Seven ways to minister from the sidlines – Staying active in ministry from home.

We all fight it.  The feeling of  uselessness.  The hollowness of helplessness.  The longing to live unhindered.  Depression quickly consumes hope and all our focus becomes inward.  We start to lose any other-minded thoughts we should act upon, and we can sink into despair. We have nothing to offer.

It is a lie. 

No one ever, ever loses their value or worth in ministering to others just because it looks different.  Nor, are you off the hook because it’s “atypical”.  We may adjust how we carry it out, but it’s just as important as corralling toddlers in the church nursery or running casseroles to the sick or grieving.  Grab your Bible and read Paul’s story.  I would venture to say the thorn in his side caused some “adjusting” of how he ministered.  God didn’t say he couldn’t use the weak and weary, the frail and fragile. If we believe otherwise, we are believing Satan’s lies.  Take a moment to ask the Lord for forgiveness for not trusting him to use you where you are in whatever shape you’re in.  Ask our Father God to show you the ways HE has in mind to use you.  I’m starting you off with seven ministry ideas.

1.  Pray.  The greatest help you can ever be to another human being is to approach the throne of God on their behalf.  I  cringed as the words tumbled out of my mouth, “I’ll be praying, I wish there was more I could do”.  How dare I, a mere human, think any of my efforts (i.e physical work) could equal or surpass that of carrying another’s burden to the Lord in prayer.  Don’t be fooled into believing a plate of cookies is more beneficial than the prayer of a sincere heart.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:6

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:15, 16

2.  Hand write a note of encouragement to someone.  A good old fashioned, penned letter that someone will find delightful  when sorting through the bills and junk we retrieve from our mail boxes.  Those notes are keepsakes, heirlooms.  Hand written encouragement has a way of turning up months and years later, often at times when we need it the most.

 I thank my God every time I remember you.

  Philippians1:3

3.  Choose one thing to be thankful for and start to praise God for it.  Obsess on it.  I promise it will lead to another praise and another.  Today, before the day is done, share it with your family or caregiver.  They will be BLESSED by your positivity.  It is impossible to be angry and downcast while praising the Lord!  Be contagious.

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings(I) and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150

4.  Get on your social media and be the bright spot to all your contacts.  Facebook, Twitter, whatever it may be gets pretty ugly.  I think the green-eyed monster lives there.  It’s where comparisons start and harsh words flow.  Grab your phone or computer and set out to bring The Light of the World to some of those dark posts.   Maybe it will be in the form of your favorite scripture, a recognition of your gratefulness for the friendships, or a picture of a kitten.  Seriously, who doesn’t get a smile out of a baby animal. If a thread has gone sour, be the person to stop the flow of poison.

 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones

Proverbs 17:22

5.  Phone a friend.  Yup, old fashioned phone call. You are blessed with the time to listen. This form of ministry helps you to stay in that other-minded frame of mind as you must engage in their life story.  Don’t you sometimes get tired of people asking you how you are fully knowing they probably don’t really want to know, and they would need a medical degree to understand?  Here’s your chance to minister through authentic interest in another person’s life.  Ask, listen, engage.   Maybe there is an elderly relative you rarely see who lives far away or maybe there is an elderly shut in your church or neighborhood who knows the heavy grey of long and lonely days.  Break up their time with an unexpected treat of attention.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27

6.  Minister to your family by putting your household in order.  Yes, it is ministry to those who help care for you when you organize the tasks you can no longer do.  Make a menu and the shopping list to go with it.  Organize it so your shopper can efficiently get through the store.  When chronic illness takes hold of our physical selves, we tend to allow ourselves to believe the lie that our usefulness and vitality have walked out the door with our health.  Do not fall into Satan’s trap to trick you into complacency or total dependency.  Put that brain to work and minister to your family by overseeing!

She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”

Proverbs 31:27-29

7.  Prepare yourself for more ministry by storing up God’s word in your heart.  Open up that Bible, friend!  Read!  Soak it in!  Suffering people are often drawn to other suffering people as we look for understanding. What a gift!  What a responsibility!   You will need to have scriptures ready to roll off your tongue or fingertips at a moment’s notice.  Hurting people need the hope we find in scriptures.  While our words are helpful, they are nothing in comparison to our Lord’s.

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path. 

Psalm 119:105

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Psalm 55:11

Pray and ponder how God might use you in ministry from home. Look for ways to become other-minded.  Because we are all uniquely created with individual gifts, I’m sure many of you will have awesome ministry ideas.  Join me by sharing your experiences and ideas in the comment section.

Emerging from the fog: Thoughts on deployment from a military mom.

This is the very the flag waving in the breeze atop the pole in our yard.  She defies all the rules about what shape “Old Glory” should be in.  She should be retired to our local VFW to be properly disposed of, but I can’t.  She will eventually come down and be replaced by the unweathered, but she has earned a special place in my heart.  I see me in this tattered fabric.  I identify with this version of Old Glory in ways I never thought possible.

Sending a child, no matter their age, to war is indescribably difficult.  There is something about the knowledge your child is placing themselves in harm’s way that undoes you.  All the threads I had carefully sewn and knotted tight since the beginning of his service began to unravel as my mind whipped from fear to fear.  So far away from his loved ones.  So much danger.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  Psalm 139:9

The pole is set too close to our house, and the winds whip her edges into the shingles on the roof.  She is frayed on the ends,  tattered.

I was set too close to war, and the winds of Afghanistan whipped my mother edges into hard reality, shredding them.  No amount of careful stitching up loose emotions had prepared me for actually living through a deployment.

We had raised her on the pole brand new,  not faded, intact, pole newly planted deep into the soil soon after he deployed. We proudly sent pictures of the process to Afghanistan.   We displayed her 24/7 with a solar light to present her even in darkness.  I was determined I would not let fear consume me while in reality, I was barely clinging to God’s promises.

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6

She stayed there on that pole in all weather, through all seasons.  She hung as crimson leaves fell, as Christmas lights were hung, as birthdays were celebrated. Days and nights passed with a degree of forced normalcy.  She was sometimes wet and limp and frozen cold by the winds, but she was constant. 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:23, 24

She stayed on that pole when we as military families were cautioned to “de-identify” ourselves in every way.  No bumper stickers, no social media, no markers on our homes, etc.  Old Glory just stayed there waving in the wind of uncertainty uncaring what unwanted attention her display could bring.  Oblivious was she, to the tears in her stripes.

She rippled over beautiful children who walked in and out that front door waiting for their daddy to return.  She rippled as his devoted wife hauled them to and from the car in subzero winds as she prayed for her man to make it home safe.  She flew over all my children in their comings and goings, and I fought my battle to not let the child who was at war become my entire emotional priority.   Even with the great knowledge that we were ALL in the Lord’s righteous right hand, I knew that there was no guarantee we would be reunited in this lifetime.  Faith and Trust do not purchase freedom from pain.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

She flew like any other flag in any other yard reminding me that I’m not given the option of steeping in my fear of the painful possibilities or listening to the evil one’s shouts, not even when my edges are fraying and I feel the weakening effects of the wear and tear.

We stay.  We endure.  We pray.  We push back at the fear.  We support them with abandon.  We stay planted deep in the soil of God’s Word because we know how feeble our fabric really is.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Ephesians 6:10

She’s pretty as she slowly waves against the blue sky and the green of the trees, but she is even more beautiful hanging limp and wet under the weight of wet.  Beautiful for still being there.  Beautiful for taking a rest.  Beautiful for being affected by the rain yet remaining a constant symbol.

We military families walk through dense fog as the stark ugliness of war rests on our hearts.  We hold our heads up and we walk step by decided step even when that fog threatens to blind us. We go about business as usual and determine we will not let the next however many months determine our peace.  THAT is not what the great I AM wants.  THAT is not what our soldier wants.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

I’m emerging from the fog, slowly, tentatively because this momma will need to fly that tattered flag again.  I’m not the same. I don’t want to be.   There is beauty in the fray.

  

My Jealous God, My Zealous Response

The conversation started free and easy, but my spirit took a sharp turn as the words between us added up.  It was a texting session with my grown daughter and myself.  We were chatting about my grand babies when I brought up a recent incident where one of my wee ones was trying to figure out who this “Grandma” was who had visited.  Here’s the back story.

I was divorced.  It was ugly.  It was traumatic.   It was devastating.  It caused and continues to cause, 20 years later, toxic waste to sprinkle down on our everyday lives.  Nuclear family meltdowns change the relationship DNA of your family for generations.  But, the subject of divorce and its fall-out is for another blog.  God gifted me with a very special man who took broken me and the two little fractured lives I had in tow, and created a family.  My innocents became all to wise, all too young, as their father remarried and divorced multiple times.  One of those marriages did provide my children with a woman who was loving, generous and who cared well for them.  Hence, the Grandma I spoke of earlier.  Enough said.

Emotional upheaval or trauma of any kind is an open door.  You can choose to slam it in God’s face or you can choose to prop it open with your heavy baggage so the winds of chaos don’t blow it shut, take a seat and wait for God to reveal that very good gift he has for you.  Twenty years later, I got one of those gifts today.

We long to know our Lord intimately.  We want so badly to feel his presence in our lives.  We study to know His heart and His thoughts in hopes of understanding this deity who defies understanding!  Thankfully, Yahweh doesn’t mind inserting his thoughts into ours, causing us to do a spiritual 180.  Just when we want to run from him, he turns us back around in ways only possible by our loving Abba.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts

Isaiah 55: 8-9

I became jealous beyond the uncomfortable twinge, when I started to dwell on the fact that my grand considered this sweet lady to be  “Grandma”.    I became indignant.  I felt a solar flare of angry jealousy, for lack of better words.  That is MY child’s child!  I AM the mother…..THE grandmother!  Every thought became an adamant claim on my child and his offspring.  Memories of the years of  dealing with my children spending time with their other mothers, who were often in competition for affections, came flooding back and I was jealous.

Jealous means “apprehensive or vengeful out of fear of being replaced by someone else.” It can also mean “watchful, ” “anxiously suspicious, ” “zealous, ” or “expecting complete devotion.”  (Taken from the website Diffen)  Websters defines it as “ intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness“.

This morning, I experienced the “intolerant of rivalry AND the expecting complete devotion” jealousy.  Gone are the days when I am afraid of being replaced by another woman.  Time has proven that won’t happen.  However, I so acutely felt intolerance toward rivalry.   The beautiful thing is, as quickly as the human emotions rose like bile in my throat, I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that this is how God, my Abba, feels about me!!  He feels that way about you!!  Allow yourself to go, just for a moment, to a place where you are in a fight for the devotion, adoration and unfettered love from your man, your children, your parents….. maybe its a friend you are jealous for.  That righteous and possessive jealousy you feel is the tip of the iceberg compared to the depth of God’s desire for your all.  We don’t even have the capacity to love as our Father loves.  With His love comes a righteous expectation of us to make him the object of our passion.

 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:9-10

Our God is a jealous God.   Let’s take a look at a scripture that speaks to his desire for your total and complete worship. Did you know worship is synonymous with devotion.    I’m talking worship in every way….your walk, your talk, your time, your lifestyle, your priorities, your relationships, your money….the list goes on.  God asks that you be single-minded in your devotion to him.  He wants your faithfulness.  What are you having an affair with?  Busyness?  Work?  Pride?  Self?

 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Exodus 34:14

I am no theologian but when I did a word study on “jealous” from this passage, I found the great I AM expects us to be zealous and know that his jealous streak runs fiery hot.  He expects we pursue him with intense fervor.  He demands we exalt and glorify him above all that we find value in here on Earth.

God let me experience a taste of his jealousy this morning through my fleshly desire to be THE Grandma, and then he gave me a full helping of “understanding topped with realization”.   After that, I had to measure my unadulterated commitment to Him on his yardstick.  I didn’t measure up.

Do you know how jealous God is for you?  For your passion, your devotion, your fidelity?  Just dwell in His affection and desire for an exclusive relationship with you for a little while, then go out and worship him with the zeal he designed you to have!

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3

Dark Days: Finding Footholds in Troubled Times

I need to write. I need to write because if I do that, maybe the screams that sit just beneath my vocal chords will fall back into the pit in my stomach. Maybe the depression that weighs on my physical brain and all it’s attempts to be positive will lift and float away like Pooh’s little black rain cloud. Maybe, just maybe, I can write away the reality of the evil in my world that has become my personal tornado, blinding me with stinging sands  and sucking me into fear of uncertainty. I want to write the chaos into calm.

John 14

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I’m sure you relate. You can plug your own story into the print, because we suffer in the same way.  Situations differ, but not the consequences of living in a fallen world with fallible people and failing bodies.

Stress, self-imposed or placed upon us, wreaks havoc on our physical, mental and emotional selves. When unchecked, it erupts like the scalding, poisonous lava from the Mountain of Resentment.  Sadly, that angry river of lava holds the heat for years!  It sears the words we speak into the minds of those we love. The smoke blinds our way to the rational path of sanity. The more we suck in the poisonous gases and ash of our own meltdown the more toxic we grow. Depression grows in the desolation left behind.  How toxic are your thoughts, your words?

Psalm 94

17 Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. 18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. 19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. 

I’ve been front-line parenting for a long time since we have children from 12 to 28.  We will be old before we experience empty nesting.   I have seen such a disintegration of society during my active years of parenting, that when I summarize it in my psyche, it resembles a dark and twisted sci-fi flick from childhood.  What once would have been the far out imaginings of an author are now the news headlines, playing out in real life before our eyes.   While taking in the horrific atrocities occurring daily throughout our world, combined with the realization that I am watching crime shows depicting gruesome rapes and murders for nightly “entertainment” , I feel the wind pick up.  The skies of my complacent day turn threatening and I want to gather my young and run for the basement. Our spiritual/mental/emotional well being ….. our innocence is at stake. As a military and law enforcement family, our very existence is threatened. I am grieved that my grandbabies will never experience the level of freedom we enjoyed throughout our childhoods.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Helen Lemmel 1922

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Discouragement seeps under the door of my fortress as I realize my mother’s love, my grandmother’s love, is not enough. Regret for all the failures, from becoming inpatient with a toddler to major deficits in sound parenting with teenagers, flood in. The Father of Lies doesn’t whisper but screams “you haven’t done enough, you haven’t been enough, and any bad that visits them will be because somewhere, you failed.” The tornado grows in strength, engulfs me and I digress.  Which of Satan’s lies are you listening to?

Ephesians 6
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

I beg God when I don’t ignore him.  I’ve developed a spiritual bipolarity where I can lift my hands in praise one moment and be angry at Him in the next.  I feel HIS joy.  I feel HIS presence.  I feel MY sadness.  I feel MY pain.  Guilt is a byproduct of my flimsy spiritual backbone.  I kick myself for stepping out of His Word and what I know to be true, to mentally explore the possibilities of our present times.  I have grown acutely aware that while I know I don’t  grasp how high and how wide and how deep my Fathers love for me is (Ephesians 3:18), I also can’t comprehend the evil Satan injects into the hearts of men.  Oh, how I am grieved.  If, as a mere human being, I feel this way…how does my Lord and Savior feel?  How does this pervasive evil grieve HIM?  How does my spiritual bipolarity break HIS heart?

Romans 5

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I will run to him like the prodigal I am every time I find myself squandering away his riches of peace and safety in the city of my sinful thought life.   I will run to him every time I wake up in the squalid conditions of fear, anxiety and distrust.  I will run to him.

Facebook, Faith and Friends; Weaving a scarlet cord.

I hate social media.  I love social media.  I am repulsed by it.  I am addicted to it.  Today, however, I write about the profit to the Kingdom of God and each other.

Facebook, one of many social media outlets, has become the public arena where the tongue, a world of evil among the parts of the body”, is unleashed through texting thumbs.  There is very little filter, if any.  It is a breeding ground for cowardly bullies who would never have the courage to speak to a face what they type with their fingers.

James 3

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Ouch!  Are you uncomfortable?  I am.

Now that I’ve started with the negative, I have been compelled to share the beauty of the blab when it is Christ-centered and not driven by human nature.  Since being “compelled” to do something  means being forced to do it, it is my prayer that I will be obedient to the Holy Spirit with each and every word.  Sidebar:  If you can’t sleep due to a relentless burden or thought, that might just be the Holy Spirit compelling you.

For months now, I’ve been in cyber contact with a precious woman who has become a valued friend.   After being made privy to the details of her trials, I enlisted a few other women who could come alongside her as well. We, our little group, ONLY share through private messaging,  do not enjoy geographic proximity and as a matter of fact, we represent a few states.   We do share similarities in our past and present circumstances, but what is profitable in this social media circumstance……hear this…….  is a thick cord that binds us, running through the tapestry of our collectiveness.  It’s the scarlet cord.  You can feel the silk and the strength of the scarlet cord in our conversations.  It’s just we few women, our Heavenly Father and our Christ Jesus.  He is the scarlet cord, woven into this raggedy little clump of “us”,  which produces  a work of art that only the Master can truly see the value of.  Without our scarlet cord, we women could not possibly benefit from the relationship that God has gifted us with.  It transcends our technology. It transcends space and time.  It defies our understanding.

Colossians 1:15

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Shhhhh, soak it in.  Our scarlet cord.  Isn’t He all that is good and lovely?

If you were to read what we share without any identifying markers, you wouldn’t be able to differentiate one of us from the other.   We redeemed ones are all white cords.  What stands out from the ordinary mesh of white threads, are the bold accents of the scarlet.  Its deep scarlet.  It’s the deep scarlet hue of your own deoxygenated blood.  The blood that courses through your veins, full of waste products and lacking in the oxygen that keeps you alive, desperate to return to the lungs and heart for resuscitation.  Christ died with your toxic, worn out, near-death, dark red blood pouring over his head as he suffocated on your behalf.  Scarlet, my friends…..beautiful scarlet.  I pray we continue to let HIM be the only color we see in our ongoing sisterhood.

That brings me to yesterday.  We were sharing raw feelings of loss, isolation, layers of grief that get fossilized by time, and I suggested we throw scriptures at our topic.  One of my sisters started posting beautiful scriptures that addressed the wound so appropriately, but something happened!  God was so in the technology that he kept pushing the post button!  Yup, that’s right!  Believe it or not, He is able!  I want to share was God was driving home through our screens yesterday.

 

1 John 5:14

1I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him

Do you approach God first, before you hit the text pad?  Do you invest in other women’s lives to the extent that they can have confidence in approaching you to join them in prayer?

 

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew Henry, in his Concise Commentary, says our Lord Jesus’ yoke is “lined with love”.  I would venture to say, the lining is scarlet.  I would venture to say if you choose to be yoked to a sister in Christ, you don’t have to share the love, it multiplies.

Be the white to your friend’s tapestry.  Know that Jesus died for you to be white so he can show his intricate love through the scarlet.   Learn to love scarlet.  Look for it in every conversation, be it typed, texted, posted, tweeted, whatever.  Weave the scarlet into EVERY conversation no matter the engine you speak  through.  Cling to the cord that binds you to your sisters for this life is not a journey we are meant to travel alone.

 

 

 

Why it isn’t so different. A military mom’s perspective on the war at home and abroad .

 

We just sent a son who is a young husband and daddy into a war zone.   The fear of us losing our son, the fear of my grandbabies losing their daddy, the fear of my daughter (in-love and law) losing her beloved, mixed with the gut-wrenching realization that his greatest act of bravery was walking out his own front door, has been overwhelming at best. He is off to fight the evil that is devouring the Middle East.  Some call it ISIS or al-Qaida.  The name changes by country and tribe. I call the evil, Satan.  The father of lies goes by many names.  Why allow him delight by letting him assume we think it’s anyone other than him? The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

What makes this so different, we ask.  So cognizant am I of the fact that each of my children could walk out the door and never return.  So cognizant that the beating of their hearts can be silenced by one swipe of tragedy’s sword.  So, why, after months of preparing for separation and being gifted the opportunity to speak with this son from deep places, why is my mother’s heart only able to groan?  What makes this so different?  I force reason upon my irrational thoughts, yet I find myself in tears and I can feel my soul tracings fluttering in my chest, they are out of healthy rhythm.  They are out of sync with God’s intention.  It becomes a complete physical reaction and then I shame myself into reasoning this truth:  Any of my precious ones could walk out the door for the last time….today.  Yet, I return to the “but this is so different” plea.

So, as I am flying my Stars and Stripes, searching the web for yellow ribbons and being all proud Army Mom, I am praying like I never have before.  I am dreaming up things to mail and ways to honor him. I am hypervigilant in regards to Satan’s work “over there”.  I’m just on it, learning about tribes and regional conflicts and maps.  Because this is just different, right?

But wait……..”WAIT!”, cries out the Holy Spirit within…….He, The Comforter, the Holy Spirit given to me through Jesus’ death on the cross, had to go beyond the gentle whispers that he prefers to communicate with.  He had to cry out, to yell over the noise of my fear.  

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 1 Cor 2:13

And so I listen………

Don’t be so deceived.  Don’t be so ignorant.  Your precious son chose this in obedience to God’s calling over seven years ago.  He is in OUR (sweet trinity’s) WILL FOR HIS LIFE!  Woman, you are misguided right now. WE LOVE HIM MORE. You, momma bear, are wrong. IT IS NOT DIFFERENT! You will not like what I need you to understand, but hear this and let it soak into every fiber of your being until you embrace it.  Let it dictate your every matriarchal thought, prayer and reaction, for in MY wisdom is the peace you are looking for.  In MY wisdom I’m going to show you that there is NO difference between the son sent to war in a far away land and your children here at home.

Momma, honor your Army son in a way that will make a difference, by recognizing his sibs on American soil are also soldiers.  Your son wants that.  You have the choice, Momma, to make his service benefit more than the strangers he fights for in a foreign land,  He is fighting for your entire family’s freedom to speak freely in his homeland, to boldly claim The Cross without being beheaded. Teach them they are in a war zone in America! SHOW them how to be my warriors. Recognize that every day, they are in danger of the same Satanic schemes your grown soldier is at war with.  Have a righteous fear for the dangers at home.  Work with me, dear mom. Continue reading