Watch them float by

Let me start by saying I love yoga. I love it because it stretches you, helps you slow down your breathing, and keeps the blood flowing without having to break much of a sweat. So this is just my experience on this particular day.

It was Wednesday morning and I was super excited that it was finally yoga day. This was my first day back as I hadn’t done it for years; and my body was aching to feel like a wet noodle again. So in I went armed with my purple yoga mat in hand.

The class was full but thankfully there was enough room in the back for me to sit and hide. We began with some meditation. Usually during this time I tune out the instructor for a bit, use the time to pray, or just be still. This day was different.

The instructor began in her breathless, peaceful voice, “Lets all begin by quieting our bodies ….being still and acknowledging that we are present. Let us begin to be aware of the thoughts that we might be carrying with us, worries of work, concerns of our health, stress….. any thoughts that you might have let’s just release them now. Acknowledge that they are there, but do not address them…. simply know they are there, above you. Be still… relax…. and observe as you watch them float by.”

Watch them float by!! Lady, we can’t watch our thoughts float by. Immediately my very still moment was now my very upset moment. I kept thinking, “This is really bad advice. Our thoughts have power in them, they direct our feelings, and then our feelings direct our actions. Most of the time our thoughts are going all hairy carie, totally out of control. And you want us to just sit still and watch them float by?”

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

From this verse I think it’s safe to say that watching your thoughts float by is not a good idea. And although you may think you don’t do this, I believe most of us do when we find ourselves upset, angry, depressed, or fearful. It begins with one small destructive thought that we allow to live. This thought then gives way to another and before you know it the captive one is you.

In order for us to have victory in our lives, every thought needs to be accounted for. We need to check our thoughts and ask, “Does what I am thinking go against what I know of God and His word?” If the answer is yes, for the sake of everyone around you including yourself, bring that thought captive to Christ until it agrees with God.

Just like a soldier would do when taking an enemy captive, we also need to take out the weapons we have when we are battling our thoughts. Prayer, the Word of God, praise, Godly books, devotionals, a Christian friend who will point you back to Christ; whatever God has taught you or shown you, (Philippians 4:9), use them until your thoughts are obedient to Christ.

Now for all the perfectionists out there, myself included, this is not an easy task. You don’t just wake up one day and have this mastered- I know because I too am a work in progress. Just remember God is on our side, so keep trying, don’t give up, and you will see changes in your thought life you never realized were possible.

The Cross

Feeling that anxiety and fear began to come across me again. Knowing I had to shift my thoughts I reached for a devotional and this sentence began to turn my mind around”

“I say this a lot, but don’t look at how big your mountains are;look at how big your God IS. I encourage you to stay strong and expect God to intervene on your behalf”

For God to intervene on my behalf. That was it. The reason I tend to get anxious and fearful is because in my heart I have this misconception that God is not going to act on my behalf. That I will go through endless trials, one harder than the other, and God will help me but He is not about to intervene in my life. Somehow I have been treating God as this great entity but not my loving father.

Thats when the Holy Spirit switched my mind to the cross. I remembered and began meditating that Jesus died for the sins of the world. Yes thats true. But that is so impersonal. Christ died for me. When He was on that cross, suffering, and His body had been pierced through, I was the reason He was on that cross. Me. Geri Kuykendall. 13769 Francisco Drive. If I had been the only person in the world He would still have died just for me. And He endured such pain so that I could today live powerfully. With authority over fear. Like, I am the boss. I have the power of Christ in me. God is for me, He is not against me. Yes of course If He allowed Christ to suffer for me then yes of course He is going to intervene in my life. And He will intervene with Goodness.

Whenever I become fearful, I am buying into the lie that God is not for me. That He doesn’t love me that much. That He sees all that I do in His name, how much I love Him, how I search for Him, and it just doesn’t affect Him. He doesn’t care that much.

But what a lie. He LOVES ME. AND its big, huge, unstoppable, powerful, changing, indescribable, uncontainable, love. And its all aimed at me. That kind of love does not stay stagnant, nor is it indifferent. It’s the opposite of all that.

LIES, LIES, LIES, once again my God, my father who loves me, who’s child I am, has come to renew my mind and my spirit.

Oh and I have power. Power of the enemy, power over fear, over my thoughts, over my circumstances,

I am in the win.

The Dead Cell Zone

There are certain verses in the Bible that just fascinate me. Don’t get me wrong, they are all good; they are all God breathed useful for teaching, rebuking, and correcting. But there are some verses that when I read them I just want to ask, “Are you sure God?”

This is one of them:

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

First and foremost God does not tempt us (James 1:13). But He does allow temptation in our lives in order to purify us. First, He measures what you can handle and second, He always provides a way out.

Insert personal application now 🙂 The other day I had driven over to my mom’s house to hand her some papers she needed. As I was leaving her house, out of the blue she made some backhanded comment. Kind of shocked, I quickly said goodbye and got in the car. I immediately started mulling the comment over. “Why had she said that to me?” “I did not deserve that.” I had just driven to her house as a favor and now I was getting an attitude. Also, what she said wasn’t even fair or correct which made me even more upset. So, upset turned to anger, anger to hot under the collar, and hot under the collar to “I’m going to call her right now and tell her exactly how I feel!”

As I scrambled for my phone with my freehand I realized where I was- on the corner of Imperial and Brea Blvd. Also known as the dead cell zone. Never in my life (or the 5 years that I have lived in La Mirada) have I ever been able to maintain a clear connection in that 4 mile stretch from Brea Blvd to Beach. I was going to have to make a choice: A) I was going to have to sustain my anger until I reached a better cell zone. B) Call anyway and yell extra hard to break through the static. C) And this is when the verse came to me – use this time to calm down and escape the temptation to act out in anger.

Right at the exact moment I needed, God brought His word to me. Pretty cool, right? You think I would feel relieved, right? Not exactly. Yes I was excited that I was putting two and two together but on the other hand if I were to follow through that meant I would have to put down the phone and swallow my righteous indignation. Painful! But I knew I had to; it was too clear to ignore. I had to go forward. Thankfully, I know myself pretty well, so just to be safe I hurled the phone to the back of the car and settled that temptation once and for all.

Later that night my mom called me. She began to tell me what a hard time she had been having finding a job lately. She was feeling overwhelmed having to deal with this issue so late in life and she was frustrated. Before we got off she said if she ever came off short or upset she was sorry.

Can you imagine if I had given into my anger and made that call? I would have hurt my mom’s feelings, created one more frustration for her, and acted like a fool over something that I should have overlooked.

In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers says this regarding 1 Corinthians 10:13, “A persons inner nature, what he possesses in the inner, spiritual part of his being, determines what he is tempted by on the outside. The temptation fits the true nature of the person being tempted and reveals the possibilities of his nature.”

What God has allowed to be put before you has already been measured and is according to what you are able to overcome. But let’s not even try to pretend here. Resisting a temptation is not for the faint of heart. You need God’s help and to remember what you have been allowed to experience is not more than you can bear and with the temptation He will be faithful to provide a way of escape.

Kim

Kimmy went into the hospital on Saturday again because she was having pain but this time they could not give her the pain medicine because her blood pressure was low.  She had been throwing up earlier from Joshua and serenity stomach flu( we never got it! and they had both spent the night when they were unknowingly sick!)

I remember how scared I was because I didn’t want her to suffer but somehow I mustered all the faith I could, I called her and prayed for her with Dan.    And guess what her blood pressure came back up. God answered our prayer!!!  In a dark time things changed.  After that she began to get better and better.  Praying changed things.

Today she called happy, content, because she was better.  Not shaken at all by the events just happy she was well The things that do bother her have nothing to do with her illness.  NOTHING.

God was there and He stepped in and he changed things.

I heard God ask me.  “Geri what it be okay if in your life you do go thru some things (nothing as bad as you have imagined) and I am there for you and make things better in the end.  If in the end not after  A LONG TIME but shortly I make beauty out of them, would that be okay.  If it all works and nothing brings you down.  The way you think it will.  Could we just then leave in peace and joy now instead of dreading what will never happen?”

I said yes.

God don’t let me forget, Holy spirit, remind me of this.  I love you.

The 4th grade mile run

After dropping the kids off at school one day I realized I had an hour to kill so I decided that instead of driving home I would work on my bible study in the peace and quiet of my car. Thankfully I had all my equipment with me: my bible, study book, pen, and me. I flipped the pages to week 5, day 1 and read the big-bold- title:

“You Can Do All Things Through Christ.”

And in a big, bold, response I quickly replied “Oh no I cant!” Immediately one perfectly good reason after another came pouring out of my mind as to why that statement was not true of me. The truth of me is, some things I can do, most things maybe, but all things- no way.

God must have had it with my self loathing because right then I audibly heard in a shouting chorus, “YOU CAN DO IT!”

For a second I couldn’t breathe. Was it the end of the world? What was going on? Had I actually heard the voice of GOD? And then I looked up and just a few feet away I saw the school field and the 4th grade class (my son’s class) running the mile run.

The mile run. It had been the talk of our house for the past month. All the 4th graders were determined to accomplish the race and finish in good time. I was able to make out my son in the field and could see he had crossed the finish. But he along with some of the other children were cheering on the kids who were lagging behind trying to finish that last grueling lap.

“You can do it!” they shouted “Don’t give up”, “You only have a little more to go”, “Your almost there!” The kids were speaking to the runners and God was speaking to me. I stayed glued to the scene until the last child triumphantly crossed the line. And when they all had finished they walked back to class and the field was empty.

Leaving me alone to process.

First of all, is God the king of timing or what! All the moments that had to perfectly coincide just so God could shake me by my insecure shoulders. If that isn’t love I just don’t know what is. Secondly, can I do all things through Christ? I can when I stop thinking its all about me and instead remember its all about Jesus. Jesus no doubt can do all things. And through him I can also. The door is wide open and the possibilities in our lives are endless.

All God wants us to do is keep our eyes securely fastened on Him and believe that He will empower us to do what he commands of us. That He loves us more than we can imagine and He would never lead us to failure. In fact 2 Corinthians 2:14 tells us God always leads us to triumph in Christ. So with that truth confidently under our belt we can step out in faith in whatever challenge He puts before us.

And if you tremble, it’s okay; walk forward anyways and watch as He comes and steadies those shoulders.

Philippians 4:13 (Amplified Bible):

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

The Bible

I was wondering when we get to heave, will we still need our Bible?

No Bible study, No learning the Word, because He will be there with us. He will speak to us directly.

How strange to think we might not use our Bibles again.

They have become common- you get them for free, every bookstore, ……

When is the last time you could buy a historical, priceless, artifact?

To see that you have to travel, wait in line for hours, then behind closed glass you can look just don’t cross the red line.

Our Bibles the word of God- is the ultimate. It doesn’t get more priceless than that.

Worry Dolls

Exodus 20:4-5
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God

Sometimes I just need to have my taquitos from Olvera Street, there is no way around it I just have to have it. Today was one of those days and luckily my husband had a free afternoon so we got in the car and onto the 5. Once their he waited in line and I started browsing the shops, when I spotted the “Guatemalan worry dolls”. Intrigued at their name I picked them up an took a closer look. The dolls were about 1 inch tall, and looked like stick people that a three year old put together. There were six colorful dolls in total and theycame with the following instructions “Tell one worry to each doll when you go to bed at night. Put them under your pillow and they will worry for you. When you get up in the morning, your worries will be gone”.

Worry Dolls

Pretty silly right? Who in their right mind would actually have any faith in these itsy bitsy dolls that cost a buck fifty – at Olvera Street. Who would put their faith in such an idol. Not me you say? Lets think about this.
Truth be told all of us have some idol issues going on. I would love to say that every time I am worried, stressed, sad, lonely, angry, frustrated, or any other ugly feeling my flesh can conjure up, I immediately go to God to find my peace.

Usually what happens when we feel down we either, get busy, go on the internet, watch T.V. , have a glass of wine, gossip, shop, overeat, the list goes on an on. But because these “methods” are small we don’t give them a second thought. We dont see that they are taking us away from going to God, and overtime these “methods” can become little idols. To complicate the issue if everyone else is doing it, these “methods” become common and we justify doing them. The next thing you know, you have developed a way of coping that has nothing to do with God.

So the next time you are tempted to give yourself a “passing grade” on the second commandment, check again. You just might have a worry doll under your pillow.

Dear heavenly Father; we know that if we are in Christ, there is no room for condemnation anymore. But let us not let guilt stop us from looking inward. Let us open all of ourselves to you, so that if there is any place in us that holds more of our heart than You do, then help us to get rid of it. That you may be the only God in our life.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Are you asking me?

When I was 19 years old I went to the doctor for a routine checkup when my lab results came back a little off. My white blood count was lower than usual and the doctor felt the need to do a bigger pannel. The diganosis came back that I had Lupus and ever since I have been routinely checked

Today was the of my checkup and normally my husband would go with for support just in case I heard bad news. But this time his work stood in the way and I told him I was fine to go alone. I prayed but I was still nervous as I sat in the waiting room – for the nurse to call my name.

Geraldine Kuykendall? Come with me- lets get your weight. Now for the sake of writing a good piece I am about to devulge what the scale read because it is when God begins to take over this visit)

The digital scale read -111.1

Whenever my mind get stuck thinking incorrect thoughts if there is a clock around it will read 11:11, or 12:12, 2:22, … It’s never coincidence because each time I really am at that moment in need of some truth. I knew God at that moment was saying “I am right here.”

No sooner had I processed that moment, my heart started racing again as the nurse got out the blood preassure cuff. The cuff is a vicscious circle for me because I try so hard not to be nervous so she will get an accurate reading, that I end up breathing faster than usual. I looked down and began praying again but my eye caught the nurses wrist. She was wearing a braclet and she it was engraved. It read Matthew 19:26 All things

I couldnt believe it and I could feel the tears welling up inside of me. God was with me and now I knew it and believed it. My breathing went back to normal and the butterflies flew away. I asked the nurse about her braclet and she began telling me her story of why she wore it- and how she never wanted to forget the truth of those words. She said ever since she learned to let go of controlling her life, her life now is in control- but God is doing all the work.

Next the Doctor came in and asked me all the routine questions- Did I have any swelling, joint pain, hair loss, rashes, any pains or anything to report. I told him I had been well. He went over my last lab results-everything checked out normal and nothing was of any concern. Having checked me thorougly he turned to me and said “Im confused as what to do now?”

What do you mean?

“Well, from the last time you were here you were in total remission. You seem to have stayed healthy, you look fine, so I dont know if we should run any tests. Unless you want me to run them, I am thinking maybe we should just trust you are fine. But I’m not sure so I guess its up to you. What do you want to do?

Are you talking to me?! Just trust that I am fine- I have never don that. I have always checked every bump and cough, and when it comes to Lupus, I do tests- 4 vials of blood to be exact. But here this top notch doctor was confused as to what to do and he was asking me if we should just trust – and you know I kind of wanted to. I knew God had been working in my heart regarding trusting Him for the past two years, and in the past two weeks he had placed people by my side people who were teaching me that it was finally time to trust God.

I knew. I took a deep breath, a leap of faith, and I said ” I want to trust.”

I agree he replied- see you in six months and with that he left.

So today I am walking around knowing and trusting God that I am healthy. I can walk in divine health because finally after 10 years of fearing- I now trust God.

Thank you.