Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015: The Year of Prayer - Week 2

This last week has been interesting, to say the least.

A lot has happened, but when doesn't it?  I can't recount everything, I'm not a great journal-keeper (yet) per say.  But a lot of stuff has come up.  That's not unusual when seeking to grow closer to the Lord.  Truly, the last thing the enemy wants is for us to go deeper in God.  He wants to STEAL. He want to KILL. He wants to DESTROY.

But if he can't do that, his favorite weapons are to make you sick, busy and tired.

I've been all three for the last 7 days.  As a result, this week 2 has been a s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e.  Not that I haven't had victories, but they have come at a cost to my physical and mental operation.  I haven't slacked on prayer, but the scope of my prayers has been much more narrow than normal.

On top of that, the Lord chooses this last week to repeatedly tell me, through trusted sources, I am in danger of my priorities going askew, if they have not already.

Y'all - I'm a stay at home Mom.  Other than Christ, the first people I need to minister to are my husband and children.  Everything else is icing on the cake and, praise God, the icing is THICK. I've got lots of irons in the fire.  But a week of being sick has shown me just how much I prefer the icing over the cake.  I've been VERY frustrated with all the people and creatures in my house.  That's not new, I was once "Angry Mommy," but the last (nearly) 7 years have cleared a lot of that out.  I am not who I was but you could say this week I have been "VERY easily slighted."

When Mama ain't happy, ain't no body happy.  So, I'll just be straight with you - no one has been very happy in my house this last week.

I knew what the source of all this frustration and irritation - as well as sickness - was from: something was clogging the channel of me and God.  Theologically speaking, that's called sin. The only way to deal with sin and clear the air is to confess. I confessed A LOT.  But no matter how I tried, I could not pray it off.  I was trying so hard to love the folks inside these four walls like I knew I could (and do).

It has just been so much easier to love those who don't live here!

When your heart is jack-knifed on the freeway of communication, you need outside help...spiritual/emotional/mental Jaws of Life, if you will.  That's why this faith is communal.  We are meant to be in relationship with each other as well as God. We need each other to breakthrough the muck and the mire, clogging our relationship pipes. And sometimes, it takes a complete stranger.

Enter in the man from Uganda.  His name is Dr. Dennis Sempebwa and he spoke Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in the Museum District.  You can read more about his ministry here.  He is totally legit, with all the credentials needed to convince a worldly person he knows what he is doing, but all the surrender to the Holy Spirit needed to really minister in power.

I went with a couple of close friends, one who'd already heard him speak in November.  We prayed, worshiped and Dr. Dennis spoke for a few minutes to tee up what he did next.  He simply started to call people up and pray over them. I waited as long as I could before going up but I was jumping out of my skin. I knew this was my opportunity.

A great prophetic word about my high and holy purpose on the earth coming my way!!

That's not what I got. I got a heart-gut check and an opportunity to be free of 12 years of frustration, irritation and expectation of how my life should have gone, what my marriage should be like and how my kids are supposed to act.  This was DEEP work.  Work so deep I couldn't get there without help.

The Lord healed me of much of this over the last few years, but Saturday morning, He pulled it up by the root.  When I stood before Dennis, he told me I was full of faith and desperate.  What a combination, not one I expected.  He said he saw me as the woman with an issue of blood, suffering for years.  He said that moment was my breakthrough.

He was right.

As he and his team continued to pray over me, I fell to my knees.  The Lord prepared me for that and as I sat there huddled over, my tears ran against gravity, up into my hair line.  I cry a lot of times when the Spirit has fallen, out of pure joy and emotion in His presence.

But this time I mourned.  I sobbed.  I wretched on the floor.  I got it all out.

After all of that - Dennis spoke another word.  It still makes me smile because I'm a writer.  He said this was a new chapter in my life.  The last 12 years are finished, over, I have nothing to fear because he has always been with me.  I should have been a mess, my life should be a wreck, but it is not because of grace of God has always been with me, even before I knew it was - even as a little child.

The whole thing was as real as real can be, a thin place where the Lord met me, ripped out all that hatred and malice buried so deep (which He'd been working all week to bring to the surface) and replaced it with His tender love.

All I can say is this new chapter is called Easy.  He showed me the truth of Matthew 11:28-30, even in my favorite translation of it - the Message. 

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

That line "unforced rhythms of grace" is on a custom-made bracelet I wear every day.  Yet now, I wear it on my heart.  I can love my family like I'm supposed to (and truly do) because I see with truth-eyes how easy God's love for me is.  It's not hard.  It's not meant to be a struggle.  I'm not meant to force myself.  I'm meant to rest, to abide, to trust, to believe.

I'm meant to respond to how easily God loves me.  In that response, I easily love them.  

That's a pretty incredible story, I realize, but sometimes the Lord uses dramatics to get our attention, deal with our sin and change us for the better.  The challenge now is to keep living in that truth - seeking the Presence of God ESPECIALLY WHEN I DON'T FEEL LIKE IT.

You see, the love of God is just a heartbeat, a deep breath away.  When I feel those frustrations welling up in me again, I know I'm over-thinking things. I know I've stepped out of the Lord's shadow and all I have to do is step back into it. Nothing more difficult than that.  My natural state is no longer ANGRY AMY, so I don't have to be.

I've already messed it up. I've already yelled at Natalie and Sophia and gotten irritated with the dog.

It didn't take me long, though, to get my peace back. I acknowledged it, said I was sorry and accepted the forgiveness of grace that falls as a result.  Step back under the cover of His Wings.

It is a new chapter of easy dependence. I'm looking forward to seeing what Week 3 holds!

No comments: