Who has your back? If you don’t know, maybe it’s time to adjust your focus…

My son has quite the challenges.  In his worst he was not verbal.  But just because he was not verbal it did not mean that he was not expressive.  In fact he was very expressive and always had a way to make his point.  But you had to pay attention.  You had to take the time to get to know him.  One of our challenges was of course daycare and school.  He was often misunderstood, as most highly functioning autistic children are.  At times he would give up.  It was a considerable amount of work for him to try to communicate the most simplest of needs.  I remember when he was in the midst of one of his most frustrating points in dealing with a particular teacher, I told him don’t stop.  Don’t give up.  I told him that no matter what I had his back.  That I understood exactly what was going on.  I encouraged him to move forward, have no fear.  I have told him many times…”Don’t worry son, I have your back.”  It was really neat to see how this gave him confidence.

Lately I have been dealing with more then my share of struggles.  I know how important it is to have a network and have prided myself on my ability to be connected.  Networked, if you will.  But I have not been so lately.  I have been very much on my own.  Feeling very alone.  I could hear God telling me “I got your back, keep going…”  But I let myself become polarized, held in the grip of stress, separation, and finally depression began to knock on my heart and in my head.

I did not see anything that told me that He had my back.  But I wasn’t looking in the right places.  Sometimes God will use circumstances not to bring friends together, Not for a church body to come together and do their good work for the month.  But to bring those out on the fringes in to work together.

I have found literally the best of love, the best of genuine care come literally out of the wood work.  God has used these circumstances to connect me to others.  He is building a new bridge, a new path right before me.  But I could not see it.  I was too set on looking on what I already knew, not for the new.  After all I had my map…I just wasn’t willing to zoom out and see the bigger picture.  I wasn’t willing to refocus to the new direction that lay before me.

I just have to remember that my plans are not necessarily those of the Lord.  Rather then zoom in on the problems before me…I need to zoom out and be open to a direction or option not considered before. The option of not doing so was to remain lost, or refocus and regain that purpose, my direction, that I had lost.

Today I am thankful for the people God had brought in out of the fringes and into focus.  God has my back and I am back on His path, with His purpose.  I am very thankful for how He looks out for me and my family.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Silence can be golden, If you let it…..

It’s been quite sometime since I have been able to be quiet and “connect”, if you will.  “Life” had me in it’s grips.  A new marriage, a blended family, health issues for one child, financial pressures, a new job…the list could be endless, and the pressure was insurmountable.  I had kept most of this to myself.  After all, I was not looking for a pity party.  So I remained silent.  But I was going without encouragement.  I was going without being refreshed.  I was fighting a battle fit for an army, but waging on as a lone ranger.

I found my attitude absolutely in the toilet, and it had a death grip on my hope.  I could not find any good in anything in anyway.  That can be quite a dark place to be.  I prayed for light.  Suddenly it occurred to me I had been in this place one time before.  True to me being be me, I had written about it.  I reread my post, How I Almost Allowed My Hope to be Murdered.  Only this time I didn’t break up with anyone, just the opposite.  No one “person” had done anything.  This was spiritual.  I was in the midst of total spiritual warfare.  The enemy was taking advantage of my stress, my being splintered from fellowship — my silence.  I was really taking a beating.
So, deep breath…I know what to do.  Pray, read, meditate, pray, and then write if lead to do so.  It was during my reading that a second realization occurred to me.  First let me explain I tend to read back to front.  Drives some people crazy!  But in this case it was very important as to what the Lord wanted to convey to me.  So I get to Romans 5:5

This HOPE will not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (caps mine) HCSB

I did not have this hope.  So as I read, in my normal fashion — backwards — I found myself, if you can picture blindly holding a rope in the dark feeling my way back to the beginning (Ro 5:3-5). Hope comes from proven character, proven character comes from endurance, endurance results from affliction.  But the seed is rejoicing in the midst of these afflictions.

…but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.  This hope will not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts though the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

I need to rejoice in order to get my hope back.  I so did not feel like rejoicing.  I was living with a scowl on my face and in my heart.  But I knew this is what I had to do.  So while this silence was a product of being in a very dark place it became golden and it a blessing, I will be silent no more!!  I have made a promise to rejoice and find a blessing each day to rejoice about.  I will post each blessing each morning until Christmas morning.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God:  Those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

This is my first blessing that the Lord lead me to see that this darkness could leave, and will leave.  That no person, circumstance, or spirit can take my hope, my purpose found in the Lord whom I love.  I am truly living the promise of Romans 8:28.

There is good in ALL the junk that happens!

Once again I find myself getting under someone’s skin, somewhere.  My most recent statement I made that got me in a bit of hot water, was something I said to a Christian.  I wish I would learn that counseling a Christian about anything that contradicts their idea of God, or God’s will, or God’s love, or anything God requires and instant and very matter of fact refute.

Recently a fellow sister in Christ had some difficulties at her work.  She just could not understand why any of the changes at her job were happening.  Boy, was she ready for a fight.  The changes that were occurring meant a demotion for her.  In her defense it did sound very unjustified.  My response was, maybe God just wants you in a different place, maybe there is something happening you do not have knowledge of and this is a good thing.  Oh my gosh!  She glared at me, “There is no good in this at all!”  At that point and time she shut down and shut me out.

I silently spoke to the Lord, “Um, I guess maybe I was just to listen?”  But I honestly did feel from the Spirit what I had verbally expressed to her.  God was so ready to make this a blessing.  I just knew it.  In hind sight, I don’t believe it was the message that was in err, it just was my timing.

One of my all time favorite promises is Romans 8:28 ~~ ALL things work towards good for those who love the Lord.  This woman’s love for the Lord is compared by only a few.

God knew this was going to happen.  He allowed it.  This statement has also got me in hot water.  Yes, God does allow bad things (sometimes very bad things) to happen.  Believers at times state the reason for bad things happening to other fellow believers is because of God’s promise to not interfere with man’s free will.  Well, that is only part of the answer.  Another common answer is to blame the trial on spiritual warfare. He is not bound by man’s fee will.  If that was true then He would not be sovereign.  Nor, is He bound by the thwarts of the enemy.  He is God!  He is the Creator of man and all principalities.  There is a ImageDivine Design so far more complicated we can not even begin to fathom it’s depths.  So that means God knows what is about to happen to anyone of us.  At that moment He can allow, delay, or protect. I have found that this is quite the bitter pill to swallow for most believers. Maybe it’s because I have lived a life filled and riddled with tribulation as a believer that it just seems completely reasonable and true.  However if bad things happen and we live a life for Him, we can rest in the confidence that He will make it work to good.  That it will be okay, no matter what.

JAMES 1:2  “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faithproduces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. 12  Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  18  Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

For help with further understanding, one might want to read on Free Will vs. Predestination.  Here is a great article that simplifies this age long debate:  http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-does-the-bible-teach-about-free-will-and-predestination/

For further reading regarding understanding God’s Will:  http://bible.org/question/can-you-help-me-understand-gods-perfect-will-versus-his-permissive-will