Saturday, January 26, 2013

A word or two about pain...

Reading for the week:
Jan 27 Ex 28-29
Jan 28 Ex 30-32
Jan 29 Ex 33-35
Jan 30 Ex 36-38
Jan 31 Ex 39-40
Feb 1 Lev 1-4
Feb 2 Lev 5-7

Pain has been a pretty big part of my life lately.


It occurs to me that pain is a pretty big part of all of our lives.

It might not be physical, as it is for me.  It might be emotional.  It might be spiritual.

But it's there.

It's there in losses of all kinds - from the loss of pets to the loss of spouses to the loss of children through the loss of something as simple as a possession that meant the world to you - and it hurts to lose the concrete evidence of something that was emotionally important.  Or my grief over soemthing like the loss of quail wandering through my patio.

But what I am realizing, in new and deeper ways, is that God knows when those times are coming.  Sometimes we are blind-sided.

God never is.

He knows when the pain He has allowed into our lives will begin - to the millisecond.  And He knows when it will end - to the millisecond.  He also knows what He wants to accomplish by allowing it.

I know that my pain has changed me.

And it has also changed those around me.  It has created changes in the way they look at life.

He has promised that all things will work together for my good (Yup, Romans 8:28 again)  I know it has taught me that He can be trusted, that He will never leave me, that when I am weak He is strong.  I know that He knows - and He is able.  He is able to handle anything I need for Him to handle, and He knows how to do it in the best way.  And it certainly has kept  my eyes on Him.  Sometimes I think that my heart is so untrustworthy that without the pain I would be wrapped up in my own ways, my own doings, and wander far from Him.

And yes, it narrows my field of view.  I can't do things others can.  And I must let others help me, even when it just kills me to see people doing stuff I should be doing.

 But I don't have the energy to spend on regrets or "if onlys".  All I have is enough to get thru most days, and on the others, He carries me.  He gives me "close by" parking spaces.  He gives me docs that understand if I have to cancel.  He gives me family that cares.

And He gives me Himself - in ways I would never have known if I wasn't disabled or in pain.

I'm not saying I wouldn't like to be able bodied again - to be able to hike - or take a walk -  or travel, or even do housework!  And if it were part of His plan for me, I could.

I know He is with me.  I know He is teaching me - even if at this moment I can't imagine what it is!

And I am content.
The pain was fierce today
Worse than the pain
Is the fear it carries in its hip pocket,
Wondering when it will end
Or if it will end
Wondering if it will,
At last,
Kill you -
And, when it gets bad enough,
Hoping it will.

How long, O Lord,
How long?
It is finding the unendurable
In fact
Be endured

Pain isolates
Sets one apart.
It can't be shared,
Can't even be described -
No words can convey
The brutal assault on nerve endings
That mass together
And finally overwhelm.

At those times
When I am most alone
Lost deep within my prison walls -
He comes to sit beside me -
This One Who is no stranger to pain
Or what it can do to the human body -

And He carries it with me

Saturday, January 19, 2013


to read the next blog down you need to highlight it.
I dunno.

Little miracles along the way...

Readings for the coming week:

Sun   Ex 7-9
Mon Ex 10-12
Tues Ex 13-15
Wed Ex 16-18
Thurs Ex 19-21
Fri    Ex 22-24
Sat   Ex 25-27

I've been in a flare for awhile now - increased pain and headaches, decreased strength or stamina. I have put off going out except to Dr offices. So, tonight, my sil and I decided to go to dinner. Out. To our fave fish restaurant.

Friday night in my town is BUSY. It's almost impossible to find a parking space. It's also near a popular casino (what isn't in Vegas?) so even less parking. The cars circle like sharks, round and round and round until finally, waaaaaaay out in the far pasture a spot appears - and is gone so quick you wonder if it was really there. And I knew that, tonight, I could not walk all the way in from the far pasture.

So, as we left our driveway, I prayed for safety and a parking place. "Papa, please help us find a place to park, close to the restaurant. Please have a car pull out right in front of us so we can park. "

So we got there, and the sharks were out in full force.

We joined them, circling, circ - POOF! - right in front of us, a car pulled out.

In the handicapped parking (I have a sticker)

right next to the restaurant.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Don't ever try to tell me that God is too busy to answer silly small prayers, or that He doesn't know what His child can handle and what she can't. Because my life consists of those small silly prayers:

"Oh Papa, where did I put those papers?"
"Please help me to get thru this"
"Help our poor kitty with pain to sleep well."

Our heavenly Papa knows the deepest needs of our hearts - sometimes we don't. But when you really need Him, He is always there. Always. Even for something as silly as a parking place.

Thank You Papa.

 (I'm going to post this to FB so if it sounds familiar, that's why!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Is He Trustworthy?

this weeks Scripture reads:
Jan 13 Gen 38-40
Jan 14 Gen 41-42
Jan 15 Gen 43-45
Jan 16 Gen 46-47
Jan 17 Gen 48-50
Jan 18 Ex 1-3
Jan 19 Ex 4-6

Somehow it seems that my "rambling attacks" occur most often in the wee hours of the morning.  Part of my CI happens to be trouble sleeping - in the sleep studies I've had done, I've never attained level III sleep, which is where the real restorative sleep occurs.

I went to 2 docs on the same day last week- both with bad news about worsening conditions. I am exhausted , physically and mentally.  The first one involved pupil dilation, which triggers an instant headache.  Flourescent lights trigger instant headaches as well, so it was a double whammy as flourescent lights are everywhere, especially doctor's offices!

So I returned from the first appt and simply crawled into bed, took a good sized dose of pain meds and tried to recover.

Didn't work.

So I went to the second appt, with , naturally, flourescent lights everywhere, and stirred it all up again.  We stopped on the way home for dinner at one of my fave Chinese restaurants, and after 5 min there, had to run for the bathroom to throw up.  It came on that suddenly.  I made it just in time for dry heaves, as I hadn't had anything to erat except for a shake in the morning.

Got back to the table and, as we serve a Gracious God, I was fine. The scenario did not repeat itself and I was left to my dinner in comfort, puzzled but grateful

Isn't that the way our walk with God often goes -He leaves us puzzled but grateful. Now, His ways are far above ours, but I don't think He intends us to wander around puzzled all our lives!  But it seems that I wonder some about my CI...

I don't wonder about the why me stuff - I gave Him my life many years ago (40 years on January third) and have noooooooooo intention of snatching it back.  He has carried me through some of the most agonizing time periods of my life.  And yes, a fair amount of that has been physical suffering, and a fair amount has dealt with the death of loved ones, some expected and some blindsides.  I have buried my whole family consisting of a beloved grandmother, both parents and two of my three brothers.  My CI necessitated the loss of a profession I loved (Nursing) a specialty I found endlessly fascinating and enjoyable (Obstetrics.)

Not long ago I stumbled upon a quote (and at the moment I cannot recall where it is from, also part of my CI).  It was a simple, elegant, to the point statement and the moment I heard it, there was an "aha!" moment.  It said, "When You can't understand where God's head is in your situation, trust His heart."

Every cell in my body stood up and yelled "Amen!"

Trying to figure out my King's mind on many things is too high for me.  I know when it is imperative for my growth and the timing is right He will reveal it to me.

But His heartl, now, that's a different kettle of fish altogetyher.

His Word has shown me, over and over and over again, that the heart of God can be trusted. Just a few gleanings of character attributes show why. Here's the tiniest tip of the ice berg-

1. He loves me.  There are a million verses on God's love in His Word.  I think John 3:16 is by far the most important and far reaching, but the3re are also verses that speak of His great tenderness "Can a nursing mother forget her child?  Perhaps one could, but I will never forget you - behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands."

The first time I read that, I could feel the nail go through His hand, and on that nail was my name, engraving itself on the palm of the Living God.  What an amazing privilege is mine!

2. His arms are always underneath me.  Always.  When I fall - and that happens far more often than I would prefer - He catches me.  As I confess, He washes off the mud and manure and, without a lecture or even an "I told you so," He helps me get up and cleans up my scarlet sins until I am white as snow, replacing the mud and manure with peace and joy.  Amazing.

3.  In the long night, often made longer by pain and restlessness and difficulty finding a comfortable position, He gives me songs (Job) and not only does He give them to me, He Himself sings over me.

4. When some new health problem pops up, and the evil one paints the direst of consequences and throws darts of doubt and fear, He promises that whatever happens He will work for my good.

5.  When I feel abandoned and "less than" because of my CI, He tells me that, far from being less than, I am the Poem of His hand-made creation, His work of art - not a struggling sketch with squiggly lines or muddied colors, but a work of Art.

6. In spite of the sadness and pain that come into my life, as it does to every human with a heart on the face of the earth, He knows everything a bout me, from the first twinkle in my father's eye, to the formation of each finger and toe, to the addition of each numbered hair follicle.  He has numbered each day of my life before the first one even began, and He knows the exact day, time, second when He will take me home.

And just as a sidenote here, remember my grieving over the quail?

It finally occurred to me to bring it to Him in prayer  (DUH)  I said, "Papa (and yes, I truly pray that way - it revolutionalised my prayer life) Papa, could I have a quail?  Just one little quail?  Scruffy, hungry, doesn't matter, just one quail?"

The next morning (after several week's total absence,) there were two out there, cheerfully chortling their way thru their morning's work digging up stuff.  I can't tell you how cherished that made me feel.  So grateful.with a heart full of praise.  He understood!

And the next day...there were five!  And this morning there were 12 - 15 glorious, Hand painted, busybody (in the nicest way, of course) chortling quail outside my window.

 How can I not trust Him?

Forgive me Lord.  Help me to see beyond my self-interests.  Help me to worship you truly in Spirit and in Truth.

...And thanks again for the quail.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

this and that...

Reading for the week:
Jan7  Gen 22-24
Jan 8 Gen 24-26
Jan 9 Gen 27-29
Jan 10 Gen  30-31
Jan 11 Gen 32-34
Jan 12 Gen 35-37
Jan 13 Gen 35-37
Jan 14 Gen 38-40

It has been an interesting week.  I have been grieving the loss of our quail - such a small thing, but I really miss them, They had such a sweet comforting sort of chuckle to themselves as they industriously scratched for leftover birdseed.  And they are so gorgeous to look at.  It is hunting season and I wonder if someone trapped our group of 12- 15 that have come regularly every day for the past 7 years.  It breaks my heart to think that some coyote got them.  None of their babies lived from last year's clutch; I grieved for them then, as the babies disappeared, one at a time, day by day.  It used to brighten my day to hear them outside and watch them scratching around.

I think of Jonah, and how the vine grew up to give him shade, and he was grieved when the heat killed it.  I know people are so much more important - and I do pray for the folks whose illnesses or problems I know about - but the heart still wants what it wants.  So I'm praying the Lord will send us more quail - even one or two.

Meanwhile, He has sent us hummingbirds, my other favorite bird.  Winters are relatively mild here, snow once every 5 years or so, and the hummers stay around.  We have two black chinned hummers, one male, one female, and a female of unknown origin.  The goldfinches are back for the winter, plus our other finches - we're right at the dividing line for red house finches and yellow house finches - so they mate and we also get orange ones, too! It makes for welcome color at the feeders during winter.

I've been thanking God for the light load He has given me - so many friends are suffering truly, with the loss of loved ones, accidents, cancers and arthritis problems.  I'm so blessed to have a warm house and enough income for taxes so I don't have to fear loss of my home.  The only thing that lies very heavy on my heart is my one remaining brother's continued resistance to God.  He is so often on my heart - how the evil one convinces people that if they refuse to believe it, it won't happen!  Hell is eternal. It is final.  It is certain if you refuse God's invitation to eternal life.  You can disbelieve all you want - it won't change a thing. It scares me to think of losing him forever.

Reading Genesis makes me mad all over again about folks who say Eve added stuff to God's instructions about not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  If you look carefully at the text, she wasn't around when God gave out instructions.  Adam was.  So HE is most likely the one who "added" not to touch it - and he had just the whiny personality to do it. (" the woman  YOU GAVE ME handed me the fruit so I ate it.")  I don't think she is making excuses either - she just tells it like it was - the devil tricked me and I ate it.  Straight forward.  Whereas the Word tells us that Adam knew that he was sinning when he did it - in essence, he chose not being separated from Eve over God. And I notice the word "curse" is not used in relation to Eve - her pain was increased in childbirth, but the earth wasn't cursed because of her - just because of Adam.

Ok, off my soapbox.

I think the Word is so fascinating - even tho I read thru it each year, I'm always noticing something new each time I go through it - and to think it is also encoded to connect individuals and their birth dates and death dates and so much more, it boggles the mind.  Our God is truly an Awesome God - and every day brings us closer to seeing Him face-to-face.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


The reading list for this week is:
Jan1- Gen  1-3; 2nd -Gen 4-7, 3rd - Gen 8-11, 4th Gen 12-15, 5th Gen16-18, Gen 19-21, 6th- Gen22-24, 7th - Gen 22-24

I'm so excited about spending this year in pursuit of a Life lived consciously in His presence!  I always love starting the year off in Genesis - It's where God started everything - and Adam made a mess of it.  I'm reading the Henry Morris Study Bible this year (I read a different version every year) and, if you don't know who he was, he's the one who started the Creation Institute, which uses top notch scientists to study God's creation and refute evolution.  It's a fascinating site  at any rate, I'm already learning new stuff about God's amazing mind, which, really, is what the Genesis story is about.  What an amazing mind He has, to think of setting up a universe as vast as ours with its own laws and maxims, made out of mostly.....nothing.  That chair you are sitting on has more empty space than atoms in it.  How amazing He is! Then He spoke the world into creation.  All the flora and fauna : He just spoke - and they were created.

Ohhhhh but then, He came to the creation of mankind.  Creating us was the only thing the Word says was hand-crafted, and the Bible tells us we are His poema, His poem or work of art.  That's how He sees us - each of us individually created by Hand, our days written down before one of them had come into existence, He knew us as the twinkle in Dad's eye and watched each division of cells as they occurred until - Poof! - there you were; there I was : God's masterpiece,

One of the things I'm focusing on this year of L'Chaim is to read, understand and meditate on what He says, what His opinion of me is..  As in "God's masterpiece."  I can safely say I have never looked at myself that way!  Why is that?  Why do we let God's vision of us get smudged and spit on until we are the evil one's picture of life instead of the Living God's picture of la Chaim! I'm going to try to be true to God's definitions and values regarding me, not that fallen angel's view.

So, what does that look like, a masterpiece, a poem?  Well for a calligrapher, it means creating something with elegant beauty, something that suggests to the viewer that much time and care went into its creation - the time, the practiced hand, the careful choice of copperplate or Old English or contemporary forms, the introduction of colors and attributes that blend and beautify.  It means something that is valued highly, if in no else's eyes but the one who did the creating.

That's a pretty awesome train of thought, considering Who did the creating of us!

And it leads me to the conclusion that He is not some far off God Who watches me from a distance, waiting to see what I become - He's known from the second I was conceived in His thoughts what and who I would become.  And it has been hands on, all the way!  The people He brought into my life, the ones He wove into my heart to lead me, step-by-step back into His arms and finally to move me to enter in, to be safe in Him, to be part of His bride.

It's a little bit like a living Hallmark card - He cared enough to send the very best.

Which leads me to recognize that my CI (chronic illness) did not happen accidentally, for there is not one thing that could change the events with which  He chose to surround me.  And to someone in pain, that brings up cosmic questions.

I think one of them was answered profoundly when the apostles asked Him why the man had been born blind - did his parents sin, or did the baby sin in the womb (a popular concept in that day.)  Jesus answered "Neither."  He was born blind so that God could be glorified.

Think of the honor of that!!  For those of us who are chronically ill, in pain or overcome by depression or some unending accompaniment to every breath, it is a whole new way to see.  (curing our own blindness!)  We did not sin in the womb - or cause this to come upon ourselves - this, too, was part of God's hand-fashioned plan for our lives.  And with it ("should you choose to accept it") is a paradigm shift in moving from "disabled" to "displaying the glory of God".  To think that our illnesses may contribute to His glory is an enormous opportunity to make an attitude adjustment.  It means, in essence, that people are not amazed at us ( how we are struggling to implement a yellow brick road mindless happiness in our flesh) but that people do not even see that "us" part anymore.  They simply look at us and know we couldn't possibly carry this alone and they note that Someone Else is the One doing the carrying - even when pain and disability is very evident. Something we see akin to a curse (and surely part of the evil one's handiwork)  has been remade by the touch of a Loving Hand into something that magnifies His glory. Which brings up the question of how, then, should we live?

I had never looked at my illness in that way - there is something about not being strong enough to endure, to do things you must do - and watching someone else have to do it for you.  That really attacks the pride in us that wants to take over and have people see how wonderful I am.  It also makes me feel guilty that I'm not "doing my part.".  It humbles me - and humility is a favorite characteristic that God desires for His children.  To me it tastes like bleech in my mouth; but it makes His heart dance to see it.

Hence, He is glorified.  Now then, aren't all you able bodied people jealous? Nanner nanner nanner!

Soooo, starting off the year learning that I am capable of giving glory to my Creator in special way feels pretty cool to me.  I'm  looking fwd to what else He has to share with me - and those of you who have chosen to accompany me!

Please feel free to comment on anything you wish - to share what God is teaching you in all this

And thanks for coming along - it's not so lonely now!