Why the psalms?

Many times over the last two years as I’ve had multiple brain surgeries I have received so many comments such as, “You are so brave!” Ha…this is so far from true…

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably seen psalms that I’ve written and shared, and something that I think is often misunderstood is why these are written.

I will use one as an example:

“By You, oh Lord, I stand upright.
When I trust in You, I shall not be discouraged;
For Your plan cannot be set aside,
And Your time cannot be delayed.”

When I write this, it is not because I easily trust in God, never become discouraged, and think things are going just like they should. Quite the opposite.

“Who holds their head above Your own?
Whose throne stands over the Creator of life?”

I certainly do not write these because God needs to hear them…more like I need to hear them. I need to remind myself these things…like, constantly.

“You know my every suffering;
No pain goes on unnoticed.
By my side You walk with me;
You’ve given me life by giving up Your own.”

As I write these psalms, it is a sort of confirmation of choosing to take on the mind of Christ…instead of my own selfish, worrisome, conceited thoughts.

“Only You bring peace to my soul and true joy to my heart.
You made my very being–who can better satisfy?”

I can hardly imagine having a life without God. He is the fuel that keeps me burning. Even though at times I am a tiny flicker, ain’t nothin’ gonna put me out! 😉

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Awestruck

You, my God, are faithful to me.
When I am hurting you are with me;

When I am afraid You bring me peace–
Never do I walk alone.

In my life with You I have found hope;
By Your forgiveness I have been set free.

By Your presence I am…awestruck.
Your grace fills my heart to overflowing.

Thank You…thank You.

“My God, why have You forsaken me?”

Just as Jesus asked right before He died on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” sometimes as we take up our cross to follow Christ we will feel forsaken, but God is always in control. Jesus came back to life and conquered death…often times it is right before our greatest victories that we have our times of feeling like giving up, like we have been forsaken, and like we have no strength left. Don’t give up! With EVERY victory there is a challenge!!!

Intuition

So…this is a short story that I’ve shared with friends and family numerous times over the years since it happened but never got around to sharing on my blog:

Driving home from work one day, I was in the left lane, not far from where I’d be making a left turn. There was a pickup truck in front of me with a ladder strapped onto a rack over the back. I became very uneasy about it and, despite the inconvenience, moved over. Immediately after moving over, the ladder fell from the truck, crashing on the ground next to me. I was a bit shaken the rest of the way home as it was very evident that had I not moved over the ladder would have gone through my windshield. (At a speed of 55mph, no less)

Some might say it was God speaking to me, others might call it intuition, and still others (including myself) say a bit of both. Whichever it is, it’s God I thank for it since He’s the very One that gives us gifts such as intuition.

Point of sharing this story:

God gives us gifts all the time, and a crazy percentage of them go unnoticed. This was just one example of a gift that was offered to me, and thankfully, I accepted. It’s easy to decline gifts without even meaning to, and in my opinion, this is most often due to distraction. What if my mind was overrun with anger? Would I have still had that feeling I should not be behind that truck?

Just as there is an unending list of gifts, there is an unending list of things that can be distracting us away from those gifts, many of which aren’t inherently bad, just…distracting.

So I want to encourage you to become more aware of your surroundings. Look for gifts and for things that are distracting you from those gifts. Remember your purpose and calling, cutting back–or better yet, cutting out–anything that is pulling you away. As Barney Fife would say, “Nip it in the bud!”

Surgery Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared an update, so for the sake of any curious followers, I thought I’d share a bit:

For those who don’t know, I have had epilepsy for about 10 years. About a year and a half ago, it was decided we’d go through the tests necessary to move forward with getting epilepsy surgery. (Where they remove the part of my brain where seizures are starting) I ended up getting a Neuropace instead, which is a pacemaker of sorts for the brain that “zaps” (painlessly, of course ;)) seizures–mainly because it seemed safer.

Inconveniently, I was the surgeon’s first lucky patient to have a CSF leak, two infections, 18 weeks of antibiotics, and eventually, after 6 different operations, the Neuropace removed. (Crazy year and a half!) It’s been a challenging yet learning experience, to say the least.

Today, a test was done that showed the infections are gone, (YES!) and we can start working towards the original plan: to get the “focus” removed. For the next three months, I will be going to PT and basically doing everything possible to get well prepared for surgery before redoing the prep tests. (Surgeries, lack of exercise, and all the antibiotics have set me back a bit)

In a way, things seem pretty clear ahead. But I feel like one of the key things I’ve learned over the last year and a half is not to put my hope in things like surgery, doctors, and my own ideas. There’s still a possibility of the surgery not working out like we want. I may be here today and then gone tomorrow–and that’s okay.

I want my hope to be in Christ who cannot be separated from me and in eternity with Him that cannot be taken away.

“In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.”

– lyrics from “In Christ Alone”

Learn Your Ways

Be my vision, Lord;
When I look down the road ahead of me let it be You that I see.

Let what was of value become worthless and what was my own plan become faded.

May the way be narrow by distinct lines–
May Your Light cast shadows on the ways of this world so that I may be far from them.

Let me not stray away as I follow in Your steps;
Hold me near to Your heart so that I may learn Your ways.

God’s Music

Most who know me know I love music. When asked what my favorite kind of music is, I’ve always said I don’t have a favorite as I typically like listening to some of everything. But tonight, as I listen to the sound of the rain, I’ve decided I do have a favorite–and that is “God’s music”.

I love the sound of hundreds of frogs and crickets at night, (though I’m so NOT a bug or frog fan lol) waves crashing at the beach, voices singing in harmony, the rustling of leaves from the wind, the crackling of a fire, a flowing river, birds in the morning…just to name a few. Perhaps “God’s music” is an unusual title, but as God is the Creator of the “instruments”, the timing, the key, the length of the song, and more, I find it quite fitting.

Just an evening thought… 🙂

I shall not be discouraged

By You, oh Lord, I stand upright.
When I trust in You, I shall not be discouraged;
For Your plan cannot be set aside,
And Your time cannot be delayed.

Who holds their head above Your own?
Whose throne stands over the Creator of life?

You know my every suffering;
No pain goes on unnoticed.
By my side You walk with me;
You’ve given me life by giving up Your own.

Only You bring peace to my soul and true joy to my heart.
You made my very being–who can better satisfy?

Poor memory? No problem!

If you have a hard time remembering things, you’re not the only one. I don’t know for sure why I have poor memory, but it is likely from my epilepsy or medications I take for it…perhaps some of both. Whatever the cause, I’ve had quite a hard time remembering things I learn from the Bible, from basic words to names and references. (And whatever else I’m trying to learn) Perhaps you do too, and if so, I just want to say that’s totally okay–and can even be a good thing.

Being unable to remember verses word for word, where they are, names and such has required me to rely on the Holy Spirit all the more rather than just head knowledge. I still study, despite the things I will forget, and rely on God to guide me and take care of the rest. This verse has always been encouraging to me: (yes, I had to look it up…very grateful for the internet!)

“…for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:12

I’ve always seen having the Holy Spirit inside you as sort of a sixth sense. Often there are things I can just sort of sense that aren’t right, places that I can see the Holy Spirit is leading me to go, convictions and things He is prompting me to do. Thankfully, this isn’t something that requires knowledge. This is something even a young child can experience if they accept it.

What does it mean to accept it?

It requires surrendering.

Allowing God’s capabilities to stand high above our own.

Listening.

Opening our ears to what God is trying to say, even if it’s something we don’t want to hear.

Watching.

Paying close attention to our surroundings, looking for ways we can serve and honor God.

Staying in tune.

So many times God will speak to others through us–or to us through others–often when we don’t even realize it. It is really easy to miss these opportunities if we are not in tune with God. I can say from experience that words are a powerful thing. If the Holy Spirit is prompting you to say encouraging words to your brother or sister, don’t hesitate or let fear get in the way.

Be careful not to rely on yourself or what you know…rely on God.

“It could be worse…”

So, here’s my take on why NOT to be saying, “It could be worse.”

It’s taken years of experience for me to get this figured out. I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 17. For years, I was still able to drive, and would tell myself, “It could be worse…at least I can drive.” After a seizure where I blacked out I lost my license and had to take rides to work, but told myself, “It could be worse…at least I can go to work.” Not much later, the seizures became frequent and became very energy-draining to the point that I could no longer go to work. …I practically fear the words now.

Without realizing it, I was relying on my job, my car, my license–I was relying on myself, not God. When we rely on things, other people, or ourselves, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

We need to rely on God–who is always in control, eternity with Him–that can’t be snatched away, and riches in heaven–which can’t be stolen or become rotted…then, and only then, will we NOT be disappointed!

Now, we still need to be thankful for what God has blessed us with here on earth and need to see what He has blessed us with as not our own, but His, giving all to Him and living according to His purpose. We also need to remember not to worry about tomorrow and that it hurts Him more than it does us when we are suffering.

Instead of saying, “It could be worse.” let’s say, “God knows best.” placing our hope in eternity with Him. (Or as the song goes, “It is well; it is well with my soul.”)

We Desperately Need God

We have good days, and we have bad days. We have happy days and sad days, gloomy days and cheerful days, and some in between. Sometimes I hear stories of people whose entire lives sound just plain miserable…when these people are Christians, they often seem as sincere in their faith and close to God as they can possibly get.

Whether we are quite comfortable or are in a time of suffering there’s something that doesn’t change: we desperately need God. Ironically, when it is hardest to realize this is when life seems easy, not hard, and though it may seem as though we need God less in good times, that is far from true.

When we are on the easy road, not realizing how desperately we need God and relying on Him, we become very vulnerable, susceptible to sin and being deceived without even realizing it. In the Old Testament, over and over again we see the Israelites becoming vulnerable when they’re doing well. They become more and more like those around them, worshiping pagan gods and living a selfish, worldly lifestyle. It is in times of suffering that they soon turn to God to save them.

We need to realize how desperately we need God no matter the circumstance. If we don’t, what’s right and wrong begins to get fuzzy, our relationship with God seems boring and He becomes pushed to the side.

Run a check-up and ask yourself some questions:

Are there things that I’m doing that I’m not sure if they’re okay or not?

Is my time with God special or a chore?

Is there anything I’ve made more important to myself than God?

Am I living with God as my purpose?