Interviewed by: Cindy Morrone
Amy Howson, Child of God. Married to Walter for 25+ years, Mom to four kids. Amy divides her time between being a Homeschooler Advocate, Wellness Advocate, and a Mental Health Advocate.
Fight or flight.
All throughout the Bible, there are examples of how God’s people reacted when a conflict arose. Sometimes they entered into the battle and fought and sometimes they didn’t.
All around us are reasons to take up a cause. Injustice, neglect, abuse, discrimination and the like. We see it all over our news and social media.
For me, it is the issues surrounding child welfare that I am most passionate about. What are you passionate about?
And when a conflict arises I pick my battles.
Sometimes I fight. Like Joshua and his army conquering the enemy for the Promised Land, clinging to and armed with God’s instructions, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7
Sometimes I don’t. Like King Jehoshaphat, I heed a similar direction, “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ’Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” 2 Chronicles 20:15 “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’” 2 Chronicles 20:17
My engagement in the battle is not based on my passion; for that never seems to change for me.
Knowing which action to take is directed by God’s instructions to me in that specific situation.
Clearly discerning God’s direction is guided by Scripture, like those below and not acted on until I experience His Peace about the direction:
Victories can be lost when we choose to fight battles we are not supposed to and be silent when we should be shouting our battle cry.
I couldn’t have said this a few weeks ago; that I was thankful for an unanswered prayer.
We had been praying long and hard for provision.
We’ve heard the many stories of how our God provides. The manna and quail that fell from heaven. The water that poured out of a rock.
And we too prayed that provision would fall from the sky. When that didn’t happen, we prayed that someone would be the hands and feet of Jesus and provide for us. When that didn’t happen, we continued to pray.
We’d experienced answered prayers before. Some immediate like the manna and water. Some by the grace of others.
But these prayers went unanswered…….at least not yet; at least not in a way we anticipated.
Instead, a greater answer came.
Like the Chinese proverb; “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The answer to this prayer for us was not in the answer but in the process.
God had so much more for us, than the answer. He had a way to show us that we could apply to any and all of our problems.
Here is what we learned:
To be humble and recognize that we can’t do this on our own; we need help. We need God’s help.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
To seek God above seeking an answer. Drawing nearer to Him; deeper to Him, He will reveal Himself in mighty ways and the answers will come and as we wait for them to come there will be Peace.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
Trust His timing. Don’t give up. Don’t believe in hopelessness. Do not become discouraged. God has this. God has you!!
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
He will give us awe-inspiring solutions that are not only for us but to share with others in need.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8&9
Praying blessing to you and yours as you journey to answered prayer.
I have a question for you. When you text, comment or email what do you use most? Words (yes, abbreviated words included) or those great emojis?
I find that whatever I am trying to say can be best said with a smiling face, a face with tears of laughter, a sobbing face, a heart, praying hands or a monkey (when all else fails).
It just seems easier. And I am realizing there is something more to this than my cumbersome thumbs and thoughts not getting the words right.
I cry often. I cry at parades, most movies, talking to my daughters’ teacher (just last month, yes, they are in high school—grade 9), reading a touching post, watching the firsts of my foster babies and so much more.
I am starting to realize how emotional I can be. I ‘feel’ deeply.
In many ways, I am thankful for this gift. Compassion and empathy bodes serving others.
There are times though when my emotions have wreaked havoc on many situations and circumstances. My emotions have tainted my perceptions and misguided my decisions. How I feel cannot override who I know God to be and my obedience to Him and His holy Word.
In the desert the Israelites became caught up in an emotional frenzy of fear. They were forgetting what they knew about God and His character.
‘That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”’ (Numbers 14:1-4)
Gone were the memories of God freeing them from slavery, protecting them, feeding them and fulfilling every promise made to them. Their perspective changed as it was being led by emotion and being led away from God’s Promised Land.
Living life abundantly, the life God wants for me, means keeping my emotions in check. And letting the Truth about my God direct me by the leading of the Spirit instead.
‘For the Spirit of God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.’ 2 Timothy 1:7
Her story came across my FaceBook feed. A young Mom decided to place her newborn with an adoptive couple. I can’t recall the details but I can recall how difficult the decision was for her. How heartbreaking for her. She used this phrase in her testimony to describe her role as her newborn son’s Mother “I need to be the embodiment of unconditional love to him.”
And to me this describes exactly what being a Mother means.
Constantly, we are asked to set aside our wants and sometimes needs to take care of our children.
We give up our sleep, our time, our ambitions and our bodies for seasons just for them.
As Moms, we have times when we are driven to dig deep; deeper than ourselves.
In the book of 1 Kings Chapter 3 verses 16-28, we see two Moms of similar lifestyles, act in very different ways. Both women had babies at the same time. One baby died and both claimed the living baby as their own. Wise King Solomon was asked to make a decision. Whose baby was it? Both adamantly claimed the child. The King’s response was terrifying, ‘Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”’ 1 Kings 3:24 & 25
I have had some significant moments in my Mothering journey where digging deep beyond me has happened.
Like the Mom in 1 Kings, I’ve had to totally surrender for my child ‘The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” 1 Kings 3:26
Years of infertility; remaining barren. A surrendering that was God’s will for us.
A failed adoption.
A decision to foster our daugthers forever if that’s what they needed; if that’s what was decided.
Saying good-bye to our foster children.
In each moment, I’ve had to place the needs of each of our children above the wants of my heart.
It’s what we do, as Mamas.
Our love for them is not conditional. We are being the embodiment of unconditional love.
And in these moments, I have never had what it takes. It’s bigger than me. In these times, I am the closest to my God. Being a Mom drives me to my need for God. And He never fails for He knows and has given such Sacrifice for me.
God bless you and yours, Mama!! Never forget you are never alone!! Love you!!
To say that we’ve found it challenging to live on primarily a single income; would be a serious understatement. Over the years, going from a two-income salary home, to one and a half, to now one, has us on a major learning curve.
We received this financial advice along the way, “In God We Trust; For Everything Else Pay Cash.” The advice reportedly came from a business university professor.
On hearing this it really struck a cord with me.
And how living life as a Christian is exactly like this.
We trust God in all things. But that doesn’t mean we sit and not do. That does not mean we do not do the hard stuff.
In this financial learning curve, we are finding that hard work needs to be done. Really hard work. Delayed gratification, diligence, denial, saying, ‘no’, to name a few.
We find in the book of Esther, her perfect example of living in such a way. Esther once an orphan, now a Queen trusted and did the difficult. When her people were to be annihilated by the order of her very own husband, the King, she interceded on their behalf, no matter the cost.
‘Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”’ Esther 4:15 & 16
What is your biggest hurdle, my friend? What most prevents you from living as God intended for you?
Let’s not be afraid to do the hard stuff. For soon we’ll realize that we are not alone as God always goes before us, just as He did Esther.
‘“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”’ Esther 4:14
What are your biggest stressors?
Those things that cause you to go Ahhhhhhh!!! in your mind, which your behaviours shortly follow.
For me, these things have changed over my years.
From a young age it was loud noises, including fireworks. I hated them! It was terror for me to watch them with my hands over my ears and jumping with every ignition.
Then as I started to drive it was stop lights. Yes, I began to panic as I approached a light on a highway going its speed of 80 km/h terrified that I wouldn’t be able to make the decision of whether to stop or keep going.
Later on, it was the setting of the sun. That supper hour where a sense of dread forebodes.
In each of these situations; happenings in my past; significant difficult experiences set a pattern of beliefs, encroaching onto my present.
An experience, experienced. A word spoken and believed. A thought owned as one’s own.
These things can be debilitating.
These things can prevent us from moving forward in freedom into God’s best for us.
Today, I am happy to say that none of these things impact me anymore!!
Scripture gives us hope!!
That we do not need to hold onto these things meant to overcome us.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Scripture reveals that importance of taking every one of our thoughts captive. Is it true? Is it real? Is it what the Bible says?
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4&5
It is my hope, that we will live in this Freedom, the One offered to us and be bound no more!!
I love watching the Royal Family. I am amazed at how when they enter a room, the doors are swung wide open for them and all attention is on their entering. They carry nothing in their posed, gloved hands.
When I enter somewhere it is nothing like royalty.
I may appear disheveled on any given day. I am fumbling to open any door with one arm carrying a car seat filled with a precious one. There is usually a diaper bag, purse and often times a book bag slung on the other shoulder. I may draw attention to our entering but only by those wondering, “What on earth?” Haha!!
I was anticipating something I had never done before. It was big. There would be a lot of major decisions made in that one meeting, that would affect myself and my family directly. It would impact my everyday life and my life’s calling.
I was so anxious. Wondering about the ‘What Ifs?’ Not having control, except for a small voice, over the outcome.
I don’t know about you but the new, the unknown, the uncertain are difficult for me.
Beforehand, I was so thankful that I reached out to some dear friends because I was reminded;
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
In his last days Moses, spoke these words to his successor, Joshua. Joshua was to cross the Jordan and enter into the Promised land. Moses assured Joshua that the Lord, Himself would go before him.
We have that same assurance.
And as soon as I entered that meeting, it was immediately evident that the Lord had gone before me. He had already prepared the way.
I pray, that you are reminded this very day that whatever your Jordan looks like that the Lord goes before you. He never leaves us or forsakes us.
I know when the time is coming in service. The pianist steps out of the pew and starts to play quietly as the Pastor speaks invitation.
I start to feel warm and flush and my stomach is in a flutter.
I need to meet at the altar. I want to meet at the altar.
But that would mean you would know that I have a want; a need.
That would mean you would see that I am not all-together. That would mean that although I am dressed in my Sunday best, you would see that my interior is messy.
That would mean that I need you to help me; to come alongside me.
An inner battle ensues and I am so thankful that I now submit to the call.
The gifts I would have missed out on had I not gone to the altar when I needed to.
My needs have been spiritual, emotional, physical, relational, and financial. I have been prayed for and I have asked for prayers for others.
My forehead has been anointed with oil.
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14
At the altar the Word and Truth have been spoken over me.
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19 & 20
I have made confessions of sin.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
Thank you to those who have met me there at the altar. Thank you for meeting me in such a place. For helping me carry my burdens. For praying for me and my loved ones. Thank you for speaking the Truth in Love. Thank you for approaching the throne of Grace on my behalf. Thank you to our Pastors and leadership for giving such an opportunity. Thank you.
‘But the other criminal rebuked him, “don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”’ Luke 23:40-43
Two men. Two men hanging. Two men being punished justly for what their deeds deserve.
Their endings the complete opposite.
One man in paradise. The other man not.
There are certain scenarios where it’s plain to see that saving is needed.
Someone drowning. A car crash victim. Stopping a child from running onto the road.
For a long time, I never saw my need to be saved. Wait, if I’m being honest, I never admitted my need to be saved.
I hid behind being a good person. Doing good things. Doing good in life.
Like the other criminal who hung there, I believed that one could save oneself.
‘“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us”!’ Luke 23:39
And then there was a realization that my good wasn’t good enough.
It wasn’t until my self-serving efforts started to crumble, that I started to look elsewhere for help.
Then, like the other thief hanging beside Jesus I admitted to needing a Saviour.
One man. One man hanging on a cross. One man hanging on a cross between two criminals.
One man, who has done nothing wrong.
It was by faith one thief entered paradise not by his good deeds.
Like the two sinners that hung beside Him on the cross we all stand guilty of wrongdoing.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23
And except for accepting His free gift of forgiveness, there is nothing we can do.
“and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24