Wednesday, December 30, 2009
When I offered her the "same old same old" for dinner...when she looked at the pile of unwashed dishes...when she saw my unkempt self...when I told her there was no money to go to the store and replace her lamp which had broken...I saw the anger. I felt the anger. And I felt helpless.
She is right to be angry. She is right not to want to return here to the problems and the limitations of our family. And I feel like the vast majority of it is my fault. Heck, I don't even want to be in the same house as me...why should she?
I remember feeling the same way as a teen. I remember my mother's anger blazing at the critical attitude I sported after returning from a time away from home. I guess it's a typical problem. But we have less than typical problems in this house. I don't blame my daughter at all for feeling the way she does. I blame myself for her feelings. Even though I know, logically, that it is not really my fault...that it is NO one's fault...that doesn't make it any better or easier...for her or for me.
The situation basically stinks. We are all doing the best we can in the midst of it...and sometimes, even that is not enough.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
So to find myself now, so apathetic and ....LIMP....is a terribly hard thing to accept. Now this does not mean that I am lazy. And this is what I need to remind myself of and somehow come grips with understanding: it is a symptom of my disease. When I lived in a group home years ago, I was disgusted with the fact that all of us just sat around smoking or laid in bed all the time. As I said, this was totally opposed to my historical makeup and I did not understand that this is a very big part of the "negative" symptomology of schizophrenia.
(Let me just explain to you "negative" and "positive" symptoms. Positive symptoms are the more blatant "crazy" things a schizophrenic experiences: hallucinations, hearing voices, paranoia, agitation, delusions. The Negative symptoms are things like apathy, blunted or "flat" affect ((facial expressiveness of emotion)), tiredness, etc..) Now part of the great difficulty that we people who share this diagnosis face is that the medication used to treat the positive symptoms also worsens the negative ones. And honestly, these can be harder to live with than the more dramatic things. This is a great part of the reason that people with mental illness are so noncompliant with their medication regime: because, it can seem that the medicine is actually making us worse....fogging our thinking; slowing our responses; detaching us from our emotions; deadening sexual interest and performance....and on and on.
I often still "beat myself up" for my lack of achievement in the past few years. I think to myself: this is the only life I have, why am wasting it? Surely God would not want me to let it slip through my fingers like this? But then it is SO HARD for me to convince myself to do anything; and often what I undertake goes unfinished. And the fact that I have physical illness, struggles, and pain only worsens this difficulty.
So I need to look at myself, my abilities and my energy levels and my physical challenges and somehow come up with realistic goals for myself and most of all, ask God what HIS goals are for me and for my days. I find, more than meeting accomplishment-types of goals, that God more often sets up for me relational appointments. These are encounters with people: online or in person where I get opportunities to share Him and His love...often through sharing my story. And it may be that, at least for now, this is where God would have me to be.
I have a friend, an elderly German woman, who upon rising each day, says to God, "Lord, use me today!" And He does. I have been trying to make that my prayer as well. LORD, USE ME TODAY...in any way that YOU see fit!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
As I thought the other night about the thing I am seeking from God it occurred to me that I really don’t know if I can picture it happening anymore. Or fully believe that it will happen. Is that a requirement of faith? To believe in and depend on something occurring which is really altogether unlikely? Or is INSISTING on the possible reality of something enough? I confess with my lips that I believe in it. But I do not know if my heart believes in it any more. It's like the TV show that says, "I like the IDEA of it more than the actual event." Well, I believe in the idea of it, more than I actually expect it to happen. You know, it really hurts too much to keep that hope…that anticipation alive…and to see it smashed daily on the front steps of my heart. Is it necessary that I anticipate it with joy and longing? God, can you really be so cruel as to keep that carrot dangling and my apparently futile pursuit of it a requirement? Can’t I just know in my heart that, with you, anything is possible? Does my heart really have to FEEL it and to PICTURE it?
When Abram waited all those years for the promised son to come, did he fantasize about where he would take the boy, how they would do things together? Did his ears ring with the sound of his imagined laughter? Or did he just, as I do, spread his hands out and say with a shrug, “God, only you know. And only you can do.” And leave it all there, un-pictured; unimagined; un-longed for…because the hope was too great for such an old heart to carry; for such a wounded and disappointed heart to bear.
Maybe I don’t know how to believe. And maybe I don’t know how to hope. I am afraid that my belief is only a dry and dusty word; that my hope is a shriveled up old woman. Sarah was a shriveled up woman, who cackled to herself at the absurdity of the idea of bearing a son.. I know that hers was a caustic laugh because she denied it to the Lord. She was ashamed of laughing….because she knew that it was the laugh of a realist, faced with the idea of the impossible. When people affirm to me that God will heal me or answer my other long-term request, I have to stifle just such an urge. And when God looks at me with a quizzical raised eyebrow, I quickly say, “No, that wasn’t ME laughing.” But He knows. He knows it was me.
God knows why I need to guard my heart from hope. Is He waiting for me to open my heart? To bare it to that pain, before He answers my prayers? Is He waiting for me to be vulnerable to the agony of hope? To pray the anguished prayer of anticipation that flies in the face of continual disappointment?
I don’t know.
I really don’t know.
Hebrew 11:1 says, as the NIV puts it: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” In the Amplified Bible it says this: “NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” In other words, faith is taking as fact something that has not yet happened.
Today I read a blog where the writer expressed some of her thoughts about Hope in the context of a brother who was just diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. She said the following:
“But as I ponder the scriptural sense of Hope, the one that we are commanded to
have along with Faith and Charity, I wonder what it is that God is asking us to do. Surely He is not talking about just clinging to wishful thinking. Because, since life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to, where’s the virtue and courage in that?
“I finally read an article that clarified this for me. There is a scripture about how experience brings about hope (Romans 5:4). Why is that? Our past experience with God as a just and loving Being informs our ability to Hope that He will continue to be so. That no matter how things turn out, He will fulfill his promises and take care of us in the eternal sense. Hope, then, is a courageous determination to look to the future. A belief that no matter what the present, the future will hold what God has promised. And that is as joyous a thought as my mind can comprehend.”
So, from all of this I must conclude that, based on how I understand the character o God to be because of His Word and the way He’s dealt with me in the past, I am to, when I hope and pray for something, KNOW and BELIEVE that He will respond to my request in a manner consistent with His character and take this as fact. That means that sometimes He does miracles. And sometimes He will not. But He is always, always loving and good. And I have the promise of Romans 8 :28 which assures me that in ALL THINGS, God will work for the good, every experience and aspect of my life. I am to count on this; rely on it and cling to it.
Therefore, it is not so much a presumption or an assumption that God will do the miracle I ask for, but instead a clinging to the fact of WHO HE IS and to the knowledge that He will continue to be that person and will act in a manner consistent with that. It is also a grasping of the promises of Eternity. This makes me feel a lot better. Because I have no trouble believing that God is who and what He says He is; or that in Heaven it will all be worked out. I just have trouble with
tantalizing myself with a possibility that may or may not ever happen.
I think that people are often mistaken about what Faith is. They think that they
can present a request to God…(for healing let’s say) and think that if they grab
it with the obstinacy of a bull terrier and insist to God that He will and must grant this request, that somehow He is bound to do so by the very strength of their determined resolve. But this is not what Scripture shows us. We must cling to GOD with all our might. Throw ourselves upon His omniscient wisdom and upon the goodness and love of His character and believe in THIS with all our hearts…and then let Him do and respond as He will to our requests.
Can I believe that?
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Joy mingled with sadness. His presence at heaven's expense. Our joy set against the darkness of our pain and humanity. The poignance of Christmas contrasted with the impending pain of the cross. Our HOPE...of all things being restored and renewed in the kingdom which is coming. All things begun and completed in the immensity and timelessness of God's plan.
Christmas is all of that.
Some of us are caught in the darker side of the holiday...the loneliness; the bitterness of family either missing or in dispute; the darkness of depression in a society that makes no room for pain at this time of year; poverty and having to go without buying gifts for those we love; maybe not even having a Christmas dinner (we ourselves are having fish sticks and Rice-a-Roni...I was in the hospital and that's all that's in the house :))
And some of you are in housefulls of family and friends; the scent of cookies and pies filling the air; children laughing and eagerly anticipating the arrival of gifts....
But the two are the same coin; just different sides. I've had years where one side was true and other years where the other was predominant. I've also spent many Christmases in medical and psychiatric hospitals. This year, I am grateful to be home. Grateful for the fish sticks. Glad that tonight I can go to church and see my friends. I could find a lot to be distressed about. Holidays in my family are not your typical happy celebrations. But I find that after the severe distress of holidays past, my expectations have changed, and I am far happier with less.
I was reading a blog about this very topic (http://www.halfwaytonormal.com/?p=547) and on my other blog site, I also wrote about this (http://lunamosity.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/695/). We cannot truly love the light until we have experienced darkness. Joy, unlike happiness which is more brittle and shallow, is forged in the smithy of pain...is more solid and unshakeable. It is not dependent on our circumstances but depends on the goodness and faithfulness of God--which never changes regardless of where in life we find ourselves.
So, where ever you are today, physically, circumstantially, emotionally; regardless of the challenges you may be facing, I pray that you will taste that joy. That you will rejoice, not because you are getting gifts or being with family....but because of WHOM you know God to be and of WHAT He is. I pray that if you are in pain, you will rejoice because you know that it is temporary and that He is Eternal. If you are happy, I pray that you will hold it lightly, and cling to the more substantial thing of Grace.
Blessings to you this Christmas...and forevermore!
Monday, December 21, 2009
There is no room for Grace in the way we think. There is room for God’s “stupidity” but we can’t even credit Him with the ability to love and bless us despite our unworthiness. Somehow WE have to be in control. WE have to hold the cards. WE have to be the smart ones. Even if it IS only “street smarts.” Who cares if we can’t form matter out of nothing? We know the REAL deal. Can’t put one over on US. At least I’m not stupid enough to love someone who doesn’t really deserve it. (Tongue is planted in cheek here).
This resounds with all kinds of truth to me as a mentally ill person. True, there are times when I'm doing so obviously badly when I'm in church or other social settings, that there is no hiding and no denying it. (But even so, I still hide and I still deny!) But there are many times when I'm struggling...or scared, because I see myself losing ground and it affects my faith-life, it affects my emotions and how I live and participate within the living Church organism, and I just CAN'T be honest about it. I still answer, "I'm fine" when people ask. I still try to laugh and smile on cue.... Maybe some of the people are perceptive enough to see my falsity and maybe even to call me on it....but many more are just oblivious...they let it slide. Or else, they don't even WANT to know the answers to their questions, so they don't look at my answer or lack of one.
But, here's a tough one. One time, during an extremely bad struggle with myself, I went forward at the Pastor's invitation at the end of the service to get someone to pray for me. Just doing that took a great battle in my heart...and when I got there, a member of the prayer team saw my face and came up to me and said, "Are you all right?" I looked her straight in the eye (eye contact is something incredibly hard for me on days like that) and I said firmly and clearly, "NO, I-am-NOT-okay." She paused, dropped her hands from my shoulders, went on, and prayed with someone else. No one else approached me. I stood there for an agonizing number of minutes...and then left.
If that were a one-time incident, I would maybe chalk it up to...just that one woman's failure on that one day. But it has happened (not as dramatically usually) many, many times over again. So what can I conclude from this?
- The Church really doesn't give a flying hoo-haa about what I'm really thinking or feeling
- If they do, they are too busy to try and find out
- They are scared that, if they find out they won't know what to do with that information
- All of the above
- number two and three
I think that the answer is really number 5. People are scared that if they take the time to really find out how this struggling person is feeling, it will commit them to a greater expenditure of time and energy than they care to or can make. They are scared that they will in some way be morally or legally responsible for my safety after I fill them in on the truth. They are frightened that they really will have NO CLUE what to do if they were to find out how I am, in truth, doing
You know what Church? There are three things you need to know...
- You, as a child of God, with the Love God gives you; need to LOVE THIS PERSON
- You, as their brother or sister in Christ, WILL PRAY FOR THIS PERSON
- and you, as a citizen of the USA (at least) should know that if the person confides to you that they have any plans of hurting theirself or someone else, then you MUST ALERT THE AUTHORITIES. call the police, or call 911, or call a mental health suicide hotline...but at this point, you do not have any decision to make. Do not tell yourself that you will "stick close" to them and help them through. If they have PLANS to hurt themselves, they need to be in the hospital and in the hands of professionally trained people.
Note that this does not mean, if someone says: "I'm depressed and I think about suicide"....That is part of depression. Question them further here. Do they have any intentions of carrying them out? Is suicide a large part of their thoughts? If you are uncertain about your conclusion, call that mental health crisis number...and speak to a professional about your conversation. Or better yet, offer to take the person to a hospital or clinic to be assessed. Go with them.
This has really strayed into a whole other blog post than the one I began with.
But let me address answer number 3 in the 5 listed above.
I'd like to give you some ideas about things you can do if you really are of a mind to help a person with mental illness or who is depressed:
- Grant them the gift of yourself. This can involve as little or as much time as you determine to commit. But be HONEST about what you can and can't do. For every encounter you choose to have with them, tell them in the beginning what your time limitations are and stick to them. If you let yourself be drawn into their neediness too deeply, then you will end up being angry (really with yourself) and resenting them.
- Pray for and with them. Do not put any pressure on them to pray aloud, but be open to it if it happens. Ask them what their needs and prayer requests are. And let the Spirit guide you as you pray (Important: avoid the temptation here to voice your own opinions cloaked in the guise of prayer. This is not a sermon time! You are talking to GOD and not to the individual!! Give God the freedom to act in their lives as He wants and plans to do; don't tell Him how YOU want Him to answer.)
- Rather than trying to play the role that their therapist should really be playing, just offer to spend some time with them...
- Take them to your house (do you have a pool? for the summer);
- Bake cookies; make soup...
- Do a craft if that's your hobby...scrapbooking or stamping for example
- Take them to a store or a produce center or to a mall;
- Let them come with you on some errands;
- Invite them to your house for coffee or tea....you don't have to organize anything elaborate. In fact, the more simple and the less demands it places on them the better.
- They may just enjoy your company in your house while you do your chores and they watch a movie on DVD or cable.
- One of the nicest things you can do, is to encourage the person to take a walk with you...perhaps meet for daily walks and pray together as you walk, after you talk a while. I've had friends who did this with me and it formed deep friendships and we saw God do great things consequently. Not to mention that it got me out of bed and into God's creation...
There are endless possiblities, but hopefully these have given you some ideas. Try to keep an open mind about what to expect and let the Lord lead ....you never know but you may form a lasting friendship that will be as important to you as it is to the other person.
I will have to continue this topic of Santa Theology in another post. Somehow, I've hidden myself again....this time in my advice to you, rather than talking about the ways in which I hide from or mislead people...I promise to try to be more honest with you in that post. Actually, though, this post was a way of revealing my heart. It hurts Church, when you ignore us and our needs. It hurts when you pretend not to see or not to hear us. It hurts that you preach your ideas and don't listen to our needs. It hurts to be alone when you are hurting.
Invite us in.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
This is a bit of a twist in their logic. For we understand from Scripture that suffering has its root in mankind's departure from the path and plan which God had initially devised for man. It is due to the fact that we have departed from the security and goodness of God's plans for us that our pain exists. It is due to the fact that we have fractured that oneness and intimacy of relationship with a loving God that we have wandered into the dark regions of pain. And from this point, our enemy has taken the ball and run with it.
Now it is true, theoretically, that God could have and can still, put out His all powerful hand and say, "STOP!" to all of our agony; that He could interject in the paths of Nature and man's will and twist the outcome of things, wresting His will, despite all logical outcome, and magically erase all suffering and injustice.
But you see, God doesn't work like that.
He designs rules....and then He lives by them. He doesn't force His way on us...or IN us. He abides by the laws of cause and effect. And He has in fact, designed a way to defeat and overcome all of our pain, ONCE AND FOR ALL (not merely a sporadic or one time solution) which obeys all the laws of logic and cause and effect. He has created a FINAL SOLUTION--not a final solution of death, (like that of Hitler, that architect of pain) but the ultimate victory of LIFE--over the problem of pain.
And you see, if God randomly jumped in and wrested His will for a happy existence in the lives of man, it would really have messed up this Final Solution of His. Because, ironically, not only does pain make us furious with God and want to spit in His face; it also drives some of us to run straight for His arms.
There is a quote which I believe I've used before which is about this very fact. It is this:
"It’s been said that pain is the second best thing because it leads us to the Best Thing (God). For, it is only when we come to the end of ourselves that we come to the beginning of God. And it is only when we come to the beginning of God that we come to the beginning of life."
I’m Thankful For Pain
Posted November 26th, 2009 by Tullian Tchividjian
Thursday, December 17, 2009
- Please be patient with all posts prior to today. I was not familiar with the proper way to format my posts so that they would be most readable in the readers' display. This includes the type face color etc. I have tried to modify those so that they would be legible in the reader but I cannot go back to every post and do them again...I promise, from this point on, that they will be done properly.
- Some of you may have initially gotten only the title of the posts displayed in your feedreaders and not gotten all of the article's content. I have corrected that issue I believe--so hang in there. If it is not corrected in the next day or two, please drop me a comment or an email and I will try to help.
To All my readers:
Thank you for your patience with all of the re-designing and with bearing with me as I learn more and more about this new (for me) area of public communication. I am constantly working on improving my effectiveness as a blogger and again, would welcome any of your input and suggestions!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
- I like the new look-Keep it
- I liked the old look better
- Try again!
Please also feel free to leave specifics about what you like, don't like or want to see changed.
Thanks in advance for your participation and also for your visit today!
Monday, December 14, 2009
The following quote is from a blog post which I read this morning on this very topic.
"Society still places a stigma on mental illness, but Christians make it worse, he said, by “over-spiritualizing” depression and other disorders — dismissing them as a lack of faith or a sign of weakness. " quote from USA Today
"Isn’t that the truth!
Christians are horrible at addressing mental illness, because we equate the mind with the soul, and presume that if someone has a mental illness that it is at the root a spiritual problem. Now I will be the first to grant that mental illness always has a spiritual component, but arguing that clinical depression or other mental illnesses are simply spiritual is irresponsible..."
The author of this blog quote is Pastor Todd Peperkorn, a Lutheran minister who suffers from clinical depression and he can be found at:http://darkmyroad.org/2009/10/29/another-pastors-suicide-sparks-conversation
The suggestions come in various forms; "Have you prayed about this?" "Maybe you need to completely surrender this to Jesus..." or in their prayers saying, "Give him/her the faith to accept the healing that You have for her..." "God doesn't desire ANYONE to be sick...it's not in His plan for us" "Lord, we ask you to reveal the hurts that lie at the root of this illness and heal them." Yes, these things have a core of
truth to them, but why does no one ever EVER pray, "Dear Lord will you fix this diseased brain...balance out it's production of seratonin and dopamine; somehow heal the genetic problems and fix the damage that they've caused to the brain. Lord, change the things in their environment which are not conducive to mental health..."
If you look at a schizophrenic brain in a CT scan; you can observe the physical differences in the brain which have been caused by the disease. And medication is the only thing that will make that person able to function (short of a miraculous
healing.) Unfortunately, the medications aren't perfect and come with their own sets of problems. But they are really the only option for a person suffering with this, as well as with other mental illnesses.
It is adding a great burden to the already bowed shoulders of the mentally ill to imply such things or suggest or pray in an unbalanced manner for these illnesses. For someone who has problems with OCD or even depression and tends to question themselves endlessly or to put blame on themselves where none exists; to deepen their insecurity or to cause them to further question themselves, is not just irresponsible as the above quote stated, but it is even hurtful.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I just completed a study on 2 Cor. 4:16-17 about which I could speak.
Maybe I should just let the Word speak for itself:
16 This is why we do not lose courage. Though our outer self is heading for
decay, our inner self is being renwed daily. 17 For our light and transient
troubles are achieving for us an everlasting glory whose weight is beyond
Complete Jewish Bible
The Geneva Bible puts the end of verse sixteen in a pleasing way:"Though we are being broken in pieces with miseries and calamities; yet we do not yield."
I like that. Endurance is a choice. Clinging to Jesus is a choice.
I also like this: When you look at the Greek, one word is used for "light" meaning of little amount; and the word for "troubles" means "a weight or a pressure; an oppression"....and the word for weight (of everlasting glory) signifies a HEAVY weight. In other words what we suffer now cannot ever tip the scales compared to the things God will heap on us in Heaven... We do not perceive this now because we have fleshly eyes; we are not focused on eternity. All we can see is our present situation and to be promised something glorious later, sometimes does little to appease our cries of "but it hurts NOW!!"
Yet God's Word tells us to fix our eyes on eternity; to have our focus there; to set our sights there. When we do, we will live with joy and anticipation, regardless of the curves life throws at us. ... And our threshold for pain will be greatly raised. Allow your mind to wander there...frequently...and read books on Heaven like those by Joni Earekson Tada and by Randi Alcorn. All of this will begin to transform us from the inside out and to renew our hearts and minds so that we will be able to face the next day or even to complete this one with a different mindset. One that rejoices in what is to come rather than is giving up because of what is!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
It also really stinks when you are inpatient so frequently that no one, not even your family, bothers to visit anymore.
In case you haven't guessed by now; yes, I'm back in the hospital. My asthma was so bad that the doctor took one listen to my chest yesterday and said, "Go directly to the hospital." So here I am and I'm already climbing the walls. I do NOT want to be here...at all....ever again.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Birthdays can also become about assessing from whence you have come and fixing your sights on where you are going in your life. For me, the real question is not about my "human" accomplishment but about the eternal value of my life. (Human accomplishments seem to have gone out the window a while ago). Of course that is something that is partially hidden in the mystery of God's knowledge and wisdom, but it does shed some illumination on how I am (or should be) spending my time right now. I cannot go to work; or even serve others very much in my church and community. Every time I have tried to take on a position of service in the past couple of years, I've had to bail, due to poor health and hospitalizations.
Yet there ARE some things of eternal worth that I can (and SHOULD be doing). One is, I believe, trying to encourage the readers of my blogs, becoming aware of their struggles as they share them with me, and lifting them up to the Father frequently. Another is to spend time in prayer. This is an area where, at times in my life, it has been a primary focus; and at others, one with which I have struggled. Right now, I confess it is one where I am struggling. I DO pray for people as God brings them to mind; I DO converse with God throughout my day; but I have not had the "success" at intense periods of intercession that I had enjoyed in times past. That had been a source of feelings of failure and some guilt, but I recently read something that caused me to take a different view of this.
I don't even recall where I read this; I know it was in one of the books on prayer that I own, possibly "A Praying Life" by Paul Young, I believe--but the author said that God calls us to periods of intense prayer, and at other times does not. At some times, we are just to grow in our enjoyment of Him and to walk with Him in simple conversation. It may be that this is where I am right now.... I do think though that I should spend more focused times of prayer than I have been, but am not even sure that I have the ability to concentrate that this demands. Maybe I should try typing out my prayers...and then just deleting them, as I've heard one person suggest. Writing has always helped me to focus my thoughts and get them on target...Maybe writing my prayers would help as well?
Anyway, I need to always look at my actions, and assess them with eternal eyes; God's perspective. The time I spend investing in my family--bears eternal weight. The time I invest in the lives of others, encouraging and helping where I can, does also. The time I spend studying God's Word; this too has eternal value...as does my memorization of Scripture.
So you see; even though I cannot go out and earn a living very easily; even though I do not have much contact with people--there ARE things I can do which will affect my relationship with God and thus have eternal value. Actually, I may be blessed by my illnesses because they have set me aside from the distraction and busyness of earning, and instead have allowed me this time to focus on my Father.
What do you see when you look at YOUR life with "eternal eyes"? This is an important question. Take a look and evaluate your lives...even if it's NOT your birthday! It may give you a perspective different from the world's assessment of your life as it has mine.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
...Because, I can't breathe. And four days is a long time to wait when you can't breathe and when every movement spawns a lengthy fit of coughing.
It breaks my heart to do this to my family again.--especially so close to the holidays. And, honestly, I am struggling with some depression and self-pity as a result. And I hate that even worse. And the thought of the mental instabilitiy that the IV steroids kicks up scares me even more. If I'm depressed NOW...what will happen THEN?
Like many times in my life; I'm stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place. And I know what I need to do; I'm just really not looking forward to doing it. I need to really arm myself with some serious prayer to my Father--who knows exactly what I need and exactly how He's going to provide it.
Easy to say; Hard to trust.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I don't think that fear ever entirely goes away. Once a child or spouse has injured themselves; I think that even if years pass without another incident, the uneasiness never entirely leaves.
I never really thought about this before, in the sense that my family must feel this way about ME. I have felt it about others, but have not realized how those who love me must feel when I am gripped by strong negative emotions. Do they caount the knives? Do they hide the razor blades and pills? I have noted that when I am experiencing difficulty; that they limit my access to potentially dangerous medications....but I have not understood the sense of fear that must lie behind that.
In the same way, those who have lived with violence, never lose that cringing or that start of fear that occurs with any loud sound: that impulse to go somewhere and hide from the danger. For those of you with mentally ill family, both of these fears may co-exist; both may be relevant. What are we to do with these feelings?
I was just reading John 14 moments ago. A verse that many of us knows in this chapter is verse 27. In the Complete Jewish Bible version it goes like this: "What I am leaving you is peace. --I am giving you my peace. I don't give the way the world gives. Don't let yourselves be upset or frightened. "
And from verses 11 and 14: "Trust me...If you ask me for something in My name; I will do it."
We need to ask the Lord for His peace in this regard. We cannot keep our loved ones safe: it's impossible. But we can ask Y'shua to do it for us! We can also ask that He quell that rising of anxiety or that panic that we feel. We can refuse to allow ourselves to be upset or frightened as these verses have said.
Choose to trust.
Choose to transfer the burden from your shoulders onto the willing shoulders of God. He has promised to pull the weight of those concerns alongside us. And the weight he gives us in exchange is an easy burden. We need only to pray; to ask; to trust.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
What does all of this mean; how does it relate to reality, both our personal ones and that objective, scientific one? I just had a discussion online with a friend, who is a scientist in the fields of astronomy and physics, which caused me to pursue a line of thought that I wish to explore with you here. I know that my beginnings here are a bit abstract but I will try to tie it all together.
The discussion began with my friend talking about the fact that information cannot be created or destroyed; only revealed. We were talking about the dilemma of the tree in the forsest and whether, if when it falls, there is no one there to observe the falling, did it ever really fall? As my friend explained these concepts to me which are from the field of quantum mechanics, my mind leapt from thought to thought. And this is what I came up with: All Reality is an accomplished fact outside of Time. Time is merely the process of revelation of this reality...to mankind. So in fact; everything that "will" happen, has always been and always will be...we just don't know all of it yet.
So therefore, when Christ died and uttered, "it is finished" he was speaking a real truth. Salvation was revealed and had been accomplished. Our destiny's are sealed and complete. Our wounds are healed; God's promises are fulfilled; God is the completion and holder of all truth and information--the Alef and the Tov, the Alpha and the Omega...the beginning and the end. He is all of the following: Creator, Initiater, Completer and Revealer. He sustains all things by the power of His word....and Christ HImself is that Word.
And, if you can imagine this, our "future in heaven" is a present reality; we have already attained in fact, all of that which God has promised us.... God has already accomplished in us the healing, unification, and restoration of our souls, minds, and bodies which he has promised to us. The final battle against the forces of evil has already been fought and won...we are merely growing into the understanding of that truth throughout the unfolding of Time. Again back to the first chapter of Colossians it says, "He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son"
I don't know how all of this affects you or how you are responding (if at all) to these thoughts, but to me, it brings an amazing sense of security and completeness. There is no doubt as to whether or not God will complete the work that he's begun in me (as he promised in Philippians 3). There is no question that all the questions and wounds of my past will be and already are answered and healed in some other pocket of reality and time. There is no chance that the enemy will have somehow won the battle or destroyed me as he wants to. It is all done. I am complete. God has healed and restored and renewed...
This means, too, that those of you who are praying for loved ones who are right now lost and wandering --maybe in rebellion or in the darkness and confusion of mental illness-- do not have to be anxious or worry about their future. God's promises are "YES and AMEN in Christ Jesus"...God has already taken care of that need, in a real and literal way...Pray for the eyes of faith to be able to trust in and grasp that reality and truth.
Isn't this exciting???
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Pain...it's effects, it's mental and physical anguish, and the way it tosses us up onto the lap of God and makes us cling to Him for dear life...is becoming a recurring theme with me these days. Yesterday I narrowly escaped being hospitalized for a bad case of the flu and respiratory complications which have set in. My doctor increased my dosage of steroids, continued the Tamiflu and the antibiotics I'm on and wants to see me back in ten days. I know if I'm not markedly better by then, it's back to 3-North in "my" hospital. And then there is the pain of watching my daughter suffer from the flu also, and the "regular" pain I suffer on a daily basis with a mixture of other physical problems...
But this post is not about my woes. It's about learning to trust God in the storms. The following is a re-post from another blog of mine which I wrote earlier today:
I had a dream the night before last. It was one of those SAGA-like dreams, full of detail and vivid images, that stay with you all the next day. I won’t bore you with all of the subplots and details…but I do want to tell you about one of the main scenes in it.
I was at a school, which was my daughter’s High School…and I was evidently teaching there as well. It was after school and the kids had left for the day, and as we were preparing to go home, I looked out the window and saw a HUGE tornado approaching. Then I was outside, flinging myself on the ground behind some kind of structure and holding on for dear life as the tornado approached and roared over me. When it passed, I looked, and there were at least five more off them on the horizon, all heading straight for us as well. I was praying aloud as storm after storm destroyed everything in their paths; people and buildings torn loose and tossed away all around me.
I was dismayed at the continual onslaught of tornadoes and heaven’s fury…but I wasn’t terrified. I had a great assurance that God would preserve me. I just continued to pray for myself, my family and those around me…and braced myself for the next storm. There were innumerable tornadoes, littering the horizon, and amazingly, I was in the path of each of them. As I gripped one thing after another, each building or structure was destroyed by the storms and I had to find a new mooring, I just prayed and prayed my way through the event. And God protected…just like I knew He would.
The next day, I thought about the dream…I wondered (duh) at it’s meaning…(that being a little obscured by the rest of the dream’s complexity and detail). I prayed about it for God to open my eyes to the understanding of it. He clearly said to me: “I’m with you in the storms.” I thought about the storm scene. I was not happy to see the appearance of each successive twister heading in my direction. But I was not terrified or even really afraid. I knew my God. I knew He is dependable. Also, the things which I gripped for support were all torn from my grasp, time after time…in the end, God was the only constant; my only real support. And finally, prayer was the thing that connected me to my Helper and got me through.
I also thought, with some concern, about what storms are in the offing for which God might be preparing me. I have that same sense of dismay, but the same assurance that my God is more than able to get me through it; and He is good for His promise to never leave me nor forsake me. And I know that God is calling me to greater discipline and vigilance in prayer…those areas having been a bit neglected because of illness and….what? Laziness? Probably. I need to remedy that NOW. I am glad for the dream…Even in the past two days, as the skies darkened and small squalls appeared and swept over, the sound of my Abba’s voice promising His presence comforted and assured me again and again.
And then, today, my father sent me a blog about the case of Hannah Overton. This is a story of "justice" taking a turn for the worse and society's hatred of "religious fanatics" being poured out on a woman who is now imprisoned in Texas and suffering greatly for her faith. Yes, in America. I will not quote the whole thing here but I would encourage you to click on the link and check it out:
And then, a moment after reading that, I read another blog, which tied up the whole thought process perfectly...Please also pursue this link. I would love to quote the whole post to you because every word is relevant, but I don't want to infringe on the author's rights. Please look into this one in particular:
I will give you just a taste of this blog to whet your appetite:
It's been said that pain is the second best thing because it leads us to the Best Thing (God). For, it is only when we come to the end of ourselves that we come to the beginning of God. And it is only when we come to the beginning of God that we come to the beginning of life.
Life is not easy. And it's not going to get any easier. But we have a God who is with us in the storms of life. Hang on for your life: you're in for the ride of your life. But oh, how great it is, to have that ride on Abba's shoulders!