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Women in His Presence

by Erica Salazar

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ESalazar

Sea Glass Lessons

This morning, I stumbled across a sea glass honey hole.  I didn’t set out to hunt for this special treasure, but amongst the debris washed up on the Corpus Christi Bay, laid a piece of sea glass. 

Sea glass has a unique frosted look from being tumbled in the ocean.  It has lost its clarity and it’s brokenness has been rolled over by the water, beat against the sand, until it has lost its edge and eventually settled upon a distant shore.  

I couldn’t help, but think about this beauty amongst the debris that kept appearing and relating to the brokenness in life.  

So, as I wandered the shore on a sunny chilly day in Corpus, the Lord spoke several gentle lessons that I would like to share with you.  

  1. The broken pieces are the most beautiful. In life, at first it doesn’t seem like it.  But, after the tossing, turning, and beating of the circumstances, you reappear as unique desired beauty.  
  2. They are beautiful, because they have been tumbled.  The pieces of glass that still have their translucency, I would pick up but then discard. They weren’t pretty yet. I kept some of the iffy ones, but kept the frosted ones without hesitation. 
  3. You have to look for the beauty. Although it was a honey hole, I still had to look for it.  I didn’t find the amount I found, because of chance like the first one. In life, we have to intently look for beauty in the brokenness.
  4. Finding a piece, brought pure joy and excitement.  It kept me motivated and persistent.  When you realize the beauty of the brokenness, you are encouraged to know that any future brokenness will be just as beautiful. 
  5. One interesting thing was, the best pieces tended to be in close proximity of each other.  This reminded me that brokenness brought together is better than brokenness alone. 
  6. Last, the broken glass only went so far.  I noticed that the debris was washed up in levels.   Very little settled close to the water’s edge.  The farthest line of settlement had wood and plastic.  In the middle is where the sea glass and shells  laid. Too heavy to be washed too far, but light enough to be washed up and away from the water.  God patiently waits for us to come out of the deep.  He is waiting, ready to pick up and gather us all into his hands. 
  7. There is only so much focus and time you can give to the broken pieces.  At some point, you have to take their beauty, pick your head up, and move forward in Christ.

1 Colossians 1:20

Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe – people and things, animals and atoms – get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross.

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To God Be the Glory,

Erica

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Checklists & Ladders

Myself and two other friends are going through very similar experiences that to the outside seem as if it is a hopeless cause.  Not all friends fully support or understand us in our calling to wait for our spouses to be restored to the Lord which then leads to marriage restoration. 

Sometimes they think we are misunderstanding God or not hearing from God correctly.  Sometimes they think it’s us not letting go.  Sometimes they think that our spouses don’t deserve us after what has happened and that there is someone better for us.  

When facing this type of doubt by other believers, it is frustrating.  

It’s frustrating because it is a HUGE step of faith and an act of obedience on our part to really TRUST God in the impossible.  We are very confident in conversations, but you have no idea the many conversations we have with God in our head and prayer closets. 

“Are you sure God?”

“Am I hearing you right?”

“Why is it taking so long? Are you sure it’s going to happen?”

“I’m tired of waiting.”

“Why is it worse?”

Deep down, we have more than enough doubt that tosses us around from time to time.  But to be honest, we have the courage to step out of the boat when Jesus calls us. 

The best peace that I experience comes from being focused on Him and this calling.  He tells me His truths about the situation and provides scripture and Bible stories to support what he tells me. In those times, it makes perfect sense.  In fact it seems crazy not to wait on the Lord to do His thing. 

Why would God ask me to do this?

  1. Realize no man can ever make me happy or complete…only God. 
  2. Seeking out another husband or a “better” one is a lie.  My original husband, living his life for the Lord is the best husband for me.  Until then…God’s got me. 
  3. Experience completeness in Him, not trying to be completed by him(spouse).
  4. Learn what crazy faith is.
  5. Get me focused on how God has to grow and refine me, instead of pleading with God to change my spouse. 
  6. So God can have my full attention
  7. Show me that I’m not in control of my life.  I can’t choose my path or the outcomes. All I can do is be guided daily by Him. 
  8. My favorite…what unconditional love truly is. 
  9. To experience laying down my life for someone else like Jesus did. 
  10. To show me what it feels like to be rejected, even when it was my best and I loved with all my heart.  This experience put a better perspective on what Jesus felt as he was rejected on this earth and still is today. 
  11. To realize, this life on earth is not perfect and having a spouses doesn’t make life perfect.  

I could go on and on about this growing list. 

In a way, this list has become a checklist of milestones.  A list that reflects the spiritual maturity that has occurred ONLY because I’m being obedient to the IMPOSSIBLE.  

A checklist that as I go down, makes me think I’m closer to the promise.  But, God reminds me it doesn’t work like that. Instead this checklist is more like a ladder I’m climbing up that gets me closer to Him. 

And for that….this crazy journey is VERY worth it! 

To God be the glory,

Erica

The Black Widow

Post 4: July 17

I have this funny fascination with spiders when I see them at night in their web.  Plenty of times I’ve tried to get as close as I can to capturing the animal up close without it jumping on me. Do not be mistaken though.  I do not like spiders.  Not at all; but there is a curious naturalists in me that still admires how they make their web.

A few weeks ago I was out on my night walk/run when I saw a decent size spider web on a tree.   As I approached the web I was thrilled to see that the spider was still making it.  It was creating the outer rings of the web going around counter clockwise as if it was a satellite orbiting the earth.  The curiosity lured me closer in with my camera at hand.  The trick would be to see if I could capture a picture with very little lighting as well as remaining undetected by the spider.  My attempts failed and I knew that I was going to have to try with the flash.  Now this entire time, the spider hadn’t ceased spinning its web until the flash.  How interesting that the light in the darkness scared it and ceased all operation.   In fact, the spider left its post scurrying off to another part of the web.

My prayer session for July 8 started after midnight making my prayers for that day on July 9.  This week I had been continually praying between 12:00-3:00 am, which is the Third Watch also known as the Breaking of Day Watch.  By this time, I was becoming more comfortable going to war in prayer. I was having a good prayer session and in the middle of it I saw a spider web being cut strand by strand counter clockwise at the same speed and pattern I had seen that spider a few weeks earlier spinning it.  With each nip, it was becoming more and more slack.  I sat up and opened my eyes surprised, because it’s like it came out of nowhere. I didn’t know what to think since it happened so fast and out of the blue.  So, I just drew it in my prayer journal and gathered that the web was losing strength.

On July 10th, I woke up with a very vivid dream that was quick but carried a specific meaning.  It was very personal and it was mocking me as a woman of God.  It was a picture of a post from a specific woman who was publicly displaying her lewdness and promiscuity.  But, it was in her lewdness that she revealed the tactic used to lure her victim.

As I drew it in my journal, the word black widow came to mind and so I jotted it down under the picture.  I immediately went into intercessory prayer.

July 11,  I finished up my prayer session at 12:02 am.   During this prayer time, I had wondered if there was a connection to the Jezebel spirit and spiders.  I specifically honed in on Jezebel because of the dream the morning before.  I had done enough research in the past to know she was a major cause to the destruction of something very dear to me and I was constantly praying during intercession that a particular person was anointed with oil which would cause her grasp to slip.  So, in my research I found that in fact she is represented by the black widow.  Crazy!

The pieces were starting to click.   God was showing me her web was losing its hold. The dream was showing me the desperate attempts and tactics she is using to keep her victim headed toward death.  In doing research, I found that a black widow will fake her death if her web is disturbed. This was showing me to be relentless in prayer….always. Last, I learned that the black widow’s web seems as if it has no pattern like other spider webs.   It looks chaotic.  But that is actually a huge deception. Her web is actually in layers that have a purpose, and only when the victim is completely lured into all layers does it become apparent that the web is skillfully crafted to intentionally trap him/her.  Therefore, the plans of the evil one will be exposed right before death.

There is truth and life in the Word.

Job 8:14 New International Version (NIV)

14 What they trust in is fragile[a];
what they rely on is a spider’s web.

God led me to this scripture that prayer session   The takeaway was, Jezebel is fragil. She is easily broken. Her web is easily broken and her captives will be set free.  I serve the God Almighty and the Maker of Heaven and Earth.  There is nothing impossible for my God.   I just got to learn to wait patiently as he disarms the evil one nip by nip.

 

 

 

 

Hungering the Holy Spirit

Post 3: July 9, 2018

This week started a little different right off the bat. Praying more definitely caused a tapping into my emotions that I’ve tried to cover. In the middle of the day, I went to my prayer room and just started crying. I didn’t have words to say just a grieving heart that needed to be comforted by the Lord. This weeping reminded me of my early prayers when mountains weren’t moving. I would cry and weep and I started to wonder that back then maybe instead of weeping, I should have had the hunger to be a warrior. At some point that day after I stopped crying, I started searching for prayer warrior videos.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Ironically, I saw a video called “Weepers and Warriors.” It was by a woman called Vesta Mangun. I had never heard of Vesta Mangun, but you could tell even before listening that this was a tiny yet mighty woman of God with a lot of experience with the Lord under her belt. I thought for sure this woman was going to tell me to stop weeping and start warring. However, it wasn’t until three days later that I actually listened to that video.

It was on the third day, that I started praying not knowing what to say. So, I went to the Word to listen. Psalm 33 led me to write down God’s truths, but personalize them. The Lord was also prompting me to fast and repeatedly pointing me to that direction with several confirmations.

When I listened to Vesta’s “Weepers and Warriors,” I was encouraged to fast. But most important, I was encouraged to weep. This was not what I was expecting. But she made known that every drop of my tears has going into a bucket and to continue to weep until you get to experience the water.

Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
Psalm 126:6

It was around this day that I confirmed to God that I want Him like Vesta has Him. I want to know the Lord so intimately that I experience what she is experiencing. I don’t want to have a good relationship with my Lord, but the best. I don’t want it just to get my prayers answered. I want it, because I desire the Lord and to experience his love and mighty will for my life first hand.

I don’t want a second hand, past down relationship with Jesus Christ. I want front row, first hand knowledge, and personal experiences. I want to testify to God’s goodness and greatness and not just tune into to someone else on YouTube declaring it. If they can have it, so can I.

God pursues me and you, but our level of engagement creates the opportunity for the best arrangement to experience it. If we don’t engage we miss all that was arranged by God.

Be Blessed,
Erica

Starting Small

Post 2:  July 1, 2018

The last time I felt I was seriously praying consistently was during the last few months before my divorce was final. I would say that it was during that time that I entered into what I could only call as “prayer warrior” mode. At times I felt as if I was a praying ninja. I would slice and dice the enemy with hand motions while I was praying. I remember one specific evening having this burning in my chest like heartburn from praying. I really thought that the divorce wouldn’t go through and prayed for delays and moves of God in my spouse. I definitely got to witness those things, but the end result did not change. The divorce still happened and the reinforcement of “I’m not a prayer warrior,” set in.

Therefore, my praying slowly fizzled away with the exception of some sporadic surges. Now, I did continue to talk to God all the time, but as far as getting away to a quiet place, it just didn’t happen much.

So here I was this past week on the path of being a prayer warrior. Where to begin? Well I got in my prayer closet and turned on worship music. I started writing down the small things. As simple as it sounds, I actually found myself chuckling earlier that day because a friend of mine said she was going to have to pray about what to name her car. As I laughed to myself, the Holy Spirit convicted me big time. It was clear at that moment that God wanted me to pray for the little things and the little decisions. So, that became my starting point.

The Results:

The first three days started out the same way. Me making a list of the little things and praying about them. However, during prayer I would start to see things. One was a heart arising out of stone that was being cracked with a hammer. I would also see God cupping a particular person’s heart bringing him back to life. Scriptures would come to mind as well and always carried a particular meaning related to prayer when I looked those verses up. I would definitely say that I was getting warmed up to be a prayer warrior.

On the third day, I felt the need to just intercede for that one person. My entire prayer time was on him. During prayer I was seeing a rebirth of this person. He was waking up and being resurrected. He was having an awakening. It was during this prayer session that the prayer warrior mode resurfaced. It was at this time that I was directly speaking to the enemy and taking back territory. I was on the offense and out to cover that person in prayer and bind up what is holding on to him. Again, I also received a scripture.

John 3:15 That everyone who believes will have eternal life in Him.

Day four was different. On that day, the prompting to pray and intercede came from the Holy Spirit and not during my scheduled prayer time. Instead it was during the day. Again, it was for this one person. This time though, I was seeing a sucking of this person like a whirlpool into a tormenting place. He would come out and get sucked back in. I was also getting that the “new” version of this person was being resurrected because there was no more tug-of-war. His heart was turning to God and he had a renewed mind and was FREE. Again, prayer warrior mode came out and territory was taken back.

The following days were the same. Prayer warrior mode was occurring more naturally. I continued to see pictures and pray specifically for that one person over various areas of their life. The intercession was becoming more of a fight. I found myself having more faith in my prayers as well as sheer determination to cover that person in the spiritual realm. My voice was becoming authoritative in prayer as I would tell the enemy and his agents where they belong and where I cast them. Occasionally, I would stand up and march during prayer as if I’m entering battle as well as tying up the enemy and throwing him on the ground. I would follow that up with a crushing of his head with my heal.

The overall lesson I learned this week was praying for the small stuff got me comfortable with praying and in the habit of praying. However, I was very surprised how quickly that moved me into prayer sessions that were intercessory in nature as well as the increase confidence that the Lord was doing something when I pray.

Starting off at the beginning of the week, I felt awkward and unsure. But, by the end of the week it felt very natural to come boldly to the throne.

Believing the Lie

Post 1: June 23, 2018

Although I pray and talk regularly with God, I am not a prayer warrior. This statement although honest, is actually limiting of my prayer life. It carries several hidden messages that are not God’s truth. First, it sends a trail of lies that prayer that works is reserved for a “higher class” of Christian. Second, it reveals that I believe certain peoples’ prayers carry more weight with God. Last, it keeps me comfortable in my prayer life as if being a prayer warrior is a spiritual gift that I do not have and cannot attain.

I am at a point in my walk though, that I want to be a prayer warrior. I want to trust God with my prayers. I want to know that he hears them and that they aren’t meaningless vapor floating up to the sky.

I want what prayer warriors have and from what I see, it is a relationship that undeniably believes that God really is in control. It is an undeniable faith that God hears and that God does answer. It is with such a convincible tone when spoken, that they know Whose child they are and they know God’s power. Although I’m sure they waiver in faith, from the outside, they seem unshakeable in the most dire of circumstances.

So, as a woman of God who is strong in my faith and walk, I invite you to journey with me in this area of prayer that I know will allow me to know and grow in the Lord more intimately. I trust God, most of the time. But I know He wants me to trust Him all the time. He will leave the 99 to find the one. He will also take the 99% of my trust in Him, but will pursue me for that 1% that doesn’t.  It’s this 1% that causes me to be independent of God and not pursue prayer-prayer warrior style.

I’m not a prayer warrior, but I’m one in the making.

Blessings,

Erica

 

Wrestling with God

Wrestling is a physical interaction between two people in which one is trying to gain dominance over the other.

Spiritually, we learn in Ephesians that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against evil principalities. Because of this, there are times that my flesh and my mind wrestle with God.

Last Sunday I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of rejection. That continued as I went to church feeling like an outsider being over 40 yet under 50, divorced, and with no kids. It’s a personal perception of being a modern day leper. Looking around, you see where you want to belong but not having the qualifications of kids or a spouse to quite fit in. Of course this isn’t anyone’s doing, it’s just a perception I have always felt in my position. I felt like that married without kids and now it’s just gone from bad to worse.

I continued in service not able to shake it. I started to really miss my spouse. I started to wrestle with why my best wasn’t enough. I started to wrestle with my worth and wondered how long was I going to have to wait.

I went home and rested in my sadness for the rest of the day.

Sunday Evening
When evening came, I sat with the Lord in my prayer closet with music and started to draw. The word TRUST was written down.

What was at the root of this rejection? Has God not provided for me abundantly? Has God not given me joy in my sadness? Has God not shown himself to be faithful in so many ways? He has! Over and over he amazes me, yet in that prayer closet the root of my rejection was a wrestling that I have with God because I don’t trust Him with my prayers.

I told Him, “I feel rejected by you because it seems as if you don’t answer my prayers. I don’t ask for much.”

There are two things that he has spoken to me and that I believe are prayers of his will but are unanswered. Because of this, I wrestle with feeling as if I’m suppose to settle for less than God’s best. I feel like miracles are for everyone else but me.

Monday Evening
The next evening, I did the same thing. But this time the word TRUTH was written down.

What he spoke to me, comforted me. He reminded me that he has faced the ultimate rejection. Him, the perfect gift of love, rejected by many repeatedly and continuously and that “many” includes me. He showed me that everyone’s life is a whole with fractional parts of ups and downs. Their answered prayer comes when their particular fractional part of hardship is at its end. Mine is more of in the middle. He also reminded me of what he has been able to show me during this time of unanswered prayers and what I would miss and could miss if that prayer was answered in my timing.

Saturday Morning
Yesterday morning I walked with the Lord. This is when he showed me that I’m wrestling with Him. He showed me as I walked along the creek that its beauty is in the bends and where the water flows over the shallow areas where it’s very rocky. The parts of the creek that are still and straight do not bring the beauty. They are boring. He showed me I’m wanting everything to be perfect. Perfectly straight…which is not what life on earth is like. Perfection is only in Heaven and in His Presence.

At that point I got it and He illustrated how this grappling got me to God’s truths.

Position
When I’m wrestling with God, I’m trying to dominate the match and I’m telling God what I see in the natural and that I’m angry and hurt. God, does not let me go. He stays in the wrestling match pinning me down occasionally reminding me of his dominion over all things. However, he doesn’t try to dominate me. He doesn’t force me to give up or give in. He allows me the position to question and guess and at times have a false sense of control.

Perception
1. When I’m in a dominating position, I try to pin God down so he can look up at me and see the situation I’m in and everything that is behind me and surrounds me.
2. God then makes a maneuver and flips the script. He is now trying to get me to look up at Him. However, in my struggle for control and reason, I’m working and wrestling so hard my eyes are pinched shut.

Submission

1. This goes on until His love eventually wills me into submission.
2. At this point, my muscles relax and stop.
3. My eyes open and I see Truth and I see Trust.

Saturday Evening to Tonight
From the point of submission, I can’t even explain how God has unleashed his love. He has sent so many people to me, unknowing to them, with words of encouragement, confirmation, and truth.

God is so amazing in His love for us.

Point to Ponder: When we wrestle with God we win. He positions our perception so that through submission His mission is truly realized.

To God be the Glory

Mountain and Joy of Motherhood

This was actually my notes to a message that I gave at a Mother’s Day brunch in 2016.  For some odd reason, it was showing up in my email to edit.  Two years later, a lot has changed but not the truths that God revealed to me in preparing for that event.  It was a great reminder to me about moms and spiritual moms within the church and how important their walk with the Lord is to their children.

Intro

When I got the call from Gracie about speaking this weekend I was really excited. I had prayed to God that Saturday before, that he would need to make it clear about being called to speak. The call that Monday was an answered prayer.

However, as she was giving me details I was faced with a big uncertainty.

I had said yes to the date, but then she mentioned that it was Mother’s Day weekend. Inside my brain I had a quick panic and then I remembered that she knew that I wasn’t a mom. RELIEF.

II. Dog Mom

Savannah
The closest I’ve come to being a mom is having my three labs, well now two. I remember the day my Savannah swam across a water hole for the first time. I would take her to the local golf course as a puppy and let her learn how to swim. She always stayed close to the edge, but one time she ventured out toward the middle. By the time I realized what was happening I was struck with fear. What if she can’t make it across she is just a puppy? What if she gets scared and is in the middle of the water trying to figure out what to do? Do I or don’t I swim to her rescue. As a “mom” I only had one choice. I had to stop being afraid. It was obvious that she wasn’t. So I ran to the other side and started encouraging her to keep swimming. I was so proud of her.
Watson
My other dog mom situation was when I took all three labs to the pool at the local Navy base. It was the last day of summer and they opened it up for dogs to swim. Getting out of the car with two full grown labs and my newest addition, my baby Watson, was what I would call a safety hazard. I was holding onto three leashes and each dog had a mind of their own. I was getting pulled, wrapped, and almost tripped as we, or I struggled up to the entrance. Once inside the fence, I could let the two oldest swim and run freely while I got in the pool with my baby Watson. This was going to be Watson’s first swim. He was not a natural like his mom, but he sure did draw a lot of attention from everyone else. He looked like a clydesdale swimming with his body straight up and his paws hitting the water as if he was galloping. There was nothing graceful about it. However, everyone thought he was so cute and adorable and I was totally loving it. Again, a proud mom moment.
Sam
The last “dog mom” memory I want to share is when my husband and I took all three labs to Bark in the Park Hooks game. By this time all three were full grown. When we arrived, we let each of them go out and to the restroom. I told each of them to make sure you go “out” before we get inside. Some listened…some didn’t. Just like my pool situation, my husband and I struggled with the three dogs on the leashes. Their excitement and leadership skills had us stumbling and tripping all the way to the outfield berm area. Once there, we had to have a strong hold on the leashes and constantly tell them to sit down. Since the getting to the outfield berm area was a struggle, my husband and I decided to take turns getting our food so one could stay with the dogs. I remember how stressful it was because most of the time we were trying to get the dogs to behave and sit down and eating was almost impossible. When it was my husband’s turn. He was too stressed to eat. I tried getting a family picture, but that was nearly impossible to get all three of them to face me at the same time. We decided to leave early since it wasn’t the fun we had envisioned. As we were walking out our oldest dog Sam decided to do #2 on the walkway behind the outfield. Of course, the other two were going in different directions. We felt helpless.

They just wouldn’t listen.

So, as moms I’m sure you can relate, that with the joys there are also the struggles despite your guidance.

III. God as Our Guide

Just like moms, God experiences the same things with us…..joys and moments where he shakes his head because we are not listening.
The reason I’m not a mom is because when I was in college I faced the mountain of motherhood.
Looking at my situation and looking up that steep mountain wall I was afraid and I panicked. I panicked because I had this dream and a vision of what my future what look like and it was blocked by this circumstance.

Genesis 3:1-6 States
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say You must not eat from any tree in the garden.”

The woman said to the serpent we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden and you must not touch it or you will die.”

“You will certainly not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be open and you will be like God knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom she took some of it and it shows I gave it to her husband who was with her and he ate it.

IV. Transition-Mountain of Motherhood

In this passage God clearly gave GUIDANCE, but Eve let her guidance be directed by the enemy. Notice, the serpent made God’s guidance seem illogical and his logical. So taking all the factors, she allowed herself to be misguided.

I did the same thing. My Guidance before the situation was God. But when confronted with the circumstance I let the world’s logic be my guide because I thought it would ruin the dreams I had of having a husband, family, good job, and nice house. Sure I wanted to be a mom, but I didn’t plan on it happening then. So this mountain, was blocking my dream, and I was too afraid to climb the mountain with God and see what he had in store for me on the other side. So, I walked in a different direction to avoid the trial.

Why did I do this?

I knew of God, but my relationship was minimal. So, when crisis struck, I didn’t know what the Bible said. I didn’t have those experience of turning to the WORD and letting God direct me. I hadn’t heard His truths for all circumstances.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Today, I face another personal mountain. Learning from the past, I don’t want to take things into my own hands. I have spent probably seven years kneeling at the bottom of the mountain praying for God to move it. It has been frustrating, because it hasn’t moved. It tremors sometimes and I think it is going to crumble down, but it hasn’t yet.

I’m sure all of you are facing mountains right now. You could be dealing with the stress of being a single parent. You may be struggling to watch your children go through mountains. Maybe your child is your mountain. You tried your best to raise them, but they are being very defiant. Maybe your adult child is your mountain. For some maybe your mountain is how to move forward in life with the loss of a child.

No matter what your mountain is as a mom. God is calling you to really trust him and CLIMB

You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north. Deuteronomy 2:3

V. What to Expect-

At the Bottom of the Mountain
When we are at the bottom of the mountain we can be gripped by fear. We stare at that mountain wall and wonder which way is the best way to tackle it. We stand paralyzed in worry and anxiousness. At some point we start climbing, but it is rough. We stumble up and we are constantly strategizing how to navigate our way. We become so mentally and physically exhausted that we end up right back at the bottom. The burden is too big for us to carry, and we end up crying in despair broken. After multiple attempts and multiple fails, you will realize that you are trying to do it alone. You may be praying about it and trying to do all the right things, but your heart is not truly trusting in the Lord. You are still wanting to know that if you climb this mountain, you will get your desired outcome. This does not work. At some point, you have to CHOOSE to CLIMB and let God be your Guide. This means you trust him every step of the way, pray that this be used for his purpose, and go up no matter what the outcome will be. In a sense you climb blind allowing the Holy Spirit to lead.

When you make this decision, you will feel peace.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

 

Middle of the Mountain
The middle of the mountain is where you start to really lean into God. Your focus is on him, knowing whatever step you take, he takes it with you. It’s a time of some trials, but more progress. Your confidence builds because of who you are with. It is faith in action every step of the way. Not everyday is easy and at times you will have setbacks. But overall you grow closer to the Lord.

Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Micah 4:2

Approaching the Peak
This becomes a very dangerous time. You have journeyed for quite some time now. You are more exhausted than before. The enemy tries to send forth unpredictable elements to get you focused off God and onto the hardships.

It seems unbearable at times the closer you get. It becomes tempting to quit because of the difficulties. You have to stop more often to pray, refocus on the Lord, and dig deep. You need that oxygen to stay alive and to continue going. You look back at how far you have come and remember the beauty in the pain that you are experiencing. You are reminded that Jesus has been there too. You push on and persevere in Him as he continues to guide you up.

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Psalm 46:5

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45

The Peak and the Descend
When we get to the top, we will see his will. We will have a new perspective and a testimony of how the Lord guided us through it.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

The descend will be like this:

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

 

Why is This Illustration Important to Being a Mom and a Woman?

Your Children will Look to you as Their Guide
It is really important that you know what it takes spiritually to make it up a mountain, so you can be there for your children as they face their ascend. The less involved you are in reading the Bible, praying, and fellowship, the more likely your advice to them will be based more on the world’s guidance instead of God’s guidance. It’s important for that internal compass to be calibrated to God, that way when your children lean on you, your guidance will be in line with the Holy Spirit.

This is easier said than done for all of us. It is a daily challenge when we let life pull us in all directions.

When you have chosen to climb a mountain with God, you are a great testimony to your kids. You can relate to their struggle and yet testify about God’s goodness no matter what you face.
Everyone Needs a Mom
No matter how old you are, you need a mom. Some of you your mother’s have passed away. For some women, their mother had struggles of her own and couldn’t show love or make the best decisions as it pertained to her children. Some moms live far away and can’t be there on hand in a crisis. For the women of the church, each of you are a mom. Someone that another woman may need to call on when faced with a mountain. Someone who can help her lean on Christ and encourage her as she begins to climb.

You see all of us climb mountains. Some are bigger than others, but every time we get over one, there is someone else about to start. The mountain wall looks a lot less intimidating when you have support at the bottom cheering you on, reminding you to pray, is praying for you, sending you scriptures, and reminding you of God’s truth.

Closing

The definition of joy is
1: a feeling of pleasure or happiness that comes from success, good fortune, or a sense of well-being
2: something that gives pleasure or happiness <It’s a joy to have you visit.>

Whether you are a mom of natural children, playing that role within your church, encouraging a child’s or woman’s relationship with Jesus Christ, you will have joy.

No matter what you are going through, there is always joy in nurturing others. There is always joy in showing God’s love and there is always joy when others see God’s guidance in you.

I want to leave you with this last scripture.
Proverbs 3:13-18
Blessed are those who find wisdom,those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways,and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.

To God be the Glory

Erica

 

 

A New Level Of Crazy

If you would have asked me two years ago if I was a mature Christian I would have said, “Yes!” But over the past two years God is drawing me into a whole other level.

As it is…..

To the outside, being a follower of Christ is CRAZY.

To the outside, believing that the Bible doesn’t need to change with the times is CRAZY.

To the outside, being conservative is CRAZY.

But, to the outside and inside the church, believing that God has spoken a specific promise about marriage restoration is even CRAZY to many.

In fact it’s even CRAZY to me.

But, God has definitely drawn me to a crossroad where I have to face a couple of crucial questions.

1. What is God’s character?
2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

1. What does God desire?
Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2. What’s the truth about each person’s creation?
Psalm 139:13
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 51:6
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. But to I have to believe in the crazy.

3. What is God trying to teach me?
Hebrews 10:36
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

In order to persevere however, I have to go to a whole other level. In fact it’s a whole other level of CRAZY. It’s the kind of CRAZY that people will laugh at like Noah building the ark. It’s the kind of CRAZY that is impossible like Moses going to ask Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. It’s the kind of CRAZY that is unrealistic like Abraham and Sarah bearing children of their own.

If there is one thing I’ve come to realize though, these acts of obedience and faith in the Old Testament, made the way for the biggest CRAZY thing in the New Testament. The birth of a man named Jesus who sacrificed his life for us and then rose from the dead.

This level of CRAZY really requires me to dig deep in prayer. It requires that I believe in prayer. It requires that I believe my God speaks to me. It requires me to trust His voice. It requires me to be patient. It requires me to look at Him and not the circumstances. It requires me to look at me and learn how I need to change. It requires me to go against any bit of human logic and lean on the wisdom and truth of the LORD. This level is hard. It’s not easy. But, it is maturing me and bringing me closer to Christ. Ultimately, it’s a whole other level of CRAZY that I actually enjoy and brings the most peace. So being CRAZY for Christ is exactly where I want to be.

To God be the Glory,
Erica

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