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.

Good Friday Has Passed

Back in late October 2011, we had a surprise snow storm. The snow was thick and heavy, causing some breakage of tree limbs. The lilac bush in my yard bore the brunt of the damage. (You can read about this in my Nov 8-2011 post) Two of the older thick branches were broken off by the weight of the snow. When I first saw the damage, I was heartbroken, thinking too much damage had been done and the bush wouldn't survive. All my gardening magazines stated lilacs shouldn't be trimmed more than a third of their wood; it would cause too much shock to the plant and it would die. It was too late to do anything about it. What's done is done.

The Good Friday service I attended reminded me of this lilac bush. While I'm thinking the lilac bush is as good as dead, the onlookers in Jesus' day must have thought that about Him. Jesus hung on that cross, cruelly beaten, bleeding life's precious blood from His hands, His feet and His side.

How could He survive that?

He couldn't.

But He said He would be back:

"We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death...mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise." Mark 10:33-34 (NIV)(bold letters mine)

So life would appear from what would seem dead. But, we have to wait until the proper time.

I noticed the same thing about the lilac bush the other day.

Adding Prayer to Lent - Day 28

I had a full day of service today. This was the second of three full days of having our furnace installed--we are switching systems as the old one was getting iffy in the availability of parts. I had a full "to-do" list waiting and I got to it. I baked chocolate chip cookies to send to a friend's son stationed overseas. I've known Matt since he was about three, I take great pleasure in serving him and his fellow soldiers by doing this small thing. They think it is a big thing and are greatly appreciative, which makes it even better.

I also got to send out some of the cookies to my son at college. I packed them in Chinese dinner containers that he likes (and requested more of) because he can use them for leftovers. I also packed up some little gifts I found for various friends--just to let them know I'm thinking of them.

I also got to cook in a larger quantity today. My husband loves Salisbury steak. His mom used to make it, but I had never had. I had two pounds of ground beef in the refridgerator that I knew I better use up soon. In the midst of packing the boxes, finding the addresses, applying my Snoopy stickers to the boxes (the woman at the Post Office always laughs), I found the time to make up these Salisbury steaks. I made 4 larger ones for us, and three mini ones for my neighbor, who doesn't cook.

This is no big deal for me--(I love to cook)-- but these little (to me) acts of service are big things to the people on the recieving end.

They are also a big deal to God.

" The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" Mathew 25:40 (NIV)

I was truly blessed today. The first day of Spring, and I got to drive my car, with the roof down, at 9:00PM to make a quick run to the store. This is typically unheard of in the area I live; during the day it's possible for it to be that warm, but after sundown? In March? In Pennsylvania? God knows how much I love to drive my car--He also knows I thank Him for the opportunity each and everytime I drive it.

"Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

How have you served Him lately? If you haven't, will you start now?

CELEBRATE!

Were you aware that the LORD delights in you? Psalm 149 says so!

Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds...

Praise the LORD. Psalm 149:1-5,9(NIV)

Praise Him! However you can; singing, dance or rejoicing. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you DO it!

God enjoys you!

Storm Damage- Conclusion

What happens to those who are so firmly wedged into the lies of this world; who choose to ignore the small, still voice of God? What if we don't realize the error of our ways? What if we've fit ourselves so comfortably in the world's views and opinions that our behavior no longer seems like sin to us?

It will be too late.

"...Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."(1 Peter 5:8 NIV)

Storm Damage-Part 2

The lilac bush had been around a long time--at least the fifteen years we have lived in the house. This branch that broke was not one I had slated for removal. It was one of the stronger ones with great flowering potential. Yet now it was dead wood. As I continued to saw my way through, the tiny teeth left a pile of fine powder sawdust around the blade. It looked like it was barely making a dent.

But that's where I was wrong. When I removed the saw to see my progress, there was indeed a cut in the wood; I remember being surprised at how deep it was. Heartened now, I continued.

I thought again about the seemingly little progress I was making. A secret sin or a bad habit--really anything contrary to God's precepts--can chip away at our resolve to conduct ourselves in a manner pleasing to God. We can justify subtle lies when they're wrapped in noble intentions. The behavior becomes so ingrained that we wake up one day, and hopefully realize our error.

But the consequences of our behavior will happen.

We will be left to clean up the mess.

Storm Damage-Part 1

Back in October 2011, Pennsylvania got hit with an unexpected snow storm. The heavy, wet snow wreaked havoc on many trees and caused widespread damage. In my own yard, the lilac bush took the brunt of the hit.In preparation to trim the lilac, I went out to the shed, looking for a pair of pruners. Upon closer inspection of the broken branch, I determined a saw would be in order. However, all I could find in the shed was a small hacksaw type of tool. As I began to saw away, I noticed the tiny teeth the blade had. This was going to take awhile. Nevertheless, I persevered. As those tiny teeth kept cutting through the branch, I couldn't help but see the similarity between it and sin in our lives.

How many times do we pass off a little sin as "Oh, it won't matter" or "Nobody will find out" or the ever popular,"That's not really wrong, is it"?

Here's a hint--If you're asking that question or find yourself strongly defending it? It probably is.

Book Review--"Bless Your Socks Off" by Sandra P. Aldrich

, I had the privilege of hearing Sandra Aldrich speak at the 2011 CLASS Christian Writers Conference last November. Although Sandra was speaking in a conference room, I had the delightful feeling we were all sitting at her kitchen table. Her down-home manner and honest emotions come through in "Bless Your Socks Off", and you will feel an instant connection as Sandra skillfully uses humor and stories to gently encourage and uplift. This book is a keeper that will quickly become a treasured part of my personal library.

With quick encouragement thoughts, (suitable for posting wherever needed) and discussion questions at the end of each chapter, this book is an excellent resource for self-discovery or group study.

The Daniel Fast - Day 21 - The Final Day

Praise God from Whom ALL Blessings Flow! Today is day 21--the official 'last day' of the Daniel Fast. Technically, the fast ends at my church's covered dish meal after tomorrow's Sunday service. I'm not sure what I'll be eating at the dinner. We've gotten used to this list of foods and plan to introduce meat, cheese and eggs back in slowly so we don't upset our systems. It's been an interesting journey for me. God has shown Himself to me in different ways through this fast.

A stronghold has been broken; food doesn't have the same addicting attraction now as it did before. My tastes have changed. I can be satisfied with less and I'm craving different nourishment. God's Holy Spirit has been wooing me for almost a year with this scripture:

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

I've read it, had it spoken to me, meditated on it, focused on it, and published an article on it.

God has indeed transformed my mind about how I look at food. Even food shopping today, buying the items I'll be preparing tomorrow morning for the dinner, I didn't slip into my old habits of picking up the same sweet treats. Oh, I looked at them. But I walked by without stopping. I even went the other way to avoid the donut case and the chocolate croissant bin.

A renewed mind. A different view of food. Changed perspective.

He has transformed my view of Him too.

Did you ever meet someone and just knew this person was somebody that you will delight in knowing? That you will be friends immediately? And after you met them, and talked a little, you were delighted to find you were right and they turned out to be even a more excellent friend than you thought possible? And the more you talked and shared, the more you wanted to continue doing just that? And then you feel like this person really understands you; they get you and words are not so important but the closeness is?

Yeah. Like that.

But more.

A renewed mind.

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!