Monday, June 30, 2014

There Is No Real Instant Miracle

Bare with me and read the whole post before you assume you know what I am stating!

Instant miracles. I believe in them and I don't. I believe in them because scripture has them recorded and I have known people who experienced them. But I do not believe they are truly instant miracles. Why not?

The woman who had a bleeding disorder for 12 years sought help from doctors for years.The Bible doesn't give a back story of those 12 years, except to mention the doctors who could not heal her. Being a woman I can imagine how truly awful this experience was for her. I can imagine her desperation as she hoped one of the doctors would finally be able to heal her. I can imagine the devastation each time he said he couldn't help her. Each day that passed brought her to all sorts of places in her heart and mind. She was unclean by law and she could have no husband. A Jewish woman was only of value based her marriage and the sons she had. This woman had no value in her world and she experienced the agony of her disease as well.

Luke 8:44 says her bleeding stopped immediately when she touched Jesus garment. There! There is the proof that there are instant miracles. But this woman was being prepared for 12 years to receive this miracle. She had already tried all the conventional ways to be healed. She longed for relief. She longed to be clean. She longed to be accepted by her culture. There is no way that over those 12 years her heart and mind didn't change. 

I wonder if she had been a proud woman at one time. Maybe she had been considered extremely beautiful. She had money to pay for the doctors so she may have come from a family of means, but she didn't have anymore money. Verse 43 says that she had spent it all on those doctors. She could not possibly be the same woman she was before her bleeding had begun. Now, she was ready. Now she was at a place in her life where she hid herself, low to the ground so she could touch the hem of Jesus' garment. 

He didn't see her. The disciples mention the throng of people and wondered how He could say "someone touched me". Verse 47 states that she realized that she was not hid so she came out trembling and fell before Him. She told Him why she touched Him and that she was healed immediately. He responds that her faith has made her whole. 

Faith isn't instant. Faith develops over time. Faith is made from experience. If Jesus had come through her town when she was a month or two into her infliction she have ignored Him and kept visiting her doctor. She would have not been ready to received her healing from Him. She wouldn't have been desperate enough. 12 years in thought she was desperate. Doctors failed her. He money was gone. She was afraid, alone, and had come to a place where she believed the only answer was was Jesus. At the moment she got to that point she was willing to humble herself, get down on the ground, reach out from hiding, and touch His garment. 

Her immediate healing took her 12 years to get to. 

We are all in a process. No matter what our issue, our wound, our despair is we have to get to the point of being ready to receive that instant miracle. It looks different for each of us. It may be shorter for some and excruciatingly long for others. Her 12 years look like a drop in the bucket for the man who had been blind since birth that was healed. We don't know how old he was but he probably wasn't anywhere near the age of Abraham when he finally saw the miracle of Issac's birth. 

Is very easy for me to say, "why isn't he better yet? Why isn't she over it yet? Why is he not healed yet? Why hasn't her faith made her whole? Why am I still waiting to see the promise of the Lord in my life?" It is just as easy for others to do the same. But none of us knows the moment that we will have finally gotten the right measure of faith to receive our instant miracle. 

I have learned over the last year, in particular, that I need to shut my mouth. I need to stop wondering and critiquing others' journeys. I believe that some of my experiences over these last eleven months, or so, have been to show me that I need to not judge anyone's journey to that level of faith that brings with it Jesus' words, "daughter (or son), be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." and instant healing. I don't know what God still needs to do in them to get them to that place. Frankly, I don't know what He still needs to do to me to get me to that place. But as my faith grows, I know that I will get there and that others will too.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


This is a hard post to even consider writing. It is too revealing and too raw. It makes me feel "whiny" or "self-centered". Yet this blog and my journey is to be more real, more transparent. There are so many reasons why I internalize my pain, fears, feelings. Some are because of being introverted.  Most are from long ago hurts and pains and not getting what I needed. I hear my voice repeating in my head so many times, "just get through this and you can go home and cry." Everything in me says, "don't let it show. Don't let them see. Be the good one. Be the one who seems to have it all together. Be quiet. Don't annoy people with always having a problem." Satan wants me to be quiet. He wants me to continue to suffer alone and silent. He wants me to feel insignificant. He knows that if I truly see how significant I am, to God to others, then he's lost. So even though I want to continue to just cry it out by myself, I heard this Voice say, "others need to know the struggle. They need to know that they are not alone." That is the reason for this post.

Yesterday was my birthday. It was up there on the list of one of the worst birthdays ever! I had a few wonderful hours that I spent with two friends that made this whole of sunshine brighten a part of it. The rest was awful! I said it was my 23rd birthday, but in all honesty I don't mind the fact that I just turned 42. My skin of a 14 year-old helps me not look 42. I have been blessed with good genes that make me look much younger than I am. But at the same time being 42 makes me sad.

42 birthdays. Up until my very early 20's those birthdays involved family and friends. But the rest have been lonely. I have spent too many birthdays alone. No family around or no friends. A few years ago I decided that I would make my own birthday tradition. I started inviting people to go to a movie and dinner or lunch with me. The first year there were three of us for the movie and four of us for dinner. Last year the group grew to eight or nine people. Last year, I thought "I can do this! This isn't so bad." This year was completely different.

This year I hated the fact that the only way my birthday would be celebrated was if I made it happen. I have attended surprise parties for friends' birthdays. They were planned out by husbands or siblings or friends. I have been part of celebrations that were planned with everyone's knowledge. Once I've seen what it's like to have others plan something for someone whether in surprise or together, I started to realize how much I wanted that too. But that didn't happen. I had to plan my own birthday celebration once again.

Already feeling like I was all alone in my journey, I then got hit with rejection after rejection. Please know that I know other things were already planned. I understand that not everyone can change their life to revolve around me. This is the part that makes me feel whiny! I asked a fairly large number of friends and acquaintances to come. I got a quick "yes" and was feeling good. I was thinking, "maybe a good group will form for this." That "yes" was followed by more "nos" than I don't even want to count. I expected "nos". I just didn't expect so many. I got one more "yes" and then silence. Honestly, the silent answer of "no" hurt the worse. With each "no" a voice spoke that said things like "don't you wish you had a family to go to ___ with?" or "must have been nice that someone throw them a surprised party, huh?" or "you are so not important enough for them."

I was up in the early hours of my birthday sobbing. I cried up until I left to meet my two friends for a burst of sunshine in my day. The movie was very good. Lunch and just talking was enjoyable and pleasant. It was nice just being the three of us. It made it more intimate. But the clouds of my heart rolled back in as I came home, alone. The sheer weight of feeling like I don't matter filled me again. I cried a whole lot more. I checked Facebook to see my birthday wishes, and am truly thankful that I received the ones I did. But there were few, and most were from family. Of course, not everyone of my FB friends are on everyday, so I don't expect a "happy birthday" to fill my news-feed. It was just one more way that the pressure of insignificance could push down on me. I simply closed my laptop.

I wish I could say that I prayed and it was all better. I wish I could say I opened up my Bible and read words that soothed my ache away. I did pray and I did read, but the hurt still clung. I did hear God's voice. I did hear him tell me to "fix my eyes on Him." That helped me to fall asleep last night, looking to Him for the peace that I needed to do so. I woke this morning and wanted to just put it all behind me. I just be quiet and not let anyone know how awful my birthday was. It was hard not to be reminded that it should have been great by the comments made in texts and on FB, but it wasn't. Then I hear that Voice I mentioned before. The one that said that I needed to write this post. The Voice that I would have liked to ignore and just try to coast through the day. I didn't even bother to fight. I knew that He was right and I needed to share.

Besides the obvious of keeping my eyes on Him and not my problems, I don't have any easy, pat answers on how not to feel this heavy weight of insignificance. I wish I could say, "do this 3 things and you will never feel insignificant again." (Say that aloud in a cheesy infomercial voice.) God could have spoken into heart and told me I am significant to Him. I know in my head that I am, now to get to the heart. But instead He choose to let me go through the deep waters of feeling it, with Him right there with me, so that today I would write this post about it. I don't know who needed to hear, "you are not alone" but someone did.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Slow Healer

My Mom was telling me about her surgery and that the doctor told her she couldn't swim until the incision healed completely. She replied with, "I'm a slow healer."

I get that. Physically I am a slow healer as well, but more so internally. Once I have been hurt by someone, whether intentionally or unintentionally, I slowly heal from the pain, but even more slowly do I heal enough to let them back in. I'm certainly not saying that is a good thing. Some hurts take a short time to heal. They weren't all that bad, probably unintentional, and therefor easier to heal quickly. Others take years to heal. They are deep wounds. They may have been unintentionally but their impact was significant enough to cause extensive damage.

Then there are the intentional wounds. The ones that someone did out of anger, malice, cowardliness, or just plain selfishness. Naturally a wound like that, done purposely, makes me want nothing to do with the person. Some of these relationships ended because there was no really relationship to begin with. Some continued for awhile until I realized that they weren't ever going to be good. I was going to keep taking less than best, sometimes taking worst, and the other person was going to keep on dishing it out. Some relationships are so entwined, that they are still present, but at a very strained level. A family relationship would be an example. I know some people do cut family ties completely, but I'm not sure I could do that.

What does being a slow healer mean? For me, it means slowly trusting again. It means not opening up to that person for awhile, if ever. It means being a fast learner. Don't do A again because it results in B from this person. It means not taking risks. It means not trusting. It means not opening up, but rather closing off. It means strained relationships. It means not living a life of freedom.

Slow healing from an incision means not being able to swim until it heals. Not being able to do something that you enjoy, a normal activity of life. Because of slow internal healing I miss out on everyday activities that I should be enjoying. I lose out on being free in relationships. I keep things, like yucky feelings, inside instead of releasing them and getting rid of them.

Like I said, this is not a good thing. Being a slow healer means something doesn't function correctly. The healing process is being slowed by something. I believe I know, at least in part, what has slowed my healing. I am sure that my Mom wishes that she was a fast healer, at least a normal healer, so she could go back to enjoying her pool. She might not be able to become a fast physical healer. I can however become a normal internal healer. Number one, I need to allow God to heal what made me a slow healer. Number two, I need to be intentional. I need to intentionally focus on not exercising in slow healer behaviors. Both of these can only be accomplished through the work of God.

That is what I want. That is what I have been working on. Or maybe I should rephrase that as that is what I am allowing God to work on. Hopefully this deep spiritual, emotional healing will be quick so that the next time hurt comes I can function as a normal healer.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

This Chunk Needs to Go!

Do you know how it feels when a chunk of your heart is being chipped away at? It hurts! That's how it feels. Right now I feel like there is this huge, ugly chunk on my heart that needs to be chipped away, is being chipped away. It feels awful, it hurts, and I want it gone.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as just wanting it gone. It seems like it would be. It would seem like having an ugly growth on your heart would be reason enough for wanting it gone. It would seem like the pain it causes would be a very compelling reason to want it to drop off of me. The problem is this chunk is directly related to someone hurting my feelings.

This chunk developed over time. At first it just felt like sadness with the way someone was acting towards me. I know that person was acting out of personal issues and not because of me per se. Knowing that doesn't change the fact that it hurt. Eventually I started to withdraw from contact with this person. I was tired of trying to interact and keep being pushed away. It hurt too much. The chunk started to grow. I withdrew and the other person didn't even seem to notice. That hurt. The chunk grew even bigger. That made me angry and, frankly, bitter. The chunk was getting bigger with each passing day.

Today I realized that the chunk is too big for me. It hurts too much. I mean it really hurts! I am tired of feeling this hurt. I am tired of feeling angry and bitter. I am tired of this chunk. I want it gone, so I came to my blog. Why? Because I knew if wrote about it then I would have to be accountable to myself and to anyone who reads this blog. I would be accountable to let it go and in turn the chunk will finally be chipped away. Honestly, I can already feel the difference.

I choose to forgive. I choose to let it go. I choose to change. I choose to let the chunk fall away. I choose to let God be God.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Understanding Hannah's Heart

I love the story of Hannah. I believe that I understand her. I feel the ache of her heart, the desire of her heart, as her story unfolds. It is a short story, well her part anyway, but a very important one. She longed for a son and the son she has ends up having anoints David king of Israel.

Her story begins with a bit of background on why she is grieving. She has a husband and he has another wife. This other wife has children, both sons and daughters. She is not a very nice woman, at least not towards Hannah. She ridicules Hannah because of her lack. Hannah felt all alone. She lived with a nasty other wife and her many children. Her husband even says to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?" He so doesn't get it!

The family travels each year to Shiloh where they make sacrifices to the Lord. Hannah is grieving and goes to the temple to pray. She cries and pours out her heart to the Lord. But she is silent. I understand that. I think that many people overlook that part of the story. Of course, it plays into the part with Eli that is upcoming, but I think it is ignored by many. She has no one to talk to. She lives out her pain in silence. This doesn't change when she goes into the temple to cry out her heart to God. Her silence is misunderstood.

Eli sees her crying and jumps to a conclusion. He sees a woman crying bitterly and mouthing words and assumes that she is drunk. He condemns her and tells her to stop drinking. He didn't ask Hannah any questions. He didn't try to find out what she is upset about. He just jumps to a conclusion and assumes that she has come into the temple drunk.

Hannah tells him that she isn't drunk. She tells him that she hasn't had any strong drink, but rather she is pouring out her troubled heart to the Lord. He then tells her to go in peace and may the Lord grant her petition.

Hannah ends up having a son, Samuel, as I mentioned, the one who anoints King David of Israel.

I know Hannah's desire of her heart. I completely understand it! I also understand that she feels alone. No one seems to understand her. Her own husband doesn't get her longing. His other wife treats her with disdain. She is silent. No one understands her, so she has no reason to talk about it. The only one who truly understand her heart is the Lord. She pours out her heart to Him, but she doesn't even use words. At least not in the temple. She may cry out to Him with words other places, alone, but not in front of others.

When others are around I am silent. So many have no idea, they can't comprehend what I feel, how I long for my heart's desire. They don't get it! Since they don't I just keep it to myself. I think some are tired of hearing about it.I wonder if Hannah's husband was tired of her crying and not eating over it. I wonder if she ever was caught with tears on her cheeks by the other wife. I wonder if she told her to just get over, to just accept it, to just stop it. Thankfully no one ridicules me because of it. I don't have a spouse so no one who can't understand why I'm not just happy with just having him.

That is part of the problem right there, the no husband part. Someone told me that a friend of ours just assumed I was strong and didn't want one. Wrong on both accounts. I feel no strength and I do want a husband, my husband. People can understand when a married woman can't have children and wants them. They however don't understand that I long for one just as much as a single woman as a married woman would. It is acceptable for her to long and cry and want. It just doesn't seem acceptable for me to have those same longing. I have been told I have chosen this. I have chosen no husband, no children. Well, it's true I haven't chosen to just marry any guy who walks on by, but I would chose to be married now if God had brought him into my life. That's like telling Hannah she chose to not have children, when the truth was that God had not planned for her to have any before Samuel. She needed to be willing to turn him back over to God, to serve God, so he would be prepared to become the prophet Samuel.

Interesting thought just popped in my head. Do I need to be prepared to give my husband back to God? My child? Is that why I don't have them in my life? Am I still being prepared? I don't know. But sometimes I wish an Eli would walk into my life and say, "go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him." And that God will!

Rambling, long post that  originally was going to be about Eli. I have that idea stirring in me still, but knew this was to take a different path as I began to type. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Exodus 14:14

For quite awhile now this verse keeps making it's way into my life.

"The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still."  Exodus 14:14

It does seem to be a necessary reminder too. Each day passes and a situation in my life brings me more, um I don't know what, the right word isn't coming to me. What I do know is almost every time I think about it all I want to do is cry. I do know that one thing I can't do is anything. That is pretty encompassing! I can't do anything because God keeps bringing this verse to my attention.

I can't say anything. I can't do anything. I just have to breathe and be still.

That doesn't mean that it is easy though. It means surrendering. It means surrendering the hurt it brings me. It means surrendering the words I would like to say. It means surrendering my will.

The verse before this one resonates with me as I type this, "...Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today..." Exodus 14:13. It isn't just about being still. It is one of those fabulous "fear not" verses. I don't think God keeps saying that over and over again if He didn't know we needed to hear it. I know I need to hear it. This particular situation has me scared. I fear that things will not work out. I do have a good reason for thinking it is possible, past experience.

God knows all of that. That is why He continues to tell me "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today...the Lord will fight for you, you need only be still."

My choice is to continue to follow His Word and know He is fighting for me. I know that I will see the salvation He is working on for me today.