Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Deliverance at Purim


Spring opens up – color, scents, growth, beauty, newness and growth from what seemed to be dead. And so it is with my heart!

I am feeling the growth and newness ( and the loss of midsection ) as my chemical levels even out with my thyroid and vitamins.  And yet, as I spoke in the last post – I know that there is something that is still lacking.


Sunday came – and the choice of where to worship – The boys and I had a long discussion in the morning of the why’s of our choices – and we settled on being submissive – even though Hubby is at work most Sundays – we are going to choose his choice. (Of which, he said later in the day, thrilled his socks off).

One of the details we discussed was the music. Although, for a concert I really love the music – the musicians are amazing and passionate, their hearts are full and they joy is abundant. The congregation really rocks out! For me, being new,  I don’t know most of their songs, or the arrangements of the words that I do know, being played to their writings.  I have spent most praise sessions enjoying the worship of those around me, while I am glad to be sitting in the Presence.

Yet, as we walked in a bit late – they were playing a song that I knew. Followed by a whole set of “songs that Angie would have chosen”.  And I felt the Father’s arms of comfort around me.

And then – the leader stopped. He urged us to think about the words. If we didn’t know the songs, or if they didn’t apply to us, or if we weren’t quite where the songs words said – to speak them as a prayer, of what we would want for our lives, or pray for a friend that comes to mind that the song does apply to – praying for those around us – instead of just singing out – words that may not be true to us.

And he started on – a familiar hymn -

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Yes, He has taught me to say – It is well, It is Well With my Soul.  I can say that. I do say that. I even trick myself into believing it sometimes.

But Sunday – when we sang the chorus – a couple times repeated – the silent wet drops of tears started to run down my face – as I knew – should I sing it to the choral standards of loveliness – that it would be a lie.

As the instruments melted together – beautifully, and the congregation sang, over and over, It is well. With my Soul. It is Well, It is Well, With My Soul. I knew – there was something unspeakable – that my own understanding could not comprehend – that was not well.

And so I prayed.  With my whole heart. Without words. HEAL ME! Fix this damaged heart! Wipe away the stress and pain! Or give it a Name! Give me A way to detach from whatever is pulling me under! Make It Well With My Soul!

And we continued to sing, and I felt as if the Lord himself were standing by me, arm on my shoulder as we continued -

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

And Christ seemed to look right at me – and assurance flooded in – that He has regarded my helpless estate – he knows, and I felt the healing. Flow through my entire body, badly cut bangs to sand clogged toe nails. And as we continued through the verses and chorus, I could feel the healing roll over me. The Strength filling my inner body.


( I warn ya, this is a long post – cause – it was a long Sunday!)

And then the service started – And we were in Luke – at the Lord’s Prayer – I’ll save everything I learned during our exercise for another post – We prayed through each section of the Lord’s prayer, pausing for 2 minutes (monitored by the iPhone) for personal prayer. We were at the section of Give US this day our daily bread – and saving all that was revealed in that phrase for another day – the personal prayer that was pouring out of me came in jumbled words.  Mourning. Sorrow. Pour laughter in. Replace the mourning. Trade in my sorrows. Fill US with the presence of the Show Bread, fill US with You! I couldn’t quite get the words out that was filling my mind, but I felt healing. I felt the mourning and sorrow being physically replaced.


That evening – we read Esther chapter 9 as a family – and I almost fainted when I read verse 22 -

As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.

And suddenly, the flash back to the time of prayer.  When I was feeling rest and release – the assurance that Christ would turn my days into good, and that feasting and Joy were possible.

And I was able to share with the hubby and the boys, all of my words for the day – (even more than written here) – and we were comforted for the days ahead. We watched A Night With the King in honor of the 13-15th Days of Adar, 2011 – the time of Purim – to remember when the Jews were delivered from evil, and they were turned from sorrow to joy, mourning into a good day.

I leave you with the last verse -


And Lord, haste the day
when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound,
and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul

It IS well With my Soul. I love a Savior
who loves me so intimately and deeply!

Freedom to Wrench a Gut Laughing


Do you see that little boy up there? Joy. Laughter. It is in the 30’s temperature wise, with rain that light and freezing. The wind – over on the right hand side of the screen there is blowing the dry particles of sand into our flesh like a sand blaster. The birds are attacking, and pulling the bread from his hands.

And he thinks it is the greatest day ever. Because he is with his dad on the beach. The laughter cuts high above the wind and rain. Fills the entire area. We are the only crazies on the beach.

It is times like this – when I can see growth of healing in me.  It has been about 5 weeks since my doctors appointment – and I can physically and emotionally feel – the growth, healing, change, increase. And yet, the freedom of laughter under attack – is not quite there.

I used to have a friend say that she liked it that I could laugh through anything. Now I smile on the inside more than gut wrenching laughter. I am glad that I am healing – that He is healing me – and I am glad that I am finally awake enough to want more.  Freedom. Freedom from the remaining heaviness that hovers over the day. It is not enough to be able to physically, prayerfully, emotionally rise above the heaviness – I want it gone.  And that’s powerful.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Questioning Church

This last topic. I have been pondering in my heart for weeks. I am having a hard time voicing it, even in my prayers.

I know many of you have struggled with "church". The Church Body. Denominations. Traditional? Contemporary? Saturday? Sunday?

I am pretty confident in my thoughts on denominations - if it is in the bible - I believe it. Simply. Fully. Sure I love a good Greek and Hebrew Study as well as the next academic geek - but simply, I believe the Holy Spirit will interpret scripture far more clearly than the Strong's dictionary or a lesson in history. If I need another book in order to understand what you are feeding me - then I turn off my brain.  If you need to tell me a personal experience to explain why the verse is relevant to your speech, I will ask for His guidance to hear truth.

So I can attend just about any congregation's weekly gathering. I may not stay and hang around if I constantly have to adjust what I have heard and line it up with truth to my boys - but I love the saints, and the gathering of those who have put their faith In Christ.

My ache in my heart stirs from the BUILDING aspect. And the choosing of a congregation.  In a town where there are so many wonderful choices, and the Spirit seems to be still on direction. And we visit these beautiful families gathering together. And they so want us to join with them.

And we are looking for some great church kids, similar ages to the boys, and have struggled to find any attending congregation. So we stop searching - and gather with a group of ladies. Whose love and joy of the Lord  is refreshing. Their outgoing comments encourage, and the Pastor gives admonishment and encouragement in the word.

And yet - I still feel the loss of church family - as even after a year - we have not created outside friendships, save for the one neighbor that attends there. Offers of fellowship outside of meeting dates are turned down.  Children do not come to befriend our boys. And I am left week after week feeling the lonliness in a crowd.  I hear from one sister - and she tells me of her jealousy that I came into the crowd, and the time that the other women give to me. I can't help but stare in silence. Because they say Hi to me for 10 seconds on Sunday - she is unable to give friendship?

And then the illness comes full force. It started in November, then worsened with a viral infection in December, and lasted through the first week of January, and slowly through to February we fought to leave the house.  And we are unable to attend on Sundays. Unable to attend anything.  And little did I know at that time that with my body shutting down, the depression was tightening around my heart and mind.

And no one came. And our house flooded. And our Bank Account Broke. And our stomachs were hungry. And no one came.  And our son walked to a nearby church.

And then they came. By txt and by email. Of questioning. of Shame. of Hurt. But no offers to pick up the kids, even after my urging, to bring them to fellowship.

And so - as we pulled out - we gravitated towards those who did come, and give food, and encouragement, and teaching - while we were at the bottom of the pit.

And then they came again, with hurt, and advice, and hurtful comments.

And now - as I am coming out of the fog that has been the last 3-4 months - I am seeing more clearly. And wondering about these buildings full of people wanting the approval that comes with joining their membership. And hurt around town, from those we didn't choose.

Do we have to congregate in the same building to a part of the same Body? Or to maintain friendships?

And today - it came to a head for me. And broke my heart. And it is the first time my heart has been full of sadness and the weight of pain and mourning.  As I approached two christian sisters today - and they shunned me. Openly. Before my children. Swiftly and quickly as I tried to embrace them after not seeing them for months.


Why?  Why do we have such a tiny little town full of so many tiny churches?  One church trying to build  a multimillion dollar monument to attract the rest of the town.  "When we get the millions, and build the building, then THEN we will be able to go into the community to find those who do not know Christ". Yep. Out of the young pastor's mouth.  Sigh.

What do you think? What part of Sunday Church is biblical to the Body of Christ? Sorrow. Sadness. and a Broken Heart for His Body.

He WILL give you more than you can handle -

I remember the conversation.  I was sitting at her kitchen table. A bold, confident Survivor. Of loss. Of a child, both parents, a spouse and all of her other children. All within a year. Several friends and family members to death, and several to moving away in bitterness. A church that turned their back on her. A community that forever will glace with eyes that wonder what the truth is, but will not bother to ask.
And I gave the Christianeze reply -

"Well. God must think you are pretty strong. Cause He will never give you more than you can handle."

I remember her eyes. Horror? Hurt? Betrayal? And she she told me of how she definately could not handle this. And that the Holy Spirit carries her through the days and nights, holding her up. And then she feels the pull of falling.

And now, months later, I ponder that phrase - and realize - That when I am weak that HE is strong. That HE wants to "handle it."

And yet - I feel the pull - of the lie from the enemy - that tells Christian Homeschool Moms what they are supposed to do - look like- teach - produce- creat- cook- clean - serve- all while facing life's challenges.

And anything less than Joy and Rejoicing in Everything - comes out looking like Sin and Failure - judgement from those who know you nap through afternoons and skip math several days a week because you don't have the mental capacity to explain least common denominators one more time.

So you push. Knowing you are "Supposed to Handle". Supposed to have joy.

And this week - I have a friend who has lost her husband for a couple of years to the Justice System.  Framed. Took a plea on the court's advice even though he maintained innocence. And then got the full sentence. And a friend who's marriage rips apart in a violent court struggle, while the husband flaunts his affairs and spending. Of a mother who's husband left her for a fling in town, and now has to earn a wage, learn a trade, live on her own. Another mother who left her husband, physical abuse, verbal abuse, and it took all the courage in her tiny little heart to tell, and leave. Moms who are dealing with the addictions of their spouses - in silence - and fear - and turmoil.

But we still proclaim it - after the heart is split open and the words are poured out. It is our response.

"Well, God must think you are strong. He would never give you more than you can handle."

And I heard from a friend this week - she has to leave the dream home that she thought she would raise her unborn child in, and continue to raise her son with her beloved that fights each day to earn a wage in this downturned economy. Her home has been snatched from her, along with her hope - and her outward joy. And those who come around her to pray - say Chin up. And She says - God must think I am pretty strong.

And that's when it all comes full circle to that conversation a few months ago - at the kitchen table - and I resolve to NEVER speak those words to another hurting sister EVER again.

And I stand on my soap box and scream BULL SHIT!!!! It's a lie. From the Devil. It's not in His Word. It's not the heart of Jesus. It is not the softness of the comforter of the Holy Spirit. It is B. S.

I looked it up this week. It's not even in the Bible, although memorized and spouted off as God's Holy Word.  The closest thing to line up - is that God will never tempt you beyond what you will be able to walk away. In the case that you can't say ' God made me sin ' .  He will always give a way out.

And having a weak humble heart and spirit is not sin. It is not a temptation to avoid.  Self loathing? Not asking God for healing? Pulling others in your mire? Sinking into the temptation to dwell in the pit instead of facing life? Maybe. But a day or week or month of quiet stillness. Resting in Him. Is not sin. 

Have you read the beatitudes lately? Blessed are the Poor in Spirit?  Not sinful are those who can not handle living in this world that is not our home.

And today, as fires rage across Oklahoma, and waves surge along the Pacific Coast and demolish Japan - my heart is heavy. Wondering how long we will wait - while He waits for his Bride to be ready for His return.

I may struggle with depression. My body is not in shape. I am tired. And my heart is sad tonight. But my hope? In His Return? Is how I get up in the morning.

Of Healing

I have felt my body go downhill physically of the last several months. I think the low point came in June - and has just not bulstered from there. My immune system seems to be on the brink of death - as we seem to catch every cold that has come to our county - when we have gone several years without a sniffle.

After bowing out of every planned activity from December to early February - including not really planning for Birthdays and Holidays - I sought out a doctor to help.

After a quick blood test - she told me several things that were wrong, and easily leveled out with simple medications.  She prayed for me. I told her of some of the personal things I was going through. She gave me an EKG to rule out heart attacks. She said I had classic signs of long term stress. Stress? I love my life. What was she talking about???

That was the first week of Febrary - and I am finally feeling like I'm seeing sunshine again. She said it would be 4-6 weeks for the Thyroid to stablize, the vitamins to soak in, and the body and mind to heal. Maybe longer for the latter.

I am learning more about the stress in my life. That has shut down my body, led to depression, and heart attack feeling anxiety. And through it all - trying to maintain a pollyanna persona - do it all -get-er done- cheerful pace. I have known for a few weeks that I wasn't fooling anyone. . . .

I have asked the Lord for healing.  Instantly the pain and swelling in my heart let down. The numbness to my hands receeded, the ache in my ribs went away. That alone cheered me up.

I have been praying to seek out what the "Stress" is that is out to destroy my life and limb.

Without sharing all of my personal details - I can say that most of it was internal. Even if it was a situation around me- it was the way I processed it.  If you are having trouble with Anxiety and Stress and Depression I'd rather talk about my journey out face to face, or email to email than here on the ponderings blog.

I will say that the most healing thing has been my own voice. Acknowledging what I can't do. If I had a broken arm, I'd be in a cast. If I had knee surgery I would have crutches. But with this brokeness, there is no sign or signal to those around me than my humble heart, willingness to share, and willingness to play the weaker part. My family has stepped up. I feel very loved and secure, and I have prayed for the guilt of "not doing" to vanish.

One thing I have experienced - is that my frustration and anger are quite diminished. Knock on wood - but pretty much entirely.  I think my struggle to maintain, brought in the hightened level of "almost over the edge" and the quick replies came from that. With this new mellow weak humble meek spirit, that I have received through going through healing, I have lost the bend up frustrations. I wonder if my spirit feels as those do who are hospital bed bound. At some point. You just have to realize. You can't move. Or Stir. And you have to rely on others for everything.

I never thougth I'd say this, but this is the season I am in. I think it is what the Lord has been trying to teach me sense He took me from my over active life in Central Oregon.  The strength, peace, assurance, renewed hope and love for others that has developed over me sitting down. I have no words.

I am praying for my friends that I know are going through the same thing - either through physical shut down, or outside circumstance, or mean people.  I pray for you. Your name is ever on my lips.

Heavy Heart

I was just thinking - of how I haven't shared my ponderings with you here in a while.

I have a few topics - but when I sit - they all get muddled together, into a huge whiney post.

Today my heart is saddended for those who have lost lives and property from the quake and water.

Our entire town feels like it is in the after shocks  - people were evacuated. You feel so relieved that your town wasn't hit - but then feel a bit guilty for those that were. 

I'll keep thinking - pondering - and sharing. But for now - prayers for our rescue workers and for those helping in Japan.