Wednesday, September 23, 2009

And so I begin...

I have journaled my whole life. When I was a kid, it was one of those little diaries with a key. What little girl hasn't written in a diary at some point in her childhood? I have always felt the need to record my thoughts and feelings, keep an account of the events in my life. I found out after my mom died that she was also a journaler. I never knew that; if I had known it, I would have bought her a journal and she could have written all about her life. As it was, I found scraps of paper all over her house after she died. I saved all of them. Someday I will organize them into a journal of sorts.

I wrote in a spirial notebook during the early years of my marriage. I kept an account of my pregnancy with my first-born, but I got busy and quit writing for a long time. When I picked it back up again, it was to vent about the misery I found myself in. My marriage was in deep trouble, and I was constanly unhappy. As a result, the entries became caustic and full of venom and hate. After the divorce in 1997, I burned this journal in a friend's fireplace. It was the only way to get rid of the constant reminder of the unhappiness of those years. If I had written about the good times, I would have saved that part, but I only wrote to complain and rage about what was making me unhappy.

When I gave my heart to Jesus in 1994, a miraculous change took place in my heart. I found that God was always speaking to me, and I recorded these words in a small spiral notebook which I called My Spiritual Journal. The first entry was October 31, 1994, the day I got saved. For several years I wrote in My Spiritual Journal, so much that there are 3 volumes, all in the same size little spiral notebook.

After the 3rd volume, I decided to get a nicer journal; something actually meant for journaling. I have quite a few of these; even up through the present time. I currently still write in my handwritten journal, a practice that is a dying art in this era of laptop computers and online journals. I have decided that when I have filled up the current journal, I will do my journaling on the computer. It's a heart-wrenching decision, but it's just easier. I am much more prone to record my thoughts these days if I can just type it.

So, all that being said, let the online journaling officially begin. I intend to record some "archives;" some journal entries from several years back in order to try and lay the groundwork for this work and give it some background.

Until next time. =)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

why worry?

From a Dec. 2007 journal entry:

Sometimes fear still sticks its ugly head up and sneers at me. I'll bet if you're honest, it does it to you, too. The kind of fear I'm talking about is defined by Merriam-Webster as "to be afraid or apprehensive." Yes, I do get afraid of just being alone sometimes, but that's not what I'm feeling now. I am talking about anxiety and apprehension over the future. Sometimes it's a little scary being on your own. There is no one to sit beside me in the evening to say, "You can do it—you're going to be alright." Or IS there.....?

Yes! As a matter of fact, there is Someone who never leaves me. He is there when I am down; He is there when I am up. He is always there because He promised He would be. I'm talking about my best friend, Jesus. He is as close as the mention of His name. Whisper "Jesus." He is right there, leaning toward you, ready to listen to whatever you have to say.

Over the last 10 years, He has become so precious to me. Even though divorce is a wicked thing, it has brought me so much closer to the Lord. Because I found myself alone most of the time, I had to learn to run to Him for my every need. Sometimes He has provided a friend to listen, advise, or just cry with me, and sometimes it's just Him and me. He always knows best which I need, and I have learned to leave that up to Him.

Like tonight. Finals week can be daunting, and that's where we came in: fear. Yes, I'll admit, I was feeling a little fearful earlier. I went to the Lord and asked Him to guide me and relieve me of fear. He reminded me in Isaiah 45:2, "I'll go ahead of you, clearing and paving the road. I'll break down bronze city gates, smash padlocks, kick down barred entrances." (The Message) He also reminded me:

"you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared."
Proverbs 3:23-26 (NIV)

That pretty much covers it! He is going before me and preparing the way, so I don't need to worry about the future. He is protecting my every step, and even guarantees that I will even sleep in safety. He has thought of everything!

So, why should I worry? I shouldn't—and neither should you. Give it to Jesus, my friend. He is waiting for you, and He loves you.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Reflections on rejection

In Isaiah 65, “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said ‘Here am I, here am I,’ to a nation which did not call on My name.”

When I read this, it struck me that it is GOD talking. The following analogy came to me:

He showed up uninvited, like a child who bounced up onto the porch of a “friend,” all excited saying “I’m here!” But to his dismay, he finds out all those he loves are inside, having a party without him. Having no guile in his heart, he was glad to see them, thinking it would be mutual, that they would be glad to see him, too. His thoughts of a fun and happy time with his friends are dashed as the realization that he was not wanted there, not sought. They didn’t even know he was anywhere near as they had a great time. It had never occurred to them to invite him in to join with them in a merry time. One glance in the window caused his heart to break. Dejected, rejected, and unwanted, he turned and walked away slowly.

This is a silly little story, but it all flooded into focus inside me when I read this passage. It broke my heart for my wonderful, loving Father who only wants to love and bless his creation.

Friday, July 3, 2009

field of rocks

Sometimes life can be like being in a field with a lot of sharp rocks. We keep stepping on them—they’re kind of like gravel, too numerous to be avoided. We keep on walking through this field, not properly shod with the "preparation of the gospel of peace" as we are told to do in Ephesians 6. After a while, we become focused on our pain instead of Him. Pain that could have been avoided or at least diminished had we followed all the instructions about putting on our armor.

If we take the time to look up, we will see Jesus, standing in the field and reaching down to take our hand. Of course, by this time we have become completely focused on the pain caused by our poor cut and bleeding feet. How could God have led us into this painful place? Can't He see what it is doing to us? If we just pause and listen, we will hear Him speaking to us. We must stop and listen. He has words of life.

He is saying “Hold on to Me, for I will make those very things that cause you pain to help you. I will cause them to create a step on which you will step to go to higher places.”

The very things now hurting us will eventually allow a way out of the pain. God will bind up our wounds; He promised. What satan means for evil will be used for our good and God’s glory. What wonderful news this is to us!

"I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Psalm 40:1,2

Thursday, July 2, 2009

walking by faith

This is a blog I posted in Sept 2007, but it is timeless, because it is truth from the Word:

Sometimes a walk of faith is literally one step at a time. From one side of the room to the other. Breathing in and breathing out. Going to bed and knowing that "I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me." (Psalm 3:5)

Ok. So the devil is mad because I have decided to believe what God says instead of what he says. I'm not even going to give him a place for a foothold by mentioning what was wrong. I will just say this:

I am "healed by the stripes of Jesus" (1 Peter 2:24).

I am "redeemed from the curse of the law." (Galatians 3:13)

I am "not moved by what I see." (2 Corinthians 4:18)

I am "walking by faith and not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)


I am "exercising my authority over the enemy." (Luke 10:19)

In Jesus' name.


I am thankful

For a little while I will continue to post from some older entries that I feel the need to share. Here is one that I posted in November of 2007 on my myspace blog:

It is the season when everyone starts thinking about being thankful. Thanksgiving is 1 day away; but shouldn't we be thankful all the time? I am truly thankful for so many things. Well, I made a list. It is by no means a comprehensive list. I'm sure as soon as I hit "post" I'll think of something else I'm thankful for. But I'm feeling really serious and somewhat down tonight. What better way to pull myself out of the dumps that I am down in than to give thanks to God. Here goes my small attempt at being thankful.

I am thankful that my Father has taken care of me all these years. My 10 year "anniversary," for lack of a better word, was last month. Ten years of being divorced and a single mom. I remember being so scared to be alone on those weekends when the kids would go see their dad. I remember also the strange mix of emotions I felt; freedom and release, mixed with fear, but yet a peace like I had never known. I was still a baby Christian then; I didn't really give my heart to Jesus until 1994. October 31, 1994, 12 noon to be exact. At times I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I finished raising the youngest one by myself. I have asked God, "Did I do it right, God?" Only He knows. I do know that my Father was there beside me in those dark days. I may have messed up at times, but He never left my side, not for one moment. I know this, not because I felt His presence all the time. No, I know this because His word says He will never forsake me. It doesn't say if you do everything right He will be there. It just says He will be there. I am thankful for that.

I am thankful, believe it or not, for the many tears I have shed over the last 10 years. I think I must have made my Father's shoulder soggy with all the tears I cried all over it. I still cry on His shoulder. But I'm not complaining. No, I am thankful for those tears. They were and are necessary for my healing. They are God's way of giving me a safety valve to let the pressure off sometimes. They assure me that God is near, because He promised to be near to the brokenhearted. They are somehow necessary in the healing process, and I am thankful for them. I went almost 2 years during this 10 years unable to cry at all. I am very thankful He has given me back the ability to feel, because when you put up walls to shelter yourself from pain, you also shut out the good along with it. I can once again feel joy, love, and peace, because God is now my shield, my fortress, my hiding place. He shelters me in the storms; nothing gets through to me unless He allows it. I am thankful for that.

While I'm thanking God, I am also thankful for my wonderful kids (grown-up kids are still kids to a mom, I think we established that several blogs ago). I am very proud of all of them. They are following their dreams.

I am thankful for my wonderful friends. I couldn't make it without them. My close friends know me, but love me anyway.

I am thankful for my church. I am thankful for my job. I am thankful for my car, which is paid for. I am thankful that I can go to college and follow my dream.

I am thankful.

"I will cry to God Most High, to God, who accomplishes all things for me....
I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations" Psalm 57:2,9

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When it all started...

The foundation for my blog can be found in the entry I made in my journal on February 5, 2009. In that entry I revealed that I identify so well with the main character of the book _Hinds' Feet on High Places_ by Hannah Hurnard. For years, I had been dominated by a spirit of fear. Every aspect of my life was controlled by the paralyzing effect that fear had on me. I was convinced that I could not do the things that others did; that I somehow had limitations others didn't have. God has done a great work in me over the years, since I accepted Him as my Savior 14 years ago. I now know that I was being lied to about my limitations, just like Much Afraid in the book was. I have journaled about it ever since. The very first entry in my ongoing spiritual journey started with these words:

"October 31, 1994. This was the day that I laid the broken pieces of my life at the feet of Jesus. He was so real to me that day, alone in my house, that I could almost see Him standing in my living room. Having been in pain emotionally for a number of years, I asked Him to fill my heart with His love, because I felt no one really loved me. I asked Him to fill my cup, as I lifted it to Him, until it overflowed with His love. I asked for Him to fill me with the Holy Spirit and use me somehow in His work."

He has continued to amaze me. I have had ups and downs of course, but the road continues to lead upward, just like Much Afraid's journey in the book did. Pride, Resentment, and Self-Pity have visited me on this trip, but just as in the book, my Shepard comes to my rescue when I call on Him. This is where I find myself tonight. I have had many difficulties lately, and it is so tempting to believe the lies that the enemy of my soul whispers in my ear. But God is faithful, and He helps me when it gets to be too much for me, like tonight. It has been my experience that when I have these times, those are the times I need to dig into the Word for a nugget of truth to stand on. I have to declare it several times before I start to believe it sometimes, but Jesus always comes through. The truth of His Word is not dependent on my ability to grasp it or even declare it. His truth is truth, regardless of my feelings. And not only do I have to dig in and hang on, I have to share it. One of my spiritual gifts involves writing and encouraging others. I know I am not the only one going through "stuff," as much as satan would like me to think I am. This is why I like to write; it is something God put within me. I simply cannot keep it to myself. 

"The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights." Habakkuk 3:19 (NLT)