Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer snooze fest

You know how the person you are in your head is interesting, important, confident, etc...

And then summer starts, and you realize you're really, seriously boring and unimportant? And also not as confident as you thought you were BEFORE you put on your swimsuit for the first time this season?!?!

Yeah...that's happening to me too.

When my husband gets home from work and asks me what we did during the day, my response, over the past month, has been one of three things:

"Cleaned house. All. Freaking. Day."

"Broke up fights. All. Flipping. Day."

"Went to the pool. All. Glorious. Day."

The clean house lasts approximately ten minutes.

The fights are broken up for about ten seconds.

But...we are all super tan. So we do have something to show for our first month of summer.

(and the fact that a tan is all I have to show for my summer so far has only added to the realization that I am, in fact, terribly boring and unimportant.)

Other things have obviously happened this past month.

Our cat killed a rabbit and left it, entrails hanging out, in our backyard, causing my husband to VOMIT in a nearby bush while cleaning it up.

I picked up what I assumed were clods of dirt off my bathroom floor only to realize they were clods of poop...but its not the first time that's happened to me, so it doesn't really qualify as exciting.

Gabe (4) is swimming like a fish and scaring the life out of me every time we are at the pool. (which is a lot, since time at the pool is one of only three things I have done all summer so far.)

I inherited my parents old living room set, which is now occupying my loft and giving me childhood nostalgia every time I walk upstairs.

I bought paint to repaint my wooden deck furniture...but I haven't actually painted it yet, so that also doesn't qualify as exciting. (and I'm pretty sure painting it isn't that much to be excited about either.)

I read an entire book, which is something I can never say during the school year. (unless its a science or history or math book) And I only moderately ignored my whole family while reading it...so that's something, right?

See what I'm saying? The version of me who is super cool and has a vibrant, interesting, full of every-single-moment-activities life...she does NOT exist.

Before you start feeling too sorry for me, though, I have an ace up my sleeve.

I am going to Europe.

In two weeks.

For 12 days.

With just my husband.

We are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. (which happened to fall last week, so that's something of note that has happened so far this summer. Ha! I'm cooler than I was a second ago when I thought I was out of things to list...except that version of me FORGOT to list her anniversary as an event...so now I'm back to a loser)

We've been planning to visit Europe for our 15th anniversary since we first got engaged and decided not to go there for our honeymoon. My hubby wanted to plan it for our 10th anniversary, but we knew we would still have children too young to be left for that long, and so we agreed to go for the 15th.

And that is this year. (insert cheesy grin and happy dance which further solidify my loser status here)

If we had infinite resources and time, we would see ALL of Europe.

But we don't, so we have narrowed it to two countries. My top pick, and his.

Italy and Switzerland.

And so, we are taking our kids to their grandparents house, and flying across the Atlantic, for a fairy tale trip 15 years in the making.

We are extremely excited. All our most dreamt-of destinations will be visited. Rome, Venice, the Amalfi coast, Zermont, Zurich, and several others.

I've been preparing for months. (Read-shopping for a new wardrobe and dieting to fit into it)

I won't bore you by continuing to talk about this. (Read-I don't want to make you any more jealous)

I will just say this: Yes, my summer so far has been rather bland.

But its gonna get GOOOOOOD. And I will be, for 12 whole days, the cool person I am in my head.

And on that note, I'm off to fold laundry and then go to the pool.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rise up

My spirit has been stirred up this morning, and I find that I am fighting mad.

Not at any people.

Not at any circumstances.

I'm angry at that evil old snake, that greatest of all liars, that manipulator extraordinaire...

If the devil were standing in my living room right now, I'd punch him in the nose, then knee him in the stomach, then elbow him in the face and thrash him good.

Side note: I took a self-defense class a while ago, with an introduction into Krav Maga martial arts, so I'm pretty sure I could give that slippery old Satan a class A butt kicking.

But the devil is way too smart to stand in my living room, or your living room, and make his presence known. He has a much sneakier way about him.

I believed for years that I was an anxious person. That worrying about situations and trying to control them was just part of my personality. I would get so anxious about things that I would have a break out of fever blisters in my mouth.

And then one night, as I was lying awake in my bed (at 3 a.m.), anxiously turning things over in my mind, trying to worry them into a configuration I could control...that night, Satan over-played his hand.

Or maybe it was an angel, giving the enemy of my soul a nudge that pushed him into the open.

Maybe it was my spirit, and the Holy Spirit that dwells in me, that rose up, fighting mad (like it is today) and said "ENOUGH."

I FELT the worry and the anxiety, as if it were two big hands wrapped around my neck, cutting off my air, choking the life out of me.

I could almost see those fingers gripping my throat.

And that was the moment Satan and his demons lost that battle.

Not because I was instantly released from worry and anxiety.

But because I was AWARE of the enemy, and his ploys, and his lies, in a way I had never been aware before.

I saw my struggle for what it really was.

A struggle against a slippery little weasel who didn't have the guts to fight me head on, whose only move was to mask his attacks as character flaws, personality traits, situational fears.

It was a long slow process, let me tell you. I told a friend, one day not long after, that I felt like it was letting go of me one fingernail at a time.

Satan didn't want to go quietly. He had built quite a foothold in my life. Every time I was anxious about something, and it affected my marriage or ministry or personal walk with God...the enemy gained a victory. And he HATED that his win/loss score sheet was no longer so impressive.

Every time I felt worry rise up in my heart, I remembered those hands gripping my throat.

And I fought back.

"Don't worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything." Philippians 4:6

It's been ten years since that night.

I don't get fever blisters in my mouth due to anxiety anymore.

Of course I still get frazzled, and anxious, and worried.

But I no longer believe the lie that accompanies those feelings.

I no longer think there is nothing I can do.

I fight back on the only playing field where I have the upper hand.

I pray.

My kids have become very used to this. On a particularly stressful day they will hear me praying under my breath, and almost always one of them will say to the others, "Shhh, Mom is praying," which is code for "whatever crazy thing you're doing, cut it out because its making Mom resort to begging God for peace." Smart kids.

Sometimes I have no words, or I don't feel I have the right ones.

Those are the times where I let the Spirit pray. "The Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for believers in harmony with God's own will." Romans 8:27

My fight, the battle for my soul, isn't fought in the four walls of my house, or church, or job, or in the city I live in, or the state I live in.

It's fought in the heavens.

The enemy is tricky. He disguises himself. He's hard to spot.

He's an excellent liar.

I can almost guarantee that you have heard some of his lies today, or that you will before the day ends, and I am quite sure that they don't/won't sound like lies from the mouth of the nasty Evil One.

They probably sound a lot like a rationalization. Or an excuse. Or even a very good reason.

And this morning my spirit, and the Holy Spirit inside me, has had ENOUGH of that.

On your behalf, and mine, I am ticked off.

Because I know what it feels like to have the spiritual life being choked out of me.

Barely able to suck in a breath.

Hardly capable of standing up.

Weak and afraid and alone and powerless.

Except we ARE NOT ANY OF THOSE THINGS.

More lies!

Hear some truth, gasping soul! HEAR IT!

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against evil...against mighty powers in the dark world..." Ephesians 6:12

"And they defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony." Revelations 12:11

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of POWER, love, and a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17

"The Lord is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress and protects me from danger, so why should I tremble?" Psalm 27:1 (read this whole chapter!!!)

Pray, saints of God. Pray for each other. Ask each other for prayer.

Don't struggle against the enemy alone. Don't let him choke your spirit!

SEE WHO HE IS.

FIGHT BACK.

And now I feel like I've just taught a spiritual Krav Maga beginners class.

"Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood waters rise and beat against the house, it won't collapse...BECAUSE IT IS BUILT ON BEDROCK." Matthew 7:25