Friday, August 22, 2008

Today, I Give You Thanks in Advance

I want to give You thanks at the beginning. Even ahead of time.

I face a day in a fallen world. A world where the prince of the power of the air has access to my thought life, and nothing other to do than spend his time attempting to steal, kill, and destroy.

Well, I am going to thank You. I am going to build a fortress of love, and grace, and thanksgiving around my family, and that wicked one will not touch us.

I thank You sincerely for the Word of God. If I could think of the most monumental thing that has ever been given me, it would be this Lord. That I can have Your word for myself, know what it says, mutter it to myself in weak moments, speak it in faith during the strong ones. I live in the same world where Hitler lived, Stalin lived, to which satan has been cast down. And in this world, I have a sword of protection, a fortress to hide in, and wings to take shelter under.

I thank You that even in darkness, You are light. Even in my sins and failures, You never leave me or forsake me. You have given me more than I could have imagined, more than I could ever deserve.

You shape me, You work all things together for my good. You are HERE. INSIDE of me. You are Faithful, Healer, Life-giver, Redeemer, Restorer, Father, and Mother to me. You are my husband, my lover, my obsession, my passion. All that I have is Yours, and yet I could never give enough, and never come to an end of what I have to give.

And you gave everything. You came into this world. This dark place wrought with decay and death where mothers kill their own babies, cannibalistic tribes commit murder against each other without conscience, where death and rot takes place everyday, and where sin, sickness, death and satan and fear have lodged themselves.

And YOU came HERE, and gave YOURSELF in my place! How could I not today give MYSELF in the place of another- forgiving that one, serving this other one, when they don't deserve it either.

but it isn't about whether or not we deserve it with you.

it's about whether or not you were willing to give.

"I am willing, be clean."

O Father, what can I say? Today, let me be Your instrument of grace. Speak, forgive, serve, heal through me. Do all that you would do for these your children in this dark place through me, because even the darkness is as light to you.

Oh how I love You, Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I have been thinking about Love, and my first love for Him. Been playing with the words in Revelation over and over in my mind: remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent, and do as you did at first.

I have been so grouchy, so totally irritated. So with head on desk, during a private moment in the office, I asked Him: What? What do I need to do to have JOY? And the answer on the inside of me: Love for Jesus brings joy. To the extent that you love Me, to that extent you will know joy.

So I play with that, turning it over in my mind, examining it from every angle. And it holds. I remember when I first came to know Him, to know that He is Love, that He loves me. And everything was bright, beautiful, full of joy. The hardships weren't less then, but the pressures couldn't get past the joy- the love I had for Him.

And then I think- that whatever I do for Him, I do for the least of these. That when I receive a little child in His name, I welcome Him. And He says, Repent, and do as you did at first.

He didn't say, feel as you did at first, but do.

I hugged more. I embraced more. Forgave more. Started again more. I smiled more- prayed more. I hungered for Him more, and went to greater lengths. Everything with Him was an adventure, and He sustained me. Yes, there were terrible times, but nothing ever got between Him and me. I loved more.

I remember the height from which I have fallen, but will I do as I did? Obey as I did then? Quickly, with total trust? Will I love and smile, and serve in true humility? Will I come to Him, just to be with Him?

One of the things I did then was to keep a gratitude journal. This was truly a life transforming experience for me. (Drop by Holy Experience, and see Ann Voskamp's 1000 gifts list.) I did this each night, faithfully, no matter the hour. But the more children that came, the less I worked on my journal. The less I gave thanks. When the children were all older, I never took it up again. Will I repent and do as I did at first? Will I give Him thanks?

I thank You for a sweltering day of summer heat. Growing tomatoes and green baby pumpkins. I thankyou for swimming, laughing children. Thankyou for a bikeride: time to talk to You, and to be alone. Exercise, to help my hormones! Thankyou for ten pounds of dripping red watermelon, for early morning wake up calls (Thankyou Holy Spirit!). Thank you for the husband you chose for me, and that You also chose me for Him. Thankyou for the first day of homeschool, and for slow easy adjustments. Thankyou for grace to begin again today.

Thankyou Father, for every good and perfect gift is from You.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Seeing Him in Small Things

Bright sun sparkling bright off of water, reminding me that God is light, pure light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
A lawn chair in shade, and a chance to read Proverbs. Time to renew my mind.

Finding wild mint, fresh, and invigorating, reminding me that all of life is fragrant, and He means for us to drink it in.

A flat rock to sit on, and a tree to sit under. Everthing around me green- he makes this world a lush place, a garden for us to enjoy.

Children laughing, running, swimming with their dad and their dog. I'm so glad that their lives are care free.

Wild grain, heavy and drooping with seed, telling us that all of life is perpetual. More, and fruitful life, each year that passes.

He reminds me that unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies and is buried it will produce many seeds.

Am I willing today, to die to my Self, and see new life come from it? Do I trust Him that this is what He has done for me?

Thankyou Lord, for a day with no pain, and no disease. Thankyou for a day of doing things that I felt like I couldn't do. Thankyou for letting me hear your voice, when all the pressures around me were saying something else.

Most of all, thankyou that I am not alone, because You are with me. You are my Lord, Jesus.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guard My Life, For I Am Devoted to You

Psalm 86 (New International Version)

A prayer of David.
1 Hear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God; save your servant
who trusts in you.
3 Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant,
for to you, O Lord,
I lift up my soul.
5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
listen to my cry for mercy.
7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
9 All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, O Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave. [a]
14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life—
men without regard for you.
15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
grant your strength to your servant
and save the son of your maidservant. [b]
17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fasting With Young Children at Home

Fasting is something that a lot of people assume they cannot do. Especially someone battling depression. If we knew how beneficial are the things the Lord asks of us, we would not hesitate, but often we don't see the results until during, and then after the fast. Nevertheless, often an encouragement or desire to fast will come up, and what then? How can a mother with young children at home (or a mother who is post partum, or battling depression) possibly fast?

First, I encourage you to recognize that you can. All things are possible to him who believes. If you have tried fasting before, and had a negative experience, or if you have kept saying "I can't fast, I have _____.", then I encourage you to reexamine things as we discuss fasting. It may not be so unattainable as you think.

First of all, peoples from every nation and time period have always fasted. We North Americans can do it too.

Second, it is so beneficial to your health, and your relationship with Jesus, that it should be obligatory- at least once in awhile.

Now thirdly, let me soften the blow with some practical advice, which will give you a vision of how fasting is possible, if you want to.

A mother with young children at home to take care of can fast, but she will have to lay aside her expectations for a day. You may need to rest for most of the day, so plan to serve the children simple meals, like yogurt and bananas for breakfast, pb&j for lunch (use healthy wholegrain bread, and raw honey if you like). For supper, put something easy in the crockpot (like a chicken) so hubby doesn't feel neglected when he comes home hungry.

Next, you will have to plan to spend time on the couch reading books to your little loved ones. You will probably need to take out of storage some special toys that haven't been played with for awhile, so the kids have an entertaining day. You will probably have to resort to some vegitales videos from the library.

This day isn't a day for you to tackle the laundry, but it isn't an excuse to be lazy. Read your bible as much as you can. Lay on the floor with the kids (so they can enjoy your presence) and read your bible while they play.

For a mom with many babies, a water fast (which I was referring to above) may not work. But you can fast with raw fruit and vegetable juices, which will help you have the energy you need to take care of babies, and will still provide the health and spiritual benefits you desire. If you have no access to raw juices, you could probable find carrot juice in the salad section of your grocery store- then just water down four ounces of this and drink every 3 hours or so. In a real pinch, you could use unsweetened rice milk, although this alters your blood sugar more than raw juice.

Fasting isn't the same as not fasting, and that's ok. We just need to make allowance for the differences. Turn the phone off, use paper plates for the kids, and remember: the fast will be over someday, but the benefits will remain. : )

If none of these possibilities work, you can still fast!!! Fast from McDonald's please. Fast from Coke, and coffee! Whatever you do, fast from sugar! Fast from wheat for awhile, and refined fats. You can do something.

If diet is a concern (health concerns), you can still fast! You can fast from TV. You can fast from the Internet. Fast from what takes up the bulk of your time, and then offer that time to the Lord in prayer, and biblestudy. Fasting is a time that we listen to Him, not try to get Him to pay attention to us. When we listen, we are not disappointed. Some of your sweetest times with the Lord, or your most momentous breakthroughs may happen when fasting- simply because you have turned your heart to Him to hear.

If it all looks too big, then just fast your last meal of the day, and then the kids are going to bed soon anyway. You can curl up in bed with your bible not long after they drop off.

Jesus Himself said that we would fast.

Be encouraged that if the Lord has put this on your heart to do, then all things are possible to them that believe.

Blessings on you, In Jesus' name!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Patience Wins Out

Here's another good one on curtailing your emotions:

Proverbs 16:32 Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

I love this verse. In the face of the battles that come our way, we can know that patience, and perseverance will be better to us than warring. I love that God always makes it simple for us- He doesn't need us to be skilled at war, just to be immovably patient, and to trust in His love.

Mommies, be patient with your little kids today, and see God move on your behalf.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fighting the Good Fight of JOY!

I spent a lot of time awake last night, struggling with my thoughts. By the time I woke up this morning, I came to a conclusion. Satan cannot lick me.
Why not? I am Christ's, and Christ destroyed him who had the power of death (that is, the devil) and through Christ I take part in that victory. I am already the winner, if I don't quit.
I read a bit in proverbs this morning- always a good place to read when you need to curtail your emotions.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Sometimes I hate the strife and bickering that can happen with four children at home all day. This says I can lead with a gentle answer, and turn away anger.

Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
So it's my choice today, if I will talk about myself as if I am well, or if I will say what the devil says (which is usually: you'll die young, you must have cancer, you are very afraid... The usual rigamarole). But that kind of talk crushes the spirit. This very day, I can use my tongue to speak healing in my home, to my body, to those around me. This will in turn produce more and more life and health.

Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Again, this is my choice. It may not seem like it at first, after all, if I don't have a happy heart, then there's nothing I can do, right? Not so. I am a spirit, created in the image of God. I tell my heart what to do, think, and feel. It doesn't tell me. David said in the psalms, "Bless the Lord, o my soul"! I must tell my heart today how it's going to be. I did that before I even got out of bed. Today is going to be a good day, and I am going to be cheerful. Even if I don't feel it on the inside, I will SMILE.
If heartache crushes the spirit, I will not meditate on any places of heartache. I will bring them before the Lord, like Much Afraid did, and then leave them there as a sacrifice. I don't need to carry heartaches around with me and let them needle me all day.

Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
He wouldn't have mentioned this if I had no choice about it. What good is it to be oppressed, and then have God tell you that the rest of your life will be wretched? No! I WILL have a cheerful heart, and thus, a continual feast! (For help with this, go over to Ann Voskamp's Gratitude Journal, and see how life can truly begin to be a continual feast, newly refreshed each day.)

Proverbs 15:16-17 Better a little with the fear of the Lord, than great wealth with turmoil. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.
*Better is little accomplished, and a simple meal eaten in fellowship, than a harried mother, and a snarly supper.

Verse 18 A hot tempered man (or mommy) stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.
*Blessed are the peacemaking mommies, for they will be called the daughters of God.

19 The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.
This one bothered me at first. Whenever I read it it says to me: your way is blocked due to your lack of true devotion. I may not like hearing that, but I praise God that He keeps saying it, because I do want the path of the upright: a highway.

Proverbs 15:30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.
I here have the opportunity to do for my children what will give them a joyful heart (giving my cheerful looks) but also this benefits me, because who doesn't love the adoring gaze of a smiling child. It's like a reciprocal circle. I sow smiles, gratitude, joy, and I get it back from them. Isn't that how we could be with God? Last night I felt angry at God, bitter. Couldn't I instead come to Him in childlike faith, and say, "Lord, I believe in You, I rejoice in all You do. You are a good God, and I am happy to know You." I suspect that then my late night stewing would have quelled. Blaming God for what very well may be my own fault just isn't a source of peace. Coming to Him and acknowledging His true goodness is. It helps us to trust Him, and when we use our faith, it pleases God. (By the way, I should have just gotten out of bed and read my bible, rather than lying there stewing. I've learned this lesson before, but I guess last night was a refresher.)


Proverbs 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked but He hears the prayer of the righteous.
The Word tells me that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. This verse is for me. He hears (gives audience to) my prayers. This is cause to rejoice. I have no reason to be bitter today. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Learning to Praise Him

Psalm 42:11 (King James Version)
11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Yes, I will praise Him, the Source of my mental health, the Healer of my body, and Restorer of my life. I will praise Him, who changes my attitudes, the look on my face, and the secret thoughts and intentions of my heart.

I praise You Father, for:
all the good you did in my life today that I saw and didn't see. Thankyou for the blessings that are so visible, like yellow sunflowers, red raspberries, delicate honey bees, and wispy thistledown on wind. But I also thankyou for the invisible blessings of today, like angels to guard and protect my children, safety from harm that never occured, and deliverance from sickness that can't even get close to us.
Thankyou for all the things I heard and didn't hear. For late night conversations, filled with plans and visions for the future. For children singing nearby. Thanyou for the sound of water against windows. But also, thankyou for no bad news today; no arguing; no words to tear down the bridges we are building in this family.
Thankyou for feelings: that this world is so real, and poignant, and sometimes painful. Not that I am thankful for pain, but for the ability today to experience joy, and amazement, yet also to cry and release frustration when neccessary. Thankyou for the opportunities to enfold a loved one in my arms, but also for the times to be alone, locked away with You in prayer. Thankyou for change, for seasons, for contrast. Thankyou for sameness, predictability, routine!
Thankyou that I see you all around me, even when I know I've turned my back to you, you've never turned your back to me.
Thankyou for this day.

Psalm 42
1As the deer panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterfalls: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
8Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thought I'd bring this one up again... (it was on my heart.)

The Prayer
How can I take this bottle inside me and pour it out to You in a way that will mean something? How do I take all that is in my heart, and explain it to You when I don't know how to put it in words? I know the bible says You store up my tears in your bottle; what about the constant ache inside me, somewhere to deep for me to truly access? Can I come to You without words, and know that I've been heard?
There are too many things that have hurt me so deeply. And I know that You know. In that knowing, (knowing that You know how it hurts, how deep was the cut) can there be a taking away of the injury, a resurrection that comes from this death? Can Your life come, and fill me so completely that I don't even remember the pain?
I want to know You more than I do. I want to stop being so fake. I want to be free, I mean really and truly free, so that the old black cloud of testing thoughts can't come to hover over me when I'm alone.
Is it really all me? If I would let go of the hurt, and never allow my mind to wander there... would it really cease to hurt? Is there a way for this loss to be only gain? Father, must there be a loss?
I wish it wasn't so. I wish that I could leave this place of retreat, and live with all my might. That I wouldn't cower, and even worse, NOT CARE. I want to leave Lazy behind, and find a Spark in my soul that is so contrary to the world around me.
What are the desires that You have placed in me, and which ones are just mine? How can I see how you are leading me?
And yet, sometimes You surprise me, and the suffering is gone without my knowing how. The struggle is gone, as if it simply dissappeared without my knowing it, like a mist that was blown away, like a foam on the beach that nobody missed when the tide returned and whisked it away.
How long is my life? What do I have to do here? Lord, will I get it all done? I have wasted so much time, and been so disobedient to You.
Some days I see Your hand on my life so clearly, and I KNOW, I just KNOW. Other days, I am bogged down by the weight of my own emotions, pelted by the winds of my feelings.
I didn't know that this was what it would be like Lord. But now that I know, I want to live a life of praise. Lord, make of me a joyful woman, a woman who is beautiful and remembered because of her smile. Lord, redeem this time with my children, and help me to make every day count!
I know that at the end of this life, I will regret every squabble I had with my husband, every stubborn act of my will that drove us apart. Refresh our love, Lord, like a fire. Wash away the grit and dust of the years, and make of me a beautiful woman. A woman who gives up her very life.
But mostly, Jesus, I want You. I want to be near you, to be your partner. I want Your love so rich, and real in my family. I want Your joy. I want to spend this life, on this earth, in perpetual joy, and total abandon.
I've uncorked the bottle, I know You're listening....
Lord, I am listening.

Healed of Demonic Depression. ("Crazy")

This morning in the shower I was thinking about "CRAZY" (a word that often tries to sneak around the thought life of someone who battles depression) and I wanted to share these thoughts with you.

I was thinking about what I'd been listening to in Kenneth Copeland's teaching "Healing, it is Always God's Will". He shares a story about how his son John recieved healing (through his faith) from a serious ailment, and how through that experience he came to understand that the devil is "crazy". Crazy meaning, he doesn't follow the rules if they're not inforced. Crazy meaning psychotic, and with murderous intent. Yes, we'd have to say the devil is crazy.

Then I was thinking about how God has a sound mind. Makes sense, doesn't it? If I am God's, and have nothing to do with the devil, then I have nothing to do with crazy. I don't speak it about myself, don't see myself that way, don't use the word in jest or in passing. I don't inherit it for any reason.

Yes, I stop thinking about myself that way, and replace self-deprecating thoughts with thoughts about God, and His greatness. I replace those thoughts with thoughts of praise to God for His power, and thanksgiving for all He has done for me in Christ. I replace those "crazy" thoughts with Word based thoughts: I have a spirit of a sound mind- all things are possible to them that believe.

All those disruptive thoughts that the enemy fires at my mind; all the complaining voices that my flesh offers up: these do not mean crazy.

I also thought of what I've been reading in "Peace Child", by Don Richardson. He was a missionary to canniballistic tribes in Irian Jaya (East New Guinea at the time, I think). The terrible oppression, demon possession, and bondage that those people experienced before the gospel: living in constant fear; always witnessing death, gore and blood; having minds that were driven by grief, and a lust for revenge. That was.... crazy. To be controlled by demonic forces-- that isn't "sound".

Which leads to this point: has the gospel which brings soundness of mind come to you? Have you decided Who holds your allegiance?

When we accept Christ, we aquire the mind of Christ. Why? Because He took our place. John 3:16. We were in sin, and in bondage to satan (every one of us, because our father Adam sinned, and we were sold as slaves to sin), and Jesus took our punishment on Himself, when He died on the cross. He took all of our unsoundness, and gave us all of His wholeness- His righteousness. His deliverance. When we recieve His Spirit, then He displaces all else. We then belong to the demons and the darkness no longer.

Will the demons go away if you accept Jesus sacrifice, if you acknowledge Him as Lord? And will they stop talking to you?

Yes. But occasionally, they will come back just to check if you still mean it. Remember, satan is crazy, and doesn't obey the rules unless they are inforced. (God's word is the Rule, and we inforce it by speaking it out, in faith, and in the Name of Jesus.) You resist demons and their twisted thinking with the Name of Jesus, with the Blood of Christ, and with the Word of God, and everything in it. If you are a new Christian, and don't know what's in the bible, that's ok- just start now! Read it every day, and speak it aloud. Pray aloud (in the name of Jesus) daily, there is authority in your words as a believer in Christ.

Then: God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power; love; and a sound mind.

He hasn't given you a spirit that puts you in bondage again, but a spirit of sonship, of freedom! You belong to Him! Because He set you free for freedom, you must resist bondage, and be not yoked again with slavery or depravity. Leave behind EVERYTHING associated with a depressed, discouraged, or distracted mind. Throw it out for good. : )

As believers, we have the mind of Christ, and a mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

In Proverbs He tells us: above all else, guard your heart. He said this because you would need to.

Does the need to guard your heart against crazy thoughts mean you are crazy? Not at all, it means you are staying sound! If someone throws garbage over your fence, you just throw it back out, and build a higher fence. When we stay in His word daily, we are building our high fence. The name of the Lord Jesus is a strong tower- you can run into it and be saved.

A Heart Transformed

Something's been changing in me, something on the inside. Like a cracking, a creaking, and a breaking up of ice, I have been yielding.

Like a glacier, and you cannot see its motion, but it is moving none the less, and driven by an unstoppable force.

Yet He is so gentle, never pushing, only leading and encouraging, and praise God, He is disciplining.

I didn't know discipline when I was young. I thought I did- I got enough spankings- I was a "good girl".

But I didn't know that discipline isn't what happens when you are "bad", but it is the constant, consistent shaping of a life, the gentle guiding of the potter with his clay. The clay is unaware of the gentle shaping, the liquid touch, but it is formed according to the will of the one who makes it.

I am glad now to know His discipline. That when everything on the inside of me is rebelling, and everything on the outside of me is spewing out poison of self- then is He shaping, grinding, sanding, and blowing away the dust.

What changed I think, is the same thing that is often changing- often I have strayed from my dedication to His word, and stayed in it merely to be a good girl. To avoid punishment. But what do you do with a God who doesn't punish, but is waiting on your attention?

What do you do with Wisdom, who is crying aloud at the high places along the way? She isn't forcing, She is inviting.

So I yield. I stop, I turn, I look to Her.

This life isn't worth living without Her.

God spoke in His word of Wisdom as a woman. But did you know that foolishness is also a woman? She is loud, brash, unashamed.

Which woman am I being to those around me? The gentle, ever inviting leadership of Wisdom, or the fleshly, forceful, pushy foolishness.

I had just as hard a time getting up this morning as I have had on many other mornings. The house was just as messy, and there was possible more laundry than usual. But today, something on the inside of me was different, and I stayed in His word, just because it was His word.

The mess and the pressures couldn't find me there.