Friday, December 31, 2010

Praying Hope Into 2011

I'm just here at my house at 7:49pm steam mopping the floor, cleaning up and getting ready to go play tennis with my hubby until the year turns the page onto 2011...and I'm in deep thought while doing all this. I'm blessed I am! While I grumble and complain on days about how cumbersome my life is so very many of my close loved ones struggle to make ends meet living on hope. Hope that the paycheck will get deposited before the bills go through. Hope that tomorrow will bring relief from the deep longing and ache for an easier life. Hope that their loved one will be made well soon. Hope that the one they so very intimately love will love them in that same way instead of ignoring and hurting them. Hope that this "thorn" is their side will soon be healed and they can walk freely in life. Hope that one day soon that prodigal son or daughter will feel the Grace of our Lord and come running home. Hope that they'll make it through the dark tunnel of emotional horror they are walking through and that that sick feeling of wanting to end it all will just be relieved and they'll be truly known and loved. *sigh* There is SO MUCH pain around the ones I love...and yet I have joy. I am so very humbled.

And on this last day of 2010 I rejoice. I rejoice for the babies and children I know have gone home to be in the eternally loving arms of Jesus. I rejoice for those who've made it another year through an economic recession and kept their families well fed and healthy. I rejoice for those who've come to know Christ as their SAVIOR this year and those who've felt His love and grace deeper than ever before. I rejoice with those who've seen the light at the end of those dark tunnels and are walking in the freedom or at least are walking in the light now and are working towards freedom. I rejoice because DAILY I see God at work around me in my life and all the lives that touch mine. I rejoice because Christ is alive and desires for us all to live free, abundant, fully healed and full of love lives in 2011!!!!

I know some will be carrying pain and difficulties into 2011 and I just want to tell you...there is HOPE. Christ is our hope and faith. Romans 5 says:
1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

So even through all the crap that this sinful world throws at us, we can have JOY in the midst of it because Christ finished it on the cross. We can sing through the tribulations and trials of this life because sin has NO POWER over us. NO. POWER. Our authority is in Christ who dwells in us, he lives inside of us, so sin HAS to bow to our authority. So take up your armor my friends (see Ephesians 6) and remember while in the midst of the pain you are righteous before God and their is no guilt or condemnation in Christ AND that you have power in 2011. Let's bring the healing home. Let's bring the prodigals home. Let's bring abundance and joy and love into our homes. Let's give hope to those around us and share what we have. 2011 can be the best year yet! Just think, THIS could be the year our Savior comes to get us and makes all things truly right. YAY.

Have a drink and ring in the new year my friends! You are well loved!

Major hugs and love to all my friends and family for shouldering 2010 with me and loving me through it all.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A New Heartbeat For 2011

Wow, did this month fly by or what? In fact, the whole year flew by for me. It's hard to even remember what all happened in 2010, but it's dawned on me that 2011 is almost here and I want to get some new goals down for myself. I did this in 2009 and by the end of this year 2010 I believe I've met pretty much all of them, so it's time to make a new list. I don't like the idea of "resolutions" because I'm the epitome of "I'm gonna do it", get half way there and either forget about it, give up or intend to finish it later and never do. Resolutions just sounds like something I'd break and well, I'm already defeated just by the name. Seriously! It's took me two years to complete the 2009 list, right? Back when I typed up that list it was more of a self-centered thing, a list of things "I" wanted, but this year it feels different.

This year I have a deep sense that God wants me to focus in on my family and it's way overdue. I've known that these things that are tumbling around in my head needed more attention, but I've had SO MANY other things that I've committed myself to (projects, studies, groups, etc) that I would have had to make a hard choice to quit things in order to focus better. As God would have it, my life has seemed to funnel down into a slower more focused pace already at the end of 2010. Commitments are naturally coming to a slow or end due to the holidays/end of the year and we've made a change in our church home and deciding to homeschool, so it just feels right where it should be. It feels like God has paved the way before me and simultaneously given me the passion inside to focus in on the things that matter: Scott, Abby, Zach, Lilly and our family as a whole. He has put me in this place of authority as the mother and wife, and I am greatly blessed. All my talents and energies have been used in so many other areas of life and poured out to blessed and honor others, even sometimes to the point of neglecting my own home and myself. I believe that God is saying to me "2011 needs to be different. This new year rest in my grace (no more striving to do it on my own), give yourself to your family and to the purpose of guiding them in my ways and you will be blessed." I believe he is going to help me be less driven to make myself fulfilled and find my identity in "doing as much as I can and doing it all right." As I focus on him, resting in his grace, filling myself with his presence and the Word, he is going to funnel all of that into my family, our home, our finances and bless our socks off in the process. I believe that all that I have done and learned in 2010 has prepared me for doing this. I can't wait to see what he does!! It's like knowing a gift is coming in the mail and you just can't wait until it gets to your house. I fully trust Him and his goodness!

Lord, take this list of goals and shape them into what you know is best for me and my family. Guide me into the success, blessings, abundance you have for us. Teach me and my family to live according to your Word and to live in your abundance.

Okay, so here's what the list looks like in my head:

1) Be consistently in worship, but also replace foolishly spent time (on Facebook, shuffling through the internet, etc) with purifying, adoring and listening time with the Father daily. All of us who have done this KNOW it feels awesome and wonder why in the world we don't do it more, so...I want to do it more. :)

2) Minimalize unnecessary things in the house and be more effective with the storage and placement of the things we have.

3) Be a wise steward of our finances and grow our savings. My hubby works very hard for the money he earns for our family and while we enjoy what we are given, we could be a LOT more wise with it. I don't want to mindlessly spend at the grocery or continue giving our money away to the fast food chains/coffee shops. I want to use what we have here at the house, buy used and save the difference, use recipes and cook at home and stop eating out so much. We also have a vision of moving out of this house and into a new home with land. In order to do that comfortably we need to be better stewards of our money.

4) I desire to be a happy cook. I want to cook healthier dishes with whole foods and stop giving us so much bagged/boxed/frozen/precooked stuff. Honestly when I think about dinner it just makes panic rise up inside. I'm not sure which part of the whole production makes me anxious, but it does and I don't want to feel that way anymore. I want to plan and prepare foods that are easy, tasty and good for us. God, you know this seems insurmountable to me, so I'm gonna stop thinking it over and just get under your faucet of grace and allow it to flow. Teach me to be a great cook for my family.

5) I want to homeschool my kids and teach them wisely all that they will need this year to be kind-hearted, biblically sound, intelligent and cooperative children. I know Rome wasn't built in a day and I don't expect that my already good kids are going to be uber-wise mini adults by the end of 2011. I just want to do my part in wisely teaching my children in the way that they should go according to the Bible and also to create an atmosphere in our home where they are loved and love each other well. Along with that I am reading now Managers of Their Chores so that I can also get into place a method of teaching them to be responsible for themselves and their family.

6) I really want to share my husband's heart and help him fulfill his desires for our family. The Lord has given me insights these past six months or so into Scott's heart and I see what he wants for his family and our future, but I also see how it grieves him that we are not on a path to make it a reality. I believe the above goals God has given me passion for are in direct relation to this specific goal. I am a Proverbs 31 woman in the making and as He directs me this year in achieving these goals it will strengthen my husband, release him from any fear he may have of the future and his family will truly be the jewels in his crown. THAT is a great goal to have as a wife!

I think those are a worthy beginning. They are basically things that I've known for awhile but allowed to be put on the back burner. They were notions of who I wanted to be BUT "I have aaaaall these other things to deal with." In 2011 I want to stop pushing these important things to the back and bring them to the front to be dealt with. It's exciting really! Lord, lead me!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feelin' the Burn

Is it Christmas yet? I know it's a mere ten days away. Actually nine days for us because we start celebrating with family and church on Christmas Eve. However, it feels like I've been preparing for it for a really long year now and I'd kinda like to be done with the pressure and busyness now. Up until yesterday I was merrily going on my gift wrapping, Christmas carol singing, light stringing, holiday partying, "Merry Christmas!" way through the weeks of December, but as of 24 hours ago it finally hit me that I'm exhausted and would really like my basement floor, top of the dryer and mind back in order. My mind has been numbed of the Christmas music and if I have to hear Bruce Springsteen sing "Santa Clause is Comin' to Town" one more time...*sigh*...well, I might let a string of curses out, shove something sharp in my ears or to turn the station to CD101 and I really don't want to have to do any of those things.

I have to say though, I really haven't fallen behind. I mean, no, my Christmas cards aren't sent out yet and no, my cookies aren't baked or decorated. BUT, I have like 95% of my shopping done, a majority of it wrapped, the house has been decorated, we've been having our little family Advent time each Sunday, I have completed two or three holiday parties and am on track for both kids' school parties...all while keeping the true meaning of Christmas in focus and cultivating the hope that this holiday brings in my kids. So, I'm not ahead of the game at all, but I'm certainly not behind, and as much as I have enjoyed it all thus far I'd really like to jump forward a few days and get my celebrating ON!

I can't wait to watch the kids open their gifts this year! Lilly is old enough to get the idea of opening presents now and being excited about what she gets. Zach is going to be getting a big boy gift this year and if my assumptions are correct he's gonna flip his lid when he sees that he's getting his very own (used, mind you. Momma's thrifty) Nintendo DS and two games. He's had to borrow the pink one that belonged to his sister all year long and she's been SO responsible with it that it's been missing for two months now. So he's going to be over the moon. And Abby, well, this year Miss Preteen Ohio has requested clothes from Justice and that's what she got. While it doesn't seem like a lot when I wrapped it all up, cost-wise it was considerable (even with 40% off coups and Jbucks). She should be super happy! Funny enough, she made the comment that one thing that will "make her sad about her Christmas gifts (if she gets what she asked for) is that her school friends won't get to see her in her cute outfits." LOL My friend Amanda and I assured her that there will be plenty of opportunities to show off her stuff at church and homeschool functions. It's just so strange and also so nice to see her taking interest in her appearance. I thought the day would never come for this child who'd go out in public with yesterday's stained up, so totally not matching clothes and rat's nest hair without so much as a shred of embarrassment.

I do love this time of year! I'm so happy to be able to make the holiday wonderful for our kids and to be part of blessing others during a time when things are still tough for so many families. I also look forward to 2011 and what new things our family will be getting into and what God has in store for Scott and I individually. New goals for a new year - yay! Stay warm, my friends, and enjoy what's left of this month. I have a feeling it's going to zoom by.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why Homeschool?

Ever since my first child started school there was a tiny kernel of a thought that said "I could home school my kid." I would think about it from time to time, especially when something that I didn't like was happening in our school experience, but would dismiss it pretty quickly telling myself "there's no way my kid(s) would behave and listen to me. Heck, I can't even keep order in our daily life together let alone in a school setting." Then we had our Z-man and all hell broke loose in my life, or so it seemed to me. So any fleeting thought of home schooling was met with a viscous beatdown of "oh HECK NO. There is NO WAY on God's green earth I'm gonna put myself through that torture and I can't WAIT for this kid to have school!" While I can still empathize with that woman that I was, it breaks my heart a little that I was so threadbare, out of control and wished away so many moments. Thankfully, God did a work in my life/spirit, while at the same time little Z was maturing, that would bring my stony heart back to life so it would beat again with motherly love.

Now that my third child is grown past three years, is more easily entertained and showing interest in learning I've come into this space where home schooling is met with eagerness and hopeful possibility for my family. I see it as a means to get personally involved in my kids' education, watch them grow intellectually and knit us closer as a family. I see the reality of weaving God into their education and teaching them what the Bible says about this world and our place in it. I also believe it's my job as a parent to protect my kids from the things of this world that would seek to destroy their purity, self image and spirit. I know public schooling isn't necessarily the enemy, but they aren't going to be sewing humility, gentleness, a love for the Lord, purity or any of the other things God sees on the inside of our hearts. And yes, I know that we parents can sew those things into our children WHILE they are being publicly schooled, however, the social system of the school is going to be telling them the opposite of what we are sewing and then the child has to battle SO much earlier than I believe God intends. Already in the Fourth grade we are seeing huge pressure to dress in name brand clothes, using inappropriate language and talking about private body parts/issues with each other, "dating" and kissing on the playground, and we've even had someone in our sphere of same age friends who has been invited to a get together where they were going to learn about masturbating together (that was pretty much the straw for me). This is just in the Fourth grade and I'm sure I don't even know HALF of what is really going on in the Fourth grade, let alone once we get into the Middle School years when hormones and changes abound. In fact, I have friends who are parents of middle schoolers in our district and I've been appalled by the stories I've heard. Frankly, I don't think the social system of public school is doing kids any favors at all and if I can give them the same/better education at home all the while protecting them from being exposed too early to things...then why wouldn't I do that? I'm home all day long and have the means, time and education to do it.

So, I'm gonna do it. I'm going to start with Abby beginning in December and we'll finish out her Fourth grade year here at home. If it's an absolutely horrible experience and we flounder then we re-enroll next year in public and chalk it up to experience, but I'm not putting any stock in that. Abby is incredibly smart and I have confidence that we are doing what God has prompted for our family, so I have nothing but great expectations for Abby and myself. As for Zach, I think Kindergarten has been so good for him so we will wait until the end of this school year to decide if we'll start him at home this next school year or not.

Abby and I are both excited about this endeavor! I know people have personal opinions about homeschoolers, heck even I'm guilty of thinking "that's weird" and "man, those kids are going to be socially deprived" but as I come to know more homeschooled kids I'm finding that they are actually very mature, more calm, well adjusted, often musically inclined and really a delight to be around. I get excited when I think about my kids growing up being homeschooled and how God is going to educate and mature ME in the process.

Here's a cute poster for any homeschoolers. I'm gonna hang this one up in our school room. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 38 of 40

Why me, God?

As I pray this morning this question pops in my mind and just as quickly pops the answer. "I chose you so that you can give hope and encouragement to those around you in family and friends, and to point them to me." Suddenly a flood of images pour through my mind. My childhood friends, so many in my family afflicted with so many things, my brothers who are gripped with many addictions and issues, the girl I counseled in my dorm room who was being forced into an abortion, the people I have laid hands on and prayed with over the years, the hair dresser who confided in me about being raped, my own mother who lives with physical and emotional pain every single day, my friend who wants to end her own life to get away from the pain of this life, hurting neighbors, all the friends who have come through my life over the past twenty some years. There are so many hurting people that He has put in my path and He keeps in my life so that I can point them to Him and offer them encouragement and hope.

I can remember in grade school walking home with a girl who didn't like me very much and we ended up getting into an argument. She hit me with "you're a nobody, so just leave me alone." Ouch, that hurt, but what I remember most about that snit was that I screamed back at her, "oh yea, well GOD loves me so I don't care what you think!" That was well before I became a saved Christian and before I really remember attending church regularly. I know now that God was always with me, but I must have had enough awareness of him then to pull that out of myself in a heated childhood argument instead of bursting into tears on the scene.

Now that I take a look back through my life I CAN see how God has interceded and used me. I have sinned a'plenty in my days too and needed much forgiveness from people and from Him, but because of Christ's blood covering those sins I don't look back and see those, and the Bible says neither does He. When He forgives, He forgets. How wonderful is that!? Not only do we receive His grace and mercy, but He also takes his "magic eraser" and wipes it all so clean that it never was in His mind. Okay, so Christy? What's this Judgement Day all about then? Ah-ha...that is bigger discussion for another day. That's way more digging into Scriptures than I have time for this morning. My kids will be up in less than half an hour! However, I will say that that day is not about judging our sins, our sins were judged and laid on Christ up on Calvary. Judgement Day about judging what we did for Christ while we are here on Earth. Everything we did will be laid on the altar in Heaven and a holy fire will consume our "heap of life" and only those things truly done for Christ will remain through the fire. What's left there on the altar is what we have to lay before our King and the weeping will be because many of us will see that so much of our time was wasted on ourselves and other empty things. But then tears will be wiped away and the Bride will be joined with her Bridegroom and the greatest marriage and feast in all of eternity will commence! Oh what a glorious, joyful day! I can't wait!!!

So, as I go forward today and tomorrow and Friday after these forty days...may my days continue to be full of Him and full of pursuing tasks that will remain through the holy fire. No matter what lays before me, may I do it with the remembrance that I was spared and chosen to bring hope and encouragement to the lost and the hurting.

Here is a Psalm of Hope that encouraged me this morning:

Psalm 25

A psalm of David.
1 O Lord, I give my life to you.
2 I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
3 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

4 Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
for you are merciful, O Lord.

8 The Lord is good and does what is right;
he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in doing right,
teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

11 For the honor of your name, O Lord,
forgive my many, many sins.
12 Who are those who fear the Lord?
He will show them the path they should choose.
13 They will live in prosperity,
and their children will inherit the land.
14 The Lord is a friend to those who fear him.
He teaches them his covenant.
15 My eyes are always on the Lord,
for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.

16 Turn to me and have mercy,
for I am alone and in deep distress.
17 My problems go from bad to worse.
Oh, save me from them all!
18 Feel my pain and see my trouble.
Forgive all my sins.
19 See how many enemies I have
and how viciously they hate me!
20 Protect me! Rescue my life from them!
Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge.
21 May integrity and honesty protect me,
for I put my hope in you.

22 O God, ransom Israel
from all its troubles.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 35 of 40

Wow, I can hardly believe that I've made it this far into a 40 day fast. I'm not gonna lie, eating whatever I want when I want sounds REALLY appealing to me right now. However, I'm still not craving foods. Before I began I had the idea that this was going to be forty days of white-knuckling and slapping my hands and praying my way through not eating, but it hasn't been like that at ALL. I have been praying my way through this but that's been the focus the whole time...spending time interceding for people and getting closer to God Almighty. I've also been using my mouth to fight the enemy.

Do you believe in angels? Well, the Bible talks about both angels and demons (and spirits and powers of darkness), so if you believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God and you believe in angels, then you also believe in demons. There is a real war going on above us, Friends. A spiritual war for your life and the lives of others around you. THAT WAR is what I've been dunking my hands and feet into these past 35 days. I say "dunking" because I don't feel like I've yet immersed my whole soul into it. My brain knows the facts and my heart believes it's going on and my eyes are now seeing things that connect the dots between the mind and the heart. Basically my faith is growing much bigger in this area. I know the Bible says I have dominion over all enemies because of Christ, so I believe it and go forward into battle with HIS name as my banner. It's not because of anything I did or who I am, but all about him! He is the King of ALL Kings...and that doesn't just refer to the natural kings of this Earth. It's also referring to spiritual kings that literally reside over natural areas on the Earth. It's kinda crazy when you hear about it at first, but then when you get into the Scriptures and read about the Assyrian king and the Babylonian king and start connecting the, wow! This stuff is REAL!? It really is. So these "kings" have dominion over areas of land and they have ranks of spirits under them that they control and these spirits and powers are the ones that feed lies into our ears and attach themselves to the wounds we carry around in our souls.'s really evil stuff here, Friends. BUT the most amazing thing is that when we accept Christ as our personal saviour then HE has dominion over our hearts and lives! HE has the ultimate power to heal these soul wounds, forgive us our sins and POUR love into us like nothing we have ever known before. Friends, those wounds and sins we are carrying around in our hearts and souls are magnets to the enemy. We are walking around wounded and the enemy smells it and says "hey, I know that smell! It's an open wound I can crawl into and fester in." So all that depression, unresolved anger, constant guilt, unforgiveness, self-righteousness and condemnation, you name it...all that is breeding ground for the enemy's control and proof that Christ isn't in those areas of our lives. I have seen them in my life and no doubt they are still wandering around me, condemning me and trying to get back into already swept clean areas.

This fast, for me, has shown me that it's possible to allow Christ in so much that He is involved in every hour of my day. He wakes me up in the middle of the night, he covers me as I walk through the grocery store, he is involved in my marriage and friendships, he speaks to and through my children, he washes over me with tremendous feelings of love while hitting tennis balls at the park, he forgives me as I repent the sins he shows me, he opens the Scriptures up brighter and shows more meaning to me and how it applies to my life, he meets me on my knees for prayer, he is everywhere all the time. This is crazy stuff and I'm a crazy, sold out spiritual nerd...I'll just admit it.

I'm aware that this will cause other people to really think I've lost my mind and I may even offend people, and as much as that might pain me...I'm okay with that. I know that where God has led me is a place of Truth and Strength and he has given me new tools to help others, to fight the enemy and has seriously deepened my awareness of him and allowed me to FEEL his presence and love. So, there's no going back from this fast. I've tasted and seen that HE IS GOOD and this is a jumping off point for me.

AND I don't want to end without saying this: If "I" can do this...YOU can do this! I'm nothing special. God wants all of us to experience Him and to be in this reciprocal, supernatural exchange of love, relationship and education. Consider it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Autumnal Beat of My Heart

I can feel Autumn tapping me on the shoulder. It's beginning to be crisp in the mornings, hot hot at the midday sun and just so perfect in the evenings. The school supplies are MOSTLY bought, backpacks set up and ready to go and I attended my first school orientation meeting last night. It's really here...time for school! Four more days until I send my eldest to her first day of Fourth grade and I walk my middle child through his first day of Kindergarten. Oh, be still my heart!

I can't imagine that I'll be that weepy mommy on the first day of Kindergarten with Zach, but then again I just about choked up when the principal gave his sappy speech about all the first milestones of a Kindergartner last night. So who knows! I'm excited for him to go and enjoy learning with new friends and a couple old ones. I'm excited for him to grow up a little bit more, but at the same time...I looked at him last night playing out front in his size 5/6 shirt and pants and really saw how tall he's getting and how big his feet are. Good grief! My little baby boy is actually growing up into a little guy. My heart fluttered a little in my chest and I could suddenly see miles down the road when he will rather NOT be around his parents and will prefer to seek solace with friends and girls. Ugh...and that made my heart ache a little. As much as I complain around here that I never get a moments peace with all the chaos and kids, they are my life right now and for the last so many years. They are my reason for being here at home and I suddenly want to corral them all three, my husband and my dog into a safe nest and become a hoarder. A hoarder of my family. I want to clutch them to myself and provide what they need and be the source of home for them. I desire for them to find refuge here and for THEM to desire home.

And while these feelings are stirring up inside and swirling around like a pot of home-cooked chili that would hope to bring us together, I know that "out there" is where the testing grounds are and where the rubber meets the road for them all. I can only huddle them in for a little while longer, but I hope that as they grow up they always know (even through those teenage years I hear nothing great about) that their parents deeply love each other, deeply love them and that home is always a safe, loving place where they can come and not be condemned.

Wow, did I digress! Oh yea, I remember what I was saying before...Autumn. Yes, this IS my favorite time of year and I look forward to it as a child looks forward to Christmas morning. I cannot wait for floppy sweatshirts, socks, hay rides, apple picking, Harvest parties at school, carving jack-o-laterns, mmmm...warm and delicious Fall treats like chocolate chip pumpkin muffins and ooey, gooey caramel corn. I eagerly anticipate our family and friends coming over to sit around our fire pit and enjoying warm beverages. I love watching the leaves change into firey reds, deep pulses of burgandy, bright oranges and yellow ochre that screams Bob Ross. I so adore walking through the woods with the crunchy leaves scattered around on the ground and the Autumn rainbow of colors overhead. Even the air smells great in Autumn! Homes begin to smell like fireplaces, cinnamon, apples and sugar cookies. We have to get extra Kleenex out because our noses get colder and need wiped more, especially the kids. Let's just ignore all the schoolhouse induced colds that might come our way and stay in the zone here. ;) Ahh yes, I love fresh socks on all my kids too. There is just SOMETHING about putting fresh, clean socks on six ever growing feet and knowing their toes are warm and cozy! Robes and slippers, Trick or Treat, raking leaves and jumping in them, sweaters, cold mornings and warm afternoons, earthy colored Mums, anticipation of Turkey Day...where does the wonderful list end!?!?

My heart is alight with fresh anticipation of the coming months, Friends! May the Lord bless the road before my family and may He ALWAYS be the center of all these wonderful things.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 22 of 40

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who is, who was and is to come! All Glory and Honor and Power and Praise and Strength to Him!

Basically that's where my Spirit man is. I just want to sit in his presence constantly. Yesterday I woke up all night long and then got up for the day at 5am, grabbed my coffee and drove over to the prayer room at church. It was a little freaky being there in the complete darkness and all alone (at least I HOPE I was alone, humanly speaking.) There is a small window in this room with no curtain so out of fear I propped a pillow up on the sill so it would block any view inside and then I sat in the corner where there was no chance of being seen. This was all done out of the creepy feeling that girls get, but once I was seated I felt completely okay. Plus the door electronically deadbolts, so no one was coming inside without the code. :) But anyway, I sat there in that corner and ushered in his presence with praise music and my open and willing heart. And people, I am here to tell you...GOD...IS...REAL. He is real. He is present. He wants to be with his children. And, he feels amazing! We stayed together in that room for about 40 minutes where I enjoyed him, laid out my heart's desires, told him how thankful I am for all he has given me, doted all over him, got fierce with the enemy and declared the name and blood of Jesus over people and our church and generally breathed him into my day. At the end I wrote a prayer into the prayer journal and left. Even though I could, literally, sit in that room all day with him I knew it was time to go. One, because I needed to drive back home in time for the kids to get up and get ready for church, but second because I felt his presence ease up. At first I wondered if it was just me being antsy or ready to get started with the day, so I sat back down in a chair and turned the music back on to see...but it was clear that it was time to go. So I left.

Then later at church during worship I was singing STRAIGHT to Him and I didn't care who listened to how badly I was singing. I didn't care how I looked from the back with my arms clear up in the air in praise to him. It was ALL for him and I felt his presence. I was actually shaking with excitement and energy! I had to stop singing for a minute and breathe b/c I felt like I might burst into a million particles right there in the sanctuary. At that moment I knew why a human cannot see the face of God. Good grief...his presence alone nearly sent me into a fit. All day long too I felt his covering over me. It was like a tangible blanket laid over me. Not heavy or cumbersome or suffocating, but rather light and protective and comforting. Honestly, I never want this covering to go away. I want to live under it forever!

In all my years being a Christian, almost 20 now, I have not felt Him like I feel him now. It's not that he wasn't there and it's not that I didn't want to feel's just that NOW I am really, truly giving him first place in my life. Fasting is just a vehicle, a catalyst of purification. I see so clearly now how I have leaned on food/snacks as a comfort and would even go as far as to say that I was a glutton. Eating and eating just to feel constantly full and to change my emotions whether they be fear, anxiety, loneliness, excitement or to bring my hubby and I together after a loooong day at work/with the kids. Food was a substitute, an empty promise, a counterfeit for the real fulfillment of what God, Christ and Holy Spirit give. It was also a satisfaction of a short term desire that led to long term internal issues. Oh, ten Timbit Donuts taste delicious going down, as does half a Papa Johns pizza and bread sticks, but those short term tongue-tickling delights lead to long term weight gain and then ultimately spiritual bondage of "I'm too fat. I'm disgusting to look at. I'm not what my husband would want. I don't look like "her." I need to go up a size in pants and now I really look like a hippo." Ugh, and the list goes on. It's ALL lies being fed to us. We have control and strength through Christ. When we accept him into our hearts as guys, WE HAVE ALL THE POWER WE EVER NEED! Faith combined with his Word equals VICTORY. I have realized that if God within me can change my sinful eating habits and I am strengthened in Him...what sin has any power over me!? It's really amazing and mind-blowing stuff and yet I can do it.

Okay, so here's breakfast! Two small carrots, an apple, kale (I usually have a lot more, but I'm out!), an orange and a tomato. I *heart* the Jack LaLanne juicer! I'm tellin' ya...even if you aren't a big veggie person, this thing is great for making healthy fruit juices and then I whip the fruit juice in the Magic Blender for a smoothie. I found my juicer on Craigslist for $35! So I have this juice (or a similar one, depending on what fruit and veggies I have) every two to three hours OR I have a Special K protein drink, and of course ice water throughout the day. I also keep V8 around for sipping and gum helps a lot when an occasional craving hits or I'm out and away from the juice.



Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 12 of 40

Day 12 of 40 Day Fast
There is this place I like to go to pray. It's this little 10x10 room on the property of our church and a few people go there to pray. We have a prayer chapel inside the church that is all set up, decorated with handmade, sparkly banners and cushy leathery couches and comfy chairs, dimly lit, etc. There is a CD player and prayerful type music to play and sheets of paper to help guide you through prayer and lists of things to pray about, poems, etc. But, this other room I love, there is something more special, more intimate about this other room. It's not cushy, there are two metal folding chairs, two flat pillows, an old desk chair and I think the CD player out there is broken. It's actually a little humid and warm in there as well, but none at that matters to me.
Once I step into that room, I step into the presence of Holy Spirit. The white walls are saturated with the prayers of the warriors who were there hours, maybe minutes, before me. The scribbled note cards of those who need prayer and those who are responding to those needs lay on a small table or are tucked inside a prayer journal left on another small table. There's nowhere to get really comfortable b/c it's not about getting cushy, relaxed or comfy. It's about getting on my knees before the Almighty or laying prostrate on the ground as I relish in his presence and draw into holiness. I feel at home there. I feel warm and invited. I could stay there for hours and just sit around Him and the prayer walls that resonate prayerful vibrations, and I do, but I also lay out my own prayers to Him there. I pop the Nano in my ears, sit silently, lift my hands, speak out loud, cry and get really intimate in a way that I could not in the other cushy room or in front of any other person. All the walls come down there and I'm the true inside, bare boned Christy, the child of the living God who adores her. There I sit, kneel, stand before my Father, my best Friend, my Victor, my Redeemer and the One who goes before me as I battle through these 40 days and we talk. I pour out and He pours in. It's such an unfair trade and I'm so thankful for it.
If you have no such prayer closet or space of your own like this, I encourage you to find it. I have read so many times about how Christ would go away from the crowds and be alone with the Father. It was just a word story to me until I found this room where I really feel connected to Him. Now I pine to be alone with Him there. I think of being there when I am not and when I CAN get there, my feet can't carry me fast enough. What an absolute refuge in this wild and crazy world we live in!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 10 of 40

Day 10 of the 40 Day Fast
So here I am, day ten. This has been quite an experience for me thus far. I had two main motivations for going on this journey with God. First and foremost, I have a HUGE bone to pick with the Commander in Chief of the dark army. He has been working tirelessly to bring down the Children and keep those he already has captive and deceived. Recent study materials have shone light on the reality that I have a voice and strength and an honest to goodness place in the army of God. God's word has proven it true and experience is making it my reality. So like my ancestors of the Bible, I am taking up the spiritual armor of God and decreeing that I have power over the army of the dark and making the battle cry every day of this fast. I speak the words of David over the dark and carry the light into the enemy camps so as to break their holds, remove them from their bunkers and send them into retreat!
The second motivation was to experience God in a more intimate way. I want to draw near to him and feel his breath and heartbeat. He hasn't failed me either. Every time I come up against a trial during this trip I am met with frustration and with the help of a fellow compatriot I am encouraged and strengthened to fight with the mighty weapon of praise. And faithfully, every time I am flooded with peace and assurance that I am right where he wants me and victory is his. I look forward to what he has for me next.
My directions were changed early on in the mission, but I have been assured that I am still in favor with my Father and my mission is uncompromised at this point.
Day ten of a forty day mission and I feel invigorated and part of something so much bigger than myself. Day ten and the joy I experience while in communion with the Father is more intense than it was ever before. Day ten and I find the words of the Bible so much more meaty and applicable and making sense. Day ten and I can't help but feel that this discipline period is preparing me for MUCH bigger and harder things to come. Day ten, one quarter of the way, and I look forward to the next thirty days of war.
May I bear the armor proudly, constantly and courageously!