Practice the Pause

In my wisdom years, I am learning more the value of the pause, and one day at a time, making every day count, which is really all we have, right? We live daily until our last breath, then there’s the afterlife.

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Only God knows what tomorrow will bring, much more each single day beyond that.

Here’s what I know: you are alive today. Your people need your love and full presence. When your time (or your beloved’s time) comes to leave this earth, let it be with love, knowing you did your best.

A final note: When a loved one departs, don’t make any big decisions for awhile, you will not be able to make wise choices so soon. Allow the memories to wash over you, along with some mixed thoughts and feelings.

You may feel alone in this necessary time of processing the great loss, and you will come through it. You are not alone, and will never be. God has you, and you have God.

Mental Health and Faith

Inspired and adapted through an article in “Rethink Church”

Depression… anxiety… inability to concentrate… mood changes… trouble relating to people… low energy… feeling hostile towards others… excessive worry… feeling unable to cope with stress… excessive drug or alcohol consumption…

An inability to deal with mental health symptoms is not always an indication of sin in your life. In some cases it might be an indication of illness–and may need to be treated as any other illness gets treated (with a doctor’s help).

“in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; until the destroying storms pass by.” [Psalm 57:1]

In many ways, we are bound to one another. So when one person suffers, we all encounter suffering. This passage is just one of many that remind of our connectedness: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.” [1 Corinthians 12:26]

If you or a friend need help, please take that step and reach out to someone you trust.

Psychology Today offers a referral site. If you have suicidal thoughts call a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use its webchat on suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.

Bible in One Year 2022 Nicky Gumbel

Jesus healed a man who had been an disabled for thirty-eight years (John 5:5). The man must have been desperate: he had been putting his hope in the healing powers of the waters of Bethesda, which would bubble up periodically, and it was thought that the first person in after the waters bubbled up would be healed. But this man had no one to help him get in first (v.7).

He had no friends, no close family. Nobody cared for him. He was alone and abandoned. Nobody loved him, but Jesus loved him.

Jesus says to him, as he says to each one of us, ‘Do you want to get well?’ (v.6). For thirty-eight years, this man had learned to survive as he was. Now he has to rise up, make choices, find new friends, find work and become responsible for his life.

Joyce Meyer writes of this incident that, in effect, Jesus said to the man, ‘Don’t just lie there, do something!’ She continues, ‘Being sexually abused for approximately fifteen years and growing up in a dysfunctional home left me lacking confidence and filled with shame. I wanted to have good things in my life, but I was stuck in emotional torment and despair.

‘Like the man in John 5, Jesus did not give me pity either. Jesus was actually very firm with me and He applied a lot of tough love, but His refusal to let me wallow in self-pity was a turning point in my life. I am not in the pit any longer. I now have a great life. If you will reject self-pity, actively look to God and do what He instructs you to do, you can have a great life too.’

Pneumonia is Hard

Neighbors, our first responders did sign up for this, and are well and continually trained, including natural compassion. Call when you need them.

I have been as ill with this pneumonia as I was with Covid last fall. I almost called our first responders a few nights ago at 2:30 a.m., but didn’t want to bother them. At the same time, I knew that was irrational thinking from my high fever, rigors, and erratic heart rate.

I did necessarily go to E.R. for several hours the next day, got wonderful care at Unity Health, witnessed infinite patience and compassion as staff faced all manner of extreme cases arrive. We agreed I would go home and keep in close contact with our medical team.

Now I am on the healing side, thanks be to God’s mercy and a just-right-for-me husband (aka caregiver).

Holiday Sadness – Oxymoron?

Pain is often more pronounced during any holiday season.  Be sensitive to people you know, listen more than talk, really hear and care – without criticizing or insisting that they’re wrong, or offering unsolicited advice.  We can do better, be better, caring about difficult people, the ones who make us feel uncomfortable.  Take time to care, in ways they need most.

Ask God to open your eyes and ears to those who need you.  Loan them your faith, through your presence, if you can.  Grace and peace.

Cancer. Again.

If you’re dealing with cancer – either your own or someone you love, do not feel obligated to hide or “handle it” perfectly.

In my chaplain role, oncology patients have taught me so much.  One spunky, very ill, older woman said she had so much cancer in her family that she always knew without a doubt that her turn would come to battle it.  She already studied a lot on the subject, to help support family members.  She felt well-prepared for the time when it knocked on her own door.

She told me that when it actually happened to her, she realized she wasn’t as “good” at cancer as she thought she would be – it turned her world upside down and she had a much harder time emotionally than she expected to.  She ended up with the same fears, devastating thoughts and initial hopelessness that she saw in others.

Another woman I spoke with said the worst for her was losing her hair, no matter how perfect her wig was.  She didn’t feel like a woman anymore.  Another woman didn’t care so much about the hair stuff, but she could barely deal with losing a breast, and now she was losing the second one.   One man was sure his wife would not love him anymore, but would only stay with him out of obligation, hoping to find a “whole” man after he passed.

This cancer monster is so diverse and sneaky in the way it attacks each person!  It attacks ones psyche, spirit and body.  It finds each person’s own unique vulnerabilities and attacks.

If you are in a place where you can hear this, take heart and have full confidence in the presence of God in every aspect of your life.  Even cancer.  This is really hard.  You are a whole person, who happens to have cancer.  At times you may feel consumed by it, defined by it, in ways no one else can know.

Please know at least this one thing, beloved, God does care and will never leave you.  You are not alone, even in those dark quiet moments, when anguish washes over you.  God’s Holy Spirit accompanies each of us into our most personal battles, even the ones where we feel so alone and abandoned – He IS with you now and every tomorrow.

Peace be with your spirit,  RevDonnaH