I’m Back

I was doing so good for a while there and then life happened….don’t you just hate it when life interrupts what you have going on?

There I was, being diligent, working out in the morning and after work writing a devotional 3-4 days per week.

And then…poof… I disappeared.

Well, not really. Like I said life happened. I have on a regular basis some dizziness. It’s annoying but not really life altering. But then every once in a while BAM it gets really bad. To the point that I can hardly function. And that’s what happened to me.

I used all my energy to get through the day and then went home and rested hoping it would get better or go away. I had millions of tests done and in the end the dizziness is just part of Fibromyalgia. Which sucks!

I was looking for real answers, not a “This is just part of your disease,” answer. So I’ve been dealing with that. This past week the dizziness has gotten a lot better. So that’s nice.  But that’s where I’ve been, basically trying to survive my dumb body. And what I do when this happens is try to deal with it.

I believe that you have to grieve. I grieve every time some new aspect of my diseases are known or when doctors give me a new disease or affliction. I grieve who I used to be. I grieve what my body used to do. When I first got the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), I grieved that a pain-free life was gone. You have to grieve, otherwise you slip into a depression that won’t go away. I may be sad for a few days, but I’m not in my grief and sadness every single day of my life.

My favorite phrase is, “it is what it is.” Seriously, that’s how I move on with my life. I grieve for a bit and then say, “it is what it is.” There is absolutely nothing I can change about my diseases but I can change how I react to them. Some days they make me lay in bed and some days they are a blip on my radar.

Most days my RA is there but it’s not screaming at me. This past week and a half my left hip has been yelling at me. I don’t know what I did, if I did anything, but it hurts like crazy. But then this afternoon it stopped hurting. Why? I have no clue. I didn’t do anything different it just stopped hurting. That’s my body. Sometimes it hurts all over, sometimes it hurts in one or two places and sometimes it doesn’t hurt at all. It is what it is.

So you have to grieve, you have to accept it and then you have to figure out how to “get on with life.” How are you going to get on with your life? I’m going to get back to writing devotionals because it’s actually fun. It takes time, for sure but it’s also fun, to think creatively and not just about deadlines.

The take away: To get through the messy parts of life you have to grieve what once was, accept it and then figure out how to go on. God can help you with it all.

Psalm 46:1-3 NIV “God is our Refuge and our Strength, an ever-present Help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not Fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it’s waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Colorado pic (Photo by Tammy Waggoner)

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God Cares About You

“For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'” Acts 17:28 NLT

Sometimes life is pretty exhausting. We get up, we exercise, we get dressed, we go to work, we work, we come home and then have no energy to do anything else. This is how I felt today. It was a pain filled day. I haven’t being feeling well, I think I’m getting the dreaded summer cold. Plus I’m pretty sure I’m having a Fibromyalgia flare and my muscles and nerves are spasming like crazy. And when I got home from my exhausting day, I didn’t want to write a devotional, I wanted to sleep.

I was less than an inch away from giving up for the day and not writing this, but then I thought, “What does God want you to do?” Well, God gave me the idea, so he pretty much wants me to get off my exhausted rear and write.

Do you have days that start exhausting and don’t stop being exhausting? What’s the thing that motivates you to keep going?

 

God is definitely the thing that keeps me going. I have Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, High Cholesterol, Venous Insufficiency, Kidney stones, etc and the only thing that keeps me getting out of bed every morning is God.

For in him we live and move and exist. I don’t know how people make it through their day-to-day without God. He is my rock, he is my strength, he is my strong tower.

We are his offspring.  He made us, we are his. I’m not a mom but I am an aunt to 5 fantastic kids and I love them with every fiber of my being. So I cannot imagine how much more God loves us. He created us from the beginning and cares for us much more than we care for our loved ones, more than you love your kids or your dogs or your nieces and nephews. His loves is indescribable.

He is our everything and we are his.

Has God ever comforted you? Have you ever felt his love pour right into you? If not I encourage you to pray for God’s comfort, peace and love when you need it.

Lord, thank you for spending time with us again today. We are so very lucky to be called your children. We thank you for that honor. Lord you know what tasks get in the way of doing what you would have us do. We ask that you would remove our exhaustion and any other stumbling blocks that are in our way. We thank you that you give us the strength and perseverance to face each day and to keep moving in your will. We thank you for your love for us, for the gifts that you freely give us like the gift of comfort and the gift of peace. We pray that those who need to feel your love, your grace, your peace, your comfort, your healing would feel it now. That they would know without a doubt that their existence comes straight from you and that their life comes from you. We thank you for all that you do in and through us on a day-to-day basis and ask that each day would be a blessing in your sight. We ask for all these things in your precious, loving, life-giving, comforting name, Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.

trust in the lord

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Sometimes we cannot pray for God to bring our own comfort and we need a little help from outside sources like my friend Laura. Laura has helped me many times to hear and see what God was trying to say to me and as a Spiritual Director, she can help you too.

 

The Lord Hears You

“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”  Psalm 34:17-18 NLT

Another suicide has hit the media. I don’t know about you, but when I hear that someone has died of suicide my heart weeps. A childhood friend’s dad, died of suicide when I was teenager. A high school friend’s husband died of suicide. My sister’s friend’s husband died of suicide last year. And people I don’t know or hear about are dying of suicide every day.

My heart is weeping for all those left behind. My heart is weeping for all of those who took their lives, seeing no other way out. My heart is weeping for all of those who are effected by thoughts of suicide, even this very moment. If that’s you, please get help. There are lots of organizations available to help you, these are just a few.

Crisis Text Line

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

To Write Love on Her Arms

Please get help. If you had a broken arm you wouldn’t walk around without getting a cast or surgery or medication, please treat your mental illness the same.

Prayer works absolutely but God made the profession of therapist knowing we would need extra help. He made the profession of scientist to discover and develop medications knowing that sometimes we need more than just to talk it out. God gave people the idea to start support groups, understanding that, knowing other people going through the same thing as you helps. God made and gave us all the tools we need to deal with depression and the struggles in this life. Please get help. Please.

Lord, please be with every sad and depressed person who is reading this. Fill them with your love Lord. Give them your peace and push them to seek out help. Lord, please be with everyone who is reading this, that knows someone who is depressed. Help them to be an open heart, an open mind, an open friend that someone who is sad can talk to. Help them to see when talking isn’t enough. Help them to help those that they love. Lord, please be with all those that won’t read this, help them to get help, to seek out a friend, a family member, a therapist, a doctor and you Lord. Help us all, to help each other just a little bit better. Lord, please be with us all, as well grieve and deal with the loss of someone who died of suicide. Lord give us your strength, your wisdom, your peace, your comfort, your knowledge and your guidance as we do our best to be there for each other. We thank you Lord for spending time with us. We ask that you be with us in the coming weeks, months and years as we stand by someone who thought of suicide, who was left alone because of suicide and those that survive suicide. Please be will all of us. We ask all these things in your loving and sweet name, Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

loved

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God’s Perfect Timing

“So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” James 1:16-18 NLT

Before this passage begins is a discussion about temptation and blessings and basically concludes that God doesn’t give us temptation but it comes from our own desires. So don’t be misled when it comes to who brings about temptation.

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. God is perfect, Jesus was the only perfect man because he was God in human flesh. God is good and perfect, and even though we see our circumstances as imperfect, they are perfect because they come from God.

Sometimes what we see as imperfection is when God wants us to lean on him the most. To turn to him with our hurt, our pain, our frustration, our joy, our happiness, our tears, our laughter, etc. God wants it all, from all of us. So if you, like me are waiting for the perfection in the imperfection, perhaps God wants you focusing on other things. What do you think?

He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. Do we trust God to do what is best for us? Can we trust God in our imperfection? Can we trust him in our waiting?

He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. In the eyes of God we are a treasure to behold. Think about your most prized possession, do you care for it? Do you make sure it’s clean? Do you make sure it has all it needs to keep going? That’s what God does for us all. He makes sure we have all that we need for that perfect moment. The perfect moment is His and it is coming in his perfect time.

Take heart, if your are struggling, turn to God and give it all to him. And know that perfection is coming.

Lord we thank you for your perfection, your infinte wisdom and we ask that you give us patience as we wait for your perfection. We thank you for your good and perfect gifts. We thank you, that you never change and we ask that you be with each of us as we go throughout each day, that you would point out what is coming, that you would remind us that you are there. We thank you Lord that you love us so much that we are your most prized possessions. We thank you Lord for spending time with us and being with us each day. We thank for all that you do in and through us, and we pray all these things in your precious and holy name Lord Jesus, Christ Amen.

God is good

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Finding Safety in God

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and will protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91: 1-4 NLT

Where do you find your rest? Rest doesn’t mean sleep. It means, where do you go to feel at peace? Where do you go when hard times hit? Do you go to God? I absolutely do. Some one tells me something is going on with them and I say, “I’ll pray for you.” Then I follow that up with actually praying for them. When something is going on with me, I go to God. He is my rest. Worrying about the problem won’t do me any good but bringing it to God and laying it at his feet will. And when I lay my problem at God’s feet I find my rest in the shadow of the Almighty. He alone is my refuge, my place of safety.

He is my God and I trust him. Do you trust God? Do you trust God to be there? Do you trust God to keep you going, to give you strength? Do you trust God to give you love? Do you trust God to get you through the hard times just like he helps you through the easy ones?

He will rescue you from every trap and will protect you from every deadly disease. What do we take from that? I think it’s about putting your faith in God. Believing that he will rescue you from no matter what ails you. But it’s hard to talk about protection from disease or deadly disease because some people get sick, even good and faithful Christians get diseases and die. But what I choose to take from it, is that God won’t leave you in your disease. He will give you peace and comfort and the strength to face it.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Beautiful imagery yet again. We will soar on the wings of eagles and God will cover us with his feathers and shelter us in his wings. When I think of this I see a beautiful embrace or hug. God will wrap his loving arms around you and provide protection, shelter and love. His promises to never leave are your protection and armor in your life.

Can you think of an area in your life where you need to fully trust God? Can you think of one thing that you could lay down at God’s feet and leave there, trusting that God will take care of you? Want to give it a try now? Close your eyes and picture a cross or Jesus standing in a room. Now picture your worry or your fear or your trouble, name it. Now walk that worry or fear or trouble over to the cross or Jesus’s feet and leave your trouble there. Ask God to keep your trouble and to not let you pick it up. Trust God to take care of your trouble and to take care of you.

Lord, we thank you for spending time with us today. Lord help us to lay our troubles and worries at your feet and to not pick them up again. Help us to trust you Lord. Give us your peace and your comfort so that we can feel your protection. Thank you for not giving up on us Lord and for helping us to trust you more. Thank you Lord for meeting us where we are and coming along on our journey. Lord be with us each day going forward and help us to put all our trust in you. Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Trust

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Getting Stronger with God

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 NLT

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Do you ever feel powerless? Do you feel weak? If I had to pick an area of my life where I feel powerless it would be my health. I was talking with a co-worker today and we were talking about how we feel like our bodies are letting us down as we get older. Tonight, even after working out and taking some meds to help with pain, there isn’t a joint in my body that isn’t yelling at me. My back is yelling, my knees are yelling, my elbows are screaming and my feet are crying. I feel absolutely powerless when it comes to my body, especially when it hurts.

Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. When I feel powerless or weak God gives me new strength in him. He reminds me it’s not always like this. Some days are better than others and even though today is bad tomorrow might not be. He pushes me to workout when I am exhausted. Reminding me that keeping fit will help, even if it doesn’t help today. I find my new strength in God. I pray for him to give me strength.

The author here isn’t just talking about physical strength, he’s talking about strength to fight the battle or run the race. We put on the full armor of God and can now fight the battle before us. The battle for justice, the battle for love, the battle for being and feeling safe, the battle for God.

They will soar high on wings like eagles. Isn’t the imagery in the Bible just fantastic? Every time I read that sentence I picture an eagle soaring through the sky. Can you imagine soaring over your problems?

They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. God gives us the strength to fight the battle, to fight the illness, to fight the exhaustion, to fight the injustice, to fight for love and to fight for God.

Throughout the Bible and throughout our lives God gives us what we need. He gives us peace and comfort, he defines love and shows us how to give it, he gives healing in many ways, he shows us his strength and gives us his strength when we need it. God is in every moment of your life and is there to give you all that you need.

There’s a saying that goes, if you ask God for patience he will give you more opportunities to be patient. God gives you what you need, the tools you need to live your life, but if you ask for strength be ready for God to give you opportunties to become stronger.

Do you feel exhausted in your life? In your faith? Are you weary? Go to God because he can help you, he can give you power and strength so that you can soar on wings like eagles, so that you can run and not grow weary, so that you can walk and not grow faint.

Lord, please be with us when we feel weak or powerless. Remind us that you are there Lord. Give us what we need in this moment and in all the moments to come. We are ready Lord for your new strength, to soar like wings on eagles, to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint. Give us your strength and your power as we go throughout our days, today and every day with you Lord. Thank you for your strength when we need it most it is in your loving and strength giving name that we pray Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Strong

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.

 

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