Thursday, October 21, 2021
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Remember the iconic scene in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex was chasing the jeep? Jeff Goldblum's character was in the backseat (thus closest to the gaping jaws of the huge dinosaur) and he said, "Must...go...faster!"
We don't really know how fast we are able to go until the Lord provides motivation via life circumstances. I feel certain that our Lord prefers not to frighten us into cooperation, and so we probably will not find ourselves being pursued by wild animals. But we can rest assured that the God who created us knows us so well that He is able to motivate us to greater effort to obey His instruction. His strategies may indeed cause an adrenaline rush followed by the recognition that we are able to move a little faster than we thought. The comforts of complacency rarely work toward the Lord's purposes.
God always keeps His promises. Lord, help us to move as quickly as we are able toward the fruition of the blessings You have promised us through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!
Sunday, September 19, 2021
The other night I awoke with John 8:36 in my mind: "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
Since my mom's death from Alzheimer's disease, I have been struggling with grief issues; not just the sorrow of the final parting, but from something like post-traumatic stress from my years of caregiving. Nearly 20 years before she died, I lost my mother as she had once been as she began suffering signs of dementia.
The truth the Lord wanted me to receive through this Scripture is that my path forward is not to be defined by grief; Jesus sets us free from the crippling power of sorrows, past or present.
When we are sad we can't be happy simply by deciding to do so. When we are depressed we can't "snap out of it" at will. However, we can choose to believe that all sorrows are comforted in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
"Sometimes we nurture anger toward the Lord, but this is self-defeating. It is a divine paradox that the only comfort for our injuries lies in the arms of Him who allowed the blows to fall. We don't have to understand, but we do need to trust. The decision to trust takes place in the will and not in the emotions, and so even on our most difficult days we can agree with King David's words: 'But I trust in you O Lord, I say, 'You are my God, my times are in your hands'' (Psalm 31:14.)"**
**from 100 Days to Freedom: Release from the Self-Condemnation of Overweight, day 89
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
One of the difficulties of transitioning to the role of caregiver for a parent is dealing with grief of loss. Parents often provide nurture and counsel well into their children's adulthoods; my mom certainly did. And so when Mom stopped cooking for us and lost interest in the daily details of my life, I was angry and grief-stricken.
Earlier this week a friend and I were talking about the difficulty of not casting blame when other people let us down. We came up with a pretty simple prayer from the perspective of frail and fallible human beings who are walking side-by-side along life's path with other frail and fallible human beings:
Dear Lord, help me speak when I need to speak, remain silent when I need to remain silent, and pray when I need to pray. It isn’t as though other people can keep me from what I need; that’s the devil’s lie! All I need spiritually and emotionally resides in my relationship with You. Help me look to my own obedience so that in every present moment I choose Your will rather than my own. I release those nearest to me from the heavy responsibility of meeting my heart's needs, and pray to increasingly find all my needs met in you.
As they make music they will sing,
“All my fountains are in you.”
Saturday, March 27, 2021
This morning a Facebook friend said she'd had a rocky 2021, and asked for Bible verses that provide help in time of need. I posted my life verse, Isaiah 41:10: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." I often wake up with these words going through my head. All my life I've been prone to the anxiety of fear, and I often have to pray through to peace following an initial fearful response.
Earlier this week I noticed a that my left arm had a rashy appearance. I remembered a scary account I'd read online of someone who had a similar rash and later died, and I panicked. I called our local doctor's office and, still feeling so frightened that my blood pressure tested 20 points higher than usual, poured out my fears to the nurse practitioner. He judged that I was being silly, and he all but rolled his eyes. With exaggerated patience he explained, "Sometimes, when we are upset, our skin becomes reactive." I felt patronized, foolish, and humiliated.
I had not been upset until I noticed the rash, but in retrospect I realized I'd become overheated as I sat cozily in front of our propane heater, reading. When I'd stepped outside into cooler air, the rash had faded, so that all that was apparent by the time I reached the doctor's office was slightly mottled skin. I felt terribly embarrassed and foolish, and sat through the rest of the visit with downcast eyes, making mumbled excuses and replies to medical questions unrelated to the rapidly disappearing rash.
I made a couple of errors that day. Had I stopped to pray, the Lord would have kept me at home. Indeed, I did send a panicked prayer heavenward, felt the Lord say "This is nothing to worry about," and I ignored Him! I don't know why I gave way to fear as I did. But when I got back home and asked forgiveness, I felt no condemnation from the Lord, only reassurance, the kindness I craved, assurance that He is my advocate, and love. And, sweetly, He also provided the solace of a dear friend who felt so badly for me that tears of empathy came to her eyes. The Lord's compassion as expressed through her was a great blessing.
The Lord does not meet our fear with condemnation although there may be gentle reproach; I think of Jesus with an almost amused expression on His face as He pulls Peter from the churning waves. But most of all He shows compassion and hurries to our aid with truth-speaking, calming, forgiveness and love. Jesus does not patronize or ridicule us when we are afraid, He reminds us of who He is, and calms us with His comfort and truth.
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
The prayer at the beginning of this post and the reading below are from my book, 100 Days to Freedom: Release From the Self-Condemnation of Overweight, published in 2016. This was near the end of my time as primary caregiver for my mother, who had Alzheimer's. It is entitled Doesn't He Leave the Ninety-Nine:
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.