Shields High

“I want to fight.”

The most beautiful words I’ve heard come out of Buck Sexton’s mouth (whoa, feels weird to not put an “@” in front of his name…). I want to fight, too. Almost 2 months ago, I wrote a post about King Josiah. I ended with the words, “I want to fight. And I want to win.” So when Buck said those magic words during his show, I felt like a match was struck. For so long I’ve been waiting to hear someone else, someone who has an actual voice, say those words. (You can listen and download Buck’s show from September 21st here.)

I think most of us are tired. We hear all that’s wrong, but we don’t hear solutions. We see the corruption, but we can’t see a clear answer. We’ve been driven to our knees, but we don’t know what to pray for anymore.

I tried to get involved during the primary process last year. Usually no candidates come to Washington state. I thought it was exciting that Rick Santorum made a trip out here. Too bad we got him the worst venue, right smack dab in the middle of the armpit of Washington (oh, hey Tacoma!). It also didn’t help that there were Occupiers camped out, either. Aside from my sister and I, the occupiers were the youngest people there. I made a comment about how embarrassed I was by my generation. A dude gave me a hug. It was kind of cool.

So then, even though I was slightly discouraged, I went to the caucus. It was held in a nursing home. I was the youngest person there by 40 years. I wasn’t upset that I was the youngest person, but I was upset that no one my own age cared enough to show up. So then things got started. We talked about this issues, went down the list and took a survey. When it came time to discuss the candidates, I was ready to leave. We had to pick 3 delegates, so we all had to talk about who we were going to throw our hat in for. Aside from a couple Ron Paul’s, the majority of people said Romney. I would be cool with that, if they thought he was the best candidate for the job, but here’s what they said, “Romney is going to be the frontrunner anyway, so we might as well vote for him now.”

Maybe I’m crazy, but I think that the primaries are where we fight for who we actually want, not just who we think is going to win. I’m not ok with merely winning seats for people with an “R” attached to their name. This is supposed to be a representative government, but I don’t think most Americans feel represented in the government. We like to complain about how it’s “politics as usual” but we keep doing the same voting as usual. We don’t look at all the candidates, just the top two. Why? Why do we keep letting these phony, career politicians buy the election because we are too lazy to actually do our own homework. We only scan the items listed on the ballot for things that tickle our ears, but we don’t read through the entire proposal to see if it’s actually a good or bad thing. That’s why politicians can capitalize on our ignorance and take away our freedoms and continue to rob us blind in the form of taxes.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being told that I need to compromise my principles to win elections. I hear people talk about how there is no in-fighting amongst the democrats and that’s why they keep winning… well good for them. They are dumb enough to not know that they aren’t actually being represented. But I am not dumb. I know what’s going on. I can see it.

Here’s what I’m going to do about it.

First, I’m going to keep praying. We’ve been so busy trying to not offend people that we’ve been taking God out of everything. We’re not supposed to mix religion and politics. Too bad. I’m getting God involved. This weekend we had a lesson on Nehemiah. When he saw that his country was being destroyed, he prayed this prayer:

“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” Nehemiah 1:6-11

It’s not fun to think about repentance. Even when we think about not being perfect, we like to think “well, it wasn’t THAT bad.” If you read further in the book of Nehemiah, you see that he kept getting God involved, in every step of the process. So, that’s what I’m going to do.

Then, I’m going to stop waiting to hear what the experts have to say and start doing my own homework. I’m still going to keep an ear out, but I’m not going to let their analysis hold more weight than my own conscience. I’m not going to apologize for the decisions I make on the ballot. I’m not going to feel that twinge of regret that comes when checking a box next to a candidate that doesn’t represent me, just because everyone thinks he’s going to win. I hated it when people said “A vote for anyone but Romney is a vote for Obama.” No, it wasn’t. Do I wish we had someone who isn’t Obama in office right now? Yes. But telling people that their votes don’t matter is wrong. It’s not wrong to vote for someone who represents you. If we don’t start being more selective, every election is going to be a “better of two evils” battle.

Also, I truly believe that thinking we know the outcome determines how hard we’re willing to fight, whether consciously or sub-consciously. I like the story of Elisha talking to King Jehoash. His enemies are closing in, so Elisha tells him to get an arrow and strike the ground. Jehoash struck the ground three times. Elisha then is like, you dummy, you shouldn’t have stopped, because for every strike, God would’ve handed you a victory. You can read 2 Kings 13 if you don’t love my retelling of the story. Basically, the point is that God does crazy things and we can never know how things are going to turn out. We’ve just gotta keep pounding the ground. Maybe we’re going to lose, but I say all the time that I’m #RideOrDie. I would rather come back on my shield, than be someone’s slave, but I have faith that if we stop doing what we’ve always done, we’re going to start winning.

#ShieldsHigh

My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.
–Psalm 7:10

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Burn It Down

King Josiah is the ish, guys. I used to dread reading the Old Testament (don’t act all high and mighty on me). The genealogy especially bored me to tears. I was like, “who cares about who was whose son?” … But then I realized that the whole time, it was keeping record of the coming of Jesus to the earth. I get excited now. Like maybe God’s got this whole crazy world under control afterall and I can truly be free of worry.

Anyway, this is about King Josiah.

Josiah became king when he was only 8. When he was 16, he began to seek after God. When he was 20, he crushed and burned the idols of Baal. He even burned the bones of the priests on the alters they worshiped at. When he was 26, he began to rebuild the temple of God. And then he heard the Book of the Law for the first time and he was so distraught that he tore his clothes and wept. (You can read 2 Chronicles 34 for more reference).

When I was asked to lead a caregroup (that’s what my church calls a small group Bible study), my first excuse to not do it was that I was the youngest person in the group. My second was that I had been there the least amount of time and it was weird that someone else wasn’t picked. My last resort was that I was afraid. But then halfway through my first year of being the “leader”, my friend and I wrote a lesson together about Josiah. He was young, but he was faithful. And he was chosen.

I feel like even though I am “young”, I have an ancient soul. I have always mother-henned my friends. I have never wanted to do what the world thinks is “fun”. I don’t smoke, don’t drink, never saw the appeal of drugs. I’m not promiscuous and I don’t listen to a word that the media-crazed culture tells me about how I should live my life. I sometimes feel like I would be happiest to have been born in the 30s, raised my babies in the 50s, and died long before we ever got into the mess we are in now.

I would have preferred that, but if I believe that God has always had a plan, then I must accept that there is a reason for me to have been born, here and now, in this city.

I think I like King Josiah so much because he didn’t compromise. He lived to please God. He recognized that he was insufficient, but he knew the Sufficient One. He knew that his generation was crumbling, and he did everything in his power to turn it around. He lit a match and set the world on fire. But if you know how the story goes, you know that it wasn’t enough, Judah got their stuff together too late.

I don’t want it to be too late for this generation. I don’t want to labor in vain. I want to know that what I am doing matters. If I’m called to speak to this generation, I’m going to make every word count. If I have to lose friends because I’m unwilling to give up this ground, well, no war was ever waged without casualties. I’m not saying I’m going to be a belligerent, miserable person, or that I’m callous enough to drop people like they’re hot. I mean that I don’t want to take my eye off the prize. I want to wage spiritual warfare against the lies of the enemy that this generation has clung on to for far too long. I want to fight, and I want to win.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

Hope.

Disclaimer: I don’t know if I’ll cross the TMI threshold in this post, I’m going to really try not to.

I was that little girl at kindergarten graduation who, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, replied “A mommy.” I had a baby doll who was quite literally loved to death. She’s somewhere in storage now, but if I find her, I’ll snap a photo. She has been sewn up many times and is even missing an eyeball. Someone put nail polish on her head (Rachel!). I never went anywhere without that doll. I “fed” her, burped her, and even would swaddle her and rock her to sleep.

Fast forward to my junior year in high school. I had surgery on my ankle from a volleyball injury. A bone and cartilage graft, two metal pins, and 35 stitches left me out of school for 2 weeks. I was really behind and feeling overwhelmed. I had really bad stomach pain and thought I was getting an ulcer. I told my mom about it, but she told me I just needed to calm down. But finally one morning, I asked her to drive me to the ER. I got there and had to do all sorts of uncomfortable tests. The only thing they found was a tiny cyst on my left ovary, so they sent me home and told me to wait it out to see if it ruptured or not. Cool.

So, I sucked it up and went back to school… but a few days later I was back in the ER. They did an ultrasound to see if the cyst had ruptured… but it hadn’t. It had grown and basically swallowed my left ovary. They told me to follow up with the OB/GYN who had been on-call asap to talk about “options”. I made an appointment for Friday, where I  was told I needed to have surgery and they could fit me in on Monday.

I remember arriving at the hospital on Monday morning, freaked out and really thirsty. The doctor was telling me about all the complications (removal of the ovary, total hysterectomy, colostomy bag, all those fun things)  and then had my mom sign away on the dotted line. Then I went to sleep.

When I woke up in recovery, I was told that the surgery was a success, they would biopsy the cyst just to make sure it was benign, but they weren’t able to save my ovary like they’d hoped. I remember crying and asking them to just bring my mom back, but they said she couldn’t come back until I was moved somewhere else. I cried alone for an hour before my mom was allowed to come see me, and then we cried some more.

I spent 6 days in the hospital. On Wednesday night they had to move me because of construction in the med-surg floor, so I ended up in the maternity ward. It was kind of funny because I woke up Thursday in the same maternity ward I was born in 17 years before. Yes, I spent my golden birthday in the maternity ward. Ha! But it was also kind of cruel, because I didn’t know if I’d ever be in there again, for a more joyous occasion.

A few months after my surgery, I was diagnosed with PCOS. There are many stupid symptoms that are more inconveniences than anything, but when I read about infertility, the little girl who dreamed of being a mommy died. I read about how many women suffer from it and even if they conceive, there’s no guarantee they’ll make it to full term with a live birth. My heart broke and instead of pressing into God, I pulled away. I didn’t care. I never did anything “bad” but I made a lot of dumb decisions with my life. I stopped caring in school, I was distant with my friends and accused them of using me. I quit trying to play volleyball. My mom noticed how bad it was getting, so she bought me a puppy (a golden retriever for my golden birthday).

It will be seven years ago in November. It hasn’t gotten easier to deal with, I have to always have check-ups to make sure my hormones are normal, and my doctor keeps telling me that I need to “baby that ovary” every time she sees me. Just this past week I had to have yet another biopsy, which if you have read my previous posts, you know was a testing of my faith.

When I was 17, I thought that God was punishing me. I wasn’t a “good” Christian. I liked to sleep in on Sundays and if you asked me about people in the Bible, I might have been able to sing a Sunday school song to remember who they were. This time around, I felt like God was asking too much of me. I kept hearing the Jesus Culture song “You won’t relent until You have it all.” I thought maybe the dream I have always held of being a mom was maybe getting in the way of God’s plans for me. Maybe I was wanting too much… But today when I got the call that my biopsy came back cancer-free, I was so happy. I remembered Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” So maybe I don’t have to give up that dream, maybe I just need to put my priorities in order. 😉

So why am I writing about this? This isn’t about my personal sob story (well, it is, but it’s not the point). This is about having hope.

Even though the doctors can tell me that there is no “cure” or sure treatment for PCOS, I’m still going to ask God to heal me. Even though there will be moments like this past week that will come again, I’m going to have hope. I believe that if God can open Sarah’s barren womb in her 80s, He can certainly work with a much younger one to yield the same result. Now, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, I mean, I don’t even have a husband yet…  But I know who my God is, and I know that I can trust in Him. There’s a book called “Trusting The Shepherd” by Haddon Robinson. It’s based off of Psalm 23, and one of the things that really stuck with me was the imagery of the shepherd breaking the wandering lamb’s leg. He does it so that the lamb has to learn to stay near to the shepherd. Sometimes I feel like that is what is happening when I go through something particularly scary or painful. I like to think that God is just teaching me how to stay close to Him.

I hope this post hasn’t grossed you out or had a little too much info into my life. I hope that this post can renew your hope for whatever battle you’re facing. There’s a lot going on these days, both on a global scale, but also in our own personal lives. But God is always right there, waiting for us to call on Him. Sometimes it’s hard to see that glimmer when our eyes are full of tears and our heads are too heavy to lift up, but I pray that you will never stop searching for it.

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.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

P.S. I was so blessed by my friends on twitter this week who prayed for me and made me smile when I thought my world was about to crumble. #TeamBuckLadies for life! ❤