Glacier National Park 2010

Monday, July 30, 2012

At Peace With Myself

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

Today was such a good day.  I had minimal pain from the incision site.....I slept well....I felt, well, peaceful.....and I still do.  Those who know me well will appreciate that comment.  You see I have always been an emotional person and have not been shy about showing my emotions.....maybe it is the Italian in me. Needless to say, that particular trait is not always conducive to feeling at peace.

There is no doubt as to the source of my new found peace....communing daily with God.  By communing, I mean more than just praying because I have always been a great believer in the power of prayer........though I had the misconception that it was meant for others more 'worthy' than myself.
If you've been reading my blog for any time you know that I have recently discovered that God loves me, has always loved me, very much! And that not only am I worthy of prayer....I mean so much to God that He wants me in His Presence......yep, He really does! I rejoice in that knowledge constantly.

Back to communing.....for me this means waking up every morning eager to read God's Word and increase my understanding of how awesome God means talking to God about whatever may be troubling me...asking Him to show me how I can better become the woman He needs me to be......sharing with Him the problems friends and loved ones may be experiencing...........and lately, it has been about resting.....letting God take care of me and the ones I love.....not worrying because I have faith that God is in charge of me.

For so long, I felt that it was my job to worry about anything, everything, anyone and everyone.......that is NOT a peaceful feeling. Furthermore it didn't do one bit of good.....not for me nor for the things I worried about.

Now, instead of worrying, I talk to God and feel the warmth and peace of His presence sooth my mind and my heart.  He keeps me safe from thoughts which are negative and have no benefit to me.....He brought peace to my spirit and I like the person His peace has helped me become.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

God's Perfect Timing

"How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 36 : 7

Have you ever been in the midst of some great trial or tribulation, been experiencing a devastating loss, or felt like your troubles were increasing with flood like speed and thought, "why is this happening God?  Why? What possible good can come from this?"

I cannot tell you the number of times I have shouted at God and told Him, "I have had enough...I can't take it anymore!" I've wept copious tears and as you know, pulled myself as far from God as I could, all because of my inability to let God work in His own I've said, I cannot see the big picture of my life, but God can and does.

This morning as I had my 'quiet time' before the day time to be in God's presence, to lift my face to Him and say I love You Lord and I am yours......fill me up with the desire to do what You would have me do today....................He showed me moments from my past, moments when I felt there could be no possible reason for Him to let things happen the way they did! And He showed me why I needed it to happen.

I want to share a few with you if I may. 

When my first son was born the labor was long and difficult for me and for him.  Within a few hours of his birth, the pediatrician came to me and said my precious baby was a very sick little boy.  Because of the long labor, Michael had aspiration pneumonia and would need to be transported to a larger hospital in Montgomery where there was a neonatal intensive care unit. Can you imagine the fear and anguish racing through me? And then to be told I could not be released for another 3-4 days?  Why God?  Why? I could not see any purpose in God allowing me to endure this......until later.

Five years later, a dear friend gave birth to a sweet baby girl that they had prayed for and longed for.  The day after her birth my friend called with the news that her baby girl was so very sick and could I please come be with her as she sat by her baby's bed in the hospital?  Of course I could and I did.....and because I had been through much the same experience with my own baby, I knew the kind of comfort that new mother needed, knew the prayers to pray, knew what to do. God's timing my friends....He knew what my friend needed before anyone else and He prepared someone, me, to provide it.

A few years before my youngest son was born, I suffered a devastating miscarriage.  It plunged me into a depression so deep I doubted I would recover.  Why God? Why do this to me? You know how much my babies mean to me?  What lesson are you trying to teach me?  And of course there was a purpose, His plan in action.

Within a year, a young couple we knew went through the same thing....and yes, God gave me the words to say to provide the comfort she needed....and we grieved together for the loss of our children.  God's timing although I didn't see it then.

Most recently, I have been trying desperately to find a 'real' teaching job which is difficult for a woman of my age in this economy and in the area of expertise in which I wanted to teach-English/Speech.  However, for some reason, there were three openings in our city school system AND I was able to secure interviews for all three! I felt that God was answering my prayer....and He was....just not in the way I had anticipated.

  I had three wonderful interviews and was so excited at the opportunity to be able to teach a subject I enjoyed.  In my head, I began making plans for my classroom and for the students I would teach!! Then I received one very encouraging letter and two very polite phone calls....."you have so much to offer BUT we've decided to go in another direction."  Just like that my world came crashing down....and continued to fall in around me until that fateful night God stepped in and said, ENOUGH!

Now looking back I can see that God answered my prayers perfectly.  Had I gotten any one of those jobs it would have been too much especially given the fact I had to have major surgery with a fairly long recovery period.  I would have killed myself trying to have everything ready for school to start and probably would have lengthened my recovery time as a result.  Yes, God's timing is perfect even if we don't see it at the time.

So what am I going to work on?  Well, first and foremost, understanding that even when things seem to be going so badly.....God has a reason, a lesson for me to learn and I have to be willing to be patient about finding out what it might be......not easy for me I confess. Secondly, I have to remember to take comfort in His steadfast love,  and when the pain is great I can take "refuge in the shadow of His wings." And lastly, I have to remember not to pray 'answers' to my prayers.....I just need to pray my heart and let God's answers come....His timing is perfect.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Transforming Facebook

I've been doing some thinking about Facebook of all things!  I joined Facebook 5 or 6 years ago as a way to connect with my children thinking it would give us something to talk about.  That didn't work out quite as I had expected....they were horrified and told me I was too old for Facebook and MySpace and that it would make me looky "creepy."  Regardless of their opinions, I stuck with it.

Initially I was intimidated by the ins and outs of the whole process.  But I figured it out.  I started sending out "friend requests" and even received some!  I reconnected with people I hadn't seen since high school or college. I received invitations to play various online games.....and accepted them all in my eagerness to be part of a "social" network! I tended my FarmTown acreage, blew up jewels, even got pretty good at online poker!  Of course, I winnowed things out after a while and stuck with games I really enjoyed.....Scrabble, Gardens of Time, Words With Friends, Farkle, Bejewelled Blitz.....and then I got brave.

Playing these games helped me through that really awful period during my divorce.  I was so lonely....not sure of myself....treated rudely by people I thought were friends.....propositioned by people who thought being divorced meant I was a "wild single."  The folks I knew through Facebook were there but not "there," if you know what I mean.  When I couldn't sleep I knew someone would be online to play Scrabble.....somewhere in the world.  And so I reached out through that "random" key where games were set up for me with people I didn't know!

Literally a whole new world opened up to me!  I've been playing Scrabble for a couple of years now with "Jan G." and "John K." and we've never met!  We exchange 'chats' now and again and it is fun! Then the Gardens of Time game caught my fancy....and I 'met' even more people.  No we've never been physically in the same room....but they have become real to me.

This became so apparent during my recent thyroid adventure....I started receiving encouraging posts from these wonderful people I've never met.....people from all over this country indeed from all over the world!  And Facebook became more than a 'social' became a circle of caring people who know that there is power in prayer and positive thoughts....and it gave me hope for our world.

So to those people I've only 'met' online....Hanne, Tove and Lone K., Kathleen K., Judith, Josh r., C.S. King, Steph M., just  to name a few.....thank you for your part in helping me become a better person, for easing my loneliness, for encouraging me when facing difficulties.  In my eyes you are heroes. 

If strangers can unite through prayer and concern for another stranger.....then surely we will soon be reaching out to people we see every day.....offering encouragement, kindness, friendship to those who need it to get through the day.  That is my challenge to look beyond the surface and share the joy I carry within myself...........the rewards will be immeasureable.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sacrificial Sharing

It is early morning and it is reasonably quiet for the apartment doors slamming as people rush off to work....the tinkling of the wind chimes on my porch lets me know there is a slight breeze. As I wait for the pain meds to kick in, I am reminded of how blessed I am.  For now, I have a place to live, food in the pantry, clothes in my closet and a job......most importantly, I have God's promise to fulfill my needs and the knowledge that He is with me always.

This verse captured my thoughts this morning:

"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." Hebrews 13: 16

At first I thought, "I always try to do good so that part's easy."  Then I looked at the second part, "share what you have," and that gave me pause.  Not because I am unwilling to share but, thinking monetarily, I don't have much.  What does this mean in my life situation? Because I am trying very hard to follow as God leads...and this verse says share what I have.  So what do I have...what do we each have that can be shared.?

Smiles are easy to share with people we know....the sacrifice comes through sharing a smile with those you don't know who may respond with a sneer or not at all.  Kind words shared with pleasant individuals brings joy to all involved.......share kind words with a surly clerk, or a rude attendant or the dirty homeless man crouched in the corner.....your sacrifice is in doing the difficult your reward comes from the knowledge that "such sacrifices are pleasing to God."

The truth is we all have so much to share....sometimes it isn't easy or pleasant.....but the rewards, whenever they come, will be great. My prayer will be that my eyes and my heart will be open to opportunities for sharing.....and that I will find joy in doing what God has led me to matter how far out of my comfort zone it may take me. 

I ask that those who read these words join me in this.....and let me know what joy follows.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wait Upon the Lord

Just a quick update for now.....I had the thyroid surgery yesterday and am home recovering.  It was a truly surreal experience......and I know the only way I managed to get through it was because of the following verse:

"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord." Psalm31:24

As I took each step in the process yesterday, I thought of all those people praying for me and I drew strength from that.  I knew that God was honoring each prayer and it brought me peace.  I prayed for each nurse, each doctor, each person involved in the pre-op, the actual surgery and the post-op.  If I felt myself becoming anxious, I would hum a praise chorus and it brought me back to that place of peace in God's arms.

The surgery didn't go exactly as planned because the thyroid and the nodules were much larger than initially indicated.  So instead of a 3 in. incision I have a 7 in. ear to ear incision. Quite the conversation starter!  The pain is tough at times...but then I just release my thoughts to God and ask Him to help me through it.  So far it is working well.

God is truly working in my heart, my mind, my body.......He is fixing parts of me I never thought could be fixed.  And I think He's doing so because He has a job for me......don't know what it is yet but all I can say is, "yes Lord use me. I am willing and obedient."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Preserve Me O God

Tomorrow is the big day...I will have a total thyroidectomy.  I met with the surgeon, did all my pre-op lab work, and now just have to show up at the hospital at 5:30 in the morning! Since it is an hour's drive I'm thinking I won't get much sleep. But that's okay.

Lots of feelings tumbling around in my head. Lots of thoughts flitting through my brain. Am I nervous? Yes, you could say that. Am I worried? Not really. I have put this whole situation in God's Hands. There are lots of people all over the world praying for me and as a friend reminded me, "prayer is a powerful thing."

If for whatever reason, things go awry and I don't live through the is okay. I'm not afraid of death....I know Who will be waiting to receive me!  My only regret will be not having more time here to be with my let them know in every way possible how much I love them and how very proud of them I have always been! 

There are still lots of things I'd like to do here.....lots of things to learn....lots of friends o make...lots of journeys to take.  But ultimately, I know that what I want and what I need are two different things.  Only God knows what I really need...and He provides those things for me every single day. Sometimes I don't even know I need them until they are there...that is how amazing God is.

The verse in Psalms that brought me much comfort this morning is this:

"Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord, I have no good apart from you." Psalm 16:1-2

I take refuge....shelter...strength...comfort...guidance...all those things from trusting and resting in God. It isn't always easy to just let go....surrender everything to Him.  Because I want to "fix" things all by myself.....but when I try to do that.....I usually make a big mess.  That's because I don't see the "Big" picture...not the way God does.

The second part of the verse is a reminder to me, "You are my Lord, I have no good apart from you."  And I don't! I have years of experience being 'apart' from wasn't all bad but it wasn't perfectly good either.  There's no way it could be.....if I wasn't letting God lead me in everything then I made some bad choices.  I don't want to be in that place again.

So, every moment of every day, I will reach out and ask God to "preserve me." In joy and in sorrow I will call out to Him and He will rejoice with me and He will comfort amazing that the God who created everything is always there for His children.

God will be with me tomorrow through the surgery....the recovery...and whatever follows.  My prayer is that it will be apparent to all Who is in charge of my life.....and how thankful I am that He is.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Distress and Freedom

As I was reading through Psalms yesterday, there was one verse which particularly spoke to me.  In light of recent events, the words seemed to jump off the page. And as so often happens, the words stuck in my mind as I pondered them.

"Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord heard me and set me free." Psalms 118: 5

Distress can mean many things to many people.  Usually the word summons images of calamity and destruction, trauma and devastation. For me 'distressed' has been indicative of my state of mind over the past six weeks or so.....the state of my emotions at other times.  My spiritual and emotional distress pales in comparison to those whose distress encompasses loss of life and miniscule when held up to the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.

"Out of my distress I called upon the Lord;" in reading those words I don't know what kind of 'distress' the writer was experiencing and it really doesn't matter.  Whatever pain, illness, indecision, uncertainty etc., the writer felt he "called upon the Lord." Did God hesitate and ask how much distress the writer felt?  No.  "The Lord heard me and set me free." As simple as that.

"Out of my distress I called upon the Lord."  That is what I do now. When I hurt, when I don't know what to do, when I am uncertain, when I am tempted......I call upon the Lord.....I shout His name...I walk around my home praying, talking aloud to God, pouring out my heart to Him. And He hears me and sets me from the burden of my own personal from wondering how I will get through it all.  I am free to rest in Him and let Him heal the hurts I can't handle on my own.
That is His gift to all of us....... in our distress we can call upon Him and He will set us free....if we let Him.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Game Plan

In this present phase of my life, so many things I once believed to be true turned into lies and the person I was, is no more. The transitions have been painful and eye opening.  And initially, I didn't know what I was going to do, how I was to go on, and with the health issues, I didn't know how long I'd even be around to worry about it.

Those who read my words know the things I'm talking about.  Today I want to clarify some things.

I've come through fire and been burned but like the mythical phoenix, I am rising from the ashes...a new creature.  As a new creature, my plan is to follow the advice I found in Proverbs 3: 5-8.  Rediscovered it today as a matter of fact. Reading the following words filled me with hope again:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." Prov. 3 :5-8

There you have my gameplan.  Trust God and let Him guide my way.  Admit I don't know everything and stay away from the things I know to be wrong....and when I'm weak or not sure...pray and let God teach me.  If I do this, then I will be healed and refreshed......and I see this as referring to my mental, spiritual and emotional health.......the physical healing will follow....but in God's time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Good News

Results from the biopsy are in.  There were no cancer cells in the tissue samples!  What wonderful news!  The surgery is still a go because the "thing" has grown to 3cm and looks to continue.  So I have an appointment with the surgeon who specializes in this type of surgery on July 23. We'll have to decide on a partial or total thyroidectomy....I'm voting for a total  so I don't have to worry about a further surgery down the road. You see I have another nodule in the other lobe as well.

As to the surgery...I'm a bit nervous.  But I do not have to be in charge....God is totally in control of everything because I asked Him to be.....I want Him to be because only He knows how everything is supposed to turn out. 

I have developed trust issues with regards to people because of poor choices in relationships...but that lack of trust in people has become total trust in God.  He is the ONLY One who wants the very best for me and if I am obedient to His guidance and stay in His Will, then the very best is what I'll receive.  Not what the "world" perceives as having the best but what God knows is best for me and all those who believe in Him.

It isn't always easy because I am human and very new at allowing God to guide my steps and my growth as a child of His. But every moment of every day I know I have to turn my failings over to Him.  When my mind pulls up unpleasant memories which make me angry beyond reason or make me feel hatred toward another, I hit my knees because I know my reactions are not appropriate as a child of God.....and I ask Him to fix that part of me that reacts that way. 

It's easier to say one forgives than it is to forget the hurt and the pain.  I'm trying to let those things go but can't do it on my own.......God knows it and is there whenever I cry out for His help and His peace....what a mess I would be if He wasn't.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sorrow Into Joy

I spent several hours floating in the pool with nothing in particular on my mind.  Things would float through my head much in the same way the wispy white clouds traversed the clear blue sky above me. Positive thoughts I would turn over and examine much like a child with a shiny bauble in their hands.  Then I'd put that thought away and think about breathing.  Yes, breathing slowly and deeply....imagining the air filling my lungs....the oxygen moving into my cells.  It was so calming....soothing to the point of sleep.

But as so often happens when I relax my mind and my body, thoughts turn to memories.  Some are good and bring joy. Others not so much. Those memories bring pain in the form of regrets....of cruelties inflicted whether consciously or not.....of relationships shattered by lies....on and on until I stop the roll call of hurtful thoughts. And I do this in a way that brings instant calm to my mind and heart.

I begin to pray for and about each one as it rears its head poised to strike at the peace God has brought to me. As the prayer rises from my lips the potential pain wisps away like smoke and I know God will take the hurt and turn it into something good and true.  How glad I am to have found the way to turn my sorrow into joy!  How I wish I had found it sooner...but no....God's timing is perfect .  I received it when He knew I needed it most. God is good at that....and I'm so thankful He is.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It Is All Good

After yesterday's biopsy of the large mass in my thyroid, I was exhausted on every level!  The past three weeks were filled with much contemplation and lots of prayer time.  Not long after the decision was made to perform the biopsy, I turned the outcome over to God.  After all, my worrying about what could happen would not change any thing about the situation.  There were times when my mind would wander into those areas filled with questions to which I had no it cancer? advanced might it be?.....will I still be able to work? will I take care of my bills?  On and on the litany went. 

Then I would feel the presence of God saying "here let Me take care of just rest....I have it all under control." And I would pray that He would be glorified through this whole situation....that my behaviour, my attitude, my acceptance would show how much I trust God, how I want to always be in His perfect plan......regardless of the outcome. It is all good.

Yesterday the doctor said we would have the results of the biopsy some time next week.  Believe me when I say I was not looking forward to the wait!  But I was determined not to think about it....the situation was in God's Hands.  Imagine my astonishment when I received a call late this afternoon saying the result were back.  Then imagine my joy when I was told there were NO cancer cells in the tissue samples taken yesterday!  It was my own special miracle and I thank God for sending it my way.

Because of the size of the mass, surgery is still indicated and I'm sure they will send it off to make certain it is not cancerous.  But for now, there is great rejoicing in my family and among my friends.  Their prayers all united to bring me through the stress and anxiety and even the procedure itself.  Prayer unites us in a way nothing else can.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Best Friend

Its late and the night is quiet except for the rattle of the occasional car passing over the speed bumps on the road.  I long for sleep to take me but the discomfort from the biopsy lingers and acts as a barrier to rest. The prayers and kind thoughts of friends carried me through the day but I don't think I could have made it without the presence of my best friend. 

We've had many adventures in our long 48 year friendship and with God's blessings, I hope we share many more. Seems like our next venture will carry us into the world of medical procedures and hospital stays.....but only briefly.  Then we'll be exchanging resipes and sharing books and looking ahead to the things we'll do once either one of us wins the lottery.  And in between the tears, there will be lots of laughter.

She has taught me so much.....about myself...about life...about what it means to be a real friend....I thank God for putting her in my life.  And I count myself extremely blessed to have a once in a lifetime kind of sister-friend like her.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

No Matter What

I've spent the last couple of days contemplating what lies ahead. Sunday I was reminded that God is going to take care of everything.  Does that mean that I will no longer have worries or sorrow or days when I wonder what is the point of it all?  No.  For me it means, that whatever is on my mind or heart, whatever pain or illness I must face, my God is with me.

You see, for so long I didn't think I was worthy of that kind of Love.  That I had to prove myself by enduring the hardships, the sorrow, the loneliness, the illness.  Finding out that I don't have to prove anything, that I just have to be who I am, was so liberating.  If I feel the darkness trying to overwhelm me I literally cry out to God and tell Him everything I'm thinking and feeling.  Then there is an almost physical sense of those dark thoughts being lifted into His Light where He takes care of them.  And my mind is peaceful in the knowledge He is there.

I've been attending a wonderful church peopled with folks I don't know.  Years ago I would have felt like an "outsider."  But my anonymity has allowed me to worship and praise God in a way I've never before felt free to do.  It is as if I am alone in the presence of one is around...the walls fall away....and I am there with the sole purpose of praising God and hearing what He has to say.  For me it has been miraculous.

That is why I can face my biopsy tomorrow with a minimum of anxiety. Regardless of the outcome, I know God will be there.  No matter what comes next, God will be there.  My only response is to let lean on seek His be His servant.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Focus on the Positive

Had an up and down kind of day.  Because of the biopsy I'm facing next week I had a call in to my cousin who is an outstanding Physician's Assistant.  We had a nice long talk about the issues with my diabetes and the two masses on my thyroid gland.  He was reassuring and gave me lots of information and questions to ask my doctor before the procedure.  He also made me feel comfortable with the probability that ,given the size and location of the largest mass I was almost certainly looking at surgery.  My options will be determined by the outcome of the biopsy.

So.....whether I am facing cancer or not is still to be determined.  If cancer is still needs to be decided what kind.  And on and on....I could drive myself crazy.  Right now, all I'm focusing on is the first step....the biopsy which takes place in 5 days.  Positive thoughts and many prayers.....and my faith in a loving God will get me through.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Family, Friends and Freedom

Yesterday was the day we as Americans celebrated our nation's beginnings.  Fireworks, food, family fun generally encompassed those celebrations. From huge fireworks displays to more intimate family picnics, patriotism wass the theme.  This year, an election year, I'm sure politics and the economy as well as Obama care were topics of discussion.  Whichever side of the issues one lands on, as Americans, we want what's "best" for our nation.
My celebration was a bit unique in that it was peopled with friends and family who are citizens of the US, either born here or naturalized...and those who are citizens of another country but here through the military.  The conversation was lively and enjoyable and led to my favorite part of the stories.
As we sat around the table enjoying espresso and/or prosecco with a variety of homemade desserts after a lunch of ribs with all the fixin's...conversation revolved around funny tales about our families. But there were also tales of the courage and determination of our ancestors.  I was so glad my children were there to hear and be reminded of their heritage.
Their background includes a great grandmother who before WWII was one of very few women in Italy who drove cars and trucks and worked with her husband in the family Fiat business.....who during the war stood up to German officers who tried to make her leave her home so they could use it as a stable for their horses.....she won.....and who also hid a Jewish jeweler until he could be safely moved out of Italy. Then there was their great-great-great grandfather Nail who  along with his three brothers enlisted in the Confederacy where they served with valor and all returned safely home to their families...and their great great great grandfather Shaw who as a Confederate soldier lost his arm in the Battle of Atlanta but returned home to farm his little bit of land.  The artistic ability must come through the Italian side where their great grandfather's cousin, Pietro Annigoni, became famous as a portrait painter for royalty.  So much history to share and of which to be proud..

Yes, we celebrated our country's beginnings but we also celebrated family and heritage and friendship all of which withstand the test of long as they are founded in truth, integrity, and loyalty.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dancing All By Myself

 Today was a day of contemplation.  It has become apparent that I may be one of those people who lives life as a single from this point on.  I was divorced after 29 years of marriage...a marriage where I was very often lonely....except for the company of my 3 precious children. It was sad that I could feel loneliness even when surrounded by my family.  Being lonely is not synonymous with being alone.

That was 5 years ago. After the events and upheavals of the past few weeks, through my prayer time I've come to see that being alone/single may be exactly where God wants me to be.  And I'm learning to accept that. To be honest, I don't like it much.  But I like being hurt even less. For me at least, that has been the outcome every time. The only One I can trust to really love me is God.

Living single doesn't mean that I am content to sit back and let life pass me by.  It means that I can hear God more clearly.....strive to be in His will more completely.....and I can enjoy the world He created more thoroughly.  There are still many adventures to many new things to many new friends to meet.  I honestly believe God has a perfect plan for me and that there are missions/jobs that He has only for me....and I plan to be willing and available....even if it means I'm dancing all by myself.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Big Step Forward

I took a really big step yesterday today.  I went to church....all by myself....for the first time in a very, VERY long time.  It was way overdue....and it was so much more difficult than I thought it would be.!  Living in the South there is an abundance of churches to choose from.  However I was looking for a place where I could worship...REALLY worship....and a place where God's Word is alive in the members.....and a place where I can grow spiritually. 

I did a great deal of praying as did others....because I want to be where GOD wants me to be because only there will I be in His plan for me.  My son who is very active in his church made some suggestions and we finally narrowed it down to one church.  We studied the information on the website and I found myself getting excited about going to church! Nervous but excited as well.

Because the church has two services listed and because I have more energy early in the day, I had made the decision to attend the 9:00 a.m. service.  Had my quiet time with God, drank my coffee, dressed and left the apartment.....excited to once again be worshipping with other Believers.  The church actually meets in a local movie theatre which is kind of cool.  I pulled into the parking lot and almost immediately, my heart began pounding, my hands started shaking and I started thinking, "I can't do this.....what was I thinking?....I'm not spiritually ready to be part of a church.....on and on the negative thoughts kept pouring in.....I was overwhelmed!

Then I put up my hands and said STOP!  I knew those thoughts were not from God and I had no use for them.  I prayed for His peace and His strength, got out of the car and walked in.  The people I encountered were friendly and smiled greetings as I made my way to a seat.  As I sat in the semi darkness of the theatre, I felt a sense of anticipation growing within me.  By the time the service began my body was actually humming as if with an electrical current!

All I can say is that morning, I worshipped as I'd never felt free to worship was like I was in the theatre alone...just me praising God with body, mind and spirit.  Never have I felt such joy and completeness.  When the pastor delivered the message, I was amazed as he addressed every issue I'd faced in the past week!  Again...just me and the Word God wanted me to hear....where I was no longer mattered...the people around me seemed to was me and God and that was all that was important.

One thing has become clear to me over the past few stormy weeks.  A Christian needs the love, support and fellowship of a body of believers to stay true to God and His teachings.  I know this on a deeply personal level. Even so, as I sat in that church service surrounded by people, the ONLY thing that mattered to me was that I heard God on a personal level and I responded in kind. I felt as if I had come home after a long weary journey in a dark and dangerous place............and He was there to welcome me.