Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Part II

Just in case you didn't know, I am a 'bright and flashy girl'! Why do I consider myself this type of personality? Well I could be totally focused on one issue or project and quickly get distracted by something else and that will be it...I'm off and running on another project. It has, believe it or not, gotten much better over the years of my life and I am able to contain most of the bright and flashy moments and continue with an on-going project. If you don't believe you are one of these people, well I hate to break it to probably are you just don't know it. To be honest, I'm not totally 100% sure when the bright and flashy thing happened and I tried to remember what exactly it was and when it happened to no avail. And, after along processing of trying to figure out what in the world happened....I realized that I was completely and totally distracted from a track that I had begun just a short couple of hours before the distraction occurred. Why did I have to back track and figure this out? Because it was the beginning of a series of distractions that played into Part II and was the occurrence that made me realize that it was the ultimate distraction.

For a few of you, you are aware of the main distraction, the one thing that occupied my life and mind immediately and without a moments thought may have thrown my family into financial distress...I am choosing not to share that distraction so for this story we will call it "The Main Distraction". (Come on you have to admit that's pretty ingenious!) 
Over a week ago The Main Distraction pulled me away from my track of praise; it took hold of my whole being, the being of my husband and daughters, of my close friends, and a family that we have been part of for many, many years. Even today, it is controlling many of my thoughts, even with prayer to have it removed, I have not been so lucky to have it replaced. This distraction put into play a series of events that bombarded our life for over a week. The distractions just kept piling up in monumental force trying to divert and distort a path that was established on Sunday morning 2 weeks ago. But, on Saturday afternoon, I started to question where the distraction began and what had happened. You would automatically assume that it would come like a flood with a memory of The Main Distraction, and that was the first and foremost thought, but it was not the place this distraction started. How did I know that? Well I don't know, I can't even begin to tell you why I knew The Main Distraction was not the origination of the course of Part II...When did I realize that? When I was standing in the shower (yes of all places, the shower) and I remembered something; something so small and vague, I almost didn't give it credit. In order for you to understand how this remembrance, to me, is the beginning of the distraction, I need to give you a little history of me.  I am a fantasy book reader, always really have been, they have been my escape from reality; the place that I ran to to get away from the world and the career I had chosen. One of my favorite writers, Laurel K. Hamilton, is a very good fantasy writer; one with vampires and werewolves, with a mix of a human private investigator, and it was amazing the connection and story-line of the books. I had every one of her books! I mean I loved to read this woman's books.  I even read them well after becoming a believer. Sometime after starting my life in Christ, I was cleaning our room out (a very typical chore) and I was compelled to get rid of all of these books. And let me tell you it was a fight for me, remember I loved these books! So, I packed them up and carried them around in my car for about 2 weeks, intending to take them to Goodwill.  That didn't happen, one morning when Lee and I were making our usual run to the dump, I was compelled (for lack of a better description) to throw the books away. It was instantaneous and a short struggle for my will to do what my heart wanted to do- nonetheless, I threw the book series away. (Don't misunderstand, I do not believe that when you become a believer you need to throw everything away that you have from your former life, I believe that when God moves you to remove those things from your life, you will-but not until that time.)WooHoo! What a freedom....well at least I thought so.  Sometime on Sunday afternoon, 2 weeks ago, I was doing the clean out again, and I found a book, just one. I can't tell you where I found it because in all honesty I don't remember, I just very clearly remember finding it. What did I do with it? Well, I don't remember if I threw it away or first instinct is to say that I threw it away, but I do not remember. What does this have to do with The Main Distraction? It was the main all ways you can think of, this moment was the beginning of the series of distractions that I and my family (far and near, friends and relatives) encountered over the past couple of weeks. I know you're saying "come on, you mean to tell me that finding some book in your room that you forgot about is the cause of all the crap you're trying to describe!" Yea I guess I am. 
Gal 5:7 "You were running the good race. Who cut in on you...." There are things many things in this life that cause me to get distracted (you too if you really think about it). Those things can be anything that I give credit too, anything that I make a priority over Christ, over the path that I am suppose to take. Do I believe that a book is what caused a series of events that started almost 2 weeks ago, not directly but finding that book distracted my attention, my focus, even if at first I didn't realize it. I have no explanation as to why I was probing on Saturday afternoon, what I was looking for, probably an answer to all that had been going on, probably for relief and peace to the distress that I was feeling. What I found was the distraction that began to divert me from a path that I had taken willingly. I was beginning a race that I had re-started, this one thing brought in my life a distraction of my soul. Why? Because I gave credit to a series of books over the seriousness of Christ. I am not saying in anyway that this book was the origination of bad things, I am not suggesting that this book series was the 'bad' that caused The Main Distraction, I am not saying that if I hadn't had this book in my life that none of the things that occurred would have happened. What I am saying is that I gave credit to something, not of Christ, not of life, but of desire and want; I gave a large portion of my life to this particular book series and I seriously lived to get home to read the next page, chapter and book. And for whatever reason, this book was the thing that happened to me, it was the distraction that caused me to doubt and was offering a way out of my serious life to a world that I could escape, it was the thing that cut me off 2 weeks ago. 
I have no idea why I believe this, I just do. You don't have to and you can scoff at the comparison to finding this book to The Main Distraction that is encompassing our life. But I ask you this...what is the distraction in your life that is causing you to be cut off? What is the thing that is hiding itself carefully away from your sight so much that you could easily forget that it existed? There is something, believe me it is there, keeping you from finding it - giving you an escape from facing the distraction that is before you - keeping you from totally going to Christ for hope and escape. Mine was a book series, that opened a door to many things to distract my path, and for whatever reason, unknown to me, it is Part II. I hope that you are not so easily distracted, so easily diverted from the path you are on, I hope that the race you are running is easier than mine or ours. And I have no words of encouragement for you, I have no words to give that are true fruit of the lips, I only have this... Whatever has cut you off from running the good race is a distraction and remember that there is nothing that can separate you from the love of Christ, nothing...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Part I

I started to write something a couple of days ago and the title was lengthy but the blog began to develop as much more lengthy, so I decided to break it up into pieces, hence the title. I also decided not to let on to the content of this writing. Why? Well probably more for my own contentment then for drawing you in but I hope that the later works. So what is 'Part I'? It's something that has escaped me for a couple of years; something that I have ignored and avoided; something that I believe is easy for others that have not been through a fight or depression.... praise.

I can't honestly say that I have been praising outright or at least not how many would praise. I believe people think praise is the constant recognition of God in words of praise. An outright praising. A way of expressing praise of God in words.  So was there 'praise'? Well maybe, but am I positive that it happened, no. I was in a way praising God's continual presence and pursuit of me through and over the past couple of years. When?? Two weeks ago standing in the worship center at church, I suggested something I would have never done...probably ever. I encouraged healing prayer over a young girl, a friend of my daughter's, and those around me agreed.  Is that praise? Well probably not by many peoples standards. I feel that I just obeyed something that the Holy Spirit pressed against me, something that I have felt before but chose not to do. Did I outright say "Praise God!" (note that there's emphasis on this and a slight southern accent to boot!)? Well, no, I didn't. So 'praise' was not evident, it was not something that I purposefully expressed out of my mouth in a phrase and I didn't  really let anyone know what I had suggested or led. (Minus those who were with me.) So was it praise?  No. I don't believe it was, even if I posted it on Facebook-praise was not included.
Later that week I was riding with my friend and she asked about my post and I told her what had happened. Is that considered praise? I mean I didn't say "well praise God" or anything like that but I think the words that I was saying could be considered praise. This short question with a long answer began a conversation of healing that lasted well over an hour. Is that in anyway praise? I have no idea! Have I looked and searched for an answer...oh yes, I have! Heb 13:15-16 "Through Him the, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. and do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased'. Well that actually didn't help...not at first. I have been all morning trying to make these scriptures work for my definition of praise and do you know what stands out in this passage? "...the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name"... yay! Exactly what I wasn't looking for, a passage that outright tells me to give praise to Him by my lips. If that isn't an epic fail on my part ... I don't know if I can get much farther away.  So I walked away from my computer, took my Bible - yest with this enlightened passage open- and went to my room. (In all honesty to find another passage of scripture that would read how I wanted it to read. Don't lie, you do it too.)
Have you ever no liked someone's answer to a problem? Ever try to make that answer fit into the answer that you want rather than conform and change to the answer that is given? Ok, quit denying this and just accept that fact that you do this along with me! I think its human nature, the overwhelming will in our individual mind and life to be ... well, RIGHT.  So, I looked for the RIGHT answer to of which I decided was not Hebrews 13:15-16. And found.....nothing. I read further in Hebrews 13 and then re-read this simple, direct, and pointed passage again and again. And then, without knowledge or fight, I found what I was looking for.....praise. I know like me, you probably are now hooked on "the fruit of the lips that give thanks to His name" its evident and direct and right there in the middle of the passage and says exactly what everyone wants to hear.  "Give Him praise in everything you say and anything that happens"..right? Essentially that's what it says. But there is more and there is an answer for my dilemma of finding what praise is...I just had to see it. "...let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise...." that is the beginning of praise, it's the sacrifice of myself to His will. It is without doubt the acknowledgement of healing, even alone and between two friends, that says thank you for pursuing and continuing the fight.
Do I use the phrase "praise God"? No, I don't know that I ever have at least not intentionally. But does the fruit of my lips give Him praise, do I continually offer up sacrifices of my lips, I believe I do. But does that constitute praise to those around me? Do they see it as 'note worthy praise'? Probably not, but I am not out to impress those of this world. I am not set to make those around me happy with my words or make myself out to be something that I am  not. I am, however, attempting at all failures to be pleasing in some way to Him; to give up when He tells me to; to recognize something that I didn't see happening; to begin praising Him for Him in my actions of obedience and acknowledgement of Him in my words that don't necessarily say 'praise God'. I hope to continue this journey. I hope that all my body continues to agree with His plan, even when I don't want to. And I hope in Him that I will find the right words of praise.