Sacrificial Praise (& Worship)

God bless those who deal with pain day in and day out, with no definitive end in sight. I must say first, that I don’t believe this is God’s will for anyone. Jesus said we would have trouble in this world but he also said he has overcome the world. He didn’t say he, Holy Spirit and the Father were conspiring together, figuring who they would dole out what ailment to for this amazing “opportunity for growth” or something else that we like to make up when we don’t understand another’s suffering. If sickness and death were God’s pleasure, he’d be downright crazy to have sent Jesus to take care of it all. No, God is not crazy, and I don’t pretend to understand much beyond His being a good God and giving us the ability to heal.

That said, today marks 16 days of dealing with pain from back spasms. I’m not sure how I managed this, but I did and boy does it hurt.

At first it was a pain that I ignored. Then I took notice of it but still kept going as normal until the pain jolted me to respect its presence and had me crying because I couldn’t do much without feeling it.

Once I was in bed, I began to feel sorry for myself and even got angry. I am not good at sitting still, and frankly, I didn’t. I still managed to make a sourdough cake, sourdough pumpkin bread, apple cinnamon bread, lasagna, hummus, tuna dip, sourdough crackers and more. Again, I am not a good patient.

Thankfully, a friend introduced me to a Christian talk show called Better Together. One of the women on the show reminded me of how, when we get to Heaven, there will be no more pain and suffering. The type of praise and worship we are able to give here on earth, the sacrificial, sweet smelling aroma, born of pain, trials and tribulation, will no longer be something we can offer our Heavenly Father once we are gone from this earth. That gave me another jolt, albeit a nicer jolt than the back spasms provided.

I suddenly had an opportunity! Instead of wallowing and being angry about the pain and having to be still, I could offer a sacrifice of praise to my dear Abba. No, I wasn’t thanking Him for the pain, that’s stupid and weird, plus He didn’t cause it. I could spend that time however, praising Him and loving on Him in spite of it all. It reminded me of the last miscarriage I had before giving birth to my youngest son, Jonathan.

I was literally contracting, and could feel when my baby left my body. In that moment, something changed as I stood before a crowd, leading worship with my daughter and my dad Russ, singing Great Are You Lord to my Abba. It felt amazing. By the time I got home, I had bled through everything and found the remains of my child. Thankfully, my pants were black so no one noticed.

That memory is bittersweet, obviously because I miscarried again, but it is a very sweet memory because I was making a statement and taking a stance that all of hell likely shuddered to witness. Yes, I was hurting, both physically and emotionally, but I was still worshiping my God right in the midst of it all and receiving a healing that I can’t begin to describe. And it was no coincidence that the son God named and promised me I would have, is called, Jonathan, “Yahweh has given”.

Again, I’m not saying this is a good thing to be able to be in pain to praise God. I know how to praise Him when I am not in any pain too. But now, when I feel the pain from these muscle spasms (which has greatly diminished, thank you Jesus), I will use it as an opportunity to worship. I won’t be able to worship this way when I get to Heaven, so for now, I am taking advantage of it.

God’s Saying Something

I am struggling off and on with what comes naturally in a pregnancy.  Almost right away, this pregnancy has been marked with great exaggeration, “morning” sickness, the growth of my belly measuring a whole two and a half months ahead, the back pain, ligament pain, and more, all very exaggerated.  Everything points to this not being a normal, singleton pregnancy.  Even now, at 31 weeks along, I measure as if I was around 43 weeks along, and being 4′ 10″ tall, this all does a job and a half on my frame.

So, I know that as far as pregnancies go, I still have anywhere from at least 6-9 weeks left; and physically, things don’t tend to get easier the closer one gets to giving birth.  This means, here I am, struggling from around 23 weeks on and I still have,  at the very least, 6 weeks to go until I am full term. In the natural, things don’t look very hopeful at all and I hear the song, “One day at a time, sweet Jesus…” playing in the back of my mind.

Here’s the reality that I am choosing though.  I am not from here.  I am God’s very own daughter.  He has given me the ability to do what Jesus did and greater and I don’t recall Jesus telling anyone that whatever ailment they experienced was a natural result of whatever condition they had, so they should just deal with it.  Nope, he healed them all.

So, I started with making declarations over myself one night.  I declared that in spite of my frame, I am strengthened daily, by my Father and I am more than capable of not only getting through this but thriving through it all.  I had a wonderful time declaring over myself and my babies.

Now, I’m starting to notice other things though.  Once, as I was feeling down, super weepy and frustrated with my inability to do things as before, I heard the Lord ask me, “What are you looking at?”  I understood completely and said, “Ok, Abba, I understand.”  I was focused on my problems and my frustrations.  I wasn’t looking to Him at all and I felt absolutely horrible.

Then, there was a time when my body signaled that it was time to lie on my side (I’m not able to remain upright for long periods) and as I did, I talked to God.  I worshiped Him and just thanked Him and focused on Him and just enjoyed being in His presence, and, as I did, all pain just vanished.  This same thing happened twice more today.  Once, as I just focused on the Lord. As I sang to Him during praise and worship, every bit of pain I felt just moments before, went away and I felt great.

We had to stop at a supermarket on the way home, and the pain of walking was such that I had to have my daughter drop me at the front of the store so I could get a cart to lean on as I picked up the few things we came for.  I had to take off my coat and leave it in the car because I felt I would faint from being overheated.  Once in the store, I fought dizziness a few times (I needed to eat) and as I stood and paid for my items, I struggled to stay upright.  My back was on fire.  The guy who checked me out said he would go on and bag my items and I told him, “Hey, as you do that, let me tell you something.”  I went all the way in, no explanation or anything.  I told the guy about himself, his personality and what God wants for Him and prophesied and well, you get it.  He laughed and smiled and thanked me. He said I’d made his night with the great encouragement I’d given him.  I smiled and thanked him and, as I walked away, I noticed that not only was I walking upright effortlessly, but I had no pain at all and walked to the car happily.

All this to say, I think we take far more than we have to in life.  I for one, aim to change that.  I really believe God is trying to tell me something.

Changed Pain

Grieving can be a bit of a frightful ordeal, especially when you are in a position where almost you alone grieve loss of the person.

I was so afraid to face my loss that I opted to keep myself super busy so I had virtually no time to think about it, but of course, that’s easier said than done.

When an event I would normally be excited about came up, I did not want to go, not even a little bit, but I am now in the habit of telling myself that things are very different for me now. I have a new family who truly loves the Lord and really knows Him and I don’t have to feel the need to isolate myself and deal with things alone.  So, I went, and I am so glad I did.

At the event, two of my new family members prayed over me in a way that I couldn’t pray for myself.  It amazes me how, in the midst of my own stuff, I can come out of it to passionately pray for others but I cannot seem to do the same for myself.  Anyway, I told them how I really was, when they asked.  They held me in a way I had not been held before by anyone outside of my husband and prayed over me.  That was when the first change took place.  I realized in that moment that for the second time, I was experiencing something previously foreign to me, something that I’d never think to pray for.  I remembered in that moment, another loved one’s prophecy over me, “God is answering prayers you’ve not uttered.”, as she herself held me in a way that I’d not been held before.  To my surprise, I loved it and held on to her for dear life.  They prayed exactly what I would have prayed if I could have, I wanted God to help me to not fall apart that day.  I wanted to wait until it was just the two of us and I would pour out my heart to Him.  He answered that prayer.

I later joked about it saying that God “put a cork in my cry spout”, but as my spiritual father, Russ said, God doesn’t operate like that.  What He really did, was change my pain-again.  The sense around the loss is one of hope and peace, as with my beautiful sister Kerri, who left me with the gift of knowing exactly where she is and that I will never part from her again when we next meet.

The next day, Sunday, at a special service, I went up and led worship with the worship team.  I knew prophetically that things had changed and would change even more by the end of that service and it did.  See, I have been a bit shy about singing the song of the Lord (singing prophetically).  I thought I would have to be perfect and not get in the way and all these other religious ideas and wrong notions.  Anyway, at some point, Russ broke out, singing the song of the Lord.  He sang a line that came to him and I found myself at first echoing the line, supporting him. Then, the next thing I knew, everyone was following me as I floated up, up, up, singing whatever I was singing in my coloratura range.  I don’t recall what I was doing, I felt like I wasn’t even there, I was somewhere alone with my Abba.  I saw nothing, but I could faintly hear the worship team fully supporting me and I heard Russ laugh out loud, happy that I had finally done it.

Russ, had to later help me with this because something happened in that moment for me and I have trouble explaining it.  It was, as he helped make sense of it, as if something out of joint, was clicked into gear. Something was set aright, properly aligned- a big, heavy (though not burdensome) something.  I have been different ever since. How?  I don’t know but different, all the same, and I don’t take lightly, the growing numbers of mourning doves I am seeing, even as I type this, one is just outside my window.  Far from what their name suggests, they are a symbol of the Holy Spirit, hope and peace.  Because there are no coincidences in Christ, I latch on to the meaning of what they represent.

This week, after discovering that my oldest daughter was experiencing symptoms of grief, I decided to take off for the week.  We did no activities; and while I hate missing opportunities to pray for and prophecy over people, I know the Lord honors our taking time to just be and honor our sweet little one.  It was a good week.

Running From Reality

Sometimes, I just don’t want to deal with reality.  I don’t want to face facts.  I don’t want to face the truth of a matter.  I just want to keep it down and carry on as usual.  I want to be happy and come out of myself and help others. The problem is, that happiness wears off after a while.  It doesn’t last a lifetime, it’s fleeting. I don’t want to be sad or angry.  I don’t want to dwell on what I can’t change, but, just under the surface, I am ready to explode.

I want to curse, scream, cry, vomit and stomp.  I want to destroy something, smash something into tiny indistinguishable bits.  I want to know why, I want to know how, because therein lies my pain.

What I am running from is catching up to me and it’s making me angry.  Lord, please just let me outrun it for a few more days, then I’ll deal with it…  I don’t know how long I can keep running.  I just don’t want to face this right now.

On Monday, I found that I was starting the process of miscarrying a child I didn’t yet realize I was carrying.  What I thought was the start of a normal cycle began to change when I realized something was off and then, my body began to expel the remains of my unborn child.

So many thoughts run through my head that make me angry, unspoken thoughts, some of which, aren’t even my own.  Thoughts of mainstream society, people closest to me and others who don’t know me very well at all.  I can only pray no one utters those thoughts aloud.  Lord, please seal their lips and block my gift so I don’t discern thoughts not uttered.

I don’t want to talk about it unless I bring it up, yet I *hate* the idea of people who know, pretending like it hasn’t happened and going on and on talking about their lives.  We are missing somebody!! I just want to hide away in a hole somewhere and come out when all’s well again.

The shock is beginning to wear off.  I don’t want to do this. Not now. I only hope it doesn’t go as badly as the last time.