I spent my weekend in Roanoke with my daughter at The Extraordinary Women’s Conference. What an experience! We laughed and cried, were excited and exhausted, and had such a great time together! The line up of speakers and performers was unbelievable! Tim Hawkins and Mercy Me took the stage Friday night and blew us away! Oh how I love Mercy Me. There music speaks to my heart. Their new song Flawless is just beautiful and so true. If you have not heard it, check it out.
Some of the best moments came when we were engaged and listening to the speakers. Max Lucado discussed Joshua’s victory over Jericho and his deliverance into the Promised Land. Joshua’s priests blew the ram’s horn, before a battle had even begun. I never knew this, but in those days, the blowing of the ram’s horn signified victory AFTER a battle. Yet, God told Joshua to blow the ram’s horn at the start. Do you realize what this means? God won the battle before it even began, he won it for Joshua and he won it for you and me!
What is your Jericho? What has a stronghold on your heart? For me, it is fear and anxiety. I’ve been battling these since my son died in 2006. Every time my husband leaves the house, for work, band practice, Bible study, a bike ride, I fear he will not return to me. Every time I drop my girls off at school, or at a friend’s house, I fear they will not return to me. I know this fear because of the loss of my baby boy. Life was great. We were happy, we had everything going for us, so we thought. One day, out of the blue, my son had cancer. 30 days later he was gone. It was this moment, this turning point, that drew me to God. It was this event in my life that made me realize I knew God as a concept only, not a reality.
Do you view God as a concept or do you have a deep relationship with God and know he is a reality? Kasey Van Norman described this so well at the conference. She said most of us live somewhere in the middle. Before my son got sick, God was definitely a concept to me. He was there, somewhere. When I needed something, I pulled out my God card and said a quick prayer. When life was good, I rarely thought about him. Until my world crashed. Until my security blanket got pulled out from under me. Until I was left with nothing but raw emotion and fear and anger and sorrow. Until I needed God in reality, not in concept.
I began my journey at the lowest point in my life. I had only one place to look and it was up. I started the slow and steady climb to learn more about the God who loves me, to dig deeper into his Word and digest the sacrifice that Jesus made for me. I couldn’t get enough of learning about God. I still can’t. The more I learn, the more I know, the more I realize I have so much to learn and the more I realize I know nothing! God is so immense. He is so AWEsome. He is so complex. How can you learn all there is to know about him? There is always more!
At one point during the conference, Angie Smith shared her story of losing her baby Audrey. Her words resonated with me. Her feelings were my feelings. Her fears were my fears. I felt her pain and my pain all over again. Her loss took her on a journey into Women’s Ministry. It took her on a journey into the spotlight to speak to and write for women all over the world. She is blessed to be able to do this for women. But she herself said, couldn’t God have found another way to move me in this direction? Couldn’t he let me keep my baby? I feel that everyday.
Wasn’t there another way? Maybe and maybe not. 2Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” It is. I can testify to that. In my weakness of being a mother who no longer needed a diaper bag, of being a mother who had no baby to tuck into a crib at night, of being a mother whose arms were empty of the son she loves, God’s strength pulled me through and continues to do so every single day. I know God today in a way I never would have known him otherwise. I wish the events of my life would have unfolded differently, but they didn’t. I don’t know why. But I am blessed by God’s strength. I am blessed to know he will not forsake me.
In my prayers daily, I pray for safety for my husband and my girls. I pray they will come home to me each day whole and healthy. These are good prayers and help me get up, get through my day, and be ok. But…. I am a daughter of the King. I am an heir to his throne. I deserve more than a day of relief from my fear. Why am I not praying for God to take away my fears and anxieties all together? (Because I accepted it. I never thought it was possible!) Why do I settle for less than the power of God?
Today, I will blow my ram’s horn. The battle is won before the fight! God has the power to take your stronghold. I am laying down my fears, my anxieties. I am praying the prayer I should have prayed years ago. Jesus, take my fears. Take my anxieties. Leave me with a peaceful heart and the comfort to know that whatever lies ahead of me and my family, you will be by my side to help us through it. Amen.