Breathing, In and Out

Today’s verse on the Thomas Kinkade flip calendar is 2 Corinthians 13:11  “The God of love and peace shall be with you.”  That is a GRRRRRRREAT reminder after posting on Monday, my prayers to God, about the anxiety I have been experiencing.

Capture
It is the kind of anxiety that you feel in the pit of your stomach and in your throat.  It leaves you taking deep breaths and your heart is racing a mile a minute.  I believe it is what happens right before a panic attack.  Some have described cold sweats, dry heaving and unbelievable dizziness.  Thank God I am not there. Yet.

I am really not sure how much I should reveal as to the reason for these current physiological occurences other than if the weekend could be over today I would be in much relief. You ever hear the saying “One man’s pain is another man’s pleasure?”  Well that could somewhat apply here.

I have experienced these very, very uncomfortable feelings several times in my life and ironically one of those times indirectly relates to this time.  It was a nightmare then. But if I am being honest I did not completely face the thing that brought on the ‘anxiety & dread’ the first time.  I sort of let someone else handle it. So I believe I have no choice but to face it square on this time.

There are some huge differences between the two events.  Back then I did not have the faith in God that I have today.  I20150128_121050 was naive and lost. Today I know a whole heap of stuff, thanks to hind sight and experience. And thanks to Jesus Christ, I am found.  The other difference is back then life as I knew it was being ripped out of my hands and I was losing everything, or so I thought. Today God has given back to me what was taken from me and I have gained everything. Including a love for Him that I would probably not have otherwise.

I am not talking about material things.  I am talking about love, honor and commitment. Those things that are contained in wedding vows.  Back then it was a little girls dream of happily ever after dying before my eyes.  Today it is about true love never fails.  To face the fear and insecurity in my heart from long, long ago again is so overwhelming. I am trying to understand why after all I have learned about my Heavenly Father the feelings have come back.

It’s the age-old question why would God keep bringing something or someone back into your life that is hard to deal with?

In my reading today I realized that even in Paul’s day Christians had to be continually reminded that the Spirit of God lives in you when you accept Christ. It is that Spirit which helps you to intimately know God, the Father and the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is that Spirit who gives comfort, strength and daily wisdom. Through the Holy Spirit and God’s amazing grace we are able to cope with those things that are beyond our capabilities. Also through grace God reveals those things in you that need to be purged. Impurities such as unbelief, sinful thoughts and selfish desires.

Those things in my heart which were from long ago have remained because I chose not to fully deal with them and put them in their proper place.  I did not put them up to the light of truth. I left them alone because they were sort of comforting to me. I chose to forgive but I did not choose to work through the fear and insecurity from loss. I chose to hang on to it because it justified my superiority over those who hurt me.  So now every once in a while I can take it out and use it to excuse my ‘anxiety.’ “Oh, Lord how weak I am.”

God has been using messages throughout the weeks and months to bring me to this new level of understanding.  David and Goliath. Jesus asleep in the ship during a huge storm.  Jonah and the whale.  Joseph, what his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. God speaking to Moses in the burning bush. Just in listing these messages brings every past lesson I learned to my mind.

  • God is bigger than my anxiety
  • Trust Jesus no matter the circumstances around you
  • You can not outrun God
  • Every difficulty that comes into you life God will use it to glorify Himself and to conform you to the image of Jesus Christ
  • No matter how many excuses you have for God as to why you can’t He has one big one why you can, His power lives in you

Each one of the above lessons were learned by reading, studying and applying them in my life from the day I began my relationship with Jesus.  The journey to learn them was up and down, sometimes all over the place.  At times painful and other times extremely gratifying. But each one always came with a promise from God.  One He has always been faithful to keep.  One that He wrote deeply on my heart.

  • Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
  • “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
  • “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:7-10
  • “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30
  • “He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

With all these promises in mind and in my heart, as I draw closer to the moment of inevitability I see what it could be through Christ.  I envision Him doing something spectacular, as He has done before.  I smile at the thought that many will witness the miraculous.  All will marvel at His handiwork, how He brings all the broken pieces together to form something new and usable.

Then again this might be something He does privately within my heart.  Through me.  Beyond me. The results will still be the same. Miraculous, I marveling at His handiwork and He forming something new and usable out of the broken pieces left inside me.

And so it could be the anxiety is merely a warning sign to beware the obstacles ahead. Keep your eyes on the road Christ has set before you. Follow His directions, obey the commandments He has given you.  Do not turn left nor right. Keep going forward walking in His steps. Focus on the destination He has given you. Trust in all you can not see yet. Know He has gone before and already cleared the path.

So heading into the unknown of tomorrow I am starting to feel the peace, the steady beat of my heart, the ease of breathing, in and out without thinking about it.

“Ahhhh, there it is ‘love and peace with me!”

air-breathe_best-love-letters-ever-written

…That Both You and Your Descendants May Live!

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; ~ Deuteronomy 30:19

I have a new grand-daughter! Her name is Melody Adeline! She is beautiful, head to toe!  I do not just say that because she is my grand-daughter but she is a wonderful creation. Black hair and dark eyes.  Her name means music, song and it rolls off your tongue like a song. Her middle name, Adeline, means noble. In German it means of nobility and pleasant. How sweet!  She is our ‘noble song’.  She is the smallest of all babies born into our family, 6 lbs. 9 oz. Look at her sleeping like she is praying!  I love this picture!

Melody Adeline

Melody Adeline

Holding her yesterday she was so content, curled up in a little lump laying on Grammy’s chest.  I could have held her all night long. Her big sister Daniela Jade, our little “jewel,” came and went visiting with me.  It wasn’t but three and half years before I was holding her the same way. She is a big girl now with her funny way of talking to all of us. She is precocious at times but she is an innocent little girl with eyes wide to the world around her. She mimics the adults around her and wants to be seen.  There are moments I see her vulnerability to the harshness of the world. As we all are vulnerable. But she has a sweet heart. I pray God protects that! I pray for both of them the way a Grandmother’s heart does. First to see God in all things and know Him in their lives.  Melody is my 4th grandchild and just like the ones before her I have sung Psalm 103 over her so she could hear the words and they would cover her heart and soul.

 

Psalm 103:1-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

I heard a message on this passage the other day.  And I loved how the preacher listed the benefits when we honor God.  I had read them, sang them and prayed them but I am not sure I really stopped to list them on paper as they applied to my life.

1) He forgives my sins (when I ask & repent)

2) He heals my diseases (mental as well as physical)

3) He redeems my life from destruction (many times over)

4) He crowns my life with love, kindness and tender mercies (His daily grace)

5) He satisfies me when I am hungry for something to fill my soul which in turn renews my strength & ability to serve Him (if and when I go to Him only for satisfaction)

All these benefits are mine daily if I do something first. Bless Him with my life. Honor Him. Walk in His ways. Give Him praise & worship.

And sometimes I am overwhelmed by these truths and the simple fact that God loves each and everyone of His creations in this way. So this is the prayer for each one of my grandchildren.  Brodie, Ann Marie, Daniela and Melody, that they would bless the Lord with their lives and would partake in the benefits He gives, so that they may LIVE well!

 

In Perfect Submission!

Psalm 119

35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

The words will not come.  But they are there.  Stuck inside my heart.  My mind can not see them or form them. But they are there.  My heart is heavy with them. Circumstances compel me to try.  Memories urge me to free them from their confined space in the deep recesses.  The Spirit groans from within my soul to intercede on my behalf.  The knowledge that God is with me, ever-present but somewhat silent keeps me sensitive to His movement at any moment.  I am at the edge of my seat. Waiting.

36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

Waiting on God.  Perhaps He is waiting on me.  Now wouldn’t that be something, each of us waiting on the other to move.  Somehow I am certain that God will not wait long.  He has a plan and nothing hinders Him from executing it with perfect timing and precision.  I see some things ahead in my life that must happen.  The opening of wounds, cleansing of  infections.  Minister and a healing.

37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

Healing of fear.  The kind of fear that becomes an obstacle.   Fear, as an obstacle, becomes an emotion that binds up.  It keeps you boxed in.  It keeps you from standing up for what is right.  It keeps you from stepping out in faith.  It keeps you from speaking truth in love.  It keeps you from enjoying life.  Ultimately it may keep you from allowing God’s treatment causing greater sickness or pain.  It keeps you hostage.

38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

Hostage to anxiety.  Anxiety is the opposite of peace.  True peace is only given by God.  He says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee..”  Focusing on Jesus, God’s Son, who came to ‘give us peace’ keeps your mind from wandering to painful memories of the past, from dwelling on current heartaches and trials, from taking in all the world chaos or carrying the burden of responsibility for everyone’s failures. Trusting Him gives you hope that all will be well in His hands.  In His hands there is life.

39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

Life more abundantly.  The sky is more blue.  The music is sweeter.  Your loved ones more dear.  The time you spend with family and friends becomes more precious.  Keeping your eyes on Him, keeps you moving forward.  It keeps you faithful.  It keeps you wanting more of Him.  You do not settle for comfortable, you desire to see His glory.  Seeing His glory means walking through fire.  Fire comes it brings heat.  Heat brings pain but sometimes it brings comfort when the cold winds blow.  Cold winds of death.

40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

Death to self.  Dying to self is perhaps the one thing that we humans can not do consistently.  We try and we fail.  We fall.  We get up and try to die again.  He knows of our frailty but always looks down in love upon us, being patient with us.  He is jealous for us.  We wants our love and devotion. He wants us to fear Him. Fear the Lord. The kind of fear that shows a reverence or great respect of Him. This fear says you know of God’s mighty power.  You know His limitlessness and you do not challenge Him, you trust Him.  You know of his wrath you do not blaspheme Him, you praise Him.  You know of His judgement but you seek and accept His willingness to  forgive, you confess. You repent.  You turn from your sin, your flesh.  And He saves you.  Again, He gives grace.

41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word.

Grace falls on you like a spring rain falling on freshly opened flowers.  You accept it and walk in it.  Looking up and giving thanks.  Your heart is overwhelmed by His mercy.  You sing praise with a louder voice.  You raise your open hands to Him giving Him all that was in your heart.  Your broken life, your pieces of burdens, your ignorant decisions, your rash actions, your hurtful words spewed out at others, your molested innocence, your regretful waste of time,  your lustful desires, your shattered dreams.  They are burnt up by His consuming fire.  His consuming love.  He takes the offering of ashes and replaces them with beauty.

The words came.

                   Perfect Submission

        Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! 
	O what a foretaste of glory divine! 
	Heir of salvation, purchase of God, 
	born of his Spirit, washed in his blood. 

        Refrain:
	This is my story, this is my song, 
	praising my Savior all the day long; 
	this is my story, this is my song, 
	praising my Savior all the day long. 

        Perfect submission, perfect delight, 
	visions of rapture now burst on my sight 
	angels descending bring from above 
	echoes of mercy, whispers of love. 
	(Refrain) 

        Perfect submission, all is at rest; 
	I in my Savior am happy and blest, 
	watching and waiting, looking above, 
	filled with his goodness, lost in his love. 
	(Refrain)