Deception’s Badge

deceptions-badge She wanted a badge to wear.  A bright one with curly ribbons, that would pin to her shirt – announcing to the whoever saw it that she had finally met him.  Alek.  The one we had all been praying for since long before we knew his name.  Ryleigh wanted to wear a badge so that everyone would know she had met him.  She had a new cousin and was incredibly proud of it.

It was super sweet and then there were tears when I explained that we were already late to school that morning and there simply wasn’t time to create this badge out of thin air.  On the way to school the Lord began to connect her desire for the world to know about Alek with what He had been uncovering for me through our Armor of God study at church.

Satan does the opposite of wear a badge…he wears disguises. Don’t you wish deception would wear a badge that announces it for what it is?  That when his lies came into our field of vision/hearing there would be a loud trumpet blast announcing that it was not truth?  Or at the very least a soundtrack to our life so we’d know when we heard a certain type of music that our thoughts were going in the wrong direction or that our choice was leading us to a mistake.  That sounds nice right?

And while that’s pretty much the exact opposite of what the enemy wants – since his goal is to devour and destroy us…the Lord has in fact designed an incredibly beautiful way for us to know just that – for us to see deception for what it is.  We can do this by girding ourselves with the belt of Truth.  Priscilla Shirer does an awesome visual of this through her Armor of God study.  She has on a long skirt made of lots of strips of fabric.  It’s hard to walk in because it looks like she could stumble or trip over any one of the pieces at any given time.

As she talks about wearing the belt of Truth she starts to define the word “gird”.  Which means to take up.  She starts picking up each piece of fabric and “girding” it or tucking it into the top.  If we do the same…if we take every decision, every word, every thought – and “tuck” it into His truth that we have girded our bodies & minds with – then we will know deception when it comes into our lives.  It will be as if a big flashing badge is announcing what it is…because we are wearing His truth as our belt.  I loved loved loved LOVE this imagery.  It made things click for me that never had before.

And, my favorite part? When it’s all tucked into our belt of Truth?  There’s nothing to trip us up – or make us fall.  Holding everything to His standard of Truth actually gives us MORE freedom instead of restricting it (which is what the world wants us to believe).

He is SO good!  He is such a Sovereign Father!

So, when I wonder if I’m missing something.  When I start to doubt what I’m doing or a decision I’m facing – I can look into His word.  I can gird it into His Truth and I will be able to see the enemy for who he is…as easily as anyone who saw Ryleigh that next day knew all about her new cousin, Alek.For His Glory,

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When Your Husband Isn’t “The One”

husbandYou’ve met the one.  The one you prayed for and dreamed of – and now he’s yours.  You’ve taken his last name and have settled in – for better or worse.

He’s charming, handsome, generous, and kind – but something just seems to be missing.  You waited your whole life for this…planned it out since you were a little girl.  However, that hole in your heart – the one you feel in your gut?  It’s still there.  Still empty.  You’re still longing.

You think that something must be missing.  You get dressed up, you go on date nights, you take a spontaneous road trip, and you do a Bible study together.  You buy a house and have children…but it’s still not filled.  You go to work, go on vacations, and join a church but no matter what – even on the absolute best days…he’s not everything you had hoped.

You lie awake at night, going back over every choice…every decision that has led you here.  Did you make a mistake?

You watch him when he’s not looking.  You see what a great man he is.  An amazing father and a devoted husband – a hard worker and a faithful follower of Christ.  But is marriage supposed to be hard?  Isn’t it supposed to make your life complete?  Could it really be?  Could he not be “the one”?!?

Oh sweet sister…no.  No, he’s not…he can’t be.

Date nights, diamonds, flowers, losing weight, helping out around the house, or anything else will never change the fact that he is not the One.

You see “the one” can only be fulfilled by One. 

And friend, your husband is not Him…and neither is mine.

“The One” for whom your soul longs for is the One who numbered the stars and knows every quirky and beautiful thing about you…because He created you.  He is Jesus Christ – the literal Lover of your soul  and it’s only through a relationship with Him that you can be satisfied.  Not momentary satisfaction dear one, but the everlasting kind. Love created us in His image…to be united with Him.  He designed us to walk with Him, to spend time together, to be in relationship & fellowship with Him.

It’s quite incredible what a difference it can make when you start viewing your husband as a sinner saved by grace (just like us! gasp!) instead of the one to fill every need in your life.  If our needs are met in the One who lacks nothing then every good gift is just bonus.  The amazing man you married?  Grace gift.  Your motherhood?  Grace gift.  Your home?  Grace gift.  Your job/church/vacation/health/etc?  Grace gifts.

And I wouldn’t be sharing the whole Truth if I left out the opposite of all those things – sickness/miscarriage/abuse/rebellion/being laid off/cancer/death/depression – there is grace found in each of these as well because our longings were not, are not, can not be satisfied in those.  When He is our peace giver – then things can not take it away.  When He is our foundation then explosive news can not shake us – it may very well knock us to our knees but it will not cause our Foundation to move.

When that viewpoint starts shifting then it’s much easier to understand all of the things that may have been nagging at the back of our hearts before were actually just tactics of the enemy.  Warfare playing out behind the scenes.  But that’s a topic for another day.

For now, let’s just breathe a sigh of relief because in case you haven’t figured it out – if our husbands aren’t “the one” for us – then that helps us remember we can’t be “the one” for them either!  #allthepraisehands

For His Glory,

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Word of the Year ~ 2017

warrior

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and I kept coming back to “rest”. I liked it, it sounded easy (but it’s really not), and I mastered the getanapineverysingledayofChristmasbreak thing this year.  So.  Natural choice – right?

But over a conversation with a new friend, I just can’t get another word out of my heart.  It keeps rolling around and popping up in all kind of ways – and well it’s kinda the exact opposite of what I thought my word might be.

WARRIOR

It’s kinda overwhelming to type it.  I imagine this fierce person who is bold & courageous – outfitted with this incredible heavy duty & shiny armor…and well it’s intimidating to think that I’m supposed to be that person.  That we are each as sons and daughters are called to be that person.

But what I’m loving about it is that I really think the Lord is beginning to show me how interconnected warrior is with rest.  The Word says that our mind is stilled when solely focused on Him.  Rest comes through time with the Lord.  He even says that if we would only be still – that He will fight for us.  But there’s also the time that we are called to be in action.  It’s through rest and in preparation for that time (of action) that we are able to adequately cover ourselves with the Armor He has made available to us.

Getting dressed in armor is not a simple or quick process.  You can’t throw open the closet door and just grab it off the hanger.  It takes being intentional.  It takes time with the Lord…quality time.  It takes spending time on your knees instead of running everywhere under the sun. #preachingtomyself

The warfare around us is undeniable.  It surrounds us.  Angels & demons are fighting…and we would be believing lies if we turned a blind eye to it.  And it would also be incredibly unwise to immerse ourselves in this war without being dressed for battle.

So…this year, my prayer is to dress better…to daily put on the armor my God has sacrificed His own Son for…to know His Truth so that I may gird every choice & action in it & to hide His words in my heart so that I may use it to destroy the lies that the enemy will surely whisper and shout on any given day.

I am praying for rest – yes…but rest that is spent in Him – asking that even as I sleep He is renewing my mind and transforming my thoughts in preparation to be a warrior for Him.  This year, I desire to have the wisdom to know when to fight and when to be still & daily ready for both.For His Glory,

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Ryleigh Elizabeth ~ 6 years old

Ryleigh, dsc_0395

You are the one that made me a momma.  I’ve experienced so many firsts with you because of that, but also so many others.  Living internationally, learning a different language, extended camping trips, and the list could go on and on.  You are no doubt one of the most flexible, go with the flow, kiddos that I’ve ever met.  I see so much of myself in you (for good and bad) and while you love a list & a schedule – you’re A OK when that changes.  You love traveling and you love being at home.  Learning to read has been a highlight of the year and you are always wanting to pick up a new book and figure it out.  I do love that you still want to be read to though too!

He has given you such a compassionate heart (just usually not towards your sister).  I’ve seen it from the beginning of when your personality began to emerge but even more so this year.  There’s not a time when an ambulance or police car passes us that you don’t voice a prayer for whomever they are on the way to help.  img_8926

Anyone who knows you, knows you are a talker – but you are also an excellent listener and that shows up in how you pray for people about things that I didn’t even know you were aware of.  I’ve loved teaching you in VBS and Bible Buddies this year and seeing how you make connections to what He is teaching you through your friends, worship songs, and our devotionals.

Of course, this past year, the highlight has been that you are now my sister in Christ and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  Your concern and passion over praying for your little sister to also become a part of your eternal family has been such a sweet thing to be a part of.

You love your people fiercely and have a boldness for Christ that would be hard to rival even by someone 4x your age.  Some may say you’re bossy but I’m praying that He will conform that into leadership skills that will honor Him in magnificent ways.  We talk alot about how when you grow up that you can be anything you want to be only for you to remind me that it’s anything He wants you to be – and you are SO exactly right.

I’ve prayed from the beginning that He would use you to glorify Himself.  He has proven faithful to that request in ways I never imagined and I just can’t wait to see what He has in store.

There’s not a night that we don’t sing your goodnight prayer together and our mornings this year as we travel to school have already become such a sweet time of memories for me.  Your silliness keeps us laughing and your request for “cuddle time” is one of my favorite things.  img_9001

You love peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, pickles, and black olives.  You’re addicted to cran-grape juice and you’ll pick a kit-kat over any other candy.  You still love a bowl of rice with nothing else on it and you can put a bowl of beans away in a hurry…I guess raising you in Madagascar has influenced your palette.  Which also is probably why you have a love for animals just like your daddy.  Right now you think you’ll be a veterinarian -but you want to work at a zoo because you like all the “crazy” animals…or at least that’s what you say.

Your life verse from before you were born is Zephaniah 3:17 –
The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

I truly believe that His way of reminding me of that verse all the time is by giving you a love of singing.  I don’t remember a time when you didn’t love making up your own songs and singing & dancing to each one.  His joy is evident in you and it is a beautiful thing.dsc_0378

I love you Ryleigh Elizabeth and I am so grateful He chose me to be your momma.

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