Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Don't be afraid... stand still... watch the Lord"

It's a favorite of my heart, like Christmas joy coming in unexpected moments. When pots and pans are being filled, sauces stirred, sweets in the oven, and the air around is filled with their voices. Sharing life, taking it in. Food for the stomach pales beside food for a momma's heart. 

This past month my Kenyan kitchen has been filled with their voices... two I gave birth to and one who's joined our tribe, Maggie's dear husband Ray. Do they know just how priceless it is to hear their voice, their laughter, their opinions and thoughts and joys and challenges? They are not little ones around my legs as I cook, they are full grown, taller than me, blessings that no longer need me to feed them at my table. They now choose what goes in; body and soul.
To release them is only possible when we take that emptied hand and grab hold of the One who loves them most.
I've struggled.
Some moms seem to let go with a push. Some never let go. Given a choice, i'd have surely been the latter. We've always said they were our favorite people. Always. And they are. So understandably, we let the hem of their presence linger in our hearts after they've gone. Then we turn to one another --- this man who is with me all through these years of living --- and we journey on together. We pray and trust and talk to Abba over it all. And we focus on all the ways we are cared for and all the ways they are as well. We release and we trust. It's an obedience that has led to books authored by those who think they have something to teach the rest of us. Perhaps they do. Perhaps not. Most of all, I know the One who takes their hand is the One who made their hand and He's the same One who knows the plans He has for them... and there's a rightness in praying more over their tight hold of Him than the letting go of our flesh covered bones. 

The one who came last to us, towering over me now, is growing into a great man before us... his words flooded my mind and gushed through my soul as he shared from his heart just days ago. He said, “Mom, I want to tell you something, and I don't want you to become afraid, I just want you to hear me, ok?” Oh he does know this cracked clay vessel he calls momma. Smiling carefully to encourage the flow of his often rare words, I poised myself to act like Abba's girl in front of Abba's gift. Reassuring him, he continued sharing his carefully placed words. He said, “Mom, you know how long we prayed over whether or not I should pursue college in Kenya or move back to the States. And you remember how we laid it before God asking Him to open and close doors according to His plans.”
“Yes, son, I remember it well.”
“And you know it stretches us all so much more than we ever dreamed we would be stretched during our wonderful days on Mockingbird Road. When just pulling in our little driveway and going for long walks in the woods with our dogs, well, we sure had it good during those growing up years, ya' know.”
“Yes, son, I remember.”
“So now, we know that we didn't plan these days. We know God did it. We know it's His plans and we are just walking where He tells us to walk and doing what He tells us to do.”
“Yes, it's all His son, the Call and the results. It's all His. It's way too big for us to hold.”
He continued with such a gentleness that is rare among men.
“I don't look forward to going back to school, I love being here with you and dad. But more than that, I know it's exactly what i'm suppose to do. It would be wrong for me to take the comfortable road, it's right for me to obey even when it's uncomfortable. So I want you to know, deep inside, that I am absolutely certain i'm suppose to continue for another semester in Nairobi. But...”
Oh Lord, so many things can follow a but...”
“Mom, I want to ask you to pray more and more for me when i'm in Nairobi. I know God is with me there. But there are lots of things that happen around me there that I just don't tell you and dad about, 'cause I don't want you to worry. There's nothing you can do about them anyway. It's just the way the world acts and mix a few terrorists in with that, and it gets messy sometimes. Still, i'm learning so much and for whatever reason, I know this is where God wants me to learn, at least for this season.”
... be still my heart, let your eyes encourage him to keep sharing donna...”
“So I want to say this mom. I don't think anything is going to happen to me. I've not had any bad dreams or weird feelings at all. I'm not in any trouble and i'm surrounded by good friends there. But, I want to be sure you have something to hold onto just in case something did happen.” … “Mom, I know I am where I am suppose to be. It's not easy. It's very challenging. I don't know why God has opened these doors or exactly what He is doing with all this. But, even if something awful were to happen, I want you to always remember ----- i'm where i'm suppose to be and I wouldn't change a thing.”

Big, soft blue eyes gushed love and peace so strong in my kitchen everything else disappeared.

And I knew, the best way to love him was to accept his words and trust Yahweh.

Those words have nested inside me. In good ways.
Obedience is better than safety.
Our Abba is serious about those words... “in this world you will have trouble... but don't be afraid... I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD...” (caps by my heart)
What??? Did I just say that?
Obedience is better than control and security and carefully deduced man-plans.
Obedience + surrender + trust = Peace

Then days later I read slow through Exodus 14. Over and over again. I sat on those words long. Mulched them into my “garden”, watered them, tilled the dirt around them, no creeping/lying weeds were allowed to linger near and i listened close.
Then v. 13-14 “But Moses told the people, 'Don't be afraid, just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.'”

Gold. Purest gold is tucked in those words. Well refined and of highest value and not worn around necks or on fingers but lining the souls of saints.

Don't think me disrespectful of the Holy Words when I squeeze myself inside them. Oh how I do hope you do the same. The Words are alive --- they are meant to be LIVED --- they are not dry ink on old pages held within closed covers on dusty shelves. They are meant to give life and bring life and encourage and strengthen and help us remember ----- our Abba's love letter is for His kids. We should hold them so tightly to our souls that we begin to live them because they've fed us and filled us and overflow from us ----- weak as we are ---- His Words bring strength and power.
So --- while planting in my “garden”, here's how the seeds looked, “But God told donna, 'don't be afraid, just stand still and watch Me rescue you and Peter today and everyday. The terrorists and those who intend harm, you might see them today but you will not see them again. I, the Lord, will fight for you. Just stay calm.'”
… and air flowed richly into my lungs...

“Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.'” v. 15-16

Our Abba is powerful to save. He chooses who is saved and when they are saved and for what purposes. We can't control this world. Not one molecule of it is under our control. We might try to manipulate and plan and organize and facilitate our own carefully thought out agendas. But at the end of each and every day ---- what we “controlled” fell short of what God would have done with it if we had stood and watched God fight for us.
To be clear. I'm not suggesting we should do nothing. God didn't tell Moses to do nothing. God did NOT say, “Moses, you just sit right down there and watch me do it all.”
No. God made sure Moses and the people knew they had their part.
They were to: not be afraid, stand still, watch the Lord, see the Lord fight for them, stay calm.
Then Moses was to: Tell the people to get moving, raise up his hand over the sea, divide the waters (because of God's power in his obedience) and walk through on dry land.

It wasn't Moses plan.
It was God's plan.
(Goodness knows, no man breathing would imagine to raise his hands and part a sea.)
God would do it ------- in accordance with Moses' obedience.
Moses raised his hands ------ the LORD parted the waters.

My blue eyed treasure reminded me, and made me fertilize my “garden” so the plants and flowers that will bloom there will be stronger and taller and reflective of the flower-Maker.
Fertilized with God's truths.

God is in complete control.
We get to either obey Him and see Him work in the hardest places or we miss it completely while we huddle in our well-decorated box.

So --- I pray more for Peter, just as he asked. But my prayers are not laced with fear and worry. Oh the enemy of my Lord does try and slide those in the back door for sure.
My prayers are filled with gratitude and awe, asking the One who is over all to carry him through --- “Your kingdom come... Your will be done... in your boy Lord.”
How good it is to hold Words of Life in our hands and plant them deep.

“Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch Me... I, your Lord, will fight for you. Just stay calm. Get moving... walk where I lay the path dry in front of you... yes, there will be trouble... but take heart... I have overcome the world... I will cover you with my feathers and under My wing you will find refuge... Because you love ME... I, God, will rescue you... I will protect you for you acknowledge my name... you will call out to Me, and I will answer you... I will be with you in trouble... I will deliver you … I, God, will show you my salvation...”

He's in Nairobi now.
So is the One who loves him most.

©2014 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe