Thursday, August 31, 2017

Psalm 30 Victory

Hold your breath, here comes another wave....
That was all I could think, the wave was all I could see, as I threw back the latest in Lyme killing treatment. As I swallowed the liquid antibiotics my mouth pursed and my throat recoiled. Within seconds the antibiotics were tossing and turning in my fragile stomach.
As the queasy aftermath overtook my body I could practically see the white caps of a massive wave forming out in the distance of my healing sea. It wouldn't be long before that wall of exhaustion, pain, and surprise symptoms would make its way to my shore. The air shifted and dark clouds formed overhead, announcing the imminent arrival of the coming storm.
As I braced for impact the enemy began snickering and whispering in my ear. He taunted me with threats of the onslaught to come. "This is going to be a big one...Good luck holding tight.." He employed the violent winds to join in his lies, tempting me with defeat in every gust. "Just give up now... Abandon joy and lose your faith.." From the midst of the angry sea the devil's deceptive tongue questioned me, "Where is God now?... Is this what you call healing?" With each word of trickery my enemy plotted to take me down in the coming healing wave.
But as the wave made its way closer to my shore a force more powerful than evil whipped through the wind. On the sea's the unmistakable voice of truth roared louder than all of the enemy's lies. The glorious light of truth penetrated the gray skies above.
From the throne of God, Truth thunderously proclaimed: 
This wave is not the enemy's victory. This wave is his final defeat.
And so I held my breath and held on tight, declaring David's words as the wave came crashing down on me...
I will exalt you, Lord,
    for you lifted me out of the depths
    and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
(Psalm 30:1)

The wave had its way with me but God has His hand on me. He put in my heart a song of praise even while my body was pounded against the shore line. He refused to leave me. He wouldn't forsake me. Satan did his best to upend my faith but God upheld it with the truth of His word and the power of His promises. 
God delivered the enemy his defeat and claimed the Lord's victory. 

Dear friend, if you find yourself in the path of a wave of destruction, bracing for the next healing wave, the next trial or the next crisis, do not listen to the words of the enemy. He will tell you lies and project them in the winds. He will try to overtake you with waves of worry and defeat you with questions of doubt.
Beloved, do not become defeated under clouds of darkness. Do not listen to the devil's lies. Hold fast to the promises of God for He has established your ultimate victory and He will meet you on the shore to claim it and proclaim it.
Call on the name of Jesus and unite yourself with His Holy Spirit. Take up the Word of Truth and read your enemy the announcement of his defeat. Proclaim it in a Psalm. Sing it in a song.
This wave is intended to conquer your enemy, not your faith. This wave is going to capsize his evil schemes, not your peace.
Hold fast my friend because by the power of God and for His eternal glory, this wave is about to deliver a mighty victory.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Father, forgive me...

Father, forgive me, Your daughter, Your child.
Oh Lord, I am so sorry for pain I caused you in my disobedience and rebellion. Please Abba, forgive me for disregarding the care and protection you've shown me since I was a child. Forgive me for dishonoring the safety of honesty and denying your principles of righteousness. 

Father, I know I broke Your heart. With Your perfect love You created me and blessed me. With tenderness, gentleness and sweetness You knit me together beautifully, then looked and said, "Yes, this is good. She is good."You breathed the fullness of life into me, Your special creation. You, Lord, bestowed on me all of the bountiful, blessed gifts of being a woman created in the image of your Son.

Father, I am filled with shame as I look at what I did with those precious gifts. Shame convicts me when I look and see what I did to Your radiant gift of life woven into my very being and established by the work of Your hand. God, I mutilated it. I destroyed it. I dishonored it and discarded it as trash. 

Why Lord, did I rebel against You? 
Why did I flee from the protection of Your principles? 
Why did I choose sin over the safety of a life sanctified and surrendered to righteousness? 
Why did I trade your love and care for a lie? 

Father God, I was a fool, a treacherous, heartless, demonic fool. With every sinful, hurtful, foolish action, thought and deed I see the scars of where I hurt you. My recklessness and rebellion pierced you. I slapped you with my indifference and beat you with my deception. I was a fraud, a fake and a liar who treated Your commandments like dirty rags and mocked Your principles. 

Oh, Father God, forgive me! Forgive me and cleanse me of who I once was. Draw my eyes to visions of my past and let me see where I have gone wrong. Illuminate the places in need of repentance and forgiveness. Reveal to me every stain so I can deliver it to the foot of Christ's cross. 

Father, I do not deserve your mercy and I cannot merit your forgiveness. I have no justification for my sin and, yet, you have offered to remove it from my past. In perfect grace and inexhaustible pardons, You faithfully forgive me of every hurt I've caused you. 
Lord, you so beautifully, generously, lovingly welcome me back into Your arms and cover me with the cloak of Your glorious redemption.  

Oh, God, you are my good, glorious, gracious Father and I love you. 
Oh, Lord, how I love you and desire to live with you and for You all the rest of my days. 
May my repented, surrendered life bring honor to Your Holiness and glory to Your Great Name. 


Friday, August 25, 2017

What's in a bark?

Molly's bark was heard before the cause for its sounding could be seen.
Now, before we go any further and get to the cause of Molly's barking, let me give you some historical context.
Molly has two distinct barks. Well, three, but for the first part of this story only two need to be addressed. First is the "Alert Bark." It is a lower pitch bark sounded in short bursts to receive the attention of nearby humans. In the past Molly has employed this bark in the dire circumstances she has faced when inadvertently trapped behind a closed door.
Molly's "Alarm Bark," the second in her sounding repertoire, is her attempt at being the family's security system. Beware UPS Man, my house is guarded by a fifteen pound Schnoodle. If only he could see her cowering and shaking during thunderstorms then I don't think her
Alarm Bark" would alarm him. Or anyone else for that matter.
But back to our story.
On this particular barking occasion Molly sounded her "Alert Bark." Both Mom and I came to attention, assessing the location of the sound. There was a pause the two more alerts. We both assumed she was stuck out on the back deck behind a closed door or maybe standing at the top of the steps on the other side of a mountain of dirty towels. After checking all around we still had no sight of Molly.
"Roughh...Rough..." From her hidden location, Molly increased the frequency of her "Alert Barks."
"Maybe she's out on the front porch." I suggested.
For more story context, Molly has discovered holes in screens all around our house and freely maneuvers her way through them at her leisure. She never travels outside of the yard. Well, except when the meter-reader comes near the property. Then she takes off like an alligator out of a mote on a mission from the queen to protect her castle.
But Mom and I looked out on the front porch and Molly wasn't there either. Perplexed she went walking back around the front of house and through the side door and that's when I heard it. Mom's "Panic Scream."
"Oh my golly, there is a squirrel in the house!" She yelled out from the living room.
Turns out it was not a squirrel. It was a chipmunk. But the panic was still warranted.
This was one instance where Molly's "Alarm Bark" could have come in handy but apparently she didn't find it alarming when a furry intruder comes sneaking in through the screen door. According to Molly, chipmunks are welcome, especially if she can play with them.
This is the scene in which Mom discovered in the living. The poor chipmunk was barely breathing, laying on her back underneath the shadow of a very satisfied schnoodle. Molly looked up and practically smiled at my horrified Mother. Apparently Molly was not alarmed by a chipmunk perishing on the living room floor.
Mom, on the other hand, saw something very alarming. After scolding Molly she was, deliberately,  placed in a bedroom with the door shut to serve time for her murderous actions. Back in the living room Mom escorted the chipmunk outside, praying that some sunshine and fresh air would revive the innocent animal. On her way out the door Mom made more whimpering sounds than the cardiac arrested-critter.

There wasn't a single scratch on our furry intruder and not a drop of blood but, I'm said to report, the chipmunk didn't survive the run-in with Molly. Mom is convinced she died of shock.
To honor the fallen chipmunk she was placed underneath some trees in the front yard. No service was held.
In lieu of donations we are taking any offers for a new security system - one that sounds for chipmunk intruders.

Back in the house, on the other shut of a closed door, Molly employed her third, most pitiful bark. The "Remorse Bark." It is sounded slowly, with the lowest pitch of all Molly's barks and it is downright pathetic and sad. It is more of a whine than a bark really; a canine plea for forgiveness.As Molly cried on the other side of the door, barking to be released from her place of punishment and welcomed back into the family fold, I heard my own desperate cries for forgiveness.
Just like Molly, I have made fatal missteps that have resulted in spiritual death. My carelessness has trampled on life and squashed beauty. With reckless rebellion I have destroyed the vines of God's good fruit. I've been careless. I've been thoughtless. I've been heartless.
The sins I have committed have put me on the other side of a shut door, separated from God and all that is glorious about His presence. Trapped away in the torment of my sin I have missed the peace and serenity of being united with God. And I've cried. Oh, how I've cried. In tears I've fallen to my knees, longing to be set free from the punishment of my sin and released into the freedom of forgiveness.
From the other side of the door God has heard my plea. My cry of remorse has met His ear and He has come to set me free by the blood of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice has released me from the bondage of condemnation so I am not doomed for eternal punishment.
Once and for all Jesus died a death He didn't deserve to free me from a guilty verdict I did deserve. On the cross He opened the door, freed me and welcomed me back into His loving arms.

And don't worry, Molly's been forgiven and released, too.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Made New

For months my life's vessel has been on a journey across the sea of Lyme Disease. On this vast ocean the storms come in quickly with a devastating ferocity. Traversing these open waters I have experienced rains riddled with hail stones and winds that have brought me to my knees. But this morning it wasn't a storm with winds and waves that rocked my vessel to its very core.
It was an iceberg.
Impact with the iceberg sent me crashing into a devastating pain buried so deep within me that it reached to the very bottom of my soul's ocean. On the surface of the glazier all I could see was loneliness floating on a snowy cap of singleness but underneath the surface an agony far more devastating ripped me apart. It split me in two, sending me below the surface of the waves where the depth, width and true breadth of the iceberg was revealed.
Right beneath the loneliness, the singleness and the yearning for companionship I saw a broken engagement from seven years ago and the aching pain of rejection. I'd been rocked by this iceberg before but never like this. This time the pain was different, more intense.
The iceberg went deeper, plunging me into the darkest depths of my heart's ocean, all the way into my seven year femininity famine.
Seven years ago my womanhood began disappearing. It began with the loss of my menstrual cycle and weight before quickly robbing me of my hormone balance and hair. It even snatched away my voice. For seven long, painful years I have helplessly watched my every womanly feature and characteristic disappear.
This devastating iceberg ravages my heart as I think about the long, golden hair that once fell down my shoulders and kissed my tan skin. When I remember the shape and muscle that used to cover my frame it brings tears of morning to my eyes. With every memory of feeling pretty, desirable and attractive my soul sinks further into the deep. Every thought of the woman I once was, the woman I believed I was becoming, destroys me with depression, grief and sorrow.

I ended up battered, beaten and broken, utterly shipwrecked at the bottom of my life's ocean. And that's when I saw it, a light from the water's surface, illuminating my deep darkness. In the light there was hope. Hope in God to bring me back to life again. Hope in the restoration my femininity. Hope in the one and only God to make me whole again. Hope that God is in the process of transforming me into a lady more beautiful, radiant and feminine than every before. 

At that moment something began to happen to the iceberg. It started to shrink. The bottom began to disappear and the top started to melt. With hope I watched as God took up a chisel and began to demolish the iceberg. With His powerful hand God obliterated my iceberg with the resounding triumph of His promises. God utterly devastated the evils of the icy glazier and cleared the way for my soul to be restored.

Praise God that He is seeing me through every storm and conquering my every iceberg. Because God has my healing in His hands, I can rest in the hope of restoration and renewal knowing that He is making me and my femininity brand new.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse of the...

The world is all abuzz about today's historic total eclipse of the sun. As you can imagine, I have my own thoughts on the astronomic obsession taking the globe by storm. And since I have thoughts I imagined you might be curious to hear them because who wouldn't want to hear thoughts on astronomy from of an obscure young woman with no background in science or any relating field?
But don't worry. I'm not here to make a point about all of the hoopla you've been watching on TV. My point has nothing to do with the excitment transforming entire towns like the remote community of Madras in Oregon. The quiet town, population 7,000, welcomed over 93,000 visitors this week for the big event.
Nor do I intend to make any point at all the elaborate camps set up by these eclipse enthusiasts. Pop-up towns have been established all along the route of the famed path of totality. In fact, I don't even intend to discuss their portable hot plates or any of the supplies they've packed for the journey that might possibly be left over from Y2K.
Believe it or not, I don't even have much to say regarding the ISO safety compliant glasses recommended by optometrists and NASA to be worn when viewing the solar eclipse in all of its blazing glory.

The point I do intend to make is about a totally different eclipse.
The total eclipse of the SON.
This eclipse requires no travel, no specific destination and no special "Path of Totality" map.
The point I am here to make is that you don't need special glasses to see something special today. You don't even need to fear looking at the total eclipse of the true Son because fixing your eyes on his glory won't do damage to your retina.

The greatest, most life changing total eclipse is the one you feast your eyes on when you look up and into the face of the Son of God. That is when you step onto the true Path of Totality. It is before the throne of the Almighty, the one and only Holy God, that you witness the total eclipse of His beautiful Son.

So where goofy glasses or don't. Look up at the sky at noon or don't. But don't miss the total eclipse of the Son of God for He alone is the eternal light capable of illuminating every path. The Almighty Lord God is the very brightest light, visible to every set of eyes that will bow before His throne and look up into His glory. 

And there you have it, the totality of my thoughts on the total eclipse of the Son.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Where credit is due

Are you trusting in ME, or are you trusting in your remedies?

I'm ashamed how long it took me to answer.
I could hear God's voice loud and clear but I did my best to plug my ears as I cursed the nausea that had suddenly returned to my belly. When the queasiness set in I immediately blamed a lull in my latest treatments, convinced that was the cause of my setback.

I told myself that it had been the remedy aiding and calming my volatile stomach. Those treatments were making me better me and without them I was falling apart...again....
But God's voice wouldn't keep quiet. When I tried to tune Him out, His voice became louder. As I laid on my side holding my aching stomach God's voice was so loud, so powerful that even with plugged ears I couldn't escape it.
When will you stop giving credit to the remedies and give credit where credit is due? I am the one who is I making you better. I am the one who is keeping you from falling apart. Not your remedies. Not your treatments. I alone am the one who is healing you.

Then He went silent and it was my turn to speak. With God's ear faithfully attune to my voice my heart broke before His throne in prayer.

Father God, Forgive me for relying on remedies and trusting in treatments...
...Forgive me for giving credit to herbs and homeopathic medicines...
...Forgive me for withholding from you the glory and the honor and the praise you are due...
 Because God,
You alone are worthy. 
You alone are my Healer.
 Every step of progress, every damage healed, every single victory over Lyme is Yours.
Yes God it is all Yours and Yours alone. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Purging of a Purse Problem

I must confess I have a problem.
A purse problem. I simply like them too much. Which explains how I've managed to accumulate a purse/tote/wallet/bag collection in excess of thirty items.
See a problem? I do.
I don't use all of these purses. Some of them I've barely looked at in years. And heaven knows I certainly don't need all of these purses. What I need is a good purge of the purses.
So today I vowed to rid myself of my purse problem and set out on a mission to prune my collection down to half. What I didn't expect was to have my past made whole in the process.
While clearing out the the pockets of my purses I discovered treasures that led me right down the center of memory lane. The first few purses brought back memories that were recent and still quite fresh in my mind. I found a gift list from this past Christmas and a few grocery lists. "Spinach...apples...zucchini..." Oh so many things change over time, I thought to myself, but this list has stayed the same.
The deeper I reached into the chest containing my collection the further back my memory traveled. In a blue paisley wallet I found an old driver's license from back in 2013. The smiling face on the picture wore her hair long and her address read Chagrin Falls, Ohio. In an instant I was four years in the past, sitting on a screened-in porch on May Court. The library card from the Chagrin Valley Library and dog license took me back to the walks Pippy and I used to take down Main street and up the riverside path.
Another purse took me to Florida in 2015 on a hot September Sunday morning. The church bulletin tucked in my floral-print purse pocket transported me straight downtown to Fifth Avenue Naples.
A moment later I was further up the Gulf Coast in Sarasota. A shopper's club card reminded me of life at Lakewood Ranch. Immediately a scene of an exploding sink followed by fits of laughter shared between my Mother and I brought a smile to my face.
It was a glorious walk down memory lane. And it wasn't even over yet.
At the bottom of my chest the purses took me all the way back to 2012 and placed me at the very beginning of my health journey. Seattle, Washington. The last purse was a Fossil treasure I purchased at the Macy's in downtown Seattle. I remember wandering the isles of the department store and coming across the delightful penguin pattern. The purse's whimsy and fun beckoned me to buy it.
As memories of years spent searching for health answers came flooding over me I held the first purse of my journey and let the past come washing over me.
With great anticipation I cracked open my penguin purse, excited to see what token of the past I would find within its zipped up pockets. And there it was.
Inside my first purse of the journey, the purse purchased on the trip to see a "specialist" and be made well, I found nothing, the same nothing I had discovered on the trip.
Opening that empty purse was all at once disappointing and freeing. Nothing. That's what this illness and sickness are to God. They are nothing to Him because He can take it away in an instant. Lyme is nothing to God because He can eradicate it with a thought. My struggles are nothing to God because He can conquer them without lifting a finger. This saga is nothing to God. What is something to God is me, the person I am inside, and the person I am becoming through the saga, through the struggle and through these seven years of sickness.
I've held onto thirty some purses for seven years and let them take this journey with me but I'm ready to purge them. I'm ready to purge myself of the need to purchase my healing by finding the right doctor, the right remedy and the right trip. I am ready to cut out all of my searching so I can be restored to complete, true, lasting, eternal, total health.
Everything I still need to be made whole is in that first purse. Nothing. Because I have everything. I have everything I need to be made well. I am well. It is well with my soul and, glory be to God, it is  well in my body.
But I'm keeping the penguin purse.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Novel

In memoirs and biographies I have read that writers lead interesting, often solitary, lives. I've read accounts of authors who sit for hours and smile at blank pages as the hours tick by as if they were mere minutes. Writers must live in the real world but they flavor it with a hearty helping of fantasy. They are present yet absent; engaged yet disconnected.
This view of the writer's life is one I used to have only from afar but not anymore. Not since I became a writer. Well, not a published and printed "writer" but still a writer. I haven't sought the input of a literary agent for confirmation on that status. I haven't needed to. My writer's designation has been God-given, flowing from the thoughts He has pouring into my mind and nurturing my spirit. He has given me this duty to put a pen to paper and it is an honor to fulfill that call.

It has taken seven years for me to release my need to "be" something and someone according to the world and let being a writer be enough. It took the schooling of life and the experience of struggle to shape me into a writer. Patiently, God has been molding me for this position by teaching me how to listen, obey and follow. I've far from mastered the art of these principles but God is faithfully honing my writing skills, and, more importantly, honing my heart to be fixated on Him alone.

As God has been teaching me, pruning me and perfecting my writer's hand (a process that is destined to be life-long) He has entrusted me with little projects to work on along the way. It began with telling the story of Pippy and her training. Or, more accurately, my training. When I look back on the revelations experienced in those writings, the truths found in teaching a puppy how to sit, stay and refrain from peeing on the carpet, I see how God had a much bigger plan for Pippy and I than I ever imagined. He used my Pippy Love to train and discipline my heart, not just my Schnoodle puppy.

Over these seven years my writings have numbered into the thousands and an overwhelming number of them have been born out of sickness and illness. So many of my writings have been laments of physical anguish. My pain poured out on the page. Writing as been the avenue in which I've been able to best explain the unexplained and process the confusing. God has transformed writing into an act of spiritual renewal where I lay my burdens down and pick up His truth, His faithfulness and His promises.

Over the past seven years my hand has scribbled with ink in countless lined journals and written every thing from one-liners to entire (unpublished) devotional books. On my computer I've typed in the morning, in the evening and occasionally in the middle of the night. In writing I have exposed my heart and been witness to glorious glimpses of God's.
In all of this writing, over all of these years, I've explored writing in many forms but never fiction. The very thought of writing a novel has intimidated me. How does the novel writer ever come up with a thought that will capture a reader's attention for hundreds of pages and dozens of chapters? How does the author keep a consistent voice and weave story lines and character plots into one cohesive book? How do they remain dedicated to the process? How do they know where the novel is going to go? Do they know where the novel is going to go?
Overwhelmed by the thought of such a literary endeavor I never even contemplated writing a novel. Little did I know God would hand me a pen and tell me to get going on the task during year seven of my never-ending writer's education.

As I've heeded the command the most remarkable truths have been revealed as I've embarked on this writer's journey. More significant than the answers to my questions about writing a novel, God has been answering questions of my eternal spirit and heart. Questions about following Him, walking with Him and making it to the end of His story.

That is so like God, isn't it? He doesn't come right out and answer our questions with points A, B, and C. He gives us a task, a challenge, and promises to help us complete it. Meanwhile, in the completing of it, He assures us that all of our questions will all be answered in the end. We don't get the answers at the start. In fact, we usually begin with absolutely no idea where the story is going. The plot and course of our life's journey is revealed much the same way a novelist's story is revealed as they put pen to paper. Novel writing, like traveling through life with God, requires dedication, trust and faith to see the process through to the end.
God is writing a story with each of our lives and He has filled our pages with the unexpected. He's written for each of us a page-turner to keep us on our toes, captivated by the possibilities of what's to come next. Is a new character about to enter our plot? Is the scene about to transition into an entirely different place? Is there a climatic chapter up ahead or is the next chapter simple and sweet? Will there be a lull in the action or a predicament on the next page?
God doesn't give us hints. He likes surprise endings. He likes twists and turns. He likes to include the unexpected. He takes great pleasure in filling the pages of our stories with riveting tales that give testimony to His goodness and honor to His great name. 

When God is given the pen and entrusted with every line, we can rest assured that the plot is going to be riveting and the ending is going to be glorious. With God as the Author we need not know how we get to end. We can simply rest in the journey and let it unfold, page-by-page.
That's how novels are written, one page at a time, and that's how life's journey with God is written, too. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Happy National Bowling Day!

Happy National Bowling Day! How are you celebrating this special holiday? Throwing a few strikes at the local bowling alley? Sending pins up into the air like party balloons? Reminiscing about your history with gutters and your preference for bumpers?

I've chosen the last option and taken a trip down gutter ball memory lane. My bowling history is truly pathetic pathetic. In my youth I resorted to the squat and roll technique. I would approach the lane, kneel down and push the ball down the lane. Throwing the ball would have been an option had I not been so woefully inept at the concept. I couldn't throw the ball straight to save my life - or my score. I was a doomed gutter girl. Without the help of bumpers I was completely hopeless at getting a strike or even enough pins to maintain a credible score. My numbers were so pathetic they were ridiculous, not a serious player in the game. So when I bowled I took my turns with silliness and rolled in 50 points purely for fun.
Suffice it to say, I never became a very regular, or skilled, bowler. When I've bowled I've always needed bumpers to keep me out of the gutters and a lot of grace to let me stay in the game.

...Funny how things haven't changed much...

It has been years since I've stepped foot in a bowling alley, let alone attempted to take down a pin, but I'm still in need of bumpers to keep me out of gutters. I'm in need of merciful grace to keep me in the game, playing on God's glorious team to claim the ultimate prize.
Along this alley way of life there are gutters that lead straight to destruction, ruin and devastation. Much more than points are at stake. Now eternal life is on the line. The alley isn't a part of some silly game. This is the way to eternity.
I've made so many bad throws and pathetic pushes to get down my alley of life. I've taken throws without proper form or preparation and without the help of my bumper. On my own the ball always goes for the gutter. A few times its course has looked promising enough. It goes straight for a few feet but the fate of my ball - my plan, my agenda, my will, my way - always ends up right where my bowling balls did in the bowling alley. The gutter.
The truth is I am in more desperate need of bumpers now than I ever was in my occasional bowling days. I am in desperate need of God's bumpers that keep me out of life's gutters. I need God to put up His hedge of protection around me to keep me on track. Without His steady hand leading me I have no hope of a strike. Apart from God keeping me on the straight and narrow path I am doomed to end up in the gutter of defeat.

The good news is God provides bumpers. He has not set me in front of this slippery, slick alleyway and left me to take the pins down alone. He's come along to not just help me, but to guide me. He isn't just going to teach me how to throw the ball, He is going to protect it once it gets rolling. When I bowl with God He gives me the protection I need to make it safely to the end of the lane. His path comes with bumpers that keep me steady, stable and safe all the way to an eternal strike.
Now that's a holy-day I can celebrate.

Truth Wins

Another morning, another day for the Devil to tell his lies. Did you hear him like I did this morning, whispering such ugly slander and wicked deceit? ... This is hopeless... You're never going to overcome this... Uh, oh, you've slid back down the hill of progress again... God didn't answer that prayer and He's not going to...
Lies! Every word, complete and utter lies!
Who is the devil to say anything is hopeless? What would he know about hope? He wouldn't know hope even if it hit him in face.
And overcoming? The only overcoming he enjoys is when he comes over life with death. His type of "progress" leads right to a hellish grave - the very same place he'd like to send every heart broken prayer sent to God on high.

Dear Friend I hope you didn't listen to that serpent, that snake, that cunning, evil, deceitful, father of lies. I hope you didn't give him a moment of your ear because he's a liar. He knows not a single word of truth, let alone how to speak it.
The Devil knows nothing but dishonesty, destruction and defeat - they are his devastating trifecta.
The Devil is the teller of lies and the twister of truth. He's a faker and author of falsehoods. He is the deliverer of darkness, depression and doom - he is the devastating trifecta.
The Devil is the enemy. He stands in opposition to all that is good, beautiful, peaceful, restful, beneficial and eternal. He fights to tear down; never to build up. He tricks and loves to deceive. He takes pleasure in stealing, killing and destroying.
The Devil is pure evil. If a word is hateful or a thought is damaging you can be sure the Devil had his way in its making. If an act is hurtful or a deed is deadly, you can be sure the Devil is wearing a smile. He loves a good scene of destruction.

But God is the Father of Truth...
God is the Giver of Life...
God is the Author of Beauty...
God is the voice of love...
God is the Light who illuminates the darkness...
God is the King who claims victory over every enemy and sends evil into retreat...

This morning the Devil showed up with his trickery and vile words. But God showed up, too, and silenced the lips of liar. The truth of the Lord spoke and sent my enemy fleeting for the darkness and evil running for the hills.
The Lord our God has claimed the victory.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Praise Report

Every now and again God puts chains on my hands to keep them from writing. He freezes my fingers and presses pause on my mind so I can step back, raise my arms and just simply praise Him.
Right now in my life I am in one of those blessed times.

You may have noticed that lately my fingers haven't been hitting the keys to share stories, observations and lessons learned on life and faith. But don't worry, these fingers haven't given up. They've risen up in joyful, exuberant praise and gratitude to God.

So, naturally, you may be wondering, what have I been thanking God for? What praise has captured my hands and my heart?
Being alive.
Having breath in my lungs and a beat in my heart sustained by the very hand of God.
Having hope because I know and have full in confidence that God's plans are perfect and His ways are always good. The future that God has in store is so brilliant and glorious that it fills me with unspeakable joy and peace. And thanks, so much thanks.

In my Lyme journey the praise report continues. In just four months amazing victories have already been won in my body. The muscle spasms that plagued my daily life for years have been slashed in their frequency and intensity. My blood sugar swings are in retreat. The coming and going of the "claw foot" has disappeared entirely. The episodes of optic-neuropathy that taunted my vision are no longer having their cruel way with my eyes.
The war being fought in my body is being waged one life and death battle at a time. But praise be to God because life is winning every one. God is claiming every victory.

To all of my prayer warriors, thank you for going to battle with me. Thank you for taking up arms on the front lines and fighting alongside me. I am abundantly grateful and thankful for each of you and your support.

As challenging and trying as the last four months (and entire seven years of health warfare) have been, I am overcome with thanks because God has sustained me every step of the way. It is only by His power that I have survived and only by His power that I am right now, in this very moment being made well.  

Tonight friends I encourage you to pause and offer God your praise and your thanks. Praise Him for the journey. Praise Him for life. Praise God because the battle is already won and our Lord, Jesus Christ has claimed the victory!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Healing Poultice

Natural remedies have long been my medicine of choice. I regularly take homeopathic antibiotics instead of pharmaceuticals and apply essential oils instead of chemical creams. I believe in sweating out a fever and that most any skin ailment can be cured by either Manuka honey, Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil or all of the above combined.
Given my affinity for natural health sites and books on the subject I thought I was well versed, or at least semi-versed, in nearly every healing protocol. I thought wrong. It turns out my natural remedy arsenal has been missing a key component of the ancient medicine cabinet. The herbal poultice.
These incredible, and simple, compresses made of clay and herbs have been natural medicine stand-bys for centuries, known to heal practically every ailment from burns to hernias and everything in between. Hippocrates used them and so did my Great Grandma. Bottom line, if you have a problem, you need a poultice.
Given the rich and successful history of the poultice remedy I decided to employ the practice for my own stomach ailment. Each night I lay down in bed and affix to my stomach a sticky, slimy compress made of herbal powder, silver, water and various kinds of bark. With plastic wrap, an ace bandage and a silent prayer for healing, I secure my poultice and settle in for a night of internal repair.
The first few nights with my poultice were a struggle. The ace bandage poked me and the plastic wrap kept slipping out of place. I was up and down all night like a yo-yo, aggravated with my poultice. Annoyed at being woken up, I admit I even cursed the ancient poultice practice. This is so ridiculous - sleeping with clay on the stomach! How could this be healing me? Hippocrates can keep his poultice!
But each morning, as the sun has flooded my room with light, a renewed hope in the poultice has flooded my heart with hope. As strange as it is, I've come to cherish the sticky, slimy, clay poultice and not just because it has internal healing properties. I've become a believer and lover of the ancient poultice remedy because it draws me to an even greater, more powerful poultice - the one covering my heart. 
Jesus' Holy Spirit is the poultice that has healed my heart and gives me new life. I was damaged and broken, in need of repair and His love brought me eternal restoration. The hand of Jesus has been laid on me, healing wounds only He could ever see or touch. Because Christ's Spirit has saved me and dwells within me I am made eternally well, healed from the inside, out.
With a prayer in my heart and a poultice on my stomach, I am drawn back to the Great Physician who has made me new by breathing His life into my dead soul. In His medicine cabinet I have everything needed for healing, from a poultice for my damaged stomach to the everlasting, glorious redemption of my lost and failing soul.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A child's tale gone right

As youngsters growing up we hear the classic children's tales...and how they all went wrong.
One boy who cried wolf and all the town's people came running...but not for long. When he kept on crying wolf the people stopped caring and ceased their running to his aid.
Then there was a girl who went and broke into a bear's house. She tried out the bedroom mattresses and tasted every bowl the breakfast porridge...but not for long. When the furry home owners returned the young intruder went running away petrified and scared.
And then there were those couple of kids who traveled up a hill for a simple bucket of water... but not for long. The boy fell down and...well, you know how this story goes. The little girl went tumbling down after.

Why is it that every nursery rhyme ends in some sort of calamity? Even when the beginning is as sweet as a frolic through a forest or playful as skipping up a hill, the end is always bitter.
But not my story. Not my rhyme. No, this tale is destined for a much better ending.
No matter how dreadful the fate of my tale my appear today I know that my Author wrote a happy ending for my life's tale. I have an enduring hope in the final stanza of this rhyme because I know the story won't end in a calamity. This story ends in victory.

Because I trust the Author, I can rest in the assurance that I will not end up like the boy who cried wolf that no one came to save. God will always save me. He will always hear my cry and come running to my rescue.
Because I trust God with every line of my life, I am saved from being a real-life Goldilocks (with short hair), always searching and running scared. With God as my peace and protection, my story is free from fear and discontentment.
Because God is my stability and my firm foundation I know I am destined to going fall down like Jake or Jill. I might trip and stumble but God will never let me go tumbling away from His safety. He will continue carrying me even up hills, over mountains and through the deepest valleys. And God will keep my crown from breaking, too.

This world is God's nursery and my life is His real-life rhyme. I don't know how it ends and I don't need to. It is simply enough just to know it ends well. My life's story is destined to end perfectly because God never writes rhymes without hope. God is the exclusive Author of stories with bright and beautiful futures and tales with eternally happy endings.