Clanging cymbals

 

I Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

I have read this scripture many times over the years. But recently as a friend of mine was hurting in her anxiety and depression, and I was shouting out God’s goodness and how He pulled me through, I realized in a moment that I was not loving her. I was not meeting this friend where she was but trying to shout out how the Lord pulled me from the pit.  I wanted to see this same glorious victory in her life,  but there is a time when if all I am doing is shouting out joy, joy, joy… I can be a clanging cymbal.

It may not be comforting to a friend that is watching her life crumble around her, to hear,  ” I have been there, this is what you need to do!”
While I do believe in encouraging and edifying my sister and I do believe it is so important to sing the praises of my Jesus when He has shown me His joy,
There is a time and place for it.
Love is patient, kind, does not boast, not-self seeking. Am I being kind, patient and not self seeking when I want to hurry my friend through her burdens rather than walking by her side? I want her to be full of joy, but is that because I am uncomfortable with her hurting?

The word says there is a time and season for everything. There is a time to mourn but JOY comes in the morning. Am I rushing my friend to her morning, before God has completed the work in her? Am I a discouragement, when she is not seeing the joy that I am proclaiming and as she sits there while I am dancing about blind to her sorrow?

If I had been a clanging cymbal to you my friend in the past as I rejoice in my joy. I am sorry. I want you to have joy in abundance, and I want to share how I reached it, but in your time, when you are ready. God has begun a work in you, and He will complete it, in HIS time.

Lord grant me the wisdom to know when to be quiet and walk beside and when to SHOUT out your glorious JOY. For I don’t want to be a clanging harsh noise to the ears of those around me, but a song of praise stirring within the spirit of those hurting. Help me to know what is needed in the moment.

 

 

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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

 

SO MUCH MORE!!!

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I was praying for and discussing the heart of my friend to my husband yesterday. As I spoke about her heart and the gift she is, God revealed some amazing truths and my spirit just leapt in joy and my eyes filled with tears.

This friend is in a season where her boys are on the threshold of adulthood, and I know she is asking. “what’s next, what is for me now?”

I saw my friend as a beautiful jeweled box. It is gorgeous and serves a purpose just as it is. But inside are incredible jewels that she has yet to discover. There is so much beauty in her future. So many treasures to be revealed and shared in new ways with others that cross her path.

This is an exciting future. God is going to pour His presence in new ways and she will get to discover what has been hidden in her heart, coming into season. There will be new passions and a great stirring up that will bring great joy into her life and the lives of others.

God is going to move in mighty ways, taking the treasure within this friend and pour it forth. She will delight those that get to experience the treasure she holds.  She will have a great impact, they will be overcome.

Just you wait my friend there is SO MUCH MORE than what is expected, and not only will it be good, it will be astounding!

 

2 Corinthians 4: 6 -7 

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 Now we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this surpassingly great power is from God and not from us. 

The smudge on the mirror

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Last night I had a dream of a perfectly shined mirror, with a smudge of dirt across  a portion of it. I woke up and immediately thought about how that smudge can ruin the perfect shine, it does not matter how clean the rest of the mirror was, with a mark across it the mirror was messy. On more prayer and reflection God pointed out that I can not fully see my self as He sees me, when I have a smudge blocking my vision.

The smudges can come in all kind of forms. Lies that others have told us, sling some mud on the mirror. Disobedience or sin in our life, sling some more mud up there. Keeping shame and worthlessness on our shoulders, yep more mud.

Instead of cleaning the filth off the mirror, we may try to see through it, or maneuver around it. Our vision is blocked. God knows how He sees our worth. He knows how He sees our gifting and abilities. He can even see where we will go when we have our clear vision and take the steps before us.

The enemy wants nothing more than to keep our vision blocked, but God says, “it is time to clean up those areas and wipe the mirror clean.  See yourself as I see you, as I have created you. I am HE and I KNOW what you are and what your  worth. Take of the mud that has been slung before you, that either you or others have placed in front of you. I give you all you need to see clearly, it is time to wipe it all away!”

A scripture that sits on my heart as I ask, Lord how do I clean this mirror???

Psalm 139: 23-24  Search me O God and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there are any wicked ways in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

Be encouraged brothers and sisters. He has so much for you to see in yourselves that you have yet to discover! I am so excited to see what He has for me to behold.

Psalm 51:10- Create in me a clean heart o God and renew a steadfast Spirit within me.

The Spirit reminds me as I cry out;

Psalm 139: 13-14 For you formed my inward parts, you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.

Be encouraged brothers and sisters. He has so much for you to see in yourselves that you have yet to discover! I am so excited to see what He has for me to behold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming home

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Lately I had found myself detached from things, it hasn’t felt bad in any way, just detached. I haven’t  felt depressed or numb, just off. Granted this has been a ROUGH month of illness, but I was disconnected.
This morning I turned on my worship music on my way to work, which I have not done in some time as sensory overload is crazy during illnesses for me. My spirit just jumped. It was as if I had a nice soothing drink of cool water after wandering the desert.

For me when I come to my Jesus, it is as if I am coming home into the open arms of my father. There is something so sweet about the presence of God. Every part of my heart filled and joy bubbles forth. It was my ah ha moment, I had been missing my worship and praise time.

I was feeling a little edgy this afternoon, antsy so to speak, and again I turned on the worship music and instantly my joy was bubbling.

You may hear people describe the presence of the Lord and wonder what that means. I guess everyone’s experience may be different, but for me it is as if I am a child jumping into the arms of my parent. I come home and I sit at the table. We share and I am blessed. A relationship with Jesus is not one way. It shouldn’t be, as we can come and fellowship and rejoice in the one that gives us life.

My sweet cousin was dealing with depression and my having revelation today, I don’t wish to give a quick answer , yet truly the worship and praise has brought me from those depths more times than I could ever possibly count.

He is a good good father and I will rejoice in my salvation!

Zechariah 1:3-
“Therefore say to them, “Thus says the Lord of host, “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I may return to you, “says the Lord of hosts.

Deuteronomy 4:30-
“When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice.

Not an easy topic but necessary

My heart hurts. I wrote a few years ago about a local mother that had committed suicide when she was reported missing. Then just this weekend we heard that another community member went missing, this time a young college student. He too, chose to take his own life. The reports in our community of the number of suicides are shocking to me. For one, we live in a small community and two there are so many hurting and desperate people. I also have a number of loved ones that have felt there was only one way out of the deep seeded pain within. Their hurts are going unanswered, either because they are not sharing which is very often the case or because nobody is listening.

I am going to speak of my own experience with life shattering depression. I had been through a very emotional ordeal, that I will leave at that. Then I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and a doctor gave me plenty of medications, medications that messed with my moods and the spiral began.

In the beginning of this battle, I had horrible anxiety. Anxiety that was deep in the soul. This anxiety was rooted from bitterness, anger, disappointment, finances, media and a number of chemical issues within my body. I was a christian woman and felt like my world was spinning out of control. All the promises that I was told, that God had for me, had went right out of my head. I did not share my state with anyone. I thought I could handle it on my own. I thought I was doing a bad job as a child of God, not being able to find my way to victory.

This last weekend before I knew of this young man’s suicide. I had shared at church something that was very evident in my life back in those days and in the lives of others that I have known. It was a word God wanted to share with my congregation.

Anxiety leads to isolation. Isolation leads to depression. Depression leads to destruction. Now let me be clear, I am not claiming to be a medical professional, I am simply a woman who saw a destructive path in my own life and it took a powerful shaking for me to wake up and see what I was doing. This was my pattern and a pattern of many I know personally. I even see it today and as much as I speak out, some are in a place that they can not listen.

This is how it all laid out for me. I was in my deepest state of anxiety and I began to isolate myself. I stayed in bed for months with the fibromyalgia flare no where under control. I began to withdraw from activities. First it was the worship team, then it was gatherings in our home, then I began to withdraw from family and friends and finally my husband and children.

I went so far as to cut people out of my life that I felt were not meeting my need at the time. Sending good-bye letters if you will. I did not tell them how deep my despair was, I just cut them out. I was hoping someone would grab me and not let me go, but nobody did. Either they were too busy or they really were hurt and did not understand where in the world this was coming from. They may have thought they were the only ones I was cutting off, but they were not, there were dozens. I did not even realize I was doing this to be honest. I was just blinded by where I was at.

Then after anxiety, lead to isolation, I was depressed… Seriously depressed! I wasn’t weepy like I always thought depression looked like. I was numb and if there was an emotion it was anger. I sat in that depression. I almost glorified it. I began to have the morbid thoughts that I dare not share with anyone. For I was a christian and I knew better, but I did not know how to pull myself out.

Finally after months and months of constant physical pain with the fibromyalgia and dealing with conventional medicine, I had decided to try a naturopath. My doctor was just giving me more and more pain pills and I had gotten so out of my mind on them that I knew I had to get off. I was not living any more. I was just existing.

So I went to this natural doctor and she basically fired me when I asked her what we could do at the moment. My finances were exhausted and I could not take a bunch of tests that insurance would not cover. I told her where I was at and was there anything we could start on to get me back on track. She said I was only after drugs and she would not work with me. I was done.

I didn’t talk much to Dan on the way home, when I was almost there I unleashed all the hurt and anger and desperation all came out in that moment. Then I went up the stairs and locked myself in the bathroom. That was the defining moment. I was going to do it. I was done and I did not want to live anymore. I cried out to God…. YOU PROMISED ME JOY!!! YOU SAID I HAD JOY TO THE FULL! WHERE IS IT?!?!

I tell you my spirit remembered all those truths as I cried out to God. He answered, “you have my joy at your finger tips, you need to find it.”

My brain for the first time in months was clear as a bell! I was letting my life, my joy be robbed from me. This is what began my  path to writing for joy. I felt lead to write out everything I saw, the question was, what was stealing my joy???

Well I see even clearer at this moment: Anxiety leads to isolation, leads to depression, leads to destruction. But at the time, God had to point out all the ways I was anxious, all the things I was letting in, all the ways that I was being robbed. I had to be proactive. Do I believe in medicine helping depression? Absolutely I do, the right ones. Do I believe having someone to talk to or a counselor can help? Yep I sure do.
But when you are at that place where nothing seemed to be left, self-examination was all I had. I had to choose to root it all out, I had to choose to lay myself down and cut out all the sore junk in my life and let God do the filling. I know my situation was a miracle. I know not all will hear so clearly what their answer is. But I pray, oh how I pray that this tidbit will help you see how someone who really seemed to have so much going for them, was lost in the nasty cycle of mental illness and how it took a great journey of pursuing joy to gain my life again.

If you are hurting, I pray you are not so lost in the darkness that you won’t reach out, try another time to find your victory. Please know that I would love to encourage and be an someone that cares. I have learned long ago though, that another person can not bring your path of healing to you. This just like anything in our life, is our own personal battle. Mine may not look like yours but there is hope. So many others have found hope. This is one way. What will your victory look like?

This is a hard topic, but one that needs to be discussed. Discuss it with your children ( we have middle schoolers committing suicide, even elementary students!!) Discuss it with your spouse, your mom or dad and even the stranger you meet on the street. If you see the opening to a heart that has reached its destruction, speak out! You may be the only voice that has a chance to be heard.

Blessings,
Shaey (Writing for Joy)

My flesh …. was once the victor…. but not the final outcome!

I hit the wall again. I was so fearful that the past was going to repeat itself, when I woke up in pain all over my body. I cried out to God, “I thought I was beyond this! Please don’t allow me to regress! What is going on?” I cried in private, in front of my boss, and was embarrassed at such a weakened state.

I rested, and rested some more. I stretched slowly, watched my diet, used medication, muscle rubs, made sure to get my vitamins and slowly regained strength. I can sense that I am still unable to work like I had, I see it was sending me into a tail spin. I was not ready. Yet it really brought a full picture of what I was struggling with.

I was fleshing out. I was so burdened and in pain, that for a moment I quaked and allowed depression, despair and frustration to hang like a dark cloud on top of the light He placed in my life.

I find it interesting that we can walk in the flesh or walk in the Spirit. In the flesh, I wanted to completely give up. I am reminded of the scripture…
Galatians 5:17-  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

I wanted to despair, complain, feel sorry for myself and fear. ALL these things are contrary to what is right in the spirit.

The meaning of FLESH-The soft substance of a human or animal.

Flesh is the SOFT part. The part that doesn’t want to contend, to fight, to stand for what freedom I have already gained. By walking in my flesh… I was soft.  Why wouldn’t the enemy want to keep me in that state? He would obtain all the victory. The victory over what God HAS done in me.

My flesh had won for a moment. I kicked and cried and screamed. Yet that is not the end of my story, my outcome is victory over the flesh and moment. I will rise up and sing, not because of my limits, but because of my opportunities and new strength.

Now, I will not be unwise with my abilities, BUT I will not let my spirit be weak because of  the condition of my body. I will walk not by sight, but by the SPIRIT of the Lord. I will walk confidently that He carries me and I would never ever go back to what I once was. He has done a work and isn’t near finished yet. He is SO good and I give Him all the glory. So for my fleshing out, whining, complaining, wanting to give up moment. I repent, and turn away from that lie. I will walk in HIS truth, and that is… He is an everlasting God and does not grow faint, He does not grow weary, He is the defender of the weak, and comforts those in need. He will lift me up and carry me and I can say …. “HE IS GOOD!”