by Jessica Ly
In the Ly household, it feels like we have been in a season of change for years now. If I look back over the last 4 to 5 years, something huge has changed in our family almost every 6 months. We have gone through job losses, added children to the family, added international students to our family, lost loved ones, been isolated by the pandemic (like everyone else), and more. Most recently, we’ve gone through the biggest transition yet: going from one-on-one defense to man-to-man defense with our kids. Adding our third child has been a transition that we truly love, but I can honestly say that I personally have struggled to keep my priorities in check as a follower of Jesus, a wife, and a mother. I mean, if Jesus is the Lord of my life, then why have I not given Him my time; not just the leftovers, but the first fruits? I have tons of excuses and I’ve skillfully convinced myself that I am justified in them. “Who has less time than a mother of 3 who is still nursing and barely gets sleep herself?” These victimized thoughts have left me in the pit of self-justification, and let me tell you… it’s an empty and lonely place to be. Now, don’t get me wrong; I do believe this season is challenging and I don’t mean to diminish the truth in that, but I have been convicted that I have not pushed myself to be holy in this time. My big “Aha!” moment came in a tender time with Jesus, when I realized that I have been idolizing my beautiful children above my Lord and Savior. I am learning that it’s easy for me to make excuses about things that are good in my life, even if they get in the way with my relationship with the Lord. Satan is so sneaky – he knows how much we love our kids – so he uses that to keep us from Jesus. Self-justification is making something seem right that isn’t right. And man I sure am good at it. I am seeing clearly though now, and I’m on to his game.
One morning, when I was at the beach this summer, I woke up before sunrise, and I saw there were three storms on the horizon. I couldn’t see the sun rising, but I could see its light breaking through the clouds. Slowly, the storms got bigger, and combined into one huge storm on the horizon. As the storms increased, so did the light from the sun as it rose. I could not see the sun, but it was still there. In that moment, I heard the Lord tell me, “Even though you can’t see Me, and the storms in your life feel so big, just keep looking for the Light! I am here with you! Be in awe of Me, and don’t fear the storm. I have a plan that is more beautiful than you could imagine.” In that moment, I felt peace come over me and I knew Jesus had awakened me. The storms and circumstances have been heavy this past year. Adding Benny to our family right before my Father passed on to glory was a lot bigger than I realized. The grief I’ve been crawling through has affected more than I understood. But God, in his great mercy, has been with me every step. And I know now that He is gently calling me to see his light in the storms, and to be in awe.
So, how can I start living like Jesus really is the Lord of my life?
I know that Jesus sometimes woke up when it was still dark, and He spent time with the Father. And in that time, the Father prepared Him for everything He would need that day. He prepared Him to cast out demons, to love on women who were outcast, to confront self-righteous people with love and truth, to pull people out of the pit of their own victim mentality. He prepared Jesus for his works, because Jesus Himself gave God his time.
I am in a moment now where I hear the Lord say, “I am here with you. I miss you. I want you near Me. Come be with Me so I can prepare you and give you everything you need. Stop trying to do it on your own. Let me prepare you. Not because you feel obligated, but because you miss and love Me; because you trust that I am all you need. Come be with Me.”
I may have times in my day when I listen to my Maverick City playlist or a podcast by a Christian teacher or pastor. I may have times in Spirit-led conversations with my D-group or friends. All these are great things, but they are not enough. Like Thor says, in the movie, “I need sustenance!” – I need the bread of life! I need Jesus. I need to give Him my time, and be immersed in Him alone. I need it and I want it. I’m hungry, and I can’t be filled without my Lord.
I hope and pray that this is an encouraging reminder for the parents at New City. We are all so busy; we have all the excuses in the world to do anything and everything except just BE with Jesus. I don’t think that’s a coincidence – I believe the Evil One is working hard to build up strongholds in our lives so that we will deny our own true need – time with Jesus.
I am making a decision now: to break down my victim mentality, idols, and excuses that I have been using to justify not having true time with Jesus. I am doing this because I do believe Jesus is Lord and I know He does have greater things for me to do in his Kingdom. I believe that He wants to prepare me for the battles and works ahead. I am making a commitment today to stop getting in my own way.
Will you join with me?