Monday, June 30, 2008

Momma's Ill-ness

My girls are social butterflies, just like their momma. But you know what? Momma is tired and she doesn't feel like flitting around today. After a marvelous She Speaks conference, I entered the valley with NT's mysterious illness. Then my younger daughter had me running all over town and neighboring towns this weekend with "school's finally out" activities (year round school you know). There was the skate party on Friday followed by a sleepover for three friends, which was supposed to be two friends. But we won't go there today! Then Saturday was the moving away party for one of two friends that are moving to Texas. Oh did I mention that NT had her best friend sleepover on Saturday? We've had children that don't belong to us in our house every day since last Monday. Did I mention that momma is tired?

Why am I telling you this? Because God has shown me something about myself through this situation. I get cranky and ill when I am tired. Not ill as in tossing my cookies, but ill as in my attitude would make you ill. Do you want to know something? My attitude today made me ill as well. I snapped at my girls and my poor husband. I rolled my eyes and sighed and growled. Hmmmm. I don't think this is how God intended for me to act today or any day.

"It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. " James 3:5-6 The Message

Yeah, that verse certainly makes me think long and hard about my "ill-ness". It's not something I am proud of. I mean, I'm supposed to be Christian. I am "blessed" remember. How could I act this way? I can act this way because God is not finished with me yet. That's a good thing because if He was done, I'd be disappointed. I've come a long way but there's still a long way to go. I praise Him for the work He's already done in me. I get tickled thinking about what He still has planned. I know it won't always be an easy road but I'm excited nevertheless.

Another thing I realize is that Luann was right. In her class on Preparing for the Battlefield Through Prayer last Saturday, she told us that we were on the mountaintop. Boy what a fabulous mountain it was! She then informed us that after we left, we'd be going to the valley and our enemy, Satan, would be there to meet us. She told us we needed to get prayed up and keep praying through the valley.

I prayed at the conference. I prayed when I got home. I prayed all last week. Today I even prayed. But I did not pray when I felt myself starting to get snippy. And the enemy got a small victory. Today, he won't get another. And because the Holy Spirit pointed out to me that I need an extra measure of prayer when I'm tired, I have a better chance of preventing him from getting a victory in this area again.

I love this about God. Even when we fail, He is there to teach us, love us, pick us up and put us back on the narrow road. Let's remember His lessons and put them to good use. They bless us and honor Him. Right now I'm going to go put a previous lesson to good use. I have three people from which I need to seek forgiveness for throwing up my bad attitude on them. I pray they are as merciful as the Lord.

Friday, June 27, 2008

And The Dots Keep Connecting

Today I was looking up more verses from the name of God I received at She Speaks. Did I tell y'all that the names of God were posted throughout the prayer room. Each of us was prayed for individually. As they felt led to, the ladies placed a slip of paper with our name on it on a name of God. For me, that name was El Shaddai - God Almighty, the God of the mountains, the All-Sufficient God. I've got two daughters, 13 and 11 (soon to be 12 in 9 days). He better be all sufficient or I'll be in the loony bin soon! All joking aside - I was moved at how appropriate this name was for me.

Well today in my quiet time I was studying one the verses associated with El Shaddai, Genesis 49:25. In the NKJV it says "By the God of your father who will help you with blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the the breasts and of the womb". Okay, I know you are thinking....."bless your heart that's so nice." Well the "so what" is that the word my promise card from Saturday night was BLESSED. Now mind you those cards were "random", we did not rummage through them looking for the "right" one. The ladies from Proverbs 31, from what I understand, had prayed for use to receive the promise that was for us. So in truth, it was not random but perfectly orchestrated by God.

I started crying when I realized my promise and the name of El Shaddai were connected. El Shaddai sends blessings from heaven, from the deep, from the breast and from the womb. I am blessed by God over and over and from all over. I don't deserve any of it but He's gracious to give it anyway. Praise Him!

So after I became unglued about that, I moved on to Ezekiel, which is the book the Lord had instructed me to read through a few weeks ago. Today I was in Ezekiel 34. Verse 16 says " I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgement". Whoa! Isn't that what the conference was about? Isn't that the calling for those who want to write, speak and do ministry? Aren't we seeking what is lost, bringing back those driven away, binding up with broken with God's Word and His love for them through our actions, and strengthening those who are sick at heart?

I prayed some time ago for God to show me His glory, reveal Himself to me in a real and tangible way. He certainly has done that - He doesn't disappoint. As I drove to work today I felt full. I could tangibly feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and I was satisfied. My thirst was quenched and I felt whole!

I am more in love with my God than I have ever been. After last weekend I am forever changed. And do you know what? He's not done with me yet. How cool is that!

Father God I praise You. You are indeed El Shaddai. You are all I need - you are more than I need. I just give you all the glory. You are patient, merciful, gracious, patient, just and completely wonderful. Thank You for who You are. Thank You for saving and setting me free. I love You. You are the answer to all my questions and the solution to all my problems. Praise and honor be to You Lord. Amen

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Valley

What a day! We spent the whole day at the ER with my oldest daughter. She woke up this morning unable to use her arms or legs. Not a good start. I originally was going to try to work a half day until I realized she had some form of paralysis! So I fed her and gave her a bath. Of course I called work to say I wasn't coming in. My husband and I prayed together. I prayed over my baby of course. I called my buddy RP to get a message out to the prayer chain at work. Then we headed to the ER.

After answering the same questions what seemed like 4 million times, they ordered bloodwork, a chest x-ray, CT scan and a spinal tap/lumbar puncture. Did I mention this child is afraid of needles?? I kept praying during each procedure. RP called for updates. Mom called for updates. And we waited. The spinal tap did not go well. They didn't get in the right spot at first. Or the second time. Then they realized she didn't have enough lidocaine. Oi vey!! All I could think was "could y'all make this any harder for her??" Anyway, the more senior doc came in, gave her some more lidocaine, got the needle in the right spot and got the needed fluid. Praise the Lord 'cause I was tired of it all.

As we waited for the results of everything, I prayed some more. RP called to let me know the whole prayer chain was praying and a few non-Christian co-workers. Can I praise Him one more time??!! The nurse came in and needed a tinkle sample. My daughter could not go in the pan but said she thought her legs would work now. I was thinking, "Are you kidding me? You said that this morning and I would up carrying you to the bathroom." Did I mention she's as big as I am? But I digress. My child, who had been unable to use her legs all day, got out of that bed and walked with a small amount of assistance to the bathroom. Let me just say I was speechless!

All her tests came back normal. They asked me if I thought it could be psychological and I vehemently said I did not believe it was. There wasn't anything I could think of that would make her undergo a spinal tap if she wasn't really physically sick. I mean really, no one volunteers to get jabbed in the spine with a needle. Besides, I had already talked to her and told her that if she had something she needed to tell me or them to please do so or she'd be stuck there. She did not want to be stuck there, she wanted out. And frankly so did I.

They were going to admit her but after the bathroom incident and clean test results, they released her. My mom was mortified. She thought they should keep her until they knew what was wrong. I was grateful. I am choosing to believe that the prayers of the righteous were answered. I won't be back at work tomorrow because they want one more day of observation while we wait for the culture of her spinal fluid to be completed. She has a follow-up with her pediatrician as well. However, when I do return to work I plan on offering the biggest thank you and Praise God to the prayer chain. Our God is good and I love Him!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

She Speaks Day 2 and 3

All I can say is WOW! She Speaks was incredible. That's not even an adequate word to describe it.

Luann's class on prayer was, frankly, off the chain! That woman is a prayer warrior. I love her. She gave such practical advice about covering yourself and others in prayer. I feel so much better equipped to do this thing called ministry now.

The scene at the general session last night was simply God-glorifying. Imagine women streaming from the back, middle and front of the room, making their way to one of the two crosses, clutching index sized cards. On those cards are Satan's lies to us, the fears and doubts he has planted in our hearts and minds. Imagine each lady kneeling at that cross, carefully laying her index card on the floor and beginning to pray and weep.

Why are they weeping and wailing? For lost opportunities, for having unknowlingly turned from the light that radiates from the cross. They weep for joy at God's mercy and grace, at the freeing power of the truth. What is that truth? Jesus Christ. He is the truth, the way and the life. Where we are weak, He is strong. When we feel insufficient, He is our sufficiency. When we are fearful, He leads the way. He is all we need.

When the weeping ends, imagine a sister in Christ, providing hugs, a prayer and words of love and encouragement. She receives her promise from God in the form of a card. It has one word to describe her and a verse from God's word spoken to her tonight. She walks back to her table with the look of peace and the glow of the gospel truth on her face. Her table mates gently hand her a tissue and hug her rocking back and forth together. Freed from the burden of Satan's lies, she can now go forth and minister as she is called.

As we wrapped up today, there were smiles. Ladies who were clearly carrying burdens on Day 1 and 2 looking free and joyous. I can see the promises on those cards beginning to be fulfilled; ladies beginning to become that which they were not just 24 hours ago.

You lose evil one. We are equipped, we are strengthened. We will spread God's message. And you can't stop us.

Friday, June 20, 2008

She Speaks Day One

I am having a blast! What a wonderful group of ladies here. All 560 of 'em!

The Lord sat people next to each other that have connections they didn't even know about. One of my roomies sat next to a lady whose family founded the town my roomie is from. Another lady found out that she is friends with someone who is the in-law of one of the Proverbs 31 speakers.

Can you believe I had to ask for sweet tea!!?? This is North Carolina people! The sweet tea should have been on the table **before** the water. It got there finally. Thanks Pam :D

Lisa TerKeurst's talk was FABulous. I've never heard her speak in person before. Phenom!

I got some additional ideas for my book. In fact I think there are two series in my head now. Now if I can just get them on paper - well several pieces of paper.

I am rooming with the greatest group of ladies. We are an odd mix but we get along. It's like we've known each other forever. Sister friends I tell ya.

My peer critique group was heartening. There were just minor changes to my article. As soon as I get home I'll make the corrections. I'd do it here - IF the datastick wasn't still sticking in the USB port at the house. Good packing huh?

Publishing world here I come. Stepping out on faith -- being radical!

Gotta run. Need to be up at the crack 'o dawn!

Later Gators!