Clear Skies Ahead

There’s a grey sky outside clobbering the morning with unwelcome shadows but just beyond it I can see a vibrant blue rolling in. This will be a bright morning after all.

It’s been a little bit of time since I’ve graced you all with pretty words and mildly inappropriate humour, but there’s been a lot going on. First, I had to endure the first trimester of pregnancy. If you don’t know what a “first trimester” is, Google will tell you that it’s one of Mother Nature’s cruelest practical jokes. She plays a lot of these on us women. I won’t start making a list or you will lose your breakfast, but just know that only God in Heaven has the infinite power to get us through certain seasons.

Thankfully I’m over all that garbage. First trimester is long behind me and I’m standing under that ravishing warm blue, kissing those pesky rainclouds goodbye. Thank you Jesus that I’m not going to experience morning sickness throughout my entire pregnancy like so many others. Let’s have a moment of silence to honour those poor souls that do.

Anyway, it’s hard to entirely forget about the upcoming torture, which scholars like to call “labour”, but at least I have a break before then to remember what the world is actually like. Apparently it’s not all made up of repulsive foods and bad smells. Suddenly I’m craving a whole variety of cultural cuisine. Like Taco Bell. I haven’t touched a morsel of food from Taco Bell since…well since my last pregnancy actually. There’s just something about their Loaded Cheese Fries Supreme that would make me cringe on any normal day, but during pregnancy it suddenly becomes the meal that makes you feel like you are eating at the Lord’s table.

In addition to being pregnant and getting to experience the giddy joys of feeling something kicking against my insides and busting holes through my innocent ribs, I’ve also been preoccupied with building a house. Well, obviously I’m not building it. I couldn’t find the appropriate drill bit if my life depended on it. But my husband and some of his honorable allies are throwing the thing together. If you pray and stuff, then please be praying with me that this process of getting permits and the whole building process goes so much faster than we expect. I don’t particularly want to add the experience of “going through labour + moving into a new house at the same time” to my resume. It’s not exactly on my bucket list.

Something that should be on your bucket list, however, is to read CINDER by Marissa Meyer, the first installment in The Lunar Chronicles. If you like gritty young adult commercial fiction, fairy tales, fantasy, and sci-fi, with just a hint of added man-meets-machine genetics, then you will probably fall in love with this writer’s stuff. Might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m into this sorta thing. It’s been a thoroughly entertaining way to endure the pregnancy drama.

Okay, enough random. Apart from checking in just for the sake of it, I also came across a verse that has been on my mind a lot that I wanted to chuck into the world so that everyone else could benefit from it too. Unfortunately, one of the hardships of becoming a parent is that we suddenly have to live with this fear that something terrible could happen to our kids that is completely out of our control. Does anyone else face this monster? For me it hits at night, in those last few moments right before I’m about to fall asleep. Suddenly I see this image of some random thing happening to my son that is awful, and somehow every night my mind creates a different way for him to suffer, completely against my will. What a torturous way to lay awake at night. All I can do is squeeze my eyes shut, and beg Jesus to take the images away. The ironic thing, the thing that I have to remember in these moments, is that Fear is a coward.

Yes. The “Fear Monster”, is a coward.

The Spirit of Fear will run away scared like a little pansy the moment we tell it to leave in the name of Jesus.

This brings me back to the BRAVE Conference from a few years back, where the testimonies and teaching got planted into my brain so deeply that it’s still what I go to when fear presents itself. Fear cannot stand up to Jesus. It runs and flees the second the presence of Jesus is present. Our job is to cast it out, using the tools that God gave us to fight the enemy. All it takes is a simple, “Fear, leave in the name of Jesus.” Sometimes you tell it to once and it leaves forever. Sometimes you have to do it every night (until you are delivered of the thing that is causing it to manifest). But no matter what, it hikes up it’s pants and runs for it’s life.

So my verse is found in 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”

God gave us a spirit of power. And a spirit of love. And self-control. Fear does not come from God. So be afraid, Fear. We’re coming to deal with you.

‘Nuff said.

Thanks for reading.

Try Not to Eat the Menu

My kid eats paper. It’s weird.

Recently he ate part of the back cover of one of my friend’s books. He thinks this is hilarious and I really can’t figure out why.

A little while ago he got his hands on a pizza menu and had consumed a hefty corner of it before we realized. He thought it was funny as we panicked and tried to fish the cardboard out of his mouth. I would love to some day understand what goes through that little head of his on a daily basis. Seriously. There are so many yummier things than paper.

Lately God has been helping me to understand a few things as I pray in preparation for the worship conference that is going to be taking place at my church. I am so ready for the Lord to deliver people from sickness, physical pain, mental problems, strongholds, outstanding debts, whatever. But there was an instance recently where I prayed for someone and they weren’t healed. I found this to be discouraging at first, and continued to pray throughout the week, “God, please, please heal this person!” I couldn’t figure out what had happened. I had released the healing power of Jesus into this person’s body, the healing power that also resides in me. This person should have been healed.

I think this is something that happens often, and sometimes we leave feeling confused and question God about what happened. After all, there is enough of the Holy Spirit for everyone to be healed. Always. It doesn’t run out or run dry.

Well God has been pressing a few Biblical accounts into my heart lately and for some reason I didn’t make the connection until this week. I feel almost foolish for missing the point He was making, because as I look back I realize how obvious it was. God wasn’t asking me to go into this with a method. He was asking me to go in with obedience.

I’ve always considered myself to be someone who didn’t use formulas, and didn’t go in with any preconceived ideas about how something was supposed to look. I didn’t want to put God into a box and try to tell Him how to heal someone or what He should do. I wanted to look around the room and ask God what He was doing, and only move when He told me what He was going to do. I must have been living on another planet because this is actually what I thought I was already doing.

The truth is, God doesn’t need my help to heal the sick, to deliver someone from depression, or to restore a relationship. And if I am living under some delusion that I can go in and fix these things, I’m wrong. My job isn’t to seek out the problem and fix it. It’s to ask God where to go and go in the direction that He leads regardless of what I think should be happening, or how it makes me look, and regardless of whether or not I understand what He’s doing. God is almost always doing more than what we realize in the moment. This is humbling. Because over and over again we are constantly reminded that we know basically nothing and are proven wrong if we think we do know things. It’s even slightly comical, really.

How in the world does God not get exhausted from watching us do the things we do? We should probably be more embarrassed by our constant human driven logical thinking. God is enormous, powerful, holy, and mysterious. He is an intricate masterpiece, not a solid one-colour painting. And we are specs of dust in comparison.

Yet we walk into situations where God is moving and think we have the answers. What is wrong with us?

Jesus didn’t approach everyone the same way, and use a perfectly mastered formula to heal each sick person. He said, “I only do what I see my Father doing.” And when He walked up to a blind man, he spit in the dirt, rubbed it between His fingers, which is gross by the way, and smeared it on the man’s face. This probably looked really bizarre. I would have made an odd face if I had watched this happen in person, because I’m not the greatest at remembering to compose my facial expressions. But because of Jesus’s obedience this man got to be healed.

No, there was no pre-planned set of steps that Jesus was going over in His head as He approached this blind man. There was just Him asking the Father what He wanted. God wanted Him to spit in dirt, pick it up, and poke people with it. So strange as it seemed, that was what Jesus did.

All throughout the Bible the followers of God were doing odd things like this. It makes me wonder that if God asked me to do something equally as insane, would I do it or would I think it was too weird? I hope I would do it. I wonder what would happen if I did. Maybe I ought to chuck my “ways to bring healing” menu out the window and just ask God what He wants to do whenever I enter a room. Everything from the past that I am trying to recreate is irrelevant, because today God might want to do something different.

You lead, I’ll follow.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you…”

This brings me back to the menu that my son decided to eat for lunch. Can you imagine walking into a restaurant and sitting down to have a meal, but instead of waiting for the delicious feast that was to come, you decided to start mowing down on the menu because you couldn’t see beyond it? Maybe you forgot that there was something better beyond the menu? I have to wonder if maybe I am eating up the menu in my life, eating up the rules and formulas to try and get to the food, instead of waiting for the incredible gifts that God is about to pour out? I think its time to toss the menu aside and say, “Surprise me, God!”

Peace.

Christmas in July?

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Sure. Why the heck not?

I’ve had something brewing the last little while like a hot cup of slightly overcooked, grind infested java. Okay, minus the grind infested because apart from being mildly over analyzed, this idea doesn’t have major grinds.

Yes. Call me a weirdo. Everyone else probably does. But I’ve been dilly dallying here and there putting sparkly, vibrant, and vastly absurd ideas into a story.

About Christmas.

What?

….Yes, I said Christmas. And I didn’t stutter. That’s impossible on here.

I know its not typically where our minds go this time of year, but for whatever reason I was inspired; enough so that I got up off of my butt and just did it. Now my novel is complete, slapped together from the scraps my brain spewed, and I’m rather fond of the thing. Sometimes I write novels and I deem them equivalent to garbage, so I never try to make anything of them until years later when I rediscover their magic and redirect the course of the story to make them something exciting. Other ones I’ve written are a bizarre combination of my nerves prancing into existence because I took some odd risks, and my pride beaming out of my face because I think its probably the best thing I’ve ever created.

It’s probably not. But I always think it is at first.

This is somewhere around my thirty fifth novel that I’ve written just for kicks (this is not a brag, its more of an embarrassment actually because I have that many in existence and I’ve never truly set out to do anything with them), but I think it took me that many to get to a place where I feel I can write moderately better than rotten garbage.

Anyway, literary agents take half of eternity to get back to us hopeful beggars, so you aren’t going to get any juicy news about this for a long time. Sorry. Pray for me. I probably need it and stuff.

Thanks, people I know and random others I don’t. I hope the peace of God finds you today. Remember that loving God and knowing Him will get you further than anything else in this life.

Kropf out.

It’s Rude to Treat God Like Santa

Here’s why,

I don’t know about you but it’s pretty easy for me to make a list in my mind of things that I would like and “send it up” to God. This is generally the nature of my prayers, since I’m a ‘list person’. Even if you’re not a ‘list person’ though, I bet you sometimes do the same:

Dear God,

1) Please do this

2) Please change that

3) Please cause Janine, my least favourite co-worker, to choke on her banana this morning

4) I want more money

5) I want more happiness

6) I want more candy

7) A Ferrari would be nice

8) A McLaren F1 is my second choice

9) Please make Janine go mute

10) I will settle for a new Mazda 3

11) Please God, for the love of yourself, don’t let these maniac drivers on the road ram me into a tree. They all drive like idiots. Maybe it’s the snow… Okay it’s probably not the snow, they look like idiots too. Everyone is an idiot. God, why did you make a whole heaping world of idiots?

Lists, right? Admit it. You do it too.

But here’s the thing, as handy-dandy as lists are to write for ourselves to remember things, they seem to sometimes get in the way of our relationship with God.

Feel free to try and disagree with me. But I think I’m right.

God seems to constantly be asking for a relationship. If he wanted us to whip up a list and submit it to him, we might as well call him Santa Clause and treat every day like Coca Cola’s version of Christmas. Because that’s basically what we’re doing. But all throughout the Bible God had conversations with his faithful ones, relationships that were so strong that certain human beings actually changed the course of the world by having a conversation with God that made God change his mind about things. That seems crazy, but it also seems so obvious; why wouldn’t God value our opinion enough to be swayed by it? He is asking for a relationship. Moses was constantly conversing with God, asking him to give the Israelites another chance even though they became rude ungrateful whiner babies on more than one occasion. God made the animals but then let Adam name them. And God’s relationship with many others throughout the Bible was the same as these. God wants to know how you feel, what you think and he wants to ‘talk it out’. He doesn’t want your Christmas list. Save that for the fat fraud in red. What he really wants is to know the real you, not what you want, and for you to know the real him. He wants us to listen and wait for him to respond. But maybe we’re too busy reciting our list, trying to make sure we tell him everything we want in the ten seconds we reserve for prayer. But the joke is on us. God already knows everything we want. In fact, he knows all the desires of our hearts.

Do we know the desires of his?

I’m SO guilty of getting caught up in my list. What will I tell God in the end if I see him in person for the first time and he says, “I told you the desire of my heart. I told you because I knew you could fulfil it.” And then I say, “Well you see…I really wanted this car…and then there was all of this drama at work…and then the dog crapped on the floor…and I really just needed to get it all sorted out.”

He also doesn’t want us to simply surrender all of our hopes, dreams and passions though either. He gave us those things for a reason. If he didn’t want us to have free will, to have passions, opinions, or gifts, he would have built himself robots – not humans. But he made us human for the sake of relationship. He says, “I know your dreams. Bring them to me and let’s discuss them”. He wants to give you the desires of your heart. He doesn’t want you to toss them out the window and then turn to him and say, “God, what am I supposed to do? I need direction! What am I supposed to do with my life?” I like to imagine him sitting in a lazy boy with a cup of coffee and pondering this. Then finally he leans forward, smirking a little, and says, “What do you want to do?”

All I’m saying is that I think God cares more about what we think than we realize. He will sit with you for hours and ‘hash it out’ until you can both come up with a solution to the problem, if that’s what you really want. But he wants to sort it out with you. It’s okay to let him help, because no offense but he’s better at this life stuff than you are. He has a gazillion more years of experience. And if we’re willing to build on that relationship, we will start to understand his heart. And that’s where the fun begins. Because you never know, he just might say, “Go to Jamaica and preach the gospel. Then go to Mexico and build homes for the homeless so that the people can see that I love them, and after that, go to South Africa and minister to orphans and teach about me in the schools. You, precious one, are going to live a life of adventure.”

Can you feel it? He’s speaking to you.

Kropf out.