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Friday, January 27, 2012

Faith, Hope, Healing, and Rest

It takes faith to have hope. And faith is based on fact. Facts about God and who He is and what He does. If you know the true facts about Him and believe them, then you can have hope. Hope for healing -mind, body and spirit. Don't mistake hope in research or technology or people for hope in Him. He IS good; He IS Love; He IS sovereign; He IS all powerful.... His timetable is quite different than ours though. So for those of you who belong to Him: You can rest assured that He will hear your prayer and He will answer.
There's that word "rest" again!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Rest

This morning my husband explained to me that a rest sign on a sheet of music does not mean "a stop or a pause". It is a measured rest. That means it's active. It's not just sitting on your hands, not doing anything. It is a measured rest.

I think Parkinson's Disease is like this. It is not ceasing to be a person and it is not failing to move forward. It is a measured rest. It is productive not counter productive. That means at least a couple of things to me. First, this disease is not forever. It exists within certain limits. And it is a time of rest. Though it is imposed and may not be your choice, nevertheless it is a time of rest. And like the song that is written on a sheet of music, this rest is essential to to the finished piece. Without the measured rest, it would not be the same song! You could not leave it out any more than you could cut notes out.

You are not a problem that has no purpose, Reader! You are not just a pause in life! You are a necessary part of Creation. You are a part of the Master Composer's song.

You may not think you have purpose, especially those of you who do not have loved ones who support you. To any of you out there who are alone, take heart! You aren't really alone. You have been written into the song - you are a part of the symphony. You are known and you are loved. Let the notes of those around you sound out clearly and don't doubt the beauty of the measured rest.

Friday, January 20, 2012

An Excellent Point of View

This morning I read the devotion from L. B. Cowman's Streams in the Desert:

Sorrow, under the power of divine grace, performs various ministries in our lives. Sorrow reveals unknown depths of the soul, and unknown capacities for suffering and service. Lighthearted, frivolous people are always shallow and are never aware of their own meagerness or lack of depth. Sorrow is God's tool to plow the depths of the soul, that it may yield richer harvests. If humankind were still in a glorified state, having never fallen, then the strong floods of divine joy would be the force God would use to reveal our souls' capacities. But in a fallen world, sorrow, yet with despair removed, is the power chosen to reveal us to ourselves. Accordingly, it is sorrow that causes us to take the time to think keeply and seriously.

Sorrow makes us move more slowly and considerately and examine our motives and attitudes. It opens within us the capacities of the heavenly life, and it makes us willing to set our capacities afloat on a limitless sea of service for God and for others.

Many people live casually on the outer edge of their own souls until great thunderstorms of sorrow reveal hidden depths within, which were never before known or suspected.

God never uses anyone to a great degree until He breaks the person completely. Joseph exdperienced more sorrow than the other sons of Jacob, and it led him into a ministry of food for all the nations.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Calling a Spade a Spade

Lord, may my words be like medicine on a wound.... Help me not to skirt issues, and guard me against being fearful of offending people with wrong attitudes and deceptive behavior. Help me instead to be to the point, forgiving and gentle, but absolutely intolerant of the prideful or deceitful ways of the enemy. Give me the courage to speak truth. Forgive me when in times past I have cared more about what people think than what You think. Forgive me when my words have wounded and cut. Thank you for Your grace, mercy and love.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pointless or Purposeful

There are so many things I have learned because I have PD. I can tell you these things and hopefully inspire you to also look and see what experiencing the pain of this disease has done for you. If you aren't finding anything, then I would say that the pain and anguish this disease has put you through has all been wasted.
There are two kinds of pain: 1) - pointless pain and 2) purposeful pain. Pointless pain gains you nothing and makes you bitter. Purposeful pain grows you up and teaches you about people.

So, either way you can have pain but will it be pointless or purposeful?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Does Quarried Stone Have to do With Hope?

As disease progresses in your body, the temptation to lose hope that we will ever see better days becomes greater and greater. We desperately want to be healed but the hope for this begins to ebb away like the tide going out, as days and weeks turn to months and years. The Bible says that "hope deferred makes the heart sick."

What precisely is hope? Noah Webster says (in his 1828 dictionary) that it is "to cherish a desire of good with some expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable." It's not the same as a wish.

If we break down the idea of hope we find that it's substance is faith ("Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). So when we hope for healing it means that we desire what cannot at the moment be seen, but despite this we entertain some expectation of possiby receiving this miraculous gift. When it doesn't come we become heartsick. So how do we avoid the painful and dreadful loss of hope?

At one point in my life, I experienced the final death of the hope for healing. I asked God to let me die and bring me home to be with Him. There was no drama - just a sincere request for death. I couldn't imagine living any longer with nothing to live for.

Isaiah 49:23b says, "Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed."

So, here is the answer: we are to hope in the giver of good gifts - the One who CAN heal. Yes we still want freedom from disease, but hope within the context of the God who has the knowledge and power to give it. And we do that by looking back in our own lives and also in the history of His relationship with His people to see how He has made promises and fulfilled them. Then we are encouraged and strengthened to wait but a little longer.

Isaiah 51:1-5 says "Listen to me you...who seek the Lord; Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; Look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him, he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins (the ruins of PD); He will make her deserts like Eden(the deserts of PD), her wastelands (the wastelands of PD) like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.... My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way and my arm will bring justice...."

Here is our promise for healing!!! God is speaking DIRECTLY to you who belong to Him! He says to you who seek the Lord (and His healing). Don't look to technology or research or the medical community for your healing (though many times He will use those things to heal) but look to He who makes promises to His people and then in the midst of impossibilites does wonders. For many long years after God promised a child to Abraham and Sarah, they waited, seemingly barren. But Isaac was born to them in their old age - when for "man" - it was not possible. God fulfilled His promise to them, and He will fulfill His promise to His children - IN HIS OWN TIME. Wait on God you who are heartsick and weary.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In a Word, Jesus

Throughout the years I have had Parkinson's Disease, the one thing that has comforted me most has been Jesus. Without Him nothing would mean anything and all that we suffer would be without purpose. No blessings would be brought forth and nothing good would come from the bad things we go through.

If I could tell you just one thing and nothing more, I would tell you that every pain I've ever had has found it's relief in Jesus. I have risen above every tragedy and found comfort in Jesus. His Word has guided me whenever I needed guidance. He is the answer to every tough question and the revealer of mysteries. He doesn't just get me through the darkness - He IS the Light. In a word, - Jesus. I know what He has done for me in my life. I know His voice and I feel His love. His ways and plans may be impenetrable but I can trust Him. He makes sense of my life. He is the best thing that ever happened to me. This is what I would tell you.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Past, The Present, and The Future, Part 2

It has been a thing I could not truly comprehend - that someone could love me and not hurt me continually. For the most part, this is all I have ever known. "Love" has always hurt. The people who were supposed to love me, hurt me. Someone's verbal admission of "love" for me went hand-in-hand with suffering of the worst kind that must be endured with no end in sight (after all the Bible tells us "love never ends"). The focus is on the pain - not mine or anyone else's well-being. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

If we don't know what true love is, then how do we protect ourselves from what is not love? I have spent my life choosing to be around people who want someone to make them happy, and I had become someone who only knows how to give until there was no life or love left within me. This is what I thought it was to love someone. This is what I knew how to do. The sick cycle went on and on as I hoped to finally earn the love I so desperately needed. I tried to accomplish just once being useful enough to be loved. Each succeeding failure brought the thought that perhaps I had not tried hard enough.

My need for love and the powerful drive behind it to find it kept the cycle going. I wasn't intentionally failing. I was just trying to find what is necessary for life.

The sin of my parents (intentional or NOT) left me like a bird with a broken wing, unable to leave the nest THEY built for me - unable to trust God - not able to believe that He would not let me plummet to my destruction, but would swoop beneath me and carry me like the mother eagle as she teaches her young to fly and soar on the edges of the wind, high and far above their enemies.

So, to hear that God is love, brought me to a tense awareness of the notion that my salvation and sanctification are and will be inseparable from the pain I have always known that is beyond my ability to endure. The logical conclusion of that erroneous premise is that I am lost - beyond saving.

The truth is that God IS love. Our parents may not have loved us with God's love, but here is what He has to say about that: "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up."

I thank Him and praise Him that He does not leave us with broken wings, hopelessly stuck in the cycle that repeats again and again leaving us in bondage. I praise Him that He is real love, and He is truth, and it is a very good thing!

"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

"Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:31

The Past, The Present, and The Future - Part 1

Dear Reader,

It has been a while since I have written to you, but it's not because I am not thinking of you. It just seems that I don't really have anything to say that directly relates to PD and how I handle that as a Christian. But I've begun to realize that life as I see it and react to it is relevant to that topic. And so I would like to share with you what I have most recently thought through and gained some new understanding of.

I grew up in a home with an alcoholic father. I won't pretend to you that it was less horrible than it was. But neither do I share this with you so that you will feel sorry for me. Everyone of us is raised by imperfect parents. We all have both good memories and bad. More than likely, our parents did the best they could. Many of us have gone through the steps of forgiving our parents, siblings, peers and other family members for any wounds they inflicted.

Then why does it still hurt to talk about it? Does that mean I haven't truly forgiven? No, I don't believe it does. It just means that sometimes the wounds inflicted during childhood go very deep, and like a burn continues to burn through more and more layers of skin/soul long past the initial wounding. Healing may be long in coming.

It's not a matter of not having forgiven, it's just that the wound is still so sore. Healing is not yet complete.

Now, having said that, I will share with you, that the path of my life has been a rocky one strewn with bad decisions, and a poor sense of direction. I have always wondered WHY. Why did life seem so much easier with way less drama and seemingly clear sailing for some people? Why did I seem doomed to make the same mistakes over and over, no matter how I tried not to?

I have come to see that my understanding of love was distorted. Oh, I knew the right answers to the right questions - in my head - but what had been imprinted on my heart before I even have memories, was a misunderstanding of what love is, and like a brand seared on a calf, it seemed that it could not be erased.

Let me explain: Out of my need for love, I learned unhealthy ways to find it by trying to be what people needed and wanted. I convinced myself that this was love - giving up myself for the good of others. But much of the time I spent "loving" everyone else - praying and doing for them - was a type of works - pursuits that ate up my time and wore my heart out. I had a distorted understanding of what it meant to love someone and I didn't know how to tell the difference between yielding myself completely to the Lord which would naturally lead to loving others,and accepting all responsibility to and for someone else (doing for them what they should've been doing for themselves). I engaged in a form of emotional flagellation (giving myself over to suffering so others could be happy and I could be worthy of love). I now see this was nothing more than conditional acceptance - a system of earning the love that should be freely given. This is not at all what God calls us to do!

I will continue these thoughts in the following post.