Monday, July 30, 2007

Stumbling Through

My motivation is still lacking along with the desire to retreat and isolate coming on strong.
My mind is going non-stop yet it remains difficult to put any of these running thoughts into something understandable.

Lots of question-type issues.
Why did...?
How do I...?
If...then.
Why can't...?
Am I doing/saying...enough?
If only...

Some thoughts are relevant and could be helpful to pursue, some not.

I am relying heavily upon Scripture right now and digging to find passages that accurately mirror what I seem unable to articulate at this time.

I know that I am on the right path; I can feel God's leading.
My hang-up seems to be the pace that I'm keeping.
I either feel like I'm moving to slow or moving so quickly that I'm passing by important 'landmarks' along the journey.

I am seeking, through my Biblical studies what it means exactly to "be still/stand and wait/position yourself and see..."

  • What does this require of me?
  • What will be accomplished if I will simply obey?
  • The art of doing nothing evades me but I know it is necessary.
  • It's strange to me how "being still" can be so emotionally exhausting.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Flexibility

My motivation is lacking today.
I didn't sleep well; weird dreams and too many noisy interruptions.
When I went to bed last night, I pictured today as being a “productive day” which included house cleaning, pet care, and running errands, along with spending the evening doing something “fun”.

But now I just want to crawl back into bed with my Bible, journal, a good book and some praise music.
Guess that’s not necessarily a “bad thing”; just a total change of plans.

It’s still early in the day; maybe doing what I truly desire will lead to more “productivity” later in the day.

I am so grateful for the time and freedom that summer vacation brings and I need to adjust to the concept that most things are flexible without being considered failure.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Scripture Personalized

Psalm 27: 1, 5, 10, 14
The Lord is my light and my salvation. I do not have to be afraid. The Lord will protect me from danger. I do not have to tremble. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. The Lord will hold me close. I must wait patiently for the Lord. I must be brave and courageous and wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalms 28: 1, 7, 9
The Lord is my rock of safety. He is my strength and shield from every danger. I will trust in Him with all of my heart. He will help me and fill my heart with joy. The Lord will protect me and carry me forever in His arms.

Psalm 30: 1-3, 5
The Lord will rescue me. He refuses to let enemies triumph over me. He will restore my health and keep me from falling into the pit of death. His favor will last for a lifetime. My weeping may go on all night but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 31: 3-8, 14, 15
The Lord is my rock and fortress. I can find protection in Him, alone. He is a faithful God in whom I may place my trust. He has seen my troubles and cares about the anguish of my soul. He will not hand me over to the enemy but will set me in a safe place. I am trusting in the Lord for my future is in His hands.

Psalm 32: 7-8, 10
My God is my hiding place. He will protect me from trouble. He has said that He will guide me along the best pathways for my life. He promises to advise and watch over me. His unfailing love surrounds me.

Psalm 33: 4-5
The Lord's words hold true. I can trust in everything He does. He loves whatever is just and good. The earth is filled with His unfailing love.

Psalm 34: 4-7; 17-18, 22
The Lord answers me when I pray. He will free me from all of my fears. When I look to Him, I will not be ashamed but be radiant with joy. When I cry to the Lord, in my sufferings, He hears me and sets me free from all my fears. The angel of the Lord will guide and rescue me. The Lord hears me when I call to him for help. He will rescue me from my troubles. He is close to me when I am broken-hearted and rescues me when my spirit is crushed.

Psalm 37: 3-5, 7, 23-24, 34
I will trust and take delight in the Lord. I will commit everything I do to Him. He will help me, as I trust in Him. I will be still in His presence and wait patiently for Him to act. I will not worry or fret. The Lord will direct my path and delight in every detail of my life. Even when I stumble, I will not fall, for He is holding me by the hand. I must travel steadily down His path and wait patiently for Him to act.

Borrowed Words

I still feel like I am wandering around in darkness. Tears, sleep, cookie dough (!) and reading have been the tasks of the day. Tears are coming way too easily and frequently for my comfort, but my thought processes seem to be clearing up.

I have spent much of today and most of yesterday in Scripture. I am not having difficulty approaching God in prayer but I am struggling with what to say or request. I am glad that He knows my heart and that the Holy Spirit is willing to intercede amidst the tears but the ability to present my thoughts and feelings into words would also be nice.
I have been going through the Old Testament and re-discovered some "old favorite passages" along with coming across new verses that tug at my heart. I "re-wrote" some verses for the sake of personalization, not for quoting. The thoughts, the promises, and the truths have been comforting and thought provoking. Hopefully, soon, I will be able to put some of those thoughts into coherent sentences.
(Deuteronomy 34: 6, 7, 14) My God is a gracious and merciful God. He is slow to anger and rich in faithfulness. He is filled with unfailing love and willing to forgive me of every kind of sin and rebellion. He is passionate about His children and truly desires to have a relationship with me.

(Deuteronomy 30:4, 6)The Lord, my God, will come and find me even if I am at the ends of the earth. He will find me and bring me back to Him. He will cleanse my heart so that I may love Him with all of my heart and soul and so that I may live.

(Deuteronomy 30:19-22) Today the Lord is giving me a choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I choose life. I choose to love the Lord my God and to obey Him. I commit myself to Him for He is my life.

(Deuteronomy 31:6) The Lord is my rock. His work is perfect. Everything He does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who is just, upright, and does no wrong.

(2 Chronicles 20:3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 17, 20) I will seek the Lord for guidance. He, alone, is the God in heaven. He is powerful. He is mighty. He is the ruler of the earth. No one (nothing) can stand against my God. I can cry out to Him to save me. He will hear me and come to my rescue. I look to Him for help because I am powerless and do not know what to do. He tells me to not be afraid for He will fight my battles. I only need to take my position, stand still, and watch His victories. I must believe in Him and I will be able to stand firm.

I Know This to be True

The inability to articulate much, except irritation and frustration remain. I am continuing to search Scripture for those type of "hold-on-to-these-truths-kind-of-verses". I started in the book of Psalms this morning. Again, these aren't direct Biblical quotes; I am writing the verses out to make personal application.

(Psalm 3:3-5)The Lord is a shield around me. He is my glory. He is the one who lifts my head high. I cry out to him and He answers me. I can wake up in safety because He is watching over me.

(Psalm 9:9, 10, 12, 13, 16; 11:1)The Lord is my shelter and refuge. He will never abandon me as I search for Him. He is known for His justice. He will have mercy on me and not ignore my cries to Him for help. I will trust Him for protection.

(Psalm 13: 5, 6)I will trust in the Lord's unfailing love. He will rescue me and I will be able to rejoice. He is good to me.

(Psalm 16: 1, 2, 5, 8, and 11)I can come to the Lord for refuge. He will keep me safe. All of the good things that I have are from Him. He, alone, is my cup of blessing and He will guard all that is mine. He is always with me. I do not have to be shaken for He is right beside me. He will show me the way of life while granting me the joy of His presence.

(Psalm 18:1-3)The Lord is my strength. He is my rock, my fortress, my Savior. I can find protection in Him because He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.

(Psalm 18:16-19)The Lord is reaching down from heaven to rescue me. He will uphold me and lead me to a place of safety. He rescues me because He delights in me.

(Psalm 18: 28-36)The Lord will bring light to my life. He will light up my darkness. In His strength, I can crush an army. With Him, I can scale any wall. His ways are perfect and all of His promises prove to be true. He will be my shield when I look to Him for protection. He is a solid rock that arms me with strength and He has made my way safe. The Lord will lead me safely. He will prepare me and strengthen me. He will give me the shield of His salvation and uphold me with His right hand. His gentleness will make me great. He will make a path for me to keep my feet from slipping.

(Psalm 23)The Lord is my shepherd. He will give me everything I need. He will give me rest and lead me to peace and safety. He will renew my strength and guide me along the right path. I do not have to be afraid for He is close beside me. He will protect and comfort me. He will welcome me and will bless me. His goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Comforted by Scripture

These past few days have been very difficult.
My emotions have been all over the place: sadness, anger, disappointment, despondency and despair.
During some of the "dark moments", I read in the book of Isaiah and found comfort in the following verses.

I paraphrased the verses for the sake of personalization.
I know that these written things are true and I will cling to the promises of God and trust Him to bring me through this time of darkness.
Isaiah 40: The Lord will come in all His glorious power. He rules with awesome strength. He feeds me, a part of His flock, like a shepherd. He will carry me in His arms, holding me close to His heart. He will gently lead me. The Lords sees my troubles. The Lord hears my case. The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows faint or weary. I couldn't begin to measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to me when I'm tired and worn out. He offers strength to me when I'm weak. He knows I will become exhausted and want to give up. But when I wait on the Lord, I will find new strength. I will fly high on wings like eagles. I will run and not grow weary. I will walk and not faint.  
Isaiah 41: God has chosen me and will not throw me away. He is with me; I do not have to be afraid. I do not have to be dismayed because He is my God. He will strengthen me. He will help me. He will uphold me.
Isaiah 42:  Jesus will reveal justice. He will be gentle and not crush those who are weak or quench the smallest hope. He has called me to demonstrate His righteousness. He will guard and support me.
Isaiah 43:  I do not have to be afraid because the Lord has ransomed me. He has called me by name. I am His. He is with me as I go through deep waters and great trouble. He will not let me drown when I go through rivers of difficulty. He will not let the burning flames consume me when I walk through the fire of oppression. He is the Lord, my God---my Savior. I am precious to Him and He loves me. I do not have to be afraid because He is with me.
I cannot imagine my life without God.

Heavy-Hearted

My heart feels heavy today.
One of those moments that I have to remind myself to breathe.
I hate the anxiety that sometimes seems to overwhelm my soul.
I realize that I must "jump in to be saved" but it is difficult to willingly jump where you know pain will surface.

My God is bigger than the pain.
My God is stronger than the memories.
My God is more faithful than my humanness.

I will not believe the lies of Satan.
I will not give in to the desires to shut down and hide.
I will not retreat through sleep rather than engage in the blessings of life that I now have.

I will enter this day with confidence in Christ, and face whatever comes my way with the knowledge that I am not nor will I ever be all alone.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Secure in His Hands

I awoke this morning feeling a bit unsettled. I know dreams don't necessarily mean anything, but the one I remember has a grip on my heart.

I was at a riverside where the waters were calming, peaceful, and refreshingly cool.
I was jumping into the water off the side of the rocks with the comforting laughter of friends nearby.
As I was floating down the river, suddenly the sky grew dark and the water temperature began to change so I quickly got out of the water.
The crystal-clear water had turned to a moving torrent of hot lava and I realized that my friends were gone.

I was panic-stricken and frozen with fear when I felt a hand upon my shoulder as I was being covered with protective gear.
I heard the voice of Jesus tell me to hold on to His hand.
He told me that I had to jump in to be saved but that He would be right beside me to protect me from the heat and burns.
He directed me to jump in, with Him, at the count of three but it took me to the count of ten.
I was ashamed at my hesitance but He just warmly smiled and strengthened His grasp of my hand.
When I (we) hit the hot surface, I woke up.

In my Bible study last night, I was reading about the "armor of God" and what each piece of that armor entailed. I also completed re-reading Laughter in the Dark by Chonda Pierce and wrote down some thoughts from her book within my prayer journal:
"I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Realistic Expectations

Today has been a good day. I realized that I must "lower my expectations" in regards to what I expect from myself and from others.

Not in the sense of expecting the worst but in being more realistic about what others and I may accomplish, offer and simply be in terms of our humanness.

I am coming to realize that some of my biggest disappointments stem from expecting to receive what isn't possible for others to give or attempting to give what I don't possess.

People are imperfect.
Only God is good.

All can and eventually will be lost.
God is never ending.

Sinfulness is within each of us.
God is Holy and without fault.

Relationships with family and friends are important but God is to above all.
May my heart hold fast to these truths.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Amazement

God is good.

I pour out my heart and not only does He faithfully listen but He faithfully responds.

I know that not all responses will be quick but today, He answered almost instantaneously and I am grateful.

I sought His guidance in prayer and sought confirmation through Scripture and sit here amazed by His faithfulness, mercy and direction.
I realized that I don't need to seek personal strength.
I need to seek HIM.

I no longer want the ability to "handle everything";
I want to have the ability to rest in Him and trust that HE will handle whatever comes my way.

I want to be broken so that He may build.
I want to be set free so that He may live within me.

I want to rest in His arms and live in accordance with His will.
I want to be healed and be filled with the peace that can only come from Him.

I seek the courage and the faith to face each and every circumstance with honesty, emotion, and clarity.
I want to be able to see what God sees and address any and all unresolved issues.

I want to repent and allow His healing and direction to take place.
I asked that He grant me the ability to face these "giants" with the knowledge and understanding that He is capable and willing to conquer and destroy the sinfulness in my life and in my heart (in HIS own way and in HIS own time).

I hold fast to the promises that He will never leave nor forsake me, that He will work out all in according to His purposes, that He is my strength, my shield, my Redeemer and my guide.

He has helped me to re-frame a specific event and I can now see His hand in the circumstances.
What an awesome, empowering moment to realize that He had His hands upon me even when I was 5 years old.

During a time of loneliness, panic and fear, He had already set in motion ways in which I would be comforted, consoled, and led to peace.

As I said, God is good and I am thankful!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Initiating Changes

Today is a frightening day.

Upon my new realization that God truly desires a personal relationship with me, comes the realization that I MUST trust him with everything---including events from my past.

Not simply the acknowledgement of the past but the feelings and fears associated with the events.

I fear the feelings causing Him to turn away.

I fear the feelings will overwhelm me and lead me back to the darkness (another trust issue!!! God WANTS to lead me to the light!!).

I have to confess to Him my "running away", trust that He won't run, and lay it ALL before Him in repentance and humility.

Am I strong enough to do this or is that the point?!

It's not about my strength but HIS strength, HIS character, HIS promises.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bittersweet Journey

Today has been a bittersweet day. I talked with 2 dear friends and thoroughly enjoyed "catching up". I am so blessed to have so many people in my life who love God and desire to serve Him. I thank God for both Melynda and Susan.

I met with my counselor. His insight into me still amazes me. For the first time EVER, I feel like someone 'truly understands'/'gets it' and I know that his insight is because the Lord is working through him to change me. I could never thank God enough for allowing Jim to encourage and support me and I could never thank Jim enough for being so graciously willing to be a tool for the Lord.

I am ready for a change.
I am longing for a change.

Yet, apparently, this change is going to mean going back, in memory, to unpleasant times and I am not longing to re-live those moments and am having much difficulty with even admitting/facing the pain. We talked about some of the losses that I experienced during my teenage and young adult years. I find it easy to state the facts but assigning emotions to the incidents and drawing conclusions from those specific situations is frighteningly unnerving.

I made it through the conversation yet afterwards, my emotions were "shook up". That shouldn't be a bad thing but it scares the h*** out of me.
I am so scared that I will fail when facing my feelings.
I am scared of the ugliness it may reveal.
I am scared of it being too much for anyone to willingly handle.

I, tearfully, asked for prayers at our Ladies' Bible Study tonight.
I felt sheltered in their genuine concerns, comforted by their heartfelt prayers, yet fearful that I said too much. May God bless me with the ability of discernment on what and when to speak.
May He continue to strengthen and guide me as I learn these new skills on how to better relate to others and how to handle the emotions of life.

These precious groups of ladies have been such a wonderful addition to my life.
To be with people who desire authenticity in their relationship with the Lord and their relationships with others is refreshing.

I don't feel as if I have to live "The Stained Glass Masquerade" (lyrics below) anymore in my connection with my God or with the people in my life.

Thank You, God, for the freedom found in Christ.

I, also, spoke with Randy tonight. He is so near and dear to my heart. He may never know how much he means to me or how much his love for me has helped me to develop an even deeper love for God.

I am filled with excitement and dread about the journey I feel the Lord is leading me to take. May all I do, say, experience serve to help me love Him and others better. I MUST TRUST in His promises to shelter, sustain, comfort and uphold me. I can do ALL things THROUGH Christ and absolutely nothing without him.

"Stained Glass Masquerade"
(Sung by Casting Crowns)

Is there anyone that fails?
Is there anyone that falls?
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people?
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain

But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise?
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart?

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

Freedoms and Struggles

It's been more than a month since my last post. What a month it has been---full of new freedoms yet a continual struggle to fight off the "baggage" that attempts to hold me back and keep me down.

I keep studying the Scriptures and have never felt such confidence, amazements and awe towards my God yet I feel as if Satan continues to have a stronghold on my heart.

Some days, "living" comes so easy but there are days that it feels as if it takes every ounce of energy to simply draw a breath.

I so want to live and live abundantly. I pray that my heart and mind will be open to wherever God chooses to lead me.