Monday, April 23, 2012

Conquering my Ai

I'm a complete visionary. A dreamer. I get excited over ideas, plans and hopes.
The problem is that I'm not as much into the details and have a hard time carrying out my vision. Then I get discouraged and possibly almost give up.

I was super encouraged by God's word today and the devotional that went along with the text.
Here is the scripture:

Joshua 7:1-6
1 But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel.

2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “[a]Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up [b]to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.” 4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled [c]from the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them [d]from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.

Joshua and his men assumed they would conquer there enemies in the city Ai as they'd done before. But they failed. They also didn't follow as they should...they took things that had been forbidden to take under the ban. They had failed and obviously putting tearing their clothes and putting dust on their heads showed just how discouraged they were. BUT...

Joshua 8:1
Now the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear or be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.

God wasn't finished. He had them go back to the place of their failure...the place where their sin got in the way of their vision. He had a different plan. Maybe to remind them to follow Him closely or that it's his timing that is best. I'm not sure, but I do know I relate so much to the Israelites.

My vision since becoming a wife and mother have been strong, hopeful things. I want to please my Lord with every moment of my day, be a helpful wife and a patient mother. I long for my husband to boast about how happy and easier his life is because of me. Or to see how behaved and joyful my children are after our day together. But the truth is I'll get excited about my duty as mother and wife....only to fall to discouragement when I fail. For instance, when I don't read the Bible to my children (or any books for the matter) during our day. When I'm short and needy when Scott gets home from his day (even though his was just as long and demanding as mine). Or if the house duties get totally away from me and I'm searching through piles of laundry for some clean panties for my potty training toddler. Many days I get up with mercies anew and dreams in my heart, only to end the day with dirty hair and sweat pants...trying to frantically clean out a sink of dirty dishes, snapping at my children as they ask me the 100th question of the hour all as my baby is crying in the background. I feel overwhelmed, tired and defeated. My sin, selfishness and failures can leave me wanting to give up on my dreams of what type of mother and wife I'd started the day wanting to be.

I feel that discouragement that Joshua felt. Though I don't tear my clothes and put dust on my head. I however might end up parking my butt on the couch for the rest of the night eating a bag of Cheetos puffs.

Praise the Lord that He is bigger than my failures and that He has even HIGHER visions for me. I was reminded that God may send us right back into the places where we failed HARD. And if you are like's the very place I wake up to everyday. Take heart, Joshua and the Israelites conquered Ai. And with God's help...we can too. We may not get to every devotion for our children, we may even put in a frozen meal for dinner and we might end up loosing our cool with our husbands. But we cannot give up...because there are moments of victory. If you look real hard.

When you hear your five year old repeat something to his little sister that you've told him a billion times and were sure he'd never get it. Finding your second wind during the afternoon in time to actually make a real dinner. Quietly sitting nursing your newborn and knowing you are doing exactly what you should be at that time. During those moments of sweet laughter between your spouse and you. Being revived from God's Word because you chose to read it instead of doing something else during the children's nap. And feeling so blessed and full...that you had to immediately go and share it with someone else.

As the devotional that went with the Scripture today said....
"Return to that abandoned goal, dream or vision that is essential to your arrival on the moon (they were using the analogy of the first man on the moon mission). Face it, overcome it and conquer your Ai!


MandaS said...

Thank you Sarah! For the scripture and in general the blog. You are an inspiration to me and I pray for you and yours daily. - Amanda

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