Saturday, February 07, 2009

Grumbles and Cries

I apologize for the lack of clarity in this email, but this is what I think is going on for me and hopefully it isn’t indulgent for me to elaborate upon it but is helpful. I know it will be helpful for me. I think that God has caused a situation that I cry out to God and grumble to Him. That is not hard for God to do and it is surprisingly easy and is really humbling actually. God just pulls back and I become as my nature would suggest. But I try to stay faithful and that is some of the testing and proving of what is there.

Then in that condition of lack and need, God will provide what I need. In Exodus, God differentiated between the livestock of the children of Israel and the livestock of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. I don’t have a cow or goat or sheep. If I had a goat as food I would probably starve. A goat doesn’t have any practical purpose to me. For the Israelites, the goat represented their livelihood. I actually sort of need a cell phone, for example and not a sheep. Now, I don’t need a cell phone and the Israelites don’t need a goat or bread either. “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” But what has God called them to do and what has God called me to do? The question is, if God has called one of His children to do something, when there is a judgment against unbelievers to show that He is God, is He going to provide for my basic needs to carry out that which God has called me to do? Will He say, “Go be a shepherd but I am going to kill your livestock. Ha, ha.” In terms of the grumbling by the Israelites, technically, that was later after the time of judgment to Pharaoh and after the Lord ruined the Eyptian livestock. The grumbled in the wilderness when there was no food (to start). It was a time of God revealing Himself to His people of Israel.

So the lack of food was to reveal Himself to His children as He wants Him to know Him. “Know that I am the LORD.” And also to show who they are. When He fed them food, then they knew who He is and Who they are.

For me, when God hears me in my state of grumbling and crying out (I’m having trouble telling if I am grumbling or crying out, but I think that there is at least a little grumbling involved, from time to time, or has been). When God hears me, He will show Who He is by providing the need and in providing the need I come to know who I am in His purposes and who He is as the Creator and Provider of that.

18 months ago when I was at a conference, there was a prayer and the speaker asked something like what limited you from fully following God’s will for your life. I opened up my heart to Him and asked that He show me what was the answer. I figured that He would show me some sin or real limitation like some sort of embarrassing personal flaw. I was actually relieved when to my mind I thought, a thought that was something like, “To believe that God would do all He wanted through me in psychiatry.” That is, that He would use me.

Well, it was a relief because it wasn’t an answer I feared, like, “you’re just a big sinner,” but was kind of exciting and also anti-climatic.

However, today and yesterday as I have been struggling with some needs I have that have brought me to the place of grumbling or crying out to God, I think that the issue is not actually, well, in the Israelites case, provide food, but the issue is, “Will I be changed personally and in my DNA, in the core of who I am to believe that God will provide for anything that I need to become all that He would like to do in my life?” Is God going to say, “You’re a shepherd” and kill my livestock? Is God going to say, “Follow Me into the wilderness and I am going to laugh as you have no food.” Is God going to say, “I want you and I have called you to this really unusual ministry and now I am going to undercut it by delivering a life-blow to it?

I don’t care about psychiatry, I think you know that. What is important is not the job or the fact that there are goats or sheep. The importance is, “Is God my Provider? He is, “The LORD is my Banner?” Is He, “The LORD is my Healer?” Who is He? What is the role that He wants me to do? The issue is, is He going to come through?

And speaking on that, God, in His position of advantage, He is able to just wait until I finally reach the end of myself. And that happens the second He pulls a little bit back with His grace and there I am, wiped out. Then He suggests, in concept, “See, don’t think it’s your faith. It’s my hand, not your faith, not what you can do or have done.” Yet at the same time He suggests, “Hang on! “ and strengthens my faith. But that is not surprising because that is what He does. Two opposing things at the same time. All Him and yet somehow finds something for which will one day reward me.

Getting back to the need. The need for food and water, the need for shelter and livestock, If it isn’t about God simply providing the need but about revealing WHO HE is and about bringing His children into a new level of understanding WHO He is and who I am in light of it, then not only will He provide the immediate need, but He will provide the future inheritance.

So the children need to see and learn and we need to see and learn and know, that God, my banner, my healer my provider, will supply the immediate need and He will feed me and He will feed me because He is going to do all He wants in my life. And for me, as far as I can tell, is that HE has called me in a certain way, to do a certain thing in this area of “Egypt” in psychiatry. (It is painful to even suggest, like I am trying to gain some position or position in Egypt, in the world, like who cares about psychiatry, about dispensing what the world sees as mental health. But It isn’t about that, and there’s the rub and there’s the truth of what God said before 18 months ago. Will you believe Me that I can use you in this area of psychiatry?

So I groan, God, I need a cell phone to do my job. I need a list of twenty items yesterday that I wrote on a prayer list that I couldn’t believe all of it that no wonder I was feeling bogged down. And I can’t even pray about those things anymore because my heart was not able to pray anymore about them without being hard because it was broken in that it was unable. Unable to ask God about these things in a manner that was appropriate and there God showed the limits of my heart. “See that is the condition of your heart,” (not His actual words but that is what I got out of it).

So I am in a worse condition that I already knew how bad the condition is. So it is hopeless. I can’t even pray or ask anymore so I was just like separated from the issues because I couldn’t even pray, but I knew God knew and I had to leave it at His feet and just guard my heart to protect it from being hard and had to forget about the rest.

So, the end of myself. Stuck. And that is what the condition was when Moses cried out to God and the people were grumbling, and I grumbled and I cried out. And the verses in the Bible said, to paraphrase, that when God fed them, then He know He was God. But the lesson, to “Know I Am the Lord” when He feeds us is not, “thanks for the food” but if God is providing bread from heaven (and The Bread from heaven) then He has called you to the job He has called you and He will provide everything that you need for that.

He will provide all that you need, not only to eat but to carry out everything that He calls you to do. He will not abandon you. He will not lead you somewhere and then leave. It isn’t about the food or the uncomfortable hunger. It is about God calling each of us into a plan He has for each of us and we need to do it.

It is about coming to a knowledge of the truth that when you go up to a giant who is 8 feet tall, you know Who your God is and who know who you are. When you come into a kingdom that was prepared for you and you have been groomed for your whole life (David) then you know who you are. You can say and know that God is your God and He will provide everything that you need. You really know, because He fed you bread from heaven.

So this is the struggle and the lesson. Abide in this or just harden the heart, which is not only not difficult to do but impossible for some of us. But I love Jude that says, “He is able to present you pure and holy before His throne “Now to Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you pure and spotless before His holy throne.” You know, not to talk about theology controversies, and I don’t really care that much what other people believe, but I rest on the fact that He will never let me go and I have no confidence to keep myself in Him because I can not rest in that. I can however rest in the knowledge that He will provide everything I need, from simple faith to food to a cell phone and whether or not I have a cell phone or a goat today, and how long he streatches me out until He shows all my grumbling, and I cry out and know, He is faithful. He is faithful and though I may stumble seven times, I will rise again and I will do and carry out all He wants me to do and it isn’t for psychiatry per say. But it is a menas by which actually He is causing me to be in the position in my family that He wants me to be in, which is actually dependent upon my husband in a way that is uncomfortable for me and allowing the circumstance such that God is dealing directly with my husband. So the point is that it isn’t just some vague psychiatric position that God will one day bring me into, whatever that may be and whenever, but God has higher purposes. So it may look like goats and bread but it is following and walking in the promises of God.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 3:43 PM | 2 comments

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Enduring Tree

As I lay myself before the Lord and give everything to Him
And out of my mouth
Comes the words to the song
Along with the man who sings,
“I surrender all”
And “All I need is you.”
And the truth is there that shows me
There is more I want than only You
And I’m grateful for those things too
The warmth of my coat
That I am not on the ground
Alone and cold
Out in the rain
With no clothes to wear
And no one to care
And I’m thankful for my home full of life
And a fulfilled destiny for each one of them
As you love them like You love me
And forever You will be with my family.
So my motives are mixed
They are not for You alone
Because actually what I deserve is
The cold and the rain
Indeed, with each thought I think that contradicts your ways
With each glace to the desires of my flesh that I want to sustain
Yes, You know I’m a sinner
And You know my ways
My leanings and my longings.
But the state of Your mercy
And the state of Your grace
Looks upon my heap of dust
The elements from which I am made
And You draw near
And Your gentleness makes me great
And You’ve given me a name
Because You love me.
So Lord, the song I sing
Is, “Yes I want You
But thank you
That You provide my needs.”
You’ve given me a place to stand
You’ve given me a rest from my striving
And a dignity of life
That You will never take away.
So I can stand tall
I am not just a sinner
But a sinner saved!
I am not just in need of redemption
But I have been redeemed!
And yes,
I am my Savior’s child
The one He bled and gave Himself up for
Because He has pity on me
And will never leave me on my own.
The Lord knows my mixed state
The iron mixed with clay
The dirt and the heavenly
He knows that in my purity
I am still not pure in myself
Because I am bound with my flesh
But my God has made me great
And I shall stand tall in Him!
I will run and not grow weary
I will run and not give in to faint
The Lord will be my right guard
And He will sustain and carry me
All of my days.
I will glorify Him
From the beginning to the end
As He turns everything for good
And all of my days
I will bear fruit
Like a tree planted by the water
I will drink from the Vine of the River of Life
I will be strong as a tree that He has made of me
The enduring tree that bears His fruit in season and out
Ready and able to fulfill
All the plans He has for me.
So I will not hold my head anywhere but upright
And I will not worry when I am misjudged
I will fear no man
I will glorify the Lord
And He will do that for Himself
And by Himself
As I yield to Him and love Him
And in His righteousness I will stand

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:56 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It's 2009!

Well, well, well.

“Why all the pain, the difficulties and trials?” Meanwhile God sees a good run, and a healthy stride and all the toys from Wal-Mart he wants to put in our baskets, the (nearly) invisible ones headed to heaven, waiting at the narrow check-out line. (Jesus as the checker!)

“For where your heart is, there will be your treasures also.”
“Store up treasures in heaven.” (Gospels)
“Do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines, and scourges everyone he considers a son.” (Hebrews)
“Consider it all joy brethren when you face trials of various kinds...” (James)

“I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my soul” played on the radio two days ago (go to Youtube and listen to it!) and I just cried because for my entire life I have been held in bondage to security in money and God has been working on me for so many years and it feels like the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt at the time of Moses – not an easy thing and not in one fell swoop. Four hundred years of bondage and no knowledge of how to live free. I wish He moved faster and I feel like He has been working this in me through especially these past few years, but really all my Christian life.

About two and a half years ago I repented that I had wanted Him to fix my financial issues more than I wanted to know Him. It is hard and doesn’t it make you swallow hard? “Lord, more than I want my finances in order I want to know you.” There, said. For twenty something years it was, “Do this, do that, do this, do that.” Not, “Whatever Your will, just give me You.” I am the man who will aim to be the one with the six or seven towers of grain stored up for years and is content with that. If only I can store my grain I will be fine! Ha! I am the Lord’s and I am not my own and I cannot do the things I want! God is seriously my God! He takes His job serious.
Let’s jump-skip to two days ago, so I was driving and thinking. Earlier in the day I had asked God to speak to me in the verse I was going to read. Exodus chapter 9: God tells Moses, “Go tell Pharaoh to let My people go so they may serve Me.” And that’s what I want. I want to be free to serve God. So I prayed, “God, set me free so that I may serve You.”

Ordinary, you’re a Christian and you sound like an unbeliever or a new believer. What is all this bondage that you are talking about? All I can say is all I see around me in me along with everyone else plagued and held in bondage to so many things and really very little is free. That is why worship is so good because it releases us into the other realm. All I can say is, “oh well, I’m messed up. God found a real project when He found me! Thought He could really do a work - might need two hands (of course not).

So now it is hard to explain, but just as I sang the song, “I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my soul” I thought about the ties I have to the world and to finances. Not the whole world, not losing my soul, but the point of money tying me to this world and forfeiting spiritual perspective and blessing because of the ties of money.

Tobymac sings in the song, “Lord help us from being consumed by the things of this world that fight for our love and our passion” and the background voice says, “Yes, Lord.”
So I was thinking about wanting God to let me go so I may serve Him (Exodus 9 verse) and I just cried as I drove down the 80 freeway and it was raining outside and inside and my whole gut just felt so intense like I was going to throw up. And I praised Him.
I am reminded of the the twenty pairs of panty hose that I put in the washer that got also wrapped around each other and a bathrobe belt and some miscellaneous red threads from the bathrobe and ended up in a big ball. It is the mess of some of my problems and they aren’t going to be instantly miracle-ized into 20 new pairs neatly folded back in the original packages resting on top of my dresser for me to use. There is a moment-by-moment asking God for wisdom about what to do next and the strength to go back and look at the entirety of the whole mess and the grace to ask God for direction for the next step.

Subject shift - Here is a little story I wrote from my experiences of working at the jail. God is teaching me compassion:

“I worship You, oh Lord
I worship You in the songs I’m going to sing
I worship You in the bills I’m going to pay
I worship You in the sights I’m going to see
And in the words I’m going to say

Let all of me exclaim “glory” to you
Let my presence radiate - Your sufficiency
-Your adequacy
-Your nobility
-Your majesty

I know the truth
That in me lies no good thing
I know the reality,
Yeah, I’m all messed up
I know my inward parts are disorganized
And there are pieces of me missing

Every day I cling to You
Every hour I wait for You
Like a girl at a bus stop
I have no ride but You
I will get on no other ride
I will wait for You
You will come and get me
And will not let me down

I don’t understand Your ways
And sometimes by the things You allow,
You seem cruel
Other times - too harsh
And I don’t know why
You let things go
When others are in pain
And lives are messed up

But I don’t need to apologize for You
Or say things really aren’t so
And give a theology lesson
Because pain is pain
And sorrow is sorrow
And we’re really all the same
And little lives destroyed is tragedy
And the ones who do it
Live inside of me

Because I’m the problem present in all the people
Flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone

You became one with us
You are the One
You are the replacement
For the evil that lives inside of me

And we are a mess
Humanity is an image marred
Molested by sin
But not destroyed

For You oh God are the Redeemer
My Redeemer who ever liveth!
You take residence up in my flesh
You are pleased to dwell in me
When only I let You in
By Your blood and sacrifice
You clean me up

And once is enough
But come in again and wash all of me,
Peter says and so do I
“You’re already clean,
You only need your feet washed.”

You are an amazing God
And I worship You with my life
And all I do
And all I know
Is only a few more lonely days to go
And face to face we will be
My Savior and I
Body to body
and a new body indeed!

Yet still You wash anew
Whenever I want You to.
I am fresh again
In love with You
Free to worship and to work
Free to love and to serve
With all of me alive and nothing held back.

So we will buy up these opportunities
For this time is indeed short
Fill our carts up high!
Sky high to overflowing!
And we will wait for our reward is with You
It is in Your hand

We have your Spirit now
As the deposit inside us
The Truth of all we are going to be
As You live inside
And breathe out through us

Help us to run hard
And to stride fine
Never looking to the right or left
But out to the horizon
Where our Savior lives and coaches us on

We move by faith
We are filled with all measure
We are carried by Your love
And give everything else up.

With Blessing and praying you be filled with His love in ever greater measure and presence,
Thank you for letting me share my heart and life with you.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:09 AM | 2 comments

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Use me like a coin out of a fish,
Like a peacock with a beautiful bouquet,
Like a quiet shepherd in the back side of the wilderness
With the boldness of a boy protecting the sheep from the lion and bear
Use me like the widow with the two final coins,
The woman at the well,
The woman caught in adultery

You alone own my destiny
You alone are worthy that I should obey
You are entitled to my thoughts
You are valued in all that I do and think to do and want to do

As a child, bless me with the Perfect Father’s love
As a dependent, meet my every need
As a student, teach me to find my every pleasure in You
As a created girl, I laugh with the pleasure of carefree wonder
And as Your workmanship, the Father is glorified in the fruit of the Vine

I will run and not grow weary,
I will run and not grow faint
I will be lifted on eagle’s wings
I will glorify the King

My life is as temporary as a glass of cold water
As transient as a vapor
As brief as a sunrise and sunset
As glorious as the Father’s mercy upon a lost soul
For future times to come
Thou wilt be glorified
Not in what I have done
But what You have done with me

I will let out a deep-seated laughter
From the belly I will be set free in wondrous pleasure
As I think of the things of God
And the secret pleasure I know
There are no words
Only wonder
There is no audience
And there is no repeated confirmation
But only if you believe
All I know is that I was blind and now I see
All I know is I am poor but am well-fed and satisfied
All I know is there is only one sweet spot
There is only one place of refuge
And that is on my Father’s knee
At my Savior’s breast
With my head against his chest
And like a newborn babe
All I want is Him

Today I am blessed
Tomorrow He will hold me
And when I forget his sweet safety in Him
He will be faithful and let me stumble on my knee

Like a lamb who has had many broken limbs
I have come to know the Shepherds voice
I have come to crave the pure milk
I have come to know that I am very weak, and blind and rather obtuse

But my Shepherd is the One I love
He is the One I lean upon
He is One I look to when I know to look
I know that He is faithful
And I thank Him for all He has done for me today

I just can’t really believe it
Yet the evidence is plain
That He is for me
That He loves me
That He has called me and commissioned me
That He ever lives to make intersession for me

He is my Advocate
He is my Wonderful Counselor
And I am a fool for Christ’s sake
They can take me away and I don’t care
I have all I need
Right here with Him

He has been so good to me
I just am out of words to thank Him enough

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 6:46 PM | 3 comments

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I feel depleted. So glad that there is hope. I feel broke. So glad there are riches in Christ Jesus. I feel alone. So glad that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I feel on unstable ground. So glad His Word is unshakable. I lack. He has.
I find I have new desires and goals. I have frustration of all I have spent from what I don’t have of these past months. I was at the end of myself again and again for many months and now I need to go pick up the things I have let go. Or – I get to is probably better put.
I am so ready and able to write a list of goals for 2009. And I just cried in my car that I don’t want my goals or lists for what good are they apart from Christ and His goals and plans He has for me? I want His goals and I think that He may be showing them to me because they are all around me, those things that I need to pick up again.
Part of the challenge is the transition. Change is always hard. Part of the problem is, as it says in Titus about how old people are to be – like dignified for one. I don’t want to be dignified all the time. I have certain childhood desires and I guess I will never get to fulfill them. Like being a baby and being taken care of and crying in my soup. But no, I get to be dignified.
I am trying to find motivation to do my studying right now for my final for one of my MBA classes. Previously it was so easy to use what I was learning at my job that I was in. Currently I hear the questions in my head people sometimes ask, “What are you going to use that for?” But I remember that God called me to this work and He has His own plans that I don’t need to fully know.
Also, I feel like I am unqualified, undeserving of the honor of getting the MBA and accomplishing this work. However, that doesn’t matter because I am going to be sensible (a favorite word how we are to be, from Titus) and dignified. A lot of people are supporting me with their time and efforts so I will do my part.
Life is hard. I was going to add, “but not impossible.” But actually, it is impossible. Jesus says, “For apart from Me you can do nothing.” Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength.”
Transitioning out of my current job and getting another is a big deal, but God is faithful. “He will not test you beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will provide a way of escape so that you may bear up under it.”

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:43 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I can barely believe – well I don’t believe – I can’t believe it has been two months since I blogged in – more than two months! Oh, this string of pearls – this chain of stories that links my life’s events like light posts on a street.
Today I have three things to do and time for one and such has been my life for the past 18 months since I got promoted into my old position. The position that I just resigned from. Prior to that job I had really gotten my life into balance – or so I thought. The part I forgot about was the fact that God called me to be a leader and I wasn’t going to be a leader hanging out doing my thing all the time.
So now, that job is over and I have learned that I am a leader and called to be a leader. However, now the job is gone and done and I think I have time once again to do some of those things that had kept my life in better balance. So I am trying to shift.
One of the things that is hard to shift is to quit striving. How do I do that? How do I quite striving? I have quit striving – many times before!
Dear Lord,
I give my life to You and ask that You would fill me and use me. Help me to walk in Your ways and not to strive or worry. You have Your plans for me all purposed out! How I have learned that again and again and again! Help me to secure these things that you are continually teaching me.
Right now for example – what do I do with the several things I should do and what do I do with the ability or inability to take a Sabbath rest sometimes?
How I trust in You! You will complete what You have started and You are faithful! I will worship You and trust You to uphold me by Your righteous right hand!

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 6:06 PM | 1 comments

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Walking Worthy

So I was with my daughter at Borders books at her new college town yesterday. She picked a Bible, but almost forgot until I reminded her to get it. She chose several other books that she wanted to read in her free time.

I found an Oswald Chambers book. I discovered, "My Utmost for His Highest" about two years ago and love that man and all that God flowed through him.

So last night I was back in my hotel, in this little college town, USA and found the following passage in my new book:

"Get into the real work of intercession, and remember it is a work, a work that taxes every power; but a work that has no snare.”

And this one:

“I do believe that by intercessory prayer, as Jesus Himself has told us, the great power of God works in ways we cannot conceive.”

Oswald says about those we bring to Him in prayer, “to bring them before God’s throne and give the Holy Spirit a chance to intercede for them.”

It is a work of the Holy Spirit praying through you. So last night I prayed for my friend whom I have spend many, many hours in prayer over in the past year or so. Part of the work is faith, and not being limited by thoughts that the prayer doesn’t matter or is not effective.

On the television the other day as I was flipping through the channels, on this little vacation of mine, I flipped by a preacher who was discussing being an intercessor (what a coincidence). He said, “How do you know who you are to be an intercessor for?” And then he answered his own question with another question, “Whose pain do you feel? Whose success do you want?”

So I prayed these past couple of days on and off for the specific things that the Lord had laid on my heart for her. Meanwhile, frankly it hurts.

Yesterday when I was at Wal-Mart with my daughter I found a $1.00 little 8 by 10 inch little poster. I bought it to bring home and put on the little bulletin board next to my desk in my office. I put it up against the plastic ice bucket and plastic cups in the hotel room and last night I was struck by that gun staring at me from across the room. The picture has a green army man laying on the ground. That is not my type of style first of all, so that is partly why it is kind of startling, kind of fresh. Under the picture of the man with a big gun pointed at the camera was the following saying:

“BRAVERY It takes an extraordinary person to face danger and maintain composure.”

Intercessory prayer is a war. Being a friend is a battle. Maintaining composure is being kind the way God says to be kind. It is being gracious when you want to spit up. When you just spent 3 hours you don’t have praying to God on behalf of someone that doesn’t know.

Over the years of being married to an unbeliever for so many years, having been saved while already married, has taught me that God hears my prayers. It has shown me that my only refuge, my only peace, my only life is in Christ Himself. There is no other life. I don’t want any other life. I’ve given up claim to anything and everything, until I feel like I am starting to bleed, then I realize how superficial and frivolous I actually am. Last night as I prayed for myself, I prayed that I would be brave. To be able to do anything God would have me to do and go through, and on the tails of that prayed for nothing to difficult and to be favored and successful. Praise God, He knows that we are but dust. That is why the psalmist asks, I suppose, “What is man that Thou art mindful of Him?”

Paul said, “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf (Col 2:1).”

And he also said “For you have died and you life is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3).”

May God help us and bless you!

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 6:36 AM | 0 comments