Third Blogiversary

Three years ago today, July, 28, 2017, I published my first blog to this space. To say I was nervous is an understatement. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I knew God had asked me to write and I knew I had to say yes. I remember I was nervous about what others would think. I was nervous about writing something “wrong”. What if I took the Bible out of context? I was nervous about sharing my story. Was it possible to share too much or too little? I wanted complete stories that had bows tied around them. I wanted to encourage and point people to Jesus. Honestly, I wanted to do more than just point to Jesus. I wanted to make Jesus famous, and I wanted to do it well. For the first two years I wrote, those worries floated around my mind every time I clicked “publish”. There have been many ups and downs but, for the most part, I have loved this adventure. I have learned so much.

Even though I love writing, continuing to say “yes” to write has felt especially hard this year and for many weeks this space has been quiet. I have struggled with finding words to describe the season that I am experiencing. It’s been maddening to have the words float around my head, but be unable to catch them. I guess, one small victory is that I have stopped asking myself about Bible context and stopped worrying about what people are thinking. But instead I have asked myself at least 1,458 times in the last several months “Does God still want me to write?”

The answer has always been a resounding “YES,” but the words still didn’t come. I have sat with my computer open with no words, a notepad on my phone is blank and my journal near my bedside table has several days without entries. Even though I thought I was confident that God was still asking me to write, how can I do it if there are no words? So I started to doubt myself. Maybe the fact that I can’t seem to find words is a sign? Maybe I missed Him? Maybe all the words I was meant to share have been said? Maybe writing was just for a season? Before you freak out, calm down. I am not done with writing, and this isn’t my goodbye forever post. I am sharing these thoughts, because there I had a sweet realization in all of this craziness.

For the past several weeks, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Moses. He is one of the most famous characters in the Bible and most people know at least a little about his story. He led God’s people out of captivity and left a faith legacy that can’t be denied. Moses’ story is told in the book of Exodus and it seems that God takes me back to this story over and over again. After an interesting start to his life, God speaks to Moses in a burning bush. Through that bush, God tells Moses exactly what He wants Moses to do. Exodus 3:7-10 says this in the Message translation:

“God said, “I’ve taken a good, long look at the affliction of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them, pry them loose from the grip of Egypt, get them out of that country and bring them to a good land with wide-open spaces, a land lush with milk and honey, the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”

At this time, the Israelites had been in captivity in Egypt for nearly 70 years. For generations, the Israelites prayed and believed they would be free one day. God heard each one of these prayers and had a plan for them. He had set apart a place for them that was full of restoration and promise, but before they could go, he called Moses to confront the Pharaoh and demand for the Israelites freedom. Now, as many of you know, Moses had a little history with the Pharaoh. In fact, Exodus 2 tells the story of Moses, an Israelite, being raised by one of the most unlikely people, Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses grew up and realized how awful the Israelites were being treated and, blinded by anger, Moses killed an Egyptian. When Pharaoh learned about this, he tried to kill Moses. So Moses ran.

Moses ended up settling with a rural family. He married a woman and started to raise children. He spent many years there. We don’t know much about the time between when Moses ran and when God spoke to him in a burning bush, but I imagine a lot of heart work happened. I imagine there were a lot of uncomfortable periods and times that Moses had to confront the hard stuff.

So here Moses is, standing in front of a complete miracle. The bush was on fire, but not burning away or spreading. Through that burning bush, God spoke and told Moses to go back to the place where he has so much history, and set His people go. Even with a miracle right in front of him, Moses responds in a perfectly human way. Exodus 3:11 says this in the Message Translation:

Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

God simply responds “I will be with you.”  Those words should have been not only comforting, but also empowering. I mean the Bible promises in Romans 8:31 that if God is for us, no one can be against us. To Moses credit, the new testament hadn’t been written yet. So for the rest of chapter 3, Moses argues with God. God responds by reassuring Moses again that He won’t be alone, then He tells Moses exactly what he needs to say to Pharaoh.

The arguing goes on through chapter 4. Verse after verse, Moses tells God  why he can’t do what God has asked him to do. He says, they won’t trust him and makes several other excuses. God refutes each one of Moses thoughts and tells Moses that there will be signs that can’t be ignored. He tells Moses how each sign will work and talks him through the process. This isn’t enough for Moses. Finally, the truth comes pouring out of Moses mouth. Exodus 4:10 in the Message translation says this:

Moses raised another objection to God: “Master, please, I don’t talk well. I’ve never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer.”

Moses was insecure. It boils down to this, Moses felt as if he wasn’t enough. This is a lie I can relate to. It pops up so often in my life. I constantly struggle with feeling less than. I can never do anything right. I love the snarky way the Message lays out God’s response. It says this in Exodus 4:11-12:

 God said, “And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn’t it I, God? So, get going. I’ll be right there with you—with your mouth! I’ll be right there to teach you what to say.”

I love that God said “Didn’t I create you? Am I not God? I’ll be right with you! Now go!” I think this is such a timely message for any of us who are pondering if God is asking us to do something. It’s time to stop asking God “Why me?” or “What if I do it wrong?” or the million other questions we ask Him. We need to get moving. It’s time to hold to the truth that God created us and He has good plans for us. He will be with us, we just need to move.

Anyways, even after all of this support (and snark), Moses still begs God to send someone else. God doesn’t let Moses off the hook, instead the Message translation says this in Exodus 4:14-17:

God got angry with Moses: “Don’t you have a brother, Aaron the Levite? He’s good with words, I know he is. He speaks very well. In fact, at this very moment he’s on his way to meet you. When he sees you he’s going to be glad. You’ll speak to him and tell him what to say. I’ll be right there with you as you speak and with him as he speaks, teaching you step by step. He will speak to the people for you. He’ll act as your mouth, but you’ll decide what comes out of it. Now take this staff in your hand; you’ll use it to do the signs.”

This finally gave Moses peace. Aaron would go with him and he would have support. Moses left the place where he had seen the burning bush, went back and gathered his family and began traveling back to Egypt. At the end of Exodus 4 God asks Aaron to meet Moses.  Aaron and Moses go together to Egypt to confront the Pharaoh, and many of us know how this story ends. Over the course of the next several chapters in Exodus, Moses and Aaron speak to Pharaoh. There and many signs and wonders and Pharaoh grows a hard heart. Each step along the way, God continued to reassure Moses and eventually he led the Israelites out of captivity.

For most of my life I have heard this story and had one thought… Moses should have just listened the first time. I have always looked down on Moses because he didn’t just trust God. I think the old annoying quote says “If God leads you to it, He will lead you through it.” Honestly, I do believe that God asks us to do hard things. Things that seem impossible. He does this so we will rely on Him. When we say yes to scary things, and then trust Him, He takes us to new levels we never got to on our own.

However, the past few months have made me look at the relationship between Moses and Aaron in a different light. While I still believe Moses should have said yes right away, Moses and I are the same. For months before I posted my first blog in this space I hemmed and hawed. I told God to send someone else. I told Him I wasn’t good enough. When I finally said yes, I felt so much freedom, but I still asked God if He was sure. I doubted myself. No matter how many times God reminded me that He was with me, I still felt like I wasn’t enough. In the past few months those doubts grew so big that I started to feel like I wasn’t meant to do the very thing that God has asked me to do three years ago.

So God sent me an Aaron. Actually he sent me a couple Aarons! He sent friends that could boldly support me. Friends that ask me “What are you writing?” and when I respond with “nothing” they push for more. These friends pray for me. They encourage me. They help me work through the words that are swirling around me head. During this wordless season, my “Aarons” have been my life line. They have reminded me that the words will come back, and this season that seems to be filled with words that are just out of reach is not forever. Then, when I finally pressed “publish” last week for the first time in many months, they are the first to celebrate that I had done it. Then they read and pointed out all my errors. HA, I was rusty friends!! All jokes aside, without my Aarons I would have given up writing in this space long ago.

What’s so interesting about the story of Moses and Aaron is that God always spoke to Moses first. He told Moses what to say. He told Moses what to expect. Aaron was just the person who helped Moses get there. Moses was always the leader. Moses always was in command. Aaron was the tangible sign that Moses needed to remind him that he wasn’t alone.

Over and over again we see this theme in the Bible. We see God’s people who were called to do big things go together. Why? Because we need community. We need people to remind us what we were called to do and how we are equipped to do it. We need people to look us in the face and with all the snark in the world say “God told you to do this, so why are you waiting? Just do it.”

So, today I want to encourage you to thank your Aaron. Thank the person who reminds you of who you are, and what God has has called you to do. Thank them for being the person who speaks truth even when you don’t want to hear it. Thank them for loving you when you’re a brat. (I can’t be the only one who needs to send that thank you card!)

Friends, if you don’t have someone who pops into your mind as you read this, it’s okay, just be a brat and He will send you one. I am kidding, don’t do that! Instead of being a brat, I challenge you to ask God for an Aaron. We all need someone who will listen to our God sized dream and keep us accountable. Someone who will push us, encourage us and celebrate us. We all need someone who is a tangible reminder that God is with us. Our God is a good God who hears our prayers, and I know He will send you an Aaron!

Friends, your voice is important. I don’t know how God is going to use your story and your voice, but my prayer is that you never forget you don’t have to do it alone. He’s with you, even when it feels impossible.

In honor of my Third Blogiversary, I will be hosting a fun giveaway this week! Head over to my Instagram before August 3rd to check it out! You can also read about my thoughts about my other blogiversaries here…First Blogiversary and Second Blogiversary.

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