A fitness program is a great way to honor your body as God’s temple! Read more here.
A fitness program is a great way to honor your body as God’s temple! Read more here.
For the first time in many, many weeks, maybe even months, I am sitting at my writing desk inspired to write. We have a wonderfully large window in our living room that faces our front yard, which is recovering nicely from the drought and is a joy to look upon again. It has been my habit to rise early, open the curtains to the still dark world and spend sweet time with Jesus in prayer and study of His Word. When God gave me the word restored for this year I thought it would be an easy journey of healing. What I haven’t shared is a few weeks after I received restored God also told me, “Your life is about to change.” I didn’t realize the deep struggle emotionally, spiritually and physically restoration would be. But I can’t say I was unprepared because God did tell me things were about to change. It is akin to pregnancy. Hopefully the time leading up to labor is delightful and expectant and then labor happens and it can be long, intense and painful right before new birth. I have been praying for healing for a few years and simply because it has been harder than anything I have ever done, I don’t want to miss God’s answer to my prayers. I am learning to trust the process, to seek God and not rely on my own understanding and above all thank and praise Him.
A few weeks ago during worship at church Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and I sensed something wonderful was about to happen when Fall began. Yesterday was the first day of my favorite season, (I wish it could be Fall all year long!) and this morning I sit at my desk overwhelmed by Who He Is and his amazing grace.
I want so badly just to finally get well
But I don’t want a quick fix and emotional self
I will be honest with my humanity
No I’m not perfect and I don’t pretend to be. We Are Messengers.
I point to Him.
Does mental illness actually have a face? I suppose many of us, if asked, might sketch something dark, melancholy, even abstract, however, I am beginning to see mental health concerns from a new perspective.
Imagine with me buying one of those big containers of wildflower seeds from your local gardening supply store. In late winter or early spring, after cultivating your garden soil into a deep, dense and rich haven, in which your newly bought seeds will begin to grow and flourish, you wait with great expectation for late spring or early summer when all your flowers begin to bloom and you have a carpeted menagerie of Dahlia’s, Zinna’s, Sunflower’s and more. This is how I am beginning to view mental health awareness.
A collective of beautiful minds that:
What I have learned and am continuing to learn:
Together you can bloom where you are planted.
I have a childhood nickname that has always been endearing to me because the two youngest of my older brothers have called me by this nickname for as long as I can remember. I will be 54 this year and they still occasionally call me by this nickname. Even some of their friends, who grew up at our house and are ‘brothers’, still call me by this childhood name.
My brothers have never had an explanation as to where this name came from, they simply starting calling me Boosh and it is pronounced phonetically as it appears.
I’m a big proponent of speaking life into the lives of others. Life is truth and truth reaches down to our souls and settles there like a welcomed visitor. Imagine my surprise as I was reading Psalm 127:5 and felt led to look up one word in its original context.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:5.
The word I looked up is ashamed and in its original context it is the Hebrew word boosh. Now, I can guarantee you with one hundred percent certainty that my brothers did not mean to speak shame into my life in any way, shape or form. However, just as God will use anything to get our attention, even a speaking donkey. Satan will use whatever means he can to destroy our lives; mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. And true to his devious, deceptive and hideous nature, we may not recognize his path of destruction for years. That is why I cannot stress enough how important it is to engage in spiritual disciplines on a daily basis, especially reading and studying God’s word.
Recently I was reminded of these verses in Joel.
“Then I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten,
The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
“You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied
And praise the name of the LORD your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
Then My people will never be put to shame. Joel 2:25-26.
And look it there, the very last word of verse 26. There is no way, my friends, I could have planned that. This is a total God thing.
Precious One may you also be restored for the years the locusts have stolen.
Stay connected to The Vine.
As I sit at my desk and look out my front window at the still quietness of the pre-dawn morning, I see storm clouds have moved in and this view reminds me of God’s faithfulness and I think about the storm clouds of life and the adversity they mostly bring.
Many will run from adversity because of the fear adversity invokes. I know, I use bolt not run. God is teaching me to stand toe to toe with adversity and to recognize the opportunity to trust in Him and depend on Him even more. To allow Him to stretch me beyond what I thought possible and to grow in spiritual maturity. To praise Him and to be overwhelmed by His Sovereignty.
With the storm clouds come rain and as the clouds move on they leave in their wake the sun. It is in between the rains that the opportunity for growth happens. Like the farmer in James 5:7, who has tended to his crops with care by tilling the ground in preparation to be sown and patiently waits for the rains that will bring new growth, we too can prepare the soil of our hearts by nurturing and cultivating our relationship with God in anticipation of new growth in us.
Precious One, hold on new growth and spiritual healing is coming.
In between the rains.
One morning, when I was about eight years old, I was sitting at our kitchen table happily pouring a bowl of frosted flakes. This was a sweet treat for me because my mom rarely bought cereal in those days. For some reason, after I poured my bowl of cereal, I decided it was a good idea to also add sugar, a lot of sugar, to my cereal. I ate every bite!
Something happened to me that morning as I was pouring the extra sugar onto my cereal. There was a shift inside of me, a knowingness that I was about to get entangled in a web of deceit. Of course, eight year old me didn’t think of it as deceit, it was simply a feeling. However, as I reflect back I believe the shift was a spiritual one and I had opened the door to the enemy to begin his attack.
Fast forward to my early twenties and years of struggling with weight problems and a diagnosis of low blood sugar more commonly known as hypoglycemia. Someone afflicted with hypoglycemia produces too much insulin whereas someone afflicted with diabetes does not produce enough. The doctor that diagnosed me commented that if sugar were produced in that period of time, one would need a prescription to buy sugar, that is how bad sugar is for us. He immediately put me on a low carb diet. Wow! For the first time in my life I lost all the weight I had gained and had energy I didn’t know what to do with!
Jump with me to ten years ago. New doctor, new tests and a blood sugar reading of, wait for it…..NORMAL!! I knew in this moment God had chosen to heal me. There are some spiritual residuals left over, no pun intended. When I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed I immediately want comfort food – pizza is my favorite. When I am feeling sad, lonely, unheard or misunderstood I want sugar, specifically, candy. I have heard others say we don’t have to ask God what to eat everyday, but I do. There are some days I don’t have one iota of self-control when it comes to eating and if left to my own devices, well, it would be pizza for days!
Precious One, taking care of your body, spiritually, mentally and physically IS a sweet sacrifice to the King of the world. You have been set apart to do so. When you do it is a fragrant aroma lifted up to Him in true worship.
Food is a staple of life. We need food to give us energy, we ought to eat to live not live to eat. Well, in my case, sometimes I do live to eat! I’m full blooded Italian and I love food! However, I know what my body requires and I try to stick to six smaller meals a day while at the same time attempting healthier food choices. Sometimes I fail at this and that’s okay, I give myself grace to choose healthier at the next meal.
Our spiritual health needs food as well. Our soul longs for and craves the truth of God’s word to fill it to overflowing. To satisfy that deep hunger to know Jesus deeply and intimately. To be consumed by his overwhelming love, to be lost in all of Who he Is.
God’s Word isn’t simply words written on pages. It is alive and if we choose and allow it, it will wrap itself around us like an old familiar coat and take up residence inside our heart. Knowing the truth of God’s word helps increase our faith and gives us the strength to stand and fight in prayer.
That is why Paul prayed over the Ephesians these words.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19.
He wanted the Ephesians and us to understand our supernatural knowledge, which is part of every believer in Christ’s inheritance. To know and rejoice in the love of the Lover of our soul.
Likewise, it is for the same reason that Elisha prayed for his servant, who when he awoke early and saw the army of the king of Aram surrounding the nation of Israel with horses and chariots asked, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15c). Elisha replied, “Don’t be afraid.” (2Kings 6:16a).
Then Elisha prayed these words.
“O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. 2 Kings 6:17.
Elisha wanted his servant to see his inheritance in Christ; God’s mighty power and protection. I don’t know about you but I want to see God’s horses and chariots of fire, especially during a spiritual battle, instead of the physical reality of a situation. I want to be able to say, “Oh, I see what is coming and it is Greater and Mighty than what stands in front of me.” That, my Beloved, belongs to me and to you as believers in Christ.
Precious One open your eyes your chariot awaits.
Some people like to listen to music while they run but I like to reflect, ponder and talk with God, catching the thoughts Holy Spirit brings to me as they flitter into my thought process. That was the case this morning. I was running in the neighborhood of one of my first friends when we moved to this area and the old French proverb, “the more things change the more they stay the same” came to mind. What this proverb means is that tumultuous changes don’t affect reality on a deeper level. As I thought about this I began to see this a bit differently. Sadly, my friend passed away about three years ago. Her husband sold their house and their four children no longer reside in the area. Things changed and nothing is the same for them. Yes, on a deeper level their loved one is no longer with them, but that is only a part of their total reality. A reality that has changed and is constantly evolving and being shaped by the hand of God.
A few days ago I wrote about Daniel’s seriousness to prayer. You can read that post here. As I was writing the Daniel post, Holy Spirit began to answer a question I had about my prayers in a current situation and by the time I was done writing He laid a plan tailor made for me to make some changes to the way I approach prayer. He gave me an assignment; the names of three people who are struggling with their health and asked me to devote some uninterrupted time each morning for three days discovering what I could about what He says about healing and applying these truths as prayers over the three people he asked me to pray for. He is an amazing and good, good Father indeed! While there are many verses about healing and health, here is my favorite so far and at first glance one might not think this has anything to do with healing but allow me to show you the gem I found.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Hope in the original text is actually the word peace, which can mean health. The words ‘a future’ in the original text is an expected end; it is an expectation, hope of deliverance, a thing that is longed for. Literally it means a cord of attachment. This cord of attachment comes from a word that means be strong, endure, remain, patiently wait for, on or upon.
God knows the plans he has for your life, plans for health and the hope of deliverance. All you need to do is patiently wait upon him connected by the cord of expectation.
Are you feeling discouraged, angry, discontent or hopeless? Perhaps you’re thinking a change of scenery might make you feel better. Maybe a job change, moving to a new neighborhood or seeking out new friends. Then yes, the more things change the more they stay the same; you bring the same heart and soul condition to your new changed reality.
However, as a believer in Christ if you stay firmly connected to Jesus it is impossible for you not to change on a deep level because the truth is Holy Spirit is always transforming you through the ongoing process of sanctification; drawing you closer and closer to Christ like behavior; experiencing his characteristics, his joy, his love, his peace and his healing. Your choice to say yes to Jesus didn’t end when you asked him to be the Lord of your life. Everyday you get to choose to say yes to the lover of your soul.
Precious One, maintaining health, spiritually, mentally and physically, is a choice. So, what will it be? Superficial change where everything remains the same or real down deep change and the hope of deliverance as you stay connected to the cord of expectation?
I love prayer. I started a life of prayer when I was about 7 or 8 years old and have prayed every night since then. I grew up in a religion, that at the time didn’t teach that one needs to have a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior; to be reborn through Him. It wasn’t until my late thirties that I accepted Christ and gave my life to him.
While prayer is a spiritual passion of mine, intercession; praying for the needs of others can be overwhelming at times. It is an honor and a privilege to pray for others. Perhaps this is why it can sometimes seem overwhelming because I want to give each request back to God with the same heartfelt desire as the last one. I don’t want to offer up prayers ‘on the fly’ simply because life is busy. I want to take the time to pray for each request according to God’s heart.
Paul encourages us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17,18 to pray without ceasing because this is God’s will for us through Christ Jesus. And I wonder, what does it look like to pray without ceasing? Certainly, I talk with God throughout the day, sometimes, okay many times, out loud!
But, what about times of quietness devoted to the prayer needs for ourselves and others? A few days ago I came across a verse and it has been traipsing through my mind like a new-born doe learning to prance along looking for food.
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer-at three in the afternoon. Acts 3:1.
During this time both Jews and Gentiles observed three times of prayer, everyday, morning, afternoon and at sunset. Peter and John were busy men, teaching and preaching and spreading the gospel was a full-time job for them and they walked everywhere they went, it would take a good days walk and oftentimes it would take days for them to reach one place to deliver the gospel message. Yet, by all accounts, they stopped and prayed three times a day!
This thought of stopping and devoting time to prayer three times a day intrigues me. God has this in his word for a reason and it gives me hope about the ability to pray without ceasing. What would it look like if we stopped and devoted ourselves to prayer three times a day? What amazing things would our eyes be opened to see? Prayer isn’t just for the benefit of others. Prayer draws us closer into a deeper and more intimate relationship with God. God gives us prayer for our spiritual health.
Precious One, here’s to your health!
Last week I took my youngest love bug to have some blood work done. It was late in the afternoon and we were the only ones in the waiting area, when a very nicely dressed man, around my age, okay, that would be middle-aged, came in with his father, who was walking with the help of a walking stick, not a typical cane.
I sat there discreetly listening, yes, I eavesdrop and I love to learn about others and their story, I never know when Holy Spirit will ask me to give a word of encouragement! As they checked in it was evident that they were there for the father. I also surmised that the son had taken time off work to help his father in this manner, hence the son still wearing his suit.
As we waited to be called, I prayed for the father asking Jesus for peace and thanking God for the love this son showed his father in taking care of him. I was struck by the contrast that I was there; a mother taking care of her daughter and they were there; a son taking care of his father, when Holy Spirit reminded me of this verse.
Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6.