day 4 ~ trim the fat

A few weeks ago our family joined another family in purchasing half a cow and half a pig.  At this moment I have two freezers full of meat that I can not eat.  Tonight I began to think about how tasty a steak would be for dinner.  First I realized that the grilled piece of meat I was visualizing was just a symbol for all that God is doing in me right now and then I came across this verse.

Philippians 3:18-20 CEB

As I have told you many times and now say with deep sadness, many people live as enemies of the cross. Their lives end with destruction. THEIR GOD IS THEIR STOMACH, and they take pride in their disgrace because their thoughts focus on earthly things. Our citizenship is in heaven. We look forward to a savior that comes from there—the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ummm….. I don’t particularly like that part about lives ending with destruction being linked to “THEIR GOD IS THEIR STOMACH”.  Before I release my steak fantasies, I need to document their symbolism in today’s journey through fasting, prayer and revelation (revvies).

As I stood in the kitchen preparing to eat a bowl of purple soup that my friend Julie promised would be good I got one of those little cartoon bubbles over my head.  I’m sure if you were standing there you could have actually seen it.  Inside the bubble were two raw ribeyes that were roughly the same size.  One was just a big slab of bone and beautiful red meat.  The other had big chunks of white fat all the way around it.  In my mind, I chose the one with the least amount of fat.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love me some crispy grilled fat on the edge of my steak.  But if choosing between two steaks that are the same size, I’m going to take the one that will give me the most meat.  Why?  When placed on a fire the fat will melt away and the meat will not.  I like meat.  Therefore, I chose the steak that would yield the greatest amount of meat when placed on the fire.

This brings me to the fat God is trimming from my life today.  Today I grasped that every single thing in my life that is not 100% aligned with what I was put on this planet for, is fat.  I’m tired of all the things in my life that melt away and get charred when I walk through the fire.  This realization has led to some decisions that have been difficult to make, but those decisions have left me and my dear hubby with total peace.

There are really only three things in this world that bring me total fulfillment: 1) Loving my husband and having him love me in return.  2) Seeing the fruits of my parenting efforts reap a harvest in my children. 3) Writing.

Now.  If I had been given a third option of a Kobe steak that is well-marbled with the fat blended so finely with the grain of the meat that it would be impossible to remove, I would have taken option number 3.  I feel like I need to add that last bit of information because my life would be quite void without friends, extended family, our church, and my many hobbies.  But when those things become priorities, they become the kind of fat that needs to be trimmed.

For those of you fasting with me, I do hope that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed my steak story. 😉

Tonight I will lay my head on my pillow thanking God that I am free to choose whether or not I want to keep those things in my life that are not aligned with His will or keep them and live a life that is full of good-purposes, just not His purposes.  He is indeed pretty great!

day 3 ~ bring it!

I’m physically feeling better today. I honestly expected to have painful caffeine and sugar withdrawals for a week or so. Thus far, I have had a dull headache that seems to appear at the times of day when I’ve previously consumed large amounts of caffeine, but I’m finding that by eating a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts, it goes away. The emotional and spiritual pain is probably about the same as yesterday though.

Today I walked through some big stuff. I don’t feel free to share all the details, but I had a realization that every single obstacle that exists in my relationship with my oldest daughter is based on some of my mother-wounds that have never been dealt with. Since I lost my Mom more than five years ago, I just have to let those wounds be healed without any real conversations. Maybe that’s for the better though. I can see clearly that my Mom did the very best she could and that she made choices concerning me and my sister with nothing but the best of intentions. Without saying much more on that matter, my prayer is that my relationship with my daughter is about to reach a whole new level.

The other big lesson today came once again from the sermon on the mount. This time it was on loving people.

Matthew 5:43-48 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven.

While I take pride (yea, yea, I’m working on the pride thing too) in the fact that I truly deeply love people, I had to come to terms today with the fact that I have a much harder time loving some people than loving other people.

There have been several VERY RECENT occasions for me to pounce on people for not seeing my two little stimmers (autistic blessings) as equal to every other child on the planet.  The minute someone treats one of them differently or denies them any right that a typical child would have, words like “discrimination”, “segregation”, and “isolation” jump to my mind.  I’m not a huge fan of the ACLU, but when those words start running through my head I wish I had a number for their complaints hot-line on speed dial.

Today I had a big realization.  It sucks to admit it, but I’ve displayed all three of those ugly and unacceptable words towards people in the VERY RECENT past.  The sun rises and shines for each and every one of us.  The rain falls for each and every one of us.  Salvation is available for each and every one of us.  His grace is available for each and every one of us.  His love is available for each and every one of us.  The realization of just how hard it is for me to show that kind of love and grace to some people is just painful.  I’m a mess.  I’m glad God doesn’t give up on me because when I think of just how often I fail to act like Him, it’s more than a little humbling.  I need the kind of unfailing grace that ONLY He can give, more than I can probably even grasp.

Tomorrow’s to-do list is going to look a little different than the one from the last three days.  Tomorrow I am challenging myself to greet every person I meet as if they were a close friend.  I’m sure I just opened up an invitation for every nasty person in the DC metro area to cross my path. To them I say, “Bring it, Stringbean!  Show me what you got!”

the invitation

Here is the invite I sent to several women in my life a few days ago. If you feel called to join in on this journey, I’d love to hear about it. God is doing something BIG!

“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting.” – Daniel 9:3
There are several websites with information on the Daniel fast that I will provide at the end of this message. I’m sure if you go searching you can find a few more. They all have books and material for sale, but the printed material is not necessary to participate in the fast.
“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”
Daniel 10:2,3
If you want to do a literal interpretation, feel free to skip bathing and spit out anything that tastes good. I don’t like to stink, soooo, I think I’ll keep anointing myself. However, I will be giving up meat/animal products, my occasional cocktail or glass or wine, and pretty much anything other than veggies, fruits, nuts and beans.
That covers the what of the fast, so now I guess I need to cover the why. For the past two weeks, God has been speaking to me about fasting before Thanksgiving. At first I thought, “Hey! Good idea! I’ve gained about ten pounds since we moved into our new home (I like it here and I’ve grown quite fond of just sitting and eating all day). I thought maybe I was being called to fast so that I could shed the extra pounds in order to gain them all back over the holidays. But, no. God doesn’t work like that. In the last 48hrs, I have taken a spiritual beating. Several things have been revealed that have left Chad and I trying to catch our breath. We’ve been hit from completely unexpected angles and we’ve been kicking ourselves for not heeding discernment much earlier in the year. We do not want to land in October of 2012 repeating the same lessons simply because we haven’t listened to the voice of Holy Spirit. We want to be obedient. I will begin the fast on Tuesday November 1st and break it on Tuesday November 22nd. In those 21 days, I hope to lay down all the pieces of Kaci that are detrimental to God’s purpose for me in 2012. These 21 days will be about death and revelation. I know that there are pieces of Kaci that need to die and I pray for revelation on what God is trying to develop in me. I am seeking the heart of God inside of me. On November 22nd I want to wake up with less of me and more of Him than what exists today. And… I’m hoping he gives me some pretty clear answers on a couple of issues.
My own personal plan is to study the sermons of Christ. I’ve done this before and found that his preaching delivered a love story written just to me. This time I hope to find his heart buried in me, but I’m open to whatever he wants to tell me or teach me. I already know that at least one of you is being called to a study of the book of James. I plan to blog (big shocker, I know) through the scriptural and spiritual journey of the fast. I would love to hear what God is revealing to you if you decide to take this journey with me. If you’re interested in walking through one of the gospels or all of Jesus’ sermons, I found this site that has a pretty good guide. http://www.lifeofchrist.com/teachings/sermons/default.asp
http://daniel-fast.com/
http://www.ultimatedanielfast.com/
http://danielfast.wordpress.com/

counting….

Somewhere along my countdown to the big 4-0, I began taking inventory.  No, I haven’t been counting my towels or dinner plates (although they might be next).  I’ve recounted accomplishments and failures.  I’ve tried to organize my future goals and dreams.  And….I’ve inventoried my relationships.  The PROductive ones and the DEstructive ones.  The relationships that draw me nearer to God and the ones that pull me away from Him.  This inventory process has led me to some great realizations about how I want to celebrate living for half of eighty years.  I plan to go away ALL BY MYSELF for a few days, but to mark the end of my fourth decade I want to have coffee, or breakfast or lunch or a glass of wine with the forty women who have the the largest impact on my life.  I’m not done counting, but I’m feeling enormously blessed at this moment by just how many amazing women I get to do life with.

Here’s a few Biblical factoids on the number forty (more will come throughout the week)…..

Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days (TWICE)
(Exo 24:18 KJV) And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
(Exo 34:28-29 KJV) And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
(Deu 10:10 NIV) Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the LORD listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you.

The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness, one year for each day they explored the Promised Land.
(Exo 16:35 KJV) And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.
(Num 14:33-34 NIV) Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. {34} For forty years–one year for each of the forty days you explored the land-you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness
(Mat 3:17 KJV) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
(Mat 4:1-2 KJV) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. {2} And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.

Jesus was seen in the earth 40 days after His crucifixion
(Acts 1:3 NIV) After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

It rained for 40 days and 40 nights when God wanted to cleanse the world and start over.
(Gen 7:12 KJV) And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Noah waited another 40 days after it rained before he opened a window in the Ark.
(Gen 8:6 KJV) And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: