Encircle Me

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There are some days that are harder than others. There are some days when self-doubt and fear drum away in the corner of my mind. There are some days when accusation and anxiety clash their cymbals over and over again, raising a ruckus. There are some days when a chorus of insecurity plays over and over again.

The longer I let myself sit as an audience to this band of reproach, the louder and more enthusiastically they play.

So here’s what I do these days. I reach for God’s Word. I reach for the words of Spirit and Life.  When I refuse to give ear to the uninvited band and open my heart to the voice of Jesus, a different song begins to play.

When I encircle myself with the truth of what God speaks to me, about me, and for me, insecurity becomes confidence in who He is, in who He says I am.  Self-doubt becomes His perfect strength in my weakness. Accusation becomes my story of redemption, the melody of grace.  Anxiety becomes faith in His goodness, in His purpose for me. The fullness of His love leaves no room for fear.

It’s a choice for me – and some days it’s a fight – to resist the lies and to purposefully tune into the words of truth.

But these words are our defense and our greatest weapon against the darkness that tries to infiltrate our hearts. And when we pick them up, when we open our ears to Him and ask Him for a new song – even in the presence of our enemies, He lifts up our heads and puts our feet on steady ground. He is near to us when we call Him, our help and our strong Deliverer. We are more than conquerors – we have overwhelming victory – over all these things through the Savior who loves us.

I’m holding onto this book even more tightly these days, and His words daily hold me together.

Wrap us in Your truth, God. Hold our hands steady as we hold Your word. Open our ears to hear the song You sing over us, the song of deliverance and delight. 

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With His love, He will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”-Zephaniah 3:17, NLT



In the Heat of the Battle

I’ve blamed my lack of blog-writing on time. On baseball practice. On house-cleaning. On school-work. On the kids needing extra attention. On the husband. On everything I could think of.

But the truth is, I haven’t been writing often over the past week or so because I’ve been struggling. I’ve felt like my mind has been fighting those fiery darts from here, there, and everywhere….and, to be totally transparent with you, I felt like a fraud every time I opened up this blog. I didn’t feel peaceful or joyful or any of those good things — instead, I’ve felt weary, heart-sore, irritable, and inclined to cry at the least bit of provocation.  Mostly, my prayers have been of the feeble ‘please help’ variety. This is not to complain or say that anything has specifically gone very wrong in my life…it’s just that a few worries compounded and all of a sudden, my mind was a battlefield of insecurities, fears, loneliness, selfishness, rebellion, and a good dash of anger over it all.  

I still feel those things.  But in the middle of all this gunk — my heart cries for Jesus. For grace. I know that He is still with me. I know that victory belongs to Him. That my life belongs to Him. And though it feels a little earth-quakey beneath my feet, I know that I am standing in Him. And that He will not let me fall.

And it occurs to me that this is what it feels like to be in the middle of the battle.  This impulse to stick my head in the sand until it’s over? To hide all of the conflicting emotions away so that no one else will  know?

Yeah, those impulses are no good.

Because we ARE in a war. I am. You are. And hiding from each other in the middle of the battle does not improve things one little bit. In fact, I’m pretty sure it makes things worse.

When our troops are under gunfire, I doubt that’s the moment they decide to be a lone ranger, facing it all by themselves. Soldiers are trained to work together. To trust each other. To fight as a team. With their training behind them, they work on instinct and do all they can to attain victory. They certainly don’t feel silly for maybe being afraid or getting dirty in the process of survival. They don’t worry about what other soldiers will think if the battle exhausts them.

So, here I am. Telling you that I am in the trenches with my sword in hand and my shield of faith raised for me and for my family.

And instead of hiding it, I’m going to keep on fighting and sharing the Word right here.

Am I weak? Yes. But, oh, friends —  our God is still strong.  He is a strong and mighty fortress. I am running to Him, to my Deliverer. He is freedom. He is victorious. He will be with me through this battle and the next. If you’re like me, feeling alone and filthy and aching for rest in the particular trenches of your life, He is hope.  It is not by our might or power that victory over the enemy is ours — but it is by the Spirit of God. (Zech. 4:6) 

So may we sing praises to our King in the heat of this battle. May we lift up weary voices and exalt Him. In our pain, may we trust Him. May we release our anxious burdens into His outstretched hands and rest in Him — He IS peace.  May we lift our eyes to the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth…may we glorify the Redeemer of our hearts, our Salvation, and our Love…

And here is my war-cry for this day, from Psalm 18…read and remember who He is!

I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.  The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.  In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.  There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.  He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.  And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.  He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.  At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.  The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.  Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.  Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.  He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.  They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.  He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me…

  For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.  For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.  As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.  

For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?

 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.  He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.  He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.  Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.  I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.  I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.  For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me…

 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock;

and let the God of my salvation be exalted!