Monday, my Weak Day...

This picture, this joy, these boys...sometimes the joy and pain
of being a mother is overwhelming.  

Why do Mondays seem like the sh*ts.  Yes, I just said that but I put a little asterick so maybe that makes it ok?    Focus is difficult, hope is blah, strength is missing, I really hate Mondays.  My son died on a Monday.  Mondays are difficult for a million reasons.  I counted time based on Mondays for so long that I think Mondays became ingrained in my sorrow.

There are no easy answers here, in this weird place.  This place where grief is no longer expected from the outside world, but inside my heart it was just yesterday.

This is the marathon.  It is a sprint to survive. This is the marathon to thrive with the grief.  To drag joy into the grief, to choose hope instead of hopelessness. This is the exchanging that has to happen daily....taking off the grave clothes and resurrecting joy.  It seems I can do it every other day of the week, but Mondays sometimes just drag me down.  I can't get into the swing of things and yet I am obsessed with getting on the ball, starting the week well.   That starts a cycle of condemnation, an old tape runs through my mind quietly whispering "What is wrong with you?"  I want Monday to be a place of victory and strength and yet it is often a vulnerable, scary day where I visit the old instead of live in the new.

I stand at the tomb and cry out,  "DEBBIE come out!"  No one answers.

Unlike Lazarus, I can't seem to find my way out of the tomb.  I lay bound up in the guilt, the questions and the regrets.  Doubt and confusion ebb and flow through my work day.

Let's be honest don't we all have these kinds of "weakdays" sometimes instead of "weekdays"?

In my mind I know all the answers, in my heart I know what I should do.  Doing it, well on Mondays that seems extra hard.  The grave clothes seem to cover me and it's hard to see my true identity. Isn't that what Satan always wants to give us, an identity crisis?

Monday becomes a weak day, not just a weekday.  It's supposed to be a beginning day for me, but if I am not careful and don't govern myself well it becomes a weak day.  I am too weak to stay focused, to weary to hear His voice and I am suceptible to Satans whispers.  Monday becomes condemnation day instead of a Holy day.  Ratz, why did I let this happen again (I know better)?

So I preach the gospel to myself and I keep reminding myself this is not a sprint, it's a marathon.  Just like in a marathon, I sometimes hit the wall.  Today I choose to run my guts out, even though nothing in me feels like I can make it past the next mile marker. I know from experience, I can and I will. I have muscle memory with Jesus, I know how to keep moving forward.

I don't know who I will be when I cross the finish line but this I know......I will cross it, even if I have to crawl across it.  Maybe I will choose to dance across it with a new song in my heart.

So here's to all my friends who have "weakdays" sometimes instead of "weekdays".  Friends, who share their struggles and remind me that tomorrow is another day and joy comes in the morning!

Embracing Transition and Ironic Red Words

The irony of this message I wrote 6/6/12 does not escape me.... This old message found me recently through total accident but fits everything happening so well.  When I wrote this I had no idea what was coming, the message-the word is still a powerful reminder of how to have victory through the uncomfortable process of change and transition.  I changed as little as possible out of the original text, but had to take a little bit of you know who out.  That season will always be special to me but well ya's over.  So enjoy...keep in mind I was preaching it so there are bold words to keep me on track and off my notes and it reads like how I talk....I hate editing. Funny thing, not liking to edit when you love to write. Some day I will edit everything with the help of someone who loves to edit.  Is that you?  
Anyway...change is coming!  Can't wait to share more about all that with you. 

P.S. I added my current notes to this message in ironic red!!!  For some reason this makes me laugh hysterically.  xoxo

I am committed to chasing my dreams and visions like never before!!

Launhcing out and Embracing Transition  preached 6/6/2012

began to pray on this one word….this is a word that I am very familiar with….this is a word that I have to admit I don’t much care for….Transition.  Liking it more now
Transition means change….and quite frankly I don’t much like change.
 I like a well thought out plan, I like organization not surprises.  I like to know right where I am going and how I am going to get there.  Oh sure I change, but left up to me it would just be slow and steady like a river carving out a slightly different edge, however……Boy, no kidding!!!
Jesus after all brought transition.
Hebrews 9:16-17 (MSG) 16-17 Like a will that takes effect when someone dies, the new covenant was put into action at Jesus’ death. His death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, canceling the old obligations and accompanying sins, and summoning the heirs to receive the eternal inheritance that was promised them. He brought together God and his people in this new way.

Now, God sometimes does things slow but often he creates a dam that forces change. When the dam burst, I learned to curse.  bahahaha  No judging.  It felt like the only thing that worked to express my emotions.  

I was thinking about the best example of transition I can come up with and it involves birthing a baby.  When I was pregnant with my son Jacob, we did all the maternity classes and in those classes they talked about transitioning  from one level of labor to another. 
I think there were three levels of labor…well Gary was all prepared with his little cheat sheet of what each level was like and how each season of labor would look…early labor, active labor and transition!! 
Transitional labor is the home stretch but it is also the worst…I will never forget him running to get the nurse because I was throwing up and her coming back into the room and saying oooohhhh she has progressed (I had been at a 2 and suddenly I was an 8) fast she is ready to push this baby out and my ex saying…..wait a minute she didn’t do the second level,  he looks at his little cheat sheet and says the active labor part, we didn’t get to do our breathing….she looked at him kinda funny and said sir whether you are on board or not she is pushing this baby out! 
This is kinda how transitions are, whether we think we are ready or not….here they come!  btw I am pushing now to birth something new!
Transitions are hard but they always precede a new level in our lives…when we push through the transition we will find ourselves in new territory. 
 And yet change or transitions are one of the most feared things that we as human beings encounter.                                               

WE resist it with every fiber of our being.  We love stability.  But the inevitable fact of life is that it always changes. 
The only thing constant is change.
I have had a lot of transition in my life, forced situational transition. Death of my son, loss of a marriage, loss of a church, moving, learning to date, new job, new life, etc.  No shortage here of transition. 
Like in labor, this transition made me sick….physically a little, but spiritually it rocked me and I had to choose to walk out my faith, not dwell on the negative and begin to press forward for the promise Land of hope. 

You see what I have grown to recognize is that God doesn’t bring transition into our life just for the sake of change.  Transition is moving from one point to another.  Moving forward. Moving forward also means leaving what is behind....not easy. 
When we begin to get uncomfortable, when things seem shaky and our way of life is shifting, we need to realize that God is taking us somewhere.  He is repositioning us!

There are things we cannot grasp where we are at, and so God in His wisdom strategically repositions us so that we will be able to access things that we could never get to in the place we had been.  So excited as I hang here suspended in mid-air reaching for the next thing and letting go of some of the old!  Taking the risk, I can see the "new thing" right in front of me and I will not go back.  

I can’t pretend to understand why God has allowed the twist and turns in my life,  but I do know that through that He changed me. 
So I have been journeying my way through this on-going transition which doesn’t mean that there have not been other changes happening at the same time.

Like many of us would say….life keeps changing…evolving and not with my plan but it is God’s perfect plan!
So when I share on transition and embracing it rather than fearing it, please know I am a living, walking testimony to God’s grace to get us through to the other side in victory!
So all that to say….let’s look at
Luke 8:22-25 (MSG)
22 One day he and his disciples got in a boat. "Let's cross the lake," he said. And off they went.
23 It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize.
24 They woke Jesus: "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" Getting to his feet, he told the wind, "Silence!" and the waves, "Quiet down!" They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.
25 Then he said to his disciples, "Why can't you trust me?" They were in absolute awe, staggered and stammering, "Who is this, anyway? He calls out to the winds and sea, and they do what he tells them!"
I want you to catch the symbolism here….The boat (get on board with Jesus) Off they went (Go) The wind was blowing (the unseen forces were at work)  the waves were rolling (the problems we can actually see)  Sometimes just the unseen blowing and battering against our minds can get us off course…but sometimes it’s both the unseen and the seen!
         A side note here:  They were smack dab in the middle of Gods will and still there arose a terrible storm. I often think of this...the discouragement that comes with doing what your are sure you are called to do and yet it fails.  It gets all sideways.  The slow wearing down and giving up the fight.  
In the middle of God’s will we will still face real challenges, loss of job, loss of a dream, loss of a loved one, loss of finances, opposition, conflict….it doesn’t matter what it is, it matters how we respond.   I didn't always get it right, the pain was so great I lost my mind for a bit...true story.
WE have to remember if God brought us to it, He will bring us through it! I got through it, it did not kill me.  It made me different and better.  The pain ravaged me but also left me naked and ready for change. The flesh that was eaten away, the pride that died, in the end it is good. Honestly often at the end of a bad day I will say, "Well, no one died so it's still a good day."  Talk about perspective change. 

When the storm is raging don’t doubt God’s plan, don’t waver in your determination.  We must remember the storm is not the destination but the pathway to the destination.  Don’t ask why the storm has come, ask how to get through it!
So I want you to get 4 main points out of this text today.
1.    Jesus says, Get into the boat there is somewhere we need to go…..THERE IS A PLACE OF PURPOSE HE WANTS TO GET US TO…..We need to transition to the other side….He knew the need on the other side…He was positioning them to minister to a need and impact a city! They hit the shore and deliverance came….if you keep reading you see that as they came on shore a naked, possessed man came to them….Jesus delivered him and then Jesus sent him on his way proclaiming how good God was…. So you see that in order for them to be in a place of purpose they would have to cross a sea and weather a storm.
To get to this new place of ministry there were going to be real challenges….They had to leave the multitude, the multitude represented the followers…they were following but their level of commitment was one of MEDIOCRITY.  I don't know if I would be that hard on them today.  They hadn't been through enough with Jesus to understand the level of trust they could put in HIM.  I know Him today in a different way.  I trust Him in a new way because of the storms. 

Their focus was on what Jesus could do for them, to get in the boat you have to be focused on what you can do in the name of Jesus!  We will all face moments of decision….where you will have to decide to follow Jesus IN A NEW LEVEL OF FAITH or to stay in the safe, comfortable place with the multitude.  You can stay with the multitude and eat the manna or the fishes and the loaves…In other words you can be saved and enjoy the bread of life or you can go, you can move into the adventure and purposes God has for you and be a part of the miraculous not just a bystander!!    Settlers or developers….We will all have to make the choice when Jesus says…Let’s go! I am saying Let's go!!
If we are unwilling to let go of the old we will not experience the new things God has for us! I am letting go and not even afraid, well most of the time not afraid. 

There are times where we are faced with decisions and we could play it safe, stay with the crowd but God is calling us to step into the boat and go to the other side!  Bring revolution to the world….isn’t that what Jesus did??
We have to learn to be strong and courageous and get into the boat so that we can be positioned for great things!

Three times in Deuteronomy Moses commands the people to be strong and of good courage….specifically he is talking to the younger generation because the older had an epic failure and would not cross over into the promise land and so to those who would he said BE STRONG AND OF GOOD COURAGE FOR YOUR Lord goes with you!! I am braver than I have ever been, its so much funner!!  Is that a word? 
That brings me to point #2

2.   Storms will come, but don’t forget who’s with you…..
Don’t forget who is in the boat with you!  What we possess is greater than the challenges we face….
When we really believe this then we will be ready to possess the Promise Land. 
In the greatest trials of my life….I worship….singing to my iphone my heart is calmed as I realize Jesus is with me.  I can feel His presence and I was reminded that this didn’t take Him by surprise.                                                                                  
That we were not alone in this….the creator of the universe the invisible God becomes visible to me in that moment.  Boat or ambulance, home or office, church or street, whatever vehicle God is using to move us…whatever storm we are facing HE IS WITH US! 
3.   Watch your words!!  They cried out we are going to drown….watch your confession….I think this aggravated Jesus….  We must learn to say what Jesus said…Peace be still!   Even when I struggle with thoughts of fear, I did my best not to give voice to them.  Though the storm may rage we too can have peace in the midst.  Jesus who lives in us offers us that peace…We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  Learn to control what you say, what you confess….force yourself to speak good things, hopeful things even in the midst of difficult transition.  Open your eyes and your heart to see the good in the difficult, it is always there.  Let that rule in your heart and therefor come out of your mouth. 
4.   Look for the fresh revelation!  Coming through the storm often gives us fresh revelation of who God is!!                                     The disciples suddenly had a new awe and respect for Jesus….He calms the storm, He commands the wind…New understanding of Jesus had come to their hearts and every transition we face has the ability to show us the power of Jesus if we will embrace it rather than resent it!                                                                                                                                                  Watch for it, He is there and He wants us to know Him in new ways.  My fresh revelations come in some of the most difficult of moments, but they have also come progressively as I have seen my trust in Him grow. 
I want to move quickly towards the destiny God has for us, I don’t want to waste time doing meaningless things…I want to make every minute count for eternity. 
Ok so
#1.  Get into the boat!  There is a purpose.
#2.  Don’t forget who’s with you!
#3.  Watch your words
#4   Look for fresh revelation!
God is using every transition to help us reach our God given destinies, He provides protection, direction, encouragement and accountability as we are together in the body of Christ….and here is the good news….Jesus said in Matthew 16 that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!!
I want to leave you with one last verse…
 Isaiah 40:27-31 (MSG)
27 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, "GOD has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me"? 28 Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? GOD doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. 29 He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. 30 For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. 31 But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.
I know we all struggle with wanting to complain….because life seems somehow unfair but….God knows about the difficulties and problems of His people.

If we belong to Him, He is able to quiet the storms of life, and we his children are able to learn in the storm.
When we find ourselves in the midst of a storm, instead of sitting and crying and being upset with God….we need to get excited because He is repositioning us for greater things!!

He is strategically repositioning us so that we can access more and more of His grace and power because we must bring His kingdom to earth.  WE must be plundering hell…fighting for the lost at every opportunity!!
Are you getting this?  He is pushing us to change, because transition is good… I am learning to rely more and more on God because I must.  I put a heavier demand on Him because I cannot do it in my own strength. 

Beloved, regardless of who we are, if we are going to move with God through this earth, it will cost us somethingIt felt like a high price, but somehow it all makes sense now in some weird way.  It's all the living, all the trauma, all the loss that has taught me a new thing, that broke open my creative heart and broke off the necessary things!  
It’s not going to be easy, we will have to launch out in the boat, we will face storms, we will be approached by mad men in need of deliverance….But God will furnish us strength and equip us with everything we need if we will be bold and courageous.

If we will step into the boat….not kicking and screaming but genuinely saying to the Lord….I’m ready, take me to new places…change doesn’t scare me into paralysis but rather I am excited about what you are doing God and I will confess that you are doing a good thing regardless of what it looks like in the natural!! 

So maybe today you are on the edge of the shore and Jesus is saying come on we have somewhere we need to go, get in the boat or maybe you are in the boat and the storm is raging, and Jesus is saying will you trust me right now in the midst of this or are you going to scream out in doubt and fear or maybe He is giving you fresh revelation right now….

The bottom line is He doesn’t want us to play it safe in the multitude, Jesus doesn’t want us to settle for “just enough” like the Israelites…..He wants us to launch out in hope…to overcome the storm and be overcomers…to pass the test so that it can become our testimony….to allow ourselves to be repositioned for greatness…this is our time to change our world.  

Isn't it so funny that I wrote that in 2012 and my whole life is different now.  Are you laughing, you should is meant to be contagious.

Love you my precious tribe!  This is just the beginning of something so stunning, of a turning of all things to good, of a tsunami of hope and a well spring of grace.  Soon and very soon I will share more.  Until then, thanks for joining me on this journey and loving all the bits and pieces of me. 

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