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

How did I get here?

Ever thought, felt or said that?  Well that has been the cry of my heart the past week.

I was caught unawares by situations and questions without answers.  I felt totally inadequate to respond.  My heart has felt so torn with the pain that I’ve witnessed and experienced. The specifics don’t matter for your tribulation will look different from mine. What matters is the truth the Holy Spirit revealed to me this morning “there is nothing holding you back”.  I was like a kid on Christmas morning as that truth sank in, literally giddy after feeling overwhelmed.

Since my last post life has felt like rapid-fire quicksand.  Not two words you usually use together?   Think of a fist of quicksand that first hits you then sucks you down with the hit.  

Sandman Punch

Sand Man from Spider Man 3 (2007)

One thing after another until it seemed I must be slipping away from God because what I was seeing and experiencing was so opposite to who He is.  I felt overwhelmed. I needed direction and knew it required change on my part but had no clue what that change looked like.  That was a torment in and of itself.  

I’m one who tends to withdraw and do my best to draw closer to God at times like these rather than reach out for help.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but it is possible to miss the very help you are seeking.  Multiple people were able to see my pain, even though I wasn’t asking for help.  They did not let me push them away with whatever version of “I’m OK” I was fronting to them.

As I reflect, I count 7 people that created space for me to just be overwhelmed without judging me.  Imagine that …. 7 people … God’s perfect number.

First they listened as I poured out my heart. When they responded basically they all told me the same thing even though they do not know one another.  Hmmm … might this be my Heavenly Father speaking?

So like Moses I made the choice to turn aside and look at this phenomenon.  It’s amazing what you find when you take the time to look for and to listen to the specific facet of God that each person holds.  By choosing to turn my focus, I found wisdom, strength and love right there in front of me “in the midst” of being overwhelmed.

Yet, the heaviness persisted.  Enter Jesus armed with truth.

As I worshipped Jesus and my Heavenly Father with dance and song this morning I heard the words “There is nothing holding you back.  It’s a ruse.  I’m no farther away from you than I have ever been or ever am.”  In that moment I experienced the truth of John 1:5 “A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottomsIt cannot and will not be quenched.No wonder I felt as giddy as a child on Christmas morning.  Joy and laughter bubbled up from within me.  

What had changed? Me.  Where I had been captive to the enemies lies that somehow my circumstances were putting distance between my Heavenly Father and me, I’d been set free. Truth does that regardless of circumstances created by our choices or the choices of others.

You’ve probably noticed that each of us has free will. 🙂  Because of that fact I have changed my thinking from God is in control to God is in charge.  He does not control our thoughts and choices e.g., Adam & Eve.  Our choices impact us and everyone around us. The ripple continues as we are impacted by the choices of others. Sometimes it’s hard to watch or experience other people’s choices.  Jesus demonstrated He understood how difficult that is when he spoke with the rich young ruler.  Jesus offered him eternal life but the young ruler chose riches.  Jesus did not interfere with his free will.  Tell me that didn’t hurt!  (Mark 10:17-27).

The good news is the hand of the One in charge is not shortened that it cannot save (Isaiah 59:1); nothing is too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:17) and because He is the only One that makes the impossible, possible (Mark 10:27)  He can take what the enemy has purposed for evil and turn it to His good purpose (Genesis 50:20).

How am I so sure?  Our Heavenly Father solved the problems of sin, death and eternal separation from God created by Eve’s choice with Jesus.  I think He can solve whatever other problem we may encounter.

Whenever or wherever in your life you ask yourself the question of “How did I get here?”  I offer you 2 things.

  • The truth that there is nothing that can hold you back from God’s love for you.  Any distance you feel is a ruse. ( Romans 8:38-39 )
  • The wisdom my sweet husband offered to me.  He is a wise man. Let go but don’t give up.  The two are opposite ends of the spectrum of hope.  Letting go put’s the matter in God’s hands; giving up declares the situation is bigger than God.

Use your free will to choose wisely.

There’s always more

Being honest it doesn’t always feel that way. At least it hasn’t to me recently.  Anyone else agree?

I think that is why Our Heavenly Father created horizons.

Two weeks ago I had a dream about being intimately examined by a physician.  What he found he wanted to show to everyone.  That made me very uncomfortable even though I was covered and protected.  White and pure was what I saw that he wanted to show people.  The revelation that came immediately after the dream was that people that are much more educated and learned than I am want to learn of the intimate places My Heavenly Father, The Great Physician, and I have shared and what has come out of that.  The question I heard was “are you willing to be that transparent” because it made me really uncomfortable in the dream.  However it seemed like it was going to help a lot of people and they would be able to learn from it – like a teaching hospital.

What followed the revelation was the memory of when my father passed away and how excruciatingly painful that was for me.  And so from this intimate place, I share my experience with the hope that this will be a “teaching hospital” for those in the midst of grief.

When I was 11 my Dad experienced the first of 7 heart attacks; followed by multiple respiratory failures from  treatment for hemosiderosis (in laymen’s terms your body is basically rusting from the inside out); and finally pancreatic cancer.  Every time he went acute I made it back from Tennessee to Ontario to be by his side.  Until the final day of his life.

It was his birthday.  I called early in the morning and sang happy birthday to him over the phone [you may disagree, but my Dad thought Barbara Streisand had nothing on me 🙂 ].  According to my Mom, tears rolled down his cheek as he was no longer able to respond verbally.  A short time later I received a call that I needed to come quickly, symptoms made it evident his time was very short.  I left immediately on the first flight out.  He was still alive when I landed in the city where he lived.  But in the 20 minutes it took to drive to my parents apartment he transitioned from this world to heaven.

My perspective when I heard this news was I had failed my Father when he needed me most; I had failed my brother who left my father’s side to meet me at the airport and there was nothing I was ever going to be able to do to fix either of those things.  My pain expressed itself in a scream I can still hear.  However, it has lost its power to torment me.

I’m guessing “how is that possible” might be what you are thinking.

I was not able to “see the more” in that moment.  Actually it was several years before I had the courage to allow my Heavenly Father to show me that moment from His perspective.  When I was ready to look, it was amazing what God showed me.  All that time I thought what I was feeling was my Dad’s pain at failing him when he needed me most.  Actually, what I was feeling was my own pain at not living up to my expectation of what I “should” be for my Dad and my family.

The truth was my Dad was no longer in any pain at all.  He actually was feeling the best he ever had felt.  Free from all pain.  I learned after the fact from my brother, that he had counted the cost before coming to the airport and still made the choice to meet me because he did not want me to be the only one that wasn’t with Dad at his transition.  Yes, my brother is my hero.

So after believing for so long that nothing could ever fix what had transpired, I allowed my Heavenly Father to lift my eyes from that bedroom to the horizon and discover the more He had for me.

Because it was my pain and no one else’s; it was also my choice to hold on to my pain and the torment attached to it or to exchange my mourning for His comfort (Matt 5:4).

I had judged myself and found myself lacking and unknowingly come into agreement with the lie that I deserved the pain and torment I was experiencing.  That is a lie straight from the pit of hell.  How do I know that?  Because that belief declares the stripes Jesus bore to pay the price for the chastisement of my peace as not enough. (Isaiah 53:5)

Freedom.  I was no longer trapped in that bedroom sitting alone by my Dad’s side, apologizing for how I had failed and telling him I would see him in heaven.  As I surrendered my pain in exchange for God’s comfort I suddenly saw a vision of that bedroom and behind me was my Dad, bathed in light, whole and healthy, rather than frail and consumed by cancer.  He was looking at me and the expression on his face was one of love and wishing I could know in that moment the truth that I know now.

Even in this moment, I am experiencing the truth of the more the horizon holds.

I started out by telling you it was 2 weeks ago I had the dream.  That same morning I was driving to another state to coordinate a conference.  I came out of the hills to the flatlands and my breath was taken away by the expanse of the horizon.  I made a voice memo to remind me “I can never get to the horizon.  It is so big and it just keeps moving out.  It’s a parable.  It’s the same as Your love.  I can see it and its expansiveness.  But I can never get to the edge of it.  It is always there.  It is always more than I get to; more than I can take in; more than I can traverse.  There is always more.”

Promptly after that conference I took ill with a nasty virus and have been ill ever since.  This morning was a wrestling match with Holy Spirit as I have been hearing the call to write since yesterday, but still felt so weak my response was I can’t, I have nothing to share.  When I woke early this morning I did my best to somehow fall back to sleep but I could not silence the call to go and listen to recent voice memos on my phone.  Really?  It can’t wait?

You are reading this post, so you know who won the wrestling match 🙂

I pressed the play button and was immediately reminded about the limitless more of God. Hope, that has been sorely lacking recently, returned.  I had been consumed with believing rest was the only thing I needed and was upset with being awakened so early.  My Heavenly Father knew what I needed even more was hope.

That’s exactly what was waiting for me.  It awaits you too.

Lurking Dragons – Part 2

The blinders are off.

I’m seeing more and more dragons … and it’s a very good thing.

You know the Shakespeare quote “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”?  Ditto for dragons only they don’t smell sweet!  You can call a dragon whatever you want, but they all smell like fear mixed with insatiable need.

After catching the scent of my first dragon last week; I was much quicker to recognize the scent this week.

What am I talking about?  That feeling you have when something just feels too big to engage. Whenever you get close to “it”, all the “danger, danger” warnings go off in your head.  Whatever that “thing” is, you are convinced it is impossible to conquer or impossible to supply the need it creates,  so you put as much of a moat as you can between you and it.  Problem is …. dragons can fly.  Bummer.

Toruk Makto - Avatar 2009

Toruk Makto – Avatar 2009

Now that you know how to identify lurking dragons, have you sensed any lately where you live?  And, oh by the way – you LIVE in your belief systems.  That is where you will find the dragons I’m talking about.

Why would a person want to “take on” a lurking dragon?  Why not just build a better defense system?  FREEDOM that’s why.  No more energy wasted trying to keep the dragon at bay, to hide from the dragon, or to serve its whims.  Dragons are prone to hang out in dark areas so take out your light saber (the Word of God) and vaporize them.

What does all this imagery look like real time?  Below is from my journal this week.

Rest is so sweet but I have not been able to enjoy that sweetness
because the enemy steals that from me by tormenting me with:
guilt when I want to rest;
or fear that I will never be able to get enough rest;
or hopelessness that it is pointless to rest
because no matter how much I rest,  I am still tired.
I break agreement with those lies to cut off the access the enemy
has had to steal the sweetness of rest from me.
The truth is rest is promised to me:
“I will give my beloved rest” (Psalm 127:2)
and God only gives good gifts. (James 1:17).
I come out of agreement with the lies that I have to feel guilty;
or that I am wasting time when I rest;
or with anything that is contrary to rest being sweet;
including the lie that rest is actually my enemy
because I can never get enough of it so it is a torment to me.
I break off agreement with that ungodly expectation.
My God says He will supply ALL my needs (Phil 4:19)
and that includes my needs for rest.
Ahhh – this has been a lurking dragon that has felt insatiable.
However, I can look at it.  I can touch it.
I can open it up to be supplied and not be consumed by it.  Hallelujah!

Sweet rest!

Sea Lions - Santa Cruz, CA - April 2013

Sea Lions – Santa Cruz, CA – April 2013

Care to join me for some dragon-free living?