Thursday, March 25, 2010

Going to Battle

God is so good! He really, REALLY is! Now this is not to say that God is not good normally or that on even my worst days He still isn't good, but TODAY God and I are having an absolute blast! He is showing up and saying check me out all over the place today! It's really kind of hilarious. It's all I can do to take it all in, my mind, my heart, my soul... we're all bursting at the seems with praise! God you are GOOD!

One of God's stops throughout our day so far today took place at my Thursday morning Bible Study. Caden and I were walking down the hallway after printing out all of his tags and I was preparing myself for the waterworks. In my mind I was saying, "Hang in there, Caden! Nursery H... there it is... hang in there! It's going to be GREAT!"

Once we pull up to the nursery door I flip the stroller around to get Caden out and I notice his face and I am SHOCKED that it was not red. I am even more shocked as I continue to unbuckle him that his bottom lip remained in place and that no pouts of sadness made their way out of his mouth. And then in the moment of complete and utter shock and awe... as Caden crossed the pathway from Mommyland to Nurseryland, he looked back at me, NOT ONE TEAR in his eye and I told him that I loved him and that I'd see him in a few hours. NOT ONE TEAR! Y'all... Caden didn't cry!! 

Now, to be fair to sweet Caden he's had some really great days in the nursery lately. BUT he always cries at drop off and usually at pick-up too and then usually there is a sprinkling in between, but week by week, day by day, hour by hour Caden has been making progress!!

And today NO TEARS! Never! Not one! Not at drop off, not at pick-up, not during class. Not one! 

So yes, Glory be to God for a no tear nursery day, YES!! BUT even more glory be to God for teaching me such a valuable lesson through this entire experience! You didn't think that crying in the nursery would be for nothing did you?! NO, NEVER, not when God has anything to say about it, and He ALWAYS has something to say! And he really can't pass up an opportunity to show-off a little... I mean who could blame him?!

After the very first Sunday in January when Justin and I took Caden back to the church nursery we knew that we were in for a tough transition. It was so so so sad to see him so upset. It was such a mixed bag of emotions. We were so happy to finally be back at church and yet Caden was so very upset for the same reason. We knew that church was important and we were just going to have to fight through it and that in time Caden would become adjusted. 

About this time, my Thursday morning Bible Study started up so Caden was getting an extra dose of the nursery each week. So with two times a week we thought the progress would be speedy. The first 3-4 weeks of Bible Study were rough. And of church too. I remember each morning as we'd be eating breakfast I would pray for Caden and my prayers would go something like this:

"Dear Lord, I pray that Caden will shed not one tear today at church. I pray that he will have a good time and that he will not get upset."

Somewhere in the midst of all of this my prayers began to change. I didn't even realized they had changed until today when in a teachable moment I realized what God was trying to show me. I thought about the prayer I prayed this morning over Caden and last Sunday. And the prayer that I prayed the Thursday before that. And the Sunday before that. I realized that my prayer isn't even close to the same. Now my prayer for Caden went something like this:

"Dear Lord, I ask that you would give Caden a spirit of bravery today. I pray that he would have courage in his heart. I pray that he would be a light and an example however small it might be to the other kids in his classroom. I pray for the teachers and for their hearts to find patience and compassion. I pray also for their creativity to teach and comfort the children in their care."

Do you see the difference? I don't even know why this changed. It was not a conscious "I need to pray more like this..." epiphany. If I am to be perfectly honest the only explanation is that I was beginning (and this is just the tip of the VERY large iceberg here) to pray with the mind of Christ. Ah-ha!! That was it. That was my AH-HA moment. 

I was beginning to pray THROUGH my circumstance and not FOR my circumstance! I was beginning to ask for things to help me win the battle and not save me from the fight altogether. In the end the THROUGH prayers were going to answer the FOR prayers, but I had to battle it out! Think about it, if God wanted to silence Caden and never let him shed a tear he could have done just that! Just like all of the battles in the Old Testament. God didn't need people like Joshua to go into battle because He needed their help in order to win! NO! God sent Joshua into battle to teach him! God could have won EVERY battle without anyone ever lifting a sword! But Joshua and his armies had to lift several swords, several times, over and over again! In fact that had to almost lose a battle several times to finally win it! And what a victory story they had to share on the flip side. 

And though most of our earthly battles with never involve a real sword or shield (but we are so thankful for those who do battle this way on our behalf each day) we are sent into battle EVERY day. God sends us into battle for victory!! He sends us there so that we can know Him better. So He can show us His glory! And so that we can turn around on victory's side and proclaim that same glory!! 

So we have arm ourselves, we have to take up our sword of the Spirit and our shield of faith and we have to battle. And along the way we are going to have to fight with bravery and courage. In Caden's case he needed God's help in conquering his fears and so we asked God to give Caden a spirit of bravery so he could go in and battle his fears. We asked God to give him courage. We asked God to give his teachers patience and compassion so that Caden could have a chance to fight it out. So that God would have a chance to reveal His glory in Caden. 

I know you will believe me when I say that before Caden was even born Justin and I placed a frame in his room with the passage from Ephesians about the Armor of God. We knew that we wanted Caden to know this truth more than any other thing aside from the MOST important truth. That he had the authority under God to go to battle. To take up his sword and his shield and get down to business. And that when he did that, we knew that he would never lose! What else could you want for you kid?!

Funny how that has now come full circle. Funny how I have seen Caden go to battle and WIN and funny how God is receiving the glory! Funny how God temporarily let me forget this truth and forget how to pray so that I might understand it even greater than I did before! Funny how God is always purposeful!

Funny how crying is not for nothing! 

God hears our cry! And He answers!


Also funny how fear is one of the things I battle MOST but I don't pray for a Spirit of bravery or of courage for myself. Funny that how I  learned to pray for Caden is exactly how I need to pray for myself. God is not short on teachable moments today! I guess it's time for me to pick up my sword and fight! :)

What a ride! What a ride! God is a crazy fun guy to do life with! Crazy fun!

And now a few pics of my brave little man... 

He looks very Austin-ish to me today... hehe!

As always thanks for letting me share our journey with you!!


Cori said...

You're always so encouraging! Thanks for sharing with me! So proud of Caden and you for your bravery! Love you!

Melissa said...

So this is crazy b/c part of our Thursday morning Bible study was on prayer so I have been reflecting on that throughout the day. I love reading your encouraging glad to hear God working in your life. By the way, love Caden's little outfit...quite the little handsome dude. Love you!