Destitute in Delhi? Sickness? God is near

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A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? Proverbs 18:14

In a hot bus in Delhi, people jammed together, even riding on the roof. Destitute. Crushed spirit?

A 19-year-old girl lay in her hospital bed wondering if she would have to live much longer … a burden on her parents and her brothers.

Father, take me to be with You! My parents can’t afford many more hospital bills. They’re tired, Lord. I’m tired. I don’t want to live like this. So many medical tests. So many doctors poking and questioning. So much pain. Take me!

Crushed spirit?

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Taa…dddt, taa…dddt, taa…dddt, taa…dddt.  Silence. I look at the hospital room door. A white-haired man with black rimmed glasses smiles at me.

“I’ve been praying for you. May I come in?”

I nod.

This stranger with a cat-like smile and crutches praying for me? How’d he hear about me?

At my moment of despair, God sent me Reverend Henry. Christians I did not know were praying for me at churches I had not heard of.

That summer, Reverend Henry and I poured over the Scriptures together. He discipled me in the grace and goodness of God. Although he lived with legs ravaged by polio, his face glowed with joy.

Hospitals, doctors, and medical tests had become my way of life, but Reverend Henry showed me how to put my joy in the Lord.

A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

I was finally diagnosed with Celiac, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes, a diagnosis is a relief.

In those nights when I could not sleep because of the pain, I found solace in the Psalms.

David’s spirit was crushed many times.

I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. Psalm 88:1-3

Then, he thought about his God, the Creator of the Universe, the One who had chosen David to be king, the Lord of Hosts who had empowered him to kill Goliath. David turned from his problems, his brokenness, to the greatness of God, and he praised God.

In the depths of our pity pit, God is near. He sent me Reverend Henry. He touched David as he prayed.

How has God reached through your brokenness to save you?

My prayer

Father, thank You that you are near when Your children are broken. I pray a special blessing for the men and women in the photo. Make Yourself known to them. Give them hope and eternity with You. Father, show us how we can be a Reverend Henry to others. Send us with joyful hearts. We love you, our Great and Dear Lord!

Epilogue

God miraculously healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome on November 21, 2010. I still have Celiac Disease, but that is controlled with diet. The sickness and pit drew me close to God and to my husband. God prepared me through that brokenness to do what I am doing today.

May you recognize what God is doing in your life and rejoice!

Lord, I don’t know what to pray!

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:26-28

Breast cancer, fall, cracked head, staples, bleeding in the brain, pneumonia, bowel obstruction … this week!

God! What more can my mother take?

I don’t know what to pray. Take her?

I don’t think she wants me to pray for her healing. She wants to be with Daddy.

She’s tired, Lord.

STOP THIS TORTURE!! That’s what I’m thinking. It seems irreverant. But, Father, that is my cry. But do I dare?

I don’t know what to pray.

Wisdom, Father. Your perfect wisdom. That’s my prayer.

Thank You.

Take her, if that’s Your will. But, nevertheless, please, relieve her suffering.

Relieve my brother’s suffering, my family’s suffering.

God, have mercy!

Thank You that the Spirit is praying for us and interceding for us.

We don’t know what to pray.

My prayer

Father, there are so many people who feel like they are being tortured. Please lift them up. Let them feel Your precious presence in their lives. Oh Holy Spirit, thank You for praying for us when we don’t know what to pray. You sustain us when we feel the bottom falling out from us. Oh, Lord my God, Holy are You. I adore You. You will keep my mother in Your presence forevermore.

From pounding cabbage to healing focus

Cabbage2Today, I crushed juniper berries, shredded three huge cabbages, tossed the shreds with salt and juniper berries, squeezed the water out of the cabbage, dumped bowls of mixture into the fermenting crock and pounded until more water appeared. Then, I covered the mixture with a cabbage leaf and pressed weights onto the leaf. Lid on, I poured boiled water around the lid to create a seal. Three to six weeks after the crushing, squeezing, pounding, and darkness, savory sauerkraut will reward my tastebuds.

As I prepared the cabbage to become Vitamin C-rich sauerkraut, I was reminded of how fibromyalgia crushed my spirit and twisted my nerves and muscles into knots of pain. I was reminded of Job.

“And now my soul is poured out within me;
Days of affliction have seized me.
17 “At night it pierces my bones within me,
And my gnawing pains take no rest.
18 “By a great force my garment is distorted;
It binds me about as the collar of my coat.
19 “He has cast me into the mire,
And I have become like dust and ashes.
20 “I cry out to You for help, but You do not answer me;
I stand up, and You turn Your attention against me.
21 “You have become cruel to me;
With the might of Your hand You persecute me.
22 “You lift me up to the wind and cause me to ride;
And You dissolve me in a storm.
23 “For I know that You will bring me to death
And to the house of meeting for all living. Job 30-16-23

26 “When I expected good, then evil came;
When I waited for light, then darkness came.
27 “I am seething within and cannot relax;
Days of affliction confront me.
28 “I go about mourning without comfort;
I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help. Job 30:26-28

Intense nights crawled.

“Lord, where are You?”

Weary mornings shouted.

“Lord, help me get up.”

Demanding days disheartened.

“Lord, I can’t do this.”

Crushing  commutes castdown.

“Lord, I’m so tired.”

Piercing pain pervaded.

“Lord, I want to quit.”

Praising Psalms prevailed.

“Lord, Your lovingkindness endures.”

Eager eyes examined.

“Lord, Your Word is life.”

Listening heart refocused.

“Lord, You are my desire.”

Then Job answered the Lord and said,

“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6

12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; …17 And Job died, an old man and full of days. Job 42:12-17

God healed Job when he turned his eyes off his sickness and loss and onto the greatness of God.

God healed me when I gave up and told the Lord that all I wanted was more of Him. At that point, the Holy Spirit empowered me to present my body to the Lord as a living sacrifice.

My prayer for you

Father in heaven, You are all we need. Heal our lives, our bodies, and our spirits. Father, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us. Enable us to see You as You are. Enable us to present our bodies as living and holy sacrifices to You. We love You, Lord and bask in the light of Your glory.

What will be the fruit of your crushing and pounding?

Pain, sleeplessness … 5 tactics from Psalm 77

My soul refused to be comforted…
You have held my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Psalm 77:2b-4

Have you experienced pain so deep, so intense that you could not be comforted; you could not sleep, and you had no words to express your pain? I’ve been there. I’ve cried out to God and wondered if He heard me.

I’ve asked like the Psalmist, “Has God forgotten to be gracious, or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion?” Psalm 77:9

During those nights of pain, I turned to the Psalms to help me refocus. There are five tactics that I learned from the Psalmist that brought hope to a hopeless condition.

  1. Remember the past. “I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.” Psalm 77:11 As I focused upon past storms in my life, I was able to see God working in my marriage, in my work, and in my family.
  2. Think about the meaning of the past. “I will meditate on all Your work, And muse on Your deeds.” Psalm 77:12 I thought about those times that God had moved, and I meditated on how those times had prepared me for what I was facing with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  3. Refocus from the pain to God. “Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples.” Psalm 77:13-14 I moved from thinking about my problems and thought about who God is, awesome in power and wonder-working.
  4. Praise the Lord. “Your way was in the sea And Your paths in the mighty waters, And Your footprints may not be known. You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Psalm 77:19-20 Although I sometimes do not recognize the footprints of Almighty God, I can trust that He is there, leading me by the hand as He led the Israelites in the time of Moses and Aaron.
  5.  Rest in the Lord. Although the pain was still with me, I often would be able to rest in the Lord and find sleep. Sometimes, I could even see a slight rainbow in the storm.

My prayer for you:

Our Heavenly Father, You are the God of all Comfort, and You are the Great Shepherd who leads Your people. Comfort Your people as only You can. Provide great peace and restore their souls and bodies as they remember Your awesome works and think about what Your works have meant in their lives. Turn their focus upon You, and graciously bring them to praise You for who You are. Finally, Father, bring rest to their souls and restoration to their bodies. Breathe upon Your people Your perfect peace, a peace beyond all comprehension. Thank you, Father. You are an awesome God!

Please share how God has worked in your storms and the tactics that you use to gain peace.

You can enjoy the holidays even with chronic pain: 7 tips

But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;  but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42

The holidays are an exciting time for me, but for those in chronic pain or with a chronic illness, the holidays can cause added pain or fatigue. Like Martha, we tend to try to please everyone else and create a masterpiece meal and environment. As a consequence, we may push and crash and wind up in bed. When we do, we aren’t pleasing anyone, including ourselves.

What I’ve observed about myself is that I keep adding on additional tasks that aren’t necessary.

Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, I used to scurry around the house, cleaning, and cooking for about three days before Thanksgiving. The house would be filled with yummy smells, and the fridge would be packed. By the time Thanksgiving dinner arrived, I was pooped and in pain.

Christmas

Christmas is the holiday that I kept adding more and more tasks. There are the many parties to attend, the cards to write, the gifts to buy, the decorations to put up, the cookies and cakes to buy, potlucks to cook for, and Christmas dinner to cook.

7 Tips

  1. Prioritize your goals. What is your most important goal for a holiday? You may think this is a silly question, but it really helps to consider this question. For me, it is to create an environment for the family to enjoy each other.
  2. Define the steps to achieve your goals. One step for me is to take care of myself so that I can focus on my family during the holiday, rather than wind up in bed with them focusing on me. That means that I may not send Christmas cards, or I may start addressing them in August.
  3. Pace yourself. Now that you have the steps to accomplish your goals, establish a timeline that empowers you to pace yourself. The timeline might include an appointed time each day to lie down for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Enlist support. Encourage your family to take part in the activities. You don’t have to accomplish everything yourself. Ask for help.
  5. Remember the reason for the holiday. In our flurry of activities, we often forget the reason for the holiday. Thanksgiving is to celebrate the freedom that the Pilgrims found in America and the freedom we have in America. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior, at Christmas.
  6. Sit down and enjoy your family and friends. At the holiday gathering, get out of the kitchen and sit down with your loved ones. Good food is nice, but they really want to be with you.
  7. Spend time with God. In the busyness of our preparations, we often neglect our relationships with God. He is the reason we are celebrating. Please invite Him to the holidays.

Mary knew what was most important. She sat at the foot of Jesus. Do you suppose that Jesus really cared what was for dinner? He fed 5,000 men from 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.

My Prayer for you:

Father, this holiday season, I pray that we will focus upon our relationships with You and with our loved ones. May this holiday season be filled with much joy, love, and fellowship. Father, fill us with the knowledge and wonder of You and Your Son, Jesus.

How are you celebrating the holiday season and pacing yourself?

When the Healer touched my pain

And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Mark 1:40-42

There was no cure for leprosy. Lepers were considered unclean, and they lived away from others. When they walked down the street, they cried out “unclean.” People moved to the other side of the road.

Isolation. Loneliness.

Desperation gripped this leper. He had no other hope than this man they called Jesus. This leper did the unthinkable; he came close to this righteous Teacher, this Healer and begged Him for healing.

If You are willing …

He wasn’t sure that Jesus was willing to heal him, although he had healed others. Leprosy was a symbol of sin, and this Jesus was considered holy.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia. I wasn’t sure that Jesus wanted to heal me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I thought that it was my place in life to reflect grace through my sickness and pain. After all, Jesus did not heal the entire world. Maybe I was one who was to endure until my death.

You can make me clean.

No doubt. Jesus was capable of making the leper clean.

Jesus was able to heal me.

Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing;

The God of the Universe was moved with compassion for this leper. He stretched out His hand and touched the disease; Holy touched disease and sin. Purity touched the unclean.

My Creator was moved with compassion and told my husband and me two years before I was healed, that He was willing to heal me.

Unlike the leper, I had not reached my desperation point. Jesus had a divine appointment for us, and in those two years, we grew closer to Jesus and to each other. For me, I had to get to the point of desperation, so that I would boldly march up to Jesus and drop to my knees. Unlike the leper, I told Jesus that I no longer cared about healing; I just wanted more of Him.

Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Jesus touched the leper, and sickness immediately left him, but more importantly, he was cleansed–cleansed from sin.

When I was at my lowest point, Jesus had compassion upon me and touched me. Immediately, the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue left me, and I was freed. Freed of pain and sickness. Freed to accomplish the works that God had prepared before the foundation of the world for me to do as a healthy woman. Freed to soak up more of Him.

My prayer for you:

Compassionate Father, You are willing and able to touch each life. Have compassion on Your servants and touch their lives with whatever they need to become the men and women that You are equiping them to be. Wrap Your loving wings around them and make Your presence known to them. Renew their strength and restore their love for You and others.

The Lord be gracious to you and bless you.