Saturday, October 31, 2015

Day 31 : You Made it!


Psalm 30
A song of David.

1 I praise You, Eternal One. You lifted me out of that deep, dark pit
and denied my opponents the pleasure of rubbing in their success.
2 Eternal One, my True God, I cried out to You for help;
You mended the shattered pieces of my life.
3 You lifted me from the grave with a mighty hand,
gave me another chance,
and saved me from joining those in that dreadful pit.






Well, here we are at Day 31. We made it! 

If you've been following along with me because you have chronic pain or serious health issues then you probably haven't reached the end of your journey.
 In these 31 days, I've brought you up through 4 years of chronic pain.

 But don't give up God is there beside you and He won't let you fall.

 Just lean on Him. Stay true to Jesus. 

Just a little review :

1. Read the Psalms
2. Find your Joy.  Be deliberate in listing 3 blessings every day.
3. Pray for others and find ways to serve them
4. Show appreciation to your caregivers
5. Keep doing what the doctor says
6. Praise the Lord always


When I read this scripture this morning, it reminded my of another old, old song by the Imperials

by The Imperials







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Waiting & Staying true!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 30 : Rest

Matthew 11:28-30  New Living Translation 


 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”



Resting in Christ is the most peaceful place to be. The problem is too many of us just can't seem to lay it all down. It's a practice that has to be re-learned over and over, every day.

While we work on that, I thought I would share about a Place to Rest if you ever have to go to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. It is sponsored by my church, The Church of the Nazarene. But it isn't exclusive. Anyone can stay there. It's called the Nazarene Well House.




It's a beautiful bed & breakfast specifically for Mayo patients and their families. They have 13 bedrooms (a few of them private). There is a lovely garden to enjoy or, if you  like, you can work in the garden. They serve breakfast every morning and several dinners are provided during the week by local restaurants.



Get more details here>>>>> Nazarene Help House







REST BY DOWNHERE




If you prefer something a bit mroe traditional ...

PEACE IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM

by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir






Waiting & Resting!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Day 29 : Remember


Psalm 77:11 New Living Translation

But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;

    I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.






As you may be well aware of, it usually takes much longer than 31 days to wait and trust on God's ultimate plan. This month I have remembered what God has done for me for the past 4 years. Remembering His blessings makes it all worthwhile.

Sometimes we need help remembering other things. Like when to take our medications. Remembering to pray for others.  Here are some apps that might help you remember.


MEDICAL


MED HELPER PRO. When I was first sick, it was vitally important to take medications in a timely manner. We found this free app that would keep records and give reminders throughout the day. You can track everyone in the family, record vitals, doctors appointments, prescriptions, and more




MANGO HEALTH. I recently came across this app that has a free version. It will track and remind for medications, warn of conflicts between medications, track blood pressure, track exercise.
If you stay on track you receive points for a weekly drawing for gift cards and donations to charities.






PATIENTS LIKE ME. Another excellent website that will keep track of everything. Prescriptions, surgeries, diagnosis, pain levels, personal notes. You can connect with our patients that have the same problems. You can chat personally or on a forum about different issues, medications, you name it. You can print out a sheet for your doctor before an appointment. It will list your meds, graphs showing how your pain or symptoms have been. I really like this sight.




SPIRITUAL

YOU VERSION.  A Bible app with 1,000s of reading plans for any and every situation. You can choose from many versions of the Bible. You can connect with friends. I like this for accountability. Also have learned about different reading plans that have been helpful. You can share verses on social media, texting, etc.You can highlight verses and make notes.. even keep you sermon notes with it.



FIRST 5. Proverbs 31 Ministries has developed an app this fall. Studying with millions all over the world. You'll get a little reminder in the morning and then a Bible study. It doesn't take but 5 minutes / 5 days a week with a video with the leaders on Saturday. They are about to finish the book of Genesis and will begin Matthew in November, I'm very impressed.



PRAYER POPPER.  This prayer app is pretty awesome. Easily enter the people you want to pray for. There's a place for notes. Choose how often to prayer for them. Choose how many times to be reminded to pray each day. Mark request as answered. Sorry only available for Android.




I always love a good men's quartet, so let's finish up with this











Waiting & Remembering!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Day 28 : On Being Jesus


When it counts, I want to be found belonging to Him, not clinging to my own righteousness based on law, but actively relying on the faithfulness of the Anointed One. This is true righteousness, supplied by God, acquired by faith. I want to know Him inside and out. I want to experience the power of His resurrection and join in His suffering, shaped by His death, so that I may arrive safely at the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:9-11 (The Voice)


Many times as we go down this trail of trials, we find we are more and more alone. 

Not because God has turned his back on us, but because friends forget. 


Life goes on and they return to the busy-ness of their lives and they just forget. 

They forget that others are still in need.

 They forget that caregivers are wearing thin; 

trying to hold everything together while the rest of the world wonders...

"Why don't they come to church?"

"Why didn't she speak to me today?"

"Why don't they come to our parties?"

"Why aren't they performing like they used to?" 

"Why are they acting differently these days?"



It happens to each of us going through the challenge of care-giving. 

It's a lonesome place. A tiresome place. 

And then the inevitable happens.

A friend turns his back on you. Your support system disappears. 

False or exaggerated rumors are passed around..

Or maybe even a job is lost.

Feelings of betrayal and hurt are overwhelming. 

We want to lash out and shake our fists at the world.  Maybe you want to cry out like David did..



Psalm 55:12-14The Voice (VOICE)


12 If it were just an enemy sneering at me,
    I could take it.
If it were just someone who has always hated me, treating me like dirt,
    I’d simply hide away.
13 But it is you! A man like me,
    my old friend, my companion.
14 We enjoyed sweet conversation, walking together in the house of God ...
    

But shouldn't we respond like Christ? 





Let me ask you this …

What is Christianity?

Is it only for the well ...

 that they should care for the sick, 
the poor, 
and the orphaned?

What about the one that is sick, 
or broke, 
or forgotten and betrayed?

Do they (we) have a part to play in this Christianity?

I say emphatically, "YES!"




 The word Christian means "Little Christ". 

We are to be little Christs. Doing as Jesus would do. 

Was evil spoken of Him?  Yes.

 Were people judgmental of him? Yes. 

Was he betrayed? Yes.

Was he hurt? Oh, Yes.

And what was His response? Love, Kindness, Forgiveness.


We, too, must respond in the same manner. We must remember what He went through for us and do the same. Showing His love and His kindness and His forgiveness to the world.


After all, we may be the only Jesus some people see.

The Cross was terrible for Christ to endure
And our pain and suffering is hard to endure.

But at the same time, Isn't He beautiful?

What about us?

Does the beauty of Jesus shine through our suffering too?

For me, this was not an easy thing. I had to pray every day .. "Forgive them for they know not what they do." And I had to repeatedly whisper to myself . "Grace and love. Grace and love." Until Christ was truly the one shining through me.
 I truly want to experience the power of His resurrection 
and join in His suffering



Selah ~ Stop and think about this
--------------


In case you missed it, the previous songs in my mini-concert.

Blessings by Laura Story

Immortal, Invisible by Cynthia Clawson 

In The Garden

When Answers Aren't Enough

Through It All




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Day 27 : Through It All


A Living Hope
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 1:6-7





No matter your situation,
you have a spiritual choice.....


Get Bitter or Get Better. 



God's desire is to refine you,

body and soul,

to make you into 

His beautiful, pure

Bride of Christ

Ready for her wedding day.



Gold and silver are refined and made pure only by going through the fire. We, too, must go through the fire to be made pure. We cannot become all that God wants us to be without some troubles and trials along the way. 

And He is not uncaring
 that He does not stand with us
 through the trial. 
He is there before us, 
behind us, 
beside us.

Through it all.



Here's my daughter, Mikaela singing Through it All by Andre' Crouch. Listen closely and you might here, me on the harmony.





thanks Mikaela!

Hey y'all! Here's an idea. Visit Mikaela's blog and encourage her.
She's trying to form a habit of making music videos.
CLICK HERE : MAYBE I CAN BLOG





In case you missed it, the previous songs in my mini-concert.

Blessings by Laura Story

Immortal, Invisible by Cynthia Clawson 

In The Garden

When Answers Aren't Enough

Not Too Far From Here



Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 26 : Not Too Far From Here





Mini-Concert Continued ...







After 3 years of chronic pain, I seemed to be making progress. I used the word "seemed"  because I want those with invisible diseases are dealing with much more than you may realize.

One must remember that what you see is not always what you get. People who suffer from chronic pain (and other chronic issues) are showing you their best. When you see them at church please know that they are putting their best foot forward. You may not realize that they return home and collapse for the rest of the day. You may not realize that they are really at the edge of tears.

I have learned to hold back judgement when I see people park in the handicap spaces or use an electric shopping cart. You really have no idea what may be going on with them. They may look  like they could run a race as they walk into Walmart, but by the time they come out, they have exerted every muscle and their pain receptors are yelling  and screaming at them to please sit down.

This journey has really taught me to think of others and to understand that they have silent pain that no one knows about. I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt now and just assume that they are struggling whether it seems like it or not.

I know now that many are suffering much more than I. Those right next to me could be suffering a great deal.


Not Too Far from Here

by Kim Boyce




In case you missed it, the previous songs in my mini-concert.

Blessings by Laura Story

Immortal, Invisible by Cynthia Clawson 

In The Garden

When Answers Aren't Enough


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Day 25 : Bethany Hamilton's Story


It's Sunday! 

Let's here another testimony!


Bethany Hamilton ~ Soul Surfer




















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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Day 24 : When Answer's Aren't Enough




I'm sharing my thoughts from a concert I gave at church once I was able to get around and have the stamina to sing more than one song.The concert was not recorded, so I will be sharing the original artist renditions, most of the time.




When you are going through pain and sickness and you have no answers, it is very frustrating.You might find yourself saying, "If I just had an answer then I could deal with it." It is hard to face the future with no idea what is ahead, but God promises to never leave us.

I love to use the Amplified Bible when I am studying at times. I especially love the verses that say that he will always be there. 


Read Hebrews 13:5 .. 
for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!”.


Isn't that awesome?

When Answers Aren't Enough

by Scott Wesley Brown





If you missed the previous songs on the mini-concert, here are the links:

Blessings by Laura Story

Immortal, Invisible by Cynthia Clawson 

In The Garden






Friday, October 23, 2015

Day 23 : In The Garden




For the next few days, I'll be sharing my thoughts from a concert I gave at church once I was able to get around and have the stamina to sing more than one song.The concert was not recorded, so I will be sharing the original artist renditions, most of the time.






These days of stillness, have been a great blessing to me. I have grown so close to the Lord. I've realized how much I have been missing by not spending more time each day praying and reading the scriptures.

When I was a child, at church, we would occasionally have an evening when we would have a request night. They would allow people from the congregation to select their favorite hymn to sing. Without fail, there was this little old lady that would request the same song every time. My heart would just sink. I din't like the song. It seemed slow and boring. But the truth was, that I didn't like the song because the words were not meaningful to me. I had not experienced that kind of relationship with God.

But now, this song is very real to me. It is fast moving up my top ten list of favorite hymns. Here's a version of the hymn.

In the Garden 

by Watermark





If you missed the previous songs on the mini-concert, here are the links:

Blessings by Laura Story

Immortal, Invisible by Cynthia Clawson



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Day 22 :Lifting Praise


On Day 21,  I shared the story and song "Blessings" with you. This has become a very special song to me because I know that it came out of the trials of Laura Story's life. It makes it even more real to me; plus, encourages me to know that others are going through their own pain.






Two years in, on my journey, I felt well enough to give a mini-concert at church. For the next few days, I would like to share the things I shared at that concert, one song at a time. My concert didn't get recorded, so I'll be sharing videos of the original artist.

I already shared about Blessings, so we'll move on from there.

In those early days of terrible pain, while I was flat on my back, there was only one thing to do  ... LOOK UP! The one thing that I kept regular in those days was to focus on the One True God. I spent my time worshiping Him, talking to Him, listening to Him. It's the only thing that got me through.


Immortal, Invisible by Cynthia Clawson





Thanks for reading and listening.



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 21 : Story Behind the Song : Blessings





Many are the plans in a person's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21





In February 2011, a friend invited us to go on a cruise with him and his wife. He has been asking us for years to go with him. It finally, worked out for us to do so and we had a lovely time; however, when we stepped back on land, I could not get my land legs back. My body just continued to bounce around like I was in a little boat. It didn't make me dizzy, nor nauseous, I just had this feeling of bouncing or like the floor was a trampoline.

This was 6 months before my chronic pain rose it's ugly head. In about May, my son came home one day and said, "You need to hear this song". I listened and loved it. I bought the accompaniment track so that I could sing it the next time I was scheduled to sing.

Who knew what I was about to be dealing with. Not only still dealing with the Dis-embarquement Syndrome but the added pain issues.

Enjoy this song, Blessings and Laura Story's story behind the song.




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


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Day 20 : Thrive





As for me, I will always have hope; 
I will praise you more and more
Psalm 71:14






It's been one of those days. I didn't get to my post.

How about a little music from my daughter ....


 Thrive by Casting Crowns Cover









Monday, October 19, 2015

Day 19 : Hope in the Lord

'But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; 
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
 they shall run and not be weary,
 they shall walk and not faint.'
 (Isaiah 40:31) (NKJV).



It seems I got side tracked the other day talking about music. Let’s try again ..

That moment
 When you think
 Things are settling down
 And life will return to normal,
But instead it gets
Amped up
 Again.


My pain seemed to be ebbing, so we began working to decrease my steroids. They had to be decrease very slowly so the pain would not come screaming back. I did decrease it to about half before my knees began to swell and the pain began to increase.


 Some Thoughts While I Wait


Primary Care Visit ~ "Here I am  ..again"

Orthopedic Center .. X-rays 
"Wow, that was easy.. x-rays while I stand.. no extra pain"

MRI of knees
"Close your eyes and sing or quote scriptures"

Surgery for torn meniscus
"What? My surgeon prays with me before the surgery? How awesome is that?"

Consult with surgeon
"So my joints look gnarly? Hmmm....."

Back to Mayo Clinic 
Diagnosis ... severe osteoarthritis
"I dawns on me that my grandmother must have had bad arthritis in her knees. I'm moving a lot like she did."


On a whim, my doctor decided to check my blood work again.
Diagnosis … Rheumatoid Arthritis (R.A.)
"My heart is sinking. I did NOT want to hear this."



As I had feared, the actual problem had been concealed by the steroids The R.A. into a false remission all this time. At least now we could finally treat the “real” issue along with the fibromyalgia. The doctor seemed to be pleased to find the problem and felt confidant that we would be able to easily get things under control. I however was troubled about those words .. "rheumatoid arthritis". I had visions deformed hands. What about playing the piano, that is my greatest stress releaser?

The doctor said I was in the early stages and that we could easily get this under control. He prescribed therapy and more medications. My heart was somewhat lifted and we were encouraged that our waiting was coming to an end. We had some hope that I would once again "walk and not be weary".




CHALLENGE:

I’ve been reading 3-5 Psalms and 1 Proverb every day. I challenge you to give it a try.. Try this one today:

Psalm 19                                   My Joy Dare
Psalm 49                                   1. MRIs
Psalm 79                                   2. Wisdom of doctors
Psalm 109                                 3. excellent surgeons

Waiting & Hoping!


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 18 :Facing a Red Sea Challenge

It's Sunday, Again!



How about a word from Priscilla Shirer?