Defeating the Spirit of Heaviness With the Act of Worship

close-up picture of a flower that is red and yellow

 Dear Friend,

The spirit of heaviness was upon me.

This morning the birds sang loud, while my heart sank low. At first, I was unable to see it for what it was – the heaviness. But, as it occupied the dark places in my heart, I wore it like a wet blanket.

Where do you go from this – and how? “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” (Psalm 55:6)

Would you hasten your escape if you could? But, what if Jesus IS the escape?

Yeah, the weariness, the heaviness, the fainting – can surely be put off for the mounting UP! And even when courage punches out for the day, we can dare to worship!

“Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And He saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.” (John2:7-8)

When Jesus turned the water into wine, the miracle was not in the abundance of wine, but that the empty was made full!

The filling…
The drawing out…
The bearing…

It’s all from the hand of God and it’s the first miracle. Until we are filled to the brim, there will be no reserve within us from which to draw out and give to others.

Mountain scene with tops of trees and mountains in the background

This morning…

Heaviness lay upon my breast and I sought breath. When the inhale couldn’t go deep enough and the air was thick as molasses, the lungs of my heart sucked up the air that is Jesus. Like a baby’s first breath, I breathed Him in so deeply and I cried out.

I cried out in worship. And as I did the heaviness lifted off of me and floated away into the abyss.

The song- it slays the evil one, because the song, the lyrics, the crying out in adoration to the only One worthy of it – this worship breaks through the heavy atmosphere like a lightning bolt, causing it to expand and thunder exultingly.

What if we were to take our high weapon of praise and put feet on it? Walking out this praise in our worship of a truly holy God could summon angels on our behalf, move a mountain or two, break through impregnable walls of pride and complacency, heal the body, give wings to the spirit, and cause an unthankful heart to swell up in an elysian gratitude too big for words.

Because, hey…

There is no power in hell or in earth that can match the power of the Most High! So, we should bow down, and afterward we should look up with a sense of our nothingness without Him…and we should cry out, because if we hold our peace, “the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40)!

Troubles will come and Satan will gladly hand deliver them to the door of your world, but know this: NOTHING can separate you from the love of God…nothing. The Creator of everything loves you with a holy love that is beyond the finite mind’s capability to conceive. So, take time to pray with fervency; praise with passion and abandon; worship with reverence; and evict with violence the hissing demons that steal your joy and compress your spirit!

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will be glad and rejoice in it.” (Psalm 118:34)

The Journey Up: My Physical and Spiritual Journey From Sickness To Health

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Homeostasis: The tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance of equilibrium within its internal environment, even when faced with external changes.

I ache for it – homeostasis.

May I tell you a true story? Once upon a time… A woman lived a life lacking life, and when life lacks life – abundant, healthy life – the soul shrinks in pain. But she took a journey up…

One night about four years ago I began my normal nighttime routine, and as I turned the lights out I began to notice something wasn’t right. Please understand me, this was not some sort of anxiety attack or fear issue. No, it was a physiological response to something, though I had no idea what. My heart was racing; I felt cold, but in a weird way: my stomach felt cold and no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to get it to warm up. I could feel a rise in my blood pressure and my insides felt torturously hyper. I was completely unable to sleep, and this craziness continued for 18 hours straight. The unrest made my insides ache sore.

Oh, how I wish it had never happened again.

But as the months and years passed, it continued, and with it came more fun stuff: things like tachycardia and irregular heartbeat (especially after eating); breathing issues, acid reflux, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, weakness, anxiety, ringing in the ears, eye floaters, migraines, low blood sugar, sinus inflammation, and insomnia. Believe me when I tell you, that to go through this is a special kind of torment. And, yes, I had medical testing. Other than my celiacs disease and some food intolerances, my tests came back normal. But “normal’ was the last word I would’ve used to describe my health.

Yeah, it’s been a real picnic. Except, not. Because four years of this with zero answers makes a girl wanna straight up cry. But when I thought I couldn’t take another minute of it, parts of it seemed to subside…for like a year and a half. And then –

Pink Flower

Tree trunk with vine wrapped around it.

branch with leaves and thorns

March 2017. One single bite of a hamburger sends my heart into irregular heartbeats, and it’s all back with a vengeance. The next two days are filled with an array of scary attacks to my body, as tachycardia is nonstop. My Natural Doc puts me on a whole food based magnesium supplement and tells me to take it every two hours to calm my system down, and thank God , it works really well. But it’s still there,lingering in the background, and when I am not looking it sneaks back up. Like in the middle of the night when I’m in a deep sleep and I wake up to this junk. And from here it gets interesting…

Back in November of last year God began doing something in me. I crossed a threshold in my faith and prayer life and I sensed God wanting compete surrender from me – something I had been unable to commit to…ever. But gradually I was able to let go and let God have me. This journey has been a journey to the Cross for me. I needed to be brought to a place where God could teach me about the nails of His Cross, because it is here that the flesh is reckoned crucified and dead, and new life can begin to be walked out. These past few months have been plain bad in so many ways, but I have learned so many deep spiritual truths during it and now I know, really know, who I am in Christ and what my authority in Him consists of. For example, there have been times during all of this, that God has revealed to me that, yes, even in the midst of the weird health thing, there have also been times where Satan has hidden behind these issues and attacked my body deceitfully…but God…

black and white photo of a branch from a pine tree

Rainbow over a mountain

branch with ant on it

God is the ultimate Teacher and His word never gets old. It is applicable and alive and it has been my lifeline. I am learning to not trust anything (not even my symptoms, as the devil can masquerade as a physical attack and if I am not in continual dependance on the Holy Spirit, I can give ground to him), except for Christ and Him crucified.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy word.” (Psalm 119:67)

My broken body has been a house for affliction, but it is in this affliction that I have learned to yield in ways that I have never been able. For years and years I have completely struggled – and I mean struggled! – to be able to rise early in the morning to spend time with the Lord when the sun comes up…alone. I have lived in a sort of bondage to my own selfishness and although “my spirit is willing, my flesh is weak”, and it has been this flesh that I have yielded to. But now, through all of the sleepless nights, I have grown to love the mornings when the sun is coming up over the mountains! Now, whether I have slept well or not, I cannot wait to get up and watch the sun, while worshipping the Son! This is just one example of something that God, through this affliction, has delivered me from. Things I have struggled with for years, are finally being dealt with in the supernatural realm, leaving me delivered and victorious, and all I can do is bow down and worship the King because “He works all things together for good…”

A few days ago I spoke to one of my best friends, who is a doctor, on the phone, and as we discussed my health, he realized something he hadn’t previously, and it was as if a light bulb came on….I’ve been praying for a breakthrough. After this phone call I did a little research and went to see a doctor in my area and after all these years, and all the torment, we believe we may know the cause. Are you ready for this? It is believed that I have a hiatal hernia and that as my stomach is pushing up on my heart and pinching the vagus nerve, this is causing my heart to go crazy, which in turn is causing a whole lot of other symptoms. In addition to that, my gut is filled with candida! This candida overgrowth has a direct relationship with the hernia causing health issues that in turn cause my stomach to “push up” out if its place. Both the hernia and the candida issue are overlooked and the seriousness of both elude most doctors. But thankfully – (yes, thank you, God) – He has led me to two godly natural doctors who were willing to dig a little deeper and refused to slap a label on me while prescribing a bunch of pharmaceuticals that would only mask what was really going on. I am not out of the woods yet, as these things will take time to address and heal, but I am grateful for a fresh start to begin the process.

black and white photo of a white flower

barbed wire fence

Bible and sword

All of this, for me, goes full circle back to one very important, life-changing thing: surrender. After all the years of watching loved one after loved one pine away with horrible things like cancer – after watching them, even from the time I was a small child – die horrible deaths and suffer into shells of their former selves. After standing at their caskets and looking at their marred and abused bodies – I guess at some point something inside of me crumbled and the wounds that presented themselves never healed. I became terrified of anything that threatened my health and that fear has kept me, for many years now, from being able to completely surrender to God…especially in the area of health. I held on so tightly and refused to surrender this part of my life to God, and holding on only made this journey more difficult. I made full surrender several months ago, but now God is having me live it out. There are days when I have to do some serious dying to self and come to the Cross and leave it all there, but gradually I am learning to do 3 very important things:
1. Surrender and yield to God. Doing so has filled me with a peace that surpasses understanding.
2. Resist the devil. I refuse to bow under the fake crosses of the devil. If there is suffering that the Lord has for me,I accept it from His hand, but I refuse to accept and yield to anything the devil puts in my path to deceive me into thinking it is from God. My new motto: if it’s from God, I choose it; if it’s from the devil, I refuse it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. See more about this here: https://www.facebook.com/onceuponatimegirl/videos/1939648622931965/
3. Make healthful choices and decisions that will benefit myself and my family for years to come. I refuse to be a slave of the mainstream medical system. Other than emergency medical issues, over all, they have failed. There is surely a better way.

Little girl holding her dad's hand.

My journey continues. And as I walk the path to healing – spiritually and physically – I am holding the hand of God. Some days I feel like a little girl, and as I place my tiny hand in His, the hurt melts and the fears flee.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

A Mama’s Path to Simplicity

A coffee cup sitting on a windowsill.

Calling all imperfect, bra-less, messy-haired, tired mamas!

I hear you. I see you. I am you.

This grand and noble calling of motherhood is no small feat. I love every single minute of it, but I have to admit that there are times when I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of laundry, crusty dishes, and messy floors. I see some of you on social media, and you seem to have it all together…your selfies and your endless Facebook posts about your perfect little family leave me wondering how I can ever live up to your fairy tale. But that’s it, isn’t it? It’s just a fairy tale and not real life. Because no red-blooded woman with a slew of kids, a husband, and a home has it all together. Nope.

Yesterday I cleaned every inch of the kitchen and today every inch of the kitchen is a culinary war zone. And as I step into the laundry room, I am reminded that the lack of space and the endless piles of dirty, stained, and muddy clothes from the four loves of my life, leave little room for organization, so I take a deep breath and dive into that pile and a thought crosses my mind for just one split second…”Maybe I’ll just light a match to those piles and burn ‘em up.” Lol. No, because that means buying all new clothes. Is there a Plan B?

A street lined with tall trees

A red wooden Cross standing erect on a hill, with a sign across it, reading, I will be back.

A black and white teddy bear lying on the grass.

I am a woman who thrives on a finished project. To start something, knowing that it will not be completely finished, is well, mind-bending for me. It messes with my head. The ongoingness of the endless projects I have as a wife and mother have somehow tricked me into believing that my success is dependent on their completion. But what if it is simply okay if it doesn’t all get finished? Maybe the blessings emerge in the journey, not the destination.

I am an all or nothing kind of gal. All I have to do is read approximately three verses of Proverbs 31 and I just want to assume the fetal positon, insert the thumb, and call it a day. But here’s the thing: that woman was human too, you know? Maybe on the day she was out considering that field to buy, the laundry piled up a bit? Yeah, she set the bar pretty high, not gonna lie. But the truth of the matter is, she, like you and me, was a sinner – a human with weaknesses and limits to what she could do. And although she accomplished much, we are not told what her struggles were. Maybe some of the things she struggled with are actually things that I excel in, who knows?

God knows. Yes, He does.

And He has been talking to me about my insane desire to be, like, oh I don’t know…homemaker of the year? Craziness. And He’s been basically telling me to let go of this perfection complex and lay it down at the Cross. And so I am doing so…daily.

And now, I am embracing simplicity. And I am learning to live in the now of every moment and cherish those moments, because they are blessings from God. Yes! And this way of living is so much more liberating! Can I tell you something? Last night we ate dinner and it was time to clean up afterwards, and it was so tempting to just get up from that dinner table and begin the work, but what about the other stuff? Like the sitting on the old wooden swing on the back porch with the most handsome man on earth? Yes, that! We held hands and we watched our brave little dog attempt to hump the leg of our other 200 pound dog and just about get his head bitten off for doing so…and we laughed together. And we just sat there talking until the fireflies told us it was time to go inside. It. Was. Bliss.

When my husband and I were married I remember thinking that I needed to do it all; that as the “keeper of the home”, it was my domain,and mine only; that to accept any help from my husband would mean I had failed. And to make matters worse, the church we were attending at the time put a LOT of pressure on the women to be subservient to their husbands, offering little room for the type of marriage that fostered an environment of unity and partnership. Yes, men and women – husbands and wives – have their different roles, but sometimes those roles overlap and there are areas where the husband and wife can work together. And this is a good thing, and not something that we, as wives, need to feel guilty about. Do you agree?

A small dog, black and white.

A close-up shot of white flowers

Man washing a dog with a hose.

A boy playing on the beach.

Simplicity. I love this word. It has become MY word this year. I’m living it; I’m walking it out in my own messy life. And I’m learning that less is more and the simple is sacred. I am incorporating simplicity into every area of my life that I can and it is changing my world for the better. Simpler meals (I used to make huge dinners every night. That’s a lovely thing, those huge dinners, but not every single night. Last night we had scrambled eggs…need I say more?). Simpler schedule (with at least one day a week at the beach to do nothing but play in the sand and build sandcastles with my kids). And simpler goals for myself, allowing for interruptions, kisses for dirty faced boys, watermelon instead of baked alaska, hand holding with my forever crush, and relishing every single God-given moment with the precious family I am blessed to be a part of. And if today the laundry doesn’t get done, it will still be there tomorrow. But tomorrow…or many tomorrows after that…my kids will be grown and they will no longer want to sit outside and explain to me the importance of their being able to obtain a rocket ship so that they can fly to the moon. No, these moments are precious and fleeting, and although life is messy and imperfect and everything doesn’t always fit neatly together in a perfect little box, this life I have been given is beautiful.

A beach

An open journal with a pen resting on page .

A flower, mug, and candle resting on a wooden plaque.

Black and white photo of a lake and trees.

So, if you, sister, are sporting the mommy pony-tail, are on your fourth cuppa joe and still feeling tired, and are rebelling against having to put on a bra so you can go run errands…I salute you. It’s okay. You don’t need to be perfect. God is able to give you the grace you need to do what needs to be done, and the rest – it will have to wait. Because, hey, you have cheeks to kiss, memories to make, and sandcastles to build…so go build ‘em with the ones you love.

I’ll leave you with this:

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER – by Erma Bombeck
(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, ‘Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.’ There would have been more ‘I love you’s’ More ‘I’m sorry’s.’
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it .. live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!!
Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.