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Archive for the tag “Trust”

A Chance Encounter…A Truth Revealed

UnknownI was excited as I entered the bakery prepared to order the cake for my goddaughter’s baby shower.  It had been a busy day as I checked off my to do list so I welcomed a break to chat up the cake decorator whose daughter attends school with mine.  During our conversation, she asked whether my daughter would be returning to FB for 8th grade in light of all that was going on with the 7th graders.  Huh?  I had no idea what she was talking about as my stomach did a roller coaster drop.  “Oh yeah,” she continued – “there are girls who have been cutting themselves and some who are no longer eating who have to be supervised during lunch hour so they can eat.”  My look of surprise caused her voice to drop and she drew back slightly which caused me to lean in and press the issue.  “Names…give me names,” I said.  And sadly she gave me two names I instantly recognized as close friends of my daughter.  My mind wandered to the times recently that my daughter has skipped a meal or two or has moved the food on her plate around leaving it mostly untouched.  I then recalled the many times she has come home from school a little sad or quiet and now I’m not alarmed…I’m irritated!  I’m not irritated with my daughter, I’m bothered by the administration at the school who bombards my mailbox with emails trumpeting the many instances of scabies, lice and the like, but fail to give parents a heads up regarding behavior that our girls are exhibiting which could affect (if not addressed) those girls who are not involved directly, but are on the sidelines being infected.  Ugggghh!!!  “Lord, help me handle this one.”

As I drive home I sensed a peace that my daughter is not directly involved and I am once again in awe of the Holy Spirit who has been showing me how to pray for my daughter all along; who had arranged that meeting at the bakery because He knew that I must take steps now to protect my girl, to gain her trust, to place a little separation between her and her friends as they continue to heal.  I ask the Lord for help.  I ask for His wisdom and peace as I approach my child with this new found information and I ask Him to guard me from being irritated with her for not sharing what she knows if she knows.

Since my children were around 3 or 4, I’ve been talking to them about bad touch, good touch, stranger danger, good secrets, bad secrets, etc.  I’ve talked extensively as they’ve matured about friends and trust; we’ve discussed the importance of knowing when to bring an adult into confidence for a situation that may be too big for them to figure out.  Clearly, my daughter needs a refresher course, I’m thinking.

The minute she gets in the car, I just about forget how I’ve prayed.  I tell her I’ve heard some disturbing news and then I blurt out…”what do you know about the girls who are cutting themselves and not eating.”  I know….smooth, right?  Her eyes get wide and tear up and I continue my smooth execution by asking her if she’s involved.  My heart is thumping in my ears as she turns over her wrists and shows me and says “no, mom.”  I hear the Holy Spirit screaming for me to shut up and so I do.

We get home and she follows me into the kitchen and as I take a deep breath, I hug her and remind her that I love her, am on her side and there is nothing she can do that can change my love for her.  I tell her that she needs to trust me so that I could help her.  She’s crying now and once again assures me that she is in no way involved; that the girls involved have been in this tailspin since early this year when the school found out.  All of the girls are being counseled, their parents are aware and the reason she has kept that secret is because she was being loyal to her friends who were ashamed and asked her not to tell anyone.

She then proceeded to name each girl and it broke my heart to see her cry as she shared the names.  I wrote each name down and my heart broke as I recognized each name.  She hesitated and said there’s one more and this time she put her hands over her face as I held my breath.  It was her best friend.  Her tears slipped through her fingers and I felt her body relax as I held her.  I’m sure she felt my body relax also.  She was finally able to let go of that secret and I was able to exhale.  I promised not to treat her friends differently and at that point I was not about to lecture her about anything.  I just held her and reminded her what a loyal friend she was.  I told her I wished she would have shared with me so that she did not have to carry this burden alone.  My blessed girl said she has been praying for her friends and begging God to heal them; that she never had a desire to hurt herself because she has no emotional issues and she also knows that her body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (I almost cried when I heard her say that.)  I took her hand in mine and we placed them over the names I had written down and I prayed for each girl by name.  As she dried her tears, she assured me that everyone was doing better.  She knew a lot about both disorders…no doubt had Googled about them, since she used some technical terms.  The times she had no appetite or was sad coming from school were times that her friends were struggling either at home or at the hand of their peers who were judging them.  I believe her.

I’m proud of my girl for standing up for and with her friends; for being loyal to them; for praying for them and acting as counselor; for not caring that she too was being judged by the “theys.”  It blesses me when I recall how over the top she celebrated her best friend for her birthday..how she emptied her piggy bank and dipped into my wallet in order to make her friend’s birthday special because she wanted to see her smile…she loves her smile!

My girl and I have spent the last week snuggled up, having tea and talks and many laughs.  She has told me on more than one occasion that she loves and trusts me and feels closer to me since she’s told me.  I’m grateful!

Once again, this piece points to the importance of the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives.  He is our teacher, our guide, our comforter, our revealer, our wisdom, our peace.  I’m praying today for our youth…our daughters.  I pray a hedge of protection around them and pray that no weapon formed against them shall prosper; that they would be delivered from the hand of the enemy and set on a course which would be pleasing to the Lord; I pray that their appetites would be for that which honors God and that they would respect themselves and each other.  I pray that they would get a revelation of how much the Lord loves them; how they are fearfully and wonderfully made; how great their purpose is; how there is hope and peace in their future; I pray for their parents..for peace in their households; and a greater knowledge of and relationship with the Lord and their children….in Jesus’ name.  Amen and so be it!

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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!

Psalm 91…Fear’s Panacea

images“What you fear reveals what you value the most; what you fear reveals where you trust God the least.” Soul Detox Reading Plan (YouVersion)

Man, that quote is sobering. I read it and re-read it a few times in order to grasp its meaning and then did some soul searching. Fear is paralyzing…it is debilitating. It stops you cold and though we hear, yes we know that God has not given us that spirit, somehow being told that does not lessen its impact nor does it stamp out what causes the fear. Healing from what causes you fear is a process…it involves an intention to unmask the lie, exposing it and then dealing with it, facing it until it loses its power, and keeping it captive lest it prove to be disobedient!! So what to do? Face your enemy of fear and kick sand in its face. Then cast down any imagination/reasoning/lie that exalts itself above the knowledge of God’s word. Darkness cannot remain where light is present. In light of last week’s happenings back east and evil’s reminder that this world is getting darker by the moment, I thought I’d take a whack at fear and remind the enemy who’s the boss!!

Tonight as I was having my selah moment, I turned over to Psalm 91 and within it I saw that it was brimming with conditions, declarations, instructions, reminders and so many promises. My prayer is that you receive and apply the many promises contained therein, as you yield to their conditions. I broke it down and personalized it as follows.

Psalm 91

Condition: Those who live in the shelter of the Most High

Promise: will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty

Declaration:

  • You alone are my refuge, my place of safety; You are my God, and I trust You
  • You will rescue me from every trap and protect me from deadly disease
  • You will cover me – Your huge, outstretched arms protect me – under them I am perfectly safe; Your arms fend off all harm

Instruction: Daughter…

Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness; nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

Promise: Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, these evils will not touch me

Condition: IF I make You my shelter

Promise: no evil will come near my home

Promises:

  • For You will order Your angels to protect me wherever I go
  • They will hold me up with their hands so I won’t even hurt my foot on a stone
  • I will trample upon lions and cobras; I will crush fierce lions and serpents under my feet
  • You will rescue those who love You (I love you)
  • You will protect those who trust in Your name (I do)
  • When I call on You, You will answer
  • You will be with me in trouble
  • You will rescue and honor me
  • You will reward me with a long life and give me Your salvation

Now, go ahead…Selah!

Would You Love Me More?

Image Courtesy of: http://jcspock.com

Would You love me more if I said more?  No daughter, just say yes to Me

Would You love me more if I did more?  No daughter, just serve Me

Would you love Me more if I tried harder?  No daughter, just believe

This dropped into my spirit today as I thought of conversation shared with a few of my sisters in Christ around a planning table.  Casual conversation in between our thoughts and plans for an upcoming gathering.  Conversations which went from funny to serious in a blink…comments which exposed hearts unearthing the possibility of healing, revealing the importance of sharing, releasing, trusting, believing.  Believing that we were safe to share.  Trusting that someone may have an answer or would agree in prayer.  Grateful that God who in His love and grace has the ability and the desire to bring people into our circles who have been there, are currently there, may be drowning there, wanna be heard from there, need to get outta there.  I love that God meets us right there and doesn’t leave us there.

Can’t wait for our next planning meeting.

Zipline to Freedom

I was recently invited to go away for a weekend of spiritual refreshing with some awesome women.  Of course, I had things that were pressing and up until the day of departure, I was see sawing with whether I had the time, or even if I had the time, whether I had the desire to go “there” emotionally.  In the end, I decided I would tag along and spectate, get some much needed rest and eat three good meals a day!!  Prior to my departure, I encountered a young woman who really needed refreshing and I figured I had to go now that I invited her….after all, surely God wouldn’t move on her behalf unless I was there, right????? 🙂

On day two, we had some quiet time before lunch and it was then that I had my first encounter with the Lord.  I grabbed my journal and this is what He spoke to me:

“Daughter, you must give from your abundance and not from your reserve. Put yourself at the head of the line.  Stop being everything to and for everybody and just be…be truthful to yourself, be forgiving, be free.  Let somebody love you – let that somebody be Me.  Admit your weaknesses, admit when you’re weak for it is in that space that I will strengthen you.  It is then, when you’re the most pliable that change – My change can begin.  Daughter, do you trust Me?”

During our free period that day, there were several activities to choose from and I chose to zipline, where I had my second and most profound encounter with God.

I stood with the other girls waiting for my turn to climb to the sky and hurl myself down attached to what looked like a clothesline.  As I approached the pole with all eyes on me I was cool, chest out, head up, never letting on that my insides were churning…had my “faith face” on!!

As I began the climb, a clear metaphor was unfolding as God began speaking to me on this tailor made adventure.  Each peg I stepped on in this journey was unsteady and as I looked up, the road appeared long and narrow – my goal so far away, but attainable.  As I reached the half way point, the wind picked up causing me to pause in order to let those conditions pass.  Just like life’s circumstances which interrupt our climb, I had to wait it out praying that it would pass quickly since I was close to the top and too far along to fail now.  I made it to the top and with one long shaky step I hoisted myself up onto the platform where I was met by someone MY size whose job it was to keep us BOTH from plummeting off of the tiny platform built for two.

She told me how great I climbed and I couldn’t even squeak out a thank you.  As I hung on to the pole, she told me to trust her.  She said “I’m attached to the line above me and you are attached to me….you’re fine.”  She then clipped my harness to the zipline and explained that I needed to sit down even though my bottom would not touch the platform, and then I was to toss my legs over the side of the platform. Right!  I said, “Are you sure?  Yes, you’ll be fine, trust me,” and so I did.  I sat back and felt for the platform that was there but unreachable. “Should I hold on?”  “You can hold on or let go…either way, you’ll be fine.  Let me know when you’re ready.”  “Should I hold on?”  “Whatever you like,” she said.  I paused, took a breath and said “okay, I’m ready,” and with that I heard a click and a release and with the instincts of a trusting child, I let go and had the most amazing ride….I was free.

That climb represented my journey…our  journey…a long, narrow, sometimes scary path; unsteady steps with a destination in mind; a pause when life’s circumstances threaten to knock us off of our destiny, moving forward with determination to reach our goal and reaching our destination only to determine that there’s more ahead and that we’ll have to trust that God has us even when it seems unsteady; when He seems unreachable.  He has us whether we choose to hold on or not and if we trust Him and let go, the result is freedom!

I encourage you to trust Him today, let go and experience freedom!!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Don’t miss Spiritual Refreshing, 2013
January  24-26 – The Oaks, Lake Hughes, CA
Contact me for details…arlene53787@aol.com

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