It’s Friday, May 8, and as I sit here with my hands on this keyboard, I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to help me share with you what’s on my heart and let you know how I covet your prayers. I have no idea who will read this, but God does and I’ve asked Him to make sure this post is read by the ones who will be moved by His Spirit to pray. So, if you are one of those He has chosen to read this, I want you to know that I have prayed for you.
As I’ve already shared in videos and in blogs, during my “stilled” time with God (due to sickness and afflictions), I asked my Father, “What?”, what do You want me to know? All that the Lord DID in my life and said to me was nothing short of an incredibly generous outpouring of His Spirit … opening my eyes to see truth, to understand more, and to learn. My life will never be the same.
One of the truths He really engraved in me was a very specific command…an instruction that I knew that I knew that I knew He wanted me to fully grasp. And it was this – To believe Him wholeheartedly when He says,
“Lisa, day after day, I bear your burdens; not you. They are not yours to bear. But Mine. You are to trust Me. You’re my child. I’m your Father. And I long for you to trust and obey Me in childlike faith by living in the holy HABIT of casting all your burdens and cares on Me, because I care for you and I promise to sustain you”. (Ps. 68:19, 1 Peter 5:7, Ps. 55:22)
When He was showing me these verses, He knew yesterday was coming. He knew a day was around the corner when I would need to bank my life in those very Scriptures.
As you know, I have a son. A wonderful 20-year old son who stole my heart the moment I first saw him on a computer screen in black and white images. Yes, a sonogram showed me a little baby boy who swooned me the moment I saw his tiny little toes wiggling. But it was the sight of his beating heart that made mine beat to the pace of being a new 1st time mother. Then, on October 18, 1994, he entered the world and was placed in my arms, while screaming like nobody’s business! He was such a fat little baby. The nurses called him “cookie monster” because they said he HAD to have been eating lots of cookies to be that chubby! But it was the second I said these words, “Happy Birthday Trace. This is your mommy, and I love you so much,” that his screams stopped. Just by the sound of my voice, he hushed his own and rested his little 8 lb 10 oz self in my arms. He was just the sweetest thing all swaddled in that baby blue hospital blanket. It was literally at that moment a bond was formed. A bond that, as a mother, you simply can’t explain…but you know you will feel it forever.
It’s been in and through our bond that I’ve felt so many things with Trace. The excitement when he hit his first triple, to the fear he had the night he woke up having his first bad dream. The thrill when he saw the ocean for the first time, to being wowed by his first firecracker. I felt it when he skinned his knee as a 4 year old, and when he lost all the skin off his leg after wrecking his motorcycle at age 20. I felt his joy when he prayed to receive Christ as a young boy, and his doubts when he questioned his faith as a 4th grader. As a mom you just feel what they feel. And it’s a honor … a humbling wonderful honor!
However, for a few years now I’ve felt him struggle. He’s had personal battles where he’s won, and battles where it appeared he lost. He has been deeply hurt in his life and those hurts have left tremendous scars. Oh, how I’ve prayed! And prayed and prayed for his healing, for his deliverance, for his life. How I’ve cried out to the Lord for His mercy and grace. I see the emotional wounds in my son where the devil has tried in multiple ways to falsely treat with his own tactics. Through choices Trace has made, I see the on-going rebelling yet, searching heart in him. I love Trace so very much, and out of that love, out of that forever bond, my heart aches for the course of his life – for his soul – for his wholeness to be found only in Christ.
Rip and I have sought diligently what God wanted us to do in helping and encouraging Trace. What to do in showing Him the unconditional love of God. In showing Him (not telling him…no preaching), but showing him the grace, the mercy, the kindness of our Father. We love Trace with the agape love that we experience from God day after day. What God wanted said, done, provided, etc. in trying to help him, we did. Our hearts have been fully committed to Trace, and they still are. We will never abandon our devotion.
But what God was preparing us for in giving me such specific Scriptures while I was sick, was this. Yesterday, Thursday, May 7, Trace put a backpack on his back as full as he could make it with his belongings, got on a motorcycle loaned to him from a friend (because the car Rip bought for him was getting some repairs), and I watched him drive up our driveway to leave and live his own life, but not with the blessings of God with him. He left with a determined attitude turned in a direction that is not God’s will for him. I watched my son drive away with a prodigals heart, and I felt it. I felt it in full. As I stood in my kitchen and wailed out to God, Rip held me in his arms. Every tear that drenched Rip’s shoulder, God heard and placed it in His book as a prayer.
It wasn’t until later in the afternoon when Rip and I were in his truck going to mow some yards, that my husband broke. The tears came flooding from this big strong man as he said, “I want so badly to help him see the truth, but he can’t see it right now.” Rip loves Trace and he has faithfully shown that love to him, and it hurts so much when that love is rejected.
But as I got up this morning, God reminded me again, “But remember what I told you – this is not your burden to bear, but Mine. Cast this, Lisa, onto Me. Give me the burden of your heart, and I will take it and sustain you. I AM at work here. Don’t doubt Me. Trust Me.”
As I read this morning these verses:
“My eyes pour out tears to God,” Job 16:20.
“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book,” Psalm 56:8 The Message
“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears;” Psalm 39:12.
I also praised Him for taking full control of my son.
Friend, I don’t know where you are right now in your life. What pain or suffering you may be experiencing. Maybe you have a prodigal, too. I’m not going to hide the fact that this is where we are right now with Trace, but I do want you to know that you are not alone in whatever makes you cry out to God. If you have sleepless nights due to tears, if you cry out to God about anything, He hears your tears as the most heartfelt prayer possible. Here is something John Piper said about crying out to God:
One of the reasons God loved David so much was because he cried so much. Psalm 6:6, “I am weary with my mourning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.” Psalm 56:8, “Put my tears in thy bottle; are they not in thy book?” Indeed they are, because, “blessed are they that mourn.” It is a beautiful thing when a broken man genuinely cries out to God. Not like the jock who gets a cramp while swimming but struggles to get to shore unassisted lest he appear to be weak, but like the little child who wanders too far out in the turf and starts to get taken by the undertow and cries out immediately, “Daddy! Daddy!” God loves to answer childlike prayers.
But y’all as we cry out to the Lord, we must cry out BELIEVING HIM! Believing His Word. If we don’t believe His Word, something is wrong with our faith. We must believe Him when He says, “I bear your burdens“; not us. When He told me that He wanted me to cast my burdens on Him, I believed Him and so I did it. I did just that. But He didn’t stop there. He also said, (and I’ll paraphrase the verses He gave me into the way I heard Him speak them to me),
“Now, Lisa, I want you to commit your ways unto Me. Commit your activities to Me. Trust Me and I WILL act. Just take delight in Me, and I will give you your heart’s desires, because those desires started with Me. In My heart, and they are being deposited into yours. But they are being deposited as you take Me at My Word, as you believe Me and trust Me and obey. Just look to Me and I will fulfill your requests. I’ve created YOU for good works, Lisa, and that is to be your life focus, because that is MY life plan for you. Bearing burdens is NOT My life plan for you, but instead casting them onto Me, and then moving forward in committing your life to Me. “ (Prov. 16:3. Ps. 37:4-5, Eph. 2:10)
And then…. those two words, “and then” are powerful. Because as we hear from The Lord, as we read His Word and it reads us. As we go to Him crying out to Him, there will always be a “and then” to follow. Why? Because those two words indicate a period of waiting. We cry out to God, and then…we wait. John Piper also says similar truth to this time of waiting on God to act, while we continue moving forward in our life. We simply can’t stop moving forward. Piper says:
And then—and then is a very important part of the pattern—you wait. Verse 1: “I waited patiently for the Lord.” Or more literally, I waited intently for the Lord. The reason this is so important for us to hear is that it guards us from unbelief when God’s help seems long in coming. We can draw no deadlines for God. He hastens or he delays as he sees fit. Waiting for the Lord is a great part of the Christian life. There are at least two essential elements in the way we should wait with the king: humility and hope. Look at Psalm 37:9, “Evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.” Then in verse 11 the same promise is repeated, but in the place of those who wait it is the meek or the humble: “But the humble will inherit the land, and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” Those who wait are the humble.
Have you ever been in a large waiting room at a doctor’s office when the doctor is late returning from a call and the patients are stacked up? Who are the ones who get feisty with the receptionist and grumble to everybody? Not the meek, not the humble. Humble people can wait. They are not so presumptuous about their rights. So it is in waiting for God. We simply show how badly we need the chastisement of his delay when we do not wait patiently.
Secondly, those who wait patiently hope in God. Psalm 39:7, “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in thee.” Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in his word do I hope.” The soul of one who waits for God is not listless. It is not like a weather vane pointing this way, then that. But it is like a hungry animal straining toward his food, longing for his food. “As a deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1, 2). Those who wait like David strain toward the moment when God will come, and they hope in him. When will he come? At the right time. That is all we can know. And that is enough.
Psalm 42:1-2 is written on the chalkboard in our home because as I wait for my son to return to “home” – to the home of God’s own heart, I pray Psalm 42:1-2 for myself and for him…that one day, Trace’s soul will thirst for God, for the living God.
I know this has been long for you to read, and I am so grateful to you if you did. This was a difficult decision to make….if sharing something this personal was what I should be doing. But I trust God. I have to. He is the Sustainer of my life.
Rip and I would value your prayers for our son. Yes, “our” son, because although Trace is Rip’s stepson, he couldn’t be loved more with a fathers love. God loves the prodigals, and I choose to believe that one day Psalm 42:1-2 will be Trace’s life verses. It’s with faith the size of a mustard seed that God displays His glory and so….I wait. I strain toward the moment when God will come and display the power of His hand on Trace’s life. And that is enough…enough to enable me to get up each day, pray for my son, and move forward in living in faith, in good works, and in belief that God is in control. Therefore, I delight in Him! And He gives me the desires of my heart.
From a hopeful mom, to a mom who may need hope,