Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nothing special...

Today was "nothing special" look at it from the front side... looking at it from my point of view as I got up this morning.

Today was one of those days.

You know the ones I am talking about.

I woke up late, with a horrible headache, and my stomach off kilter.

I got to work and sat looking at my desk and list of things to be done and realized that most of what I needed was still at home.

I just was "off" and didn't know how to fix it.

I felt like I was just a body warming a chair at work today. What was the point in me being there when I couldn't get done all I wanted to?

Then this afternoon happened.

First my best friend, Gwen, was online and showed up in my chat status. So, I dropped her a line in the chat, to see if she was really there and had time. She did. Though it was a short conversation, I knew God had authored it, because she shared some things that needed prayer, and it was good for us both, I hope!

Then right at the end of our conversations, my home group leader, Pete came by the office. I was very happy to see him, but I assumed he was there to talk with Pastor Kim. So I just indicated that he was free, if Pete wanted to go in.

Instead, Pete came into my office first. I thought he was just going to stand and chat a moment about our small group and what we were going to be doing, and the menu for Thursday.

When he sat down in my extra chair, I realized that he really wanted to talk. With me. I felt surprised, then this peace and joy flowed through me that he was taking the time to stop. Pete was taking a pause in his day for me.

We talked about a wide range of things, some important stuff, a few light things. I was able to share prayer requests. He asked how I was doing with my job at the church, as well as just personally. He took time and listened, and shared some of his heart too. We talked about things concerning our small group, concerning him and his wife, Donna.

Some of the things gave me something to chew over and ponder for a while now.

When our conversation reached a natural conclusion, Pete suggested that we pray together. He prayed first, then I did - and my heart came pouring out, in prayer for him and Donna, for our small group... and other more personal things. Unexpected but good.

What struck me as we talked and prayed, and made even more of an impression afterward, was that Pete asked for my opinion and insight into some things.

That may seem average and ordinary to some.

To me, it was huge. To be thought of as whole and healthy enough to be able to give an opinion or advice was so impacting to me today, especially coming from someone I love and respect so much.

There have been times where I have sensed something, and never said anything to anyone about it, or done anything about it, and the moment has passed. I haven't trusted myself enough to feel like I had the right to say something, because well, what if I was totally wrong?

Slowly in the last year or so, I have opened up to one person, my friend Cindy, a couple of times when I felt that God was prompting me to - because she was safe.

However in the past month or so, I have dared to open up to a few more people about an insight I had, or about something I sensed, that ended up being right on. A couple of them were pretty noticeable to me. I also know that it was only God who could have shown me these things.

There were two things that I felt I noticed. One, I spoke about it to the person involved. The other I didn't because I was unsure how to communicate it, verbally or written. The spoken one, I don't know what kind of affect on the person it had, or if healing will take place because of it. The unspoken, I am concerned now, knowing other things, that my not speaking (or writing) when prompted allowed a situation to continue, and possibly worsen, due to lack of knowledge.

In the conversation with Pete though, I felt that God was touching my heart in a much needed way. I didn't know I needed it until it happened. It was a tangible way God showed me that I am on the right path.

On the right path.
Tentative steps.
Trembling lips.
Full heart.

On the right path, with a heart bursting with the desire to do and say the right thing, and to not overstep what God wants me to do, or to get ahead of Him.

Scared to death sometimes to say what needs to be said.

But I am willing.

Oh, to see the road He has taken me on, and now to see that He has had this road in mind all along! Because only through the pain I have been in, am I able to recognize it in others. Only through the experiences I have been through am I able to see the traps and recognize similar circumstances unfolding in other lives around me.

Only through prayer and seeking God's wisdom and discernment have I had the opportunity at times (and the permission) to speak into someone's life.

Truly, I have been, and still am, on the road, walking with Jesus.

Today, God knew what I needed though I couldn't put it into words.

When Pete took the time to come into my office and sit down, God used it to touch a place deep inside of me. Pete invested in me today, and I hope I was able to give back some. The affirmation, encouragement and prayers I got today, from someone I love and respect, means more to me than I can put into words.

It was the love, acceptance, and encouragement of a father to a daughter that I don't get very often, at least in spoken words.

It was the unspoken but implied acknowledgment of growing up and being peers, a change in relationship, and almost a rite of passage for me.

God used a simple conversation to show me I am growing up, to show me that He loves me and has worked in me, even when I didn't feel like He was.

He used it to build and expand my capacity for joy, and to help me through the transition to the next level of maturity.

Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness to me! Thank you for using the people in my life to touch me and work in me in the very ways I need. Oh, may I be such an instrument in the lives of those around me!

No, today was "nothing special." It was just a day that God met me, matured me, impacted my life, and gave me a deep joy, in the ways only He can.

Friday, March 19, 2010

prayer for my family

My family is going through a rough time right now.

Not my immediate family - Dave and the kids and I - but my spiritually adopted family.

Our "small group" or "home group" as our church calls them, is finding itself under a lot of strain from many different areas.

We are not a typical "bible study" with a topic of study each week, though we have tried that. We can read a book and discuss it, sometimes. But that isn't our focus. Our focus is on relationship. With God, and with one another. The formality of a bible study isn't always a good fit for us.

The times when we really shine, are the times when we "do" life together. We help each other out with things, fixing computers or cars, bringing meals to one another, celebrating birthdays together, having "dinner and a movie" nights at someone's house.

Sometimes my kids are there, often Dave isn't because of his work schedule, but for the most part, the core of us has been together for a long time - maybe 5 years.

They have walked with me through depression, suicidal thoughts, emotional immaturity - and watched as I have learned and grown. We have walked together through someone's scare of prostate cancer. We have stood by as several have struggled deeply with relationships, friendships, and authority figures. We have come alongside those who have lost jobs. We have shared the burden of helping a dear friend struggle with colon cancer. We are starting the walk with that same friend as she struggles with her husband's diagnosis/surgery/treatment of colon cancer.

We have had many stresses on our group. We have had different people become part of the group for a while, and go away for a while, sometimes come back, sometimes not. Right now, one core couple, who used to be able to be another physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy couple to come alongside the couple leading us - well they are the ones struggling with the serious cancer diagnosis now.

Our leader and his wife are tired. They need to be filled and encouraged, and feel they are pouring out, but not receiving it in.

How can I help them? I so want to, but don't know that I am in the position to.

Our group has suddenly grown very needy and lopsided with this one couple being so wrapped up in what is going on with them. The wife still comes, but he is pretty much needing to stay at home right now, to get his strength back before chemo.

That leaves our leader as the only male in a sea of estrogen! A guy (from what I have heard) can only take so much of that for so long! :)

Please pray for us. As a family, we don't want to be "split up" or broken apart by these difficult times we are in. I know that if God wants us to stay together, we will come out on the other side of this so much stronger.

But if God wants us to stop meeting as a small group, then we are going to need to be prepared to do that. I know I am not prepared for that, for sure. We love each other and if God wants us to disband our small group and do something else, though we will make time for one another, it is still going to be different than what we have now.

I don't know what is going to happen.

But I fear there is going to be hurt involved, no matter what is down the road here, in the near future. We are going to be broken, no matter what happens. But God is in the business of healing all things broken.

We need to be clear on how God is directing us. We need clear communication. We need Spirit-led conversations and understanding and unity that only comes from God. Only with that clear communication, understanding, unity and love are we going to be able to minister to one another the way God intends us to.

We need protection from all attempts of the enemy to build on the struggles we are facing. He would love nothing better than to use the crisis of one couple in our group to implode the group as a whole, causing damage and wounds in every direction.

Please pray that each of us individually would be able to stand firm against the enemy's schemes. He is trying very hard to pull any of us down individually.

Please pray that as a family we will be able to unite and come against the attacks of the enemy.

Please pray that as individuals and together we will be able to meet the needs of those in our group who have them, but also to be able to take care of ourselves enough, and express when we have a need as well.

Please pray for me.

Pray that I am very clear on what my position is/should be, how I can help, and what my limitations are. If I am not aware of, or ignore, my personal boundaries, I will find myself exposed, over extended and exhausted.

I am so glad that God's love endures forever. I am so thankful that He never leaves us or forsakes us. I am so grateful that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Him, and that we are united in the Spirit.

I am praying that our small group can be an example of that love, the ever presence of God, the security of being in Him, and unity of the Body, the way God designed it.

I am praying most for this dear couple who have been married for only 47 years and are begging God for a miracle of more time together!

My heart is burdened by all needs in our family. I want to meet them all, and I know I can't. I keep praying, but I hardly know what to pray because it is all so overwhelming.

Please join me in prayer. I know that when we don't have the words, or knowledge of even what to pray, the Spirit does, and guides our prayers, and prays for us.

What gifts God has given us! May His strength be shown perfect in our weaknesses!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Psalm 103, God at work.

I started my last post with the beginning of Psalm 103... Let me continue the verses here.... because the previous verses kind of left us hanging in the middle of a sentence.

Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits -
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Psalm 103:1-5

There are so many things that are going on in my life. It's much more than being busy... though I am that, plus some.

God is speaking into my heart and life in various ways. One way is through the Daniel bible study by Beth Moore.

Another way is by reading through her book, "So Long, Insecurity."

He has been prompting my mind to reflect and think on some of the healing that He's taken me through. I haven't done a lot of journaling about it, and there are so many things rolling through my head, I have hesitated in writing here, because of how likely I am to get off on a tangent.

I will try to catch those in my proofing so that each tangent becomes it's own post! :)

I also have had a hard time writing when my emotions have taken over and I have been so down lately. It has taken too much effort to write. Then when my emotions shut down, there was no motivation to write, because I couldn't share my heart. I couldn't even access it.

Today, as I looked at my memory verses (which are Psalm 103:1-2) I continued reading down the next 3 verses. They really can't go without mentioning.

The beginning of the psalm is a call to praise God... to remember His benefits. Looking up "benefits" in the Strong's Concordance, this is the first definition

From H1580; treatment, that is, an act (of good or ill); by implication service or requital: - + as hast served, benefit, desert, deserving, that which he hath given, recompense, reward.

This helped me a bit to understand the word benefit... that it is something that we have been given or rewarded with. But the root word that it is from (H1580) sheds even more light on it.

A primitive root; to treat a person (well or ill), that is, benefit or requite; by implication (of toil) to ripen, that is, (specifically) to wean: - bestow on, deal bountifully, do (good), recompense, requite, reward, ripen, + serve, wean, yield.

That made even more sense to me. God has bestowed something on us. He has dealt with us bountifully, and has done good to us, He has treated us richly.

It's not something I have deserved, but He has benefited me greatly. Because He loves me, He has lavished that love on me, shown me that love in so many ways.

It does my heart good to think on those things. To meditate on those ways he has dealt so bountifully with me.

Read verses 3-5 over again. Go ahead, scroll back up. I'll wait...


There, you back? :)

Look at these short lists, taken right from Psalm 103:3-5. Let them sink into your heart and soul and mind the way they are starting to in mine.


He forgives all sins.
He heals all diseases (anything that makes you sick, body, mind, heart, soul)
He redeems lives.
He crowns with love and compassion.
He satisfies desires.
He renews youth.

He forgives all your sins.
He heals all your diseases.
He redeems your life.
He crowns you with love and compassion.
He satisfies your desires.
He renews your youth.

God does all this for you. He does all this for me.

I think the enemy was working overtime in my life the past month or so, to hit all my triggers for depression. All my triggers got hit... depression and fear of going down under it again, fears of rejection, fears of failure, worldly guilt from the past, including condemning thoughts that were dredged back up.

All my hang ups came back to the surface. Right now things are getting better. My perspective is being changed, by God, and now I am slowly joining in the effort. I am starting to be able to think clearly enough to refocus my thoughts when they get "off."

God is working in me. I can hear His voice more clearly. I can see His face again. I can feel myself sitting in His lap again.

It has taken me being mindful of what He is doing in my life, and seeing His faithfulness in the past.

I am being "forced" to look at things that are triggering my insecurities and fears.

I think the enemy was using my past struggles and fears, and current ones too, as well as the world and my flesh kicking in, to stop me from what God would have me do.

I think God wants me to examine myself, my life right now, in light of His Truth. Jesus wants me to see myself as I am seen by God through His blood.

I know the truth of who I am in Him. I know that I am holy and clean and consecrated in His sight. My perception of who I am is off, just a little bit and not as bad as it used to be. But it completely affects how I act, what I say, and how I feel about myself.

I feel like God is working on me and in me to have His truth more deeply invade my life, thoughts, beliefs, and ingrained patterns. Then my thoughts and feelings (which I was really drowning in, if you couldn't tell, which is why I disconnected I think) will start to line up with the Truth. I will start to operate out of His Truth, because His Truth will become a deeply set part of my life.

It's not that I don't believe the truth, but now it has to come to a new place. A deeper level.

So that my trust in God and love of Jesus will be deeper and fuller than they are now. So that I more closely follow the promptings of the Spirit.

I want Him to be my all in all.
I want to be able to refocus my thoughts and remember all His benefits when my heart wanders and I feel lost and alone.

Because I am not lost and alone.

I am His and He is mine.

So are you.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul. and forget not all His benefits." Psalm 103:1-2

I needed this reminder this morning.

I need this reminder every morning.

I have found myself dealing with a lot of disconnect.

This past week it has felt like I have disconnected from friends. I haven't called people as much, I haven't done much emailing. I haven't done any writing. I didn't even get in contact with my best friend.

I had one of my other best friends come to my house for an overnight. It's the first time we have seen each other in.... well, way too long, if I can't remember when!

But just before she came, I got a terrific (horrific) head cold. I was so out of it this weekend. I felt terrible, not just because of my cold, but because it was so hard for me to concentrate on my friend.

It was wonderful to see her. It was so good to talk and be able to share what has been going on in our lives. Things have changed so much with us since we were roommates in college. But God has still kept us close.

I just feel like the whole weekend was foggy. I even skipped out on church on Sunday, because I was feeling so bad. I never do that. I usually push myself through - but I decided that when I got up, showered and dressed and was ready to go back to bed, that I had better call it quits - especially since I still had my son to get ready too.

Peter was off of school all last week, cause he was sick. Marina was sick too (still is) and now Dave and I are as well. I feel like I was running in a million directions last week, and had no time to connect with God either.

I feel disconnected.

I feel like I have pulled the plug and done an automatic disconnect on my own.

I know part of that is feelings. I know that part of that is just the everyday stress of sick kids, being sick myself, and a ton going on right now.

But I really dislike that. I don't like the feeling of just "floating" around disconnected from people, and from God, and feeling ungrounded.

Thus the scripture verses above. They are going to by my scripture memory verses for the next 2 weeks.

They are David's words. They seem to be an intentional reminder to his (and my) inmost being to praise the Lord, to remember Him, to remember all He has done for him (and me).

I need to intentionally remember what God has done. His benefits, His blessings, His healing, His love.

I am so thankful that no matter what I do or what I don't do, God's love for me never, ever fails.

Last night, as I was sitting on the couch, snuggling with the kids, I kept asking my daughter questions, or asking her to do something (like stop kicking me continuously under the blanket) and she refused to talk to me. I asked her something and she purposely ignored me. I got so frustrated with her. She was still doing it even as I was tucking her into bed.

I wonder how many times God is hurt and disappointed that I don't respond to Him when He talks to me. I am so thankful that he doesn't react to me the way I did with Marina. I am so thankful that He still loves me and that it never wavers.

I still love Marina, but I wonder if she realizes that? You know what I mean? I wasn't intentionally unkind to her, but had to discipline her for not listening.

I know how I perceive that from God (and from others, at times). Those times of discipline or pruning when I feel unloved. I know it is for my own good, and for His glory.

Right now, the things that I struggle with - the things that are day to day struggles, or pop up once a week or so, those are the things that are really pulling me down.

Those habitual sins, habitual lies, habitual coping mechanisms.

Those are what I find myself obsessing over. I mean, I am over analyzing them. Why am I doing this? Where is it coming from? What is the source?

What I really need to do is not worry quite so much about those questions but deal with the actual issues and emotions, and find my "go to" scriptures, my "stop me in my tracks" scripts that I can replace the lies, etc with. I need to be able to put into place in my mind, something besides my own will, which is weak, that will cause me to stop and realize what I am doing or where my thoughts are going.

Do you have "go to" scriptures, or as my friend says, a "stop, drop and roll" something that triggers you to meditate on the truth, no matter what your feelings are doing?

Would you share them with me? I would be so grateful for anything you are willing to share.

I need the connections with others, and I need the connection I have with God to be built up and strengthened, so that even in the crazy days, I will find myself leaning on Him, not doing an emotional disconnect from Him and everyone.