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I have a new philosophy in life. Applying it has begun to save me a lot of stress. It’s simple in theory. Just Don’t Look This idea came to me in the car. I have four children and one on … Continue reading
“Can I be completely honest with you,” my friend asked me one evening as we lounged together. These words have become comfortingly familiar. She is a woman whose friendship has become a source of life and strength. I often walk … Continue reading
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There is a conflict I have been consistently refereeing among my children. I call it the battle of fairness and sameness.
As a mom I’ve made it clear with each child from the beginning that it’s not my job to make life fair, nor will I attempt to reach the standard of treating each child the same. Just the thought of attempting those impossible feats exhausts me. My children are far from identical, even if they all bear a resemblance and share their Daddy’s amazingly long eye lashes. Then there is the difference between the boys and my daughter… age differences factor in, and then each incredible personality comes into play. Fairness and treating everyone the same just doesn’t work in my mind.
That doesn’t mean that each child isn’t treated fairly, or that I don’t love them all with the same profoundly deep love that boggles my ability to understand it.
However, fair for one child isn’t fair for another. And showing love to my daughter in the same way my oldest son feels the most loved would (and has!) cause her to feel suffocated and irritable. Each of them loves it when I display that I know them well enough to know these individualities. They love being called out for their unique contributions to our family, and being fussed over for something their sibling can’t do as well. And all four of them have time in the limelight.
Just not all at the same time. Or even on the same day… or in the same ways. And this is where the battle comes in.
At times they get so focused on what they aren’t getting that all they see is what someone else has, or is receiving. They completely forget what they’ve got and what they were just given. Its like they forget who they are and what they like. Not only that, but when it comes to consequences, they completely forget that they were the ones choosing a behavior to begin with. Well… don’t we all at times?
I can’t make life fair for my children because I can’t make their choices for them. Nor can I forget that they are so incredibly unique, requiring different approaches and styles of instruction. What one child earns another child might get gifted, simply because without the gift they’d never reach the prize. It’s not fair. But the child who earned it needed the exercise in growth to reach his greater potential, while the child who got a gift wouldn’t have tried without grasping encouragement in his pudgy little fingers first. One child has privileges the others don’t enjoy. The others don’t have this child’s responsibilities either… it’s not fair. They are not the same people.
Isn’t it that way with adults too? I found myself complaining to God about the unfairness of a situation. His response was profound in my heart. Child, I didn’t create you for fairness. I created you to know Me and because I wanted to get to know you. I will always do what is right for you, and I will always place the opportunities for your greatest joy within each one of your days. And I will always be cheering you on to choose the things that are designed for your perfect life with Me.
We do this among ourselves though… We walk into a room and size up the competition. If it happens to be our turn in the limelight, life is so good – it’s fair. If we happen to be repeatedly watching others succeed or gain promotions it can be as if we forget who we are and what we really love in life because we aren’t getting the attention or things we see others possess. Jealousy’s monstrous voice says if it’s not fair to me, then it should all at least be the same for everyone… At times becoming so focused on what is fair or how to keep everything the same for everyone that we forget what truly brings us joy. Each of us have an opportunity for immense joy every day if we choose it; if we will settle down and be content with being different. Letting what is fair be different for each person and enjoying those differences.
Differences designed by Creator God, for His pleasure, for our joy should we choose it, and for purpose and destiny in His perfect plan for unity within His family. Just like in my own family, in His family we are all called out for our unique contributions and skills by His love; we all have moments in the lime light. Some of us work for what others are simply gifted. Some of us enjoy great privileges that others don’t because we don’t carry the same responsibilities. Some of us have to wait longer than others, and some of us receive a prize we’ve been waiting years to claim, while others begin their wait on the same day… none of it is fair.
refuge; a place to go to find where you find protection from something dangerous or threatening, to flee to, a shelter for protective purposes.
conquer; to take control of, to defeat, to gain control of through great force or threat.
plague; a large number of harmful or annoying things, a disease that causes death quickly to a large number of people.
home; the place where a person lives, a family dwelling together in one building, a place where something and naturally located.
Jesus, how precious is Your name to me! You remind me that there is no place on earth, above it or beneath its depths, that I can hide from You. No matter where I run, You are there. And You also make it clear that the only safe place I will ever find is by hiding in You. When You are Who I turn to for comfort, conversation, and instruction; when You are where I look for answers and to find provisions, when I am normally found in Your presence, as if in my natural habitat, then I am fully hidden in You. This is where I find perfect and supernatural protection. No evil will be able to take control over or defeat me, and plagues will bypass me. Do I even know the value of these words?
LORD, stir in my heart and in the minds of all who love You, to hunger and crave understanding of Your ways. Wake up sleepy minds to the present power of Your promises, the relevant application of your Word this day. Savior, teach us to know You in such intimacy that all who are looking will find You when they see us in perfect peace. Amen.
“If you make the LORD your refuge; if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.”
to look; to direct your eyes toward something or someone, to think about a situation or subject carefully, to closely examine, a visual search or examination.
to approach;to come near to in quality, character, time or condition, to come within range.
recompense; make amends for loss or harm suffered, to compensate, compensation or reward given for loss or harm suffered.
Holy Spirit, how many wonders do you have? How can I possibly praise you enough for the miracles I have seen with my own eyes? You have made the impossible a reality, brought dreams to life and in miraculous ways You have protected those who know and love You. I have only to look back over my brief life to see the events that betray Your hand at work on my behalf, protecting me from dangers, sickness and even death. You have surrounded me, enveloped me and encased me in Your very presence. Though many have fallen prey and some have passed away, You have kept Your steadfast hand upon me. Lord, please, wake up the ones You love, who listen to Your voice, rise up in us the voice to call out for those who do not yet know the protection and healing, the life and power, You afford us at our invitation. Give us the voice and the faith to stand in Your grace and to pull others in with us, to know and to love You. Thank You for Your faithful action at the promise of Your Word. That those who turn away from sin, the arrogance of hurting others for the sake of selfish gain, the arrogance of our own understanding and pride in our own achievements without acknowledgement of You, of foolishness and ignorance; they are securely protected in You. Teach us all to know You, and to love like You so that we are all covered in Your promise. Amen.
“A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.”
To dwell; live in or at a specified place, to think, speak or write at length about.
Shelter; a place to live, receive protection and food.
To abide; accept or act in accordance with.
Shadow; area where direct light cannot reach due to an obstruction.
Lord Jesus, You are magnificent, mighty and strong. Thank you for what you accomplished in your life on this earth, in your Word, and in your death on my behalf. Thank you for returning to us Holy Spirit, dwelling among us still, as power, comfort, peace, strength, portion, life and love. You set up each day for me in accordance with what is good and what will bring the best in my present and future reality. You lead me through my day with every protection and nurturing I need and you hover over me with your presence, never leaving me. You are formidable, my aly and my counsel. So long as I constantly return to you, I am kept from harm and given promotion in every good way. As I accept your wisdom, your leading and learn to discern your dialect, I am protected as you obstruct every effort of those who desire to cause me harm, to steal, kill and destroy what is good in my life. As I develop patience and as I yield to your plans, despite what I lack in understanding, I learn that you are trustworthy and you work on my behalf. I am safe when I know your presence and ways in my life and when I do and speak according to your Word. Amen.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty, I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!'”
There is something about celebrating.
I mean, when we make it a priority and put it on the calendar. Decided.
Even when there is nothing to celebrate… yet.
My husband recently made the decision to change his employment. He spent time in prayer. A lot of time. He’s loyal and tends toward being the ‘yes’ man, finding ‘no’ very difficult to say. This was not an easy or quick decision on his part, because of who he worked for and his affection for his employer. He sought the Lord for strategy and wisdom.
He heard the Lord’s advice. It was not logical, practical or ‘natural’ to our senses. Standing strong on the words he’d listened to, against sound currents of practical advice flowing freely around him, he gave his notice.
Perspective: He’d been talking with recruiters for several months, and networking with local networking groups without any real leads. It was a gigantic leap of faith that my husband took; resting on the words he heard in his prayer closet.
The next day his recruiter called to set up an interview. My husband then proceeded to so impressed the person he interview with that the recruiter who’d connected them was speechless, having never seen this particular client of his as impressed with past prospects. As events unfolded, my husband found favor with a new company. However, as his last days at his former job came close, he had to continue in the illogical choices, putting into writing his intentions to leave his then current job before any kind of formal offer came through. It was nerve wracking.
Pause. It was in this brief moment of time, in the midst of complete unknowns and letting go with both hands, that the Lord gently prodded; celebrate with Me!
Without sure and solid evidence to stand on, without any real tangible reason, we did just that. We took our family out and celebrated! We rejoiced in the goodness God has already shown us, and we thanked Him for His character that never changes. We celebrated His trustworthy promises, and thanked Him for providing for us the things we hoped for and hadn’t yet seen.
Monday of the last week at work came, and no formal job offer had come through yet. Friday, the last day at his former job, loomed ahead full of all kinds of uncertainty. We continued in hearts decided on celebrating God’s goodness. Our kids had been asking us to take them to see Toby Mac in concert and he happened to be in our town the Sunday following my husband’s last day of work. We bought the tickets, anticipating more celebration. Hoping…
Thursday morning rose and I walked into my room where my phone was on it’s charger. My husband had received a formal written proposal for a job offer, starting the beginning of the following month, one week away. It was exactly what we needed and had hoped for.
We had been celebrating for a week, something we hadn’t yet seen come to pass and on the seventh day we saw it.
There is something about celebrating… it aligns our minds with His heart. It sets up the atmosphere for anticipation of miracles and wonders beyond what we can imagine or comprehend. It places us under His grace, in perfect partnership with His nature, where all things come from Him ~ where our working meets His ability and what is accomplished is indeed the miraculous. Celebration is a joyful display of complete reliance on His nearness and interest in us. And it is so important to Him that He actually set it up in His ancient law, and decrees it for those He loves, who love Him.
I can hear it…. my fingers feel it… a melody, and a song written somewhere just beyond my reach.
My fingers touch the keys. Stiff. Longing. Untrained. Aching…
So many things well up within me. Things I don’t have the words to speak, or to write. Wonderful things. Mourning things. Things heavy with both joy and sorrow; the ache of loss a friend has to face… the triumph of a victory for a family member… desperation for one to understand and another to find relief, to find escape. To speak to all the love that is power, compassion, comfort and strength. To say clearly the perfect words each ear needs to hear, each heart needs to feel… to know.
I will my fingers to fly over the keys, to pen out the things I contain deep inside, to reach the impossible depths and retrieve the unknown language locked away… Literally just beyond my grasp!
There is mercy, favor unmerited, and grace, the power to be what we cant possibly… the link is belief. The key is faith. The force is love. And it is right here… right here.
And so, I lift my hands and rest my palms. I pray. I lift my heart’s cry to the One who hears, who knows without being told, who understands that language I cannot fathom, and who has all the answers. I pray. And I pray. And I pray.
The tears run for those who are hurting. Praises leave my lips for those who are rejoicing. A silencing ache fills my chest for those who are suffering. And for those who are lost, loosing their way… for them I let out a shout. A plea. A sound in the dark, in hopes their ears might hear and they might know they are not alone. Not even close to being alone.
I see their faces. Many I know. Many I love. Some I’ve never seen before. For everyone I let my heart speak… His words covering my own, His thoughts reaching the depths of emotion, His love flowing farther than I can imagine…
In this way, together, His hands over mine, we write the melodies and we sing the songs that bring the changes we long to see.
Holy are You, Lord. Holy are You! Above all else, and every other name. You are I AM, the One who cares. The One who loves. The One who saves. Mighty is Your name. You are like no other. Mighty is Your name!