Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Divine Anointing: The Death of Doing Things In My Own Power (originally written 06/12/2019)

Last Wednesday, I got home a bit late and made that big mistake most women do at some point in their life: I fell asleep with my make up on. The next morning, my racoon-eyed self stumbled to the bathroom to undo the damage. Unfortunately, as I began removing the makeup, there looked to be a part of my eye that a stye was beginning to form. Thankfully, a few years ago, I had gone to an eye doctor after experiencing another morning of fun when my eyelid actually stuck together due to a bad allergy season coupled with staring at a screen for hours every day. I did what she told me back then last Wednesday, I applied a warm compress which allowed whatever was trying to get “stuck” to not be stuck…and all was good in the eye hood. 

Why on earth am I telling you this? Well, it dawned on me as I was sharing my predicament with Maria later that morning that what the eye doctor taught me could actually be applied to divine anointing. I don’t know if you all know this, but we actually have glands in our eye lids. The lachrymal glands in the upper lid is where our tears come from. The meibomian glands located on the edge of the eyelids produce oil. When my eyelids got stuck together, she explained that the oil glands had become blocked. When the oil glands are working properly, a thin layer of oil is spread on the eye surface each time we blink. This oil actually changes the consistency of the tear, which lubricates the eye. I let the doctor know that my eyes teared uncontrollably most days, but she explained that those tears are not the same without the oil. They don’t lubricate the eye properly which decreases the eyes function. If you go too long without unblocking the oil glands, not only will you have dry eye, but you can have small scratches that appear on the lens which can reduce your sight for life. 

My first thought when learning this is, “aren’t our bodies freakin amazing?!” But then again, we all know who made our bodies. 

Anyway, this got me thinking…this thing I do called blinking…I do, most times, without even thinking about it. I mean, you all probably just became very aware of how much you’re blinking now that I’ve shared this information with you, but most of the times, we just do it because that’s how God made us. And that’s what I see as divine anointing…that thing that God made us to do without even thinking about it. It’s because it’s that thing He put in us and that He works through us. Charles Spurgeon called it “unction.” It’s not something we can force or make happen…we can’t manufacture it…it’s just that smooth oil that slides in with the living water at just the right time to make the body function the way it’s supposed to function. It’s why some of you can preach a portion of scripture I’ve heard a million times, but it cuts through to my heart in a new way. It’s why some of you are the person that people are drawn to in times of need because you ask the good questions with care and concern. It’s also what makes this body we call the church move. There is literally and figuratively “unction” in the “function.” 

The thing that really stuck out to me about all of this is that it wasn’t that I didn’t have the oil gland in my eye, and that there wasn’t oil present…it was that there was just something preventing the oil from flowing. And that, for me, is where the death of doing things in my own power comes to play. 

It’s probably pretty safe to say that everyone in this room knows that “moment.” That moment where we recognize the anointing is flowing…the work that gets completed when you decided to spend time with your family and not your laptop. That church service that we allowed to go in a completely different direction then we planned or that service we didn’t plan at all! That moment you are able to walk alongside a person in a situation that once brought you pain and suffering. It’s that moment when we stop doing things in our own power and allow God’s power to take over…and it’s also sometimes that moment we run into the danger of manufacturing the anointing. 

Probably one of the number one things people will do when their eyes are dry is to put artificial tears or use eye drops. I mean, that makes sense, right? Somethings not wet, you need it to be wet, so you make it wet…but the artificial tear can never be the tear that lubricates the eye. Sure, it can come close, but it’s not the real thing. In fact, depending on what you use, you can actually make your eye dryer. 

So…this is where I’m about to get really real with you all – this is the part of this 7 minute teaching that I was stuck at for 3 days. I was really having a hard time landing this plane. I knew God gave me this revelation about the eye and the anointing, but I struggled with finding the right words to say. For the last few days, I’ve been trying to pull out scripture so I can really make this holy…I even went back and forth with a blog I’d written a year ago that was “really good” and might be able to be used to explain divine anointing, but it wasn’t until I was hashing out my ideas with Paul on the car ride home yesterday that it hit me like a ton of bricks…I once again was trying to do this in my own strength. 

This morning, at 6:17am, I stopped trying to do it in my own power. I put down all the books and blogs I had drug out. I closed the google search page of “divine anointing.” I turned off the youtube sermon I had playing in the background. And I asked God – what is it you want me to tell them? I believe what God is asking me to do individually, and this body collectively, is to stop trying to manufacture the flow…instead of going to the artificial tears when things get a bit uncomfortable, instead of trying to force a flow that doesn’t seem to be coming, how about we just focus on what could be blocking the flow in us? Like I said in the beginning, what I learned is that the oil was there, it was just being blocked. I had to take off my make up, and apply a warm compress and allow my body to work in a way that God made it to work. And this isn’t a call to start to pick apart what he or she is doing to block the flow…it’s starting with my own dry eyes and my own blockages. 

A few hours after completing this this morning, God gave me a vision… He showed me a picture of an oil well…you know the ones you see in Texas? But what He reminded me of is that I used to drive past them as a child on the way to my Mom’s eye doctor. You all may have seen them in parts of LA…I remember as a kid there was an educational cartoon which explained where oil came from…they said that the oil was formed when the earth was covered by water and all the plants and animals died off. They said the pressure of the water and sand eroding and pushing against them turned them into rocks…they actually would show dinosaurs turning into oil…which why as a kid my mom would point out these large contraptions drilling the land and say “look Gena, there’s a dinosaur.” The weight of the rocks in conjunction with the heat of the earth forms the oil and the continued pressure then pushes the oil up and through any crevice that is open. I don’t think God showed me this to say, “Hey, this is how oil is made.” I think He is reminding me once again that there is oil in the field. And we aren’t going to have to put a contraption on the field to pull the oil out…He’ll take care of that in His power. But what we just have to do is allow God to change us in His strength and not ours…unblocking our own well. 

I believe and prophecy that we are about to experience an outpouring of oil in these fields…this staff…this church…this city…like we have never seen before. 

Let it start with us.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Breathe

A couple weeks ago, I got off the phone with some friends and was in a funk. It was so good to catch up with them, but I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach soon after getting off the call. Maybe it’s because it was the beginning of June, and June has been quite a month for the past few years. Maybe it’s because as the world opens up again, not much has, or seems to be, changing in my world. I’m still here. Walking alongside the widow. Fighting the heaviness that tries to consume this space on the daily. Knowing I’m ultimately victorious, but not always feeling like I have the upper hand. The pangs of grief began to intensify in me. 

So I decided to open up my junk email, the email I use for all my shopping and information websites, and I start doing what anybody would do in that state of mind: clean my inbox. (Hey…it was a win in the moment because I didn’t go eat something.) Not sure why I decided to pop open the random email titled “Breathe – Out Now!" But I opened it. The email was announcing the release of a new single called “Breathe” and it was on the album being released by Maverick City called Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition. I knew immediately I had to hear this song. “Jubilee” is the word the Lord gave me for 2021. Juneteenth (other than being a very important day in American history) is an important day in my own personal history: the day my Dad took his last breath in 2018. 

I clicked on the link and it wouldn’t work. I had to subscribe to something, and although I was sure of the presence of the Lord, I was not about to subscribe to anything! I began to google it. And as I googled, I found a lot of stories on Juneteenth. I knew about the day, but I never knew, until that moment, that the day was originally known as “Jubilee Day.” As the tears of knowing began to well up in my eyes, I found the link to the song and began to listen to the words that would consume me. This was no coincidence. This was a visitation. 

They sang about being tired and weary. Being frustrated and waiting for better days ahead. They encouraged not to hold your breath…but instead release the heavy burden and breathe. They reminded us we were given the miracle of breath, there is power in our breathing, and that we were given breath so we could praise the Lord. They sang and repeated “I can feel my lungs taking air again…I can feel my strength coming back again.” 

The song was a proclamation. And as I listened, I could feel God’s presence and His supernatural breath in my lungs. And as I write this, I’m taken back to January 2020. 

I was getting ready to drive into our “Legacy Nights” at church, a week-long series of services where we pressed into God’s presence and power, and prayed for revival. I remember one day while I was getting ready, I was praying for the evening, asking God what He had for us. Asking Him what I should pray if called upon during the huddle. 

He reminded me of what He taught me about always “kissing Him goodnight.” He reminded me of the word I heard in 2016 at Azusa now: 


He showed me that to be revived, one must usually come close to passing out, or dying. I started thinking about CPR. I started thinking about the steps that I once learned about CPR. I felt like God was unpacking the steps that needed to happen for revival to come about in the church.

The first thing you learn to do before giving CPR is to point to someone and say, “Call 911.” When someone loses their breath, chaos can ensue. Not everyone will jump in, but some have been called to not only jump in, but to lead, and engage others. Although the actual act of CPR happens between two people, there are many others involved. 

The second thing you learn to do is to listen. Listen for breathing. Can you hear signs of life? Is there something blocking the airways? To do this, you must sit still and not be distracted by the chaos that may be going on around you. You must not succumb to the fear and anxiety in the room. You must focus on the one that has been put in front of you in that moment, and lean in close. 

The third thing you learn is to do is to breathe, mouth-to-mouth. You literally kiss the person who has lost their breath. The most intimate thing that one person can do with another. 

The forth thing you do is blow breath into the one who has lost their breath. You essentially are hoping to impart life into the person. 

Lastly, you pump the chest to activate the heart. To activate the very organ that will keep life going once you are no longer there to do so. 

Revival can’t happen without reconciliation. It can’t happen if we don’t involve others, listen closely, get intimate, breathe life and activate the spirit. It is truly a miracle that we get to breathe. 

I will never know why the CPR that was administered on my Dad the morning of June 19, 2018 didn’t work. I may never understand why 2020 became the year that so many had their breath taken away. It may never make sense that so many people had to hold their breath this long for Juneteenth to become a federal holiday. What I do know is, when you look at the mechanics of breathing, how fast it can be taken away, and how fast it can be given back…it is truly a miracle. 

So although I have felt a bit weary, I am choosing to believe that revival is here. I am thankful for the divine interventions of a word from the Lord in a beautifully timed worship song. My Heavenly Father knows exactly what I need, and is leaning in close to make sure I remember to prophesy to the breath...I can feel my strength, coming back again! 





Monday, February 22, 2021

Jubilee

I got into a habit a few years ago. I’d have a dream, or get a prodding from the Holy Spirit, and I began to make a note of it on my phone. After my Dad passed away, and we found ourselves going through his things, I even thought to myself, “Man, people are going to think I’m nuts when they read the stuff on my phone!” Most of what I’ve recorded may not be a word from God. But some of it…some of it is undeniably spot on. 

I think it was the end of 2010 when I started following a blogger who spoke about choosing a word for the year. I thought it was a great idea, and as the years went by, I was always surprised how my words always did tie into the year I was having. Of course, some skeptics told me that I was just looking for the word once I had established it. That’s why it’s hard for me to be around skeptics! At the end of 2010, I started what would be a year-long journey of unemployment, and I really needed a word to stand on. He gave me “strength” and it helped get me through a year of not knowing what tomorrow would bring. 

As the years passed, I’d find friends and co-workers who did the same thing. We’d share our words at the beginning of the year. We’d even write them up on the dry erase board in our office. It was our way of putting a stake in the ground for the year. We’d celebrate together when God would reveal deeper levels of why the word was meant for us in the particular year.

I was curious as to what my word for 2021 would be. My word (that ended up being “words”) for 2020 were “abide” and “arise”. I remember being perplexed as to how they fit together, they seem so counter to one another. But as 2020 began to reveal itself, it was clear how you could do both at the same time. 

In the year that seemed to take so much away, I wondered how God would follow it up for me. I remember hearing the whisper on 10/29/2020, “Jubilee is coming.” I remember putting a note in my phone when I heard it. I wish I had written how it was confirmed on 11/2/2020, but all I know is that it was. And once it was confirmed, it started popping up in so many places.

At first, I tried to make sense of it in my own understanding. I am turning 49 this year…actually today. Yes, I am actually typing this up as I turn 49 and enter the year of jubilee counting up to my 50th birthday. 

Oh God…I’ll be 50 next year. 

How could THIS be jubilee? I am still unmarried, without children, living in a pandemic with no sign of any freedom, debts being cancelled or deals involving large portions of land. The “Jubilee Year” is supposed to be the year of release. Meanwhile, I’m stuck in a house until a pandemic ends. 

But just as God has done so many times before, He has taken me on a journey of redefining what the jubilee year looks like for me. I remember being in a staff meeting at the end of 2020 where everyone was sharing how they were “thriving” in 2020. Whether it was starting a family or relationship, getting healthy or succeeding at work…I sat in my zoom square trying not to reveal the tears that were welling up in my eyes. If thriving and success were going to be measured by those standards, then that ain’t me! I didn’t have anything to share except that I recognized that what I had with Jesus is special. 

I recognized that what I had with Jesus is special. 

I sat with God in that. I wrestled with Him a bit. I asked Him why I had found myself speaking into so many people’s lives and situations to see Him then move in those lives and situations…but yet I still stood here feeling like I hadn’t gotten my own “moment” yet. What about me?  And as I sat with Him in a very vulnerable place, exposing the “ish” that I felt about that, I felt like He asked me, “But what if that’s your way to thrive?” What if your “thing” is that you hear from Me and then speak it over people, and then get to see those things I share with you happen for them? What if that’s your thriving?”

Since I made that proclamation in my own heart, it seems that the years of not feeling special, seen and loved fell off. This entire time, God was preparing me for this year of jubilee: the year that I fully grasped the cancelled debt of insecurity and the freedom that comes with knowing He and I have something special together. 

Now, I won’t say that I still haven’t had my moments. There are still things I want so bad for Him to tell me about my own life and situations. But I believe as I continue to focus on my special relationship with Him, He will continue to redefine the person I see staring back at me in the mirror.

So here’s to the next 365 days around the sun. I’ll go ahead and get my shofar ready to blow. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

She's Single...Bless Her Heart (originally posted on 12/21/2016)

This past week at church, my Pastor gave a great message which included an example that made me chuckle. He explained that where he grew up in the south, you could turn any insult into something that sounded less like an insult by adding the phrase, “Bless his/her heart.” For example: “Man, she’s put on a lot of weight since high school…bless her heart.” Or, “He is dumb as a doorknob…bless his heart.”

You get the idea.

On the way home from meeting up with some friends, I started thinking about the fact that at my age it seems like an awful lot of people could describe me as, “She’s single…bless her heart.” Like being a woman at this stage of life and single is an insult. The reason I can say that with some certainty is that I remember my 25-year old self thinking the same thing about the older, single women in my life. And I can’t lie…sometimes it feels like an insult having to say out loud that I’m “still single.” Definitely painful during this time of the year. Or national holidays. Or that dreaded bouquet toss at weddings. Especially if they play “All the Single Ladies.” I mean you might as well “bless my heart” right then and there.

I can easily start down that slippery slope of “How did this happen?” The problem with coming to that question is there really is nowhere to turn for the answer but to blame myself. Something I did or didn’t do or somewhere I did or didn’t go.

But the upside of being this age and single is I’ve also been privy to seeing a lot of my friends and family manage the “being single,” “being married,” and sometimes “being divorced.”  None of these seasons are easy, and they can all feel like an insult at times. In fact, during all these seasons I’ve heard people say, “How did I get here?”

So where does that leave my blessed heart? Well, it leaves me today with embracing where I am and remaining hopeful for what’s to come. You see, I am certain that I will be married someday. God has put that desire in my heart, and I am made for it. I remind myself of the day that I heard Him say “I’m preserving you for someone.” And I know I hear His voice. (Because…hello, who else would use those words?!) I have to sometimes remind myself more of that on days like today where I wish I had a partner I could call and talk to about the breakthrough in physical therapy. Or about how afraid I am about my Dad’s upcoming heart procedure. Or about the cricket I hear chirping and am praying is not in my room. (I hate crickets…they’re like beige roaches that you can hear.)

But I digress. Being single is not an insult. It’s a season of preparation for what’s to come. I’d like to believe I’m like a really fine wine that is aging for just the right palate. Or a steak marinating for just the right barbecue. God’s working through me and in me for just the right man that will come at just the right time. If you’re reading this, and single, and feeling insulted by it…I pray you will take heart. In fact, take your blessed heart and get to praying for your future mate.

Today’s Forecast:  I’m still single.

Silver Lining: Bless my heart.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Motherhood Without Children

My good friend DeShawne Edwards asked me to write a guest post for her series "Mom Memoirs". 

Take a look at what I wrote about "Motherhood Without Children" here.

Whether you're a mother or not, you'll want to follow my friend's blog here.

She's pretty amazing. 


Friday, January 22, 2021

Vulnerability

I love that one of the silver linings of 2020 was getting connected with a fabulous organization called "STRETCH." 

The mission of STRETCH. is to facilitate spaces for women to be vulnerable, embrace their weaknesses, and experience the unconditional love of God.

Not only was I honored to become a part of this organization's board, but they asked that I share a journal entry on "vulnerability" here.

If you are a woman, and you're looking for a place to rest, be loved and be seen, please check out www.stretchforwomen.org. 


Thursday, December 24, 2020

What I Learned About Scary Santa (originally posted 12/17/2017)

I came across this picture and laughed to myself as I made a connection I’m not sure I had ever made before. You see, I grew up deathly afraid of Santa Clause. I’m not sure if it came from some scary Santa story my brother told me, or maybe it was just the creepiness of a dude showing up in our house in the middle of the night. I would not even walk on the same floor of the mall as Santa! And the one year my Dad borrowed the company Santa suit to surprise me Christmas morning…well, I guess he had to tear the beard off because I lost my mind when I answered the door only to find Satan…I mean Santa…standing in front of our house. I loved the one special gift Santa left each year that was wrapped in some different paper or had my initial painted on it with glitter (because surely it was from him and not my parents…Mom would NEVER glitter paint our packages!) But anytime he made an appearance…forget it…I was not having it!

This is literally the only picture I have of myself as a kid with “Scary” Santa. Looks like I’m nervous…but I’m not crying. And why you may ask? Well, what I do remember about this picture that even my Mom doesn’t remember is what happened before it was taken. That blue overall set with the matching  turtleneck was a little snug. So snug that my pants ripped the moment I jumped on his lap! Now thankfully, nobody else noticed that this happened, and it was close to the end of the day so I’m sure I just tied my jacket around my waist. But perhaps THIS is where my fear of Santa began!

It’s interesting to think that there was fear associated with the first Christmas. I mean, how could the birth of our Savior elicit fear? But a few years ago I watched The Nativity Story, and it was one of the first times I really connected with what Mary and Joseph went through. I mean if anyone had a reason to be fearful, it was Mary, who found herself pregnant as a virgin in a time where her fiancĂ© could execute her for being so. And could you even imagine the amount of emotions that Joseph must have gone through at that time? Both had to believe that they were visited by angels and instructed on what their next steps would be and they had to choose to obey. I am sure that they had heard, or maybe even been witness to, a woman executed for cheating on their betrothed. Yet, instead of connecting that past experience with their current one, they chose to have faith and believe that they did not have to fear. They had to believe they heard from heaven and they had to have faith to endure. What I also love is that heaven knew how they were going to feel…and they weren’t shamed for it. Instead, messengers were sent to remind them, “don’t be afraid.”

The connection I made with my “Scary” Santa incident is that one instance could have been the reason I never wanted anything to do with him. Maybe I wasn’t really afraid of him. Maybe it was just the memory of him and, what could have been, a very humiliating day. Maybe I was more afraid that I’d jump up on his lap again and possibly rip my pants in a way that everyone would notice.

It made me think: Are there areas in my life that I am letting one past experience create fear in a present one? Do I let fear keep me from experiencing life because of that past experience? Have I “walked-the-top-floor-of-the-mall” in hopes that I would not have to face the fear head on?

If I’m honest: yes, yes and all-the-way yes.

Many have said that “fear not” is written 365 times in the Bible. I’m not sure if that’s true (I’ve never counted), but what I do know is that it was said a lot. And it was said by Jesus. And if it was said a lot in the Bible, and said by Jesus, then I know that it’s somewhere I want to be. A place where fear does not paralyze me from living my best life. A place where fear doesn’t stop me from opening up to new people or new situations. A place where fear does not control my decisions based on past heartbreaks or disappointments.

Today’s forecastMemories tell me, " Don't do it, you  might split your pants again."

Silver LiningHeaven tells me “Fear not! We know a pretty good Seamstress.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Always Kiss Me Goodnight

Today is my Mom and Dad’s 59th Wedding Anniversary. I say “is” because it very much still feels like they’re married. I know the vows say ‘til death do us part,’ but if you were in this house, you would sense it…she is still definitely Gene’s bride.

 Most mornings, I wake up and lay in bed for a few minutes thanking God I woke up. It may sound morbid, but if there is one thing I’ve learned in this past few years, tomorrow is not promised. There’s something about waking up early in the morning in a quiet house with the sprinklers on outside and just a hint of the sun coming through the window. It’s like I’m thankful I get another chance to try this thing called life again. The world is my oyster, and for all I know, the day could be a big fat pearl waiting for me! A new chance. A new opportunity. It’s not hard to thank God for that…I mean His Word even says it. Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

 On July 20,2019, as I was lying in bed thinking about the fact I got another day to give it the ol’ college try, I heard a whisper:

 “Always kiss me goodnight.”

 At first, I figured it was due to what I ate before I went to bed, paired with maybe a late night search on Pinterest. I knew I’d seen my share of photos of signs that say that under the “I Do” and “Wedding” boards! But then my mind started going to remembering the night before. I was super anxious for some reason. A lot had happened the day prior that left my mind racing and my nerves a bit frayed. But, before I turned on the house alarm and got into bed, I made sure to kiss my Mom on the cheek and say goodnight.

 It dawned on me, for the first time that morning, I had naturally fallen into the same pattern I had seen between my Mom and Dad my entire life. At the end of the day, whether it was a “good” day or a “bad” day, my Dad would make sure to kiss my Mom goodnight. I knew that was one of the many things my Mom missed in his sudden passing. I couldn’t remember whether I said goodnight to him the last night he was living. I had gotten home really late from work that night, and he was in his office on his computer. I was so exhausted, I’m not even sure if I stopped to say hello.

 I realized that the combination of remembering him in that nightly ritual with my mom, and the regret I had from the last night I saw him, I had taken on the habit. Every night since his passing, I make sure I say good night to my mom and give her a kiss on the cheek because tomorrow isn’t promised. So why this whisper on July 20, 2019? Always kiss me goodnight? I knew it was a God whisper, so I took some time to meditate on it. I started asking myself whether I was as thankful at night with my heavenly Father as I am with him in the morning. Do I “kiss” Him on the cheek before I go to sleep? Do I thank Him for the day, whether it was a day filled with old hurts or new beginnings? Or do I climb into bed, tired, hurt and let down, just wanting to get to another morning that if He allowed me to wake up again, I’d give it another try?

 I did what I always do when I get a word like this…I google all the things. I found myself at an article written for religionnews.com by Nadine Epstein. The article broke down the religious history of “X” and “O” which explained the religious background to why we sign letters with an XO. The article said:

 “Once it was a sacred symbol, the “x” represented “faith and fidelity,” says Marcel Danesi, a professor of linguistic anthropology and semiotics at the University of Toronto. It became the signature of choice in the Middle Ages, when few could write and documents were sealed with an x embossed in wax or lead. This may be when the “x” first became associated with the kiss: It was customary to close books with a kiss, and oaths of fealty to kings were sealed with a kiss.”

That was it. The King of all kings was asking me to seal my day, the day He had given me, with a kiss. No matter what did or did not happen in that day, would I seal the day with a kiss? However much I did or did not perceive Him working in my life, would I kiss Him goodnight? Even though I know that He promised me that joy came in the morning, my Heavenly Father was asking me to stop for a minute before I went to bed, and seal the day with a kiss.

 It’s not a practice I’ve gotten down perfectly. But on days like today, and nights like tonight, I am grateful again that I have another chance to kiss Him goodnight.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Untitled

I literally don’t know where to start. That seems to be the “norm” this year, if there could ever be a norm to 2020. At first, I thought I was receiving the tie up to a writing I had started but never finished. Then I thought I was getting some pretty package of what my words for 2020 really reflected. Then I sat and stared at the screen and read something that took me to a place where I could literally feel the “girl shrugging” emoticon rise up from my toes as the overarching gesture to God I’m feeling right now. 

I simply have no title to what is happening right now. 

I was drawn back to that thing I wrote about quicksand a couple years ago. Once again, an overwhelming feeling of being stuck, only to be reminded not to try to scurry out of it. Sure, there will be people who will tell me I’m stuck because I choose to be. Those people don’t know the eternal struggles I have on a daily. They aren’t with me in the midnight hour when all in me wants to run from this place. Those moments I want to pull my way out of a tough situation that seems to be swallowing me whole. The moment when what seems to be the “perfect solution” is placed in front of me…only to have the honest conversation with myself that I placed it in front of me, not God. What I’ve learned about quicksand, and more importantly, those places…the more I fight to escape, the more I am engulfed by the circumstance. 

What God taught me then, and He is ever so gently reminding me this morning…”Lean back into me. What’s the last thing I told you? When you find yourself stuck in the muck and mire of a circumstance? When you feel in your bones you are going under and this time for good? When you are fighting with all of your might to get out of something that you think I did not intend for you? My daughter, what is the last thing I told you?” 

It’s those moments that I’m not only reminded of the last thing He told me, but that also heard Him right. Just like the article said about quicksand, “Lay back and create a bigger footprint by allowing yourself to float. Yes, do the exact thing that sounds absolutely crazy. Lay yourself back and allow your body to float above the very thing trying to suck you in.” 

Fighting back in something He’s told me to release has always ended up with me even deeper into a circumstance I was not supposed to be in. A place I was not supposed to walk into. I was reminded of the last time I said yes to something that seemed like the perfect solution to me. One week in, and I had to make the painful realization that I had taken things into my own hands and walked into a place He had not prepared for me. It was hard to admit, but had I not made the hard decision to say, “This isn’t right, I need to leave,” I would have missed the last 4 years of the people I have met, the experiences I have had, the healing I have experienced, and the full understanding of how much my Father in heaven loves me. Even in circumstances that try to make me feel like I’m unseen and not valued, I have come to a place where I recognize I am fully known, seen and loved by God…and that is enough. 

Today’s Forecast: A story with no title. 
Silver Lining: God’s a better writer than me.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

My Achilles Heel

On July 23rd, I was putting together a donation pick up that I completely forgot I had scheduled. I blame it on being four+ months into a pandemic with a sprinkle of grief. The donation pick up was mostly to handle the cleaning out of my Dad's closet. I'd bagged up most of his belongings a few months prior, but had now been given the green light from my Mom to have the bags taken away. Since the truck was coming, I figured "Why not binge some of the stuff in my own closet?!" As I went through my piles, I found myself wanting to hold onto items I hadn't warn for some time. Items that were too big for me now. As I slowly skipped over the "just in case" pile, I felt a gentle nudge: "You're never going to wear that size again, let it go." 

So I did. 

It's now 77 days from that day, and I have refocused on my health, started a regimented food program and I am now working out regularly. I'm close to hitting my first goal of 25 pounds and am feeling like I could actually do it this time!

One of the blessings that has come from this refocus is actually experiencing the healing that has taken place in my heel. After tearing it two times in the last 4 years, I wondered if I would ever be able to be active again. I wondered if my achilles heel would actually always be my achilles heel! I remember days I sat in chairs crying because I couldn't walk, and the pain of taking the next step was greater than my willingness to even try. What if I tore it again? What I didn't know is that injury and the time of facing a weakness I had no control over, set me up for some future storms that were coming. Just as 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, His grace is sufficient and His power is made PERFECT in my weakness.

I decided to go back and read about that time, and wanted to share it here




Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Rain Is Coming

God brought back into memory two things He taught me in the past 2 years. We obviously find ourselves in a desert season. The heat is quite literally, and figuratively, rising. I woke up this AM in a warm home with the sun beating in and remembered, “Oh yeah, a heat wave starts today.” I’m not a fan of the heat. It has the tendency to feel like it sucks all the life out of me. I wish I were one of those people who thrive in it…but I literally pray for it to go. I pray for the rain.

The silver lining is the Holy Spirit has taught me to not only be comforted in these seasons of intense heat, but to recognize that they are temporary seasons. I'm always comforted by the impending rain, but even the rain can bring things I'm not expecting. Whether the heat and drought bring a superbloom or quicksand after the rain, He has taught me to learn from both.