Monday, July 30, 2012


     If you have read previous posts of mine then you are aware that I have several chronic autoimmune illnesses. The most frustrating one is Fibromyalgia. It's frustrating because it is the most debilitating one. Sunday mornings are quite a chore for me because it takes every ounce of energy I have to get myself to church and be presentable at times.
     It was one of "those" Sundays, it was all I could do to get there on time and "hold myself together." When I feel that bad, it even affects my thinking. The only way I know to describe it is like when you have been in a  deep sleep and you are jolted awake and your mind and your body haven't quite caught on to the fact that they are needed to function as if they are wide awake. That is how I felt that day.
     So, there I was and our pastor started his sermon. It was all I could do to concentrate on what he was conveying to us. Then he started sharing exactly what I believe the Lord knew I needed to hear to continue my journey. He started relaying a message by Louie Giglio and I was driven to tears during a sermon for the first time in a long time. I knew the Lord was giving me strength and comfort through our pastor at the point I needed it most.
     Only Louie Giglio could accurately relay what my pastor and he shared, so I will defer to Louie's video:


     In the words of Louie, wow, wow, wow, wow! It hit me, I wasn't "holding myself together," God was. The God of the universe was. I think my tears were as much for relief as it was for the comfort and assurance that it brought. I realized I had once again taken my eyes off of the One who made me, the One who formed me in my mother's womb and not only that the One who literally "holds me together." What an awesome God we serve. I was carrying a burden He did not intend for me to carry. In essence, in my pastor's words, "He's got this." God has my body under control even though it seems out of control.
     You may be thinking wow! for you, but what about me? I believe there is no difference between us, because I believe God sees no difference between us. God's word says in Colossians 1:15-20 NIV;  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created:  things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. 
     What a promise and what a great God. My prayer and my song for us today is found in Ephesians 3:20 NIV;  Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.   

And again I say Wow! and AMEN.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

His Presence in Our Present Hell

     One of my favorite books EVER (besides the Bible) is a small book titled "A Tale of Three Kings" by Gene Edwards. I don't think it was on the top best seller's list anywhere, but in my opinion every Christian would benefit from reading it. It is a study in brokenness illustrating King David and the theme is submission.
     Gene Edwards also wrote my second favorite book EVER which is titled "The Prisoner in the Third Cell" and this book illustrates John the Baptist and the recurring theme is this verse "And blessed is he who is not offended because of me." Matthew 6:11 NKJ
      Brokenness, submission and sacrifice. Not very popular topics for obvious reasons. Each one of them requires pain and selflessness. I don't know about you, but my human nature tries to avoid both at all cost most of the time. Actually brokenness, submission and sacrifice are interdependent. We really can't do any of them without doing them all.
     How do we get ourselves in a position to be broken, submitted and willing to sacrifice? Why would we want to? What is the point? If we really are serious about having an intimate relationship with the Living God,  it is unavoidable.
     One of my favorite quotes from "The Prisoner in the Third Cell" is this, "He who takes up the sword perishes by the sword. He who refuses to take up the sword perishes on the cross." Ouch!
     There is a similar quote in "A Tale of Three Kings" in which it states this; "I'm in David's situation, and I am in agony. What do I do when the kingdom I'm in is ruled by a spear wielding king? Should I leave? If so, how? Just what does a man do in the middle of a knife-throwing contest?" The answer is, "You get stabbed to death."..."What is the necessity of that? Or the good of it?"...You have your eyes on the wrong King Saul. As long as you look at your king, you will blame him, and him alone, for your present hell. Be careful, for God has His eyes fastened sharply on another King Saul. Not the visible one standing up there throwing spears at you. No, God is looking at another King Saul. One just as bad-or worse. God is looking at the King Saul in you. End quote.
     You may not have an actual King Saul in your life, by that I mean someone in authority over you that may be causing your "present hell." It could be any number of sources in your life yet be just as applicable. If you are struggling right now, the source of that struggle may be an outer King Saul that is at war with your inner King Saul.
     I believe the quote from "The Prisoner in the Third Cell" is saying this, we have a choice. We can choose to live like the world and become angry, prideful and selfish which leads to blaming others for our "present hell." Therefore, not dealing with our inner King Saul. Or we can choose to accept the new identity we have been given in Christ and follow His example and allow brokenness, submission and selflessness, therefore dealing with our inner King Saul and becoming more like our True King, Jesus. It is a painful process trying to slay our inner King Saul.
     If you were able to ask John the Baptist if it was worth it to him to have his head served on a silver platter for sinful purposes, what do you think he would say? John asked a question of Jesus from his jail cell, "Are You the coming One, or do we look for another?" Matthew 11: 3 NKJ. In other words, are You are THE CHRIST? If You are then, YES "I'm all in," it is worth it. Why? Because CHRIST is worth it. I believe John wanted to make sure that what or better stated who he was "putting in all of his chips" for was worth the cost.
     Jesus' answer for John was this "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me." Matthew 11:4-6 NKJ
     Jesus' answer to John is His answer to all of us. He indeed is worth it. That's GOOD news! Do we believe that Christ is worth our "present hell?" King David's life is full of examples of times when he did not choose God's way over his own and he and everyone around him paid the consequences. The same could be said of all of us and I would be at the head of that line. Yet time after time God has shown Himself faithful even when we have not been faithful to Him. That is His nature "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." II Timothy 2:13 NKJ. This is my song and my prayer for us all that we deem Him worthy and faithful even in our "present hell" of slaying our inner King Saul because we realize our King Jesus is worth it.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Living Proof

     Well, Songbirds I hope you can bear with me as I have had such a heavy heart and been so conflicted while preparing for this post. I cannot tell you how many times I have started a sentence, even finished a few only to delete them afterwards.I have struggled with what to share with you and the following is what I have come up with.
      In my first post "The Hand of God" I touched on my experience in counseling when I was being treated for clinical depression. What I left out was my experience in those months and weeks prior to counseling. The year was 1994 and my husband and I had begun our reconciliation process in our marriage. It had been two years since our initial crisis. We had attended counseling together for nine months and we both thought we were well on our way to healing.
     But, there was a problem. During our crisis and even the time subsequent to it I had focused so hard on acting and being all that I thought God would have me be and all that I thought my husband would have me be and all that I thought would be the best example for our girls to be that I neglected to deal with the pain I had experienced.
      I cannot blame anyone for my response to my pain. I would not put that burden on anyone. If it had not been my marriage I fully believe it would have been any number of other events that would inevitably have taken place in my life and I would have responded the same way. It just happened that my marriage was the catalyst God chose to use to finally deal with this Goliath in my life.
      Depression has a kind of snowball effect if not intervened upon. Just like a snowball that is barreling down a mountainside, until it is dealt with it continues to grow until such time it gets so big that it will consume and destroy anyone in it's path.That last week before I re-entered counseling I started getting thoughts of  being with Jesus. I was thinking if I could just be with Jesus I would be alright. In reality I was candy coating the thought of ending my life. I can honestly say up until that point in my life I had never had such a thought yet I had never been in so much emotional pain. I can't tell you if it was just the pain of our marriage experience or the accumulated pain from my life up until then. It felt like the latter.
      I literally felt as if a heavy weight was on my chest, I physically felt it. And when describing my pain I felt I could only adequately describe it by literally lifting my bent arms and motioning away as if I was attempting to push that wall of pain off of me because I was feeling smothered by it. My voice even changed, the pain was evident in my tone. I felt consumed and was drowning (not unlike Peter) when he focused on his circumstance and not on Jesus and by that point I did not even have the capacity to consider how to escape it so I was succumbing to it. My snowball was barreling down quickly.
      This would be a tragic story had it not been for two Knights that came to my rescue. First of all God is and will always be my first Knight in shining armor. He has rescued me time and time again (usually from myself) and is the only One who gets the ultimate glory. He will come and rescue me and all His saints again one day on His white horse once and for all. Revelation 19:11-16.  Until that time, I believe my husband is my second Knight, the one here on earth, provided to me by God Himself.
      I am one who can say that their spouse literally played a role in saving their life.You see toward the end of that last week my husband led me into our kitchen and picked up the phone and called our counselor. He intervened on my behalf which was the first step in destroying the snowball. God used him and our godly counselor to lead me back on the road to healing and I was subsequently brought back from the brink of self-destruction.
      One thing I learned about my thought process during that time was that I was in so much pain that I was fast approaching the point that I would do anything to stop that pain. I did NOT want to die. I just wanted my pain to STOP and I was not able to see any other way out at that time. I believe that this thought process is what anyone considering suicide genuinely wants but may not be able to adequately convey.
      Through my counseling I learned that I had been deceived into believing that I could not go to God because I was carrying guilt and shame for what went on in our marriage. I was blaming myself, punishing myself. I was convinced that my sin hindered me to the point that I could not go to God. Not rational at all, but I was not thinking rationally. That thinking was full of lies and deceit but that was the position I found myself in.
      I had taken my focus off of the Lord and His truth and was experiencing another "Peter" moment. If you remember what a "Peter" moment is, it was when Peter took His eyes off of Christ as found in Matthew 14:22-33  and looked at his circumstances that he started to drown in the sea. BUT, Jesus held out His hand as Peter cried out for His help and Jesus saved him. Matthew 14:28-32.  This time I felt I was drowning and my "Peter" moment had turned into months and I felt I had begun to drown in a sea of  hopelessness.
      When a Christian loses hope, where does he turn? There is nowhere but a black abyss and that is exactly where the enemy of my soul wanted me. It was in that state of mind that I entered that counseling room and experienced the hand of God firsthand that broke through my darkness. Like I said in my testimony of that experience I could not reach up to God, so He reached down to me.
     I had to make the choice that day to call out to God for help. His hand was the first one reaching just as in Peter's case. I can't explain why the God of the universe would even offer to do that unless it is His unfathomable love for us. I do know He loves us so much that He would rather die than live without us. He proved that on the cross. He conquered death He is also able to conquer our Goliath. We can live because we serve a living God Luke 24:5-7 NKJ and Matthew 22:32 NKJ.
       "Come to Jesus" by Chris Tomlin is a beautiful illustration that our Knight in shining armor truly does exist and He is but a cry away to all who believe in Him. I am living (living) proof of that! All who believe on Him are living proof of that and that is our song!


"You'll never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have."  Max Lucado from his book titled Facing Your Giants.