Pray and Offer Grace

Many years ago I worked as a teller in a local credit union. A man would come in weekly, demanding his money, not a smile, no eye contact, nothing. He was rough around the edges no doubt and when I first started I was warned that he is always like that. It took some time before I realized his pain. He often carried a crutch and sometimes wobbled as he walked towards the bullet proof glass. I could not see where his pain was coming from but it was obviously physical and I when I looked into his eyes I could see it was emotional, spiritual, deeper than the eye could see. He was hurting. He was a hurting man and I could only love him in the moment. I could smile, offer grace and pray for his body and soul.

One in every five people, approximately 50 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease. And many more suffer from pain due to injuries, cancer and so many other reasons. My heart aches for those whose body silently ravages from within and from without, no one knows. No one knows why they speak harsh, lash at the cashier and quickly go on their way. No one knows why that person parks in the disability parking.  They look just fine when really that person experiences pain when they have trudged through the grocery store for longer than ten minutes. No one knows what is going on in that grouchy, rude person’s home. No one knows the secrets in their hearts and the pain they face.

We can’t see very deep, the wounds around people’s spirit’s, their souls, their bodies. We can’t understand what every one is going through but we can offer grace, love, prayer. We can offer a smile and a door wide open. We can offer a touch or a hug. We can offer words of affirmation. We just don’t know how deep or healing our behavior will be. Pray for the grouchy person, the rude or unresponsive cashier, yes, even the person who cuts us off while driving. Pray and offer grace.

Jars of Clay and Full of Treasure

My body had been doing so good with minor issues off and on, a routine I could easily get accustomed to. I was settling into a new normal until unwanted symptoms came rushing in, Unexplainable weariness, heavy eyes, heavy head, heavy body, just plain heavy. Now it is numbness on most of my left side and some of my right. My knees and feet feel like I have pads on them.

It’s all strange to me. Before diagnosis, going back eleven and twelve years ago I went through similar symptoms. As the years went by we found it was common in the spring. We assumed it was allergic reaction and the doctors assumed so too. I went through a series of antihistamines and when those didn’t work they pumped me full of steroids. The steroids helped a little. Time is what my body needed. Odd how life goes, a disease attacking my body from the inside and I continue on the same path, unaware. Why do we wait until it smacks us in the face before we change our diet or how we live life? Why do wait until our sin ruins our lives before we become broken and let God heal?

We are jars of clay, perhaps not noticeable to the world’s eyes, weak, fragile, dependent on something else to make us more….oh, yes, we have a hole in the middle waiting to be filled with something useful, something beautiful. It’s Him. He is that treasure that fills us and makes us whole, worthy, complete and we are now useful for great and mighty works! Great and mighty works dear ones!

We, these clay objects, made from the dust are hardpressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, struck down (how many of us feel struck down?) and yet we are not crushed, we are not in despair, we are not forsaken and we are not destroyed! The enemy seeks to destroy but He can not destroy us when we are in Christ! The power is not of us, it is of Christ! He gets the glory. He gives us the power and we are beautiful in our simple state, humbled by our brokenness and made whole by His hand.

“We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Remember dear ones, we may be clay pots, broken being restored but we are full of Treasure and in Him we are unstoppable! In Him we are worthy. In Him we have purpose!

His Loving Kindness Reaches to the Heavens

The past few days my body is trying to make up for lost time. Like a freight train storming through my  peaceful park I am struck with symptom overload. It isn’t lack of sleep or lack  of exercise. I exercise daily no matter how weak or tired I am.  It is heavy eyes, ten pound head, listlessness against my natural will. It was a battle all day to stay in tune with my children and sincerely care about the things that delighted their hearts. I had to choose to ignore my overwhelming weariness and come along side my tender hearted four year old daughter. As she built her puzzle and colored and longed for my undivided attention I battled to give  her my all.  Each child needs me in so many ways and yet all I want to do is crawl back into bed and stay there until this place is peaceful again.

Oh, but loving and teaching and molding four little souls takes more than I have to offer. I can’t wait until my circumstances bring peace for me to find inner peace and strength. I am desperate now! I open His love letter of peace to my soul and there He whispers His loving kindness to me.

“My love for you is extravagant, it reaches to the heavens and my faithfulness reaches to the clouds. I know what you are going through and I will preserve you. I know you want to crawl in bed and stay there but that won’t make your day go better.”

So I place myself beside my Savior and my head rests on his chest, like John the disciple who referred to himself as “he whom Jesus loved”. Yes, I rest upon Him intimately and receive His words of life and I see life through His light. He is light and shines in the darkness. In my darkness He shines bright.

How precious are His thoughts towards me and towards you. He alone satisfies. He gives from the river of pleasures and He delights to lavish us with His love. We have to choose to see His blessings pouring out. They are here. The sweet voices, the cuddles on the couch, the warm and then cool spring day, the birds soaring and singing sweet melodies, the richness of the violin lifting your heart with its melodies. There is so much to enjoy today as we enjoy Him.

Father, help us to enjoy you today. Help us to curl up in your daddy lap and rest in your arms and then grab your hand for a dance in the day. It’s beautiful in this broken place. Help us to see the beauty. Help us to see you today! In Jesus name, amen!

(Meditation: Psalm 36)

We Do Not Lose Heart

It’s the early morning hours when I wake up and one of my arms is completely unable-to-move-it-dead that my fears come hurling at me, “what if it doesn’t wake up?”, “what if I lose the ability to move my arm?”. It’s days like today that my left leg remains feeling heavy with a numb-like achy pain that I question the future of my physical state. Frustration arises when I want to walk two miles but my legs are weak at reaching one. What do I do with all these very real feelings? Do I ignore them, shove them deep in the depths of my heart and let them eat me from the inside out? I can’t. I won’t.

I choose daily surrender of my future. I choose to see myself running, walking, physically able and capable. I choose to see myself thriving no matter what this life brings. I choose to put my hope in things which my dim eyes cannot see. Eternity. Eternal glory. Eternal Beauty. Jesus.

Second Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an external glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

My outward man is battling for healing, battling to prevent this illness from taking away my physical capabilities but inward, oh, inward I am being renewed daily and I must say, moment by moment when I need it! The Holy Spirit, living inside a Christian gives strength and peace, vision where vision subsides and dancing in celebration where the body is limited to a wheelchair! Inwardly we are NEVER limited. Inwardly we can move mountains and leap to the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro!

These trials, our pain, our struggles in this life are very real yet they are light and momentary in light of eternity. God is preparing us for so much greater than our understanding can grasp and what glory will we behold! What hope we have dear friends!

So today, no matter what we face let us choose a positive perspective. Nothing can hold us down. Nothing! Nothing can keep our spirit down unless we let it. We….WE fix our eyes not on what is seen or felt or heard, not on diagnosis or weakness or our own feelings. No, we fix our eyes on what is unseen, that which is eternal, that which can never, no never be taken from us; Jesus, Hope, Life. We do not lose heart!

I am praying for you today. If you would like me to know your specific prayer request feel free to leave me a message and I will respond. You are in my heart and you are not alone. 

Trouble Writing

My gut wrenches as my heart wants to tell my diagnosis story but I battle for words, never imagining it to be this hard, sharing the deep trenches of my heart story. Ugh, it hurts so. I have so much I want to share and yet it’s still so deep, the reality of it all, it still hurts. The initial diagnosis wasn’t so heart wrenching, just half blind acceptance of what I couldn’t fully grasp until thrown ten feet deep into its trenches so deep. Oh, the picture of an M.S. devastated bedridden acquaintance that I had prayed for were enough for me to know the possibilities but how could I really have known how this diagnosis would change my life forever. Forever. Forever changed. How could I not be changed standing here in this blazing inferno with God’s presence surrounding me and the mockers looking in watching? Changed from the inside out and still being changed. I’m still in the fire. I’m still being refined and beauty is here in this place. Beauty in the fire with me. He is beautifying me in the fire.

In His Hands

Puzzled
Puzzled (Photo credit: AceFrenzy)

My story is a part of His story. A puzzle piece to a great, beautiful kingdom masterpiece. He is sanding my rough edges and placing me in the angled area created for me to fit perfect.

His love lavishes upon me and I am not forsaken. My diagnosis is against the flesh but how will I let it effect my spirit and my soul? Sanding down these edges hurts. I endure but I do so with the understanding that He who sands me, He who molds me to fit, His intentions are only for good. He allowed this and will use this for far greater purposes than my limited vision can behold. These potters hands, mold me beautiful and mold me with love, always with the masterpiece in mind. Love. Tenderness. Grace. This is the Potter. This is One who graciously forms me and molds me into Him.

Can joy exist in this molding, sanding process? I say yes! I choose YES! Life in Him is joy in the Spirit. Joy does not come from meeting my expectations or experiences in this life. Joy comes from His presence! (Psalm 16:11)