Monday, September 29, 2008

Do You Ever Feel Holy?

I have had days that I have felt holy. Yes, holy. Me...I have felt holy.

It has been a long time since I have felt holy. I want to feel holy again.

I am not saying that I am holy. I am not holy. But, sometimes I have felt so close to God that I feel holy. It is not my holiness, it is His.

What does holy mean? Apparantly it has a number of meanings...the one that is closest to what I am trying to say I think is the meaning "consecrated: set apart for religious purposes" or "saintly: devoted to the service of God"

God called me into His service. He set me apart.

God is holy, that is, He is set apart. Set apart from all else to be worshipped and glorified. All He calls to Himself are set apart, and through Christ and His sacrifice we are made holy. It is God's holiness that sets us apart. It is God's holiness that I feel when I feel holy. It is when I am closest to Him that I feel set apart. Afterall, the Creator of the Universe knows me by name and knows the number of hairs on my head.

These days I have felt distant. I haven't felt that "holiness". Why? It is because I have forgotten that He set me apart. I have forgotten that He is holy and I should set Him apart in my life. God is holy and therefore I should set Him apart from my everyday activities and spend time with Him. Only Him, for he is holy. When I do that, He blesses me, for I am covered in His Holiness. When I spend time with God, praying and talking to Him alone, His holiness is overwhelming. I can feel His presence and know that He is with me, that He is my protector, my Father and the Lover of my soul.

I can walk in full confidence that He is in control and watching over me. I can enjoy His presence as He intended me to and I can feel holy.

Repost from October 23, 2003

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just a Quick Blurb

This is an update for all who have been following me through this difficult journey I have been traveling. God is merciful and it is to Him that I give all the glory. Something inside me has been changed. Although my heart is still broken, the darkness, and heaviness is nothing but a faint memory. It's just like it was when I had my children. I remember feeling bad, but as time goes on, the recollection of the pain is fading. It's almost like I have been born again...again. I am not the same as I was and things that used to bother me before have become of less concern. I let go...finally. My burden is light because God is carrying the load now. I praise Him. He is my Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in prayer during this difficult time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Are We Who We Are Online?

How does one look beyond a public persona?

I am not a person who is in the public eye at all, thank God. But, still, anytime someone sees me outside of my home, I am "in public". So, what does a person see and determine about me by simply seeing me? or watching me? What impression does a person get by reading my blog? Seeing me work? Watching me with friends? Observing me at church? Walmart? The bank?

One thing about these "public forums" and such things in the "age of information" and/or "communication" is that we, people in general, basically communicate only tiny tidbits of information through pixels on an LCD screen. These "writings" convey little about the character/personality of the writer, although some writers do reveal deep personal thoughts and/or feelings, it isn't the whole story. Often in today's world we conclude what a person is like through a few Instant Messages, comments on a forum, and/or a blog post. These things are minimal and in no way encompass the entire being of a person. I wish we would remember that.

It is hard enough sometimes to understand a person we have been acquainted with for years, so why do we feel like we can know "who" a person is by a few simple writings. Writings in pixels...NOT handwriting, where you can sometimes see the intensity or gentleness of a certain stroke that may reveal a degree of accuracy in portraying a real thought or emotion. We can't detect inflection or the tone of a voice through pixels, like we can when actually speaking to people. We can't see facial expressions through pixels.

A carefully crafted word or punctuation does have power. Power to offend, to hurt, to encourage, to inspire. Words typed and displayed on a screen can reveal things about a person, but it is limited. What we read is not WHO that person is. We shouldn't jump to conclusions and assume we know a person when we have had very limited engagement with them.

I'm sometimes amazed at how much we miscommunicate in this era of communication.

I'm sometimes amazed at how ill informed we are in this age of information.

Things aren't always as they seem.

"I am not who I think I am. I am not who you think I am. I am who I think you think I am."

Thursday, September 18, 2008


God is alive and He is concerned with every aspect of every life. I can feel Him again. I have been emptied. I have let go...and now I do believe I feel His filling. It's so late and I am so tired that I can't write it all down. But, I have finally been able to let go of the things I have been holding on to..things God told me months ago that He would ask me to let go of. I had to humble myself and ask for forgiveness. When I did...something inside changed. I felt lighter and I began to breathe easier. He told me that freedom would come when I let go and that I needed to trust Him but I couldn't. So, He emptied me so completely until I had no other thing to do but relinquish what I held so dear. In doing so, I am finding myself free from the bondage I alone got myself into.

So much is so clear to me now. I feel life and breath and the things that were hurting me so bad don't hurt anymore. The problems that were there are still there...but they just aren't a problem for me. I realize that I can't change my circumstances. I can't change others. I can only change me and how I respond to the circumstances. I didn't know how to change myself or how to stop responding the way I was. But I kept praying and so many prayer warriors have been carrying me through this. I felt so alone even though I knew I wasn't..and I wasn't. So many have been praying and last night was an incredible time of prayer. Somebody has been doing battle through intercession on my behalf and I want to praise God for you right now. Keep praying. The battle isn't over but I can say this...I feel much stronger and able to fight harder now than before.

I felt like I had lost everything but when I realized I couldn't save it...I accepted the loss. Then, all of a sudden, it just didn't matter anymore. I thought I was losing my best friend for life. Now, it's okay. Because I am focused...and I can only lose what the Father takes from me. It all belongs to Him anyhow.

Now, I am ready to surrender to what He wants instead of what I think I deserve. I have a ways to go but I think I will get there. I have tossed the idols. I can see my Father's face and I can see my reflection in His eyes. I have hope now.

I will go home soon. My prayer now is that I won't lose focus in the midst of my every day life. I want this testimony of God to live on.

Lord, help me to fulfill the committments I have made today...the committment to love you and to love others and put self on a shelf.

Father, show me Your glory!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

He Loves Me

God sent me an angel tonight. Her name is Patti. She understands. She has been in her own dark night of the soul...she knows. She knows exactly where I am. She does not condemn. She does not judge. She heard my hearts cry. She has walked through the darkness in her own life against her own will...but has willingly chosen to walk with me through mine. She told me exactly how I was feeling because she truly understands. She prayed with me. Now..I just need to breathe in the Spirit of Life...and breath out the lies, the hurt, the anger, the anxiety and everything that encompasses the darkness that has been consuming my world. God bless you Patti. She told me that God is underneath me...holding me up...that He is not angry with me, He is not disappointed, and He is healing.

There is so much more but I am so tired. I need to sleep now.

Scents of Joy

I am so blessed in this very moment and I am beginning to feel hope again. God is sending people to me...the least likely people to reach out and show compassion and understanding. Funny, when the ones you always are able to go to aren't there for you anymore...He uses the least likely.

I spoke with a sister in Christ earlier today. She called about a commitment I had made. I told her I had to back out and gave her a brief rundown. I was transparent...and she accepted that. She was so supportive.

Then, I came down stairs to the scents of pumkin muffins baking in the oven. Jeanie was in her typical dinner apron. Pots were steaming with fresh corn on the cob and green beans. Tonight I will enjoy a home cooked family dinner. The smell of the muffins caused a warmth and joy to bubble up inside me that surprised me. It was a level of joy I haven't felt for a long time....muffins. It wasn't just the scent that moved in my heart so much as the heart behind the scent. Somebody who cares is cooking a home cooked meal for me and expects nothing in return....a meal...for me...for me. Although Dave is out of town today...we will still have a family dinner tonight. Me, Jeanie, David, and Marie.

I am sitting on the deck out back as I write this. The air is cool and crisp. My heart is calm and I feel at peace. I pray that this moment will last. I actually feel that some healing is beginning to take place.....muffins. God uses the strangest things. Right now, I am praising God for a nose that works right!

Sorting out the Chaos

I've had some good talks with my friend, Jeanie, here in Atlanta. Sometimes we just talk about stuff and sometimes we talk about my struggles. The good thing about Jeanie is that she doesn't force me to talk about the issue when she thinks I should. She just invites me to have tea on the dock by the lake (which is her back yard...literally). We watch the ducks and turtles and just chat about life in general. Then as it comes up, I start to work through some things...try to dig deeper and discover solutions. We talk about faith and the struggles that come there. During our talks, she is always very careful to reassure me that I am quite normal and my reaction to these circumstances are quite normal. She has helped me to see that I am not being irrational about some things. I thought I was misinterpreting circumstances or making them out to be worse than they are. But, she told me that given the same circumstances, she would have reacted the same way. I think that's what has drawn me to Jeanie. She has a way of making me feel like a respectable human being no matter how messed up I might think I am.

Jeanie has given me some great books to read (to add to my pile of about 20 that I'm reading already). She is so gentle in spirit...calm...soft spoken...and understanding. I wish I could be more like that.

I realize that I am in transition. Transition is hard. There so much unknown and it has all happened so fast. I have enjoyed several years of stability. I have had a home, a framily, and a best friend. We had routines, connections, struggles, blessings....and no matter what came at us...our framily stood through it. My best friendship was solid. Now, all of that stability is being threatened as my son leaves to the Navy Special Forces in a couple weeks. I will be mothering one now. Next May, I will graduate and very likely move to a new location. I am losing my framily...and my home...and other things that are too personal to mention.

I have been hit with many things that I don't want to go into, but all in all I feel like the world that God blessed my family with has been shaken up and is beginning to look more like a pile of rubble. The idea of rebuilding yet again is overwhelming. It took so long and so much work to get this far. Now I find that I need God to restore beauty to these ashes...but I can't seem to get to the place of resting in Him and waiting with Him. My heart has been so broken in the process of all of this. So, my goal is to get to a place of acceptance. I can't change what is so I have to find a way to deal with it or let it kill me. That is what I am trying to do.

The weight is still heavy and I still can't shake the feeling of emptiness and darkness. I read this morning that faith is what keeps us sane and at peace. I have lost my faith...and in the process...I feel as if I am losing my mind and there is no presence of peace. So, I think the first and most important step I need to take is to find my faith again.

For now, I am not making a plan for my future as I am tempted to do. The Holy Spirit is hovering over this darkness, void, emptiness, chaos....just as He did before the world began. He is at peace, waiting for the right moment to create beauty from it all. I need to find my resting place where I can wait in peace with Him. That is what I need to focus on before I can do anything with the rest of this mess. It will truly take a miracle.

That is where I need to be prayed for the most at this time. I truly believe that once I get to this place...everything else will fall in place after that. I have a long way to go. Your prayers will carry me. I think that the prayers of the saints have brought me to this place and they will help me to find hope again.

Confessions and Lamentations II

My world is very dark right now. I have gone on retreat in a desperate attempt to find my place in Christ before I run every single person I love right out of my life. I have suffered losses that nobody...NOBODYcan fathom or understand and I know that more is to come. My peaceful world is in earthquake...a big one. Everything is crumbling around me. I am wounded with little hope of healing these days. I don't need anymore advice. I have heard it all. I have spent the last year plus listening to all the people I care about telling me everything that is wrong with church, my family, and even my closest friends. I have heard about how in equipped I am, insensitive, selfish...all the while making my focus on loving God and loving others. How ironic. I think I missed something. Then, in hopes to balance things out I suppose, they tell me I am such a strong woman of faith. Right. Am I supposed to feel better now? I need to find God's love in all of this. I need His obvious presence in me. I can't find Him. When I do, it's only for a moment, perhaps just enough to give me hope enough to keep hanging on.

"Chin up! Make up your mind to be positive! Cut your losses and move on!" That's what everyone tells me. Easy for people who have deep friendships, spouses, nice homes, and a strong family.

"You are making yourself look pathetic. You have to make up your mind to be strong and have some self respect. You deserve better than that!"

Okay! I am strong now! I am smiling! I am moving forward and cutting my losses! I am going to speak positive! I am going to wear a mask!

Why can't somebody just come into my darkness and grieve with me? Is there anyone? Is there anyone willing to walk with me through this? Any human on the face of the earth who will just hold me and bind my wounds without giving me pointless advice?

It's like when you go to a funeral and try to say the right thing to somebody who has lost a loved one. Just about anything you say is going to make things worse. It's best not to say anything and just let the person cry and grieve. Let them say anything they want...whatever it takes to get the heaviness to lift. Just support them. Love them. Hold them...and don't abandon them.

I am grieving. No, a person didn't die...but relationships have. My life as I knew it is over. Everything has changed and I had no warnings. I am angry at the world and in turn...I have made them all angry and frustrated with me.

I am on retreat. I am praying for a miracle...for God's intervention. So far..not a whole lot has happened. I feel like I am able to think things through more clearly. I feel like I know what I need to do. I know I need to cut my losses...but I am still in the process of losing....a lot. So, I can't cut the losses if they are still in the process of happening. Wounds are still being inflicted.

I see no light at the end of this tunnel. I am weak. I am in the flesh and can't find my way out. I keep reaching for God...only to grasp him for a moment and slip away. I am ineffective in my work, as a mom, and as a student, and worst of all, as a Christian in my current state.

So, I am making myself look pathetic. Well, I feel pretty pathetic. I am just being real. I am being transparent...and as usual...that is unacceptable. I am supposed to paint on a smile and pretend that I have it together when I don't. Sorry, I think that is a very wrong, unhealthy and ungodly idea. I think it's why so many people are on medication these days...including Christians. It's what I have been doing for quite some time now...and why I have found myself in this place of darkness. Yes Ellen, I am in the dark night of the soul.

God save me.

I write all of this in hopes that anyone who reads it will cry out to God in my behalf. I can't fix things. I have to accept them and at this time, I find my heart broken in several pieces and bleeding profusely. I have no strength. When I begin to feel healing...another wound is inflicted. I have nothing left in me that will allow me to accept my circumstances. I am unhealthy and I know it. I need a miracle. I need love, not judgment and condemnation. I know I am wrong. I have confessed that. I just don't have the capacity at this time to figure out how to get from where I am to where I need to be. Please pray for me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Transparency and Magic Tape

I used to believe in transparency. Now, I live in fear of it. I have always been an open and trusting person. Now, I struggle to remain that way. I feel myself falling from grace as a result. The thoughts in my head are rarely pleasant anymore. The once optomistic, happy go lucky, spirit-filled me is fading and an empty shell is all that is left. I pray that this season will soon be over. I pray diligently for God to move. I wait and hope with what little faith remains.

The tape in my head (the parts I'm willing to reveal) is a recording of church members, friends, family...loved ones....LOVED ones. Over and over, as I battle with scripture and the positive things I can get out, over and over, as I praise God and worship and continue to try to live an obedient life in spite of all that is happening to me, I battle thoughts, memories, and work to bind wounds that continue to be injured. I have never been so broken in my life. I suppose I can praise God for this too.

Day after day I am being pummelled with continuous rejection that only gets worse as I slip deeper into despair. Who would want to be around me now? I know I don't want to be. But as I have said to others recently, I don't want to be around myself. I keep trying to get away from me, but everywhere I go...I AM THERE!

This year has been especially difficult for me...I don

Monday, September 08, 2008

Confession and Lamentation

God days are a rarity for me these days. I guess that's why the Sisters have become a solo act. I am struggling through a time in the desert. I am a proud mom who has seen many successes over the last several years and in a few weeks I will see my firstborn off to the Navy Special Forces. I should be on top of the clouds! But, instead I find myself being swallowed up with darkness. Warfare is on and lately, I feel like I am losing the battle. I am just thankful that I know the war has already been won and this season will pass as all the others. I have been overcome with selfishness and lonliness. God wants me to let go of things I hold so dear and I can't. I can't trust Him...if only I had the faith of a mustard seed right now.

I have suffered much heartbreak this year and it just keeps coming. This I know is a time of emptying before the filling. I am praying that this trial will be like the birthpains that will soon be a faded memory once the blessing arrives. Sometimes, I worry that this time there won't be a blessing...but, God has never let me down in the past and I know He is in the eye of this hurricane in my life. I need to be like Peter. I need to stop thinking so I can stop sinking. I need to focus on the Lover of my soul and just run to Him. I need to be so focused that I will walk across the stormy waves as if they were solid ground....but lately...I just think and sink.

Today started out as a wonderful day in the Lord. I felt the heaviness of depression lift from me if only for a brief time. As I felt light and hope again...the test came and I failed miserably. Will I ever get over myself enough to testify to God's grace again? Where is my witness now? Where is my testimony? How will I ever get through this? What is wrong with me?

I called a friend tonight who has put up with all my emotional garbage faithfully for the last 8 years. God has a huge reward waiting for this friend who has done nothing but deal with my grief...and done it so lovingly. I wish there was some way I could repay her for all her kindness.

She told me to go home (I was up to no good lol). And to write down anything I could think of to praise God for in my journal. She didn't say it couldn't be a public journal. So, you get to journey with me as I seek God's presence in the power of here it goes...


I praise you for your forgiveness and mercy more than anything right now. I am so undeserving of my position at the right hand of God in Christ. I praise You because you died and gave me the opportunity to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. You live in me. Because of the shed blood of Your One and Only, I am called the righteousness of God. I praise you because I complain and fail constantly but you just keep loving me. I praise you because you never leave me and even though it seems you are so far away...and even sometimes that you don't care at all, I know that's a lie because you promise to never leave nor forsake me. Your word says that You loved me first! You knew me and loved me even before you knit me in my mother's womb and I am created in your image! I want everyone to see that image. I have a place above the angels you send to protect me. Oh Father, I have no right to ask you for anything more, yet you hear my cries and gather my tears. I make idols out of the gifts you give me and you stand with open arms waiting for this prodigal to return to you. You celebrate and lavish more blessings upon me that I do nothing to earn or deserve.

I praise you, Lord for people like Dave Gushee who has never failed to be an encourager. I praise you for the phone call today from a lady I hardly know who called just to tell me that you have laid me on her heart to pray for me. Then you led her to call me and tell me that. Why? Why did she call me? Why now?

I praise you for the church in Franklin that has been so amazing during this time of trial, the messages you have been giving and the connections you have made. I praise you for the work you are doing at the church where I work. I praise you for pastor Steve and Marsha and the messages they have been getting to me. I praise you that I got to meet pastor and his wife last week and tell them how much you are ministering and speaking to me through the messages. Christ in me...the hope of glory. Lord, I want to fully grasp Christ in me the way that you intend for me to. I don't want to miss it...not one little bit.

Father, the hardest thing to praise you for right now is this time of emptying. I think this has been the most difficult time of growth ever...but I praise you because even though my faith is so weak right now...even though darkness surrounds me. I know you are hiding somewhere on the other side of that cloak...with treasures I can't be lavished at just the right time...when YOU think I'm ready to have them. I know I'm far from being there. I know I am not empty yet. I still have so much of self keeping me away from the filling that awaits. I have to be completely empty. I want to be (did I really say that?). I don't want you to fill me until me is completely out of the way. I want no part of self to take away from the glory that Christ is in me. I keep pushing Christ aside and reaching for other idols.

I praise You because you don't give up on me. I praise you that even at this very moment, as I sense darts of doubt, lonliness, pain, jealousy, envy, depression and confusion flying at still stand strong and firm. You have such a hold on my heart. Everything is a lesser thing compared to you so how is it I ever worship anything above you? How is it I ever want to take my eyes off of You?

What is wrong with me? You made it known to me today that You have not abandoned me and I rejoiced...then in the first moment of the first trial I turn from you. I push you aside and placed my biggest idol on the If you are not angry with me. If you are not hurt that I have abandoned my first love...then what right do I ever have to be angry or hurt by anyone who hurts, or turns away from me? How can I ever feel alone or empty if I am filled with and abiding in You? I can't! That's how I know I am not allowing the fullness of Christ to consume me and I am not abiding.

Father, I praise You because You are Lord over my emotions. I give them to you. I can't do this without You. I can't let go of anything or anyone. I can't do anything apart from the vine. I can't even abide in You without You abiding in me. Help me to abide. Father, show me Your glory. Reveal to me all Your hidden treasures that I might see how truly blessed I am. I am in such things that are not of You. I want to be in bondage only to You. But I can do nothing on my own. Oh, Father help me to surrender once and for all...all of it. Please take it from me and help me to find peace and rest in You.