It wasn’t the first time I’d turned right around and knocked over a bright yellow “slippery floor sign,” and I certainly doubt it would be the last.
Mom, Jimmy, Gracie, and I were in Virginia at one of many stops for gasoline and food. The trip thus far had been an adventure, and it was only the beginning. I’d already learned more about my siblings than I feel like I’ve learned in the last month or so of being home. Apparently, if Jimmy gets married and has a son, he wants to name him Leviathan, and nickname him Levi.
The night before, at our hotel, my siblings and I had gone swimming in the outdoor pool into the late hours of the night, playing a game that resembled sharks & minnows married to Marco Polo. And it was a blast 😀 Our eyes were bloodshot, our lungs were sore, and our limbs were exhausted.
As they sat and read in bed, I wrote a letter to Kat, one of the girls at my school, and told her about how God has been showing me just what it means to love when it’s really, really difficult to love…and I continue to learn. The next morning, I sat at the cherry wood table next to the large window letting in rays of early light, reading God’s word and being reminded of just how able God is to heal bitterness, and sometimes He uses our own bitterness to break us and make us more like Him. Go figure. A taste of my own medicine is still medicine, it’s just the difference between the bubble gum flavored cough syrup and NyQuil, and God as the Great Physician often uses both.
As Gracie, Mom, and I go through Bible Study together, details in the Bible, particularly in the book of Exodus, are standing out and I’ve never seen them before…and it’s amazing 😀 Like, when God brings Moses and the Israelites to Marah, where after three days they’ve found water only to realize that it’s far too bitter to drink, after He makes it sweet, He introduces Himself as their Healer (Exodus 15:26). And after they’ve found this bitter water made sweet, they then discover 12 springs of water surrounded by seventy palm trees, thriving in the wilderness. I can only go to the 12 disciples sending out Living Water to the seventy other disciples later on in the New Testament, and then think about why God so eloquently describes a man who trusts in Him as a tree planted by water in Jeremiah:
“Blessed is the man who tust s in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that send out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and it is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ESV)
This book, this gospel, the gospel, God’s word, the Bible, is amazing 😀
We’ve now been with my grandparents for two days, and I’m being reminded of several things, but one truth stands out: the enemy does not go on vacation.
He uses old tendencies and “old man” thoughts and habits, perceptions and fears to push me back into a hole where I question everything, including my very faith in God, my salvation through Christ, and my identity as a daughter of the Most High King. Something great and powerful must be happening, and God must have something awesome moving, because Satan is fighting and attacking, and his armory is full of guilt, pain, temptation, and fear, and it seems like he’s letting all of it out, and I am taking hit after hit.
“Many, many times I’ve simply come under a cloak of confusion so thick I suddenly find myself wondering why I ever believed in Jesus in the first place. That sweet communion I normally enjoy with God is cut off, gone, vanished like the sun behind a cloud. If you don’t know what’s up you’ll think you really have lost your faith or been abandoned by God or whatever spin the Enemy puts on it. Oswald Chambers warns us, ‘Sometimes there is nothing to obey, the only thing to do is maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, to see that nothing interferes with that.'” —John Eldredge
God is shedding light on strongholds and tendencies that the enemy has been latching onto, strongholds I didn’t even realize were there, lies I wasn’t aware of believing. And the only reasons I can even see them and how they’re affecting things is because I’m facing them head on, asking God to dig them out and defeat them and sift out the things that are getting in the way. It’s been a constant temptation to not read my Bible in the morning, to not prioritize that alone time with Christ, to not tell Him and talk to Him about what’s going on in my heart and head, even though He already knows about all of it. Even praying to Him throughout the day for the people around me, for my family, for Jacob, for the Brocks, for my friends in the City, for my Dad, for help, for anything, has all been under a heavy blanket of something that makes it mighty hard to fight and win and pray and maintain the connection, the line of communication between me and God.
At one point I asked my mom to do something, which was take pictures while all of us went swimming at the public pool, and there was an urgency in me for her to do that, and I couldn’t understand what was going on in my head and heart that made that so important, but it wasn’t from God. The heart intentions and thought process behind what seems like a typical thing to do while on vacation (I won’t explain all of the thoughts and history behind the process) came from a time when I had no interest in Christ, no understanding of what it meant for Him to hold my heart. I then asked mom not to take any pictures, none at all.
This is war, and the enemy fights dirty.
And so our Floridian adventure goes on. Yesterday morning I went for an early run and met the sun rise, finding myself offset and unaccustomed to the thick heat, but still able to run.
For breakfast we maneuvered palm trees and parking lots to reach a place called Poached, where I ventured to have the stuffed pineapple, and it was a boat of the tangy yellow fruit stuffed with honey cranberry chicken salad. And it was delicious 😀 And I genuinely enjoy listening to my grandmother and my grandfathers learning about their lives and spending time with them 🙂
While I’m here, Jacob has arrived back in the states a week early, spending oodles of much needed time with his family 😀 Jacob’s early homecoming, which I did miss, was a joyous situation that I needed to give over to God, because He totally took my plans and replaced them with His own, and I was just along for the ride, choosing between trusting Him with my feelings and with the situation or throwing a tantrum and getting frustrated because things didn’t go the exact way I had planned. When you pray for growth, God does not hesitate to grow you 😛
This morning I sat with a cup of tea, refreshed in God’s word, reminded of just how seriously He takes the battles I face on a regular basis, enough to give me armor, to give me the sword of His word, and to size up for me the enemy, and then prove Himself worthy and more than capable to take him on.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you ah 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 can 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.” (Ephesians 6:10-13)