Life Interrupted

life-interruptedMy sweet 38 year old daughter was struck with a ruptured appendix 2 weeks ago.   From the point she went into emergency I was with her.  It was so frightening.  The ER doctor sent her home on pain pills without ruling out appendicitis.  It ruptured and became an extreme emergency.  Everything in my life stopped and took a back seat while we sat long hours in the ER and surgery; and I prayed nonstop as she writhed in pain…and after surgery as the road to healing began in the hospital and as she went home.  She needed me.  It was a scary and unnerving thing to watch my child in so much pain.  My life was just was put on hold.  Everything took a back seat.  Now that she is on the mend I now feel scattered and am having trouble getting back into things that were part of my everyday life, from writing to coaching and even exercise. 

But, suddenly I realized I have grown spiritually, in finding God in the midst of the suffering.  There comes a recognizable depth of character when you come out of the fire of suffering, and when you are still in it you find Him in places you’d never thought you’d be.

picture of Linda My dear friend Linda has been told her brain tumor is back.  Her life will now be on hold while she has it removed….again.  Since her last surgery, while recovering, she has obtained her Masters in Psychology, been maintaining her own practice in psychotherapy, is writing a book, and is doing a host of wonderful things God has called her to do.  Now, her life will be interrupted again, indefinitely, to undergo another surgery on her brain with the outcome uncertain in earthly terms.  But not to God.  He knows.  We are all  believing for God’s divine hand to reach down and heal her swiftly and easily this time with no side effects.   Linda would share with you how her suffering has put her in touch with a Savior that never leaves her.  Even while her life is on hold.  You can read Linda’s whole story of traveling this perilous road on her web site at: http://lindalochridge.com/brainsurgery/

I just read Michelle Cushatt’s blog this morning.  She is an author, experienced keynote speaker and emcee.  I love her writings and sweet spirit of thankfulness.  Now after years of fighting cancer and walking in God’s healing power she has just learned the cancer is back…and her life will now go on hold for extended medical treatment once again to rid her of the invasion on her body.  She is fearless and undefeatable.  You can read Michelle’s story here http://michelecushatt.com/red-sea-moments/

All around me I see people going through sudden and great trials…some have been hit very suddenly and their life has taken an abrupt turn and they just feel like the wind was knocked out of them.

As I contemplated these things and wondered what God has to say in the midst of sudden trials and sudden fear I think I found truth. 

The truth is, God sometimes allows us to be placed in situations (sometimes difficult, even painful ones) where we can glorify Him; where His presence and power are displayed with clarity, and where fellowship with Him is the sweetest spot we could find ourselves in.

thumb_colourbox1908348God wants us to experience His gift of total reliance on Him…of letting go of our own pride and self sufficiency….our own power….and show us that in our own weaknesses He is made strong….to bless us by giving the gift of relying solely on Him.

In our trials we find His presence.  You see, God’s blessings and healing and perseverance come with His presence.  No matter what trials we face.  It is His presence, His Spirit that ushers in His strength, encouragement and power…..it is what develops His character in us so that we reflect Him in all that we do. 

The worst part about not being OK when a sudden change comes to our lives is that once you are there, you tend to temporarily lose your vision. 

raging-seaBut as Michelle explained in her  blog, when you run up against the Red Sea, you feel blindsided.  There is no place to turn but to ask for His mercy and grace and a miracle.  

You sometimes become profoundly nearsighted.

You can lose the ability to see any further than that horrible not-being-okay feeling right in front of you; to believe that outside of all of it, just beyond the fear and the sadness and the failure, there’s another place.  That is where He is.

At that moment of darkness, it’s nearly impossible to see what you are capable of enduring….if you can withstand it all just a bit more, if you can weather the winds and storms and the wounds and the worry, you’ll end-up stepping into that  place of peace, softly and securely, and you’ll feel the weightless lift of hope again.

You will gain new insight into the unchanging Jesus, while your world is turned upside down.  You will see into places that never occurred to you while all was well and they’ll all seem like wonderful love letters directly from the Lover of your soul; words of truth spoken directly to your heart, telling you that life is given by Him and He has your name written right into His nail scarred hands.

PeaceI promise you He will…He is the great I AM.

But in the meantime, before you get there, I want to tell you one more important thing about where you are right now:

It’s OK to feel.  He knows you are human.  Tell Him your fears and worry and everything that swirls around inside of you.  Talk to HIM!!

He already knows anyway.  Acknowledge that.  Bring Him into your journey and let Him walk with you there.

It’s alright to admit your feelings to yourself, and to say it to someone else, too.  In fact, doing so isn’t admitting defeat at all.  It isn’t giving-up.  It’s simply consenting, to fully feeling the reality of the despair and the pain of the moment.

So that you can move on.

As you do, just remember that you won’t feel like that forever.

One day, you’ll feel well enough to share your journey with someone else who is not so well, and you’ll perpetuate the hope that He gives to you in your own suffering.

So today, friend, for what it’s worth and for what you’re worth (which is immeasurable), know this:

As dark as it seems, as difficult as it is, as much as it hurts…He knows right where you are and He has a plan that you sometimes just can’t see.  Hold onto Him very tightly in these times.

It may seem like it but it won’t last forever.  You may have to make changes…but He said, actually promised, that He would not ever leave you nor forsake you.  

Take Him with you whatever comes.  He only wants His very best for you and will go to battle for you as you hold on for dear life.

Life is an adventure with a destination.  jesus and me

Nails In The Fence and the Wicked Tongue

 


anger-nails-in-the-fenceI really don’t like talking about the tongue, do you?  Yet the bible, the blueprint for our life, has so much to say about it. 

 Gentle words are a tree of life a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit;  , Proverbs 15:4 NLT

Have you ever been in the company of an angry person?  Have you been the brunt of their issues being lashed out at you? Have you been tempted yourself to just give in to your baser self and say whatever you want to say, in spite of who hears it?  

The bible says a lot about out of control anger and our tongues are a major part of venting our emotions.  


In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches, but a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.
  James 3:5 NLT

 But no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.  James 3:8 NLT

There is a story that always worked to remind me to call on self control when I am the angriest and wanting to indulge myself and let my words fling over whoever is standing there.

 

“There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
holes from nailsFinally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.” Author Unknown

I have had so many toxic words spoken over me and to me throughout my life. I remember one time my precious and favorite grandma, whom I had spent all my summers with growing up, was losing her mental faculties after having a heart attack.  I was a young mom and had so many loving memories with grandma.  I had always felt she was my one family member who always had my back.  One day she called me right before her death. 

She started telling me that I didn’t know anything and that “I was uglier than home-made soap”.I could hear my grandpa yelling at her to stop in the background.

I will never forget those words.  My intellect told me she wasn’t herself, but the words cut like a knife.  I knew she would never say those things to me, but yet, she did, and the words have never left me.  Of course I forgave and the memories I have of her are good.  But I still have the memory of those words floating in my head and still feel the sting at hearing those words come out of my trusted and loved grandma’s mouth, and directed at me, her baby girl. 

You can forgive and not let the past define you.  You can even reason them away.  But somehow the words spoken harshly have left you a changed person inside.


And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. 
James 3:6 NLT

In realizing the power of life and death are in the tongue I was always so careful how I talked to my own children growing up.   I would never call them a name, even when I was very angry at something they did. And I would not allow anyone else to either.  I endeavored to only speak life giving positive words to them.  Even when disciplining them, I would tell them that God had a plan for them and they were disciples, taught of the Lord, and obedient to His will. 

My own mother always told me I was fat, and so to this day I have to over-rule those words and conquer my addiction to food.  Even now that I am maintaining a good weight, I still see myself fat and struggle with that image she created with her words to me.  In other blogs I call those words spoken to us over and over as the “Voice”. 

nail1Words create, life or death, our choice.

Will we answer to God for destroying others with our words?  Yes, we will.  But even when we are forgiven, our words are still there in that person’s head.

It has taken me many years to learn that those words spoken to me were out of someone else’s insecurities and they do not define who I am.  Yet, because of those words, it is a fight and the hurt is there.

Some people are just not strong enough to overcome the death words in their life.

You know why? 

Because our words, without restraint, is the only thing the enemy can use against us.  He uses words to condemn, slice, wound, kill us, steal from us and destroy us.  Our own words are bringing life or death into our lives, our households, our children, and our grandchildren.  It is the only power Satan has in our life. 

And our tongue is the hardest to bring under God’s control. 

Self control is a fruit of His spirit.  Not our spirit.  When we focus on Him and His love in all situations, even our angry tirades, He provides His self control for us to use to conquer the rage. 

But we have to apply it and just do it!   

Learn to call upon Him for help in attaining this fruit of the spirit, self control.  Especially if you have a weakness of out of control anger. 

Let’s make it a practice to speak life into the lives of those Jesus brings to us.

  Let’s CHOOSE life and not death!!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  Proverbs 18:21 NLT