Sunday, December 25, 2011

more days than I can possibly count....

Losing one's way doesn't always happen physically. It can happen mentally, emotionally. Sometimes, it takes a serious re-walking of the past in order for one to begin stepping forward into the future. Some things have to be re-lived in order to be put aside. The past eight months have certainly been that, in a lot of ways. Everything culminating to a single point in time, a specific experience that somehow sets you free, cuts the strings entirely.

I have not touched the Bible in probably six months out of the last eight. It's sitting right by me, don't get me wrong. I know it's there. I see it every single day, even the days when I most want to ignore it. I have not opened it. I've thought about it increasingly the past week. No, it has nothing to do with the "season", trust me. I could go on and on regarding this holiday season, this "holy season" but I won't. Suffice it to say that I don't hold with it having anything to do with Christian beliefs at all. People can adopt and change anything they want to reflect their version of truth, we all do it. For me, Christmas has nothing to do with Christ, or his message. No, for me, this re-opening of the pages has more to do with the turning of the year.

A few days ago was the solstice, the official turning of the year. It's as if the world held it's breath, waiting for that one specific moment, and then with the exhale we began to spring anew. Sounds incredibly pagan, doesn't it? There are certain elemental truths that we cannot escape, no matter what pretty trappings we try to throw over it to cover and hide the underlying issues or matters. The fact of the matter is that for me, I find God most relevant when I see Him in the trees surrounding me, in feeling the snow falling down onto my upturned face, in hearing His voice in the sounds of the ravens. Does that make me pagan? I don't think so. It certainly doesn't make me the standard Christian fare, however, and I understand and accept that distinction. I truly do. Do I still believe that He is working in my life? Absolutely. It's undeniable. Do I still believe that His Word can be found in the trapping of humanity. Yep, I sure do. I'm just not willing to put God in a box. He She It Whatever.... doesn't matter the label you put on God, and it doesn't matter how you decide to worship, follow, believe.

What really matters most of all is what you Hear, what you Do, what you See.

And that being said..... it's time to crack that binding again and see what He has to say to me today.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Excerpt from Renee Swope's book "7 Day Doubt Diet"

So powerful. God has been reaching out to me, addressing these issues for the past two weeks straight. It's hard to accept sometimes how much He truly cares, how much He loves each and every one of us, how much He wants to see change in ME. It's uncomfortable being under that much scrutiny, incredibly uncomfortable. It's far easier hiding..... However, by hiding our darkest selves, we also allow it to foment, and do nothing more than give the devil more than his due. After all, everything the devil does, he does with God's permission. Think about that. It all comes down to free will....and believing that we are worth it. Ultimately worth it.

Satan wants us to focus on our flaws and feelings of inadequacy, then exhaust our energy figuring out how to hide them. But we don’t have to go along with his schemes. Instead we can recognize his lies, refute his temptations with truth, and focus on God’s acceptance, security, and significance. Then we can thank God for His provision and His promises that remind us of who we are in Him.

I am accepted . . .
Ephesians 1:3–8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13–14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9–10 I am complete in Christ.

I am secure . . .
Romans 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31–39 I am free from condemnation. I cannot be separated from God’s love.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident God will complete the good work He started in me.

I am significant . . .
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Lord, thank You that I’m chosen, holy, and dearly loved. When I’m tempted to find my significance and security apart from Your provision and promises, help me recognize Satan’s lies, refuse his temptations and stand firm in my faith. Remind me that such confidence as this is mine through Christ—not that I am competent in myself to claim anything for myself, but competence comes from Him. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. (See Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 5:9; 2 Corinthians 3:4–5)

Doubt Diet Tip: When you’re tempted to use the measuring stick of comparison—be sure to measure UP by focusing upward on Christ, remembering who you are in HIM! “The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior (and beliefs) will begin to reflect your true identity!”

© 2011 by Renee Swope with Revell Publishing. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

God, and Alaska.... some thoughts.

“For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother's womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

So I was doing some poking around online, and came across one of my friend Michelle's posts. I was thrilled to read it. THRILLED. And I realized that I haven't posted anything here since I left the lower 48.

I've been in this weird up/down state since the plane touched the tarmac. First thing, I got lost in the airport. Really. I did. Everything looked the same, sort of. But then when I got down to where I just knew the baggage claim was.... well, it wasn't there. They'd changed it. Have you ever gone through an environment where you just KNOW where everything is supposed to be, because you've gone there so many times, but then this last time, it all looked the same, yet it didn't? I've lost my way, a bit.

I knew going into this that it would not be easy. That was the point of going this way. I knew that if I'd stayed where I was comfortable, I would not have grown. I would have stagnated. So I followed His leading, and here I am. UNCOMFORTABLE. God and I have the most amazing relationship, we honestly do. We argue all the time. Rather, I argue, He smiles at me in tender loving, and then I do my own thing, convinced that I am right..... and eventually I submit to Him. Yes, Father, you were right. (Of Course.)

The thing is, I know that He's been with me this entire time. I know this. I have a peace about being here, even though it's so uncomfortable for me. Ravens have been talking to me. Non-stop. I hear them every morning and they are having such great conversations. It's one of the things that I have missed most about Home. It's hard to explain how the soil of a place gets beneath your skin so much that you don't realize that it's there until you're not there. Alaska is, and always will be, HOME.

It's interesting to me, being here again. Everything is different, yet it's the same. It's as I said earlier: you know where things are, yet.... you don't, quite. It's disorienting to say the least. My first full day back, we did some "sight-seeing", basically just driving around town to look around and show me what had changed. Oh my goodness, SO MUCH HAS CHANGED!!! Most of the buildings that I knew before are still here, but now streets are wider, things look just slightly off, and of course there are more buildings, newer buildings. I was in complete shock. I think the shock is beginning to wear off.... sort of. This feeling of disorientation is like nothing I've ever felt before. I feel like it is beginning to wear off, though, finally. I've been sort of holed up, trying to find my sea legs/land legs again. I feel like it's time to venture forth, however. I FEEL Him present, gently pushing me out, watching my legs wobble a bit, His hand right behind me, ready to scoop me up should I stumble.

Today, I am headed out to the Loussac, one of the libraries here in town. I remember this library so much from my youth. I'm EXCITED to go there again. It feels like FOREVER.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Come Fly With Me, Let's Fly, Let's Fly Away....

This time, three days from now I will be on a plane. It's strange realizing that I am leaving Bellingham after such a long sojourn here. Honestly, though, I am more excited than sad to be kicking off the dirt from my heels and flying, flying away. It's been more years than I care to remember away from home, but God is indeed calling me home. It would be far more comfortable for me to stay in quiet little Bellingham. Here, I know the rules, I know the people, the spots. Returning, returning is about re-learning, and re-discovering what I left. I know that it will not be the same as what I left previously, and that is an exciting thing, in and of itself. When I went home in 2004, I was in so much pain I could barely see the world around me. Everything was red and bright and too much. After two months, I ran away, back where it was most comfortable. In 2007, when I last visited, things had begun to feel different. And now, 2011. I am actually returning. Permanently. I doubt that I will return to little quiet Bellingham for much other than a visit. But Alaska, Alaska is singing to me, and I hear her, loud and clear. More, though, I hear God, clearing the way for me to return. That is most precious of all.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Jezebel Spirit--some thoughts

The past few months have been interesting. I can feel a constant push/pull tug of war going on and it's exciting to be able to feel such things within me, as well as to see how it interacts with the world around me. One interesting change I've noted: "stories" in the Old Testament & New Testament aren't just "stories" anymore. They've become real on a more personal level, so much so that I've begun to see that the influences of the deep past are still prevalent today. They are still knocking around, still gaining a hold and threatening to tear those who love God most into itty-bitty shreds, a millimeter at a time. Doesn't seem like it's much at first, a millimeter. But it's rather like a jar of pennies. At first the little bits of copper don't seem like much, til the glass bouy you have them in shatters under the weight of all that copper.

I've been reading up on Jezebel. I think most people immediately associate the word Jezebel with promiscuity, lasciviousness, wantonness, sexual immorality, etc... But what I don't think a lot of people see is the underside of the Jezebel spirit: the manipulation, the control, the power-seeking hunger, the overreaching sense of SELF involved.They also don't see the counterpart to Jezebel: her husband Ahab, who to all intents and purposes was emasculated by his wife, thoroughly controlled, who basically abdicated his throne in favor of her rule (all behind the scenes of course). Here's the best part: Jezebel was a VERY devout woman. VERY DEVOUT. However, she violated the cardinal rule: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me (including the god of SELF, Baal, and Ashteroth).

Being fully submitted to God is hard work. Admitting that I am very good friends with the Spirit of Jezebel is humbling, and humiliating. Recognizing that I have walked in these shoes for 17 years, never realizing what I was doing to my partners, nor myself, is a test of self-awareness and openness to God's hand as nothing ever before. I still struggle, desperately at times, against my desire for a husband, a mate. And while I desire it, I still fear it, fear what I may turn into, as a wife. Do I lose respect for my husband? What if I make a mistake? What if what if what if....

It all goes back to being submitted to God. And it IS hard work, the hardest work I've ever undertaken in my entire life. However, if I'd wanted the easy life, I would have been married five times over by this point in time.

Long story short: daily awareness of submission is important, vastly far more important than whether or not a client has called in, returned paperwork, a coworker drives you nuts, someone from your small group who doesn't respect you, the fact that you're unhappy in your marriage, you feel desperately alone, your kids are heathen monsters, or the fact that the earth is currently going to hell in a handbasket and our nation is driving. Trusting in God, being SUBMITTED TO GOD, means trusting Him with the small stuff. Really. After all, He takes care of you, doesn't He? :P