This week has been the week that my family (more specifically…my husband) has been building up to all year.
In 2009, we told the Lord that we wanted to see truth in all areas of our life…the good, the bad, and the ugly. We asked Him to open our eyes. We told Him that we did not just want to hear Bible stories about Him, but we wanted to know Him and live out His word in a very tangible way. If His word said that we were supposed to do/be something as Believers in Christ then we wanted to see it happen in our lives. We were done doing Christianity the way we thought it should be done; we wanted to follow Christ the way that He wanted us to follow Him.
Have you heard the saying be careful what you pray for? Well, that applied to us. Our life turned upside down, inside out, and every which way. We left the community and friends that we had known for 5 years. At the time, we didn’t understand a lot of what was happening which made the departure awkward and difficult. We gave away most of our belongings. Sean felt the pull to finish his bachelors degree and go to law school. At the time, I wasn’t sure what the Lord had in store for me, but he soon put me on the path to get me to where I am today (a story for another day).
Sean and I met in an AOL chat room in 1997, my senior year of high school. I lived in the Houston area, and he lived in the mountains west of Colorado Springs. We met half way in Lubbock, TX for my first semester away at college. He already had some college under his belt but no real solid direction. He just wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do. After that one semester in Lubbock, he took a couple of computer classes but that was it for the next 10+ years.
The Lord used a couple things to tug him the direction of law. He had always been somewhat frustrated that he never really had a clear direction on what to do in life which was in direct contrast to me always knowing right where I needed to be. I will admit that I never had to worry about solely providing for a family of five so was free to go and do and figure things out. He had to weigh out the cost of his decisions a lot more. I will forever be grateful that he never demanded that I work full-time. He was in agreement with me being with our children while they were growing up, going back to graduate school, and chasing every direction that the Lord had for me (kids in tow) which often came at quite a cost to him and a good chunk of his paycheck. Ministry work is not cheap.
I remember him coming to me and telling me that he thought he wanted to go to law school. I was excited. He had a direction. God was giving him a direction. It was an answered prayer. He told me that it would not be easy. I was all in. I didn’t realize that “it would not be easy” was a massive understatement. We didn’t know what we were signing up for, and he has often said that if he would have known, he might not have ever started the journey. I still don’t think it would have changed my mind because I like digging in and doing hard things because I know the reward is great on the other side. I am always up for a challenge and an adventure. And…I especially know that if God is calling us to it then He will see us through it. He never leaves us on our own to figure it out or fend for ourselves. He again has the prospective of taking care of the family, weighing the costs, seeing sacrifices and wondering when he will see the returns. I see the potential and all that God can do. How can we refuse? LOL…we balance each other well. The Lord has as used us both to shape and stretch the other.
What an adventure it has been! So many highs and so many lows. I could write books on the last 10 years. I am sure that many of the stories will come out in blog postings in the future. For the sake of brevity in this post, I will just say that we were forged in the fire…tried, tested, and turned upside down but shaped, molded, and built into exactly what God wanted and needed us to be. And course, He is still molding and shaping…it is a process that never ends.
Relationships broke, and new ones emerged. He taught us to trust at deeper levels and see things with a new perspective. He taught us how to create boundaries when needed and how to walk the long, hard walk with people.
The four years of law school were probably the hardest 4 years of our life. They were brutal for Sean and difficult at home. If you ever bump into a spouse of a law student, give them a hug. I guarantee you that they need it. The one that is law school…just steer clear. They need the space. It is a grueling process.
Sean took the bar exam right out of law school which is the exam required to become a licensed, practicing attorney. We prayed, stood on faith, and believed that he would pass and move on into the next season of his calling. He took the exam in July 2017 and received results in November….3.5 long months of waiting and believing that he would pass. He did not pass. He was so close, but not close enough. He was devastated but committed to pass. He took the bar in February 2018 and fell short again.
Let me define bar exam studying…it is at least 2 solid months of full-time 10 hour day, 6-7 days a week of study. That is the expectation. After the first exam, he had to get back to work. During the second bar exam attempt, he tried working and studying because he really didn’t have any other option. When the results came back that second time, he was done for the time being. He couldn’t justify putting any more time towards it. The last 3 years, he has been back in the business world. The Lord has been good to him and has provided him with good work, but he has always had a tug back to the legal field.
When COVID hit, he went to work for the government and oversaw a large team of attorneys. This really lit the fire to go back and try to tackle the bar exam again. He was planning on taking it in February of 2021 but decided to wait for the July exam due to COVID regulations. Thankfully, we were in a place where he could step away from his job and study full-time.
Today (Tuesday) was his first day in the exam. By the time this is posted, he will be finished. We have prayed, have believed, and have stood in faith again. I was in the car a couple weeks ago and the sound “Raise a Hallelujah” came on. I was singing and KNEW I was to worship and praise while he was taking the test…because I know this is really a spiritual battle. It is more forging, more shaping, and more building us up. I know the enemy works hard to keep believers from walking in their calling. Overcoming the enemy is part of the forging and growth process. I also know…
“I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me
I'm gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you're gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!
I raise a hallelujah, with everything inside of me
I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee
I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery
I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me!”
Raise a Hallelujah lyrics © Bethel Music Publishing
Praising despite my circumstances has been how the Lord has taught me to respond to situations so I told my son that we were going to have a praise party while Sean was taking the test. We were going to thank God in advance for the victory. We were going to praise that mountain down.
We stayed busy and hadn’t thought much about the praise party. This past Sunday, we went to church and the last worship song was “Raise a Hallelujah.” I melted. It was one of those moments where you know that Lord sees you, and he’s affirming you. Then the sermon…coming under the anointing and being in partnership with the Holy Spirit so that HE equips you supernaturally to fulfill your calling. I call it “filling in my gaps”. I felt like he spoke right to us, assuring us the whole service.
Sean messaged me Monday once he got to the testing center and told me that he was sitting in section 18. I looked up the biblical meaning of the number 18, and it said bondage. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Bondage is being stuck, and it definitely felt like we had been stuck in this in between…having a law degree but no law license. Bondage is enemy territory. I am a deliverance minister. I know this. I had to take a moment and reframe my thinking. My mind started to think…oh no, he was placed in a section symbolizing bondage and we have sure felt that at times with his calling and career trajectory…the enemy has always attacked him in these areas. But…I stopped. I stopped all those thoughts. I began to think of how I could reframe this and hold on to hope. I chose to believe that this time bonds would be broken and deliverance would happen in the face of bondage. I chose hope and faith. I teach people everyday to reframe and renew their thoughts. Today is my day to put it into practice.
I sent a message to 2 friends that walk in the prophetic on a daily basis. They knew he was taking the test, but I shared about the song, the sermon, and then the number 18. I asked them to pray. I wanted to ask them for a word from the Lord, but I opted not to. I told the Lord that if he had a word for me then one of them would give it without me having to ask. I know what I felt the Lord was saying to me, but we have been through a lot and I really wanted another affirming and confirming word through someone else. More than just a “Oh, I am sure he will do great.” I wanted a word directly from the Lord.
One of them did message me back. She said that she heard “It will be done…” before she actually was able to entirely read the message. She wasn’t even quite sure what would be done until she went back and read the message. Today, she messaged me again and said that as she was worshiping the Lord this morning, he began to give her words for Sean: “My hand is upon his shoulder. He is my child. Grace I give him. He’s put the hard work in.” I didn’t ask for another word, but He gave one. She told me that I can celebrate now.
By the time you read this, he will be done testing. We won’t know the results until November. I will chose to stand in faith that God’s grace is sufficient and this chapter is closing. I have been here before…standing in faith believing that we would receive good results.
It is now 4 AM on Thursday morning. Sean came home feeling so defeated. He actually said that he didn’t want to have come home and look us in the face. He felt like he had wasted more time and money chasing something that felt so far away. I debated whether to even post this because the feelings are so raw right now. He has been to battle and victory feels so far away. I reminded him tonight that we do not stand on our feelings; we stand on the Word of God. I told him that I was proud of him because he has worked so hard…good results or bad results…he has worked for hard for his family. I told him that I was proud of him because he did not take the easy road. It would have been easier to give up and go through this horrible process again. It would have been easier to not risk failing again. He is doing better now and just finally fell asleep. The Lord kept giving me the scripture 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
I post because we are in that moment of raw weakness where we need the Lord to fill it our gaps. I post because I know that many others are going through similar things with different situations. I post because you may be the spouse that is the support system and wondering how you even respond. I post because no matter the results in November the Lord is always teaching us, shaping us, and he has our best interest at heart.
When November comes, we will praise Him if we get the results we want, and we will praise Him if we get the results we do not want. We have fundamental, foundational beliefs about the Lord that cannot be shaken by situations and circumstances that we face on a daily basis.
“For Yahweh is always good and ready to receive you. He’s so loving that it will amaze you-so kind that it will astound you! And he is famous for his faithfulness toward all. Everyone knows our God can be trusted, for he keeps his promises to every generation!” Psalm 100:5 TPT
“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 NIV
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
When these truths are our foundation our only response is to trust Him completely knowing that whatever the outcome, he is in control. If the results are not what we want, we trust him anyways. We can be confident when we know that we have done everything we know to do, and we surrender the rest to Him. If the results are not what we want, we reassess, take away what we can, learn what we can, grow where we can, seek him for wisdom, understanding, and guidance…and we try again. And again, and again, and again if we need to because we are confident in the calling of the Lord so we never lose faith that He will see us through. It has been a long, hard journey, but He will see us through.