Thursday, January 31, 2013

Yes, Lord

"Does God find a resting place in you?
Where do you allow Him to rest in you?
Do you say yes when He comes to your house?  The house He created?

Today I was watching a Biblical conference and the teacher asked these questions.   They resonated within me because they connected to what I have been pondering this week with Bonnie Gray's word prompt over at Faith Barista Jam.  The word prompt was "yes".  Meditating on this word brought me to a deeper place of reflection where God made me aware that I have been struggling with wanting Him to give me the answer yes to all my hopes and dreams.   After all, God's promises are all yes and amen, right?  But maybe what I need to realize is that God's promises are not to be adapted to comply with my hopes and dreams.  Maybe instead of looking for God's yes, I need to surrender to Him with my own.

Yes
Yes, come into my house......the house you created
Yes, Lord you can find a resting place in me.
Yes, Lord, fill me...every corner of me with your love.
Yes, I trust you.
Yes, I surrender all of me
Yes, Lord I surrender my hopes and dreams in return for your
intricate weaving of my little life
Yes Lord, I trust you to have a plan for good
I rest in that plan. I rest in you.
Yes, not only do I rest in you but You rest in me. 
Yes
 
I  love how God uses the struggles and messes of our lives and makes them our message to a waiting world.  You need only read the comments left on Bonnie's blog to know that what she writes with such heartfelt honesty is healing balm for others.  God is good like that.  He works all things out for good even in the midst of our struggles.  Throughout Bonnie's writing on her recent journey with PTS you find a very strong thread.  Jesus is woven into her daily moments. There can be no victory without Christ.  The healing balm found at Faith Barista is Jesus.
 
I also stopped over and read the latest post by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience. When a reminder of it came in my email I wondered what I would learn there today...I expected she would present her readers with a gift, a treasure we could carry on our faith walk, and I was not disappointed. She is writing on radical Christianity and as is God's way, her words, Bonnie's, the Biblical teacher from this morning, and the Holy Spirit's whispers all came together for me in the form of rest for a weary sojourner.  Yes, Lord.
 
I am right back where I started really.  Trust and Rest.  My words to meditate on this year.  Trust and Rest.  My yes to God is accomplished only through trust.  Resting is only accomplished through trusting.  Letting God rest in me is only accomplished through surrender and surrender is accomplished through trust.

God is always weaving His Holy Word and the words of others together, just for me. Just for you. He loves us that much.  He care about us that much.  He wants to hear our "yes" that much. 

How do you say yes to God ?
I am linking up to Spiritual Sundays
and Faith Barista
 


 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Little Things

It is Tuesday night and already feels like the weekend....the past two days have been a bit challenging to say the least.  A phone call at 4:30 Monday morning kept me from sleep until 6am.  My recliner days continue to be a necessity.  Our dog Levi is weak, thin, throwing up, not eating much, and sleeping all the time.  Two visits to the vet has not changed much.  Then today the toilet ran over.  Seriously.  Flooded so badly water went into the entry way and covered the wood floor. The water went down and leaked through the basement ceiling.  Joel spent a great deal of time trying to get it working again, but to no avail........and our trusty handyman is out of town.  Sigh.  So, if we need a trip to the bathroom, we need to climb 17 stairs up and down.  With my pain levels this is not pretty nor fun. The weather has been as unpredictable as our days.  Our side yard is deep in water from all the rain we had and the frozen ground.  Our neighbor could create a small skating rink in his.  Tonight snow is on the way. 

Life is so unpredictable and often the small things get us down. I am very aware that these are all small in the scheme of things, but for a while today I went into meltdown mode.  Weeping, feeling sorry for myself, angry at ?  I forgot for a moment that we live in this fallen world where bad things happen to good people, where pain keeps us bound to our recliner, where sweet puppies get old and decline, where toilets flood and appliances break.  I forgot for a moment that our lives are good because God is good.

 God's Word is full of promises to help us through the really tough times and the little things that add up.   All we need do is pick up His book, grab hold of a promise or three and hang on.  Steady.  Predictable.  Reliable.  God's Word.  Never changing. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding............."
Proverbs 3:4

Monday, January 28, 2013

To Everything There Is A Season

My husband, as a pastor, has helped people grieving the loss of their loved ones for over 35 years. He has stood by the bedside of many as they took their last breath and has officiated at over 265 funerals during his ministry.  As his wife, I have been privileged to be a support to him.  We know that death is a part of living.......we will all come to that day when we leave our earthly bodies and join the Lord and those we love in Heaven.  Knowing that we will see those we love again somehow eases the pain just a bit when someone we love dies. We grieve with hope during these seasons of mourning.

My husband has also been privileged to baptise close to 200 babies during this time and present them to our Lord. There is a sense of hope with each new life beginning as the parents present their child to God.  Years of love and growing far beyond our vision.  A season of joy.

Saturday...........

Our friends welcomed their first grandson into the world.  He was born weighing only 4lbs 9oz.,  having arrived a month early.  This little guy is completely healthy and  has melted the hearts of his grandparents and loved ones. A new life beginning. A season of joy.

Sunday.............

The end of December we went to a family gathering at my brother and his fiance Jeannie's home where we met Jeannie's parents.  We spent a few hours with them, enjoying their company.  We spoke of seeing them again at Todd and Jeannie's wedding next summer~ they were so excited............and then Sunday the unexpected happened.  Jeannie's mom died suddenly from a heart attack.  The vibrant life of a woman well-loved ended.  So shocking.  So heartwrenching.  So sad for those who call her mom, grandma, sister, friend.  A season of mourning.

 Birth brings us into the world and death removes us from the world.  It is what takes place between those two major events that tells the world who we are.  Our birth and our death are the bookends of what we call our life journey.  There are no guarantees that we will live a long life, because living in a fallen world makes life unpredictable, fragile, and precious. Yes, every moment is precious.

I have been reading Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts and linking up with her on Mondays HERE. I am truly learning to appreciate those special and ordinary moments that make life a blessing as I keep my journal close by to write my list of gifts in.  Today, as I think about these two bookends of life beginning and life ending I want to share with you what I am grateful for.  I am so grateful for the first breath our friend's grandson too as he entered the world.  The  promises that come with the birth of a new baby.  The pictures shared across the miles in just a click,  so we could share in the joy.   As I remember the time we visited with Jeannie's parents, I remember the twinkle in her mother's eye as she teased me in the kitchen.  I am also grateful for the time Joel and I spent with them privately.  I am grateful I was able to see the deep love Jeannie and her mom have for each other.  There easy mother-daughter connection.  

Lord, help me remember to cherish the moments we have........see the beauty in the ordinary...and breathe in the essence of those that surround us with their love.  To everything there is a season.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Cannot

While Joel and I were praying aloud over a situation yesterday, the words "I cannot by my own reason or strength" came into my mind and interrupted my prayer. What?  Where did that come from?
 
 I cannot by my own reason or strength

Those words are part of Martin Luther's explanation of the third article in the Apostles Creed.  I had to memorize it all in confirmation a gazillion years ago....well not that many , but close!  When our children went through Confirmation, they were also taught the Catechism, and I expect that is the last time I heard these words! ( For Lutherans, Confirmation is a time of study taking up to three years after which each person confirms their faith in their Lord and Savior.)

So, getting back to what interrupted my prayer~~I believe God brought those seven words to mind because of what I was praying about.  I had called a prayer ministry to ask for prayers concerning a health issue, and twice the woman I talked to shared words of knowledge with me that were powerful and a bit scary at the same time.   I felt unequipped and I am!   In response God gave me a gentle reminder.  And an invitation from the Holy Spirit.

I cannot by my own reason or strength.

God loves us so much He not only sent His son to shed his blood for our sins and for our diseases, but he sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.  The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives within us to empower us, to comfort us, and to guide and strengthen us.  He is there when we come to realize that we cannot by our own reason or strength do what He has called us to do, live as He has called us to live.  Only through His strength are we equipped!

"I can do all things through Christ
who continually pours His strength into me."
Philippians 4:13
(paraphrased)
 
 
I am linking up with Spiritual Sundays today.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Being Still

Silence does not beckon me.  Even at my age, it is still loud and uncomfortable some of the time.  I like to fill the sounds of silence with the TV, the radio, my playlist......my voice.  Clutter.  I am not so good at being alone in the quiet.

Coming before the Lord I find I want to do the same.  I give thanks, I give glory, I give God my shopping list.  But to sit quietly............be still............and just be warmed by His presence............giving Him my gift of silence and a listening ear.........that is difficult and takes effort.

In order to have an intimate relationship with my Lord Jesus, I need to be able to listen and respond.  Talk and listen.  Back and forth.  When I talk to my husband, our ability to communicate and know each other on a deeper level takes time and comes from a place of love.  It really is no different with our Father/God.  Out of a place of love we come together without the clutter to communicate.

We desire to know God on a deeper level, so embracing the silence is essential.  Eliminating the clutter in our minds and our surroundings bring us before God to await His presence.  Our Lord knows the blessings that come from being still, that is why He commands us to do so.  Being still.............knowing that He is God.  Knowing He is the I AM. 

"Be still and know that I am God."
Isaiah 46:10
 
 
 
 
I am linking up with Bonnie over at Faith Barista. 
How do you embrace silence?
 
 

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Have Been Asking

I have been asking God for a sign....in the garden of my heart, during devotions, at the kitchen sink, in the quiet right before sleep comes.  But before I spoke the question with my lips or consciously in my mind I was already forming the words deep in my soul.......give me a sign, Jesus.  When you are healing me, let me s e e it.  A visible sign to take in with my eyes.  Let me s.e.e. something more healed.  One little thing visible to the naked eye.  Then it will be easier to shed the unbelief that creeps quietly into my heart and hides there.  You did it before, just do it again!  Please?

Pleading is not pretty nor productive, but I confess to it. 

And in God's true nature, He responded with His Word before I even knew I had been asking.  It was not what I wanted to hear, but it is what God wants to tell me, to teach me.  You see, it is a matter of trust.  There is that word again...........t.r.u.s.t.

Hebrews 11:1 has come to me several times in the past few days  True to my nature, it took God hitting me over the head with it to realize it was the answer to my question for a "sign".....and true to His nature it was given to me with love and patience.

"Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."


This beautiful image below is one  I posted here recently and is now a daily reminder for me, as I trust the Lord and HIS ways.... 



As I link up with A Holy Experience I am so grateful today for God sending me with what I need, not what I want.



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Conversations In The Garden: Trust and Rest


I have not shared much lately about my conversations with Jesus.  These morning meditations take me to a garden (of my heart) where I believe that the Holy Spirit uses my imagination to speak with me.  I lean back, close my eyes and ask the HS to put a hedge of protection around this time so I only hear the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and nothing else enters the Garden.  I also ask the HS to control my thoughts and open my heart to what God is telling me.   I want to emphasize that I believe it is the Holy Spirit that uses my imagination and my gift to visualize, to speak to me.  I am often surprised by what Jesus tells me or shows me during this quiet time.   These are special times when we have a good talk. It is one of the ways Jesus calls me to be his beloved.

Recently when I entered into the Garden, Jesus took my hand and we went for a walk.  We were soon at the shore standing in water up to our ankles with the ocean beyond.  I looked down, disappointed to see the water lapping over my bare feet, because not too long ago I had drawn a line in the sand in this same place, determined to trust God on my quest to walk in healing from sickness and PTS.  Part of trusting for me, is believing what I am not yet fully seeing.   Having my feet in water made me realize I was struggling with this once again.

All of a sudden Jesus was out on the water beckoning me to come, just like with Peter.  He reached out his hand to me and I had to make the conscious decision to walk towards him and grab his hand.  As I began moving forward I started to look down to see where I was going.  He said, "Do not look down..........do not look back........just keep your eyes focused on Me.  I took a few steps and looked down again because as I walked the water disappeared and the sand came up to meet my feet.  He said a second time, "Do not look down and do not look back.......just look at me."  It then came to me that He was asking me to trust Him.  If I could trust Him enough to walk forward on this journey, each step would become that firm foundation I needed to strengthen me and release the fear, allowing me to rest in Him.

Trust Me.  You are my beloved.

Trust Me.

Yesterday in the Jesus Calling devotional I read these words...."Come to Me and relax in my Peace. I will strengthen you and prepare you for this day, transforming your fear into confident trust."  The scripture to go with this message was found in Matthew 11:28-30.  These verses are never far away from me.  They follow me or I follow them.  Either way God continues to teach me as I meditate on His words for me this year........TRUST and REST.

Then Jesus said,
'Come unto me all of you who are weary
and carrying heavy burdens,

and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you.

Let me teach you
because I am humble and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.'" (NLT)

"My yoke is easy
and my burden is light.'" ( NIV)
Matthew 11:28-30








Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dancing David

In 2 Samuel chapter 6 we find the story of when the Ark of the Covenant was being moved  to Jerusalem.  When the Ark enters the city, David dances for joy, wearing only what one might call "holy underwear".  He was so excited to be in the presence of the Lord that he dances in what has been described "religious ectasy".  His first wife, Mical, who was King Saul's daughter, criticized and scorned him for parading half naked before others, but David does not listen to her.

This story came to me twice within 24 hours this week.  Twice.  When I get something more than once in a short amount of time,  I have learned to pay attention.  I know I need to ask God to reveal to me what He is trying to say.  This time I did not need to ask, as I already knew. 

You see, the past three days Joel and I have been watching a healing conference online.  Randy Clark and Bill Johnson were speaking on and praying for healing for those who attended.  We wanted to hear them, so we payed a minimal fee to have the three days and 9 sessions live streamed into our home.

At the end of the first session we saw lots of people showing a strong verbal and emotional response to the presence of God and being prayed over.  Joel and I were totally out of  our comfort zone.  On a scale of 1 to 10 we were edging towards the high end as the Holy Spirit released His power over some of those at the conference.  Oh boy.  Was this for us?

Later I emailed a friend who had been to one of these conferences in the past, and she emailed back, sharing her own experience. This helped, but I still found myself judging others because they were making me uncomfortable. Joel and I both talked about this at length, and our words were not always kind.

Joel went back to his office and I went to my computer.  It was at this time that God sent me the verse in 2 Samuel........and then a few hours later while reading Ann Voskamp's blog, the story of David and Michal came up again.  Really?  A second time?  Her words about David's adoration dance resonated with me.  I immediately knew that this was from God. 

Who was I to judge how others expressed the awe they felt as they experienced the presence of God and annointing of the Holy Spirit?  That was between them and God.  While I was being "scolded" by God, Joel had been praying about the feelings that came up during the first session.  He came to me and said,  "I know I need to keep watching this." I agreed.  We needed to see this through.

We are so glad we did.  We learned a great deal during this conference. We expanded our thinking, and responded God's whispering.  We will not be doing any dance of adoration soon, but we are open to what God wants to bless us with.   We also have been reminded of an important message from God... the grace He extends to us is always to be extended to others.  Please don't misunderstand, we do need to listen to God and discern right from wrong in our walk of faith, but we are to live by grace.  Especially when we are out of our comfort zone.  Otherwise we might miss all God has planned for us!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Seemingly Insignificant Ritual


This past week God has brought Ann Voskamp and her book, One Thousand Gifts to me at least three times.  When this happens I pay attention, because I know The Holy Spirit is trying to tell me something important.  So I went over to the bookcase and took out Ann's book, opening its pages for the second time.

You see, I had tried to read it a couple months ago and found the first pages so painful that I tucked it up on my shelf for another time. In fact, because I try to always write with transparency, I will tell you that I thought about giving the book to someone else and not reading it at all.  Too many years of illness and suffering kept me from wanting to read about her sadness too, and I did not feel I had the strength at that time to walk through the sadness to get to the joy!

God had other plans for me though, and as I heard a friend mention One Thousand Gifts, as I read about it on the blog (In)Courage, and as a Facebook friend shared her own journey with Ann's book, I knew it was meant to be.  God had something to teach me through this book.  It was confirmed when my dear husband of 44 years told me he felt I had been living lately with a spirit of discontentment.  Ahhhh....there is was. 

Yes, there it was.......the need to go back and find that peace, that feeling of contentment in each day, through each day no matter what it brought or did not bring.  In the past I had kept a gratitude journal, but what Ann does is more than that.  It is deeper....... living.......breathing....

I understood this when Saturday night came and I was in the kitchen making coconut whipping cream.  This is usually my husband Joel's job while I make our Saturday pancakes and we listen to Garrison Keillor on the radio. Listening to the radio and making pancakes has been a part of our life for probably 30 years now, the coconut whipping cream only joined the Saturday night ritual this past year but was quickly welcomed.  Joel makes the cream, we add maple syrup and vanilla and taste test it to see if it is just right.  We then each take a beater and lick off the excess cream.......such a small seemingly insignificant ritual, but meaningful in so many ways. 

This past Saturday Joel was not home, so I made the cream and I felt almost off balance that he was not there to share in this weekly dance.  I quickly bowed my head and gave thanks.  For a husband who has been there for so many years to share with me our rituals, our traditions, our adventures, our struggles, our faith. A loving husband who has been there to share in a small ritual of licking a beater coated in whipping cream.  Yes, I am blessed.

I am linking up with Ann over at her blog, A Holy Experience.  I look forward to all the wonderful ways God will open my eyes on being grateful and content on this journey called life.  Thank you Ann for changing the world with your pen. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

"God Is With Me"

Our grandson Grant ended up in an ambulance two weeks ago heading to the ER, after breaking the large bones in his forearm while at a wrestling meet.  He landed with his full weight on his arm and snapped both bones.  I cannot imagine the pain he felt or the fear when his arm hung over in a "U" shape.  At age 11 that has to be pretty traumatic.

While in the ambulance he told his dad to call and let us know about his injury, and tell us "God is with me".  God is with me.  He was worried, even thinking he might die at one point, but he knew God was with him.   He did not understand why God did not protect Him when he had prayed for that.......but he still knew God was with him.  He was in an ambulance in terrible pain, but he wanted us to know God was with him.  As you can imagine, we were pretty proud of him at this point. And we could not help but ponder what lessons Grant was teaching us and everyone around him.

All you have to do to get yourself into a state of anxiety is watch the news.  The economy has tanked, there are so many school shootings people are afraid to put their kids on the bus, the flu is now at epidemic levels with hospitals full of people dealing with it, and according to "those that know" our world might come crashing down around us at anytime.  We are fed a steady diet of fear and dread from so many sources on a daily basis.  Do we worry?  Or do we remember that God is with us,  Do we blame God?   Or do we remember that God is with us.  Do we join in using our own voices to spread the word about the latest crisis, or do we speak Gods Word over every situation.  Do we remember, like Grant, that God is with us?

I am linking up with Spiritual Sundays

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trust and Rest

It was one year ago this month that my husband was healed overnight from Lyme Disease, CFS, arthritis, hypothyroidism, and more.  Just like that he went from being on disability to freely being able to go back to the work he loves~ his calling as a pastor.  To say we were amazed and grateful would be an understatement.  This put us on a quest for my own healing from Lyme Disease that went undiagnosed for at least 23 years and kept me viewing life from my sofa.

My journey really starts in November of 2011 when I began having repressed memories of sexual abuse surface 57 years after they occurred.  Throughout the past 14 months, a walk in the park at dusk, a show on TV, something I read in a book, or just out of the blue, episodes of PTS shake up my world.  As time goes by, these events have lessened in intensity and number because of the healing taking place. I am very blessed to have my husband's full support, a counselor, and now Sozo ministry sessions helping me to walk into the freedom that Christ died for~ "It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  Gal. 5:1

As I struggled to understand and accept what was happening, Jesus would often whisper in my ear, "Trust me".  I did not want to be at this place, I wanted to be healed physically overnight just like my sweet husband.  I had so many plans.......places to go......grandchildren to hug.  I am seeing that kind of healing take place as a process and I am doing more than I have in years, but I know that the way to my complete healing is through the emotional trauma that surfaced.  God has a plan for good, and I am so thankful He continues to show me the way, bringing me encouragement and insights through devotionals, teachings, Sozo, and writings like Bonnie Gray's over at Faith Barista.

It is a matter of trust, and in this area of my life there is a "trust deficit".  In one of our morning devotional books Pam Kidd shared that God had brought to mind the words "trust deficit" in response to the fear she was experiencing from all the changes in her life. She reflected back to the blessing her husband ended every service with in the congregation he served for many years, and how she was now finding herself in need of hearing it.

"Go out into the world and fear nothing!"

TRUST

I felt God leading me to use the word TRUST as my word for this year to meditate on........and yet.....on the other hand, God has sent me the word REST so often in the past 4 months that I cannot deny its importance. Matthew 11:28-30 almost has its own heartbeat within me now, as the living Word,  because it has come to me at least 25 times from 25 different sources.  Over and over again I have been hearing from God~ "rest in Me",  and I am still learning all that it means.
 

REST
 
 
Then Jesus said,
'Come unto me all of you who are weary
and carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you
because I am humble and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.'" (NLT)
"My yoke is easy
and my burden is light.'" ( NIV)
Matthew 11:28-30

 
So two it is!   TRUST and REST. 

In December God "highlighted" this verse for me and then confirmed it when someone praying for my healing told me that God shared it with her. I have decided to meditate on this verse for the year as a good reminder of God's desire for me to TRUST in the LORD with all my heart, and REST in HIM.  It is found in Isaiah 30:15.
 
"For thus says the Lord God,
the Holy One of Israel,
In returning and rest you shall be saved
In quietness(rest) and trust
 shall be your strength."
Isaiah 30:15
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
I am linking up today with Bonnie over at 
 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Digging Deeper

Every year we order the new Daily Guidepost devotional to use as a part of our morning devotions. After more than 10 years, we feel like we have gotten to know the variety of writers that grace it's pages. This year at the bottom of the page they have added a new component~ where they share other Bible verses that would go along with the devotional and verse at the top of each day's writing. They have called this "Digging Deeper".

These two words have resonated with me since I first saw them on January 1st. They are a daily reminder for me to go another level deeper into the Word in 2013. We know that God's Word holds power as we read it, declare it, and live it! Several months ago God shared the following verses with me while I was meditating with Him in the "Garden".

"My child, pay attention to what I say
Listen carefully to my Words
Don't lose sight of them
Let them penetrate DEEP into your heart
For they bring life to those who find them
and healing to their whole body."
 
Proverbs 4:20-23
 
These verses are very powerful and give us a promise for reading and studying His Word.  Following in obedience God's directions, brings LIFE and Healing!  Think of it!  God's promises are always yes and amen.  He never goes back on His promises.  And he tells us here, that IF we listen carefully to His Word, and let it go deep deep inside, THEN it will bring life and healing for our whole body.  

I desire that.  Does that sound selfish?  I don't think so.  God offers it.  I want all He offers~ salvation, forgiveness, healing, love, provision, and more........and I want to share it with others. Where do we find what He offers?  His promises?  Where?  In His Word.  So when I read those words "digging deeper" they are reminder of what God has asked of me.  Read My Word.  Study My Word.  Become more like Christ.  Dig Deeper.

Monday, January 7, 2013

It Came At Dusk

Last Friday we went for a walk in our local park after a quick trip to the post office.  It was dusk and the park was empty except for one runner and a few cars that use its winding roads as a shortcut.  The paths had been plowed and I eagerly took off with Joel down the closest one, so excited to be outside again breathing fresh air and giving my hot pink tennies a workout.

And then it happened. Fear set in and I did not feel safe.  Joel was there, it was around 5pm and still somewhat light out, and we were in the middle of our small city where people walk all the time.  But somewhere deep inside of me post traumatic stress began to rise up.

It actually stopped me in my tracks.  I blurted out to Joel , "I don't feel safe" and asked him to pray.  We  prayed together and kept going, but the uneasy feeling did not leave.  We talked, Joel made me laugh, and we shivered in the cold during our arm-in-arm walk.  I did not let it stop me and I won't, but sadly the feelings continued and my desire was to just get back to the car. 

Something is trying to surface again .  I have come to learn that when these kinds of feelings began to make themselves known, something is trying to surface. That night before I fell asleep I pondered where this was coming from, knowing God would reveal to me the origin.

Two familiar memories came back to the surface.  I was age 11 again and walking home close to midnight from a nearby friend's house.  I knew the house would be empty and oh how I hated going into a dark empty house,  so I always waited until the last minute to go home.  Two men came by in a car just as I came to an intersection and asked me if I wanted a ride home.  I knew enough to stay far from the car, and as I looked up saw a corner house with its lights on. I quickly lied to them and pointed to that house and told them it was my home.  They glanced over and then took off deciding the risks for them being caught were too great.  I ran the rest of the way home. 

Another more traumatic event came to mind.  Again I was around 11 and my friend and I were walking to my home late at night, which was an apartment in a house close to downtown.  All of a sudden a car load of teenage boys jumped out of their vehicle and started chasing us.  We ran quickly to my house and got inside, locking the porch door.  The inside door needed a key and my mom carried that, so the door could never be locked unless she was home.  The boys pounded on the doors and windows, showing us knives they were holding and yelling to be let in. Shaking, I went out on the porch and asked them what they wanted.......and they asked if we were alone.  No doubt they had seen the lights come on after we went inside.  Even though my dad had died several years before, I lied and told them "No, my dad is inside but he is sleeping.  You better leave or he will be mad."  They managed a few more yells, threats and pounding before they lost interest and took off. 
There was no phone, so we waited awhile to make sure they were gone before running over to the cafe behind the house to call my friend's mom to come get us.  She took us back to their place for the night. 

Getting back to not feeling safe in the park 53 years later?  Isn't it amazing what our body holds on to!  I think the reason these memories are now affecting me so strongly is because some earlier memories of abuse have been dealt with and released with Sozo and prayer and now others are surfacing for healing. Almost like the body wants to rid itself of all the negative feelings stored in it.  Over at Bonnie Gray's Blog, Faith Barista, she is sharing her own journey through PTSD that began suddenly this past summer.  She is on her own healing journey and what she writes as a woman of deep faith is absolutely amazing.  I am so thankful that God guided me to her cyber home. 

Writing also helps me heal.  It gives me a voice.  Even though I write here with transparency, I do not find it easy to write about this.  I struggle with being "disloyal" to my family, or appearing weak and unable to cope with life.  None are true. These are lies I have believed, just like the ones that say I am unsafe walking with my husband in a city park on a cold winter's late afternoon. 

Every one of us journeys through life with a few backpacks full of "stuff" and I am in the process of emptying out those backpacks so I can have a life of freedom the way God intended. I have chosen to do that in some degree here on my blog in the hope that others will benefit too.  Galatians 5:1 says,

"It is for freedom that Christ set us free. 
Therefore, do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." 

Which brings me right back to Matthew 11:28-30~

"Come all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you. 
Let me teach you for I am humble and gentle of heart. 
My yoke is easy and my burden is light." 
 
Which in turn brings me right back to my words for this year.........Trust and Rest.  Don't you just love how God brings it all together for us?!

Friday, January 4, 2013

In Quietness And Trust

In the past I would make a list of New Year's resolutions or intentions for that coming year, only to forget about them by February or March.  So last year I decided to join the many who, in place of resolutions, prayerfully meditate on one word for the 365 days.  I found it so powerful I decided to continue on with this practice. 

I have been praying for God to give me a word to meditate on for 2013.  Last week I was was drawn to the word TRUST, and then the last couple of days the word REST has come up again and again.  These two words seem to be intertwined in my life.

In one of our morning devotional books Pam Kidd shared that God had brought to mind the words  "trust deficit" in response to the fear she was experiencing from all the changes in her life.  She reflected back to the blessing her husband ended every service with in the congregation he served for many years, and how she was now finding herself in need of hearing it.

"Go out into the world and fear nothing!"

It was just 6 months ago that I grabbed hold of those words when I read another Pam Kidd devotional with the same blessing ~ Go out into the world and fear nothing.  It seemed I was being brought back full circle as a reminder of the places I, too, had a "trust deficit".

TRUST

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing …”
(Proverbs 3:5-10 NIV).
 

On the other hand, God has sent me the word REST so often in the past 4 months that I cannot deny its importance.  Matthew 11:28-30 almost has its own heartbeat within me now, as the living Word.  Over and over again I have been hearing "rest in the Lord".

REST
 
Then Jesus said,
'Come unto me all of you who are weary
and carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you. 
Let me teach you
because I am humble and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.'" (NLT)
"My yoke is easy
and my burden is light.'" ( NIV)
 
Matthew 11:28-30
  
 So two it is!  I am wondering what more God will teach me about trusting and resting in Him. I must have much to learn as He certainly has been bringing these two powerful words to my attention the past few months. 

 In December God "highlighted" this verse for me and then confirmed it when someone praying for my healing told me God shared it with her.  It is found in Isaiah 30:15.
 
"For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
In returning and rest you shall be saved
In quietness(rest) and trust shall be your strength."
 
Isaiah 30:15
 
 


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