Pentatonix, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Struggles and the Truths

I've been struggling lately...I'm really feeling depressed and am praying not to be swallowed whole by that monster again. I just have to dig my heels in, spend time on my knees...and RESIST. There are 6 factors behind my gloom and each of them alone is enough to make you want to just stay in bed. But I've been in bad spots before and managed to persist and succeed in spite of them; so why should this time be different?

FACT: My God who is in me and around me, knows what he is doing and he is going to work a victory in it. Right now I don't know what form that will take or what it will look like but I know he loves me and whatever garbage I have to plow through is there to strengthen me and to make me more dependent on and intimate with him. The quicker I learn this, hopefully, the shorter will this time of testing be.

FACT: I have many blessings: A house (such as it is); a family ( such as they are) and friends--all around the world, thanks to the internet.. Do not allow yourself (me) to underestimate these blessings. Be grateful and appreciative of each of them.

FACT: I am losing weight (yay!!) and am dealing with my complex medical issues, one at a time...and what looks like a defeat is really a victory and will bring me better health in the long run (I hope).

FACT: God loves me---despite my occasional ingratitude and mess-ups in following where he wants me to go. I have nothing to fear because of this fact. God is in this working a victory for himself and for me. And I can rest secure knowing that HE"S GOT THIS and best of all HE'S GOT ME, held securely in his hands.

FACT: My sadness at losing my mom is really not the most helpful thing (although it is certainly understandable). My dad's example of strength and acceptance is really where I need to be too. He understands that she is no longer suffering and is now healthy and happy in the arms of her Lord and that we will be reunited with her at the end of our journey here. This truly shuts the mouth of sorrow and unlocks the door to Peace.

FACT: my sadness at my inability to celebrate Christmas by decorating and baking is really not valid. The holiday is not about lights and trees. It is about my Lord, coming to earth as a helpless baby to battle the power of death and Judgement. It is about the cross which overshadowed his life and which is where he would win his greatest victory. It's not about presents and not even about family. It's about Him and Me. And Him and You. And he promises us peace and joy because of what he accomplished through his death and resurrection. Christmas Joy has nothing to do with presents and good eats. It is instead, the deep joy we can have --even when our loved ones go to be with him in death-- knowing that they are secure in his love --as am I.

So then. These things are true.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

These. These. are the weapons I have to fight this keep me from drowning and throwing in the towel. He is my strength and my salvation.
Are you struggling too? Maybe some of my truths ring true for you as well. HOLD TIGHT to them and battle the lies of the enemy who will tell you that death is a solution. HE is a liar and a murderer--and has been from the beginning. Recognize the battle for what it is and know that Victory is sure.        

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Down and Dirty

OK.  I know it's time for a post, but if that expression ("If you can't find something nice to say then say nothing at all.") is true then maybe I shouldn't write anything right now.
If you want the real nitty, gritty down and've probably come to the right place.

So you can't get much downer and dirtier than a UTI that has lasted for months.  So yeah.  That. 
I had to spend the week (daytime) at the Infusion Center at our medical center getting IV infusions of antibiotics.   So I'm feeling better from the UTI.  Then today came the worst part.  I'm not going to go into details because even though I pretty much always lay it right out there, this time I choose to preserve some dignity and privacy. 

Suffice it to say that during today's procedure I felt myself taking leave of my emotions and even leave of that room altogether...mentally that is.  I shut down.  Shut off.  And shut out.
The doctor saw that something was wrong because she kept asking me "Are you listening to me? Do you understand what I've told you?"  And in the end she printed out the directions I was to follow jic I really had not understood a word she said.

I understood her perfectly.
But I was within inches of a meltdown.  And my only protection to keep that from happening was to take leave of that room emotionally.  This "thing" I was responding to is something I will have to deal with for the REST OF MY LIFE.  And that is something I just can't wrap my mind around.  It's an intrusion.  A hassle.  Ugly.  Embarrassing. 

So anyway. If you would, please pray for me.  And while you're praying for me, pray that I could get my new phone programed and activated in the next day or two. Believe it or not, that stress is really wigging me out.  So maybe in a couple of days I will have calmed down and can come up with something meaningful and inspirational to say here. 
God bless each of you....and remind you to daily thank him for health (and if you don't have health, then thank him for the grace to get you through the day you're in.)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Custom Made Quiet

Each year, at about this time of year, I take some time to contemplate the format of the next successive year's Quiet Time.  (I call my Quiet Time, "Penuel" because that means the face of God....and it is in these times set apart for him that I most clearly see the face of God.)

Two years ago I read the entire Bible and also contemplated and prayed about the word God had given me for the year.  The word was "blameless" and throughout the year, I spent many hours in confession for sins beginning in my childhood and on through out my life since then.  Old scruffy areas of guilty were peeled from my soul and I began to feel the joy of the word "Blameless" - God took those sins and buried them in the deep seas of his conscious forgetfulness where they will never again have the power to chew on my soul.

In 2016 I read the New Testament over the span of the year. It was nice to have a leisurely chance to go more slowly and meditate a bit more on Word since I didn't have so much to read each day. I also received two "random" verses arriving in my email daily.  I say "random" because very often they were deliberately chosen by God for me that day.  And I also read John Piper's devotional as well as of late, Joni Eareckson Tada's as well.

So what is up for 2017?  I think I will probably read "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. I have read through this devotional book at least 5 times before....but it is probably my favorite devotional out of the many that I have read.  And I think that instead of reading more Scripture I will THINK more and read less.  I plan on memorizing one verse or passage daily using the Scripture Typer App on my computer and phone. I have not memorized anything new for a month or two and I miss it.  I plan on studying each verse using the Key Word Bible which describes the meanings of the words in the Hebrew and Greek- and also to read on the verse in a study Bible.

Also I want to focus more on my prayer time. I have gotten a bit lax in my discipline of prayer.  I miss sitting with the Lord and hearing Him speak and telling him of my thoughts and the needs of others in the world as well as the needs of my family.

So all this will consume a pretty good chunk of time.  And I have found that if I don't do it first thing (once I'm conscious enough to be coherent) then I never usually do it at all.  This is going to take some doing...because you see those early morning hours of late have been dedicated to chatting with friends online.  I know my friends are not going to like this decision....but it is a matter of priority.  And God must have first place.

My father thought it a bit odd to customize my quiet time in such a manner.  But it helps me to get excited once more about about a new year and a new manner of study.  This keeps it fresh, deliberate, and devoted.  If you are not intentional about your time with the Lord, maybe you can give this some thought and come up with a plan that excites you.  Me? I can't wait til Jan 1, 2017.