When You Are On The Right Path

In our world of Starbucks, Hollister clothes and sports cars, we have moments where everything seems to be against us (because nothing is working right or flowing smoothly) and we have moments of perfection, life is perfect and rolling along nicely. When everything is moving smoothly, fitting together like puzzle pieces, we must be doing something right. Right? Perhaps… I am not 100% convinced you can measure how we are doing in life in temporary moments of “easiness” or “hardness”.

What I can measure is where I am and if I am going down the right path with God based on things happening in my life. Scripture says, (1 Peter 5:8) “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” It also says, (Ephesians 6:12) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” In fact, this second verse is so important, it’s also repeated in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4. Everything mentioned in Scripture is extremely important but when God takes the time to mention something TWICE, we need to perk up and listen.

warfare 3

Let me give you a rundown of some recent events in my life:

A week ago, during a worship conference on Saturday afternoon, I had a vision of the congregation at that worship conference and above it were two clouds. The one to the left was spinning counter-clockwise and the one to the right was spinning clockwise. They were spinning above the congregation’s head. I knew immediately it was the Holy Spirit stirring things up in or for the people at this conference. In that moment, I didn’t think anything of myself being included since I was there.

All week-long it just stirred in me that something was changing. Change was coming. (I never could pinpoint what though).

Thursday, the Lord spoke again, change is coming. Change is in the air. This day is specific because He had me send an email to some people.

Today (Sunday) we attended our new church for the first time as ‘official members’. (For the last few months its been on our hearts to move churches. After prayer and some physical time off to test the waters, we decided it was in fact time to move.) It’s always a little scary when you are making changes but you want to make sure you are obedient regardless of how it makes us feel. This morning while at this service, we received a public word. Most of the details I won’t repeat here because they are for my family – not the internet. However, within this word being given was “it’s already happening in the spiritual realm”. That totally lined up with what God had already spoken to me! (God always speaks to me in pairs for confirmation). I left church thinking, “it’s great to know we are on the right path!!” It was one of those moments where everything seemed to be lining up and fit perfectly together.

But what happens when we are on the right path spiritually? I’m not talking about the general path of “Jesus living”, but really on the right path. The one that is narrow and you really have to be hearing from God to be where you are. The devil gets pissed off! That’s what happens! Let’s explain it this way. Remember the game where someone is trying to figure out what you chose and you would tell them, “you are getting warmer…. warmer… colder… HOT, you are HOT!”? When we are “cold” for Jesus – the devil has no reason to mess with us. You are not doing anything that could harm is worldly kingdom, and nothing to build God’s Kingdom, so it doesn’t matter. When we are “warmer” for Jesus – the devil might place some small things in your way. Some stumbling blocks to get you to try to quit or make things really, really difficult. But what happens when you are “HOT” for Jesus? What happens when you are exactly where you are supposed to be and he knows you are getting ready to do something MIGHTY for Jesus’ Kingdom? He attacks. Scripture says the devil is like a lion, waiting, ready to devour you (1 Peter 5:8). When you are “warmer” you may get some people thrown in your way or maybe some circumstances. When you are “HOT” for Jesus, the devil takes it up a level. Spiritual warfare becomes more real than it ever has before.

This is what happen to us tonight. We put Kait down for bed around 7pm. At 8pm, I heard the most ill-piercing scream I have ever heard from her. She was not screaming “mommy” or “daddy”. She was screaming in terror. I ran to her bedroom and as I opened the door and turned on the light, she was looking up, following something with her eyes in a circular motion. I knew what she was seeing immediately. My husband and myself began praying through the house, anointing it and explaining to Kait she had nothing to worry about. We reemphasized all she had to do was say Jesus. (She is only 2 years old, not old enough to understand much at this point). We turned on Christian music, turned on a nightlight and placed her back to bed. As we sat back down and revisited everything that had just happen and then began thinking about everything we had been told this week (my previous timeline of events) we agreed we must be exactly where we are supposed to be. The devil isn’t going to mess with those who are not building God’s Kingdom. He will do everything in his power to keep those who ARE building the Kingdom of God from doing it. This is why it’s so important to know who you are in Jesus. To know what is available to you in Jesus and how to use it. We have an entire set of armor at our finger tips!

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

I do not post this to say we are “high and mighty” Christians. That is not the case at all. I simply open up my life and share it as an example of the realism of what Scripture says about the devil and what he tries to do. The good news is Jesus wins every time. The power in the name of Jesus is the strongest power you will ever need. You need nothing else. Mark 16:17-18 says, “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons…” Luke 10:17 says, “The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” The devil has no authority in the name of Jesus!!!!

Kait is peacefully sleeping now. I believe if she has the ability to see the demonic side – she has the ability to see the angelic side. And tonight, her room is filled with mighty angels!

When Positive Test Results Trump Negative Test Results

For the last year and half/two years I have been having digestive issues. Stomach issues that started out as a little bloating after having my daughter, (I actually thought for the longest time my uterus just wasn’t contracting back.) The temporary bloating seemed to be worse when I ate food so assumed it was food related. In a way it has turned out to be but not like you would think.  October of 2013 (a year after Kait was born), my bloating was worse and I was unable to use the bathroom. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy. The doctor performing the procedure told me (and I quote) “You have a floppy colon. Find the right mix of laxatives to take from now on.” Really? A “floppy colon” was his medical diagnosis?  Turns out it actually was! lol… It meant my colon was twice as long as it should be (he explained it like a spring that had been stretched out – you can’t put it back). They accounted the length of my colon to the constipation and the constipation being the cause of my bloating.

After these procedures, I started the process of trying to find a remedy to this constipation problem. It began with Miralax – which worked for a few weeks and then stopped. I tried magnesium – which worked for about a week and then stopped. I added vitamins to my daily diet and extra B vitamins. I tested myself for a lactose intolerance, did a period of extreme clean eating to test out breads, etc. Nothing. Every test never made a difference. By this point, I could wake up on an empty stomach and had bloating issues. Food was no longer the only thing causing it.

More time passes and the constipation and bloating just gets worse and worse. The amount of gas that seems to fill my abdomen was beyond bearable now. I couldn’t even pass gas at this point! My point of attempting to get answers again happen when I took a photo of my bloated stomach. I compared it to some pregnancy photos and literally looked identical to my 5 month photos. Depressing. It was already depressing to not have a flat stomach and work out all the time. It was already depressing that I seemed to be gaining unexplainable weight and it just wouldn’t go away. But looking pregnant and I wasn’t…. that was the line. I had also developed a horrible case of reflux which was causing ear and throat problems. An ENT had placed me on Prilosec and Pantoprazole trying to fix these symptoms for me. As a singer, the constant reflux was causing singing issues – which is what I do for the Lord. Trying to open your mouth and not be able to hit things you know you should be able to because you can’t get the right placement… annoying, frustrating and depressing.

I scheduled an appointment with my primary care provider (PCP). She also thought it was simply a matter of constipation causing everything. She suggested using an enema if it became bad enough. (At this point, I was taking laxatives every other day to try and go at all to the bathroom.) She scheduled me for a gallbladder/liver/pancreas ultrasound, blood work for my liver and an abdominal x-ray.

Now the timeline here is important – because I want to make sure God gets every bit of the glory!

After this appointment, I was beyond frustrated. I had decided one day after work (a week before my tests) I was going to go home, get in prayer time, and just complain to Jesus. I was going to let it all out and not think twice about it. After all, He says, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28). That’s what I was going to do. With no exaggeration, the minute my forehead touched my carpet, the Holy Ghost said to me, “you are going through this for a reason.” He showed me a vision of a two lane road with white dotted lines. The road went as long as I could see and I knew it was representing the past year and a half/two years I had been through with all of these digestive issues. Going through this for a reason, huh? I told the Holy Ghost, “ok”. If I needed to do this for someone else, then so be it. I plastered a smile on my face with some positive thinking and moved on. (P.S. the Holy Ghost never would let a single word of complaining come out. I tried!)

A week later came and all my tests were performed. All of which came out negative. Nothing was wrong and everything looked great. I was so upset. (Backwards huh?) And tired. And exhausted at trying things at this point. She gave me a 2nd referral to a GI in Carrollton, GA. I was scheduled to see Dr. Seeman. My appointment was 2 weeks out at this point. Again angry and disappointed – as I was driving home from work – the Holy Ghost said to me again (almost audibly) “I told you, you are going through this for a reason.” I got it this time. He meant there is a reason… something was actually wrong. I wasn’t imagining it and I wasn’t going to have to live with this the rest of my life. (I had started to this think this was just a side effect of my pregnancy.)

One day at work, my abdomen became so swollen – from pelvis to ribs and front to back – I thought I was going to explode. I felt so bad I called and asked my PCP at what point do I take myself to the emergency room. I had never felt that much pressure before. The chest pains were horrible that seemed to accompany whatever this was. My PCP called me back (on a Friday) and told me they moved my GI appointment to the following Monday – but I would now see Dr. Arledge of West Georgia Gastroenterology. I went into my appointment with 3 pages of notes for him. Every medication I had taken, test that had been done, everything. I walk in the door – none of my referral paperwork is there. (when the devil knows you are going to get a blessing he tries everything to stand in the way). My PCP and the GI offices worked together to get me in the same day.

Dr. Arledge comes in after reading all of my notes, pushes around and finds a spot that hurts so bad I screamed when he pushed on it. It was my small intestine. He told me he thought I had an intestinal infection and said we can test for it or just start antibiotics but both were pricey if insurance didn’t cover them. He said all of my symptoms were presenting for this. I voted for the test. It was a 3 hour breath test where you swallow a sugar serum and then you breath into a test tube every 20 minutes. He explained when your body breaks food down – if you have an intestinal infection – you will produce hydrogen and/or methane. I did the test this past Saturday and received a phone call today. — Side note, according to my husband, those are bomb materials! lol…

The test showed I do in fact have a severe intestinal infection. Thank you Jesus for positive test results. Because this means answers which means solutions. The medications are two antibiotics (I produced both gases). One is 2 pills – 3x’s a day – for 14 days. The other is 1 pill – 3x’s a day – for 14 days. And the devil keeps trying to get in the way. Insurance will cover one but as of right now, not the other. Doesn’t the devil understand that Jesus always wins?! I am also prescribed to take a probiotic for a minimum of 3 months (but they suggest much longer).

Here’s the crazy part. I found out today, Dr. Arledge is one of two doctors in North Georgia who will perform the breath test I took. (The other doctor is in Rome). God worked it out that I had an appointment made with the right doctor who would figure out what was happening – the one doctor who would give the test I needed for answers.

I serve a mighty God.


Facing Faith Part 3

A synopsis of Genesis 15:
Genesis 15 – In this chapter, the Lord makes an agreement with Abram. The Lord says to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward”. Abram is promised a child from the Lord, a true son of his own blood as his heir. The Lord also promises beyond the very thing Abram brings up and promises to give him “offspring” greater than the count of the stars.

The hardest part about faith is the “blind” part. You hear people say all the time, “faith is believing without seeing” or “faith is taking one step at a time”. In theory, it sounds great! In reality, it’s scary as crap. When you have a mortgage payment to pay, you have made a little money but not enough because you are working every hour you can and it’s still not enough, you have given God what is His and you think… “faith is believing without seeing – I will be able to make this payment”. It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, lol. What about when we have our hearts set on something like Abram and Sarai did. They wanted a child. Their age, body and everything around them said no – but God was saying yes. To the woman reading this that thinks you can’t have a child with your husband because the doctor said it was not ‘medically possible’… With Jesus, you can. To the man reading this that wants to have a child with your wife but the doctor says you are infertile… With Jesus, you can be healed. With Jesus and in the name of Jesus – all things are possible (Luke 1:37). This is what Abram discovered. God made a promise to him – and He kept it. Not only did God make a promise to Abram, He made a covenant with Him that he would have many, many descendants. As many as the stars in the sky. (He even tells him to count them!) I would look at Jesus and think, “you have lost your mind!” 🙂

But Abram believed Him and scripture says, “and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.”. Our faith helps us to be righteous.

Today I struggle with my own battle of faith – one the Holy Spirit so softly encouraged me to change my perspective on. For a year and half now, I have struggled with (what we think to be) digestive issues. It started off as a little constipation and we went through the use of Miralax, laxatives, magnesium, clean eating, etc over the course of the next year. I had a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy performed in October of 2013. Besides having a “floppy colon” everything was fine. In the last 3-4 months it has gotten so bad, I am having some tests ran and going to see a second GI specialist. I have gained 7 pounds for no reason (I workout 4-5 days a week and don’t eat bad) and my stomach is gradually distending more and more. My clothes are beginning to not fit – I even took a pregnancy test! (it’s negative). I do not exaggerate when I tell you I took a photo of myself the other day in a sun dress and compared it to pregnancy pictures. I looked identical in both stomach wise – and I was 5 months pregnant in one. It’s frustrating and hard and difficult to deal with. Today, on my way home, I called my mom and told her I had enough. I had seriously had enough.

I knew I wanted to have some prayer time – but I had it planned out that instead of complaining to anyone else, I was going to complain to Jesus. He and I could just have a mini session for me to let all of my complaints out of my system. So I go into my prayer room, close my eyes and prepare myself to start venting… and then the Holy Spirit spoke.

“You are going through this for a reason” There was a quick vision of a timeline showing the amount of time I had been dealing with this.

When the Lord goes out of His way to make sure I know I am going through this for a reason – it must be a really good reason. However, being honest, I am struggling to mirror Abram with believing for the Lord to count me as righteous because of my faith tonight. Because truthfully, it’s wavering. Of course my mind starts wondering at this point, well what is it for? An experience to share with someone else? Are they going to find something else through all of the testing I am going to go through? Etc. Etc.

Facing Faith Challenge: The next time you find yourself wavering in your faith – find a verse from the Bible – write it down and place it where you will constantly see it. Every time you have a moment of doubt, look at the verse and change your perspective.

You can have doubt or you can have faith, but there is not enough room for both.

Facing Faith

Facing Faith Part 1

I took a plane ride this past week which gave me time to just sit and read. In the course of reading the scriptures listed in my daily devotion, I just kept reading and it opened my eyes to some new theories. The total passage of what I read was Genesis 14-17. Let me summarize the chapters before we begin this blog:

Facing Faith

Genesis 14 – In this chapter, numerous kings are fighting and in the process Sodom and Gomorrah is overrun. When this happens, Lot (Abram’s nephew) is captured. When Abram hears of this he takes 318 servants and goes after him. He ends up rescuing Lot. Melchizedek king of Salem brings him bread and wine (which Abram gives back 10% of). The king of Sodom comes to Abram and says “give me the people and you take the goods”. But Abram refuses the “reward” replying with “with raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or a strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the who went with me…”

Genesis 15 – In this chapter, the Lord makes an agreement with Abram. The Lord says to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward”. Abram is promised a child from the Lord, a true son of his own blood as his heir. The Lord also promises beyond the very thing Abram brings up and promises to give him “offspring” greater than the count of the stars.

Genesis 16 – Everyone is pretty familiar with this story. Abram and Sarai couldn’t conceive (and even though the Lord had already told Abram he would have a true heir) Sarai gave Hagar, their servant, to Abram as a wife. She become pregnant and then Sarai regretted her decision. Hagar ends up running away and is met by an angel of the Lord – with a message that isn’t very happy. Abram was 86 when Ishmael was born.

Genesis 17 – This chapter opens up stating Abram is 99 years old and the Lord is confirming the covenant He made with Abram. God gives Abram and Sarai name changes to Abraham and Sarah. He talks in great length about his covenant with Abraham and gives details on what Abraham is to do from this point forward. He also confirms his promise to give him a true heir and Abraham laughs. God explains he is to name his son Isaac, and discusses the blessings of each child. The chapter concludes with every male, whether by blood or bought, getting circumcised.

I thought I was going to be able to get everything down in one blog, but clearly, even writing this, the Holy Spirit just keeps showing me things. So this is going to be a 5 part blog. I’m sorry – I know I hate things like this too – but there’s just too much to write down and take in for one blog. I do hope the things the Holy Spirit has shown me will somehow bless you. It’s amazing to me how I can be reminded everyday of just how little faith I have sometimes. When you read these stories, it’s easy to push them off as literally, just stories. But I challenge you to go through and read chapters 14-17 of Genesis so they are fresh on your mind. As you read, put yourself in Abram/Abraham’s shoes and really think about what you would do in those situations. How would you react? Would you make the same decisions? I think what you will realize will make you really stop and think about where you are in your walk of faith. This blog is called “Facing Faith” for a reason. It’s not easy. It’s scary. It’s not the picture perfect, easy to walk path some christians make it out to be. So let’s get dirty and talk about the real stuff. Be on the look out for part 2. I’m not rushing this process so it might be a little bit in between. Thank you for always reading what the Lord tells me to write. I feel like an idiot sometimes – but I do it anyways. That’s me, facing faith.