Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flat Light

OK. Lots of stuff in the past 10 days including: healing, euphoria, depression, attack, victory under attack...just wears me out thinking about it. But the last couple days have been different. They haven't been great, but they haven't been horrible, either. And the funny thing is that I find that my prayer life and time in the Word is suffering more than ever. What the heck is up?!

So as I'm processing this, I start thinking about skiing. Maybe it's because some really good friends just got back from a ski/snowboard trip. I get to thinking about all my different adventures on hills, bluffs & mountains, and an interesting analogy came to me: light. We all love beautiful, bright sunny days. The colors just pop, and the mountain is so clearly defined. There's also dark. I've been night skiing, and under the lights of the slope, the details become so easy to see. Or it's a blizzard in which case either: A) POWDER DAY! Who needs details?! Just blaze away; or B) Head for the lodge! Everything seems so clearly defined, and whether it's bad or good, God is so easy to see. But there's one more light condition which just sucks: flat light. You can't see any detail to the hill you are skiing, and you're likely to hit a bump or dip that about knocks your teeth out of your head. There is no definition. There is no detail...just flatness. That's been my life the last couple days.

Revelation 3:15 & 16 reveals that God's not a big fan of this as well. His warning to the Church that is neither hot nor cold is that He will spit them from His mouth. Some translations go so far as to say that He will vomit them out of His mouth. One implies disgust, and the other implies revulsion. As St. Joe will attest from the healing session last week, it's pretty much a combination of the two, and it just is really bad. (Sorry Joe.) How, then, do I live my life when life feels just so...blah.

Well, continuing the skiing analogy, I can't control the light, and there are times on the mountain when everything is just flat. I can whine about it. I can stand in the cold in indecision and get hypothermia. I can fly at breakneck speed (there's a reason it's called "breakneck") down the hill to get out of it and more than likely launch from an unseen ridge or hit a tree. Or I can just carefully make my way down the mountain taking it just one turn at a time.

The last couple days have been nothing but flat light. I don't feel depressed. I don't feel joyful. I don't feel sorrow. I don't feel fear. I don't feel peace. I just plain don't feel, and it's harder than any other time to feel connected to God. But just because life is blah doesn't mean that life stops. Far from it. All I can do is simply and carefully make my way turn by turn, verse by verse, and prayer by prayer. What does God see in this? Obedience. And once again, even though the emotion isn't there, the victory is, and that's enough.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

That was quick....

OK, I've had healing sessions before, and I know that there is a bit of a honeymoon period after...seems like 7-10 days or so usually. So imagine my surprise being driven to my knees by an attack this morning. I should have known the timing would be like this. It had been so long since I had been to a Sunday morning Church service, and that's the last place satan would want me to be.

First, I'm forced awake by my cat at about 4:20 or so who really didn't want to have anything to do with me once I actually got up. I paced nervously around the apartment wondering why I was so anxious. I went back to bed and got up in time for Church. Most times if I can get a little sleep after a panic attack, I'm fine. Not this time. My chest hurt. I had trouble swallowing. My breath was heavy. Thoughts of all kinds RACED through my mind to the point where I could barely think straight. All I knew were 2 things: I did NOT want to go to Church, and I HAD to go to Church.

Praise God that I went. Did I feel like suddenly everything was all better? No. In fact, it feels as though we are at the beginning of a testing period that's potentially going to be brutal. But I can't worry about that. All I know is that however small it may seem to the world, God shared a victory with me today. It may not be fun or glorious or pretty, but I know that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I walked in the bathroom early in the morning. Like most mornings, Sara asked from the shower, "How are you?" My answer? "Really good." She peeked from behind the shower curtain, mouth agape.

Why would this simply two-word sentence of, "Really good," cause such a reaction? Maybe because my typical answer would be:

"In pain."
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Don't ask questions when you don't truly want to know the answer."

I can't remember a previous time when I had given a positive answer...not even mornings following a decent night. Fact is that I hated life. To me, life was not a gift but a curse. It's a hell of a thing to wake up every morning upset with the fact that you woke up once again.

So, what was the difference this time? Well, the night before, we had an amazing time of prayer where an elder anointed me with oil. Stay with me here, because things got pretty intense. The elder had placed his hand on my forehead and was SCREAMING prayer of healing and deliverance from the torture of the evil one. It was unbelievable. It was a feeling of a huge weight being lifted from my chest. At one point, I opened my eyes and made eye contact with the host of the event. Now here's the really crazy part: when we locked eyes, he was suddenly filled with anxiety and revulsion and the room began to spin. He then ran off to start retching violently. (I felt bad because we had just had a great dinner.) But as he released what was inside of him, he began to instantly feel better. He had not been dealing with any sickness. In fact, St. Joe seems to have the constitution of an ox. His wife and kids were looking at him (and me...awkward...) in amazement because he NEVER vomited. His wife couldn't remember the last time he had been so sick to his stomach that he couldn't hold it. His kids didn't remember a time EVER where he had reacted that way.

Now, understand, I'm not a huge fan of Charismatic Churches or the Name It and Claim It Doctrine. I feel very much like it is abused and that these signs and wonders become about edifying the self instead of God. Even worse, I feel like most relegate God to the position of the Genie in the Lamp. Just rub the lamp and out pops God to grant your wish, and then when you are done, God jumps back in the lamp where He belongs so He's not getting in the way of what the person is trying to accomplish. That being said, the Bible is very clear that when our heart is right, and when we abide (dwell, live, receive nourishment) in the Lord that he will answer our prayers including Healing, Prophetic Words, Speaking in Tongues, and all that jazz. It's real. It's uncomfortable, but God doesn't care if we are comfortable: He wants us to be comforted. Huge difference. Do I know all there is to know about God. NO WAY! No one could because God is Infinite. All I know is that sitting there on that couch, I was healed. Since then, I've been able to be much more productive and leave my apartment and live life without these shackles to which I had grown so accustomed. Coincidentally (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) my doctor had just the day before changed two of my meds to about half of what I was taking before. Instead, he had given me something far more potent to take in between the new doses as needed. I've only taken 1 of those pills since I was healed.

OK, let's hit the rewind button on this blog for about a year. If you look there, you'll see a post called "Healed." This all sounds pretty familiar if you read that post. So why is this time different? Well the answer is that it is up to me if it will be different. I need to exercise regularly. I have to read my Bible daily. I have to live a life of prayer without ceasing. These are my choices. God has wiped the slate clean for me (again) and now I have a responsibility to make sure that what goes on that slate from now on is pure and Godly. I need to be abiding in the Lord. If I don't make these decisions and stick with them, well let's just say I'm pretty nervous as to what my blog will say a year from now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Than A Feeling

"It will be interesting to see how God shows up."

The last couple weeks have been rough. Events have included:
  • Being sent to the ER for chest pains. (Just another panic attack)
  • Finding out that going back to work reset the clock for FMLA and Temp Disability meaning I couldn't reapply even though I wasn't ready to return to the workforce.
  • Quitting my job to avoid being fired.
  • Telling my brother that Sara and I won't be able to afford to go to his wedding.
  • Being told that I may get temporary disability through the state, but that it's VERY tough and requires a lawyer.
  • Being told that I may want to start looking into careers that allow me to work at home because of my agoraphobia.
  • Calling a crisis hotline in the middle of the night to help me calm down.
  • Freaking Sara out by talking in my sleep and saying that I want to kill myself.
Plus some other things I'd prefer to not mention.

Hopelessness is a word that comes to mind. The emotions that I experienced through this time hit me like a whirlwind and made it so that I couldn't think straight. Where was God in all of this?

The answer is that He was there with me the entire time. One of my tasks was to send out notification to people who had received cell phone service at an unbelievable rate that they were losing this benefit. My panic told me that they were going to be so disappointed and mad at me. The reality is that ALL of them were more concerned about what Sara and I were going through and asked if they could pray for us. Friends out of the blue would pop up on Facebook to say they were thinking of us and praying for us. A dear friend prayed Psalm 40 over me through instant messaging. More dear friends came and held hands with us and prayed for healing and restoration. God was nearly shouting to get my attention that He still loves me and that nothing can ever change that. He was saying that He hadn't forgotten me; far from it. He was saying that my hope was in Him. The comfort that came through the Presence of God was overwhelming.

Again, I was reminded to not get my identity from status or fluffy feelings. I was again reminded that while the emotions of despair I was feeling were valid, they were just emotions. My actions needed to come from making good decisions based upon the way things were and not the way things felt. I need to be guided with the firm knowledge that God is unchanging, all-powerful, and all-loving. I need to be constantly filling myself with His Word and His Fellowship of Believers. Without it, I was just some hopeless unemployed freak. But with God and because of God, I am a beautiful work that He is still refining, and I have Hope everlasting. Sure, the details of life were not so fun, but God is so much bigger than those details, and He has the power to restore, redeem, and reestablish me upon a firm foundation.