Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 15 - Haiti Mission - simple as Brownies

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." ~Luke 5:16

I bake. That's what I do when I'm feeling sad or anxious. Oh, my husband would disagree and tell you that I yell, scream, cry....but left to my own with no one to pour my anguish out on, I bake. I've been known to whip up cookies in the late night just because I'm feeling.....well, lonely. It doesn't solve the feeling, and I'm sure that it is a big contributor to the problems I have with food, but there's something in the smell of cookies baking. Well, anything baking for that matter. I've been known to bake cakes and brownies only to have them sit untouched on my counter for days. It's the smell that fills my house, but not only that, I just enjoy baking and eating the results. Otherwise, I'd just light a candle for goodness sake.

Here's the this a good habit to be in? I would have to say "no" based on my current weight, which is a whole different day's discussion. So do I replace it or eliminate it? How do you go about changing a coping mechanism like that? It's simple....pray.

Pray simply.

I think I'm under the impression that my prayer life has to be these long eloquent prayers that sound good outloud in order to do it right. I get embarrassed to pray outloud because I know that my prayers are more like a conversation with an old friend versus all the "thee"s and "thou"s, King James Version type prayers. My prayers tend to take off on their own and I'm praying over things that I didn't even know was on my heart. Of course, I believe that this is how God wants us to pray, very openly and candidly with him. What I have trouble with is the simple prayer. The ones that I should be speaking in the middle of the day. The simple "Thanks God", "be with them Lord", or "I need you God".

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, "pray continually". This has always been a hard verse for me to comprehend. What does that mean? How do you pray continually? What I'm starting to understand better, is that perhaps it means, "be continually ready to pray". Prayer should be our first "go to" in all situations. Loneliness, anxiety, sickness, joy, peace, work, play. Maybe it's more of a Holy Spirit thing. Be open continually to the spirit urging you to pray. Be willing to be interupted by the Holy Spirit and be willing to change your path and take the opportunity that God is giving you to grow in Him. Whether it's an opportunity for personal growth in lonliness, or an opportunity for evangalism and healing of a non-believer in sickness, I need to be ready to hear from God and ready to pray. Even if it's outside my comfort zone, it's something that God is asking me to work on right now at this very point in my life. But he's also asking me to literally, "pray continually". In all situations, good and bad, to pray. Small prayers, easy prayers, simple prayers. He's asking me to stay connected to Him in all that I do, everyday....every minute. This is something that I have been using regularly....CONTINUALLY....since Chris has left. There have been times where I don't know where Chris is, if he's okay, if I'll talk to him soon. I'm left to pray and surrender those feelings to God. It's all part of the process and the growth God is leading me in right now. And it's been wonderful.

So, I admit I'm typing this, there are brownies in the oven. Are my kids here? Nope. Is my husband still hundreds of miles away? Yep. Am I lonely? Honestly? Not as much as I thought I would be at this point. God has been faithful the past 2 weeks. He has prepared me for this trip for years, and He has prepared me well. I can see that now. I have missed my husband a great deal. My heart has physically ached at times because I just miss his company so much. But I don't feel sad, lonely, anxious, or worried. I just simply miss him. Is that why I made brownies? Nope. I just need them to pack lunches for my kids this week. And that, for me, is a victory over who I've always been into who God wants me to be.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 13 - Haiti Mission - The Squeeze

The heat and humidity in Ohio has been brutal the past few days. I have been going, going, going.....nonstop since, well, about last Friday. I know better than that, but I keep wanting to do more with my kids, or my friends, or at work, etc.

So I started feeling "squeezed" yesterday morning as I was driving to Wapakoneta for a final pre-trial hearing in a custody dispute with my ex-husband. I really don't like conflict and any court precedings make me incredibly anxious. Courthouses have the ability to make me feel like I have done something wrong, even when I haven't. I knew that this was a formality and that nothing any worse than the visitation schedule I already have was to come. The uneventful trip was over quickly....with a continuance and a new date for another hearing in hand, I headed back to Columbus.

The "squeeze" had eased up some, but I still was feeling anxious and under pressure. I had been praying all day, but at some point I had begun praying "spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me." I know it's part of a song, but for the life of me I don't remember which one or even how it goes. I just like the idea of the Spirit of God falling fresh. New. Renewing me. As I placed myself into the hands of the Holy Spirit, the squeezing began to loosen up, until I was overcome with relaxation. Renewed. Fresh.

Today, I'm experiencing the "squeeze" of physical pain and the "pinch" of self-conviction. I had to tell my boys that I didn't feel well enough to take them to the pool tonight. The heat and humidity has made my pain increase a little more each day. It breaks my heart to have to back out on plans with my kids. Now as a person with chronic illness, it's just a fact of life that any commitment I make is not set in concrete, but that's hard to explain to an 8 and 10 year old. Sometimes it's hard to explain to adults. The waistband on my pants is causing significant pain and they won't let me go to work pant-less. I've asked. But that's where the pain level is. Hurts to sit, hurts to stand, hurts to walk. My wonderful bed is comfortable, but I can't carry it around with me.

So here I am, feeling defeated, like I'm incapable of caring for my kids just because of this day. The rain started about an hour ago, so thankfully the pain should ease in the next 24 hours. Tomorrow will be a new day to try again. God's mercies are new each day. I need to start showing myself the same kind of mercy each morning as well.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 9 - Haiti Mission - Desperation

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" ~Matthew 6:27
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." ~1 Peter 5:7

Okay, I admit was the day. What day are we on? Day 9. Mark it on the calendar. It only took Jacque 9 days to fall into complete insecure desperation. What causes it? That's simple. Nothing. Simply not knowing, not connecting. That turns into feeling ignored and feeling unloved and unneeded and unwanted.......and the snowball runs down the hill getting bigger and faster until BOOM! It hits a tree and explodes. That's the way my mind works. Today was Ka-BOOM.

Ahh, but where does the snowball start? That's easy, Satan himself is sitting under my window carefully crafting snowballs and handing them to me one at a time until he can get one to take off.....down the hill......For the most part I have been able to throw them in the sink and they melt, no harm done. Today, however, was the day I was carefully examining each snowball and how well they threw and how well they rolled until eventually one or two took off.....down the hill......

I hadn't talked to my husband in a couple of days and after the first day, I began examining the snowballs. First one - he's busy, or maybe that's what he wants me to think. Maybe he's having a really good time and doesn't want to ruin it by talking to his wife. Second one - he's not feeling well, he's laying down, someone else is there taking care of him and his thoughts and attention are with them. Third one - I've said something to upset him and now he's not going to talk to me for a while to teach me a lesson .........blammm.....down the hill.......

BUT......the beauty in this lesson for me is that I can let the snowballs go. You see, today for the first time, I have just sat and allowed the Holy Spirit to bring His peace down and cover me. (for all you guys who missed service this week, check out Rich Nathan's sermon this week at, click on sermons.) And as I went through the day, my desperation for contact with my husband became desperation for contact with Jesus. A supernatural peace. A peace I have very rarely experienced in my Christian walk. The more I resisted attempting to contact my husband, the more peaceful I became. Until I realized that I hadn't been worrying about any of it for a good part of the afternoon. Quite a revelation.

My husband is doing well. He's feeling better. He's eating and sleeping. There are some kinks in the plan, but it's God's plan and it will work out just the way God intends. I need to have as much faith in God's plan for me as I do for God's plan for Chris. That's for sure.

So for now, I'll watch as the devil throws snowballs at me and as they roll down the hill. The only difference is that I'm not in the middle of the snowball to reap in the destruction at the end of the run. I'm just gonna let the snowball come and go, throw it in the sink to melt and drain away. No snowball is going to throw me off course any more. Because now, I'm desperate for Jesus, not desperate for emotion and attention. He's got eveything I need.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 8 - Haiti Mission - Drowning out the Lonlies with Friends

"Oh the Lord is good to me.....and so I thank the Lord,
for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the apple tree.

I remember singing that song at Girl Scout Day Camp. Today, as I was sitting lazily on a boat amongst friends that I consider family, the song kept running itself over and over in my head. I am blessed. Truly blessed by friends who want me to be happy. And what I mean by happy is, well, to not be sad and alone for an extended amount of time. Yes, today, the Lord was good to me for giving me the friends I need, the sun and the rain and TONS to eat. The Lord was good to me. I firmly believe that your family is who you choose for them to be. I'm not close to my extended family. Not a bit, but I have friends who would be there for me in an instant and pull me from a burning building (perhaps started by an unattended dryer....Melissa....), and most importantly not let me go out in public wearing "that". You know what I mean. That's who I spent the day with yesterday and today. Some of the greatest friends in the world who I gladly call my family.

And in the midst of that surrounding, everything faded away to a single voice in my head that said..."now you're starting to get it."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 6 - Haiti Mission - Growing Pains

"Be still, and know that I am God;....." Psalm 46:10

There have been many discussions that I have had with close friends about how I feel like I'm a toddler to God. You know what I mean....hearing Him tell you to do something and responding, "but I don't waannnntt toooooo." Growing in the Lord requires discipline, faith, trust.....and pain tolerance. There are many times that I've gone through spiritual growth that I've told the Lord...."ya know, I'm good, I don't really need to grow any more, do I?" That's because just like anything worthwhile, it's work and sometimes it's painful. Without doubt, my relationship with Christ has always been strengthen and nurtured once on the otherside. But sometimes it's the getting through that seems unbearable.
I look at the title and think...."Wow, only day 6, eh?" It feels like so much longer. I've had some attack in the past 6 days, but have been able to handle it and pray over it and keep myself in check regarding my marriage and my husband. What I wasn't expecting and I am having trouble handling is how much I miss my husband. I miss the sound of his voice just having him in the house. We use Skype, but due to the bad connection and a microphone issue with his computer, he always comes across sounding like a robotic chipmunk. Not quite as comforting as I sometimes would hope for. So last night, after a long day of work and not being able to talk with him like I wanted to, I was irritable, and frustrated, and I know I took it all out on him.

Let me be very clear.....that is NOT the kind of wife I want to be and it is NOT the kind of wife that my husband deserves. I understand that I'm human and that we all have moments, but I am very disappointed in myself and disappointed that I can't keep my emotions under better control. It's been very clear to me that this was a trip that I really needed to handle with complete faith and surrender to the Lord. I tend to "freak out" in my husband's absence. The Lord has been very clear that I should NOT be a burden to my husband during this time, that I should not cause any unnecessary stress for him. Today, I'm needing to keep that calling in check. Wow, as I sit here it dawns on me that this is service as well. I'm trying with all that I am and all that I have to be obedient to what God is asking me to do, no matter how difficult it is for me emotionally. I tend to think of it in terms of the scripture above "Be still". One of the things I love about God is how he works through other people to get the message across. Today, my best friend told me to "Shut up." Now my BFF is a gal of great poise and good manners, so I know that this did not come from her. But she's right....He's right....I need to shut up. It's part of the growth, to take the loneliness and fear to Him, not to my hubby.

You know, I don't mind having old wounds ripped open for the sake of growth.....especially when I have Christ as my Neosporin. You know, heal quicker....scar less.