Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Ok, not gonna lie
This last diagnosis threw me for a loop
Labeled my day with words I cannot utter
And overwhelmed my soul.

So I am linking up today with Bonnie Gray's Blog over at TheFaithBarista, to say that, yes,
I do want to learn more of what Jesus meant when He spoke these words in Matthew 26
"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

He felt overwhelming sorrow.  And He asked those first Jesus-Followers to stay with him there.
I don't know about you, but I don't like staying in the overwhelming place! 

The pains come and go for me.  When they fall aside, I delight in the laughter of my little Grandbabies.  I want to stay in the carefree place.  When the days are light, I make my plans and dream about creating gifts again. 

But when the Doctor pronounces the Fibromyalgia word, even though I am the one to breach the possibility, my heart stops. 

Not my physical heart.  No, my spiritual heart. ....  NO. 

No, Jesus, I told you I am tired! don't want to WAIT any longer.  I don't want to STAY and face the overwhelming labels set before me. 

But how can I not stay here with Him?  He, who stayed until the nails pierced his hands, and bled out His last for me?

He tasted the overwhelming. 

And He broke all the bonds that sin had invented.  He stayed until

Until the price was paid for me.  And my sins' bonds are broken now too.  I will find His LIFE.

But only if I wait....

Psalm 62:5-8
"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."

Wait..... Stay......

                                              A single Sensitive Fern, awakening at spring

Here's the link for TheFaithBarista  #OneWordLent
http://www.faithbarista.com/ 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Journey is the word for today over at "The Faith Barista."  And I am sharing again during her
#OneWordLent  invitation over at her Blog.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~ Psalm 34:4-7, 18

As "TheFaithBarista" shared this Scripture Passage and that one word, "Journey," my heart was stirred again to think that Jesus chose to Journey from Heaven to save me from my brokenhearted place.

How many crushed-in-spirit times have I cried out to Him on this Journey of my own?  How many times have I considered His Journey and the pain He walked thru?  How many? 

The years roll by.

And still, He never once turns me away.  He never once says my Journey is too small.  He never once fails to save me from my brokenhearted place.

Because He is SAVIOR. 

I want to cry out, "Save me from this place, Jesus!  I am tired of Doctor visits.  I am tired of pain that returns.  I am tired of waiting for that REMISSION word."

But my Savior invites me on this Journey.  ....  His Journey ...   To walk with Him and feel His Heart.  To persevere and see His eyes.   To Look above this soil and find the blue. 

Heaven is my Home.   Jesus invites me there.  

Walking this path?  Only for a while.  Only for the days that He asks me to share and bring along and pray along and sing along with Him, for those who are also walking their way to Him.  We Journey Together.  Because Jesus saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Do you hear Him calling?

Here is the link for today:
http://www.faithbarista.com/

 OneWordCoffee Linkup

Monday, February 15, 2016

Worship

It's a funny thought to me that three of my very best friends are Worship Leaders--And I have developed a fear of Worship Services in this Season of RA.

Wow.  Well I guess that's a pretty weird fear in the great scope of fears-of-all-times.  Still, it doesn't feel good to me.  I have always loved Worship Services.  Have pictured them as Community-Bonding and Heaven-Glancing places to dance with the heart of Jesus.  "WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY HEART??"  I've been bombarding Heaven's Gate with that question.

......  Nothing....  There is nothing wrong with your heart..... 

But I don't believe that answer.  Even though I have heard His response, it makes no sense to me, so I don't believe it... yet....

"ISN'T THE WORSHIP SERVICE SUPPOSED TO BE MY MOST FAVORITE TIME OF THE WEEK?  HASN'T THAT SERVICE BEEN THE PLACE WHERE I'VE FELT MOST ENCOURAGED IN MY LOVE FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST?"

But,   (pause)   I hear my thoughts re-winding to our 1984 Children's Church, hear my Teacher-husband's voice speaking kid-talk: 

WORSHIP IS REALLY JUST "WORTH-SHIP:"  SHOWING WORTH TO WHAT WE THINK IS MOST IMPORTANT.

Jesus, I still WORSHIP you.  I have never stopped worshipping YOU. 
 
But I have stopped Worshipping WORSHIP.    In this Rheumatoid Arthritis emotional roller coaster, fatigue overwhelms even my simplest of days. Even the smallest of crowds vacuums my soul of breath.  And I run home to my same old blue chair where stillness reigns.  Still, small voice calling me to simply trust.  Simply Worship.  Aligning the WORTH-SHIP where it truly belongs: Only to Jesus.

I know now that when my strength returns and my over-medicated brain finds equilibrium again, I will return to regular Worship Service attendance.  But in the meantime, my body is still the temple of Christ singly: He dwells with me here.  And I still belong to the Body of Christ, THE TRUE CHURCH, all over the world.  Worship-Service-Fear or not, WE ARE ALL ONE.

"so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." 
      --Romans 12:5
 
   



Saturday, February 13, 2016



It's February, knee-deep in the bone chill of winter here in Wisconsin.  And I have been thinking about other winters. Other bone chill days. 

One year ago our little Blizzard-Boy of a grandson was born in the middle of a Chicago Snowstorm. This Grandma was amazed once again at the beauty of life: suddenly, God Breath wakes this little boy to join our world!  But also, this Grandma was embarrassed to be newly diagnosed and bearing the pain of a disease I knew all too little about.  Snowed in at the hospital, I was humiliated to ask the nurses for a more comfortable place to sleep because these swollen joints couldn't handle those hard waiting room chairs.  But oh, what bliss! They offered me an extra bed, made available to snow weary visitors, and their kindness overwhelmed me. 

On another bone chill day a few years ago, I rode the train into downtown Chicago.  My friends and I stepped out of our comfort zones bearing gifts to pass out to the homeless.  We wrapped our arms around shivering ones and blessed them with our scarves and gloves and bottles of water.  But none of us expected to find the kindness of God looking at us through eyes hidden behind a ski mask.  "Steven" was embarrassed to be newly begging and bearing the pain of joblessness.  It was his first day out on the streets, but we didn't know that when we invited him to lunch.  We found it all out over the course of several weeks, as he emailed us the details.  A Jesus-follower himself, "Steven" was ready to give up on God when we gave him a simple meal, and prayed over him.  Because of our kindness, the kindness of God restored him to hope.  He was later reunited with his family and found a job.  Those of us who witnessed his story were touched by the kindness of God more deeply than we ever expected.

Here, in these long days, I want to have eyes that are opened to see the God Breath moments, chasing away the bone chill winter cold. 

"God’s kindness leads you to repentance [that is, to change your inner self, your old way of thinking—seek His purpose for your life]"   --Romans 2:4 (Amplified Version)

Friday, February 12, 2016

I used to think that I was fairly good at listening to that still, small voice of the Lord speaking to me.  I mean, I followed that voice when He led me on a cross-country move!  Several times, in fact! Didn't that mean I was "proficient" in God-Speak?

Apparently not. It seems I still have much to learn in the God-Language department.  This year has made me feel that maybe I need to re-learn the basics of Fundamental Language. Because when Paul said in Galatians 5:25 "let us keep in step with the Spirit,"  I didn't think that would include having to listen for instructions about cleaning and walking and gardening and computing.  But as I have had days in this RA Journey when I suddenly feel good for a few hours, I jump up and try to do my old chores.  Any of them! All of them! Oh joy of joys, I can clean the carpet again!   . . . . .

Hours later, sitting in my same old blue chair (the same one that came with me on those cross-country moves,) crying with the exhaustion that overtakes me, I hear the still, small voice of Jesus, whispering the words that I have read a hundred times: 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  --Matthew 11:28-30

Yeah.  Much to learn.  Much to stop and ask and listen for.   To be led by the Spirit, Moment by Moment is what I want to ask of Him.  Even from my same old blue chair.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Remember" . . .

This is the word prompt chosen by "The Faith Barista" over on her bloginviting anyone who wishes, to join her on a #OneWordLent  journey to learn to dwell.  To dwell as Christ's Beloved.  To be still in His Presence.  Which is pretty amazing, because that's the very thing that I have been hearing from Him. Every night. Wide awake. Mind racing. Pain inflicted.  "Come and Dwell."

But just how does the word Remember fit into this whole Dwell thing for me? Well, that's also pretty amazing, because as Jesus has asked me to learn to Dwell, He has also been asking me to look back at my Physical Dwelling Places, and to Remember the ways that He dwelt with me in those homes.  And, the next pretty amazing thing that has happened, is that as I've remembered, somehow He has brought a new perspective to me about this current Place of Dwelling.

As I type, it's a Tuesday night, and my Dwelling Place includes a shelf in the refrigerator reserved for my weekly Orencia Injections.  I never thought I would be able to give myself an injection. (And I still don't like to do it! So, Thank You! to those who pray for me faithfully every Tuesday: shot day.)  But here, in this RA Season of injections and disease, an amazing shift in my perspective has happened:  I am the Temple: Dwelling Place of Jesus.  Here.  

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?"   --1 Corinthians 6:19

He dwelt in my homes in the past, because I was His Temple then also.  He's not moving out simply because I must squeeze the skin on my leg and shove a needle full of crazy wild medication into my body.  HE ALREADY KNEW WHAT THIS DWELLING PLACE WOULD LOOK LIKE.  And still He speaks:

"Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me."  --Revelation 3:20

I don't know about you, but I am pretty hungry for more of Jesus.

Here's the link to the Faith Barista's Blog:

http://www.faithbarista.com/

http://www.faithbarista.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/OneWordCoffee5_Badge5-300x300.jpg

Sunday, February 7, 2016

So. This Clematis.
 
 
It's the Wallpaper on my Desktop every day.  It's there to remind me of something important that I think I can too easily forget:  God is more interested in helping me to change than I realize.
 
 
It actually all began with a rosebush.  A really pretty, but a really unhealthy rosebush.  A few years ago we had a very harsh winter, and that unhealthy rosebush simply didn't have the oomph to fight any longer.  I was pre-RA, so I and that rosebush had it out.  After a long morning of digging, I finally won, and pulled out the remaining errant roots that had invaded my neighbor's fence foundation!  No wonder that rosebush struggled, I thought! The roots were so bad!  And as I was resting my weary back, I knew that the Lord was giving me an object lesson.  It was hard work digging out that bad root, and it took a long time! But eventually, even those errant roots had to surrender to the power of the shovel.  . . . .  So it is, with my errant roots.  Eventually, even the stubborn roots of anxiety and pride that I think are unchangeable, will surrender to the shovel of God's Working. 
 
On these days when I am forced inside by Winter's Cold, God's shovel is chipping away at the roots of pride and anxiety that are still clinging in my heart.  I may not like the feel of that shovel, but I know that His New Grace will bloom when these old roots are finally removed.  Just like that beautiful Clematis was given room when the old rosebush was taken out.
 
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."   ---2 Corinthians 5:17

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Yesterday, the sky was blue, and my pain was manageable, and my Daily Bible Verse made sense:

Phil 4:6,7
"Never worry about anything. Instead, in every situation let your petitions be made known to God through prayers and requests, with thanksgiving. Then God’s peace, which goes far beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your hearts and minds in union with the Messiah Jesus."

Anyone who has known me for any length of time, knows that this Bible Passage is one of my key life verses.  It seems that God has to bring me back to it again and again.  And no wonder: on the days when the sky is not blue, or my pain becomes unbearable, or the what-ifs fly around in my vision, the WorryTrain easily chugs its way back into my heart . . .

And I get so frustrated with myself!  But lately the Lord has been calling me to just come into His Presence.  Shouldn't I be happy that He is asking me to come?  Of course! But I find myself wanting to stop the ugly pain first, or derail the worry-train first!  Jesus can't possibly expect me to come in and dwell with Him until those things are at least minimized, right? . . .  Yeah, you know the answer to that.   Come, just as you are.  Those are His Words.

And so I come.  Jesus, You are my Peace.  And You are enough.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The First Post with RA

Getting out of the car for a short walk along the shores of Lake Michigan:  What a Treat!! And something I certainly do not take for granted anymore.  Pain and weakness have prevented me from walking for most of this winter.

It's been a little over a year since I was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  This blog is the place where I am hoping to share my Journey with Jesus through the Air of This Changing Season.  Hopeful I strive to be, however the days have their own labels, and sometimes I am taken to places that are beyond my choosing.  Pain-and-weakness is certainly not the path I would have looked for.
 

My "Rheumy" (as I've learned the shortened term for my Specialist,) continues to search for the right medication cocktail that will put this disease into remission.  Will medications #7 and #8 be the combination that is the winning number?  Whether remission comes or not, I have finally begun the process of accepting that my life will never be the same.  Is there anyone else struggling to come that place of acceptance? 

My Scripture Passage for the day says:

"But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
Let them ever sing for joy;
And may You shelter them,
That those who love Your name
May exult in You.
For it is You who blesses the
Righteous man, O Lord,
You surround him with favor as with a shield."   --Psalm 5:11,12

A place of Joy is to be found in taking refuge in the Lord.  And, being in that refuge--Is that where I will find the acceptance to embrace this Season too?

I pray that you will find Him too, as you search the paths of your own journey.