Friday, August 28, 2009

This is a test, this is only a test...


I'm leaving in a few moments to have my endoscopy done this morning. I'm really not looking forward to taking my day off to do this. I like to use Fun Friday for the purpose of dating Larry, spending time with my kids when they aren't working or in school, reading, writing, exercising, movie watching, sleeping, going to the beach, and the like. But today is different. I've struggled health wise since getting back from Africa and I need to get well and move on.


I am not wrestling with fear over having the actual test. I also had it done 22 years ago when I had an ulcer and remember waking up in recovery thinking, "that wasn't so bad after all. What did I worry so much about?" So I determined this time not to stress over the actual test. What I'm struggling with are the results. (Thanks for your prayers. Extra special thanks to Melissa Kelly who has been not only praying but fasting for me. She has done this on my behalf multiple times. That lady is a warrior.)

I thought I would share on my blog this morning what I have learned through this time. After nine months of laboring with this, I'm hoping something new will be birthed. My prayer is that FEARLESSNESS will be birthed.

Some friends I've said that to have been puzzled and said, "YOU? You need to pray for COURAGE?" I know I can come across as pretty fearless. Not only am I contributing writer for the book "Chocolate for a Woman's Courage", sharing my own stories of personal courage, but there are many things that tend to scare others that don't scare me at all.

For years I ministered on a regular basis in prison, including maximum security prisons, and those on death row. I walked among them, right in the middle of the cell block, and never felt fear. I have ministered in the worst slums of Africa, visiting people's "dwelling places" if you can call them that. What I've witnessed is indescribable filth and pain. I have preached in some of the worst inner cities of America, right in the streets with the people, going to places where people are regularly gunned down. I have been in the jungles of Africa right next to wild animals. Another time a man we pastored was angry and seriously treatened to shoot me and kill me in the middle of one of our church services. This post here describes the scene pretty well. I've encountered many demon possessed people and ministered to them. None of this scares me, in fact I seem to thrive on it. So why am I praying for fearlessness?

Everyone's fears are different. While I can do all of the above without flinching, standing over a pool of three or four feet of water scares me. You couldn't pay me to jump in there. (Michele says she's going to help me counquer this fear this year.) I have fears about decisions or mistakes my children may make, because I love them so much and fear for their safety, health or happiness. I have fears about my health, or that of my family and friends. I have had fears about failure.

The years 2007 and 2008 were difficult for me. If you've been reading the blog for very long, you walked through it with me. Some of you who I have never even met in person did things like send cards to my office or home, or sent other goodies you wanted to encourage me with. One reader sent me a gift card to Carrabbas knowing it's my favorite place. Another sent me a teddy bear. Others sent letters by email and snail mail telling me how my honesty about what I was walking through made a difference in their lives. You implored me to not give up. My blog friends, you will NEVER realize what a lifeline many of you were to me during that time. There are some of you I might never meet here on earth but in heaven let me tell you we are going to have ourselves a time!!

I experienced some fear in that time to the degree I never have before. Several times I called some of my closest friends like Pastor Tara who were there for me in the midnight hour to pray and speak a word of hope into my life. My main fear was that my circumstances would never change. I had doubts that the tide would turn. One day, THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, it did.

This year has been completely different. It's been downright amazing, in fact. But I am now paying the price in my body for those two years of fear. If there is anything I have learned from this is that fear is seriously of the devil and it's SO NOT WORTH IT. My friends, I beg you...learn from my mistake. Don't allow fear to stress you out and make you sick.

During my own personal time with God I began to focus in on conquering fear. It's the main thing I'm reading about in the Word this year because I'm determined to overcome this. There are pages and pages and pages that God showed me about this. But I just want to share a few with you this morning before I head off to undergo this test this morning. I need to preach to myself a little bit, so here I go:

Fear is conquered with trust. Fear FREEZES us...it paralyzes us. But faith FREES us. (Got that nugget from my dear friend, Joy.)

"So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Fear imprisons us, but faith RELEASES us. We must "be still and KNOW that He is God"!! Almost every single book in the bible has "fear not" in it. That should tell us something. Matthew 13:22 tells us that fear and worry choke out the Word of God that has been planted in us.

FEAR CAN KEEP US UP ALL NIGHT, BUT FAITH MAKES A FINE PILLOW!!!

I must get the Word of God concerning fear planted within me...Romans 8:15, "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba Father." I do not have to fear, because my Father is with me. Psalm 91:10-11 declares to me, "Nothing bad will happen to you - no disaster will come near your home. He has put His angels in charge of you to watch you wherever you go."

I am hidden in Him, so I need not fear. "God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need Him." Psalm 46:1

I may be experiencing sickness right now, but it's not too difficult for my Father. Psalm 103 - "He heals your diseases, every one." Jeremiah 30:17 declares to me, "I will give you back your health and heal your wounds." I will, according to Colossians 3:15, "let the peace that Christ gives control my thinking." Part of becoming fearless is CONTROLLING WHAT I THINK!!!

I will stop dreading things. The Word of God tells me that in love, there is no fear, and dread does not exist. (I John 4:18 Amplified Bible says this) The thing God showed me about dread is that we have to do whatever it is we are dreading many times anyway. It makes no sense to dread what you know you have to do. Find some way to make it fun, or memorable and just DO IT!

I learn lessons about fearlessness daily. The first time I started enjoying the beach was when I moved to Tampa. This is because the waters here are so calm. The current here is not very strong so it won't drag you out against your will or knock you over. That why I love the beaches here, and started going in beyond my ankles or calves. I believe if for no one else, God created these calm Tampa Bay waters for me. Last Sunday I was at the beach with Savanna, Becca and Irene. We went to Sand Key and for some strange reason the waters were uncharacteristically rough by Tampa standards. We had four foot waves, which I don't think I've ever experienced here. Soon after going out with my pink noodle, a wave knocked me down and I had immediate fear. I screamed at Becca, "Oh my gosh it' a mini-tsunami!!!" She laughed at me at first but also realized I was serious. She said, "don't back away from the wave. Face it head on and then right as it's getting ready to hit you, jump right into it and over it." It worked like a charm. I never got knocked over for the rest of the time we were there. We spent several hours jumping over waves that would have previously frightened me. Once I got the hang of it, it was amazing fun. I didn't want to leave and we stayed in the water til' we were prunes.

So I'm going in to get this test this morning. When they put the I.V. in, I'm just gonna pretend that four foot wave is in front of me, face it, and jump in. I know Jesus LOVES me. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." I John 4:18 He loves me PERFECTLY.

4 comments:

Ruth, PA said...

Praying for you!!

Michele said...

PD- if you conquered the 4 foot waves I know you will conquer the pool

Deanna Shrodes said...

It never went totally over my head though, just smacked into me. I just have the fear of going under.

Michele said...

no fear I will be there holding your hand- I promise- I will not let anything happen to you :) just let me know when you are ready - <3 U