First of all, I am not a good singer. In fact, when the kids were small and I would sing to them, I would often get a sweet, little serious face telling me, “No, Mommy. Stop.” Maybe it’s my ability to turn anything in life into an 80’s song, or maybe I’m just that bad? Maybe both. However, I continue to sing and I think you should too!
Praise is a powerful weapon of warfare! When things seem the darkest and feel the hardest, we should sing the loudest.
This time last year Chuck and I were learning to walk in the dark. God was moving in a great way in our life, but it didn’t look like we thought it would. Never in a million years did we think we would be navigating court systems, having a bail bondsman as a contact in our phone, making trip after trip across the country for court appearances and waiting for what would come of this journey. As parents…It. Was. Terrifying.
Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust int he name of the Lord and rely on his God. (Isaiah 50:10)
Three years prior, as we navigated some pretty tough parenting days, God continued to speak Isaiah 55:8 to me. For His thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are my ways His Ways. He was preparing me, teaching me that the way I think things should go, and His way of working things out, are two totally different things! So I paid attention. This verse became part of my heart and soul.
I keep squirreling here. There is so much I want to tell you, and I will, but it’s going to take some time. Also, I want to share honestly with you about the good and the bad. If you know me, you know I am very open and honest, maybe on the verge of sharing too much at times. But I want to be sure to share our story, and not our son’s. One day I believe he will share his own story, and it’s gonna be great! We stand on the promises of God!
I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. (Isaiah 49:25b NIV)
A lot of people are very private. I am not one of those and there is a reason. God doesn’t want us to hide in shame and fear. He wants us to invite the right people into our hard places so that we are not overcome and alone. The “right people” is the key here. When your life is shaken to the core, as many people know, you need solid, loving, prayer warriors by your side. People who speak life and believe God can deliver you and that He will. These people have been the greatest blessing to our life over the past year. I would not change a thing in our life because of what we have learned from the beautiful body of Christ stepping in…loving us, praying for us and meeting our needs. We would have been overcome by our circumstances and the strain it put on us if these godly people had not come along beside us…loved us, accepted us, prayed for us, and met our needs! What a joy it’s been to share the journey. We discovered the great blessing in this – in spite of life falling apart…we chose not to hide in privacy and shame, but instead, share with those who reached out to us. For those who were brave enough to reach out, even in the smallest way and just let us know that you loved us and were praying for us……we will NEVER forget your kindness. The kindness of God gave us committed believers to walk beside us when life was hardest.
For those of you who have trusted Chuck and I with your hard places…..thank you for being real! You are my people. It is a joy to walk with you and pray for you! We love you deeply.
Now back to singing!
Some days were really dark. We moved a son to college as we took off on a flight to the land of mountains and another court appearance. We had a son just starting high school. These were supposed to be good days in a new season. But it just felt heavy, dark and scary. Yet, there was good all around us. And God would whisper, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.”
The kingdom of God is full of paradox and I’ve always been intrigued by that. The way up is down. To live is to die. The first will be last.
So when things seemed the hardest and darkest, God taught me to sing. I have an old hymn book that lies open in my house. Many times as I sit down to spend time with God, I grab that old book and sing a song, (quietly). Praise is a powerful weapon of warfare. Don’t forget that. When you least feel like singing, is when you most need to do it!
This time last year I was fighting to breathe. The strain we were under felt like I might not make it…..darkness was caving in. Well, you know I had to talk to myself about the way I was thinking. Yes, we were facing huge issues, pretty impossible circumstances and debt was mounting up daily. Where did my security lie? In what and in whom would I choose to trust? How would I respond to the mountains before me? In the midst of chaos, fear and uncertainty I chose to go back to what God had told me in His word. This is where learning to apply God’s word to your life matters. There is difference in knowing and applying, just as there is difference in hearing and doing. The trials of life are where the rubber meets the road.
While in the mountain country last year, awaiting the first court appearance I wrote these words:
“What if this – the worst thing to happen to our family, turns out to be the best thing to ever happen to us? What if we are ALL changed, transformed and set on fire for Christ? What if seeing the glory of God revealed in our place of pain leads others to repentance and salvation? What if God shows us who He is and we come to understand better His power and provision for those who love Him? What if we are set free from fear through this trial? What if we learn to truly surrender all? What if this bad thing turns out for good in more ways than we can ever imagine? We believe God to do what only He can do. We believe we will see the glory of God. We will not be overcome but will overcome by the blood of Jesus. What if it cost us? I don’t know and I have been terrified to think what it may cost us. Still I WILL worship and praise God where we are!”
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7)
And today, over a year after writing that, we can testify to the faithfulness of God! We have not been overcome. We are still in the middle. There is no pretty bow and wrapping on the struggles of life, but we have learned to trust His ways and we continue to sing of the goodness of God!
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever. (Isaiah 55:11-13 NIV) Monica and Chuck