Look What God Has Done

Look at what God has done–
He has given me a son.

Look at what God has done–
He has given my son oxygen.

Look at what God has done–
He has delivered Caleb from the evil one.

Look at what God has done–
He is the Strong and Might One.
He is the Ancient of Days, the very present One.

The Lord contends with those that contend with me.
He will save my children.

The Lord plants my son by the waters.
The Lord pours His Spirit out upon my son.
The Lord is my Son’s strength.

Look at what God has done–
He has given me a son.

In recent weeks I faced a struggle feeding my son. While toddler feeding battles are nothing new, for us it is particularly hard given our history. In some way or another I have struggled on and off to feed my only child since his first hour of birth starting with the inability to nurse correctly due to his undetected tongue tie. This has been traumatic for both of us, with feeding, breathing and swallowing difficulties that seem to manifest in so many different ways. An extreme sensitivity to textures, flavors and to the experience of the spoon or the cup is common in tongue tied toddlers. For me the trauma of everything we have been through creates an emotional tangle and a world of weariness that is hard to get out of when I face yet another fight in determination for my son to continue to thrive which is in accordance to God’s will. To continue to eat and to drink. Something so simple can become so hard.

Sometime during the twilight of this battle I heard or I read the verse in Psalms “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The desire of my heart was for my son to eat and for his gut to be healed with GAPS so he can eat all the foods God has given to him to be blessed by and to eat in abundance without fear or trauma. I have to admit I have spent a lot more time raging at how something that should be so simple as eating has been so hard and how it stole the what was supposed to be a delightful newborn away from me and so forth…When Lazarus died Jesus wept. Even though He had known Lazarus would die and He knew Lazarus would raise from the dead He still wept. He wept as He saw Mary and Martha weep. The brokenness of death. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this in the beginning. The curses we live under, including death, they create sorrow, they create anger and rage because they aren’t supposed to be that way. We know when something is wrong. When it isn’t right. However, God has convicted me that anger and vengeance belong to the Lord. I suspect that God is angry too every time a newborn baby struggles to breathe or to eat because of a tongue tie. Every time a mother becomes trapped in a swirling vortex of a screaming, projectile vomiting, sleep deprived nightmare this is not good, this is not a blessing, this is not from God. When my little one was about 6 weeks old is when I realized this was not from God and I sought deliverance versus just trying to cling to Him to get me through. There is a difference between enduring and escaping. Jesus was trapped on the cross so we could be set free, by His stripes we are healed. He became a victim so we could have victory. When I “woke up” to the need for deliverance versus endurance is when God revealed to me that my baby was not sleeping because he was hungry and that he was hungry because he was cutting off my milk supply. God provided the special needs bottle that Caleb needed to thrive. But the anger, the vengeance. They belong to God. Judgement belongs to God. When I take the anger into my own hands and rage at my situation then I become guilty because righteous anger and judgement belong to God. He alone I feel can “rage” in perfect love and perfect judgement.

Anyway, I need to spend more time delighting myself in God. No matter what. No matter how the day went. I am to delight myself in God. Well I finally spent time delighting myself in God after two weeks of struggling to just try to get my now toddler son hydrated enough each day, and God provided. He showed me a way and Caleb started to and praise God has continued to eat again. Life is not perfect and I have to spend time every single day delighting myself in God, without him life is certainly to harder than it should be, and there is much to delight in.

Martin Luther once said “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer”. I used to think he was exaggerating, or that just ’cause He was Luther he could somehow have a prayer life like that, but I am starting to realize that Luther got it. He truly got it. He got that the more he had to face, or the more he had to surmount that day, the more He needed the Holy Ghost. The more He needed to move and groove in the Spirit…He needed God’s very present help. God taught me a long time ago, when I was just a teenager how when I would sacrifice something in order to spend time with Him, especially when it required faith to give up that time to pray and also be able to finish a research paper or something…God always helped me to get everything I needed to get done on time, but when I skimped out on God and chose not to walk with faith or sacrificially in prayer then I truly struggled! We can get to the finish line, but Jesus said His burden was light. We make it heavy and burdensome when we don’t delight ourselves in Him. I seem to have faltered in that die hard commitment to sacrificial prayer somewhat. I have been staying up into the wee hours or all night pumping, cooking, cleaning, doing everything within MY power to get me son’s situation straightened out…But the thing is –MY power is never going to be good enough and quite frankly is waning thin into weariness. I don’t need to and should in fact be intentional to not spend all my time on MY power, I need to spend time with THE POWER, the ONLY power that really will help, to spend time with God. He knows the way. Just like He knew how to get Caleb back on my milk when I was told it would be like winning the lottery. God knows how to heal Caleb’s gut and how to get him to eat. God’s way. God’s leadership. Me spending time with Him.

Whether the desire of your heart is for your baby to eat and to thrive or something else just know this, God loves you and desires to bless you and your children. Spend time with Him. Delight yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. When we delight ourselves in God He transforms us by the entire renewal of our minds and our desires come into alignment with His and His will is able to manifest in us. When we delight ourselves in God we are no longer fighting against the goads. We cannot successfully hold up the rage or the sorrow in us, railing and fighting and shaking our fist in confusion and at the same time be blessed. We need to release everything to God. We need to let Him be our Shepherd, including letting Him use his staff to fight our enemies on our behalf instead of running between Him and the bear bleating in fear. Let Him fight your battles.

So I realized I needed to start being intentional about “delighting myself in the Lord” but wondered exactly how I should go about it, this intentional practice during my time with God. Then I heard the answer in passing on the radio (ok God is so awesome in His grace to answer my heart’s query like that isn’t He!?):

“How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in him should ponder them.”
Psalm 111:2

So there we go: ponder the amazing deeds of the Lord.

Delight myself in Him.
I delight myself in Him as I ponder how He:

  • Gave me a baby boy to grow within my womb after 5 years of unsuccessful attempts at conception.
  • I delight myself in the Lord for giving Caleb the breath of life after his first intubation failed at birth, hallelujah!
  • I delight myself in the Lord for gifting Caleb an Owlet oxygen monitor through an Instagram contest right before He was born ’cause God knew his oxygen would be affected by his tongue tie!
  • I delight myself in the Lord when I reflect on the velcro swaddles God gave Caleb through the same contest because He knew the struggles we would go through trying to get Caleb to sleep as a newborn, God knew ahead of time.
  • I ponder with great amazement and eternal gratitude that God provided a professional grade oxygen and heart monitor that literally saved my son’s life, waking me up with it’s alarm to audibly hear and find my son choking on his back in his bassinet, then again in his rock ‘n play.
  • I delight myself in the Lord as I ponder how amazing it is that He healed Caleb at 12 weeks of age from whatever it was that was specifically causing the low oxygen, whether it was narrow airways, or whatever, God healed Caleb!
  • I ponder in amazement and immense gratefulness that God revealed to me that my son was tongue tied after many medical professionals including a lactation consultant and ‘feeding therapist’ missed it! God showed me, I kept on praying and He showed me after generations in my family have suffered on a spectrum from this in one form or another, the veil has been removed!
  • I rejoice in the Lord and remember that God told me not to give Caleb omeprazole. Even though I did, God warned me. He warned me, even though He knew I would disobey, He still took the time to warn me…
  • I rejoice in the Lord as I reflect on how God provided a free hospital grade breast pump to me even when my insurance referral was rejected time and time again.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for prodding me forward to keep on pumping even in the middle of the night for 40 days and 40 nights without my baby drinking any of the milk because it turns out my milk has essentially “saved my baby’s life”.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to the Lord as I reflect and remember on how He led me to an online retailer for grass fed grass finished water processed lamb that would ship all the lamb we need for Caleb to Alaska for only $7.50, for real!!!!
  • I give thanks and rejoice in the Lord for providing free ready to feed alimentum to get Caleb through the time when I was pumping and storing.
  • I give praise and delight myself in God for revealing and showing to me that my baby had food allergies and intolerances at just 12 weeks of age even when a medical professional scoffed at the idea until my son’s oxygen improved the rest of the way and his lips turned red and then he tested positive for corn and a trace for wheat.
  • I delight myself in the Lord for giving Caleb shoes as a newborn through a gift that have turned out to be the only type of shoe we own so far (without having special ordered) that fits Caleb’s feet and his orthotics and keeps his feet warm at the same time.
  • I rejoice in the Lord and give Him eternal praise for providing corn free soy free goat kefir grains for breastmilk kefir, which has turned out to be a MAJOR key for healing Caleb’s gut.
  • I ponder with great thanksgiving and wonder that amazingly God has provided some corn free soy free goat colostrum for when his body is ready to handle it in order to further bless his immune system healing.
  • I rejoice in El Roi, the God who Sees who showed me that my son needed the prebiotic in my breastmilk to defeat the pathogenic bacteria in his body.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to God for increasing my milk supply with the hospital grade pump and for helping me to wake up and cluster pump etc. and still have energy to cook for Caleb’s gut healing diet and for therapy.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to God for showing me the GAPS diet when Caleb was just 5 months old to heal his gut and to reverse all allergies and intolerances as well as neurological sensitives.
  • I ponder in amazement that 7 years ago when we purchased our home in Alaska from Okinawa, Japan that we purchased a home without a smart meter attached to it and in a bit of a dead zone for a meter given our city location. This is a blessing of providence. There are so many examples of God’s providential love that I could continue to think of them forever and write them down.
  • I reflect in amazement and thanksgiving on how God has give me and Caleb life, in the image of God himself. I now choose to walk humbly before God in holy stewardship of this image of God that I reside in.

I delight myself in God for giving Caleb everything He has ever needed. For healing my son. For being our strong and mighty Shepherd through the rocky, craggy, high places. He is leading us to green pastures where we can rest and thrive. I rejoice and I delight myself in Him.

Hallelujah.

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Take it Back

Sometimes we wish we could go back and do something different, other times if needed we wish we could go back in time and do something that was hard, uncomfortable or of great sacrifice all over again in an instant because the outcome was worth it. Today I feel both. I wish I could go back in time and never have given my son omeprazole. Today I would in an instant choose to go into labor and give birth to my son all over again cause he is worth every bit of pain I went through in my all-natural dry birth. He would be worth me going through that to give him the bacteria his body so desperately needs. I can’t go back and go through labor again for my precious little one. I can’t even give my own life for his healing. BUT there is One who Has given His life for my son’s healing and His name is Jesus. Caleb was worth it to Him too when we was scourged, beaten, ridiculed, spit upon and nailed to that cross.

I haven’t posted a blog update for a while. God has been doing some amazing things that I need to talk about, and will…but today’s blog needs to be about one thing. Setting the record straight. In my last blog I am guilty of false testimony. I accredited God with something He did not do, something damaging and destructive. God DID heal Caleb of whatever was going on with his oxygen, his lips turned red and whatever was causing it to be low or dipping down frequently associated with choking, gagging and apparent struggling to breathe went away. God also revealed to me that Caleb had a food allergy, at just 3 months of age. What God did NOT do was tell me to give my son corn-free omeprazole. God DID tell me to call the pharmacy when the first doctor prescribed corny omeprazole and tell them this: “God healed my son and so he will no longer need omeprazole, so you do not need to worry about getting it ready.” I was nervous to do this because I didn’t want to sound weird, even though I knew God healed my son, the Holy Spirit was testifying to me that He had…I made the phone call. I told the pharmacist just that. Then Caleb’s oxygen monitor seemed to dip a bit in oxygen from the 98-100% it had been resting so beautifully and continuously and miraculously at for two whole weeks! Again, I knew God had healed my son ‘cause the Holy Spirit was making sure I knew he did. I had the confirmation and testimony of the Spirit even when this happened. At first I just resolutely responded in the spirit realm by saying my son was healed. But temptation to doubt began to hit me hard. What if God had only healed the oxygen and not the reflux…”WHAT IF”…then when the next doctor we saw prescribed corn-free omeprazole instead of telling the specialist to his face “no, God has healed my son, he doesn’t need the medicine” just like God had already told me to tell the pharmacist, what did I do? I began to listen to the voice that said “DID GOD REALLY SAY”. Sound familiar? Eve heard that same voice in the garden…“Did God really say?”… and she ate the fruit, she convinced herself to take a bite, she took the bait. She listened to the lie. So did I…so did I. I convinced myself that it must have been to protect Caleb from the corn allergy, surely that is actually what God meant. Boy was I wrong. God is clear. He is not confusing.

I cannot even begin to explain to you the regret I have. The sorrow upon sorrow, the tears I have shed. What I have learned and now know is that when God does something miraculous, something amazing, like healing…when God does that Satan will try desperately to do three things: 1) cast doubt in other people’s minds, 2) cast doubt in your own mind and 3) try to get you to be the one that casts the doubt. What happened when Christ rose from the dead? The enemies of God wasted no time in spreading false testimony, lies, and doubts. I figured out after a month of confusion with red lips and testimony from the Holy Spirit that Caleb was healed, but weird oxygen readings that didn’t fit, was that the reason the oxygen appeared to have lowered again was because his foot had grown fatter and the monitor was giving a false reading! It was all smoke and mirrors (another tactic of the enemy, beware)! Who is the author of confusion? Not God. A test of my faith, who would I listen to? Would I walk by faith and not by sight? By this time I had already posted on Facebook that my son’s 02 was dropping still based on foods (another must be)after having posted God healed Caleb (which he did!). I allowed myself to be used to plant doubt about God’s amazing miracle he had done in my son AND I allowed myself to doubt…not only that but when I gave doubt a foothold and disobedience a foothold I also gave legal authority to Satan to land a new form of curse or oppression. You see he had none left, the serpent was drowning in the blood and he couldn’t get to me or Caleb anymore because God had removed authority for oppression when He healed Caleb’s oxygen and showed me what was up with his food. The serpent’s oppression had ceased, his foothold had been destroyed. His last ditch effort before going under was to get me to create a new foothold for a new curse, a new form of oppression.

Why was it so important to the enemy to convince me to give the omeprazole? My son’s gut microbiome had already taken a hit when he was put on two rounds of completely unnecessary antibiotics in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit starting at just 7 days of age. The gut microbiome takes 21 days to reach a point of establishment after birth, the gut takes 2-3 years to mature. Antibiotics don’t just kill good bacteria. Then after 3 months of caffeine that created outrageous silent reflux God revealed to me my son’s allergic responses to corn in his throat. Then came the omeprazole. Omeprazole lowered my son’s stomach acid ph blocking his body’s ability to create two key hormones that trigger the creation of digestive enzymes and also prevent food from being digested enough before being deposited into the lower gi tract where the enzymes were now out of whack in addition to the previous bacteria hit, not to mention the new ph created an environment perfect for pathogens to thrive. My son’s baby poop had still been perfect and seedy prior to the omeprazole, even after the PICU and caffeine. It wasn’t until the omeprazole that things changed. My 13 month old would be eating a lot more than just lamb stock, pureed lamb, hypoallergenic probiotics and breastmilk from my limited diet right now if I had stood firm in my faith and obeyed God, instead of convincing myself to believe a lie and then spread lies and false testimony by having the audacity to say “God must have…” and accrediting God with destruction. No. I repent. I redact. I declare that I lied, Satan lied. Truth was smeared. I sob.

And yet God has been so kind and gracious, God is love, even when we are in desperate straits or in the wilderness. I think sometimes we like to think that we are immune to consequences under the new covenant, but we are not. Curses and consequences are alive and until we confess, repent and seek the blood of Jesus in court the judgments stand firm. There is only One thing that can stand in the court of God to break the power of our sins, transgressions and iniquities and that is Jesus. “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus was pierced for my transgression of the omeprazole. He was crushed and bruised for the iniquity that runs in our family’s bloodline of dishonoring our bodies, the images of God, with food and destructive pharmaceuticals. He was chastised so Caleb could be well and at peace, He was scourged and wounded so Caleb can be healed. Jesus made a curse, was made to be sin so we could bring our curses and our sins to the throne to stop the enemy, to remove the stronghold, to destroy the foothold. “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

God is my son’s healer. Not me, not my tears, and not even my zeal, though it be great. None of these can heal my son on their own. But—GOD can. The LORD is my son’s healer. The LORD is my son’s strength. The LORD is my son’ hope and REDEEMER and DELIVERER.

“For thus says the LORD: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children” (Isaiah 49:25).

“And my soul shall rejoice in the Lord; It shall exult in His salvation. All my bones will say, “Lord, who is like You, Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?” Psalm 35:9-10

My confession is so important, to set the record straight, not only in God’s courts, but here on earth. I don’t write the story. I don’t figure out “what God must be doing.” I should not credit God with things so easily. I believe we as humans need to be very careful with what we credit God for. All too often we give occasion to the enemy to blaspheme by declaring false testimony about situations or conditions in our bodies or minds, our children’s bodies or minds, relationships, life, everything! Declaring that something that is actually a form of demonic deception and oppression to somehow be God’s blessed will is definitely something we need to have the fear of God in us about! God ordained each of our days before we lived even one of them. He purposed them, He thought about each one of them. He decreed His will for them. Many days, many bodies, many situations, many families, many bloodlines get hijacked and the ordained will of God desecrated and blasphemed because we give legal authority to darkness instead of light. To lies instead of truths. We need to stand firm. We need to fight. We need to endure in this race. As the author of Hebrews says in chapter 12 verse 12 “So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.” Stand FIRM. Seek to enter God’s courts. To state your case. Press in and be careful what you attribute to God. My job is to listen, to trust and to obey. To follow even when I don’t understand why or where or what. God is the author of my son’s destiny. Psalm 139:16 says that God ordained each one of my son’s days before they existed. God took the time to do that. With godly fear I seek to humbly raise my son in God’s way. Not my way. Not my story. God’s way. God’s story. God is the author. God does not need PR. God does not need a spin to make a good story. God needs honesty, humility and truth, even when we don’t know the explanation yet. We don’t need to be able to explain something to stand firm in the truth of it. We don’t need to be able to explain something God has commanded us to do to obey it.

When the Israelites were in wilderness God took care of them. He turned bitter water into sweet water. He led them to 12 springs…12 springs, 1 for each tribe. I love that. God knew the Israelites would end up spending a long time in that wilderness and even though He knew they would disobey Him with the golden calf and have to be punished He still created ahead of time springs at Elim for them for when they first entered into the wilderness which would become the wilderness of their disobedience.

“There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.” Exodus 15:25-27

Who knows, maybe He even created those springs at the beginning, or during the flood! God knows way ahead and provides way ahead before we can possibly even ask Him. That is called God’s providence. How beautiful is His providence. He met their needs, time and time again even though a whole generation would die in the wilderness. God gave them manna and quail. He led them by fire at night and cloud during the day. God was with them in the wilderness. God knew they would try His patience, He knew they would build the golden calf, but God still delivered them from Egypt, still promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob even though he knew of the rebellion that would come from the many generations ahead, He still chose Abraham. He still chose the Israelites to fulfill his purposes, His destiny to bless all peoples through Jesus Christ the Messiah.

Just like I would go back to the pain of labor and delivery of my son and do it all over again for him in an instant because he is worth it, Jesus I feel would go back to the cross in an instant and do it all over again for me, for us, because He loves us so much. God knew every sin that we would ever commit, He knew everything we would say, think or do in disobedience even after becoming a child of God, and He still went to the cross. I acutely remember my son’s labor and birth, this is a memory that is strong and mighty in my relationship with my son. I will always remember that night and day as part of my identity in my relationship with my son, no matter his age. Jesus gazes at us, the experience of the cross acutely vivid in his heart and mind. His dripping blood hot on the cross of calvary. Furthermore Jesus exists outside of time, He is God. He is omnipresent. This vivid experience of the cross is something that He is acutely aware of at all times in His relationship with us as our Lord, Savior, Redeemer and Intercessor. He knew everything we would do, and He still endured the cross for us, He still loved us. God knew I would listen to the enemy’s “Did God really say?” in regards to the omeprazole but He still healed my son’s oxygen.  He still prompted me to push through temptation and to keep on pumping so my milk wouldn’t dry up. He still showed me the GAPS diet to address my son’s gut before I understood the terrible thing I had done. He didn’t decide I wasn’t worth it because I would ultimately disobey Him. He still provided a free medical grade breast pump to me even when I hadn’t yet found a supplier to fill my insurance referral. God still revealed to me that my son had tongue tie and lip tie at the end of July (more on that in another post to come). After I tried and failed with corn free chicken and pork, God still provided a company that will ship the grass fed and grass finished lamb my son needs to Alaska for only $7.50!! God still provided free DNA stool tests to show me the condition of the bacteria in my son’s gut and to give me a picture of what we are up against.

We only see a faint reflection. God sees it all clearly. We will never gain enough knowledge to make the right decisions without God. We don’t even need our science and technology. When God created us at the beginning He said it was good and He meant it! It was good. It didn’t need to be “made better”. We can trust God without knowing or understanding it all first. In fact we must because we never will attain such a thing, there is only One God, there is only One voice to heed, there is only One word we must listen to: God’s.

Prayer Need:
Like I mentioned above, we desperately need’s prayer support in order to break the power of the pathogenic bacteria called b. fragilis. The DNA tests have revealed a serious situation of growth by this antibiotic resistant and pathogenic bacteria. The silver lining is that between the two tests the corn free soy free goat’s milk kefir grains that God has provided recently have helped to diversify my son’s gut. I believe these are a very important part of the battle strategy pray so please pray for them to stay healthy and for my son to have plenty of kefir. Please pray for God to protect my son’s abdominal organs, his brain, blood, lungs, entire gi tract and more. Please pray especially for this pathogenic bacteria to stop growing, for it to be evicted and to be brought under control by the good bacteria! This is a serious and urgent prayer need for Caleb. Please pray also for my milk supply to substantially increase or for me to find a donor whose milk works for him so it can feed the good bacteria called bifodum longum and to make plenty of breastmilk kefir. Please pray for me to hear from God and for me to be brave and prompt in obedience and for all of Caleb’s needs to be provided for as we stand firm even if our knees shake at times. Please pray for innocent baby Caleb’s gut to be restored, for what was robbed from him to be given back to him and then some. For his body to no longer be held captive, but for him to be set free, for him to be able to eat all foods, more foods. For food to be a blessing and not a curse. For His gut microbiome to be a blessing and not a curse. For him to be healed and not oppressed. For him to be blessed and not cursed. In Jesus’ name. So be it.

Also, I am at the end of a study on curses and based on what I have learned about word curses or blessings I must ask that if you pray or share this blog, please be careful to not make declarative statements about me or Caleb that align with the enemy’s plans. Also, please be judicious with who you share this information with and with what motive. We need prayer. We don’t need to be a sensational story, topic of conversation, or spoken of with firm statements or phrases that confess or agree with our plight. Please just choose your words carefully to bless us according to God’s plans He wrote in our books before we were even formed in the womb vs words that agree with curses against us or that give the enemy an opportunity to revel or delight or curse even further.

Thank you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:13-16

 

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Vengeance in the Wilderness

Even when we walk faithfully with God in the wilderness, the wilderness is still a hard place to be. Darkness and confusion seemingly surround us and we are being tested and refined to live by faith. One of the hardest things to do in the wilderness is to resist the temptation to take vengeance into our own hands. In the wilderness when others hurt us it is compounded because of the pain we are already going through. To love, to forgive, and to spare in spite of what a situation or a person says or does takes the strength and the love of God. It is too great in our weakness for us to do this on our own. It requires supernatural, it requires faith. The only way to give grace is to learn grace, and learning grace is hard because it is undeserved. Having mercy is hard because it is undeserved.

It may also feel just downright wrong. The enemy will try to get us to believe so many lies to justify our hatred, our anger or our vengeance. What we have to remember is that no one is “getting away” with anything. When we exercise love and forgiveness we first must exercise faith in God. It requires for us to trust Him. The Lord’s Prayer begins with two very important words: “Our Father”. God loves His adopted, we are His children, and His love for us is more fierce and more passionate than the love of any parent–as hard as that can be to imagine. We are precious in His sight. When we choose to love and to have grace in a situation where it is not deserved we are choosing to trust God with the situation. We are releasing the people and the circumstances to the authority of God. We are reserving the right for justice over to God. He is perfect and we can trust Him with that.

Even in our daily lives this is difficult. It doesn’t take extreme wilderness circumstances to have to face difficulty in releasing anger to God in exchange for love. However, with the help of the Holy Spirit we can do it-and we must do it. God commands us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. He commands us to not keep a record of wrongs. He commands us to forgive. He knows this is to hard for us without His help – and He longs to fill us with the Holy Spirit in order to perfect His love in and through us.

Think about David in 1 Samuel 26. Talk about being in a wilderness on the account of another! Filled with jealousy and bent on preserving his line as the rulers of Israel, Saul was in pursuit of David’s life, acting in direct defiance of God’s will. David ended up in the wilderness, hiding out as a fugitive because of this. In 1 Samuel 26 David and a companion stood over Saul as he slept in his camp with the perfect opportunity to kill Saul with his own spear. His companion even offered to do it on David’s behalf so the blood wouldn’t be “on David’s hands”. David absolutely refused however. What if you are in a situation where the stars align perfectly for you to get back at someone who has hurt you and even to not have to do the dirty work yourself? Would you consider that to be divine providence for vengeance or would you steadfastly reserve vengeance for the Lord – biting your tongue, refusing to harm the other person in any way…? Furthermore David had been directly anointed by Samuel to be the next King of Israel – with witnesses, and the people loved him! In the eyes of man David could have walked away from this with every justification necessary–but not in the eyes of God. David understood that vengeance belonged to the Lord. In I Samuel 24 David had spared Saul’s life. then in Is Samuel 25 David was tempted to execute vengeance for himself and his men against Nabal, but God used Abigail to stop David with wisdom and then God executed the justice on David’s behalf. Then in I Samuel 26 David faced another perfect opportunity to take Saul’s life. By this time He’d learned it didn’t matter if two, if a hundred perfect opportunities to execute vengeance presented themselves, even if was seen as justice in the eyes of men – vengeance belonged to the Lord.

There was a time in my own life when I was wrapped up in bitterness, hatred and anger, so deep and so wide that it took the supernatural help from God to love those that had betrayed me and to forgive the unforgivable. But God commanded me to do it and He planted a love in my heart that I did not and could not have mustered on my own. In addition to helping to forgive, God also manifested restoration and healing. Just because we forgive someone and have love and grace doesn’t mean we have (or should have) a restored relationship with them. However, if it is God’s will (well really it is, but if the other person(s) is in resistance to the will of God it may not be possible)…Restoration it is so delightful, a wonderful gift from the Lord! God desires to heal each of us. To make brand new that which has been tattered and torn. No situation, no wilderness is beyond the hope and the help of God – Miraculous, Wondrous, Wonderful God. Our Father. Trust in Him. Release vengeance to Him. He is faithful.

Childbearing Hips

As one negative pregnancy test led to the next and to the next, each cycle became less of an exciting wait and more of a dreaded encounter, hoping against all odds that this would be the month, only to have those hopes dashed be a single pink line and those telltale cramps. Agonizing cramps that seemingly mock me from within my own body. Taunting me that I have the body parts but that I’m broken, that I don’t work, that I might look like a perfectly fine woman on the outside-but that I’m not. Cramps that I still have to suffer. Suffer every month for what-for nothing my mind cries out. The frustration at “being broken” can feel overwhelming at times. Questions of “why was I created to be a woman if I don’t even work” flit across my mind as cruel reality brings jarring pain to such a crescendo that my infertility cannot be ignored–not today. I can go for a few weeks acting like everything is normal, but then the cramps, then the reality. The empty womb crying out at me–”don’t you dare forget!”– a war between my body and my mind, between my hormone levels and my desire to be a mother.

The identity crisis of being a woman with infertility is real and it was unexpected. It caught me off-guard when I began to feel trapped in my body, a body that didn’t work. A body that looked like it should work-but wasn’t. My childbearing hips were helping me carry in the groceries, or a box up the stairs, but that wasn’t what they were supposed to carry. They were supposed to help me carry a baby, my baby. Like I’d carried brothers and sisters growing up. Instead here I was all alone with no baby and these childbearing hips. Watching the diagnostic ultrasounds of my womb, finding out the exact measurements of these body parts that remained vacant, lifeless. I felt like I was useless, like I was defective. Betrayed by my own body it felt like there had been a mistake. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to be a mom. My dream of raising children, homeschooling, making homemade bread, my body didn’t match up. It wasn’t right. Something was wrong.

Something is wrong. Things are broken. There is sickness. There is disease. I’m not the first person to feel trapped in, or betrayed by their body and I won’t be the last. In the end our bodies will fail each and every one of us, expiring to return to the dust because of the curse of sin that is upon us and all of creation. A curse that we’ve inherited and that we perpetuate. A decay that renders our ability to stay young, strong and healthy out of our control as time marches forward until we breathe our last. And when we breathe our last it will surely matter what or who we identity with and as. It matters because if your identity is founded only in the life that you spend in this body then you are guaranteed to be disappointed, to be betrayed by your body and by your idolatry. But, if your identity is rooted in Christ Jesus then you are guaranteed life eternal. Whenever I feel frustrated with my body, whenever the sorrow washes over me I cling to Jesus and I remember that my identity is in Him. I am His. I belong to Him. I am His daughter. I am His bride. He satisfies me with His Living Waters and comforts me with His strong arms. He holds me and He sustains me. He is my confidence. He is my Rock. He is my salvation. He is my hope. I will never be disappointed when my eyes are on Him, and they will be on Him forever–for when I leave this body I will be going home to a place that He is preparing for me. A place where He is the Light, where there is no more sorrow, no more tears, no more shame.

I refuse to agree with the lies of Satan that seek to take my eyes off of Jesus. I speak the Truth of God’s Word over myself. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am carefully made by the hands of my loving Father Who knew me in the womb, Who knew me even before He formed me. God made me a woman, God has given me the heart of a mother and I am so thankful for these things. I rejoice because of His tender love, He is my Victory. I am so incredibly thankful for my body. I am thankful for every part of my body. Yes this creation may be under the curse of our sin, but God is the Redeemer and He is making all things new. God is my Redeemer! He is my “dream-come-true-Boaz”, He has paid the greatest price so I can be with Him forever and ever and I gladly give myself over to Him, to His authority, to His will. He can–and is–making something beautiful out of the mire clay. I am free to dance in joy as He lifts me up from the ashes. He has brought me into His glory and I look forward to be taken into the full measure of His glory. His strong arm upholds me, His strong right hand defends and protects me.

I need thee every hour Lord. I need Thine Righteousness to revive me for Thine power to course through me, for You Holy Spirit to wash and cleanse me, for Your Word to lead me. For every part of me to be enveloped in Your presence, under Your guidance and authority. Every lie, every doubt hold no power over me-for I sit down under Your shadow with great delight and Your fruit is sweet to my taste, You bring me to Your banqueting House and Your banner over me is love. You satisfy me and embrace me, You come leaping and bounding over the mountains and hills and lead me into the Cleft of the Solid Rock, through Your pasture among the lilies. (See Song of Solomon 2).

For though 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.  2 Corinthians 10:-6

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.  I Thessalonians 5:16-24

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”  Revelation 21:1-8

Lightening Sword

“‘See now that I, I am He, and there is no god beside Me; I kill and I make alive,
I wound and I heal, and there is none who can deliver out of My hand.

For I lift up My hand to heaven and swear, As I live forever,

If I whet My lightning sword and My hand takes hold on judgment,
I will wreak vengeance on My foes and recompense those who hate Me.

I will make My arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh,
with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the long-haired heads of the foe.”
Deuteronomy 32:39-42 AMPC

God has a lightening sword.

Can you imagine being the target of God’s vengeance and judgement? Isn’t that a terrifying thought?

“‘For a fire is kindled by My anger,
And it burns to the depths of Sheol (the place of the dead, the nether world),
It devours the earth with its yield,
And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.”
Deuteronomy 32:22 AMPC

When someone takes what is not theirs, when they betray or hurt someone that we love it is easy to desire for the full extant of justice to be served…but do we really want that, for their soul too? Far be it from us that we should desire anyone condemned to the righteous fury of God on judgement day. The only way we can feel that way is if we think that they are worse than we are, if we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to.

People look at me skeptically when I admit to them that I’ve broken all ten commandments. They think for a moment, “this girl has no idea what she is talking about, doesn’t she know ‘thou shalt not murder’ is one of those commandments?”. When I reassure them I have, it is a bit comical for a moment to watch their faces before I explain that there was a time in my life where I truly hated some people that had hurt me. They had betrayed me and I hated them. In 1 John 3:15 God lets us know that under his standard of holiness if you hate you are a murderer and that no one who is a murderer has eternal life. If we desire for someone to be eliminated from our lives or to be destroyed out of our hatred for them it is the same spirit of murder, even if we don’t actually take steps to get rid of them. The same thing is for adultery. Jesus let us know in the Sermon on the Mount that if we look at someone with lust that we are not married to then we are an adulterer in God’s eyes. God’s judgement is of our heart, of our motives, and none of us is good, not even one.

When we hate, when we lust, when we lie or steal, we are opposing God himself – we are displaying aggression and defiance toward Him & that is something truly to be afraid of.

It hurts when someone betrays us–it hurts God more because it shows Him a heart that does not recognize Him or trust in Him. If we trust in God we will obey Him.

God commands us to forgive the unforgivable, to love the unlovable, to have mercy when it is impossible–just like He does. Christ took the punishment of God’s judgement and then conquered death so we could be restored, to be adopted by God instead of living at enmity with Him. As His children, He commands us to do the impossible so that He can be powerful in us, powerful to help us to be Holy like He is holy. To be people through which He can bring healing and restoration where there is brokenness and pain. Only He can do that. Only He can lead us in the perfect way. Trust in Him alone for wisdom. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to do His will.

‪#‎IamAChristian‬

11143552_10156124203550268_1059832149902983280_nTo live is Christ. To die is gain.

Oh let that be all that we truly live for, Christ. For that is all that we will have when we breathe our last breathe. Whether that breathe is taken at gunpoint, or in our sleep, each of us will breathe it. And when we do, it is not the opinion of others or even ourselves that matters. It will be the righteous judgement of God that matters. He, who looks beyond our outward appearance to the heart, to our very motives. Oh let us live and breathe for the glory of our Father in heaven through the power of the Holy Spirit.

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” Philippians 1:20-24

Burn the Plow. Roast the Ox.

fire-1568645So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
1 Kings 19:19-21

When we repent and accept Christ as our leader and director then we leave our old life behind. In fact we don’t just turn our back on it, but we are spiritually born, no longer dead in our transgressions, but alive in Christ. From that day forward when we wake up every morning the Holy Spirit within us cries out for Christ, for righteousness. A sign of a true believer is someone who denies the desire of his flesh nature, this is called dying to oneself.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:24

You see Christ was made sin on the cross, even though He had not Himself sinned, as a payment for the debt we’ve racked up with our sin before God. However, the transaction is not complete until we offer up that sin in repentance. Burning it like Elisha burned his plow. When we repent and die to ourselves. Then and only then will Christ’s righteousness is imputed upon us to protect us from the wrath of God. We are purchased by the blood of Christ, protected by His righteousness.

The Christian life is one of continual repentance and dying to oneself, not because we lose our salvation every time we go to sleep, but because we have set our hearts and minds to accept Christ as our Rescuer which can only happen when we submit to Him as Lord. Submission means dying to self.

When Elisha was called to serve God he burned His plow, killed His oxen and ate them for a farewell dinner. He got rid of them for good, no turning back. We must burn our plows, our old life must die under the transforming fire of the Holy Spirit. While it is painful to die to ourselves it will not be as painful as it will be to come under the eternal fire of God’s judgement.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

Just like Isaiah cried out in terror when He saw a vision of God’s throne and His mouth was purified with a coal from God’s holy fire, so must our tongues be purified with the fire of the Holy Spirit. If not, our tongues will be scorched and parched for water where there is none.

And in Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.

But Abraham said, Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received [what is due you in] comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who want to pass from this to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us. Luke 16:23-26

God’s purifying fire consumes all unrighteousness. Will it only be your works consumed on judgement day (1 Cor. 3:10-15) or your whole body?