Wednesday, December 30, 2009
This Word is for both of you, together. Immediately when I started praying for you guys there was a smile in my spirit and the pleasure of God over you guys and your relationship. Zephaniah 3:17. Hear it as the Lord says it about you:
“The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”
A vision: You were kneeling down and Anthony had his hand on your back. Anthony was praying for you. There was an open door to the right of you and there was light shining in on you guys. The impression that I got is that your prayers have opened doors. I feel as if you guys have a decision to make that you are praying about. Specifically, the answer is going to be really clear but it has everything to do with you guys praying about it. So whatever is going on, thinking through…it’s going to be very clear because there was one door open with the light shining through. I also saw people begin to come through the door. I don’t know if it was family or friends but it was as if your prayers were the key to coming home. Whether is was broken relationships or whether people are far away from God it was your prayers that were vital and pivotal to them coming home. Matthew 7:7. It’s a continuous asking and seeking and knocking and those doors are going to be opened.
I felt a sense of peace and rest and calmness about your relationship. Encourage you two to pray, pray, pray. That’s going to open doors and God’s going to make it very clear about direction for you.
Babs, when I started praying for you I felt as if God wanted me to tell you that you found the right one. And don’t you ever question that you found God’s best for you. You are on the right path, but it involves the two of you together. God will illuminate your path with His Word, and you will have as much wisdom as you have of His Word. That’s true for all of us, but He especially wanted to say to you that the wisdom you desire for what to do, you’ll find in the pages of His Word and in the quietness of your relationship as He speaks His Word over you--gives you direction and gives you guidance--it’s where you’ll find the wisdom. Every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Go…you need to listen to His voice. Sometimes it’s hard in our society to be still long enough to really hear what He wants to say, but He wants to speak over you…and intimately. I had the sense that He sings and dances over the two of you. He is pleased with you and dances in the heavenlies over your lives. You need to start to envision that more--both of you. It will set you free. It’s easy to get tied down, but in our relationship with the Lord He calls us into frolicking in His presence and dancing and being in freedom with Him. He dances and sings over you and desires for you to go to that place often. There is healing in his wings and I felt Him say Malachi 4:2… “But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and frolic like calves released from the stall and leap for joy.” He desires a whole other level in your lives, both of you. You need to obey. You’re going to begin to see provision from the Lord. I just really felt like God is going to begin to pour out an extra measure of finances. He enables us with finances because He entrusts it to stewards. God is saying over your lives that you have been faithful, and He is going to give you finances because you’ve been good stewards. I just feel like is a financial blessing that God desires to raise you to a whole, new level.
The impression I got after seeking the Father on your behalf is a little different. It was a puzzle piece; an individual puzzle piece. If you take just one piece out of the puzzle it’s very obvious. You can see it. The picture is not complete. You have a vital part in the kingdom. Do not think of it as unimportant. You’re not just a piece in the puzzle, you’re the piece, the main part that compels people to the picture and completes that picture. You make the picture make sense. Every piece in the puzzle is unique to its shape and its place in the puzzle…it only goes in one place. It won’t fit anywhere else. You’re vital to those around you. You hold lives together because of who you are. You complete others because you’re a piece of their lives. You’re the piece that makes their lives make sense. You bring unity where there is dissension. You’re a seamstress in the kingdom of God. You quickly cover transgressions with garments of unity and peace. You’re a reconciler. A peacemaker. You’re gifted with bringing order to the chaos.
- I see that you are a treasure seeker. That you are going after it and those treasures will be seen in your day; the treasures of healing, of miracles, those treasures of your deepest heart desires; the ones you wonder is that me or did God put those there? As you use the Word of God as your finder, He will speak to you through His Word. That you can rest assured that you are on a treasure hunt and that it will be seen. Encourage you that you are a seeker and a finder. The things you see, hope for, dream for and are after…you will see. Encourage you to not give up. Keep seeking after those daily treasures.
- [Speaking of silver in my wedding ring]: You are the real deal. The lie of the enemy may try to tell you otherwise, but you are the real deal. The ring is a symbolism of purity in relationships and strength. I believe the Lord has something in your heart to teach young ladies in a path of purity. You have a wealth to pull from to show them they are women of God.
- Lovely, lively and lovable. Saw a can of green beans. There is goodness inside of you and you are preserved by God. Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:14-16. Saw on you your headband. It is a symbolism of a crown, a crown of wisdom. You have the mind of Christ. Share your wisdom. You have a lot to share.
- “Write”. This is a time to write; a real urgent time for you to write. It goes along with the scripture in Psalms, “I am the pen of the ready writer.”
- Three words: Tenacious, persistent, and a faith bearer [likened to a spiritual pit bull]. Your mission-life scripture: Luke 18:1-8, the story of the persistent widow. Her persistence and tenacity, just like a pit bull that won’t let go. God has given you a gift of prayer. Keep going after things in prayer. God has given you a DNA of prayer. There are things you need to keep going after. You will see great victories. People need to hear the testimonies of victories in your prayer closet. Testimonies build faith in people. Faith is pretty weak in the American church. Your testimonies of staying after God -- that breaker anointing that is over you -- that tenacity of those breakthroughs will build faith. That could be part of what you are supposed to write. The Bible is full of stories of testimonies where God has brought people through.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
"You are not a negative person. So I have no doubt that whatever negative you release will eventually find it's way back to something life-giving."Yesterday I was definitely negative. Couldn't find the positive no matter how much light was shed on the subject. I was obstinate in the most obvious of ways and was choosing to stay put in my "I don't care box".
But I still have to reflect on the words above. I did release pretty much everything negative and, therefore, believe it readied my heart to even consider to be open and available to listen to Anthony when he came home. Had I not had that time to vent my steam and frustration, I believe I would have been completely belligerent and closed off later.
Does it mean everything is totally ok and we go back to status quo? No. It means there's acknowledgment that work is needed. And he sees that work is needed in him before we put all our eggs in the basket of working on a better marriage. Not that we ignore our marriage but without him [and I, for that matter] coming into a place where our baggage is dealt with, if we solely focus on building a stronger and better marriage, it will all be in vain.
So today I have to choose to drop the resentment and allow him to move forward. It is my choice. I can lug the resentment with me and continue to build it up, or I can leave it behind me and hope that God will create new life out of dead circumstances.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Tell you to hang in there, and this too shall pass, when I'm not sure I even believe that myself?
Urge you to press into the hope of change when I'm really beginning to believe that most people don't change? We all just speak of what we'd like to become without ever putting forth the effort or time to become just that?
Just professing my doubt...
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Right now I'm just looking for the days to be over so I don't have to think about Christmas for another year. This is my favorite time of year but I've decided that it's time for me to find a different 'favorite time of year'. Something that won't push and pull my emotions for two months. Appreciation for small things is supposed to go A LONG WAY, but it doesn't. And I can't make anyone appreciate the small things and stop whining for the 'not so small' things.
This morning was my breaking point. I was sick yesterday. Barely out of bed except to take Teighlor and Marian to their eye appointments. And I would have rescheduled those if I could have, but they had to get in before the end of the month for FSA reasons.
So, when I tell the kids this morning that their last SCEDTC is getting to go see Alvin and the Chipmunks "The Squequel", I expected warm, smiling faces and cheers of excitement. After all, all 4 of them have been talking about this movie and really wanting to see it. That's nothing short of moving a mountain in this house...to get ALL four kids to want to see the same thing.
Well, I got my anticipated reaction from 3 of the 4, and then was hit with, "But that's not very Christmassy" from the 4th kid.
I'm not feeling great today. I'm still very fatigued and would rather spend the day resting. I've got laundry to do. I have gifts to still wrap. I have a house to clean. And I would rather spend the day resting. [I think I already said that].
BUT, because I wanted to make their day special, their last SCEDTC day, I was going to push harder when home to get things done and then go sit at a Starbucks for 2 hours while they see the movie [something that would normally make me happy but not today because I'd rather be in bed resting], just so their last SCEDTC was special and fun. Something they've been BEGGING to do for weeks now.
And I get, "But that's not very Christmassy".
So I stood up and as I was walking out of the playroom I retracted my offer for the movie and told them SCEDTC was now off the table.
I'm done with this year. I'm just counting the days for it all to be over.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Yesterday morning the hard drive on my Mac crashed...just like "that"...without warning, without any signal that it was going down. Anthony tried the reboot disc and my hard drive couldn't even be found. It was deader than a doornail.
At first, the unknown consequences of what that could mean became an issue between Anthony and I. Was it going to be covered? Was the Apple Care program still in effect? Had I backed-up in the past days? Had I ever transferred necessary financial documents to a flash drive in case of hard drive failure. Our day to ourselves, to spend with each other doing whatever we wanted, was quickly going downhill because of a laptop...silly.
Well, God stepped in with some awareness of what was really taking place - yes, our enemy is sly enough to use something as insignificant as the potential loss of a laptop to drive a wedge - and God graciously and mercifully brought us back to our senses. And then...He showed us how really foolish we were in our thinking and panic of the "what if" moment. He took a potentially laptop ending issue and gave me an early Christmas present.
Not only did we "just so happen" to get a same day appointment at the Southlake Apple store [truly unheard of on any given day, but Black Friday?], we got way more than we expected when all was said and done.
Yes, the hard drive had failed; and Yes, the laptop was still under warranty. The above and beyond???
- Apple doesn't make the 80G hard drive anymore, so I'm getting what they put in Macbooks now: a 160G hard drive...DOUBLE what I currently have, without any cost to me!
- Plus, the top cover had a break in it [they say it was a support issue underneath it], so I'm getting a new top keyboard cover.
- Then, while they had it open trying to repair it, they found that the logic board was fried, so I'm getting a new one.
- And then, since it had to be shipped off for repair, because they can't replace the logic board at the store, they're going to repair the damage done to the screen, and I'll be getting a brand new monitor screen.
All of this is being done at no cost to us. I'm basically getting a brand new Macbook by the time all is said and done. How God is that?!
The last bit of God news: The Apple Care Program on my Mac expires in 66 days and Apple Care is NOT renewable; once the three years is up, it's up. Had this internal issue happened 67 days from now, I would been out a laptop without any way to cover the costs.
The morning started off with an UGH!!! and God turned it into a total blessing...one He knew I couldn't be given 67 days from now.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to the God of gods.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
This Psalm continues on to list out just a small portion of what God has done, from creation through freeing the Israelites from captivity, always ending each line with:
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
This past year's events, from Thanksgiving 2008 through Thanksgiving 2009, have ranged from heart-ache and loss to redemption and restoration. Here is my highlight list:
I give thanks to Him Who provided a way for us to pay off five out of seven credit card debts last November.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to Him Who took my marriage off the battle field and settled us into unity, where we have finally learned "how to live with one another" [j. corban].
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to Him Who closed the door on one business and opened the door on something new.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to Him Who allowed one home to be lost, only to replace it with something bigger and better.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to Him Who saw us through nine months of financial abyss without us ever seeing a day of hunger or suffer loss of what was really essential.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to Him Who lead us out of the court system and into a solution that covered Teighlor and Alec with His hand of protection and favor.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to Him Who brought freedom and inner-healing to places in my soul that were buried under the rubble of life.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to Him Who opened a door for me to share my love for writing and the testimonies of His work in me.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to Him Who has patiently walked me through the hard lessons of peacemaking and self-sacrifice and allowed me to see the fruit that it bears.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to Him Who has brought me back from the brink of self-sufficiency too many times to count, always pouring humility back into my soul from His pitcher of grace.
His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever.
I give thanks to the God of heaven, for His mercy and faithful loving-kindness endure forever!
Friday, November 20, 2009
At 5:30, Anthony's iCal alarm went off on his phone with a reminder for us and I just about had a heart attack. Between the whirl-wind of the day, Teighlor's drama group commute and Anthony staying home sick from work, I had completely forgotten about the meeting. I used the next 30 minutes to get ready, ran to pick up Teighlor from drama, came home and picked up Anthony, drove through Wendy's for an impromptu, on-the-road dinner and made it to the Southlake campus with a few minutes to spare.
Walking through the parking lot, we ran into Brittney, Amped's All-Around Assistant, and found out she had been invited, too. And then when we signed in, we discovered that the three of us were in the same group for the prophetic time.
The night started with some worship, then prayer and a brief discussion of what the night held and how it would run...then we were dismissed to head off with our group to the room where we were assigned. Three members of Gateway's Prophetic Ministry Team joined us. We had a total of five individuals [us, another married couple and Brittney] in our group. Each of the three prophetic ministers had spent time praying for us and had come with what God had laid on their hearts to share.
It was such an awesome time listening to God's heart for each person in that room. I'm so glad they recorded each session because I'm going to transcribe what was spoken over me and post it here [but that won't be until some time next week when a digital file is available].
Until then, I'm going to let the words [that I remember] settle on my heart and pray for His confirmation and peace about what was spoken...not that anything spoken unsettled my soul...just gotta always bring the word right back to God and test them against His Spirit.
Friday, November 13, 2009
This morning, God changed things up on me. Isn't He so good at that? Never letting things stay the same for too long, lest we become too comfortable in our expectation of Him to speak and move as He's done the day before.
Daily, I read one blog that comes to me via email. Every so often, the author sends a couple snapshots to jar us out of our expectant complacency for black words on a white page. Today he sent pictures of beautiful, autumn leaves, and this morning I did what I normally wouldn't do...I clicked on the link that would take me out of my email and into the comments section [on his website] for that particular blog. I was curious to see if anyone had posted a comment about these particular photos. [God was just about to change things up on me]
The first comment was quite long, but this passage spoke to my heart:
"I sit here [in a 2nd story sun room overlooking the Tennessee mountains] every morning, year around, and watch God change His creation. No amount of money could buy the peace and pleasure that the Lord provides as He changes the scenery on a minute-by-minute basis as I look out the windows."
[THERE] was God's voice...in this man's comment and in the scenic view of this moment. He didn't require me to open my Bible to speak to me - although it won't deter me from doing so - He only required me to open my eyes and ears...and look and listen.
At that moment I was inspired to capture what I was seeing outdoors and the place - here on my futon in my sun room - where I now choose to meet with Him each morning. This room is my piece of peace.
[Note: I realized as I watched these videos that I had ventured outdoors in ONLY my t-shirt and underwear, so totally unaware of my dress code because I was not quite awake. Yikes!]
I'm so glad God chose to reach my heart in a different way today by showing me that even though I'm on this journey in HIS Word, He's not boxed into black and white, either.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Job’s three friends refused to reply further to him because he kept insisting on his innocence.
Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the clan of Ram, became angry. He was angry because Job refused to admit that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him. He was also angry with Job’s three friends, for they made God appear to be wrong by their inability to answer Job’s arguments. Elihu had waited for the others to speak to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that they had no further reply, he spoke out angrily. Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said,
“I am young and you are old, so I held back from telling you what I think. I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’
But there is a Holy Spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent.
Sometimes the elders are not wise. Sometimes the aged do not understand justice. So listen to me, and let me tell you what I think. “I have waited all this time, listening very carefully to your arguments, listening to you grope for words. I have listened, but not one of you has refuted Job or answered his arguments. And don’t tell me, ‘He is too wise for us. Only God can convince him.’
If Job had been arguing with me, I would not answer with your kind of logic! You sit there baffled, with nothing more to say. Should I continue to wait, now that you are silent? Must I also remain silent? No, I will say my piece. I will speak my mind. For I am full of pent-up words, and the spirit within me urges me on. I am like a cask of wine without a vent, like a new wineskin ready to burst! I must speak to find relief, so let me give my answers. I won’t play favorites or try to flatter anyone. For if I tried flattery, my Creator would soon destroy me. [Job 32]
A few thoughts stuck out for me:
- I loved Elijuh's handling of this situation. He gave respect to his elders and let them speak first. A sign of good character.
- BUT, when they were done speaking, he didn't allow his age to keep him quiet when righteous wisdom and truth were burning within him.
- AND, instead of just spouting what "he" thought, he showed spiritual maturity in giving the glory for true intelligence to the Holy Spirit.
- Wisdom is not a "natural byproduct" of age. Yes, those who are older have lived longer and can speak from experience, but [experience does NOT equal wisdom].
- Many people live through so much but still do not possess the ability to give guidance or advice that is wise because they speak from behind their filters instead of seeking to only say what the Holy Spirit would speak through them.
- One of the Holy Spirit's names is Wisdom. He is extolled in the Proverbs. Without the discernment from and wisdom imputed by the Holy Spirit, we cannot expect to speak wisely.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
[you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him--to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].
Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.
For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves as secondary and dependent upon them].
It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority). And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you].
1 Peter 3:1-6
As I was reading through 1 Peter yesterday, this passage of scripture caught my eye. In the Amplified Translation, there is so much expansion of what is meant in each verse. Here are the words/phrases that stood out as it relates to what God treasures in a wife:
- Adapt to him
- Inward Beauty
- Dependent upon him
And then I read through, again and again, the extended definition for what it means to reverence my husband:
- Respect him
- Defer to him
- Honor him
- Esteem him
- Appreciate him
- Prize him
- Adore him
- Admire him
- Praise him
- Be devoted to him
- Deeply love him
- Enjoy him
Interesting point to note: The passage in 1 Peter written to "wives" is six verses long. The passage written to "men" is one.
"In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God's unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.]"
My mind and heart are overwhelmed. This is not a one day journal entry...this is where I stop and dig deeper. To be continued...
Friday, November 6, 2009
Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here's what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you're worth.
God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he's asked;
But he turns his back on those who do evil things.
1 Peter 3:9-11
I was struggling this morning with trying to understand the reason[s] why so many people are content with the lighter side of Jesus...what I call the fluffy, feel good stuff. I find it so easy to ask "why?" with such a judgmental heart, that it bothers me that I can ask "why?" with such a judgmental heart.
I had a Twitter conversation about this today and then headed outside to hear from Jesus. This is what I read [above].
Although my Bible didn't magically fall open to "judge lest not you be judged" or "take that log out of your own eye first" [paraphrase mine], those two verses followed in my mind after reading the above passage.
And then God brings this scripture to mind:
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Phillipians 4:8 [The Message]
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
As I was reading through the Psalm used as reference for today's D.I.B. blog, I hit verse five and stopped. God broke this verse down for me "just like THAT" and instantly made this applicable to my life.
Out of my distress, I called upon the Lord: Financial downfall [Anthony's business drying up] took its toll beginning in January 2009. For months I cried out to God to save his business and save our home; and then resigned my prayers to, "If Your will is for Anthony to move on and for us to leave this home, then AMEN [so be it]!"
The Lord answered me: By August our home was foreclosed, and Fellowship Technologies developed a Director of Communications job specifically for Anthony. In September, we got offered a few thousand dollars to leave our Bedford home earlier than the legal eviction date and God opened up a home for us in Keller for less rent than our mortgage.
And set me free: Even though foreclosure moved us on, freedom came in releasing our bond to Rachel through a mortgage which still held her name alongside Anthony's.
And in a large place: Not only did God provide us a home for less than our Bedford mortgage, but our home now is twice as big than what we previously owned--when you consider the land, the home, the garage and the pool. ONLY God can do that!
Thank you, Lord, for speaking so clearly this morning and in such a quick and concise way; for revealing your goodness in such a tangible way.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. ~Psalm 118:1
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Who cherish and relish his commandments,
Their children robust on the earth,
And the homes of the upright—how blessed!
Their houses brim with wealth
And a generosity that never runs dry.
Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people—
God's grace and mercy and justice!
The good person is generous and lends lavishly;
No shuffling or stumbling around for this one,
But a sterling and solid and lasting reputation.
Unfazed by rumor and gossip,
Heart ready, trusting in God,
Spirit firm, unperturbed,
Ever blessed, relaxed among enemies,
They lavish gifts on the poor—[share freely and give generously]
A generosity that goes on, and on, and on.
An honored life! A beautiful life!
Someone wicked takes one look and rages,
Blusters away but ends up speechless.
There's nothing to the dreams of the wicked. Nothing.
~Psalm 112 [The Message]
AMEN! Such encouragement to simply stand firm in God!
Monday, November 2, 2009
The Story of the Persistent WidowJesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, "There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: 'My rights are being violated. Protect me!'
"He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, 'I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won't quit badgering me, I'd better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I'm going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.'"
Then the Master said, "Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won't step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won't he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?"
Before I opened by Bible today, I asked God, "What do You want to speak to me about today?" I opened my Amplified Translation and was struck with the desire to read from the New Living Translation. I went to my bookshelf and found two: a hardcover and a paperback version. I grabbed the hardcover and then put it back because Alec told me it's the one the kids use to read. I then picked up the paperback version and when I got back to my room and opened it, inside were my notes I had written down from the prophetic time during the 2008 Day Retreat at Coli and J's. At the bottom was this note: Luke 18:1-8, "My Scriptural Mission".
During this past week, God has put people before me that need prayer...my persistent prayer. This is His way of reminding me [a spiritual bull dog] of the purpose He's put on my life for prayer.
"God, reignite the passion for prayer that I seem to walk out only in seasons. You have laid purpose on my heart for prayer, yet it's the one thing - besides abiding in Your Word - that I seem to have the most difficulty staying committed to. I come against the enemy who daily attempts to put things in my path to keep me out of prayer, to steal the power I have through Jesus to affect change through prayer. I ask forgiveness for my lack of persistent faithfulness and recommit myself to this purpose.
This morning, as I sat down with my Bible, I got a call from Anthony regarding a text message he received asking if "we" could pick up both girls at school tomorrow, instead of our normal time at her house. Immediately, I was struck with the thought of "we means me" because I don't work.
Just as quickly, the above verse came to mind.
I am so thankful that God's Word came quickly to dispel that battle of my flesh. Who the orphan or widow is - or, in this case, the one in need - does not matter. What matters is my response.
The world tells me that "I don't have to"," it's not my responsibility".
And then God speaks, "Help those in need and keep yourself uncontaminated from the world."
Sunday, November 1, 2009
"When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him." Isaiah 59:19
These scriptures were used in Pastor Robert's message today, as he walks through our current series The Holy Bible: Beyond Words. Immediately, I knew more fully why God had asked me [during the last Encounter service] to take this journey to record His Words, to focus on what He was saying to me.
1. Success in every part of my life DEPENDS on me understanding and knowing what's written in Bible.
2. My enemy comes at me daily with a *flood of words to accuse and condemn with lies. How can I refute my enemy if I am not armed with the Word of God?
Jesus rebuked Satan three times in the desert and He always began with, "It is written...". He used scripture and only scripture.
My words are no defense against my accuser, who comes to kill every thing important to me: my marriage, my friendships, my children's lives, my life, etc. God's Word is my only defense and offense!
*In the Bible, words are always depicted with the symbolism of water. Jesus is represented by fountains or springs of life because He brings life. Satan is always depicted with floods or torrents because he kills life.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
"Discerning the truth about someone is not judgment. We can recognize all manner of flaws, characteristics, habits, etc. and even accurately assess their condition. As long as our discernment is coupled with the heart of God toward that person, we have not slipped into judgment. Judgment is when you discern something about someone, and harden your heart because of and in response to what you discern. Now you have slipped into the sin of judgment. It will cripple you and it will shape your soul." [bob hamp blog]
My struggle this month has been in understanding truths about judgment, peacemaking and forgiveness...especially as it relates to one particular person.
Luke 6:45 is just one scripture that God spoke to me as it relates to these lessons.
This passage from a blog written by Bob Hamp summed up perfectly my struggle with judgment and helped me to see the significant difference between discernment and judgment.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
God is to us a God of deliverances and salvation; and to God the Lord belongs escape from death.
What God Spoke:
This is a strong word to my heart that the God who saved me, who rescued me from eternal death, is the same God who will not only take upon Himself the weight of my daily burdens BUT He will also pick me up and carry me, too.
A picture comes to my mind of Jesus positioning my backpack of burdens on his chest, directly over His heart, and then turning his back to me so that I can be carried piggy-back style. A perfect balance of weight, that won't ever allow me to feel as if my burdens are too much for Him, and because I am on His back, looking over His shoulder at what's ahead of [Us], my burdens are shielded from me, no longer my concern but His.
The main point for me, though, is that I first have to give him my backpack [surrender #1] and then choose to jump up on His back [surrender #2].
And then I see that He is a God of deliverance[s]...plural. This is confirmation that I am not simply delivered from all of my weaknesses, struggles or strongholds upon salvation. Salvation is a one time thing, but the plural form of deliverance means that I am continually being delivered. It's an on-going process.
God, thank you for showing me so much truth in such a small amount of scripture. Help me to fall head first into this ocean of surrender on a daily basis. Remove my self-imposed need for independence, for carrying my backpack and for walking on my own two feet. I stand against my enemy, in Jesus' name, who will continuously attempt to condemn me through the on-going process of deliverance[s]. I stand firm in my salvation, my rescue, from eternal death. Help me to willingly and eagerly jump up into your arms each day so that you can carry me through whatever may come my way...today.
Monday, October 19, 2009
God spoke to me last night at Encounter; a night that focused on all the different aspects of worship, from clapping and raising our hands, to bowing down, to dancing, to shouting, to praying and singing new songs freely from my heart to God's.
At the end of the night, this verse in Psalms was placed on my heart in the midst of singing, so I went back to my seat to look it up. Could it have been any more clear about God's perspective on our night? And then it hit me...this immediate "knowing" of where God wants to take me next...take me now.
In my blogging, I've always focused on my words, what I feel in my heart, or what's taking place in my life on that given day. In the moment that I read the above verse, I felt Jesus ask my heart this question, "What about My Words?" I didn't kick the dirt and exclaim, "Oh man, I've blown it again?" Actually, I stopped and really thought about His question. What about His words?
So, starting today, that's what I'm focusing on for "now". I want to record what God speaks to me through His Words for the time being. I may just include scripture, I may include any other thoughts He gives me to go along with scripture. But my focus will be on what He's saying...not me.
Friday, September 4, 2009
I was reading a blog on Destiny In Bloom with the subject matter of sex in marriage. Although I've never documented any issues regarding my sex life, I am more than confident that Jesus is calling me to step out into "REAL" and be brave enough to put my challenge here...knowing that my SisNBff and husband may not be the only ones who read this blog. Jesus has been calling me to be really REAL for a couple months now. No hiding. no pretending. So the D.I.B. blog struck a cord in me. Read that blog here:
So here's my challenge:
For Jesus to bring back the physical passion in me for my husband and to supernaturally increase my libido that has died due to [I believe] major hormone shifts in me that began a few months after turning 40...and I got married right before my 40th birthday.
Sex has been a challenge for me for over a year. It's not that I don't enjoy it. It's not that we have bad or boring sex. It's just that I can feel that my body has taken a dramatic downturn in the physical capacity of my sex drive. I basically don't have one. And that lack of sex drive makes the thought of sex feel like a chore instead of what I know it to be. I hate the fact that I'm 42 and that the thought of sex doesn't excite me. Once I'm involved, I'm ok. But pushing past the mental frustration of "oh, we have to do it again?" is taking it's toll on me and my relationship with my husband. I keep saying that I'll try to do better. I'll try to put myself out there - force myself to want it - and hope it makes a difference. The problem is: I don't just feel like forcing myself to want to have sex. I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place and I want change.
I do believe that most of what I'm experiencing could be improved dramatically through a correct balance of hormones. The problem with that is the cost of natural hormone replacement. It's just not in our budget right now and may not be for some time to come.
So here I am, turning to Jesus. Or, more accurately, he's prompted me to turn to him. I can't claim this challenge as my own. I felt that tug at my heart. I knew who it was. So I'm thinking if Jesus is calling me to this challenge then he must have a reason. I don't know what he has planned, but I'm excited to see what the next 21 days holds.
See you back here [for the results of this particular blog] on Friday, September 25th!
PS - This blog is dedicated with YOU in mind...My Groom!
Friday, August 28, 2009
The truth is that I’m afraid. I don’t mean that I’m afraid of the possibilities of life. I don’t cower under the prospect of hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes. I’m really not fretfully anxious about economic loss or political unrest. I absolutely believe that God engineers my life for His purposes. That gives me a kind of solid platform for dealing with the twists and turns of life. In fact, truth be told there is a sense of relief when I think that God may be deliberately stripping away all the “essential” collection of stuff that crowds out my ability to see the eternal. I often wonder if life wouldn’t be much clearer in a world with much less on the table. I am not a big fan of the American dream.
No, I’m not afraid of what the world might throw at me. I trust God in those matters. I have some history with Him and the men and women of the Bible give me even more confidence that God cares. I might not always like what happens, I might not always understand why it happens, but I think I can honestly say that I am not worried about what might happen.
Unfortunately, what I fear is much deeper. I’m afraid of you.
I’m afraid that if you really knew me, you would reject me. I’m afraid that when push comes to shove, you will turn your back on me. I’m afraid that if I ever really needed a friend, I would find I was alone. I’m afraid that you’re afraid too.
I have plenty of evidence to support my fear. While I can review the circumstances of life and see the hand of God weaving a tapestry of events, I don’t have the same composure when it comes to other people. I see a world caught in an endless quest for self-fulfillment. I see caring people who don’t offer tangible assistance to their own friends because they are too busy managing life. I see people of good moral standing who are systematically blind to the helpless in their own backyards. I see men and women of character who do nothing because they don’t know what to do. And I think to myself, “If this is how they respond to the people they say that they love, what makes me think they will respond any differently to me?”
Occasionally I have the temerity to challenge this evidence. I bring a need before the eyes of the righteous. A widow caring for four children who needs replacement of a car that has just been demolished in a near-fatal accident. “It’s not in our benevolence budget. Sorry.” (Under the table I hear that the real issue was “Why should she get a new van when I have to drive a six year old model”). A colleague who is losing his house because a real-estate contract fell through while he was paying for school. “Yes, I know about the situation but what can I do? I have to take care of myself, don’t I?” A couple that lost everything in a disaster. “You’re problem is too big for us.” (so we won’t provide anything at all. It’s easier to just forget about it). A man who is accused, not yet convicted, of molestation. (”We can’t have him around here. What would it look like if he’s guilty”).
How much easier to relieve ourselves of guilt by throwing compassion at national causes and world crises. Oh, those are quite real. Thanks to the media, they are in-your-face traumas. But what happens to the four thousand inmates who live one mile away from that mega-church with a $7 million a year operating budget. “Let’s pray for them” (but keep our distance).
Why should I believe that you would care for me? Why should I take the risk of opening those dark corridors in my soul?
The evidence might not be so overwhelming if it were not for the final bit of bad news. I’m just like you. I get prayer requests that I ignore. I hear of needs that I push aside. I drive by the jail, turn a blind eye toward my neighbor, spend my time with people I enjoy (who don’t really know the darkest parts of me). I buy the “necessary” luxuries. And I even discover that deep inside of me is this unvoiced intolerance for the plight of the poor. Why don’t they do something for themselves? Why don’t they get off their rear ends and work? Why should they always expect someone else to handle life for them? My intolerance sickens me, but it is real. And I’m afraid, it’s just like you. If I were poor, would you even look my way? Would I?
What would happen if I told you about my deepest longings (they are not always pretty) or my darkest sins (they are not the acceptable kind)? Would your opinion of me be diminished? Would you think less of my efforts to reveal God’s grace? Do I have to be sanctified in order to be loved? Or listened to?
The biggest problem we have is that none of us is Jesus. We sinned. We still sin. But the image we hold up is the sinless man from Galilee. Somehow we have been convinced that we must be holy before we can be loved. We have forgotten Abraham’s self-serving sexual disloyalty, Sarah’s abuse, Moses’ murder, Job’s insult, David’s adultery (and murder and genocide), Solomon’s debauchery, Jonah’s denial, Elijah’s cowardice, Peter’s betrayal and Paul’s megalomania. These are the saints of the church. But if they lived next door, we wouldn’t spend one extra minute with them knowing their secrets.
The most fearful verse in the Bible is this: Bear one another’s burdens. The moral fortitude to accomplish this task is almost more than I can manage. Oh, I’m more than happy to lift you up. After all, I get credit for that act. But the implication of this verse is that I have to let you lift my burdens too. And that requires me to be open, vulnerable and take risks. Heaven forbid. What will happen if I put my real burdens on the table and you sweep them to the floor?
There is no simple solution for this dilemma. In fact, there is no solution that guarantees an answer I want. God calls me to share myself with you even if I am crushed in the process. Why would He do that? Because He wants me to learn two things. First, that exposure to rejection is a reflection of His own heart. If I am going to be like Him, I cannot spend my life protecting my emotional image. If I am going to be like Jesus, I will have to risk being rejected while I honestly present myself, a forgiven failure. And secondly, God wants me to discover that I am emotionally secure with Him. I will never be able to risk myself until I know He loves me as I am. That love has to reach far below the surface. It has to get down into the putrid water in the sewers of my life. It has to pry open the closet doors nailed shut from fear. If God can love me in my secrets, I might be able to take a risk with you. Maybe. [skip moen]
I read this and felt like falling apart. God...how true are his words??? I simply cannot express my thoughts on this just yet. I want to fully digest first.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
"Liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another."
I have so many thoughts and real, life-changing moments that I fully intend to document, but my first one had to focus on the overarching theme of Freedom. I wonder, as I sit here reflecting on the three days of Kairos, if anyone really knows how enslaved they are by their past until they get to see their future through the lenses of true freedom?
Although my Kairos - my appointed time with Jesus - was broken down into individual freedom lessons, He definitely encapsulated each one under the theme of Love. Jesus brought me there, this time, to deposit in my heart the thorn of His Love; much in the same way He did to Much Afraid, the crippled and fearful doe in the allegory Hinds' Feet on High Places.
I know that I am beginning a different journey now, much like Much Afraid, even though I'm in the 4th decade of my life. A huge portion of my life, my past, was set right because I was set free from the one vow that shut down my heart and kept me from living...and loving.
More to come as my Kairos unfolds on these pages...
Friday, July 17, 2009
I did spent quite a bit of time finally putting together the new Coppedge Family Blog, which is going to quickly become a favorite playground of mine...as long as I remember to have my camera available for all of those moments that I currently let slip by, not unnoticed, just not captured. But even with that project complete and the first blog written, I still find myself praying for heavy eyelids that will eventually bring about sleep. Until then...
So, I was sitting here thinking about the past few days and all that God has done...and the fact that I haven't written any of it down. It's been a busy four days.
After 5 months of seeking God, asking for clarification on what's happening with Anthony's business and is this house going to remain ours, God finally [my emphasis because that's what it felt like] made one thing very clear - it was time to put the house up for short sale in order to [hopefully - again my word] avoid foreclosure.
We got that word Sunday night at church...
On Monday morning we contacted a real estate agent specializing in short sales
By Monday afternoon we had an appointment to go over all the paperwork
By Tuesday morning all the documentation requested was completed and our agent was at our house to take pictures of our home
By Tuesday night our house was listed on MLS
On Wednesday morning we got our first viewers...and 2 more later than day
THIS afternoon we received word that an offer had been made and we also had 3 more families coming to look at the property.
This has all happened within 4 days of hearing God tell us very clearly...SELL!
For months we begged God to give direction. Didn't He hear us? Were we asking the wrong questions? Did He speak already and we somehow missed it? Were we too focused on getting the answer we were hoping for that when the real answer came we dismissed it as a random thought?
It simply came down to this: Timing...God's timing.
When He was ready, He spoke, and He spoke with very clear direction. He left no question as to what His answer was. He didn't jumble it up into 50,000 words, and He didn't make me search high and low. He simply spoke...SELL!
We made the first call and God's done the rest. I'm not sure what the next few days will hold or how quickly this will all happen. What I do know is that God is proving Himself faithful...once again.
His Word NEVER returns void.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
You saved my life from death
I was all but defeated
You spoke Your promises
And brought life to my weakness
Came as a conquering King
And You warred for my freedom
My soul can't help but sing... Hallelujah
You opened up my eyes
For the first time I saw You
Your love commanding life
And deserving devotion
You told me who I am
Now in faith I believe it
My soul can't help but sing... Hallelujah
You've made a place for me
Silenced all my accusers
Leading me forth with peace
Filled with Joy I will follow
Your cross demands my life
Now Your grace is my anthem
My soul can't help but sing... Hallelujah
We're redeemed and made free.
By the blood of the Lamb we have won.
We will sing victory.
Jesus conquered the grave.
God be praised!
God invaded my worship in a huge way this morning. We walked in late, as I Am Free was being wrapped up, and then the music started for God Be Praised. I was immediately consumed by the overwhelming presence of God and felt my heart impressed to just be still...let the song be sung over me. Since I didn't know it and would have had to read the lyrics to follow along, I simply closed my eyes and soaked in the song.
I cannot say exactly why this song spoke so strongly to me or why God chose to fall on me so heavily. All I can say is... it did and He did. Tears poured from me; from what felt like the very core of my soul. I wasn't feeling burdened or anxious or stressed or scared. I can only say that it felt like God was cleaning me with my tears from the inside out. releasing whatever I'd been holding on to and maybe didn't even recognize. relieving my soul and refreshing my spirit.
I love when God surprises me with Himself before I even ask for Him. It's like He somehow knows what I need... :)
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
"God provides, but my lack of want is not based on His provision. It is based on the fact that He is the shepherd, even if He does not provide now. I declare that I will not want, that I will not succumb to the heresy of doubting the benevolence of God, even if today I am hungry. Why? Because I am filled by who He is, not what He does. He is my shepherd and since that is true, I can follow Him through some pretty terrible places knowing that He will always be the shepherd. ” [skip moen]
"Boy, this excerpt really challenged me to my core. My husband and I are walking through a very tough financial situation where the business has all but fallen out of his business [he has been self-employed for 6 years], and “real” jobs are practically non-existent. Six months of scraping by just to put food on the table and keep the lights on have culminated in the Foreclosure letter we received last week from our mortgage company’s legal team. In 30 days [give or take] we could be finding ourselves without this home. That part doesn’t scare me because I understand that this home is just a structure and that we can make wherever we live our “home”. The fear that is beginning to creep in and consume my soul is the possibility that we could not only lose our home but that because of the lack of business in my husband’s business and the fact that resumes go out but responses don’t come back, we could actually be facing homelessness. I have made peace with the looming foreclosure and know that it is not the end of my world. But the thought of not only losing our home but also not having the steady income to be able to qualify for another place to live scares the life out of me.
There. I said it! Yes, I am scared about this even though “perfect love casts out all fears”; even though “the Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want”. I do not want a big, beautiful mansion [we certainly don't live in one now], nor do I even care if our family of 6 ends up living on top of one another in a 2 bedroom apartment. What I can’t wrap my mind around, or even consider letting my emotions take hold of, is the fact that our foreclosure may not be the worse thing we are facing…we could actually be without a home altogether.
I so want to find the peace that surpasses all understanding because I certainly do not understand this situation. I am ready to walk away from all that we “have” but I am not prepared to walk away from something into nothing." [my comment left on his site regarding his devotion based on Psalm 23]
You are not alone. There are many in this small community who face similar circumstances. That isn’t much consolation, I know. But maybe this will be. The purpose of this community is to ACT according to the Spirit of The Holy One. So, here’s what I would like to do, and I hope what others will help make possible. At God’s Table has some reserves from donations. I want to make these available as I can as loans to brothers and sisters, just as Deuteronomy tells us. No interest, just use while you are going through hard times. Then repay so someone else can use the funds. What do you think?" [skip's comment back to me]
I am overwhelmed by your immediate response in words [didn't expect that]. I shared my heart seeking a community of prayer and/or a word of encouragement/wisdom that would speak to my heart. I am even more overwhelmed by your heart of generosity. I know that Anthony, my husband [whom you've spoken with via telephone and also had personal email communication with], will also share in my reaction. He is out for the morning but I will definitely share your response with him when he gets home. We will be in contact soon. For now, I want to use this time to pray for wisdom and direction in accordance with your kindness. AND also give our God praise for how he works and pray abundant blessing and favor upon you, your family, this ministry and its community." [my comment back to Skip]
"I am thanking God for the compassion that I see taking feet and doing. I pray for much blessing for you BabsC and your husband. Knowing that our LORD is not far away but close at hand and that His right Hand is not short. Brother Skip I also thank God for your faith of action. I am going to send a little extra this month to be done as the community needs."
a fellow traveler of the Way,
Jeffrey [a reader of Skip's devotions]
"Could you take an extra $70.00 out of my credit card ( from using the info that you have and deduct from each month) and use it to help that woman and her husband not lose their house? Ironically, the only thing I DIDN'T lose in the chaos is my house. If she lived near me and needed a place, I'd welcome her whole crew in!"
I went to Jesus this morning seeking "something"... peace, answers, direction... whatever I could get. I read something that reached in and grabbed my heart, shook it up and challenged it to think differently. Then I reached out because it's all I can think to do right now. Keep putting us out there and God will work, some how... stay quiet and so may God.
Today, I stand in awe of how God has been lived out by complete strangers. This is Jesus walking. So, I will not borrow tomorrow's trouble. I will continue to believe that He is going to see us through this, even if it doesn't look like we imagined it would.
Friday, June 19, 2009
For days I had been trying to think of what I would do with my "Me Day". My dream day would have consisted of 8 hours at a local spa being pampered, primped and primed, but being budget conscious, I knew that wasn't a possibility...maybe next time.
So instead I opted to enjoy the simplicity of a day where I was bound to no one else's schedule and let the day roll out without plans:
- After waking up at 5:30am to make my men breakfast and then dropping them off at their respective locations, I headed to my newly redecorated Walmart and strolled around for an hour. I did have a few things I had to pick up, so it was a productive trip; but the fact that I could take as long as I wanted to look at whatever I wanted was freeing for me. no one at home waiting, wondering why I was gone so long. just me, browsing the aisles and enjoying the solitude of a sparsely populated environment. When I checked out I had spent a little more money than I had intended to, had picked up a few more things than were actually on my list, but they were all needed at home so I just asked God to redeem my purchases.
- Home again, home again. I was facing a house that could have used a few hours of cleaning, and I actually considered using my morning to accomplish that goal. But then I remembered: tomorrow is just around the corner and it will not be the same as today, so housecleaning could wait another 24 hours. I did, however, clean the kitchen because it's the one part of my house that I simply cannot overlook. A dirty kitchen makes the rest of the home seem dirty, so I worked fast and 20 minutes later I was able to breathe a sigh of relief and move forward, unhindered, with my Me Day.
- Still not 10am, yet the shopping and kitchen cleaning were done. Normally I'm still not functioning to full capacity at this time because I usually sleep in until 9:30 or so. I'm so geared to be a late night person that I miss most mornings. To have almost 5 hours under my belt before 10am actually felt... dare I say it?... Good! It really made me rethink my whole nighttime perspective. Yes, I have always been a night person, but there was something so invigorating and refreshing about waking up with the sun.
- With Bible, iTouch and Mac in hand, I headed to my back porch swing. Oh, yes! I also made myself a fresh fruit smoothie with bananas, strawberries, peaches and frozen orange juice and served it into a balloon wine glass... for that refined look. Yummers! :)
- I spent some time worshiping. just me and my "borrowed" dogs and my backyard birds and my iPod. connecting to the heart of Jesus through song.
- After spending a few hours on the swing, I was wondering what to do. I had wanted to lay out but even though it was warm outside there was no sun, only clouds...clouds didn't inspire me to the jacuzzi. So, I stumbled upon a 30% off coupon that had been mailed from my salon and decided to take advantage of it before it expired. That was a relaxing hour and it made my initial haircut in California lay so much better.
- With 6 hours or so left in my day, and the jacuzzi now off limits due to my fresh haircut/style, I made the decision to retire to my couch for 4 hours of potato time, which really translated to two rented movies: Bride Wars and New In Town. Both were cute and comedic, just what I wanted.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
During my backyard time, I just sensed this impression that I was to give these next 21 days to Jesus, so that's what I'm gonna do.
Today is day 2 of my 'Daniel Fast'. I'm doing a bit of a modified version, focusing on fruits and vegetables but also leaving room for carbs like pasta. This fast is not about how legalistic I can make it but allowing my eating habits to impact my spiritual life.
I definitely have "things" I am praying about during this time, but I'm not going to elaborate on them here. that will come at the end of my fast.
Monday, June 1, 2009
This financial struggle, and the real possibility [that gets more possible every day] that we will lose our home to foreclosure, has burned two emotions in me - peace and contentment - and I'm wondering this morning if one of those emotions [contentment] also brought with it a "frenemy"... apathy disguised as acceptance?
I 'accepted' a couple months ago that God may just have a different plan than we do; that keeping this house and staying put in Bedford may just not be His will anymore. The acceptance of that reality brought an incredible peace. I HAD to let go of all that 'belonged' to me in order to surrender it BACK to the hands from which it all came anyway... God's!
But now, I'm questioning whether or not that acceptance and peace allowed my enemy to sneak in the backdoor with apathy when I wasn't looking... during the time when I finally gave in and stopped believing in and holding onto 'my right' to not lose our house, our car... our lives as we know it.
Yesterday, when Pastor Robert was closing his message, God spoke so clearly to my heart... as audible as a person standing next to me. The invitation for prayer was given - anyone who needed it, please come forward - and my thought was, "But we've come forward every week for a while now. We're getting kinda selfish." And what I immediately heard was, "Don't give up. Stay committed to prayer."
After many years of questioning myself, I've learned to recognize God's voice. There are times when I literally want to turn around and see who just spoke to me, but I know - especially in a public venue - that I'll just look a bit foolish because no 'human' in that place did... it was God. During prayer time He was telling me - no, commanding me - not to give up!
"But God, haven't we [and so many others alongside us] been praying for months now about a job, about income, about You making a way for us through this muck of financial abyss? We've been going up every week and praying for the same thing. Surely You've heard us by now. We'll just be taking up someone's place who probably has some NEW need that requires prayer."And then Pastor Marcus walked up to the microphone and said, "You know, someone asked me recently why EVERYONE doesn't come forward when the invitation for prayer is given? I mean, doesn't everyone have at least one prayer need in their life? And I had to shake my head and just say that I didn't know why someone would turn down the offer for prayer."
BUZZ!!! [loud alarm ringing in my soul] Sounds like someone... could it be... Satan?... didn't want me going forward. "Here's a little condemnation to end your church experience. That should help you walk out of here feeling guilty for taking up someone's time at the altar with the SAME request you've been bringing for a while now."
In the words of my dearest friend [with arm outstretched]... "BACK OFF!"
I filled out a prayer request card so that our need would get prayed for all week AND we went forward for prayer. Take that, Satan!
Sooooo... as I sit here this morning listening to my backyard birdie buddies singing up a storm, listening to the trash truck stopping at each house along our street, listening to the fan that hangs from our porch whir above my head, listening to the breeze rustle through the leaves of the trees that overhang our fence... God's reminder from yesterday shouted at me and awoke a desire I surrendered to a few months back believing it had to be buried when I chose acceptance: the desire to FIGHT!
In my eagerness to accept that nothing belongs to me - really belongs to me and that things are really just things - and in my hunger for peace to settle on that reality, I think I also threw in the towel and walked out of the ring, believing I had to give up the fight for what God has not yet allowed to take place [or that Satan hasn't found a way to take from me].
I STILL have my home.
I STILL have my car.
I STILL sleep in my bedroom, eat in my kitchen and sit in my backyard.
Yes, all of this belongs to God because only He GIVES. It's not really mine except for the fact that the use of that pronoun is necessary in today's world to show worldly ownership... it's my house because I pay for it.
But today, and for as long as God will let us "own" it, I realize that I WANT to stay here. I really want to stay here! I will accept the plan if it truly is God's will to move us on, even when moving equals financial loss. But what I will no longer do is roll over and give up.
Acceptance does NOT equal Apathy.
This is my home, at least for the time being, and I no longer care if the wall paper isn't what I like, or the rooms could be painted to fit my taste or the backyard isn't how I would have designed it.
I'm wondering now - truly in this moment - if God has NOT allowed the income stream for the home makeover I've prayed for [and so yearned for] because He desperately wanted me to be grateful for the fact that I even have a home? Would I be thankful - deeply thankful - for a home that didn't fit my standard of beauty, or would I continue to bemoan the fact that I had to live with blue flowered wall paper in my kitchen?
Wanting a home - your home - to be beautiful according to your individual taste is not wrong. it is NOT unGodly or unBiblical in any way. But when that desire eclipses the gratitude for the blessing of the home, something's gone awry.
"God, I am sorry for being so out of whack in my perspective. Beauty eclipsed blessing in my world. Acceptance turned into Apathy. Forgive me and set right my outlook and my heart."Today, I am determined to fight for the blessing of my home, and I will not give in until God tells me differently.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
I know when I awoke in the middle of the night that I should have pulled myself out of bed to write this dream down, but I had taken Benadryl to sleep soundly and I just couldn't quite muster up the energy to do anything but go back to sleep. I drowsily asked God to help me remember the dream in the morning and, almost immediately, I was back in dreamland.
My dream took place in a warehouse, but one converted into a home within one room. It was a wide open space with lots of windows but very sparsely furnished. A storm was raging outside, and I have to assume that we had decided to take shelter for our safety. I know that six people were a part of the group, but I only clearly remember four: Me, Anthony, Jason and Coli. I believe the other 2 were Teighlor and Alec, but my memory fails me there.
The storm had us all a bit frightened. Severe rain and wind were slamming against the warehouse walls and loudly rattling every window to what sounded like their breaking points. We were individually scattered throughout the warehouse, silently listening to the frenzied storm around us; none of us voicing the fear that we all felt but were afraid to confess.
In that moment, the lone door to the warehouse opened and in walked Jesus... no triumphal entry, no announcement from a messenger angel... just Jesus. What's ironic is that no one in the room reacted as if "JESUS" had just walked through the door. No gasps of shock and awe, no whispers questioning whether or not it was who we thought it was, no cell phone cameras popped open so that we could prove to the world via Twitpic that Jesus had walked into our warehouse. It was as if Jesus popping by to visit was a regular occurrence. that he was part of the family you could depend on to show up for Sunday dinner every Sunday.
He came in with the most humble air of confidence - a presence that commanded attention but didn't wreak of arrogance or a false sense of superiority. He just was Jesus and that was enough.
I was sitting on the only bed in the warehouse and watched Jesus visit each person in the room. I wasn't privy to the conversation taking place, but I watched the exchange of body language very intently. Each pairing told a different story communicated through eye contact, body position and touch.
Jesus approached Anthony first and sat next to him on the love seat. With Anthony, Jesus was very touchy-feely. I'm sure because He, of all people, would know that He created in Anthony the very essence of "we could so be touching right now". Their conversation looked deep and serious. I got the impression that Anthony was pouring out his concerns to Jesus. All the while, Jesus kept patting Anthony on his knee or rubbing his shoulder, exuding compassion for what he was listening to [and filling his love tank, too], but at the same time manifesting this sense that everything was going to be alright. He spoke very little but when he did, I could sense that his words held tremendous authority and wisdom, although they were delivered with the kindest, most compassionate expression. When Jesus was done, He gave Anthony a big hug and then touched his face with a tenderness that was palpable. It was the sweetest touch I've ever witnessed.
Jason was sitting in one of two over-stuffed, comfy chairs. Jesus pulled the other one around so that when He sat down his knees would be touching Jason's and they would be facing each other. Even though Jason is a tall guy, Jesus seemed taller... not in an intimidating way but with a stature that would make even the biggest of men feel safe standing next to him. As he sat down, Jesus leaned forward and began his conversation with Jason. The body language between these two men was very different than that displayed during Jesus' conversation with Anthony. Instead of the almost constant language of touch that existed between Jesus and Anthony, Jesus' touch with Jason appeared much more purposed - as if he was driving a point home every time he reached out to him. There was no condemnation in this touch, no "listen to me or else"... rather it almost appeared as if Jesus was trying to convince Jason of one thing or another and his touch was the period at the end of each sentence. Again, because I was not allowed to hear the words being spoken, I was left to surmise the conversation taking place through the contact of Jesus and the one with whom He was speaking. When Jesus was done, He rested both of his hands on Jason's knees and just held his gaze for what seemed like an eternity. Had it been anyone else, I believe Jason would have told a joke to break the silence, but instead he said not a word... he just let the communication happen.
And then Jesus crossed the room to meet Coli. She had been standing in a corner, watching all of this unfold, like me. When He reached her, he walked straight into the corner to stand next to her. He was "this close" to her, not leaving any room for personal space. Their faces were only inches from each other, a proximity that would have made even the closest of couples a bit unnerved, but with Jesus standing there it only seemed natural. He immediately reached out and took both of Coli's hands in his and their conversation began. As with the other two, this exchange had nothing in common with Jesus' prior conversations. Theirs was animated, full of smiles and laughter... kind of like two best friends sharing the events of their days that had taken place since their last time together, except even the best of friends don't share such extreme personal space as naturally as Jesus and Coli did. Everything about their time together would make any bystander secretly wish for "a relationship like that". When Jesus was done, He wrapped his arms around her and they hugged. There was no need for tears or a long good-bye because their contact simply communicated their love for each other and the fact that they would be seeing each other very soon.
Whether Jesus stopped and talked to the other two in my dream, I do not remember. What I do know is that when he approached me I was sitting against two pillows propped up against the wall, like they would against a headboard. Jesus took the two pillows on the other side of the bed, pulled them down to lay flat on the mattress and then laid down on his side facing me. He patted the empty space next to him and asked me to lay down, too. Without hesitation, I laid down on my side, facing him, and laid my head on his arm. As with Coli, there was only "this much" space between our faces. Had it been anyone else, I know I would have been checking my breath hoping that my Listerine was keeping me fresh, or I would have been backing up so that I could breathe "my own air and not that borrowed from the person next to me". [That's kind of a pet-peeve of mine] But, this position seemed so natural, so cozy, that the thought of breath mints never crossed my mind.
For a moment we just laid together and then Jesus asked me, "What one question do you really want to ask me?" I was caught off guard and didn't know how to respond. The only thing I could think to say was, "Well, before you came in I had so many questions about my life and what's going on, but now that I'm next to you I can't think of one." He just smiled and replied with, "Isn't that nice?" His very presence had calmed my fears and quieted all the concerns of life that were constantly on replay in my head. We took a few moments to bask in that peace. Well, He let me bask in His peace and he... I can only say that I got the distinct impression that He was simply enjoying His time with me; the same way I would enjoy my child snuggling next to me.
Jesus broke the silence by asking me another question, "What one thing do you think you struggle with the most?" Again, he caught me off guard. I ran through a list of 'struggles' in my brain, searching for the one that could top the list. Was it faith? Was it doubt? Was it impatience or fear, or complacency, stubbornness or self-reliance? How would I answer his question? My quandary was obvious and I think He decided to let me off the hook. I mean, he already knew the answer, didn't he? He just smiled in a way that words cannot explain and with a tone that cannot be defined he said to me, "I love you so much." And followed that up with, "That is the answer to my question." Huh?
To put an end to the wheels spinning in my head, he explained, "Beyond all the answers that you think should have topped your list, the only one that matters is the struggle you go through in your heart questioning how it's possible for me to love you when you've thought, said or done something that is completely unlovable. I don't want you to struggle with this any longer. I love you beyond everything." And when Jesus was done, He took my face in his hands and kissed my forehead like I would kiss my child good night and got up from the bed.
Without fanfare, He walked straight to the door, turned to us one last time and said, "Good-bye. I'll see you all later." And with that, he shut the door behind him and left as a friend would leave.
"Got a new understanding of the verse "see first the kingdom." We translate it to mean not to think about our own needs, but to think about ministry. This morning the Holy Spirit reminded me that seeking the kingdom means that the kingdom will reign in our lives. the kingdom will reign in our finances. in our marriages. over children. over everything! Every step you have been making has been bringing His kingdom into your sphere. And that means his will, His purposes, His resources! I believe you are closer to His provision than you know."These words were texted to me on May 17, 2009. I say AMEN and look forward to how the truth of these words will ring true!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Today was, simply put, a gorgeous day. I trekked out to the store at 10am after realizing we had but 3 full squares of toilet paper left in this entire house - eek - and was immediately captured by God's presence in full bloom through His creation. Between the cool morning breeze, the birds that literally couldn't stop singing and the sunshine that delivered just enough heat to warm my soul but not enough to make me sweat, my heart couldn't stop smiling. I rolled down the windows of my SUV and breathed in deeply. The overwhelming heaviness of last week's all-consuming humidity had lifted and was replaced by the fragrance of fresh cut grass. [THIS] is the definition of a perfect spring day.
With toilet paper shopping completed, I took a quick detour down Central to my nearest Starbucks. Somehow, for me, Starbucks and Sunshine make such perfect companions. So, I took the $2 that was left over from our family trip to see Earth and purchased my Iced Grande Americano, all ice, no water please. After a dash of Splenda and a bit of Half & Half, I was back in the car and on my way home... hoping that in the time that it took to me to fulfill my Starbucks and Sunshine quest, no one at home needed to visit the bathroom.
With coffee in hand, I drove home and found myself overwhelmed to tears by the beauty of this day. Anyone who knows me knows that the words "tears" and "Babs" don't really go together. I'm a pretty practical person [ooh, i just illiterated] and have never been one known to wear my heart on my sleeve. Not that I have anything against heart-sleeves, it's just not how God made me. Something has to really move my soul [or catch me off guard] to bring me to tears. I guess this morning God did both. He not only consumed my soul with the absolute perfection of His creation, He caught me off guard with the capacity for my heart to recognize Him from the moment my garage door opened and His creation met me face-to-face.
Reaching my destination of home, I went straight to my children and told them to pack up their home school stuff because we were schooling "al fresco" style at the park today. I then found my husband in his office so I could share with him my excitement over God's creation. As I looked out his windows into the backyard, I saw a beautiful blue bird perched on the top of our fence. Yesterday, I had discovered this same bird settled on the bird bath, looking into it and thinking [as I imagined it would], "Isn't there supposed to be water in this thing?" Ooh, I had let this poor bird down by teasing it with an empty bird bath. It's like sending kids out to the backyard with their swim suits on only to discover that the pool was never filled. Tomorrow I am going to fill that concrete bird bath. It's always been an eye-sore to me because I've never liked the bulky aspect of it, but my perspective has been changed.
The other day, as I was driving Alec home from a baseball game and was stopped at a light, I watched a bird crazily flutter about in a small puddle left by the rainfall from the previous day. I giggled as I watched it dip its head into this mini bird pool over and over again and shake its tailfeathers as the water rolled down its back. It reminded me of the days when I would watch my kids [when they were younger] pitch themselves repeatedly onto the yellow Slip 'N' Slide and laugh as the holes on the side of the mat spewed streams of water at them.
God has given us creation in order for us to see Him in it; whether its robin's egg blue skies, cotton ball clouds, a bird's lullaby or the sound of our childrens' laughter. It's all created by Him so He could share it with us.
Today, God reached out and touched me through His creation, and I was changed [today] because of it.