Sing: By His Wounds by Mac Powell
Pray: Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire so that I can be more like You; help me, I trust You. Father, open my eyes so that I may see You clearly, open my ears so that I may hear You soundly, open my mind so that I may understand You plainly, open my heart so that I may love you more, open my hands so that I may give generously and receive humbly, in Jesus‘ name, Amen.
Read: 1 Chronicles 12:1 – 15:29
Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said, “We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For God helps you.“ 1 Chronicles 12:18
Last night was a pinnacle day in my life and in my mission. I attended my first Winter Jam concert. I say my first because my husband and I left both proclaiming that we were “TOTALLY COMING BACK NEXT YEAR“! What‘s funny about the whole thing is the fact that we weren‘t planning on going to the concert at all! I had been hearing commercials on KLOVE lately and every time I remember my spirit ears perked up, but I didn‘t pay any attention to the commercials other than the name of the concert and that Skillet was performing. Little did I know what God had planned for me at that concert! Yesterday I was struggling, still, with more Mommy Guilt (ugh!) and it was causing me enough stress that I was really struggling to get anything written. It was horrible, I had a page full of notes and my head full of what I thought God wanted me to include in the post, but I simply could not seem to get it down onto the screen! Lunch time came and since it was the first day of Spring Break I decided that it would be a good day to visit the Kid‘s Lunch Club at our local Methodist Church where it‘s more of a social gathering for the kids than anything else! The kids were thrilled and so was I… all my friends go there too! J While we were there I got to chatting with my friend Mary Lou, who has teenage boys, and she mentioned that Winter Jam was that night. My spirit practically leapt out of my chest! Then she mentioned that it was ten bands for $10 at the door!!! I think my spirit might have actually fainted at that. J Here I was, it was Friday night, my husband and I hadn‘t been out on a date in FOR-EV-ER and a seriously cool night out on the town was only going to cost us $20 + a babysitter!!! SIGN ME UP! So I shot a text off to my hubby “How would you feel about going to see Skillet (one of his favorite bands) at Winter Jam tonight?“
“Ummmm, yeah.“ And it all fell perfectly into place from there! The Wondersitter from God was booked for the evening, cash was withdrawn for the night, Wendy‘s fast food was horked in the car on the way and before we knew it we were there!
I was in total awe of how sitting in a room with 5,000 other Christians worshipping our God and Savior felt! I‘ve never experienced anything like that before. No one judged me or thought me “odd“ for standing up, or raising my hands, or jumping up and down to the music as my heart felt led. No one cared, or probably even noticed as the tears of amazement ran down my cheeks at the thought of all those teens in that room that were giving their lives over to Christ for the first time that night, or the ones who‘s physical lives were being saved as the musicians and MC‘s talked about cutting and drugs and abortion. It was like the Holy Spirit was performing an intervention where no one accused anyone of anything, they were simply told that Jesus loves them – no matter what – over and over and over and over again. We were told about how God loves us and that He is with us through the power of the Holy Spirit and through that same Spirit He helps us get through whatever it is that we‘re going through, no matter how big or small.
Then, when the concert was almost over He turned to me. Jesus Himself came down and sat above the X in the Xfinity sign hanging from the middle of the ceiling in Conseco Fieldhouse and the two of us started having a REAL heart to heart conversation about my guilt issues. He first perked my attention up during a Sanctus Real song where one of the lines is “I‘m a dreamer“, “Yes Lord, I am, thanks for noticing!“
J Then the very next song was Lead Me where it talks about leaving your family behind in the dust while you go out chasing dreams. BOOM! That‘s what I‘ve been battling. This whole idea that by going out and chasing this dream of writing that God placed in my heart, I am somehow leaving my family behind. That by writing and following God‘s lead I‘m ignoring them. And that‘s where the battle front has been! In my gut I KNOW that‘s not what I‘m doing. While I am spending less time on cleaning and cooking, I am spending MUCH more time doing real quality time activities with my family. And yet, when viewed by my own previous standards that I had set for myself as to what a “Good Mom“ did, keeping a spic and span clean house and preparing scratch made meals were two HUGE parts in that ideal I was holding on to. Yet that is NOT what God has called me to at all! God called me to love, not cook! Sure, my love can be shown through a scratch made meal, except, acts of service isn‘t the main Love Language of our family! Quality Time is! The expectations I was holding myself to were WAY higher than anything God was holding me to! Let alone my husband and my children! They all just wanted me to spend some time with them, but instead of doing that I was spending time working for them. The song American Dream by Casting Crowns comes to mind at the moment. In this song it magnifies the American dream to continue on to the bigger better deal and push harder to earn more money so that we can buy more things for our families, when in reality it‘s not more things that our family needs, it‘s us!
My family needs me; a happy fulfilled me. A me where I‘m not stressed over what I‘m not getting done and focusing on the things that really matter the most in life; my God, my family and my relationship with them all. Everything else is simply dust in the wind, and right now it can blow away! Throughout Lead Me I was yet again performing a scan of my heart and my actions questioning if I was really doing the right thing. Here‘s what I came up with:
That morning I woke up at five to spend my quiet time with God by reading His word. My husband awoke at six at which point I moved into the bedroom to snuggle with him and talk to him while the two of us got up and dressed. At seven he left for work and both kids woke up to tell him goodbye, he told them to go back to bed but I said it was OK because I wanted to spend some time with them. After Daddy left, the three of us sat down with some cookbooks to figure out what we wanted to make for breakfast. We picked Monkey Bread because we all could help. So while I made scrambled eggs, my son cut the biscuits, my daughter shook the pieces in a baggie with sugar and cinnamon and then placed them into the pan. By the time we were done and ready to eat it was nine am, the time I normally stop doing housework and start writing. It was at that time my prayer partner called and I asked her to pray for me, I needed wisdom in knowing how to make writing during Spring Break work. The prayer request was no more out of my mouth than the answer was in my heart, why should having two kids at home make it any different than having just the one? So I granted the children‘s plea to watch TV which freed me up to write.
In just a few seconds of evaluating my actions I could see with crystal clear clarity that my priorities were not only straight, they were in God‘s will. So WHY was I continually questioning them??? Because that‘s what the Enemy wanted me to be doing! The more time he kept me in confusion and questioning my actions the more time he was stealing from me and keeping me from using it to do what I‘m REALLY supposed to be doing! Living!!! Living the life that God has for me, a life where I‘m free to be me. Free from social norms and morays, free from even my own preconceived notions of what a “Good Mom“ or a “Writer for God“ is supposed to look like or act. I decided that I was sick of this battle with myself over how I should be living and that I was simply going to trust God and HIS plan for my life; whatever that happened to look like, even if it was contradictory to what everything (or everyone) around me was trying to make me believe.
I had no more made the realization that I WAS in God‘s will and doing precisely what He wanted me to do when the last band of the night came up, Skillet. I only halfway know one of their songs and I could hardly wait to hear it, mostly just because I knew it enough to sing along and dance too. But God had bigger plans for that song than I realized. He has a message in that song that I think we all really need to hear. Awake and Alive
by Skillet (warning, if you‘ve never heard Skillet before, it‘s loud, hard rock, awesome – NOT your typical praise music – that‘s why it‘s awesome)
I’m at war with the world and they
Try to pull me into the dark
I struggle to find my faith
As I’m slippin‘ from your arms
It’s getting harder to stay awake
And my strength is fading fast
You breathe into me at last
I’m awake I’m alive
Now I know what I believe inside
Now it’s my time
I’ll do what I want ‘cause this is my life
here, right now
I’ll stand my ground and never back down
I know what I believe inside
I’m awake and I’m alive
I‘m at war with the world cause I
Ain‘t never gonna sell my soul
I’ve already made up my mind
No matter what I can‘t be bought or sold
When my faith is getting weak
And I feel like giving in
You breathe into me again
Waking up waking up
In the dark
I can feel you in my sleep
In your arms I feel you breathe into me
Forever hold this heart that I will give to you
Forever I will live for you
As Christians we can‘t just sit in a pew every week and let the pastor tell us what he believes or what our denomination believes and leave our faith untested. We have to wash ourselves with water through the Word of God and take our faith into our own hands! We need to know what we believe and why and then take a stand according to our beliefs. Isaiah 7:9 says If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. No truer words can be said here! If you don‘t know what you believe then you don‘t know why you believe it either, and it certainly isn‘t possible to stand up for what you believe if you don‘t know what it is that you believe! Jesus didn‘t die so that we would live our entire lives living according to the rules of men and allowing them to hinder us from fully living out His plan for our lives. His ways are not like our ways; He calls people with speech impediments to be His spokesmen, shepherds to be prophets and fishermen to be His representatives throughout the world. The way that we live out our lives should only be according to Jesus, not the media, our leaders, our neighbors or even our friends and family members. Sure, those things can be taken into consideration, but they are not the end-all-be-all for decision making, GOD IS.