Stand up, Girl!

I haven’t posted a blog in a while because I realized that my posts were singing the same song.  I didn’t want to come across whiny, complaining, stuck in the past, etc.  I wanted to wait to write after I felt I’d come to a place in the river where my head was above water. So, I’ve been praying and asking God to do a work in my heart as only He can do.

Then at some point, joy began to creep in where grief and discontentment lived.  Gratefulness ushered in joy.  Why? I’d been praying for it for many months.  Why now?  Cooler weather bringing relief from the heat?  Homeschool days getting into a good rhythm?  JoJo becoming better behaved in church?

Nope.  I had to emotionally slap myself in the face and CHOOSE joy cuz my circumstances weren’t offering it.  I had to call sin, SIN. 

I was treating God like the enemy because He wasn’t doing what I wanted.  I was punishing Him (as if that were even possible).  I was withholding praise and gratefulness trying to just ”push” through this rough patch and come out stronger on the other side.  Just endure long enough and things will turn around!  Surely God will reward my own strength masked as faithfulness by giving me the desires of my heart, right?!

I couldn’t stand the inner turmoil anymore.  The bottom line:  I was trying to fight the enemy with my bare hands.  Funny thing is…it wasn’t the armor that was weighing me down…it was the what-ifs, the unknowns, the uncertain future.  I wasn’t trusting.

While washing dishes one night, I told God, “My spiritual strength is tapped out.  Even my physical strength is at an all-time low.  I don’t think I can even stand on my own two feet anymore.  I’m exhausted.”

That’s when His still, small voice brought back the passage in Ephesians and whispered, “Just stand.”

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  

~Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV)

Standing is hard people! I’d much rather run…even if my lower back is aching…even if my knees are stiff and swollen, again.  Hurry up and stand!  Blah!  Boring!  I need to DO SOMETHING!

That’s when I began to realize that standing IS an action verb after all.  There is action involved in standing.  Preparedness.  Alertness.  Readiness.  Attentiveness.  Focus.  There seems to be a paradox here.  Don’t I need to be moving forward…towards a goal?

Standing feels like the opposite of progress.  However, at this point in my ministry, standing = obedience.

I have decided to stand up and choose JOY in the midst of the battle.  I stand firm on God’s character, armed to the hilt with His Word that never changes.  I stand tall and face my fears, my doubts, and my worries.  I stop craning my neck to try and see around the next curve in the road.  I’m choosing not to live in the past nor the future.  I won’t have one foot in the present and one in the past or future.  God clearly spoke to my heart about trying to make this unknown future of ours LOOK LIKE THE PAST.

My God doesn’t do imitations!  

My attitude towards the past, present and future impacts everyone around me.  How can I pick up those around me when I’m tripping over my own trust issues?  How can I encourage fellow believers to leave it all in His hands when I keep checking up on God’s progress?  I can’t.

When all I feel like doing is crumbling into a heap on the floor, exhausted from trying to figure everything out on my own, I lift my head and take a stand of humility before an all-knowing, all-seeing God who is GOOD.

He’s not just good when I’ve got it all together and feel I deserve His goodness as if it were some kind of pat on the back.  He’s good even when my knees feel like they’re about to buckle under the weight of what-ifs and unknowns that threaten to paralyze my spiritual growth.  He’s good, even when I’m walking away.

Why?  Because HE.IS.GOOD.  End of story.

If He’s always good, He’s always good to His children.  He always has our best interest in mind regardless of what our present situation is screaming.  And to top it all off, He promises to be by our side through it all!  No take-backs!

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Joshua 1:5

Sure, these are truths I’ve always known, but recently I’ve been hit with the reality that my knowledge isn’t translating into attitudes that can be seen in my actions.  OUCH! 

My armor may have taken a beating.  It may have lost its shine.  It’s felt very heavy and cumbersome lately.  But today, joy has flooded in and cemented a foundation built upon God’s infallible word and His unchanging character.  Today marks a day where I choose an attitude of joy that can be visibly seen in my stance.

Does this mean that I won’t ever need this reminder again?  Not at all.  But this marks a day where I can look back and rest assured that God still speaks.  He is a personal God.  I lay this digital, Ebenezer as a milestone on my faith journey that will propel me forward into battle.

 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:11

This is a song by Susan Ashton spoke to me WAY back in 2001.  Its truth still rings true today.  I’d like to think it’s a lesson I’ll eventually learn…but what I know is that I have a loving, Heavenly Father who doesn’t get tired of teaching me.  I hope this song speaks to you as much as it did to me!  STAND!