Ephesians 4

Before I start writing my thoughts about Ephesians 4, I want you to meet a new friend:

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This little guy thought it would be ok to nap in my basement. I’m thanking God that he was sleeping when I found him because that was way easier than trying to catch him while he was flying.

Anyways. Ephesians 4. Where to start. I’m probably going to spend a week just in this book .
Verse 7: Christ has given each one of us our own gift.
Do you know what yours is?
Verse 11-13 he filled the earth with gifts for each one of us in the body so that we can work easily with each other, efficiently and gracefully.
*note… I’m paraphrasing a lot. Get a Bible and read it!
We are supposed to be working together as a team, moving as God moves us, doing what He tells us. Not fighting or worrying about who is doing what or how you can do it better.
Know what your gift is? Great! Do it to the best of your ability, but don’t let it get to your head.
I’m a singer. I know there is a fine line between doing my best and being prideful. It is a hard line to walk because when you sing well and people are moved by the Spirit, what do they do? They come to you and tell you how good you were. Sometimes they say the Spirit really moved them while I was singing, but usually just compliments. I’m sure it is the same for pastors, teachers etc. God gave us these gifts. We could not do them on our own nor should we take the credit.

Don’t know what your gift is? Ask people! Others see your gifts SO much more clearly.
Pray about it. God knows what He have you too and I’m sure He wants to reveal it to you. Don’t be afraid to ask.

I hope that what I’m writing is speaking to your hearts. And that it makes sense. I just feel this urge to share as I’m learning. Because I’m excited about what I’m learning!
I love to hear your comments and thoughts on what I’m writing. I love conversing about God.

Hope, passion, joy

Those three things I have not felt in a long time. I feel like I may be finally, finally coming out of the desert. My divorce 6ish years ago, lead me quickly down a path so far away from my relationship with God that I never thought I would find a way back.
I missed my relationship with Him, but struggling with depression, less than intelligent life choices, and a crazy illness, plus a million little “bad” things made me believe that He didn’t really care and wasn’t listening.
Which sucks because I know better.
It seems like one horrible thing brought me to this place and another horrible thing seems to be the thing that is bringing me out.
One conversation reminded me of the passion I used to feel. Reminded me of why I was put here on earth. Reminded me of promises prophecied over me. Prophecies that I believe wholeheartedly will happen.
The song, “You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music has been speaking so powerfully to me this week. I swear that song was written just for me.
It is the only thing that has made me smile, laugh, be excited about God and what he is doing in a long long time. I can barely contain my joy while singing that song to God.
Some of the lyrics:

You make me brave, you make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves

You make me brave, you make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you gave

As your love, wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
You are for us, you are not against us
Champion of heaven you made a way
For all to enter in

I feel like God is calling me to a new place in my life, a place where I have to be brave because I don’t like being pushed outside my comfort zone. But it needs to happen for Him to make me who He has created me to be, to fulfill the desires he has birthed in me.
I’m now starting to looking into the future with hope and expectation.

Sacrifice of praise

Such and interesting concept and topic that I am so looking forward to delving deeper into.
Tonight I got to talk to a new friend and vent about my miscarriage and just talk in general. I got to talking about how at church had I tried to sing I would have been sobbing hysterically but I can sing worship sings at home and I’m fine. But, I said, I don’t think I really mean them right now. I’m singing them just to sing even though I’m mad and hurt. And she mentioned the sacrifice of praise.
Praising God when the circumstances don’t warrant it. Praising Him when you think He has totally lost it. When you are so hurt by life that you can
hardly breathe. When you feel abandoned, in a dry time, alone, confused, angry… You name it. When you feel like anything but praising God.
Hebrews 13:15 says,
15Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased

I’ve read several commentaries on this and I’m looking forward to learning more. We are to continually praise God. I intentionally play worship songs and sing to them at home. Not because I want to. But He is still my God. Still on my side.
And worshipping without feeling “worshippy” isn’t hypocritical like I thought it was. I’m sacrificing my feelings, my emotions, my pain by worshipping when I don’t feel like it. I’m sacrificing my time. I’m giving it back to Him to take care of.
It is hypocritical if you don’t believe and do it as a show, but when you believe and do it even when you don’t want to, it becomes a sacrifice.
Which makes me feel better about how I felt in church on Sunday. Cause I would have rather died than gone and it was torture to sit there. Church is usually my refuge but since the miscarriage it has no longer been a comfort but a constant reminder of what I have lost.
I’m going to keep going and I’ve been assured that this does get easier.
All of this will now make leading worship a very different experience as well. How many times have I been up front while someone struggled through the service as I am now doing. I pray that God opens my eyes to those situations. To those hearts so if onto thing else I can pray for them. Or even better, leave behind my introverted self and talk to them. (I’m not super sure that talking is better than prayer, but it is cathartic. I suppose I can pray with them as well if I talk to them.)
So the next time you don’t want to/feel like worshipping, remember that it is your sacrifice to God when you praise him through the storm.

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Post surgery

Having surgery sucks when you are a type a personality. (I’m sure it sucks for everyone honestly).
I’m going crazy. I can’t do anything except sit and watch tv or sleep. I don’t know how people choose to be lazy.
Anyway, I have a disease called pseudo-tumor cerebrii, I make to much spinal fluid and after years of ignoring my doctor I finally caved and had the shunt put in my head. Before this we were doing spinal taps every couple months. But the last couple times I have ended up in the hospital for days afterward. Not really a good solution any longer. So here is hoping that this will be a final fix. (In a way that means I get to spend the rest of my life worrying about brain infections and the tubing plugging up.)

On a bright note, I ordered a ton of the supplies for my bath and body shop today. (Called Heatherwood Spa) It will be on etsy and thecraftstar and Facebook. Very much looking forward to this. I also think I have finally settled on what type of jewelry I am going to make so I am going to get that supply order in this week as well! I’m so so excited for the future.
We just got moved into our house so I have a studio and if winter ever ends I will have my awesome gardens. We even have plans to expand our family now. But that will be a while.
This is such a dramatic difference from even a year ago. At that point everything was day to day living wondering if my kids and I would get through this in one piece. And now I’m watching God put all these things together in ways that we never expected.
We even have a new puppy who we all love insanely. He makes for a good recovery pal when he is calm. Even our other dog likes him, which is truly a miracle because she does not like other dogs.
My pain meds are kicking in and making it hard to focus so I’m out for now!

Attitude

Ever have a day where you feel second rate in every.single.situation?
I’m so there right now and I know my attitude toward all of this isn’t really great either. But all of it, whether intentional or not all happened today and these three situations impact my home life, my job, and my church life. Like the three biggest areas in my life.
Right now I’m back on the, “I want to move” track. I just want to get out of here and leave this behind which fixes two of the three issues.
I’m sure the third issue could be fixed with an email, but wallowing in self pity seems like a better idea right now. Actually I’m sure two of the three issues could be fixed with some sort of communication, but I am a total introvert and will avoid confrontation at all costs. And I don’t need there to be uneasiness at work or church.
I’m trying to figure out what God is trying to teach me in moments like these. I know I’m not second rate to him and I know that running away isn’t optional right now.
This issue at church is such a burden to my heart that I’m ready to walk away from worship team because of it. But I love singing. People from church love it when I sing. (And I’m not saying this in an arrogant way. This is just what they tell me.)
But this issue comes up all the time and it makes me hate being there. It makes me hate leading worship and that is a bad place to be when you are supposed to be leading people into a place of worship.
The home thing is just that my neighbors are so freaking cliquey that they just sit there and glare at me and my kids when we leave the house. Even one whom I thought I was friends with. While I don’t need friends like that, I never lived in a place where your neighbors don’t even say hi to you. Makes life pretty lonely sometimes.

Sigh. Again. Just wallowing here, but maybe if I get it out I will feel better faster.

180 degrees

Two weeks ago, I died. My heart stopped. (this starts the same as the last post, but I promise you is a totally different blog)

It has taken me a while to accept the fact that I really was dead and when I finally realized it, it hit me hard. BUT…. God had his hand all over that situation. I was alone in the room when my heart stopped. I had sent Ryan to find a nurse because I knew something was seriously wrong. I was also alone when my heart started beating again. When God started my heart again.
For the longest time I have been living in what I refer to as my complacent lala land. I was not actively pursuing God. I wasn’t actively running away from Him either. I just was.
On Sunday, our worship leader (while I was on stage for worship team) (totally an introvert, almost died again from total panic) had the entire church pray for me. And like half the town came and talked to me after that and they all said the same thing. They had never felt God move like that in the church before.

Speaking of worship team, it is  HUGE thing for me. Saturday night, when I got to the second hospital, I told my boyfriend that I would be super upset if I had to miss worship team the next week because of my illness. The worship leader at my church texted me two days after I got out of the hospital and said something to the effect of “I’m assuming you won’t be here to sing on Sunday”, and all I sent back was “ummm…..I’m singing.”  Not because I NEED to perform and show people that I really can sing well, but because I really want to help(?) people focus on God. This is the one thing that I know I do well for God and he has definitely put me on the team here for a reason.

Shortly after that, while I was driving, the extent of what happened to me really hit. I died. That thought hadn’t crossed my mind before. I could be laying in the ground right now instead of typing this. And then I realized that God brought me back for a reason, because he certainly could have taken me home right then.
This really got me thinking. Why am I here. Cause I really don’t know. I have no idea what God’s calling is for me. I’m hoping after I write this that others will pray about it as well and that I will follow God’s path for me until He gets me there.
Our Saturday night service is called The Journey and that is what tonight’s service was really focused on. Where God is taken us and whether or not we will follow Him on this journey. And God was kicking my butt the. entire. time. And as things were happening in the service, God brought to mind when I was in college and all my focus was on Him.
I knew He had something big for me, but through many bad choices, a bad marriage and divorce and raising two kids alone, I had totally lost site of it. Tonight God kept dredging up things that needed to change and things that he had told me in the past. I know I brought up worship team before as something I am super passionate about, but I don’t feel like that is “it”. Singing at church every couple weeks may be part of what God wants, but I truly feel that there is something else.

The one thing he brought up was Jude 22 and 23

Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

This verse was given to me my last week of college by the pastor I had been studying under that year. He really felt like God was saying that this was my future. And it was brought up in a conversation in my car and again tonight. (this verse isn’t something that comes to mind often, which is why I am bringing it up. If it was something I thought about daily, I wouldn’t have thought much of it, but it always comes to mind when I am hearing from God about my purpose.)

At other points in my life, people have said similar things to me as well. But I don’t have any idea what it means.

God is moving in my life in such a huge way that I am totally overwhelmed. He has a plan. And I NEED to be following Him in this. I will do whatever it takes to do what He has called me to do in my life. I literally feel like I am starving for God right now. (and I like it)

From what I heard from God tonight, the first big step is to stop swearing. (I am super bad about this, especially at work) and to reign in my temper when it comes to work and my kids. So I need tons of prayer in this regard. Both come up when I am stressed so I’m usually not thinking about my behavior when I am at that point.

So please pray that I can conquer these two issues in my life and that the next step is made very very very obvious to me. If God tells me what he wants me to do the way he did tonight, I’ll get it, BUT without the neon sign or a slap in the head, I’m usually to busy and oblivious to realize that He is talking to me.

I hope that this made sense to everyone reading it. I’m totally a train of thought writer and I am contending with two kids who NEEEEED to tell me something RIGHT NOW and so I’m totally distracted.

Please feel free to share input in the comments on here OR if you know me personally, shoot me a message on facebook. I’m not sure I am ok talking about this face to face cause then I start crying and I REALLY HATE crying. And I’ve cried twice tonight, so I am really past my limit for at least a month or two.

Fear and flatlines

My heart stopped almost exactly a week ago. It stopped for four seconds. Such a short time. 4 seconds is about the length of two measures of a moderately paced 4/4 song. But still. It stopped. They have it in paper at the hospital because I just happened to be wearing a monitor at the time.
And yet, I can’t get over it. I don’t want to sleep. Haven’t slept through the night since I left the hospital.
They have told me at least a dozen times that it was vasal vagal syncope due to the pain I was in. Totally benign. However the next person to use the word benign when discussing this with me will get hurt. It isn’t benign to me.
I got to hear the reaction of a doctor who said that when it comes to hearts, 4 seconds is an eternity.
All of the sudden I have to think about writing a living will. (should probably do it anyway, as I am a divorced, single parent, whose ex should not have custody) but I never would have thought of that before. I’m questioning going to the gym. What if it happens again and I’m at the gym alone?
God keeps telling me that by worrying, I am not trusting Him in this situation. I’m pretty certain that He is right. He obviously wants me alive because my heart restarted on its own. I’m here right now writing this blog and not sleeping instead of in a casket. So I must be here for a reason. But that knowledge hasn’t stopped the fear.
I don’t want to be told to see a therapist. Just ended with one actually. Not even two weeks ago. Don’t want to start again.
I’m hoping at some point, the fear just stops. Does anyone know if that really happens? I have no intention of letting this fear control my life. But right now, I am genuinely scared.