Michal, David's wife was a princess. She was the daughter of a king and the wife of the next in line. She was raised in the palace. She also became a prize, a symbol of a victory won. Not because she was such an amazing person, beautiful in mind and demeanor, but because she was a king's daughter. David won her and yet she loved him. She helped him escape from her father's murderous intents. But when David escaped, she was left behind. She was given to another man to be his wife. Passed around by her father to get revenge on David and prove a point. Later, when Saul was killed and David established as king, he sent for her and took her back from her husband. The Bible says that her husband followed behind her the whole trip back to the palace crying the whole way. He was forced to go back home. There is no happy reunion recorded, only the story we all remember. David bringing back the Ark of the Covenant and dancing with wild abandon. Michal looks down at this scene and it says her heart was filled with scorn for her husband. She meets him at the front door and greets him with some cutting remarks about his performance. David reminds her that her father was removed from kingship and the honor bestowed on him. Then the Bible concludes this story with the statement that Michal never had children.
I know I took some liberty in my paraphrase but I wanted to shed some light on things. At first glance this story seems so cut and dry. David was worshipping and Michal made fun. There relationship never recovered, maybe there never was a relationship. Either way, she had once been his loving wife and she never received the joy of giving him a child. Sometimes the Bible seems harsh with the stories of women. They seem to be pawns and trophies, overlooked and used. Sometimes we only get a glimpse of the wrong they did. Sarah laughed, Rebecca deceived, Rachel envied. There are good ones too, but my question is what went wrong? If my story were in the Bible, what parts would be highlighted and studied. My failures or my victories? Which do I seem to give more to?
Michal may not have been loved by David, she may have felt used and discarded, but the bottom line was that she was the king's wife. Her husband had his flaws but he was crazy about his God. Had she allowed bitterness to grow in her heart and finally overflow into her relationship with both God and David? We will never know but like all good stories we can learn our lesson. He was right to be dancing, he had persevered, he had been victorious. She hadn't known the Cave of Abdullam, living on the run. She had remained in the city living the palace life with daddy. She must have let the pain grow in her heart unchecked for it to overflow so freely.
How I understand...I have to be ever so careful not to harbor ill will and even then sometimes I realize its still there. My heart can fill with scorn too and it must be emptied out. Not on my husband as he comes home from dancing the presence of the Lord back to the city, but by giving it to God. I'm not really good at it yet.


Giving Gifts and Really Letting Them Go

Gifts. They are so fun to give, yet so hard to let go. You're probably thinking I'm a begrudging kind of giver, but I really love to make people happy by giving them what they want, need, ask for, what have you. However, sometimes it comes back to bite me that I didn't really release that gift. I mean have you ever gone over to someone's house and felt a little sad when you accidentally came across a gift you gave tossed aside in the garage or the closet or (gasp) regifted to someone else? It hurts, and even makes me a little bit angry.

Yesterday this smacked me right in the face. Joshua and I gave Rebecca her class ring on Monday night. We scrounged together the money to pay for it and paid it over time, but it was important to us and very special. Tuesday night she came home frantically looking around the house for her ring, apparently she might have left it on the sink at school !?! What? All my loving tendernesses and sentimentality seemed to have been left there on the grungy high school bathroom sink. What was she thinking to take her ring off at school and how could she have walked off and left it? Didn't she care about the work that went into my precious gift to her?

As I was rehashing all of that in my mind, the thought comes, how do I treat God's gifts to me? Does He hurt when I put them away, lose them, say they're not good enough or not what I wanted or needed? Just like Becca didn't mean to hurt me and daddy by losing her ring, I don't mean to hurt God, in fact, I don't even think about Him when I despise my gifts. Sheesh, heavy revvy right there. Solemnly, I surrendered. God, I'm sooooo sorry, I'll look harder, get them out of the junk drawer, stop hating what you have so graciously given to me.

What was really cool was that Josh was moved too. He had lost a physical gift and had looked for it at least three times in the same place. Well, how about he looked for it one last time in the same place and there it was as plain as day. We thought that was really cool. I mean, maybe it was hiding for him until he really appreciated it?

Anyway, for those of you that are concerned Rebecca went into school today and without much hope in her heart asked if anybody found her ring and turned it in. Guess what? It was in the bathroom and somebody actually turned it in to lost and found! That like never happens in high school...So moral of the story is...hold the gifts you've been given tightly, release those you give away.


I Just Wanna Be Different

It never ceases to amaze me that even when I'm reading books with my students because I have to, not by my own choice, that I still get amazing and thought provoking revelations. The fourth grade is smack dab in the middle of reading, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I started the book and was grabbed immediately in the first chapter when the older sister is devising her plan to run away to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. She says that she's tired of being straight A's Claudia Kincaid, the sameness of everyday, the injustice of her boring life of doing dishes. Sheesh, I broke into tears. Here is a fictional character in a kid's book making me weepy because she put into words how I have always felt for as long as I could remember. Later on in the book, she doesn't want to go home yet because she longs to be different. How I relate with Claudia. Different is distinct, its unlike the others. Its what I want to be. Not in a creepy, Goth, nobody understands me kind of way. Not even in a way anyone else can see, just on the inside. Straight A's may come easy for me, doing the dishes is something anybody with two hands and a sink can do. When I think about it I push the limits here. I just want to be different...


The Perfection Trap

So between some inner soul searching, a book I just finished reading and some really good conversation with some other girls yesterday I have come to this conclusion: window shopping leads to dissatisfaction. I don't even have to leave my house, I can sit in the comfort of my own home and compare my house with my neighbor's. There are enough pinterest boards to make me green with envy. If I am worried about ruining my child forever if I don't make my own whole wheat bread or homemade playdough I can find a parenting blog to back up my notions. This comparison driven lifestyle isn't restricted to keeping up with the Jones's anymore. I can drive myself crazy following after the newest fad in whatever. Bangs or no bangs, what is Kate Middleton wearing? What can I do with those leftover peanut butter jars that will contribute to society? Contentment can only be found be keeping my eyes on the task at hand and the ministry that God has given me. I may never be a gourmet cook or a top blogger or the most svelte and spiritual pastor's wife around. Am I doing the best with the materials that He has given me? Stop beating yourself up over what you don't have and make the most with what you do.

1 Timothy 6: 6-8 A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough.


Redemption Comes to Fayetteville

Yesterday, almost 6000 Fayetteville Christians marched through our downtown streets proclaiming God's blessings on our city. Several years ago my husband had a dream where he saw thousands of people crowding Hay Street in front of the Market House hands raised to God and the words, "Redemption Comes to Fayetteville" were suspended above the scene. He had lunch with a then youth pastor friend of his who shared the exact same dream. A few months ago the organizer of the Fayetteville God Belongs in Our City campaign approached both of these guys and their only response when asked if they wanted to join the movement was oh yeah!. I've shared before about my love for downtown even before it was pleasant and safe like it is today. As I was pushing my two youngest in their stroller yesterday I was transported to a time almost 18 years ago when I was marching down the hill to downtown at a March For Jesus with my now 19 year old son being the stroller occupant. Many marches, many prayers, many dreams later and the fruit was evident. Thousands came out, not to represent their churches, or denominations or prayer style, but to simply come together united as the Body of Christ in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Together as one body, we repented, we consecrated, we blessed. Redemption is the repurchase of something, it is atonement for guilt, it is deliverance from sin. Joshua saw his dream come to pass yesterday as he stood on the steps of the Market House and looked out at the streets flooded with believers and asked for the redemption of our city. Heal our land God!


Microwave Faith

Josh preached one of his best sermons yet on our 17th anniversary, two weeks ago. It was a special day beyond that, because it was his first sermon since coming back to Cliffdale. Nervous? Yeah! I love watching God use my husband and secretly enjoying that he is where he is because I am where I am. Confused yet? God allowed me to be this man's helpmate and though I haven't always felt up to the task or like I was doing a very good job, its mine nonetheless. He is where he is, fulfilling God's call on his life, because I am where I am fulfilling God's call on my own life. Josh preached on standing our ground when troubles come or running away in fear. That's a common dilemma in every aspect of life. Things aren't turning out the way I hoped or thought they would...oh well, I'll just give up, leave, turn my back, cower. Marriage is hard, being a Christian is hard, motherhood is really hard! Jesus never promised us an easy life. Anything worth having is worth the work. Microwave dinners range in quality from nasty to ok I'll eat this because I have no other choice. Steak, asparagus tips and baked potatoes take some time and skill. Quick solutions don't shape our character. We don't look up to people who stay married for 5 years and give up, we look to those who stick together for 35 years and more. That's perseverance. Trusting that God will bring you through the wilderness, the valley, or the troubled waters is real faith.

The Harbinger

This week is testing week for my fourth graders so I had a lot of reading time during class. I was actually able to complete an entire book in two days! Haven't done that since middle school. The book is an easy read, but an important book for every Christian and American to read. The author, Jonathan Cahn, writes in narrative form of a series of revelations for the future of America. He parallels the fall of Jerusalem to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Warning after warning and sign after sign are brought to light. The final conclusion is that America is headed for that same fate if we continue to defy God and go our own way. However there is always hope...
2 Chronicles 7:14 If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
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