Turtle Power

Yesterday was a bit of a rough day for me.

I am trying to juggle working at two jobs while working around my hubby’s schedule and also taking care of him as he has been ill a lot lately.

My jobs require hours of standing and walking which has aggravated the pain in the damaged nerve in my foot and the arthritis in my hip. The almost constant physical activity is a heavy drain on my limited energy resources. My house is a mess because I am too tired and in too much pain to clean it.

I am in pain, exhausted and stressed.

And then to top it off, yesterday I had an appointment with a lawyer (at his request) to discuss how to protect my interest in my lawful share of my ex-husband’s pension payments (25 years of supporting him and his career should be worth something). My ex has not been honourable in his dealings with me and this has forced me into seeking legal counsel.

After sitting in the lawyer’s office for an hour, re-hashing information that he has had for some time now, he decides that, in fact, he doesn’t think that he can help me after all – and then he tells me that I owe him $400!!!

I left the office feeling completely drained and defeated and fed up with dealing with people and the wickedness in this world.

I envied the turtle’s ability to pull in it’s head and feet and hide inside it’s protective shell. I felt like I just wanted to withdraw from the world and it’s many problems, curl up into a little ball and hibernate until Jesus comes again.

But the reality is that I can’t do that. Life, and all it’s challenges, won’t come to a standstill just because I am feeling over-whelmed.

Since I am not a turtle and I can’t withdraw into a physical protective shell, I sought out my Heavenly Father and covered myself in a spiritual shell of His grace, love and protection – I crawled into the arms of the One who loves me most. I gave Him my stress, my pain and my fatigue.

And I am feeling “lighter” today.

Thank you Abba.

Psa 59:16 But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my strong tower and hiding-place in the day of my trouble. 

 

Lady In Waiting

“As your Lady-in-Waiting, I’m waiting!”

Lady Kluck   (Disney’s Robin Hood)

Image result for lady kluck

The other day, my Mom and I were commiserating (fancy word for complaining) with one another about our increased battles with various aches and pains.

We get very frustrated as we both have young, adventurous spirits which have been trapped in bodies that feel many decades older.

When you suffer from chronic pain and fatigue, the days can feel very long. After our combined pity party, my Mom commented that we are “waiting for our new selves”. She was referring to the completion of our redemption which will take place when Jesus Christ comes again.

The first part of our redemption takes place when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. At that time, our sinful self is redeemed by the blood of the crucified Jesus. That is Part 1 of our redemption – our spirit has been redeemed.

Rom 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;

Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone having been hanged on a tree”);

Part 2, or the completion of our eternal redemption, takes place when Jesus comes again.

Luk 21:27, 28 And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to happen, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.

At that time, our “bodies” will also be redeemed.

Rom 8:23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruit of the Spirit [Part 1], even we ourselves groan within ourselves, awaiting adoption, the redemption of our body. [Part 2]

The word “body” in the above scripture comes from a Greek word meaning “sound [free from flaw, defect, or decay] whole”.

When Jesus comes again, my body will be made free from flaw, defect or decay. No more pain. No more fatigue. Hallelujah!!

Until that time, my Mom and I will continue to “groan within ourselves” (and probably outside ourselves), being “ladies-in-waiting” for “the redemption of our body“.

While I am waiting, I will think about this verse:

Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed in us. 

Blessings

The Walk

I have just returned from my morning walk. Usually I enjoy going for a walk. I live in a lovely area on a bluff over-looking Lake Huron. The roads are narrow and made of gravel which give a pleasing crunching sound under my feet. There are many large, lush, green trees and thick green undergrowth. A former cottage community under-going change, the houses are quaint and individual in size, shape and personality. In the right seasons, the air is filled with a wide variety of bird song. Big-eyed cotton-tailed rabbits warily munch on the abundant selection of greenery. Once in a while, a flock of wild turkeys, a small herd of deer or a lone coyote can be seen quickly slipping across the roadway from one woodland to the other.

My walks are usually the time I spend in communion with my Heavenly Father. I thank Him for all the beauty that surrounds me and for all the blessings He has given me and then I petition Him for the needs of my loved ones.

Usually I look forward to my walk. But not today.

Today, I had to force myself to go for a walk.

Today, my body aches, my fatigue is high and my soul is low.

Today I feel like the weather – heavy, damp and grey.

When I started out on my walk today, my steps were slower and less sure. It took more will power to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I struggled to get out the minimum amount of prayer requests and thanksgiving.

Then I decided to deliberately concentrate on shifting my focus from how I felt inside to what was going on around me. I noticed that even though we had had a bad month in July for heat and drought and the grass had turned brown, now, all the grass was once again lush and green. As I listened, I could hear chickadees chirping, crickets buzzing and the pleasant sound of crunching gravel under foot. I looked and saw the last of the summer flowers blooming in neighbours’ gardens. I felt the warm, moist wind blowing in from the South.

By the time I was approaching home, my steps, and my soul, had become quicker, lighter and easier. While I still feel tired and aching, my soul and my spirit are feeling less burdened.

I think our Christian “walk” (yes, pun intended) is much like my walk this morning. We often feel aching, tired, burdened, and low in spirit. That is the time when we must decide that we are going to keep on walking in our faith, regardless of how we are feeling. That is when we must choose to keep on putting one footstep of faith in front of the other. That is when we must take our focus off of ourselves and our present circumstances and look instead to the blessings that God has given us.

When we focus on God’s love for us and on what Jesus did for us and when we express gratitude and thankfulness for those blessings, our “walk” in this challenging life can become lighter and easier.

I pray that God will guide your walk today and make your path easier and lighter.

Blessings

Mat 11:29 Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.
Mat 11:30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

I’ll Never

Like most people, I have had dreams of things that I would have liked to accomplish and places that I wanted to go.

I have always LOVED to dance and dreamed about becoming a professional dancer. Although I was physically fit, I was NOT flexible. It used to frustrate me when my sisters were able to put their feet behind their heads but I had to struggle to bend down to touch my toes!

My Dad was very involved with track and field and I wanted to be just like him so I practiced running and high jump. I could run fast for short distances and even won a few ribbons, but I could never seem to excel in long-distance running – I just couldn’t get the breathing right and I had no endurance.

I love to sing and perform and was involved in many public and high school productions as well as choirs. I dreamed of becoming a famous actress or singer. Unfortunately, I guess my talent(?) in either of those areas was not enough to propel me to stardom.

In my later teens, I fell in love with photography and along with my love of nature and being outdoors, I dreamed of becoming a famous environmentalist and a wild-life photographer for National Geographic Magazine. But, I fell in love and sacrificed my  dreams for the sake of someone else’s.

I have always loved fashion and enjoyed sewing my own clothes and as a young adult I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. This is difficult to do when you live in a very small town in Northern Ontario where the “uniform” of the general populace was jeans and sweatshirts or flannel shirts – and the ubiquitous ball cap! “Haute Couture” hunter’s orange or camouflage! LOL

When I became a parent, I loved spending time with my sons reading books, singing songs, baking, making crafts and teaching. I became a volunteer teaching assistant at my sons’ public schools and even did some tutoring in high school. I also worked as a Family Literacy Advocate and organized and implemented programs that encouraged reading in the family. From that experience, I developed my own business as a children’s entertainer. These activities led me to dream of becoming a professional educational children’s entertainer. Unfortunately, health and personal issues interfered with that dream.

As I approached my late 30’s and early 40’s, I realized that I had a great heart’s desire to teach the word of God and help people. I actively went into women’s ministry in my church but I wanted to reach out to the general populace in a new, non-threatening and welcoming manner. The HUGE dream of my heart was to become a minister and have a ministry like Joyce Meyers. As a method of outreach, I wanted to open a lovely tea shop which sold local handicrafts and to also offer craft classes.

I moved forward in faith and began buying all my equipment and supplies and looked for suitable locations. I also began taking online university courses to become a minister.

BUT – we have an enemy who is out to kill, to steal and to destroy and just as I was beginning to move forward with my dream – my marriage ended, I lost my home, and I found out that I had cancer. To say that my dream was crushed is an understatement!!

Nine years later, I am writing this blog post to tell you that NOT ONE of those dreams has come true! I’ll never be a famous dancer,  singer, actress or children’s entertainer. I’ll never be an Olympic athlete. I’ll never have my fashion designs paraded on the catwalks of Paris. I’ll never have my paintings hung in the Louvre. I’ll never have my photos featured in National Geographic. I’ll never have a ministry like Joyce Meyer’s. And I’ll probably never have a tea and craft shop.

But as I advance through my “middle ages” I have come to realize that I don’t really mind all that much that I’ll never become one of those dreams because I have come to know that, since I have accepted Jesus as my Saviour, there are more important things that “I”ll never” be either:

I’ll never lose my salvation.

1Pe 1:23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the living Word of God, and abiding forever.

Joh 6:37 All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out.

Joh 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those that You have given Me I have kept, and none of them is lost

I’ll never have to experience the righteous wrath of God.

Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him [Jesus]

I’ll never have to experience Hell.

Psa 86:13 For great is Your mercy toward me; and You have delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

Act 2:27 because You will not leave My soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your holy One to see corruption

I’ll never be rejected, forsaken or truly alone.

Mat 28:20 … And, behold, I [Jesus] am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen.

Heb 13:5 … for He has said, “Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you, never!”

As Jesus said, “Joh 16:32 … And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”

I’ll never be completely without hope.

Rom 5:5 And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.

Col 1:27 For to them God would make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory,

Heb 6:19 which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,…

I’ll never have to fear death.

Rev 21:4 … And there will be no more death

And finally, when Jesus comes again, I will begin my new life in my new body and I’ll never have to live with pain, fatigue or sorrow again! Praise God!

Rev 21:4 And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away.

HALLELUJAH!

In The Suffering

In a number of previous posts, I have shared my struggles with various health issues. I share them for a number of reasons. Firstly, I want people to understand that being a Christian does not mean that everything is going to be sweetness and light. Secondly, I want readers to know that I am a real person with real struggles and that I constantly need to turn to God for help, comfort and strength. And thirdly, I want others who may be suffering and/or struggling to know that there is a God of love, comfort, peace and joy who is ready, willing and able to help us through any and all the things that we may go through in this life.

Joh 16:24 Before now you have asked nothing in My name; ask (in the name of Jesus) and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.

1Jn 3:21,22 Beloved, if our heart does not accuse us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

Eph 3:20 Now to Him (God) who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,…

The month of February has been a challenging one for me physically. It has been bitterly cold with high winds and blowing snow. My pain and fatigue levels have increased as have depression and anxiety. All of this on top of having to pack and clean for a move. To say that I am a bit grumpy at times may be an understatement. To be honest, I am fed up!!

Yet, even as I sit here feeling like crap (yes, I am a Christian and I said ‘crap’) I realize that I have many blessings for which I should be thankful.

I am thankful for medicinal ‘helps’ which God provides to alleviate my symptoms. I am thankful that He does not judge me for my lack of faith in my moments of weakness. Rather, I know that He is compassionate and understanding.

Psa 86:15 But You, O God, are God full of pity, and gracious, long-suffering, and rich in mercy and truth.

Likewise, I know that my Saviour, Jesus, also suffered pain, fatigue and sorrow.

Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin.

In this miserable weather, I am thankful for warm clothes and shelter. I think of, and pray for, those who must endure this weather without benefit of warm clothes or shelter and I help in whatever way I can.

1Ti 6:8 But having food and clothing, we will be content.

In my pain, fatigue and grumpiness, I am very thankful for a loving, compassionate, understanding and patient husband. I thank God for my hubby every day because he loves me as God commands a husband to love his wife.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,

In my rough mornings, I am thankful for a comfortable chair, a hot cup of tea, a purring cat upon my lap and a good book to read. I am even more blessed if the sun is shining upon my face.

In my suffering, I am thankful for dear sisters-in-Christ who pray for me and offer words and gestures of help and comfort.

1Th 5:11 Therefore comfort one another, and edify one another, even as you also do.

Jas 5:16 Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.

And in my suffering, I am so grateful for the sure knowledge of my salvation and for the hope that when Jesus comes again, I will be made whole and I will no longer endure suffering, pain or sorrow.

1Ti 2:3,4 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Rev 21:4 And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away.

PRAISE GOD!

I pray that you will reach out to God in your suffering and find help in your time of need.

Heb 4:16 Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Blessings

 

 

 

Today

When I write my blog posts, I share what I have experienced and know to be true in my life. I hope that by sharing my downs as well as my ups, people reading my posts may be able to identify with some of the topics and find a spark of hope to help them through their own ups and downs.

I always try to be positive when I write, because although misery loves company, it doesn’t really help anybody. However, lest you think that I am “little Miss Mary Sunshine” at all times, I want you to know that I have my dark days too.

Today is one of those days. Today, I am in pain. Today, I am very weary. Today, if I were to describe my emotions as a colour, they would be very grey. Today, I feel burdened by a heavy load. To put it crudely but succinctly, today, I feel like crap.

Some “todays” are more difficult to rise above than others. So today, I am resting in the Lord. Today, I am thankful for the sunshine. Today, I am going to volunteer at an Adult Day Centre because helping to alleviate someone else’s challenging “today” helps me to get through my own.

Today, I will remember that all my days are in God’s loving hands and I will be thankful that my eternal “tomorrow” is coming and it will contain “all things bright and beautiful”.

May God bless you and keep you through your grey “todays”.

Achey Breaky

I dedicate this post to all those who suffer but continue to smile, to love, to hope and to serve.

Maybe some of my readers are too young to know the song “Achey Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus. If you have never had to suffer exposure to that song, be thankful. As for the rest of us, our ears may be scarred for life!

In my life, I have had to endure more than listening to that song; I have suffered through my own “achey breaky heart” on a number of occasions. However, it is not in reference to my heart that I am writing about today. I am writing about my achey breaky body.

Today, it is grey, damp, very windy and raw cold. Just the sort of day to which my body seriously objects. I suffer from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and arthritis. And in case you think it is because I am some decrepit old lady, I tell you that I have battled these illnesses since I was in my late twenties and early thirties.

When I was finally diagnosed, my doctor gave me the good news, “well, at least it won’t kill you”. You can well imagine that I was close to breaking one of the ten commandments (over his head) when he told me that! Anybody who suffers from chronic pain and/or fatigue will tell you that although it may not kill you physically (although sometimes it feels like it and you wish you were dead), it can seriously affect, if not destroy, your way of life.

For me, it destroyed my career in nursing. It also took away my ability to enjoy my favourite activities such as camping, canoeing and hiking. It interfered with my ability to parent and enjoy my children (I was the one who fell asleep while reading them stories). And it seriously affected my former marriage.

I am definitely not alone in the pain department. As I write this, my wonderful hubby is bed with yet another migraine. And today, I had tea with a lady who told me her story about her years of suffering excruciating pain due to a horribly botched surgery. Pain is no respecter of persons.

I have found that being a Christian has added another challenging dimension to the pain and illness. I believe in a loving God who wants me well and has made healing available. But what happens when that healing does not readily manifest itself? In that situation, I found myself having to make a choice: I could choose to be angry with God and give up on Him completely,  I could continue to strive at “getting my healing” and become frustrated and bitter, or I could let go of the struggle and trust God.

In my effort to learn and understand God’s word and ways on the subject of suffering and healing, I came across a teaching entitled, “Our Light Affliction” based on the following scripture:

2Co 4:16   For which cause we do not give way to weariness; but though our outer man is getting feebler, our inner man is made new day by day.

2Co 4:17   For our present trouble (“light affliction” in KJV), which is only for a short time, is working out for us a much greater weight of glory; (BBE)

Now before I have somebody come down on me like a ton of bricks, I am not saying that I believe that God has given me pain and sickness to teach me a lesson. If that were the case, I would want to know why there are an awful lot of wicked, evil, bad people out there who are perfectly healthy! Don’t they need to be taught? I would also want to know why, after all these years, I have not graduated from the school of pain. Am I really so dense that I need to keep repeating the lesson?

Then there are  “Job’s miserable comforters” who might say that I suffer because I have some unresolved, un-repented sin in my life. I guess they don’t know the Word of God that tells us that when we have accepted Jesus as our Saviour, we are free from sin:

Rom 6:18   Then being made free from sin, you became the slaves of righteousness.

And then there are those who would say that God gives people pain and suffering so that they can become a good witness for him. REALLY?? If that is the case, put me in a “witness protection program” – please! Talk about convoluted thinking! (Joyce Meyers would call it “stinkin’ thinkin'”).

So, what do I do on those “achey breaky” days when I don’t understand why healing doesn’t come? I take my pills, curl up on the couch with a heating pad, and rest in the Lord trusting in His word that tells me that although I might be hurting today, life on this earth is only for a short time and it’s nothing compared to how unimaginably wonderful I am going to feel in my new life in God’s heavenly kingdom.

(Would somebody pass the Motrin please?)

Blessings