This is a lengthy recount of how God miraculously prayed through me for a person I’d never met before to “provide everything I needed.” I’d later meet her that day. This story is about earnest prayer, seeking God through His word, being obedient to Him, and having Him answer prayers so specific and measured you know it is Him. This is one of the many ways God has used my “poor circumstances” to make himself known and real to me. He is marvelous and wonderful. For the rest of the story, my video ran out, you may listen to an audio podcast on http://www.hollycobrien.com. May you be blessed and grow closer as you listen. John 17:20 Jesus Prays for All Believers: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.”
May you believe and know God as your Heavenly Father and Christ as your brother and the Holy Spirit as your friend and helper. Amen.
I have decided that this month, to start, I am going to dedicate to my brain’s health. I have over the past month or more noticed my memory has been shot. I am having a hard time remembering my students names, I am slow to recall random memories, and I feel foggy. I also feel confused a lot. I will say, I have been under a lot of stress with work working many 10 – 12 hour days. Maybe that is contributing to it too, and I am going to buy some adaptogens to help manage my stress levels with work which will persist for the next two weeks.
I went to the health food store yesterday and dropped almost $200 and nothing was for my brain.
I’m not being funny, but I do not remember why exactly my decision to do this for my brain started this afternoon.
(I remembered after finishing writing this blog that I worried about my brain after coming home from the beach tonight and walking up the stairs, and I felt, I’m not sure, but not right, again. An odd, and frequent occurrence these days!) My intention was to begin October as the first of the next 12 months attributing my changes in diet and exercise to my true desire for sustainable health.
I eat, overall, pretty healthily, but I do binge occasionally or overeat once in awhile, and when I do, like tonight, over-eating on sugar, I feel badly for my body. I never got full tonight, but the amount of sugar I ate was way too much to the point where I have an awful sugar headache, still, hours later. It was my dinner, plus a decaf latte b/c I knew this would be a last for awhile, but it’s awful for my body. I feel like this is a bit of a pattern as I write and really need to quell my desires more or maybe be more consistent and less drastic, my goal.
I have found I am much more disciplined, and it is no problem for me to be such, but I need reigns, I feel, or I have nights like tonight where I eat so much sugar I am in pain.
So, my worry about my brain feels legit. Too much sugar is awful for our bodies and brains, and, specifically, has been shown to cause brain shrinkage. I actually read tonight that Alzheimer’s is called Diabetes 3. Yikes. It’s not surprising. I believe most diseases are genetically triggered by diet. I do not have Alzeiheimer’s or dementia in my family, but I need to help my brain because I am too young to be so foggy! I began exercising again today too which will help for sure. When I was in my teens and early 20’s I was bulimic and ate a ton of sugar on a regular basis. In my late teens and until late 30’s, I alcoholically drank off and on. I have been “healthy” for over 10 years, but am still attracted to sugar, a lot, and it is just not healthy. I know and exhibit moderation mostly in my life, but because of my past and how I eat still at times, so much sugar, I worry about my brain – only because I am exhibiting these worrisome symptoms.
So, this month, I am going to begin with a cleanse of sorts, eating cleanly, and looking into foods that cleanse the blood and cleanse the skin because all disease begins in the blood and my skin’s melanin is no longer being produced in my legs. What’s up. But, I need to get my brain working better!
Also, I will focus on a high protein and high fat diet with low carbs, and no processed carbs which should help my brain fog clear. Lots of cholesterol, too. Brain fat needed! Pulling my book, Grain Brain, off my shelf tonight, I read about how low cholesterol levels doesn’t allow the brain to work well, and those individuals with low cholesterol are at a much greater risk for dementia. Bring on the eggs! I did just remember I bought MCT oil at the health food store which will help my brain hopefully!
I am coming to terms with the fact that I need more discipline in my life and operate much better with it, on a regular basis.
Because our brain exhibits plasticity and can regenerate, I am clear on what I need to do. So, here’s to my brain’s health and the overall health of my body for the next month, starting with the following:
Herbs and good veggies
Lots of water
Thank you for reading. Here’s to all of our health!
This vlog includes a time when I was living in England when God blessed me moments after I gave all I could, 5 measly pounds. 5 pounds in the tithing bag showed up to me in a 150 return over the next 3 months! He always has shown up in my need. Thank you. Faithful God. https://youtu.be/dh2CHsohvgw
Craving the Color of Food: Intuition of the Healing Body
Have you ever craved specific colors of food? Likely. I know I have, but it wasn’t until I was on the way home from the beach one afternoon many years ago when I inferred that the reason I was craving tomatoes was likely because of the sun, somehow.
What I thought of next was when I used to go to Dewey Beach, DE a lot in my early 20s or Ocean City or any beach town really, and what restaurant is always packed there? The pizza joints or Italian restaurants! Why?
Well, I got home and pursued my questioning to see if my inference about the relationship between red tomatoes and the sun was there at all. It was.
Turns out, lycopene, one of several carotenoid phytonutrients, has been shown in many studies, see below, in both humans and other animals, to provide benefits against collagen breakdown and tumor expression in the skin after UV radiation from the sun. It’s good news!
I did not really think much beyond how lycopene helped to protect us against sun damage after that. It was common knowledge it destroys our DNA which is one of the reason for cancers, but I never really considered, why wrinkles? I was just interested in knowing how fascinating the body is in intuiting what it needs to heal itself – in this case, from sun exposure – and finds a way of letting us know too.
I’ve typically always been driven to food by what I crave believing that my body knows best what it needs, even when I may not understand.
The Science of Wrinkles and Crinkly Toes!
So I have been out and about in the sun a lot lately over the past month or so and had begun to get a great tan. I stay under my umbrella mostly because it’s so darn comfortable, and I know I’m still getting rays, but I do opt for the open blanket sometimes over the covered beach chair. Also, I’ve been out a lot exercising and exposing myself to the sun’s rays that way, too.
I have always been perplexed that my feet never seem to tan like the rest of my bod. I guess it’s the angle of them to the sun, but even when they have the most exposure, they still seem to keep a bit of a palor☹
I was looking down at my toes recently, and though my little pigs were white, I noticed they were crinkly, a bit like a French fry. Odd. Miss Crinkle toes! 😊 Why was that, I wondered?
Well, one thing I thought was that I considered I’d been out in the sun, and because they don’t seem to tan or burn, I never apply sunscreen to them. Besides, who has wrinkly toes!? Was it the sun exposure that was making them crinkly, I wondered? Yes, it likely was. I’d look into it!
I researched studies done on the specifics of sun and wrinkling, and yes! The sun causes wrinkles because it destroys our collagen – the connective protein fibers in our skin, tendons, cartilage and muscles which provides structure and elasticity. It is THE most abundant protein in our bodies, and when we are exposed to the sun, specifically the UVA rays, our body actually responds by programming certain enzymes to destroy it! Ouch.
I must have known that at some point, but the biology behind how is more interesting. Turns out, the sun’s UV rays trigger our DNA to make specialized proteins, enzymes, specifically, MMP-1, collagenases, to do their job, and destroy our collagen! Crike!
Why did I never know or realize this before, I don’t know. I love my enzymes – they are likely the most favored part of my body because without them, I would not function and would die😊 But on a less drastic note, they are specific to every chemical reaction in our body, and I am not looking to deliberately trigger the one’s designed to destroy my collagen to do so.
I panicked! What? I’m programmed to wrinkle when I go into the sun, literally? I didn’t know it was that bad. I was petrified to go back out. Long-shirts would be in my future as I went out. I’d already been feeling a bit burned and don’t like the thought of that. And, a V-8 for the ride over to the beach, for sure.
2 weeks or so I came home from the pool craving orange! Luckily, I had a lot. I ate and drank everything I had. Carrot juice, sweet orange peppers, and dried apricots. Though I had orange juice, that I was not craving. I checked into my craving online.
Turns out, beta carotene is another carotenoid, like lycopene. Lycopene acts differently scientifically in our skin, though. B-carotene acts as a precursor to Vitamin-A which promotes fibroblasts – connective tissue that produces collagen and contributes to healthy skin, whereas lycopene prevents enzymes from being produced that break itself down, essentially!
I must have known these things about the carotenoids before, but making sense of how they work scientifically and applying to my real life makes in all the more interesting, and fun! Being out in the sun basically serves to destroy our skin in a certain sense, and I needed the nutrients to make the fibroblasts I needed to make more connective tissue to repair what skin damage I’d caused by exposing myself to that light! Right? I love it!! Body, Brilliant!!
Back to Lycopene – The Sun & Tomato Cravings – The Body Intuitive
Turns out, lycopene, which is most abundant in tomatoes, inhibits the effects of MMP-1 collagenases. (Enzymes typically end in -ase, and often their prefix reflects the substrate on which they act. Another example, lipase. Lipases break down lipids, or fats).
Many studies support how lycopene, an MMP inhibitor, intervenes on our behalf preventing collagen breakdown and therefore, wrinkles. I have included 4 different studies here, 2 of which discuss the aforementioned relationship between lycopene and MMP inhibition, 1 of which supports how topical MMP inhibitors reduce basement membrane destruction, in rats, which leads to wrinkles, and a final study which looks at lycopene’s impact on tumor formation in rats.
If you are interested in reading the whole study, click the titles. I give a brief conclusion of the author’s findings, as well as a breakdown on what they found.
Conclusion: Assessment of gene expression revealed that UVB/A, as well as UVA1, radiation significantly upregulated steady‐state levels of HO‐1, ICAM‐1 and MMP‐1 mRNA in skin of volunteers who were either untreated or had been treated with placebo. In marked contrast, TNC (Fig. 3), as well as lutein (Fig. 4), treatment significantly inhibited UVB/A and UVA1 radiation‐induced gene expression.
The Breakdown: What this means is that when subject were exposed to different types of radiation, the genes for collegenases were turned on stimulating breakdown of collagen, but once supplementing with a lycopene-rich TNC (Tomato Nutrient Complex) or leutin, another cartotenoid, the genes that code for making the collagenases were inhibited after radiation, preventing the breakdown of collagen.
Conclusion: UVA irradiation of the human skin fibroblasts led to a 10–15-fold rise in metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1) mRNA.
Lycopene and β-carotene did not protect on their own but in the presence of vitamin E, their stability in culture was improved and the rise in MMP-1 mRNA expression was suppressed, suggesting a requirement for antioxidant protection of the carotenoids against formation of oxidative derivatives that can influence the cellular and molecular responses.
The Breakdown: The difference here is that this study shows how Vitamin E is needed along with lycopene in order for mRNA not to express the MMP-1 protein collagenases. mRNA is made from DNA which in turn makes protein, or in this case, does NOT make protein, the collegenase.) This makes more sense because lycopene, along with other carotenoids, are fat-soluble, meaning they need fats in order to be absorbed. +PLUS+
Conclusion: Topical application of a specific matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor, CGS27023A, inhibited ultraviolet B-induced gelatinase activity in the epidermis, and its repeated application prevented ultraviolet B-induced damage to the basement membrane, as well as epidermal hyperplasia and dermal collagen degradation. Ultraviolet B-induced wrinkles were also prevented by administration of the inhibitor. These results, taken together, suggest that ultraviolet B-induced enhancement of gelatinase activity in the skin contributes to wrinkle formation through the destruction of basement membrane structure and dermal collagen in chronically ultraviolet B-exposed hairless mouse, and thus topical application of matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors may be an effective way to prevent ultraviolet B-induced wrinkle formation.
Breakdown: Repeatedly applying a topical, non-specified MMP (collagenase) inhibitor – a cream that prevents collagen breakdown – damage to the basement membrane of the dermal skin layer was not created, as a result, neither then were wrinkles.
Wrinkles are caused by damage to the basement membrane which can be mitigated by non-exposure to UV light or by exposure to an MMP inhibitor (such as lycopene😊) before exposure to UV light. Check out the electron microscopy photos, below, of the basement membrane before and after exposure to UV light over time. Recognize that wrinkled look?
Figure 1. Changes of basement membrane ultrastructure in UVB-irradiated mouse. Mouse skin was irradiated with UVB (total 5 J per cm2) for 10 wk. (a) Non-irradiated control skin. (b) Basement membrane began to separate from basal cells after 2 wk of UVB irradiation. (c) The basement membrane damage became more severe after 5 wk of UVB irradiation. (d) Many disruptions of basement membrane were observed after 10 wk of UVB irradiation. Scale bars: 1 μm.
Conclusion: Overall, male mice that consumed tomato-containing diets developed fewer UVB-induced skin tumors compared to male mice that did not consume tomatoes.
The Breakdown: The conclusion, above, sums it up, but see graph below. The only significant difference in tumor development is in the rats fed a tomato diet with the lycopene, not a tangerine-tomato diet, even know they did develop fewer tumors, also.
So, what’s the take-away?
Eat your tomatoes (puree – the best source of lycopene) or have a V-8 before you hit the beach or even go outside, and, make sure you take a tablespoon of oil with it or pop a Vitamin E in order for your body making to prevent making collagenase which will be set to breakdown your collagen otherwise, and cause wrinkles.
You want to keep your beauty as long as your body allows.
Eat what your body craves because it is often something your body needs. Our bodies are made to heal themselves, and can, as long as they have the nutrients they need to do it! Let your body work for you, not against you while you still engage in those outdoor activities you love. And, just for the record, keep applying sunscreen, too, for added sun protection. You skin, your largest and most visible organ, is one we want to keep looking young and supple for as long as possible.
I hope you found this helpful, and have learned something new and interesting.
Despite the working out, because of my bingeing behavior, I actually gained about 4 fat pounds, as evidenced by as scale at Publix, and the tightness of my pants around my booty in my big jeans, and one of my pairs of pjs being about two inches too short, due to said booty! Oh well, it’s only weight! There’s always this month – and my new smart goal: no sugar – the weight will be gone in no time.
I’m two weeks in into my 2nd smart goal, and that is, simply: no sugar – that is, no ho-ho’s, cakes, brownies, donuts, pies, ice cream, candy, cupcakes or the like that I’d been indulging in in my last month (minus ho-ho’s) of pigging out during teacher appreciation week, the last week of school, and just because I went for it all month long while engaging in my 1st smart goal which was working out for at least 20 minutes/day, 4x/week. Writing my blog about that even found me ½ into a pint of ice cream at the time! Love ice cream!
One thing I noticed while I allowed myself to eat so piggily with respect to content and amount, was that I didn’t allow myself to do it because I told myself that famous lie of, “I’ll quit tomorrow!” I actually found myself saying that at one point, and just recognized that as the binge mentality that it promoted, until the next binge, and I believe that may have been a big turning point. Just finally giving myself full permission to eat without recompense, I pigged out so much I found myself disgusted!
I have decided to do this no sugar thing now, too, because of actually feeling so physically ill as a result of all the poor dietary choices I made over the month of May. It felt gross!
So, for my first SMART goal, I exceeded what I set, and only hit the minimum part of my fit goal maybe 5 times max, all month. I found that once you’re out and about, 20 minutes is nothing, it flies by – this is why it’s so smart! If I walked, that went by super-fast which worked out for me when I didn’t want to exercise at all, but whether walking, riding my bike, yoga, swimming or running, I typically exceeding my 20-minute time interval by at least 2x as much and up to 5x. As indicated, one thing smart about this smart goal was that it is realistic and timely – the R and T of the SMART. If I had to work out for 40 minutes at a clip, I would have been deterred, but I typically worked out more than that anyway! So, because it’s so easy and so many positives came from it, I’ve decided to keep it, and have!
I like going out and walking now or biking – whatever I decide to do – I mix it up, break up my day, get some exercise, some fresh air, a new perspective, I get inspired and remember what interests me – plants (and photography – some photos included from a graveyard I walked one night – love bark!) – those beautiful plants I see all the time as I walk – and I just began to take time to be in the present moment, whatever it is, I would find a smile. It is normally always good and positive, and it’s only for 20 minutes, minimum😊
Despite the working out, because of my bingeing behavior, I actually gained about 4 fat pounds, as evidenced by as scale at Publix, and the tightness of my pants around my booty in my big jeans, and one of my pairs of pjs being about two inches too short, due to said booty! Oh well, it’s only weight! There’s always this month – and my new smart goal: no sugar – the weight will be gone in no time. I’ve already lost about two pounds it looks just from being off of sugar in these past two weeks. I can feel and see it in my new jeans, too.
I realized too that when I remove sugar from my diet, I eat a lot less, and typically don’t have the resulting fullness. A domino! I realize that a healthier relationship with food spills over into the rest of my life in a good way. Another domino. Mentally, a shift occurs creating the positive domino effect. One thing always leads to another. Food is so key to many facets of my life.
I am well-aware of my mental state and my approach to food. There is always a tie-in. The more positive I am and eating well, the better my life is. The better my life is, the better food choices I typically make. I have noticed how I take certain behaviors out on what I choose to eat. Like I take my mood out on my food which is what I am doing to myself, as well. Once I realized that, many years ago, I could easily check myself, and make another choice, but it’s interesting what relationship we have with food. It’s a direct correlation and indication to where we are mentally, in my case anyway.
Maybe I’ll always have a thing with food – it is one of my favorite things in life – it’s sensual and delicious. I love it. But for the rest of this month, I am loving it a little less, and loving my body a little more by honoring this beautiful temple of mine God gave me. That’s the SMART thing to do!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have … Therefore, honor God with your bodies.
Here’s an large excerpt from my video story – it’s much of it! It’s long, but it’s worth listening to to hear how God showed up for me one night like never before, amazing! I felt for the first time He is truly impressive with how He had to have orchestrated every single event to occur to bring all to pass the way he did. He planned this for a span of over a year to culminate just after my most earnest prayer, and in 10 or 15 minutes, every major prayer request was met.
This came on the heels of my second lowest point while living in England, and after coming to my faith senses that afternoon in terms of owning my responsibility in my relationship to God and the personal responsibility I have to myself, and to God, for my life and success. The wow moments were too big to comprehend, so I just went with them, rolling with the blessing, and received them all, acting the part, amazed, but unable to comprehend what truly happened because it was too big to get, but God worked it all out to build my faith, supply every need I had over the next months that followed and provided me with a great new friend who would only help me develop my faith even more, Joy.
It was my turn and my time to act. It was upon me this time. It was well time for me to take an active role in my life, making the decisions that would benefit me – carrying me through to the next level, and not leaving me in this low-down, deep place on many levels. This may seem like a “duh” moment for a lot of people.
Despite the dreariness of the day, I’d discerned some bit of distant light I could see outlining and circling some bits of the Channel in the most elegantly fascinating way, and I was able to finally grasp from some recess of hope and personal responsibility within myself that I had to myself and to God that, “He’s not done with me yet.” This was in echo from a verse that I suspect the Holy Spirit brought to my mind that I’d often hear in church from a pastor at my church there, Josh, who used to often say, “God is the same today, yesterday and forever.” The verse never quite made sense to me when I heard it, like what’s so special about that verse that you always repeat it, I wondered? For me, it was the difference between darkness and light, and that day, I got the light.
God, I feel, orchestrates everything in my life to my benefit it seems sometimes. I know that sounds a bit egocentric, but I feel like it’s just true. I see it happen all the time it seems. I am incredibly fortunate that is for certain. I bet if we all looked around, earnestly, we’d be seeing blessings everywhere bounding in our favor too. I hope so.
Deciding to believe was exciting to me. Acting on that belief was another whole story. Head and heart had to align. Spirit had to help. This was a real different scenario. Belief: It seemed burdensome to me. In itself it implies responsibility. Ugh. What more? What was it with me and responsibility? It required that I do my part for once, and not only to walk forward and do what I could do to achieve whatever I needed to, but to believe in all the words of God that I’d ever known that would lift me out of the muck and mire that was my life at the time. I had to believe in what I’d heard. I was not excluded in the benefits and love of God for any reason. “God wishes for all of us to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth in Him,” 1 Timothy 2:4 tells us. His word was the truth, liberty from faulty thinking.
Coming to know God, truly, and letting Him in is what has changed my life finally, and continues to change my life to this day.
Since that day in the park when I decided to truly apply the word of God to my life, I have been being transformed mind, body and spirit when applying it. It can’t help but to work. It empowers me to this day. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” I believe it. It makes sense to me because it’s what I’ve lived, it speaks the truth to me reading it, dividing and discerning what needs division and discernment.
That night, I viewed with my own eyes the orchestration of miraculous events that God made happen. I was literally led along this path that took me into the answer of all of my prayers, but more importantly, and ever so wonderfully, God led me to know that He had heard me, that he was with me, being my helper, my guide, and my Father, a good Father, who showed me that I could trust Him and that He would take care of me. He sure cares. Amen.
I delved into a depth of intimacy that night with God having a messianic encounter with Him unlike any other experience I had ever previously had. I had been delivered from doubt into this awesome divine faith which brought forth from me this earnestness I had never before experienced to such degree. It was incredible. It was tangible in me. I could literally feel my prayer inside of me building up – a literal surge from within me, the internal depths of who I was, God coming up in me to reach me, having connected with me maybe in that very instant. I didn’t know that earnestness existed within me, but I liked it, a lot. It was connected.
I have learned that God wants to show Himself real to me, to all of us, but I, we, must Trust Him. That is one of the things I wanted and needed from Him was for Him to show Himself real to me, as a Father, and he has, time and again, amazingly, and he has continued, too.
God is for everyone! “I wish that none will suffer, and all will come to me. “Everyone who has ears to hear, let him hear.” God is a life changer, and He is real. This is my hope for everyone: is that they come to that relationship with Him where they know him truly, personally, lovingly. It’s impressive how He works to get to know us, to tell you He’s there and listening to you and hopeful for you, in you, to hear Him and see Him and know Him. “He longs to give us every good gift,” Josh used to tell us often, and God also longs to love and be loved by us all, I say. That is His gift, and it’s free.
I had decided God was for me, and there was hope in my heart in that and for me, but that night at church, I was there only in body for the most part. I remember little of what Pastor Robert said that night because I was running my options through my mind continuously, frantically. The reason I went to the park that afternoon had to do with me feeling uncomfortable where I was living and wanting to leave.
So, when I was in church that night, I was trying to figure how I would get out. Would I go home, back to D.C.? There were only two months left before I’d be leaving anyway, and Aunt Judy wouldn’t mind if I came early, I thought. I was going to move to Florida to live with my Aunt Judy after I’d spent Christmas back in Washington with everyone. I could just go back to D.C. or go there, Florida. I needed to get out of where I was though, I thought. That wrongful living space was not going to work at all. Where was I going to find a place though to live for just two months and have to have all the upfront money, etc? It wasn’t worth it, nor was there a likelihood of this even happening. I’m just going to do it, I thought. I’m going leave. This is too much pressure.
Then, it hit me – the fact that I remembered I was supposed to be there until the end of the term. Not only had I given my word I’d be there at least until then, but God had confirmed for me, for weeks on end, that I was, indeed, supposed to be there, and stay there, until the end of the term, and after that I would be moving to Florida. That was all very clear. Very well, then. I would stay, but what was I to do about the living space, the arrangement in which I currently found myself? What would I do? Where would I go? How would it work?
All of this was running through my mind throughout the sermon of which I don’t think I caught ten minutes of that night. Then, at the end of the sermon, there was a prayer and then a suggestion given up by Pastor Robert. I just remember feeling so incredibly humbled and surrendered. I thought how much I wanted to be a part of Pastor Robert’s family – just the love and salvation part, being connected to God, truly. They were all so good and connected to God. I looked over to my right where I saw Pastor Robert’s youngest son and his wife, and thought of Pastors Robert and Virginia and how lovely and surrendered they are, and, though I had been smitten with their older son, Josh, I did not necessarily want to be a part of their family as his wife, but as their equal – as God’s daughter – in that love relationship – in the love of God always – in His family. I wanted that connection.
I humbled myself in prayer. It was as if by no intentional purpose, it just happened upon me. I realized it, feeling so closely connected to God in that moment as I have never been before. It was awesome. The humility had impressed itself upon me, Him, his truth and warmth – I was so deliberately earnest in my prayer and I loved it. It was a first seemingly, at least in feeling alone. I was praying for that somehow too – the truth –to be connected to the love of God – to know for sure that I was being guided and that God would take care of me and provide for me all the things that I needed. To really let go and let God, and to be surrendered to Him in His truth that He would provide every good gift for me.
In my prayer, I felt God was the truth – that that God would somehow provide for me because I did know the truth, and that was that He wanted me there, and that was Him and not me that made that decision well clear. I was trying to escape. However, I do not ever recall thinking maybe He wanted me in that situation still where I’d currently resided. All’s that I knew was that I was very uncomfortable and wanted to be out of there tout suite, so that is for what I prayed. I knew I was supposed to be in England, but I wanted out of where I was. So, that is for what I prayed.
I turned it all over to Him. I told Him that I knew He wanted me to stay there, in England until December, and that I believed that, and, then, in some sort of knowingness, in that, I was able to trust Him. I gave it to Him due to the fact that I earnestly felt like He was in control. I was finally believing and trusting Him. He was running the show, so He needed to help me, and He would. I asked and sincerely hoped in Him that He would do it, and take care of it in His power and time and ability, to have me in a new place – the perfect place, a place for two months that would be good for me, that would be with a Christian housemate, that would have furniture and no down payment, and have the option for only a two month lease, and…it would be affordable, and…for it to be ready by the end of next week. It was a lot to ask, but my part too was being faithful and trusting, and I think that truly began that night.
“You have not because you ask not,” Jesus told us, along with: “Ask anything according to my will, and it will be done unto you.” God loves our faith too. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith, it is impossible to please God.”
I finished praying and felt pretty good. Trustful. After the sermon, Pastor Robert, as he sometimes did, requested from us that we go around and introduce ourselves, or to say, “Hi” to ten new individuals, and I attempted to do so. I didn’t quite make it to ten, or maybe I did, but I did work my way from the back of the church up to the front of the church saying hello and introducing myself to as many as were apparent. Then, as I approached the front and thought to get a prayer with Pastor Robert, he walked away from me, seemingly deliberately so like he was told, “Don’t talk to her!” I kept moving right along. I finally just took a seat upfront, waiting, even trying to discuss with those next to me, but they weren’t having it either. So, I just sat there feeling a little dumb as I was striking-out with people conversation wise, left and right.
I just sat there waiting for another housemate figuring he’d be awhile. Then, I looked to my right and saw a pretty woman, about my age, whom I’d not previously seen. “I’ll talk to her,” I thought. “Introduce myself, and, say, hi”. So, I did.
Upon my going over to her and making my introduction, she identified me as being who I am – that is, she indicated that she recognized me from the internet, that I’m a teacher, etc. I was perplexed for a moment still not knowing how she would know these things about me because I wasn’t online like that, and then I recalled as she finally mentioned the housemate situation – she remembered me from the site photo I’d posted online along with my profile for the accommodation request I had filled out overa year prior to that, when I was still in the U.S. looking for an accommodation over there. Wow. Okay. That was amazing.
How bizarre. I’d never seen a photo of her though, because I guess she hadn’t posted it, but she was the one who’d contacted me originally. We’d chatted on the phone then, and she sounded great, but the place where she and her housemate, Karine, lived was too far for me to get to work on time, and the bus route would not have gotten me to work when I needed to be. So, because I didn’t have enough money for a vehicle and no bus accommodation working for my advantage, I had to say “no” as being the answer at the time.
I think now of the orchestration of events of our lives. God is so lovingly amazing with his worth and working things out to our good and benefit. His timing is also perfect. It’s amazing. I know I keep using that word. His transitions are miraculous, really, how He knows all this. These aren’t chance meetings. There are no coincidences. God is in orchestration mode all the time working it out in and for us. For His will to be accomplished in us! For Him to know us and make us known to Him, for Him loving us and us loving Him.
When Joy informed me of what she had, I found it quite amazing, all of it, putting it all together. I barely took any time to express deliberately the amazing connection that was occurring, the divine connection that God was creating, had created, had been creating, all this time, His will, coming together, bringing us together, His two daughters (once again over a year later) who’d prayed for Him to help them in her own need in her own way and He quickly made it happen. His expediency is impressive too! Actually, impressive is a word often used by me to describe God. God is incredibly impressive to me!!
From there, in my desperation, and the poor interpersonal skills I had, I quickly made mention of my need, again, for the same thing. I pounced on the opportunity to share with her again my need for a housemate. She, interestingly, also informed me of the same thing! I loved it. She said that she had just been praying that afternoon for a Christian housemate – and here I was. Wow. She expressed that she’d gotten “Holy Spirit tingles” about it all as we were talking, and to her that was the recognition that it was okay that we’d be housemates. How fantastic was that!?? Wow!
She was more mature than I was in terms of Godliness and knowingness and recognizing appropriately what was going on instead of going through all the motions as I always had, and felt I was. I was just desperate feeling, and on top it of it all, not allowing it in. It was inconceivable in some ways what’d transpired, really, too much to make understood. Not knowing how, I just bumbled through it all. I was like a new-comer to all of this. Oh, the God of the universe just so clearly answered our prayers and needs, and also reunited us over a year later to bring us together once again and to make us housemates, after all, and He’s had this planned out for over a year? Oh, okay…J Wow. God is so amazing.
God uses everything, doesn’t He? We had to have had that first meeting in order to have had this second chance to occur in order for us to have had our needs to be met over a year later, when it was more appropriate and timely for us both. Wow. I couldn’t have seen that one coming. I had no intention of working on a room mate as I “helloed” everyone I passed by. God was ushering me along to get me where he wanted me – to talk to Joy – I love it! Also, he was using Pastor Robert as a conduit to get me, us, together, again. It was great!! What a God. What a Father. God is such a good dad, helping, coming to our rescues, yet again, knowing, and allowing for all of this to come to pass, resting us in Him, for us to see that He is trustworthy. Amen.
Trying to act wowed, when it was really too much to take in and comprehend is where I was when interacting with Joy. I didn’t know how to respond other than to say wow and act surprised and wowed, but it was a wow. It was amazing. I wasn’t realizing the will of God in any of it at the time. I was dumbfounded!. I would have been profoundly overwhelmed and expressive in gratitude and solemnness if I really thought about what was happening between us. Totally cool and awesome it was, but how do you comprehend that, truly? Overwhelmed would be a more fully appropriate feeling to consume all of what was about to happen. Awe-inspired. All that God does is amazing. How resplendent really.
In any event, we were to be housemates, and I could move in in a couple of weeks I found out after I called her a day or two later. And, it turned out to be okay to stay in my other place longer because my housemate about whom I was concerned would be going on vacation and would be gone the whole time. Excellent. So, I was relieved by that. Also, I would be able to afford it. I did not need to put a down payment. I would be able to stay for only two months. It was going to be in a supportive environment, and it was fully furnished. What else? That was it! Perfect, God, just perfect. Check, check, check. You are so great. Thank you, Lord.
“God provides above and beyond what we could ever hope for or imagine.” He did. He had provided a place for me before I even left church that night, with every need met, and He gave me Joy who is great too. He is incredible like that.
You know what’s interesting too? Having seen all of the moves and the upheavals that I’d endured while I was there, I no longer wondered why. It was seemingly clear. Though I chose to move to or from a couple of different places for conveniences sake, I had experienced difficulties in others that led me moving from place to place. From a county ordinance, to a financial distress, to a stinky room, to an offensive gesture, I moved right along so that I could get finally get to be with Joy – where God had ultimately intended me to be. He sets everything up that is brilliant. I was finally able to reconcile why all the moves. Why things were “not working out,” they were working out. They just didn’t look that way. We know that looks can be sometimes be deceiving, so despite what the circumstances are, as long as we are walking with God, we should keep trusting Him for the best, because He’s working it out.
In all things, give thanks, I’m reminded of from I Thess 5:8. Things were working out, I just couldn’t see how when I was going through them. That’s where the trust bit comes in and the obedience to giving thanks in all things because God is orchestrating behind the scenes for our own good.
I learned a lot about God through this circumstance. I learned that he hears me. He responds and cares about me. The most important thing to me, and the sacred one, He is my holy father. I learned that I am important. I learned that God orchestrates things. That we ask and we receive, that we seek and we find, that we knock and the doors open wide when we ask according to His will. I learned that he directs our paths and meets our needs. He sets up meetings. He uses others to help us along. He orchestrates. I learned that he uses things that we may deem as bad or wrong to move us to another direction where He wants us to be because otherwise we might not go to where we need to go and we might stay where we need not be. I realized that He gives us Godly connections: friends that love us and help us along the way. I realized that I am His family, his loving daughter, the most important thing. I am his holy daughter whom he loves very much. And, I realize that He does it, He does it through His son, Jesus Christ, through the movement of the Holy Spirit in and upon us, and through us, along with the help of others he calls angels and I’ve called friends, as well as all the heavenly angels He has set up for us in heavenly places to cause us not to fall or stumble, and if we do, they assist us in getting up.
He loves us very much, and He wishes to show up for us and in us, but we have to invite Him first because as our father, a holy father, He is also a gentleman, and we need to ask Him in, to Help us. This then gives us a chance too to see His work, which I love witnessing, and to acknowledge Him and to thank Him as we build a real relationship with Him, the heavenly Father, and to get to know Him and Jesus and the Holy Spirit through all of our circumstances.
I have learned the lows are where real sincerity begins, for me. Through the trials we become close, centered, realize what we need and want, and are serious about going about it, about figuring it out. I have realized that this low in that time was for a purpose – to center me – to build me – to build a foundation for me, and that was on God. On Him I stand. He got me to trust and led me to believe, a God gift in deed. God was building me up by bringing me down. That day was foundational for me. The falling down, the picking myself up, trusting myself and God, then giving my pieces to God and trusting in Him. Then, He sorted everything out, marvelously. 🙂
My prayer one afternoon was to be struck with lightening, and without harm, for me to know what God’s will was for my life – would I stay in England or leave? Wanting to leave, I felt to stay, but I did not want to stay. More than either, what I wanted is to know what God wanted, for sure. I wanted to know He was with me. I have come to find that if I believe God is with me, I can handle anything – if I know the path I’m on is His.
I know God is with us whether we make our bed in hell or heaven, but because I felt like I’d been in hell already there, I was looking to depart. If I knew He was with me, and it was His will for me to continue on, I would be able to do so with grace.
Praying my desperate prayer for confirmation, I felt badly right afterwards, for wasting God’s time. Like, what a stupid prayer. Just face up to your responsibilities and do it, if that is what you feel you are to do! Well, He was merciful toward me, and He did not strike me down, but I had my prayer answered. Lightening struck, and I stayed.
Work was better than ever, but more “problems” pursued personally with living situations, but God used everyone of them to show me Himself in my circumstances, only making things better and better every time and growing me and drawing me more closely to Him. Incredible situations presented where I was able to find Him loving me as a Father, Jesus as my brother, and the Holy Spirit as my gentle peace followed by an ever increasing faith in Him. That was the best gift, well, knowing He really cared for me and loves me was the best, and is, but having circumstance after circumstance show me that He Is, and He Is for and with me.
What a great time in my life. All the struggles to find Him. All worth it.