Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Step Back or Plunge Ahead?

Hi!  I pray you are off to a great start to your week!  Thought I'd share a lesson from last week with you..

Ever need to take a step backwards?  That's how last week felt to me.  I had surgery on Monday to put the bone in my hand back together.  (Thank you for all the prayers!  I'm doing well with very little pain!)  Because it was 5+ days with a removable splint & bruising had gone down & pain very minimal, it was rather disappointing to wake up from surgery with a cast, swelling, pain, etc. to deal with.  It felt like a few steps backward.  I had begun to heal & was even able to do small tasks with my thumb & forefinger.  I'd even used my hand as a support for a couple things.  I could take it off to shower or just get a break; I could also begin to move my fingers a bit.

Now, I felt back to square one!  However, it was necessary to 'go backwards', and get things set right, in order to move ahead and have FULL use of my hand later.  I remember when I was little, my grandmother broke her wrist.  She hated going to drs or hospitals so much that she never told anyone about it.  Every time we visited, for weeks, she would be sitting with her hand under her apron, 'resting'.  It healed, but it was crooked & not fully functional for the rest of her life.

I know that to regain use of my hand, I must allow the drs to set me back a week or so.

 Psalms 107:17-22 Some of you were sick because you’d lived a bad life, your bodies feeling the effects of your sin; You couldn’t stand the sight of food, so miserable you thought you’d be better off dead. Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time. He spoke the word that healed you, that pulled you back from the brink of death. So thank God for his marvelous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves; Offer thanksgiving sacrifices, tell the world what he’s done—sing it out!

It is the same, sometimes, with our Heavenly Physician!  There are times that we must allow God to take us 'back' and get things 'set right' so we can move forward into our FULL potential!

 2 Corinthians 13:5  Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.

An example of this also happened this week.. (btw, if God is teaching you something, expect to Walk Through It!;-)   )  I had a conversation with one of my kids this week, part of which was me discussing something I'd observed him doing.  He took my comments as being critical.  My intention was to point it out & encourage a different action in the future.  However, to his seeing it as critical, we have history there.  In the past, I could be rather harsh & critical.  Thankfully God changing that part of me, but his past experiences have left a crooked healing & are not allowing our relationship to see its best potential!  I had to step back, evaluate what brought him to this place & make it right.  I needed to not just plunge ahead with the 'new' me and expect him to be new too.  I needed to ask forgiveness and make the past right.  NOW, we can BOTH move forward and see complete healing, allowing God to use us with greater potential.
 James 5:16  Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.

It is not ALWAYS necessary to go back. In fact, it is sometimes vital NOT to.. don't return to danger!  But if there are places you have allowed to not heal correctly or completely, evaluate.  It may simply be a matter between you & God.  It may require seeking forgiveness from another.  Either way, it's worth the short term step back to go forward with confidence that you will function better & more fully!   One more caution.. don't stay in the past or dwell on it.. Get to moving forward quickly!

 John 5:8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”

Love you all!

P.S.  I get my cast off today! ;-)   Then therapy can begin!

Friday, March 13, 2015

God's Timing is ALWAYS Perfect!

The lesson of the past few days... OUR plans & schedules are really not that accurate! :-)

 Surgery that was supposed to be Thursday, then hopefully Friday, is now on Monday at a different hospital.  Reality check, waiting til Friday was a bummer.  Waiting til Monday was more of a disappointment. :-(   I am ready to get it over with & start healing & get back to ”normal”.  (All the big brothers & little sisters in my life can keep their comments to themselves!)

Hmm..  There are a few lessons to be learned here...

First, scripture says to be anxious for nothing.  Does it really mean NOTHING?  We aren't even supposed to be anxious for good stuff to come?  Excited for it, anticipating it, but not anxious for it.  That means that the moment we are in right now has purpose/value.  Even if it seems ugly or unwanted, there is a good take-away.  Don't be so ready for the next blessing that you miss the one you are receiving Right Now!  If it's disguised as hardship, put on the mind of Christ and see it from a Godly perspective, not an earthly one.

Second, recognize a change of plans as God's sovereign hand on you.  We have no idea what He's protected us from, most of the time.  An accident, a person, danger, a situation.
 That very slow driver on the way to work, the storm that kept you home, the dirty diaper just as you're walking out the door, etc...  So, I was not supposed to be at that hospital.  I may never know why, but ”Thank You God for watching out for me.”

In both these things, there is another side as well..  maybe, just maybe, it's not about you!  I know, real shocker! :-)   Maybe the lesson to be learned is because someone else is gonna need help & you are going to be called on to help them.   Or maybe there is someone who needs you to be at a specific place, at a specific time.  They don't know it, you don't know it, but God knows it.  Maybe You are the way God's protecting another.

 One more leason I see, for now.. Define healing!  Does healing mean that my hand is all better so I can go back to doing what I've always done, the same way I've always done it?  Or is the healing really multifacited.. physical, spiritual, mental?  Has the healing already begun because God is showing me things, changing me & making me new, thus assuring I won't go back to the same old stuff?  I pray it is so!  And I am being strengthened in other areas, while this area recoops.. My left arm & hand are stronger, I am learning my lefty inabilities are simply because I didn't bother to overcome them before.  I am learning when to push myself & when to ask for help, etc..

Thank you all for taking this journey with me!  May we grow more & more into the likeness/fullness of God, together.  And may we be ever more mindful of the Holy Spirit guiding & teaching us.

 Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)  Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

 Ephesians 2:7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

We Need Each Other!

Hi!  I pray you are finding joy in your journeys this week.  Regardless of how they're packaged, there is joy in knowing God's got a Perfect plan!

My journey continues.. If you didn't read my last post, you may want to. :)

The lesson so far this week has been a strong reminder to appreciate what we have & are capable of and also how much we need one another.

I have been often brought to pray for those who deal with chronic pain & for those who live with a hindrance of any kind.  Sometimes God allows us to feel or experience something simply to awaken ourselves to what others face regularly.  If you are facing a difficult season, try a new tactic... Use it as a chance to pray for others going through something similar.  Taking your focus off yourself will give you a whole new perspective & allow you to be part of a solution instead of the problem.

The other side of this week has been one of appreciation for others.  It is amazing what cannot be done with one hand, at least not easily or the way you've always done it before.  It is also amazing what you can accomplish that you never thought you could.. Or ever cared to try before!  I've learned persistence can look rather clumsy or awkward at first, but it can produce a ton!  For instance, ever squeeze mousse from a can into the same hand holding the can?  Good for a few sighs & several laughs but I finally did it!  Yesterday, in the office, I had a good chuckle at trying to place a stack of papers in a folder and file it.  After a few different attempts, I found one that worked.

But there are some things I cannot come up with how to do... Cutting a piece of meat, putting my hair up, tying my shoes, opening some bottles, etc...

 We need each other.  We are not meant to be alone or to go it alone.  We are not meant to be super-human or unwilling to accept help, nor are we supposed to ignore the needs of those around us.  I have needed help from friends & family and also from strangers.  Most have been more than willing, many have offered assistance before I even asked.
A few have been oblivious, only focused on their own needs, helping when asked but with a measure of annoyance.

 Thank you to everyone who has given of themselves for me.. Including notes & flowers!

As I reflect on these things, it makes me want to do better.. I want to see needs & help before I'm asked; to be more aware of those around me, including strangers when I'm out in public; to go the extra step; to be wise enough to know when to help & when to let someone learn; likewise, to be willing to learn myself but humble enough to receive from others.

 These needs do not just apply to the physical.. They are spiritual & mental as well.  Sometimes we learn by seeing, other times by doing.  Sometimes we are to set the example, other times we are to teach by allowing the student to get their hands dirty.

Lord, you tell us to be wise as serpents & gentle as doves.  May the Holy Spirit guide us to be this way with those around us each day!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ready For a Trip?

I was reminded this week of going on 'Penny Rides'.  We'd get in the car and, at every intersection, flip a penny.  Heads.. go right. Tails.. go left.  Dropped penny.. go straight.  Sometimes it would be a very short trip.. left, left, left, left, home! :)  But sometimes we'd have a great adventure! 

I never worried about being lost.  My Dad always knew the general area we were in and got us home.  It was fun to drive a road we'd never been on before & see sites we'd never seen before.  Sometimes we'd find an ice cream stand or a park.  We loved seeing new neighborhoods or pretty views at the top of a hill.  We sometimes packed a picnic lunch & found a nice field or wooded area to stop.

When we'd get to a spot we'd been before, the usual comment was, "I recognize this place!"  It was always an inexpensive family day out.

What reminded me of this was a little adventure I went on yesterday.  I needed to run an errand in Alden, a town I rarely go to.  I've only been on a couple of the main roads.  I felt the Spirit urging me to take a road I'd never been on before.  I knew where I needed to go and I knew the direction I was headed in, but I had no idea where this road would take me or exactly how to get where I needed to go.  As I made the turn, I felt the same sense of peace with my heavenly Father as I had with my earthly one.. I trusted Him and felt no sense of being lost!  

I relaxed & took in the sites.  Enjoying the houses on the street, the dog playing in the snow, the sculptures the icicles had created, the winter scenes around me.  I reached the end of the street... no street sign to tell me where I was.  I turned right knowing that it was at least the direction I needed to go in.  Nothing looked familiar but I was still at peace, enjoying my little adventure. 

A little way down the road, I came to a church building.  "I recognize this place! I know where I am!"   A large grin came to me, for this was the moment I remembered our penny rides.

As I went on well traveled roads now, to my destination, I chatted with the Lord.  "That was fun!  Can we do it again soon, Daddy?"

I know His reply... I've heard it often.. "It was fun! Thank you for trusting Me, child.  I'm glad you enjoy our adventures."

How about you?  Do you enjoy seeing new places spiritually?  Do you sit and take in ALL there is to see & learn, trusting Daddy and never worrying that you're lost?   It's always fun to recognize 'places'  you've been before with God, but don't be so comfortable with familiarity that you miss out on some exciting new depth He wants to take you too!!

Sometimes our adventures don't come wrapped in fun car rides and ice cream shops!  Sometimes they are disguised as horse drawn, open wagons, bumping along in the pouring rain!!  For instance.. I started an adventure this week.. I fell on the ice, breaking a bone in my hand. It requires surgery next week and several weeks of OT.  The really fun part.. it's my right hand!!  Those that know me well, know I am NOT a lefty, not even a little!! :)  Guess I'm gonna see some new places in the coming weeks!

I invite you to take this journey with me.  I will share the new places I see, adventures we take, smells, sounds, and yes.. I believe we'll get to stop for picnics & ice cream too!  :)  Come, take a penny ride with the Holy Spirit and me, as our Abba Daddy takes the wheel!

And prayerfully, you'll see your own adventures in a new way!