Category: Vulnerable Moments

When You’re Afraid Afraid

It’s not uncommon for me to go arms-a-flailing if I think I’m being attacked by a swarm of bees…or a fly. It’s rather grandiose and entertaining to those around me who stare motionless for a half a second, then proceed with a look that says, “What the heck was that?” Many just come on out and say it. When it comes to flying bugs, let’s just say… I’m punchy.

Instinctive fear, I suppose. If it’s flying, I’m flighting.

Fear. So many things to be afraid of. So many things we are exposed to that cause us to get punchy about the future. We might look cool on the outside, but inside our stomachs are full of flying insects and our invisible arms are flailing hoping that we can somehow swat the fear of whatever might be coming our way.

Fear. So many things to hide from. The past. The mistake. The secret sin. Those things swarm us and we whip around looking for where it’s coming from only to find that it really does allude us, and then we cower, waiting for it to come at us again. It’s exhausting.

Fear of what was. Fear of what is. Fear of what could be.

 

IMG_4085

Recently, I went on another hike at a nearby heaven-of-a-place in the heart of Nashville. For this Okie, these are mountains. They are covered with trees. Huge, gorgeous trees. Breathtaking trees. This particular day, I played a podcast that a friend had recommended. A local pastor, Scott Sauls, was on deck as I heaved up the hill one more time.

It was one of those messages. One that came right place, right time. Here’s the takeaway.

He was teaching on the glory of God that came to the shepherds at the time of Christ’s birth. And what do they say? “Do not fear!” Riiiiiight. Apparently the Greek says they were “afraid afraid.” Double afraid. Doozy afraid. Really, really afraid.

I’ve known afraid afraid. Not bugs, but the world of the “What if…..” I hate that world.

But the Glory that shown around them ushered in fear. That Light of God exposed the darkness of the world, thus exposing our vulnerability. The Light that walked in the Garden with The Couple exposed them when they sinned, and they hid in fear.

The Light revealed what Adam and Eve ushered in…. we are all going to die.

We are exposed.
Vulnerable to the instinctive knowledge of our tenure on earth.
And we are terrified.

Sauls said there was the disorienting light that shown and scared the wits out of them, and the comforting light that offered the redemption of the world in a baby.

This light and it’s disorienting/comforting manifestation is made reconciled in one word: Glory.

The Glory of God shown round and exposed all that was. The Glory of God shown round and comforted all, giving peace and favor on all who believe.

(enter revelation in the hike)

When Sauls kept saying “the Light of God” did this and that, and it is the Light of God that exposes the fact that we are indeed vulnerable, temporary, weak and powerless, I was….. RELIEVED!

I realized my instinctive fear and concern for my life isn’t from a place of lacking faith or weak trust, but from the fact that I’m a human who has seen the Light and what it has exposed. It is natural to realize that our lives are fleeting, small, open, exposed, vulnerable, because it is what God revealed to us through the sin of Adam. And, therefore, it is supernatural of us to realize that our lives are bolstered, cared for, favored, blessed, lavished upon, and redeemed because it is what God reveal to us through the grace of Jesus.

Same Light. Same truth.

Vulnerability. Death. Comfort. Life.

IMG_3925(The A-ha!)

If then, all those passing, jarring anxiety-juiced moments when
“was that a lump?”
“what if one of my kids gets sick?”
“does he love me?”
“am I beautiful?”
“am I worthy?”
“do I matter?”
“I’m not like her.”
“I am weak and afraid”

Those moments, when they pass through our minds because of our vulnerable and exposed state, we must say one thing:

God’s Glory is Greater

God’s Glory is Greater, loftier, weightier, heavier, stronger than any shame, any fear, any vulnerable place or thought. The Light that exposes our darkest fears and sin, is the same Light that infuses itself in our souls providing redemption, peace and marks us with favor and blessing.

We are as vulnerable as we will ever be because of the revelation given to us by the Light; and as safe as we will ever be in that same Light.

The weight and majesty of His glory both reveals our tragic weakness and yet lovingly holds us in his Almighty greatness. We cannot escape our vulnerability, and as those of The Way, cannot escape the love of this great grace. We are worse off than we realize and safer than we could dream. This is the great paradox of the revelation of God’s Glory.

Rest deeply in your vulnerable state my friends.

If You’re Going To Ask, Be Ready To Encourage

IMG_7231I popped in on a friend via text to ask her how she was doing after I saw an Instagram that sorta-kinda let us know she wasn’t great.

“How can I pray for you? Saw your Instagram.”

incoming text

 

Then she told me what was really going on. Nothing tragic. Nothing that would make me want to run over and hold her while she wept on her couch. But just enough that she needed some straight up encouragement.

Here’s the deal. You have truth. I have truth. There are days when you feel crappy and days when I feel crappy. I happened to catch her on a day where she was weak and I was strong. So I let her have it. Here’s what I sent her after she said she was discouraged.

I so get it. And you know the truth. Shut that enemy up and activate your faith. Rise up in the power given to you in faith and let the Spirit flow again to speak His truth. To think you have exhausted His testimony is a lie. You overcome the enemy by the blood of the lamb and your testimony. Stand firm. His fame and his name is your weapon and inspiration.

Let’s be honest, we don’t always talk to each other like that, but we should. We have been given very powerful truths and realities that we need to put in front of each other on a regular basis. It’s not easy being human and no one said faith was easy either. In fact, quite the opposite.

The Bible teaches that our faith will be tested and refined like gold in fire. #noteasy
It teaches that we are to stand firm over and over. Implying #noteasy
Jesus straight up said we will have trouble. #noteasy

This life of those who say they follow God is not easy. It’s not roses and rainbows. It’s tough and can wear us out and can make us fear and tremble and wonder, “What the heck am I doing?!”

This is where we come in for each other.

Others have done it for me. I’ll get texts with prayers, or something encouraging in an email.

I do it for others.

Don’t ever hold back from encouraging someone with the Word and Truth of God. Don’t just give people happy thoughts and atta-boy’s, use the Truth. (and if you don’t know the truth, then get your Bible out and learn it.)

In the end, she was blessed, and it really did encourage her and give her a spiritual boost.
I was blessed.
She was encouraged and my own faith was charged up!

That was the work and word of the truth and of the Spirit. 

So, don’t be afraid to encourage. When someone you trust and love asks you, “How are you?” be honest if you can. If you ask someone and they tell you, take a moment to pray and then let the Spirit minister to them through you. You might be the very thing they need at that moment. Use the Word of God valiantly and boldly. It is powerful, it is effective, it is truth.

How can you encourage someone today?

When Fear Pounces and Joy Unfolds

FullSizeRender-1I didn’t want to take showers anymore because I knew that I would find something wrong. I would start the water and my stomach would fill with the little knives of anxiety. My heart race, my breath shorten. Somewhere along the way on my road of depression and grief, I had developed a trigger that said, “You get in and this time you’ll find a lump.”

I would get in because, well, it would be gross to never shower again and I had some sort of dignity left even though fear and anxiety had become my BFF’s. It was strange to be experiencing fear at such a pronounced level. I mean, I think any woman gives at least some thought to finding something in the shower every now and then, but what I was going through was not like that. I could hardly muster up the courage to get in the water.

Patsy Clairmont says in her book, You are More Than You Know, 

“Fear suggests that it came on suddenly when actually it’s been setting up housekeeping inside of us most of our lives. Satan has just been waiting for a situation where he would catch us off guard and set off fear explosives.”

I felt like all the fears, the paranoia, the hypochondria episodes, were sudden, pouncing on me like a lion on an unsuspecting meal. Not so true. Those fears had really actually been there inside me. Maybe somewhat dormant, easy to ignore and control. But, once my life had been uprooted from my home and I went spiralling into depression, those fears were unleashed and grew to the size of monsters. Satan absolutely took advantage of my situation and went on a full out war to get me to surrender to crazy. He dropped fear bombs on me and left me wounded and crying in pain.

My showers were quick. I would slide the soap bar over my breasts and make sure I didn’t linger on them very long. Or, I would just indulge the fear and do a 20 min examination on myself, shaking and knowing things were going to go wrong. Once I was “in the clear” I could go on with my shower and be done with it…until I cycled again.

My fears weren’t limited to just my boobs. I would feel anything weird and know I was doomed. It was appalling to me that normal aches and pains could send me into days of worry and self-medication (wine). A pinch at ovulation. A not-so-normal bowel movement. A headache. Even though each had a rational explanation, it didn’t matter, my emotions won the battle of my mind. The more I stressed about things, the more I believed things were happening, the more my physical body actually acted weird. I had pins and needles. I had weakness and my arms felt limp. I was sore down my neck and arms. I thought my legs weren’t working right. And, I more than once went to see my nurse practitioner/friend and tried to play it cool until she flat out said, “You’re a hypochondriac.”

She was right.FullSizeRender-2

I had spiraled and spun and cycled into an all out worry wart about my health, all while dealing with depression and two more moves after we got to Nashville. I would try and stay away from Google, because we all know every symptom of everything could be the common cold or you’re dead in seven days.

Listen: STAY AWAY FROM GOOGLE! (unless you need an answer to some trivia question like, “Who’s the best ping-pong player of all time?”)

I researched my brains out on how to heal the mind. Ordered supplements, read books and articles, listened to my NP on what were the best natural ways to balance my chemicals and feed my brain.

Vitamin D3
GABA
L-Theanine
Omega 3’s
5-HTP

I took them religiously, some of which I still do.

But, there was no magic pill. No right supplement combination that got me through. They were a great part and a good part, no doubt. Feeding my brain with good brain food was a step in the right direction. Talking walks in the sun were great as well. But, the biggest factor to my healing was…

 

Time.

 

You thought I was going to say Jesus, didn’t you? But, notice, I said factor. I didn’t say agent.

Here’s some fun dictionary stuff.

Factor: one of the elements contributing to a particular result or situation.
Agent: a person or thing or acts or has the power to act.

 

Time was indeed my greatest factor. It was one of the best elements that contributed to a result of healing. But, Jesus, he is the only person who had the power to act and heal.

In that time, I would fall and weep and tell him I couldn’t do it. I thought I would never be normal again. The fear and anxiety was too great and I just needed to move home to Oklahoma and drink wine and all would be okay.

FullSizeRenderBut, when the wine wore off and there were no boxes to be packed, I was still there with my fears, and my grief, and my depression. I think somewhere along the way in our super speedy way of living, we think that we can come through things faster, or that we should come through them really fast, and in a tweet sized way. Quick, short and easy. “This too shall pass” we say, but how long that takes is different for each of us. And usually, we want it to pass quickly.

There isn’t a day I can look to back and say, “Huh! I’m not a freak anymore!” I can’t tell you when the paralyzing grip stopped choking me, but I can tell you it did stop. I was persistent with God. I clung to Him and told Him I trusted Him over and over. I read the Word and had a few safe friends who knew what was going on. I confided in my mom. I saw a counselor and was honest with my husband. I sat. I stared. I read. I wept. I believed that God was greater than my situation and actually got to where I could say, “This won’t last forever.”

The fear let go.
The paralyzing cycle of what-if’s quit playing in my head.
The assurance of a faithful God even if my worst nightmare happened began to take the place of struggling to believe I would be normal again.
The grief of losing the life I thought I would have released, and I accepted this journey He had me on.
I quit waking up in knots.
I quit reaching for the bottle.
I relaxed.
Breathed.
Knew God.
Slept all night.
Smiled.

 

Laughed.

 

To open back up from being so tight in fear is like the slow opening like a flower to the sun. It’s a process, an unfolding, and exposure to the Truth-Light until you’re all the way open to the fresh goodness of God, a new perspective on life, and a newfound firm place to stand.

This is what coming out of fear feels like.

I won’t lie and say I never fear anything ever! because, well, I’d be lying. But, I can say that fear doesn’t call the shots. Fear doesn’t tell me that I’m crazy and that I’ll never be free. Fear no longer leads me through my day like a whipped puppy. Fear isn’t my boss, Christ and His Word are!

 

Your journey holding hands with depression and fear can come to an end.

Believe me.
And trust the Agent of healing through a long factor of time.

 

 

For a more in-depth look at how to be free from fear read Patsy’s book, You are More than You KnowAvailable on Amazon. Just click the book title!

You Do Not Believe God

photo 1-4Pick a table, any table. Or a couple of chairs. Or a couch. Maybe a restaurant. Just pick someplace where you have sat with or sat across from someone and you’re talking about God, His Word, what He has done, who Jesus is, prayer, etc. I’ve been here many times and heard something like this:

I just don’t know if God loves me.
I’m not sure God hears me when I pray.
I don’t know if God has a plan for me.
I still feel so guilty.
Why would God want to save me.
I don’t think God really cares about what is happening to me.
I’m not sure I can change.
I’ll never understand the Bible.
I’m just not gifted.

Ever heard or said any of these? Raise your hand.

To the person who has not followed Jesus ever, or the one that maybe has just become a believer, you can just go back to browsing or Instagram. This isn’t for you.

For you, the one who has been in church a thousand times, who has been a professed follower of Jesus for more than 5 years, who has sat in Bible study, gone to the conferences, read the books, watched the videos, listened to your pastor, had lunch with your Godly friends, I need you to keep reading. If you still say those things up there, or something similar and are still living in those kinds of thought processes, I have one thing to say to you.

You do not believe God.

I can only say that to you from experience, from facing what ever string of sentences I would say over and over to Him and to others, and then realizing that, according to the Word of God, I did not actually believe Him nor take Him at His word.

When I would say, “God doesn’t see me. I’m overlooked” I was actually professing that I didn’t believe what Scripture is crystal clear on. I was actually allowing what I felt to determine what I believed and how I then behaved. I was saying to God, “I know what your Word says, but because I have baggage, brought on by humans, I will go ahead with my tender broken feelings and believe that You act the same way, instead of taking You at Your Word and allowing Your Holy Spirit to transform me according to it.”

And you are doing the same thing.

Whatever line you say to yourself, or others, that is in direct opposition to the Truth of God’s Word is unbelief. It’s not that God has a problem, or that you need to work through something…again. It is that you need a face to face with God on your unbelief.

There is no pastor, no conference, no book, no self-help article that will convince you of what you’re dealing with. You’ve heard it a thousand times and then still…you wonder. It’s time for you to stop that. Get on your knees and confess your unbelief. Tell Jesus of how you have chosen to follow Him, but then have also chosen what to believe and not to believe. When you do this, when you say to Him, “Your Word says _____________, but I believe _______________, and I now chose to believe Your Word, regardless of how I feel, and let your Holy Spirit transform me” you will begin to see yourself become unattached to that unbelief. It will be replaced with a Truth fashioned by the Holy Spirit in you, for the Word of God teaches the Jesus is the Author and Perfector of our faith.

Believer, follow of Christ, rise up in faith! Look to the Word of God and believe it! If you say you have been found by God and have chosen to believe and follow Him, then take the whole package of faith! Let Him be all your fulfillment in faith! Believe Him and move on from your hang-ups and tragic lines of false belief. Our God has made plain in His Word an answer for every need you have. His name is Jesus and He has a plan in you to make His name famous in all nations.

Our enemy would like us to be so self-engrossed, so introspective, so ready for the next “fix” that we fail to see our true purpose here on earth: to know God and to go and make disciples. 

To know God is to be known by Him and there we find complete and joyful satisfaction. In that, we are compelled to go, go to our neighbors, help send others to the ends of the earth, or go ourselves.

We are not saved to sit and wonder if God’s Word is true. We are saved because a great and awesome God made a way for us to be delivered from death in Jesus Christ. This is the God you have said yes to and He is faithful to His Word.

Will you believe?
What lines do you repeat that mark your unbelief?

Fighting the Nap

“Hey buddy, you’re up too early,” I said as he stumbled out of the room. I carried him to my bed and even offered to sit by him while he dozed off. Nothin’ doin’. We were back up in a few minutes.

Fast forward a few hours. Meltdown city. Hitting his sister. Everything is awful! He can’t pick up the clothes he tossed on the floor! It’s too hard! Alright buddy, time for a nap.

With that he was sitting on the floor looking up at me wailing telling me he didn’t want to go to bed! Obviously. He cried and cried as I carried him to my bed. You see, mom’s bed is always better, especially when the fit of the year is ensuing. Judge me if you want, but he needed my bed.

He’s up. Crying and insisting he wasn’t tired. I picked him up and carried him back. This time he writhed around in the bed screaming and telling me, again, how NOT tired he was. That behavior deserved a little “laying on of hands” and I left him alone.

Up again. And again. We walked the hall at least three more times back to the bed. Finally, still crying, but a little calmer, I walked him back telling him he had to lie down and even used my old faithful line when it comes to naps, “Honey, you don’t have to sleep, but you can’t get up.” Didn’t work. With that, I talked to him sweetly and loved on him (again, don’t judge. This worked for him today). He looked at me full of tears and started insisting that he would stop crying, trying to convince me that a change in his behavior would get him what he wanted.

Let’s back up 15 minutes. As this little person sat on the floor in his night shirt and pull-up, looking up at me crying, I heard God say, “That’s you.”

I knew what He meant. Just that morning I had been wrestling with the crappy notion that I may not be really grieving anymore about moving from my home, but may have, MAY have shifted to straight up, good ol’, danged rebellion.

What? Me?

Yes. And in that moment with my little man, God gave me a picture of Him and me. Taking out the jerk things I can do as a mom and focusing only on my love for my boy, and I got a sense of what He was trying to say.

I watched my boy fight me for a solid twenty minutes with this whole nap thing, and while it went on, I felt the Spirit teach me a thing or two about me.

My fits may not be on the floor, but I most certainly give him an earful when He doesn’t give me what I want when I want it. I may even offer Him all the ways I will change like Pierce telling me “I will ‘top’ crying!”, hoping that my behavior modification will prove to God that I can do things right and maybe then He will give me what I want.

But, what stood out the most during my child’s meltdown was this, I knew what my baby wanted, but I knew that what he needed was greater than what he wanted. I also knew that if he would obey and rest he would feel much better and, would you believe, get what he wanted.

Toward the final minutes before I knew he was going to give up the fight, I laid down beside him and listened to him whimper about how he will stop crying, all the while watching his eyes roll in the back of his head. And then, when he knew he couldn’t get up, he just wanted me to stay with him while he obeyed and fell asleep.

So, I did.

I rubbed his face, as he closed his eyes. I even closed mine and let myself drift away a bit. I opened my eyes to see that little face sound asleep. He had obeyed me even when everything in his little body want to scream and cry until I gave up. However, my love for him and my knowledge of what he needed over what he wanted gave me the patience to wait it out with him.

How does my broken human self not see that God does that with me? And if I get it right as this messed up mom, how much more does God do all this with me? He tells me to trust Him, listens to my monkey dances while I cry and wail, and as I writhe against Him, all I really want is for Him to stay by me while I do the work of obedience. He wants nothing more. And it His great pleasure to do so.

In a few minutes my little dude will wake up, stumble in here to me, crawl up in my lap and want a snack. You know what I’ll do? I’ll hold him and kiss him and give him a snack. Then he will get down and get back to playing and doing what he wanted to do all along. But, he will be renewed and refreshed because he obeyed and trusted me even when he didn’t want to. I can learn a lot from a three year old.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. I Peter 5:10

Being Perfect is…Ridiculous

It’s not easy being perfect, believe me. In fact, it’s exhausting. Quite exhausting. Overwhelming. Ridiculous.

But, feels like it’s the right thing to strive for when things get crazy. I lose footing and scramble to make it up.

The last 2.5 years have been very hard. Not like, I’m-being-persecuted-hard, but more like My-life-has-changed-more-times-than-my-hair-color hard. It started with our decision to leave the church we loved, start a business and try something new. Followed up with our son having a terrible allergic reaction to eggs and hazelnuts on the same day. Soon after that I was packing up the home where we had lived for 11 years, brought two babies to and left with two more. Move to Nashville, freak out, get in over our heads in an apartment, sell said house, move to the country (where it’s beautiful, by the way) and here I am.

Exhausted. Irritable. Dissatisfied.

Bad me. I know Jesus, for cryin’ out loud! I KNOW the truth. Yet, I am whipped and beaten and then whip and beat myself for not pulling up my big girl panties and “live for Jesus” no matter what.

It’s too much. And it came to head. The beautiful thing is that the wisdom of God’s love and grace came to me through my husband. He has watched me grow more and more tired, more and more irritated with myself and finally, with God. JT said that if he felt as distant from God as I do, he would be tired and irritated too. He’s right. Trying to “find God” in this is well, freaking stupid.

There is no “finding God” for me because I don’t have to look any further than my own breathing. Pssh, Sunday School answers. What’s wrong with me? I’ll tell you. I’ve lost my Kindergarten understanding of love and grace. I’ve mucked (go ahead, replace that “m” with an “f”) it up to the point that I figure I need to straighten up and do all things right in order for God to give me a new directive here in Nashville. New orders please, Sir!

What I have to come back to is that God isn’t in the business of barking out orders to a tired and weary woman who just turned 39 and is a bit overwhelmed with the fact there she is but a few moons away from being 40. I digress.

In fact, it’s the opposite of barking out orders. Jesus said, “Come to me, you who are weary and burdened and I will give your rest.” But, but…. I KNOW ALL THE ANSWERS. I know I’m supposed to have a passion and love the unlovely and give to the poor and feed the hungry and spend myself on behalf of others and raise my kids, and support my church, and, and, and…..

Come to me all who are weary and burdened…

I am weary and burdened with my own running and trying and whatever. Give me the basics again, Lord. Teach me new of grace and hope and love. Teach me again the awe of the cross and the wonder of the resurrection. Brighten my eyes at the sight of the manger scene. Astound me with your love because I simply can’t muster it up inside. Isn’t that the truth? I can’t muster up in me something that comes only from Jesus: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,…..

I can’t.

You can’t.

So, it brings me to the end of myself. I drop my arms in surrender only because I can’t lift them anymore to pretend I have it all together. My known Sunday school answers although true, cannot be made new in me on my own, or in my own, power. So, on a walk in the hills of Tennessee I asked for new start. A redo. Overs. I asked Him to do all that I can’t, which is…. everything.

It’s all grace. And I want it back. I want to be simple in mind and pure in heart. I want this to ring in my mind and heart until it’s all I know:

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so

 

 

Could I Kill Someone With my GPS?

I have a fancy phone. It’s white and shiny and has a cute fruit on the back.

However, this fancy phone, is a draw for me. I mean, come on, I have Scramble, Diptic, camera, Instagram, Twitter, oh, nope, not Twitter, weather, banking, T E X T I N G

bingo

While driving with a friend last year, she saw a man texting on his phone next to us. Within a nano-second, I wasn’t even there. She went text-nazi on me and he was the enemy! I think I literally saw her blood pressure go up. She starts leaning forward, looking past me to the guy next to her. She starts talking, not really to me, just saying, “Is he? Is he…. texting?” That was it. She sped up and was going to roll down MY window and give him a piece of her mind. I sat there a bit sheepish and wanted to wave at him when she wasn’t looking. Thankfully, he changed lanes and escaped her fury.

She figured if he was texting, her life was in danger.

Was she right?

Then I saw some video on Facebook that shared stories about people who were just going to type one little word.

“lol” – killed a cyclist

“bye” – killed her passenger

“k” – and she was dead

Guilty.

How many times have I quickly typed something, then looked up only to think “where did that second go” or maybe have had to stop more quickly than I would have had my head been up.

idiot

I have four children. Four. And a husband. Why would I risk a stupid response, probably to a less than important text, to someone I will probably see in a few minutes?

Tyranny of the urgent? Thinking I can really control my 4, 000 pound Suburban in a pinch? I might be ok, but if my truck hits your hybrid, well, your phone wouldn’t survive, much less you. So, now I don’t text when I drive, and have threatened my husband with his life if he does.

but…

I’m new in town and I need the GPS. Dang thing is just as bad. Maybe not as bad, because I don’t have to respond and think and try to type. It just follow the blue line (which I search before I start driving). Still, I’m looking down an awful lot. Did I tell you I have four kids and drive a beast? (yeah, that beast, to the left)

I’ve seen an accident because of texting. A young 16 year old was driving her mom’s van. She said she looked down and just looked up and ran into the back of the other car (knocking it up on the curb and into the fence). She was texting, I assumed. She didn’t admit it, but her silence and her head-hanging gave her up. It could have been worse.

What do we do? Tickets? Fines? Could I kill someone with my GPS?

Do you text and drive? Should you? How in control are you? What have you seen or done that sent chills up your spine out on the road?

Jesus wasn’t Kidding

I’ve been completely forgiven, that’s for sure. I’ve even come through all the shame of my sin too. Thank God. I’ve confessed it. Fought against it. Had girlfriends praying for me and helping me through some of my darkest days. And to be honest, even my husband knew the lure of temptation that, in past days, could have wrecked my marriage. He knew everything.

Almost.

I had held back a teeny-tiny part of my confessions. My girlfriend knew, but he didn’t.

I held it for years.

To you, it might not seem like such a big deal, but to me, it was the door to temptation, mind games, and sin.

Silly to an on-looker. Death to me.

Then, last week, through a series of personal events, the Father and I were talking about my future, my dreams, His plans for me, and I knew… JT needed that last, little piece. Sunday morning I cried my way through worship. Tears of gratitude and wonder. Tears that said, “God! I don’t want to screw this up!”

Monday afternoon, JT and I were having lunch and talking about the weekend. I was sharing my heart about what God and I had been talking about when I knew. I knew the last shred of temptation had to be brought out in the open. My stomach rolled. I fought against it. But, within seconds, I told him.

And he understood.

Amazing. What a picture of the love of God.

Turns out, he didn’t walk out on me, and in fact could see it as flesh, temptation, false reality and could even explain what happens to me without me telling him.

He got it because he himself understands temptation. He knows the enemy too.

Funny, Jesus does too, and he certainly wasn’t kidding when He said the truth would set us free. I have never in my life felt more free. I took from the enemy the only thing he could still hold against me.

Let me ask you a question? Are you a person of confession? To God? To others?

Two things will happen according to the Bible:
1. You will be forgiven. 1 John 1:9
2. You will be healed. James 5:16

Go ahead, become a person of confession.

It Was Apples, Carrots, and Me and Him

A few weeks ago God told me I was going to fast for three days. I was all, “WHAT!? No way. Can’t do it. One of my kids will end up without a head and my hubs could leave me.” But, after much prayer and confirmation from His Word, the fast was set.

There was the infamous, er famous, passage in Isaiah 58 that always caught my attention concerning fasting.


Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?


Iv’e fasted before, but I knew that God was calling me to a longer, deeper fast that would require more of me than just fighting through one day without food. There was more to pray for, more to ask, more to know… and He was calling the shots, not me.

So, I scheduled the date I knew he wanted and had about three weeks to “get ready.” I kept going back to Isaiah 58 and read over the more promising words like these:


Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.


Well, that makes me feel a little better.

I just didn’t know what to expect. I also felt like it was okay to do a juice fast. I stocked up on apples, carrots, celery, green peppers and water. Friday morning, July 10th, things changed for me.

I printed out Isaiah 58 and another portion caught my attention as I was about to start the first day of fasting.


The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.


This would be something new for me. This would be an experience like no other. I knew that going in. God did something so sweet for me before this. He provided a near stranger who offered to do it with me. She had been talking about fasting at a bible study I was at, and knowing mine was coming up, I was all ears. Her passion for Christ and what happens during her fasts made me spiritually hungry to go physically hungry just to find out what she was talking about. We talked some more and she offered to do it with me. I was so touched. What an honor.

Friday came, the juicer fired up and I had time to sit with God before the day started. I offered my body to Him and just waited for His leading.

Nothing miraculous happened. All I can tell you is that what happened throughout the three days is hard to put in English. “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” (I Corinthians 2:13)

It’s hard to express the closeness I felt to God. He didn’t say much. I did most of the talking. Things like, “Help me Jesus, I’m starving.” and “Help me make it through!” I kid. There was much talk and worship and prayer concerning the things we had already talked about being the fast’s purpose.

Never in my life had I really understood how much our bodies live for food. Food, not being evil in and of itself, really does set the day’s schedule. Food provides balance. Food helps us think clearly. Food gives us satisfaction. Food is primarily what the physical body lives for.

I’d like to change that. I’d like God and His purposes for me to be what my physical body, my temple, His temple lives for. I want Him to be my satisfaction and find food just a perk. I’d like to use food for the temple and not just stuff it full of food. Food is simply the fuel. Now, don’t get me wrong, food is fun and good! Check out all the feasts in the Bible! Not to mention the one we’ll get when this life is over!

But food, mercy, we think about it a lot. Subconsciously and consciously, food is what is on the agenda. Once that is taken out of the flow of life for a few days, you find your thoughts are moved toward spiritual food, the Bread of Life. Ah, and it is sweet indeed.

I broke my fast Sunday night. I went to my room, sat with Him for about 15 minutes, prayed, journaled and read Scripture, thanking Him for that time. After a few moments alone, hubs and I went and had a nice, light dinner. It was a beautiful way to break my fast.

After my three days fast, I realize how much fasting needs to become a regular thing in my life. I don’t know how often, or when, but I don’t doubt that God will tell me and then provide His Spirit for all things during that time.

What about you, do you fast?

I’m a Coward

I’m not easily startled. Not like Pastor JT and we all know what it looks like when he gets startled.

But, being startled is not the same as being afraid. And being afraid is not the same as being cowardly.

My oldest daughter is afraid of storms. I’m not. There are things I could work a real good fear up over, but I won’t go there. But, being a coward, well, that doesn’t sit as easily as being afraid. It’s like with the word “afraid” there is something in us that could muster up some resolve, some courage and see ourselves through. Being cowardly, well, that’s just spineless and weak.

Webster’s says this about “afraid”

1 : filled with fear or apprehension

2 : filled with concern or regret over an unwanted situation

3 : having a dislike for something

And this about “coward”

–one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity

Yep, there’s a difference. A coward carried disgrace. Being afraid is simply a feeling.

I have been both, but if I take a good look, I have been, and am, a coward when it comes to certain things. I don’t want to be that way. I don’t like that characteristic, that flaw. It’s so not Jesus.

As my fellow bloggers and Christ followers, pray that I would be bold, not cowardly. Pray that I would have dignity and honor, not disgrace. Pray that I do the things Christ calls us to do.

I remind myself…there is no fear in love.