Sunday, December 22, 2013

Empowered by Christ! Merry Christmas!

On Wednesday, I had a very serious fast about our housing situation.  I know… I know… I should be grateful we even have a shelter over our heads… and I am grateful… VERY, VERY GRATEFUL.  However, I am ready to take care of my own space as a mother of our home no matter how small it may be.  I feel the Spirit guiding me to take this giant step despite our continued financial struggles.  I called my mother with the statement.  "It's ok.  You can tell me the truth.  I want to share with you what has been going on, and I want you to tell me if I'm spoiled."

As I poured my heart out to my mother, she listened.  I felt strengthened and empowered as she shared her life experiences.  As we spoke, I felt the courage to take that step into the darkness… to decide very firmly that we are leaving the security of living with Abe's parents by the first of the year.

As I cried through these decisions, my very dear friend happened to call me shortly after I spoke with my mother.  The last time I had spoken to this dear friend was about a month ago.  She had shared with me about how she resolved a serious problem by the power of fasting.  We don't talk too often, but at that time she advised me to fast.

I am severely hypoglycemic, so it's very difficult for me to do a proper fast.  (In fact, at one point during my fast on Wednesday I even collapsed in the middle of the floor with exhaustion, and the kids shook me awake because they thought I had died!)  It is absolutely no coincidence that this dear friend "happened" to call me back a month later on the very day I decided to finally endure through the shakes and weakness and migraines and do a proper fast.  Her phone call increased my courage.  I was feeling better… empowered… 

I was ready to make things happen!!

I spent the next two days working on the details of how to make this happen with our very limited money coming in.

Meanwhile, on Friday night, our family attended a beautiful "Night in Bethlehem" event at our church until very late at night.

Because of the beautiful Latin influence in our area, there was a dinner and dance AFTER the program, so it was a late night of partying at the church. :-)  We all loved it!

After the dance, I had to give a family of 5 a ride to their home- this added about 45 minutes on to our trip.  Abe was in a separate car and already at home.  I was with all the kids in the big van.  I drove home very tired.  I drove through an area that had cones on the side of the road.  There were no construction workers… just cones.  It didn't register in my head that this was a construction zone- therefore it was a lower speed limit.  I'm sure you can guess what's coming next...

I had only received 3 speeding tickets in my 20 years of driving… until we came to Florida…

Ever since I received one at the end of October, I have been setting my cruise control and obeying the speed limit signs better than I have in my entire life.  I honestly didn't realize the speed limit had dropped dramatically; but once I saw the 35 mph sign, I braked immediately.  Three seconds later, lights flashed.  The police officer spoke on a microphone telling me to pull over as if I was some serious criminal.  I was sick to my stomach.

How could this be?  All day long I drive very slow trying to be extra careful.  All the other cars speed past me.  This particular time I didn't notice the speed change, and I got ticketed.  The police officer was very nice, but I still cried because I felt like this would hinder our ability to move forward in getting our own place.

I drove VERY slowly the rest of the way home feeling so bad about myself.  I began to feel like there was something seriously wrong with my brain… that I wasn't capable of paying attention to the small details… like I couldn't do anything right.  I knew it was the adversary talking in my head.

As I drove, I noticed my gas tank was on empty.  I was planning on going to the gas station by our house on the way home, but I was so shook up from the ticket that I decided to pass it and go straight home.  I arrived in the early morning hours.  

The following morning, Abe and I went to that same gas station to fill up my tank.  As we drove up, crime scene tape covered most of the gas tanks and a large area extending from the gas tanks- only 2 or 3 pumps were left available.  There was an investigator looking at clothing and other items left on the ground within that taped off area.  When we questioned what happened, we were told there had been a shooting in the early morning hours.

"Wow!  Are you serious!?" I exclaimed to Abe.

I am grateful I was nowhere near the criminals when the conflict even started.  I only decided to go straight home without getting gas because I had received a traffic ticket.

God's ways are not my ways!

I had been perceiving the ticket as a way for Satan to try to discourage me from moving forward with courage… as a way to make me doubt myself.  While that definitely was part of my challenge and while I am grateful for the challenges that come my way because of the many things I "get" to learn, I am forever grateful my children and I are alive and were not involved with any stray bullets or even in the vicinity of the criminals involved in the shooting.

Over the last few days, my mother has sent me several text messages reminding me to be strong.  She even texted a picture of myself looking confident.

I believe God places many wonderful ideas into our minds to be successful.  I also believe that Satan sees that we are capable of that success, so he tries to doubt our ability to do anything right.  Interesting huh… because that is the way I felt… like I couldn't do anything right to get ahead.

God believes in us and we should also believe in us!!  

Even if we don't all have a fabulous mother sending text messages confirming our worth, when we take the time to ponder, God is sending those same messages to each of us… we just have to quiet ourselves down to listen for a moment.

I want to give a gift to Jesus… a promise to believe HIM when HE assures me that I can do all things in HIM.  

We are empowered by Christ's strength and power.