Ever notice how Satan’s attacks grow stronger when you’re doing your best to follow God?
I’ve been watching my husband grow and begin to speak more boldly and struggle more deeply. I’ve been praying for him and for the farm and our life here but the peace in my heart hasn’t changed.
My stomach was churning from the moment I woke up. I made it to the barn, started chores and tried to settle down. But my mind kept grasping, attempting somehow, in my own feeble way, to figure out a solution. There had to be an answer. Something I could do. Something I could say. Something that would fix the problems.
After all, that’s what I am, a fixer.
Half way through milking I gave up and started praying. Immediately the lyrics to a song that I haven’t heard in over ten years came to mind.
Father make me more like you. Take this heart of stone and give me something new. Jesus, cleanse me with your blood, take this empty vessel and fill it with your love. There’s a place within my heart that longs and cries for only you. There’s a burning in my soul to want to see the bride united with the groom. Let the children come, fall upon our knees before you. Burn it in my heart to want to see the dreams of God come true.
I sang the bits and pieces that I remembered through the rest of milking.
With that being what my mouth was saying, you would think that I would have caught on a lot sooner. I can be a little slow sometimes.
I own a house in town. An adorable little cottage that, though it looks a bit trashed right now, was my home for one of my favorite periods of life. When I went to Brazil five years ago, I rented it out. Within a few months of coming home, my husband and I married and I moved to the farm.
The renter is behind in his rent.
We tried to call him but didn’t get an answer so my husband ran to town this morning to catch him before work. He walked back into the barn with a dejected look on his face.
“Says he lost his job. He doesn’t have any money.”
For some reason this news brought out the nasty unloving side of me. I didn’t say anything but I stewed. For quite some time.
The house is supposed to pay for itself and bring in a little extra. But he’s been behind for a little while now so the farm covered the mortgage, etc… But now the farm can’t cover it. There’s just not enough to go around.
I honestly felt like throwing something. Or maybe just throwing up. (I don’t do well with stress.)
When I finally made it inside, I wanted nothing more than to crawl in a hole and forget everything. So I grabbed a book that I need to review for Bethany House Publishers and wrapped up in my corner, fighting off thoughts of defeat and hopelessness.
Sometimes God makes me laugh.
The book, Spirit Wars by Kris Vallotton, was pretty much the equivalent of God yelling at me while knocking me upside the head. The entire chapter I was reading basically said, “You’re going to get hit where it hurts and it’s going to be long and painful and awful and it doesn’t mean you’re not following God. It means you are.”
“God closes one door and opens another, but it’s hell in the hallway.” –Joseph Garlington
“…but we forget that there is no victory without a battle, no testimony without a test and no miracle without impossible circumstances.” – Spirit Wars
Satan had found my weak spot. It is my reputation on the line and my credit rating. The house in town is mine. And while I might be able to sit in peace when the farm is struggling I, obviously, freak out when something that is attached to my pride gets threatened.
And right after my freak out came the thoughts: I know God takes care of those who follow him so maybe I’m not???? Maybe I deserve this? Maybe I spent money somewhere that I shouldn’t have? Maybe I should have given the renter a thirty day notice five months ago? Maybe I’m just a horrible business person. Maybe I… maybe I… maybe I…
Burn it in my heart to want to see the dreams of God come true.
Oh. That’s right.
It’s not about me. It was never about me.
If God asks me to scrub floors as a form of washing feet and asks my husband to share the gospel with the farmers in our community… Why wouldn’t he ask me to surrender my pride for the sake of a single dad who just lost his job and is struggling too?
Because His heart breaks for those farmers and that single dad and his heart breaks for me too. His dream is for me to press on and press through and for this heart of stone to be made new.
It was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness, God who inspired Nehemiah to rebuild the walls, and it is Jesus who led you to read this book… -Spirit Wars
And maybe, perhaps, it was God who led you to this blog page. What is He saying to you today?