Monthly Archives: October 2015

Jolted

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My son burns my arms with fever, almost silently gasping for breath, and dark, yellowish rings form under his eyes right before mine. No one does anything. The crowded restaurant we’re in continues its constant motion. I see a friend with her son who was healed not long ago and shout her name. Again, I shout, holding my son, stripping his shirt off to alleviate some heat. She doesn’t hear me. She continues to talk cheerfully with friends and I lose her in the crowd as we leave the chaotic eatery. We’re headed to the ER but I fear not fast enough. I wake up, unable to catch my breath. This night’s sleep has been exhausting. I truly wonder if I had stayed up if I’d be more rested. Images flash through my mind, as I sit up panting. Visuals of my family distraught and distressed beyond repair. Shaken. Jolted to our very core. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a nightmare. I don’t know what you believe, but I believe it to be part of my own personal spiritual battle. I’m in a battle as I type. A battle where I learn to trust God with everything. Even my son. In Ephesians, we read that the battle is not physical and some days I’m glad. Glad because I feel very weak under this attack. God knows I need Him more than ever on those days. To make a long, prayerful story a little shorter, we decided yesterday to cancel our son’s appointment with the doctor. It seems he’s been sick since he was born. In fact, he was born sick. The enemy reminds me of this often. “It’s just the way it is,” I hear, and “What could possibly change your son’s condition? You’ve done everything.” It’s true. We have tried everything from oils to vitamins to supplements, even prayer. *wink It’s exhausting to have little ones ill as you struggle to fix it. I believe that’s why God is calling us out on it. We prayed about taking our son to the doctor…again…for the fourth time just within the past 3 months. The meds they gave us didn’t work and the meds they were going to give us most likely would have the same effect. This time, we felt more peace about trusting God to work it out. I wish I could say that about every situation and I’m getting there, but trusting someone else with your kids is HUGE. Turns out He loves ‘em more than I do. Whaaaaaa?

So just like I was jolted out of that horrific, stomach-turning nightmare, I think God is jolting us out of this lull of worldliness. This life is not our own. We are not to love this world. We are called to love the people He created and put in it. Stop doing what the world does. Stop trusting what your eyes see. Let God open the eyes of your heart like He yearns to do. Have some faith and start walking the path He puts before you instead of the one you paved on your own. Give God each day and He’ll jolt you out of this shoulder-shrugging apathy that we’re so accustomed to. Infuse your life with His will and watch as your situation changes for the best.

My son was happier than we’d seen him in a long time after we canceled that appointment. His symptoms came to a screeching halt. Sure, it doesn’t always work like this, but when’s the last time you trusted enough to see how long God’s timing would take? Don’t let the enemy of your soul steal your faith or the faith-building “exercises” God Himself designs.

Skip-Happy Day *sigh

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I’m going to admit something that I probably wouldn’t tell my closest friends. I find myself holding a grudge against God. I realized this when I was dealing with some symptoms of this illness and all I could think about was how often I had to deal with these symptoms. How much work I had to do in order to just get out the door in the morning. All I wanted was to live a “normal life”. I didn’t want to be like everybody else though. I want to do extraordinary things. I want to see extraordinary things done in my life and through my family’s lives. I don’t expect anything less from God until… That moment when I’m dealing with the same old stuff that I’ve dealt with for years. It’s like an open wound instead of an open conversation between me and God. It’s me looking at my situation, staring it right in the face and saying I’m willing to do anything to be better, to get better, just feel better. But… its not happening. Why isn’t it happening God? Why can’t we all just get really real with God and ask why? With tears in my eyes and a quiver in my voice, I ask, “What’s going on? Why am I not well? What further battle must I fight in order to show…” THAT’S where I trail off. Show what? What am I trying to show? I’m only human. I can take what I can take. But I’m at a breaking point. Something has to change and if it’s me, then so be it. I’m willing. I know I can’t do it on my own. Which is why I’m asking for help. What do i do? How do I act? What am I supposed to say when people ask me how I’m doing? Because the truth of the matter is: I’m not doing well. I don’t feel like myself. I’m dealing with thoughts that I haven’t had since I was a teenager. And I’m tired. The problem is even if I get 10 hours of sleep at night, which is not going to happen with two toddlers, I wouldn’t feel better. That’s my MO. That’s one of the very definitions of chronic fatigue. You wake up tired. And it’s not like you wake up tired, it’s like waking up tired every. single. day. It’s having to take a nap before you walk out the door and having to have someone with you when you’re going grocery shopping in case you get dizzy and start falling into the shelves. It’s that kind of tired. It’s those kind of symptoms. It’s not a secret. I’m not going to sit in silence and say I’m blessed and highly favored when someone asks because I’m dealing with some heavy stuff. (Disclaimer: I know I Ann blessed and highly favored. I just don’t feel the need to say it with a fake, plastered smile on my face every time someone truly wants to know how I’m doing.) But this is where I’m at with God and I needed to let somebody know that today. That it stinks. It stinks to be sick and nobody knows what’s wrong with you. The doctors are supposed to help you and they don’t. The specialist appointment  you count on and put all your hope in and pray for doesn’t provide any answers. All tests come back to normal. Hip hooray. You’re normal but you feel anything but. I’m reminded that I started this blog as therapy for myself. I wasn’t trying to fix anybody or fix anything. I just needed to be real and I needed to say
something true to myself and possibly on the behalf of faith. I have faith and I am a faithful person. And that doesn’t mean that every day is a skip – happy day. It means that I deal with things from a different perspective. That I have to fight against flesh every single day. But the battle is always on and if we let our guard down for even a second, that doesn’t mean the battle is over.

Multi-Colored Straight Jacket

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I’m exhausted. Yeah, I said it. I’m not one to complain, I don’t think…I am one to overanalyze and pick apart to decipher what’s what and how I could possibly improve. In my prayer this morning, I told God all the things on my mind. And by things, I mean heavy things (how the church will impact our community) and little things (the pain in my elbow). I sit and wonder (about the little things ironically enough) if God healed us, then why does my arm hurt? I have faith. I have hope. I have love. I believe He can do it, so why on this Earth does my arm hurt? I’m healed by His stripes. He can make it stop instantaneously. (He, in fact, did this for me just the other day: I have poison ivy that was, well, you guessed it, itching. I prayed for it to stop. What happened? It stopped. Right then, right there, no waiting period.)

I get frustrated like it’s something I’m doing wrong. I crinkle my brow, open my Bible and get to work. I look for Scriptures that would help the situation. I look for that one missing piece that unlocks the rest of this crazy puzzle. I have an AHA! moment. Then the pain is back either in a few hours or the next day. I feel like crying, but can’t. People have it worse and all that, ya know? Then, the guilt comes. WHY would you pray about something as ridiculous as your joints when there are children who haven’t eaten in weeks? Elderly who can’t afford their medications…people with cardboard homes…Injustices running rampant throughout the world as we know it. Ugh…didn’t pray for that, now did I? I stink. I’m a horrible person. Why would God care about my elbow?

Then the tears come because it’s as if a light shines through that ugly dark hole of condemning and God speaks. Yes, He speaks. He speaks to me. If that’s the definition of crazy, then sign me up for the straight jacket (a multi-colored one, preferably) because the Creator of this universe talks to me. It’s not a voice that can be heard, although I’m waiting for that day too. There’s no explaining it. The Holy Spirit envelopes me in a warm hug, and suddenly, without warning, I’m dancing around like Olaf! God cares about me! He let me know this morning and then let me know I’m tired because I’m trying too hard. DOH! Be still, girl, be still. Rest easy, knowing that I’m God. All those thoughts that overwhelm you, pluck them from your mind, pull them down, and weigh them out. Would this come from Me? If I wouldn’t say that to you, toss it out. That’s not from Me and it’s certainly not for you.

When is the last time I was just still? When was the last time I just sat, breathing, knowing that my God is my God?

Dragons and Zinnias

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All too recently our daughter would wake us approximately 3, sometimes 4 or 5 times each night, claiming there were monsters and dragons in her room, specifically on the ceiling. She needed to go potty. She needed medicine for a sudden onset of sickness. She couldn’t get her blanket “to work.” I can almost hear you chucking as I write this. It is not as cute @ 1:30, 2, 3:30, & 4 am. God intended for us to rest. I plan to do just that between the hours of 10 & 5. I really like my sleep. My husband really likes his sleep. We REALLY like for us both to get our sleep. It is not a chipper, skipping-through-the-bean-field-household if we are not rested. As Godly parents, we try to do the best we can. I hear the Scriptures in my mind about training them up and respecting our Lord as well as the one about, heaven forbid, breaking their spirits. I think on (I.e. “Meditate”, for those of you scared of that word) these daily. My daughter has a beautiful, cheery spirit that must never be broken.
Don’t you think we, as human beings, are like this as well? We begin this life with spirit that is undeniable-nothing can stop us! God’s got it and we’re on the same team! Then, we get hurt. Whether it’s by the church or family or friends, and our very core takes a hit. If we don’t deal with it, which is the very last thing we wanna do (why is confronting the issue so difficult?) it grows like an ugly little seed that our Creator never intended for us to manage.
Gardens take a lot of work (we had to mow ours down this year if that tells you anything) and God never meant for us to tend to seeds and plants that weren’t in the plan.
My husband and I get so excited when the seed catalogs come in before spring; there’s an excitement as I even type that. All the thoughts of what could be! The beauty, the flavor, the sharing! (I adore sharing…above all else, possibly even above my “encourager” status, I’m a sharer.) I have visions of taking tomatoes and zucchini and bouquets of colorful zinnias to everyone who lives within a 5 mile radius. (And that’s being conservative, I think to myself. After all, we wouldn’t want to go overboard and look like the neighborhood crazy lady.)
Then we plant. And then the work is set before us. Do we accept? I’ll be super honest and say this year, that was a negatory. Oh I worked…for about a month. As it turns out, that’s not enough. Diligence is a lesson we learn every warm season and we get closer every year to the plentiful crop we envision.
I said all of that to say this: even though we get scared, anxiety-ridden, worried beyond our wits, our Father is there to comfort. We can visualize all the fire-breathing dragons burning up all our hard work. We can watch as we think it’s going to crumble before our weary eyes. We can think that we pray and believe in vain, but that, beautiful people, is not the truth. It’s that simple. That is not the truth. God speaks to us when we use our precious time to listen. Each and every single time we “sacrifice” our time, amazing things happen. Give Him everything. He wants it and quite frankly, we don’t. We don’t need all the thoughts and worries that bog us down, causing our minds to flood like a tricky gas pedal.
God says He’ll give wisdom when asked for it and the Holy Spirit is there for us. God knew we would need comfort or there world be no need for Him to send us a Comforter. This life isn’t all zinnias and sunshine. But our God is there when we need Him, no matter what monsters we face.

12″ Off the Ground

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So on the days that we don’t float 12” off the ground on our “Holy Spirit high,” how do we cope? How do we deal with the voice in our head that tells us He’s not Who He said He was and we’re not who He says we are? We’re not constantly and consciously reminded of our worth in our everyday lives unless we work at it. The grocery store cashier doesn’t tell us we are pure and lovely and good. The guy in the car next to us doesn’t have us roll down our window to say, “Hey! You’re a child of the Most High God!” Angels don’t wake us up with the fluttering of their wings. Our aches, bruises, and twinges are still there. So what do we do when we don’t feel like God is right there with us?

What if I said it’s not about feeling? Right here on this page you’re reading, I say: It’s not about feelings at all. It’s fact. He’s there. Always is, always will be.

You may have heard or read that He doesn’t move we do. I would venture to say more often than not, we don’t move at all. We sit stagnant, waiting for God to come to where we are. Now don’t misunderstand, God is always there and He’ll meet us where we’re at…all we have to do is ask. But 1.) we ain’t askin’! 2.) we ain’t goin’ anywhere! (Forgive the southern roots and “grammar” but sometimes it’s necessary to get a point across.) God says ask and we shall receive. We have not because we ask not. (See? Even God says we ain’t askin’!) I think many times we’re afraid we won’t get it. THEN where does that leave us? With an unresponsive God? I don’t think so. I think we get discouraged and do our own thing if it’s not in the allotted time frame. Secondly, we’re called to seek God. Does that mean He hides at times? Yup. At least that’s what I believe. If He was always right out there in the open, why would He ask us to look for Him? Seek and ye shall find. It’s not about us feeling Him, it’s about knowing Him…knowing Him well enough to know that we get closer to Him when we move in His direction. Seems silly, huh? That it takes so long to figure out in order to get closer, we have to move toward it?