I can’t do this

I cannot do all things

Neither can you.

A mantra for Christian athletes, a popular plaque on the wall or the perfect verse for a tattoo, I can do all things. No, I do not have a tattoo, but can I do all things? No, I cannot do all things.

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” NKJV

In junior high it applied to cheerleader tryouts. I can do all things. As a college student I used it before biochemistry tests. I can do all things. In residency it helped me through the first…Cesarean section, hysterectomy, delivery going bad… I can do all things.

However, I doubt Paul’s intention was to get Jesus to help us meet the goals we set for ourselves. Besides, I can’t really do all things. I can’t win the state gymnastics championship like my daughter and I can’t pole vault nearly 16 foot like my son. For crying out loud some days I can’t even stir a cake mix. No, I cannot do all things and Christ doesn’t always strengthen my muscles.

But He does give me exactly the strength I need.

Because He gives me strength, I can do a disabling illness

The seven hour infusion I get every three weeks causes headaches and fatigue. For a couple of days, I feel like I’ve just done an Ironman. Okay, I really don’t know what that feels like, but I can imagine. After the ice pick to my temple resolves, I get a couple of good weeks where I can visit the gym if I can remember my member number because they no longer recognize my face at the desk. Yeah I can do that.

Because He gives me strength, I can survive divorce

I never doubted we would grow old together after all we’ve been through. But my left hand is glaringly bare. Good grief, there’s been a ring on that finger since I got a promise ring in 1980. I’m learning to find happiness and identity in being single for the first time in my adult life. Through Christ, and only through Christ, I can do that too.

Because He gives me strength, I can handle the C word

We got bad news this week. My dad’s cancer is worse than we thought, a lot worse. Facing radical surgery and uncertainty, he went to the golf course. Not a bad idea. We should all do that.

We don't know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future #faith #trust Click To Tweet
Because He gives me strength, I can face tomorrow

I’m going to be real honest, I’m pretty worn down right now. There’s a lot on my shoulders and those I normally lean on need to lean on me and I’m barely vertical. That’s why I’m depending on His strength not mine. The same strength is available to you, so what can you do?

Philippians 4:13-14, “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me – it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.” MSG

Many of you have asked what you can do. This verse says it all,

Come alongside me in my troubles

A casserole doesn’t fix this

I appreciate your prayers, but I need more

Just be there

That’s all I ask

I can do it

Through Christ

He gives me strength

Because I can’t do this, but He can

Maybe I’ll get the tattoo after all. Just kidding. Thanks for sharing my journey. Bring your friends along too, it means more than you know.

 

 

When you want your prayers answered now

When you want your prayers answered now

Do you ever feel like Veruca Salt? Sure patience is a virtue, but I imagine we can all relate to the spoiled brat who shouted at Willy Wonka,

I want it and I want it now!

As I look down the road of my present circumstance, it stretches long before me and no matter how things turn out it’s all uphill without an exit in sight. If I could change it I would, but

I can’t.

If it were up to me, I would slam on the brakes, get out of the vehicle, change directions and leave this crash course I’m living. But,

it’s not up to me.

Some days I sing Veruca’s song

I want a party with roomfuls of laughter, Ten thousand tons of ice cream, And if I don’t get the things I am after,

I’m going to screeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEAM.

I may or may not have given in the urge to scream a few times, but

it never did any good.

Some days I even pray like Veruca

I want a flying glass elevator; I want a golden goose; give me that pen; I want to be first; get me one of those squirrels; I want one!

Only it’s not a glass elevator, golden goose, squirrel or a pen. But,

my desires to please myself are the same.

I want what I want and I want it now. Honestly, I still want to scream. Instead God says WAIT.

Psalm 37:7, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” NLT

He says TRUST

Psalm 118, “It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man.” NKJV

He says SUBMIT

Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” NIV

Straight paths aren’t really what I’m worried about; it’s the rough terrain that’s killing me. Peace always comes when I settle into the ride, put my feet on the dashboard and let God navigate. I may even lean my head back and close my eyes while He steers. After all, He knows where we are going and how to get there and I trust He really does know best.

SETTLING FOR LESS THAN GOD’S BEST

Veruca’s parents indulged her every whim because they valued her happiness above her well-being. Ultimately, she was destroyed because she got what she wanted. I don’t want to be Veruca.

Maybe unanswered prayers are God's way of withholding harm rather than good #Godknowsbest… Click To Tweet

Besides, as Willy Wonka said,

I thought a veruca was a type of wart you got on the bottom of your foot

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a wart, so I choose to be satisfied with what I have, surrender to God’s best plan for my life and follow hard after Him. I want what He wants and I want to go where He goes. He knows the way and He is the way..

Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ESV

 

Grace for the moment

Grace for the moment

 

I needed grace for the moment, but I didn’t expect her to climb in the backseat. Barely outside the white line of the curvy road, the gray-haired woman plodded along. Her hunched shoulders were weighted down by two overloaded plastic bags.

STOP for Grace’s sake

Half question, half statement, my daughter slammed on the brakes, “She looks like she needs a ride.” Most of you probably just shook  your head; I was proud. I depressed the button to roll down the passenger window to offer a ride, but she was already in the car.

My daughter and I introduced ourselves to the stranger sitting in our vehicle. Her name was Grace. Of course it was. Said she was going to Hot Springs for a documentary film festival, only she was walking the wrong direction and the film festival was the following weekend. We asked where she was from and her thoughts circled the airstrip but never came in for a landing.

I couldn’t help Grace, but grace helped me

Traveling this road at this time wasn’t on our agenda, but we left the women’s conference early since my heart and mind were in shattered pieces. Repetitive thoughts cascaded over my gray matter like a continuous waterfall which overflowed onto my cheeks. Then the door opened to a moment of Grace and my turmoil was interrupted. While the hitchhiker was in the car, not a single neuron fired around my problem. The moment of grace gave me the gift of reprieve from the ruins of my life. That’s what grace does.

Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” ESV

I asked Grace if she was a believer and she answered,

Yes! I was praying and praising God when you stopped to offer a ride. Good things always happen when I do that.

Yes Grace, I think I’ll try it.

James 4:6, “But He gives a greater grace.” NASB

Grace rescued me

A couple of weeks before my Grace encounter, I spoke at a missions conference. I challenged the women to anticipate the needs of others and carry something with them to give away. When they gave me a Cracker Barrel gift card, I tucked it into my wallet intending to look for an opportunity to give it away. (Don’t think I’m super-spiritual, I talked it so I figured I better walk it.) The exit toward Grace’s destination was next door to Cracker Barrel so we dropped her off armed with enough credit for a couple of meals.

For a moment, I forgot my troubles.

A moment of Grace

2 Corinthians 4:16, “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.” MSG

Thanks Grace

Do you need to let grace push pause on the troubles of your life?

Focus on the needs of others and receive a moment of grace.

Focusing on the needs of others pushes pause on our own problems #grace Click To Tweet

Isaiah 58:10, “and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” NIV

Grace is a great distraction. Because of God’s grace, He remembers our sins no more. Have you met grace and received God’s gift?

Ephesians 1:7, “We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” HCSB

I hope you slam on your brakes pick up a little grace today.

 

 

Where is God when I need Him?

A shadow grows above my left shoulder and I can’t breathe. Well I can, but it sounds more like controlled gasping. This is the steepest slope I’ve ever climbed. Not on my road bike, in my life. And I’m suffocating.

Where is God when I need Him?

Though I haven’t been able to exercise in two years, the residual strength in my muscles surprises me. Not to brag, but I was exceptionally fit when I got sick. My above average strength was the reason my doctor’s thought I was faking, or crazy. I’ll admit to being a little crazy, but I hate fake.

Unfinished business

My breaths came in rhythmic, audible draws as I shifted into low gear to decrease the resistance in my chain. This ride was monumental, for both of us. My riding companion was my faithful friend who has seen the inside of my junk drawers. We started this race five years ago, but we didn’t finish because she crashed; then I did.

The creeping brown bruise on the back of my left hand was evidence of the IV infusion I received three days earlier. I still swallow nine pills a day, but despite myasthenia gravis, I pedaled thirty-two miles and finished the race. No way could I have done it without my friend. Besides, my kids wouldn’t have let me anyway.

I’m right here

When the road was flat and open she rode beside me, but on the hills or in the crowd she stayed behind. Even when I didn’t see her shadow over my left shoulder, I knew she was there when I recognized her voice in the crowd. Occasionally if I couldn’t see or hear her, I briefly took my eyes off the road and glanced back. When I didn’t spot her, she reassured me,

I’m right here

The mountain I’m pedaling up now is the biggest challenge I have ever faced. I never imagined gasping for air like this. The top is shrouded in fog and I can’t always see where I’m going. Still I keep pedaling and watch for His presence.

Hebrews 13:5, “…Be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ESV

Where are you, God?

He promises to be there. Sometimes I feel Him by my side and other times He seems to lag back where I can’t see Him. My spiritual eyes are darting for reassurance and when He knows I need it, I hear His voice.

Isaiah 50:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.” NIV

I don’t want to walk in it

I would rather coast downhill. THIS, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. Not to brag, but I would not survive if I didn’t have some spiritual muscle beforehand. You can’t wait until you crash to put on your helmet. You can’t wait until your life turns upside down to get into God’s word.

Please don’t think for an instant my spiritual muscle is built by my own strength, I’m talking about:

The word of God hidden in my heart

The truth stored in my marrow

The history and milestones I have with my Savior

I trust Him. He has always been faithful.

Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” HCSB

I am surrounded by friends who are cheering me on. God gives me strength to do what I’m called to do –

I’ll finish the race

2 Timothy 4:6, “You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running.” MSG

Thanks for sharing the ride of my life with me. My thoughts, words and heart are in pieces sometimes. I included lots of links in this post to help you see the landmarks I’ve passed. When you have time, I hope you’ll click on the bolded, underlined phrases for the rest of the story.

Do you want a full life or a fulfilled life?

STORAGE ALMOST FULL       MANAGE IN SETTINGS

Ugh, my storage is always full. I need a bigger plan.

Maximizing an hour of down time, I sat in the vacant seat facing the tarmac. My mission –

DELETE

DELETE

DELETE

Pictures monopolized most of my storage, so I started in photos. The agony of indecision spun me round and round. Should I delete this one? Did I print this picture? Was it shared on Facebook or Instagram? Four pictures of the same people in the same pose; which is best? This one is fuzzy, now her eyes are closed, not sure I can tell the difference between these….

SUNSETS AND OTHER EASY CHOICES

I deleted the sun the dropping between the mountains and dipping into the lake. How many sunset pictures have I taken from my porch? Goodness, I see it nearly every day but when the clouds layer like pie crust, the impulse to preserve the technicolor reflection is irresistible. Seriously though, who needs 358 pictures of sunsets?

Next time I’ll drink in the awe and beauty of God’s creation

Instead of cramming more into my storage, I’ll worship the One who created it all

Romans 1:20, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” NLT

KEEP THE MEMORIES INSTEAD

My photography skills are lacking but the lenses of my own eyes have captured waterfalls, wilderness and wildlife. I would show you, but I can never capture the true majesty of it all. So I deleted the pictures without people. My ineptitude at photography is irrelevant, but my relationships with people matter.

I want to preserve the memories of experiencing life together

Romans 12:10, “Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another showing honor.” HCSB

THE  BLUR

The atmosphere was electric as “The Fastest Man in the World” situated his feet into the starting blocks. My video of blurry arms and legs lasted only a few seconds. It sat for three years taking up storage space on my phone. I never replayed it, but I vividly remember sitting on the metal bleachers shoulder-to-shoulder with my son wearing his Razorback track jersey. My receptionist and nurse probably won’t forget hustling and juggling my schedule so I could rush 115 miles up the interstate and never miss a meet.

Being there for family is more important than any world record

1 Corinthians 9:25, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” NIV

PIERCING PICTURES

Even on his last leg, Sammy Joe managed to leave trash strewn in the driveway. Before I said my last good-bye, I took his picture lying on the doormat. I kept that one. Not everyone who vanished from my life said goodbye. Though the sparkling eyes and bright smile are preserved in a scrapbook, I paused before deleting the images which represent a significant investment of my time, heart and soul.

Maybe someday it will pay off…

Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” KJV

KEEP DELETING

After all that work, I only deleted a few megabytes. I moved on to messages. (Stay tuned for more next week. If you don’t get my posts by email, enter your address for the rest of the story “How to Make a Friend.”)

DELETE THE CLUTTER

What takes up valuable space in your life? Is your mind cluttered with bitterness and unforgiveness? Does self-pity or busyness  crowd out blessings? Delete the heap of junk you’ve collected and fill your treasure chest of memories with abundant life.

Maybe it’s time to delete what fills your life so you can live a fulfilled life

Live a fulfilled life rather than a filled life #busyness #abundantlife Click To Tweet

John 10:10, “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” MSG

How many pictures of sunsets do you have stored on your phone? Be honest.

Things are not as they appear

things are not as they appear

My vision wasn’t this bad swimming underwater in a muddy lake. Everything was blurry. The problem was, I had just put in my contacts.

I miss my visual acuity. When I was younger my vision was 20/15. I always thought I could have been an airline pilot. I still kind of like the sound of “Captain Vickie.” About age forty my eyesight began to slip, then it plummeted. Now without my contacts, I have a hard time figuring out which bottle is shampoo and which is conditioner in the shower.

Since I couldn’t see a thing, I took out my contacts, put them back into the solution and cleaned them. I pried open my eyelids and popped the lenses back in. After the fourth trial, I threw them in the trash and put on my dollar-store cheaters.

I was content with my decision until my husband put in his contacts. You see, he is near-sighted and I am far-sighted. Though his vision was equally blurry, it was clear to him what I had done. I threw away his perfectly good contact lenses and he was wearing mine. Oops.

IMPOSSIBLE

None of us can see through the lens of another. I can’t see through your eyes and you can’t see through mine. I let you see a little of my mess through a hazy lens. No matter how perfect someone’s life appears, we all struggle. You may get a hint or a vague word, but often, no one knows the battle you are fighting, much less that someone is critically wounded.

JUST BECAUSE

A smiling selfie on Instagram doesn’t equal contentment in the soul. Celebrations posted on Facebook are a click in time, not necessarily a great party. Sorrow and sadness are easily  hidden behind our poses.

Just because someone smiles and posts the picture on social media, doesn't mean they are happy… Click To Tweet

Really, a smile doesn’t mean anything except the muscles in the corners of your mouth work.

CORRECTIVE LENSES

We need to look through the eyes of Christ. The world is hurting. Don’t take it personally. Don’t make assumptions. You can’t look at another’s heart.

1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” NLT

THE REAL STORY

Maybe the young mother who threw an ever-loving fit at the receptionist’s window cried all night because her mother is dying of cancer.

Maybe the young couple you haven’t seen at church since Mother’s Day are grieving their third miscarriage.

Maybe the slim, tanned woman with diamonds hung like ornaments on a Christmas tree isn’t snobby after all. Maybe she’s distracted by the scars on her daughter’s wrists..

Maybe the neighbor who barely speaks when she sees you in the yard just found out her husband is leaving.

Maybe the gray-headed couple who didn’t introduce themselves when you visited a new church were attending for the first time since they buried their son fifteen years ago.

We look through the wrong lens and assume it is all about us.

She is rude

She’s  unfriendly

She is a snob

He’s grouchy

Maybe. Maybe not.

Maybe what they really need is a friend.

Psalm 60:20, “Insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. I waited for sympathy, but there was non; for comforters, but found no one.” HCSB

LOOK

I see people weighted down, struggling with illness, despair, and unforgiveness. I want to share the joy I have found in my personal relationship with Christ. Let’s come beside others to encourage them to discover what is available to every child of God. Point to the ray of sunshine peeking through the storm clouds to show others that God is on His throne and He redeems all things to bring good for His kingdom, even in our darkest times. Joy for the Christian does not depend on circumstances but rather in trusting a sovereign Lord who knows what is best for us even when we cannot see it. Don’t focus on the hardships of the moment but on a glorious ending only God can see.

I made all these stories up, but they are likely true. Except the part about the contact lenses, that really happened.

Wanna borrow my glasses? If my perspective challenges you I would love to send my next post to your inbox. Leave your email address in the box. See you in the rear view mirror.

 

 

Don’t tell me I can’t

Don't tell me I can't

Take me to the brink. I want to feel the power and hear the rush. We stared over the ledge, mentally measuring the switchbacks.

“Are you sure you can make it?”

No, I’m never sure I can finish, I’m only sure I can start. So that’s what I do-I start. My dad always said, “It’s better to have tried and failed than to never try at all.”

Maybe. Unless you’re three-quarters of a mile down a mountain and your muscles refuse to obey your brain..

WILLPOWER ISN’T ENOUGH

Whenever someone tells me I can’t do this or that, I want to throw a rock at their shin. Don’t worry, you’re safe, my aim is lousy. Besides, I don’t listen anyway. I am like a two-year old who wants to do it BY MY-SELF. But I can’t.

Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked hard at them and said, ‘No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.'” MSG

WHEN AMBITION EXCEEDS ABILITY

Sometimes I feel like a failure before I ever start. Can anyone relate? Myasthenia gravis makes me feel broken. My immune system is haywire, my neuromuscular junctions are defective and my muscles are soft. I can’t do what I used to do, then again, most people can’t do what I used to do. If I focus on my inability, I would live in despair. It’s a temptation I have to fight.

The only disability in life is a bad attitude.~ Scott Hamilton

Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord is the One who will go before you. he will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” HCSB

I WANT MORE

When I have a few good days in a row, I think I am in remission. You know, always the optimist. Though my health is markedly improved, remission continues to elude me. In some ways, my life is almost back to normal, but my eyes are now open to how far normal is from where God wants me. I’m simply not satisfied with normal any more

Philippians 1:10, “For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.” NLT

HE WON’T LET ME STAY HERE

I am thankful God loves me enough not to let stay where I am. He doesn’t want me comfortable, He wants me to grow. Someday I will look back and be glad the boat got rocked and changed course. Though it’s tempting to want my old life back, complete with flaws, this new dependence and relationship with God is worth it. But it’s hard. Every single day.

Philippians 4:!3, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” NIV

IMPOSSIBLE

On any given day, I am never sure if I can make it to the brink and back. But I know Christ gives me the strength to do the impossible, even if it’s not physical. I don’t listen when people tell me I can’t. You shouldn’t either. They’re totally wrong. What impossible situation do you need strength to change? Only through Christ can you:

FORGIVE THE UNFORGIVABLE

LOVE THE UNLOVABLE

RECONCILE THE IRRECONCILABLE

Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” NIV

RISKY BUSINESS

I’ll be honest, being vulnerable and allowing people past your walls into your life and your heart may cause pain. In fact, it may seem like a total failure. But it’s worth the risks. So at least get started. Keep trying, God equips us with everything we need.

When you get there, the view from the top is spectacular.

2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” ESV

Matters of the heart

 

Matters of the heartI was awakened from a sound sleep by the sledge hammer pounding on the mattress underneath me. When my eyes opened I couldn’t see because it was still dark. The fish in my chest flipped over a couple of times right before the oxygen was sucked out of the room.

Thump, thump, thump. I wondered if I was having a panic attack. No, I am not prone to anxiety and I have never had one before, but my medical training would easily lead me to conclude that diagnosis. Besides, I’ve been through a lot; it could happen.

Thump, thump, thump…..thump, thump……thump……thump, thump thump….thump.

Okay, I am not a cardiologist, but I didn’t have to sleep in a Holiday Inn last night to know this was not normal. I placed two fingers on my radial artery and felt the erratic pulsations; a few beats, a pause, another beat or two, another pause. My heart was out of rhythm.

Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.” MSG

DEPLETED

Before I went to bed, the pang in my gut reminded me I skipped dinner. Oh well, what could it hurt? I pursed my lips around the mouthpiece and inhaled the new medication. I’d do anything to get rid of this persistent cough. Apparently a lack of nutrition coupled with prednisone caused low potassium. The addition of an asthma medication was a perfect concoction to send my heart reeling. I’m sure a little, okay a lot of, stress probably didn’t help either.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to treat my spiritual heart the same way. The thoughts I suck into my mind interact with circumstances and soon my spiritual heart goes haywire. Then if I skip essential nutrients like prayer and Bible study and quiet time, I’m arrhythmic.

Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” NIV

HEART TRANSPLANT

I need a new heart. The one in my soul is prone to wander, led astray by situations, emotions and relying on relationships other than God for peace and happiness. The truth of the matter is, you and I both need a heart transplant. Not a refurbished version of our old heart, but a brand-new one, created by God to beat in perfect rhythm with His own heart. God wants us to experience peace despite our circumstances. We know our heart is beating in rhythm with His when we love what He loves and hate what He hates.

1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world…” NKJV

CUT IT OUT

As a surgeon, I prefer a quick fix. Slice open the skin with a scalpel, separate the muscles, clamp off the hemorrhaging vessels and cut out the offending organ. Then close it securely with suture, apply a bandage and voila’! Let the healing begin. But my spiritual heart disease is as chronic as my physical disease.

The Great Physician wants total transformation which is a life-long process. #newheart #rtp Click To Tweet

Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” HCSB

PROTECT IT

Without suppression of the body’s immune system, transplanted organs are rejected. Whenever God’s spiritual heart is transplanted into our fleshly body, an assault occurs. Keep your new heart healthy; feed your spirit and starve your flesh. After all, the donor gave His life so you could receive a new heart. Protect it.

Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” NKJV

WHOLE HEART

Are you walking around with a broken heart? God wants your heart to be whole, not broken or divided. Love God with everything.

Despite your circumstances

Despite your disappointments

Despite your failures

Despite your relationships

Every single moment, intentionally choose God’s glory above your every need and your every want and the pieces of your heart will beat together in perfect rhythm.

Matthew 22:37, “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” ESV

BE HEART HEALTHY!

What is your heart condition?

Looks like my number is up

Looks like my number is up

I was wrecked. Hot tears flowed from my eyes and lava oozed up from the cracks in my soul. I should have let the call go to voicemail. Gulping for a breath between sobs, I answered the phone anyway. Probably not a good idea; people are not used to seeing me like this. Normally, I am the cheerleader giving a pep talk. It’s not like my mind to wander to such dark places. But after all I have been through, I simply cannot imagine going backward.

At least I had sense enough to cancel my radio broadcast. It surely wouldn’t do to sniffle on the air, although when I did eventually record, my co-host barked several times.

Continue reading

Does there have to be a bright side?

Choose to look at the bright side

You can choose to look at the dark

But why?

Practice praise, it ushers you into the presence of God

Choose to look at the bright side… She repeatedly looked over her shoulder expecting to be flattened at any moment. Despite her angst, I couldn’t suppress the corners of my mouth as they spread upward.

The growing stubble on my Aussie’s hind quarter nearly hides the scar where her hip was pinned. To promote healing, she is supposed to walk every day and she seems to know it. With her nose to the door she whines. I think she is getting restless, trust me, I understand.

Psalm 23:2, “He maketh me to lie down…” KJV

I ALMOST FORGOT

There was a sliver of light on the horizon when it dawned me, if I didn’t get the trash can to the street before morning it would be too late. It was also recycle day. Since my dog still has to be on a leash and I don’t have three arms, I tied her leash to my belt loop. Just so you have the whole picture,  I wore a ball cap, glasses, no make-up, house shoes and a dog tethered to my jeans while I balanced two large green canisters on wheels.

Ecclesiastes 3:4, “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” HCSB

TIME TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH

Normally my fur baby walks beside me on her short leash, but the rumble of plastic wheels on pavement coupled with the image of green giants bearing down caused more than a little concern. What a sight for the neighbors to see! At least I wasn’t dancing in a linen ephod, but if I had one don’t put it past me.

2 Samuel 6:14, “And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.” ESV

GOTTA LOVE THY NEIGHBOR

Thankfully I didn’t see anyone, nor did anyone hear me giggle as I watched my poor dog shake in her fur. As I thought about the whole scenario, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” NKJV

ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE 

You see a year ago, I was too weak to walk to the end of the driveway, much less manage two trash cans and one anxious canine. When I rode my bicycle 100 miles a week, I took walking for granted. My perspective is different now. What about you? Are you struggling to find reasons to be thankful? Open your eyes and look around. Today I am thankful I can walk and drive my car. Last year my boots were too heavy for me to walk through house and now I can wear them out in public and that’s really a blessing because I have some awesome boots. I am especially grateful my happiness does not depend on my circumstances. My joy comes from the Lord. I am thankful for my friends, church, family and neighbors who help me. My smile enlarged as I recalled my neighbor towing the green cans for me when I couldn’t. She wore some pretty cute wedges. Yeah, shoes are a big deal.

1 Timothy 6:6-8, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” NIV

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Sometimes when I sat limp in a recliner, I felt like I was standing on edge of a dark cliff. To combat despair, I literally counted my blessings. I listed them in a notebook and spoke them out loud. Soon my attitude changed from one of self-pity to one of gratefulness. It helped me realize how truly blessed my life has been and it brought me into the presence of the Lord.

Practice praise, it ushers you into the presence of God #gratitude #rtp Click To Tweet

Psalm 100:4, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” NASB

I’LL ADMIT

There are certainly situations where it is hard to see the silver lining. Do it anyway. Sometimes it’s hard to even pray. Do it anyway. It helps me to personalize the Lord’s prayer.

  • Acknowledge God
  • Pray “Thy will be done
  • Ask for provision
  • Ask for forgiveness
  • Forgive others
  • Ask for guidance and protection
  • Praise Him!

Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.” NLT

DOES THERE HAVE TO BE A BRIGHT SIDE?

No, that’s your choice. You can focus on the dark side if you want. But why? I guarantee, if you look for the silver lining, you will find it. So whatever you do, laugh and keep your dog on a short leash, especially if she’s broken.

That annoying little green box that pops up is where you enter your email address if you don’t want to miss a post. Thanks for reading.