Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fearless

I was reading the words of the27 year old son of my friend. This young man has a disease (which name escapes me now) that causes he horrific pain when he eats.And just two weeks ago he was in a car accident and nearly died, sustaining a shattered hip and multiple spinal fractures. His thoughts subsequent to the car accident? He said, "If I can deal with my disease and the pain of these injuries, then basically, I can endure anything." 

We live "in fear" of violence. But you know what? Some bodies sustain violence every minute of every day. I just went through what has been said to be the most painful surgery and recovery that exists.  I was scared going into it, I confess. But I woke up and yeah, it hurts, but it didn't make me succumb to screams of pain.  RAtherI was thinking, "Yeah?  This is it?  Maybe it's the rehab that is so painful."And yes, the rehab was very painful....but it did not throw me. It did not make me shrink back.  I've been through 6 hip dislocations and Ican honestly tell you , that is the worst pain I've experienced...outdoing even a difficult child-birth. 

One thing I have discovered about myself is that with each subsequent pain I am less and less thrown by it. I ask myself...if I were kidnapped by radical Muslims and tortured and beaten....would I buckle? I do not think so. I think I now understand pain. I have learned to endure just about the worst pains possible. And no,I have not experienced the pain of the Roman flogging and crucifixion...and I will not be blasphemous and say that I could endure what He did....because certainly, I cannot; and because He did, I do not have to.

I have a very painful disease.  There is something about the fact that I am never without pain that is especially cruel; especially daunting. But I do not "curse God and die." Rather "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away....blessed be the name of the Lord." And Sometimes, the gift is in the giving --as in having a passel of healthy children and sometimes the curse is in the giving, as in the assignment of painful disease....and then the gift is in the removing --or the pain is in the loss. I have come to understand the pain of the giving. And less understood the pain of the loss.I do not think that the lessons I learned in the behest will apply in the losing.They are very different types of pain. The only pain of loss that I suffer is the absence of a loving husband.That pain has made me hard. calloused and at the same time it hurts with the intensity of being boiled in oil.No. I cannot brag that I have cracked the code of pain.Nor have I defeated chronic severe depression.That is a hell all its own. I did not defeat it...NOR however, did it defeat me. So we are tied.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

God Shed His Grace on Me

Grace.
Unmerited favor.
God extends grace to us....and expects us to extend grace to others. If you haven't guessed by now,through reading my thoughts in this blog, I am not always the most gracious person. I speak hastily...and I can be critical of people.
I hate this about myself.
I have decided to think about grace; to read up on what Scripture says about Grace; and to ask God to develop his grace in me toward others.

Sometimes I read my words in this blog and I cringe.
It's amazing that anyone still wants to read my thoughts here. I read the blogs of other Christian writers....and they are so gracious and sweet.  I can sometimes come down hard on them...claiming that they are putting on a nice face but that it is only skin deep.   How do I know that?  Is not skin-deep grace better than NO Grace???

I don't think, in "real life" that I am as harsh as I can come across in this blog.  I pray with my friends who are going through some tough times. I pray for them with tears.  I pray with them on the phone or in person.  And God gives me grace then. He has given me a sensitive heart for the sufferings of others.

Lately, since I got my Kindle Fire for Christmas, I have a
"Prayer Warrior" app on it....and it has REALLY helped me to keep my promises to people to pray for them. And thus far, I have seen some answers.

Just the day before yesterday I got word about a minister friend, who has been attending my church while he is preparing to take on a new ministry and pastor a new church. Well, somehow, he fell off of a ladder and severely injured his spine and his tongue (I'm gathering that he bit his tongue badly)....I don't know what other injuries he has but do know that he was transferred from a local hospital to a larger medical center.  My heart breaks for him and his wife.  I don't know what their financial needs are or whether they have adequate medical insurance.  But please pray for my friend.  His name is Don.

And pray also for  my friend whose husband shot and killed himself a couple of months ago and for her 27 year old so who was in a serious car accident and required a hip replacement and two braces because of spinal fractures. Please pray for Mary and Matt.  They have serious financial needs and now desperately need a car for Mary to get to her new job.

Grace.
America....America God shed his grace on thee. There are so many heartaches surrounding us.  SO many needs that break my heart. God we do need your Grace.  Make it abundant in my life. May my words be full of grace.   May my prayers exude grace.  Thank you for your goodness and please meet the needs of those who suffer.  Temper my harshness...grant me gentleness.  Amen.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Did God Really Say that?

Did someone ever take a verse out of context and wave it at you like a flag?  There is a verse that people have quoted to me over and over,along with the absurd statement that"you are already healed....you just have to claim it"?  And they never fail in their prayers to use this verse and demand that God meet his promise through it, that every person who is sick and injured,if they are a believer, are already healed in Christ's name by his blood.

Here is the verse:

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
1 Peter 2:24

Now can you tell me after reading that verse that God was talking about a physical healing? No  he was not.He was talking about the "disease" of sin and death.  And our sin was nailed to that cross in the body of our beloved Savior,Jesus Christ. That "plague" that leads mankind to eternal death is the reason Christ was slaughtered on that cross and his blood has washed away our sin.
 I do appreciate the hearts of those who have prayed for me - but I do believe that if God intended to heal me he would have done so a long time and thousands of prayers ago. When you pray for me,pray for me things that I can really use!

  • Pray that I will have strength to get through each day.
  • Pray that I will be kind to my husband even though I'm leveled by pain.
  • Pray for the medicine I'm taking to start working
  • Pray that my illness will give me opportunities to tell others about the goodness of Jesus.
  • Pray that the pain would either diminish or that God would give me the courage to face it.
 Please do not take God's Word out of context to claim promises he did not make.Yes, God heals....but he  does not heal everyone all the time.  I desperately need prayer,but in other areas....if you still want to pray for my healing you  may do so, but use God's Word rightly and save some time for those other prayers which God HAS promised to answer.
 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Squirted Toothpaste



This morning I did something awful. I won't go into details except to say that I woke at 4:00AM and I was in terrible pain.  I opened my laptop and read my emails.  In there was a note from a young lady in Australia with whom I've been corresponding. She confessed that once again she was in a psych hospital.  She had overdosed. And what did I do? Instead of expressing love and concern...I said harsh words because she seems to spend more time in of the hospital than out....

It was not my business to say anything in criticism....regardless of my thoughts.  when I was in my 20's I too had a huge number of hospital stays.  And there were 3 suicide attempts also. And then three years ago-- I had another psychotic break and had 6 more stays and one more suicide attempt. So WHO AM I to sit in judgment?
I would like to take every word back that I typed. I can't though can I?

When my daughter was young a teacher in  her Sunday School class had a tube of toothpaste which she squeezed until it was empty...she then had each child attempt to put the toothpaste back into the tube.  Needless to say, they all failed. The moral of the story? Words, hurtful words are easy to speak but once spoken, it is impossible to take them back. The only hope we have is in forgiveness--.we can only pray that they will be kind and relinquish us of the burden of our sin against them.

I pray that my Aussie friend will find it in her heart to forgive me. Or at least to give me another chance to be a better friend to her.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Can't Buy Me Love

Today is the 3rd of the month.What does that mean? Since today is the day I get my Social Security Disability check, it means an end - for a while - of saying "no" to things we need or want or things that we think we need and want but could easily live without.

Today I paid my medical bills (payments over time), I paid of the low balance on my credit card...I ordered online groceries which will arrive this evening.  And THEN,I went shopping. In years past it would entail a trip to NY orNJ to go to some malls and department stores...coming home with bags of goodies.

These days it means going around to my favorite sites to see what is new and what I simply MUST have.SO I placed about 5 orders between $20 and $45....and then - like the rock between the eyes that felled Goliath came God's word to my greedy soul."Do you really need this stuff? Do you even have ROOM for it? And what will happen at the end of the month when you are broke--you really should save this money for those days.

So I gulped and went to each site and canceled the whole order.Well, some of the Amazon order stayed because I DID need it.And I kept one drinking bottle for summer iced tea. How did I feel?  I felt GOOD. I felt FREE.  And I made a promise to myself.From now on, I will put items into my wish list--and come back in two or three weeks--and will see if I still had the need or desire for the item. Speaking from experience I can tell you that I didn't really want the stuff.

The Bible says  greed is idolatry. When we get our thrills from clicking "checkout" with our mouse rather than from asking God where my money needs to go. Tithe? Gifts to the poor?  When we desire other than Christ...we are lost in idolatry. When we covet items we see online or at a neighbor's house...that is a major sin...it made the top 10.  Why?  Because to desire the product rather than the Maker --is to spit in God's face and to get smiles from things rather than from the joy the Lord promises to give us when we put HIM FIRST--is to be completely reversed in the things/ones we love most.

Lord, forgive me for the times recently that I have attempted to buy myself happiness rather than coming to your for JOY.  The expenditures leave a bad taste in my mouth. And soon they become just another ball and chain around my ankle that I have to drag around one more thing to sell at a garage sale for nowhere NEAR as much as I paid for it. It disappointed me.It let me down. It did not deliver what it promised--like the Beatles sang "Can't Buy Me Love"

But intimacy with God is the gift we get from God and it's the"Gift that keeps on giving"  And He becomes more valuable in time rather than less.