I have a couple kids at the baseball field, some watching "A Bug's Life", one napping, one playing with Legos and I decided to sit down and write. It feels like a whole lifetime ago that I blogged. I love processing through writing.
I miss it.
It is healthy for me.
I think I will have to wait until heaven to process this life because it is going SO FAST.
I seriously can't keep up... much less process it.
This past year has felt like "the third heaven" in some ways. We have gone through such extreme trials that I have wondered if we died. They definitely should have killed us. Like Paul said, "I dare not speak of it". This last year of suffering has definitely felt like an out-of-body experience and God has spoken to us inexpressible and sacred things.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
2 Cor 12
God has used physical suffering to weaken both me and Tim this last year. If we hadn't have clung to the Word, we would have despaired.
Tears truly felt like my food like David said in Psalms.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Cor 12
This word "weaknesses" means physical sickness or disease.
The word "hardships" means necessary distress and the word "difficulties" means a narrow place or extreme afflictions.
I hope you canNOT relate to these words but I have a feeling you can.
We are not the only ones who have been beat up by trials lately.
Remember that your Christian brothers all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
1 Peter 5:9
I see suffering in so many strong believers lives. There is deep pain in their eyes as they share what they are enduring. These extreme afflictions are like a narrow space. They can be SUFFOCATING.
I think my favorite word in the list is "hardship" because they are NECESSARY.
These trials are doing something. 1 Peter 4 says physical suffering has "a RESULT".
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God."
The result of physical suffering is that we will not live the rest of our lives for earthly human desires but rather for the WILL OF GOD. I can promise you physical suffering has done just that in my life. I look around as I drive my kids all over town and nothing feels familiar anymore. Tim and I long for heaven. We long for our kids to walk with God. We long to finish well. We long to tell people about God. That isn't because we are super spiritual, that is because physical pain and suffering has purified my heart. You realize what matters. There has been a result in our lives. We have been forever changed by suffering. And that is how I can delight in weakness.
In the last few years, we have also grieved watching believers fall and get "disqualified".
At one point, they were serving God. Then over time, they begin walking in pride, the enemy seizes the opportunity to deceive and after years of compromise and rejected counsel... they FALL. :(
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.
Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
1 Cor 9
That is a hard thing to watch and a hard thing to reconcile. I always think of the child of a pastor who at one time had a thriving ministry only to sacrifice it all on the altar of sexual sin. How do his children process it? It is like schizophrenia. The person they were and the person sin has caused them to become are shockingly different. After all, they used to preach to others! Sin deadens their spirit and they lose their senses. It's exactly what leprosy does. It makes us numb.
Such a picture of what sin does in our lives!
I read the story of Nebuchadnezzar to the kids last night. He stands on his roof and takes all the credit for the Kingdom. As the words were still on his lips, God rebukes him and he loses his mind. He starts eating grass, his hair turns into eagle's feathers, and his fingernails in to claws.
This goes on for years until, by God's mercy and gift, he repents and comes back to his "senses". That is what pride does. I told the kids that if we see pride in one another, than we can feel free to ask "Is that a feather I see in your hair"? :)
Pride has been the common denominator in the "disqualifications" I have watched. I don't think they lose their salvation but they definitely lose their minds and any opportunity to serve the living God.
I wonder if Nebuchadnezzar knew how bizarre he was acting when he was eating grass and had eagle-feather-hair. It doesn't seem like people know when they lose their spiritual minds. To me, that is the scariest part.
One day you walk in and the once normal person is eating grass like that's normal.
Only God can (PERHAPS) grant repentance for a prideful, grass-eating, claw-having, eagle head.
"if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."
2 Tim 2:25
Tim and I are still training up little ones in the Word. We are also discipling 2 amazing teenagers. God is teaching us as we teach them.
It is hard to let go of the control you have had as a mother. I ride in the passenger seat now with a teenage driver. That's how this entire season of life feels... OUT OF CONTROL.
I'm like "wait, you are driving but YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DRIVE!!". They are having to learn so fast in every area of life. They have to learn self-discipline, discernment, how to connect with people--- how to connect with the right people, convictions about dating, submission to authority, integrity issues, sexual purity. It's a lot.
Especially in a generation that the enemy is out to get! How can a young man possible keep his way pure in 2019? the same way he did in 1919... by living according to THE WORD. By hiding God's Word in their hearts so that they won't sin. By letting grace teach them to say NO to ungodliness and worldly passions (Titus 2).
I can't lecture them into holiness, I can't ground them into holiness, it will be their decision and the work of the Holy Spirit.
I can continue to pour truth into their lives. I can stop what I am doing and enter into their worlds for ANOTHER conversation about holiness. I can make them my priority in prayer.
I have started praying lately that God would grant them a "willing spirit" (Ps 51) and make them "eager to do what is good" (Titus 2). I have also realized that is is only by the Holy Spirit that they will be able to say "Jesus is Lord".
"no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit."
1 Cor 12
I absolutely believe you can know Jesus as your Savior without calling Him Lord. This is an act of the Spirit and I have told my boys that. They can't even start living for the Lord apart from His Spirit. They need Him for the first utterance and desire! And as they call Him Lord, it is a beautiful relationship. We are yielded to Him. We view this world through His lens, not our own. We pray to do well in sports so that we can have a platform to reach lost teammates. We don't participate in the sin all around us because of our deep love for Jesus Christ and gratefulness for what He has done for us. We understand that staying sexually pure brings God glory and our bodies are living sacrifices! Not our own but bought with a price that was PAID IN FULL. So we honor HIM with our bodies.
I found an awesome verse yesterday.
they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people.
1 Cor 16:15
When I looked up the meaning of this word "devoted", it can be translated ADDICTED!!! It actually is translated addicted in the King James Version!
"that they have themselves to the ministry"
1 Cor 16:15
I almost started to cry because of how this ministered to my heart.
It breaks my heart seeing an entire generation addicted to their phones, to electronics, to porn, to social media, to all sorts of things. It is SCARY raising teenage boys because of how the enemy is crouching at their door and his desire is to destroy them. But there are godly addictions! Addictions to ministry!! That is my prayer for them! That they would ADDICT THEMSELVES to serving God!
May we be obedient to teach our kids about the Lord. To teach them His Word. To pray for them and to stay humble when God does a mighty work in them!
The other part of this last year that has felt like the third heaven and an out-of-body experience is the HUGE answer to 10 years of prayer for a place to do ministry on a larger scale. We are so excited that God has opened a big door for us and I pray that it is for effective ministry!
"because a great door for effective work has opened to me"
1 Cor 16:9
Tim loves architecture and has been designing a home where we can live and do ministry for years. It is so fun to watch him do what he does best. He is a brilliant designer. Who needs Joanna Gaines when you are married to Tim Blackiston? :)
So crazy that when I was a baby Christian in a prayer tower at Bible college, I prayed for a godly husband to serve God alongside of. Not only did God give me a godly husband but a godly husband who built my my own prayer tower.
Exceedingly and abundantly MORE than we could ever ask or imagine.
We are beyond excited about what God is doing in our lives in the midst of so much suffering. Sometimes God has to flatten us in order to bless us :)
so the blessing itself doesn't ruin us...because we couldn't handle it.
God doesn't want any of us to stand on our roofs like Nebuchadnezzar did as we look around at all God has done yet claiming we did it all. It is all by Him, through Him, and for Him! Our new home will be just that too. We are praying for God to breathe His life into our property. Otherwise, it is just a bunch of wood and windows.
Well, I have to go because it's time to make lunch. I hope this ministered to someone somewhere.
This is hard.
Life is hard.
Heaven is coming.
Be careful how you live.
Not as unwise but as wise and knowing the times!
Jesus is coming for us. I believe it is so soon. He is coming to make all things right. He sees your pain.
Hang on, He is faithfully busy doing something amazing.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.
1 Cor 2:9