Did you know you can forget? Continue reading
It’s the dream our enemy tries to kill the most.
However the only way he really wins is if we quit dreaming, hoping and believing that the end truly is happily ever after. Continue reading
Stunned. Yup I think that’s a pretty good word to sum up that past 48 hours.
Psalm 32:5 puts it this way:
I acknowledged my sin to You,
and my iniquity I did not hide.
I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord
[continually unfolding the past till all is told]—
then You [instantly] forgave me the guilt and iniquity of my sin.
Before I go any further I want to share my simple definitions of two “religious” words.
- Sin – anything – thought, word or action – that separates us from God
- Iniquity – any belief about God that does not line up with Who He truly is
Back to the last 48 hours. I was on my acupuncturist’s table due to another round of persistent Fibromyalgia migraines. He tells me “Make a clenched fist.” Ok. Done. “Now hold it as tight as you can for at least 30 minutes.” My response was not words but a look of “Are you nuts?” He continued … “No, you really don’t have to do that, but can you see how sore and tired your hand and wrist would be if you did? It would probably feel that way for a couple of days. I am seeing this ‘clenched’ place at your core that has been that way for a very long time.”
Now to someone who has been on a journey of inner healing for the past 16 years, this is definitely NOT what you want to hear. I experienced this over-whelming feeling of failure as I tried to take in “I’m my own problem …. again”.
Then something amazing began to happen. In this completely exposed place — no masks, no pretense, just the raw me — Holy Spirit went to work in a heart beat. I feel somewhat like an Apple product with constant upgrades to my operating system 🙂 . If I’m counting correctly I believe this is upgrade 3.0 on space creation. All this revelation began pouring in. I think the best way I can recount it to you is the way I entered it in my journal … bullet points.
- This tightly clenched space at my core that my acupuncturist is seeing is also the place You want to create space for rest, isn’t it Jesus? Space for me to relax and let go. How can I receive what You have for me when clenched? It is impossible, just like a clenched hand cannot receive.When I got home I went for a walk to ponder where this all started.
Just like the setting sun was shining through the trees, revelation came that this clenched place in me has been that way since I was in the womb, bracing myself for what lay ahead because I was not wanted. No wonder I am so tired.
[Aside: I was a “surprise” to my Mom and Dad late in life and my Mom was quite open with me telling me stories of how she didn’t want me, but after I got here she fell in love with me. I know she never had any idea how much it hurt me to be told over and over I was not wanted because from her perspective it all worked out OK.]
- Enter the ungodly belief (sin) that I have to stay braced/clenched in order to keep myself safe and be prepared for what is next. That was the “answer” I came up with to “be enough” to keep me safe. That answer is not working out for me so well.
The unfolding continued as I saw that the pain I’ve been experiencing in my neck and shoulders is because I’ve literally been carrying “the weight of the world” on my shoulders for quite a while. At least that is how it has felt trying to come up with answers both for myself about my health and for others as they encounter huge needs and feeling totally not enough to do that. My head knew I am not responsible, but my heart has been afraid I’m failing. Gee does that sound like the enemy’s torment? Telling me I don’t have what it takes; I’m not enough but somehow I still need to make it happen. Do you know what the kicker is? There is actually truth contained within that torment.
What’s the problem? The ungodly belief/sin twisted around the truth that I’m not enough was a “fault” or “short coming”.
Enter the gift of serenity. God will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Hallelujah!
Yes, it will never change that “I’m not enough” … the good news is, that is NOT a problem. It is actually quite freeing. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! I saw a space appear between the weight of the world and my shoulders. You, Jesus, slipped into that space to take that weight upon Your shoulders.
No coincidence that the scripture I read yesterday morning was Psalm 37:7 Focus on the Lord, be in awe of who He is, lean into the reality of who He is waiting with the expectation of His arrival to set things right by His presence, all that He is and what that provides – provision in ways that are beyond my imagination or comprehension.
Back to where we started – all this unfolding of my past with revelation of ungodly beliefs that separated me from God and distorted my view of Him – as quickly as I became aware of them, acknowledged them and exchanged them for the truth Holy Spirit provided to replace those lies – I was instantly forgiven and set free. My Heavenly Father has known all along what has been in my heart. He wanted me to know so I could be set free from it and made able to receive all He has for me! He wants the same for you!
Sound good? It is, but there was more to unfold. I am still in the midst of that process. I’ll share it with you soon, just not tonight because it’s getting late.
My prayer for you is you will embrace the unfolding of your past with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to create the space for rest in your spirit, soul and body.
That’s the best way I can describe the past 2 weeks. I have been “in the midst” of loss, migraine pain and many demands/deadlines at work.
How non-coincidental that my dream last night consisted of being in the midst of dust-bowl-type farm land with at first small mini-tornado dust clouds popping up around me. Increasingly they came closer until I was in the midst of a tornado-type dust storm. Did I seek cover or refuge in the dream? No. I just kept trying to drive through until I felt suffocated by the dust getting into the car and blinded by what was swirling around me.
Hmmmm …. might that be a picture of how my heart is feeling after a co-worker whom I greatly respected, admired and enjoyed died suddenly last week? Tuesday he was at work with us, Wednesday he was not. Add to that emotional pain, the physical pain of more days with migraine than without recently; and, multiple major deadlines at work that didn’t allow time for either of the first two things to be transpiring in my life.
To be transparent with you, I need to confess that I turned to my organization skills to try to put some distance between me and the pain, i.e., the storm around me. Organize, check it off the list, and repeat. That allowed me “to do” my life rather than having “to live” in the midst . It wasn’t a conscious choice, but nevertheless it was a choice. But just as in the dream, the storm was catching up to me and I was feeling suffocated.
While at my acupuncturist Friday he made the comment “you are bumping up against the edge of your capacity. You need to find a way to rest.” Let’s just say I did not receive that advice very well. It did not match up with organize, organize, organize to keep everything in its place and manageable.
That’s was my mindset while walking Saturday morning. My conversation with Jesus went like this:
“Jesus, I feel like it’s the end of the 4th quarter, 4th down
and the goal line seems a long ways away – what do I do?
I heard you say “rest”.
It actually made me angry.
I actually guffawed at it – like Sara did about having a son so late in life.
Hmmmm … why did I respond like that? What does rest mean to me?
How do I be me and rest, because to me rest is you just stop;
just take up space; you add no value when you are resting.
OR – maybe it’s more like
I have no value when I am resting because I just take up space.
I think my problem might be my definition of rest. 🙂
I need to look up the word rest in the original Greek.
Before I could do that, I heard Jesus say,
“let me create the space in you for rest”.
Jesus, if You want to create space in me for rest, that tells me You intended rest to be part of who I am, rather than rest being what I do or don’t do. How do I be restful, so that I am at rest? It’s got to be in there somewhere in Matthew 11:28. “I will cause you to rest, I will ease, relieve and refresh your souls.” Yes Jesus! Create that space in me to ease, relieve and refresh my soul. That definitely has value!!
Look what I found in studying the Greek for Matthew 11:28.
The answer is – “REST” is not a noun, it’s a verb in the Greek in this verse. It is the actions Jesus (in the first person “I”) will take in me (first person) when I come unto (“come to the advantage of being near” is the literal translation) Him. The actions contained in this Greek verb “rest” that Jesus will take are:
- to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength
- to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, take rest
- to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation
By Jesus taking these actions, it creates space within me in the midst of being in the presence of my enemies to sit at the table He provides for me that includes His presence, provision, protection and guidance (Psalm 23) upon which to feast. It is God’s way not man’s way of thinking to rest and take advantage of being near Him in the midst of loss, trials and demanding circumstances rather than employing our own resources of fight or flight. I am able to take rest for myself. It is my choice to operate from a place of strife or rest. How is that possible? Because Jesus also takes the action to provide/create quiet in my soul of calm and patient expectation … also commonly referred to and known as “hope”. I don’t think I have ever realized before, that in order to be able to rest, I/we must have hope.
It is out of this space within us, filled with His presence, provision, protection, guidance and hope we are to act and live rather than from the familiar place we so often inhabit of being weary and heavy ladened when we are “in the midst”. Operating from the latter only depletes us more.
How blessed are we that we are of such great value to Jesus these are His intentions for us and that He acts in this way towards us.
So my prayer for you is may Jesus bring revelation to you of whatsoever you have turned to other than Him to help you “do” life rather than “live” life in the midst. May you make the choice to turn from the whatsoever and come take advantage of being near to Him so that He may create the space for rest in your life!
My enemy …
or my child …
That was the proposition put to me recently by my acupuncturist.
A trip to the dentist had triggered a week’s worth of Fibromyalgia Migraines. As I lay on his table, the conversation went like this:
Me: I feel like I have been fighting this battle for 20 years and I want to quit.
Acupuncturist: Quit as in let go or quit as in give-up completely?
Me: Silence. Too embarassed to say out loud that the latter was my choice. After all, I am the one who writes about unconditional hope. Just being transparent here.
Acupuncturist: What if you were to embrace each ache and pain as a child that needs to be nurtured, rather than your enemy to be fought?
Me: That seems too horrible to me to think about embracing chronic pain, fatigue and weakness.
Acupuncturist: How would you respond to a child that was in pain? Would you fight it or embrace it?
Me: Well … I would embrace it.
Acupuncturist: I just keep seeing your all your aches, pains and needs as a child that needs nurture.
I left his office completely bamboozled. But my Heavenly Father has used him so many times to speak into my life, I knew to immediately ask my Heavenly Father – what do I need to see/know about all this?
Revelation came as I opened Biblegateway 3 days later. The daily verse was:
But those who wait for the Lord
[who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
shall change and renew their strength and power;
they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God]
as eagles [mount up to the sun];
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
Isaiah 40:31 AMP
The verses immediately before talk about all the frailties of mankind contrasted to our Heavenly Father – the One who never wearies or grows faint. This verse does not tell me I have failed because I am weary or faint; rather it tells me my Heavenly Father has already made provision for me out of His love for me. My example is to love myself “as is” because of God’s love for me “as is”.
It was like an alarm went off …. oh my, is this nurture? Caring for the crying child rather than fighting or chastising it? This verse says nothing about pushing yourself harder and condemning yourself for weaknesses (the verse before speaks even of “the young men” experiencing such things), but rather to hope and open ourselves (lift up our wings) to receive and be lifted up by our Heavenly Father’s strength. YES YES YES! This is why and how I can embrace my every need and find/receive “nurture and comfort” for it.
I made the choice to come out of agreement with the lie that I have to “battle myself” and came into agreement with the truth that my needs do not disappoint my Heavenly Father, but rather He has already made way for my needs/weaknesses to be a way for me to receive more of Him. Just like Joseph declared “God has taken what the enemy purposed for evil and turned it to His good purpose!” (Genesis 50:20). Hallelujah!!
Are your wheels spinning? Well, my certainly were so just to be sure I “got the message” below is the verse waiting for me when I opened BibleGateway today to reiterate why I should and how I can nourish myself. Jesus’ example to me was “do as the Father is doing” (John 5:19). What’s the Father doing?
The Eternal One will never leave you;
He will lead you in the way that you should go.
When you feel dried up and worthless,
God will nourish you and give you strength.
And you will grow like a garden lovingly tended;
you will be like a spring whose water never runs out.
Isaiah 58:11 (The Voice)
I definitely have some nurturing to do. How about you?
I’m struggling. You may get tired of hearing this, but trust me no more tired than I am of living it. However, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. At least I have yet to find anyone in my world who doesn’t have some sort of struggle going on in their life. How about you? In some strange way, I find comfort in that because it tells me I’m not failing at my life because I’m struggling. It just means I’m alive. Not such a bad thing 😉 .
The migraines have persisted this week so by the time I get home from work at night I am pretty weary, not tired, weary. That feeling where everything about your body, soul and spirit is drained. So what does my Heavenly Father do while I’m experiencing this … He sends me hope. He really is amazing.
How does the Creator of all have the time/capacity to intimately know me and know exactly what I need and when I need it? Too big a question for me to be able to give you an explanation. What I can tell you from my personal experience; He just does it.
Last Sunday I was trying to get ready for church and feeling beyond rough. I finally stopped my frantic efforts to push myself to get ready to get out the door and finally just said “help” and let the tears flow. I just didn’t have any more “push” in me. I thought I needed “push”. I didn’t. What I heard back was “rest”. Really? That didn’t line-up with my Sunday-school-taught-intellect of don’t forsake the gathering of the believers or you will be in deep doo-doo (my personal paraphrase). At this point I’m guessing you are either thinking “been there, done that myself” or you’re thinking … “what’s wrong with this woman, what’s so hard about taking care of yourself”.
Whatever your perspective, for me, resting was much harder to do than pushing myself. There is definitely a time for both. However, I still have a lot to learn about the time to rest.
One thing I have learned, I’m always better off when I listen to my Heavenly Father. So, off with the shoes, jewelry, clothes, and back to my pj’s and my couch. But I still had a plan to appease my worried intellect … I would stream my church’s service to be part of the fellowship. Then I could rest and feel good about myself. Let’s just say the internet feed would not cooperate. Coincidence? I think not as I’ve never had that problem before. I tried a different church’s website and it too would not work. What came to mind as I’m laying there is a podcast I saw earlier in the week on my iPhone but had not yet been able to listen to it “The Anatomy of a Giant Killer“. Not exactly what I was feeling like. But, exactly what I needed to hear.
David was living in the land of his enemies – can you relate? (1 Samuel 30) He and his army of 600 men come back from a long series of battles to find everything dear to them (including wives and children) have been stolen from them. David and his men grieved until they had no more strength to weep – now that is weary – mighty warriors without even enough strength to weep (vs 4). David then inquires of the Lord (vs. 8) “saying, Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them? The Lord answered him, Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”
OK, so that in itself rocked my world — everything that has been taken from me by the enemy — I just need to follow God’s lead to pursue, overtake and recover all. Hope.
But that wasn’t all my Heavenly Father wanted me to know. The story relates how 200 of David’s 600 men were too weary and faint to go fight this battle. How does David treat them? When the 400 return from battle victorious, David salutes the 200 that stayed behind and guarded the camp and declared “For as is the share of him who goes into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” (vs 24). Oh, how I wept. Even David’s mighty warriors had times they did not have the strength to fight and David still honored them. It’s OK not to fight every battle. It doesn’t disqualify everything else you have done. Later in David’s life this exact situation is turned around and David’s men tell David they will go fight for him and he should remain behind and rest.
There is no shame in resting. There is no shame in not fighting every battle. There is no shame in letting others fight for you. We are all in this together. When I am victorious, you get to share in that victory to strengthen you. When you are victorious, I get to share in that victory to strengthen me. Such a deal!
Wherever you are in your journey, be that in the midst of the battle or too weary to fight, be encouraged. Together, with God’s guidance and help we shall pursue, overtake and recover all that has been stolen from us by the enemy!