Recently we have been going through the Live Dead Joy devotional as a team. There have been so many mornings that the Lord has spoken directly to my heart, but one entry that I read recently really hit its mark in the midst of present circumstances.
“Because the pressure will never stop, because the evil hordes will keep on pressing, it is imperative that we learn to refresh while we fight. Battle praise does this for us. “He is your praise … who has done for you these great and awesome things” (Deut. 10:21). He is also our praise who will do more. Praise is not just post- victory. Praise is something we express in the midst of warfare. When we praise— as we swing our swords— we act in faith, and faith always delights the heart of Jesus. Praise should be our lifestyle, not relegated to the high moments of victory parades. Praise should be part of our normal life, part of our battle, part of our reaction to every circumstance.”
To be clear, there are no pressing or alarming outward circumstances or trials that Dane and I are facing. We are safe, we are healthy, we are part of an incredible team whose hearts’ desire is to serve the Lord and see people come to know Him. Maybe it’s pregnancy hormones, maybe it’s not sleeping well, maybe it’s a string of days dealing with a particularly fussy toddler, or perhaps even all of those combined, but there is unrest in my heart and a desperate need for a refreshing and filling of the Holy Spirit. I feel as if the desperation is crying out from my very bones.
I’m an introvert by nature. I need moments to be truly alone to recharge my batteries, and the reality of being wife, mother, and M in a country where the norm is an open door policy where friends pop over without any notice means those moments just don’t happen sometimes. It’s something I’m still learning to be okay with, and adjust to. I refuse to hold that as an excuse to turn someone away, though there are days when I need a heaping portion of God’s grace in the midst of ministry and daily life.
There are times when serving with a glad heart and with an attitude of gratitude and joy takes a lot more time in the Lord’s presence, and I’m learning more and more that abiding in Jesus is essential and primary if I am to be useful at all. So upon reading these words I found myself in tears, humbled and thankful for the words I needed to hear. Often times our battles are not just outward, they are not just for the eternities of those around us, but the battles we need to learn to refresh and praise in the midst of are the very ones going on in our own hearts. We fight against wrong ideas, we fight against attitudes, we fight against selfishness, we fight against pride, and through Christ we overcome them. Praise be to God that in the midst of these battles we may cry out our praises to God and trust that the victory is his! May we spend more time in an attitude of praise because “He is [our] praise…who has done for [us] these great and awesome things.”