Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Are God's promises truth to me? Exactly how much do I trust Him? Am I willing to rest completely in His love and goodness? Do I still push every situation through my interpretation of truth or am I willing to trust in His Word?

His Word clearly states over and over again that we are not to worry about tomorrow or dwell on the pain of our pasts. But yet our very natural seems to go on auto pilot to the worry mode. It is because of our pride and constant resolve to control not only our own destiny but also the destiny of others. The very act of worry is a act of self involvement. If it goes unchecked, we can become neurotic control freaks.

The past 6 months, I think that I have covered ever emotion known to man. I know that there is a greater lesson to be learn through this season of such uncertainty. Long term plans do not leave my lips without my heart aching a bit. But yet, I refuse to dwell on those thoughts because to do so would mean that I have lost hope and nothing could be further from the truth.

I know that God is with me and always has been and will not abandon me now.  Isn't it a blessing that the Lord doesn't treat us like people treat us?  His plans for us are to bless and prosper us. We just simply must believe and trust in Him, then He opens the heavens and blesses us beyond our imaginations.

So I will not not dwell in the past, nor will I obsess on the uncertainty of the future. But daily, I will renew my mind in His Goodness and know that He has my life in His Hands. And that is all that really matters, everything else is just a distraction.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Time Management....seriously?

The New Year is not one of my favorite times of the year. For me, I always seem to be faced with the unending list of undone tasks. Not that this is so very different than the rest of the year; but somehow at the start of the year, it seems like I should not be bogged down by old, undone junk. It is depressing and over whelming, "IT" has the ability to make me feel worthless and useless. Perhaps this is why the world seeks to alleviate this feeling with massive amounts of alcohol on New Years Eve. We all know what is coming in the ensuing days. Of course, as we all know that solves nothing.

So, I know as a follower of Christ that He would not allow me to have this season without a greater purpose. The Israelites had a Jubilee every seven years, during which all debt was forgiven and everyone started over with a clean financial slate. That sounds wonderful, doesn't it? I suggest that we have a jubilee from debt and chores. Perhaps that is why in heaven, everything will be NEW EVERYDAY, think of that ! No dirty clothes, unwashed dishes, dust bunnies, clutter, bills to pay, insurance claims and taxes to file, phone calls and emails to return, broken appliances, unmade beds, etc. etc. etc.! I feel better already, just thinking about it!

As women of this generation, we are programmed to think that we will ultimately be judged on the beauty of our homes, the cleanliness and manners of our children, and of course, we must have a successful business or career, to be considered worthy of admiration. Add to that, the need to be a super volunteer and you have an unreachable goal. It is a never ending cycle, that can leave us exhausted and depressed. None of us can ever achieve that goal that we all have ratted away in the backs of our minds. It is time to give ourselves a break.

Our worth is not based on ANY of the world's standards or other's people's opinion, our worth is in CHRIST and CHRIST ALONE. But how does that translate to real world application. I am not sure that I will ever completely arrive at that point of complete satisfaction in my accomplishments. However, after years of frustration, I am slowly learning to give it to Him on a constant basis. Seek His Glory first and foremost. Give Him the first fruit of your day and focus every effort on His Plan. There will never be a day when I complete every thing that I have before me. But if I can know that I went about those things with a joyful, thankful heart, then I have had a successful day.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Precious Year

The last day of 2012 is quiet and subdued. A bit of a contrast from this year as a whole. It has been a year of extremes for many people that I know and love. It has been a year of growing and learning, a year of laughter and tears. For many, these past twelve months have brought reconciliation and peace, and for others, unspeakable loss and pain.

One of my greatest lessons this year, has been the reminder of the preciousness of each day and the uncertainty of the future. This week, I was reminded in the book of Ecclesiastes that everything in the world has a season. We must live out each day with the knowledge that this world is not our final destination. There is so much more out there then what our human minds can comprehend. I have a more complete understanding of the privilege of walking in faith. We truly are not prepared to live in peace until we are prepared to die in peace. None of us knows what tomorrow will hold and that is a blessing. What we do know is that it is not within our control and that too is a blessing.

Since I obviously am not a philosopher or theologian, I do not approach life with all the arguments or theories that others would use to explain themselves. I am just a simple person, who has experienced the love of Christ in the core of my soul, and I know that there is no other love that compares to that love. In my life, I have had innumerable losses, heartaches, and betrayals; have made multitudes of mistakes; said horrible things to people; and been a selfish brat at times. But when I repent and approach His Throne, I have never been forsaken by Him. He has never left my side or written me off as a lost cause. People will disappoint us and hurt us in ways that rock us to our core, but He will help us to pick up the pieces of our chaos and find a miraculous way to bring good from it. I have never been able to explain how He does it, but I have seen it happen time and time again. Beauty from ashes is one of His specialties.

So I am looking forward to 2013 with eager anticipation of what He has in store. My prayer is that I will see Him more clearly and seek after His Will, for His Glory and His Glory alone. May I see others through His love and learn that the world's ways are not His ways.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Be Thou My Vision

These are uncertain times for our world, our country, my family, and for me personally. But as soon as I say that, I am aware of the fact that ALL times are uncertain. If we were all knowing then we would not have the privilege of walking by faith. But why is it so incredibly scary!?

As a follower of Christ, I have spend most of my adult life living with the security of belonging to Him. The miracles that He has given me will bring me to tears if I were to recount even the top five. He has been amazingly good to me in a multitude of ways. So my pea brain should know that all is well and then move on to other issues. But that is not how it usually works.  Why are we so obsessed about the "future"? He tells us over and over again through His Word that HE HAS GOT IT.

So I rest in the fact that I know who holds the future and it is not me.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A New Day has Dawned

This morning I noticed a FedEx envelope lying on the front porch. It was not expected, since I have not been online shopping lately. Today, I have been only fixated on one thing and that is Tuesday's election results. So, isn't it just like the Lord to bring our focus back to His perspective when we wander off into our own version of reality. This innocent little envelope that interrupted my morning contained the CD of my original CT scasn that was done on August 27th. The scan that changed the direction of my life. In the great effciency of MD Anderson, they dutifully returned the CD that I brought to my first appointment. This CD is symbolic for me.

We try with all our strength and energy to control our environment. Somehow, we think that it will  make us safe. I have had this CD in my possession before my first appointment, but did not have the courage to actually put it in my computer and look at it. Maybe, subconsciously,I thought that is I didn't look then it would just go away. But this morning. I did look. I took a long hard look at my little ping pong ball. It will serve as my always present reminder of the Sovereignty of God. It is just one of the many aspects of life over which I have zero control.

Today is a beautiful day that the Lord has made. He has a plan and a purpose in it. He created us to live in this world as lights of His love. But we are not to be hidden, which also means that we cannot hide from the pain of this world. He will give us the strength to withstand all the evil of this world, including our country's Godless leadership and cancer. We can control neither.

Our pastor mentioned that God choose to send His Son into this world during the tyranny of the Roman Empire. We face oppression but not to the degree that the early church did. There is a reason why He choses diffcult times to grow us. In those times, we are more keenly aware of our need for Him. The greater our suffering, the greater His Provision. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us and He always keeps His promises.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Forgiveness is His Graceful Gift

Forgiveness is perhaps one of our greatest challenges. Our very nature rebels against it. We are less than honest even in our prayers. For us to truly forgive others requires a supernatural intercession of the Holy Spirit that rewires our thoughts and emotions. I am very eager to receive HIS forgiveness, but stingy with giving forgiveness to others. There will be people in our lives that will hurt us time and time again. It is just part of the human condition. We cannot change the choices of others, but when we pray for them and forgive them, then we release them for God to move in the circumstances.

It seems as though heartache and abuse have followed me through much of my life. It is a difficult thing to let go of pain that pierces into the very depths of your soul. Our human reaction is to wrap up that pain and use it as a shield that protects us from another assault. But reality is that it only makes us more susceptible to further injury. If we have an unhealed physical injury, we all know that it is more tender then the healthy parts of our body. The same is true with our souls, when I hang on to the past pain in my life, then I am more likely to be hurt, because there is an open wound on my heart.

When Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer, He said "to forgive, as we are forgiven." To me, that means divine forgiveness. When I finally take the offense off of "rewind and replay" mode and lay in down at the foot of His Cross, then the cleansing begins to heal my wounds. Left to my own devices, I will chew on that offense until I develop a soul that is calloused with bitterness. This bitterness taints my perspective of everything, including my ability to follow Him. He is so quick to forgive me of my multitude of sins. He separates them as far as the East is from the West. Why is it so difficult for me to allow Him to separate me from the burden of my own unforgiveness ? I simply cannot do that on my own and He is so willing to help me, but only after I have surrendered it to Him.

Bitterness will creep up on me and become a permanent fixture, if I do not daily allow God to examine my heart. One of the hardest aspects of forgiveness for me is that my forgiving others is not based on their behavior, nor is their behavior really any of my concern. We simply cannot wait for others to do the right thing and then respond according. Some people may never change, their sin does not give me a free license to sin by harboring unforgiveness.  These experiences can teach us how to exhibit His love and not allow our anger to become a weapon that we use against others.

From a practical standpoint, there are several ways of praying that have helped me immensely. First, I had to come to understand, that this is not a one time deliverance, but a lifestyle. I am relearning how to respond to pain and anger, and I am so very thankful for the Lord's patience with me. Carrying around a lifetime of pain was burdening me spiritually, mentally and physically. So I am learning to pray that He will help me to see people the way that He sees them; this gives me insight and compassion for others. Now, when I am hurt by someone, I try to immediately pray that God will not allow that offense to take root in my heart. By releasing it quickly, I do not begin to mull it over and over in my mind. It is amazing to me how very faithful He is in response to this prayer. The thoughts are literally removed from my memory bank. It is a wonderful thing.

Many years of my life, I have lived in the bondage of bitterness. I always told myself that there were wounds on my heart that would only be healed completely in eternity. That is a lie from the pits of hell. Christ did not save me so that I could live in chains; He died to set me free from sin. Not just my own sins, and they are many; but also from the sins of others that have hurt me. He wants to replace that deep seeded stress with His Perfect Peace.  We simply cannot do this on our own. It takes His healing touch, and though I am and always will be a work in progress; I am living proof that He is always faithful.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Doctor's Report

Late yesterday afternoon, my surgeon called and gave me another mixed review. The wonderful news is that right now, these tumors are considered "pre-cancerous" and for that I am very grateful. (It is not the noncancerous diagnosis that I had hoped for, and in all honesty that has been a bit of an emotional hurdle for me.) The flip side is that they do not know how long they will stay in the gray zone, so they will continue to monitor me. He reiterated that surgical removal at this point was not a good choice, because as he put it, there was too great a risk for collateral damage. They are unsure of the exact nature of my tumors and the growth rate will help them to determine what we are dealing with. I have learned so much about this disease over the past few weeks and still feel like I know nothing. Pancreatic cancer is not like other cancers, there are many different types and they do not respond well to traditional treatments like chemo and radiation. This is one of the reasons that it is so deadly.

So, at this point, I rejoice for the good news of no current malignancy. And walk with the certainty of God's Grace in the face of uncertainty. He has reminded me of Paul's thorn in the flesh and I see that in a new light now. When Paul ask the Lord to take away his thorn, he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

So like a lamb with a crippled leg that does not stray far from the Shepherd, I move forward and rejoice in the privilege of serving a Mighty God.