The Fear Monster

So I have been thinking a lot about fear.  It is still sometimes and has been a destabilizing force in my life, a gnawing at the back of my brain. Like a little mouse chewing on a piece of cheese, fear  nibbles on my brain daily.  I don't even realize it until I discover the missing cheese.  Hahahahhaaaa get it?  I do think I heard once that fear truly does eat away at brain matter....but I also could just be making that up.

I often think I am brave only to discover I am not.  You know that moment when you see someone, you wish you hadn't.  You see them and you can't run and hide down an aisle because it is too late. So you are brave not because you are, but because there is no cowards way out.  Then the only brave thing to do is choose love.  As fear nibbles at your brain, rejection grips your heart the only choice right then standing in the middle of that store is to choose love.  It's not because your brave, its not because there is an absence of fear, it's because it is what Jesus would do.

Somewhere in the middle of all the mess, all the brokenness and beauty we don't necessarily learn how to be brave but we learn how to be love and that helps us to be brave.  Being brave doesn't mean we don't feel fear, it just means that even though you feel fear, love outweighs you still do it! Sometimes choosing love is the bravest thing we can do.

Fear is always behind rash decisions, hurtful dissensions, judgement and all sorts of wicked things because we are not created to be carriers of fear.  So when it gives birth to action it brings hell to earth not heaven.  Fear keeps us from enjoying the "right now" moments of our lives, keeps us from jumping off the high dive, keeps us from trusting others, keeps us from hoping because we can't bear to be disappointed, keeps us from chasing our dreams because we don't want to fail, I could go on and on or you could just fill in the blank with whatever fear keeps you from doing.   You can probably even think about a little hell you bring to earth with your own fears.  It rears its ugly head in lot's of ways....control, protection, gossip, anger, etc.  WE all experience fear, it's how we handle it that counts.

What matters is that when we want to run and hide instead we stand and face the giant(fear).  What counts is that when we want to lash out and protect instead we choose love.  When we feel afraid we stop and ask ourselves.... what or who is greater, this fear or the one who is in me?   And sometimes in the middle of the store you choose love and it turns out not to be that bad.

We are created to be carriers of love, fear just gets in the way of that and makes us more inclined to run, than stand and love.  The love in the Bible stands even in the face of fear.  If you don't believe me read it's definition of love....that's some pretty heavy stuff.  Persevering, forgiving, believing the best, patience, long suffering, etc.

I can't get rid of all the fear that creeps into the corners of my mind but I can choose to live in love and trust that perfect love to cast out fear.  Turns out the giants/fears only have the power we give them, fear is for the most part belief in something that hasn't even happened. Unless you are on the high dive and then that seems totally real to me...legit.   Seems to me fear is the opposite of faith and hope.  So when we look at the giants in front of us through eyes of faith, hope and love all the sudden we realize they are not really that big at all.  HE IS GREATER.

I want to live in hope.  I can't change the world, but I can change my world.  I choose faith, hope and love.

Love you people, you make me brave!

The Freedom of Grace

I had quite a few people ask me for my notes so instead I decided to just post them.  Enjoy and be encouraged to live free!  We can do this people, we can let go of the law and live in the glory of the grace!  Love you people.  

The Freedom of Grace Message-Debbie Hornsby

Continuing our grace series today, our topic is the freedom of grace.  You see before grace entered our lives we were slaves, the exact opposite of free;  Slaves to sin, slaves to the law, slaves to fear, slaves to the world.  BUT Jesus…..set us free!  The question is then why don’t we live like we are free?  Many of us seem to return to being shackled to fear, the law, the world, etc.  
Let’s Pray: wisdom, revelation, hope, transformation
Slide 1  Let’s start off by looking at Galatians 3
13 Christ (Remember we have been teaching that Christ was grace in bodily form…the manifestation of what we could not earn ourselves.) redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Gal 3:13-14 (NIV)
Don't we all wish we could be free from sin and its consequences once and for all? Well, according to Galatians 3:13, we already are!
We just haven't comprehended it yet! Let me give you an illustration of this before we dive into our teaching today…..I heard a story once about a man who had a goat he dearly loved.
 Very late one night, he received a telephone call from the local police, who informed him that his goat had wandered away from home, had been hit by a car, and now lay dead in a ditch by the side of the road.
This man was grieved and brokenhearted, but he knew he needed to retrieve the dead goat. When he approached the ditch where the goat lay, he saw that the goat was very much alive! Its legs were bound with rope, which let my friend know that someone had kidnapped the goat and then dumped it in the ditch on the side of the road.
Jubilantly, he leaped into the bottom of the ditch, pulled out his pocketknife, cut the ropes, slapped the goat on its backside, and said, "Get up!" But the goat just lay there with its legs still clinging to each other as if they were still bound with rope. He hit her a second time, then a third time. Then he yelled at her one last time, "Get up!"
This man thought to himself, Bless this dumb ol' goat! It's free and doesn't even know it!
He reached down and pulled apart the goat's legs; then he lifted it and set it on its feet. Only then did the goat realize it wasn't bound anymore.
When I heard this story, it made me think about us as believers.
Slide 2 We don't need to get free—we are free! Jesus' work on the Cross totally purchased our redemption and freedom.
Although Jesus broke the bonds of slavery and the devil has no legal hold on believers anymore, most believers still lay on their sides in the bottom of the ditch, wishing they could get free. The chains that hold them are an illusion, because Jesus already paid the price for their release!
That word redeemed in Galatians is a beautiful greek word that paints a picture….the word is a compound of two words ex which means out and agoridzo which most often depicted a slave market.  A slave market where human beings were treated like animals and bought and sold, given no value other than for what service/work they could provide.
Together these two words reveal the picture of someone going in with the intention of purchasing a slave for the sole purpose of setting them free….permanent removal from captivity. 
Slide 3        In Isaiah we see the foreshadowing of Jesus in the statement Isaiah 61:1-11
 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)
God sent Jesus not just to inspect our condition of slavery and locate us in our sinfulness but to buy us out of our miserable condition and then place us into his family as his own child.  Forever removed from the curse of sin and the law.  It’s a done deal…
No longer slaves to the law
You see the Law came by Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus. 
You see the law says…..btw 613 laws       The law says…..You do your part and then God will do His part.
You do good, you get good.  You do bad, you get bad.  You have to pay for what you do wrong….We tend to get caught up in this bad theology.  It’s true there are some natural consequences to doing good or doing bad but let’s be honest….when we carry this theology of Law into our lives we diminish the finished work on the cross. 
We strive to be good enough to earn God’s love, we worry that we haven’t been good enough so God might allow something bad to happen to us or our family, We try to control things because this theology leads us to think we can somehow manipulate God into treating us well….This is not freedom.
We become those who are always looking for the perfect equation to get what we want from God. 
We become those who are always performing like a circus monkey trying to get a treat.
You see when we are still returning to the law….it is only a fraction of the glory the Lord intends for us…are you saved yes…..are you living in freedom?   Are we living in the full glory? 
Slide 4
7 The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life?9 If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God!10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way.11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
2 Cor 3:7-11 (NLT)
Slide 5  Not under law but under grace 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Romans 6:14 (NIV)
Have you ever told someone an argument was finished, only to have them start arguing again?  Stop arguing with Jesus, we are not under the law….just believe.
But still we return to the Law….striving and judging, performing and trying to earn…
God is not impressed with our performances because His son already did it all and now we think we can somehow improve of what Jesus has done. 
Don’t get on the cross, your blood won’t work. 
When Jesus hung on the cross he said it is finished
We don’t have to earn His grace.  Grace came in the form of Jesus. 
We don’t have to behave perfect.  Grace came and perfected us.
We don’t have to be afraid of failure.  Grace came and won….once and for all.
No earning, no striving, no rule following….whaaaaaat that’s crazy?
·         WE live under the covenant of grace.  The law of grace. 

·         The new covenant is heaven’s solution to man’s faithlessness. 

·         God rigged the system by downloading His thoughts and guidelines into our hearts when we accept Christ. 
·         Grace means we no longer live under the law but under the Holy Spirit.
·         I’m not saying this is license to go wild, I am saying let your heart settle on the greatness of this.  We don’t want to abuse grace but we do want to live in it. 
Slide 7
6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
Romans 7:6 (NLT)
Slide 8 No longer slave to the flesh
Gal 5:18 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. Gal 5:16-18 (NLT)

·           Don’t keep the law but be filled with the Holy Spirit.
·         You don’t’ need law when you have fruit of the spirit.   Remember Jesus said the law could be summed up in these two statements.  Love the Lord and Love your neighbor.
·         When we are caught up in sin, we have a love problem……
You can’t have both the law and the fruit….the law chokes out the fruit of the spirit. Of which the greatest is love.
The law tells us what to do but the Sprit tells us how to do it.  Ex:  law tells you to love your wife, the Holy Spirit teaches you how to love your wife. 
Let me see if I can explain this differently. 
The law….which created legalism and took away freedom, put the Israelites in bondage to the High Priest.  Under the law there was condemnation.  Under the law we were slaves to sin. 
·         So basically that was behavior modification.

·         Jesus came to bring transformation not behavior modification.

·         The Law is fear driven motivation whereas,  love is the motivation of grace. 

·         Fear is not the best motivator, love is!  LOVE WINS

Christ was obedient to the point of death not out of fear of His heavenly father but for the joy that was set before him, for love. 
Jesus is whispering gently to us….just believe it is finished.  The Spirit has come that you might have life and life abundant…..don’t return to the law and its dead works. 
In this fallen, broken world we just can’t believe it could be that easy….Just believe, stop arguing.    
Let go of the law so you can live under the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Slide 9 Freedom from Condemnation
1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life [1]in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:1-4 (NASB)
I want to explain something to you.  Condemnation is the work of Satan.  He wants to put you back in slavery to him.  When we condemn ourselves we are actually lessoning the finished work of the cross.  WE are effectively not believing that the blood of Jesus is enough to cover our sin. 
Condemnation becomes the breeding ground for separation from God….not on God’s part but on our part.  Remember God looking in the garden for Adam and Eve, they had separated themselves and hidden. 
When we condemn ourselves we are putting ourselves back under the law.  Making ourselves judge….separating ourselves from God…often times walking away from God because we feel that we are now unlovable or too far gone for his grace. 
Starting a vicious cycle of believing that we can somehow lose the grace of God putting ourselves back under the condemnation of the law and then we put everyone else under the law as well.  We become religious, regulated and condemning based on fear instead of love. 
All the while Jesus is whispering, just believe.  It is simple. Grace, the freedom gift.  Believe and receive it. 
No longer slaves to fear.  Almost all fears can fall into one of two categories.
Fear of death and fear of man.  All of us struggle to some degree with these….
We know death has lost it’s sting….we no longer die but live!  Yet, we all can allow fear to creep in…death is scary, grief is hard, here is the thing….we are all going to die….
So if Satan can get us preoccupied with fear of losing someone or our own life….he can keep us from living in the fullness of Joy …he can make the Christian world look just as hopeless as the unsaved world and damage the cause of Christ.
Fear of Man.  Jesus died so that we would have full confidence in our identity so that we would be set free from the fear of man… what is the fear of man?
·         Fear of rejection
·         Perfectionism  (see above)
·         Fear of failure-which often causes procrastination or complete paralysis of analysis
·         Fear of not being good enough
·         Fear of bad things happening so we control
·         Fear of being hurt so we don’t freely love others.
·         Fear of being exposed as a sinner so we don’t live authentic lives
Scripture teaches us that perfect love cast out fear.  Why? 
Perfect love is Jesus.  Understanding and knowing Who he is and who we are….changes everything….
When I understand there is no death, that we are all just pilgrims passing through, that death has lost it’s sting,  When I understand that there is nothing that man can do to take me out of God’s hand, when I live in the abiding presence of a faithful, loving, forgiving God I am no longer moved by others approval because His is more enough. 
When I understand my position in Him then I can rest in that knowledge and flourish in that freedom. 
Let’s look at the story of the Roman Officer because it really teaches us something about position and authority.
Slide 10
The Faith of a Roman Officer
5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him,6 “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.
Matt 8:5-13 (NLT)
Slide 11    This Roman officer understood something very important.  He understood position and authority.  Because of his experience in the military he knew what it was to have the position of an officer and that it carried with it the authority of whom he was positioned under. 
We are positioned under Christ, he is the head and we are the body.  He has given us all authority.  We honor Him when we believe this
When we live in a way that is demolishing strongholds and speculations, that is walking in His authority, when we believe that it is finished work. 
We too like the roman soldier have been given power and authority.  We don’t have to be fearful but only to live in the certainty of our position and authority
When fear comes we can say to that fear….go!  I don’t have to be perfect because Jesus has empowered me for success and that may mean some failure along the way.  The success is already finished on the cross because I am His.
When fear comes about what someone will say or about their rejection we can say to that fear….Get out of my head, I am a child of God, deeply loved and I have a total acceptance in his grace. 
When fear comes that would make me want to jump in and control things, I can say….Jesus you just say the word and I believe it is finished. 
·         As New Testament Christians we can live in the freedom that comes from knowing it is finished, Jesus finished it. 
We are no longer under the law, we can respond to life from the perspective of it is already finished….
Use our faith to appropriate what is already done.  Not beg God to help us based on our merits….trying to earn his favor…This is fear based theology…..
Instead we simply are believing in position and authority. 
I believe for this “for the finances we need”…..thank you Jesus that it is already a finished work!
·         Christ is the end of the Law.  The law fulfilled, the ransom paid, there is nothing we can do….nothing!
·         The requirements of the law have been fully met in us.  Rom 8:3

It is time for us to live in the grace of God, not just its shadow. 
Living day by day with our savior…as Paul said
I no longer live but Christ who lives in me.  The life I now live by believing in God’s Son, who loved me and took the punishment for my sins. 
This grace filled life blossoms by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit…not our strength but His.
 We live beyond the rules and earning God’s love we live in the freedom born from the fullness of God’s grace in our lives causing us to live in a way that honors God and  that is summed up with one word …..Love!
This grace allows us to walk in the perfect law of liberty…. Jesus set us free from fear based motivation, set us free from condemnation and set us free to enjoy life to the fullest. 
6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
Romans 7:6 (NLT)

Jesus is whispering to us….believe.  Believe that you are the sons and daughters.  Believe that you have that position and authority.   Believe that you are free….don’t go back to the old way, you are free of that.
We don't need to get free—we are free! Jesus' work on the Cross totally purchased our redemption and freedom.
Know that all that you have need of, is already finished. 
Altar Call
·         Repentance for returning to the law
·         Lessoning the finished work of the cross
·         Help us to live in the freedom of grace

Prayer:  Help me to renew my mind so I can enjoy the freedom you purchased for me.  Help me experience your freedom in area of my life and give me a determination to reject any form of bondage that tries to hang onto me.    I have been bought out of slavery ….I am no longer a slave to fear of any kind, to condemnation, I will walk in the freedom of grace. ..The finished work of the cross. 

If you won't slow down....sometimes He will make you!

So for the last few weeks I have been walking a bit like Frankenstein.  It all started out harmless enough with a big idea to walk/run a 5k.  It all went downhill from there.  My gusto proved to be more than my body could stand.  Turns out being sedentary for over a year and a half, means you have to take it least when you are almost fifty.

This body did not cooperate.  My ankles swelled up, the pain was excruciating and I walked like an old lady.  Not that anything is wrong with old ladies, I am after all one of them.  It's just that I walk fast, I leave Gary in the dust.  Always nagging him to hurry up, not now.  Nope. Walking from the car to the restaurant, he can't take it and walks ahead.  Three weeks of this and finally it is apparently not going to get better on it's own.  No amount of prayer worked so I am assuming God is doing something in this.

Today I saw the podiatrist, who by the way looked like a teenager.  I have tendinitis in my ankles and mild bone spurs that might become a problem at some point.  The main problem is these tendons on both my ankles that revolted against the idea of walking three miles.

So the Doctors orders:  Stay off your feet as much as possible, wear the braces as much as possible, elevate your feet as much as possible.  Slow down and give it time to heal.

Me:   Whaaaat?(nervous laughter ensues and then my rambling)   I can't wear these braces they won't fit in my shoes.  How will I dress up? I can't stay off my feet for long, I am really busy....blah, blah, blah........wait....what does as much as possible mean?  

Doctor:  It means if you have to go to a meeting or must wear heels for something, fine but keep your other shoes with you and change back into the braces when you are done.

Me:  Awww man....I don't know if I can do that.

Doctor:   I guess it depends on how much you want to get better.

So I guess the point is, I am almost fifty and still vain as all get out.  I thought I would outgrow it but apparently not yet.  So I act like an idiot and move to fast with the exercising and the natural consequences becomes an opportunity to rid myself of some vanity.  Yay, thanks Jesus.

So don't make fun of me when you see me wearing funny shoes, and don't think it's weird if you see me sitting down more, and don't tell me to sit down, that will just make me irritated.

This is the season I try to stay busy.  April rolls into May and that includes Justin's Birthday, Mothers Day and Luke graduates.  Some happy and some sad.  So I will be a bit slower through this season, pray a bit more, read a bit more.....maybe.  Or maybe I won't and that will be okay too, unless my tendons tear in which case I would need surgery.  Yeah I will probably take it easy for the next six weeks or maybe just a month.  Geez it is really hard to commit to that.

Anyway, that's my story on why I am wearing weird shoes and walking a bit funny.  The lesson here matter how old you get you still want to wear cute shoes.

No wait, maybe the lesson is sometimes you need to slow down.

Or maybe, the lesson is vanity comes before a hobbling.

Or maybe, it is all about how healing always takes time and willingness.

Maybe it is all of the above.
Love you people.  Have a great week, be brave and learn something new!

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

I am sick.  I have been sick for over twelve years.  Since before we started the church actually.  I hate talking about it because from the very start, well meaning believers crushed my spirit.  They implied I didn't have faith to be healed, they asked if I had hidden sin or unforgiveness in my heart....blah, blah, blah.... Let's just be real....who doesn't have hidden sin or unforgiveness?  If I really search my heart at any point in time I can find some sin and some unforgiveness.  Then the super healthy people would try to change my diet, judge my food choices, etc.  Let's just face it well meaning people can really stink!

It all started with a condition that caused seizures in my nerves in my face.  This resulted in terrifying, debilitating pain in my face.  I described it as feeling like someone was stabbing me in the face with a hot knife.  I was misdiagnosed for months, had in-depth dental work, got migraine shots and was basically flat out miserable, when they finally decided to send me to a neurologist I was told it would be a month long wait.  I went crazy.  I called them up and told them I would kill myself if they didn't see me immediately....they saw me that day.  It was an easy fix, at least that is what they told me.  Seizure medicine.  It was like the heavens opened up, but....I reacted to the medication by sleeping all the time and having terrible vertigo.  I won't bore you with the details but it took about six months to stabilize me on the meds.  Shortly afterwards in prayer I felt like the Lord was telling me He was going to heal me....really Lord?  You couldn't have saved me all the struggle a little sooner?  Through a remarkable display of His power, He healed me.

So I did what every sane person does after being healed from an all consuming illness....I trained and ran the LA Marathon.  It was awesome, after being controlled by an illness in my body for over a year I controlled my body and pushed it to the limit.  It was great.  I was slow and peed myself but I didn't care, as I crossed the finish line I just kept saying to myself....He has caused me to rise up on wings of eagles!

That was the year 2001, within three months of that I began to get sick again.  Different this time, weak and tired.  My joints ached and I would swell up for no reason.  Pain became my constant companion.  They tested me for a gazillion things.   Okay maybe not a gazillion but many of you may know that battery of test it felt like a gazillion and it included cancer and MS (the scary stuff).  They stuck needles into my muscles to see why they were inflamed and producing to much of some enzyme.  It was brutal.  They finally settled on Lupus and Fybromyalgia.

By this time we had started the church but I tried to never complain for fear that someone would start with the whole "it must be my fault" that I was sick.  When we would go out somewhere away from our church I would go forward for healilng prayer but I was never healed completely.  Things changed, I learned to cope.  I did a clean eating purge which seemed to really help, but is difficult to maintain.   In the meantime I went into early menapause for no clear reason and decided to try natural hormonal therapy.  Thankful for that otherwise I am pretty sure I would have eventually destroyed my marriage.  Hormone problems are no joke. Life continued....I had children to raise, a church to help build and God sustained me.  I wouldn't say I thrived but I would say I learned to be content in my circumstances.  The pain was sometimes worse and sometimes better.

Now fast forward to 11-11-11 my husband dies right in front of my eyes.  He is laid out on the ground, grey with his eyes open and they are working on him trying to bring him back.  Thankfully they do but the stress of that experience, the stress of two emergency surgeries, the stress of raising teenagers, pushed my body to it's very limit but I kept going, kept pushing on.

Then Justin died and everything changed. I was so sad, so shocked....even after all we had been through I really believed that Justin would turn around.  He did.  Then he didn't and in His mercy God rescued him out of that cycle, snatched him out of the enemies hand.  I found solace eventually in that.  He had gone to church on that Sunday, took great notes.  Then Monday came, I hate Mondays.  He had a root canal and apparently it just was too tough, he caved.  The text messages show the struggle, the friends that told him not to go back.  He had been clean for over six weeks.

Now for the last year I have been sick, sicker than normal.  Tired, tireder than normal.  Struggling to be the woman I was, trying to figure out who I am even now.  There came a point where I literally could do nothing but go to work put in my time and go home and sleep.  I am always freezing, sleeping with tons of blankets on until suddenly I am hot, I couldn't think straight, couldn't remember much, it was bad and add to that I was having what I thought were anxiety attacks.....I still got up went to work, went to church, prayed for healing, loved people to the best of my ability, served my church, saw my friends, etc.  Life still has to go on, I refuse to lose to this illness.

They told me I was depressed.  I told them I was sad and tired but not depressed.  They told me I had chronic fatigue syndrome.  They told me I had an overload of the epstein bar virus in my body (80% of people have this virus). They told me I needed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds...ummmm no thank you (not saying anything is wrong when necessary but I truly didn't feel that was the issue).   Finally they told me my thyroid was low.  They put me on medication, I felt better, improved but still didn't feel great.  I pushed through because I am passionate about my life, my family, my church, my friends but inside I was mentally beginning to break apart.  I know my limits and I am at that limit.

Now they tell me I have an autoimmune disorder attacking my thyroid its called  Hashimoto's.  Fairly common and often misdiagnosed.  The symptoms are many of the same symptoms I have had for years.  The torture I experience almost daily is feeling extrememly fatigued yet struggling with insomnia(this is getting better).  I have pain in my joints and feel sluggish most of the time.  I am high energy emotionally but my body does not match up.

I leave church early on wed night's.  Evenings are the worst for me, everything I feel is amped up including some strange thyroid storms that for a year I thought were anxiety attacks. I try to stay at church but sitting still(moving is better for me) makes me accutely aware of how tired and achey I feel.  Feeling tired and achey makes me feel emotionally tired and that starts an avalanche of emotions that are better dealt with at home and so I leave.   It's for the best for everyone, if you know what I mean.  

So I say all this to let you know....just because someone looks okay on the outside doesn't mean they are okay.  I am trying to be more authentic about all of my story...braver in every area.  So have some grace for me, but more important have grace for others.  Many illnesses don't show on the outside but it doesn't make them any less real.  You don't know what someone is walking through, ask them or just love them.  Let's just throw the whole judging thing out the window, in this broken world many of us have broken bodies.  One day we won't.  One day everything will be made new so until then let's give each other space to be honest about our struggles and to show up when we can and no guilt when we can't.

So yes, I look well and I rarely complain because I know we are all battling something.  You and I are really not that different.  I just want you to know that sometimes I want to cry because I am so tired and sometimes when you ask how I am I want to say  "shitty" but that wouldn't be very Christian of me.  Instead I say....I am good and the truth is that I am. I can feel bad and still be good because of Jesus.

You people give me ton's of grace, this isn't to say you don't.   But what if we thought about everyone in our lives this way.  We just kept in mind that just because they look all good on the outside doesn't mean they are all good on the inside.  Be grace givers today and always.  Love yourself well and love others.

I love you people. 

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My Heart is Full

I ran across this picture, just the other day.  It was painted way before my life turned upside down and inside out.  I thought my heart ...