Returning to play … a marriage with glimpses of heaven

Child playing

 And he [Jesus] said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

Church activities, 50-hour-plus work weeks and the business of life gradually sucked energy out of our marriage. On date nights I’d microwave leftovers as Keith turned on his favorite “Who dun it?”  No creativity, no spontaneity.

Energy roared into our home when our toddler grandson came to visit. He darted for his drawer of lids and measuring cups to prepare tea or dinner for us.

This rocket-fueled toddler delighted in running from our family room, to the kitchen through the dining room, up the two steps of the entryway and jumping off the steps into the family room, squealing as he jumped.

One morning our rocket sat straight up on our bed with a blanket over his head waiting patiently. My adrenaline pumped.

Have you seen Gage?

Where can Gage be?

He’s not in the closet.

Gage!

He’s not under the bed.

What’s this lump?

  Gage!

We rolled the giggling lump, tickled him, and laughed until our stomachs hurt.

That moment changed our lives.

About 13 years later … Often, Keith stands saluting me as I drive into the garage. He’s also been known to hide around a corner and jump out to scare me as I get close.

Elvis fills Keith’s car with rock and roll. Our garage is tight with two cars and storage racks, so Keith stops in the driveway and lets me out. I walk into the garage keeping the beat in my head (I don’t want the neighbors to see me); once in the garage, I bee-bop my way into the house. Honks or flashing headlights applaud my gyrations.

One day as we left the grocery store, Keith stopped the cart, ordered me to jump onboard, and ran pushing the cart to the car. People turned their heads and smiled; some giggled. This became a ritual. Once, a Ford F-150 pulled up beside us, and the driver stuck out his calloused hand, pointed at us, “You kids quit that, you hear?”  Laughing, he drove away.

It takes a great deal of trust to abandon formality and the business of living. It takes trust to jump onboard a grocery cart and barrel through the parking lot.

Sheer delight in play … joy in the moment … love in the air … freedom!

Casting our cares on Jesus and jumping into His arms–that’s what He requires. What joy and freedom as He catches us.

A little child taught us to return to play, bringing a piece of heaven to our marriage.

How do you play?

My prayer for you:

Father, teach Your children how to become childlike in their trust and love for You. Bless them with childlike moments of freedom as they abandon their formality and skip through their days, hands in Yours, and singing Your praises.

Evil visited Newtown … Innocence lost … God comfort Your people

White Rose

Thus says the LORD, “A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15

Newtown, Connecticut is weeping for her children. America is weeping bitterly for her children. Innocence lost.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, magi asked Herod the king,

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2

Evil visited Bethlehem for a season. Herod killed all the male children 2-years-old and under in an attempt to murder this King of the Jews. Bitter weeping. Innocence lost. But the King escaped. This King, Jesus, came to take on the sins of the world. He came to die, and through that death, He conquered death to bring life to all who would believe in Him.

Death came to Newtown. Heroes emerged. Tears flowed. Memories refreshed. No words can comfort, but we can look toward the future.

He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:8-9

My prayer for Newtown and America:

Heavenly Father, the Father who comforts, comfort the people of Newtown, Connecticut, and comfort the mothers, fathers, teachers, first responders, and inhabitants of America. Father, we don’t understand this evil, but we know that You heal; You comfort; You restore families and lands. Out of this tragedy, restore, comfort and bring good only as You can. Thank you, Father for the first responders, the heroes, the mothers and fathers, and neighbors. We pray for them and for America. Lord, have mercy!

“Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. Isaiah 40:1

What’s God healing/restoring in your life?

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“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:21-25

During the time of Nero and the great persecution, Peter writes these words to the church. These words give us hope. Jesus died and took a beating so that we could die to sin and live to righteousness, and somehow, that is attached to being healed, or being made whole.

 “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Commenting on Matthew 8:17, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES,” Matthew Henry wrote, “for sin is both the cause and the sting of sickness.”

Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, there was no sickness. Disease is a result of the fall.

When I suffered from the pain, the brain fog, and the weakness of fibromyalgia, I examined myself many times to find the great sin that caused my sickness. I also wondered why I did not have enough faith to be healed.

I knew that God still healed. Why wasn’t I healed? It had to be some wrong in me.

Bad things happen to good people, to God’s people.  God was proud of Job’s righteousness. Yet, Satan asked for permission to take everything away from Job—his wealth, his children, even his health—and God allowed it for a season. Job’s troubles were not a result of his sin or his actions. They were a result of evil, Satan.

Job was healed, but not through anything he did and not even through his faith in God. God healed him and increased all that Job had by twofold, in God’s perfect timing.

God healed me in His perfect timing, not by my doing, but by His good pleasure. In my weakness, God showed His strength and has given me a work to do, to point people to Jesus and proclaim that God still heals today!

My prayer for you:

May the Great Healer touch your life and make you whole, bestowing His great and precious promises upon you. May you possess all that God has for you and give God the glory.

Please let us know what God is restoring in your life.

From fibromyalgia pain to Scripture praise

From the cave of my darkened bedroom, I tried to picture a life freed from the pain of fibromyalgia, the agony of the long, sleepless nights, and the bombardment of sensory overload. But water fell in front of the images, so that I saw only distortions of what could be. During these times, I turned from myself to Scriptures. The Psalms especially spoke to me as David poured out his heart, his “Why,” his anger … and then his praise. I learned from David that there is hope … and praise … and healing.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all my iniquities,
Who heals all my diseases;
Who redeems my life from the pit,
Who crowns me with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies my years with good things,
So that my youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

Surely my griefs [sickness] He Himself bore, And my sorrows [pains] He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten [struck down] of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for my transgressions, He was crushed for my iniquities; The chastening for my well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging I am healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.” Matthew 8:17

Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise.  Jeremiah 17:14

My prayer for you

These Scriptures are my heart’s cry and my hope for you, a hope that is expecting miracles. May your health be restored; may your pain dissolve, and may you recognize the great and precious promises and blessings that our Great Creator and Healer has for you. Only believe. He is ABLE.

Need Healing? Actively Wait on the Lord

And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.  Matthew 9:20-22

If only … This woman had been suffering from an “issue of blood” for 12 years, and she had spent all her money and suffered many things at the hands of doctors. Yes, she was still suffering. Because of her bleeding, she had also been considered unclean for 12 years and had not been able to go to the temple and worship the Lord.

She knew that if she could touch the fringe or tassels of His robe, she would be healed. Jewish men wore tassels with a blue cord running through them on the four corners of their garments to remind themselves of all of the commandments of God.  (Deuteronomy   22:12)

This woman had heard of the miracles that Jesus was performing. He had healed the blind, healed the deaf, healed the leper, cast out demons, fed the multitudes, and raised the dead. Surely, He would heal her.

But she was unclean. She was not supposed to get near the crowds, absolutely not touch a holy man. But she was desperate. If only …

“I’ll just push my way through the crowd and touch the fringe of His garment. No one ever needs to know.”

“But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.’ At once the woman was made well.“ (Matthew 9:22)

The woman knew what she needed to do to be healed—touch the garment of Jesus. She planned how she would get to Jesus, and she let nothing get in her way—not her sickness, not the crowds, not the possible condemnation of others.

Jesus healed in many different ways, sometimes it was instantly, sometimes it was a process, but He always healed those who came to Him and believed.

Keith and I actively waited on the Lord to heal me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. We actively waited for two years. During that time, we pressed into the Lord and waited on His work in our lives:

  1. We read all the Scriptures on healing and waiting on the Lord.
  2. We read books on healing.
  3. We prayed intensely.
  4. We thanked the Lord for the healing He was performing.
  5. We walked forward to be healed, possessing the promise of the impossible.
  6. We told others that I was healed.
  7. We possessed the healing when others tried to talk us out of it or pain came.

When Jesus healed, most of the time, He asked the healed person to do the impossible. He asked the lame man to take up his pallet and walk; He asked the man with the withered hand to stretch out his hand.

Do you need healing in your body, healing in your marriage, healing in your family, healing in your relationships? God is our Healer.

Press into our Great Healer and imagine the impossible. What is the healing you need? If only …