Friday, May 29, 2009

New update on friend...

Further update: I talked to Cindy at about 12:30 central time. She was in Rockford, IL on her way to Tennessee. She said that she talked to her sister this morning and Timothy's heart rate dropped really low last night. The doctors thought he might have a type of pneumonia where skin grows over the lungs (I don't know what that might be...) they are doing tests today to find out. Her sister Cher is very scared. Her mom also isn't sounding like she is doing well on the phone. So Cindy made the call to go down. As of 12:30pm central time she probably had 8-10 hours of driving left to do. She doesn't like driving in the dark, so continue to pray for her traveling safety.
She told me she is so thankful to know that people are praying for her and her family... and is grateful to all of you who are reading this and praying.

Dear friends, I can't thank you enough for your prayers on behalf of Cindy and her family. (see here for original email)

I just got a call from her this morning. She left a message on my answering machine to let me know she is going down to Tennessee today, to help her family. She said that nothing is getting better and if anything, its getting worse.

I don't know if that means that Timothy is getting worse or what, but I know that she needs prayer. She has been having trouble sleeping through the night for almost 2 months now. She is also working on her 8th week of waking up every morning with a headache. They haven't gone away, and no medicine touches them. So, she battles the headache all day, only to wake up with it again the next morning.

Please pray for -
Her safety as she drives
God to give her peace, and a chance to just rest in His presence while she is in the car
Peaceful relationships and interactions with her family
Healing for her mom
Healing for her nephew
Salvation for her family as well

I just keep feeling the need to cry out to God for the salvation of her mom and sister, as well as the strength and grace Cindy is going to need to take care of her family in any way she can. Her family can really "eat up" her time, and try to make her feel guilty for not helping more than she is. She knows her limits and has healthy boundaries, but being tired, and having this headache are just really hard on her. The sense I have right now is that she could just be under a lot of spiritual attack, and pressure during this trip.

Thank you so much for joining me in prayer for Cindy and her family. Praise God she and I were able to spend most of the day together yesterday, praying and sharing and working through a book we are going through together. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, tears and laughter. I am praising God that He allowed us that time together yesterday, because it originally looked like she was going to be leaving either Wednesday or Thursday this week, rather than today (Friday).

Anyway, please continue to lift her up in prayer. She and her family need it probably more than we will ever know.
God bless all of you,

I will probably not call her today, unless it is a quick one to reassure her I am praying. But I will hopefully call her in a day or two to get an update on how things are going.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Prayer request for my friend and her family...

Update below!

Hi there. I am going to post a prayer request here, in hopes that enough people will see it and start praying for my friend Cindy and her family.

Cindy's mom Janie, has been fighting ovarian cancer. She underwent some pretty serious chemo a few weeks ago, and then had a bowel blockage. She underwent arthroscopic surgery to put in a colostomy. She came through that surgery fine, was supposed to go home on Friday, but Thursday night her fever spiked and so did her blood pressure. She finally came home on Monday.

Cindy's sister Cher has been taking care of Janie through out all the rounds of chemo, and the continuing side effects and has been staying with her at the hospital. She was called on Friday to go to meet her 16 yr old son at the doctor's office. He was diagnosed with a sinus infection, given antibiotic and sent home. Then the next day he was worse, so went to the hospital where they gave more antibiotics, and told he had pneumonia. He stayed overnight, and then came home.

Now Janie is at home, in the care of her 19 yr old granddaughter, and Cher just went by ambulance to the hospital again with her son Timothy. We don't yet know what is wrong with Timothy. He has a heart condition, since he was 6, and that could be causing problems. We just don't know.

Cindy said that she had called Cher just as they arrived at the hospital tonight, and so wasn't able to get any information. She is waiting for a call back to find out what is going on, and if she is needed to travel to Nashville to help out.

Neither Cher, her family, or Janie their mom, are Christians. Please if you could, pray for their salvation. Pray for health for the family. Pray for Janie that she will stay stabilized and will be ok to deal with for her granddaughter.
Pray for Cher that she will be able to take care of her son. Pray that it isn't Timothy's heart that is causing problems though the pneumonia could be serious too. Pray for physical healing for both Timothy and Janie.
Pray for peace for all of the family.
And if Cindy has to travel tomorrow, pray for her safety as she drives, and that she can leave all of her family in our Father's hands. She is currently doing laundry in anticipation of leaving if she is needed at a moments notice.

Thank you all so much for praying and I will be posting updates as soon as I know any. I know Cindy will send me an email, if not call, sometime tomorrow. I also told her I would call tomorrow, late afternoon to see how things are and where she is at.

I will update as soon as I know more!
Thank you again, and God bless,

Update: I talked with Cindy this afternoon. She was on the phone only briefly with me, but her nephew Timothy is still in the hospital. His O2 stats were so low, that he had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. He is currently on oxygen. His stats were in the 60s, and should be in the upper 90s so he wasn't doing well. Cindy said that he is currently on 30% oxygen. My husband said that means he is probably on a face mask. Please continue in prayer for them all, and that the pneumonia would clear up and not put too much stress on his heart. Thanks!

Monday, May 25, 2009

"An Untroubled Heart," Chapter 9

I am catching up a little bit! Here is chapter 9, of our book "An Untroubled Heart." If you want to catch up on reading, check out Lelia's blog.

Chapter 9: The right kind of Fear

Micca talked about how our fear shouldn't be fear of the future, or fear of the things that might happen. The fear we should have, is of God. Not fear that He will punish us, or that He is mean, or being afraid to come to Him.

A reverential fear. A fear that He is bigger and more powerful, stronger and more gracious than we can ever imagine. A healthy fear. A respect for the One who gives us life, and grace, and peace, and love.

"To fear God is not to shrink back from him in terror. It's to live an obedient life, showing admiration to the one who loves us so. Only then will we love and serve and revere him as we should."

I have learned to fear God more this past week or so. I have learned how important that is. I have learned that I need to surrender to Him, and live that obedient life. I need to do the things that He is calling me to do, in obedience to Him. When I do, it shows how much I love Him and trust Him to not harm me but prosper me, trust Him to give me a hope and a future.

I don't want to shrink back from Him in terror. I want to serve Him in love and trust.

This week I was shrinking back in terror. I was struggling with letting some things go, because I was afraid of what I thought He might do, or what He might call me to do. I was truly. It is silly, because how many times have I surrendered to Him before and He has loved me and accepted me for who I am, as I am, and been gentle with me? Yet I was still fearful.

The enemy tried to get in there and twist things and tell me that willful disobedience deserved nothing but punishment (truth) and that God wouldn't forgive me and still love me (lie). Though I might deserve punishment, God gave me mercy. Then He showed me grace by lavishing His love on me, and giving me comfort and peace instead of fear.

Though I may still be facing some of the same problems, I can rest in His care and love for me.

Oh do I love Him for that!

"'s our love for God that compels us toward passionate obedience and enables us to receive His blessings."

I want to live that passionate obedience. It is hard, never easy, I am not saying it is. Because our minds are so prone to believe what we can see, taste, touch... things that seem more concrete. God's purposes behind some of the problems we face are much less concrete at times, but not less important. They are probably the most important.

I need to learn in the tough times to embrace the lessons God may be teaching. The best thing is, when we embrace those times, and the lessons, we love Him more, and are inspired to a more passionate obedience.

I can't close this any better than Micca did.
"When circumstances are hard, it feels like anything other than love... You and I must devote ourselves more to the revealed nature of God's love than to the reason of our natural minds."

The things that we see aren't the most important. The most important is what God truly gives us, in His love. The lessons, and not letting the most difficult moments pass by without a lesson. Those lessons reveal more about God and His nature, and our nature, and the things that we fear are not nearly as important and fearing God, Himself.

"An Untroubled Heart," Chapter 8

I am posting SO late on some of these chapters, but I just re-read Chapter 8 and 9 of our book, "An Untroubled Heart," and felt like I needed to post on them. If you want to join in our study, hop over to Lelia's site to either join in, or read other posts on each chapter.

Chapter 8: Overcoming the fear of the Unknown

So much of my life has been consumed by worrying. I have found myself worrying about the future. Then, in my worry, I have tried to figure out what all the different possibilities could be that might happen, and plan for each one. I might not "physically" prepare, but I "mentally" prepare, and plan out my actions.

It has driven me insane at times, because, even in the little things if I plan something out and it changes, then I feel like I am thrown for a loop. I get all bent out of shape, because the control I was trying to have over the future, is suddenly wrenched away from me.

"In order for us to experience His life in ours, we have to make a choice. We can either continue to live our lives our own way - by holding on to fear, doubt, and control - or we can die to self and allow Jesus to live His life of wisdom, faith, power, and holiness through us."

"Yielding to God's will means that when we come face-to-face with a problem we've never encountered before, we can maintain our peace and actually look forward to the next step God has for us."

It's hard to make that choice to let things go and trust in God. But the freedom after making that decision is more than worth the struggle to let go.

Even the pain of situations is worth the hurt.

"...unpleasant things will happen to us in this world. They're out of our control. Yet in God's economy, every fear, every pain, every sorrow, and every loss is not wasted. God uses these little deaths to make us more like Him."

As I suffer through something, a part of my character is changed to look more like God. It is not always easy, and does cause some pain at times as God chisels away at us, removing things that need to be taken away so that we look more and more like Him. As we let Him chisel away at our imperfections, not only do we look more and more like Him, we become more and more like the people He created us to be.

Our characters change from the small (and big) deaths in our lives. We also gain because we get closer to God. Our relationship becomes deeper. We trust Him more. Surrendering our fears of the unknown, and letting go of that desire to control our own future, and trusting ourselves to His care (even when it hurts) changes us, deepens our relationship with God, and makes it more possible for us to engage with others. We are able to share our difficulties with others, the lessons we have learned, and help them through difficulties of their own.

God is so good, even when it is hard.

It has been hard these past few weeks, but God has proved so faithful. When I finally have surrendered to Him, He has changed my heart and helped me surrender to Him. He has helped me trust Him on a deeper level.

And that is worth everything.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Silence, resting in Him, and a heart change...

I don't know if any of you have heard of Peter Scazzero's small devotional book called, "Begin the Journey with the Daily Office" before.

If you have, and you have used it some in any sort of way in your life, you will know what I mean when I say this is making a huge difference in my walk with God.

The beginning of this week, I was still resisting God. I have been fighting him when he has wanted me to just surrender at least one area of my life to him that I have been holding out on. I was still acknowledging that I needed to do something, but not willing to take the steps I knew it were necessary.

The Daily Office really encourages spending some extended time (starting small and building up to longer times) being still before God and centering in on resting in his presence. I found it extremely hard to do so as I started this week. Probably because I knew my heart wasn't right.

My heart wasn't surrendered, so why would it find it easy to center in and quiet itself before God?

But as I walked through this devotional, my heart softened. As I read through the prayers about surrendering and being silent, and read through them out loud as suggested, something changed.

How can you read prayers, and pray prayers and seek God's presence without being changed?

Scazzero provides you with guides to prayers, a scripture reading, a devotional section (short), a question to consider, and a written prayer. There are two for each day; morning/midday and midday/evening; to fit your schedule as needed or as wanted. The point is to settle yourself before God for 10 minutes to 20 minutes or more as you have time, two or more times a day, depending on your daily routine and schedule. The idea behind that is, the more you take time out of your day, trusting God to help you get done what is really needed, laying down your control of the day, you take God with you into every part of your day. It reminds you that God is really with you. You are able to practice being in His presence through out the whole day, rather than "filling up" in the morning with a quiet time to "get what you need" for the rest of the day.

It has changed the way I think about my devotions with God. Whether I do one in the morning when I get up (which is preferrable to me, so I don't get busy with the kids, and my mind get going without first committing everything to Him) and one again at the end of the day, right before bed; or whether I do one at lunch and another just after supper, or any combination, I am more likely to stay with God throughout the day.

I don't just hurriedly say a quick prayer for the people I remember. No laundry list of prayers with a hurried reading, and hurried "oh, and God help me through this day... show me what to do, Amen."

This really forces me to slow down. To take my time. To start and end with at least 2 minutes of silence. When I find I am having trouble staying silent without my brain taking off, I take a small bit of scripture that I might be memorizing, and just pray through and meditate on a phrase of it, asking God to show me something that I haven't noticed before. Then I move on with the office for that day.

The rhythm of taking time out, then working some, then taking a bit more time out for resting in God, really has seemed to help my days. Now I am only on about day 4 right now, but already I notice a difference. My spirit seems so much more settled, even when there are things going on that I could be (and do still) worry about.

Some of the questions, or comments that have come up in the past few days from this book have really impacted me.

"Help me to listen to you and grant me the courage to faithfully surrender to you."

"God, sometimes, wounds us in our journey with him in order to move us out an unhealthy, 'tip of the iceberg' spirituality to one that truly transforms us from the inside out."

"Lord, I invite you to teach me to live in dependence on you. Help me rest and be still in your love alone."

"[When I am still] God can break through the many layers with which I protect myself, so that I can hear his Word and be poised to listen.... most of our human problems come because we don't know how to sit still in our room for an hour."

"Lord forgive me for running my life without you today. I offer my anxieties to you now - as best I can. Help me to be still, to surrender to your will, and to rest in your loving arms."
(excerpts from "Daily Office" pgs. 6-11)

Just sit and read through those passages again and let them sink in. As I have had time to soak them in, to really hear them in my heart as well as my mind, my heart has been changed.

The time in silence has become comfortable again. I have found the comfort in God's presence, in his word, in silence before him. I (for the most part!!) am not afraid to hear from him and what he might say.

I am looking forward to seeing what else he will teach me through this time of silence and seeking him several times a day. I am more hopeful, though there are still the same struggles as before. I feel like, through this, through the times of silence and contemplation before him, he has said to me, "It's ok, I am here and I am going to walk with you through this."

One of the biggest things I have felt, almost spoken aloud to me happened just the other day.

I felt God speaking to my heart.

I have filled you with my Spirit, you have power beyond your own.
I have covered you with my Son, you are cleansed, forgiven.
I have adopted you as your Father, you are set free and my heir.

There is nothing better than that realization.

The depression, anxiety, worries about money, worries about a job, fears for the future, concerns about family and friends, struggles with knowing who I really am, who I was created to be....
Those all pale in comparison to who I am in Christ, what my Father has given me, and how richly I am blessed.
Those other things are still there. But so is my Father. To Him I can run in everything, with everything.

May God bless you this day, and may you find time to silence your heart and mind before Him and rest in His presence.

Joyfully on the road,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Refuge, strength, and scripture memory...

I have been struggling for several days to come up with a scripture verse for the scripture memory challenge that Beth Moore is hosting.

Usually, I can sit down the day before, or the day it is due. I pray and ask God to show me the right verse. Usually, after a bit of prayer, and spending some time in the Word, and using a bible program to do some word or phrase searches for me I can come up with something pretty quickly.


Not this week.
It just wasn't happening.

Last time, I was looking for something that talked about having and undivided heart or mind. That single-minded approach to God, to following Him. I found that in Psalm 86:11-13. It reminded me of the things He has done for me, and also the things that I need to keep doing... praising His name, and seeking to walk in His will... His truth.

This time, I started looking for something that would spin off of the last verse. I wanted something more to talk about an undivided mind or heart. I wanted something that I thought would speak to me in the next week + but that wasn't God's plan.

I have been searching the last couple of days.

Finally today I emailed Cindy and asked her to shoot my way any scripture references about God's comfort or provision. She sent several my way. Not one of them fit with my heart. I just wasn't satisfied. I still felt unsettled. However, something in one of the verses she sent me started me on another search.

This time I looked up "refuge." I have felt the need for comfort, for the reminder that God is my refuge and strength. I have needed the reminder of His peace.

I am still fighting some in my heart a resistance to fully surrender some areas of my life to Him. I need something to encourage me to do so... to really trust Him.

These were the verses I found.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
My hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
Pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.


Psalm 62:5-8

Is there anything more perfect than that?
Not for me.
At least, not this time around!

It is a reminder for me that He is my fortress, my refuge, my safety, my "safe place." It reminds me to trust in Him, because He hears my heart. He hears my cries. He knows them before I even cry them out, and He still is safe to go to.

It also reminds me of something I am learning I need more and more. These verses remind me to remind myself that I need rest. Rest in Jesus. Nothing else in this world is going to give me the rest that my very soul craves and longs for. Nothing I turn to will give me relief.

Jesus is the answer.
Jesus is the only way to true peace and joy.
Jesus is the only true "safe place" for our hearts.
Jesus is the one my salvation and honor depends upon.

Nothing else will do.
No one else will do.

He is it.

Now if only, along with the memorization, my heart can really take hold of the meaning of these words.

I pray God that Your word will take hold of me... and change me and rock me to my very core.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Who am I, really??

I feel like shouting...

"Will the real Heather, please stand up!"

I really do.

I am not really sure who I am anymore.

Through the past couple of years, as I have healed, God has broken down the walls and constructs I have built up to protect myself. He has demolished some of the "false selves" I have presented to the world as the "real me."

As those have come down, as my defense mechanisms have been shown for what they are, I have been left reacting to things differently than I used to.

I have found myself withdrawing, and disengaging in larger groups. I used to, at least for the most part, get into the middle of a group, and engage in a conversation or two. As long as I wasn't left sitting alone, I was ok. I wasn't looking to be the center of attention, but I was looking to be kept "occupied" so that I wouldn't feel the pain inside, I think.

I have found myself needing more alone time. Actually feeling more harried, impatient, and almost unhealthy if I don't get any for a while. I used to keep going and going, bouncing from one Christian activity to another. It felt, at the time that I was energized when I came away from these things. There were times that it was hard for me to wind down after being with a group. I thought that was because I was energized being in a group. I am thinking now, that it was a way for me to cope again with pain deep inside. If I could keep hyper during and after something, I could keep myself from feeling how truly lonely I was on the inside.

Now I am becoming at least a little more comfortable being alone, and by myself. I am enjoying it, rather than being overwhelmed by the silence. I find I can enjoy the silence and don't "need" music on in the background, or the TV on or something.

Here is a quote from chapter 2 of "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" by Peter Scazzero.

"God intends our deeper, truer self, which he created, to blossom freely as we follow him. God has endowed each of us with certain essential qualities that reflect and express him in a unique way. Part of the sanctification process of the Holy Spirit is to strip away the false constructs we have accumulated and enable our true selves to emerge."

There is more too... I think I am going to be learning a lot as I go through this book with Cindy. I am done with chapter two, but I think I am going to have to keep processing it a bit at a time, as things come up.

But, I am not who I thought I was.

Now I feel lost.
I don't have the same reactions to situations I used to.
I find emotions sneaking up on me at unexpected times.
I get caught off guard.
I don't know what to expect.
I feel lost.

God, who am I? Who did you create me to be?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Soothing reminders...

I love this verse that Beth Moore shared with us on her post today.

If I say, "My foot is slipping," Your loyal love, O Lord, supports me. When worries threaten to overwhelm me, Your soothing touch makes me HAPPY."
Psalm 94:18-19 out of the New English Translation

I went to visit Cindy at church today, where she works. I got there over 20 minutes early, and as I knew she was giving up time out of her work day for me, I decided to spend the time sitting on the hill near our lower parking lot. That way I would give her time to get some things done before we started talking.

I sat on the sweet smelling grass. The sun was hot on my back. The sound of song birds was in the air. The wind was a gentle breeze blowing on my face, brushing my hair out of my eyes.

I was able to sit there and settle myself in God's presence. I felt like He spoke right to me, where I was at, right then and there.

As I rested there, I was reminded by Him that He is there with me. He created me to perfectly feel the sun and the breeze. He created that sun and breeze to warm and cool me. He created the gold finches flying overhead, singing sweetly to me.

He created that moment specifically for me.

For me to remember in times of doubt. Or in times of fear. Or in times of loneliness. Or in times where I feel disengaged. Or in times of extreme stress and worry.

His touch is soothing indeed, and it makes me happy. It made me happy right then and there.

Then as Cindy and I talked and spent some time tackling some more difficult questions, and processing through them, at one point, God reminded me of sitting outside.

He reminded me, yes I may feel very lonely at times. I may feel very stressed and wanting to disengage from everything. I may find that I am more of an introvert than I thought. I may find there are things about my personality, and habits that are re-occurring and difficult to overcome.

But He still makes the sun to warm my back, and the breeze to cool my face. He still does those things because He loves me. He wants to remind me that He is with me. He wants to remind me that He will never let me go.

He wants to remind me that His love is loyal. His love is unfailing. His love will always be there, no matter what my feelings are, or if I feel I deserve that love or not. (I never will, but He gives it anyway)

He picks me up, and dusts me off when I fall down. He supports me and keeps me from slipping. He sets my feet upon a firm place. He helps me get going in the right direction again.

But He does all of this with a gentle hand. Not harsh or hard or impatient. Not with an angry hand or countenance.


And when I think that I should be on the receiving end of harshness from Him... He surprises me again... (and why should I be surprised when He never changes in how He deals with me?)

His love overwhelms and in that overwhelming... oh how my worries are soothed away.

Then I am happy.
But deeper than that.
I am filled with joy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Emotionally disengaging...

This week has left me in a blur. Since posting last week about my struggles, the struggles got harder as the week went on. As they did, I found the struggle with my emotions got more intense as well.

One of the things I have been doing is working my way through the book by Peter Scazzero, "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality."

I have been blown away by this book. It is so good. Way better than I expected.

At Cindy's suggestion, I have paused myself at reading only one chapter at a time, as slowly as I can, so that I can really soak it in, and take notes as I go through it...

But before I go there... here is something I prayed as I processed after my last post. I recognized that though I had shared pretty freely what was going on with me, and though my heart was/is shame-filled at it all... my heart is also one more thing.


Here is my prayer, directly to God.

"Lord God - Daddy - I don't know how to open my heart to the work you want me to do. Or the work you want to do in the area of how I view money and our finances and how ti fix it, and change that heart attitude. Right now, my heart is still cold towards it and I still want to stubbornly do my own thing - not yours. Oh I hate to pray this because i know it is what you want... soften my heart - make it living and pliable in your hands. Reform it to look more like you. I don't want to be static and unmoving and unmoved. If I continue to hold you at a distance in this area of my life, how can I ever be fully surrendered? Oh breathe your living Spirit through me. Your very breath of life and quicken my heart and soul to respond to you. I need you more than ever."

I prayed that prayer, but am not sure how much my heart engaged in it. I prayed it because I know that is what God wanted, not because I wanted to pray it.

As I was reading this book, "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality," I read something about how so many times when we are emotionally immature, but don't want to face it, we try to fill up ourselves with the newest discipleship models, new spiritual disciplines, but they never fill us up... because we can't separate emotional maturity from our spiritual maturity. We can never reach spiritual maturity, when we don't ever address our emotional life. When we are emotional infants, we are spiritually immature. As we address our emotional maturity and do the hard work of growing in that area, our spiritual maturity grows as well... God works them together and grows them together. It can become a revolutionary change in our lives, and in the lives of those around us.

(Did I mention this is an incredible book and I haven't even gotten past the first chapter?!)

Well, as Scazzero was talking about trying to fill the emptiness, this thought popped into my head.

"Why do I find myself disengaging when in a group right now?"

I find myself in a group of people, and emotionally and mentally becoming distant, especially when I don't have to specifically engage with anyone at that moment. I find myself lonely in a group. I find myself wanting to pull away, just stay home and sleep. I don't look forward to public events, even not wanting to "do" mother's day... I was doing something the other day with my husband, and found myself completely socially, emotionally and mentally disengaging, and pulling inward.

I know that depression has a lot to do with it. I don't know if it is connected with being on the borderline between extrovert and introvert or not. I know that I can appear an extrovert in some settings because I can do the "acting" and have to work hard sometimes at appearing even natural in certain situations... I don't know.

Where I used to be more energized by being in larger groups (in college) now I find that I am becoming more comfortable with small groups, and one on one get togethers, rather than the larger groups...

...and the larger the group, the harder I have to fight this tendancy to become disengaged. I have had to fight this tendency even more this past week or so. It has gotten stronger, maybe as I have struggled with my emotions more this week too.

I don't know if anything even really connects here.

But God is doing something. I don't know what. My heart is resistant to the changes He wants to make in it. I am still fighting that. I am consciously having to fight the strong desire to withdraw and disengage and get out of group events.

Wednesday, my son is going on his first field trip, with his 4k class. They will be taking a bus, for about a 40 minute ride to a nearby town that has a small zoo. I have been asked to chaperone. I remember as a kid, always wanting my mom to come, and rarely was she able to, so when Peter (with that spark of fear in his face) asked if I would come, I said I would.

Right now, though I won't do it, I want to get out of going. I could ask Dave to go in my place, but I know Peter wants me to go.

I am fearful of having to fight that urge to disengage. And I don't want Peter to see me fighting fear, or fighting depression or whatever during the day. I want him to experience the zoo as fun and school field trips as something to be looked forward to, not feared.

I guess all I can ask is for more prayers.

God is taking me on a refining process. He has for the past several years. Because I have a blog, and tend to write through things, you are coming on this journey with me... provided you are still hanging with me here.

Thank you for praying me through these things. I hope that I can and have been sharing the "good" moments as well... the moments of answered prayer.

In the morning I am getting together with Cindy to talk through the first chapter in this book. I am hoping that we will be able to have the time to really get into some of the things that have been bothering me. There is more, beyond what I have shared here, and I am just praying that God will orchestrate what time we have.

Please pray with me that God will bring up the things I need help processing through and the things that I can work through on my own with Him will be left for later.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"An Untroubled Heart," Chapter 7

Welcome to our "Yes to God" study hosted by Lelia. Please join us... read along with us... comment freely~

Chapter 7: What's the Worst that Could Happen?

For me, that is a hard question to answer. There are fears that are preying on my mind. I always have them, but there are times when I am able to push them away or drown them out.

The past few years I have fought fears.
Fears of failure.
Fears of the past.
Fears of the future.

Tons of them.

I know that many of them were played up by the enemy as well, because come on. Would he really want to see a child of God succeed, and grow and be productive in the Kingdom?

I like Micca's point that the very worst thing that could happen to anyone is to not know Jesus, and be eternally separated from Him.

I am so grateful to be His child. I can call Him "Abba, Father" because I have been given the spirit of adoption. He is my Father. I am His child. There is no comfort on earth better than that.

When I can boil it all down to that, my fears do seem to melt away.

But, as I live and breathe, things crowd in and take over, and life happens, distractions come. I lose my focus. It gets foggy. It gets muddy. Suddenly I feel like I am living under this huge weight.

It's a weight today, that only briefly, as I distracted myself by window shopping with my son, lifted.

It was a warm day, sunny for the most part, and we had a mommy and son day, doing some of our favorite things.

It was nice. It was really very fun.

I came home and reality crashed in.

Now my stomach is in knots again.

I am coming down a bit from the emotional high I was on from last week. That isn't what is causing the knots though. I would say that I am at a "lower emotional level" (like that dancing with words?).

Its some other circumstances... that frankly, I am not helping right now. My hubby wants me to get a job. I haven't yet. I should. We will be extremely lucky if we don't get overdrawn before the next check comes in. Literally. And it comes in on Thursday. You know the check that will over draw us? Our tithe check. If it gets deposited tomorrow.

Our. Tithe. Check.

i feel pretty small right about now....

And I am trying to figure out how the heck to get even $10 into the bank before the check gets deposited by the church.


And so I am wide awake. Exhausted. A headache. A knot in my stomach. A sore back. And I feel like I could throw up.

Then I read this:
"Christ's provision goes far beyond heaven and earth. When you and I face the unknown, God is there, leading the way through our unknown territory until we are safe on the other side."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I know His history with me.
He has made that above statement a true one.
I can wholeheartedly agree with it...
concerning my past.

Intellectually, I can agree with it concerning my future.

But my heart?

My heart isn't having any of it...
which is why I still feel like throwing up.

My head keeps telling me I was dumb to put that tithe check in the offering plate this Sunday because I knew how close we were running this week to hitting "red." But I heard this little voice say, "Trust Me." So, with a deep breath I put it in, and let it go.

Then proceeded to use my credit card when I needed, or wanted, to buy something this week. So, where is the trust in that???????

Yeah, I took it into my own hands immediately that afternoon. When I went to the store to get some things we didn't need. Things I wanted.

So... should I really try to scrape up $10 to save us a $30 fee, or do I take my punishment for not being a good steward? It's one check. One item that will overdraw us. We won't spend anything till his check clears our account on Thursday... but I am not even going to want to look at the account on line... especially when it comes time to pay some bills.

Ok... so I don't know if this post had anything to do with this weeks chapter, or if I am just venting. But I look at the question, and apply it to my life... what's the worst that could happen?

I say to myself, and to others... well, we could lose everything, but we won't lose his job, because its a stable profession (at least right now they aren't firing nurses in our area!). We can always move in with his folks at the farm, and no one will let us starve to death....

But, inside I quiver when I say that, and pray that God won't make it come to that. But He just might. To get my attention. I can't blame it on my hubby's lack of money management skills. I can't blame it on mine. It's deeper than that. It's a control issue. It's a heart issue. It's a greed issue. It's a "I want it all and I want it now" issue. It's an issue of not being able to really take hold of and apply the delayed gratification principle.

It's an issue of trust. Letting go of the things that I think I need. The things I think I want. The things that I try to fill my emptiness with.

I try to go "cold turkey" and really clamp down on my spending. I may not be able to control anyone else's spending, but I can control mine. So... nada... nothing. Be careful. Get only the milk needed and not one extra thing more....
Then slowly I loosen things up a bit... without really realizing it, and suddenly I have my credit card out all the time, the bills go up, my "appetites" go up, and my control goes down. I justify it by telling myself I don't go out and spend it all on clothes, though I would love to go get some clothes that fit me, and stop trying to patch the jeans I have to make them work. Instead, I go out an I spend on coffee, food, extras at the grocery store, books... (oh, that's a bad one...) taking my son out to eat (twice) today rather than packing a lunch and being home in time for dinner.
and I am back in the hole... financially, spiritually, emotionally... fearful and stressed... and knowing that God has better for me, but no idea of how to get there.

I need to let God fill me. Let God show me the things I really need. Again. Show me the things that I really want. Again.

Part of my memory verse this time is from Psalm 86:11-13
Verse 11:
"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."

I need an undivided heart... one wholly devoted to Him, to His truth, and His way. I need to fear Him more than fearing our financial situation (than fearing how I handle our financial situation... clamping down or burying my head...). I need to fear God above all else. A holy fear.

If I would finally give in and fear Him and Him alone, maybe I could stop striving for things to fill me up and make me feel better. Maybe I would finally be able to rest. If I fear Him, I sure wouldn't have time to fear anything else!

I want to stand firm on Him. I want to stand firm on His grace. I want to stand firm, knowing the Holy Spirit guides me... in Faith not Fear!

"In times of trouble, whether it's in our family, workplace, community, church, or world, we have to get understanding from the Holy Spirit, who leads us in all truth and supplies supernatural strength to endure until the end by faith, not fear."

Please pray friends that I would let God have control of this area in my life and heart, that currently has control of me. There is a part of me - surprise - that just isn't surrendered to Him. Honestly, I really AM afraid of what it will take to get me to the point of letting it go. It seems the times I have tried in the past, in response to the promptings of the Spirit, well, I just keep taking it back. Maybe it's come in stages, a bit at a time, as I have been willing to surrender it.... but I see my spending habits, and attitudes about money reflected back at me, in my 5 yr old (a wonderful 5 yr old mirror), and I don't like it.

Micca said:
"If you are full of worry, then it may be that you have not fully given every area of your life over to God."

I agree with that... but I also know that I made conscious decisions today that caused me to spend more than I needed to.... probably that $30 overdraft charge I am going to have... on credit. And I consciously squelched the Spirit, and said I am going to do it when I want, and how I want.... I "deserve" it. HA!

There is no graceful way to end this post. So I am just going to publish this. But know my heart is cringing right now... just because it hates being this exposed. This hits a bit too close to home to be comfortable.
I suppose playing it safe, and coming up with generic comments about the chapter would be more comfortable. But it wouldn't be honest. It would be lying. It would be saying that everything is swell, when it isn't.

How could I really say that I am actually ON the road and really WALKING with Jesus if I didn't show the pot holes, washouts and rock falls along the way...

It's raw (as my heart and stomach... oh, does it feel icky right now... can attest to) but it's real.
No apologies for that... but praying I didn't over step bounds, or this post will be gone and maybe not re-written... just so I don't get tempted to lie!