I’ve got a blank space…

In ___________ we trust.


I've got a blank space

Is your world falling apart?  Is it crumbling? Are you in shambles?  Ask yourself, where is your trust? Most of us trust in many things. The question is not what or whom do you trust. The real question is:  what is the foundation? When everything is stripped away, is your foundation unshakable?

REMEMBER THE SONG WITH THE HAND MOTIONS FROM CHILDREN’S CHURCH

The wise man built his house upon the rock, the wise man built his house upon the rock, the wise man built his house upon the rock and the rains came a tumblin’ down.  The rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up,  the rains came down and the floods came up.  But the house on the rock stood FIRM!

The foolish man built his house upon the sand, the foolish man built his house upon the sand, the foolish man  built his house upon the sand and the rains came a tumblin’ down.  The rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up,  the rains came down and the floods came up and the house on the sand went SPLAT!

WIVES AND HUSBANDS

Honestly, it’s a set up for disappointment.  In fact, every human being on planet earth will disappoint you.  Your parents will disappoint you, your kids, your friends, your co-workers, your idols, your mentors, and especially church people will disappoint you.  We are most disappointed in those we elevate to a status of trust where they should never be in the first place.

The wise man...

HEALTH

Some day this is true for everyone, your health will fail.   You don’t think about it when you are young and healthy.  I thought I could eat right and exercise and avoid sickness and aging.  But, despite my sincere efforts, I developed an incurable disease that most people have never heard of – myasthenia gravis.

The wise man…

THINGS

The new car will get old and wear out.  The boat, jet ski, camper, motorcycle, four wheeler?  It will all be sold some day.  Every hobby or recreation that generates a passion today will eventually fade.  All those cute clothes and shoes in the closet will go out of style. Reputations can be ruined, even without cause.  Eventually,  our pets die.  Yeah sorry, that was low.

The wise man…

MONEY

Jobs, careers, finances can all be gone in an instant.  In fact, every worldly possession can catastrophically disappear overnight.   No matter how secure we think we are, we are one flood, one fire, one natural disaster, one turn of the stock market, one illness or injury or death away from a total loss.

…and the rains came a tumblin’ down

WORRY

What are you worried about?  We worry about the things we trust to get us through life.   We worry what would happen if we lost IT.  What if the rug were jerked out from under us?  We lay awake at night worrying about what ifs. It’s paralyzing.  What if my spouse left?  What if something happened to my kids? What if my parents died?  What if the doctor says it’s cancer?  What if I can’t work? What if I can’t pay the bills?  What if …

The foolish man…

RELIGION

Sometimes we trust in religion.  Doing the things we think we are supposed to do.  Not doing the forbidden stuff.  Usually this one is frustrating anyway.  Hard to get it all right.  The whole process is defeating and exhausting.

The foolish man…

SELF

Most of all we trust in ourselves; in our own abilities, tenacity, strength, effort.  We just keep trying. Isn’t that what the world tells us?  Just hang in there, keep on keeping on, be strong, you’ve got this.  But do you?

Hosea 10:13  “You thought you could do it all on your own, flush with weapons and manpower. But the volcano of war will erupt among your people.  All your defense posts will be leveled..” The Message

The foolish man…

EVERYTHING  can be lost.  Nothing is guaranteed tomorrow or even later today.  When it is all stripped away, what is your foundation?

In  __________ do you trust?

and the rains came a tumblin’ down

My mom once gave me a plaque that read:

 My circumstances do not determine who I am.  My circumstances reveal who I am.

and the house on the sand went splat.

Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” NIV

I’VE GOT A BLANK SPACE…..I’LL WRITE YOUR NAME, JESUS

and the house on the rock stood firm.

Examine your foundation.   When the rains come, you will know if it is firm, because you won’t fall apart, you won’t be shaken.  The what ifs are real.  When everything is stripped away you are left with your foundation.   If you are collapsing, then “dig deep” and lay a foundation on the solid rock-Jesus Christ.

Luke 6:47-49, “I will show you what someone is like who  comes to Me, hears my words, and acts on them:  He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock.  When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.  But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.  The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed.  And the destruction of that house was great!”  HCSB

Maybe you have looked at my life and thought I should be falling apart.  I’m not. My feet are on a firm foundation.  I would invite you to join me.

It ain’t perfect

It ain't perfect

 

MY LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN PERFECT

It may have looked that way, but it never was. I know, I had an exciting career, a wonderful husband, three great kids, and many other things for which I am very grateful. That’s just what you see. There are lots of ugly imperfections you don’t see. I wish everything was perfect, but it’s not. In fact Romans 7:18 is so true, nothing good lives in me. There are plenty of people who can testify to that!

NOT SO PERFECT PARTIES

For each of my kids’ high school graduations, I wanted to throw the perfect party and I wanted it outdoors. That’s always risky. When my last child graduated it seemed to finally all come together. Previously, my oldest daughter’s party was assembled in the front yard. Striving for perfection, the yard and flowerbeds were newly manicured. Tables were set up displaying her numerous accomplishments. One table had a gymnastics theme and one had books with academic medals celebrating her academic achievements. There was also a table with cheerleading memorabilia.

IT RAINED…

My son is a chemistry whiz and majors in chemical engineering. His graduation party had a Pinterest-worthy chemistry theme. We even had a platter of square cookies iced to look like the periodic table of elements. Tables were set out on the lush grass and adorned with flower filled beakers and flasks. The weather was cooperative.

HARDLY ANYONE CAME…

The state soccer tournament was that weekend. His grandparents had a birthday party to attend. While I really appreciate all who were able to attend, there are over one hundred elements in the periodic table. We ate helium and beryllium iced cookies for a long time.

MY LAST SHOT

Finally, the weather was beautiful. The tables were set around the pool with gingham pastels. Picture it:   a breakfast buffet complete with a bisquit bar was elegantly displayed. We had plenty of guests who seemed to genuinely enjoy themselves. Everything LOOKED perfect. There is just something I need you to know.

MY AUSSIE THREW UP

Everywhere. She has a sensitive stomach, and she gobbles her food like she hasn’t eaten in days. Nothing like cleaning up dog vomit before a lovely party to remind you that life is not perfect. When you look at others lives you only see what is on display, not what is in the trashcan. You smell the air freshener, not the stench of the day. We are very good at covering up the ugly stuff in our lives and pretending everything is perfect.

PROBLEM IS, IT ISN’T REAL

The charades convinced me. They defeated me. For so many years I sat in church thinking that everyone around me had it all together.  When I finally realized that no one seriously did, including myself, it freed me.  I decided it was time to be honest, to be real, to be raw.  My solution to counter the self condemnation that we all struggle with was to share encouragement through teaching.  For several years I taught a women’s class called Heartlifters. My entire motive for teaching was to prove that I didn’t have it all together. Because if you think I do, then we cannot relate.  If you look at anyone and think their life is perfect  you will think yours doesn’t measure up.  Anyone know what I am talking about?  My life has never been perfect, even before being diagnosed with myasthenia gravis.  I suspect yours isn’t either.  I would be willing to bet we’ve all had a little vomit on our parties.

Let’s just admit it and PARTY ON!

“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus”  Phillipians 3:12  HCSB

MOTION SICKNESS CURE

Motion sickness cure

PLEASE DON’T PUT ME IN THE BACK SEAT

Summer vacation for my family meant traveling by car to places like Dogpatch. Anyone remember Lil’ Abner and Daisy Mae Yokum? Oh how I wanted one of those off the shoulder, hillbilly shirts. My memories of the attractions at the now-abandoned theme park are hazy, but I distinctly remember the curves of Highway 7. And the nausea…

 

CAR  SICK

I looked out the window of the car at the expansive valleys and the trees whirring by my vision were blurry. My eyelids drooped from Dramamine and we always stopped for Sprite to soothe my stomach. To some extent, I’ve outgrown it, but sea sickness still plagues me. It is even worse because you can’t pull over and stop.  While on a tropical sunset catamaran cruise, I discovered a little trick. Fix your eyes on a large, immovable object in the distance to avoid nausea. Stare at a big mountain far on the horizon, because if you look out at the motion passing by, you’ll be retching soon.

LIFE IS LIKE THAT TOO

Focus on the crazy, out of control things happening outside the window of your life and you will literally be sick: stomach churning, knots in the shoulders, headache, can’t sleep kind of sick. Choose instead to focus on that big, immovable object in the distance- our loving Father, mighty Creator, never-leaving, never-forsaking God who will never change.

Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” HCSB

OUT OF CONTROL LIFE

I cannot control my situation, I can only control my attitude. It’s not always easy. It’s a choice and it’s all about perspective. We choose to focus on the positive or the negative side of our circumstances.

I focus on what I can do, not what I can’t do.

These words from a wise friend challenge me. He has ALS  (Lou Gehrig’s disease).  If he can say that, so can I.  So can you.

FOCUS IS THE CURE

You probably don’t want to be around me when I miss my quiet time in the morning,. I might not want to be around myself. I need to get focused as soon as my feet hit the floor. Actually I have to drink coffee as soon as my feet hit the floor. Don’t judge me – caffeine improves the ability to focus. God has revealed Himself in so many real ways to me since I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, usually first thing in the morning.

Lamentations 3:21-23, “This I recall to my mind, and therefore have I hope.  It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”  KJV

HIS MERCIES ARE NEW EVERY MORNING

The alarm jolts us from our sleep, we roll out of bed and rush through the day, then wonder why we don’t hear God speak. We question where He is in our troubled lives. We wait until are desperate and shoot up a little prayer. We fall into bed exhausted at night breathing a prayer as we drift off to sleep.

Psalm 63:1, “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You’ In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. ” NKJV

A CHOICE

It’s a hard choice many days, but worth the effort. Though the passing scenery is mesmorizing, resist the temptation to look around and get distracted.

Hebrews 12:2, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God-he could put up with anything along the way:  Cross, shame, whatever.” MSG

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UNWRAPPING THE GIFT

Unwrapping the gift

I TURNED FIFTY THIS YEAR

Every year on my birthday, I receive a letter from my pastor with a commitment to pray for me. This is a long-standing tradition at my church. On the standard birthday form letter this year there was a hand-written note that read, “I know your life has been turned upside down.” I immediately realized that my life had been turned right side up. It would not seem that way to you. I am living a paradox.
Before June 2014, everything in my world seemed right and good. My career as an obstetrician/gynecologist was at its peak. I have been happily married to my high school sweetheart for over thirty years. My children are grown, getting along well and succeeding in their chosen paths. I have a great sister and parents and lots of friends. I was in the best physical shape of my life, literally able to pedal my road bicycle to the top of a mountain. Life was good. I was strong, happy, healthy and independent.

THE GIFT OF TIME

Rather suddenly, my life was turned right side up by a rare, life-altering disease that took away my strength, my career, my independence, my appearance and literally changed all of my relationships. Ironically, illness and adversity have a way of giving gifts, too. I have been given the gift of one thing I never had before: the gift of time. I have time to think, time to read and study, time to pray, time to spend with people I truly care about. I have also been given time to write.

I have wanted to write since I was in grade school. In fact, when I was young, I co-wrote a book called, Mr. Mouse and Mojay. My fifth grade collaborator and I even went to the public library (because that’s what you did back then) and mailed copies to a couple of publishers. We never heard back from them. I don’t even know where the book is now, but it was cleverly illustrated and dedicated to my grandfather. Neither do I recall the details, but I think Mojay was a possum-like creature that rescued his forest friends. Maybe Wendy remembers.

THE DESIRE OF MY HEART

Writing has long been a desire of my heart, but there was never time. We are promised that God will give us the desires of our heart, if we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4). He knows I have a heart for encouraging others, speaking, teaching and writing. I have often thought I could write but I never had a story, until now. I am confident God really loves me and looks at my heart rather than my feeble efforts and shortcomings. He has chosen this path for me because He knows what is best for me. I trust Him. Others have repeatedly assured me that God has a plan for me. I know that. I know it deep down where it matters. In a strange way I cannot explain, it feels like divine love. He is providing for me. He is revealing Himself to me in new ways. He is giving me the desires of my heart. My disease takes so much away but it also gives. I’m not sure I would have chosen it, but I’m not sure I would trade it either.

WHAT GIFT HAS ADVERSITY GIVEN YOU?

I am terrible at wrapping gifts; uneven edges and crooked tape. It is as bad as my handwriting. Truly, I am embarrassed to take a gift I wrapped to a shower. But once the paper is off, the wrapping paper is trash anyway. It’s the gift inside that matters. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. You may not like the way it is wrapped, but be careful not to miss the gift inside. Let’s exercise a little sacrifice of praise, a little rejoicing in suffering. (Hebrews 13:15, James 1:2)

Psalm 20:3-5, “May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of God.” NIV
Leave a comment below to share the gift you have received from adversity. I’ll start…

A PERFECT DESCRIPTION OF AN IMPERFECT SITUATION

NOT A BLOGGER

I never had time to read blogs, but I followed Journey with Jill and was excited to order copies of her devotional, “Glory in the Garden.” As she walked out the door after delivering the books, she looked over her shoulder and said,

You should start a blog

Yeah right. I promptly told her I was NOT interested. But as soon as she walked out the front door of my house, I was obsessed. Seriously, blogging was all I could think about. I already had all these words rolling around in my mind. I immediately began making notes and researching blogging. I’m not very technical, but I wanted to do it right. Instead of a brainstorm, I had mental tsunamis. In my quest to launch my blog, I discovered is how important it is to have a good name.

NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT A DOMAIN IS ANYWAY

I mulled it over and came up with a name that describes my current life situation. If you are like me, you think tomorrow will be pretty much like today. But then I woke up in a different world, with a different body, with a totally different life. It looks tragic to most people from the outside, but those who truly know me see something very different. My world appears to have been turned upside down, but truly it is right side up. So that’s the name I chose: My Right Side Up World.

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS

I have been tapering from a high dose of prednisone. This last adjustment has been the most difficult. My brain is foggy and I am lethargic. Add to this, a recent hospitalization for an infusion that required premedication with Benadryl. The next day I was hung over. Why I chose this day to register my domain is unclear. For weeks I had settled on my right side up world. Somehow I ended up with this: myupsiderightlife.

THAT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE!

But it’s a perfect description of an imperfect situation. I blame the Benadryl. Years ago, a medical study was published comparing the effects of alcohol vs. diphendydramine (the active ingredient in Benadryl). College students drank enough alcohol to get them legally drunk and then drove a simulated course. The second group took a dose of diphenhydramine and drove the same course. Both groups were equally impaired but those who were drunk knew they were impaired and the ones who took the antihistamine thought they were fine.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY?

Don’t name a blog under the influence of antihistamines. At least if you drink you will have sense enough to wait until you are sober. And by the way, don’t drive either way.

I’LL MAKE A DEAL WITH YOU

I won’t blog in a fog if you’ll hang in there and follow me for a while. Just enter your email address in the box.

Join me on the porch for encouragement if your life has been turned upside down #encouragement Click To Tweet

Proverbs 17:22, “LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE!”

It’s the one thing about me that hasn’t changed.