Revival started at our church last Sunday, Thirst Revival Conference with Life Action Ministries. When I was younger, I went to a lot of revivals. My memories was a somewhat boring preacher standing behind the pulpit, yelling and reminding us of our failure to measure up. Criticizing and condemning us back to repentance.
We knew revival meant late bedtimes and weird schedules and grumpy kids- and it was okay because we wanted to be there for every minute because we love VHBC and well, you just never know how God will move.
I wasn't expecting to get wrecked. Do you remember the last year of my life? I mean really, how much more wrecked can I be after just learning how desperately I need God to simply survive my life.
I had no idea how dry and thirsty I was. I didn't know I had put Him at arms length. Oh, it wasn't intentional, but none the less I was keeping a safe distance. Why- because in my heart I'm afraid of more hard in life and I understand surrendering all means more than just pretty words to a song. I'm not sure I'm ready to really surrender all and I'm not a fan of fake.
Guilt will not, cannot motivate to holiness. This revival, well it was different. God was quenching our thirst and filling us and condemnation was nowhere to be found.
The wrecking started with me admitting my own family had become an idol taking first place keeping me from intimacy with God. Not that I'm doing a great job of loving my family the way its exampled in scripture, but my desire for easy, peace and calm was ruling me.
"The desire for a good thing becomes a bad thing when that desire becomes a ruling thing."
Next I was shaken up a bit Monday night realizing what comes out when we're shaken is what's inside us already. What? Saying to my kids "you're making me mad" isn't true. You mean my kids don't make me angry, the anger is mine? Ugh. Okay Lord, I'm sorry, my circumstances don't need to change, I do.
Our kids were hearing the same messages on obedience and surrender, just on their level of understanding. How sweet to see your son confess to his brother that he had in fact lied about being mean, and then pray "under his pillow" to tell God he is sorry.
Tuesday- after being tempted to cancel lunch when I thought Emily wouldn't be able to go with me, it worked out that we could both go. And it wasn't accidental, I needed to be there to hear the message. See, God had already been speaking to my heart about me not being such a great helper to my husband. The message, spoke to me loud and clear.
Elijah and Isaiah were struggling and as much as I wanted to be at revival it was clear that they needed to be home. Can I be honest with you- I was irritated with them. They were shaking me up and what was spilling out wasn't so kind.
Wednesday started with me totally forgetting an appointment I'd been waiting three months to get for Isaiah and then, missing their afternoon therapy appointment because of delays getting them out of school and traffic. I was frazzled. They were still struggling with their own moods and convictions from the week.
I haven't cooked a meal at home all week- Chinese, Bojangles, Wendys on the go, so Wednesday we kicked it up a notch and enjoyed an actual sit down meal instead of take out. We landed at Denny's for the boys favorite before heading back to church for the last night of revival- and honestly I couldn't wait. I figured God had done all the talking to me needed for one week and I just wanted to soak in what He is doing in our church. There's nothing like seeing God change hearts and I think we're supposed to rejoice with the angels, don't you, when it happens.
While the water was flowing at Villa Heights other things were happening in the lives of our friends, family and community that had us wondering.
Wondering why and wondering how. Why terrorists, innocent kids being neglected and dying, depressed men killing others in their own suicide, friends losing jobs, saints going home and dreaded diagnosis confirmed. How to keep going when our own kids' continuing needs wear us out and support hurting family?
I wasn't prepared to be completely wrecked - no longer at arm's length, but up close and in my face wrecked. He wrecked me when He reminded me, again that it's not about what I do. It ain't my works- or lack of good enough works. It's grace!
Grace, grace, God's grace...we accept it as enough to become His child through salvation, but then we quickly want to revert back to our works mentality when it comes to living and wondering and living while we wonder.
When do we need grace? We need it for the suffering and strength and sanctification. I don't need relief, I need grace- and it's mine- and yours- for the asking.
Good stuff people. Good stuff. So good I didn't want it to end. I wanted to hang out at the altar with my Savior begging for grace and loving on my friends who are begging for it too because we're all suffering and looking for strength to get us through this journey. But I did.
Go home that is.
"If nothing changes, then nothing changes."
I determined to be sweeter and less angry to my kids and a better helper to my man. Thursday morning I woke the boys up singing, not good singing, but singing still instead of grumping.
Grace, grace, God's grace. After about 20 minutes Isaiah asked me, "Mommy, did you get up on the happy side of bed today"? Yes, I think I did.
It probably helped that the only thing on the schedule yesterday was to breathe. Scheduled much earlier when I did the weekly calendar way back last Sunday because, well frankly, sometimes I forget.
I was doing pretty good with it during a full day at work with NO kid appointments. And I was doing pretty good with it during my girls night out with Emily and the grandbabies to visit the Easter Bunny and shop for dresses. I did pretty good with it at dinner feasting on fresh rolls and chicken tenders. And I did pretty good with it when I got home, excited to chill out with Rex before the besties came over to hang for a while. Breathing.
But then it got difficult. For real.
This is where my heart started racing and my upper back, arm and jaw started aching and literally breathing wasn't so easy anymore. This is where the ambulance and paramedics are in my living room, telling me they're going to take good care of me, asking if Teri, my best friend ,is my daughter, and putting me on a stretcher to take me to the ED.
Seriously, my daughter?
You know those weird thoughts that go through you mind when one minute everything is as you expect it, and the next it's all out of whack. I wasn't scared as much as I was feeling a little silly thinking that I might be over- reacting but just in case I don't want to be that woman .
But then things got worse in the ambulance and breathing was getting really difficult and the increasing pressure in my chest was concerning and the beating of my heart was vibrating my eyes and things were spinning and hurting and I had new thoughts-
thank goodness I curled my hair today
am I going to die tonight? I might die tonight
Oh, and clean underwear. Thank goodness I'm wearing clean underwear.
We got to the hospital and there was a lot of activity and a lot of people asking questions like had I been exposed to anything new that I might be allergic to or tried anything new to eat, drank several energy drinks, tried cocaine for the first time or been out of the country. No, No, No, Never and Nope! The only thing on my schedule was to breathe.
Long story short, with my heart rate at over 200 beats/minute and it starting more than an hour before, they gave me medication that stopped my heart- basically to reboot and reset it to beat properly. Thankfully, it worked avoiding having to shock me and after a few more hours I was able to go home with my man. On morphine. With a diagnosis of SVT, referral to cardiologist, new medication and directions to take it easy a few days.
It wasn't over-reacting- in my case it wouldn't have slowed on it's own and could've caused damage to my heart and other complications without the reboot. We don't know what caused it. We do know it isn't stress for all you who worry about the amount in our every day lives, Mom. Maybe the cardiologist will be able to figure that out. It may never happen again, and it may become my new norm. I prefer no repeats-especially the medication that briefly stopped my heart. It hurt. Every inch of my body at the same time. Hurt. But was necessary for the doctors to help me.
Today, I feel like I collided with a Mack truck but my heart rate is back around 70, nice and safe. As I rested today, I kept thinking about how this experience is a picture of my spiritual heart. I get out-of-rhythm going too fast out of safe range and can't slow down and reboot myself. Sometimes, God stops me just long enough to reset me. Never to harm (intent to do evil) but it does hurt (intended to heal) as He continually gives me grace while He sanctifies me- set apart- making me more like Jesus, and one day my heart will be in perfect rhythm with His.
"I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus"
Happy now what day is it again y'all?