Everything just takes me a week or two to process, longer if I have a hard time looking at the screen (such as today, when my sinuses are a mess and my eyes are goopy and runny!).
I love sharing the things that God is doing. I love it more because He is doing, and that is exciting!
So I have to share that since the last blog, I fell into this funk that I could not explain. And it came so quietly that it took me forever to realize it was there. Ever had a bad week? When I tried my best, it was thrown back in my face. Even when I was being nice to other people, it was rejected. I was so disappointed. If there was anything I could count on, was that things would go wrong.
Paul was having one of those weeks too.
It wasn't until a few Sundays ago at church, it finally dawned on me that it had to have been more than just a "funk", or a stroke of bad luck. I realized it when I was trying to figure out how to describe it, so I can share it as a prayer request: It felt like I was stuck in a glass box, that basically said, "YOU ARE NOT MOVING. NOT FORWARD, NOT UP." It was oppression in every direction (in my home, at my job, in my dreams and personal goals, our finances, my prayer life, etc). Once I found the words for it, I realized that this was in no way from God, as I somehow thought....
... Maybe the Lord doesn't want Paul to find a job right now...
... Maybe God wants me to put those plans aside for a while...
... Maybe right now is not the time for our family to be involved at church...
I payed attention during Sunday School that morning, because it was a real good lesson (about how Jesus is "The Man", and we can't place our confidence and hope only on our spouses/significant others for fulfillment because they will disappoint us - even when they try their best. Only Jesus can make us complete and make everything right!) But I didn't share the prayer request.
I went to church and just got ready to praise. I had started singing in the praise and worship team, but due to having that kind of week (and that kind of Sunday), we got there too late to practice and I didn't join them. Which was fine, I still sang my little heart out from the pew anyways.
I started to pray for God to lift the funk, so to speak. I prayed and sang, still not quite finding the right words, until I found myself asking God for help just to pray for the help itself! Around this point the Holy Spirit was falling in the sanctuary (Christianese, Pentecostal-nese, ask me later if you want to understand what this means), and I had a vision and a revelation of a piece of Scripture that I'm sure I read before but I didn't grasp back then:
Daniel’s Vision of a Messenger (Daniel ch. 10)
1 In the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia,[a]
Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood
that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times
of war and great hardship.
2 When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. 3 All
that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips,
and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed.
4 On April 23,[b] as I was standing on the bank of the great Tigris River, 5 I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. 6 His
body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and
his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished
bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people.
7 Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide. 8 So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. 9 Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground.
10 Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. 11 And
the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen
carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent
to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.
he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to
pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your
request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13 But for twenty-one days the spirit prince[c] of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels,[d] came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.[e] 14 Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”
15 While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. 16 Then the one who looked like a man[f]
touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to
the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of
the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak. 17 How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.”
18 Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning.
God, who made me with a cinematic brain (everything in my head has a story, an image, and a song behind it all at once. Ever see me bopping my head side to side? Yup, that's me... walking to my own theme song in my head), showed me this verse - which I have not read this year at least - like a movie preview (with epic music like The Lord of The Rings). In my head while I was praying.
So now it's war. I guess it's always been war, but I haven't always discerned it that way because it's easier not to. Now I'm praying for God to send angels to fight against the spirit that is oppressing our home and blocking God's answer to prayer - a shadowy figure I can now see in my head as clear as day, standing in our front yard. And I am on my knees praying.
I know at some point I had other sisters pray for me, nothing that I remember well enough to share right now. But at this point I was on my knees, seeing the shadowy thingy in our yard, seeing our living room clear as if I was home. I see light come in the living room and shine bright, fill the home, and explode - I'm seeing the windows of my house exploding outwardly under this divine release of I don't know what, but it's ok. And in that precise moment, in a way that could've only been synchronized by the very Spirit of God, my dear sister Valerie kneels next to me and prays, and I almost quote, "Lord, I pray right now that Your presence would shatter every stronghold that the enemy may have set up against this family..."
This was also the same Sunday that two loved ones at church gave Paul a gift. And it wasn't a gift for gifting's sake, but they both said specifically that they "wanted to invest into Paul's ministry and what God is going to do through Paul" by giving him an acoustic guitar, with electric plug in, a hard case, and a stand. In worldly terms, that would be considered random. He'd only played the guitar once or twice before with the worship team, primarily because they are not in need of a bassist, which is Paul's forte. And he had practiced a song that we wanted to do as an offering sometime the following month.
From then to now, we are still fighting. But the Lord is doing something, so we are not losing. Still praying. Still waiting. Reading through the gospel with the kiddos.
But Paul has had 2 job leads since then that he applied for today.
And as far as everything else, I have no control over the state of mind and heart of anyone else but myself. Which means half of my previous problems are no longer mine, because it's THEIR problem. I just keep doing my best and giving of my best, hoping for the best, and let the effects of that fall where it may. I can't take everything personally any more, it's a huge distraction! So I regret to inform you that your mood will no longer dictate my environment.
God is doing something. There was a shattering of that dark-cloud, pity party mentality. And might I share that in the month of June, w/ Paul being unemployed, and not getting foodstamps or WIC, we paid off our car insurance, our renter's insurance, an extra $100 on our student loans, and another $400 in debt - while being current on rent and having food, diapers, and gas. God's people blessed us with prayer, but not with money (although Linda and Duane did put gas in our car so we could go to family camp with the church). In the Name above all Names, Paul received unemployment compensation that he technically could NOT have gotten and it did not run out all month. I would pay bills, check our balance, still had funds. Pay more stuff, still had funds. He did it, He does it, we just stand by and praise. And I'm trusting Him for the month of July too, no worries there.