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Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's Me

March 26, 2015 I decided to start up my blog again and realized I had a lot of posts that never got published.  In looking over these drafts, I see that maybe at times I was afraid of putting my thoughts out there, some were unfinished, and some about personal struggles.

But my Father is calling me to honesty and to the person He is creating me to be.  So all the old post are published today with the original date that I wrote them.  May someone be encouraged and helped along the way in their own journey with Jesus!

April 9, 2014

So much happened in February.  It was a bittersweet time.  But God tells us there is a time for everything.  I wrote this shortly after Susannah went back to Colorado.  

February 20, 2014

She came home and it was like she never left.
She smiled, and talked and I recognized it all.
The hugs were passed out, over and over again
We shared meals, the tuna fish and blueberry muffins,
homemade macaroni and cheese and scotcheroos.
I didn't want to say goodbye,
I didn't want to let her go.
But she had to leave.

I should have said, “I love you” fifty more times,
no, a hundred; because it's true.
I should have told her how beautiful she is
and how proud I am of her.
I'm so glad she came, even though the
occasion was sad. So often hellos mean we
must say goodbye.
I'm so glad she could meet her youngest niece,
and reconnect with all the others.
I'm so glad that she has this special
place in all our hearts.

You are so precious to me, daughter.
I loved braiding your hair, going out to lunch,
shopping together, seeing you with the kids, laughing
together with your sisters, sitting on the couch and talking.
Thank you for being my Suzy, our Suzy.

I love you.  
February 25, 2013

A paraphrase of Psalm 130

Out of my weakness and weariness
I call you, Lord.
Lord, can you hear me?  
Does my cry for help reach your ears? 

Lord, if you thought about my sins 
there is no way 
I could even talk to you, 
let alone expect you to help me!
But you have forgiven all my sins,
(I John 1:9) 
so that you may be honored and worshiped.  
You not only forgave my sins, 
but you cancelled the written code that I broke. 
(Col. 2:13-14)  
You took it away and nailed it to the cross 
when Jesus poured out his blood 
that washes away all my sin.

I wait for you Lord; 
I want to fall in love with you 
all over again.  
I put my hope in your Word.  
I meet you there, in the pages of your 
love letter to me. 

I put my hope in the life changing power 
of your Word.
I wait expectantly and as surely 
as the sun rises every morning, 
I know I will see you 
working in my life again, 
restoring me with strength and joy--
buying back every moment 
of despair and hurt, 
every day of pain and tears.

Your love is not able to fail!  
Your love is always there 
and is new every morning. 
(Lamentations 3:22-24) 
Your redeeming process is complete.  
It flows over me in abundance.  
I put my hope in you!

Psalm 34 2012

Sometime in 2012
Psalm 34

A journey began quite a few months ago, actually almost two years ago.  I began seeking God.  Tired and worn out, struggling to keep up, overwhelmed and feeling lost, I sought God.  Oh, He'd always been a part of my life but maybe the key word there is "part".

Ps. 34:4 I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.

And He showed up.  I poured out my heart to Him through a Bible Study and His words began to seep into my dry desert.  He lifted up my head, and I started seeing His love again.  Finished that study and started another.  Here, He directed me to start meeting with a couple of friends to join me on my journey.  I remember the day I said to them, "I feel like I'm falling in love with Jesus all over again."  They were called alongside to encourage and introduce me to the Holy Spirit.  

Ps. 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.

Oh, He is good!  Blessings poured over me.  There was joy instead of emptiness and peace instead of frustration.  He filled me with His Spirit and I saw things I had never seen before.  As the journey into the heart of God continued, He brought my husband along and filled him with His Spirit, too.  

Ps. 34: 11-12  Come, my children, listen to me; and I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

As I journeyed with God, He began revealing my heart to me and the sin that was residing there.  First He showed me my fear and began to deliver me from it as I repented and turned to Him.  He healed my heart concerning the fear that surrounded the death of our stillborn son, Zebulun.  He healed the rejection in my heart from my childhood as I repented of my pride and of seeking man's approval.  He showed me people I needed to forgive and walked me through the process of continually seeking His heart for healing of past offenses and wounds.  The Ladies Bible Study I joined worked through another Bible Study that taught me how to renew my mind and take every thought captive.  More fears were revealed, repented of and healed. I gave up control of my children, surrendering them to Him and trusting Him with the outcome. 

It would take too long to write out the story of each one of the fears, lies and wounds He delivered me from as I repented of my sin.  Yet each time I faced a fear in my life, as the Holy Spirit moved, I felt a lump in my throat.  As I repented and released each sin to Him, the lump would diminish.  Yet I always knew that we were not done.  Each time it got easier to repent and release the fear to Him. Each time I thought I might be done with fear.

Ps. 34:17  The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.


Last night Cynthia, Noah and I decided to play a game of Clue. I decided I wouldn't try too hard to win so that Noah would have a chance. After a few turns around, I realized that something was not quite right. Maybe there were cards missing? Noah had mentioned at the beginning that one thing he didn't like about Clue was how many cards you had to hold, yet each of us only had 5 or 6 cards in our hands. We counted up the rooms, the people and the weapons and realized that there were cards missing! We hunted around in the Game Closet and sure enough, we found the envelope that is the "confidential case file" and in it were three cards (obviously left over from the last time the game was played). We passed out one card to each of us (without looking!) and decided to go on with the game. After a few more turns, something still didn't seem right. According to my Clue sheet, all the people were accounted for. Who could have committed the crime if we all had them in our hands? Cynthia began saying "something didn't seem right". Then I realized that maybe Nathan hadn't put the right cards in the middle of the board when we started our game. So we asked Nathan to look at the cards for us. Sheepishly he told us that he had put 3 weapons in the middle instead of one person, one weapon and one room. had we missed the clues?! What a laugh!

Life is often clueless. Just when you think you have something all figured out, the rules change. Your granddaughter comes home from the research program at NIH in Maryland and has her worst episode ever. You realize that the time has come that you have been dreading forever, the day she must be admitted to the local psychiatric hospital. She goes to the emergency room and after five hours she is sent back home again because there is no bed for a girl child in a psychiatric hospital in the state of Maine. Who changed the rules? How can she be in the throes of bipolar mixed-state and there be no safe place for her? How much longer can she and her family hold on? Are we on a Clue board, running from the Kitchen to the Study to the Ballroom in a crazy, mixed up race to end up nowhere?

And then you find the secret passageway through the back door into the Acadia Hospital. You (as the parent) call the Access Center at the hospital and ask for an evaluation for your child to be admitted to their Day Program. It probably doesn't hurt that her psychiatrist called ahead the day before, but who knows in this Clueless game where their are no set rules. You take your child to the appointment, screaming almost all the way in, and bring her grandmother with you for help and moral support. It also helps that she can drive the car while you tend to the upset child. After all the twists and turns, she ends up admitted to the hospital and not the Day Program.

Our Cluless Clue game ended up being pretty fun--and funny! It didn't turn out the way we expected but we laughed a lot and had a good time. Acadia's hospital admission didn't go the way we planned, but she ended up in a safe place when she needed to be there.

The Battle written January 4, 2009

January 4, 2009

It never ends. It doesn't get easier, no, but seemingly harder. Maybe I am wiser because of the passing of time and the experiences of life, but the struggle seems to intensify. The enemy of my soul is certainly like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour in my own home.
I pray. At times my prayers get shorter and shorter, just simple requests. "Rescue her. Open her eyes. Rescue him. Keep him from evil."
I no longer have the confidence that I know what's right for my children. I realize they must choose their own way, and ultimately decide if following Jesus is worth the sacrifice. But oh how my heart breaks and everything within me wants things to work out for them.
The enemy knows when to strike. When my husband is tired and not himself. When life is busy. When I am struggling with my own depression and that of my son's. When there seems to be no place to turn for help and encouragement. When I am stressed and burnt out.
I turn to my God, my Savior. When some of Jesus' disciples were leaving him because of his teaching, he asked the twelve if they also wanted to leave? And Peter replied, "To whom shall we go?"
There is no one else. There is no other who understands me and the struggles I face. There is no other battle worth fighting. I have chosen whom I serve and as a family we have chosen to serve the true and living God. Now I need to remember the Lord's words to Joshua..."Be strong and of a good courage."

Hard to believe I wrote that back in April. Here it is almost October and it seems that the struggle hasn't changed. Circumstances have changed: we put Nathan in public school. He seems to be adapting well and enjoying it. I have had bronchitis for two weeks and still not feeling all that great. Is it depression? How do I know? Why do I feel like I belong nowhere? Like every little decision is overwhelming? I no longer even know what I want.

We also have left Stetson Union Church. I thought that would bring me a lot of freedom but I feel like I've jumped off a cliff and am still falling. Where will I land? Why, if the body of Christ is really one body, does it feel so strange to be in another church?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tears of Joy- written May 05, 2008

May 5, 2008
I had about 20 minutes in between trips. We were putting groceries away, stuffing sandwiches in our faces, and getting ready to head out to Bangor for therapy appointments. The phone rang and I didn't recognize the cell phone number. It was my daughter-in-law, Sarah, and she wanted to let me know that "they" are pregnant. I knew they were trying. I knew she was almost done work and that house renovations were in the plans for this summer. Yet I was still overwhelmed with joy so deep that the tears came and I told her she was going to make me cry!

There have been worries that it would be as hard for her to get pregnant as it was for her mother. There are still worries that she could have a miscarriage. But for now, we revel in the joy of anticipating another baby, a precious life, a girl or boy, my son's firstborn child. I know Sarah's parent's are probably more ecstatic than I am as this is their only child having their first grandchild. Yet I find myself thinking about her, wondering if the morning sickness has arrived yet, counting on my fingers the months to see when this child will be born.

This Mother's Day is full of joy. Joy for the coming of Spring after a long, hard winter. Deep, abiding joy for the grace of God daily in my life. And a mother's joy as I kiss my children and grandchildren, with an extra kiss for Sarah as she carries a new life within.

Suffering and Submission

 I have struggled all my married life with the word "submission". I think some of it comes from wrong teaching on the biblical meaning of submission, but mostly from a strongly independent spirit which is definitely not biblical. And I have struggled with suffering; it is not something I want or like to do. Yet in I Peter 2  we are told that we are called to both these things! 

1Pe 2:21 NIV  To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Jesus is my example.  He always submitted to the Father and the Father's will, and the Father's will was for Jesus to suffer greatly for me and I should follow in His steps.  So what does this submission and suffering look like?  

1Pe 2:22-23 NIV "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

It means not lying, not pretending.  I have to be myself, open and honest before people no matter how they might react.  I cannot speak deceitfully, covering up my true feelings out of fear or rejection or judgement.  If I get insulted, I must not retaliate.  If I suffer, I cannot make threats of getting even.  Why?  Because I must entrust myself to God, the One who judges justly.  I need to start seeing myself as "hid in Christ".  I need to believe that I am accepted, chosen, and dearly loved by my Father and that nothing--absolutely nothing can separate from His perfect love.  This is something I am just learning.  I have hid myself all my life.  I feared being rejected by someone's words so I was careful to say what they wanted to hear.  I tried to become the person they would accept instead of being who God made me to be.  I even tried to be who I thought God would accept, not realizing that He had already accepted me as a hopeless sinner, yet in His love He saved me and gave me a new life.  I don't have to live life as that hopeless sinner, trying to please God and others, fearing rejection and disapproval.  God has literally given me a new heart to love Him and others. He has made me alive to Him.  He has given me His Spirit inside my very body so I have power to live this new life.  

Coming to Christ as a child, I always thought the Gospel was admitting I was a sinner and accepting the free gift of eternal life so I could go to heaven.  That was it; the four spiritual laws.  God loves me, I'm a sinner, Christ died for me, I need to accept Jesus as my Savior. But if I didn't really believe others loved me unconditionally, how could I believe God loves me unconditionally?  Oh, He loved me like He loves the whole world and so sent His Son to save me.  But now I need to please Him by being obedient and loving and kind and finding His perfect will for my life.  You know, find God's plan A so I don't have to settle for plan B.

So surely submitting to that kind of God would be difficult.  I never doubted my salvation and I knew He loved me, I just never realized how much.  I kept part of myself from Him.  I had to work, to perform to keep Him loving me.  And I had to perform to keep others loving me which often leads to resentment because they don't always recognize my "work" and may at times even criticize what I do.  I have to stop trusting in myself and my ways because I am deceiving myself if I think that will get me anywhere.

Job 15:31 NIV Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return.

I must trust God, who does love me unconditionally with His unfailing love!

Psa 13:5 NIV But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

There are not enough words to declare all that God has done for me or all that Jesus did for me on the cross alone.  He bore my sins so I might die to sins and live for righteousness.  By His wounds I am healed.  It was costly.  He paid the price and I receive all the blessings. Before I was a sheep going astray but now I am returning to the Shepherd and Overseer of my soul.  I can trust the perfect Shepherd; I shall not want.  

As a wife I am called to submit to my husband.  How do I do that?  By submitting myself to my own husband.  I give him myself.  I trust him with "me", with my feelings, my dreams, my likes, my thoughts, my body.  I've already submitted my whole self to Father God and He asks me to now submit my whole self to my husband.  This isn't about "obeying" my husbands every command.  Certainly I don't go out and disobey what he desires or expects, but that is not what submission is.  The one I obey is God and He has placed my husband in authority over me.  So if there is a difference of opinion and a decision needs to be made, I can defer to my husband.  But trusting my husband with my very self means I share all my opinions and thoughts with him.  Yes, it takes sacrifice.  It takes faith in God that His ways are good and perfect.  God says that the "unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit" is of great worth in His sight.  Do I believe that?  What is the opposite of a gentle and quiet spirit?
A woman who wants her own way and makes sure she gets it.  A woman who rides roughshod over her husbands feelings and needs to make sure her own get met.  A woman who loudly proclaims her own opinions and ideas and doesn't give her husband time to talk. And a thousand other little ways she can be quick to demean, disrespect, question, criticize, judge, ridicule, and persist in her own ways.

Oh Father, forgive me for how often I have withheld myself from my husband.  Hid my face in a book, not been willing to share my feelings with him, worn myself out doing other things in a day so there's no time or energy left for him.  I may have submitted to him on the outside but inside I was withholding my very self from him.  I may have accepted his authority over me, but never gave him the gift of who I really am.  I repent of hiding, of being "unsubmissive" is this deeper way.  I renounce the lies of the enemy that I am protecting myself by keeping things back.  I renounce all the power of the enemy in my marriage by my ungodly belief of submission and break the "curse of submission" that was handed down to me. I renounce all the sin of my ancestors in not submitting to their husbands in a truly godly way.  I release this sin to the cross and die to this sin in my life and I will now choose to live for righteousness.  I will truly submit to my husband more and more every day.  I will choose to share my very self with him, not in some romantic, idealistic way, but in godly way, with the gentle and quiet spirit of my inner self.  I choose to do this because You say it is right and I will not give way to fear. The enemy will tempt me to fear, but I do not have to give way to it. 

 1Jo 4:18 NIV There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Our love can be made perfect in You, without fear.  I can know and rely on the love You have for me.  You will not punish me; for Jesus brought me peace by taking my punishment and I am healed by His wounds, healed from the very wounds of sin. I receive Your forgiveness for this sin in my life and I forgive myself for not trusting You.  I repent of holding and hiding myself from You, Father.  For not truly putting my all on the altar, for not being the living sacrifice that you ask, that you beg me to be in light of your great mercies.  I renounce the lies of the enemy that You are not safe, that You do not love me unconditionally, that I must please You somehow in order to deserve and receive Your love.  I renounce all the power of the enemy in my life because I held myself back from You. I tear down the stronghold of "protection" and of "hiding in myself".  I renounce all the sins of my ancestors in believing in these strongholds, of hiding themselves from You and thinking they were protecting themselves.  I renounce the stronghold of resisting the Holy Spirit and being "safe" and I renounce the sins of my ancestors in resisting Your Holy Spirit.  I yield myself totally to you, Jesus.  I offer myself up as a living sacrifice.  I release all these sins to the cross where the shed blood of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior cleanses me from all my sin.  I receive Your forgiveness and I receive Your total love and acceptance of me just as I am.  I forgive myself for withholding myself from You and from my husband.  I receive the life of Christ, the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and the unfailing love of Abba, my daddy.  I receive the freedom to be myself, the person You created me to be, the real authentic Debbie.  Alive to God!  I surrender my whole self, my body, my dreams, my desires, my plans, my life to my God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  My all truly is on the altar of His love.