Matthew 19:14 New Living Translation (NLT)
14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”
This morning when I awoke to the chaos of our home, with a toddler that has his own agenda, I wanted to pull the covers back over my head and go back to sleep. It would have been so simple, but then I would have missed out on the blessing Jesus had in store for me today.
I have always been mindful that the Peace I carry in my soul comes from God and I also know that the enemy of our souls will do anything to destroy that Peace. The devil can’t stand it when we choose to live out our Faith in our everyday lives because when we choose to trust the Lord and everything He has for us, the devil loses. And one thing that satan is really good at is making ‘mountains out of molehills’ and replacing our joy, with fear and doubt. Stealing our peace and creating chaos and he will do whatever he can to tear down our walls of Faith and Hope and crush our spirits if we don’t keep our eyes on Jesus. If we take our focus off of Jesus and all the promises of blessed assurance that He is and He will forever be for us and never against us, it’s easy to get into the wrong mindset.
So back to my story…when I awoke, I wasn’t feeling my very best. I was feeling a little poorly. A headache. And a toddler into everything and not wanting to listen to simple instructions. This toddler does have autism, but I also knew he did understand what no meant in the context it was being used and I was already thinking, we just won’t go to church today. I’ll watch the live feed of the sermon and that will just be easier. That’s what the enemy wanted me to think and I almost fell for it. Almost.
This toddler is my grandson and he LOVES going to church. On days when we drive by the church, he wants to go in, even if it’s clothed in darkness. He is so pure and innocent, and for all I know, maybe HE does understand all about Jesus, but can’t express it. Whatever the reason, he has, to want to be there, I should never squash that because I am not “feeling it” or wanting to deal with the struggle of taking him (he’s a runner and very strong). As I waffled back and forth, deciding whether to go or stay, since my husband was out of town and that meant me taking him alone, and thinking of all the ways it could go, he kept tugging at my sweater, asking “chuch?” and I thought about promising him the night before that we would be going to church today. After a few more tugs and simple one-word questions, we got our coats on, held his hand tightly, loaded him into our vehicle and off we went….to church. And please, understand, I also love going to church and being there, worshipping and adoring Jesus, sensing the closeness I feel of His presence, but the struggle with our grandson, sometime’s I give up because I am weary of the struggles.
As we rounded the corner, and the building came into view, he squealed with delight! I knew bringing him was the right decision, but I had no idea how right of a decision it was.
Once he was checked in to the children’s ministry area, I headed to the sanctuary, stopping to chat with other members and grabbing a cup of coffee to sip and enjoy the peace that I always find when I sit and wait for the service to start. Midway, during the Worship Set, as we sang songs to Jesus, the tears started spilling from my eyes, and I couldn’t stop them, and in that moment, I knew Jesus was there, holding me and reminding me of the verse above. The image of letting the children come, do not stop them and in a profound moment, do not let satan stop you from coming to spend time with me. Here or anywhere else.
God knew that I needed to be amongst fellow believers and He knew that I needed to be right there, at that precise moment, when I could let my guard down. That I could sit and weep in His presence and He would hold me tight and let me know that no matter what I face in my daily life He is with me. He gives all of us The Holy Spirit to guide us, and help us in this thing we call life.
For several weeks, I’ve been battling to keep that at the forefront of my life and I am ashamed to say that for the first time in my life, ever, my unshakeable faith was a little shaky. Not shaky in the sense that God was with me, but that I was doubting what He had placed upon my heart to do with my life.
I have always believed and known that the gifts he has blessed me with ~ encouraging others, lifting them up and sharing His Word and stories of how He has brought me to where I am, have been part of my Purpose. But in the last six months, I have felt a tug to do several other things in my life, living into His purpose for my life, and I have been scared. Scared I would fail and fall flat on my face. That in, not fulfilling His plans for my life, I would let Him down and in living with that fear, I have been irritable, a little bit grumpier and “short” with others. Today, though, I was reminded through the eyes of a toddler that God loves me and God will never give me desires without already going before me and giving me everything I need to accomplish them.
God does not give us a spirit of fear or timidity (shyness, being timid). He expects us to BE BOLD. To pursue those dreams and desires with a boldness only He can give. So, I am going to do my best to remember that the desires He has placed upon my heart are there to fulfill His purposes. I may not know or understand them fully, but I am to Trust Him and walk in obedience. And I am His child. I can approach the Throne and know that without a doubt, no matter whether I do something that stretches me beyond what is comfortable to me, HE WILL give me everything I need to accomplish the task. He will never set me up to fail.
And I realized as I was leaving the church building today, that I don’t have to go to a building to experience Jesus. He is with me when I am on my knees, cleaning the bathroom, or doing laundry. He walks right beside me when I am at the store picking up shopping items on a list. He is with me when a toddler is on what seems like “my last nerve” saying, it’s okay. You’re going to be okay because I’ve got you. I am not going anywhere. I will never leave you, never abandon you. No matter how small or big your need is to feel love and accepted, I am here. ALWAYS. Even til the end of the ages. I AM.
I pray that this will encourage you when satan tries to defeat you and steal your peace and joy. Peace and Joy from God is a gift. Embrace it. Live it. Don’t run from it. Be assured that whatever you are going through in this moment, He is right there with you, holding you and loving you. You are His child. At the end of the day, it isn’t about anything or anyone, except Jesus. He truly is enough.
May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right where you are. Blessings to all~Carlene