In the first post of this series, I talked about how I had been blindsided and knocked off balance... how I was dizzy and tired of fighting and how even though I knew better... what I REALLY thought I wanted was to reward my despair with a nap! I told you I would let you in on how the Lord coaxed me out of a nap and into a dance and how that mere act of worship shifted me from the inside out and brought me back to center! Balanced (somewhat!) and standing tall. (We will get to that! Just bare with me for a moment!)
In the second post, I walked you through a visual or two of what it looks like to have Him coming at us - Full On and All In! I hope you could relate to that and reflected on a few of your own experiences that brought a bit of realness to what He is speaking here!
For today - I wanted to talk about that gloriously skipped nap... and present to you a Valentine's Day Challenge!
I have struggled here on this blog a bit over the past year or so... I am all about being real and transparent and vulnerable... there is a call to be authentic and power when we are raw and open... however, there is also this (not so) little thing called Honor and sometimes just because a test comes at me, it doesn't mean it is MY testimony to share! Sure - I have one within it... but some things are not my story to tell.
I will say - as I have said before - our world was knocked off center as a family a year ago... it was dark... and scary... and doubt and fear and feelings of failure just moved right in like they owned the place! I can not say enough how thankful I am for the consistent powerful steadfastness of my husband who is and has always been like Jesus with skin on to me... he has the Father's Heart and it beat strong and fierce through this last season especially. He chose the higher road at every turn. He pulled me up alongside him and we chose Grace... we chose Mercy... we wrapped our family in Forgiveness and Honor and slowly... ever so slowly - we saw Restoration unfold. So... I only share that to let you see my frame of mind and fragility of heart... we made it through! We actually (as only God can do!) were closer and stronger for it! Whew... wipe the sweat from the brow, and let out a sigh of relief, and sit back and relax.
But really... are we ever truly 'out of the woods'? Ironically - this year, I am embracing "Surprise!" and leaning in to living more adventurously... This must include risk... so no magic bubble of protection, no invisibility cloak... no safe/out of the woods path for this girl (or for any girl, really!)
As parents, we are never done... even though my girlie is nearing a new season of independence and college life - it doesn't get easier... just different! And so last month - after a turbulent year of tests and trials... we were thrown a curve ball that was not at all related to previous struggles and yet - it came with so much force, it sent me spinning back down to the darkness. Those familiar spirits whose job it is to whisper lies were speaking loud and clear and what I really wanted was to take a nap! Seriously... just close the curtains and pull the covers up over my head... drown out the voices and the problems and escape. I knew sleep was a better option than what was happening - which was words were coming out of my mouth that I DID NOT want to agree with! I was spewing negative thoughts and declaring failure... my flesh was weak... exhausted, really... and I just didn't want to fight it all.
As I headed for my room... the coziness and safety of a space where peace dwells... I felt agitated and uneasy... that is when I heard God whisper to my heart... He called for me to worship. "Just come to Me. Spend some time focused on Me and I will take care of all that is heavy on your heart." Oh - it sounded good... I wanted it to be true... but it seemed too easy in one way - and too hard in another!
Easy - just give it over to Him... Hard - leave it there!
I was tired... cranky... and just needing to stop the words from coming out! So I ignored Him and went to lay down... pushing aside my Bible and my list of one thousand gifts... "Yeah - not today" I thought!
But I was restless and the thoughts would not stop! I could not silence the tape that kept playing over and over in my mind.
Now - this is not my first rodeo... I know what to do and what works... I know WHO to run to! Again - I heard Him speak to my heart. "...you seem to forget that I am ALL IN with you! If it concerns you, it concerns Me! There is no shadow of turning with Me... I am All In and I am coming Full On! I've got this... I've got you!"
I needed this to be true! I could feel myself spiraling down further and further... and the only way I knew to go UP instead of down was to worship my way there! So I emerged from the darkness of our lights-out bedroom that for once, offered no peace... I walked with purpose right by my husband on the computer, and my daughter and her friend consoling in her room and I cranked up the music. I picked up some worship flags... purple and blue - because what I needed most at that moment was to remember that we are royalty and our Father is the King... and I needed Heaven to come near!
It's just that sometimes I forget that it's His anyway! I gave it to Him years ago... but when I feel cornered or wounded - it can sure feel like it's mine again! But when I find my center... the only way I CAN find my center - is through worship... and remembering that my heart belongs to Him on good days and on bad days and on every day, I can trust Him with it! He proved to me that night... as He always does... that He really is All In with us! If it concerns you, it concerns Him and He will work it out for your good when you are willing to once again offer up your heart!
(He DID work it all out for our good... there may still be a few loose ends - but the threat that came at us was more about smoke and mirrors and lies than it was about truth and future and destiny!)
Oh - yes... that Valentine's Day Challenge I mentioned? For years now we have purposely made Valentine's Day all about Love - a greater Love... and not limited it to 'romantic' love. Yesterday, I read this post by Brene Brown about Generosity Day (which just so happens to also be today!) and I wanted to send out a Challenge. In addition to whatever Valentine's Day tradition you do with your Honey or your kids... or if you are a hater of this day and normally do nothing in celebration - may I ask you to consider stepping up and stepping out and letting someone know that they are loved?
It could be someone you know or a complete stranger... it could be someone single - or someone married... it could be a word of encouragement or acknowledgement, or it could be buying the latte order of the car behind you in the drive-thru! It could be small or big - but if you are willing to risk it... it could Speak Life and Be Love to those around you! You just never know what a simple word or deed can tell someone who is trying to stop the negative tape playing over and over in their head!
Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!