Today we woke up to glorious sunshine....it has been a literal breath of fresh air after months of sogginess (not sure if that is a word but it fits!). We live in a part of the Columbia River Gorge where the cliffs are breathtaking and steep and squeeze what seems to be every drop of rain, fog and mist out of the clouds as they pass from the ocean to the desert. My joke with Doug is that in Stevenson from September to May something is always falling from the sky. So to wake up to sunshine felt like a miracle.
After a walk, Georgia hopped out of the stroller and wanted to explore the yard. She toddled around in her snowsuit (yep, still barely above freezing here) face planting in the bushes, tiny rump in the air only to get up with a big smile on her face and say, "Cm-on!" As we wandered the "jungle" part of the yard (really the untamed part that we named "the jungle" to make ourselves feel better about it's unruliness), I grabbed the rake. I figured I would clear a bit of the leaves left from the fall. So Georgia tipsied her way through the bushes (yes, forget the path, she just goes over the bushes...she's my kind of girl!) and I raked around her. Every few mintues she would yell out, "I lol you!!!" (I love you!) at the top of her lungs. As she changed direction, so did I. It wasn't too productive but it was fun!
This time of year our "jungle" get over run with what I call miracle flowers. I have no idea how they got there and despite absolutely the worst soil under huge oak trees, they sprout up first with adorable green leaves and then with bright yellow flowers. The only thing we do for them is rake the leaves so they have room to grow. Well, this year, because our fall was filled with figuring out how to be a family of five and helping Georgia heal from open heart surgery...the leaves got neglected. I noticed that our flower friends were doing their best to pop up even through the copious piles of leaves but today I thought I would give them a little loving help.
As I was raking the leaves off the plants, I could see the scrawny and weak stems of the ones stuck under the leaves. I could almost feel them breathe "Ahhh" as the dead leaves were pulled off of them. It was during this process that I heard the Lord whisper "what have I been teaching you..." . You see, I have been chewing a lot lately on this from Romans 12:2:
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
And this from 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
How much is my mind like those little plants trying to shoot forth and blossom? How many times do I let Satan lay the thoughts, the lies really of death ontop on me...into my thoughts? I have been praying and really trying to "take captive every thought" for awhile now and it has been has been astonishing and humbling to realize how many lies I have allowed to stay there. How many times I allow little thoughts to zip right through that cause shame and doubt, that tear down instead of build up. Thoughts of others but even more so thoughts about myself. How many "truths" (or really un-truths) do we embrace from others? Things that have been said, old "tapes" allowed to run rampant?
Here's the thing that is so exciting...WE DON'T HAVE TO BE RULED BY THESE THINGS!!! Satan wants to set up strongholds in our minds...desires to bind us up, paralyze us with fear over what others think or how we are not enough etc etc etc... insert your own "tapes" here. But Scripture says that the weapons we have, "they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." How exciting is that?
So how do we do it? Well, what I have found is as I listen and ask God to show me how to take captive every thought...He takes me up on it. As I notice thoughts that are not honoring I just right out loud (ok...I find a private spot) say, "Satan you cannot use that thought to control me anymore...in the name of Jesus you need to leave. and Lord bring your peace and truth into that spot instead." ...and I am finding peace. I feel like those tiny little sprouts that are starting to breathe and get strong. It is not that more thoughts do not come or that I do not battle with the same ones again and again and again (especially when in a swimsuit :))...but there really, REALLY is power in the name of Jesus...still now, today, for us all. And I am finding that as I do this, there is more space, peace and life in Scripture, more ability to hear the God when He speaks and WAY more joy in each and every day. I wonder, how much that is "dead" does the Lord want to lift from us, what growth would He have for us...what could come into bloom if we truly are able to "take captive every thought"?
So if you'll excuse me...I need to go and rake some more leaves!!!!