Growing Up

I guess I’ve been feeling very nostalgic lately.  My oldest child, Michael, is almost 13 and…we’ll just say he’s rapidly changing.  Everyday when my facebook memories pop up and I see how he looked just a year ago, I am blown away by how much he has changed in just a year.  He’s shot up like 4 inches, gained like 15 pounds and is losing his boyish look.

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Look at that sweet face!
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Same two kids, five years later.  Now he’s too cool to smile.

He’s growing up.  He’s changing.  Most of these changes are involuntary, and the spring forth (often in the most awkward of ways!) like a force of nature.  Growing up is a part of life.  But growing spiritually is completely different.  It doesn’t just happen.  We don’t wake up one day spiritually mature by accident.  It’s a process.  It takes time, experience, and cooperating with God through the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

God wants us to grow up.

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

This past year has been one of growing up.  Of throwing down the gauntlet.  For a long time I was struggling with my doubts and really walking the fence.  No wonder I felt so unsure and struggled so much to obey God.  I made the decision that I was going to pursue God, no matter what.  Daily I was going to seek, daily I was going to submit my will to His.

“My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”…Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.” Psalm 27:8, 108:2

I’ve got my alarm set for 5:30.  I’m spending an hour a day with God in the morning.  It has been completely changing my life.  No more waffling.  This is my commitment and I will carve out the time.  I want to grow up.  I want to be a mature believer that God can use mightily.  I want to go from the spiritual, infantile milk to the spiritual meat described in Hebrews 5.  I don’t want to live my life in spiritual diapers.

I want to be full of the Word, full of the Spirit, I want to advance the kingdom of God with every day and every breathe that I take.

“Lord, we thank you that you love and care for us regardless of our state or level of maturity, but we also know that you want us to grow up in the things of God so we can accomplish the plans and works you established before the dawn of creation.  help us to get off the fence, and to love you with all our hearts, minds, and strength.  Thank you that in living for you we find abundant life and you fulfill the desires of our hearts. Amen.”

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Suffering and Heaven

18920650_10158894564500074_8516742202078951748_nYesterday I took just Gabe out shopping.  I don’t often get to spend alone time with him and I was reminded what an amazing kid he is.  He has such a tender soul.  He wants to run an orphanage when he grows up… but he also wants to drive a Ferrari, so… 😉

We had a fun time, just the two of us.  On the way home he kept asking me about Heaven and what it’ll be like when Jesus comes back.

I explained to him that Jesus will appear in the sky with great glory, riding the clouds.  That every eye will see him, even those that pierced him.  That we will rise to meet him and be changed, to be like him.  That there will be no more sickness, death, pain…

I got choked up and so did he.  He said, “Mom, I can see him coming.”  I said, “honey that’s the Holy Spirit showing you that it’s true.”

You see, just the day before he had been in a lot of pain.  In between tears and sobs he had asked, “if God loves me, why am I suffering so much?”

The conversation, and the sweet presence of God, was something we both desperately needed.  Something that I need more of.

In my own suffering I tend to turn away.  I feel like I can’t take anymore disappointment at times, without losing hold of my faith.  But yesterday, it was like He peeled back the curtain obscuring eternity and gave us both a glimpse of our future and the end of suffering.  I felt a glimpse of the eternity and wonder awaiting us, and looking over at Gabe’s tear-filled eyes, I know he did too.

I know that Gabriel is being molded in ways I can’t even begin to comprehend.  I know he has a huge call on his life.  Even at the age of 8, there is a level of tenderness, empathy and hunger for knowledge of God that is amazing…. probably as the result of all the suffering he’s had to endure.

We can got lost in the hardships we face but we need to remember that life here is short and eternity is long.  We can’t choose the trials but we can choose how we face them.  Our God loves us.

 

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How Can I Stay Quiet?

If you have read any of my blogs you will see that I strive for honesty and transparency.  I passionately hate falsehood or b.s. of any kind.  If we aren’t willing to be ‘real’ no one is getting healed, no one is getting impacted.  These experiences and opinions I share are what I have tested and found to be real.  To be the truth.  In an age when lies sell headlines and the enemy is having a field day- we need to shout the truth from rooftops.  I have been under pretty severe attack from the enemy.  (like clockwork, when I move a pawn forward there comes a quick counter attack of darkness)  I will NOT shut up.  I’m going to get louder.  ” You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” 2 Peter 3:12  Our obedient and holy lives are actually hastening the return of Christ the King.

I share my story of sin and redemption openly because I know the power of it.  “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11

When we share what Christ has done in our lives the enemy trembles.  When we go out in the power of God the enemy is forced back into his literal hell-hole.  We are the ARMY of God.  We are anointed and appointed.  “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:3  We didn’t join God’s country club we entered a battlefield.  If you are serving God and things seem to be going wrong inexplicably or you are suddenly afflicted with dark thoughts, depression, hopelessness, etc.- that is the enemy try to silence you and beat you back.  You take authority over that junk in the Name of Jesus.

Maybe you were once working for the Kingdom but have shrunken back because of the ferocity of the battle.  Get back in that game.  If you aren’t fighting you are a P.O.W.  You are living like a prisoner when you are a child of the King.  No one is going to hand you your ‘promised land’.  You are going to have to wield that sword of Truth and slay some giants.  “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

Be honest in your testimony, about what God saved you from or is still saving you from.  At my lowest, when I felt like I was hopeless, God used the brave and honest testimonies of women like Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Kay Arthur, and Lisa Bevere to convince me that I could do it too.  Women God plucked out of deep pits and radically changed.  That God uses people with lots of problems and a past.  God actually delights in that.  I want to be an overcomer and inspire many with what God has done in my life.  “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:3

If we let the Devil bully us into silence then he wins.

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Winston Churchilluntitled