Saturday, September 14, 2013

Is there ever TRUE Healing?

Is there healing in Christ?

True healing?

Does He offer that promise to heal us of our infirmities both physical and spiritual?

I have been chewing on this for awhile now - having many friends and family with chronic physical illnesses and also spiritual struggles, issues and battles.

Scripture is clear that God CAN heal physically if HE WILLS.

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  Psalm 103:2-5

People brought all their sick to him (Jesus) and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.  Matthew 14:35b, 36

These are only a few passages that mention physical healing or bear witness to people being healed by God.

But what about the healing of the heart? 

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Ok but does he HEAL us to the point of FREEDOM from our issues, struggles and addictions…

My friends and I who battle daily with Satan over that tendency to despair or that urge to emotionally eat or that draw to escape life into a drink or a x-rated website - these on going attacks that we endure and fight... Is there healing and freedom from this?

“Maybe not this side of heaven.” The words of my battle weary husband scarred from the enemy’s deep wounds and relentless attacks.

If I fast for the freedom will I end up wasting away to nothing for nothing? If I pray fervently for the freedom and do not receive it have I prayed in vain?

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Even the Apostle Paul lived with an issue that tormented him and cause him to be a battle weary soldier at times.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

Ahhhh… These struggles and issues can be tools in the hands of our maker. We fight the good fight but He may choose to leave us in that battle.

It is in the position of weary brokenness that we are most receptive to the Lord’s molding and shaping. The battle brings us to a place of humility and desperate dependence.

Pride and independence keep God at arm’s length.

What if I admitted (to myself and God) that I ultimately have no power to handle the struggle and MUST lean on Him to empower me? (He already knows this, but I need to hear myself say it again and again)

Desperate Dependence. It has a nice ring to it. It feels more God controlled, safe and somehow complete.

The struggle is part of the journey not necessarily the problem. Joy and sorrow...

The struggle is where I meet God naked, weak and empty handed. I have nothing to offer that would save me from my battle and bring freedom.

I may stuggle 'til the end of my days but if it brings me deeper and closer to my Father then I will trust him and keep fighting the good fight. 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Thank you Lord for a renewed perspective and a refreshened hope today.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sometimes Life Stinks

God works in ways that I don’t understand. That’s a good thing.

His ways are higher than my ways. That is a relief. 

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

But then life happens. 


Everything looks like doom and gloom. Stress and crisis.  Hurt with no healing. 

Sometimes, I struggle to see God’s hand in my circumstances. I no longer hear His voice whisper to my soul. I feel lost and confused.

But then the light breaks through and I see Him in the actions of a loving friend or I hear Him in the words of an encouraging coworker. A ray of sunshine beaming through the dense dark clouds. 

It is God personified giving me the tight embrace I was longing for. The assurance of His presence. He is here. He does care.

It is God reaching down to one of his daughters to say, “Press on child. I am not finished yet. You can make it. This will not crush you. I am holding you in the palm of my hand. Safe and secure. I am here.”

Did you see the sunbeam? That was for you. 

Did you hear me in the kind words? That was for you. 

Did you feel the love in the action? That was really from me to say “I’ve got this. It’s okay.”

I’m the kind of person who can get her brain in a tizzy rather quickly when the day begins to escape me. I feel the loosening of my grip when events, attitudes and details begin to slip. 

Detail oriented, yes. Control freak, sometimes. 

I remember a season of life recently where circumstances developed to a frenzied state beyond anything I could have imagined. My grip of control became a mute point. The carpet was literally yanked out from under my feet. There was crisis at every turn.

Children with school issues. Tight finances and needed expenses. Thick marriage tension. Sudden death in the family. Leadership turnover in the workplace. Despair lurking around every corner. Depression tempting me to take the plunge.

I was in a pit looking up at shovelful after dark shovelful of heavy dirt cascading down on me. I stood empty handed, mouth gaping, in utter disbelief.   

Seriously. How much does God think I can handle? 

Darkness. Silence. Solidtude.

Oh… yes. I forgot… I can’t handle any of it. That is why HE is here.

My life is not my own. I was "bought at a price". My life has been dedicated to God for his greater purposes. I lay it down daily, hourly, sometimes moment by moment. 

Each new day is another opportunity for my waking prayer to be, “As You wish.”

In the 1988 film, “The Princess Bride”, the hero, Wesley, responds to each request of his beloved Buttercup, with the words, “As you wish.”

What if that is how I responded to every request from the Lord -or every circumstance he allowed to come my way?
“As You wish, Father. Your way is best. Always.”   

Sometimes I still find myself surprised, dishearten, and even depressed with my circumstances. I need to remember that He is in control.  I have given my day, my year and ultimately my life to him.  

If this is what he deems as the road conditions for my journey, then I accept.

I accept less than perfect children. 
I accept the painful struggle toward a healthier marriage. 
I accept the financial situations that test my trust in God’s provision.  
I accept the early death of my father. 
I accept the difficult transition at work.

As you wish, Lord. As you wish.

You Lord, see the whole road with its hills and valleys. You see the joys and the sorrows.

You see how much I will learn and grow if I persevere in trust through each challenging day. 

You see when I need a sunbeam on a cloudy day or a word of encouragement for my thirsty soul.

You see …and You gladly provide.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Even Though I Walk Through the Valley

As I round the bend toward home I see #3 and #4 child sitting on the front steps waiting for their mama to return. Pieces of paper in their hands indicate news. They spot me, jump up excitedly –wildly waving said pieces of paper. As they run toward the van I can hear them through the closed windows, “We got our teachers! We got our teachers!”

One child, face beaming with delight and excitement. The other child, face downcast, dejected, eyes threatening to spill over with hot tears. One received her desired teacher of choice and can’t wait for the first day. The other received the teacher we were asking the Lord to withhold and stomach knots have already formed, tears now spilling, small frail child climbing up in my lap as I stay seated in the driver seat.

We prayed this would not happen – the unwanted teacher. The broken heart. The difficult, fretful start to a new school year.

Later that evening the news comes of a friend’s young adult son dying tragically in an accident. Thrown from the car. Dead on arrival.

Another friend on another day confused in a foggy depression. Months of struggle. Unemployment, health problems, marriage tension.

Yet another- sharing news, trembling, that the bundle of joy in her womb is now still, silent, no more … again. Her second one in less than a year.

The Pastor and the church are doing this Psalm reading thing. Read 5 Psalms a day. The whole church – tracking together. The morning sermon was on Psalm 23. So familiar yet still new and still meeting needs.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

Pain all around. Deep sorrow. Piercing grief. Fearful agony. 

An insecure friend fighting her own demons of doubt and unworthiness.

A wife’s premonition that her husband is less than faithful.

A teen’s betrayal by a close friend who chooses others over her time and time again.

A heart weary of doing the good everyday… pressing on… waiting in hope.

After the sermon a time to come forward and pray. First the broken mother and father of the dead  son – coming for hugs, prayer and support, tears flowing. Mother motions toward the 3 other rows of friends and family who accompanied them to church in honor and love. Family after family file up to the front until there is a massive mob of arms holding each other on the outside rim keeping the bodies together. Intermittently through the invitation song an arm or hand here or there breaks free and points up to heaven praising the one who walks with them in the valley. Giving glory to Him, all present, all knowing, who comforts.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me…”

Maybe we had it all wrong – Maybe I had it all wrong.

Praying for a different teacher –praying against this one. We were also praying for the “right” teacher. The teacher that God thought our child needed.

Maybe that is what he delivered.  Maybe this IS what she needs.

Can my child “fear no evil for [God is with her]?” “[God’s] rod and [His] staff they comfort [her]?” 
She will have to make the choice to accept it. This is her valley. A huge voluminous valley when viewed by 9 year old eyes. This feels like life and death. Her response and attitude will set the pace and course for her year. I pray she feels her Savior’s arms wrapped tightly around her little frame as she walks into class that first day.

And my friend with her mob of family and friends – she is already walking securely with her Savior – leaning heavily on him during her own first dark days with the empty seat at the family table.  The missing hugs and laughter at the holidays.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.“ James 1:2

God sees the big picture. These trials and tragedies are part of the larger plan to grow us into stronger children of the King.

Psalm 23 has widened the canvas of my thinking. 

“His rod and his staff, they comfort me.” The rod and staff are used for correction and guidance to keep us on course and away from the wrong path.

These are hard lessons to learn. Heart wrenching lessons of looking intently at the mirror of His Word –walking through the tragedy with Him - and coming away changed. 

The empty womb. The empty bank account. The dark morning depression. What then?

“Even though I walk…” “Consider it pure joy…” “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” “…they comfort me.”

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wet your whistle and check the loo!

(Welcome to the new Wednesday edition of A Healthy Wife. Believing that being a good steward of our body is a spiritual responsibility, we will be focusing on some health and nutrition issues each Wednesday. A bit shorter and chocked full of info, Healthy Wife Wednesdays are unashamedly bold and colorful; A mouthful of facts and opinions to chew on all day!)

Wet your whistle and check the loo!

“Mommy, my head hurts.”
“Mommy, my tummy hurts.”
“Wow, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.”
“I’m sooo hot!”
“Ugh! My skin is breaking out!”

My husband jokes that my first prescription for any ailment my family complains about is to ask, “Have you been drinking enough water?”

Water is a very basic and powerful “medicine.” Water is vital in circulation, digestion, joint lubrication, bladder and bowel elimination, skin and hair health and much, much more.

There are 2 main things to be concerned with when it comes to water and your health.

Quantity and Quality.

With over 2/3 of your body consisting of water it is pretty important that you get enough of it. You can survive weeks without food but only a few days without water.

You have probably heard several different rules and gauges for making sure you drink enough water. Should you drink a strict 8 glasses a day? What if you work out? Do coffee and tea count?

The best rule of thumb I have found is to take your body weight number in pounds, cut it in half and drink that number in ounces of water each day.

For example, if I weigh 150 pounds I divide 150 in half to get 75. I then try to drink 75 ounces of water each day as a baseline amount.

For me, anything I drink while working out does not count toward my baseline. For others it may. I sweat a lot and often find myself dehydrated. So for me, the more I can drink on a workout day the better.

If you are not into measuring out water and feel much more relaxed about the whole issue, then this other basic rule may work better for you.

Check the color of your urine. Seriously.

It should be very pale yellow to no color at all. If it is basic yellow to darker yellow you should be drinking more water. 

Some people judge their hydration by whether they are thirsty or not, but for me by the time I feel thirsty I am already dehydrated. Listen to your body and do your best to make a good decision. By the way, other drinks such as coffee, tea and soda will actually dehydrate you. These should not count toward your daily total.

The quality of the water you drink is just as important as how much you drink. This can be a very sticky subject with many opinions and facts to wade through.

In my opinion the best water to drink is filtered or cleaned using reverse osmosis. I have read too many problems with distilled, tap and bottled water.  One fact I found stated that up to 40% of bottled water is actually just regular tap water that may or may not have received any additional treatment, flavors, or sweeteners.

For more information, just Google any of these topics and you will have enough reading material to last weeks and I haven’t even mentioned containers and plastics. That could be a whole other blog. Plastic was okay –now it is not. Nalgene was good – now you need HDPE Nalgene… Good old glass is still by far the best, but not always convenient.

When you feel like you are up against the wall and there are no good choices left –then my health mantra will come into play.

“Pray hard. Do your best. God will take care of the rest.”

Now, go get yourself a tall glass of ice water. Drink it down and you will feel a whole lot better!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mary, Martha and Pinterest

Have you ever had one of those days when you feel you are going crazy trying to get through your “To Do” list and everyone around you (husband, kids, co-workers) seem to be just sitting there doing nothing? 

Or worse yet, they are all doing the things YOU WISH you could do like reading for fun, playing games, gardening, watching a movie, swimming, talking with friends… but NOOOOOOOO! You have too much work to do and resent their leisure.

“Ugh! I wish I could sit around doing nothing all day, but someone has to do the work around here!”

“These clothes don’t wash themselves – Neither do the dishes, floors, windows, toilets…”

You get the point!

Ahhhhhhh! Martha! Martha!

All my life I have been known to be a “Martha”.

For those of you missing the biblical context, Martha and her sister Mary found themselves with the Ultimate dinner guest, Jesus.

Martha, wanting to make sure her guest was cared for –not to mention the 12 disciple entourage-  began making preparations to serve her guests dinner. In that day and age with no Wegmans, Walmart, refrigeration or electricity dinner was no easy task. Everything was literally made from scratch! Seriously, this was her time to shine or fade as a hostess to the King of Kings! Think Martha Sterwart and Pinterest rolled into one! The possibilities are endless! She could make the casserole to end all casseroles and the decorations had to be perfect...and... Hmmmmm...Are you feeling exhausted yet?

Mary, the younger sister, unconcerned with any thoughts of impressing the guests with a nice meal or clean house- just hung out with Jesus and his friends listening to the stories of their travels and the miracles they had encountered.

Martha becomes frustrated with Mary’s lack of help in the kitchen and complains to Jesus hoping He will back her and tell Mary to “get to work”.

It blew up in Martha’s face. Jesus commends Mary for her good choice of activities and rebukes Martha for her many distractions and worries.

Not quite what Martha was bargaining for. She didn’t get the help she wanted and the object of her frustration, Mary got the kudos! Ughhh! That’s the worst.

I am a Martha. A professional Martha. I am not proud of it. It is my nature and God has been gently rebuking me on deeper and deeper levels as over the years He has been sloughing off the decay in my life.

I have heard teachings on this story form Luke 10 so many times that I almost get nauseous at the hint of another Martha Message! Nauseous because I can’t seem to stop being a Martha!

I struggle with this - Marthaism. I have almost resigned myself to this as my “thorn in the flesh” as the Apostle Paul would have put it.

If everyone became a Mary – how would anything get done? If we all just sit around and let life roll who would be in charge? Who would plan things? Wouldn’t everything just fall apart?

I have been trying to wrap my head around the deeper meanings of this story for years!

Several weeks ago I was listening to the podcast of a nationally known minister and he made reference to the Mary and Martha story. I listened even though my eyes were rolling and stomach flopping.

Luke chapter 10 verses 41 and 42 read “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” (New International Version)

The minister in the podcast mentioned that the original language used to describe Martha as worried and upset meant to be distracted, anxious, multi-minded. Whereas Mary was single-minded, focused fully on Jesus.  

It was the multi-minded vs. single-minded that caught my attention. I had to look it up myself.

Mary had the laser focus; tuned into Jesus and what he had for her in that moment. Martha was a laser on the fritz. Zap, zip, zap zz-zzap. She flitted here and there. Always rushing. Always busy. When she did sit down her mind was still zipping and zapping.

If I, a Martha, am not focused on what Jesus wants me focused on, what are the ramifications of that?

Am I missing what God has for me today? In this moment am I missing the lesson? The opportunities? Friendships? Blessings? If I could sit, quiet my body, mind and spirit, could I tune in to him and his voice. His sweet words? His song?

There are always tasks to do, projects to complete, goals to achieve. But I believe there is discernment to know when to work at them and when to sit and listen in the quiet to Jesus speaking love, joy and peace into your heart. Absorb those words like a sponge. Let them wash over you flushing away the stress of Marthaism. Settle your spirit to become Mary on a regular basis and I bet you will find Martha work a lot less frazzled and maybe even a little more enjoyable.

SO WHAT!? (Our application portion of the blog. Please don’t read and proceed with your life unchanged. Stop a minute and apply what you just read so you can continue your journey a healthier you!)
1.     Identify whether you tend toward being a Martha or Mary.
2.     If you are a Mary – good for you, but are there tasks that God is asking you to do that you are sitting on? Ask Jesus to help you move into action!
3.     If you are a Martha – strive today to find even 5 minutes to get away quiet to hear what God is trying to tell you. Take a quick walk after the kids are in bed. Lock yourself in the bathroom with a journal and pen in hand. Find a quiet spot at work where you can stop and think a minute about your life and what God has been teaching you. Try for 5 days and see what difference it makes!
4.     There are positive and negatives to each of the women in the story. Think about your social media subscriptions: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+. Do any of these influence you negatively and push you further toward being too over committed or too under committed?
5.     Leave comments at the end of the blog to let all of us know how you are doing! Comments can be anonymous. You do not need a Google account to comment but we need each other for support and encouragement!