“Follow Me one step at a time. That is all I require of you. In fact, that is the only way to move through this space-time world. You see huge mountains looming, and you start wondering how you’re going to scale those heights. Meanwhile, because you’re not looking where you’re going, you stumble on the easy path where I am leading you now. As I help you get back on your feet, you tell Me how worried you are about the cliffs up ahead. But you don’t know what will happen today, much less tomorrow. Our path may take an abrupt turn, leading you away from those mountains. There may be an easier way up the mountains than is visible from this distance. If I do lead you up the cliffs, I will equip you thoroughly for that strenuous climb. I will even give My angels charge over you, to preserve you in all your ways. Keep your mind on the present journey, enjoying my presence. Walk by faith, not by sight, trusting Me to open up the way before you.”
- Jesus Calling Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young
My Jesus Calling devotional inspired this post and it’s one of 4 that I read just about every morning to start my day, thanks to the cherished ones who have gifted me these. A precious friend from church gave me this version of Jesus Calling, which I LOVE, since it has the scriptures written at the bottom of each daily devotion. Over the past year, I have so much more peace and direction in my day when I carve out the intentional time with Jesus to take in His Word. Over coffee, I will read these along with the designated passages in my Bible plan (currently reading through each book in a year) and the Holy Spirit speaks straight to my heart.
Why do I share this? Believe me, my days didn’t always start this way.
For FAR TOO LONG, my thoughts would immediately rush to what all needs to be accomplished or what my flesh sought after to do according to MY plan. That meant way too much worry and anxiety then pressure, or even worse guilt, if I felt like my “checklist” was left marked off. On October 21, 2020 that checklist was discarded FOREVER!
Through Mazie, the Lord truly awoke my spirit, heart and soul to living differently than ever before. I realized under the worst circumstances EVER that I had to seek His will above my own. It was the ONLY possible way I would make it through this tragedy that we could have never been prepared for. My prayers shifted to how God would guide me (and all of us) to honor Him, in healing and what would lead me to eternal life (straight to Jesus and Mazie).
Reading the devotion above sparked deep reflection on the revelation I had just 5 days after Mazie went to Heaven. I referenced this previously but I will never forget that early morning conversation with a friend. Y’all, you know she is PURE GOLD when she answers at 7 am on a Sunday morning! As usual for many days to come, I couldn’t sleep and that was one of 2 days in a week that I experienced energy from a blazing fire within me that could only be prompted by the Holy Spirit. I was and still am thankful that friend was willing to listen to what He was pressing on my heart to share – a burning desire to be in pursuit of Jesus, not taking the easy “shortcut on an elevator” but walking hand in hand beside Him up “the stairs”.
I honestly don’t remember much during that timeframe or everything we talked about on the phone and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to think so clearly on my own. All I knew was that MY WAY or the world’s way no longer mattered or would serve me well. Truthfully, it NEVER has.
Even this weekend, as everyone participates in Mardi Gras festivities, I just want to sit still and soak up His presence. Year after year I would look forward to being a part of it all and of course the kids love it. Thankfully Adam took the boys so they don’t have to miss out. I’ve been sick the last few weeks and am recovering now from a stomach bug (never fun but especially while pregnant). As I can hear the music from our local parade in the background (it’s only a couple miles away), I wonder if I will ever wish to have “fun” again. Even if I were feeling better, would I really want to be there? It remains to be extremely difficult to be anywhere in public since in an instant my grief or trauma experience could be triggered. And it is impossible for me to wear a mask to hide my emotions, although I guess I could technically get away with it during Mardi Gras.
Youngsville Mardi Gras parade - February 2020
As I thought about what “fun” used to be like…drinking, socializing, partying, dancing to and blaring the most explicit rap music (still in my music library and cd binder but I cringe now when I listen to and can understand the lyrics now, not so proud), I realize that’s not who I am anymore. This is not to offend anyone at all! When you encounter something as tragic as losing a child, you are never the same again.
In this sense, I can’t imagine having that kind of fun again. My definition of fun has changed. My energy has changed, as in for the most part becoming nonexistent. What little energy I do have, I want to conserve it for what is fruitful, to invest in what matters eternally. I yearn to grow more spiritually - being connected to God and Mazie in everything I do, to honor them every day and to embrace the treasured moments with our children and those special in my life.
I can’t do these things if I’m rushing up the elevator. Instead I am dedicated to the slow, steady climb that leads me to Heaven and eternal life. Even if I have to often pause along each stair, I don’t want to take a single step without God directing me.
Mazie Leah - October 13, 2020
For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.