Three months and no words? Where have the Iversons been all summer?

 

Where have the Iversons been all summer?!?©KathrynMcCraryPhotographyAtlantaPhotographer-150

Three full months, and no words?

No blog posts?

No adventures to recount?

No thoughts or impressions from the Lord?

No musings from the Living Word of God?

Oh, they have been there.

They have been mulled over while scrubbing pots and pans.

They have been formulated while setting up chairs for the large number of houseguests coming over for dinner.

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extra bodies and mouths start to gather for dinner

They have been pieced together in nights spent rocking sleepless babes.

The kid that smiles big during the day, but sleeps little during the night

The kid that smiles big during the day, but sleeps little during the night

They have been composed while sitting in traffic, driving home from multiple doctor appointments for an eight year old’s broken arm.

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wounded, but cheerful little broken-armed girl

They have been half typed, at wee hours in the morning, but always interrupted by a coughing child, or a bad dream or a wet bed.

They have been there…but so have the setbacks…broken arms, bashed mouths with teethe getting knocked out.  A baby’s bad fall. Bloody battles (literally and spiritually)

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This is the “rated G” picture…be glad his lips are covering what the inside of his mouth looks like. Two teeth completely gone, and another just dangling

The adventures have been had, the sightings of God’s mighty work has been seen, abundant answers to prayers for ministry partners have been witnessed, but Oh, for the time to be able to sit and record them…to have the time to do as Isaiah 63:7 states

I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord, the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, because of all that the Lord has done for us, and the great favor to the house of Israel that he has shown them according to his mercy, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

 

I know the Lord wants us to recount these deeds He has done. The homeless family that is learning how to be a family again, without the throws of dysfunctional relationships and drug addiction.  The little baby born to homeless parents who should have died at delivery two weeks ago but is now ventilator free and ready to come home from the hospital, despite her blindness and multiple health issues. The way the single mom was thrilled at the Bible study we held in the home, declaring “I’ve never heard the Bible taught like this. This is exactly what I have been needing.”  The way that the young man who was about to convert to a very deceptive religion, ran up to Danny the other night and said, “I don’t want to be a part of that other stuff! I want to be baptized.”  The way the doors of this Shalom home have opened to four different homeless people who needed to be a part of a family’s rhythms, as rocky as they might be,  so they could learn what being  covenant family is all about.  The way that the boy, all rough and tough and angry, melted in tears last week at church with us.  The way that God has answered my prayer that He raise up an older black lady to be my prayer partner…and He brought her into my life in the most creative of ways. The way teachers from our kids public charter school want to come over for dinner to learn more about what this church plant is all about. The way we have been praying that God would take all these buildings that have been abandoned by business owners and put new businesses in them…and God sent a Christian Korean couple to start one .3 miles from our house, with them declaring, “We kept trying to avoid the call, but the Spirit of God kept telling us to open this Wings and Philly place right here…and we couldn’t figure out why.”

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Kids time, during house church

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Bible study and prayer! We are all soaking it up.

There are so so many other stories….stories of God answering specific prayers laid out MONTHS ago before the Throne of the One who reigns on High and is more passionate about this church plant than we are.  And OH, for the time to recount them.

Would you join me in prayer that this would come about?  That God grant the windows of time to work on the new blog, and the new ministry website which recently got hacked, crashed, and now has to be rebuilt before we have a new place to declare the faithful deeds of the God we serve?

Would you pray for a mother, busy with the life of running a household of eight+ all the people staying with us, to be granted the windows of time needed to type, and pray, and record, and write these posts and finish that book that was started two years ago now?

The enemy of our souls, wants the stories silenced. But I believe our God wants His glorious goodness to be put on display.

His Church is being built.  His Kingdom is advancing. His saints are praying and seeing miraculous answers.

And these stories will not be silenced.

 

**stay tuned for information about JourneytoShalom;the journey towards wholistic peace and flourishing in an under privileged community of the inner city: launching soon, Lord-willing**

 

 

 

 

A Pathway Through….

**Note: I know many people have asked for an update on our move and how things are going in our new neighborhood, but since I have been painting, and working on renovations and unpacking boxes and feeding small people and lugging laundry through the path of boxes and chaos, I don’t have it written up yet. But in the meantime, and for the sake of showing that we ARE still alive, here is a blog post I actually wrote 6 weeks ago, and never posted. Update post soon to come! pathway-at-hallasan

For I am about to do something new.

See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

I will make a pathway through the wilderness.

Isaiah 43:19

A single girl living a life of freedom and independence in New York City, the city she loves, but with a job she hates.

A single mom of five living in a small apartment in crime-ridden Newark,NJ recently “adopting” her four teenage nieces and nephew after her sister passed away, with no choice but to keep caring for them all and scrounge what she can to feed the large crew.

The CFO of a top U.S company, with a home, pool, and nearby horse farm that rivals the top vacation destinations of the country, but who feels empty in the corporate ladder he has so successfully climbed.

A missionary mom struggling through the culture shock of moving her family of six to one of the darkest and most desperate third-world countries in the world : doing radical things for Jesus, but wondering if she will survive it…survive tomorrow.

A mom of six with access to incredible school systems, Costco’s  and green parks in the suburbs of Atlanta, Ga, but who feel so fractured by the endless schedule because of all the resources available to her and her children.

These individuals, they are all close friends of mine. They are all Christians.  They know the Bible. They want to follow Jesus.  But each one is also struggling….groping along, wondering “how did I get here? And why does it look so endless and dismal?”

It just goes to show  that our circumstances can vary widely, but the exact same sentiments can be had by all. trapped. depressed. empty. purposeless. Rich or poor. Privileged or not. “Free” or bound.  All finding themselves in a wilderness.

And what to do with it?  With the wilderness we find ourselves in, with no seeming way out of it?

Ah. But there it is….we desperately want a way out. 

But the eternal promise is for a way through.

I will make a pathway through the wilderness.” 

Our time on this earth is full of wildernesses. And instead of the long list of ideas on how we could get ourselves out of them….

if I just got a different job,

if I just didn’t have so many kids to take care of

if my work was just more fulfilling

if I just lived in a place that wasn’t so externally hard

if I just didn’t have so many schedules and responsibilities to take care of….

Then I’d be OK. Then I’d be out of this wilderness. Then I’d be happy.

But Jesus wants far more for us. He wants to give us eyes to see, He wants to train our eyes to see, and find, the pathway He is making through the wilderness.  A pathway for today.

A pathway that is strangely familiar

But is also new.

For the pathway is actually HIM.

I AM THE WAY…IN ME you will have peace….no one comes to the Father except through ME.

But it will also look differently each day. It will be new each day.

And our eyes for seeing it, they are in training.

So despair not, sweet friends.

Despair not, oh my soul.

He is doing a new thing. He is sending his very Spirit…His Graceful, Counseling Presence into this moment, and He will be in the next. Just have eyes to see Him there. See Him here.

Fully stand, leaning the full weight of your being onto this moment with Him, step by step, and moment by moment

and walk on the pathway He is making.

A pathway, not out of, but through the wilderness.

~~~~~~~

Some of my pathway stepping stones…only seen…only fully stepped upon, by inviting Jesus, moment by moment, to give me eyes to see the path He is creating through the wilderness of my filled-to-the-brim life.

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witnessing the growth of sisterhood (even with it’s growing pains)

the constant companionship of these little guys...and the fact that on THIS particular morning, they got themselves dressed without mommy

the constant companionship of these little guys…and the fact that on THIS particular morning, they got themselves dressed without mommy

In a room that usually looks like this....

In a room that usually looks like this….

finding shoes neatly placed side by side (even if they ARE suppose to be in the shoe bin)

finding shoes neatly placed side by side (even if they ARE suppose to be in the shoe bin)

magnetic shapes buying me some time so I can make phone calls to doctors and insurance companies...

magnetic shapes buying me some time so I can make phone calls to doctors and insurance companies…

Will I grab for it, or will I listen for it?

Salt was flying.

Sugar was spilling.

Baking powder was pouring.

Small hands were grabbing and snatching and dumping.

Ingredients jettisoning all over the kitchen.

A mommy was attempting baking…

…with an overly eager two year old and four year old.

Those little boys were so eager to help me make “gooten fwee bwownies” (Gluten Free history here)

that they were a little TOO eager.

For they were snatching things up and dumping things in and spilling things over and in their zeal, they were actually ruining the brownies they so desired to make.

“Boys, boys! You have to wait patiently, and listen to mommy, and step by step I will tell you what to do. If you don’t wait for instruction, you will ruin the brownies.”

And in that moment, I was the prophet.

Speaking, “Thus sayeth the Lord”

to a heart that needed to hear it.

For so often I long for the end result (yummy, Gluten Free brownies? or an influence in people’s lives for the sake of the Gospel? or a home that is well-run with lots of discipleship happening in it? or a house that needs to hurry-up-and-get-renovated-because-I’m-suppose-to-be-moving-my-kids-into-it-in-three-weeks? or a church to plant in a neighborhood I have a lot to learn from?)

But just like those boys, I’m grabbing and dumping and trying to outrace the other set of hands in order to try to accomplish things in my own, limited understanding.

But if I would just wait patiently in the presence of the Lord.

and listen for His voice

and expect to receive step by step instructions

and then DO them.

Then beautiful, powerful, and significant-for-the-Kingdom things will happen.

Sort of like those “gooten fwee bwownies” those little boys so proudly produced.

So proud of themselves!

So proud of themselves!

 

Lord,

I find set before me more ingredients and possibilities and to-do’s than any one person could possibly manage. Grant me the grace to enter into each day with a heart attitude of “you know the recipe, Lord, and I won’t touch or do or add anything unless your voice whispers, “now add this”  and “it’s time to do this”. So often I’m asking you to help me “get all this done!” but right now I ask you to help me hear Your voice. May I only touch what you tell me to touch, and do what you tell me to do. I believe and trust that you are creating something wonderful and I want to be a willing participant in it’s accomplishment, not a hindrance to it. I’m trusting you for the recipe, Lord.

 

Be still before the Lord, wait patiently for Him.   

Psalm 37:7

~~~~~

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Isaiah 30:21

~~~~~

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.  

Proverbs 3:5-6

Where are you sitting?

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“…sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool”  

Psalm 110:1

It was a short verse, at that 4 am rising, but the minute I read it, it hit me:

There is something about where we sit and what happens to our enemies.

right there on the same page, are promises about being right there at the King’s right hand.

“For he stands at the right hand of the needy one.” (Psalm 110:31)

The Lord is at your right hand.” (Psalm 110:5)

There is something about where we sit and what happens to our enemies. 

Anger. Depression.  The feeling of sinking with no way out. Irritability towards my kids. Lies of guilt and condemnation ruminating around in my head. Utter defeat.

This is where I have been sitting.

Blessed is the man who walks NOT in the counsel of the wicked…nor sits in the seat of scoffers. Psalm 1:1

And I had taken up a spot right there among them. Knowing cognitively the Bible verses, but scoffing at their power to break into my crazy hectic days of tending to one emergency after another, with not a chance to breath ,and an escalating list of things needing to be done that I was falling hopelessly behind on. (and the list wasn’t one of “write a blog post” but more like clean the kid’s school uniform so they have something to wear tomorrow, and shoot!-that-time-consuming-moms-need-to-help-leaf-project-is-due-in-two-days, and we’re eating rice again because I STILL haven’t braved another take-six-kids-into-the-grocery-store trip. )

And so I scoffed. and sunk deeper. deeper into despair that I would ever be able to keep up this running-on-fumes-pace. Deeper into a pit of atomic bomb reactions to the kids misbehavior.

If you fail to sit at the feet of King Jesus, you will inevitably end up sitting somewhere you don’t want to be. 

And those mornings that I clung on to every last minute of sleep, and those 6:15 risings with an explosion of urgency as kids needed uniforms, and lunches needed packing, and kids needed directing, not to mention the grumpy moods that come with the early risings or bickering over whose turn it is to make breakfast that needed peacemaking….

they left the spot of sitting at the feet of Jesus very empty. for many mornings.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t trying.  I’d get up and try to steal a few moments of quiet with the Lord, but our house isn’t that big. and inevitably,

they would find me.

diapers needed changing, disputes needed settling, “I can’t find the oatmeal!!” needed tending to,

with every moment stolen, or thought process fractured,

I would become more embittered.

“Don’t you know that this time is going to save you from having an angry mother all day!?!”

But how do you explain that to an infant, or a two-year old, or even a 4, 5, 7, and 8 year old who thinks your sole reason for living is to come at their every beck and call.

So I found myself sitting in the seat of scoffers. angry at my robbed time. angry at the every need. angry at God who gave me such a big load of responsibility that I don’t even have time to have a quiet time anymore.

but my King, who is for me, not against me, He beckons me still.

“sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

HE is able to make these enemies, these despairing thoughts, these anger outbursts, these times of tears to become my footstool. Not totally disappeared. Present, but under control, Nearby, but under my feet…. instead of overwhelming my head.

But the key is in the sitting. Sitting there with Jesus, at those three hundred red lights per day that I sit at, trucking children back and forth to school (did I mention that some of my kids get out at noon, and one gets out at 3:00? Thats a lot of driving back and forth…) and doctors appointments, and extra curricular activities.  The key is in the sitting, rising early enough to be there at his feet before the children are at mine. The key is sitting at his right hand with my thought life, until 

until he makes my enemies my footstool.

And as I sit at my King’s feet, my enemies will sit at mine. 

 

New Beginnings

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In the beginning….

I read it again, just as I did at this time last year. Beginning a new Bible reading plan, in hopes that THIS year there won’t be quite so many gaps in my completion of it.

Last year I had begun the year with high hopes and simple and tangible goals. A week later I had found out I was pregnant…which rendered me almost useless as an emerging being sucked every ounce of strength, energy and sanity out of me. There went the new years resolutions….again.

But I’m thankful that those words still stand there. 2014 was a whirlwind, at times feeling like a tidal wave the at I could hardly get my breath from, but still those words stand. Even when I have doubted, and sunk, and emerged again.  There is still a new beginning.

” In the beginning, GOD. “

My new beginnings start with HIM.

“In the beginning, God CREATED.”

And in my new beginnings, I believe that HE will CREATE.

And in this home that is so chaotic, and messy, and full and loud….the one that sounds much like the formless and void and dark earth that God transformed into the highly intricate and orderly universe,

I ask Him to hover.

Just as it says he did in the beginning, the Spirit hovering over the waters. And as I invite Him to hover, I ask Him to move in and begin creating order…giving each thing a place, a boundary, and each activity a season, and would He cause life to flourish within those boundaries-just as He caused living creature to flourish in the expanse of air, and land animals to roam?

I  beg Him for new beginnings.  Bring order to this chaos! Bring loving spirits instead of bickering! Remind my kids to clean up after themselves! Give me a workable system! Proper boundaries and places for things, just as you did over the formless void!

But maybe…just maybe, the boundaries and seasons and order I crave in my physical house, are reflections of a craving for order in my heart. For inside this chaotic heart I have forsaken rhythms, and seasons and order. Instead, I have sought to play the creator….without the Creator.

And nothing is left but disorder.

And without the hiding away IN HIM, who begins, and hovers, and speaks and creates, I have no capabilities to do so.

I will only create to the degree that I allow the Creator to take up residency here in the home of my heart one.nanosecond.at.a.time.

And I believe, and have confidence that His Creativity, His order, His seasons, and rhythms, and His boundaries will flow through me to help create the same in my home, and in my children, and in my relationship with my husband.

In this new beginning, 2015, may God create the order I crave…found only in letting the Creator have full access to this life, this family, this home.

After all, He is the one who takes the formless and void and brings order out of it.

Genesis 1:1-24

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formlessand empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry groundappear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered watershe called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 

 

I had the kids write out "themes" that the would like to see lived out in their lives for 2015

I had the kids write out “themes” that the would like to see lived out in their lives for 2015

Posted by the breakfast table, so we can remember to pray them into our lives each morning.

Posted by the breakfast table, so we can remember to pray them into our lives each morning.

 

 

No other explanation

It’s all his fault.

He made me do it.

Just if he hadn’t written that little book. Just if it hadn’t hit such a chord in my soul. Just if I hadn’t begun to pray that prayer based on what he had written.

“I cannot-and only God can….It means bowing to the fact that you cannot and only God can.  It means acting on the assumption that this is true, and exposing ever situation to Him moment by moment, for HIM to accomplish what you cannot, while you tell Him ‘Thank you!’…Then you will be begin to live miraculously. A life that can only be explained by the fact that there is a Resurrected Christ and He lives in his people.”

Major W. Ian Thomas, The Indwelling Life of Christ

So, I foolishly started praying that God would work in such a way in my life, that “there would be no explanation except that there is a Resurrected Christ and He lives in His people. “

I had envisioned constant energy. Unending peace. Supernatural optimism.  The God-given ability to keep up with everything, and manage 8 people’s different schedules, and have joy in my children while doing so.

But, instead, I end up with an incredibly debilitating pregnancy.

And a sick boy.

And a husband having major reconstructive surgery. **

And then postpartum depression to top it off.

Not exactly what I was expecting.

But in all my weakness, and inability, the body of Christ rallied. People made us meals. Friends volunteered to watch children.  Teachers took kids on extended playdates. Administrators at school showed grace when things weren’t done or turned in on time. A neighbor volunteers to read to little ones, so I can help big ones with homework. Other friends gave rides, fed little people snacks, welcomed my kids into their homes and loved them like their own.

It was just embarrassing, how needy I was.

But then, God gently reminded me of the prayer I had been praying ever since Ian Thomas’ message broke into my life….

“…there would be no explanation except that there is a Resurrected Christ and He lives in HIS PEOPLE.”

Not just Kimberly, as one person.

Oh no, that would give her far to great an opportunity for pride.

No, He was answering that prayer.

For He was surely putting HIMSELF on display not through simply one person, but a BODY of PEOPLE all moving as the Spirit led them. All offering themselves, their time, their resources, to help another member of the Body…

me.

And Danny

And this rather large brood of energetic, ready-for-LIFE little children.

and the church planting mission He has placed us on.

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so, when people stop and gawk at the entourage of Iversons, and say, “I don’t know how you do it!”

I tell them,

“I don’t.”

“You want to know my secret?”

“Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again from death. He is alive NOW. and He lives in His people.”

Our family can offer no other explanation.

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**THANK YOU-to all who prayed for Danny’s surgery.  The doctor told me beforehand, “I’m actually really excited about working on his shoulder. Its not your standard repair, so its an exciting challenge for me.”  Welp. I’m glad Danny could add some excitement to his day. But seriously, the doctor was AMAZING and is one of the best shoulder arthroscopic surgeons in the country.  We are beyond blessed to have been able to use him.  The surgery went well, the doctor is optimistic, Danny is very groggy, and is now embarking on a 6-10 month journey to full recovery, through an enormous amount of prayer and physical therapy. Let us know any prayer requests you have, because he’s gonna have ALOT of mindless exercises to do that can be filled with times of prayer and intercession!

Where does discipline come from?

But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:21)

It kept ruminating around in my head.  I personally had decided to fast multiple times over the course of the past two months, but as soon as crisis hit, or the exhaustion set in, it was just too easy to reach for that food, grab that cup of coffee, down that handful of chocolate chips.

But this time, I did it.

It wasn’t because I am a disciplined person.

It isn’t because I am a holy person.

It was because I was a desperate person.

At the root of all Christian disciplines: prayer, fasting, early rising, Bible memory, giving, is an element of desperation. 

We are desperate to meet God. Desperate to see Him work. Desperate to be delivered.

Desperation drives discipline.

And I needed help. I needed miraculous intervention to the prism of thought life that held me as prisoner. So I abstained, because deliverance was more important to me than dinner. My discipline was driven by desperation.

It was the third day of the liquid fast, each day crying out for God to rescue me. I met with my pastor’s wife where I cried, and unloaded, and vented about how wild my kids are, how much I have failed to train them, how I can’t keep up with everything, how I have a sick boy  who needs a lot of attention right now, how my husband is about to have surgery and what am I going to do without his help?!?

We prayed. And God started moving.

A friend last minute volunteered to drive the kids home for me. When I got home, BOTH little boys fell asleep at the same time (which hasn’t happened in a good year or two). And as I desperately tried to catch up with the school emails and all the commitments I needed to plug into the calendar, the phone rang.  It was the Christian postpartum counselor I had spoken with a month prior. The one that I had left a little glib message with two weeks ago, “I don’t think I’m struggling with postpartum depression after all. Thanks anyways!” (just to sink further in during the subsequent days).  She asked how I was doing and if I wanted to set up an appointment to see her.  There were financial obstacles and time obstacles, but I would get back to her.  Twenty minutes later (still while the boys were sleeping so I could actually have a conversation without all hell breaking loose while I was talking!) one of the counseling pastors called to see how they could help financially so that I could go see someone. “Just pay your percent, and have the rest billed to the church. ” and that was that. So another phone call was made to set up an appointment with the counselor. I managed to get out of jury duty and rearrange another meeting in order to set up the appointment. In an hour flat it was all worked out.

And hope began to shine forth. Hope that I was on a path toward health again. Emotional. mental. spiritual. health.

We’re not at the end of the journey yet, but at least we’re moving in the right direction, and not sitting {LINK THIS } in a place of despair.

I have no doubt that “this kind” will come out through prayer and fasting. And God often waits a little while to move things into place so that He can bring the healing.

And it wasn’t my holiness that drove me to fasting and prayer.

No, desperation for God drives us to discipline for the sake of getting Him.

My man, standing by me as I feel with postpartum issues, and the juggling of six children...

My man, standing by me as I deal  with postpartum issues, and the juggling of six children…

 

 

When you declare who should be King…

I wake up wanting to be God. or at least king over my little world.

I wake up wanting my schedule to go according to my plan. I wake up wanting my children to behave perfectly and fall in line with that plan.  I wake up wanting no interruptions, no change of events, no extra people to feed or neighborhood kids filling my home and my ears with, “Miss Kimberly!!” (in addition to the already five children, screaming “Moooommmy!”. I wake up wanting to execute everything I had on the agenda in perfect timing, with no pesky pregnancy fatigue slowing me down.  I wake up declaring, “I want to rule!” “I want jurisdiction over my kingdom!”

And just wait for the wrath of this “rulership” if you make unexpected messes, or dare to eat peanut butter in the living room, against the “law of the land” (for of course, with the eating of the peanut butter comes a massive carpet clean up), or if you didn’t do your chores on time, thus slowing me down, or if your temper tantrum comes at the exact time that we were suppose to be loading in the car to head to school,….

This “lord” can throw some pretty intense temper tantrums herself. So,

“Fall in line! Bow to my rule!”

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There were some other people, too, that I read about recently, who also wanted to declare who would be king.  They didn’t want to have to wait and sit before the True Lord to get directives from Him.  They wanted to pick and choose and set up their own jurisdiction, just as I want to set up my own jurisdiction over my home and life and schedule.

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel and Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old….Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.”  I Samuel 8:4

And when Samuel inquired of the Lord about it, God’s response to their demand cuts to the heart of the matter…and the heart of this mamma who wants to be king over her world.

…for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. ”  I Samuel 8:7 

they have rejected me from being king over them.

And with every irritated response I give to each interruption, I am declaring who is really king around here.  And every loud outburst at kids not doing what they are suppose to is showing who is really running this show.  And every lack of interest in my husband’s “world”, because I’m too consumed with trying to rule my own, I reveal that

I have rejected Lord Jehovah from being King over me.

I have nicely moved into the role.

But when humans try to play God, it comes with a price.

God warned the people, that if they chose a human king there would be consequences. Their sons and daughters would be forced into slave labor to serve that king.  The best of their resources would be swallowed up by that king. And worst of all,

“When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” I Samuel 8:18

For when we trust in false kings, we forfeit deliverance from the True One.

How much have I, for the sake of my own desire to rule, yielded up my children, yielded up the best of my moments with them, simply because I had wanted a physical king (me!!) ruling over this home, schedule, and life. I can’t be king, I cannot control, I cannot grasp so tightly every action, mess, and behavior….but nonetheless, I continue trying, and failing, which leads to lashing out in anger from this out-of-control attempt at usurping the Throne.

I lose my children in the process. I lose the best of these little years. For it brings utter ruination…crushing of little spirits, forfeiting of sweet moments, a loss of witness amongst my own kids, a spirit of anger and frustration in our home.

But praise God, there is a Savior, who holds this power-hungry mother in His grip of grace.  There is a Savior who cried out for relief, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!?!” in my place, dealing with the consequences of  my rejection of the true King.

And now, since He was the one not answered (on the cross)

I am the one who receives a “Yes!” and deliverance from my own oppressive ruie.

If I will just fall before that cross,

and repent of trying to be king,

and yield myself to the True King.

 

 

(and the best place to start yielding, is by sitting at His feet right from the start…)

When you want the glory without the path that gets you there

I dreamed it.

And it scared me.

Scared me right into humble submission to every long, hard, fatigued, feeling-sick day. Scared me into waiting patiently.  Scared me into receiving whatever I needed to learn and do in this hard waiting process.

It has been a tough 4 1/2 months. More negative emotions, failures, despairing moments, and struggles have been faced than I would like to admit.

And ever since week six, I had been grumbling about how I was excited about the child, but how I was horribly dreading/already hating the pregnancy . I kept whining to my very patient husband, “I just wish I could go into labor tomorrow. Why can’t I just skip the 9 months of utter misery and weakness, and get the kid?! Isn’t that what we were going to do with adoption? I’d do anything, just to be on my way to the hospital, ready to deliver this baby.”

And then I dreamed that it came true.

And I went into labor, and I was at the hospital….

…and I delivered a tiny, shriveled, and underdeveloped baby.  A dead baby. And the doctors told me,

“The baby didn’t have enough time to develop and grow. There was no way for the baby to make it.”

And that morning, the emotions still washing over me of what that would have been like, the Lord impressed it on my heart.

“What I am growing within you, is far more than a baby.  

And the character, patience, long-suffering, and endurance I will develop in you takes time.

If you rush the suffering, you will rush all that I am growing in you.

You will get a truncated self, just like that truncated baby”

So in my natural, in-my-strength, and according-to-my-plan self, I’d much rather avoid the messiness, weakness, humbling, and agony of it all.  Can’t we just skip to the glory? (have a precious little person in my arms to hold and to cherish?) But God is teaching me the same thing He was teaching His followers two thousand years ago.

You see, Peter seemed to have the exact sentiments as I do. (about the glory, not necessarily the baby)

This passionate and impulsive fisherman-turned-follower-of-Jesus, had great, bold faith in the Christ. He caught glimpses of a Kingdom led by this humble yet strong Man.  He was going to follow this God-leader into VICTORY.  He knew Jesus was the path to glory, to the Kingdom, that he had been longing for.

But he forgot that death is the path to glory, the shame of the cross the window into joy, the loss of self the finding of oneself.

He wanted what death brings about, but he wanted to skip the mess, the humility, the weakness of that which brings us to the resurrection.

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”  Matthew 16: 21-23

Peter didn’t want suffering, entrapment, torture and death for Jesus.  “There is another way!” He declares. “Far be it from you, Lord, that you should ever suffer such weakness, vulnerability, and humiliation!” Poor Peter, with all his good intentions, had his mind on the things of man, not on the things of God. And I, too, deserve such a rebuke. For Jesus has predicted my death, and I try to declare “There must be another way!”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 

Matthew 16:24-25

And who, in their right mind, would voluntarily choose death. and struggle. and suffering. and denial of our hopes and dreams. Who on earth would want to be a “disciple” if that is what the requirements are for the “Jesus Club”?

No one. Unless….unless, they witnessed, this leader walking straight towards death. Riding a donkey right into the city where He would be handed over. Continuing to be friends with the very man who would sell him for thirty pieces of silver. Head straight for the suffering. Not for suffering sake, but for the sake of the Love of the Father, the love of the Father for…

ME.

For US.

For the whole messy, bumbling crew of us.

When one witnesses that kind of suffering motivated by love, we can’t help but follow.

No matter what the cost.  No matter what the cross.

And because it was LOVE that motivated our Savior’s, sacrifice and death.

We can rest in the fact that no matter what sacrifices and deaths we face,

the Lord has led us there

Because of LOVE.

May we not shortchange His love simply because it doesn’t “feel” good in the moment.  For, if you just wait three days. (or 9 months in my case) or even years and years,

Glorious, wonderful, experience-love-to-the-fullest RESURRECTION takes place.

And its worth every step on the path that gets us there.

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One Thing to Cling to When Things are Tough

Where’s this blogging girl gone?
Well, after a week spell of intense editing and rereading into the late nights, sickness has slammed the family. And slammed the door on the writing momentum.

And when your husband, and your kids, and your pregnant self are all horribly sick, violently coughing through night after sleepless night, aching and feverishly enduring day after long day,and it hurts to breath,and you can’t talk (trying clapping to the kids to communicate to them each day) and you can’t quite keep up with all this (and who needs what, when):

The many attempts at fighting this misery-inducing beast off.

The many attempts at fighting this misery-inducing beast off.

and you start fantasizing about how you might manage to get yourself hospitalized so you can at least get breathing treatments, strong pain meds and SLEEP,

you can start to lose your bearings.

You can forget whose you are, and how He works in His children’s lives.

You forget that,

Desperate situations do not necessarily mean God’s dissatisfaction.

But rather, it is in the heat and pressure, and tension and struggle of those desperate situations that somehow God is working and moving and refining and sharpening a mother who on more than one occasion through this past two weeks of weakness has found herself saying,
“I’m in way over my head. I will never have my life together. Look at this messy house. Look at these snotty, sick kids. Look at your impatient sick self trying to yell at them through a fiery throat and intense coughing spells. Who am I KIDDING trying to bring another child into the world, much less adopt another one into our family?”

But,

Desperate situations do not necessarily mean God’s dissatisfaction.

A.B Simpson writes:

“The other day, my friend and I were passing by the power plant that produces electricity for the streetcars. We heard the hum and roar of the countless wheels of the turbines, and I asked my friend, “How is the power produced?” He replied, “It simply is generated by the turning of those wheels and the friction they create. The rubbing producers the electric current.

In a similar way, when God desires to create more power in your life, He creates more friction. He uses this pressure to generate spiritual power. Some people cannot handle it, and run from the pressure instead of receiving the power and using it to rise above the painful experiences that produced it.

Opposition is essential to maintaining true balance between forces. It is the centripetal and centrifugal forces acting in opposition to each other that keep our planet in the proper orbit. The propelling action coupled with the repelling counteraction keeps the earth in orbit around the sun instead of flinging it into space and a path of certain destruction.

God guides our lives in the same way. It is not enough to have only a propelling force. We need an equal repelling force, so that He holds us back through the testing ordeals of life. The pressures of temptations and trials and all the things that seem to be against us further our progress and strengthen our foundation.

Let us thank Him for both the weights and the wings He produces. And realizing we are divinely propelled, let us press on with faith and patience in our high and heavenly calling. ” (Taken from Streams in the Desert, by L.B. Cowman

So, those desperate situations do not necessarily mean God’s dissatisfaction…

They might actually mean His favor.

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