Firework Moments

Fireworks at the Mountain View celebration

At our first fireworks event as a family, I enjoyed the show on the ground even more than the dazzling light display in the sky.

This was the first year we brought the kids to an Independence Day celebration. We had been tentative to expose them to fireworks for fear of a meltdown, especially because our son has been so sensitive to loud noises in the past, particularly in large crowds.

Having recently moved to a new town, and being in a much smaller setting than the urban one we had come from, we decided to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with our new neighbors and friends.

With Jackson on my husband’s lap, and Lauren on mine, we waited in anticipation as the sky grew dark and the fireworks were about to begin. The kids eyes were glued to the sky and mine were on their faces to see their first reactions.

As the first firework went off, Lauren leaned in very close as I held her tight, and I could feel her heart pounding as the lights exploded in the evening sky. The display dazzled her, and soon she was giggling and pointing up at each one of the sparkling colors. I could hear Jackson talking excitedly beside me, and Lauren began to clap with joy at the end of each round. Pretty soon, Jackson began to expect when each firework would go off, shouting “boom!” each time. Oohs and aahs from the crowd echoed around us, as I watched the lights dance in the reflection of my little girl’s eyes wide with wonder.

As the festivities continued, I sat with my husband, son and daughter on the grass, wanting to remember this first experience for us as a family.

Firework moments are like that. They are moments that should be celebrated, written about and shared. They are the snapshots that a person remembers when they look back on their life, the stories they will tell to their grandchildren.

I realize that most of life is not experienced in firework moments. In fact, I’ve heard others chide those still in the thrill of those amazing experiences, saying that real life isn’t like that and those mountaintop events shouldn’t be a focus, because life is lived in the everyday details, not the pinnacle moments.

I understand the sentiment of those types of arguments because true, lasting joy must be lived in the routine of life. However, firework moments catapult our hearts to long for something more. They open our minds to the mysteries of God’s love, and what will be in store for us someday.

Why did Mary watch on as the shepherds came to worship her precious newborn and wise men bowed before him with gifts? Scripture says she “pondered these things in her heart.” These moments were imprinted on her soul, changing and shaping her throughout her life. As she watched her son nailed to a cross, don’t you believe it was these memories and their promise that held her together when her child was being torn apart?

Firework moments should not be dismissed. They should be pondered and treasured.

Think back over your life. What are the moments, whether big or small, that you hold with you and treasure again and again in your heart?

I know for me, our night of fireworks will be one of them.

Our family after the fireworks

Standing firm this summer

 

On Wednesday nights this summer, a small group at our church is working to pray over every home and business in the city limits of Mountain View, Missouri.

Now, this is not a big town, but as we began the task last night, I realized just how big a vision God had given us! That’s why I am glad before we stepped a foot outside of the church, we meditated and prayed over Ephesians 6:10-20:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

In this passage of Scripture, God calls us to be strong in Him and to stand firm three different times. We can’t be strong on our own. We have to be “in the Lord.” In order to do this, we need to have His clothes, His words, His eyes and His voice.

First, to be in the Lord, God offers us His own armor. We get to dress like our Father, and follow Him into battle. And, He makes sure we are well protected. He gives us His belt of truth, holding everything together through Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life. He puts on us His breastplate of righteousness that protects our hearts so we can do what is right. He laces up His shoes of the gospel of peace to ready our feet to go and bring peace through the Gospel. God helps us take up His shield of faith to protect us from Satan’s attacks. And, our Heavenly Father crowns us with His helmet of salvation, the saving work of Jesus Christ protecting and giving life to our entire being. Going out to prayerwalk, we first needed to get dressed in the armor of God.

Secondly, God provides our first offensive weapon: His Word. We are called to wield the Sword of the Spirit. To be “in the Lord”, we must have His words. We must be daily diving into Scripture and letting His Word guide us, step by step and moment by moment.

We must also have His eyes. God calls us to pray, the second offensive weapon, at all times and on every occasion. We must stay alert and persistent in prayer. Prayer is not just something we do when we can’t think of anything else to do. Prayer is not for the weak. Prayer is our opportunity to talk with our Father and see the world and every circumstance through His eyes and His point of view. It is our connection to the power of the Holy Spirit! God welcomes us into His throne room to worship Him, and invites us to sit on His lap and look out from His vantage point to see people’s hearts and lives the way He does. What an incredible privilege!!

Finally, God offers us His voice, to speak boldly and proclaim the Gospel. God gives us the words to vocalize to make known the wonder of the cross.

This is where we began on our journey to pray for God’s redemption and majesty to break out across our town. I am so incredibly grateful I can be a part of what God is planning here!

Will you join us in praying this summer? Pray for your neighborhood and your community! If you are not sure how to start, the International Mission Board has great resources you can follow, with Scriptures to claim, as you intercede for those around you.

Be strong in the Lord, and stand your ground!