Hi ya'll! It's been a while since I've sat down to write. I would normally feel a little guilty and apologize, but frankly, we're friends, and I know you understand. I hit my busy schedule in the Fall with women's retreats and started that run of events in a state of exhaustion. I had just finished my pre-release edition of my new book, BOLD…and it was quite the uphill push.
Instead of feeling guilt or shame for not keeping in touch and providing your weekly spiritual nuggets, I'm simply gonna say, "Shame Off Me." Shame off you too…for whatever you're feeling guilty, burdened, or embarrassed about. Honestly, the more I get to know the Father, the more I realize He doesn't operate in guilt and shame. Those are more characteristic of the enemy. God shows grace, love, and gentleness even while correcting our poor behavior or attitudes. So let that angry inner voice go. It's not from the Lord. Are you with me? I'm learning to let it go too.
The reason "Shame off you" is on my brain these days is because I wrote a new song a few weeks back with this title. It all started after having a conversation with some ladies at a women's retreat in Michigan. I stayed up late one night during the retreat, in the quiet, and this song just came out. One week later I went to a Songwriting Conference called, Write About Jesus. This song ended up winning the Grand Prize for the songwriting competition. Wow. I wasn't even planning to go to the conference until the last minute. But it was so refreshing! Ever need to be refreshed? That's how I felt. I had been teaching and praying and pouring out - all things I LOVE to do for others - but when I got home, I hit a wall. I needed to fill back up. So on a whim, I registered last-minute for the conference and decided to enter this fresh baby of a song into the competition. God had some major encouragement planned for me. What a delight. It was such a reminder to keep writing songs and keep growing. Thanks for that, God!
And now, as I write you…I am about to embark on a whole other journey. The path toward health and healing continues. I start my time at the Mayo Clinic up in Rochester, MN this morning. Derek and I decided to drive. Thirteen hours later, we have arrived and settled into our hotel for the next few (?) days. I don't know what God has planned, but I do know when our bodies send us painful distress signals over and over…it's usually for a pretty good reason. My abdomen and back are ready to get some love! It's a pain that's familiar, but still makes me weary. So we are pushing through to the specialists to see what's going on. Can I tell you a secret? I wasn't going to do this. I've had enough doctors, waiting rooms, and inconclusive tests. I'm like…so done. But this Fall, at one of the women's retreats, God threw me a lifeboat. It was a clear signal and red flag to follow up on this pancreas (or whatever it is!) pain I've been having for over two years.
Just a note: When you are praying for answers or healing or something specific…take heed to the things, conversations, divine appointments, and "signs" God sends your way. Sometimes we want God to write something in the clouds, but often, He just sends a friend with a few words of wisdom. Or He highlights a single word or phrase in a verse to clue us in. It's good to be listening, watching, and expectant when you have prayers dangling out there. This is what God did for me. It was such a divine appointment with this friend. I knew I needed to call the Mayo Clinic immediately and get this pancreas party started. So I did. I acted on it.
I have no idea what's in store. Good grief - I hope they find something. It's just been so long without any clarity or answers. I'm tired of not knowing what the root cause of this pain is. Can it be fixed? Is God going to heal it miraculously in an instant? Is He going to reveal something that needs surgery or treatment? Am I going to have to give up chocolate? I don't know. But I'm here. God knows. It's not a mystery to Him. So I am heeding the red flag and lifeboat He sent me and trusting Him to take care of me. It's actually a really good place to be.
In the meantime, while I wait on clarity, answers, diagnosis, and treatments…I'm reminded again and again to choose joy. To choose to worship in the waiting. To praise in the midst of pain. It's not always my first inclination, but God is already on the other side of all these questions marks. He already sees me healed or treated or whatever is going to happen. I can praise Him for what He is about to do. In His tender hands, it's already done. Boom. I believe praise ushers in His good work in my life. It's an act of faith to praise Him. He honors faith. Therefore, when I praise, I'm setting myself up to receive what God wants to give me. This is true for you too.
What are you waiting on? What are you praising Him in advance for? Are you burdened with shame or pressing in to His sweet presence? Choose joy. And when you need to slough off the icky sludge…just declare in front of the mirror, at the top of your lungs, "Shame off me!"
I'll catch you again in a couple weeks. For now, that's my plan - to send out a fresh spiritual nugget every other week. Blessings on your upcoming weekend!
"Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."
Psalm 34:5 NLT
PS - My book is now available exclusively at RachelBarrentine.com. Click below to purchase your Special Pre-Release Edition copy!