Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oh, Praise Him!

I woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed. It didn't help that I went to bed there last night. I was having a "self pity" day. This happens every year on October 3rd. Yesterday, October 3rd, my dad Carl Albert Schaich, Jr. would have been 62 years old. He passed away 12 1/2 years ago after a long and painful ordeal following a liver transplant. I have no regrets, I just miss him. Most days I really don't acknowledge this until I see that date on my day planner. Then I spend all day trying to ignore the fact that he is gone.
Well, this morning I was Psalm skipping. Hopping all over, starting with Psalm 63: 7 "Because you are my help, I will sing in the shadow of your wings" to Psalm 59:16 " But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love" to Psalm 34:1 " I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips." to Psalm 105:2 "Sing to Him, sing praise to Him, tell of His wonderful acts" and finally landing on Psalm 22:3 " Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One, You are the praise of Israel." I am reminded that God is enthroned on the praises of His people. He lives there! So today when I simply don't feel like singing praises I WILL sing! I will sing because I will find my friend there waiting to lift me up into the shelter of His wings. My God wants to be my strength for another day. He lives in my praises and if I want to get close to my ABBA I need to sing. Sing through the heartache, sing through the tears and be at peace with the circumstances. As I sing and praise Him I am declaring that the enemy will not run off with my joy. Just like I was all over the place emotionally today through the Psalms, like David, up and down, left and right I arrived at one place. God. He and I will overcome!
The sun is coming out. I can see it. Just in time. I found, on my computer, 17 songs with the word "Praise" in the title. They are blasting me out of the pit. Care to sing along??
Oh, Praise Him!
Oh, Praise Him!
He is Holy!
He is Holy!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lead Me

Ok. So, it's 4:25 am. Something MUST be up because this girl would never see this hour unless someone were puking or needed to be nursed or there was a flight to a tropical paradise on her schedule. Since none of those things are the case, you might guess that The Holy Spirit has something to do with it.

In light of the recent confusion I've been experiencing lately, God has begun to illuminate (no pun intended) the dark corners of my mind to reveal a bit of where I need to surrender to Him.

Clearly I am aware that pride is a no-no. So ditch it right? Well, this deep rooted miserable condition is so insidious , it is like a computer virus that has penetrated your hard drive so deeply that all the programs on your computer are affected. Deleting it is next to impossible, scars remain.

I have found that I think I am removing the bad things in my life only to discover that they intertwine way past they point that I was aware of.

Follow me here...

I know that pride is a sin.
I know that respecting one's husband is essential to a successful marriage.
I know that he is to be the spiritual leader of our household.
I know that respecting my husband's spiritual leadership is essential to my successful marriage.
I know that pride (that is, insisting I know better) will preceed a fall.

(For those of you who don't recognise the structure above - it is a simple classic chiasm - with the emphasis on the center statement.)

So...do you see what I see? I might have discovered the kink in my "surrender" hose. (!!!)

Respect is defined as "to hold in esteem or honor". I respect my husband. I highly esteem him. I think he is incredible. He is an excellent provider and protector. He is the head of this household (ie; he wears the pants around here.) I surrendered the spiritual leadership to him right after he was baptized. After all I can trust him right? He is saved. He has the Spirit. He is responsible. He has proved that in every other area of our lives but...

Despite my lack of assurance in his ability to adequately lead in this arena, I am commanded to respect my husband. Does that simply apply to the things I think he can handle? Absolutely not! It applies to all things. It applies to the spiritual leadership of our family. I am convicted that this area might be more important than any other area that I might show respect.

It's been said that little boys learn how to be daddies from their dads. So the converse should be true that little girls learn how to be mommies from their moms. They also learn how to be wives. I fully agree with my friend who said "Our children need to see the respect that we have for our spouses revealed in our responses to their responses". Looking back on it, She was suggesting that what is revealed in our responses (our attitudes) shouts volumes about our respect for our husbands. The response that we have to our spouses will model behaviors that can affect the next generation exponentially. Modeling respectful, godly behavior is good parenting and responsible christianity.

This type of godly behavior is not easy for me. The women who have raised me, for generations before, showed little respect to their spouses. I say showed. I can't assume they didn't hold it, but the certainly didn't show it. Not in my presence anyway. What I learned about respecting my husband was a recent acquisition of carefully watching other godly women (not my family) who by the grace given to them in seeking His will through studying the Word, live what they read.

Women submit to your husbands as to the Lord
Ephesians 5:22

Fast forward to v. 33..."women respect your husbands". Ditch your pride. Do you want to please the Father? Then do it. Stop being the control freak that you are and kick the habit of trying to mastermind (and manipulate) everything. Trust. Rest. Be free. Rest. Trust. (I like these chiasms.)

I, deep down inside, know that my husband is doing all he knows how to do. In all fairness, this is new to him too. Being the (spiritual) head of his household was not a behavior modeled by his father. You have to learn it from somewhere. I pray that our Heavenly Father will lead him in that way. Since I trust Him to know what is best for us I have no choice but to surrender this control I feel I must have.

There. I did it. Now, off to bask in freedom!

If you have a minute listen to "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real
A cry for help.
I know where my help comes from ~ Psalm 121


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It hurts so good?

These words echo in my mind...."It hurts so good, doesn't it?" This question , made more like a statement, came from a very dear and respectable godly woman who I am sure has had her own experiences with this very type of hurting. The "it" being referred to here is the conviction I am feeling. Golly, "it" does hurt "good" but the pain I am feeling is more like confusion.
I can't shake this feeling that I am not doing something that God wants me to do. I want to surrender to Him. The reason I am hurting right now so much is related directly to the apparent limits I have in that ability.
I am caught in the Romans 7 "do-do" trap. How do I do what He wants me to do? What do I stop doing? How do I change? What do I change? I am really starting to dislike "change" because I can't define it. I feel like I can only see through foggy glasses. The forms are there but nothing is clear. The complication extends to and intertwines with each and every relationship I have with EVERYONE in my life and I can't see a solution. With each passing day another "issue" arises.
I really didn't want this blog to be an avenue to vent and I am fully aware that this is what this is beginning to sound like. As I write I am convicted that my understanding is limited and that I owe it to my Creator to do what I have been created to do. Shall I start there and see what happens as a result?
Off I go to worship Him. That is what I have been created for. To give Him
To humble myself in His magnificence and await instruction. I will wait on my "Lord". My marching orders will come when He is ready to send me.
For now...I wait. I surrender to His lordship and deny my selfish desire to impose my own ideas on the situation.

My life is yours. I surrender to You. I ask You to lead me in the way You have in mind. The plans (dreams) You have for my life are what I want. Please reveal to me what I am to do first and I will follow You whatever the cost to my own pride or my own comfort. I will need your help, I know it (though I won't ask for it.) I know the enemy has been granted permission to complicate things and that this is a battle that I will need my armor for. But, I can also see you fighting for me, keeping the enemy at bay, just like in the "Everything" skit. Thank you. I love you too.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Can you hear me NOW??

Been feeling a bit lost. Not the "I don't know where I am" kind of lost but the "I don't know where I am going" kind of lost. I know I am in Christ and I know what awaits me at the end of this earthly life but while I am here I am not quite sure who He wants me to be with Him or for that matter which way I am supposed to go. I don't feel Him leading me right now and it is a bit unnerving. I am confused by the pulls I feel from the world, careful not to seek the approval of men (Gal 1:10) but to be a servant of Christ. How do I know that this is what Jesus wants of me?
I open my Bible, praying first that the Holy Spirit would reveal things to me that I can apply to my day. I ask for direction; guidance. I hunger and thrist for understanding. Maybe that's the problem. I might be asking for the wrong thing. We are supposed to hunger and thirst for righteousness. (Matthew 5:6) Isn't that implied when I ask God for HIS direction? Hmm...
I feel like my talk with Jesus is a dropped cell phone call. I get connected and then the call gets dropped. I don't think it is His phone. Must be mine. Is the antenna broken? or is the tower that sends and recieves calls got something in the way the clear line? Am I living in a dead zone? Oh, Lord I hope not. I want to recieve His call and I don't want the important instructions to be static-y or jumbled in a mess of confusing half-missing syllables and silence. How though? I feel like I don't control the function of the tower.
I am reminded that I can simply ask and expect to recieve.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
James 1:5
It takes faith. A topic flooding my life over the past few days. Though the direction might be different, the implication AND application are the same. God is and always will be faithful to give as we need. We can count on that. Even if what we NEED is not what we would expect. Maybe I need to change my expectations.

If I have to change anything to have clearer reception with You I ask that You reveal it to me. Lord, I seek you. I know where to find you I just can't seem to get a good, open line. Could You cut through the muck for me (since You are Lord of all) and take my hand and lead me in Your ways of righteousness that I might find Your approval in all I do? I pray that You might do this quickly since I am getting scared, aware of my own shortcomings. I can't do this alone. Help me Lord! I know You can hear me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Complete immersion is the only way

I was told that one could judge the mastery of a second language when you begin to dream in the new tongue. So when I was in college and began to dream in Spanish, I was excited and figured fluency was just around the corner. I majored in Spanish I really liked the culture and I was going to "make a difference" helping others with a language barrier. I completed my degree and worked as a bilingual teacher for a while before my son was born but since then have not returned to teaching, subsequently losing most of "la lingua". You see, if you don't use it you lose it.

Recently our family had the pleasure of hosting a family from Great Britain. Our friends spent the better part of three weeks with us as we toured local and more distant sites. The thing about "The Brits" as we called them is that they spoke a different language. Yes, they spoke English and that IS my native tongue BUT they used different words. I found myself using a new vocabulary. It was exciting. I actually felt smarter. I never adopted an accent but my trashcan became "the bin", the trunk of my car is "the boot" and I tell my kids to "mind" the uneven sidewalk so they don't fall.

I mention this because I would like to point out that what you surround yourself with will become familiar to you and hence, part of your "vocabulary".

I had dream not that long ago that I was sharing Christ with someone else. I spoke the Gospel very clearly with a fluency quite comparable to acquiring a foreign language. I immediately thought of my dreams in Spanish and the phenomenon of the dream/fluency connection. I can remember that at that particular time in my life I was spending a great deal of time in the Word. I renewed my mind daily and tried be aware of God working all around me, joining Him as I felt He desired. It seemed that God's Word became my new language and that I was becoming better versed in my new "Gospel vocabulary". His Word flowed right off my tongue and through my life with fluency I hadn't really known before. It was oh so good.

Then, something happened not long after that. Maybe it was my overconfidence in my new found ability. Maybe it was a revival of old distractions that did it. Whatever the cause, I started to lose my new language much the same way I had "lost" my Spanish. It seemed that misuse and un-use began to corrupt my life in a way that caused a clog in the lines of communication that I had with the Spirit. It was subtle but oh so insidious and very sinful.

It's pretty clear that "Garbage in = Garbage out". Shamefully I admit that I need to repent of this and seek healing and restoration from the damage that this trip through "The World" has caused.

The best part about being fluent in a foreign language is that once you are re-exposed to it following a period of dormancy is that it all comes flooding back and the joy found in being able to communicate with others in this language spurs a desire to pursue a deeper understanding of it. I believe it is this way with the language of the Spirit too. I pray that this is true.

Immersion is the very best way to learn a language. Just throw someone into a new culture and a new language and watch how fast you start to learn what you need to know to make it and thrive and grow. Immersion only works though, when you can't revert back to your original language as crutch. You have to be dunked, basically, abandoned in the new life and then you have no choice but to remain focused and natural whole language acquisition happens as a result.

I guess I want to be dunked. How about a one way ticket with no return?

Dunk me Lord, I pray. Then, Lord, hedge me in with a very tall fence so that the distractions of the world can't be seen from the place where I am with You. Let me have eyes and ears and spirit only for You and discernment that will alert me to potential disruptions in our fellowship. I want to be abandoned in Your presence for the purpose of knowing You so well that I dream Your dreams. I pray that You will again allow me the opportunity of another try at this and I pray that upon returning to Your presence I might be filled with the hunger for deeper fellowship. I can only imagine what You have in store for anyone who desires this. This is what I want. ~ AMEN

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You said...

I was really hoping that I could put doctors behind me. After the last lump and the gallbladder removal I was hoping that my surgeon and I would only see each other at Target. Apparently I was wrong, the call came last night at the game. He called to inform me that my follow-up mammogram revealed another area of concern that, either they missed or it was new since three months ago. I really wasn't too rattled. The last biopsy was negative and it is my experience that most doctors are "test happy" so I just go along with it and enjoy the negative results when I get them. So why should this time be any different? I agreed though, to call my GYN and get her opinion on the necessity of repeating the procedure. What if we did this and next follow-up they find more? How many times would they snip and cut? Till there was nothing left? In all honesty I don't really care. I simply want to be rid of any potential problems I don't particularly care if it involves 20 biopsies. A friend of mine recently ignored a lump she found and is now facing uncertain times since they discovered cancer in her lungs. This reality, coupled with the memory of the conversation I just had with my GYN has increased my concern. She told me "Get the biopsy done. Cancer in a woman your age is usually aggressive and waiting should not be considered."
Amazingly, I am quite calm, much more so than other members of my family today.
I am reminded of what God says in His word. "Fear not."
I remember that He will never leave or forsake me and that His mighty finger is on the pulse of everything, including my pulse actually. He controls it all. I will trust and obey. I will obey His command to "Fear not." and sing this song as a reminder of the trust I must have in Him...

His arms hold me together. When fear threatens to tear me apart. I trust in what He said.

Jesus, Lover of my soul,

I ask you now to be Master of this situation, I trust that You are Sovereign and whatever Your will, I am but clay in Your hand. I praise you in uncertain times knowing with all certainty that Your faithful arms will never let me go and I am content to know that you have it all worked out to Your glory. Thank you for your faithfulness. ~ Amen

Monday, June 14, 2010

I wanna walk with God

I think it is pretty simple. Walk with God and you will be blessed. I look at it like this; in God's presence there is joy, there is peace, there is protection, there is provision, there is love (this list is neither exhaustive nor ordered by importance.) So really why do we leave His side? Curiously, there is something more appealing elsewhere? This is a question not a statement, rhetorical albeit but clearly pressing. Why do we do this? Why, if we know that God's blessings abound in His presence do we even consider wandering ANYWHERE else?

I ask this because I have been walking nearby God. And each step I take (or half step) lures me in the direction where I can feel the tension (like the stretching bungee cord that tethers me to my life force) getting tighter and tighter. How did I get here? I know where to go. I know where I am supposed to be. It was really only a few short weeks ago that I had a very real encounter with the living God and was so in love with the idea that He was going to use me for His kingdom.

The fact is this. You need to walk with God. Not nearby Him. You need (when I say "You" I mean "me") to intentionally put yourself in step with Him, like in a marching band. You need to consciously put aside, shove if you must, the things of this world that lure you away. Things like cell phones, computers, jewelry, clothing, shoes, art, televisions, magazines, movies and other luxuries do nothing but tempt us to seek satisfaction in things other than God. Really, folks, I know that this is all so obvious, but I need to be reminded. I have been focusing on things that have absolutely no eternal value and I am suffering because of it. Physically I am great . Actually, I haven't felt better in years. I have work. My bills are getting paid and my children are healthy. My marriage is thriving and I am getting many things accomplished. But something is missing. Actually Someone is walking ahead of me, dogging it a little so that I can catch up but giving me freedom to choose.

So what will it be? The pursuit of happiness in Excuseville? Where everything can be justified? Or hand in hand with my Jesus? Where my soul longs to be?

Last post I wrote on Purity and it's importance in the life of a Christian. I guess I have a lot to learn. I guess I might find that the closer I get to God, the Holy One. So off I go...wait for me Lord...Can I hold Your hand?