Encouragement Stalker

EncouragmentStalkers

I mentioned in my last post that God has been teaching me 2 things this year.  The first was that the timing was right for me to start dipping my toes in ministering to those outside my household.  For years, he needed to keep my focus on seeing my kids through to the end of the day, and I kept getting distracted.

The second was related, but very difficult.  It cut deep to the heart of so many of my insecurities.  I has required that I face a lot of these insecurities, and trust the truth on a scary level.  I’m hoping it will gradually feel more normal.

I grew up in a pretty touchy-feely family.  My mom would often rub my back at night.  My sister and I would snuggle, even as adults.  My grandpa always had us in a hug, or held our hands.  Even my step-dad and I would sometimes lay down and take a nap.  Touching was just normal.  Sharing what was on your mind was normal.  I really don’t remember any topics off limits to discuss.  Religion and politics were normal conversation.  Debate was encouraged.

Then as a young adult I married into a family that is equally as wonderful, yet totally the opposite of that in mannerisms.  They aren’t touchy feely.  They don’t talk about your business.  I think that early in our marriage, I had a lot of awkward moments, as I simply did not understand the family culture, and misread a lot of things.  In hindsight, Knut and I joke that there are pros and cons to both styles of each of our families.

Then we moved for Knut’s job.  At our old church, we had friends who had walked some dark places with us.  They were friends that we had done life with, wept with, laughed with, and learned how to be a family with.  Starting at a new church wouldn’t have been so hard, but no less than 30 days into our new move, my family went through a really, really hard thing.  It rocked Knut and I to our core.  We reached out to our new church, and it was just…awkward.  It was like sharing too much, too soon in the relationship.  It was like going on a first date, and sharing all the worst parts of you over dinner.

After that, Knut and I went through about 2 years, perhaps more, of feeling like we had no friends.  No couple friends, no individual friends…nothing.  None of our close friends lived close.  A lot of our local friends we liked a lot, but they never seemed to have time for us.  We moved from a big city, where your friends were your family, to a small town where for most people, their family is their family, and their friends were people they saw every once in awhile, and they kinda already had their friends established.

I remember when Knut and I would ask each other, “Is there something about me, that turns people off?  Do I stand too close to people, or something?”  We began to honestly critique each other, and our body language and people skills.  We would watch each other, and give each other feedback.  There had to be some reason we couldn’t make friends.  We used to have friends.  We knew it could be done.  It was sad, and a lonely time.

Well, eventually we made some great friends.  It took some time.  We started pouncing on people who just moved to town too.  We knew how lonely a move to a small town could be.

But the insecurities, that I was not really a top-tier kind of friend stayed with me.

It was bad…like middle school bad.

Sometimes it’s just easier to give into the culture that surrounds you, to keep your head down, and just go with the flow.  Don’t make a ripple.  Talk about the weather.  Don’t make people feel uncomfortable.

There’s just one problem with that.  I am not a small-talk person.  I have a deep desire to talk about deep things.  I have a burning desire to help people with words of truth, and I believe it’s a gift God has given me for his kingdom use.  And yet, I felt like I just made people uncomfortable.  I was always standing on the outside of things, waiting to be invited.

I found a “safe place” on the internet, where opinionated voices are welcome.  I saw it as an outlet for my writing.  I found it as a way to reach other women, connect with them, and be a friend.  I still value my friendships online.  However, last spring, when I was listening to a writing podcast, I heard none-other than the blogging queen herself, Ann Voskamp, being interviewed. (She would hate being called that.  Sorry, Ann!)   I’ve listened to that podcast multiple times since, and even got to see her in person, and discuss it a bit more with her.  She said to seek the small.  Seek the small ministries, not the large platforms.  Seek the little moments that God has given you to notice for a reason.  You don’t want to reach the masses.  You want to reach that one soul.  There is no number too small for God to call you to.

It was then that I decided to try to meet with some younger women.  Here I had been talking about the importance of older women mentoring younger women, or women who are 10+ years or so behind where they are in life.  I had wanted so badly for someone to pour into me like that, and various women had done that for me from time to time, and it had been a lifeline.  I started with 2 ladies.  Then I happened on a couple more, who I meet with differently than the other 2.  It seems that just being someone who listens and speaks back truth is very, very needed these days.

I don’t feel worthy of holding these women’s stories.  All I do is try to point them back to Christ, in whatever that might mean for their situation.  I pray with them.  I don’t have much great advice to give, but I have Christ to share, and he’s walked with me through many things.

But I still find myself pulling back.  Recently, I have been deeply convicted of friendships that I have neglected, because of my insecurities.  I really thought I was bothering them.  I really thought they didn’t have time for me anymore.  I really thought that I was dragging them down.  Then I found out, they were hurting because they thought I had forgotten them.

I have been such a terrible friend.  

The conviction of that weighs heavy, and the relief of forgiveness is like a flood.

It’s easy to say it’s because I have been busy.  No doubt, I’m a crazy-busy person.  I do a million and one things.  But that’s not the truth as to why I haven’t been pursuing them.  The truth is: because of my insecurities.  Because of the lies I believe that I’m bothering people.  The lie that I have nothing good to say to them, or they don’t have time for me.  The lie that I would be imposing.

We are a culture afraid of being a stalker.  Do you know what the #1 thing that people say when I meet them, and find out that they read my blog?  They say things like, “You don’t know me, but I read your blog.  I promise I’m not a stalker!”

You’re not a stalker.  You’re my friend.  If I wanted my words to be private, I’d put them in my journal.  I have a lot of private words in my journal.  I put them out here because I pray, and hope, and get on my knees that these words find people that I don’t even know and encourage them.  If you read them, and are encouraged by them, than you, my friend, are an answer to my prayers.

No one ever says, “Oh, I don’t like her.  She’s always writing me those encouraging notes.”  No one ever says, “You know what, she’s just always saying nice things, and trying to bring out my best.  Ugh.”

Everyone is afraid of being a stalker.  Even me.  I was terrified to pursue certain people, and yet, they were the very people I was supposed to pursue.  The 2nd thing that God has been teaching me this year is to shed this fear I have of making a fool of myself for the lie that it is, and encourage people with my words as much as I can.  My new goal is to pursue people.  Pursue friendship with abandon, not because I’m in dire need anymore of friendship.  The opposite is true.  I have so many friends now that I’m full.

That just means it’s time to give out of that fullness, and find those people are alone, and wrap my arms and my words around them.  I know personally what Satan does when he brings people out of the safety of friends and gets them alone.  That’s when people really start to believe lies about themselves.  It’s when we start believing things about ourselves, or our marriages, or our lives that just don’t even make sense.

I have been convicted.  I have been forgiven.  I have regret.  I knew that some of my friends were struggling, and I stayed silent because their problems seemed too big, and I felt like butting in meant I was being pushy.  Likewise, when I spent years hurting, I didn’t speak up because I didn’t want to sound whiny, or incapable.  I really, really needed someone to encourage me, and speak life into my hurting soul.  I kept waiting…waiting in silence for someone to notice.

It would bless me greatly, if some of my long-time friends/readers on the blog would join me by considering your local friends, and think about who seems to need that encouraging friend.  That friend who makes them relax.  That friend who will call them up, and ask them out.  That friend who drops by and brings banana bread.  I want some of my friends to step up with me and do the scary thing and be one of those crazy-encoueragment-stalkers.  The world is desperate for it.

You wouldn’t be a stalker.  You would be a mentor.  You would be saying to them, through words or actions: I want to be a safe place for you to come.  I want to use only words that build up and bless you (Ephesians 4:29).  I won’t gossip.  I won’t judge.  I’ll let you wrestle through stuff, and I’ll speak the truth and love as much as you need to hear it as the world tells you lies that tears you down.

Broken people need to be pursued.  That’s what I’m learning this year.  Fortunately, we are all broken people, so you won’t accidentally pursue someone who couldn’t use the help.  They don’t always know how to speak up, and they don’t always know what they need, but they know that someone out there might know what to say, even though they don’t know what that is.  They are too exhausted to seek out a strong encouraging friend.

Titus 2?  Yeah, that famous passage doesn’t say “Younger women, seek out older, wise women, and listen and obey them.”  Nope, it says [Gretchen’s paraphrase] “Older women, be a safe place, not a drunk, not a gossip, but a trustworthy woman, so younger women trust you and open up to share the deepest hurts in their lives: that of the intimate places in their marriage that they’re too afraid to speak, and their deepest fears of their ability to parent children who won’t listen.  Help out those young women who feel like they’re drowning in their marriages and mothering, and guide them along.  Don’t just give them more laws to follow, but show them how to apply the gospel of grace to every relationship they have.”  The command is for those who have lived through the dark times, and understand how dark it can be, and understand the depths to which Christ can reach.

We need more of this type of stalker.  The encouragement stalkers.

That Time I was “Lost” in Europe

Spoiler: I wasn’t lost.  I knew where I was.  But no one else did.

 

I’m typing today from a cute little dorm room, in Albertville, France, tucked right into the French Alps.  How in the world did I get here?  That’s a whole story itself.

It all started with a paradigm shift in my brain this last spring.  2 shifts actually.  I took my yearly weekend retreat to pray and reassess and ponder all the things that God has done in the last year, and look towards what he has coming, I realized that my kids, especially my older kids, were getting to the age when training them in kingdom work will start shifting more to Knut and I modeling ministry work.  Knut and I have always been involved in various areas of our church.  However, I have pulled way back in the last few seasons in our family.  I felt like it was time to jump back into things.  For many years, I have felt like I have been looking for significance and ministry outside my home, and God kept pointing me back to my kids and showing me that I had plenty of ministry to do right there.  Through my time in prayer, I felt like God didn’t so much open doors, as He said that doors were going to start opening to minister to people outside my home, and I didn’t have to be afraid of saying “yes.”  It was a removal of fear.  It was like the timing was finally right.

The other thing I learned is about people and relationships, but that’s for another post.  (Although it is connected here too.)

One of those opportunities that came up was just a pipe dream to visit my friend, Sonja, who moved to Albertville for the year with her husband and kids, as they do language training before moving to Africa.  Then my siblings kept reminding me that we got buddy passes from one of my sisters, if I wanted to fly anywhere super-cheap.  Then Knut not only didn’t say no, but kept saying yes.  Repeatedly.  Hesitating here and there, but mostly yes.

But enough with the back story.  Here’s my travel story.

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My mom used to joke that I was the kid who could get dropped off anywhere in the world, and find her way home.  I’m good at reading signs, and figuring things out.  Language barriers haven’t always bothered me.

I had 3 flights there, all standby.  Fortunately, my sister booked me for some pretty empty flights, so the trip there was long, but relatively simple.

When I was waiting to get on the 3rd flight, from Washington DC to Geneva, Switzerland, I met a woman named Janet.  I found out that Janet was roughly 80 years old, and a seasoned world traveler.  She had gone to Europe many times, and has spent decades being a “host mom” for exchange students from all over Europe, so she spent her retirement from her career in pharmacy, visiting all of the kids who had lived with her for a year at a time and had grown up.

Janet reminded me of my grandma who just passed away, with her dyed red hair, and her chattery, nature.  When my neck started stiffening up, and I stood up to do some exercises, after we had been talking for awhile, (there ended up being a mechanical delay with the plane) Janet offered me a variety of her left over pain killers, which I turned her down, and that reminded me of my other grandma who is still living.

Finally we boarded the plane.  I watched movies for awhile, ate the chicken they served.  I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t get comfortable.  Finally, the last 1.5 hours of the 8 hour flight, I dozed off.

I had woken up to start the trip at 4am, Minnesota time.  By the time I landed in Geneva, it was 1:30am Minnesota time, though it was 8:30am Geneva time.

This is where my plan slipped up a little.  The plan was for me to use just the wifi part of my smartphone for the duration of the trip.  But the Geneva airport was under construction, and I was having the worst time trying to connect with their wifi.  I wanted to let my husband and my friend know I had landed, and was going to get a train ticket, etc.  But no wifi.  No phone.  No nothing.

So I just walked over to the train station attached to the airport.  There was a row of 5 ticket kiosks.  I went over to the kiosk, and I couldn’t find “Albertville” as a destination.  I knew it was 2 hours away.  I had memorized the names of the stops I needed, but didn’t recognize any.  Was it considered a multi-European country ticket?  Did I need an 18 hour ticket?  What train was I supposed to get on?  Where were the prices for any of them? I couldn’t see any personnel, so I walked back into the airport and asked the ground transportation information desk lady.  She told me to go to the kiosks.  I said I tried that, and I can’t figure it out.  I needed some help figuring out which ticket I needed to buy.  She told me in broken English to go to the kiosk again.

So I walked back to the train station, and while I was waiting in line for a kiosk again, I saw in the corner of my eye, a train ticket office at the end of the corridor.  So I decided to go into the office, take a ticket and buy the correct ticket from a human being.  The guy at the counter was nice, but I’m not entirely sure if he was speaking English or French, as his English sort of sounded French-ish, like his French accent was so thick with his English that it was pretty much the same.  However, I can read French much better than I can speak it, and the right destinations were printed on my ticket, and he showed me on my ticket where which train numbers on which platforms at what time all were.

My friend Janet was in there waiting to talk to a person too.  She was all turned around, with all the construction, and wasn’t sure which train she normally took.  She was mixed up, and said was going to stick with me to make sure I got a ticket too.  So Janet and I talked awhile longer.  I found her so refreshing to the non-friendly-travelers in my smart phone generation.

So Janet and I had the first leg of our train journey together, about 5 minutes.  We parted ways at our first stop.

My first train was on platform 7, which was on the other side of the tracks where I was.  I went down the stairs, through a tunnel, and ended up in what looked like an empty customs office all by myself.  The guy in a uniform in there was waving at me to move along, and shouted something in French I didn’t understand at all.  I walked toward him, but he just pointed me to the end of the tunnel.

I guess I had just crossed into France, which was on the platform 7 side of the train station.

The rest of my journey was a 2 hour long train ride.  I had to find my train, stay on it for 1 hour, and then switch at the half way point, and get on a different train for the 2nd hour.

I was so hungry at this point.  I wanted a cup of coffee.  I still couldn’t get wifi anywhere.  No one knew I had landed, bought train tickets, or what time I’d arrive at the train station.  There wasn’t really much for me to do but get on the train in time, and deal with the whole communication issue at a time that wouldn’t make me miss my train.  I had an Excedrine Migraine in my purse, which is basically aspirin and a whopper caffeine pill.  That would keep me awake and deal with the pain I get associated with fatigue.  So I took one of those.  It made everything better, except I really needed food to hold it down, and I only had a few pretzels left in my purse.  Note to self: pack more snacks next time.

At the half way point, when I got off the train to switch, I looked for coffee and food.  I didn’t find coffee, but I did find a place with croissants and shortbread cookies with chocolate.  So I walked over there and ordered some…in French.  It was a big moment for me.  I was ridiculously proud of myself.

Because I stopped for food, I made the next connecting train with about 2 minutes to spare.  I just took the first seat I got where it was pretty crowded, but everyone was so nice.  I had to use the bathroom, but didn’t want to leave my stuff.  Also (TMI men, avert your eyes) I’ve been weaning Bjorn, and have had him down to only night feedings, and only on one side.  I brought my pump just in case I got uncomfortable, giving up that last feeding.  Well, I hadn’t fed him in well over 24 hours, and one side of me was very, very painful.  There certainly was no place to pump just enough for a bit of relief.  So I sat there, having to use the bathroom, having to pump, eating a croissant, trying not to get nauseous from the medicine, and watching gorgeous mountains from the children’s story Heidi pass before my eyes.

I arrived in Albertville, France, just after noon.  Still no wifi. By now I wanted a bed, and bathroom, and just to hold my friend. I walked around the town for a bit, hoping some business I walked passed would have some free wifi.  No luck.  So I picked the closest restaurant, ordered some food, and when they gave it to me, I asked if I could have their wifi password, as I need to contact my friend, and my phone wasn’t working.  The guys spoke basically no English, so we used a lot of gestures and pointing, and he wrote down the password for me.  I couldn’t get it to work, and in the end, he ended up typing it in for me.

I learned how to say “merci” a lot.

Then the world of communication opened up.  My friend, Sonja, was like “What!? You’re here!  You just got here!” and she walked down the street to get me, and we walked back to the language school together.

I texted Knut then, too.  Fortunately, he got my text when he woke up.  So the text he got from our friends hours earlier wondering if I had made it, and they hadn’t heard from me at all, and didn’t know where I was, came at the same time as my text that said I made it.  He only had a 2 minute panic or so, wondering where in the world his wife ended up, and wondering why no one had heard from me.

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My friend, Sonja, got me a nice little dorm room to stay in at their language school.  I took a little nap, and then joined them for supper, and to spoil the kids with some little presents.  We have some plans for the next few days.  She and I have work to get done, but mostly I just want to love on her and her kids before they make their next big move.  We’ve decided that before I fly home on Saturday, she’s coming with me back to Geneva on Friday, and we are going to do a night on the town together, and catch up just the two of us.  I want to see St. Peter’s Cathedral there.  I’m wild and crazy like that.

So while most of this probably could have been avoided if I was slightly more experienced, and maybe planned a bit better.  But it all worked out.  I’m just pinching myself that I’m here.  I’m already missing my babies and husband.  But for now, it’s time to spend a few days ministering to some people outside my family.

Transformative Prayer for Your Kids

I have the habit of asking women I admire how they handle various situations.  For a long time, I’d ask different moms of older children how they spent time in the Bible when they had little kids.  I got suggestions from keeping Bible verses on index cards throughout the house, to getting up early, to the old story of throwing an apron over your head and just praying while the kids are being kids.

A couple of years ago, I started asking a different question.  How do you deal with adolescence?  Maybe not just the age, but how do you deal with disrespect in your home?  How do you reach the heart of your child?  How do you handle eye rolls and attitudes?  Am I overreacting?  Am I underreacting? Does this really matter?  I’m trying.  I’m exhausted.  I don’t know if anything I’m doing is working.

One of the moms I was interrogating was a lovely woman who was from out of town.  Debra came to a church function, and we hit it off right away, and I was very sad to find out she wasn’t going to be my neighbor, and let me walk into her kitchen for a cup of tea on a daily basis and glean as much wisdom as I could.  I started asking her about heart issues, and how she handled them.

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She shared with me her prayer journal system.  I loved the idea so much I immediately tried it.  It has worked wonders, not only in my kids’ hearts, but surprisingly, a ton in my own heart.

Here’s what you need:

You get a notebook for each kid.  This notebook can be a cheap spiral school notebook, or an elegant journal.  It doesn’t matter.  (I use these.) You don’t want to keep all your kids in the same notebook, for a reason that will become apparent in a minute.

You want a Scripture index of some sort, but the one she used, and I used was Praying the Scriptures for Your Children.  (Since then, I’ve also gotten “Praying the Scriptures for Your Teenagers” by the same author and Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore but the first one is my most used.  Actually, I’m on my 3rd copy of Praying the Scriptures for Your Children because I keep giving mine away.

I’ll admit, all 3 of those books have devotionals and chapters in them, and I haven’t used those aspects of the book much at all yet.  I simply use their Scripture references.

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Here’s what you do:

Start slow, and just pick one verse the first day for each child.  Page through the reference.  Think back to areas where you are struggling in getting through to that child, and look it up.  Write that verse down in that child’s journal, with their name inserted, like this:

“Let ___________ know that she belongs to you and that her heart can be at rest in your presence.  When her heart tries to condemn her, remind her of this truth: you are greater than our hearts, and you know everything. (1 John 3:19-20)

These books are filled with verses with blanks, and references, which I fill in when I write out in the notebooks.  For awhile when I was starting, I tried to write out a verse a day for each child.  Pretty soon I started just reading through the prayers, and praying them aloud or silently, on a daily basis.  Now some of my kids have many pages of prayers, and so I will just pick a page and pray that page.  If I’m really going through a rough spot with that child, I’ll dedicate some more time to really read through their whole journal.

Unexpected Benefits

One of the things that my friend, Debra, said was that if her child was really going through a season of hardness, or she was really struggling to get through to that child, she would set up her kid in her prayer space.  Not as a punishment, but just as a reset.  She leaves them in the spot in the house where she prays through the journals, and she hands the child their journal to sit and read through.  (This is why you keep the kids separate, so that they aren’t getting into each other’s journals.)

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She said that every single time, she would come back and check on her kids, and there would be tears in their eyes, and repentance on their lips.  They were just smacked over with grace, knowing that their mother and God want all of these good things for them, and talk about them daily in these terms.  I have had to do this a few times with one of my kids, and I’ve had the exact same response.  Tears, hugs, I’m sorry.  There’s something about reading your mom’s prayer journal for you…not full of emotion and anger and frustration, but Scripture prayed over them like an anointing.

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The other benefit I have found has been very personal.  It has opened up my eyes to God working in my kids’ lives.  While I am the one speaking the words to God, the words I am speaking are from God’s Word to me, and it’s almost like he is ministering to me by sharing with me what he’s actually doing in their hearts behind the scenes, and out of my view.  He’s letting me in on his plan.  It has changed my anxiety and stress over parenting.  It fills me with hope, and helps me settle down.  Somehow, the Holy Spirit has taken this time with the Word and turned it into a conversation.  I was praying all of this for them, and God flipped it around and blessed me.

Beyond Kids

I love this system so much that I extended my notebook collection and I have a prayer book for the couple of women that I mentor.  The Beth Moore Scripture prayer book is a really great resource for praying for adults instead of kids, and I’ve read a couple of the pieces of devotions in there, but mostly I use this as a reference for the index as well.

Rising Up

I woke up ready for battle this morning.

I could barely make it through my workout, I was already so pumped up I wanted to get going. I feel like I’ve woken up the last few days. Not from a night of sleep, but from this fog, and have become aware of God on the move.

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The last week or so I’ve done some battle. As multiple friends have shared some deeply hard places they are in, and I was able to encourage them with the words that I always wish that I could say but don’t, and speak life and truth boldly without apology.  I feel like I just got to the place where I was so sick and tired of Satan stealing my friends’ hope, relationships, energy, passions, and marriages.  I was so sick of it, that I just started talking and saying words that I think but I’m usually to hesitant to say.  It was amazing.

I’ve joined a prayer group. It’s a group of women who are also writers and love Jesus, and feel the battle of getting words of encouragement, truth and love out there and feel the enemy targeting their families, their marriages, their children, and their hearts as they spread the gospel. We aren’t saying anything new. We are just clarifying who the enemy is (and it’s not each other) and reminding people of who they are in Christ over and over again and how he forgives, he heals, and to spread the hope of these truth-battles.

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I’m hearing battle stories. I’m participating in battle stories. While I often feared a battle, feeling too weak, or it wasn’t the season, or I’m just too tired, this group is reminding me that we are on the winning side. We are not in a battle of equal forces, where good and evil are hashing it out, and it could go either way. We are in a lopsided battle where good is so much greater than evil, and the name of Jesus holds immense power.  And I’m in the battle, the thick of the battle, like it or not by the very nature of being a mother, having these beautiful children, having friendships, and holding up what is good, beautiful, and true makes me a target of the evil one.  So I’m either going to get kicked around by Satan, or I’m going to stand up and fight.

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I was watching my 4 year old the other day, twirl in her pink skirt while singing a song from one of our favorite albums (this one) and the lyrics as she sang was:

You forgave me, all my guilt is gone.  

You forgave me, all my guilt is gone.

You forgave me, all my guilt is gone.

I know it’s out of fashion to have truth in worship choruses repeat like we’re going all Psalm 136 in our worship.  I find that my heart has such amnesia to God’s goodness, that I don’t need to come up with something new and fresh all the time, but I need to repeat the old truths over and over and over again.

He forgive me, and all guilt is gone.  That’s the crux of the gospel.  It’s the truth that changes everything.  I hope my 4 year old will always be singing that to herself, her whole life.  They are words that empower.

I feel the need to repeat to myself something I told a friend of mine recently who is battling for her marriage: “I know the voice that you are hearing. It’s a voice of hopelessness and a voice of fear. I’ve heard that voice myself many times.

I want you to know right now that God’s voice doesn’t sound like that.

That’s not God’s voice. If God is leading you to a divorce, it will sound like: ‘That is my precious daughter, she is under my protection and you will not hurt her heart any longer.’ But that’s not the voice you are hearing right now. You are hearing the voice of hopelessness and fear, so call it what it is: the voice straight from hell. A voice sent to discourage you, disarm you, and push you down. Call it a lie, and listen to the voice of God. Let God speak to you through his Word, and ground your identity in him, so that your husband’s sin cannot shake it. That’s step #1.”

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My friends, life is crazy and chaotic. We all have things to do, people to love, and interruptions that drive us crazy. Hopelessness and fear are a lie, and in the midst of today’s chaos, find out where Satan is breathing in hopelessness and fear and shut it down. No one has time for that.  Tell him to get out of your house, in Jesus’ name. He doesn’t get to do that. You belong to someone far greater. Some days the lies that “It’s never going to get better,” or “I’m stuck,” or “Stop doing this before you do some real damage,” (homeschoolers, anyone?) or “You’re failing at this,” or “Did God really say…?”

Satan just has the same ol’ lies on repeat.  Listen to some worship music on repeat instead.  2 Corinthians 10:5 talks about taking captive every thought to obey Christ.  You have the ability, through the power of God, to make your brain dwell on certain things.  This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, as my brain tends to cycle over past hurts like a broken record that I can’t seem to thought.  I’ve started praying now, whenever that cycle starts.  Sometimes I start saying memory verses, just to force my brain to stop going down the path it’s going down.  I’m learning that this is the battle I’m called to fight.  The battle for truth in my thoughts.

For we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.  Look at what is before your eyes.  If anyone is confident that he is Christ’s, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. (1 Corinthians 10:3-7)

Friends, remember who you belong to, and who is fighting for you, and find some rest from the weary.