Joyska's Journal: October 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fire in my bones

It's early Sunday morning and the house is really quiet. My roommate is sleeping and I well... couldn't, so I got up.

There is a lot running through my brain as of late, I guess there always is, but I've noticed it more lately :).

Whenever health issues crop up, I think I take a look at my life and try to figure out what I did wrong, or how I failed to take care of myself or if it simply is what it is. It's always a time of evaluating my own standing with myself but also with God. The big question for years for me anyway was "how could God let me be a diabetic, or sick, or (fill in the blank)?" That question has changed a little to "why is God allowing the sickness, etc?" But I don't think that is even the right question. So if it's not me, and it's not God than what is happening?

These are deep questions for so early in the morning, I know, but I think the answer is quite simple. Nothing is an accident. God really is in control. I don't always get it, I don't always like it (in fact rarely get it or like it) but if I believe that God created the universe, that Jesus saved the world and as I was reminded yesterday FREED me from my sin, and the Holy Spirit is in me... IF I believe these things, the other things, sickness, emotional struggles, life issues are simply opportunities to run to Him.

Here in lies the problem. I don't always make that choice. Let's be honest... sometimes it is easier to kick and scream and throw a tantrum, because then it's not my fault. Sometimes it's easier to shut it all down because then its no big deal. Sometimes it's easier to run, because then I don't have to look at anything face on (especially when I have no clue which way to go).

But here in lies the bigger problem. When I chose and yes, it is a choice, to respond in any of the fore-mentioned ways, I am loosing out on an opportunity for growth in my trust of Him and others and am loosing out on the miracles that God wants to show me or do through or in me. But like the old prophet Ezekiel, I feel like I get tricked sometimes. I feel like He calls me to something way bigger than me and I say no until it becomes like fire in my bones and I have to cry out and speak truth... to myself and eventually to others.

I'm still in that stage I think of saying "you tricked me God" and I'm not impressed. But at the same time it's this fire He is calling me to walk through that will refine me and make me a better representative of Him. But fire hurts. There is the promise that you will walk through the fire and not be burned. I take great comfort in the story of Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego for they walked out of the fire not even smelling like smoke. But these three men, stood before the most powerful man in history and declared that they would not bow down, would not worship idols EVEN IF GOD DIDN'T SAVE THEM.

My heart wants to have that strength. My heart wants to stand and proclaim faith in every circumstance. These men, like Daniel lived in a hostile, evil, demented, land. Babylon was a wicked city that held them captive and in exile. But these men chose God above all else. I have a lot to learn about my responses to everyday life. I have some choices to make of my own. I don't always make the right ones, and my guess is that no one always does, but my heart desires to be a Daniel, an Ezekiel, a true believer of God's words and a fighter to make those words true in my life.

Up to this point, this blog has been about what I'm reading... and it on some levels will continue to be, especially as I start grappling with concepts that I'm learning at the seminary, but this will also be for me a place of trying to find that faith of Daniel, trying to live out my convictions that I know are true in every circumstance, and grappling with my failure to do so at times.

It may get a little raw sometimes... because I am at that place... it may be over zealous at times... because I get there too. But it will be honest... it will be where I'm at and it will be what Jesus is showing me about myself (to a healthy degree of sharing... sorry no deep intimate truths on this public forum) and what He is showing me about Himself.

I will be honest and say I'm nervous. There are some deep valleys to travel ahead of me... I can see them, but on the other side of every valley is a mountain top that will give me a view of where I'm going and as long as (to borrow a phrase) my boots are pointed in His direction and I'm moving toward Him, I'm on my way.

I think God has much to say to me right now. I think He has much for me to say... but I first need to listen, to obey and to follow with everything that is in me. So this morning I'm kicking and screaming a bit... okay a lot, but I know He is in control of all of it. I just need to figure out how to let go of the fear, and to follow willingly, because there is a fire in my bones, there is something He has planned for me... it may be huge, it may be little, but its His will for my life and I know I have to get in line with it...
or miss it.
Joyska at 4:23 AM

Friday, October 29, 2010

nothing to do with scripture

I just need to put it out there. The last two days have had some scary moments. I'm not sure which was scariest, the 8 hours of dizziness, the panic attack in the hospital when they put in the IV, or the moment when the doctor said it's an inner ear virus causing vertigo, OR, you may have had a minor stroke.

Or really, it could have been yesterday as I sat at home and the more I talked to people on the phone the worse my stutter became and the harder it was to put sentences together. Then there was going for prayer at church and having my greatest fear be that I wouldn't be able to sing anymore.

Thankfully I can still sing without stuttering and my laying still and doing absolutely nothing today seems to have stilled the dizziness... for now.

So how do you go from being relatively healthy, to a virus, to a possible stroke? And how do you process a relatively normal life and processing to feeling like your whole world is spinning? There is a place of confusion that takes over for sure... if you let it.

In my quietness today, even though I haven't prayed, or read, or worshiped in any formal sense of the words, yet today has been peaceful and quiet. I haven't been "fighting against the goads" so to speak, but rather have been just thinking about how life throws things at you and how you have a choice on how you respond.

I certainly never planned to be diabetic. I didn't expect to have 3 eye surgeries in a year, I didn't plan on moving to a small town after my whole adult life was based in the inner city. But that is just it... my plans never worked out. It's always been His plan. Do I like what my body is doing? Absolutely not and it doesn't take the fear away, but do I believe that God is bigger? What choice do I have?

This blog for months now has been about the scriptures and what they are teaching me and what I am learning. I love the Word and it is life to me. But these last couple days especially, when i feel like all other avenues are unavailable to me, the Lord has brought a peace that I don't understand. I'm not panicking, I'm not stressing, I'm trusting... and choosing to believe that the God that I read about and get to know through His word every day is the God who holds me when I'm scared to death and filled with confusion.

Maybe it's a picture of how He will work in us in the future when things do get harder for everyone in different ways. Maybe He's just showing me that He is here, even in my own sense of anger and frustration... that even if things get WAY out of my control... He hasn't left me yet.

Sometimes those experiences speak louder than His word.
Joyska at 6:39 PM

Saturday, October 23, 2010


It's been awhile since I blogged. I am well into day 56 of 80 days reading through end time scriptures. It's been amazing to see that the amount of scripture in the old testament that warns and proclaims what is yet to come is astounding to me.

It's been a journey of reading and experiencing on a different level the commitment that God has both to justice and to His chosen people, and along with them the church.

But there has been a great hesitation in me over these last few weeks, and probably the reason why I stopped blogging for a time. The hesitation isn't that the words I'm reading aren't true or that they are taken out of context or anything like that, quite the opposite actually. I am currently reading scriptures in Ezekiel that foretell the fall of Babylon but also the promise of one who will rule forever. It's powerful to recognize the thread that holds the beginning to the end and that the desire in all of us is to get back to that place in the garden of Eden where we will be WITH God.

My hesitation arises more in myself. The struggle to understand and AGREE with God's judgments right along side the struggle to be patient for His righteous judgments to come. It's an interesting conundrum. God come quickly and deal with the brutality in our world... by coming and wiping out all your enemies... brutally. And yet, it's not with brutality, it's with justice and righteousness and mercy that He comes, and gives warning, and pleads with the peoples of the earth...

My hesitation also comes from an understanding that God is all knowing, all powerful, and all sufficient. His timing is always right, yet how can the world be such a messed up place? I know and am learning as I study all these passages that John 3:16-17 remains true... He did NOT come to condemn the world but to save it. But does the world want to be saved?

In the three religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Muslim, Christians are the only ones who believe that God would become man - that he would stoop that low, it is heresy to the others. Yet we as Christians base our very faith and salvation on the proclamation that Jesus came to earth as a baby, lived, died and rose again, and is seated at the right hand of the Father and is coming again to rule and reign ON THE EARTH. This Jewish man, this fully God, fully man, will someday return and vanquish His enemies and set up His kingdom of righteousness and freedom.

That's why all those stories of Kings and kingdoms and princes and princesses pull at our heartstrings... we long for His return as righteous King and judge. And still in my heart I hesitate. Again, not because I don't believe and long for His return, but because it is so foreign to the way we live. His kingdom will not be a democracy. His rule will be absolute. I've lived in a world where those things sound menacing, not reassuring.

But then I remember His heart... For God SO LOVED the world that He gave His only son that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. He is coming again. There is this great line in a song that Misty Edwards from IHOP sings that goes "He's not a baby in a manger anymore, He's not a broken man on the cross, He didn't stay in the grave, and He's not staying in heaven forever" That in a line is the truth of what I believe.

Here is again the hesitation... my heart doesn't LIVE what I say I believe. There's an honest statement for you. I still live in a place of fear and brokenness and not in the promises He's given. I quickly default to old habits and run to other things in the hopes that THEY will satisfy whatever it is my heart is longing for... or afraid of... or trying to attain.

In a message I heard this weekend, our pastor laid out beautifully the reason that it is to our ADVANTAGE that Jesus went away and sent the Holy Spirit to dwell IN us. God has given us complete access to His heart and His power through the Holy Spirit, and WHEN (not IF) Jesus returns the Holy Spirit will remain IN us to teach, comfort and guide us into all truth... the truth of who Jesus and the Father really are. His return is to bring GLORY to HIS name, and for the whole world to know that HE IS LORD.

But that seems so big and "out there" for my day to day struggles. Where is the line of walking that truth every day and going to work and raising money for a college? How do we walk the now and the not yet (to quote John Wimber)? How do I live in my daily pain and inner struggles and still walk out the truth of His glorious return?

Sometimes I wish it would be as simple as finding a wardrobe that led to Narnia. Really... that is what that story grapples with... can the two realms exist together? They have to, or really what is the point?
Joyska at 8:43 PM