be careful what you pray for-

i have been trying to type this blog for 2-3 dys. most of it has been written all over my house, from scrap pieces of paper to sending myself texts to voice notes. one would think i was writing for something important. who knows maybe i am, but i know that even as i type this, i have zero idea how God will put the words together to make any sense. i am completely undone these past few weeks & i will try to sit down long enough to explain why. i truly hope as you the reader reads it, you understand what i am trying to say, even if i wander. i am a crazy mess of me right now, with a heart that is being renewed & on fire at the same time.

i know some people believe in karma & coincidence, even luck. i do not. i believe & have always believed in God & His divine appointments & intervention, but i just didn’t quite GET what i said i GOT. let me try to explain this to the best of my ability, i could self labeled my former me, a christian non believer, throughout my entire life. i wasn’t sure what i felt, what i knew, i was too lazy to be still, i prayed to God when i needed something really badly or if i totally had screwed up, i liked church on the holidays, i had felt Gods presence a few times, he’d done supernatural things in my life, but still kept myself at a distance. i couldn’t explain my faith. i had it, but didn’t know what it was….i mean, i couldn’t even explain the feeling or emotion, period. i guess i just thought faith was “in there”. i had no view on creationism or opinion, i lived in a ridiculous bubble where i was right, but so was God & there was NO way those 2 things could balance (that would be self talk with a dash of satan)  i pretty much lived a life that close (insert pinched finger visual) to figuring it out. and i mean figuring it out for me, not the world. however, every time i was that close, one of 2 things would happen, i would have something super awesome occur or something super devastating would occur. both events would either have me so high on life or so low on life, that my eyes would be on the “thing” & never on the core of myself, which obviously needed to be centered on the word. i got distracted in the very moments i was about to out the pieces of the puzzle together. i lived many yrs on the roller coaster of highs & lows and i was satisfied with that. if something felt like it was missing, there was nothing a new purse, a trip to maui, a $200 dinner wouldn’t cure. even though i did good things for the needy my entire life, i did good things for my son, i did good things here & good things there, i knew deep down there was no “good” scale. you can’t measure it. God says there’s one way to heaven, through His son. i mean FULL ACCEPTANCE, not the half way kind & well, i believed that, but i wasn’t sure why i believed that, especially when this Jesus wasn’t 1st in my life. 

old me was also kind of a band wagon Jesus encourager. i made excuses for Jesus, i defended Jesus, i wanted to smack people for talking smack about Jesus…..but why? and heaven? i mean HEAVEN, where is that? do i believe that? is that maybe over exaggerated? i believe, but i kind of didn’t believe, & i felt i had nowhere to turn for answers because everyone was so pissed off or one sided or hypocritical or confused or misled or uneducated, that not only could i NOT ask a christian, i couldn’t even ask an atheist, i was wondering how anyone believed anything they say they believed/didn’t believe. all the while i never assumed i could just sit down alone somewhere & well, ask HIM. it usually takes a “moment” maybe a split second to see Him or feel Him, but the key is to grab the moment & identify it, then ask for more. however, something so simple & life changing, always got looked past because i over complicated Him.

nothing will rock your core self like having kids, especially if or when you start to recognize the magnitude of awesome involved in just giving birth. i mean this has to occur from a creator by design. most people who stare into the face of their offspring, right after birth, around midnight, with the beam of a nightlight shining on their face, it hits you, “crap, i have to not mess this up. this is a big deal. this is MY kid. seriously. how in the h**l am i going to raise this, i am a mess.” then if you’ve had any center of God in your life, you may say or you may think, God please help me. please protect this baby. please don’t let a murderer come kill this child- and for a second you have some faith & some belief in this “God”. but you’re not sure how to pull Him into your life without being a part of the “christian hate club” (anybody feel me?) you think prayer has to be some scripted, well worded speech, with proper old english wording. where do we get these ideas? you think every church is full of either a. hypocrites or b. those who were born on the alter & could never understand YOUR stained soul. so you stay away, but something always draws you back.
for me growing up, God seemed like a character from a book, Jesus too. how on earth can you be relational & love & throw your hands up in the air & live for the one true God? i mean you can’t even see Him. plus they say he hates gay people, addicts, drunks, whores, bad decision makers, food addicts, prescription pill addicts, democrats, people who say ass instead of butt & stuff, people who like led zeppelin, people who smoke, people who watch harry potter, people who like rap music, people who have had abortions…..etc & since i either love people exactly like this list or i have been some of these things on this list, there is no way this will EVER make sense & NO WAY anyone will EVER believe i have been redeemed, because i don’t think at this point i can be………. i can almost hear God howl in laughter saying “buckle up child, you have no clue what you’re about to ask & how i am going to blow your hair clean off your head & face melt you” & with that assumption that God couldn’t handle me, i tested him yrs ago. i asked, almost demanded, SHOW UP! ” you’ve been messing with me my entire life, what do you want? is this what being “called” means? why are you always in the shadows, always convicting me & always lurking around? so tell me! poof on down here & with a thunderous whatever, show me you & i mean you. not in the form of a red bird or a leaf blowing up or the night sky hanging the moon just so, but a clear you. give me the supernatural stuff. (but please don’t scare me because i hate ghosts” ) then, ooooooh lawd. be careful what you pray for brothers & sisters.
showing up & showing out & ripping down & repairing & healing & tearing apart & restructuring &  giving forgiveness & testimonies & peeling back the layers & truth & coming undone & scales falling from eyes & a new heart & new desires & calls to service & new prayers & the holy spirit & the supernatural & lions & tigers & bears oh my! (last part not true) point being He came & has blown through my life, my soul & my family like a mighty wind & fire, followed by the most content, calming peace, joy, satisfaction, faith, hope & praise i can explain. i have desired it my entire life & now know it. it is amazing & i believe we are designed to know how this feels, but friends, it’s a daily job of submission, with eternal rewards. it’s hard. it hurts. it’s humility. even when He gives you clarity & answers, it’s hard. that’s why we fix ourselves on the temporary satisfactions of what we can easily earn & attain through materialism or addictions or anything easy. we don’t need God when we can grab it on our own, but when we fail, we either need Him or blame Him. we create life & expect Him to show up after we’ve bossed Him into it. we play role reversal because we hate to be led, but we always look to be led. meaning, not one person i know, believer or non, doesn’t lean on quotes, books, advice from another person. all of sudden our imaginations blossom from the words or opinions or ideas of someone else. when we will come up with own? we can depend on the answers from everyone & everything else, why not the creator? what do we have to lose except the things we say we don’t like? why do we drink the poison of our pasts & expect to wake up with different results? are we afraid the one thing we’ve always ran from may actually be real or make sense? i don’t know, but at some point everyone reading this has been upset with God, relied on God or decided to follow or not follow God & there is a reason behind it. a reason deeper than the surface answer that’s given. 9 times out of 10 i think everyone’s deep reason for their distance, disbelief or desperation for God is attached to hurt. an issue that hasn’t been healed, because frankly, you can’t revisit it. you can deny it, you can cover it or you can numb it, but come face to face with it, no thanks!
i finally have MY answers for the creation thing, for dinosaurs, the age of earth, & all the other “things” that tie people up from believing (it’s what i call the “excuses”) i understand what faith is now, i feel relational with the unseen, i have experienced events with God that never make or made it to facebook nor have ever been shared with anyone else besides my husband & son. i am not saying i have the answers to it all, or am boasting in any way, i am only saying i get “it” & “it” is worth every minute of being torn apart to find Him. but no matter how worth it & how much i know it & how many miracles he’s performed, i am still me & me still likes to take over the show….having to find His true peace again last week & well, it didn’t feel like it was worth every minute when i was in the war zone. I took off running backwards because i had to face something i thought was over. He chased me down & body slammed me. wouldn’t we all do that to our adult children if they were running from the very thing that would heal them?

in the past week i have been led to more scripture, devotionals, & words regarding peace, freedom & healing, than any normal human brain would even believe. i mean it’s almost too much. even in the most unlikely places, i keep getting a message the SAME message, so last week i figured out what i am not healed from & now i am in the healing process & it has sucked! especially when you’re trying to heal & more stuff related to it keeps popping up. truth is, you don’t get healed, until you get real! getting real with God & getting real with yourself is tough business. you’re almost horrified to ask for the healing because you know God will most likely not grant said prayer like a genie in a bottle, he’s going to make you face it. no message without the mess. how else will we be released if we aren’t willing to release. but it hurts!!!!!!! healing hurts. no way around it. we aren’t promised a way around it, but we are promised a protector to guide us through. as much as i know, there is so much more i don’t, but i am willing to be rebuilt on this journey, at all costs to find out. i am also finding that allowing God to humble & rebuild me, has been a profound thing for my husband & son to watch. you can’t hide your true you from those who know you the best. you will be their example or their crutch. their hero or their enabler in this life. i pray i have strengthened their futures through God’s working me over.

i say be careful what you pray, but you should also ask God to prepare you to receive it. nothing feels worse than to ask God to fill you up, then you don’t what to do with yourself. i often thought followers of Christ were not realistic in their thinking or maybe they couldn’t think on their own, but please know it’s quite the opposite. some of the most intelligent people i know, have hearts on fire for Jesus. their faith doesn’t make them lack in the IQ dept. or make them weak, trust me, it takes A LOT more strength to keep your mouth shut & live for Him than it does to lose self control trying to prove a point. He doesn’t need to be defended. He needs foot soldiers. He needs those ready to know the truth. He doesn’t need a debate team. 

i have spent yrs now, dissecting the word or participating in deep Bible studies, only to find truth & a new me. an on fire crazier me, but i kind of like her.  i stopped answering for God & let Him answer for Himself. i am trying to stop being other people’s Holy Spirit hero & let Jesus just do His thing through me. i find almost daily, a new way to look at something or ask for prayer about something or be realistic. just when i think i may have actually lost my mind & i am speaking to thin air or no one understands this, someone surfaces to tell me they found something i said hopeful or they’ll ask me to pray for them or they’ll come back & share a praise report & that makes me smile because that IS God working. i just decided to be the messenger brave enough not to shut up about Him & let Him wreck my life, so He could be glorified. i also learned that humility feels so right. so does repentance. i found a new something that may help you in your repentance thinking. the greek word in my study Bible, for repentance, is metanoia & i love the definition- not merely a regret about something, it is a change of perspective that results in a changed action-

i cannot define my salvation, deep hard salvation. i can define what it means to me but not what it feels like. i can’t. no more than i can explain how i felt losing a grandmother, the moment i knew i had found my partner for life, the love i have for my kids; some things you have to feel from the inside out to understand the feeling/emotion/moments, where words could never reach. my faith has become a 6th sense to me & it’s strong, but if i don’t nurture it every day, it grows weak. sometimes i need help from others to back me up, sometimes i just need my daughter or son to smile & thank me or say i love you, yesterday it was a text from my husband who simply said, “when i get home, i think we should hug”; little things stitched together keep the big things in focus. 

if you are someone who wants to reach the next level & know Him too, but don’t think you can reach that point because you think some things do not make sense, THAT’S OK. there isn’t many in the word of God who were called from their lowliness to make history, that didn’t test, question, doubt, & drag their sinful selves to Him. i was always told not to question God, but i think that was more “i have no clue how to answer you & because i said so isn’t going to work” so i’ll scare you with a scary God & His scary hell fire, if you cross this line. i think God likes for us to question, so He can answer, so He can show up & so He can reveal Himself. along the way, this builds our trust & this allows us to crave more & more understanding. it allows a new way to love. a new way to forgive. a way to let go of the things we’ve been dragging around. it allows you to find a way to show the world the truth about what & who you’ve found & it isn’t as complicated as everyone has made it. 

and always remember you will never arrive at completion & if you think you have arrived, you get to play roller derby with God, like i did last week. He & i were throwing elbows & skating around one big circle & guess who got her helmet knocked off & her bell rung? please, know you are not alone in this race, ever! there is a lot of truth & freedom, but you have to step forward & receive the gifts that are waiting for you. today seems like a great day to let it all go & pick yourself up & start fresh. i am praying for you friends & i do believe by sharing this, God intended someone to know today, He has His hands out for you too! 

Mark 9:22-24 (the boys father to Jesus): “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”  “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

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i am an israelite!

yep, that title just about sums it up for how i feel today. i’ve spent a great deal of time sighing & rolling my eyes over the “how dumb can you be” thought running through my head re: the israelites. i mean seriously?!? there is God RIGHT in front of them day & night, there He is performing miracle after miracle, there He is waiting to be sought & these people decide to whimper, complain & forget about all He’s done for them. like their present situation couldn’t be healed either….i mean pffft, dummies. i am glad “I” don’t act like that.  umm rewind, i can be & i often times I am identical to this behavior. as if God isn’t standing there tapping his foot, arms crossed, shaking his head, like i do with my own kids when their common sense leaves the body for a bit.

for those familiar with my story, you get to read this again, for those unfamiliar, i will cliff notes version you, for time’s sake. i have a 15yr old son. very healthy, very intelligent, not a days worth of issues on the grand scale of issues. healthy pregnancy with him & he was born over due date, when i was 23. fast forward 13 yrs. new marriage, new season of life, several bouts with miscarriage. oct 2009 brought an emergency surgery, which removed my left tube, baby in tube & my chances of more kids, based on age & past history & the 1 tube left. 2mnths later i was miraculously pregnant with my daughter. it was the worse pregnancy on earth. every wk there was a problem, complication, hurdle. she broke my water 5wks early, almost died the 1st night she was with us, was in the nicu for a month, on oxygen/breathing assistance for wks, was diagnosed with no thyroid (rare disease) & the fun begins. her condition is the only curable form of mental retardation, which is why it is part of the mandatory blood screen at birth. no way to detect in utero. most children with this condition have low muscle tone, developmental delays & issues, low iq, etc etc etc. her 1st yr was non stop drs & specialists & lab work & i mean non stop. some weeks we were 3 appnts a week. so needless to say she hates drs or anything to do with strangers & usually wont let you touch her, as she associates that with a painful experience (unless she knows you & even then it can be eh) 

during her journey, my husband, son & self started our journey too. we have a HUGE story of faith, salvation & healing that came from God himself. my daughter is & has been a miracle since day 1 & is off the charts (to the great) in almost every area of her life. at 2 yrs old we were released from the cone of neurological dings & panic, as we’ve been waiting to truly know that we were in the clear. we got that confirm a few wks ago & praised God once again. i took some credit for being a good mom, we all 3 got a little puffed up & prideful & let our humility down juuuust long enough for the enemy to slide in & pop up us silly. 

3dys ago she started to have an onset of something minor, but unusual for her. my mom instinct kicked in & i started to watch her. by yest. i was convinced i needed to make a call to the dr for an appt & i also videoed what i was seeing. then my husband & i proceeded to fall off of our faith wagons & become the israelites. i mean, with every miracle over her thyroid disease, even an almost confirmed mosaic down syndrome diagnosis, here we are with this “littler thing” acting like God isn’t capable of healing this. (and by the way, call it denial or what you may, but i am still not sure i trust the final answer of what i was told, so until i get a confirmed 2nd opinion or 4, then i don’t want to go into details yet. i feel even though trying to be helpful, the stories of others kids dealing with similar issues, can be overwhelming & horrific, especially if we don’t know for sure if we have a confirmed that we should be sharing stories over. it’s like trying to google it. not a good idea, so please just trust, support & pray for us & all that is hidden to be revealed)

in those moments of weakness the past few days, i realized how much regressed issue & pain that my husband & i still carry from the events of the past 2.5 yrs. unless you’ve walked a road like this with your kid(s), i cannot explain it, but it’s like walking through fire 24-7 for YRS, pretending it doesn’t burn, until you build up just enough pain tolerance that you become numb & you call that numbness healing. but the funny thing about numbness, is that it has the ability to fade & slowly the feeling that was covered, starts to return, showing you that you were not healed, you just thought you were. hence the test of your faith. in that/those moments i realized i have never gone to God in prayer & asked to be healed or asked for healing for my husband, even my son. i guess we thought we were ok & just got some glitter thrown on us & that was it. i mean i almost feel like an idiot typing this. once the hardest part of her medical journey went on idle, we looked back, we praised God & we were in awe we survived the trials. we were blessed to have one anothers love, support, prayer & tears during the journey & then we all decided that we just move forward & somewhere in the moving forward we forgot to offer up the pain. we just did. (and if yall know me, you know i am not weak faithed. i am the Jesus prayer warrior) so i have been a little blown away over the past 48hrs, as you can imagine.

i felt God’s call to women’s ministry last yr, from a different end. rather than participate in studies, i wanted to facilitate, now i actually took the leadership role of our wed. morning program. no clue where it will go, but i am enjoying it & that in itself is a Godly miracle, given my background just 3 or 4 yrs ago.  one thing i always say to my ladies prior to starting a study, is the weird balance of excitement & on the other end, shakiness, because i know God will jerk something out of me, shove it in my face, i’ll deal with it & then we’re done. where the shakiness comes, is not really knowing what He’s going to pull out, especially when you think you’re doing ok. even last week, i wrote this in my study book on day 1. “i have NO idea what God will do to me or show me in this study, but i know he’ll break me apart & piece me back together” then i flipped to the last day of study in my workbook & wrote myself a note for 10wks from now, “go back to page 9 & figure out what God wanted to free you from” however, i think after the 1st week, i am getting warmed up to figuring out where He & i are going with this. and praise Jesus i am ready for Him to take it, but 1st i have to relive it. this my friends is where i press into Jesus, i jump into God’s word, i replace the word faith with TRUST & i remember what i have been redeemed, healed, cured, & delivered from. 

my daughter is not suffering. my daughter is not in pain. my daughter is not aching. her parents are & i think her brother is too. after i pulled myself together last night, i got up early this morning, knowing that God was going to speak to me at study today, through the voice of the holy spirit & the powerhouse, beth moore…..and did he ever. so i hung my head on the counter this morning & i cried & thanked Him in advance. i told God periodically today, “i trust you. i trust you. i have the heart you only know & i am not playing here. show up & heal her & us & show them that you are the great i am, prove this is another miracle”  and there is no doubt i won’t have one soon. i also did something i have never done before. i really felt the holy spirit call me to do it during our study today. i picked up my daughter from the childcare room & took her back into the church sanctuary, i knelt with her on the alter & i prayed. & i prayed. & i prayed with groanings that i cannot explain. and i hugged her & i kissed her & smelled her sweet little hair & i rejoiced in advance for whatever God has planned in the story of her life, that He’s writing, not me. as i finished praying, she said amen & got up & talked about her thomas the train sticker. i was a little amazed she stayed still & behaved in a dark sanctuary at the alter, especially if you know her active self. i do know we were not alone & i know that i have a different peace than i had before. and more so i know without a doubt, when i am the weakest, i am also the strongest. i know that we all need to be honest with each other. i know that we as a family in Christ are called to pray for another & love each other through things. so i am thankful for those who care & i am thankful when i can lift you all up too.

In a very small story of faith & healing through Jesus, i heard this scripture today, presented in a much different way than i ever have before, but it’s probably because the listener is in a different place than she has ever been. i want this type of faith & i want to grab the garment of Jesus today, white knuckled & receive what is mine, my husband’s & my children’s ……healing

Luke 8:47-48 The Message: 

When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed. Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!” 

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check please! it’s time to go…..for now

i don’t make resolutions for the new yr, never have. i always liked going rogue in the middle of  june or october for the element of surprise. plus, my biggest battle in life has always been with myself, so me & me know better than to make “ourself” a promise we know we won’t keep.

the past few/handful of yrs ago, which by the way, in my world EVERYTHING happened a “few” wks, a “few” months or a “few” yrs ago, so keeping with my concept of time…. a “few” or “handful” of yrs ago, i decided i needed to commit to something every year, so i decided i would commit to specific prayers & totally figuring out how to be relational with God, & trust He would show up. i mean holy heck, i cannot put into words, here on jan 13 of 2013, 13 days after this yr’s commitment, how many of these prayers/situations/moments have been resolved or answered already, or at least i have clarity or peace going into them. uber times better than a resolution, cause we all know i am from AL & i “ain’t” givin up my carbs y’all or start running marathons with THESE ankles.

the one thing i have wrestled with the past “few” yrs, is my “calling” yes we all know we are “called” to wife or called to mother or if you’re actually a dude reading this, then you feel also, when you are “called”, but i had a hard time letting God lead me. i am a total type A, so in type A fashion, i got all full of the holy spirit & decided i was going to throw on a cape & save the community & better yet, the world. i also was VERY alone in my spiritual walk & desired close, Christ like friends, who got IT like me. wrap all that together & i pretty much signed up for every volunteer opp offered. here’s what it got me….. stressed out, lonelier, buried, guilty, & disconnected from my family. yes, i was building great friendships with the homeless, but putting my marriage & kids on the back burner. so this past yr, i decided to find my calling. even if it made no sense, i let God sign me up & i let God say it was ok to walk away. i let go & let Him.

leading me to the next point. i have some super hero friends. they have a lot more kids than me & full time jobs AND save the world, some stay home too, but still. so i tried to keep up. couldn’t. still can’t. my life, my dynamic, my reality. my crew, not the same & 2013 promises me that i will not care about that part of me anymore, the part that compares & beats myself up because i haven’t gone to africa yet or whatever. i am doing now. now is what i am capable of & now has caused me to call for the check…..it’s time to go & let go, yet again.

i do believe, whole heart speaking, that God calls us to do things, but he doesn’t call us to do everything. i don’t wanna be one of those who just says, “welp, God knows my heart & God knows right now, my ministry is my family” that i feel is half true, if you have like 15 kids you’ve adopted, but even still these people are building homes & such. so i knew i had a lot to give but how can i use it  for Christ, help others & incorporate the fam? and how can i do it in a way that just doesn’t drag the family along for the ride, as they need to be “called” too, by God, not by me. so i trusted Him. he led me to full time women’s ministry leadership, he allowed me to connect with some less fortunate folks in my town, namely one gentleman & we pretty much take him to church & back every sunday & we love him, i am involved with a 5k team that uses proceeds from the race, to provide clean water systems to costa rica & my son is involved in traveling there to install them & build relationships, we sponsor a little girl in rwanda now…. i have another little handful of things here & there also. my husband leads A LOT of community service projects outside the church, &  incorporates area teens. this is his way to bring his calling to the real world. my teenage son has his “stuff’ too. so i realized, just because some people don’t see or hear what we are doing behind the scenes, THAT’S OK. because that’s how it should be. between us & God. not us & people. when our callings become about our recognition from others vs the obedience through service to Him, it loses its joy. it loses its heart. which is why last week i asked God to take another check from my table. and today at precisely 6ish pm He did!

my sweet 2yr old, mini me, girl child, has encountered a journey,  i keep promising for another blog post about & it’s a doozy journey! based on said journey, she has some occasional mild sensory issues we love her through. we’ve currently been faced with some quirks that have resurfaced this past few months. i can blame whatever, make excuses, but after incessant prayer, i felt these quirks resurfaced based on my time commitment to her. any child who acts out has a reason for it & i almost immediately felt hers….. momma didn’t know when to say no & ask for the check. so she got less of me, while the other people i was saving got more.  i made a painful, tearful, prayerful phone call last week & today God helped me.

I was blessed to stay home until my son started kindergarten. i am proud to look back over those yrs, young & broke as i was & say i have no regrets. he got THE absolute best of me. my daughter deserves that too. i sat back tonight & watched her dance & sing with daddy. i watched my son wrestle her. watched her boss us all around. had a few deep laughs over inappropriate things with my son & i laughed at them & with them, this crazy bunch i’d do anything for & had such warmth in my heart because God has truly called me to a time such as this (Esther). God took a giant weight from me today & now i can refocus on what my 1st place is. i never want to look back at this time & say “i wish i would’ve kissed them all more” i wish i could remember what their hair smells like” “i wish we would’ve gone to the movies, the beach, the park” “i wish i had time to laugh more” “i wish i would’ve gotten to know them all before they left home” no wishes. only prayers. only joy. only now. only promises fulfilled & only getting back to prioritizing my calling. and if i say no, because something takes something else’s place, then so be it. God says fear & guilt are liars & i believe HIM!

Psalm 143:8-12

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
 For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
 In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies
and destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.

and for the record, i didn’t proof this, as i was trying to turbo type to get kiddos in bed! so excuse that please.

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unnecessary convictions

 

 

many of you who know me intimately, know there are a laundry list of things that get on my nerves. i am incessantly in prayer over some of these things. mainly because too much time spent wondering why people are without a clue, slides you right into the same driver seat they’re in, hence the never ending hamster wheel cycle of judgement, finger pointing & what not to do’s i am about to dish with you about. 

as a society now & since the beginning of time, i cannot for the life of me understand why people are so concerned over the affairs & lives of others, but we are & we always will be it seems. as technology improves, so does our ability to constantly be in someone else’s daily business. there’s a reason facebook, twitter & any other social network tool is so successful….. we crave a window into the life of someone else. is this a bad thing? no, when does it become a poisonous thing? answer: when we become overjoyed to watch others self destruct. when we find joy in the downfall of another’s life. when we make ourselves feel better by comparing our lives to the train wreck we consider others have become. and what’s worse than any of this? when this behavior is being rooted in those who say they follow Christ. (and the worse than any of this part is obviously, in my opinion. no one actually took a poll with statistical numbers to provide this is actually THE worse thing. fyi on that)

in my growth as a Christ follower i’ve realized an amazing amount of things. in that vat of discovery i have come to discover the truth of God’s word & the enormous amount of crap baskets that have been dumped on & into into His truths by others. the legalism, the denominational strongholds, the “religion”….i mean i could go on for 2 thousand plus years here, but i think you catch my drift. i know many people, LOTS of people, list the reasoning behind why they don’t believe, why they won’t believe, why they can’t believe, why they don’t go to church, why they won’t go, God knows my heart, i won’t give them my money, they’re all hypocrites…… but in reality we all know deep down this is the biggest lie society has accepted. it’s laziness, it’s the joy of sleeping late, it’s excuses, it’s the fear of submitting to a hypocritical lifestyle & modern day idols that stand between that willingness to be free in Christ & it has caused a world of people to suffer unnecessarily at their OWN hands, by their own choices & this cycle of self talk has & will be passed on to generations until Christ fulfills the book of Revelation. but it absolutely doesn’t have to be that way.

If you’re an atheist (which many people i love are) there really isn’t a reason to be reading this further. it’s going to get your blood pressure raised & i am sure there are like 50 other things to improve the world you could be doing than this. we know i don’t argue about my belief system, as i learned long ago, for those unwilling to believe, no proof will ever be enough, so i will live my life, you live yours, i will pray for you & love you anyway. so as you get ready to debate & compile the 500 things to say to me that will discredit my intelligence & allow you to feel intellectually dominant, please back space, reduce the page or change the view from your phone <—— actually that last sentence is applicable to anyone reading this. 

i have other friends who i would say they’re spiritual. they believe in karma & nature & the moral code that somehow landed in us that tells us killing, murder, rape, etc is wrong. they say the virgin birth, the cross, the ascension to heaven, Christ return or any other miracle or occurrence of the supernatural in the Bible is bull, a hoax, BUT rely on the mysterious supernatural to predict their future through horoscopes, tarot cards, mediums, psychics, etc. I’ve never understood that either. why would you believe in the supernatural to predict your future & not think a supernatural creator named God could? if a person can channel a spirit through their body & tell you what you want you want to believe, why can’t the holy spirit do that too?  I think this is a group open to God’s miracles, but remain closed because Christians have ruined Christ & his message through hate, judgement & hypocrisy.

and that leads me to my point, i think. my point is conviction & who & what is responsible for that. i grew up in the rural south. the Bible belt. where almost everyone goes to church…. sometimes. BUT they rely on other people to tell them what’s in the Bible. i’ve heard pastors say things that is not only contradictory to Christ, but it’s a flat out lie. because i was one of those people who was too lazy to study the word myself, i never knew these were lies. i assumed that WAS the word & there was NO way my tail was getting redeemed. nope. this sinner was doomed! 

after i spent a lifetime running from God, putting myself in control, & thinking a christian couldn’t do life the way i do or how can i overcome this messy list of things i was either guilty of or couldn’t live up to in the christian world, i decided at 36yrs old to get on my face in the carpet & give it to God. (fyi-your kid almost dying & being promised a severe mental retardation diagnosis will bring you to your brick, humbling wall-btw neither of those things happened to her, ptl & a story for another blog) i wasn’t sure how to give it to God or what he would do next, but i was promised in jeremiah 29 that seeking God with my whole heart would cause me to find him & well my whole heart was all that i had. 

it has been a long, sacrificial, journey, but the most amazing of my life. there is lots more to add to this story, but at least this is an intro. i was most horrified of this journey because i assumed in order to go to church & grow through women’s ministry, i would have to stop listening to certain music genres, i’d have to use words like golly darn it & gee willacker, i’d have to stop enjoying a glass of wine with a good dinner, i’d never be able to dance again & well i would be no fun….. what a crock! all of these things lead me to start peeling these layers off of the truth, day by day. and it led me to some BIG time personal conviction.

for those of us eternally blessed with the supernatural connection with the holy spirit’s power, this core group, TRULY & TRUTHFULLY gets it. almost daily we pray what to do with it, because often times we arent sure what to do when the holy spirit shows up, but praise God at least we get it. often times we get excited & start doing things like creating blogs. in seriousness, there’s no way to obtain that feeling, that arrival & that blessing, until you say with your mouth & your mind, i believe that Jesus is & was…i mean that’s it. so what’s all this other mess? why has this divided nations & families & friends for AGES? if you read the words that fell out of Christ’s mouth & you live by the words he taught, what in the hay is the problem here? the problem is that people want to convict other people, rather than taking a seat & letting Jesus be Jesus in us. people are so busy talking about what they think others shouldn’t be doing, they forgot what God told them to do. they’ve cherry picked the sins to apply to everyone else instead of themselves. they’ve memorized scripture that fits in their lives vs taking their life & placing into scripture…..Jesus Christ has been made into the image of others rather than others finding & living their identity in Him. 

i’ve heard so many say, “if she/he were really a christian, he/she wouldn’t dress that way, talk that way, walk that way, fart that way” “oooh God’s gonna get her/him” “who does he/she think THEY are, we all know what they used to do, acting like they love Jesus now” ….. you know, THOSE kinds of remarks. as if people think God actually needs assistants to back up the holy spirit. as if people can’t be redeemed. what God needs is everyone to pull it together, grow up, quit your griping & complaining & act like your life mirrors what his son died for. and if you don’t want to do that, then stop associating yourself with HIM. 

Oswald Chambers says: “Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God.” (ie. refer to John 16)

when Jesus came he explained that he was not sent to abolish the law of moses or the prophets but fulfill it. (matthew 5:17) and in  matthew, mark, luke & john, we have a crystal clear idea on what God’s purpose is for us also fulfilling these ideals & how we should live & act. so why not just do that. just sit down with a bible that you can clearly interpret the translation, pray before reading that God will show you the truth & just read verbatim what Jesus says. he’s not joking, he’s not kidding, he’s not confusing…. pretty straight up stuff in there yo. (btw i use an NLT bible with life application & study references. this is a mega Bible. i am not playing around here. i recommend you go in guns blazing too people)

one of my favorite studies i’ve done to date, was a beth moore (love her) on the life & journey of the apostle paul. paul is pretty much my kindred spirit, minus the fact that i haven’t ordered people’s deaths prior to conversion. i love him, i love everything he stands for & against, i love his letters & the fact that he pretty much penned the entirety of the new testament… i LOVE him! just like Jesus, just like me & just like millions of others, he never had an agenda with the non believers, it was the believers who stirred the pot & still stir it in 2013. there is no better breakdown of what i am saying like paul says it in romans 14. the entire book of romans is a powerhouse, full of to do & not to do’s that are spot on. then why do we have so much division? if those of us who are supposed to be unified in & for Christ believe the same things, then why is romans 14 or any words of Christ in the 4 gospels such as issue? to me, i think it’s a control issue. i think we are the most nauseating, spoiled generation & gasp to think i would lower myself to the standards of humility, meekness, sacrifice, obedience….we all think we deserve something & we don’t deserve a thing!

i think once you pray to God for His will, his guidance, his direction, asking Him to meet you where you are & prepare & lead you, instead of telling God, “hey God look, i am going to take this job, buy this house, commit to this red flagged relationship, move, let my kids run wild & i expect you to show up & take care of matters” guess what? doesn’t work. nor does this following your heart business. if following the heart was so productive, we’d have a lot less sadness, depression & emotional issues swirling around. jeremiah 17:9 says “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” God knows how bad it is, that’s why, upon your accepting Christ, you get the holy spirit’s conviction, but you ignore it & you get to end up at square 1, confused as to where God was & why He wasn’t answering you. 

the thing about personal conviction, rather than conforming to others ideas about your salvation, is actually being still & being led. get off fb, get off pinterest, stop texting, turn off the tv & turn your chill time to Him & BE STILL. you can’t expect to be convicted if you’ve drowned God’s voice out with your own. we often try to steer clear of actions forbidden in scripture, but often times in our personal lives, scripture is silent. we should follow our consciences. we should worry about what’s best for our own lives, not someone else’s. if you’re a recovering alcoholic, you likely shouldn’t decide to have a beer with the game or cocktail after a long day at work, but at the same time you shouldn’t worry about someone who doesn’t have your issue enjoying a glass of wine with dinner. if you are convicted & uncomfortable with your own children watching a particular movie, then enforce that, but don’t worry about the youth pastor’s family going to see said movie on opening night. we obviously have commandments, and a nice, reasonable list of instructions from Jesus, but there are some things left up to us to iron out & we have the tools to do so. THAT is where personal conviction shows up. if you personally are faced with something you know is not the best choice & you do it, you’re sinning & going against that conviction will eventually or instantly leave you with a guilty or uneasy conscience. everyone who’s a believer knows what i mean. 

when God shows us something that is wrong for us, for our marriage, for our kids, we should avoid it. BUT we should NOT look down on other christians who exercise their freedom in those areas that are not right for us or our families lives. 

mark 7:1-23, gives a clear point from Jesus himself regarding this topic. i encourage you to read it, read romans 14 while you’re at it. we have a clear instructional book from God on how to do this life & feel in our core the joys that he designed us to experience. there are many people doing it & living it wrong, when it comes to the simplicity we were created for, however, i am blessed beyond measure to share this life with those, like me, who decided to give it a whirl & invite him to fix us, at all costs & guess what? HE showed up & HE showed out!!! 

my prayer is that blog posts like this, which are meaty, unprepared and definitely God led & driven, will encourage you to push people out of your walk with him. to challenge God to perform heart surgery on you. ask for the scales to fall from your eyes so you can see what you’ve been missing. i have nothing to gain by loving you all enough to know that you don’t have to stay where you are. there is a blessed road ahead & God is waiting for you to open the door, take his hand & step into your tomorrow.

be blessed until next time —- xoxo

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the thankful jar

welcome to my very 1st blog entry. i had no idea after 2 yrs of staring at a blank screen, what would get the wheels turning, as i have encountered roughly, 150,000 things to blog about, but never felt the need to actually do this. facebook, yes, this, no. facebook is a bubble of seclusion & this blog peels the lid off of a whole new can of worms & exposes self outside the bubble. which is a little bizarre for me.

welcome to my world. i hope you will enjoy whatever lies ahead, which is most likely incessant rambling, in mostly lower case lettering, with horrible sentence form.

on with the show….

the title above says thankful jar. this idea was spun from where all great ideas are formed, developed & stolen…. pinterest. the thing about pinterest is every time i see something genius, i feel like i have already thought of that idea, yet i forget it & pinterest is like deja vu, therefore i am not REALLY stealing ideas, i am reclaiming what was my own thought in the 1st place. even the pinterest website idea as a whole…..  mine. (that last sentence is a total lie btw.)

i constantly feel like my children need traditional things to carry through the yrs & will be scarred for eternity without them. i hear story after story of wonderful, traditional family so & so’s. us, not really so much. i have a 15yr old son & 2 yr old daughter, making the balance of anything almost non existent. they are light yrs a part in age so forget them sharing on the other’s level. thanks to the pint i pinned a pin at the beginning of 2012, with the idea that throughout the yr EVERY day our family would write down what they are thankful for & place into the jar. i was met with a glazed look from the hubs & a pffft, that’s lame from the teen, but after a meltdown nice chat, they decided to entertain me. As we begin 2013, we sat down last night & started reading back what we wrote. Even though we have roughly 7 thousand more to go, it’s been a nice twist for us. i like pausing throughout the day with God & reflecting on what i am thankful for & i place that into my spiritual jar, but it’s a really precious thing to sit & remind your family of the wonderful things we are so blessed with. we skip days & sometimes entries like, thankful for coffee, naps or that i survived the day or peed alone, have made appearances, but the ones where those you love remind you that they’re watching you sacrifice & work hard for their benefit & they love you for it, truly makes a heart swell up. 

so my reclaimed idea of the thankful jar, that i’d forgotten i created until pinterest reminded me, will continue throughout 2013, as a way to remember the good in ourselves. even though we’re 7dys late starting, this WILL happen. not sure what i will do with all of the slips of paper i am saving, but i am sure i have an idea for that, which has slipped my mind for the time being as well, but i know there is a “pin” out there to freshen my memory.

i hope & pray that you too will take the time, daily, to be thankful & encourage the same in your children & others in your life. create routines of thankfulness & prayer, centered around gratefulness to God, not just asking for things we think we need.

in the moments we are still, the moments we are most thankful, these moments we see what peace & contentment really feels like. we see how we are really designed to feel in our core. and to be honest, the tradition of reminding my family to exercise the routine of gratitude over things in their life, that are beyond measure & price, is the most treasured legacy i could dream for them to pass forward in the yrs to come.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Always be joyful.  Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.Image