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Saturday, December 29, 2012

This Last Month

I'm back! Moving halfway across the country has had it's ups and downs.  I have dealt with stress due to delays that threatened the purchase of our new home, stress caused by the unknown that lay just ahead, physical stress to my body and mental stress that zaps you of the ability to make one single decision more. 

I also received blessings without number from the outpouring of love our church showed us by the many people who showed up to help with packing and loading, feeding us, sheltering us when the truck was packed with all of our stuff but the closing was delayed another 2 weeks.

Fears lurking in the deep recesses of my mind were brought forth from memories dislodged so that the past needed to be dealth with as well as the present.  Sometimes I needed no catalyst to start the slide show of my crazy fears, and tears were no more than a word away.

The sadness of closed doors and painful goodbyes was like a fog - everywhere - indistinct - unamed.   The joy of a new life ahead did not lessen my sorrows, but drained me of energy as well.

I've said it before:  we cannot avoid all stress, and it's unrealistic to think that we might.  But if you know where to go with burdens, and if you know which thoughts to reject....  If you see these fears as a call to prayer, taking them to the One with answers - the One Who cares - then you have done well.  There IS a way to meet these awful fears that are like party crashers - uninvited and unwanted.  Take them with you and go to the Father.  Cast them away from your presence and into the Father's hands.

Now, you who are reading this, go... and pray

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Talking to God

I've been so busy this last month, that I haven't had time to write much!  There was the hurricane and then I have been packing, and packing, and packing...........  We are moving to Texas - my home.  I've been absent from Texas for 14 years, but now that my husband has retired, we will be leaving New York.  

The whole ordeal has given me much to worry over, but I'm glad to tell you that I have not really fallen victim to the stress that such things can cause.  At least not more than temporarily.  It's not that my serenity just happened, but I chose not to entertain thoughts that would in any way encourage me to fret.  Whenever there was a problem for which I had no answer, I would stop what I was doing to pray (usually briefly), and soon would have His answer.

James 1:2-8 says:  "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all he does."

Make prayer a priority.  It doesn't have to be lengthy and theologically correct prayers said with all he right words.  It is merely the cry of your heart inviting Him to share your pain, or clear your mind.  It is a simple request for help.  Sometimes it is a song lifted up to Him in praise.  Other times it is a pouring out of feelings - good or bad.

But in every case it is the faith that He is powerful, knowledgeable, loving and just that expresses itself through prayer.  We must be a praying people.  If you're not comfortable praying, start out by repeating the Lord's prayer.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes.  Get started right now, Reader!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A New Storm Forecast

Another storm is coming, and some of us are not recovered from the last one.  It's true that this storm is not supposed to be anything like Sandy, but I know many people who still don't have power.  Some are cooking on gas stoves, if they are lucky.  Some are washing clothes and taking showers at a neighbor's house if possible.  Many are still without refrigeration for their food.  The temperatures are very cold and the gas lines are still endless.  And of course there are some who no longer have a home or may have even lost a loved one.

Sometimes in life we endure one storm after another.  Before we have dealt with the aftermath of one, another comes along.  Sometimes we even have several storms converging at once.

Yesterday, I felt like this.  I actually felt on the verge of collapse.  I went to my doctor, and he examined me and told me that my body is particularly stressed, and he added some supplements to my diet.  He talked to me a little bit about the uncertainties in life, and that there are many things we just can't see coming.  His words of advice to me in dealing with all of this?  "The righteous shall live by faith."  In other words, it's not the future we need to know, but He Who holds the future in His hands.  We need to know our God.  It's Him that we entrust our lives to.  He will deliver us as He sees fit.

Do you have a disease?  You are already one step ahead of the strong and the healthy.  They will try and deal with it all in their own strength, while in contrast you have come face to face with your own powerlessness.  That is the first step of faith - trusting God to do what you cannot - AND trusting Him to know what should or should not be provided.  He allows troubles to come our way so we learn that HE is our everything.  He is the answer.

Quit fighting dependence on Him.  Rest.  Enter into His rest.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

One of Many

As much as we think we are the center of the universe, it doesn't make it so.  After all, we see things from our own perspective ONLY.  We make judgements based on our own knowledge.  Our understanding is based on the facts we possess and our own comprehension.  It's natural that we view all of life as it relates to ourselves.

We have to learn that though we are all individual and unique, we are meant to be a part of a body.  For instance, the 23rd Psalm illustrates how God relates to us as individuals:  "The Lord is MY shepherd.  I shall not want.  He maketh ME to lie down in green pastures.  He leadeth ME beside still waters....  etc.
Ephesians 4:11-13 explains how individuals are part of a body:  "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists,  and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

I think this is why God allows you and me to deal with Parkinson's Disease.  Because it prepares us for works of service, so that we and the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered and you and I are no different.  Suffering teaches us! We will not always suffer with this disease.  But while we do, let us learn well the lessons that God would teach us, and be mindful that we are one of many.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Tracking Storms

We all have our limits.  We have boundaries beyond which we are not comfortable.  We want things to stay manageable.  It is more comfortable to have a list of dos and don'ts with predictable outcomes, than to live with uncertainty and have to ride out life's storms moment by moment.  But life isn't just a set of rules where you can choose which way your life will go.  Just because you do what you believe to be right, you are not guaranteed smooth sailing.  Hurricanes happen.  Diseases happen.  Heartache is real.

But so is God.

 Like tracking a hurricane, we may be able to guess what direction our life is taking by reading the warning signs, but we really don't know for sure where landfall will be or how violently the winds will blow and the floods will rise, or what damages we'll be dealing with in the aftermath of a sudden storm.

I remember years ago when Hurricane Parkinson first threatened to blow through my life, and then when it began tracking straight for me, then when the super storm hit..........  I was helpless to change it's course and had no control over the damage inflicted.  It was the worst I had ever been through.  I was called upon to reach for courage I previously did not know I had.  There were days of defeat and despair as I tried to deal with rebuilding.  There were days when I didn't have the tools necessary for reconstruction.

But God was there.  And He still is.

The initial breach of that storm is long past but not a day goes by that I am not reminded of it.  I will never be the same.  But then, I think that's why God allowed this dreadful hurricane to hit me.  I have learned that God is sufficient when I have nothing.  I have learned that God is always with me when what I fear most is being left alone.  I have learned that God makes sense of what I see as senseless.  I have learned that though I don't have all the answers............  God does.  I have come to love Him more than I ever did before..................

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm Tired and Don't Have Much to Say....

Today power is slowly being restored.  The shelves at the grocery store have dairy and meats again.  Many places are closed though - like MacDonalds down the street.  I can't get through to my neurologist to have one of my prescriptions refilled.  Their phone lines are down.  And people are lined up at gas stations with a 2 hour wait to fill their cars with gas.  Mind you, there is no gas shortage but people THINK there is.  Some gas stations have lost power and without electricity the gas can't be pumped,  Also the tankers are having a hard time getting here to deliver gas because of the roads.  My husband and I will probably get up in the middle of the night to try and find gas.

It has gotten cold and like the mood, the sky is gray and cloudy.  I'm already so sleepy.

There is no way to be here and not be stressed, but I'm reading Scripture and praying very often.  This keeps me in perspective.  It keeps me from bringing on despair by thinking Truth.  Well, I'm going to bed now .  Good night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Our High Calling in the Midst of Hell.

Today is the 2nd morning after Hurricane Sandy.  There is devastation all around us, yet it does not come near to this family.  There are many who are trying to begin the monumental task of putting their lives back to order.  There are many who have lost everything like the people from Queens whose homes (80 of them) burned to the ground leaving nothing but cinders and charred trees.  How ironic to flee for your life from homes overcome by floods of record breaking proportions, only to watch sparks from a transformer ignite first one home, then another as they burn and leave nothing but the charred remains of a life remembered.

I've heard that Fire Island may now be 2 islands.  I have heard no word of whether or not those who refused to evacuate there have survived.

Some people on Long Island (like Long Beach) find themselves unable to drink or bathe because their water is contaminated with sewage.

Schools are still closed today and shelters may see even more coming for shelter tonight as temperatures dip to low 40s.  Without power that is very cold.  West Virginia and Pennsylvania are dealing with snow.  I heard this morning that the best case scenario for people without power is that they may not get any for a minimum of 7-10 days.  Many businesses are closed and the subway tunnels are flooded witth salt water.  Railway lines are washed out and miles of track need to be checked.  Flights have been cancelled.  Wall Street closed for a record setting 2 days.  Traffic lights are not working and I heard this morning of a 20 yr old man killed as he rode his motorcycle through an intersection.  Yesterday New Jersey's governor said there were parts of his state he could not even inspect by helicopter because he was told there was just no place to land.  At least one hospital evacuated newborns as they carried them down 19 floors of steps while hand respirating them.  Trees that are older than the people who had them have come crashing down into the middle of their homes.

We give thanks to our heavenly Father from whom comes all good gifts.  We are safe.  We are His sheep.  We are not lost, but found.  Please pray for those who are frightened and hurting.  Invite God into this terrible scene.  He won't go where He is not wanted, but then that's where we (those who know Him intimately) come in.  God is calling you to pray for the helpless, who either cannot or will not pray for themselves.  Pray for them as if they were family and dearly loved.  This could be you.

Take to heart God's words from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

It is a high calling - an honor and a responsibility that we should not ignore.  Pray, dear Reader!  Pray as if this were you.  And one day, it could be.............

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Aftermath

Last night, amidst the wind and fury, I sang hymns praising our God.  You may think it my imagination (but I know better) , but as I sang, the winds died down, and when I paused in between songs, the howling wind seemed to rise in a fearsome crescendo.  However nothing could steal the peace that my heavenly Father had anchored in my heart.

This morning, there is not so much as a tree branch fallen on our property!  Our only damage is a single strip of siding blown loose, and an overturned porch swing!  Tell me that God's hand was not protecting us....!!!

Tears of thankful joy flow down my cheeks as my husband and I offer up a prayer of thanks and praise to our great God.  Praises to the One who leads me beside still waters and guides me through the valley of the shadow of death!

Psalm 24

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?  Who may stand in his holy place?  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart; who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.  They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.  Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is he, this King of glory?  The Lord Almighty - he is the King of glory."

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Eve of Hurricane Sandy

"In journeyings often in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea....2 Corinthians 11:26

When Paul writes of "perils" in the wilderness he uses the Greek word "kindunos" meaning "extremely dangerous".  The Greek word Paul uses for "wilderness" is "eremia".  It describes a remote, isolated location in the middle of nowhere.

"Paul's travels no doubt took him through remote areas where thieves and plunderers could have easily victimized him and his companions.  It is very possible that wild beasts confronted them as they walked from place to place.  The roads had deep ruts where deadly snakes and venemous scorpions hid."  from Sparkling Gems.

As I am up this night and in the pre-dawn hours - I am praying.  What's troubling me?  Hurricane Sandy.  I'm afraid of hurricanes and I'd rather not be here on Long Island.  As I started praying, here is what I read:  

"Call upon Me in the day trouble; I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify Me."   Psalm 50:15
"Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me."   Psalm 50:23

In my trouble, I have come into the presence of God.  You could say that I am watching and praying for our safety, lest we be overtaken suddenly by calamity.

Like Paul I am keeping watch through the night so that at the first sign of danger - my call for help is heard by my heavenly Father.

We should never take for granted those times when all is quiet.  Satan prowls like a hurricane far from land - no visible clues to warn us of his impending attack.  Our only defense against these unseen extreme dangers is our heavenly Father.

When we intercede in prayer, and lay our burdens at His feet - when we are like the night watchman guarding the city, we are dealing with perils in isolated places.  We watch, we see, we sound the alarm and cry out for help (pray).  Then our Father delivers us and we glorify Him with our praises

Friday, October 19, 2012

What Should I Do?

How much should I trust the medical community?  How far should I go in allowing procedures, taking recommended drugs and adopting exercises?  Well, this is something I cannot decide for you.  What is good for me, may not be the thing for you.  What I CAN say with certainty is that you must totally rely on your heavenly Father to guide and direct you.  Pray.  If you are not hearing Him, then ask Him to help you to hear.  Prayer is like anything else.........  If we rarely exercise our prayer "muscles" then they will be weak.  We won't have such good hearing when it comes to Him speaking to us.  This does not happen over-night.  The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing.  It's like breathing.  We are not constantly sending up structured prayers for specific things, but rather it's like walking with a friend - we are in-step with one another, we are aware of the other's presence, though our thoughts run unhindered from thing to thing.  When our friend speaks, we hear and vice versa.
Also, God has different work for different ones.  He uses us to spread the gospel in unique ways.  I know that on my journey through this life, I have talked to and shared with certain people that had I not been doing what I was doing, I would not have had that opportunity.  What have seemed like problems in my life have turned out to be exposure to people and places where not only others were blessed by my life, but I was blessed also by their lives!
I would venture to say that it is not just a matter of what is good for us, but a matter of knowing our place within the body of Christ.  We are not here on this earth only to save our lives, but through Him to give life.  This is what the Bible has to say about this:  John 12:24-26   "...unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me."
You will be safe if you go where the Lord tells you to go and do what the Lord tells you to do.
You must have a relationship with Him so you can hear Him, you must obey, and you must trust Him.  He is our Shepherd.  He is there to guide us and take care of us.  He will not harm us.  A good shepherd knows each sheep.  The life of the sheep is totally dependent upon the shepherd.  The sheep doesn't know what to do or where to go.  Your Shepherd will lead you to green pastures and beside still waters.  HE will guide you in the paths of righteousness.  /Read Psalm 23 if you need to be reminded.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Somebody Out There Needs a Prayer Tonight

I feel compelled to pray.... Someone out there tonight is desperate for help.  You are being attacked and worn out by spiritual forces of darkness.  Whoever you are, DON'T DESPAIR.  Know that your life is PRECIOUS to Him.  He has heard your prayer and help is on the way. Please read James 1.   I want to pray for all of you who have Parkinson's Disease.  You are on my heart tonight:

Heavenly Father, I sit at Your feet with the needs of my friends who have PD.  We have special needs, therefore we have special requests.  I want to thank you that you are not a God of confusion or chaos, and I praise You that You give us the gift of a sound mind.  Give us clarity, Lord.  Give us Your wisdom.  Keep a watch over our mouths and let only words that edify the Body come out of our mouths.  Teach us tonight, even as we sleep.  We need a special word from you right now.  Save us from our enemy - Satan ....  Hide us from him.  Give us the courage we will need to get through tomorrow.

We thank you with every beat of our hearts for the ways You have used us - in this condition - to change a life, or perform a miracle.  There are many things You have done through us and we don't even know it.  Raise up those of us who are under heavy attack and revive our exhausted hearts, for You alone are the Lord our God.  Our enemy cannot touch us because we are safely tucked under Your wings.

We love belonging to You....

Friday, October 12, 2012

Unbirthed Dreams

I just read an article where the author describes her dashed hopes for the future - now only a dream she once had dreamed - as a still birth or a miscarriage.  It occurs to me that this is what life can seem like to those of us who have been diagnosed with a disease, or suffered other tragedy.  We all had our plans and hopes of a future that did not include PD (or whatever your own heartbreak may be).  Dreams that started with expectant hope and desire for the life that we yearned for, somehow died, and were never allowed to ripen for the day of birth and growth.

I don't know why.  I won't tell you that I can make any sense of it.  It seems nothing but a tragedy just like death on a cross.  And why me?  What did I do to deserved this?  I am catapulted into a fog of pain, sadness and confusion - perhaps even anger and bitterness, when all I wanted was goodness.

But the one thing I do know in my limited knowledge, I cling tenaciously to.  It is recorded in Isaiah 41:10,13.

I am instructed and comforted:

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.  Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand....  For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand."

And I am amazed as I see things that look for all the world like undeserved death on a cross, but eventually usher into my life the most precious parts of life that there are.

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Bad

Unemployment, rising gas prices, death in Afghanistan, fathers murdering children, as well as missing children, enemy drones invading Israel, meningitis outbreaks caused by back pain shots, and alligators released and abandoned in public areas on Long Island - These are a few things going on here and in the world at large.

Make no mistake - we are living in a dangerous world, populated by dangerous people, in dangerous times.  We are perhaps frightened because of our disability.  We know that there is much we cannot do.  We are slow or frozen, weak and uncoordinated - an easy target for bad people.  We are forced to depend on the kindness of others.  We are very much aware of our physical shortcomings in a world where only the super heroes of our imaginations meet the dark demands of evil.  We are no match for whatever may attack from the midst of darkness.

It will not help to turn from this reality and pretend - and hope - that we and our loved ones will emerge from it all unscathed.  Because we don't know what to do - we have fallen asleep; but we MUST wake up!

Our heavenly father tells us what to do.  He tells us what the final outcome for those who belong to Him will be:

"You will have the Lord for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory."   Isaiah 60:19

I'll give you some highlights from the 91st Psalm, but I strongly suggest that you read the entire Psalm for yourself:

"It is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, and from the deadly pestilence.  You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in the day...."  Psalm 91

God is our refuge - our hope - our help in times of trouble.  WAKE UP, Pilgrim!  Have courage and fear not.

Our God is aware; our God is powerful; our God is light and love.  Draw close to Him and He will draw close to you.

"He who dwells in the shelter of the most high, will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.:   Psalm 91:1

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sixty Second Prayers

My computer has been down and still is out of commission, so I'm writing to you from my son's computer.  Life has been very busy these last few weeks.  We will be moving soon, so I've spent my time packing, throwing away, and organizing.  I can't do as much as I would like to do at one time, but I'm plugging along.  I have set easily attained goals for every day (like I aim to pack two boxes by the end of the day) and I'm surprised at how much I have done.  I stop often during the day and pray very quick prayers.  I find that this is the best way to deal with confusion, fatigue, discouragement and any other trouble that comes my way (and there have been PLENTY).  Sixty second prayers keep me focusing on the right thing and remembering Who my Helper is.
I am satisfied more and more with talking to God about my problems and obstacles and content to wait and see what He says or shows me.  He never fails to answer.  In the first chapter of James, the Bible tells us that if anyone lacks wisdom let him ask God for it.  Then He Who gives generously and without reproach will give it.  But it warns us that we must ask in faith without any doubting because the one who doubts should not expect to receive anything.  Doubting God is not believing that He is Who He says He is or that He will not do what He promises.
I'm not in the same place (emotionally) that I was in the last time I posted on my blog, but then neither are you.  I'm moving ahead and looking forward to the new things that are ahead of me.  Sometimes I'm tempted to worry about going to a new place, making new friends, learning new places, changing doctors, but when those worries try to crowd in, I just start praying.  I will check back with you as I can until once again I can write regularly.  My thoughts are with you....
Anna

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What Does the World See?

Yesterday morning I went out with friends.  I saw a man surrounded by his friends on the beach.  He was in a wheelchair - but not just an ordinary wheelchair....  It had wheels that looked like large intertubes - designed to be pushed through the sand on the beach.  The friend pushed the man into the surf - only enough to wet his feet.  The friend was strong and kept a tight hold on the wheelchair.  The man trusted in the strength and love that the friend had for him.

I wondered if the man had been a surfer or a swimmer.  He obviously had a love for the sea.

It struck me that this friend was like Jesus, who pushes His loved ones through this life in the same way.  He is strong.  He is tender.  He takes us where we cannot go alone.

I wonder who is watching you and who is watching me, and I wonder what picture we make - Jesus and me.    For surely we don't go unnoticed.  And whether we trust in His strength and His love, will be there for all to see, so think - reader ....  What does the world see?

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Difference Between Yesterday and Today

Tell me what you're thinking.  Share your thoughts with me today.  You may think it's not necessary because we talked yesterday, but I need to hear from you today.  Everything is new today.  We are both in a different place today.  You might need reassurance.  I might need reminders.  I know that you loved me yesterday, but do you love me today?  Yesterday the world was different.  Today you will see a different side of me because my challenges call for what you did not see yesterday.  You cannot read my mind, nor I yours.

If you grow impatient with me, just think of this:  I loved you yesterday when things were different.  Today when they are more different still, I love you more.  To repeat it is full affirmation that what has happened today has only deepened this love I have for you.

Make me understand your world today.  I will show you how I love you. Try and understand my world today - and love me.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

To My Son

Today I am thinking of someone dear to me.  I will do my best to make this a good day for this someone.  Before this day is done, I will share with "someone" what I am thinking and how I am feeling:


It is your birthday.  I have awakened with you in my mind and on my heart, where you always are.  Since the time before you were conceived, I made a place for you in my heart.  My soul is knit together with your own.  The enduring and never-ending love of God is made into a mother's love for her son.  Wherever you go - take care that it is a place worthy of a mother's love - because everything you do and everywhere you go - my soul goes too.

I am never willingly separated from you, though when you are absent - my prayers for you never cease.  Every tear I've ever wept for you - every heartache I've ever had for you - and every dream I've ever dreamed for you are stored up in God's heart.

Never forget Who made you.  Never fail to remember He is the source of all hope and never fail to know that when you are trying to be who you were born to be - all things are possible through Him.

I love you beyond measure.  You are my gift on this day of the celebration of your birth.
You were created for a reason - you were born with a purpose.  Find your calling and understand His plan for you.  There you will find strength and know joy.

All my Love,

Mama

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Have Everything I Need to Finish the Day

We cannot escape it - heartbreak, danger, unexpected disaster, extreme fatigue....  But we CAN overcome these obstacles that would drag us down, slow our forward movement and drain the courage right out of our hearts.  We cannot avoid that which would call forth every fiber of strength we can muster to get through, but we CAN choose to walk through it all - in step with our Helper who is the Spirit of God.  Stop for a moment and think about this:  It is the Spirit of the living God - the Comforter that Jesus left for us when He rose to heaven - the teacher and guide that can never steer us in the wrong direction - that walks us through every difficulty that threatens to render us useless or unable to go on living.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your Holy Spirit.  It is enough.  I will encounter difficulties today, but not alone, and not without guidance and instruction.  Help me today not to forget that I have everything I need to finish the day.

Monday, August 20, 2012

He is to be Trusted

Do you know the story - from the Bible - about God telling the Israelites - through Moses - to send spies into the land of Canaan (the Promised Land) to check it out?  They were told to see what the land was like and to bring back a report about whether the inhabitants were weak or strong.  You can read it for yourself in Numbers 13 -14.

They went and brought back a report saying the land was very productive, but the people who inhabited Canaan were powerful and the cities were fortified.  They had forgotten all that God had done for them, and the proof of His love of them.  They did not remember His power to deliver.  They said, "We can't attack these people; they are stronger than we are."  Only Joshua and Caleb spoke of God's protection, saying that they could surely defeat these giants and urged the people not to be afraid.

But the people would not listen.  They refused to take possession of the land God was giving them.  Instead of moving forward they hung back in fear and doubt.  As a result, the people who doubted were never allowed to enter the Promised Land.  The only ones allowed this privilege were Joshua and Caleb.

Have you stopped moving forward because you doubt that God can deliver you from the ravages of Parkinson's Disease?  Are you miserable because you have forgotten that God is sovereign and has given you many reasons to hope in Him?  Do you see only giants and know you are unable to fight the loss of courage?

God wants you to keep advancing, and wants you to fear not because He is in control.  Yes, you have a disease.  But when God's purpose is accomplished and your faith has endured testing, you are that much closer to the Promised Land!

Is your faith weak and you fear you cannot endure one more minute of this burden?  Then pray....   God will strengthen you.  He wants you to come forth  beautiful and whole.  He is asking you to trust Him to apply only the right amount of pressure to your soul, and only for the exact amount of time it takes to bring you forth as pure gold.  You are given a heartbreaking condition.  but trust Him to know what He's doing.

I don't know why you and I have Parkinson's Disease. What could I do about it if I did know?  I don't have to know.  Join me with Joshua and Caleb.  This is part of our journey.  One day it will all be clear.  But today, when I have no answers,  I will trust that He loves me.

Oh, Jesus, You are the good shepherd.  Your voice is well known to me, and I will follow it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Memories Allowed

How much time in a day do we spend on memories?  Dwelling on our memories can catapult a person into a mire of sadness and halt all forward progress we might look forward to in a day.  Sometimes focusing on certain memories can trigger a downward spiral into depression which can lead to even more problems. 

But the right kinds of memories can encourage, lift up, and increase faith.  Many times I have heard it said, "The mind is the battlefield".  I believe it.  We must choose carefully what we allow to linger in our minds. 

Scripture often tells us to remember the things God has done for us.  When I meditate on times in the past when God has clearly spoken to me, or definitely acted on my behalf, my faith is easily strengthened and actually grows.  In this way, I am responsible for the condition of my faith (even though I know that it is a gift from God).  It becomes easier to detect the whispers of doubt that come from my spiritual enemies, and reject them as lies. 

If you have Parkinson's Disease, you are limited in what you can do, and you are not as physically active as you once were.  In my case, this leads to an ever more active mind, so I must take charge of my mind and be careful not to allow the wrong kinds of thoughts in.  Proverbs 23:7 tells us about man:  "For as he thinks within himself, so he is."

Don't let your mind wander without direction.  No matter the condition of your body - no matter what you are not able to do - THIS you CAN do:  discern whether your thoughts are good or bad and allow only memories that will increase your faith and move you forward. 

The choice is yours.  Do you want to have a healthy faith?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Works, Walking and Worthiness

How many small and seemingly insignificant decisions do you make every day?  How important do they seem?  As a person living with Parkinson's Disease, I am confronted with many choices in my day, just like everyone else, but the choices I am given will be different than another person's choices.  It may be a decision to not complain for the day, even though there may be alot to complain about.  Or it could be something like putting someone else's need in front of mine......all day.

There are some choices that seem more important than others, yet along with it, comes a temptation.  My heart knows the right thing to do, but from somewhere comes the idea that just this once, I could cut corners and take the easy way and no one would know....  There are also those choices where I could take the easier route, and no one would blame me.  God would understand....

I submit that every choice we are given is an opportunity to live for Christ AND make Him known.  The world, and even our families, watch us - observing our reactions, asking us questions, noticing if our words stand true in light of our actions.  Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - "that we should walk in them"....  Think about this for a minute.

As a peculiar people - one who is a member of the elite group of people with PD - God has prepared special work for me, that the world may see Jesus in my daily life through the decisions I make.  We may or may not be able to walk across a room, but we can certainly "walk" in the good works that God prepared beforehand for each one of us!

I am thinking of the story of Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego.... (Daniel 3:12-30)  In a large assembly of people, they were told to bow down and worship the statue of the king - Nebuchadnezer.  Everyone else did, but they did not. They could have chosen to bow like everyone else, and blend with the large group of people (who would blame them?), but this day they chose to walk in the works that God chose for them beforehand (which was to walk in the fire).

When they were noticed standing instead of bowing, they were brought before the king.  They told the king that their God could save them from him, but even if He did not, they would not to bow before the statue.  Enraged at their choice to not bow, he had them thrown into the fiery furnace.  In amazement, the king declared that he saw FOUR people walking around in the fire - not just THREE. The fourth person was God who would not leave them to face the fire alone.   As a result, the king called them  to come out of the fire (they were unhurt without even the smell of smoke on them).  The king then blessed God and glorified Him.

This is the point of the works God has prepared for you to walk in.  You have the unique opportunity to walk through the fire of Parkinson's Disease to the glory of God, but never by yourself. The choice is yours - to walk in a manner worthy of the calling of God - with Him leading the way, or bow down to your idol (pride, untruth, fear of death, selfishness, failure to love those around you, etc.).  Where will you walk today?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Simple Prayer and a Small Thought

Today, I have a doctor's appointment.  It is a DBS adjustment.  It seems that I need more "juice" because I'm experiencing some minor symptoms that until recently were a thing of the past.  The only problem is that whenever I go in for an appointment, I seem to be having a great day with no problems, so my doctor can't really make much of an adjustment.  I'm grateful for good days, but I do hope this morning, he will be able to see what's going on.

Maybe I've just gotten used to the absence of symptoms and the beauty of a life that is without the debilitating symptoms that used to be a constant agony.  I don't know.

In any case, Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that You know best, and that I am not left alone to cope with my problems.  I trust you.  I am grateful for the beautiful gifts You have showered on me.  Help me to honor You in all that I do and say and think today.

"God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, that Thy way may be known on the earth."   Psalms 67:1,2

Saturday, August 4, 2012

On the Cross With Jesus

This world we live in is a stressful place. There is evil, greed, and every kind of selfishness. Danger is always present.  But we can also find light, kindness, goodness, and people who are willing to share.

We have no control over the actions of other people, so we can't control the amount of stress around us that we have to deal with. I find that trying to find that place where stress is non-existant is a waste of time.  A better thing to concentrate on is facing my problems, my fears, and my insufficiency and learning what to do with them. 

I don't think I'll ever reach the place where there is no fear.  At least not on this earth.  Having Parkinson's Disease brings up all kinds of fears.  I can't help that.  But rather than trying to battle them in my own humaness, hoping against hope for a reprieve, I can put those fears where they belong - at the feet of Jesus. 

To do this, I must first identify and face these fears.  It won't help to try and forget them or pretend they are not there.  Running from them will only wear you out.  Once I have identified them, then I mourn, and cry and grieve in the presence of God.  Tell Him all about your agony.  You can even go to God with your anger.  Then admit your powerlessness over these things you fear.  Our struggle to maintain control is nothing more than a mirage. 

It actually gets simple at this point.  I didn't say "easy".  But we now trust God to do as He pleases, believing that He is a loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God who works out His purposes in every day He gives us.

I remember as I struggled through this process (it will take longer for some than others), giving up my own hopes and dreams for this life, I told Him in all sincerity, that if there were any other place in the world I could go, that's where I would be.  But I had exhausted all other possibilities.  I found myself on the cross with Jesus.  My old self had to die with all of my old dreams, desires, and plans.  I did not choose it to be so, but this is where I found myself.

It was agonizing - letting go of my cherished hopes and dreams.  But Jesus knew exactly what I was going through.  In the Garden of Gethsemene, He too struggled with the impending reality of the cross.  He asked the Father 3 times to "let this cup pass" yet when He did not receive the answer He so desperately desired,  with resignation He faced death.....death on a cross.

When the diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease comes, recognize the dread of not knowing how your life will play out or how you will die.  Consider that you may lose loved ones because they can't deal with your tragedy.  But do it all in light of the wonderful reality that He will never leave you or forsake you ("He Himself has said, I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you."  -  Hebrews 13:5).  He will never ask you to do what He hasn't done before.  And know that your life will be what He has planned it will be ahead of time.  Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."

Now I can truly say with Paul and Timothy in Philippians 3:8 - "I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ."  Trust Him, dear ones.  You will not be disappointed.  Trust and wait.........

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Weakness and Winks or Power and Love

I'm having a quiet day today.  My thoughts are uninterrupted and I am trying to listen to what the Spirit has to say. 

I want to talk about a side of God that we don't normally mention.  I find that most people like to think of Him as a warm, fuzzy, positive presence.  We like to think of His angels sent to protect us.  We believe that God wants us to be happy and without suffering and without pain - ever.  I think many of us see Him as a benevolent Presence that either does not have the power to really change much, or does not care to.  This is a God Who is weak.  He wishes that we would obey His commandments, but winks at us or shrugs His shoulders when we don't.  We tend to think He does not punish rebellion or disobedience.  We just aren't that concerned with comitting a sin here and a sin there because we know He will forgive. 

Think about this.  Take a moment to ask yourself if any of this sounds familiar.  Ask God to show you if these ideas are like some of your own.  Then listen for His answer.  Really listen.  Your life may depend on it.  Matthew 13:14-15 says this:  "You will keep on hearing but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull.  And with their ears they scarcely hear.  And they have closed their eyes lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I should heal them."  These are the words of Jesus. 

Louie Giglio says that God is big - really really big, and FEROCIOUS and POWERFUL.  Also loving.  Genesis 1 tells us that God designed and created the universe and the earth and everything on it.  (What kind of power would that take?)

He HATES sin  (not dislikes or overlooks).  The Bible is very clear that He is not nuetral or half-hearted about sin.  Proverbs 6:16-19 says, "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet swift in running to do evil, a false witness who lies with every breath, and him who sows strife among brothers."

Sin brings death, and God is all about life.  John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Would you - as a loving parent be tolerant of cancer or some gross deadly deformity in your child's life?  Certainly not!  And neither is God tolerant of sin in a person's life, because it results in death - eternal separation from Him.  Hell, is the finished product of sin.  God doesn't just send people to Hell.  They wind up there because sin has them in Hell's grip.  Unless a person receives the gift of cleansing and is delivered from sin and death by God's Son - Jesus Christ - he will have no hope of being saved.  Because we are born tainted in a tainted world we are not clean - we are full of sin.

You may be thinking, "But I'm a pretty good person.  I don't sin."  However the Bible says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)  Indeed we are born in sin.  It is attached to us with chains that cannot be broken with human hands alone.  In God's fierce love for us He came up with a way to free us and be with us, and keep us from death and darkness.

God is love.  He has such incredibly deep and abiding love for you, and for me, that He gave His Son .  "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."  (John 3:17-18).  Did you get that?  God doesn't condemn, but we are condemned already.  God is fearless and will go to any length to save you.  Indeed He already has.

Would a weak dispassionate God who winks at sin do all this???  Ask God Who He really is.  Respectfully ask.  Whoever He is, He is greater than mere man

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How Is Your Faith Today?

How is your faith today?  Is it dependent upon your circumstances?  When things get bad does your faith weaken and falter?  Do you have to see to believe?  Or is your faith healthy and robust? 

As you deal with Parkinson's Disease (or whatever your problem) are you able to believe in the goodness of God?  Are you able to believe that God is sovereign when just days ago a young man went berserk in a movie theater and murdered people indiscriminantly and without mercy as he shot them?  Are you able to believe in God when you're living in a world ruled by mad men just itching to go nuclear?

I hope so.  If you are not able to trust in God and believe He is all the Bible claims Him to be, today, then how will you survive through tomorrow?  Our world is precariously perched on the edge of an abyss.  God told us ahead of time this was coming and He is warning us in many ways,that if we don't change course we could face what Joel Rosenberg refers to as "implosion". 

I don't know why we see evil that befalls the innocent, but I don't have to see to believe.  My mind is only able to understand so much, and then the rest must be taken on faith.  I believe that God is love, that He is all knowing and all powerful and present everywhere.  My mind is like a car that runs out of gas.  It can only take me so far.  Then I need gas to get me where I'm going.  The gas is faith. 

Now is not the time to doubt or to be unsure.  Make sure your faith is healthy today.

Just My Thoughts

Today I read a little bit about the Great Awakening.  After fifty years of prayer and fasting for revival, it came in the early to mid 1700s.  Some of the finest preachers of the time experienced great desire to preach the gospel, and at the same time, people became hungry and thirsty to hear about God.  Preaching out in the open instead of enclosed buildings caught on.  Thousands were saved.  This came at a time when government was corrupt and people didn't know the difference between going to church and actually knowing Jesus.  Men like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and John and Charles Wesley were born again.  They were highly educated but did not fall into intellectualism or elitist thinking.

Today I prayed for revival, as I have been doing for some time, though I feel I surely I need more inspiration to pray more passionately and for longer periods of time.  But, as I pointed out in the previous post, I have the time for prayer!

Today, I stood in the gap for friends and family.  I prayed through challenges resisting the urge to pick up the phone and dial-a-friend.

I have been inspired to seek a closer relationship with Jesus, wanting more and more as time goes on to be completely His without reservation. I want to hold back nothing so He might use me to bring others to Christ.  I want to be a blessing to my family and friends and even to strangers. 

These are just some of my thoughts today - because God gave me the time. What did you do with your day?  I'd love to hear....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Shalom

I believe I have written to you before about what I am about to relate, but it bears repeating.

I have written a lot about prayer and how important it is.  I could never stress the importance of prayer enough.  Those of you who are not able to work have been blessed with days filled and brimming over with opportunities to pray.  The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing.  It also says that God's house is a house of prayer.  These bodies that we dwell in - like the Israelite's tent dwellings -  when they wandered in the desert for forty years - are temporary "tents".  Your body is the temple of God on earth.  It should be a house of prayer.

Recently, my mother-in-law had a mini stroke and had to be taken to the ER of a local hospital.  I was there with my husband.  It was a creepy experience as the ER was quite lively that night.  The first thing we were confronted with was a man that looked homeless walking up and down the hall muttering and talking to himself.  He had a disturbed expression on his face.

Moments later we heard cursings and screams from a young man declaring that nothing was wrong with him and he wanted to go home.  He was drawing quite a crowd of hospital staff.

Finally, there was an elderly man in the bay next to us, and every 3 or 4 seconds he would wail.  No one paid him any attention.

After about 2 hours, still bothered by all the commotion, I thought, "All these outbursts are stealing the peace that should be here."  Then out of "no where" the thought came that the man who was wailing was being tormented (not physically but mentally).  God seemed to say to me, "Pray for him - he's being tormented."  So, I did............

Immediately the man was quiet.  There were no more wailings!  I realized that as Believers we are the light of the world.  Everywhere we go, we are to pray for people.  Our prayers can bring peace and God's love into any situation.  Be creative today.  Find as many people as you can to pray for.  You will be a peacemaker.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Prayer to Start the Day

Lord, in the darkness of early morning, the possibilities of my day stretch out before me.  With trepidition I venture into the possibilites of this day as if they were patches of fog in a valley untraveled.  Already I am perplexed as to which way to go or what to do... so here I am - before your throne - in the presence of my King and my Father.

Please lead me through this day of endless options.  I don't know what I will face, so I am afraid.  This is not becoming to a child of the King.  I give You my fear, and You give me Your courage.  On this morning, I give you my weakness and You replace it with Your strength.  My sin for your righteousness.  Anxiety for Shalom....

I'm putting myself into Your own dear hands.  Guide me, protect me, and use me to Your glory.  I will hope in the good end of this day and believe that You have grown my faith and excercised it in the face of darkness and the unknown.

Together we are prepared.  Today we will move forward - You and I.  Thank you for hearing.  I love You so....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Face Giants by Remembering God

Our lives are populated with giants.  Giants are really big problems and they show up in our heads, our friendships, at work, at church, in marriages, at the doctor's office, in our families and every other place we go.  They must be faced and overcome or they will devour us. 

L. B. Cowman in Streams in the Desert says:  "'We will be stronger by overcoming them than if there had been no giants to defeat.'  In fact, unless we have overcoming faith, we will be swallowed up - consumed by the giants who block our path.  'With that same spirit of faith' (2 Cor 4:13) that Joshua and Caleb had, let us look to God, and He will take care of the difficulties."

Cowman says it so much better than I can, so the following is taken from the same devotion book as above:  "We encounter giants only when we are serving God and following Him.  It was when Israel was going forward that the giants appeared, for when they turned back into the wilderness, they found none.


Many people believe that the power of God in a person's life should keep him from all trials and conflicts.  However, the power of God actually brings conflict and struggles.  You would think that Paul, during his great missionary journey to Rome, would have been kept by God's sovereignty from the power of violent storms and of his enemies.  Yet just the opposite was true.  He endured one long, difficult struggle with the Jews who were persecuting him.  He faced fierce winds, poisonous snakes, and all the powers of earth and of hell.  And finally, he narrowly escaped drowning, by swimming to shore at Malta after a shipwrick nearly sent him to a watery grave.

Does this sound like a God of infinite power?  Yes, it is just like Him.  And that is why Paul told us that once he took the Lord Jesus Christ as his life in his body, a severe conflict immediately arose.  In fact, the conflict never ended.  The pressure on Paul was persistent, but from the conflict he always emerged victorious through the strength of Jesus Christ.


Paul described this in quite vivid language:  'We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body" (2 Cor 4:8-10)."

Don't be dismayed and lose heart because tragedy has struck and you are faced with the impossible.  You will make it through your day - one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time and one decision at a time.  The mountain of accomplishment is scaled one persistant step at a time - one effort at a time - one bit of knowledge at a time.

The giants will be defeated through continuous application of Truth and the works which flow from this Truth.  Rabbi Michael L. Munk in The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet says, " Do not believe that you have tried and failed.  Rather understand that you have not tried hard enough."

When you see giants, take a step back and remember Who God is then remember who your are.  Then taking one step at a time make choices and let your actions be in agreement with those two things.  Getting through your day is a process and it occurs time after time as the days go by.

Friday, June 29, 2012

How to Start Your Day

There are some things we all need to know in order to get through our day (and to do it successfully).  It's equally important for people who have disabilities as for those who don't.  The very first thing is to know there is a God.  Not just "a" God, but "THE" God.  Everyone knows that if the compass is not set properly, the destination will not be reached.  When I think about things from this premise- when I start out my day from this point - I have the right perspective. My starting point is grounded in Truth - not fact or fiction. I find that my center becomes God instead of me, myself and I!  From there, I remember that He is the Creator - MY Creator.  I find my purpose in Him.  I realize that He has work for me today.  I am not left with empty desires or fruitless jobs, but if I stay tuned into Him, I will be about His work.  At the end of the day, I will have a sense of accomplishment and contentment.  When I am doing those works He has designed for me, I find that I have sufficient strength, hope, faith, love and inspiration to work.

Does this mean I never experience fear or fatigue?  Does this mean my faith is not challenged or that I never lose sight of what's real?  No, that's not what it means.  If I make a mistake and make the wrong choices, I will see warning flags like confusion or guilt or remorse.  I am to take that directly to Jesus, Who will forgive, cleanse me and reset my compass.

I will have stress and difficulties along my path.  I will have to give up some of the things I would rather not in order that I may possess the better things. 

When the Israelites sent spies into the promised land, all but Joshua and Caleb were cast down and lost the vision that God had given them.  They looked at the situation from a strictly human perspective and as a result they saw giants.  They forgot Who made them, guided them and empowered them.  They forgot all God had done up to that point to beat the odds and to deliver them through EVERYTHING.  They forgot that even the Egyptian Pharoah and his army had been annihilated when they held God's people in bondage and would not let them go.

I'll speak more tomorrow about giants and what they represent and how we can deal with them....

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thank You, Daughter

I just returned from a visit with my daughter and two grandsons.  Not only did I have a wonderful time with  them, but also enjoyed my daughter's bee hives, garden and excellent cooking.  I'm home now with renewed inspiration to prepare healthy foods and enjoy eating right with my family.  I've been going through a book (called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig., PHD) that my daughter gave me to find some new recipes, but I was a bit overwhelmed at the huge amount of information along with tasty dishes.  So I decided to learn just one new thing at a time.  I have chosen chicken stock which is used in many different things.  It's incredibly nutritious.
At times I am tempted to think it's a waste of time for me to eat nutritiously, because I have already suffered much damage to my body with the Parkinson's Disease.  What good is it going to do now?  But I am going to throw that thought away.  I believe that nourishing my body now can only fuel it to heal itself.  It may slow or halt the progression of PD.  It makes sense that it can only be beneficial for me AND my family.At the very worst, I will enjoy eating what I prepare with my family. 
I have already found that I am energized as I put good things into my body.  Join with me in this endeaver.  Share with me any recipes made with organic foods that you have, and let's get to work getting healthy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Who Will Be There?

We never know what another person goes through just t get through the day.  We may know what it looks like on the outside, and we may think we know how we would feel in the same circumstances, but in reality it's only our best guess.  How can we understand the miles a person has traveled from their beginning until now?  How can we know the toll it has taken - this journey?

On the other side of that coin, how can  we expect another to comprehend what it would be like to live in my skin? 

When I am feeling unappreciated or misunderstood I have to remember it's God who supplies my needs.  People cannot fill my void, or take away my low self-esteem or any other sense of inadequacy.  They can certainly minister to me, but in the end only God can "fix" me. 

People can make things more pleasant, but sometimes I'm surrounded by people who have their own problems and are already overwhelmed by the needs of those around them.  Sometimes we don't have the loving support of our families or even friends.  Sometimes we are rejected and cast away because of our own sins against others.  We know we don't deserve anything better, but we NEED to be loved, forgiven, helped. 

Have you ever been in a situation where you couldn't feel lower or more unloved and devalued than you already do?  I'm pretty sure you have.   And if you don't already know it, I have a word for you.  Jesus is your answer.  He says that He will never leave us or forsake us (though people sometimes will).  He says that nothing can separate us from His love. He says if we confess our sins He will forgive. And His Word tells us that He is love, and has all power with all wisdom and knowlege.

You have to want what He offers to you.  But what He offers is real.  Try turning to Him when you are hopeless and helpless to change.  Give Him your difficult life along with your disappointments.  You don't have to wish for a perfect family, or a perfect spouse or SOMEONE to be there for you because no one else is.  Just turn to Him.  He's right there

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cool and Cloudy

Today is unseasonably cool.  It's cloudy with temperatures in the 60s.  Definitely sweater weather!  This is not my idea of a typical June day. 

Emotions are sort of like the weather.  One day you are hot only to be cool the next.  Our comfort levels change as circumstances outside of our control may be all over the map.  In other words, we are directly affected by the "weather" around us and we have no control over what may come. 

Certainly, for people with PD we are faced with new problems, new circumstances and unforseen events every day.  It can be more than we can handle at times.  So how do we stay steady and remain grounded in an unpredictable climate?  I do it through my relationship to Jesus.  If I didn't know that He is all powerful and loving I know I wouldn't make it through my crazy days!  I know that He has all knowlege and that He is merciful and forgiving.  I may not understand the why of what He does, but I don't have to.  Knowing who He is will be enough. 

When the weather turns bad suddenly, I know He is my shelter.  I trust Him to know what I don't, and I trust Him to be who He says He is.  Read your Bible today..........  You'll learn something new about Him.  It's all there - in the Bible..........  The answers....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spiritual Ticks






I was recently doing some reading on Lyme's Disease. I read that some people with Lyme's have been misdiagnosed as having PD. I don't know whether that's true or not, but it got me thinking of spiritual parallels. Just like the danger of getting a tick bourne disease from a walk through the yard, we must be aware that there is much in the world that is evil. Unsuspecting the risk, we go through our day without a thought for the scheming the enemy (Satan) has done and the pits he has dug to try and trap us. He wants to shut us down – put us out of commission. He lurks in unsuspected places.



But thinking we are safe - and that there is no risk – and that we have matters under control – we are unaware of the danger. Evil does exist and it is sometimes unseen, or invisible to us just as a tick bourne illness that resides in the infected tick is not seen. Though small and undetected, it is not to be underestimated.



I'm not trying to scare you, and I'm not suggesting that behind every encounter or opportunity lies something evil. I'm merely suggesting that we are more dependent on God to keep us safe than we know.



Evil predators searching out a victim rove back and forth across all of creation – quick to detect our movement or catch our scent. Feeling the warmth of our breath these parasites stealthily follow our trail.



Just don't forget Who has you in the palm of His hand. Don't forget Who gives you armor for protection. Don't forget Who gives you warnings in His Word and tells you how to live and avoid calamity. He is at work protecting us even when we don't know it. Where our bodies are weak, He is strong. Let that encourage you today. He will never leave you, or forsake you!



Be as wise as serpents, but as innocent as doves.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Talk

How are you with talking to people about your disability?  Maybe you're embarrassed, or fearful to talk about it.  Maybe you feel like if you can ignore it or talk around it then somehow it's not as bad, or not there at all.  Maybe it's somehow not real if you ignore it.

WRONG!

When we tell others our stories or share some of our problems with friends, it somehow lightens our burden.  Others are blessed when we share a little bit about OUR burdens.  Some are inspired by our courage and strength, and some are an encouragement to US.  Don't waste all that you have learned by not telling.  Let others in on the lessons that you have had to pay dearly to learn.  Lighten your burden by sharing and bless someone by acknowleging your struggles. I believe that's part of our purpose here on this earth.... taking what we have and giving it to someone who needs it.

I have realized anew that life is not all about me.  I am a vibrant and necessary part in this world, at this time, and so are you, but there is so much more.  It's actually a relief to realize that and forget my inhibitions or discomfort for a while and speak freely.

So, now having said that, I'll touch on opportunities to share.  I find that God almost always brings someone to me, and they will usually lead the conversation quite naturally in the direction of an openning for me to share.  Pray for opportunites like that.  He is just LOOKING for someone to share our life in Him with someone who needs to hear it.  Ask Him for a chance to do this.  If we are willing and make ourselves available, He will honor that request.

No matter if you are sick or what your burden may be, you have something to share and somebody has a need to hear it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Put Gas in My Tank

The day has ended - it's done, and I must say my head is spinning.  The daylight hours were filled with prayer, Bible study, friends, family, chores,  and more.  The "more" part was quite a lot.  If I didn't love those people in my life that are in the "more" category so much it would have been an easier day - certainly a happier day. 

Today, I scaled some mountains, went through the fire and let my heart break for some of my loved ones.  Somehow I remained steady.  How?  Well I kept refueling with every prayer, with every grateful thought, with every kindness; and I knew where to go with the parts that were bigger than me.  Even so, my head is still spinning.  If you are so inclined, I sure could use a little prayer....  Or maybe a big prayer.  Either one is welcomed.  But when you pray for me, keep in mind that He can do ANYTHING for ANYBODY no matter what place we or our loved ones are in, and no matter how they got there.  God can untangle ANY mess.  If this weren't true, there would be no hope for my crazy problems.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Truth About Growing

Are you ever disappointed in yourself?  Do you wonder if you will ever get it all right?  Can you think of the last time you did?  Do you ever feel stuck and disadvantaged because of your disease (or whatever your challenge is)?

The truth is without our challenges (otherwise known as heartaches, shattered dreams, or as Paul called it - a thorn in the flesh) we would get nowhere.  We would never get past stage one in our growth process.  We would remain immature and undeveloped.  We won't change unless we are pushed out of the familiar place where we are comfortable.  We won't develope a taste for truth until we have been burned by untruth.  We won't get creative and figure out new ways to get through a day until we can no longer do it the old way.  Growth can be a painful process.  But the key word here is "process".  It doesn't happen all at once just because you know the Truth.  True change happens when as you learn the truth, you choose to incorporate it into your heart, soul and spirit - when it becomes who you are.

My disability has fueled my growth.  It's true that it is a disagreeable teacher, but one from whom my growth has sprung!  Thank you, Lord, for not leaving me unchanged and undeveloped!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wounded Warrier

This morning I am feeling burdened for those of you who are battle weary and wounded.  I FEEL your pain.  I am moved to pray for you.  If you are reading this - know that these words are for YOU.  Here is my prayer for you:


Lord, bring this sister's (or brother's) pain to a close.  Let hope become evident where there is no hope.  Make the pain of the past give way to joy.  Make sense of this apparent triumph of evil, sickness and death.


Where is Your victory?  Where is justice?  Where are you in all of this?  We wait on You to make sense of all this, and we wait on You to guide us through this deep, thick darkness.  Come to the rescue, Lord....  We are nothing on our own.


Give back what the locusts have devoured.  The enemy is merciless in his attack.  Help us - help Your servant and friend....  In the midst of attack lift up her (his) head, establish her (his) faith, and fill her (him) with hope.  Our lives hinge on your strong arm.  Though it feels like you may come near to slaying us - let our love for You abound.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Death to the Seed!

Have you ever planted a seed? Have you ever really looked at this tiny little thing? If you put it in some soil, it will sprout and 2 tiny little "leaves" grow atop the longer stem. The seed also sends down a root. There are scientific names for all of this but I have forgotten what they are. If all goes well, the sprout in time becomes a full grown plant, which will flower. It yields a crop of hopefully many fruits. I have to say, that from the seed's point of view, this isn't great. It must lay down it's life to exist in darkness (soil) and just wait for something to happen. It must have enough food (hope) stored inside the seed to sustain the beginning of the little life that has begun to grow. As it grows it reaches for the sun and as it absorbs the sunlight, a chemical process called photosynthesis starts. Without this there can be no growth or development. Have you ever thought of your life as a seed? You who have PD (or any other giant of a problem) may be feeling the darkness of your condition. You have felt a death to your pre-pd life. You may just be existing on the last flickers of hope for better days. But don't despair! Reach for the sun (Son), knowing that He can transform the old "you" into someone new. Without the breaking of the seed (breaking of the old you), there will be no going forth from death to birth (this means death of the old you). Without the darkness and waiting there will be no development - no transformation. And without the light that is God, there can be no bearing fruit. It's not always easy, is it? But take comfort in this: Life is not a series of random events. There is a Gardner. He has plans for the garden. And He tends each plant. His plan for you is LIFE! John 12:25 CJB: "He who loves his life loses it, but he who hates his life in this world will keep it safe right on into eternal life!"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cold Air and Storms

It's very dark this morning. The thunder is rolling and the rain is coming down. What has things stirred up is the arrival of warm weather. It's pushing the cold weather out of the way. They just can't exist together in the same place without turmoil and tempest. I've often noticed that it's the same with my life. When life's challenges have got me in a state of pain or confusion (cold) and things start getting worse, I know the times of smooth sailing are very near, because the storms signal their approach. Are you in the middle of a storm? Is the wind gusting, the rain falling, and the hail pelting the ground? Are there tornado warnings and is the sky dark and seething? Don't fear, Believer. God "will redeem your soul in peace from the battle which is against" you (Psalm 55:18). Hasten to your "place of refuge from the stormy wind and tempest." (Psalm 55:8). Rest in the knowledge and hope that "no weapon formed against you will prevail." - even though for a short time it may seem to. (Isaiah 54:17). Know that the Lord says, "For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you." (Jer. 29:11). Believe with the psalmist, "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23:6)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pills or Not........

How do you feel about having to take meds? Do you feel guilt and shame for not being able to function without them? Shouldn't we be able to "overcome" our problems and successfully meet our challenges without aids and crutches? Do you think, "I have prayed for a miracle - I've prayed for healing and relief, but my dependence on these meds only increases as time goes by."? Well that's what I used to think. But I have come to realize that my meds are actually the answer to my prayers. Dependence is not the issue, because every day we are dependent upon Him for life and necessities and happiness. We just don't want to rely on those pills. Obviously, if the only way you can move is by taking your meds, then He is saying no to healing without them at this time. Miraculous healing may indeed come at a later time, but He has His reasons for saying no right now. And I think sometimes we must be worked on in time to become worthy of the good gifts He wants to give us. If you were suddenly and completely healed today, would you spend as much time with Him, or be as interested in obeying Him, or would your life be the witness that it is to the sufficiency of His grace? God is not mean and He does not withold good things from His children, but He also does not give His gifts indiscrimently and without preparation. Wouldn't that be like giving a child a loaded gun? The world desperatly needs to see living examples of real people living through the toughest storms that may come. God loves all people so much that He is willing to let you suffer (like His Son) so that others might be saved. Our distress is momentary compared to the glories He has lovingly prepared for all who will come to Him.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Grudges and Healing

I have read that holding grudges and refusing to forgive can cause disease in our bodies, and certainly aggravate what is already an issue. I don't know about you, but I don't want anything in my life that could prevent or retard healing! So, I have been doing some thinking about it. I came up with an analogy that helped me understand the process a little better, and perhaps it will help you as well. At any rate, it can't hurt: Forgiveness is a garden that we must tend or it doesn't develop. I must work the ground (of my heart) digging it up, breaking up hard clumps, - hoeing and raking – pounding it until it is workable (ready to forgive). Then I add fertilizer and thoroughly mix it in, until it is evenly distributed. Holes must be dug and plants and seeds planted. I must water them (give the water of grace instead of the dust of vengence). I guard it (from animals, insects and birds – or more plainly – wrong attitudes, thoughts or deeds) as I watch. I make sure it gets plenty of exposure to the sun (reading the Word, praying and fellowship). The garden must be tended daily and as time goes by, I weed it and continue to water. I prune as needed. If I am not faithful and consistent in my resolve to forgive, weeds will choke out the plants by blocking them from the sunlight and drinking up all the moisture. Everything will go to seed and appear unkempt. Yields will be little or nonexistent if the garden is untended. God causes growth. We decide to forgive (we will it), but God changes our reluctant hearts and transforms them into forgiveness. We only must be willing and obedient to the point of death – death of my “right” to demand punishment – my “right” to revenge. It must be put on the cross with Christ and crucified. Just as the seed must die when planted so that the transformation (of the seed into a plant) can take place, so my desire and decision to forgive must be the starting point which begins the process of forgiveness. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ seed.....(the decision to forgive).....seed dies (flesh crucified - deny the satisfaction of exacting revenge or punishing).....plant grows.....(daily resisting the flesh by reaffirming the decision to forgive).....plant blooms and reseeds.....(we are transformed - FORGIVENESS! __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ God takes the unjust wounds inflicted on us and the stings of abandonment and betrayal to test our hearts and bring forth the gold of forgiveness. These wounds and stings are the manure from which the blooms of forgiveness are grown. Think about it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Your Unique Gift

I was going through my paintings and I decided that I would donate a number of them (copies) to our church. As I went through them I reflected back to the time when I painted each one. I was amazed at the detailed work I have been able to do. My husband used to watch me as I painted and he marveled at how my hands grew steadier as I painted delicate details, like eyelashes....

We are all different. We all have some kind of a handicap, and we all have unique giftings from God. Nobody really fits a set pattern, because we are all different. In my case, art has been one of my gifts, but I am challenged with Parkinson's Disease. So what does God do? He gives me quiet hands that grow steadier as they are called upon to paint tiny details. Whoever heard of a person with PD who paints detailed miniatures? Did I have tremors? Yes, but when I painted they seemed to go away.

God enabled me to do what He wanted me to do. And He will do the same for you. Fate or random chance does not decide what I can or cannot do. It is God who decides. He has a plan for each one, and no two plans are the same. Take time to really thank Him for what He has enabled you to do. Thank Him for the joy it brings to you and to others. You are a joy to Him!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Little Wishes - Big Miracle

I was trying to think of an interesting topic for my blog today. Let's see......... I had a tooth pulled. Unexpectedly brush fires started up not too far from where we live.... I dropped some clothes (a lot) at the drop off box.... I had a doctor's appointment.... Another day of victory so far as my food intake! No junk or sugar or wheat. Just good stuff.

Nothing noteworthy or extraordinary has happened. But do you know what I JUST realized? One of my dreams came true today! Just a few years back, when my body could hardly do a thing, I made a wish. I wished that I could do little things that most people never even think about.... Normal things. Like walking across a room without effort, or buttoning my own shirt.

I asked God to heal me, and today - years later - I am experiencing this very thing. I had forgotten this tiny but great miracle.... Some measure of healing has come from my heavenly Father.

Thank you dear God. Thank you for loving me. I love you too....

From Anna

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Light Up the World

The sun has gone down and the darkness has settled down around my house. I can't see beyond my porch, and even that is filled with shadows, shifting like clouds in a blue sky. My eyes can penetrate very little, and my mind wonders if it really sees those faint indistinct outlines of forms that morph into shapes without names.
Parkinson's Disease entered my life like that.... like the sun sinking into the spreading darkness. It is filled with fears and monsters with ugly names.
Everyone has their own personal darkness. It's different for us all. But, as Believers we have this in common: "The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light. And to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned." (Matthew 4:16 NAS)
We are not without comfort. We are not without purpose. We are not without beauty or a deep abiding faith that can only come from living in a dark place. Like a candle that lights the darkness, we are the hope of the world. Until the world sees you shining in the darkest place- they will not find faith, hope or love.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Intimacy

Parkinson's Disease is a long term condition. It's not something that you can take a pill for and like a headache have it go away. It's a progressive disease.

I was thinking about relationship with God and how it's an ongoing interaction marked with growing intimacy and trust. As I look back over the years, I can see how PD encouraged my relationship with Him and has been the catalyst for a deeper intimacy and growing trust. Once again, I realize it's problems, illnesses and sickness that draw me closer to Him.

Thank you heavenly Father.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

From My Suffering to Another's Blessing

My mother - in - law was taken to the hospital last night by ambulance. We think maybe she was having a stroke. She mostly would not speak. But God was soooo there with her in the ER. I felt His Presence.
It's funny, but I know how it feels to be incompacitated because of Parkinson's Disease. I was able to minister to her in a way the others could not. I was so privileged to be a part of our heavenly Father's love for her. This is yet one more blessing for me and others because of Parkinson's Disease!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Autobiography - the Final - Nine

I cannot even begin to describe the joy that rose up in me after the surgery. God had given me the answer to my prayers. Through technology He had done the impossible. Through the doctors that He chose, He worked a miracle in my life! Through the brilliant minds that He gave them, and the hands He instilled with skill, came the dream I had so long hoped and prayed for. I was overwhelmed with a sense of His tender love for me.

God has been with me through every step of my life including the Valley of Parkinson's Disease. He listened to my cries for help and healing. It is through Him that healing has come. Truly He is the God for whom nothing is too hard. I am so grateful. If I had not been living in New York, near to doctors who perform the surgery it wouldn't have happened. My symptoms just "happened" to be the very ones that the surgery corrects. It is not helpful to all people. God had planned my life so that I would be where He wanted me and when so He might be glorified. I rembered the verse He had given me years before: "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God that the Son of God may be glorified by it." (John 11:4)

Today, I enjoy moving around without discomfort and going where I choose and when I choose. My body is no longer my prison. Praise to His name!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Autobiography - Eight

I wrote in my journal what it was like:

My Body - the Prison

I am heavy. There is a delay between the thought, "I'll get out of bed," and actually doing it. My mind says, "Do it!" but this body resists the command. Grudgingly and lacking grace - slowly - I arise. Feeling drained of strength, I force my way into the day, but the smallest part of morning ritual becomes exhausting. I am stuck in a fog of frustration, as one by one I give up my ideas of what to do and how.

Today, my body is the boss. I am not free to decide what to do or where to go, or even IF I do go, because my body is the boss. Before this disease I am forced to my knees in a posture of shame.... A rounded back (once straight), slumping shoulders and tremors here and there. I am rudely forced to serve this disease. I hate this disease.

Every gift I possess is challenged. It becomes more costly to give the world what I can. Today I'm having trouble writing and I can't work on art. But it's my heart to teach. Yet, I find it is difficult to speak and breathe, so I'm quieter.

I long to be free...freed from this prison and these chains. To embrace the ordinary - this is what I want. How good it would feel to walk without effort and move as if it were an art... to speak without thinking of how to form each word. to forget the ache in my joints; to be strong and not think about strength.

I want the millions of tiny things most people never think about that make up a day.... There is one thing, however, that still is all mine. It's my will. I choose which thoughts to entertain and I decide I want joy with wisdom and love. I will long for freedom from this terrible disease and hope for healing to come. I believe miracles really do happen and I believe in the Miracle Worker Who loves me.

Please heal me. Come set me free. I grow so weary in the wait.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Autobiography - Seven

More and more things became impossible for me to do. I remember one day I was home alone and I lay on the couch singing with my praise music. That was literally all I was able to do. I thought, "I will praise You, Lord, in the only way I can, but I WILL praise You!" Eventually I told God that if this is what He wanted for me in this life, He would have to help me to bear this burden, but I was willing. I held nothing back but accepted His will for me whatever that would be. If it meant suffering in my body, then with His help, I would suffer.

At this time I began pouring through the Bible like never before. I would meditate on it and speak the truth of it to everyone around me even though I could not feel the victory. I felt so useless. I was a burden to my family. In the eyes of the world I had no value. I was a liability. Whatever strength I had left in me had finally drained out of me. I lost the will to live. I began to ask God to just let me come home. I was ready to die. All this was very stressful on my marriage, my children and my friendships. I cried to God continually, being ever aware of His Presence. I knew that He shared my agony, and yet somehow He was using me to His glory.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Autobiography - Six

At about this same time, my mother underwent sudden heart surgery and afterwards suffered a massive stroke. Her death was a blow to me. My father - so dependent on her - died a few weeks later. That year I would face the death of both of my parents, the horror of September 11th, and the increase of responsibility that came with a job promotion in the next year. I worked as long as I could, but eventually it became apparent that the demands and the stress of work were more that this disease would allow.

Parkinson's Disease is a progressive and incurable disease. Without a miracle, my future looked hopeless and horrible. Outside of a miracle from God, I knew there would be nothing more than suffering, loneliness, and darkness ahead of me.

My new husband and I attended church regularly and became a part of the body of believers in a small non denominational church. I attended Bible studies (even facilitating sometimes) and grew to love the women I got to know. But within a few years, my disease had progressed to the point that I could hardly walk. I couldn't attend Bible studies or do my art any more. I was increasingly isolated as I could not drive, or even feed myself without great difficulty. It was hard to sit in a chair and type or hold the phone more than a few minutes to talk. Sometimes it was an effort just to breathe. I couldn't even turn over in bed.

People began to bring meals and send cards. There were so many people praying for me regularly. Some were even people I didn't know. I stubbornly held onto God, believing that He is a God of miracles. As more and more time went on without a healing I began to despair of ever receiving it on this earth. But my belief in God never faltered. I was heartbroken yet still believed in His love.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Autobiography - Five

My marriage of twenty three years ended in divorce when there was nothing left within me to try and pick up the pieces or put them back together. I remarried and moved to New York. I got a job with World Vision. I could still function well enough to hold down this job. God showed His mercy and love for me in many ways. Some days I would be very weak and shakey, not able to write without great effort. I would make my way to work regardless - wondering how I was going to do what I needed to do and invariably those would be the days when the phone wouldn't ring and there would be no assignment from my boss. God's loving presence was ever with me.

Once I was away with World Vision on a staff retreat. We had meetings scheduled for several days. On the first morning I ate beakfast with everyone, then when I rose to go to the first meeting, weakness and trembling set in so I knew I had to return to my room until I felt better. I lay on my bed trying to rise every twenty minutes or so but my strength had not returned. I was so frustrated. I was crying and praying, "Heavenly Father, You gave me this wonderful job, but I can't do it because You have allowed me to have this disease that You do not heal. What do you want me to do?

I saw these words flash across my mind like a neon sign: "Romans 12:1". I said, "OK, Lord. I don't know what that verse says, but I'll look it up". Here is what I read: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship."

It was with joy and sadness that I read those words. Joy, because God had heard me and He answered me. Sadness, because He was asking me to keep on enduring. I then asked Him one more question, "What would you have me do, Lord?" The answer came back, "Pray", and do I did.

Autobiography - Four

It was in time, and ever so imperceptably that He healed my emotions and led me back to Him. In retrospect I now see that I had been hanging onto my own dreams, and doing things in my own strength. He knocked those unreliable props right out from under me and replaced them with His strength and a deepening relationship with Him that has grown to satisfy me and impower me to get through whatever comes. In His mercy, He let me fall so that He could help me see that He is really the only thing I cannot live without.

I slowly began to face my utter powerlessness against this disease. I could not wish it away, nor change it one bit. It became apparent to me that it would not adjust to me, but quite the opposite.... My life must change to accomodate this dreadful disease. It would dictate to me what I could and couldn't do. I must learn to exist in the deepening darkness of this prison of disease.

Cruel and heartless, like a hated dictator, this disease would eventually take even my dignity, not allowing me a moment's peace or respite from the pain it imposed. At times my anger flared against God, wanting to know WHY? WHAT HAVE I DONE THAT YOU WOULD LET THIS HAPPEN TO ME? You are taking EVERYTHING from me. It hurts SO bad.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Autobiography - Three

This disease became a constant reality - something to be reckoned with in increasing measure. Its progress in seizing control of my body was slow but relentless. Medication offered periods of time when I could forget, but always the disease stalked me - never giving back the ground it gained.

There were other issues as well, and eventually it all became too much for me. My life had come to a painful halt; and had brought me to a place I did not know. Because of things that happened along the way, my faith in God had been shaken to the very core, leaving me in pain - in confusion - and weary through and through.

I was overwhelmed with the feeling that Jesus - who had been holding me - dropped me.... Everything I had believed was called into question. My faith was challenged. I no longer was sure of who God was.

I could no longer pray or read my Bible. I stopped going to church. I found that the only shred of my former life still within me was some tiny bit of faith that would not let me deny that there was a God. And even that bit of faith was not something I could take credit for: I knew that God had given it - allowed it to remain within me. I had reached the end of my rope and was slipping.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Autobiography - Two

In the beginning it all seemed somewhat distant and disconnected from me. I took the news calmly, and continued my hectic pace in a busy world. My symptoms were held in check with medication. Believing that God is a God who is not the author of evil, but who does bring beauty from the ashes. I began to say, "This is for the glory of God."

I prayed regularly that God would heal me. I recall one morning I got up early, made a fire, and curled up in a big wing-back chair facing the hearth. I began my quiet time with prayer, asking God to heal me, as I so often did. Then I openned my Bible so that I could begin my daily devotion where I had left off the day before. I read, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it." (John 11:4)

God had spoken to me! I now had the sure hope that God's eye was on me and that He would not leave me sick and broken. I also knew that I must be patient in waiting for Him to heal me.