Friday, August 27, 2010

Life is like a mortar and pestle

Life is like a mortar and pestle

I got to go to parts of the Glory of Intercession conference last weekend at IHOP Atlanta. As I mentioned in the previous post, my heart was heavy and I wasn’t “feeling it”. I went anyway because besides knowing I needed it, I had already paid. The first service in, Corey Russell was talking about how we have to get our minds set on heavenly things. Often what God does for me or says to me is not what is going on corporately. I remember a few verses really stood out to me amid other topics that were being taught on. I kept hearing Colossians 3:1 "Set your mind on things above where Christ is seated". It struck me as he mentioned when the disciples asked him how to pray, Jesus immediately responded with “our father in heaven YOUR name is holy!” It was as though the Holy Spirit was highlighting to me come up here.

I went feeling overwhelmed, stressed, strained and pretty well maxed out emotionally. Billy Humphrey got up and started making some declarations in the spirit. Two things he said that seemed to break the delicately balanced emotional wall I was trying hard to maintain were; that the season of widowhood was over and a bruised reed he would not crush, but that in fact he would blow on that reed until it was set ablaze.

At those declarations, I lost it. So I said, Ok Lord, You keep saying “come up here” where YOU are. What is it that I’m supposed to see? I imagined that I was with God as a friend and we were looking down together on my kids and me. Then the image of this little mortar and pestle I have popped into my head. I know that you use this in cooking, among other things. I looked up the words and in the Latin; the mortar is the “receptacle for pounding" and the pestle means “pounder”. So there we are… me the mortar and God, life, the enemy… the “pounder”. The only time I have ever seen one used was by Scott in the kitchen while making pesto. You place the herb and then crush it, releasing the fragrance and flavor; after it is crushed you add olive oil to it. When I saw this image while at IHOP, I knew what God was saying. I felt like God was asking if I would agree with His heart in the crushing process. I also felt like He said He would release the aroma of Christ through this very crushing.  All of life in this earthly tent is about perspective.  His is the only perspective that matters, so I want to know what He is doing!

To know that God sees me and hears my cry changes everything. To know that I am not forgotten. To know that these pains will produce the aroma of Christ. To know that momentary and light affliction is producing a weight of glory far beyond comparison. To know that I can partner with and agree with the heart of God on this matter of crushing. YES JESUS! Always YES.

I can’t describe the weight that lifted (the weight lifted far before the puffy eyes went down). Day two at the conference, I had the kids with me all day. Many things didn’t go right. I didn’t get to hear the majority of the morning service because Simeon was terrified of a screaming kid in childcare area. They took a short late nap, which caused me to miss the afternoon service. We had to leave before night service preaching started. I felt like the happiest, most optimistic person though! I got to dance with my kids in worship and my heart was alive and the kids were really great!

I pray that I can walk in the Spirit often enough to really know God is always for me. My circumstances or emotions at any given time are unreliable. He is good, He is God. He has a plan to bring His kingdom to the earth and is looking for people through whom He can work. I believe He loves me and will use the least measure necessary to get the results of sanctification in my life. I will agree with His heart over this life.

I pray that you will set your mind on things above and see your life and circumstances from His perspective and find there is fullness of joy in His presence forever (Psalm 16:11).

The Down Side

Thursday August 19th

The downside of the wounds of grief on the heart is that just having a difficult day or a “down day” can become a black hole that threatens to suck you in for an unknown quantity of time. I woke this am with 1 Thessalonians 5:16 in my head; it refers to being joyful always and giving thanks in everything. Somewhere between waking and 8 am, the sun seemed to hide and the “funk” came around me. The funk for me is the unexplainable sadness that appears from nowhere and seems to be here to stay a while. Is it my anniversary a couple of weeks ago that leaves a lingering emotional dip in my heart; or is it my birthday around the corner? These times serve to remind me that we no longer share these things…only I am here to remember the plans for a lifetime we dreamed together.

Thursday, I went to the house of prayer prepared to just BE with God (not do, not praying for things in my life or anyone else’s, just to sit WITH Him). I went in hopes that my time with Jesus would realign the focus of my heart on Him until His faithfulness and goodness moves back from my head to my heart. God was so good as I was overwhelmingly reminded that it is so significant that I simply come. Not what I am able to bring to Him but just to BE. So often I strive. Even when I am aware of it, I strive to not …well strive. Work, work, work. I get sucked into estimating how God views me and feels about me based on how I view myself and feel about myself. If I feel productive and great, God must be proud…but if I have succumbed to the funk, there must be some disappointment on His part because I am disappointed that the truth of His word doesn’t seem to be lifting me out the way we would expect (me and my view of God’s heart toward me at times= we).

Recently, I put Simeon to bed and he quickly closed his eyes and started that rhythmic breathing that shows sleep is setting in. I thought about how much I enjoy that he is at peace and rest in my presence. I also love when one of my kids has a little boo-boo and the solution is just in my holding them. Not significant to the physical, but great medicine for their hearts. Some of my most enjoyable times as a parent are actually in these moments when my child is doing the least to “earn” my affection. They see the joy in my face when they “get it right” or make the right choice whether it be sharing or speaking politely. These DO make me happy (and help in keeping peace). These still don’t compare to the fellowship of our hearts that takes place in the stillness of “everything is alright with the world because we’re together”.

Thursday my heart was heavy and hurting. God so spoke to my heart that delights in me and enjoys me…not just when I think things are going well, but even when I feel sad. He let me sit in His lap and reminded me that when I come to the end of myself and find only His presence will do; those are some of His favorite times too.

In that, I can give thanks! Bless the Lord, Oh my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I have been so busy lately.  Overwhelmingly so actually.  Between just trying to keep up with a two and three year old, the house of prayer, and my on-going house project...I am often overwhelmed. 

On the "busy" 2 and 3 year olds.  They are so great.  So challenging much of the time, but such a joy also.  I taught Simeon how to say I love you in Spanish tonight.  Last Sunday morning, he woke up first and those first few minutes are the BEST snuggle times.  I sat with him and after about 5 minutes he looked at my dress and said, "ohhh, flowers.  Mama pretty".  Isn't that the sweetest thing?!?  Just a couple of days later though he wouldn't let me kiss him; I got him anyway and he said yucky as he wiped the infected go figure.  Eliya is really thinking a lot these days.  She is remembering everything and piecing things together I wouldn't expect her to.  I continue to ask God for wisdom in how to lead these little ones to Him and through this life. 

At the house of prayer we had a 6 week internship that ended the beginning of July.  It was filled with prayer room hours, meeting weekly at the Toccoa Falls College Campus to ask God to move there this coming year,  learning and practicing meditating on the Word and listening for God's voice and teachings on topics like intimacy with God, Israel and Eschatology.  It was a great time and really built us up as a prayer community.  I also got some help with leading our main Tuesday night worship and intercession time these past several weeks from a friend, Anna Kate, home from college for the summer.  It was a blessing in many ways to have help with this aspect of the house of prayer! 

My on-going house project is...well...going on!  It's been a big encouragement to see how God has seen and heard my requests.  We moved out of our house early January and minor remodels became major and we've been displaced since then.  My in-laws graciously let us take over their house for the past few months.  After money ran out and before the project was near complete, I struggled with the fact that I was not seeing many of the things I know to be true of God.  The Word says He's a Husband, and a Father, and a Provider...but I had a house that for almost 8 months I haven't been able to settle in with my kids.  Knowing that God's word is true, I assumed that I wasn't doing something right.  Maybe not asking in the right way or praying with enough faith.  Maybe there was some lesson I hadn't gotten just right to "release the blessing or response" as you hear some preachers teach.  I was so frustrated.  At one of the many breakdowns along this journey, I cried out to God and heard Him say Job.  I'm far too optimistic to really care for Job's story in the Bible, but I skimmed all the headings and saw that what his three friends were saying was much like the accusation I had against myself.  They basically said the principle exists that God blesses the righteous and curses the wicked.  What was TRUE in this story was that these men spoke for God but didn't know His ways, mind or heart.  Through reading this story, I felt like God was saying (something I've heard before) that He wasn't ignoring my prayer, but answering another one at the same time.  I've asked and have been asking to be purified.  I want to be holy.  I want to KNOW God.  With circumstances like these, the enemy of our soul wants to lie to us about who God is and who we are before Him...and God wants to allow us to get a little more to the end of ourselves so His life can be raised up in us.  I believe that God said to me "If I had asked you to go through this season and come out of it just a little closer, would you have said YES?"  and with that perspective, I would absolutely have said yes.  So I realize that I haven't even come close to walking it out well.  I've been frustrated, short with my family, lacking in trust, hopeless, helpless, and felt completely out of control A LOT of the past 8 months.  In spite of all of that, God sent some amazing people from my church and some family have stepped in and come alongside of me in an overwhelming and humbling way and my house is nearly done.  We will be living there by next weekend.  God is so good.  No His ways are not my ways and His timing is DEFINITELY not mine; but He's so good and I pray I have grace to lean in harder and earlier the next trial  opportunity that comes my way. 

There are so many things going on in my heart and mind these days; hopefully I will be able to slow down soon and blog a little more!  Thank you for the many of you who have lifted us up before God.  Please continue to pray for wisdom for me in parenting and leading the two amazing kids, protection and provision for our family, and that we'd live with a kingdom/eternal perspective.