December 13, 2017
Sometimes in the strangest places i hear God encouraging me. Yesterday was a tough day - not so much outwardly but inside my head. I forgot to take one day at a time....wait, what am I saying? I forgot to take one Moment at a time. And so i was skipping ahead with all kinds of things to worry about....what if's and what then's....a whole head full!
And this morning as i turned the pages of a Psalm colouring book these words jump out at me.
And so, Lord....
This is so profound because it represents just so many things. Every single worry that i have either named or dreamed up can be summarized by And so, Lord...
And so, Lord what about this? Or that? How am i going to manage this? Or if that happens? Kind of what are You going to do Lord?
And so, Lord, where do i put my hope? Very appropriate. Where do i put my hope? The medical world has failed us. No hope there. Myself? What a joke! I fail myself daily. No hope here either. Other people fail me. They just have no idea. No hope there. And so, Lord, where do i put my hope?
My only hope is in You.
That simple and that difficult all at the same time.
I will put my Hope in You. Not in people. Not in things. Not in myself. In You. Full stop.
So how does this look then in real life? David who wrote the Psalm was hunted down for many years by Saul, his own children made life extremely difficult for him - they even plotted to kill him! He was in constant war with Israel's enemies. But every time he comes back to God. Putting his trust in God - that God knows, hears and sees. Believing that He has a purpose. That He is in control and will use whatever to transform us more into His Son. That we can depend on Him to help us through even the Valley of shadow and death. That He gives us courage and strength to do His will. That He is dependable and above all will never leave us or forsake us. Never.
And so, Lord where do i put my hope? My only hope is in You.
December 12, 2017
My thoughts trouble me
I am distraught
My heart is in anguish
Terrors of death fall on me
Trembling beset me
Horror overwhelmes me
Ps 55 - A song written by David many years ago rightly sums up my year.
2017 i am looking forward to the end of you!
Malaria, maggots, compassion fatigue, many miles on bad roads, operations, bad news from the doctor, moving, resettling (or trying too in any case) battling so many battles that this warrior has turned into a worrier.....troubled thoughts, anguish, distraught heart, fear, distress, etc, etc.
And what is the remedy for all this calamity? Well, a 5 letter word. Trust. Not blind trust in nothing. No. Trust in the Great I AM.
Listen to my prayer
Do not ignore my plea
As for me i call to God and the Lord saves me
I cry out in distress and He hears my voice
He rescues me
He sustains me
He will not let me be shaken
But as for me, i trust in You.
And in the night when worry assail me i hear a whisper....Do you trust Me? And when I cry alone i hear a gentle voice saying Trust me child. I've got this.
I am on My throne
I have not changed
I have heard
I have answered
I have saved
I have rescued
I keep you safe.
Trust in Me.
And so i take the next step, do the next thing and ... Trust.
Bella, but as for me, i trust in You.
December 02, 2017
The friend didn't or couldn't come. I baked the cookies by myself. The movie was a small hit - Indiana Jones, but only I found it funny and laughed out loud. The tablecloth was a mini success.
So much for my resolve. Resolve unravelled right then and there.
How does one life with this? In a movie things always look so idyllic - magical moments with loved ones. No fuss. No tears really. In Real Life there are sullen faces that have lost their smiles, broken hearts in a million pieces scattered in the mud. Dull days filled with pain. Fear is a real thing.
How do we find a balance in living this? On the one hand we have so much terrible. On the other hand we have so much to be thankful for. Resolve, or more like stubbornness is not enough. A good dose of Realistic needs to be mixed in as well as Normal. Acceptance plays a huge role. Thankfulness.
The root for me lies in that i am so anxious about everyone. But then I read, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Honestly, most days i look fine on the outside, meanwhile on the inside i am freaking out. I need that Shalom that transcends ALL understanding. That Shalom that guards my heart and mind as i freak out about my husband, my boys, myself. That Angst that is there every waking moment and even in my dreams....
Does this mean i won't have any more bright ideas and grandiose plans? Definitely not. But it does mean that if it does not pan out as i thought i should take a breath and ......
Give Thanks to God
Present my requests to Him
And await His all surpassing Shalom to guard my anxious heart and mind.
I so desperately want to fix this. This is who i am - a fixer - but I cannot. I need to accept that too. My role is to keep praying, keep on trying for everyone's sake. But in order to do that, and above all to BE that, i need God's Shalom for this fast beating anxious ❤️. I cannot think of anything better to ask for than this Shalom that transcends all understanding.
Bella, breathing in God's peace.
Shalom....complete, perfect, whole.
November 20, 2017
Sometimes it is good to look at the Used To Be's with the intent of moving on. Many times, however i get stuck on them, mourn for them and dwell on them without making my peace and looking forward. For example....
We Used To Be a well-oiled family team. We could live out in the Bush for many years because of it. We worked well together. We made plans, carried it out and enjoyed our handiwork. Now, it is quite the opposite. There is a spanner in the worx. The wheels and cogs do not turn as they should. Some are so stuck that other parts have stopped working altogether. Being very independent was definitely a Used To Be. Now we need Help with everything. Going from independent to Help Needed is a very tough one.
I also Used To Be enough for my children. Pick them up, wrap them in a blanket, read a book, kiss the scraped knee.....now i struggle for the right words, the right way of handling all the stress and frustrations, the deep pain and fears....This whole thing is too big for us to cope with on our own. Our Used To Be is no more.
Sadly, living in this fallen world of pain and suffering what we need is mostly not what we get. We get a lot of pity. Pity is most commonly confused with empathy. Not the same thing at all. I do not want to be pitied. I do not want to be seen as this pathetic person. (Probably a huge chunk of pride lies in that sentence!) But I have this need for people to see me for who i am and not for what has happened. I think what i am trying to say is that this disease has now defined us as a family and I think that is wrong. We are more than Motor Neuron disease. We are 5 very strong and capable people who are going through a very tough time. 5 individuals who all need help and support in our own ways. But if you don't get to know us apart from The Disease we are just 5 people who you pity. We Used To Be seen as a family with a mission, but that too is no more....
But Used To Be's are not good to dwell on. It hinders you of living in the now. In this moment.
Because really, this is all we have - this moment. Who are we now? How do we define ourselves? In this moment we are:
Still children of God - beloved sons and daugther. Nothing has changed there.
God is still our Rock, our Helper - even more so now in these tough times.
Our faith is being made stronger, God is still a faithful and loving Father.
Still Certain that God hears our cries in the darkest hours.
We Used To Be a family who served and loved God and that is still the same. We still strive to serve Him even if it Used To look very different.
Bella, nothing has changed but everything has.
November 03, 2017
The day i finally decided to buy a papaya in the store was also the day i brought home a wheelchair with neck support. Yes, this was my Friday. How are times defined? When do you know you have stepped over a seemingly invisible line and yet you undoubtedly know you are now in a next chapter? ( and there is no turning back to happier times)
The papaya was one of those. The line was crossed. No more papayas from my own trees. I live here now. A new set of rules, a new way of life.
It started with a bad headache, progressed to calling the hospice nurse followed up by the neurologist and new GP, now we have wheelchir complete with necksupport in our sitting room. I think this is what made me buy those papayas. It was my way of saying, "ok, i relent. I accept. This is the new normal."
It is also the day on which I read about being thankful. That thankfulness leads to gratefulness and then this leads to praising God. So, here i stand with my tropical bought fruit syaing Thank You that we have money to buy these things. And here i drive with wheelchair high in my Caddy and i say Thank You for loving people who borrow without wanting anything in return, for people who phone around for me, who carry a little bit of my load. Thank You, i sigh, as my boys carry and lift and write from afar to encourage...Thank You.
I can choose today to look at the pale papayas and feel disappointed. I can cast my eyes on the wheelchair and feel discouraged or ...... I can look upwards and be grateful. There is still so much to be grateful for. So, so much.
Thank You, Abba Father. May my thankfulness bring praise to You.
November 01, 2017
With tear stained, red-rimmed eys, i read in Ps 119 this verse....."My suffering was good for me, because it taught me to pay attention to Your decrees."
My suffering was good for me. Wow. Being honest, i am not there...yet.
I go to bed crying, I wake up crying and in between i have to fight back tears all day long.
Nothing is as i pictured it. My whole life is falling, falling apart, falling away from me. With every fresh wave i think....is this the last straw? Can i take another breath before i go under again...is there time to breathe? No time to take a life sustaining breath before the wave - huge and foaming - crashes over my already soaked and drowning head. My suffering was good for me.....
The only word that encourages me in the smallest possible way is the word "was". The Psalmist clearly looks back and sees that all was good. Even his suffering.
Romans 8:28 echos this same idea. That in ALL things - the good, the bad and the ugly - God works it all out for our GOOD.
And i hold on to that as the waves come crashing in. And keep on Trusting And Hoping in my unshakable God and that One day i will look back and be able to say, "my suffering was good for me".
September 22, 2017
“For even if the fig tree doesn’t blossom, and no fruit is on the vines, even if the olive tree fails to produce, and the fields yield no food at all, even if the sheep vanish from the sheep pen, and there are no cows in the stalls; still, I will rejoice in ADONAI, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. ELOHIM Adonai is my strength! He makes me swift and sure-footed as a deer and enables me to stride over my high places. For the leader. With my stringed instruments.”
Well, it is a good thing i don't have a fig tree or a vine or an olive tree. I don't have fields or sheep or cows for that matter....so it seems i will be ok....and anyway i have a million other things going wrong at the moment ... so how will Habakuk's words look to me then...right now? What is there that is making me look at fig trees or lack of cows and be mad at God or people ...can i say "even if motor neuron disease happens or the home loan is rejected or the reponibilities of life now weighs me down....even if ________ will i still be able to rejoice in God?
Am i rejoicing in God right now? Right now in this terrifying storm i call My Life?
The short answer is ... No. Sadly i am not. Instead I am fretting and fearing, worrying and tossing and turning....??will the disability claim come through or not...how much will "they" decide to pay us? will all our supporting churches one by one slink away and leave us to fend for ourseleves? Worry, worry, worry. Will this or will that, what if this or what if that. And in all of this i hear God say, "Do not fear, I am with you, I will help you."
I sigh and relax. And i rejoice in God. I take joy in the God of my salvation. He makes my feet swift and sure-footed and I stride over high places. I like that, Striding over high places as aposed to clinging on for dear life in thise terrifying high places! It is a great way of putting it and it brings a deep comfort to me because let's face it - the high and difficult places will be before us sooner or later, better to stride with God rejoicing than trying in my own strength to hold on and become stuck in a hard place.
My song might be short and not very loud, my voice might crack but i will rejoice in God my Saviour!
Bella, slowly letting go, learning to rejoice in spite of.