My husband told my son, “Don’t go in the trunk of the car, son. It’s not safe in there.”
He explained to my 7-year old how a kid recently got stuck in a trunk; he lost his life.
My son, took my husband’s words extremely seriously. . . He turned and said to me, “Oh no, mommy you have to check the trunk every 10 minutes just in case I forget and go in. Mom, what if I forget a week later and get stuck in trunk? How many minutes will I be able to breathe for?”
Then he disappeared. Fifteen minutes later, I catch the front door slamming. My son is walking back into the house.
“What have you been doing out there?” I ask.
“I taped the trunk closed. I am coming in to get more tape.”
Oh really? You taped close the trunk?
Outside, my son worked again, furiously adding more and more packing tape to the outside of the trunk without rest. My husband watched, then asked, “Son, is that tape strong enough to protect you or is Jesus?”
Some of us need to ask ourselves the same question. . .
Is my endless worry strong enough to protect me or is Jesus?
Are my strategies strong enough to protect me or is Jesus?
Are my words strong enough to save me or is Jesus?
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” (Ps. 18:2)
Every man-made, taped-up strategy is cuttable. Strong defenses set up by the Lord are impenetrable. Good ideas seem right in a moment. Nuggets sent from high transcend understanding. Attempts to protect our own lives are worthless. Yet, when the Lion roars enemies fall, flee or panic 7-ways.
The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. (Deut. 28:7)
Who can stop the Lord Almighty? Are you taping up life to keep it safe or are you trusting in Him who saves?
“The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” (Ps. 20:6-8)
You are a daughter. A daughter of the King of Kings. A daughter of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. A daughter of the One and Only.
For what seems to me to be an odd thing to do, I’ve always taken inventory of daughters. I’ve seen daughters of CEO’s. Their dads groom them from day #1 to take over. My friend in high school — her dad would pick her up and bring her to my favorite store then, South Moon Under and buy her all new summer clothes. Then, there was the dad who took his daughter on summer trips — far and wide they’d go to the far reaches of the world. The dad who is a pastor and for His daughter, sends her message out to the world in a super-generous way. The dad who rants about his daughter like she is the only light in his world. . .
Dads go far lengths for daughters. . .
They give their best for daughters. . .
There is no gift they withhold for “her” whom he loves. . .
Good dads give.
Father gave His son,
then, Jesus gave His life,
to make us daughters. . .
Being a daughter changes everything.
“You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. ” (1 Thess. 5:5 MSG)
Daughters dance in freedom because they know where they stand.
Their Father God just loves them. And loves them, no matter what.
In this, they don’t need to prove. Over-try. Try to make something out of nothing. Prove through acts of service they are good. Get angry at themselves when they fall and skin a knee.
The good dad picks them up and loves them again. Even when they acted bad. Even when for a time, they left the dad. Even when for a time, they were ungracious. Even when they couldn’t see their own faults. Why? Good dads love daughters. They want them.
What God put together, no man can separate.
Love poured out and there is no taking it back. Father wanted us as daughters and it is done. No power of hell, no scheme of man, no thought, no word, no place, no person, no thing is “able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ro. 8:39)
Do you live like a permanent daughter of the Most High King?
Daughters rest in love.
They understand God is working.
They lean into His love.
They accept His help in a time of need.
They are okay not having all the answers.
They understand they’re getting taken care of.
They do not wonder if they’re good (The righteousness of Jesus now made them good).
They make peace with the confessed-past that Daddy doesn’t consider anymore.
They dance under the open-sky.
They rejoice because they are forever-loved.
They aren’t afraid of mistakes that lead to learning.
They are loved. You are loved.
“But “they” are glad now that I am in trouble (they are cheering my demise); they gleefully join together against me (they never wanted me to succeed). I am attacked by people . . . (nobody ever does right by me) they slander me constantly (I am embarrassed). They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me.” (Psalm 35:15-16)
Maybe you feel taken advantage of, sad, lied about, mocked, persecuted, slandered, battered, misunderstood or bruised. You’re saying, “I didn’t do wrong. I’ve sought to handle things rightly. I’ve been faithful.”
If that’s you, God highlighted Psalm 35; I believe there is relief for you today. . .
. . because there was a man who understood your plight. David. David admitted truth, his hardship. But, he didn’t sulk in it, He lifted it up to meet the mightiness of God.
How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?
“Rescue me from their fierce attacks…. O Lord, you know all about this. Do not stay silent. Do not abandon me now, O Lord. Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord.” (Psalm 35:17, 22-23)
Take up my case, David said.
Only God owns – your case. If God owns you, He most certainly owns your case. (1 Pet. 2:9). God fights and wins. If the battle belongs to the Lord (2 Chron. 20:15), the methods through it certainly belong to Him. God brings victory through Christ Jesus. In light of His wonder and grace, Jesus WAS and IS and IS to COME, victorious.
What if you were to let Jesus reign in full in the center of your issue? What would fresh surrender look like? The enemy has no grounds to fight you when you’ve already given up.
Then, the King of Glory comes to fight your case. Sure, He may change your view along the way and shuffle you around a bit on the inside, but it is all about beauty. You’re growing in it. You’re learning. You’re discovering the joy of real love.
With this, may I encourage you? It’s less about your words, what you did, how you are seen, what people say about you, how “they” should have approached things differently. . .
As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” (Ro. 10:11)
Let it go — to let God fight your cause. And He will. And when God fights for you, He wins — even if you have to fight to unclench your hand a little along the way.
Her text floored me. She said, “Kelly, I want to go with you to one of your speaking events. And, there, I want to wash your feet.”
Ummm . . . what?
Does this girl even know who I am? Does she even know how I battle pride? How I try to be less at these events, not more? Has she even considered how this act might make me feel? My heart is, continually, to be less about “Kelly’s performance or opportunities”.
It certainly IS NOT about being exalted more. Nor is it about seeing her beautiful face down on the ground washing my feet.
“No way” wanted to be my response to her.
I don’t deserve it. I am the last person whose feet she should be washing. I am flawed. I mess up. I hurt people.
Wash someone else’s feet who deserves it more than me.
And then, the Holy Spirit nudges my insides, “Kelly, you are missing the point. You are missing the heart. . .
Your worth has never been about “your” worth.
Your value is not about you “proving your value”.
Your getting your feet washed has nothing to do with you.
You can receive because Christ lives in you. Whereas in the old days, you’d 100% know you were unworthy and laugh in her face, today you can 100% know you are unworthy alone, but because of Christ and all His worthiness – he makes you worthy.
Because He gave it all, you can receive it all, even when you feel like the last person on this green earth who deserves it.
This is called unconditional. Unmerited. Undeserving. LOVE.
It’s not about you. It’s just not. It’s about Jesus. It’s about what Jesus may do when she gets low. It’s about how he might want to whisper to your heart, ‘You did nothing to warrant my love, Kelly, but I gave my life for you anyway.’. It’s about you understanding that you never have to prove anything to God to get His good stuff. It’s about love so divine doing everything for you, even though you are stinkin’ dirty.”
Grrr…I supposed I’ll say yes to her. It’s hard to though. I would much rather be washing her feet. I’d much rather be building her up. I’d much rather be low.
Sometimes it’s easier to be humble than it is to appear proud. Sometimes it is in the receiving our heart is really learning.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Pet. 5:6)
Sometimes receiving is humility. And, if I’ve learned one thing, it is this: love uncaptured, can’t be released. Somehow, I think God, wants to capture me more with His love.
How might God want you to capture love? To let go of feeling unworthy to experience His worthiness?
Ever noticed, in an airplane, it’s nearly fair-game to eavesdrop? With every word in ear-shot, you can’t help but hear. Yet, this time, I needed the words.
The woman a seat ahead of me said, “You know, I can tell if my employees love me. If they do, they’ll work hard for me.”
She went on, “But if they don’t. They’ll just show up and punch a clock.”
Right there. Right there in that packed-like sardines plane, God sucker-punched me (in a good way).
Heart-struck, I cried out internally in prayer, saying, “Oh, Lord, you know I’ve been slacking off a bit. Oh Lord, you know, I’ve started to some things in my day that are not pleasing to you. That are not “all-out.” Rather than praying, I started playing online daytime video computer games (it’s true, you all. My 7-year old got me into it). Rather than trusting, I started fretting things I haven’t done. Rather than, doing the little itty-bitty God-moves He wants me to do, I started doubting. Oh Lord, to love you is to serve you. To follow you is to know you. To cling to your heart is to make room for it in my life. I never, ever, want to punch a religious clock of going to church, or doing things for people, or looking right on the outside and like spiritual death on the inside — and call it a day. Forgive me, Father. I do love you. I love you with ALL my heart, soul, body and strength. I always want to serve you.”
So, I return here: “We love because he first loved us.” (1 Jo. 4:1) I receive His love.
I move-out here: By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jo. 13:35) I love those in need around me.
I let His goodness shine forth from me: You will know them by their fruits. (Mt. 7:16) He owns the fruit-growing process; I just display it.
Joy wells up in me to do what He calls me to do, not because I have good plans, a smart mind or I work hard, but because I have come to “know Him” and love Him: We know that we have “come to” know him if we keep his commands. (1 Jo. 2:3) I get up and get going into all God wants me to do.
What is God calling you to forsake so that you can better partake in His love today? What might He do, if you just give Him the chance to see it through?
My kitchen table. . . you don’t even understand what it looks like. . . The legs broke during one of our moves; now, they’re superglued. The kids did “paint projects”; now, splotches of many colors mark the wood. Sisters in Christ came over for a prayer gathering; now, a huge black mark is on the table. A fire burned through a candle.
Even now, as I type on this table, crumbs are placed all around me.
I’m like this table.
Sometimes, I feel like: I’ve been through it. Marks of old still live in me. I remember them. I still see the scars in me and on my knees. I see things I am not proud of. I’ve wrongly accused people I love. I’ve wrecked a car a couple — or, maybe a handful of times. I’ve gotten prideful and had the Lord bring me back to the reality that He is 100% in charge. I’ve gotten fearful and worried-filled – like when my basement got flooded, or when I got that lump in my chest, or when I thought I would never be good enough.
I can still see marks. Things that I don’t want people to see. Even today, I still mark things up — I get upset at my kids or anxious because I’ve asked them 3 times to put their shoes on and they’re still munching down on breakfast, with laughs.
It’s not only the table, friends — there’s a chair-issue too. They shed off these weird-white pleather-like pieces everywhere. They’re practically unsweepable. But, the funny thing is — God hasn’t given me leeway to get rid of these things. The table and chairs stay with me. Front and center. The stark oddballs of the room, sitting on top of a rug that’s far too small for the space.
They’re like me.
I stand-out in weird ways at times. I have faults. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. Marks of yesterday, and even today, I can still see.
They’re front and center if I l let them be. The awkwardness of them could overwhelm me if I let them.
Or . . .
I can say, “. . . But Jesus. . .”
But Jesus. . .sees it all so differently.
But, Jesus sees my “weird” and doesn’t want to throw me out.
But Jesus, like that burn mark, has burnt a hole of unparalleled, unquenchable and unbelievable love right in me.
But Jesus, makes all things beautiful in due time.
But Jesus, is okay with the process of life working in and through me.
But Jesus, has covered every sin and makes me white as snow.
But Jesus, has a plan for every scar, scratch, and mark; it will all be used for His glory.
But Jesus, looks at what was and declares what is new – I am a new creation, in Christ Jesus!!!
The disarray of old is fashioned into the glory of new. We cannot despise the process of life, of growth.
For all these good works belong to Him. We are His possession. His daughters. His treasure. And, He now loves what He sees. There’s a good plan for all of it.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)
Today, in the center of “lack”, I give thanks for His abundance. What appears to be not enough, in light of Jesus, is more than enough. I am blessed!
Saying, “my ___” has real value, signifies ownership, belonging and love.
A friend of mine, when God breaks through says, “My God.” As He shows up, she speaks, “My God!”
As if He did it just for her. . .
Her words touched me; He did do it just for her. He also did it just for Daniel when he was stuck in the den of lions:
“Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”
Daniel answered, “Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” (Dan. 6:19-22)
Notice what he said: “My God”!
My God rescued. My God delivered. My God knows my needs. My God answers my prayers. My God has a way out.
Do you know your God — as My God?
The one who moves on your behalf. The one who you proclaim as “My God” after victory. The one who sees, hears, understands and captures the picture of where you are and what you need?
“Not a scratch was found on Daniel because he had trusted in “his God.” (Dan. 7:23)
Not a scratch will be found on you as you trust in “your God”.
My God! He’s faithful.
My God! He shows up!
My God! He knows what I’ve gotten myself into.
My God! He knows how to get me out of it.
My God! He had the answers before I even encountered the problem.
He shuts up the mouths of lions.
My God! My God! My God! Just say it out loud – “My God!”
The screaming started as soon as the plane began descending into Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
To say I was mortified is an understatement. I tried to console my two-year-old son with toys and promises that we’d be there soon, but it was no use. I silently wished I could hide somewhere until we reached the terminal.
As I journey through motherhood, God repeatedly shows me it’s a continual process of refinement. And often, he uses situations I never desired to remind me his work is still in progress. This experience on the plane was one of them.
Travel with young children means trying to prepare yourself for the unknown. Need entertainment? The DVD player goes into the carry-on. Check. Need to regulate ear pressure? Sippy cups and binkies are packed. However, nothing can prepare you for the crying toddler who refuses to be calmed. You feel the tension of hundreds of eyes staring at you, silently yelling, “Quiet that kid down!” Only, you can’t.
My son and I were in route to visit my parents after our second cross-country move in five years. After months of house hunting, my husband and I had finally found a place near his new job, and he was doing some DIY projects before closing. This quick trip presented an opportunity for my son to see his grandparents while giving Chris space to work. It seemed like a win-win. But now, I was second-guessing myself, wishing I could buy everyone noise-cancelling headphones.
Questions circling my head turned to doubts about my mothering abilities. I was tired and drained from the stress of the last few months, and was sure my son was tired too. Did these people see how hard I was trying?
After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived and I had one agenda: to get off the plane immediately. With our belongings thrown into the diaper bag, I swung my son onto my hip, ready to beeline it. Then, I heard a voice behind me.
“You’re really doing a great job. Keep it up.”
I froze, dumbfounded. Turning, a slightly older man stood there, smiling with sincerity in his eyes. Was he talking to me? He nodded, as if to answer the question I didn’t ask out loud. I mumbled a thank you, trying not to cry, and turned to leave.
Without even realizing it, this stranger gave affirmation I desperately needed in a season of uncertainty and doubt. God was speaking through him, straight into my heart, and I realized something. Every second I poured into my child made a difference.
In one of his letters to the church at Corinth, Paul encouraged followers of Christ not to give up, saying,
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
Paul wanted to motivate the church at Corinth to keep pursuing Christ, showing that our sanctification is an ongoing process and not an immediate transformation.
While our right standing with God is instantaneous, the journey to becoming like him continues our whole lives.
As parents, we give ourselves fully to our kids, day in and day out. We wipe noses, change diapers and receive 3 AM wake-up calls. We care for sick babes and sometimes wonder if anyone sees us. And then when they cry on airplanes, we wish we were invisible.
But God sees. And He’s working. Even when we’re not sure He is.
No matter how mundane some of our work may seem, none of it is in vain when it’s done for the Lord.
And one afternoon on a plane full of strangers, He reminded me. He gave me the push I needed to keep going, and to continue letting Him transform me from the inside out.
Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is to show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.
When I was in college, I remember sitting in the car dealership, asking my dad, “Please dad, please! Can I get this car???”
The amazing thing was — my dad wasn’t buying it for me. Somehow, though, I needed his permission. Yet, I was the one walking out of the dealership with a title and a $500 monthly payment on a vehicle. It didn’t matter, I was enthralled. It seemed my whole life was about to change.
The car was a convertible. For the first week, I was internally on-fire every time I drove that car. I wondered if people were looking at me. I wondered if I could feel better than I did when I sat in those fire-red leather seats.
Then, the buzz wore off.
It wasn’t long until it became an ordinary car. It didn’t feel as special. It didn’t look as shiny. The rear window cracked a little. The monthly payments were taking a big chunk of my monthly paycheck.
“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law. . . ” (Phil. 3:7-9 NLT)
Ten thousand times, I thought all these things were valuable, until. . .
One: They didn’t taste as good as Jesus.
Two: Their joy ran out.
Three: I got bored with them.
Four: They actually became slavery.
Five: I wanted something else better.
What have you thought “was life”, only to find out– in the end –it wasn’t? A new car? A house? A better wardrobe? A new husband? A perfect job?
Everything pales in comparison when laid up against the One Thing, Jesus, who is everything. Treasures are trinkets once you get a taste Jesus’ love.
My heart, these days, wants to invest — less in goods — and more in love. What about you? What are you searching for? What do you believe will fulfill your greatest hopes, dreams, desires, and wishes?
“I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.” (Phil. 3:9-10)
So, today, more than ever, I invest in faith.
Faith is to believe God, despite what you see; to trust God more than you know; to rest on God more than makes sense for your running mind to comprehend. Because it is faith that gets to know Christ and to experience His mighty power that, astoundingly, raised Him from the dead.
Prayer: God, today, I ask for a transfusion of faith to happen. I ask that every reader of this post would be filled with fresh faith that we would all feel on-fire for you. I ask that lesser things fade away and that you as the One Thing come into pre-eminent position. We want you. We need you. We trust you. Fill us with your love, power, and goodness. We ask to know you more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.