Muzzle the Monster

SO...funny story, I had started this blog about the big bad wolf but had only sketched out a thought for the artwork.  Then as I was scrolling through the events on Facebook I saw this painting class so I took it!  It was a great experience and I loved the teacher.  To me it is typical that when you have something going on in your mind, writing or art it all comes together in unexpected ways.  Trust the process, trust God.

TAMING THE MONSTER 

The fear I lived with on a daily basis is ridiculous.  Always waiting for the "other shoe to drop".  There are seasons where it seemed to subside and seasons where it seemed to rule my life.  We all have fear.  I write about it often because I think it is such a dominant theme in our lives.  We live with rational fear and we live with irrational fear.  It manifest in many ways; fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of success, fear of risk, fear of unknown, fear of death, fear of being hurt(isolation), etc.  I could go on and on about all the different types of fear but each fear we have is individually wrapped in our life story, the circumstances of our past and our daily life.  Fear brings friends to the party like worry, isolation, anxiety, depression, codependency and insomnia.  Fear is highly individualized and yet at its very core the same.  Fear is nothing but love turned upside down.  

Recently I had this vision of fear, a picture instead of just the feeling. 
I saw little Red Riding Hood all grown up.  In her hand was a leash and on the end of the leash the big bad wolf.  He was muzzled, unable to bark at all.  I sat and thought about my old friend "fear" who at one time in my life had been the driving force.  Fear of rejection, fear of disapproval, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, fear for my children, fear of it all crumbling down, all of these things were out of control in one way or another in my life.  Ravaging my mind with constant racing thoughts of terror.  

Fear had become so familiar, I didn't even realize the intrusion it had in my life.  Fear was a constant companion. I thought I was doing as well as I could, and maybe I was.  I had a child that was addicted to drugs, a high pressure job (life) and two more children to be concerned about.  In that seasons life was thick with untamed thoughts, anxiety and restless nights.  Nights were spent ruminating on my fears and my days filled with striving to control my life in order to calm the fears. Some of my fears were rational but often those were overshadowed by the  monster of irrational fear.  I was happy but lurking beneath the surface was a tsunami of fear.  All of my striving in my own strength could not keep it down.  My faith stayed strong, it kept me a float in the ocean of destruction but I could not seem to win the battle.  I am forever grateful to those that surrounded my during those days and spoke truth and hope into my life. 

So what changed?  How did I go from that person who was controlled by fear to a person living predominantly a fearless life.  Well, in all honesty the worst happened and I survived.  Pain changes people, it just does.  I had to look hard at my life (it was a shambles) and build a new one.  I had to choose love and joy.  I truly am living out my dreams, taking risk and sometimes failing but always winning.  Winning, because I take the risk.   I am an artist, braving to do things the very things I am afraid of and doing my best to live in love.  Trying everyday not to let fear win.  I still struggle with fear in some areas of my life, those areas where the deepest wounds are but it is not consuming.  

Let me state this  again very clearly, I still struggle with fear but it is manageable now.  I try to stay engaged in the battle daily.  Here are my notes on Fear.  

1.  With fear there are two battles---one to get free, the other to stay free.  Life has to be intentional.  We can learn and grow in our understanding of fear, tear ourselves loose of it's grip but if we are not intentional we will find ourselves right back in it's grip.  It is a lifelong battle.  Fill your life with intentional choices of love not fear.  
2.  Much of our fear is based on our past.  Our wounds typically direct our fears.  Learn to heal those wounds, don't give them any more power over your life by allowing them to dictate how you live.  Here is an example from my life:  I was afraid of my art not being good enough (okay well actually I was afraid of not being enough all the time ) because I thought my art wouldn't be good enough(it was discouraged in my circle at the time) I quit doing something I love, painting.  I could give you a million more examples but you are likely already thinking of your own.  Don't let the past dictate your future!
3.  Quit feeding your fear.  Stop thinking on it, stop ruminating over and over about what could go wrong and flip it on it's head.  I love that quote, But what if I fall oh my darling what if you fly? When your mind is racing ask yourself these questions:  Is this real? What is the worst that can happen?  What is the best that can happen?  Then quit feeding your fear by rehearsing it in your mind over and over and start focusing on what the best that could happen is.  God has given us the ability to retrain our brains, start thinking on those things that are good and lovely.  Think on love. 
4.  Realize that we see things often as the big bad wolf when in reality fear is just a dog that you control.  Put it on a leash and muzzle it.  I always think of this acronym...FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real.  Seventy five percent of the time, fear is not based in any type of reality.  YOU have power over it. 
5.  Fear will keep you from living fully in the present, rob you of your love and joy.  Fear keeps us focused on the future and protecting ourselves and our loved ones but that focus keeps us from living with love in our present because we are living with fear instead of love.  The absence of fear is actually a childlike faith, a joy in today, a love and zest for life. 
6.  To realize your true passions and potential you must be willing to embrace fear and take risk. Once I survived the loss of my son and the loss of my marriage I realized that i could survive anything.  You can survive anything.  I just started tuning into my fear and running towards it, that is what changes it.   I leaned into the scary things and found out they had no real power.  I failed and failed again and then eventually succeeded.  Failure is part of success but if you refuse to try you will never experience the exhilaration of success.  Choose to believe in the power of love to carry you through failure.  

I spent a great deal of my life trying to protect myself.  Creating a world where everyone loved me, where everything would be perfect.   I thought I lived in love but actually the house I built was founded on fear.  I filled it with as much love as I could but in the end a bad foundation will always crumble and fall apart.  Turns out it was a house of cards.  We really have no control over life, it is in the makers hands.   Choose to believe that in His hands love will win. 

I haven't won the battle but I am building a better foundation.  A foundation built on truth, faith and self love.  It is not wrong to love yourself, it is necessary.  I loathed myself for many years, treated myself poorly and believed I deserved to be treated like a dog on a leash.  That was what fear had done to me, my life of self protection was really just a form of slavery.  

I can only tame the monster of fear with love.  Love for myself, love for my God and love for others.  If I love myself I will fight against allowing fear to rob me of life's best.  If I love God I will trust Him and His plan.  If I love others fearlessly I will experience authentic love.  All of these things muzzle the monster of fear in my life.  This is my choice, what will you choose?

 Life isn't always easy friends, but it is "brutiful".  A mixture at times of beauty and brutal experiences.  There is always love.  Look for it, fight for it and believe in it. Thanks for reading tribe.  I write for me and I write in hopes that it will help others. 





The Messy Struggle

My messy self and proud of it~  

The Messy Struggle


strug·gle
ˈstrəɡəl/
verb
  1. 1.
    make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.

    "before she could struggle, he lifted her up"

    synonyms:fightgrapplewrestlescufflebrawlspar;
    informalscrap
    "James struggled with the intruders"
noun
  1. 1.
    a forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or resist attack.
    synonyms:fightscufflebrawltussle, wrestling bout, skirmishfracasmeleeMore


I have struggled with messy my whole life, just messy in general.  Sure, I had a "planner" side, a control side and I wrestled with perfection issues but lurking there was always the messy, wild child me.  This me that wanted to be foot loose and fancy free, not impress anyone, not live under a microscope and most of all not care! The struggle was real to get free of that restraint and constriction.  The brawl of control and perfection left me bloody and bruised, as it was a fight I could not win.  The messy me wanted freedom to be integrated into my whole life. 

Don't get me wrong, of course I care about the most important things in my life, my loves.  Those I love, deserve and get my messy self unreservedly and lavishly as much as is within my power.  I love a huge circle of family and friends that love me back and are not afraid of my messy life and my messy struggles.

I struggle with messy emotions, messy decisions and messy relationships.  I have had messy friendships that have turned out beautiful and messy emotions that reveal my heart in ways I could not see until the tsunami of emotions ran it's course.  I have a messy, disorganized brain that runs a muck like a bull in a china shop. 

I have come to love messy, because no matter how hard I tried I could not keep my life together.   I mean life happened and it made me feel like a failure to not be able to keep it all neat and tidy.  A neat and tidy life is a short lived myth.  I had no choice but to embrace the messy. Messy brings freedom to evolve.  Messy is allowing yourself to be created along the way, taking different paths and living in faith and hope in such a way that you can flow with whatever is happening and let's face it....its always happening.

My messy self competes with the intelectual side of my brain that wants all things orderly and planned but more and more my messy self is winning.  I am taking more risk, living without a plan (sort of), being bold and chasing dreams.  Messy feels comfortable now, I think I learned it through painting.  Painting something and trying so hard to make it perfect and then realizing it turns out better when it free flows.  Thats what creativity teaches us....free flow, you can't control you have to just let it develop.

I have come to love my messy self.  Messy is adventure and fun and sometimes it is difficulty and unraveling.  However it always feels like freedom even when there is still responsibility.  It is a better balance for me, it creates a joyful me.

What a great adventure life has turned out to be and this second chapter shall be greater than the last!!  Try it, take a risk and chase a dream, it will get messy but it will also help you become footloose and fancy free(to coin a phrase I have heard recently).  Its not a bad way to be, don't take it to far, be responsible for your stuff but cut loose and free flow.  Today is your day to choose how you live it. 

Thanks for joining me on this journey, hope it encourages you in yours!!

with much love,
Debbie

A moment that changed everything

A Moment that Changed Everything

I remember the call.  The disbelief.  The panic of his Father on the other end of the line.  He just walked in and found him like that, unconscious.  I think he's dead, he said.  They are working on him, the EMT’s.  They are doing CPR.  He is giving me a description of all that is happening. I am listening intently, my husband and I are listening on the phone and we are praying. He is calling from his phone because mine is going dead....I am screaming at Justins Dad....don’t let them quit working on my boy!  My mind is racing, I can see it all in my head. We  are disconnected, my phone goes dead.  I am sobbing great breaths, Darrik is there....my boys.  My thoughts are racing, where is Jacob?  Luke is at school he will be home soon. My mind is racing through a thousand scenarios. 

We are back on the phone with Larry, Justin is unresponsive.  He describes whats happening.  I fall to my knees, sick to my stomach in unbelief.  I tell Darrik, call someone to get people praying....calls are going out but I am numb, glued to a phone listening to my ex husband sob and mumble about what is happening.  It all boils down to a moment...time stands still...they are taking my boy away.

Larry says they are still working on him....but I know, it’s been to long.  He says they didnt turn the siren on and somewhere in my mind I know, I just know.  Im gonna throw up.  I stumble to the bathroom and reach out to steady myself pulling the toilet cover down onto my face. I throw up, then reach up to feel the bump rising on my face.

My boys come home, sobbing disbelief fills my home.  We don't know for sure I keep saying, pray for a miracle.  We stand in a circle and pray for a miracle. My husband of twenty years cries beside me.  He who is always strong crumbles, my boys unravel...Larry calls, our boy is gone.  Our son is gone, their brother is gone.  There is no miracle.

The unexpected has happened.  Our world suddenly implodes.  People come, the house is full and calls are made.  I sit. I sit where I always sit, at the kitchen table.  My brain goes into slow motion.  I think I must be dreaming, I long to slap myself awake but I know that is just wishful thinking.  I am awake, this is really happening.  Where is Jesus?  I am screaming inside my head while people play busy all around me.  Quiet whispers, uncomfortable pauses, no one knowing quite what to say. Children sitting among us peculiarly quiet.  Tears running silently down my face.  I need Jesus, I need a scripture....I can't think, i just can’t think. 

Suddenly, they are just there.  In the sea of compassionate and loving faces, they float on the surface.  They bring kleenix and a basket of goodies, packed with the wisom of those that know.  They, whom we had helped five years before when their son had gone on to heaven.  Now, they were here.   Head on shoulders, sobs coming...they don't have answers but they do have hope.  They carry sorrows scars, but they are still among the living.  How, how could you bear this kind of pain?  I can't do it, I tell them.  Yes, yes you can.  The grace will carry you through.

Unexpectedly we share something, something horrible and devastating.  We worship together and then they share a verse as only they could.

57 The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; and merciful and devout men are taken away, with no one considering that the uncompromisingly upright and godly person is taken away from the calamity and evil to come [even through wickedness].
2 He [in death] enters into peace; they rest in their beds, each one who walks straight and in his uprightness.  
Isaiah 57:1-2

Immediately I question how that verse can fit my son’s situation, a struggling drug addict that loved God and died with a needle in his arm.  He wasn't righteous...and then clearly I hear Jesus whisper in my soul...My righteousness is enough, Justin was clothed in my righteousness.  He died a sinner saved by grace. 

I sigh, I breathe again.  My son, rescued from the evil to come.  This I can wrap my mind around, this I can hold unto.  These fellow strugglers, these friends, planted the hope needed to survive this first initial shock. 

Sleep came, fitful tear filled sleep and as soon as I began to rise to the surface of lucidity I am jolted awake by reality.  Anxiety crashes in and with my heart beating, palms sweating I rise and thus begins a long journey of choices.  We choose, and by we I mean us.  Those who are left behind to struggle through the pain that can't be healed, the grief that paints everyday with new meaning. 

The redemptive work of Christ is often a violent work.  Desolate, desert times and brutal times of attack fill the stories of real life people from the Bible.  Shipwrecks, beatings, fear, isolation and false accusations preceed victory throughout the Bible.  Our own Jesus through death brought Victory over death.  Pain is never wasted in scripture but used to bring forth growth, establish trust in His goodness and propel us to new victories.  You see life will never be perfect, but God is.  My life will never be perfect, that much has become clear.  

On that day our somewhat perfect life became marked by sorrow.  Paths changed, pummeled by tragedy our lives were reshaped.  Where we had been filled with hope for Justins future and dread for the possible consequences of his struggle in and out of addiction there was now only loss. Hope gone.

And so we journeyed on.  We stayed planted in the community of faith and Jesus wore the flesh of friends and family.  They shared our pain and gave us grace and space to grieve.  They shared their stories, listened patiently to ours, brought meals, wrote cards, shared scripture and sat for hours around our kitchen table.  Sometimes, in the darkest moments they let me scream and sob...gave me permission to unravel and be angry, but they never let me set up camp in that dark place. 

Along the journey there have been treasures in the darkness.  I had to search for them, dig deep to find them.  Things that could only be learned through painful experiences.  To teach me that I don't need greater understanding, what I really need is greater trust. To teach me that I can praise louder than the pain and when I praise in the midst of the pain it reveals the wonder of the empowering grace of God for others to see...I learned it's never just about me.  To teach me that heaven is my home, not this earth and so I hold on loosely to this world. 

God is not the author of the hell that permeates this earth, but He is the redeemer of it all: the one who turns it all to our good. He is using what the enemy intends for our defeat instead to make us stronger, more compassionate and more invested in heaven.  To create warriors for His Kingdom, that are fearless because they know this is not their home.  To create warriors who don't ask why anymore, but just follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  I am no warrior but I am stronger than ever. 

He uses the most painful experiences to be the birthplace of our deepest passion and most profound encounters with God. My son was rescued, his greatest moment happened at the same time that I suffered my greatest loss. The pain has never left, subsided but never left.  

Life is valuable because it ends, life is valuable because it is a precurser to real life.  We are created to be conquerers but victory always involves a bloody battle.  Sometimes it is physical and sometimes it is a mental battle but it is a daily battle one way or the other.  There is so much beauty to be seen and sometimes it shines even brighter in the dark.  

I wish I was all better, I wish my life hadn't crumbled into a million pieces but I can't change what has happened only how I react, how I am changed by what has happened.  I haven't done it perfectly but I have done my best.  Five years later I am still untangling the pain, still examining my complicated relationship with my God and hoping for Gods best possible outcome for my life despite my human frailty.  I am still fighting for hope every day of my life, still fighting to live my life with joy, still fighting to believe the best is possible, fighting for my dreams and most of all fighting for a chance to bring glory to God in the midst of this lovely, brutiful life. 

For the most part I find happiness in the "new things".  In the new grandbaby coming, in the new friendships, in the new me, in the new art and in the new life that is slowly being laid out before me step by step.  I am no warrior, just a fighter and I am a believer in hope. 

Thanks  for joining me on this journey.  Be encouraged, we can each survive the worst and find hope, healing and joy.  Dig deep, search hard and hold on to hope.  I still believe it is going to be a great next chapter. 

Debbie






This Sacred Journey



This Sacred Journey



pain and loss
hope and strength
tears and fragmented life
deepest pain and dazzling joy
valley deep and desert dry
mountain top and vision fueled

shadowy and hopeless
joy and piercing pain
confusion and clarity
in and out of light
endless and forever

friends and enemies
dark anguish and shimmering light
unwavering faith and painful disappointment
difficult and yet possible
lost and yet found

scarred and enlightened
truth and revelation
power and pain
trauma and grace
journey and expansion
life and merciful death
eternity and unspeakable joy
sacred

A NEW THING






“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands.  Isaiah 43: 19-20??

Before I was a wife, a mother and a pastor, I was an artist.  I dreamed of painting every day for the rest of my life.  I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Art, then life happened.  It does that, doesn't it.  Life has its twist and turns, it takes you places you could never have dreamed of and you end up on a new trajectory.  

I found new ways to express my creativity through messages, event decorating, scrapbooking, fliers, any opportunity that came my way. The true artist, the confident, abandoned to the process, artist was locked deep away in my soul.  
Locked away for way too many years, starved for affection, my inner artist was dying.  She was locked away and slumbered in that place hoping to one day be awakened again. 

Everything changed in 2011 tragedy struck and with it a need to process and the only thing that worked was journaling, bleeding out on paper.   

Then Carrie Todd (my hero)offered an art journal class at the church that cracked my soul wide open.  The church became a hotbed of creativity, we began painting during worship sessions, I began painting at home in an art journal and feeling like a bird with a broken wing.  Not quite flying but at least fluttering my wings, stretching, jumping and growing.  Slowly I started painting on canvas, finding my way bit by bit.  

Then in 2013 my son Justin, went to heaven.  I couldn't process.  My brain wasn't functioning and slowly I started painting.  Everything was dark in the beginning, black shapes and black words that were haunting me.  The more I painted,journaled and spent time in God's presence the pain became different.  I began to be able to own it, accept it, understand it and the colors became brighter.  I will never be without the sacred scar, an unhealed wound that will often be reopened with just a thought, a memory or even someone elses pain that brings mine to the surface.  I live with it in a Holy place, the secret is I live with it but not in it.  

Then in 2015 my world unraveled after finding out my then husband had been unfaithful basically our entire marriage(except four years, he explained).  As I listened to him tell me the different women I once again found myself unable to process.  In the beginning I just tried to wake up and not weep all day, the culmination of loss had just been too much.  But God.

Now today, the Lord has healed what was so broken.  It was a process, a creative process and a deep heart work process.  I had to dig deep into my cycles of self destruction:people pleasing, bad boys, fear, co dependence, etc.  There were cycles so deeply embedded that it took some real revelation from God to see them for what they really are. I am not done with the work, it continues on.  

These things....these cycles were just lurking behind the curtain of my life, masked in good things.  Like everything in our lives there is a good side and a bad side.  Balance is so key, but well....I had no balance. My level of intensity and devotion became a negative and that became ingrained and kept me out of balance.  Well, that among a myraid of other things. The "other things" we will save for another day. 

We all have those "things" that are just a part of us, but we can break free of them.  That's exactly what I have been working on.  

Here is the HOPE nugget:  it's working.  

Bringing things into the light, acknowledging my broken pieces and allowing Jesus into those places is working.  I see myself much more clearly, I love myself much more deeply, I love what I create regardless of what others think, I love God and trust Him in a whole new way.  

I HAVE PEACE!!  Okay, I have peace most of the time. I am not immune to the occassional freak out or melt down.  

All that to say, I am an artist and a counselor.  This is who I am, who God created me to be.  I don't need to fight it, or become someone or something else.  I just need to live in it, walk in it and experience the freedom that comes from being recklessly in love with the dreams and visions God has given me.  

Thirtythree years ago I was a kid in college who dreamed of being an artist and helping people(I worked with aquatics for brain injury recovery).  Thirty three years later I find myself having the life experience that has equipped me for that dream.  Who could have known all the twist and turns that would take me on this journey or what it would take to unlock the creativity that had been shut down 25 years ago (that is a whole other blog that needs to be written).  Seriously?  I sold motor oil, then became a pastor, then went and got my Master's in Biblical Counseling, completing and then teaching in the International School of Ministry all the while learning from an incredible community of friends. 


Friends, God knew all along what HE was creating and HE sent you to me.  Some of you were for a season and some of you are for a lifetime. 

Life is crazy sometimes but often things that look like they will kill you are actually resurrecting you!  No pain is wasted, no struggle without it's value, every last bit of your life experience is bringing forth good.  

The seed in me died at some point and life kept me focused and growing but now.....a new thing is bursting forth.  The years of being fearless, of choosing to live and not die, the brave lessons have all culminated for such a time as this.  

Everyone who has loved me shares in this, you taught me what real love was, you showed me such intimate care that I could see Jesus in you.  You stood in the darkness with me, you carried the pain when I couldn't and you believed, you always believed in me. You people, my tribe you are all an intricate part of this new thing.  

Be happy for me, join me in finding more freedom.  I really thought I was free(that's the funny thing)but there is always more!  Levels and levels of freedom to be experienced but we must engage, be vigilant to seek the deep work of the Holy Spirit and see the ugly.  Seeing the ugly is exactly what helps us to burn it down and watch the ashes turn into beauty.


It's hard work but worth every minute of it.  So for now, I am chasing my dreams.  Painting every minute I can and trying to sell my art.  Working my job and life with distinct purpose and not for anyone else but for me.  I have the power and confidence to design my own life.  I am no longer willing to settle in any area of my life.  I love myself that much.  Amazing isn't it. 

I hope you will join me in this journey.  Follow my progress, it is going to get crazy and I hope it will encourage other crazies!  I am a hope enterpreneur, a confident, bold, lover of God and others and all I want is to be ME and lead others to be their best THEM.  LETS DO IT FRIENDS. 



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 know....it'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 be...joy 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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