Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Growing Pains

I was very surprised when I looked & found that I had not written since April! But I assure you that isn’t because there wasn’t anything going on. I’ve had what everyone has within a year..losses of friends & loved ones, disappointments and joys.  Little did I have any idea that my ‘peace’ lesson was really only getting started then.

At that time I was falsely under the impression that my hands would be 'fixed’ in no time at all. While in fact, here it is Dec 31, and it’s still there, albeit diminished greatly. While the naturopath helped a great deal it was still only a small portion of the puzzle. It wouldn’t be until mid-August  that I received an even bigger piece, by way of a name to what I have (thoracic outlet syndrome) which then led to a better understanding of all the causes of it. From that point I was able to work further at figuring out my particular personal irritants (stresses of life, poor computer posture) that had created some very bad habits (holding my jaw tense) which in turn had exacerbated my symptoms.  Whew!!  As it turns out theraputic massage has been the biggest proponent for me getting back to my old relatively pain-free self.   This whole process would still take months and I’m not completely finished yet.  And through the process it crossed my mind numerous times that maybe THIS is my new normal (enter a physical shudder at the thought)...however I held onto my faith...which leads to my bigger healing & progress.

During the 24/7 extreme hand pain that I’ve had; through the thoughts of ‘is this my new normal?’ I found my thinking begin to change as well. My thoughts shifted from the pain and 'woe is me’ to ‘what do you want me to learn from this God? Please tell me how this is a positive thing’.

As this mind shift started to take place, I felt a peace, a calm that it was going to be ok...I started to have the clarity I needed to figure out what I needed to do to also help myself....and then I started to get a physical relief, very subtle at first but it’s gaining momentum. The bigger lesson to it all? My relationship with God is so much nearer & dearer to my heart, because my prayer life has been taken to a whole new level! I have had to lean upon Him so.  And He has answered me.  Through this experience, I have been made aware to take the time & to have more empathy for people. Plato is quoted as saying "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."  I have always tried to be a thoughtful, sincerely caring person however those words have really taken on a deeper meaning for me...If you looked at me from the outside you would have no idea of the debilitating pain I was in with every move of my hands but inside of course I was hurting & just trying to live & work through it.  That’s how everyone is, I think...it might look to us that they have it all but inside they could be carrying a deep ‘hurt’ beit emotionally or physically.

I am greatly encouraged by all these lessons. I feel empowered & hopeful, if you will, that I am better equipped to perhaps help inspire others through their own pain, to have peace & keep the faith. The outpouring of love, support and prayers from my friends confirms to me that they can also appreciate my ‘growing pains’.  How many times they signed their emails ‘hugs’...what better way....H.U.G.S.~ Helping Us Grow Spiritually

Monday, April 29, 2013

Things revisited....

Not all that long ago the thought crossed my mind that although I had been stock piling ‘peace’ quotes in my journal, that I wasn’t feeling the purpose, if you will, for my yearly word that I felt God had led me to.  Although there have been many helpmates, one friend in particular has really supported me, supplying little tidbits for our home, filling it with mementos/signs of ‘peace’...it surrounds me yet I’ve wondered if the bigger picture of things was still eluding me.
  I do believe though that looking at my life under a magnifying glass the past bit, that image is becoming more clear to me.
  Three weeks ago I began a study with our Ladies LifeGroup called “A Beautiful Mind” by Beth Moore...in it were life lessons very deeply rooted in scripture...first week’s topic was dealing with fear and reminding us that we were not raised with the spirit of fear. Fear is an emotional surge of unbelief! Well, who wants to admit that to anyone? Who wants to look weak and foolish and like we don’t have it all together? No brainer there...
  Second week was overcoming insecurity because of rejection, betrayal, etc. Third week was based on 2 Timothy 1:3-7 but specifically we delved into the part of ‘a sound mind’ which involved so much more than the obvious.
  There were SOOOO many things that I could relate to in my own life. Things that I have dealt with in my spiritual walk with God. Things that I *thought had been laid to rest because I had *conquered them. Plus there were numerous things as I jotted down my notes that I wanted to share with some friends in hopes of putting some things in perspective for them & easing their burdens & pain.
  Keeping all this in mind you must know that for at least 4 months I’ve been battling a health issue that has made me stop my normal day to day activities. You see it involved my hands and a great deal of pain, rendering them nearly useless. I have to tell you that there’s not much you can do during the day without using your hands! And for those that know me, they will attest that I rarely sit down, AND, as an artist, I am always working on a project that uses my hands alot...but during this time that I have had to ‘be still’ I have used it to spend more time in my Bible studies... In my quiet time with God I have asked him to show me what I am to learn in this season of my life where I am made to ‘be still’.
  So two days ago I finally went to my naturopath to be tested for the hand issues...Prior to this the medical dr had found nothing & wrote me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory that did very little & although my chiropractor helped immensely this was bigger than he could heal. Without boring you with the details of the physical part causing my pain (which can be corrected given time) what was shocking was the emotional part that showed up on my testing. All I had mentioned to him was a recurring nightmare that I have a few times a year (the same nightmare  I’ve had for the past 27 years) & how in my conscious mind it made no sense whatsoever....but my testing showed that somewhere deep inside I had unresolved issues from a traumatic experience that was also affecting my health! Yikes!
 I was immediately reminded of some things from my weekly bible study.  Beth Moore said that sometimes we can convince ourselves to just pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and ‘move on’...and well meaning people will tell us ‘it’s in the past so it shouldn’t bother you now’...but we will always fail when we try to go it alone & fix things ourselves. We aren’t letting Jesus heal us.  Fears (that may even camouflage itself to look like something else) make us feel powerless and that is Satan trying to keep us down. He controls us when we are stifled by any kind of insecurity, fear etc.... We have to quit believing him and remember that we have the power to overcome! 2 Peter 1:3 says ‘we’ve been given everything we need’...
  So since having my testing I’ve been mulling over things, trying to analyze my past. I have re-read my notes from the Bible study and then I felt led to also review the notes (including everything from things printed from somewhere or jotted down from what I heard on the radio) in my Peace journal that I’ve taken since the beginning of the year. (but had not looked at in some time)
  What do you think were some of the first words that met my eye in my Peace journal? One thing in bold print was, ‘Things that effect your health’ and also FEAR!  What?! Wait! this is my PEACE journal. What is that doing in there? 
  “Fear not for I am with you;I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties and will help you. I will hold you and give you peace”  Isaiah 41:10 (this may be a big problem but my God is bigger)
  And under the title Do This For Your Health- A heart at peace gives life to the body” Proverbs 14:30

Somehow within those two things it struck me, coming full circle back to my not understanding the reason for peace as my yearly word...I have been being prepared...My heart was being prepared for an awakening & some major healing.
  For some reason it took this succession of things for it to hit me like a baseball bat...I was always viewing Peace and Fear (which also encompasses SO much more than the obvious) as two separate unrelated entities...In my pursuit of inner peace I was not seeing there was some form of fear I needed to release to receive the peace...I still needed to let the love of God heal ALL my fears of inadequacy as a wife & mother, the rejections in my life, the betrayal I have felt...I still need to have some of these things healed before I can have true Peace.. but I can tell you that I’m a lot closer to it today than I was yesterday..
  We’ve all said we have 'scars’ from this happening or that happening...but if you press on a physical scar it no longer hurts...but a wound that has never healed properly does hurt.
  Maybe this makes no sense at all but I feel lighter than I did. I still don’t have all the answers and I still have things to work through. But through everything the past few months He’s been working on my heart and preparing me to understand, learn and grow. I feel that recognizing as much as I have is a great first step and I’m so very excited to see God continue to help me grow in my relationship with Him.
  My goal is to not be afraid...not from things in the past,  present or future. He is always with me...and I have a soft place to go...”He will cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you will find refuge.” Psalm 91:4  I will learn to walk, not in perfection, but in victory!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Another 'peace' of my life's puzzle?

I really didn't plan on this. As a matter of fact, I had just been thinking that I was kind of disappointed that I wouldn't be experiencing something similar to last year's 'journey of joy"..but how could I possibly since my word 'came to me' so clearly last year?
  These past holidays were challenging for us because we were surrounded by illness. We had to wear masks to visit my mom in the nursing home although for the most part they were asking for no visitors at all because of the flu...There were stresses on us from the staff telling us what we 'needed to do' not only for mom but for dad who was also coming down with this creeping crud. Since our family philosophies on healthcare differ than theirs we had to weigh each little decision & pray we were making the right choices. I felt ill equipped & helpless since I only know what I know & I'm not a dr. nor a psychic.
  One night after my dear hubby went to bed the house was loudly quiet. I could just feel my inner self upset and out of control (I'm sure this was due in part to being exhausted & also fighting this bug that was going around) I knew that I needed to find something calming....so I got myself some camomile tea and picked up my Bible. I needed to find something to quell my inner turmoil so that I could get some much needed rest.  I was praying for inner-peace & calm.  I looked up everything I could find regarding peace, comfort, rest....
  The next day I saw a video from author Debbie Macomber who inspired me last year through one of her books to have a word of focus, to begin with. In it she stated that although well meaning friends try to give her a good word, she waits til God gives her a word. I know from first hand experience, that it will be obvious when He gives you one. :)
  Then a short time later that day someone posted this on a facebook group I belong to..."As this year draws to a close, receive My Peace. This is still your deepest need & I, your Prince of Peace. long to pour Myself into your neediness. My abundance & your emptiness are a perfect match, I designed you to have no sufficiency of you own.  I created you as a jar of clay, set apart for sacred use. I want you to be filled with My very being, permeated through & through with Peace. Thank Me for My Peaceful presence, regardless of your feelings. Whisper My Name in loving tenderness. My Peace, which lives continually in your spirit, will gradually work its way through your entire being"~ Isaiah 9:6, 2 Cor. 4:7, John 14:26,27
   This all sounded so very similar to my prayer the night before! Someone must've been eavesdropping!!
   AND the next kicker was, it was announced that the groups word for the year was also going to be PEACE!  REALLY?  I'm sure I chuckled out loud!
  Today our ladies LifeGroup, (bible study, if you will) convened after missing a few weeks during the holidays.  I told them my little story and I believe they too were moved by it....and what was SO striking & did not go unnoticed by them, nearly every scripture that was part of the lesson (the leader had NO idea of my story prior to this) talked about having God's peace!  I was not surprised but it certainly WAS my confirmation that this was going to be My word.