“We Panicked, Prayed, Praised, and Played.”

Dedicated to my precious and much-loved friend whose life currently requires living in a very difficult room. You know who you are. I am in awe of God in your life and in how you are walking with Him. And I am here to listen to the panic, join the prayers, lift the roof with the praise, and then, my friend, you will play. And I will watch you, even if the door is still closed, live in a FULLNESS and FREEDOM that you cannot imagine. And someday soon that door will open and there is a ministry there that gives me chills. Oh, the wondrous power of the cross. I believe, sweet friend.

This afternoon was eventful to say the least. I’m not sure the last time I laughed that hard, and there is quite a long version of this story that ended with me lowering myself out of a window ten or fifteen feet above concrete because my kids and I were all locked in a room together. I can sum it up in one word. Levi. Anyway, all taken care of and precautions taken so that the situation never occurs again.

At the beginning of all this excitement, my kids had been playing in the playroom and their rooms for quite some time. They were coming and going. I went to my room to take care of Mitchell and when I was finished I heard pounding on a door and yells of, “Mom!” Apparently Levi had locked all three kids into his room and they had been there a few minutes attempting their escape before calling for me.

John: “Mom, we were all locked in here and couldn’t get out! So we panicked! Then we decided to pray, and then we praised Jesus.” K: “We sang songs to Jesus but the door didn’t open!” (Incredulous looks on John V and Kailey’s faces.) J: So we panicked and prayed, and praised Jesus, then we just played, and after that we panicked again.”

First note to self, apparently you can pack a lot of action into ten minutes. After I laughed my head off for several minutes and then had my own adventure in the locked room complete with lowering myself out of the window, then laughed so hard I couldn’t even tell the story to John, I began thinking and the Lord began speaking to my heart. He said, “How often do you do that? How often do my children create their own predicaments where you have locked yourselves in bondage of your own creation. Choices you have made, thoughts you have cherished, lies you have accepted. Or more often, it is a combination of your choices and the choices of others. Circumstances that seem, and often are, completely out of your control. A Levi who in his stubborn disobedience has made his choices that also placed you in this circumstance. And the cycle begins:”

Panic: “Your first response is to panic. To rail at Me and ask why in the world I would lock you in this situation. Why do I do these things to you, why are you the victim of this awful situation? Why can’t you escape from this place where you do not want to be? And then you get a hold of yourself and decide that maybe your choices helped to put you here or that maybe I can help you, or that maybe the One who loves you perfectly isn’t exactly the right target for your anger, and maybe instead of screaming at Me, you should ask Me for help so then you move to step 2.”

Prayer: “You begin to ask for rescue. But I know that as soon as I open the door, you will make the very same choices that put you in that situation. Or that you will run far from the ones in that room when I so desperately want you to join me in the journey of their redemption. When I would love for us to share My heart for this person. Your thoughts are the same, your heart is the same, your thoughts of Me are the same, and all you desire is rescue. Your panic ultimately is due to the fact that you cannot control your situation and you don’t like doors you can’t open. Things in the room are hard, but unfortunately on this earth there are no easy rooms. Just because you hear laughter on the other side of the wall doesn’t mean her room doesn’t have its own locks. Every smile you see hides its own hurtful times because this is not the world I created for you, this is the world all of you chose with your sin. But if you stick with the prayer and listen to Me, sometimes I can work in your heart to move you to a place where freedom begins.”

Praise: “Sometimes you eventually take time to look up at Me, to see Me at work and feel the Heart I have for your ultimate freedom, not your freedom from the room, but your freedom within the room. Your freedom that walks with you into every situation. Your freedom that no one can touch. Then, the praises flow. You begin to see Me at work. Not to limit me to only certain types of movement that follow your criteria for a rescue, but instead to learn that I move in so many ways. I might look like a friend or family member loving you, or a book that blesses you and points you to Me, you might hear Me in a praise song, or feel My hand in the innermost parts of your heart and soul. You catch the tiniest glimpse of Who I AM. I can’t give you much of a glimpse because you couldn’t live through it. Someday you will be able to see and understand more. And you begin to praise me IN the situation until you find something almost unimaginable.”

Play: “Even inside of your situation, you can play. You can walk in joy, sleep in peace, provide comfort to others, and live in fullness. You can take your eyes off of the closed door, off of what you think others may have on the other side, and live in your life and only yours. Because I AM THERE. And that is honestly all you could ever ask for and more. You could dream up big, open spaces with ideal situations and circumstances that would be such a relief. People who tried to bless you and walk with you, not push you down whenever you try to get up. Rest, ease, just a break from it all. But, know this, I could let you have that and then where would WE be. Back where you didn’t require ME to breathe again. Back where you were strong and secure in providing for your own circumstances. And there is so much more here with ME, even if it’s in this room. Have you ever wondered if it is not in the locked up times that I “am so hard on you” but instead it is in the times of ease and comfort that I am really putting you to the toughest tests? Because in that comfort comes the leanness that drives you away from Me and being away from Me is the ultimate punishment. So, play my daughter. Get down on the that floor and put your heart and soul into whatever room you find yourself enduring. Leave no corner untouched, no opportunity untapped, no toy or tool unused, no tiny amazing detail unseen until the time comes for the door to open. And I wil be here the whole time. The goal is not to open the door. The goal is to be WITH ME.”

And I sat in awe of the lengths He will go to for me. I’m not even sure how many doors I have locked, how many times I have placed myself in a room. Then there are the times that miscarriage, inability to conceive, painful relationships, hard circumstances, physical struggles, or the choices of others have placed me there. The interesting thing is that it doesn’t have to be a big difficulty. Whatever the present room is will be the most difficult one because it is my present. And how often do I repeat this cycle? Some day I want to try a door, find it is locked, turn around with a smile on my face and ask God, “Well, what do You have here?!” Lord, put that heart in me and in your Church! And then I remembered how John V said that after the initial round was finished, they decided to return to panic. And my heart hurt yet again. He has opened door after door after precious times of growing with Him and yet I will still restart that cycle. When I think of times that maybe there was someone in a room with me and I was so busy at the door that I missed a heart, I have to beg forgiveness. Never again, Lord. Never again.

I don’t know where your journey is right now. My guess is that at all times in our lives there is a locked door. The room we find ourselves in might seem a little more barren at times or the people we’re in there with harder to love, but whatever your room, may we all be ready to cry out to Him in faith that deliverance will come at the perfect moment, and until then let’s not miss anyone or anything He has for us there in that place. But, most of all may we never, ever miss even the tiniest glimpse of HIM.

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