Don’t get stronger

 

No one works out to get weaker. Strength is desired, admired and celebrated. I mean really, who wants to be weak? Nobody brags about that.

2 Corinthians 12:10, “So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressure, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” HCSB

PHYSICAL STRENGTH

Do you want to get in shape? I recommend Tabata. The fastest, most effective way to improve your fitness, Tabata is an exercise concept utilizing high intensity intervals. I enjoyed it because it resonated with my mindset. Anyone can maintain an exercise for twenty seconds. Before myasthenia gravis,  I was exceptionally strong. Now I am exceptionally weak. Before myasthenia gravis, exercise made me stronger. Now it makes me weaker. My once firm muscles are soft. Previously able to crank out push-ups, now sometimes I need help opening a water bottle.

Isaiah 40:29,  “He giveth power to the faint; and to him that hath no might he increaseth strength.” ASV

SPIRITUAL STRENGTH

There is a woman of great strength who I deeply admire. She is beautiful inside and out. She has faced multiple recurrences of cancer, endured several surgeries and rounds of powerful chemotherapy with a radiant smile on her face.  Her faith is a testimony to all who know her and everyone is amazed by her strength, myself included. But when my health failed and the Lord showed me His strength, I recognized the undeniable source. I sent her a message, “Now I know it wasn’t you at all, it comes from God.” She agreed.

Psalm 121:1-2, “I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from the mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.” MSG

MY STRENGTH

I worked to be strong and disciplined. I depended on those attributes. In other words, I depended on myself. When I came to the end of myself I realized; the harder I try, the worse I get. What is now true for me physically has always been true for me spiritually.

Jeremiah 17:5, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.'” NIV

YOUR STRENGTH

Do you want to be stronger? What are you trying to overcome?  When you are struggling, people will tell you,

YOU”VE GOT THIS

I often hear others say,

YOU ARE SO STRONG

Are you?  If so, it could be your biggest stumbling block. There are numerous references to strength in the Bible, none of them laud human strength. All point us to God’s strength.

1 Corinthians 1:25, “God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.”

REAL STRENGTH

Spiritual strength results from total dependence on God. Allowing Him to be in control and trusting He knows best is the ultimate source of strength. The hard part is surrendering. Don’t quit all personal effort, just quit depending on yourself and your strength. When I try to add my power to His power, I actually subtract from it. His power is made perfect in my weakness, not my strength. No matter how much strength, will or determination I have, I can’t. I can’t overcome my physical or spiritual obstacles in my own power. You can’t either.  Are you battling habitual sin? Addiction?  Do not believe those who tell you to be strong. Be weak. Admit weakness, embrace it. Be dependent, not just on a higher power, but on THE Higher Power.

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” NIV

I have no strength, but I know exactly where to find it. Join me?

Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” KJV

 

What stick did you measure that with?

“You are doing well,” my doctor pronounced during my last visit. Resisting the urge to respond, I narrowed my eyes and kept my mouth shut.  Will someone please define well for me?

3 John 1:2, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” NIV

I USED TO BE WELL

I remember when I checked all the no boxes on the health history form:  no medications, no allergies, no health problems.  Now I need an additional page to list my medications.  I have had to check yes:  yes I have diabetes, yes I have Addison’s disease, yes I have hypothyroidism. Oh yeah, and don’t forget myasthenia gravis (MG).

Psalm 38:10, “My heart throbs, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes, it also is gone from me.” AMP

NEAR NORMAL

The Johns Hopkins website states, “People with MG can live a normal or near normal life.”  Exactly who thinks this is anywhere near normal? It is recommended people with MG use an electric toothbrush to conserve strength. Personally, muscle fatigue from brushing my teeth is not anywhere near my normal, not even close. I have decided:

WHAT MEASURING STICK DID YOU USE?

Thankfully, I really am doing much better.  I can drive now and walk through most of the grocery store and cook a little.  If I pace myself I can water my flowers, but I planted succulents in case I have a bad day. I suppose if I had been sedentary before it would not be such a bad disease, maybe. But my normal was so different.

Leviticus 19:35, “You must not be unfair in measurements of length, weight, or volume.” HCSB

THE DOCTOR WASN’T WRONG

At first I was limp as a rag doll. Compared to my limitations when I was first diagnosed with MG, I am doing quite well. Compared to my abilities before I was diagnosed not so much. So how I measure up depends on what I am compared to.

2 Corinthians 10:12, “For we don’t dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they lack understanding.” HCSB

COMING UP SHORT

Perhaps we play the same game with our Christian walk or good works. Many people erroneously think good people go to heaven. If salvation could be earned, why would Jesus need to die a cruel death on the cross? We end up comparing ourselves to ourselves then decide we are good enough. But we all fall short when we compare ourselves to the One who came to live a perfect, sinless life. He is the standard and He is the only way to get to the other side.

Vickie Petz henderson

 

Isaiah 46:5, “With whom will you compare me or count me equal?  To  whom will you liken me that we may be compared?” NIV

I AM WELL

I am doing well in my heart and in my head. That’s where it truly counts. It is well with my soul.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul  ~Horatio Spafford

Thanks doc, I can roll my own dice at Bunco now if I alternate arms. It’ all relative.

I hope you don’t think I am complaining, but awareness does not come through sugar coating. Love you all for your amazing support!  Your prayers have truly strengthened me. Keep spreading awareness about myasthenia gravis.

CHRONIC stILLNESS

CHRONIC

Some days I wish I could push rewind and go back to my old life. My life when I was perfectly healthy. When I performed surgery with my hands and pedaled a bicycle with my legs. My life when I could open the mail or eat popcorn without resting; my life before chronic illness with myasthenia gravis.

Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” NIV

Can we take a direct flight back to reality, or do we have to change planes in Denver?

Tim Allen in “The Santa Clause”

UNDERSTANDING

It is impossible for others to understand  hidden or invisible illnesses like multiple sclerosis, lupus or in my case myasthenia gravis (MG).  I spell it and explain it, but unless you live with it everyday, it is hard to understand. But honestly, I don’t mind explaining my illness, I am really glad you care.

Psalm 71:9, “Do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” NIV

METER

In the movie “The Santa Clause 2” Scott Calvin begins the de-santafication process until he finds a wife. He departs from the North Pole with a limited amount of magic, but he must save enough to return home. Bernard, his chief elf, gives him a meter he wears as a wristwatch to indicate how much magic remains so he does not get stranded.

2 Samuel 22:33, “God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect.” NKJV

WHERE CAN I GET ONE OF THOSE?

My magic is limited too, so is my strength. I do not get tired, though many with autoimmune diseases do. Instead, MG causes weakness. Simple tasks are a struggle you cannot see; weakness is invisible. But, I know if  I fail to conserve enough strength, I won’t be able to get home. It’s hard to choose where to spend it. Someone should invent one of those meters for me so I know how much strength I have left!

Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” KJV

STRENGTH CONSERVATION

Every choice I make affects my strength reserve. Some days I may walk across the parking lot just fine, then not make it through the store. I slice a tomato then not be able to stir. I can shake your hand or open the door, but it will cost me strength and mine is limited.

Psalm 37:39, “But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.” NKJV

YOU ARE LIMITED TOO

In reality, everyone harbors hidden struggles, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. We are all limited, only able to do so much and  give so much. It is impossible to be everything to everyone and trying causes misery. Maybe your strength or energy reserves are deep, but your time is finite , so is your attention. Choose wisely how you spend it.

Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” HCSB

REST

I neglected rest. My old life was perpetual motion. I was never still then and I have yet to decide how much I miss it. Frequent rest is no longer optional, it is necessary for me to regain my strength.

The harder I try, the weaker I get #IHaveHeardofMG Click To Tweet

The magic runs out. Though rest goes against my nature, I try not to fight it. God commands rest for everyone. He actually uses it to bless and He knows precisely what we need. The Lord even set the example by resting Himself. He commands us to “be still.” Now I am still, I only wish it weren’t chronic stillness.

Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God;  I will be exalted in the earth.” ASV

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What if it takes more faith NOT to be healed?

What if it takes more faith NOT to be healed

Maybe you’re missing the point.

Likely, you have heard these words if you are seriously ill. If you are not sick, you may have spoken them. The sentiment is common in Christian circles,

If you have enough faith, you will be healed.

Books worth of scriptures are quoted to support this viewpoint. I have faith, I really do. I believe God heals the sick; I have witnessed it firsthand. But I’m still fighting an incurable disease.

2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” NIV

THE HEALER

Early after my diagnosis of myasthenia gravis, I was convinced knowing the Healer was more important than physical healing. There is such a sweetness of God’s presence through suffering. Don’t get me wrong, whenever I see flexing cords of lean muscle in a cyclist’s gastrocnemius, I get a twinge of jealously. I long to pedal my bicycle.

Psalm 34:18, “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.” MSG

THE THORN

I am pretty sure Paul had enough faith to move mountains. Nevertheless, he was given a “thorn in the flesh” God would not remove, even though he begged  for healing three times. Instead, he depended on God for strength and God was glorified.

2 Corinthians 12:8, “Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me.  But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” There fore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” HCSB

By the way, the Greek word for weakness in this verse is aesthenia. Mya translates muscle and gravis is Latin for severe. Do you think Paul had myasthenia gravis?  Whatever his disease, apparently God chose not heal him.

WHY NOT?

If we are allowed to be afflicted, God has a purpose. I trust He can bring good from every situation, because He redeems all things. I wouldn’t want to be healed before His divine purposes are accomplished. What if my illness is for someone else’s salvation? Then my healing would result in eternal loss for someone else. It is not worth it.

2 Corinthians 1:6, “If we are afflicted it is for your comfort and salvation.” HCSB  

WHAT KIND OF HEALING?

A common verse quoted to promise healing is found in Isaiah 53, which speaks of Christ’s atonement for our sin sickness. Yeah thanks, I have already been that kind of healed.

 Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:  the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  KJV

Sometimes He heals us, sometimes He carries our diseases. #faith #healing #rtp Click To Tweet

Matthew 8:17, ” He Himself took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.” HCSB

BELIEVERS GONNA BELIEVE

 If I had been healed early in my disease, many would have thought my diagnosis was incorrect or my symptoms were not genuine. If I get well now, my healing may be attributed to modern medicine. Regardless, doubters gonna doubt. But if I have supernatural peace and joy, the real miracle is obvious.

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” NIV

I resent these people who rest in the comfort of their faith and say with smug glibness that if only a person in pain would believe a bit more strongly, or pray a little more, the Lord would heal their every wound. I know too many devout believers who remain crippled by their pasts to ever agree with such nonsense. No all I can say for certain is that the Lord has promised us a peace that surpasses all understanding. Even in the midst of our suffering, this peace is promised us. Peace for now, salvation forever. ~Excerpt from Florian’s Gate by T. Davis Bunn, “

 

I WANT THE FRUIT

The Bible promises God will deliver “whatever we ask in His name.” The context of the promise is not in reference to health, wealth or happiness. Instead the reference points to spiritual fruit, like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. I want eternal fruit!

John 15:16, “You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures.  And so the Father will give you whatever you ask if him in my name.” GNB

WE ALL DIE

I have a terminal illness. Guess what? So do you. All of us are mortal despite our measure of faith. When Adam and Eve broke the one law they were given, death entered this earth. It’s inevitable for every one of us, no matter how much faith we have.

Genesis 22:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:  for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” KJV

Pray for me. Pray I will have faith. Pray I will be healed, if it is God’s will. Pray I don’t miss the blessings adversity brings. Especially pray for fruit, the good kind, because it matters for eternity.

I hope to help you find blessing in adversity as well. Join me on Facebook or enter your email address above “Join Me on the Porch” and I’ll send the next post to your inbox.

Don’t let weeds choke your contentment

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The weed man could have had a full-time job at my house last spring. My well-established azalea bushes were gorgeous. They always are. The only difference this year was I could not pull the weeds. I have myasthenia gravis and it makes me too weak to pull weeds. My husband was away, so I just had to live with them.

Philippians 4:11, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” NIV

 

DWELL ON THESE THINGS

Everyone has weeds in their lives. Every relationship, every job, every yard has them. Weeds are inevitable. For some they spoil the beauty.Not me, I intentionally choose to accept the weeds and focus instead on the blooms.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable- if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things.”  HCSB

PULL THE WEEDS

I am not ignoring the weeds. They are obvious and I see them. I know they are there and honestly I wish they were gone. But I refuse to let them detract from the beauty I see. Do you have weeds in your life?  Of course, we all do. If you are able to pull them, then by all means get on your gardening gloves and do so. But if you cannot, then look at the blooms and rejoice.

Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” NIV

BLOCKING THE LIGHT

Did you know something as small as a dime can block out the light of the sun? It does so only if held immediately in front of the eye. Negative aspects of our lives held right in front of our eyes can block out the light too. It is a choice whether to focus on the beauty or focus on the weeds.Likely we have more beauty in our lives than weeds, but sometimes that is all we can see.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  Courage to change the things I can. And wisdom to know the difference.  Excerpted from Reinhold Niebuhr

RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS

Recently I was introduced as a woman with an incurable illness who has overcome adversity in her life.  Really?  I thought I was blessed beyond measure!

I've found the recipe for being happy (The Message) #rtp #contentment Click To Tweet

Philippians 4:12,13 “Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with a little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it though anything in the One who makes me who I am.” MSG

I believe the secret of contentment is WEEDS. Accept what you cannot change. If you cannot pull or poison your weeds, accept them and look at the blooms instead. It will make you a lot happier.
Feel free to share this with someone you know who needs encouragement to focus on their blessings.

SHE RAN FOR ME

She ran for me

WE HAVE A LOT IN COMMON

We are the same age and the same size. As far as women go, neither of us is overly emotional. Our relationship started in theater class our Freshman year of college and we ended up room mates. We were room mates in college, then graduated medical school together. Though it seems like yesterday, it wasn’t. It was actually a long time ago and a lot has changed since then.

Psalm 73:4, “They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.”  NIV

SHE CAN RUN

I can’t run. Really, I never could. Once I ran five miles and my left knee swelled up for a week. Oh yeah, and it was my good knee. She ran fifty miles. Five-Zero.

And she ran for me

She did what I could not. Some days I can hardly walk, but she remembered my struggles and acted on my behalf.

2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”  KJV

GOD REMEMBERS

When the Bible says “God remembers” get ready, because that means He is about to act. He always acts on behalf of those He remembers. So when you feel

helpless

alone

discouraged

hurt

left behind

Just think, He runs for you.

He is running for you #Godremembers Click To Tweet

He carried your burden all the way to the cross

Genesis 30:22, “God remembered Rachel…”  Genesis 8:1, “God remembered Noah…” Exodus 2:24, “God heard their groaning and he remembered…” NIV

COACH

Her husband ran alongside her, yelling encouragement. Towards the end, when it got tough, he reminded her she was running for me. I wonder if God cheered Jesus on when he was hanging on that cross, “Come on Son, remember, you are doing it for her!”

By His stripes we are healed-not necessarily physically, but spiritually, even more important

Isaiah 53:5, “He took the punishment, and that made us whole.  Through his bruises we get healed.”  MSG

THE FINISH LINE

The number attached to her shirt was drenched with sweat. What Jesus did for you was too – and blood. Janet did what I could not do for myself. She ran fifty miles and crossed the finish line. Jesus did what I could not do for myself. He lived a perfect, holy, sinless life and said,

“It is finished.”

John 15:13, “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”  HCSB

Her effort made me cry,  His should too. So much for not being very emotional, but it meant the world to me.

You mean the world to Him

I am grateful to both.

Has someone remembered you and your struggles? Are you able to carry someone else’s burden? If this post encourages you, feel free to share and pass it on.

 

 

 

“You are rockin’ that wheelchair, girl.”

You are rockin that wheelchairFortunately, I can walk.  I just cannot walk far. I don’t own a wheelchair, but I have to use one in places like airports, museums and malls. The view from here isn’t so bad. No doubt, I would prefer wearing a helmet while my shoes are clipped to the pedals of a bicycle so I could power myself up a hill. But always one to look at the bright side, I don’t need to shower after a trip in a wheelchair. My perspectives from the chair are hilarious at times. It is also an interesting study in human behavior.

AIRPORTS

Airports are always an occasion for a wheelchair. They are big. My dad eagerly volunteered to push me through the Memphis airport. He maneuvered me onto the moving sidewalk on our way to the gate. Happily riding on the downhill incline, I gradually became aware that my sister was in a full sprint beside me. Unknown to me, my dad had let me go and the chair was rolling, near careening, toward the bar at the end of the ramp. Despite his bum knee, he raced to catch me about the time my sister arrived at the exit breathless.

Hebrews 4:14, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens-let us hold fast to the confession.”  HCSB

MUSEUMS

In case you don’t already know, I can be a bit of a control freak. By the way, there is probably no such thing as “a bit” of a control freak. I am an obsessive planner, which can be a good thing, but is difficult to execute unless everyone cooperates. When I was in Manhattan for a robotic thymectomy, my husband and I attempted to do a little sight-seeing before my surgery. We visited The Natural Museum of History where he stood in line for a long time to borrow a wheelchair. While waiting, I downloaded an app with seventeen points of interests.  Repeatedly I directed him to the Star of India. Let’s just say he is not an obsessive planner. In fact, he is a wanderer. In addition, he does not hear well in a building with ceilings four stories high and school kids running everywhere. He pushed me alongside a display case to look at a stuffed bird. Trying to be patient, I unsuccessfully attempted to read the map so we could see the big sapphire. But, there’s that bird again. I had a plan, which by the way was a good plan, but it didn’t go well. We were both frustrated and neither of us enjoyed it much. Wheelchairs are not for control freaks.

Philippians 3:21, “who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” NIV

MALLS

Recently, I visited my daughter in Dallas and we went to the mall with a wheelchair she borrowed from work. It was my first excursion into the mall since I developed myasthenia gravis. Her training in occupational therapy school qualifies her as a professional wheelchair driver. She skillfully parked me out of the way while she sorted through a sale rack. A grinning young man looked down at me and asked, “Did you kick someone?” I told him my diagnosis then of course had to explain what that meant. He said, “Well you look adorable in a wheelchair, you are rockin’ it.”

Might as well embrace it…

SAMARITANS

People surprise me. Unless assisted, doors can be a real challenge to the one pushing a wheelchair. Some people just pass on by. Recently an unusual woman stopped to help. She must have been in a big hurry because she ran afterwards. Her head was shaved in the back and long in the front like a lion’s mane. Not the “type” you would expect to stop and help. Can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Luke 10:33, “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him.  When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him.” MSG

MY ADVICE

I can only speak for myself, but I would much rather someone ask me why I’m using a wheelchair, than give me a funny look when I get out and walk around. If you see someone approaching a door pushing a wheelchair, please hold it open. And by all means, if you are pushing a wheelchair, never, ever turn it loose on a hill, unless of course you are absolutely sure your sister can run really fast!

Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” NIV

We may roll out of control at times, but I would love to have you follow so you don’t miss a post. If you are not already receiving email updates, enter your address below. If we start careening, I will call my sister.

I want to see a moose

IT’S BEEN A THRILL RIDEGreat wall of china

Before I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis I rarely used the words “bucket list.” If you had asked what was on my bucket list I would have mentioned pedaling the Katy Trail 237 miles across the state of Missouri with my biking buddies or exploring Tuscany with my husband. Having a bucket list was never a priority for me, maybe because I’ve already been blessed to experience some awesome adventures. I have walked on the Great Wall of China (three times actually). I have ridden a gondola through the canals of Venice. I stubbed my toe and bled on the ruins of the original Olympic Games in Greece. My name is on a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame -not really, just making sure you were still paying attention.

Luke 12:30  “These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.”  NLT

MY PRIORITIES HAVE CHANGED

There are many things I can no longer do, like walk through the mall. Now there are more memorable moments in my life. My biking buddies and I visited the Katy Trail in November 2014 and we had a blast as they pushed me across the crushed limestone in
a wheelchair. Katy trailDespite my limitations,  I don’t miss many events. I am slow and have to sit, but I usually go anyway. Breakfast or lunch with friends is now one of my favorite activities. What I consider important in life has changed somewhat. So for the first time, I am writing out my official bucket list.

Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  KJV

MY SIMPLE BUCKET LIST

  1. Appreciate spending time with my husband.  He worked the night shift to support me while I attended medical school. Then we had babies and raised them. We both worked and established our careers. Now, it is time to enjoy each other’s company.
  2. Spend more time with my parents.  They are not getting younger and they are so much fun. Before I got sick, I allowed several weeks to go by without seeing them and sometimes days without even talking to them. Now, we make a conscious effort to plan an outing once a week.
  3. Develop friendships. When I was working, my social life consisted of Bunko once a month, occasional football games and rarely, dinner on Saturday night. Now I am able to cultivate friendships with many different people.
  4. Give away more. I want to give away more money, more time, more self. I’m convinced it pays off in the end.
  5. Encourage others. This is my calling in life and always has been. The venue has just changed.
  6. Remission.  There I said it.  I want this disease to go into remission. If it does not, it will not affect much on this list.
  7. Witness my friend on the other side of the planet coming to know Jesus. I’ve prayed for this spunky lady for ten years. You are welcome to join me.
  8. Write.  I am working on several projects. The process is more intense than I ever realized, but it is truly enjoyable and keeps me occupied. Publishing a book would be a great accomplishment to cross off the list.
  9. Dance at my children’s weddings. Although I am not making any announcements, this is
    dance a big one. By no means am I a good dancer, I just want to be able to physically dance on each of my kid’s big day.  You know, like they do in the movies.
  10. Oh yeah, and I want to see a moose. This has eluded me for a long time. I have visited several moose hang outs:  Alaska, Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, Colorado and Montana. I have never spotted a single moose. I am convinced they evacuate when they know I am coming.My dad and I were in Yellowstone National Park in September 2014. My mother, who is finally learning to text, sent me a message that read, “Hope you see a mouse.” We looked all over Yellowstone and never saw a mouse. Didn’t see a moose either. Oh well, maybe someday.Moose

INCOMPLETE

I am sure I have omitted some very important items. You are certainly invited to add to my bucket list, or your own, in the comments below.

  I Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.”  NIV

Take your place in the line-up

Take your place in line

I AM STRUGGLING

You probably are too. I am struggling with lack of strength and the ability to do daily tasks, stolen away by a rare disease. I suppose you are struggling with your own issues. Perhaps you are dealing with a major issue compared to myasthenia gravis, or maybe your struggles are relatively minor, but it’s big to you. Whatever your troubles, the burden is lighter when you share the journey with someone understands first-hand.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5, “All praise… to the God of all healing counsel!  He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.  We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort-we get a full measure of that, too.”  MSG

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

We raise our hand and say, “Me too!” when we encounter someone who shares our diagnosis, addiction or heartache. Only one who has walked the same road of hardship we are traveling can relate. Watching a survivor who is a little farther along gives us hope to endure. Proof someone has been exactly where you are and survived makes us thrive. A victory parade!

2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.”  MSG

REACH OUT

Don’t try to go it alone. Reach out and take the hand of one who is a little farther down the path and allow them to pull you along. When you experience success, extend your other hand to someone who is a little behind you in your journey. Pull them along toward victory. Your unique circumstances may give someone hope. Together we are a parade. Some ride on floats, some march in the band, others are clowns on bicycles. Whatever your role, you are meant to be with your group. It doesn’t matter if you are leading or near the end. Take your  place in the lineup.

2 Corinthians 1:5, “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

THE GREATEST BENEFIT

I am strengthened if my weakness encourages people. Otherwise, it is wasted. I really need to know it matters. I need to know it makes a difference for someone, somewhere. Your struggles are unique and they uniquely equip you to help others. We are allowed to suffer so we can effectively minister to others. Don’t waste your experience.

God uses adversity to bless #MyRightSideUpLife Click To Tweet

I have experienced that truth. God multiplies blessings by blessing others through us. Can you use your hardship to encourage someone else? Gather round those who raise their hands and say, “Me too!” Sometimes it is not easy for any of us to see the light of day.  Is someone giving you hope?  Take their hand, then turn around and extend your hand. Let’s all be a continuous victory parade!

Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” NLT

It has been said, “No pain, no gain.”  I say, “Make your pain someone else’s gain.” Pass it on. Parades are fun, unless you find yourself behind the horses.

ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO GO THERE?

 

Are you sure you want to go there?

I WENT THERE

I shouldn’t have.  I knew better.  I did it anyway.  Now, I regret it.  All I did was look with my eyes and my heart simply followed.   Consider yourself warned, that’s how it happens.  It happens quickly and it’s harder to get back once you are there.

Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” NIV

I was scrolling through the camera roll on my phone.  I saw a face I recognized.  It was mine.  It is not the same one I saw looking back at me from the mirror this morning.  Then there were pictures of activities:  bicycling, zip lining, snow skiing, boating, running, swimming, climbing, hiking and even hammering.  I hammered chicken wire onto a small house being constructed for a poor family in Mexico last spring.  A woman was needed to serve on the construction team in Tijuana and I was the obvious choice.  I’m pretty sure it was the biceps.  Well, that was another body, another life.  You are welcome to join me on my nostalgic trip through the camera roll, but only if it makes you smile.

cameral roll

TEMPTING

I could feel sorry for myself.  A pity party would be completely justified.  I think I missed my quiet time this morning.  I lost my focus.  I need to tell you, just in case you know exactly what I am talking about.  Actually, I did open my Bible this morning to look up a reference about Elijah.  He sat down under a broom tree and wanted to die.  I have never been there.  I don’t have a broom tree.  I’m not really sure what one looks like.  But I think maybe that set the tone for the day.

Lamentations 3, “I am the man who has seen affliction…He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away…He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy…So I say, ‘my strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord.” NASB

I AM NOT STAYING THERE

I dish out a lot of advice.  I write it down and I share it.  Today I had to read it back to myself.  More importantly, I had to follow it.  I am glad I did.  Ever noticed it is easier to talk it than walk it?

Know what you believe, then believe what you know. Click To Tweet

More Lamentations 3, “Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me.  This I recall to my mind, therefore I have HOPE.  The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease.  For His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.   Great is Your Faithfulness.   The Lord is my portion says my soul.  Therefore I have HOPE in Him.  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.”  NASB

HOPE

That’s the difference.  It’s the reason I’m not staying there.  I won’t complain.  I know the way back.  I’m going now.

More Lamentations 3, “For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness.  Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?  Why should any living mortal or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins?  Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord” NASB

My mom recently took me to Crystal Bridges Art Museum.  Wherever we go, it’s necessary for me to be let off at the door because I have myasthenia gravis and I can only walk short distances.  The day was a cold and windy and I waited outside while she got the car.  Sitting on a metal bench, I watched her try and figure out how to navigate the circle drive.  Frustrated, she finally drove in the wrong way sending the attendant into a complete tizzy.  When I got into the car she said, “I knew it was the wrong way, but…”  Yeah, me too.

PLEASE DON’T ENCOURAGE ME

You will feel compelled, but that’s my job.  Let me do it.  I want to encourage you.  I take it very seriously.  I have always been a cheerleader at heart.  Really, I am doing very well.  I just have to be honest.  I had a moment.  The stages of grief are real.  I have experienced denial, anger and bargaining.  I am hoping these few hours count as depression and I’ll move on to acceptance.  I share this so you will know I am not just writing this, I am living it.  I am not pretending either.  I invite you to follow my personal journey, maybe we have something in common.  If not, please feel free to share it with someone else.

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