Saturday, March 16, 2013

When Life Gets Put On Hold

Why Are We Allowed to Suffer?

I have been going through significant challenges lately. December was a very challenging month as I had to fly across the country to be with my mom - she passed away a few days after I arrived. While I was there, I pushed myself beyond my  physical limitations. I pushed past the pain and fatigue, even though I knew there would be repercussions.

I wanted to be a witness for God while I was there. I wanted to be strong and peaceful as my mom went to be with the Lord. It was such a blessing that her suffering was over, but she died in a great deal of pain. And I kept thinking

It's in the Word

There are many examples in the bible of how God used difficult times to teach people various things. There are too many lessons to go over in this short post, but I have picked out a few that really impacted me.


To Teach Empathy

Sometimes God uses our suffering to teach us compassion. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 they praised Jesus, the Father of compassion, who comforted them so they could comfort others. I feel so much better when I talk to someone who also lives with chronic pain or fatigue. They can relate to my struggles and can feel empathy. I remember one time calling a crisis line; I was in so much pain and was not coping very well. The poor girl who answered the phone didn't know what to do with me. She didn't have any resources to give me. She felt useless and I felt alone. On the flip side, I have been blessed by helping others in pain. I have listened to their fears, believed them as they described what the were going through, and was humbled by their incredible gratitude. All because I chose to use my pain to help someone, instead of letting it consume me - WOW!

To Get Our Attention

When I first was injured, my walk with God was sporadic at best. I believed in Jesus but I had no clue how to live a victorious life. I saw Christians who were filled with such peace, but I didn't know how to access it. But I kept thinking - 


Part of the trouble was I kept trying to figure it out on my own. I was trying so hard to get close to God but I wasn't asking Him to help me! Crazy, right? Plus, I was busy, busy, busy! I was busy at work, I was busy with my friends, I was busy trying to get a business built. Apparently, I was even too busy for God! That's REALLY crazy! So why on earth would I be surprised when God finally had to get serious and put me out of commission? Let me stop right there and clarify -
  • Do I feel like I'm being punished? NO
  • Do I feel like God has forgotten about me? NO
  • Do I wish I had paid attention to Him much sooner?

They say hindsight is 20/20. When I look back on those years and the road I was headed on, God HAD to do something drastic to get my attention, and I am very thankful that He did. I am a much better person now then I was back then. I have an amazing relationship with God and it is transforming me in ways I could not have foreseen! Call me crazy, but I'm grateful for the road He had led me down. Yes, I still have days when I hurt so badly I don't know how I will stand another minute of it. Which leads me to my next topic...


Pain Does NOT = Suffering

I have read about this concept many times. While I understood it in my head, I wasn't having great success making it play out in my life. I was suffering - horribly! Then the other day, after doing my bible study, I realized that while my pain was very bad that day, it wasn't causing me misery. My body hurt, but I felt joy. I thought -
It's finally happened... I have lost my mind!

But what I quickly realized was that when I spend time studying God's Word, in worship and in prayer, I feel better! When I think back to other times when I had joy a midst my pain, sure enough, it was during a time when I was spending quality time with God every day! I also realized was that when I am busy helping someone else through their pain, I forget mine. Isn't it amazing how that works?

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I hope that this has helped ease your suffering a little bit. If feel you would like to begin or perhaps restart your relationship with God, please pray with me. 

Lord, please come and live inside me. Please help me to be open to Your teaching, guidance and love. I pray that You would lead me to others who are suffering in pain, that I might be a light in their world. Help me to trust Your perfect plan for my life, and that you will work everything out for good. Thank You, Jesus, for being willing to live in this world, to endure suffering, so that I may live. You knew love, sorrow, temptation, pain and anguish. Because of this, I can come to You and know that You understand me. Thank You for hearing my prayers. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Courage in the Face of Fear

Where are you being lead?

I have been living with more fear than I care to admit. My pain and fatigue issues have been crazy. Doing my daily bible study helps me greatly. Today I was lead to scriptures that deal with courage. I needed to counteract the fear that was trying to push its way in.

The war is in the mind

I love the song "Courageous" by Casting Crown.
In the war of the mind I will take my stand
So many times I have felt guilty for still living in fear. I thought I was being a "bad" Christian because I was not completely trusting God's plan for my life. What I realized is that there is a constant war going on in my mind, and I must continually choose who will win the battle. The choices are simple though not always easy. 

Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? (Romans 6:16)

Each time I feel fear creep up, I have a choice to make. Will I obey my fear and let it overshadow everything good in my life, or will I obey and trust God's Word.

Don't be afraid, for I am with you.
   Don't be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
   I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

When I choose God, amazing things happen. I immediately feel more hopeful, peaceful, happy and stronger. Perhaps not physical strength, but mental fortitude. By choosing to believe God's promises, I feel better equipped to handle the storm raging inside my body.

Who will you serve?

You have a choice to make. You need to decide who you will believe, because that will determine who you will obey. You may think "it's not all that black and white". Truly, it is. Otherwise, our minds are divided and we spend our days going around the same fears and struggles over and over again. Until we make a stand and purposely choose to believe God, we are leaving ourselves open to attack. It is also not a one time decision. I must choose daily, sometimes hourly, to trust God's plan.

Doing battle

I used to bite my nails. I used to smoke. No matter how much I wanted to be free from these habits, it was a battle to deal with them. I still battle with my issues of using food for comfort (something I thought I had conquered but it has reared its ugly head again). I used to think I had to do it on my own.

Do you feel like you are battling against things in your life? We must remember, that we are not in this fight alone!

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)
Satan will try to keep you in fear because that keeps you in bondage. It's time to break those chains and become warriors! We can have courage in the face of fear. We can stand firm, through our faith in God.

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Dear God, thank You for always being there for us, to strengthen us and keep us safe from the devil's schemes. We have the ability to put on Your full armor every day. Help us to do our part and then stand still and watch You go to battle for us. Then our victory will be for Your glory, and we will sing Your praise! In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, February 1, 2013

By George I Think I've Got It!!


I did something rather brilliant last year (even if I do say so myself). I actually put an entry in my calendar signifying that I had -
"Finally gotten to the place where I wanted to  give my whole life to God and serve Him above all else."

I had completely forgotten I had done this, but today when I checked my phone, there is was. A reminder in my calendar that it was one year today since I decided to become a serious Christian!

As many of you know I have called myself a Christian for many years now. However, my walk with God didn't begin in earnest until I became injured in 2011. I had a cross around my neck, went to church sporadically, and yet couldn't figure out why I was still struggling in life and still desperately trying to figure out why I had a superficial relationship with Jesus. I wanted to KNOW Him! I knew people whose walk with God was so amazing, and I desperately wanted to have what they had! Yet, it continued to elude me.

Then, the fortuitous twist of my ankle. What started out as a "Oh, it's nothing - just a sprain" kind of sprain, turned in to a nightmare that, quite literally, brought me to my knees! The pain was so excruciating that I didn't know what else to do but pray. The doctors didn't know what to do with me. I couldn't find anyone to "fix" me and I was terrified of the pain. I had no idea what the heck was going on, but God knew.

Then, again, BAM! I was struck with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and my already small world became microscopic. I had no energy to do anything! I had to stop working, even conversations became too exhausting for me. I think some of you will be able to relate to this next statement...
Praying and reading my bible was always my last resort!

What the heck is up with that?!? Why is it that we, OK - me, always seem to go to God as a last resort?And I was supposed to be a "serious" Christian! What I didn't understand at the time was that God was using this time of illness to teach me. Unfortunately, I was beginning to feel like the Israelites,  wandering around my desert for 40 years on what should have been a seven day trip! But God was patient and I was learning. What became apparent, just in this last year (what can I tell you), was that when I spent a good 1-3 hours doing my own bible study (it's not like I had anything else to do), my mood and outlook on life was dramatically better. Yet, I was STILL struggling with the concept of letting go completely and trusting God that He was going to work out this painful mess for my good. And God waited.

Then, it happened. About six months ago, I experienced something so amazing... so faith-altering, that I still think back on it with wonder.

I was out walking one afternoon and I began having a conversation with God. This one was different somehow. It was as though God went from being up there somewhere in the heavens, to RIGHT THERE! Right by my side. That was an incredible shift!

Then, again, I had a very bad relapse. I felt like I was losing my mind and being consumed by it all. My pain and fatigue were off the charts and I was getting to the place where I didn't think I could cope. Then, literally, I felt God pluck me out of what I can only describe as a dark pit of anguish. Right at that moment, I experienced the truth that God will never tempt me beyond what I can bare. All at once, it went from my head to my heart.

Fast forward to today. My pain was very bad today, to the point where it was catching my breath. But I didn't get stressed out, I didn't get scared, without even trying my thoughts were of how blessed I was and how God really has been looking after us. Then almost immediately my thoughts became fearful like they used to. But, and here is the amazing part -
I knew they were a lie!

I have experienced so many wondrous things along my walk with God these past five years. I wish I could say that I never have any fearful days anymore. Now that would be a lie. Our walk with God is a process. I look back on how much I have changed, even just this past month, and I am so grateful! Yes, I still have some days where I feel overwhelmed by my pain and fatigue. On those days, I do find it difficult to feel peace and gratitude for my life. Thankfully, the more time I spend in prayer and, especially, studying God's Word, the better I am able to weather those storms.

Being a Christian doesn't mean never having problems again. It does mean that God will help you through them, when you earnestly seek Him.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Jesus, thank You for always being there, waiting for me to reach out to You, ready to open the door and come in to my life. While I don't always understand why things happen, today is the day I will choose to trust You. I pray for the strength to help me through these tough days, and for Your peace which You have given me. Amen

If you would like to accept Christ in to your life or have questions, please contact your local church, or you can also call Joyce Meyer Ministries. They always have staff on hand to answer questions or offer prayers.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

As a Man Thinketh...

Where do your thoughts lead you?

I went for a walk today. I don't get out very much as my pain and fatigue levels have been high. No sooner did I get outside then I saw one of my neighbours. I went over and we had a nice chat, but part way through I could feel my energy plummeting, my pain increasing, and I began to feel anxious. Afterward, I did force myself to go for my short walk, but as my energy slipped away my anxiety grew. At one point I didn't think I had the energy to make it home... and my anxiety grew.

I think we could all agree that my thoughts were not helping me in this situation. My biggest struggle since developing chronic pain and fatigue has been to not let anxiety overtake me. Yet it's hard not to feel fear or anxious when my body starts to shut down.

How then, do we overcome this?

Whose voice do you believe?


The enemy will do his best to fill our heads with lies to keep us in bondage. In 1 Peter 5:8 we are warned to -
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Do you ever feel like your life is being devoured? Your bank account is below zero, your health is slipping away, or you lost your job? It is so easy to stay focused on what we don't have or what we have lost. I know what it's like to be down this slippery slope and it ain't fun!


It is time to change our focus to the Truth instead of being held captive by lies! 1 Peter 5:9 continues on to say -
Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

While we can take comfort that we are not in this alone, you might not be too excited about all of this suffering going on. But not to worry; we are given hope in verse 10 -
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.
Have you ever really stopped to think about this? God has called us - you and me - to share in his eternal glory... WOW! Notice it then says, after we have suffered "a little while". We know that there will be suffering in this world. We live in a fallen world and unfortunately this is the result (oh if only Adam and Eve had been obedient).

I don't know what the heck happens after we turn 40 but it seems the older I get the faster my life zooms by all the while with me burning through my brake pads as I try to slow it down! Whether we experience our restoration next week, next year or the end of our lives, it will seem like the blink of an eye, as though it was just "a little while". 

How do you want to live?

Each one of us must make a decision right now, this very day!

Will you live by fear or by faith?

Don't waste another day living in fear and anxiety, wondering when or even if God will answer your prayers. He already has! God's timing is not our timing nor is our will necessarily His will. However, we need to live by faith, trusting God to work everything out for our good and His glory. And just as they did in verse 11, we will spend each and every day declaring -
All power to Him forever! Amen.
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I will be starting a 30 day devotional to help us stay focused on trusting and thanking God. Please email me if you would like to be notified once a date has been set.

God bless,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

When Life Serves Up Lemons (and you really hate lemons)

Where's Dessert?

We've all heard the saying "When life serves you lemons, make lemon-aid".  I wonder if that was said by the same person who said "It's always darkest before the storm" or "Tough times never last but tough people do"...  I don't want to sound all grouchy but to heck with the tough stormy lemons, I'm ready for desert!

Life Lessons

I am a firm believer in life lessons. People can try to warn us and save us from heartache, but the bottom line is we MUST learn the really important stuff through experience, otherwise we won't remember the lesson. Remember as a kid learning to ride your first bike? It was terrifying but there was no way you were going to ever learn to ride the darn thing unless got got on it and started peddling! Sometimes we learn other lessons, like don't believe the person who says "I promise I won't let go of the bike", but that's for another post. The thing with life lessons is that they often hurt.

God Lessons

There are many lessons for us to learn throughout our lives. As believers in Christ, the journey becomes dramatically different. Notice how I didn't say "better" or "easier". However, the stakes are infinitely higher! Our walk with God often goes through phases as well, with each phase bringing new lessons. Based on my own walk with the Lord and those I've observed in others, these are the phases I am proposing we look at:

I'm engaged! - Ah, to be a new believer! This is often such a place of release and peace because all too often we get here through a broken road littered with jagged rocks and broken glass! When we come before God in that state and receive His forgiveness and salvation, it can feel like the entire world has miraculously been lifted from our weary shoulders. We may join a new church and are enveloped in the loving arms of our new family.

The Wedding Day - The amount of time it takes to get from "engaged" to the "wedding day" (aka baptism) can be very quick or there can be a period of required study, depending the church doing the baptism. Just as pre-marital counselling is always a good idea, so is a formal process of learning before making such an important commitment. First of all, baptism is not just some ceremony dreamed up by someone a long time ago. This was commanded by God and was first used to signify purity and devotion to God. In the New Testament, the message had two stages: 1) to show acceptance of God's message of the coming Messiah, then 2) to signify the death and resurrection of Christ; it was also an act of obedience for the believer.

I now pronounce you... - You've had the ceremony before friends and family, you have sworn an oath before God. It's official, you're a Christian! Oh, if it were that easy. You see going to church and wearing a cross around your neck won't make you a Christian any more than will sitting in your garage every day make you a car! (This has to be my favorite Joyce Meyer quote.)

You will soon discover that the more you study God's Word, the more you will see that He expects certain types of behaviour from us. Most of us are familiar with The 10 Commandments, i.e. "thou shalt not steal" or "thou shalt not commit adultery", to name a couple. Jesus had many teachings, but His most "famous" if you will is probably the Sermon on the Mount. He starts off telling us just how blessed we are when we go through the trials of life. This is great news because... wow, the list is a bit scary. 

Have you heard the phrase "To whom much is given, much is required"? Honey, if you want God to bless you abundantly, then you had best be prepared to give back to the Kingdom. WAIT, does this mean that we do things for God just to get stuff from Him! No, no, NO!! What it does mean is that the more we honestly pursue a close and loving relationship with Christ, the more we surrender all aspects of our life to Him for HIS will to be done (not ours), then we will WANT to be obedient! Another thing to consider is that God wrote these laws for OUR benefit! Think about it - imagine how this world would be if we all obeyed the 10 Commandments. Kind of gives you the warm pink fuzzies, doesn't it?

Graduation Day! - Oh Hallelujah! This is the day that we finally get to meet Jesus face to face! Just thinking about it makes me feel giddy!!  This is where our suffering ends and we get to spend eternity with our creator.

Does everyone go to heaven? This has been a heated debate for centuries no doubt. Some people say that as long as you are a "good person" you will go to Heaven, while others even debate its existence. The bible makes it very clear that only those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and proclaim it with their mouth will be saved (Romans 10:9). It says nothing about being a good person. You can be the sweetest person on the planet, but if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, sorry but you will not be saved.

It took me a long time to accept this. It can be especially hard if a loved-one dies and they haven't accepted Christ. I don't pretend to have all the answers (or even some of them) and I pray that God will have a system in place to give those people one last chance. In the meantime, we should be doing everything in our power to help people learn about Jesus and the power of His love. But, there is an old saying that says "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care". In other words, helping people and meeting their immediate needs will make sharing His Good News much easier and more easily accepted than if we come running at them and bashing them over the head with our bibles.

In closing, if you are hurting turn to Jesus and ask Him to help you. If you haven't already done so, accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and give your life to Him. Spend time studying the bible and be sure to spend quiet time with God. He will show you how to turn your lemons in to the sweetest lemon-aide you ever had!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And Forgive Us Our Trespasses

The Lord's Prayer. It seemed like I learned how to recite it before I learned to walk. I memorized it before I ever understood it. I never questioned it, nor really thought much about it. It was just something I had learned, something I prayed before going to bed and something that I recited at church. It's what a good Catholic girl ought to do.

For those of you not familiar with the Lord's Prayer:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" - lately, this verse has been really messing me up.
How would you feel if God forgave you the way you forgive others?
This puts a whole new spin on that forgiveness thing, doesn't it? Do you know why God makes forgiveness such a big deal? Perhaps it is for the other person's benefit. If someone has come to you begging for forgiveness, then - yes, they will certainly feel much better if you forgive them. But what happens when someone hurts you and they DON'T ask for forgiveness. What if they don't think they have done anything wrong at all?

"That's not right!" you say, and I agree. "Why should I forgive THEM?" you ask. Because God tells you to. Why would He tell you to forgive someone who has harmed you? Perhaps it is because anger, bitterness, resentment are all emotions that lead to sinful behaviour. In fact, anger gives a foothold to the devil! (Ephesians 4:27)

Have you ever been angry with someone for a long time, maybe even years? Have you then talked to them only to find out they had no idea you were angry? You have spent all this time with all these emotions eating you up inside only to discover the other person has been carrying on with their life as though nothing was wrong!

So many times in life someone says or does something that offends us, but like most people we hold grudges instead of settling the matter right then and there. Then, like a cancer, these ugly emotions fester and grow. Have you ever been so angry that you felt sick to your stomach, or ended up with a horrible headache? Perhaps God asks us to forgive others not just for their benefit but for ours as well. 

I know what it feels like to hold on to resentment and unforgiveness. I know that it not only destroys relationships with others, but my relationship with God as well! I am so thankful that I am now a student of God's Word and learning the Truth.

Yes, it is true folks - the Truth will set you free, in every sense of the word!

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Lord, we live in a world that seems to celebrate sinful behaviour. I am so thankful that You are leading me to Your Truth and It will set me free! I pray for the strength and courage to forgive others the way You forgive me. I want to be a bright light in a fallen world. I pray that when people see my actions, they will see You. I pray these things in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Devout or Delusional - You Decide

My phone call with my LTD provider left me agitated - as always. As my anxiety levels increased throughout the phone call, I found myself reciting Philippians 4:7 in my head to try and stay calm.

After I got off the phone, questions began flooding my brain: What the heck I would do if my employer fired me or if my LTD provider cut me off? What if my husband can't find work? What if he can't work?? What if we had to sell this place? Where would we live? How could I possibly handle another move? What if I my health never improves? What if I keep getting worse? How will I afford my medications? What, what, when, will...

STOP! With all these questions swirling around in my head I suddenly thought -

Am I a devout Christian or delusional?

By the world's standards, we are up the proverbial creek without a paddle! Yet, God has shown us extraordinary favour these past few months. I know that He did this so that if things got really tough I would not have to worry; I would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is looking out for me. Logically it makes no sense. But God is not limited by our human logic. He is a God of miraculous wonders!

God certainly is able to answer all my prayers, but what if He chooses not to? What if there are lessons I still need to learn and this is the path He has set out for me? I would need to find that peace that transcends all understanding and go through it all with a joyful heart. That is how we become a bright light for others. When people see us going through trials and we have peace and joy, THEN they will want what we have. Then we can tell them the Good News of Jesus Christ with boldness and courage!

* * * * * * * *

What trials have you been going through lately? Are you trusting God to look after you? If not, what is holding you back? What good could you see coming out of your current situation? Is there anyone who could benefit from the lessons you are learning? How do you think your current situation could help you in the future?

Dear Lord, I pray that You would show favour to the people reading this post. I pray that You would give them a peace that transcends all understanding. There are many people who are living with sickness, financial crisis, loss of a loved one - we live in a fallen, hurting world. BUT You are our hope and salvation! You died so that we could be saved! I pray that people will realize the significance of that gift, and that Your Truth will set them free. Amen!