Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wrestling for a blessing

Genesis 32:24-26  So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

This is one of my very favorite scriptures. Man how I have wrestled, now I get to share how I got SEE what we may look like when we wrestle our savior…...always remember that to wrestle another person, you must be intimate. They are in your space and you are all in theirs. 
I used to feel like there were times that I was physically wrestling with God, I just would not let go of my pain and let him do his job to take care of me the way only He can. Have you ever had that struggling/ wrestling feeling, like your trying to get God to listen and he’s just not DOING anything? If you like me you may just get so restless waiting that  you get mad and lash out at others, or even God himself. Maybe it’s mentally lashing out and pleading for Him to hear you and act. Maybe you just throw punches in the air from total exhaustion and frustration from pleading with your savior who loves you but is obviously not listening, or worse, doesn't care about your pain and struggle.

There are times that I pray about something and plead with God to intervene. I say amen, and then I take the request right back by continuing to try and “fix” it my own way (because His way is taking way to long). My emotional pain can be so intense at times that I can’t for the life of me understand how the Jesus I know and love lets me suffer so intensely and doesn’t “do” anything. Let’s face it, at times God just doesn’t move fast enough for me so I need to keep trying to help him do his job. I want to share a beautiful image God gave me this week with you in case you too wonder “where ARE YOU Lord!??” when you are broken and hurting. Please know that there are no words adequate to explain the love and beauty I felt and saw when God put this image in my head....
I was Praying for several friends who need God to intervene in their lives. One in particular is battling cancer and it seems like every time she gets good news, something else happens to pile on the pain and suffering. I got the feeling to pray very specifically, like God was saying to me “be intentional, pray specifically” So I prayed this “Lord, let her feel you near, let her feel your heavenly breath on her face because you are holding her so tight. She needs to know you are there, she is struggling and needs you to hold her tight and not let go.” Then the vision flooded my thoughts. I saw Jesus standing behind her holding her, her feet were off the ground he was holding her so tight and she was kicking but could not get away because her arms were held down in a very tight embrace. She struggled and he held her, he was nowhere near letting go of her. I could feel the love he has for her, the fact that he wanted her to know he never let go even while she wrestled and fought all that is happening to her.

In true form to my nature, there was obviously music to this vision. It came instantly like back ground music to one of the most beautiful, intimate scenes I have ever witnessed. The most haunting beautiful lyrics to share all who feel the waters are rising too fast. I know the vision of my friend being embraced in the midst of a horrible struggle was shown to me to share with her, but He also wanted me (and you) to see that he held me the same way. He still holds me the same way. The song “Oceans” plays in my head on a constant repeat, let it play in yours as well. Here it is.

"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Monday, January 6, 2014

I'm addicted to WHAT?

Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

To prove a point to myself that my phone is not a "idol or stonghold" of some kind to me,  I put it down.  For 2 days the only time I picked it up was if it was ringing or someone sent me a text. I did not randomly message people just to see what they were up to. I did not get on Facebook via my phone at all (If I got on Facebook it was on the computer, and that took time so it was not often). I did not get on any app via my phone to play with any pictures to edit them or post/ send them to anyone.

I'm embarrassed to say that I usually have to charge my phone by 6pm daily because its completely dead. I charged my phone one time in 2 days. I took it off the charger Saturday morning and by Saturday night at 9pm it still had 75% battery. People, that is CRAZY!!  I deleted the Facebook app on my phone so that I can't just "Facebook" when I'm bored. Here is a sum of what I missed during my 2 day experiment:  not one single thing. I read a book, I played "barn" and tractors with my kids. I went to a barrel race with my family and watched my daughter ride her pony. I cheered her on with not one interruption. I did not take one picture with my phone at the barrel race (I did use my real camera ;) ). I cannot tell you how much my life has been changed by one weekend of being intentionally available to my family after being prompted by the Lord to do so. While I may not be "addicted" to social media, those 2 days certainly proved to me that I am dependent on my phone and I definitely overuse it. 

I believe like many others that smart phones may be the downfall of the century. What do you do first thing in the morning? Do you get on your phone and check the weather, or get on Facebook and Twitter while you wait for the shower to warm up? Do you immediately start taking “sooo cute!” pics of your children and post them on instagram? How about this, stop it. Look at your beautiful kids and do as Mary did as all the people adored her perfect baby, our savior. She stored the memories away in her heart. Obviously there was no photo taking then, but she could have taken the time to write it all down in a journal. That’s not what scripture says she did. She treasured the tender moments and stored them all up in her heart. She was living it in real time, not getting glimpses through the lens of a cell phone or watching a little and then writing it down, she was watching and storing. I cannot express how this scripture slapped me in my face. I have been given more blessings than I can count and yet I let my addiction to my phone steal my ability to store the memories in my heart and not just my phone.  While there is nothing wrong with taking a gazillion photos of our children, there is something very wrong with posting them every 5 min on social media. I want to list a few downfalls that I have found to the addiction (YES it IS an addiction) to social media and smart phones in general:
1.) Taking 500 photos of any moment keeps us from actually living the moment.  We are ruining it by taking the photo, editing the photo, thinking of a caption, and finally posting it to Facebook (or instagram)
 2.) After posting the photo you are constantly looking to see who “liked” the photo or who commented on it. We are literally looking down at a device, be it a phone or an ipad more than we are looking up into the eyes of our family we so desperately want the world to see!
 3.) When I’m sitting on the couch looking at Facebook or seeing what my favorite celebrities are tweeting, I could be reading scripture or doing a bible study by one of my favorite Christian writers, Max Lucado ! Anything that hinders my spiritual growth is a major problem people, for me it’s my phone.

I know that Smartphone’s are amazing and have made some things wonderful, like having access to a camera 24/7, GPS, Texting, News on the go, etc. However, in my opinion, the same smart phones have made living and enjoying life take a backseat to posting life the way we want it to appear to the rest of the world. 

Here are my final thoughts, take the pictures, but post them later after you have actually appreciated and LIVED the moments.  Put the phone down for a while, if it rings then get up and go answer it! If nuclear war breaks out, I feel SURE someone will call us, no need to be “in the know” or connected to the internet 24 hours a day. You are the only one who has been given your life, live it to the fullest you never know when it your life may change drastically. I know I will begin again with a new vision given to me from my gracious Father in Heaven. I hope my thoughts on what God has shown me help you. Take a look around, I bet you see someone looking down, at a phone. Be intentional about putting the devices down and making conversation with a stranger!

Psalm 115:4-8 :Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.