Sunday, September 30, 2007

In a pit - underlined.

As promised, underlined passages from In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day by Mark Batterson.

"God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go."


"God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him. God is great because nothing is too small for Him either."
(Said in reference to the miracle of Elisha praying over the lost ax head and it floating to the surface of the water. 2 Kings 6)


"The cure for the fear of rejection is not acceptance. It's rejection. You've got to be exposed to small quantities of whatever you're afraid of. That's how you build up immunity."

It's an embarrassing story to tell, but in foster parent training we were required to write down two of our greatest fears. It was only then that she announced that we had to pass our paper to someone else, who would then give us two more fears -more than likely their fears - then the instructor had each of us add "rejection" to the other persons list of fears as that would be a learned fear that foster children would quickly develop. A fear of rejection. The guy that was adding fears to my paper, quickly looked up and said "What if they've already listed rejection?" I remember, vividly, the teacher stopping and looking at me. And I thought "I'm going to fail out of foster parenting class."
I see more clearly now that some of the trouble from this past month was caused by feeling rejected by God. He's the only one I had come not to fear it from. It's one of the reasons I underlined this passage, and the very next one.


"So what are you afraid of? What allergens trigger a fear reaction? Those are the very things you need to expose yourself to."

(In a previous paragraph he had used the example of going to his doctor who attempted to cure his allergies by exposing him to them in light doses so they could determine the root of the allergy. Solving the root of the problem would then cure the allergy.)


"I bet David specifically prayed that God would protect his flock by keeping lions and bears away. Makes sense, doesn't it? But David's prayers went unanswered. On numerous occasions, lions and bears attacked David's flock. I wonder if David ever questioned God: Why doesn't God answer my prayers for safety? The answer dawns on David as he's getting ready to face Goliath."


"Maybe prayer is less about changing our circumstances than it is changing our perspective."


"When I get into a spiritual or emotional slump, it's usually because I've zoomed in on a problem. I'm fixating on something I don't like about myself or someone else or my circumstances. And nine times out of ten, the solution is zooming out so I can get some perspective.
So how do we zoom out? The one-word answer is worship."


"Reframing problems is about shifting focus. You stop focusing on what's wrong with your circumstances. And you start focusing on what's right with God."


"Complainers will always find something to complain about. Worshipers will always find something to praise God about."


"To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways; we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation." - Quote by Oswald Chambers in chapter 5, "Guaranteed Uncertainty."


(Maybe you've heard this story before? Mark tells this story of Corrie ten Boom)

"Corrie used to speak to audiences about her horrific experiences in the concentration camps, and she would often look down while she talked. She wasn't reading her notes. She was actually working on a piece of needlepoint. After sharing about the doubt and anger and pain she experienced, Corrie would reveal the needlepoint. She would hold up the backside of the needlepoint to reveal a jumble of colors and threads with no discernible pattern. And she'd say, "This is how we see our lives." Then she would turn the needlepoint over to reveal the design on the other side, and Corrie would conclude by saying: "This is how God views your life, and someday we will have the privilege of viewing it from His point of view.""


"Good is often the enemy of great."


"Too many of us are tentatively playing the game of life as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death."


"Work like it depends on you, and pray like it depends on God."


Thus ends the book. Next I'm starting
"Wisdom Hunter" by Arthur Randall .

I'm starting this new book simply because someone told me to read it, and I began "In a pit" because Louie over at
Marshian Chronicles recommended it. And since I love to read and don't get enough nearly enough referrals, do you have any book recommendations?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Glory and grime

I'm still reading "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day" by Mark Batterson. Yes, yes, I started it over a month ago. When you're reading it, it's a hard book to put down. But once it's down, I find it takes longer and longer for me to pick it back up and carry on.
I'm still underlining as I go, and will share - probably later this weekend - what I've been underlining. But I got to something and had to fire up my computer just to post it for you.

It's from the book, but it's a reference to a writing by Ted Loder in
Guerillas of Grace.


How shall I pray?
Are tears prayers, Lord?
Are screams prayers,
or groans
or sighs
or curses?
Can trembling hands be lifted to you,
or clenched fists
or the cold sweat that trickles down my back,
or the cramps that knot my stomach?
Will you accept my prayers, Lord,
my real prayers,
rooted in the muck and mud and rock of my life,
and not just the pretty, cut-flower, gracefully arranged
bouquet of words?
Will you accept me, Lord,
as I really am,
messed up mixture of glory and grime?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ratings and writings


I posted today. You probably didn't see it. It was up and down within 1 hour. I was warned against saying the things I was saying. So I removed it. Simple as that. If someone cares enough about something to warn me, I care enough to take them seriously.

The whole thing though, reminded me of an inane little scan I subjected my blog to awhile back. Except back then I was talking a lot about dying to my flesh, and so I earned an "R" rating. Using words like "death" really seem to bump up your rating.

I don't know where to draw the lines on this. So if you feel the need to warn me concerning my actions, please feel free. Christianity is hardly rated "G". But more and more people that I know are reading this blog, possibly treading into waters they never imagined all because they know me and thus read my blog. I'm not sure how much protecting they need, or if the whole thing maybe should just be a matter of "there's a certain line that bloggers should never cross".

This blog is the most visible expression of my heart and soul that you will ever be able to find. If you met me, befriended me, and even made my acquaintance for 5 years, just one week of reading my blog would leave you wondering how well you really know me (I imagine).

It seems foolish thinking about it now. A person shouldn't be best known by their writing. Or should they?

I'm still around, still trying to figure things out, and still glad to be saved. Everything else is just corn.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The breath of a sigh

I wish you could hear it. I really wish you could hear this. It's the sigh. And it's the best sigh ever.

I'm horrible at making up. I have a good memory, and while I don't like to think I hold grudges, I find it very very difficult to fight with someone and then step back into the friendly role I might have been in before the fight. So it was with God also.

Turning back to God was more spoken word than anything actually felt. I knew I needed to do it, wanted to do it, but honestly, didn't know how to do it. It's coming back after losing. He says 'this is who I am." (note the period at the end of the sentence). It's not up for negotiation, it's not up for me to put my conditions, and it's not up to Him to change to make me happy. "This is who I am." I either accept it, or don't. And I didn't. It's like losing the argument with a spouse over the ugly chair the husband wants to keep. One person is going to have to carry on NOT having gotten what they wanted.
How to be happy, and loving anyway?
That's what I didn't know.

So tonight came the return of something I haven't done in about a month. Maybe even longer. The song service in my living room. I wish you could have been there. By the end, I was asking God for all the things I've been asking for so long. At the very end I asked, please, could He just remind me somehow of His love.

Immediately "Ephesians 2:13"

I don't know what it says, so I drop everything and grab for the nearest bible. New Living Translation.

I dropped to my knees.

"But now you belong to Christ Jesus. Though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought near to him because of the blood of Christ. "

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (NIV)

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (KJV)

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (NAS)

It sounds good no matter what translation I find. What followed can only be described as a lightening of the load. My heart feels lighter. I don't remember feeling like I couldn't breathe before, but now it seems the air I'm breathing is cooler, more refreshing, lighter. It's hard to describe.

I probably scarred my little girl a little more as I wept and spoke in tongues as I dried her off and got her ready for bed. Finally getting some control I began happily saying over and over that Jesus loves her, Jesus loves me, Jesus loves us. Bedtime prayers took a little longer as she was at least patient while I pled the blood over her mom, her dad, and their marriage, their home, her future, her training, her relationship with Christ... I get long winded when I'm excited.

And that's exactly what it was. Excitement. I've felt so awful, for so long...

I'm not there yet. I still see the holding back on my part. I don't know how to get past it except to continue praying my way through it all. I found my piece of acceptance. I may need some more, but I've got a start again. And that's going to get me through the night.

But I wish you could hear this sigh.

Here I am again, Lord

Posted at Proverbs 31 Ministries - forwarded on to me by Lindy. Thanks Lindy.

I wanted to have a quiet time, I wanted to talk to God in prayer and to read Scripture, but I felt somewhat ashamed. I thought to myself, Here I am again, Lord, with the same old problem. Aren’t you tired of me, Lord? I’m tired of me, so surely you must be, too. I’m tired of dealing with the same old problem over and over again.

Then God whispered to me, Talk to Me. Just pray and see what I can do. So I did. In the quietness of the morning, God reminded me of His thoughts toward me, not my own thoughts. God never gets tired of us, and His compassions are new every morning. As the verses in Hebrews 4 remind us, God understands. What comfort.

Better yet, as we look at today’s key verse we’re invited to “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.” Sometimes when I feel ashamed of myself, I am tempted to run from God rather than come humbly to His feet. I’m tempted to believe the lie that God is tired of me or has much more important issues to deal with. However, if I believe and act on these lies, I am missing out on the truth of whom God is and the reality of the kind of relationship He wants to have.

If I mistakenly believe that God is just tired of dealing with me, then I go away with just more of the same - more discouragement, more anxiety, more fretting. Worse yet, I’ll be missing out on what He is ready to give. I’ll miss out on His love, His grace, and His power.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I quit quitting.

I've got a long ways to go.

But this is the best it's been in many, many days.

Ironically enough, I'm feeling better because more bad things have happened. Things just seem to get worse and worse and worse and worse and I don't care. I simply don't care.

I can see during the last few weeks, especially as my job ended, that I took up the reigns and said "I can do this." There is no problem saying "I can do it", the problem came when I took up the reigns.

When I stepped up to be in charge I took a leadership role, and unfortunately, in my vast emptiness of wisdom, I decided He didn't measure up. He wasn't doing His job. I've defended that stance, and everyone around me has been too nice to slap me.

I still don't understand. I don't. I don't get why prayers don't get answered. I don't get why you don't always feel He's there. I don't get why mountains don't move.


I saw someone else do the same thing I've been doing. And I saw the ripple of pain and frustration that it caused all around them. And I wondered how many ripples I've caused. Ripples are small, not necessarily life changing. But I don't want to be the ripple that brings someone else just a bit more discouragement.

It's hard to even that up with feeling hurt though. And as one friend warned me, I shouldn't be disrespectful to God, no matter how I feel. But, I don't know how to be anything else but plain gut honest with God. He's reading my mind so I can't really hide my possible error, even if I manage not to voice it. So, here goes.

I love you Father. And I need You, pitifully so. I'm lost, tired, and sad. Today, with the idea of coming back to You and apologizing, despite being hard to accept - it's been the only thing that gave me hope.
I've complained about You. I've tried to bend You to what I believe my needs are. When You didn't bend, it's almost as though an unspoken ultimatum was issued. I shouldn't have done that, but I still hate the idea that I can't count on always feeling You're there. I saw demons God, demons, and I couldn't see You. You scared me.
I'd rather You slay me. It's easier to say "You could slay me and I'll trust You" than, I'll live through tomorrow. Death is victory. Living through tomorrow, unsure of what You or the devil is going to do next... that takes a lot more faith than death.
But, officially, I'm going to put the reigns down. I'm crawling back into the back seat again and if you drive me off a cliff, or let the devil drive me mad, then it's on You. You're in charge. If I put everything I've got into Your hands, and I crash and burn, it's Your reputation. It's Your promises that will be called into question. Not me.
I'm scared though. I don't know what tomorrow or the next few weeks are going to hold. And I see a lot of opportunity for me to fail at 'putting everything I've got into Your hands". So I'm going to ask You for something. I want to feel Your love again. I don't want to doubt that.
I want more faith. Because this month has proved I don't quite have enough.
I wish I had more time with You.
I can't make things right God. But I'm here, and I'm all in. Help me with the rest.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I need

I want to start off by making one thing clear.
What I'm about to talk about, the way I'm going to describe things, I'm not saying that they are how it should be. I'm saying I don't know.

That said...

It's hard to describe my relationship with God. Over the last two years it's gotten so progressively wonderful that it is beyond my being able to truly describe it. I've almost constantly felt His physical presence with me. He strengthened me, guided me. He's held me when I hurt, and gave me courage when I was afraid. He's talked to me through some long dark nights, and simply sat during some others. A companionable silence. A companion. A friend.

I explained myself last night to some friends. I've begun to bitterly consider God to be a God of whim, rather than a God of love. I'm a stickler for words. If you say ask and you will receive, then when I ask, I expect to receive (assuming I've met the prequalifications of course). Yet I've stopped asking. Mostly I've quit asking Him for things, not because I believe He can't do it, but because I believe He probably won't do it. And for the passionate and fiery, that's certainly a wet blanket to wrap yourself up in.

I just don't understand Him. He told me that I wouldn't. But I expected to understand a little more than I do. It's hard to fight with a general that waits on you to do a certain amount of prayer and meditation to figure out His plan. I thought I'd understand more.

But in all my lack of understanding, I've been seeing Him as someone I could divorce. Someone I could simply announce "I don't love you anymore" and walk away. And I can't do that.

Tonight my little one wandered around the house playing with toys, whining and crying the whole time. For a solid hour, she played and whined. Finally I shoved all her toys aside and said "What's the matter?" with a trembling lower lip and big tears rolling down her cheeks she said, "I need my mommy." I held her as she cried until finally she fell asleep, exhausted from the sadness of her loss.

I saw myself in her. Feeling as though God had let me down, I hold Him at a distance protecting myself. I took myself from Him. And now, down this road, I find myself exhausted, tired, and sad. And I find myself not asking for God my friend, but God my father. I need my Father.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A clanging cymbal

I need to die.
I'm talking murder, not suicide. The I in me needs to die and die and die again, until finally Christ has my heart to Himself.

I've seen things in myself that I never realized before. I've seen that I've been blind in certain ways towards other people. And in that blindness came judgement, and a hardening of my heart. It's been there all this time. All this time and I never realized it.

I've seen that my passion and excitement has not been - completely - a good thing. By allowing it too much reign in my life, I've plowed through many occasions where humility and meekness was an absolute necessity.

I've seen, physically seen, warriors sitting in our church pews. And they weren't the least bit angelic. They were simple people, struggling with problems, and cares. Some were overweight, some sleepy, some distracted, and some young enough to be overlooked as young David once was, before he murdered a giant. But they were warriors all the same. Dangerous when necessary but in ways that are too often overlooked. Overlooked. Not seen. Blind to.

By failing to rule over my passion and excitement for movement, I allowed it to blind my eyes and deafen my ears to the sensitive and very quiet things God may have whispered.

I wonder now, if this piercing sadness is simply Gods method of breaking through to quiet me.

I feel sickened at what I've seen in me. I've done harm. And I did it all in a blaze of passion in His name.

I didn't love.

I'm quitting some more.

I am still amongst the living. I have quit posting though.

I seemed to be saying the same things over and over so I just quit saying it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I'm sorry. You read my blog and you've probably come to expect certain things from me. I expect certain things from me. And after a solid week of messed up, troubled blogging you'd think I'd be done by now. I'm not. So feel free to change the channel if you like. This is my walk - even if I'm not exactly walking right now.

I don't know what to do next. I can't say there are very many times in my life where I ground to a halt and said "What now?"

But I'm stopped, here, at an awful place. And nothing I've done has worked. No prayer has lifted this sadness, broken this wall or brought me back to life. And I have been praying.

This hurts. It's like there's a spirit of sadness that I just can't break through. I've tried to straighten things out with God, only to find that I'm not very good at making up. There's a wall there between us that I just can't figure out how to bring down. And I am finally trying.

Someone offered to come and sit and talk and pray with me. And as I later considered it (a sign of desperation on my part that I'd even consider it) I realized I don't know what to say. I don't know how to explain this mess. I can't seem to think too far past this cloud of emotion. It hurts.

I've been troubled before, all tangled up with problems and worries. But usually at the same time there's anger and fight. This time there is none. That's the most startling thing of all.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I hate this

He's being painfully kind.

He's spoken in unique ways all day long, He's sent scriptures, sent me to my own posts Trust Me and Surprise Me, God? He told me to ask of Him, something I've refused to do this last week. So I asked, in rude "prove yourself" kind of way, for the thing I thought least likely. Two hours ago I received it.

His vast promises leave me looking at my life in disappointment feeling as shabby as a child covered in dirt and stains, while He promises beauty and wonder. It doesn't fit what I know of me. But at the same time, I still resist the close fellowship I desperately crave, especially now that I feel Him again. I never want to go through this week again.

He's asked me to walk on despite the fear, told me to accept and trust. And I guess that's where it just sits now.

Keep talking

Two times, in two days I've come across these words. Yesterday I found them in my own reading of the Word, and this morning Chris HH posted them on his blog without even a word of commentary on it. God is speaking. It's still just really hard to accept.

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.

I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.

And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. Jeremiah 33:6-9

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stupid trees - This present struggle continued.

Last night I got the little one to bed, finished up a second conversation with my pastor who is adamantly certain about things I'm not longer adamantly certain about, and then I sat down at my dining room table and got down to basics with God... again.

1. I'm upset that while yes, I have seen and felt some outstandingly amazing things this year, the bad has officially out weighed the good as of Sunday. I've seen more of the devils displays of power than I have of Gods. I want God to balance things out.

2. Just like I told my pastor last night, I'm ok with whatever God wants to throw at me (maying I'm just fooling myself when I say that) as long as it includes His presence. I was scared to death of foster parenting, but I knew God was there and with me so I did it. I was scared to buy a house, but God pointed at the one He wanted and was with me each step of the way, so I did it. At no point in this Christian walk do I want to feel alone. I need His presence. I'm in too deeply over my head to do this without His presence.

3. I'm frustrated with the idea that He's there but you don't always know it. Why would He just duck out and decide to make it feel like He's not there, even if He is? Yes, I know His ways are not our own, but I'm not satisfied with that answer. What kind of person would draw you, compel you into deeper waters and then once you step off a mighty drop off - suddenly hide themselves so they can watch you?

4. I realize I'm placing a lot of my ideas and expectations onto God. He knows things I'll never even begin to imagine are out there to know. He understands things I could never even begin to comprehend. But (go ahead and shake your head every time I say 'but') there has to be something of Him that I grasp. You can't just tell me to trust You, and then be trustworthy except for a horrific time where You throw me off the deep end and disappear. I don't know what to think of You when that happens. It just makes me feel wounded.

5. I'm not satisfied with the answers anymore. Last month I would have repeated the same answers I've primarily heard. But I'm not satisfied with that at all anymore. Walking blindly by faith is one thing, but the first time you slam into a tree you're going to stop and walk more tentatively and feel around you more often before you take a step. And if someone had you by the arm when you slammed into that tree...

6. The decision was clearly made by the end of last night that I do need God. I know I do. And I quite painfully told Him that last night. I can't imagine life without Him - HIM, a relationship with Him, not just the salvation He provides. That said: In all this the new question has become whether or not I'm willing to close my eyes and start walking again.

I don't ever want to slam into this tree again. I'll walk through a lot of things as long as He's holding my hand. But I need to trust He's not going to let go. And unfortunately, the general answer to this - even in my own knowledge, not just what others have been saying - is that if I move forward I'm going to slam into a lot of trees. And when I slam into each tree, there is no guarantee that I won't feel alone. And I don't want to live under the principle that God is great, and things are wonderful --- except for those times that it feels like He's utterly rejected you.

I know I can't set terms and conditions with God. That's not how it works. Though, it seems like that's exactly what this posting is: a set of rules and conditions by which I require God to operate in order for me to press on. I don't excuse myself and say that what I'm doing is necessary. What I do say is that I just don't have it in me to do anything else unless God does something.

I'm broken, and I can't fix myself.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Comments, yesterday, and fighting.

This has certainly been an interesting few days.

There are a lot of things to respond to from the comments. On my original "I quit" post, a man named Lincoln happened across the blog and commented on that post. He doesn't sound like he's lost all hope, but I completely understand the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. And he's struggled against that as well. Lincoln, if you ever come back I'm truly sorry that you understand the depths of confusion when you can't find God in your situation. I'm not going to go too far trying to offer you words of hope seeing as it might seem hypocritical coming from me of all people; but I will tell you things have improved some on my end. And the main thing I have done to get through this is completely open conversation with and ranting at God.

SLW wondered if I might have become imbalanced ( I don't blame him either ). My strongest argument for it being reality rather than mental is in how my little one has changed as well. She got worse as I started sensing things, and got better as I sensed a relief. You could argue though that I simply projected things onto her and she was responding to me. I believe, absolutely that it was real. But then, the crazy person is always convinced they're sane. :)

Nancy, my friend, you went absolutely above and beyond in your constant encouragement. It seemed that every time I checked my e-mail there was a new comment from you. Thank you.

Mark, this week it's been almost like having two pastors. A real life one, and an internet one. I've read every word you've said several times and can't thank you enough for investing something in me.

One-sided, I had to smile at your incredulity over my inability to accept Gods mercy for myself. It is far easier to accept that Gods grace is big enough for your sins; than my own.

Rahab, I don't know why, but reading your post I kept thinking that what you were saying was exactly what I would tell someone else myself. It made your comment harder to swallow. Not necessarily less true, just harder to hold on to.

Moving on...

My little one and I begin each morning with several minutes of quiet. And yesterday morning as she sat in my lap snuggled against me I began talking. I spoke blessings over her day and her life. As I did it, I remember the thought flitting in that I was the last person in the world to be praying blessings when I've been praying for basics of survival and such. It might not sound like much, but it's the most pleasant thing I've said to God all week. It's an improvement.

Later I went in to check my e-mail and found the comment from Mark where he made the suggestion of finding some grape juice and bread. I've never before felt an urge to do that but, that very moment I dropped everything and did just that. It was an odd feeling experience, but I was feeling a measure of peace again.

For the last several days, all my little one seemed to do was cry. Bedtime was spent with at least an hour and a half of just bawling, not quiet tears but sobs. Nothing seemed to help. Daytime was spent crying for no apparent reason or reasons like her hand being 'yucky'. Last night as I put her to bed, I noticed that her room felt different. She fell tearlessly asleep within 20 minutes. We'd had a tear free evening as well.

I don't want to be a pansy, or someone who is unwilling to fight righteously and passionately for a cause. Those two things are written into my genetic makeup and come out in so many of the things I do (this week apparently being the exception). But I'm wondering, how much of Christianity should actually be a fight? I shouldn't exactly complain because the last 5 years have been wonderful. But this last year has seemed to be one thing after another.

I don't want to spend my life just in faith. That might sound odd, but it's true. Yes, faith is better than feelings. It's biblical. But I want to feel something too. I want to feel I'm saved, not just steadfastly try and convince myself that I am because God said so. I need to experience walking with God, daily. Not just rely on the experiences in His word. This week has been like having your best friend walk away from you and lock himself away, then having a thousand different voices tell you that he doesn't like you anymore. It's a lot easier to combat when you're still standing right next to your friend.

Fight comes from the heart. At least my fight does. It doesn't come from my head. It's hard to fight with the passion of a heart on fire... based on head knowledge. I would fight for you, based on head knowledge. But I won't fight for myself based on it.

I wonder how many of you would come back to me and tell me that ALL of Chrsitianity is about fighting. Principalities/powers, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, fight the good fight, and the armor of God. I haven't always had to fight so hard. I've never before experienced anything like this last week. So I know it's not always like this. But, what is our fight? I know who the enemy is, but what is our fight? How are we wrestling? What is the actual struggle going on? How much attention should the enemy actually be getting? If we play defensively fighting against the enemy we're never going to score. It's offensive playing that pushes your team further down the field bit by bit.

Maybe that's really what I'm getting at. I don't want to fight against the enemy advances, I want the enemy fighting against mine. But following that line of thought (I'm just thinking out loud now, can you tell) have I really been advancing? Have I been giving the enemy something to fight off? Do demons get discouraged when they can't stop me? Have I been unstoppable to demons?

Now that the worst is passed, I feel like a wimp for having crawled under a rock and tried to sit out the fight. But I'm still not ready to get up. I don't want to stand up unless something is going to change. A new mindset, a resolve, a new plan maybe. I don't know, I'm not sure. But I want to know I'm not going to stand up from this as poorly as I was when I collapsed from it. I need to make a difference, I need to be different.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I did quit. I quit fighting. And so far it's working out ok.

I quit praying and I started talking to Him. I've rambled on and on until I ended up just sitting there, saying nothing, and for once feeling nothing. It wasn't a good thing, but it was better than feeling bad things which means it was better than where I was before.

In a post awhile back, I told you that I'd failed God. But I never moved on from that. Before I began walking with God I walked in sin. And when I found myself in that sin a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised. Shocked. And the idea came to me that the last few years of walking with God were nothing. I was no better. Not really anyway. Sure, I might say better words, act better, but deep inside where God only sees I was still the same sinful person I was before Him.
In my mind, I know that has to be a lie.
Didn't change how I felt though. Knowing you are still a child of God, and feeling like you're still His are two different things. Just ask the son who left the pig pen to find gainful employment as his fathers servant.

A friend of mine, has given me some great advice but for me, I needed to reverse it. She told me that when you don't know what to do, don't 'freeze' and do nothing, but instead get up and do something even if it turns out to be the wrong way to go - you can fix it, but at least it's movement and sometimes that's all it takes.
I'm sure, later on, maybe even later on this week, I'm going to end up using her advice as she intended, but right now I'm doing the exact opposite. All I've done for the last several years is 'something'. And when I told God I wanted to quit Sunday night, I realize now - looking at the last couple of days - that I really did. I quit fighting. I went limp and it's been up to God to either carry me or leave me behind. I wasn't going to make it through this on my own.

Maybe the little improvement I've seen has come because when I stopped praying, He seems to have raised up people to pray for me. If that's the case, thank you.

Of many things going through my mind today, I feel like I've received a reality check from God. I'm only saved because of His ability to keep me saved. It's certainly not because of my own ability or faith or resolve of mind. I'm good with that. I just appreciate that He's tried to keep me.
I wouldn't have kept me.

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21

Monday, September 10, 2007

Help me God.

I've read all your words. Several of you I've read your words over and over again. Thank you for the words of encouragement, words of kindness, and especially the word from the Holy Spirit about knowing Gods will and not assuming it. I needed to receive that message. I suppose that is obvious though.

My pastor was the one that referred me back to my own words in his comment. His was the anonymous one. The link he didn't know how to post was to this. He wasn't the only one this weekend to remind me of my own words though.

I'm holding onto something. Well, not a 'thing' but me. I blogged recently about the allegedly dead man that I'm dragging around with me but I guess I didn't read my own post. I don't know what it is I'm holding onto but Saturday night I sat down with God and told Him how it felt something important and deep was being ripped away from me and that it was killing me. I literally got on my knees and told Him I couldn't do it.

He responded, plain as day by asking me what I wanted Him to do.
Out of no where, I responded that I wanted Him to make crucifying my flesh easier.

He didn't respond again that night quite technically, but as soon as I said that He brought to my remembrance something I'd just recently said on this blog. I'd said: "Sacrifice, dying to self, crucifying the flesh those aren't things that are done easily or simply because you woke up and said a prayer. I just can't believe that. "

I've said a lot of things on this blog. 2 years and 2 days and 547 posts. And let me tell you, I'm full of hot air. And that is putting it kindly. Not to say I believe I was wrong in what I said, it's not that at all... it's simply that saying all the things I say, and practicing all the things I say, are two entirely different things.

I don't want to quit. Not really. But something has to give.

I'm seeing demonic faces, literal beings. And to be honest they absolutely freak me out. I'm ok with seeing good visions, stick me in the sea, paddling with a toothpick any day. But those have stopped and all I see are bad things now. I need these things to leave. I need these things to leave. I need these things to leave. I need peace.

In all of this... I make another confession. Mark warned me about introspection, but I'm afraid it was all I was good for today. As I was thinking I again repeated a thought I've put on my blog "Somethings gotta give". I just said it a moment ago even, if you look up and reread. But that last time I meant it the right way. Before, honestly, I was saying it blindly wishing for circumstances, attitudes, people around me to give. I expected the change to come from all around me. I've failed in the one place that truly needs to change. Me.

I could have spent all weekend flipping out over a job or my little one, but instead I flipped out over God. When it was all boiled down, the stupid things around me that I've made so important - they just weren't important anymore. For the last 72 hours, all I've really deep down wanted to know was that God was still there, still loved me, and still had room for me.

I'm not there yet. Not even close.

I happened across more of my own words today.
The enemy.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I quit.

I'm losing my mind, literally seeing things, and my mind just won't stop ripping me apart. So I came home from church, parked myself in a chair and I told God I quit. I can't take one more thing. Not one. There is no peace, there is no rest, there is no single moment when the things I'm seeing, and the words I'm hearing back off.

So I tried to envision what quitting looked like. It means sending my little one away. I can't do that. I could not take in any more kids, but I can't send her away, I have to see it through to the end.
It would mean quitting my church. I can't do that either.

It means an end to most of the songs I sing, music I listen to, books I read, and thoughts I think. It means an end to my very purpose in life.

I can't leave Him, because there is no where else to go.

He's suppose to protect me though, and it feels like all hell has broke loose to focus on me.

I just can't stand this.

Friday, September 07, 2007

This walk

This walk? THIS walk? This walk, I affectionately contend, is just plain crazy.

Rants and worries and faith.

I've got a confession to make. And I figure since my rant was public, I should make the confession public as well.

I lost faith.

I don't confess this with the positive note that I've found it again, but at least now that I acknowledge that it's lost I will be looking for it.

After last nights rant I wondered why I was boiling mad at my brother. And I realized that I wasn't any more frustrated with him than normal. So what has happened to reduce my ability to not be frustrated with him?

A lot. And the scales of my patience just tipped in the favor of impatience.

So, much like last night... there's some stuff inside that needs to be exposed. It might not be pretty, but it's going to come out.

My company is closing. I actually have a lot of faith about finding a new job. I believe, wholly, that God has His hand in this and will provide a new job. If it takes awhile, I can handle that as well. My entire world won't fall apart if I don't find a job for the next few months. My entire world wouldn't even shake. But then I realized something. Without being gainfully employed, my agency will remove my foster child from my home. I can handle being jobless, but I don't want her to have to handle another move.
So I began to do what normal people do.

I worried about her.

And then, after spending the last month sending up constant and very specific prayers for my temporary little girl I found out the odds were not stacked 50/50 but more like 99/1 against her. I became upset, worried about things like future adoptions, parental progress, and the hurts and fears this little one seemed 99% likely to go through.
So I did what normal people do.

I worried about her.

I'm pretty good about not worrying. I've gone through some interesting things with little more than several deep swallows and a thousand forceful reminders that God is in control. This time though was different. I simply swallowed and worried.

Let me tell you, it's exhausting.

The cost of foster parenting isn't in physical energy. That's nothing. It's in the emotional stomp your heart takes as details and information come pouring in about a small and precious bundle that has deserved nothing but goodness and love. You begin to see yourself as the protector. A staunch defender. You. Not God.

So, this morning in the fresh, slightly blinding light that I have been trying to worry my problems to a solution, I choose to stop. It won't be easy. I'll have reasons to worry. But I just have to go back to my previous tactics of swallowing hard, then telling myself God is in control and move on.

To do anything else, ultimately, says something altogether.

You see, not trusting God about my little one being taken away, says that I believe I love her and care about her not being hurt more than God does.
Not trusting God about her future, again, says that I think I know what is best for her and want that for her more than God does.

I'm going to learn a lesson about faith. GOD is in control. God IS in control. God is in CONTROL.

The waters are troubled. I can either read that two ways. I can be excited because a miracle is going to happen, or I can worry about a storm coming.

I'm tired of worrying.

I quit.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I'm tired.

It was around this time last year that someone told me God had left my church. Abandoned us because of the hardness of our hearts. And that He would not return.
I was also told that as long as I remained at the church, I wouldn't grow.
Because of yesterdays post they seem to think they're still right.
Months of my blog has been living proof that they were wrong, but one post wishing for the absolute best from my congregation, from every Christian, seems like proof of their claims.

I'm too tired to fight them.
But I can make weary complaining into an art form.

What kind of person tells a Christian that God is tired of them? We didn't change in the 3 months he attended our church. And now we're doomed.

To be entirely honest, I am at the end of a 20 hour day that hasn't ended yet. So vulnerable doesn't even begin to describe what I'm feeling.

So I have something to say.

Churches everywhere have someone in them just like the one I've dealt with. They're willing to walk up to tired, struggling Christians and tell them to "give up the fight". "Start over somewhere easier", they'll tell you. "Nothing will happen here", they say. They talk a good talk concerning biblical things, but their walk has them consistently kicking the well-doing until they are weary.

They seem most believable because they know the bible. You know they can grind you into the dirt during any biblical debate just by quoting scripture after scripture. They intimidate you with their words. Maybe even by their manner. And when they come at you with "Thus says the Lord," you're hard pressed to fight against them even when everything in you is screaming "God wouldn't SAY that." It's hard to defend against the God of one verse used for their specific reason, by brandishing your knowledge of who God has shown Himself to be. Their verse is easier to brandish with it's solid form.

It's not the world I fight with. The world has been kind to me. Strangers have helped me. It is family and those that claim to be Christian who are willing to tear me down and hold me back from fighting for the best God has to offer.

I'm tired.

I'm sorry I wrote yesterdays post. I suppose I did not accomplish what I was trying to say well enough. My church did nothing wrong yesterday. They sang well, They worshipped well. I didn't point out clearly that I see this problem in every church, and in almost every christian. We give less than the best. We don't just do that during a song service, we do it in our every day lives.

Instead of giving Him praise and worship, we give Him 30 minutes after our television shows are done. Instead of giving Him all of us, He gets what is left. We spend our lives, rather than investing them into Gods work. We hold onto that which is good, so tightly that we stubbornly refuse to release it long enough to grab something better.

And if all that isn't bad enough, every now and then one of our own reach out to grab onto the greatness that Abel had, only to have a Cain murder them.

No offense to us, but we're a stupid lot. Meekness is not timidity. And unfortunately the only ones able to break the timidity barrier seem to be the ones that are clobbering you in the pasture.

Something's gotta give.

So for every foolish Christian out there (and I do mean EVERY foolish Christian, not just the one I'm discouraged by), just as foolish even as myself, I beg you to stop. I beg you to stop trying to convince everyone that God gives up on people, on churches, and on families. I beg myself to stop considering it. God doesn't give up on people, churches, families or me. Let us all stop making the mistake of placing our character traits onto God, rather than trying to fit His onto us.

And, if none of us can find something to say that's encouraging, maybe we could all just quote "With God all things are possible." until we finally believe it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I got mad tonight. It's a rare thing when I get truly angry.
Oh sure, I'll rant. Most of my rants though are done in good humor. I believe everyone SHOULD eat ketchup on their hotdog, it's NOT unAmerican, and yes, it IS way better than mustard.
But this tonight was simply angry.

Just before church during a little practice time for the choir (temporarily the size of a trio, but we'll grow) the very last song that we sang was about worship.
The words say "We have come into His house, and gathered in His name, to worship Him"

Somewhere during that song the importance of the 'gathered in His name' really hit me.
It's better to not do anything at all (it seems) than to do something half-hearted and luke-warm under the banner of being gathered in Christs name.

Shortly after the practice, our small, but kind-hearted congregation stood up and sang about rejoicing in the day that the Lord has made, entering into His gates with praise, and bringing a sacrifice - a sacrifice mind you - of praise.

It's not really about the people, or how well, or how loud we sang or didn't sing. It was the idea (that Sister Cala recently reminded me of in a comment) that we were singing and not worshipping. I'm not pointing fingers, I was too busy contemplating all this rather than shoving it out to worship for the most part. Something just kept feeling wrong with the picture.

I wanted to ask God to not watch.

It's like having a group of people gathered around a birthday cake, but singing "Happy birthday" in a monotone voice while the people distractedly looked around the room. I wouldn't want a child to be sung to on his birthday like that. It could hurt their feelings.

And that's just what I kept thinking tonight. "God, I'm sorry... turn Your head, don't look."

It's not about how loud you sing. It's not about whether you stand up or sit down during the service. It's not about raised hands, closed eyes, or good musicians. It's not about the song service that has been perfectly worked out before hand with all the copies made of all the words so everyone will know what to sing and when.

It's about that moment when you feel someones heart begin to cry out with thanksgiving, as they enter His courts with praise. When a persons heart shouts HE HAS MADE ME GLAD!!!!!!!!!!!!! and that shout doesn't have to be any louder than a whisper to be felt across the entire room.

It's about singing with your heart, and not your mouth.

We fail to apply the fact that He is Holy. Yeshua, Jehovah, Yahweh. Sure, we know it. But we fail to apply it. We invite God into our presence and then routinely offer Him less than our best. We are Cain.

I'm not condemning my church. I love my church. I'm not even trying to say they did something wrong tonight. I don't believe that they did. But I don't think we offered our best.

I just wish I could hear what it would sound like if my little church sang like Christ was actually listening. There is so much hurt though, within families of churches (everywhere, not just my own) that I imagine the singing would quite quickly dissolve into weeping. I think lives would change.

I do not mean to sound judgemental, if anything I feel the sting of conviction as I write this knowing that I offered less than my best as well.

Since the first of the year I've maintained a constant cry for more of God. I got it too, though I still cry for more. The strange gifts He's given over the past months have only made me addicted, hoping for my next fix of Him. But lately the idea of "we've got to do better" has been right beside "we need more of You".

Sure you can say that we can do nothing on our own and that we must simply pray and God will help us do better. I agree. But often I believe God makes things possible - not necessarily easy. Sacrifice, dying to self, crucifying the flesh those aren't things that are done easily simply because you woke up and said a prayer. I just can't believe that. Sometimes you just have to stick your flesh in the corner and then truly, bring a sacrifice of praise. A sacrifice costs you something. Next time, before I dare to sing to God that I'm bringing a sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord I think I'll make sure I really am. Or else it's just called lying. Boasting. Worse, boasting of something that isn't true.

Sure it sounds holy to sing that. Sounds like a great group of Christians bringing their sacrifice of praise. I wonder if God ever gets mad at us? Like a 15 year old taking a crayon and scribbling on a paper and then giving it as a gift we look to God expecting a smile. If I were God, I'd be disappointed in some of the gifts I've brought. I'd be angry at my self-righteous air of having done something pleasing to Him. I'd want to sock it to me, and let me know how disgusting my half-hearted attempts look compared to His glory.

I'm glad God isn't like me.

I don't want to leave you on this seemingly complaining note. So I'll add the bright side to the whole thing. As I mentioned in a post earlier this week God is easy to please. When we worship Him with our whole hearts - sincere and undivided - It doesn't matter how pretty our voices are, if we sing the right words, to the right time, or end up humming. He is our proud Father, smiling down on our efforts and gifts. He loves us.

And if we ever just stopped to think about Him and His goodness towards us as we sang maybe, much like Abraham walking back down Mount Moriah with Isaac, we'd later discover that our sacrifice of praise, was no sacrifice at all.

Just some quotes

In order to discover new lands, one must be willing to lose sight ofthe shore for a very long time.-- Andre Gide (1869–1951) French Writer


Indeed if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday by the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
C.S. Lewis :: The Weight Of Glory

Quotes found at Made to Praise Him & The Positive Press

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


She was as scruffy as any kid I ever saw. She'd spent the last three hours eating hot dogs, and an ice cream bar for dinner, then played in the sand, sat on the sidewalk, then threw rocks into the lake randomly wiping her 'yucky' hands onto her shirt. At some point wipes of dirt and sand had gotten onto her face, smeared slightly by rubbing and drops of water from the lake.

It started to rain and this scruffy, muddy little tyke trudged back down the road, through the grass, and up the hill where, in the rain, she continued to play in the sand and with toys for a bit longer. Then there was one last parting ice cream bar handed out to all the scruffy children besides my own and they all sat outside slurping them down while we watched it rain.

And it was as I smoothed her wet hair down I knew then that I loved her. I was in love. Not the general love I had for her when she first arrived, but the deep soul-reaching love that changes everything. And the responsibilities I have concerning her nearly made my knees buckle. From that moment on our relationship has seemed almost brand new. I love her. She's not mine to love, and she might go away at any moment or stay 2 years I don't know. But I love her. And from that soggy moment on, I knew I'd never be the same.

I believe in my sidebar profile I talk about how amazing Gods love is in that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

And it made me wonder if love is drawn more by imperfection, rather than perfection.

We're children, with little to offer except love, obedience, and random acts of maturity and goodness that make the Fathers heart swell. Our smiles and enjoyment delight Him. He is easy to please.

It's the only explanation of why God loves us.

Waterinmycup Chapter 2!

It's that time again!

Chapter 2 "Have you seen my cup?" is now up over at "Hey! There's water in my cup!"

Head over there, take a look, and add your contribution to the chapter!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I'm sorry God.

This afternoon I happened across a man. In the course of our conversation he informed me that he had a gift for discerning spirits. He then informed me that I wasn't wicked. It made me want to throw dirt on myself. I've always been over dramatic on the inside. I would have loved bible times.

In the stillness, and the quiet of a long busy day (every day that you have 3 kids under 10yrs of age is busy), I've found myself coming to a rest in a broken position.

It didn't mean anything to the rest of the world, no one will ever know what happened, but I failed God this week. I'm ashamed of the details, and I don't ever want to be ashamed.

Even with Gods forgiveness already sought and claimed, I'm painfully disappointed. To the point of a literal ache in my heart. I expect better from myself and I'm sorry I accepted less.

I don't want to write these post too often. I want my posts to be what I've learned about growing, not what I've learned about failing. I've found that even with forgiveness, it's harder for me to walk away from the idea that I failed Him. I find myself wanting to absorb the hurt as a strong reminder to never hit this spot again.

Sin hurts. Going against God, hurts. It makes you sad and leaves you feeling isolated.

I don't suppose my pastor knew he was preaching against me/for me today. I always wonder when that happens, if there was so little going on in the church that God would have nothing better to do than to give sermons to point me out. I would almost rather He didn't. It shames me even more to know He cares enough to speak audibly through someone to me.

It's a crazy world where, of all the things that have happened this week, my greatest sadness is how I failed God. But that's the only kind of world I want to live in.

Thank you for conviction Lord, I'm so sorry.