My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Monday, January 9, 2012

reasons to love Monday - turning crisis into blessing

Today it's back to life, back to reality for me and my boy. I am still sore but I am no longer sick and weak and that makes a huge difference. I can work with pain, I've lived with pain for a year almost. I couldn't work with being unable to have the strength to sit... the desire or ability to eat... and I am so grateful to God for the healing He brought into my life over the past week.

It's funny... in an ironic sort of way... if I had the information from my doctor last Tuesday that I received last Friday... that the surgery had been more extensive, that they expected the healing to be on the longer end of the spectrum... that I was in no way expected to be well enough to go back to work yet... I would have saved myself a lot of grief, frustration, guilt and shame. Yet... if I had that information... I would have relied on my own strength and not turned to God for strength.

I am grateful that God healed me but I am also grateful that I needed/wanted to turn to Him for healing. I'm grateful for any time I throw my hands up in frustration and by His great love am able to change hands raised in frustration to hands raised in praise.

You see... my fears that came to light were those fears of being alone and unable to do the things I need to do. I have been sick before. I have been in pain before. But I have never been in a place where I was truly unable to take care of myself. No matter what I have faced in my life to this point I have always had my own strength to rely on... and suddenly... it was gone. It broke me in ways that I needed to be broken. It gave me a compassion for others that I have never felt before. And it also reminded me of the awesome power of God and I. needed. that. reminder.

I had stopped listening for His voice. I had started living my life again in my own power. As long as I was able to drag my damaged spine to the office and make a reasonable effort to be present physically and mentally... even if that was the ONLY thing I could do... the fact that I was still able... was what I depended on. Even though my world had narrowed to the place of work/nest... I still had faith in my own strength.

I know a lot of people... actually... I would say most people I know rely on their own health and wealth for survival in this life. They work hard to accumulate wealth and exercise and eat right to preserve their health and all of it is just as fragile as my plan. No matter what you have come to depend on in this world, that can be snatched away from you in a heartbeat. Whatever gives you the strength to go on... wherever you find your security... I promise you, it is temporary and insecure. The husband can walk away. The house can burn to the ground. The job could end. You could have a health crisis. It happens every day.

I spend my work days trying to help people prepare for the unexpected. Insurance... risk management... creating a balance of giving a portion of what they earn today to make sure that if there is a crisis, they are prepared. I believe in this sort of preparation. But I also have learned a valuable lesson about preparing for things that money can't buy... we are not invincible. We need a supernatural force that is working on our behalf. I realized last week that I was having trouble hearing God's voice. The remedy is simple... open up the bible and start to read... open up your heart, turn off your tv, remove any and all distractions and just listen. He is there in the silence.

The first thing He said to me was the same thing He used to say to me in those terrible times in Jacksonville: be still. Be still. I was so riled up and anxious and discouraged. Despite my physical disability over the past year... I have filled my mind with tons of junk... games (I'm strongly convicted of this)... tv... indulgent, unholy, inappropriate things. I have spent very little time in the quiet or stillness that would allow room for God. I had to put down the crutches that I had leaned on to entertain me and allow myself to be alone with my thoughts so that He could fill them.

The cool thing is that God inhabits the praise of His people so if you are feeling apart from God, just start to praise Him. Praise Him for the thing that has made you need to turn to Him. Praise Him for loving you in spite of your selfishness and self-absorbedness (is that a word? who cares?) Once I got still and stopped my mental soundtrack of "I'm a loser. I'm never going to be able to sit again. I'm alone. I'm broke. I'm being demoted at work. I'm not going to be able to get Austin to graduation."  The negative self-talk was demoralizing. You know... if you stop listening to God, you're going to hear from satan. He's going to fill your heart and mind with a lot of lies that will cripple you. Once you stop and hear what God has to say on the matter your strength will be renewed. That doesn't mean the crisis will go away. Some incredibly saintly people go through terribly tough times but... when you stop giving the victory to the crisis and start giving praise to God, the crisis becomes a blessing because it is the very thing that causes you to draw nearer to Him.

This is long and it's time for me to start getting ready for work. I'm so grateful for the strength to go out into the business world today. I'm grateful for my job and will do my best to honor God through my efforts there. I thought about how Tim Tebow is remarkable because whether he wins or loses, he gives God the glory. I'm not sure I can physically "tebow" in my office, but my heart will be yielded to God in that place. Whatever happens... it is my opportunity to glorify God.

Have a great day, y'all!