Monday, March 31, 2014

The Pinky and the Ladder

Last week was wonderful, busy, restful, painful, and exhilarating.....yes, all of those in the same week. I was on Spring Break last week and I was determined to paint my kitchen. I've only lived here for 4 1/2 years!  It was time.  I did the bathroom summer before last, and it was all I could do to simply paint the bathroom, which is tiny. So I knew I had a job ahead of me and I dreaded it. Plus, since then have had a string of health problems that have deterred me from jumping in on a project I knew from experience would be all or nothing.  I mean, once you start painting the kitchen, you are committed--no turning back!

I finally got started Monday afternoon with the primer coat, which was necessary because I was painting over dark wallpaper.  It took 2 coats to completely cover it, so it was Tuesday afternoon before I was finally finished with the primer. I actually painted over and behind where the fridge goes so I could put it back in place early the next day. I had a good start on the paint and got both behind the fridge and the entire adjacent wall done before I fell into bed, exhausted.

Wednesday morning, I had just started when the accident happened. No, I didn't fall off the ladder. I'm much more creative than that. I somehow caught my left pinky finger in the ladder--don't ask me how! I have no idea; it all happened so fast.  My fingernail--actually, my fake nail tip--got caught as I stepped up on the ladder and it bent forward, pulling loose from the cuticle with it my real nail instead of simply breaking off. Any of you that wear acrylic nails know that nail tips are much harder than real nails and don't break easily. I was almost nauseous from the pain, as you probably are now as you read this. I did basic first aid and thought about going to the ER, but it would have cost me $250 co-pay, plus other charges. So, I prayed for healing and after about 30 minutes, I was able to resume painting and actually finished all of it.

I did finally go to the walk-in clinic Thursday, since my doctor was out of his office last week. The x-ray showed no broken bones, but the doctor said the first joint moved some during the whole process. He was concerned about infection and prescribed antibiotics--one of the "cycline" types since I'm allergic to penicillin.  Turns out, I'm allergic to it, too. I had only taken 2 doses and started breaking out in hives. I called the next day and was prescribed a different antibiotic. So far so good.

I know it seems strange, but I am not really worried. I have confidence that this will heal completely without complications. The pain is manageable now, and with ibuprofen in me I am actually able to type using that pinky. I couldn't stand for it to be touched at all before today.

Granted, the acrylic nail probably contributed to this accident and there is more damage because of it, but this was just one of those things that occur sometimes in a physical activity like painting. I'm not going to over-analyze this. It was a freak accident.

Nothing earth-shattering or profound to share this week.  I think I'm just supposed to give thanks to God in all circumstances.  So, here goes.

I am thankful for several things:  It's not broken.  I can finally type again, though it still hurts and I am still using my pinky sparingly.  The doctor found an antibiotic that I can take to prevent infection.  It's my left hand, not my right.

And last but not least, I'm thankful and glad that I was able to paint the kitchen with God's help.  I think it looks good, and it makes me happy to have it the color I had wanted for over 4 years.  I am slowly but surely making the improvements I have wanted to make this home my own.  It's coming along.

Have a blessed week!

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Finally Out of the Mud

This week, I really feel like I am supposed to draw from journals long ago, so I went through some of them. This is what jumped out at me. It's a segment of an entry from March of 1999. Please bear in mind that back then, my emotions were a train wreck. I hadn't been divorced all that long then.  The hurt was still pretty fresh, and I needed acceptance and affirmation badly. Prior to this entry, I had been crying out to God for help for weeks.  

March 20, 1999—I have continually asked the Lord to fill the emptiness in me...This morning, the Lord started speaking to me before I could have any conscious thought. He said so much, I will not be able to write it all down:
     --He is pleased with me.  He has seen my pain.  He knows what I am going through is painful, but it is necessary for what He will do through me (like the firing of a clay pot). Now I have given of myself, sometimes it hurts a lot. No one seems to notice. He said that soon, I will be giving of Him and His love, not simply drawing on my own resources.  He will pour into me, and I will quite naturally pour it out on others.  I have cast my bread on the waters (Ecc. 11:1) and now it is about to return to me, many times multiplied.  Soon, I will have more love pouring through me than I can know or thought was possible.  

I wish I could tell you that things got better for me immediately after that writing, but they did not. Part of the reason was my own fault; I was my own worst enemy in those days. As bad as I hate to admit it, things continued to go downhill for me for four years after this before they took an upward turn. It wasn't until 2003 that I came to rock bottom and had nowhere to go but up. Those were dark, dark times in my life.

Depressing, huh? Well, it's not meant to be.  Actually, I am writing this today to give you hope.  You see, the promise that God gave me that day was the truth.  He actually said that to me. I remember waking up, feeling His presence and knowing He was speaking to me. I remember scrambling for my journal and finding a pen; the urgency to write it down was very strong. You might wonder why it took so many years for me to start seeing these words come true. I believe it is because I wanted God to heal my emotions, but I wanted to retain control, like a headstrong child who refuses to let her mommy or daddy help her when she falls down. I went along taking two steps forward and one step back for quite a while after this. So, because of my pride, I wandered in this wilderness longer than I should have.  

I needed a heart change in the worst way. Oh, I was a Christian and God had forgiven me, but I still had so much pain in my heart! It affected everything I touched and everyone I came into contact with. God, in His mercy, finally allowed me to hit the bottom so I would stop and reach up to Him. Thankfully, He had been healing me all along, and the process sped up drastically once I let go of the control and let Him be in charge.

The good news in this story is, those words are finally coming true in my life! He does pour into me everyday, and I do my best to pour it right back out, just like He said I would. Sometimes the words for this blog come faster than I can type because He is pouring into me, and I can't keep it in! I have more love in my heart than I can contain, more blessings than I can count, and I know for certain that I am not only loved by God, but my family and friends love me, too. It's all I can do to not cry right now when I think about it, but it's not tears of despair anymore; it's tears of joy.

If you are struggling right now, take it from me, a former emotional wreck. If He can heal my heart, He can heal anybody's!  If you have turned your life over to God, rest assured He is working on your problem. You may not feel like He is, but feelings lie. 

Feelings can't be trusted, but God can.  So please trust Him.  He knows what He is doing.  

"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord."

Psalm 40:1-3 NLT

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I Live to Say This

"God you reign, God you reign, forever and ever, God you reign..."

We sang this song at church this morning.  We've sung it countless times over the last few years, and yet I discovered something in it today, something I hadn't noticed or felt before.  The first verse is about God, what He has created, and how that creation in turn praises him.

"You paint the night, you count the stars and you know them by name,
The skies proclaim, 'God you reign.'
Your glory shines, you teach the sun when to bring a new day,
Creation sings, 'God you reign.'"

Here are the words to the second  verse:

"You part the seas, you move the mountains with the words that you say,
My song remains, 'God you reign.'
You hold my life, you know my heart, and you call me by name;
I live to say, 'God you reign.'"

It never occurred to me until I was singing those words this morning, "I live to say, 'God you reign,'" that this is what I do. I sing His praises, and I write about him and his glorious works.  That's what this blog is: an avenue through which I can get the word out about my God and what he has done for me.

As a believer and follower of Jesus, I am commissioned, as all Christians are, to "Go and tell:"

"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'" Mark 16:15 NIV

I may not literally preach from a pulpit, but I believe strongly that God has placed a desire in me to write in this blog. Sometimes it may seem silly, and we sometimes get to have a laugh at my expense over the stuff I've experienced. Other times, it may  bring readers to tears. Whatever the subject is in any given blog posting, I know beyond any doubt that I am to testify about my Lord and tell what he has done in my life. This is part of my ministry. My job is to point others to Christ, and I always try to do this in every posting.

May you let God reign in your life!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Come On In


My cat Isabel has a bad habit of sitting outside my bedroom door some nights and meowing after I've gone to bed. The door is open, and she knows she can come in and hop on the bed and go to sleep. Still, she sits just outside the door and times her meows perfectly with each time I fall asleep. I'm a light sleeper and the slightest sound wakes me up.


Aarrrgghhh! I had gone to bed early tonight, before the news went off, because I was so sleepy I could not hold my eyes open.  It has been a stressful week, and I was exhausted.  I decided that I should go to bed and try to get ahead on sleep, since we will have an hour stolen from us tomorrow night. I fell asleep quickly, and was subsequently awakened by Isabel. I called out to her, "Izzy, it's bedtime. Come in and go to sleep."  Usually, this is enough to make her come on in and jump up on the foot of the bed, where she sleeps for at least part of the night.  She didn't come in, though, and I guess I dozed off again, because the next second I was rudely awakened again by another pitiful meow. I called to her again to come in, but she didn't. So I fell asleep again.


Grrrrr. I was pulled from sleep again, and I got up and yelled at her. Then I laid back down and couldn't go to sleep.  So here I am, writing. Does God have something He wants to talk to me about?  I am here and waiting to hear. I'm not sure if that was it, or was I just supposed to share this little story. I see a comparison here that I feel I need to point out.

Isn't that what we do with God sometimes?  We know we can go right on in, but we sit outside and whine about being outside. It makes no sense at all when you realize that we can go in and vent to Him to our heart's content.

"This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."  Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT.

God is waiting patiently for us to come to Him.  He has the answer to our problems, but we won't go ask for help. Unlike my frustrated reaction to my temperamental cat, He doesn't yell at us or slam the door if we don't come when He bids us come. He is the perfect Father and He is patient and loving. He is just inside the door, waiting, hoping we will come.

Maybe this was why the cat woke me up tonight.  Someone needed to hear this...probably me.