Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Believing and Cobwebs

"And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord" Luke 1:45

I hate cobwebs. Yes, I used the word hate, and I am pretty sure that I mean it. I have spent some of my morning removing them from my 10 foot ceilings. While I was on that ladder, reaching for the one I could barely get to, I heard this verse read on the Christian TV channel. Had anyone been here to see my reaction, I am sure it would have made for great comedy....I nearly fell off the third step!

As I finished cleaning up those cobwebs, I began to think about all of the things that life throws at us that we do not see coming. Some of the dirt on those webs were big clumps, but most of it was unseen by the naked eye. As I ran the cloth across it, I could see how thick all of those tiny particles became when put together in one place. Oh how this relates to us who have gotten caught up between what the world says we are, and what our God says that we are.

The angel Gabriel appears to Elizabeth telling not only of her child, but also her cousin Mary's child. When Mary came to her, she exhorted her friend for BELIEVING THAT WHICH GOD HAD SPOKEN OVER HER. How many times have we witnessed a word from God being spoken over us or someone we love only to be gradually overtaken by the small particles of doubt, disbelief and negligence. Can you imagine what would have happened had she focused on the first person that said, "Whatever Mary, you do not even have a husband." Instead, she believed God and found favor in His sight.

I have heard is said that many believe IN God, but few ever think about BELIEVING God. We believe that there is a God. We believe He is our creator. We believe He is our savior. We believe He is our deliverer. We believe He is our redeemer. BUT, we stop just short of believing He has found any favor in our lives. We look at people around us and are genuinely happy for the blessings God had preformed on their behalf, but because we have collected so much "invisible dirt", our view of our own lives and situations are clouded. We are not so far different than Israel of the Old Testament, Ps 106:12-13 says: "They believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel." By allowing the dirt to build up in that one little cobweb, we forget the Glory God has already shown on our behalf, and move forward blinded and crippled by the screaming of the world in front of our face.

What if we returned our focus to God instead of ourselves. What if we decided we were going to get out of our comfort zone and clean those stinking cobwebs that have taken over quicker than we ever thought they could. What if we opened up our Bible to receive more of Him, not to just "prove" that what we are going through is in there. What if we became open to hear from the Holy Spirit those things which are not so pretty about ourselves in order to clean them out and make us better ministers of His word.

It takes a lot of hard work to clean cobwebs. I was a little sweaty reaching for the furthest one, and then, just when I thought I had it, I saw one more spec of dirt to be wiped away, calling me back to that uncomfortable position to clean it so well that it did not bother me tomorrow. That is what my heart is stirring over for people in the body of Christ. Taking responsibility for cleaning out the dirt we have allowed to accumulate and bringing us to a position of being able to see the purpose God called us to. Until we are ready to deal with the unseen dust, we are not truly ready to walk fully in our calling.

Keep On Keepin On!
In His Grip!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This is the Year I was Suppose to Die

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result..." Genesis 50:20

I had a REALLY cool "Candy Apple Red" walker with one of those fancy seats on it that I could use to rest when I was exhausted from walking. It also had this really big basket on the front. In a way, I felt like I was 10 years old again and I had just gotten my first pink dirt bike. See, my mom picked out my bike when I was 10....she also picked out my walker when I was 30. She said, "If you are going to have to have it, it is going to be the prettiest one there is."

Over the last couple of months, God has been requiring that I remember where I have been. During worship, I have been reminded of the mountains that were not just moved, but REMOVED. It was as if when I was looking "BACK", I could not really identify with who that girl was. I would remember things as if I were looking at a dream, or reading a novel. Often, it would play back like a movie, with credits being paid to all of those people who had helped me through the roughest points in my life up until this present moment.

Today, for the first time in 5 years, I heard the words "Devic's Disease." My heart sank, and yet, at the same time, I felt it leaping. As I listened to the story being told to me, I could hardly keep quiet. She had heard I had MS in the past, and that I did not have it any longer. She wanted to hear about the miracle God had performed on my behalf. The memories came flooding back. I recalled being paralyzed on my right side, I remembered missing my daughter's "debut" as the lead in her 1st grade program. I thought about how, for 3 weeks, I was barely able to get out of bed. I do not remember a lot about those days, but what I do remember is the pain and the absolute feeling of helplessness. On my most desperate night, I laid awake with my tiny kids on either side of me. I cried out to God, "Lord, you know what I have been through in my life. Not once have I walked away from you, not once have I denounced your presence in every situation, and God, I need to know why, why me, why these precious babies, why now?" Some people would say that we really should not ask God why, but I have to tell you, that in that moment, God said, "Wait and See."

My dad and I took the trip to The Cleveland Clinic in the Spring of 2006. We walked into the Mellon Center, and were very abruptly faced with MS in many stages. On one side, a young lady walked with a slight limp, and across the room, a man sat paralyzed with a breathing machine attached to his wheelchair. I had been told that more than likely, I had what was known as "Devic's Disease." Devic's affects the spinal cord, therefor, compromising the nervous system, leading to the shut down of involuntary necessities, the most important being that of breathing. Because Devic's attacks the nervous system so aggressively, I was told it was terminal usually within 5 years.

I pushed that walker to the front of the church. As my church family prayed for me, I continued to cry out to God, asking WHY? My uncle, the pastor of my church, called me to his seat. He said, "Bon, I felt it right there, you were healed." I thanked him ever so sweetly and headed to my seat still having to grip the walker with all my might. On my way out, my uncle again said to me, "Bonnie, listen to me, you were healed!" I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Then why can't I walk, why can't I see, and WHY AM I STILL IN PAIN?" Before I had even gotten out of the church building I had questioned the power of my God.

It took an entire year to walk out my healing. Very gradually, the pain started to leave, the vision came back, and my balance got better. It was not until I had visited BOTH of my neurologists who came back with "Healing" reports that I totally walked in the healing God had done in my body. Sometimes, healing is an instant revelation and realization, and sometimes, it is a continuous walking out of what God has spoken over your life. I am a firm believer that God heals us in the very best way to show HIM to the world. While I did not understand then, and I certainly do not understand it all now, I do know that what the enemy thought might be the very last thing to make me fall was the VERY thing to catapult me for the cause of Christ.

People can speculate, people can judge. When moving from Woodland, I found all of the MRI's I have had done. I thought about pitching them in the attitude of "THAT IS NOT WHO I AM ANYMORE." But, I held onto them. If not for me, possibly for someone else who needs just a little more proof than I do that our God is still in the business of physically healing people given a life sentence.

I realized this afternoon that this is the year I was suppose to die. I realized this afternoon that this is the year in which I have been re-born. God does not waste anything. Everything belongs.