Longing for Answers

This morning I woke up with a thousand things to do that were urgent. My brain jumped to screaming everything I needed to do, but my soul said, stop…breathe….go to the light for peace, then proceed.

When I got out of bed, I decided to spend time praising God for rewriting my story with the love of Jesus. I spent about 30 mins listening to Laren Daigle lastest album and only praising God. This is no quick fix, but the peace it brings is amazing.

Today was a productive day because I put my trust in God. I believe that is the reason why it went well and I accomplished so much even with a horrible cold and physical pain.

Now last year, my buzz word was “believe.” I saw that word pop up everywhere, and I had a very specific prayer answered surrounding the word believe. The verse, help me with my unbelief, changed my life, but it took 10 years for my prayer of “help me with my unbelief” to be answered.

Sometimes God doesn’t give an immediate answer. I had to wait for my answers. The wait was hard and sometimes, I felt like giving up. But the realization of seeing my prayer answered, even 10 years later, is a very powerful feeling of complete trust in God.

So, that’s why my buzz word for 2019 has been TRUST. I am seeing it everywhere in scripture and even in conversations with people that are giving me good advice…just wait, and trust that God has this. He knows what is going on and in his time, he will answer. I believe that to be true.

I’ve seen the power of prayer so many times that I cannot remember them all. I wish I had kept a journal of God’s blessings and provisions, but my memory will have to serve as my testimony. Sometimes my memory isn’t so great so it will take habits of spending time in the Bible and in prayer to constantly remind me.

Spending time in the Bible has always been hard for me because I am so ADHD. I have a hard time reading and even studying, so it takes extra effort. I have read the Bible through multiple times, but I always skipped Revelation.😃

Lots of people try to read the Bible through in a year, I think that’s a bit much. I always did it in two years and it went well without the extra pressure, but it’s ok if it takes you three or four years. Make the commitment to read 10 mins a day and you will get through reading the Bible in YOUR time and that’s ok.

Prayer can be in any form: music, writing, and the spoken word. I’m sure you can come up with more ways to pray. Everyone is different.

I believe it is just like talking to a beloved friend or confidant. Just talk. There is no special formula to get the job done. Just speak to Him and He will hear you, but His answer may be, wait, like it was for me. My answer developed over 10 years, but the answers came. In the meantime, I cultivated a relationship with Him. That makes it worth the wait and the pain journey easier.

So, if you are waiting on an answer that you desperately need, maybe about your chronic pain, just wait and while you wait, cultivate a relationship with God with prayer with praise and reading God’s word. Doing these things will not fail you. Trust in Him to bring your dreams to fruition. He’s that powerful.

I hope everyone is safe and that you feel the best you can in whatever situation you are in.

Much Love & Many Prayers,

Cindy

Having the Faith of Apostle Paul

I have always wanted to meet Apostle Paul out of any other person in the Bible. I know that is a shocker because most people say they want to meet Jesus, but I am fascinated with Paul’s letters of strong faith. So, when I heard about a movie of Paul’s life, I knew I had to see it.

Friday night, I saw Paul, The Apostle of Christ in a movie theater with assigned reclining seats!!

Assigned reclining seats is a game changer for this anxiety-filled chronic pain girl going to the movies! I hope you have one like that in your area. I was so comfortable, and I even saw that some people brought blankets. What a great idea! The seats were roomy too. If I could just figure out how to take my heating pad…

paul and luke

In the movie, Luke went to Paul where he was in prison and wrote down Paul’s wisdom for the encouragement of the early Christians. I am so thankful that we have the letters now. Without the struggles that Paul went through he probably would not have been able to give such wisdom. Paul’s writings have always given me strength and motivation to keep on toward the goal on the hard days.

Seeing in the movie what the early Christians went through and the violence committed against them just for their belief in Christ was brutal, but it helps me put some things in perspective about my chronic illness.

Paul had a “thorn in his side.” He begged for God to take it away, but God did not. The MSG versions of 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 explains how Paul felt about his thorn in a way that we can understand it better and apply it to our chronic illness.

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 The Message (MSG)

6 If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I’d still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I’ll spare you. I don’t want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you’d encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.

7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

God, why?.jpg

Have you cried out to God to take your thorn of chronic pain away? I have. I’ve gotten mad that He wouldn’t take it away. Some days, I am still kicking and screaming. It can be easy to get stuck being angry about it, but Paul boasted about his weaknesses. He had baggage just like us. Everyone has things they regret, or they don’t like about themselves, and even Paul had issues.

In the movie, he was sleeping, and the dreams of his past when he persecuted Christians haunted him. The devil’s angel of condemnation was visiting him trying to undermine his faith. Can you imagine Paul’s conversation with God?

Paul:
Please God let me out of prison and give me my life back!

God:
My grace is sufficient for you.

Paul:
I cannot handle living this way!

God:
My grace is sufficient for you.

Paul:
Please, God, take away my thorn in my side.

God:
My grace is sufficient for you.

Why didn’t God make Paul free or take away his thorn? He had the power to do it. Couldn’t Paul do more for Christ on the outside of the prison rather than inside? We think we know how the story should go but God has His own higher plan. Things we cannot see coming. We must rely on faith as Paul did.

With his thorn in his side, whatever that might have been, Paul said he delighted in his weakness. Do we resign to be miserable or can we make a conscious decision of choosing to delight and even boast in our weaknesses as Paul did? I know that the thought of this is painful because all of us really just want to be fixed, but what if that isn’t in the plan? That’s a hard thing to wrap your head around, I know.

The best thing we can do is trust in God’s bigger plan and rest in Him. Easier said than done sometimes, isn’t it? We are to have the faith of a child. Sometimes a child does not fully comprehend a situation and has to trust their parents to take care of them. We should do the same with God. We are His children, and we can trust Him.

 

bible3.jpg
Faith Comes From Hearing the Word Romans 10:17

 

 

How did I get to the point of just trusting God?

I look at scriptures to find my faith and trust. Reading the Word creates faith through the Holy Spirit. I study it by reading different versions to make sure I understand the content.  It is also important to know what context of the verse or verses such as who wrote it, to whom it was written and the culture at the time it was written.

I also read Bible commentaries that you can find online. (Scroll down the page on Bible Gateway, and you will find the free Matthew Henry’s Commentary for the Bible.)

We need to believe the truths that we have been given in the Bible and apply it to our lives. 

Praying also helps. Do you let Satan push you to your knees in despair or does it put you on your knees in prayer? Tell your thoughts to God. Tell him all of them. He can handle it, I promise. He already knows how you feel, but He wants you to tell him; so just say it out loud and get it in the light of Jesus. Sometimes we fear what God thinks of us, but we need to look at ourselves the way God looks at us. Do not be ashamed and allow God’s love to flow over you. It’s ok to be honest with God.

What hard questions are you asking God today?

How do you handle your “thorn in your side?”

Are you asking God to take your body out of the prison of your illness or are you choosing to delight in your weakness and boast in Christ’s strength?

What do you think Paul’s thorn was?

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

 

 

Bible Verse from The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Photo Credits:

Photo by Jacob Meyer on Unsplash

Movie Photo by CTMG

Photo by Alex Woods on Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

Can You Have Chronic Pain and Still Feel Blessed?

Reading Time 2 min 42 sec

I have been unable to sleep tonight due to the burning pain in my back and the vice grip feeling in my leg. I just pushed myself too hard last week, and I am still feeling it and regretting it. There is always a give and take when you live with chronic pain. To continue living, you need to accept that some of your “reward” for trying to continue living full lives will be pain and that may come in the form of physical or emotional suffering. They are tied together, but how do you reconcile the “reward” of earthly pain and still feel blessed?

I came across this commentary about feeling blessed even when your world feels upside down and out of control. Read Matthew 5:1-11 aloud.

Matthew 5:1-11 New International Version (NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes(A)

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(B)
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.(C)
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.(D)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.(E)
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.(F)
Blessed are the pure in heart,(G)
    for they will see God.(H)
Blessed are the peacemakers,(I)
    for they will be called children of God.(J)
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,(K)
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(L)

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you,(M) persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.(N)

 

woman in bed
http://www.validatingchronicpain.com

Really? I am supposed to feel blessed right now at 3 a.m. while I am unable to sleep due to the burning shooting pains in my back and the vice grip on my leg and foot? I am also worried about how bad tomorrow is going to be and when will I get a break from the relentless pain. It has taken a while to digest the reality of these verses, but here is a commentary to help put it in a higher perspective.

“Blessed” translates the Greek word makarios. It could be rendered as “happy” or “fortunate” if those words aren’t taken in a shallow, emotional way. Makarios is a state of existence in relationship to God in which a person is “blessed” from God’s perspective even when he or she doesn’t feel happy or isn’t presently experiencing good fortune. Negative feelings, absence of feeling, or adverse conditions cannot take away the blessedness of those who exist in relationship with God.” (Emphasis is mine.)
————————————-
Michael J. Wilkins. The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 204.

 

IMG_1356
http://www.validatingchronicpain.com

In this sermon, Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded — but perhaps not in this life. I am so thankful for this hope I have that one day I will put on a new infallible body in heaven. There will be no pain, no night, and no crying. That’s my reward for being faithful. Everything I am feeling tonight will be gone. I feel like I can’t wait for that day, but I must.

In the meantime, I have to hold time to Jesus’ teachings. There is still work to do, and that will include daily pain. When I get to heaven, I hope God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

So, yes, I feel very blessed by God that I have chronic pain. That may sound crazy, but it all has contributed to who I am today. God is refining me for something special — the day I return home.
Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Follow on Facebook @ChronicPainWithAHigherPerspective

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The author has added italics in Scripture quotations for emphasis.
Photo Credits: Cindy Dawson/Free Images/Pixaby

Chronic Pain, Fear and God’s Promises

Reading time 4 minutes 45 seconds

I’m just going to be honest. I’m struggling really bad this week. So many factors are affecting me at one time, and it’s adding anxiety and depression to my chronic pain. Maybe you are experiencing similar feelings:

The let down after all the Christmas excitement goes away.
The miserable cold, dreary weather that has left me unable to get out of the house for days.
The increasing physical pain due to the cold weather.
The frightening news that unfolds every day seemingly getting unbelievably worse all the time creating fear about the future.
Family illnesses and elderly parents.
And as I round the corner to turning 50, I’m feeling a lot of regrets and other personal struggles…

discouragement
http://www.ValidatingChronicPain.com

I’ll stop listing things, so I don’t increase your anxiety and make you depressed, but all of the things have one thing in common: fear. Some type of fear factors into each one of the events I mentioned, mostly about the future.

The Psalms address David’s fear through his poetry or songs. I had a hard time understanding how the Psalms could be applied to me since it seemed that David was being attacked by Saul physically; he had earthly enemies. I don’t think I have any human enemies. I don’t have anyone that wishes to do me bodily harm as David did. But it dawned on me that my enemy is the devil. So when I read the Psalms, I will substitute “enemies” with “the devil” because fear comes from the devil. He increases the alarm bells to get your focus off of God. The devil is trying to keep you busy with worrying so you will not have peace. Worrying is useless for us, only causing emotional and physical pain but very productive for the devil. He is trying to stop the spread of God’s kingdom.

If you have a relationship with God, then the devil does not have your soul or your eternity, but the devil will do anything to misguide you off the correct path — a little fear, mixed up with anxiety can swell into depression. He can renderer us helpless if we let him. We just have to keep fighting the fear with the Holy Spirit leading us.

Psalm 37 has many powerful verses full of God’s promises proclaiming that if we trust (trust that His plan is better than what we can see) in the Lord, we will find peace: a release of fearful anxiety and depression. But there are things that we must do. God very plainly says do “this,” and you will endure. It’s hard work sometimes so surround yourself with people that will help you back up.

Psalm 37 (NIV)

Verse 1: Do not fret. Bottom line: God commands us not to worry.

Verse 3: Trust in the Lord and do good. Ask God to help you with your unbelief and trust Him.

Verse 4: Take delight in the Lord. Find joy in knowing who God is and what He has done for you.

Verse 5: Commit your way to the Lord. Determine to do good.

Verse 7: Be still before the Lord. Pray and read scripture and listen to God to speak – not audibly but through the Bible. Everything you need to know is in the Bible.

Verse 7: Wait patiently for Him. Sometimes we think God should move faster. Trust me; He knows what your timeline should be like better than you do.

Verse 8: Refrain from anger and turn from wrath. Do not become bitter. Constant disappointments or physical pain can make you lose hope and become angry. Pray about this if you are mad at God for your situation.

Verse 27: Turn from evil and do good. Again, determine to do good.

Verse 34: Hope in the Lord and keep His way. Lay your burdens at His feet.

Each of these commands from God requires us to analyze our immediate surroundings. When I feel anxiety coming on, I try to ask myself a few questions like, Am I safe right at this moment? What can I do right now to address the fear/anxiety immediately? If there is nothing I can do, then I tell myself over and over that I have done everything in my power that I can do about the situation and lay the worries at the foot of the Cross. If I don’t “Let go and Let God,” I feel it emotionally with anxiety and depression and physically with increased chronic pain.

I believe there is a direct correlation between emotional pain and physical pain. High anxiety or a bout of depression can increase your pain for many reasons. I know for me it is because when I’m worried or depressed, I tense up every muscle in my body.  It is a never-ending cycle. Stress increases pain, and then pain increases stress and so on.  Our lives are just so complicated which gives way to more emotions than we can handle and we go in to fight or flight mode. I become completely overwhelmed.

This is when I use scripture to help me with the devil’s schemes. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t read scripture and BOOM! I have peace, and my pain is gone. It is a daily, sometimes, hourly struggle. Today, I’m in a minute by minute mode. So, I know how you feel. Just keep picking yourself back up by surrounding yourself with positivity and scripture is the best place to start. I also encourage you to write down thoughts.  Whether you share it or not doesn’t matter. Either way, writing or journaling can create meaning and purpose and hope just for yourself, but if you share it, you can reach others helping them at the same time.  We need to be there for each other. You don’t have to go through this alone.

I want to end with a devotion prayer I read for today. The book is called “Daily Gratitude” with contributing writer, Joanne Mattern.  It was given to me last year by a dear friend. I could not find a link to share with you, but Amazon has many others to choose from. Just search “daily gratitude in Books.”

This prayer reminds me while my body is in pain, and maybe even my mind is too, I still need to find something to be grateful for because God dwells in me.  There is something extraordinary about acknowledging God’s spirit living in you through the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 3:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Creator God,

Thank you for this body. Thank you for the gift of movement, the gift of touch, the gift of laughter.  When I ‘m at odds with my body, please help me focus my thoughts to what my body can do and the ways it can serve you.  Thank you for the nerves and synapses, arteries and brain cells, that make me who I am, Your Creation.  Amen

Cindy

Disclaimer