Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Life and Legacy of a Sinful Past and a Scarlet Rope

Unlikely as it may be, one of my favorite people in the Bible is Rahab. She was spunky, discerning, and brave...and a prostitute.

Let's recap her story briefly.

Rahab was a prostitute in the outskirts of a city called Jericho. It was a strong, fortified city, but she'd heard the Hebrews were coming - whose God had saved them from slavery in Egypt, parted the Red Sea for them, and sustained them in the desert - and she knew they were destined to conquer.

She helped the Hebrew spies sent to scout out the city hide and escape capture, but in return, asked them to save her and her family - her mother, father, sisters, and brothers - when they took the city. The spies agreed, and the same scarlet rope by which they escaped would serve as a signal to allow THAT home to remain unharmed.

A scarlet rope was the sign of her deliverance, much like the scarlet lambs' blood that marked the doorways of the Hebrews when the plague of the first born swept through Egypt...or the blood of Jesus that covers believers and marks them as His own.

Before they took the city, each day for six days, the horns would blow, and the Israelite army would march around that wall in silence...and each day for six days, they would see the scarlet rope...and the spies and Joshua would remember Rahab.

But on the seventh day...the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times, and the horns blew, and the men raised up a triumphant shout, and the walls of Jericho fell! And Joshua sent the two spies in to take Rahab and all who belonged to her to safety...and here's where it gets interesting:

However, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute,
her father's household, and all who belonged to her,
because she hid the men Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho,
and she lives in Israel to this day.
Joshua 6:25

And this could have been where the story ended: "And Rahab and her family stayed with the Israelites, and they lived happily ever after." But our God...

Our God doesn't just save, He REDEEMS.

When He saved Rahab, she had an encounter with God, and it forever changed her life and her legacy.

How do I know?

Because in a little book of the Bible called Ruth, we read about every godly woman's dream: Boaz. An honorable and righteous, man, full of kindness and integrity. Ruth was a widow and a foreigner in their land, and he redeemed her and married her. He was her knight and shining armor.

And this godly man, Boaz, was the son of Rahab, the prostitute and her husband, Salmon.

And then, Salmon fathered Obed, and Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David: the young shepherd boy who would become king and a man after God's own heart.

David's grandmother was a widow and a foreigner, and his great-grandmother was a courageous prostitute. And from these women, through the line of David, an unlikely shepherd boy, would come the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world.

And oh the tears that flow when I think about this because, I don't know about you, but I have a past, and some of it is dirty and ugly and makes me feel unworthy of the calling I've received.

But like Rahab and Ruth before me, my God has redeemed the broken places, and called me His own, and I am grateful because He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and has placed me in exactly the place I am to do exactly what I'm doing. And I am grateful.

This morning, the Bible app's verse of the day was Psalm 145:18:

The Lord is near to all who call on Him,
to all who call on Him in truth.

It's an unlikely verse to make me think of Rahab, for sure. But this is her story and mine.

God calls me to draw near to Him with complete honesty and sincerity. He knows every sin I've ever committed and all those coming down the pike, and yet He calls me chosen, He calls me beloved, He draws near to me.

Praise be to God!

What holds you hostage in shame? What part of your past keeps you from moving forward?

Come close and I'll whisper a secret...*it doesn't matter*

It's all paid for. If you believe Jesus loves you, died for your sins, and give Him the reins of your life, there is nothing in the world that condemns you.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation
because the law of life in Christ Jesus
has set us free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2.

Like the scarlet rope that signified Rahab's deliverance, the blood of Jesus marks you as FREE, but your life is worth more than just to be saved from the fire.

Because Jesus didn't just die. He was raised from the dead, and like Him, from the ashes of your former life, God can create a NEW life for you, and a legacy of redemption for generations to come!

Draw near to Him in truth, and He will draw near to you, and He will do infinitely more in your life than you could ever ask or imagine. That's Rahab's story. It's my story. And it can be your story, too.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mental Instability: When Your Thoughts Aren't Structurally Sound

"Why do you think you're so angry lately?"

The words sent me reeling, but there was undeniable truth in them.

"I don't know," I spat out defiantly. "Why do YOU think I'm so angry?"

"I don't know, either," Josiah said, "but it feels like you've just grabbed on to anger and discontentment recently, in every area of your life, and you don't even want to let it go. It's like you're holding on to it.

Our beautiful, Sunday morning walk in the sunshine took a sharp turn into stormy weather.

I balked for a bit, and argued for a bit, but somewhere, deep back in my brain, there was a tug.

After he took the babies in, I sought the solitude in the haven of my new van (man, I love that thing).

And to be completely transparent, at first, I started coming up with all the ways he was wrong. Instead of self-examination, I was coming up with the next part of my battle plan...but I was fighting the wrong enemy.

For our battle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers,
against the authorities,
against the world powers of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
Ephesians 6:12

I was strategizing on how to beat Josiah, when I should have been trying to defeat the darkness that had so easily snaked its way into my soul.

However, just that morning, one of my devotions was based on the following scripture, and because I'm focusing right now on scripture memorization, the answer to my dilemma was plain:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the everlasting way.
Psalm 139:23-24

I think this is one of those things we pray over ourselves not really expecting God to show up...but He does, and He is always on time.

I asked God to search my heart, find my anxious thoughts, and expose what He found offensive: He did not disappoint.

Lately, God has been using me and teaching me, and I've loved it, but it's also given me a deep hunger for MORE. More time with Him, more solitude, more messages, more connections.

Instead, though, I have lots and lots of kids...which often means LESS. Less time with Him, less solitude (SO MUCH LESS), less messages, and less connections.

So, while I've been a conduit of God's word for others, here in my household, I'm hanging on by a thread. I have a short fuse. I'm easily offended. A good day can become awful...quickly.

After a while, I got the gumption to come in and apologize to Josiah for my actions and words and tell him I knew there was truth to what he was saying.

Tears, a drive, and a long talk led us to part of the reason yesterday; I'm experiencing mommy burnout.

Here's a fun fact: a person cannot be "on" all the time. Plus, frankly, toddlers are not my gift. I LOVE my precious babies, but for example, if you put me in the toddler room at church, my anxiety level shoots through the roof.

What I've been telling myself is that "I'm just not good at this...this momming many people thing." I've also been saying, "I'm not meant to do this."

Consciously, I know God doesn't make mistakes, and He gave me these precious babies for a reason, but my head has not done a good job of keeping my feelings in check.

Because I'm burnt out...and it's going to take more than just Starbucks for a couple hours to fix this...and that's okay.

We came up with somewhat of a plan to get me a full day alone, along with a full day for US alone...because time with one another has been pretty lacking lately, too.

Our relationship is running on fumes, low on oil, and that's just not good for the engine.

But this morning, God revealed something else that was going on: my intellectual framework was faulty.

Once again, during my devotions, he brought me scripture:

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

I've always looked at this passage and thought, "We'll have peace if we trust God. Great! I know that already." But this morning, something about the word "steadfast" made me want to look up the original Hebrew, and it broke this verse open for me.

Basically, without nerding out on you guys too much with the details, it says:
God will guard, watch over, and preserve complete peace in the hearts of the people whose intellectual framework is resting squarely upon Him.
There are a couple key words there that I think are really important. First, "perfect peace" there is shalom shalom. The word is so nice, he said it twice.

Seriously though, often in Hebrew, repetition was used for emphasis. Shalom means peace. Saying it twice indicates complete peace, a peace that is in no way lacking.

Second, looking at the Hebrew gave me a picture of our thoughts not as individual roads or pathways, but instead a the structure of a building. Each and every load-bearing board must rest squarely on a strong foundation.

Small weaknesses in structure can make or break a building when storms come.

And let's face it: if I'm venturing into ministry, I'm calling down the thunder.

So, God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to show me the areas where my framework needed repair.

I am quite literally leading myself down a path of mental instability, and God is turning me around and leading me to the way everlasting.

He showed me the errors in my thinking, but also, He exposed how important it will be, as He uses me more, that I take time to rest in Him more...and that means more than just waking up super early to spend time with Him.

It means spending an occasional day in solitude.
It means taking the time to write.
It means spending time in nature praying and appreciating His creation.
It means remembering that my family is my first ministry.

If I reach thousands for Christ, but fail to adequately respect my husband and love and nurture my own children, I will have been a very poor steward of these precious gifts He's put in my care. They have to be my first priority, and sometimes, the best thing you can do for others is make sure you're taking care of yourself.

I pray this has blessed you today. How is God speaking to you right now?

  • Are holding on to anger or resentment?
  • Have you been battling the wrong enemy?
  • Are a couple unsteady boards in your mental framework compromising the stability of your peace?
  • Have you neglected taking care of yourself because you're too busy taking care of others?
  • What is keeping you from perfect peace?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dream big - live bigger!

I know I'm where God wants me for the time being, but feel there's a dissatisfaction in order to drive me towards my next step.

I'm hungry for more.

I want more.

I want my faith to be deeper. (You can start singing “Oceans” if you catch my drift... pun intended)

I want to dream big, and live bigger.

So right now, I'm looking for my promised land.

I don't know what it is, or where it is, and I'm okay with it.

I would much rather wander in the desert for 40 years, than to stay in a place where God doesn't want me to be.

I know that God is using where I am in order to grow me and deepen my faith. I have seen it deepen the more I depend on God and wait on Him.

When I can be still and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10)

I know that I am happiest in life when I have no other explanation for anything that's happened, but God.

The more I think about David... A man who won a fight with a man close to twice his size, with no armor, and by most considerations, inferior weaponry. The man who shouldn't have won by almost all counts... But for God. (1 Samuel 17)

The more I think about Gideon... A man who sent home a high portion of his troops before he went into a battle that would've looked hopeless, but for God. (Judges 7)

The more I think about Peter, who as a fisherman, went from everything he knew about water to do what Jesus told him he could, but stepping out in faith on a surface far less than trustworthy. He would've sank immediately to the bottom of a stormy sea, but for God. (Matthew 14)

What was taught to me was this:

The voice of God often doesn't sound like the voice of reason.

Alissa sent me a page out of her devotion earlier about the church of Philadelphia who was promised to be a gateway for many people, that God was going to do mighty things through them when the time was right.

I feel like in many ways that is my promise.

I own it.

God will use me in a way that He chooses when the time is right., and when God unlocks the door using His wisdom, with His guidance, and in His power, then He will bless me in my journey, and every step along the way is a blessing, whether or not it looks like it.

I want to live in faith and out of my faith, and in expectation of beyond what I'm capable of thinking.

I'm learning that in order to exercise my faith in any situation, sometimes I have to exorcise myself from it... and rely on God.

In everything.

I am going to do what I can to be a good steward of what I have, and I am going to use the gifts that God has given me in order to try to reach out and bless others.

God has something in store for me when I look for Him, and when I continue looking for Him in every situation, in every instance.

That is what He wants for all of us! To gain the spiritual discipline of "never stop looking... never stop knocking... never stop seeking."

The more that I look for God in everything, the more I see Him.

After all, He shows up in every little thing, and in every big thing, and I am more than content to spend my time searching for Him.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Prayer as a Last Resort

Far too often we use what should be our initial response as a last resort.

Much like building our favorite out-of-the-box furniture, we have a tendency to try to do things on our own, as much as possible, until we find out we have spare parts, or things aren't coming together in the way that we (or the box) pictured them.

So, keeping that in mind...

Why do we pray?

Sometimes it's because we are pouring our hearts out to God in times of trouble or challenge, and then when things are okay, we just don't.

We can figure it out on our own, and then if all else fails, we can return to the directions right?

The biggest problem is prayer isn't just what gives us direction in life in what to do, where to go, or anything else.

It's also a tool.

It's a direct line to the Creator of the project because He cares immensely about the project we have in mind... and the next project... and the next project...

Because He understands it's not just what we are looking to accomplish, and more importantly He has His own project.


If the only time we try at building our relationship with God is when things get hard, then why do we get surprised when challenges arise?

And even then, more often than not, I think our prayers often try to manipulate God to get us out of our current situation than trying to find out what God is trying to reveal and do in and through us in that situation.

Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12

But that feeling is horrible, isn't it?

You know, the one where you feel completely helpless, and completely out of control?

We were never in control, and we can't afford to lose sight of where our help comes from!

We are told to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

Is it any wonder that when we haven't been spending time with the God who is the lover of our souls, the God who provides, and the God who heals, that we get sick,we feel anxious, we feel alone, and we get stressed out?

When the voices we listen to from the media, from social media, and we speak into each others lives are words of hopelessness, of anger, of hurt, of depression and hatred to the point to where we don't know what to do with the thought of a God who has a vested interest in each and every one of us.

That means God wants to know your hurts, your angers, your fears, your joys, your hopes, your dreams, that thing going on within your family.

He wants it.

All of it.

Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about our circumstances and what's going on in our lives, but God is ultimately more concerned with the refining of our souls than our momentary circumstance.

God wants us to seek Him and His presence – God wants to be ever-present in our lives, and considered in every decision.

Let me rephrase that. God IS ever-present in our lives. He just wants to for us to include Him in our every-day tasks.

Because He wants you.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Perspective Changes Everything

Were you aware that until the 13th century, artists didn't know anything about how to create true perspective? They just made whatever they thought was important bigger than the other objects in the painting. Sometimes they would put things in the foreground or background, but not in a regular or accurate way. It was always skewed and inaccurate.*

I'm on a journey to become a better me, a healthier me, and as part of that journey, I bought a scale. I hadn't weighed myself since November, and I figured it was high time.

Last night, I put the batteries in the new scale, set it down, stepped on it...and reeled.

The number was NOT what I expected and NOT in a good way. 

Honestly, it was only about 5 lbs. different. However, between my 6 week postpartum appointment (when I was actually lower than my pre-pregnancy weight) and my newfound resolve, my complete abandonment of all things related to reasonable eating had done more harm than I thought. Praise God for great supplements or I'd probably be looking at an even bigger challenge.

I hopped off the scale, looked at Josiah, and grappled. "I will not cry." I said. "This is just a number, just a starting point. I will not cry. I will not let this stupid number defeat me."

And then, I did something that, at some points in my life, would have been emotional suicide: I had Josiah take a couple before pictures of just a sports bra and underwear.

I said a quick prayer for strength and then I looked at them...and do you know what I saw??

A body.

That's all.

A body.

I saw an overweight body and an out of shape body, but just a body. It just didn't have the power it once would have, and for that I am GRATEFUL.

This morning, my Bible reading led me to Romans, and this Scripture popped out at me:

For though they knew God,
they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude.
Instead, their thinking became nonsense,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
Claiming to be wise,
they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for images resembling mortal man,
birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
Romans 1:22-23

Most of the time, I think we have a tendency to look at this scripture as a "them" verse. THOSE PEOPLE who don't love God think they're wise, but THEY are just foolish.

Or maybe, we're wise enough to see that it applies to us (because really, the first part of Romans is just there to show us we're ALL jacked up and need Jesus), but we still kind of skim over it.

Because we're not worshiping idols, right? No golden calves for us!

But then, as I looked at the Greek, one word stuck out to me: fools.

It's the word "moraino," and it's pronounced mo-RAH-ee-no...and obviously, it's where we get the word "moron."

Hehe...God called us morons, I thought.

And then I saw the other meaning of the word: to make flat and tasteless, of salt that has lost its strength and flavor.

OUCH. Can you feel that? The sword that is God's word cutting deep into your heart? I know I did.

This verse then BROKE OPEN for me, and it looked something like this:
They know Me, and they say they love Me,but they don't treat Me like they love Me,putting Me in my rightful place,and they certainly aren't grateful for all they've been given. No.Instead, their thoughts are clouded by a bunch of nonsense and are darkened.They have ceased being salt and light.They claim my wisdom, but they act no different than the people around them:hopeless, worrisome, grumbling, and lost.They have stopped seeing me, and instead,see only the idols they've set up for themselves:physical beauty, success, earthly comforts, and self-loathing.
And in that, I see me...or the me that HAS been. I am convicted, but also, set free!! I see how God has been working to change my perspective and I am so incredibly grateful.

There were certain areas of my life I had raised up as idols and certain areas I had just laid down in defeat.

But let me ask you something: can you physically lie down and walk at the same time? 

No. Not possible.

You cannot walk in the victory of Christ and lie down in defeat at the same time. It's just not possible.

How do you see yourself? Are you claiming the identity of a child of the living God, but also consider yourself:
  • just a person with no self-control?
  • just an alcoholic?
  • just a worrywart?
  • just an addict?
  • just a failure?
You are "just" lying to yourself. You are "just" keeping yourself in chains that Jesus has already unlatched, and you're holding onto them for dear life.

And what does that say to the people around you? Do your words and actions reflect a close walk with Christ or your acceptance of defeat.

It cannot reflect both.

I'm not saying you need to be fake. I'm not saying you won't go through things, HARD things. But might I suggest, if you're constantly stuck in a place of defeat, you've chosen the wrong perspective. 

Like artists before the renaissance, we paint the pictures of our lives with skewed inaccurate perspectives, as though our lives are not enlightened by the light of Christ at all.

Instead of placing ourselves at the feet of God, and seeing only Him - His goodness, love, kindness, grace, mercy, and wisdom - we've placed ourselves on the throne, and we're looking only at the obstacles, discomforts, successes, and failures.

And if that's the case, if that's they place we're operating from, we're no different. We're saved, yes, but our lives are no different. They have no light, and our salt has lost its flavor...and we sit around wondering why the world is falling apart.

The world is no different because WE are no different.

But that's not what I'm claiming today for us, friends. NO.

Because we ARE children of the living God, and we DO have victory through Christ the Son, and we DO have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

And therefore, according to the riches of God's great love and mercy, I declare we will be empowered, not through ourselves, but through the Spirit of God that lives in us. I declare that we who love Christ would place Him on the throne of our hearts, and we would grow our strength in Him. (Ephesians 3:16-17, highly paraphrased).

I pray we choose a godly perspective in that, we trade being our own gods for seeing ourselves and our circumstances through the eyes of the One true God.

Because perspective is truly everything.


Friday, December 30, 2016

I'm Going On an Adventure

God started forming this post in my heart a week ago. In that time, it has changed and morphed. He's done SO MUCH. He's poured into my heart to the point where if I don't share, I think it may burst.

And that's the best time to share.

Last week, during breakfast with a sweet friend, I told her I started doing yoga again. I picked it back up because it helps my strength and flexibility, and, I said jokingly:
It strengthens my core. Apparently, God said this person I'm supposed to be is "statuesque." I don't know if you know this, but it physically HURTS to try to be statuesque without a strong core. Haha. There's probably a blog post in there somewhere.
 Oh...I didn't even know at the time.

Throughout this week, God has been showing me that it's about the process. There is value in the process.

Just over a month ago, God shared with me who He wants me to be (read about that here). When I wrote about it, I said it would take time, and I wasn't quite there yet, but somewhere deep inside, I thought, "Now that I know who I'm supposed to be, I have to start acting like that."

And it hurt...because I wasn't ready.

What I didn't realize at the time is God still has so much work to do in me in order to become that person. I cannot skip the process. There are idols to be overcome, thoughts to be cleared out, and fears to be faced.

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice didn't get her muchness back because she was told that's who she was. She had to go through the journey. She had to face her adventure.

I came to the most amazing realization today.

My adventure doesn't start when I become the person I'm supposed to be. My adventure is in the becoming. It's in the fire. It's in the Word separating bone from marrow and carving me into the person I'm supposed to be.

The power is in the journey.

And now I'm free.

Now I'm free to run and pursue and preach and screw up and bask in God's glorious grace because TODAY I am exactly where I need to be. Today I am exactly who I need to be, and as long as I take the time to pursue God and sit at His feet, He'll take care of who I'm supposed to be 10 years from now or 10 days from now, or heck, 10 minutes from now.

That's it, my friends. Normally I try to wrap this all up neatly with a bow and a probing question, but not today.

This is it. I don't know where YOU are, but wherever that is, I hope this helps you on your journey as much as it has helped me on my own.

You are loved, by me and by a glorious, almighty God.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cheap Imitation

Sometimes we try so hard to be like Jesus, we forget to be like Jesus.

It's easy to do.

We try to put on blamelessness and perfection, we try to put on avoiding sin at all costs, and avoiding the places where we know sin is or is likely to be out of fear that someone will associate us with it.

Think about it for a second, if it takes that long... You can come up with a list of places that people who call themselves Christians shouldn't be, right?

It's not that we can't talk to drug dealers, it's not that we can't talk to prostitutes, it's not that we can't talk to the broken, and it's not that we can't talk to the destitute, but we wait for them to come to us on our terms.

We say Jesus make me a missionary, I want to tell people about you, but only once they walk through church doors, and if the pastor talks to them first, or maybe if you want to send me to some other country, BUT don't send me to Siberia because I can't take the cold. Or Africa because I don't like heat either.

Please don't misunderstand me. I have a list as well.

There are places I feel like I don't belong inside of, and in truth I don't.

But in those places are people that Jesus belongs inside of, and there are places that the power of God needs to be put, and there is a darkness that needs to flee from the light, and people that need to see the love of Jesus.

We try to imitate the blamelessness, and try to appear perfect to everyone because that's how we feel we imitate Jesus.

The Jesus that changed and still changes lives is the Jesus that sets captives free and ate with the “worst sinners” of the times, broke racial barriers, reached out to people the “Holy” law-followers would have deemed untouchable, unworthy, and unimportant.

I'm NOT saying that everyone should walk into questionable establishments to do whatever they please.  We all have weaknesses, and we all have strengths, and we all need God to show us where we should go, whom we should speak what to, and what His design is, and we have to allow His strengths to fill our weaknesses.

The parable of the good Samaritan comes to mind. (Luke 10:25-37)

As people of God, how often do we walk by those that are left for dead physically? Emotionally? Spiritually?

Jesus said “go unto all nations and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19)

The word disciple and discipline share the same root word.

We aren't called to go out and just save people, or just reach out to people... but once they accept Christ, to help them develop a good relationship and to teach them the disciplines necessary for having a deep relationship with God.

We lead by example.

By the words of our mouths and the works of our hands.

We have to put on the armor of God ourselves, and then help others. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

The stage has been set, and the outcome has been decided, and the fight is all around us.

After the time spent in the prayer room Alissa had mentioned in one of her previous posts, I have tasted and seen the war around us, and now realize more than ever...

What we battle is not flesh and blood, (Ephesians 6:12) and we do have an enemy and he is ready, even if we aren't. (1 Peter 5:8)

My pastor talked about the armor of God and pointed out that if you look down the list, you will see nothing to protect your backside. There is no room for retreat.

But in Isaiah it says that the Lord's Glory will be our rear guard.

This is a call to action – the cause and the effect:

Isn’t the fast I choose:
To break the chains of wickedness,
to untie the ropes of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
to clothe the naked when you see him,
and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will appear like the dawn,
and your recovery will come quickly.
Your righteousness will go before you,
and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.
At that time, when you call, the Lord will answer;
when you cry out, He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you get rid of the yoke among you,
the finger-pointing and malicious speaking,
and if you offer yourself to the hungry,
and satisfy the afflicted one,
then your light will shine in the darkness,
and your night will be like noonday.
The Lord will always lead you,
satisfy you in a parched land,
and strengthen your bones.
You will be like a watered garden
and like a spring whose waters never run dry.
Isaiah 58:6-11

This is how we are to be like Jesus.

There is no plan B.

There is no second string.

There is no retreat.


This is how the Kingdom advances.