Harsh World – Outside Our Doors – Strength from the River

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Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear[a] when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jer. 17:7
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Stricken with deep emotion. I can hardly describe. We painted these pictures 2 weeks ago. Little did I know I would be reminded of this verse and this picture be used to encourage my son this past week.

It only takes one step, outside the walls of this home for our children to be in the “world”.

 

With caution and a whole lot of prayer and walking minute by minute in His plan, we watch our Isaac play ball with these boys from our neighborhood.  Two years and counting… we have loved, created boundaries, forgiven again and again.  Isaac has served them graciously, coming into our home and gladly bringing them a cup of fresh water.  It has been a training ground for our son with us right by him every step of the way. It has been a time to share Jesus love.   It has had some moment of immense blessing!  And it has had it’s difficulties.

 

Seasons change. And there is a time for everything.

 

My heart was initially grieved by the cruelness of the world toward my son last week.  It happened in a blink of an eye.   I can certainly imagine the things that would take place to damage our sons soul had he been out in the world in it’s fullness from  earliest of days.  I am thankful for God rescuing us from that plan very early on, and putting us here all these years.  Equipping our children with love day in and out to give them strength to become one day the strong men God desires them to be.

 

My heart was grieved at what the boys had done to him. It happened so fast. I had turned away to do laundry but a few moments when I looked and saw. He enduring the harassment, with verbal assertion, said stop it several times with a strong, firm voice – and no one cared. There was laughing and mocking from the bystanders, and one child leaving muddy prints all over his body.

 

After enduring, he approached one boy and did something to get his attention. Grabbing his shirt and pushing him back in simple force. Just enough to get his attention.  This same boy proceeded to attempt to provoke him more, “you want to fight?”. That was not Isaac’s desire. He wanted relationship, he wanted peace. And yet Isaac wasn’t going to stand for the unrighteousness any longer. Asserting his voice to tell the boy (who was running to our backyard to flee) “get out of my yard”.

 

The fierce love of Dad soon was out the door and put an end to the matter.  Stunned looks,  moving fast to pick up their belongings and be gone.  We are walking into a new season.

 

Isaac’s greatest concern was wanting to hear that he “did okay out there”. HE wanted to know it was okay that he felt angry. That he handled things in a right balance.  His great effort to get someone’s attention without going too far and yet not being pummeled for no good reason except for mean intentions on the heart of another.   And yet I believe he handled it beautifully.  And his mission was accomplished. A sense of peace washed over our boy, hearing he had done well.  We had worked for years with settings on a hair dryer to explain levels of emotions.  Walking and talking through life scenarios over and over to help him learn how to interact in right measure with the issues of life.  Along with the Word of God and what He calls us to.  And lots of prayer.

 

Real love.  Involves  forgiveness, getting one’s attention for the things that are ungodly and making a statement this is not okay, and boundaries. That’s a lot for any 13 year old boy to comprehend. But the Spirit is alive. And these years of pouring truth into his life is paying off. This is a child who by the “world” said, “we have never seen such slow processing in a child”. Yet God’s Word is power. And He saves.

 

Our son was the strong tree in the “dessert” this day. He endured the heat, and like Jesus troubled over unrighteousness in the temple, Isaac was standing up for righteousness. We studied Jesus’ emotions and feelings a few weeks ago. One of these was anger. A holy anger. IN the temple when it was being abused. Jesus got their attention, in right measure to make a statement, “this is not okay”.

 

Do you know what a joy it is to this mama to see what I see? I am blown away at God’s miracle touch on our son.

Peaceable. Firm words. And in dealing with it all, he remained calm, in control, and in the perfectly right measure got the attention of those around. “this is not okay”.

 

MY Isaac, the strong tree in the dessert. Stricken by heat. And grows stronger. He was hurt momentarily.  “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  2 Cor. 4:8  His connection to the love of Jesus the River of life sustains him, and only produces more growth.   He is strengthened by the encouragement  he was immediately filled with as he came back into our home.   He was assured we are here to protect him.  Stand by him, and show him how love needs to let go and let God, as we pray for Him to take the seeds that have been planted to grow in the lives we spent time with for a season.

 

There was a lot of blessing in these days spent with these boys.  We experienced some much needed character shaping in our own children in these small doses of opportunity.  The Lord doing a refining work in our own need for sanctification.  We were blessed to serve our neighbors as well. My husband playing ball with them.  I enjoyed moments to bake up a quick treat and an ice cream gathering in our backyard.  We told them about Jesus in opportunities that presented here and there.  Both our boys also  SEEING, SEEING and believing , the realities of the things we have shared with them about the difficulties of this world, what God has said and warned us of.   They are SEEING these important and valuable lessons at this young age, that makes them appreciate the Lord and His ways.   God has their heart.

 

When they come to play again, as if nothing ever happened, my husband will be the one to speak with them (so thankful for him!!) and explain many important things they need to hear, including why our days of playing together here have come to an abrupt hault.   They need a heart change.  They need Jesus.  There is a pattern,  and it will only continue until they see their need for Him.  In love they will be warned.  We pray one day  repentance and salvation will come. “for all have sinned and fall short of His glory”  Rom. 3:23.  We are grateful for our salvation.  We want that desperately for the world.  It will be our opportunity to love them. Extend forgiveness, demonstrate  that true love, God’s love, has boundaries, limits.  We need to stand on those, in righteousness for the glory of the king.

 

Jesus is overcoming in our son.   And that is a message I want to relay here.  Nothing is impossible with God.  To stand confident, so strong, to endure, to get their attention, to walk back in our house and see the sweetness of forgiving love flow from him, and the desire to “pray for those who spitefully use you”.  To understand and see and live out true forgiveness, true love that involves boundaries and orders, true love that didn’t pummel and beat down the other, but in right measure got his friend’s attention and warns… “This is not how you live, this is not okay”.

 

 

“Those who cleanse themselves…. will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:21-26

 

 

It’s time to stand for righteousness and extend our love by praying.