Posts Tagged illness

Are We Christians Superstitious About Suffering?

I grabbed my Bible, Journal, Coffee, Computer, Pens, and Concordance for my Bible study this morning. I sat down before the dog or cat could interrupt me, opened in prayer, and asked for understanding about suffering and healing.

So, I decided to dive into a Bible study on healing. Again. Again, because apparently, it’s taking me longer to get it.

Why doesn’t God heal everyone? If you’ve ever been told it’s because you didn’t have enough faith–I am sorry. That is not true, and I’ve been told that, too. I didn’t have enough faith, I wasn’t “Spirit-filled” because I didn’t speak in tongues, therefore I couldn’t be healed . . . yada, yada, yada. Those thoughts we need to put out of our heads. They are untrue.

I’ve studied the topic of healing before in proper context. But something this time made me uncomfortable. It seems I’m learning that some people, Christians in particular, act as if they’re superstitious about suffering, especially when one speaks of it. Why? Because we weren’t or aren’t healed? When one is suffering, if they aren’t allowed to bring it up, voice it, allow tears to flow, and have others gather around and pray for them, what are they to do but to sit quietly and act as if life is . . . fine? But, it’s not fine. It could be falling apart, and a person unraveling in your very presence, yet it’s too uncomfortable to talk about as we “might” give too much glory to the darkness instead of the Light that saves and heals us. This is where I usually prefer to bang my head against the wall and cry out to God, because I just don’t get it. The very people I need the most are the ones that I can talk to the least.

 

I found myself in deep thought writing the following on my Facebook page:

If, during a season or lifetime of suffering, a person never really spoke about how deep, dark, and desperate their suffering was and made them, those around them to hear about the horrors of it wouldn’t be able to comprehend or understand how great the glory of God truly is in their lives, that they survive, march on, and continue to run the race–regardless of how low or slow– toward the finish line to receive Christ Jesus who holds their eternal life.

It is OK to speak of your dark and desperate moments, because when doing so, you let the crack of light–that glimmer–shine for all to see. When hope and peace shine through even the smallest crack in darkness, it brings blinding light. It doesn’t take much. So, speak, talk, and don’t let others put out the little light you have, because they think you give the darkness too much credit.

Where light shines in, there is no such thing.

 

I wanted to read again, something I’d found on GotQuestions.org, so I read and reflected upon it. It is a dangerous thing to take Scripture out of context or not understand it when claiming the promises of God. For example, the freedom from illness for the Israelites in the Mosaic Covenant can be misapplied as a promise of today. Read more about it here in the article, Why Doesn’t God Heal Everyone.

I’ve come to realize, again, that though well-meaning, Christians can be superstitious about healing, why I’m not healed, and not want to talk about the darkness that surrounds me, as it will give too much credit to the darkness which will just keep me unhealed and where I’m at.

?????

That’s my response and how it makes me feel.

If all I have is a glimmer of light in the darkest hours of my life, through all the suffering I endure as I continue to go undiagnosed while physicians search for or give up on finding answers–it’s been both ways for me–, that glimmer of light is more powerful than all the light most of the well-feeling world sees in a day, but it’s worth could not be understood if the depth of the darkness, illness, and feeling crappy was not understood. And unless we’re willing to talk about it, that understanding will never take place which could shed a glimmer of light on another, who also sits in such sickness, despair, hopelessness–whatever it is–to bring glory to God also.

The truth is, no matter how dark life, circumstances, or health is, that small glimmer can get you from where you’re at to glory, and THAT completion, despite the desperation, is the win. That’s God at work in our life, and the glory goes to Him. Had there not been that tiny glimmer in such despair, we who suffer would never find our way.

And sometimes we need to talk about it, and we need to talk about it without fear of making Christians superstitious, because the light casts out darkness. Period.

Talking about your suffering is not giving glory to the darkness. It is giving glory to the Light, that through your deepest darkest life moments, you survive and still head toward glory.

Praise God, and thank You, Jesus.

-XO

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BIG Changes! MIA Ministry Is Coming!

Here’s the latest update on what’s happening at Move Into Action.

https://www.spreaker.com/embed/player/standard?episode_id=8695736&autoplay=false

You are probably aware that I’ve been battling a disease for several years, and the symptoms affect me pretty much every single day. My life has been turned upside down and rearranged, because I have an extremely limited amount of energy, which means I have a limited amount of time to get my things professionally and personally done.

My medical team has been trying to rule out Multiple Sclerosis for a long time and I’ve heard it can take DECADES before a diagnosis is reached. So, I’m living in a limbo with some very real, and very limiting symptoms. I’m making accommodations, so I can at least do something and feel productive, because  as you know, I am a busy bee, always working on something type of person, and this is a foreign thing for me. I’m adapting and that’s the reason for these changes.

I can’t do everything I was. I was running a business and a ministry, but I can’t do both. I can only do one or the other, and whichever one I chose, my involvement would be limited.

So, after whittling it down: I chose to continue the ministry. There are enough people out there in the world coaching and training to help people live their dreams, their best lives now, and focus on success in this world.

But, there are not enough people out there speaking and teaching truth, equipping believers to stand in that truth, while bringing people closer to God and the Bible. And that’s where I want to be. Whether my life be long or short, I want to be nowhere else but here: Teaching, Equipping, and Defending. 

Move Into Action Ministries is coming. (Excuse me for a moment. EEEEEEEK!!-shout of excitement, because this has been a VERY HARD ROAD!) It will focus on four areas. I will write one blog post per week. And that’s it.

The four areas of MIA Ministry are:

  1. Life and priority management. Building lives on a solid Biblical foundation is essential, so I’ll continue to teach life and stress management through blogging. My classroom training is still available at SOLMA-the school of life management I founded. That is still open.
  2. Reverse Church Planting. This should be called The People Planting Church, because it will be doing the opposite of gathering people into a building. It will focus on inspiring people to go OUTSIDE the four walls and get active in community. Oh, and everyone will  have the time to do it once they learn life and priority management from #1 above. (Grin.) No more sitting on your butt. It’s time to Move Into Action, and this means everyone.
  3. Apologetics. You need to know how to defend and stand firmly in  your faith in this culture and the culture to come. You also need to know basic apologetics to help others understand Christianity and plant seeds in such a pluralistic culture. There are not many ways to God. There is only ONE way and it’s a narrow road. We need to be equipped to help others see the need for God and the narrow road. Many need Salvation, and those who are on the fence will need us to help them understand the differences and their need for Christianity. We can be prepared to help them and stand ourselves when punishment for standing comes. Look around. It is coming as the world becomes more intolerant of conservative Christianity.
  4. Life Hacks! Everyone loves them. Life Management is all about getting rid of excess and baggage that weighs you down and keeps you stuck. You’ll have more time, energy, and resources when you learn how to eliminate what you no longer need, and that will allow you to Move Into Action and serve where God calls you: in your home, community, church, ministry . . .

I plan on kicking off in August, because I need TIME. I need time to make the transition from a business to a ministry. Plus, I need to rest as I do this. If I overwork myself, I become sick and pretty much useless physically and mentally. So, I have to do what I can, and trust that God will work where/when I can’t. BTW, these are some tough lessons to live out!

Stay tuned . . . August will approach quickly.

I hope you’ll pray for this ministry and support it however you can.

Blessings to you,

Christine

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Perishable People: Keep Away From Heat and Flame

John 3:16

Image by arti47 via Flickr

My new year is definitely off to a bang. Within a 10 minute time-frame this morning on my way out the door to head to church, I learned via cell phone that my Grandfather was in the hospital, my kids were stuck in Dallas, and my youngest daughter’s illness was getting worse. All of this news came before my first cup of coffee! Yeeehaw! I’m starting 2011 with a BANG!

Immediately, I jumped into active duty to start dealing with these situations.

  • Grandfather’s pneumonia-praying for his salvation and healing.
  • Kids stuck in Dallas due to their father’s asthma-praying and call to postpone trip and make sure he gets to a doctor before getting behind the wheel for the 7 hour drive to get them home.
  • Youngest daughter’s sinus situation-praying for her recovery and hopefully not another day of missed work. Then divvy out the decongestant and other meds before heading out to church.

While at church, I held it all together fairly well until our Children’s Pastor said something and asked me how I was doing. And that was all it took for the tears to surface. I was doing fine, but I was so blessed by her presence. I asked her if she would pray for my family. And she did. Right then and there. (Thank you, Father for your presence and immediate comfort-a reminder that we need to stop and pray immediately more often!)

After church I was driving to the pharmacy to restock my dwindling supply of meds for my daughter, when I found myself singing, crying, worshiping, praying, singing, crying, worshiping, praying, singing, laughing, just loving God and finding peace in His presence. I am so grateful and blessed because with God, I am ok. With Jesus in my life and striving each day to seek Him and live in a relationship with Him, I really have nothing to fear. Nothing…not even death! I thought about my Grandfather in the hospital. I would be really sad to lose him. And I do understand that life is temporary. Each of us has an expiration date. One day, we will all die. That’s just a fact of life. Eventually people die.

Yet knowing we all have an expiration date on our lives, I rested in the comfort of knowing that having Jesus as our Savior, we may expire here on earth, but we will not perish in hell. We have God’s promise of everlasting life in Heaven! I guess today was a realization that while I will miss many people I care about when their life here on earth expires, and I may feel sad and miss them, what really matters is not that they are not here anymore. The focus shifted on where they would spend eternity. And I want to focus on what matters. So what DOES matter? Eternity! That’s what!

Without Jesus as our Savior, we are perishable.

Perishable is defined as: Subject to decay, spoilage, or destruction.

A human being without Jesus is subject to decay, spoilage, and destruction when they die. Heavy? Yes, it is! I believe it’s a heavy subject because eternity is not to be taken lightly! It is a heavy subject! Fact: We will expire someday. We won’t live forever. Fact: The people that we will experience life and death with directly are those very people we are the closest to. The ones we see every day. The ones we love. Fact: They are also the hardest to share the Gospel with because of those same reasons. It’s just easier to talk about Jesus with people we don’t see every day. If they think we’re a freak-it’s likely we won’t see them again. But our friends and family are a different story.

Yet today it became quite clear-we have expiration dates that we can’t see. If we humans had a manufacturers label, it would probably read: Flammable, do not puncture or incinerate. Keep away from heat and flame. Perishable. 100% Human. Wash gentle cycle. Air dry. Made by God. (Ok, so I’m using my imagination!)

We are perishable without the blood of Jesus. We are perishable without a Savior. But we don’t have to perish! We don’t have to spend eternity in decay, spoilage, or destruction. And we don’t have to earn salvation! It is through God’s grace that we are saved.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus makes us non-perishable and gives us life for all of eternity. Knowing how to live forever…you’d think we’d be running up and down the streets, banging on people’s doors, doing whatever it takes to save those we see and talk to every day to say…”Hey! I know how you can live forever!!!” Why would we fear spreading news like that to those who are closest to us?!

Don’t wait. Life comes and goes. Everyone will expire. But they don’t have to perish.

Tell someone you love…Jesus saves.

On a side note: Although my year has started off with a bang, it seems as if it’s just a reminder to me that this year I’m starting with God in control, I’m leaning on Him, and just looking for how He can mold  and change me regardless of the situation and provide an opportunity for me to draw closer to Him. And really…I know that no matter what this year brings, it will be an incredible year. Whether I have one hour left or fifty years, as long as I have Jesus in my life, it will be an incredible journey. There is simply nothing greater than to take each breath every day while walking with your Creator!

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Be Still And Know He Is There

As our Pastor’s son celebrates his 11th birthday today, he lays in Pediatric ICU for serious kidney issues that just seemed to happen overnight. As I have prayed intensely today, I find myself with a song going through my head over and over and over again. It started when I physically went to the church to pray. I found myself on my knees in prayer with no distractions, no phone, no twitter, no nothing except for God and I. After praying I got off my knees and just sat in one of the pews. And I just thought. I wasn’t ready to leave. I kept looking up at the ceiling. In the center of the ceiling in our sanctuary, there is a wooden circle. I imagined it to be a lid that opens and leads straight to heaven. All the prayer, worship, and praise would go straight from that lid if it were to open and into the throne room of heaven. That was powerful!

And in that moment, I felt as though I could sense God’s presence. And this song has been playing in my heart since then. I think at that time I realized that God will show His people who he is not just during times of harvest, blessing, and when we say things are good. God will show His people who He is in all circumstances-good and bad, when He reaches us in those defining moments when we seek Him. He doesn’t just show us who he is when things are peachy. He’s not reserved just for the peachy people of the world.

For God to be our comforter, we’d have to experience Him as such when we actually NEED to be comforted. For Him to be our healer, we’d have to experience Him as such when we actually NEED to be healed. For Jesus to mend us we’d need to have mending done. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to experience Him as He met our needs.

Isn’t it comforting to know that even in the worst times that God will be there to show us who He is? That we can actually EXPERIENCE his love and mercy?!

So speak to me and show me who you are…

and He will if we only remember to look for Him in every situation. He will be there!

Watch and listen to Aaron Shust, Stillness

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Help Is A Phone Call Away

I was emailing a friend of mine whose father is having surgery tomorrow to let him know that I was praying for the family. I also wanted to know if there was anything that I could do to help out during this time of need. In the email I sent, I wanted to make sure I clarified the word help.

All too often, when there is a need or an illness, we say we want to help. The phrase, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” is spoken so often, that I believe that we don’t understand what we mean when we say it. Let me give an example here. Some individuals will say it with no intention of doing anything other than sending flowers and a get well card. And others will offer prayers, a casserole to be frozen, or a visit after the surgery. There is nothing wrong with any of these at all. They are all forms of help and they all play a role.

The best way to offer help is to clarify how we can help an individual, because help does take on so many forms. It is helpful to send flowers and get well wishes. It is helpful to have a few visitors, although this really should be reserved for family and a few close friends. It is beneficial to have a few casseroles frozen for quick meals during recovery time. But, what about the rest of the stuff that needs attention that few people think of?

It might be helpful:

If someone could run errands
Feed the pets
Take the trash out
Gather the mail and watch for time sensitive materials
Mow the yard
Do a load or two of laundry
Get the kids to school or pick them up
Babysit
Water plants or a garden
Run for prescriptions
Pick up carry out or have a pizza delivered

Sometimes the help is not just needed by the individual who is ill or having surgery. Sometimes the help is a blessing to the other family members who are assisting the recovering person. Imagine welcoming relief for a frazzled wife who is helping her spouse recover after surgery while trying to manage the kids and house alone. Sometimes it’s the family who can use the extra assistance while they provide care and support to the recovering individual.

So the next time you hear yourself say, “Let me know if there is anything I can do,” be sure to clarify how you are willing to help. You might be the one person they contact when they need a flower removal crew for all the persons who helped by sending the flowers.

Tip: It is essential that the family also not be bombarded with help. To eliminate stress, it is best to establish one person in or close to the family as the “go to” person for updates and inquiries on the needs of the family. Consider this person a project manager. Providing that person with a list of phone numbers for people who can run errands, babysit, cook, clean, and mow will give them all the information they need to call on individuals for help if it is needed. It will allow the family to maintain peace of mind while knowing that all the help they could possibly need is one phone call away.

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