When Ruins Sing...

Where my faith and creativity collide! A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ.

(Week 6) “Joshua Tree”

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Joshua Tree (Week 6) 2016

So why the Joshua Tree?

When I hear something twice in a short amount of time that is unusual to me, I have found it is usually God saying, “Lean in and listen.”  He wants to talk; it is often a bit like a parable and it is always a treasure hunt.

Sitting at my daughter’s basketball game, a friend mentioned “Joshua Tree” and of course my mind goes immediately to the U2 album.  Little did I know that there was an actual tree called a “Joshua Tree” or much less that there was a location called “Joshua Tree.”  He showed me a picture on his phone of a family member camping in “Joshua Tree National Park.”

And that was that.

The next day I was running.   I often spiderweb on podcasts, meaning I will start one and if an interviewer mentions someone else, I will go searching for more podcasts with their name.  Jenny Simmons was the lead singer of a contemporary Christian group, Addison Road, and upon hearing her interviewed I went searching for more.   This is what I found:

To Be Well: Songs for Hope and Healing.

“In the anthemic opening track, Joshua Tree, Simmons sets the stage for a musical journey that invites listeners into the story of hope.”

“While I’m breathing there is hope, while I’m hoping there is life, it’s Your water that I’m tasting at my feet…by your mercy I have all I’ll ever need,

I am a Joshua Tree.”

“Ok, Lord! You have my attention.  What do You have to say to me with regards to the Joshua Tree?”

So the treasure hunt begins!

“Joshua Tree”

 (I am including a link to the site for anyone wanting more info on the Joshua tree or Joshua Tree National Park- Joshua Tree National Park)

“The Joshua Tree, Yucca brevifolia, is a member of the Agave family and it is found primarily in the Mojave Desert.

Legend has it, Mormon immigrants named the tree after the biblical figure, Joshua, seeing the limbs of the tree as outstretched in supplication, guiding the travelers westward.

The Joshua tree’s life cycle begins with the rare germination of a seed, its survival dependent upon well-timed rains, thus making Joshua tree forests tell a story of survival, resilience, and beauty borne through perseverance.

“Joshua”

(I pray you will check out Joshua’s story in full from God’s Word. I am also including a link to the NIV Study Guide notes: Joshua Study Guide Notes.)

Moses passed the baton to Joshua with this message:

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8) (NIV)

Joshua led the people into the Promised land. Joshua went to God for guidance and he responded in obedience.  Joshua made some mistakes along the way but his life truly can be summed up as:

He lived with outstretched arms in supplication to his God and his story is one of survival, resilience and beauty borne through perseverance!

 How can you apply this to your life?

How does this apply to mine?

I am in the throws of parenting teenagers, 15, 17, and 19.

Intercessory prayers are welcomed and greatly appreciated!

A verse from Joshua adorns the walls of our home and is written on my fleshy heart:

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

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Everyday there is at least one scenario where I have to look to the Lord and say:

“I don’t know what to do Lord but my eyes are on You Lord!”

As our children enter their teenage years, we know the peer pressure steps it up a notch:

Sex, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, vaping, scary snap chat possibilities, on-line endless options, fast cars, raging hormones, gossip, depression, anxiety, etc…

More than likely, our children will be exposed to at least some of these temptations.  And as much as we pray that our children are not leading the pack in these scary directions, we need to at least consider the possibility that our kids could be.  I do not say that to be cynical.  I say that to keep me on my knees, calling out to a God who loves our kids more than we do.

Parents, we need each other.  We need to storm Heaven together on behalf of our children and we need to have each others backs, not shooting the messengers.  I am so thankful when my kids talk to me and share any concerns or information.   I am also aware that they are sometimes selective in what they choose to communicate.  I pray constantly for God to keep my “6th sense” in check and alert my momma radar when I’m missing something. I pray my kids get caught sooner than later when they are headed down a slippery slope.  I don’t want to be a hover parent, living to stalk their every move and catch them in the act, or a snow plow parent, removing every obstacle from their path for a life time of smooth sailing.

I want to be a parent in love with, dependent upon  and obedient to Jesus.

I recently wrote a hypothetical letter to my kids peers.  It is a letter I would love for my kids to get from the parents of their friends as well.

Dear _____________,

We would like to tell you in advance, our door is always open.  Sincere hearts are alway welcome.  There is no such thing as perfection this side of Heaven;  we pray for Godly integrity and we believe that is possible in EVERYONE!

When God gave us our kids, HE made it very clear that they were on loan. They were HIS first. HE also said HE would expand our heart and home to love and welcome all kids like HE does.

Christ is incredibly kind to gently remind us of the grace and mercy HE has given and still gives to us daily.

Our # 1 job as parents is to live in such a way that our kids see something in us that they want, a kindness, joy, peace and forgiveness that is something otherworldly and when they ask us why we live this way, we simply share Christ, our best friend and Savior and Father and counselor and the only One who will never leave or hurt us, or anyone.

So, I’m loving you and welcoming you the way Jesus forgave, loved and welcomed us, who were once teenagers like you, who made mistakes and still make mistakes. The difference now is that we lay all those mistakes, as well all victories, in the lap of a loving, forgiving Father and we make things right sooner than later with those we’ve hurt or been less than truthful with.

We are well aware our children are not perfect. They make many mistakes and we navigate those water as they come. They know, in advance, nothing will ever make us not love them and nothing will ever make us leave them. We listen and discipline along the way, as we learn and grow together. We want to extend that to any child that wants it.

We want our kids to always know and believe that what we do does not define us; however, if we don’t learn from our poor choices and turn, we have a God Who loves us too much to leave us walking the wrong way. Consequences on earth are gifts from God to keep us from keeping on in a direction that will harm ourselves, others and break God’s heart.

This letter is to let you know that you have another set of parents praying for you and wanting God’s best for you. We continually pray God brings other people into our kids lives that are madly in love with HIM, parents, mentors,teachers, coaches, and friends who will point them to Christ!

God has placed great gifts within you and the world around you needs the treasure within you.  We know in your heart of hearts that you want to lead others to good places, God place, not to those places that will hurt them or cause them pain.

We are praying for you to get a glimpse of how God sees you:

HE SEES YOU AS AMAZING, KIND, INCLUSIVE, HONEST, SMART and most of all as HIS:

a precious child of the King!

You are royalty and when you see your worth, you will value others and yourself the way that God does!

Please keep this letter.

Remember who you are and WHOSE you are!

In Christ,

you are free and forgiven!

SO now,

I’ve let you in on where I am.

I would love to hear from you!

Where are you in life and how does Joshua’s story apply to, strengthen or encourage you?

And

How can I pray for you?

GoGod

Katie

About Katie Wilson

Where my faith and creativity collide! A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ. #amwriting #Compel Forgiven and Free Living a life that says: COME AND SEE!

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