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Because of You!

"But the Lord was angry at me because of you and would not listen to me" (Deuteronomy 3:26a, NET, emphasis mine). "But the Lord became angry with me because of you..." (Deuteronomy 4:21, NET, emphasis mine).

When I read the account of Israel's journey from Egypt into the Promised Land, it's not difficult for me to conclude its been a long and exhausting forty years for the leader of Israel. What should have been an eleven day excursion became a forty year expedition with a mass of people difficult to lead. Forty years of constant pushback and drama. Four decades of murmuring and complaining about their discomfort with every passing mile. Constantly throwing shade about Moses who was simply doing his best to relay the message so they could faithfully follow God's command. They threw him under the bus, frequently; maybe it was a camel, but you get my point.

Personally, I believe it was years of frustration that brought Moses to this moment. The moment when he lost his patience and his mind. And then he lost the privilege of entering the land with the people he'd interceded for. At present, he's standing at the edge of this land and addressing everyone with a replay of the "historical resume" (NET). Then, he begins to share with the people the pleading he has done with the Lord for permission to enter into the land. He tells them it was "because of you and [the Lord] would not listen to me. Instead, he said to me, 'Enough of that! Do not speak to me anymore about this matter'" (Deuteronomy 3:26, NET). As though once wasn't enough he repeats the message in the next chapter. "But the Lord became angry with me because of you and vowed that I would never cross the Jordan nor enter the good land that he is about to give you" (Deuteronomy 4:21, NET). Moses just became a blame-thrower.

Reading his words evoked some exposure of my own less-than-finer moments when I'd lost myself in emotion and believed it was because of you that I'd place my blame. Well, probably not you, per se. (Although, I suppose that might depend on the "you" reading this. ;)) What I know to be true is that it requires no effort for me to believe that when an unattractive emotional response rises within me, it was because of you.

When I was a young, frustrated mom, raising my voice or slamming doors, it was because of you.

When I threw a nasty fit that ended with stitches in my lip, it was because of you.

When conflict presented itself between a friend it was because of you.

When I was unhappy it was because of you.

When I was sulking, it was because of you.

When I felt misunderstood, it was because of you.

Perhaps my extra weight is because of you, too.

For every outburst of anger, poorly executed decision, or ruined relationship, yep, it was easy to assume it was because of you.

Had the Lord not begun challenging me to change, I'd still be an excellent blame-thrower. I still find it tempting to say it was because of you when my emotions get the best of me. However, I've come to realize that's never going to be an acceptable answer to the Lord. Instead, He wants to bring exposure to whatever the root is behind the emotion clawing its way to the surface. Learning how to pause in this moment has taught me how to offer a mature response rather than lose myself through an immature reaction.

Now, you might be thinking, "but, it was because of them!" and I understand that, too. Believe me, I've spent years working to unravel deep wounds that had been used as a trigger to the emotional response. But, even then, the Lord challenged me by showing me it is because of Him that I am to offer the wounds as a sacrifice at the altar of forgiveness. It's amazing the freedom that comes through forgiving what you might not ever forget. Don't get locked into the lie that something is impossible; not when all things are possible because of Christ.

Because of Jesus, we no longer need to be a blame-thrower, instead we become sword-throwers.

Because of Him we can slam the door to the temptation to blame others.

Because of Him we are able to find peace in the midst of life's most stressful moments.

Because of Him we can love others, even our enemies.

Because of Him we are capable of experiencing joy—regardless.

Because of Him we are empowered with the knowledge, confidence, means, and ability to do all that He asks, beginning with the decisions we make to bring honor and glory to Him.

The unchangeable Word of God is always challenging us to change. This month, God is calling His daughters to #AriseEmpowered with a challenge to shake off contaminants from a mindset or any false stronghold that prevents us from spiritual growth and maturity.

Moses lost the opportunity to enter that which he'd worked forty years to obtain, and then blamed others. Don't lose the promise because of them—allow healing to transpire because of Him. #AriseEmpowered.

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