Living Water

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. – Isaiah 12:3

As I have been recovering from burn out, I was reminded of this post a little while back. It was during the recovery from flu season a while ago:

I just went through a rough season, my entire month of February was a wreck. Like, freight train. First, my son got the flu, then my husband, then myself. Only, my son got a fever and some gut rot deal, my husband had a fever for 5 days and pretty much slept the whole time. And, I got some sort of stomach flu deal, that made it impossible for me to keep anything inside me. Day 3 of my flu, I had become so dehydrated, that I required medical attention. I woke up as soon as the clinic opened and told them that I needed to get in ASAP. They could see me within the hour. Amazing. I opened up my front door, blizzard. I seriously was so delirious from my illness that I considered calling an ambulance. But, I knew that if I could just get there, I would be ok. So, I get the last of my strength, and I get in the car to go to the clinic. I’m practically delusional by this point, my mouth and throat are dry, every time I take a drink my lips and throat instantly need more fluids and are dry again. The doctor pretty much just looked at me and said, “We need to get some fluids in you.” I had lost 10 pounds, at least, maybe more. I’m not someone who can afford to lose 10 pounds. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. As they took me back to a room and got me situated, my messenger app buzzed. It’s the women’s feed from church. We use it as a way to share encouraging words, or request prayers, quick notes, etc. The Pastor shared her morning devo: “Come to me for rest and refreshment. This journey has been too much for you, and you are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life.” – (which is an excerpt from Shannon Stoddard on beliefnet) But, this word came to me, right as they are plugging IVs into my arm, and I just shed a tear. Yes, Lord. You are my rest and refreshment. I ended up needing two bags worth of fluids to get me back to some sort of human. And, I rested while they pumped me full of fluids, but I knew I was going to be fine with that word. Amen.

I have been experiencing an emotional season of being “bone-weary” – what a great expression. Deep down in your bones weary, the kind of exhausted that doesn’t go away with a nap and some food. The kind of can’t-give-any-more that you just don’t know what to do with. God knows. He knows this happens. That’s why He tells us that He is our Living Water. That He is our rest and refreshment. That we can tap into Him and He will take us through the rest. Just like the “Footsteps” poem, where when there was only one set of footprints – He carried us. We don’t need to be strong, He is strong for us. We don’t need to be everything we need, He’s got us covered.

“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:14

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

Revelation 21:6

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Isaiah 44:3

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.

John 7:37

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11

That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

Ephesians 5:26

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 6:35

God wants to refresh us. God doesn’t want us to feel bone-weary. And, one of the most refreshing and powerful ways to feel refreshed by God, is to pray and to worship. Prayer is the most intimate and refreshing time with the Father. A time to discuss, to speak our needs and to listen. To let Him overwhelm our souls with the answer. To let Him work in our Spirit to give us the living water that we need. And then, to worship out loud our exhaltation to the Lord. It’s a renewing interaction to shout to the Lord and praise Him for all that He does for us. To look back and see all that He has done, and to know that in the looking forward, He will do even more. He never fails, His words do not return void. He will always be there for us, and will lift us up, and even carry us – when we need it most. Do not let yourself struggle through the exhaustion, turn to the Lord who has everything you need to get you through whatever season in your life. He is the Living Water. He has everything you need to refresh your soul. Take a drink and thirst no more.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for being our Living Water. Thank you for refreshment. Thank you for your blessings in overflow. Thank you that You bless us, and have given us Your Word, full of encouragement. Your Word which holds the key to our salvation, both eternal salvation, and salvation every day. That You bless us with the exact words we need, when we need them. Thank you for sending Your son, and making it possible for us to have a personal relationship with You. That we may seek You in prayer. That You will answer us. That You will bless us, and not only meet our needs, but exceed them. That we may know that You are the good, good God who never fails and who loves His children. That You know that we become bone-weary and that is why You have given us the words that You are the Living Water. That we may live forever in You. That You help us win Life. Life in the here and now, and Life eternal. Thank You for Your many blessings Father. Thank You for ALL that You have done, and all that You will continue to do. In JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Busy, busy,… burnt

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. – Romans 8:11

I don’t know about you, but there’s been a few times in my life where things just get super hectic. I’m a busy person anyway, an “A” personality type. Always got something going on, but believe it or not, even so, I still always feel like I’m managing it… most of the time, or right up-until I’m not. A few years ago, I fell and hurt my back, which did cause me to slow down some. And, at the time, caused me to slow down a lot. But, even when I recuperated, I had learned from the experience and still tried to manage my busy-ness a little better. That time made me realize that I could take a lot of things off my plate, because really, I was the only one who had put them there. Then, a bit later, I was working two jobs trying to keep our heads above water, and once again realized that I didn’t need to be doing as much as I was – and more things fell off my plate. Even further back, I had a realization that in all the busy-ness, it was essential to take time for myself. And, I have found ways to do that over the years, and it’s really helped me manage the busy times. But, recently, something happened that I realized I had never experienced before…. I got burnt out. It was like a switch had flipped. And suddenly, I wasn’t me anymore. Now, I’m still burnt out, but I feel like I’m coming out of it.

Now, I’m a google-er. Symptoms, Google. How to, Google. What’s this, Google. But, this time, Google kinda failed me. I Googled “burn out” and visited a variety of sites to see what could be done about this new experience, and read about all my options, and was kinda like, “I can’t really do any of this stuff right now.” I need something to do – today. You know what never fails? God. God never fails. In this intense moment of how do I handle this? I dug into my experiences. What did I do when I hurt my back? Leaned into God. What did I do when I was working two jobs? Leaned into God. Well, sad to say, but that’s not going to be one of the results that Google brings up for you. “Have you tried asking God to help you through this?” “Maybe you should double-down on listening to sermons and worship music” But that’s what’s helping me here. God’s strength, God’s patience, God’s intersession. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, when I can’t do it, God can. And, I just need to channel the Holy Spirit to work through me. I’m not doing it anymore, God is. He knows what to do, and I can’t do it without Him.

One of the most powerful prayers I have ever learned is Ephesians 1:15-23:

15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,[a] 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[b] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[c]

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. – (emphasis -my own)

Let me say that again, “I ALSO PRAY THAT YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THE INCREDIBLE GREATNESS OF GOD’S POWER FOR US WHO BELIEVE HIM. THIS IS THE SAME MIGHTY POWER THAT RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD AND SEATED HIM IN THE PLACE OF HONOR AT GOD’S RIGHT HAND IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS.” — That’s the power you have inside you when you believe. I don’t know about you, but every time I pray this prayer, I feel like Superman. I have access to the power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. When I don’t have the strength to go on, I have the power that raised Christ from the dead. When I don’t have the patience to understand, I have the patience of the God who waited 3 days to raise his Son from the dead – which must’ve seemed like an eternity. When I cannot fully fathom the situation, I have the same God who created the universe living inside me who will help me understand when the time is right, or give me the peace needed to know that I don’t need to understand. SAME GOD. It’s one of the most important things I’ve learned as a Christian. The SAME GOD I’m praying to and worshiping because of all His Awesomeness, is the SAME GOD living inside me. AND WE CAN DO ANYTHING.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your infinite wisdom. Thank You that you save us from ourselves. Thank You that you drop eternal understanding deep into us that we may always know what to do in every situation. That You have Power beyond our understanding. That You always have the strength to do more. That You will always guide our steps if we just hold up the lantern. That you are an endless spring of everything we need. That the answer is always You, God. We just need to have the sense to remember it. Thank You Father for having Paul write down these words that we may always remember that the SAME GOD who rose Jesus Christ from the dead – lives inside us. And that we may always be able to face each and every situation with the understanding that it’s not us, it’s You. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Good day

Stand firm, and you will win life. – Luke 21:19

It’s been an interesting week. I feel like I’ve written that so many times. I’m coming to believe that I must live an interesting life. Or maybe my bar for interesting is really low. I’m not sure, but life is definitely an adventure. I really enjoy my life, even when it’s hard, even when it seems impossible, even when absolutely everything is going left… because you know it isn’t going right. – Lol! I’m sorry, I had to. That’s my kind of humor right there.

So, I feel the need to share this week about something that might not be considered completely biblical, but it is important. You have to stay positive. Thinking positively, leads to positive results. And, I believe my happiness is directly linked to my perception of life. Which is something I taught myself. I didn’t used to be positive. I used to hate life and be angry at the world. I used to be a little ball of rage and hate – all the time. Life was unfair, I had gotten the short end of the stick, and nothing was ever going to go my way. But, years ago, some really tragic stuff happened. Years ago, I went through various life-altering experiences that were the by-products of the choices I had made, that were so significant that I couldn’t continue to go that way. And, although, I’m not comfortable enough to speak about all of that. I can tell you that I had to start thinking positively to get out of it. What had to change, was me.

So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I set the bar low on positivity, and that has been my main standard ever since. Although I definitely have grown from there, when I’m feeling really down in the dumps, or everything’s going left, I resort back to my original standard. And, to share that standard with you, I’ll tell you a cute little story.

Years ago, my dad showed up at my house unexpectedly. And, when I answered the door, he just started regurgitating his upset feelings and how upset he was to me (and if his anger had been valid, I would’ve listened, but he was all bent out of shape over nothing.) So, I stopped him, put my hand up between us, and said, “I’m having a good day, if you want to come hang out that’s fine, but I’m not going to listen to this, you’ll have to find something else to talk about while you’re here.” At which point, he got that deer-in-the-headlights look for a second, he thought about it. Then, he said, “Ok, I would like to hang out.” So, I welcomed him in, and he sat down and started hanging out. Some time had passed, and suddenly he asks, “What made your day so good?” “Excuse me?” “Well, you said earlier, you had a good day, what made your day so good?” “oh, well, nothing really. But, nobody is in the hospital, nobody has died, and nobody’s in jail, so, it’s a good day.” He was pretty shocked. And, replied, “That’s a pretty low bar for good days.” And, I said, “Well, if you set a really low bar, you have a lot more good days.”

And, it’s true. There are bad moments during your day, but they only take up a fraction of that time. And, you can even have huge sections of your day that are rough, but two things to keep in mind, is that You control how you respond to them, and at any given point, You can get over them and turn your day around.

A couple weeks ago, I was having a particularly rough day because things were not going my way. Our ability to move was at a standstill and completely dependent on things that were out of my control. And, I had to wait for a response. I was livid. So, I packed up my family and we headed out to the farm to take care of our garden for a while, while we waited. By the time we were done weeding and chatting, I was much calmer, and right as we were getting ready to leave, we got the call that everything could move forward as almost originally planned. But, it still wasn’t a bad day, it was a rough few moments, it was infuriating for a time, but we did get to work in the garden, see my family, we were productive, and by the time everything was said-and-done, it all worked out. I did keep telling myself that within 2 weeks, one way or another, this would all be over.

These last 12 weeks have been a roller coaster for me. Work has been intense, there is a virus out there, we’ve had to move. But, I have technically have had 0 bad days. Rough moments, intense times, but no bad days. Because it’s all about perspective and positivity. And, it’s not something I think we come by naturally. We have to work at it. And, if you have to set the bar really low to help you get started, then do it. It’s worth it. It completely changes your outlook on life, and it really helps you have more good days and starts changing the way you look at the world.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for your many blessings. Thank you for helping us grow from trial to trial, and grace to grace. Thank you that you only want good things for us. That you only wish to bless us and to lift us up! That You are an AMAZING GOD, that watches over us and protects us. That you love us in all of our flaws, and that you only wish to make us more like your son, through a love and guidance that only you can give. That You are the amazing good Father that watches his flock, guides his people, and keeps his children. That you love us so unconditionally. That You give us a wholeness and fullness at life. And through You and Your Son, that we may win life. Life everlasting, and the life here. That you bless us each and every day, that all our days are good. Thank you for all that you do for us Father, and all that you will continue to do. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Bizarre

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

My season of waiting is over for now. We have successfully moved. Although I am grateful to be done with the wait, as always every experience helps you grow. There were times during the wait that it seemed like it would never be done, times where we were tip-toeing around remodeling people and the landlord to orchestrate this thing. It was one of the most stressful and time-consuming endeavors my husband and I have had to deal with for a while. Which is a little crazy considering some of the things we’ve had to deal with over the years. But live and learn. And, as I kept reminding myself and my husband, that by the 1st, this would all be over. And for the most part, it is.

It was kinda funny, as I woke up this morning and started thinking of what to write this week, I was reminded of another bizarre story of waiting. I’m not completely convinced that I should share it, but I do feel like the Lord reminded me of this particular time, for someone out there reading this. So, here we go.

Years ago, I started getting a lump on my hip during that time of the month. Like a lump the size of an orange. And, then, after about a week, it would disappear. 3 weeks later, here it was again. After 2 months of this, and a coworker asking me about it because they could see it’s gargantuan size through my shirt, I decided to go to the doctor the next time it showed up. This began a series of doctors visits. Ultrasounds, scans, tests, etc. for months. And each month it would disappear, and reappear. Just on the right side, and about the same size, every time. It was terrifying, what was happening? Doctor after doctor, visit after visit, test after test. And no one has an answer. You can visibly see it, but it’s not showing up as anything. No ones knows. I finally go in for this last ditch test before they state that they’re going to have to give me either an MRI or they’re going to do exploratory surgery. I go in and they do the test (I cannot currently recall what kind of test it was), and I wait. And, I wait, and I wait. No one calls me after 3 days with results. Finally on the 4th day, I call the doctor’s office, and they tell me the doctor will call me back today. So, I wait, and when the doctor finally does call me back, she starts talking about all the stuff we’re going to do next, and I’m like, “What about my test results?” And she says, “Oh, we didn’t see anything, and you know, after all these negative tests and nothing showing up….Maybe you’re just imagining it.” I hung up. I’m imagining it? No, sweetheart, I’m not imagining a lump so large that I have purchased different pairs of pants to accommodate it. I’m not imagining something that multiple people have now questioned me about, and even one of the technicians stated, “Oh there’s definitely something there.” while conducting one of my tests. So, at that point, what do you do? Multiple doctors, multiple tests, many months of insane bills and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. To have someone accuse you of imagining it? Well, I’m not sure what you would do, but I stopped going to the doctor. Apparently, this is part of my life now. I just accepted my fate, and essentially laid down. I’m not paying any more doctors to deal with this. Well, a couple months later, I went in for my annual check-up, and my doctor at the time started discussing all this with me, and stated that because of all these issues and being unable to truly diagnose it – that I should be aware that I might have problems having children….

I don’t know about you, but I was never one who thought they would have children. I was more concerned with growing up and being super successful and having a penthouse apartment and being the CEO of a company – not getting a husband, and a child, and settling down. But, as soon as someone tells you, you can’t (or might not) have something, suddenly, that’s the only thing you want. And, after my parents tried for 17 years to have a baby before I came along, I was a little nervous about my family’s track record of being able to have babies. So, I went home, and told my boyfriend of 7 years at that point, that I wanted to have a baby. There was some discussion, and he conceded – we would start trying to have a baby. And, as I tell people whenever I tell this story, little did I think about that I was dating a man from one of the most fertile families I have ever met. We tried for a whopping 30 days, before I found out that I was pregnant.

So, I call the doctor for my first baby appointment. I walk into the office, I talk to the nurse, and then, the doctor comes in and starts getting my history. Have I ever had any problems with my reproductive organs? Well, for the past year, I have had this crazy lump that grows on my hip and then disappears after a week… I did several tests but no one could ever tell me what it was. She asked my 7 more questions about the lump, I answered yes to all of them, and she says,”Oh I bet I know what it was. Humans have mammary glands in all the same places dogs do. Every once in a while, when your hormones get out of whack, one of them will swell up like that, and disappear with your cycle. 95% of women get them in their armpit, but the other 5% show up in the other spots. I bet that’s all it was, and why it didn’t get diagnosed properly. It wouldn’t have shown up on any of those tests – you would’ve needed an MRI. And, now that you’re having a baby, I bet when you’re done, it’ll never happen again, because your baby will reset your hormones.”

$6000 and a year after my lump started, I walked into a doctor’s office that I only could’ve met if pregnant, and she tells me what my lump is – with 7 questions and no tests. And, it’s true, it has never returned. Like I said, a bizarre story of waiting, but so many interesting aspects, and so many good things came from it, of course, the most important, being my son. But, what a bizarre story?! Even as I’m writing it, it just blows my mind. This whole thing took place during a time when I was not close to God, but I did start going to church during this time. Starting opening the door to have God back in my life, but I think, that he was already there just waiting on the sidelines whether I realized it or not.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day and all the days. Thank you for your miraculous blessings. Thank you for being behind the scenes and in front of the scenes, and the omnipresent God that you are. Thank you for all that you have done for us. Thank you for everything that you do for us on a daily basis. Thank you for being there in the wait, and in the success, and in the failure. Thank you for all that you have done for us and all that you will do for us. Thank you for your amazing grace and mercy as we wander through these lives of ours. That you watch over us and guide us, sometimes without us knowing, or always being in the fold. That you always have good plans for us, to prosper us and not to harm us. That you help us maneuver through these lives of ours in, sometimes, only a way that you could. That you watch over us so much and love us so much. That you are the Great, Great Father who lifts us in our troubles and helps us celebrate our success. Thank You for being the AMAZING GOD that you are, and we are so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank You! IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!