Flip the Furniture

There are a couple of things I love about this picture.First, my toes are painted - praise be. Thank goodness I had a little color going on seeing as I would use this picture in a blog post - naked toes are all sorts of embarrassing. :)Second, I can look straight through the corridor of my house to my front door from this vantage point.As a coaching family living on mission in one of the most prolific financial brackets in the world we have been snuggled in our precious little rent house, affectionately named the Hobbit House, now for four years. It is a small plot of earth compared to most, but I can guarantee it is bursting at the seams with real life, hard love and good food most of the time. So yes, when I sit on my bed in my room I can see straight through my entire house to the front door. It hasn't always been this way though.I know we are all blown into 2018, but I am truly just coming up for air enough to write through the process of how 2017 offered us a string of hard days. Which saying "hard days" is a massive understatement if I really dwell on the captivated nature of endurance we stepped out of December 31st into January 1st with. We navigated unexpected betrayal, dark financial days, and heavy tension in our married life off and on all last year. Ya'll, when I say Joy is real for us I do wholeheartedly mean it. But please know in equal parts when I say it's "heavy boots" around my tribe I wholeheartedly mean it.What you see is what you get with the Trotter's top to bottom. We certainly aren't smart enough to fake it. From about April to August the heaviness of burden just wouldn't lift and it seemed as if an unfamiliar fog blanket had come across the horizon of our Trotter Tribe. Like being wrapped up in a too hot feather bed our arms and legs couldn't seem to kick off the blanket. When one area of life settled it seemed as if another area of tension would heat up. In the darkest moment of defeat last year I decided to flip the furniture instead wallow in self-pity. And yes I mean literally flip the furniture in my house. You women will understand where I am coming from. It's like all of the sudden you can be sitting in a perfectly good room, look around, freak out, and want to put everything you own on the front lawn and completely start over. Anyone else? From top to bottom I spent 5 days completely flipping our small Hobbit House and gutting all the rooms and all the things cluttering up our lives and hearts.One strategic piece of furniture I flipped was how our bed was arranged in the Master bedroom.  I flipped our bedroom so as to wake up and see everything coming towards us. For three years we have had our bed up against the opposite wall which faces the furthest back wall to our house and for endless nights of difficult life Toby and I would crawl into bed and fall asleep with our backs to more than just our house. We wanted so desperately to fall asleep to our life.Have you been there before? Where you are probably high functioning, but the assaults are so depleting you can't possibly stay alert to all that is happening and it would seem to be easier just to turn your back and fall asleep?We fell asleep with our backs to our life ya'll. And I can tell you one thing for sure thing - nothing about sleeping on your life is easier.It might seem like a silly idea to you, but for us it shifted the atmosphere in our hearts and by rearranging the furniture there would be no more falling asleep to our life. No more fear. No more avoidance. No more passivity. No more backs turned to our life. Head on is how we planned to face every square inch of earth we step on. One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 5:14 and I believe I find a way to use it in every talk - "Awake and arise O Sleeper and the Light of Christ will shine on you!" Activating it in our Homelife was necessary.The shocking part to the whole narrative of 2017 for the Trotter Tribe is that we are spiritual attackers by nature and have always lived life head on. To find ourselves in a perplexing spot to lust after numbness was bizarre. But guys....new levels, new devils. In 2017 there were areas God simultaneously opened up new territory of success just as much as we felt an assault to our spiritual lives, but we as a tribe were not prepared for just how assaulting the season of spiritual warfare would be in order to take hold of that Kingdom territory and it nearly took us out.Speaking so bluntly here : it nearly took us out. It rearranged our priorities, relationships, goals, spiritual life, grace and obsession with God's Word. OBSESSION with God's Word. {I will certainly have more to say on the obsession with God's Word in the days and months to come, but for now dog ear that thought and stay tuned.}But...guess what? Here we are in 2018 and you know what...2017 DID NOT take us out. To the devil's grief 2017 emboldened our faith and solidified our trust in the all knowing character of God. As Christine Caine says, "On the devil's best day he didn't take you out. You're still here. You still have a hope and a future."The first morning of 2018 I woke up early, reached for my Bible and realized I was not only awake to tackle any warfare potentially arising against the reception of the Promises of God I was alert and facing the front when my precious baby girl slipped out of her room and into mine with her fluffy stuffed lamb. There was no magic in flipping the bed, but there was a physical change that motivated a spiritual awareness. Because sometimes we need to flip the furniture.Let's flip the spiritual furniture in 2018....Raise Your Expectations!

It's astounding how the consistency of a season of harsh unforgiving circumstances can lower your expectations. I get it. I have certainly lived it. The important thing to remember is to stay aware of when you are authorized to march into a new season of promises and flip the furniture and step in. Warring against the propensity a defeated spirit would have to lower expectations is paramount to receiving the fullness of Promises and Miracles. I say let's banish old habits and stretch our faith, timid as it may feel, towards lifted expectations to see a movement of God through all we have navigated. And yes, I am saying "WE" because anytime I am sharing with you about my life I am under the assumption we are walking together. So let's lift our expectations to the expectations of a High God who wants to satisfy more than our mere hunger pains. God desires to see us feast on the goodness of His graces in 2018. Flip the furniture on watered down expectations - Flip the bed around and let's take the vantage point of Heaven and see great blessings coming towards us as we tackle life head on.

Hope Purifies!

Hope deferred certainly can weaken even the strongest heart. One of my favorite Christmas movies is "Its a Wonderful Life" and in its opening scene the angels are discussing George Bailey's problems and one angel says to another "No, worse...he's discouraged." Nothing can kill hope like discouragement. But nothing can make a life rise to the fullness of it's overcoming power like Hope. That's why there is such a great fight against your life being filled with Hope. All your sufferings are not to be grieved. Truly. They are to be celebrated and even if it takes all remaining strength to HOPE AGAINST ALL HOPE - stand firm and HOPE. "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces HOPE, and HOPE does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." {Romans 5:3-5} And our HOPE? Our HOPE actually purifies our hearts and renews our energy. When you feel overcome by defeat prayerfully ask for God to negotiate fresh HOPE from some aspect of your life and the ground you are currently occupying. DECIDE to believe and allow HOPE to rise within you. It will purify your soul, regenerate your mind and clarify your thoughts. Flip the spiritual furniture and choose hope.Expect Expansion and Effectiveness!When I flip my furniture and gut my house I am motivated to create space for expanded growth and more effective hospitality. It produces an atmosphere for more effectiveness if my tribe and the company we keep are not cluttered by old things. In 2018 let's flip the spiritual furniture in full expectation it will produce for us expanded effectiveness. No more stagnant relationships. No more stagnant dreams. No more stagnant emotional circles. No more shame. No more unredeemed guilt. No more fear. Let's let some people off the hook in our lives, offer forgiveness so everyone gets the benefit of expanded effectiveness. Let's allow some new levels of obedience to push us past our self preservation. Let's see 2018 open the door with FULL welcome expansion and effectiveness.

Where is God asking you to Flip the Furniture in 2018? I would LOVE to know how some of you plan to raise your expectations, be purified by Hope and expand your lives for effectiveness. Leave a comment below!