Hidden In The Shadow Of The Almighty

You can feel it. You can sense it deep within you. A longing, a gnawing deep inside of you. The calling of your Creator to do exactly what you were created for. It stirs you.
You open the Scriptures for direction on your part. The words leap off the page and put a fire in your bones, passion in your soul and a purpose to your life. Through Scripture the Lord speaks to you your purpose. You know what He has designed you for. There’s an unquenchable thirst as the depths of you cry out to know the depths of God. Heavenly Father prunes and molds you –rubbing off rough edges with loving precision. It hurts but as you take shape you realize the more He molds, the more of Him you see. You so delight in the Lord you want more of Him, though you know it will cost you.

Your heart aches to do all God has called you to do. You can feel the pull from your gut to the lump in your throat. You yearn to fulfill His purpose for you but for some reason it’s not time yet. There’s an excitement in the air as somehow you know the “Lord” is playing one of His grandest compositions. Your spirit leans in as to not miss even the slightest whisper from the Lord. You know the time for you to play your part is coming. You can feel it. You can see it. You can almost grab hold of it. Yet somehow, it’s just beyond your grasp. It’s like your standing at the threshold to the door of your destiny. You look for your next step but there is nothing. No ground, no floor. Just a cliff full of clouds. You can see how experiences, trials and opportunities in life have been preparing you for your calling. Yet here you sit, in God’s waiting room. You’ve seen others come into the same place of waiting and you’ve benchseen them be called into motion. Yet, here you sit. Invisible in plain sight.

You are hidden in the shadow of the Almighty or what some may call “the land in between”, your desert. It’s that place where all the circumstances in your life are going in a different direction than what the Lord has shown you in your heart. Just like David was anointed as king in his youth yet was on the run, hiding in caves for years. There’s also Joseph who was shown in a dream the destiny the Lord had for him but found himself in Egypt… in jail. And of course there are the children of Israel who were promised deliverance from slavery and possession of the land God promised Abraham. Yet they wandered in the desert for 40 years. God had put a destiny in these people’s hearts yet the circumstances of their lives screamed a different future for them. Hidden in the shadow of the Almighty is a difficult place to be. You don’t know how long you will be there. You can’t see what’s ahead and sometimes you even may wonder if what is in your heart was from the Lord or just some crazy dream you dared to believe. If you can identify with any of this take heart because the shadow of the Almighty is a great place to be.

Shadows can be seen as negative but Scripture often speaks of them in a positive light. In the Bible shadow and shade are used interchangeably. Shadows have been a place of protection and rest. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:4 In the shadow of the Lord you can find protection and rest from storms, heat, disaster, trouble and people who are trying to harm you.

shade treeTo be in a shadow and enjoy the shade it gives off, you have to be close to whatever is making the shadow. To be in the shadow of the Almighty we need to be close to the Lord. Being a wandering child who is following their own path will not get you into the cool shade. You must be close to the Lord. When you are close to the Lord you will enjoy a sweet relationship with Him that will give you peace of mind and heart no matter your circumstances.

To stay in the shadow of the Almighty you must follow Him closely, letting Him lead. So picture this, you are following the Lord which means He is in front of you. Your close to Him so you can stay in His shadow. This means you can’t see what’s ahead of you on your path. You can only see the Lord directly in front of you. I gave a simplified version of this lesson to my children to teach them to stay close to the Lord. For an object lesson they had to stay in my shadow. That was fairly simply when I was standing still but when I was moving they had to follow very close to me. They couldn’t be concerned with what was in the road ahead. They had to keep their eyes on my shadow and follow where I lead. This took some trust on their part that I was going to keep them safe and that wherever we went I would take care of them. In the same way we need to trust our Heavenly Father, not being concerned with where we are going. Not trying to give directions on how to get there and not worrying about what will happen once we’ve stopped. We must trust Him fully, convinced that He loves us and will take care of us.

While being hidden in the shadow of the Almighty there can be a time of development and training. Joseph and David were both being developed as leaders during their season of waiting to fulfill what God had called them to. The children of Israel were given opportunity to learn to trust the Lord for provisions and follow where He would lead. This time can also give us clarity of purpose. Other times our desert experiences are a matter of divine timing. John the Baptist came from the desert at just the right time to prepare the way for the Lord.

No matter what the reason may be for being hidden in the shadow of the Almighty always remember that though you may seem hidden to the world, God knows right where you are. He has not forgotten about you or His plans and promises to you. “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Isaiah 49:15-16 Trust in the Lord and follow Him closely. Remember to keep your eyes on Him and not make an idol of your vision. God is the One we serve and His plans and purposes will come about in the right time.

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand. Psalm 121:5

He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of His hand He hid me; He
made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in His quiver.” Isaiah 49:2

My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:15-16

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Exercise

It’s been about eighteen months since I had a double hernia surgery. After surgery, the surgeon said he was surprised at how fragile my skin was inside – like an older person’s skin. To prevent my skin from being frail like this he said I need to work on my core strength. This lit a fire in me to get stronger. First I had to be patient with my body and give it time to heal from the surgery. Finally, about six months after surgery, I was disciplined enough to start exercising with my kids. In the second week of working out I hurt my shoulder. That set me back and I didn’t start exercising after my shoulder healed. I wanted to, but didn’t make time for it like I should have.

A couple of months ago I woke up to pain in my lower back. It hurt to sit, I couldn’t walk well. Even putting on my socks was painful for me. There’s only one other time I remember back pain that bad. After much prayer for healing and taking pain medicine for about two weeks, I decided I to go to the chiropractor. I asked her what I could do to keep my back from getting injured like this. Her answer – good core strength. Immediately I flashed back to when the surgeon had said the same thing. I took this as a second warning stretchingto take better care of my body and especially work on my core strength. I was motivated again but, just like last time, I had to give my body time to heal properly first. The doctor gave me stretches to do to help my lower back. I tried to do them but at first the pain was too much. With each visit the pain would lessen. I tested my body every few days to see if I could start stretching. Finally, after about five visits I was feeling like myself again. This time however, I’ve been staying faithful with exercising.

I wasn’t sure how to workout with the kids around then I found a way to include them. I figured they could use the workout too. Plus, if they learn the routine of taking care of their body now, they’re just that much better off for the future. A few weeks before I started stretching with the kids, I took my youngest daughter to the doctor because she had been complaining that her knees were hurting. The physician suspected juvenile arthritis and ran some blood tests. It seemed like forever for those test results to come back. So many people were praying for that little girl. I love that even in the children’s room at church the kids and the teacher laid hands on her to pray for her healing. The test results came back negative. Praise the Lord! A trusted friend of ours, who is also a pediatrician, was able to pinpoint that her thigh muscles need to be stronger to keep her kneecap from moving side to side. Again, exercise was what the doctor ordered.

This put the icing on the cake. It was now more important to me than ever to strengthen my body and show my kids how to strengthen theirs. It’s not that I was sitting around before this. Raising four kids, taking care of the house and homeschooling does not allow you to do much sitting. But I can’t just expect to stay healthy. This has to be something I’m intentional about. I have to train my body. I have to be purposeful about what area of my body I’m strengthening because just living life will not get all the systems in shape.

I want to take a minute and speak directly to moms of young children. You need to make the time to take care of yourself. You need to get those core muscles back in shape to have good health. It’s so easy to get focused on the kids. Taking time out to take care of yourself gives your kids a happier, healthier mom who can keep up with the physical demands of mothering. For so long I’ve been focused on taking care of the kids and the house and have neglected working out. I want my family and I to be healthy. We’ve made some pretty major changes on our eating habits in the last two years and it has really helped. However, diet alone won’t fix it. It’s easy to say you don’t have time but when something is really important to you, you make time. Make it a family exercise time. There are videos specifically for kids to get fit. Even just a few minutes will help. If you don’t get fit now, it will effect you later.

I love God’s Word. I love digging into it and finding all the different treasures hidden there. jewelI love learning about the many faucets of God. I picture it like picking up a jewel and discovering the beauty on every side. I realized digging into God’s Word is for our spirit like exercising is for our body. The Lord has given us new life and put His Holy Spirit inside us but it is up to us to determine if we are going to strengthen our spirit with reading His Word and letting it transform us. Just like the surgeon gave me a chance the live a healthy life through the surgery he performed, yet it’s not his job to be sure I get healthy and strong. That’s up to me by how well I care for myself. Did I rest when I needed to? Do I exercise? Am I taking in the proper nutrition? Am I walking away from things that are not God’s best for me? You can look at this in the physical aspect or a spiritual one. I think we need to look at both. Both our body and spirit need to be taken care of.

I’m not wanting to get fit to have good looks. I am wanting to be strong so the Lord can use me whenever and wherever He wants. I want to go when He tells me to go and do what He tells me to do. I want to be healthy to prevent sickness and injury that would slow me down from doing anything the Lord calls me to. Also, I want to be an example for my kids so they too can live a healthy life.