This past weekend in Lubbock with the Barnard fam was SO fun, but to be honest, more than half of the time I was being weighed down by a load of insecurity, fear, doubt. I kept looking ahead at this next season and feeling completely and utterly inadequate. Frustrated that I couldn’t FEEL as confident as I want to. You know what I’m talking about? It was a battle of a couple of days, and then I finally, really experienced some freedom on Tuesday… through the wise words and tender heart of my husband, and through the Lord speaking in the ordinariness of that day. My heart is just so encouraged looking back at this weekend. As simple as it sounds, walking through those moments/days/weeks with Him, and witnessing His patience and faithfulness towards you in it is staggering. Life changing. Love-causing.
Remember how I was sharing how clearly the Lord spoke to me last week about consistency and discipline? (See: “Square One”.) Ever since then, there’s been something different. The attitude of my heart has changed. And I know it isn’t my efforts doing it. It’s very tangibly not of me… I think some words that keep coming to my mind are:
HUMILITY. CONSISTENCY. EXPECTANCY.
I was sharing with my DEAR friend Kari the other day on Skype that “humility” was something the Lord so clearly spoke to me at the beginning of this year. That word has already marked these past five+ months, and I’m sure will be carved in even deeper in the next seven. Lots of correction, lots of being confronted with the things in me that offend Him. Lots of my mind being changed, and my heart following.
Consistency — I’ve already kinda shared with y’all what He’s speaking in that. I avoid the mundane, and in so doing, miss out on the extraordinary that He has for me. I’m praying for His help in it… to keep coming and digging and seeking, even when I would rather do a thousand other things more.
But expectancy… that word has been like a flashing neon sign in my heart the last few days.
For example: Shane got the stomach bug Tuesday night, which was so sad. I think the only thing worse than being sick like that is having to watch your spouse be sick like that and not being able to do anything about it. At around 2:30am that night, after multiple times of getting sick, we sat up in bed and prayed for relief for him. Do you know how often I pray for healing with expectancy? Uhh… not often. I was struck by the words of our missions pastor at church a couple weeks ago when she reminded us that He is our HEALER… and then we had a time of praying for healing for people. I’m sure we all have the same reasons for hesitancy to that. We don’t want to be weird. We don’t want to pray for something and then it not happen. And, even in the heart-motives, we don’t want to lift up physical well-being and make an idol out of it (which I can so easily do). But… does that negate the fact that He is our Healer? Shane still felt pretty bad last night, and while we were praying for other things together, we prayed for healing for him. He woke up this morning, still had a sour stomach, and we’re still praying. With expectancy.
We have some new friends in our life that we aren’t sure know Jesus. All the circumstances surrounding them, their familiarity with “churchy” things, and countless other reasons pile up to make it seem pretty much impossible. IMPOSSIBLE. I could share more, but I’ll just leave it at that. So, what do we do? We pray with EXPECTANCY to God, to whom salvation belongs. In a second, He can open their eyes, soften their hearts, draw them to Himself through His Son. It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re praying, knowing that it can.
This morning, in my journal, these were the things I felt led to write down, stare at, and remember that He is completely able in:
In the impossible. In the tragic. In the unknown. In the hopeless places and moments. In helpless feelings.
He is ABLE! HE IS ABLE!
So… why do I drag my feet in bringing those things to Him?
When I read these verses today, I felt them pointed directly at me:
“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.” [psalm 146:7,8]
Read those out loud. He DOES those things. He does the impossible! He sets the prisoners free— read Acts 12, the account of Peter being busted out of jail in the middle of the night by an angel. It was so impossible that he thought he was dreaming. He opens the eyes of the blind— after 65 years of life, Shane witnessed his dad’s gruff, self-made-man, burnt by the church heart be completely changed by the blood of Jesus. If you ever get the chance to ask him about it, or hear him talk about it, it was impossible. He lifts up those who are bowed down— my sister Kate has just walked through the hardest three years of her life. I have first hand seen the Lord be a Husband to her… a Provider. A father to her son, Cohen. He painted the picture in Hosea 2:14 in her life: “I will bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her,” – and it is a beautiful thing to behold.
He loves the righteous. If you’ve been around the church at all, you’ve probably heard that famous verse,
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” [james 5:16]
I have read and heard that verse so many times and felt SO disqualified. Righteous? Me? James must have been talking about someone who prays five hours a day, or is living on the mission field in Africa, or volunteers all their free time to a homeless shelter. Surely. But I forget the Gospel! Is THAT what makes a man or woman righteous before God?
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known…
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” [romans 3:21,22]
We are righteous because of Jesus, and therefore, (try and hear this with new ears today, friend) He loves us … AND, our prayers before Him are powerful and effective.
That… is… HUGE. If that doesn’t create God-glorifying expectancy in your heart as you steal away for time with Him today, I don’t know what will.