Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

fear or faith – you choose

Fear cripples faith.  Faith overcomes fear!

Fear will try to keep me confined in my comfort zone.  I have come to realize that ‘comfort zones’ are really just a way to avoid embracing life.  It seems God is always nudging me to step out in faith and what an adventure it is!!

Fear is controlling.  It will try to limit what  a person does.  Bad decisions are often the result of fear.    Being afraid will create distance, both in our relationship to God and to others.  Fear will cause people to try to control or manipulate a situation/person.  Truth is the only person we have control over is ones self.

fear not

 

I am a firm believer that I have nothing to fear because truly my God is an ever-present help in trouble, (Psalm 46:1) I am His and I am safe in His embrace. (Proverbs 18:10, 29:25)  Yet, I have become aware that I have let fear sneak in the back door of my life.

I love that about God – how at just the right time, in just the right way,  He spotlights an area that needs attention.

Chronic pain is a cruel friend.  Last March I started a journey with pain that has been like no other journey.  Chronic pain will change a person.  There was a point where I was well aware of fear trying to control me.  The pain was constant and at times it would be excruciating.   There was no pill that would help with the pain.   I found myself crying out “oh no, no, pleeeeeaaassssse no!”   Fear had stepped in.  I think fear tops chronic pain in the cruel friend department.

Fear cripples faith.  Faith overcomes fear!  

When I realized this, I changed my words to “Jesus, Jesus help me!”  The pain was still there but I was changing.  I believe in the healing power of God.  Until then, in acceptance there is peace – accepting that God, for reasons I could not figure out, had allowed this in my life — accepting that God will use it for good and accepting that it is what it is.

Slowly the pain diminished.  I  would start to get better and then I would have a set back.  I would make plans and have to change them.  The day finally arrived when I could sit without pain.  God was indeed walking me through this ordeal.

Now the muscle is no longer angry and screaming for attention.   Pain is pretty much all gone, but I know that it could come back.  History tells me that I am one small step away from reoccurring  chronic pain.  That knowledge has allowed a fragment of fear to cause me to check for the telltale signs and breathe a sigh of relief when they aren’t there.    I didn’t realize that fear was the underlying cause of that action.

God doesn’t want me (or you) to live with fear.

Faith in God overcomes fear.  Is fear trying to grip you?  Maybe it is a health issue (yours or someone you love dearly) — maybe it is financial,  it could be job related, fear knows no limit.  Don’t let fear sneak in.  I encourage you to trust God, to let your faith rise up, to hold fast to the knowledge that God is for you and with you.

“We walk by faith and not by sight.”  (2 Cor 5:7)

til next time

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January 22, 2015 Posted by | ministry, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

how many times?

It’s been four weeks.  (click here for the part one)

I have been in enough pain that I  decided  to go ahead with the procedure.  I had hoped, I had prayed, but the pain is still intense.

My family doctor thought they would do the first procedure.  It is the least painful and has no side effects. My situation does not fit that.

The second procedure  is a staple procedure that is less evasive.  The potential for infection, leakage, bleeding, and pain is minimal.  Recovery time is three days.  (I am back now because the first specialist was uncomfortable with doing the staple procedure and was passing me on to the next specialist.)

Deciding yes was no easy thing.

The exam is completed and I am ready to agree to move forward when he comes in and tells me that option number three is what he recommends.

What?

What happened to two?

I thought you didn’t do three anymore?

Because of my fissure he can’t do option two?  Instead he brought out the pictures and showed me what he would be doing.  He then told me that they no longer stitch up the incision but leave it open.  He says it heals better that way.  The area will look awful and it will take four to six weeks to heal.  There are risks and complications associated with this procedure.  He will actually be doing two surgeries at once.  If he only did the first one, I would be back in his office in three days screaming.  Oh and as it heals, it will be way more painful than anything I have currently experienced.

I am not ready to make this decision.  I tell him I can’t imagine hurting more than I already do.

He tells me we can go four more weeks.

There is that sentence again.  Four more weeks.  What is it with four more weeks?

I am indeed in between a rock and a hard place.

It was deja vu all over again.  I really am beginning to hate elevators in doctor buildings.

The door closes and I cry.  All the way to the parking lot I cry.  It doesn’t even matter that people are passing me.   Tears are falling.

Many thoughts run through my head.  Some of them I speak out to my husband.  I recognize they are not helpful thoughts and I just cry.

I believe God could heal me.  I don’t understand why He hasn’t.  Yet who am I to understand the ways of God.

 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB)

It dawns on me that our motorcycle trip is in jeopardy.  Short of a healing, there won’t be one.  I cry some more.

My husband is my rock. He believes it will get better.   I am grateful I have him to face this with.  I am grateful for his optimism because mine seems to have been crushed.

“How many times have You heard me cry out God please take this?  How many times have You given me strength to just keep breathing?  Oh I need You, God I need You now.”

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God.” Psalm 42:11 (MSG)

click here for part 3

 

til next time

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June 2, 2014 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

i will NOT cry!

I will NOT cry!  Think about something else, anything else.  I will NOT cry!

Let me back up.  For the past month and a half I have been dealing with a pain in the behind, literally.   I will spare you the details except to say that it is a whole new level of pain.  After three appointments with two general practitioners,  I had an appointment with a surgeon.  It was my great hope that since he was a specialist,  he would have other options for me.  Unfortunately, he was unable to complete the exam.  His recommendation was for me to see yet another doctor.

“We will make the appointment for four weeks from now.”

Four weeks??

What?

Are you serious?  I won’t last four weeks.

“I know that it is painful but………….”

Quite frankly I don’t remember what he said after that.  I am confident he has no personal experience with how painful it is.

So there I am in the exam room about to fall apart.  Looking back, maybe I should have. Why is it I feel the need to be strong?

As I follow him to the receptionist desk all I could think of was — I will NOT cry!  Think about something else, anything else.  I will NOT cry!

I make the appointment.  Then I walk out to the waiting room, tap my husband on the shoulder and head to the door.  I don’t trust myself to say anything.  As the elevator closes with just the two of us, I am no longer strong and I cry.

Four more weeks?  Then on top of that, a procedure is what this doctor sees in my future.  It is  a procedure he won’t do which is why the next referral.   I don’t want to be put under.  I don’t want to have the procedure.   I just want the pain to STOP!!

All the way to the parking lot I cry.

My husband looks over the pamphlet.  We pick up the  various things that ‘may’ help.  When we get back to our  town, he immediately goes to the local gym and adds me to his membership.  Doctor’s orders, so now that settles this issue for him.    No more Mister Nice Guy.    I will be exercising regularly.  Of course, there will be no biking – which is my favorite form of exercise.

The doctor did tell me that it is possible that it could  heal  on its own.  If it shows signs of improvement by my next appointment, I will be able to avoid the procedure.  I know that God can and does heal.  I also know that He uses doctors and medicine.

God also uses pain.  Pain is a teacher.  I get to decide if it brings me down or causes me to cling tighter to the grace and strength that God has for me.

God does not allow us to go through trials alone.   “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ( Psalm 46:1)  It just so ‘happened’ that this appointment was on a Wednesday – Bible study night.  While I acknowledge the benefits of a good cry,  a time of worship and praise is much more powerful.  I left church refreshed and no longer view the next four weeks as an eternity.

I am the God that healeth thee.  I am the Lord your healer.  I sent my Word and healed your disease.  I am the Lord, your healer.  (singing Exodus 15:26b)

Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that You and I can’t handle.   That is as true today as it was the first time I heard it.

2 Corinthians 12:7 -10  The Message

7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

click here for part 2

til next time

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May 8, 2014 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

saying good bye

Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints”

Sometimes there just are no words that express what we feel inside.  Death has a way of bringing important things to the top of the list and the realization of how unimportant so many other things really are.

I lost a good friend yesterday.  It is true that some people walk into your life and you are forever changed.  Their  footprints are visible.  

My husband and I have been in ministry for a lot of years.  We have seen the really fantastic side of ministry and we have experienced the not so pleasant side of ministry.   There are those who are with you and those who pretend to be. 

When I first actually met Larry all I knew was that he was going to marry my dear friend.   I was a little skeptical but really it was probably more protective.  I wanted to make sure that he was going to treat her well.  I wanted the ‘moon’ for her.  I earnestly prayed that God’s will would be done.

It didn’t take me long to realize that he was a great guy, that he loved her and would do anything for her.  

There were many times that Larry would come to church and Joann would be in too much pain to come.  He always asked for prayer for her.  I could see his love for her in the way he talked about her, in the concern that was in his voice, and in his desire for her to be pain free. 

Another thing that made Larry stand out was that he would make it a point to share with me something that ministered to him in the worship time.  (I usually led worship for the service he attended).   It didn’t matter if it was a song he knew or one he had never heard before.  God was touching him through the music.  

This was huge to me because so many men (sorry that it seems that I am stereotyping here but this is my take on it) think that worship is too long.  Here was a man that got what worship was all about.  I have song lists circled because it wasn’t just one song but the whole list that he loved.  

He also had a favorite hymn.  It just happened to me by mom’s favorite also.  He Set Me Free — now he is truly free from all pain.  

As he was leaving church he would most often thank Curt for being his pastor.   That is a footprint that forever stays on your heart. 

I had so hoped that God would heal him and let us have him longer.  Yet God’s ways are not our ways.  I don’t understand the reasons why but I am not God.   I know that God is in control. 

My heart goes out to my dear friend.   I know that God has her in the palm of His hand. 

Death is not the end.  We shall one day be reunited with all those who have gone before us.  The Bible tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life.  Larry knew this. 

til next time

December 29, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

listening

A friend was in tears today.   Sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes really hard.  What could I do?  What could I say?  

Why is it that I feel like I HAVE to do or say anything? 

So I listened.  She cried.  I listened some more.  Her pain was raw.  My heart hurt for her.  I validated her emotions – sometimes that is really all one can do. 

Yet I did understand.  In fact, I understood more than she would know.  Sometimes life hurts.  Sometimes there are no answers.

Sometimes people we count on aren’t there.  Sometimes those we think are with us are really only looking out for their own interests.  Sometimes people let us down.  Sometimes we let others down. 

She apologized for unloading on me. 

Why is it that we feel the need to apologize when we have turned to someone to unburden our load? 

Why is it that we think we must be able to handle all things well or there is something wrong with us?  

Why is it that we push people away when what we need is an understanding ear and a prayer?

A friend was in tears today.  I listened. 

til next time

November 14, 2009 Posted by | relationships | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

what r u w8ing 4?

What is it that is keeping you from enjoying the day?  What are you waiting for?  Make the decision to enjoy this day.   Don’t wait til you have more money.  Don’t wait til you are married.   Don’t wait til the kids are older.   Don’t wait til you get that promotion.  Enjoy life now!!!!!

So many times people are just wishing their life away.  It’s Monday and already they can’t wait til Friday.  So many people live in the realm of  “When I _________ (fill in the blank) then I’ll be happy.” 

Live in the moment.  Embrace life.

Don’t let life pass you by.  Don’t waste today wishing for tomorrow.   Each day is a gift, we don’t have a do over button.  There isn’t a delete button or a rewind button.  What we do have is today.  Life is good and time marches on.

The other trap is to fall face first into dread.  Maybe by choosing to live in the moment it would require acknowledging pain or sorrow or something equally as difficult.   Life can be hard, but God is there.

I have found pain to be an effective tool in my life.  Pain can bring about change.  Pain gets me on my knees in prayer.  Sometimes God will calm the storm, sometimes He calms me while the storm rages.

I don’t know how people live in the moment of heartache or pain without God.  Psalm 29:11b  “The Lord will bless His people with peace.” 

As a Christian, in the midst of  ‘awfulness’ I embrace God.  I know that  He is working it out. (Romans 8:28)    I can live in the moment by the reality that God is with me.  He will sustain me and give me peace.  He will help me take my eyes off the ‘problem’ and see reasons for gratefulness.

So what r u w8ing 4?  What is keeping you from enjoying this day?  Most of the time it is just a matter of readjusting one’s thinking.  The day is a gift.  What we do with it is our choice.

I choose to live this day to the fullest.  How about you?

til next time

December 16, 2008 Posted by | life lessons, living in a fish bowl | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment