Sunday, November 12, 2017

Free Fallin' & Update on LD

"But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Thy works."
Psalm 73:28

It's amazing how inspiration to write comes to me.
Sometimes, I write from the deepest points of inward pain.
Sometimes, I am crying out to God for a glimmer of hope...some shred of encouragement,
and when I can't find any...anywhere around me...I end up here.
Writing out what my soul needs to hear.

I think if I was given the task of figuring out which 2 Bible characters I am most like,
I would be able to answer real quick, because I already know.
Think of two of the most flawed ones, and you'll know right away, too.
One is Old Testament; one is New.
Both made monumental mess-ups.
Both were redeemed by the grace of God.
Both loved God fiercely with all their heart, soul, and passionate nature,
in spite of their bend towards doing the wrong thing.

Any guesses who they might be yet?

One's name begins with a "D"; one begins with a "P".
Both plunged into forbidden territory, in spite of knowing better,
and ended up swallowed in regret and deep remorse and depression,
but, at the end of the day, one was called "a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22),
and the other's name was changed to a name that literally means "rock" (John 1:42).

Okay, so, you probably know the answer is David and Peter.
One of the things I can relate most to David about is the fact that when he was distressed and depressed, "David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." I Samuel 30:6.
Do you know what I think?
I think it was during these times that David wrote most of the book of Psalms.
I think when David was in the pits of despair, he looked around and could find no outward solace,
and, in those anguished moments, he cried out from the depths of his soul to God,
and he wrote those feelings down.
And, now, you and I can turn to his beautiful, poetic, heartwrenched words,
and we can find an instant connection to a kindred spirit who refused to give up in some of the hardest, most tormenting times of life.

So, this post is coming from my heart to yours...from a moment of particular anguish of soul,
during one of those times when I need something to cling hold on to...something that will steady my unstable, upturned emotions.
God led me here.
To search, as I type.
How often He has given me the answers I crave in just this way!

This morning, He is still attempting to teach me what it means to trust.
Remember that?
Yes, I have been telling you that God is teaching my family and me about trust...
for a very long time now.
In fact, it was even our "word of the year" for 2016!
Yes, I said God is "still attempting to teach"...not because He doesn't know how to teach,
but because I don't seem to know how to learn what He is trying to get across to me.

I worry more than anyone I know.
It is tormenting.
I worry so much that my dear Dad nicknamed me "WW".
Any guesses what that stands for?
If you guessed "worry wart", you got it right.
Not the most attractive thing to be dubbed, for sure.
Dad used to get a kick out of the fact that when he and Mom would leave our house late at night, after a visit in our home, I would fret and worry and imagine all sorts of horrors, until I heard the phone ring, and their voice was on the other end telling me they were home safe.
I think Mom and Dad and me reversed roles shortly after I was born,
because it seemed to be me who did most of the worrying from as far back as I can remember.

It is no wonder I was diagnosed with an ulcer, presumed at or near the bleeding stage, earlier this year.
And, you know what?
That makes me downright angry.
Because I do not want to be this way.
Truly, I don't.
I have been living for Jesus for over 40 years now.
And, I still don't trust Him.
I am so ashamed of that.
I am so sorry when I think of how that must make Him feel.
After all, His track record is impeccable.
He has never broken a promise to me.
He has never failed.
There has never been a moment in my chaotic, turbulent life that He has not been there...
with me...faithful, stalwart.

loyal, especially for a long time; able to be trusted

So, why?
Why am I so suspicious of Him?
Why can't I believe what He has told me time after time?
Why do I doubt?
Why do I question His motives?
Why am I always looking for one that is ulterior?

This morning, I fight yet another round in the ring with the opponent that has dealt the most TKO blows to date and most often left me broken, bleeding, and lifeless, face-down on the canvas.
He is ugly.
Evil to the core.
He does not fight fair.
All boxing rules are left outside the ring when he steps in.
When I see it's him who has stepped into the ring opposite me, I cringe, cower, run to the nearest corner post, grab onto the rope with both hands, close my eyes,
and I wait....heart pounding so loud, I can hear it inside my head.
He is my Goliath.
My nemesis.
I feel the vibration all the way from the rope inside my tightly-clenched fists to the canvas beneath my trembling feet, every time he takes a thunderous step in my direction.
All the way, he shouts terror, spews venomous slurs, and laughs this hideous, heinous shriek that literally makes my skin crawl and hair stand on end.
He knows he's landed me on my face before.
He remembers every, single round we've ever fought.
He knows my weak spots...all too well.
He couldn't be more gleeful or confident of his win.
I feel my body tense, as his mammoth frame stands over me.
His hot, vile breath falls on the top of my head and trails down the back of my bent neck.
I brace myself as continual pounding of jabs below the belt start coming...
over and over, relentless, unceasing, unfair, far outside the boundary of what is "legal".
He spits, rabbit punches, headbutts, and breaks every rule in the book.
He is like a shark in the water.
Once he sees or even senses blood, he is fueled with a vicious determination to finish me off.
Once again.
I lay flattened near his hateful feet, as taunts of "victory" bellow from his wicked lips and linger like a lead balloon in the air around us.
Then, he does the unthinkable.
He begins to kick with all his might.
Doesn't he know?
You never, ever kick or hit your opponent when she is down...on the canvas...defeated, at your feet.
But, he doesn't is never, ever enough...for him.

His name is FEAR.
Ever met him?
Perhaps, you have fought a few rounds with him yourself.
He is the most
Rival I have ever met.

Worry is driven by fear, and "fear hath torment".  (I John 4:18)

I grew up through high school hearing Tom Petty's music and being familiar with him,
but I was 23 when Kevin's and my favorite Tom Petty song came out in 1989.
I was just thinking of  "Free Fallin'" a few days before we got the news that Tom Petty had died.
That news made both of us sad...deep, down inside.
I just can't believe he's seems way too soon, makes me feel old and ever more aware of my own mortality and inevitable date with death.

Free Fall
move under the force of gravity only; fall rapidly

As I thought about my trust issues, my many rounds in the ring with FEAR, and how I have such a hard time believing God will take care of me and the ones I love, the thought came to me that I need to just "free fall" into His arms and stop worrying so much.
That I need to make an attempt to overcome my contemptible opponent of fear,
and that the most fool-proof way of doing that is to stop allowing him to bully me.
To just let go of what I FEAR might happen, lay it all down, and lighten my load.
To go "free fallin" straight into the eternal arms of the one who has never let go of me...
not one time throughout my troubled life.
To just jump, cut the cord of worry, and leap, light and free, out into nothing but the assurance that His arms will absolutely catch me.

"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."
Deuteronomy 33:27

There is no parachute during a free fall into the arms of God.
No safety net.
No back-up plan.
Just a reckless-abandonment-kind-of-trust.
An Esther-like, "If I perish, I perish" mentality.
A "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" sort of attitude.

This morning, as I lay battered, bruised, and barely-spiritually-breathing on the canvas,
feeling the effects of the perpetual kicks from fear, I made a firm decision.
And, don't get me wrong.
I'm not saying it will be our last round.
Oh, he'll be back.
I don't ever pretend this war will end.
But, for this round?
For this battle?
I made up my mind.
Somehow, the precious still, small voice of my Savior drowned out the 10-1 countdown and the obnoxious, deafening, gloats of my opponent, and I heard Him remind me that I CAN win.
That all I have to do is fall back into His open arms....and TRUST.
That He has everything in His control, and nothing in this world can foil His plan for our lives.

I don't know how I mustered the strength or the courage, but I let go.
I took that leap of faith, and I felt myself falling, and at the end of my fall, He was there....
safe, secure, strong.
I felt His perfect love surround me, and all is well.

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear..."
I John 4:18

And, do you want to know the most astonishing part?
There was never one thing to worry about, and it turns out, FEAR was all a big figment of my imagination.
He was all smoke and mirrors.
He wasn't all.

Update on LD

LD isn't doing well, my friends, and is still in the hospital.
He is in A-fib, and there is blood in the fluid they draw from around his heart.
He has undergone some radiation treatments, as they are trying to shrink the tumor in his lung,
and there is still one more radiation treatment to go, before they begin chemotherapy.
I want you to know that LD, my sister, Debbie, nephew, Mark, and all other family members appreciate each one of your prayers more than they could ever express.
I keep telling them how many people are praying, and it just lifts their spirits so much.
And, no one could appreciate your faithful prayers any more than I do.
I just thank you from the bottom of my grateful heart.
PLEASE, please keep praying for him and the miracle he needs.

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them,
With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
Matthew 19:26

"The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him."
Lamentations 3:24