Thanks for visiting my blog! I pray that you get something out of my being transparent and that God will continue to use me even to speak to one!! Feel free to click follow or follow by email! Be blessed... and transparent!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Transparent Concealer

“He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 NKJV

So, my daughter has become this guru of different make up techniques and how to apply stuff I never even heard of before. It's taken me some time to get used to her wearing makeup as she is my youngest and is so small that she could pass for a 12 year old! But it's what she likes so I pour into her the difference between displaying make up and concealing things she doesn't want known... 

Hence the name, Transparent Concealer... I am not a makeup person at all but I have plenty of masks that I wear on a daily basis with no application process at all! Don't believe me? When I am driving and someone cuts me off or speeds up just to get in front of me and then slows down? Instantly my offended and road rage mask comes on. When I am not getting attention like everyone else, my pity party mask comes on. When I feel alone but don't want to share with anyone, that "I'm just peachy" mask comes straight on! 

We each have something that we would like to hide, conceal from God and others. Many of us have done a spectacular job of doing just that. We hide issues in our marriages so that when divorce is afoot, many are shocked about it, when you finally speak up about your depression, no one even suspected that you were struggling, not even the woman across the street that suffered for years that you could've walked alongside of. Many masks for many issues. But what Jesus wants is for us to be plain with our issues. I love the story of the woman with the issue of blood. Many don't connect with her story, itself, because the common thought is that her issue was that she was bleeding. But when research is done on how women with blood issues were treated back then, it was more than just blood that she was losing. She lost money, she lost friends (I'm sure), and she lost time. She was isolated. I know that because she crept through the crowd to get to Jesus and did it very low because she touched the HEM of His garment. There is no hem in the middle or waist or side. A hem is at the bottom or the top. It's where the clothing begins or ends. She stretched out her hand to touch the hem and reached Him! No masks, no hiding, and no concealing who she was or what her issue was! It was blood! But she, by faith, was determined to be healed and she knew that He could do it. Had she hidden herself when she heard he was passing through, she would still be bleeding today! Okay, not today but you get what I mean. 

David spoke about his hidden sin in Psalms and how sick it made him. Ezekiel spoke about "fire" being "shut up" in his bones when he kept his mouth shut. There is certain je ne sais quoi about concealing things. That doesn't mean to "go tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere." No! That is reserved for His Gospel and other exciting news that you want to share. But each of us, including me, should have a small arsenal of prayer warriors/ iron based folks that can help us sharpen our iron. We don't all have that "friends since birth" blessing that some have and so we have to work at finding those few who can walk with us, hold up our arms when we are tired, tell us when we are wrong, receive lashings from us with grace because we know we are wrong and act as make up remover wipes for the concealer that we long to wear as a cover up. 

Be who Jesus died and rose again for you to be. Be transparent. Be honest, first with God and yourself. Confess when wrong. Repent of wrongdoings. Retire your masks. Be the flawed apple of His eye. Oh... and retire the masks. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Transparent Power

Transparent Power

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us Ephesians 3:20

This post is a long time coming. I see now that I have been journaling along, just not on paper or on a consistent basis. But this post, the revelation of it, has been long coming. This post isn't about losing or getting power turned back on in the house. No, this was right before we were evicted that I started this post and so this power I started to blog on was and is about His infinite power. So let me begin...

 It has been almost two years since we were evicted from the only consistent home my children knew. My youngest began her school career there and also began to the last year of her school career at the same. Being an air force brat, this is a huge thing as I am used to moving around. 

The very act of packing and moving was a tremendous strain; it took effort for me to even begin because I was in such denial that we would even move. For me, a miracle would be that God stepped in and stopped this injunction against me. But He didn't. And we were evicted. And so began what seemed to be another dark thrust in this journey called life. I have had a few completely dark parts of my life outside of my childhood and all that happened there. I have had abortions; I have had surface or sexually motivated relationships, much as one does who is starving and they see chips and want/ eat those instead of a meal. I have been in a harsh marriage and committed adultery. I even have a span of time where I was with the person that I committed adultery with simply because I thought that was the "lot" I had drawn and was now stuck with it. Thanks be to God for His grace and mercy and infinite patience with me as I stumbled around in the dark during that time instead of asking Him to simply flip on the Light switch. And now this... ultimate failure in being able to keep a roof over the heads of my children who looked to me for support. My friends Depression, Despair, Guilt and Shame as well as the quiet companion, Suicide, seemed to turn up at my pity party and then turn on me much like the friends of Job did. It went from Woe is me to eternal inquest within seconds! I was able to hold them off as I was busy with packing and throwing away things. And then just as I had been able to shield my kids from the harshness of seeing the Constable's notice of eviction posted on our door, lo and behold, another blow! We had to go back as they were there to retrieve my son's pet... a very cruel deed that I felt was done by the enemy to "kick me while I was down". 

But even through all of that and the year and a half subsequently after, which has not been an easy road, I understand now what David was talking about in his psalms of outcry. He spoke to his soul, trying to figure out why it was so downcast, encouraging it by saying to put hope in the Lord and that he would "yet praise Him." (Psalm 42-43) He even had to do this more than once, why? Because he had more than one dark time. I knew much about that! He also talked about his body wasting away when he did not commune with God, confess his sins. (Psalm 32) There are so many where I knew just where he was at, I would even say out loud, "Yes David! I know just what you mean, bro! I'm there with you!" But what I had never realized before was the ending of each.... a declaration of praise to a God who seemed to be silent, otherwise preoccupied, not dealing with him and his mess at the time, just not there. He praised Him anyway. Whew! You mean say, "thank you Lord" instead of "ouch, this hurts"? Oh man....

Through the power of God that I talked about in the beginning before jumping into my long-windedness (no, it's not a word), I have seen that it's not about praising Him instead of the pain or even in the pain, THROUGH the pain. Oh what a difference His Word makes when you understand what He meant and not what you want it to mean! Here is what I mean.

When a crew for a rowing team, whatever you call them, begins training, they are not where they need to be. They may be very fit, very capable and think that they can drop a boat in the water and immediately win a race. But it's not true. According to Ellen Tomak, a rowing coach, 12 week training can improve rowing stats. In an article by her, she lays out and explains how rowing is a full body workout. There is work to be done, not just for one team rower but for the entire team as they will need to know how to work together, not just know their position. But the second the team works as a team and not as people, who have different positions in one boat, the ride is not only smoother but more effective and faster. When we begin to understand that we will have pain (john 16:33), that is not an option, and that Jesus has already overcome this dark world, we can begin to brace for the impact. That doesn't mean we try and steer away or think of other methods, routes to take. But it also doesn't mean that we are able to just focus on our part, our pain that we are in and leave the rest of the team to fend for theirs. We must set a pace to which we can ride the pain out. We don't have to embrace it but we should acknowledge it and know that through our weaknesses His strength is made greater. I referenced the rowers because even during pain, during cramps, during a bout of motion sickness they may have; in screwy weather, when someone is missing or cannot seem to go on, they still have to keep going. We are, according to Paul, running a race that cannot be stopped. So we choose to either stop, focus on whatever the pain is and sit out the race or we address the pain and lean on Him to help us get across the finish line. 

A big deal with me, for all these years is that I was listening to "Should be", the cousin of Envy. This was telling me where I should be in life, what I should be doing, what I should have, and how far my family, my kids should be according to those around us. I have recently chosen to stop looking at others from the outside and deal with what I can, me on the inside. How's that going, you ask? It's good, it's bad and it's ugly but it's God power dealing with all that is within me and loving my beautiful mess. How is He dealing with you?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Transparent Hospital

"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." Luke 5:32

I had been away for awhile as God was doing a work in me, through me and for me. Even in the last couple of weeks I have been sick with what seemed to be, dramatically, my death but was only a mild sinus infection. I thank God for that! I wrote a few times but even those seemed strained and constricted. It was hard to sit down and write, hard to focus, even harder to get the words out. It was almost like a... excuse the crude description... a writer's constipation. But then I noticed that my mind was on what I was going through, so I had to refocus my "focal point" for this labor.

That got me to thinking about how Church is like a hospital. I've said that many times before, wisdom that can only be from Holy Spirit, not fully understanding the words as they left my naive mouth. But as I see myself laying on this invisible stretcher with labor coaches around me encouraging me, telling me to keep going, I get what it is like to be a part of this Hospital we call Church. Let me take you on a tour of it.

There are many facets to a hospital, many different uses for that one building. There is surgery, ICU and NICU for those patients who need special care as well as rooms for inpatient visits. There is a wing for internal medicine and outpatient visits such as regular check ups and there is the emergency room. This room alone can take up a fourth of the hospital! Oh how many times I have been in the emergency room! I often even wonder if sometimes the entire church becomes an ER by the way the sick continue to fill in. But then I remember that even in an ER, when the injury or sickness is severe, there is always a hospital stay for care, observation and recovery time. 

I wonder how many times we, the Body, have sent sick people home without instructions for care, or rushed them from the sick bed in which they laid even though they were not fully well. I wonder how many times people have been wounded in our care because of the rushed work that was done, the misdiagnosis that were given, the crowded rooms as they lay unattended because we did not have the time to give everyone the same attention because of our time constraints, our limited "staff"... I am thankful that the place where I worship now is sensitive to Holy Spirit's call for impromptu alter calls, times of healing prayers and words of encouragement. Even when no one stands, because they are too sick or focused on their pain to hear their name being called, we call anyway. 

In Jesus' ministry, he was condemned by selfish leaders for this very thing. For talking out of turn, for doing things out of their order, the way they were used to. But he kept going, he kept doing, he kept healing, he kept freeing. And as people who are to follow in His footsteps, shouldn't we do the same. I long to be able to see, and do, things that are out of the ordinary such as stopping someone with not just a word from the Lord but perhaps just a hug. Or seeing someone hurting or angry and smiling at them with a smile of freedom, a contagious illness called joy. I long to see those of us who have been healed in the Hospital and are now working or volunteering in it to be giving the same attention, the same care, the same love that was shown to us "when we were yet sinners".... Be encouraged, use the "faith that was given you" to do what God has called you to do!

Welcome to JEHOVAH HOSPITAL where all lives matter and no one leaves the same...