Friday, October 28, 2011

dizzy days

This weekend approaches quickly and I feel as if I have lost all control.

Last Sunday I began to feel dizzy. I had experienced this sensation a couple of times beginning back in early August but not as severely as this current time. In weeks and months prior, the dizziness was gone within a day or two. My mom mentioned that it was probably a virus or something and just needed to be slept through. So I would just lay around (Not easy for me to do, although I'm better about it than I used to be) until I felt relief. This time was different. The dizziness was not just me spinning while the world stood still but instead began with the room around me, along with all of it's contents and I was the last to feel the movement. In other words, everything was spinning. I had no control. No longer could I hold on to the wall beside me because that darn wall was spinning too!

Two days later, with dizziness as my only symptom, my mom and I headed off to Urgent Care. I don't have insurance at the moment so doctor's visits are out of the question until it's a "have to" situation. This was a definite "have to." 4 1/2 hours later (Not too bad for a ER visit but still a long time in the middle of the week, when my mom has to be up at 5 and back at the hospital for work), I was sent home with a prescription for a heavy duty Dramamine like medication and the good word that my cat scan had returned negative and that my blood-work was almost perfect. Anything life-threatening was tossed off the list of causes. Amen.

I rode home in the passenger seat, thankful I would live to see my 27th birthday, be it spinning as it could be, and for a mother who took hours of her life midweek to sit next to my bed as the nurses prodded with my veins four times before they found a worthy one for lab work. I was thankful also that the IV had given me enough electrolytes and hydration that I was experiencing a little relief from my spinning world. Nothing was solved though and this bothered me. I would still be reeling tomorrow, unless there was a miracle.

For those of you that don't know or simply need a reminder, I have been blessed with two jobs since moving to Pcola, I am a nanny for a 3 month old little boy a couple of days a week and I Instruct dance and coach tumbling at a local community center 3 nights a week as well. I LOVE my jobs. I was scared of the baby at first, especially him being a boy and me having grown up with 4 sisters . . . but that's a whole different topic. I LOVE my jobs. To get paid to love on a child and to minister to the heart of the little dancer/gymnast every day, it feels like a dream.

Now that you're caught up, you can imagine the terror in my heart of being severely dizzy. Vertigo, as I was informed that I have, is not something to play around with. This would include driving, moving, shifting weight, not to mention pirouettes, cartwheels and back handsprings, even spotting is dangerous for me and the tumbler with my head feeling so weird. Frustrated. Out of control. As much as I would like to say that my attitude stayed positive as a person of hope's attitude should, It hasn't. I've been miserable. I've prayed and prayed and prayed for the Lord to keep my mind selfless and my mouth filtered but the lack of control in my every day life by this physical impairment, brought me to my wits end. Coming into this weekend, I feel less worthy to be called a child of God than I have in a long time. My peace is shaken, my heart angry, and my love for others AND MYSELF limited.

You know it's when I can't see that I am most dissatisfied? I become extremely irritated with everything and everyone in my life (as if it's their fault!) simply because I am unclear as to what is going on and/or how to fix it. I feel off track. Life becomes all about me and I am left sinking into guilt and shame for my attitude and actions. Fits of anger inward or outward fall underneath the category of sin. This is confession. This is hopefully relatable. And this post, in all of it's ugliness, is not without hope. I am reminded in the stillness of the coming weekend that I need none but Jesus. My friend sent me the Christy Nockels' song day before yesterday that is entitled "None but Jesus" and it really has been a good reminder today as I have sat in my shame that when my eyes begin to look around and feel lost in the swimming world surrounding me, that there is One that never moves. There is One constant. There is only One to fully trust and that One is Jesus.

This world is fickle and my lack of ability to control it or even me sometimes can create in me, if allowed, the idea that all is lost . . . when in fact, nothing has changed. I can easily forget the awesome prognosis that I'm not going to die because my dizziness is a sign of something worse. Instead, if I can look to God and say, "I can't even see Lord so please . . . lead me," the refreshment of my weary soul shall come. My joy is not built on my atmosphere or my ability to make things happen. My joy is built by God's presence in me. His hope. His future. His love. His CLEAR vision of what was, what is, and what is to come. Trust. I must trust. He will not force me to do so but has and will show me that I can.

This time I stumbled before I fell into His arms. Next time maybe, just maybe . . . I'll look up first.

"I love you Lord and I'm so sorry that I forget that you've got this life and that You've never let me go. May my mind stay on the task at hand, to serve you with everything I have and am, vision or no vision . . . hearing or no hearing . . . because you are worthy and have called me to do more than think about me. I am not always capable but you always are. I humbly bow down again and surrender it all to you. Amen."

Have you been like me lately, feeling frustrated, confused, or even lost in the midst of your temporary trial? Share with me, I'd love to hear how God is working in your life to turn this trial into an obstacle for growth. Blessings!

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3,7

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8 (AMP)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Can You hear me now?"

Two friends of mine and I have recently been discussing communication with God. Ours with Him, yes, but mainly His towards us. His voice. His leading. His direction in our lives. Much like my two friends, I recently went through a very long season (that seemed even longer than long) of feeling strongly that God wasn't speaking to me. That I had become lost in His silence. It was a miserable place, a sad existence to endure. Life wasn't tragic, I continued to be blessed with His provision and even with His grace made evident every day but I felt Him as distant, almost hidden from me. The longer the seemingly silent God was, the more desperate I became to hear His voice again.  

DESPERATE is the word that one of my friends and I came up with as the only appropriate one to accurately describe our spiritual/emotional states during this long season. I really never felt as if God wasn't listening to me. I never felt that God didn't care . . . I just wanted to hear Him speak as I so often had in the past. Loud and clear or even in just a whisper. Where was He? Why could I not hear His voice. Was He talking and I just couldn't hear Him for one reason or another . . . or was it that He wasn't speaking at all? 

As I've discussed this with my friends, we have decided one thing for sure that we had in common during this long season of silence . . . we struggled to believe that it wasn't our fault. Let me explain. When you can't hear God's voice and feel alone to walk the earth, naturally you might think two things as the possible reasons for the lack of communication:  

1. He is speaking but I can't hear Him. 2. He's not speaking. 

There are two reasons why each of these could be the case:  

1. I have sin in my life that is hindering my reception. 2. It's not time for me to hear whether He's speaking currently or just waiting to speak.  

With any of these options that I tumbled around in my mind/heart for months, I became irritated with myself and with God, depending on which thought I had landed on for that day. Part is self condemning and the other, a doubt of my Sustainer. I often decided to go with the self condemnation for the purpose of me being in error instead of my perfect God. The frustrating part was that I was seeking. It wasn't like I had wandered off from God's apparent will and therefore it made sense that I was the one to blame. There was a desire for obedience in my heart and there wasn't some daunting sin in my life that I knew needed to be surrendered. My daily Bible intake was more than ever! I was ready and willing . . .and yet He still left me seeking Him.

There was another annoying part to that long season that is kind of hard to admit to . . . while I couldn't hear a single word from God, it seemed as if everyone around me was proclaiming the presence of His voice and direction in their lives, trampsing around, filled with abundant joy over His workings and the great things He was "calling" them to do! What in the world? Why not me?!!! Can I get a witness here? Can anyone relate? Frustrating. I wanted to be happy for them . . . and really I was. But selfishly . . . I don't know, I felt left out. So I kept seeking.

I look back on that long season (now having entered a season of God SHOUTING at me), as the long season of me seeking the voice of my God with everything I was.  

Even upon typing that last sentence I smile . . . isn't He so very precious to want me to seek Him? To long for my attention? He is jealous for me. 

It's very hard to feel alone. Whether it's being one in a sea of people or one in an upstairs apartment to yourself. But to know that God is there, not based on His current volume but on the proof of Who He is and His faithfulness throughout time. That is where our faith is made what it's meant to be. Strong. In. The. LORD. He alone deserves my full attention and to He alone should I give it. I do not deny the struggles I faced in the long season of silence now that I have begun to hear again, simply because I could not hear His voice to direct me, but I do acknowledge His ever present help in time of need and His great provision during the unheard.  

I do believe He has proven Himself to become silent in our lives when we are enraptured in a sin that keeps us from seeking Him or understanding His Words. No doubt. That's not what this post is about though (Understandably, that could be the topic of another post at a later date). This post represents all those who have been frustrated with a lack of hearing because God simply wanted to bring them through a long season of silence that would cause them to seek Him with everything they have. Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. I really think seeking God with all of these is what brings us to the point of loving Him with all of them too. When you want to hear God speak, and seek His will as if for treasure, you prepare your heart for the coming Word that could change your life forever.  

Let me say that again . . . 

When you want to hear God speak, and seek His will as if for treasure, you prepare your heart for the coming Word that could change your life forever.  

That season sucked. I'm just going to say it. It was miserable because God and my intimacy level was less than what it had been. But then again, the season I'm living in now is blessed because our intimacy is more than it ever would have been. Let me say it this way . . .  

I've already lived through winter this year. Spring is hypothetically here and I'm so very thankful.  

He was jealous for me. My attention. My allegiance. My love. The abandonment of "me." If any of this comes off as arrogance of any kind, be sure to know that I am aware of the fact that I don't deserve to hear His voice . . . ever. By His grace, the worth that His presence in my life gives, and the fact that He created me in His image, I am blessed to have ears that hear. As Autumn is underway, I consider this season a great privilege and I will count my blessings, naming them one by one, as I remember the season that God brought me through in effort to bring me close to Him :)  

It's okay to lament. That's another small part of what my two friends and I have been learning. This fact is Scriptural. Authenticity of emotion is a Biblical practice. Can it be abused? Absolutely. We have a responsibility as believers in Christ to be an example of an eternal hope! With that said, we are real. We are real people and sometimes we have seasons of sorrow that need to be expressed. To each other? Yes, I believe so. It's part of building real community. To God? Absolutely. He can handle you. He wants you to lament when appropriate. He already knew you were going to. Ha! He's ready to listen . . . and when you are ready and in tune with the Spirit of God, prepared for His Words . . . He will speak. He will speak. 

Do you need to lament today to Your Savior? Do you need to cry out in desperation for Him?  

Do you need to seek out a fellow believer and ask for their support and prayer during a hard time? Yes, it may shock them (especially if you're not naturally the "lamenting type") but do it anyway. Be the body today, whether weak or strong. 

Do you know of someone who is in need of a moment of lament? Could you approach them in all humility and ask to be that shoulder they need to cry on? Are they hard and calloused and will make you feel silly for approaching them? Maybe. Do it anyway. Be the body today, whether weak or strong. 

Do you need to lament directly to your God in this moment? Get by yourself (If you're not already). I've been there, recently. I know this is hard. It may be uncomfortable at first if you're not used to being that vulnerable with your emotions but do it any way. He created you and all of your emotions. He can handle it. Throw it at Him. Be real. Talk to your Daddy, He's waiting to hold you in your distress. Be weak before Him and He will gladly be all the strength that you need.  

Lament. Seek. Find. Love. Listen. Act. Share.  

Whether weak or strong, may we be His "body" today. 

(Scripture in regards to hearing God speak, lamenting, and many other appropriate messages I needed to read when enduring my Winter season) 

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. 

More . . .

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Family Time"

Some friends of mine started something called "Family Time" while we were trudging our way through college. This time was spent sharing what we were thankful for, however trivial or complex, over a meal together.   I miss Family Time. Family Time wasn't about the content of our conversation while we were seated, or even the endearing words that were often spoken to the group by even the toughest at the table. Family Time was special, at least in my opinion, because of the commitment we held in our hearts towards our relationships with one another and with our God.  

There was one Family Time that I remember being kind of thrown off by. One of our biggest and strongest, the one that usually gave something funny as an example of thanks on his turn, became teary-eyed as he shared the closeness that he felt towards those gathered around him in that moment. He opened his heart enough for us to glimpse a speck of vulnerability that I believe he only ever had shown to those he truly trusted. We were only college buddies. I mean, I have no idea at this point (post grad) where we will all end up in 10 years, or even 5 . . . But God did something special in our group. "Just college buddies" ended up being a 2nd family, often more honest than our first.  

I miss my Family Time but I've noticed something really amazing in the last few weeks that I have lived at home again, in my home-town, and with my first family . . . Community is often what you bring to the table. I really don't think my toughest friend that shared so openly before, would have ever done so without the example of a few of the more outwardly sensitive family members at previous Family Time events. I take that now as a lesson. My first family is blood. Most of the time, it's thicker than water. I like to think that Living Water can sometimes fill in the gap where sin has destroyed the blood. Or that maybe Christ's blood can trump any wandering soul, leaving an empty seat at the table. With that said though, I may have never experienced a community with my first family that felt as honest and spiritually tied as my second family to this point but I can now that I have lived the example of the last. 

My goal is community. Not just with my relatives but with my town. An effort to forget the past as needed and champion the future in retrospect of the unearthed and it's expected healing! It's time. It's time to be the change. Oh Gandhi. My new/old world has so many pleasant things in it already upon my arrival. I'm so happy here. I cannot begin to downgrade God's provision of blessing in this place. I'm living every day thankful that my first family has reached out in community to me and that they have room and love for me in their busy lives! I do, however, wish to bring to this familiar and yet so long long-distance table a refreshment of fellowship, a learned moment from the past few years . . . Family Time. A time to gather and be thankful with whomever God places around my table in His sovereignty. Family Time is really God's Time.  

FamilyTime, HisTime.

(The previous pics represent just a few of the people that I have shared Family Time with)

Mark 5:19  (Jesus said) . . ."Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jesus Messiah

"Be the Lord of my dance. Come over me and make my movements sing of your glory! Whisper your love through each step and shout Your truth when I turn for you." #ThisIsMyOffering #Reveal"JesusMessiah"

The above quote was my prayer via Tweet on the day that I began choreographing a dance to the song "Jesus Messiah" for a local dance company to perform this Christmas. The following quote was my tweet upon completing the task . . . 1 month later. I had completely forgotten the words to my earlier Tweet and yet this came forth:

"Thankful that He ALWAYS comes through, even in the nick of time. Choreography complete! #JesusMessiah #Faithful2Reveal"

Hm. Our God is faithful. He is just and He is faithful. The revelation of His love is so poignant and perfectly timely. I am amazed by His ever present inspiration and now wish to challenge myself in tapping into that Holy Spirit driven movement more often by the obedience of my heart towards His sovereign will. Bless God. Our God.