Thursday, December 15, 2016

Into Introversion

I'm feeling so isolated these days.  I have had to back away from any form of ministry except to my kids and husband.  I am naturally introverted and I can feel myself becoming more and more introverted.  Have you ever been alone so much that you forget how to talk to people?  You make crazy interpersonal fopauxs when you go to the store or are out after a long time??  It's crazy and embarrassing.  I want
to re-enter the world, but when I do, if I overdo at all, then I end up bedridden for a couple weeks.  Overdoing means talking to several people at church, or trying to understand conversation in Hindi for an hour, or even just doing mental work for a couple hours at home.  It doesn't take much.

My body cannot handle stress anymore. I never realized that working on mental work was stress.  Or talking to people after church.  Or driving for an hour.  Or...  just about anything it seems.  I pray to God He restores my body.  But like Apostle Paul, I am learning to be content in whatever situation God allows.

I prefer to be well, but that means I'm a hermit.   God help me to dig into your Word. Help me rest in the reality of You. I know that when I am alone and unable to be with friends, that you are with me and I am not really alone, ever.   You are constant. Even when I cannot read the Bible or remember what I read. You are with me.  I love the Mandisa song by that title, "You are with me."  You are with me.  Help me walk in the spirit here in whatever circumstances I am in and bring glory to You even in the silence of my house right now.  To give You praise and glory for You are Good. and You are faithful. And I will worship You.  I love You. And I need You...always.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Back to Abiding

Four years ago, I fell ill with two autoimmune diseases.  My life went from being active to being sedentary in a matter of days.  The steroid medication I needed to curb the inflammation of these diseases caused it's own trouble: full body swelling (I went from size 10 to 1x within a month), my face changed into a moon shaped face,my hair kept falling, I had pain all over my body, and fatigue made it hard to do even the most simple tasks (ever feel like you are walking through knee deep thick mud with every step?). My medicated and foggy brain did not allow me to remember or focus on anything I read.  So I put the Bible aside and worked at fixing my mind on the truth I have known and waited for God to bring me through.  His truth sustained me. The truth He taught me in the years before.

Four years later, I am able to drive and am starting to read my Bible.  I still get fatigued and have pain sometimes, but it is not nearly as bad.  I'm able to attend church sometimes and I can go shopping with my daughter.  I still have a hard time being around too many people, especially people I do not now. It just takes too much energy still.  But Today, I have the morning to myself.  Our sons are settled in their own apartment in another city. Our daughter is at school and my husband is out at a meeting.  I have quiet time and I am enjoying it.  I spent time in the Word this morning and reflected on faith and the closeness of God.  I have not always "felt" close to God during this illness.  Some days I tried not to feel at all.  I would drown out the pain with movies or shows on Netflix.  I would wait until I could regroup and regain composure, lessen the pain and re-enter family life.  But today I am reminded that even though at times I did not feel close to God, God was always close to me.  He was in me. Going through this sickness with me.  And I was in Him.  Held close and protected as He allowed me to go through this process.  God allowed this time of sickness and I pray He will show me more and more what He wants me to learn, how He wants me to grow.  I'm sure He has grown me in ways I cannot even see or am aware of.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Regaining Strength

For three years I have struggled physically with autoimmune diseases. I am finally beginning to feel better.  Strength is returning. I'm off medications.  Now I need to rebuild my body. I begin physiotherapy today and must refocus on my diet. You may have noticed that it's been difficult for me to write.  My mind has been foggy from medications, my body has been plagued with pain and fatigue. I'm very grateful for my family loving and caring for me. I'm grateful for my friends who have stood by me, those who visited and messaged me.  Having a chronic illness was a new and very challenging journey for me.  My main goal these past three years was to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus as the author and perfecter of my faith. 

Now I hope to write again and to learn and dig back into the word of God.  
I love the word of God.  I love how my spirit agrees with God's Spirit as I read the word of God.  He speaks to me. He confirms His love, His passion, His supply.  He sustains me through His word.

I started this blog because I had struggled with sensing God's presence and walking in His power.  As I talked with a dear friend, I realized that I had not fully understood the gospel, the actual reality of what the death and resurrection of Jesus means. I had given my life to Jesus years before and God dramatically changed my life. I was saved, but as time went on my life began to lack power.  Joy waned.  And I had a hard time figuring out how to return to what I had known as a new believer. Somewhere along the way, I think I began to work for what I cannot work for.  To strive when striving accomplished nothing.   I needed to learn the secret of abiding in Christ.  

My journey began with focusing on the book of Galatians, led to Ephesians, all through Corinthians, the book of John, 1 John and then I settled in Romans for a long time. The truth of God's amazing salvation and the abundance He gives us in Christ. And now I am back in Ephesians and each line speaks to me.  It sometimes helps  me to personalize the Bible. This is a personalization of Ephesians 2.

 I was dead in my transgressions and sins.  I had lived in them, following the age of this world, the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient, who was at work in me.  All of us once lived among the disobedient in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses. I was by nature a child of wrath, as were we all.  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love He has for me (for us), even when I was dead in my transgressions, brought me to life with Christ (by grace I have been saved), and raised me up with Him, and seated me with Him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.  For by grace, I have been saved through faith, and this is not from me, it is the gift of God;  it is not from anything I did, any works of my own, so that I cannot boast in myself.  For I am His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works God prepared in advance that I should walk in them.

Before giving our lives to Jesus, we were dead.  Spiritually dead.  Our bodies were alive, but the core of who we were was dead, separated from the life-giving God.  When we surrendered to Jesus in faith, asking Him to forgive our sin and take it away, God brought us to life with Christ and seated us with Christ in the heavenly realm in Him.  What an amazing reality this is.  This is our home. In Christ. Where there is no sin.  In Christ. Where there is ever lasting joy. Where there is ever lasting peace.  In Christ. Forgiven and made new...forever.  Why?  Because of God's great mercy. Because of His love for us.  Because of His grace. Not treating us as our sin deserves.  This salvation is a gift of God. It is nothing we can earn. We could never be good enough or do enough good deeds to attain this salvation. Only through the blood of Jesus who paid the price for our sin. Only with Him. Only in Him. By grace.  

Thank you God for your great love toward us.  Help this love to sink in. Help us to feel it and to know it's true. To experience life with you in the heavenly realm while we live out this life right where you have placed us.

Ephesians 2
You were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ[e] (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. 10 For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.