Fabulous Footwear

Lately my middle son is going through a shoe phase. Or I should say, a shoe LESS phase. Twice now we’ve loaded into the car, driven to our destination, gotten out… only to discover that the kid has no shoes on (insert the mom-face-palm here). This last weekend was especially painful, we were out of state at a wedding that three of the kids were in. We stayed one night at a hotel and, I kid you not, every.single.time Jonah left the hotel room he forgot his shoes. E-ver-ry tiiiiiimmmme people! By the end of the weekend I was seriously considering having him tested for a stroke or brain injury of some kind…

But I digress- today I wanted to talk about the importance of footwear… namely WEARING it but also making sure you have the right kind for each occasion. What style we have is dictated by the situations we know we’re going to be in. Soldiers wear boots, runners wear sneakers, hikers wear hiking boots; you wouldn’t find me in high heels on the beach for instance (actually you’d be hard-pressed to find me in heels anywhere… #momlife) but you get my drift. Anyone who has worn the ‘wrong’ shoes in a situation I doubt makes the same mistake twice.

WEARING shoes matters. It helps us actually get out of the house (or out of the car and/or hotel room in Jonah’s case). It protects our feet from harm so we can go do what we need to do,

WHAT shoes we wear matters. In many situations what we wear matters a great deal… it helps us do our jobs better (soldiers, firemen, flight nurses!), perhaps it enables us to be more efficient (runners), it protects us from injury or wounds (hikers). Keeping our feet protected and appropriate is vital to many situations- rarely is there a situation where no footwear whatsoever is recommended.

In real life we need shoes and we need the right shoes. In the ‘realer’ life, our spiritual life, we need shoes as well. Not only the wearing of them but the right ones for the mission field you’re walking within.

Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, 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…. 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 

Dear ones we have to make sure we’re putting on our spiritual shoes, ones that will carry us on mission to wherever God has called us. The Gospel, this amazing good news of Christ’s forgiveness, is THE reason we’re leaving the house everyday. It is THE most important thing we carry with us minute by minute. We don’t leave our houses for work or school, the movies, the park, or running errands without shoes. Neither should we be leaving our houses without our feet fitted with the Gospel of Peace. Even moreso… the READINESS that comes from that Gospel.  A runner is ready with his sneakers, a paramedic is ready with her boots, a scuba diver is ready with his flippers, a ballerina is ready with her pointe shoes… at a moment’s notice, no matter what the situation calls for, they are ready to act because they have the proper footwear.

This amazing Gospel, knowing it, speaking of it, witnessing to it, proclaiming it, spreading it… fits us with spiritual shoes that are always appropriate for whatever situation we find ourselves in. 1 Timothy 3: 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 

Know the Gospel.

Be fitted with it’s readiness daily.

Proclaim it in your mission field.

Walk it out, bring it to the lost… and wear out the soles of those shoes winning souls for Christ!

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 5)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

For those still with me, we have officially reached the finale of this series! Wahoo! I’m super excited to have taken this journey with you.

Okay, so there’s been (hopefully) some really good GodStuff for you to pray through and contemplate over this last month. If you haven’t read the first 4 blogs, I highly encourage you too check them out first. Here’s a link to the first one to get you going.

As this is only a 5 part series, I had a heckuva time whittling down the entire book. Not to brag, but there’s just so much good stuff in there- not because I’m a brilliant writer, but because God has tons of stuff to say about how to overcome fear and raise our children with Him at the helm. The Bible is just chalk-full of wisdom for this area! So as much as I’d love to write it all out (oh wait… I did… seriously check out the full book!) I’ll leave you with one more nugget of advice for helping to overcome this helicopter parenting thing.

Prayer!!!!

Prayer is a thing people… and not only a thing… but an extremely powerful thing- a thing that brings peace, calm, and comfort. It’s a thing that nurtures your relationship with Christ, will bring His supernatural aid, and produces results. Simply put, prayer is the lynch-pin to this fearless lifestyle we’re all trying to attain.

We should be circling anything and everything in our lives in prayer- not the least of which is our children!

The obsessive nature of our fearing needs to be turned to obsessive praying! The goal is to pray-walk

through every aspect of your life and the lives of your children.First thing in the morning, pray. Before

meals, pray, Walking to the park, pray. Have a fear pop up- pray. Worrying about your kids- pray. Sitting at

the computer at work- pray. Driving in the car- pray. Let it infuse the beginning of every single new moment

of your day. We do a walk- around every time those skids leave the ground, which for some calls, is

multiple times on one flight. Make it a habit. Make it a very necessary practice in your head.

We’ve learned about taking all your fears and thoughts captive, now let’s bind them up,

down, and around and around. Let’s start praying circle upon circle around those fears. Hedge

them in with prayer! Make so many prayer circles around them that they are literally strangled

out. Death by prayer-asphyxiation! Suck all the life out of them by enrcircling them with prayer.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you, I Peter 5:7.Those fears that paralyze you,

that freak you out, that make day to day normalcy impossible- pray around them, pray and pray

and pray about them, pray through them, underneath them and over them.

I am absolutely all about envisioning things. Putting a minds-eye visual assignment to

stuff. Use this tool if it helps you to ‘see’ what prayers can do. Personally I have all kinds of

prayer visuals- I imagine chains of bondage going around my fears when I pray against them. I

shoot ‘arrows’ up towards heaven with improper thoughts I find myself having. I imagine my

guardian angels flying through the air to assist me when I know I’m going in to a spiritual

warfare situation and I’m praying for strength. Much of this came from my counseling

experiences and I’ve found the imagination to be a very helpful place to put spiritual eyes on

soul-problems.

Conversely, I pray rings of protection around my children all the time. Whenever fears or

concerns of any kind rear up (whether logical or not) I pray circles around them. I think of them

as layers of spiritual bubble wrap followed by feather pillows surrounded by thick jello and all

suspended by angelic parachutes. Seriously, my kids are protected! They are earlobe deep in

prayer protection all the time. And I take that to the bank, I stand firm on that hill, and I rest

peacefully in their protection- because I’ve been intentional and proactive in my prayers for

them. I willfully and faithfully choose to believe that God’s got them because I’ve give them

back to Him, prayerfully, all the time. It takes some practice but, for me, it helps.

When it comes to fear, circle it, pray and pray and pray. Everytime you pray-walk around

that fear you strength the bonds that hold it, you create more safety from it, and you diminish it’s

ability to rear up and kick you in the shin. Instead of it chaining you to the ground, you are

imprisoning it. You are making it captive (very literally a prisoner) to Christ! Bind it spiritually with repetition

and persistence until it is strangled out by Christ bonds… and, poof! that fear is

no longer able to move, blink, paralyze, or handicap you anymore. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 13)

Prayer is such a powerful thing and yet we all too often use it as a last resort. Someone gets ill, we Google it, we ask friends, we try oils, etc etc and THEN when all else fails… we pray. Friends, this should literally be the FIRST thing we do. Our fears, our worries, our anxious thoughts… why are we not taking those early and often to the Throne? Why?? Doesn’t ‘work’ the first time, still battling those demons? Take them to the Father again… and again. And AGAIN. BE that needy widow beseeching the king. BE that irritating ask-er to the Lord. Spend so much time on your knees that you don’t have the time to actually worry. I promise you… THAT is very much a ‘thing’.

Do THAT kind of thing… you got this! Be that parent that kids grow up seeing on your knees. Let their memories of you be ones of prayer, thanksgiving, and supplication to a very big, very kind, very worthy God.

Whew! You made it! That’s the end of the this part of the trail. If you’re interested more about this prayer stuff, check out a few other blogs (The Power of Generic Prayer, and When All Else Fails Pray First among many others.) I also posted an entire series about praying through God’s names which is spectacular and written by the very talented Karen Guthrie. You can also check out the entire section within this blog that is just poetry and prayers or (again!) grab a copy of Helicopter Mom, chapter 13 not only goes into more depth regarding prayer but has several practical specifics that will give you a jump-start into a new prayer-life.

For those who’ve made it this far and have read the entire series- I’ve got a surprise for you! I’m giving away a FREE, autographed copy of Helicopter Mom to those who had traveled this far with me. I want to keep up your momentum by giving you the entire ‘fearless mom user-manual’!

So here’s the deal- Go back through the series and (if you haven’t already) comment on each blog post. What stuck you? What are you working with God through? How did that post affect your parenting or fear? Anything that’s on your heart will do! Next, be sure that you’ve signed up (if you haven’t already) for my email list. Next, wait with bated-breath to see if the computer chooses you! I’ll do the drawing on July 13th, 2019 so that should give you plenty of time to get the blogs read.

I also have some super-exciting new! A version of this series will also be available on YouVersion this summer. It’s in the works so stay tuned!

Playing Hide and Seek

Lately my kids have been on a hide-and-seek kick. Generally from each other, though occasionally they just <love> to hide from me... especially when they're playing and I'm not even aware that I'm in the game.

They think it's hilarious to hide when I call them.

The other day after a particularly frustrating round of me calling and looking for my oldest (all the while not knowing she had decided it was hide-and-seek time) I came to my momma-whits-end. I had started by simply telling her it was time to get in the car. She disappeared. After 5 minutes I was generally yelling around the house telling her is was time to get in the car. After another 5 minutes I was actively searching for her and yelling even louder to come.get.in.the.car. We were late. I was frustrated. I had finally realized somewhere along the line that she was in fact, playing the game and not being <completely> disobedient.

And yet she was being completely disobedient.

And now several people would be late to a  function that would make many others have to change their plans as well.

That night my husband and I were talking over the general hide-and-seek situation. As I was bemoaning her general lack of behavior and how it vastly changed the outcomes of our afternoon, God gently reminded me that I had done the very same thing to Him... on more occasions to count.

How many times had He told me to do something and I didn't? I ran away. I hid. Like my daughter I literally went the other direction and disappeared. How much of His Word, meant for my good and instruction, have I disobeyed? Sometimes inadvertently, sometimes I was simply 'playing' a game and not listening, and other times I intentionally and purposefully didn't listen.

I was immediately convicted that my own games of hide-and-seek with my Father have (I'm sure) caused my fair share of frustration and Fatherly angst. Several situations in which I didn't do what I was supposed to ran across my memory-banks. Ugh. I wonder how many people were depending on me to obey? I wonder how much blessing I lost out on because I didn't listen to what I was told? I pondered who I made 'late' and who had to change their 'plans' because I was MIA. Innumerable I imagine.

But God is good, and even in those dark thoughts He reminded me of something else. That just like I had done for my daughter (probably a bit less angry...) He will also come looking for me. When I was lost, He came after me. Yelling my name, searching high and low.

Better yet, HE is never hard to find, because He never plays games with me. If I need Him, He is there- right there, always ready and willing to be together. There are no games, no hide-and-seek, no wondering where He could be.

In that moment and in the moments after, I have found that wonderfully reassuring. I have a God and a Father who looks for me and is always with me. He will never leave me or forsake me. He will not tire of searching for His wayward daughter, nitwit that I may be at times.

Deut. 31:8 "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” ESV

Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." ESV

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

Amen and Amen!

Grinding It Out

I must admit, I’ve never been one to make New Years resolutions, and yet this year for some inexplicable reason I’ve made <several>. I’m happy to announce I’m quite resolved to keep them and have done well thus far. 8 days down, 357 to go right?!

Lately I’ve found myself encouraging quite a few young women in their walk. As the end of 2018 drug to a close, they came, one by one, bedraggled to my counsel. Each frustrated by their lack of discipline, the general angst of unmet and unfulfilled goals, and depressed at looking back over their year and having so little to show for it. There were a lot of woulda, coulda, shouldas to say the least.

I told them each in turn- sis, I get it.

For many the new year holds so much hope and dreams. We desperately want our resolutions to ‘stick’. We start so strong and motivated. And then, like so many of my dear girls, time slowly wears away our resolve. Our fiery determination dissolves bit by bit through a little laziness here or a little bit of compromising there. One thing leads to another and before you know it that twenty pounds we wanted to lose turns into twenty-five that needs to go. The desire to spend less screen time or more quality time with loved ones gets lost in work deadlines and a overly-full schedules. And the year closes too often with a page full of unmet aspirations and half-checked off resolutions.

It can be super discouraging.

Our walk with Christ has the potential to suffer a similar fate. The regular grind of taking up our cross is one of pure, unadulterated sacrifice. It’s the daily discipline of being in the Word, seeking the Lord at every turn, and constantly mitigating our flesh. It’s not glamorous and it’s certainly not easy... in fact it’s just plain hard pretty much all the time.

With such odds it is easy to get discouraged and feel as if all the striving and work is for nothing. Or the seemingly minuscule results are certainly not worth the gargantuan effort it takes to get them. The ‘grind’ of working out our faith can most certainly grind us emotionally and spiritually into despair.

And yet it doesn’t have to be so.

Each step of faith, every victory no matter how small, each decision to choose the Right path versus the easy one, every moment of disciplining our fleshly nature to the likeness of Christ is cheered in heaven. Our steps of faithfulness may be halted, or uneven. They may stop and start a hundred times over. But each one forward reverberates in the spiritual realm. And our Father cheers us on alongside the angels.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:24-27‬ ESV

Dear ones- holiness can also be found in the reverence and sacrifice of discipline. Even when we don’t feel like it, or don’t want to do it. When we are hopelessly stuck or feel like God has nothing new to share- still the grinding out of our daily walk of devotions, prayer, fellowship, being in the Bible- has such power. There may not be sparks, fire, thunder, or great new insight every time we open our Bibles or voices from heaven speaking over us in our prayers. Grind it out anyway.

This year, even now, it’s not too late to resolve to be disciplined in our faith. If there is no other resolution to make- that’s the one to put into practice. Each day, step by step, may your 2019 testify to the daily work of the Cross in your life. My prayer is that all of our lives of steady spiritual habits would only grow stronger with each day, week, and month- and ultimately we would find ourselves at the end of this year with the knowledge that we grinded it out well. It may not be pretty to look back on, it will not be easy, but oh what satisfaction!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Join me today, if you haven’t resolved to walk more faithfully yet this year, let us partner now to grind it out all year long. Together. United. Spurring each other on daily! Comment below with your faith resolutions for this year.