Sunday, January 4, 2015

the JOY of the Lord overfloweth quite a lot, called to be Mary in a Martha world... and blessed reassurance from Jesus Himself


    Spirit, I pray You would lead me today in this time with God – this time for reflection.  Oh, wow – so much has already taken place today – so much to learn from, so much to be thankful for. 

    Thank you, Lord, for a good night’s sleep – especially after experiencing some bizarre mental… not really hallucinations, but strange sensory symptoms that I had not come across in quite some time.  I’m still not entirely certain what caused them.  I am, after last night’s unsettling episode, all the more grateful that You have provided a home here for me next to my parents.  I had always dreamed of living next door – I know that’s certainly not what most kids hope for, but from my teenage years, it’s what I always wanted.  And last night, staring at the picture hanging on my wall that appeared to be moving, but logically knowing that it was not at all… It was so very comforting that Mom was able to come straight over and sit with me until the episode of whatever it was had passed.  To be honest, I wasn’t quite right all day yesterday… *laughing* Mom said I was all kinds of extra at the grocery store… In my defense, I hadn’t left the house since Christmas Day because I’d been mostly bed ridden with this virus… and that’s a LONG time for a raging extrovert like me to go without social interaction and exposure to the public and the outdoors… LOL  I was quite silly, Lord… I hope You got a good chuckle… Dancing down the aisles and singing to Mom as we strolled through the baking section… I am not at all surprised looking back that she pulled me aside to be sure I wasn’t running slightly manic…

    It wasn’t that… It was my en theos bubbling over… my enthusiasm – my “God Within” being set free after being homebound for more than 10 days… I legitimately could not contain my happiness, my *extra* - My friend, Andez, would have laughed - oh, how he would have laughed!!  HA!!   I do hope he ends up reading this J  I was all kinds of extra, indeed.  I have always been so thankful that I could take such joy in the little things in life… It’s really such a huge blessing – it does not take much at all to make me smile… And I believe that’s probably true of anyone who walks around firmly grounded in the Joy of the Lord.  I’m sure some of the customers at Martin’s probably wondered what asylum I’d wandered out of… but they don’t know what I do – that it’s good to be so full of life that you can’t contain it all – to marvel at things like how beautiful the colors are in the produce section… To find excitement in the everyday… it really is a truly wonderful way to live – so thank You for making me this way, Lord!!!  Thank You for my en theos!!!!  

    And this morning, waking earlier than I’d planned, an answered prayer from last night, thank You – beginning in bed with a silent prayer and then reading my devotion – my first words aloud, the Word of God… I do believe that starting that practice will change everything about my life.  Persistence and consistency is required there, but there will be good, good fruit from putting that into place.  My goodness, how I have come to love my unrushed mornings - they have become a non-negotiable in my book.  I honestly never knew I could be a morning person again after all the medications I’ve been on.  I used to just pop out of bed back in my twenties… but a lot of that was manic energy, which is really no good at all.  Of course, I thrilled at the high in the moment, but Praise You, Praise You, You’ve come to show me how dangerous those highs really could be… how devastating the costs.  Literally.  And then for many years, sleeping so very much from the medicine at night – 14-18 hours a night.  Having to pry myself out of bed in the morning, sometimes only to eat and to go back to bed again - oh, the joys of depression.   Years of that.  And now, that I’m well – well like I never dreamed possible since coming into a full understanding of this illness and how much (and how long) it has dominated my life… And to be finding, I adore my mornings now.  Who knew?!?!  And  praise You again for helping me through this virus I’m starting to come out of, to put on my workout clothes, my new shoes, the Spirit planting a song in my head, going down to let the dogs out, play the song and just jog, hands lifted in worship… Oh, WOW!!!  So good!!!   Yes, The Glory Is Yours!!!!     I know my body needed that return to physical activity – and my heart and soul needed that re-establishment of worship – that connection to You. 

    Then I kinda lost it… It felt so good to move, Lord, I just wanted to keep on.  At first, Elevation Worship continued to play in the background as I moved about my apartment taking all of Christmas down and packing it away.  Eventually the album stopped, and I neglected to restart it.  But I kept on – I know You were calling to me to restart the worship music, but I didn’t.  I didn’t listen to the Voice of God talking to me.  *sigh* 

    There it is.  I made a conscious decision to disobey You.  In the moment, I didn’t think of it as such – it was just a thought that came into my mind & I dismissed it.  But it wasn’t just a thought, not just a suggestion… It was direction of the Holy Spirit leading me to continue worshipping my God – and I neglected to acknowledge His Voice and respond gladly and in obedience.  *hanging my head now*  I am so sorry, forgive me.   Just yesterday I was tempted by the exact same distraction – before coming to sit with You, I was sorely tempted to start taking Christmas down, but I heard You whisper to me, “ Michelle, it can wait – don’t be Martha, come be Mary.”   And I did.  I listened. 

    Today, I heard You again when I got upstairs from my jog and worship – But I reasoned within myself that as long as I continued with my worship music that I was still honoring You.. bahhhhhhhhh :p  *talking to myself – Oh, Michelle, really??*  Yup, that’s what I did.  I sat my iPod on the speakers and queued the next song and went about taking down every bit of my decorations – I even prayed that the Spirit would help me handle the breakables with care so that I wouldn’t chip anything!  And thanked Him that He did so.  

    Writing it out, I totally see the flaw in all that – I used my own human reasoning to put aside doing what I knew to be the right course of action – coming to You, as You’d just told me yesterday, with my FIRST FIRSTS – justifying it in my mind with “as long as I’m listening to worship music I’m still plugged in” except that I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics save for the first couple of minutes… I got totally wrapped up in and focused on what I was doing, not what I was hearing, not singing along in praise… I was not honoring You at all in all my hustle and bustle…  That could have gone very differently. 

    I could have done all that work but intently focused on YOU the whole time – sung along with the lyrics and focused in on the connection with You – I could have taken the decorations down in silence and prayed and spent time in conversation with You as I did so – I could have remembered clearly (which I did) what You said to me yesterday about not being Martha with all that needs to get done, and come to You FIRST, putting my stuff away later this afternoon… It could have all gone so differently if I had made You my PRIORITY and honored You by seeking You first in the situation…

    But wait!  There’s MORE!!!  Then I called to check on Mom because she didn’t sleep well last night – I asked if she had rested & then not thinking proceeded to tell her how much Christmas I’d taken down (which she had done likewise during the same timeframe at her house – I just know we are the same person walking around in two separate bodies…) and went on about what I needed her to do and to get from her so I could put the rest of mine away…. Then, I could have stopped, but NOOOOOO… I kept on – I unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded it… And then it occurred to me to call Mom back and apologize because I didn’t really mean to call and see if she’d rested and turn around and tell her a list of things I needed her to do…  Followed up quickly by, “I didn’t mean you had to do it right away.”  Chagrined, she’d already done it all.   Then, she’s still in Martha mode & wants to get all this stuff out of her house & I’m at the point, I just wanna spend some time with YOU, Jesus… and she also has a package that arrived for me by mail… She’s in pain; everything is piled up and waiting for me in her kitchen – I need to come get it… And I said, a little fussy… “But I haven’t spent any time with Jesus yet & I have a headache & I can’t keep going!”  And that’s when it all clicked.

    I collected myself and told her I’d be right over to get my things, not to worry.  I got off the phone, looked up and said “That’s what happens when I’m Martha, isn’t it?”  And You responded, gently as always, “Yes, Michelle.”  To which I replied, “I understand now.  I’m sorry, Lord.   You will get my first firsts from now on.”  I went over to Mom’s, apologized for being fussy, took care of her because she was in pain… explained my whole Martha’ing fiasco and what I’d learned from it… Proceeded to get her some Aleve & was confronted by a less than welcoming reception by my sick stepdad in the kitchen.  I love that man to bits, but he’s not the nicest person when he’s sick… But, because I had been resituated with You, I had the grace to keep my tongue and move along… I came back in the room to get Mom settled and just exhaled my frustration silently about that less than congenial interaction.  She, too, was very frustrated by what had just transpired in the kitchen and lashed out at me even though her anger was towards him (me because I was the one standing there in the moment).  But again, because I had realigned myself with YOU, I was able to forgive right away… it still hurt, what she said - for a couple minutes, I nearly cried.  But Your Grace allowed me to not be angry because I understood she didn’t intend to hurt me, and it was all just bad fruit from a negative situation… None of it was personal.  And I know, I know as the day is long I would not have been able to be as gracious in either of those circumstances had I not had that moment with You where I’d connected to You and met with You…

    I suppose I share all this to talk about how hard it is – even when You’ve been told personally by God Himself not to get lost in the eighteen dozen distractions that come along every day – to be Mary in a Martha world.  And we're ALL called to be more Mary...   I also get how very vital it is to be Mary in a Martha world after today's events… because if I hadn’t been centered on You in those moments, I would have reacted instead of choosing how to respond, I would have internalized the stress and frustration and let loose of my peace and joy, and I would have been all askew the rest of the day from crummy circumstances. 

    I get it now – why You want my FIRST FIRSTS.  Not just those first moments in bed when I’m waking up, but dedicated, getting-centered-on-You-before- I-go-out-into-the-world time.  Because if I’m not firmly and recently grounded in You, if I haven’t just been in contact with You, I can’t live and act and speak as You would in crummy or less than pleasant circumstances… because I will inevitably revert to reacting like any human would – not as the Spirit would lead me. 

    Wow.  God bless anyone that reads all that I’ve written today!!!  I do pray earnestly that moving forward You and the Spirit through me will teach me and guide me as to how to make this more web-friendly because everyone’s attention spans online are so limited.  Help me with this, please.  I know most folks wouldn’t get this far… Perhaps when it’s this long, and when I’ve talked about several things – the Joy of the Lord and living an en theos lifestyle – and being called to be Mary in a Martha world, and how that struggle is very real – maybe I need to break it into two posts… God willing, patience and persistence, consistency and dedication, I KNOW You will show me how to make this work the way You want it to go. 
It’s in Your Name I Pray,
Amen <3

    Yes, Michelle, things could have gone much differently today – in a lot of respects.  And a year ago today, they would have.  I know you have learned a lot today, and I am glad you are well enough now (from doing the work) to be in a place that I can use you to share this with others.  I don’t want you to beat yourself up too much about how today has gone so far.  Remember what I told you some months back – and what I will remind you of often when you run off course a bit – you are, and always will be, a work in PROGRESS.  Right up to the day I bring you home. 
Michelle, your JOY, your life in Me will not be made complete until the very day when you are here with Me in Heaven.  Every day until then, I will be teaching you, molding you, and shaping you into the woman I want you to be.  Yes, you made some mistakes today, but you also showed grace in your actions and corrected your course much quicker than you would have in the past.  Revel in how far you have come – and look ahead at our journey together with eager anticipation knowing that every moment you have breath, I will be doing good work in you. 

    Remember, you will not always see the outward progress – just as with getting healthier, you don’t always see the gains on the outside, but the changes internally are still happening as long as you do the work.  Stay with me.  Be consistent.  Be diligent – I am not going anywhere, and as I promised you, I did not bring you this far to leave you unfinished.  We do have great things to accomplish together, but a lot of the things I need to teach you, you will learn best by having things unfold similarly to how they did today.  You stopped short in your prayer – remember, I gave you another chance after you told me you’d give me your first firsts.  You brought home the rest of the Christmas things and your new blender – and again, you were tempted to Martha.  To put away what was left… you opened the storage bin, but you stopped!  You said “no, I want to be Mary.”  That is progress, Michelle!  Be glad of it. 

    When encouraging others regarding health and fitness, you often quote that even the longest journeys are comprised of small steps.  And to be great, you must first begin… As long as you stay connected to Me and do the work, your work will be rewarded.  I know you feel like today’s prayer is long, but you covered a lot of ground.  Trust that you will not be a master of this blogging right away, but I will again (as you know from experience) show you what you need to know as you need to know it as you keep moving forward in faith – by doing so your faith will be built incrementally as you trust in me, and your spiritual skills will grow stronger as you rely on me daily so that you do not wander away or try to do this on your own because as you know full well, this is My Ministry I am calling you to, it is My Kingdom that you are working in and building.  Trust that I will fully equip you with all the tools you need to accomplish every good thing I have planned for you.  I will never leave you lacking.   And know you need not stress over what you share because I am in control & I will direct those who need to hear what I have shared through you and your page to read what they need to hear when they need to hear it.  Remember, you do your part and trust Me to do the rest.  I will not fail you in any way, Michelle.  You know this to be true – I have plans for you, Michelle – for a bright future and a glorious hope.  Stay the course and keep your heart on Me – seek Me FIRST in all you do, even your littlest day to day activities, and you will never cease to honor Me all the days of your life. 
And as for your en theos and its bubbling over, you know from the message I gave you on your birthday that I designed you with all the extra because it’s just the way I wanted you.  I adore you, 

    Michelle – you are My wonderful creation, My masterpiece.  You will always be My beloved.  Now go forth and share the good I have placed in you – there are many who need to be blessed by the love and light and hope you have in Me.

Always Yours
Jesus <3


The Joy of the Lord certainly was overflowing yesterday at the grocery store.
I no doubt was dancing through the aisles yesterday because
I have been very much called into the 
(Ellie Holcomb)
And living in the light changes everything
when you are firmly grounded in and
connected to God on a daily basis.  
I pray you will listen to this one and allow the joy
to permeate every part of your being.


Until next time...

Keep the Faith & Be Blessed! <3

© K. Michelle Payne 2015

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