Friday, April 30, 2010

The price we pay

Old habits die HARD. Wouldn’t it be great, if it only took assaulting them once, and then they were gone for good? However, I fear that if this were the case we would quickly pick up a new unhealthy habit?!?! So maybe it is best that they die hard, but it sure isn’t a pleasant process.

In the battle against old habits and patterns, one of the greatest weapons we have is weighing the cost. What is the price we pay? Yes, avoiding a situation may temporarily keep the peace, but in the end, we have just delayed the inevitable, and the longer we delay, often the worse things get. Yes, allowing others to fill our cup emotionally may seem like an easy solution at the time, but what will we do long-term when we wear them out, and we feel empty again…and again…and again. Really, we can weigh the cost of any unhealthy pattern we have, and often the price we pay to maintain those behaviors is much higher than what we would lose if we let them go.

But…I fear many of us are already aware that the price we pay is much too high, but yet we continue to hang on. Why? Maybe because it is comfortable, maybe because we don’t know how to function any other way, maybe because letting it go seems unbearable, bottom line, we are afraid. So many reasons…so difficult…yes old habits die hard. But they do die, if we starve them.

The longer we feed the monster, the bigger it gets, and the more areas of our life it invades. We have to STOP feeding it. But seriously…starvation seems like the worst most torturous way to go…but it must be done…lest we continue to run up a bill.

This post is a little different from the ones I have done before. This time I am asking for a response, and in case you didn’t know, you can respond anonymously. If you feel led, please post what it is that you are battling, for two reasons. One, because it helps others to know that they are not alone, two, because I want to pray for you, and I would love it if we could pray for each other. It is never a good idea to go into battle alone, especially against such powerful forces. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, and it is a difficult one to fight, but with God on our side, he can show us how to change our patterns, to break down the walls that surround us. They may be familiar walls, decorated just the way we like them, but the funny thing about walls is...that although they protect us from being seen by others...they also keep us from being loved by others. Let’s ask God to tear down the walls dear one. We have been shut in to long. It’s time for some sunshine.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

STOP IT ALREADY with the "yes, but..."

Boy did I receive a word this morning. I was listening to Beth Moore’s how to be a wise wife, and oh my gosh, I tell you she wrote that message just for me I think! And it has just been setting with me and running through my head ever since, so I thought I would share one quick thing God is teaching me based off of things I have heard in the past few days.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no. How many of you are a fan of the “yes, but….”. Yes Lord, I want to do your will, but… Yes Lord, I trust you, but… Yes Lord, I hear what you are telling me, but… Oh, my sister, lately I have been way to big a fan of the yes but. If they had a yes but fan button on facebook, I think I would totally click it! However, what are we really saying when we use the yes but? What we are really saying is no. What we are really saying is, God I hear you, but I think I will go ahead and try things my way first. God I trust you, but not with this, I need to handle this on my own. STOP IT! I have to STOP IT! No more using the yes but for me! I either do or I don’t!

Well, that was quick, but it was just so heavy on my heart that I had to share! Off to church now, and some more conviction I am sure, LOL! But what do you expect when you ask for growth? LOL!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Despondent or Desperate

Do you ever just get tired of fighting for something? I do. Sometimes I think, yea, I think I will just give up. It seems it would be easier that way, rather than continue to fight. Truth be told, sometimes giving up is our only option because we truly don’t have the physical or emotional strength left to continue the battle.

There is a word for this, giving up and not caring, a friend of mine called it despondent. We can choose to be despondent about so many things: I am never going to be happy again, so I just give up. My marriage will never be any better, I am done. My kids are never going to listen, I’m just not even going to try any more.
Despondency. It can lead us to hand over our marriage, our happiness, our children, our hopes, our dreams, even our life right over to Satan. It’s a hopeless feeling that leads us to just hand him the deed to the things we love the most.

I don’t believe that we do this intentionally by any means! We just get so tired and exhausted and overwhelmed that we just can’t fight any more! But…THERE IS GOOD NEWS!!!! There is another way!!!

When we are tired and exhausted and can’t battle it any more, we have this offer straight from our savior.

Matthew 11: 28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

When I read this last night, it was like a light bulb went off in my head! Just because I am tired, and don’t have the strength to fight any more, does not by any means mean that I have to become despondent. Rather than handing over whatever it is to Satan, like here ya go Satan, take my marriage and rip it to shreds, I can lay it at the feet of the Savior instead. I can say, “God I am tired of fighting, I don’t know what to do, but you say that you will give me rest. Rest for my soul. I hand “it” over to you, trusting you, because I know that what you say is true.” Rather than giving up and saying “I don’t care anymore”, I give up and say “I know I can’t do it anymore, but you can. I will continue to have hope because I place my hope in you, knowing you can do infinitely more than I can ask or imagine.”

What freedom that is! It is okay that we get tired and exhausted sometimes, because really, there are just some battles that we weren’t meant to fight on our own. Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” We are foolish to believe that a battle as such can be fought by our strength alone. And if we try, we will inevitably lose strength, but when we hand the battle over to Christ, the spirit groans for us!

Despondency you can leave, I don’t need you anymore. Desperate, hello, I’m longing for you Jesus.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I didn't wanna fall, but I don't have to crawl

I am a very passionate person. Sometimes I think I feel emotions on a whole different level. I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed and prayed for God to take some very deep and passionate feelings of sorrow and depression away. And for the most part, he has. He really has provided for some awesome deep and powerful healing from depression. Not that I am fully healed by any means, I think that this is probably an issue I will battle with on and off throughout my life. However, I kind of thought that as he provided healing from depression, somehow the intensity with which I experience emotions would also change. Not so. And thankfully, he knows what I need more than I do, and he does not answer all of our requests with a yes!

He knows that I need to feel emotions with an intense passion, or I would get insanely bored. If I didn’t feel so deeply, I would not be able to write, and writing is something I love. If I did not identify so intensely with others, and empathize so deeply, I sure wouldn’t be a very good counselor! And my favorite part of being a highly emotional person is that although I may feel negative feelings very powerfully, I also experience positive emotions with great joy and passion, something I wouldn’t give up for the world!

I have had myself so wound up for years, trying to hold the intensity of my emotions in!!! They just wanted to pop out of my skin, but I wanted to be perfect, so I would stifle. And I stifled for as long as I could, but you can only stuff so much down before it starts to bubble over! And bubble over it did, and as much pain as was let out, oh my goodness it was freeing.

You know, God never makes mistakes. He brought me to the point where I finally realized, I can be passionate as he made me, or I can try and try and try to be “perfect”. As exhausting as passion can be, it is far more exhausting to try to be perfect. And now that I have realized what a gift my emotional intensity is, I can start to embrace it, and use it as a gift!

God has gifted every single one of us in our own unique ways. But dear sister, you must be on the lookout, because Satan will try and try to stifle whatever that gift may be. You may even see the very thing he has gifted you with as a burden. What Satan intends for harm, God can and will use for good. In every trial and every struggle that we endure, we have a choice to make. We didn’t want to fall, but we don’t have to crawl. The very stumbling block we tripped over can the same block that lifts us closer to Him.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Is it really all about the journey? Really?

I have heard it time and time again, life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. I know that is true, but sometimes you just want to arrive! Especially when the journey is rocky and scary and twisty and crazy! And for those of us who tend to be a bit on the perfectionistic side, the process of journeying can be excruciating! We want to get there already!

I named this blog journey of healing on purpose, mostly to remind myself and others that healing is in fact a journey. And the reality is that, we will never arrive at the destination until we are made whole in heaven. So what do we do?
The way I see it we have 2 options.

1. We can continue to be discontented and frustrated that we have yet to arrive at the point we wish to be. As women, we may desire things such as: our body to look like the supermodel on the magazine, our career to reach the level of the woman down the hall that we idolize, our spiritual life to be constantly fulfilling and thriving the way our neighbors seems to be, our writing to emulate Beth Moore, our family to be anything but dysfunctional, our children to act like they weren’t raised in a barn when we go out in public, etc, etc, etc. We tend to want so many things! And reality is that some of these wants are healthy, and some are not, but the problem is not setting goals for ourselves. After all, it is good and healthy to have something to strive for. The problem is when we set goals that are completely unreasonable, goals that are difficult to attain without some severe sacrifices of things that are important, and we begin to spend our life striving after something we were never meant to be or have. If we are not careful we will find ourselves striving day after day to reach a certain point, and we live in a constant state of discontent, not only making our own selves miserable, but adding stress to the lives of those around us.

2. We can choose to enjoy the journey. We can choose to trust that what the bible says is the truth, that his power is made perfect in our weaknesses and that he is not finished with us yet. We can choose to trust that God will make us into exactly what he wants us to be, not on our timeline, but on his.

Please notice I used the word “choose” in option number 2, because this is not always something that comes naturally! If you are like me you tend to run full speed ahead, never stopping to enjoy anything, eyes focused on whatever the prize seems to be at the time, and knocking anyone down who gets in the way! The problem for me is that my eyes aren’t focused on the right prize! Because if they were, I wouldn’t be knocking others down, I would be building them up. If my eyes were on the right prize, I would be faithful, realizing that sometimes stopping to slow down and learn a thing or two is exactly what I need to be doing. But all too often my eyes get focused on something completely different, and I trip and fall face first in the mud puddle pit of despair. I make the same mistakes….again…AGAIN!!! So I must stop and choose to learn what God has to teach me. I must choose to enjoy the journey, lest I miss out on all God has planned for me! I must choose to trust! He never ever intended for us to be miserable, but to find true joy and fulfillment and happiness in him. I am on my journey, I veer off here and there, and God has to reel me back in, but I am on my journey, and I’m going to soak me up wisdom along the way, even if it takes God throwing brick walls in front of my face every couple of weeks to slow me down!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Its amazing what Jesus can do with a little spit and a little dirt

I recently completed a Beth Moore study, and I must confess that I have felt a bit of a spirit of fear creep in. A little bit of worry that without that bible study to keep me grounded, I may quickly return to some areas of bondage. In my quite times, there has been just an eency bit too much quite, if you know what I mean. I am reading, I am praying, I am studying, and if I can quite my mind for long enough, I am listening, but I don’t seem to be hearing much. In fact, I have been feeling a little lost, and little blind, and little off course, and not knowing quite where to go or what to do.

This afternoon God brought to my mind the story told in John 9. This is the story where Jesus makes a paste out of spit and mud, and restores a blind man’s sight. I always thought this story was pretty cool, but never really thought about it until today. What is fascinating is that the blind man had no idea who Jesus was at the time of his healing. Can you imagine? Some strange man comes at you, spits in the dirt, plays in the mud, then slathers it on your eyes, and asks you to go wash it off, and tells you that you will be able to see.

Given that I know and believe that Jesus is the son of God, I would totally let him slather some mud on my eyeballs, but this man, he had no idea. He didn’t know Jesus from the man down the street. But being desperate for some healing, he had a willing heart that was open to new possibilities, and was willing to give it a try. And it worked! The man who had been blind from birth could see!

What a luxury we have, in that we are given the bible, given the very word of God, and invited to believe. We have the knowledge and the answers laid out before us in the Bible. All we need do is ask for him to come into our hearts, and he is ever so willing to rub some mud on our blinded-hurting-broken places, rinse them off with his shed blood on the cross, wash us crystal clean, and restore our sight again.
Near the end of the story, Jesus comes to the man, and asks him if he believes in the son of man. The man asks Jesus to point him out to him, not realizing that he is talking to the son of man himself. Jesus gently replies that he is looking right at him. The man then states that he believes and worships Jesus. When I was reading commentary on this, one statement hit me like a ton of bricks. Here it is. “Belief is not merely an intellectual assent to a proposition, but an attachment of trust to an individual as the one who comes from God.”

I am intellectual by nature, there is just something about me that has a hard time moving things from my head to my heart. But belief is so very much more than making an intellectual statement that, yes he is indeed the son of God. Belief is trusting him, attaching ourselves to him, because he is the ONE WHO COMES FROM GOD! It is looking at the one who healed us, who took our poor little blind souls and gave us sight, and not only saying “I believe” but falling to the ground and worshiping. Trusting him with all our heart, all our souls, and all our minds, because without his healing touch every single one of us live blind. He is the lover of your soul dear sister, even before you knew who he was, he loved you. Long before you trusted him, he was making the mud that would eventually provide for your sight, and preparing the waters that would wash you clean. Oh how he loves you dear one, wrap yourself up in his arms, attach yourself to him, trust him (for he did not give you a spirit of fear) and hang on for the ride. What amazing sights we will see.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Heres to all the Autism Mama's out there, you are amazing!!!!

Well, I usually don’t blog about autism, mainly just because there are already so many amazingly talented and gifted moms out there writing about autism (yes you are one of them Stephanie Bass if you read this ). But today, autism mommas were on my mind.
I just want you all to know how very very beautiful each and every one of you are. Your patience is tested daily, undoubtedly, but yet you endure. Your children have good days and bad days, and yet you never lose hope. You drive round and round in circles for treatments and therapy on a daily basis, yet you never complain. You write check after check for those very treatments and therapies, yet you don’t seem to mind. You research tirelessly on the internet, hoping to find something that will help your child with that one obstacle he or she just can’t seem to overcome right now, and your determination shows. You never give up, you never quite fighting; you keep hanging in there, for the good days and the bad days. The great days at school, and the days that your child licks playground equipment and eats dirt, LOL. The days that your child may try to flush his shirt down the toilet, yet you laugh, and say, he has always had a thing for toilets. LOL.
So…please know that God amazing plans for you, and your family, and your dearest children. He knows exactly what he is doing. I know there are days where we wonder what life might have been like, had we been given a “normal” child. And I’m sure just about every single one of us has laid out on the floor, and screamed out why?!?!?!(Okay, or maybe that’s just me, LOL). But then we get up, and that perfectly made little one looks at us and does something that makes our heart melt, and we know the answer to the why?
God made each and every one of us in his image, and autism is just a word with a set of behaviors that some person made up. We use the word because it gets help for our children, and certainly helps us explain why our child is rolling around on the floor at Wal-Mart at age 7! But ultimately, it is just a word. But, our child, our child is so much more than a word; they are so much more than autistic. And they are so much more in part because of all that you do for them, mammas, so keep on trucking! You are amazing, and you perform feats of physical and emotional strength every day that no other person could possibly understand, and I love you all! So dearly, I love you all, and far more than I could ever love you, God LOVES YOU ALL SOOOOOOOOOOOO VERY MUCH!!!!! Have an amazing week and be blessed!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

When your heart gets a carpet burn

James 1:2-4 (The Message) …under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Running, running, running! My little Lauren is always running! And she is fast, and so very very cute! But…the other day when I picked her up from school she ran to me across the carpeted gym at school and fell down! And boy did she ever get a carpet burn on her knee. Oweeeeeee!!!!

You know, my mother always told me that I have been in a hurry all of my life. Always wanting to get to the next thing, and unfortunately, always trying to prove myself more and more and more. So the fact that my daughter likes to run is no surprise to me, I like to run too, just in a different way. I like to run away from my circumstances as fast as possible, dig a hole, and bury my head in the sand. I think I must be part ostrich.

Well God broke me of that, but I quickly resorted to option number two, if I can’t run away, I better run to everyone else for help!!! Right?!?! After all if I can’t run away from my problems, I certainly can’t deal with them on my own, so I better ask for help. The only problem is, I ran to people and I wanted them to “fix” things for me, and I end up emotionally exhausting them, sucking them dry!!!

Well then…if running away doesn’t work…and running to others doesn’t work, well then, it seems there is just one option left. Run to God. I wonder why it is that our hearts can be so stubborn that we would rather exhaust ourselves and others before we are willing to run the straight shot sprint to the Savior.

Perhaps it is because we know he is going to force open our faith-life, and we are scared to death of the colors that will emerge! When we are exposed, we are vulnerable. Vulnerability can be a scary place to be! For many of us, being vulnerable has always meant getting hurt-but not with God. He has a strange way of tenderly working, gently convicting, and lovingly correcting that would be excrutiatingly painful if done by another human being, but strangely, it feels like love when it comes from him.

If we are willing to admit that hiding ourselves from him doesn’t work, and willing to admit that others cannot fix us, we might just find some healing. The only requirement being, we are willing to expose the wound. Oftentimes, we are like my little Lauren, who won’t let me clean the carpet burn when she falls down. I just want to put on the Neosporin and the band-aid, but she covers it up, cause it might hurt if you touch it! And the truth is, it does hurt sometimes! But, if you leave that little booboo filled with germs and don’t treat the wound, it will get infected and pussy and grow to be a big nasty booboo.

When you are under pressure, and life hurts a little too much, let him treat the booboo. Let him clean the wound. Pretending it doesn’t hurt won’t work, cause the hurt will just get worse. There is no one who can heal a wound like God can heal a wound. There is no healer on this earth who has the divine power to reshape, reform, renew, and refresh like he can. He can do something that is truly divine. He can take a carpet burned and wounded heart, and make it something much more beautiful than it would have ever been if it was never wounded in the first place. Let him do the work that only he can do.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What do we do when we don’t know what to do?

God, I need some direction here! Silence. God, I don’t understand, I need some answers! Silence. God, I’m dying here, I don’t know what to do! Silence. Where are you? Silence.

My heart is not upright. I am battling some strongholds, and Satan is fighting hard to keep me bound up in them. I don’t know which direction to look, I don’t know what to pray for, I don’t know where to begin, my head is just spinning, and for the first time I feel like I have no discernment and can’t figure out right from left and up from down.

I don’t understand. I don’t know what to do. But I do know a verse that God seems to beat into my brain repeatedly. “He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” Romans 4:20-21

Despite our lack of direction, or lack of answers, we can choose not to waver in unbelief. We can choose to know that he is listening, even when the silence is deafening, we can choose to believe what we know to be true. I know it to be true that when God provides silence, it is time to be still and know that he is God, and get out of the way. He speaks to me as I am writing this at this very moment, and I hope he may also speak to you – be still my dear, there is nothing you can do right now, it is all in my hands, trust me for the outcome, you can’t fix it, so let me, there are some things you cannot fix, some things you cannot change, you cannot change another person’s heart, you can’t even change your own, so be still, let me work in you, and let me work in others, let me do the work that needs to be done, step down, step out of the way, the way for you to be obedient right now is to be still and trust me, and yes I am still holding you.