Armoured Up

Archive for the tag “healing”

Peace, Perfect Peace

peaceIt must be maturity…yeah, that’s what it is! The willingness to lay down your sword, give up your right to be heard…for your side to be known.

Deliverance….what a beautiful thing and you don’t fully realize its power until you are resting in it, feet firmly planted in it, soul at ease and free.

Being raised in a full house and being one of the youngest, I clamored for attention, fought for my right to be heard, was overdramatic and was super hurt when I was misunderstood. I carried that behavior with me through the years and was stung quite a bit as I was forced to take tests over and over (those stinky life tests, I mean). Ever wonder why you have to take tests over and over? It took me a minute to figure out that once I passed them, they passed, with the exception of an occasional refresher course followed by a quiz or two…or three!

My mind wandered this morning to the friend that got away.  Thank God for “friends” that get away…go away, move away, force a “walk-away.”  As I recalled the “situation” I marveled at how curiosity never got the best of me to reopen doors that should remain closed; I was astonished that I never felt the need to “tell my side” to those with whom my “friend” no doubt excoriated me.

Here’s the thing and it’s a big thing that I have pounded into my kiddies. Your reputation is all you have and it should be protected to the point that when other people hear stories and you are a principal character,  those who hear should know you well enough to know there must be more to the story. Those who hear and lean in and shake their heads and form opinions…well, they just don’t know you. There is no value in expending precious time and energy setting records straight when He who knows you best can set the record straight if He chooses to do so.

How am I benefitting? Peace, perfect peace – for some friends give, then take, then give some more, while others just take, then take, then take some more.

And so today I pray for those who are still learning lessons, being hurt and seeking peace.  That you would allow Him who loves you most, knows you best and has great plans for you, to heal, protect, sustain and strengthen you without you having to say a word.

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind, both its inclination and its character, is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock the Rock of Ages.” Isaiah 26:3-4 AMP

 

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Trust and True Sisterhood

IMG_0488For the last nine months I have been studying the book of Genesis with the greatest group of women in a neighborhood bible study.  I limped into Community Bible Study about a year and a half ago needing a place to congregate, really intending to just get lost in a crowd and spectate for a while after having been heavily entrenched in ministry.  Well, you know God always has other plans…you can kick and scream if you like, but once you quiet down, He’ll have His way in the end…you may walk away with stronger legs from all that kickin’ and a need to repent from all the screamin’, though!  Today I’m healthy and strong, enjoying a freedom I haven’t known for a long time.  I was asked to join CBS as a Core Leader in 2012 and in March of this year during my time at bat for devotion, I shared this little dittie on Trust.  Today, I share it with you…

You know, when God has an assignment for you, every force in nature (at times in the form of people), comes against you in order to make you stumble, retreat or even give up.  I cant even begin to properly express how much I have gleaned from our  journey through the book of Genesis – how much the lives of these people – their faith, their obedience, their trials, their drama, their failures, their victories has reminded me of my journey with Jesus.  I have been Abraham, leaving my home and family to come to California in support of my husbands dreams; I have been Sarah, longing for a baby, sadly watching as friends around me added to their families while my arms remained empty, overjoyed when God finally said yes; I have been Hagar in my own times in the wilderness, feeling apart from God needing to know that He sees meHe hears me.  Ive been Esau, deceived and lied to and Ive been Jacob, operating in fear, making plans without first consulting God and then praying for His help.

Most of our failures and victories all surround TRUST.  Who you believe, what you believe, where you place your trust and with whom.  Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.  But did you know that you can put your heart on lock down where you choose not to trust anymore; you cash in your chips and decide isolation is the best place to be when in fact its the most dangerous place to be, for the enemy works best when we isolate ourselvessomehow he talks more and louder and actually sounds believable.  It’s in that dark, lonely place that we really get pummeled. 

I think WOMAN really is Gods most amazing masterpiece.  We are machines….such contradictionstender but tough; too weak to lift heavy machinery, but strong enough to carry another life and then push it through a key hole.  We are healers, nurturers, encouragers, life givers and much more, but we can also be the opposite of anything good and uplifting.

I arrived at CBS as a wounded warrior bruised, but refusing to be broken.  Once again my trust had been breached by women and the last thing I wanted to do was be in the company of women, but here I was in the company of women.  After day one of my circle time as I drove home, I said out loud I wont be participating.  Ill just sit and listen. (My way of keeping walls up.)  That declaration was followed by a loud OH YES YOU WILL PARTICIPATE, rising from within.  Huh?  Hmm!! I got home and my husband asked me about CBS and I replied, I wont be going backits not for me.  Two days later I was at my desk doing my lesson.  As I released my grip on MY will for me, God got to work establishing HIS.  You see, you must release in order to receive.

I sat under the leadership of Carol, a dear, powerful woman of God, and as my heart thawed out I witnessed quiet strength in action; I witnessed Gods grace and His gentleness operate through Carol as I, and the other ladies, respondedand yes I opened my mouth – probably more and louder than most.  And in my yapping I divulged to someone that during this season I wanted to receive ONLY, so imagine my surprise when I received a call from Carol asking me to pray about whether I would be interested in being considered for Core Leadership the following year.  I was honored (while we were on the phone) and as I hung up I was horrified and once again I felt that wall creeping  up only to have it kicked down by my husband who quickly responded positively to the opportunity to re-engage.  (I wonder if he really wanted me out of his hair already!!)

After praying and seeking God for His will, I felt released to accept the opportunity and waited for the next step, which was a call from Cindy…the “interview!”  As I recall, there was only one spot remaining and more than one lady in waiting poised to occupy that spot.  We had a candid conversation and I remember as I spoke, I heard that still small voice.SCREAMING!!!! YOURE TALKING TOO MUCHYOURE TALKING WAY TOO MUCHOKAY, YOU BLEW IT NOW! I felt like I was laying it all out there honestly to her, half hoping that she would turn me away — only to have Cindy push back by saying something like, you are exactly the type of leader the women will respond to because you have been through something.  Those words cut through the wall I had built around my heart and jump started my process of healing.   That day I had a Jericho experience – that wall came a tumbling down!!  I made a choice to position my heart to receive and to trust again.

Circle of Sisterhood LogoSo what would I have missed had I not turned around and returned to CBShad MY will been done and not Gods?

 I would have missed witnessing grace under pressure; strength in a storm; Gods hand of healing; love in action (with no strings attached); humility; encouragement; support; kindness; tenderness; respect; generosity; sincerity; transparency; unity.

I would have missed experiencing true sisterhood; comfort; a feeling of belonging to something special but not exclusive; I would have missed experiencing unspeakable joy and barrels of laughter; opportunities to connect and engage; to refresh and be refreshed.

I would have missed an opportunity to witness Gods daughters behaving and interacting the way God intends. 

I would have missed an opportunity to learn to trust again.

The Amplified version of Proverbs 3:5-6 says it best…”Lean on, trust in and be confident IN THE LORD with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  In all your ways know, recognize and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

I came across a great quote recently that said, “You could run from your past or you can embrace it and learn from it.  You can let it hold you back or you can move forward and have a better future.”

Im so glad I embraced it and learned from it; that I moved forward to a better future, one which included CBS and all of  my beautiful sisters.

Oh and as a footnote

I knew this was a sisterhood when on Day 1 of orientation, I was approached by another Carol who said “I have panties that match your dress exactly.”  “You do?” (What an icebreaker, I thought!)  She continued, “Yes, would you like them?”  “Do you have them on now?” I asked.  “No,” she said as she laughed…”I’ll bring them tomorrow.” – It was then that I knew I was home!

God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us, but His plan cannot be enacted until we yield to His voice and respond to His calling in order for that purpose to be revealed.  How amazing is our God and how great is the journey.  It doesn’t always make sense at the time, in fact it’s downright aggravating, but in the end if we don’t grow weary, if we don’t give up, it all makes sense…every bit of it!

*Community Bible Study  (a bible study where many churches are represented by women of all ages and stages in their walk).  Find a study in a city near you at www.communitybiblestudy.org/ There are co-ed studies too:)  Ours is a ladies only affair….a whole lotta tissue slinging, I tell you!

“Those words…those beautiful words…”

The word of God is living and powerful…it is able to reach into the darkest of places and bring light.  God showed this truth to me during a hospital visit and it served a dual purpose.  I received word from a friend’s sister that my friend had been hospitalized.  She was heavily sedated and would not even know I was there, but Marie thought it was important for me to know where my friend was, just in case.  With my bible in hand, I walked into her dark room and was met by her nurse who said I was welcome to visit, although my friend would be asleep throughout our time together.  Once we were alone, I approached my friend and I prayed for her and then decided to sit for a while with her.  She never moved as I pulled the chair across the floor to get closer to her.  I opened up my little book of healing scriptures and I began to declare the word of healing over her, personalizing each one.  It went something like this…

Ann, Jesus bore your sins in His body on the tree; therefore you are dead to sin and alive with God and by His stripes you are healed and made whole.  Ann, Jesus bore your sickness and carried your pain.  Therefore, you will give no place to such sickness or pain.  For God sent His Word and healed you.

I continued in this vain until I heard “Ann’s” voice.  It was groggy and soft, but I clearly heard her say…”Those words…those beautiful words…thank you.”  I approached her, encouraged her and then sat back down and read the rest of the book to her until she fell asleep again.

Recently, Ann and I were having some time in the word on the subject of prayer and I asked her if she recalled the above incident.  She said it sounded familiar, but she wasn’t sure.  On my way home from our time together I thought of the time my brother was on life support.  My sisters and I prayed together for his healing.  After we hung up, as I was washing the dishes I closed my eyes and saw my brother in a casket and I was shown who his pallbearers would be.  I immediately called my sister and told her we should change the direction of our prayer from healing to assurance of salvation.  I wanted to get that message to my other sister who was on her way to the hospital.  I wasn’t able to reach her but the Lord heard and later my sister told me that she had a strong unction to get in my brother’s ear and talk to him about Jesus.  His vitals had been on the decline, but while she was talking my brother was reacting, even though he wasn’t able to do so outwardly.  He passed away early the next morning and the Lord has shown us in many different ways that my brother heard and received.  This may be doctrinally challenging for some, but it has brought peace to our family.  When we met at my brother’s apartment to clean and pack his belongings, next to his favorite chair was a letter from me sharing my testimony and desire for him to come to Christ.  I know I will see my brother again.  Those words…those beautiful words!!!

The word is living and powerful…it is able to reach into the darkest of places and bring light.

First a Whisper…Then a Shout!

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with my sister about the warnings that we get from the Lord which usually begin with a whisper…that still small voice that we hear and if we’re being totally honest…we sometimes ignore.  That whisper we ignore until it seems that the Lord clears His throat and the whisper becomes a shout and if we are dumb enough to ignore the shout, we find ourselves drowning in “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.”

I believe the Holy Spirit works overtime as our GPS, but what good is the GPS if it’s ignored?  Around the time of that conversation with my sister, I was experiencing a pain in my neck…a physical one:)  I don’t much care for chiropractors, but I felt if I went and had an adjustment, that my neck pain would be alleviated.  I ignored that instinct and instead tried to work out the kink myself resulting in a major “NO BUENO!!!”  When I sat down to work it out, I again had a strong sense that this was beyond my capability.  Did I listen?   My stretch resulted in a pulled back muscle which created the worst, most excruciating pain I’ve experienced since I labored with my babies…no joke!!!  My pain threshold is pretty high but this pain was red hot…searing and it had me on my knees – not a bad place to be if I could have been still enough.  After the second visit to the chiropractor, I knew I was in trouble when as a last resort, he had me lie on my back, look at a cloud image overhead and think of the word “apathy” while he pressed the area behind my ears.  He encouraged me to forgive myself and anyone who had ever hurt me.  OY!!!  He’s lucky he was no where in the vicinity of my foot, because all I could think of was him forgiving me for the swift kick I wanted to administer.

After that joke, I sat up and asked him if I should get an x-ray at the hospital and he succumbed to the pressure and said yes.  I did that and determined that it was not a misplaced rib; it wasn’t that I had not forgiven Sister Hildemayer for pulling my hair or any of the scores of “special” people who have done me wrong.  It was an inflamed muscle in my neck and upper back interacting with nerves.  Nice to know, but not even the shot and pain medication took the edge off.  Today makes two weeks and I’m blessed to report that I am well on my way for this nightmare to become a memory.

I’m into lessons because I’m convinced that things don’t just happen to happen and that I should always walk (or limp) away having learned something.  Here’s what I’ve learned…

(1) You should never look online for a diagnosis.  Good grief…doing so can convince you that the end is near or at the very least, you will have to live with pain forever.

(2) You should never apply an ice pack directly onto your skin.

(3) Ice burns!!  Who knew?  I do, now!  Grateful for long hair:)

(4) I’ll never again claim someone is “on my nerves” unless they are intensely agitating me with extreme force to the point I want to kick, scream, bite or even kill!

(5) I have the most supportive, loving, hardworking, praying husband and teammate a girl could ask for!

(6) My kids love me and boy am I needed!!

(7) You should cast down imaginations and thoughts which do not line up with the word.

(8) You should lean and rely on and adhere to the word.  He’s never let me down, has never failed me, would never abandon me.  Every night, I slept with my iPod replaying “Healing Praise,” a collection of anointed songs and scriptures on healing.

(9) You should listen to that still small voice…that whisper.  Nothing good happens after the shout.  It’s just not cute!

Jehovah Rapha, My Healer

Exactly 11 years ago this month, I was living in the ‘burbs, as an at-home mommy to toddlers born 21 months apart. My baby was 14 months old. My husband was on the road a lot making it extremely difficult for me to get to church, which was quite a distance. My son was super busy and my daughter was super clingy and at the time, our church had no children’s church. The thought of schlepping all the way to church with two babies who I’d be chasing the entire time was not appealing so I was M.I.A. quite a bit. (I see clearly now the importance of a LOCAL church and it was by design that I eventually taught in children’s church, giving moms that much needed time in service to fill up!!) During that time, I found myself too busy and tired to even get in the word. After dealing with kids by myself all day and cleaning the house when they went down for the night, I would fall into a catatonic state in front of the tv night after night. My fire had definitely been put out. My first love was no longer first…He may have actually been at least fourth, before me, on a good day…and I can’t help but think that if He were keeping score, He would have felt used and tossed away. I had made Jesus my personal genie, benefitting from His goodness from the miracle births of my children to my staying at home with them to every other material blessing we received. He was now propped on a shelf somewhere, like my bible, if I could find it…collecting dust, I’m sure. It’s like I said, “I’ll take it from here, Lord,” and with a wink and a nod, I moved on and into a nightmare.

The Diagnosis

That day in August, I went to sleep feeling tired, but no more than usual and I woke up feeling strange. My legs felt cold, and like I had rubber bands fastened around them cutting off circulation. My feet were tingling. The symptoms progressed to where I lost feeling in my hands and my fingertips were now tingling. I would have what I call a feeling of “electricity” or a shock down my back whenever I bowed my head and I was exhausted….unnaturally exhausted. This went on for weeks without me sharing with anyone. When my husband finally came home in mid-September, he encouraged me to see a doctor. I was referred to a neurologist, but not just any neurologist!! I was referred to a spirit filled believer who put me through the most horrendous nerve conduction study before sharing the diagnosis with me. I was stricken with a mysterious neurological condition, called Guillain-Barre Syndrome…

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious disorder that occurs when the body’s defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness and other symptoms.

He had studied this disease, knew all about it and had even taught about it during his days as a professor. He said he had seen it pass through the system and there was nothing we could do except wait for that to occur. He would see me every three months. I asked him three questions…(1) Should I read up on it? “No.” (2) How long will it take for these symptoms to diminish? He responded, “Anywhere from now to up to 7 years.” (3) Will you pray for me? “I wouldn’t let you leave without first praying for you.” What a blessing to have my doctor lay his hands on my head and pray the prayer of faith over me.

I left his office that day and called my sister who works in the medical field to let her know how my appointment went. I mispronounced the diagnosis and heard her reaction followed by “Thank God you didn’t say Guillan-Barre. That’s a horrific condition.” She went on to tell me about patients she has seen with it. My legs got weak and I told her that was exactly what I had. Bless her heart…she tried backpedaling a bit, but it was too late. I know why my doctor didn’t want me to read up on it. He later confirmed that he didn’t want my faith to be shaken.

The Fight

The scandal was that I was in for a fight and couldn’t even find my bible.   Although I had left my first love, He never left me. He orchestrated that meeting with my neurologist. He was so good to me even though I felt so undeserving. I recall that first night, putting the kids down and collapsing on the couch and saying “Lord, I know You didn’t give me these kids for someone else to raise. If You heal me, I will serve You all the days of my life.” Side note…”If” is the badge of doubt in a prayer when you know the will of God. It is His will that we prosper and be in health as our souls prosper!

I began to feed on every healing scripture I could find. The pain was tormenting and the enemy did his best to weaken my faith. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came so that I would have life and have it abundantly. You know when you are in the fight of your life, you have no time to put down your weaponry because at every turn, the enemy takes swipes. His tactic is to wear you down…to chip away at your armour…to catch you napping. I recognized the pattern from my last fight of faith and I would not be moved, but that does not mean it was a walk in the park!! On three separate occasions I took some shots. One day I was driving and listening to Focus on the Family. I love testimonies and was enjoying hearing a pastor speak of his return to God after his father was taken from him suddenly..a victim to Guillan-Barre. Ooh, that hurt. Weeks later, my brother died suddenly which provoked an onslaught of symptoms, namely the news literally taking my breath away. Thank God my husband was home to help calm me and I dodged that bullet. Several months later, I was still experiencing symptoms…on and off and they seemed to flare up every time I talked about being healed. I was having dinner with my sister and her friend, a hospice nurse. She spoke of a patient…a young man in his 30’s whom she had been ministering to and there was some urgency, since this man would not survive. He was hooked up to a ventilator and was unable to move anything except for his eyes. He suffered from a “mysterious neurological condition,” she said. I asked her if she knew the name of his condition. Of course, it was Guillan-Barre. As soon as I heard that, I lost my appetite and noticed the symptoms were back stronger than ever. Side Note: How interesting (or typical of the devil) that since that time I have yet to hear of anyone having that disease.

Enough is Enough!!!

The year is now 2008 and life has gone on. I’m not as tired anymore, but there are still flare ups and the occasional feeling that I’m all abuzz. I sat in my favorite chair one morning with my healing scriptures on my lap writing in my journal…crying out to God, asking Him when I would be completely healed. “Please Lord…I’m your daughter! Don’t you hear me? Why haven’t I been healed. It’s been SEVEN years now!!” Did you catch that? In a split second I was reminded of the doctor’s time frame when he said I could be healed immediately or it could take up to seven years. I clearly recall after he said that, I counted seven years and thought to myself “that’s not too bad…I could do that.” I quickly repented for my lack of faith..for being double minded.. and in tears I declared my healing at that moment in Jesus’ name. With my hand on my heart, I promise you that every symptom left and I stood up from that chair completely healed and have been symptom free now for 4 years, this month.

This was a long one, and I pray you stayed long enough to hear that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and He is no respecter of persons. If He healed me, He is willing and able to heal you. Don’t put your confidence in man or in man’s opinion. Put your confidence in Him and trust Him now for your healing. Do the Hezekiah (as I like to call it) — turn your back on that negative doctor’s report and focus your attention on Jesus…the author and finisher of your faith. Jehovah Rapha, my healer – He is faithful and moves when words of faith are released. Try Him! As my blessed mother-in-law would say…the only thing He cannot do is fail…and I’d add to that that the other thing He cannot do is lie!

My Friend Ruth

I was blessed with an opportunity to teach at our church’s school of ministry on the subject of prayer, one of my favorite subjects ever!

Pause for a bunny trail…you know if you ever wonder what your strength is or what your calling is, take a look at your book shelf for a hint.  If you were to take a peek at mine, you’d see mostly books on prayer.  I love prayer…I see my prayers…I see myself in the throne room; I see myself seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.  I love prayer…I’ll probably touch that subject another time…back on track now.

Towards the end of the class I was sharing about prayer hindrances, unforgiveness being one such hindrance.  I told a story of a friend who had called me for prayer.  I knew that she and another friend of ours were involved in a scrape of some sort and I listened as she shared her prayer request, noticing that it was something that she had been anguishing over for some time.  I told her to get her bible and turn to Mark 11:23-24 “For assuredly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  She was squealing with delight as she read these scriptures aloud and I could hear her highlighter screeching across the page.  I then asked her to read the next verse...”And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”  “Hello, hello, are you still there?”  <silence>.  Exactly!!!  I shared with the class that I didn’t know if she ever “got it.”  She claimed she and our friend had settled their differences…I knew they hadn’t at the time.  I encouraged my class to pursue peace, seek forgiveness early…release in order to receive.

After class, there were people who stayed behind for prayer mostly and I noticed a woman in her seat watching me.  She got up from her seat when everyone else had left and asked me if she could speak to me.  She told me her name was Ruth.  She was a petite woman and I towered over her in my heels and my instinct was to remove my heels to come down a little closer to her.  She was crying as she asked me to forgive her.  Huh?  I asked her whether we knew each other.  No, she said, but I have talked about you, I’ve said mean things about you.  I was a bit surprised.  This was a first for me.  “Have we met?  Have I been mean to you?”  She said, “No, you asked me to move over a seat in church.”  I asked her if I was rude and she said I was not and she realized it was her…all her.  I just melted as I listened to her ask for forgiveness as she tried to make sense out of something so senseless.  We embraced and I took her hands and we prayed and of course I released her.  That took some boldness.  Ruth is my hero!!  I have made it a point to look for her at church to squeeze her.  Ruth has become one of my greatest encouragers.  She has no idea, unless she reads this, that the Lord used her in a mighty way to encourage me.  She had grown accustomed to seeing me in a particular seat during a particular service.  She had not seen me and reached out on more than one occasion to encourage me and to reiterate how much she missed seeing me in my normal spot.  She was looking for me…she was missing me.  I’ll not forget that!  Thank you Ruth, mi hermana!!  Te quiero mucho!!! ❤

And when you least expect it, you find yourself forgiving someone for something only they were being tormented over; and when you least expect it, you release and encourage a new friend; and when you least expect it your new friend becomes one of your biggest blessings.

Forgiveness….necessary…empowering…strengthening…healing…building.

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.” James 5:16 The Message Bible

“Be…quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 The Message Bible

Me and my friend and sister, Ruth

Me and my friend and sister, Ruth

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