Push forward; engage your core; exhale & break the surface; inhale; put your head down; push forward...
In the silence created by my earplugs, I try to use the time spent slicing through the water talking to God; listening for the still & small. These days, I try to get a handle on my wrung out emotions.
Every time I look in the mirror, I find myself face to face with insecurity and the downward spiral of the thoughts that fuel it. There are other triggers...tiredness, spikes in progesterone, circumstantial events...but the end result is the same: I am pressed under a weight of doubt, fear, hurt, bitterness.
Kick off; glide forward; exhale; stroke; breathe; engage your core; push forward.
There is Truth. There are Words. There is a Command. And it's so easy to say them and it's cold comfort, sometimes when they don't pierce through the callous parts of my heart; those parts made callous by doubt, fear, hurt, & bitterness unchecked.
Exhale; face up; breathe in; stroke...
Those thoughts that unsteady me--those thoughts that destroy--they rip at the fabric of my identity; the part that I haven't brought under His authority. The prince of the power of the air, he whispers seductive lies into my ear. And I trade the Truth of who I really am for falsehoods. My imagination, made weak by that unbalanced exchange, is all too willing to create garish, gratuitous scenarios.
And grossly, like some dead thing, I crave these, the lies & the pictures; they intoxicate me; make me feel powerful and utterly vulnerable all at once. They consume my attention and my ability to focus and it is, in the moment of consumption, a deadly sweet indulgence. But in their wake, they carve deep paths of chaotic damage. I feel as Paul did; he wasn't merely playing with words when he called himself a wretched man.
Reach; push forward; breath; engage your core...
I am learning what it means to take my thoughts captive; to put on the full armor of God; to pray without ceasing; to rebuke. These are my battle tools. And I feel His Spirit moving to change me. And I get the impression that the Deceiver is trying to lay waste to His efforts. Pressing on is crucial. I must forgive the wrong at the root of all this ugliness. And I must do it again and again and again. Not in my power but in His. Daily, if necessary. It must be the foundation of my battle because without it, I will know no peace.
Face down, exhale; face up, inhale...
Is it too much to call this a cross I bear? Or is it more accurate to call this a thorn in my side? In either circumstance, His power is made perfect in my weakness. And I can bear it only if He will lavish me with his strength, His grace, His peace.
Engage your core...who is at my core? Is it not the Prince of Peace? Face down, exhale; face up, inhale...shouldn't new thoughts and a new way begin with me face down, exhaling myself? And then facing up, inhaling more of Him? Am I not to be reaching always for His way, His guidance? Should I not be breathing His Word, inhaling & exhaling His promises as I walk through the day-to-day in my life? Is it so easy to forget who I am? Note to self: I am HIS. I am loved. I am chosen. All the rest? Well, all the rest is deception.
In the end, the hard work makes us stronger. The discomfort & irritation of pressing on grows muscles...physical and spiritual. Denying ourselves the indulgence of self-medication and learning to feast on proper means of coping, furthers our efforts and allows those muscles to flourish.
And it is only because of who Christ is and what He has done and what He offers us that these things become possible.
And this is what I think on as I move forward in the weightlessness of the water. This is what I pray about. And I will keep on. Greater things have yet to come and greater things have still to be done...
Monday, September 17, 2012
Keeping step with September's Joy Dare, these are my praise offerings for the last week:
Sept. 9 - 3 Gifts Framed
*The 3 faces in our family that smile at me from above my desk
*My degree…I earned it only by Your grace & favor, Father
*A precious girl…one of Mommy's favorite gifts
Sept. 10 - 3 Gifts Moving
*Moving to PA
*Moving my body in the pool
*God moving me to draw closer to Him
Sept. 11 - 3 Hard Eucharisteo
*Thankful for heart-changes when marriage gets tough
*Thankful for learning to praise in the midst of falling apart
*Thankful for old rough patches that give me perspective today
Sept. 12 - 3 Gifts in His Word
*Praise unending throughout the Psalms
*Our earned wages are death; the gift of God through Jesus is eternal life--not by works but by grace; always His grace!
Sept. 13 - A Gift Scented, Scrawled, Started
*New Scentsy bar that makes home smell good
*Doodles & drawings from my little artist
*The gift of exercise begun!
Sept. 14 - 3 Gifts Drawn
*Drawing of Hayden's precious face, drawn by her Sunday School teacher while visiting Nanny in VA
*Rendering of our family done in dry-erase marker on the whiteboard
*Pictures found on all kinds of documents, showing me how she sees the world
Sept. 15 - 3 Gifts Paired
*A pair of really comfy flip-flops
*A pair of snuggly warm fleece socks
And a few of my own making:
*Another year of life for my Hubbs & a party with friends to celebrate it.
*5 miles of swimming; sore arms; accomplishing a goal
*Thick & heavy Life Group discussion on the Sovereignty of God--thank You that You have hidden these things from me; they are too great for me to understand!
*School drop-offs are a breeze :)
Thank you for these. All of these. :)
Monday, September 10, 2012
It's been determined previously that Mondays are a special kind of difficult. That difficulty is all the more reason to praise and thank; to worship He who is worthy of praise; He who has given.
Think of this sentiment as a bylaw to the Law; one that is no less imprinted on the heart; on the mind. Not singular to Monday, only, but suitable to any difficult day. In fact, He speaks on it in his Book; enjoins us that this is to be the way of things:
"And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as yourLord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow downinto him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strongin the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness."
It is clear: Once accepted, continue to follow; let the roots grow in Him; allow a life built on Him; THEN faith will grow STRONG IN THE TRUTH and you.will.overflow.with.thankfulness.
Thankfulness is an outpouring--unavoidable; it rushes, surges, brims over when we follow and grow and move our own plans for our lives aside to make room for His. It comes when our faith has been made strong in the Truth; Truth that has been tried and tested; Truth that has been revealed to us in the hottest part of the fire. It comes when He has allowed that which we do not; cannot; sometimes, will not comprehend to bring us into the dazzling light of His Truth; His love; His desire for us. These things prepare us to pour out the thankful. And when we tip the bowl of our thanks to spill out in praise, may we ever be conscious...willing...sincere.
Let these praises fall from my lips:
*Sunshine on my skin
*Smiley Faces in texts received
*Sticky Notes full of scheduled Tutoring Hours
*Cool Breezes on Autumn Days
*Warm Cookies from the Oven
*Sun-soaked Treetops in the Morning--splendor!
*Metamorphosis of the leaves
*Delicious autumn-flavored coffee
*School tracing out a routine for our family
*Growing in Christ
*Watching Hayden grow
*My desire to make new habits
*Cleaning up barf at 3 am...yes, even this; a gift of sacrifice
*Praying for a friend in need of healing
*Making homemade pizza for my kiddo
*Hubbs made it possible for me to start lap swimming…even bought me two pair of goggles
*The blessings & opportunities for growing masked as hard lessons
I marvel at the gift of this life…so very thankful; may I use it as You would have me to, Jesus. May the hardness prompt me to allow my life to be built on You; impel me to become strong in the Truth; lead me to overflow with gratitude...
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
No one I know really likes Mondays. They're full of rest-is-over, back-to-the-grind kind-of feelings. Sometimes they're a relief; allowing escape of the sometimes-discord of home and hearth--more of a false relief, really, since work would be but a temporary evasion.
*My mate who, daily, strives to be more sensitive; I see you. I feel your love & I am blessed by you.
*Friends with whom to share time; friends with whom to talk shop; friends with whom to cry; friends with whom to celebrate
*Growth in Kiddo's ability to speak & communicate
*Summer reaching its end
*An opportunity to make healthy habits, lap by lap
*First grade readiness
*Ann's September Joy Dare for Sept. 1: 3 Gifts of Summer
-Nights to stay up late, hanging out with my man
-Days to sleep in & lounge around
-Fun at the pool with my Kiddo
There are so very many more...aid my counting of all of these, Jesus, every.single.day. :)