Warrior

Breathless, she approached us after our first church service in Mexico. The beautiful blond hair, blue eyed, young woman was on a mission to reach us. “The Lord gave me a word for your daughter,

WARRIOR.

I see a FIERCENESS in her that I can’t explain.”

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Warrior: a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness. A person engaged or experienced in warfare, soldier.

“Your daughter! She is such a leader,” a preschool mom proclaimed as I walked in to pick up my 3 year old daughter.

“She seems to enjoy telling the other children at her table what to do,” the kindergarten teacher stated.

The 3rd grade teacher, “Wow, today we were almost taken back by the powerful leadership tone she took.”

Not one time, did a comment like this surprise me or catch me off guard.

We saw Mikayla 5 hours after she was born. 3 days later, we brought her home.

She has exuded strength from the moment we laid eyes on her. As mother over my newborn baby, I remember telling people, she’s just so strong. “Oh really?” they’d comment. “Yes, it’s not just her cry conveying her strength. It’s a message right from the Lord, ‘I made this one strong!'”

Mikayla would cry on and on as a newborn, making it very clear when something displeased her. But, she would also become overwhelmed with excitement when she was pleased. She would not nap. She loved to be out and about, especially out in nature. By age 1, she could already say close to 50 words. Even as a baby, she brought energy, purpose, and life wherever she went. She is and always has been, a force to be reckoned with.

I think about her beginning in this world. If I could, I would ask her birth mom, “Did you feel that force, that energy when she was in the womb? Did you sense God telling you, this girl has a purpose?”

When other young women have been in her position, they have made other decisions. Did she hear the Lord’s voice telling her, “This one is a fighter”?

Oh, how I wish her birth mom could see what her decision to choose life has meant for Mikayla.

Never did I see her purpose more clearly than when she was recovering from double foot surgery. Mikayla was born with hip dysplasia as well pes cavus (extremely high arches). The hip dysplasia was corrected by wearing a harness for the first couple months of her life. But, the high arches caused her to begin walking up on her toes and thus needed extensive surgery to lower her arches.

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The recovery time included 2 months in a wheelchair, as well as numerous appointments to the Orthopedic clinic at Children’s Hospital in Seattle.

Mikayla demonstrated her strength and purpose while singing worship songs to the little 18 month old boy next to us in the hospital recovering from surgery to remove a tumor. When the kids at school didn’t know how to handle her being different and in a wheelchair, she learned tricks to do on the playground in her wheelchair. When going to follow-up appointments, Mikayla would make her way around the waiting room at Children’s greeting all the other children in wheelchairs. And, when the surgeon lost his cool with her and acted unprofessionally, she extended a hug to him along with words of forgiveness.

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I don’t know what the future holds for Mikayla. But, I am clinging to and already witnessing God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11-13, which says, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Monday Morning Meltdown

Confession time…I once told my husband I wanted to go to counseling to learn how to get out the door in the morning with my children without becoming a complete crazy person.

Some seek marriage counseling or advice on how to deal with a painful past, but I was desperate for someone to tell me how to accomplish this morning task without yelling, screaming, frantically throwing stuff together, shouting orders, and an overall tense body.

God began a work in me. I wanted a different way. He opened my heart to homeschooling which drastically changed our mornings.

But, what I discovered is that even with homeschooling, Monday morning still comes. In fact, Sunday evening still happens as well. Sunday evening, I begin hearing in a pitiful voice, “Oh no. It’s Sunday night. That means tomorrow is Monday. School tomorrow. I don’t want to do school. Do we have to do school tomorrow?”

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Following Sunday evening, comes the dreaded Monday morning. Sleeping through their alarms, acting like zombies, wandering around in a daze uttering complaints under their breath. Tell me I am not alone in this?

Operating in my flesh, I become “drill sergeant mom”, barking orders, dismissing complaints, rushing around in my frantic state.

Operating in the Spirit, the Lord whispers to me, My way is better. I am your counselor. Try My way.

Here is how the Holy Spirit is counseling me on how to avoid the Monday Morning Meltdown:

1. Quiet time in God’s word each morning. Not only on Monday mornings like a band-aid, but each morning to receive the instruction and guidance needed to change old patterns.

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2. Memory verse. Commit a verse to memory so that when Monday Morning Meltdown begins, God’s word will already be in your mind and heart. My current verse is, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.

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3. Seek the Spirit through prayer. Ask the Spirit to fill you. Empty your mind and heart of your own way and seek the way of Jesus.

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4. Firm but calm. For years, I confused harsh with firm. Whatever the Spirit reveals to you, stick with. In practical terms for my family, this meant to ask the child to take their school work to their room to complete until they had a question or were ready to work in the presence of the rest of us. This request was made in a normal tone of voice, the same way I would say, “Please pass the butter.” Child sulked upstairs, completed work in solitude, came back down later with no love lost.

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Romans 12: 2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

The Spirit is renewing my mind, giving me fresh ways to have peace in my heart and peace in our home. What is the Lord doing in your home? I would love to hear!

That Old Familiar Fear

Stepping out of the van into the hot, dry air, I couldn’t breathe. Was it the heat? The dust? No, it was that old familiar feeling: fear. I looked around, just need to get my bearings. Cement buildings. Dry hills. Old busses. Unfamiliar faces. Brown trees. Dark colored bugs crawling around in the dust. I can’t stay here.img_7453

“Mom, mom, mom, I am hot.” Oh, there’s my person. She’s the reason I am here. I have to stay. Come on, get your bearings. Get it together.

We had arrived at Rancho De Sus Ninos, an orphanage in Tijuana for our week long mission trip, along with 60 other people. Mikayla and I were tagging along with another church, not our church, so Mikayla could experience something she had saved up for and had been talking about for years. She was ready. I had been an anxious mess leading up to this point and here I was, filled with fear.

This wasn’t my first mission trip. When I was a brand new Christian, I stepped out with bold adventure on a mission trip to Honduras. That was before. Before becoming dependent on modern medicine for health maintenance. Before two incredible little girls became dependent on me.

The questions always couple with fear. What if you forgot your medicine? What if your kidneys fail? What if the food or water make you sick? What if you end up needing medical help out here in the desert? What if Abby is sad the whole time you are gone? What if this isn’t a safe place for Mikayla to be and she gets kidnapped? What if? What if? What if? My heart pounds and the fear is winning.

“Come on, mom. Everyone is picking their bunks. Mom, hurry!” There’s that voice again interrupting my useless thought pattern.

My heart stopped racing. My mind stopped rehearsing the what ifs. I remembered.

God, my provider.

God, my healer.

God, my comfort.

God, my power.

God, my voice.

God, my strength.

God, my Father.

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Throughout my walk with God I have experienced trials bringing an excruciating amount of fear with them. Sleepless weeks, irritable days, panic filled hours, minutes that stretched on like hours. I have found that if I can talk about, journal about, take note of how God led me to my current place and how His goodness has never, ever, not once, let me down, then I can walk through those fear-filled times. I remember thinking that once I truly arrived as a Christian, once I really matured, once I learned more of God’s word, I wouldn’t deal with fear anymore. What I am finding is that fear is dictating less of my life and the Spirit’s voice is becoming louder and faster, more dominant. And this is good. So very good.