All Sons and Daughters

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Contract for Presumption

You would not think that a person who has been a believer as long as I have, would need to learn what faith or trust mean.  But my understanding is still deepening and sometimes I have to relearn the basics of trust.  Twice lately, WALMART has taught me a deep lesson.  I am not able to walk hardly any distance at all right now due to the fact that my ankles are bone on bone, the joints having been destroyed by Psoriatic Arthritis.  And there have been many times that Walmart has not had a scooter available.  The last two times I prayed that God would provide a scooter....And both times, I got the last one available.  There have been times when due to a dying battery, I would make it to the back of the store and the thing would give up the ghost entirely and I would be stuck with a half full basket of groceries a long way from the front of the store where the carts are stored....and then would have to finish on foot.

Well, now, that is no longer an option.  I canNOT make it "on foot" so it is critical that my battery survive.  On both occasions, the scooter started out slowly, reluctantly and I feared it would not even get me to the back of the store.  Yesterday I prayed and I asked God to please keep the scooter running.  As the scooter slowed my prayers became more desperate---and the thought occurred to me like a bolt of lightening.  "Did not God provide you with this specific scooter?"  "Do you think he would give you a scooter that would leave you stranded?"  "Do  you believe in his answer to your prayer or not?" "MAYBE what you need is to simply believe  that he has and is answering your prayer !"  So I did.  I made a conscious decision to trust in God's provision.  And do you know that gradually the scooter picked up speed and by the time I got to the back of the store it was going as fast as my friend who had joined me could walk.

I  thought about this experience this morning.  I have some bills that are scary high...and  absolutely no means to pay them.  So as I called the creditors this morning, I prayed.  And God did not immediately provide me with a solution.  But I know he will.  I simply have to decide to trust him.   He gave me the verse this morning that was God's words to the Israelites on their flight from Egypt.  "These Egyptians you see today, you will never see again.  You do not have to fight this battle; God will fight for you. Stand back and watch the salvation of the Lord"

Stand back and watch.
And I would add: believe. 

I do not know how he is going to answer my prayers...but I KNOW he will.  I need to keep my mind in the frame of trust.  Do not pick up the worry bone again. (You know how a dog "worries" a bone?)  Stand back and watch him work!  And doubts still try to awaken.  "Maybe you are being presumptuous."  I'm a child in need going to my Father in search of something I need.  Is that presumptuous? Probably it is.  But  you know what? It is in every child's "contract" with their parents...to be presumptuous.  A child can do nothing to meet their own needs.  They cannot drive themselves to work every day to earn their upkeep. No. They must simply presume that their parents will give them what they need.  Even now,as an adult, I have presumed upon my parents.  And because I am loved, I have my needs met.

Need I say any more?
Need I doubt any more?

Monday, February 8, 2016

How Prayer has Changed my Life


Several years ago (before my last, most devastating period of active mental illness) I was heavily invested in prayer.  I interceded for missionaries, in particular, a family in Cambodia.  I prayed for my family and their spiritual darkness....I prayed passionately for my church and our young pastor.  I had supernatural experiences, which I am not going to describe right now. I frequently would stay up all night praying.  I became known at church as a woman of prayer.

However in my subsequent breakdown...I lost my footing...and the door to heaven shut against my pleadings.  I do not blame heaven or God for this.  My mental instability simply made concentration, beyond a sentence or two, impossible.  I think because of this fact, I felt isolated from God's love and provision (which I was NOT, obviously...it was just a trick my mind and the enemy was playing on me).

It has taken me years to somewhat regain my prayerful sensibilities...Now, daily, in response to my requests for help, I see God at work on my behalf.  But I still really struggle against scattered thought and a shortened attention span.  As I explained in a recent post, the use of Protestant (or Anglican) prayer beads has really helped me---they have organized my prayer time and they have kept my focus intact for more than its prior two minute span. (for a description of how they work and where to get them see my earlier post: Praying the Beads )
I checked with several pastor friends, and got the go-ahead for using them.  

What I wanted to write about today is how faith combined with prayer, works to bring us peace of mind and heart.  It started simply.  I lose things. All. The. Time.  And I began to go to God for divine assistance.  After I searched everywhere I would cry out to God to help me.  And wonder of wonders, He DID.  The pleas were hardly finished in my mind, when God would open my mind and my eyes and I would find what  I was looking for. NOW I do not waste my own effort at all.  If I am missing something, the first place I go now is to the Lord.  And from there, my confidence in God's involvement in my life has spread to bigger and better requests.  Now, if I have a need, and it is something fearful and worrisome, I bring it immediately to the Lord for his hands to go to work on my behalf.

Do you understand what it is, when facing possible unemployment and having the burden of family's debt, and an unknown future, that I can close my eyes and LEAVE it....all the worry and fear...on the lap of my Lord, and to KNOW that he can, and will take care of it--in the best way possible.  This has revolutionized my thinking.  Any relational difficulty, and financial need, health issues, and the health of my family members---all of it--goes straight to the throne in heaven. And now, having secured that confidence I am beginning again to intercede for those around me.

I cannot explain to you how my mental breakdown was so completely destructive to my prayer life.  But it was.  I lost the ability to focus, my facility with words, and the rock of my confidence in God, was shaken.  It has taken me 6 years to begin to once more be at home in prayer. I know I am still at the beginning of my journey to the place I want to be; but I know that the journey has begun  and I am on my way.  Meanwhile, God is answering prayer and alleviating the crushing weight of fear and worry on a daily basis.

I can assure you--as one who has seen innumerable and miraculous answers to prayer--that prayer is a real force and a real way we can affect our future and address our present fears.  I would encourage you to take the first step and bow your heart to God and ask him, as the disciples did, "Lord, teach me how to pray!"  and he will.  And if you have trouble with focus, I heartily recommend to you the use of prayer beads (please read the article referenced above so you know how to use them properly and can find some reference books to help your journey.)

I must make a comment however, that PRAYER is only effective to those who have accepted Christ as the bridge over the chasm that separates mankind from God.  There is only one bridge; only one path and if you skip this step you will find prayer difficult and the heavens to be unyielding.  If you need more help in understanding this, please contact me or someone else who has applied to blood of the Lamb to their hearts and who are now walking in fellowship and power with the Spirit as their guide..

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Events

Yesterday I was scheduled to see an ankle specialist in Monroe, NY.  His office had assured me that they took my insurance.  A question arose about whether or not Empire Blue Cross would pay for another set of Xrays after a set had just been taken the day before.  So (fortuitously, it turned out) I called Empire to ask them this question.  When the Blue Cross employee looked into it, it turned out that the doctor was not covered by Blue Cross and an appointment with him would have cost me BIG BUCKS.  (and the X-Rays would be another $1000). So I canceled my appointment and as my dad was already on the road to come and drive me, I decided merely to go to Middletown and pick up the ankle braces the ortho doc had ordered the day before.

The braces are a nightmare to put on and take off, and because of my spinal fusions and hip replacements, it is almost impossible for me to reach my feet.  So I got them having no idea how I was going to get them off and on.  Then my dad and I went to do some errands and eat lunch.  I discovered two things while wearing the braces yesterday:
1) I am able to walk much better than I had anticipated because I thought I would have to be flat footing it.  But, no, the ball of my foot still could bend, therefore walking was only minimally impeded by the braces (or fusion surgery).
2) My pain problems were not solved by the braces.  Just the fact that my ankles were supporting my body weight, on their destroyed joints, and still hurt like heck gave me reason for concern.

So this raises a question for me to ask the ortho doctor.  Do they actually  remove the damaged joint? or do they merely immobilize it?  If it is simply immobilization, the surgery may not be effective at managing my pain.

Initially, I thought I would take the advice of my Rheum, and wait several months to see whether the Cimzia I've been  injecting, will be beneficial to my ankles and thus enable me to postpone the ankle surgery.  However upon reflection, I am inclined to go ahead and have the surgery (assuming it will truly eradicate pain) because why live with it, when you can remove it?  And if I postpone the surgery, who knows whether I will have insurance coverage when I finally do get around to the fusion?  However, my rheum made another good point.  I am still taking the loading dose of the Cimzia.  I am not fully up to speed with it.  And if I stopped it now to have surgery, I would have to start from scratch when resuming the med.  So, because that is true, I am inclined to wait at least until I'm on the full dose of Cimzia.  (which is in about 2 weeks).

So there. Now you know as much as I do.

Mentally, emotionally, how am I doing?  I'm doing what I have to do.  But I am heartily tired of being in pain every time I stand up.  I'm eager to do something to reduce it or---better yet---eliminate it.
I'm thanking God that he has been active in every step of this journey.  He saved me yesterday from a huge MD bill.  He gave us a safe, trouble free journey to NY despite a mini snow storm early in the AM. and he comforted  my heart the day before yesterday when I was first told of the necessity of surgery.  And I know that he will be a breath away through all the terrain I have yet to cover.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Fresh Look

I just spent some time focusing on praying my beads....and the first section of beads I devote to God's characteristics, praise and thanks.  I thanked God that HE is in control of this situation, not me and not the doctors.  I thanked him because of Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11. He has a plan for my life that he is carrying out and the end result will be to my benefit and in this I can take hope.  That future hope may not be on this earth. It may be waiting for me in Heaven.  But be assured: it will come.

Praise and Thanksgiving in the face of terrible news, may not seem appropriate to those who do not know my Yeshua.  But even the cross---on the surface, was a terrible, painful disaster. But wrapped with that pain, there was a gift for us.  You have to get through the pain before you can "open the present."  The cross was such good news that almost everyone has a cross they can wear on their neck...to remember and celebrate.

James says to "count it all joy" when you are beset with suffering and trouble.  It works to our benefit -- it hones our character, makes us an inspiration to others, allows us to comfort others with the comfort we have received from God, and prepares us for Heaven by getting rid of our rough edges.

And we have God's promise that he will never leave us; even if our own family abandons us.(Ps. 27:9-10).  God gives us the strength to get through the minute we're in (sometimes looking at the needs of an entire day seems too overwhelming).  He is present with us in our pain.  He is ready to comfort and to pick us up when we can't take another step.

You might think it a bit "schizophrenic" to write this post so soon after the one I just posted....but God did some marvelous work in my prayer time and I felt that I couldn't leave you with the bleakness of the picture I'd just painted.
So don't give up on me.
God is still honing and sanding my pretty rough edges.