Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Month: February 2013

Preparations of My Heart for Change

I’ve been so afraid to go back and re-read my last two “Faith and Breast Cancer” posts. I couldn’t remember what I wrote. I remembered only all the pain and frustration I was feeling and how I so wanted to move forward.   
Writing journaling, posting so helps me to move forward. If I couldn’t write, I would go crazy. Thank you for being listening ears.  
The day of those post was a turning point for me. I stopped fighting the post mastectomy pain and accepted it. I returned to having regular prayer, seeking, waiting, worshiping times. I found peace and contentment, which was what I wanted. I was lost and didn’t know if I should be fighting/believing for more healing or resting content in what I had. Is it possible to do both? I think maybe I am now. ?? 

The Lord was speaking to Mike and I at that time about a “change” on the horizon. We were both seeking God about what we needed to do to prepare for the “change.” In the past, when there was a change on the horizon it’s meant a move or a new addition to the family. Mike started praying about preparing for early retirement and a new career.  I prayed about a career of my own and about adding to the family through adoption. We’ve both had a heart for orphans. I read and prayed and learned a lot about adoption. I am still praying.  
The sense about the “change” became so urgent I finally prayed, “God what do I need to do to prepare for the change?” He answered that I needed to meditate and worship. I thought, “Oh, that’s easy.” I was so glad that I was off the hook.. that the “change” was in His hands.
In August, I started feeling like I needed to go to a woman’s retreat of some kind. I had a schedule conflict with the one at our church. Finally, I decided that if I didn’t go to the Ramp’s Women’s Retreat that I would wish I had, so I bought two tickets.  
The week before the retreat, it came to my attention that there were still things in my heart between me and God, and I started to panic. Nothing stays hidden at the Ramp. The presence of Holy Spirit is unmistakeable and very strong. I knew had to deal with my heart before Judi and I went, or risk crying publicly (possibly loudly) when my heart was undone in His presence, so I started praying and fasting. 🙂
The day before the retreat, the Lord showed me a hurt I had buried deep down while seeing doctors about my breast cancer. For me, having the mammograms done weren’t that bad. The biopsies, consulting with the first doctor alone.. all that was hard but not horrible. 
Mike was with me the day one doctor told us with very strong words that we absolutely should not do the thing we had prayed about and really wanted to do. We eventually decided that God led us to him and took most of his advice.  
The day of the surgery I had amazing peace.. peace like I’ve never felt before in my life. One of the nurses was kinda freaked out over my corn allergy and upset the doctor who yelled at me as I lay waiting for sedation.. still not too bad.  
The very hardest thing for me was my first appointment at the plastic surgeon’s office. He had an emergency surgery and could not come in that day so we met with his assistant instead. She was very kind, very professional, told me that with my body shape I could choose any surgery I wanted, and answered all our questions. All was good until she told me that the insurance required that she take pictures of me basically naked.  
She took me into a private room with a curtain, took a front pose, and poses from both sides. All I could think was, “Who in the world would require a thing like that? Who is going to develop these photos? Who will see them in my file? Who at the insurance offices will see them?” I stood there ashamed, gritted my teeth and bared/beared it. It was awful.  
The Lord spoke to me that He wanted to heal my wounded heart; that He bore shame on the cross for me. Later that day, I received a long fb message from my Thai daughter, Savannah, who was hurting. I was so blessed to be able to share with her what the Lord was doing in my heart and pray for healing in hers as well.  
Now and then I will get a vision of the Lord that will stick with me until I get a new one. Sometimes I’ll have the same one for years. At the Ramp’s Women’s Retreat the Lord gave me a vision of His nakedness on the cross. I cried silent tears. It so blessed me as He continued to minister to my heart, but I prayed, “Lord, I hope you will give me a new vision quick.”  🙂
The Lord also added playing my little harp to my list of things to do to prepare for the “change” and impressed on me that I wasn’t only off the hook for directing the “change,” but I had to actually prepare. I hadn’t played my harp very much since the surgery. The tuning pegs are very difficult to turn, it has to be tuned daily, and the turning motion post mastectomy quite honestly was painful, but a little better.  
The Lord gave me four new songs in the next couple of weeks. One song was based on the main message from the retreat, “His strength is made perfect in our weakness.” I so enjoyed the preparation, the time of worship and meditating on my “Confessions of Praise” daily.  
And it so helped me. The morning after we lost Joel. I got up, in shock, couldn’t think, stood in my kitchen and was at a loss for what to do. Just the morning before, Joel had been there visiting with me while I finished polishing up three songs on my harp. Then I knew what to do, “Pray, meditate, play my little harp.”

Romans Eight LIfe

Romans Chapter Eight has been such a life transformational chapter in my life..

Yesterday, after blogging, I got on my elliptical for the first time since Joel went home. All the “first since” have been very difficult.. the first day I could no longer say, “Just yesterday, Joel said.. did..,” the first Sunday attending church with only three children, the first time in a store.. they are all terribly difficult because I don’t want to go on without him, I don’t want the world to go on without him. Why does it keep spinning under my
The elliptical was difficult partly because I just so needed it to help deal with the stress of grieving, difficult because it’d been over two months since I’ve exercised :-), and mostly difficult because Joel lived in the next room and I took so much pleasure in just knowing he was close all those times I’d spent on it before.
For weeks all I could pray was “I want Joel.”  Just a week or two before, I had written a song under Holy Spirit’s direction out of Romans 8:32
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Doesn’t all things include my son?
I know the answers to my questions.  I know that there are many who suffer much more than I, suffer in ways I can’t imagine surviving.  I know that God is a good God; a God of justice, a holy and righteous God.
I know that had my sons not been at that birthday party that night that the shooter would have had at least 8 more bullets to spend on the other children at the party.  Eight other children may have lost their lives.. and at least a few of them may have met eternity without knowing our precious Savior.  I pray continually for them, for Tim, the shooter, and for others affected by Joel’s death.  I pray for salvation, for revival, for hearts.
As the Lord has carried me through this time and shown me His care for us, the ways He has been preparing us for months, for years really, He has been gently showing me a bigger picture.  I still don’t like it.. especially this part.. my heart is so broken… continually breaks over and over again.
But at my request, the Lord has gently begun redirecting my desires from longing for Joel to longing for more of Jesus, for revival, for Heaven again.  The longing is often so great that I would easily give up my life to have it.  I know Joel longed for Heaven that way, too.  It’s only right.  Jesus longed for us so much that He willingly died that horrible death on the cross for us.
Yesterday, while on the elliptical, while longing for Heaven, I had a new revelation from Romans 8.  Did you realize that not even LIFE can separate us from the love of God?
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
LIFE made the list of things that can NOT separate us.  It’s right in there with neither angels or demons, neither the present or future.. nor anything else.  Life that can be so messy, life that seams to tie us to earth can NOT separate us from His presence from His great love.
I so love His presence. I so love that we can walk without condemnation in Christ Jesus. I so love that we can set our minds on things that are above and truly live, Holy Spirit’s life living in us.  I so love that I am His child!!  I so love my inheritance of life, of freedom from fear.  I so love that our present sufferings can’t compare to the glory that’s going to be revealed in us.  I so love that all of creation groans with me.  I so love that Holy Spirit intercedes for, in and with us.  I so love that HE IS FOR ME.  I so love that He works all things for my good.  I so love that no one, nothing, not even life can separate me from His love.

Romans 8

Life Through the Spirit
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
 
Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
More Than Conquerors
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”l
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Brown Paper Packages at the Foot of the Cross

Hello, beautiful, innocent blog.  So much has happened since we last met.  I have so much to tell you… good and healing and terrible and heart breaking.  I plan to do some backward blogging; to tell you about some recent trips, and my bedroom makeover, a whole house re-arange, and about some wonderful things God has done in my heart.

But first, I have to tell you the most unbelievable, awful news.  We lost our most precious, youngest son, Joel Manuel Coleman.  On December 7th of 2012,  our twenty year old son, was murdered at a birthday party.  He and Joshua took an Apples to Apples game to enjoy a bonfire that ended in a terrible gunfire that instantly took my baby boy home to be with Jesus.

God has really given us so much comfort, so much joy in our suffering.  Right this minute as I type I am listening to IHOP streaming live as I often do and they are singing/praying “God of hope, arise, anchor their soul, give them hope that doesn’t disappoint.”  http://www.ihopkc.org/prayerroom/

This morning I am mourning my losses.. laying them at Jesus feet.  It helps so much to take inventory.  Counting my losses, recording them, leaving them, frees me to count my blessings.

I had a vision once of all my sorrows at the foot of the cross wrapped in brown paper packages and tied up with string like in the song from The Sound of Music, “My Favorite Things.”  What I didn’t understand was that one of “My Favorite Things” would become my sorrows wrapped in “Brown paper packages tied up with string.”  It’s as if Holy Spirit graciously takes my sorrows and wraps them up tight so that it’s easier for me to leave them there at Jesus’ feet.  What had seemed so loosely laid there, so easily picked up again is now neatly and tightly packaged, safe at His feet.

“When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad”

“He restores.  He makes all things new.  Everything beautiful.  He’s just in time.  He’ll be strong in your weakness.  He will restore your song.  He will restore your soul.  He is there even when you can not feel Him, you can not hear Him.  I’ll take your ashes and turn them beauty.  I’ll make all things beautiful just in time.  I am your strength.  I am your beauty.  I am your life.  I am your life.  Come to me.  Come to me.”  on IHOP now..

Each morning since Joel was taken from us, I wake up to the awful reality that he is gone, that I have loss so much, and I weep.  It’s as if while I sleep, I forget and all is at peace, but when I awake, I have to face the reality all over again.

After facing the awful reality each morning, I purposefully to turn my thoughts to the reality of the goodness of God in the midst of my suffering.. as I am now.

Many days it has been this song by Jesus Culture that has given me strength to face the day:

One Thing Remains

Higher than the mountains that I face

Stronger than the power of the grave

Constant through the trial and the change

One thing remains

One thing remains

Your love never fails 

It never gives up 
It never runs out on me
On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains
In death and in life
I’m confident and covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate 
My heart from Your great love




Today, God gave me the extra grace I needed to take inventory of many of my recent losses: losses through moves, of friends, of a sense of security, of a sense of home; losses in health due to my corn allergy and breast cancer, losses of rest and freedom from pain.

And now of this huge loss of our precious son, Joel, losses of innocence, of untainted joy, loss of a friend, a brother, an encourager, a joy, laughter, a confidant, a protector, a companion, a fellow worshiper and prayer warrior, of so much of who we were as family of six.

Writing them all down is part of wrapping them in the brown paper packages of Holy Spirit all tied up with string, part of why I try to write so openly and honestly here on this blog.  The truth sets me free.. free indeed.
 
I am laying it all at His beautiful, loving feet.  Striving to enter into His rest, to allow Him to be God, to give and take away, to work all things together for the good of those who love Him – whatever His definition of that is.  I am choosing to rest, to allow because it’s the only choice.

What I want, what I would choose if I could, would to be to go back in time, in the story of my life and rip out the pages of the last eight weeks and rewrite my story with a much happier ending, but what I am coming to recognize is that wanting anything except more of Jesus is pointless, striving to do anything but rest in what God is doing is futile.

futile
adjective
they piled on thousands of sandbags in a futile attempt to hold back the river: fruitless, vain, pointless, useless, ineffectual, ineffective, inefficacious, to no effect, of no use, in vain, to no avail, unavailing; unsuccessful, failed, thwarted; unproductive, barren, unprofitable, abortive; impotent, hollow, empty, forlorn, idle, hopeless; archaic bootless. ANTONYMS useful.
Yes, that pretty much sums it up.. futile.  So all other wants, in you go, into the brown package at the feet of Jesus.  Self, die so that Christ may live more fully in me.
“A vision of Jesus on the inside.  That restores your joy and renews your peace.  Jesus is with you today to shift the atmosphere within and around you.” on IHOP now…

Until He returns, takes me home, or until he decides I have loss enough of myself, I will continue to loose and I will continue to take inventory of my losses, and to leave them wrapped up by Holy Spirit’s power at the foot of the cross where I can find healing and help in my time of need and freedom to live again. 

 

For to me, to live is Christ to die is gain.  Phil 1:21.
 

Much love,

Jenny

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