Get Up!

IMG_8361Today, out of nowhere, my vision started to get so splotchy that when I looked in the mirror I couldn’t even tell it was me! Though I’ve made progress with the POTS and Lyme Disease,  the damage caused to my eyesight from the brain injury has gotten worse.  I’m seriously almost blind right now as I write this! When my vision acted up today I thought, “Forget this, I’m not letting it hold me back!! I’m writing an article!!!

I wish I handled every obstacle in life with that attitude, but honestly I don’t. God was showing me today how I’ve let relationships hold me back, beat me up emotionally and affect the way that I see myself. I must recognize that those are lies and that I need to leave those things in the past!! I need to “Get up'” move forward, and thank God that I’ve had Him through all the hardships.

I see how the Lord has given me a “fighter attitude” these past 5 years while being bedridden.  I have looked to God to help me use these obstacles to grow closer to Him.  I have constantly asked Him to bring good out of the trials (Which He was already doing before I asked)! I  decided to choose to see what God was doing  in my trials, and to push through the hardship no matter how much  pain I faced. I  have literally fought  to live and not die.  Yet I realize sometimes,  other trials in life have consumed  my thoughts and emotions. I have at times given into self-pity. I don’t understand why certain people have treated me poorly, or worse – unjustly hurt the people I love. I still don’t understand.

Sometimes, people wonder why I didn’t question “why?” the chronic illness was happening to me. I was only 20 years old when my world started falling apart with that car crash. I didn’t question God or life. I knew I lived in a fallen, imperfect world where disease and hardships happen. I knew I had a God who died on the cross so that He could free us from the hardships of this fallen world and give us a life with Him in Heaven (when this life ends.) Maybe I didn’t question the disease or car crash, but I did question the damaged relationships in my life. Why were they playing out like this??? I suppose it was because people have free will. We get to choose how to treat each other.

There’s a story in the Bible of Jesus raising a little girl from the dead.. The little girl’s father had found Jesus and asked Him to come to their house cause his daughter was sick. The father knew Jesus could help! When Jesus arrived, there were people all around sobbing. The little girl had died…. Or so they thought. When Jesus saw the girl He said she wasn’t dead she was only sleeping. Those who were around mocked Jesus, they didn’t believe Him. So He told them to leave. Once they left, “He took her by the hand and said to her “Talitha koum !”(which means”Little girl, I say to you, get up!).” (Mark 5:41)  To everyone’s amazement she was now healthy and standing.

I think that this story can be used as a metaphor in our lives. Sometimes there is a hardship (like the little girl’s sickness). Her father ran to Jesus, just like we can run to Jesus when something is dying in our own lives. Sometimes what’s dying is our self- esteem, we take rejection as a personal testimony to who we are. Our trial could be anything, losing our job, losing a loved one, losing our house, sickness, money problems, relationship problems etc.  These hardships are not because the universe or God is punishing us. It’s just a hard world we live in where bad things happen.

The people who were sobbing about the little girl’s death can be compared to the thoughts we have that are sobbing, or bringing negative thinking to us. When Jesus said the little girl was not dead, He saw something that no one else could see. Just like when our lives are falling apart God sees that our lives aren’t over or permanently ruined…. He sees hope. There is good in our lives and He can bring beauty out of our hardships. Jesus told the little girl to “arise” (Get up!).  I think God asks us to “Get up” (with His help) but often we curl up in a ball and fall into self-pity.

I realized today that I need to get out of my thoughts of self–pity. I need to leave behind the unanswered questions of “why” and instead I need to “ Get up.” I’m not saying there isn’t a time to grieve, cause grief is healthy. But there comes a time when we put our grief aside and look forward. We  listen to the Lord gently whispering “Your life isn’t over, you’re not dead. Get up, arise.” Maybe what we are beating ourselves up about is mistakes we have made. It’s good to realize we’ve made mistakes, to repent to God, and apologize to those we’ve hurt. But we can’t beat ourselves up forever. We’ve repented to God and now it’s time to let the past be the past and let God guide our steps for the future.

Get up. We don’t want to let our negative thoughts about ourselves, about life, about God, about others destroy us. And those thoughts will destroy us and slowly bring death to our spirits. We can’t do it on our own, we need to ask God for help. ‘Jesus help. I can’t do it without you.” This was my prayer this morning, this is my prayer about every day! 🙂  (Sometimes several times a minute LOL!!). I need Him, I need His thoughts and guidance. His thoughts bring us life.

What does He say about us??? Look to the Bible to see the way God sees you. He loves you, He died for you, He forgives you, He has a plan for you. What about the sickness that is plaguing your family?? God will  be with you. He won’t leave you or forsake you. He Will still use you.

I may not be able to change my vision, (my eyesight.) But I’m not going to fall into the thinking of fear, anxiety, and self pity. I’m gonna get up out of that thinking and still enjoy my day. Today is still “the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”(Psalm 118:24)

What about the strained relationships… well it’s time to no longer grieve, or take the rejection, or let it change the way I see myself. It’s time to let God help me to “get up” out of that thinking and focus on the good relationships I have. It’s time to see the way God sees me.

I may not be able to change the way these people see me or treat me, but I can change the way I see myself. It’s time not to beat myself up for things I haven’t done… or for things I have done. It’s time to accept God’s forgiveness and to forgive myself.

God is good, loving, and pure. He will be with us through every obstacle. And there is nothing in life, no situation, no mistake we’ve made that will change how much our Heavenly Father loves us.  🙂

 

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What Now???

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Excitement, guilt, fear, amazement, ecstasy, anxiety, joy, excitement, excitement, EXCITEMENT!!!!! These are the emotions I’ve been feeling since I went from being bedridden and in a wheelchair, to my life changing and being able to walk again!!! I may have many symptoms I still deal with from the Lyme Disease, and Brain Injury, but my blood condition, POTS (Postural, Orthostatic, Tachycardia Syndrome) that kept me bedridden is under control :). 5 years ago my life changed in one moment from a car accident. 5 months ago my life changed in a matter of weeks from an experimental treatment done in the hospital for my POTS. I’m on intense medicine that keeps my blood flowing to my head and slows my heart down.

So much has happened in these past few months that it’s hard to put into words. In some ways it seems like yesterday I was bedridden, and in some ways it feels like years ago. Yes, God is absolutely using this new medicine. But the doctors, and physical therapists cannot explain how quickly I’ve been making progress. They say that even with the medicine it’s a “miracle” what is happening.  I’ve seen supernatural signs and wonders when it comes to my healing as well as medicine. I’ve seen my mom lay hands on me and pray and God touched me where my healing started fast-forwarding (and my mom has laid hands on me and prayed probably hundreds of times these past 5 years). But this is God’s timing. I don’t know why, I’m just grateful.

So many people asked why this was happening to me when my chronic illness hit me. But when I started getting better I asked “Why me??” when my dear friends were still facing horrible diseases themselves.  I don’t think I’ll ever have the answers to these questions while I’m here on earth. But even when I don’t understand, I know God is still good, loving and faithful. I know that no matter what happens in life He still loves us and wants to be part of our everyday life. I know that when our lives are falling apart He’ll be there and when we’re rejoicing He’ll be there. He has the answers, and maybe our human  minds are too small to comprehend these answers fully until we get to Heaven.

What can I say to do when your life changes overnight or when it is the same everyday?? It’s the same advice for such different situations. Take it one day at a time. Be in the moment, in today. Mostly to seek God and His guidance for the day. “God help me.” “God show me what to do.” Often my prayer is just one word over and over, “Jesus.” The mighty name of my Savior and my Lord. When you hurt yourself as a child you cry out one word “Mom” and she runs over to help you. When you’re proud of yourself because you’re riding  a bike for the first time you call out one word “Mom” and she knows to smile and rejoice with you. The name Jesus, He knows what to do, He knows what we need in that moment (better than we do).

Whatever season of life we’re in, whether a storm or a season of joy, God will guide us a day at a time. We still go about our everyday responsibilities…  but during work, God might nudge you to reach out to a coworker, and make sure they’re ok. He might show you to go the extra mile for a client. He might use the professor’s lecture to speak to you about something personal. Sometimes He guides us by nudging our hearts, sometimes it comes from a friend speaking a wise word to us. Sometimes it comes through signs, but often it comes through guidance of our Spirits.

I still have several doctors I see on a regular basis. Sometimes they tell me what I should do (or not do) and I know it is wisdom I should listen to (even if I don’t like it). But when I felt a supernatural energy come into my body and God whispered to my Spirit “Run!”… I didn’t care what the doctors said, I ran!!!! I’ve only ran twice in the last 5 months when I felt the Lord nudge me, but it was amazing. Sometimes I know wisdom and guidance from God is to rest. I still have to rest more than the average person because of my health problems.

Often it took so much determination (and grace from God) to go to physical therapy when my body felt soooooo sick. God’s grace, it enables us to do things we can’t do without it. It’s an amazing thing. It doesn’t always give me the energy but it changes my Spirit to have the right attitude to do something. I’m still being treated for mal-absorption, Lyme Disease, and the brain injury. I’m always weighing out what to do with treatment. I’ve come off of certain pain medicines (which is so hard on the body) and been put on new ones. All of it, I just need God’s grace.

My vision is permanently damaged from the brain injury (in the natural). I’m having to learn how to cope and walk when the floor and walls look like they’re moving and shaking (which it looks like 24/7). I still have nerve pain throughout my body 24/7 which I’m also learning to cope with.  It’s not easy and sometimes I still forget to ask God for His grace (which my mom gently reminds me to do). I have to rest and recharge/ recover after outings (like going to the store with my mom or doctors, or a family members house).

My life seems to be a mixture of emotions and physical abilities and disabilities. I couldn’t be happier seeing all of the progress!!! I am so amazed that I can sit in my backyard in the sunshine (which is healing happening in the brain injury for me to be able to stand the sunlight).  I’m amazed I can pick my nieces or nephew up and be confident I won’t drop them because I have strength and control of my arms!!! It’s amazing!!!! But I also feel like I don’t know what I’m doing!!!! I don’t know when to go or to stay, I don’t know how to process all of these emotions. It’s a new dependence on the Lord that I’m learning. I feel like hour by hour I’m looking to Him for guidance. And I’m grateful for that dependence.

Those of you that know me know that I am naturally a very INDEPENDENT person!! These past years I’ve had to learn to be dependent on others. I’ve been learning to be dependent on the Lord…which I’m still not very good at, but I’m learning. It’s something that’s so easy to forget, for all of us. We live in a very independent society, especially here in the US!! We are taught to be independent and self reliant. So learning to be dependent on the Lord is a different train of mind.

 2 Corinthians 12:9-10  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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Keep Hanging On!

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Recently I had  a friend send me a carabiner (the tool that helps rock climbers’ ropes stay connected to their harnesses) and a note that said, “Take this and keep hanging on. Praying for you.” It was another message of encouragement God sent my way and now I want to send your way.

“Keep hanging on” is a message so many of us who are facing difficulties in life need to hear. Those of you who know me or have read my past articles know that I have been battling Chronic Lyme Disease, POTS (Postural, Orthostatic, Tachycardia Syndrome) and a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) for over 4 years. I’m bedridden, battle constant nerve pain throughout my body, vision problems, motor skill loss, and a number of other symptoms. Your trial may not be a physical illness, or maybe it is, but I want to encourage you wherever you’re at in life not to give up, keep breathing, keep asking God to help you through the day, and keep hanging on!!

God gave me a vision that I relate to, and I think you might as well.

The Rock Climber:

I saw a rock climber on the side of a mountain, she was only a few feet away from the top, and very high up. It had been a long journey. She started with a group of people, both men and women, but lost everyone along the way. She was the last climber to survive, and was weary. Her legs had given out and were dangling– leaving the climber with only her arms holding her body up. Unfortunately the climber lost grip with her right arm and only the left arm was holding her entire body weight. She felt as if she didn’t have enough strength in one arm to pull herself up. There was a part of her that just wanted to just let go and be done with this exhausting climb.

As the climber pondered whether she should let go and be done with it, or keep holding on, I saw Jesus come to the ledge of the mountain and kneel down. He was glowing with light though I could not see His face. Here He is, the King of the Universe, yet He thought nothing of lowering Himself down on bended knee to get closer to the climber. Then the rock climber appeared as a man instead of a woman (Representing this vision is applicable to all of God’s children, both men and women.) The climber then looked at Jesus and without saying anything asked Jesus for help. Jesus,  could see the cry for help in his eyes. The climber was so worn out, and his eyes had lost hope. He didn’t believe that he had the strength to keep climbing. The fact is he actually didn’t have the strength to keep climbing. But the man looked at Jesus with a helpless cry in his eyes and asked Jesus to pull him up.

 Jesus extended His hand down. The climber swings his body with all his might towards Christ. He had to let go with the one hand that was holding on in order to reach Christ’s hand. So he did  and grabbed onto Jesus’ hand. Jesus is now holding the climber’s entire body with one hand.

This climber’s entire countenance has changed. He’s dangling over thousands of feet, but relieved and at rest because he knows God is holding him up and God will never let go. The climber keeps changing from a man to a woman in this vision, again representing this applies to both men and women. They’re safer than they’ve ever been. Jesus pulled the climber up and into His arms. They look like a child in size compared to how big the Lord is. The climbers throw themselves into Christ’s arms. They are safe, they are in Jesus’ arms.

I often feel like that rock climber hanging off the ledge of a cliff. Sometimes I’m not sure if I have the strength to get through another 5 minutes let alone another few hours when my pain is so high, or my body is so weak I can’t move. Maybe it sounds like the “right thing to say” or a cliché when I say that; “The only thing that has given me strength to keep hanging on is Jesus.” But I am being honest when I say that.   I know God doesn’t just fix things. He doesn’t always take away our trials. He doesn’t always do what we ask Him to do. I know that well. But I also know that when I’ve asked him for help with desperation pouring out of my soul I’ve seen Jesus reach that hand down to me and help pull me up the mountain just like He did for the rock climber.

His hand reaches down and helps me in ways I don’t expect. Sometimes when I’m in pain and I ask Him for help I notice that within the next few hours (or minutes) the pain becomes more bearable. Sometimes my symptoms DON’T change, but my HEART DOES. I go from being hopeless to being at peace. Sometimes I have more strength to push through the symptoms. Sometimes He has somebody reach out and give me encouragement. Sometimes He reminds me of a Scripture or a song that puts my soul at ease. He doesn’t always answer the way I want (which is to completely heal me so that I can get out of bed and never experience another symptom again). But He does answer.  I feel humbled that the God of the Universe would listen to my cry and give me whatever it is I need (even if it’s not what I asked for).

Now we all know that a good parent doesn’t always give their child everything they ever ask for. Why?? Cause the parent knows better than the child. They know what will happen if they give the child what they ask for, and the end result may not be a good thing in the long run. The parent knows what the child needs. I don’t know the reasons why God doesn’t just take away our trials, but I know there ARE reasons bigger than we can imagine. Even when He doesn’t give us what we ask for, it doesn’t mean He is numb to our pain. It hurts Him when He sees our suffering.

Recently I’ve had the privilege of meeting a new friend who’s name is Jordy. Jordy is suffering and I believe it hurts God to see Jordy’s pain. But something beautiful I see in Jordy’s suffering is that even though he is going through his own trial he still reaches out to me with kindness and encourages me to keep going. He is the one who sent me the carabiner and the note I mentioned in the beginning of this article. He is like that rock climber who is hanging from the ledge, but he chooses to keep hanging on.

A few years ago Jordy was in a skiing accident which resulted in him hitting his head and acquiring a severe TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Ever since that day Jordy’s life has never been the same. His vision has never been the same… yet I imagine he probably sees things he never saw before (I mean seeing the world different, and gaining understanding and compassion).

He cannot handle any light. And even the dimmest light will cause brain pain, sickness, confusion, and a host of other symptoms. He’s basically a blind man, but on top of that any light causes Jordy much discomfort. He lives in a dark room. No TV or social media. Visits with friends have to be short. He can’t talk on the phone without paying for it physically, and he faces a lot of other symptoms. Though his life is hard, he knows what it means to “Keep Hanging on”.

I greatly admire his strength and perseverance. I imagine he doesn’t feel like much of an inspiration cause he knows his own struggles. He probably doesn’t feel that strong and he probably doesn’t want to keep persevering… but he does. That’s what we all must choose to do. Even when we don’t feel strong, and we don’t want to persevere, we need to push through. Be like the rock climber that does not give up, but looks up to God for help.

When we stop relying on our own strength and ask Jesus to hold us up it changes our world. That’s what happened in the story of David and Goliath, David looked to God’s strength and he defeated the giant.  (1 Samuel : 17). There was a war between the Israelites and the Philistines. Finally it came down to a battle that everyone would watch between two men. So the Philistines sent their undefeated, strongest warrior out there, Goliath. He was over nine feet tall and his very appearance pierced fear into the hearts of the Israelites. But one young boy (we think he was around twelve) with no battle experience ended up volunteering to fight this giant.

David was NOT a soldier and had not been fighting this war. He was a shepherd boy. Three of his older brothers were soldiers who had been fighting this war. The only reason David ended up in the battle camp is because his father sent him with food for his brothers. How many of us end up in situations that we never imagined would happen to us??  I never imagined I’d be bedridden and chronically ill. Sometimes we end up in these battle camps and all we can see is the giant in front of us, or the cliff we are hanging off of. But Jesus told us that,  “With God all things are possible.” Mat 19:26

David was younger and physically weaker than the rest of the soldiers. But he knew that though he was weaker than the rest, His God was strong!!

1 Corinthians 12:9  But he said to me, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

As David went towards Goliath he cried out, “You come against me with sword and spear, but I come against you in the name of the Lord.” David defeated Goliath with a sling shot. There’s no way he could of done this, but God was with Him, and anointed Him so he could defeat the giant. God will do the same for you and me, in our weakness His power is able to help us stand against our giants. His power will reach down to us when we are hanging off a mountain and pull us up into His arms.  David chose to hang onto God and that’s why this story has become inspiring and famous. God can do the same with us if we keep hanging onto Him.

Don’t let go and fall off the cliff. Don’t listen to the discouraging thoughts that constantly come to your head. Instead think about the times God has been there for you and believe that He’ll be there for you through this journey, because He will. Keep hanging onto the Lord, keep hanging on in the storm, keep hanging onto your humanity, keep hanging on when you want to give up.

Romans 5:3-5:

“Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

I’m reminded of a song by Avril Lavigne called “Keep Holding On.” It’s not a Christian song but I think of the lyrics as words God says to us.  So I’ll end with these lyrics, I hope they can encourage you like they encourage me. As always I am praying for you all and the struggles you’re facing. If you want to follow my articles you can subscribe to this blog. If you want to follow my personal health journey you can like my facebook page “Rachel’s Radical Road” at: facebook.com/radicalroad

 

Keep Holding On- Lyrics

You’re not alone
Together we stand
I’ll be by your side
You know I’ll take your hand
When it gets cold

And it feels like the end
There’s no place to go
You know I won’t give in
No, I won’t give in

Keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you

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Your Trial, Your Platform

rachel-caneRecently I saw a family friend and he said something that I didn’t expect to hear. Something that deeply encouraged me. Here I am in a wheelchair, disabled, bedridden, in constant pain, and I barely leave my house… I barely leave my dark quiet room (because of my sickness). Well this friend looked at me with teared-up eyes and said ” You have NO idea how many people God is using you to touch.” I started crying when he said this. Often our trials ARE our platform to be a light to others.

Several months after my car accident when I was very sick and in bed, God was putting on my heart others who are suffering with chronic illness. I kept wanting to “Get on with my life so I could reach people.” But sometime between then and now God helped me see that this wasn’t a bump in the road. This was not something I needed to hurry up and get past so I could get on with my journey and help others. This WAS part of my journey. This was what He was using to help others. How can my bedridden existence help encourage others?? There is only one answer and that is “God.”

Only He can take our trials and use them to encourage others. He can take your trial too and use you to be a light to others. He doesn’t need you to get past this trial so you can help others. He just needs you to look to Him and let Him teach you and change you THROUGH your trial. And that will be used as a light to others :).

How many of you at one time in your life “wanted to make a difference” and “wanted to make the world a better place”??? How many of you wanted to make your imprint on the world and didn’t want your life to go wasted?? Now you’re stuck in the normal ins and outs of everyday life. You’re in a tough situation. Different trials have arisen whether it be financial problems, sickness, strained relationships, a bad marriage, a heartbreaking breakup, foreclosure, death of a loved one and so many other trials out there that I didn’t even mention.

Life didn’t turn out as rosy as you thought it would when you were a kid. Life is difficult, and constantly has stress and different heartbreaks you never expected to face. Some of you didn’t have an easy childhood and because of that you weren’t even able to dream of making a good life for yourself one day. You faced the bitter hardship life can bring at a young age and you’ve always expected that life would bring one bad thing after the next. Well whether you were the “idealistic dreamer”, or the “heartbroken kid”, there is something we all have in common, YOU CAN make a difference in whatever situation you are in right now. God can bring beauty from your hardship that you’re currently facing.

I always had a heart to help people, even as a young child. My parents moved our family of 5 kids to India when I was 6 years old to do missionary work over there. They had planned on staying there the rest of their lives but due to persecution from the Hindus towards Christians, my parents had to pack us up and flee in the middle of the night back to America (another story for another time). I’m sure watching my parents give up everything to reach the poor and needy in India is part of what gave me this heart to help people at a young age. I was taught “God first, Family second, and ministry (reaching out to those that need help) third.

I was in middle school when we fled India and came back to the U.S. with nothing. It was a heartbreaking time for our family, but God healed us and we took it a day at a time. Eventually I adjusted to my new life in America. I continued to see my parents try and reach out to others, and always looking to do missionary work again. But God didn’t take us back on the mission field. He had planted us in America for the time being.

I wanted to be a missionary in China when I “grew up”. I wanted to start orphanages around the world. I also had a heart to reach my own people. I wanted to help the struggling teenagers here in the U.S. Once I went to college I had a plan to get my doctorate in Psychology to become a Counselor. I wanted to start teen centers to help teens who were struggling. I dreamed of starting these centers here in the U.S. and eventually around the world. I still had a heart for orphans and wanted to work with orphanages around the world too. I was a dreamer, a BIG dreamer with a big heart. But all my dreams came crashing down my Senior year of college when I was in a car accident that resulted in a severe traumatic brain injury.

I was half blind, needed help to walk (because my equilibrium was damaged from the brain injury) and I was in constant, severe pain throughout my body. I had difficulty finding words, I was always nauseous. My sensitivity to light made it feel painful to my brain. So I stayed in a dark room. Instead of bouncing back from this concussion (as I expected) I continued to get worse and a multitude of other symptoms arose as the months passed. I later found out that I had Chronic Lyme Disease (a debilitating and sometimes deathly disease). And then arose another condition called P.O.T.S. (Postural Orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) which makes me pass out if I stand for more than a few minutes. All these things together have kept me bedridden for over 4 years now. My dreams crashed down when someone crashed into my car…. and my life has been forever changed!!

I’m a major extrovert, meeting new people is exciting and energizing to me. I love people,.. I even loved “customer service” even though everyone I talked to hated it, So it has been a BIG change for me when my ailments caused me to be in a dark quiet room. For the most part I was secluded from people.  My family and friends would come to visit me here and there and they still do. I live with my parents and my brother (but my dad travels for work and my brother is often, gone so it is usually me and my mom at home alone together).

It is very difficult to leave my house due to my vision, light sensitivity, pain, noise sensitivity etc. Whenever I do leave the house (which is mainly for doctors appointments) my symptoms always go through the roof when I get home. I pay for hours or days. But something crazy and unexpected came out of these past 4 years. Something that only God could do through my sick, secluded life. I couldn’t look at a computer screen, it was extremely hard to try and text with my vision. So my mom took over my communication for me on my phone and computer. She would post for me and read me my comments and messages.

Through this time I did what I knew to do, I clung to the Lord and His strength and grace for each day. Since I was alone in the dark and quiet most of the time, I had a lot of time to talk to God. He had a lot of time to show me things in my heart that I didn’t even know were there. Bitterness, unforgiveness, hurt, etc. Because I was flat on my back alone spending time talking to God He was able to show me things and change my heart.  He was able to humble me and cleanse my heart. He was growing me in so many areas… areas that without this tragedy would have taken me years and years to learn.

I remember people would question “why aren’t you angry at God??”. They were perplexed and would say things like “you were such a nice person and you loved God and lived for Him so why would He let this happen to you??” I was perplexed at their question, To me I had lost everything except for my walk with God.  Everything good in my life was taken away, all my dreams were shattered and my body was in agony, but the only good thing that had happened to me through all of it was God being by my side and giving me strength through it. God was with me and I never doubted that He wasn’t. I knew he was a loving, faithful God. I loved Him. He was the MOST important part of my life before the accident. I had lost my job, my school, my ability to leave the house, my vision, and I was in horrible pain. But to me the thing I most prized I hadn’t lost, and that was my relationship with God.

Why would I be angry at Him when he was standing with me through this whole ordeal?? Why would I be angry at Him when I knew that no matter what was taken from me in life, the one thing that can never be taken from me is Jesus. Being angry at Him was a waste of time and he didn’t deserve it. I don’t look down on or judge those that are angry with God. And if you currently are angry at God I’m not trying to correct you or make you feel bad about that. God understands when we are angry. And if you are angry with Him tell Him, talk to Him about it. David talked to God in the Psalms about how angry he was or how he felt abandoned. God can take it.

I’m just saying that for me, I had decided that no matter what, I wasn’t going to be angry at God because I knew His character, I knew His love, and I knew He hurt watching me go through this. I knew He wouldn’t leave me no matter what. I knew He would help me through my trial. I knew bad things happened on this earth. Fleeing India, my home, at such a young age opened my eyes to see that bad thing happen in this world. It also opened my eyes to see that God would help you through them.

Here I am secluded from people more than ever in my life, in my own trial, not reaching out to others, barely getting through the day health wise. But during this time God surprised me!! All of a sudden I started having people, from close friends, to acquaintances write me and say “ God is using you to inspire and encourage me. “ So many people started reaching out to me and saying God had used my story in their life, or how my constant faith touched them. I was amazed because I wasn’t doing ANYTHING.

I wasn’t reaching out to people. I was barely even seeing people. How could this be ministering to others???!!! I wasn’t doing anything but holding onto my faith, and letting God use this trial to grow me. To me this shows that it WASN’T me, it was GOD that was reaching people. He was the one touching their hearts. He wasn’t having me reach out to others. But somehow He was getting my story out there and somehow HE was using it to encourage others. He amazes me still to this day, because He can use ANYTHING in your life to touch others. Even when you’re not trying.. and so the main message I want to encourage you with in this article is this,

  1. God can use YOUR life RIGHT now. No matter how boring it seems, or how difficult it is, God can use you to make a difference in the world around you. Maybe it won’t be in the way you dreamed of, but God’s way is always better than our way.
  2. The MAIN thing God can use in your life right now to reach others may be the opposite of what you expect. It’s not necessarily for you to reach out to others, it’s for you to reach up to God.

Spend time with God.  Ask God to humble you and convict you of whatever He sees in your life that He wants to change. It IS humbling as He shows you the ugly things you are not aware are in your heart.  Ask Him to teach you lessons and purify your heart in the situation you are currently in. If you do these things God will use you as a light to others without you even trying. Because it’s not you, it’s God who is using you.

I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t ever reach out to others. That is not my message in this article. Of course you should reach out to others as God puts it on your heart and as HE leads you. What I’m saying is that what is more important than reaching out to others, what should be your main concern is, YOUR walk with God.

The people you’re most often used to reach are the people you live with and work with. The people who see you most every day. I see less people on a daily basis than most of you. I live with my parents and younger brother. Though I couldn’t reach out to others I felt like God put on my heart the desire to do whatever I could to be kind, encouraging, and uplifting to my family that I lived with. No matter how bad the pain gets or how frustrated I am with my illness, I try not to take it out on them.  If the only difference you make is in the people around you, that is a big difference. That IS making a difference in the world around you :).

When we walk through the fires of life God can use them to burn out the dirt within us and purify our hearts. It’s not a onetime thing. Everyday I’m seeking God about the sin, hurt, and frustrations in my own heart. I’m asking Him to heal me, to grow me, and to humble me. It’s a journey of God changing us. But if we allow God to burn out the ugliness in our hearts THROUGH our trials, He can use our trials to be our platforms.

I realize that if I wasn’t sick I wouldn’t have the platform I have to speak into hurting people’s lives. I don’t believe God caused my sickness. But I do believe He IS the one who can use it to be my platform… A platform I would not have without the struggle and agony I’ve suffered with these past 4 years. When I see how God is using it, I thank Him for giving me this platform. It’s a gift He is trusting me with and I feel honored about that. Your trial may be different than mine but God too can give you a platform to be a light that you wouldn’t have without your trial.

I have a friend who has been in a difficult marriage for years. But they’re pressing in with the Lord and seeking Jesus to change them and grow them. This friend is just living their life and has had several hardships rise up. They probably have no idea that me seeing them change and grow and become kinder and more humble, is a light to me and I’m sure to many around them. Their trial has become their platform because they have chosen to press into God during the hard times. And God is using them within their trials to be a light.

You don’t know the light that shines in you when you’re seeking God and asking Him to humble and change you. You have no idea how you can be a positive influence in the people you see on a daily basis, just by showing them love and respect.

Bloom where you’re planted, and God can use it in ways you can’t imagine :). God will use your trial as your platform, if you let Him.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

 

 

 

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This Christmas, you’re not alone!

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A few years ago at the peak of my illness, I was so weak I couldn’t even roll over in my bed without help. I was in extreme pain, I was half blind, my legs didn’t work at the time and I couldn’t control them or walk (this was before my Lyme treatment that gave me back control of my legs). On top of this, the Lyme had made it’s way up my spine, to my brain, and started eating away at the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) that I already had. This caused everything to get worse, especially my brain. That year I had one of the saddest and most wonderful Christmases I’d ever had.

Due to my brain injury, I could only be in a dark quiet room. When a family member or friend came over they had to come into this dark room to visit me. I’d only last about 15  minutes before my pain would go up, I’d get nauseas, and confused. It became very hard for me to comprehend what anyone was saying because of the chaos my brain injury would cause me after 15 minutes of talking

I’ve lived in a dark and quiet room for years. It’s just this past year that I’ve been able to tolerate light a lot better than before. But I still spend a couple hours a day in the dark and quiet, because it’s the only thing that helps my pain and chaos in my brain (from the brain injury) calm down.

Just a few years ago, on Christmas Eve, the family came over to celebrate. There were around 10 of us that year. My mom cooked a delicious Christmas Eve dinner for all of us, and it was time to enjoy and celebrate together. The only problem was I couldn’t join them due to how sick I was.

I was too weak to sit up. Even if we put a bed next to the dining room table for me so I could lay down, or brought everyone to my room, I couldn’t handle the noise. The light and noise from the conversations made my nerve pain so high it just felt like someone was squeezing the nerves throughout my body and it wouldn’t stop. On top of that; the light and noise made me soooo dizzy and nauseous, and made my vision worse where everything would look blurry to me – and the room looked like it was spinning. Additionally, when I was in a group of people I wasn’t able to comprehend what anyone was saying. I knew they were speaking English, but it felt like they were speaking another language cause I could barely comprehend anything they were saying.  All together it was a horrible, painful, experience.

There wasn’t much choice for my family, but to have Christmas Eve dinner without me . Of course my family came up to say “hi” , and see if I needed anything, but couldn’t stay longer than a few minutes since I couldn’t  handle it. So my mom made me a plate and brought it upstairs to my  bedroom for me to eat.

There I laid in my dark bedroom with a plate of delicious food next to me. I could hear the muffled noise of my family laughing and talking downstairs. This was one of those times the sadness of my illness really hit me. I started crying ,wishing I could be downstairs with my family and not be disabled and so severely sick.

It was a holiday and I had always spent it with them. But this year was different. I was alone. Hearing there muffled, familiar noises made them feel so close yet so far. They were only downstairs, yet my sickness kept me from them. And if I were to join them and lay down on the floor or the couch, all the symptoms I described above would have happened and I would have paid for it physically for at least a week. My pain would go through the roof, the nausea, dizziness, vision problems. and confusion would all come crashing down with full force on me every hour of every day. An hour with them would have felt miserable physically and I would have paid physically for a week or two.

So there I lay in the dark, with my shooting nerve pain and dizziness, and all my other painful symptoms, and I cried and cried. I felt so alone……

BUT THEN, I felt the Lord speak to my heart. ….”You’re not alone. You’re having Christmas Eve dinner with the King whose birth Christmas celebrates.”

Wow, the sudden awareness that I was having a one on one Christmas dinner with God Almighty!! I was having dinner with the one who Christmas was all about! I went from sadness, to being honored and touched. I wasn’t alone, I was with Him.

It’s one of those memories that stands out in my mind. God took my sadness and loneliness, and  reminded me that none  of us are ever alone.

I don’t know what you’re doing this Christmas, if you’re spending it with family or with friends. Maybe you’re spending it alone. But I want to remind you of what God reminded me…you are never alone!! If you’re not joining anyone for Christmas, I hope you can realize that you’re spending it with the King whose birth we celebrate. That’s pretty amazing!!

Family gatherings are great! But Christmas isn’t about family, it’s about Christ. And whether  or not family comes, Christ will be with you every Christmas forever. Sometimes having family and presents can even distract us from celebrating the one who Christmas is all about. I’m not saying don’t spend Christmas with family. I’m just saying if you’re not spending it with family, you’re still spending it with God Almighty, and that is quite an honor. 🙂

If you’re spending it with Family or friends, I hope that you can make time during this Christmas season to be with the King whose birth we celebrate. Don’t let buying presents and planning dinners distract you from reflecting on the reason we celebrate Christmas. Don’t get too busy and accidentally cut Christ out of “Christmas” and make it become a “Xmas” lol ;).

Remember HOW much God loves YOU. He loves you so much He came down to earth, born to a humble stable, so He could teach us how to live,and how to love. And then He died on the cross so that we could spend eternity with Him. That’s the best gift any of us could ever ask for or imagine. The King of kings wants to spend Christmas with YOU :). He wants to spend every day with you. He loves you so much, that He was tortured and crucified so that He could spend every day of forever with you.

I hope this can be a wonderful season as you reflect on the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!!

“Do not be terrified or discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”- which means God with us.  Matthew 1:23

 

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The Real St. Nick

IMG_6522.JPGWhat comes to mind when you hear “Santa Clause” or “St Nick?” Is it a jolly old man with a white beard, big belly, and a red suit??? For most of us it is. You’d probably be surprised to hear that in reality St Nicholos was Greek, with olive colored skin and dark eyes. He did seem to have a short white beard, but there was no Christmas cookie belly or red suit ;). He was known for his generosity, but there was a lot more to his story than just that. Life didn’t seem to treat him fairly and robbed him of his loved ones at a young age. He went through a lot, but he used what he had to bless others.

Life isn’t fair for a lot of us!! I know it, and you know it. Life can be so difficult. Some of the nicest people in the world get treated horrible. They are betrayed, persecuted, and never seem to catch a break. I’ve also seen some “not so nice people” who seem to get everything handed to them. It’s puzzling.

We do not get to pick what life hands to us, but we do get to pick how we respond. We get to choose if we use what we have (or don’t have) for good. WE CHOOSE if we’re going to ask God to mold us and purify us THROUGH the fires of life, or if we’re going to let ourselves fall into self pity, bitterness, jealousy and many other ugly characteristics.

I’m 25 years old and live in bed due to Chronic Lyme Disease, a TBI(Traumatic Brain Injury), and a condition called POTS (Postural Orthastatic Tachycardia Syndrome}. Next to my bed is my walker that I have to use to get to my bathroom… That’s right a walker. I’m 25yrs old and walk like a little old lady ;). I laugh at myself cause seeing myself walk is kinda humorous to look at. I naturally (before my sickness) am a very energetic person who is always on the go. So I never thought I’d have to use a walker in my life even when I hit the ripe old age of 85. I expected to be one of those old ladies who is active in life and independent. But life doesn’t always hand you what you expect.

If I leave my house I have to use a wheelchair because my POTS makes me lose all the blood to my brain and pass out if I walk longer than 5 minutes. The POTS does cause me to be bedridden and also supplies a dozen or so additional symptoms like, nausea, weakness, exhaustion, brain fog, vision problems etc. That on top of my TBI and Chronic Lyme disease (which causes severe nerve pain throughout my entire body 24/7 as well as many other symptoms) well it exhausts me and adds to the reason I’m sick and bedridden.

Well when I do use my walker (usually to get to the bathroom that’s about 20ft away) I have a quote I taped to my walker. It says,” Life is 10℅ what happens to you, 90℅ how you respond.” Which means if everything you can imagine going wrong on this earth happens to you, you can still pass with a 90℅ which is an “A.” I’m just kidding, I don’t think we get grades on life. But I do think our choices determine 90℅ of our lives. We all have bad things happen to us but we choose how we respond.

So that brings us back to our dear old friend St. Nick. He lived about 1700yrs ago (300years after Christ was resurrected). Nick was born to a Greek family, a wealthy Greek family. Unfortunately life didn’t feel so wealthy for him since he was orphaned and BOTH of his parents died when he was just a child. That kind of grief and pain I can only imagine. Any orphan out there reading this knows how horrible and tragic that is to go through.

So many of us would of been bitter at life and mad at God if this happened to us. We’d go through life with a “chip on our shoulders” singing the song “poor me” as we grew more angry at life, people, and God. But Nicholas, well he didn’t. He grew more loving, giving, and charitable as the years passed.

At some point in his life he was touched by the love of Jesus. He was a devout Christian, which was not popular at this time. I don’t know if his parents raised him this way, or if he found God after their deaths. But I do know that he was so touched that God would give up His life, and come down to this earth to be mocked, lied about, persecuted, and finally tortured and put to death. All this while Jesus did nothing wrong.

Jesus taught us how to live. He taught us how to love, not just by His words but by His sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice He gave so that we who mocked, lied about, and persecuted Him would be able to go spend eternity with Him in the most amazing place you can imagine… HEAVEN. God wanted us to live the rest of our lives in eternity WITH Him, that’s how much He loves us. And that’s why He sacrificed His life on the cross for us. That’s love. And Nick, well He saw that love of God and he lived His life with God’s love in His heart.

So instead of wallowing in self pity and dying an angry old man what happened to Nick?? Well he used his inheritance, the wealth his parents left him to bless others. He was considered one of the most generous men. And he didn’t try to get credit for it either which is pretty cool.

One story of his gift giving/generosity plays out for a poor family. A father and his 3 daughters who were financially struggling so much they were almost starving. To make things worse, in this culture at this time a woman couldn’t get married unless her parents gave her future husband and/or his family a dowry (money to marry her). This was the custom and therefore there was no hope for any of these 3 daughters to ever get married or have children.

Things had gotten so bad for the family that finally the only way they knew how to bring money home to feed themselves was to sell the oldest daughter into prostitution. Somehow Nick heard/found out about this family. So the night before she was going to be sold into prostitution Nick snuck down to their house. He had a bag of money (enough for a dowry for the eldest daughter). Some say he left it on the doorstep, others say he threw it in the window over the fireplace and it landed in their shoes. Over the years “shoes” turned to socks/stockings which eventually turned into the tradition of hanging stockings over the fireplace and filling them with gifts.

Well I can only imagine how overjoyed and relieved this family would have been to find this gift. The eldest daughter had her dowry money and I assume went on to get married. But there was still the problem of the 2 other daughters. Each year (as the next daughter was getting ready to be sold into prostitution) Nick left a bag of money for her dowry money. Nick did this for 3 years, but the 3rd year he was caught. As Nick was sneaking onto their property the father spotted Nick. The father rushed outside to Nick and was overfilled with gratitude as he thanked Nick for saving his family.

Nick went on to bless and save others in need with his money. He didn’t look to money to satisfy him by living the life of wealth and comfort. Nick had found true satisfaction when he found Jesus. So he didn’t look to his money to satisfy him, he looked to the Lord. And he happily gave what he had (his money) away to help others.

We all have the choice to live bitter and in self pity for the losses we have suffered. Or we can take what we have (whatever it is even if it’s not money and it’s just a smile or treating others with kindness) we all have things we can share with others. Nick is an inspiration of generosity and kindness. But too often we look to Santa as the “spirit of Christmas” and the “spirit of giving.” I think this would have greatly saddened Nick. For the real hero, the real inspiration is Jesus and all He gave for us to live with God in our hearts here on earth and one day to live and walk with God in heaven. Jesus is the reason for the season. Jesus is the inspiration of love and kindness and giving. Nick merely was trying to let God use him and fill his heart with love for others.

It’s easy for us to look to people or idolize them like Nick who became a “Saint” in the Catholic church. I know Nick would have wanted us to look to God to help us have a spirit of giving and generosity. I’m not saying Nick isn’t an inspiration. I absolutely believe Nick IS an inspiration of more than generosity, Nick is an inspiration of the CHOICE we have with our lives. Will we wallow in self pity from the trials we face and the losses we’ve suffered??? Or will we use our lives to bless others?? Will we let Satan beat us up and relive the betrayals and suffering we’ve gone through?? Or will we let God heal our hearts and help us through our trials?? Will we let God use whatever we have to bless others?? Even if you don’t have money or time, use what you do have. Maybe that is just showing someone kindness, a listening ear, or giving a stranger a smile. God can use these things and use you in ways you don’t realize if you just give what you do have.

I often feel like I have NOTHING to offer. I’m stuck in bed. It’s hard for me to leave the house. I’m broke and trying to pay for medical bills. I’m tired and exhausted and only have an hour or two at a time that I can visit someone before I have to rest in the dark and quiet to calm down my pain and other symptoms. What do I have to give this world?? Well God’s showed me through this journey that even if the family I live with are the main and sometimes only people I see, I can still give them kindness and hopefully make their days a little bit better.

Prayer is something all of us can give, even if you’re busy at work, you can pray in your mind while you’re working. Or if you have a lot of time on your hands and are stuck in bed like me, or maybe don’t have a job at the moment, or maybe you stay home with the kids, well you have more time to pray for others, and that makes a difference in ways we can’t always see. God’s also showed me that He can use my words to encourage others if I let Him. So I try to encourage my friends and family in the ways that I can.

I often feel like I’m such a burden on my family. I need help to bathe, I often need help to get to the bathroom (when I’m weak and can’t walk). I can’t fix my food or even get my medicine organized for the day (my mom does all of this for me). She and my dad always tell me I’m not a burden and they’re happy to help and take care of me. I am blessed and I am so grateful for that. But still I feel like there isn’t much I can do or much I can give. But when I’m open hearted and look to God, He shows me how to use what I do have. And sometimes all I have is a smile to give. But God can still use it. If God can use me (who is laid up in bed and can barely do anything) He can use you. Just look to Him and ask Him and He will show you how to give kindness, money, time, prayer, encouragement, or anything else that you might have to bless others.

Nick eventually became a bishop. but he didn’t live to be old or immortal like the Santa we hear of in movies and books. He didn’t go on to live in the North Pole. But he probably did live in the cold for many years of his life since he was arrested for his faith and put in a cold prison cell. He died in his sixties. He spent many years in prison and probably had no idea that his story would pass on or help inspire others.

So when you see a picture, or movie, or poster of Santa Clause this season (or for every Christmas to come) I hope you can remember who the real Nick was. How the real hero was and is Christ. And because Nick knew of the sacrifice and love and heroics of Jesus Christ, he lived out his life in a way that showed kindness and giving. When you see Santa think about the CHOICES we have. What choice will you make with your trials?? Will you live in anger, depression and self pity?? Or will you use what you have to bless others :)???

I wish all of you a Very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I hope this season you will let God soften your heart and heal you. I hope that your heart will be filled with joy and gratitude as you reflect on the sacrifices God made to come down as a baby and live His life hear on earth, and eventually die on a cross for our sins. He is amazing, and He loves YOU. He loves YOU more than you can imagine :). Merry Christmas everyone!!!!! 🙂

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Could My Suffering Be My Mercy??

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Could My Suffering be God’s Mercy on me???  I know what you’re thinking, “whaaaaat”??? Cause that’s the same thing I thought when I first heard it. Today my  mom and I were talking and she told me that in her time with God this morning she said she was thanking Him for having mercy on us by letting us suffer… I didn’t quite understand what she meant so I asked her. She said how the suffering we have been going through has helped us stay on our knees seeking God and depending on Him. She said that maybe if we weren’t going through these  trials that maybe the temptations of the world would snatch us up and draw us away from God…. Then I got it!!! “Oh!!! Maybe suffering is a strange form of mercy” and I felt a gratitude in my heart for growing closer to the Lord these past few years that I’ve been disabled and bedridden. It has kept me looking to Him instead of  looking at the things of this world.

The last several years I’ve seen many friends and acquaintances fall away from the Lord. People who grew up knowing Jesus. People who were on fire for the Lord. People I used to have deep discussions with as we talked about how amazing the Lord is. It’s not like one day they woke up and were like “I think I want to turn away from the Lord today.” No… it was slowly over time. It wasn’t because they wanted to turn away from God, it was because they wanted the pleasures and temptations of the world around them. Whatever their sins were that they struggled, whether out loud or deep within their heart, they kept choosing those sins slowly over time. And slowly over time, Satan was able to tempt them with the “lusts of the world.”

Satan does this to us all, all of the time. He knows that he can’t just get us to fall away from Christ by saying “Hey, why don’t you become a Satanist today?? Why don’t’ you turn away from your faith today??” LOL, that doesn’t work on anyone! It’s slowly and deceptively that he tempts us, to slowly choose our flesh, because he knows it will slowly pull us away from an intimate relationship with Jesus.

Over 3 ½  years ago I was in a car accident that gave me a severe brain injury. Soon after that I discovered I also had 2 debilitating diseases . This put me in a wheelchair and made me bedridden. The only time I left my bed was to go to the bathroom or go to the doctors. Other than that I’ve been in pain every day and have to constantly lay down, cause if I sit up for too long I pass out from the P.O.T.S.  Of course there are many many more symptoms I battle on a daily basis but it’s a bit boring for me to go into all of that!  The point is, that these last few years may have been some of the hardest years, but they’ve also been some of the most beautiful years of my life. Why??? Well though my flesh (literally) has suffered deeply, my Spirit has only drawn closer to the Lord. It’s interesting how sometimes we can feel God the closest in the darkest times of our lives. God is ALWAYS  near and He always wants us to have a deep personal relationship with Him. But the busyness of life, the pleasures of the world, the distractions, the ambitions, the goals we set, these all can keep us from the potential we have of growing deeper in the Lord.

I’m not saying we don’t love Him or seek Him when things are going great in our lives. We often do!!! But for some reason, when a trial hits us and something we treasure is taken from us, we fall on our faces before God. Finally God gets to sit on the throne in our hearts instead of the idols we might have on the throne … it seems whenever a hardship hit me, God showed me that the thing I was grieving often was an idol in my life that I was unaware of. But when those idols disappoint us, whether it be people, work, school, success, romance, family, friends or riches; we finally realize that only God can be our God! God and He alone should be where we find our value, our identity, our purpose, our fulfillment. Yes, God gives us those other things I just listed in our lives as blessings, but that is all they should be. Blessings from God. They should never become too important to us. They should never become our security. I think all of those things listed above had become my security, self esteem/identity, or my number one love, at some point in my life, instead of the Lord.

It wasn’t by my choice that I had these idols exposed to me. It wasn’t until I lost them that I realized that they were too important to me. I’ve lost friends and family members that I had on high pedestals who betrayed me, or fell away from God, or rejected me. Now that I’m flat on my back with these diseases and T.B.I.,  I can’t work a job, or finish my degree. It’s not by my choice, but once I lost my career and the ability to go to college, I saw they were too important to me. I found some of my self esteem and self worth through those things instead of finding it in God alone. With no income and high medical bills I’ve lost all riches and have had to completely rely on the Lord to provide for my bills, and He has!! I realize that I found some security in money and I still battle finding security in money instead of trusting God to provide what I need. There were times after breaking up with boyfriends I would realize that I found some of my self esteem in them, or that they became too important to me. I want God to be my first love always and forever, and sometimes we don’t realize He isn’t our first love until the thing that actually IS our first love is taken from us.

But when the rug of life is pulled out from underneath us and we land on our faces before the Lord, well this can be a mercy in disguise. Who am I to think that I am so strong in the Lord that I can’t fall away???!!! Of course I can fall away. Pride comes before the fall!!! (Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.) I love the Lord, I truly do, I always have, ever since I was a little girl. I was so lucky to be raised with strong believers as parents who taught me about the Lord. I met Jesus at a young age and grew up seeing God’s faithfulness and love. God is so amazing, it would be hard not to love Him (that is if you really know His character and who He really is). But just because I love him doesn’t mean I cant fall away.Scripture declares that “if possible even the elect will fall away.”  (1 Timothy 4:1  Mathew 24:24  2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)

Many, including myself, have wondered that if God is going to heal me of my diseases why is He waiting??? Why is He taking soooo long to heal me??? Why doesn’t He just snap His fingers and fix me right away. But maybe if He did that He knows that I would go back to my busy life and things that should not be idols in my life could become idols again… maybe I would be deceived into slowly giving into my flesh over and over and over for days and months and years until finally God is not near to me anymore. Until I had driven a wedge between the intimacy I have with the Lord.

What if God sees that those things would happen so He has decided to “have mercy” on me and NOT heal me right away to protect me from those scenarios. If this is the case than I don’t care if God never heals me… I mean of course that would be difficult, but I would rather be sick the rest of my life and keep God on the throne of my heart, than to be healed right now but not be as close to the Lord…. Or even possibly fall away from the Lord.

“Father, please have mercy on me and keep me close to you. If it takes trials and suffering to do this then have mercy on me and DON”T take away the trials in my life. If these things bring me closer to you, if this suffering puts you first in my life then I will gladly choose that. If this is part of why you have been healing me slowly then I thank you for healing me slowly. And even if this is not the reason, I still trust your timing and purposes for NOT miraculously healing me.”This is the prayer I now say with gratitude in my heart.

It saddens me as I continue to hear of more and more strong believers that have chosen to follow the world and are slowly falling away from God. We don’t often realize that our sin separates us from God.  (Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.) I thank God for having mercy on me. And I pray that He continues to have Mercy on me and brings me closer and closer to Him, even if it takes suffering to do that, then so be it.

I don’t’ know what you’re going through right now in life. I don’t know what YOUR personal suffering is, and I don’t know the reason WHY God is allowing it to happen in your life. But I do believe that God is more loving than we can possibly imagine. The scriptures say that GOD IS love. So if He is loving enough to leave His throne in heaven, come down to earth, be tortured and die on a cross, all so that we could escape hell and spend eternity with Him, well if that God is allowing you to go through this suffering then there has to be a reason why. I believe God’s heart breaks as He sees us go through these trials. But sometimes He doesn’t stop it because He sees how it affects the bigger picture in the grand scheme of things.

Wherever you’re at in life, I am sorry for the suffering you’re going through. God will be with you through every moment of these hardships. You may not always “feel” him there, but He is. He’s there, crying with you, hugging you, holding you, listening to you, and speaking to you in all sorts of ways.

My hope is that as we realize that maybe suffering can be God’s mercy on us, that we wouldn’t dread and hate and complain about the difficulties we’re facing, but we would be joyful in suffering as scripture tells us.

As always if you need a friend to talk to or pray for you you can always message me on fb at facebook.com//rachelchamplin. I may take awhile to get back to you since I often need help reading and writing “due to my vision problems” but I will pray and I will eventually get back to you .

God bless you my fellow soldiers!!! You’re doing awesome, hang in there, there is good that will be brought out of all of this.

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