses came storming down our door.  It wasn’t long before I heard it….

“Moooommmmmmyyyyyyyy!!!!!!! Benjamin ate some of your chocolate from the table!!!! I see it on his face!”  Daniel Josiah our faithful, controlling, reporting son exposes the crime.

Then we hear Benjamin’s little voice at the door.

“No, I didn’t!!! No, I didn’t! Somebody….somebody….somebody just come put chocolate on my face!!”

And some people think children are born good, with pure hearts.

Well, we didn’t teach that child to LIE (and do a bad job of it) just to save himself from getting in trouble. No, I think that comes deep within. And its in all of us. And we all need a perfect Savior because of it.  A Savior who the real St. Valentine’s needed, and needed so badly that he was willing to die for Him.

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Moving Up in order to Move Down: The role of a personal quiet time in a mother’s life

Achy, tired pregnant body…groggy mind…the alarm is blaring in my ear, but the whispers blur reason away…

“You need your rest- you are pregnant”

“If you get up now, you won’t make it through the morning”

“Its waaay to early…the kids woke you up alot last night”

And that carved out time, the very time when thirsty soul can drink from the Stream of Living Water, where hungry heart can feast at the Table, where Life can be breathed in and strength can fill a too-weak-for-the-job mamma of five six, it gets blurred away by those whispers.

No wonder everything has been so topsy turvey.  Every blurred thought, every outburst of anger, every running after comforts and crutches that can never truly uphold.  It is all traced back to this lack of feasting.

Trying to run a day with many young children without having feasted on the Word of God and the Presence of His Son, is like trying to run a marathon (at top speed) without having eaten anything for the past week.

And I wonder why I’m running on fumes…the fumes of my anger and frustration.

So, this snow day, with all children homebound ALL day long, warrants a movie watching, and while they watch the film I watch God’s Word awaken deaden heart.

As I persever in my commitment to read through the whole Bible in a year, I find myself at Exodus 34. Yawn. “Lord, your Word is Living and Active. Make it alive to me today” was the initial heart cry.

The Lord said to Moses, Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.” Exodus 34:1

Stone.Writing laws. And verses penned several centuries later rings through my mind and becomes my heart cry. May it be so, Lord: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26) and “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

And then, the words of Exodus 34 unfold how one moves into a place where this can happen.

“The Lord said to Moses,…..’Be read by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.

And Moses doesn’t roll over and hit the snooze button and tell the Lord he’s too tired from leading all these people (Moses had over a million….I have a mere five).

No.

And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 

And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.” 

…When Moses came down from Mount Sinai…the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.” Exodus 34: 2-9, 29

Moses, he was called to be ready by the morning. Like there was preparation to be made for the intent purpose of getting up to go meet with God.  And if we value that meeting time with God, we too will make preparations to be there. I will get dinner made on time. I will get kids in bed on time. I will not wander through facebook or blogs or instagram pictures when I should be going to bed so that I can get up, to go up…..in order to come back down with God-brilliant face for my family.

So Moses’ early morning meeting with God teaches me a thing or two on how I can meet with God.

1.He made preparations to be ready in the morning (Ex.34:4)

2. He rose early (Ex.34:4)

3. He went up to meet with God (Ex.34:4)

4. He presented himself  (Ex. 34:2)

and he did it all so that he could be dozing through the “meeting with God” and  miserably tired the rest of the day, and grumpy with the people because of his lack of sleep.

No.

The rewards of rising early, moving up the mountain, and simply showing up were beyond comprehension.

For in Moses’ moving up, God came down.

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him.

And the Lord filled Moses with hope, for He filled him with His Very Promises.

And Moses was given the opportunity to invite the Lord into every messy component of his task at hand…

O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people…” (Ex.34:9)

{ if you could hear the bickering of some stiff-knecked children and mama that goes on at our house, you would realize why I need to extend the same invitation every.single.morning}

And Moses went up, not to stay there and shirk his responsibility, but he went up, to be so awed by the Presence of God, that He could faithfully go down.

Go down into the sin ridden mess of a people he was to lead.

Go down into carrying a responsibility far to big for one person.

Go down into the nitty gritty of real life and struggle and problems.

But, once down there, he was never the same,

for “the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God”. Exodus 34:29

And this family of mine, it needs some God shine in it. And this wayward heart of mine, it needs some Holy God filling it. And this easily discouraged mind, it needs steadfast Promises of a Steadfast God to cling to, when the circumstances seem too overwhelming stacked against me.  This day of mine, needs some God going in the midst of it.

And the place to find all that, the power to go down into the many mundane tasks and demands, is in the going up…the getting up, and going up into the presence of the Promises and the Presence of the Promiser.

Will you join me?

Need some help in how to enter in? How to move up the mountain into the Presence of the Promises and the Promiser?

This is the app I have downloaded on my phone. It sends the One Year Bible Reading Plan’s daily reading right to my email inbox. You can even switch the dates around if you are getting a late start.  And get this. It will even READ IT TO YOU. That means God’s word while we fold laundry, do dishes,  get ready in the morning, or drive to work . (although nothing can replace sitting still before the Lord to hear Him speak….the read aloud is simply supplemental)

Is that too daunting?

Try:

A Two Week Guided Tour of the Bible

Thirty days with Jesus

Thirty days for When You’re New to the Bible

Sixty days for the whole New Testament

Custom build your reading plan!

From the Mouths of Babes… A lesson in economics

We were blessed that day. We had brought our international student from Japan who had been staying with us for the past few weeks down to Florida with us because we had a conference we needed to attend. (international student hosting background found here) Our friend who works at Disney got him, myself and my princess-loving four year old daughter into the Disney theme parks. The lines for rides were so short that we were able to jump from Animal Kingdom to Epcot and then to the Magic Kingdom all in one day. Katy-Grace had triumphantly ridden roller coasters with Tetsu (our Japanese student) and Allen (Korean friend who works at Disney) while her pregnant mamma waited for them to be done. I had SUCH a fun day with this middle child of mine whose love and attention tank never seems to be quite full enough and who can often get lost in the shuffle of my troupe of kiddos. I watched her excited flustered face as she proudly returned from riding the big girl roller coasters, I watched it light up in awe and wonder at being in the presence of “real” princesses, and I held her hand in mine as her little legs tried to keep in step with mamma power housing through the parks so we could ride as many rides as possible while she chatted away about all she saw and thought. I was so proud of how well she had done, how much energy she had, and how this had been the first melt-down free day we had had in a LONG time. We had hit up three parks, the Magic Kingdom parade and fireworks, during which, I got this news, and now it was 9 pm, and we were helping Tetsu find souvenirs to bring home to all his family and friends.

Walking through all those stores and all those wonderful Disney items was like a dream to Katy-Grace. And she must have figured that since we were IN the store we needed to purchase MOST of the things in it. Disney is a place where dreams come true, isn’t it?

except for when your mother is frugal and just started the Dave Ramsey course and won’t buy into the dreamlike spell that overcomes you and your credit card in that magical place.

At first I occupied her with:

“How ’bout you try everything on that you like and I’ll take some (cough, cough FREE) pictures of you on my phone. So we did that for a while:

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Tetsu, who was actually buying souvenirs and Katy-Grace who was not.

Tetsu, who was actually buying souvenirs and Katy-Grace who was not.

But then we needed to help Tetsu find some keychains of characters requested by friends back in Japan, so we visited rows and rows and rows of tiny plastic figurines hung on little loops of metal.  Those wonderful items that cost about 13 cents a piece to make in some Chinese factory that underpays its workers, but costs $8.95 a piece in that magical Disney store.

I turned my head for thirty seconds and then look to find 10 of them strung out on Katy-Grace’s little fingers, and I meet her pleading eyes and pleading words.

“Mamma, can’t we just get THHEEEESE…I really want to get presents for all my brothers and sister and my friends. PLEEEEASE Mommy.

I have to admit, I admired her generous heart, but after about 30 “No, honey”‘s to each new request, I decide that I would need to leave Tetsu and Allen to work out souvenir shopping and Katy-Grace and Mommy would wait outside.  This is where the discourse began.

I explained again that everything there was way too expensive and I already have to deal with the kids not taking care of the things they already have and how if we got a key chain I just know I would end of vacuuming it up or it would get lost and it really is a waste of money and it is way overpriced, etc. etc.

You know. All the things a 4 year old girl wants to hear at Disney World.

So she sat in frustrated silence.

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and overwhelming sorrow:

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And after thinking it over for a while, exclaims:

“Its not fair!  Its like they WANT to take our money. They just want more money and so they want to take ours!”

“Exactly”

was the pregnant mamma’s too-tired-to-show-much-sympathy response.

“Its not fair….I think they WANT us to be poor. Just so they can be RICH!”

“Exactly”

was my next response along with inward pride over my brilliant four year old’s capacity to understand capitalism in its glorious display at Disney.

She wasn’t too proud of herself.

She just proceeded to flee her exasperating mother.

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And go pout in the corner:

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But somehow I was able to woo her out of hiding, with my phone and the pictures all the wonderful (free) memories we had made and the fun we had had. I reminded her that God had already given us so many gifts that day, and we needed to keep thanking Him for them.  And, under a wave of Holy Spirit inspired wisdomI told her I’d print out the pictures of her with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty (for a grand total of .39 cents at Walgreens), which landed a big ‘ole smile on that pouting face. Sigh.  Looming disaster diverted.

And those treasured memories can, for free, be forever preserved on this piece of the internet. And we didn’t even have to buy one of those $21 photos from Disney Photopass.

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Platform: Gaining One Worth Having, and Keeping One Worth Preserving

An email came from a literary agent. A book proposal hurriedly composed. Edited. Reexamined. Sent out. A writing sample was requested. A meeting was held, a team deliberating over taking up the project.

The factor that did or didn’t seal the deal?

Platform.

Its the buzzword of this blogging, tweeting, social media dependent culture. Your songs can’t be heard, your blog won’t be advertised upon, your articles won’t be distributed, and books won’t be published….without it.

Platform.

It means you’ve got to be popular, and noticed, and esteemed in order to be heard. It means you have to have a following of people, because people have money, and money buys books.

And its interesting that the very One I type away into the wee hours of the night for, and the One I’ve been on my face in front of asking for guidance, and the One I have begged to give me wisdom and words, the One whom I pray is glorify in and subsequently hoped in due to this book,

Well, He seemed bent on destroying his

Platform.

After healing a leper (revolutionary medical progress!!) he said, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” (Matthew 8:4)

The demon-filled man, whom Jesus set free, begged to go with him and join the rank of followers, but “Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19

When faced with the possibility of a very wealthy, very powerful young ruler becoming one of his followers, he had such a heart-probing conversation with him that, instead of gaining an important and rich follower, he lost one, for At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Mark 10:22

After feeding the five thousand, and teaching the people that HE was the Bread from heaven, he was met with grumbling, complaining, arguments, and On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”…From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. John 6:60,61

When tested to see if he would “break the Sabbath rules”, Jesus proceeded to heal the man with a shriveled hand and defy cultural  and religious values and destroy his popularity so badly that, Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. Mark 3:6

No, He did not weigh in on His popularity. He did not unite the masses to follow him and give him a platform to be heard by the Jewish rulers who were getting it all wrong nor to the Romans who were oppressing his people. He lived for one platform alone. The one established by complete surrender, yieldedness, and obedience to the will of the Father.

Part of my New Years Resolution was to write a book, of which the rough draft is done, due to wee hour writings and a husband who believes in the project. This past fall, my missionary friend in Swaziland, and I have been plugging away at the work, asking for God’s guidance in the project, for neither of us had a clue as to “how to write a book”. We felt the specific call to write, not knowing where that might lead. We just figured that we would self publish it upon its completion this spring. Then, two weeks ago an email introduction by a mutual friend to a literary agent in a prestigious publishing agency led to the request for a book proposal, and then to the asking for more and more writing pieces and information. It was all barreling along quite unexpectedly and thrillingly well.

And then the blog stats were asked for. And those meager numbers didn’t impress, at least not enough to have enough clout with a Publishing House. Every email leading up to this had sounded so promising and so hopeful but then, that email was received, actually at the end of a day spent taking my sweet four year old daughter and our international exchange student around the Disney theme parks. My girl and I, we had found our place to watch the evening Disney parade and fireworks, and while we waited for it to start, I whipped out that phone and read those words:

“We enjoyed your work, but – given our current client list – I needed a confident and unanimous response from my colleagues…and we didn’t get there. In brief, we’re concerned that publishers will find your current platform limiting.”

And I tucked phone back in pocket, and gazed at my girl all eager to see a “real” princess go by in a parade, and I longed for her to know that she is a princess because of what King Jesus has done to make her a child of God, not because of sparkles and puffy dresses.

And it hit me.

The best place for her to learn that…. is upon a

Platform.

The platform I build through day in and day out service and sacrifice, being joyfully engaged in the little things in her world, in the worlds of my five little children and the one growing within me. And maybe building a platform in that blogosphere, literary world would distract this mamma’s heart and mind from gaining the one platform worth having…the one I build in my husband and children’s lives. And building one out there might chip away at the one platform that I do have that is truly worth keeping. The platform that is right here. Right here in flesh and blood, right in front of me.

So, I will willingly forego landing a publishing deal, or all the work it would take to get a platform in order to land a publishing deal,

if I can only build a Gospel-centered, Christ-exalting, love-exuding platform with my husband and children.

I will labor in the mundane, sacrifice in the secret, faithful preach the Word of God to those within my own four wall, that I might build that platform in my children to proclaim to them the Savior that died for them ad loves them. And Lord willingly, they will be made into little disciples who do the same in their spheres of influence in 5 or 10 or 25 years.

This is the type of platform Jesus built. One with twelve simple, average guys who were so captivated by the miracles they saw and the death and resurrection they witnessed and the love and power that was imparted to them, that they moved forth into their communities, cities and the nations to repeat the process of building platform, in their own spheres of influence.

May I do the same, for these kids, as Christ does it in me, for His glory.

I have a big job before me. A time-consuming, emotion-consuming, life-consuming platform to build. It may not be as glamorous as soaring blog stats. It may not be as significant-in-my-culture’s eyes as a name on a book fresh off the printing press.

But it is big in God’s eyes. And it is big in those little one’s eyes whom I have the opportunity to gaze into and tell that they are loved. and prioritized.

And the platform I have in their lives is worth every moment of the work that building it entails.

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Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false God
They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior
Such is the generation of those who seek him.
Who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Psalm 24:3-6