Fasting {weeks 14-24} {the last half and up to the end} Where we discuss apologies and healing.

This last week of my fast was so full of stress it’s hard for me to even blog about it. Monday both my personal and professional lives simultaneously melted down. The whole week was full of phone calls and messages and analyzing and explaining.  I cannot recall a week filled with more tears–and I’ve had some seriously shitty weeks in my 41 years. I’d be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the fact that both situations escalated to white hot at the exact same moment on Monday *and* some of the parties in each of the situations extended forced apologies to me at the same time on Thursday. Which just happened to be the last day of the 24 week fast.

By forced apology, what I mean is this…Something threatened the parties involved. That threat pushed the apologies forward, but the apologies didn’t come from a place of true repentance, they were meant to help maintain something important in the lives of those issuing the apologies.  The people who apologized to me didn’t feel bad for hurting me, they were upset that something in their life was going to drastically change if they didn’t apologize. Blog comment that made someone panic to apologize or the threat of returning cancer, the threats were different with the same effect.

Compare that to another apology I received during this fast (and how ironic is it that this also dealt with my personal and professional life?) During the third week of the fast, I’d written a guest post about a suicide attempt 20 years ago. My mom and ex-husband were the only ones who knew. My mom is dead and my ex is no longer a US Citizen, so what happened was totally unexpected. I let go of that secret on this blog and on the same day, my ex-husband (who I hadn’t had contact with for 20 years) somehow found the post and apologized in public in the comments section of the post. He had nothing to gain by apologizing. There was closure for both of us in that apology. And while I won’t ever seek to restore a relationship with him, there is peace.

I accept the apologies of the others. I believe they are giving as much as they are able. I don’t know if they’ll ever understand the differences that I just discussed. It’s not my responsibility to change them, that is something each person has to work out on their own. Of course it would be awesome if these people weren’t forced to make peace, but sometimes in situations like this, you have to take what is offered and for the sake of peace and moving forward, I do accept their offers and harbor no bitterness.

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The spiritual battles during this fast were intense. I turned to these prayers twice during the fast.

I had this dream after the cleansing prayers:

God was sending me in to clean up a mess. Before I went to the place he was sending me, 2 angels appeared. One stood in front of me, one stood behind me. They were both warrior angels. Very tall compared to me at 5’2″. I’d say they were 6’7″ or so. They raised their arms around me. They were like wings, but not wings. God commanded them to pray and held His hand over the top of us. There was a surge of power so incredible it is beyond description.

The angels prayed protection prayers over me for a really long time.

And then I painted this

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I said the prayers once over my home and about a month ago over my dad’s, brother’s, and sister’s homes. Just this week a friend rebuked evil spirits in public and came to me in private saying that I was not dealing with humans. I was being spiritually attacked and she recognized that.

{For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.}

{you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good}

The words God spoke over this fast were “healing” and “prepare.”  And my word for this year is “restore.”

During this fast, I was restored to my position as Editor-in-Chief of The Midnight Diner. I never thought I’d be back in publishing. And now I’m being encouraged to start submitting my stories again. And I might just do that.

I wrote a piece for Listen to Your Mother, was accepted, and read the piece on stage. It was about accepting the kind love my mother knew how to offer.

My dad was alive for his birthday and I drove to Indiana to surprise him and I saw tears in his eyes. He was also alive for Father’s Day and I got to spend more time with him. He’s still alive on this day and even though we got some bad news about his illness, he is alive today and the fact that he made it into 2013 and is here today is a blessing we didn’t expect to receive.

I had the opportunity to mentor a young writer through The Midnight Diner. She later expressed in beautiful words that Phil and I helped change her personal life in ways I’m not sure I could have ever realized had she not spelled it out. We were really quite oblivious since we were just living out lives as we always do. We didn’t know that what she was seeing was changing her. I never expected it to be about more than writing and publishing, but I’m glad it happened.

I became a grandma again 🙂

I read a book for a second time and it changed my life, again. I haven’t yet wrote about the second reading and what came to pass.

My body continues to heal from the adrenal issues. It’s a long road, but it’s now been a year of eating militantly gluten free. It could take up to two years before total healing and restoration occur. I have hit the halfway mark!

The visible healing has happened in all areas. Personal, professional, spiritual, emotional, mental, physical. But the “prepare” part? What about that? There are still so many more questions I have and things I don’t understand about the fast, though. I have hope that God will tie up the lose ends for me in the days and months to come. I’m sad this fast is ending, but it wouldn’t be a fast if it was all the time and I need to remember that I was called to this fast for a purpose.

We’ve been in our new house and new city 28 weeks and I’ve fasted weekly for 24 of them. It will be weird to not fast and I don’t know what to do with that.

If you’d like to read the rest of the posts about the fast here are the links:

Blogging Through My Fast Seems Wrong

Week 1

Week 2

Weeks 4-10

Weeks 11-12

Week 13

 

Dream-Warrior Angels

I had a dream the nigh before last.

God was sending me in to clean up a mess. Before I went to the place he was sending me, 2 angels appeared. One stood in front of me, one stood behind me. They were both warrior angels. Very tall compared to me at 5’2″. I’d say they were 6’7″ or so. They raised their arms around me. They were like wings, but not wings. God commanded them to pray and held His hand over the top of us. There was a surge of power so incredible it is beyond description.

 

The angels prayed protection prayers over me for a really long time.

 

I was then with my Uncle Ed. He had on a blue, down winter coat. We walked up to the red house I was supposed to clean. It was overtaken by tall dead grass on the outside. When we got to the door, there was a decrepit voodoo doll hanging in the window. We opened the door and I was saying, “Wow. No one has been here since we lived here.” I then realized it was the Westville house. We started scrubbing everything clean.

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My Guided Prayer Experience

I didn’t know what to expect, really. She had talked about it on the phone with me, but was a bit vague. Not on purpose, though. More because (I’ve learned) that what happens during the guided prayer far outweighs the process of guided prayer.

We were at Creative Soul. We’d had this amazing day of Visual Prayer and then writing circles. I was feeling powerful, strong, and spirit-filled.

This lovely lady was our “guide.” She started with a soft and soothing prayer. With our eyes closed, she asked us to recall a time when each of us felt closest to God, when we could sense his presence or hear his voice. She mentioned the word joyful in conjunction with this memory. I tried to force the memory to surface and “joyful” kept blocking the memory. I threw it out and a time clearly came into focus.

This is what came to mind.

I thought I was supposed to write a Bible study. I started writing. I didn’t want it to be like all the other Bible studies out there, so I took  steps to make it different. It would be a short study, 4 weeks, 15 minutes a day, but it would pack a punch. I wrote the first three chapters, but really stumbled on the last–which was to be about following Christ.  In the years that followed, I truly have learned to follow Christ, to listen to him, to be obedient instead of sacrificial and repentant.  But then I wasn’t a writer any longer, I was a visual artist doing Visual Prayer and selling paintings and loving the life God gave me. Recently after a 3 year hiatus from writing, I’m back in the game again.

I am pretty positive I will not see success as a writer until I finish writing this Bible study.

That obedience thing I was just so confident about? ha. #notsomuch

I started doodling and writing down words that caught my attention. I don’t remember a whole lot about what Michelle was guiding us to do.

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But then she got to this new part. She told us to envision ourselves in a boat on a calm lake. The we were supposed to dive in the water and go all the way to the bottom and see a treasure chest.

I admit, I thought it was silly. I resisted. Then I thought resisting was silly because why not fully participate? So I dove to the bottom and saw my treasure chest. In it was a book.

sigh.

I know, God. I know. The book I’m supposed to write. I get it.

Then Michelle said, “Make sure you see the bottom of your treasure chest.”

What?!

Ok.

I picked up the book and there was a key, a skeleton key. (are you kidding me?!) I then saw myself using the key to open a secret compartment at the bottom of the treasure chest and once it opened, I got the sense of an expanse, limitless. I was reminded of my tattoo and the word I chose.

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I asked God, “What do I do with this key now?” I heard a response that was partially words and partially vision. I saw a bunch of doors, all kinds of them and God said that the key would open any door I wanted to open, it was my choice, I was LIMITLESS. He trusted me and the desires of my heart were the desires of His heart. The limits I placed on myself were not of Him. I was not bound to write a book that He’d never told me to write. He freed me of that anchor, gave me a key, and set me free to do as I wish.

For real.

I am so glad I decided to fully participate. It would be cliche to say I felt like a weight was lifted off of me–but indeed, it was. I don’t know what doors are in front of me, I don’t know which ones I’ll open, but to know I’m free to choose?! I’m LIMITLESS! Wow.

Because how many people are stuck in a trap of their own creation thinking God’s will is what someone else is telling them? How many people think they need to DO something to please God? To somehow earn his love and affection? If I just write this book, God will love me enough to bless me.  I be{lie}ved a lie. A big lie.

Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Blogging Through My Fast Seems Wrong

I kinda thought I was over the whole arguing-with-God thing.

I keep asking Him, Are you sure this is what you want me to do? And after two weeks of prayer, the answer keeps coming back the same.  Yep.

So even this morning before I started writing, I asked again. The answer was the same, and I said, “Ok. What about this then?”

And whenever you are fasting, do not look gloomy and sour and dreary like the hypocrites, for they put on a dismal countenance, that their fasting may be apparent to and seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full already.

But when you fast, perfume your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may not be noticed by men but by your Father, Who sees in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open.

Matthew 6:16-18

 

My thoughts were directed to motive. In essence, He was asking me if I was acting like the people cited in this passage. Are you doing this for show?

No.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been fighting and struggling with this for weeks now. I want nothing more than to obey, so here I am. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I am going to blog about the fast God has called me to while I’m going through it.

Do all things without complaining

It started with this vision.

I saw all kinds of pieces of things, pottery, rocks, glass, ceramics, etc…different shapes and sizes (all on the small side though) all over the floor. I was mesmerized by all the colors and looking down at the broken pieces. More pieces were being dumped and I looked up and it was God. He said, “They’re your broken pieces. Now pick them up and make something new.”

 

I was talking with a friend after my Mosaic vision and she said she kept thinking of 2 Chronicles and how detailed God was with the building of the temple. I took time to read through most of 2 Chronicles and prayed. I asked God what this new thing is and he pretty much said, “not yet.”

And then I got direct instructions to fast one day a week (Wednesday evening through Thursday evening) from now until the end of August. He kept saying, “Prepare,” over and over.

I know it sounds weird, this hearing from God, getting messages and instructions from Him. There was a time that I believed with all my being that it could not happen, that it was made up.  The only way you’re going to know for yourself is to seek Him, ask Him, and be prepared for answers.  I don’t know if God will communicate with you the same way He does me. We’re all so very unique. Fearfully, wonderfully made. He knows how to get my attention and I’ve learned His signals to me.  In this particular incident, He used a trusted friend who makes it a point to be in constant communication with Him. When she read about the vision, she immediately started talking with me about it. When 2 Chronicles came to her mind, she told me about it. I followed that lead and read through the book. As I was reading, if something tugged at me, I underlined it and made note of it in a journal, then prayed. And in this prayer, I was asking God what He was trying to say to me. I heard (in my mind) a voice that was not mine.  I understand this can be confusing. Most people ask how they can know if it is their voice of God’s.  I am no expert, I’m still learning…but what I know is if you belong to God, you have the ability to speak to Him *and* hear from Him.  The Holy Spirit lives in us and guides us. Jesus promised that.  And just like I know my husband’s voice, my brother’s voice, my child’s voice, and can distinguish them–I can pick them out in a crowd without a doubt–I have spent so much time communicating with God, that I have learned to discern His voice when it’s speaking through the Holy Spirit to me.

So as I was praying, I heard fast.
I asked how long.
End of August.
Wow. Really?
Wednesday dusk to Thursday dusk.
Ok. What kind of fast?
Social Media and meatless.
Now through the end of August?!
I admitted I was afraid
Do not fear. Prepare.

In the conversations that followed with my friend, I thought maybe I should cancel my upcoming art shows (Indy in May and Hammond in June through the end of August) It seemed to be the same time frame as the fast and several other things were leading me to think I knew what God was asking.  Notice–God said nothing about art shows or canceling.  Good think I can pray and ask, right? I did and in no way did God indicate I was to do such a thing.

I said something to my friend, jokingly, about how God obviously thinks I have all the pieces and it made me think of my Jesus Dream, at the very end:

I knew everything I was supposed to know. It was an immediate transfer of knowledge, understanding, wisdom, everything. With just one touch. I was entranced and awestruck.

With His hand still holding my arm, He stood and gently led me to do the same. He hugged me and then stood back a bit, this time, both hands on my arms. He looked me in the eye and said, “Now go.” His voice was gentle, almost a whisper. And He smiled.

I took a deep breath. I did not want to leave, but I knew I’d see Him again. And I knew that He had given me instructions and knowledge and wisdom and authority.

 

Then in the bathtub the other night, I was relaxing and praying and the fast came to my mind and I kept hearing “Healing” so I talked to my friend again and we discovered a pattern in the messages that seem to be bombarding me.

Mosaic pieces/Ashes of the pain–pretty obvious, I think.

Healing–seems obvious

Make something new–that was the part that messed with me, the part I wasn’t understanding and trying desperately to understand.  My friend talked about how when your body heals it discards the bad/dead/broken cells with new cells. So what you put into your body (ie: protein, vitamins, minerals) will be turned into something new: new cells.

Since discovering that connection (and since I’m deep in the process of trying to HELP my body heal instead of harming it more) it seems that God is trying to guide me down a path I was thinking wrongly about. So thinking in terms of healing (physically) such a long fast could possible be beneficial to my body and the fasting from social media will aid in the mental, emotional, and spiritual healing that seems to be happening.

So as I prepared to eat meatless and log off of social media, things started happening. First, I was in such an extreme state of physical paint, I woke crying and it just continued through the day.  I read quite a lot about “retracing” and “healing crisis” where, when given the right nutrition, a body in adrenal failure/fatigue as mine is will release toxins that have built up.  While painful, thankfully, it doesn’t normally last long.  Then, a tiff with my husband. Then, twice within the span of a few hours, texts from two different people bringing up the same name. A person and situation God had me fast about last year. The same person that made many, many false accusations about me–I thought I was done with the person and situation until last year when he was hired on at the church we were attending and we chose to leave that congregation.  But before I knew it was coming, God led me to fast for 6 weeks. Within days of the fast ending, I’d been thrown into this situation with this person coming back into my life. I felt the fast, while unknown to me, was to prepare me to fight this battle. The lessons were many. I recognized all of this as a spiritual attack of the enemy after receiving the second text. I prayed for strength, wisdom, knowledge, and discernment for the duration of the fast.  And I unplugged.

So here I am (a year and a week later) being led to fast again. This time for 24 weeks.  And then, being led to blog about it.  I fully admit, I don’t understand, I don’t know why, and the only words I know I’ve been given are “healing” and “prepare” and have been told to pick up the pieces of my broken past and use them to make something new.

 

Mosaic Pieces

I had a vision last night. I was having a hard time falling asleep last night and that almost never happens. I truly am asleep within seconds of laying down.

I was tossing and turning and having weird anxiety about weird stuff and I prayed and prayed and tossed and turned.

Then I had this vision.

I saw all kinds of pieces of things, pottery, rocks, glass, ceramics, etc…different shapes and sizes (all on the small side though) all over the floor. I was mesmerized by all the colors and looking down at the broken pieces. More pieces were being dumped and I looked up and it was God. He said, “They’re your broken pieces. Now pick them up and make something new.”