I Still Don't Feel Like It! (But I'm Gonna Be Still)

I confess I started writing this blog post before I left for North Carolina on August 28th. I've had some strange symptoms happening for the last 3 months or so; hence the not-feeling-like-it post. The day I was supposed to leave for my 10+ hour drive, I still wasn't sure if I would physically make it. I literally kicked satan out the door in the Name of Jesus and left, figuring I would drive as far as I was able, before the cramping and icky stuff started. Nine hours later, I arrived in Hillsdale VA. Not one emergency stop was necessary. Stops, yes. Emergency stops, no.

I arrived at The Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center, where the conference was being held. A little shaky, a bit of pain, but intact. The first thing I see is a banner, saying "Be Still and Know That I AM God" Yes. Breathe. Be still.

In case I missed it, there was a bigger sign inside.

The room keys. We are so conditioned to swiping our debit cards, credit cards, ID cards. Not at The Cove. Even here, we are urged to "Be Still..." and touch the key card to the lock.

Get the picture yet?

One more. I went to get ice in the machine in our lobby. I brought water to guard against dehydration and prefer it cool. Following the directions, I put the ice bucket under the dispenser, pressed the button once, and 15 seconds later, a perfect amount of ice is dispensed into my bucket.

Now I have to ask you--if man, in his wicked ways, can take care of these thoughtful details,

How much more will our Heavenly Father attend to your every need?

I know He's taken care of all my needs--especially in this past week.

How about you?

I Don't Feel Like It!

I've been sick lately. Not an allergy/cold/headache-y sick...

I've had an ongoing chronic health issue that's gotten worse over the last two months. It makes me feel very tired and well, crappy.

Stuff has started to pile up.

Sigh.

I know there's stuff I should be doing.... but I don't feel like it.

I have piles of papers with snippets of wisdom on them...(tweets? blog posts?)

Paragraphs that could be the start of awesome articles...(book chapters? articles for publication?)

I just don't feel like it.

Add the usual "shoulds" to my daily routines--clean the house (because the kitchen floor is adhesive in spots)/ cook real food (because the take-out places are starting to recognize my voice) /and the most important one,

God is still waiting for me.

Yes, there have been times when I've left Him by the wayside... because I didn't feel like ...

Praying...

Reading His Word...

Talking to Him in some other tone than whining....

I sat in my own little corner, moaning my body's betrayal, not feeling like doing anything about it.

But then today... I could choose to not feel like it...or choose to do it anyway.

If I failed, I would be no worse off that I've been over the last two months. But if I was successful in my attempt...?

Please don't misread what I'm saying here. I truly had (and continue to have) a health issue that wipes me out so completely, I sometimes don't make it to the bathroom from the bedroom (a span of 12 feet). I made a pan of lasagna the other day that resulted in a 3 hour nap. There are 'invisible illnesses' that are truly devastating to experience and affect many women's daily lives. I have had a glimpse into their world and can be so empathetic to their circumstances.

I can only speak for myself.

I chose to do a long devotion today, even though I really didn't feel like it.

God was waiting for me--and graciously poured out His wisdom and love on me.

In His strength, He will guide me! In His unfailing love, He will Lead me!...the Lord tested the Israelites...'For I am the LORD who heals you!' (Exodus 15-NIV) Promise after promise. No hand slap because I've been away--He knows the afflictions I've had. I'm not condemned for my feelings.

And neither are you.

The mess may still be there. You still may not feel like doing anything about it.

Choose to feel like it. Even when you don't want to. And watch what my God will do.

Friday...Finally!

It's been one of those weeks. I was flying high on the heels of a great long weekend of dynamic church services--and then the enemy struck. He was throwing disappointment and bad attitude around like it was candy at a Christmas parade. I almost succumbed to it, a few different times, until I remembered..

I remembered my anointing.

He has called me to make art, to write, for His Glory. He has blessed the work of my hands.

"I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in Him." 1 John 2:26-27 (NIV) (bold letters mine)

Get thee behind me satan. I'm not for sale.

Got Baggage?

Baggage. We are on day 5 of a 15 day vacation and I'm pretty well fed up with my baggage. In my haste to remember everything, I find myself needing to search through various nooks and crannies of each suitcase to find the needed item. Thank you technology--but so many WIRES! So much STUFF! I missed worshiping with my home church, but I went on the website and was able to catch last week's sermon--(I had been leading God-Tham City kids, our kid's church so I was pleased to find the sermon I missed.) If you would like to view the sermon, please visit KLFC.org .

The visiting Pastor, Dr. Bez, spoke on the fourth chapter of Jonah--"Jonah and the...(I won't give it away)", but my mind wandered a bit back to a day I had a "Jonah" experience--back in 1997. My mom was suffering with cancer and was about to start on the grueling chemo/radiation regimen that may or not save her life.

Now, please understand, I was an unruly teenager once upon a time (yes, I know it's hard to believe--but maybe not for some of you). The daughter my mother remembered was not a very nice person, but given mom's health concerns, this was the only possible alternative.

I, on the other hand, also remembered the rocky times--the difference was I had accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior since then and knew taking care of my mom was the right thing to do.

BUT--in remembering our past and our 'baggage', I copped a Jonah attitude. Why should I show her my Jesus? After the way she treated me? I'm the first to admit, I really didn't want to. I was a lot like Jonah with the Ninevites, deciding myself that they (mom) didn't deserve salvation...well, maybe they (she) did, but it wasn't gonna come from me!

God's pruning/growth spurts HURT!

Knowing the caretaker role I was embarking on, God started to show me my mother through His eyes, not the woman I remember, but a lost soul who needed saving, carrying her own baggage. I was suddenly able to see clearer and do for her as if I were doing all for Jesus, despite my own baggage (which I noticed was getting a little lighter each day.)

Like Jonah, I had to learn the tough lesson by being willing to accept and trust God for the outcome..

My willingness, plus seeing the relationship between my husband and I, helped to show Jesus to my mother. Four months before cancer took her life, she did accept Jesus Christ as her Savior. We still had our moments, and some unpacked luggage, but we both knew that peace that passes all understanding.....the kind that can only come from Jesus.

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 37

Today started out so promising...

I got up early to go food shopping so I would be back in time for the workmen. Before I got home from the store, the headache had already dug its heels in deep. This pain would require more than the standard pain reliever. Sigh. Migraine meds will mean a nap, ice, and a fuzzy head. For hours.

Reading my Bible today was impossible--so today became a day of rest.

I could still pray, as God brought dear ones to mind.

I gave today to God--He knew what I was feeling like; if He allowed me to have this pain, it's ok with me.

And then He gave me worship.

What a mighty God we serve!

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 36

It's been another prayer-filled day. I continue to pray for my friends facing tough circumstances.

I continue to pray for the names I wrote down at the nursing facilities.

I was called upon to pray for the outcome of a friends court case today.

The prayer needs keep coming.

I don't know if I would have been as aware; as conscious of the depth of the needs; had I not been purposely focused on having intimate prayer time with Jesus.

It's alot like something I learned about God. The more I give Him, the more of Himself He gives me.

The more time I spent with Him in prayer, the more He gives me to pray about.

Naturally, this makes me a target for the enemy of my soul.

The workmen will be here at the house again tomorrow. Odds and ends need to be tidied up. Things will go wrong, as mechanical things do. The right headlight on my car will continue to work intermittently. There will be circumstances demanding to be brought to His throne room.

My armor is in place; I am outfitted to fight the enemy.

I will continue to pray.

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 35

I have felt led to devote myself to prayer today.

I have had various prayer requests come in--

Friends are going through horrific circumstances-- Illness is taking and changing lives-- Meetings are happening where the outcomes affect future livelihood-- Children, of all ages, are thrust into situations never imagined by their parents--

The enemy is sowing discouragement, which leads to despair and ruined lives. The enemy wants to keep us looking at the circumstances around us so we take our eyes off God. The enemy wants us to have no hope. He wants our futures to look as bleak as his.

Today, I stand in the gap and pray for you.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus; He's waiting.

"Submit to God, resist the devil--and he will flee from you." James 4:7 (NIV)

Today, I stand in the gap for you.

Adding Prayer to Lent - Days 33 & 34

WE HAVE HEAT! You can always tell when the heat has kicked on...the dogs are right there, at the radiators, enjoying the warmth.

If you've been following our new furnace saga, you will notice this simple cry of 'WE HAVE HEAT!' is a welcome utterance. Our installation started a week ago to install a unit that, we were told, would be a two day job. Perhaps, under typical circumstances, this would be true.

HOWEVER...

My husband and I learned a long time ago, that we are the recipients of odd occurences. It's a given, we don't even question it anymore. "Murphy" is alive and well and lives with us- ("Murphy's Law--That which can go wrong, WILL go wrong, at the worst possible moment.) When things DO go well, we have that expectant feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Stuff happens to us, we are convinced, so we can show others the way to handle these oddities.

GOD knows best and has something better planned for us.

Take our dogs. They are all rescues from abandonment or abuse situations. The little black and white one was literally drop-kicked off a porch. Her x-rays show old broken bones and arthritic joints. She has very few teeth in her mouth, due to the poor nutrition in her early years. She is also allergic to chicken. There's not much dog food out there that has no chicken, so we grind up beef and deer hearts, livers and other stuff we don't eat, but the dogs love. As you can tell from the photo, she is a far cry from starving.

The brown one, we've had for 11 years. He was a lost dog who needed a home. He is now blind due to cataracts and glaucoma, has aches and pains and congestive heart failure. He knows left and right, and gets around fine, albeit slowly, and knows if he is confused or 'lost' in the yard, all he has to do is bark and mom will come find him. The beagle was an abandon too, but hates raised voices and will gulp her food as she was bullied by other, bigger dogs.

Different personalities--different needs--all equally loved. All accepted just as they are.

We didn't know Jesse would one day go blind, just as we didn't know furnace part(s!) would be defective directly from the distributor. We couldn't know our furnace would be a difficult installation--not the worst one they've had, but pretty darn close.

We are convinced the enemy was and is using these things to discourage us, to cause us to have a negative attitude. My heart was breaking today as I read the horrific things some of my friends are going through (through no fault of their own); pets and dear family members have passed away, illnesses, consequences from sinful decisions and disappointments abound. It seemed everywhere I looked, there was another blow.

I've chosen to add prayer to my Lenten days before Resurrection Day. I'm sure the enemy of my soul is livid.

But I remembered a scripture...from John:16:33 (NIV)

"...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

What promises to hold onto! Grab tight and HOLD ON!

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 32

The continuing saga of the furnace continues...and I have a confession to make. With all the running around to be sure the furnace guys had all they needed and the keeping the dogs from freaking out over their change in routine, I have been running around this house like a chicken with my head cut off. It's Saturday, and I had plans of cleaning the kitchen floor (it REALLY needs it!) I also had some other things on my to-do list. However, Friday night I fell asleep in the recliner (again) and, as a result, did not get the restful sleep I had hoped for. Thus, my whole day was kind of out of whack. I was also short with my husband, which is not a usual occurance. It was a Romans 7 thing...the things I don't want to do I end up doing, and the things I want to do I don't do.

I sent up a quick prayer/Cyn/Psalm style-- "O LORD, deliver me-- I don't like this behavior in me, but I don't seem to not like it enough to change it. O LORD, deliver me. Show me...help my unbelief...

And then it hit me...

I hadn't prayed.

I had been too much "Martha" and not enough "Mary".

O Lord, forgive me for trying to do life in my own strength today.

I need Thee; Oh, I need Thee! Ev-'ry hour I need Thee! Oh, bless me now, My Saviour; I come to Thee! (I Need Thee Every Hour--Annie S. Hawks,1835-1918/Robert Lowry,1826-1899)

Am I really surprised that the enemy was able to gain a foothold?

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 31

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." [bold print mine] Ephesians 6:11 (NIV) Sigh.

These guys have been working on the new furnace since Monday morning. It is now Friday evening (ok, not really...it's actually early Saturday morning, but for the day count, pretend with me it's Friday)

It's not that they are doing anything wrong. They are soldering and sweating pipes and they are leaking. They fix one area and another leaks. They fix that one and the one that was ok before starts to leak. These are master plumbers and technicians who have installed these systems before. It is not their skills that are lacking.

I believe the devil is upset that I am adding prayer to Lent.

No, my furnace isn't 'possessed'(although the technicians might think otherwise).

The enemy knows he cannot get at me spiritually. I am careful to take care of my physical body so he cannot trip me up physically. The headache I had from the smell of the solder flux was taken care of with migraine medicine and rest. My emotions are not in a turmoil over this; I am convinced God is in charge because we have no heat! The temperatures here in Pennsylvania have be uncharacteristically warm--we have not needed the heat! (thank You Jesus!)

Yes. I am still praising GOD!

I also had opportunity to pray (by text) and to encourage; to chat with other believers up at this hour on social media...(you know who you are!) God doesn't waste any experience he allows us to have.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of GOD, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." [bold print mine] Ephesians 6:12,13 (NIV)

Adding Prayer to Lent - Days 29 & 30

I made an interesting observation today. Since I've chosen to devote specific times to prayer this Lenten season, I've not had the usual litany of chaotic thoughts and doubts crossing my mind.I attribute this to my closer walk with the Lord and spending more time in my Bible so I am better able to identify and refute the enemy's attacks.

But I have noticed an increase in general things going wrong. There was the day I broke some porcelin figurines, some lightbulbs in the house have blown out (not 1 or 2, but several within hours of each other) and my right headlight has developed an intermittant tic. It will work fine for a few days, then be out for several hours; I'll go to change it, and it stays on for a few more days. Strange stuff.

For instance, my washer suddenly would not spin fast enough to extract all the water out of small rugs. I've washed these same rugs often; they seem to be favorites of our dogs when we are too slow letting them out late at night. I have washed just these two rugs in one load before with no problem. One day last week, the washer would not spin for any reason. Called the repairman--nothing wrong with the machine.

Add to that our furnace dilemma. We had a new furnace installed. What was supposed to be a 2-day job has stretched to 4 days and counting. It's not that the company is incompetent--they are going above and beyond their usual services. Master plumbers are installing pipes and they are leaking in three places. The printed circuit boards (in the furnace itself) somehow got water dripped on them and got fried. Replacements ordered--they sent the wrong ones. Replacements ordered again--they sent a different board, but still the wrong one.

At one point today, I had 4 different technicians stomping up and down my basement stairs. This has greatly interrupted my dogs' sleeping schedule, not to mention my work time.

But I couldn't help but think, the enemy cannot trip me up spiritually--he's trying to trip me up with my circumstances.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,.." James 1:2 (NIV)

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 27

"In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

During my devotional study time today, this verse jumped out at me.

(Before you start to think I'm some great disciplined Bible scholar, I can assure you I am not. In order to get myself on a schedule of sorts, I have a list prominently displayed on my laptop--the first on the agenda being --DO A DEVOTION--allowing myself to visit social media is #6 on the list)

But I digress...

How often do I wait in expectation?

I journal, I pray, I request, I worship, I write, I sing--not in any special order--but how often do I wait in expectation?

I have the joy that comes from knowing God hears my prayers. I know He has only good planned for me, to give me a future and hope. I know Jesus died for my sins and I will be with Him after I die; but do I wait in expectation?

I recently went to a writer's conference some 600+ miles away. The weather was beautiful and I got to drive the whole way. I waited in expectation for that event and I was richly blessed with His clear direction and new friends that feel like old friends already.

My daily time with the LORD has the same feel. We have a great time in communion with one another; my cup is filled to overflowing.

But do I wait in expectation?

Do you?

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 26

This picture is one of my favorites. It's a shot I took nearing sunset in the mountains of New Mexico. I felt very close to God while I was there, and it wasn't because I was 7,500 feet above sea level. There was a sweet fellowship in the place; it is a place many have worshiped Him--not only in the chapel, but anywhere on the trails. I had a worship experience similar to that in church today.

LORD, I worship You because of who You are! Jehovah Jireh--my provider Jehovah Nissi--LORD You reign in VICTORY! Jehovah Shalom--Prince of Peace Jehovah Ropha--my healer Whatever is of God overcomes the world! We will overcome - by the blood of the Lamb, and the words of our testimony-- everyone--OVERCOME!

Worship isn't only for Sunday morning service. It isn't a certain place, or time.

It's a matter of your heart.

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 25

You just never know, do you? One minute, I was at the neighbor's, delivering lasagna, and the next minute, my cell phone rings. I recognized the number as one I'd seen before, but never actually spoke to. It always hung up before I could get to it, or missed the call entirely. (For those of you who have met me personally, this comes as no shock!) This time I heard the first ring, so I rushed to answer, wanting to know just who this was.

It turns out to be a pastor from Nairobi, Kenya, Africa. He found me on a social media site, and (while it is not my habit to become friends with just ANYone who requests a friendship) I friended him. The connection was not too clear, but we chatted for a few minutes , grateful to finally make the contact.

Some backstory here. I recieved an e-mail from Pastor Job about a week ago, with the friend request. My purpose for being on facebook and my blog are 1) to honor God, 2) tell others about Jesus and His saving Grace that's available for everyone if they will only believe, and 3) what He has done in my life. Earlier this year, while posting and praying through the 21--day Daniel Fast, I was contacted by another Pastor from Kenya, Pastor Joshua...."Go and tell..." comes to mind.

Pastor Job and his wife (also a Pastor) are looking for mature Christians to mentor them. They have three small children. They have seven churches in Kenya and oversee five in Uganda. These are busy people.

And Pastor Job found me.

Me.

To ask to mentor he and his wife.

Me--in Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

I have 2 questions.

Do you think God doesn't know or care about you?

Do you think it's just a coincidence that this happened while I am determined to add prayer to Lent?

Adding Prayer to Lent - Days 23 & 24

The enemy of my soul is still at it. He's doing all he can to keep me from keeping my word to add prayer to Lent. He is not succeeding! Let me give you a rundown of the last two days. Yesterday morning I awoke with a bit of a headache. I am prone to migraines, so I followed my routine for this scenario. Eat, drink lots of water, add medicines and an icepack to my forehead are the usual tactics. But this headache didn't go away. It continued with varying degrees of intensity so I proceeded to sit in front of the TV, dozing as needed, producing no work.

I ran thru my phone address book and asked the Lord to show me what I can do with the state I was in. As I read over some of the names, He impressed on me to pray. I did. Note to self, even when you don't feel like it, God can still use you.

Ok, I knew the enemy stole most of yesterday from me. Today, I woke up with that same groggy feeling, but I knew the enemy would not get a second day. I got up earlier than usual (for me) and proceeded to make out a grocery list to cook a meal for a family in need. It was nothing fancy, but having something to focus on other than poor me worked out great.

And I didn't have a headache all day.

"...the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1John 4:4(NIV)

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 22

The enemy may have had a field day with things going wrong in the last few days, but God has continued to bless me in my determination to add prayer to Lent. I recieved various promptings to pray, electronic and otherwise today.

I was able to complete a devotion for submission today (which I am hoping God will permit to be read by many moms)

I was able to travel in my convertible with the roof down (always a reason for praising GOD)

My painful foot was less so today, showing me that the nighttime brace is working...

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Phillipians 4:4)

Pushing On Through

I was thumbing through my latest journal, and noticed a distinct pattern. Every entry where I sought the Lord's direction, He answered. These entries varied from pen scribbles of sculpture ideas to sentence prayers about my drive to work. I prayed to live my faith so others could see You in my life and believe...I was blessed by scripture from 2 Timothy 4:5-"But you! Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." (bold print mine)

Another day, driving to work while it was still dark out, a song came on my iPod, and during the words, "...gotta start sometime; why not now?..." a shooting star streaked across the sky in front of me at the precise moment of "now".

Page after page.

Entry after entry.

I kept on--'keeping on'.

There was a thread of prayer running through every word and drawing.

I even found where I had prayed for friends during my breaks. All recorded.

Tough days at work were noted, with scripture--

"God cares about honesty in the workplace; your business is His business. (Prov.16:11-MSG)

"Let angry people endure the backlash of their own anger, if you try to make it better, you'll only make it worse. (Prov.19:19-MSG)

Persistence. Pushing on through.

The Daniel Fast-Day 20

Today was a wonderful day. But by my former standards, it was lacking. You see, I like to feel productive. As an artist and writer, I always have a running to-do list. I have art projects in various stages of completion, things I can work on for anywhere from 15 minutes to 5 hours. My laptop is always at the ready, waiting for the next stray idea to be caught, fussed over and whittled into a coherent article. I've always needed to be able to check things off a list, then look back to view my accomplishments--a record of my productivity. However, today took a different twist. Today I had the opportunity to cruise along; go with the flow as it were. His flow, that is. God put people into my path today that needed to talk. And I got to share God's Word and apply it to real life experiences. Today I got to come along side and be in the trenches. My Bible study consisted of people, not words.

And I was reminded, yet again, that my daily plans are not always in God's daily plan. He needed me to speak to people today for Him. Oh, there wasn't anything wrong with my plans--they are still needing to be done. It's ok with me when God rearranges my priorities. But I've stopped feeling disappointed when I don't get to check things off my list.

Besides, God got to check some things off of His list.

The Daniel Fast - Day 19

In reading over some older journals, I kept running across the phrase from Romans 12:1,2:

"...offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world..."

The world, if television commercials are any indication, says we must buy the bigger "extra-value" meal, buy the 48 oz. Super Gulp drink, eat at the "endless buffets" and even buy the cheap, filling $5 box of assorted tacos.

Eating the foods on the Daniel Fast has given me a new perspective on the meaning of these Scriptures. I truly am able to offer my body as a living sacrifice to God. This is a new concept to me. I have always been of the group that ate until they were satified, (versus eating until I was stuffed,) then asked God to bless my self-control. I would stop at the local fast food store and feel good about not supersizing my choices. My thinking was skewed.

I see now, God wants me to check with Him first. In doing things this way, I am able to discern if I am at all truly hungry at all. More and more often, the answer has been, "No My child. Come sit here with Me."

What a joy fills my soul in this new-found direction of fellowship with God!

The Daniel Fast - Day 18

I've had alot of people in my life needing prayer today. Between surgeries, stresses, and dear ones the LORD has brought to mind, it's been a busy day for my arthritic knees. As a prayer warrior, I am used to being called upon to pray. I count it a privilege--I don't have to pray; I get to pray. But it wasn't always so... Back when I first became a Christian, I asked the LORD what He wanted me to do for Him. In my own reasoning, I came up with the two things I felt most qualified to do at the time--cook and pray. Whenever someone needed a meal, I was one of the first ones called. I was also in charge of the 'nurture commitee'. I was the one who called the shut-ins on a weekly basis to let them know they were not forgotten. During my calls, I sometimes heard of prayer requests for family members, which turned into impromptu prayer chains. I remember some days when my telephone time turned into a very long day.

I would sometimes start to resent having to make these calls and having to sit and listen to these people go on and on about their children and grandchildren. It took Jesus making Matthew 11:28-30 come alive for me to remember why I was doing this:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (emphasis mine)

I was to learn directly from Jesus.

He is the reason I pray with and for others.

It is with joy I got to pray for my friends today.