A Bath and a Phone

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Cast all your anxiety on him, for he cares for you.~ 1 Peter 5:7

She screamed and tried to get out of the tub.  Terrified, she looked at me and pointed up at the shower head.

“Camera?”  She asked through fits of tears, as if she thought someone was looking in on her in the bathtub!

“No, no, baby girl, it’s not a camera!  It’s a shower head.” I took her sopping wet little body and wrapped her in a towel.  “It’s okay baby girl.  You don’t have to be scared.”

She hugged me and looked up at it again.  I tried to put her back into the tub, only for her to reciprocate screams of terror.  She again pointed up at the shower head, this time cried “shower head” and buried her face in my shoulder.

I leaned over, drained the tub and again wrapped her in the towel.  “It’s okay Maya,” I said, drying her off.  “It’s just the shower head.  It’s how mama takes her shower.  It’s not scary.”  I partially blame her baby monitor; ever since she realized a camera is watching her in her crib she asks me if a lot of things are cameras!

The next day, we were in the kitchen making dinner.  I was chopping vegetables and she was standing on the stool at the kitchen island playing with toys when suddenly the phone rang.

Maya shrieked and buried her head down, screaming “phone!”  She looked utterly frightened, even though the phone rings all the time and she knew exactly what it was.  I pulled her up, giving her a hug and rubbing her back, assuring her it was fine and it was just Daddy calling.  She quieted and began talking to her daddy, as I wondered what the HECK was going on!  Why my anxious baby?!

The bath was good for her, and normally she loved the water, but now she was scared to the point of jumping out of the tub!

The phone was a normal volume and a familiar sound, yet she was so caught off guard by the noise she was scared silly!

And then I wondered how many times has God looked at me and thought…  What the HECK Rachel!  I’ve got this!  It’s just a bath, it’s just the phone!  Don’t you trust me?!  Don’t you know I care for you, I provide for you, I LOVE you?!  These things are part of my design, part of your story– and I orchestrate all things to work for good.  Trust me, daughter. I’ve got this.

And yet I worry, worry, worry.

Sure, many of the things I worry about are legitimate concerns.  Bills, safety, health, schedules, travel, etc…  But legitimate concern and worry are completely two different things, right?  Worry, by Webster’s definition, is to “give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.”  Oh if I could only focus my worry on my GOD!

Parenting has taught me so much about God and how He loves.  To know that He loves my daughter even more than I do is a very comforting thought, because it’s insane how much I love her.  How could he possibly love her any more?!  To know He loves me in the same way completely blows my mind!  To know He disciplines those He loves just like I discipline my little girl– and to understand that He allows me to experience things like a bath and a phone (whatever they may be for us) because it’s really all His and is for Him anyway brings me peace.

So if you, like me, lean towards worrying and anxiety over trust and refuge in the Lord, let’s take a moment.  Let’s turn to His word and stand firm in His promise of provision, rescue and deliverance.  Let’s rest in it’s truth, letting it sink into our soul!  May we realize in the scheme of heaven, our worries are purely a bath and a phone.

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” ~Isaiah 35:4 ESV

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day” ~Psalm 91:1-5 ESV

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. ~Psalm 56:3 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

I am happy to report that at the time of this post, Maya no longer freaks out in the bath or when the phone rings.  Oh the life of a toddler, ever changing, ever growing!  May He continue to teach me life lessons through parenting my sweet little girl. 

Rachel Signature

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THAT Gap

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To you, weary soul.

You know THAT gap.

So deep, so wide, so long, so high. THAT gap.

The one that is so far it seems it is an ocean ready to swallow you up.

THAT gap, the one between the broken pieces and the time it will take to put it back together– a gap you just don’t have the hours and minutes to fill.

The distance between brokenness and reconciliation or forgiveness, THAT gap that’s just too far for you to make it.

THAT gap– the one facing you in the quietness of your morning shower that sends tears streaming down with the hot beads of water… THAT gap that you just can’t seem to get across.

THAT gap, the one that shames you and sends you spiraling downwards into a mess of self loathing and pity and depression, the one that’s just too hard to climb over.

THAT gap between what you want and where you are and everything in between, the one that’s insurmountable.

THAT gap among you and those you love, the one that gets filled and then cracks and then fills again only to crack all over again.

THAT gap, the annoying little wiggle that keeps you from reaching your goal or keeping your promise. THAT one. You know the one.

You know THAT gap.

We all have a gap. We know our gap. THAT gap that keeps us up at night and threatens to steal our joy.

Oh friends… May we learn to let HIM fill THAT gap.

When the Israelites were faced with THAT gap– the Red Sea– He filled the space. He made dry land for them to walk on and He marched right through THAT gap (Exodus 14).

When faced with five thousand hungry people, THAT gap between five loaves with two fish and enough to fill those hungry bellies– it was literally placed in His hands. He gave thanks, then filled THAT gap and then some (John 6).

When Joshua stood looking out at the battle ahead, the sunset in the near future threatening to halt the Lord’s victory, THAT gap seemed impossible. Time gaps always are. Yet God made the sun stand still until the battle could be won and He completely destroyed THAT gap (Joshua 10).

When Jesus walked on water He owned THAT gap between the land and the boat. He simply put himself in THAT gap. Done. Won. (John 6)

And the greatest gap- our own gaps- especially the ones that keep us from experiencing his glory- how marvelous it is that He fills the gap for us and takes our place. He replaces every mistake. He restores and refreshes our weary souls. He welcomes where rejection has preceded.

He fills THAT gap.

No matter how deep, how wide, how long, how high THAT gap is, His power and glory are greater still.

May we let him stand in THAT gap today and always.

Praying this today from sunny Florida where my family is soaking in the vitamin D. Tomorrow we are back to the snow! Thank you so much for reading! ~Rachel

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This Weary Heart Of Mine

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This Valentines Day, I watched while you indulged in gourmet chocolates from a tulle wrapped box, and how surprised you were when a beautiful bouquet was awaiting you on the counter… I saw the sweet valentines that are still covering your refrigerator, and the dishes you ordered from your favorite restaurant…

But that’s not what Valentines Day had in store for me this year…

My Valentines day left me blind-sighted and broken-hearted.

BUT before you decide not to read another word of my sob story, and before you come to your senses and realize your time could be better spent reading someone else’s (far more eloquent) words… I wanted to share with you something God brought to light about this weary heart of mine.

It started when I awoke to hear my daughter whimpering in her bed. When like any parent, I instinctively made my way to her side only to find that her sheets were sopping wet around her. Still groggy and disoriented, I can remember sweeping her up in my arms and making my way to the bathroom to get her cleaned up.

Moments later, after her cries had settled and her flailing limbs were wrapped in the warmth of a towel, I held her close and whispered the sincerest apology – knowing full well that both of us were opposed to baths before sunrise, and before the coffee had been brewed!

It was around that time that I fully expected my usually rambunctious toddler, to break from my arms – NAKED and running towards the living room squealing in delight at the thought of her triumphant escape!

… But she didn’t. Willingly she would stay, wrapped in my arms, the weight of her head resting deliberately on my chest.

Alarmed, I held my palm to her forehead checking for a temperature… she never flinch.

When it became apparent what she was doing the tears instantly welled in my eyes! My precious little girl was listening attentively to the sound of my heartbeat! Likely for the first time since she was born!

I studied her as she listened and saw the familiarity the sound of my heart brought, the comfort she found in its unending rhythm, how captivated she was by it’s strength...

… STRENGTH?! How could that be? My heart was weak and shaken – a far cry from the strength it possessed all those years ago!

But as I watched her listen intently to each beat I realized, not only was she the only person who truly knew the sound of my heart, but that to her, it was still as recognizably strong as ever! Even after all this time, and even amidst my current brokenness!

As I held her head close to that weary heart of mine, there was no resisting the tears that swept down my cheeks…

I was overwhelmed with gratitude knowing that My heart … MY GOD had never failed me!

Overwhelmed knowing that even when our hearts are crushed and our spirits are most feeble, that there will always be a part of us, up until our very last breath, that will remain strangely strong! That even when we feel we can’t endure any longer, that there will always be something alive and thriving deep within us, even still.

Like a soothing lullaby from our Creator, each beat makes sweet promises that if He was able to preserve our heart through the pain of the past, that He will indeed sustain it through the paralyzing uncertainty and fear of the future.

While the cruelest hand the world can deal may succeed in taking every material thing I have worked so hard for… while it may unapologetically and cold-heartedly tear the ones I love from my grasp, and crush every dream that I have fought so courageously for…

There is NO denying

the enduring power,

and undoubtable strength,

of this ever weary heart of mine!

“Come to Me with all your weaknesses: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Rest in the comfort of My Presence, remembering that nothing is impossible with Me.” Luke 1:37

“When anxiety attempts to wedge its way into your thoughts, remind yourself that I am your Shepherd. The bottom line is that I am taking care of you; therefore, you needn’t be afraid of anything. Rather than trying to maintain control over your life, abandon yourself to My will. Though this may feel frightening—even dangerous, the safest place to be is in My will” Ps 32:1-4

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He Sees

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My fingers click-clack-clickety-click and immediately delete.  Again and again and again.  Sometimes the words come easily, others, like today, I’m struggling to articulate just what it is God is pressing on my heart.  It’s easy to look back and reflect on the lessons learned, it’s a whole other thing to see the lesson in the learning!  Like Krista mentioned previously, we have to ask God to open our eyes and let us see so we can look through the mud and truly see what He is doing.  I know in my gut He is sovereign over the seen and unseen, but oh how I, like doubting Thomas, lean towards seeing to believe!

It’s then that I realize I truly have it backwards!

Because friends…

We have a God who sees us despite whether we see Him or not!

There is such beauty in this truth.

I’m reminded of Hagar, remember her?  She was the maidservant of Abram’s wife, Sarai.  God had made a covenant with Abram– promising him a nation and offspring more numerous than the stars in the sky.  There was just a little problem– Sarai could not have children and was way beyond child bearing years.  Thinking she would help God along in fulfilling His promise (how many times have I done this too?!), she gave Hagar to Abram so perhaps Hagar could get pregnant and begin Abram’s lineage.  This turns out just the way you’d expect it to when two women are sleeping with the same husband– bad!  Very bad!  They both start despising each other and Sarai begins mistreating her maidservant.  It becomes so bad in fact, Hagar flees to the desert!

I often wonder what Hagar was thinking at this point!  She’s pregnant, fleeing by herself, in a desert.  Did I mention she’s pregnant?  Ain’t nobody wanna be in a desert pregnant!  Whew!  Glad I got that off my chest!  It must have been bad.

Anyway, the wonderful part of the story is that the bible says “The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert…  And he said, ‘Hagar,  servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?'” (Gen 16:7-8)

Oh how beautiful it is to be found!

Not only did he find her, but he cares for her.  He asks her, unassumingly I might add, what the heck is going on!  And she responds with honesty and confesses she’s running away.  Keep in mind, she’s a servant.  This is not a waitressing job or an employment-at-will situation.  She’s basically owned by Sarai, and she’s running because she’s being treated awfully by the very woman who ordered her to do what got her into this mess.  I don’t blame her one bit.  But the truth is, she’s running.

The beauty is that God did not leave her in the desert.  He did not throw up his hands exasperated, shaking his head in disappointment.  No, no, no.  He gently called her to go back and submit.

Say what?!  That’s worse if you ask me!

Yes, I know, I had to read it a few times myself.  I actually was slightly annoyed at God for a moment too, if I’m completely honest with you.  Here is this pregnant woman, in a desert, fleeing her mistress who treats her like dirt– and the God of the heavens is telling her to go back and submit.  Oh the tears that must have been shed.  The pounding of fists and screaming into imaginary pillows in the desert.  Yet the scriptures simply state that her response to Him was simply “You are the God who sees me…  I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Gen 16:13)

It’s obvious that Hagar didn’t see God in the situation when she was fleeing in the desert!  She didn’t see Him working or fighting for her or orchestrating big beautiful plans on her behalf.  She couldn’t see Him.  But in her brokenness, in her weariness, in her disobedience, even– He saw her.  We serve a God who sees us even if we can’t see Him at work.

As the angel of the Lord is telling Hagar to go back and submit, He also tells her He will multiply her descendants more abundantly than she can count.  In other words, He will bless her for her faithfulness.  I know multiple descendants may not sound like a blessing (haha!) but it was in such a time.  Hagar would name the son she bore “Ishmael”, meaning “God hears”.  She was seen by a God who heard her as well!

So now, as I look internally and pray that God would open my eyes, I also whisper the truth that I know He sees even when I do not.  I pray I would be faithful to return and submit where He’s calling me to (laundry, anyone?!).  I pray, like a tweet I read earlier this week said, “If we really believe that God is good then we should never be afraid of his answers to our prayers” even if His answer is to go back and submit (shout out to Mike Kim from Emmanuel ERC!  I might not have ever met you or maybe I did but you tweet good stuff!).   I pray I would rest in the truth that the Lord really does see me and my little, mundane, beautiful life.  He sees even when I do not see Him.

If you are running to the desert today, look up.  He sees you!

He may ask where you’ve come from, and where you’re going, and that’s okay.  It’s because He sees you!

He may ask you to return, to submit even– but it’s only because He sees you!

He sees us, friends.

And there is blessing… A multitude of blessing for our faithfulness.  My only hope that it is not in the multiple descendants category of blessing!  haha 🙂

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If You Trust God, Why Are You Still Talking About It?

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I have my Dad to thank for some of the best advice I’ve ever received.

Growing up he taught me you could never be too picky about boys or cars (and that Ford’s were out of the question!) He told me to find a man who loves his mom, and that “you are only in trouble if you get caught” the night he spotted me out of the corner of his eye, piling hoards of toilet paper and silly string into my car all while making empty promises that I was “NOT going t-peeing!”

But one day his light-hearted encouragement changed to a different tune.

I remember the night he sat across from me in a dimly lit restaurant. He knew full well what was going on in my life at the time, but had invited me out that night because he wanted to hear it from me!

My words were almost apologetic, though there was nothing I could take back even if I wanted to. I was just a girl whose life in no way resembled the dreams I imagine my father had hoped for me all those years ago…

And for that I felt like a failure.

He listened intently, nodding in affirmation as I shared about the unfavorable hand life had dealt me, while not saying much in return. Yet the few words he did speak were ones I will never forget…

After ‘surveying the damage’ he asked poignantly, “So what if it gets WORSE?!”

I was taken aback by his callousness.

…Worse?!? I struggled to grasp where he was going with this, and wondered whether he knew that his attempt at encouragement was terribly backfiring.

I stumbled over my words as I searched for the right response to his seemingly cold-hearted question. “Well, I mean… I guess I’d just have to trust God then wouldn’t I?” I said sarcastically as if to dismiss his absurdity.

“Do you trust Him now?”

“Of course Dad!” I snapped defensively, dropping my fork with a clank, not caring who around me heard.

“If you trust Him, then why are you still talking about it?”

(Silence.)

As a side note: oftentimes I question the validity of reality shows due to the fact that, “Who in their right mind would sob and scream in the middle of a restaurant?!?” But then I am always reminded of what occurred next…

The tears flowed freely…the wild bubbling of the lobster tank next to us couldn’t mask the heightening tone in my voice… the ‘ugly tears’ flowed causing my mascara to send trails down my cheeks… and I was forced to turn away and fidget with the salt shaker every time the waitress came by to refill our drinks, only to return to my Sob-Fest once she had left…

My Dad would go on to explain his position and remind me how much he loved me. He even hugged me tightly on our way out, though I stubbornly arched my back in resistance!

He acknowledged that he had made me mad furious… And he was right! 

He was right about how infuriated I was – and whether I liked it or not at the time – he was right about the fact that if I indeed trusted God as much as I said I did, I wouldn’t feel the need to stew in my problems hopelessly!

It’s a tough pill to swallow but he’s right.

If we truly trusted God we’d stop talking about the hopelessness of our situation…

If we trusted God we’d confide more in Him and less in Google. And we would certainly dwell less on the statistics that are, or are not, in our favor…

If we trusted Him we wouldn’t insist on bringing our petition to Him frantically, over and over, as if He didn’t hear us the first time, the second time, the third time…well – who are we kidding? The BAZILLIONTH time!

There is an Italian saying, “Il bel far niente,”  which means, “the beauty of doing nothing” and for years that has been my faith mantra every time my panic takes over and I attempt to do things in my own strength! (Though whether I chant it over and over while rocking back and forth in fetal position, is none of your business! 😉 

This mantra reminds me to stop talking, stop controlling, stop manipulating the situation to work in my favor, and stop excusing my lack of faith under the guise that I am ‘weighing my options’… 

It helps me remember that while I can say the right prayer over and over, have the best intentions, and hide behind the most eloquent blog post, that I can still lack a tremendous amount of faith! And that oftentimes the strongest test of faith is one where God asks you to do absolutely nothing!

In the Bible the Israelites were asked to do the same thing in a moment of complete desperation…

“…Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today…. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. – Exodus 14:13

God’s only requirement was that they stand still and watch His deliverance unfold!

In Psalm 46:10 again it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” (and in Krista’s Expanded Version – with added emphasis and a healthy dose of God-given attitude – it says, ‘put down the peanut butter, set aside the wine, get your butt off google, and FOR THE LOVE STOP TALKING ABOUT IT and know that He is God!’)

You see, last week we prayed for God to open our eyes…and whether or not we choose to believe it, He heard us. The first time!

He also wanted me to extend the message that He is eternally grateful for all the times we’ve felt the need to  repeat  …er, ‘better clarify’ our prayers to Him in our attempt at helping Him get it right, but that going forward, He only needs us to ‘stand still and remain calm.’

So together let’s lean into the uncertainty of the future, take a deep breath, and wait for the Lord to rescue us today.

And not a thing more!

…though if it takes us rocking back and forth in fetal position, I won’t judge! 🙂

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A Day In the Life: SNOWED IN

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I used to think snow was magical.

I love Christmas movies with lots of snow and I think snow men are handsome (as long as I don’t have to make them!).  I gaze at frost dusted branches with a sort of lovingly stare and think frozen ponds are breathtaking.  I love seeing tender snowflakes waft to the ground or stick to my kitchen windowsill.  Snow has beauty, peace, excitement even.  Snow is somewhat heavenly.

Until recently.

Until snow upon snow upon snow when it just became an icy mess of brown and black and dirt and salt!

Until days upon days of more snow and more snow!

Until being snowed in took on a whole new meaning!

Until shoveling snow lost it’s “workout” appeal!

I haven’t made it out of my pajamas today.  Thank goodness I brushed my teeth and washed my face, I feel like I accomplished something!  With all this snow, I’ve been cooped up inside so long my rational thinking went all out the window.

Why should I clean? I mean we’re not going anywhere! (Duh, that’s why I should clean, because I have to live in this mess!)

Laundry what?  I mean who needs clothes when you have jammies? (My poor, poor husband.  I actually feel sorry for him and am disgusted with myself for wearing pajamas this many times in a row!)

Cooking?  Who wants a real meal when all we want to do is snack due to boredom (I may or may not have let my daughter eat five suckers all at once just because it was slightly entertaining).

Productivity?  I’m snowed in!  I have tons of time to be productive, so I can do that later! (Or waste all that precious time on facebook, pinterest, the blogosphere and craigslist!)

We’ve been watching waaaaaay toooooo muuuuuch TV around here (please, I know kids aren’t supposed to watch TV before the age of 2 but we are SNOWED IN!  For the love please cut me some slack!).  We’ve been playing with the same puzzles, books, coloring books and dolls over and over again…  We’ve brought out the play tent and pretend choo-choo trains (wine crates anyone?!) and even made cookies (which we’ve been eating too much of as well!).  My daughter who is usually very content with being at home said to me the other day “go!”.  When  I asked her where she wanted to go, she looked at me like I was crazy– like I could take her anywhere and she would love me forever but she simply answered in an obvious tone “the store!”.  I would love to baby, but, ahem, SNOW.

So, I did what any normal mother would do who is bored out of her mind.  I brought out dice, and we fed the dice to the dolls, filled up some cups with the dice, dumped out the dice, dropped the dice in the washing machine (oops), found the dice, shoved the dice places dice should not be shoved and finally put the dice away (bad idea playing with dice when you have a 21 month old).  Back to puzzles (bless you Melissa and Doug with your cutesy wood puzzles complete with those “neat” plastic knobs…  I have stepped on one too many of those and while my feet are cursing my fingers will type bless you…)

I just got a ping on my phone, right now, no joke– there is a winter storm warning for tonight and then another storm is on it’s way this weekend.  Oh joy!

But this is Urban Hallelujah, so…

I am grateful for the opportunity to actually be bored.  My husband has been working like a mad man while I am mad at Melissa and Doug puzzles?!  I am SO GRATEFUL for the gift of being able to slow down so much that I can even get bored!

I made the most amazing chicken broth FROM SCRATCH and people– it turned out delicious!  And I used my crockpot!  And it simmered overnight while I slept so I didn’t even have to look at it!  I guess being snowed in makes you creative with chicken that needs to be eaten!

I’ve been able to catch up on all the episodes of Parenthood.  Yes!  And the Bachelor!  Not sure if that’s a yes! or not. 🙂

We have had real family dinners around our table (protein shakes and broccoli count, right?!), story-time under piles of soft, creamy blankets, endless hours of hide and seek and a couple bottles of delicious wine!

We’ve enjoyed lots of rest!  Maya slept over 14 hours and then the next night 13 hours all while still taking her usual couple hour nap! I know, I’m lucky, my girl likes her snooze button almost as much as her mama!

But perhaps the best part of being snowed in is just relishing in my little family…  No where to go, no one to see, just these two fabulous people I am so lucky to love and be loved by!  So while I have been bored out of my mind surrounded by snow, I have been surrounded by love even more.

Thank you Lord, for even this much snow.

Hallelujah! 🙂

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The Prayer I Have Never Prayed

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Last week I was the picture of strong faith.

I must have put a big smile on Gods face, when early in the week I sat in the same diner where I had once questioned God’s plan for my life (You remember the one: where what I lacked in faith, I stuffed my face with mediocre chocolate cake on the corner of 52nd and 8th)

This time however, I sat in the diner praising God between sips of coffee, and thanking Him for all the ways He has shown up for my family this last year. Even solemnly swearing to never allow my faith to ‘slip-up’ like that ever again!

… and surely it wouldn’t,  I was much more seasoned now!

Later in the week, I gave some wise-beyond-my-years encouragement to some friends who were lacking in the ‘faith department,’ and gave them some pointers and a Bible passage that I had found just a couple of days earlier.

Verses that God must’ve brought to my attention for them, and so obviously, not for me! Right?!

… After all I was a frickin’ faith warrior!!

That is, until my lease agreement arrived in the mailbox.

I will spare you the details. Just know that there is NOTHING that will elevate a New Yorker’s stress level like an impending lease renewal!

There is only one major requirement for living in Manhattan – other than possessing a piss-poor attitude – and that’s money, money, (and according to my new lease) MORE money!

… More money than the non refundable $8,000 I had to put down on this apartment… more money than the monthly rent I pay that is DOUBLE my mortgage back home… more money for the apartment that has been at the source of my most traumatic posts and my need for therapy, thanks to 1.) Mice (PLURAL) 2.) The pure madness that ensues when one’s child gets the stomach flu and vomits on literally EVERYTHING and you don’t have a washer and dryer... Oh, memories.

I think you would agree, my apartment is NOT worth MORE!

… And those 3 pieces of paper awaiting our signatures, was all it took to throw me over the edge, and spiraling out of control into a fit of faithlessness! And since I am such an overachiever in my lack of faith, it was only fitting that my full-blown panic mode would lead me to question whether God even wanted me in New York City in the first place!

But then I remembered those verses that I had read this last week – the same verses I had humorously, believed God couldn’t possibly have had in mind for me! (Insert: dramatic scoff)

In 2 Kings 6:15-17 there is a story about Elisha and his servant.

When the servant got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.

“Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!”

Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young mans eyes, and when he looked up He saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

Much like mine, the servants faith was shaken out of nowhere! One day he was going about his business (maybe even gloating at the ‘mighty faith warrior’ he saw staring back at him in the mirror…) and then all of a sudden he was crying out in overwhelming fear! And if he was like me, drowning his sorrows one spoonful of peanut butter at a time…

What struck me most though was Elisha’s prayer… a prayer that I had never prayed before!

A prayer for God to open our eyes when we are most fearful, and when we’re struggling see what He is doing in our livesWhen worry, stress, and our lack of faith, have us THISCLOSE to giving up on the life God has so beautifully designed for us (at times, over only silly things like an increase in rent!)

When it seems that the troops are closing in and we feel hopeless at the circumstances ahead of us, a prayer asking the Lord to reveal to us – the even more powerful army – that He has ready to wage war over our dreams, and at times for our mere survival!

We need only look to Him…

It says that, when [the servant] looked up he saw that the hillside was filled with horses and chariots of fire…”

It is when the servant took his eyes off of what was overwhelming him – and looked up – that he became less focused on what was threatening to take him down, and more focused on what the Lord had perfectly orchestrated to make him stand triumphant!

The truth is, these last few days I have stared dead-on at the circumstance ahead of me. The mascara has run… the peanut butter has been consumed… and unfortunately no matter how long I study the lease agreement the number never changes….

In my panic I have contemplated running from the very city that I know deep down God has called me to, and yet never once did I look up to Christ for the comfort and reassurance that I so desperately need! Never once have I prayed for the Lord to open my eyes, and wipe away every last ounce of faithlessness that has been clouding my vision of His perfect plan for my life!

Like Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!” So no matter the enormity of the troubles we are up against today, and no matter how hopeless we may feel, Our God has got this! And He will dominate anything that stands in the way of us and the life He has beautifully laid out for us! (… In much of the same way that the Seahawks DOMINATED the Broncos! Sorry, shameless plug! *Cough* GO HAWKS! Alright, back to Jesus–)

…And so I will look to the Lord and pray the prayer I have never prayed, 

“Heavenly Father, Open our eyes…

 And if next time you can remind me this truth BEFORE I put my foot in my mouth, all the better!”  😉

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