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I'll sing out and remind my soul...

Last Tuesday I went to bed in a panic, throat burning, honey and tea not doing a darn thing.

I woke up to an increased sore throat that ran into my ears when I swallowed.  Aaron left for work and before he did, I told him how frustrated I was, how just plain scared, "I'm supposed to sing for everyone tonight!"  He understood my heart-pain, how diligent I had been to sit in the minivan after the kids were in bed so I could practice.  And my heart and dreams were reflected in his eyes.  "You've practiced so hard..."  I swallowed hard over pain, nodded, the tears overflowing.

Maybe I should just go ahead and give up.  Just email my worship leader and tell him I was sick, that it wasn't going to happen.  But as bad as I felt, as hard as it was to drag myself through the day, I couldn't give it up.  I felt it would be worse if I did, rather than just going through it.  And I felt if I folded, he would win.  Again.  And I'd start believing the lies again and my desire to live free and open would be swallowed up whole.  I took allergy meds and tunneled through and tried to rest.

I faltered (to put it kindly) through practice and was so broken up about it that they had an intercessory prayer time right there on the stage, with me sitting on the edge all sniffing and sobbing.  I wiped it off, received some hugs and lost myself in private worship with God in that sanctuary at my old stomping ground: the piano.  I tried to sing, but I just couldn't sing anymore.  I felt the weight of failure heavy.  I finally just sagged my shoulders and left.

And on the way home, a light came down to shine on a truth I was missing.

My sore throat?  It was gone.  GONE.

"Resist the devil and he will flee you..."
~ J a m e s   4 : 7 

I laughed in amazement and felt the courage bubble up.  And I was reminded of how last Sunday when we all stood and sang and shouted that the cross was enough and we once again surrendered our rebel hearts to God (Chris Tomlin, White Flag) and I sang as free as ever and was soul-deep anticipating next Sunday when I would have to swallow down pride and brave fear and sing on my own.  And I felt the bubble of laughter then, too.  

Just after we had moved, just after I'd had Travis, now almost a year ago... we were here in this new home sweet home and it was another Sunday and Aaron was getting baptized.  And I had been in turmoil about the kids and the excessive heat and to top it off, we had been without power.  I was overwhelmed and exhausted, newly a mother of two, not just one anymore, and it was silly and it was real and I imploded.  And then, too, we sang that same song and waved real white flags, my two year old wild and free nearly taking off his grandmother's glasses with each swing.  And I folded myself over the baby in the carrier at my feet and I cried.

"Okay, God.  I'll give it up."

And here we are again, nearly a year later, singing the same song, proclaiming the same truths, again trying to get over the war within ourselves.  And it's a constant barrage and you don't just win victory once.  You win it over and over again... against yourself.  Because we know that true victory is in Jesus and that battle is over and done and we never, ever have to fear.  

But there is more to it than simply resisting the devil.  Did you know there's a pretty important sentence before?

"Submit yourselves therefore to God."
~ J a m e s   4 : 7 

That's the first part.  Sometimes, most of the time, we get so caught up in the fight.  In the do and the more and the busy and the keep shoving forward.  We keep trying to feel better and to make it okay and the sutures pull and tug and we keep on stitching wild.  Needle in, needle out.  Pull.  Knot.  Again.  And we get all exhausted and stressed and caught up in the resistance and we begin to think all we'll ever do is fight off that wily serpent.  And we forget he's been ground face-first to death in the dust.

And we forget our first line of defense isn't swinging a sword as big as we are at an invisible force.

Our first line of defense is to submit.  To God.  To all He is and all He has and to trust that He is beginning and end and in-between.  It seems easier to just set your jaw and get all stubborn and shove on.  But the real war has been fought and won.  And though we daily fight temptations and our own humanity and our negative tracks in our heads and all the things that make us scared when there is a bump in the night, that just shows that our daily struggle isn't always the devil on our shoulder as we imagine.  He is not all-powerful or all-knowing or ever-present.  He's not that mighty.

That annoying battle that is so constant?  It's between us and us.  It's getting over yourself, your own glory, your pride, your goals... and leaving palms up to a wild and holy and crazy imaginative God.  The Apostle Paul recognized (Romans 7:15-19) the inner struggle, saying so perfectly that he knew the good he should do, but he couldn't do it - and the bad?  He knew to stay away, but instead he often ran head first.  And we all do.

If anything I have found, through life, through this experience... it is the truth.  It is the truth of God Himself.  Of His word, of His love, of everything He has ever said is real of Him and of us.  But the first step, inwardly and outwardly, is always submission to God.  That's the only place to start.  Before you fight, before you make a plan, before you start jumping to check things off a list... first things first.

Submit low.  Then you can stand.

And then?

Then you can fight and dream big... and who knows?  Maybe even sing.

"I have said these things to you,
that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have
tribulation.  But take heart;
I have overcome the world."
~  J o h n   1 6 : 3 3 

Note: Been listening to a lot of Kari Jobe lately, 
"Love Came Down" was my background for this post.  
Wanted to share!  Listen to it below:


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