Caught in a Memory

Do you ever get caught in a memory?

Do you ever get caught in a memory?

You’re driving down the road minding your own business as you sing along to your favorite song. The light turns green and as your feet presses on the gas and lets up on the clutch you feel yourself jolt and your breath catch in your chest. A memory streaks across your mind stirring up emotions you thought were buried deep below the waves. Their little faces cause your eyes to fill with tears that overflow and overwhelm your heart. A memory you thought was buried, one you thought you could escape, but the day, the way the sun hit off the clouds and the air filled your lungs with the sweet smells of summers end, all barreled at you and before you realized it you were drowning in a sea of feelings because the memory took you captive.

Moses was an incredible leader and follower of God who never got to walk into The Promised Land. He raised up another leader who would eventually lead the people of Israel across the Jordan and into the land of milk and honey.

All through Exodus we see the nation of Israel on a hard, long, painful journey in hopes of entering a place God promised them. They walked in shoes that became filled with memories of torment, abuse, slavery, and fear. Memories of how God saved them by parting the Red Sea, sending manna and quail, a pillar of cloud leading them by day and a pillar of fire by night. They followed Moses, sometimes grumbling and fighting the journey, as Moses listened and followed God trusting Him for The Promised Land.

In Joshua 1 we see Moses has passed away and God tells Joshua to get up and be ready; that he will be the one who takes the people across the Jordan.

I picture Joshua standing in the night air next to the rushing water as he listens to the calm night sky whisper as the wind rushes through the brush. I can just see his face as he contemplates all God has told him and as he wrestles with this new calling. “Strong and courageous,” two words branded on his heart, on a warriors heart. Joshua is a mighty warrior and does not take those words lightly, they weigh on him. I picture him standing by that river remembering all this nation has been through to get to this moment. His hands lifted in worship as he focuses on his loving Father. This warrior is ready to walk into The Promised Land knowing God is with him.

God calls them to move and the most incredible thing happens! The Jordan, during flood stage, stops! God STOPS the river and the entire nation walks across on DRY ground! This is the second time God has them walk on dry ground where it should be covered with water, once at the beginning of their journey into the desert and here at the end of the journey as they leave the desert. We see in Joshua 4 they make it to the other side and God tells Joshua to choose 1 man from each of the 12 tribes to collect a stone from the middle of the Jordan where the priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood as they crossed. They were to stack the stones in order to be a sign for future generations to see that this, this place, was where Israel crossed the river on dry ground because God STOPPED the river.

A memory, a stamp in time, marked by a memorial to evoke an emotion, to evoke worship. Joshua took remembering serious, he did what God asked. Israel needed reminders of God’s power and His works.

We need to be struck by memories. We need to get lost in the embrace of what God has done and trust that those memories will only strengthen our trust in a deep way so that we can fall further into His chest and trust Him for all the unknowns of the present and the future.

This time of year begins one that is filled with hardness for my little family as those memories surface, sometimes from out of nowhere, but as I lay here listening to the night whisper His unmeasurable glory, I’m reminded to remember and hold those memories dear even when they hurt, even when they bring tears, even when sadness seems to overtake. I’m reminded to worship the Creator for the good and the bad knowing He uses everything for His glory. Those hard roads can lead us into a place that is filled with milk and honey and only makes our stories sweeter! Those memories glorify a good good Father and show His faithfulness and how holy He is. So as the weather teases us with the promises of hoodies, football, and pumpkin spice everything let us fall head first into worship as we remember all He has done for us!

Blessings,

Stacy

Crossing to the New Year

Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams.

December 17, 2017

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2017 is coming to a close and I find myself battling a deep sadness. As I look to the future and those promises 2018 already holds I find myself tempted to quiver backwards in fear. My head wants to fall and darkness wants to find me huddled in a corner. I have a choice to make.

I love the book of Joshua and the story of a man who was always trying to seek and find God. Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams. The Israelites instead pulled back in fear and followed the 10 unbelieving spies. The next 4 decades saw Israel wandering the desert as the original Israelites passed away and Joshua was being prepared to follow in Moses’ footsteps.

Here in Joshua 1 God is giving Joshua his marching orders so to speak. Can you imagine: Moses, your leader, has passed away and now the entire community is being turned over to you! The weight of this had to press on Joshua’s shoulders, there had to be fear knocking on his heart as he faced the promises of his future. There had to be a moment that he was tempted to run and hide. Joshua, a true mighty warrior, was told by God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, to be strong and courageous multiple times while giving him simple instructions that will make Joshua successful.

I picture this remarkable warrior quietly taking in all God has said as he stands next to the Jordan River. The sun is setting and the sounds of the rivers ebb and flow soothes his mind and eases his heart as he faces his future. I see his face wrinkled from a life hard lived in the desert; his eyes softened from meeting with God and longing to walk closer and deeper with Him. I see the stars finding their resting place for the night and the moon settling in as Joshua worships and adores The Creator of the entire universe. Joshua faces his future head on knowing that God is with him wherever he goes.

As we face the crossing of 2017 to 2018 we have a choice to make. Maybe you are like me and you find yourself looking at the promises of 2018 and wanting to run and hide, maybe there is an excitement in your lungs as you take a deep breath and jump head first into 2018, or maybe you have no feelings at all about crossing into yet another new year. Whichever camp you fall into we can learn lessons from Joshua and listening to what God tells this strong warrior.

First, we need to listen to what he calls Joshua, “Strong and Courageous.” God reminds a man who has seen war to be strong and courageous multiple times. We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings who can come against us? Whom shall we fear? We are strong and courageous. We are warriors for God and He placed this identity in us.

Second, The Word needs to be on our lips and we need to have our noses in His book. If Joshua follows this God says He will be prosperous and successful. The more we meet God through His story the more our hearts mold and refine to look like Him. Our tongue is an incredibly powerful tool, James chapter 3: 1-12 tells us how powerful it truly is. Out of the mouth comes the things of our hearts and if our hearts are focused on God and His Word we pour out power for His glory and His Kingdom. Success and prosperity may look different than your knee jerk thought. It will be pure and heavenly. It may be a little backwards from our fleshly thinking. God tends to do things backwards. For example a King born in a barn and lay in a manger.

Lastly, God tells Joshua He will be with Him wherever He goes. There is great comfort in knowing that God is with us always. So those moments we are scared, those moments fear tries to sneak in, those moments that we hold the promises God has promised we can find deep comfort and relief knowing God is holding us close (Psalm 91:4).

So as this New Year, 2018, sneaks its way into our present, watch the stars rise and the sun set with a smile and deep trust in your heart knowing that God is right beside you and you are strong and courageous. As you meditate on His Word and follow Him you will prosper and find heavenly success for the Kingdom.

Blessings as 2017 closes and Merry Christmas!

Stacy

Excitement in the Calling

There is a particular excitement in the air. You know what I am talking about; that moment you feel God and He is so close and His wings cover you and hold you so tightly that your lungs want to burst out of your chest in excitement!

Tomorrow I get to sit down and speak. Exciting, right? I can hardly sit still at the thought of talking about Jesus! It’s funny, years ago I would have screamed and curled up in a corner crying at the very thought of talking in front of others; not because I was scared, but mostly because I truly felt unworthy, uninteresting, and OH… how I longed to be unnoticed.

God created a unique story for each of us and no one, not a single person, who has lived or will ever live will has your own very unique story. Isn’t that incredible?

You are a one of a kind and God has written a special story with your life that no one will ever get to hold; only you! Let that sink in for a moment…..

I climbed on a plane back in July to come home after one of the most incredible weekends of my life and as I sat in that seat and watched the clouds surround our plane and roll by I wrote. I had been praying and asking God what He wanted for our group, The Box. I had been struggling and was beginning to feel the pressure of time as our kickoff was approaching. I was longing to talk about the Minor Prophets and tell the stories of The Old Testament. I love talking about The Old Testament and I longed to get lost in the study and research of the text. As I began to write at 20,000+ feet high, what poured out of my pencil was how God wanted me to see myself in Him! One thing I wrote that surprised me was, “I am a speaker!” This was huge, no this was GIANT! I knew He was calling me to speak and I know deep in my heart this is the calling He has for me. To actually speak this and write this after ten years was momentous for me. It was alive and I was completely on board with this idea that God could use me for this calling that I was completely unequipped to pursue.

The calling He has placed on your life, that special thing, is special! It has purpose and He will use it to glorify Himself.

God allowed me to get an art degree and He fills my paintbrush with paint that fills the canvas to glorify Him and He gave my feet the talent for soccer and now allows me to coach the sport I have loved since I could kick a ball; but there is something so special about that calling He places on your life. I’m not talking about what you are good at or where your talents are, I am talking about that thing He shows you that He longs for you to do for Him. It may be parenting or teaching; it could be caring for animals or those who are sick or in need of healing; or it could be writing or simply serving others where you are at in this moment.

My excitement level to get to speak to others about Him is so on FIRE and it is truly one of the last things I ever wanted to do or even enjoyed. I am not a good speaker. I am the poster child for introverts and I am not enough when I stand before others but there is one who is and when He does, Oh man! Things happen!

I want to encourage you to embrace where God has placed you and talk to Him, confide in Him, worship Him. The story He is writing in your life is for Him and He will do amazing things through you and your weakness!

Blessings,

Stacy

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9