Mountain, MOVE!

“if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)

Today I found a set of tattered sermon notes in my purse and I was reminded that “He is the God over all I know.” The statement I had scrawled on my bulletin came from the popular song by Vertical Worship, and I remember texting it as an encouragement to a friend that same day. I really needed to hear it again today. Thanks, Lord!

You see…there is this thing that has been a thing for way longer than I care to admit. It causes me so much stress that I have simply chosen to avoid it completely…for years.

At work, my staff development team was working on an idea to help employees tackle the stress and we planned to hand out stress balls as a swag item. Squeeeeeze. And the stress melts away. Ha! The funniest part of the plan was that after I ordered them, in the shape of the Rocky Mountains since we are in Colorado, my colleague pointed out that they might imply to staff that their stress is a mountain. Uh oh! Unintended consequence of creativity.

I faced down my very own stress mountain starting today, and it showed me that mustard-seed faith is legit. The THING I tackled is not handled. I took a step, a deep breath. I redeemed a moment. It’s like when you shrug your shoulders, squeezing them up to your ears and then drop them down in a single motion to get a momentary release of strain in your muscles. That was today.

Regardless of how many more steps I have to take or how insurmountable they may seem; I can rest knowing that my God knows. That is the hope we have in Him. He makes it possible for us to overcome.

“He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.” – Psalm 18:33 (New Living Translation) fff

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My Portion

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul. “Therefore I have hope in Him! The Lord is good to those that wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. – Lamentations 3:24-26

I’m feelin’ it. The weight of the world’s groans. Our souls yearn for true, lovely, holy and we are swallowed up in busy, ugly, fake. Being the parent of a middle schooler, the curtain has been drawn back on just how yucky humans can be to each other. There’s a tug-o-war not for win or lose but for right and wrong. A game used to be something you played together at the dinner table every Tuesday with family faces. Now the players are virtual, often strangers, and instead of innocent, competitive banter and laughter echoing through our homes, there’s amped up shouting and name calling, and the counting of kills. I’m sick.

Kids I know hustle for their worth on social media, as if Instagram and SnapChat are a mirror reflection of who they really are…and, filters. They beg the magic mirror to tell them they are the fairest of them all; it’s as wicked as Snow White’s queen. Deep breath, refresh, how many likes do I have….how many hearts…oh, a snarky vomit of comments about how I look, what I should do for them or to them, whether I even have the right to post my face on the space at all. Gross!

When the darkness reigns and my best efforts to parent fail miserably, I shrink into sadness like a spring flower curling inward when the sun retreats and showers fall. Any yet, I know that the Lord desires us to have joy, peace, and hope in Him, even when it’s dark all around us. Even when we can’t keep bad things from happening.   

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

He has overcome the darkness of this world, so I CAN lift up my countenance, unfurling my petals and turning my face toward the Son once again. I CAN fix my mind on my Eternal Hope. I CAN wait quietly for Him. The Lord is my portion. Clinging to this reminder today.

In the Knowing

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony… – Revelation 12:11 (New King James Version)

The words lifted off the page to meet me as I read them, like a mirror image reflecting my face, the scars and the light. The blemishes and the hope.

“An unexpected life as difficult and undone as it might be, could end up becoming the life you’ve been searching for all along.” Michele Cushatt

I was on short hop to Phoenix for work and I couldn’t put the book down despite my lack of sleep the night before. Instead of stealing a two-hour snooze on the plane, I poured over every word of her story and it felt like my story. Unexpected suffering.

Each night when I closed my eyes the week leading up to this trip, I dreamt my three children were standing in the middle of a two-lane highway, straddling solid, bright yellow stripes – a Mack truck heading their way. My mind filled with panic and my heart thumped hard in my chest. And there was nothing I could do – in my dream. And there is nothing I can do in real life. My kids’ dad is not well. Though we are no longer together, his ongoing health issues do and will affect them. And this affects me. I have this compulsive desire to keep bad things from happening – and if I can control good and bad, then I can keep them from suffering, right?! Can I, though?

We all experience heartbreak in our lives and difficulties that threaten to crush us to dust like the elements from which we came. There are days I doubt that what I have done to rise above my circumstances will ever be enough to produce the outcomes I have desperately prayed for in my kids’ lives or in my own. There are days when shots ring out in the halls of our schools or across the thresholds of our synagogues, and we aren’t sure we can go on in this wicked world.

This particular day, as I settled into my aisle seat in coach, I needed a fresh breath of real. A dose of you’re not alone. Michele delivered. Hope is delivered in so many ways – this day it was in the knowing, the belonging created by the words of someone else’s testimony of overcoming.

In this world, we will have difficulties, and as Jesus reminds us in
John 16:33, we can find hope in knowing that He has overcome this world. We have hope in Him – may we remind each other.

For those curious about the book I finished in two, 2-hour flights, check out Undone, A Story of Making Peace in an Unexpected Life.