Kindly Remove Your Boot From My Chest!

I have a mound of things that needs tending to at home, but I had to get out of the house today.  I’m sitting in the local coffee shop, with a Grande’, non-fat, extra hot, no foam latte’, with caramel drizzle in hand.  I have a book in front of me that I really should be reading, but my mind will not allow me to focus.  So, I am people watching.  I have to giggle.  We try so hard to create an image of what we think God looks like.  But, from the many different varieties that are coming in and out of this establishment, I’m again reminded that we cannot contain God in the box of our limited minds.

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness….So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” -Gen. 1:26a, 27

No Human Pictures For The Sake Of Argument ;o)

Today is January 1 ‘2011.  Last year on this day I was full of hope.  I knew, that I knew, that I knew, what I was to do for the year.  I clearly heard God set a list of goals for me.  2010 was packed full of things I had to complete.  I had a few task that had been left undone far too long.  I also got to experience many things for the first time.  Things like, going to a friends 40th birthday party and getting up to dance, because it no longer mattered to me if I could or not; I just wanted to live.  So why is my heart heavy?  The year also claimed the reality of further disappointments.  I was able to dance that night, because the one I stood next to cared for me, just for who I am – or so I thought.

I never knew it was possible to be so full of joy and so completely weighted down by sorrow all at the same time.  In one moment I can be overtaken with excitement for friends as they welcome a new addition into their family, and the next moment my heart can sincerely cry as I hold the hand of another friend while they say their final goodbyes and death robs us of them.

The last three months have carried the majority of breathless moments.  I have faced more loss.  Some of these losses have been sudden with no explanation and some are still in process.

Let me make this statement before I continue on.  Shaken faith is not a lack of faith. If we run to God with the “I don’t understand” question, it is not an act of unbelief.  The very fact that we run to Him with anything shows a level of confidence in Him.  Matthew 17:20 says, if we have faith as a mustard seed we can move mountains.  I believe God can and I believe He will keep His promises.  I’m just wrestling with His timing.  I know that God is near and I know that He has great plans for my life.

I have been extremely patient, but after many conversations with my dance partner, each ending with a new verbal dance, I came to the close of this day emotionally drained.  Truthfully, I am physically and emotionally exhausted.

With tears streaming down my face, I walked in the house and sat down with Coady in his dog bed.  I cannot tell you how long it was, but I sat there for quite a while praying with my tears.  Every fiber of my being searched God and asked, “What now?”  “I don’t know what I am supposed to do.”  I verbally called to Him with a heart questioning, “God?”   I waited and called again, “God?”  I decided that I was going to cry until I physically could not cry any longer.   I feel like God has sliced open my heart and is digging all around.  But, He is God.  He knows best, and He owes me nothing.  I just keeping crying and praying my way through.  The season will have to change eventually….

I feel like I have been pinned to the floor, as someone with heavy work-boots on is standing on my chest – just allowing enough air to pass to get a shallow breath.  It’s just enough to keep me alive.  Am I battling depression?  No.  I’m sad.  Sadness is the antidote to depression.  I am giving myself the gift of being very real with my present emotions.  I also decided to trust in my knowing rather than my feelings.  God is with me and working out the things that I cannot see.  I must remember the things I’ve asked of Him and let God do what He wants to do.  I asked Him to protect me from all harm, from anything that would cause me to miss His perfect path for my life; including guarding me from my own emotions.  He knows best.

Have you ever thought back to something you begged God for, only to thank Him later for saying no?  Often times, my thanks for His guidance only comes after the emotions of the circumstance has long passed.  Recalling His past interventions to mind does help me and reminds me that God sees and hears my hearts’ cry.  To be completely honest about how I feel in this current moment, I am facing fear because I cannot see any hope ahead.  I am sad, frustrated, and tired from a long season of battle.  I must think on and remember what God has done, so I can grab hold of what He will do.

God said He would never leave me alone, and He never has.  God never changes who He is, so I know He never will.  God promises that He will make a way in the wilderness; a way where there seems to be no way.  So, despite feeling hopeless, I do have hope.  I am choosing to thank Him now for victory over this valley, even before I can see the base of the mountain ahead.

It still puzzles me, that the only song I wanted to sing while traveling my last year on tour with the Parker Trio was, “I’ll Just Stand.”  I have a strange comfort by this.  I know God was preparing me then for this present season, which lets me know that He is here and is leading me now.

I’ll Just Stand, by The Parker Trio, Tearin’ Down The Walls, 2005

“When I don’t know which way to go, I’ll Stand,

‘Cause I don’t want to make the same mistakes again,

When I come to the water and it’s too wide,

When I come to the mountain too high to climb,

I’ll wait till You give the command,

Having done all I can do, I’ll just stand.”

I’m sure God wont mind if I just sit for a moment – even if it’s with Coady in his dog bed.


2011, Keeping It Real!

I will dance with joy again!

Even Restoration Can Be Challenging!

October 1 ‘2010

“And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” – Job 42:10

I wonder how job felt in the transition from losing everything to restoration?  Was he afraid to hope?  Was he afraid to trust that good could be had again?

It seems lately everything is a whirlwind of happenings.  I’m not going to elaborate much on that, except to say, a whole lot has and is shifting in my life and the lives of many around me.  Change is not a bad thing, but it’s often scary to step away from familiar.

Take The Journey

The Definition of Familiar: Well known from long or close association, having a good knowledge of, having a close friendship with.

The one absolute truth I’ve come to realize over the years is: “familiar” is not always the best place to be.  Familiar can be a place where growth is stunted and stuck becomes its twin brother.  I grew up with alcoholism surrounding me.  This is not a familiar that is acceptable for my life, nor the lives of my future children.  Much of my life I listened to the spirit of fear telling me not to rock the boat, not to try, not to step forward because I may fail; what is, is, and what will be, will be.  What I didn’t realize, is that I already failed when I didn’t try.  My pastor made the statement this past Sunday, “If you aim for nothing, that’s exactly what you will hit.”  I don’t want to be nothing.

So the questions remain, what do I aim for and when?  Where do I go from here?  In the beginning of 2010, I reached for two goals and hit both of them by May.  Two things I never thought I could do, I did!  My third goal I set for this year is well underway and will be completed as we ring in 2011.  The summer heat has held me back in starting the purging of my garage, but this number four on my list will also find a line stroked through it by the close of what God has said would be, “The Year of Restoration.”  He’s not just repairing, He’s restoring!

I covet your continued prayers as I make the effort to press on, as I search for the path that is God’s perfect plan for me.  Each day I am faced with wrestling against the voices of “I can’t” in my mind.  God said, if I seek Him first, He would make the path straight and known to me.  Today, I continue to seek Him and stand with my hands open wide.  I pray the spirit of fear to be silenced and God’s perfect will be illuminated before me.  Then, I will step in His strength and in His confidence.  If I fail, at least I tried.

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he’s holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
“Boy, you’ll never win,
You you’ll never win

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Partial lyric, Casting Crowns – Mark Hall, Voice Of Truth lyrics © Sparrow Song; Club Zoo Music; Swecs Music; Peach Hill Songs; My Refuge Music

How Do You Know You Can't Fly Until You Spread Your Wings?

Whatever Job went through in his transition, God was with Him and in full control.  God is bigger and stronger than my impossible.

Will you share with me a time when you stepped out and succeeded?  Or, share a time that you thought was a failure, only to discover later God’s divine guidance in altering your path.

~Shannan Parker