The Battle

John 10:10. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

How is that going for you? Are you taking hurtful things said about you and to you as truth, or are you seeing them as the lies, spewed from the pit of hell, that they truly are?

This is what Satan does. He doesn’t have to be creative. He knows how precious you are and he comes to steal that away, kill your confidence in Christ and destroy the very person you were created to be.

Satan doesn’t wait until you are an adult. This destruction often begins when you are a child. Satan uses the very people who are supposed to edify and protect you to destroy you. It can be a careless comment made out of frustration by a loved one. Unfortunately, that same person can say a million words of love and encouragement, but the words spoken that were hurtful are placed in the file of truth in your heart and mind. Those very words are the repeat button that has been pressed over and over. I am convinced that the only way to shut those words up are by allowing Jesus to literally come and shut that button off.

I have needed that healing. I know the authority I have, in Christ, to rebuke the lies of Satan. I know that God has loved me and cherished me from the beginning of time. I am his daughter. Yet, there are still words that haunt me. I will not rest until I am truly set free, but the fight to believe that I am who God says I am is a battle.

10 years ago, I was told that “I was useless.” That “I always had been.”  The person who spoke this to me was an addict and not of sound mind. Do you think that mattered? Not at all. I was crushed. If I allow them to, the words can still rattle me. Why do we allow this? Why is it somehow easier to believe that the lies are truth?

When we allow the lies to be the fabric of our thinking, we miss out on being who God created us to be. We no longer have the confidence in Christ to step out and live a life in victory and to help others do the same. Satan’s plan all along.

If Satan can steal the very essence of who you are in Christ, then he can put you on a path of destruction. He takes you, carves out the truth and then you begin to fill that space with anyone and anything that temporally makes you feel whole again… or in the least, temporarily shuts the button off. I have filled this space with wrong thinking, bad relationships, self-pity and poor decisions. What are you filling your space with? What or who are you putting your hope in, to shut that voice of lies up? More of Satan’s plan. Do you see it? Satan knows the only answer is Christ. HE KNOWS. So, he is going to work very hard to make sure that  you don’t know.

Freedom. The closer I get to Jesus the more I hear his voice of truth over the lies of Satan. Nothing else works. Jesus came so that we may have life, and have it to the full. That’s the life I want. Get out there. Find a church that teaches from God’s word. Join bible studies. Read your bible. Talk to other believers. Don’t let Satan win. He’s a liar.

Ephesians 6: 10-17 tells us:

Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

Would God give us instructions for battle if there wasn’t one? The closer you walk with Jesus and the more you are equipped with God’s word, the better prepared you are to dress for battle. To stand against the lies of the devil. To live a full life in Christ. Let’s do this and then, let’s teach others. I want to be part of the story of leading others to truth and watching them be set free from the lies and the life of destruction. What lies are you believing? What lies are stealing your life from you? Are you ready to be set free?

Ben

Ben. The love of my life, my joy, my sweetness… my rules Nazi. My son is 10-years-old with rigid thinking. Let me do my best to describe what rigid thinking means. Simply put, in Ben’s world, there is only black and white, right and wrong, fair and unfair. Gray area, flexibility, greater understanding that there is a bigger picture when decisions are made… what’s that?

Looking for a judge to sit on the Supreme Court, Ben’s your man. Need a lawyer to defend the Constitution of the United States of America? I know a guy. However, when it comes to playing any sport… well, let me explain. Organized sports require referees to make calls on a variety of plays. That’s their job. We have all had moments of agreeing and disagreeing with those calls. Because we understand that the referees are not robots, we move on despite our feelings. Moving on is very difficult for Ben. He can’t get passed it and if the call, he disagrees with, is against him… Jesus come quickly.  Backyard games… don’t get me started.

Ben had a basketball game today. On the way to the game, we reviewed the coping skills that Ben has been working on. I am pretty sure that everything he says is lip service to my desperate need to believe that counseling and my parenting are making a difference. As other parents are watching the game with a sense of excitement, I am praying… begging the Lord. “Lord, please let Ben feel a sense of peace. Don’t let him yell at the refs, have a nervous breakdown or punch a child in the face. Let him remember the thousands of conversations we have had about respect and self-control.” I used to want my child to shine God’s light on the court, now I settle for a game absent of poor sportsmanship and violence.

Ben is blessed. He has had amazing, understanding coaches in the past, and his current basketball coaches are sent from heaven. I want to hug them or buy them a drink after every game. They are patient and knowledgeable and kind. They know when to correct and when to encourage and I am so thankful for them. At the game today, I was sitting behind the bench (willing calmness and reason into my son’s attitude) and this is what I observed… a team. Ben was struggling with an infraction of justice. He was shaking and crying. His teammates either gave him a tap on the back or offered a fist pump. My heart swelled. I am positive that they don’t understand Ben, I struggle to understand him. What they did understand was that he needed them.

I chose to write this tonight, because I see this act of love as an amazing lesson for the entire world. We may not understand others, but what we do understand is that others need us and we need them. We aren’t meant to do life, parenting, school, relationships, anything… alone.

Parents, all of you, but in this moment, those who have children with rigid thinking, this is my heart of solidarity to you. My tap on your back, my fist pump. You’ve got this.

To Ben’s people, (his teachers, coaches, teammates, friends) thank you. I truly believe, that one day, Ben will be part of the fight to defend what is right in this world. But for now, he will be keeping me on the edge of my seat, bargaining with God, until the game is over.

 

 

Friendships

Proverbs 27:17 As Iron Sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

 I truly believe that we are meant to go without in life, so when God blesses us with the very thing we were missing, we understand the grandiosity of it’s presence. Friendship is that “very thing” for me.

I am going to tell you a deep dark secret. Not even kidding. I don’t talk about it, ever, and have hidden it away in a box labeled “the past.” Here it goes… college was a huge heartbreak for me in the friend department. Let me summarize it this way… the girls, that I came to know as my people, all rented a house together their junior year. All of them… but me. I wasn’t asked. I had to apply for housing with the hopes of having somewhere to live my junior year. Seriously just took my breath away to write that down.

Here’s the good news. I am now blessed a thousand-fold with the most incredible friendships. A day doesn’t go by, that I am not moved by this very fact. I get to go to work every day with loving, fun and thoughtful women that make my day a joy. They are loyal and all beautifully unique in their own way.  I love them dearly. I can’t begin to explain what they have come to mean to me over the years. We have conversations and group texting that inspire, support and provide the comic relief that is needed constantly. I wouldn’t be who I am without them.

My tribe. I spent my day with them today. I am not sure if I can explain what this group of friendship is like. Our commonality… our heart for Jesus and each other.  The day began with a text. Can you come over for coffee?  I was already on the road.  I made a quick phone call to my husband, explaining that I would not be long. Lies. And was the first to arrive. I was not showered. I was wearing sweats and a baseball hat and I knew it wouldn’t matter. This is how we gathered. One by one, my tribe arrived. All apologizing for their appearance, knowing no one cared. All we cared about was that we were together.

This was our time. Our time to share our hearts, encourage each other, and speak into each other’s lives. We eat, laugh and sometimes cry. We are safe. 6 hours later, I head home. My cup filled back up.

In addition, to these amazing friends, I have individuals who have been woven into the fabric of my life. I am so grateful for them. God has brought them into my life as a sweet gift.

I share this because maybe you are experiencing a lonely time in your life. A time when you are feeling disconnected and on the outside…don’t despair! God has the perfect friendships for you. Talk to him about it. Ask him to bring you to your tribe. Ask for God to introduce you to the very people who will become part of your story and in return, you will become part of theirs. God did not intend you to do this thing alone. Do life…Jesus first always, as he is steadfast, and then with others. They are waiting for you.