Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 6 of 6 (Follow Up)

IMG_20190324_153532Week Six

Well here we are my lovely Lord and Savior… the Preserver of my soul… the Bright and Morning Star… the Bearer of my weary soul. How much You have given me through this study… so many thoughts of encouragement and delightful pieces of You to share. Yet all I can give You today in this post is thanking You for allowing me to accomplish this moment… if You allow me to get it typed, pictures added, and posted.

Truth Six: Let the success of others encourage not discourage you.
Combating Verse: 2 Corinthians 10:12 KJV
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.IMG_20190324_153610

So much has happened while I have been struggling just to make it from moment to moment. If I don’t get this typed, I fear it won’t. So many of the wonderful things You have brought me and done for me, and for those around me are lost in my inability to remember… word for word… day by day… or moment to moment. But I remember in moments that make me smile, or at least help me bear my burden (my cross) as we are all called to do. But I will share what You will allow.

I remember the sweet sleep in the car, the fondness of a friend, and excitement to be joining many more dear friends. I remember I was so excited to finally get a Sprig of Joy fundraiser can!

I remember Keitha being excited to let us know Nicki Koziarz is coming to her Keitha’s church on June 20th. Nicki is the author of this ladies bible study we’ve been doing:
Rachel & Leah: What Two Sisters Teach Us About Combating Comparison.
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I remember being blessed by the daily devotionals for each morning.

Day One: Where God Speaks6.2.11Day one reminded me of one of the key figures we are easy to forget was an important part in all of the comparison and hardship that Jacob, Laban, Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah were all tangled up in. Esau was Jacob’s first rival. It was Jacob who struggled with jealousy and comparison. His actions toward Esau were exactly those of Laban towards Jacob. And Jacob gained the same ill character in his wives and father in law, the same ill character that his children would inherit. The deception Jacob learned from the whisper of his mother Rebecca to usurp what was rightfully his brother Esau’s, would be the same deception Laban would whisper into the ear of his daughter Leah to deceive Jacob on his wedding night after he had labored hard seven long years for Rachel.

Day Two: Go To That Place6.2.12Day Two had me thinking that of all of the places I have been… according to Your will or by my own foolish wisdom. I would rather be wherever You lead me… be wherever You are, and am grateful that You are willing to go wherever I have strayed to lovingly lead me home. Where You are, I want to go to that place.

Day Three: A New Name6.2.13Day Three makes me joyfully think on that new name You tell me You have written down for me in heaven… a new name that only You know and will whisper into my ear. It reminds me of when I started using my middle name as my new name… Gail. My family calls me BrendaGail. It makes me think of the many names changes in Your word… Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Noah to Noe, Saul to Paul, and of course Jacob to Israel. It also reminds me of the sad news of Rachel’s death. It was sad to know how her life had been. Never happy… always living her life in comparison.

Day Four: Party of 126.2.14Day four has me thinking on all of those children born out of manipulation and deception. Yet even in the midst of a dysfunctional family, You created the twelve tribes of Israel, and the lineage from which Jesus was born. It reminds me of when I once felt “barren,” and for years was constantly provoked by all the other girls who had babies, some three or four. They were very cruel. Yet just like Hannah, it was when I made a particular petition and vow that You answered my prayer. And that was before I had read Your bible, and I was a single teenage mom. I don’t know why You allowed things that seem contrary to Your word. I only know that You give life, Lord. Praise Your name!

Day Five: Spiritual Gifts Survey6.2.15Day five had a survey to discern our spiritual gifts. I was began with making sure I only answered between 2 and 4, but was soon all over the place. I leave the results to You because just as we are trusting the outcome to You, we know that You have allowed us to answer the questions that made the score. So as our thinking is (flawed or right on), it will determine what we score.

I have so many blogging friends who have enjoyed the “quizzes” for themselves. Lord, help them to be able to read the pictures. I know in times past, I would have went through the hard work (with joy) to type it out in a neat format aligning the book, but You and I both know I am blessed that the media devices finally charged and worked!
Thank You! 🙂

Dear friends, if you can not read one just let me know. I will type it for you.
There are 80 questions, and score as read above in the previous picture.6.2.16

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Scoring Your Survey
Here are the directions.
There are 16 areas of spiritual gifts listed.
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Graphing Your Profile6.2.24

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My spiritual gifts scored
1. Giving
2. Faith
3. Prophecy

This surprised me considering when I read the sixteen possibilities, I only “had faith” in Faith. The others seemed like actions… involving others. I do not know why my self esteem has went so far to the basement lately, but I know God doesn’t want it there. How can I love my neighbor as God does if I cannot even love myself as my God loves me
(And the second [commandment] is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
– Matthew 22:39 KJV
)
I am to believe in who He makes me.
I am a child of the Living King… the One True God!
I can do ALL things through Christ Jesus, which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)
How much more giving can one be than to share God’s love… genuine true love?

So then the question was asked…
How has God been speaking to you throughout this study about the situations where you are comparing yourself? How does humility play a role in what God is showing you?6.2.26My health is what it is. He has blessed me many days, and with encouraging and wise, and very patient therapists, nurses, doctors. I need to be thankful, and accept where I am is what God has planned for me… at least right now. Regardless of where that is and what it looks like or feels like, or lives like, I am to love who I am in Him, and to share that love with others. God has known my life long before I did, and as The Great Physician He has every right to do whatever He wants with it to bring glory to His name. Even in and ESPECIALLY in my weaknesses He is made strong.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

In that giving to others… PRAYER is ONE of the most loving things we can give and do. I am blessed to have the prayer requests below to take with me. I pray as often as the Lord allows. This week we had prayed in our small groups, but kept our own prayer cards. Marilyn was excited to share a praise that her friend Etiska did not have cancer after all!! Such good news among what seems like a sea of cancer anymore. We were excited to share in her news, especially after praying with her.6.2.27This is what one of my dear sisters in Christ reminded me… because I am sharing with them in prayer my burdens, they will be able to rejoice with me in what I so easily think is trivial to others but is every bit huge to me and my health.

Just as they rejoiced with me over hearing my stepdad’s complete lung work up and blood work came back good while they have been helping me pray as the doctors work to find the cause of Bobby’s already terrible lung health to be even worse lately. His lung specialist still thinks it’s Bobby’s CPAP issues. So the ladies continue to help me to pray for him. 

And when he sent messages to “thank the girls” and let them know he is praying for them too, the ladies would send the same messages back to him.

As for my health… my lymphedema and lipedema are flaring up the most… along with the things my doctors are already trying to help me with. Sometimes there are great and effective treatments for one health issue but is either hindered by another,  or actually causes more problems that actually render the original problem tolerable. Sometimes I simply have to deal with both. I am trying to use the wraps as much as possible, but my spinal damage is making things so challenging. My positive is to know at least this time I have had a lot of help in my physical therapists whereas last time, I had no help so it was the bandages right off.6.2.10

On top of that prayer need, I have received a Jury Duty Summons6.2.9

I do not know how my Jury Duty Summons will play into the wraps and needing to elevate my legs, but I know that God is well aware of my needs, and am blessed to have friends who will pray with me.

I miss the ladies bible study!
I don’t know if I’ll be able to attend when Nicki comes to Keitha’s church.
But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know He watches me… and them. 😉

 

 

Prayer Update on Shian 7.22.18

Prayer Warriors, fellow Cancer Survivors and Patients, and dear friends who have been helping me to pray for my friend Shian since mentioning her prayer need back in December of last year when I posted Gifts 2017 #21 Prayer Warriors, I have a praiseworthy update and a request for continued prayer.

Shian has given me permission to share
her update from her Facebook page with you.
Praise God for the smiles on Shian and Darryll’s faces! 🙂
37271062_10215759539362892_214038234907279360_nFive months ago today, I finished my fourth round of chemo, and then we decided to stop treatments. I have been in remission since December, but the doctors remind us there is no cure and much more treatment is needed to keep the cancer away longer. We, and many of you, prayed for weeks about this decision. We know God works through medicine but we also know He can heal without it, it’s all miraculous. So today, we celebrate five months of leaving it with Him. We pray constantly for encouragement, for confirmation, for direction and we give praise for every single day my remission continues. Don’t stop praying over us and praising with us. #fullofGodnotfear

I am so excited for her good news and absolutely continue to pray with and for her. I LOVE her hashtag #fullofGodnotfear (Full of God, Not Fear). Many of you really loved her picture from her announcement of her diagnosis and the beginning of her battle. So I share it again below along with a link to that post for those who may have missed it or joined us since, as I know you praise and pray with me!
Thank you again for helping me to pray for her! Me & God love you! ❤shian.1Gifts 2017 #21 Prayer Warriors

❤ Me and God love you too, Shian!! ❤

 

6.11.18 Update 2: Kimberly’s PCT Hike

An update for those helping me pray for Cousin Kimberly (aka Legs, trail name) as she hikes the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) from Mexico to Canada.

Kimberly is having so much fun! You see it in her smiles! My favorite pictures! She has so many other photos on her blog of so many friends that she has made along the way. She even has so many videos.

(Reminder: I don’t reblog or link the blog because of some of the language and  I have so many young people actively following my blog, as well as several friends who are Pastors, Evangelists, Worships Leaders, and serving in ministry in many different ways. I love my cousin and have been led by the Lord to pray for Kimberly on her journey! I am so grateful for those helping me pray for her! Kimberly has expressed how much she loves everyone praying for her!)

If you would like to make an extra note of encouragement to let Kimberly (aka Legs) know you are praying for her, note in your comment where in the world you are!

I love that so many from so many countries are helping me to pray for my cousin! God made her to be an awesome woman! Thank you! Me and God love you! ❤

 

 

ME AND GOD LOVE YOU, KIMBERLY (AKA LEGS)!

Gifts 2017 #21 Prayer Warriors

Christmas Countdown: Prayer Warriors are a gift. They are such a blessing and so encouraging. I have many friends who are in need of prayer and encouragement this Christmas season. Please help me to pray for them.

shian.1Shian is dear to me. She led our bible study, and the Lord used her during a very challenging time of my life. I memorized the entire book of James. I cannot tell you how it helped me through multiple MRIs and other imaging, doctor appointments and procedures, and more. May the Lord return than blessing and encouragement to Shian. Her back fracture led to finding she has cancer (multiple myeloma) in her plasma cells throughout her body. At this point she is continuing chemotherapy and will prepare for a stem cell transplant. This is her with her husband, daughter, and son-in-law.

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I do not know what God has ahead for Shian, but I know He is a God that can! Heal! Comfort! Just this week Crystal (my friend that you have been helping me to pray for during her chemo treatments this summer to combat her Hodgkin’s lymphoma) found out she is Cancer free! She is a survivor! Praise God!

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There are still many others who need us to pray for them, including many of you on WordPress who are dealing with your own struggles. Christmas continues even though someone doesn’t feel well. The year will completely end and a new one begin. We need our prayer warriors… and we need to be one! May God bless you each one who prays. Lord, please be with my friend, Shian and her family. Help Crystal to continue to be well. Be with each one who needs you. Thank you for allowing us to pray for one another.

“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
– James 5:13-16 KJV

 

 

The Gift of Kindness

Dear Lord, how kind You’ve been to me through so many. I was writing to You the other day about Losing… It. I had a very challenging day because I am mixing up my appointments, my medicines, even my conversations. The next day was just as bad with my making it to an appointment I “didn’t have,” and “did not” have a follow up because I had “not” the conversation I thought I had with my therapist. At least I wasn’t missing one! 😉 I had to bring these things to You.

“If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction”
– Job 10:15 KJV
“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.”
– Psalm 71:1 KJV

It was all I could do to stay awake under the wheel. I had not eaten, so in trying to do so I found myself waking up choking on my food. This is where my son took the wheel, and kept an eye out on for me eating. Once we got home I was able to finish a part of my meal and fell asleep.

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”
– Hebrews 4:9 KJV

I slept from 6:30PM and woke up at 3:30am… without even a flinch. This is a big deal for me because of my struggle to sleep. It helped that my son had the night off, and I had no morning appointments. I used the bathroom, ate a bite to take more meds, and within in an hour fell asleep again until 9am. I awoke rested, and was able to rest peacefully for 3 hours while doing devotions and check in online. Oh did You allow the kindness to continue!

“And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.’
– 2 Peter 1:7 KJV

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:11 KJV

So many kind and encouraging comments from others. Such emboldening comments from fierce prayer warriors and encouraging warriors! The battle that was waging on my behalf! Wow the thoughts I’m ashamed to say that were not in range, but You sure shot them my way with Denise, Piers, Arnya, Margaret, LaBranda, Natasha, Heather, KJ, Anita, and so many others through likes and e-mails. How delighted was my soul, lifted by Your loving edification. WordPress itself is filled with such a rich community of believers, and those who have chosen that good thing that will not be taken from them. They took the time to stop, listen, and encourage.

“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
– Luke 10:41-42 KJV

Being so rested actually makes me feel like I’m in a strange fog… like I’m out of place… and need to get myself together to be capable… and yet I feel too peaceful to rush just yet. How about we just led You lead, and trust the rest of the way to You. That sounds and feels much better. How about I follow Your wisdom. How about I just appreciate the abundant joy found in Your kindness, and in the kindnesses of those You send my way. You are so beautiful in all Your ways! Help me to trust them… always!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
– Proverbs 3:5 KJV
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”
– Proverbs 30:5 KJV

Thankful 2017.5 Prayer Warriors

Lord, tonight I am mindful to thank You for prayer warriors. I have a friend who wants me to go to a Christian Concert with her. As I was checking out the details online, as she had asked me to do, I called her to give her the needed info. She was having a very scary spell. She was having a racing heart rate and feeling pretty much like she did last year when she ended up in the hospital because she had passed out. They determined it was her heart. She was scared but doing a great job to intentionally calm herself. She was home alone for this moment. She wanted to avoid the hospital. So we talked for a bit. Then she went for a walk to wind down some more. When she returned we talked some more.
While she was on her walk, my stepdad prayed with me for her. He is such a prayer warrior. Day and night. If you ask him to pray, he stands, sometimes takes your hand, and takes a name before Your throne. No hesitation. No timidity. He prays. He praises. He trusts You to answer before he is even finished praying. I thank You for prayer warriors, and for allowing me the privilege to be one. May I always trust everything and everyone to You! And as I close this note, I pray for her again. Look after her, Lord. You are her comfort, and her healing. We trust in Your name, in Your Word, and in Your promises. In Jesus’ loving name, Amen.

30 Posts Challenge: Follow Up

30 Posts Truth Challenge BadgeHi Guys! Just wanted to share with all of you who came along my journey of posting 30 true aspects about myself that you may not know… the AWARD from our dearest Fatima aka Splendor In Embers! Praise the Lord for using her to challenge me… in many ways!! Wanting to encourage someone I love and care about blessed and encouraged me!

By opening up myself to sharing truths with others, we spoke on these things below:
1. Introducing myself
2. Me and God
3. Me and Writing
4. Me and Anthoni
5. Me and Foster Care, part 1
6. Me and Foster Care, part 2
7. Me and My Fireworks
8. Me and Anxiety, part 1
9. Me and Anxiety, part 2
10. Me and Anxiety, part 3
11. Me and Depression
12. Dying to Self
13. Friday the 13th (A Blessed Day)
14. Designed to Follow
15. How a Devo Becomes A Poem
16. The Devo Poem
17. “Crucify him! Crucify Him!”
18. I Mourn, I Grieve (Edited)
19. What Makes Me Happy
20. River Baptism
21. I Love to Sing Hymns
22. God Speaks, I Listen!
23. Bearing One Another’s Burdens (as a Prayer Warrior)
24. A Friend Loveth at All Times
25. I’m a Very Private Person
26. My Fear of God
27. Ripping Your Heart out
28. My 2017 Solar Eclipse Experience
29. One Last Aspect
30. Challenging You

Along this journey, the Lord used His whispers, His nudges, and His many resources for encouraging me! Lovely A and her Self Care Challenge was a part of those resources! There are others I can’t mention, but you know who you are. Thank You for letting God use you to help me “fly” within God’s gift of life. And what would I do without InnerManTheatre… my patient son for his feedback and tech support (and Anita!).

I praise Him for each of you who took to read  (while patiently waiting for me to learn my way), for reaffirming His whispers (with your likes and follows) to be meant for more than just myself. Your comments allowed God to fill my cup with blessings. And the Awards! So unexpected! All crowns to lay at His feet! God bless you, Lovely A!

My Dearest Fatima, How grateful I am to God for you! For your challenge! For your heart. Please know I am praying for you and your precious family as often as God allows. You’ve always been dear to our family! You ARE family! Thank you for my AWARD!

If you are interested about this Challenge, you might be delightfully surprised to know that you do not have to wait for someone to nominate you, as I have read some of you have for quite some time. You only have to accept and post. See for yourself her 3 rules posted here. Praying for each of you! God loves you! ❤

Unfortunately Right (Texas Flooding update #2)

Four days later, and unfortunately the expectations were right in that the death count went up from 9 to 19 (well last I saw on the news late last night). 6 of them were 2 grandparents with 4 great grandchildren in a van together. A son was the sole survivor.

Another loss in that count was an officer who was on h  is way in the early morning hours to help others. Also a well known and loved coach who had been a part of helping to rescue others. 

This devastation continues as the waters are still rising in some areas. Rivers and different waters have to take their course in going downstream, which adds more water to lower areas already flooded.

 I’m not sure why, but the National Guard and other Official Rescue teams coming to help stopped ALL rescues from continuing after dark, regardless of the urgency. I understand the threat. It’s just hard after watching local volunteers save thousands because they still went out after dark (as untrained rescuers).I thought our military trained for such things.

Another unfortunate right is the looting that unfortunately is happening. Some things are down right evil. News reports were warning and reassuring at the same time that individuals were going to homes impersonating immigration officers to enter and rob homes.

The good news is that Harvey is finally moving out of the area, and weakening considerably. There are also several different fundraisers and donations nation wide, including celebrities and major companies putting forth millions. Please continue to pray for Texas, Louisiana, and all those affected by Harvey, and on the way to help.

A Heartbreaking Night (Family and Friends in Texas Flooding Update)

For hours I watched such a heartbreaking tragedy continue as volunteers rescued loads and loads of Houston flood victims… literally. While the Coast Guard and many government officials and First Responders were rescuing thousands of people/families throughout the day, when the sun when down it was just volunteers with a few boats and a couple of extremely large dump truck looking like vehicles still going back for more people. These trucks were large enough to carry 70 or so victims, and as they would arrive back they had people clinging all over the side.

As they began to unload by placing these extremely long ladders to the back… men, women, children, babies, elderly, and disable folks were helped out of the truck. Family after family. Always with babies, children, and disabled each time. One load had 10 infants, several toddlers, children, and their families. A journalist who faithfully reported throughout this ordeal would ask each one which area they came from, how were they rescued, how many came with them, how many were still waiting, what was that area like, and how did they get word out that they were stranded.

When one little girl (about 6 or 7) was asked how many were waiting, she answered a million. With an understanding slight chuckle under his breath he asked if she meant a million like in her classroom, on her school bus, in the lunch room? Her eyes lit up with the lunch room and she quickly said, “A lot more.” Many people were saying their cellphones were how they got word that they were stranded, and as it fell night they used their lights from their phones to get the attention of rescue vehicles passing by.

I know I watched at least 7 or 8 hours straight of rescues in this particular area, and they were bringing them in by the hundreds each hour. And for every family they rescued, there was always the plea to help family still waiting. All of the volunteers at this point were local citizens or people who just came to help… and did for several hours… wading, riding, and standing in the same cold muddy water as the drenched victims. The shelters were filling up with no way to feed them, clothe them, and were loading people into the back of extremely large furniture/moving trucks to take them to a local Wal-Mart, to put them on buses, to then go to shelters. Dallas had even opened shelters to offer victims a safe place to go with their children and families.

It was so heart breaking watching all of this. There were young children struggling to carry their infant siblings because there were far more children and babies than there were adults. These volunteers had answered the call of a judge who put out a public plea that if anyone had a boat or way of helping to do it. He stated that no one had to wait to sign any waivers. If they could help… do it. These volunteers saved thousands of lives that were not only fleeing a massively flooded area by 30 inches of rain, but one that was still expecting 20 more inches.

I was grateful for my family and friends who were marking themselves safe on this FB page that would let you know if any of your friends and family did so, without my even having to check for them (even though I did).  Hurricane Harvey Facebook Safety Check. I could not just turn off my laptop and go to sleep. I felt like I would be abandoning them. I had to pray. I had to make sure each one made it in.

Eventually my medicines won out as I laid my head back for a moment to pray. When I awoke an hour later, it was time to start my day by taking my son to work and heading to physical therapy. When I finished my day, it was news time. Over 10,000 people were rescued. There were 7 who were killed with numbers expected to rise. Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S.. It will take days for some things to improve, but weeks for all of the water to go down, according to the experts. Click here for pictures and news footage.

Thank you to each one who prayed, and continues to pray. Texas needs it! Louisiana will as well as the storm is crossing the eastern part of Texas and beginning to hit them. Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has now been recorded as the largest rainfall to hit the U.S. ever. Please pray for those trying to rescue, shelter, and supply the flood victims. They, too, have had loss of life and property, yet are still out there helping whoever they can. Pray for different humanitarian groups and volunteers on their way to help. And remember each one of those families, especially with the young children and disabled.

Please Pray for Texas Family and Friends In Catastrophic Flooding

Friends around the world please pray for family friends who are experiencing catastrophic flooding In Texas. The Hurricane and the rains with it are far from through. Houston area has already received over 30 inches, and with the storm stalled out and expected to last for several days there is the possibility of the area receiving 50 inches total. Please pray!Catastrophic Flooding in Texas See pictures and weather updates here.

30 Posts Challenge: #29, One Last Aspect

Hey Guys. You’re still with me on the 30 Posts Challenge? 29 posts later? Yes, we still have the one after this, but I have that one planned. The challenge was 30 true aspects about myself. This is one I dodge so well, I almost talked myself out of bogging it. I start a sentence then delete, a paragraph, delete, or just sit, trying to get the nerve to say it.

I’ve struggled with eating since I was 13. Now if I don’t delete it, you will read it.

When I was 13, my dad got called to my school. He was told I never eat, and had an eating disorder. I had no knowledge of it, and when my dad asked, I didn’t take it serious. The school had classmates literally follow me to see if I eat, and if I ate what I did afterwards. One was a friend who told me. They had my dad watching. I didn’t eat.

Our counselor sat me down, but I didn’t understand anorexia. I hated to chew. I didn’t know it then but I had fibromyalgia, and hurt when chewing too tough or too long. I thought eating was boring. It took so much time to eat. I didn’t understand I also had digestive issues, and not eating was making it worse.

They brought in outside counseling who tried to bully me into eating. Bad idea. One counselor called my home saying I was at school on drugs, threatening to kill myself. My mom and dad got so mad they were lied to and scared to death. The school was upset enough that they backed off on outside help.

Instead they had teachers talk to all of us. They said Karen Carpenter had just died from it. I’m glad they did because while I was not anorexic, I was doing anorexic like behaviors. The one that was a “deal breaker” was throwing up. I didn’t like doing that anyway. It made me easily sick, and I struggled with throwing up a lot since I was 3.

I remember warnings on losing teeth, a damaged heart, a ruined digestive system, and more. I was diagnosed with a damaged heart valve at 17, was a high risk pregnancy at 18, had a C-section because my baby kept losing his heart beat, lost a 10 year dental battle to dentures by 30, and began stomach meds at 24 and probably won’t get off them.

I learned later it was some to do with going without food a lot. My dad gave us Pepto-Bismol often to keep our stomachs from hurting. I saw on TV people who had food and missed a meal would be sick. I was afraid to eat then hurt because in my mind I didn’t know hunger, and didn’t want to, especially since people did bad things when they did.

As I started taking meds I got sick, almost passing out in public. That and having gall bladder surgery at 28 got me eating. Physically unable by 35 to walk 5 miles like I use to, swim all day, ride bikes, or work hard caused weight gain. My docs say 80-100 lbs. are meds. The battle’s been so long, my docs who knew me as active are gone, and docs I gain now believe I’ve always been big. One insisted I prove I was EVER small with pics.

SO… now you know.

I’m looking into bariatric surgery, as surrender that without physical activity it’s highly unlikely I’ll get it off, or may gain more. I’m afraid of diabetes, liver disease, and complicating my spinal issues. I’m afraid of being at the mercy of others, especially as an obese patient. If life is going to take me out because I can’t be active, I get tempted to think it’s best not to take part now. That is the Lord’s call. I do not want to give up. In praying about it, that is why I consider it…. to save my life.

30 Posts Challenge: #26, My Fear of God

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10 KJV. God tells us the wisest thing we can do is fear Him, and He promises that knowledge of the Holy One will be understanding. It is not a tyrannical fear of someone who wants our first born thrown into a fire. It is a reverent fear in recognition of His omnipotent sovereignty.

I love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and body. I humbly fear Him as He rightly deserves. Having said that, I must be honest that I struggle with unhealthy and unfair fear of Him at times. Sometimes I believe it comes from our church preaching fire and brimstone, making me afraid that Satan was waiting to push me in the lake of fire. On top of this my mom would tell us Satan or God was coming in the night because of whatever we did to make her mad. But Jude 1:22-23 tell us “And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” God deemed I needed both.

There is also the fear of losing someone or something I love. I lost my first hero, my granddad, when I was 8. He saved my life when I fell out of a car, but I could not save his. Shortly after his death, my siblings and I were put into foster care. I tried to figure out what I did wrong to my granddad, my dad, my mom, and God to make them mad. It seemed ever time I got close to someone they either died, moved, or were simply gone. I used to think God got mad if I loved someone more than Him.

I believe God used those times to teach me to love Him above all others because He gave me those who loved me and that I loved. Secondly, He taught me to cherish time with anyone, whether a friend, family, or lover, or whether for an hour or years, by thanking Him for those persons. As I became thankful, it seemed I had a season of gain in love, friendships, and a growing family. Our dysfunctional family became a healthy family.

But then losses started coming… often… and personal. The more people you know and love, the more people you have to lose. It’s just the cost of living… at least that what depression tells me. My God tells me it is His blessing to have loved… and what feels like loss… is gain. I’m the one losing. My loved one has gained new life… eternal life. I would never drag them back into this wretched and evil life, just to worry about them experiencing death again because “I” suffer.

The losses pour the poison of depression into my wounds. The grief chokes at my hope. But I know someone who knows my loss. He lost His Son to save my life, and the lives of family & friends. He watched His Son die a cruel death, and be mocked as He suffered. Yes, He resurrected His Son. But His Son suffered His own loss of friends & family.

We often forget about God suffering, watching His Son die. We don’t count it the same for a God we do not know, to suffer cruelty and heartache, to watch His only Son die! We forget Jesus wept as His friend Lazarus lay in the grave. Yes, Jesus did resurrect Lazarus. But there is one other death that gets overlooked that was cruel and heartless.

When I have cried to Jesus about my Lazarus not coming back (my baby brother Charlie who was killed at 37), He reminds me of His beloved Cousin John the Baptist who was beheaded because of a jealous woman, a prideful and lustful man, and a temptress of a daughter. John’s head was served on a platter as a party favor in a room of laughing people. He was NOT resurrected. Matthew 11:11 and Luke 7:8 both say, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” So my Jesus knows exactly how I feel to have lost beloved family in a cruel way, where someone stood and laughed as he laid dead, the same someone who played a role in his death. But I know Jesus will look after my brother as His Father looked after John till He got home!

I know this doesn’t really address the fear in the way I can struggle with it. But there are a few things that scripture tells me that I cling to when my depression or anxiety, and sometimes both try to choke the life and hope out of me.
1. Satan is the Father of Confusion. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” – 1 Corinthians 4:13 KJV
2. Jesus knew what anxiety felt like when HE took on human flesh to experience what we experience. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” – Luke 22:44 KJV
3. My lack of understanding everything is not God failing to keep His promise. He allows me to understand Holy things about Him… which includes His awareness of my tendency to fear. All over His word He says Fear not, Be not afraid.
4. Lastly, trusting in the love and grace of my Savior Jesus Christ, the one who has felt and understands anxiety, loss, grief, fear… brings me a whole new promise from God. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7 KJV. When I fear because I don’t understand everything about my God and His will, the love of Christ will give me peace beyond all understanding. I believe this because I’m blessed to experience it every day of my life. It’s hard to explain, but even in “feeling” fear or hopelessness, I do still have His peace!

 

30 Posts Challenge: #23, Bearing One Another’s Burdens (as a Prayer Warrior)

I never thought I’d be a NICU mom. The one who sits in quiet, loving agony beside the bed of a fragile little baby, watching the numbers fluctuate on the monitors. But I’ve been living through that experience for over a month now. When William was born, five and a half weeks early, he came […]

via Out of the Depths — From the depths