well hey there blog friends. it's been a long time since anything of much worth has been posted around these parts. there have been things on my heart this past year and a half that haven't been right to share, but i'm feeling that now is the time to start opening up. it's long, but hopefully worth it. i'm hoping to be back more regularly now, though this shouldn't be the only topic I cover. i'm grateful for this space and for you!
Have you had a season where God continues to put a message on your heart? I'm sure if I went back and read past journals and even this blog I would be able to seem the themes that He has given to me to carry me through different seasons. And even though I'm not out of this season yet, I want to document it before I move on.
breaking down walls.
These are the phrases that keep coming up on our Wednesday and Sunday morning lessons. For the teaching I do with the children, we take a theme to study for the whole month and break it down into different lessons each week. Spring break and bad weather caused our March month to be off, so we were finally ready to start our April lessons, on the last Wednesday night of the month! Our new element for this month is "FAITHFULNESS." [standing firm with God by keeping our promises to Him and others.]
I hadn't done much prep work before and in some real honesty, I wasn't feeling very faithful Tuesday night. In fact, I wrote something in my prayer journal along the lines of "Why have you abandoned me? Why haven't you answered my prayers yet? Am I not faithful enough? Do I not trust you enough? Do I not love you enough? I feel forgotten God." Not pretty, I know.
I went to work on Wednesday feeling beaten down. Unfortunately, that's not reason enough to cancel our services so I set out to get everything ready for that night. I piddled away, planning out games, music, snacks and crafts and all that was left was to finalize the lesson. The Big Idea of of Faithfulness we were looking at was "We can trust God to keep His promises." and our Scripture for the night focused on the Israelites being brought out of Egypt and the land of slavery, yet ending up being backed up against the Red Sea as the Egyptian army chased after them. Typically, our lessons use a scripture to support one idea. For instance, last month we talked about integrity. One week's focus was "integrity is not always an easy choice" and we looked at the story of Shadrach, Mescach and Abednego. This week's lesson was a different style and used portions of scripture to prove a small point about faithfulness. Here's what they are:
[exodus 13: 17-18; 21-22]
Faithfulness Fact #1 -
God knows where to lead us, and He will lead us to safety and His blessing.
God knew His people weren’t very strong and might decide to return to Egypt if they had to fight another country right away. If we trust God to lead us, we have to trust the direction He takes us. Do you think the Israelites wondered why they were going the "long way?" They grumbled and complained a lot on their journey to the Promise Land, so it's not hard to imagine them doing so from the start. If we say we trust God to keep His promises to us, we can't bail out on His plan as soon as it gets uncomfortable.
To help the people understand His faithfulness and to see it every day and night, God even had them follow a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. There was never a moment when the Israelites were alone. God made Himself plain to see every step of the way. He is visible to us every day too, if we only slow down long enough to see Him.
Faithfulness Fact #2 -
God is never surprised by anything that happens to us; He already has prepared a way to help us out. We just have to keep our trust in Him.
Before long, the Egyptians caught up with the Israelites as they camped by the sea. The
faith of the Israelites fell to pieces and they became so scared they cried out against
Moses and God. In Exodus 14:11 they asked Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us out here to the desert to die?” They were so upset with Moses and God they even said in Exodus 14:12, “We told you to leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians. It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Even in the middle of all the terror and complaining, one man stood firm and continued to trust in God: Moses! He was God’s chosen leader for the Israelites, the one who had gone before Pharaoh at the time of each plague. Moses had seen the power of God and it had changed him forever. He knew our Big Idea of the Day was the truth. He knew they could trust God to keep His promises.
Faithfulness Fact #3-
God will keep his Promises to us in miraculous ways.
When they made the great choice to trust God, a miracle occurred! At the moment things looked so awful, so hopeless, but then God told Moses to stretch out his staff over the sea. When Moses obeyed, God caused a mighty east wind to turn back the water and make the land beneath dry, so the Israelites could pass over the sea. All night long, the waters were turned back and the Israelites began to cross to the other side. The Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
we need to remember we find God’s power when we stand still and trust Him.
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I don't know what my children got out of the lesson, but I fully believe it was a lesson just for me. we need to remember we find God’s power when we stand still and trust Him. Standing still and trusting Him is where I begin to struggle. Instead, I'd rather try to control everything in my power and spend my days obsessing if things are going to go in my favor this month.
Almost a year and a half ago Cody and I decided we were ready for our family to grow again. Even typing that I want to laugh, because we can decide all we want, but that doesn't mean it's actually going to happen. Instead, it feels like we are walking the "long way." And if I think having another baby is to be my "Promised Land," I would make a mighty fine Israelite because I am complaining and grumbling along the way. In fact, God would probably describe me as a whiney toddler right now with the amount of "Why's?" I have thrown His way. It's a weird place we sit in - we do have a child already so obviously it was possible for us, but yet, it's taking so long to happen it's hard to ignore some of the questions that pop up in my head.
Here's the question I have the hardest time with: why are you silent God?
For as much as I've prayed and asked for wisdom and guidance about our family [is it not the right time? is there something wrong with me? are we supposed to see a specialist? are we supposed to be pursuing adoption and that's why we're not getting pregnant?] God is remaining silent.
I'm thankful that He is at least the strong silent type. Even though He hasn't spoken the right direction to us yet, His presence has still been felt. I know without a doubt that my faith, though sometimes feeling small and weak, is stronger than it would have been right now had I quickly gotten pregnant like I originally planned. I know that God has us on the long way for a reason and He is not surprised by this timing. I do feel like the desire in my heart for more children is a promise that He will someday fulfill and when that day comes, it will be miraculous, maybe even as big as the parting of the Red Sea.
Sunday during our small group with the youth group we talked about the Battle of Jericho. I imagine they must have felt rather silly trying to take down a mighty wall by WALKING, but they did what the Lord commanded them to do. 13 times they end up walking around the city followed by shouting for the Lord and the walls came tumbling down. Trying unsuccessfully for a baby feels like a wall we will never be able to break down. Would you join me in walking? We would love your prayers as we navigate how to step forward from here. Please know that I'm also willing to talk in person about this, but if you ask Cody any questions, he might get a little awkward on you!