Tag Archives: Deliverance

Glorious Ruins

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I am like a little kid waiting on Christmas morning.  The very first, hard-copy proof of my book will be delivered any day now and I am so excited!  I stalk the mailman, waiting and watching to see what they will have for me each day. Seeing this “project” through to completion over a decade has been such a personal journey.  Sharing in such a transparent way has been a very significant step in growing my faith, one which doesn’t come naturally.  (And it continues through the hand of my Lord, as I ramble and rant on my virtual home here.)  This feels very much to me like the ruins coming to life, rising up from the ashes and destruction.  Something beautiful and encouraging coming to life out of disease and death.  The picture painted in Isaiah 61.  “Just as the ashes, symbolic of mourning and loss, are transformed into a crown of beauty. God works our struggles into beautiful stories of good triumphant over evil. When we are shattered, God lovingly restores our lives, putting our brokenness together again.  When the harsh desert sun beats down, we find shelter in God’s protective span.  It is time to turn up the volume on the powerful message of hopeful chaos, beautiful ashes and glorious ruins.  When we ask, “Where are you, God?” we’ll surely see that our loving Father is right here with us as we are revived in a salvation story of redemption and restoration.” (Glorious Ruins Small Group Study excerpt) AMEN!

I want to share with you the passage of scripture that I have hid in many times when life has gotten to be too much.  Use it as the basis to form your own cry to God for redemption and refuge and rescue.  Cease striving and allow the words of Psalm 91 to soothe your weary soul…

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

Strength Training

god is all you haveI have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” Philip Yancey 

There is something about fall, back to school, back to routines, cooler weather, and brilliant blue skies that makes me introspective and reflective. And so, as I sit in my very favorite coffee spot, with a steaming cup of coffee by my side, I am lost in days past. 

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” John 14:8 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 as I drove to pick up my kids from school I started having heart palpitations, two echocardiograms,  a 24-hr halter, a stress test, two ultrasounds, six MRIs, two PET scans, numerous blood draws, and countless doctors appointments, the fear of an unknown diagnosis and then the reality of an actual diagnosis later I sit here today a different person.  I still get squeamish at blood draws but at least have gotten better at remembering medication on a daily basis (our medicine cabinet looks like a pharmacy), and more importantly remembering to eat when I take it.  Otherwise, I pay for it for the better part of the day with nausea.  I have started running, eating better, and made taking care of myself a priority. 

It is hard for me to believe that it has been almost 6 mo since my last MRI, with another looming on the horizon,  and almost two years since this whole journey began.  In a month I have another MRI presenting another opportunity for God to show his miraculous power through complete healing.  I rest confident in the knowledge though that whatever happens, my God is in control and has a magnificent plan that continues to unfold.

Thank you to ALL for your continued support though reading my ramblings and sharing in this journey with me.  Your continued dedication buoys my spirit in ways I am not sure I even grasp.  I am so thankful that I am not going this alone, I can’t even imagine what that would be like.

I want to just take a moment and, if you will indulge me, share with you the greatest lesson that I have learned in all of this.  The most difficult, humbling lesson for me.

The lesson is straight out of 2 Corinthians, Paul’s second letter to the people of Corinth, written after he had to sneak out of the city of Damascus.  Paul says,  “As I look back upon that night, when I was so discouraged, so defeated, I can see that then I started to learn the secret of effective, victorious living, I had thought my learning and my intelligent understanding of the Scriptures, my Hebrew background and all my qualifications would be the keys that would open  the hearts of these Jews in Damascus to me, but I found they weren’t.  I had to leave like a common criminal.  There and then the Lord Jesus began to teach me the wonderful lesson that out of weakness I am made strong; that when I am weakest, he is the strongest.  That I can do nothing on my own or through my own power.  Out of that,” he says, “I have learned the great lesson of rejoicing and glorying in my weakness.”

For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)  Paul speaks of his experience of a “thorn in the flesh,” something I can greatly identify with.  This ugly thing that kept pestering him, prodding him, aggravating him, and hurting him.  He begged to have it taken away, but the word of the Lord came, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in our weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b)  Paul’s “thorn” was never removed and mine my never be either.  That thorn, ensures that every day is lived fully within the grasp of His grace.

That is the secret of strength: not outward impressiveness; not great prestige, pomp and favor.  Neither does strength lie in a brilliant, impressive personality, nor in ability to speak with eloquence.  Strength, true strength, lies in a heart that realizes that it can do nothing apart from a complete dependence on a living Lord within.  The weaker you are, the stronger Christ can be. 

Isn’t that encouraging?  Doesn’t that strengthen you?  I know it has, and continues to strengthen me.  The things that I tried to do on my own before, didn’t and never would have amounted to anything.  But He can do all things through me.  In and through all of this, that is the greatest lesson that I have learned.

Out of weakness comes an unbelievable strength…

Father God, I pour out my heart to you this morning.  I am filled with a sense of awe at how You can take something unimaginably painful and turn it into something beautiful for Your purposes.  I have seen You, Father.  You have continued to show up, at every bump and every stumble.  Please remind me on the days that I have trouble seeing You that it isn’t because You have left me, but instead because I haven’t slowed down enough to let you catch up. Remind me Father, that I don’t have to be everything to everyone, that there are no appearances that I have to keep up, and that plastering a fake smile on and acting like everything is ok when it isn’t rob you of an opportunity to pour your love and strength into my days.  Remind me Father, that you desire a weak and broken spirit, for it is then that we are able to be used greatly for Your glory.  I want so badly to be used…Amen.

The View From My Mountain

Worry. I worry about my kids, their safety, their bumps and bruises. I worry when they are with me and especially when they aren’t. I worry about my husband, his stress level, his commute back and forth to work, and every time he gets on a plane to defy gravity. I worry about my own health, analyzing every headache, pain, and especially the days when I just can’t seem to get in gear. I worry about my parents; I worry about my grandmothers. I worry about the world in general and many times in specific. What kind of mess are we leaving to our children and grandchildren? I could keep going but I think you understand. Welcome to my looming mountain, Mt. Worry.

We all have things in our lives that start out small and suddenly gain a life of their own. An errant thought, or maybe we feel, correctly or incorrectly, that we have been wronged and we hold onto that. Whatever your mountain is, chances are it didn’t start out that way. We have a way of taking a small speed bump and through our fretting, fussing, and outright obsessing, we feed it. Making it bigger and bigger until it looms in front of us, casting a shadow on everything, and completely obstructing our view. We have created a mountain. Take a moment right now, if you would indulge me, and think about what your mountain is.

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. (Mark 11:22, 23 NLT)

Are you ready to claim victory over your mountain? Are you ready to see it thrown into the sea? Name your mountain and then release it to God, for real, mind and spirit, with both hands. Let it go. Talk to God about it, let Him help you understand why you don’t have to be a prisoner to your mountain. Believe that He can not only shrink your mountain but throw it into the abyss. Hold onto His promises. Cultivate your faith.

I know that God holds my today and all of my tomorrows in the palm of His hand, and not just mine. Remember the Sunday School song we used to sing, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” Nothing that happens takes God by surprise. That means that all of my worry and fretting over what might be are just a strength draining activity. The God who loves me is in control and if I can trust Him with eternity, why can’t I trust Him for today? I will confess that this doesn’t always come easily but if I can overcome my mountain, believe me, so can you! Prayer moves mountains…

Father, your word says that prayer moves mountains, that You will take my mountain and throw it into the sea. Today, I am struggling Lord. You know what my mountain is, You know my struggle. Rock by rock please help me remove this mountain from my life. Lord, I know that this will not be easy, that I will need Your help. Please remind me of this when I forget and try to go it alone. I also know that this may not happen overnight and so I pray for patience and endurance. And when I fail, please give me the strength and courage to continue on. Lord, I also know that this process may be painful. Please be a salve to these wounds, for I do believe your promise to throw my mountain into the sea. And Lord, I can’t wait for the day when I can claim victory over it! When the world will see your glory shining through me. Father, I love you and I am trying so to keep my eyes on you. Thank you for loving me and for caring about my mountains. In your loving, holy name. Amen.

Still Moments

20130716-071131.jpgMoses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13, 14 NIV)
Moses is telling the Israelites as they faced the Red Sea on one side and the advancing Egyptian army on the other side, do not be afraid, stand firm, don’t give up, just get out of the way and watch God work. I love that! Do you feel caught between an army and the sea today? Quiet your battling mind, hand over the struggle to God, no matter how big or how small, believe He will fight for you, and then get out of the way and watch Him work!