"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Out of my hands... Into His

My son and I, we held hands today as we walked. His sweet, 9 year old hand in mine. We walked and talked, hands swaying at my side. I love holding his hand.

My husband and I, we held hands the other night while watching a movie. His secure, loving, man-hand holding mine. Just a small touch; but, such a tender touch. I love holding his hand.

I have been thinking about God's hands lately.

Sharing with Father God my worries and fears about the health and healing of my insides after surgery*, I sensed His Spirit showing me a simple picture... His hand.

There are so many things in my life that I try to control. In this journey of physical recovery, I have felt the Lord is nudging me to continue talking to Him about my desire to control.

I have joked that I am a recovering "control freak"; but, He whispers and reminds me this is no joking matter.

Somewhere deep within I work hard to keep my life, and those that I love, under control.

Has there been growth in my life in this area in the last few years? Yes! Absolutely. And, I guess that is why God's Spirit and I can have this dialog at all....

A dialog of complete surrender. A dialog about release. A conversation about trust, the deep and abiding kind of trust that I am learning about, but do not yet know.

The healing of my body is totally and completely "out of my hands". There is nothing, absolutely nothing, I can do to make me all better and healed. Certainly, by resting and being wise with my time and energy I can create an environment to aid in the healing process... the healing process that only GOD can do! There are things, yes, that I can do to open doors; but, in truth only God's hand can do the healing. It is out of my hands!

Isn't this really the truth about all aspects of my life? And, isn't control, my control, a fa├žade anyway.

The whispers of the Spirit have been nudges to remember Who is in control. He is reminding me that nothing is out of His control. Nothing is out of His hands! His hands...

The hands that "laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens" (Hebrews 1:10)

The hands that, "stretched out the heavens; and marshaled their starry hosts" (Isaiah 45:12)

The hands on which I have been "engraved and marked"...
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." (Isaiah 49:16)

These hands that measured the waters are the very same hands that knit me together in my mother's womb. Imagine that for one minute!

These hands that threw the stars into space are the same hands that will guide and hold me fast. (Psalm 139:9-10).

When I remember this Truth, I can trust and my heart is filled with faith. When I recall the Reality that this Great, Almighty God is in control... always in control ... then my fears are stilled and my anxieties relax. I release. I surrender. I trust.

I can ask Him to touch, with those God-hands, that dark unknown world inside my body. I can trust that not only does He see and know, but He touches.

He touches, He guides, He holds and heals with His hands...

"When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them." Luke 4:40

I love holding His hand.

*three weeks ago I had surgery in order to, Lord willing, bring much relief to my on going struggle with physical pain. (female in nature).

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Trust and Thankfulness

As I continue to recover from my operation, I have struggled with fear and discouragement quite a bit this week.

I am realizing that the simple fact that my "insides" are a dark, unseen place ...a place I can not understand, control, or fix... makes me uneasy and afraid.

I can't really know how my insides are recovering! I can't really know if I have been healed or if I am getting better.

But, my Father can and does...

And, this is where I come back to time-and-time-again. ...He knows.

Just last night as I was expressing my fear to the Lord, I wrote in my journal: "Fear not!"
I had read a beautiful chapter in Rose from Brier by Amy Carmichael,
"In the Fear not of our God (a word repeatd in one form or another from Genesis to Revelation) there is power to endure with what at the moment is most lacking in the one to whom it is spoken, be it courage, or the will to endure and to trimph which so easily slips away from us, or just common hope and patience to carry on in peace and joyfulness of spirit."

Fear not! Father God says to His people over and over again. Trust me and know that I am God. Be still. Do not worry. Do not be anxious about anything... I am faithful and good. I am loving and kind. I know you!

These verses are not the trite phrases. NO, these words have been and are life to me today. These Truths are becoming my food!

As many of you know, I have been "counting" my way to 1,000 gifts of grace from God.
It has been good, very good, to continue to count my blessings and grace-gifts.

Along with many others at www.aholyexperience.com, I share with you here a few from my list this week:

#766. Many different tastes from many different kitchens! More food on a plate!

#768. Morning light so very bright through my windows.

#771. Other blog posts that give me hope and encouragement.

#772. Sunshine as it sets and streams in on my face.

#773. Wind blown clouds--- a beautiful display of God's glory!

#774. Feeling stronger each day.

#775. Settling down on the inside.

#776. Learning lessons about keeping my mouth shut!

#780. Dancing 9 year old boy in my bedroom. How cute are you?!

#782. Flowers brought in love. Big, beautiful, yellow-happy flowers.

#784. A sermon online that stirs and teaches.

#787. Just holding his hand. ...touches of love.

#791. Amazing patience I see in my daughter as I am irritable and unkind.

#794. Watching her smile as she watches the movie. ...her eyes smile like her dad's.

#796. A hand of "gin rummy" with my boy.

#801. Gentle words, kind eyes... insisting they keep serving me and bringing my family meals.

#802. A walk in the rain, hand in hand with my son.
"It is probable that in most of us the spiritual life is impoverished and stunted because we give so little space to gratitude.” ~William Temple
Psalm 145:3: Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Listen to Your Body

The advice I received when I exited the hospital two weeks ago was, "Listen to you body!"

I have never been very good at listening to my body-- maybe that is part of the reason I ended up flat on my back with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 10 years ago.

My body takes second string to the other "voices" of my mind, my heart, my wants (or will) and my sinful tendencies. I can easily listen to and hear the many Stephanie-shoulds... the many, many "ought-tos". I compare and judge myself.

To actually listen to the cues that my loving Creator, my Father, has put in my body is a concept that I have struggled with most of my life.

Exhaustion and fatigue come as a second/third/fourth reminder of a general "tiredness" that was the first, gentle nudge to take a rest. What if I just listened more to that first sign of "tiredness"--- of body, of mind, of spirit and or soul? ...never having to get to that exhaustion and fatigue.

Anxiety and "overwhelmed" are second/third/fourth reminders of that general feeling of calculation and control (list making!) red flag that Father God has shown me. What if I heard that "list-making" and "planning" as the first sign to sit for a moment and rest, trust and release it to my Father's hands. Would I never get to Overwhelmed??

I have even found this journey difficult when learning to rightly relate to food. What if I just ate when I was legitimately hungry and stopped when I was truly, physically "politely" full? What happens? I know this one; because in my battle against gluttony and food-lust, this as been the best cure: wait for the God-given clue of a growling stomach and stop when you are full. ...then wait for the growl again. Simple enough, right? For years, this has been my passport to freedom from food's domination. And yet, even here, I have other voices--- other hungers--- that call out and tell me to listen to them!

So, as I recover from my operation, I keep trying to figure out the "when" about this recovery (I want some rules please!)... when can I start to cook, to clean, to walk further and to sit for long periods of time? When should I do this or do that? And, then, my sweet husband reminds me that there is no formula. OH! how I like my formula and rules. There are only guidelines and my body to lead the way--- how ambiguous is that??!

So, I have to be aware of my heart and it's deceitful desires to trick me! And, I have to listen to those love gifts that my kind Father has given me and my body.

Me and my UNIQUE body... which is different than "hers", "his", ...yours. Don't we compare, too? ...which adds to the noise of those other voices.

I can listen to those first, God-given clues of tiredness, calculating, and hunger. ...and maybe I will avoid the exhaustion, the anxiety, and the gluttony. Now, that would be a sight to see!!

Help me, Father! Only You can teach me this. Make me truly aware of my heart, my lusts, and my shoulds. Make me aware of my body and how you have uniquely created it. Teach me and lead me forward in this, I ask.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today is the day

The sky where I live is always moving. Wind and clouds are an every-day experience here.
I sat and watched the clouds roll by today. Have you ever taken the chance to sit and just watch the clouds? Recently? ...have you taken a long, drawn-out, quiet look?
Today I watched as they slowly moved by--- in one moment blocking the sun's rays and then releasing her shine and heat in the next moment. And, it was glorious! These mundane, "every-day" wind-blown clouds were better entertainment than any fireworks display I recall.
I saw it today.
Most days... maybe everyday... I have these opportunities. I have these moments to see. How often do I look?
Eyes to see. Give me eyes to see these now-moments, Lord.
My friend recently wrote a post about these "eyes to see" moments. I have been reflecting on it since reading her thoughts.
This was to be my "Year of Presence" as I named it in January. 2011 was to be a year to learn more what it meant to be alive and present...to be fully awake and aware. I want to see more! To be more present in the every day "nows" of my every day life--- to have eyes to see these glorious moments amidst the mundane.
I am learning. Slowly, but surely, He is teaching me to see. He is teaching me to stop and look.
"The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back, in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view… Letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussing and fretting coming in out of the wind.”
~C. S. Lewis
Today. Each and every day, the "wind" of the mundane blows those clouds right by my sky. I don't often see them. My fussing and my fretting can so easily draw my attention out of the now ---into yesterday or tomorrow. Instead, I can choose to let that "larger, stronger and quieter life" direct me and flow in me. I can ask Him for eyes to see. I can ask for quiet moments to look, to gaze, to watch.

Give me eyes to see... to really see... Lord.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Food is Love

My sister-in-law has a sweet, funny saying or joke, "Food is love!" Well, this week, I have seen this love!!!

Again, tonight a warm meal arrived at my door at 6:00. In response to my recent operation and my recovery, our family is receiving daily love-gifts. Love comes to my door--- from my friends and neighbors in the beautiful, tangible form of food. Amazing. Humbling. Healthy, filling food. ...healthy, filling love on a plate.

Each week, I join a group of brothers and sisters in counting our way to 1,000 grace-gifts from a kind Father. We are attempting to see God and His gifts throughout our days--and to note them, count them. Each day Father brings "to my door" tangible, warm, amazing love gifts. He pours out daily grace gifts... and I am learning to see them more.

Here are a few on my list from these past two weeks:
#701. Happy kids

#702. Seeing his face as he gets off the train. He is home!

#704. She give him a bouquet of flowers... an offering of love.

#708. My tired man sleeps past his alarm. ...let him sleep, he needs it!

#711. He sits there in the hospital room for days. He reaches out to touch my head ...to let me know he is there.

#712. Hemmed in.

#718. A darling, kind nurse who calls me "darling".

#719. Prayer emails pour in... people are praying. What a blessing!

#721. Chicken soup made with love. Yummy love

#724. Nurses who give dignity even when all pride and modesty go out the window.

#727. Compassionate looks, sad eyes, tender touches from my children.

#728. Flowers dropped by.

#739. He sings to me, "I do all things well!"

#743. Breakfast conversations about deep things, real things, God things.

#746. Forced silenced, reflection, a laying down. Literally.

#747. She keeps checking on me, ...my sweet girl.

#752. Blue skies and dancing green trees outside my window.

#756. A walk in the rain.

#757. Quick forgiveness given. Asked. Given.

#763. He wanted to put my shoes on for me... even after I could do it for myself again.

Join the journey! Join the love feast at www.aholyexperience.com.

*to see more of my lists, more of my counting... just take a poke at the "thankfulness" label on the right hand side---------->

Saturday, June 18, 2011

God's singin' again!

Upon waking, I uttered a one sentence prayer, "I am afraid, Father".

I am afraid.

In response to this half-sleep, honest, child like prayer, I believe God sang to me!

Have you ever heard God sing?

My kids and husband are always singing. Truly our house is a constant cacophony of sound. Rhythms are being tapped out, or a beat drummed. ...sounds, whistles, songs or just plain loud talking fills my home. My kids always have a 'song in their hearts'.

I don't.

I like music. I like music a lot, actually. But, unlike the other three members of my family, I NEVER have songs, sounds, and rhythms beating through my mind at all times.

But on Thursday morning, in answer to my sighed-prayer, "I am afraid, Lord", I instantly had a song's verse waft through my mind. ..singing to me. And, it was sweet.

"You made it all, said, "Let there be..." and there was, all that we see. From the sound of Your voice, to the work of Your hands... You do all things well. You do all things well."

As if a direct, perfect answer to my cry and my prayer, He answered... with Truth. Truth in a song.

I am currently recovering from a much needed operation. You see, pain for me has always meant something was wrong in my body. ...well, something has been wrong in my body for nearly 30 years! And, so recovery from surgery is often a special-push in my trusting Father's goodness and healing.
Right now, I feel pain ...normal recovery pain... and can I worry or fear. I worry that this will never end. I fear that something else has gone wrong. I fear that it wasn't fixed. That infamous, "waiting for the other shoe to drop" has been a struggle this week.

As I experience these tough emotions,though, I feel as if the Father is calmly taking my face into His cupped hands (as I might do to my upset or sad 12 year old daughter). With kind, gentle, merciful eyes He is singing to me, "I made it all! I do all things well!"

I have plans for you, Stephanie. And, my plans for you are not to harm you... they are for your good and for my Glory! Trust me. Do you know I love you?

His faithful love endures forever. His mercies are new every morning. He does all things well. And, this morning I am not afraid.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A picture for me

So, he got this "picture" for me.

I don't get pictures. I more normally hear God's voice through His written Word or a "sense" of His voice "saying" something. A word, a nudge ...or more usually just an idea, or a thought comes to my mind and it feels "from the Spirit"-- not from me. Once in a while, I just simply "know" something that I wouldn't-or shouldn't know. Is this just Wisdom? I don't know. I am learning.

Learning to hear God's voice is such a journey; like learning any new language. It takes a long time. It takes a lot of practice, a lot of time, and a lot of gumption! And, my friend had gumption enough to share his picture with me.

I don't come from a charismatic-friendly church background. "Hearing from God" was a, sometimes stated, but always believed, "no-no". Certainly we weren't encouraged to look for God outside of the Bible. But, I can't adhere to that way of thinking anymore. And, actually, most of the leaders who led me at that time don't either. I am finding in my journey with Father God, maker of Heaven and Earth, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ; that He can do and act and speak just as He pleases. And, He is very creative! God's creativeness extends beyond the reading of His written Word! (and let me be very clear how important--essential, foundational, centering, and unquestionable--I believe God's written Word (the Holy Bible) is to His people!! I do.)

Jesus, Himself, was the "alive" Word of God. ...not written! Jesus was the Logos, the Word-became-flesh-God! He was breathing, living, active and speaking... And, Christ told us that we also get the amazing gift of the Spirit (again,an alive! and active! person) who will "lead us into all Truth" (John 14:26).

He does speak today. ...all the time. ...and in so many ways!

It is the learning curve of listening and hearing that makes it difficult. We, rightly so, shy away from the classic-'thus-saith-the-Lord' approach; because, frankly, that is scary stuff. Even dangerous! And, one must be very, very certain that the Lord is 'thus-saying-it' to be so bold. I don't find myself with that much confidence very often at all. Sometimes, I suppose, I do. Sometimes it feels that clear to me. Usually, though, in those confident cases... I feel Him speaking that clearly to me ...about me. So, I can more boldly say to myself, 'thus saith the Lord!' and feel on safer ground.

Okay, enough of the theological rambling on the voice of God! I was writing about my friend's picture.

So, he got a picture for me.

He was slightly timid (which is not his nature), or maybe a bit shy, in sharing it ...which again may be wisdom at work. I don't know. But, he took to heart what he "saw" and "heard", he had hid it away for a day, and then he just had to share with me.

And, I am so glad he did!

On the Tuesday before my surgery (which I am recovering from right now!!), I wrote briefly about the journey through Psalm 139 that Father had been taking me. Father had been sweetly reminding me that He knew me intimately. He had been whispering into my heart, day-after-day, that I was "hemmed-in". In fact, the words "hemmed-in" had so vividly jumped off the page that I had to sit and research what they meant in the original language written. I don't use the words hemmed-in pretty much ever in my every-day speech, do you?

It was a sweet gift from my Father to remind me that He was squeezing me in a protective hug. He was before me and behind me.

On Wednesday, my friend gently shared a picture with me that he did not understand. He thought, in fact, it seemed a bit silly. Odd. He had been praying for me on Tuesday morning and had "received" this image in his mind-eye while praying... and it was accompanied with a few words he didn't really get either. He didn't share it right away on Tuesday. But, on Wednesday, he did.

...he hadn't read my blog post on Psalm 139. And, I had not shared with him my Psalm 139 journey of late.

He had seen me lying in a little, tight, (almost uncomfortably small) green field with little yellow flowers. I was laying there peacefully with a white picket fence surrounding me. That was the picture. Simple. A bit odd. But, he felt it was maybe from God.

The minute he began to describe the picture... the very minute... the words popped into my mind, "Hemmed-in!". I knew God had given him that picture. It was the perfect picture! And, tears began to well in my eyes.

To top-it-off, my friend then said, "And, I had words with the picture". But, he was giggling just a bit... because the words made no sense to him at all. He just knew he had to say them. He said, "the picture came with the words: 'hemmed-in, behind and before'.

Pause. After he spoke the words, a Big, Silent, Holy Pause filled the room as tears filled my eyes.

Did you hear that? Did God just do that? For me?!!

Father had tenderly spoken words of peace to me for days. (I had written that very verse "hemmed in, behind and before" in my journal some three separate times that week!) And, then, just to be VERY clear with His message to me, Father spoke the very same words with a beautiful, peaceful picture to my friend.

Oh, Father you wanted me to know... to really know... that You were holding me, surrounding me, besieging me with Love!

The day of the surgery and the following few days after I needed these words and this picture. The picture and the words floated around my mind and my body for days. This concept of my being "hemmed-in" encircled me. What a gift!

He is alive and active, this beautiful-awesome God we love, we serve and we worship! He speaks. He knows. He speaks!!

I believe God spoke and my friend saw this picture for me. And I am so glad he did.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Squeeze Tighter, Please

They often ask for more. And, each time it makes me smile.

"Oh! just one more minute"... or, "please don't stop just yet, Mom"...or, "just a little more, please". These are all very common phrases when I am scratching an arm, a back, or rubbing a head. They love it!

...and they always want more. And, I rarely turn down their plea (or at least their "first" plea!). I love to respond to that request.

The other day while hugging my girl, though, she added a new phrase, "Squeeze just a little tighter, please".

I had wrapped my arms around her for a nice hug, but she just wanted "a little tighter, please". And, of course, I obliged (with a smile). I could squeeze tighter. I could squeeze just a little tighter without hurting or crushing her. And, when I squeezed the content smile on her face was priceless.

This is the image that came to mind yesterday as I read Psalm 139... one of my all-time favorite Psalms, I might say!

"You hem me in-- behind and before me. You have laid your hand upon me." (verse 5)

When I took a minute to study a bit deeper in the Strong's Lexicon, I found that "hem me in" was exactly this beautiful image of squeezing. Apparently in the Hebrew it means, "to bind, besiege, confine and to cramp". ...almost entirely "negative" words, right?

And yet, in the context of a loving Father's (or mother's) embrace, it is beautiful concept. Father God binds me up, He confines and hold me in His loving and powerful arms!! He is before me. He is behind me.

He cramps me and squeezes me!! And, He can squeeze tighter and not crush me.

And, as I enter a this week awaiting surgery on Thursday, I can easily begin to feel overwhelmed, insecure, or afraid. But, His word reminds me. ...His Spirit reminds me... that I can ask over-and-over-again, just like my children:

I can lean in, tuck myself into His always-embrace, and ask: Father God, squeeze tighter, please! And, He does. He can. He will. He will besiege me, this loving, kind Father!

And, it makes Him smile to do so. ...and I feel secure again. I feel hope and fullness. I know He is before me and behind me. I am hemmed in!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

This wide, wide world

I love, each week, taking a peek at a another's gratitude list. I love that Father God works His beauty and love into my week... and at the same time He works into another's, too. He does intimately care about me, just me. AND, He does absolutely care about others... lots and lots and lots of others. This does my heart good.

...to know His intimate, daily care and grace in my own life. And, to know that He is much, much, much bigger than me. His care is timeless, nation-less, and beyond anything I can ever know or imagine. This does my heart good.

So, I peeked today at another's counting to 1,000. And, it did my heart good.

Go! Take a peek, too. www.aholyexperience.com. It is fun to see His loving, grace-filled hand all over this wide, wide world.

Still counting...

#674. snuggled up on her bed, reading together.

#675. all day long I put my hope in you (Psalm 25)

#676. a mailbox craft made and hung for letters of love.

#677. sun on my neck

#678. lazy dog lazing in the sun.

#679. silly, make-each-other-laugh swing game

#680. foot rub asked for and given on a bench.

#684. a friend who will serve me, even when it hurts to do so.

#687. He is makin' a way! He is sortin' it!

#688. cooking lessons

#692. a long phone call together,... his voice.

#693. right thinking that I see in my kids.

#698. blue skies and puffy clouds

#699. that sound of the washing machine that means it is doing my hard work for me.

#701. that stop-by-care-visit from a friend

1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

How are you?

Christian fellowship that includes real vulnerability and honesty is written about in many books and spoken about in many 'a sermon. But, in every-day, real life do we have this with our brothers and sisters?

How are you today? ...we ask each other this how many times a day, how many times in a week? Sunday morning is filled with the sound of this question. What is it we are really asking, exactly?

The appropriate response to this daily question, of course, is ... "Fine, thanks!" or "Doing well. How are you?" If you give any other answer to that infamous question, you might bring a mild shock or make someone very uncomfortable.

In Kazakh, the proper response to the "How are you?" was... "How are you? How's your health?" (no answer needed, just another question).

In Turkish, the proper response was, "Thank you." They ask you, "How are you?" and the right response is, "Thank you." Any other answer and immediate confusion would wash over the asker's face.

I have still yet to figure out the appropriate response to the Welsh, "Alright?" But, I am pretty sure the 'right' answer wouldn't be an honest answer about the state of my heart.

We do this all the time. ...it is just human, I guess. To pretend. To cover. To be appropriate.

And, I get "appropriate-time-and-place" theories and philosophy. I am attempting to teach my sweet, emotional daughter this very important concept. The when, where, with whom and how are important, of course. There are "the right" time and places, I know.

But, do we go too far? Shouldn't church, and other sisters and brothers, be included somewhere in this "time and place" continuum.

When I attempt to venture out and share more... well, maybe, much more... I often get some push-back and confusion. I get labeled as "odd" or "intense". And, then, I feel squashed in my ability or desire to keep sharing. Do you ever feel this way?

I was light-heatedly teased the other day for sharing about "a common cold" in my prayer newsletter. The comment was not mean; but, it did reveal.

Pray about everything, Paul says...

Okay. I am okay with that. That is good and right... but just don't share about everything?

I remember sharing upfront in a woman's retreat about my struggle with gluttony... The response... awkward!!!..... (we don't use THAT word in church!) Then, after, to push through the awkwardness was light-hearted mocking from a friend during our lunch together. Really? Is that your response to my hard, heart-sharing?


Why do we do this to each other?

Vulnerability and honesty sound great in a sermon or written about in a book; but, when you attempt it in every day conversations... it just makes most people feel uncomfortable. Awkward!

So, why did I answer over-and-over last week at church, "Great!" and "Doing well, thank you" to that age-old question. I was just being appropriate.

But, was I being honest?

My sister asked me last week, How are you? ... and my answer? To this sweet-one, who loves me and wants to know me, ... I answered, "I am tired. I am in pain. And, I am afraid."

I am afraid. That is how I was last week. Not, "great!" Not "doing well". I wasn't fine, thank you. I was agitated and irritable and afraid.

Last week I was able to share this with my sister. It was beautiful and powerful that she heard me, took it in, and prayed. ...and she prayed.

When she asked me yesterday, "how are you? How is the fear-thing?", I could honestly answer, "I am not afraid anymore!" And we rejoiced together.

He answered. My prayers. ...and hers.

He answered.

And, it opened up for both of us an opportunity to rejoice in His deliverance. We joined together last week and again yesterday... simply because I was willing to share and she was willing to handle my honesty.

Vulnerably and honesty are hard; but they are good, really good--- both in a sermon and in real life.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Worry, really? Again?

You would think I would get it, wouldn't you?

After all He has done in my life... all I have learned... you would think that I would have that "no worry!!" and "trust"lesson-thing tied up nicely in a neatly wrapped package with a blue bow on top.

But, alas, nope. Still learning...

This morning I was worried.

...does it really matter about what? Not really.

But, anyway, there I was worrying. Not excessively. Not obsessively, per-se. But, worried, none-the-less. Measuring in my mind. Calculating possible solutions. And, the worry was interrupting my morning quiet time.

And, then I had a remarkable thought. Smack dab in the middle of a worried, calculating, sorting, planning moment (I was figurin' it all out!, right?), I was suddenly reminded of lessons-of-late.

Like a light-tap-on-the-shoulder nudge from the Spirit, I suddenly remembered.

Hadn't Father been so sweetly, gently and patiently teaching me that He was in control? Hadn't Father been showing me that He would "sort-it" and "solve-it" and work it out for His good. ...in His time and in His way.

Yes. Yes, He had.

Not guilt inducing, just a "leading into Truth". Just a reminder.

And, in that moment, I knew. Once again, I had to simply trust Him and ask Him to take this one too. This issue, this problem, He could sort. He could make a way. He could solve. I could trust Him. Simple as that. I could tell Him the issue, how I felt about it, and ask Him to care for it. ...and He would.

...He will. In His time and in His way.

I had a moment of choice. There was a split second where I knew I could choose trust.

And, so I did. Victory!! Hallelujah, Victory!

I settled down in mind and spirit, handed this issue to my Father ... and moved on.

Can I just testify that in no less than 2 hours time, He sorted it?! I am not joking or exaggerating. In less than two hours I had a phone call that answered and solved my dilemma (with a solution, mind you, I could never have come up with on my own)

Now, I know He doesn't always "work that fast". If you have read any previous post regarding my life-long struggle with illness and pain you might know---boy!, do I know that He doesn't always "answer so fast". But, today, He did. And, it made me chuckle inside when He did. And, I think that made Him smile, too.

As if smiling at me, I felt He might say in a sweet-sarcastic tone, "Is that solution okay with you, Stephanie? How did I do?" And, I chuckled.

Next time, ...well, that is...tomorrow, I want to skip the worry part and just go with the trust and surrender part. May I learn this today and for-ever, Father!

Because you would think I would have gotten it by now, don't ya?!
"I do not find that this position, that of unbroken peacefulness [and trust], is one which we can hope to hold unassailed. It is no soft arrangement of pillows, no easy-chair. It is a fort in a enemy's country, and the foe is wise in assault and especially in surprise. And yet there can be nothing to fear, for it is not a place that we must keep, but a stronghold in which we are kept. If only, in the moment we are conscious of attack, we look to Jesus, our Leader and Perfecter. He who endured can protect and maintain that of which He is Author and Finisher and says, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you..."
~Amy Carmichael, Rose from Brier
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