Like A Rock

Like a rock

Like a rock

As you gaze at this picture what is your immediate response?  No thinking here … your instantaneous, uncalculated response.

Why am I asking?  Because of what Holy Spirit revealed to me in Psalm 73:26

My health may fail,
and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
He is mine forever

As I read I felt led to study the Hebrew to gain more understanding of what my Heavenly Father has promised to me for the places in me that are the most weak and weary.  The depth of this wonderful truth and promise unfolded before me.

God is the strength,
like that of a rock cliff that cannot be moved,
of my heart – all that makes me, me:
my inner me, mind, will, heart, soul,
my knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory,
my inclination, resolution, determination, and conscience.
He is the strength of the heart of my moral character,
the place out of which comes my appetites,
emotion, passions and courage.
He has chosen Himself to be my portion,
possession, award, share,
and parcel (i.e., of land – a place to dwell)
since ancient time,
continuously, perpetually,
and for the unending future of eternity.

WOOOO HOOOO!!  Now there is a reason to hope!  I don’t have to muster up the strength I need.  Instead I get His strength, like a rock, as my supply and place to dwell.

My prayer for you is you will open your heart to receive your portion of the infinite supply Your Heavenly Father has for you so that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit!  (Romans 15:13)

The Trap

Bear-Trap

There is a very fine line between humility and self-deprecation, i.e., belittling or undervaluing oneself.  That line is like spring-wire on a trap.  Who’s trap?  Good question.

Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil
walks about like a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour.
1 Peter 5:8 NKJV

Humility is realizing my genuine need for God in every moment of every day to fill me with Himself so that I may be all that He created me to be.  Without Him, I am like a light bulb with no power attached to it.  It does not mean the light bulb itself is worthless.

To be blunt, I’m calling God a liar when I self-deprecate myself and call myself worthless.  Father God paid a HUGE price to clear away all obstacles and hindrances that separate me from Him in order that we may spend eternity together.  His actions tell me what He deems my worth. (John 3:16, Romans 8:32)

Where am I going with this?  Glad you asked.

Today is Mother’s Day here in the United States.  It’s a VERY big deal.  It should be, after all Mother’s create space for life to happen in the womb and in the world.

I’ve never had a child.  Enter the trigger wire.  It’s very easy on this day for me to get focused on all the things I AM NOT.  That is the path my enemy would like me to take in order to devour me, steal my energy and my hope.

What’s your trigger wire?  What sends you down the path of focusing on what you are not?  Is it  your health, your weaknesses, your failures, your finances, lost loved ones, unreached goals, the successes of people around you, something else?

Some may say this is a discipline to motivate yourself to be better by focusing on what you are not.  As I type this to you, I see this image of someone digging a deep hole at the start of a race, jumping in and saying this is the place I need to start … rather than on level ground at the starting line.

The bible does tell us to first examine the plank in our own eye, before trying to take the speck out of another person’s eye (Matt 7:3-4).  So it does call us to know ourselves and to be honest with ourselves and with God about who we are – a work in progress that is completely loved by the Creator (Ephesians 2:9-10).

However, Jesus also tells us:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it:
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Matthew 22:37-39

Did you catch it?  “Your shall love your neighbor AS YOURSELF”.  If we love ourselves by belittling and undervaluing ourselves, we are going to do the same to the people around us.  Do you see how that could be a problem???

Fear not … the Owner’s Manual tells us how to live REAL without self-deprecation.

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray.
Pray about everything.
He longs to hear your requests,
so talk to God about your needs
and be thankful for what has come.
And know that the peace of God
(a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding)
will stand watch over
your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
fill your minds with beauty and truth.
Meditate on whatever is honorable,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is good,
whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.
Philippians 4:6-8

What those verses look like for me today are:

  • This blog post is an answer to my prayers, i.e., my honest conversation with my Heavenly Father this morning about how I was feeling about myself and this day.
  • I am thankful for His truth that sets me free to receive His love for me, to be able to love myself and to love those around me.
  • I am filled with His peace in exchange for the agitation with which I woke.
  • As I choose to focus on beauty and truth, what is honorable, right, pure lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy, my thoughts are flooded with images of my Mom; the many women I know that are mothers; and the opportunities that have been afforded to me to be the love of God to nurture and create space for life in the lives around me.

Our Heavenly Father can and wants to do the same for you, regardless of what “your trap” may be.

Click picture for slideshow.

Hide and Seek

Click on photo to see slide show.

I was surprised in my last post to find my Heavenly Father hidden in the darkness.  He wasn’t through with surprising me.  I was completely caught off guard these past 2 weeks to find Him in the midst of qigong.  I have quickly had the opportunity to put to the test the quote from my last post that has been resonating within me asking how willing am I to keep my heart “unoffendable”?  Lucky me ;-)

“If you’ll keep your heart unoffendable
I will use you to demolish the things that tried to demolish you.”
Testimony by Elizabeth Reisinger

For those not familiar with my story – four years ago I’d reached the point that I told my husband I would “do anything” to get rid of Fibromyalgia Migraines that were lasting up to 12 weeks at a time.  His response to that was to pray for me and as he prayed I heard repeatedly “acupuncture”.

Bottom line of that experience, I learned that judging something can cost you big time. Acupuncture has helped me more than anything western medicine had to offer.  But it was only when I repented of the judgement/offense I had held towards eastern medicine that I was able to reap the benefit of what Father God has provided for thousands of years through acupuncture.  As I experienced great relief I made the comment to my Heavenly Father “it would have been nice if You’d provided this a little sooner.”  He softly replied, “you could not receive it with the judgment you had in place.”  I couldn’t argue with that!

Well, “my offend-able-ness” was about to be tested again.

Enter pangu qigong.  I’ve been skirting my way around it for several months.  Again, leary of the unknown and thinking it best to “protect myself”.  OK, I confess I can be a slower learner :) .

Right after my most recent post, what just happens to pop up on my Facebook newsfeed but a class being taught by my acupuncturist on pangu qigong.  As I glanced at the post I heard it again “if you will keep your heart unoffendable …”  Hmmmmmm – I had a choice to make.

I read about it www.pangu.org.  I prayed about it.  I asked for my husbands’s thoughts.  I asked for my BFF’s thoughts and asked another friend to pray.  Everything was lining up to tell me to “check this out”.  I had so many questions.  Are you in this Father?  Is this You providing this for me?  Come Holy Spirit and be my guide.

You know what?  The head knowledge of Matthew 7:7 has become experiential for me – if I seek Him, I will find Him … in the darkness, in things and places I never imagined.  How? As simple as the child’s game of “Hide and Seek”.  The catch is we MUST seek and keep on seeking … always, always seeking Him.

It’s not that our Heavenly Father does not want to be found.  He has hidden Himself in all He has created like a lover calling to a lover saying “show me you are interested”.  All the feelings that each of us hold within our hearts of wanting to be desired, courted, chosen and sought after – where do you think those come from?  I’ll give you a hint.  We are made in His image.  Yup.  There is a constant invitation from our Heavenly Father in everything around us  to seek Him out and find Him in order for us to delight in one another as we discover one another.

And, it is not that our Heavenly Father wants to make things difficult for us. Here in America we have “Easter Egg Hunts” for the children at Easter.  Colorful egg-shaped containers holding delectable treats are “hidden” by parents pretty much in plain view for children to seek and find with squeals of delight on Easter morning.  The children are not remotely aware that it was the parents that provided the opportunity for discovery and delight.

How many times are we like that? We are on a hunt and we don’t even realize what Father God has put directly in our path for us to discover to delight us and to provide for us.

So what discoveries did my Heavenly Father have waiting for me in qigong?

The Chinese imagery of sun (masculine strength), balanced with the moon (feminine strength) coming together in balance suddenly became My Heavenly Father (masculine strength) balanced with the nurturing of the Holy Spirit (feminine strength) all coming together in one being – Jesus – the first of many children, which would include me! Embracing “all the goodness the universe holds for a golden future”, became embracing all My Heavenly Father has created, called good (Genesis 1:31) and deeded to me through:

Jesus – the exact image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of creation, the eternal.
It was by Him that everything was created:
the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them,
all things seen and unseen,
thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities.
Every detail was crafted through His design,
by His own hands, and for His purposes.
He has always been!
It is His hand that holds everything together.

(Colossians 1:12-17).

Qijong is all about having life force energy flow through you unobstructed.  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  “But the water I give them,” he said,“becomes a perpetual spring within them, watering them forever with eternal life.” (John 4:14)

According to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19) is taking on new dimensions for me.  I’m realizing I have no clue what those riches in glory look like or what form they may take. But my Heavenly Father has promised me if I do my part to seek Him and will keep my heart unoffendable, He will cause the eyes of my heart to be flooded with light, so that I can know and understand the hope to which He has called me, and how rich is His glorious inheritance He has prepared for His children.  (Ephesian 1:18)

Now there’s a reason to hope!   Care to join me?

Dogwood Sun Shining Through

Hope for stuck places

You're Mine.001

It sounded like a war cry.  I heard it as I lay on my acupuncturist’s table earlier this week.  I felt a literal crack and something shift in my being.  All I saw was blackness and darkness, which scared me.  I started to say under my breath and then a little more loudly, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.  I belong to Jesus.  But the darkness did not lift.  I could not reconcile the darkness I was seeing and what I was hearing.  Even with the intensity of the cry, the voice sounded familiar but how could the voice of My Heavenly Father be part of this darkness?  I continued to repeat Jesus’ name waiting for instruction/revelation of what to do next.  No instruction came to me.  I was left with the ringing of “you’re mine” so clear within me; an unquestionable knowing that something very significant had just happened; but no understanding of what it was.

That state of limbo continued through to the next morning.  Without answers or understanding, the best thing I knew to do was to declare truth over myself as I walked:

  • The blood of Jesus redeems me from the hand of the enemy (Ps 107:2)
  • The blood of Jesus means satan has no place in me, no power over me, no unsettled debts against me (Rom 8:33-34)
  • Through the blood of Jesus I am justified, made righteous, just-as-if-I’d never sinned (Rom 5:9)
  • My body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed and sanctified by the blood of Jesus (1 Cor 6:19)

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “the truth will set you free”  (John 8:32).  Well that’s exactly what it did!

Shortly after declaring these truths over myself I recalled the verse

He made darkness His secret hiding place;
as His pavilion (His canopy) round about Him
were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
Psalm 18:11

Then I heard “you get it with your head, but you don’t get it with your heart that YOU’RE MINE.”  I looked again into the darkness and it split apart to reveal a diamond-shaped sphere of pure light on a throne.  It was so powerful that it was hard to look at while at the same time mesmerizing.  I heard it again “YOU’RE MINE”.  Oh how I wept as my heart “got it” and echoed “yes, I’M YOURS”.

Revelation came to me that the darkness was a filter of doubt rooted in my years and years of physical pain through which I was seeing Father God and His love for me.  This filter had kept a pathway open to one part of my heart creating an exposed, unguarded target for the enemy’s firey darts of torment, self-doubt, self-hatred and the darkness those poisonous darts inflict as they accompanied the Fibromyalgia flares in any of its ugly forms .  The crack I’d heard and the shift I’d felt the night before was Father God hidden in that dark place revealing to me a part of my heart that I did not even know was stuck in the darkness of doubt.  He is the light that darkness cannot quench (John 1:4-5) no matter where it resides, how long it has been present or how vast it is. His presence will destroy it.

I was completely undone.   How incredibly surprised I was.  I started to laugh and cried out   “You’re everywhere …. even in the darkness!!!”

Now in the “fairy-tale” version I would write “and she lived happily ever after with no more problems”  Trust me, I wouldn’t argue with that … but actually I think I’ve received something even better … unconditional hope :)

The Fibromyalgia pain did not go away.  It actually has been a very physically painful week – but I was safe in the midst of the storm, torment, doubt and self-hatred had no place to take hold.

Then came a 2nd gift while driving to work listening to a podcast.

“If you’ll keep your heart unoffendable
I will use you to demolish the things that tried to demolish you.”
Testimony by Elizabeth Reisinger

This woman’s battle looked completely different than mine, but the truth God told her resonated through me as I listened.

I propose to you my Heavenly Father is using this blog as a way for me to demolish the very things that have tried to demolish me.  Amazing, at least to me it is.

I have more to share on keeping your heart unoffendable in my next post. But for now I have a question for you:

Where are the stuck places in your life?

My most recent experience is just one of many that allow me to testify to you that truly unconditional hope is available to you even in the most stuck places of your life, whatever they may be.   My prayer for each of you reading this is you will be delightfully surprised to find our Heavenly Father hiding in that dark place and experience for yourself the sudden the brilliance of His presence breaking through the clouds as He reaches down from on high to draw you out of deep waters; to rescue you from your enemy who always attacks when and where we are weakest; and to deliver you to a place of safety because He delights in you (Psalm 18:16-19).

I’ve not been myself recently

Because I’ve been confused about who that is.

Time for a little more transparency here.  The Fibromyalgia has been in flare for close to two months now.  You may have heard the expression “running on borrowed time”, well I’ve been running on borrowed energy.  Last weekend, I came to a crashing halt.  I just wanted the pain to stop and I had no more answers.  Like I said, transparency.

There is no way I can say that I enjoy being in that state, but not once in my life has my Heavenly Father failed to meet me when I reach that point.  As I type this, I see this picture of someone drowning.  They are kicking and flailing to do the best they can with their own resources to save themselves, but it’s not until they stop that anyone else can reach them to help them.

Enter my answer, in a most unusual form.

I’m on my couch on Sunday morning, not able to make it to church.  My phone rings and it is my very close friend. She has severe back pain.  Can she come and use my massage chair?  Little did she know she was the answer to my prayer.  Don’t tell me our Heavenly Father doesn’t have a sense of humor :) .

God can and truly does take what the enemy purposes for evil and turn it to His good purpose. (Gen 50:20).

During our time together my massage chair was able to minister to her need and she ministered to my need to find out why “having answers” was so important to me. Through her prayers and questions I saw a moment in my past when I was a young teenager.  I was put to bed for weeks because I had postural tachycardia (think REALLY fast heart rate just changing positions from laying down to standing up) and the medical team had no answers. Enter the lie that life stopped for me because I had no answers.  Add to this the fact that my Father was a surgeon and when he had no answers … life stopped, literally.  No wonder answers have been so important to me and felt so huge.  No wonder it has been so easy for the enemy to confuse me into believing that there must be something wrong with me and that I am flawed because I have yet to find “an answer” to eliminate Fibromyalgia from my life.

As Holy Spirit revealed this faulty belief, i.e., lie that I had embraced unknowingly, He also showed me a vision.  I was standing in God’s hand with Him looking at me from all different angles and telling me “I don’t see any flaw/anything wrong” like someone inspecting their workmanship.  I had to make a choice would I believe my Creator that I am not flawed, or would I persist in believing that there must be something wrong with me.  I was stuck.  Which would I believe – my circumstances or my God?

I wish I could tell you I instantly made the right choice.  Instead, revelation came to me that the truth is when I don’t have answers all I need to do is rest and wait on My Heavenly Father to provide the answers, rather than flail about like the drowning victim I mentioned above.   The truth is with or without answers, I’m safe.  My Heavenly Father will provide. How can I be sure of that?  Matt 6:8, 25-34 Tells me my Heavenly Father knows everything I need before I even ask and He will provide it, so there is no need to worry.

I was out walking the next day pondering all of this and suddenly a flip switched in me “there’s nothing wrong with me” … “there’s nothing wrong with me” … it is the absolute opposite point of view from what I have believed and what I have “heard” every time I hurt.  The pain has been sending the message – there’s definitely something wrong with you.  NO!  The pain is an attack, it is not me.  My Creator wants me to see me the way He sees me – there’s nothing wrong with me.  There is nothing wrong with His handiwork.  (Ephesian 2:10 )

I flashed back to what Holy Spirit told me in 2008 when I had to take medical leave because of Fibromyalgia.  I was feeling like such a failure that the FMS was still present. At that time, my Heavenly Father asked me if the enemy continues to attack, does that make you a failure?  This flashback to 2008 was followed by a vision of England from WWII.  Germany continued to attack England over and over and over and over.  England never gave up, but they needed the help of their allies to destroy their enemy.  There was nothing “wrong” with England, their enemy just wanted them destroyed. Hmmmm … that sounds like my enemy as well who comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

The enemy may want me to be destroyed, but he has already lost.  Yeshua has already won this one for me!   How do I know that?

Furthermore, we know that God causes everything
to work together for the good of those who love God
and are called in accordance with His purpose;
because those whom He knew in advance,
He also determined in advance
would be conformed to the pattern of his Son,
so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers;
Romans 8:28-29 Complete Jewish Bible

My response was/is Holy Spirit help me to walk this out, just as You helped Daniel in the lion’s den.  Right in the midst of the enemy attack, help me to stay aligned with Your truth that there is nothing wrong with me and Yeshua has won the battle for me!

As I write this to you, I realize it is no coincidence the timing of this flare and attack on my identity.  In late February, I had the opportunity to go to a wonderful course by Alison Armstrong.  While I was there, my Heavenly Father provided to me the revelation of who I truly am.  And so, I close today by being myself, my true self, and sharing that with you.

Who Am I

Does patience make you see red?

Well, does it?  That could be a good thing.  Seriously.

Here in America “seeing red” is another expression for being angry or bad tempered.

How can that be a good thing – because it is actually a red flag that your patience is something you are trying to manufacture rather than putting on the gift of patience that our Heavenly Father gives us in Christ.

This was an eye opener for me.  Don’t know about you.

As the apostle Paul writes:

But hope does not involve what we already have or see.
For who goes around hoping for what he already has?
But if we wait expectantly for things we have never seen,
then we hope with true perseverance and eager anticipation.
Romans 8:24-25 – The Voice

Does that not sound like a set-up for a situation that would require patience?  But, isn’t it possible if you are hoping for something you may also be a tad bit worn out and frazzled, finding patience hard to come by?  I know in my journey as I wait for my complete healing from Fibromyalgia, that is often times the case.  Not to mention waiting for answers to prayers for the ones that I love.

So yesterday morning I go for my morning walk, and this little guy below is waiting for me in the field in front of our subdivision.  Rather unusual in a town of 90,000 people.

What’s even more unusual is this is not the first time I have seen him.  He has also been waiting in my yard several evenings the past few weeks when I pull in my drive way.  He sits nestled into a mulch pile starring at me as if I’m interrupting his rest.

OK, Father – I know You are trying to tell me something.  What is it about this little red fox that keeps “popping up” in my life that I need to know?

My answer arrived later in the morning when I opened up BibleGateway and this was the verse for the day.

Clothe yourselves therefore
as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives),
[who are] purified and holy and well-beloved
[by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by]
tenderhearted pity and mercy,
kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways,
[and] patience
[which is tireless and long-suffering,
and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].
Colossians 3:12 – Amplified

Where do we get such “clothes” to put on?

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
    my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10 – NRSV

Do you see it?

Everything in Colossians 3:12 and Isaiah 61:10 is what we receive by what Christ has done for us.  We are new creatures that are both human and God dwelling in one being. Before Christ – there never were such creatures.  (2 Cor. 5:17).  It’s not something we do or manufacture, it is who God has made us in Christ, clothed with all that He is.

Back to my original question – does patience make you see red?  If so, take heed of that “red flag”, or maybe as in my case a red fox :) , that if your patience does not come with good temper it is self-made not God provided.

Let yourself off the hook for trying to create in your own life what God has already provided for you by forgiving yourself.  Joyfully come into agreement with our Heavenly Father that in and of ourselves we do not have the power to endure whatever comes with good temper.  Be thankful He is not asking us to manufacture such patience of our own accord.

Invite Him to wrap You in his garments of salvation and robe of righteousness that includes all that His name tells us He is  … Merciful, Gracious, Slow to Anger and Abounding in Loving Kindness and Truth (Exodus 34:6).

Sounds a lot like Colossians 3:12 doesn’t it?  Not surprising.  He made us in His image. (Gen 1:26)

The next time patience makes you see red just stop and say “Thank You Lord for revealing me to me.  I surrender trying to manufacture patience.  Be the patience in me that is Your gift to me and part of Your plan and purpose to make me more fully into the image of Your Son and my brother, Jesus.”  (Romans 8:29).

Why me?

That was my question as I watched the news last night and learned of 21 christians beheaded by ISIS for their faith.

Why would the God of all creation want to be bothered by my needs for things like heat in the middle of an ice storm when there are individuals being martyred for their faith?  A sense of shame started to creep in that I had even had the audacity to ask for help.

The thoughts were barely finished when the red flag went up.  Shame does not come from my Heavenly Father, rather His Word tells me I am blameless, above reproach and before God in love (Eph 1:4).  Jesus has purchased that reality for me at great cost.  Everything I have learned about Father God, know about Him and continue to learn about Him tells me His desire is to interact intimately with every single life (Luke 12:7) and that He is more than enough to do exactly that (Job 42:2).  How utterly amazing You are Heavenly Father!!

What better tactic to separate us from the very One with whom we need to be continually interacting and co-laboring to release His kingdom of heaven on earth (Matt 6:10) than to cause us to withdraw out of a sense of shame.

Do not succumb to the bully’s tactic of putting a wedge between you and the very One who desires and can cause you to …

Arise, shine, for your light has broken through!
    The Eternal One’s brilliance has dawned upon you.
See truly; look carefully—darkness blankets the earth;
    people all over are cloaked in darkness.
But God will rise and shine on you;
    the Eternal’s bright glory will shine on you,
a light for all to see.
Isaiah 60:1-2 (The Voice)

Oh, and don’t let the “worthy” card mess you up either.  That’s just another enemy tactic because it’s not about being worthy.  It’s about God’s purpose in all of this … He’s done it all for His sake because He is soooooooo incredibly passionate about you and to have relationship with you.

So let’s get this clear:
it’s for My own sake that I save you.

        I am He who wipes the slate clean
and erases your wrongdoing.

        I will not call to mind your sins anymore.
Isaiah 43:25 (The Voice)

Nowhere in the bible can I find that if God supplies my needs, it takes away from His supply for anyone else.  He is infinite.  He has no beginning and no end.  There is always more of Him.  (John 1:1-5; Rev. 21:6)

Take heart.  Draw nigh to the Creator of all and co-labor with Him by praying His very Word back into this world to release heaven on earth. (Isaiah 55:11).  Ask and keep on asking!  (Matt 7:7).

So back to my original question “why me”?  Because my Heavenly Daddy says so!

All that "white stuff" is not snow.  It's 2 inches of slush that froze solid and was then covered by 1/2" of ice.

All that “white stuff” is not snow. It’s 2 inches of slush that froze solid and was then covered by 1/2″ of ice.

Click on photo for full-size image.