A Time to Fight: Winning

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The Promise:

“Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’  But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ “.

 

“…Then he blessed him there.” Genesis 32:26 and 29

Jacob, a known hustler and cheater was smart and cunning. He was always thinking of ways to get ahead-to get out of and to get away with.  If Jacob was the brain, then his brother, Esau was the brute.  Jacob had swindled Esau out of his birthright and inheritance years earlier.  As a result, he was on the run from a sure fight with his brother and had just used a trick up his sleeve to avoid imminent confrontation with Esau earlier that day. Jacob was smart but I never made him out to be very physical.  All alone and afraid for his life, suddenly he’s in a wrestling match with a strange man and he is WINNING?!

The story of Jacob wrestling with a strange man until daybreak has always been an enigma for me.  Even so, I love this story.

  • It illustrates the type of faith needed to hold on to the promises of God for my life in the face of challenge.  A faith that requires all of me.
  • It’s a sobering reminder that anything worth having is worth fighting for- and asking for.  Jacob’s reply,  “I will not let you go unless you bless me” thrusts any neutrality in my prayer life into gear.
  • It gives me the permission I need to be persistent, bold and audacious when I feel like giving up. Fear and timidity is not from God.  He encourages us to pursue Him with great confidence and with great boldness. 

I like the way the Matthew Henry Commentary applies this passage of scripture to prayer…

“When the spirit helpeth our infirmities, and our earnest and vast desires can scarcely find words to utter them, and we still mean more than we can express, then prayer is indeed wrestling with God. However tried or discouraged, we shall prevail; and prevailing with Him in prayer, we shall prevail against all enemies that strive with us. Nothing requires more vigour and unceasing exertion than wrestling. It is an emblem of the true spirit of faith and prayer. Jacob kept his ground; though the struggle continued long, this did not shake his faith, nor silence his prayer. He will have a blessing, and had rather have all his bone put out of joint than go away without one. Those who would have the blessing of Christ, must resolve to take no denial. The fervent prayer is the effectual prayer.”

I don’t know about you but that sure does give me hope to stay in the fight.

Lord give me and all who grace this page the unrelenting spirit of Jacob. Amen!

 

A Time to Pray: The Long Walk to Homeschool

 

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THE PROMISE:

Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand). Jeremiah 33:3 AMP

We walked around the block three times. By the fourth time, we knew we were walking into new territory. See I had been a stay-at-home mom for 4 1/2 years. My oldest son, now five, had launched us into the world of choosing kindergartens. After much research, charter school lotteries and open houses, we finally found a fit. A public elementary school with great academic reviews, near our home and very friendly, involved parents and principal. However,

AS WE DREW CLOSER TO THE REGISTRATION’S DUE DATE, MY HEART GREW FURTHER AWAY FROM THE IDEA OF TRADITIONAL SCHOOL.

I let my husband in on my thoughts as I continued to fill out the enrollment forms, get doctors’ signatures, and set up emergency contacts. A week before school would start, on the last day of enrollment, in front of the school, I faced a quandary. Do we send our son here for kindergarten or do we homeschool? The stakes were high. If we did not enroll him now, he lost his spot and there was no guarantee he would be chosen for the lottery again next year. Yet I did not feel at ease enrolling him. It was do or die. Well not really die but “do” or “do something else”.

Two weeks or so earlier I had devised a “wise and responsible” plan to send my son to public school for kindergarten and use the year as my “preparation” for homeschool to start in first grade. Sounds good, right? Yet I was uneasy. I knew that whatever choice we made, God would honor and bless. But that was not good enough. I wanted God’s best for our son and family and the nudge or discomfort in my heart tipped the scale toward prayer. So that we did. We walked and prayed around the area of the school until clarity surfaced.

CLARITY CAME IN PIECES OR SHOULD I SAY BLOCKS.

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First Walk Around: I am reminded of the bible story of Hannah in the book of I Samuel and her steadfast commitment to trusting God with her son.
This was not random. I had studied the story of Hannah for a Facebook page I started called “The Praying Mothers Club“. It was a case of God making his Word applicable to my life by connecting the dots with what I was studying. Hannah placed an incredible value on her relationship with God to literally give her young son away to His service. We could certainly begin to let go of the reins recognizing the capability of God to teach and instruct our son no matter what we chose to do. A layer of unrest dissolved under this revelation.

Second Walk Around: Strongholds were identified as the culprits to the unrest toward homeschool now. God was not saying ‘no’ to homeschool.
Oh the fears! Thoughts like: He will miss the first day of Kindergarten experience, being away from home experience, sitting at a desk experience, making friends experience. The “system” that is school is all I knew until 5 years ago when the concept of homeschooling was introduced to me as a new mom. I recoiled at the idea of it back then. Although I had only immersed myself in the homeschool world for approximately 6 months via conferences and informative, inspirational blogs like Simple Homeschool, iHomeschool Network, Home Education Council of America, etc.  and was sold out on the benefits, It was hard to let go of the only thing I knew for something new and untouched or unproven in my immediate life. However, another layer of unrest dissipated as light exposed the chains we were living with.

Third Walk Around: Naturally, we prayed to be free of those strongholds that were being disguised as precaution. All the experiences I was afraid he would miss slowly downsized under the mounting memories I envisioned we would make beyond the school building. A lifestyle of learning gained traction in my mind and heart. I looked forward to the good and bad of it all. I imagined it would be messy, disorderly, scary, adventurous, freeing, engaging and rewarding. The doubt was burning away and I was accepting the call. It did not mean all the fears were gone. But they were exposed and being lined up for the firing squad. However, they weren’t going down without a fight. (which I will share about in a later post). But the decision was no longer a difficult one.

Remember my “wise and responsible” plan to forego homeschool 1 year to “prepare”? It turned out to be a crutch to support my fears. I rationalized a way to stay in familiar territory. I was holding on to the old when God was showing me the new. It was just an excuse that could not hold up under the pressure of committed prayer.

By the fourth time we walked around, we knew life was about to shift.

WE KNEW WE HAD TO TAKE A STAND, GO FORWARD AND NOT LOOK BACK.

So, we walked into that school’s front office and withdrew our son’s name from their list. He was never officially enrolled so it wasn’t necessary from an administrative perspective but it was a necessary step for my husband and I to take into this new territory—- homeschool.

When I look back at the steps that lead us to this decision and the incredible fruit from it, I can not deny it as Plan A for my family and I.

The challenges are far from over. Now we have to live this decision out. YEP! The rubber has met the road, the fat has hit the grease, our money is where our mouth is… It’s on! And we are still praying. One. Step. At. A. Time.

How has God opened your eyes to changes you are afraid to make?