John and Bethany Arndt

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Diaries of a Cray-Cray White Woman

September 13th, 2013 by | Leave a comment

PART I OF II

Where have I been? What have we been up to? Why haven’t I blogged in over 11 months… Why haven’t you seen me in South Africa or the USA?

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I will tell you right now.

Sullivan was born 9 months ago. My brand-new baby boy was finally here, but pre-birth was the hardest season of my life (thus far). The first four months of pregnancy, I was so nauseously sick that I was not functional.  I also had extensive throbbing joint pain (RA), burning Fibromyalga pain through out my whole body, radiating rib pain, and an aching tailbone, all with having to stop my normal medicines for pregnancy. Yes, I carried a Walgreen’s donut pillow everywhere to sit on…  I also left it in many places having to send John to abashedly return to get it. I put the most neutral, non-attention grabbing pillowcase on it, trying to disguise what looked like some weird toilet bowl devise for an invalid. I could not work my first trimester, we left for the US (2012) for my 2nd trimester and I threw up the last time as my parent’s picked us up from the airport and we drove to their house. Escaping the Cape Town winter felt so relieving, and the nauseous stage of pregnancy aside which felt like a 4 month long nightmare, was even more relieving. While in the US, I received miraculous healing for reoccurring pain in my back, and the majority of my Fibromyalgia symptoms (this was major and did decrease my pain), but I could not yet rejoice.

In the 3rd trimester my C1, C2 & C3 vertebrae kept coming out of place, due to my jaw pulling them out. The chiro would adjust, but it seemed in vain: for instance, I would stop in Masi on the way home, sitting in the car turning left to face a friend and listen to her distraught heart, my neck would pull out of place before I even got home (from looking left). The adjustment’s falling out happened over and over. I stopped paying for the chiro and this dysfunction resulted in migraines & inability to sleep, which I was trying to do a lot because it hurt to sit up straight with the ribs & the tailbone issues. I was lucky if I made it past 7pm each day. A lack of sleep exacerbated all of these things.  I have struggled with the TMJ affecting my neck, head, shoulders and jaw for 8 years, and 4 years of fibro & RA.. and I just some how always pushed through (minus the ribs & tailbone, my sweet son gets the credit for that).

I have learned now that my pushing through was taking place a lot out of my own strength, but not His. I felt like I was trapped in a prison and pleading for my release. I tried to work as much as I could my third trimester but it was filled with anxiety, I think as a result of the physical & emotional stress climaxing over 8 years of chronic pain. I never dealt with anxiety in my life. The Lord had mercy and gave us our son 2 weeks early; labor & delivery was a breeze compared to the pregnancy. In fact the worst pain during this experience was what I felt in my head/jaw/neck & shoulders… because of the strain and position of the bed I was in; epidural definitely in use! Don’t judge me Oregonian, natural birthing maniacs. ; )

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Sullivan (Keen Eyes) Bowen (Bow Warrior) – “I will send an unexpected arrow and the enemy will suddenly be wounded.” (psalm 64

Post birth my own personal strength had just plain run out; this was a new experience for me, being strength-less. I am not gonna lie, if you know me well or have followed my blog I was expecting full physical healing when Sullivan was born. In Dec 2010, God spoke that He would heal me in Dec 2012; for those who don’t hear God this specifically or (think) you don’t hear Him at all, I understand the skepticism. But He also said we would get pregnant in April (which we did) and the baby would be born Dec 2012 (the healing date He gave two years prior- was our due date!)… there was much prayer and many other “confirming” things to fuel my expectation. After all, the intense Fibro pain was healed during pregnancy… John & I wanted a family but physical healing for me was the main motivation for becoming pregnant so early in our marriage. This was coming from a place of experience seeing the power and wonders of Jesus on a daily basis. We have seen major physical/spiritual/and emotional healing distributed by Jesus, channeled through us & our community all the time. My faith also came from a history of hearing Him direct & instruct me, often with potentially risky outcomes;  yet I obey, and the benefits are exactly what was promised. But letting myself get pregnant with the state of my health was terrifying. I couldn’t imagine the demands of being a parent coexisting with the pain I was in daily. Jesus once said, that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  I truly survived on the Psalms, needing to “eat” sometimes 3 to 4 times a day during my pregnancy, just to get through the day with hope & expectation of coming relief.

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This was my own photo shoot gone wrong.. yes I look like the poster mom for child neglect here. 

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My mom & dad visited us in South Africa, two weeks after Sullivan was born. 

Finally, Sullivan Bowen was born, and the neck/head/jaw/shoulder pain abated for a few days post delivery & so did the RA… I was battling normal hormonal emotions & anxiety still but cautiously thought, “I heard right! He did it!” – But then my neck/head/jaw/shoulder pain returned within days and the RA came back with a vengeance and I was devastated… Being a mental health professional, I knew I was struggling with mild post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the intensity of the pregnancy, of which a psychiatrist confirmed, in addition to PPD (Post Pardum Depression). I was now facing not just the lack of a conclusion to debilitating pain, but adding another responsibility to the life that already felt too difficult, caring for my very own human being.

Worst of all, I had to face a feeling of betrayal by the Lord. After all I was only following what Jesus taught, the whole ask- knock- keep asking stuff… and the repetitive stuff about expectation in receiving what you asked, in addition to the “if you abide in me… delight in me, your desires are my desires implications…”  The crowning horror of it all was the feeling of being so misled by Him. I would never have built up such unlikely expectations had He not specifically implied them, over & over, not just in my own head but through many unsolicited words from others. Me not hearing Him (as intimately as I had presumed), meant I didn’t know Him as well as I thought; we didn’t “commune” as deep as I thought. That I couldn’t depend on & delight in our abiding relationship as much as I thought I could. The rug was pulled out from under me. The intensity of this disappointment lasted at least a month or two. Of course, I simultaneously battled feeling so feeble in faith that I would actually be disgruntled with the King of Kings, who can do whatever He pleases, including changing His plans and who is beyond worthy of my affection, regardless of if He met my expectations or not.

During my first couple months of maternity leave, originally only 3 months, Baby Safe was an invisible weight on my subconscious shoulders… We put plans in place for me not to be needed, as my “responsibility” factor has been incredibly mismanaged over the years.. plus my investment in so many cases, scenarios, community relationships, and team oversight was very difficult to just “turn off.” I ended up having to remove my email from my phone, have my beautiful (temporary) volunteer assistant take command of all of my emails and become a human force field fighting of Baby Safe team members from asking me questions of any sort. The timing of her service in South Africa was divine. I kind of went into a unibomber, shut in mode, minus the explosives.  She didn’t even let me hear whispers of the happenings going on, although I still eavsdropped. I was lucky that I even heard about a baby left in our safe, while I was on leave. This separation was totally needed and extremely helpful, although contrary to my “I can push through, multi-task, handle anything, and want to be there for my team,” norm.

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 Christine Bizzell my lifesaver assistant, Oklahoman International Volunteer, Organizational, Servant Hearted Extraordinare. 

I then felt the Lord instructing rather loudly that I needed to take an extended amount of leave past the 3 months. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborer labors in vein.” In the same passage He goes on to say that children are a gift from the Lord. These two genuine points seem unrelated to be in the same Psalm, but who am I to judge David’s poems?  Originally this seemed totally irresponsible and an incredibly uncomfortable notion. But caring for Sullivan was proving eazy-peazy… this mothering an infant thing was nothing compared to the problem solving, and energy I had been putting out in ministry while enduring pain, even at my 50% output level because of my health. The idea of an extended time of responsibilitylessness (yes I just made up a word) was intensely relieving, and I knew I needed it: emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

So with the approval of the Baby Safe board, after informing our supporters & the team, I extended my leave through now.. September, the return from our USA trip. Once this decision was made, ironically my body got even worse but my heart grew so peaceful. I’ve learned (& my psychiatrist confirmed) that after extensive periods of stress (8 years plus 10 terrible months in my case!!), once the body relaxes, the immune system can crash. This was when the RA got even worse… intense throbbing in every single joint, now in my feet, hips, my knees, my hands, my ribs where they connect to my sternum in the front and back (this time not because a human was growing inside me). RA is an auto-immune disease, so it perceives the tissue in my joints as a foreign invader and attacks them, resulting in severe inflammation in my case. After birth hormones wore off and I could start pain medication again, I did not feel emotionally depressed or anxious anymore, just physically weak. There would be times I did not leave the house for 6 days at a time. I had no interest in socializing; for some reason I had felt like I had just been through war and wanted to literally lay down as often as possible. But knowing I had an extended time off, where all I had to do was wake up and take care of my sweet baby boy each day, brought me tears of relief several times over. Of course there were many days when I couldn’t even do that and these often graciously fell on a weekends or days when John could easily rearrange his schedule.

Over these months I processed many things; two years ago I started working part time physically because of my health, but mentally I worked overtime. My mind was regularly operating in a hyper-vigilant mode of leadership, driven by excellence, wanting to shepherd well, disciple well, inspire fruit-bearing in others, make sure we were constantly improving and being effective in our mission… but while I could see what I wanted to happen, I was not capable of seeing it all through. My mental & emotional space never let up from trying, or else feeling incredible stressed from not meeting others expectations and much worse, my own. I value dependability so highly, and I was anything but dependable, never knowing if I was going to be able to get out of bed the next day, if I could keep my appointments each day.

During this time I was wrestling with what I thought I had been promised, complete physical healing which would effect every department of my life, especially the JOY & PEACE department.. this is when the Lord revealed to me that when He said He would heal me two years ago, within two years, His exact words were..” I will remove the yoke from around your neck.. within two years the yoke will no longer remain…” (an abstract verse in Isaiah, not referenced often). I asked Him  to confirm the two year thing, because I had been sitting on the edge of my seat for healing for several years now. He constantly affirmed that He would, and being a part of a spiritual community that prayed for me and contended for me constantly, it was just going to be helpful to have a timeline. I have never been one to stop trying to find the answers. And thankfully, so thankfully He has never been one to withhold them from me (to an extent). He immediately gave me two other random scripture references that had the phrases “two years” in them. This word formed the foundation of my belief in the timing of my healing… even the word regarding my neck, which was the longest standing and worst pain I dealt with, of course made me interpret this healing as being physical.

What He revealed this year was that the “yoke around my neck” was actually “responsibility.” It was emotional and mental healing He was giving me, which was going to lead to a new physical disposition. He has made me to be responsible and see every puzzle piece of the big picture, to identify the void in various details, and problem solve to meet them. To hold fiercely those lives He has given me to steward, and I have always been capable and confident in figuring out any crisis scenario, relational issues, and forging new paths where there were none before. Now, at this stage of life I really thought I had the trusting God thing down… I mean John & I didn’t ask anyone for personal support for a whole year and a half, asking Him only for our daily needs and our big ones too. The support always came in. The Lord provided like clockwork (okay it wasn’t like clockwork, that just sounded good),  but it almost always was at least 24 hrs before it was needed. Our account would shrink to $5 but get replenished with a bit more the next day, always enough for what was needed. Our faith and trust in the Lord grew so unified and strong; a beautiful foundation for our marriage & lifestyle together. I thought I trusted Him in so many of the details….and even in moving mountains, which I had seen Him do in Baby Safe lives over and over. My love story with John had been an immense faith & trust journey, one that I would never advise anyone I was mentoring to follow me in. But things turned out just as the Lord has said and I am convinced no one else could love me better than John Arndt. Yet there was of course a whole new well of trust He had been waiting to dig.

But here I was, “will I still trust Him even when It seems He didn’t do what He clearly promised? That I waited so hopefully and intensely for?…” and He didn’t seem to do what I felt was essential to carrying on in life. Job had it right, “Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him.”  I won’t be as dramatic as to compare myself to Job or anything… I just was understanding and living that line a bit more. I was determined to not be so simple-minded as to think I wasn’t susceptible to misunderstanding the how and when of the promise. This trust was the kind that would be okay when the ball dropped. That it wasn’t up to me to prevent bad outcomes, this was His job. Elementary, I know. I knew He would catch the ball if I dropped one, but I held all the balls so tight anyways so they were not going to drop. But who was I kidding, He doesn’t need me in this way, not in the least. Everything is not all up to me. Yes, very egotistical at its core.

This emotional/mental posture contributed to a lot of years of a lot of subconscious stress, clearly damaging my body. I had already known how to make boundaries and say no, this was not an issue… it was how I held the figurative balls He had assigned to me…I should have been handing them over for Him to carry immediately after he first handed them to me. If this was always done then they were never at risk of dropping or if one did “seem” to drop, things were still going to work for His glory and my (others) greater good.  Yes, yes, clearly this was a lot of inner healing and revelations that I don’t expect many to fully understand, but I came to them with the help of the Holy Spirit and others.

After I asked the Lord to “remove the yoke of responsibility” (which included feeling responsible for other’s feelings and expectations), being released from my own expectations and devoting my course to only come under the Lord’s expectations for me each day, the headache I had on the left side of my head almost 24/7 for almost 8 years, went from a super-engrossing to mild. It was always “referred” pain from my neck. I realized my neck, shoulders, jaw, & head muscles had been in severe spasm with myofacial pain for years because of this hyper vigilant state I have lived in. Nearly every job I have had in the last 10 plus years required me to be “on call,” always ready to respond to a myriad of situations. I thrived & excelled at this. I was gifted in this, so why was it causing so much damage?…I was beginning to understand; He was never silent, constantly engaging my questions and revealing truth. Nonetheless, the RA raged on, and the fatigue began to lift slightly, as I made sure to get 10-12 hrs of sleep a night, what my body needed. Only a woman married to John Arndt can do this with a newborn infant.

Before we left for the the States, I got down to only one bad flare day a week – it was all activity related, and I felt it was controlled. I literally did nothing except feed, clothe & play with Sully. I certainly did not feel energized, but at least the pain was being controlled. But would I ever get back to normal life? Going to the store or going on a walk inevitably caused an intense flare the next day. Just before leaving for the US, close friends in our community prayed over me for a couple hours. My jaw was realigned halfway by the tangible power of God in my body as they prayed, and my heart dramatically refreshed with hope, peace, and expectation, regardless of little physical change otherwise.

Once we got here to the US in June, the pain gradually became less controlled, getting to the point of me being bed ridden every other day with throbbing, inflamed joints and very little strength; once again activity induced. This was even as we traveled state to state. Thankfully my spirit was strong and my heart at peace; these last months I just simply (or not so simply) let go of all my expectations in life -ha! Sounds depressing, but it was actually very freeing & peace-producing. Not knowing how or when, but trusting at a whole new depth that He was sovereign, and that He wanted healing for my spirit and soul, not just my body. When He withholds something you think is essential, its because He actually has something better He wants to give you. This revelation was clear.

But O the patience… He is so intent on the virtue of patience, and there is a tremendous difference between enduring and persevering.  I have started to ask Him why patience is so important to Him; I am studying it still, but think it actually has a lot to do with love. That will be a blog to come, no doubt. Enduring & persevering may seem the same, but they are not. Perseverance has to do with the heart posture during “long- suffering”, while endurance is literally having to push through because there are no other options.

Post-disappointment, the goal had become delighting in Him, not what He does or doesn’t do… my pursuit has been to receive fresh revelation of the value of His presence. That is something we can always depend on… always.

Have you ever asked for God to reveal to you the VALUE of His presence? Once you tap into this, NOTHING else matters…every problem seems insignificant compared to the worth of Him being with you, (within you) it means so much more than most of us realize. The ONE whose words constructed the universe is actually on your side, & more than that, He longs to engage with you. He is in all the BIG things and the minutia of everyday. The actual meaning & benefits of His presence goes beyond our soul’s comprehension, but so worth it’s attempt. At times, it can seem His presence is good for nothing (just being candid). We are deceived into not seeing, knowing, feeling or believing in the preciousness of His presence and all the byproducts it includes.

But that is why the apostle Paul writes, ” I have learned the SECRET to being content in plenty and in want, for never will He leave me.” The writer of Hebrews had the same revelation… “Let your [a]character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] [b]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor [c]give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [d][I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor [e]let [you] down ([f]relax My hold on you)! [[g]Assuredly not!]

Did you catch that? “Assuredly not!” I love how emphatic He is in this translation (The Amplified). So what is so great about Him being with us? I encourage you to dive into figuring that one out for yourself, but I am learning the pleasures are unending. Wouldn’t it be nice to literally be content in plenty & in want? Bedridden or healthy & thriving? Sleeping under a bridge or in a penthouse on the 60th floor? Successful at what you have poured your life into, or unemployed and grappling for significance? Happily married with healthy, gorgeous children or single, alone and longing with desires yet-to-be-fulfilled?

How many of our worries, plights, and concerns have to do with our own unhappiness or discomfort? When we grab hold of the value of His presence.. sheesh….life can occur as it may, as we rest in the hammock next to the palm trees, knowing all the byproducts will come when the Sovereign Lord of all is with us. Quite frankly, who are we to say how God is most glorified, in sickness or health? (I love to say “quite frankly”, try it sometime.) I can’t say, but what I can declare is that is my daily aim, my life’s purpose is to bring Him glory. Sometimes submission of the heart ebbs & flows but may it always settle in a vertical direction.

glo·ry  (glôr, glr)n. pl. glo·ries

1. Great honor, praise, or distinction accorded by common consent; renown.
2. Something conferring honor or renown.
3. A highly praiseworthy asset: Your wit is your crowning glory.
4. Adoration, praise, and thanksgiving offered in worship.
5. Majestic beauty and splendor; resplendence: The sun set in a blaze of glory.
6. The splendor and bliss of heaven; perfect happiness.
7. A height of achievement, enjoyment, or prosperity: ancient Rome in its greatest glory.

So we are nearing the end of our 3 months stay in the US. It was meant to be 2 months but the Lord had other plans and we excepted them. In fact, I was relieved for Him to direct us to stay longer, as we waited for the worst of winter to pass in Cape Town. One that is often 5 layers of clothes cold, Ugg boots on in bed, rainy and wet, with no heat in the houses, while your heart is troubled by the conditions your friends are living in, in the shacks around the block. This weather had always worsened my condition severely.

So our mission the last three months, or I should say John’s, was to raise up prayer support and intercessors for the Muslim movement happening among a certain people group in sub-Saharan Africa… Hundreds are experiencing miracles and being taught to follow Jesus in small house groups. Every spontaneous multiplication of Jesus followers has not happened without a massive prayer force behind it. If you know Church history, think about it. We also (of course) wanted quality time with both our families and I, still being in low functioning, dismantle mode, had the mission of staying alive and gripping tight to Joy in Him and my family as I waited for strategy for the future of Baby Safe and healing for my body.

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It was sheer joy for us to introduce our families to Sullivan. 

We hit 8 states on our journey, NY, OR, CA, NB, IL, OK, MO, & NV. John shared at many groups & churches about the Muslim movement, but I spoke at only one church about Baby Safe. If I came to a city near you and did not initiate connecting, it was for all of the above reasons… truly very little life force to do so. Although if you know me, you will trust that I LOVE to CONNECT, and truly wish I was able to.

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I did manage a bridesmaid position in my dear friend Katie’s wedding, in upstate NY where we started our journey.

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We enjoyed a week in Sunriver, Oregon with the infamous extended O’Connor family

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Sullivan with his cousins (my cousin’s babies), all born within 4 moths of each other. 

Every place we went, we had no funds to leave where we just arrived. We called it our own Luke 10 journey, when Jesus sent out the 72 to heal & share, and take “no purse” with them.  Well, we had no purse, but it wasn’t intentional and we were amazed as usual; i.e. at the random $400 that would be given by other missionaries the night before we were scheduled to pick up the rental car and stay at a hotel at our next destination. Knowing Kingdom principles we preferred to raise prayer support for this movement than funds for our own living expenses. But we don’t recommend this method to others. These instances happened every few days, including  free places to stay when we had none, a random old friend of John’s offering her car for us to use for a whole week to take out of state, faithful supporters sending their checks a bit late which meant it was exactly on time for us to get baby food at the store & and adult food for that matter. And other supporters offering to cover rental cars & plane tickets.

We prayed, planned, either rejected or at times embraced stress, and His mercy and goodness followed us. We experienced laying hands on others and seeing a dislocated shoulder healed, marriages nurtured and challenged, relationships receive His kingdom of righteousness, joy & peace. At my parent’s church which I spoke at, I prayed for cancer, RA, Fibro, TMJ, knees, ankles, and a few other things (there were two services) and I heard at least over a dozen experienced healing that morning. We layed hands on a dear friend with brain & lung cancer.. her next MRI showed the brain lesions completely gone (!) and the CT showed her lung tumors had shrunk.  It’s my passion to bless the wombs of other women, especially when there are babies in them. I had the privilege of praying over one gal struggling with years of infertility & weeks later she is pregnant! John had the joy of gathering young and passionate believers and casting new visions of how they can reach their coworkers, family and friends with the tangible kingdom. He grabbed a Chili’s server to share a picture of how God is beckoning him. I face-booked the girl I met on the river to share a picture of God’s emotional healing for her. We hugged and prayed over a sobbing Canadian woman in the Las Vegas airport, releasing peace & comfort…Freely we have received so freely we give.

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We were blessed with a luxurious, baby-free 5 nights, anniversary get away in Las Vegas! Yes, one week before rent was due.. but we have this “Manna” principle down. We spent it relaxing to the max, but we specifically asked the Lord for a get away to pray into His next season for us. Yes, we did a prayer retreat in “sin city,” get over it. ; )  There was a lot to bring to Him and hear from Him. And in case you were leaning towards the irresponsibility of it all,  He provided 100% of our rent cost to send on time.

Psalm 44:8 In God we have made our boast all the day long, and we will give thanks to Your name forever.

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We enjoyed a week of Arndt family togetherness in Kansas City.

Those who wait and wait and wait and wait and wait (and WAIT) on the Lord will renew their strength. I feel my strength being renewed, finally. I seriously am turning a corner (I’ll explain more about that in another blog on essential oils!! -PART II) and this last week in the US I am actually able to do what I need to before we leave. I was gone for 7 hours straight the other day…  that was unheard of for the last several years.  I am writing for those who have prayed with me, cried with me, joined our journey and “held up my arms” when I  couldn’t hold them up anymore. My prayer is that with my heart and mind in a new posture, with my body responding to “the healing oils of power & light” ; ) that I can continue to direct Baby Safe on a part time basis, cautious of my output, and also withdraw and end using prescription drugs eventually.

Isaiah 30:18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

We leave for Cape Town in 48hrs, with deeply thankful hearts & excitement about the next season. This was my earnest prayer that I would be energized and excited about transitioning back into ministry, and even 6 weeks ago the idea seemed so unlikely. If you have hung on this long, thank you for your interest in our lives and stay tuned for a post about what has helped me miraculously feel better; inflammation radical low and energy shockingly high for my standards.

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* If there was was a lot of Christianese in this and you don’t speak it, I am so sorry for that.. i.e. glory, manna, kingdom, psalms, eating scriptures, disciple, etc

*Also if your confused/concerned about my potential hyper spiritualism or you really are thinking of me as a cray-cray, white, woman now, let me give you some food for thought. Consider that its possible that you too were born with a spirit that either loudly or quietly thirsts for purpose, significance, affection, and peace. Along with this, imagine that the only form of permanently quenching this thirst was possible; through communion with another Spirit, so much greater than yourself, a Holy one. To discuss further email me, bethany@thebabysafe.org.

541782_10153156927650510_1822050863_nTo learn more about how we are preventing baby dumping, intervening with abandoned babies, supporting pregnant women in crisis, and empowering moms in need in South Africa, visit www.thebabysafe.org 

 

Its okay to grow weary.

October 18th, 2012 by | Leave a comment

Its okay to grow weary.

What have I learned from waiting? I’m always trying to discern the value. I don’t want to miss a thing, if only for a selfish motive: that it might shorten the wait time,  or prevent a future “training opportunity” because I didn’t grasp it the first time.

I’ve learned to put all my reliance on what He says and not on what I see, hear, or feel.

I’ve learned that peace can come through hope and not just relief.

I’ve learned that while His ways are not my own, I can respect and revere them because I know His heart and His character.

I’ve learned that hope deferred does make the heart sick, but (thankfully) through His spirit, my hope can be energized on an hourly basis.

I’ve learned that there is no triumph more deeply felt than the ones we have to wait and labor for extensively. This converts to the type of worship that touches Him the most.

I’ve learned that there is nothing that deepens relationship more than sharing pain with someone and being comforted by them; and if relationship is the actual goal then suffering can be a beautiful thing.

I’ve learned that friendship with God should not be based own what He does for me, or even what I give to and do for Him. A healthy relationship includes just being together and enjoying one another. It involves presence more than exchange. I’ve learned that my desire of what He has promised should not trump my desire for Him alone.

I have learned that when I am longing for just a simple apple and He withholds it, it is because He is preparing a banqueting table, perfectly detailed and set up right in front of my drooling enemy; where my cup will overflow and the satisfaction will be unearthly.

I’ve learned that being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer is a full time job; and when the joy wavers and wanes, and the patience flat lines, that it doesn’t effect His banner over me, nor does it nullify the promise.

I’ve learned that its okay to grow weary.

 

Miraculous Healing #2

October 1st, 2012 by | Leave a comment

Over a year ago I met a lady in YWAM who explained that her Fibromyalgia was healed after doing a treatment called NET (Neuro Emotional Treatment). She said her symptoms vanished and she got her life back; she could cook and clean for her family again and her pain totally subsided. A few months later a friend from The States was here and was talking about how she did the same NET and her chronic back pain from a car accident was also healed.

After praying on it for a year and mostly waiting for the next time we went back to the states, where it is offered, I knew I was supposed to do it. It wasn’t just the testimonies of these two people but words the Lord has told me about healing me “spirit, soul, and body.” I found a Jesus following practitioner in Tulsa who is  set up two weeks work of appointments for when we were going to be there.

Over the last 7 years I have seen a half dozen physical therapists, three different TMJ specialists, a couple Osteopaths, a Rhuematologist, several general physicians, an Endocrinologist, multiple chiropractors,  a dozen massage therapists; have tried cranio sacral therapy, body stress release, homeapathy, acupuncture, sugar free & gluten free diet, exercise, dozens of drugs, counseling, a part time work schedule, and TONS of PRAYER (I mean tons!). Many of these things have helped but nothing has given me the in depth results like NET.

In a nut shell, NET is a mind-body technique that uses a methodology of finding and removing neurological imbalances related to the physiology of unresolved stress.  NET is a tool that can help improve many behavioral and physical conditions. It is actually quite fascinating the way that it is done, but its difficult to explain. Ultimately the procedure does two things… 1) Identifies substances that your body is not processing correctly (i.e. foods, hormone, vitamins & minerals) and 2) Through muscle response it identifies current & past emotional stressors that caused a pysiological response that has contributed to chronic pain or disease.

For instance, I learned that people who live in chronic pain are actually much more sensitive to new sources of pain. During assessment I showed to react to a specific pain hormone called Keflin (sp?). Four weeks before we cleared this substance I started having extreme pain in my tailbone and surrounding muscles. I soon discovered it was due to pregnancy, from the baby’s head being down there moving things around. I was still so perplexed because the amount of pain and discomfort I was experience did not seem consistent with just the baby’s small head being there. I had to tote a donut pillow around every where we went. I could hardly sit longer than 15 mins, had to lay down a lot to relieve the pressure, and had to stop exercising. I was completely miserable and disheartened that I was having yet another source of pain that may last through the whole pregnancy! Well, the day we cleared this pain hormone the tailbone pain went from an 8 to a 2 or 3. Its like now I probably feel the discomfort like a normal pregnant person would. I noticed this difference immediately.

A couple years ago I realized that every job I have had, including during college could be perceived as high stress, I was “on call” for almost everyone, encountering crisis situations on a daily basis. Mentally for me, these environments were normal. I functioned well under pressure, I rarely considered myself mentally stressed. But my body was experiencing something totally different, always in a state of being on call, ready to respond. Over the years I realized that because I am so much more a thinker than feeler, among other reasons, I have totally suppressed negative emotions and these having gone  under appreciated have also contributed to physical dysfunction. The NET identified specific events that  affected me physiologically and then quite simply as I was thinking of the emotions, the doctor adjusted my spine, as I held the substance – total craziness I admit. Even the identification process of events was cray cray, it was dependent on my muscle response not my memory. This process was actually really powerful in helping me recognize the need to process emotions healthily, and it initiated a new level of emotional healing for me.

I did 8 sessions of NET and within 2 weeks started feeling hugely different. Muscle Pain is just the cornerstone of Fibro but it has involved a lot more; sleep difficulties, profound exhaustion, digestive problems, among several other issues. I was taking 3 pain pills a day, even during pregnancy (under my Dr’s supervision). Even if one wore off in the middle of the night, I would wake up throbbing and take another one. Within 4 weeks of the NET, I was able to completely stop the pills. I have not had to take them anymore. The digestive problems are gone and I have a significant increase in energy. I used to be totally spent by 7pm, opting out of so many social events over the last month I have stayed out until 10-11pm like a normal person.

“Prayer & Medicine go together,” I grew up with my mom often quoting Oral Roberts on this. Its fascinating to see God use practical means to heal. He uses Chemo, heart surgery, and NET to heal but I give him all the credit because He fashioned and formed the people who have developed these interventions based on revelation about the body. His image and fingerprints are enmeshed in all of us. He has given humans His creative power to execute healing through various means.

This is huge in my healing journey but to be honest its been hard to fully celebrate. My longest standing problem is pain in my head/face/neck & jaw. This has been out of control since we got back to South Africa ( 4 weeks ago). My neck vertabrae C3 keeps slipping out of place. I have seen the pysio & Chiro twice each and I feel instant relief when its adjusted but within 30 mins its out again. This is the same with prayer, we pray multiple times per day, and tell it to go into place and it totally does ( I physically feel it moving)  but it only lasts 20-30 minutes and slips out, causing constant pain. I am currently living with a heat pack attached to me.  The NET also did not resolve the Rhumetoid Arthritus, so I still have aching/inflammation in my hands, wrists, ankles & feet, these are in addition to pregnancy discomfort, although I must say the rib pain has been so much less over the last two weeks.

On December 23, 2010 the Lord said I would be healed within 2 years. So as you can imagine my hopes are high and my patience is enduring. I do not think it random that our baby is due almost exactly two years from that word, on December 25th. I wanted to share the progress for so many of you who have faithfully prayed for me & also encourage anyone suffering from chronic pain to consider NET; to learn more and find a practitioner near you visit HERE.

The biggest risk of FAITH

September 27th, 2012 by | Leave a comment

*this is written in sequence to the blog below: Are You Looking for Ways to Please God?

When contemplating stepping out in faith, a lot of threats come to mind. But I know for me the biggest one has been the big D word: DISAPPOINTMENT. “What about that time I was expecting this from God and it appeared He did not come through?”

Yes, disappointment, which can result in what’s worse, distrust, is always one of of the greatest risks of stepping out in faith. It’s natural to hesitate in FAITH for this reason. It’s a self preservation mechanism that kicks in, ” if I don’t expect much than I won’t experience hurt and disappointment.”

First of all, there is always going to be this risk, among others. Otherwise it wouldnt be faith. The weight of the risk is the “x factor” that glorifies God. When we choose faith in the midst of the risks we are saying He is worthy enough for me to pay these costs if I am wrong. It’s like Shadrech, Meshach, and Abendego in the book of Daniel. They were required to bow to the idol and were threatened with death by fiery furnace if they did not. There response is the epitome of faith, they said, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17, 18 NIV). Of course this courageous act of faith not only preserved them from being burnt in the flames, it had an exponential impact on God being glorified. The king who mandated that they worship the idol declared that their God was mighty and acceptable to worship, he also promoted the three guys to prestigious positions in the government. The intent and bi-product of faith is God receiving significant glory and us receiving a reward.

Disappointment most often comes from expecting from God what is not in His plan or expecting a different timeframe for Him to accomplish something. There is a key to confidently aligning your faith to the will of God though. This means we can expect from Him what He would love to give and will give, versus arbitrarily asking God for desires that have not come from Him, which He is not obligated to provide. This key can protect you from the ” D” word, which often doesn’t get discussed when we talk about faith.

In John 15 Jesus teaches his followers (including us) how to ensure that we get what we pray for..

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will
live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being
vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in
Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and
I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital
union with Me] you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the
fire, and they are burned. If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words
remain in you and continue to live in your hearts,what whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine. I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me]. If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love. I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and
gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing. (John 15:4-11 AMP)

Did you see it? The key is remaining in a vital and intimate relationship with Jesus. When we are deeply connected, His desires become ours, and that’s why He can say, ” Ask me what ever you want, and I will give it to you.” When our life abides in the vine, our desires are morphed into desiring what He wants. It’s just like in a healthy, intimate marriage, often both spouses end up wanting the same things for their lives together. The husband doesn’t have to convince and get the wife to protect, nurture, and provide for their children; they both want this for their children. Obviously desires can differ in the context of marriage but the Godly picture of marriage through looking at Jesus and His relationship to the Father, is that the wife and husband’s number 1 joy is fulfilling the desires of the other. As it is with the Father and His bride (us) His desire is to satisfy our desires and when we are close to Him and obeying Him, these become one in the same. That’s why he says, ‘pray for whatever you like, and I will do it.”

But How do you know if you are adequately abiding in Him? He touches on this too, ” If you continue to OBEY my instructions, you will abide in My love..” Jesus’ primary instructions are easily summed up for us elsewhere..” Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as your self..” If we are doing this, we are obeying. If we are obeying, we are abiding.. Because the command we are to obey, is actually relational. The command is to LOVE HIM.

Stepping out in faith does not have to be a guessing game but with practice it can become something you feel quite confident about. Because we OBEY, we ABIDE, and therefore we can ask confidently. When we are abiding and obeying, what we want Him to do is what He wants to do… So we initiate a request, we ask, we WAIT, we expect, often there is a season where it looks like the opposite of what we are expecting is happening. But this process all the while a stepping platform to a life that is continually increasing in experiencing His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven; a life that partners with the Holy Spirit to channel His presence and intervention for those around us.

As we progress in our abiding, the objectives of our faith become less and less what we want for him to do for us, and more and more what we long for Him to do in us, in others, in nations, and on the earth. But He loves to start with our personal desires.

There are more factors that can help influence aligning our faith with His will; this includes seeking specific confirmation through His word to affirm that He will do what we ask. For instance,  asking Him for a word or scripture that confirms our pursuit. In fact this is the best and easiest way to bolster faith, especially when circumstance is opposite of what we are expecting. We can also reference the character of God through Jesus, as revealed through the scriptures, in order to blow on our faith for certain things. i.e. ” It is not His will that any man should perish but rather be reconciled to Him.” This helps us confidently ask and expect the salvation of specific people.

NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. (Hebrews 11:1 AMP)

“Anyone can get happy after the miracle has come. Show me someone who celebrates before the answer, and I’ll show you someone who is about to experience the answer. This is the nature of faith—it looks ahead and lives accordingly.” -Hosting the Presence, by Bill Johnson.

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