I Am Baker

calming my anxious spirit

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Gina Horkey.   Gina is a freelance writer, with a background in finance. She’s passionate about Jesus and designing a flexible lifestyle suited to meet the needs of her young family…while honoring God of course! She hopes to inspire others to do the same and shares her story via her blog. Next year at this time she hopes to be writing and traveling around the U.S. in an R.V. Please stop by her Facebook page and say hello!

 

“For I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” ~Philippians 4:11

 

Do you struggle with an anxious spirit? If you’re nodding your head yes, you’re not alone. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one in the whole wide world that can’t get out of your own head or that can’t shut off your brain, but it’s not true. Tons of people struggle with anxiety, me included.

 

This weekend’s church sermon was one that I felt was spoken directly to me. I’ve felt this way before, but never quite so directly. Our church is ending a message series on being “More Than Happy.” The context is that like Paul in the book of Philippians, we as Christ-followers should find joy in all circumstances, rather than being focused on finding temporary happiness.

 

The final message was for those of us specifically battling anxiety. Personally, I been having my most intense battle this past year with this very thing. My ears perked up and I found a pen to take some notes. I wanted to share in case there were others like me that could benefit from hearing this message.

"Prayer is the Language" by Leland Francisco

“Prayer is the Language” by Leland Francisco

 

“I want you to know that what’s happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” ~Philippians 1:12

 

The teaching pastor offered us three ways to overcome anxiety:

1.Don’t bury it! The worst thing you can do is to keep your feelings of anxiety and worry all to yourself. That’s what the devil would prefer of course, but that’s not what God wants for you. God wants for you to share your burden with others and especially with Him. The pastor went on to say that we as a church sometimes project perfection, but the truth is that we are all broken. “It’s okay to not be okay.” Ask someone to fight alongside you. Tell others. Be vulnerable with God and with your Christian friends who will lift you up.

 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all that He has done.” Philippians 4:6

2. Work on it! It’s best to do this BEFORE anxiety inducing events arise, as the last thing you want to do when in these situations is oftentimes what will help you the most. Pray without ceasing. Get in the habit of praying more often. Pray when things go right, as well as when things don’t. Pray when things are status quo. It’s easy to see what we’re lacking; instead let’s work on seeing what we’ve been blessed with and thank God for it instead.

 

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

3. Defeat it! With God’s power you can defeat anxiety, instead of letting anxiety defeat you. You can’t change anything by worrying about it, but if you give it over to Him, God can! You are not helpless; you are powerful and in control not due to your own actions, but because of Jesus. He has employed the ultimate strategy of defeat on our behalf already. Accept it and own it!

 

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” ~Philippians 1:21

 

I’m sure that for me anxiety could easily be a lifelong battle if I let it. As a young woman dealing with the stresses of raising kids and figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, there’s no shortage of things to worry about. Showing up and letting others see me warts and all, is the real challenge. Maybe by me sharing a little of my story I might be able to help someone else.

 

Have you dealt with anxiety? How has it affected your faith?

I Am Baker

Do You Expect God to Do What You Pray?

Let me get real down and dirty here.

I dont know what to pray.

In August my Father in Law died suddenly of a heart condition.  Six months later my husband was diagnosed with the same condition.  So I prayed, “Dear Lord, we trust you with Chad.  Whatever Your will, may it be done.”

I re-evaluated our lives and tried to pinpoint sin.  I had conversations with God about acceptance and faith.  I told God, ” I believe that You will only bring us through trials to draw us closer to You and further Your kingdom.  Its all about Your glorification.”

That is what I am supposed to say right?  That is what I am supposed to believe?  I mean, I do.  God loves me and wants the best for me.  His greatest desire is to fully know me and be in a relationship with me.  He would put any trial in our paths that would ultimately lead to a greater trust and faith in Him.

I never so much as let myself entertain the words, “Just heal him Lord.  Just make my husband well.  I know you can do anything God, please just heal him.”

I don’t dare.

My faith is strong!  My faith is steady!  I know God can heal, I just don’t want to test Him.

The truth is, I desperately just want to beg Him to make Chad whole.  When I sat in the room and watched them shock Chad’s heart, there was peace.  Seeing his heart go from a normal sinus rhythm right back into AFib… its like I could feel God there.  The pain and grief of knowing that this treatment didn’t work…it wasn’t overwhelming.  There was a calmness.  Like I knew it was God’s will.  (Even just saying that feels awkward, please don’t think I am minimizing the situation in any way.)

I am afraid.  Terrified.

Afraid to ask for His healing.  Afraid that for some sovereign reason we wont get it.  Afraid of feeling rejection.  Afraid of losing my husband and not being able to praise God like Job so graciously did.

Job 1:21

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

And most of all, I am afraid of losing my relationship with God.

Maybe healing Chad is not in His plan.  He knows the big picture right?  Who am I to walk in and say, ‘Nope.  Not this trial God.  We love and trust You just fine thank you very much.  Lets just get some healing now OK?”

God intercedes for us... Romans 8:26

Romans 8:26-27

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 through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

God even goes so far as to guide me when He knows I am lost praying.  He searches my heart!  But are the desires of my heart all that matter?  Or do I need to say the words… and believe He will provide?

What if my prayers are wrong… and not answered like I want them to be.

Just feeling confused and a little broken.

And my question is, Do you expect God to answer your prayers?  What do you do when He doesn’t?

 

I Am Baker

A Prayer Request and a Praise!

UPDATE:  Chad’s cardioversion was not successful.  His heart went back into AFib within a minute of being converted.  We are looking into what our options are at this point.  Most likely they will recommend more (increased dose) drugs and another cardioversion.  After that they look at ablations.  We are trusting in God that He has us exactly where we are supposed to be right now.  Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

 

Tomorrow my husband is going in for a cardioversion.

The last seven months have been a roller coaster of emotion for this family, from dealing with Chad’s fathers death, to finding out we are pregnant, to his grandmother’s passing, then my great-grandmothers passing, then finding out that Chad suffers from a similar heart condition that his father suffered from.

Chad has been on medication for the last month that affects his energy, his blood density, and his heart rate.  His diet has been restricted and he has had to limit many things that he was used too, including limiting sodium, leafy greens, and  his beloved coffee and soda.  (A good thing I know, but a big change none the less.)

Its been hard to see a man who was so full of life to suddenly be tired all the time.  The uncertainty of his future complied with the devastation of his past has been challenging to say the least.

Tomorrow they will be shocking his heart to see if it will return to “normal” rhythm.

If you would be willing to pray, we would be so thankful!

Prayer Changes Things!

Our specific prayer request are:

  • That this cardioversion will work. That Chad can discontinue the drug regiment he is on.  That his heart will return to “normal” rhythm and stay that way.
  • That even though his father, mother, and brother have all dealt with similar heart complications, that this seemingly hereditary condition will end with Chad.  We are so hopeful that none of our five children will have these heart issues.
  • (selfishly) That I will not be exposed to any illness that would harm me or the baby during our time at the hospital tomorrow.

 

And on a much happier note… I read this on facebook today and was choked up.  We serve such an awesome God!  I attend the same church as both Andrea and the amazing lady she is talking about… so to see this miracle and know these folks is even more awesome!

Best Facebook Post Ever

We are so thankful and grateful for any prayers you would be able to offer, and if there is any way I can be in prayer for you please do let me know.  God Bless!

I Am Baker

Rejection and Forgiveness

I came across this quote recently and couldn’t help but take notice.

Inspirational Quote

 

“When you forgive, you heal your own anger and hurt and are able to let love lead again.  Its like spring cleaning for your heart.”

-Marco Schimoff

I sorta dismissed it because I generally disagree with the concept of “healing thyself”.  But dismissing it right away wasnt right.  Because dont we need to let God in so He can do the work He needs to?  Dont we need to make the choice to forgive before forgiveness can begin its healing properties?

Recently the value of this quote shed some light.

I have been struggling with rejection.  Worldly rejection.  Familial rejection.  Just… rejection.  And I just happen to be that person that lets things fester.

The other day I woke up and it was wonderful.  I worked out, had great devotional time, started the kids homeschooling… everything was going well.

Quite by accident, I found out that some friends had decided to exclude me from a new project.

Now, I have no idea why they made this choice.  It could have been because they had too many people with the same name as me.  Or because it was Wednesday.  Or because they needed a change.  Or because they truly didnt think about me and knowingly reject me.

But in my mind, it was completely intentional rejection.  How could they do this and not include me?  It had to be intentional.  They made a conscious choice to exclude me.

I was devastated and it proceeded to ruin my entire day.  I just couldnt let it go.

In bed that night, the situation kept running through my head.  Since there was no logical way to reason out the situation, I decided that my only option was to reject them back.  Without them knowing why, I was no longer going to support them and their choices.  If they didnt want me as a part of their project, then that choice was going to ultimately remove me from their lives.

I could almost feel the bitterness growing.  My choice to react and reject based on a situation that I had no clear facts on had planted a seed of resentment in my heart.  It grew when I fed it.  It grew when I didnt.  It was quickly growing beyond my control.

The only remedy to this kind of bitterness is forgiveness.  The absolutely only way that I would be able to get my heart back would be to forgive them.

To forgive them.  To make the choice to let go of any hurt I had perceived they caused me.

I had to pray, “Lord, you know my heartache in this.  But I trust you.  I know that sometimes you put people in my life to teach me just like you remove them to teach me.  Lord, help me to truly forgive these precious ladies and to simply love them.  Remove my judgement.  Remove my bitterness.  No matter what they may say or do, help me to love them as You love them.”

Prayer

In all honestly, prayers such as that are not life long in their healing.  Since I still do not know the reasoning behind my friends actions, I still have occasional doubt and insecurity when I interact with them.  But now, instead of feeding into bitterness, I know where to direct those un-godly feelings.  And remember to look to Him for my value.  To trust Him that when I am in His will, He has me exactly where I need to be.

Funny things is that they will never know the heart struggle that their actions inspired.

But I am thankful for their actions non the less, because through them, I am learning to lean more on God.

I Am Baker

I Could Use a Prayer

I hate to do this… but I am desperate.

I recently told you about this tooth thing… turns out it was so bad that my dentist felt we should remove it.  I was fully on board with that and this past Monday they did.

Last night I was in extreme pain again.

When a tooth is removed, a blood clot naturally forms in the wound.  If that blood clots falls out, it is called dry socket.  I looked at the wound and sure enough, there is no blood clot there.

I have been researching it this morning and people seem to equate the pain of dry socket as worse then the actual tooth ache.

I cant even tell anymore.  I just know that my whole side of my face hurts… my ear hurts, my head hurts, and my mouth hurts.

I am just so mentally defeated by this consistent pain… I could really, really use a prayer.

Please pray for quick healing and pain relief.  I honestly feel terrible even asking for prayers because there are so many other more important things we could all be praying for… but I just dont know what to do anymore.

Thank you so much for considering it!

UPDATED:

I have been using clove oil and acetaminophen (once this morning) and doing a regular rinse of salt water. It has helped.  But mostly… I have FELT the prayer!  THANK YOU so much for taking a moment of your life (because I know you are busy!!) to offer up a prayer.  I cannot tell you what it has meant to me today!!  Thank you SO much… please, please let me know when I can return the favor!

I Am Baker

Please Pray (Updated)

Just a few short months ago I wrote about my experience at BlogHerFood in San Fransisco.  It was an overwhelming and exciting experience, but definitely not one I was able to handle in my delicate emotional state. (pregnancy related issues)

One person made it bearable for me… one person took the time to share her heart and offer up the greatest form of support one can give… prayer.

I was blown away by the grace and beauty of Alice, and am absolutely devastated to report to you today that she has suffered a tragic loss.

Yesterday, her father was in a car accident and suffered massive head trauma.  Later that evening, he left this world and joined his Father in Heaven.

She wrote this post shorty before getting the tragic news…Please Pray for My Dad.

She so beautifully and eloquently shared this tweet:

SavorySweetLife Alice Currah 
Home from the hospital. TY for all your thoughts & prayers. My dad slipped into the presence of angels. xo
                                                        
Please, please take a moment to lift up Alice and her family in prayer.  I know that Alice loves the Lord with all her heart, and will surely be seeking Him in this overwhelming time.
                                          
I would also encourage anywho who is willing to stop by her blog and leave her a note of encouragement or prayer.  I know that if I was going through something so heartbreaking, feeling the support of a community would be such consolation.
                                        
Thank you so much, and be blessed.
UPDATED:
Alice recently updated her blog with the most beautiful post… http://everydayalice.com/2010/12/28/dad-is-resting-in-peace/ 
                                
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I Am Baker

The Best Laid Plans

(This story is long.. I am writing it down maybe more for me then anything… it has played through my head a million times since it happened, and I am just blown away by how powerfully it has impacted us… so thank you for indulging me!)

 

Last Thursday was a busy day for me… I had lots of errands to run and hubby had been gone all week and I thought he was coming home that night.  I had wanted to get the house all cleaned and finish up all my chores that I had not completed throughout the week.  

I had lots of plans, and not much time to do them in!

I needed to stop by and mail the business section of the Star Tribune to sweet Migdalia, one of the neatest ladies I have ever met!  She and I and a bunch of other wonderful bloggers were just in an article the ST ran.  (Migdalia lives in New York though, so didnt have access to a physical copy.)

I was chatting with Lee, that runs our little post office, and my neighbor Lindsey walked in.  We chatted for a second and then I apologized, but I had to run.  Busy day!  

Walking out I glanced to a white car in the parking lot that was running and had people in it, then turned my head to the left.  What I saw made my heart stop.

There, lying on the ground, was an elderly woman.  It appeared she had fallen.  I ran over to her and reached for her arm and was going to try to help her up when I saw blood everywhere.  She had fallen and hit her nose (we later learned it was broken) and was bleeding from a gash on top of her nose as well as from within.

(I also learned later that she was on medication that thins your blood, so this contributed to the 'gush')

She was so calm… just saying over and over, "I'm fine…really, I am fine."  

I, however, was not.  The other car in the tiny parking lot started to back out and I shot the passengers a frantic look.  

They kept driving.

I turned and banged on the window and tried to get my neighbors attention… luckily she saw me and rushed to the womans aid as well.

I knew that we needed to get her out of the bitter cold and get her head back.  Lindsey mentioned that we might need to call an ambulance.  

I picked her up and helped her to her car as quickly as could when Lindsey appeared with a first aid kit and was able to get some proper bandages on the wounds.

After Shirley (the elderly womans name) was reclined in her car and the blood stopped for a bit we could see how bad it was.  Her nose was completely pushed to the right and her lips were black and blue and swollen, and she was missing some teeth.  

Shirley lives with her disabled husband in our small town.  Lindsey and Lee and I stood in the cold and tried to figure out how we were going to get her to the hospital 25 minutes away.

Finally, it was decided that (the most wonderful neighbor and kindest person in the world) Lindsey would drive her and I would follow.  That way if Lindsey needed to go inside with Shirley I could watch her four kids. (I had my three kiddos in my car and she had her four in hers!)

We got Shirley to the hospital where the nurses met us outside with a wheelchair and helped get her inside.  When we went to leave they were a little perplexed, "Dont you want to stay with her?  This is your mother right? Or grandma?"

Lindsey and I just looked at each other… "No, no… we just found her outside our post office.  We were just worried about her."

They seemed a bit surprised but rushed to get Shirley inside and taken care of.

The next day Lindsey called and let me know she had been in contact with Shirley.  Yes, her nose was broken.  She had lost some teeth but was going to get into her dentist that day to get them repaired.  She was unable to eat due to the pain, but was hoping to get a shake that afternoon.  

The kids and I had talked a lot about what happened.  When they saw Shirley and the blood and the blood all over me, they had been understandably shaken and confused.  Why was she alone mom?  Why was she bleeding?  Will they take care of her at the hospital?  

They were very concerned!  

We all agreed that we were going to adopt Shirley and her husband Don, and do everything we could to make their lives a little easier.

We made lasagna and cupcakes and brought them over to Shirleys house.

IMG_5496.stamp

The moment she had opened that door I started getting all teary and reached over and just hugged her.  This sweet woman, who less then 24 hours ago had been a complete stranger, had captured my heart.

When Colton (seriously the bravest kid ever) saw Shirley, he was visibly shaken.  She has two huge black and blue eyes and a swollen mouth and her nose was quite swollen and bandaged. In spite of her physical state, she was hopeful and gracious… sure she would be making a full recovery very soon!  

We gave her the food and told her we would like to stop back and check up on her if it was ok.  She smiled and said, "That would be the most wonderful gift ever."

I agree… but I think we are blessed ones!

I tell you, I was so touched by Shirley.  She was brave and kind.  

I was also just blown away by my neighbor!  Lindsey dropped everything she was doing to just reach out and help a total stranger.  She was considerate and caring and patient and loving with Shirley.  Such an inspiration!

Shirley and Don are definitely enduring a difficult trial with this whole experience… and right before the Holidays.  I cant even imagine the toll it has taken on them already.  Prayers that she heals so quickly please! 

I am just so grateful for how God revealed Himself through this experience.

He put everyone in place that needed to be there that day to help her.  

He also really put it on my heart that I need to give back more and get out of this selfish routine I am in.  

And that if I wanted to teach my kids compassion and care that they needed to see it in me.  They needed to see mommy making unselfish choices and reaching out to people in need.  

Sadly, I'm not sure they had seen that before.

I think we are going to be getting to know a lot more about Shirley in the near future.  

I just know she is a  blessing from God!  

If you dont mind just offering up a prayer for her that she may heal quickly and be able to help with her disabled husband, that would so be appreciated!

 

I Am Baker I Am Baker

I stopped by Carma's blog today cause she makes me laugh and 'I do so love to laugh' (name that movie) and read about this girl who does not age.  Brooke Greenberg is technically 16, but has remained a toddler.

So my heart just goes out to this family.  Their beautiful little girl has never advanced, physically or mentally, beyond being a toddler. 

Ht_DSC_0098_090619_mc

And then.  I stopped.   And prayed.  And prayed and gave the Lord some glorious praise.  Thank you Lord, for letting my kids grow, and mature, and eventually learn how to close the door behind them and flush the toilet and pick up their clothes.

I cannot imagine having a toddler for 16 years.

My kids are wonderful and I love them, but if I had to deal with this same behavior for the next 16 years I might need to be institutionalized.

This mom is my new hero.

http://iambaker.net/i-stopped-by-carmas-blog-today-cause-she-makes-me-laugh-and-i-doso-love-tolaugh-name-that-movie-and-read-about-this-girl-wh/

I Am Baker

The Permanent Conversion

I may be revealing my naive world view here, but I am feeling compelled to share some thoughts.

I was raised Catholic.  I never had a relationship with Jesus.  I believed that if I was a good enough person I would be going to Heaven. 

Becoming%20Catholic%20Pope%20Benedict%20XVI  

I have seen a few blogs over the past few years about people who have converted to Catholicism.  And some about people who have converted to Protestant.  And some about people who have converted to Muslim.  And about people who have converted to Judaism.  And even some about people who have converted from Catholicism to Judaism.

It seems that a lot of religions have people who convert to them, and conversely, convert from them.  I mean, most of us know someone who was once Catholic right?

I consider myself ‘saved’.  This means that I realized I am a sinner (if you never realize you are a sinner you never recognize your need for a Savior), repented from my sins (was willing to turn from sin towards Jesus), and chose to receive* Christ.

*To truly receive is to trust in and depend on Jesus Christ alone to be the Lord of our lives here and now and our Savior for all eternity.  It means more then knowledge (the devil knows about Jesus and trembles).  It takes more than agreement that the knowledge we have is accurate (the devil agrees that Jesus is Lord). What is takes is to trust in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.  The requirements for eternal life are not based on what you can do but on what Jesus Christ has done.  He stands ready to exchange His perfection for your imperfection. (Hank Hanegraaff) 

And according to Jesus Christ, those who realize they are sinners, repent of their sins, and receive Him as Savior and Lord are “born again” (John 3:3) spiritually.

Heres the thing…

I have never heard of anyone converting from being Saved. 

I seriously haven’t.  Have you? 

Is the reason I have never heard of it because once someone understands the Truth and significance of being saved, there is nothing to convert from?

In a world where people are constantly jumping into the next best religion with the cutest and suavest new pastor or the one that builds the biggest most beautiful churches or the one that seems to have the most power, thats a pretty awesome realization

 

In that precious moment of me giving my life over to Him, I was permanently converted into one of God’s chosen children.

John 5:24 assures us that “he who believes…has eternal life”

“Life does not begin when we die but when we embrace the Savior who died in our place.  As our physical birth cannot be undone, so too our spiritual birth can never be undone.” (Hanegraaff)

I don’t know about anyone else, but I LOVE that my faith in God is un-convertable.  I love that what I believe and what I live is not based on doctrine or baptism or my actions (scary thought!) or someone else telling me I can go to Heaven (or hell for that matter…have you met the greeters at Walmart?) or by sacraments.

But in all fairness, I would like to know where (if) I am wrong here.  Cause I tend to be wrong a lot and sometimes need some good, honest, and God fearing friends to set me straight! 

So tell me, what do you think about ‘conversions of faith’?