This week for our Heroes Gate thoughts, we are featuring a guest writer, Erica Morrow. Erica and her family have attended Woodland Hills for a number of years, and we wanted to share her profound thoughts on believing what is true while parenting.
I have never considered Satan to be very creative. At least not with me, anyways. Throughout the mains and plains of life, his tactics have stayed quite boring and predictable. The relationships or circumstances would change, but the lies He would feed me would not. Lies, lies lies. Lies about who I am at the most gut level, lies about how others perceive me, lies about my place on this earth, lies.
I have loved and wanted to follow Jesus for as long as I can remember, and as equally far back, I can remember believing things that I now know aren’t true. I remember playing with a group of older cousins when I was eight, and I distinctly remember feeling that I wasn’t funny enough to fit in with them. When I watched my friend try out for the swim team in seventh grade, I knew- at least I believed I knew- that I wasn’t good enough at sports to dare to try with her. As a college freshman, I was convinced that people wanted to see me a certain way, and my days were spent living to fit the mold I believed they wanted me in. As a newlywed, the lie that hedged me in was that I was too much- too much of a dreamer, too loud, to impulsive, and at the same time not enough- not smart enough, not frugal enough, not special enough to be truly loved.
Parenting opened the floodgates for lies that consumed in an entirely new way. They were easy to identify for what they were from the outside in, but during foggy, sleep deprived, endless days with little ones, I was easily led to believe that I was failing my children. Even before my head hit the pillow at night, I was retracing steps and filling my mind with the regret of what was left undone. And the older the kids become, it seems like the stakes increase exponentially. I’m hovering too much. I’m over scheduling- no, now I’m under-scheduling. I’m not doing it as well as so and so. The tapes that can play in my head are seriously ridiculous, but oh so easy to believe.
Now, the reason I am even able to call out these lies that are prone to consume me is because to a large degree I have been able to stop and see them for what they were- seeds of falsehood that tried to steal my joy at every turn and distract me from the Jesus looking God standing before me, wanting to lavish me with affirmation and love. And there are certainly times when what is true gets the victory- I have had so many moments throughout my journey where I have felt bathed, completely washed and renewed by the reality that I am loved and accepted simply because I belong to my Father. But just as quickly as I believed that reality, there would be another lie, ready to suffocate that truth and send me spiraling again towards mistrust and anxiety.
I want to live into the authority God has given me to accept the love he offers me as a gift that is free and inexhaustible. And as I am learning more and more about what God’s character is like, I am discovering that in order to keep the lies at bay, I need to spend more time with the Lord so I can remember again and again what is true. A few weeks ago, I was asking God to show me who I would be, what my life would look like, if I actually believed all of the things that He says are true about me. He started to show me, and as I scribbled it all down, I was overwhelmed. Completely and utterly blown away. Because I was beautiful. I looked like the person I had always wanted to be but could never bring myself to believe I really was. And as God showed me truth after truth, I saw like I never had before that each of the things I was writing were true, even when I believe the lies. This is who God says I am, whether I choose to believe it on a given day or not.
As I was receiving the gift of this truth and feeling so freed by it, I realized that this is not just about me. This picture of who we are, this is for all of us. We believe different lies about ourselves to be certain, but this truth is for each of us. So here are the words that stirred and freed up something in my dry bones that had not danced for some time. Maybe they will awaken something in your spirit as well. And as you read, I implore you. I know this all sounds like a fantasy, too good to be true. But dear ones, this is who we were created to be, and this is who we really are. The old is gone and the new is come. We need only to press into the reality that is already all around us.
I see myself deep, and deeply refreshed, roots that are established far below where feet or tools could reach. Roots extending outward to where there is always enough to drink. My heart is strong and full of peace because I am readily satisfied and I know I am taken care of.
Little things bring tremendous joy, and my eyes do not look frantically over my shoulder to make sure I’m not missing anything. No matter where I find myself- whether it is somewhere of my choosing or not, I see the beauty in the circumstance. My words, actions, and attitude reflect the joy and gratitude I feel.
I need little, and I long for even less; my future is settled and secure, because I will never be loved any more than I am at this moment.
Others come to the well I drink from and are equally refreshed. My life is a flag to alert those around me to the knowledge that true peace, rich satisfaction, and anointing of the Holy Spirit is closer than our breath. And my breaths, because of how He loves me, are slow, and relaxed, unhurried in their steady in and out.
I am unwavering in my knowledge of who I am, and I treat others as the precious treasures they are because I can really see them. I can see beyond what eyes can see, and I can sense beyond my senses, because the love pouring through my veins opens the eyes of my heart to see the real story.
And always, always, I keep my gaze fixed on what is pure, what is lovely, what brings life, what fosters healing, what nurtures reconciliation, what puts his creativity and the beauty of hidden places on display.
Will I always believe this truth, always walk with the knowledge that I am who He says I am? Sadly, my brain is trained to trust the lie, and I fear that I will do battle in my mind until I see Jesus face to face in Heaven. But this I know. I was born to be free now, not to have to wait until eternity to experience truth. God wants to shine his face on us today, as we are exhausted by sick babies, as we are feeling inadequate in our marriage, as rebellious older children fill our hearts with guilt and regret, as we look ahead at the tasks before us and wonder how that mountain can ever be climbed. May we each nestle in close to our God and allow him to speak over us the things that are true, and may the branches of our hearts slowly bend towards his face as we reject the lies and believe that we are who He says we are. May we believe these things and so much more as we learn through scripture and through His whispers what is true about us. And may our lives bear testimony to the beauty of God’s creation as we live out each of these truths in ministry to each other, taking turns releasing each other of the lies we believe and reminding each other that His truth has indeed set us free.