Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days: Day 30 {Crazy Countdown}

I can NOT believe its day 30 of this 31 Days of Writing journey!
Today was one of those days too convoluted to write about in an intelligible manner.
Instead, I reflect back on what've learned through this process so far...

I CAN accomplish more than I thought I could.

Something I started with {mostly} selfish motivation can be used by God to accomplish something bigger.

After 31 {-ish} posts, I still haven't learned to just let words flow from my fingers to the keyboard without second-guessing or editing and over-editing.  I wish it were that easy.

I am NOT brave - yet.

31 Days of writing made my lack of focus on eating and cooking well a MUCH bigger problem.

Cooking is a creative outlet for me so I need to make more time for it.

The human tongue is like a sword; we should all be careful how we use them.

Even when the bottom drops out, the crazy will not actually carry you away.

Music keeps me sane.

I really despise how competitive our society is; it pits friend against each other, women against each other, and husbands and wives against each other.

True, unconditional love is given with the expectation of nothing in return.

Relationships and intimacy were God's gifts to mankind; Satan has been twisting those same things into weaponry since the Garden of Eden.

Under-handed compliments aren't compliments at all.

Sometimes being {Real} is just too hard. I think we must glaze over the harsh reality sometimes to avoid going insane.

People don't change that much in their lives.  I may be a better version of my high-school self now, but I will always be an introvert by nature.  I'm learning to be ok with that.

Being overcome by the Holy Spirit does not feel like I thought it would, but I'm glad I was wrong.

If you had told me as a kid I would love my closest-in-age-brother as much as I do now, I would have laughed hysterically {'til I cried or snorted; maybe both}

One of the most painful things in the world is watching you someone you love drown in emotional pain.  It's the most helpless feeling I know in my life so far.

I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength {Phil 4:13}

GRACE is the most amazing gift ever.

see the moon up there near the top right?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days: Day 29 {Divine "Coincidence"}

I've said before that I don't believe in accidents.

Yesterday morning, Tuesday, I was feeling especially unworthy about my role leading the women's small group Bible Study.

Satan did everything possible to keep me from reading and do my homework for the week leading up to our Tuesday morning study.  It was a busy week and a busy weekend and every time I started to pick up my Bible and book, something happened. 
Misguided priorities...

I scrambled to get all the work done between Monday evening and Tuesday morning after I dropped my kids off at school.

Honestly, by Tuesday morning, I was an absolute wreck. Tired, cranky, and emotional...

It's these times that Satan chants the loudest:

"What do you think you're doing?"

"You aren't qualified for this!"

"Who do you think you're fooling? They're all going to know you aren't really prepared!"

"You are not good enough to be leading anyone!"

When we left the house and pulled out into the world, I turned on the radio.
I utilize the SCAN button quite often.
There are several local stations including country, pop, easy listening/mix that come in very clearly, without fail.  The main hindrance to me listening to a Christian radio station all the time in my car is the reception.

On Tuesday morning, I scanned so long that I started recognizing the only stations coming in clearly were playing the same song.
They were Christian stations and nothing else was clear.  I can't stand static.
After the second time through, I stopped the scan not even knowing what station number it was on; just knowing it must be THE one to listen to right then.

The very next song was this, and it gets me every time we sing it at church:

It's when I am trying to do it all in my own strength that things seem the worst.
I wish I didn't, but I NEED the reminder, that I NEED Him all the time.  And that ALL THE TIME it's ok to need Him, to cry out to Him, to pray.

 "Where sin runs deep, your Grace is more..."

Praise God for that truth!

My sin runs deep, Lord, but your grace covers me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

31 Days: Day 28 {Pray Like Crazy}

Last year, I wrote this post.

Last Wednesday night, I sat in choir practice as the choir worked on our Christmas songs.
In the middle of practice, we stopped singing and instead began to share and pray about two major prayer requests.
It was a powerful prayer and I was listening and trying to pray alongside the person who was 
praying aloud.
Suddenly, something came over me as heavy as a weighted blanket.  I immediately felt the need to pray for the person I wrote about in the above post.

In my head, a voice was saying her name over and over and over again.
And so that's what I did for the rest of the prayer time.  I said her name and I prayed for her {as I had many times before}; alternating it with "Lord, I'm not sure what's going on, but you know the need."

This feeling has not happened to me a lot.
Truly, there are no accurate words to describe it.
 Last Wednesday, after it was over, I didn't know what it meant.

On Thursday afternoon, I was eating my lunch and scrambling to finish preparing for a cooking show I had that night.
My phone rang and I looked at the caller ID.
I contemplated not answering.

Did I have time to talk, right now?

I answered the phone.
A family member, the husband of the person mentioned above, was on the line.
As he proceeded to tell me of the hell she's been putting him through, I could only listen and cry quietly.  

He called me for help.
In bits and pieces, and a random back and forth pattern, he shared more back-story and more details than I would've ever asked for. 

I didn't know what to say and I didn't think I could help. In fact, I have only felt that helpless a few times in my life.

He was clearly distraught - heartbroken - wondering why YEARS of praying and loving like Christ loves had still not made things better. Seriously? This man must have the patience of Job...

My prayer for him {for her, really} FOR YEARS has been that she would come to know Christ.
How else could she know the relief of true forgiveness? True love? Her own worth? 

And that old saying - to love someone else, you must first love yourself?
It's very true.

So can you please join me in praying for them both? That she will come to know the only One who can set her free from the bondage of unforgiveness, her feelings of unworthiness, and her inability to love another because she doesn't love herself.

That he will stay strong.  That he will know he is loved by so many, but mostly by the One who can heal his heart and his marriage.  That he will know he is NOT his mistakes; that the One who matters most has long forgiven, long forgotten, and long removed those transgressions as far as the 
East is from the West.

Thank you for your prayers.
I can speak for at least two of us when I say we covet them.

I alluded to the subject of this post in my Friday post. I still must be vague and only share this information in a limited, third person perspective.  There is so much more to the story than I am able to write here.  I do not have permission from the subject of this post to write the entire story and if said subject asks me, I will remove or hide this post as he sees fit.  Prayers are powerful and they can make a difference; please join yours with ours.


Monday, October 27, 2014

31 Days: Day 26 & 27 {Craving the Quiet}

It's noon-ish and I realize I have to leave the house in about 2 hours.
I'm currently in sweats, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, catching up on favorite shows I missed last week, while also "working" from my laptop.
I have no desire to shower and go anywhere, much less see anyone. 

This morning, I packed away Spring scented candles and pulled down my favorite ones of Fall.  Part of my "comfort" is watching them burn as I sit here and enjoy the alone.

This is what happens when introverts like me are forced, by ourselves or someone else, to be OUT for any length of time.
This time it was my 20 year high school reunion that forced me to be more outgoing than is in my nature.

I had fun this weekend and I'm glad I went, but today I just want to hole up and hide. It's sort of like sensory overload, I suppose. I was just SO busy last week Thursday through Sunday on top of my regular weekly happenings that by Sunday evening I just needed some space.
My personal space had been invaded by too many people for too many minutes for 4 long days.

So today was about recovering for me.
I managed to make it through my volunteer time at the school in a cordial manner.  Luckily, I'm there on Mondays mostly to file papers for the teachers and ready the student send-home folders for Tuesday. Talking is minimum and mostly optional {thank goodness}.

Tomorrow morning is another Tuesday and another Bible Study. I still wonder most weeks what on earth I'm doing there?! 
So tonight I pray for a full recovery of my personal space; for my dominant introverted self to feel rested and well.  
Because come morning, I need my less-used leader-side to be "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed," as my Daddy would say. 

A task that's easier said than done!