Carpet-bomb

Carpet-bomb:
1to drop large numbers of bombs so as to cause uniform devastation over (a given area)
2to bombard repeatedly, widely, or excessively 
Since the beginning of November, I feel like my life has been under one long carpet-bomb attack.
The increasingly dull, damp and cold weather causes a large increase in my pain and fatigue. This in turn made it much more challenging to stand at work for long hours thus increasing my pain and fatigue even more and decreasing my ability to deal with workplace stress.
My darling hubby was also suffering with weekly migraines lasting anywhere from 2-4 days. This required the house to be dark and quiet for long periods of time – not conducive to my already low spirits.
A family member, whom we are helping out and who had been living in our trailer during the warmer months has now moved into our small home until Spring. Not only did our living space get smaller, so did our routines, peace and privacy.
And then the enemy stepped up its offensive and the real bombing began, and in the aftermath, a young family has been torn apart; hearts have been broken; fear, insecurity, anger, blame, shame, and sorrow have left deep craters in the lives of all who are involved.
Our small home has become even smaller as we provide shelter and support to a troubled and wounded loved one. The walls of a 2 bedroom cottage/home are now stretched at the seams to accommodate 4 adults and all their accompanying baggage – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
To say that it has been challenging is an understatement! But, to say that God has been with me through all of this is also an understatement. Even during the times when I was so burdened and tired that I couldn’t even formulate a prayer in my head, I knew that God saw, understood, and acted in that situation.
I am so thankful for all those like-minded believers who prayed with me, and for me and my loved ones.
I am so grateful for my Saviour, Jesus, who carries my burden when it becomes too heavy for me.
And I am thankful for hope, a hope that is rooted in Jesus Christ and what he has done for me.
We are finally coming out the other side of this episode of the enemy’s carpet bombing. I know that there are still trials to come, but I believe and trust that God will continue to uphold and sustain me as I wait for the prayers for my loved one to be answered and healing and deliverance to manifest themselves.
Rom 5:1 For which reason, because we have righteousness through faith, let us be at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;
Rom 5:2 Through whom, in the same way, we have been able by faith to come to this grace in which we now are; and let us have joy in hope of the glory of God.
Rom 5:3 And not only so, but let us have joy in our troubles: in the knowledge that trouble gives us the power of waiting;
Rom 5:4 And waiting gives experience; and experience, hope:
Rom 5:5 And hope does not put to shame; because our hearts are full of the love of God through the Holy Spirit which is given to us.
Rom 5:6 For when we were still without strength, at the right time Christ gave his life for evil-doers.
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Besieged

Psa 31:21 Blessed is Jehovah; for He has worked His mercy wondrously in a besieged city.

 

This past year has been filled with challenges, for both myself and for my loved ones. It has often felt like I was living in Minas Tirith during the attack by the Morgul orcs of Mordor. (Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings)

1Ki 20:1 And Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his army together. And thirty-two kings were with him, and horses and chariots. And he went up and laid siege to Samaria, and warred against it. 

My darling hubby suffered so many migraines that he used up all his sick days and holidays and then had to miss work so paycheques shrunk.

Our finances were stretched to the limit. We barely lived paycheque to paycheque, and only by the grace of God alone.

I have battled very painful inflamed sacroiliac joints in my lower spine, plantar fasciitis in my foot , a damaged nerve in my heel, and I am now dealing with inflammation in my eye which has severely affected my vision.

Both my hubby and I have been fighting fatigue, anxiety and depression.

Because of financial difficulties, my oldest son has had to move his family in with his mother-in-law. The ensuing stress has caused him to have a mental crisis. Now he is dealing with his wife and daughter having to live two hours away. That little girl is the light of his life.

My youngest son bought his first house last summer but two weeks later he was injured at work. He has been off work ever since and has had to have surgery and physiotherapy. He has since found out that more damage was done than originally thought and has to undergo more surgery. He also has a baby daughter.

My mother has been experiencing severe pain in her spine and is awaiting test results.

WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! The enemy is battering at the gates! The ground trembles and the walls shake. We try to stand but we are knocked to our knees time and time again. We seek shelter from the enemy’s fiery darts.

But though the battle rages, I remind myself that I did not build my house on sand.

Mat 7:26, 27 And everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them shall be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house. And it fell, and great was its fall. 

Rather, I have built my house on the solid rock – the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Mat 7:24, 25 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded on a rock.

My house is built on a foundation that has Jesus Christ as the supporting cornerstone.

Eph 2:19, 20 Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

When it seems like the forces of Hell are bombarding me, I run to God who is my refuge, my fortress, my strong tower.

Psa 18:2 Jehovah is my strength, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock; I will trust in Him; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.

Pro 18:10 The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. 

I am so thankful that when the enemy seems to be encamped about me, and tribulations besiege me, I have a merciful, compassionate, loving God to whom I can turn and in whom I can trust to take care of me and my loved ones.

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. 

Blessings

 

 

Dazed and Confused

“I’m dazed and confused, hanging on be a thread
I’m being abused, I’d be better off dead
I can’t stand this teasing, I’m starting to crack
You’re out to get me, you’re on the right track”

The above lyrics are from a blues-rock song in 1967, written and performed by Jake Holmes. The rock group Led Zeppelin re-did the song on their 1969 debut album.

While I don’t feel that I would be “better off dead”, I must confess to feeling somewhat “dazed and confused” myself lately.

This week I developed inflammation in both of the sacroiliac joints in my lower back. This has caused a literal “pain in the a**”! I am hobbling around like an old lady and groaning like an arthritic hound dog. Hot and cold flashes are my companions as I alternate between ice packs and heating pads. Anti-inflammatories and muscles relaxants induce a definite couch potato demeanor. And my new fashion accessory is a supportive, magnetic back brace – which looks ever so elegant with my ankle socks and bathrobe!

This literal pain in the butt has caused me to miss: leading one ladies’ fellowship and participating in another, cancel my son and family’s visit (which was to be our Christmas visit), and give up a shift at work at a time when we really need the extra money!

This is on top of having to deal with increased fatigue, lethargy, depression and anxiety due to the change in seasons and my suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

AND THEN – my poor, sweet hubby has been suffering from a migraine for the past three days! He has used up his allotment of medication and can’t get a renewal for at least 2 weeks!

He has had so many migraines this year that he has used up all his sick days and vacation time so that when he has to take a sick day now, he is losing a day’s pay. This is not nice at any time of year but especially not at Christmas.

So – yes, I am feeling “dazed and confused, abused and hanging by a thread” at times.

When I am feeling like that, I turn to the only place and person that I know to turn to – my Heavenly Father. While I absolutely believe that He does not send me these trials, I confess to wondering why I have to keep going through them and why deliverance and healing do not seem to be forthcoming.

Like David in the Psalms, I pour out my questions, my fears and my frustrations to God.

“O Lord, all my longing is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.” ~Psalm 38:9-10 (NRSV).

Psa 69:1 To the Chief Musician. Concerning the Lilies. A Psalm of David. Save me, O God! for the waters have come in on my soul.
Psa 69:2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
Psa 69:3 I am weary from my crying; my throat is dried; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.

I beseech, entreat and implore Him to help us.

Psa 118:25 Save now, I beseech You, O Jehovah; O Jehovah, I beseech You,…

I remind Him of His promises.

2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God by us. 

And then I purposefully take stock of all the blessings that I do have and I thank God for them. I also purposefully look to see little blessings in every day – like the handsome bluejay at the bird feeder yesterday and the cute red-breasted nuthatch today. Or the unusually mild temperatures we have been enjoying this November along with the mellow, golden sunlight.

Php 4:8 Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things.

I also try to be grateful for the peace and quiet that is my environment and be thankful that I don’t really have anyone making any pressing demands on my limited energies.

Php 4:7 And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

In the end, the truth of it is that when the struggles of this life make me feel dazed and confused, there is only one place to which I can turn – Heaven, and only one person to whom I can turn – God – in the name of His son, Jesus Christ. Without them, where would there be any hope?

Psa 118:14 Jehovah is my strength and song, and He is my salvation.

2Th 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
2Th 2:17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work…

Blessings

Easy-Peasy?

If anyone has ever told you that it is easy to be a Christian – they are full of crap. Sorry if that term offends you, but that is how I feel about the subject.

I was a Christian long before I experienced adult baptism by full immersion in water. At that time, I was led to believe that 1) I was not a true Christian unless I was baptized, and 2) my life would change drastically, for the better, once I was baptized. I have found out that both these “doctrines” are incorrect.

In this post, I am not going to address the issue of water baptism, but rather, the issue that there is a thought process out there that once you become a Christian, your life will become sooooooo much better. While there is some truth to that idea, it is not a simple, all encompassing truth.

At the time that I decided to become baptized by full immersion, my life had been and was at that time, pretty stressful and unhappy. Although I had been a Christian for a number of years, I never felt that I was ever a “good enough” Christian. And because of that thought process, I thought that a lot of my personal problems and unhappiness was due to the fact that I wasn’t a “complete” Christian because I had not been baptized. I was led to believe that being baptized would “clench the deal” as it were. I was told that being baptized was a life-changing experience. Well, I wanted me some of that!

So I went into that baptismal tank with an earnest desire to wash away all the old, “faulty” me and to  come up out of that water a new, glorious, radiant, powerful, happy, and miraculously changed me. Boy was I in for a HUGE disappointment. Not only did I not feel any different, but my life became MORE difficult following my baptism than before it!

I wanted answers and help so I started watching all kinds of TV ministries. Imagine how happy I was to find ones that taught that I don’t have to be sad, sick or poor. All I had to do was rebuke the issue and “name and claim” my miracle! Well, I tried that for years. Intense prayer, intense Bible study, intense speaking forth scriptures. Oh how I would love to say that all my miracles came through and that my life became wonderful – NOT!

I think that it is very wrong to teach people that life becomes so much easier once you are saved. I have not found that “doctrine” anywhere in the Bible. While Jesus did tell us to exchange our burdens for his, for they are light:

Mat 11:29, 30 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. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

I don’t believe that Jesus was saying that we would never have another problem in our lives. In fact, he tells us that in this world, we WILL have troubles:

Joh 16:33 … In the world you have trouble… 

He also warned that we have an enemy who goes about looking for people that he can destroy, one who shoots “fiery darts” at us and one whose mission it is to kill, to steal and to destroy. The enemy HATES the children of God and he is constantly at war with them.

Rev 12:17 And the dragon was enraged over the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Our enemy has painted a target on our back and he is constantly at work shooting “fiery darts” at us in hopes of taking us down.

Does this sound like an “easy-peasy” life to you??

In fact, we are told that as believers, we are not to be surprised that difficult things will happen to us in our lives.

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial which is to try you, as though a strange thing happened to you,

Not only that, we are told that going through difficult situations can bring about personal and spiritual growth.

Rom 5:3-5 And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience, and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope. 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. 

When you read the accounts of the lives of the apostles – does it sound like their lives were ‘easy-peasy’? I think not! Just read what Paul has to say about some of his experiences:

2Co 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as beside myself,) I am more! I have been in labors more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prisons more, in deaths many times.
2Co 11:24 Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one.
2Co 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the deep.
2Co 11:26 I have been in travels often; in dangers from waters; in dangers from robbers; in dangers from my race; in dangers from the heathen; in dangers in the city; in dangers in the wilderness; in dangers on the sea; in dangers among false brothers.
2Co 11:27 I have been in hardship and toil; often in watchings; in hunger and thirst; often in fastings; in cold and nakedness;
2Co 11:28 besides the things outside conspiring against me daily, the care of all the churches.

Wow – I don’t think that Paul would ever describe a Christian’s life as ‘easy-peasy’. And you can be sure that he absolutely knew the Word of God and spent much time in prayer – yet he still endured all those hardships.

I have often heard it taught that we should be thankful for any and all difficulties that come our way. I believe that it is an erroneous (fancy word for incorrect) interpretation of Rom. 8:35-37.

Rom 8:35-37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For Your sake we are killed all the day long. We are counted as sheep of slaughter.” But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us. 

Pay close attention to that last sentence. Does it say “for all these things” or “in all these things”? God’s Word doesn’t tell us to be thankful for difficult circumstances but rather that we can be thankful in difficult circumstances – why? – because when we are a believer of Jesus Christ, we are more than conquerors in those situations because we have Christ “The Conqueror” in us. We have God in Christ in us and they will help us through those difficult times.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I do believe that miracles are available and that they do occur. That is where hope comes into the picture – never give up hope. But I no longer believe that because I am a Christian my life will be all chocolate and flowers. I do believe that God, through Jesus, will strengthen me during the difficult times and help me to get through them. My hard times are made easier and I have hope because I know that God loves me, that He wants me to have victory in those areas and that Jesus is my ‘over-comer’.

Joh 16:33 I have said all these things to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble: but take heart! I have overcome the world. 

So when you go through trials and tribulations – and you will go through some – have hope and peace in remembering that you are more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ!

Psa 46:1-3  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear when the earth changes, and when mountains are slipping into the heart of the seas. Let its waters roar and foam; let the mountains shake with the swelling of it. Selah.

Blessings

 

 

 

WHAM II

I remember a line from a tv show that goes something like this: “when you least expect it, expect it!” Well. I was in no way expecting the earth to open up beneath my feet after I got to work this morning. Just as son as I got into the office the manager set me down and told me that she was terminating my employment! WHAM! No prior notice, no reasons given and don’t forget to  pay for all those clothes we made you buy so that you could work in our store. Give us your keys and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. WHAM WHAM! I had obviously been accused of something and judge and jury had come up with the verdict without giving me any representation and a chance to defend myself.

While I am a Christian, I am also an imperfect human in this world. I make mistakes, I get hurt, angry, frustrated and upset. I do my best to conduct myself as to be pleasing unto the Lord and in a fashion that gives God the glory. I do confess that sometimes my mouth forgets that it is part of a consecrated body and it says things it shouldn’t. If I realize that I have made a mistake, I do my best to apologize and make amends.

Today, I am very weary of the evil world and it’s wicked ways. Today, I feel like becoming a monkish hermit and going to find a cave to live in (as long as it has indoor plumbing and hot running water – lol) My Mom and I both agreed today that there are some days where you just feel like falling on your knees pleading “come, Jesus, come” today.

However, I may be down at this moment , but I am not out because He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world.

“DEar God, help me to rise above in triumph over these moments of WHAM that shake me to my core. Fill me with you spirit of peace, love and joy so that I may be a blessing for your kingdom”. Amen

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