Proverbs 15:13

” A cheerful hearts brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day” Proverbs 15:13 The Message

Today I had a cheerful heart, which was desperately needed after a week of having a sad heart. One never wants to attend a funeral, let alone find out the funeral is taking place in 2 hours. That was the beginning to my day last Wednesday. One week ago today, I did my usual morning routine of getting on the computer and checking my email. As usual, there is the weekly email from the pastor of our former church, which I always read. Total shock encompasses me as I read that a member has not only died, but has committed suicide…………and I know him. I know his wife. I know his youngest daughter. I know he has 4 children. Even though I was not close to this man, I do not remember ever having a conversation directly with him, and I had limited conversations with his wife, I was still shocked to the core of my being. Tears for his family instantly filled my eyes. Tears for the pain he obviously endured in silence. These tears continue even now.

The second half of this verse has been my entire week. My heart has been heavy with sadness for his family. Not just his wife and kids, but also for his sister who spoke at his funeral, his parents, his other siblings, his cousins, nieces, nephews, every member of his family that has been affected by this loss. His Navy family as well, his friends and coworkers he worked with on a daily basis, his commanding officer, his chaplain. I saw more than one “tough guy” in his Navy whites wiping away tears as they left the chapel.

Then, I had today. God blessed me with a power outage. Last night the power went out, of course turning off my computer in a way my computer did not appreciate. Since it was late I went to bed and didn’t think twice about it. Then this morning, within 5 minutes of each instance we lost power twice. I took advantage of the “issue” and tried to catch up on my reading from youversion.com (I am dreadfully behind). As a result, I completely missed my Joyce Meyer daily devotion (which is about 2 paragraphs long each day) and I read 6 chapters in Isaiah before I had to leave for my doctor’s appointment. I then took my son for a treat at Burger King for Cinnabon’s, as he was very protective of me not getting hurt with the needle. We then went to the park and I played with him. I think we went down every slide together (even if it was a tight squeeze for me) and I pushed him in the swing and watched his smile grow and enjoyed his laughter. Our final adventure before returning home was walking through the arboretum and finding the lake……..although I did misread the map and got us a little lost along the way. Overall, we had about 2 hours of being outside, exploring nature, enjoying our time together. Enjoying life.

Because I spent time in His Word — not just a book about His Word, but in His Word — I have been blessed with a day of laughter. I have been blessed with a feeling of such peace that almost perplexes me. My heart is still broken over the loss of this man, over the pain his family and our church family is enduring. But I know my heart is healing. I can feel the healing taking place.

The other verse which completely explains my day is from Psalm. I will end with this promise from my loving Jesus:

“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” Psalm 30:5b New Living Translation

Dropping in

To my readers, I am just dropping in very quickly to say “I’m still here”. I have been dealing with what is probably one of the worst weeks of my life, as I woke up last week to check my email as usual and found there was a funeral I had to attend.

You see, a member of the church my husband and I were previously members of (just before our current church) committed suicide about two weeks ago and I have been struggling to remain focused on my devotions, keep my emotions in balance, etc.

I will be back, it just may take a while.

Galatians 2:20b

“So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I was terribly late for my “morning” devotion today….I didn’t get it read until after 5:00pm. Better late than never, right? Anyway, the lesson from Joyce Meyer today was titled “God-Confidence”.

I obviously needed reminding today that it’s not about having confidence in myself, but rather having confidence in my Creator. The Scripture she used was 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 and the last two sentences stood out the most for me “…Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” (The Message). How true is that? Nothing can happen without Christ first allowing it. Our very existence is because He created us, we didn’t create ourselves.

Yes, He gave me a brain and the knowledge to use it.  But I know that true wisdom would be to trust absolutely EVERYTHING to Him. Why wouldn’t I? He can see from beginning to end of all eternity. He knows each and every fork in my path and where it will lead. He knows the detours of life and when they will arrive. I think that’s why the second half of Galatians 2:20 stood out to me the most from that Scripture. Like it says, “…I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God…” not by trusting in myself.

I can’t remember who first said it, but it reminds me also of the analogy of our life being an open book and we have to choose who the author will be. Will we write our own biography? Or will we give the pen to the Author and let Him write the story? He’s already written it, we’re still living it. If we stop trying to take control and write our story AS we are trying to live it, we’ll be so much more successful. He will narrate to us if we will just let Him. Give Him the pen, let Him write the story into action, and follow His directions. How much more would we enjoy our life if we simply lived it? If we wore the “live” hat, rather than the multiple hats, “live” “write” “direct” “edit” “problem solve” “foresee” and who knows what else we can come up with.

I shouldn’t be like Moses and give excuse after excuse on why I can’t do something. I should have confidence in Christ and let Him guide my every step, no matter how simple I think it is.

What’s your thorn?

This morning a friend on Facebook commented about her daughter asking why her mother has gray hairs. As a mother I can appreciate the humor of a child asking such an innocent question, as well as how off guard my friend must have been at first.

I didn’t leave a reply, but I thought about what my answer would be if my son were to ask me that question. I would try to take something that is normally a negative and find a way to view it as a positive, that much I know. The only thing I could think of is the “…thorn in my flesh” the apostle Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians chapter 12:

“…So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.” verse 7 NLT

Now, a couple strands of gray hair that refuse to stay hidden or even a patch of gray hair that is impossible to hide without regular trips to the beauty salon would be easy enough for me to view as a “thorn”. But what about the more serious, more difficult things in my life?

I think most of the people who know me would probably guess my being a military wife would be my “thorn”. And indeed, the Navy life can be a “thorn” which causes us pain, anger, frustration, and many other emotions. Having your spouse leave for days, weeks, or even months at a time while you stay at home with your child who can’t completely understand what’s happening does make you rely on Christ more attentively.

However, I would have to say that my biggest “thorn” is my living with fibromyalgia. From what I have read from other sufferers, I have a pretty mild case. It has not caused me to stop functioning for days at a time, it has not caused me to tell my son he can’t touch me because it will hurt, I have not required medication, but I do have my bad days. I have noticed that it is particularly bad when we have warm, humid days that are immediately followed by rainy thunderstorms and temperatures that drop 20 degrees overnight. Days like that, with 92F and sun one day turning to 73F and constant rain the next day, my energy level is beyond low.

It takes everything I have to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my son’s lunch…..and usually leads to me falling asleep on the couch while he watches a movie during lunch. I cannot open a jar for anything because I cannot grip, simply curling my fingers would hurt my hands. I occasionally start twitching in various places on my body at random times, and my hands can have an ache all the way to my shoulders. It is as if there are invisible opera gloves that go from my shoulders to my fingertips that weigh at least 5 pounds and it takes a noticeable effort just to move my arms to pull my hair back. Simple things become physically draining.

BUT, Praise my Jesus for the next two verses in that chapter…

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” verse 8-9 NLT

Every day I am learning how true this is. Yes, not having a set “schedule” to make plans is annoying. Yes, having a chronic pain illness is annoying. And yes, there are days my husband is my “thorn” (although I love him dearly). But each of these things are physical reminders of how much I truly have to rely solely on Christ for my strength. My physical strength, my emotional strength, my spiritual strength, all of these are dependent on my conscious and intentional spending of time in His word to deepen our relationship.

So, my reader, I have two questions for you. The first, “What is your thorn?” and the second, “How are you viewing it?”