Where is God? {When things get hard}

First I have to say how important it is for us as moms shepherding our children to be in God’s Word daily. Y’all. I know it’s hard. I’m in a place where it could feel impossible homeschooling 5 kids ages 9 and under. I’m NOT an early riser. And with 5 with different needs–someone always, always, ALWAYS needs me. Instead of carving out time to be with God AWAY from them–I take them with me. If you are a mom struggling to find time to have a quiet time–maybe see this as a season…to have a not so “quiet” quiet time–and to take them to the cross with you…to go there every day TOGETHER. Psalm 84:3, “Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!”

Each morning the children and I sit down together and we read out of the NIRV Adventure Bible together. (We have lots of Bible study favorites…this is one of them as well as Betty Lukens felt stories through the Bible. Old school. Good stuff.)

When we read the Adventure Bible, we read the “Live It” application section and the scriptures that go along with it. We are currently in Exodus–in the drama of Moses leading his people out of Egypt. And today–the Lord spoke to me through this morning time with my little ones…and I just had to share a perspective I’ve never seen in this story…as the Israelites asked I’m sure to themselves, “Where is God when we need Him most?”

So to set the scene…

The Egyptians have been ruling over the Israelites–treating them as slaves…making them build bricks from straw and ruling brutally demanding almost the impossible. The Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush–and told Moses to go to Pharaoh and to tell him to let His people go. Moses confesses his fear before the Lord of speaking to Pharaoh–and instead of getting upset with Moses lack of trust or faith or courage–the Lord provides a sidekick for Moses through Moses’s brother Aaron. They go to Pharaoh over and over and over–and over and over and over Pharaoh says NO. Plagues are sent to Egypt–and finally after the Passover (where things got bloody awful)–Pharoah FINALLY let the people go.

BUT.

Not for long.

Pharaoh changed his mind. And loads up 600 of his best chariots and their riders and heads out in high pursuit after the Israelites.

So here the Israelites are. They’ve endured hardship and a heavier hand because of Moses following the Lord already in the past. They finally trust the Lord again and leave Egypt with Moses. They are camping out by the Red Sea when they look up–and Oh MY WORD…they see Pharaoh and a ARMY coming after them. And they panic.

WHERE ARE YOU GOD? You brought us through so much. You helped us survive living through hardship in Egypt. And now what? You bring us to the desert to DIE?? Why???!!! Where. Are. You???

Exodus 14 is where it all goes down.

(Starting in verse 11 they lose it…) “They said to Moses, “Why did you bring us to the desert to die? Weren’t their any graves in Egypt? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? We told you in Egypt, “Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians.” It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die here in the desert!”

Have you ever felt like that?

You followed the Lord in a big way. You took a risk. And now. On the other side. Oh my glory. It’s not what you expected. It’s harder than you imagined. You felt like the Lord was asking you to trust Him–to follow Him–to do this or that…and now…it’s all falling apart. WHERE ARE YOU GOD?

There are a couple of things that the Israelites COULD. NOT. SEE.

For one. They had never seen the Promised Land. They had NO IDEA what the end of this journey looked like. They had no idea all the blessings the Lord had in store for them. They had no idea how perfect God’s plan was. They had no idea the glory the Lord was about to receive through this really hard season. And they had no idea how the Lord–their God–was RIGHT. THERE. WITH. THEM.

And their fearless leader spoke words–words that YOU and I need to hear.

(verse 13 and 14…) “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm. You will see how the Lord will save you today. Do you see those Egyptians?? You will never see them again. The Lord will fight for you. Just be still.”

Did you hear that??

Do you see those Egyptians in your life?? Whatever that is right now?? Trust the Lord–and you will never see them again. The LORD will fight for you. JUST BE STILL.

And this…

THIS…

THIS is what you really need to read coming up RIGHT HERE. Get this in verse 19…

The angel of God had been traveling in front of Israel’s army…

Are you kidding me???

THE ANGEL OF GOD?? The angel of God had been traveling in front of them?? Yes. And then…

(verse 19) “…Now he moved…”

And that’s where some of us find ourselves today.

Where is the God that brought me here?? Where are you God?? I felt you wanted me to follow…I did…and now I don’t see you…YOU MOVED. But you promised to never leave me. But I don’t feel you–or see you–and something changed…but I’m supposed to keep moving…I’m supposed to keep walking forward??? I don’t understand!

Ever feel like that.

And the answer. Is often…YES.

Because get this. The angel of God who was going BEFORE them–did move. AND they were STILL supposed to keep going in the same direction they originally felt the Lord tell them to walk in. Just because they didn’t feel Him or see Him in every moment–they were to follow the direction the Lord originally told them to go in until He said turn or stop or something else…even when it was hard or seemed like He left them–HE WAS REALLY THERE. So where was He??

(starting in verse 19…) “The angel of God had been traveling in front of Israel’s army. Now he moved back and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved away from in front of them. Now it stood behind them. It came between the armies of Egypt and Israel. All through the night the cloud brought darkness to one side and light to the other.”

And the angel of the Lord going behind them was their PROTECTION. He never left them. He was still right there. He had already paved the way–and although it felt for a moment things might have changed–nothing had changed other than He was doing even MORE to protect them.

The story gets better and better how the Lord fights for His children. And in the end–the Egyptians ARE defeated…the Israelites are the only survivors and even more glory was brought to the Lord through what felt hard for a season. The Lord never left them–instead the angel of the Lord had moved to bring more protection to them and to do a great big work in their lives and in the lives of their families.

Today the Lord reminded us through this kids Adventure Bible…sitting there on the floor with my children…that our God is faithful. When we do not feel Him–He is still fighting for us…and often His not being in front of us–just might mean He is behind us instead. Just because we don’t see Him walking in front of us–doesn’t mean we need to stop, get discouraged or be complacent. But rather–we need to remember what we know He has spoken to our hearts and keep putting one foot in front of the other–trusting Him to protect us and pave the way regardless if we FEEL Him in every part of the journey.

He keeps His promises. He will never leave or forsake you. And if it’s been awhile since you have heard from Him…just keep going to His Word–reading and trusting Him to fight for you. And just be still.

Praying for those of you who needed this encouragement today:)

xoxo.

Andrea

What do you want to be when you grow up?

And so I asked again. “What do you want to be when you grow up…”

Parker (9): “I wanna be a professional anything. Doesn’t matter what sport.”

Isaac (4): “I wanna be a tea-cha. Did you know Maddie at preschool can aw-red-dy read? And I wanna play the vi-wo-wen too.”

Frank (5): “I guess I’ll just say my 2nd choice cause I know the first might never happen. A cowboy.”

(of course I asked what the first choice was…”

Frank: “I wanna play drums in a show. At least once. Then just be a cowboy.”

Laney (8): “BE? I’ll tell ya where I want to WORK. I wanna work at Menchies cause I wanna BE happy!”

Gotta love being a kid!! Oh how I love mine!!

They have also convinced me that we need to make a story book from Sparky the gerbil whom Parker got for Christmas. Here’s some of our recent Sparky captures for your enjoyment;)

When I leave the room {Natalie Grant}

Well done Natalie Grant. Oh my glory. I don’t often post videos–but I on iTunes downloading songs for my daughter…and I some how ran across this new recording by Natalie Grant. I just have to share. Natalie truly knocks it out of the park heart and soul with this one with every word and emotion showing a mother’s heart for her children. My only head’s up–you need a box of tissues to get through this one. If you avoid closing your eyes thinking about your children you will do a much better job not losing it;)

Just beautiful. So many times we will have to “leave the room” and trust them into His care…over and over and over again. And on our knees…we will be for them. The ending–so beautiful too. The fear I struggle with when I think about what would happen if I even left this world early is–would they be okay?? I would be–as I would be in His presence. But as moms we just have to trust that He would be enough for them–and He would watch over and care for them…when we leave the room. He is enough. Oh my…without further adieu you must listen to this…

Or you can go and watch it directly on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-cpPBNEACE

So thankful and blessed to get to be a mom to my loves.

So thankful for this most beautiful gift of mommy hood. Worth it.

xoxo.

andrea:)

The Journey of the Magi {printable 2 week devotional! FREE!}

Instead of reposting daily here the devotionals (which were posted 2 years on my blog), I put these in a FREE downloadable PDF for you to print off and enjoy with your children! This is a sweet tradition we do year after year following Christmas. There are 11 devotionals about the magi–to start your year off in a sweet way after celebrating Jesus’s birth.

As we put away some of our decorations–we leave our nativity out. We move our wise men on the other side of our home. Each day–we move them closer to Jesus–and we have a devotional about them together. At the end of each devotional, we write down a way that each of us saw Jesus that day–in something or someone and we place it in our treasure box. There is nothing sweeter than starting our year off by looking for Jesus together–just like the wise men. This has become a sweet tradition we always do after Christmas–and it’s the perfect way to lead into and start a new year!

YOU CAN PRINT OFF THE FREE PDF “THE JOURNEY OF THE MAGI” DEVOTIONAL HERE

If you don’t want to print this off–you should also be able to open it in your browser and read along each day with your children!

May you have a blessed journey together looking for Jesus and drawing closer to Him! Wishing you an amazing year ahead!

xoxo!

Andrea

Journey of the Magi – Devotional Day 2 {They came from the East…}

Join us on the Journey of the Magi–you can start with the Intro HERE and then Day 1 HERE.

Day 2 – “They came from the East…”

Today we will see in the lives of the Magi the importance of stepping out in faith…even when you feel like you are alone…even when what God is asking you to do doesn’t make perfect sense…even when God’s plan for your day isn’t comfortable. The amazing thing the Lord does here is that He also provides others to walk this difficult journey with each wise man. Not one had to journey alone. They had separate callings, but often the Lord will give us friends and other people to step out in faith with during different seasons of our lives just like He did for the wise men.

Matthew’s book in the Bible gives the fullest story of the Magi in the Bible–and from Matthew we are only told they are from the east.

Matthew 2:1-2 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the One who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.”

Matthew tells us in his book the Magi came from the east. He just says Magi–and we assume there were 3 as we learn later that they brought three gifts to present to Jesus. Tradition, however, has also passed down and it has been historically documented that there were, indeed, three; it is also documented in historical writing that they were from the families of Shem, Ham and Japhet–some speculate that one was from Africa (northern Ethiopia)–and scholars have speculated that they came from Persia, Arabia, or even India). Their names are given as Casper, Balthasar and Melchoir in historical writings.

During this time, Magi were very important leaders in the government. For these leaders to leave their city and place in the government would have been quite a big deal! They risked losing their place in the government power–everything they had worked a lifetime to achieve–all for the sake of obeying God and going to worship His Son. To tell those who were under them, in their care and who followed them and trusted in their leadership that they were leaving to follow a STAR to see the Son of God–would have not only raised eyebrows but might have also risked their reputation being the wise men that so many saw them to be. Many probably thought they were crazy!

Magi were not only powerfully politically, but they also had priestly duties and were seen as holy. Many may have not agreed with their leaving their duties and families to follow God in this way–but we know the Magi went. They obeyed God, and they took a risk not worrying about what others thought of them in order to obey and do what God was asking them to do.

Their journey was not a short one either–but most likely OVER 900 miles by camel. (Our family lives in Atlanta, Georgia–so this would be like us traveling on camel and by foot all the way to San Antonio, Texas! Take a minute to go to this website: http://www.distancebetweencities.net/ and finding a city 900 miles from where you live. Now you can better understand why it probably took the Magi 1-2 years to finally reach baby Jesus to worship Him!)

Not an easy journey to begin with…and if scholars are correct that they were EACH from different countries. You can imagine each of their journeys had to begin separately–and then they came together. This was during a time of NO telephone, email or letter writing–so God spoke to each of the Magi separately, and each of the Magi had to step out in faith regardless if they thought they would be alone on the entire journey. But one day they came together as they got closer to Bethlehem following the star that would take them to the Light of the World–Jesus Christ.

Many times our journeys, the most difficult ones the Lord asks us to take will be like the wisemen, and we feel like we begin it all alone. However, God is always with us–willing to lead and guide us as we look to Him and follow Him step by step.

Many times, the Lord will also provide others to journey with us—who kind of meet us half way yet they become just a big part of our journeys. Together we encourage one another and cheer one another on—pick one another up when one falls and rejoice as we get closer to the finish line that the Lord has called us to.

The Lord always guides, and He always provides. And with Herod ahead at their next stop in Jerusalem…they would need one another for what was ahead. Can you think of a time when you and a friend were on the same journey–where you both felt like God was calling you to do the SAME thing? Has there been a time when you felt like God was asking you to do something and you were afraid to step out an do it all by yourself? There will be times in your life when you feel like you are alone in your journey–but you can pray that God will provide a friend to walk beside you and you can encourage one another and point one another to Jesus along the way!

Thank you God how you always provide for us on our journeys. Thank you that you are always with us–and that in your great grace you also provide others to journey with us. Help us to step out in faith and follow you before we see others doing the same–and to trust that you will provide others to encourage us along the way when we need it most.

Remember to share a way you saw Jesus today–and add it to your family’s treasure box!

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