The “Monster” May Not be So Bad

close up image of space trilogy book oneMaybe the monster in the water isn’t such a bad thing.

I have been chewing on C.S. Lewis’ words from the first of his Space Trilogy.  The main character was conversing with an intelligent being on another planet about a violent creature that lives in the water. The creature will demolish and tear apart anything that comes in its path. The human’s response was that there was no place for this monster and the “higher power” shouldn’t have made this creature or allowed it to be here for the sake of the good creatures. The intelligent being said the words that have had me mulling over and over and over, ” The hanakra (monster)  is our enemy, but he is also our beloved…………..I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lake”. 

No danger in the lake? Isn’t that what we want? No danger. No financial strain. No health issues. Nothing that shakes us.

What is the monster you are facing right now? There are so many options of monsters to choose from and each of them can devour us in one way or another. One way or another we can let anything swallow us up and spit us out.

But what if we chose to see the monster in a different light?  What if  we saw it as a means to reach a deeper love, cherish the people God has placed in our lives more fully, experience a more full enjoyment of the simple things, an opportunity to put the first things first? What if the very monster meant to destroy you by the Enemy could be used for your greatest purpose through God and His strength.

In Lewis’ wonderful, philosophical, fictional story the alien beings were trying to kill  the monster but they had a deep appreciation for it. They appreciated more because of “it”.

When our eyes are fixed on that which lies beyond this mortal earth and we live for God and eternity, couldn’t we see our circumstances in such a different light?

The enemy of our souls uses the “monster” to steal away our moments, our peace, and our joy. But when we are surrendered to God and dwelling in His presence, we have peace and joy and see the monster for what it really is. It has no power over you. The “monster” cannot take your JOY but joy can be found in the midst of places where “it” lurks.

God says to me and to you,
“I formed you. Fear not, I redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you, For I am the Lord your God……Fear not, I am with you.  ” Excerpts from Is. 43:1-5

His presence is enough for you. I am praying for healing for your body today. I am praying for Joy in the midst of your present circumstances.

P.S. I am resuming ‘Motherhood with an Illness’ next blog entry but I am going to broaden it to ‘Parenthood and Illness’. I realize I have amazing fathers who follow this blog too.

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Motherhood and Illness (Part 2)

Soak in the good days. It’s so easy to find the negative, the easy to complain about circumstances but choose to see the beauty and blessings today. Today is a grace day. A day to soak in the gifts of laughter, the gifts of a hug.

First thing in the morning, when my groggy self is confronted by my sweet children I choose to reach out and touch them. As explained in my last post, I am slow moving in the morning. I can also become a drill sergeant with the to do’s of the day but I have chosen to touch each of my children in a loving way each morning. “Good morning Son, how did you sleep last night?”, with a rub on the head or a squeeze hug.  To my little girl, I might tenderly move her hair from her face and pull her little body close to me to tell her good morning. This begins the day with my babies having their cup filled but it also helps me to keep the “right things” in focus. Loving my children is the greatest gift I can give them.

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I love touch. It is one of my love languages. But I do not enjoy it like I used to. My nerves do not send messages properly. So, while a child draws near or I draw them near for story time I may experience heaviness of my arms or legs, an ache that is heavy and painful. I have to adjust positions of how I sit or ask the children to change positions. I have to be honest with them that I want to sit close but my body is hurting the way we are sitting. I may have to ask them to hold the book or help me hold it depending on the size of the book and where we are sitting. The key with the kids is honesty. If I let them know I want to be near them but “let’s change how we are sitting because it is hurting me”, it helps them to know it is not their fault and that I want to be near them.

I have the same dilemma with my husband, who seems to naturally radiate warmth. I can only hold his hand so long before I have to release it and cool my hand. If we are sitting close to one another my legs feel like spiders are crawling up and down them. The Plexus Cleanse has helped me a lot. The magnesium in that calms my nerves but I still feel discomfort just from being close. I choose to be close still. I might get a cold pack or drink something cold to help calm the nerves so I can enjoy being near my loved ones.

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These discomforts, pain and irritations can easily become a focus but we have to choose to focus on the good. Although my hands are numb, I can still feel, so I thank God that I can feel. I thank God that I can cuddle and touch my children. I thank God with my children for all that I can do right now. When I could not walk well or barely exercise I spoke thanksgivings that I could move my foot and feel it move. When I got up on my own I thanked God that I could do that. When I agonizingly exercised for three minutes, I praised Him because I could. Choose thanksgiving and teach your children to praise God in the midst.

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Be honest with your limitations but choose to push against them. With chronic illness we can easily overdo ourselves so we must be wise but we also must choose the highest good. Choose to play that game with your kids. You might need to say, “Let mama take a nap first and then I will play that with you. Can  we make that a date? “.

Go outside with your kids and do what is within your limitations but soak in the fresh air, watch the butterflies and let them share their wonders with you. When your numbered days are over or your loved ones’ days are over, you won’t forget the time invested into loving them, choosing them, soaking in God’s creation with them. It will all be worth it in the end.

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I  know it is hard, my friend. It would be easier to wallow in pity for ourselves, hide away in our room and push everyone away but we do not need to lose heart. “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” 2 Corinthians 4:16  Soak in God’s love for you. Let Him renew your mind and heart.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.”

Let’s choose that perspective. Let’s allow God to renew us inwardly day by day and live a fruitful life.

What are you struggling with today? Do you want to hide away?

Dear Friend, I am praying for you today.

Life is Messy

Life is messy.

Messy can be beautiful can’t it? Sometimes it’s hard to see. The mini Picasso six year old painting is beautiful. Bright orange seaweed tangled in bright green algae=beautiful.  Messy people that love in the messes=beautiful.

 

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My longing for order, for control, for keeping all things together can prevent me from experiencing the blessing waiting for me, the beauty waiting for me. The blessing doesn’t always come through wide, green pastures. It often comes through dark, narrow roads with a glimpse of light peeking through to guide. His tender hand guiding, directing through shadow filled badlands. Blessing comes through the messy.

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Moses didn’t want to speak to the Pharaoh.  He could speak. He just didn’t feel himself adequate enough to do what God was calling him to do. “Who me? I can’t do that. Don’t you know my disability, my lack of ability?” We make excuses and miss His power enabling us to do what He asks us and prepared us to do in the midst of what He has allowed.    The expectation Moses placed on himself was not what God had placed on him, but his own fallen perception of God’s role in his calling.  Focusing on the messy causes us to miss the masterpiece He is making.

The Israelites were scared to take possession of the land God had promised. The land was EVERYTHING that God had promised but there were giants in the land and they chose to focus on the giants. They chose to allow fear to keep them from trusting God’s promise and the blessing in His provision. They focused on the messy and missed out on the beautiful.

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God gives promises and sometimes we have to fight through opposition to fully enjoy the promise. Is it worth the fight? You bet it is.

There is always blessing and beauty on the other side.

 

The Darkness Can Thrust Us to the Light

“…there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Ex.10:22-23
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There are storm clouds that can tumble in with fierce abruptness and other storms can creep in with quiet stealth. Either way, these gray-black clouds prevent the light from shining into our day and our vision of light is weak and dreary. There are days this darkness creeps in via trials or circumstances that we cannot control; the person who has stabbed our heart so deep, the loved ones suffering around us, our own physical trials; any one of these and a thousand times more types of clouds come rolling in to our lives and blind us from seeing light. For me, such has been this past month.

Physical weakness, pain, and mental weariness created a thick, ugly fog and sucked the joy from my soul. Oh, I longed to curl up with the Father but found myself battling for words to say. I would open the bible study book I had been going through and I only found a heavier burden to bear. I began to cry out for light, truth, a word, just one word to breakthrough the dark and He spoke, breaking through the heavy clouds,

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” Is. 61:10

It is He alone who can give me joy. My circumstances may be darn right torrential ugliness but I am secure in my Father’s love, saved for eternity and loved passionately. My joy is in His presence (Ps. 16:11) And my circumstances may never change, as a matter of fact, they may get down right tsunami-like but that is just THIS life, not the hereafter or my eternal state. All that I can feel and see is temporary. That which I cannot see, that is eternal.

And then He spoke to my heart again, parting the clouds even farther apart, and light shining through, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” Ps. 18:6

He hears our cries and gives sweet promises fulfilled!
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He numbers our wanderings and puts our tears into His bottle. When we cry out to Him, the enemies turn back. We know this because God is for us!!!!! We put our trust in Him!!! (Read: Ps. 56:8-11)

God’s heart isn’t for His children to dwell in the dark. It is to bring us through the darkness, to see the constant of the light always surrounding us. Always here. Always there, where you are. Light. The darkness can thrust us to the Light, if only we let it. In the Light we find the only joy that lasts when all else fades away.

He wants to change our vision from this….
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….to this.
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There is such beauty in the Light.
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I am crying out deep for those of you reading this today. I don’t know what dark clouds hover over you today but I do believe they can push you closer to the living God, if you let them. You can also choose to stay in the dark. Let us choose, together, to cry out to the God who knows your pain and hears your cries. You matter to Him and He loves you. You are His treasure. I am walking this journey with you. As we draw near to Him, the darkness fades and Light fills our days.

Dwelling in the Light,
Charise