Distraction of Inability

Submitted by Rev. Jennifer Sakata

Grace Through a Not So Perfect Pot

Jennifer is a sister speaker and author in the book, Whispers of Grace.
I know you will gain from her insights. If her message speaks to your heart, she would love to hear from you- links at the end.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” Luke 15: 8-10, NLT

Sandwiched in the middle of two other stories about lost things being found, sits this sketch of a woman and her lost coin. All three stories include some kind of celebration. It makes sense to rah-rah when a lost sheep is discovered or whoop it up for a wayward child who has come home.

But invite friends and neighbors in over a lost coin—a celebration preceded by the admission of having lost something so dear in the first place?

Sometimes, what we’ve mislaid is insignificant and no big deal—perhaps inconvenient, but not life-altering. Like the glasses I left on top of my head or the scissors chillin’ out in the freezer or the keys buried under a pile of papers long-forgotten. Those lost things make us all laugh and appreciate our collective absentmindedness.

But when I’ve misplaced something big like a large amount of cash, or a birth certificate, or some prized-piece of jewelry, I don’t want everyone to know about it.

I’m embarrassed. How could I have lost something so important? How could I have been so careless with something so precious? Why didn’t I set it someplace I’d remember?

Guilty as charged.

Eyes are drawn to my inability to keep track of things I never should have lost.

Such a script forces us to hide, frantically searching for what remains hidden—until it is not.

There is shame and criticism in these voices with their laser-focus on our inability—this toxic spotlight on what I ‘shouldn’t’ have done, or how ‘inept’ and ‘slipshod’ I am.

Meanwhile, something lost or someone off in the distance sits waiting to be found.

Have you ever been there? Ever been so distracted by your inability that the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘would-a could-as’ speak louder than the truth—that we serve a grace-giving God who specializes in lost things being found.

I love this woman’s response: Come on over—everyone! Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin. She’s unafraid to celebrate. Her rejoicing covers any trace of ineptitude or lack of planning or disorganization.

The distraction of inability is quickly replaced by the point of the story Jesus tells: the lost is found; it’s reason enough to make merry.

The woman and her celebrations are such a beautiful image of grace. No more energy wasted on why the coin was lost or how it got that way. No more perseverating on what character flaws caused her to lose it. “Found” is the order of the day, and now it’s time to party!

Grace gives eyes to see and celebrate what’s been found. Grace welcomes a friend and reaches toward a neighbor in recognition of what wasn’t but now is. Grace removes the distraction of our inability and replaces it with God’s sufficiency for His Glory and our good.

Where have you lost something precious?

Perhaps it’s something you’ve treasured over the years.

Or perhaps it’s some way of being and seeing God and others that has slipped through the cracks of busyness, rush, hurry and a mind that’s too full for remembering one more thing.

No matter the reason, let go the distraction; it’s never been about your ability or mine. It’s always about His—through us.  

And besides, the search is always better when shared. So is the party too!

Jesus, thank you for being a Savior and Lord who finds lost things, rejoices in lost things found and calls us to do likewise. When my heart is hard or keeping track of all the ways I ‘shouldn’t’ have, draw me nearer to You, God of Grace. When I’m the one doing the losing, help me not be shamed into silence. Open my eyes to what’s lost and forgotten. Thank you that You call me to celebrate—to look beyond myself to what You are up to. Thank you for finding me each day. Amen.

As always, I appreciate your support and the honor of encouraging you through words of my own and others each month.

Seeking to serve,

Peg Arnold

Speaker/Author

Get to Know Jennifer Sakata

Rev. Jennifer Sakata is a storyteller, observer of life, and grace-growing follower of Jesus. She lives in Central Illinois with her husband Craig and two fun-loving sons. Jennifer is a speaker, writer, and contributing author in two recent publications: She Writes for Him: Stories of Living Hope by Redemption Press and Whispers of Grace by EA Books. Jennifer is active in her community and you might see her cycling around on her hot-pink-tired road bike!

Please connect with Jennifer on her website, Grace Through a Not So Perfect Pot at 

www.JenniferSakata.com

www.facebook.com/JenniferSakata.Author

www.instagram.JenniferSakata

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following!

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A Mother’s Day Tribute


But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:9
Hi Friend!
It is Mother’s Day weekend and I wanted to share with you a tribute to my Mom, Ardis Merrill, who died August 2012. I still miss her and especially feel that absence when I walk by the card aisle. My mom left a legacy of love and faith for three daughters, two sons, and many grands and great grands.
The following poem is a tribute my sister wrote following her death. I pray it not only gives you a glimpse of my legacy but may it open doors for you to appreciate yours as well.

I Wear Her Face………..
By Beth Byerley
Peering through the lens of time to backward years
That lie like a long string of dominoes
Still falling forward – and feeling the momentum
As I am propelled forward with them, I wear her image like a cloak
All-at-once identifying me, coloring who I am.

We lost Mom’s presence nearly a year ago,
When her favorite season was coming to an end – Summer.
The time when her home on the lake was swelled with
Children, grandchildren, family, friends.
She cleaned, laundered, swept, and baked her way through summer,
Time measured by pitchers of koolaid, cribbage games, needlepoint projects.
Her presence permeated through
Smells of morning coffee, freshly baked muffins,
Through vases of the flowers she gathered –
From spring’s lilacs to late summers’ lilies;
Through the sounds of her smooth, warm voice
Talking low over the breakfast table…
The sweet beginning of a summer day with Mom.

I knew my Mother well – her deep faith in God
And her pervasive love for her family.
Fiercely loyal and true to her beliefs, she had her share of heart dents in life…
The wounds of prejudice,
The slights caused by battles with callousness and ignorance,
Poverty…
She wore her wounds like a soldier – fighting forward, suffering in silence,
Aware that other’s wounds were worse than her own.
And she loved us with openness of heart on the ground floor of life,
Where the anger could be expressed, the grief could be cried,
And the love could be embraced.

Mom decorated life from the time she entered it, until she left it.
Whether it was her beautiful face, the colorful scarves,
The art treasures she created with her hands in swift stitches on fabric,
Bold strokes with brushes and watercolor on canvas,
Or the creative ways she transformed “ordinary” into “beautiful”,

Mom left this world a more beautiful place because she was here.
She lived her life like a missionary: giving herself away to others,
Mentoring people behind her on the journey of life and faith —
Sharing truth with them; supporting them through their struggles.

She gave herself to us and our families…
Welcoming us for holidays and family gatherings…
Coming to our homes to care for our children,
Bringing the warmth and security of her presence while we traveled away,
Giving us peace of mind as we entrusted our precious families to her care.

Mom loved to travel….seeing the world at its best time…
Before wars and hatred tore our human fabric into fractured pieces.
We all have treasures from various parts of the world
As she brought home small pieces of its exotic beauty to us.

She shared her life with us, even as it began to close at the end….
Her eyes becoming her only way to express her love
As her brain dulled and her speech stopped.
We could see her frustration as she tried to join with us,
Participate in our circles of conversation,
Let us know her thoughts — but not being able to
Make it through the maze of twists and turns
As her Alzheimers slowly blocked her pathways through to us–
The people she loved most in the world.

When we said our final goodbye, surrounding her in the
Tight circle of family she had created in her womb…
Whom she had nurtured and served all her life,
It was to release her to the freedom of heaven,
To the great love of God and all who had gone before.
And what is left behind?
We are her legacy….
The sons and daughters and loving husband;
The beloved family she adored;
The friends and churches to whom she gave pieces of herself and her heart.

And to us, her daughters, she gave a more visible legacy –
Features from her lovely face.
May I be a credit to the legacy and all that it means….
May I love well and fully through a heart that loves Jesus first
.May I mentor and guide others to health and wholeness.
And may I love my family in ways that undergird them
With the secure knowledge of unconditional love.
I Thank God that being perfect is not the requirement for being loved.
Because love grows and prospers in
Grace, Forgiveness, and Healing.
That is what I learned from ARDIS MARIE, my Mother.

I pray you have a Blessed Mother’s Day!

As always, I appreciate your encouragement and seek to serve!
Peg Arnold
Bringing Stories to Life!
Check out Peg’s Mother’s Day Message- Avoid Comparison Games, Embrace Your Design https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfVo77yuixc&t=845s

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following!

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Twitter @ArnoldPeg           

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Or you could order my book Devotions for the Distracted Heart- https://www.amazon.com/Devotions-Distracted-Heart-Peg-Arnold/dp/1732769923/

Seek and Find

A guest devotional from a sister Whispers of Grace author and speaker, Colette Shaffer.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 17:33

Did you ever play hide-and-seek as a kid or even as an adult? Did you prefer to hide rather than seek? Seeking takes work and diligence to find who or what it is you are looking for. When my kids were young and would play this game, I would often hear one of them yell (when they were seeking), “I give up!” It’s easy to give up on what we are seeking before we find it, but how rewarding it is when we are persistent and discover what we are looking for!

We play this game of hide-and-seek almost every day to varying degrees. As I have scoured over the images on Pinterest (yes, I’ve got sucked in, too), it seems we all are seeking the same basic things. We look for better organization, knowledge, a tip, a yummy recipe, decorating, the latest trends in style and design, or a great fit body. I believe, however, that we are also seeking more profound things for ourselves. As believers, we long for such wisdom, knowledge, and ultimately fulfillment in our lives through our God-given purpose.

I believe the most daunting task for people is seeking to find who they were created to be. You have probably heard or have even stated yourself, “I just need to find myself.” What that really means is that they need to find out who they are and what it is that will make them feel at peace, complete, and whole. Unfortunately, people (even Christians) try to use things of this world or even other people to accomplish their longing for wholeness.

Jesus told his disciples in John 17:32, “Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone.” Now Jesus was speaking specifically to his disciples and their situation, knowing that He soon would be crucified. His disciples would be scattered and leave him alone, but I also believe that there is a message to Christians today. I have seen so many scattered Christians, interested in their own things and leaving Christ and all he did for us alone.

Jesus went on to explain himself, saying, “These things I have spoken to you, that in ME you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” He’s saying you don’t go looking for peace and fulfillment in the world – there is nothing but hardship and hopelessness out there. He says that He already overcame those things so that you wouldn’t have to wallow through them but find yourself IN HIM.


 I guarantee that you will not be disappointed if you seek to find who you are IN HIM! He will far exceed anything you could have hoped or imagined for yourself. Seek Him daily, and you will find precisely who you were created to be.

Father, I thank you for sending Jesus to overcome the world. Help me to stay diligent in seeking out the One who brings peace to every situation I face. Amen.

Colette Schaffer is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist who lives 2 hours from the nearest Walmart on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. This teacher at heart, and by profession, will encourage and equip you to dive deep into God’s Word so you can apply it to every part of your life–spirit, soul, and body. Colette has been a pastor with her husband since 2006. She has written two books; Expecting Jesus: An Advent Devotional and Planted: A Guided Study to Produce a Peace-Filled Life in an Anxiety-Filled World. She is also a contributor to the book, Whispers of Grace – a collection of stories, devotions, poems, and prayers.

Colette Shaffer

Check out her website! https://www.schafferministries.com/

As always, I appreciate your encouragement and seek to serve!

Peg Arnold

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Bringing Stories to Life!

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following!

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Twitter @ArnoldPeg          

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Interested in attending Pegs next virtual conference? Ill be speaking about Avoid Comparison Games, Embrace Your Design. Be sure to use SPEAKER for 30% off. Here are the links.

3 day conference

1 day conference

3 day conference with swag bag

Hope to “see” you there!

Or you could order my book Devotions for the Distracted Heart- https://www.amazon.com/Devotions-Distracted-Heart-Peg-Arnold/dp/1732769923/Open document settings

Distraction of Disbelief

I have the opportunity to share a devotion from this talented author and friend, Kim Cusimano. We are both published in Whispers of Grace with several other gifted authors and speakers. I know you’ll be inspired by her words. I’ll be posting my February devotion next week.

Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Psalms 86:11

“You don’t need to run tests on his right eye. He wears a prosthetic eye.” After trying to talk to the technician at the optometrist’s office about my son’s right eye, I resolved to sit back and find the humor in her actions. She started with the familiar directions, “Follow the red dot. Try not to blink.” After completing all the tests on his left eye, I tried again to explain why there was no reason to test his right eye. She held firm, “I’ll just go ahead and test them both.” One more time, “Ma’am, there is no need. It is an acrylic shell, cosmetic only.” She tested both eyes.

I grinned, realizing there was no way I was going to convince her of the truth. My son’s right eye is hand-sculpted and hand-painted. No matter how real it looks, it is incapable of vision. Countless red dots would not change the fact he is blind in his right eye.

Truth can be a tricky thing. We can declare something to be true that is not true at all. The technician could see an eye that looked real, so she presumed it needed testing for some measure of function. Notice her actions followed what she believed. Also, it was apparent she was influenced by other variables. One variable was her position. She was the technician, and I was not. She had a job to do, a chart to complete. Another variable was her experiences. Had she ever seen a prosthetic eye?  

What would have been a good measure for her to use in validating the truth? She could have listened to his mother. The person who was with him after surgery when they removed his malformed right eye and left an empty eye socket. The person who sat with him while a skilled gentleman worked to create his prosthesis. The person he ran to on the beach when sand would get under it, irritating enough to remove it, “Here, Mom, hold my eye.”

This experience at the doctor’s office still brings a chuckle and reminds me to be careful how I determine truth. The technician had access to the patient’s mother, yet she let her position and possible lack of experience hinder her perception of what was true.

I am guilty of this with God. He is my Heavenly Father, my creator, and yet I do not always go to Him to validate what is true.  He has the position and knowledge to confirm the truth. The Bible says He is the originator of all truth. It belongs to Him. Psalms 86:11 says, “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.”

Dear Lord, help me walk in Your truth. Help me to recognize what is true in light of Your character, Your position, and Your knowledge. Remind me not to lean on my limited understanding but to be a student of Your principles and truths. Amen

Kim Cusimano is the founder of Full Joy Ministries. She is an author whose poetry and articles have been published in several compilation books. As a mother to four, two of whom are special-needs young adults, she spends her time encouraging those around her to reach their full potential.

Visit her at fulljoyministries.com

If you want to purchase a signed copy of Whispers of Grace from Peg Arnold, here is a link, or you can order it on Amazon.
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=8ETVDS2TE3RSQ

As always, thank you for your support and encouragement. Blessings! Peg Arnold

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Distraction of the Journey

Seeds along the way- a guest blog entry from Denise Goosby

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

As we walk this journey of healing, we’ll encounter seeds along the way. Divine pieces of revelation that point us toward health and wholeness. Some might call them nuggets or little treasures. I prefer seeds. Not only must you pick them up, you must plant them. Tend them. Water them. Bring them refreshment and nourishment.

That’s when they become golden treasure of infinite value.

I’d like to share one particular seed that I found in a book by Henri J.M. Nouwen called “You Are The Beloved: Daily Meditations For Spiritual Living.” I’ll let Nouwen share:

“Over the last few years, I have been increasingly aware that true healing mostly takes place through the sharing of our weakness. Mostly we are afraid of our weaknesses that we hide them at all cost and thus make them unavailable to others but also often to ourselves. And, in this way, we end up living double lives even against our own desires: our life in which we present ourselves, and to God as a person who is in control and another life in which we feel insecure, doubtful, confused, and anxious and totally out of control. The split between these two lives causes us a lot of suffering.”

A lot of suffering.

Nouwen believes that the only way to bridge the expanse between our inner and outer lives is through sharing their contents within a safe, caring community. It is acknowledging life’s struggles with others—with God—that can liberate us from our fears and help us live our best authentic selves. It is in the sharing of our weakness that the very community we need—and, in our heart of hearts seek—is created.

That’s why I began Denise’s Healing Journey blog .

It’s a place where courageous people can share their trials and triumphs, and know that there are other like-minded souls living within this broken world amidst broken people who will receive them and champion them.

We all need a hero.

And, in this place, through our words, comments, prayers, and presence we each have an opportunity to be a hero for someone else. Now, for me, here comes the hard part. Someone has to take the first step. Someone has to share their pain; their shortcomings, and their heartbreak. By God’s grace, I’ll be that someone. I’ll try my best to leave seeds from what I have experienced and learned along my own journey of healing for others. I pray that I will find what Nouwen did:

Often I became aware of the fact that in the sharing of my weaknesses with others, the real depths of my human brokenness and weakness and sinfulness started to reveal themselves to me, not as a source of despair but as a source of hope…once I am able to confess my most profound dependence on others and on God, I can come in touch with my true self and real community can develop.”

So, let our beloved community of “every nation, tribe, and tongue” move forward on our journey of healing. And, take courage. If you know that you are not ready to give care and attention to this seed—or any seeds—that you encounter on your journey, don’t discard them. They could be for someone else. Just tuck them away in a safe place until the soil of your heart can receive them and use them and let them grow.

Father God, let nothing you teach us through Your Word, Your Spirit, and the life You’ve given us be wasted. May the seeds that we gather along our journey take root in our hearts. And, may the fruit that grows from them be a blessing to You and to others. Amen.

Denise Ann Goosby has worked as a community reporter and educator in public and private schools. In 2018, she founded the nonprofit Healing Song Ministries (now ministry). Her blog, Denise’s Healing Journey, launched this summer. She is single and living in Southern Californiahttps://www.facebook.com/Denises-Healing-Journey-A-blog-104419934693246

I appreciate your encouragement and seek to serve! I am always looking for others to contribute to this blog. If you are interested, please reach out.

Peg Arnold

Bringing Stories to Life!

 Devotions for the Distracted Heart- During this time, I am offering free journals with every book purchase.  https://pegarnold.org/shop/

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following!

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pegarnoldwow/

Twitter @ArnoldPeg          

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Distractions of Displays-A Christmas Village

Guest Writer- Cathy Wyne

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

My father loved to create a village under the Christmas tree each year; however, he was relegated to the garage once the footprint of his town exceeded the living room carpet and encroached upon the wood foyer. You see, his village had become a burgeoning metropolis surrounded by an agricultural reserve. A train ran across a trestle bridge through the mountains in the distance, ducked in and out of a tunnel, and then followed a meandering course through the countryside until reaching the city. There were fields and farms, parks and ponds, Victorian row houses, humble cottages, and churches galore. Dozens of little people— all frozen in a single, joyous holiday moment—completed the masterful design. Every element of this display was hand-painted by my grandmother and my father always managed to find a special place for each one.

When his work of art was complete, he loved nothing more than sharing it with his grandchildren. I can still see him in his engineer cap with a big smile on his face as he set the train in motion.

However, the memory I treasure most is sitting in the garage with my father after the kids had gone to bed. We didn’t run the train. Instead, we enjoyed the perfect stillness, the twinkling lights, and the quiet joy of the season.

Finding peaceful moments during the holidays can often be a challenge. As a society, we tend to chock our calendars full of festivities hoping to make our Christmas celebrations as memorable as possible. Ultimately we find ourselves lost to the confusion and exhausted. Some of us may even feel like we’re celebrating Christmas with the Kranks, trying to pull it all together at the last minute despite our best efforts to be organized and efficient.

Determined to find more time for relationships and those elusive peace-filled moments, I made a bold decision this year. There was going to be Christmas cheer during Thanksgiving. Yes, I decorated early and the sky didn’t fall.

To all those naysayers who might think my actions a crime against Christmas or somehow diminished my capacity to focus on blessings during Thanksgiving, I say, “Oh contraire.” Decking the halls early left me more relaxed and feeling even more grateful than ever before. I was able to truly give thanks as the turkey was passed around the table rather than thinking about the dozens of Christmas boxes that would clog my stairwell the following day. This new strategy also gave me a full month to focus on family and friends, serving others, and reflecting on God’s perfect gift.

So in the future, I encourage you to break free of convention and experience Christmas in a whole new way. If you want to have more moments of quiet reflection, go ahead and set up the tree a little early, drape the banister with garland, give yourself permission to do whatever enables you to shine a brighter light on the birth of our Lord and Savior.

For what matters most is that we center our hearts and minds on the Lord’s tender mercy and his amazing gift of redemption through Jesus Christ. His love for us is the true reason for the season.

Blessings, from Cathy Wyne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distraction of Drug Abuse- Broken Spirit

Guest Blog Entry- Susan Randall is a dear friend who God has gifted as an author and hospice nurse. She is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, medical journals and a youth devotional. I pray her devotion is meaningful to you.

When you are praying about something that seems hopeless or absolutely unchanging in your adult children’s lives, remember that you are not at war with them; you are at war with the enemy who blinds people to the truth”                          2 Corinthians 4:3-4

I got up early and checked on my son. I saw his thin body, the black craters under his eyes, the track marks on his arms, and wondered, who is this person? In his room were tiny clear bags with traces of illegal drugs, the odor of unwashed clothes, and a syringe with a broken plunger lying on the floor, evidence of heroin use. The body I gave birth to, the little baby I held in my arms, nourished from my breast, and gazed at for hours, was being destroyed. Fear escalated inside me as I wonder if hepatitis or AIDS could be raging inside him. Could he end up with stab wounds or bullet holes from a drug-deal gone terribly wrong? Could his last breath be from an accidental overdose? I imagined him dying in many ways, and because my prayers had gone unanswered, I was consumed with grief.

Every morning at 5a.m. I would sit on the sofa with lit candles in front of me. The house was so pleasantly quiet with the dog snoring and the cat purring beside me. I would always read a daily devotional and pray for God’s will to be done, adding a plea to heal my son’s addiction. After seeing my son in such horrible shape that morning, I went to the living room and sat in my usual spot. I didn’t light any candles. I didn’t open my book. Instead, I covered my face and wept. After three years of praying for healing, my son’s addiction was worse than ever. I felt there was no one listening to my prayers. I grieved for his illness, and also grieved for my loss of faith. I could not bring myself to pray; my spirit was broken.

As a hospice nurse, I knew of a three year old boy who had died the day before from a terminal illness. I thought about how my son was thriving at three, how I had twenty-four years with him; twenty-seven years with my daughter. Even though the hard times were exhausting and emotionally draining, the good times I had with my children far outnumbered the bad.

When I thought about the three year old child who died, it was like receiving a spiritual message. Unlike his mother, I’d been fortunate to have my two children for many years. I started to pull myself out of the pit of despair, realizing that I have had many days enjoying my children before the heroin started. There are addicts who have pulled themselves out of the addiction and this could happen to my son. It just takes a long time. I knew there was still hope…I had to believe God was still trying to hold my son’s hand and lead him to peace. I needed to have faith to get myself through those awful days.

I didn’t know if living clean or dying young was in his future, but I thought about the many good days we had together and my crying stopped, I lit candles and placed my hands on each one of the animals beside me. I prayed for God’s will to be done, for patience to wait for understanding as to why this was happening, and I thanked God for sending me a message during one of my darkest moments. I was comforted with the verse in the devotional that day:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6.

It has been over six years since I wrote this in my diary. My son has been clean of heroin for the past six years. He has been working and taking classes to earn a degree in mental health. His goal is to become an addictions counselor. He’s very close to completing all the classes and starting as an intern.

I know many families are struggling with an addict who is still using drugs, and others have lost their children to this horrible illness. Every day I pray for them. I hope they can find some peace in Proverbs 3:5-6. It helped me trust that the Lord is in control of the outcome, and got me through the days when my spirit was broken.

Dear Lord, I know you love every person dealing with addictions. I pray for strength and protection right now for those I know fighting this battle. I also pray for the families who are impacted by this disease. Reveal to me ways that you want me to be a vessel of hope and trust. Amen

Distraction of Disease and Difficulties #devotion

difficulties

Today’s devotion is brought to you by a dear friend, Nancy. She is always a source of inspiration to me. I pray you are encouraged and strengthened by the way God has worked in her life.

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (NIV)

“I Believe” – we see those words all the time, on Christmas cards, on wall plaques, T-shirts, tote bags, etc. The thing is by themselves those two words mean nothing! We all believe lots of things. If we say we believe something but don’t act on it then whatever ‘it’ is still means nothing.

I’ve been diagnosed with cancer 3 times, once in 1992, last December (2015) and February 2016, and was told then it’s incurable. Many times since then I’ve been asked why I’m so peaceful, joyful, always smiling. What they’re really asking is, “why aren’t you afraid, sad, angry, upset, anxious knowing that you’re going to die? I have had a hard time answering those questions in a way that satisfies me or the questioner, until tonight – tonight (February) I went to see a documentary, “Chonda Pierce: The Movie”.

Chonda is a Christian comedienne I first saw many years ago at a Women of Faith Conference. Chonda was relating about the struggles in her career and family (her husband recently died) and people asking her how she could deal with all of it. Her answer was, “I believe.” I immediately shouted in my head, “That’s it!” That was the answer I had been trying to convey to people who asked me those same kinds of questions. But you can’t stop there. It begs the question, “What do you believe?” I believe in God and I believe God! They are not the same. You can believe that there’s a god out there somewhere, a higher power, a cosmic force, but not believe God.

So my answer is, I believe in God and I believe God, the God of the Bible, the one, true God. I believe that the Bible is his Holy Word, that was passed down orally then in written words from the Jewish people and from the early Christians. I believe the Bible is true, all of it, even if I don’t always understand it. I’d rather doubt my own understanding than God. Even some of my Christian brothers and sisters will find fault with that statement because of differences of opinion about some passages of scripture or conflicts with what is believed by the scientific, archaeological or historical communities, statements that appear to contradict scripture. It’s interesting though that no archaeological discovery has disproved scripture though many have confirmed it.

But I’m not here to argue. Far too many have wasted much time and energy doing that, including myself. I believe God. I believe His Word. In it he has made many promises to believers and I’ve learned through my challenges that God never breaks his promises! I know that all the challenges I’ve faced have served God’s purpose to draw me closer to him, to strengthen me in my faith and to give me ministries to reach out to a hurting world. They include my parents divorce when I was 12, chronic depression & anxiety disorder, my ill-conceived marriage & divorce at a young age, my daughter’s addiction & recovery in her teens, & 2 bouts of cancer.

From these experiences I am able to reach out & give love, understanding, compassion and help. These also taught me that I can depend on my brothers & sisters in Christ to lift me up and care for me when I need them to. They have been faithful servants. We are truly Christ’s heart, hands & feet to a needy, hurting world. All many know of Christ is what they see in us. The following passages are some that have been part of the foundation to my walk of faith and have proven themselves over & over again to me. I hope they touch, comfort & encourage you in your walk.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (NIV)

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5b

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD , plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13.

I know what you’re thinking! With terminal cancer- ‘What hope? What future?,’ Eternity in heaven in the presence of Almighty God! If that’s not hope & a future I don’t know what is!
Dear Lord, I know you are there and you care deeply for each of your children. I pray for those in need of healing, strength, wisdom and peace. As for me, you know my worries, you know my fears and I  trust you implicitly. So when my soul is weary and my heart is tired and sore, and I have that failing feeling that I can’t take any more; I know that kneeling in your presence will give me that child-like feeling that you are holding me in your arms. Amen.