Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer ~Romans 12:22
As many of you know, this year has proven to be an explosion of unforeseen events. Well, to rock my world again, I had to have surgery on my hand on February 6th.
In January I broke my left hand walking upstairs. The otherwise routine break was complicated when my hand muscles spasmed while in the cast and pulled my pinky bone out of place. As a result, the break didn’t heal correctly. When the cast was removed, my eyes bugged out of my head! My pinky had rotated outward and was laying on my ring finger. My doctor, a hand specialist from Munich, Germany, said, “Well that s not good!” It’s a good thing he is cute and has an accent because at that moment I was in no mood.
He preceded to tell me I needed surgery to re-break my hand and put on a plate with four screws. I looked at him like a deer in headlights and preceded to ball my eyes out. The first thing I questioned after I processed the information was, will I be able to lift again? I was assured that I will be able to, but it would be a long, hard road.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9
I will be in a splint for four months, but I can take it off to shower and do my physical therapy. I began physical therapy about a week ago. I endure an hour of excruciating exercises twice a day that makes my wrist and hand throb for hours after. A few days ago I made a loose fist for the first time. The swelling won’t be down until months from now. I worked so hard to get to where I was strength-wise, not only on my left side but my entire body, and now it’s gone. I’m way worse than before I broke my hand. I know that sounds pitiful, but although I am depressed and angry, I am not a quitter and won’t stop until I get back to competition shape. It’s going to be a long time though.
My arm from elbow to finger is stiff and weak, but there is nothing I can do about it beyond having patience and applying myself to my physical therapy. Maybe that’s the lesson in all of this. Be patient—which I definitely am not—and don’t quit. I will never give up, and give all the glory to my Lord and Savior.
Happy New Year everyone! The start of 2018 has been quite the exciting one.
Since the first of the year I broke my left hand by falling upstairs, a feat only I could manage; I fell into the grips of the most evil, nasty, vial stomach virus ever to trudged the face of the earth; and most recently, one of my neighbors who I dearly loved died unexpectedly.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven ~James 5: 14-15
As far as my broken hand, it happened while Anaia and I were her friend’s birthday party in an old community playhouse. The bathroom was downstairs. Anaia was crying because she slammed her fingers in the stall door. I went to comfort her and on the way upstairs my foot didn’t clear the step and I fell forward. All my weight landed on my hand. I knew straight away that it was broken, but I kept telling myself with ice it would be fine.
We stayed to the end of the party and while the children enjoyed cake and fruit punch and sang happy birthday, my hand began to swell and blacken. The next morning I went to the ER. They did an x-ray and confirmed that it was, indeed, broken. They put it in a splint and gave me the name of a local orthopedist to call the following morning. I called, but he wouldn’t look at me. I think because my hand is somewhat deformed. He sent me to a hand specialist and the specialist put a cast on it. I have to go back every ten days to x-ray it and put a new cast on. I will probably have a cast on for a month. The upside is that I get to choose the color of my cast every time! A most interesting fact in all this is that the bone I broke is the exact type of bone and in the exact spot as the one I broke in my foot just before my wedding.
The next Sunday I found myself back in the ER with a severe case of dehydration due to the aforementioned stomach virus. Two days of vomiting, bouts of diarrhea and extreme exhaustion… It took almost two weeks before I felt better. In those two weeks I had my first seizure in almost ten years. Probably due to the illness…
I just began to feel right when we got a phone call that our beloved neighbor died in her 60s. When I was 15 babysat her two young boys. I continued to work for her and her husband until I went to college. When I came back to Warwick live, we got together every now and then and saw each other at neighborhood parties. I just laughed and talked with her on the first of January at the neighborhood New Year’s party! It’s a complete shock to everyone. She and her husband were at dinner and she felt fine. Her husband went to volunteer at bingo night at the Elks Club, and when he got home he found her on the floor. She had suffered a massive stroke. The only thing to do is to care and love on her husband and to remember her ever-smiling face.
So if the first month of the year has any indication of how this year is going to play out, I’m in for a most exciting adventure!
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ~ Matthew 6:12
This post was really challenging for me to write probably because I haven’t fully achieved the outcome I desire.
I thought and prayed at length about how to forgive; forgive certain people and certain situations that I found myself in throughout my life. What did I discover? Being a forgiving person is incredibly difficult! And I cannot forgive on my own. I most definitely need the Lord’s help. Holding on to unforgiveness has caused a ton of pent up anger that turned into resentment, and even hatred, for those people and situations. I have held on to that hatred, anger, and resentment much too long; held on to them like they were precious jewels. What else have I found out? It is my belief that on order to forgive, first you have to be thankful.
Forgiveness is costly…
Thankful, pleased, relieved…. synonyms for that are grateful appreciative, filled with gratitude.
In every situation you find yourself in you must be thankful and grateful for what you have. I still struggle with focusing on who and what caused me every sort of pain; even the pain itself. I do this instead of being grateful and appreciative of something good they may have done or how it made me into a better person. Being thankful will cause a shift in how you view that person or situation. If you are grateful and appreciative, it’s impossible to 100% loath a person or situation. It’s the second step in forgiving (the first being praying and asking for the grace in helping to forgive).
Forgiveness may require you to give up your pursuit for justice…
Forgiveness: the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.
If you don’t forgive, even if you think it doesn’t bother you or effect you anymore, it does. Unforgiveness is not a precious jewel; it’s a heavy, rough, blemished rock that will weigh you down and bruise and cut your soul. Forgiveness is not so much about the other person as it is about saving yourself from years of emotional and mental misery. My anger and pain comes out, and still comes out, in very unrelated circumstances. Because of my own pain, resentment, and anger I have caused pain to other people. I do not want to be that person anymore. For my own sake and my loved ones around me, I have to forgive.
It may mean you need to live with long-lasting consequences~John Speight
Forgiveness is not saying what you did is ok. It’s about extending mercy to the other person, giving them a pardon as it were. Being thankful and grateful for something that person did will help in that.
I have to do the very thing that my Lord and savior did for me. What kind of person would I be and where would I be if I didn’t?
Horrible events have occurred here in the United States in the last few months in such rapid succession it is hard to comprehend. From a mass shooting in Las Vegas, to an ISIS driven attack in New York City to the most recent mass shooting at a small town Baptist church in Texas. It leaves me thinking of my huge church, where inside hundreds of family members gather weekly and daily to serve Christ. I fear for our safety, yet then I remember how many times in the Bible God tells us not to fear.
(Its 365 times. By God’s design there are 365 days in a year.)
Times like this also lift up the question, “Why does God allow such horror?” If you’re a Christian, you’ll get asked that in your lifetime. So we must remember that in times like this…. God weeps.
God isn’t allowing this suffering to happen. This horror and pain entered the world on the back of sin in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve chose sin over God’s loving guidance. The next question that will come flying at a Christian is, “Then why did He allow sin into the world?”
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. ~John 16:33
That’s when Christians tackle the tough task of explaining how God loves us and how He wanted us to have free will. In order to be in a unique relationship with every son and daughter He has, He gave us individual choice. Without that, we’d be carbon copies of one another, marionettes for God instead of children of God. With our freedoms we have the ability, daily, to choose God’s love or to choose not to love.
“Then why can’t God just stop it all?”
The truth is, in my opinion, God surely can. Just as He opened his mouth and spoke light into existence He can speak sin out of existence. But then… when would God be able to stop? Take away one sin there is still another to deal with, then another, and another and soon a world of sin to discipline. Pretty soon humans are nothing more than those marionettes with God constantly intervening to correct our thoughts and movements, instead of humans learning from our free choices.
Look at it this way; as children, didn’t we learn from our mistakes? A parent who constantly scolds and corrects the bad action of a child is not teaching, they are controlling. If children behave there is no need to correct them, yet once they misbehave then the correction must occur. It is a learned process to live right, think correctly, and do the right thing. Had sin not entered the world back when it did, learning right from wrong wouldn’t be an issue. The world would have known only right, good, and love.
Now consider the fallen world we live in since sin entered and look at your neighbor. Would your rather be exactly like them, in all ways, the good, bad and ugly or have the ability to choose how you want to behave? Would you want to be controlled, or free?
“But He took care of getting rid of sin early in the Bible so why not now? Answer that one!”
When the world was created, when Mankind was just taking its baby steps, there were a lot of miraculous ways God showed His power. He had to. In order for the race He created to understand His great love, and their mistakes, God had to perform many signs of His power, even if it meant things like the Great Flood. Today… He doesn’t have to. His great faith is evident in the millions of followers of Jesus worldwide.
I sadly heard this morning that someone somewhere said loud enough for the news to pick up on it, that praying at times like this doesn’t control or change anything so why bother. I disagree. It doesn’t make tragedies easier to endure knowing about free choice. But understanding that God gave us wills of our own can help us pray over tragedy. Pray that those impacted have hearts that remain rooted in the love of God, and that God’s spiritual warfare is present in their lives so that Satan doesn’t get a grip on them in the wake of their sadness. Just as the horrible choices of one person changed the lives of the victims and their families and friends forever, their individual choices after a tragedy can have impact good or bad too. Do we want them to fall prey to all the horrible feelings Satan wants them to experience in this time, or do we want a hedge of protection to envelope them to know God’s loving guidance even more?
God wants us to use our free will to make the right choices. He wants us to choose to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples. We have the choice to pray for the sinners of this earth to turn to Christ so other horrific events don’t happen. So, praying in my opinion changes everything.
When we weep, God weeps too. Spiritual growth occurs in the valley and in that sorrow He loves us harder than before.
You and I against the world; this statement is pretty new as a concept in our marriage.
We’ve had our ups and downs. I think both of us got caught up in our own inner conflicts and baggage from each other’s past so much so we couldn’t see or comprehend that, basically, marriage is two people coming together as a bond not even this world can break. We’ve come to find out it’s not really each other we’re fighting against. In our case it’s the ghosts in each other’s pasts, the lies we tell ourselves, and the illnesses and conditions we have that haunt us.
When you start looking at the issues and problems between you and your significant other as the enemy rather than your significant other, it’s a game changer. Ryan and I have adopted the point of view that we’re going to join forces and fight against the things coming in-between us. Doing that forms a sense of unity. It creates a feeling of having each other’s back and always being there for each other. The more you put this tool into practice the more it strengthens and grows.
Though one may be overpowered,two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12
This is so important when issues arise that threaten your marriage because then both of you can come together and stand firm against them. Ryan and I have been going to SoulCare. It’s a type of therapy based upon the values of the Christian faith. Our pastor/counselor, who is certified in SoulCare, uses the book Biblical Foundations of Freedom: Destroying Satan’s Lies with God’s Truth by Art Mathias. SoulCare teaches techniques and ways to apply the Bible’s teachings and truths into everyday situations. We really do feel that it’s helping our marriage as well as our individual wounds. It brings those scars out into the light where they are dealt with, prayed over and hopefully left behind.
I’m hopeful about our future. I do believe through SoulCare and doctor prescribed meds (God gave us doctors to help us) Ryan and I will gain the tools we need to weather any storm that comes our way. We will be able to live a long and very happy life together. Come to think of it, it’s not Ryan and I against the world, it’s Ryan and I and Jesus against this world.
Just because I love it, along with a healthy dash of I-don’t-want-to-edit -what-I need-to-edit at the present time, I thought I’d pop in over here and share this picture with the world.
I first saw this portrait of Jesus on my first Alpha Retreat when I was a participant and it has been a comfort ever since. I’ve just returned from my third Alpha, this time as leader, and wanted to share praises for it over here on the blog. Maybe it will bring comfort to someone who stumbles upon it.
Alpha is a life changing experience. It’s a Christian course offering a safe place for anyone, whether an atheist or a mature biblical Christian, to ask questions about where they are in their faith walk. We all fall short sometimes in walking the right path and need to get our priorities straight, after all. Alpha is a huge step in the right direction. It is offered all over the world for roughly 13 weeks, including one weekend retreat that becomes a graduate level course in the Holy Spirit. You know…. that part of the Holy Trinity usually glanced over or tacked on to the end of prayers? It’s the One who doesn’t get much attention and who many, like this Sunday school kid, thought of as Casper….
(Come to think of it, I dressed as Casper one Halloween. What were our parents thinking with those masks?)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you~ John 14:26
In realty the Holy Spirit is the comforter, the counselor, and the helper. It’s God’s love and spirit living inside of us guiding our every move toward the right direction. It’s that voice in the back of our heads, our vulnerabilities, and the navigator of our change. Cooperating with the Holy Spirit and being aware of the ways He uniquely works in our live is how we learn spiritual growth.
If anyone is curious about Alpha, give it a try. Drop a comment or use the contact link and I’d be happy to tell you more about it and even help you find one in your area.
You know… the look you get when you don’t know if you’ve just over shared. I’m at a place in life where I can be open about my OCD. It’s my hope that by doing so I can help someone else get over the stigma of saying they have a silent illness.
I’ve been taking a training this week about how to initiate “critical conversations.” Those types of conversations that are uncomfortable but often necessary to have. Communicating correctly is a skill dying in this digital age. After being in this training for awhile, I shared a thought with my workshop partner a total stranger until this class. We were speaking on how personalities can get in the way of conversations and brainstorming strategies to overcome that roadblock. I shared that I’ve been told by friends that when they first met me I seemed… cold. Once they came to know me though, they shared they were happy to find I was the complete opposite.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.~Psalm 34:4-5
What they didn’t know with their first glance is that I have a mental illness. My aloofness is nothing more than finding a safe place for me to be. I have to study people and new situations to make sure I’m comfortable. Last thing I want is to be triggered into a state that has me in tears and a cycle of obsession. My workshop partner looked on me as if to say, “you’re mentally ill?” I could tell by his expression and body language that he was trying to figure out how he didn’t know that from day one.
If anyone has the honor of ever meeting Linda, you’d know from the start that she has cerebral palsy. It’s evident in her left arm and hand, her limp and her speech. These are cues anyone can take to deduct that she has a story to tell. It’s not that way with the silent diseases. It’s not always comfortable to be candid and admit, when appropriate, that I’ve OCD. But I think it’s vital. Here’s why…
Later my partner asked if I thought the seating assignments would be rearranged for the next class. I said I hoped not… it messes with me. I’d have to get used to the change, and spend time getting comfortable all over again.
He laughed and said, “I hate it too. Things like that are what really stirs up my–,”
…. and it’s that pause that is so essential. The odds are he was going to say “his OCD” for it looked like he had it perched on his lips. If I had a dime for every time someone used OCD as a designer term for a quirk or a preference, I’d be a millionaire. Only on a rare few occasions have I met someone who legitimately shared my struggle. Instead, he stopped and said it “bugs” him.
I’m left to wonder…. was he one of the millions out there suffering with OCD and unable to trust their vulnerability enough to share it? Or was he one of the few to learn that this is a serious illness and deserves respect? If it’s the former, I hope my vulnerability helps him find courage to speak his story. If the latter, kudos and thanks for rephrasing.
I show my vulnerability to helps others. I’ve seen the power speaking out can have in helping others find their path to healing. Linda bears her soul to prove what abilities hide in the weaknesses we THINK we have. Shame can be turned to a strength if all trust and faith is placed in God. I think I speak for both of us when I admit that in each of our struggles came a healthy dose of feeling shame. Stepping outside of that prison and sharing a story, can open doors. We need to be in authentic relationships with our neighbors and we hope we can spread that awareness.