Have you ever been to a nude beach?

The Girlfriend’s Box of Questions

The pink and brown striped box held promise. Actually, it held questions and we used the conversation starters as writing prompts. I pulled one from the middle and quickly discarded it. Encouraged to take one from the top, I drew, “Who was the last person who gave you butterflies?” Gag.

Double gag.

I was about the throw in the towel with the questions when I ventured one more luck of the draw. That’s it, that’s the one for me.

Have you ever been to a nude beach? If not would you ever consider going?

Wait, let me get this out there first, no, I have never, ever been to a nude beach. However, I repeatedly contend that writing is like standing in front of everyone naked, only it’s not your body, it’s your soul.

You know I’m a gynecologist, right?

I’ve seen a lot of naked bodies. A lot. Bodies are different, they are sometimes wonderfully and sometimes fearfully made. But souls? Oh there is no comparison to the depth of beauty and wonder and fear and ugliness and power and redemption. Why are we so afraid to reveal our true selves? Vulnerability is a huge risk. What if my words are too skinny or too fat or too wrinkled or disproportionate? What if you can’t stand to look at them, like those American senior citizens prancing around on European beaches. Not that I’ve ever been, really, I heard about it from a friend.

Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” HCSB

DON’T LOOK ETHEL

My words sometimes make my kids cringe; they think I show a little too much and need to be more modest with my soul skin. My parents hurt over my writing when I expose raw wounds. Probably, I need a bandage to cover the unsightly injuries. My readers? I only hope you laugh and cry along with me.

Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” KJV

Here’s the deal, I’m not going to a nude beach, but, I will continue to bare my soul because I’ve seen a lot of naked bodies inside and out. I’ve heard you reveal your heart and soul and I want you to know you aren’t the only one. If I uncover my broken places, maybe you can find hope in the One who covers our sin and clothes us with His righteousness. My own life of filthy rags has been stripped away, leaving me bare. Can you stand to look or will you avert your eyes because it makes you uncomfortable?

Isaiah 61:11, “He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness.” MSG

GET REAL

The Celebrate Recovery step study I’m involved in has ruined me. As we walk through the door, we take off our masks and ultimately discover that what draws us to each other isn’t our flawless lives. No, we are drawn to each other’s honesty and raw emotions. Real connection happens when we take it off for others to see; no filter, no photo-shopping, no airbrushing.

Just the bare naked truth

The truth is, we all struggle. How about we lock arms and struggle together? Care to join me? If I haven’t scared you off, enter your email in that little box that pops up when you open the link and I’ll bug you every Saturday morning with a post in your inbox. Or if it’s too much, stare straight ahead and keep on walking.

What draws us to each other isn't our flawless lives #BeReal #vulnerability Click To Tweet

By the way, if you want to know who “we” is, check out my writing friends, Jill and Amy. They get my soul.

 

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.