7 12 2013

                                             “ You order my steps!”

 

“You show me Your ways!” (Psalm 25:4)

“He shall direct your paths!” (Proverbs 3:5)

“You order my steps according to Your words!” )Psalm 119:133)

 

“You show me the way!”

“You direct my paths!”

“You order my steps!”

 

I have recently started using a GPS for dummies in my car. It alerts me to every exit and entrance ramp on the interstate highways. When I’m on surface streets it let’s me know every possible turn or twist I could take.

             It’s somewhat outdated so some addresses are not registered in it. The directions say that I am being triangulated by three satellites up in the sky to locate where I am. I can’t get away with this thing.

            If I take a turn that isn’t in its program it will keep saying recalculate, recalculate, recalculate! Although I choose to go the way that I know and trust and get to my destination but it maybe not by the easiest way!

 When I do get back on track it seems to me really happy. I’ve turned off the feature that tells me when I am exceeding the speed limit. It not only tells me where I am but also shows me a map with colors and all the streets labeled by the name and highway number.

 I can choose whether I want to go the quickest way or the shortest way. Before I leave I need to charge my unit up and program in where I’m leaving from and my destination point. It really comes in handy when I get totally lost.

 I like to use the quickest way to get wherever I’m going. It tries to get me to turn on streets that I have never tried before and I don’t know where they’re going. So I don’t take those streets. I’m going to a new place, it’s a bit nerve-racking to depend on the GPS’s directions to get there.

Once I was going to a party and I program in drive instead of street, so when it was saying I had reached my destination, I was at the wrong place. There were no cars around so knew something was off.

The same way, the Lord is our GPS system not in the sky but right with us showing us the way, directing our paths, and ordering our steps if we will only trust him! Sometimes we think we know the way, and head off on our own.

We get lost or confused and go the wrong directions. Sometimes life takes us in directions that we had never anticipated. I never dreamed that I would have a chronic illness, need to go on disability, go through divorce, become a counselor/writer/speaker around the country, lose my home due to mold, or need to move in with my sons and their families.

My life has been much more eventful, exciting, and frightening than I had ever planned. As a teenager, I thought that God was calling me to be a missionary nurse in Ghana. I went off to nursing school at Vanderbilt University. There I met my ex-husband and the course of my life changed. In the middle of it all, the Lord was saying recalculate, recalculate, recalculate!

The Lord led me to a new mission field with the Visiting Nursing Association in inner city of Baltimore and Atlanta where the poor and downtrodden lived. Then I got sick…. really sick … throwing blood clots to my lungs! Yikes! I was eventually diagnosed with lupus &  its many cousins.

In the middle of all that, the Lord was saying recalculate, recalculate, recalculate! My direction in life then led me to the chronically ill…. fellow strugglers became my new Mission field. I went back and got my Masters in rehab counseling with a specialty in chronic illness. I began writing columns for the Lupus Foundation of America Atlanta chapter’s Newsletter called Let’s Celebrate Life.

I had realized that the emotional and spiritual adjustment so chronic illness to be more crippling that the physical adjustment any day! I wrote that column for three years. There were so many requests for copies of the articles that the Lupus foundation compiled them into a book that is now is third edition for sale on the Amazon…. Celebrate Life…. New Attitudes for Living with Chronic Illness.

Divorce sent me into yet another direction. I took the marriage and family counseling content to help me understand what happened and my marriage. In the middle of it all, the Lord was saying recalculate, recalculate, recalculate! He led me to establish a nonprofit, phone counseling ministry to the chronically ill and their significant others.

My third book, Challenges of Living with Chronic Illness … Beginnings & Endings, will be birthed on Amazon before 2014!

All through life, I have made wrong turns, not stayed with what was originally programmed into my GPS system by the Lord, but He was able to recalculate and turn my trash into treasure, my mistakes it’s a miracles, and redeemed what seemed unredeemable!

 The Lord truly does show me the way, direct my paths, and order my steps! Praise His Name!!!!

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“YOU go before, prepare the way, carry, &fight for me!”

25 07 2013

“You go before me, prepare the way, carry, and fight for me!” (from many scriptures)

 

Recently, I developed a sore on the middle finger of my right hand.  For the first three weeks, the doctors treated it like it was an infection.  Finally, I decided it wasn’t an infection, but an ulcer caused by my Raynaud’s.

 

The pain was excruciating!  I called and asked my rheumatologist to prescribe some nitroglycerin paste to keep the pain from being so severe.  Raynaud’s causes the vessels of your fingertips, toes, lips, nose, and the ear lobes to clamp down and not allow oxygen to get to them when exposed to stress, cold or vibration.

 

My rheumatologist referred me to a vascular surgeon.  That’s when the adventure began!  The surgeon did not say much.  He just stood in the middle of the room and stared at my finger.  He kept calling other people into the room and & saying look at that this!

 

He referred me to a hand and shoulder surgeon.  When I left the, I still didn’t know what was wrong.  I requested that I be sent a copy of his office notes.  When I got the office notes, I was shocked white out of my boots!  The diagnosis was gangrene!  Yikes!

 

In the meantime.  My rheumatologist was trying to treat the problem with medications.  I could not tolerate the medication.  They made me nonfunctional.  I finally decided to go on to see the surgeon to schedule surgery.

 

The surgeon explained that the Doppler ultrasound that had been done shower that there was little to no circulation getting to the fingertips of my right hand and not much more to the left hand.

 

He scheduled me for surgery the next day, which was Saturday!  Wow!  It was considered emergency surgery since he didn’t want any more tissue to die.  He planned to remove the fingernail and the dead tissue at the end of my finger.

 

While I waited for an hour in the main lobby for someone to come get me, I listened to a beautiful piano renditions of some of my favorite hymns and read meaningful scriptures on my Kindle Fire.  The Holy Spirit came and filled.  I sat there crying and had a wonderful worship experience!

 

Little did I know that the Lord was preparing me for warfare.  The preop nurse was hot and bothered because things had gotten behind and she was struggling to catch up.  She dumped her frustrations on me.

 

The Lord had gone before, prepared the way, carried, and fought for me every step of the journey even when I didn’t know I needed it! 

 

Now, I look back, marvel, and give thanks and praise for all the Lord has and is doing to not only make it through this experience but to transcend it with the Breath Prayer “You go before, prepare the way, carry, and fight for me!”





Brag About Infirmities

26 05 2013

“Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9)

*Breath Prayer … “I will boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may dwell upon me.”

Sometimes, I wonder how I can boast in my infirmities. How can I boast about pain, fatigue, fever, nausea, etc.? I normally would think about complaining or taking about them, but boasting?! You usually would boast about victories, accomplishments, material possessions, or success, but not illness and weakness.

So often, illness is looked on as a failure or punishment, not something to boast about. People avoid you when you talk about your illness. They just can’t handle it. They run, give choice pieces of advice, suggest treatments or cures, tell you it’ll all be okay or you’re strong and you can handle it, or take you on as a project to take care of. Some people will keep any weakness or illness secret for fear of people’s responses.

It’s interesting that the physical infirmity or “thorn in the flesh” that Paul asked the Lord to remove three times seems to have been a vision problem that wasn’t painful but made his appearance repulsive. For three days after Paul was struck down on the road to Damascus, he lay blind not eating or drinking.

Paul casually and briefly mentioned his weakness or infirmity with no details or much information about it. Then, he went on to boast in what the Lord was doing in his life with his infirmity. So, maybe we need to just mention our physical problems and then go on to boast in, not for, our infirmity and glorify the Lord.

*Breath Prayer- Take a scriptural promise, turn in into a seven syllable affirmation give or take a few, in present tense and second person, and say it on the perfect breath (in to a count of 3 out of a count to a count of 6) as you breathe out.





                                        Forgiveness“Forgive our debts, as we have also

3 05 2013

                                        Forgiveness

“Forgive our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

 

                                         “I forgive.”

 

I thought learning to assume responsibility for myself, and breathe the breath prayer, “God, forgive me, a sinner” was a monumental battle.  That battle waxed and waned over years of experience, study, counseling, and leading by the Holy Spirit.  I had no idea of what or how difficult the next phase of the battle would be to learn to breathe “I forgive.”

 

The Lord worked on me through devotionals, Sunday School lesson, and Bible passages.  He brought Moses before me, who had not only forgave the Children of Israel for making the fatted calf, but asked God to take him in their place, if He could not forgive them. 

 

Jesus forgave the soldiers at the cross and gimself in their place.  In neither instance were the people asking for forgiveness, or had a sense of their sin, or need of forgiveness but they were forgiven.

 

The lord pointed out to me that I would be forgiven, in like manner, as I had forgiven.  I certainly didn’t want to forgive if it meant that I had to love and leave myself open to being hurt by forgiving, but the Lord said “yes” to both.  The Lord showed me that forgiving was simply a matter of taking my place in front of the cross along with those I felt had wronged me.  I became a sinner on level ground with everyone else.

Standing in front of the cross as a beautiful sinner, human being, lost and broken child of God made me whole in the Lord’s redeeming love.  That love allowed me to forgive and let those who had hurt me stand in equal status at the Savior’s feet.  Forgetting was not required, just remembering who and where I was.

 

Forgiving was for me and not the other people.  As long as I am trapped and stuck in judging, anger, blame, bitterness, and retaliation, I can’t assume responsibility for myself and the power to change myself to move along in my life.  I can’t be free until I ask for and give forgiveness, before the throne of the cross the of the Lord!





12 12 2012

Forgiveness

“Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.”

Matthew 6:12

Relationship problems were one of the greatest hurdles in both the divorce and illness process. Anything that is different about you, makes you threatening an overwhelming to other people. They seem to be threatened and uncomfortable around you, especially if you are uncomfortable with yourself. Many of the people around you may get stuck in denial. To acknowledge what is happening to you, raises the possibility that if that happens to them.

With the diagnosis of my illness, one entire support system fell away. As divorce swept through my life, and another whole went down the drain.  I’d find myself being caught in and choked by circular, obsessional thoughts of judgment, anger, blamr, bitterness, resentment, vindictiveness, and retaliation. The pull-away was definitely a 2 way street.

I can’t help what thoughts come into my mind,  but I can help what I do with those thoughts and what they stir up in my body. I can process, understand make sense of, experience, listen to, use a guide and release them. I can attract unhealthy, destructive consequences in my body when I focus on and make  those kinds of thoughts my God.

Slowly, I began to break the vicious chain reaction cycle of thoughts that began with judging, by assuming responsibility for myself and breathing God for me a sinner!   I do play a part in all of this.  I am not a victim, but a participant. I can choose what I focus on. I needed to do this with my vanishing support communities and with my ex, as he disappeared over the horizon of my life.

Over and over, I am tempted to get caught up in the chains of judging myself against  others, or others against me. Breathing god forgive me a sinner and over and over sets me free miraculously and instantly. This works also when the chaining thoughts are fear, confusion, doubt or when any feeling becomes my main focal thought, or God instead of the Lord Himself!





Forgiveness

12 12 2012

Forgiveness

“Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.”

Matthew 6:12

Relationship problems were one of the greatest hurdles in both the divorce and illness process. Anything that is different about you, makes you threatening an overwhelming to other people. They seem to be threatened and uncomfortable around you, especially if you are uncomfortable with yourself. Many of the people around you may get stuck in denial. To acknowledge what is happening to you, raises the possibility that if that happens to them.

With the diagnosis of my illness, one entire support system fell away. As divorce swept through my life, and another whole went down the drain.  I’d find myself being caught in and choked by circular, obsessional thoughts of judgment, anger, blamr, bitterness, resentment, vindictiveness, and retaliation. The pull-away was definitely a 2 way street.

I can’t help what thoughts come into my mind,  but I can help what I do with those thoughts and what they stir up in my body. I can process, understand make sense of, experience, listen to, use a guide and release them. I can attract unhealthy, destructive consequences in my body when I focus on and make  those kinds of thoughts my God.

Slowly, I began to break the vicious chain reaction cycle of thoughts that began with judging, by assuming responsibility for myself and breathing God for me a sinner!   I do play a part in all of this.  I am not a victim, but a participant. I can choose what I focus on. I needed to do this with my vanishing support communities and with my ex, as he disappeared over the horizon of my life.

Over and over, I am tempted to get caught up in the chains of judging myself against  others, or others against me. Breathing god forgive me a sinner and over and over sets me free miraculously and instantly. This works also when the chaining thoughts are fear, confusion, doubt or when any feeling becomes my main focal thought, or God instead of the Lord Himself!





10 11 2012

Deliverance

“Do not lead me into a temptation, but deliver me from evil.”
Matthew 6: 13
You deliver me from evil!

When it seemed like the whole world was collapsing around me and on me at, I would find myself slipping into periods of self pity, anxiety, fear, depression, and despair. The battlefield up a of my mind would become littered up with the negative, unhealthy thinking.

I would become obsessed, consumed with and by these thoughts. It would get to the point that my thoughts would interfere with my life, living relationships with myself children, but friends, and God. Thoughts about the circumstances of my life would become the main focus blocking out everything else.

For every thought, your body has corresponding changes in your chemical, hormonal, breathing, and muscle balance. Thoughts + a body response = emotions. The Lord meant for you to use your emotions as a guide them in life, but not your God.

My illness, divorce, and thoughts about them were becoming the main focus of my life … my God & not my guide. Each would fan the other. I would become caught in a downward spiral of the mind, body, in spirit. I found myself desperately breathing, “Give me balance!” “Don’t met me slip and fall!” “Deliver me from these thoughts!”

I was praying “You deliver me!” Over and over, the children of Israel were delivered from tempting thoughts and fears on the battlefields of their history. They were tempted to run, flee, and give up when they logically looked at the odds of the battles they faced. When they added God into the equation of their thinking, and made Him their main focus, they were delivered in every battle no matter how hopeless every battle looked!