Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Delaying the Inevitable

Ok so a couple of days ago I came to the realization that I needed to follow what I believe God is asking me to do and directing me toward and I have yet to accomplish that task. I call it a task because in my mind that is exactly what it is a task ahead of me, even though God has been waiting behind me to do what He said to do. I was hoping to have the courage to go to Michelle's and find out how she was doing with the onset of the breast cancer diagnosis, but fear has assembled in my soul and I find that it is not as easy as I thought it would be. I can't imagine what things are going through her mind let alone how she is personally handling the stress. Michelle has a 14 year old daughter who I am sure knows that her mother has been diagnosised. Michelle has always been open with her daughter, so it is not a far stretch to believe or assume that this diagnosis has been shared. I do know what it means to be strong for your children. What it means to hid emotion and act as though all is good and sound in your life when it actually isn't. I know what it means and what it feels like to hide in a bathroom and cry in silence when you can't share that emotion with your child.
So here I sit all evening finding other things to do to keep from having to go to Michelle's and see her. I had a picture in my head of becoming the kind of friend that she actually needs and I have yet to step into that position. I don't know if that came from me dreaming it up or if God actually showed it to me in the future but I do know that Michelle needs a friend, a female friend, who can be strong for her when she can not.
I wonder how Saul felt when he couldn't see after meeting the living Christ on the road to Damascus. I wonder how it felt to in one moment be the strongest person in the group of people you are in and the next being completely helpless. I don't know how I would react to such a situation, I don't know if I could react to such a situation but I know that Saul did. He immediately reacted the way God wanted him to not the way his thoughts directed or by what he saw. I think that's how we are suppose to live. I think that it doesn't matter truly what we do or how far we run or what excuse we come up with, God is going to get the reaction He wants no matter what we don't do.
Ok so I do need to go see Michelle! Ya know, I don't know how much I like this blogging stuff. It makes me think things through to write them and then like a light switch I usually get the picture. Maybe I should just do it the first time then when I write I would have a testimony instead of a dilemnia to spread around on the internet...hummm now there's something to think about.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Asked Again

This week just flew by and I just ignored the fact that I might want to take a few minutes and write this all out but I did. I have three children, teenagers actually, and two of them are in spring high school sports so our evenings are pretty demanding. (I actually love it and look forward to it being over in the summer. ) So I miss alot with friends outside of our sport family. One thing I missed was a friend, Michelle, that I rode horses with regularly until recently was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was called by another friend of ours, Toni, about the diagnosis in kind of an odd way. Toni called me and asked how my day (work day) was and when I said "a little hectic and crazy the ususal for me during tax season in a law office that practices tax". She asked me "if I wanted to hear something that would make my life seem great". Well what was I suppose to say "sure". "Michelle just emailed me and told me that she wasn't going to a trekking event (horse thing) next weekend because she was diagnosised with breast cancer and they were working to schedule her for a double or "bi" mysectomy (spelling). Kind of makes your life seem perfect huh?" I was a little taken back and there was a little silence but then I responded with "I think my life is pretty good and has been." I almost couldn't believe I said it, and I know that that wasn't me but the fact that I have God in my life even when things are bad I have Him.

The first thing after my call that came to me was to email Michelle and find out how she was doing and what she needed from me; which I did. The second thing was that I needed to see her and soon. I don't know exactly why but on my way home from work, I had an urgent feeling and driving to see Michelle and pray healing over her. Ok so this is where I had a problem and I've been avoiding the problem as of lately (or at least the past two days).

In Matthew 19:27-28, Jesus said "who ever wants to be first must be a slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many."

The meaning of these words of Jesus changed for me today and if I had read them when I was suppose to instead of 2 days later they would have lead me to the understanding that I have now. I was asked to go see Michelle and ask her if I can pray over her healing. I know that Michelle is a non-believer, I have for awhile now and this will put me in a position where I have to trust that God really wants me to act in this manner and that He will open a door for Michelle through me. This is not the least of the requests that I have failed to surrender to, this is the one of the biggest directives that I have had to face. Michelle is a good friend who I dearly love just as much as I love Toni. But both of them have been critical of mine and Lee's decision for God and Christ and I am fearful of loosing them as friends. Jesus however gave His life for people that He didn't even know and was fine with that purpose. His words speak differently to me this morning. My ransom may very well me my friends and I know that because this morning I feel at peace with what God is asking me to do and I'm not striving to find a way out, although I would gladly take one if it was offered by God (notice by God not me). So it's time to put on my big girl panties and step out into a world of persecution but that's ok because God is leading the way and clearing the obstacles for me. I am going to attempt to begin to live fearlessly (thank you Corey for getting God's word to me and hopefully others), I hope I can stand up to the fire.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Rock, My Refuge, My Strength

Last night Lee and I watched Facing the Giants for the first time (if you haven't seen it watch it). In one of the scenes the main cahracter goes out in the morning and reads Psalms 18:1-3 "1. I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies." It's amazing how God can send you something and you don't even know it. This passage was given to me over a week ago and it took a week for me to realize that it was for me to grow thru. Funny, how when I least expect it God can just light the way.
He is my Rock, my Refuge, and my Strength.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Condemnation or Conviction

I have been whollering in condemnation for the past week and last night I realized that it was actually condemnation and that the enemy who I have been fighting was standing in the doorway. How did I get in that place of condemnation? I was asked to step out in faith by God and pray healing over my older brother while I was in Michigan. Not only did God tell me to do this He also kindly gave me all the words to use. See I was in a moment of disbelief only I didn't know that then. I did pray about this little task that would have taken less than 30 seconds for me to accomplish and in that time I was lead to scripture that supported what God had asked me to do. Did I do this little task and obey God? No. I literally chickened out. So while driving home through Ohio, I was listening to music and the Voice of Truth came on and I knew (I had actually already known) that I was to ask for God's forgiveness for not obeying and His strength to start moving in His will. Not long after that, when I didn't yet again do what I was told to do, I had the thought that I could write to my brother and give him encouragement through scripture every couple of days. When I got home I did write to my brother, I didn't mail the letter but I did write it. I spent about 3 minutes praying over the fact that I felt like I was suppose to do this and then ventured out on my own. But I never put the letter in an envelope and mailed it.
So whollering is where I have been at for the last week and in that whollering I have not spent "quality" time seeking God. Well, in my small group Experiencing God, I was reading about crisis of belief and for a couple of days it felt as though God was just standing over me and pointing a condesending finger at me with a scowl on His face. So every time I tried to spend time with Him, I would fall to pieces. I couldn't even talk about the way I was feeling to Lee or my friends. It was absolutely horrible. So here I was whollering even last night during our meeting and in a DVD I heard this for the first time "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief"(Mark 9;24). Wow!! That was just powerful to me at that moment, and it was at that moment that the condemnation was recognized. I was allowing the enemy to plant the feeling of failure in me God wasn't standing over me scowling or pointing a finger at me in anger, He was waiting for me to ask Him for help in my unbelief.
Condemnation or Conviction, I wonder after this week how many of us think that God is separating Himself from us. This week was enlightening, well now it is; I can see where I could have been literally sucked into the enemy's plan to live in condemnation and not get over the fact that I didn't obey. But God just wanted me to realize that I had to face my unbelief and ask Him for help in that unbelief to face it, release it, and move forward.
I know now that I need to spend time in prayer and wait for God's movement toward sending my brother the letters that I felt I was lead to write. I believe now more than ever that is why I never put that letter in an envelope, God wasn't ready for me to and I, even in self pity and whollering, didn't send it. I believe I am hearing and obeying much better than the enemy wants me to know. I believe God was just waiting for me to fall on my face, be convicted about not obeying Him, and ask Him, out of my pride, to help me face that fact and move forward from there. I think I like conviction much better, it's much lighter to carry because there carrying doesn't happen. I will sit today and pray over my brother and what I feel as though God is leading me to do, maybe now I will hear Him more clearly.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Armor

Aren't knights in armor cool! I mean when I see them on the movies, they just set the whole scene. They charge out to save the day and win. They joust and fight without thought of personal harm, they are just cool! I really like the fact that their armor is shiny and steel - or probably an iron casting that reflects all of the light around the knight and I imagine could probably blind the oncoming enemy. I think having an outfit like a knight would really, really intimidate anyone who wanted to come at me to hurt me. Yep I think an outfit like this would be exactly what I need for life.
I know that actually getting a knight's armor is impossible and even those armors in the movies aren't really metal armor. but when I am in a dilemnia or having a problem that could cause harm, I sure would like to have some armor on to help protect me.I have been in a dilemnia with my family (extended family that is) as of late. There seems to strife, anger, discontent, unhappiness, and fighting all around. My older nieces are not talking, my little brother and sister-in-law are causing an uproar, my Dad is causing worry and not to mention, it is extremely evident that my big brother is very ill and the doctors can not seem to figure out what is causing all of the problems that are occurring. Man some armor would be great right now. I could slip it on and commence to giving all my family a well deserved but whoopin'! Ok so maybe I shouldn't do that, but it does sound nice doesn't it, I could put on that armor and be totally invensible. These last couple of days, however, instead of wishing, hoping, or desiring the full body armor of a knight, I have been directed to the Armor of God (Eph 6:10). In one verse, the author (whom by the way I do not know) states to the Ephesians "put on the full Armor of God...for our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, authorities against the dark powers of this world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms". A spiritual war, hummm. Directly after that, the author tells his friends to put on the full Armor of God and throughout the remaining scriptures of this passage he indentifies the Armor.
I have prayed this over myself many times in the past but last night I was loosing a battle in the night with the enemy and God gave me Ephesians (the whole book). I have read it before, but this time I only read the first four 'chapters' (not sure if this is correct or not) and as I read the love that poured out of the author under the authority of God, I was moved and freed. It was as though somewhere in the dark the pressue of the problems with my family was lightened. But God's words were strong and stength in a way that was unbelievable and immeasurable. He completely calmed all of my heart and mind. The Armor that God offers is more durable and stronger than any pieces of metal that I could physically put on my body. It covers me with all of the metal armor pieces but with a Godly presence. The Armor of a helmet, my helmet of salvation. The belt of Truth on my waist, breastplate of rightousness firmly on my chest, and my feet fitted with the readiness of the peace of the gospel. And finally, my shield of faith to extinguish arrows from the enemy and the sword of the Spirit (I mean what would armor be without a shield and sword to fight with). The picture is not deceiving, the Armor of God is a strong protectant against all attacks from the enemy. What I tend to miss is that the the strife, anger, discontent, fighting and unhappiness are not of the physical or the flesh. They apper that way, they mask their intentions to appear as from the physical but if I look deep they are attacks from the enemy army. I am often deceived that I can handle and take care of things, then God immediately reminds me that all things are not as they seem or appear and to quickly put on my Armor. I can only state that which I believe and know as Truth, the enemy is casting arrows in an attack. So, I will put on my Armor and stand firmly with God as my strength, my refuge, my "back up" and stand up to the attacks that are mounting.

Monday, March 2, 2009

You Should Have Seen It In Color!

Yep, plagiarizing! For those of you who read my blog and listen to country music have heard this song. So I apologize for not coming up with my own title but this one seems to fit perfectly. If you haven't heard this song, let me give you a little history. The singer is the persona of a young man talking to his grandfather and looking at old black and white pictures. For each picture, the grandfather tells a detailed story and then says "you should have seen it in color". I recently received some pictures, a mix of black and white and color pictures, from my mom's family and dad's family. She actually had to go thru some old stuff in her sister's home to find these and they are pretty interesting. Like most old pictures, there is some tell tale story on the backs of them. I love each and everyone of the pictures. Especially the black and white ones, there has always been something about black and white pictures that I love the most. There always seems to be something that I miss each time I look at them. A facial expression, a hidden item in the background, something. My kids can't believe the thickness and feel of the pictures and I forgot how much of my life was in those black and white pictures. There are several but some that stick out the most is the fact that for the first time in my life I got to see my Dad's Grandfather! A history that I always knew was there wasn't really real until then. I mean I knew Dad and Grandpa didn't just crop up from the ground but seeing Charlie in an old picture just brings our family history together. I would have loved to have seen it in color. I can just imagine the color of the trees and grass around the old shanty that Charlie built for his family. I can almost see the black stain on the side board house amidst the woods and the gray and white smoke billowing out of the old pipe chimney. On second thought, I like the black and white pictures better.
I often see life in black and white and I expect everything to be in black and white. I am either on the right side of good or the bad side of good...right? I can hold judgment against anyone that I want to whom I believe is in the wrong, the black part of the picture. And when someone is completely and totally right in my eyes, I can hold them up to a great standard, the white part of the picture. But the picture isn't really black and white when you look at it. Look again. Those old black and white pictures are really shades of gray. Various shades from a pale, soft gray to a dark, foreboding gray. But not black and white.
God is often moving around me in those black and white parts of life.
"I set before you life and death, that you may chose life." Pretty black and white! Life or Death! I never understood this verse before, never had to understand it, until recently. God created me for Him not for me. And yes even though I see things in black and white and a majority of the things around me are black and white in determination, God often throws in some shades of gray. "I set before you life and death..." What if I can't tell which is which? How do I determine what I'm suppose to do and how I am suppose to react and walk in God's "life"? Ok so maybe those "gray" pictures aren't so cool after all. I just want it black and white that would make life so much easier so much more 'planned'. Wow, wouldn't that be great!!!
I think that God gives me gray and more often than not more gray rather than black and white. That is when I am suppose to seek His wisdom and guidance to determine where life is, or to see the
color pictures. I know more now than I wanted to know. Like when there is a problem and I don't know what to do, I'm suppose to seek God's guidance and answer for the situation. Sometimes, not always but sometimes, the answer is plain and simple - or black and white. I know exactly what to say, do, how to react, and it's exactly right. Other times, the path is gray, hidden from me in a way that I'm stumbling over my own feet to find the right things to say or the right way to react. This is when God draws me closer to Him. This is just a few of those times when God says, ok do it on your own if you want to but I offer you Life. The opportunity to give it to Me and seek My way instead of your own. I believe now more than ever that more and more of my life is painted in those various shades of gray. More and more, I find that in order to see the color in the picture the more I'm depending on God to direct my path. I am enjoying this part of my life, seeking God out instead of waiting for Him to find me. I love seeing the color come to life the same way color comes to those old family pictures. On second thought (or actually third thought), those "gray" pictures do hold more life in them than if they were black and white.