I have lost my self

IMG_0509I wonder if the butterfly misses her many legs and tough skin as a caterpillar or if she misses the covering living amongst the leaves granted her.  She didn’t have to venture to far to survive. While we see the ability to fly and experience life in new ways, maybe she misses her old self. Flying is hard work and she needs to go from flower to flower for each drink, expelling all that energy.

I have maintained the fullness of God’s joy in this walk with fibromyalgia. I am so incredibly blessed God has taught me how to do that, because that is the one gift this illness has given me. I also have learned to have grace and patience in new ways, as it is quite humbling to have such limits physically. But in so many ways I have lost my old self.

With fibromyalgia; I have lost my energy, I have lost my strength and impetuousness. These days I have to evaluate the consequences of being spontaneous. I have all the excitement, thoughts and ideas but the second I stop and think of the outcome of expelling the energy, my bubble is burst and I rest. There are days I wake up ready to face the day, excited with all I will do, and by time I step out of the shower, I need a nap. I again remember that I have lost my old self.

I miss her.  I miss the bubbly, happy, full of life able to take on the world self before fibromyalgia and I am sure my husband really misses her as well.

But these past few months God has awakened in me in new ways. He is showing me all that He has done by losing my old self and I am in the beginning stages of liking the new me. The me that has slowed down and takes the time to evaluate the world around me. The new me that has the wisdom and grace that only suffering and heartache can chisel into the hardened heart that once belonged to me. I see with fresh eyes, the hurting and the lost. I am taking time to paint, write and dabble into gifts that the busy woman of yesteryear didn’t take time for. I appreciate the good moments far more and take don’t take them for granted.

Romans 12:2- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I lost the self-seeking me (mostly) and became the God seeking me. He has brought me to my knees in my physical brokenness. Doing a new thing, chiseling away again and again the hardened heart that once was. In my brokenness He has showered a love and presence so amazing and intimate. It is much more taxing these days to do His work, it is so hard to dance and sing, because I grow weary, but then I am spending much more time in the quiet and stillness. Yes, I have lost my old self, but I must remember that is not all a bad thing. I will learn how to fly with these new wings.

 

 

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The Lion within

25399027_10214870973832875_8040969796702007604_n                                                           Proverbs 28:1 The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.

There are so many battles we face moment by moment and day by day. I have had seasons where I just wanted to throw my hands up and take my place under the covers. But God said NO MORE. He has called me to fight my battles ahead and when I am weary He says, “discover your lion within and let out your war cry!”

“But God,” I say, “there is no strength in me, I see no lion but rather a kitten wanting to nap the days away.” To which He replies, ” NO MORE, I am in you, that is a lie, let out your war cry!”

I see a picture in my mind of Aslan. A soft and gentle lion. Loving to the children visiting Narnia, but the moment He is ready for battle he let’s out his powerful mighty roar.

There is a shifting in the atmosphere with that strength. That roar changes things!

I have begun to exercise my faith and let out my war cry. I am beginning to say “no more will I listen to lies. No more will I sit quietly while the enemy tries to steal my peace.”

I have a choice on where my mind focuses, I have a choice on letting my roars overtake the whispers of the enemy. I am bold, I am courageous, I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.

Challenge this day my friends, will you let out your war cry? Will you take your stand in the battle and win your ground over your spiritual enemies.?

The Lord is mighty,  the Lion within.

 

 

Full Circle: The river is here

Many many years ago before my fibromyalgia diagnosis, during the season of being sick but not knowing what it was, I had a very detailed dream. I had dreamt that I was in the midst of a storm blazing all around me and in front of me there was a river with someone in it. The person said ” You have to go through the storm in order to get to the river.” Then I woke up. Well I knew I was in the midst of the storm.

Then the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia came and along with it depression. ‘This just was how it was going to be.” (doctor’s words not mine). I began to be so severely depressed that I asked God where my joy was and He said, “you have it you just need to find it.”

In that season I had a great friend teaching me about the praises out of our mouths and our healing. SO I began to praise in the storm, rejoice and look for my joy in all circumstances. I painted this picture representing myself praising the Lord in the storm.

 

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It has been a very long journey and I can say despite my circumstances I have Joy to the full.  Praise Jesus!!! But I never understood the river part. What was the river? I put this dream on the back file in my brain for YEARS.

This weekend we were having a prayer and worship weekend with a church that we have been attending for the last three years. God has done some growing in me over this season. Learning to talk out my feelings rather than burying them, stepping out in gifting rather than hiding them and excepting my differences for strengths rather than weaknesses. The understanding that I am ME and that is who I am meant to be. Understanding God’s grace, peace, strength and gentleness in new deeper ways.

Well I tell you during this weekends worship, I was dancing and praising, while sick mind you, and the Lord just filled me with a newness I could not quite yet identify. I knew my healing had come full circle. I knew in an instant that I had the choice to not pick the illness back up. No longer was Fibromyalgia my identifier!!

As I worshipped I saw this picture so clearly and as my husband lead a prophetic drum workshop I opened the floor to prophetic painting as well. I put paint to canvas as I danced to his drums and while I knew the picture represented a new day and a new beginning and that the person was dancing in the river, it hadn’t dawned on me that I WAS THE PERSON. I had come to the river and was submerged. God kept bubbling song and image in my heart for two days.

Sitting in my living room I was looking at the old picture of me praising in the storm and I just got teary eyed. That was the dream, going through the storm and then I completed the picture with dancing in the river. I had no idea the dancing in the river picture was for me until that moment. I then relaized, it had come full circle, I am dancing in the river of God!

John 7:38

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

 

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There is a song I sang as a child. I am posting the lyrics below. This song fits my heart this new day it is so real and so tangible and I am ready for what HE has next!!!

Down the mountain the river flows
And it brings refreshing wherever it goes
Through the valleys and over the fields
The river is rushing and the river is here

[Chorus]
The river of God sets our feet a-dancing
The river of God fills our hearts with cheer
The river of God fills our mouths with laughter
And we rejoice, for the river is here

[Verse 2]
The river of God is teeming with life
And all who touch it can be revived
And those who linger on this river’s shore
Will come back thirsting for more of the Lord

[Chorus]

[Verse 3]
Up to the mountain, we love to go
To find the presence of the Lord
Along the banks of the river we run
We dance with laughter, giving praise to the Son

 

Remember I am no longer her

 

A friend shared a picture with me some time ago and as I looked at the former younger thinner picture of myself, I realized, I don’t really like who I was back then. I began to remember all my before Jesus growth moments, and the hurt and struggles I had been going through.  The pain of that season felt real again for a moment and then I felt the gentle whisper of the Lord remind me, “you are no longer her.”

Growth was hard, the pruning and the tearing away was not pleasant, but necessary. Each time God pointed out an area I was lacking in, I was embarrassed and mindful of not wanting to repeat that side of myself, and at times I would fail and be emberrassed all over again.

I know God is still not finished with me, I still have habits that I need to break or stinking thinking as some may say. I certainly don’t like living with fibromyalgia and a weak immune system, BUT I am no longer the her of yester year that is over opinionated, sensitive, easily frustrated, depressed and discouraged.

I am no longer that person and I am not that identity, of past mistakes and failures. I am a child of God that is growing and learning and willing to be better, to be more, to be used for His glory. I will not think upon where I was, but where I am going. Pain can not continue to rise up in my heart for things that were long ago healed and taken care of.

God is mighty enough to keep working in my life, and I will choose to let Him. I will remember I am no longer her and that is my testimony not my embarrassment !

Ephesians 4: 22-24
You were taught to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Knowing when to rest

One of the hardest things for me while balancing fibromyalgia, working full-time, church and my family, is how much is just flat-out tired and how much could be depression.

For years I have blogged, taken medication, exercised, worship & danced, painted and photographed away the ‘blues’. But in this season with work and medical changes, I am doing less and less of those things and see that there is less and less energy for the things that brought rest from stress.

I love my job, I find it very inspiring and joyful to work daily with my preschool kids. But I must find a good balance to manage everything. I have decided to take on even more with obeying the Lord’s call to carrying my friends baby/babies and I wonder, God really, can I do this?
This is when God spoke to me this morning and said, “no, you are not limited or depressed, you are tired. You must know when to stop and rest your body and lean on me for strength.”

If I am working full-time, there is not necessarily the energy to run all weekend every weekend and right now that is my reality. I have been running and pushing far too much for far too long.

Also during the week, I can not reach for the quick and easy bite on my lunch break going to the nearest fast food joint. This makes me ill and fibromyalgia flares. I must take time and plan out my meals, do the shopping in one stop and put together those meals, for a better week. I often fuel on coffee and skip the water, so bad for me. I can be consistent with supplements and then forget them for a season until I can’t go anymore because I am deficient in critical vitamins and minerals. I must make the effort to take care of me. Again, this takes time and energy but in the long run will give my body what it needs to encourage health.

When one battles with fibromyalgia, there comes a point when your pain becomes your normal. You just keep pushing through it, knowing the pain itself will not kill you. It isn’t until you keep pushing and can hardly move anymore, that you realize, oh no I did too much. It is a fine balance between living and recovering.

It is time to remember the instruction to REST. The Lord God almighty himself RESTED.
Why do I feel I must do it all. I must make the decision, work full-time which I love, or bring down my hours for more time to keep up with it all and pursue other interests.

In the meantime of pondering this decision. I say yes Lord, I will hear you and I will take the time to REST.