Friday, April 29, 2011

A Wind is Blowing part 3

There are so many things on my heart right now.  I want to say first of all that I am amazed that God could possibly use a broken, messed-up vessel like me. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels to show that the power is from God and not from us. This morning I got to lead a friend to Christ and it was beautiful. With one prayer she was brought into the family of God, made a child of Him and covered by the blood of Christ. So amazing. So really, I have a new sister.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

God is continuing to move in our city and He is good. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Redemption of My Physical Body: part twenty-one

I was really sad yesterday. Sometimes I don't know why. I think I get stressed out and then when Levi is cranky it makes things difficult and then sometimes I just feel lonely.

This happens a lot. I think I have a tendency to experience strong emotions as an artist and my highs can be extremely high but then my lows can be just as low. I have had to learn to watch myself. I can't dwell on the negative for too long, I can't stay on Facebook all day, I can't watch TV programs... many different things.

Two things happened yesterday that cheered me up. :) One was that my dear friend called me to encourage me and give me advice on my sleep struggles. Very good. But the second one I'm going to dwell on a bit more because it was MY choice to do it or not. I took a walk.

As I was walking down our street I realized that walks are the best therapy. I'm moving, I'm not having to work too hard, I can think and talk to God, I'm not distracted by my house or by the computer, I can tell God how frustrated I am with life, how angry I am, all the things that I don't want to do... I can just release all of them into the air. I can just have this open ended conversation with God and let Him speak to me.

Sometimes I feel like if I can just tell Ben what I am feeling it will all be okay, it will all be better. And sometimes he is good at telling me to chill out and relax, but sometimes he can't help me solve all of it. The truth is that God ALWAYS helps me. He is always there to listen with grace and if I am still He will often show me the answer. Sometimes it has to be an extra long walk, sometimes it can just be a short one, but He always seems to put things into perspective.

I have a friend who struggles with anxiety. I'm sure that I could not imagine the difficulty this is for her. Just like others couldn't imagine my struggle with depression. "Why would you struggle with that?" people would ask me. I think God gave us nature as a medication to allow us to relax. Praise the Lord for spring and all the relaxing green to look at and the happy flowers.

When I feel anxious or alone I want to reach out to God. I am learning how to reach out to others, but ultimately God is our help.

Struggles with Sleep part 3

Last night I dreamed about people being saved. It was cool, but I woke up really excited in the middle of the night. I told God, hey, I need to dream about green pastures or something peaceful like that :) (I'm halfway kidding).

Then I dreamed about... I don't remember. But I woke up at 3:45 and then went back to sleep and dreamed that I went back to high school (this is a dream that happens a lot). I had Levi with me and had two different bags for my books and then some gear for a sport I was going to play afterward. I had to ride in the car with Levi in my lap. I got there and there was this other girl changing her baby in the courtyard. I asked her if she was going to get a sling to carry the baby in so she could still go to class and she said, "no, I'll probably drop out." I looked down at Levi and thought, will I need to drop out because of him? "You could home school" I suggested.  Then I suddenly couldn't remember how I had gotten Levi. I must have had him out of wedlock. I couldn't remember getting married, Ben was far from my mind. It was so confusing. Finally when I woke up I remembered that Ben and I got married and THEN we had Levi. The shame and confusion left me.

Before I went to sleep last night I followed my friend Sara's advice and bound up the spirits of fear and deception. And I loosed the spirits of love and power... maybe I needed to bind up confusion. :)

I feel like I'm still in this battle. The war is won, I have been bought and paid for, but this is a battle front and I need to fight with all of my heart. It used to be an easy battle for Satan because I didn't even know I was in a battle. He could just hit me and knock me down and I was there just lying on the ground in pain. He'd come back to me later and knock me down again. I'm finally awake to the fact that this is an actual battle and I'm inviting my friends to pray with me and now I have more of his concentrated efforts. The thing is, He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. Christ is more powerful than Satan. That doesn't mean that Satan and his legions of demons won't fight though. They are haters and liars.

I'm going to continue to fight.

This is the scripture God gave me this morning for this area:
Then you will understand what is right and just and fair - every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.
Proverbs 2:9-11

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Struggles with Sleep part 2

I think I am going to start claiming this scripture over my sleep:

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation -
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life -
of whom shall I be afraid?
when evil men came against me to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

One thing I ask of the Lord,
this is what I seek;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above my enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, O Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, "Seek His face!"
Your face, O Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide Your face from me,
do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my helper.
Do not reject or forsake me,
O God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
Teach me Your way, O Lord;
lead me on in a straight path because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Struggles with Sleep

Last night I dreamed that someone was shooting at me. I mean, there was a lot leading up to it and I bought some life jackets from a garage sale and there was a fire engine that was dragging it's ladder and all these school buses going down the road with all these other fire engines, some were spurting flames, we were all going somewhere, I guess it was to an accident or something like that. I don't know. Our car skidded out and I was in it with all these black women (didn't know them) and we were getting shot at. And then my alarm went off.

I woke up and my pulse was racing. I remember thinking, isn't sleep supposed to be restful?

I hate going to sleep. I hate waking up from dreams like that. My mom wakes up from a dream of a man standing over her. She wakes up screaming in the night. I remember living at home with my parents and hearing her. It was terrifying to wake up like that.

Apparently my grandma has the same dream. So does my aunt. So does my cousin... I think that's what I heard. I just found out about them last year or so. I remember thinking, "Seriously? This sounds like a generational curse to me." Some people don't believe in generational curses, that curses can't be passed down and all that stuff. Or that once we are saved all that stuff will be done away with. I'm not positive what the Bible says about it, I haven't studied it, but all five of us are born again Christians. Women who have genuine walks with the Lord. Seriously, I have so much respect for my mom and her sister, my cousin and my grandma. All of them love the Lord. Some might be less mature than others, I don't know, it doesn't matter. I just want to know why the heck we are all struggling with this. I don't believe this is a normal thing.

I do know that it makes me wake up angry or stressed or in a panic. It affects my relationship with my husband, my ability to be a mom. It affects my walk with the Lord... probably more than anything it makes me angry.

I don't even watch scary movies. I stay away from them as best I can. I am easily frightened and I believe that God is not a God of fear. Fear is from the Enemy. So my only conclusion is that these dreams are from the enemy of my soul.  I've had bad dreams for as long as I can remember. I say this in tears. Yes, I'm crying right now because I am so frustrated and angry. I want it to stop right now. I don't want to be afraid of going to bed. I don't want to have to take a pill to make me fall asleep. Maybe the pill is part of the problem. I started taking Ambien about 3 1/2 years ago. I had a sleep study that told me my brainwaves spiked every 2 or 3 minutes. And I thought it had been a pretty good night of sleep. I had been exhausted for months, not knowing what it was that made me so tired. I learned I wasn't actually sleeping at night and therefore my body was sleep-deprived. The Ambien made things a lot better.

I also grind my teeth. I started going to a new dentist a few years back. He took one look at my mouth and said, wow, your teeth are very worn down. I was in my early twenties and he said my teeth were about as ground as a 50 year old. Awesome. So I won't have any teeth left in a few years huh? So he gave me a device that keeps me from grinding. It helped. My jaw stopped being so sore and my headaches went away. :) But now my bite is kind of messed up. I can't touch my front teeth together :). Seriously, they will not touch even if I wanted them to.

I think I posted about all of this in an earlier post. But I say all this to ask for prayer. Would you pray for me that I could figure out what all this is and be able to pray against it? To overcome it? Pray that I would be healed? Pray for my mom and aunt and grandma too, that we would all be healed. I'm sure they would like to lay down and sleep in peace. If there is any scripture I could pray over my life, that would be awesome. I know about melatonin, it doesn't help, so don't worry about suggesting it. I know I'm not supposed to take naps, I don't watch scary movies, if you have any other advice, sure whatever, but really, I feel like it's spiritual and it needs to be broken.

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:12-13

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
Psalm 91:5-7

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Wind is Blowing part 2

I want to post today, but I don't want to post. I usually do not title my blogs until I am done with them. It's like when God created me He was thinking, "she is going to be completely random." I am the kid that takes the long way around the block, I'm not good at sequential thinking, I can almost immediately understand abstract concepts. Yeah. If I could come up with song titles most of them would only be one word or they would be ten words. My favorite title for a song is "Untitled" it says it all. So when I post a title before I begin my blog, it frightens me and I am now chained to that topic. So strange, I know. I just have write and then say, "oh, this is what that was about." Crazy right? I don't know, maybe other bloggers do that too. I like being unfettered.

My eye has been twitching for the past two days. I think I'm just exhausted. The thing is, I don't even care. The past few weeks of going to prayer meetings almost every night, being at church from 7:30-2:30 on Sunday mornings has been so beautiful. I feel like each time I go it is sweeter and sweeter. People confessing sin of pornography, pride, apathy, anger, bitterness, homosexuality, it's amazing. People going downtown to witness to people on the streets, homeless guys coming and our church is able to provide a home, it's crazy. So crazy. People getting baptized, it's so beautiful. People are getting healed and lives are being changed. People are praying over one another and lifting each other up. Monday night both of our pastors through tears asked for prayer and the whole congregation came up and were just praying over them. It was beautiful.

The wind is still blowing. I feel like this is just the beginning of something that is going to happen that will be big. It's not something that is specific to The Summit Church. I believe it's going to bring revival and unity to all of our churches of all nationalities, (Lord, help us, I hate being separated by nationalities), all denominations. I'm continuing to pray.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Prophet

I live next door to a prophet. No, I'm not kidding. I'm totally serious.

This guy moved in a few months ago, he's renting and when I first met him I told him the name of my son and he said "Levi? As in the Levitical priesthood? Is he gonna be a minister of the Lord?" I was a bit surprised, but my response was yeah, you are the first person who has ever said that. But that is exactly right. We named him for the first priest, Levi, the ministers in the temple, the worship leaders.

Some people think this guy is a little bit strange, I'm sure that's how the Israelites thought of Isaiah. But I like him. :) You know why? Because he is always smiling. He is always talking about the glory of God and how it has just messed him up. He said, you probably think I'm crazy, but most of my days are in there just crying out to God, lookin' out the window at the trees... Yes, probably a normal psychiatrist would think that there is something wrong there. But the only thing I sense from him is a brokenness from God and the fire of the Holy Spirit.

He's been praying for revival in Little Rock with his friends for a while. He said he has dreams and visions, he told me about one of them and how God revealed that America is in love with entertainment. I probably could have told him that. :) I think the Lord is speaking to him though. I'll be praying for him. He said God has made him an intercessor. I think his prayers are part of what got this going at my church.

A week from Monday after all our prayer meetings (I kind of hate calling them prayer meetings, because I feel more like they are confession/brokenness/crying out to God gatherings) got started he knocked on my door and asked me if it was true. Is Summit really experiencing revival? Yes, we are. He got the biggest smile on his face and clapped his hands together with "halleluiah" maybe in a way that other men would hear that their favorite football team won, but more excited than that.

He stops and talks to me sometimes. Last night as I was standing in my driveway, watching Levi play in the rocks and sticks that make up our "yard" he stopped and talked to me. In conversation he told me that the Lord told him I was resting in love. He said even the numbers on my liscence plate meant "rest" and "love" ... I dont know about all the numbers and stuff like that, but I totally agree with that prophecy. I think more than any other time in my life I am able to rest in God's love. I am resting in Ben's love, in Levi's love. I am not striving or anxious. I have cut my heart open and laid it bare for all to see my brokenness and ugliness and now I am resting in love. There's nothing else I can do. I'm not trying to hide anything or manipulate anything. He has set my feet upon a rock. He is my firm foundation. I am at rest. I am at war with the enemy of my soul, but I am also at rest in my Father's love. It took me a long time to get here and there was some serious darkness on the way, and my journey is far from over, but I am praising God for the place that He has me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Redemption of My Physical Body: part twenty

Wow, it's been a while since I have talked about this subject. I think it might be my favorite one because I am continuing to live in this blessing every day. I'm continue to live in freedom like I never thought I could know.

All in all I'm about 60 pounds lighter than my all-time highest weight. (I'm just saying this so that people can know that it really was a lot, not just 10 or 15 pounds, it took a while). I probably weighed something like that in college or so. I'm 40 pounds lighter than when I got married. So in a total of three years I lost 10, gained 30 and then lost 60 pounds. Needless to say, my body has kind of been on this kind of roller coaster.

Today I went for a run. I haven't really ran in ages. I mean, I run when I play ultimate and stuff like that, but not gone out and pounded the pavement. My exercise of choice is walking. It's easier to do, you don't always sweat really bad so you don't have to shower afterward, you can go a short distance or a long distance, I can walk with my jeans on, all I need are my tennis shoes. I even walk in my Chacos sometimes. Levi loves to walk with me, I can think and breathe and my arms and legs are moving, it's beautiful. I can enjoy nature and I'm rarely in pain (except maybe when I go up a hill or something). Okay, but I was sitting my quiet time, just enjoying the presence of the Lord when suddenly He impressed on my heart to go for a run. Really God? I have struggled with shin splints throughout my life, I have had knee issues, are you sure? Yes, go for a run.

So I got out there and it was really amazing. I felt so light and free. I had to stop and walk several times because my lungs weren't used to it, but that's okay. I'm really past caring what anybody thinks of me :). But my heart was pumping and I was pushing it. I was praying and asking that God would help our church to persevere, to break through the wall and continue in our prayer movement. I was praying for my friend who shared a really difficult thing lately, she's a runner so I thought of her :) and just praying that the Enemy couldn't lie to her.
(Side note: whenever I experience a spiritual mountaintop with God or have an amazing breakthrough or share something that is so deep inside of me I always encounter lies from the Enemy. It's just how it works. You think, "man, I said this wrong, now people are going to think this about me..." The truth is that Satan just got the crap knocked out of him and he's just fighting back, but the only thing he knows how to do is lie. So, the truth is that God delights in her bringing things into the light that were kept in darkness, she has great courage and has impacted my life for the better because of it.)
I was able to just struggle and fight and let it all come out in my prayers to the Lord. I probably only went a mile or so and probably walked half of it. But I am convinced that it was better than sitting on my couch. :)

The cool thing about my run is that I experienced freedom in a place where there had been bondage before. Exercise has been an area of bondage for me. Let me explain: I always felt like I "needed" to exercise in order to lose weight. Exercise was a chore, a punishment for my "bad behavior" on a diet. It was my thrashing about to get myself out of this quicksand that was my struggle with weight/food/binge-eating. God called me for a while just to lay down exercising all together. It was getting out of hand and He just told me to stop and only eat what my body called for. Whoa. Are you sure about this God? (Do you see how much I question him?!? haha!) But He was faithful to allow me to lose weight just by moving throughout my day as a coffee shop worker and eating (a lot) less than I did by just eating what my body CALLED for.

Then when I got pregnant He gave me walking. I walked about 3-4 times a week anywhere from 1-3 miles depending on what I felt like doing. God was telling me to listen to my body and take exercise off the pedestal. He was slowly prying the food out of my hands and slowly giving things back to me a hundred times better than what they had been before. I don't know if this means I will start running now, I don't know. I will let you know if that's the case, but I do know that I can have freedom to go and I can pray and ask Him for direction.

Also as a side note, I have been encouraging my husband to run. He complains sometimes that he doesn't get enough exercise and sometimes doesn't have enough stamina. I told him he should start running after work. His response was yeah, but I don't like running. (who DOES? Just kidding, I know there are some weird people out there who do:)) But it was like God was saying, hey, maybe you should stop telling him what to do and just be a freakin' example. He asked me how it went when I got back and I said it was great and told him all God taught me and showed me and he was like, man, I really wanna get a running stroller so I can take Levi. WHAT?! That's all I had to do? Just make it look like fun? Haha! Crazy.

I feel like the more I get healthy, the healthier I want to be. Does that make sense? It's like I know that eating healthy foods will make me feel better, so that's what I do. I know that getting some exercise makes me feel better, so that's what I do. It's little by little baby steps to get where you want to go. It's not just one big crash diet over and over every weekend, it is slowly and steadily and the more you do it, the more you will want to do it. Don't let Satan lie to you and tell you that you will never make it. I believed that lie for years. I thought, this weight is NEVER going to come off. I wanted to believe it was possible, but there was still this nagging voice (Satan's) that was telling me I couldn't. It was as though I had to stop "trying" and start listening to God.

For all of you practicals out there who are saying, yeah right Jody, that's fine and good for you, but I'm just impossible. I want to challenge you to take these practical steps.
-Turn off your TV. Don't watch it, don't look at it. Don't watch TV online.
-Don't eat while on the computer. Don't do it. I know, it's killing two birds with one stone. But it distracts you from what you are actually eating and you end up ignoring your stomach signs.
-Go to bed at 10, wake up at 6 and spend an hour with God before you do anything else. Before you check your email, phone, Facebook, blog, all of that. Just open up the Bible, get a journal and ask Him to speak. Read a Psalm, or a Proverb, read from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Those are good places to start. Get your journal and talk to God. If you schedule is earlier or later than mine, that's totally fine, but make sure and give yourself a solid hour. Not 15 minutes, not 30 minutes, an hour. This allows ample time to wait for the Lord to speak.
-Move throughout the day. If it's housework, just do it. If it's going on a walk at lunch instead of sleeping at your desk, do it. If it is getting home from work and getting your tennis shoes on and going for a 15 minute walk around the block, just do it. If it's going on a bike ride after dinner, do it. :)
-Eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. Eat mostly healthy, but don't be completely perfect. It's okay to eat something with sugar in it as long as it's not the whole carton of ice cream. Sometimes it's just a bite of cake or one cookie. If you know you can't stop at one, then just don't have some. There will be another something tasty to eat tomorrow and for sure you WON'T regret not eating the sugary thing. I try not to have something sweet after every meal. It needs to be a treat every now and then. If you find you are eating dessert every night just say, I'm going to skip a few nights or days and not eat any. There are times when I tell my husband, "no, we can't have ice cream in the house, I'm going to clean it out." So we don't have ice cream in the house for a couple of weeks, and then it passes.

Okay, those are my practicals. If you have any other questions feel free to comment or email me or something.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Promises Deferred

I want to write, but I don't know what about yet.

I suppose I will just dive in. This morning I was reading about Abraham and Isaac. I've been going through the book of Genesis very slowly and thinking deeply about each story. I love that it's an ancient book and how God used stories to teach us life lessons. I've been able to come at them from whole new perspectives, these stories I have heard hundreds of times are real and fresh to me. Like in the times when Sarah submitted to her husband and called him her brother and then was taken into two different kings palaces at two different times and God protected her all along... proof that even when my husband messes up God will still protect me and take care of me if I will submit and follow His Word. But then when she steps outside that authority and suggests to her husband to sleep with her maidservant and tries to manufacture a blessing things are ruined. Hagar's life was ruined, their friendship (I wonder if they were good friends and would talk and laugh together throughout their hot days in the tent together), she had Ishmael who almost starved to death. There was jealousy and betrail, Abraham was kind of just caught in the middle and then he passively said, "Do whatever you want" and so Sarah mistreated Hagar. ... I am learning about submission and what it means to submit first to God and then to my husband. It's not exactly obedience as a dog or an animal, but it is following his leadership and listening to God.

So I was reading about Abraham and Isaac. I don't know how many times I have heard about Isaac almost being sacrificed on the altar. If you don't know it, Isaac is Abraham's only son, promised a long time ago, finally, he was born when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 (whoa, that's a long time to wait!) Then later God tells Abraham to go sacrifice Isaac on the altar on this mountain. Are you kidding me God?! I thought you were against child sacrifice! This is ridiculous, I'm thinking, Lord, really?! It takes a while to get to this mountain too. He's taking Isaac (I wonder if he told Sarah what he was going to do) and some servants, he chopped up a bunch of wood, told the servants to stay here, then went the rest of the way to the mountain. Then he bound up Isaac and put him on the altar and was about to kill him when an angel told him to stop. There was a ram stuck in the bushes to Abraham sacrificed it instead. Whew. God said, I was testing you and you passed, as it turns out, you DO, in fact, love Me more than him."

Wow God, really? Did you really just set all that up? Then I realized that these stories (That did actually happen) are also examples for us in our lives.

Isaac was a promise. He was a long-awaited promise, I'm sure there were many sleepless nights when Abraham was in his 80's and 90's when he thought, did God really promise me a son? Did He really promise that I would become a nation that would outnumber the stars? That would outnumber the grains of sand? Has He forgotten about me? Does He know how old I am getting? Does He know how old Sarah is getting? Most people have lots of kids by now. Most people are well past having kids by this age. Is he wanting me to adopt? What about Ishmael? I love him and he is my son... everyone else can do what I did? Why won't God bless him?

But Isaac was the promise. God was specific and personal. He wasn't going to do things in a natural way that anyone else could have the glory. So the miracle of Isaac, the promise, took place.

What a joy. What a blessing. I wonder how elated they were. Man, the love I have for my son, I could probably multiply that times ten and get their love for that little boy. If I had been Sarah I would probably be laughing and crying every day. I imagine Sarah was one of those women you just wanted to be around. She had a sense of humor (she laughed about Isaac being born to her in her old age), she was beautiful (otherwise all these kings wouldn't have wanted to take her as a wife), she was inventive and I think also felt things in a deep way. I think I would have wanted to hang out with Sarah.

Anyways, then God tells Abraham to sacrifice it.

Wow. See this promise? It's within reach, you are treasuring it and loving it? See how God has miraculously fulfilled it? Okay, now it is time to give it back. Do you love the promise or do you love God?


I started to think about the promises that God has given me in my life. The promise of my music rings most through my head right now. I have been watching (a little) American Idol, I talked the other day to a young artist about how I played in bars and have a CD and stuff.

Okay, I'm going to say something and it is going to be out there. You know when you have wild dreams and it's like you could sit around and day dream about them all the time? I have those. Had those. :)

I had (have) dreams of singing/playing for thousands of people. I understand that many people have had this dream. You sang in front of your mirror with your hairbrush, all that jazz. I remember singing in front of my stereo in my room and imagining I was singing a huge concert and interacting and talking with the crowd (this is kind of embarrassing to share) ... I think some times these dreams were self-centered... but more and more I felt like it was a call on my life. I began to sing for our praise team at church, lead worship in youth group, I even got to travel with a worship team and lead worship for a youth conference once.

I'm getting sidetracked. ... So recently these dreams have been coming to mind. How do I say this? God has blessed me in those dreams ten fold. I led worship for three years at our ministry every Monday night, I played in bars and coffee shops and got to share my heart. I made a CD and it's freaking on itunes. (if you want to hear it look for Jody McCall, Echoes in the Room).

I have kind of laid it all on the altar for my husband and my son. I mean, I have. I would be leading a completely different life had I not met Ben. And I am thankful I met Ben and I have the most amazing little boy in Levi. But I don't feel like I'm finished yet. I feel like I'm not writing songs as I should be, I'm not pursuing as I should be. I don't know, it's like it was on the altar and God said, no, I'm not done yet. I see that you love Me more than this dream, this promise (yes, I do feel like it was a promise from God) and I don't know what to do next. I don't know how things will manifest, but I believe that He is not done with me in this area.

Do you have any dreams or visions or promises the Lord has laid on your heart that maybe you abandoned or laid on the altar? Lord, awaken our spirits to Your Word. It is good.

Whew. That was a long post. This is what happens when I post less frequently.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No More Fear

The Lord is my light and my salvation,
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life -
of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

I'm pretty easily frightened. I don't watch scary movies because they effect me so profusely, so intensely. I remember as a little kid having nightmares from watching Batman. I mean, like the real life Batman where they had words like "POW" and "BANG" whenever Batman or Robin hit someone. I was especially afraid of the Penguin. I remember having a dream about him coming out of our coffee table. I remember being so afraid to go to bed at times that I would just lay awake. Yes, I have had issues with sleep since I was young. My parents did a good job of protecting me, maybe too good of a job. Mom told me that whenever I got scared I could just sing a praise song and then demons would flee because they couldn't be around when God was being praised. That helped. But sometimes I was so afraid I could not move. Fear can be paralyzing.

So, I have made it my goal in life to be fearless. The only thing I want to fear is the Lord. He is the only one powerful enough to fear. Satan tries to dance around and does a pretty good job of lying to me and controlling things around me to make me afraid, but I know that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. I know that the fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom. I know that I am up against principalities of darkness and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms but I also know that the same God who caused David to defeat Goliath lives inside of me and can do far more than that.

I hesitate to say this because it is kind of out there. But I feel like once something is said sometimes it brings things into the light and they are not as bad as they seem... You know, like when you see a shadow on the wall and it's scary and then you turn on the light and it turns out it was just a coat rack or something like that. Okay, my greatest fear is that I would be walking down the street by myself and that I would be attacked. So, if I go there in my mind and it is a scary place, (I don't imagine much detail, because that is not the point) I think I would just start praying as loud as I could, calling out the name of Jesus. Whether or not God would choose to save me or not, if I had to live through it or be killed I know that either way I would win. If I lived through it I could praise God that He would allow me to suffer for His name's sake or I could praise God that He would allow me to come home early and be with Him. I could go to the place where there is no more suffering. My time here on earth is very short. Seriously, it's only like 80 years, maybe 90, that's just a breath. What can man do to me? He can kill me. He can hurt me severely. But I have the Rock of eternity to land on.

When evil men came against me to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.
Psalm 27:2-3

I know what some of you moms are thinking: I don't care what happens to me, as long as nothing happens to my baby. As I continue to write I realize that me being attacked is not really my WORST fear, it is the attack of my family. I want my little boy to be safe. If anything happened to him I don't know that I could bare it. It's more than just a part of my heart being ripped out. It's like all my heart plus some. I didn't understand this until I became a mom. There is like a mama bear instinct that comes out that says, "you can mess with me all day, but don't mess with my babies." ... I think that is from the Lord. I think He put that there for our survival, you know, if we were indifferent towards our kids we might just leave them on the street somewhere (they can be very frustrating at times). But I also wonder if He put that there so that we could know the pain of His sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross.

I have to pause because of the weight of that.

I don't think I could give up my only son so that a whole bunch of sinners: child molesters, liars, thieves, murderers, slanderers, addicts, over-eaters, hypocrites, slothful people, hateful people, angry people, selfish people could be spared from hell. I don't think I could really do that. But the truth is, we are all sinners. We have all committed things that we regret. I am the chief among them, so who am I to point fingers? And the truth is that He is God, He is not man. His thoughts and His ways are higher than my ways. Praise the Lord. The truth is that He sent His only Son to come and be born to a teenager in a barn, to live among sinful, fallen people, to grow up under parents who aren't perfect, to be tempted in the desert for forty days with no food, to preach and to heal the sick and the blind, to be hated among the pharisees, to be plotted against, to have crowds pressing up against him and wanting to just use him, to be rejected in his own home town, to go amongst the marginalized and the poor, to weep for the lost, to raise the dead and then after three years of just pouring himself out to then be mercilessly beaten and crucified. To have his Father whom he had always been close to, have to turn His back on him because of the shame of our sin that was laid on him. It was my sin that held him there, until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life, I know that it is finished.

But the grave couldn't hold him.

Three days he was in the tomb, I'm sure those were dark, frightening days. And then Jesus conquered death and rose from the grave.

We do not serve a god who is dead. All other religions, their leaders are dead or have never been seen. But Jesus was seen by hundreds of people, touched by Thomas (who later was martyred for Christ, I don't think he would have suffered and given his life if it hadn't been true). And he ascended into Heaven.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I have so much that I want to write about. So much is on my heart and mind.

There is something going on at my church right now. It is an open confession of sin in front of everyone. Our pastor is at the front and people are just lining up to confess sin, to read scripture that has been on their heart, to share deep places in their lives. I love it. I could sit in it and rest in it all day. I love openness. I love honesty. You can ask me anything about my life and I will answer it completely, even the uncomfortable stuff.

It makes me think of the time when I was fifteen and our youth pastor put a microphone at the front of the room and asked us to share. Everything in me wanted to stay sitting on the floor, to stay in my sin, to just sit there and be silent about my pain and my messed up life. But something was telling me that I wanted freedom more. There is something so freeing about honesty. To live and know that when people are looking at you they can see all of you. There are no secrets.

So I got up as a young fifteen year old. I felt like I had a lot to lose. I was playing on the worship team, I was a "leader" in our youth group, my parents were in full-time Christian ministry... for a kid, I had a lot to lose :). But I went up to the front and I confessed. I remember saying, "People tell me I have a pretty smile or that I smile a lot, but I want you to know that a smile can hide so much." I confessed my loneliness, depression, my struggle with food and eating, my struggle with thinking about sexual things (this was in front of about 60 of my peers).

And then I got down and wept. I just wept. I remember one of my youth leaders, a mom of one of my friends, holding me. I remember three girls coming up to me afterward, I had no idea that they were struggling with the same things.

Now, from there on I would be lying if I said I lived a perfect, sinless life. That would be ridiculous. In fact, I think I struggled even more intensely with sin later in my life. Even immediately after that time I think I struggled with a deep depression.

But I think it was my first taste of real freedom. I can look back on that moment and say, that is when I began to live in the light. The book of James says "Confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed." I think that is where my healing began.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I didn't want to post tonight. I don't even know what I am going to write about, I just feel like I need to write. ... Kind of like the fact that I didn't know why I was supposed to be at church tonight, but I knew I was supposed to come.

Maybe it was to hear about the Lord's heart for foster children. A woman got up and shared about the need for foster parents in Arkansas. I don't remember the numbers (I'm terrible with numbers) but basically it's that the amount of foster kids far outweigh how many foster families are able to take them. Side note about her: she has fostered more than forty kids with her husband as a foster parent as well as having their own five children and adopting one child in particular that they fostered. She wrote a book called "Middle Mom" and I really want to read it. I need to just go ask her for a copy. I kind of know her, I want to know her better. Her son plays on the worship team with me and I love him. :)

Honestly, I didn't want to pray that my heart would be open to fostering. I still don't have that openness in my heart. It sounds messy and difficult and just hard. I want to be open and ready, but I think that my own human expectations... are, well, I'm just not there yet. Help me Lord. Help me to have your heart for kids. Help my husband to have Your heart. Lord, if we need to adopt, I pray that we would do it. If we need to foster, I pray that we would be obedient.

Then our pastor said he felt strongly that the Lord was saying to stop the meeting for that night. We would meet again tomorrow night and everything, but he felt a caution in his spirit that we would not be enamored by a prayer meeting. That we would not forget that it is about the glory of God and not about a meeting. That we would not get lost in ourselves.

So he closed the meeting.

A few minutes later he said, "wait a minute, we have someone who wants to be baptized." A young girl had been waiting for her dad to make it to the meeting so that he could baptize her. It was so beautiful, everyone gathering around and praising the Lord as her father through tears of joy asked her if she believed that Jesus was the son of God and the savior from her sins and she said yes. And he baptized her.

I know that some of you who read this are not followers of Christ. Maybe this all sounds really weird and spiritual. Maybe you are open to that or you have heard of this before. I have seen things similar to this. I have seen healings take place in meetings, I have seen ongoing prayer and people being freed from longtime sins and struggles.

I can only testify for what I have seen, what I know. You can do whatever you want with that, you do not answer to me or any other human.

What I do know is that in His presence is fullness of joy. I know that I would probably be entrenched in sin. I think I would probably be on drugs or an alcoholic, I probably would have tried that stuff and loved it. I would be in love with the television, sexual addiction, food, anything... Or, I would simply be living my life day in and day out, without hope. I know that I have nothing apart from Christ. I write about the Redemption of My Physical Body and Freedom from Sexual Addiction because I want to say what God has done personally in my life.

It's not just some spiritual, abstract thing. It is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for my sins, for the sins of the world, your sins too, and on the third day he conquered death and rose from the grave. He ascended into Heaven and sent his Spirit to live inside of me. I received His Spirit when I accepted him as my savior. In Him is fullness of joy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Wind is Blowing

All night Saturday I struggled.

Sunday morning there was a breakthrough. First service at church was a sweet, beautiful time of worship. Second service was, I want to say halted or changed, but it wasn't like that, it was like a redirection. The service started at 11 and after the message it didn't end until 3:30. It was a mercy drop.

Monday night was three hours of prayer, worship and confession of sin and repentance and forgiveness. Sweet sweet prayer.

Tuesday night was another three hours of prayer. Praising God for what He had done so far. Then asking Him that He would continue. We prayed over women who had cancer, rejoiced with a family over provided finances, heard testimony from a Brazilian student about coming to know Christ and what it took for her to be here with us.

.... I haven't been blogging these past few days because I have not had the time to be on the computer. My evenings are all taken up. And I'm totally okay with that :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Bodily Cleansing :) part 14

::side note, if you have been keeping up with this and feel like you have strangely missed part 13, you will find that I had misnumbered and counted 11 twice, my bad::

I want to be perfect.

I was vacuuming my house and yelling at myself inside my head. If somebody would have walked in on me that moment they would have thought I was perfect. Here I was, on a Friday afternoon, vacuuming and cleaning.

I don't know what it is, maybe it is that I just came off of this cleanse, maybe it's the fact that it's that time of the month, maybe I don't have the right kinds of foods in my house, but it has not been a graceful re-entry into the world. This afternoon I just didn't care what I ate. It was like a throwing out of all the rules, kicking them out and completely going in another direction. That's why I was so angry at myself that afternoon. My anger spilled out onto Ben, onto Levi and onto the world. I wanted to do right, but instead I would do wrong. What is wrong with me? I was asking myself, I thought I was FREE from this? I wrote a whole series about how I am free. I'm going to explode out of my jeans in a few weeks, I'm going to look bloated and chubby again! Ahh! Those were the thoughts running through my head.

What was weird is that I didn't even care. It was like I just wanted this other food that was calling my name in the pantry. I could have thrown the food out, but I feel like I would have just gone to something else instead. Am I crazy? Yes. The whole time I'm thinking, what is going to bring me out of crazy land? I called Ben and told him about what I had done. He kind of laughed actually. It's good, because I take this stuff so seriously like it's life or death and he helps me to have some perspective. He asked me why I did it and I said, "I don't even know." Was I trying to get back at him again for leaving the brownies behind? No, that wasn't it. "Well, Jody, you have a choice." I HAVE A CHOICE?! It doesn't feel like I have a choice sometimes. Why doesn't it FEEL like I have a choice?

Maybe it's because I feel alone and I am weak when I am alone.

I want to live in community. Not to be co-dependent and only run to others with my problems, but because I tend toward isolation. I love people, but I tend to isolate myself, especially when I'm in sin. I feel as though I have a tremendous lack of friendships. Not the ones on Facebook and stuff like that, but friends who come over without notice, who call for no reason but just to talk, who come over for dinner or who invite me to come over at any time. Friends who share deepness from their hearts, their walks with God, who ask me to come over so I can pray with them... I'm not blaming anyone for this lack of friendships other than myself. I long for community. I long for a brotherhood, sisterhood... not just to go to the same church and see people each week to smile at them and say I'm doing fine, but to really love on and pray for them and when things are not fine to say that their not fine and could you please pray with me or talk through something with me... I long for community.

I have so much more to say on this subject. So much more that is coming out of my heart and spirit on this. I wish I lived closer, I wish I reached out to my neighbors down the street, why do I not just walk over there? Why do I not have them over? When is it that I don't just get in the car and drive to my friend's house? Okay, so much more. So much more about how I am sick of the American way and the American culture and our white picket fences and perfect neat little schedules and manners and politeness.

I'm going to come full-circle back to the whole eating thing... I think this is why I am never going to go on a "diet" again. Crashing is too much. I don't need to live my life on a roller coaster of "good eating" and "bad eating" I want to live my life on a journey towards the Lord. I want to follow Him and not try to do things on my own anymore.

Lord, please take this broken, messed-up vessel and use it for Your glory. Help me not to be distracted by me. Teach me to follow You with everything that I am.

A Bodily Cleansing :) part 13

I prefer to learn from my mistakes... not make them again. Of course, pride comes before the fall.

As soon as I finished my post yesterday Levi woke up. It was a chaotic afternoon. I didn't want to think about anything, didn't want to put away the laundry, didn't want to fix something for him to eat, didn't want to change his diaper, didn't want to clean the house... You get the picture. Schedules for moms are like a backbone, a way that allows you to do what you need to do. For most new moms, life revolves around the nap time. If nap time ends early, life goes crazy.

All that to say, I ate a brownie. And a banana and some dried fruit and almonds... and a granola bar... I think it was in reverse order. I DIDN'T want to write about this. I thought, "whatever, people don't need to know this, they don't care, I'll just glaze on and go to my next topic on my blog..." But, I don't feel that would be honest. So I will be thankful for these things: eating one brownie doesn't cause someone to gain 10 pounds. (some people say it would cause them to, but that is not possible, a brownie doesn't even weigh 10 pounds). At least I didn't eat the whole rest of the pan of brownies. I will be thankful that the other food I ate was reasonably healthy. I am thankful for a husband who is quick to pick me up, brush me off and helps me to move on. I am thankful we had an enjoyable date that night and didn't even eat dessert (he is a kind man isn't he?). I am thankful that the Lord allows me to be humble.

Okay, with that aside, I just want to tell y'all that I am struggling. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm struggling. I hesitate to share it on here because I don't want pity or for people to feel sorry for me.

After running my errands I took Levi for a walk and was just talking to God today. "God, I don't want to do this. I don't want to go home. I don't want to call someone. I don't want to go see someone, I don't want anyone to come see me. I don't want to be stuck in my house all weekend, I don't want to have people over... " and on and on God just got to hear me complain. I asked God to help my friends. No, couldn't pray for them specifically because I didn't know what to say or how to say it. My speech wasn't eloquent I just asked for some help. Just some help God, You know. I'm tired. I don't want to do this. I kept going and crying out to Him and going and crying out and complaining. I don't know if anyone looked out their window and saw me talking to myself, I told God, I don't want to care about what people think of me. I'm tired. I started to tell Him about how messed up my family is, help my mom as she is helping my grandma and my pre-Alzheimer grandpa go home from Texas to Missouri. Lord, I want my grandpa to come to know you. Even though this is the sunset of his life, maybe he prayed a prayer long time ago, maybe he's saved, but he's not living for You God. My heart LONGS that he would be consumed with love for the Lord. Before his mind leaves him that his mind could be consumed with YOU God! ... Man, I was praying out loud, almost yelling (someone was running their leaf blower, so it didn't matter much).
I was going to the top of this hill and just claiming back my sleep, the sleep of my mom and aunt and cousin back from the enemy. I was sick of Satan stealing from us. I didn't want it for my children, I want to cast off these things!

I got to the top of the hill and saw the clouds and the sky. It was like my face was lifted up. My head was lifted up and all of the sudden it came over me.

"Thank You for being my friend."

Scripture says He is a friend to the down-trodden, to the weary and heavy laiden, to the broken and humble of heart. The thing is, He is a friend who can actually DO something. I have a lot of friends who would probably love to come help me do something about my family, help me straighten out my life, give me some strength, but they can't. He can. He put His Spirit inside of me and he can change hearts. If I ask something He will listen and He has the ability to do it.

He is the author and perfecter of our faith.

He is a loving father.

He is a friend who is more faithful than any friend on the planet.

He knows my sorrows, He has carried my pain, He has born my sins, He carried my iniquities.

And He is not through with me yet.