Struggling In My Space

holzfigur-980784_1920Today is the day that my father has his procedure. Usually I am the one who is not worried, but I must admit I am concerned this time. I think I failed to realize that I have not truly embraced the idea of not IF, but WHEN. I know that the outcome is in God’s hands and His will be done, but what will I do if His will is to take my father home?

I am not a worrier, my mother has that particular skill covered and so does my one son. however, to admit that my flesh so wants to worry is shaking my foundation a little and making me feel vulnerable. Growing up it wasn’t a good thing to open yourself to be vulnerable because that was something that wasn’t forgotten and brought up as an arrow to the heart to make you feel guilty later on.

I know that I should count myself lucky that I don’t have other family to battle over my parents leaving this earth. There will be no epic battles no other opinions, no hurt feelings and no sibling shouldering most of the responsibility. But I have to be honest, right now I would welcome some of that. Maybe because I don’t really know what that is like, to have to argue over every little detail or wish that my brother or sister would help a little to ease the pain and lighten the load.

I guess my biggest struggle is accepting that I have to leave this in God’s capable hands and grasp that whatever happens is within His perfect will even if I don’t like it. It’s just HARD. It’s time like these that, I think, test my faith. I can be all about prayer and being in His will until a really challenging trial comes and that is when I feel like I crumble like a cookie dropped on the kitchen floor. It feels like I hear this in my head more often than not (Matthew 14:31) “Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” I wonder if I don’t inwardly become that little child throwing the tantrum and scream, “I WANT IT MY WAY! IF THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN I DON’T BELIEVE IN YOU!” I know that is the devil getting a hold of me and me not listening for the still small voice or waiting for the moment of peace to over come me. What I really need to rest in is 1 Corinthians 2:3-5, “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

The power of God…..and a mighty power it is, rest in that.

 

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Ladies We Need To Talk

people-2567915_1920This has been on my heart for awhile now, but I wasn’t sure how to put it into words. Ladies stop putting your husbands down. Stop saying things among your women friends like, “He has no idea what to do with the kids!” and “I was about to go all ninja on him for not doing x,y or z!” It’s disrespectful and it is demeaning. You wouldn’t want him to talk about how badly you keep house or how awful your cooking is in front of his buddies, would you?

Let’s be real, no men do not take care of children the same way women do, but the point is it’s not really wrong, it’s just different. No he may not know where the baby wipes are, or all the little tricks to get cranky kids to go to sleep, but he is dad and he will figure it out. Yes, he can be annoying and not do the things that we ask of him, but guess what we can be just as much a pain in the behind. Sitting around gabbing and putting our men down in front of our friends does not gain him respect among his peers and it makes us look petty and small and very in-Christian like. Emerson Eggerich put it best when he said to give love (which women need in a relationship), men need to be respected, if they aren’t then they have a very difficult time giving love. He also said that women need love. Hmmm a bit of a quandary isn’t it when we make smart aleck comments and paint detrimental word pictures about how incompetent our spouses are isn’t it?

There is nothing wrong with poking fun at a husband who procrastinates, or likes to watch an exciting sports game on TV rather than put a cranky baby to bed. It’s ok to joke about his love of corned beef hash which looks and smells like dog food, or that he has trouble matching shirts and ties, but when it comes to taking care of his children and keeping you happy, keep the derogatory comments to a minimum around your lady friends, it’s unattractive and it’s unnecessary conversation.

So Tired

woman-1006102_1920This post contains affiliate links

I don’t think I can adequately describe how tired I am. Yes, I do have some chronic illness in my life, but this tired is not the kind of exhaustion you feel while battling an illness, this is soul wrenching tired.

I am an only child, and no, I was not spoiled, let’s just get that out-of-the-way. If you met my parents you would know that was impossible. Did I get a little bit more if there was extra money? Yes, but that was only because there was just me. Being an only child was not for lack of trying on my parents part. I know they, most particular my mom, wanted more children, but it wasn’t to be. That lead to my parents being older when they had me. By today’s standards they were still young, but my parents are old souls and over 50 years ago 27 (mom) and 31 ( dad) was considered “very mature” for starting to have children. So with the scene set let me tell you why I am so tired.

My mom has dementia. It wasn’t a surprise, yet how can you ever be prepared to know that your mother is slowly losing her capability to reason. At 79 my mom cannot walk without assistance (power chair and walker), she is significantly stooped over, with a heart condition that began back in her youth, and now she sometimes does not comprehend what you said 2 minutes ago. I will admit that I am impatient on my best days, but this is really testing my mettle. Today, I think I hurt things more than I helped while we were discussing scheduled appointments.

My father, who at 82 and still works full-time as an aerospace engineer (I heard that gasp of surprise, yes full time at 82), I think, is in denial. I know he sees and hears what is happening, but to acknowledge it means that reality becomes not, IF, but WHEN. Part of the fear stems from both of them not knowing for sure that they are going to heaven. Before you ask or berate me, I have tried. I have spoken gently, directly, scripturally, and even to the point of being pushy, but my parents are tough nuts to crack (and I wonder why I become intractable at times). Dealing with my father is a whole different issue. It has been heard that while I am the executrix of my parents will,  they have left everything to my two grown sons. I don’t care about any money or things, but to be passed over in favor of my children proves a point that while I was growing up I never quite measured up. I’ve accepted that fact and I even understand a little where it comes from, but it doesn’t make the sting of that knowledge go away. My dad almost refuses to hear me when I ask them to gather their papers, and to file for power of attorney for medical and financial issues. I am not asking to be named as such, but it needs to be done so that the state does not step in when something happens. It’s been an ongoing battle for awhile now.

All of this to say that I am leaning on God and Proverbs 3:5-6,
“5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Yet, this is HARD and it is wearing me out. Consequently I have been dealing with bouts of depression because no path seems straight. I know that God will work this out and in His perfect timing, but even with that knowledge I am exhausted in mind, body and soul.

I think I am also draining myself looking for ways to help alleviate the discouragement. I am a part of the Young Living family and have been trying to come up with combinations to diffuse or put on the back of my neck, but it’s hard to isolate one symptom to try and ease. I have been scouring The Word and most especially the Psalms to give me perspective. King David’s Psalms have been some comfort as his Psalms run the gamut of human emotions which has been my life lately. Each way helps, yet when I am not actively doing them the depression settles in and sometimes takes root for a whole day. Lately it has been coming in waves and since Thanksgiving has been almost crippling at times. I will get past this, but in God’s timing. I feel this is my season of refinement and I am bucking the system.

My husband has been a wonderful support, but I fear that I will wear him out too and that would not be fair. So for now I have to hold on to the scripture I mentioned before and, Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” and Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” and most especially verse 8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Recipe For Marriage

12524327_1008648415876985_7798880142393794622_nMy husband and I are going on an adventure for the weekend. Not because our marriage needs work, not because we need to get away, but because we want to go and we sincerely enjoy being together. Oh yeah and the fact that the time between Black Friday and New Year is very busy for my husband and I will not see him much, might have a bit to do with it.

We both marvel at how many marriage seminars, weekends and workshops that are dedicated to marriage and yet we don’t attend. That’s not to say that at one point we needed so much more than just one of these marital strengthening events, but we have found our “groove” finally and for us marriage is fairly easy.

We learned how to talk about the hard stuff, that sometimes we need to go to neutral corners before we can discuss something and find a solution, that we need to present a united front in dealing with our children, that our needs as a married couple need to come before that of our children and that our boys are not our whole world, that there are days that one or both of us are just “off” and it’s just better not to make a major decision at this time.

All these things came to us because of a severe trial that found us almost divorced sharing our children every other weekend and nowhere close to having a relationship with Jesus.

I say all this because don’t think that the next seminar, speech, DVD series, weekend is going to be the panacea that will make your marriage great. What it WILL is to take is an honest look into your own heart because we each are the biggest problem in our marriages, a sincere effort on both your parts and faith in Jesus Christ.

Don’t Let Them Be Gone

candle-2905395_1920Today I was cleaning up some of my digital life and while I was adjusting things on Twitter (which I will confess I am not too savvy about tweeting) and I saw a tweet about a new song (Don’t Let Her Be Gone) from an artist that I saw a few years ago on The Voice. It was a song about how he almost lost his life and his wife was in danger of leaving this world all because of a drunk driver. It struck me odd that I didn’t focus on the addiction that caused the accident or even that he almost lost the one that was most precious here on earth to him, I focused completely on me and the fact that I am watching my parents age and most especially my mom and my first thought was, don’t let them go I am not ready.

My mother and I have a sometimes contentious, sometimes loving, sometimes frustrating relationship. The way that she raised me most definitely could have landed me on Oprah explaining why I have a difficult time showing empathy, or why I ignore health issues till they are in life threatening mode. I could have been on the therapist couch discovering why I was never quite good enough, but praise God she did love me enough that in adulthood I am able to correct those faults and issues while trying to patiently lead her to the answers she didn’t get herself.

I am an only child and lately the evidence that my parents will not be here forever has become glaringly apparent and a bit frightening. My mom is not as sharp as she used to be and she is shrinking before my eyes. Her abilities are disappearing and my patience with her at times grows thin. My father, at 82, still works full time as an aerospace engineer, so it is not so easily seen that he too is ageing and will not always be here.

So when I saw that headline for a tweet that I might not normally place too much weight, my thoughts ran to a place that even now leaves me choking up when realizing that one day soon I will utter the phrase, “Don’t Let Them Be Gone!”

Is It Good Doctrine

 

bible-428947_1920As a new believer I was once told that I had to be able to speak in tongues to be indwelt with the Holy Spirit. That was some of the most damaging words that anyone could have spoken to a new believer like me, in my opinion, and could have seriously derailed my faith and walk.

There are other beliefs out there that I think could also be just as damaging and could stumble a brother or a sister. It happens when one small piece of scripture is used to build doctrine around. I am not saying that the sincerity or earnestness of those who believe as this, and they are doubtless quite honest and well intentioned in what they claim. However, there is still deception in the thought process.

One of these is the filling of the Holy Spirit only happens if a believer speaks in tongues.  This belief creates a good bit of division in the church. Jesus never once told us that we had to speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit within us. We receive the Holy Spirit the moment we believe and the filling of the Holy Spirit is an ongoing process in the Christian life. Jesus told us that He would give us another comforter/helper, John 14:16-17 ” I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” There are no conditions that you must speak in tongues first anywhere in scripture.

Another one that puzzles me is that to complete your salvation you must be baptized. Many think that when Peter tells the Jews, who are asking how they can make their evil deed right, to repent and be baptized in Acts 2 that one must be baptized to be saved. Peter is speaking to the Jews who crucified Jesus and he is telling them that they must repent first and then be baptized since baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. Jews were not known to be baptized, so this was a big deal and a sign to all that they had changed. Further on in the verse it also proves that you don’t have to speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit because Peter says, ” ……. Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Many of these misconceptions come from teaching that takes something so simple and tweaks it to fit man’s ideas. Such as calling out over a person with an ailment, “And by His stripes you will be healed!”  It’s true by His stripes we have been healed because, “But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)

Jesus paid the price for our salvation and making statements that don’t line up exactly with scripture, but kind of do, can damage a person’s walk and their faith. Lately it looks like we are raising generations of backsliders and I believe that this kind of teaching is a glaring example of why it is happening. Context is everything!

Message From ME

messageYears ago I wrote something similar when Sandy Hook occurred and I have resurrected it at times. Today I revised it after reviewing my post from yesterday.

You have chosen to remove Me from, just about, every place where I can most certainly be of service. You have turned away from Me because you can do so well on your own. However,  when a day comes that tests you or if you are a believer, tests your faith, you ask Me, “Where were You God?” I’ll tell you where I was…..I held the hand of the little girl as she lay in a hospital taking her last breath and whispered to her that everything would be OK and that she would be with Me soon. I wrapped my arms around the mother who lost her only child to a violent act and held her while she cried. I strengthened the resolve and provided a way of escape while a man battled temptation and then I watched and placed a hedge of protection around those who protect you and the freedoms you enjoy, those who will face down evil in a country that is not their own, on a street where they fear the next person they encounter will be the one to end their lives, or who run into a burning building to save the family pet.

Yes, I have watched, my heart breaking as a man who is unstable carry out a horror that resided in his head and I made sure that he took only those whom I needed home. I have watched as a young girl took back her will and made the choice to stick a needle in her arm for the last time, and I cried bitter tears as one of Mine chose to come home before My plan for them was completed.

Now in your infirmities and fear you are finally looking to Me and asking everyone to pray. Why now? Why not yesterday, why not tomorrow? But this panic and want for comfort will fade and again you will only remember Me when it gets hard, or you will rail at Me when you don’t understand My plan.

Evil exists in the world you have created and yet many blame Me for the choices of man, wanting Me to stop what you have done. I have asked many times over that you come to Me of your own free will and yet you refuse. You scoff and complain that I don’t exist, that I should not be allowed in the places I can do the most good. My only Son’s birth shall not be displayed because, “not everyone believes in that stuff,” and forget mentioning Me in mixed company because someone might be offended. Then a reminder of the barbarity of the human race, inhumanity is displayed, or corruption begins to brew, and you ask Me “Where are You?” I am here watching and waiting for you to come to Me and making sure that no matter how bad it gets, you can go on.

Birth Pangs

earth-405096_1920So we are told in Matthew 28:6-8, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” If these times are the beginnings of  birth pangs then please someone give us an epidural!

I start each day thinking that it can’t get much worse. That somehow overnight the world will have awakened to the depravity and sorrow that it brings upon itself, and each day I am disappointed a little bit more. In the book of Mark 8:36-37, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” It’s almost as if our souls are leaking out bit by bit and yet some are not even aware or just don’t care.

The church is becoming complicit in letting quite a few things slide too just so that they can say that Jesus is love and they are showing the love of Jesus. We as Christians should be doing as Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” But yet what seems to be happening in churches all over is more of what Paul goes on to tell Timothy is verses 3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” Ministry leaders, deacons, elders and in some cases are even allowing or letting slide behaviors and choices that go directly against The Word of God because it’s easier or the church needs to be relevant.

When did we move so far away from God and so close to the fiery pit? We were warned and what makes me sad is we are, even as Christians, choosing to be of this world not just in it. (And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2)

Free Will

The question of free will has been coming up in my quiet time and in most of the Bible studies I am in. I used to have a great deal of difficulty with understanding free will. I could not wrap my head around the fact that if God knew everything then how did we truly have free will, He knew what we were going to do, so why bother giving us a choice and did we really have a choice to begin with?

Then I began pondering the question further. For argument sake let us say we have free will and the ability to choose. We come to a fork in the road and we make a decision based on the information that we have; here is where our free will and God’s omniscience comes into play. We can choose either fork, but God knows the outcome of each choice. I still wasn’t sure I was on solid ground with this assumption, so I went to a sister in Christ who is also who counsels women who come to the church for help. This lady is full of Godly wisdom and she helped me make sense of what I was pondering. I hope my illustrations can fully explain it to you.

We each make decisions in life and they add up to our experience and help to make us who we are. We also come a to cross-road where we have to decide to zig or zag and the total of those zigs and zags is us. I typed a number that is beneath this blue square.

total

 I have also typed out a chart consisting of 36 numbers in a grid pattern

first

I asked a friend to choose a number on the grid

second

She chose 15. Now think of that number as a major life decision, like what college you are going to attend. Once you have chosen that you have knocked out all the other choices around that one (i.e. other colleges you could attend).

third

I asked her to choose another number. This would be another life choice like who to marry (#26). Then that would knock out all the other men in her life that she could have chosen to marry out of the running.

We continued on in this vein until we had covered the chart with life choices and knocked out all the other options.

sixthI added all the circled numbers together. 1+10+15+24+26+35=111 and then I revealed what number was under the blue square.

total revealWhen I was shown this it confirmed for me that I did indeed have free will because I made the choices each time I came to a fork in the road (whether I did it prayerfully or in my flesh), but God knew the outcome no matter what choice I made.

It helped me to come to terms with His omniscience. Right now in my precepts study we are in the book of Genesis and we just finished where Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This whole exercise helped me comprehend at least a little of the reasoning behind why the tree existed and why we were given free will, but still are made to praise and worship Him. I don’t have it down pat, but I do kinda sort of “get it”.

Yeah still in that whole “work in progress” section of life, but it’s not a bad place to be.

girl-smiley-face

Anxiety In The Pain

Back for blogI have found it incredibly hard to write as of late. Having moved and trying to put my house in order has taken up a lot of my patience and a lot of my time. I have also been not feeling up to par. I thought it was stress, but this is becoming a real issue and is wearing me out. Then there is the scariest thing…..

In 2013 I had major back surgery. I had gotten to the point of having to use either a walker or a scooter to get around because my back had gotten so bad that my legs would randomly stop working. I saw an excellent specialist and I became the owner of two rods 4 screws and three cadaver discs. It was a long recovery, but afterward I was so grateful that I could walk again even if there were twinges of pain it was nothing.

Then comes the big move. I was feeling some pain off and on and had some difficulty doing the tasks that usually came naturally, but being overweight and having to pack up a whole house was what I thought was the main contributor to the problem. Now the boxes are primarily moved in and while I am still overweight the pain is increasing at an alarming rate and I will admit, I am scared.

I have had to sincerely focus on Philippians 4:6-9, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” to just get by lately.  When you are in pain it is hard to find that for which to be thankful. I am thankful that for now I can still walk, I am thankful that the pain is not overwhelming, I am glad that my husband is understanding and helps all he can, I am thankful that no matter what happens with my back I am breathing and able to enjoy my family and our new house. I have struggled to find the peace of God, but I know it’s there and while it has been fleeting moments there at least have been moments.

I will make an appointment with the specialist as soon as I can, but I am anxious Lord, help me to focus on the steps I need to take to lessen the pain and not drown out your still small voice.