On The Receiving End

I love what Luke 6:38 says (CJB), “Give, and you will receive gifts —the full measure, compacted, shaken together and overflowing, will be put right in your lap. For the measure with which you measure out will be used to measure back to you!”

We all want to receive, some more than others. We all know people who always seem to have their hand out, lol.  Then, there are those of us who, present company included, aren’t so good at being on the receiving end of a blessing.  When it comes to gifts, some of us are good at dishing them out, but we aren’t so good with taking it in.  We see a verse like Luke 6:38 and praise God alongside our brothers and sisters, but when the Lord sends someone to bless us, we shy away and do our best to decline their efforts.  This is silly.

The King James version of this verse is a bit different, it actually says “shall men give into your bosom”.  Let’s take a look at it. “ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

So, God tells me to bless this one, and in turn, He sends someone my way to bless me, and what do I do?  I do my best to turn them away. Prideful much? Barring the Almighty literally dropping things into your lap from the heavens above, (and He can do that if He so chooses) we have to consider that He just might use men to repay us. Those of us who aren’t so comfortable with this, need to learn to get comfortable, because God seems to really enjoy using people to bless people.  It’s kinda His thing, I think.

We had a very ridiculous situation happen recently, where our electric company, with whom we have a substantial credit balance, cut our electricity off.  We had to have some work done but the process was lengthy to say the least. A permit had to be pulled from the city before the work could be done. Then, inspections had to be done by both the city and the electric company and more.  Seventeen days later, our power was restored.  No, that wasn’t a typo, 17 days with no power.  It was either too hot or too cold to stay in our home.  We have no family here and because we are a family of 7, off to hotels, we went.  My mother helped us with 5 nights in hotels, and then we ended up traveling out of state to her home for the last 4 nights. All in all, it was very costly.

Upon returning, we had to throw out everything. A massive cleaning, not to mention deodorizing had to take place as things were quite moldy in our fridge. It was just, a mess.  Then, we had to start over from scratch.

You know how you have people in your life who say, “Please let me know if you need anything…” and you just smile, nod, and say, “Ok.”?  I called on each, asking, (super uncomfortably, I might add) if they would help us with groceries.

We need to restock badly, and with 7 people, it’s no small feat, believe me.  The help we have gotten and are still getting is nothing short of amazing.  When people say they want to help, let them.  Don’t rob people of the blessing they will receive when they help you.

Again, I’m not talking about people who always have their hand out, always on the receiving end and rarely on the giving end.  I’m talking about the ones who seriously struggle with allowing people to bless them with things, even when they are truly in need.  This is a heart issue that I dare say, will continue to be an issue until it is properly addressed with the help of our Heavenly Father.

The Lord wants to give us good gifts.  He is a good Father. He wants to bless us more than we want to be blessed, and He often will use people to do it.  Plus, let’s get real, if He sent some enormous angel with a basket of money or whatever, most of us would freak out completely.  He knows that.  Also, God is such a serial blesser. (Shhh, I know that’s not a real word.)  He is so good at blessing everyone involved and passing it on exponentially.  We can never out give Him.  It’s impossible.  So the take home this week for those of us who struggle with receiving is, get it together!  You love blessing others, let somebody do something for you sometime!  You’d be surprised to see how many would jump at the opportunity to bless you.  And those on the other side, the ones who always have that hand open to receive, get yourself set to give!  It’s the best side! 😉

Finding Joy In Trials

James 1:2-4 in the Message Bible reads, ​”Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

After getting a wonderful confirming dream from God, and listening to Bill Johnson speak on breakthrough, I am convinced that the Lord has saught to set me up for a serious promotion. The past several weeks have been very trying, so trying that, if I didn’t know the Lord, I sincerely don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing now. I have and am experiencing things that have literally changed the entire course of people’s lives, and just two months after giving birth, to boot.

The best part about the challenges I am facing is that God is faithful, ever present and fully available, especially when I turn to Him as so much seems to be going awry in my life.

I can take comfort, great comfort in knowing that not only is He not taken by surprise by any of what I am facing, but He has provided for me, from the beginning. 

All I need to do is trust and follow His leading. I can “count it all joy”, as I know that this set of challenges can help mature me in a way that will qualify me to receive far more from God than I ever imagined possible. 

God won’t give us more than we can handle. We tend to think of trials when considering this, but I understand it to include certain blessings as well.

 For instance, my 9 and 13 year olds can not ask and be permitted to borrow my car. It isn’t because I don’t want to share with them. They simply aren’t ready or mature enough for that type of blessing. It could literally kill them. 

My 18 year old, on the other hand, has gone to driving school and passed her driving exam. She has been driving for well over a year and is comfortable and good at it, so she can certainly get the keys to the car and go where she likes. She is mature enough and able to handle the responsibility. It is the same with us. I believe there is so much that God wants to bless us with, but we simply aren’t ready to receive it. We haven’t behaved in a manner that shows we are ready for the responsibility. 

Because God is a good father, He won’t give us anything, even a blessing that could harm us, even when He really wants to give it to us. I am thrilled to be loved like this and am now seeing the challenges I face, in a very different light.

Challenges are looking like enormous qualifiers to me these days. It is when all the “chips are down”, when we’re “backed against the wall” that what is really in us, comes out. Do we really trust that God is with us? Do we realize how surrounded we are by hosts of angels and options? Do we know how deeply we are loved and provided for? Do we believe we have been provided for even when what we see before us says the exact opposite?

I’m using this moment of challenge as an opportunity, a gift that will enable me to come up higher and be better off for having gone through it. I am choosing to praise, give, love, and bless my way through it. 

I will look back on the prophetic worda I have received over the last few years, and allow a sense of hope to grow and flourish even in the midst of what looks desolate and destroyed.

I will light up the area I inhabit with my heavenly language and praise to God, because He is surely with me during this most holy of set ups. 

I will walk, run, leap and dance joyfully with my Abba as I pass this “test” with flying colors, for He is surely with me, loving me, whispering messages of love and hope to me in my sleep and while I am awake.

I will keep looking to the One who is the Author and Finisher of my faith. 

I challenge you to do the same. When trying times are upon you, count it all joy. See it as an opportunity for growth and development. See it as an opportunity to qualify for something your Heavenly Father is just itching to give you. Worship Him. Praise Him. Thank Him for your breakthrough when it looks like none is forthcoming. Allow hope to rise up in you and rejoice. Look at and make personal, the promises in His Word. Look at prophetic words you have received and perhaps put aside. If you dont have any, but would like one, please write me and allow me to speak a word from the Lord over you, but whatever you do, don’t allow challenges to stress you out and keep you down. You were meant for more, so much more. God has so much in store for you. Will you set yourself in position to receive from Him today?

Grace In Times of Revelation

The theme of my life lately, seems to be “revelations”. Over and over again, things that were hidden are being brought to light and I am having to choose, again and again, where I stand, what I will allow, and most importantly, what I choose to believe.

I have, on several occasions mentioned Graham Cooke’s words on good and bad days. He says there are no good or bad days, there are only days of God’s grace. Each day, we have either the grace to endure or enjoy what is happening. 

We all want those days of grace to enjoy what is happening, but what about those days that find you clinging to His grace to endure? What do those days look like for you? Do they find you cold, withdrawn, angry and or pitiful? Do you just get stuck and stay in that place far longer than needed? Did you know that you don’t even have to stay there? I am seeking to leave those ways of wallowing in self pity for extended periods, far in the past.

Instead, I am asking the Lord how to navigate through it all. I’m asking trusted others to pray as well. I am also actively looking for Him even in the midst of my pain and as I always say, He isn’t hiding.

I am thanking Him for revelation. I believe exposure is good. How else can one move forward if they are completely in the dark? Darkness makes for some pretty difficult navigation. I want His light shining on all that concerns me. I don’t want my head in the sand. He said His grace is sufficient for me and that His power is made perfect in my weakness. He also said He won’t give me more than I can bare. I admit to questioning this truth several times in my life. 

Regardless, the fact remains, that I am here and so is He, and, through fun times and sad, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Eventually, I will afford myself time and space to have a good, cleansing cry, but in the meantime, I will thank God for so many things; I thank Him for revelation, for surrounding me, for comforting me, for loving me and more. I will press onward with the joy that comes from being in His presence. I’m so grateful it is always available to me in an unlimited manner. I will rejoice because I am being made stronger, more wise and I have lots of help and options. I will use His grace to help me endure and enjoy all that is happening.

Who Do YOU Think You Are?

Romans 6 is filled with how God sees you as a believer.  It says you are dead to sin, and alive in Christ. You are joined with Christ in baptism. You can live new a life. Death has no power over you. You live under the freedom of God’s grace. Romans 7 says you are no longer bound by the law, struggling with sin. Romans 8 calls you more than conquerors. Other verses call you a royal priesthood, the very son or daughter of God almighty. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  You are deeply loved and on and on and on.

As one who encourages and ministers to others regularly, I don’t find it particularly hard to see the gold in others.  God has enabled me to see others as he sees them and be able to help them to see it too. As easy as it is to encourage and uplift others, I am finding that, in some ways, I have neglected to see myself in a proper light.  I noticed a few days ago that on several occasions I have said something about myself that simply is no longer true of my character.

I grew up in a single parent household, my mom’s only child.  As such, when kids tried to back me up against the wall and bully me, I came out fighting, and fighting hard.  I was always known as nice and sweet but I was also eventually known as one to not mess with as word of my completely out of control behavior spread.  It took a long while for me to get angry, but once I was, it would be as if I was taken over by someone completely different and completely unpredictable.  I am no longer that person.  I have not behaved in that way in over 23 years, yet I find that I still feel as if I am not far from that unpredictable, uncontrollable person at times and recently, I have referred to myself as that person.

Thank God for revelation!  I feel that He is patiently making His rounds throughout various areas in my life where a complete overhaul is needed in my mind and I am so grateful for it. The thing is, because, in those moments in my past, I seemed to be capable of things I never thought possible, getting angry like that today is kind of scary to consider. Here’s the thing though… God has helped me to develop a level of patience that I must say, I don’t see in many at all.  Also, God has changed how I see, so things that once would have upset me fairly quickly, just don’t.  For most women, messing with their children is a big no-no.  A man was recently openly ogling my 13 year old daughter in a very lecherous manner.  This was something that could easily set me off instantaneously.  What happened floored me though.  Not only did I not get angry, but two things happened. First, I positioned myself so that the man saw and knew that I caught his nasty looks.  I simply stared at him unflinchingly. This made him super uncomfortable.  Then I told him that yes, I saw him and from that moment, until he left, he seemed to be unable to stop himself from looking back at me and my gaze never left him until he was gone.  I effectively protected my child without acting like a fool in a public place.  The second thing caught me off guard.  I actually felt a sense of compassion for the guy.  Although I didn’t go and prophesy over him while there, (baby steps… gotta start somewhere, lol) I did feel for him and I began to see who God created him to be; a man of purity and righteousness.  God has changed my mind and how I respond to the unlovely things of this world.

This makes me realize more than ever that if He sees me as good, why don’t I?  Why am I still holding myself to past behaviors, mistakes and mindsets when He has obviously done so much mind renewal in my life?  I am now making a concerted effort to agree with my Abba about who I am.  What about you?  How do you see yourself?  Does it conflict with what God says about you?  Who will you choose to believe?

 

Where Are These Thoughts Coming From?

Post partum hormones can sure make a fool out of a woman.  One moment, you’re blissfully happy, enjoying your new infant and then the next, all hope is gone and you find yourself crying out in despair, lol!  It’s so ridiculous.  I can be fully aware that I am in one of those unreasonable moments but still, if I’m not mindful, I can be swept along that wave of depression as if my life is absolutely awful.

God has been working with me on pinpointing and speaking the opposite of the negative thoughts that come my way at times.  I have felt at times that I am useless, not doing anything productive with my life, just allowing life and opportunities to pass me by.  Of course, the truth is, I just had a baby, am in the post partum period, which should be a time of rest and just being.  It’s not at all the time to run around doing things.  It’s a time of recovery and discovery as I get to know my newborn and settle into my new normal.  Another truth is, there are no missed opportunities for me in Christ.  I believe that anything that is for me will come right back around when I am able to take full advantage of it so I’m not missing a thing.  Furthermore, what I’d be a fool to miss, is this time of getting to know my baby, that would be the dumbest opportunity missed of all and his newborn stage?  I can’t get that back.

I have also been alerted by Holy Spirit that I have been holding myself to my past.  Growing up, I used to fight a lot and I still have referred to myself as violent and unpredictable when angry.  The truth is, I have grown and I am not that scared girl who feels backed up against the wall and fights her way out any longer.  The truth is, with each passing day, each passing moment even, I am becoming more and more like Christ.  I am more and more the real Patrice.  The one my Abba sees when he gazes upon me. Also, what’s nuts is that my Abba does not hold me to my past, so why should I?

Thank God for mind renewal! He is teaching me to pay close attention to the source of the thoughts that come my way. Whether they are from me, the enemy, or both, I am to reject and declare the truth.  I’m committed to doing just that.  What about you?  Are there areas you need to make declarations over?  Ask Holy Spirit to help you to not participate in self deprecation and other negative behaviors.  Get your mind right and be who God created you to be.  Be who He sees and enjoy life from that perspective. With His help, pinpoint where your thoughts are coming from and declare and rejoice in the truth.  He knows exactly who you are, He created you.  Get His insight, grow and be that glorious you that God refused to live without.  The truth is, you are magnificent! So walk and talk like it!

Checking In

It’s been a while since I have written, I know.

When I give birth, I like to take a significant break.  For my last two post partum periods, I have done a 40 day babymoon where I don’t even leave my bedroom for the first 40 days after giving birth.  After that, I go downstairs as I want to, and play going outdoors by ear.  This makes for an invaluable time of recovery, healing, and getting to know my new baby, not to mention getting much needed rest.  My last 3 babies have all slept well at night but because they still wake up to be nursed and changed, my sleep is still broken. This means I am often super tired and anyone who knows me, knows how I cherish my sleep.

Weeks before I gave birth, I started to get really emotional about giving birth because some part of me knew and remembered that once I did, it would be a while before I saw anyone. I made myself feel better with ideas of having company over after I gave birth, but I forgot, I am not a fan of company after giving birth for my birth clients that I attend.  It’s just not the best time to entertain guests.

I always stress to my clients that even I don’t need to come over if they are not up for company and I personally have strict rules (as a birth worker) about snuggling someone else’s newborn.  There’s so much that happens after giving birth- after birth pains, trying to establish breastfeeding, healing from the birth itself, raw emotions, aches and pains that linger, and being exhausted. I personally do not care for an audience during that time.  It’s not the easiest thing for me to do, as I love people.  Also, I like things to be done a certain way, and during this time, I have to take things in stride as my family, when serving me, may do things a bit differently. Even still, taking this time does me a world of good.

It kind of reminds me of how Jesus would steal away for periods to just be with the Father.  I use this time for that too.  It’s me, my Abba, my husband, and children.  It’s about stepping away and getting in the rhythm of my new normal and so much more.

This time around, as bouts of the “baby blues” hit, I started to make even that enjoyable.  As ridiculous, negative thoughts swirled about in my head, I began to thank God for the opposite and continue to make declarations along those (positive) lines, over my life.  I have been resting as needed, whenever it hits me to do so.  I’m also reading one book and listening to another and enjoying both.  I have written out a list of goals.  There are some things that I want to focus on and accomplish now that my son is here.  And my new son? I don’t even have the words…  Suffice it to say that we are all enjoying him more than I can say.

I just wanted to write something to you, my dear reader.  I have started several blog posts during this time that I just didn’t complete for one reason or another but I wanted to let you know that I am well and will be back in the swing of things in a few more weeks.  In the meantime, I’m just enjoying this period all of my birth nerd sisters and I call the “babymoon”.

 

Encounters That Wreck You

I’m not sure what exactly brought it on but several days ago, I had an encounter with the Lord that led me to eventually make some declarations over my upcoming birth.  Between that and the encounter, I felt so fully encapsulated in Him, His love, His peace, His joy, that I have been a bit wrecked since.  I don’t want to do anything, go anywhere, do much talking or anything.  I just want to be- with Him.  I don’t want to come out of the space I am in with Him.  I feel this is the perfect position to give birth from. How glorious and holy…

Have you ever had an experience with Him that completely wrecked you and just about rendered you unavailable on a natural level of being?  I, like some I know of, want to learn how to function in every day life “under His influence” like this because there’s just nothing like it.  I don’t want to leave.

If you’ve not had such an encounter with Him, ask Him for it.  I join you in asking, knowing that because He is a good Father, He will give it to you.  This isn’t something to miss out on.  You don’t have to wait to get to Heaven to experience Heaven or Him.  Experience both now and later.  You won’t be sorry.