How many times do we hear, “Don’t get your hopes up!”? God tells us to do the exact opposite. Get your hopes up! Get your hopes up in Him!
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14
In Matthew 7:7 the advise is the same, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened…”
A few weekends past, in all services, Pastor Joe led us in prayer praying over our children, our educators, and all students going back to school. With my older boys living two thousand miles away, Tyler, 23 in Oregon and Kyle, 18 in Washington state, I had Travis, a Junior in high school with me at church. Head bowed, eyes closed, I laid my hand over him as we prayed just as I always do. As I laid my hand over him he pressed into me. He pressed into me. I had to say it again because I can’t quite articulate how moved, blessed and loved that made me feel. My son was/is in agreement with me. I would like to truly believe this is 100% exactly how God is with us. God has his loving hand over us, His children. As we press into Him our relationship and our lives explode in an abundance of love, peace and favor because we receive Him. How awesome is that?
From toddlers to teenagers, raising children can be difficult at best. If you have children, boys or girls, you know what I mean. Having raised my three alone for most of their life it has felt impossible at times. I have felt helpless and ill equipped most of the time, however, I never stop praying for them. I never stop pressing God for what I want for them in this world. As a parent there is immense pressure to model and train a child to be almost perfect in the eyes of society. I am only able to provide the training from the perspective of a woman. At some age the children can (most do) rebel trying to find his or her own independence. God knows raising them without a mentor or a father who has a strong relationship with the Lord grieves my heart, however, I trust Him to provide all my boys need so they grow into God fearing men, husbands, fathers, leaders, and mentors in this world.
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 NASB
We have a Savior who leans into us because He loves us. If we aren’t actively moving toward Jesus the enemy will use all measures and spare no extreme to pull us away from Him. We are always the target, and especially our children. We must cover your children in prayer daily.
Several years ago I snapped this picture of my youngest, Travis in service at Celebration Church. I keep it close and look at it often as a reminder that God will fulfill the deepest desire of my heart for me and especially my children. You see, each of my boys had a season of rebellion not wanting to draw near to God or be in His House. By God’s grace, love and mercy this is no longer true. Praise God!
My continued prayer is for my boys to have an intentional and daily relationship with Jesus. I continue to pray that they hunger and thirst to be in His Word daily and live according to His precepts. This photo, forever branded in my mind, is my hope and unwavering faith knowing that God will give me my desires. He is my delight. I never stop asking. I speak life over and into them. I praise God for the mighty work He is doing in each of them. He has a great call on their lives. I won’t stop praying and I encourage you to keep on keep in’ on also.
Matthew chapter 7:7-12 goes deeper and paints a more distinct and clear picture. It’s a great reminder for us to get our hopes up.
Ask, Seek, Knock
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:7-12
I love how The Message version of the Bible words the same passage:
“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? Matthew 7:7-11
Wow, I don’t know about you but this encourages me to do exactly what he says. He called us to ask and ask for it all. Frivolous, trivial, insignificant in our eyes maybe, but to our loving God He already knows. He is waiting for us to trust Him and say the words that are in our heart, claim the desires, and receive all He has for us.
Set your minds and keep them set on what is above not the things that are on the earth. Colossians 3:2
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6
It is not just enough to think it is true but to keep our mind set on our desires and the promises of God. We must believe with every fiber of our being and into the depths of our souls. A belief so great that in our worship, our cries and our groans to Him that He knows. He is Omnipotent and already knows so trust Him and let it out. Trust Him enough to express your desires in such a way that will bridge the gap between earth and the Heavenlies. Write Him a letter, song, poem. Sing to Him. Cry out to Him or simply talk to Him as you would a friend. He has pulled up a comfy chair beside you or nestled closely beside you on the couch. He is attentive, smiling and full of love. He has His hands outstretched saying, “Come to Me…” He is waiting.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Living life raising these God-given boys has been far from easy at times. It has also been full of love, humbling, quite rewarding, fun times, great memories, incredibly exciting, fulfilled, amazing, hard-to-wrap-my-brain-around-all-this-love-they-have-to-give, totally awesome, priceless, completely precious and abundantly blessed. I would not trade a moment. Our lives are far from perfect but we have and continue to have wonderfully perfect moments. We are blessed and I thank God every day for the privilege to be their Momma. Oh how I love them so.
Be encouraged, there is a calm to the storm if you are in one. If you’re not, most likely you will be at some point in this lifetime. There is great satisfaction in knowing our God loves our children more than we. He has entrusted us with them and we must press in, press on and prove faithful. We stand on His truth through scripture that especially through our trials we can and should trust Him to deliver. He always does.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Raising children we often times experience insurmountable, intense, very real emotions, both good and bad. At times we may feel defeated, beaten up, exhausted and simply just beside ourselves not knowing what to do. We are tired and may want to stop asking God. That little voice will whisper to us to give up, and we may for a bit until God blows His CPR breath restoring our lungs and giving us our life back and our fight back.
My prayer is to encourage others as He encourages me. Whatever your desires God knows each and every one down to the finest of details. He is your Father. Capture the desires of your heart in a scripture or an image and hold onto it. If it’s a photo, a story, a scripture, a song, lyrics, a poem, hold onto it. Meditate on it and thank Him in advance for giving you the desires of your heart. If all we ask is of His clear and perfect will He will provide. We will have it. If not, trust He can see beyond the borders and sees what is best for you.
You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:2
Get your hopes up! Ask and ask expectantly. Praise Him in advance for His generous provision, His infinite wisdom and His abundant favor. In the book of Ephesians Paul best describes the depth and width that our God can provide, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 This is a life giving rescue breath straight from our loving God Almighty, King Jesus.
It may take time, months, years, decades even. It took the Israelites forty years to complete an eleven day journey to inherit the promise land (Deuteronomy 8). One may not think that is very encouraging but I think it is, very much so. Whether we are fast learners, keep His laws, obey, follow and love Him and walk it out in eleven days or we dig our heals in pride, sin, holding grudges, anger, resentment, jealousy, complaining at every turn and it takes us forty years, either way God doesn’t give up on us. We should not be so easy to give up asking and trusting He will provide. He continues to press in, mold, shape, strengthen, teach, discipline, redirect us as every good parent does. I don’t know about you but personally, I want to be an eleven day child of God. I’m sure you do too.
Do not give up, get your hopes up! Press in. Press on. Keep your eyes on Him.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:14
“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” Hosea 6:3
When we press in the Lord will push back any raging river you face just as He pushed back the river Jordan for Joshua and the entire nation of Israelites to cross over. (Joshua 4) He is Sovereign, Powerful, Almighty. He is the King of all kings and Lord of lords.
For many of us Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite scripture of steadfast hope and great promise. It is one of the many 7,000 promises God has for us in the bible. What is your favorite scripture? Scripture written on our heart and on our mind will equip and remind us should there ever be a time of doubt. We will be able to recall the truth and trust in His promises like we trust in this beautiful promise.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Now, let us go get our hopes up together. He is waiting.
In His love,