Moments and Words from God continued…

(This is a continuation from yesterday’s post. So, if you haven’t already, I’d recommend you read it first here.)

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Perfected love casts out fear:

That is how love can be patient – there is no fear that a reward won’t come to those who do not grow weary in well doing

That is also how love can be kind – there is no fear that our kindness won’t have a positive impact in God’s plan

That is how love does not envy – there is no fear that someone is being blessed more than me because – and love does not parade itself nor is puffed up – there is no reason to walk in pride, for God has given us all we have (1 Corinthian 4:6-13) – and love does not behave rudely or seek its own – there is no fear of not being provided (for we serve Jehavoh Jireh, My God who provides.)

That is how love is not easily provoked nor does it think evil or rejoice in iniquity – there is no fear that you’re missing out by being good and the goodness of God permeates your thoughts, leaving no room for evil thoughts.

Love that has been perfected rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, and hopes all things. Perfect love never fails.

Love

Allow the actions and words I have put on your heart and resist the fear that they are silly, won’t be received, or are not from Me – every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

Be a good gift to someone else and say the compliment, give the hug, pay for their food or groceries, give to the homeless, smile at the unlovable, share your testimony or lunch – forgive! Be Jesus to your world!

 

(You may have recognized that the majority of what God said to me came from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 – also known as the “love chapter.” God speaks to us in different ways, but you can be sure He will speak to you through His Word. And if you’re having a hard time hearing from God, get into His Word more. You’ll find Him speaking His Word back to you when you seek guidance or wisdom and what you put in your spirit will rise up at the very moment you need it.)

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Surgery Not Necessary

Have you ever really like something, and it was taken away from you? You tend to do whatever it takes to get it back, right?

I was running the 2010 Paris Marathon, reached mile 6, and my knee just wouldn’t let me continue. The stabbing pain and stiffness said “no” to 20 more miles. So, I saw my doctor when I returned home, had imaging done, and was told I had torn my meniscus.

Meniscus

The meniscus is basically a shock absorber and my tear weakened the cushion it normally provided when I walked, knelt, went up or down stairs, or when I ran. I became an avid runner to lose weight, but grew to enjoy it after I was logging 5+ miles on my runs. So, not running was not an option.

Fortunately, I saw a German doctor (I lived in Germany at the time) who didn’t believe surgery was the best option. He sent me to physical therapy, shock therapy (yeah, it’s a thing), used kinesiology tape (great stuff!), injections (not great stuff to endure), and made me build up my leg muscles for over six months.

The theory is that if you build up the muscle tissue, the ligaments, and increase the circulation around the injury, it aids the blood supply to the region (which is needed for healing) and protects the tear while it either heals or scars over. For me, it did the latter and I ran the Munich Half Marathon in 2013.

Here’s the thing, though, there was a lot of homework – meaning I had to do a lot of the exercises I did twice a week in the physical therapist’s office at home almost daily. I had to protect, rest, ice, compress, and elevate (PRICE*) my knee often. My lifestyle changed, and I limited my walking and increased my biking.

I won’t lie and say it was enjoyable, but training for and finishing the half marathon was worth it. It was worth the pain, struggle, and tears when I just wanted my knee better now, but had to wait till it was strong enough; it was worth the painful injections to build the fluids around my knee; and it was worth the 2 ½ years it took for me to build my distance.

You know what else is worth pain, struggle, tears, and waiting?

Waiting for a loved one to beat an addiction, stop committing the same sin over and over, or heal from wrongs they’ve done or had to done to them. No matter how much time it takes, no matter how many long nights of prayer or long fasts, and no matter the struggle, tears, and pain, it’s all worth it in the end to fight for those you love.

Those loved ones are like my meniscus – they need others to come around them, build themselves up so they can protect the one sinning, failing, or hurting, so they have time to heal, be delivered, repent, or turn to God.

We, as the body of Christ, must take our place as the supporting muscles that protect injured Christians. Giving up, getting frustrated, and accepting “you can’t run anymore” is not an option. It looks a lot like someone leaving the witnessing part to the preachers – or someone who doesn’t read the Bible because they “don’t get it” – or someone who doesn’t share the Gospel with others because they’d rather sit on the couch and binge something. Our commission is to “Go into all the world”, so we must do the exercises needed to build our spiritual muscles.

Read your Bible. Pray. (It’s a two-conversation, so listen, don’t just ask for things.) Serve. Believe. Fellowship and build up other believers.

Be the support, bear the weight, and show Christ to those in need. You’ll find the entire Body of Christ, the Church, will return to running the race set before them when you do your part to heal those injured.

 

*PRICE – Do you know how Christians PRICE? They protect their fellow believers while they are down. They rest in the promises of Jesus and don’t get anxious or impatient with their sister or brother in Christ. They ice the injury. The Bible says that a husband is to cleanse his wife by the washing of water with the Word. As Christians, we must speak the Word and not words of condemnation, so we reduce the pain associated with their injury, just like ice does. They compress to prevent swelling – which just means they wrap themselves around the person by prayer and fasting. And they elevate – not the person, but God in the person’s life. When we lift God up, it encourages and allows the guilt, condemnation, and sin to flow back under the blood of Jesus in the person’s eyes, so they can experience true deliverance and healing.

(James 5, Ephesians 5, Psalm 34:3, John 12:32)

It’s Exhausting Being God

There is so much to do when you’re God. All. The. Time.

You have a gazillion people to love, no matter how annoying, petty, cruel, or unloving they can be (not are, because ‘are’ is definitive, but people are changeable). You must see the best of everyone at all times and look past their faults – or how they ignore you, or insult you, or talk about you. You must forgive. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

There are daily tasks that must be accomplished.

People to call to encourage, to check on, to just call so they know you’re thinking about them. Do little things, send little gifts their way, or drop notes to them so they know you didn’t forget about them.

You have a world to try and clean up, even though you know it’s only going to get messy again while you’re cleaning it up (not even wait till you’re finished, which you never really do finish because the world is a dirty place and there’s not enough bleach made to freshen up some of this filth.)

It’s exhausting being God.

Continue reading

Let Me Help You Lose Some Weight

To say this year has been stressful, busy, and hard on my body is an understatement. My HBOO went through chemo, my workload quadrupled, and I suffered an injury in February that brought an abrupt end to my 100-miles-a-month running goal for the year. To say I’ve put on some weight is… wrong, as well. I actually lost weight due to stress-induced stomach issues that kidnapped my appetite and, when I was hungry, made me nauseated.

scale

However, one thing I do know about is how to lose weight. I have helped quite a few people lose weight (even two who lost over 100 pounds each!), have lost weight and got in shape myself, and could provide you with all kinds of diet tips, the activity schedule I recommend, and my tips on getting more sleep, but that’s not actually what this post is about.

See, I lived “strong” through my husband’s cancer diagnosis and treatment – I didn’t turn to food, as I would have years ago – and I maintained unreasonable peace both during that time and a huge increase in my workload at my job (that’s what happens when you acquire multiple companies, but don’t increase those supporting the work.) But when “Cancer Free” arrived on my doorstep, it brought with it an uninvited guest named ‘Performance.’ Continue reading

Running and Deployments

run

I was running on the treadmill the other day… slowly. My head started doing what it often does when I begin running, telling me I wasn’t going to complete the two miles I set out to run. I pushed the thought aside and kept putting one foot in front of the other as an upbeat song played on my iPod and motivated me to keep going. Before the song ended, I looked down at the treadmill screen that read .25 miles completed.  I was one-eighth of the way done and that is when it hit me: I CAN do this. I have done it before.

I was that kid in middle school that couldn’t run. It wasn’t a lack of grace or asthma, it was my inability to breathe correctly, leading to me passing out near the finish line every time we had to run one mile in P.E.  As an adult, I decided I wanted to begin running. I bought a book, read magazines, and began building my mileage. After accomplishing 8 miles I decided I was ready and wanted to train for my first marathon. I completed my training through 16 miles and felt very confident that I was going to be able to cross off an amazing feat for the “pass-out-girl”. Three days after I ran my 16-mile run I was scheduled an easy-four. During that run I tore my meniscus and my Paris Marathon was cut short by 19 miles. (I attempted, stubborn me, and made it to mile 7 before getting on the “injured bus.”)

Then I started thinking… this is just like deployments. When my husband deploys, in the beginning there is some doubt, concern, and struggle. (I think it’s natural) However, just like running that two miles, I need to remember that I’ve done this before. (Even longer than this one.)  Then I realized the following juxtaposition of running and deployments: Continue reading

The Hurricane is coming

Hurricane Irma, downgraded to a Tropical Storm by the time she reached us in Georgia, was my first experience with this type of disastrous weather. Growing up in Southern California, I have experienced earthquakes. My first duty station when I served in the US Army was at Fort Riley, Kansas, so of course I experienced a couple tornadoes. There are similarities and differences with all three of these and I learned something from each, as well.

During my first earthquake, I remember my dad was taking a shower and thought my sister and I were running up and down the stairs. As the light hanging from the high ceiling of the staircase swung, my sister and I just looked at each other with mouths agape. Nothing broke in our house, but it left my nerves on edge. Strong earthquakes leave you feeling shaken the entire day.

When I was first married and our daughter was six months old, my husband was working the night shift and I experienced my first tornado. Unlike Dorothy, we didn’t end up in the land of Oz, instead I ended up with a new destiny as I cried out to God in the midst of the din and gave my life to the Lord. Tornadoes, like hurricanes and tropical storms, are loud and also test your nerves.

When Irma arrived in Georgia, she had already dissipated and her gusts topped out under 70 miles an hour. Regardless, I learned what mattered when it came to the destruction and mess she left was what surrounded your house.

The house of the left is ours – surrounded by tall trees on every side. The one of the right is the neighbor’s across the street you see in the first picture. He has two lone trees, both have been cut back recently, and neither are very close to his home.

During the storm, he said it was quiet other than the wind. He and his wife went about their day and just kept safely inside. On the other hand, my house sounded like a concert that should have been canceled with tree limbs and nuts falling on the roof in a terrible beat. We hadn’t really done anything other than mow our lawn and sweep the walk since we moved in a couple of months ago. As you can see from our curbside-pick-up pile versus our neighbor’s – the clean up requires more labor when you’re surrounded by trees, as well.

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

As I walked around our neighborhood this morning, grateful that we only experienced the little mess we did in the house we are renting, I noted how many other houses, like ours – surrounded with trees for shade in the summer – had a larger clean up than those whose trees were recently pruned or fewer in number. And the Lord spoke to me and said, “That’s the difference with some of My children. They surround themselves with the shade of this world, to avoid the heat of my refining fire, only to put themselves in the position of destruction when the storm comes.

3

The storm is coming, too. Whether it comes as an earthquake – where an event shakes you to your core and all that’s left standing is your faith, however small or large that may be; or as a tornado – sweeping in and blowing the facade off your blessed and highly favored life that you purport, covering up the sin and shame of a weak relationship with your Creator;  or as a hurricane or tropical storm – beating vehemently at the life you’ve built, surrounded by shade trees of this world or landscaped by the Designer of the Garden. The storm is coming.

1

I would recommend you allow the Great Gardner to come in and prune back those trees – of idols you’ve placed before Him (anything that you give more attention to than God is an idol); of watered-down Scripture (it is the whole truth that sets you free, not the pieced-together-because-it-supports-my-sins version you choose to meditate on); of reluctant obedience to what God is telling you to do (delayed obedience is disobedience and without following God, you’re wasting your energy and time in this world.)

2

Your clean up from the storms in your life is dependent on the landscaping of your heart. Allow God to come in and cut back the branches (you might have to lose some friends), pull the weeds (the devil is scattering seeds daily, that’s why you need to always put on the armor of God), and water your yard (as you draw the water of wisdom from His Word and time with Him – it is in those moments you grow, new life begins, and your foundation is strengthened. Otherwise, you’ll line the curb of your life with the debris of your storms for all who drive by to see – and that’s not a good witness to His Presence in your life.

final

~Blessings and shalom,

Yvy

 

A Door that Swings Both Ways

Let’s talk about purpose.

revdoor

A revolving door is meant to be entered and exited.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  (John 10:9)

Jesus is the door to the Father and He is revealing to us His purpose now that He is seated at the Father’s right hand – our way to enter in to the Presence of God. It is by our faith in Him and what He did on the cross that gives us access to the Father.

It’s not about sitting on Santa’s lap.

Santa, Santa Claus, Child, Boy, Lap, December, Xmas

Our access to our Heavenly Father is about fellowship, worship, and growth. Jesus says we are to go in and out. So, let’s start with go in.

I’m not going to give you ‘3 Keys to Entering the Presence of God’ (partly because I believe you should enter in according to your heart and if I attempt to paint what that looks like, chances are you’ll follow the directions instead of your heart.) Instead, I just want to point out that the purpose of entering in is to learn from God those things you will need when you go out.

Going out is the second purpose of our lives (the first being fellowship with God – going in.) We are all called to go [out] into all the world and share the Gospel – the Good News about what Jesus has done to redeem us. (Mark 16:15)

So don’t just go in and fellowship, worship, and grow in the Lord. Be a doer of the Word, as well, and go out and preach the Gospel to your world – your area of influence.

It is only when you go out and give that you will have room to continue to receive more from God when you go in. Don’t be a waterlogged Christian – give what you learn and earn and you’ll see God blessing through you!

Blessings and shalom,

Yvy

Emoji’s, “Cool”, and Hallelujah

Have you ever scrolled back through your messages with a ‘friend’ and discovered that the majority of your conversation was quite lopsided – you did a lot more talking while they gave you an occasional “Cool”, “Yep”, or applicable emoji?

convo

My son was recently sharing with me his discovery that his ‘great friend’ that he has considered his best friend since high school had been quite delayed in his responses lately. Where my son looked forward to his conversations with this friend, we’ll call him Jack, Jack was barely responding within a week.

Now, if they were seeing each other every day or even once a week, sure this would be a ridiculous observation because text messages, e-mails, and Messenger aren’t a good substitute for face-to-face interaction and, truth be told, not everyone is on social media as much as everyone else. However, these boys are separated by thousands of miles and have been since my son moved away right after high school. So their entire relationship is now dependent on these mediums. For the first year, their conversations were that of best friends – sharing important events with one another shortly after they happened with a close-to-immediate response from the other; messaging each other daily just to keep the convo going; and the obligatory “Happy” this or “Merry” that on special days.

Those interactions grew fewer over the years, though, and mainly on Jack’s side. My son said he began to scroll up on his message feed with Jack and noticed something. For the past couple of months, there was only the occasional “Cool” or “Ok” responses to his 3-4 sentences of sharing. Once every couple of days, it was just an emoji response.

I asked him, “How does that make you feel?”

He responded, “Unimportant in [Jack’s] life.”

sad face

Yeah, I think I’d probably feel the same way. You see, we give attention to what is important in our lives. I’ve heard it said that you can tell where your heart is by looking at your calendar and your bank statement. I can’t say for certain, but I am pretty sure Jack has deemed something or someone else more important that his relationship with my son.

So, here’s my question for you – Does God only get an occasional “Yes, Lord”, “Ok”, “Please help [enter family or friend’s name and their need here]” from you these days? During church do you only quietly offer an “Hallelujah” or “Amen” when everyone else does?

Where is your relationship with God? Does He only get emoji responses or prayer requests or do you share your day with Him (and let Him share His with you)? Prayer is a two-way conversation, but many Christians are like Jack – giving God 5 minutes of their day to keep the conversation going, but their hearts are clearly focused on something else.

Make a new habit (one that is life changing) this week and decide to put down the phone or laptop, turn off the TV or game console, or even stop for at least an hour every day from accomplishing your reading list for the year, and invest in the greatest relationship you have- the one where the Creator of the universe and Savior of your soul is emphatically in love with you. Or will you continue to just shoot off your smiley faces at Him and give more attention to something else until a crisis arises and you need Him?

praying