Thursday, April 28, 2011

E-Nuff Already!

So, if you read my blog post yesterday, I am so very sorry.  I must apologize because it was a moment in time where all the planets were revolving around Lindsey.  And although it felt good to emotionally regurgitate all over you, I am so thankful it is over.  The feelings have passed.  The Lord has moved and done His thing in my heart, and I feel so much better.  So much.

I remembered this morning my friend who has a 5-year-old daughter recovering in the hospital from pneumonia that nearly took her life.  I also recalled my friend who, only 2 months ago, had a brain tumor removed from her head.  As Mother's Day is approaching, I was reminded of my friend who had to bury her unborn child when she was only 6 months pregnant just 2 years ago.  And while I believe it is certainly okay to vent and throw ourselves Pity Parties once-in-a-while, I am struck with the fact that Jesus NEVER once complained about His set of circumstances.  Scripture doesn't offer us a dialogue between Jesus and His disciples where Jesus was emotionally purging all over His closest friends.  The disciples complained plenty but never Jesus.  Not once.

My friends I mentioned above have had to walk down horrible, hurtful paths in life.  Yet, they are some of the most incredibly positive people I know.  And if Jesus NEVER once vented about how mean everyone was treating Him, or how His feet were really hurting Him from all of the walking, or how ministering to others was really getting old, or the BIGGIE, complaining about His incurring death on a cross and the whole crucifixion thing, then can't I suck it up, myself?!  My life is good, y'all.  Real good.  And the Lord had His gentle way of reminding me of that yesterday in a way that only He could.

And today, I am grateful.  I am thankful.  I am joyful.  And I am so over myself. 

Dear Lord,
Your grace really does amaze me.  Your compassions really do not ever fail.  They really are new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness.  Thank you for being my portion.  Thank you for being ever-present in my life.  Thank you for putting up with me and not giving up.  Thank you for your lessons.  Thank you for when life is good.  And thank you for when life is hard.  Help me to keep my eyes on what is unseen rather than what is seen.  For what is unseen is eternal, you, my Father.  And what is seen is so very temporary.  And praise you for that.  Today, Lord, set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the doors of my lips.  I ask this for when I speak to others and when I speak to myself.  I have always been my own worst enemy.  And nothing rocks my core more than buying into the lies I tell myself.  I hate that I'm so convincing.  Be the pursuer of my soul.  That way, everyone else is let off of the hook from having to do just that.  I love you so much, Abba.  In Jesus' Name-Amen.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..." -Isaiah 43:2-3a

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Confession of a Serious Drama Queen

Ok, I have a confession, and it's not going to surprise most of you...

I have had a rotten attitude.  Like Weezer in Steele Magnolias, I've been in a very bad mood for 40 years.  And I could go into a hyper-explanation as to why I've had this attitude, but I won't.  So, here are the highlights...

1.  I've been nauseated for 8 solid months, and it's really starting to get on my nerves.
2.  When I sneeze, I feel like my unborn child's elbow is going to pop out.
3.  I'm exhausted a lot....mostly, all of the time...No, all of the time.
4.  I've allowed small trivial things to discourage me and therefore, I feel burned out with most of my extra-curricular activities. 
5.  In the area of ministry, I've become discouraged.  I could go into the specific reasons as to why I feel discouraged, but I don't want to give the enemy any kind of satisfaction right now.  I am certainly NOT entitled to know ANYTHING that is going on in the spiritual realm and especially in the hearts of God's children.  I am certainly not.  These are just feelings and like all other feelings, it will pass. 
6.  I feel so dry...spiritually. 
7.  Personal "stuff" that has to do with relationships and insecurity has wo' me out.  I've let it do that.  I'm getting over it now.  The Lord, seriously, is really working there.  I'm just still reeling from it all.
8.  I need friends!!  Close friends who I can be me around.  Or at least, A friend.  The Lord has been so faithful in putting people in my path....just like I've asked Him.  But I've been too busy to notice because I've been too distracted with figuring out how they are going to benefit me.  It hasn't occurred to me, until now, to ask Him how I could honor Him by loving others.  Duh!!
9.  From a VERY superficial and physical standpoint, I feel like a freak of nature.  Pregnancy weight gain and the fact that my unborn child is measuring 1 to 2 weeks ahead of schedule is starting to stress me out.  Oh yea...and I still have 9 more weeks to go!!
10.  I'm depressed.  I believe, whole-heartedly, it's circumstantial and VERY temporary.  But I am.  I am absolutely certain that 95 percent of it can be attributed to pregnancy and hormones.  And when I feel this way, it spills over into ALL areas of my life....making everything look and feel rotten.  Hence, the rotten attitude.
**Honorable Mention goes to my Daddy Issues and all that encompasses.  Still.  So.  Seriously.  And.  Incredibly.  Jacked.  Up.

There, I feel much better.  I needed to emotionally purge.  You need to know that I have totally and utterly surrendered ALL of this to the Lord.  I want to overcome this.  I really do.  And with the help of the Holy Spirit, I know I can.  The Lord has a lesson or ten He wants to teach me, for once, I'm tuned in.  If you survived this blog post, you deserve a Gold Star.  I am so sorry you had to be a witness to my Pity Party.  But this is me.  And as my dear friend Emily would say, "This is TRUE LIFE, y'all."  Welcome to Crazy Town where I am now officially the mayor.

Just keepin' it real.  Love you ALL!

Monday, April 18, 2011

What My Favorite T-shirt and Easter Have In Common

What a special week!!  After Christmas, Easter is my 2nd most favorite holiday.  I love Spring time...the warmer weather, the always reminds me of the many promises God makes to us in regards to 2nd chances and new beginnings.  Easter represents so many feelings and emotions for me...too many for me to write about, but I believe I can paint you a picture of just how I'm feeling this week as I reflect on what Easter means to me, personally, and to the entire world.

A few years ago, I got involved in our church's Women's Ministry.  With new leadership in place, we decided to design a T-shirt for women to purchase in our church.  It was my favorite color, pink, and had one of my favorite Bible verses on it...Psalm 33:4 (NIV).  "For the word of the Lord is right and true;  He is faithful in all he does." I fell in love with this shirt.  I wore it all of the time.  It was comfortable and went with everything.  It was, indeed, my FAVORITE shirt I owned. 

One day, while doing laundry, I made an awful mistake.  I put my beloved pink T-shirt in the washing machine along with something blue.  When I pulled my shirt out of the washing machine, you can imagine my horror.  All over it were these ugly blue spots.  I was devastated.  Seriously, I cried.  That's how much I LOVED this T-shirt.  So, quickly I began to think during this moment of panic, and I remembered a box at the church having extra T-shirts in it.  So, the very next chance I got, I went to the church, went straight to the box of T-shirts, grabbed me one to replace the blue spotted pink T-shirt I so stupidly ruined in the wash, and threw it in my purse to take home later to proudly wear that week. 

That night at church, I was visiting with a woman who was attending our church for the first time.  As we were visiting, she was telling me how she had noticed several women in our church wearing our Women's Ministry T-shirts.  She told me how much she loved them and asked me if I knew how she could get one.  I asked her what size did she wear and she, of course, told me.  She wore the same size as me, and I remembered how I had just gone into that box of extra T-shirts and taken the VERY last T-shirt in my size.  Well, I was in a dilemma.  It felt for a moment as if time had stopped.  Everything was happening in slow motion, and for ONCE, I was actually thinking before speaking.  The Lord, with His gentle voice, said, "Give her your shirt."  I didn't really argue with the Lord unless you call my VERY long pause of silence arguing.  I was not, though, very quick to obey.  That's for sure.  But I took a few moments to think and listen.  So, I did just what He said.  I gave her the shirt right out of my purse and the look on her face made this "tiny to  most, but BIG to me" sacrifice worth every bit of it.

I went home that night and started my week, as usual.  I chose to wear my blue spotted T-shirt despite its ugliness.  Of course, I wore it only at home and only when cleaning, but I still wore it with a little hint of disappointment.  After cleaning house one day, my favorite T-shirt, of course, got dirty and required washing.  As I was pulling it out of the washing machine, I promise you, the Red Sea parted in my laundry room.  That pink blue spotted T-shirt came out of that machine with NOT ONE single spot on it.  I couldn't believe it.  I was speechless, shocked, and overjoyed.  And just like when I was talking to the women in church, I heard, again, God's sweet and gentle voice.  He said, "That's what I did for you.  I washed your spots away."

And just like that, the Lord reminded me of what He had done for ME.  Just like He washed those blue spots off of my most favorite T-shirt, He did the very same thing when He died for me on that cross.  And that, my friends, is why I celebrate Easter and why it means so much to me.  You see, my past is full of dirty, nasty, awful and humiliating mistakes.  But when I asked the Lord to be the God of my life, He forgave me for those mistakes.  And my slate has been wiped clean.  I am a redeemed Princess of the heir to the VERY throne of God.  I have been promised eternity with my Heavenly Daddy, and until then, I have complete access to the Holy of Holies because Jesus intercedes to Him on my behalf.  I get all of this because of the cross.  I get all of this because I asked him to wash my spots away, and He DID.  Just like those blue spots represented a horrible domestic mistake, the spots on my heart represented many terrible things I had done to myself and to my God.  But after surrendering my life to Christ, He, just like with that pink T-shirt, washed my heart clean.  He washed away my spots like He washed away the spots on my favorite T-shirt.  That's just how He is.

And He wants to do that for you.  Ask Him.  Ask Him NOW.  Ask Him to be the Lord of your life and wash your spots away.  Isn't it time?!  Aren't you ready to be set free from the chains those spots have represented in your life?!  The only way to do that is to face them...face your spots...face your mistakes.  Acknowledge them to the Lord.  Tell Him about your mistakes, ask Him to forgive you for them, and then ask Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life.  He'll do it.  And just like I can walk around with my blue spot FREE pink T-shirt, you can walk around with a spot FREE heart.  He wants you.  Now.  What are you waiting for?

"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;  I will cleanse you from all of your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." -Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NIV)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Divine Insomnia

It is 4:51 a.m. and I am wide awake.  As much as I would like to attribute my insomnia to pregnancy, I just know better.  I have learned that when I have trouble sleeping...similar to the trouble I've been having tonight...I have learned that the Lord is trying to get my attention.  I know that sounds silly to some, but tonight's insomnia is different.  It is not related to oversleeping or caffeine.  I'm up because I am suppose to be up.  It has been divinely orchestrated.  I am suffering from Divine Insomnia.  And here's why...

For a while now, there has been a part of my life that I have kept to myself.  A part of my heart, if you will, where I have denied access to anyone who was anybody to have any kind of say-so in this area of my life.  It is nearly 5 a.m. so, if this isn't making much sense so far, you can understand why.  What I'm trying to say is...there has been a part of my life that I have left completely UN-surrendered to God.  He's tried to speak to me about this part of my heart and any instruction He's tried to pass my way, I have either turned a deaf ear to it OR have completely and outright disobeyed any directions He's given me in regards to it...IT being this area in my life.

All night, I've been tossing and turning.  I can't tell you how many trips to the bathroom I've had to take...yes, I am pregnant, but I do believe this was part of His plan for me tonight.  When I did finally doze off, I was awakened with a cough I couldn't seem to get under control which caused me to get out of bed, come into the living room, and get in an upright position so I could catch my breath.  Yeah, that bad.  When I finally went back to sleep (on the couch) after that, my 4-year-old woke me up crying with a random double eye infection.  Once I got him settled down, I tried to settle myself down, but failed...epically.  I dragged myself out of bed.  Again.  Came BACK into the living room and finally got the message.  I realized, finally, why I was up.  After some prayer, some repenting, and some good ol' Bible I am.  Talking to you.

I'm tired of fighting, y'all.  This "area" of my life has had me gripped in anger, hostility, resentment, and bitterness for too many months now.  And I'm just plain tired.  The Lord was tired of fighting me, too.  I'm so thankful He didn't give up on me.  He knew I had wasted too much energy lately, and I believe He was ready to set me free from all of this.  Sometimes, we just have to let things go.  And let me be the first to tell you...this "area," this little situation I've been referring to all this time is NOT even resolved.  Oh no, the people involved are still the same.  The set of circumstances are ALL still the same.  The very awkward environment that surrounds this thing guessed it...the SAME.  But here's the best part...I'm NOT.  No, I am NOT the same person I was about 20 minutes ago.  I am no longer holding onto the negative force that has been bringing me down (and other important loved ones around me too) for all this time.  I am FREE!!

What about you?  What are you still holding onto?  Is there an "area" of your life that you have just refused to let go and let God?  Why?  Why keep fighting it?  What if you're like me?  What if you're situation never changes?  It may never change.  But you can.  Your God is waiting for you to surrender so He can change you into the Beloved Child of God He has always wanted you to become.  And by holding onto to negativity in your life, what good does that do ya?  In the words of Dr. Phil..."How's that working out for ya?"  Sometimes, we just have to let things go.  When we don't, we turn into these things that God never intended us to be.  That was me.  Just 20 minutes ago.  This thing...this thing that I was too exhausted to be anymore. 

I feel better already.  Now, maybe I can get some sleep.  You should, as well.  It's time.  Time for you to rest.  Rest.  Rest in the Lord.  Let Him fight your battle.  You need only to be still.

"I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."  -Ezekiel 36:25-26

Go and rest, sweet friends.