Phil Wickham When My Heart is Torn Asunder

Friday, August 18, 2017

What I Need

I'm not in a good "head space"--it started yesterday.  Feeling BLAH and disinterested in everything.  Not wanting to talk or socialize, but feeling lonely.  Loneliness is a hunger.  But if I don't have the appetite for people being around me...then what am I hungry for?

I'm disgusted with my weight loss efforts and the lack of results I'm seeing even though I'm tracking every bite that goes into my mouth and rarely exceed  1300 calories in a day.  Yesterday I threw restraint to the winds and ate what I wanted.  (as there is no junk in the house I didn't really eat anything bad--just too much.)  And today when I weighed myself I see that I gained 5 (count it! F-I-V-E) pounds! I know that some of that is not true weight gain...but nonetheless it got me upset.  I also had tried on some of my pants which I was wearing last January and prior to Mother's Day...and couldn't begin to zip them.

So that is where I am at.

Now how to get to where I want to be?  I think the place to start is on my knees.  Talk it all out to the only One who is interested, will listen and has the ability to help.  I need to ask Him what it is that I need and then ask Him to give it to me.

I have not prayed for God to bless and assist my weight loss.  But beyond that...maybe what I first need to do is to ask Him to help me to stop hating myself...hating this body He gave me....and start cutting myself some slack because 99% of my weight gain is due to medications and being sedentary because of illness.  If I had a friend who was in my shoes, would I say to her the awful things I say to myself? I would NOT. I would try to encourage her just to do the best she can and chalk up the remainder as being out of her control.

So that gives me a few ideas for direction.  Need direction? Go to the DIRECTOR.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Becoming Blameless--Still

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation...

- 2 Corinthians 7:10a (NLT) |

I’ve spoken about this before…how about three years ago, at the turn of the New Year, God put a word on my heart with the understanding that it was going to be the theme (I thought) of the coming year.  Although I’ve sought other words in the past two years, I keep on coming back to the first word he gave me…and now, I know that this word is going to characterize my remaining years of this life. 
The word? “Blameless."
I have committed some heinous sins in my past—and I guess we all have things we are ashamed of and sorry for—but somehow my heart resounds with the cry of the Apostle Paul “I am the chief of all sinners.”  And, thus, began a quest to purify my heart before God.  Yes, Jesus died for ALL my sin but I know that, were I to appear at heaven’s threshold wearing all this stinking, unconfessed sin, it would negatively impact my enjoyment of what Eternity holds for me.  I’ve been extremely close to death’s door multiple times…I would say at least 4 times in my life, my doctors pretty much threw up their hands and acknowledged their inability to determine the outcome or whether I would survive.
And each time, against all odds, I came through it.  I must admit, that each time, I regretfully turned my back on heaven and went back to the life God has given me on this earth.  And I asked God “WHY??? Why do you keep me coming back to a life that is filled with pain and difficulty?” I think now, I know the answer.  It is because I have not come to the place where I can call myself “Blameless” before God and man. 
Throughout the past three years God has taken me from the obvious sins, which I dutifully confessed and repented of before God with many tears, to the more obscure memories buried in time and by the enemy deep in my heart and away from the scrutiny of my conscious searching.  However, the scalpel operated by God’s Spirit, has made these things come up a bit at a time, regurgitated by a soul no longer willing to house them.  And I must say that I have been appalled by the depths of my depravity.  And it astonishes me that I ever could have felt as intimate with God as I thought I was in the past.  How could God ever look beyond those wicked deeds and thoughts and call me His “Beloved”?
There is a passage in Scripture in one of the writings of the Prophets, that talks about God encountering His people on a road, covered in birthing blood and filth, finding us abandoned and ready to die.  It describes Him lovingly washing and clothing us and holding us close to Him, adopting us as His own. 
I feel that this was God’s relationship to me.  He found me dead in my filth and He is lovingly holding me and restoring me to life, not just any life, but life as the beloved child of God, the King of the Universe. He looked beyond my filth and loved the person He found there; the person He created for intimacy with Himself.  And although, by now, recognizing that I am far from sinless; I understand that God is keeping me here in this process of my repulsion of my sin, my sorrow over it, and my handing it back to Him for Him to bury in the depths of the deepest ocean for a purpose.  And as always, God’s plans are perfect and His ways are just.  He wants me to have the best of what Heaven will hold for me…and that just would not have been accessible to me had this muck not been raked and shoveled out of my soul.
So, I stand before you, Blameless and becoming Blameless.  There continues to be sin generated by my fleshly self and as it rises to my consciousness, I deal with it before the Father, covering it and obliterating it by the blood of Jesus.  And occasionally a new –freshly unearthed pile of sin is revealed to me from my past—and my heart breaks anew,
to see how unregenerate I really am…and gratefully, I hand that mess over to the loving hands of the Celestial Surgeon for him to excise and remove.
Never in my life have I appreciated so deeply the cleansing power of Christ’s blood and the brutality He faced on the cross.  Do you ever wonder why He had to suffer so greatly? It’s because it is what I DESERVED and it was only by Him drinking the full cup of God’s wrath at that sin, that I could be freed from God’s righteous wrath toward it.  My heart breaks from this knowledge and I will never go a day without being grateful for what He did for me there.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Losing and Finding

I know it's been a long time since I've posted.  I've been busy (by my terms anyway.) Last week I spent from Tuesday through Sunday at my dad's house...It was really wonderful having him for company....although it was not without it's bumps in the road.  

One bump was that I was in the midst of a massive flare.  Probably the worst one I've ever had. (I have an autoimmune disease that is relentlessly destroying my joints and other tissues..organs etc.)  I suffered with it for a week.  Some days were so bad that all I could do was rely heavily on my pain medicine and stay in bed.  By Friday I'd had all  I could take.  I emailed my Rheumatologist --concerned by the lab results I'd gotten from last Tuesday's blood draw...all my "bad news" markers were pegged at the top of the scale.  On Sunday he responded to my email and said he wanted me to take 6 days of Medrol (Yes, a cursed steroid) and to think about changing medications. He suggested Orencia.  I've been on the Cosentyx for the majority of a year, certainly long enough to see that it was not cutting it.

 Dad and I did some shopping...he took me to a mall where I sketched people for a while in the food court and then we shopped a bit (me in the wheelchair).  Then one day we set out (Friday I think) we went for a ride, ostensibly to find a spot where I might sketch.  Instead we found a creamery with the best ice cream I've had ANYWHERE.  it had picnic tables overlooking a valley with a view that just went on and on.  We drove most of that day, stopping in Warwick where there used to be a pen shop...but alas, it was gone.  So instead, we looked around at their shops and then headed back toward home...with one more stop at a place that housed a huge "wild" collection of well-maintained herbs.  We stopped and I took some pictures some of which I will post here:

Saturday we spent mostly recovering…and I was still leveled by pain….Sunday was a busy day…we went to church and then stayed after to enjoy some pizza that was donated by a local pizza shop. Then it was off to Shop Rite where I did my shopping for the week.  Then back to dad’s to rearrange the car and to bring my stuff from the house to the car for my return home. Then the 45 minute drive home and suddenly to realize I’d bought a bag of produce at  a farm market the day before and left it at dad’s…He will bring it to me today.
God blessed me in that I managed to do all that Sunday without horrible pain.  There was pain but it had dropped to a manageable level.

On the trip home, we were listening to a Bluegrass CD made by a group based at my dad’s church.  There was song after song about loss and heaven.  And one of those songs gripped me by the throat.  Dad got quiet too…I reached over and squeezed his hand…an action completely foreign to me. I enjoy hugs but seldom initiate them. And, while dad is suffering and so am I, we don’t really talk about it. I don’t know why this is…but it has always been this way.  But there have been moments when we were close together in grief…such as the moment when the man from the mortuary opened the casket for us to say our goodbyes. I broke down…and dad reached for me and pulled my close to his side.  The scratchy feel of his suit against my face will be forever embedded in my mind as that moment of great sorrow went by.

There have been SO many deaths in the past couple of years, woman after woman has been widowed in my church.  In my dad’s church man after man has been widowed.  Relatives are leaving us. People whom I’ve known all my life …suddenly are here no more.  Heaven is pressing in.

Today my Facebook post was about grief.  The verse I posted was this:
Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love.  Lamentations 3:32 (NLT)

And the song I posted there was the one in my header here. Shane and Shane, Ps. 46.
If you are sorrowing….or if you are in mourning over abilities you’ve lost to disease or accident, I’m here to tell you that you are NOT alone. Not only are there people such as myself who’ve been there, but the Lord your God is there with you in the midst of your sadness.  He is the light in the tunnel…the hand that you reach for in the darkness.  Reach for him. He is there waiting for you.