I sink my heels in and move the dirt back and forth.
I press the weight into each foot as I slowly grind my feet back and forth.
The waters have come–there’s no doubting from where–and while I’m tempted to cover my eyes and scream, “Just tell me when it is over!” or run and find a place to sleep until it passes–there’s something in me that just says, “STAND.”
So I will.
I can feel the dirt on both sides of my feet…and I call out to my Creator.
You have this, Lord.
You have had it from the beginning. When I became Yours–You lifted the yoke–and it freed me to stand.
Now I stand firm.
And I will not be moved.
We often talk of heaven. We often talk of God. We often talk of His strength–and His goodness–and how He always makes a way. And He does. Because that is my King.
But just as my Creator, my King, my Savior–just as my Lord is real–so is the enemy. Oh wait? I think someone just decided to stop reading. Andrea’s starting to talk about crazy stuff. Let’s not talk about that. But the truth is–there is an enemy–and he is just as real. And there is a constant battle that the eyes can’t see. And if you don’t constantly feel it–then you actually have more at risk than you might think.
Epheisians 6:11-13, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Saturday–I was sitting watching my oldest son play basketball. It’s not a good season folks. Their defense…well–it stinks. I know nothing about basketball, but if you aren’t guarding your man when it’s your turn to defend…he scores. And if defends well–well…you don’t score. I don’t get all the rules of the game, but I get that. And worse than that–if you sit the bench…you aren’t a threat…and no one on the other team has to guard you at all.
There’s only one worse position to play when you team’s not playing well–and it’s the bench.
As believers who are saying yes to the calls of Christ–you will probably consistently feel the battle. While we want to just dribble in our driveway and play Horse by ourselves, that won’t be the game as one of His you are called to play. The heat will be brought on. You’ll be knocked down. You have to know the one playing against you is real–and today–I’m standing firm. I’m talking smack. This game is on.
Every year it seems we are called to crazy things by the Lord.
Our work in Africa through Wiphan has been full of trials–yet He is going to win this. It hasn’t been without tears…a teacher gone bad, a director gone mad, and the one fighting with us–my husband held him during his last days and picked out his casket with his wife as we watched and wondered and asked why together. Yet–450 orphans and 150 widows…still there…still learning about Christ…still worth the fight. We will not be moved.
May 2011–feeling the Lord calling our family to adoption again–we stepped out in faith…jumped through every hoop…and on the final step waiting on our home study discovered my fatigue was due to a stinkin’ tick that had bit me in my driveway a year earlier. Adoption on hold…but the smack talk and the trust in God’s plan…oh this game stayed on although to many it looked like a rough game…as I lost my sight in one eye and my joints felt like I was 90. Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.” My body is healed. My vision is 20/15–better than perfect–and we are bringing home a most precious little boy from China with epilepsy who has waited much to long for a family.
But it’s game time…and I’m in–and I’m not alone. I have the Lord fighting for me–a heavenly host of angels protecting me–the truth showered over me.
Three and a half years ago, I felt the Lord speak to my heart and tell me to step out in faith and prepare a place of rest for moms trusting Him in the journey of adoption, foster care and orphan care. All 3 different things, but at the heart of all 3—His precious children that needed to know His love and care. Jesus has a special place in His heart for children–He says so in His Word. You start caring for these…you go from little league to the MBA baby. And it’s ON.
Last year I felt it. At the Created for Care retreat that I thought would minister to 25 moms–now ministers to almost 1,000 every year–all through His power, His strength and His purpose–I felt it. Between sessions I ran back to my room as I was the sickest I’ve ever been with my body fighting Lymes. Several of those that serve with me gave me the okay and grace to just leave…sit this game out–but I recognized what the real battle was…and although some times we ARE called to rest…I knew this one was to be fought through. After the retreat, although still battling Lyme–we felt the Lord call us to host. Say YES to more God? Did you see that we had to hire help because the weight of my toddlers is too heavy for my defeated, weakened joints? And over and over, my husband and I both heard in our hearts, TRUST ME. I HAVE THIS. We signed up to host a precious child about to age out of the Ukrainian orphanage system–and just days before her arrival–I was completely and miraculously HEALED. Yep–I even signed up to run a 5K. (Don’t kid yourself–I didn’t really run it…I’m not a runner. But that’s how good I felt and still do!). The tests were clear. And I was given more than enough energy to rock it out and add another one that needed 10 times as much attention as my 4 littles did. All supplied by Him–for the game He was calling me to.
The battle was real–and it always is.
And here it is again.
Just 10 days before another retreat.
My family all got the flu during the entire holidays when I normally get everything done. After we came up for air and I was ready to get my planning on–our doctor found spirochetes (the Lyme bacteria) in my 4 year old. Low blow dude. Don’t mess with my kids. The enemy knows where to strike at game time. Same week–someone took a large sum of money from our family. Same time–All the rental costs went up for the retreats making us about 5k under–times 2 for 2 retreats…leaving this momma to hear, “Are you a moron Andrea?” but really–it’s just ON. The battle is real. We have seen the Lord work greatly every retreat…and our man-to-man defender doesn’t like it.
Because let me tell you–the Lord does GREAT things at these retreats. Every year we start out about this much UNDER. We know we could charge more and have the ladies pay for it–but we feel we want to keep the cost lower to make it easier for them to come. To rest. And to ease their path to come. We play this part of the game differently–just because we feel called to. He always get it. He always covers it. And we just play hard–selling products, negotiating prices, thanking volunteers, partnering with others to play big/play hard with us, and watching Him do wonders!
An email from a husband saying his family is now different–his wife has the energy to pour pack in…and she is loving her children in a new way. He just emailed to let us know something changed–and his family’s life is changed. Another email from a mom telling us the first time she ever heard worship music was at Created for Care–and now she starts her morning with her children “getting their worship on” and she is now teaching her children about Christ and experiencing a new relationship with Him that she never knew could be so deep and real or possible. A note from mom who wanted to give up–who couldn’t connect with her children who said they didn’t want her for a mom and they wanted their ‘real’ mom even though she was behind bars–determined to love and love and love some more…because the love from Him will cover all things. And she knows it won’t be easy, but she’s loving differently–and she can tell they see it, feel it and are responding to it.
Oh yes. The enemy wants us to sit the bench…but the Lord is saying, “STAY IN THE GAME. I GOT THIS. And not that you want to know the end before the beginning–but you are on My team. And guess what? I win.”
Oh yes. I’m lacing up some ugly black and red high tops. (Man–do they make some ugly basketball shoes!) But I’m lacing up–and I’m lacing them tight. I’m moving my weight back and forth. I’m ready. And I’m standing firm. I know the rules. I’m passing hard and fast. Oh yes–my gear is on. From head to toe. I’m in this game. And I won’t be moved.
My son might take a hit–but he will be healed. We might take a financial loss–but my God in some way will restore. We might get sick–but He will use it for His good purpose. One adoption might be put on hold–but it will be for His goodness and for His glory–and I will fly home soon with my son. The enemy will try to bring on fear–but I have nothing to fear.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
There’s room on this team.
Always room on His team.
And the bench–it’s safe. But it’s the last place you want to be.
Oh yes–and Aslan…that Coach…our King, our Father, our Redeemer…is HE safe? Heck no. His plays are outright radical and crazy and they’ll make you scratch your head wondering if you should sit this one out. You’ll hear the whispers that there’s just no way. You’ll be faked, tricked and fouled left and right. His game isn’t ever safe. But He and His plans and His purposes–oh…they are good.
He will fight for you. He will go before you. Whatever you are facing–as you get in the game…know that He’s got this. You are just called to sink your feet in, trust in God, and stand firm.
my salvation comes from Him.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from Him.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our refuge.
Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.
One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”
Trust in Him. He has got whatever is before you! Follow Him–and know He always, always, always goes before you.
Your sister in Christ,