Archive | April 2016

When we cry, Abba, Father…

My heart is in knots. I have an orphan named Andriy near the top of my prayer list. And a teen named Bo because he is fighting cancer as is a baby named Emily. Also a toddler named Jason…

I want to find a forever family for Andriy. Someone to not only host him (Host Ukraine.org) for the summer, but to love and care for him every day. He needs my Father most of all.

My whole extended family has spent the past four years yearning and praying over my brother and his wife and their two little ones as they have battled her stage four cancer for that long. It feels like a lifetime. So when I hear of young people and little ones facing that same battle, well, it is a big deal.

The only resource I have to share is my prayers and words of love. I don’t even have TIME to focus long hours on a prayer list. I pray popcorn prayers. Lord, Father, please help Andriy gain a loving family. Please help and heal Bo, Jason, and Emily. Whoever comes to my mind pops into my prayers.

Every child of the Most High God IS adopted, called, and chosen. You and I have a right to His throne room.

Not only do I claim the legal righteousness of Jesus, I call upon God as my Father. Like a little child with an endless list of questions and requests, I come to Him not even knowing the best way to pray. Often I feel helpless.

This is the kicker! The God of the Universe who calls all the stars by name — He knows MY name. He knows YOUR name.

He wants His children to come to Him. You and I cannot wear out our welcome at His throne of grace. As I am a super busy working  Mom, I cannot fathom ever having enough time for my child!  I never have enough time. I am too busy.

My Father never sleeps. He never tires of my child-like requests, my popcorn prayers.

Where am I getting all this information, this belief system about my Father, you may be wondering. The books of Romans and Hebrews in the Bible are full of these truths. All the books of John speak of the Father-child relationship. From Old to New Covenants it is woven through Scripture.

Do you and I always get what we ask for?

Does any good parent always say yes to their child?  Sometimes we say no selfishly. Sometimes we say no wisely. Other times we say no because we have no resources to grant. But our Father in heaven gives and takes in love, always for our good and His glory. His resources are unlimited! Join me in sending those popcorn requests. We cannot wear out our Father. Sometimes we just need that nudge to keep on praying .

 

 

Rejoicing in hope: week 16

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Seems like my commitment to post encouragement has unleashed a non-stop flow of discouraging circumstances.

Go figure! But if life was all peaches and cream we wouldn’t have much in common, would we?  Furthermore, we are in good company. While we never hear of Jesus experiencing bodily illness, we do see him spending a great deal of time ministering to the sick. He was with them, taught them, healed them, and showed compassion for them.

At the very least, I know where to go for hope. “That we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4

What is worse, a few of my dear friends are experiencing really tough times right now as well. Now is the time where the rubber meets the road. Do we just have a sunny day, life-is-good kind of faith?  Or do we have the on-your-knees, let’s pray about this, kind of faith? I love how Paul prays for his friends. One of his many prayers is Romans 15:13

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Another friend told me today that while her husband was dying of cancer, sometimes she would just go in another room and sing songs of faith. It almost always made her feel better. I know time spent in prayers with a needy friend this week brightened my week. So I pray hope, joy, and peace in believing for you. Please pray for me as well.

 

Attitude Adjustment: Week 15

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Ever feel like you are down in a deep mud pit and cannot seem to climb out? 

When I spoke to my friend, faithful spouse of a chronically ill husband until his death, about guest posting for me, she said, “Oh, but I didn’t always have the right attitude!” I assured her that every single wife of a chronically ill husband I have ever talked to has had the same struggle. Husbands and wives, sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, all experience this battle. Married, celibate, rich, or poor — loving one another well goes against the grain.

When you walk in the door, tired from work, and your husband greets you once again with the true tale of his sufferings for the day…

How many of your husbands are mostly positive and upbeat about their illness? How many are very intentional about doing the best they can to function to the best of their ability however limited it may be?  Or do you find stretches of days or weeks where the shadows outnumber the light?

Well, I can tell you, as the months turn into years and the body continues to break down, the emotional, mental, and physical battle with daily chronic pain is wearing both for the sufferer and the caregiver. Rejoicing in the Lord always is like running the middle stretch of a marathon.  If you haven’t faced this type of battle before, don’t judge!  Even if you have, don’t judge! Your situation is/was different in some key way.  Christ does not crush the bruised reeds.

When you have to remember and keep up with all the important dates, bills, and responsibilities…

My lovely neighbor told me about how her husband of thirty years had a massive heart attack and was told by his doctor if he did work of any kind it would kill him. Suddenly she had all the responsibilities of  her husband as well as her own normal duties. Months, maybe years went by before he did pass away.

“Some days I just longed to have someone take care of me again. It was so hard.” Now she is married to a kind man who cares for her in so many ways. It is beautiful to see.

When your husband puts on his game face for friends, but you see the crash and burn coming…

Like today! My husband made it to church, was chipper, and stayed late to enjoy the fellowship. He looked and acted pretty normal. But, he slept most of the way to church and most of the way home while I drove. He crawled into bed as soon as he got home. I paused a few moments ago to massage his badly cramping leg and find a med for him. “I guess I stood around for too long talking.”

Or the weekend recently when he attempted a car repair with a big burly friend. Having a friend help made the talk and laughter flow. Hours went by. I’m sure the friend thought my husband was just fine. But he did not see my husband load up on pain meds before, or the days he spent in bed afterwards.

Reminding yourself that God will not leave you or your spouse alone in your suffering will adjust your attitude.

I told a friend recently that I wished there was a daily saint pill I could swallow. Ha! Not so…

Somedays my heartfelt prayer is just this: God, you know all about this. I can’t fix it. It is more than I can handle on my own. Then I turn to the lives of the saints in the Bible.   Almost every single one failed to respond in faith and gratitude at some point in their life. But God was faithful. God is faithful. God always will be faithful. So, I am reaching out a weary hand to my sisters who are down in the mud pit with me. Climb out! Reach for the light, joy, and strength found in Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

“But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

 

The New “Normal”

Life is a pilgrimage of varying lengths.

This week I watched my daughter’s heart break. Not for the first time. Not for the last. Over the past month she anticipated the arrival of her new kitten as Maggie-moo, the momma cat, grew rounder. Last Sunday she was by my side as I coaxed momma cat through the final stages of labor. One large kitten emerged. An only kitten for an only child seemed so appropriate.

Every day this week she visited her kitten at Grandma’s. She watched him nurse, sleep, and squeak in tiny, adorable mews. She was in love. But it breathed its last breath, no one knows why, and Grandma called with the news. Watching your child suffer is, well, torture.

You and I know this pilgrimage is hard!

If you are reading this blog, I can only imagine the reason is that you have something very hard in your life that your are facing. Who else would read it!?! Suffering is not a favorite, popular topic. Most of us would rather avoid talking about the pain in our lives.  If we could take the suffering away for our children and loved ones, we would! What do I tell my girl when she wonders why?

Sorrow and suffering began in a garden.

Satan is the number one culprit, but Adam and Eve also ruined God’s perfect, beautiful world. If you are a Bible-reader, the beginnings of life on earth is a familiar truth. Genesis 1 and 2 are full of so much life and joy. Every single thing is good: plants, creatures, man, and woman. My heart cringes when I read chapter 3. I hide in shame and sorrow with Adam and Eve.

He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.

“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.” Isaiah 53:4-5. Unlike all the mythical gods ever imagined in the minds of men, our God does not leave mankind alone in his misery.  He redeems His children through the voluntary death of His only beloved Son Jesus. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“Behold, I make all things new.”

Hold on! Wait for it! And when it comes you will SURELY know because John of Revelations 21:2-5 writes, ” I heard a LOUD voice from heaven saying, ‘ Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people. God himself will be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more sorrow, nor death, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’. And He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I will make all things new’. And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are TRUE and faithful’.”

Remember, there is a new day coming!

Revelation 20 is not where you want to be. In what chapter do you find your future life unfolding? You can experience redemption! Love and hope are possible. This old troubled world will come to an end.  I wish I could take away all my daughter’s hurts and woes. But I can point her to Jesus as long as I have breath. He will bear her griefs and sorrows with her in a way that I cannot. The same is true for you, my friend.