He Heard My Cry

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

 

God is our refuge, he is our strength and when you are in the pit of despair he is there with you. He is calling to you and telling you that he loves you, he cares for you and you are not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. God loves you and I love you.

God hears your cry and he will help you out of the pit of despair. Sometimes people pray to God and they are immediately lifted out of the pit but others times you have to do the work, to help get out of the pit. You have to talk to people, tell them how you are feeling and be open to getting the help that you need.

God has not left you, he is steadying you as you walk. And when you are on solid ground he will give you a new song.

This is true for any despair that you are feeling. No matter if it’s fear of bouncing a check or not having enough money to pay bills, or if it’s fear of going to the doctor and getting bad news, or if it’s a partner that has died of suicide and you don’t know how you will go on, God is there. He has not left you. He NEVER will. He loves you.

At one of the many church conferences I have attended, they asked us to picture our darkest moment, the one where we felt the farthest from God. Then they asked us to ask God where he was in that moment. All of us saw different moments but no matter what the moment was, God was there. For me, I was in the pit of despair and God was reaching his hand down to lift me up.

Take a moment and close your eyes. Take a couple of deep slow breaths and think about a time when you felt like you were in the pit of despair. Can you see it? Think about the setting, is it a room? Is it a pit? What is it? What do you see? Now pray to God and ask him, “where were you? God can you show me where you were?” Now give it a minute or two and really listen and open yourself up to seeing where God was. (If you don’t see anything try again tomorrow. God will show you where he was and where he is. If you are not a visual person think about what you hear or feel and then ask God to tell you where he was. Don’t rush yourself, give it time and really be open to what God will say.)

When you see for yourself where God was or where he is now, share that with someone. That is your new song. That is the praise that you will sing and others will come to know God through your story.

God meets us for us, but he also meets us so that we will share what has happened with others. What is the new song that you will sing?

Dear Lord, we pray that all those who feel like they are in the pit of despair will get the help that they need. That they will talk about it and find what they need to get out of the pit. Lord we thank you that you never leave us. That we are never alone, that you are always there. We ask that as we go throughout our days and nights and weeks and years that you will continue to show us that you are with us. We thank you for being the God that never leaves. We thank you for our new song. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sings

Nikki Nelson created this to see more go to NikNak Wreath Design.

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Full Armor

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV

Imagine if you will a battlefield where you stand with your full armor and in front of you across the way is an army that is coming for your soul. Because that’s what the devil wants,  your soul. But you stand there proud because you have truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the word of God. You have everything on your side and they have nothing. You will win the battle.

Now imagine you’re at work or school and the battlefield are politics, religion, TV shows, politeness, racism, etc. Now imagine that army is everywhere. It’s coming at you through your TV, through your friends, through your coworkers, through your teachers, through Facebook and the list goes on and on. But remember you have truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God on your side.

Each day as you get ready imagine putting on the full armor of God so that you can face the day.  And maybe say this prayer as you do:

Lord, we thank you for the belt of truth, for your truth we know. You are the God of Love, the God of Peace, the God of Comfort and we thank you for that. As we put on this belt of truth help us to be reminded of your truth throughout our day and to share it as we are given the opportunity. Lord, we thank you for the breastplate of righteousness for that is what you are. You are right and just and true. Fill us with your righteousness, so that we can see what is right, just and true throughout our day. Lord, we thank you for sandals of readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Fill us with your peace, so that we can stand in the face of evil and fear not. Lord, we thank you for the shield of faith. With our faith we can block any evil that is thrown at us, knowing it is wrong. Lord, we thank you for the helmet of salvation for we know that you are the way and the truth and the light. Lord, we thank you for the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. With the word of God we can fight anything that the devil can throw at us for we know your will and your ways. Lord we thank you for this full armor of God and promise to use it well as we go about our day. We pray all these things in your precious and holy name, Lord Jesus Christ Amen.

Ephesians

This photo is from the artist Christine Kerrick

Overflow with Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV

 

Think about a time in your life where you felt like all hope was gone. It could a be a horrible diagnosis, a bad grade that you never thought you could get past, it could be a marriage that is over or a relationship that has ended, it could be that you lost a parent or a sibling or a husband or a child or a grandparent or a friend, it could be any number of things. It’s a time where grief has grabbed a hold of you, where you are so focused on the things that are gone that you can’t see the good things in front of you. These are the times when we have to trust God the most. I know it’s hard. When I heard I had Rheumatoid Arthritis I thought my life had ended, I knew the carefree life I was living was gone and that was hard to deal with. Did I grieve the loss? Of course I did.

But once you grieve what once was you have to move on to what is. I’m in lots of Facebook groups where people often talk about having no hope, of not knowing how they will go on. My heart hurts for these people and I wish they knew my parents, my sisters, my brother-in-laws, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, my friends and my God.

Honestly, on a day-to-day basis God is my strength to keep me going when laying in bed would be so much easier. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.” Isn’t this the first part of grief. It’s turning towards God and saying, “Ok God, this is my new reality help me get through it.” And as you trust in him, your grief lessens, notice I didn’t say it goes away, it lessens. There are still some days when I grieve what used to be but those days are few and far between the days where I laugh my head off or enjoy time with friends. When I have a hard or painful day I pray to God asking him to make the pain less that day. I trust him to take care of me and he has. I can laugh at something truly funny because God has given me peace, because I trust in him.

“So that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I have always had great faith and I have always felt the Holy Spirit. It’s a powerful force. Imagine the biggest rush of wind you can and imagine that flowing through you as the Holy Spirit. That’s the hope that lives in all of us. And on days when I meet someone at their darkest hour it helps me overflow with hope to give to them.

Do you have something you are grieving that you need to let God into, to give you hope, joy and peace? Can you think of a time when this was true in your own life, have you thanked God for your hope?

Dear Lord, we ask that you fill us with your joy and peace as we go through rough and difficult circumstances. We ask that you fill us with your hope so that we can fill others. We thank you for your joy, peace, love, comfort and hope in the times that we need it most. Lord we thank you so much for loving us. It is in your name we pray, Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

hope

 

The Fullness of God’s Love

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

Today has been a painful day. Chronic illness sounds about as much fun as it is…..or isn’t actually. My official chronic illness is Fibromyalgia and unofficially because doctors are dumb, Rheumatoid Arthritis and today was painful. My fingers hurt, my shoulders hurt, my back hurts, my hips hurt and my neck hurts. Today my neck hurts the most, more than any of the other hurts.

On my drive home from work, checking for blind spots was not fun, as in “IT HURTS” in all caps because I was yelling every time I had to do it. And I knew when I got home I wanted to find something else to focus on. Something other than the pain. So I finished some projects and when it came time to work out, I decided I would first search for a verse that would give me something else to focus on and avoid working out.

So I turned to Google in my search and found Ephesians 3:16-19 and my heart was filled. I pretty much love this whole passage. Christ dwells in our hearts, and by doing so we are rooted in love and together with the people of faith have power to grasp how wide, deep, long and high God’s love is for us and that this love surpasses all knowledge we have so that we are filled with the fullness of God.

Can we just think about that for a second? God’s love is so huge it is beyond knowledge, beyond comprehension. I think about the love I have for my mom, my dad, my sisters  and brother-in-laws, and then I go a step further and think about the love I have for my nieces and nephews. I love them all lots, so much so I miss them when they are not around. But the love of God surpasses that. God’s love is so huge there is no way I could ever leave it. Think about that for a minute. God’s love is so huge you can never leave it. Even when you turn your back on God, his love never leaves you. Isn’t that amazingly awesome?

So no matter what has gone on in your day today, God loves you. No matter what you have done in your past, God loves you. No matter what you will do tomorrow, God will still love you.

Lord, we thank you so much for your unconditional love. We thank you that it is so huge we cannot understand it. We thank you, that you never give up on us. That you never leave us, that your love is steadfast. We thank you for your love that surpasses our knowledge and we thank you for spending time with us, Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Night

This song has been playing in my head, “How deep the father’s love for us. How vast beyond all measure. That he should give His only Son. To make a wretch his treasure.”

Do not let your hearts be troubled

Faith Over Fear

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”

It is literally storming outside. It’s like the lyrics from a Garth Brooks’ song, “and the thunder rolls and the lighten’ strikes.” I keep getting dings from my phone saying that there is a Severe Thunderstorm warning.

There are some people in the world that see a Thunderstorm warning and get worried. I’m not one of these people. I have fond memories of Irwin, PA sitting on the front porch watching it storm. I love the rain and I love storms as long as there isn’t any hail, I like my car the way it is.

If I hear that a storm “may” carry hail I bow my head and ask for the protection of my car, no matter how silly that may seem. The warning just added hail and I literally stopped what I was doing and asked God to protect my car or just not drop the hail. I know it may seem like a meaningless or silly worry but when money is tight, hail damage is not in the budget. So I say a little prayer asking God not to drop the hail and if the hail does drop, that my car is protected.

Just this past week I was dealing with bigger more serious worries and when I focused on them, they were all I could see. They were all I could focus my mind on, but when I turned to God and focused on him there was nothing else to focus on. My worry wasn’t weighing down my shoulders and it wasn’t even on my mind. Then someone would bring it up or I would turn on the TV and there it would be and then I would pray, reminding myself that there is nothing to fear, that there was nothing “known” in that moment, that God is in control.

And it turned out to be nothing. God is in control all the time and when I acknowledge that, my fear and worry disappear. Just like praying for my car in this storm, I prayed, gave it to God and poof it is no longer my worry. God wants us to remember that he is in control and that we can lay our worries at his feet. God wants us to believe in him, to put our Faith over our Fear.

What’s troubling your heart right now? What fear can you give to God?

Dear Lord, please help us to lay down our fear and worry at your feet. To let go of what is troubling our hearts and give them fully to you. Lord, hear what we are giving to you and when we pick it up again remind us that it is yours. Lord, help us to be free of our fear and to walk in your freedom. Fill us with your peace Lord God. We ask all these things in your peace giving name Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

Trust in the Lord with all your Heart

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 New International Version (NIV)

There are lots of ways that people use this verse. In the book God’s Promises For Your Every Need it’s used in both the “Singles” chapter and “Confused” chapter and probably in loads of more places, but those were the two places I saw it was this evening.

I’ve been reading devotionals for the last couple of weeks from restministries.com and although they are good I thought, “I think I can do that.” And began looking at what it would take to submit a devotional and even though they have a formula, the newest submission is from 2016. So, I haven’t blogged on here forever and figured I would start here, get the lay of the land and once I think I understand my own formula begin posting them on my Fracturedwholenessministries.com blog.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my church, where my dad happens to be the pastor, and listening to his sermon about listening to God. Then a week or so later, again in church the sermon was about spending more time with God. After hearing these sermons I realized I was longing to spend more time with God. I listen to Klove and Air1 throughout my day, have a morning devotional (#morningdevo) and pray on my way to work but my evening was missing something. So that’s when I started to read the daily devotions.

I picked restministries.com because they had thought provoking devotions and they were about chronic illnesses of which I have a few. Being chronically ill and not feeling well can really get to you. I was explaining to my dad this weekend that I’m exhausted. But I’m exhausted all the time and most of the time I just push myself to keep going but I know not everyone can do that and there are definitely times I just want to given into the exhaustion and sleep lots.

We were talking about my exhaustion because I want, with my whole heart, to be doing ministry for God. I went to seminary and have all the student loans to prove it, but I want to prove it in other ways. Hence, writing daily devotions.

So, I’m living this verse. I’m forgetting the exhaustion and all the stuff that tells me not to do this, and trusting God, leaning into him when it may not make sense, trusting he will take care of me and make my winding path straight.

What in your life is God leading you to? Are you listening?

Dear Lord, please help us to put away our excuses and the things that are holding us back and help us to follow you, leaning in and trusting with our whole hearts. Thank you for bringing us to this point of taking our leap of faith because we hear your whisper. Be with us along the way and make our paths straight. It is in your loving name we pray, Lord Jesus Christ Amen.

Faith Hope Love

IBS: As Irritating As It Sounds

So as my reader base knows, for several years I thought I was Gluten Intolerant/Celiac and last year discovered that was not the case. I have IBS which means any given day I could eat something that causes me all the issues of before and what triggers me now isn’t the same as what could trigger me a few months from now. So as you could guess Irritable Bowel Syndrome is plain irritating.
This week has been particularly irritating. I’ve been trying to figure out the best diet that is also a healthy one. For awhile giving up all fruits and veggies was what worked. It could probably still work but I love fruits and veggies and I cannot give them up completely. After all I used to eat a head of lettuce plain for a snack, I love my fruits and veggies.
So this morning I had to get up at 4am because my IBS said so. I like to sleep in like anyone and found this to be particularly annoying/irritating this morning. So instead of letting my IBS ruin my day I decided to make a list of the food discovery I have made and I found myself really happy with the results. I found more I could eat than I can’t. I’m going to include my list because I’m so excited but I have to tell any IBS sufferers out there that this is my list. IBS is unique to each person. There is no exhaustive list that will work for everyone which is irritating I know. For me, cutting down on fiber (not removing it completely but choosing low fiber foods) has helped me. So here’s my lists.
Foods my body hates:
Spinach
Potatoes
Steak and veggie soup

Foods my body loves:
Applesauce-I typically eat this for breakfast and can make it til lunch before IBS attacks
Lettuce
Romaine Lettuce-perfect for lunch wraps
Peeled carrots
Celery
Tomatoes without skin or seeds
Corn
Beans
Chili
Cheese
Ranch dressing
Ham
Bacon
Chowder
Cucumber without skin or seeds
Pudding
Bread
Tomato soup
Almond milk

This is just the beginning of my lists but I’m really glad that my “foods my body loves” list is longer than my “food my body hates” list.

2014

I was on Facebook earlier today and was going to post a status but it was longer than a very large sentence so I decided to write a blog instead. 2014 was a pretty great year for me. I moved to a different state for a job. A job that I find joy in as well as frustration on a regular basis. I work with the department of mental health, social security, department of health and senior services, Medicaid, providers and food stamps. Working within multiple systems trying to find funding for services and finding funding for those that do not have any of the above. The people in my office are great and the individuals I do all this work for are all awesome in their own ways. Each unique and beautiful for what they work to overcome. Awesome and frustrating.

In 2014 I also found out that I had no reason to be eating gluten free. This came about after my symptoms from years before came back. I found out after several months of pain, poking and prodding, and tests that I have IBS. A horrible condition that really changes all the time. See giving up gluten for awhile worked and then it stopped working. So right now cutting out/minimizing fruits and veggies from my diet is working but I know it won’t work forever and soon I’ll have to cut out something else. Annoying absolutely but good to know that cutting something out will work for awhile and a drug from my doctor can help me when nothing else will.

The other great thing that happened in 2014 is I met an amazing man. He’s full of flaws and sees my flaws as well. We are open and honest with each other. We both have a strong faith in God and share that with each other. He is a great man and I truly enjoy spending time with him. I love him and he loves me. It has been great 6 months and look forward to many more.

This year my body has let me down in other ways. At the beginning of 2014 I hurt my elbow by simply working it in weird angles with my mouse and typing. So I had to wear a sling and give up knitting for a very long time. Just a few weeks ago I was able to pick it back up and have been enjoying making scarves since.

More recently my back has been giving me trouble and I’ve had difficulty gripping things on certain days. My back is actually pretty painful and seems to be worse after sitting on the floor for 20 minutes or more. My hands I’m going to ignore for a bit more. They sometimes hurt but again I’ll just ignore that–because arthritis is common in my family so I’m choosing denial for as long as it will work.

Most of my year was filled with joy but there was also great sadness. In the midst of grieving the loss of all of my grandmothers I lost my only grandfather. I lost the last of my grandparents and on some days at the weirdest times I’ll tear up because I feel a great loss. Sometimes while spending time with the man I love I’ll cry because my grandparents would have been overjoyed to meet him. Grandpa would have been excited for me and loved the fact that he loves westerns.

2014 was a great year with ups and downs and I’m excited to see what’s in store for 2015.

Saying Goodbye

My grandfather died July 17th and the funeral is this Friday. I know that seems pretty far out for a funeral to be but my family is pretty busy what with working a cruise, performing weddings and the like. It’s been a crazy time.

I’m kinda looking forward to this funeral because it will be a chance to say goodbye. Going this long without the goodbye has been like living in a state of denial. I mean I saw the man about once, maybe twice a year. So going this long without the funeral has allowed me to believe that he’s fine, living his life in South Bend or Raymond, WA (he split his time in both places). It’s allowed me to not really grieve.

I grieved a bit when he died for sure but it’s been so long it’s like it didn’t really happen. I can look at pictures and listen to the voicemail from the last time he called and pretend that he’s still here. I mean I know he’s not but denial can be pretty strong. It can convince you that reality is not reality.

Anyway this post isn’t about my non-grieving process. It’s about the poems I wrote. See my aunts have been arranging a couple of tributes for Grandpa and they asked his kids and grandkids and great grandkids to put together something for Grandpa if they wanted to and that they could share them at the tributes. One to happen in South Bend and one to happen in Raymond. I wrote these poems believing that I wouldn’t have to share them but found out just over a week ago that Friday I will be sharing these poems with friends and family and reading them myself. Bummer. Oh well, them’s the breaks :).

Joy, Laughter and Grief

A Poem by Tammy Rae Waggoner

In honor of my Grandfather Fred Waggoner

Grief

An emotion no one likes to feel

One that can be accompanied by so many more

Like depression and despair

Unfortunately in order to get out of grief

You have to get through it 

And the only way to get through it

Is to feel it

Feel the sadness and the loss 

Feel the regret and the pain

Feel the loss of what’s to come

And know it will never be the same again

But once you get through the grief you can get some of the

Laughter

Is awesome

It can help you get out of grief

It can turn any bad day into a good one

It can turn a frown upside down
It’s something I seek

It’s also something I try to give

Mine is loud and rambunctious

And I never try to quiet or silence it

Given enough laughter can bring you to great unspeakable

Joy
If laughter is awesome joy is stupendous

It’s the great fulfillment of feeling the grief 

It’s the present you get for dealing with the difficult things

It can be brought about by a baby’s laughter

Or a beautiful sunset

Or an amazing book

Or an amazing conversation with someone you love

It’s somewhat indescribable

It is beyond happy

It is beyond mirth and laughter

It’s the skies parting, the sun shining, best feeling in the world

It is the gift from God that keeps you going when you encounter grief

 

 

The Real Story Behind the Man

A Poem by Tammy Rae Waggoner

In honor of my grandfather Fred Waggoner

 

I’ve only ever had one grandpa

I’ve had three fabulous grandmas

Now they are all gone

And I grieve their loss

 

My grandpa was far from perfect

He was a sinner, who was saved by grace

He was also a hoarder, with many properties to fill

While living he and Grandma Vi filled many homes
With all their crap

And because grandpa was a hoarder when grandma passed he kept it all

He even used to keep stuff that his tenants left behind

 

When grandpa visited for my sister’s wedding June 2013

I had a conversation with grandpa and his girlfriend Annabelle about his hoarding

I tried to convince him it was okay to throw stuff out 

But I don’t think it took

 

Grandpa was more than his hoarding ways
He was a lover

He loved to give love in a textile way

He loved to hold hands, give hugs and kisses

I never really noticed this until Vi was gone

I realized that she took most of that

So that when she was no longer with us

He saved it for the times he was with family

So that he could give it to his kids, grandkids and great kids

 

Grandpa loved with great feeling and with great compassion and with great unconditional-ness

A few years ago I shared a difficult story with him

Something from my past that rocked me

And all he gave as I told him was love

All he gave was strength and compassion

And support, he told me who in the family I could share with

And how much he loved me

 

I remember our last conversation on the phone, one I didn’t think would be the last

He called me by my sister’s name

And asked me questions about my sisters

We shared joy about another family gathering in the future

And I laughed with him about his getting some of the information wrong

He told me he was “getting older” and when that happens you forget things

We joked and laughed and ended the call with “I love you”

 

Grandpa had flaws like we all do, but he had great love

Love he freely shared

He was loved by many and will be missed by more

Love you grandpa, good-bye

 

This week will be a difficult one, finally saying good-bye to grandpa but also a good one to see family and to share laughter, stories, and memories of good times. 

If you think of my family this week, say a little prayer as we say good-bye to a grandpa, a dad, and a friend. 

 

So that he 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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