Club of Endurance

I have a question for you – what is your reaction to the word endurance?

Take a moment.  Think about it.  Got your answer?

Did you know endurance is a gift?  Are you surprised as I was? Continue reading

The Veil

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
So all of us who have had that veil removed
can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.
And the Lord—who is the Spirit—
makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18

Have you ever wondered what “the veil” is?  I have.  Just what veil is big enough to be able to prevent us from seeing the Lord and to rob us of freedom? Continue reading

How big is God’s strength?

Question for you – how big is God’s strength?

What’s the first word, image, sound or feeling of which you became aware when I asked you that question?

For me it was the horizon.

Second question.  When you ask God for strength, how do you receive it?  Do you try to carry it or do you lean into it?

I discovered this morning I’ve been trying to carry it, and it’s not working for me.  Why?  Because of the answer to question 1.

This morning I went forward for prayer at church as our pastor said anyone that is struggling with health issues come forward.  Struggling is a very good word to describe the last month for me.

I had my eyes closed, my hands open to receive and someone touches my hand and starts to pray for me.  I felt this infusion of something very powerful but at the same time I felt my knees buckle, like this is too big for me.  For a minute or two I tried to stand there, but I knew to fully receive what my Heavenly Father was doing I just had to totally let go and do exactly that … receive.

I stepped over to a wall just a few feet in front of me, slid down it and sat there leaning up against it.  It was so cool, so strong, immovable …  hmmmmmm … just like Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit – my rock.  I just had to lean in more, the strength of it felt sooooo good. The more I leaned, the more I relaxed, the more I received.

Revelation.  This is it.  This is Psalm 29:11 come to life for me.

The Lord will give [unyielding and impenetrable] strength to His people;
the Lord will bless His people with peace.

I have been meditating on this verse ever since Holy Spirit highlighted it to me almost two month’s ago in my post “Manufacturer’s Instructions”.   This is part 2 of my new paradigm about strength.  My perspective of God’s strength has been something additional I had to pile on to all I was already carrying and then be able to wield it skillfully, so there was no way it could be refreshing or empowering – rather just the opposite.   That’s why my knees buckled this morning, my body reacted before I could “brace myself”.  Jehovah “sneaky” caught me unawares to set me free to receive the gift of totally leaning into His strength.

Now I know why I was so drawn to these cliffs during our trip to California last year … as big as they are, the strength God has for me to lean on is bigger.

Psalm 62 8.001

He has more than enough strength for every one of us.  Care to lean in with me?

IF you seek me

Light in the darkness ... moonset over the Gulf of Mexico Jan. 27, 2013

Light in the darkness … moonset over the Gulf of Mexico Jan. 27, 2013

… you WILL find me.

Did you notice there are not any qualifiers on that?

It’s not you’ll find me if:

  • you’re perfect and never mess up
  • it’s sunny
  • you got a raise today
  • your family is happy and safe
  • you get a promotion
  • all your problems go away

It’s just “you WILL find me”.  IF you seek me, you WILL find me.  It’s carte blanche.  It is any time, any place, any situation.

Sometimes we just need to keep seeking/looking even when all seems dark … who knows you just might discover a moonset.  And you know what follows moonset right … the dawn of a new day.

Dawn of a new day

Dawn of a new day

Is that difficult for you to believe?  Maybe that’s why you are having trouble finding.

You’ve heard of rose-colored glasses?  Well that’s exactly what our personal beliefs are to each of us; the glasses through which we see the world.   Sometimes we need to get our eyes checked and get a new prescription so we can see what has been blurred from our vision before.

No worries if you find it hard to honestly believe that God wants you to seek Him and that if you do you will find Him.  No need to feel bad or hide.  Just ask a simple question of Your Heavenly Father – Reveal me to me Lord.

He’s just waiting to show you where an experience in your life set-up a distorted belief about Him.  He truly wants you to be set free from any misconceptions you have about Him that have been sewn into your life from other hurting people hurting you.

Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  What that tells me is when God makes a promise, He keeps it.  You can rely on it.  There is no shadow of turning with our Heavenly Father … the Amplified version of this verse (James 1:17) reads:

Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].

Did you catch that — God never turns so that He is eclipsed from us.

What is it He wants us to find?  (Eph 1:18-20)

By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones),”

What makes up our inheritance?

 the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness
of His power in and for us who believe,

How great is that power He wants us to find?

” … as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,
Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places].”

Yup – you got it — our Heavenly Father tells us to seek Him and promises we will find Him because He wants to flood our hearts with light, truth, and hope so that we may take hold of our inheritance which is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

So here is where I draw on the prayers I’ve requested from friends to have godly courage to be transparent on this blog.

What has my seeking looked like?  Why did that first picture of the darkness being pierced by the setting moon strike such a chord with me??

My seeking took on a whole new depth and dimension 15 years ago when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  The gloves came off.  I was angry and I was desperate.  Finally I was real with myself and with God and it has been quite a journey of revelation ever since.  I continue to seek; He continues to reveal Himself to me, and to reveal me to me.    My most recent “find” came when I least expected it … at 5:15 AM out of a sound sleep.  Yes, God’s ways are mysterious 🙂

It was a Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago and my alarm on my iPhone went off at 5:15 AM.  My first response was “oh great, I forgot to turn off my alarm last night”.  However, when I reached for my phone to turn it off and saw what time it was, I thought I don’t remember setting an alarm for 5:15 … uh … that would be because I didn’t.  On iPhones you have a list of alarm times that you have set previously.  There was no alarm set for 5:15 AM, and yet the alarm had rung.  OK God, You have my attention.

So I asked Him – what are You trying to tell me God.  I heard John 5:15.  I looked it up.

“The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus Who had made him well.”

I can’t tell you I honestly understood what was happening, but Mary’s example of agreeing with what the angel had told her even when she did not understand seemed like wisdom to me (Luke 1:35).  So, I did.  I simply prayed I agree with Your Word Father that it is Jesus who has made me well.   The best way I can describe what I was sensing/feeling is this was going to be my testimony too if I would just take hold of what God was offering me.

I told my husband about it later that day and he asked me what I thought was going on. I told him, I think God is telling me He has healed me.  I can’t explain it, I’m just telling you what happened.

The following day I went for dental crown work.  In the last decade any dental work has always been followed by a Fibromyalgia migraine … not so this time.  Actually the muscle relaxer I always take before dental work made me sick, like my body couldn’t tolerate it.

Later in the week a huge storm front moved through which would normally have resulted in my muscles feeling like they would tear if I moved.  No pain.

Are you getting excited here?  I certainly was.

That same week I went to see my acupuncturist for an appointment I had previously scheduled because I always need to see him after dental work.  During the treatment he looked at me and said “Something amazing or miraculous has happened here.  All the old patterns that have been present since I started treating you are gone.  All I see is a very new pattern a few days old that I think is stress related.”

I looked at him and said “I knew it!!”  He was seeing what I was experiencing; healing and the stress of a big project at work.  That big project meant multiple 16 hour days but when it was over — still no Fibromyalgia pain.  I was exhausted, but who wouldn’t be?

So, back to where I started “IF You SEEK me …. You WILL FIND me”.   Don’t give up no matter how long you have been seeking.  I’m living proof it is true because only the the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe  (Eph 1:19working in me could cause what I have been experiencing.

Worth a little seeking on my part?  Your part?  I think so 🙂 Don’t you?

Where else can you find a guarantee like this one?

You know the expression “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”

Well … let’s prove “them” wrong.  What do you say?

I’d rather take the time to know what I have while I have it, wouldn’t you?

I was just reading a friend’s blog The View is Great . You’d think from the title of the post it’s about her birthday … but what I saw was a post about thankfulness.  She took the time to look around her and really see.  From that position of thankfulness this happened:

This is when it hit me…a huge ah ha birthday moment. Even though I’m getting older, there’s still so much left. There are places to go, friends to make, things to experience that I just can’t even imagine now. So much of life is still a mystery to me.

In this new stage of my life, with my mostly empty nest, and with the hype about middle age it would be easy to feel like my life is over. But, I don’t feel that way. As a matter of fact, I feel like things make more sense now. The tough times have taught me to wait on the good. The good times are to be treasured.

It a weapon you know … thankfulness.  It pushes back the things that try to steal life from us … like cynicism, criticism, jealousy, doubt, bitterness, being judgmental, hopelessness, and fear to name a few.

I was about to type “and it’s free”; but it’s not.  There is a cost to thankfulness because it involves a choice.  I wasn’t always aware of this, but each of us make our choices because in some place in our beings we believe we will gain from whatever it is we are choosing.

You’ll have to figure out what you gain by your choices.

What follows is a list of my “gains” that upon further reflection I discovered were actually losses.

  • Cynicism – I gained self-protection from being disappointed but it closed the door to joys yet to be discovered.
  • Criticism – again I gained self-protection because if you’re wrong and I am right, I don’t have to change.  The world becomes a very small place from this vantage point.
  • Jealousy – I gained the right to feel sorry for myself but I opened the door to envy.  Envy can eat you up quicker than cancer.  It is a poison that makes it impossible to participate in the joy of those around you.  Personally I want to participate in as much joy as possible!
  • Doubt.  Ah, the great “what if”.  It masqueraded as “caution” in my life. Of course there is a place for caution in our lives … like look both ways before you cross the street (thanks Mom 🙂 ); but doubt can paralyze you like a slow toxin.  Rather than being thankful for the unknown and new opportunities you are paralyzed from moving forward by doubt.
  • Bitterness. I’ve talked about this one before.  Best way I can sum this up “Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the person sitting next to you.”
  • Being judgmental.  BIG self-protection here.  We can rationalize a host of our actions by judging others/things.  But the kicker is you truly reap what you sew.  The example that comes immediately to mind for me is the experience I have had with acupuncture the last year.  For years I “judged” acupuncture as something eastern and dangerous that I had to guard myself against.  Why?  Because I did not understand it.  And, if I judged it as bad it meant I didn’t have to risk checking it out.  I was doing the “right” thing but not exposing myself to it.  Well, when I got desperate enough after a 12-week migraine to tell God “I’ll do anything” what I heard while my husband prayed for me was the word acupuncture.  Unexpected.  To make a long story short, God put the pieces in place for me to see an acupuncturist (referred by my pastor … gotta love God’s sense of humor) within 72 hours of that prayer.  It has changed my life in so many ways for the positive that will have to be an entirely separate post.  You better believe I repented of judging acupuncture as “dangerous and bad” and confessed that judgment as sin and asked God to put the complete work of the cross between me and all consequences of sewing and reaping that judgment.  That judgment had separated me for years from exactly what I needed.
  • Hopelessness.  Immediately I see a picture of quick-sand.  It gave me permission to lock that part of my heart away that felt hopeless.  Because hopelessness is a bad thing right?  So I’ll just lock it away.   But all that did was set-up a festering caldron within me.  Until I let my heart have a voice and express that hopelessness God could not show me the truth I needed to be freed from it.  Don’t get me wrong here.  I am NOT saying it easy to make the choice to be thankful when you feel hopeless, but it literally is the life-saver to pull you out of the mire.  When I am there, I am thankful that God still loves me (Rom 8:38-39), I am thankful that He will show me the truth I need to destroy the hopelessness if I will only let Him.  (Ps 32:5-8)
  • Fear.  I chose fear for a L-O-N-G time.  I thought it kept me safe — safe from getting my heart hurt, safe from what I did not understand, safe from trying and failing, safe from letting you see the real me and not like me.  Does anyone see a problem here?  What fear actually did was rob me from being fully alive.

So what are you gaining from your choices?

Would you like to choose thankfulness with me?  I’ll start:

  • I am thankful for my friend who blogged about her birthday and reminded me of the power of thankfulness.
  • I am thankful for the nurse practitioner who saw me last night at 7:00 PM to help me with the sudden extreme hip and leg pain I was having while she herself is within a week of delivering her child and was exhausted from her day.  I will not forget her kindness to me.
  • I am thankful for the medicine they gave me that has eased the pain.
  • I am thankful for my husband who has cared for me so diligently through this.
  • I am thankful for this day to rest and heal.
  • I am thankful for my “amazing grace” blanket that covers me given to me by 3 wonderful friends at the time of my mother’s passing. I just love being covered by amazing grace!
  • I am thankful that everywhere I look in my den I see where my husband has worked to make a home I love to be in; from the furniture he has built; to the french doors he put in that would be easier for me to open than sliding doors; to the HD TV and surround system he installed so I could enjoy my NFL football … not to mention the Olympics 🙂
  • I am thankful for VPN and the people I work with that have created a system that allows me to be home and heal and still have access to my office if needed.
  • I am thankful for comfy slippers and pj’s.
  • I am thankful for the fireplace across from me and the picture that hangs above it that reminds me of love in so many ways.
  • I am thankful for windows to look out and enjoy God’s creation even when I am indoors.
  • I am thankful that in 2 hours I get to see my acupuncturist!
  • I am thankful for this quote my husband just shared with me from John Lennon “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down “happy”.  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stop, take a look around, see anything for which to be thankful?  I’d love to hear your thankful list!

Together we’ll prove “them” wrong.  We will know what we have before it is gone … yup … that’s what I’m talking about.

Pain and Provision

My  husband has an expression “too heavenly minded to be any earthly good”.

That’s not what I’m talking about here.  I’m not talking about stuffing your heart away so that you don’t feel loss, grief, pain, disappointment or whatever lack has occurred in your life; then when your heart tries to surface for air you smack it down again with your will beating-up your heart with something like “you’re wrong/bad for feeling that way”; “if you were a good christian you wouldn’t feel this way”.

No, I’m talking about experiencing real pain without shame attached to it and experiencing real provision in the midst of the pain.

Last week I was looking back in my journal from last year.  I read the journal entry that marked the six-month anniversary of my Mom’s transition to heaven.  What jumped out at me and what has been rolling around in my thoughts this week is “pain and provision, they can co-exist“.  As I learned of the shooting that occurred in Aurora, CO this week, the volume cranked up on “pain and provision can co-exist“.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing losing my Mom to the trauma that was inflicted on so many innocent lives in Colorado.  What I am saying is pain is pain … no matter what the cause …  what the form (emotional, physical, spiritual, financial) … when it is your pain, you want answers; you want it to go away; you want it to stop eating away at you.  You want and need provision.  

Here is what pain and provision looked like for me:

July 4, 2011

You always know what I need Father, so amazing.  I’ve been more and more irritable the past few days.  I haven’t wanted to journal.  It’s been hard for me to take-in as real what I’ve been reading in  “Have Heart”.  There has been a place in me that has been almost cynical that they are reading into scripture what they need to see so that they can deal with their grief; but I’m not sure I can believe what they are saying is true.  And it’s 6 months today since Mom’s transition. 

First I want to thank my spirit for leading me to know I really needed to spend this time being still with You even if I had no idea what to say.  I opened my journal and it opens automatically to the first page, which was right in the middle of Mom’s transition.  Reading through was like reconnecting with You.  I was so aware of You; Your presence; Your provision during that time; I’m not sure what has happened recently that has made it so much harder to believe Mom really is alive in a better place and not just gone.  

What I just heard is
the longer someone/something is gone; the more you want it back”. 

Huh, there is definitely something stirring in me at that thought … like usually when time passes and you are waiting, it is with the hope of something being resolved.  But, this has felt like the more time that passes; the farther away I am from Mom; the more real the separation feels/becomes. 

I think of what You pointed out to me shortly after Mom’s transition and highlighted as I re-read my journal this morning.  Turn aside and look and I will see You.  That’s basically what “Have Heart” has been saying – turn aside and look and you will see God’s hand; His nods; His provision; His comfort and assurances; His truth.  You have the answers for each person’s grief.  One size does not fit all 

Oh my, I’ve been stuck.  I have not been able to reconcile the pain of my grief with the truth of Your Provision.  The two in my mind have been exclusive. 

How can pain and provision co-exist? If there is pain does that make the provision a “fabrication”; if there is provision does that make the pain either self-pity or a slap in Your face?  

I’m aware of 2 things.  I heard “in the midst” and I need to go search that at Bible Gateway.  And I saw a picture of You, Jeshua first at Gethsemane and then on the cross … pain and provision definitely both existed at that point and the reconciliation / resolution was the resurrection!  I just saw Jesus with Mary “why do you weep?”  I am seeing Mary as I’ve never seen her before (because I’ve always focused on You) … Mary becoming aware of the reality of the truth that the one she loved and thought was lost to her, was very much alive. 

Oh, Lord – that’s what I just haven’t really been able to be sure of as I have read “Have Heart” … that the one(s) I have loved are not lost to me, but very much alive.   Forgive me for my doubts, Abba, Jeshua, Holy Spirit.  I forgive myself.  I thank You for giving me eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to receive as one being taught by You!  To be set free by Your/the truth!  I take the authority You transmit to me Holy Spirit and tell the spirit of doubt that has been tormenting me with “how can you be sure” that the light, love and truth of God Most High, my Heavenly Father, has revealed you and you must go and deal with Jesus.  And Father, just like Your arch angel Michael asked You, I ask You – that You, Most High God would rebuke whatsoever powers and principalities of darkness that have had access to me through this sin.  I thank You for the complete work of the cross and I ask You to put it between me and all consequences of this sin.  

I thank You for all the blessings of Mom’s and Dad’s time here with me/us on earth that I do miss, but more than that I thank You that neither of them are lost to me but fully alive in You.
Huh, I AM waiting for something with the hope of it being resolved!
NOT, time passing that separates me further and further
from those I love.
THANK YOU LORD!!

That’s why I’m here writing and sharing with you … because I know that I know that I know that I can be real with myself; real with God and find unconditional hope.

That’s my experience.

But I am not alone.

This link [ http://aminiatureclaypot.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/so-you-still-think-god-is-a-merciful-god/ ] will take you to a blog written by a woman that was in the Aurora, CO theatre during the shooting who knows that she knows that she knows that in the midst of pain there is provision.

Let your heart speak, God is listening

Let your heart speak, God is listening

Whatever your pain, there is provision for you too!