It's not as odd as it sounds...

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Friday, March 4, 2011

And I collapsed in tears realizing what I had done...

Numbers 14: 13-23

And this is love,
Not that we loved God,
but that He loved us
and sent His son to be the
for our sins.
1 john 4:10

May your weekend be filled with the Joy of knowing that even though our sin should have kept us from the abundance;
 His sacrifice on our behalf brought us to the
 Promised Land.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I want to be a Tabernacle Mover!

This morning I did the right thing. Or at least I thought I did. I was sooo proud of myself. I had to fight a bit to do it, after all, I am in a battle here - a raging battle. It's the battle between dark and light. No! not that good vs. evil thing... literally dark vs. light. See... I love the night but I am no a big fan of the morning. How could I be? If I don't go to bed before Midnight, how on earth am I gonna wake up at 6 am cheery and ready to go?


.... I do love my tea. Yes indeedie I do!
                   I really love HOT tea most and I especially like sipping my hot tea in the quiet and calm of a lovely candle-lit room.

some of many

One of many

Well, in this house when in the world am I gonna get a quiet, candle-lit room in which to sip my hot tea? ONLY at about 5:30 or 6:00 A.M.   Yep, that's what I said - IN THE MORNING!

Elliot Ness Farhart
So, I did what I knew was the right thing to do this morning and that was to get up with the pup at 5:45 (when he decided to awaken) and just stay up. I lit some candles and made myself a cup of very hot tea (the only real way to drink it... it takes practice) and settled in at the table to inspect the new computer program our church added to it's website. I was gonna investigate the Examen Me program, listen/read (yes, the program actually reads the passages to you) our scripture for today and begin my on-line journal.

I have to admit, I was very proud of myself. I won the battle over the sleepy, droopy eyes and excitedly settled in to my chair as I listened/read along to Numbers 8-10. We are reading, as a church, the Chronological Bible and each week our pastor is preaching a message from a previous reading. I love that because as we trudge through some difficult parts of the Old Testament we know we are in good company and he shows us weekly how Jesus is in the Old Testament too. That's not new to me but I am sure it is to some. When you see Jesus there, Leviticus and Numbers aren't quite so difficult.

But no sooner did I emit a gentle "ahhhh" as I began to listen I heard and saw with my own eyes this:

15 On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. 16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. 17 And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.18 At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the Lord they remained in camp; then according to the command of the Lord they set out.21 And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out.22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out.23 At the command of the Lord they camped and at the command of the Lord they set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses.

I was aware of this....
               I had read this before.....

But I never really KNEW it. I never really THOUGHT about it in practicality. 
THIS is the tabernacle and the encampment
with the pillar of fire at night


Look at how huge this thing was? Look at all the tents and what I am sure we don't see... livestock and other things that we don't realize are part of this encampment.

I had to wonder... how many people woke up on any given morning to see the "cloud by day" ever so slowing drifting away, only to whisper "Man.... we have to take that thing down again? We just put it up! I am so sick and tired of moving over and over and over again! For What? Is there really anything so wonderful ahead of us that it's worth all this work?"

And as I found myself immersed in that image I almost screamed "YES! YES THERE IS! I promise you if you persevere you will see what amazing land God has for you. ALL His promises are true and YOU are so loved by Him and in spite of what you see and hear and feel He has amazing things planned for you!"

And then, I found myself unable to breathe... I wondered those words because, knowing who I am... the lazy, selfish, wicked woman that I am... those words would have been mine. Why? because unlike today, back then they didn't have the rest of the story.

                        I am not a Tabernacle Mover... not yet. I want to be, I am determined to be.

This is how I would prefer to spend the afternoon
This is not the image of a
Tabernacle Mover
I realized how little I like to work. Oh, I will, when I absolutely HAVE to. When it will reflect badly on me to not work, regardless of what the work entails, I will jump in and do it cheerfully (well on the outside). I am as happy scrubbing toilets as I am anything else... as long as my doing it will earn me kudos.

But, here, in the confines of my home, not so much. What is the difference between the Tabernacle that God had the Israelites build and my own home? Granted, we usually compare it to our church building and I totally get that but to be correct, isn't our home just as much a place where God meets us? Honestly, isn't everywhere we are, our Tabernacle? Doesn't God, in this New Testament age, meet us everywhere? And aren't we to reflect that constantly?

So.... being a Tabernacle mover is as much hitting the streets of Jackson with We Will Go Ministries even if it's taking me out of my comfort zone, to picking up my house when I'd rather just shove the clutter around, because clutter makes having a calm and organized school day virtually impossible. Maybe it means that I need to give up my desire to watch ANOTHER Law and Order (which I hate to admit isn't all that redeeming - although give me a blog post on that and I could find a way to view it in a redemptive way) and grab my precious gift from God, snuggle up on the couch and read to her. Even more, give in to my new teenager's desire for me to read aloud his latest assigned text instead of him reading it himself (he's a beast of a reader) if only because it speaks love to him in a way that it doesn't to me. Maybe it means recognizing each morning that I, in and of myself, am a lazy, selfish slug and without audibly asking God via the Holy Spirit to take me and make me a Tabernacle Mover I will crawl back in bed and miss time alone with Him basking in His Word, happily sipping my hot tea, enjoying the aroma of the candle lit that morning.

These are the hands of a
Tabernacle Mover

Renew my spirit Lord, only you can recreate what I have ruined. The piece of clay that you so beautifully molded has been altered by years of careless handling. Throw me back on the wheel and do whatever you need to do in order that I may delight in the work you have for me. Whether it be moving a Tabernacle when I'd rather be relaxing in front of the TV or reading to my precious children when I'd rather be reading for myself. 

Don't let me lose sight of YOUR BEST for me and my family and my life as you have created it. Yes Lord, I want to be willing to be a Tabernacle Mover!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Prayer in the PET scan....

 So, today I realized that there's even a weirder place to pray than the tanning bed... the machine you slide into for a PET scan. Now, I realize that there are probably many people who pray in those machines because they are face to face with illnesses that they are scared of. Some pray for healing, some pray for strength to confront whatever they will learn after their scan, some pray that when they die their kids won't fight over their stuff. Hopefully, some pray that Jesus will take their old wicked heart and make it new. If that machine would lead someone to their knees (figuratively) at the feet of Jesus then that experience would be worth it. But I doubt that most do "bow the knee" in the place where it makes even the toughest seem weak-kneed.

This is what they put my Gman in today.
How do I know this? Because my Gman just had a PET scan today. To give you the full picture let me start at the beginning.

 I didn't accompany him. He and I are not very "needy" people - he's gone into and out of surgery before without me there and I could easily do the same if it wasn't his intense need to protect me that draws a line in the sand for him. He had an abnormal stress test which led him to have this procedure done.

 We take Paul's command seriously in that we are

 "... not anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil 4:6)

Neither of us felt there was anything to be concerned about so I went about my business homeschooling the kids and he left for his PET scan appointment.

He arrived and waited to be taken back to have a portal-type needle put in his arm for them to add fluids during the test. Unfortunately the girl who did the injection didn't connect something fast enough and his blood spewed out everywhere. He joked with her not to stress, he's seen worse before and as her interest in his comment was piqued she asked him to explain what he meant. Stories, one after another, of his interesting escapades while in state and federal law enforcement ensued and by the time he was laying on the scan table, the nurse had shared them with the tech as well. By the time he was strapped in, he was definitely BMOC in the eyes of the medical staff.

They had previously asked him if he was claustrophobic before they even made the appointment and did so again today.  Both times, he told them he wasn't.  They asked him to lift his arms and lay them in little channels that kept them still over his head.  I suppose that stretched his upper body to enable the scan to be viewed well.  Then they slowly moved the bed into the machine. He closed his eyes to protect them from the laser that was at the front of the machine and was promptly told he could open them again. What happened next shocked and embarrassed this man that carries a gun for a living. The man that breaks people's doors in to arrest them and dons bullet proof vests like surgeons wear scrubs.

He began to absolutely FREAK out inside!

He politely asked if they could move him out again and wondered if there wasn't another way this scan could be accomplished. He admitted, mortified, that he "just didn't like being in there". But, because I hadn't gone with him he couldn't be given a drug to calm him and that was the only machine in the state of MS that could do the scan that he needed. So, the big tough guy that was moved into the scanner came out minutes later the  not so tough guy that realized he was pretty claustrophobic.

There was nothing he could do, and so, he took a deep breath and said "Come on then, let's do this". Thirty minutes seemed like hours as he closed his eyes and prayed diligently for God to calm his spirit. While laying there he realized that it was more than the claustrophobia that bothered him, it was the vulnerable position he was laying in. Arms locked above his head, straps around his body, inside a machine that was so close to his face that he barely could move. Gmen just don't get put in those positions.... E.V.E.R. .... or they are dead. Then, to make it worse, they injected medicine in his port to make his heart race. He went from feeling vulnerable, to anxious, to light headed and dizzy... Those 30 minutes seemed like 5 hours. For the first time in his memory he was totally submissive - totally and completely submissive - anyone at anytime could have come up to him and done anything to him and he had no power over it. He finally knew what it was like to submit himself to God.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight
(Prvbs 3:5-6)

This is my Gman.

Another real life lesson was the realization that although God got him through that experience it wasn't in any way easy, smooth, quick, or tied with a nice neat bow. It was an agonizing experience. Every second of every minute that he was in that scanner was breathtaking and not in a good way. How often do we recognize that? We so often think that just praying through something will give us ease in it's midst. He never promises that. Sometimes we have to trudge through something that He's put in front of us like we are struggling to walk a mile in knee-deep mud. Does He get us through it? Sure. Was it a miraculously easy thing to get through? Not one bit. 

He is feeling much better now that the scan is over. It's not been read yet so we really don't know what the specifics of his issues are or if he will ever have to undergo that procedure again. It's precious of God to love us so much that He will put us into positions on occasion (or regularly in my case) that make us realize who WE are and Who HE is and that there is no comparison. 

None of us like to feel or be vulnerable, especially in the extreme way the Gman was today. But if our Creator God wants that vulnerability from us it is only because He knows that only in that position will we be able to be fully free.