Tag: pain

prayer comes in many forms and colors

Pain hurts. Now there’s a “Duh”.

I have the greatest empathy for anyone who suffers chronic pain. It’s no fun.

As you know,  I’ve had numerous foot surgeries. For the past two years, I’ve been able to walk without limping and without pain.

Until yesterday.

Even the limp is back. Needless to say, I’ve been discouraged. There’s pain in places in my foot I wouldn’t have thought could cause pain!

Now, this is not to elicit your sympathy. It’s just to acknowledge that pain is very much a part of the Christian’s experience.

I’m always amazed at those Christians who are proponents of the “Christians don’t hate to experience pain. We can pray ourselves right out of it.”

Hmmm. Do you think they would have dared tell Jesus that as he hung on the cross?

I don’t think so.

But it’s not just physical pain where Christians are not exempt. It’s the emotional pain as well and this garners even more disdain from those Christians I dub the “Christians for whom everything is always wonderful.”

Just wait.

If one’s lives long enough, they will experience some emotional pain. How traumatic it is, whether it results in true depression or not, might well depend on their willingness to admit it.

Maybe there’s something to be said for experience some pain before you have to experience a whole lot of it. Hopefully, I’ve already reached my “quota”.

But there’s to be learned from pain.

First of all, we get a “sampling” of what Jesus suffered for us.

Secondly, we learn to trust more. Wouldn’t you agree that our faith grows more during difficult times?. I wish it wasn’t so, but I’m afraid it is.

Third, pain, in all its forms, keeps us humble. Somehow when we’re in pain, it’s easier to empathize with others.

Since my mom died, I’ve found it easier to empathize with the pain others feel when they lose a loved one. Up to this point, I feel I fell short. The last year, and especially the final six months were particularly hard due to the dementia. So when I ran into a couple who were having a garage sale and they shared they had moved back to the area to take care of the women’s father who had dementia, I knew what to say. I was able to share the pain I had felt. I hope it helped.

Pain should make us more “open” and understanding of another’s pain.

I’ve never lost my home to a natural disaster, the type of which is hammering Texas.  I did have a tree fall on our house many years ago and I remember how I felt then. While that was nothing in comparison, I can take my mind a little further and think, “What if my whole house had been destroyed?” To me, losing my home is the second rung on the ladder of disasters, with death and/0r a terrible prognosis being at the top.

Recently, I went through a season of pain with someone. Watching them suffer broke my heart. I felt helpless but I wasn’t.

I prayed hard. Not just in the morning either, but throughout the day and every time they’re name came to mind , which was just about all the time.

That’s the skill we hone when it’s someone else’s’ pain. We really learn how to strip aside all our fancy words; we learn how to “get real” in our prayers.

We cry out.

We don’t worry about whether we are being too honest or not. (Is that even possible?)

We set aside our “genteel” notions about prayer.

We pray a whole lot more like Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Maybe that’s the biggest benefit of pain-learning to pray better.

God bless and remember there isn’t anything you can’t say to God.

 

decision-making

How to make good decisions?-part two

(This post today was a follow-up to yesterday’s post. This happened four years ago and I had kind of forgotten about it. That’s what is so great about blogging. I have a record of past events.

I was very vague when I wrote this but now with the recent death of my mom, I can tell you this post was about her. I loved her very much. I still do. But we had some difficult times. I tried really hard to make her happy. Sometimes I know I did but I often felt inadequate because I didn’t know what else to do. 

I can tell you now that this was about a trip to Florida. My husband and I love our two weeks away. He loves fishing there. I love the beach. To cancel our trip would’ve been a big deal. We had already reserved our usual place, stopped the mail, were packed etc.

The day before we were to leave, my mother told me she felt really sick.. I saw her every day and she had not mentioned it the day before.  It seemed she only had a cold with a slight cough.  When I asked her how long she had felt “really bad,” she said “days”.  I was not happy that she had sprung this on me at the last-minute knowing we had been planning this trip for months. I told her she was going to the doctor the very next morning then if she was that sick. She balked but I insisted.

I took her to the doctor the very next day and she was diagnosed with bronchitis. This was the day we were to have left for our trip. We cancelled it. And while I didn’t like it, I knew I couldn’t just go off and leave her.  Before you say, “Well, of course not,” I need to tell you my brother lived with her. He had lived with her about four years and lived with her until her death.  But let’s just say I was the one who kept on top of her health. I wasn’t sure he would take proper care of her. 

I look back and am very happy with that decision. God knew there was no way I could go off with a clear conscience and so he made it clear what I should do. Yes, my husband was fully supportive. I didn’t mope or carry-on or any such thing. I had a real peace.

The following post is all about that process of decision-making.)

 

 I just want you to know that my decision-making process has begun all over again because of new developments.  Developments that took me by surprise and threaten to completely mess everything up.

Remember I said in the last post that I was counting on God to make it clear if I am to change course. I should’ve added that it’s sometimes hard to know if God is telling us to change course or if it’s the enemy’s (you can call him what you want) way of causing us to doubt what God has revealed.  This can be very difficult to figure out.

There are some who would say otherwise, that God always makes things crystal clear, but I try to avoid contact with these people because it has been my experience that those people generally live with their heads in the clouds.) It would be wonderful if life were easy to figure out. Maybe for some people it is. Their life is easy; things just fall into place. My life is not like that right now-not at all.  It’s complicated. Very. And just a few hours ago, it got a lot more complicated.

So how will I know now what to do? I have a very narrow window to make a decision.  I’m honestly not trying to be vague. But the details of what’s happening in my life or yours are not as important as discussing this whole business of decision-making overall. I need to be general enough to help everyone. But if I’m aware of that, you ask, why can’t I just move on? Well, this same person is very elderly and not emotionally stable having suffered severe depressive episodes their entire life. Our decision is whether we leave on a trip tomorrow or not. If I had days to write and you had days to read, I still wouldn’t be able to explain it all to you. It’s that involved.

You can know that this is an elderly person who is not emotionally stable and has suffered severe depressive episodes their entire life.  Consequently, sometimes it’s hard to know if there is a valid crisis or not. Our decision is whether we leave on a trip tomorrow or not. If I had days to write and you had days to read, I still wouldn’t be able to explain it all to you. The history with this person is that complicated.

So once again I’m on my knees, if only figuratively. This morning the decision was made to go. We’ve rented the car. We’ve stopped the mail. We’re packed. Are you getting the picture? Now I’m having to reconsider. But I’m very proud of the fact that once again wisdom has been provided and once again I’m on the right track in my thinking. Tomorrow’s doctor’s appointment will seal the deal one way or the other.

I am hoping this will now be an easy decision to make but considering this person’s history, it won’t be. This is leading me to make an important point about decision-making.

A decision that is right for us may not feel that way to someone else. As long as God is behind our decision, it’s ok.

What do we do if our decision is going to cause someone some degree of discomfort? It depends on the degree and who’s going to feel it, doesn’t it?

Whose discomfort is going to be greater? I didn’t realize until I started to post tonight that this is what this decision is all about. Their discomfort or mine? I can handle a lot. I have a track record that proves it.

So here I am tonight. Not looking forward to tomorrow. Knowing there’s no way, no matter what decision I make, that I’m going to come out on top. Finally, God knew all this was going to happen so he must have a plan. Tomorrow it will unfold. I am trusting God will once again put a stumbling block in the way if going ahead with our trip is wrong. If he doesn’t I’m going to assume it’s still a go.

But God knew all this was going to happen so he must have a plan. Tomorrow it will unfold. I am trusting God will once again put a stumbling block in the way if going ahead with our trip is wrong. If he doesn’t I’m going to assume it’s still a go.

God is not a God of confusion. Scripture is clear about that. If I’m confused tomorrow about what to do, it will be my own confusion that I must muddle through.

God bless and I hope you have an non-confused day.

john-salvino-282508

When our soul is in despair

I had a rough week last week. My IBS was in high gear again. I had lots of discomfort and it brought my mood down. No, let me be honest. It wasn’t discomfort. That’s like a doctor saying, “This is going to be a little uncomfortable.” You’ve all been there, haven’t you? It wasn’t uncomfortable, it was painful. Have you ever had severe cramping from the flu? Well, imagine something like that on a regular basis.

And can I just say, I hate not feeling one hundred percent?

One of the Psalms I read last week was all about this very thing. It’s one of my favorites for when I’m having a bad day. So reread it every day last week.

The psalmist asks, “Hey, soul, why are you so upset?” (Verses 5 & 11) (My translation)

And then the responsibility for my soul’s well-being is laid clearly on my own shoulders. That part I don’t like.

“Hope in God for I will praise him once again. Remember what God has done.” (Verses 6 & 11)

“Hope”, and “remember”. Two great words.

When we remember how God has delivered us in the past, we have hope for the future.

That doesn’t mean we don’t or even shouldn’t hate times of pain. Who would even suggest that?

And I don’t think it means we have to label our sufferings as somehow “holy”. The truth is that most of us don’t have “holy” pain. I get very weary of followers of Christ downplaying pain. Seems to me Christ didn’t. Sweating tears of blood certainly indicate anguish to me.

We are human begins first and just because we are followers of Christ doesn’t mean we don’t suffer; this same Christ whom we follow certainly did. His disciples certainly did.

We all have to find our way to cope when it comes to our struggles. For me, hope meant I went on with my day and worked around my pain the best I could. It meant I examined what I’ve been eating or haven’t been eating. It meant I rested more. (Which I hate by the way. My boredom level is pretty low.)

But I constantly reminded myself that as long as I live, hope exists. It’s up to me to talk to my soul and tell it to hope. It’s up to me to remember God’s  faithfulness.

Thank goodness, I’m feeling better but I’m kind of holding my breath. I’ve been here before. But that’s the thing about life. We either learn to roll with the punches or we’re going to get run over. (I looked for some funny images to insert here and oh, my gosh, some were so graphic they turned my stomach, so I just quit looking. I’ll let your imagination come up with something funny.)

God bless and have a good day. I’m hoping I do.

Joshua 2016

Today is the first day of an exhausting week.

Today begins a week with our seven-year-old grandson. This is is third summer visit. He is quite something. Kind of an old soul in a kid’s body. He says and does the funniest things.

Last year he asked us if he could watch a certain movie, can’t even remember which one now. I asked him, ” What do you think your mom would say?”

He replied, “Well, you’re the adults in charge so it’s your decision.”  Remember, he was six at the time.

I need to let you know it backfired on him later when I told him no about something and he told me, “My mom lets me do it”. And, of course, I reminded him that I was the adult in charge. Hah!

It will be a fun-filled week of gorging on popcorn and cheese puffs. We’ll have an ice cream cone every day.  We’ll fish. We’ll hike. We’ll go to the beach. We’ll watch movies. We’ll do crafts. I have a bunch of stuff ready.

We will head up to the cabin on Wednesday where there will be mostly fishing and his favorite activity which I unwisely came up with last year and now it’s
“thing” with him.

We have a rope hammock set up between two trees. We pretend it’s a ship and we’re on the high seas. There are holes in the hammock where we put our “oars”, which are two long walking sticks that we have painted. We are chased by pirates, almost eaten by Pirhana, shipwrecked, you name it. Anything that can befall our vessel does. We have to paddle really fast to stay ahead of all the dangers.

I worried that I wouldn’t be up to this year because of my mom’s recent death. But I have decided I am going to give it my best shot. I’m telling myself it will be good for me.

cabin Joshua 2016

 

Joshua 2016

 

Joshua 2016

joshua cabin 2016

I was thinking today about life, how as one life ends somewhere another is beginning somewhere. Even though we grieve our loss, we must always remember that it’s our loss.  And our loss doesn’t mean someone else can’t be happy. I can remember when my husband had open heart surgery and it bothered me a lot that people in the waiting room were laughing and talking while I was scared to death and going through hell wondering if our life together was over.

I look back and realize I was wrong. Sadness and happiness are always happening simultaneously. That’s the nature of life. I think when we can step back and look at the big picture it helps us cope. It doesn’t take away the pain, of course, and I don’t think it should because:

Without pain there is no happiness. You can’t recover from something;  you can’t get over someone until you pass through the valley.

I wish it weren’t so but it is.

So this week I’m going to be a kid again myself. I’m going to give my grandson the best of me. His life is just beginning. I want it to be filled with as many good memories of his time with his Grandpa as we can give him.

But do think of me. When the week is over, I’m going to be exhausted!!!!!

God bless and I hope you have a calm week.

doubting my ability to cope

doubting my ability to cope tomorrow

I’m sitting here watching my little five-year-old grandson play with his toys.

Everyone is gone but him and me. He’s oblivious to my pain. He’s absorbed in his own world, just like a five-year-old should be. He looks at me and giggles and I smile.

How can I smile the night before I look on my mother’s face one last time?

The funeral is tomorrow. How am I going to do this?

I’ve done really good today, too good maybe. Does that make me uncaring? Am I insulting her?

God promises peace in the worst of times and this is most definitely the worst of times. I’m glad my little guys are here. Maybe looking on their faces will help me keep it together.

I wonder how anyone does this. Says goodbye with such finality.

A dear friend of mine just lost her sister the day before my mother died. We’re both Christian women who know God will sustain us in this loss. But we both agreed we still want them with us.

Such is the selfishness that plagues us all.

And yet it occurs to me, it’s a good thing to feel this pain. Wouldn’t it be awful to lose a mother and feel nothing? I should add my mother loved me with her whole heart. I told her once years ago, that I would never desert her, no matter what and that I would be with her to the end.

I was. To the very end.

 

 

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