There’s Only One Word For This!

I had no words, so I asked the Holy Spirit how I should pray.

I have so many people on my heart for various reasons, and I’ve come to a loss for words when I pray for them.  As I asked for this wisdom I was reminded of the most powerful prayer we can pray.  I was reminded where it is that we find everything we need and where all that we long for is discovered.  One word came to my mind to offer on behalf of my friends – “Jesus”!  This is all the Spirit spoke to my heart, and He is more than enough.  This is where restoration not only begins but where it is complete.

A Broken Heart – JESUS!

A Broken Home – JESUS!

Financial Issues – JESUS!

In Sickness – JESUS!

In Loneliness – JESUS!

In Need Of Forgiveness – JESUS!

In The Valley Of The Shadow Of  Death – JESUS!

In The Valley Of Depression – JESUS!

I offered no other words, but as I spoke His name over each person that came to mind all the trials of this world suddenly became powerless.

Throughout my childhood and into the beginning years of my marriage, I struggled with the words “thank you” and “I love you”.  I was full of gratitude and loved deeply, but when words are rarely heard, they can feel like a foreign language rolling off your own tongue.  I remedied this problem by putting into practice a very simple solution, I started saying them.  As silly as it sounds now, it wasn’t easy for me to speak these words at first, but the more I did the easier they became.  Now I value every moment I have to sincerely express these emotions.

About six months ago I realized how rare it was for me to say the name of Jesus.  I talked about God and had no problem with referring to Jesus as Lord, but to say His name was more rare than common.  I sang gospel songs for years that used His name, but to actually speak the name of the One that I call friend did not come easily.  With my new awareness I had to ask myself , Why don’t I say His name?  Why is it so uncomfortable for me to do?

I don’t know that I have one good reason to give you in answer to my self-imposed questions, with the exception of my previous childhood example.  So, I drew from the lesson I learned with those most precious words of “thank you” and “I love you”, and I applied the same prescription to solve this newly discovered language barrier – I started saying His name.

Having my tongue tied up in knots and unable to breathe His name out loud, as I would with any of my other friends, kept me from so many blessings and freedoms.  When I say “blessings”, I’m not at all implying Jesus to be likened to a genie in a bottle, that when called on He gives us all the earthly toys we want.  No, He’s a much better father than that.  The sweetest blessings to me are seeing a prayer answered for a hurting friend, or witnessing a lost soul meet Jesus and come to know that they are worth far more than their social status or job title.  This freedom can only come one way, at the name of Jesus.

“For this reason, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed upon Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11

When we are a part of God’s family, it isn’t bondage that makes us bow our knees, but the joy of our freedom in Christ.  I get more and more excited as I think on this topic and discuss it with friends.  Will you allow me to elaborate on my thoughts for just a moment?

The scripture states that, “every knee will bow…and every tongue will confess…”  I don’t know about you, but I always read this scripture with the mindset that this is a futuristic happening.  My mind heard it as, “When Jesus returns at the end of time, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.”  But that’s not what it says!  It says that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – PERIOD.  This excites me because I realize that now, at this very moment, there are knees bowing as I speak His name.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  -Eph. 6:12

If we are wrestling here and now then we need now power.  What is our now power?  Jesus!

““Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it (Again, it’s in the now, not just somewhere in the future).”  -John 14:12-14

If we are going to do greater works than Jesus did, then we must recognize how that’s even possible.  How can I have faith to be victorious if I don’t know where faith begins?  Just think, when we speak His name, all that we are wrestling in the spiritual world must bow and submit to the authority of Christ.

Many have given me the humbling compliment of “You’re Strong.”  My strength is knowing that my strength is only because of Christ in me.  I am not “strong” by my own merit.  I’m lost without Him.  I’m too tired without Him.  I’m too broken by this world without Him.  But JESUS!!!  He is my energy to press on.  He is my wholeness.  In Him alone I am found!

My Peace – Jesus!

My Hope – Jesus!

My Joy – Jesus!

My Healing – Jesus!

My Ability To Forgive – Jesus!

My Ability To Trust – Jesus!

My Ability To Love – Jesus!

On The Mountaintop of success – JESUS!

Anything Good In Me – JESUS!

My Source Of Strength…

“Darkness knows its Lord and the prince of darkness is not its lord.” – Pastor Austin Cagle

JESUS!!!

They Bow Down.

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

Apparently I’m The Bubble Girl….!!

I backed my car into my garage and watched the door slowly close to shelter me from the elements of the world. I shut the engine off and melted into a puddle of tears. I had just come from visiting with a friend who has been so vindictively beaten down by another person. They’ve suffered so much needless pain that they hit an emotional wall and are unable to trust any longer. I am witnessing this wall in many people. I have hope for the friend I was with tonight, but my heart deeply aches for those who can’t acknowledge that there’s even a wall there. Without facing our pain(s) head on and coming to the place to courageously plow through them, hope is dismal.

How do you break free from this fear when it’s been so burned in by an outside source with such cunning skill?  Fixing my own faults is doable, but the actions of another person are out of my control.

As I think about my friend, I am suddenly aware of my own wounded heart. Despite my great effort to keep fear at bay, it continues to whisper it’s lies. Day in and day out, this conniving spirit craftily devises ways to cause my mind to doubt – my self-worth – my abilities – wondering if I will ever be enough.

Tonight my hope is attacked.

With Warren’s death being so tragic and sudden, on occasion I will stop in to talk with a counselor to make sure I am progressing forward in a healthy way.  Even without a tragic life event, I believe it’s good to check ourselves and have others give feedback from their point of view.  Too often we live inside our own mind where the enemy whispers lies.  It is essential to talk out life’s stuff with a trusted other in order to not buy into the deception he plants.

The last talk we had was over the fact that my heart was hurting.  I was frustrated over a sudden end to what I thought was a hope-filled relationship.  One day everything seemed good and peaceful and the next day I ran face first into a brick wall.  The wall was not one I built but one built by the other person.

I was not trying to seek out what was “wrong” with the other person, but sincerely wanted to know if I was wrong in my thinking. After all, I am new to this whole dating world.  I wanted to know if I was expecting too much with the amount of time that had been invested in the relationship.  I had listened to what my girlfriends were saying, and I had asked a few of my guy friends their opinions, but I wanted to hear from a dad’s perspective.  I knew the person I was talking with would be honest with me and not hold back whatever truth pill I needed to swallow.  The pill was much larger and harder to swallow than I anticipated.

He said, “Sadly, life has made you grow up, Shannan.  Society does not make people grow up today, but life has made you grow up far beyond your years.”  I was humbled and took this as a huge compliment, but I was frustrated at the same time by what it implied. I can change me, but I cannot fix another person. I can walk with someone, but only if that person chooses to walk.  I felt that it was a reality check of the world we live in. It’s a world filled with wounded people stricken with fear, or they just simply don’t want to “grow up.”  Just look around and you will see a sea of hurting souls.  Some of the wounds are self-inflicted, but many are brought on by others.  The pain caused by others sends us into a vicious cycle of self-destructive patterns.  It’s hard not to be fearful when so much pain is caused in ways out of our control.  Many of us must fight a mentality that we are owed something.  We pick up the mindset of, I’ve been through this, so I’m entitled to have a little fun, max-out the credit card, eat the entire tub of extreme chocolate double fudge brownie ice cream, etc…  One that I’ve witnessed and am also guilty of is when we throw ourselves into busyness to avoid feeling anything.  This avoidance is extremely self-destructive, and one way or another, we will eventually have to face the hurt we run from.  If we don’t deal with it, we will find ourselves hurting deeper, bitterness will grow, and then we will inflict undeserved pain on innocent others.  It’s Newton’s law lived out in our emotions.  “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Another illustration that was given, again taken as a huge compliment, was that of “The Good Bubble.”  My counselor held up his hands to one side as he formed in the air the shape of a large bubble.  He held his pose as if holding a giant balloon while stating, “You are in the good bubble. You are what is wanted, but the other person is not ready to give up their other life yet.  So, they say and do just enough to keep you around without committing.”  He motioned with his hands to his other side and continued his talk, “Over here we have the life they live.  This is who they are, but they will run back to check on “The Good Bubble” to make sure it’s still there hanging on.  Unfortunately, many never choose to let go of this other life.”  After his vivid explanation he posed a strong question with this statement, “You just have to decide how long you will continue to dance.”

There are many ideas as to what “the other life” could be: sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, or simple child-likeness – unable to accept the reality of time and age.  I’m not going to try to figure this other life out.  The fact is, it exist and I’m no longer dancing.  However, if I am “The Good Bubble,” then I can tell you what that life is to me.

I love God.  I want to live my life to please Him.  I want others to see Jesus before they see me.  I do not want to fall for what the world says I am to be, but I long for God to guide my footsteps.  I want to be the best friend I can be, the best daughter I can be, the best wife I can be.  I want to be a woman pleasing to God.  With all these things “I want,” I’m also extremely aware that I have a long way to go in my growth process, but I want to grow!  I’ve found that when I stop fighting the growing-up process I have more fun and more freedom than when I try digging my claws into the past to fight for something that’s long been dead.  I cannot get back what was stolen or what I’ve given up, but I can choose to live and not allow the spirit of fear to steal from me the potential blessing God has for me today.  God restored to Job a double portion of what was taken from him – when he chose forgiveness and trust over fear and self-sabotage.

It’s scary to keep hoping against what seems absolutely hopeless, but we were created to have relationships.

God said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” and God Himself walked with man in the garden. – (Genesis 2:18, 3:8)

I have prayed that God will protect me from all the counterfeits the enemy tries to throw my way to distract me.  As frustrated as I get because of feeling stuck, I believe He is sheltering me and I am thankful.  I’ve stepped out and have tested many different things, but I’ve yet to know exactly where God is leading me.  Despite hearing “No” time and time again, I cannot give up.  If I surrender to the spirit of fear, hope is lost.  Fear is a spirit, not an emotion; so if I let fear be my roadblock, then I am allowing the enemy to steal what God wants to give me.  I guess it all comes down to the decision of what I believe about God or not.

What’s the remedy to this bubble in which I dwell?  The only answer I have is to hold onto it with all God’s strength, because I am not giving up my “Good Bubble.”  My bubble has a whole lot of room to grow, but it is not an option for a trade in.  I don’t want whatever that “other life” is if it can’t fit in God’s bubble.

As I sat in my puddle of tears in the garage that night God asked me a very pointed question.  “Would you give up your relationship with Me to not be lonely here in this life’s journey?”  Without hesitation I replied, “NO!”  “God, NO!”  “Please don’t ever let me fall.”   The thought of losing this closeness with Him I’ve come to know and understand made me sick inside.  The “Good Bubble” only exists because He is good in me.  There was something that broke inside of me that night.  It was like I was bound up with chains and they fell off when I answered His question.  I don’t believe God was telling me that He was going to keep me alone the rest of my life, but I believe I needed to hear my response.  I’ve said many times that nothing is worth trading my relationship with God for, but to say it with feeling and absolute knowing from the very core of my being had yet to happen – until now.  I’m certainly a work in progress, but thankfully there is progress.

Hope wins the battle!

By the way, I don’t believe God and I are in a bubble, I believe it’s the other way around.  It’s the world that is bubbled in. God’s too big to contain.  God can drive a wedge in Newton’s Law.  I do not have to believe the lies of our society and I do not have to hurt others when I am hurting.  If I trust God, fear cannot win.

If I am “The Bubble Girl”, my bubble is blessed 🙂  Which bubble are you living in?

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today..” ~ Ex. 14:13a

There Is Always Hope With God!