Saturday, December 28, 2013

Liberation Doesn't Mean That I Am Not a Princess

I have one niece. She is all girl! She loves purple, pink, and pretty things. When I think of her I imagine all things sparkling and bright. She also loves sports. She is thrilled to go watch the local university's sporting events. She does well in school and loves to create. She is a pretty much a well-rounded child.

She is a princess!

Not because she loves Disney princesses, because she does, but because she is a daughter of the King. Before my brother starts to think I'm talking about him, I mean the King. No, not Elvis either. The King of Kings. The Lord. God. She is His daughter and that makes her a princess.

There is a movement, by women mostly, to push the idea of girls not being princesses. I understand it, but I completely disagree with it. Their idea is we are more than just Disney princesses, that we are powerful and strong. It is true I have never been a Disney princess, but when I think about them, many of them are powerful and strong. Yes, think about it, they are.

Look at this reference from Titus 3:1-8 first. "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on theses things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.These things are excellent and profitable for people."

Cinderella lived in a horrible existence with an evil step-parent and haughty step-siblings. Even though she was abused, forced to spend her days in rags, and denied the riches of her late father, she was an example of verses 1 and 2 of Titus 3. Now, it is a Disney movie so I know God didn't come in and save her, but she was saved by a fairy-godmother. The fairy-godmother came to her, Cinderella didn't seek her out to make a dramatic change in her life, but the fairy-godmother sought her out and did change her life. As we know, Cinderella was given a new outfit, and prettified. She goes to the ball and the prince falls for her based on her beauty. Okay, here's where some people have their Disney princess issues. I get it, the focus on how she looks causes her get the prince. Let's leave that alone and remember that she was also beautiful on the inside. Unless he wanted to end up as one of those pathetic grooms on bridezillas, he better have made sure that was the case before the wedding day. The clock strikes midnight and her former condition is back. She goes back to rags and cleaning and being mistreated by her step-family. But then the prince shows up with the glass slipper and it fits! They marry and she becomes a princess in title.Yippee!

Now here's how I became a princess and got to be an heir to the King. I was more like verse 3, I was young but I was led astray, disobedient, hating others and being hated. Then I was invited to a Kid's Crusade meeting and a woman spoke about the God of verse 4. The one who, through His Son, showed His goodness and loving kindness, and offered me a way out. I accepted His salvation and became an heir of the King. Making me a princesses with a heavenly title. I hope that I am becoming the princess mentioned in verses 1 and 2. The one who is submissive to the authorities God has put in my life, regardless of who they may be or how they may act. A princess who does good work, watches what I say about others, and is gentle and courteous. Unlike the easily good and gracious Disney princess above, I am still working on being the person God wants me to be, the one mentioned in verse 8.

The Lord liberated me (see Luke 4:18) and by doing so he made me a princess. There is a women's lib movement that tells me being a princess is wrong and tries to tell me that I should be this or that kind of woman. I love the Mets, NASCAR, and the 49ers. I love purple, pretty things, and cuteness. I love being crafty, decorating my house, and making things that are pretty or cute. I love Madame Curie and Abigail Adams, but I also love Cinderella, and that's okay. I am free to be me, the woman He created, the princess He liberated.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Paths of Righteousness Do Not Detour Around the Valley of the Shadow of Death

A couple of days ago I read Psalm 23 for probably the billionth time, and this time something struck me. I have been able to stop thinking about it since.

"He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
Psalm 23:3-4

I read the chapter, slower, to see if the thought I had made an sense. It did. We often break these two verse apart. In my Bible there is a space between them, a break in the stanzas, a separation in thought. I am not sure there should be though.

I always assumed paths of righteousness would be pleasant place, like the green pastures and still waters of verse 2. But the Bible also tells us none is righteous (Romans 3:10), so how can we even walk in paths of righteousness?

Well, we can't if He doesn't lead us. He takes us on these paths of righteousness, that we can't possibly be on, unless we become more like Christ. And how do we become more like Christ? By walking through the valley of the shadow of death. He takes us on these paths of righteousness, that lead right through this valley, and parts of us die.

We don't die. The parts of our heart that is guilty and sinful, those parts die. As those die we become more like Christ, more like His righteousness. How do I know the valley of shadow of death kills of those parts? Look at the rest of verse.

"...your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

The rod was used by shepherds to protect the sheep from predators, but was also used to correct an unruly sheep. The shepherd didn't beat the sheep to be cruel but to get it back on the right path to food, water, and safety. He has to use His rod on us, on me. I have felt it. He isn't being cruel, although sometimes it feels like it. He is using it to drive out of us what keeps us from being on the path of righteousness.

The shepherd used the staff to guide the sheep. That sounds nicer, doesn't it. But the staff had a hook on the end of it for a reason. Sometimes he had to use it to pull a sheep for harm. He had to put the staff hook around the sheep's neck and bring it back or lift it out of the harm it fell into. He does that for us as well. He guides us with it, but He also has to use that hook on us. I have gone on my own path and fallen into enough dangers to have felt Him use the hook to pull me back.

He uses those tool shepherd's tools in the valley of the shadow of death. He uses them there because that's the parts of our journey where wonder away. It is scary, and we think if we set off on a different path we will get out of the valley. He needs to lead us back to the path, the one of righteousness, and He guide us through the valley.

On the other side of the valley we are free of the death that something was bringing to our lives. For me I know some of the deaths involved bad choices; selfishness; hanging on to hurts and fears; resentment; anger; jealousy; etc. I also know there is still way to much not righteous about my heart that I will see more valley of the shadow of death trips. I also know that on the other side of the valley the paths of righteousness continue. They go through valleys, but they don't stop in them. The journey continues, the He still leads us on.

I truly hope that this makes sense to at least some who read this. I don't feel that I've done a very good job exampling what I truly believe He has shown me about these two verses. Yet I know that He can take what He has given me and use it to speak to you as well. For me, knowing that I am walking on His path of righteousness, being lead on it by Him, and that it will go through the valleys, somehow makes the valley experience even more worth it.

I am in such a valley. Christmas time is a valley for me. I love the holiday and hate it all at the same time. It is a yearly reminder of the family that I long for and do not have. It is another chance for God to remove something from my heart, and make me more like Him. I have to see it that way. Otherwise it means that God is just a cruel God, beating me with that staff. I know He isn't. I know He is removing something bad from my heart, and replacing it with something good. I do not understand, but I do have His Word to know that the path of righteousness runs right through the valley, and I want Him to continue to lead me on it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Broken Wall Will Bring Healing, But It Isn't Always Easy

Three months ago I did an exercise where I had to tear down a wall. It was a large white box, not a cardboard box, but some sort of plastic box. It was duct taped together and, although I didn't know it, it was full of Styrofoam and paper. One side of this huge box was sectioned off into bricks. I was given a marker and I wrote down names, events, and fears that were part of my wall. At first, I thought I would only write a few things, but I almost ran out of room.

Then I was given a rubber mallet, and I went to town on that wall. I hit it and hit it, but all I did was leave behind black marks. Then I was given a claw hammer. It worked a bit better, at least it was making dents in the wall. Then I got the right tool for the job, a crowbar. That crowbar ripped that wall, but it wasn't enough. I put down the crowbar and I started ripping that wall apart with my hands. That worked well for awhile, but remember it was duct taped. I needed something to cut through the tape, and a friend handed me a pair of scissors. 

I completely destroyed that side of the wall, but that wasn't enough for me. I tore all that Styrofoam and paper out of there and cut apart the sides, the other side, and even the bottom and top. There was bits of wall and stuff all over the place! Then I picked myself up off the floor, and I stepped over that wall. 

After that I took three pieces of the box that had no writing on them, and wrote down the positives that tearing down the wall will make possible. It was a truly amazing experiences!

Since then I have had quite a few hard days, because I do not have a wall for protection anymore. There have been times that I wanted to resurrect that wall, but I haven't. 

There are two areas that I have asked God to heal and help me with since then. The first one is in the area of relationships. I have sucked at them! So I have asked Him to help me actually have them. That has been so much harder than I ever thought was possible. More about that, promise.

The other area I wrote about in my last post. I want to see me, know me, the way that He does. That has also been hard. Satan certainly doesn't want that to happen so he has been working hard to make sure I don't. Even though I know he doesn't want me to know that I know how God sees me, it doesn't change the fact that at times I believe the opposite he shows me. I believe the negatives and even hateful things he sends my way. He has tried to tell me that I am crazy because he has told me that my feelings are all messed up. He whispers in my ear and mind a lot, and never good things. The problem he faces, is that he isn't even trying to be sneaky. I know it isn't the Holy Spirit speaking to me, because he doesn't speak truth to wound, so it must be lies of satan to harm. Now, I wish that I didn't listen to the lies, and sometimes even believe them. I do however, know that they are lies, and I need to resist the devil so that he will flee. With God's help, I'm working on that.

As for the relationships, I asked God yesterday why I feel so tender much of the time. Why does it seem like almost every day something hurts me, in regards to relationships. Even when I am sure that I am overreacting by letting it hurt. So why then? He showed me a picture. 

When a baby is born he has two soft spots on his head. (I am about to impress you with my knowledge, but I actually Googled it.) These spots are soft because they allow the skull to compress during labor so the baby can be born. About four months later the rear spot of the skull closes and becomes hard. The front spot takes a bit longer, usually around a year-old the baby's front skull spot hardens. The Lord showed me that my heart and mind are like a baby's soft spots. The wall that I had guarding me made it seem as if I was hard, but I wasn't. I didn't need to be, my wall was hard for me. Now that the wall is gone, my soft heart and mind are exposed. They feel tender, and although they can take some touch not too hard. 

Satan is poking at my soft spots and he is using relationships to do it. He twists innocent things said or done to poke me. Once again, I know it's him, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt anyway. Then there are the not so innocent things that have been said or done. Those really hurt! Some come from people I considered friends, some from acquaintances, and some from people I have no choice but to relate to. 

Now, this can be a post where I just focus on what satan is doing and the harm he has caused, but God always has to the final word. He is hardening, correctly, my heart and mind to the attacks of satan. I needed to have the soft spots so I could experience the labor of change in my life. He is also closing up my "skull" so that my heart and mind will be the correct hardness to the attacks of satan, but still soft enough for the love of family, friends, and God to speak Truth to me. Someday, I will see and know myself the way God sees and knows me, at least in part. I will probably never know fully in this life. I will continue to develop godly relationships as He helps me along the way. He will even help me with the relationships that I have to have because we all have those relationships too. 

God is showing me who I am in Him, and He is helping me not suck at relationships, hopefully to actual thrive. He always brings the victory! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Who Does God Say I Am?

I confess that I tend to listen more intently to voices of others about who I am more than God's voice. I listen to my own voice about who I am more so than God's voice. I listen to satan's voice more than God's.

I also know that I am not alone.

In the last couple of weeks I have been asking God to show me who I am in Him. Each day, when I journal I focus on one positive thing that is true about me. Sometimes that comes from what I already believe about me and other times I believe that God tells me what it is. It has been one of the best parts of my day.

I can admit that at first it felt uncomfortable. It was hard to come up with something. It felt self-centered. As I have spend more time listening to Him tell me who I am it has become more of a joy. The other day He told me to make a list of positives about myself. At first it was hard, I used some of the previous things written to get me started. The list is a good length, not too short and not too long. Some of the things I would have not thought of myself so I know that they came from God. I now can use that list to write the daily thing that God says about me.

Not only can I write about it, but I can thank Him for making it true about me. If God says it is true about me then it is part of me because He made it so. If my focus become just about the positive truth about me then it will be easy for the focus to be on "me". That is not the point. I don't want to focus on who I think I am, but who He says I am, and thank Him for it.

Of course, that doesn't stop the other voices. It doesn't stop satan from speaking untruths to me or shouting the negatives about me so loudly that's all I hear. Yes, I know there are negatives, and I ask God to help me overcome those, and He will in the right time and way. I can focus on those negatives if I choose to listen to them. Sometimes I do listen. I start to feel down about myself. Then the realization comes that God's voice doesn't make me feel like that, even when He is dealing with a real problem area in me. With that realization I can take authority over satan's voice, in Jesus' name.

Sometimes it's easier to realize satan's voice than the other voices. One of those other voices are mine. I have talked to myself my whole life, and I haven't always said very nice things to me. Sometimes I have told myself that I am things, good things, that I am not. They may be things I want to be but trying to be something that I'm not is a lie. Living as someone that God hasn't created me to be is not what I want to do.

The other voices are from family, friends, co-workers, and just about anyone else. Sometimes the things that others say about me are true. Sometimes they aren't. Sometimes the things people say about me are really nice, and I would love for them to be true. As nice as those things may be, if they aren't true about the real me, the me God created, than I can't focus on them. There are many positive words that I may want to be, but I understand that not all of them are true about me. They can be, if God wants to develop them in me, but I can't force them to be true.

As bad as it is to believe a positive about me that isn't really me, it is far more damaging to believe a negative thing about me that isn't true. As a child we recited the rhyme "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me". That is one of the worst lies that has ever been spoken. Words can kill the real me. Words that are not true or even if true are, but not said in love, damage me. When words are spoken to me by others I have to take them to God, and ask Him if they are true. If they are negative, and yet still true, then I need to leave that at His feet and ask Him to work on me so they longer are true. He will, but it might not be time to do that. He knows exactly when it is time to work out the negatives and replace them with the positives.

I can try to live in a fantasy world where only positive words are true about me, but I live in the real world. I also live in the loving hands of God who helps me know and believe the positives about me. He also loves me enough to work on the negatives and to remove them and replace them with the positives of who He has created me to be. I am a work in progress. I am learning to give Him the negatives so He can transform me. I am also learning to focus on the positives of who God says that I am.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

King Theoden Experience

Please watch this video clip before reading this post. It will make much more sense after you've seen it. I can wait while you watch.:)

Okay, finished? Good.

A few days ago I was King Theoden. King Theoden was possessed by the spirit of a wizard named Saruman. While under his possession King Theoden sat back and grew old and blind to what was happening to his kingdom. His people were being massacred by the enemy; his nephew was driven from the land; and his own son had been killed, yet the king listened to the spirit controlling him. Once he was freed by Gandalf, the blindness disappeared and the dying old man returned to a healthy king. All of that was good, but King Theoden had to come to grip with what had happened in the meantime, the destruction that his actions or lack of actions caused. He had to grieve his only son and realize that his spiritual imprisonment caused it.

I was being controlled by a spirit as well. It was the spirit of jealousy. I was blinded to the truth in my relationships, I felt old and sick, and I had no idea that it was killing my relationship with two very precious friends. Unlike Theoden, a good wizard didn't come and drive the spirit out of me by force. By the Holy Spirit did break through all the noise of that spirit and reveal it to me. Then He told me to take authority over it. I could have been like Gandalf and tried to do it in my own strength. I know that I do not have the power to drive out spirits, except in the Name of Jesus. It is sort of like the part of the scene when Gandalf reveals that he is a white wizard, which is the most powerful one. I went from just plain old my strength to His by commanding the spirit to leave in the Name of Jesus. The spirit didn't like it and tried to hang on, but it couldn't when the Name of Jesus was spoken. It had to flea.

Once the spirit of jealousy was gone I had my eyes open to what had been happening. What I saw broke my heart. I saw the truth and it grieved me. I had to make apologizes and I had to hear the hurt that I caused one friend in particular. It hurt, but I needed to hear and know the truth. I thank God that unlike Theoden's son, my friendships are not dead. I had to grieve the pain caused and the damage done to the friendships, but God can and is restoring our relationships.

This was not an easy post to write. I felt I needed to write about this, but I wanted to do it in a way that honored my friends. I didn't want it to cause anymore pain. It was also unpleasant because admitting something like this is not comfortable. But the Lord gave me a verse a little while ago, and I have blogged about it before. Isaiah 61:3 "To anoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified." The last part is the key for me and in this situation, "that He might be glorified". I knew I had to share this with you, because I believe that God will be glorified from this.

I do ask for your prayers. It is hard to not remember past hurts that I caused, but I need to learn from it and move forward. That is hard, because satan wants me to focus on it and be destroyed by that. It is also hard because I am a processor and I am replaying the scenes over and over in my mind. But God wants me to grow in Him and to let Him heal the pain caused. He wants me to focus on Him and the relationships that He is restoring. He wants me to learn from the past and focus on the now and making sure that I am walking in Him.

Thank you for reading this post. I hope that in some way it was able to speak Truth to you. I hope that you will pray for me and my friends. I believe that God will be glorified! Amen!

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Nearly Lost the Battle!

The last two days I had to take off of work. I probably should have taken the two or three before them as well, but hindsight you know! I just keep thinking, "if I can just make it to the weekend I'll be okay." Well, I didn't make it. Instead I lost it! That decided my need for a couple days off for me.

My mind and heart were having an epic size battle of distorted thoughts and crazed emotions. I felt like I was going crazy, and I needed to just take care of me. Over the last two days I have prayed, cried, journaled, and slept. That last one is a big one because I haven't done much of that lately! My emotions ranged from anger, to sadness, to hopelessness, to fear, to loneliness, and much more. My thoughts were traveling along the similar crazed path, jumping from one ridiculous, and even destructive, thought after another. I was battling and losing.

Today, I realized that I couldn't even look up, not even up at myself in the mirror. I was downcast and starting to realize that I was going to sink into a deep depression soon if I didn't do something drastic. So I did. I picked up a book full of Scripture and teaching about the mind - I think I mentioned it before. ;) I hadn't read from it in a few days and in a way I am glad. I am glad because today's reading was from the chapter "The Mind of Christ", and I so needed to read that today. I practically devoured the Scriptures mentioned in the chapter, and stopped and prayed many times along the way. It was like the collection of the Word in the chapter was feeding my spirit, my mind, and my heart, well actually it was.

I saw so much Truth spilling off the pages, and I knew were I had gone wrong. I realized that I was putting my faith, my hope, and my need to have the gaping holes of my heart filled in the wrong hands. I was expecting people to do what only God can do. I was expecting to gain life, freedom, wholeness, and joy from relationships and I was failing. I was failing because that is never how it was meant to be! Relationships are vital to our development as individuals and bring happiness and companionship to our lives. But people weren't made to heal us and restore us. Placing that sort of responsibility in their hands was simply unfair of me, unfair to them and unfair to me. God is the only one who can heal, restore, give hope, increase my faith, and fill the gaping holes with His love.

The realization of what I was doing and how wrong it was stopped me in my tracks. It was like doing a complete 180 and knowing that now I was seeing clearly because I was turned toward the Light. Earlier today I reached out for companionship. I vowed that if it didn't come I would not get upset. I wasn't sure that I could keep my promise, but when the "no" came I did. I stopped and focused on Him and did something I have never done before. I picked myself up off my bed and took myself to a movie. That might now seem like a very "spiritual" way to address the situation, but it truly was.

I realized as I drove home that even if no one chooses to walk this life with me God does. He is with me always, and I can, in Him, go out and do life on my own, if need be. I want friends, I need them, but I can't expect them to be for me what only He can be. I can't expect them to be for me what only I can be for me. I can't be it for them either. I am truly sorry for putting on others the burden of trying to fix me! The only one who can carry that is God, and even though I don't always like the way He does it, He does a very good job!

Will there be times that I put my faith and hope where it doesn't belong? Yes. Will there be times when I am lonely and sad? Yes. Times when I am angry? Yes. Will I fight more battles with my mind and emotions? Yes. I pray that with each time I will learn more quickly than the time before, what I am doing and turn to Him. I hope that I will be able to be quiet enough to hear His still small voice. I covet your prayers and support as I know that today is not the last day of even this battle. Tomorrow, satan will probably try again. He never gives up because he truly doesn't get it that he's lost. But he has, because Jesus won the victory over him and all of his plans and devises, and I have Jesus in me so I can rest in His victory!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Battlefield of My Mind

A few weeks ago I couldn't take it anymore. Every word spoken to me, every action taken by someone send my mind into a battlefield. Words spoken to me became slights and attacks. Words not spoken were even worse! My brain was shouting at me things like, "if she was really your friend she would have said this or that". Actions were bad as well. The way a person looked at me, the way a person stood, were just two ways that my mind started to tell me what people meant about them. I truly felt like my mind was warring inside me and that I was losing.

A friend stopped me on the way out one Friday and linked her arm in mine and asked the question, "how are you doing?" I almost lost it, right there in the school hallway. I wanted so badly to just breakdown and weep, something I had done a lot for two weeks already. The difference was someone else could hear my crazy thoughts. I shared with her what my mind was doing. Her advice was to read Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyers.

I had actually just given another friend a copy of a devotional version of the book, because I knew God told me she needed it. I actually thought for a moment about asking for it back, but I knew she was supposed to have it, and that I needed the full book version. The problem was I didn't have it. When I got home, I texted my Mom to see if she did, but she didn't. I slipped into my comfy clothes ready to start the weekend, but my strong NEED for the book wouldn't let me rest. I jumped online and tried to find it. I could have ordered it but it was Friday so I wouldn't have gotten it until Monday or Tuesday. I knew I couldn't wait that long. So I looked it up on Walmart and Target's sites, but none of the local stores that it. Then I remembered the Christian bookstore in Matthews. I changed back into regular clothes and jumped in the car. I went right in and grabbed the book. It felt like I had won a victory.

At home again, I changed back into my comfy clothes and climbed into my bed and started reading. For the first time in weeks my mind was battling, but this time the right way. The Scriptures in the book were speaking straight to my mind and were battling back against all the lies and junk that I had been listening to and believing. Each chapter spoke (or speaks since I'm still reading it) to a battle that I was experiencing. After reading each chapter I felt relief and wondered if there might be a chapter that didn't fit me, so far they fit.

Sometimes I have no idea how much of his lies I have listened to and started believing until the Truth speaks. It is truly amazing how much our minds can get messed with before we realize that it is even happening. Why? I think it's because my voice and satan's voice are so loud. They shout in our minds, in our situations, and even in our relationships. His voice is a still, small voice. I let my mind listen to everything else but Him. Silence is the answer. Listen to Him and shut off the volume to any other voice. The only way to win the battlefield of my mind is for my mind to be on Him and the Truth of His Word. Not always easy, because as I mentioned it is hard to hear His voice over the others. A battle needs to be fought with a plan, a strategy, therefore I need to use a strategy when I feel my mind being attacked by the enemy, or even me, I need to get silent. I need to spend time listening to His voice in the form of His Word or His direct speaking to me or even His speaking to me through others.

It's time to follow that strategy. The enemy will fight back, he has no idea that he's already lost the war, so he keeps up the battles. There will be times I retreat because I think I can't continue the fighting, but God will help me regroup and get back in the battle. Because just like another of Joyce Meyer's titles "The Battle Belongs to the Lord".

Friday, November 1, 2013

Isaiah 61:3

Last night I was lying in my bed and crying out to God. I was asking Him why. Why I have to go through the emotional struggles? Why I had to experience the rejections in my life? Why I have had to struggle with my weight? Why I had to loss my voice and not be the talkative person I used to be? Why? Why? Why?

My last question was a how. How can my life glorify you? How?

I feel asleep when the tears were spent and with a sense of calm. I thought it was odd that I felt so calm considering my heart wrenching experience. My sleep was also calm, no dreams, no waking up in the middle of the night.

I did wake up very early though, around 3:30, and my first though was "spirit of heaviness". I think God was telling me that I had a spirit of heaviness. It fit. As I was becoming more alert I started to think of the verse that the phrase comes from. Piece of the verse came to mind but I couldn't put the whole thing together. When I finally climbed out of bed, the kittens will only wait so long to be fed, I got online to find the verse. It immediately popped up when I searched for it. Isaiah 61:3.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.

Did you see it? I knew so much of this verse from memory, but I didn't not remember the last part. "that He might be glorified". I still can't look at my life, my struggles and see how He can glorified, but this verse says that He is glorified when He transforms. I understand the ashes, mourning, and heaviness part, and I know that He is transforming my life. Even though I can't understand how He is going to be glorified I know He will be. I am looking forward to the beauty, oil of joy, and garment of praise, and I am looking forward to seeing Him glorified.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bosom Friend

I have moved around a lot and made friends in various places. Some of those friendships were surface ones, but mostly because I never let them get to deep, at least not on my part. Some of those friendships were just work ones. Some of those friendships were ones that I invested a lot of me in. Honestly, most I did not.

Friendships were something I longed for, prayed for, and even sabotaged. When I just in those middle school years I had a really bad friendship experience. It tainted all my friendships since. But I don't want that tainting in my friendships now. This means letting go of hurts and letting God heal. It has not been a painless process, and it seems almost every day that I have to fight my feelings because of it. There has been healing though and I am glad for it.

The other night, as I cried once again over feelings hurt, I prayed an Anne of Green Gables prayer. I prayed for a Bosom Friend, a Kindred Spirit. If you haven't seen the movie or read the book, this kind of friend is a friend of your heart, a friend so close, so dear. I want this kind of friend, and honestly I'm greedy, I would like more than one bosom friend. Before that prayer I don't think that I believed that I would ever have such a friend. I don't believe that today.

I have been trying to figure out how to go about getting a bosom friend, and God spoke into me the answer. Be a Bosom Friend. Okay, God how do I do that?

His answer is simple just be a friend. Consider other people. Look for opportunities to show kindness. Notice what others need and give it when I can.  Listen to celebrations, hurts, and hear what isn't being said. Give to others based on what they need, how they feel love expressed to them. Speak into their lives when God gives me the words.

So that's what I've been trying to do. I am far from good at this, but I am trying. I know there will be times, days even, where I let my selfishness get in the way. There will be times when I let my hurt feelings get in the way of doing what I should for others. I will fail to be a friend probably more times then I succeed, but with God's grace and strength I will be a friend. The best part is that I do have a Bosom Friend, Jesus. He will help me and I will become a Bosom Friend.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Infection Removal and the Emotions It Causes

The worst part about starting this blog is sometimes I feel the absolute need to post experiences that I don't understand and would rather not even be going through. This is one of those posts.

I am really good at building walls. I mean really good! I have stood on the podium and accepted my medal with the best of them. Living behind the wall has a feeling of a measure of comfort, a security. But it isn't really comfort or security, it's just a prison. There are certain walls I built almost thirty years ago and have worked hard over the years reinforcing and strengthening the bricks. Two months ago I asked God to help me tear down a wall. I cried out to Him with tears streaming down my face and told Him I didn't care which wall, but I just needed one to come down. Well, He answered.

The feeling of having that wall fall was exhilarating, the joy was immeasurable. I functioned on joyful adrenalin for about two weeks. I felt like I was flying. The line from a song (I am so bad with names of songs) was so true for me. "It's like my soul is flying while my feet are on the ground" That was how I felt until the heart surgery started.

Last Sunday, I felt Him start to do some work, and it hurts. I am no doctor, but I know that sometimes for healing to take place the infection needs to be dealt with, the dead tissue needs to be removed. That is the stage that I am in right now. All, I can say for certain is that it hurts, it hurts more than I believe I can handle. I feel raw! It feels like there is no anesthetics being used, although I am sure that God is shielding me from some of the pain that would kill me, emotionally, spiritually. Still the pain is so great I am not sure that I can endure this.

But I have to.

I have to because I so desperately want to be whole. I truly want to have healthy, loving relationships. I want to experience all the blessings that He has for me. I want to live an abundant life. Yet, I need to know how to endure through this stage.

Last night, I cried, no I bawled myself to sleep. This has been a normal occurrence over this past week. In the seven days between Sunday and Saturday, I only went tear-free one day. Oh how that one day was like a vacation from emotional Hell! But yesterday wasn't. Last night I just kept telling Him that I had no idea how to survive this. I begged Him to show me how to do this; how to deal with the feelings and not run back to that broken wall and put the pieces back together into some make-shift wall.

The emotions I am dealing with I haven't really experienced, at least not to this magnitude, since I was twelve or thirteen years-old. I feel jealousy, and I hate it. I come home after spending time with friends, or even just being at work, and I feel such loneliness that I feel like I'm drowning in it. I hate being alone, it hurts so much. I cry until my throat hurts and my eyes feel swollen shut.

I know some people are thinking of the answer. The religious ritual to perform. The words to speak to make it all go away. I don't want to sound rude, but you don't know what you are talking about!

When I was in middle school I had horrible ingrown toenails. They were so bad that the nails even grow out the side of my toe, yes the image you just got was disgusting! They were so painful and ugly. The infection was oozy and painful. I needed to have surgery, but the infection had to be dealt with beforehand. I needed to take medicine, soak my feet, and clean out the infection; I even had to stay in the hospital for a few days. The cleaning part hurt, but I needed it gone. Without the work to remove the infection I couldn't have the surgery, so it was needed.

I need to clean out the infection and dead tissue in my heart. I need to let the Great Physician do the necessary work to perform that. I do not want to go back behind the wall. Yes, the pain would lessen, but it would just be dull, not gone. I don't want to live a dull life. There is no quick fix. No infomercial, miracle product that can make this go away. As painful as the process is, I need to go through the healing. I need to be free.

To those who are near to me, both physically and in our hearts, please be patient with me as I travel this emotional roller-coaster. I hate the needy feelings that I am going through, but I need to let them be known, even when I don't understand them, even hate them. I want to be free and I want to have an abundant life filled with close, good relationships with you. Thank you for being with me through this, even though you don't understand and get frustrated. Thank you! I love you!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mental Battles

When I am at work, teaching my students, correcting papers, and planning my thoughts revolve around my work. Those hours can be long, can be stressful, but they are also full of joy, full of times with friends and sweet children. It's when I walk across the parking lot and climb into my car that the mental battles can begin.

Not, everyday of course. Many days I climb into my car and just go home. But some days, today, I get in the car and the mental battle begins. My mind was whirling in two different directions. I tried to focus on something else, and then I knew that I needed to come home a blog about it. The battle ended.

So what was the first direction? It was the fact that I was going home alone to an empty home. It is full of sweet furry babies, but that's not enough some days. I recently did a Love Languages assessment and found that mine is quality time. Of course, that seems ironic since I spend most of my time by myself. Yet, deep down I long for time with others. I know that I need to be with others, especially when my mind starts battling. But another area I struggle with is letting my needs to be known. So of course, I want to spend time with others, but I have trouble letting other people know that. So my brain battled my feeling lonely and not being able to reach out for help.

The second direction is about football. I know, what you're thinking, but it really sent my mind whirling. When I was a kid growing up in Dolgeville, NY, going to the high school football game was the thing. The high school didn't have lights so Saturday afternoons were spent on the hill watching the game. The hill was the home side of the field. There were no bleachers and fans moved with the ball. The field was just down the hill and the visitors' side had bleachers, but we watched from the hill. Even when I went to Christian school I would go to the games with my friends. When they played Little Falls we would go the minor league baseball field and the game was played in the outfield, under the lights. Those games were always fun. Chilly nights sitting on the metal bleachers were a enjoyable time.

I loved watching football on TV. I remember a middle school boyfriend coming over on a Saturday afternoon, eating popcorn, and watching college football. I remember telling him that I thought it would be a perfect way to spend a day, eating popcorn and watching football. I still think it would be a great way to spend a day.

One of my friends mentioned that she and her husband are going to the game tonight. The high school we feed into is playing their rival school tonight. My first thought was, "I'd love to go to that game." But then the thought made me sad. Memories of watching some football games a few years ago came to my mind. I realized that I would be sad watching a high school game knowing that a certain player wouldn't be there. Knowing that he would be playing a game this weekend but that it would be far away.

Football season makes me happy, especially when I'm watching my 49ers play, but it also makes me sad. It makes me think about what was and what isn't.

So my mental battle could have raged on, and I'm not going to say that I still don't feel lonely and I still don't miss what isn't, but I know that God is working on me. I am still a work in progress, but I am so glad that He is still working on making me the person He created me to be.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Refined Like Silver

I know some of you may have already read the story below, but I think it's a good one.

Some time ago, a few ladies met to study the scriptures. While reading the third chapter of Malachi, they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse:

    "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (Malachi 3:3).

One lady decided to visit a silversmith, and report to the others on what he said about the subject.

She went accordingly, and without telling him the reason for her visit, begged the silversmith to tell her about the process of refining silver. After he had fully described it to her, she asked, "Sir, do you sit while the work of refining is going on?"

"Oh, yes ma'am," replied the silversmith; "I must sit and watch the furnace constantly, for, if the time necessary for refining is exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."

The lady at once saw the beauty and comfort of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

God sees it necessary to put His children into the furnace; but His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for us. Our trials do not come at random, and He will not let us be tested beyond what we can endure.

Before she left, the lady asked one final question, "How do you know when the process is complete?"

"That's quite simple," replied the silversmith. "When I can see my own image in the silver, the refining process is finished."

-Author Unknown

I really like this story because I find a whole lot of my life has felt like being in the furnace. It hasn't always been pleasant, and sometimes down right painful. There have been moments when I've cried out and wondered why. There have been times when I have wanted God to just stop the process, but I have begged Him not to. I have begged Him to continue the process, to finish the refining, even though it is horribly hard. When I read the story above I realize that I want to be a piece of beautiful silver, silver that reflects God. I certainly don't want to be some cast-off lump that was ruined because it never made it through the refining process. I don't want it to be because of too many impurities that I wouldn't let Him remove. 

I want all that God has for me. I want to be the person that He created me to be. I want to reflect Him. Therefor, I must continue to be refined. 

Monday, September 9, 2013


This past weekend I had a huge breakthrough. One a long time coming, but this post isn't about that. Just know that I am a different person than I was a few days ago. This post is about a "test" I took today.

I have a group of Besties (BFFs) that I meet with each Monday evening. We examine aspects of our lives, going deep and talking about tough stuff like feelings, we talk about Jesus, and we study the Bible. This evening we decided to take the Five Love Languages Quiz. It is interesting to see what every one's love language, and some are not surprising at all.

My love language is Quality Time. Here's the brief descriptor, "For those whose love language is spoken with Quality Time, nothing says, "I love you" like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there - with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby - makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful." from The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.

Now, I like undivided attention, but I think quality time can be watching TV or going to the movies. I think it can be eating dinner together. I even think it can be silent and still be quality time. I do want people to focus on our time together though. I really don't like time to be postpones either.

The failure to listen part I think is ironic since I have struggled with sharing for such a long time. I always wanted people to put in enough time with me to get comfortable to start talking. Of course, that rarely happened. So I never got to talk and that hurt me. If I could have spoken then I think people would have listened. Remember earlier I said I have had a breakthrough? Well, I think that won't be a problem anymore.

That was ironic, but the whole idea that my love language is Quality Time is ironic, because I tend to live more in Isolation Time (or I did!). That is ironic and sad. I needed that quality time with others but instead of being able to receive love I isolated myself so I couldn't. No wonder I felt unloved most of the time! I needed time with others and I deprived myself from it. Well, like I said before, no more.

I guess it is no longer ironic, because I now crave quality time with others and they might want me to shut up, but they will be out of luck!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

And the Walls Come Tumbling Down, But What's Your Choice?

A couple of days ago I had a hard conversation with a friend. It was hard for me, because I had to be vulnerable. That is definitely NOT my strong suit. At one point during our conversation I felt a wall fall, literally fall. It was a very freeing feeling, and a feeling I look forward to having again. The process for a wall to fall is not always pleasant but the falling is so worth it.

Anyway, as I felt the wall fall I had to make a choice. At that moment, I thought of a story I heard as a child. A friend of my Mom's was telling a story of the time they got a dog from the pet store. Now this family lived on a farm so they had dogs, but this was their one experience with getting a dog from a pet store. Why only one? Well, because the dog walked and even ran around and around as if he was still in a cage. This poor thing had lived so long in a cage he didn't know how to run freely.

As that wall fell, I had a moment to make a decision. I could have stayed right behind that collapsed wall, or I could cross over the rumble and walk freely. It seems like that would be an obvious choice, but just like the dog, if you have lived for so long behind the wall it's hard to imagine another way to live. I made the choice to step over the rumble and reached out to my friend. I know it's only been a couple of days, but it is good. It is really good!

So when you experience a wall falling you have a choice to make too. Step over the fallen debris or stay there watching the world from behind it, which will you choose? I plan to choose to be steppin'!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Freedom in the Yoke

This has been a theme for me lately. Freedom. I, among so many others, struggle with being free. All of us have our own aspects of bondage that we need to be free of. And, at least to us, there seems to be a wide range of bondage. Some are bound by alcohol or drug addictions. Some are bound people that control and manipulate them. Some are bound by past trauma and tragedy. Some are bound by greed or lust. Some are bound by the need to be perfect. Some are bound by their children, trying to fulfill their every want. Some are bound by lack. Some are bound by having much.

It seems like some of these are worse bondage than others, but I wonder if satan likes us viewing it that way. If you are bound you are bound. Does it really matter if it is drugs or greed? Does it really matter if it is past tragedy or the need to be perfect? Some how I don't think so. I think bound is bound. Satan wants us comparing ourselves to others so he wants us comparing our bondage to others. He makes us think that we aren't as bad as others so we don't fight for freedom as if it was worse. He makes us think that we are so much worse off than others so we are too depressed to fight for freedom. Regardless of our bondage we need to experience the freedom of Christ.

I was listening to a message by Lisa Bevere called "Fight Like a Girl" and she was telling a story about her second son. Apparently, this boy was adventurous and would try anything. She said that he rode a bike without training wheels at two. One day he told her that he couldn't do something. She said that it surprised her to see fear in her fearless son. When she prayed about it God spoke to her. (I will try to get the quote right, but it might not be exact.) God responded with, "your children will either get my promises or your fear." She said at that she knew she had to gain freedom of fear for not only her but her children.

I don't have children, but I do have an impact on others. Do I want that impact on others to impress on them my bondage or Christ's freedom? I want to be acting in His freedom. Now the question is how to do I get it?

I think there are any number of verses I could focus to help answer this question, but the ones I'm going with are: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, an learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Instead of focusing on our bondage, on our burden, we are to take on His. He doesn't ask us to cast off our own yokes. He doesn't ask us to fix ourselves first. He just asks us to come to Him and take on His yoke, which is easy. So how do we do that? I think we just come to Him and tell Him that we need Him. We need Him to guide us and that we want to take on His yoke, His direction, and we want to find rest in Him. Does that mean that we'll be free instantly, probably not, because following directions is a process. But I would rather go through His process, even though it is so hard at times, than continue on in bondage.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

So Is It For Us or Not?

There is something I have been thinking about for awhile. I know there are some differing of opinions on this topic because I have heard them. I know this post will not be liked by some. Oh well, I think the name of this blog indicates that I will write it anyway.

This is what I have been thinking about, is what is written in the Bible for us or not? Now, before you freak out here is why I have been thinking on it. I have heard people say things like, "God doesn't do that anymore" and "that was just for the people of that time" and similar comments. So obviously there are people who believe that parts of the Bible do not apply to us.

In the Old Testament there are the laws that were given to the Israelites, and they involved sacrifices, people being unclean, and how far people could go or how much they could do on the Sabbath. We are not under these laws today because when Jesus was crucified He fulfilled these laws. There is no longer a need for sacrifices because He was the ultimate sacrifice. Accepting Him makes us clean so we no longer are under the unclean laws either. I could go on considering these laws, but I guess the question could be asked "since those parts of the Bible do not apply to us then maybe other parts don't, right?"

I have heard on more than one occasion people say that one the most quoted verses does not apply to us. You know the one, Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." They say that this verse was written to the Hebrews of that time who were in captivity. Of course, it was, but does that mean that God doesn't know the plans He has for you? Does that mean He doesn't want to give you hope or a future?

People say that God doesn't give the gift of tongues to people anymore. I have even heard people say that God doesn't do miracles anymore. I just wonder why Jesus is the same yesterday and today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8) if He can no longer give gifts or perform miracles. I know some of these beliefs are denominational. I know some are believed because it passed down from generation to generation. Some have been preached and are being preached from pulpits any given Sunday.

Now, I want you to know that I believe every single Scripture is the Word of the Lord. I believe He gave promises, and they can be found in both the Old Testament an in the New. I believe that He gave us commands that are supposed to be followed today, like the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament and ones like "Love your neighbor as yourself" that is in Mark.

I know this post will ruffle feathers and anger people. I know that "my pastor says..." will be used to argue counterpoints. I know that some will never read another post that I write. Honestly, that is okay. It is okay because I know that God is the same yesterday and today and tomorrow, and I know His promises, gifts, and principles are still the same as they were when they were written down in the Bible. I also know that this post will make some think and search for the Truth of His Word.

All I ask from you is that you search His Word if you disagree or aren't sure. I ask that you not ask what someone else thinks or believes, but just focus on what He has to say. I ask that you are open to Him and open to what He shows you. I know that is what I need to be. I know that I need to read, and ask, and listen to what He is showing and teaching me. I hope that never stops, and I hope that it is the same for you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


A few months ago I was angry at someone. I mean angry enough to avoid this person for a few days. This person had no idea I was angry and that is the way it had to be. What? That seems backwards. I'm not suppose to stuff my emotions, and I'm not suppose to let the sun go down on my anger, but I did. And like I said, I had to.

I was angry because God placed something on my heart, something really important. I shared it, and then this person jumped on it and ran with it, in a different direction. Get why I was angry? I prayed about it and asked advice and the answer was, "let it go, I've got this." Yup, that was what God was trying to tell me. He had it. He gave me the idea and His purposes will be fulfilled no matter who tries to pick them up and run with them in another direction.

So I let the anger go and I went in the other direction too. I knew God wanted me to. I knew He wanted to do some stuff in me, like trusting Him that He had it, and more. At first, it was hard, and I won't deny that. Over time though I found that the direction this person went in was helping me, and soon I forgot I was even mad about it.

Then, surprise!

The direction came to an end. I let God deal with some stuff in me, some relationships were deepened, and I was able to see this direction wasn't "bad" and served a purpose. Like I said, the direction ended. Then I heard the words coming from a different person's mouth, the same words that God had given to me a few months ago. I couldn't help smiling as I realized He did indeed have it.

Even so, it wasn't as readily received as I wanted it to be. I kind of held my breath as God reminded me that He had it and to be silent. So I was. Not a day later, the same words were coming out of a different person's mouth, and I felt God say "now." I said something, nothing profound or earth shattering. Nothing that made light bulbs go off over people's heads or anything, but just the right words. Then the person who ran in the other direction was agreeing with us. I almost did a Holy Ghost jig, for all my Pentecostal friends. I did smile and heard very clearly, "Didn't I tell you, I've got this?"


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Speaking No Matter What

When I finish a book Bible I ask God what He wants me to read next. I recently finished Matthew and asked the question. Before I had the question out of my mouth I heard "Ezekiel". Honestly, I didn't love the answer so I rephrased the question. "God, since I've finished this book what other book should I...." "Ezekiel" came the answer again. So I tried a third time, "if no other book is the answer it will come to me. I'll just wait." Crickets! Big sigh, "okay, Ezekiel it is."

Now, there is nothing wrong with the book, but I really wanted Him to tell me to read a good history book instead. So I started reading it and it wasn't long before God spoke to me through it. In chapter 2 I read, "Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house." (verses 5-7)

God was sending Ezekiel to speak to the rebellious people of Judah. God knew that they would be hardhearted and wouldn't listen. God still sends people speak to others, speak the Truth, and He knows that they will not listen. I reread these verses, actually the chapter, because I really felt that God was talking to me.

This book is named Even If My Voice Shakes for a reason. God has asked me to speak the words that He has given to me, to share the lessons that He has taught me. He doesn't want me to stop speaking because the readers decide they don't like what I'm saying and stop reading. He doesn't want me to stop because it is something hard and it makes me anxious and even fearful to share. He is calling me to speak the Truth, regardless of the reader's response. God doesn't stop speaking because people don't want to hear the Truth.  He speaks and gives us the chance, sometimes many chances, to hear and turn away from the wrong path and hardness of heart that keeps us from Him. I have to be obedient and share what He tells me to.

I am not saying that everything that I think or say is from God. It certainly isn't, yet when I know He is speaking then I need to speak His Word.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Let the Warning Sound Blow

I recently finished reading The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. It was fascinating to see the correlation between an ancient vow made by Israel and what has happened in America in the last few years. The one idea that kept going through my mind was "when things happen why do we try to fix it ourselves? Why don't we see them as warnings from God?" So often we see the bad things as attacks from satan, and they are, but they are also opportunities. Opportunities that can bring us closer to God, turn us away from bad choices, and protection from continuing down a path that will lead us astray.

Yet we don't see the good. We tend to focus on the bad, the attacks of satan. It is true that satan is attacking us, he is trying to separate us from God. He wants to keep us down, hurt, feeling guilty, feeling alone. But the Word says that God uses all things for good, even the attacks of satan, maybe especially the attacks of satan.

One of my favorite parts of the book came at the very end. The prophet was telling the main character about the warnings given in ancient times. When a danger was approaching a city the watchmen would pull out a ram's horn and blow it in warning. He asked how this would sound. The answer was simple: "jarring, disturbing, ominous".

The conversation continues with an explanation of why it needs to be that way. The prophet states that it needs to be that way to wake up the sleeping. Then he asks would it be better not to sound the warning because it is unpleasant and the people would not like it. Of course the answer is that the alarm needed to be sounded. Would the people have rather been killed or captured than inconvenienced by the horrible sound of the warning? Of course they would rather be inconvenienced, it's a no brainer.

Today we don't see the need for a watchman's warning sound. We get mad to be disturbed from our comfortable lives. We don't want to be told that we are being complacent and need to wake up to danger. We don't want to know that we are making bad choices, letting in corruptible influences, or are just plain old being blind to the evil around us. We rise up and rebuke the enemy without considering what warning God is trying to give us. We get counselling to fix us (not that counselling can't help, but only He is the answer) without looking to the Spirit to show us what He is trying to do in us. We get defensive and start spouting all the things we are doing right, whether those things line up with God and His Word or just what man considers good or not. We get religious or worldly and don't consider how we need to get in relationship with Him.

I am guilty of this as much as anyone. I want to just blame it all on satan and not heed the warning. Instead, I want to be open to see and hear the warning in the jarring, disturbing, and ominous things that happen to me and in me. I want to heed the warning and look to God, turn back to God, rest in God and be saved from possible calamity and grow in Him.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Onion Peeling

Ever peel away the layers of an onion? I have, well I started to. Slowly I have removed layer upon seemingly endless layer of onion. As I got closer and closer to the center of  the onion I got frustrated and just pulled the layers apart. Sometimes I feel just like that onion.

God starts peeling away layers of my life. He slowly removes things from my life that don't need to be there. They might be fears, hurts, or even people that He peels away. There are times when I welcome the peeling, but most times I don't. Even though I know the removals are going to bring healing and freedom, I also know they are going to hurt. They are going to take me out of my distorted comfort zone. They are going to make me see things and admit to things in my life that I may have buried years ago or even just recently, but I wanted them to remain buried.

In the last few weeks I have felt some of these peelings happening. Part of me wants to rejoice, and part of me wants to go running through the streets screaming at the top of my lungs. I guess I figure the running and screaming thing will get me committed or something. No matter which way I want to react I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is God at work.

This morning I said a strange little prayer, "Lord please peel away a layer." I don't think I have ever asked for anything in a prayer like that before. I have asked Him to make me more like Him, which would result in peeling, but I have never asked for peeling. I want freedom in a certain area, a major area, of  my life. I want to move forward and I don't want to waste anymore time doing so. So I have asked a daring request and let the peeling begin.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dealing With Stuff I Didn't Even Know Was Still There

Do you ever feel like no one gets you? Yea, I know you do. I think we all do. I know there are times when I don't get other people. I don't understand decisions they make, words they use, or how they just acceptt things without hesitation.

This past week I did a spiritual gifts test. I've done similar ones before, but somehow this one clicked for me. Maybe it was that I did it with people I knew and knew me. It was good to discuss what their tests showed about them and what it showed about me. Previously I had done the tests by myself or with people I did not know. But it was more than just being with people I know. I finally understood some things about me. A bit of how I work came to light.

There is more to me than that though. I have a childhood that has shaped things in me, both good and bad. I know we all have, but we tend to either have more good or more bad shaped in us. Some children actually live really good lives, with good parents, and very few trials of childhood. I would think that wasn't true, because it wasn't always true for me. I would think that is just a myth, but I know someone, actually a few someones, who had that kind of childhood. I still am a bit amazed by that. I work with kids and see some who come from hard places, hard homes, and then I see the ones whose lives are practically perfect. I can practically picture their futures based on what I see now.

I do not know what struggles they will face in the future, and their childhoods don't have to define it anyway. Yet for many of us it does, both good and bad. I know that God has healed some things from my childhood, things that affected my adulthood. Yet, there is more healing for Him to do.

Unfortunately, the feelings of being misunderstood are still there. Yesterday, I ended up spending the last few hours of the day crying and crying. The experiences of my childhood and my main spiritual gift ran smack into a suggestion that affected me in a way that I didn't see coming. My response was "no". It was a no brainer for me. But the aftereffects of emotions were not expected. I certainly didn't expect to have the feelings.

They spoke things to me that I thought were gone, but were really just buried. They made me admit some things that I thought I had overcome. They made me admit a major truth of something I believe. A hard, hurtful truth. Not what I believe is true, because it isn't. I mean I truly believe it and I need God to deal with it.

I wished that others understood me and wouldn't have even even made the suggestion. At first my reaction was directed at a person. I wished that I was understood better and then maybe it wouldn't have even been made. Then I realized it really had nothing to do with anyone else. God uses everything, e-very-thing, to work His purposes. He was doing some heart work, He is doing some heart work. Not sure how this is going to go. I am still reeling from the feelings and know God is still working on my heart. Hopefully, soon, healing and Truth will bring the healing that God is bringing.

This living a life of letting God heal your heart is not easy, but it is so worth it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Fiery Darts

The truth is the glass is half empty and half full. We spend time trying to figure which way we look at the glass, but it's both. It's not one or the other. Yes, the optimistic person sees it as half full and the pessimist sees it as half empty. But is that really the point? I don't think so. I think it is about the fact that it is both.

Why is that important? Well, on the way to work today I was thinking about how I need to learn from the fiery darts of the enemy. They are bad and meant to kill. But they also are good. What? Yup, they are good.

You see satan meant them for bad. He thinks they will get us off track. He thinks they will destroy us. God however, will turn those darts for good. He uses them to get us off a track that we shouldn't even be on. He uses them to drive us back towards Him. He uses them to chip away at something that shouldn't been in our lives. He uses them to bring freedom, peace, and life.

Those darts are like the glass. The glass is both half empty and half full. Those darts are both sent by the evil one and redeemed by the Holy One. I wish that the darts weren't necessary. They hurt! They bring out things I want buried deep. The pain though can be a healing pain and that I do want. I do want God to do a work in me. I want Him to chip away at the things in my life that do not belong there. I want them to drive me closer to Him.

I am not going to lie. I do not like the darts. Occasionally after I pray a prayer to become more like Him, I instantly regret it. I think, "oh man, what did I just pray for!" Lately, this has been the case. I have a problem with emotions. I am not overly emotional, just the opposite. But that is not where God wants me to be. That's not where I want to be. The last few days darts have been flying. This morning one hit home and hard. I was at work so crying really wasn't an option, but I did let myself feel the pain. I didn't try to convince myself that it was bad to feel it. Satan meant to take me out with that dart. He was unsuccessful. Instead, I let myself feel the pain, even though I couldn't express it then. And, most importantly, I turned to God and shot a quick prayer to Him and He heard me. He gave me a peace. That is the most important point. He took the dart and He won. The best part is He always wins. Now it's time to walk in it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sometimes You Just Need To

I have been debating for about two weeks now whether or not to go to a baby shower tomorrow. The shower is for one of my favorite friends and I adored her. So why wouldn't I go to her baby shower? Simply because it would not be good for my emotional health.

Baby showers, weddings, engagement announcements, bridal showers, and the million of Facebook statuses and photos often send me into an emotional tailspin. I went to a shower for a co-worker several months ago and it took me awhile to recover. Then once she had the baby my whole team decided we need to go over and see him. Ugh! That wasn't an easy adventure. The baby was sweet and I was the first to hold him. I couldn't pass him off fast enough. Holding that baby set me back for a few days.

The last wedding I attended, coincidentally the same friend who is having the shower, I cried all the way home and then some more when I got there. Honestly, how I didn't get in an accident I do not know. There were a lot of windy back roads.

Was I happy for my friend? Overjoyed for her. She is an amazing person and God brought her the perfect husband for her. I was thrilled for her, and yet my heart broke all over the place. Was I happy for my co-worker and her newborn son? Of course! She is the sweetest, kindest person and I think she's great. Yet it hurt badly to hold that child. It was hard to comment about how sweet he was as my eyes burned and longed to cry.

This past Christmas I turned down a trip to Disney World, some place I enjoy. My brother and his family invited me along. I told them "no thank you". How do you tell someone that going on family vacations rips my heart in two?

I have decided. I am not going to go to the shower. I will give my friend a gift for her soon-to-arrive daughter, but I can't go. I have to make the decision based on the effect going would have on my heart, my emotions. I hope she will be understanding, even if she can't really understand the why of it.

Sometimes you just need to do what is best for you. For me, this is one of those times.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Words Hurt

Yesterday someone said something that was like a dagger to my heart. The comment wasn't meant to be, but it was. I was explaining a health issue when the comment was made. "It could be premenopause."

Just like that, the knife that never feels far from my heart, was twisted. Of course, it didn't get better. She proceeded to say "hey, it happens. You're getting up there you know." Yes, insensitive, is the word I was thinking of too.

The comment made my thinking, my negative thinking, go into overdrive. My thoughts go to the one thing that I have always wanted, for as long as I can remember, to be a mom. The desires and dreams rush through my thoughts and crash in a heap. Yes, I know how old I am. I don't need to be reminded that I'm "getting up there". I don't need to be reminded that the only real dream I have ever had is quickly becoming an empty dream.

This experience surpassed all the times that I've been told that all my students are like my children. Said, each and every time, by mothers. Yeah, that compares with giving birth, or adopting a child, and being their mom for their whole life. Yup, 10 months with a child is the same thing. No, it isn't the same thing at all, not even close.

Last week something else happened and it hurt my heart too. I realized that no one knew it. No one has any idea that it hurts me. Someone loses a loved one and people are sensitive to their loss. They understand that something, even something innocent, can bring up painful thoughts and memories for the person. People are sympathetic. However, when you have a heart pain that people can't see and don't understand, you don't get that sympathy. I realized then that my suffering may never be understood, except by the others who experience it too. I know I am not the only one. I understand that and in many ways I know that means I have suffer in silence. God is the only one who hears my heart and really knows my pain.

I try to just forget about, move on, let it go. Sometimes that just doesn't work. I was busy pinning on Pinterest and knew that I needed to write about it. I ignored it until I couldn't ignore it any longer. So, I just said, "okay God, I'll write." I don't know why He asks me to do this. I don't really enjoy putting stuff like this out there. I understand we all have hurts, and some of us have unfulfilled dreams, longings. I guess sometimes it is important to let others know that they're not alone. Maybe that's the point of this post. Maybe it is just a chance for me to let some of the hurt out. Maybe God is telling me to acknowledge my pain and not ignore it, I am very good at that.

Do I know that God will fulfill my heart's desire? No, I don't know that. I know that some people never get their desire fulfilled, even people who love God and live for Him. What I do know is that He is with me, even in the pain.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Never Knew You

If you don't read the devotions that I write on this site, I feel that the message of today's devotion is extremely important. It is way to important to ignore. Please consider following the link above.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Not Sure How To Do It

Last night I cried myself to sleep. Remember, yesterday I was over thinking something. Well, that over thinking decided to spread to other areas and I ended up crying it all out to God.

I find it easy to tell Him how I am feeling, how I have been hurt, yet I find it very difficult to tell others. Why? Why do I find it so hard to tell someone that they hurt me? Why do I find it so hard?

I guess I find it hard to do because I don't want to hurt them back. I don't want to hurt others. I know that telling them that what they said, did, or didn't will make them feel better. It may hurt them, and I don't want to do that. So, most of the time I just remain silent.

Then there is this thing called history. I can think back to times when I did tell others that they hurt me and it turned out badly. There was rejection or anger or even turning on me. You know, all that girl drama stuff. Oh, how I hate girl drama. So, I avoid telling people because I don't want to risk the possibility of drama.

Which leads me right back to  do I tell them that they hurt me or  not? Do I tell them how it made me feel? Part of me really wants to and then the other part of me hears it in my head and thinks "wow, that sounds so selfish!".

What is the answer? I don't know. I do know that I can continue to talk to God about it, and here's the important part, I have to listen to what He says to do. So, that's what I know I will do. And I would appreciate your prayers too.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Over Thinking Too Much, Yeah Probably Didn't Need That Too Much Part

I am a processor. I try not to respond too quickly. I try to give myself time to think things over. I tend to over think things too.

Today, I asked a question and although I was pretty sure of the answer, it still kind of bugged me. I didn't have time to think much about it at the time, but since then I have.

Now, I try not to think too much about me, to not be selfish. Yup, that is hard because I tend to be the one I think about the most. Oh, be honest, you probably do too. But, I try not to.

Yet, I have been over thinking something, and I am trying to figure out if I'm just being selfish or not. Is it selfish to feel like your voice is not being heard? I know I have said the same thing, twice, in regards to the question I asked today. I guess I hoped it would have been respected, but I don't think it was. Then I start to think the other side of it and think "should other people change something because of what I say?" I guess not, at least not all the time or anything.  ;)

Then I have to think about whether or not it is even worth it. Yes, I want to spend time deepening friendships, but if it is a way that I don't feel comfortable or even right about, is it worth it? Is it enough to just do the things with people that I truly enjoy, and not just do something that I don't really? Should I just be uncomfortable and deal with it, give it a try?

Did I mention I tend to over think things? I wonder if I am just over thinking this. I wonder if I need to just stop thinking. I wonder if I should just put up and shut up. I would love to say that I am going to stop thinking about this, but I probably won't.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Unknown Feelings

Do men ever have the emotional rollercoaster rides that women experience? Oh, I know they have ups and downs just like I do. I just wonder if they come on in less than a moment and sometimes they have no apparent reason at all. Or is this just one of the joys that women get to experience?

Today I was fine. Really, had a pretty good day. Went for a walk and felt good and tired afterwards. Then I got in my car and a good song came on the radio and I felt I couldn't sing along. I wanted to, but I just couldn't. I felt this sadness sweep over me for no apparent reason. So I just drove home and wondered what was the matter with me.

I still don't know. I still have no idea. I'm not a very dramatic person, but I feel a bit dramatic right now. I tried to just feel and hope that the feeling would just seep away. Then I knew that I needed to come on here and just let it out by writing.

I still don't know why I feel this way, but writing about it and sharing my feelings help.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Great Physician

Jesus is our Great Physician.

I have been thinking about that lately. I have been thinking about physicians and how they go about healing people. I came up with two ways that they deal with illness, injury, and disease. Let me just say that I know very little about the medical profession so I am certain that there is much that I will miss, but here goes me thoughts.

The doctor sees us and tells us that surgery is necessary. Our need is so great that we need to have it dealt by the doctor cutting into us to repair, remove, or even put something in us. Surgery is evasive. It is painful. It leaves a scar. It involves a recovery time. It is necessary.

Sometimes God does surgery on us. Sometimes we need something dealt with, removed from our lives, put back together, or repaired. And He preforms the necessary surgery to bring it about. Sometimes it feels like a punch in the gut. It is evasive. It goes into areas in our lives that we guard or are too consider too painful to be touched. We have a scar to remember the surgery. We also have a recovery time that may seem long and probably includes some sort of "spiritual" physical therapy. And it is necessary.

Sometimes the doctor tells us that is going to take time, but we will get better. We need to take medication. We need to follow a routine. We have to go in for visits to see how we are progressing. The medicine might be hard to swallow and even taste bad. The routine we have to follow takes so much time and it might even hurt. Ever have to go through physical therapy? If yes, then you know what I mean. Although it is painful and takes time it is necessary.

Sometimes that is the way God heals us. The healing takes a long time. At first it seems like the medicine isn't working. The therapy hurts and we don't see any change. Gradually we do get better. When spend more time seeking Him. We find that each time we have to deal with hurt we realize that it hurts a bit less and the recovery time is less. And it is necessary.

One of the best parts of God's healing is we don't have to make an appointment. He is always available. Unlike human doctors God knows for sure how long the healing time will take. He knows if the procedure and medicine will work. He knows when to do the surgery. He knows when to administer the medicine. He knows when we need to rest. He is the perfect physician.

I wish I never had to endure times of healing, but I would much rather He heal me then leave in the painful, mess. I'll have to remember that they next time He is doing some healing in me.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Not Against Flesh and Blood

I believe that God lines things up, brings things in bunches, so that I can realize that it's really from Him. I have been reading a fiction book about spiritual warfare. I know there are some who don't believe that it is as powerful and true as I do. All I can say is once you have experienced it for yourself you can no longer deny it is real. And if you haven't experienced it for yourself you might need to be concerned that satan doesn't consider you enough of a threat to bother attacking you.

Anyway, back to the point. I have been reading this book, praying more intensely for my students, and had some ask me about some books that were "spiritual". See, He brings it in bunches like I said. Well, the book I'm reading has reminded me that I do not fight against flesh and blood although it sure feels like it at times. Ephesians 6:12 says "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." ESV

There are so many "christians" who don't believe in evil or hell or demons. The Bible clearly says that there are and that we are wrestling with them! That "we" in the verse is Christians. We tend to think once we are saved satan can't mess with us. Jesus has defeated him so I don't need to worry about him. Jesus did defeat him, but until the end of this world he is going to keep trying to take people down with him. Yes, you are wrestling against him!

So this week I went to work for three days due to the killer cold keeping me out for two. During those three days I have prayed in my room before the kids came in and commanded certain spirits that they have no authority in my room, in the name of Jesus. Well, they weren't happy about it and it was three rough days. I even had a serious issue of girl drama and I haven't had any of that all year! Some demons are wrestling back. I can't give up though and Monday I will enter my room and pray again. I will continue to fight the enemy on the spiritual level.

I looked into the "spiritual" books shared with me and saw false religion all over it. The Bible tells us that there will be people who come along and pervert the Gospel. People says things that sound  right, smart, logical. Yet these people are leading others away from the Truth. The book of Jude is just one place you can read about these people. We have to be so very careful of what we expose ourselves to. The thing that really bothered me about these books, besides the attempt to take people away from the Truth, was that they are written for hurting people. The very people who satan has messed with and caused them pain and know he is trying to "heal" them. He can't heal anyone. The only one who can bring healing, and no his name is not time, is God. He is the one who heals the brokenhearted. See Psalm 34:18 and Psalm 147:3 and Isaiah 61:1 and there are more verses that speak of His healing.

The real reason I sat down to write this post was this revelation God gave me. Christians think we can't be hurt by satan.We think we can't be deceived by him. We think of him as defeated and a joke. He likes that, no he loves that. Because it allows him to freely reek havoc amongst us. God showed me that even the closest ones to Him can be deceived.

Eve walked and talked with God on a daily basis. She saw God! She actually saw Him and talked to Him! You can't get much closer to Him than Adam and Eve were. She heard Him say, "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,  but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'" Genesis 2:16 ESV.

Satan shows up one chapter later with, "He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'” Genesis 3:1-5 ESV.

Do you see it? Eve heard God say you can't eat of the tree, not that you can't touch it. Do you see that satan doesn't correct her mistake, he compounds it by telling her that she won't die. She walked and talked with God and even she misquoted Him and even she believed the lies of satan. We Christians misquote the Scriptures all the time! Why do you think there is so much division and pointing-down-your finger going on in the church? Because we misquote God and satan jumps on it. He runs with it. He causes death from it.

We need to stop putting our heads in the sand and acting like satan isn't at work in our world, in our churches, and even in our lives. Not that we can start claiming "the devil made me do it" either, but we need to bury our head in His Word and check. We need to check to see if what our pastors are preaching is Truth or does it just sound good or go along with our denominational thinking. We need to check out organizations that are promising healing and see if they line up with the Word. We need to check what we say and what we believe and see if it actually lines up with the Word of God. We need to realize that yes, people are fleshy and act out of their own desires, wants, and selfishness, but they also are being used by satan. Anything, a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, that doesn't line up with the Word of God that we say or do can and will be used by satan to cause division, strife, fear, hurt, destruction, shame, loathing, anger, and so on an so one, ultimately leading to death.

The good news is the Good News! We have the Word of God that we can turn to, stand on, and proclaim to help defeat the work of satan. We can pray and it has great power. James 5:16b tells us "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." ESV. We can speak against the enemy in the name of Jesus and the enemy will flee, it may take time but it will happen. (Acts 16:18)

Not sure how to close this. Someone asked what I did instead of attending formal church and I told her spend time with Jesus. This is what happens when I do. He speaks to me! :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Will Guard My Heart and Mind Even If It Offends or Upsets You!

Lately, I have felt God wanting me to open up and deepen friendships I have and develop new ones as well. I honestly have had some difficulties with friendships. I don't think I'm a bad friend, but I do know that at times I have let friends have more of the say in our relationship. Partly that is due to my personality. I am not a confrontational person so that has allowed people to take advantage of me at times. Because of that I am pretty guarded in my friendships and that isn't such a good thing if you want to make your friendships deeper.

So, lately God has brought some new friends into my life. I have truly enjoyed getting to know them. It makes me happy to know that He has helped me to get to the point in my life where I am free enough to make new friends. I have also loved having friendships deepen. Once again, it is nice to be at a point where I can open up more so my friendships can deepen.

This past week I spent a lot of time at a conference with one of my friends. I had a good time with her and I think we connected even more than before. It makes me feel happy to see this friendship grow. We have a significant age difference, but that doesn't seem to matter. I have been a Christian since I was nine and she has recently given her heart to God. We honestly don't have too much in common when I really think about it, but that doesn't seem to matter at all.

She asked me to join her book club recently. Honestly, I wasn't sure about it. I love to read, but I don't do much secular reading and I knew this club would be reading secular books. Even though I wasn't sure about it, I went ahead and did it. The first meeting went well, even though I didn't have time to read the book. It was nice hanging out with the group and talking, about the book and other things. Then came the time to pick a new book. Slowly people came up with suggestions and we got on our smart phones to find out about the books.

One of the books is something I would not read, well actually more than one, but I stated that it wasn't something I would read. It is a psychological thriller and I just don't do that genre in reading or viewing. I know that for me spiritually this is not a good choice for me.Unfortunately, that is the book they decided to read.

Well, I won't be reading that book nor any book that I feel is wrong for me or morally wrong. I truly believe that the Scripture that tells us that we are in the world but not of it makes it clear for me what to stay away from. Not to say I am perfect and always make decisions that aren't worldly. I wish that I did always make the right choice, but I am imperfect and that means I will make the wrong choices from time to time. Hopefully less often as I go along.

So I wasn't sure how to deal with this situation. I don't want to come across as judgemental or as a prude, but I have to do what I know is right according to His Word. So I clicked on my verse of the day and it is Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I think these verses make it very clear that I need to go to Him in prayer. He promises His peace, that surpasses understanding, and this verse also says that His peace will guard my heart and mind. That is key for me because I feel that exposing my heart and mind to certain things will damage them. That is something I am not willing to do.

Now, for my "preachy" moment. I truly as concerned about the road that I see too many women going down of late. I am truly concerned about how much women are delving into things that truly are not of God. That may be concerning to me, but when I see Christian women reading books about sexual relationships, attending parties with sex is the focus, and exposing themselves to evil I really grow deeply concerned. The one thing that woman of faith have been known for over the years is standing for what is right, according to His Word. Even though men have fallen prey to porn and affairs, women have, for the most part, stood strong. Over the last few years I see more and more Christian women delving into the same things men have been struggling with. The fact that women flock to a movie about male strippers disgusts me. A few years ago when there were some very popular movies with female strippers that men were flocking to. Women were appalled and marriages were even negatively affected by the men viewing of these movies. So I find it sad that women are now the ones going to such movies and defending their actions. I even recently heard someone claimed, when her husband objected that she wouldn't be happy if it was the other way around, that she wouldn't mind. Wow, not only are women falling prey to exposing themselves to quite frankly sin, they no longer care that their husbands do too. It literally breaks my heart and I don't know what to do about it. I guess I can go back to my verse and bring it to Him in prayer.

There preach over, and if I offended you, good! Maybe you need to examine why you are offended and see if it lines up with God or not.