Sunday, March 29, 2009
This past Thursday during worship practice, while we were singing the song, “The More I Seek You,” we spent some time just playing the music and making up our own words in musical prayer to God. I envisioned myself sitting on God’s lap; snuggling and reaching up to hold his face in my hands. Then I saw Jesus laughing and calling me to come and dance with him in a meadow near a lake or creek. I loved being in God’s lap, but I really wanted to go and dance with Jesus. I felt incredible awe and joy.
As I wrote this experience down, God reminded me that Thursday was my spiritual birthday! Thirty-three years ago, March 26th, I decided to become a follower of Jesus Christ and asked Him to live in my heart and life. God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were rejoicing with me tonight! Heaven was rejoicing! Angels were rejoicing!
Then as a gift for my spiritual birthday, God blessed me with healing for my painful hips and gave me a prophesy about how God is about to increase my writing ministry and take me to places I have yet to be with Him. To see things I have never seen. He instructed me to be ready to write down what he shows me and teaches me.
My spirit is about to burst. God’s Spirit is bubbling inside me and keeps spilling out with words, songs, singing with no words and sometimes with words only God understands. I enjoyed the sweetest song between my spirit and God while driving home from worship practice. I didn’t understand a word of it, but the melody was so sweet and the goodness of God splashed all over me!
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
As I suspeceted, with such a spiritual high, and awesome prophsey, the enemy was hard at work in the following days to wear down my spirit. But my God is greater than anything Satan has to offer. Beware seekers, when you connect with God in a mighty way and He changes your life forever, you must guard your heart against spiritual attacks on you personally. Read the Bible and metabolize it so that you will have an endless supply of God's power and wisdom embedded in your spirit.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Some friends of mine have a teenage daughter who has made a lot of seriously dangerous decisions recently that has altered the course of her education, walk with God and her relationship with her parents. She and her family are dealing with the ripples caused by the "rock" she threw in the pool of her life and have started the healing process. About 3 weeks ago, during my quiet time, God gave me a message to give this young lady but said to wait until the time was right. My instructions from God were to wash her feet and tell her that God accepts her apology and that he forgives her for the choices she made. God still wanted to use her in his kingdom, but first she needed to come to him spiritually naked and confess all her sins to Him. Then he can begin to heal her heart and body and relationships. God wanted her to know that He still thinks she is beautiful and loves her dearly.
Now, I don't know about you, but I don't see this type of service done in public places. I agreed to wait on God and be obedient. The next day, I saw this young lady for just a brief moment. I asked her if I could give her a hug and she said yes. As I was giving her that hug, this overwhelming power of love and compassion came over me. I took her face in my hands and looked deep into her eyes and told her to stop screwing up because there were lots of people who love her and want her to be safe. It was as if I was talking to my own daughter. I realize now that it was really the Holy Spirit loving her through my words and embrace. Tears were rolling down my face and I told her that I had a gift for her when the time was right.
Since that day, I've been listening to God and wondering when to deliver the gift. I envisioned visiting her home and doing it in the privacy of her home. NOT what God had in mind. Today, during our church service, when God's Spirit was moving, this young lady came to the pastor during the prayer time and asked for prayer. Before she even got the the front, another woman in our church was talking with her and praying for her and as soon as I saw that, God said, now is the time. I said, now God? Here in front of everyone? Won't she be embarrassed? God said do it. So I left my place on the platform with the music team, grabbed my notes from my Bible about what to tell her, went to the kitchen in the back of the church and got a bowl of water and a wash cloth. As I was returning to the sanctuary, this teenage girl was receiving prayer from our pastor and other leaders in our church. I placed the bowl on the floor in front of a chair and waited for her to finish.
As she turned to go back to her seat, I was there with my arms open wide and the look on her face was relief and repentance. I gave her a hug and told her that I loved her. I reminded her that I had a gift to give her and that now was the time to give it to her. I sat her down in the chair and knelt in front of her. As I began giving her the message of forgiveness that God had given me, I removed her shoes an socks and washed her feet. This was just the picture she needed to accept God's forgiveness and move on. As I finished lavishing God's love on her, I reminded her not to look back on the mistakes she had made, but to look forward to the new things God wants to do in her life.
To me the most amazing thing about this whole scene is the immensity of God's love flowing through me. I felt an inner calm. There was no embarrassment or awkwardness at all. I was honored to be allowed to serve another one of God children. As a child of the King who has also made many mistakes in my life, I am not worthy to be the barer of such love, but because the King's son, Jesus Christ, brought that message of love to me and cleaned out the shame and sin from my heart and life, how can I not share that forgiveness with everyone I meet.
If you are hurting and need forgiveness, God is just waiting for you to crawl up into His lap and tell Him all about your sorrow and shame. He is hurting for you because God doesn't like seeing us make mistakes and suffer from it. The good news is that you don't have to stay in that pit of shame and sorrow. There is a way out. Jesus Christ has already been in that same pit and has lived the consequences of our sin.
God has a gift for you my friend, it's called forgiveness. Won't you open the gift and accept God's love and offer? If you need more help with your gift, leave a comment or send me an email. I am happy to help you.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Well, now that you have some background information (in depth), my following blogs will deal with real life stuff...for me. Some from the past that have been resolved and some real-time situations. Today's post deals with parenting on an everyday level with everyday stress but a larger than life reaction...until my focus changes. I belong to local MOPS group (Mothers Of Preschoolers) and our theme this year is Adventures in Mothering, so I wrote this with that theme in mind. I'd love to hear about your "Adventures in Mothering" so leave a comment if you want to vent or share a funny story.
September 30, 2008
Our adventurous day started out on the shaky side when my son, who is homeschooled but takes a class at the public middle school, didn’t want to attend his band class and procrastinated getting ready for it. After much prodding, encouragement and threats of loss privileges, he finally boarded the mommy train with little sister along for the ride.
After dropping off the reluctant dragon, oh, I mean teenager, my daughter and I waited for him at a friend’s house only a few blocks away. I knew our friends might not be home when we arrived, but was assured that they would be home soon. Since it was a nice cool September day, my daughter and I enjoyed the amusements offered by the back yard. I was just noticing how everything was going “according to plan” when it started, those sudden jerks in the ride that make you go “Whoa!”
My first “whoa” was when Allison, my daughter announced that she needed to use the potty, “pee and poop!” she said. “Uh Oh!” The house is locked. Now what? I was able to distract her for a while until the urge surfaced again. This time, my son, David, provided the distraction.
It seems they changed the day for band this week…or so my son reported. He said he asked someone if there was band and they said no. Being gullible, and lacking self-confidence, he believed them. Instead of checking, he took it as his ticket to leave and walked to our scheduled meeting place, the home of our friends, G.G. and Pop-Pop. This would be the second “Whoa!” in the ride.
Well, we had been waiting for G.G. and Pop-Pop about 30 minutes, when Allison grabbed herself and said “I gotta go pee-pee!” and started “The Dance”. This was more than I expected on this particular Mommy Amusement Attraction. After looking up and down the sidewalk to see if some of the neighbors were out, which they weren’t, I quickly decided I needed to take Allison over to the shopping center near-by to use the restroom.
I left David at the house to wait for G.G. and Pop-Pop and quickly took Allison to “go potty.” It was still early on a week day, before 10 am. The choice of stores in the center that might have a restroom was pretty slim. My first choice was the drug store. I discovered there is only one bathroom for the whole shopping center! That’s worse than the lines in the women’s restroom at amusements parks. By this time, I’m praying that Allison is still able to “hold it” and look to the Red Cross office. Surely they’ll have a restroom we could use. Thank God they did! Another Mommy Amusement Attraction survived!
Upon rounding the corner of the street that G.G. and Pop-Pop lived on, as we returned from “the potty,” I was not surprised to see their car out front in it’s usual place. They probably arrived right after Allison and I left. Oh well. At least she made it to the potty on time. Now, had I known what the next amusement attraction was going to be like, I would never have entered the “Fun House”. My son decided to play the “Challenge Authority” game and began his repertoire of touching everything in sight, taking food without asking and taking a T-Shirt (from Israel) that Alice had given to me as a gift. While he did ask if he could wear it, he had already opened the package and was walking away with it before I could comment. In addition to all of this, I perceived him to be generally rude and inconsiderate of our friends and disrespectful of me his M-O-T-H-E-R! Allison was competing for attention and was busy doing her own routine for attention and equality. I was totally out of control and embarrassed by my children’s behavior. I felt insulted by my son’s lack of respect for G.G. and Pop-Pop, whom he loves too. I just wanted to crawl into a hole.
I felt like I was in a fun house were things do not appear as they really are. Could my son really be acting so disrespectful to me and our friends? As most mothers, I took in the expressions on G.G.'s and Pop-Pop's faces. They didn’t really give-way to disapproval, but I was still embarrassed by my children’s behavior, especially my son. Just like the anticipation of topping the hills and curves on a rollercoaster, I could feel the tightness welling up inside me as I searched for a discrete way to discipline my son.
I chose the “private talk” approach in hopes of extinguishing his fiery cravings for attention. I took him outside and around the corner of the building to talk with him and express my disapproval of his behavior. It seemed to work, and he calmed down, but I still felt like the gum on the bottom of someone’s shoe. As tears streamed down my embarrassed face, I apologized to Pop-Pop for my son’s behavior. Then I packed up our things and took them to the car. By this time I had shifted from the “fight” mode to the “flight” mode. I packed the kids in the car and went back to say goodbye to my dear friend G.G.. She embraced me and comforted me with her wise words. She had it right, I needed to praise God for the bad as well as the good, but I just couldn’t bring myself to say words I didn’t mean. I was not grateful for that uncomfortable “character building” moment. I wasn’t blaming God, I just wasn’t thankful for it. In fact, I felt like I was in a cloud of anger and despair all day.
Just as G.G. said, by not giving God praise in that moment, I was giving praise to my number one enemy, Satan. Unfortunately, that victory party lasted all day long. It wasn’t until nearly ten that evening that I could honestly talk to God about my day and praise him for it. By then, the day was over; my opportunity to live for God was over. I was grateful for the day to be at an end and the children in bed, but I was sad that I wasn’t able to withstand, with more Godly confidence, the attacks of the enemy.
1 John 3:18-24 (RSV) says:
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”
God is telling me, all moms and people everywhere, that when we mess up or life doesn’t go according to plan, our tendency is to condemn ourselves. However, God is greater than anything our heart could “feel”. God already knows everything, the deeds, the words said in anger, the motivation of our heart and STILL LOVES US anyway and wants to forgive us.
After seeking God’s forgiveness, if we can just forgive ourselves and stop beating ourselves up, we can stand up in confidence before God. This is a huge, huge, HUGE step in living the kind of life God wants for us and one that I struggle with every day. Shame and guilt, the enemy’s most effective weapons, at least with me and most moms, attempt to crush our spirit making it difficult to reach the security of “confidence before God.” As a result of not making it to the confidence stage, we aren’t able to ask for the help that awaits us, from God to win our fight with the enemy.
How do I get from the “well I screwed up again” stage to the confidence stage? Praise God in all circumstances, even if you don’t feel like. Paul the apostle said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Then again in Ephesians chapter 5 verses 17-21 Paul said, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is a debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Dear God, thank you for all of my circumstances, the scary ones, the embarrassing ones, the difficult ones the happy ones, the angry ones and the uncertain ones. Thank you also for giving me yet another chance to practice this virtue. Please help me to focus on you and your promises instead of my feelings.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
On Saturday morning (February 2), the last morning of our retreat, I woke up knowing that God’s work needed to be done that day. With tears in my eyes, it was clear in my mind that I needed to ask Alice to be my spiritual mentor to help me find my way back to God’s will for my life and help me with the healing that God wanted to do for me.
Wouldn’t you know it God placed Alice and George at our breakfast table. After enjoying a delicious breakfast and intriguing conversation about all of our personal lives, I carried my dishes to the collection point and as I was turning round, Alice put her arms around my neck and told me how much she loved me and appreciated me. I knew it had to be then. I took Alice by the hand and led her to the lodge common room. There I asked her to be my spiritual mentor.
As I began to share my story of pain with her she began to pray for me. One of my other friends also came and prayed with us. Other people from our church who were attending the retreat drifted in including my husband who stayed for a while, but soon left with George to attend the worship service. I told Alice of my desire for healing in my life. I couldn’t even articulate the pain in my heart all I could do was sob on her shoulder. God knew. Alice placed her hands on my head and began to pray for the depression and melancholy to leave me. She rebuked the demons that had a hold on me in Jesus name and told me to say “GO!” I did.
As I sat there listening to the words of her prayer, I could feel warmth starting at my toes and moving all the way up to my head. Then I felt a since of lightness, as if a heavy weight was removed from my shoulders. Alice shifted in and out of English words and her prayer language as she continued to pray for me and received the message of “joy”. It was affirming to me that God was at work by the choice of her word “melancholy” in her prayer because that was the very word I used three days before when I begged God for healing. That is not a word I use very often, nor had I used it in our conversation.
Afterwards we sat together on the couch talking more about some of the issues that were weighting me down. I also expressed the sadness I had for missing my mother who had died 6 years ago without being able to say goodbye to her and how I allow myself to “pity party” about all these things. She said the pity party is of the enemy and that the enemy wants me to feel sorry and depressed. God wants me to have joy. She was right.
After this miraculous event, we both went to the last worship service of the retreat. Everyone was worshiping God in song and as I listened to the words being sung, I wanted to throw my hands up and join in praising God, but they just wouldn’t go. First I had to kneel before the king. This time I was obedient. Several times at church, God had revealed this to me, but I ignored it because I knew it would be an emotional display and I didn’t want to draw attention to myself or scare my son by being so sad. But here, in this service, I was on the back row and it didn’t matter to me anymore about what others might think. I turned around and knelt at my chair alter before God with my face covered and asked his forgiveness for being disobedient.
I don’t remember the song that we were singing, but I do remember that the words to the song were written just for me and my confession and forgiveness. It was the forgiveness that I needed to move into God’s presence. My confession before God was not as emotional as it would have been at church because God had already healed my spirit and was washing it with his mercy, but I did feel nauseous, as if something else needed purging.
The tears did fall and continued to come forth for the rest of the morning when I would reflect upon all that had transpired. While I was still on my knees, God began to pour on the encouragement. Mae, the speaker’s wife, came and knelt beside me and said God had a message for me which basically said, “God was pleased with my humility and wanted to restore my joy.” I said thank you and began to rise to my feet in time to sing my praises to God. Remarkably, Creaston and Mae (the speakers for the retreat) were not planning to attend the last service because of another speaking engagement, yet they did pop in just minutes after I arrived and left a few minutes after she spoke to me. She was there when God needed her to bring me his message. She had no knowledge of what had transpired just minutes before in the common room.
Then, as my pastor began to speak, he challenged us to take up the gifting that God has placed in us and to listen to see if God was speaking to you to deliver a message to another person. I received several messages, all with the same theme: Joy, lay my burdens down and walk the path with Jesus, and be the path for others. At one time I was just sitting in my chair watching a gentleman pray with my husband and even though they were several feet away, I could hear his prayer. When he began to pray for my son, and my husband’s relationship with my son, I physically gasped. I got up and joined them in prayer and embraced my husband as I cried tears of joy instead of tears of sorrow.
When this sharing time was over, the pastor asked if anyone had a message for the group. I received the same message I had received at the meeting on Friday night but didn’t act upon. Teach everyone the song, I’m Gonna Sing, Sing, Sing. After another woman shared her message with everyone that we are the core to take the message God’s love to the world, I got up and taught everyone the song. It was a silly song but everyone participated and it brought joy to those in the room. Already God was using me to bring his joy to others, just like I asked him to.
Well, today is the first Sunday, after my healing and I must say, it was a pleasure and delight to be in God’s house and presence today. There was no sorrow, no shame and no tears. We all got up and I led everyone in the silly song which apparently touched the pastor as an out of the box approach to ministry.
Now I want to begin to read God’s word and focus on only him until he tells me what to do next.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The Testimony of how God began Healing My Spirit, My Body, My Family
February 2, 2008
Today was the manifestation of God’s healing power on my life. My husband and I attended a church retreat at Crosspoint in Christiansburg, VA, a Four Square retreat and conference center. For years I have been praying for God to heal my body of diabetes, and obesity; to heal my mind of negativity and my spirit of depression and melancholy. Just three days before attending the Valley View Chapel Retreat, I stood in front of the sliding glass door in my family room over looking the lake and with tears streaming down my face and my hands out stretched to my heavenly Father, I begged for healing in my life, my son’s life, my marriage and our family life. The list of my heart’s desires included:
* Restoration of the joy of my salvation for all to see and benefit from
* Seeking God’s desire regarding my family’s needs as a whole and each member individually;
* I asked God for a spiritually led husband to be a leader for our family, one that I could show respect to and who would set an example for our children. I prayed for mental healing for my 12 year old son to be free from his ADHD and anger issues so that he wouldn’t have to depend upon drugs to learn at school and socialize appropriately with his peers & parents. I also prayed that God would reveal himself to my son as a source of power and deliverance in times of need. I prayed for the normal development of my daughter and her special gift of encouragement she is already exhibiting at the very young age of 2.
* I asked God for parental direction and wisdom to deal with the difficult and hellish episodes that the enemy keeps attacking our lives with as well as rest from the constant challenges.
* Direction for the next season of my walk with Jesus.
Little by little, I have seen this begin to happen. It started when God made it possible for my family to move to WV into a house with a gorgeous view of a lake and trees. The constant changes in the landscape and the visit of wildlife constantly reminds me that life is not in my control but rather in God’s control It also assured me that life doesn’t stay the same but changes and there is always hope in tomorrow. Healing of my spirit began here. Each day I step outside, drinking in God’s creation and take a deep breath and thank God for giving me such a peaceful place to live for now. God used a simple house and piece of land to begin healing my soul and my son’s mental health as well.
I have received affirmation about the work God is doing in my life. I can see God’s hand in everything and have thanked God along the way for bringing us this far: selling our house, preparing the perfect house for our family complete with great neighbors, finding friends for the whole family and not just the kids and finding a body of believers that we can worship and grow with. It seems God is answering nearly all of my prayers, but yet I felt incomplete and not as happy as I thought I would. For more than 30 years, God has lived in my heart and directed most of my steps. For several months, God has been breaking my heart with revelations that I need less of me and more of Him. I needed a servant heart, an obedient heart and an open mind.
To God I prayed:
As I have participated in worship, I wanted to lift my arms up to you, Abba Father, and be embraced in your love but I was so ashamed of the vessel I have become and felt so unworthy to even be in your presence, yet too proud to kneel before you and ask for cleansing. I was too worried about what others might think and lacked the confidence to be obedient to your gentle calling. So…
God provided a time and a place where I could be obedient and act on my faith to ask for help with the healing needed in my life. As is the protocol for God, He went beyond my desires and used other followers of Him to practice their gifts to gird up my courage and strength to receive what my heart desires, a deeper, more joyful and meaningful relationship with Jesus.
Here’s what God did for me during the retreat weekend:
* My husband wanted to go on the retreat (leadership)
* Safe sitters were found for our children so I didn’t have to worry (rest)
* I didn’t have to drive (unexpected more rest)
* All my meals were prepared for me (even more rest)
* I had fun with my husband and our friends (joy and laughter)
* God’s message was made plain through the speakers and his word (revelation)
* I received healing from the oppressive melancholy and depression that repeatedly
darkened my heart (healing)
* God provided a spiritual mentor for my husband and I (healing, restoration)
* I was showered with affirmation that God is working in my life and he will use other people to show us the way (healing and restoration)
* Hearing someone pray in tongues is not as scary as we Baptist were led to believe (healing of my spirit and revelation of God’s will)
* God cleansed my heart to make room for joy. (restoration)
VISIONS, MESSAGES SHARED WITH ME TODAY AT CROSSPOINT
“You are the stone on the path” in a picture hanging on the wall in the meeting room. (God is using me as the bridge for others to get to the path that leads to joy)
Vision of an Alter with Jesus to the side calling me toward a beautiful green path (I am to lay down ALL of my burdens on the alter and walk with Jesus down the path)
“God knows you are tired and will restore you”.
“Joy, God wants you to have joy”.
“We’re glad you are here and a part of VVC”.
"We will receive wisdom to deal with our son’s issues and God will also prepare his heart."
What was celebrated today began a long time ago and will continue to unfold for months and years to come, but now I have the courage and faith to continue on the journey. My direction: read God’s word and be under it’s influence. Have FAITH not fear.