I was cleaning house the other day and as I dusted a picture of me and three other women I was struck but the specialness of our relationships. Standing tall and smiling, we are linked arm to arm. But there is more that links us, God has been weaving us, in and out of seasons, sharing history and experiences together in this life. I close my eyes for a moment and my eyelids become a movie projector flashing memories and images of days gone by.
The fog begins to lift but I so want to remain within its midst, devoid of all thought, to continue my slumber. I glance at the large red numbers on the clock: 4:30 am. I have time. I dig into the soft mattress and pull the covers up around my neck. Sleep, you are getting sleepy. My thoughts begin to drop like pellets of rain. Slow at first. I let them fall where they may, considering each and determining whether they will be a part of the upcoming day, almost enjoying where they are taking me. Soon the rain turns into hail, ricocheting off the walls of my mind causing a flood of feelings from logistics of the day to “what-ifs” and worry. Pellets of thoughts are hitting and hurting me as I try to catch them and collect them into baskets. Slipping from my grasp they taunt and spite me. The sound of the hail is deafening. I am overwhelmed for they are too many and I have lost control of the storm that has rolled in even before I have stepped out of bed.
STOP! I must seek shelter from the hailstorm in my mind! I want the fog that lulls my mind in slumber to roll back in so I can just be.
Ah, to just be. What would that take? I whisper to God, “Come into my soul, come into my heart and come into my mind and melt away the hail storm that threatens my sanity”. And in answer to my prayer I am carried gently by a warm breeze. It is the Holy Spirit blowing through the field that is my mind pushing the hail into small melting pools of Holy Water thoughts. The storm has receded. While the pools of thought remain, they are no longer a threat to my spirit and I am once again at rest.
I smile and sigh. Why did I not call on God sooner?
The holidays often bring with it frenetic cooking, shopping and preparing which can feel like a hailstorm in what should be a joyful time of year. As we prepare for the birth of Christ, my prayer for you is that you take some time each day to invite God to melt away the hail and leave only the Holy water.
Prayer: God, turn my hailstorm into pools of Holy Water.
I have often said that I would rather have a baby than go to the dentist. But at 63, I may have to rethink that statement as I am exhausted after a full day with my two adorable grand kids let alone childbirth.
I have a deep seated, illogical fear of the dentist, tensing up and expecting the worse. So you can imagine the state I was in when I learned that I needed not only a crown but a root canal. My bowels were in an uproar, my mind muddled with a myriad of possible dental tortures and I wanted to retreat into an imaginary land where magic would make all this disappear.
But I wasn’t in an imaginary land and the ache in my mouth was real. It wouldn’t go away.
So there I was with the endodontist’s hand expertly rummaging in my mouth giving me injections to numb the area enough so that he could excavate the dying root. Outwardly, other than my hands clutching the arms of the chair, I appeared calm; but inwardly—
Whenever I find myself in a situation which causes me to panic and run for the hills, I rely on a few bible verses which I repeat over and over. I find that they help center me and focus on God rather than the expected and impending doom.
Psalm 91:4 “The Lord will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
Habakkuk 3:19 “The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army.”
It took quite a few injections until I no longer felt anything but pressure. After about an hour, I realized I could relax. As I did so, I stopped saying my verses and thought “I’m good, God. I don’t need you now”. And as soon as I thought this, I felt an ache deep down in the gallows of my jaw causing me to jump! It was momentary but the dentist notice and paused, asking me if I was in pain. I signaled that I was ok. But I was not. The physical pain was gone but the emotional pain was not.
I knew that it wasn’t the dentist who had dug down deep, but God. In that split second I knew that God was showing me that in all times, in all ways, I needed Him. Not just in the scary times, but in every time. In that single thought I was being Goliath – puffed up with self-importance, thinking I needed only to depend on myself. In contrast, David relied on God knowing he was weak but that God would use his weakness to arm him with the confidence and assurance that only God can bring. For in his knowledge of his weakness, he knew that God would be strong – stronger than any Goliath of the land.
Sitting in the dentist chair, I was reminded that we are not smart enough, strong enough, fearless enough for this world, but God is. Our battles are the Lords and each battle can drive us to Christ. With Christ as our champion, He is always with us, facing the giants of our life – Even when it’s the dentist.
When did you depend only on yourself rather than on God? What made you realize that without Him you could not survive and thrive through it? Please share so that others might gain from your experience.
Two key chains reside in an outside pocket of my purse with their charms hanging just outside for easy access. One holds my car keys and has a silver paw on it – showing my passion for dogs. The other holds my house keys and they hang from a filigreed cross – showing my Christian faith. As I swigged my last gulp of coffee before heading out to run errands, I noticed how they hang side by side and I began thinking about my relationship with dogs and God.
Now I know you animal lovers will say that dog spelled backwards is God. But should my passion for dogs be on the same plane as God?
Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love dogs and have spent a lifetime adopting dogs that no one wanted – those with an injured body or and injured spirit. But is my love and passion for Christ as evident? Do I spend more time loving and nurturing my relationship with my pets than with God? Where do I spend my money? Where are my priorities?
Can everyone that knows me see how much I love God?
Oh, I go to church on Sundays, I’ve been involved in multiple ministries, we tithe and Thad and I pray as much as we can. But if life starts handing out lemons where does my heart, mind and soul go? Do I seek solace in my passion for pets or for God?
I’ve been cogitating on these two key chains for a few weeks now. They are a nagging reminder of where I want to be in my faith. It’s made me realize that while I love dogs; I want to be passionately in love with God. And I want it to be reflected not just on my key chain but in my heart, my face, my words and my actions.
It is in my heart and soul where I want God to be – the dogs are just another reminder of God’s unconditional love.
I am not one to get involved in politics or even engage in political discourse. But as I watched the recent events in the news I am compelled to share my thoughts of despair and sadness.
The destruction of Hurricane Harvey has and is still wreaking havoc on Texas. The images of the destruction and flooding of homes and the displacement of its residence hits too close to home for us who live in Florida. We’ve been there as has New Orleans with Katrina and are about to face one of the most powerful hurricanes in history – Hurricane Irma. I sit with tears in my eyes as I see the wake of Harvey’s path. I also shed tears of pride as I see the plethora of law enforcement, first responders and volunteers pour into Texas helping to evacuate and care for the residence of Texas. We are seeing America at its best.
However, the images on the news switch to that of ANTIFA (or whoever is at the helm) at UC Berkley attacking peaceful demonstrators. They hide behind black clothing and masks, too ashamed of showing who they really are; hurting innocent people who are exercising their rights to demonstrate. The tears flow, once again, at man’s inhumanity to man and I wonder –
What is happening to America the Beautiful? Abe Lincoln once said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Are we destroying ourselves? Are we imploding? Have we become so “me-minded” that we cannot accept anyone who shares a difference of opinion, color, and religion or candidate choice?
The sadness is so intense I begin to sob as I watch people beating up on others and law enforcement attempting to separate and protect the masses.
I wonder what God must be feeling as He watches both the good in us and the worst in us? Sadness? Anger? And will He intercede on our behalf or watch as we destroy this most beautiful country we call the United States of America. Where is the unity? Where are we united?
While the effects of Hurricane Harvey are difficult to watch, there are made by nature. Human beings nor God are to blame for Harvey’s path of destruction. We have risen up to help those in need and shine as we help those less fortunate forge a new life. Must we can attack physically and verbally those that do not share our points of view?
The hatred and misplaced anger seen throughout this country lies at our feet and ultimately at the Lords. Will we grow and learn from our pain? Will we turn to God for strength to live in harmony despite our differences or will we face the ultimate consequence when we face our Maker?
I recall a quote from an unknown author who wrote – “There is so much good in the worst of us. And so much bad in the best of us that it little behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us.”
And so I’ll stop talking about the worst and the best and choose instead to pray. Will you join me?
As Hurricane Irma rips forges ahead towards Florida we prepare for the worst. And we pray. We pray for Texans. We pray for the Caribbean Islands, northern Leeward Islands, the US and British Virgin Islands, Cuba and the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.
Pray with might.
Pray like a warrior.
Pray without ceasing.
May God hear the prayers over the violence both natural and man-made.
Have you ever wondered where God is in your life? Or what he’s doing in your life? Is He even aware of the hopelessness you may be feeling?
We’ve all been there – whether it’s trying to find a job to support your family, or a cancer diagnosis that defies one treatment after another. Maybe it’s an addiction you’ve been battling and you have begged – down on your knees kind of beg for Him to help!
Where is He? Does He see your pain? What is He waiting for?
Waiting is not my strong suit, folks. Abraham and Sarah waited decades to have a child. In their 90’s and beyond God came to them and said they would give birth to the descendant of the Messiah! Old Abraham and barren Sarah – in the twilight of their years, barely able to comfort each other let alone have sex and nurse children! So humorous that Sarah laughed at God’s proclamation. Not a joyful laugh but a cynical, disbelieving kind of laugh.
Have you been there? Are you there now? I have a few times. I have waited 30 years all the while begging God to help me overcome my eating addiction. I have lost friendships over it, suffered heart blockages and cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes; all of which can be linked back to food and lifestyle. I prayed, pleaded, cried, and even made deals with God to heal my daughter’s anorexia. It would be ten years before God would answer that prayer. For ten years I have been honing my writing in hopes of publishing my book of medical devotionals. If I thought writing was hard, publishing seems as improbable as me climbing Mount Everest!
As I thought about the story of Abraham and Sarah I wondered –
- Why did God choose to give a descendent of the Messiah to a barren woman with an old husband?
- Why did he choose a young, unmarried virgin with no husband to give birth to the Messiah?
- Why does he allow us to make a mess of our lives or allow problems into our lives and then instead of fixing it, works through those problems and takes his sweet time throughout it?
Because God can bring life where there is no life.
I believe I was not ready to lose the weight because there was a spiritual journey in my soul that needed to take place. Each and every health event helped shape me, educate me in the field of medicine, and create a mission of mercy and compassion for those battling medical adversity that I would never have developed had it not been for the gift of time. I believe He is doing a work within me as I use this knowledge to write my blog, and share my stories so that my words may soothe a soul, encourage the fearful, and bring a smile to the downcast. There is grace in the wait.
God works through our weakness and brokenness to transform us. Not physically but spiritually. He uses our pain so that we may see His grace and love for us. God brings grace into the impossible and because of it we are transformed. While we cannot believe God can make a difference through the struggles and pain we are reminded of this through the promise of His son. It is His promise of salvation that brings eternal life out of no life and the relationship with Jesus that gives us the joy through the pain.
God reaches out to us just like He did with Sarah. It is when we are in pain that we are ripe for God to come to us in his gentle grace. Wait for it and let it transform you. It is this promise and power of God that He will make all things new again that turns our cynical laughter into a joyful one.