Tag Archive | invisible fears

The End is The Beginning: A Test of Choices

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Believe in God’s Promises

I spent the weekend canoeing on a lake with a group of girls. The weather was utterly picture perfect. The water was too cold to swim in but the fall colors of the trees surrounding us were at peak.

I’m glad this is where I was yesterday. I’m glad I got to sit in the middle of the lake and gaze in wonder at the palate of colors God created. Whispy white clouds draped the sky line. Red and brown tree leaves that fluttered in the wind were an amazing contrast to sky blue. The sun’s rays shining through those rusts and reds and the sunlight sparkling on the water was awesome to behold.

But there is another reason I’m glad I was there yesterday. Because yesterday marked 31 years since my Mom passed away.

In some ways, it still feels like yesterday but in reality it was a lifetime ago.

The focus of this post won’t be on how much I miss her or how I’m grieving. That’s NOT how this works. This blog is God’s corner of the World for Encouragement!

What have I learned?

Our physical bodies do deteriorate over time. It’s just how we were designed. I know of too many people who believe that when the body dies, your “dead” and THAT’s IT! There is nothing else. Your body “rots” in the ground.

I don’t believe that. That is just not possible.

I no longer resent, regret or feel true grief or mourning over Mom’s passing. My solace didn’t happen over night and it didn’t happen because I “WILLED” it too.

 

I grew up with my Mom taking me to church. I remember she read her bible. But I remember distinctly that after she was diagnosed (post surgery) in February ’83 that she spent a lot more time reading her Bible and outside in the garden (which didn’t last long). My memories of her are dim but I remember them as God allows.

What I now realize is what she learned back then. Her physical body was destined to die but she was preparing for something bigger: Her Soul, Her Spirit for Heaven.

The time she spent reading The Bible: The Word of God, was a LIFE-giving source of sustenance for the part of her that was “trapped” inside a cancer ravaged body.  Our bodies are more than what we can see. Our skin and physical manifestation covers the WHO we are inside. And that WHO we are inside can have a different destination than the casket, an urn, or a whole in the ground.

My mom was sad to be leaving the people she’d lived life with. I’m certain she was sad about her own past regrets. Sad about unrealized dreams.

I’m also certain her sadness was short-lived. She was learning to love and trust in God. His Word was a lamp in the darkness she faced. None of us knew what she was feeling, but Jesus did. Jesus had already walked in her shoes. He’d felt her pain. He was showing her through each verse she was reading how REAL HE IS. She was hungry for the PEACE of God, and God was providing.

Her ultimate trial of persecution would end up with her physical body breaking down, stopping her heart, her breathing and finally her brain. But the part that we couldn’t see (her Spirit/Soul) separated from a now defunct body and returned to its origin, her Savior.

Her dying was the end of THIS PHYSICAL earthly life but not HER SPIRITUAL demise; at the moment of her death, I know she went into God’s presence. I have felt her there.

The Enemy will try to tell us that there is nothing else beyond this mortal existence. And that might be easy to believe or to WANT to believe. Too many of us want to believe WE are in control. In control of our destiny’s, our future’s, our families; even the money we earn or the food we eat.

Let’s remember something: When you were born you came into this world with NOTHING. You arrived NAKED and in NEED of care.

You may not die Naked, you may have clothing on. But when you die, YOU TAKE NOTHING with you. You leave the same way you left.

 

Why are we here then?

 

You were given life as a TEST.

A test of character.

A test of humility.

A TEST of LEARNING to LOVE.

 

If you decided in this life not to believe in God.

If you opt to reject the belief of Jesus as Savior, because you have not seen Jesus, then you are a Doubting Thomas.

Do NOT let doubt cloud your mind.

 

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin),[a] was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

 

Dying is not the end.

It was never designed to be the end:

But our ultimate destination is determined by our

CHOICES.

 

Matthew 10:39New Living Translation (NLT)

39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Instead of posting a music video,

I am posting a video story that will change how you look at life.

Watch it.      Share it.      Understand.

Please Click on the link below his photo

 

Have you met Clayton McDonald?

 

Dying is a frightening premise.

We fear what we can’t see.

So allow yourself to TRUST; a mustard seed of Faith is all it takes

 

Matthew 13:31-32New Living Translation (NLT)

 

Parable of the Mustard Seed

31 Here is another illustration Jesus used:

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field.

32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants;

it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Dear God,

Thank you for my Mother. For the Blessing of her love and the example she was of how to seek YOU and Love YOU.

Help each of us to find you before we take our final breath and fill the grieving with your peace…to bring them closer to YOU.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

-Kenzel

 

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Canoe Part II: With God in the Muck – “In The Center of It”

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“Mike, I dislike muck. I really can’t stand the stuff. It creeps me out.”

(The muck I was talking about was the green, grassy, “stuff” that is commonly found along the edges of a lake or pond.)

Mike was my canoe instructor and while I don’t remember much about his reply, I’m sure it was something along the lines of

“Well, it’s there. It’s kind of hard to avoid”

As much as I wasn’t thrilled to hear it. I knew it was truth. I just had to do my best to avoid it.

 

Later that afternoon

We jumped out of our canoe and waited for the other team to practice their maneuvers. Fortunately the water was warm…so hanging by the canoe (literally, by one arm) was actually really nice. At least, for the first few minutes.

“Mike, were getting close to the edge of the lake.” Mike glanced over briefly and continued with training.

I continued to hold onto the canoe. But 5 minutes (or more) went by and my joints and muscles started getting tired of one position. I decided to try shifting and reposition myself.

The gentle breezes had continued if not picked up and as such had caused the boats to float even closer to the edge; closer to the muck. Except I didn’t know just HOW CLOSE we were.

Instead of just switching arms and maintaining face contact with the canoe. I turned away from it.

I should have maintained boat contact. I should have. I didn’t.

The moment I turned my body and let go of the boat and I became my own floatation device – the gentle breeze swept me “muck-ward.”

I didn’t like that one bit.

I was wearing a “shorty” wetsuit and thought it would be protection enough. Until…

I felt a soft and mushy grass like substance “glide” against the calf muscle on my leg.

THAT WAS IT, that was all it took.

I jerked and gasped and then, I screamed.

“Mushiness” and I don’t mix. My jerk reaction caused me to lose focus from getting AWAY from the muck.

I jerked again out of sheer fear. But the more I reacted the closer I seemed to float “muck-ward”

My gut reaction had told me the jerking motion would set me free. It would help me escape. But as I was kicking and jerking to escape the muck, I sensed double trouble.

In my haste to vacate the grass, reeds and what-not…I felt something I didn’t like against my shoe.  A rope, a net…

My mind reeled as I fought against an invisible something I couldn’t see. The more I kicked, the more my foot got wrapped up in it.

Fear turned to PANIC. I was being “swallowed” by the muck and reeds and rope.

I’ve got to get out of here. I thought to myself. How do I get out of this?

My panic intensified. I could feel the situation worsening.

My muscles contracted. My mind flew in a million directions at the speed of light.

There was something going on behind me with the other boats but I couldn’t make sense of it.

I couldn’t hear much beyond the screaming between my own two ears: only my own thoughts of Panic. Fear. Isolation.

I swam harder and kicked like hell to get away from the net; to get OUT of the muck and mire and my FEAR.

I tilted my head from looking at the edge and the slope and the watery green mushy mess that was just shy of consuming me. I laid my head back – against my life jacket. I positioned my eyes toward the Heavens as if searching the sky, but I couldn’t open them.

My breathing was so shallow.

Breathe” – I heard.

So, I repeated the word:

“Breathe”

I heard myself say the word and continued to repeat it REALLY loud. Over and over again. As I repeated the WORD breathe, I could feel my foot escape the bonds of the netting and the grasses.

My heart raced. I felt it for the first time.

I was disoriented and my head spun as I tried to gaze around me. I looked at the boats and closed my eye.

Exhausted. Exhaustion. Whatever was left of me, I just wanted to float. Float and breathe and find calm.

 

AFTER-math

I swam to the dock ever so slowly, got out and laid down…

  • I couldn’t believe that had just happened.
  • I wasn’t sure WHAT had happened.
  • I spent the rest of the trip and training trying to piece together WHY that had happened?

I am good swimmer. A strong swimmer. How did that happen?

Another reality hit me. I knew that if I hadn’t had my life jacket on me, I would likely have gone under.

The basic water safety rules had kept me alive and safe, but I was dumbfounded by what had transpired. I’d been rendered speechless.

I reflected as the hours passed and got the answers in bits and pieces.

Here was the summary of what God shared with me:

  • You made your fear bigger than ME.
  • I AM (God) bigger than ANY fear.
  • Your fear would have consumed you, I made sure you faced it on MY TERMs.
  • You couldn’t have failed the test because you were wearing a LIFEvest.
    • the physical vest saved your life
    • your spiritual vest was refined during your learning process
  • Your fear was self-imposed and becoming over inflated.
    • it was holding you back
  • This happened to prove I AM with you whenever and wherever. ALWAYS.
    • YOU aren’t alone and NEVER will be.
    • That you can TRUST ME.
    • That I Love YOU
  • And yes, it was MY voice you heard.

 

Follow UP

I have been out on the water since then. I have assisted at an event and am looking forward to doing more.

What I’ve realized is THAT experience was a blessing in disguise.

I still don’t like muck. Yuck, Ick, Blech.

But what I recognize now is that my fear is a tactic of the enemy. See, I like being out on the water. I like canoeing and kayaking a lot. It’s a perfect combination of fresh air, sunshine and exercise to put my soul at ease.

But had I not faced that “trial by fire” under those circumstances, I might not know how to deal with a situation like that in the future. (Not that I want to)

Now, I have an idea of what could happen and I might be able to respond differently. I might be able to build on the lessons of that afternoon.

Training is a beautiful thing. Not only did I go out there and receive my level 1 canoe certification but I learned that GOD is BIG. He NEVER leaves my side.

Most of all our FEARS aren’t bigger than GOD even if they seem bigger to us.

The trick is are we willing to TRUST God enough to allow us “FEAR-growth” moments.

The LIFE we live. The life GOD has given you and I, is just as much about change as it is about blessings.

Do we face change alone and isolated or give GOD a chance to show us that with HIM on our team – ANYthing and EVERYthing is possible (Matthew 19:26)

Don’t let the sun go down on today or face your next trial without having Christ with you to walk you through it.

 

I really love this Chris August song. And I hope you’ll take a moment to listen to it. Cause I was trapped in the center of the MUCK & MIRE: But HE was THERE.

 

When it feels like I’m going crazy,
And it looks like nothing’s changing,
Come sun, come rainy day,
You are still the same…..

 

…..When I rise, when I fall,
You’ll be there through it all
At the start, at the end,
In the center of, the center of it….

 

 

 

 

God NEVER fails. SEEK HIM. FIND HIM. TALK to HIM. HE’s waiting for YOU.

Don’t miss HIS boat.

Blessings,

-Kenzel