VATIC Expressions: Truth, Transparency, Transformation
Volume 1, Summer 2015 Issue. A division of Vatic Publishing®, LLC.
by Penny Ojeda
I was praying, “Lord, what do you want me to write about?” Then I opened the Bible to Matthew 8:22-27, but I’ll get back to these scriptures after I share my recent journey.
I’ve suffered with allergies for many years. About a month ago I caught the flu, which was followed by a sinus infection which caused bronchitis. I was so sick I had to take antibiotics and use a nebulizer a couple times a day to open up my airways. I also had a yeast infection on my lips as a result of the antibiotics. I prayed, “Lord, I know infirmity is not your will for me. I need to know what areas in my life are opening the door to illness.” I continued to take my medicines and had praise music playing. All I wanted was pure air and a spiritually pure room to rest and sleep in. I live with my parents and the spiritual atmosphere outside my room (due to what comes through the TV) is not pure. I declared, “Lord, You are my breath. You are my life. You breathed life into ALL of Your creation. As my lungs need oxygen, I need You, Lord.”
Germs, pollutants and chemicals can make the lungs weak and sick so that they are unable to work without medicine. In the same way, our Spirits can get affected by what we speak, believe, watch on TV, listen to on the radio, the types of relationships we have, types of people we hang out with, etc.
I heard the Lord say, “The time of suffocation is over.” I did not understand what this meant, but I wanted to understand. A couple weeks later I was led to watch Daystar and a pastor was preaching on suffocation. He said if we go without reading the Word then we are compromising and we will suffocate. To suffocate means to be without oxygen, which leads to death. The spiritual meaning is without the Word and Spirit of God, we die. I was not getting into the Word and not spending much time with the Lord.
My busy life, watching TV, going through apps on my iPhone, etc. all had my attention. I was compromising. I asked the Lord to forgive me for compromising because “I do not want to suffocate-- to die without Your WORD, Your SPIRIT and TRUTH in my life.”
While on Facebook I came across a post that said lung conditions, like bronchitis and asthma, can be caused by grief. I don’t know if that’s true across the board for everyone, but I have had grief to work through. My Mom has COPD, so my season of illness with bronchitis, feeling weak, being tired and unable to breathe well, these are things I witness her living with daily, and the medical world says its incurable. I listen to her cough and cough, struggling for her breath. I cry out, “Lord I want my Mom to feel better, and I don’t want her to die by coughing to death. I want the rest of her life to be filled with love and peace.”
One of the areas where I have been grieved is as a result of walking away from one church to go to another. I am sure the Lord wanted me to leave and go to New Day Church, where I am now. However, the change has grieved me because some people from my previous church cannot accept my leaving one church to go to another. These are people who the Lord has asked me to give up my relationships with because I am on a new road and they are on another. On top of that, many people from my current church have gone from my life, and this hurts me. Some people simply moved out of town, but there are others who became offended and left the church. As a result of misunderstanding, immaturity, pride, unforgiveness, etc. they have left spreading untruths about my Pastor and our church family. That hurts a lot, especially when they decide to broadcast these untruths on social media site like Facebook. I grieve because these people are precious, and while they decided to avoid going to the person(s) who offended them and communicate clearly about the problem, they go tell the world. I grieve because I love them, I miss them, I love the people they are speaking ill about, and I miss my friends who have moved away.
I grieve because I am not where I want to be. I see what I am not. I shop and get myself into debt. I want to lose weight, but I don’t. I get overwhelmed by big groups of people and I just am not able to be very sociable. I want to be like David who was after the Lords heart, but sometimes I think I have acted like Saul, wanting my own way and not doing what the Lord says to do. For example, I know that I am supposed to start walking regularly to strengthen my body, but I don’t. I’m not perfect, but I want to be fully obedient to the Lord.
I look at all these difficulties in my life and I start to doubt. Yes, sometimes I doubt the Lord’s promises, and I doubt myself, too. “Forgive me, Lord, for doubting. I choose to believe in what You say and not in what I see or don’t see. I choose this day to believe in a hope and a future that You have planned for me. I can change. I can become who You want me to be.”
All the challenges in my life and past hurts I have caused me to form wrong thoughts about myself. The Lord led me to do a fast. He told me to give up sugar, specifically snacking on sweet foods or drinks for 18 days. Then He said, “I want you to stop thinking and saying negative things about yourself.” Ugh. On the first day, I realized I think too many negative things about myself. I said, “Lord, forgive me for speaking and thinking negatively about myself-- and I forgive you, Penny. I forgive everyone who has spoken negatively to me about me.”
During worship service Wednesday, April 15, 2015, I had a vision. I saw a rectangular mirror shattered on the ground. I saw and heard the words “Shatter, Shatter, Shatter the way you see yourself.” I said, “Yes, Lord, I need the mirror I’ve used to view myself to be shattered, and the way I have seen myself to be shattered and replaced with how you see me.”
The scripture I mentioned at the beginning of this testimony, Matthew 8:22-27, reads as follows in the Amplified Bible:
“But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and leave the dead (in sin) to bury their own dead. And after he got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly, behold, there arose a violent storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered up by the waves; but He was sleeping. And they went and awakened Him, saying, Lord, rescue and preserve us! We are perishing! And He said to them, Why are you timid and afraid, O you of little faith? Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great and wonderful calm (a perfect peaceableness). And the men were stunned with bewildered wonder and marveled, saying, What kind of Man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!”
As I was asking the Lord “What do I write for Vatic Expressions?” He gave me these scriptures and what I saw was that grief and doubt were what I need to work through. I believe these are the roots that I need to look at, and, in doing so, allow Him to heal me.
This morning at 2:30 a.m., I heard a loud cat fight. My cat, Snowball, was outdoors, so I went out to find him. When he came in, I realized he was limping and bleeding. In the past, Snowball would have little scars that I could treat with peroxide, but this time they were big battle wounds. I took him to the animal hospital where he was given an antibiotic shot, and I give him morphine for the pain. Now, he is house bound for two weeks. You may be wondering why I am telling you about my cat? Because the Lord is teaching me this season, through every detail of my life, and I am coming to understand His revelation. No matter the battle wounds from the cares and storms of life, I need my biological family, church family, the Body of Christ, and my friends. I need Jesus, the Man that even the winds and sea obey Him!
The cat is often viewed as an independent spirit. The independent spirit depends on no one, not even God or Christ’s body. The independent spirit will not be accountable to anyone, including God. It is easily offended when confronted with the truth. No matter the battle wounds I incur, I will stay connected to Christ and His Body as He has asked me. I will learn to overcome my grief, and I choose to believe and overcome any unbelief/doubt. I have begun to see myself as Jesus sees me. Let us pray for one another in our efforts to do this. It is a battle worth fighting to become healthy in all areas of our lives. The Lord had battle wounds, too, and through His battle, our battle wounds are healed, In Jesus’ Name.
© 2015 Penny Ojeda