La Rambla, Pocitos

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lessons from Fasting

Fasting is quite often the proverbial elephant in the room. Wanting to be sure that we don't make the mistake of the Pharisees, we don't talk about it very much, especially when we're actually participating in a fast. Could it be that we actually miss out on a lot by not sharing with each other the lessons that we learn during these times? Perhaps more of this invaluable practice would take place if we were more aware of its benefits?

We have been fasting in different ways, allowing the Father to lead us through a 40 day process where all 40 days don't look the same. It has been an amazing time (which isn't quite over yet! what else does He have in store?!?)

This year has been a year of healing - a year of strongholds being revealed and conquered. Fasting has revealed deeper layers of these strongholds, leading us to more complete victory over them. One by one, over the course of weeks, the Father continues His patient work.

One area (for Timbrel) has been dealing with EXPECTATIONS. Early in the fast, I attended a COP that brought a break-through for me. I am SAFE in my identity in Him. His other children are also SAFE in their identities in Him. Because of this, I don't have to live in awareness of what others think about me; neither do I have to waste time criticizing others - they're SAFE.

This area of EXPECTATIONS led straight to a battle with FRUSTRATION (this area was highlighted by my stint as a single parent for 3 1/2 weeks). The lesson here: Frustration comes when my Expectations for others aren't met. The solution: let go of my expectations. My Abba has no expectations for me - who am I to have them for others? Slowly, slowly, I am learning to be in CHARGE of my kids without being in CONTROL of my kids, releasing them from expectations, and disciplining them in love.

Jimbo, meanwhile, has experienced deeper levels of freedom from ANXIETY. He had a lot of time to read on his 3 1/2 week tour, and Steve Farrar's book Battle Ready was a great encouragement in this area. Giants come, battles have to happen, but, as John Wayne once said, "Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway" (a quote Jimbo saw a lot during his time out west).

Perhaps your Father is leading you to fast - from what? He'll let you know. For how long? He'll tell you. Why? to bring a sense of desperation for Him, a broken and contrite spirit. Because where there is brokenness, He is there. And when we give Him our brokenness, He will heal.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rebuilding Painful Places - Visually

I (Timbrel) have always had a very vivid imagination. I grew up reading constantly; when I read, I am often so engaged that I truly cannot hear someone talking to me in a normal voice. I live in the book I'm reading, or the movie I'm watching. It's almost like it becomes part of me.

This gift has long been used against me. Our Enemy's desire is to suppress the good gifts in our lives, to make us passive instead of active. My vivid imagination has left me trapped in fear many, many times; an intense book or movie could give me nightmares for weeks - even months.

As the work of Redemption continues in my life, my vivid imagination is producing entirely different fruit. Jimbo helped me see it this past week. I have noticed for months that my Father is beginning to bless me with vivid visual pictures. As I encounter situations, often difficult ones, whether in my own life or others, Dad sends me an image that gives beautiful meaning to the situation.

One example of this was on the anniversary of my brother's death, which also happens to be my sister's birthday. This is obviously a difficult day. I have been asking my Father to redeem this day, and this year He gave me a redeeming picture. He showed me that, just as there is great anticipation on earth when a baby is about to be born, there is great anticipation in heaven when a son or daughter of the King is about to leave this world for that one. In reality, my brother's "real birthday" is now the same day as my sister's earthly birthday. What a redeeming picture!

I am learning that my Strength and my Song - my Refuge - wants to bring healing into every painful memory, in part by washing the old, painful memories with new, refreshing pictures of what was happening at that time from His perspective. Ask Him; see how He answers you.