Friday, June 19, 2009

Time Blessing

Yesterday I was given a little "time blessing"...I was the only one home for the entire day. Teighlor's in Arizona with her G.P.'s, I dropped Anthony off at the airport for a day trip to Orlando and put Alec into the hands of Gateway staff for Amped's Camp. It was 7:30am and the day ahead of me was all mine.

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.
I was thankful for the time I had to refresh and recharge. Alone Time : It Did My Body Good.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

21 Days

Monday morning I spent a few hours in my backyard hanging out with Jesus. Through worship, reading and prayer I spent some quality time with him. There's a lot going on in my life right now, lots I'm praying about, questions I would love to have answered. I'm also feeling like I just to be cleaned out...physically and spiritually.

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

I [WANT] to stay...

It's early for me even though the day started hours ago for some people I know. This particular morning, with my family still asleep [shocker!] and me sitting in my backyard with coffee in hand, awoke a desire in me - for the first time - to fight for what I have. And I mean to REALLY FIGHT for what I have!

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.