I know I used this passage in my previous blog but it continues to be something I have to remind myself of every day. As I write this I am recovering from an anxiety attack. I felt this would be a good way to process my emotions and provide an honest look at my life in pursuit of Christ. It is definitely not all sunshine and rainbows. The cost is great, but worth it no doubt. Let me start with the good stuff to remind myself of God’s hand in all of this and then I will further explain.
My son Titus was dedicated at our home church this Sunday. It was a sweet reminder of the community God has built around us. Our church family stood alongside us vowing to help us raise our kids in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). We had family, close friends, our community group, and even our homeless friend Ed with us and I firmly believe that they earnestly mean to walk with us as Titus grows up.
Since I last wrote, The Field’s Edge has been notified that in order to pursue a variance from the Midland Spaceport, a cost prohibitive risk assessment will be required of us with no guarantee of approval. For those of you who are unaware, there is a large zone around the airport designated as a safety corridor for potential spacecraft taking off and landing in Midland. At first, this news was a pretty devastating blow, however we are slowly seeing ways that the Lord might be leading us in other directions. Nothing is for sure yet, but since that initial news, there have been small encouragements that I feel is God saying to us that He is still at work and calling for us to be patient. I am counting this as good news, because I know that the Creator’s perspective is eternally greater than mine and His will cannot be thwarted. I sense that this is one of those times He is trying to tell me that He has something better than I can imagine. We are still working to stay in the same general area, we just have to work around the regulations of the Spaceport which I am confident we can do. Our God created both the heavens and the earth so a Spaceport zone is no obstacle for Him.
Family life in our household is such a joy. With a nearly three-year-old and a 6-month-old, good sleep is a myth and there are definitely moments of frustration, but overall God is providing abundantly in our marriage and our parenting. I am forever grateful for the stability and strength of my wife stemming from her rootedness in Christ. God shows His mercy and grace to me through her every single day. That said, I’ve mentioned previously that the past few weeks have been tough. With every good thing that happens, it seems like there are two counterattacks. By the grace of God, we have been united in our fight against them. Satan is trying his best to get at us so we take that to mean we are on the right track.
Unfortunately, it’s grinding, and the past few days specifically have been hard. Briana has struggled with spiritual attack in the form of vivid and demonic dreams for nearly her whole life. It has been a while since they’ve occurred, but they resurfaced this week. She is also working on sleep training Titus and constantly wrangling Truma so she is exhausted both physically and spiritually. I have been seeking the Lord for encouragement over the last few weeks to overcome the cloud of depression and to be more effective in my ministry. I didn’t sleep much last night due to my own vivid nightmares as well as anxious thoughts about some broken relationships in my life. Nonetheless, today I saw some fruit of the petitions for perseverance as we had the opportunity to pray with several people on the breakfast truck, and praise God, I had a joy that has been absent for a while. As we were unloading the truck, an ambulance sped down Florida Ave. I was looking up at the cloudy sky and I flashed back to April 27th of 2011 when the EF4 tornado changed my life in Tuscaloosa.
It was a pivotal time in my life. I was not a follower of Christ then and I was shaken to my core when God lovingly and suddenly changed my world that day. In an instant, college was finished, people I knew were killed, and life as I knew it was over. The following months were filled with severe anxiety, self-medication, and finally I had my rock bottom moment. It was at there that God convicted me of my sin and restored me to life in Christ. He made me a new creation, but I’ll be walking that out for the rest of my life.
When Briana and I first married, severe weather caused me to shake violently and weep uncontrollably. She always gently prayed over me and held me until it passed. Over time the episodes have been less frequent and less severe and I praise God for that. Today for whatever reason, I heard that siren and immediately felt as if I were back in the basement at 311 Caplewood Dr. waiting for hell to be unleashed on my city. I didn’t want to freak out my volunteers so I ran back into the walk-in freezer and covered my ears until I could put myself together enough to finish unloading the truck and say goodbye.
As I wrestled with bad dreams and anxious thoughts last night, the word restore was impressed on my heart. I woke up this morning resolved to meditate on Christ this week as we approach Resurrection Sunday. Again, I feel that the spiritual attacks in our lives are stemming from our deep desire to honor the Lord. Through Jesus, God has restored us, made us new, called us His own children and heirs with Christ. I have been restored and I am called to be a minister of restoration. By the grace of God I was brought from death to life. Jesus forgave me when I least deserved it. Because of that I should do the same for others and yet I struggle with swallowing my sinful pride to do so. Each day is literally a fight against authorities, cosmic powers, and spiritual forces that would swallow me whole, but I am in Christ and he is ALIVE! The victory is won! Therefore, we can hope. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and use me to restore others.
This song has been in my head all week and now I know why.
Don't you get that I'm defended?
I will never die
It’s a battle that you can’t win
This love, it keeps me alive
And I won’t ever have to die your death
My final breath the birth of life
And I will rise up resurrected
My past and future in Christ
You will never feel my freedom
The embrace of light
Know the power of a new life
Where fear and faith can collide
You’ll never see me in the fiery depths
My soul is kept in paradise
Until I rise up resurrected
I’m right here, right now, alive
And I can hear the beat of heaven
Feel the pulse of life
In my blood and in my future
It keeps my feet in the fight
· Perseverance and rest in Christ.
· Strength in spiritual warfare.
· Remembrance of Christ’s unmerited sacrifice.
· Restoration of relationships.
· Our new Bible study at the Baptist Crisis Center each Wednesday at lunch.
· JM going to The Gospel Coalition MLK50 Conference in Memphis
· Our kids sleep patterns to develop into a routine
· Our homeless friends on the street who desperately need a home
· The powers that be in our City charged with making difficult regulatory decisions, specifically regarding the Spaceport.
· Patience and wisdom in decision making.