For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Pity Party

Psalm 34:17-18
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

My left knee throbs, the spot between my shoulder blades along my spine aches, my thumb joints scream at me. I have arthritis and fibromyalgia. Let me tell you, some days I just plain hurt. I'm not writing this to gain sympathy, it's just part of my life now. What I want to say is I've gained empathy for others who ache and hurt from physical pain. God has provided me an excellent rheumatologist who helps me manage the pain. And God has blessed me through this. He's given me new insight into what others go through. Sometimes illness isn't visible, sometimes handicaps aren't seen, so I'll not judge the person who parks in a handicapped spot and looks "fine". They may not be.

public image domain
There's another side to the physical pain, There's the emotional and spiritual battle. For awhile I was angry because I could no longer embroidery, something I'd enjoyed since I was six years old. I could no longer hand-quilt or sew for any length of time by hand. I struggle to crochet, and I've had to adjust to walking slower and in shorter increments. Here's a funny. I like to sit on the floor-but guess what, it's not pretty when I have to get up. As all of these changes to my body have taken place, I've been brokenhearted. I've cried out to God the typical "WHY?" I've felt sorry for myself and been grumpy. But you know what? In the midst of my pity party I felt the Holy Spirit's nudge. He said pray. Pray for healing. The healing wasn't for my body, it was for my attitude, my selfishness, and yes my pathetic spirit. So I've prayed. I've asked God for comfort and peace with my situation. And He's poured it over me. I still struggle sometimes (and I'd say I hit my knees, but I can't physically do that) so I sit down and bow my head and seek my Father who loves me. The One who has healed my crushed spirit. I praise God that He's always there for me.

What do you need to turn over to God?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Change Happens

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It's the time of year when winter is trying to figure out when to give in to spring. On Monday we had a two-hour delay due to snow, by Friday the snow was melted with sixty-degree temperatures. The change of seasons is a normal occurrence in southwest Ohio, so I'm used to it. But what about other types of change. I admit I'm not fond of change. And it happens. Often. But more often than not, adjustment to a new situation brings good stuff. Even though I may fret and moan, an alteration in life may produce better circumstances, new people, and positive growth. But even positive growing pains don't always feel good. Sometimes they flat out hurt.

But the good news is, when I know a change has come directly from God and is not something I've caused due to selfish reasons, I have that wonderful peace that passes understanding. Even when I know the change may have a foggy future of uncertainty, God calms my heart and carries me through. I'm so thankful I have a God who understands me and knows what I need, all the time. So even though the temperature varies and life throws curve balls, God leads me through. He guards my heart and mind and I praise him for that. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

All or Nothing

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

I've heard these verses so many times; at weddings, around Valentine's Day, and in sermons. And at times I separated out the parts of the whole as if they could stand alone. But, for love to never fail, I must cultivate all parts of God's love in my heart, then plant the seeds in others. To truly love my husband, children, parents, siblings, and friends, I want to help them become the person God created them to be. In other words, I want to put them above myself, encourage their talents, and give them opportunity. That's the opposite of what often happens in the world.

So if I love someone, it's all or nothing. Patience and kindness don't work without hope and trust. Rejoicing in truth is way better than being envious and boastful. No one knows this better than Jesus. He loved me so much He gave his all. He came to live on earth knowing He'd die with the burdens of many. Through no fault of His, he carried my sin to the cross. Just as God promised, His love never fails.

Friday, February 5, 2016

What Are You Waiting For?

Psalm 27:13-14
I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Waiting on the train
A few years ago, I went to the zoo with my daughter and her two children. We wanted to see everything we could, but one of the highlights of Zeke's day was the train ride. The little engine pulled a string of cars around a section of the zoo, so visitors could see the swans on the lake and several other animals. He could hardly wait for his turn around the track.

How often do I ask God for something and don't wait on the answer? I don't want to stand in line for a confirmation. I want to dive in even though I know He has a plan and knows my needs. And how difficult, because of my human nature, is it to wait on God? My prayer might be, "But God, I need that now." Or "God, I don't have time for this." Then there's "This is perfect for me, isn't it? Maybe not. Can you just tell me?" When I'm waiting on an answer from God, I'm not as patient as I should be. My mind plays games and dreams up ridiculous scenarios of how something should go. That's when I have to pop myself in the head with my Bible (not literally) and remind myself that to wait on the Lord is a good thing.

I love what the Psalm says about seeing the Lord's goodness in the land of the living. The place of the people who trust in Him. I can be confident in His promise. With an obedient heart I need to be strong, take heart, and wait.

What are you waiting for? Have you sent your request to God?

Praise God for his wisdom and mercy.