Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Half ~ Mast

Yesterday, we were drinking in time with our Anderson. Our 5th grader had asked if he could join us on errands ~ just him. We got to watch him save the day for an elderly woman as he lead her to the "Trash Pack" toys for her grandson. We happily joked around the aisles, mostly inside boy jokes with DAD! As we got a coke at a local restaurant I pointed out the flag at half mast for the tragedy at Sandy Hook. As we drove out of the parking lot and started driving around our town, he really clued in to this honor and the understanding of collective grief, especially as he began spotting flags on building after building...and even flying from residences...

We grieved as we drove...speaking about the happenings of the week...and Anderson was feeling as deeply as we were...

We shared that this reminded us of another day. We shared with him of  9/11, when he was just a tiny 5 month old, ...that day when we heard ...and we tore ourselves away from the surreal images on t.v. of the smoke and the ruins...I was with  a precious neighbor friend and her baby from next door as the buildings had fallen  and now,   we could not go our own way...we stayed together, yearning to pour out in grief and prayer...So we made our way that day to the only place that made sense...our church sanctuary...Through piercing grief and heavy shock, feet heavy, vision blurred through tears ... There, at the front of the empty sanctuary room, my dear friend and I bent down to sit on the carpet way in the very front...beyond the pews...almost on the stairs at the front leading up to the pulpit. We placed our babies on little blankets together and scattered toys and pacis over them to busy them while we bent low... and buried our faces in our hands... We made two round circles of tear marks on the red carpet that day as we sobbed into prayer, weeping  the trevail of a  Mother's heart.  The Bible I used that day still has the wrinkles from grief's rain on its pages... Meanwhile  little Anderson and his best baby friend drooled up at us, kicking their feet and chewing on their hands...looking out at us through great big eyes... and pulling on hair and clothing damp from tears...They seemed so...serene...unusually "knowing" for their ages ... quiet,...just  waiting on the Mommies... And their innocence was ministry as we buried our heads into their little necks and could not help but smile even through our tears over all this preciousness,innocence, and hope...it was the awe and the light in so much sadness...little in stature...priceless in nature and value...We thanked God for Life.

In the weeks to come,  all through America, there were flags hanging half mast, signs made by children on the glass windows of doors, dazed and tear-stained neighbors at the grocery store,...and more flags than I had ever seen lining the streets of neighborhoods. We all mourned together. It was powerful.  And it was incredibly comforting to know that my family in Washington D.C. as well as in Florida and Delaware were all sharing this time in similar manner...

Now, in the car, Anderson's thoughts, soberly, quietly were on Sandy Hook and the children there, and the families, and we shared about what it may be like to lived through such ordeal and then to be able to SEE such support for you all around you,for YOU and to know this same care was throughout the entirety of the country as well.

"Look, guys, there's another...and another!....Oh, look at that one over there at the church with the Christian flag underneath, and one at the bank...and the apartment community!..."

He sighed, "I hurt for the brothers and the sisters and for the moms and dads...and the grandparents...and the friends too." He turned back to spotting and pointing out flags...still very deep in feeling and thought...

"But Mom, there's something I just don't understand."

Anderson sat forward in his seat, stretching against the seat belt to get closer to us.

"I really just don't understand it."

"What, Anderson?"

"Well, you know the other day...when we went and prayed outside that big clinic for God to save those babies?"

"Well, why is there not a flag at half-mast for every one of their lives? I mean...if 3,000 or more babies are dying every day with abortion...then...

I JUST don't get it..." He said really quiet but strong,

"...where is the mourning for them?

Cause there should be flags for them..."

Why is the president not ordering flags for those children, guys?

America needs to do something great like this for them."

He slumped back on his seat, cloudy...counting the flags...

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Keep on Going Son..."

No matter how dark it gets...darkness cannot overcome light. "And The Light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it." (John 1:5)

I spent a light-filled day, today at our faith-filled school among the little children in the 3rd grade class. They are lit up from deep within by this true flame that comes from their faith in a living God. I had the privilege on the playgro
und today to work through a real problem with aggression...when a group of them ran to me to sort out an injustice.
There they all stood...

peering up at me so earnestly. "Solve our dilemma." their eyes said with such trust. So I got out the "First Aid Heart Kit". And we proceeded to knit hearts back together in an ancient, tried and true method... by shining God's Words from the Bible on the issue... I watched their hearts melt toward one another and light had a victory right there near the play structure at recess today. For a moment tag stopped...and we chased the darkness of the temptation to hurt each other with words and "get back actions" away. Not with just any 5 step child development/psychology talk BUT with simplicity met with power and authority. When was the last time you remember seeing light and authority winning on the playground?? But we reached down deep/or up...however you sense this real connection to God.

Words were few but immediately effective--they touched something and unlocked hearts from the inside out and then knitted the chidren together as we prayed for one another and we felt the piercing Truth of HIS WORDS from scripture work their way into attitudes and ways with one another... Prayer and Truth brought a gentle comfort. Soon there were shy grins and "I'm sorry will you forgive me's" and real hugs.

Light in the Darkness in the 3rd grade today...

Simple but profound.

Back in the classroom they made little Christmas crafts out of sparkley pom poms and ate lots of sugar and played a snowman game like all other celebrating children across America today. Yet these kids got something extra later on... Intercession prayer time ...to pray for one another...to pray for Mommies and Daddies and problems that were REALLY little to SUPER big yet they mentioned them all to God . Somehow a child innately KNOWS that they are heard by their Father. They know to run to their Heavenly Father for everything they need.

They packed up their little backpacks and waterbottles and Christmas Crafts and smiled at saying, "see you next year!" like so many other 3rd graders today...

And when we got home...and our family...like so many others heard the news of tragedy within the community of "Newtown"
...and my 4th grader put his head down and wept for those just like him...It would be my littles who turned again to prayer "cause it really does touch the lives in Newtown, Mommy when we pray."

Truth holders
Speakers of Understanding

They KNOW something that so much of the press on T.V. seems to be wrestling with as the ticker tape phrases will run all night...

I did skim through the list of how we are to "talk with our children"...and it did not seem to have much useful light in it...

Don't take me wrong...the advice wasn't BAD...it just was weak.

Nothing to pierce the thickness of darkness and injustice and Kindergarteners and Third Graders dying in their classrooms...

It was flimsy...could not take the tearing angst of the heart's cries tonight...There was not enough to cover or to "bind up" or to heal the gape...

So we went back to the LIGHT that Jesus taught us about when He declared Himself, actually in THIS season, that He was the light of the world as He walked in the temple in Jerusalem during the Festival of Lights.

"Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." (John 8:12)

What's that? "won't HAVE to walk in darkness"? We do not HAVE to be anxious? We'll have a leader to lead us to life?? Where is THIS direction found?

We found that direction is in a person who is God...who is NEAR to us...and we found Him...as we knelt together in the dark tonight, lifting up, truly affecting in real time, the families, aching parents and brothers and sisters and towns and precious souls...

We looked up/...deep within...to search out our Heavenly Father's wisdom tonight which includes Mercy AND proper Judgement for the helpless and against evil. No wickedness goes unseen from our Father's eye....And to be able to look THIS Father in the eye..

Oh my....

Cause, you see, there's just no fear in a child who's gaze is on their Father...In fact, "perfect love casts away fear." And when perfect love and perfect judgement meet...when Perfect Mercy and Perfect Power are found in the light-filled hands of God as He listens to our prayers...we find our prayers are highly effective...real answers for our grieving and for others in real time.

This video below is a picture of much of what I am expressing here. I am sharing it to share the "light" of worship...to encourage you to keep "singing out" into the "night". For the darkness cannot overcome the light. And if you do stumble (in fear or Trust or even a mess up) as you may see my precious son did just a bit on his words in the song...May you hear your Father whisper what my husband did at the choir program, you can hear it here on the video, "Come on, son, Keep on singing son, don't stop...that's it..."

Sing, sing out into the night. Our prayers are real. Our GOD is real!! His Fatherly eye is on us. He cares and heals. Through Jesus we have the only deliverance that is real in the world. He wants us to keep singing out who He is...what only He can do...and bringing His light...don't trip on the darkness...shine the light on it and it will run away...

No matter how dark it gets...darkness cannot overcome light. "And The Light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it." (John 1:5)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

0 NIght Divine!

The first weekend of Advent, we were given a special gift from our dear friend, Mike Jay, the Producer of The Story Tour.  Eight tickets.  Our happy chatter steamed up the windows as we drove to the grande auditorium and as we walked down the aisle to go to our seats, pass the back row sections, then leading to the floor, and we walked and walked and walked down another aisle then down on the floor until we finally were brought to the 2nd row of seats...and my Father whispered to my overwhelmed heart..."THIS, is how I LOVE.  THIS is how I LOVE YOU." We grinned at one another and wriggled into our seats, the children's legs swinging in anticipation of the good things to come...

And as Natalie Grant sang O Holy Night, Suddenly, it was all brand new again...The Story of Jesus...and His LOVE for me.  His Beauty...and even the song itself.  I have sung this solo many times but the way Natalie Interpreted it was Glorious. I have placed it above these words for you to enjoy. Isn't it interesting that each Christmas Season brings a new message to our hearts?  For me...this season there are several making their way first in my heart....Light Shining in the Darkness, OVERCOMING the Darkness.... A feeling of "What is this?  What is This?" over the perfection of Jesus and this gorgeous story that I keep digging into and finding more and more treasure.  ESPECIALLY in the light of my studies in the Old Testament this year...Jesus...in every story...I might feel perhaps like the elder men who wept as the Word was brought home to the temple and read again...weeping and weeping over this Truth that continues to grow in brightness and clarity and adoration in my heart.  I peer again into all the stories pointing to Jesus, my Messiah and say, "What is This Glory?  What IS all this Beauty? What is this suffering and sacrifice?  What IS all of this love?  What HAVE I an invitation into??"

At the same time, in our life circumstances, we are being drawn into very special opportunities to fellowship with God by how we work with our hands.  A great focus will be bringing restoration to the broken...rescue to those literally enslaved...we are getting more and more knowledge of how God wants to connect us and use us in ministry related to His heart of love and we get breathless and say, "What is this honor? to go after what you love , to search for your sheep? and to see You set them on your broad shoulders to bring them home?  What is all this rescue and deliverance for the One.  For the Many?  That you plan to include us in?  We are so small...what is all of this??"

So I sat there in my seat weeping and asking and just letting all of the story of Jesus and the glory of God's goodness pour over me AGAIN.  And when Natalie sang,

"Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother."  It had fresh meaning ...to a modern day abolitionist heart...I saw the eyes in a thousand faces...I heard their voices crying out...

"And in His Name ALL Oppression Shall BREAK!."

A resounding "YES" rose up...on the outside I was sitting properly...on the inside I was having a Davidic meltdown of great proportions.

Calling out VICTORY in JESUS!!
And Falling in Love with my Savior, who has broken MY chains...ALL over again.

At Intermission two sets of little hands shook me back to my settings....
"Mommy, may we have these ones?"
They handed me World Vision brochures of precious,
"May we have these, Mommy?"

And in the bustle of people filing out to stretch and find the snack stands...
Richard leans over to my chair to hear the request,
We read the stories of these ones and say yes to them.
And our Ava and Bruik start dancing WILDLY around...
The reaction doesn't quite fit what we are doing...UNTIL we realize...they think these faces...
placed on brochures on our chairs are EACH a child to adopt.
And they believe we have JUST said YES to three more children in our family!!!!

And there in the second row...
We both kneel down with our children who most understand these themes of rescue...of redemption...
And we place our foreheads on theirs....we look deep into their eyes and pause.
A young teen girl is now leaning forward in her seat to check out our family and people are awkwardly taking in side glances...
For now, Richard's weeping...and..
We are just a MESS there.
A holy mess.

We hold our "newest charges" close to our hearts and covenant to care for them...and keep the door wide open for other little ones to walk through the door of our home...
Bruik and Ava seem disappointed that we are not adding three more to our car ride home...Ava had already been making bed arrangements for her room!
But we pray there....in the midst of the lights blinking for people to return to their seats ..and we covenant to love well...with HIS love and in HIS strength and in HIS timing.

The rest of the concert hold other glorious moments.

But the greatest of these are in the finale as Bruik stands up and comes to the back of my chair and hugs my neck until his mouth is right near my ear.  He thinks he is whispering, but this is not a talent he has mastered yet...so he SHOUTS in my ear,

"Mommy I do not think I ever really ASKED Jesus to be mine.  I want to do that RIGHT now."

In the midst of this concert, in the images of the Nativity and Love and Deliverance

 Salvation is birthing

my son.

And my heart is saying, "What IS all this glory?"

"That you and your household WILL be saved?"

"What is this?  What is this?  What IS this??"

And another star "that shines in the the darkness" forever

Is born that night.

O Night Divine!

That God would save my little boy, deliver his heart on this night.

Another candle is lit...on the Jesse Tree

And he and HIS family will be saved

Salvation is the greatest of ornaments on God's Family Christmas Tree.

And I take in all its light and beauty saying,

"What is all of this?"

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Prayer's Dance

 Monday nights we have an important standing date Our family heads out  to  a powerful Prayer Meeting where we pray for the ending of human trafficking. This is a incredible time, EVERY.TIME. We get such a sense of God's Heart for Deliverance, for Rescue,to bring Justice,to Love those who may feel as though they are the forgotten ones....

 And the wonder of hearing ANSWERS to prayer at times, when rings have been busted in certain regions and areas we specifically prayed for and precious lives released and saved--it leaves you breathless...
Then makes you charge back in to plead for more Mercy and movement for the helpless.

Last night was particularly sweet. (And NOT just because the kids were looking forward to a planned dessert time back at our house afterward!!)

But in part, it was precious for, for the last six years, this precious group of prayer warriors have been praying against human trafficking, focusing on certain hot regions for this oppression all over the world.  And tonight, our focus was...our own backyard.  The prayer focus (region that we were praying for) was our own city.  We were declaring, "NO NOT on our watch....NOT HERE in Jesus name."  To hear themes prayed about that we have prayed for, for people in South America, Africa, Thailand, Mexico, Cities in Europe, Serbia, Russia...Chicago, The Twin Cities, California...now named for HERE...  IT.WAS.POWERFUL.

These were prayers to protect MY children, THEIR friends...
And prayers to release children and women and men enslaved in the evils of human trafficking HERE. IN MY BACKYARD....
All the victims were my son, my daughter, my child, my friend, myself, my family...
and even as I felt the intensity of this...

I KNEW this is how all prayer should be.

All of our intercession for others is a crying out.  Just as if...

Just as if it were ME.



Or OUR city.

All nationalities are on the family/familiar prayer request list in the house of our Heavenly Father...

In His house of  prayer...

This video is in the middle of our time, right before we lined up as a family to pray on the mic.  This is one of the ways that Jack prays in the Prayer Room.  It is a picture of the beauty, the power and even the righteous warfare of prayer.

And another Song:

(The people walking by are choosing to walk as they pray -- several hundred are also seated around,praying individually and in small groups)

Soon after Jack and Ava's Dancing, we headed to pray out loud on the mic at the front in a time of prayer, called "Rapid Fire Prayer"...5-10 second prayers focused on this night on the ending of human trafficking.  It is intense to hear what God has laid on so many individual hearts, while so powerful to all be interceding together.

And if you would like to see what I mean by, "Rapid Fire" Style Intercessory Prayer...Here is a link to a video recording of the prayer set last night.  Our family appears at around 56:56...believe me, we are NOT smooth "prayer-ers!!!!" ( I actually tripped all over my words last night!!)  But God hears every one of our weak words.  And we are so in love with Him! Monday Evening Intercessory Prayer Set with Misty Edwards' Worship

Last night was especially precious for us all.  In fact, as we readied ourselves to go, after our time of prayer, shepherded everybody out the exit doors and through the lobby and out into the parking lot , Bruik started skipping as he held Daddy's hand. The kids had started talking about the dessert that we had laid aside at home that was awaiting the family and we were all getting ready to load up the van. "Man!" Bruik exclaimed in a really joyful voice. "I really want to be with my family but I really never want to leave God's house of prayer."

His words reminded me of his Heavenly Father's words in  Isaiah,

"I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations."
(Isaiah 56:7)

The same words that Jesus later quotes as he cleanses the temple..." And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: "'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'?..."

Oh yes!  Bruik was experiencing last night, as we all were that  even when we are in battle in prayer over deep or serious subjects, God so fills our hearts with His nearness and fellowship...that there IS Joy in Prayer for sure!

And we'd love to share this joy with you!

Please feel free to Join us here  http://www.ihopkc.org/prayerroom/  on Monday nights...we go at 7:30 to worship in prayer and singing first and then we stay for most of the intercession set beginning at 8 and ending at 10.  Or join us live at the Prayer Room!...who knows?  We may see you there and invite you back to the Tuckers'  for a Monday night dessert treat!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ava's Song

Sometimes, you have something inside of you that is a "Go Tell it on the Mountain" story.  Sometimes these are the most difficult to share.  But, as we head into this season...I am going to take the Shepherds' example and go run and tell what we have seen and heard.  For, I desire for you to know this year, as you hear all the parts of the Christmas story again...that each element it speaks of is VERY real...STILL....Yes, so VERY near to each of us in this day!..we are just simple fold here...this story could be yours as well...

The other night, I tucked in our children early and needed to head out to an important meeting about a heavy subject.  My Mama's heart was checked as I stroked little heads...I felt a need to pray for more protection over them as we would be apart that night.  I prayed something we often do...that God would send HIs angels of protection over the children, that He would set a fiery hedge around our home...as I passed by Ava's room, I was especially impressed to pray that God would FILL her room with angels...she had recently been feeling some night fear and I had been visiting her room to anoint it with prayer, asking God to send Joy and His Presence to her room, especially as she slept. We set them up with older brother's care and headed out.

At the meeting that night, i found myself keeping in touch with the kids, listening but also praying for them...the feeling was very strong...

The next morning in the morning rush, Ava tugged on me...
"Mommy, I had a REALLY good dream last night.  God sang me a song."

Honestly, I was half-listening.  I was in-between filling up 5 of the water bottles and stuffing plastic baggies with sandwiches.

After school, there was more time to listen, Ava shared again.
"Mommy, I shared with the boys and girls at school today the song God taught me last night.  He taught me two songs.  And, I went to school and taught it to my friends.  He told me He loved me."

Ava has a rich relationship with God and she is a little songbird, often coming up with new songs...I thought this was the end of her special story.  And yet, when she mentioned..."The song was a new song from heaven."  My heart did stir and warm.  Ava's teacher had recently counseled me that children's experiences with God are not just "cute".  They are real and no less than what we experience in God (there is no Jr. Holy Spirit after all!!).  Their purity and the childlike Trust that God so loves, and their need for His covering, sets them up for precious times with Him.

I mentioned that Ava could play the song for us on the piano at dinner and share about her dream with the family then too. I thought this was the extent of the sharing.

We were in the middle of our dinner, the children were all gathered up, well all except Jack, who was off to get seconds of something on the stove... when Ava reminded us she had a story to tell...and this is it:

"I was lying in my bed and my room felt scary.  So I remembered what to do.  I prayed to God.  And I closed my eyes REALLY tight and I said "Satan GO AWAY in the NAME of JESUS."  And I felt safe.  So I could fall asleep.  And right away I had a wonderful dream.  In my dream I was lying there in my bed, and all of a sudden I was awake. 

And there were angels...

And they were bright and light and white.  With Yellow on them (she points to her head) and they were flying in a circle above my bed and they were singing TO ME in the most BEAUTIFUL voices I have EVER heard.  I mean it!  It WAS like...choir voices...but MUCH more pretty.  And they were singing God's words to me.  They sung me two different songs.  the first one went, "I love you Ava. I Sing over you. You are Safe in Me." and Ava sang this sweet melody, complete with verses and a chorus.  She does not yet songwrite like this!  It was a COMPLETE and beautiful little song!!

 She next shared, "And the angels were circling above my bed and flying through the wall next to my bed into the hallway and back into my bedroom...And their EYES were like RAINBOWS!  They had EVERY color in them...like MORE than colors in them!  And after they sang songs, I heard God speak to me.  He spoke the same words as the songs over me, that I was loved, that I was His, that I was safe in Him.  He used my name."

SO...the family was all sitting there digesting this story...when Jack comes into the room from where he had been out of ear shot..."Oh, are you talking about the angels, Ava?"


"Oh yeah, they were very bright white and they had yellow on them and Colorful Eyes."

We all shot questions at Jack...Have you talked with Ava about this?

"No." They both answered.

"This was the first time I got to share my story Mommy." Ava answered.

Speechless, we all turned back to Jack..."Tell us YOUR story about last night, Jack."

"Well," He takes a big bite of his seconds," I was sleeping and had been for a little while when all of a sudden I was woken up by singing.  And you guys, it was the MOST BEAUTIFUL SINGING YOU HAVE EVER heard!  It sounded like...a...choir...but more beautiful...it was the most beautiful thing I have EVER heard.
So I got out of bed and I listened.  It was coming from the hallway.

And I opened my door and I went out into the hall.  And at the end of the hallway where Ava's doorway is there were angels.  And they were flying in this circle.  And they were going through the hallway wall and into Ava's bedroom and then out again.  And they were singing songs to Ava. "  He mentioned the same words of the love songs.

Tears are rolling now...down several of our faces and Ava and Jack are just glowing with Joy and excitement...they are flushed.

"So I went down the hallway."
(our bold one!!)
"I wanted a closer look."
"I stood in the doorway and peeked in.  The angels were circling over Ava and singing to her. "
"Did you ask them anything??" (a boy who would venture this close just might have!!)
"No, they looked at me, and when they did, I saw their eyes were like rainbows...or something like that...all the colors.. and I can't explain it...like more than colors...but they were not there to talk to me.  They were there for Ava."

"And Ava was asleep.  And she was talking and singing and praying back....IN SPANISH....I mean like, it was so clearly another language, like I could have learned it and spoken it in the morning!!"
"I watched for a while and then I went back to bed.  I knew we were very safe and loved last night."

...So the angels came...and sang in our hallway....to two of the children...

And we share this with you.
For it was real.
And so is God .
And so are the impact/reality of our prayers...
Each prayer is HEARD.

We  will continue to press in to God's Presence, knowing He comes and sings over us (as the Bible shows us in the shepherd story, and when God says that He sings over us)

We are lost in wonder and Praise over a VERY REAL and VERY NEAR Father God.

And that the stories in His Word are as fresh as if they happened in the hallway...JUST the other night...

Step into the stories, into the Truth of the Bible this holiday season.
Perhaps ask for more.
Love Him like a little child.
Ask Him to come to you.
Our Emmanuel....Worthy of our Praise.
God WITH Us.