Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
My family and I are on a miracle trip. Seriously. On a waiting list of 1800 people, we were chosen to attend a therapeutic retreat in Java, NY at the Biggest Loser Resort. While here, we are uniting as a family to combat the aftermath of war and the damage that it has done. This organization is so gracious and their love for military families smells like Jesus. Project Sanctuary has gifted us the uninterrupted time to sit down and exhale the pain of the past and inhale hope for the future. It has been good. God has been present.
Yesterday we were taken to Niagara Falls. And as excited as we all were, extreme anxiety and hesitancy was more our fit. After all, you’re taking 10 families with Combat PTSD daddies into a crowd of thousands that are exploding with triggers of a different time. It was tough. Really tough. We huddled together and military men mapped our steps as if we were on the battlefield. And when opposition attacked, the leader gave orders and made a way. We made it through a sea of people who could care less what service dogs represented and stepped out onto a boat where for a few minutes, the mist of the falls washed away what the stress of the day, our lives, had really been. As we approached land, the push of the crowd made tension rise and I felt fear and worry on the back of my neck. It was almost as if you could hear satan laughing at what was to come.
We made it off but not without disregard for our family and losing both of our daughters within seconds. We regrouped time and time again and still, the daddies were hanging in there. Me, not so much. And I’m not even going to play the Christian girl card. The intensity of this day and the threat of an attack was much louder than my security in Christ. The reality right in front of my face that wreaked of rude strangers and belittling comments against our own, made it hard to be like Jesus. The battle was raging not only around us but inside of me too. And then, it happened.
Not only is there a line to get onto the boat, there is a crowded, smelly line to get onto the elevators to exit. A little girl and her father stepped away for minutes to use the bathroom and as they were returning it was our turn to step onto the elevator. Our leader respectfully told the employees that we were waiting on them, who where in plain sight, and from that moment on, I’ve never experienced such persecution as we did this day in my life, ever. And it wasn’t even for proclaiming the name of Christ but for being a part of a family who has stood up for the rights of this country and risked their lives, their families so that anyone and everyone could visit Niagara Falls.
I will spare you the details. But I will admit my lack of trust, my screaming fear, and my loss of control. I’m talking sobbing with uncontrollable shaking and a soul that for a moment, forgot it’s security in Christ. The evil lurking in that moment threatened doom and it was all I could hear. But instead, it ended. We were escorted to safety and reassured that those employees didn’t represent the entirety of the place. It didn’t matter what he said. I had lost my way. I had taken my eyes off of Jesus and had stared right into the face of our attack.
I’m not certain what is threatening your life right about now but I honestly can tell you that I know how easy it is to lose sight of trust and only see what is standing right in front of you. Scripture is imprinted on my heart and my breath speaks of a protecting Father often and yet I know what it’s like to crumble in the midst of the battle and forget who’s team I’m really on. The fight against fear with a shield of faith and a helmet of salvation hasn’t come easy to me and when looking right into the eyes of danger I almost couldn’t remember it at all. Have you ever been here before? Are you up to your neck in mire and for a moment, forgotten the security found in Jesus? Cancer, an empty bank account, abuse, divorce, or maybe even job loss? I can’t imagine the war raging this very day in your life but I can almost bet there is one. But take it from me, God is faithful even when we aren’t.
I’ve never been as shaken as I was yesterday. I’ve never been as afraid as I was yesterday. I’ve never panicked with such intensity that my first resort wasn’t prayer. But yesterday, it happened. I came undone in the worst kind of way.
Once returning to the resort, I slipped off to our room to sit in numbness. And then, my identity returned. Repentance for my lack of trust. A forgiving Father who wrapped me in His love like a warm blanket and drew me in to the story of baby Moses in a basket. (Exodus 2)
A real story that smelled like danger and yet, one with a courageous mother who trusted Jesus and put her soft baby into a basket. A basket that held a world changer waiting to be found.
A baby boy with a death warrant set out for his life from the beginning and a mother who’s faith knew that God would somehow reach down a save that sweet baby boy from a floating basket in the Nile is unbelievable to me. Her courage to look danger right in the face and stand firm in her faith reminds me that it is possible. That even when evil was reality, she chose to take action against it teaches me a hard lesson. This lullaby to my wounded spirit reminded me that if I will trust in Him in the face of danger, I can change the world in His name too. How soothing to my soul it was. And then, I saw the good from the bad.
Whatever it is your dealing with, whatever choice you’ve made, there is always hope. Our security is found in the blood of the cross and He is forever faithful. If you need to repent today because you’ve marched into battle all on your own and taken your eyes off of Jesus, do so. But then, my goodness, lift your eyes to the Maker of the hills and believe that there is going to be a way out and that there will be good from the bad. Always.
Persevere my friend. Put your armor of God on and stand firm in the battles of this life. After all, we’ve already won.