Lately I've found a lot of situations which make me think and want to write. So if you wanna read them, great! If not, that's cool, too. Feel free to criticize everything I say. I think you're never too young or too old to grow in wisdom and I think that comes from reflective and contemplative prayer but also from discussions with friends.
thanks for reading!
peace, love, faith, happiness in Christ,
I am captivated by the song “Exhale” by Plumb recently. She has intrigued me since I heard one of her
songs for the first time called “Lord, I’m ready now”. This first song hit me hard as I was going
through a large battle with insecurity.
God began showing me that the thought of “I’ve always been like that” or
“I’ve always been shy” is just a lie and an excuse. I would make excuses for not going or
wanting to go to an event with larger numbers of people. But God began asking me why. What
He showed me were my very own crippling insecurities, and He gave me tools of
how to overcome them. In “Lord I’m ready
now”, Plumb talks about how she feels exposed and all her walls are down and
how that’s beautiful. She talks about
how she wants to make this life count by being who God has made her. The real her.
It’s such a freeing song.
Now her newest song “Exhale” is so great. The first lyric is, “It’s ok to not be ok.”
How many women need to hear that! It’s so freeing to just “be” in the Father’s
arms whether it’s joyful, sorrowful, frustrated, upset, and not ok. He can handle our every emotion. Bring it to Him.
“No matter what you’ve done or who you are everyone is
welcome in His arms”. I feel like I
screw up every day. I let my emotions
get the best of me. I say things that I
shouldn’t. I can’t control my
mouth. But I am so thankful that there
is nothing I can do or say that will separate me from my Father’s arms. And praise God that He shows me the error of
my ways and loves me enough to show me how to be more like Him.
“Oh God we breathe in your grace, we breathe in your grace
and exhale. We do not exist for us but
to share your grace and love…and exhale.”
Isn’t that just it! Isn’t that the purpose of life in a nutshell! I feel like I’m really just starting to grasp
my mind around the immense beauty and power of God’s grace. I grew up always knowing the salvation story
and I am so thankful for that. But I
think always knowing has made the concept of grace too familiar. It’s like I got too used to hearing about
it. And the concept of “breathing it in”
is so wonderful! How God freely offers
it to us every day and we get to choose to breathe in it’s freshness and beauty
or ignore it because it’s always been there.
I wish I could say that I daily breathe it in, but I know I don’t. I can easily choose to follow my selfish
desires and pity parties and miss the power and vastness of the daily Grace God
has given me. To breathe in God’s grace,
be completely filled by God, not by myself or this world, and exhale. To exhale his grace uniquely through my body,
my personality into the world because God loves people and God loves me…..I
So what are you exhaling?
Does your breath reek with cynicism, rude comments, anger, frustrations,
or selfishness? Or does it exude
encouragement, truthfulness, love, courage, and fierce bravery in Christ? Are
we the “aroma that brings death” or the “aroma that brings life” (2nd
Corinthians 2:16)? Or are you barely breathing
at all: are you too overwhelmed with the
stresses of life to even think about it or are the distractions of a first
world country clouding your heart and minds from what truly is important in
“Just let go let
His love wrap around you And hold you close Get lost in the
surrender Breathe it in until
your heart breaks Then exhale”
My Experience on the “Daniel Fast” “I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips….until
the three weeks were over.” Daniel 10:3
21 days ago I embarked on a physical, spiritual, emotional
adventure called the Daniel Fast. It’s a
partial fast designed to “feed your soul, strengthen your spirit, and renew
your body”. It’s based off of the story
of Daniel in the Bible. When the Israelites
were overtaken by Babylon, the King took some of the wisest Hebrew men to serve
him. Daniel was among them. The King gave them the finest foods and wines
to eat to strengthen them. However,
these foods were sacrificed to false Gods.
Daniel would rather die than deny the One true God by eating sinful
sacrifices. So he pleaded with the
King’s messenger to allow them to eat only things that came from the ground and
to only drink water (for those items were not sacrificed to false Gods). The King’s servant allowed it and when he
checked in on him in 10 days, Daniel and his fellow Hebrews were stronger and
wiser that all the other men who ate the meat and drank the wine.
The world says that you are crazy to give up eating foods
like cheese, milk, meat, fast food, anything containing sugar, coffee, and pop, but the truth is, I am
blessed to have a choice to do so. My
first feeling of this process was a deep humility in the fact that there are
many people who live on less that what I was eating on the fast, and they do
not have a choice. It taught me to be
truly grateful for my food no matter what the type.
It was eye opening to see the emotional and physical
attachment I had with food. Day 1 of the
fast I vomited twice! I used to only
drink ½ cup of coffee in the morning and one pop at night. I didn’t think that was enough caffeine to
worry about having severe withdrawls.
But I was wrong. I was so sick. And as I sat crouched by the toilet, I
couldn’t help but doubt and wonder why in the world I would do this to myself. But looking back I can see how that
uncomfortable withdrawl opened my eyes to the physical stronghold of caffeine
on my body. I was also made aware of the
mental stronghold. Before, I always had
to have my cup of coffee in the morning.
It brought me joy, I looked forward to it, and I would say that I needed
it. Now, being 3 weeks free from any
coffee or caffeine, I can surely say it is not necessary to function. It truly isn’t. On week three, I felt fine, if not better in
the mornings with just a glass of water.
The first week I felt so extremely tired and constantly
hungry. All I could focus on was my
“flesh”. My regular morning prayer time
was more like morning nap time. As my
body was weeding out the old toxins I was used to, I was feeling the pain. Looking back, it really painted a physical
picture of what sin looks like. When you
eat crappy food so much like I used to, your body gets used to it. Same thing with things like sin, you get used
to gossiping, lusting over things you shouldn’t, envy, anger, jealously and you
live in it. It doesn’t feel all that bad because why would it, “everyone else
is doing it.” But once you allow God to start detoxifying your life, just like
detoxifying the body, it is super hard at first, but then the breakthrough
appears. You don’t realize how good you
can feel in freedom from past sinful habits or eating habits until you actual
feel what good is!
It was about halfway through that I started feeling better
and God gave me complete self control over food. I got used to the balance of being satisfied
and being ok with hunger. The cravings
weren’t that bad. And I started allowing
God to control what I was eating. He
would tell me when to stop and what was ok to eat and when. I remember in the “Daniel Fast” book, Susan
Gregory said that one of the goals of the fast was to make holy spirit led
decisions about food. I doubted. I thought, does God really care about what we
eat ? Didn’t Jesus did make all foods clean and ok to eat? But it’s more than just the food. A gift of the holy spirit is self control
and God wants us to have that. With self
control over food, you can be more energized, more available, more attentive to
the spirit and what God has for you on that specific day. Instead of focusing on how tired you are and
where your next cup of coffee is coming from, you can focus on complete
dependence and trust on God. Let me tell
you something true: Our God is greater than caffeine, and He is so able to make
any person a morning person!
It truly was the last few days that were the hardest. I was really tired of chopping up veggies,
cooking, and eating beans! I yearned for
some meat and cheese. I persisted and on
my first day back to regular food, I was so happy to eat an omelet for
breakfast and a turkey sandwich for lunch!
I had never been as thankful for “normal” food as I was on that
day. And on that day, I felt
different….I felt really free, super free.
You see, it wasn’t all about the food.
I tapped into self control through food and it bled into my mind and
heart. God is so faithful! Other battles I was facing spiritually were
won. And I do not write this to boast of
anything I did. God led me to this and
God guided me through this and I am so thankful. So if you are struggling with self control,
whether it’s with food, money, relationships, or any type of addiction, talk to
God about fasting. And when He says “do
it!”, you obey. It will change your life
for He is “able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power
at work within us, to Him be the glory.” Ephesians 3:20
For more information about the Daniel Fast check out this
website or ask me any questions your wish!:
The end of this week, I started reading through 1st Samuel in the Bible. I had never noticed this particular event quite like God showed me this time. The Philistines had just defeated Israel and had captured Israel's most holy and precious possession, the ark of the Covenant. The ark was the stone tablets that God had written on and given to Moses which always traveled with the Israelite people wherever they would go. Now, the Philistines were polytheists, meaning they believed and worshiped many gods. So when they captured the ark of the Covenant, they decided to place it in the temple of one of their gods named "Dagon", right next to some man made statue of him. The next morning, the people went into the temple and found Dagon lying prone on the ground in front of the ark. So they picked up their man made god and placed him back in his allotted spot. The following morning, they found Dagon once again prone before the ark but this time his hands and head had been broken off from his trunk.
It was at this point that I started laughing. I started picturing all the ways God could have done this. He could have just struck Dagon down from heaven both times, with the second time having a little more force. But that unfolding of events didn't fulfill my intrigued imagination quite as well as picturing an angel with a big smirk on his face, lifting Dagon off his pedestal and placing him on the ground. I can see him watching the next day and giggling at the faces of the unexpecting Philistines as they see their "god" worshiping the one true God. As the Philistines place Dagon back on his proper spot, I can see the face of the angel waiting with eager expectation for what he's allowed to do next. He takes Dagon and pulls him apart limb by limb and then finally pops off his little man made head. The next day he watches as the Philistines enter, mouths wide open in awe and fear as they see their "god" broken in pieces before the Lord Almighty. Oh, I would give more than a "penny for their thoughts" on that day.
I don't mean for one second to downplay the amazing power and sovereignty of God by laughing, but I believe God enjoys humor. I believe he also uses humor and laughter to teach us just as he uses sorrow and pain to help us grow in relationship with Him. In my job, I experience a lot of death, sorrow, frustrations, tense emotional conflicts, and pain. I know I deal with animals but with every animal there's a person and every person there is a story. I also experience a lot of joy, love, excitement, and silly moments but for some reason I allow them to be clouded out by the bad. Just 30 minutes prior to picking up my Bible and reading this story, I had asked God to show me to be more light hearted. To melt away all the sadness I had allowed to build up in my heart by His love and laughter. Then, he gives me this, an early morning comedy show sent by the Creator of the universe just to loosen me up. Praise be to God for creating laughter that has enough power to soothe the soul.