Fear of the Lord – what the heck?

Sometimes I have these vague ideas that roll around in my head.  I can’t quite grasp them, and to try to lay words down to express them turns the thoughts into vapor.  I’ve learned that a lot of these thoughts are God thoughts, or more specifically, things He is me up to learn.  They are things I have to wrestle with, walk through, admit I cannot understand, ask Holy Spirit for help and wait.  Of course, thisprocess can take years, months, and moments.  Do you wrestle with concepts about God?  He’s so big and vast and good, and I’m so not.  I feel like understanding new things about Him is kind of like playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego– the computer version, not the TV series. You know you are on a mission to capture Carmen, but she slips away when you get close.  You capture someone, but not her… until the end. Each little mission/experience along the way sets you up for the answer at the end, but you don’t know how it all fits together until it just does.  (If you weren’t alive in 1985, click theImage result for i think i hate fortnitelink to understand the reference.  This was back when games built on themselves and the bad guys go arrested. We were not desensitized to running around virtually slaughtering other people yet.  Sorry, my judgement is coming from watching Fortnite today – how is this game ok?)

So, I’ve wrestled with the idea about the phrase “The Fear of the Lord”.  Mostly skipping over the whole idea because I could not get the concepts of the Fear of God and the Love of God to coexist in my head. JoHanna Reardon expresses the difficulty of it all well. “often hear people explain the fear of the Lord as a mere respect or reverence. But the Bible uses the word fear at least 300 times in reference to God, so we make a mistake when we downplay it. The subject becomes even more mysterious when we read something like 1 John 4:18 that says that “perfect love expels all fear.” So how do we marry this dichotomy? How can we fear God while he expels all fear?”

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How can Joy and Fear Co-Exist?

I’m still using ReadScripture as my read through the Bible guide.  I have been on Judges 3-4 for weeks, not because I am bored, but because I just can’t get past it.  I get distracted by the little nuances of the scripture (or fall asleep) that I don’t make it past Gideon’s conversation with the Angel of the Lord (another concept I still don’t fully understand – was it Jesus, was it not…).  I had to drive a couple of hours away for work earlier in the week, as I pondered what podcast I wanted to start with first for my journey, “You haven’t been exposed to much scripture lately,” ran through my mind. I grabbed my CD’s from under my seat, feeling drawn to Isaiah.  I thought I chose the first CD of Isaiah, but mistakenly grabbed the CD that started with Chapter 11.  I barely made it past the 2nd verse before I had to back up and listen again.Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 9.12.47 PM.png

Obviously this scripture is prophesy about the very nature of Christ.  As I listened, I couldn’t stuff the confusion any more.  DELIGHT IN THE FEAR OF THE LORD seared across my brain.  I backed up to the beginning of the chapter and again couldn’t get much past the 2nd verse.  What in the heck does that look like?

I detest fear.  It is the enemy of my destiny.  I have trained to not only face my fear through confession, repentance, and pure grit, but to help other people do the same.  I cast out the spirit of fear pretty often, so what do I do?  Call my friend Kris, of course.  (I realize praying is the right answer, but I would be lying.) As is here usual comment when I call with random scriptures, she wondered aloud, “I wonder what the original Hebrew word translate to.  You know those can sometimes be translated into a different word or root. Fear could mean something different.”  So, I did.  (The Blue Letter Bible app is my tool of choice for these type of things.) It turns out FEAR in this scripture means fear, terror, or awesome or terrifying thing, respect, reverence, piety.  The word DELIGHT is translated several times as smell, scent, perceive odor, or accept.  The picture that came to me is the sense that when you were in his presence his walking in the Fear of the Lord was so great, you could almost smell it.  I’m sure you’ve had this experience with people before, not necessarily about the fear of the Lord, but you will recognize someone who is a creep, or a liar, or trustworthy.

A day or two before this, I was listening to a podcast featuring Alyn Jones.  He mentioned that he was driving up to a retreat with the leadership from his church.  He told them, “A fear of the Lord was on him.”  The idea is that he didn’t ever want to stand before the Lord and be asked why he didn’t fulfill the purposed of the Lord for his life by believing the words spoken to him/the church.  I guess this is what peaked my mind to prepare me for the verse in Isaiah.

After driving a few more miles pondering what it means to delight/smell like the fear of the Lord, I turned on another Podcast.  I have stared listening to Shawn Boltz podcast.  This day, I landed on my favorite of his Podcasts to date.  He interviewed a panel of people, an actress, a director, an author, a missionary, and a painter (paint your wall kind of painter, not paint a picture).  He asks the panel to each tell of a time that they would have been screwed if God hadn’t shown up.  Bob Hasson is the last to answer, I think.  He was in a litigation situation with his painting business.  The next day, he was set to meet for the final negotiations before the case went to trial.  He canceled his meeting with his team to go sing and worship God (after reading scripture where this was a solution to someone’s problem.) . After he spent time worshiping he felt like God told him to be silent during the meeting with his opposition’s lead negotiator.  So, he did! For 2 1/2 hours… then the man asks to meet alone with Bob in this office.  Bob stands up, walks into the office.  The man says he is going to make an offer, Bob didn’t respond, so the man upped the offer, Bob didn’t speak again, the man made his “final offer”.  Bob reached across the desk and shook his hand.  They walked out of the office, and he still hadn’t said a word, and my spirit said THAT is the fear of the Lord.

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D learned this scripture several years ago & started this pesky thought process.

You may have seen or heard me say that the more I read scripture, the more I believe that God’s love language is trust and obedience.  It give HIM the opportunity to be seen by the people in our lives as he provides for us.  So here I am, back pondering Gideon, who questioned and then tested, and then trusted, and finally was obedient as the Lord led to keep reducing his army so Israel knew HE was their deliver, not themselves.  I suspect that it is what he wants me to know as well.  He is my provider, protector, strength.  He wants me to live in Fear of him, fear of not living with him as my King, Fear of not experiencing all that he has for me to do with him on this earth, because there is no better life.  I am okay with that kind of fear, fear that doesn’t paralyze or send me running anywhere but straight for Him.

I praise you Lord for your faithfulness to teach your ways.  You are so worthy of all my praise

Better Is A Little With The Fear Of The Lord

Blessings,

Kate

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It… is… finished… (maybe I’m being dramatic)

Hi All.  I thought I would give you an update on the media fast at my house.  On Tuesday it ended. I feel like the last week was the most frustrating for me.  The reason, I think, is two fold: 1.) We gave him access to media when we traveled to and from the Smokies for Emma’s soccer tournament.  2.) I let him watch 1/2 hour of TV so he would quit talking and I could get work done one time.  He kept hijacking my phone, and I would forget to steal it back, and he kept trying to negotiate for “just 1/2 hour of normal TV, PLEASE!”  I know better, you can’t EVER give an inch!

On Sunday and Monday I spent a good portion of the day wondering how we reenter the media world.  I enjoyed our time without it, 85% of the time.  The other 15% I wanted to give him to media back so I could get something done.  I knew that we couldn’t go back to the media noise level we had before (I’m pretty sure the background noise was part of the reason I would hide in the silence of my car some afternoons.  I hated being in the house with all the NOISE), and we couldn’t go back to the smart mouth that accompanied it (mostly because he felt that watching TV and playing video games is a right, not a privilege).  I never really came to something I was comfortable with, but I ended up telling him on Monday that he could have 1 hour of media a day, and he could earn up to one more hour each day.

He asked how, and I had to think on my toes!!  Thankfully, I think the Holy Spirit took over my mouth with a good plan, because I don’t think I could have come up with it on my own, because I found a currency that he wants to bargain in!!

I told him he could earn a minute of media for each minute spent reading or practicing multiplication or cleaning.  I spent the summer trying to pay him to learn his multiplication tables better and to read.  He would be motivated for a little while, but then would lose interest within an hour or so.

Image result for reenteringTUESDAY MORNING, MY KITCHEN WAS CLEAN, THE LIVING ROOM WAS TIDY BY 10:00 AM, multiplication facts were reviewed & and my kid was happy to have done it.  He asked if he could save time, if he didn’t use it all one day.  I said yes.  So, Tuesday at 4:00, he still hadn’t watched any media.  When I asked why, he said he didn’t want to use it yet and not have it later.

On Friday, he had a friend to spend the night.  He had saved 3 hours during the week to binge on for the weekend, but they wanted to earn more.  They read on my couch, in silence for an hour straight (I’m totally serious :-O).  Then, they cleaned his room, dusted, vacuumed, and straightened.  It was a mom win!!

Here’s what else I noticed, during our time off.  Pre-media fast, D would choose time on the couch watching Youtube over people about 90% of the time, but that has changed.  He went everywhere with me for three weeks.  He taught Rachel (our exchange student) how to drive a 4-wheeler.  She plays catch with him in the living room (she is a handball player, so she’s really good at this).  The other thing I noticed, it’s not just the 9 year old who has a media addiction, it’s all of us.  I felt guilt every time I picked up my phone to play a word game, or got lost in Facebook when he couldn’t touch anything.  I tried to put it down, and I just kept getting sucked in.  We trash “kid’s these days” for constantly staring at a screen, but really it’s the teenagers, their mom and their dad, equally guilty of getting lost in cyberspace at the cost of relationships with each other.  Turns out, I don’t know how to be bored either…  in fact, I go crazy if I don’t have something to do.  Sometimes, when I am making myself take a media break, I think about the stuff I would look up if I had my phone, and I realize I get a little rush from it.  This week, I researched and purchased my calendar for next year.  It was a rush, thinking through the purchase, what I want, what system am I going to use?  Where can I get what I want for the best deal.  People, I LOVE & LIVE by my calendar, but this is ridiculous.  My brain doesn’t remember how to settle down and just be anymore.

I asked the family what they noticed about the media free time.  Emma, “He wasn’t as mean!”  (You really have to hear the sarcastic teenage flair to fully appreciate the statement.)    Ty, “He seems to be a nicer person & he knows how to be bored.”  Cary, “It’s been good.  I spend more time with him, which is good, because he wants to watch what I’m watching… and he will watch sports with me.”  (I know, I know, he’s a deep thinker… be jealous ladies.  It’s a good thing he’s cute.) (Babe, you’re wonderful, smart, funny, and able to make me laugh, but you are not descriptive via text message. XOXOXO.)

Deacon, “I learned absolutely nothing.  It was horrible!”  (I expected nothing different.)

I’m excited that I have talked with several people who have taken this idea and applied it at home.  One friend is only allowing her son on media a couple of days a week.  Another woman told me she took it away from her 12 year old daughter & “she’s a different person!  The girl drama is gone!”  Another friend made her kids do a week with no media and reported that she could tell a difference in just a couple of days.  For those of you who are trying this too, thank you for letting me know.  Your words helped me get through the time without guilt, and helped me set (what I hope) are healthy boundaries moving forward.  I also want to thank my parents for telling me several times that this was a wonderful thing to do for my child.  I needed the reminder sometimes.  It has been very encouraging!

Image result for flip phoneSo, I’m really thinking of getting a flip phone next time I have to “upgrade” my phone.  Because of my job, and the world we live in, I think I would have to have an iPad to access things as I need them, but I could put it in a drawer, and not “have to have it with me all the time” because I could get texts and calls on a flip phone, and I wouldn’t run the risk of getting sucked into the empty time vacuum of the phone.  Maybe I can make it a movement:  “Upgrade your life, Downgrade your phone”  What do you think?

No Media for My Kid!

You’ve seen this video, right?  Well, I identify with this video.  At the beginning of summer, I swore I was only going to let my 9 year old on media for an hour or two a day.  By the end of summer, it was on ALL DAY LONG!! YouTube and video games going at the same time.  It was like an atomic assault on my ears and nerves. Not to mention my kids was turning into a jerk.

Excuses: I work at home pretty often, and I’m traveling when I don’t, so I  don’t have the time or energy to entertain him.  But the excuse doesn’t matter when you see your child’s brain shrinking from day to day, not to mention the lack of certain social skills.  But the straw that broke my back – he was yelling at his teammates on Fortnite.  Image result for brain shrinkingHe was just being rude and calling people idiots, and I realized, I don’t like who my child is becoming.  So I took away the internet, and TV, and all screens in general… for 21 days.

He’s not grounded, he’s a good kid (except when yelling at strangers online – yes, I realize how creepy this sounds, but I am determined to be transparent).  He’s nine.  He has never existed without an Iphone in our home.  I remember when he was a baby, he could run apps making animal noises and educational videos.  My older kids weren’t exposed to constant screens until elementary school, and I was able to monitor those much more closely.

So, on August 3rd I told Deke that he was fasting from Media for 21 days starting on August 8th, the first day of school.  To say he had a melt down would be an understatement.  He was not happy, but I let him binge on YouTube and the Switch for a few days before he went cold turkey.  I also received the news that due to unforeseen disasters having to do with reconstruction on the building, school wouldn’t be starting for him until September 5th… suddenly, we are hanging out together for the 21 days.

Image result for shocked faceNow, I am not a newcomer to taking away media from children.  I did this same thing with my oldest two kids SEVERAL years ago after praying about how to help them stop fighting.  It worked brilliantly.  Thanks to that experience, I knew the first 24 hours would be the most trying for me, and that I would be tempted to give it back so I could follow my routine.  I spent the 5 days strengthening my resolve and telling my self that my goal was for him to be bored, to know what it feels like, to know what it is to find a way to entertain himself, and to figure out if there is anything creative in him.  So, new perspective – “I’m bored Mom!” = “You’re Awesome Mom!”.  “You’re TORTURING ME for 21 DAYS!” = “Mom, thanks for loving me enough to find myself in this tech-world I live in.”

I did place a couple of exceptions to this entertainment-less desert called his last month of summer: 1.) We drove across the state on KY and back in less than 36 hours – I let him play the Switch. 2.) If someone else is watching TV & it’s appropriate, he can watch. (Home Improvement with Dad is his new favorite thing)  3.) Traveling to a soccer tournament in Gatlinburg TN – he will be allowed to play the Switch in the car as he rides with two teenage girls who SHUSH him for sport (one in English and one in German – which sounds more like DEECON – Psssshhh!)

The first week was tougher on him than me.  He thought he was going to die.  He claims he cried himself to sleep every night.  He drove the 4 wheeler, built complicated Lego kits, and listened to HOURS of Adventures in Odyssey on a CD player, sat in my office as I worked on spreadsheets,  and asked 1,276,890,113 questions!

When he said, “I’m bored!” I responded, “Oh good!  That means your brain is working.  It’s not my job to entertain you, figure it out.”  – I WAS EMPOWERED & IT FELT GOOD! And I began to see who my child is.  He still acted goofy to get attention, but it wasn’t SO desperate and SO silly.  He learned to sit in his room and play, alone.  Our home seem calmer.  Our conversations seem deeper.  The teenagers don’t hide in their rooms to keep away from the noise in the living room.

The second week… well the second week may have been harder on me.  I WORK AT HOME!!  He talks all the time!  I almost had a mental breakdown.  I just needed to get my work done.  I just need some time alone, some God time, but it didn’t come.  Yet, I saw a really fun kid replacing this video addicted minion who controls the noise level of the house with the TV remote and attitude.  I like the difference, that calm.

Thankfully my brother and his son, Oliver, have visited the last few days.  With the lack of entertainment at my home, Deke was all too happy to go to my parents’ home and spend the whole day (this is a rare occurrence because he normally would rather watch TV).  He got to ride his new (to him) bike, go swimming with his cousin, and go boating.  I think he also got to binge watch movies for a 4 year old one day, which he was thrilled with.  That little bit of media has him jumping all over the place again and begging for “just a few minutes of TV” tonight before bed.  But, the “NO” is easy because I have seen the kid who lived under the addict. Image result for no media

We have 11 more days of this.  I’ll try to update you next week.  My next challenge… how do we let the media back in without letting it take over our home our kid and our lives again…

Blessings! K

#YET

I just found this on my computer.  I don’t remember when I wrote it, but I like the reminder of what it says, so I thought I would share.

Blessings! Kate

 

#Yet

I’m not one of those people who sets intention words for the year.  I have friends who do, and I’ve never thought it was for me, because there is NO way I’m going to remember the word, much less be intentional about meditating on it, or changing my life with it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a planning meeting with my church.  A woman was talking, and she ended her sentence with “God hasn’t done that yet.”  And it struck me that the most powerful word in all she said was YET.  YET changes the whole game, the whole viewpoint, the whole truth. Image result for yet

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

See, faith is the yet at the end of the impossible.  I recently finished the book of Genesis.  I can’t get Jacob’s conversation with God out of my head.  Jacob had just stolen his brother’s birthright, and was running away before his brother killed him.  He hid at his uncle’s, who he had never met, on the way he slept in Bethel.  He had a dream where God promised to give him the land where he was lying, and promised to watch over him wherever he went.  Jacob made a vow the next morning, that if He would be with him, feed him, clothe him, allow him to see his family again, he would be his God, and he would give a tenth of all that God gives him… in the future.  I guess it’s the first time I noticed someone making a deal with God. 

Fast forward, and you see Jacob got deceived several times over the next 20 years.  Things did not go perfectly, but God kept showing up, and Jacob had food, and clothes, and eventually, he made it home to his family, but his faith in the middle years had to have #YET moments.  Moments when he didn’t see God, but her knew he was in the act of delivering him.

So my word for the year is YET.  So, I’ll end this devotion with this…

I’m not one of those people who set intention words for the year, because there is NO way I’m going to remember the word, much less be intentional about meditating on it, or changing my life with it… yet.

 

 

 

Does this mean I’m old?

Today I worked in Fayette County Public Schools with their new teachers. They are a great school system! As I stood in the room, organizing people, where they went, how they would accomplish the tasks of the hour, I realized I had been in the place of most of the people in that room in different seasons in life.

17 years ago, I was a new teacher signing up for benefits, blissfully unaware of what I didn’t know about managing a classroom full of kids, planning for retirement, or insurance. At that point in life, I was torn between the desire to be home with my toddler, the need for a break from said toddler, and our need for income. I started teaching for $24,000/year & I thought we were rich. This is the season I found my drive to do things well, as I would often work 2+ hours after the school day was over, missing precious time with my children. I also perfected my people pleasing skills!🙄

Then, almost 13 years ago, I left education semi-impulsively. I quit my job with no promise of another, only a deep feeling that I WAS NOT WHERE I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE anymore. I knew I was coming to work for American Fidelity. They didn’t know yet, though. Thankful, God opened that door 4 months later. So, I watched my coworkers selling insurance, doing the job that I love so much: talking to employees to love children, who are giving beyond reason, loving beyond understanding, and helping them plan for their future. It is here that I learned from SO MANY mistakes. Here that I became so overwhelmed that I couldn’t sleep, that I physically harmed my back from sitting 8-10 hours a day, that I learned what it is to be rewarded for your hard work, and what it is to work under amazing leadership. It is also here that I found confidence by solving the overwhelming problems. I learned to strive for something & achieve it. And I learned that sometimes, most times, it’s the striving that brings the greatest satisfaction, not the achievement itself.

It is here that I have done my greatest ministry as I could pray with people who open up their lives to me. I have seen God heal people physically and emotionally through this job. I have experienced His goodness in this place. And it is here, that I had to learn to surrender control.

Today though, I didn’t meet with employees. I was in a different roll. I was assisting as needed, instructing as needed, helping things run in a different way. I got to use the bathroom 4 times (which NEVER would have happened in either previously mentioned season of life – I bet you didn’t know peeing is a luxury for people who work in education.). It was a good day. As I looked around, I realized I don’t know what the next season is, and I’m really not worried about it. It will come, and it will pass, just like all the ones before it.

I’m thankful for the seasons of life, and even more so that finally, at least in this moment right now, I’m content to just be. Not striving, not forcing the next season, just grateful for where I’ve been, what I’ve learned & trusting that God is refining me in this season as well. I hope, I can quickly thank him for he storms in life that he works for my good. Tomorrow, I’ll probably find something new to strive for, judge myself for failing at, or want to kill someone over, but today, I’m good.

PS. It is time to buy school supplies. If you are spending $100+ on school supplies for your kid(s), and you are whining… STOP! That is a *#>^ education you are paying for. We are a blessed nation that every child can go to school for free, out side of supplies and nominal fees. And, don’t blame your school system. They are likely running on fumes to meet the demands from government, parents, and society!! Instead, find ways to fund schools to do great things. Partner with a school, or mentor a child. Do your part, don’t complain! #rantover

Ooh- also, new parenting hack: I still don’t get Snapchat, but my kids will talk to me that way.

And – Swiss Rachel gets here in 3 days!!

Conversations in my head

SO,  WE ARE HAVING A GIRL!!  We’ve been keeping a secret! In fact, we have just told my family in the last couple of weeks.  We have spent the week getting the spare room ready.  The bed is set up.  I am part of the way through cleaning out the closet for her clothes and things.  We are so excited!! Her name is Rachel, like my sister.  When I was young, I wanted four or five kids, a large family.  The pressures of life made us decide to stop at two, and then three (after many years of negotiation), and now… four!!

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Thankfully, this one isn’t going to cause more stretch marks and I don’t have to pay for her college education.  She is Swiss and 15 and is going to live with us for a year.  We are hosting our first exchange student.  Pray for us all as we transition!!  Pray for her the most!  She has no siblings, and is going to be a middle (twin?) daughter (two 15 yr old girls :-o) between two brothers…  bless her heart!

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Now that that announcement is made, on to today’s thoughts.

I HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH PEOPLE IN MY HEAD…    Maybe I’m the only person who does this??  Today, as I drove for work, I was having one with a friend. (Some details in this story will be changed to keep identities anonymous).  This friend hasn’t know Jesus long.  She comes out of a home that not only didn’t know Jesus and church, but who made fun of “those Christians”.  This friend has struggled with substance abuse since I have known her, and she is dabbling now.

As I was driving, I was thinking about the fact that to change, the pain of staying where you are in any aspect of life has to be greater than the pain of moving to a different place, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  As I thought of my friend, I wondered what it would take for her to get clean, to quit negotiating if it’s okay to dabble with this or dabble with that.  The conversation in my head went kind of like this.

“Sophia,  what is it worth to you?  Are you willing to lose your family, your kids?  Your husband is only going to live with the heartache of your addiction for a certain amount of time, and then, you are going to be alone.  Is it worth it?  What are you willing to sacrifice at the alter of pills and pot?  You’re looking to substances to comfort you to help you get through your day.  It’s an idol you are worshipping that replaces looking to God for that strength.”

If you really want to rub God the wrong way… worship something that ain’t him..  This pretty much sums up one of the main points of the Old Testament.  (Cary Mathis, aren’t you proud of the way you’ve influenced my grammar).  You may or may not know that I have been making a slow trudge through Deuteronomy.  My excitement over the 17th chapter has dwindled to a bit of… disappointment.  A few days ago, as Cary and I did our nightly farm stroll, I told him I was in the part of
1Corinthians.10.14_lg.jpg the book that helped me understand why people would think God isn’t good.  It’s the part that discusses conquering people, taking the beautiful captured woman as your wife (the same woman whose family you likely just killed and took possession of all that she has ever known & now she has to sleep with you, maybe, after you shave her head!!).  Moses instructs how to behave if you have two wives, but you only love one of them, and how to completely destroy the people who live in the promised land.  Living in my nice safe, “We are all equalwhat do you mean I don’t have the same rights as a man? it’s 2018, get with the program, women rule!” American world, it all seems so harsh and violent, and seems in direct opposition to the Jesus I know and love, and the Father that he represents.  (Admittedly, I do not have all of this worked out, but I know God is good, and He will help me understand as I am ready.)  In chapter 18, specifically, Moses insists that God’s people not “learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations”.  At the top of this list of deplorable practices: anyone who “burns his son or his daughter as an offering” followed by other activities that would have you looking to a source other than God for help/providence.

I am mortified by the idea of burning your children before an idol.  How horrible is that, and I continued my fake conversation with Sophia…

“Sophia,  everything that we do in life has a cost, a sacrifice.  Are you willing to burn your children, your husband, your home, your life as you know it at the feet of  the idol of Addiction?”

Then, my judgement quickly did a 180.  I heard, “Katie,  what idols are you willing to sacrifice your children to?”  Ouch.  This wasn’t a fake conversation.  This was real, me and Holy Spirit.

“Oh my, I don’t know.  What idols are in my life?”

How safe does that 401(k) idol make you feel?  How have you bowed down to the idol of Making Your Family Happy?  Is work an idol for you?  Is self-reliance an idol for you?  How have idol_worship-e1440795887341.pngyou failed to be Salt and Light to bow down to the idol of Fitting In at Church?  Why do you call your friends for advice before you come to me? 

“Yes, Yes and so much more.  I am guilty as charged!! An idol worshipper, through and through.  Lord help me, because I can’t quit on my own!!”

So I began to repent of my judgement of my friend, and then we had a LONG talk as I confessed my trust in things and people over HIM.  We also discussed that I knew those things were out of order, and that is why anxiety has crept back into my thoughts as of late.

He is so good & so worthy of my worship.  He is so forgiving and excited to help us to a better path, a path to him!! When you start to get to know Him, you can’t help but fall head over heals in love with him.

 

Blessings!

P.S.

I’m a Winner…?

WARNING!! This is a divided blog.  I wrote the first half of the blog prior to some insight that happened over the last few weeks.  So, if you get confused… it’s probably my fault 🙂

5/31  It’s the middle of the night.  God has been telling me to write for months, but I have had nothing to say.  Even today, I thought… WRITE! but I had nothing to write.  No words, no deep insight.

Read Scripture each night.    I come to bed tired, but as soon as the lights go out and the blankets are pulled up around my neck, my eyes pop open and my mind starts running.  Reading the Bible puts me to sleep, usually mid sentence. I started Deuteronomy yesterday.  When I opened the app to chapter 4, I was drawn in, and I felt Holy Spirit speaking in my spirit.  I have spent the last several months reading the multiple accounts of the Exodus from Egypt in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and now Deuteronomy.  In this portion of scripture, Moses is preparing to die, remembering with the people he has led for 40 years.  Anyone who was older than 20, when they left Egypt (except 2) have died.  During this time, Moses has been the one meeting face to face with God, but he cannot enter the Land with them.  As I read his remembrance of Israel’s meeting with the Lord on the Mountain, I realized these people were all children when this happened.  I think what an impact that experience must have been on a young child or young adult.  How overwhelming was it to stand and look at a mountain burning in front of you, and then hearing the voice of God speaking, how impacting would that be for the rest of your life?  I wonder the impact of that experience on these people who are being released under new leadership, in a new land.

I find this to be a beautiful part of scripture.  It was like God was saying to them, “You may have been little.  You may not have known what it meant.  You may not even remember, but I saw you.  You were in my presence and I was preparing you for this, for what is coming.  You are chosen, you are prepared for this, just listen to me.  Seek me. Don’t replace me.”

It’s been an interesting couple of months emotionally.  I’ve been cancer treatment free for over a year.  This time last year I was still exhausted from my treatments, but I was good.  I was good while Cary struggled with transitioning back from my nurse to my husband.  I watched as he negotiated moving from a place of complete giving to recognizing his need for our life together to return to normal.  I understood the struggle, I was happy to be a part of that.  I watched as one of our kids struggled with depression after we returned because he stood so strong while we were gone and so many changes occurred in his life that he couldn’t control.  I enjoyed the late night conversations and appreciated the good and deep thinking man he is becoming.  I watch in awe as my daughter negotiates life in such a mature way.  She is an intriguing combination of characteristics: my mind, my unfiltered intensity, yet delightfully balanced with her father’s quick whit and ability to make you smile while she throws an insult.  I have answered questions like, “Is cancer contagious?” “Mom, do you have more tumors again?” from a little boy who is right by my side so much more than he used to be.  I spent all of last year brought to gratitude induced tears just at the thought that I am alive.  I will likely hold my grandchildren and watch them graduate from college.  I have been so grateful for life, friendship, prayers of others, and our church(es) family.

So, why did I find myself empty again in March?  I am angry at my normal days and the way I take them for granted, forgetting to be grateful for what I have instead of looking at what I think should be.  I used to struggle with depression (probably brought on by too much stress trying to be superwoman.) . This is not depression.  I don’t feel like I cannot go on, I don’t cry, or think terrible thoughts.  I love my husband, and I enjoy my kids more than I ever have (when they aren’t bickering).  Yet, something has been off.  I don’t know why.  I have had the opportunity to do life with people who were having emotional struggles in the last few months.  God answered so many prayers of healing for each of them.  I guess I feel like he is using me in my day to day life again (which I love).  I thought this residue of indifference or clouded joy may be due to that ministry, but as I have considered that, it doesn’t feel right in my spirit.

Ïdols & Öther things I worship. I started praying a few months ago that God would investigate my heart and reveal any unholy part of me that I could confess it, and he could change me, purify me.  Or that he would just remove anything that didn’t reflect him.  Just now, as I write, I suppose he has been answering that prayer the last few weeks.

We attended Grace Center a few weeks ago.  We listened to Alyn Jones teach about Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 11.17.29 PM.pngrelationships.  He specifically taught about the Drama Triangle and the Winner Triangle.  He taught about the “characters” caught up in drama: the victim, the persecutor, and the rescuer.  As he described the rescuer, I began to identify.  This was driven home as my husband flashes a teasing grin, bumps my leg, and mouths “This is you!” winking his right eye to soften the blow.  “I know”  I mouth with an eye-roll to bring home the point.  As Alyn teaches, he explains that the healthy version of a Rescuer is a Caring/Nurturing person.  A caring person can listen to someone struggling and empathize without owning the problem and thrusting themselves into solving it.  He also said that part of the process of transitioning from a Rescuer to a Carer is to deal with the fact that you have difficulty asking for help.  HOLY CRAP, HE JUST READ MY MAIL.  (In Holy Spirit circles, “Read my mail” means someone sees your heart when they don’t know you or have reason to know what they reveal to you.) He mentioned that this trait is usually caused when you are shamed for not being able to do something for yourself as a toddler (think potty training), and that you may need spiritual healing to help you get past this stronghold.

Here’s the deal I cannot ask for help.  I can fully expect help.  I can get angry that you don’t help, when CLEARLY I am running around like crazy and there is NO WAY anyone could miss the fact that I need help, but I will rarely ASK for said help.  When I do ask for help, I quickly follow it up with, “Never mind, I’ve got it.”  I literally stand in awe of my friends and my sister, who are terrific at asking, sometimes demanding, help from their spouses and families.  Yet, I don’t know how to make myself do it.

I do recognize WHY I cannot as for help (this has to show some type of growth as person, right?).  I cannot ask for help for fear of rejection.  If I am vulnerable enough to admit that I can’t do it all, and I ask you for help, if you don’t help (or maybe don’t do it that way I think it should be done) it hurts me.  I feel rejected, like my suffering is irrelevant to you and thus I am irrelevant to you.  Yes, I see the foolishness of this line of thinking, I just haven’t managed to move past it.

So, I asked for help.  When Alyn said most people need personal ministry to transition from a Rescuer to a Carer, it freed me from my self-judgement that I should just be moving on with it.  Several month ago, I heard this quote.  I cannot remember where, but it is brilliant:

HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE  and HEALED PEOPLE HEAL PEOPLE

For me, this statement thrust me into a new season of life.  I have often heard the first half of this statement, but never the second.  And I want to be a healer.  I am making a commitment, that with God’s help and provision along the way, I will heal.  I want to be as healed and complete and whole as possible so when people encounter me they feel loved, and safe, and they can become healed through Christ in me!  So, I asked my friends to pray with me about where I was, stuck in self-reliance, a little broken, and quite frankly hurt by some people in the ChuScreen Shot 2018-06-19 at 11.47.52 PMrch, not obviously hurt, in fact I thought I was over that hurt, but I wasn’t.

Last week I sent out an email to some of my girlfriends who are trained in inner healing ministry.  We met for a couple of hours and through the leading of the Holy Spirit, they helped me deal with my pain, the trauma of proton therapy, and I was reminded of the closeness of Jesus.

This time required me to look back on my life.  It allowed me to ask Jesus where he was in different seasons of joy and suffering.  I recognized things and people who have become idols in my life.  I have looked to them to secure my future, instead of looking to the one who is not bound by life or breath.

Please don’t think this time was all serious.  (That is not the way of things with God, he’s pretty happy and has a stellar sense of humor.)  At one point, I was on the floor of a prayer room with a friend on either side of me comforting my pain.  And as I considered what we must look like, three grown women on the floor like children, I was amused.  Then, I was beyond amused and laughing, and later, I was laughing hard enough my sides were hurting.

Life is like the Exodus in a lot of ways.  You walk through it, experiencing times of great deliverance and times of great suffering.  Like the slaves leaving Egypt, God uses those times to refine you, to prepare you for the bigger and better things.  Through out it all, the only real choice you have is Who you are going to worship.  Are you going to worship God, and recognize his goodness and desire to work all things together for you as you love him and walk in obedience, or are you going to worship yourself, or other people, or possessions to work all things out together for your good?  When we stop and evaluate it, it sounds stupid to put trust in things or people, they will perish, but it is so hard to STOP & worship God.  It’s a choice, daily to choose him.

Take time to worship the only one worthy of it.  Ask for help if you need to get past spiritual strongholds that keep you from better things.  Find something that makes you laugh REALLY REALLY hard.

Blessings!