Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Living in Response to God

I was reading Lysa's post this morning about a mountain she faced early in her adoption story, when it came to me again; our walks of faith are simply responses to God's activity in our lives. If we respond with "yes" and with trust, then no mountain can stop us!

It takes the pressure off of us when we know that the mountains are not ours to scale alone. Wherever God calls us, wherever we find ourselves, He is there and He equips us with everything we need. As Susie Larson stretches out her arm, she explains that living by faith is always something beyond our arm's reach. Something that we cannot do in our own strength. That illustration stays with me. Whenever I face something I feel is impossible, I recall the outstretched arm and I realize this is where faith must kick in.

If you go read Lysa's story, you see God. You put yourself in her shoes through her words and you can see the impossibility, and then you know she has scaled the mountain, and you know she didn't do it on her own. God is magnified.

Like Lysa, I just dropped off a boy at college. I look behind me at the mountain that I just climbed and I see God, because I know I know my son wouldn't be standing by my side singing his heart out to Jesus on Sunday morning worship at College if it wasn't for God, His Spirit, and His word.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Parenting: A Preparing & Purity Parallel

It has been nearly a year since we threw a huge party in our yard. Preparing for Kayla and Andrew's wedding consumed my time and attention for eight months prior to the party, and the joys of the party have lingered over the course of this year as we (my husband and I) have watched their union grow and develop, and as we have seen the Lord working in their lives.

The fact that the Lord designed marriage to be a physical picture of a spiritual reality brings a sense of wonder, and an invitation to meditate on the message(s) that He desires for us to have...

I mentioned eight months of preparation, but actually we had been "grooming" Kayla as her parents since her birth for this next phase of life that she entered on Sept 4, 2009. Our desire has been for her life to express and represent Jesus by loving, honoring and obeying Him. One of my deep desires for both of my children is that when they go to the altar to give themselves to their spouse, that they be pure. I have specifically prayed for that from the beginning of their lives.

There were times when we had to intensely battle in prayer for Kayla's purity. The enemy had designs to ensnare her. But we were watchful. We were prayerful, and the Lord alerted us to things as they needed to be addressed. I marvel at hindsight. Seeing the times that God brought things to our attention, going to prayer, and then seeing Him bring about good. He kept her safe, He kept her pure.

So...look at the spiritual picture, and the message in it from God for His Bride...

"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Matthew 25:10

Scripture tells us Jesus is the Bridegroom, and His Church is His Bride. His Bride should spend her time getting ready for when he comes for us.

Before I tell you what we did right (by God's grace) to prepare her, I will tell you that we made many mistakes. But the Lord is merciful and gave us grace and second chances in our messes as we kept turning to Him. He honored and blessed our desire for His will to be carried out, and His vision for Kayla's life that He planted in our hearts. Remember too, that He promises to hear the prayers of His people that are according to His will.

Getting ready for the wedding day wasn't only about landscaping, decorations, dress-shopping, and picking out was attending to the Word of God, teaching Kayla, taking her to the places where she would be given the light of the knowledge of truth. Keeping her from traps and snares of the enemy who wanted to steal, kill and destroy her, her purity, and her faith. We were continually watchful for things in her life that would take her away from Jesus. That would impose on her purity...All of that was bathed in prayer and implimented by time spent with Jesus; listening to His words and obeying Him. Realizing that we would be held accountable for how we invested our time and energy with what He had entrusted to us.

There were times when I unintentionally offended people with my choices and beliefs. I turned off movies five minutes in, when they had friends over, if they had contents that were offensive to God. I kept them out of field trips, movies, and certain classes that would be offensive to God. I wrote letters to teachers about things I felt strongly about... It was uncomfortable for us often times, but knowing it was out of obedience to what God had planted in my heart gave us the motivation to obey and endure any consequences of our obedience.

We made a priority of establishing boundaries between the world and our home. We were careful with our choices regarding what they took into their eyes and ears, what they wore, who they hung out with, what they read and looked at, what they said, where they went, etc.

As I look at some of the things we have done with our kids, I see the same needs for our lives, those of us who await our Bridegroom... as we prepare for The Eternal Wedding Banquet...

  • Attend to the Word of God.
  • Watch and Pray.
  • Establish boundaries between what is worldly and your heart.
  • Keep your God-given "gates", your eyes and your ears, pure.
  • Go where you can grow.
  • Don't go where you wont grow.
  • Be willing to be thought crazy. (Dare to be different)
  • Keep your eyes on eternal things.
  • Trust
  • Obey
...and leave the rest to Him who is faithful, will establish you, and is able to keep you and your children blameless until the day of Christ Jesus! Glory to God!

Pause my music on the sidebar, and take a listen to this lovely song by Leeland: