That Time I Prayed to be Invisible

My mother and I were in Birmingham for an event. We arrived on a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon. I parked my car in the parking garage and we made our way to the venue two blocks away.

After enjoying the teaching and the music, ten thousand women exited the arena to make their ways to their vehicles. My mother and I turned to the right and began to walk and no one (not a single woman) followed us.

I don’t know how 9,998 other women all knew to park in the opposite direction. All I know is that my mother and I were left to walk alone, in the dark, to a parking garage two blocks away. Between us and the vehicle were abandoned buildings, empty parking lots and several men wandering the streets.

In that moment, all I could think to do was to pray that we were invisible. I asked the Lord that, if any of those men had any evil intentions, they simply would not see us. Now, I’m not saying that God made me invisible (although I’m not saying He didn’t either.) I do believe that God blinded the eyes of any potential enemy that night.

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I told that story at a recent women’s event to illustrate the power of prayer. I had forgotten about this incident and it came to me at the last minute. I couldn’t help but laugh as, as we walked those two blocks, I kept repeating, “It’s fine. They can’t see us. We’re invisible.”

Here’s the thing, though. I totally believed that God could do it. And, if I’m honest, it isn’t the first time I’ve prayed such a thing. Sometimes, at night, my spirit will feel unsettled and I’ll pray.

Lord, if there is anyone currently roaming the streets with ill intentions, let them not even take notice of our home.

God, if my children are out in public and the enemy is on the prowl, draw his attention away from my babies.

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It’s a prayer I’ve prayed often but never mentioned to anyone. It’s not exactly the parenting advice people expect.

What advice would you give for raising children in this broken world?

Oh, I just pray we’re all invisible.

Yeah. Hmm.

BUT – I found the coolest verse today.

Are you ready?

Wait for it…

Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked. – Psalm 64:2

I wanted to do the slow clap after reading it. Essentially, y’all, David just prayed to be invisible. Do with it what you will.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

 

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Mom Talk: A Remnant of Grace

My heart broke as I listened to story after story. The things that go on in schools these days are terrifying. Even the so-called good kids make bad choices and what is our world coming to when children can’t just be children. Mamas afraid to put their children on a school bus and dads having to have conversations about drugs and s*x with kids who should still be innocently giggling and jumping rope.

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As I sat there, I thought of a verse in the book of Romans. Paul is reminding his readers of the time Elijah was convinced that he was alone in the world. The people were worshipping other gods, the prophets were all being killed and Elijah’s own life was in danger. He cries out to God, “I am all alone in this!” But the Lord is quick to set him straight.

I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Romans 11:4

Elijah panicked and ran because he was convinced that he was alone. You can read the whole account in 2 Kings 19. My favorite part is, as Elijah is hiding in a cave, God comes to him and asks, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

God sends him back to where he came from and He gives him the names of people who are still standing strong. There is Hazael, and Jehu and Elisha. Also, there are seven thousand others. Elijah was never alone.

Paul tells his readers that, just like in Elijah’s day, there is a remnant chosen by grace (Romans 11:5.) It may have appeared as if the Jews were all rejecting Christ but there was always a remnant of believing Jews who would not abandon their faith. Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse describes this remnant as people who were “chosen from eternity in the counsels of divine love to be vessels of grace and glory.”

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We may look at the environments our children are having to navigate and be tempted to think they are all alone. As a fellow mom who has the same fears, I can promise you that they are not alone. There will always be a remnant chosen by grace.

Your child may just be a part of that special group chosen from eternity to be a vessel of grace and glory. We need to cover our children in prayer. Let’s ask God to reveal some of the others who are still standing for Him just like He did for Elijah so that our children know that they aren’t alone.

Perhaps, it’s you. In the workplace. In the gym. In the playgroup. On the campus. Wherever you are – you’re not alone. You are a part of a remnant chosen in love to carry His grace and glory to the darkest corners of the world.

Carry on. You are loved.

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4 Gifts in the Wilderness

In my mind, the wilderness is rarely (and, by rarely, I mean never) a pleasant place to find yourself. The wilderness is the scene in a movie where the creepy music begins playing and the lady running in stilettos from a would-be kidnapper is about to trip over a tree root and fall helplessly to the ground.

A couple years ago, we were housesitting for a friend and I decided to take a walk through the woods. It seemed like a good idea when I began. There came a point, however, when the sun had begun to set and every shadow seemed like something off of a Criminal Minds episode. Let’s just say that the walk back to the house didn’t take me nearly as long as the walk out.

No doubt, you have had your own wilderness experiences.

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God has recently revealed something to me about the wilderness. The wilderness is not a place of punishment. We think that, don’t we? We look at every struggle and we wonder what we did wrong. We see others living seemingly easier lives and it all seems unfair. I know what you’re thinking – Get outta here with that “unfair” talk. Fine, maybe you don’t use the fair/unfair argument. Whatever. I’m just going to leave it there on the off chance someone else has ever felt that way.

As I study Scripture, I have learned some interesting things about the wilderness. It’s not a place of punishment. But the wilderness IS a place of:

  • Protection: (Exodus 13:17-18) When God rescued His people from the slavery they were enduring, God did not take the quickest route. When I set my GPS, I always choose “quickest route.” But God knew that the quick route held dangers of its own. God chose to lead His people into the wilderness to protect them from the poor decisions they may have made on the fast track home.
  • Passion: (Hosea 2:14) The world is loud and full of distractions. Sometimes, the Lord leads us into the wilderness to remind us of His love for us – to refocus our hearts on Him. He wants to stir up the passion we once had for Him.
  • Prayer: (Luke 5:16) Jesus would pray in the wilderness. In fact, Scripture says that He “often” withdrew to “lonely places.” Have you ever felt incredibly lonely? Could it be that God purposely puts us in those lonely places so that we are perfectly situated to hear from Him?
  • Provision: (Psalm 78:19) If your wilderness season includes financial struggle, there can be a lot of fear and uncertainty. Your God can provide a feast in the wilderness, my friend. God will provide an abundant harvest in a place the enemy can only plant seeds of doubt.

If you are currently in the wilderness, there are three things you need to know.

  1. The wilderness is not an accident.
  2. The wilderness is not for always.
  3. You are never alone in the wilderness.

There are gifts in the wilderness: Protection, Passion, Prayer and Provision.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

 

 

How to Know if Your Fruit is Fake

The first thing I noticed when I walked into her kitchen was a beautiful glass dish full of bright, yellow lemons. I had been spending too much time on Pinterest and had been noticing that everyone seemed to have this fresh fruit in the kitchen thing down pat. It was cheery. It was refreshing. It was perfect.

After a few minutes of chit chat, I had to ask.

“How long will those lemons stay pretty and yellow like that”?

My friend gave a grin, took one out and bounced it on the counter.

“Forever”, she said. “They’re fake”.

We still laugh about that. I was totally fooled by a bowl of fake fruit. While sitting in a fancy dish, you would never know the truth. If you were ever in need of some lemon juice, however, you would quickly discover that fake lemons are pretty but not useful.

fruitFruit of the Spirit

I couldn’t help but think of those lemons as I read in Galatians, this morning.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23

If you are a follower of Christ, there should be some fruit on display in your life and it should be real. People interacting with you should be able to tell that there is something refreshingly different about you. In this world where so many things are fake, people will be watching to see if you are what you seem.

It is no light thing to call yourself a Christian. Christians are to walk as Christ walked and to love like He loved. There are people who are hurting and struggling. They will look to your life to see if Jesus has made a difference. If the fruit in your life is all for a show on Sunday morning, they will not be interested. If your fruit does not cause you to respond differently or treat others better, no one will be interested in the Christ you claim.

How can you know if your fruit is fake?

  • Do you only love people who love you back?
  • Do you carry a grudge instead of grace?
  • Does your peace turn into worry when things go wrong?
  • Do you respond in kind instead of with kindness?
  • Are you quick to complain when things don’t go your way?
  • Does your self-control go out the window when someone cuts you off on the interstate?
  • Are you only generous when it isn’t a sacrifice?
  • Do you only serve when it’s convenient?
  • Are you quick to be critical?
  • Do you fail to forgive?

Let’s be honest. Fake fruit has its charms. It is always pretty. It is easy to maintain. If displayed properly, it impresses others. You just have to blow the dust off of it every now and then and everything is great.

When hard times come, however, a fake lemon won’t take you very far. Some plastic fruit won’t give you peace at night when something has gone terribly wrong.

The real fruit – the kind that comes with sacrifice and sweat – is what Christ-followers need to be offering to the world around them.

For When Your Heart Needs Proof

scripture doodleWhat do you do when times are difficult? When you’ve trusted until you’re tired and you’ve endured until you’re empty? What’s your response when well meaning folks toss Romans 8:28 your way like it’s a magic cure all for whatever ails you? Or, better yet, when they send you a pretty picture of a waterfall with some catchy cliche.

Go with what you know.

Fake it til you feel it.

What’s a person to do when you don’t know what to do?

If you’re Zechariah, you say, “Prove it.”

And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” – Luke 1:18

Prove it. Because what you’re saying does not match up with what I’m seeing.

Oh, it’s easy enough to judge him. But who hasn’t, at some point, yearned for just a little tangible reassurance.

When you’re trying to pay your bills from an empty bank account. If you could just prove it, Lord.

When you’re sitting next to someone you love and they’re fading fast. If you could just prove it, Lord.

When you feel completely alone in the midst of a crowd. If you could just prove it, Lord.

Sometimes, God chooses to offer a little proof. He does not have to do that. He does not “owe it to us.” His love for and commitment to us was heart sugar cookiesettled on the cross and, if he never did another thing, we can never question his devotion. God loves us and his son has the scars to prove it.

Yet, sometimes, he takes pity on us doubting Thomases. He hears our cries for proof and he shows up and let’s us touch the scars (John 21:24-27.) A healing takes place. A check shows up in the mail. And we feel better – for the moment.

Then, another trial comes. A period of darkness comes upon us. Suddenly, we need proof again. And the time after that and the time after that. We begin to place our faith in the proof. That isn’t faith at all.

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – John 21:29

As much as our hearts may long for proof, that is not where the blessing is found. The blessing is found when we believe that our God is a promise keeper. The blessing is for those who knew that God would provide even before the check came in the mail. The blessing is for those who believe God is good even as t hey say good-bye to someone they love. The blessing is for those who believe what God says and not the lies of this world.

“Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from The Lord.” – Luke 1:45

I have been Thomas more often than I care to admit. Show me and, then, I’ll believe.

Zechariah and I would have gotten along really well. I hear what you’re saying, but I’m going to need some proof.

Who I long to be, however, is a woman who believed what the Lord has said. I long to be Mary, a young virgin girl told that she would give birth to the savior of the world who then says, “Alrighty then. So be it.” {That might be the Stacy paraphrase.} She didn’t doubt or question or demand proof that God could do what he said he was going to do. Scripture says that she was blessed because she believed the Lord was going to do what he said he would do.

Lord, let that be me. Some days, I’m just not there. But, mercy, how I want to be.