The (Not-So) Glory Days of High School

Last weekend, for me, was JAM-PACKED. I have to insert “for me” because I have become such a wimp with how much I can handle these days. I am battling a constant feeling of being overwhelmed and having NO energy.  There are reasons for this — many of which are out of my control — BUT… many are very much dependent on choices I make in three specific areas: diet, exercise, and rest. (Included in the “rest” category would be Bible study, prayer, sleep and good ‘ole down time.)

I blew it in all three areas leading up to the weekend!

Because of my poor choices, I was not able to navigate the highs and lows of what was coming my way… and… CRASHED.

Friday night began with a high school reunion of sorts. A close friend from back-in-the-day persuaded me to meet her. We both decided it would be a great opportunity to visit even if the alumni program ended up being a flop.

ONE other guy from our class showed up. I have absolutely no connection to him— basically steered clear of him in high school because he was a wild mess! Fast forward 35 years (shocking… I KNOW!) and he’s completely turned his life around.

The three of us ended up talking in the parking lot two extra hours and had the BEST time reminiscing and catching up.

So surprising!

Keeping with the reunion theme… I was able to see my life-long friend, Carma, the next day. She moved away several years ago and I miss her like crazy! She makes me laugh like no other! Such a fun day visiting and, of course, LAUGHING.

While I was re-living my high school glory days, Cory was reminding me of how GLAD I am to NOT be in high school anymore! He made a few decisions that sent me reeling and wondering what he was up to.

THAT was where I lost the battle in my mind and allowed fear to grip me.

By the time Sunday came around and we were headed to church, I was a disaster—physically and emotionally exhausted. Absolutely defeated.

Well…

God is loving, full of grace and extremely kind to me. Guess what song the worship team was singing as I walked in.

MY song! (As so many of you now call it.)

I’m no longer a slave to fear!

The first line says…

“You unravel me…”

That instantly had my attention. What does it mean to be unraveled by God? I definitely had come unraveled in life circumstances, but God was willing to disentangle me from my out-of-whack emotions. To unravel literally means to set free.

I stood there next to Cory and could not stop crying. I had clearly put back on the shackles of fear, making myself a slave to it, and God was offering a release.

I, again, purposed to walk by faith, keeping my eyes on Jesus.

And… just for the record… Cory hadn’t done any of the things I was imagining. Fear had taken me down a destructive path of vain imaginations. The more we talked, the more I realized he was making tough choices for all the right reasons.

So…

My encouragement to you is:

1. eat good, healthy food

2. exercise often… and…

3. REST!

Rest in knowing you are a child of God. Let him unravel you.

And…

BE THANKFUL YOU ARE DONE WITH HIGH SCHOOL!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repeat After Me

I have to interrupt the unfolding of my details to talk about today. I have several doctor appointments and tests from the last three weeks I want to mention, but…

TODAY!!

Sometimes God just presses the pause button on life to make sure WE know HE is with us.

My family and I went to church this morning. I’d like to tell you we walked in beaming with the love of God and each other, but that doesn’t accurately describe the Sunday morning get-out-the-door ritual. I mean, we absolutely love God and each other, but the trek from the car to the building is where we regain our composure and put on our happy, church-going-family face. Let’s just say the home departure included excessive honking, snappy comments and a touch of over-acceleration. But we made it and sat in what is becoming our usual spot.

It was a great service.  At the very end, the worship team came back to lead in a closing song. I didn’t recognize the song from the opening chords, but when they started singing the words:

You unravel me

With a melody

You surround me with a song

Of deliverance

From my enemies

Til all my fears are gone

I’M NO LONGER A SLAVE TO FEAR

I am a child of God

They were singing my song!!

The song I linked to on my last post.

I jabbed Eddie in the leg. I had played the song for him the night before and narrated how I felt about each part of it. The moment felt like it was God’s personal message to ME.  As if a spotlight was shining down and He had asked these hundreds of people to sing MY proclamation back to ME.

I HAD to stand and just soak it all in.  Others were feeling the same way and pockets of people were beginning to respond all over the room.

I love the declarations at the end of the song when the singer almost screams,

“I AM a child of God.”

And my very favorite line is when she sings-screams…

“FULL OF FAITH.”

So….

Repeat after me:

God is always good.

And I am always loved.

I AM a child of God.

FULL OF FAITH.

No longer a slave to fear.

And in case you missed it, here’s God’s personal message to you:

Step into the spotlight and let Him love you.

 

 

 

 

Auto Pilot

It was a long, sad walk back to my car from the cancer center. I know all the promises in God’s Word: all things work together for good, He will never leave you nor forsake you, etc. etc. (I wanted to write blah, blah, blah but thought that was heading toward might-get-struck-by-lightning-bolt status so I opted for etc, etc.). While all those Bible verses are true, at that moment I was just very, very sad. My body was physically reacting to the sadness, making it hard to breathe. I must have been quite the sight as I walked the construction obstacle course back to my car.

Between the gasps and tears the one thought I couldn’t shake was —

I am in desperate need of prayer.

It was a sense of urgency. I need to ask people to pray for me in spite of the not so glamorous area needing prayer! And even more than prayer for healing or God’s direction, I wanted prayer for my emotional well-being.

I have fought against fear before (you can read about that here) and it can be an exhausting battle. Our words matter, both spoken and thought, in the fight. The way I talk to myself is a key weapon to winning the mind skirmishes. And… the words we speak fuel the inner self-talk, whether positive or negative.

A few days later I was at a Bible study sitting around a table with four other ladies. Each one was asking me for an update and I heard myself answer with a guarded hint of faith and a BIG dose of doom and gloom. As the evening went on, I felt such conviction for how I responded. Here I was, the leader of this small group, and I was leading others toward doubt and discouragement.  And furthermore, who am I to question God?!

I am SO blessed! How could I NOT trust Him?

I’m alive today because He healed me.

I’m a mom because He chose me.

I’m married to THE kindest man because of God’s kindness to me.

WARNING: This is about to get preachy for a moment. Just know I’m preaching to myself more than anyone else.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “…take ships as an example.   Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.”   (James 3:4 NIV)

The whole verse is comparing the tongue to a rudder.

Wherever the pilot wants to go!

Where do I want to go?

Deeper in faith or deeper in fear?

I MUST pilot with my words, spoken or thought, TOWARD faith and away from fear.

This song is where I’m living these days. Don’t leave this page until you’ve listened.

Sermon over.

Pass the offering plate.  Hah!

 

 

 

 

Win-Win

It was the day I was to receive news on my latest catscan. Everything was expected to be just fine. There really should not be any surprises. So why was I having anxiety as I drove toward my destination?

The enemy of my soul was working overtime to disrupt my peace. Thoughts were swirling about the car and I was losing my positive outlook. Satan was taunting me with, “You might have made it though this, but you still haven’t beaten breast cancer.” There it was. The source of all my mental anguish.

Almost a year ago a friend had spoken prophetically into my life. I can picture the exact spot where we were standing. I had just updated her on what was coming down the pike for me in regards to cancer treatment. She looked me in the eye, boldly declaring, “This is not about the disease. It’s about pulling out the root of fear from your life. God wants to do a complete work in you, setting you free from fear.” Politely I smiled at her, somewhat accepting her words. It wasn’t like it resonated in me that I needed this coming deliverance.

I really have done quite well in the way I have viewed my medical crisis. The quote, “It’s a win-win,” has been repeated by me numerous times. The issue has been resolved in my mind that I can trust God. If He heals me and gives me many more years on this earth- that’s wonderful. If He calls me home to an eternity of no sorrow or pain with my Heavenly Father, hallelujah, what joy! It’s a win-win! God is my hope whether I live or die.

The fact that Satan was bringing up breast cancer was a desperate attempt to punch holes in the victory I had been walking in. Losing my mom to that disease was one of the hardest things I have been through in life. The evil one knew it was a point of vulnerability. It was a low-blow.

As I recognized the harassment for what it was, I also realized God had done an extraordinary work in my heart.  My friend’s words had come full circle.  I was having one of those “a-ha” moments.  Cancer has been so prevalent in my family, claiming many lives, that there has been this underlying sense of doom…  -not if I’ll get it, but when will I get it.  That alone is an incorrect way to think and live.  But, here I was having faced the disease head on, full of joy, completely at peace.  Fear had been defeated.

Psalm 23:4  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”

Good news did await me as I met with one of my doctors.  It was as if a point was scored for the good guys.  God and Lori – one.  Satan – zero.  Victory is mine no matter what comes around the next corner.  The devil is defeated and he knows it.  In other words… he’s a loser and I win!

( event took place January 2009)