Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Down but not out...

It has been a while since my last post. I have been battling one of the worst head colds I have ever had. A sinus and ear infection and bronchitis. Yuck! Thanks to my Supermom-Sallie, Nana, my friends Leslie and Laurinda and most of all my sweet hubby, I am back on the mend, finally! I still have a cough, runny nose and rough voice but I am back on track with my diet and exercise program.

I must admit I have been pretty discouraged about walking out the practical reality of changing my life patterns regarding food. It is pretty frustrating to discover how dependant I had become on something so basic to meet my needs instead of the most basic of all - the God who created me. It is hard to receive from the intangible God who can provide for all my needs beyond what I could ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20) and has in many ways already instead of tending to my own wants or needs myself.

We are a self-satisfying people. Satisfying the flesh over the Spirit. Being driven by our flesh - what makes sense to us at the time (which, let's face it, doesn't always work out very well) instead of what the Spirit of the living God inside us is saying about what lies ahead in His perfect plan. I am working on hearing His voice and determining when it is Him and not my own "wisdom" speaking. I admit, there is a lot of trial and error. Sometimes I really screw up in what I think I am hearing and I hurt myself or others and sometimes I hear clearly and directly and it is a blessing to me and to the people in my life. I believe that the closer I am to God and my relationship with Jesus the better I am able to hear from the Holy Spirit what God has for me.

Erik and I will have been married for 17 years this year. I know him. He knows me. But we still make mistakes in reading the other's needs. But, because of our relationship (most of the time :)) we can stay at peace with each other and give each other grace for misunderstandings. God does that for us too - perfectly and always. The deeper the relationship, the more understanding there is of the heart intention and the best desires for one another.

In relationship with Jesus there is my very favorite passage of scripture that talks about this: John 10 talks about the shepherd and the sheep. Sheep know the voice of their shepherd. I never understood the significance of this until someone told me that the sheep are all kept in one big area together at night. Then they are separated when their shepherd calls to them. They follow the voice of their own shepherd! The more time we spend with the Lord the more we know His voice. When He speaks to us, we can respond only to His voice and not to others who would lead us to the wrong flock.

All that to say - I am working on hearing only His voice. That means I have to filter out all the other voices around me so I can hear Him. I need to watch less TV and make sure that the input I receive from my friends and family is consistent with God's Word and where He is leading me.

May God pour out His grace upon you as you learn to hear His voice over all the others who want to distract you from the very best, most important relationship you will ever have - with your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Special friend remembered...

In my bio I made mention of losing a dear friend. It was 6 months ago last Saturday. I was deeply impacted by his life. The following are my thoughts and feelings about him. I praise God for the difference he made in my life and the things I am aware of now because of my relationship with him.

It has been six months since Jake Chissie died of an accidental overdose. My heart still aches for his laugh, his voice, and the smile on his face. I see his family still dealing with the trauma of his seemingly unfortunate departure.

But, here’s the deal. Jake was a mighty man of God. When I think of David’s mighty men in scripture I think Jake would have fit right in. He wasn’t perfect. He had major struggles and major pains. He had, hmmm, a heart like David. Always wanting to do right by the Lord and yet… mistake ridden in his performance.

Who, in your life, is a mighty man or woman of God? Are they falling all over the place, sinning and wounding you? Are they so wadded up in a ball of grief and despair that they have isolated themselves from life? God has a purpose for their presence on this planet in this time. They need to hear the Love of Jesus in your actions and not in your words or judgmental attitude.

Some people knew Jake as funny, athletic, and full of spunk. Others knew of his deep internal struggles and passionate faith in Jesus. He was a true hunk in every sense; strong, passionate, driven, deep in thoughts, and light in laughter. That is who he was. That is who God designed him to be. Did he fulfill his destiny? Absolutely. We will never know this side of Heaven the lives that were impacted by his life.

Only God knows each of our days. He knows the mistakes we will make before we make them. He knows the people in our life that will be there to celebrate with, to hurt, to laugh, to cry, to mourn, to sing right alongside us. Are you standing back or are you alongside someone who needs you? Are you trusting God with the people He put in your life and asking Him what your responsibility is in those relationships?

There are many men and women out there who are mighty in the Lord and do not realize the call on their lives and the incredible destiny that awaits them. Will you tell them? Will you encourage them to seek another’s help? Or will you ask God if you are to help them? Christ-followers and those who are still seeking both need to know about the never ending love of Christ. Both need to hear your encouragement, receive your prayers, and be blessed by the Body of Christ (the church). Judging them by only what you see or hear is not going to cause them to be embraced by the kind of Love that Christ has for us. He DIED. He loved so much He died. He calls us to die to ourselves and our understanding so we can freely pour out His love for the many out there who still don’t believe in the core of their being that they are priceless treasures in the eyes of God.

Jake was no different than the rest of us, except he was uniquely Jake. You and I have a destiny, unique to us. Will we walk toward God? Will we allow our struggles to dictate our response to life? Will we remember how important it is to laugh and bring joy to others? Will we really believe that we are mighty in the Lord – whether we can see through our present circumstances or not – to the destiny we have been called to in Christ.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

In the middle... actually more like the beginning of the middle...

You know how when you start something it is easy to be all fired up about it? Well, I am now past the fired up stage of my weight loss and starting to struggle with the "I still have so far to go!" feelings. Yes, I am doing more right than I am slacking still, but I am constantly fighting the desire to just bag it because even though I have lost 29inches and 26pounds I am still fat.

So, here is the deal, I don't want to stop. Not when I really think about it. I want to press on toward the prize of the new abundant life God has called me to. I want to go on the swings and slides at the park with my boys and dance and kayak with my husband. I want to wear a bathing suit without feeling self conscious and not be annoyed with looking at photos of myself. I want to allow God to work this process out in me. I could go one forever listing these things - but what is my real focus when I am staring down at the fridge contemplating something unhealthy?

Feelings.... feelings... naughty, tempting, feelings! Ugh! Feelings can really screw you up and they can be a big blessing. When it comes to food, my feelings still often dictate my choices. That has got to stop! I am not sure how to stop it other than the moment by moment choice to choose fact and long term goals over how I feel right this minute. Because, let's face it, a lot of feelings don't last longer than a few minutes or even an hour. So, if I can shift my focus for just that little bit of time... easier said than done! But, still working on it.

As a Star Trek fan I sometimes think of Data from the Next Generation show. He used to say "processing" when he was in the middle of figuring something out. I am "processing" a lot these days and probably more than I should be. I should be giving it to the Lord more. Then I would be less stressed.

A Prayer from the Beginning of the Middle:
Lord, thanks for getting me this far. Thanks for surrounding me with people who encourage and support me. Please help me lay the concerns I have at Your reliable, capable, wise feet and walk away and wait for Your further instructions... So, now I choose to release my flaws (as I see them) as a person, wife, mother, friend, and minister of the gospel of peace. I release my home to your hands to sell to whoever needs to live here next. The home we have an offer in on may not be your best for us, so please, take that too and let Your will be done. I release my concepts of what is to come in my life in the next few months and surrender my agenda to You. I want Your will, Your way, Your plans for me to be fulfilled in every way. Please help me have the courage to obey and not chicken out and settle for my own understanding. I trust You to get me to the end of this season. Whatever that may look like, whenever it will come. I love You, Lord. Amen.

God bless each of you for coming along on this journey with me!

Who am I?

My photo
I have been married to my best friend for over 26 years and our children are 14, 13 and 10 years old. I have struggled with infertility, suffered the loss of a baby by miscarriage, and endured multiple career paths. I have experienced a crisis of faith that shook me to the core and lost dear friends to tragic death. I have a personal relationship with Jesus which is essential to surviving and even thriving in my circumstances. I hope you will be blessed by my heart and words. Thank you for being here..