I believe a little perspective here is needed. I have been angry and bitter for a while over my sicknesses. Every day has been a struggle for the past three years, to not let it overwhelm me. If it hasn’t been one thing, it has been another. However, lately I have been feeling humbled. I have been hearing about other people’s tragedies, the Chapman’s losing a daughter and sister, Leah losing her Mother, and so on. I am so sorry that I have not handled my infirmities with grace and faith. I am ashamed that I have not trusted God more, when He has been there for me time and again. I just can’t quit thinking, Who Am I? Like God asked Job in the Bible, who am I to question God? God has a reason for all this, if I would just trust Him and look to Him for the answers. I have held on to my comforts and my rights with such a tight fist, when I am so very much blessed. The list of my blessings would cover too much space in this blog to write about. The Chapman’s were quoted as saying, that the only way they get through is looking to God every moment, and just taking it moment by moment. I thought that I was in a living death. (Because I am not really living, I am locked inside a body who can not do the things I want it to do.) How selfish have I been? The Chapman’s daughter said that God’s mercies are new every morning. I have read that before in the Bible, but I guess I just let it in one ear and out the other. I am going to try my hardest to look to God for my comfort and my strength. I’m not expecting to be perfect, but I want to do my best. Even if it means minute by minute, giving up my dreams and hopes. I want His peace and His sweet relief.
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.–Ephesians 2:8-9
Garon had me read a chapter in the book Future Grace by John Piper. I learned something very neat from it. Let’s see if I can describe it to you without butchering it. Piper says that grace is something that we can not boast in ourselves. Faith means we can not boast in ourselves. This has shamed me. I do not understand grace and have no faith, because I am still boasting in myself. I am looking to myself for my healing, my help, and my hope. Does that make sense? It is not grace or faith, when I am boasting in myself. This means I am taking away God’s glory from Him. I have been listening to a lot of Christian music this week. These past few weeks I have struggled with my quiet time, so when I felt really down, I would listen to music. Listening to songs and the thoughts of song writers, I realized there is nothing I have faced that is uncommon to man. There is nothing I have been through, that God does not understand or see. Listening to their words, has driven me to want to read my Bible. Isn’t that great? God can use anything to draw us near to Him. Another thing I learned this week, was how to encourage my husband. I learned about how we as women focus more on our husband’s faults, than on their strengths. Now this may seem obvious, but it wasn’t to me. I have heard this before, but I thought I did not do that. Little did I know, but I am very guilty of this. No matter how much my husband does for me, if he messes up one little tiny time, I do not let it go. When I fail him, ten million times more than he has ever failed me. I’ve noticed that we tend to get tunnel vision. We get wrapped up in our little lives and do not notice others. Last, there is the subject of Daily Bread. When we pray the Lord’s prayer, we do not even really pay attention to these words. However, I was reminded through a situation, that I can not pray that prayer every once in a while and expect for everything to be perfect. I have to seek Him moment by moment, day by day, and He will provide. Why do I hate praying every day for the same things, when that is what He wants me to do? I am to ask for the things I need daily, even if I asked Him last week. Then I must expect He will provide. Why do I not trust Him to provide today, when He did yesterday? Why do I try to control the situation, and try to fulfill my own needs? Why do I worry that He won’t come through for me? The Bible says that He will supply our needs. So, I guess, this has been a good time of year. Even though I’ve been in bed for weeks, I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to read and learn and think about my Savior. Let’s hope this sticks, and I don’t forget all I have learned.
I love you, Lord;
you are my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
3 I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and he saved me from my enemies.
4 The ropes of death entangled me;
floods of destruction swept over me.
5 The grave[a] wrapped its ropes around me;
death laid a trap in my path.
6 But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry to him reached his ears.
Carol Kent says that in bad circumstances, we can either affirm our faith or choose to lie down and die (essentially give up). She says it is possible to have unshakeable faith in horrific circumstances. Using the story of Abraham and Isaac, she says that Abraham trusted God so much, that he was willing to surrender what he deeply loved without being able to envision a specific or positive outcome. Ergo my problem, I am terrified that my life is going to be irrevocably changed due to my illness, and I can not imagine a positive outcome. I am not willing to sacrifice control, public opinion, and my dreams. I want to serve God, but in my own way. I think what I have in store is so much better. HA! I think I can out plan the God of the UNIVERSE. I’m such an idiot. :) I can not imagine how I could serve God from a sick bed. I am more concerned about the fairness of it all. So now I have to figure out how to give up control. HMMM…. that’s a tough one.
First, I would like to be honest about something. I have not written or talked to anyone lately because I am ashamed. I ashamed because I am still in pain. I feel everyone expects a success story. I went to all this trouble of having my organs removed to be pain free and I am not. The doctor was unable to get some of the disease and I am still in pain every day. I want to quit taking the pain killers. I am embarrassed that I am still having to ask for them. But nothing essentially has changed, I am in pain every day. The thing that was always causing me pain was unable to be treated. It is now being treated by taking away my hormones. Having menopause is supposed to take away the pain supposedly in two weeks. If it does not, the doctor says I will have more tests run on my back, because she thinks it may be something else. I am avoiding everyone because I fear people thinking I am a loser and a hopeless cause. I don’t want them to think I am needy. That said, I have been experiencing major depression. I am terrified that my past year’s existence will be my life forever, and I was ready to quit. Not quit believing in God, but quit school, quit the ministry, and just live a regular life. Why? How can I help others, when I can’t even help myself? How can I counsel others about pain, when I can’t handle it myself? How can I tell them about God, when I don’t trust Him? I did not think I could live in anymore physical pain on pain medicine. The doctors rarely believe me. They make me feel like an addict, which I am not. Don’t worry I have asked myself many times. I will go without pain medicine on some days, just to make sure it is not in my head and that it is real. I feel like I am begging for drugs. Then there is the liver problems it can cause. I also hate the way they make me feel. I did not believe that God would take care of this and make it bearable. I need to work and I am physically unable. It is embarrasing because I look normal on the outside, but every day I hurt really bad. I was at the end of my rope. I thought I could not take anymore and it would never get better. I was so humiliated. So….. after my husband’s pleading with me…… I told him fine. My trying to control this whole situation has netted nothing. I promised him that I would give his way a try. I have nothing left to lose right? I am spiritually bankrupt, not far from being physically bankrupt (hee hee), in horrible health, and have nothing going for me right now. So …. I went to the library and got a Christian book. Guess what book I got? Only the perfect book for this situation… More later… You have to hear this fabulous quote first.
“WE CAN HUG OUR HURTS AND MAKE A SHRINE OUT OF OUR SORROWS OR WE CAN OFFER THEM TO GOD AS A SACRIFICE OF PRAISE. THE CHOICE IS OURS.” - Richard Exley
For so long I have been trying to control this situation. Worried about money, about school, what the doctors think of me, what everyone thinks of me and my stupid problems, etc…. No more. I can’t live like this. I am tired of trying to heal myself and to show the world that I can handle this. I quit. I surrender. It is time to do this God’s way. I refuse to make a shrine out of my sorrows anymore.
Now, back to the book. I am not saying in anyway that my problems even compare to this lady’s. She has been through something more horrific than I could imagine, but she is definitely putting a lot of things in perspective for me. The book is called When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent, and she is showing me how to have unshakeable faith in my circumstances. More on this later…
This is a portion of an article I found at :http://ccef.org/pdfs/counseling%20with%20suffering%20people.pdf
It is about how to counsel those who suffer, and why it is important.
“We must talk so as to make suffering seem
normal and purposeful, and not surprising in
this fallen age. The forces of American culture
are almost all designed to build the opposite
worldview into our minds. Maximize comfort,
ease, and security. Avoid all choices that might
bring discomfort, trouble, difficulty, pain, or
suffering. Add this cultural force to our natural
desire for immediate gratification and fleeting
pleasures, and the combined power to undermine
the superior satisfaction of the soul in the
glory of God through suffering is huge.
If we would see God honored in each
other’s lives as the supreme value, highest
treasure, and deepest satisfaction of our lives,
then we must each strive with all our might to
live and to show the meaning of suffering, and
help others see the wisdom and power andgoodness of God behind it ordaining; above it
governing; beneath it sustaining; and before it
preparing. This is the hardest work in the
world: to change the minds and hearts of fallen
human beings, and make God so precious to
each other that we count it all joy when trials
come, and exult in our afflictions, and rejoice in
the plundering of our property, and say in the
end, “To die is gain.”….
Counseling is about doing
the impossible: making the rich young ruler fall
out of love with his comfortable lifestyle and
into love with the King of kings so that he
“joyfully” sells all that he has to gain that
treasure (Matt. 13:44). Jesus said very simply,
“With man this is impossible” (Matt. 19:26).
The aim of our ministry to each other is
impossible. No techniques will make it succeed.
“But with God all things are possible.””
Psalm 9:10 NIV
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
He has never forsaken me. He has continually brought me from the pit and set my feet on solid ground, and yet still I do not trust Him. In Exodus, He punished His people, who did not trust in Him. I fear Him, more than I love Him. The Bible says we are to fear God, but I think it is to be a different kind of fear. My fear thinks God just wants to hurt me, because it is good for me. My husband’s fear of God, is a healthy one. He fears Him, because of awe and respect. Garon knows that God only wants good for His children, and does not want to hurt them. How do I get past this? I know this is the reason I am having all these troubles. Because in spite of everything He has done for me, I still struggle with trust, faith, and hope. I have no hope, even when God has been nothing but good for me. I am beginning to believe that pessimism is a sin, because it does no good, only harm. Faith is trusting in things not seen, correct? Hope is believing something good will happen, right? Maybe, I have the definitions all wrong. Perhaps, I do not understand the concepts. How do you trust a God you can not see, with your life? With your everything? It is sad, I know I can not control a thing, and yet I continue to try. I know God is real. I have seen Him working in my life. He has prevented me from coming to harm when I was in high school, when I ran straight for trouble. He lifted me back up when I hit bottom, and gave me a firm place to stand. He prevented me from going into the military, because He knew that it would harden me. (The military is great, but it was not God’s plan for me.) Every time I tried to be out of His will, He drew me back. He has gotten me out of numerous bad situations. He gave me Garon, after I disobeyed Him. He continually gives me more good things, and has provided us with so much. I still do not know how we are making it, and yet we want for NOTHING. I am so spoiled. Perhaps, that is the problem. I must confess, I have been refusing to read my Bible lately. I have not been doing a devotion for a while now. I long to go back to Him, but why would He keep taking me back? I continually ignore Him and try to go my own way. I am so scared of His way, it has always been SO HARD. I just feel I can not take any more. How do I trust Him? How do I believe in Him more? How can I believe that He wants the best for me? How can I give up control? I feel I would fall apart. I know what I am to believe, but it does not make it any easier.
Psalm 8:2 (NIV)
2 From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
Praising God silences those voices in our head that speak lies. The Father of Lies (satan) does not want us to praise, because it hurts him. Me sitting around fussing about my circumstances pleases the liar. Talking about things the way God would have me, and praising Him hurts that liar. So the best way to silence our foe is to praise God.
Between the excitement of moving, new appliances, and the hope of being pain free, I about lost it. I had a teensy weensy breakdown, okay, so it was a full on panic attack. What brought this on? Oh I don’t know, maybe the fact that I am completely overwhelmed with all of the big changes in my life. Or perhaps, it is the fact that I am terrified of surgery. I think I am going to die on that table. Or it could be I am devastated I will never be pregnant, and have a child like that. Or it could be the fact that I am avoiding everything and everyone. I am only seeking my comfort, and am running from anything to do with God. I could not breathe. I could not stop crying, and I was completely irrational. I feel like my world is completely spinning out of control. Debt, infertility, pain, surgery, failing at school, no job, and the list goes on and on. Garon, my beautiful husband, believes it is a spiritual problem and has nothing to do with my circumstances. He wants me to talk to someone again. I am not seeing a counselor anymore, but I feel I need to talk to a female. I have felt constant fear and loss of control for over a week now, maybe longer. To be continued…
6 Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:6-7keep looking »