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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Two and then some

My littlest princess just turned two! While I'd like to shout "Yippee!" because she's walking, talking, and has really come into her own, I'm not quite there. Partly because she’s brought with her the totally two attitude... and then some! Also because she’s my last baby and I’m not exactly ready to let go of babyhood yet. (sniff sniff)

With my other two I didn't mourn their babyhood being over. I think I was way too busy to notice, what with another one on the way. But this time I know this is my last biological baby and my other two are long past the lobster claw hands begging to be picked up or the long rocking chair snuggles.

So I suppose my little princess's "NO!" with a smile and pushing the outer limits of my patience are gifts in disguise. They certainly keep me laughing or praying so much I hardly notice she's growing up.

Wonder if I still look two to God…

Mark 10:15-16 says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

I don’t mind looking two in this context!

But it took me having children to see firsthand what this verse meant. Then it took years of heart healing before I could receive it deep and let it free me to come to Him as a little child.

That’s what happened earlier this week.

Last blog I shared about my first visit to the Healing Rooms. What followed that blog post was a week of physical and emotional trial. My blood sugars went wild again and my emotions with it. I grew angry with God and that affected how I treated my children. Except God revealed quite clearly that wasn’t the source of my inner rage. And not until I faced the rage issues and came to Him in prayer about them, would I find the healing I longed to receive.

So being the “good Christian” that I am, I pouted. I accused God of not loving me and said I wouldn’t go back to the Healing Rooms again. (Talk about two year old behavior!)

Then I saw my rage mirrored in my oldest child—in her sad eyes and anger spilling out in everything she did.

I went back to the Healing Rooms three days later.

And God met me there beyond anything I could hope or imagine. I realized then that my first visit to the Healing Rooms weeks before was amazing preparation work. But I hadn’t yet experienced the physical healing I’d hoped for because God was working on something far greater than I expected.

As my prayer team prayed with me, I felt such an outpouring of love. Even as I shared about the abuse I’d endured and the ugly things I’d done in response, they still prayed for me and loved me. They really saw me, emotionally laid bare, and loved me. I cried and bawled with total strangers like I’ve never allowed myself to do before.

Because I felt safe. Safe and genuinely loved.

God used them to speak so clearly and so personally to my heart. They prayed things only God could know I needed to hear and led me to see God in the midst of my pain. Through their prayers for me and with me I finally reached the core of my rage and was able to experience God’s amazing forgiveness, total unconditional love for me, and deep healing from that rage. They spoke such encouragement to my heart and soul and were the arms and hugs of the Lord.

I haven’t yet received complete healing from my diabetes, but I know it’s coming. I now have the hope I lacked after my first visit because God has cleared away so much junk that was blocking all the good He has to show me. I know to the core of my being He will continue His healing work in me.

I’ve seen some improvements in my physical health. Enough to remind me that God’s timing is perfect and I'm willing to wait in expectant faith for the total healing He has already begun. Had I given up after my first visit and stayed angry with God that He didn’t immediately heal my body, I would not have received the heart healing and forgiveness of sins that Jesus knew I needed more than physical healing. Just like the paralytic in the Bible, Jesus knew I needed to experience forgiveness and healing from rage before He could begin the physical healing. And now He is.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

I’ve learned that healing prayer is not a “quick fix” or the way around sometimes slow and painful growth. But through healing prayer God does restore and renew both heart and body as well as prepare a person to receive all the good He has in store for them.

All that to say, I guess I really do look like a two year old to God. Stubborn, wanting a quick answer that comes exactly when and how I want it. At the same time, I know God sees my heart. And while I lovingly discipline my two year old, God is doing the same with me. He’s teaching me the in’s and out’s of growing up in Christ.

And I know He’s laughing with me like I laugh with my littlest princess.

I’m so glad she’s two…and then some!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Heart healing

It's hard to believe there's something better out there than heart chocolate. But there is. It's healing that reaches from your head to your toes and to the depths of your very soul.

Heart healing.

I blogged a few weeks ago about my heart chocolate experience in Nashville and how Brandilyn prayed for me. Well this week I followed through with something else the Lord put on my heart from that time in Nashville. To visit the Healing Rooms. First I visited their web page, which I would encourage you all to check out. There's a quote there that immediately grabbed my heart…

"If you want to walk on water, you must get out of the boat."

Peter and his water walking is my all-time favorite story in the Bible. God has used it over and over to teach me so much. In my marriage, my writing, my teaching, my friendships, in all I hold dear— I sink and cry out… and am learning to walk on water.

So I read the quote and did it again. I got out of the boat and made plans to visit the Healing Rooms. The enemy attacked on so many fronts. My marriage took some painful hits and we almost didn’t follow through with the plan to go for prayer. But God is God and He had appointed a time for us to go.

My husband stepped out of his boat and decided we’d go, even if I wasn’t willing to talk to him. The entire trip to the Healing Rooms was spent in silence. Me listening to the Holy Spirit’s conviction of how I’d treated my husband and forgiving him for how he’d treated me as well. (Over a small incident of selfishness we both fell back into old patterns of relating and let the enemy have a field day in our relationship. Thankfully God is not about to give up on us and has better plans that even our foolishness can’t thwart.)

While we waited for our appointed time to be prayed over we read some of the books on display. One in particular caught my eye. In it I read about diabetes and both physical and spiritual/emotional causes of the disease. I’ve know since I was diagnosed 18 years ago that my mind and heart had a lot to do with this disease manifesting itself in my body. So nothing in that struck me as odd. What knocked my feet out from under me was the statement about severe rejection being one of the emotional roots.


Immediately my mind went to the fact that I’ve never known my biological father. He’s known how to contact me, but never has. And I’ve tried to contact him with no return response. But God had far deeper places to take me.

My husband went to be prayed for and I went a little later with a totally different team. Not my plan, but God knew exactly what He was doing. The team that prayed for me was incredible. We did talk through some issues of forgiveness, but not towards my dad. What came out of my mouth was all about my mom.

After that, the two wonderful ladies on my prayer team spent most of our time together praying for my physical healing. It was an experience like I’ve never had before. Going into the prayer time I had the assurance from the Lord that I would be healed, but that my healing would not be an instant happening. In fact, I had to sign a form that I would not stop any medical treatment before seeing my physician. God showed me then that He had far bigger plans for my healing than just my freedom from diabetes.

What happened at the Healing Rooms is a precious memory to me now, something I will go back to and be reminded of God’s amazing power and faithfulness. But what happened later that night is an even more incredible memory.

It began with one of the prayer ladies speaking to me about God being whatever I needed. I have received Him as my Daddy, my protector and provider, my strong tower where I would run. But I’ve struggled with Him being my comforter, softly and tenderly drawing me to Himself and enjoying me like a mommy does her little ones.

So that night, I prayed about God being whatever I needed and He gave me these verses:

Isaiah 66:12-13 “For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.’”

Isaiah 51:3 “The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”

As I started to personalize those verses and pray them, God broke open the floodgates in my heart. Pain I had kept stored there, rejections that felt like a noose around my neck, years and years of memories. Ones I had forgiven and even felt before, but not like this. Not in the context of rejection and how I’d allowed it to define me. I cried curled up in a ball rocking back and forth on my bedroom floor for what felt like hours.

But this time as I cried, I felt the cleansing that can only come from being in the presence of God, laid bare and yet totally loved.

I feel it’s important to say here that I love my mom and she loves me. She is a wonderful person who, like me, lived out of her wounds and wounded others.

But I had to face those wounds, not so much what she did or didn’t do, but what I received from the enemy through those wounds and allowed to continue hurting me over and over again. Feeling the wounds in the safety of God’s arms and proclaiming from my heart forgiveness for my mom, freed me. Internal walls crumbled and I felt God’s presence, His soft, gentle comfort surround me.

I reread those verses and cried tears of peace and joy. God had answered the cries of my heart. I wrote them in a little notebook this way:

This is what the Lord says, “I will extend peace to Amy like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; Amy will nurse and be carried on My arm (provided for and held dear) and dandled on My knee. (enjoyed) As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort Amy.

The Lord will surely comfort Amy and will look with compassion on all her ruins; (my physical body, my past, and the difficulties in my marriage) He will make Amy’s deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in Amy, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

Typing this I can’t help but smile. The Lord has been so good to me.

And He continues to be. He’s answering the prayers for healing from diabetes and continued healing in my marriage. I’ve already started to see physical improvements in my body and my blood sugars. Slow and steady, but there nonetheless.

And in my marriage… wow. God has been teaching us new ways of living and relating to each other for some time now. But after Thursday, I’ve seen what a major work God is dong in both of our hearts and how it extends far beyond us. Quiet, but powerful, like the sun after a solar eclipse. That’s how I feel. The eclipse has passed and the Son is shining—even brighter than before.

Please keep praying for us. I’m seeing that marriage is a journey of the heart— healing, rejoicing, stumbling, and growing even more, going deeper and deeper still with God and each other. Please pray we’ll stay the course and let our light shine so that many will be drawn to the Lord. In the same way, that my physical healing from diabetes will be used to show many that God is indeed still in the business of working miracles… inside and out.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

At war with words

I've been in a pensive state for a few days and a ton of thoughts are converging on one single theme. That's when I know it’s time to blog again.

So what's the theme?


The recent news reports of prominent people bringing such pain with their poorly chosen words have grieved my heart. Then I look in the mirror and listen to the words that come carelessly out of my mouth and I’m grieved even more.

A few Sundays back I was talking to my 12th grade girls about the Church. In sharing about leadership and their roles within the Body, I felt compelled to share a verse that cuts straight to my heart and sits heavily there.

"Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1 NIV)

I take that verse very literally and pray with fear and trembling that the words I speak and the words write honor the Lord. Last night that verse weighed even heavier on my heart as I stepped into a new place in my writing career. I received an email from an editor requesting more information because my very first novel is now under “active consideration” with a major publishing company~ my brass ring for that manuscript.

I thought I was going to throw up.

Not the response I'd expected to have when I reached this place. I thought I’d be dancing around and leaping for joy. But I didn’t. I wanted to cry. Because it hit me with renewed vigor the importance of words and how vital it is that I choose mine wisely.

So much so when I write words that people who don’t know me will read.

See, with the senior girls I teach if I say or do something wrong I can face them and ask forgiveness.

Even more so with my daughters. They are quick to forgive when my words are less than godly. Because they know my heart and know I love them. It grieves me so much when I hurt their hearts. It’s an area I’ve committed to bring to the Lord daily. I have so far to go. But when I remember the pain in their eyes at my harsh comments and their speedy forgiveness when I confess my sin, I’m humbled. Humbled that I’m forgiven and that I have another chance to grow and learn and try again to love well.

Same goes for my best friend and writing partner. She calls me on my words nearly every day. Whether on the phone or over the computer, I can trust her to hold up the mirror to see if my words are honoring words of life… or not. And if not, she lets me know and helps me see how to change them. I love that!

She even gave me a plaque that reads, “Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.”

I so need to pray that prayer… often!

But with a novel, words that I’ve written receive no second chance at explanation. I have no option to ask forgiveness if I blow it and write something that offends, or worse, hurts.

Then I remember Martin Luther standing before his written words, being asked to recant what he’d penned. He steadied his resolve and said, “I cannot. I will not…recant. Here I stand.”

The prayer of my heart is that I will walk so closely with the Lord as I type and speak that I too can stand with passion and boldness and know my words are for His glory.

I’m acutely aware that doesn’t mean everyone will like my words. I already know from experience not all words are received with immediate joy. My daughters and my Bible study girls don’t often like the words of correction that come from my lips. But they know it’s because I love them. I don’t like those correcting words directed at me any more than they do. But I’ve learned to receive similar words from people that love me because I want to grow.

And so, I pray that those who read my words will hear my heart. Even more, that they will hear Jesus.

With that prayer on my tongue, instead of throwing up at this new avenue for my words to go out, I’ve decided to throw myself in my Daddy’s lap and ask Him to make my words His. He has called me and I’m trusting He will accomplish His good, His way, and in His time.

I don’t want to war with words, using them to bring death. Instead, I want to fight the good fight and speak words of life. Please pray that I’ll do just that in all I write and in all I speak.

I love the way The Message writes Ephesians 4:29. “Say only what helps, each word a gift.”

May that be true for each of us…
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