My dream last night:
We were looking for this guy (don’t know who the “we” consisted of or who the guy was.) There were three or four of us driving around in our cars looking for him. I saw his car at a fast food restaurant and squealed my tires turning in. I jumped out and went in. I had to go through this buffet line of sorts to get to the dining room. One of his guys was talking really loud about not knowing how to eat sushi and I looked at his tray of food. He had two lightly breaded shrimp on a bed of tortilla chips. I giggled to myself and thought sushi? not so much. The guy I was looking for was at the table behind his. His guys saw me and all jumped up and started grabbing for their guns. He got up and hugged me. His guy eating “sushi” didn’t notice what was going on and said something again about not knowing how to eat it. I said, “It’s on a chip. Pick. it. up.” Then I looked at the guy I was looking for and said, “He does know McDonald’s sushi isn’t sushi, right?”
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am so excited (and nervous!!) to announce my work will be featured at Fletcher Place Arts & Books for Indianapolis’ May First Friday event.
This First Friday (for me) is in conjunction with my favorite conference of all time: Mo*Con. When I started writing with publication in mind, I was betwixt and between genres. At that time, a Christian who wrote horror was the devil and needed prayer and healing and hands-laid-upon, and maybe it’s still that way a little, but it is far more accepted today than it was back then (what was that, 2007?)
One of my writing critique partners at the time, Dan Keohane, suggested I look up some horror conference held in a church in Indianapolis. One of his friends was a guest of honor and he thought I’d enjoy meeting him (Brian Keene) Also in attendance was Gary Braunbeck. So I went and I met the Indiana Horror Writers, THE most amazing family of writers (and trust me, we ARE family at this point!!)
All that to say, on top of the exciting First Friday news: For the second year in a row, I’m bringing my Visual Prayer supplies and we’re doing a workshop at Mo*Con Saturday May 4 at around 3pm!! Guests of Mo*Con will enjoy this session as part of the ticket price.
If you’re in the area and would like to join us for the workshop only, please email me and make arrangements. Cost of the Visual Prayer workshop only will be $25 (all supplies included. Just show up! You’ll take home two 8×10 canvas boards with your own creation on them. I will guide you through the process!)
Following Mo*Con’s theme this year: The Mind and Spirit of the Artist, the workshop will be centered around using visual arts to calm and free the mind allowing the spirit to open into a relaxing realm of worship.
A little story:
The first Mother’s Day after my mom passed away, this girl was producing a northwest Indiana show for Mother’s Day called Listen to Your Mother. She invited me and I declined. I was appreciative and wanted to support her, but I didn’t think I could deal with the emotions. She emailed a few days later and asked if Phil would be an usher at the show. I asked him and he said yes. (sneaky girl. I love you for that.)
So many of my friends were there that night and I felt loved and I loved them and it was good for my heart.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was urged to submit something for the Eastern Iowa show and with moving and the chaos, I just didn’t think I could add one more thing to my plate. But then, one morning right after we moved in, I was looking in the backyard of our new home and I saw some lilac bushes I’d never noticed and I wrote it. I cried and I wrote it. Then I sent it without even thinking I’d ever be chosen.
But I got the email and the announcements are made and there is my name
. I will (somehow) be reading my story on stage. I’m not a stranger to the stage, that’s not the intimidating part. It’s the part where my emotions will be uncontrolled trying to tell my story. So far, I can’t even *think* of reading it without crying let alone actually reading it. It’s probably one of the most emotional pieces I’ve ever written. (deep breath.)