Today is Day 18 and I got to see God do the UNBELIEVABLE today!!!
Today is Day 18 and I got to see God do the UNBELIEVABLE today!!!
I laughed out loud (aloud) when I read the daily devotional this morning:
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’(Mark 9:24, NKJV)
Talk about déjà vu moment!!! Did I not just post about that last night? I took a different take on it… but it still felt like Jesus and I were sharing an inside joke. Which is good… because when I woke up around 3:30/4:00 this morning… I was pissed off, so I needed to laugh. I needed to know that God knew exactly where I was. Work stress was approaching critical mass and I was afraid.
The hills and valleys at my job are becoming more pronounced. I would see God do something REALLY amazing one day… and then something in the OPPOSITE spirit would crash upon my shores the very next day and threaten to knock over my house. These forays into walking in the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline is not new to me, but I still don’t like speaking up in a conflict. Yet, God has gifted me as a communicator and has been telling me to “own my voice.”
I knew that God was calling me to speak up today. I didn’t know exactly what I was supposed to say out of all of the things that needed to be said… but I was ready for whatever God called me to do. When I got to work, though… I was so keyed up… I put my head down on my desk and cried. And then, I set my face towards the LORD and moved forward.
The Lord went before me!!!
TODAY was incredible. I got to see answered prayer on pretty much all the major fronts at work. Things that I’ve been praying about for nearly 9 years are starting to fall into place. The door… when God opened it… was flung WIDE OPEN for me today. I couldn’t miss it. I didn’t have to second guess what the Holy Spirit wanted me to communicate; to whom He wanted me to communicate; or how I was to communicate it. I opened my mouth and all the right words came out!
Today I had to put ALL timidity aside and speak the truth in love to my Boss… and I got to see the power of the Almighty-God unleashed right in front of my eyes!!! A week ago I was feeling dread… and begging God not to send me back there… Today??? I ended the day doing my “Snoopy dance.”
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing God do!!! The atmosphere shifted in an instant. Where the enemy had wedged a wall between me and my boss… there is now reconciliation and collaboration. The seeds of unity that were sown today are going to bear unbelievable fruit in the years to come. The ground is no longer rock hard.
We had staff trainings today. People kept asking me if I was presenting. They like it when I present. I did not conduct the trainings… but my words and my influence had direct bearing on all of the things that were presented today. The door is now WIDE open for me to continue staff development and training. And lest I try to grab any glory for myself that is not due me… I know the words that I’ve spoken have only come after a long season of wrestling with God and man. You can’t take credit for that which you didn’t want to say. Speaking up was not my idea. Those words may have come out of my mouth, but it was the Lord who put them there.
Today I spoke boldly! I knew the exact moment when I crossed over from “courageous” to “fearless.” Oh, I’m not knocking courage… it has enabled me to do many things when I was terribly afraid… but all the physical manifestations of stepping out when fearful — suck! The pumping heart, clenched muscles, knotted stomach??? Lack of sleep??? Crying jags??? All those things I could do without.
Only the perfect love of the Almighty God has the power to cast out all my fears… so I must’ve been diving deep into the depths of his love today!! As I sat facing our Site Director, he actually gave me permission to speak “hard truths” to him about the state our center is in. He was inviting me to speak… and God was giving me a heaping measure of His “ridiculous grace” by allowing me to speak boldly without fear.
After I spoke… I was given permission to do just about whatever I feel led to do to help improve the culture and the sense of community on our campus!!! The irony of THAT isn’t lost on anybody who knows me: I’ve been given a key to open a door to community!!!
So start praying for wisdom, discernment, understanding and whatever else you feel led to pray for… so that I might speak God’s will to my boss and not my own. Though a lot of the trials I’ve encountered have felt personal… it hasn’t been about me. It’s been about what God wanted to accomplish through me. I am not going to change the culture of my workplace, but I can influence the one who will. Right now… he’s listening to me... and I am listening to God.
Today is Day 18 and…
Today… I gave my boss a prophetic word and he received it!! There was SO much more that was said, but because of confidentiality and my shoddy memory… I can’t go into details. The exact words are already fading… but the sensation of sitting in that office and having God use me as an agent of immediate change was UNBELIEVABLE!
Back in 2009 when God sent me to my workplace, I was angry and full of unbelief. I didn’t want to be there. I felt like God had let me down. I had left elementary teaching because I believed God had called me out. So why make me work in a school for at risk young adults???
Because I needed this season in the desert.
It has been in this season that my faith has grown exponentially. I could sense the darkness at my workplace when I got there. It fairly knocked me over. Students would speak fearfully about evil spirits. The kids who professed to follow Jesus were bound up in fear and superstition. “Everybody was doing what was right in their own eyes,” and it grieved me. I used to cry because I couldn’t figure out why God would send me there. Not because I thought I was too good for the place, but because my life was such a train wreck, how could I possibly minister to anybody there?? What could God possibly do through me there?!!!
Can we say, “UNBELIEF???”
Actually… I was one big gnarly wad of unbelief, misbelief, and disbelief all rolled into one rank little ball. So while I don’t believe that I am walking in unbelief NOW…
I confess that I was back then.
I lacked any and all belief that God was willing or even able to change me. I felt like I’d made a mess of my life which is why I quit Christian school teaching. I kept begging God to heal me… to change me… to take away my addiction, my mental illness, and my health problems and nothing had happened. My options seemed clear: IF God wasn’t going to change my life, I should finally end it. I was going to buy a gun and kill myself in staff housing and blame the school.
THAT’S why God got me out of elementary teaching… the suicidal thoughts were more than I could withstand, so God was faithful to provide me a way out. I didn’t see it until just this moment… but God used my current job to save my life! Talk about attitude adjustment!
Today is Day 18… and from where I am sitting… there is still more work to be done… but I believe the battle is nearly over. I believe victory is just beyond the horizon!
A Prayer If You Struggle with Misbelief of Disbelief
And if there be places where I am stubbornly refusing to believe that something is true just because it doesn’t line up with what I was taught… help me “live up to what I have already attained,” but make me willing to grow in your truth. May I not accuse other believers who believe differently than I do of lacking in faith or belief. Keep me from labeling that which is different as “false teaching.” Help me not mistake stillness for lacking the Holy Spirit. And help me to preserve the bond of peace within the body of Christ, by helping me to avoid denominational biases about healing and deliverance. (A prayer for DISBELIEF)
There’s this story about a father coming to Jesus seeking healing for his son that has always intrigued me. Because of the rocky road I’ve traveled with mental and physical illness, I have been hurt by people promising healing only to turn on me when I didn’t get healed fast enough. It got to the point that I was afraid of sharing my pain with people for fear of being judged an inferior Christian.
For years I stopped believing that I would EVER get healed because the extreme physical and mental pain was pervasive…. but after the past two years of radical transformation, I do not doubt that Jesus heals. Jesus has healed me of so many things, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you all of it.
Most recently… the LORD healed my thyroid!!! I have three medical tests that prove that my thyroid is fine. After two decades of being on that medication, I am now MEDICATION free!!! Do I believe that Jesus heals??
You BET I believe!!!
Yet, I still struggle with the question of immediate healing. Some might say that I struggle with unbelief. I vehemently disagree. I want to believe yet I can’t pretend to believe something if I don’t. That’s why that story intrigues me so much. The father comes to Jesus WANTING to believe that his son could be healed. Why else come to Jesus???
There was some fear in his stance. Maybe he had been hurt before. Maybe people held out the hope of healing ony to turn on him when his son didn’t get healed. Surely there was some unconfessed sin in his life and THAT was why his son hadn’t got healed.
Yet Jesus doesn’t blame the victim. He doesn’t tell the father to go away because he was an unbeliever. Jesus just reminds him of that which is true. The conversation went like this:
23 “‘But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
That interchange had me looking up words “in the English.” I’m a wordsmith. I LOVE looking up the nuances of English words that are used so often that people can’t really explain what they mean. As I child I would pour over my dictionary as if it were a sacred text. I’ve never gotten the hang of using a concordance… but I can spend hours going down the bunny trail of English words and their synonyms and variant meanings.
When I read my bible, the Holy Spirit takes me on bunny trails with words that exponentially explode my perception of what I thought I knew and it guides my prayers in directions they would never have gone on their own because I learn new words that I never even knew existed. This is what “praying in the Spirit” looks like for me. I get transported to another place. These word inspired prayer sessions leave me breathless.
Try it. I highly recommend it for you folks that don’t feel led to look things up “in the Greek.”
This is what I found when I did a word search about the word “unbelief:”
noun: misbelief; plural noun: misbeliefs
the inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real.
Today is Day 16 and God and I am wrestling with the devotion for today. I am not ready to invite other people into our dialog. It was one of those “tip of the iceberg” kinda discussions where there is SO much more to say than I could condense into a single post or even an arc of posts. Given my past history with mental and physical illness, the issue of healing creates issues for me. I trust God is going to reveal more to me on this subject as I engage with his word and seek people who can speak into this subject in spirit and in truth… but tonight? I just don’t want to wrestle with my thoughts.
SO I’m not to discuss what I think about “the power to heal.” Instead, I’m going to repost something I put on FB this morning:
Last night on my way home from an AWESOME class that my church is doing, God protected me from physical harm. I almost had a car accident…
I was tailgated by a really aggressive driver. I drive slower at night because I do not see well. I thought it would be safe for me to drive to the class because it’s so close to my house.
I did not count on the aggressive driver and the oncoming traffic lights. At first I nearly took the wrong left turn which would have triggered fear and panic. I have a fear about getting lost at night. It’s happened in the past and I’ve become anxious, then hysterical which is not safe for me or anybody on the road with me.
PRAISE God, I realized my mistake BEFORE I actually turned, but I’d signaled, so this made the aggressive driver even more angry. The next turn was my turn, so I signaled to turn again, but he was right on my bumper.
I turned wide and came close to crashing into the guard rail at the intersection because I could not see the lines in the road due to insufficient lighting.
PRAISE JESUS I saw my mistake in time to correct my trajectory BEFORE I could crash! The driver CONTINUED to ride my bumper which triggered anger in me… but NOT road rage. I did NOT retaliate in any way. I did NOT pray that God give him a case of terminal jock itch. I confessed my anger. Prayed to forgive him… and drove home where I preceded to cry for a very long time.
NOT because of this driver — I’m SO over letting aggressive drivers have any power over me.
Yesterday from start to finish, I got to see Jesus doing amazing and impossible things at my school. That meeting with my Site Director was answer to every prayer that people posted on FB for me yesterday and more so.
This morning, I woke up physically feeling depleted, so I had to call in sick for the morning… but I am going to work for my afternoon classes. There was too much external stimulation for my system to handle. The class was also overstimulating… but in an incredibly AWESOME way. God broke off some major strongholds within minutes of me even walking through the door!!!
SO… today, I am “giving thanks to the LORD for he is good!”
Yesterday, a friend from church texted me because she hadn’t seen me for a while. She’s not on FB, so she didn’t know that I’ve been blogging about the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting… so she didn’t know about yesterday’s Odyssey length post that originally started out as a post on FB.
When she texted me, I was so surprised, I actually suggested that we meet. She’s in recovery. That’s WHY I wanted to meet with her. I think it’s ok to say that since I’m not naming any names. I’m still really hazy on what’s allowed in the whole Anonymous movement.
HONESTLY?? I am SO excited about all the healing and transformation that Jesus has been doing in my life since I started in recovery… I just want to tell the whole freakin’ world! I don’t care WHO knows. I have battled with sexual addiction since I was a small child. Deliverance is FINALLY at hand… just TRY to shut me up!!!
We talked about prayer tonight…. about being so comfortable going to God with our deepest needs that it becomes second nature. We also talked about the need to have a faith deeply rooted in the word. I love that verse, “Let me hide your word in my heart that I might now sin against God.” What is THAT but making your prayers “heartfelt??”
So imagine my surprise when I finally get home after a LONG day that was full of one challenge after another and read the day’s devotional offering! It was about everything my friend and I had talked about!!!
It was also interesting that some of the very things that God’s been revealing to me in my time away from my church… he’s been revealing TO my church. As I told her about the things God’s been walking me through, she said that THAT was what the message in church had been about on Sunday! So NOW I really want to listen to the message online! It will no doubt confirm what Jesus has been saying to me!!
There is also yet another possible answer to prayer! She mentioned a class that our church is starting tomorrow night on “community.” When they first mentioned it a few months back, I was interested. I cannot handle Sundays with all it’s sights and sounds… but I can handle two hours of a class in a smaller group setting. This is so far up my alley as to actually BE my alley!!!
I’m going to contact one of the pastors and see if it’s possible to still sign up. When they first mentioned it, I didn’t think I’d be able to go because it would entail more night driving. Wisdom says that I need to scale back on that for safety’s sake. Would you believe that the class is being held about five minutes from my house??? And that it’s starts at 6:30 — while it’s still light enough for me to see where I’m going!!! IF God opens a door for me to attend this class… I WILL walk through that door. I need to find out the scope of the commitment and pray about whether or not I should attend. Community that I can participate in?!!! GO JESUS!!!
God answered a number of my prayers today in the affirmative which makes me think of my other devotional that I’m doing right now: Celebrate Recovery 365 Day Daily Devotional. Today’s topic: PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens)! I have been praying about a LOT of things which is why I’m seeing so much answered prayer. The CR devo reminded me that God will either answer, “yes,” “no,” or “wait.”
There are a few things that are bubbling up to the surface where I need urgent prayer. At this point, I do not feel lead to get all vulnerable and transparent about them… but God might eventually call me to do that. When I do… you all will probably be the firsts to know. Tonight??? I am just resting in the peace of today.
Today is DAY 14… and God gave me a bunch of heartfelt answers reminding me that I am NOT alone!!! The facts don’t ALWAYS support the truth! Today didn’t look so good when I woke up and had wave upon wave upon wave of trials hit me — but things look a LOT different from where I sit right now!!
I’m not going TO church today. I need to be still. I would appreciate prayer, but NOT because I’m in crisis.
I’m not. Quite the opposite…
I worked really hard for six days doing EVERYTHING Jesus called me to do and it was AMAZING!!!! Impossible strongholds are coming down!!!! The absolute unbelievable is happening!!!!
As a result, I’m exhausted.
So today, Jesus is telling the Martha in me to be still. He’s actually telling my inner Mary and my inner Martha to play nicely together.
I cannot mentally, physically, or emotionally process any NEW external stimuli and while church is too much for me to handle today….
…it IS time for me to give back to my church…to pour out…to serve. Jesus keeps telling me to be a CONDUIT of God’s grace and not a CUL-DU-SAC. I need to comfort others out of the comfort he’s given me.
The 21 Day Prayer and Fasting devotional reading for today actually SUPPORTS this. SO…I’ll be posting today as I feel led, because while I am not AT church, I am still very much a part OF my church.
… and THIS is how I serve my church: by giving written testimony of what Jesus is doing and by teaching others out of what HE has taught me.
God designed me to be a communicator, a teacher, and as a peacemaker. I walked in my design all week and it was awesome!!! As a result, I cannot TALK anymore today. I cannot handle anymore SOUND today. I’m actually wearing earplugs TODAY even though I am at home alone. I can’t handle anymore people and social situations today either. And that’s OK!!!
So how do I connect with my church today? How do I serve today??? Simple: I walk in my identity and my design. I own my voice and share my story to help raise awareness about how mental illness affects the WHOLE person. I help build empathy for people who struggle with mental illness or depression yet cannot own their voice due to fear or shame.
I haven’t gone TO church since they started the 21 days of prayer and fasting. I HAVE, however, been communicating WITH my church… every day….because the Holy Spirit has been shifting my paradigms about what “community” means for ME and how I fit into it so that it’s healthy and healing.
God’s plan for me and every other believers is to be a functioning part of his church body and today THIS is how I function. THIS is how I connect. And I am NOT ashamed.
The best part??? People from my church who know and love me have been SO great and SO understanding. They have been interceding for me AND for my mission field. They have been texting me and reading my blogs. They have been LOVING me without “LOVING ON” me.
I hate when people “love on me.” It’s not helpful and can do damage. I don’t see Jesus “loving ON” anybody in scripture, but he LOVES everybody. He speaks truthfully to them about what they REALLY need.
Sometimes we “love on” people so much we don’t speak the truth in love and we enable them to stray trapped in bondage. Jesus is showing me love THROUGH his church and he is healing me THROUGH his church.
In the past I would have felt guilt, shame, and condemnation for missing so much church…. but instead I feel loved and supported. Plus…with modern technology, I can listen to all of the pastor’s sermons when I AM able to process new information. Can you say, “1 Corinthians 12,” baby?!!!!!
I will EVENTUALLY return to my church on Sundays….probably AFTER the 21 days is over… but until such a time as THAT… I continue to reach out and connect the only way I know how — in writing.
Be blessed Church!!!