I am in Awe of how my Heavenly Father is continuously taking that which is unlovely, broken or discarded in and around me and creates something of great beauty and value. How He is able to take the difficulties and even the tragedies of life and use them to perfect and refine us into someone that brings Him Glory...to bring Beauty from the Ashes.
For God does speak—now one way, now another— though man may not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds,
he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings,
About 2 weeks ago...Holly might be able to help me out with the actual date, I woke up at 3:00 am...terrified. I haven't had a dream that real and that startling in quite some time.
I had a dream that a hooded man, who was very heavily armed, was heading down Sidney St. and after looking me in the eye with a taunting glare, he headed down Parkdale Dr. I knew he was headed to the school and I had to get there to warn the faculty and help lock down the school.
It took me a while to work through the fear and really get into prayer, but even then, the weight of the dream would not lift. I prayed for the students at that particular school, my own children...eventually covering Sunday schools and schools right through our nation. I declared them all hidden and that no weapon formed against them would prosper...that every scheme of the enemy would fall to the ground as dust. An hour and a half later, I could visualize this enemy's arsenal of weapons literally fall and disintegrate into dust....the burden lifted and I went back to sleep. The next day, I recruited Holly to agree with me for the children....it so happens, she had been awakened at 3:00 as well.
When God began to speak to me about the Centennial position, I asked him to remind me of the dream...I knew I'd had a dream about children, but at the moment couldn't recall it. He instantly reminded me, and I realized my needing to get to the school to protect the kids was related to getting this position.
When I teach on dreams, I speak of levels. A dream can have multiple meanings over various time frames, (your dream can mean one thing today, and something very different down the road, yet both are accurate interpretations of the same dream). Today, I saw that again with my own dream.
As I was coming home from the gym, Mark warned me that traffic was being rerouted, as I CRAWLED down North Front St. to get home, I listened to the news and they explained that there was a stand off at the Money Mart and there were reports of an armed robbery.
As I drove home I remembered my dream again...I thought about Parkdale's proximity to this situation and the fact that this armed man was headed south on Sidney in my dream. I prayed for the kids, but reasoned that if there was a concern, surely we would get a call.
Lo and behold, when I picked up Michael and Jianna from school, they each had a note explaining that the school had been locked down for about 3 1/2 hours while the police were searching for this suspect.
Is it all tied together? Did this guy actually head in that direction? I am not making those claims, but I THANK GOD that he speaks loud and clear when we need to hear. I also thank him that He gave me such an urgency to pray, that sleep didn't overtake that need, and that He is willing to terrify us with warnings, in order to bring about His plan for victory.
We are simply his tools of choice if we will listen, seek understanding, and most importantly, OBEY.
As many of you know, I have questioned of late, what it is I need to be doing with
"all my spare time".
I have prayed, talked with hubby, thought, questioned and I have interviewed for a couple of things that were not a right fit.
I have felt very selfish in my desire to DO something...preferably something meaningful.
If I had to work for the sake of the family budget, this would have been easier; but that was not the case it was for ME. So the idea of disrupting our lives to go back into banking etc. felt quite selfish.
In the middle of all of this, I got a call from Rhonda about a new position at Centennial, was I interested?
So, last Friday I interviewed for one of two "Hall Monitor" positions.
This seemed perfect, it was three hours a day, in the middle of the day 5 days a week and I would be off when my kids were off, PLUS it involved direct contact with the kids!
The interview went well, (I felt) and I was to hear on Monday.
Fleshly fears crept in, and I had a dream that I didn't get the job. I reasoned that if that were the case it didn't really matter as I didn't NEED the job.
Then Sunday while sitting in church, God began to speak,
"It's not about YOU needing the job, I need you to get the job".
All of a sudden it hit me, this isn't about ME, this is an answer to many prayers that God would influence and even take over our schools.
God was setting up a perfect scenario for me, personally yes, but there was more to it than that. I would have the opportunity to influence and speak into teens lives daily. I would get to be a set of eyes and ears for the school...but in so doing, I would be able to be Jesus' mouth, hands and heart as well. I could be praying for these kids as I walk the halls...AND get paid to do it!
After repenting for dropping the ball on what this was really all about and getting others to agree in prayer with me, I waited .
Monday came and went...I'm getting a little nervous.
It's a very busy office, he'll call on Tuesday.
Now I am questioning whether I heard God on this at all...
While I was at the gym this am, Mark took a call from the principal. He was going to call back, when hubby (in true Mark fashion), said;
"I know she was waiting for a message from you, Is there anything you would like me to tell her?"
The principal laughed, apologized for the delay and said, "yes, you can tell her she was successful and I will call back with the next step".
So, I am no longer a "kept" woman...well, not entirely at least.
Now, to break the news to my Johnny...he thinks this will be weird and I get that...but, he is a big boy and although he will be stretched, (as will I); I know he will be fine.
You know, knowing my son, the angels that were sent out to make this happen were probably wrestling in the Heavens between my prayers and my son's prayers. That's probably why I had to wait so long!
It's OK, God works all things together for BOTH of our good....and the good of the students of Centennial.
So, I have to rearrange my work out schedule, (might be wise to do more weight training) and I need to grow a thick skin while keeping a tender heart...So, all of your prayers would be appreciated. Primarily for favor with faculty and students alike, but also for Divine appointments.
I love the way KCM explains the importance of and our ability to exercise joy:
"Joy is not just a state of mind. It is not a fleeting emotion. Joy is a very real force, and the devil doesn't have anything that can stand up against it. Just as fear has to yield to Faith, discouragement has to yield to joy. Since Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, you already have it residing within you. But you must develop it, confess it, and live by it if you want to to enjoy it's power."
The battle for Joy is not in our emotions, it is (once again) in our minds. So, as I have made a commitment to daily exercise my body, I am also going to commit to exercising and doing some strength training on my Joy.
Week 2 was more encouraging than week 1 even. I was able to get my 5 work outs in on week days, which I found so much better than taking a chunk of family time on Sat.
I also found it helped get me through the last couple of days, knowing I had a 2 day break coming up...then I actually felt ready to go back today.
I took my BP a number of times again last week and eventually spoke with a pharmacist on Friday. I was actually amazed as my BP readings, (those not taken immediately following a work out) were averaging within normal range and I wondered if this was likely given the few changes I had made.
The pharmacist was very encouraging and agrees that if sodium was the biggest factor, then yes, dropping this dramatically would be possible.
She was however concerned that I would not follow through on my testing, because of these results....but I assured her I would. I have gotten all of the blood work...and other testing out of the way this week as well...now just have to wait to get an appt. with the cardiologist, and follow up with my GP.
In the mean time, God is showing himself very faithful once again...Thanks again for all of your support and prayers.
Of course that is how Jianna felt about turning five too....hmmmm....I wonder how long she will be excited about Six.
No doubt by summer she will be wishing for Feb. 16'th once again, sigh!
She has no idea how hard it is to let your last baby grow up at the expected 365 day rate...let alone allowing it to happen in mega leaps and bounds!
She will one day though ; )
I LOVE this picture, is it not truly all of the excitement of a little girl who has practically held her breath for months waiting for her birthday?
All of her planning and she ended up with the very 2 friends she wanted all along....and was as excited as if there were a dozen!
To top it all off, her beloved "Miss Britt" is coming to visit tonight AND to spend a birthday dinner out as big girls tomorrow...For Jianna, It doesn't get any better than this weekend.
I have been tormenting her all week about how many days I have left for "5 year old kisses", and technically I still have just over 2 hours to collect those; so I better chase down some 5 year old kisses before they are gone forever!
Oh! Notice the little monkey candle on the cake?
I had bought Jianna a brand new 6,
but she saw this one in our collection of number candles and HAD to have it.
It was on my 6 year old birthday cake 33 years ago...I remember how much I loved it too!!!
Sometimes it seems, we are in full seasons of questions. Mark and I have been in that season for a while now. Some of those questions have been answered with directives. Some times those directives result in obedience without understanding and therefore more questions.
At times we are given a GLIMPSE of understanding....and sometimes that too, brings more questions.
For me, this scripture takes me back to a place of resting in obedience. Not resting in understanding. In that place of obedience, "the first gleam" of understanding, broadens and brightens until there is complete understanding.
We so often want the understanding, then we will obey. Most of the time, God is calling us to walk in obedience through the darkness, and when He brings revelation, we will be right where we are supposed to be.
As a person who likes to keep her world in order and control...
Artwork by John Bell copyright 1998-2007 (www.jrbell.com) used with permission
I am about to make some strong statements... even controversial. Here's the thing, everything I am about to write is based on the TRUTHS that I have personally walked out. The miracles that I have experienced in my own life. The Faithfulness that I have seen first hand from my God, my Father.
I have to set some ground rules for this post and I hope you will understand. I am not opening up or interested in a theological debate. I am first off, remembering the goodness of my Father. I am following the scripture that reminds me how I over come...."by the blood of the lamb and the word of my testimony". This is my personal "counter strike" if you will. The enemy has taken yet another strike at me, no surprise in that, but I am more than a conqueror and am not at all interested in sitting around licking my wounds or "accepting this as from the hand of God" (or should I say "blaming" God)
I am also looking for friends. Friends that can do one of a couple of things. To come into agreement with me by confessing the truths of the goodness and faithfulness of God and His Word. I am also looking for accountability...I give you permission to check in and ask me if I have been following my regime.
More on the last one later.
As you local bloggers know, Belleville has a shortage of doctors; which has meant my family has been without a family physician for 4-5 years. We were quite excited, when we were accepted by a new Dr in town...we were all over due for check ups and it is just nice to know, that should we need a Dr, we have one to call.
Last week was my family's "meet and greet" with our new Dr. nothing big, some health history and vitals taken.
I was however caught off guard when my blood pressure was taken and it was very high.
Some tests have been ordered and I have been referred to a specialist.
Am I worried? No, I honestly am not....but boy am I ticked!
Let me explain. I was born with a congenital heart condition, a "coarctation of my aorta". It was discovered when I was 6 months old and monitored closely. I was a sickly baby, in and out of the hospital with Pneumonia. The opening in my aorta was slowly getting smaller and it was declared that I would need open heart surgery by the time I was 40.
When I was 12 years old, I was part of a basketball team...and really enjoyed it.
During a practice one day, my blood pressure sky rocketed.
As a result, I was seen by my specialist once again. I was given a stress test and was unable to remain on a treadmill for 5 minutes before my BP went through the roof and I was almost fainting from lack of oxygen.
I was scheduled for my third "cathaterization", which essentially was a surgery where tubes with a camera are pushed through an artery to take pictures of the heart.
In the mean time I was restricted from all physical exertion... I was even kept in at recesses.
What I was not told, is that the expectation upon completion of this minor surgery, was that I would immediately be scheduled for open heart surgery. My mother was also told that I could never have children because carrying a child let alone delivering one would kill me.
Those were the facts, the report of the doctors.
My mom became a Christian when I was 9, and I accepted Christ a year later.
Every alter call, every healing service we were looking for a miracle.
In the 2 month time span between seeing my specialist and my scheduled surgery,
I was in my home church, a guest speaker had come and was calling out for a variety of sicknesses and diseases to be healed. He even put a call out for a heart condition that God had declared that he was healing. For the first time, and I can't explain why, I did not go forward. I stayed in my seat, I don't remember my thought processes, but here is what I do remember.
I began to feel a FIRE in my chest, and I burst into tears....No one had touched me, no one had prayed for me specifically....I KNEW I had been touched by the hand of God and I was healed.
That June, I went in for my surgery and a battery of stress and non stress tests.....the doctors could not explain it. My aorta LOOKED the same as it had always looked, but there were absolutely NO side effects. Blood pressure remained normal even after 20 minutes on the treadmill. With a shake of his head,
my specialist lifted ALL restrictions....when my mom asked about babies...(the one restriction she knew that even at my young age would devastate me);
my specialist replied that I could have as many babies as I wanted.
AND I HAVE!!!!!
I also had a broken wrist prayed for as a teen and everyone around heard an audible POP, I again knew I had been miraculously healed right then. This time being a teen surrounded by friends at the altar...there was no waiting on doctors. To the shock and dismay of the surrounding adults, we removed the plaster splint right then and there.
Full mobility and no pain!
These are a couple of the physical healings that I have received...the more dramatic ones, but I have experienced the miraculous hand of God in my life and family REPEATEDLY over the years. I have gone through emotional, physical, spiritual and financial devastation....and EVERY time I have seen the faithfulness of God at work. Not always as instantaneous as the two I've recounted above, but always He has brought me through to a place of victory.
This is the God I know and serve.
So, I have gotten pretty ticked at a devil who would have the gall to try once a gain to attack in a very area that he has been defeated in. There are many possibilities for the elevated blood pressure of last week, honestly, I don't believe it is my heart, I have been at the gym three times a week, pushing my body and heart for at least 30 minutes each time, and have not been any more out of breath or red faced than would be expected for any out of shape woman of 39.
It is possible that the eating plan I began a year ago to lose and maintain my weight has allowed me too much salt and therefore may be the issue.
Whatever is going on, I am sure it will get straightened out. In the mean time I have made a committment to be at the gym 5 days a week, pushing my heart for a minimum of 30 minutes each time, I am (now that Super Bowl is over), restricting the salt in my diet.
I have to tell you though, I am frustrated. I was anorexic as a teenager and had been very leery of diets as an adult for this reason. I finally found what I thought was a healthy eating plan that was working for me....and now I feel like I am back to not knowing what to eat to get to a healthy weight and still keep the rest of my body healthy.
So, please forgive me for venting a little when, in this discouraged state, I went to church looking for God to clear my thinking and give me hope again, and the enemy got in the way of even that...TEMPORARILY!!!
Everything started out so well, I was feeling my hope return through worship and a time of prayer, when a guest speaker begins to deviate from what should have been an awesome message on not judging one another, and makes declarations that do not line up to the Word of God in it's entirety. Declarations that go against the heart of the God I love and serve, who loves me more than I can even imagine.
Please understand, I am not angry at anyone, not this speaker not our church...but I am SOOOO angry at a devil who robbed me of what I, (and many others) needed, yesterday...a message of hope , of LIFE.
Theologies aside, If I am in a place of needing a touch from God in any area of my life, and I have a choice between a message that brings me hope and life and one that says this could be the hand of God, so you might just need to accept it.....I CHOOSE LIFE!!!!
I can't answer all the hard questions about why people like my mom die prematurely even though they are believers and pray repeatedly for a miracle.
All I can answer for is what I know to be truth....I was never healed or miraculously touched in any area of my life, by taking the attitude that this might be the will of God for my life and I should just endure my suffering.
If you have endured this post thus far....THANK YOU!
I needed to get some of this out...I also need to overcome, and writing and being able to recount the goodness and faithfulness of God in my life is part of the path I need to follow to walk into that place of victory once again.
So in the face of the fear of seeming contradictory or even antagonistic, I make a declaration that I walk in the Peace of God, the Hebrew meaning of that word peace...whole, nothing missing, nothing broken.
I declare that I AM (Not one day will be) healed.
I choose to believe the report of the Lord. His report says I am healed.
Miss Jianna's birthday is coming up in 2 weeks, and as with most kids she has been planning ....almost forever...at least it seems that way to her....(and sometimes to me).
About three weeks ago, she decided she wanted to make her invitations...THAT day. It didn't seem to matter that she hadn't settled on the kind of party she wanted, (at one point she only wanted 2 friends and dinner out...is my child turning 6 or 30?); some how doing something might bring her birthday about faster. I put her off, by deciding that we would make special cards this year.
This week, Maria and I found this little kit to make note cards, as I had never made cards or done scrap booking, this seemed like the best route.
Jianna has been itching to break open this kit and get started. Since Maria had a friend over, I thought the three girls and I could sit down and tackle this momentous task.
I will admitt, I was somewhat fearful as my creative juices did not seem to be flowing very freely. I let the girls design the cards and my job was to glue everything in the exact locations they specified.
I am extremely impressed with their results...it was so easy , (mostly) mess free....and FUN! Just the way crafts are supposed to be. My girls have a Crayola Kit for making their friends' birthday cards and have loved it, but after trying our hand at this...I am thinking we will begin to collect more materials and see just how creative we can become!
Now, if I could get Jianna to settle on her perfect party idea, we could address a few of these, time is running out.