COMMUNITY

54730098_10218592822756772_3689364288650084352_o Awakened_arts 

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

I had started a very basic purple painted canvas on the first day of spring.
I asked my social media friends, to share what color they wanted on the picture, fully intending to see who matched what was on my mind for the painting. The interesting thing, everyone had a different idea for the secondary color than mine. As I stood and stared at the purple canvas, deciding which color I would pick, the name of the piece came to me, “Community”. 

This painting wasn’t about one or two solid ideas, but about combining the creativity of many into something of beauty. I took each color that my friends had suggested and I thought of them and prayed as I painted their color. I sought where the Lord would have them impact the piece and prayed for individual situations. A few friends had chosen teal, it didn’t matter, as I applied the color again, a new friend came to mind. Another, shared her idea for the technique to add dimension and direction. This was a wonderful example of community, each contributing, every individual uniqueness adding a new depth and detail as we collaborated. 

This piece alone reminded me of how important it is to be in community with one another. I could have said, ew I don’t like that color, it would never look right, but looking at this painting, it needed every single color whether at first, I thought it would belong or not. As I looked at the painting with each layer I was timid to place more colors, yet a sense of belonging came over me as I saw the work coming together. 

You would not know that two years ago, I had my self hidden away, shying away from the world, from being hurt, from being ignored and passed over. I had a horrible sense of my self. I had lost the knowledge of my worth somewhere on the journey of surviving grief and illness that had reared its ugly head like never before and the depression wanted to take over. In the past, I was swallowed by that depression. I cut everyone and everything off and literally wanted to die.

The amazing thing, this time, depression could not stay! While I started blocking people out of my life, there were the solid, the community that would not let me. There were the people who reminded me of who I am. There were the people that pointed out when I was being flat-out ridiculous and that I needed to stop identifying with what I was facing and start identifying on who God says I am. It was my community that picked me up and reminded me how much ground I have gained and even in this hiccup, it was safe to spread my wings and fly again. 

Community: A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Romans 12:5-
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Do I always agree with everything they do? No. Do I enjoy every single personality within my community at every moment? No.  Do I share every single belief and value? No. 

Do I drive people in my community crazy at times? Ah, YAH! 

However, when in the community, despite our human differences we can choose to stay united with a common goal. Intentional to build together, to hold one another up by carrying each other’s burdens and remind each other there is hope in a sea of unknowns.

When the going gets tough, we can be tempted to run from our communities, but all that brings is isolation and loneliness, which in turn becomes bitterness and anger. I think this is why the Lord mentions not forsaking the gathering of our brethren. He knew that we needed far more than to hear our own voice whisper silently to the wind. 

Hebrews 10: 24-25-
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

 

Fear you have been identified

43117188_554492298342921_9131809918288920576_n.jpg Art by: awakened_arts @instagram

Fear this year had gripped me and I had no idea how, why or when. I just knew that my physical body was in panic mode and this was brand new for me. Sensory overload has been paralyzing at times, to where I literally have to leave and lie down right then and there. Another form of this fear started almost a year ago. Overwhelming constant dizziness had me afraid to go anywhere or doing anything on my own.

I no longer drive (almost 10 months now with just a couple tries in that time) even on my good days because the bad ones terrified me so much and the movement will seem okay for a little while, I will be driving along and all of a sudden I can’t see straight. So much time has gone by and I have not even realized it.

Yesterday a new friend called me out on my walking in fear, by sharing her testimony and freedom. I was supposed to get together with her and had tummy issues that morning and canceled.  She called me and had an encouraging word and then shared about fear. As soon as she said the word “fear”,  a light bulb clicked in my brain, I truly had no idea that I was battling in such a capacity. Fear you have been identified!

Here I had written on fear and transformation and God had begun a work in me just a few days before, but I had no idea how deep that fear had a hold until I saw my situation through another’s eyes.

She was absolutely right, I had been fearing getting together with someone new, but did not know it in my head.
The flashes came to my mind on what I was fearing as soon as she mentioned the word, it is hard for me, exposing my heart to risk having it broken again. Rejection and abandonment had left me as a shut-in and hiding. I will get over it and the enemy is right there to remind me what was stolen from me and point that accusing finger that I am nothing. I will grasp my worth and value and one disapproving look or gossip can send me spiraling right back to my idea of worthlessness. Fear you have been identified! I will not go back.

It is easy to live in a state of hidden truths. I was not addressing fear, because it had not been revealed to me yet. There is great power addressing your battles by name and this is why the enemy tries to keep things hidden. As I have been on this journey to the fullness of joy and health, there have been many things the Lord has had to deal with in my heart.

There are hidden things coming to light every single day, and sometimes it takes a loving person to identify what you don’t see or want to look at. This person came to me in encouragement and love. This was not a place of judgment but a heart that wanted freedom for me.

As soon as an issue is identified to us, we have a choice, we either choose to tackle it for complete freedom, or stuff it away and don’t deal with it. You can’t have victory by rolling over and saying “I will deal with you another day.” Because another day comes and your darkness grows that much stronger. It has become your comfort and false safety.

My friend said it well, “one of the ways to battle fear is to do that which you are afraid of anyways. Walk it out in fear and all.”When I step out into the uncomfortable, I think on it for days, that I looked foolish, or all the ways others may mock me for being who I am. I fear what will I say, how will the conversation start. Now those that had known me in years past would wonder what in the world happened because this is NOT who I was. I have become someone mousey and hidden. I have for whatever reason, all of a sudden cared about what others think of me, far too much.

This shut-in mentality started slow. It was to get well with my illnesses at first and most recently it seems like anytime I am asked to come out of my little hole in my house, that I would start shutting down. I thought it was laziness or depression (this all started around the loss of my dad) and maybe that is a factor, but my friend was so right on when she identified that I was battling fear.

Asking the Lord, why His truths are not sticking, I feel the answer is because the seeds of healing have not been cast on good soil. A truth that is in my head but has not been established in my heart. Rather than my everyday reality that I am valuable, have a call, have worth and what I have to say has importance, I only have snippets of a moment. Even now typing the words that what I have to say has importance, I wanted to delete that sentence. I don’t truly believe it yet. So I ask the Lord today, help my unbelief. Help me see myself with the same eyes that I see others. Help me see myself as you see me. Fear you have been identified and I will not return to you!

It is time for me to walk in my value and worth every single day, all day, not just when the spirit of God hits in crazy good ways.

I am choosing to speak to that fear by name. I call it out for what it is!
In Jesus name, Fear you must go, you are a liar, you are false, you don’t hold my God’s truths!
I will no longer walk in panic mode but confident mode. He has given me every tool I need to do His work and He has promised me His protection and peace.  I am under the shadow of His wings and I can find comfort there.

One thing I have learned in all of this is how to rest in the Spirit of the Lord. At any moment I know my comforter is there. So it is up to me to go to the source rather than run in my blindness. It is up to me to take the gifts He gives rather than believe the lies of the accuser.

God is so good to care so much that He doesn’t leave me behind in my mess, but creates beauty out of it, so that I may walk in my testimony.

Isaiah 41:10- fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

I HATE YOU

We were spending time with friends this weekend and my friend snapped a photo of my profile. Immediately I said, “Eeew I hate my profile, I look so snobby!”. To which my friend firmly replied, “Stop with that self hate.”

It was in that moment that I recalled time after time after time I had said, I HATE YOU, to myself!

I hate my nose, I hate my ears, I hate my waste, I hate my sickness, I hate my lack of talent, I hate my voice, I hate my attitude, I hate my thoughts and on and on it goes.
I hate, I hate, I hate. In essence, every single day, multiple times a day I was declaring I hate you Shaey ( and here seeing those words I am reminded,  I even hate my  name) !

It was STOP WITH THE SELF HATE, that made me realize, that was all I was leaving room for in my life. A constant look at what I see as failures and lack. Not the truth how God sees me or created me to be.

As the truth set in, I asked God, “Why do I hate myself?”
Clarity came swiftly!
I have hated my self for most of my life because of a biological father that didn’t want me. That with the many reminders from others that the father I knew was not my ‘real’ father and it was so very sad he never had children of his own.
Even though my dad was absolutley in every sense a real father, the words stung.

I have hated myself because of the constant declaration that I was a snob from as early as I can remember from family members, because I did not socialize the way they thought I needed to ( I did not like hugs).

I have hated myself because of the gossip that would come back to me, how little others thought of me and they loved to focus and laugh at everything they felt I did wrong.

I hated myself because as a teenager I was a snob and into my own world, not seeing others hurt around me.

But mostly glaring at my inner soul, I  have hated myself for nearly 20 years because of a terrible mistake that I had made, that I could not forgive myself over. I have said that I forgave myself. All those around me would tell me that it was not my fault and to not beat myself up over it. Yet the result is the same,  I have lived with the root of a lie that I was not worth loving. A lie that screamed at me that I was a failure of the greatest magnitude.

I did not want to look at those hurt-ful areas and deal with them. I wanted to stuff them down like I always had but my heavenly father wrapped me in His spirit and all of a sudden there was not a hate, but a great compassion that came over me.

I feel as if I am a bud after a long winter beginning to bloom. I pray that as the beauty of the Lords work unfolds, that others will be blessed and see their own beauty as well. A reflection of the work the father does in us if we let Him.

So today I will speak against my self hate. I will no longer say I hate you. I will say I am beautifully and wonderfully made.

After this divine revelation, the very next day in fact, my friend captured a picture of me full on laughing like a crazy woman. My first thought was EEEW delete it!  But the Lord caught me,  He is turning my heart to His truth, His joy in me IS beautiful and to be loved not hated.
SO I am getting over my own self and I am posting  a picture that I would have asked be destroyed in the past. I will look at the JOY this moment was, the laughter this picture captured and the great friends that are bringing new life into this tired and weary soul.

God is GOOD! ALL the work that He does  within me is GOOD and I will not deny this truth any longer. No longer will I partner with a lie.

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH!!!

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Pray for others

I have a friend and every time I greet her and am embraced in one of her hugs, I just get a wonderful sense of peace. She can calm my fears with a simple prayer and encourage my heart when she shares Gods truth.

A few weeks ago, as she gave me a hello hug, I saw a picture for her. This picture stuck with me for a while, and when we had the prophetic paint night I painted it real quick for her.

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I saw clearly that as my friend covered all of her hurting and broken loved ones in prayer, the spirit of God bubbles forth within her and He brings about victory to those that are surrounded by seas of sorrow.
They turn from dead and dying to life full of the Spirit.
While my friend may feel many times her prayers are not answered, God says “they are not answered yet, but I know they are there! I hear your prayers. In my time you wills see the overflowing waters of life. Keep praying.”

So as you are praying for victory over a loved ones situation or life. Rest assured the Father hears! He knows your heart as you come to the throne room on behalf of others.

Recently I was woken from a dream that someone very dear to me was in danger. I had no other knowledge or thought on this path as I laid to sleep the night before. But God woke me,and I knew I was called to pray. I don’t know the outcome yet, but I can rest in the knowledge that God heard my cries and already He has begun a work protecting those loved ones.

Don’t give up. Keep pushing on faithful one. Pray for others.

 Colossians 1: 9-13

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously read more.
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

 

Ephesians 3: 14-21  

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Facebook has become my coffee shop

Years ago, when I lived near my closest friends, we did everything together. We would phone chat, visit every other day in person, write those snail mail letters and find any way we could to share every moment.

Being raised as an only child, I had my gals to share everything with. I never had those family moments of ‘remember when’ with a sibling, all my ‘remember when’ moments are with my besties.

We (hubby and I) always had a house full of friends, when the children were younger. We would host one holiday party or birthday event whenever we had the chance.  Youth groups were at our house, and whenever anyone wanted to have a gathering “Dan and Shaey’s House”  was often the nominated location.

Until one day, Facebook came into my life. Here I could see how my friends were doing in an instant. I could easily share with the nearest and dearest all of my personal happenings, that of course I know they want to know about, and forget that another gaggle of people are seeing every update as well.

I can see how a friend is doing and send a quick reply, checking on her, and it’s as if she is in the room.

Now normally, this may not be a bad thing for some people, but for this girl it is and I will tell you why.

Most of my closest friends, do not live near by. So updating, sharing and checking in on Facebook is so beneficial when best friends are a thousand miles away. But this introvert  or rather Fibro flared mama that is exhausted 24/7, makes very little time for relationships in the here or now.

I know lives changed, and we all get busy, but I have completely switched how I relate to most people.

In essence Facebook has become my coffee shop. I share and read the happenings of others there, converse and ‘gossip’ there and even am encouraged. I struggle with energy these days and the ‘doing’ of life. So when I realize the phone no longer rings, or the invites have slowed considerably, it is then that I realize that this computerized friendship world, has robbed me of the face to face interactions.  I must make an effort to connect face to face with the ones in my town, in my state, or dare I say it… in my own home.

I will always turn to technology when I can to stay in touch with the far ways, it is a great form of staying connected.

But  I must remember to not let Facebook(or technology) be my only. For it is too easy to forget the simple pleasures of expression, touch, and  the gift of being together in person.

I have decided, I will look up more often from the screens, and I hope to find  someone else smiling at me when I do!

The bird flies

I have entered a new season in my life. A season of watching the bird leave the nest and fly on his own. My oldest son had finished high school a year early. At the time of high school completion,  I came across some information that I had stuck in my heart for such a time as this.

While my heart broke at the thought of being separated so unexpectedly, I obeyed the prompting in my spirit and brought the opportunity of an internship to my son.

He applied to an internship a thousand miles away. Not yet eighteen and my son was accepted and the wheels began spinning. Here I thought I had one more year with him. Molding, shaping, encouraging and found that I had just a few weeks to prepare him for this journey. This amazing, life altering journey.

In order for this to happen for my son there were some must haves:

I needed a travel partner to drive my son to internship. My mom happened to have the time off, lined up perfectly.

We were in need of his deposit and no income put away for this event in his life. As I had pointed out in our earlier posts there were many trials that set us back financially.

The deposit needed was 3,000 dollars and it was due immediately!!! That amount was huge for us to comprehend at the moment, yet through prayer and request, my son raised his full 3,000 deposit within a few weeks. We still have his monthly commitment to cover the remainder but we know God is faithful.  The finances lined up perfectly.

We needed gas, food, and a place to stay. All of that had been provided, lined up perfectly.

What we discovered in this whole season. As hard as it is to transfer my child from my home and lay him completely at the service of the Lord, I have seen first hand when God calls you into something He makes your path clear. He lined up every detail. Nothing was unnoticed.

The application process was already decided, God knew he was going.

The money for my sons internship was already provided, God knew he was going.

The travel expenses were covered in amazing ways, God knew he was going.

The housing, meals, relationships, support and all his needs for the year, set up there in miraculous ways was already in motion, God knew he was going.

The mama heart was tugging. My son is one of my best friends. Oh, he would be corrected and the firm foundation set, but he is my confidant, joy maker, laughter. I was having to say goodbye for now, in order to allow him to fulfill his call and dream for his life.

I felt like Abraham sacrificing my son to the Lord. Willing to take him but a small measure of me not sure if I was ready for the separation. And in the meeting at the church our son would be interning at, the teaching was about vision, sacrifice, and letting God take what you offer and become your friend.

One thing that is certain. I have found the Lord meets me in each need. The need for friendship, camaraderie, laughter, comfort… God supplies it all. He is faithful, with reaching in and filling the areas that we are unable to fill by ourself.

To have my full joy in this season. I must hold fast to the promise that God has a plan for my son. Fear can not lead me, guide me or be a part of my life. I must allow God to be my all and allow Him to be my sons ‘all’ as well.

God is more than enough. He takes our humble offerings and brings about greatness even we do not expect.

I let my son go, into very capable hands, the hands of my God and that is the best thing this mother has ever done.

Social Media Can Be A Social Disaster

Let me be very clear that I for one am thankful for the re-connections that Facebook and Twitter have provided.

I was able to find high school friends that I have lost contact with, previous coworkers I adored, past church connections and find family members that I did not even know.

One of my best friends in the whole wide world, is 1445 miles away from me and we often rely on Facebook and modern-day technology to keep up with one another. We are so thankful that gone are the days of snail mail, where we waited weeks in between letters for over ten years.

I do not read just her updates on social media though. I stop in and say hi, we talk, chat and send encouraging notes.  Even though these connections are nice, I absolutely look forward to the day I will get to hold that girl in my arms for a good old-fashioned bear hug again! There is nothing like real connection with your friends. But for now I rely on Facebook and I am thankful that it is here.

I do however, have one very large complaint about Social Media. I often find that when I post my updates, some of my good friends have felt, knowing how I am doing is good enough. Since starting these profiles and putting up my updates, the texts have slowed down and the opportunities to get together with certain friends, rarely come. From some friends that I was once close to, I have even been told, ‘well, I see how you are doing on Facebook.”

I find that over sharing has left some of those close friends, contacting me less than the days when my updates were not at the finger tips.

I don’t mind in this season, having the quiet, being the hermit that I am. But I am left thinking on the idea though, that I have to make an effort to reach out to others that may not be as blessed in the quiet as I am. If I noticed a difference, surely others have.

There are people I know, that having their few friends drop off , can leave them extremely desperate for relationship.

Even though I am a share a lot personality, that is just me, the little bit that others share may be ALL that they share.  I have to be aware  that even if I see how someone is doing, they may like a note or a personal stop in and say hi, or drop an encouragement. Just because I know how someone is, doesn’t mean I am off the hook to be a friend.  Some people need more of a connect than a status update. Some people need a real hug, or an actual invite from a friend for coffee. In my day-to-day life, it is hard for me to reach out like that, but I must make more of an effort.

I have become more aware that Facebook can be harmful because friends have brought their hurts to me in love.

I have hurt some feelings without meaning to, or offended on Facebook by comments that have been misunderstood or judged quickly. I have been on the receiving end of harsh feelings because I have gotten together with someone who another does not like, or because my status has been misunderstood. I find that there can be a lot of drama in life anyway, if we allow it, Facebook can be a wildfire of opportunity spreading it out of control. I am thankful for solid truthful friends that we can share feelings and truths in love and not walk away damaged but strengthened.

There is a reason we are called to not be easily offended. You can not walk in joy if you are walking around offended all the time. There is a reason we are called to be a friend, we have hearts to minister to.

I think Facebook can be a great tool to connect. But I think we need to not set our heart on it. Invest in relationships outside of the social networks. I like to put up quips to journal or pictures of fun things we have done, for fun. I also love when things get gray around here to check in with a friend and see their little ones smiling faces or share a funny. I look at the stories of my friends and feel connected when life gets busy and my house is loud. I am aware that they do not always have the time to call and tell me how that appointment went but on a social network they can let many know all at once.  Life is too short to sweat the small stuff and there are too many friends to find.

There is a reason that Jesus had close confidants and walked with his disciples. It is important to walk side by side with others. I often forget to make that effort in the flesh, one on one, today I remind myself.

Challenge this day my friend: Evaluate if you have truly connected with someone lately. Has there been a moment someone has been on your heart and knowing how they are doing has been good enough for you? Take that extra step and be a blessing! If someone is on your heart, there is a reason and you have work to do, it is not a call to just see how they are doing on their status update  🙂

Romans 12:10-

 Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.