Monday, October 29, 2007

Even me.

On Wednesday nights, as we are studying Ezekiel, I noticed God repeatedly using the phrase "I, even I".
And I began thinking of the contrast between "He, even He" and "Me, even me".

"He, even He" loved "Me, even me".

I went into my old blog entries search of a post tonight, and as I scrolled down the list of post titles I watched a humbling pattern become apparent. Scrolling through two years worth of post titles I saw happy days, then barely hanging on days, happy days, then barely hanging on days. I saw several posts where I was just throwing tantrums, a few pity parties, a lot of posts where I just had stopped focusing on God, and then a few where it appeared I was ready to throw in the towel.

Then along would come a "God came through" post, not necessarily changing circumstances, but at least changing me, and things are ok again - until the next time.

It was certainly a humbling pattern to watch. I winced when I saw it. Then looked up and asked God what on earth He was doing with the likes of me.

I wrote to a friend earlier today that maybe I could understand God being merciful enough to take me into His family, but I just can't understand Him using me. It's like calling on the kid in the back of the class that you know wasn't paying attention during the instructions - you just don't do it if you want whatever you're demonstrating to be successful.

But God, for some reason, isn't like that. He, even He, uses me, even me.

Why me Lord? What have I ever done to deserve even one of the pleasures I've known. Tell me Lord. What did I ever do that was worth loving you or the kindness you've shown.
Lord, help me Jesus, I've wasted it so help me Jesus I know what I am. Now that I know that I've needed you so, help me Jesus, my soul's in your hands.
Why me Lord? If you think there's a way I can try to repay all I've taken from you. Maybe Lord. I can show someone else what I've been through myself on my way back to you.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Another video

I hate to publish too many videos, but my pastor has mentioned this particular event from the bible several times so when I came across the video -and especially saw how good it was - I ran over here to publish yet another video.
And yes, I purposefully didn't tell you which 'event' from the bible because I'm hoping not knowing will make you watch the video. I'm just like that.

A new definition of patience.

Patience is...

...not crying while you wait.

I explained this new meaning of patience to Little One this afternoon as she sat dolefully looking at a can of soda that she was going to have to wait a bit for.
Do you have any definitons of your own to share?

Friday, October 26, 2007

The wings of a whisper.

Music is wonderful.
If you have never sung a prayer, you really should try it. Even if you don't feel you sing well, sing a prayer. It's a song you write yourself, doesn't have to rhyme, or have a catchy tune to it.
And it's just a wonderful moment.

For several minutes tonight I simply sang the words "I need" over and over and over. It slowly evolved until there I was singing how I 'needed' His touch, His presence, His favor, His mercy, His knowledge, and on the list went.

An hour later, I simply had to keep playing (the piano - for those that don't know me) and I could just close my eyes and enjoy the sweet Spirit.

And all this happened from the confines of my living room. The very room that just one week ago I would have said it was impossible to find rest in.

During this past month, I'd been having a recurring nightmare. I won't piece together all of it for you, but at the end, just before waking up I would desperately be trying to say the name of Jesus. Only, using all my strength, I was still barely croaking out a whisper. Panic would set in because I knew I needed to say the name, but I simply couldn't - no matter how hard I tried - get it to sound off any louder.

I've got a lot of thoughts I've taken away from this past month. A lot. But the one that really stands out to me tonight is my whisper. Even whispering the name of Jesus is strong enough. I kept trying to do something more spiritual, something big enough to get Gods attention and scare the devil. In my dreams, the fear always set in because I couldn't yell loud enough, strong enough, to make a difference. But God can hear me whisper.

That's not to say me and my whispering changed my situation here, because relief didn't come until someone else came in and claimed it. Or maybe it was those whispers that had God send those people into the situation. Either way, He heard my whispers.

There are a lot of prayers I've failed to pray. Every now and then a large need will come to my attention and I'll mark it off to pray later when I've got some time to devote to it - even if it's just a few minutes. In the middle of answering phones, or greeting customers, that's not the time to pray for something as important as a baby that might not make it through the day. But I dismiss that moment that I have available to do all that I can. I miss that moment to whisper a prayer.

A couple of weeks back, I worked several hours at something that a man with a backhoe would do in less than an hour. And I still certainly didn't accomplish as much as him. I still did it, stubbornly misquoting a verse about not despising small things and yet I haven't treated something as important as my prayers the same way.

I felt convicted tonight as I told my Father of need after need after need that I have not of things, but of Him. I need. I need Him. I want Him to be in every breath, every thought, every single fiber of my being. But to get to that part, I need to give Him every breath, every thought, and every fiber of my being including my whispers. When I say I want Him in my life... life sounds awfully BIG. So I mentally assume I'll give Him the big things in my life. But it's asking His presence in the small things in your life that is the most challenging. Because it's so easy to discount the giving of those things.

God, help me remember to whisper.

I need.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Blog Hiatus

I'm taking a break this week. So no posts. I will be back Saturday.
For those of you that knew about my job loss and were praying, I want to make sure you know I've gotten a job, and will be starting next Monday. Thank you for your prayers.
My house has been prayed over by someone other than myself. I see a definite improvement.

Someone commented today on an old post "
The Lords Prayer" and linked me to another interesting article they had written. I thought I'd share it before I go silent.
The article is called "
The best Way to Pray".

The whole article was good. Go read it.

You might want to pray something like this:
Father, the one in heaven, just being able to know your name is a very great honor. I am really looking forward to the time when you are finally in charge here. If I can, I would like to be a part of doing what you need to have done here in the meantime, just as if the world was taking its orders from Heaven right now. Lord, we are really depending on you to make sure we get enough to eat every day. Thank you for the work you provide so we do get to eat. This is a big one, Lord. Please forgive me for the times I have let you down. I need your help to make sure I forgive those who let me down too. Please protect me from being in situations where I might do something that would make you unhappy. Please keep me safe from the author of evil and the evil itself!"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Excuse my laundry.

I've found myself down memory lane for some reason this evening
and I'm going to write. Maybe one day this post will find it's way into my
memoirs. But my memoirs won't be about my house or demons. They'll be about God.
And that is what this post is really about.

A lot of my memories of growing up are blank. I just don't remember much. But of what is stored in my memory there is one week ranked as the most physically violent, and horrific week that we as a family endured. I think it all started when my dad discovered that a dog had wet on the seat of his 4-wheeler. I could be confusing events, but it seems like that was the start. What a pathetic start to a fight.

By the time the main ruckus was over, my mom had decided she was leaving. It was late. I don't know how late, but quite late. We drove to the nearest town and woke up an old pastor friend of my dads. I don't even remember why specifically we went to him. I just remember his office, my brother being upset, my mom trying to be strong, and the fact that my body would sometimes jerk and I couldn't make it stop. I remember the pastor telling me that it was shock and taking me by the arms and praying for me to be able to calm down.

I remember him promising to do the only thing that might possibly help. Only he never did it.

For reasons that, even as an adult, I don't understand, we returned home that night. And spent a week living in the home with my dad, packing, while mom looked for a job.
She didn't find a job and decided that was Gods direction to stay. So we did.

I always wanted to ask that pastor though, why he didn't do what he said he would. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference. Maybe it would have.

From that point, I had a definite aversion to pastors. My dad was a pastor, and between him, his friend that night, and several other pastors I've seen, I've understood all too well that what is said, is not necessarily what is lived. Their church life to me was simply an act.

I understand that pastors are still human. And try not to place them into a sinless role that no one can live up to. But at the same time, I firmly believe, that before you stick the word Pastor, Shepherd, Leader in front of your name - you had better well be willing to try and live up to it. And be seriously seeking God concerning your calling, and your fulfilment of that calling. I would say the same for any person that calls themselves a Christian, but that's a different post.

Today though, I spent a couple of hours talking with my pastor. In 9 years of independent living, I've never willingly chosen to sit and talk with a pastor about a problem. But today I did. And he prayed. And as he did, a revelation of who I am in Christ returned to me. And then he reminded me of my own words about being a warrior. It's hard to describe the puzzle pieces that were clicking just then as I remembered things I had written and how they were written for days just like these days of battle. I remembered books I'd read concerning tricks of the enemy. I remembered quotes I'd tried to memorize about impossibilities and how only the naive people go after some impossibilities. And then the scriptures I've read time and time again came back to mind.

I left my pastor, a different person than when I arrived. I didn't go directly home, but spent a refreshing time praying. When I did finally walk back in the doors, I didn't even know what I was saying as specific names of spirits came out of my mouth. I rebuked spirits of lies, hate, violence, fear, and several others and they were commanded, each by their own name, to leave by the name of Jesus. I say "they were commanded" rather than "I commanded" because from the moment I walked in the door it didn't feel like 'me'.

I enjoy not feeling like 'me'.

It's not over. I still feel things in this house. And every now and then tonight I've just stopped and rebuked something and commanded it to leave. I'm glad Little One isn't any older, because she'd have some very crazy stories to tell her family during visitation.

My pastor didn't give me hope for the day. He simply prayed and I received it. God was there, just as He promised to be. And He changed my heart. He turned despair into hope, and defeat into victory. He made a way through this and He literally led the way, because I didn't walk through my doorway in my power today but His. And it made all the difference.

Still, before I left my pastor today I asked him (are you listening Mark?) I asked him and his wife to come to my house, as soon as they're able, to help. And despite my past experience, I really think they'll come. I wish my mom could have found someone like that that night. I hope every man, woman and child that picks up the phone, or walks through the doors in search of a shepherd, finds a real one. I have to say, I have little use for the fakes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This - literal - walk.

Tonight at church we sang about being a living sanctuary and I thought about how when shortly after beginning foster care I began thinking of my home, truly, as a sanctuary.
A sanctuary needing to be prepared.
A sanctuary needing to be pure.
A sanctuary needing to be holy.
A sanctuary needing to be tried.
A sanctuary that needs to prove itself true.
A sanctuary that will joyfully, and with full thanksgiving submit to being a sanctuary even on the days when it doesn't feel like it.
A sanctuary that needs to be alive. Living. Not stagnant, not dormant, not fruitless, but living. Alive.

As I thought about that tonight I realized that for a month, my house hasn't been a sanctuary. My life hasn't been a sanctuary. My house is exhausting, I'm exhausting.

So, I had a fit.

I put my little one to bed, waited till she was asleep and I went outside.
And I walked around the outside of my house. And for the first time in all this, there was no fear, no panic (if I try and pray inside my house the next thing I know I'm sweating, pale, and sick) there was no great rush of emotions.

I simply made my slow circle around the house telling God (not the devil) that this was His house. He had a plan, and a purpose for it from the beginning. But right now, that purpose is being hindered. Before walking back in the door my very last words were "This is Your house Jehovah Shalom, please clean it."

I walked in the door and I heard a voice hiss at me to die. I've heard it at least 13 times since that moment and it was only an hour or so ago.

I'm going to continue this walk, and this is going to become my Jericho house. This is day one.

I confess it sounds strange. Maybe you'll tell me it won't work. I also confess that I'm flying blind here. I've never seen or encountered the types of things I'm facing right now. And largely, the reason I'm willing to continue doing this, is because it seems to have upset the devil. Frankly this is all over my head. I've kept other people out of the house because I don't want it touching them. It's taken over a large portion of my life. I'm ready to bring this to a head. However that may be.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Take it? Take what? I don't see anything.

Little one came with no clothes to her name. A CPS worker had dug out some 2 yr old clothes from their "special needs closet" and brought those along with a bag with a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and baby wash. That was it. And the clothes didn't even fit seeing as she was nearly 3 and very tall for her age.

Since that day people have generously brought in clothes, and dresses. One woman amazingly enough arrived on my doorstep with 3 brand new pairs of shoes for Little One. Gods love comes from some surprising places sometimes.

But the last two days the weather has turned. Wet and chilly in the mornings. And Little Ones drawers are full of shorts and t/shirts. So this evening we went shopping. We're very well stocked now especially considering that in a couple of days the typical Texas heat will return. It was a pleasure though, walking down the aisles and finding things she might enjoy. Especially the few times she got excited and yelled "I need dat!" and it turned out she was pointing at something just perfect for her. The girl has style at least.

Driving home, she asked where we were going. And I said, "home". "Nets house?" she asked. *I'm "Net" by the way* And I said yes, we're going to Nets house. With that began the typical conversation where I tell her it's Little Ones house also. It's my house, and her house. It's Our House.

I understand, fully, that she holds ties to what is really her 'home' just as she holds ties to who 'mommy' is. And somewhere in there, tonight, I understood something better than I've ever understood it before. What I have, all of it, I offer to Little One. All she has to do is ask. I might withhold certain things from her because life can't be lived on suckers and ramen noodles alone. But deep down, the desire is to give her everything I have.

I've heard it said before, from the story of the prodigal son, that all that the Father has is at our disposal. But I never quite understood the Father's emotions behind wanting the child to have it. I understood the childs desires of wanting certain things. But tonight, wishing with everything I had that Little One could feel like Nets house was her house, I wondered more about what God is wishing for me to claim.

So much has happened the last month. I've fought, and cried, and complained. I've beat against Him the only ways I know how. And I wonder, if all along I've just been missing the point. The 'good' son in the story of the prodigal was angry with the father for something that was actually born of the sons mind, not any actual slight by the father. In fact, it seems the father responded with "It's not my fault, it's YOURS. Everything you're asking for, I've already given you. You just didn't take it."

I'm asking for a lot now just to make it through the nights. And I wonder if God isn't shaking His head at me saying "just take it." I confess, I don't know how to take it. I'm not asking for a robe or a fine calf that I can walk up and take. My desires are largely invisible, but make a world of difference to me. If He's offering it, all the powers of His Kingdom, then what is the secret to the 'taking'?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Checking my label

My little one and I are sitting in the living room enjoying her favorite cartoon. It's a 30 minute little show I record for her each day. It's called Caillou. If you've got a toddler, I have to tell you this is a good show and worth 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, 10 minutes into the show the tv goes off.

I fiddled with it a bit before coming to the conclusion that whether it was foul play or it died of old age, dead was still pretty well dead. So little one and I pull out the toys and play. About 20 minutes later the tv comes on. So we turn around and start watching her show again. 5 minutes later the volume begins it's trek up to full blast. I'm shoving little one off the couch cushions thinking that she must have sat on the remote, only to find it resting on the side of the couch out of her reach. I hold the volume button down but it's still trying to turn itself up. So I turn the tv off and we go back to playing. The tv comes back on. I turn it off and we leave the room. I finally end up unplugging the tv.

Bedtime arrives and I spend a good deal of time simply praying Gods protection for my little one. The things tormenting me, she doesn't need any part of. She's young. And I remember a post recently by someone (can't remember who at the moment) mentioning a scripture that says the angel of a little child has direct access to God. So I bring little one in and we pray together "Jesus, keep us". It's the best I've gotten her to repeat consecutively. But it's repetitive, and good enough.

With the house quieting down, I sit and my worship time takes a focus of where I've been. Who I was before. Recently I watched a video of the Martins singing "Except for Grace". And I reminded God that grace may be all it seems like I have sometimes, but, I can't see grace. And I have to confess, after spending this much time staring at an enemy, I've started to feel at odds with God. That surely, if I were right with God, this all wouldn't be happening.

And that's when I started thinking.

My little one, has spent every day for nearly 3 months with me. She visits with 'Mommy" one time a week for one hour. Yet she never fails to ask about mommy. Immediately upon returning from the visit she asks if she'll see mommy again. During the week, she asks if she'll see mommy again. She'll tell me briefly that she saw mommy, and hugged mommy, but then wants to be reminded that she'll see mommy again soon.

Absence may do a lot of things to people. Not having that constant feel of 'presence' may wear on you and make you sad. But if you ask my little one who loves her, her first answer is always "mommy". It hasn't mattered that she spends only 1 hour with mommy and the rest with me. Written in her little heart is a small label of "To whom I belong: Mommy".

After a lifetime of listening to Christian teaching, and 6 years of a close walking relationship with Christ my Savior and Friend, you'd think my label would be a little more firmly written. Ink, not pencil. Steel, not cheap paper. But even after all this time I still want Him to tell me. And tell me over and over and over again.

Sitting at little ones bedside each night after songs, and stories and prayer, she crawls into my lap and requests that I rock her like a baby. And for just a moment, the shifting feet, playing hands, and constant questions all stops and she closes her eyes. And tonight I closed my eyes along with her and thanked God for her life, and the gift that she is and the gift of all that I've learned about Him through her. Then I told God that she has the right idea - the best idea.

I just need to stop wiggling, stop asking, and close my eyes.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A change of focus.

I'm raising a 3 year old.
If there is one thing she's taught me it's that if I watch her to see if she's doing something wrong, she's probably going to do something wrong. If for no better reason than to make sure I keep watching. Life's more fun with people watching you know.

And that's why I erased my last post. I've given the devil enough attention. Too much attention. There was a key statement I made a recent post. I said: "I'm going to pretend the bad stuff isn't here and I'll tell you about the good stuff." And I've now decided that I'm going to simply stick with that. And since I began doing that I've come to believe that I have made it. I really have made it even with the bad stuff still here. And it's good. Just standing here, feels like victory. My actions as of late are anything but victorious - but sometimes you just have to focus on the fact that you've survived.

I told you, but erased the post telling you, that I fell. My back is almost entirely black. It's interesting to look at as far as injuries go. But I've always been a little different in my fascination with things like that. But after it happened I complained about it in my post, asking what was next. What's the devil going to try next? But now, now, I'm smiling and asking what is next. You see, God is working all things for good. And yes, it hurts, but it's also been one of the best things to happen to me in quite awhile. Something outstandingly wonderful has happened as a direct result of the fall. And looking now at the result of something that seems so entirely not good I have to say that I wish the devil had hurt me sooner.

My good outcome/bad event is what brought Romans 8:28 to mind. All things are worked to my good. I don't remember once considering that promise during the last couple of months. All things. Every struggle, every battle, every scare, every fear, every single moment of torment, while it's not from God, it is used by God. And He's working it, all of it, somehow, someway, when I don't understand, when I don't believe, when I can't hope, when I can't trust, when I've hit the absolute rock bottom of what faith I've got, He's working it to good.


And sometimes great.

A quote

The devil says, "Look what you've done!" The flesh says, "Look what I've done!" Faith says, "Look what Christ has done!" And the Word says, "Just breathe."

Taken from "Just Breathe" a post at The Sound of Thunder.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

O God, be not still.

I don't know how to say what all has happened in the last few days.

It's nice to know from the comments I've received that people out there in the Christian world believe things like this happen, and are praying. Thank you.

Like I said though, I don't know how to tell you about the events of the week. And I find I don't want to. I confess it's a very vulnerable feeling wondering how many people think you've cracked up. When I get through this, I really never want to see anything like it again. But for now, for this small period of time that I'm typing this out, I'm going to pretend the bad stuff isn't here and I'll tell you about the good stuff.

Almost immediately after posting Sunday night, I felt a change. Not so much in the things around me, but in me. I've got a calm now that I didn't have before.

I was thinking back tonight to months ago when I had a serious problem (not of this sort) and I got angry with the devil and I stomped through my house yelling at him. I yelled at him that he wanted to tell me lies, and so I would tell him some truth. And I proceeded to tell him my future, his future, Gods promises, who God was, what He would always be, and then made a point to include the fact that any logical person would be able to grasp the idea that if the devil is telling you it "is so" then, obviously the truth is that it "isn't so" and that I appreciated him clearing up that question of what 'really is' for me.

I don't make it a point to talk to the devil. I never do it really. At just that point though, it seemed fitting. Within days of that event I saw my first vision. God gave me a vision of my problem disappearing, vanishing. And my problem did indeed vanish. Thinking back to those days brings back such sweet thoughts. Having that vision, was like getting a glimpse of God. That's the only way I can describe it. I've gained some really incredible God memories this year. I suppose in the art of war it was only appropriate that I should have expected some incredible Devil memories too.

Monday I woke up with the phrase "Be not afraid". And looking back at Sunday nights post I see how many times the idea of fear cropped up in there. But all day long that phrase kept coming back to me. A commenter, Jennifer, left those words in a comment today as well.

Out of curiosity I brought up and asked it what other things I should "be not". Interestingly enough I didn't find what I expected. I found a list of 'be nots' for God.

But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Ps. 22:19

O LORD, you have seen this; be not silent. Do not be far from me, O Lord. Ps. 35:22

O LORD, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. Ps. 38:21

"Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were. Ps. 39:12

Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me. Ps. 71:12

O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still. Ps. 83:1

During bible study tonight we were reading in Ezekiel where God tells Ezekiel "Go do this." Ezekiel had been obedient and doesn't seem to even be questioning all the instructions he'd received up to that point. But on this particular issue he turned to God and petitioned Him. And God understood, and changed His command a bit.

Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that the whole days events aren't written in stone. He listens. He relents. He's a good Father. I believe during the last weeks that He has heard me. I don't have as good a track record as Ezekiel had on obedience. But it doesn't change Gods ability and desire to hear me.

So hear this: I need You.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

What a strange post.


Sometimes it's fun and easy to say crazy things. I told my little one this afternoon that an elephant must have snuck into the room and stole away all our markers. It was fun.

This is not.

Something is happening at my house.

Standing outside my house in the evening I've seen shadows of people in the windows of my house. There's no one in my house. There's something in my house. And most especially my bedroom.

Walking into the house, my stomach begins to churn. By the time I've been home a few hours I've usually already begun throwing up. If I spend that much time specifically in my bedroom, I get sharp pains in my sides, arms and neck. I leave my bedroom and the pain stops, but the sickness continues. I leave the house, and after a couple of hours I'm just fine. I've napped in my car just trying to get some rest. And at night, I'm now sleeping in my living room on the couch.
This is by far the strangest thing I've ever experienced.

This morning at church, the text for the sermon was from Revelation 3, and my eyes wandered over to Revelation 2:25. "Only hold on to what you have until I come." it says. And I realize I've lost ground over the last weeks. A lot of ground.
I'm afraid in my house. I'm literally afraid. I know that I have seen things and I've just completely worn out. If this were a physical war I'd be buried by now.

I've been told to read the scripture out loud by several people and I haven't. At least not in the main room that's scared me away. And as I was praying tonight I thought about why I wouldn't read out loud. The scripture came to my mind about the unclean spirit that left, but came back seven times worse and I realized how frightened I am of making the situation worse.

I almost called my pastor this morning to say I wouldn't be at church. I was still throwing up just before I walked out the door. But I realized what a scary trap that was if safety was outside my door but I was too sick to get out the door. I don't want to live like this. And the concept of what is happening here seems unbelievable to me. I don't know that I'd believe it if someone else told me this story. I'd come up with rationalizations. But now that I've experienced this week I don't know that I'd ever disbelieve a story about demons again.

I want my peace back. I want rest. But more than anything, I don't want to be afraid anymore.

I'm not trying this tonight. But tomorrow night I'm going to start fighting back. I want my room back. I want my house back. I want my life back. I want my power back.

Friday, October 05, 2007

And the devil laughed

(As you'll be able to see, this post took a different turn towards the end. I didn't expect to say what I was saying, but when the writing begins to flow, I let it. This painted a vivid picture in my mind, but I'm not that good a painter so you might not see the same picture. My only qualification is that, no, I'm not saying I'm sitting on a pew dying. Good luck.)

I can't take it anymore. What does that mean?
It may seem like a dumb question, but it's one I faced.
When you feel like you just can't stand it anymore, what do you do?
You can't stand it.
You can't handle it.
You can't take it.

Just because you can't "stand" it anymore, doesn't change the situation. It doesn't make the situation stop. It doesn't make whatever is bugging you go away. It doesn't change one thing.

Just because you can't 'handle' it anymore, doesn't change the fact that the situation is out of your control to 'handle' anyway.

Just because you can't 'take' it anymore, doesn't change the fact that it's there, giving itself to you whether you can take it or not.

I told God recently, "I can't take much more God." And once again, God turns me with a question, "What will happen when you can't take any more?"

Words seem pretty pointless when you put it like that. My body can't stand the impact of a truck plowing into my car. But that doesn't change the situation if a truck plows into my car. Things break, things hurt, and after a time, my body will begin to be able to 'stand' things again.

But when it comes to spiritual things it's a lot harder to label it. There certainly can be spiritual things that sideswipe me and break my spirit, but it's all invisible. No one sees your spirit in a sling or your peace set into a cast or maybe just the bruises on your happiness. People can't see those things.

It allows people to be crushed, and left broken, wondering how the world can't see that joy died, or that faith has become paralyzed. And we can go through all these transitions while sitting in a pew, teaching a sunday school class, witnessing to neighbors or leading the choir, or for a lot of very congregation weary pastors out there, it can also happen while pastoring a church. And people never see.

It leaves me curious, fearfully curious as to what all is around me. How many Christians have suffered spirit crippling collisions and never tended to their injuries?

Maybe things in this world got worse and worse as we stopped performing first aid on our Christian wounded. The phone calls, the visits, the letters, the friendship and fellowship, the knowing your church families hurts as if they were your own. Tending the wounds of our brothers and sisters, purging out the dirt that seeps into wounds, cleansing and healing each other.

Instead, our Christians sat on pews, while their spirit, joy, hope, and their ability to love others (rather than just hope for survival) dripped down onto the church floor like blood.
We began to die.
And no one really noticed.
And the devil laughed.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

No. Please excuse MY appearance.

As I cleaned up the dishes from supper I looked down at the way I was dressed and I sighed.
We had to leave for church, and I didn't have time to change.
These clothes are comfortable to me, so comfortable that I've come to hate them.
You see, I wore a skirt to church.

I've thought about it lately, how appearances are deceiving.

I seem stereotypical. I play the church piano in my skirt or maybe even put on a Sunday morning dress. I seem typical. Stereotypical.
Of a church 10 years ago.

My clothes put people ill at ease. People have apologized to me for wearing their work clothes or for simply not changing into 'church' clothes. They apologize to me because my skirt becomes a symbol. A stereotypical symbol.

It makes me appear religious. Maybe even spiritual. Maybe you think I love God, obey God, serve God, pray, sing, or worship better. Maybe you just assume I sin less. It's not true. You see, I'm just like you. Maybe even worse. Because you had the guts not to change your clothes.

I liked that someone came to church in a shirt that was dirty because they helped someone just before church and got a little dirty.
I liked that someone else came to church in their nurses scrubs.
I liked that some people showed up in jeans.
I liked that the oldest lady in the church looked lovely wearing pants, rather than a dress.

For some Christians, the clothes you wear is like your uniform. It makes it clear to everyone that you work here. It distinguishes your position.
The only thing is, I don't want to be known for the clothes I wear.
It's not going to come up on the final exam.

I'm dissatisfied. I see things that could change yet they are so far against my upbringing that it's hard to feel Christ-like either way it goes.

You, you're probably far past issues like clothing. It almost seems like an old problem. People don't worry about those things anymore. But for me, I literally disgrace my parents by wearing pants to church. So I don't. But regardless of why I wear my skirts, I don't want to be known for them.

I'd rather be known for Him.

And as for you, I think your clothes are just wonderful.

The substance

You can move trees with it.
You can be full of it.
You have have little of it.
You can be obedient to it.
You can see it.
You can hear it.
You can be purified by it.
You can be established in it.
It is the same whether you believe in it or not.
It's a law of it's very own.
It gives you access.
You can be strong in it or weak in it.
It saves you.
It heals you.
Jesus will come back to Earth looking for it.
It is the substance of things that are only hoped for.



That word has captured my attention this past week. It's a substance. I can easily dismiss it as something in my head. A belief, a thought, an idea, a dream. I wonder if my faith has substance, or have I restricted it to what I believed it would be. If I don't see the substance, how can I expect the world to grab onto it?



Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Another month, another chapter.

I want to remind you all of the e-book that's being written right now.

"Hey there's water in my cup!" is still being written and it's only waiting on you. I know for a fact that a large majority of the numbers passing through my blog are writers, speakers, and bloggers. This is your chance to add to the words of inspiration in the world.

The site is a small project right now, but only God can see the true potential it has.

We're currently on Chapter 3, titled "Should my water be hotter?"

This is my own writing for the book, and I hope you'll head over and add your own.

Should my water be hotter? I don't know. To be honest I'm afraid of hot water. If I'm not careful, the bathwater is too hot and could hurt my little girl. Hot water burns, it scalds, and can burn through pot holders and gloves. Hot water comes with warning labels.
I've noticed though when I'm doing dishes, or washing something and trying to get stains out, that the hotter the water is the easier it is to clean something. Grease seems to vanish away, hard dried on food bits under the hot splash of water seems to almost instantly soften. Stains I haven't been able to get out of clothes, come out with hot water and soap. Hot water hurts though.
The water in my cup though, is much the same. When I get too hot even though it can be cleansing it still can hurt and burn depending on the surface I splash onto. Too often I've been so determined to get the stains out of some people, that I've missed the fact that I'm hurting them. Skin is blistering and turning red, and they're so busy trying to protect themselves from my cleaning them up, that we both end up with burns.
I've learned to be afraid of hot water. I'm nervous when your hot water comes too close to me, and even more nervous when I feel my water coming to a boil, even if it's with passionate zeal and excitement. I don't want anyone to get burned. But I hate the idea of turning the fire down. Maybe I should just focus on getting the water as hot as I can stand.

Monday, October 01, 2007

As sands of times through the hourglass

We've survived the week intact.

There was a chance that my little one might leave last week. There was a court hearing, and often things go as quickly as the biological parents picking the child up from daycare and some caseworker ordering you to have their clothes and personal items ready by 5pm.
We survived the day of the hearing at least, and we're still together. It's both good news (to me) and bad news. This little one loves her mommy very much. There's a strong prayer battle being waged for her whole family. Regardless of what happens, I just hope my little one comes out on a winning side.

In other news, this jobless bum actually turned down a job. I can't remember the last time I went back and forth on a decision so much. Ultimately, sometime around midnight, I decided to go biblical and reminded God that casting lots was once considered a valid thing to do.
I flipped a coin.
It came up tails 4 times.

So I'm back to job hunting. And I'm ok with that.