there’s a story in Exodus about Moses raising his arms to heaven during battle. But his arms grew weak & heavy and as he lowered them to his side, they began to lose against their enemy. When he would raise them again, they would begin to win. Finally, his friends saw his tired arms and they raised both arms for him. And then won. Moses built an alter and the Lord told him to name it, “the Lord is my Banner.” Jehovah Nissi. There’s something Holy in war and chaos and choosing to declare even still that He is a Banner over us. there’s something Holy and humble in growing tired and trusting the strength of believers around you to keep you lifted Heavenward. there’s something Holy in remaining silent, and believing in who He says you are is your identity. theres a Holy finding in using your voice , even with the enemies foot on your throat. theres a Holy thing in messing up countless times and still having Jesus walk us home. there’s a joy in this season , 29 weeks pregnant, being a mother in the quiet and unseen, listening to my husband on a live stream pray about righteousness and sanctifying ourselves while doing the dishes and little boys yelling in the background, feeling far from those words but even still He can be found there. He is our Banner and we are hidden under that name. We are able to fear no evil though it rages all around. Jehova Nissi, doing a Holy thing in my womb knitting our 3rd baby boy, all the while doing a Holy thing in the world today , crashing down idols and exposing evil and making His Name greater than all other names. His hand gentle enough to create a precious baby and fierce enough to crush any fire breathing dragon. And there is sin and there is chaos and this is the mess we chose , and even still , His Banner over us remains love. a love that fights for His children to come home.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner; exodus 17

Abba hunger

When I watched my husband become a dad for the first time, it was as though I was watching the Father invite him into something deep and sacred. And through the years I’ve witnessed my husband honor that invitation so well. When my sons call on their daddy, he always shows up. He never fails to comfort them and he is always there to celebrate with them.

I stood in the back of the church this morning watching a young woman my age as she handed one of her babies to her own dad. He walked hand in hand with his grandchild, looking so proud. It made me smile. There are little moments in others lives that we witness and the enemy will attempt to make us feel abandoned and fatherless. And I admit I felt it for a second, that father hunger. But my Heavenly Father is so faithful to fill and love. A few moments later our worship pastor sang along the lines, “child, I see you. Child, I am with you.” And I know this is true for me, and it’s so true for you. This day used to feel lonely until I was able to view God as Abba. then he spoiled me with our own children, and celebrating their father with them on this day is a blessing. Despite where you’re at, on this day and everyday, He is calling out to you, ‘child I see you. I am with you.’

If you’re a dad to your own children, be the best that you can be. Show up on every occasion. Every moment of sadness. Every moment of joy. Let your children know you love them just because they are yours.

And if you’re feeling fatherless today — we have a Father in Heaven who looks at you in the greatest admiration. He is proud of you in every moment and He will never abandoned you.

He is our Abba and we are His children and when we are hungry, He provides our bread.

The same way a loving father feels toward his children—
that’s but a sample of your tender feelings toward us,
your beloved children, who live in awe of you.
You know all about us, inside and out.
You are mindful that we’re made from dust.

Psalm103

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

Romans 8 (message)

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Romans 8 (NKJ)

dare to hope

In a season that the Father is clearly dealing with the heart of man, we can invite Him in to look at our own souls. A verse I learned to pray from my husband when we were just dating is in Psalm 139, inviting the Father in to search and deal accordingly, as I look at the world right now and see sinful nature rising to the surface, I offer this prayer to Him again:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

When He walks us through the valley of repentance, we can trust that the pruning will allow us to bear fruit once again. We can trust that though it feels like loud silence, He never leaves or forsakes us. When we have not known loving discipline of an ever loving father, and when it comes our natural reaction may be to act like an unruly child. But when we come to know Him, we know that He corrects those He loves deeply. I love what lamentations says : if he works severely, he also works tenderly. My prayer is that we never get too comfortable or mighty in our walk with Jesus that we forget to invite the Father to search and know us. To correct us and direct us. And let us bear much more fruit than ever before.

In a season of lament we can in return DARE TO HOPE:

Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!” NLT

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.
28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The “worst” is never the worst.
Why? Because the Master won’t ever
walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
(MSG)

Lamentations 3

soak me clean

Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
    scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
    set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
    give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
    shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
    or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
    put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
    and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
    I’ll let loose with your praise.

Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice

Psalm51 msg