"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."
Life.... it can be extremely funny if we let it.
I wish I was better at letting it.
I like to believe that God loves to laugh. And I hope to believe that He loves when we laugh even more.
My life recently hasn't been very funny. But we have had definite moments of funniness.
I am so thankful for those moments.
They are what keeps me going.
What I draw from when I need to be reminded that life doesn't need to be taken so seriously sometimes.
Today is one of those days.
I should, in the worlds view and perspective, be in some state of worry or concern.
There are a lot of things to be concerned about.
Things that should worry me.
But not today.
Not for me.
And I believe with all my heart that this is a gift from my Heavenly Father.
He knows the things that can and do weigh me down.
He is fully aware of my frame and how weak I am.
But I also know that he has commanded me to not allow the things of this world to burden and weigh on me as it so often does.
And yes. I believe that He wants me to laugh.
To remember that He is God.
And because of that truth, I can allow myself to rest assured that He has it all under control.
That I can let go for a moment.
That I can breath in and let it all go.
We were never meant to carry our "stuff".
He has not asked us to do any of "this" on our own.
We have always been meant to do life with Him. Not separate from Him.
It is when I walk away muttering, "I got this God." , that everything begins to unravel.
And most importantly my joy.
Satan wants to rob me of it all.
Get me focused on what is so wrong, so disruptive in my life that I miss what the purpose may be in the midst of the place that I find myself.
I have this mental picture of a girl with her foot stuck in the middle of a rock climb.
With one foot planted and the other stuck mid step, about chest high, unable to get her foot out of the crag without a little help.
That is me so often.
And trust me, so many times I just crumble in a pool of my own tears. Weary, and worn out from trying to un-stick myself. Whining and complaining about my predicament.
But then there are those moments.... when it registers what I probably look like in that scene, foot stuck up in the air, grunting with my futile effort, red faced, sweat dripping. Probably wearing a dirty t-shirt, plaid shorts (my idea of what walking shorts look like), bandanna wrapped ponytail, with a comical look of frustration on my face..... and I just start laughing.
And I can hear it.... with a smile in His voice..."Can I help you with that?"
How often would I save myself a lot of grief if I would just let Him help me.
My situation may not change.
I may remain stuck for a little while....while He is working all the details out, that I find comfort in the knowing that He knows that I'm stuck... and that He will get me out of it, eventually.
It eases the moment just a bit.
If I let it.
Like everything else, I can choose it.
So much in life is not a laughing matter.
But I hope that even in those serious moments that we can hope to find the joyful moments.
The moments worth smiling for.
Allowing the peace of God to sooth and sink in so that we can gain a different perspective.
I used to tell my daughter, when she was much younger, in moments when she would be indignant about a particular situation, or mess up.....
"Honey, you have to learn to laugh at yourself. Don't take life so seriously. Let go a little."
She used to scrunch up her small face, wrinkle her nose, and scowl at me.
I wasn't helping is what she was thinking at that moment.
She is a deep person by nature. Therefore it takes effort to make light of the big things.
We re-visited this topic just the other day.... now years later, finding her a young woman and not the little girl of so long ago.
"You know Mom, when you used to tell me.....?"
Yeah, I remembered.
"I'm so glad that you have taught me to laugh at myself."
I should have blinked right then. I am proud to say, that I did not. I just stayed very still and waited for the words I needed her to say....
"I am learning that I have to do that more often."
I didn't tell her in that moment... but she has more than she thinks.
I have seen it.
And I have seen the huge amounts of growth that she has allowed to happen in her life.
It has come painfully.
Sometimes excruciatingly so.
For both of us.
But woven in and out of those moments I see the notes of laughter.
Rising up above the cloudiness.... floating and swirling like the most beautiful music.
I love to laugh.
And I love it even more to watch my children laughing.
Hearing the sound. Each one unique. Each sound beautiful.
How can we think that God doesn't feel the same way about all of us?
That moment of carefree emotion....
The kind that makes you feel like swinging your arms out wide and circling around and around.
Giddy..... forgetting for a second that you often choose to carry your load instead of letting Him carry it for you.
"Jesus answered them, "Do you finally believe? In fact, you're about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."
John 16:33 The Message Bible
It's right there.
For all to see.
It's all covered.
All of it.
Nothing left that He can't handle or do.
But joy, true joy, is only found at His feet.
By basking in His presence.
By filling up my lungs with His scent and not the scent of my worry, concern, and anxiousness.
I breath that stuff a lot. And it does nothing good for me.
It usually makes me cough and sputter. Grabbing at my chest in pain.
It is full of the gunk and junk that doesn't have a place in my life.
His air is pure and light.
And it is what I know that I should be taking in. Not the stuff that I usually do.
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:30 The Message Bible
I want to choose to allow Him into every area of my life.
The tough and not so tough things.
And I am praying today that I can laugh more than I worry.
That I trust more than I wonder.
That I can lean into Him, with all my weight.... letting Him absorb everything that I carry and hold.
Letting Him hold me...... hold it all.
And as I have found today, that laughing is much more fun than worrying.
The pain that comes with a side splitting burst of laughter is so much more preferable than the pain that wrack's me when I am crying and fearful.
I have to decide first how I am going to respond.... how I want to deal with whatever it is placed in front of me.
I want to smile. I want to say, "God.... You have this right?"
I know that circumstances are not always easy.
Believe me..... I know.
But in any given circumstance the truth that God can handle whatever we may face, and that He is with us every step of the way, doesn't ever change.
And it is because of this truth that we can change how we look at those things, and with what perspective we allow ourselves to adopt in the midst of them.
There are those people that I have watched walk out their lives in the midst of tough circumstances, with God's truth and dignity, that I have the most respect for.
There is nothing false or fabricated about them.
They don't pretend to have it all figured out... or that it doesn't hurt.
But they do walk out what they profess to believe.
Dedicating all that they do and say to the One they are choosing to live for.
Their character remains the same.
Unchanging in the face of difficulty.
I want to be that kind of person.
I know I may have a ways to go.
Some days I feel closer and others not so much.
But I have hope.
Because I know who it is I truly serve.
My circumstance does not diminish Who God is or His power and ability to overcome it.
So..... today I am choosing to laugh.
I am choosing to smile and find the "funny" in my circumstances of the moment.
And I am fighting hard to hold onto the truths of the only One who offers me the only escape worth taking.
I realize that it is a matter of perspective.
It always has been.
His or ours.
Today.... I choose His.
...until another tomorrow.
"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:25,26
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
It seems like years.....
Since I began to share a part of my story... some of my history... my past....about my life.
My childhood... which often seems like a far off dream.... at other times like it is just a room away.
Even though it's been a while since I've shared that part of my life, and although I haven't written it, God has been doing continued work on me, and in my heart in the way of where I've come from.
He has been revealing things, shining light on things long since hidden, dark and forgotten.
He has been correcting, re-living, and healing so many things.....
In the midst of it, I feel like I am being remolded and recast into someone I should have been all along.
But as I sit in my car, with my family around me, heading toward my Dad, my thoughts have turned back in time, wistful and away......
With my eyes on the tips of the pines that are zinging by I have brought to mind not just my dad and the visit that I am anxious for, but my mom as well.
Two people that are completely necessary in my life. For both, my past and present.
My childhood isn't all bad memories and faulty lines.
I experienced good things too.
Memories that bring a smile to my face.
And yes, although I can't deny the deep pains in my life, I also can't deny the great joys.
We all come from something.
But I have come to believe that it isn't so much where we have come from that holds the most importance, but where we are going and where we are heading to.
Ultimately, I believe that this can and will dictate what we do and the choices we make for today.
Looking back is okay.
Especially for healing and understanding.
But keeping our eyes constantly looking back and behind us can cause us to miss what new things God has for us in the now... and more importantly for our future.
I don't want to miss it.... And I am currently working hard to turn myself face forward.
Taking care of those things that God has brought forward and not trying to drag back up the things that I need to leave behind me.
There is so much more for us... for me, and even for my family.
I have more at stake than just myself.
I feel strongly that the future of my children depends upon it, and my ability to let go.
I know I will face challenges with it.
I might even fall back time to time.
But I pray ultimately that it can be said of me that I work hard desiring the things of God in my life and the lives of my family.
Amid my past, my present, and all my achievements and failures.... I just want this one thing to hold true...
That I always want more of God.
That nothing in this world..... not want or need, desires or dreams, opinions or accolades, disappointments or regrets.... would be more important to me than Him.
That nothing would outweigh the need and the inexplicable reality that apart from Him.... I am nobody.
Nothing in the universe holds more value than Him.
And pursuing Him with everything that is in me.
That's where I want to go.....
You can come too..... you just have to choose.
Either you will be looking over your shoulder over and over.... or looking ahead.
Ahead to all that He has.... right now.
You get to choose.
Either way..... it will lead you somewhere.
Forward or back.
Or... worse.... keep you right where you are right now with no change in sight....
All it takes... all it has ever taken.... is our surrender.
And yes, it all comes down to that.
Arms wide, face on the floor, willing to be all that He has called you to be.
It's tough......and don't I know it.
But I don't want to be stuck where I'm at, or even where I've been forever.
I want to go forward.
I want to push past.......
I want more.
My prayer is..... that you will too.
Because you will never move forward if you are not willing to step out.
One baby step at a time.....
Pretty soon, before you know it... when you look back for a quick glimpse... you will be surprised at how far you've come......
I'm really praying and banking on the fact that I'm not the only one here.... in this place... ready and willing to see more of what He has ahead of me.
I can't change the past... good or bad.
I can't go back and repair or even relive things I want to do over.
But I can choose what I do with what's ahead of me....
And how I listen and obey.
Live for Him.... or live for me?
I know which One I want to live for.
I hope you do too....
You don't even have to wait.
Because He's been waiting for you.
.....until another tomorrow.
"Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs),
in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One),9And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.
10[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [[a]which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
11That if possible I may attain to the [[b]spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].
12Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
13I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,"
Philippians 3:8-13 (Amplified Bible)
Friday, August 6, 2010
Has God ever told you something?
A truth to hold onto?
Were you so sure in that moment that nothing could sway you? Move you? Or convince you otherwise?
But then time slowly moves on.
It begins to erode on that particular word or promise.
Did you hear right?
Was it really God?
What could it have meant?
Maybe it didn't really mean anything at all...
I know how it feels.
To doubt... to wonder... to question and sit with the tears running down my face....
"Did I hear you God? Did I hear you right? Or did I not hear from You at all?"
I want to be sure. I need to be reassured.
I have been sick for a very long time.
I don't like using that word sick, but I am unsure as to what term to utilize in this case.
I look back and can remember feeling healthy.
But then it has also seemed like forever that I felt like this...
Waking up with pain wracking every fiber of my body.
Headaches so intense that I have wanted to rip out every single hair on my head with the pain of it.
Having to stop life because I have to let my body get itself back together again.
Waking up to walk on feet that feel like they have bruises on the most tender of places.
My vision has been weakened, my fingertips have ached like I have been working them for days.
So many mornings that I have rolled out of bed unable to stand upright, the muscles cramping, weak, and bunched up like huge baseballs, hurting in ways that I can't put into words.
Not being able to eat foods that I love. And not because I don't want to eat them... but because I can't because my body doesn't process them like everyone else's.
The unexpected pains with no real explanations, reason, or rhyme... the only thing I know is that it stops me, it keeps me from "being".
I have hated it for so long.
I have wept and wept over the unexplained... and I have wanted to ask why... But I haven't spoken it out loud, I have just thought it.
It all hurts.
So much in life is not fair.
So many things that bring pain into our very lives, and touches us in ways that makes me want to scream out at it....
"I hate you.... I HATE YOU!"
I have felt so alone... so lost so many times during this season in my life.
My family, my friends, those close to me... they don't get it.
They try to sympathize. But I don't really tell them much.
I try to hide it as well as you can hide what I deal with day in and day out.
I don't want them feeling sorry for me.
I don't want any one's pity.
I just want it all to go away.
I want to be normal.
Whatever that is.
I don't want this thing that makes them look at me with concern, or worry, or even speculation or doubt.
It's been like wandering in a desert.
My mouth filled with dust.
So thirsty... needing... wanting. Dry and hot with no end in sight.
Confusion as to where to wander to or go next.
I don't like feeling like I can't cry one more time... not wanting to.
Sometimes... sometimes I am able to refuse to let it get the best of me.
I think the hardest thing really is that no one around me really understands... really knows.
That is up until a few years ago.
First my oldest daughter and then my youngest learned first hand what I live with... they finally understood.
And It didn't bring me comfort to have them get it.
It broke my in ways that I didn't think I could brake.
Okay me....... but them too?!
I can't explain it to anyone who isn't a parent. The complete extreme pain of watching your child hurt like that..... suffer.
Watching them go through what has been my reality for so long. The pain, confusion, and isolation.
There have been moments I have beat my chest, literally, with the deep hurt... blaming myself, my genes, my weaknesses and incapability's for theirs.
In one of those moments, one of the worst, on the day my youngest daughter was diagnosed, I lay in my bed spent from the crying, the weeping.
My oldest was in another place. Another land. Far away, and unable for me to touch her... sick and in need.
It is then that I heard it...I heard Him whisper to me....
"I know..... I know."
"And it is not your fault... because of your wrong choices, your sin, or any other thing you can conjure up in that head of yours."
"I am here."
He has comforted me many times before, said it a million different ways... but this time was different.
This was an encounter that I had allowed myself to feel... really feel.
I was raw and very broken.
Just me and Him.
Being real together.
All the promises He had and has given me washing over me. One after the other.
Words spoken and confirmed, re-confirmed over and over.
Do you get that?
I need to pause here.
God doesn't have to confirm a word for us... reassure us... or repeat Himself.
He shouldn't have to.
But He did, and He does over and over again when we forget.
Because He loves us so very much.
More than the deep profound love that I have for my own children.
I had a choice that moment, and every day since...
Even though I don't understand it... or the timing of it all...
Am I going to believe Him?
Am I going to trust Him?
Am I going to be confident in what He has spoken?
Am I going to be sure?
I have to drag myself up.
My enemy has tried his level best to confound me... cause me to doubt my God and WHO He is.
But over and over in the last year especially, He has been speaking... in me and through the words of others....
"I am God."
"There is nothing too hard for me. Nothing impossible for me to handle."
"You are mere man, can you contain it? Fathom it? Who I really am?"
"Yes, you are weak, yes you are unable... and yes I know who you are and what you need."
"I am able."
"I am all that you need."
"I am bigger than you think...."
"I AM.... Powerful. Mighty. I AM GOD."
I don't get it.
I may never get it.
But this I am learning and gaining perspective on....
If He said it, it will be done.
If He wants it for me, I will have it.
I am going to be healed in this life time.... my children are going to be healed too.
He has said it. Confirmed it.
He has spoken it over us.
It doesn't mean that we always get what we want. But it does mean that If He has willed it to happen, I can bank on it.
And I am going to stand on it until I see it with my own eyes because I know WHO my God is.
I can't be sure about much. About me, who I am, what I can do on my own or anyone else's abilities.
But I can be sure about one thing...
I can be sure that God is who He says He is....
Able to handle anything that I face.
Not alone.... but standing on Him and His promises, personally and throughout scripture.....
"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16
"Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;"
"Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised." Hebrews 10:35,36
.... until another tomorrow.