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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

 

Naomi’s Baby Story

I told my baby story at my shower – I didn’t know if I’d every have a baby shower, and I’m so thankful to God that I did. I hope you find the story of my journey through infertility encouraging to you no matter if you face infertility or not. We will all face something that feels crippling or overwhelming at some point in our life. We are all busy with the building of our household whether it has children in it or not – who will you trust with the building?

God Knew

When my husband and I started to try to have a baby in 2010 God knew that it wouldn’t be until 2016 that we finally would conceive our son Caleb.

When I was in my mother’s womb, God knew that I would struggle with infertility issues when I grew up, but that didn’t stop Him from planting the desire to be a mother deep in my heart from a young age. That didn’t stop Him from placing me in a family where I was the oldest of six, surrounded by babies and younger children–I’m so thankful for those years that I feel prepared my heart for loving and valuing children – whether they “are mine” or not! All children belong to God first and foremost as their Creator*. He gets to see their first smile in the womb, their first grimace, their very first movement, their “firsts” belong to Him. God gets the first fruits of our life in the secret place of our mother’s womb. Even today with the advancements of ultrasound technology we come no where close to the 24/7 intimacy God has with our precious little ones as He tenderly and lovingly knits them–as He knitted us –together.

God doesn’t make mistakes. God is on time. God is perfect.

In January of 2013 I created a business card for a dear friend of mine as a class project for school. I needed to created one and she had a business that needed one. She created cute, lettered cloth blocks by hand. I borrowed one to help me with my project and I ended up never giving it back to her before she moved out of state. Flash forward to 2016, God has blessed my womb with life and another blessing of a friend graciously and kindly offers to take some photos of me to help document this miraculous time in my life. That morning before we met up for breakfast and photos she wanted to know if I had any wooden blocks with letters on them to help with the photos, I had none but thought maybe we could go by Walmart and grab some after breakfast. Anyway I remembered though that I had a cloth block in one of my office drawers somewhere…I just couldn’t remember the letter on it! I hoped it would still be in the drawer that I thought I’d last put it in, it was — way in the back.

Lo and behold the letter on the block was the letter “C”. In the bold color red, just like the shirt I had chosen to wear that morning for photos.

Before the beginning of time God knew me. He knew all of my paths that I’d take and every moment of my life. He knew that my husband and I would come very close to choosing to stop trying to have biological kids before He would open my womb. God knew that we would have a son and that we would choose to name Him Caleb. In 2013 He knew this and the cloth block my friend gave me to help me with my project had the letter “C” on it. How fun it must be for God, like a big surprise, 3 1/2 years earlier and He is the only one that knew as she handed me a block of cloth, both of us clueless how meaningful it would become. How amazing and how loving is our Father in Heaven truly is!

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Picture by Magdalena Ferrandino

 ” I could ask the darkness to hide me
  and the light around me to become night—
     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.”  – Psalm 139:11-16

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” – God speaking to Jeremiah (the prophet) 1:5

* Whether we accept the price God paid to adopt us as His child and become our Spiritual Father is different than God being our Creator. See John chapter 8 and Romans chapter 8.

Joy in the Wilderness

During my journey through the wilderness of infertility God was with me every step of the way. He led me in, just as He has led me out. Just as He provided for Elijah in Kerith Ravine, God sent me His Spirit and His truth to feed me and to sustain me even as my womb remained barren and void of life, like a drought – a drought I had been born with. When the test results had first come back showing that I wasn’t ovulating and that I wasn’t creating the hormone levels needed to create nor sustain a pregnancy I had a choice. Would I decide what I was going to do next, or would I let God decide what I was going to do.

God tests us in the wilderness to see if we are truly fully devoted to Him, if we have a heart toward Him like Joshua and Caleb had even as they marched back into the wilderness away from the Promised Land. To be fully devoted to God is to be fully devoted to His authority, to His Lordship over everything, including the decisions we make. I determined to wait upon the Lord and to only do what I felt sure He was OK with me doing in my efforts to become a mom. Ultimately I was brought to the crossroads that even though this had been a dream of mine my whole life that if it was not God’s will, then God’s will be done. I had to submit to the pain of a failed attempt at pregnancy over and over again and declare that God was good, no matter what. The thing that amazed me in all of this was that God taught me about His goodness in the midst of the wilderness. He taught me by allowing me to experience the depth and the love of His goodness when I all I had was Him. He taught me that He was more than enough.

When I took that really hard step and declared that God was good, as I cried and sobbed my heart upon the floor I should add…God responded by bolstering me up in Him, by doubling my portion of faith and by filling my heart with joy–joy in Him. We can have joy in the wilderness. It all just depends on whether or not we will say:

Have your way in me oh Lord.

A few weeks ago a pastor in my life, Clay Gatlin, shared a message out of Proverbs and spoke about God’s authority and determination of “our vat”. How big our vat is, and whether it is overflowing or not. This could mean a myriad of things for each of us, our income, our health, whatever our lot. For me it was my womb, God has spent almost the past 6 years teaching me and bringing me into a deeper awareness of His authority over my womb and over my fertility. He did this through a womb that remained barren and lifeless year after year. It has been a journey of sorrow for sure, but one that I’m thankful for because God brought me so much closer to Him and to a place of trust. He taught me about the great wealth of His goodness as He challenged and grew my faith in regards to His love and goodness. When I stepped out and declared God’s goodness over my circumstances, no matter what–I felt such an immeasurable level of peace and joy in the Lord, a peace and joy that sustained me and healed my heart even in the midst of a barren “vat”.

I’m so excited to tell you that my husband and I are expecting. After 5 1/2 of trying, and almost to the end of the time I was willing to go through the emotional roller coaster anymore, lo and behold God has filled my vat to overflow with life! When Pastor Clay spoke about how some of us have small vats and others have big vats and that we shouldn’t compare our vats that really resounded with me because God doesn’t want me to compare my vat with with other women’s vats, other women who will be blessed abundantly in their fertility. I just need to keep my eyes on God and rejoice in Him during this most amazing season in my life as my vat is literally bursting forth (my belly is surely growing and I love it)! I love the my vat is physically growing as a living testimony of God’s perfect timing and goodness. 🙂 I am soooo incredibly thankful to God for my baby and I love him so much already.

We each have our place to serve and to bring glory to God in the kingdom before He calls us home. I rejoice with women who have been called by God to bear many children. I rejoice in God for the place that He has for me in His kingdom as well. I rejoice with all women for the place that He has for each of us as His dearly beloved bride. Oh how deep and how wide is the love and the passion of our bridegroom for each of us. Lose yourself in Him. Catch your reflection in His tender gaze. We are each so precious in His sight, the apple of His eye.

 

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

Summer of The Leviathan

God often prepares His children before something happens. Revealing a key part of His Truth so that we can be ready for when the storm hits-or for being thrust into the icy, isolated, darkness, which is a more fitting description in this case. Several things that were my biggest dreams in life were stripped away around the same time that we left the tropical island of Okinawa and moved to Alaska, a week before the snow hit. This on top of me never having lived anywhere where the snow actually stays longer than a day. The psychological shock of being thrust against my will by the military into an environment that felt like an icy trap mirrored the trauma I felt in my soul.

During that first year of trying to have a baby, while we were still in the tropical “paradise” of Okinawa, God laid on my heart an urgency to read the book of Job. Even though I was beginning to realize that there was indeed a problem with my fertility, I really had no idea and I thought we could just get help after the first year and have our baby soon after that. Oh, how little did I know that 5 years later there would still be no cigars, no sweet baby coos, no staring in wonder into the eyes of my baby. No baby.

God knew though. He knew all the different emotions, all the different parts of my heart and soul that would be laid bare under his refining fire. He knew this, and He knew that a lot of it would hurt and that I had to be ready. I had to know that He was God and that I was not. God knew that I was going to have to hold onto this key, foundational Truth in order to submit to Him and let Him fully have His way in me. Even when it felt like “all my dreams” were being taken away.

 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare to Me, if you have and know understanding. Who determined the measures of the earth, if you know? Or who stretched the measuring line upon it?…

…Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, saying, Gird up your loins now like a man; I will demand of you, and you answer Me. Will you also annul (set aside and render void) My judgment? Will you condemn Me [your God], that you may [appear] righteous and justified?

Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His? [Since you question the manner of the Almighty’s rule] deck yourself now with the excellency and dignity [of the Supreme Ruler, and yourself undertake the government of the world if you are so wise], and array yourself with honor and majesty…

…“No one is so fierce [and foolhardy] that he dares to stir up Leviathan;
Who then is he who can stand before Me [or dares to contend with Me, the beast’s creator]? “Who has first given to Me that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine. [Who can have a claim against Me who made the unmastered beast?]

Job 38:1-7, 40:6-10, 41:10-11 AMP

These passages from Job deeply impressed upon my soul. I cannot stand before God. God alone has the power and might to create, to give or to take away. God does not “owe me” anything. Like it says in Job “Who has first given to Me that I should repay him?”-no one. No one has given anything to God so that God owes them. In fact God has richly blessed us, the undeserving, by sending His son while we were still in rebellious hostility toward Him. Even if literally every dream and everything that I love was taken from me I would still have Jesus, and I would still be rich because I am His. He is my Redeemer. Like Boaz who redeemed Ruth out of destitution, shame, and sorrow into wealth, love, and joy. God redeems us out of sin and death into eternal life as His adopted children, purchased by the precious blood of His Son, and that is the only gift that we need.

It was vitally important from the beginning that I set my mind on the task of trusting God. Jesus said His burden is light and His yoke is easy. He desires to clothe us in His righteousness and strengthen us with His joy, but first we must entrust Him with our life and trust Him wherever He leads. To desire nothing-but Christ alone, is to have all that you need. He is more than enough. I remember forcing myself to sing “Enough” by Chris Tomlin after we’d moved to Alaska and began to become more acquainted with the reality of infertility. He is more than enough. With a tightly constricted throat, and tears forcing their way down my cheeks, “All of You is more than enough for all of me / For every thirst and every need / You satisfy me with Your love / And all I have in You is more than enough”.

Sometimes the rocky mountain paths or the dark valleys don’t make sense from our perspective, but we can be like Habakkuk, who after He asked God “why” He resolved:

I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart;
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved.

It’s ok to ask God why, as long as our heart is right. Are we asking Him so He can reprove and correct us, or are we challenging Him? There is a distinct difference.

God wanted me to be in a posture of submission so that He could transform me according to His will, not mine. So that He could bless me with the portion of His presence that is reserved for those that declare, no matter what, that He is all that we need, and that He is more than enough. And, believe me, I needed that presence, because it was Him, my Father, my Anchor, that I was clinging to; hiding in the Cleft of the Rock.

To choose to trust in God and let Him take the lead means being able to abide in His presence. To be blessed with His ever comforting Spirit. He is the Good Shepherd, He does not push us into the valley, He walks ahead of us and protects us. But in order to be satisfied as with the fatness and marrow (Psalm 63:5) of His presence we have to be in close proximity and that means following Him right on His heels. When we enter the valley of the shadow of death we must press in closer ’cause it is harder to see. Maybe the death in that valley means the death of our dreams. But we can trust Him with the thoughts and the plans that He has for us, He Who is the Author and the Perfecter of our Faith.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

 

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.