Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sometimes It Flows

My greatest heart's desire would be to be able to speak consistently and publicly for Christ. I don't mean in just the one on one lay sense, but professionally even. It is an awesome thing to stand before a group of people fully dependant on the Lord and have opportunity to share about the Lord and the Good News. It helps that I know, that I know that I know, that this is definitely one of the gifts He has given me.

Unfortunately, it is not a place where doors seem currently open for me, but I am honestly ok with that, because I know He is in charge, and in His perfect time and way, He will open the doors.

A lot of people refer to my writing as my greatest gift, but I happen to know, although it is absolutely a gift from Him, it isn't my primary one, although it may be in the top two or three. But the problem with my writing is, I am far more apt to get into the midst of it and mess things up. Unlike when I get the chance to speak, where the dependence is completely on Him, because once it's been said, it's done and out there, with my writing, there is time and opportunity to mull it over and make my own edits and changes that aren't necessarily the way the Lord would have it given.

Now, to be clear, I am by no means saying every time I speak it's a God thing, the fact is, it would be far better if He had total control of the edit feature in that scenario! However, I can honestly say that because of the way the Lord opened the world of speaking for/about Him, I know full well that the process of it is "Prepare, prepare, prepare" (which means plenty of study and even more prayer) but when it all comes down to it, my final prayer before walking on a stage or in front of a room full of people is always' John the Baptist's prayer, "Lord may I decrease that You may increase." And I trust in God's promise to Moses, that if I open my mouth, He will show up and speak. And faithfully, He always has, because I know, bottom line, if just one person is touched and ministered to, then I served my purpose. And I know if He isn't going to show up for me specifically, there is always someone there He will show up for.

However, having said all that, I can honestly say that there are times with my writing, that He is just as in charge as when I get the opportunity to speak. Sometimes, it just flows. When things come pouring out of you, in a good way, it's always been my experience, that it is an overflow of the good work of the Holy Spirit.

This past week has been a powerfully filling week for me. And I have been different, and responded to things differently, and I know it is because I have been abiding. This morning though, after I dropped the kids off at school, I had the first inkling of my "level" having dropped just a little below full on the gauge. Nothing "happened" I just had this sense of need for Him, like I missed what I have been experiencing. And I began to pray about it. I don't want the things the Lord has been doing in me to be a brief afterglow to a good week of prayer and fasting. I long for it to be a work of change to give Him great glory.

As I drove to the bank before heading to work, words began to flow. As I had to sit outside waiting for the bank to open, I grabbed a pen and paper and I wrote down the poem the Lord gave me. I know a lot of people question the wisdom of sharing these creations without proper copyright coverage, but the fact is, I know when it flows out like that, it's not just meant for me. The gift to write them isn't mine, the words themselves do not belong to me. They are for the good of God's people, and for His glory, so I have no choice but to share them and hope they are a blessing to many, but I also know if it ministers to just one, then it will serve its purpose. I hope it ministers to you.


My heart wants to wander,
My eyes grow too weary to heed,
My own flesh tries to prevent me,
From my soul’s sole greatest need.

My soul longs for Your presence,
I need to just sit at Your feet,
That Your Spirit may pour into my want,
And make my satisfaction in You complete.

Circumstances will conspire against it,
The fellowship of my heart with Yours,
The enemy of my soul seeks to destroy it,
But my spirit deep within continually implores,

“Father, help me overcome every obstacle,
That hinders my path to You,
Help me lay aside this life’s cares,
And bask in the knowledge of what’s true.

You called me to a greater purpose,
Than what I see before my eyes,
You have a plan to use me,
To break through all the lies.”

Lies that say we don’t matter,
That there is no God who cares,
Must be shattered by Your lovingkindness,
That Your love may reveal You are there.

You’re reaching out to each one of us,
Calling us ever closer to Your heart,
For it is Your greatest longing,
Of Your family and purpose all would be a part.

I know You gave Your all,
So we could fellowship as one,
No thing did you withhold,
Not even Your Precious Son,

Yet still my heart longs to wander,
My flesh and my will, they fail,
But I cling to the hope I have,
That Your purpose will prevail.

You are my strength and my hope,
So my heart must persevere,
And as I reach out in my weakness,
I know You’ll meet me here.

My weary head, You’ll lift,
And look into my face,
With gentle words You remind me,
In Your plan, I have a place.

So in my weakness of flesh,
My spirit cries out in hope to You,
Knowing no matter how I may struggle,
Your love and promises hold true.

- Diana DePriest
© September 14, 2010

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:26

Sunday, September 12, 2010

So Fast

This past week my pastor called our church to a time of prayer and fasting.

It's my belief that fasting is something that really has to be done with the right intentions and purposes. I have many times considered or even started a fast only to be out of determination by dinner time. I've thought about doing fasts because it would be a good way to start a diet, or because I would have some other ulterior motivation, and never, ever would it work out or last.

Only once in my life did I ever experience a truly successful fast. Maybe that's a word to my spiritual condition? But I don't think so, what I really think is that the source behind a truly successful fast has to be the Lord. It has to be something He initiates, or at the very least, He sustains. Yes, it is our discipline, but it is by His strength.

The first successful fast I experienced was back in the fall of 2003. 2 1/2 years in to Ethan's adoption a birth father came back into the picture and battled us to regain custody. In the heat of the stress and battle I awoke in the middle of the night and as I lay in bed in my room in the dark, I heard the Lord tell me to fast for three days, so I did. I sailed through the process, and when it was finally over, within a matter of days everything turned around in E's adoption. God purposed it, initiated it and sustained it, and it was successful and effective.

This time there was no personal waking in the middle of the night, but when I heard my pastor's call to it, as I thought/ prayed about it, my thought was, that we are called to submit to our spiritual leaders. I felt like the fact that that's where my mind was led, was that the Lord was encouraging me to submit to my pastor's direction, and participate in the fast, so I did.

We were called to 4 days of prayer and fasting, and each night, Tuesday through Thursday, there was a prayer meeting at church. As a family we decided to go on a media fast. We had no TV on and no computer time except for one hour a day (Neal and I have been watching Big Brother, and we didn't want to get behind.) In addition to the family fast I decided to fast food.

Because of a medical condition that I have, I do have some blood sugar issues. My blood sugar can take sudden dips and drops. A while back when I was consistently drinking vitamin waters that had lots of carbohydrates in them, I was super sickly and sluggish. So I had an interesting combination of challenges with needing some sugars to keep my blood sugar from dropping too low, but also I could not consistently drink juices or vitamin waters because too much sugar raises my insulin level too high, and then my level drops even lower.

So my solution to this challenge was drinking primarily water, and when I would feel my blood sugar drop and get the woozy off kilter feeling, I would take a swig of fruit juice to try to level things out. It worked pretty well. I never finished more than a single can/ bottle of juice on any given day.

Unlike the other fast I felt called to, I didn't sail through, but it was much easier than I expected. I had moments of really low blood sugar when I would feel dizzy, almost drunk like or sluggish, but I was able to bounce back.

Unlike the first fast, when I knew exactly what I was seeking God for, it was a specific seeking for a specific prayer, this time, I was just seeking Him. I didn't have a specific agenda in my prayers, I just sought the Lord. When I would go to the prayer meetings at church, I would pray the specific directions we were led in, but on my own, I didn't have an agenda, or want list I was following, I just sought Him.

Wednesday evening my "partner" in the fast got really sick and she had to eat Thursday. I was torn between wanting to quit too, and then not wanting to because I didn't want her to feel bad that I did. In the end, I persevered. But I can't take any credit. Sincerely, I know apart from the strength of the Lord, I would never have made it through. I felt my flesh rise again and again, and I would feel the Lord helping me press through.

It was a long week physically, but emotionally, it was a rise and fall week that made my blood sugar seem static. As I sought Him, He sought to do a lot of work in me.

He spoke, He convicted, He revealed.

He touched places that have been untouched for a long time. Did work I didn't even realize I needed done.

I had some amazing times of prayer. I had moments where I would feel His presence fall mightily.

Throughout the whole week I felt like what I imagine someone on a mountain climb might feel. Ascending an incline, you can't see the summit, and yet you know it's there and you know you're drawing closer. As you press on through challenging resistance, you push through the pain and discomfort because you know you're almost there. Someone climbing a high mountain peak, when you reach the summit, the entire view will change. Standing on the top, looking out at a valley down below, getting a distant view of where the journey on will lead.

I picture this sense of looking down and seeing the generality of what lies ahead, but not being able to fully comprehend the intimacy of the terrain, or city that is below. Atop the mountain, the journey isn't over, but you've reached a turning point in the journey. That is the way I feel about the last week. I by no means have reached an ultimate destination, but there is an exhilaration in having gotten to the place I did this past week. It was an arrival of sorts in that I pressed through a difficult stretch of my longer journey, and I can sort of see off in the distance this beautiful place up ahead, a place I know I want to go. And as I look around, I realize, "I got here, I can keep going."

This week was a crazy emotional week. Super highs, and painful lows, times when I felt like I could soar, and times when I felt like a puddle someone ought to just mop up and dispose of, or maybe already had. But in the end, the Lord had done a good work.

Friday night at the last prayer meeting, as I closed my eyes to sing during worship, I had this strange sensation, as though I were taller. I literally felt like I was greater in stature. It was like the Lord had removed something that had been weighing me down. Perhaps he took off a pack that I should not carry for the next leg of the journey that still waits ahead. A leg I look forward to with anticipation. God's going to continue the good work He has begun, because He promised He would. (Philippians 1:6)

Saturday evening my honorary kid who I hadn't seen much during the difficult week came and hung out with us. As he sat next to me at the Angel game he stopped me to speak. He said, "I don't want this to sound wrong, or prideful or anything, but you're different." It was a high compliment, and I took it that way.

I pray it is truly a lasting change. I pray it's not just an afterglow. What I sense in my spirit, I long for it to last. It has been a good work this week, and all the work of the Lord.