Invisible Illness Meets Unseen Faith

 

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ‘em?

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.  2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)

Many of you who know me personally know that I have Fibromyalgia, and as the weather fluctuates, so do the flare ups.  (For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Fibromyalgia, it is a disease that causes wide spread pain and extreme fatigue along withfibromyalgia_symptoms
many, many other symptoms.  It is not fatal, but it is also not curable.  Because the exact cause of this disease has yet to be determined, there are some treatments available, but no one thing that works for everyone.)  Usually I manage the symptoms as best I can, but this past week was particularly hard.  I ended up in bed for three full days.

 

During these times the devil does his best to discourage me.  He whispers lies to me such as: I’m useless to my family; or my family would be better off without me; or how could God use a loser like me when I can’t even get out of bed.  The devil is the father of lies, and he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.  It makes sense that he’d hit me when I’m at my lowest and attempt to steal my joy, kill my hope, and destroy my faith.

The Holy Spirit is always quick to remind me of my identity in Christ – I am a child of God, an overcomer, greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world, I am an heir of the Most High King, and I am redeemed.  These truths drown out the lies of the enemy.

Invisible Illness Meets Unseen Faith
Psalm 23 is one of the most quoted chapters of the Bible.  A couple of years ago, God shed light into my heart regarding the second verse.  It says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”  Sometimes in all of the hustle and bustle of this thing called life, He has to make us lie down in order to make us slow down.  On days when I am confined to my house, I can still praise God.  On days when I can’t get out of bed, I can pray and read the Word.  The first part of Psalm 23:3 says, “He restores my soul.”  Sometimes in order for our souls to be restored or refreshed, He has to bring us to a point where He has our full attention.  Sometimes for me that requires three days of bedrest.

Psalm 73:26 (ESV) reminds us, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Whatever you are facing today, be encouraged in your identity in Christ and walk in the faith that He is working all things together for your good!

Have a blessed week, y’all!

Finding the Wonder Woman in Me

13165997_10153358142566511_6396079582238424209_nA couple of years ago, we took a family picture with each of us dressed in t-shirts depicting our favorite super heroes.  At the time, I did not have one, so I opted to be Mrs. Captain America to match my husband.  Since each family member had a specific hero to represent them and I did not, the kids dubbed me as Wonder Woman.  It seemed appropriate as I often wonder where I left my keys, where my money went, where I put my purse…  you get the picture.

For Christmas that year, one of my children gifted me with a set of Wonder Woman bracelets.  Each was colored differently to represent attributes such as wisdom, strength, and power.  I had begun Bible journaling about that same time and quickly found scriptures to correspond with each virtue.  A few months later, during a study of the armor of God, I realized that Wonder Woman even wears each of the pieces of armor described in Ephesians 6: the helmet (ok, it’s a tiara) of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, the belt (lasso) of truth, shoes (boots) of peace, the sword of the Spirit, and the shield of faith.  The character of Wonder Woman took on a new meaning to me; she is who we’re called to be in the spiritual realm.  (For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Ephesians 6:12 ESV)

When the Wonder Woman movie was released to the big screen a couple of weeks ago, my children insisted on taking me to see it.  Often times when I anticipate a movie, I am usually left wondering what all the hype was about it.  That was not the case with Wonder Woman.  From beginning to end, I was amazed at how much of the story of salvation was weaved into the movie.  Themes of mercy and grace were portrayed throughout the film.  The biggest takeaway, however, was that whether humans deserve kindness and forgiveness, love conquers all.   Wonder Woman is motivated by compassion and love.  She doesn’t fight out of fear or obligation; she does so because she believes she can make a positive difference in the world.  She fights because she believes in love. (Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8 ESV)

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I left the theater feeling empowered and inspired, but those feelings will not accomplish anything without being matched by action.  While we want to cause positive change, we wonder what we can do as individuals to truly make a difference.  Mother Teresa beautifully answers that question in this quote, “Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love.”  (A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 13:34,35 ESV)

Have a blessed week, y’all.

How You Live

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ‘em?

My heart is heavy as I think about the senseless violence that claimed the lives of eight people just miles away this past weekend.  The news about this tragedy has been so widespread that even Franklin Graham and most national news agencies have reported on it.  It’s touched people nationwide but happened in our backyard.  How do you come to terms with that?

I did not know any of the victims personally but have come in contact with at least one of them through the years.

Deputy William Durr – I didn’t know him but sure wish I had.  From all I have read and seen about him, he loved God and he loved people.  Before going into law enforcement, he’d been a minister.  He loved working with children and often visited schools and churches to give talks and entertain with his puppets.

Barbara Mitchell, Tacarra May, and Brenda May were the mother, sister, and aunt of the accused gunman.  They gave their lives protecting their daughter/sister/niece (and her children) from her estranged husband.

Jordan Blackwell had his whole life in front of him.  A star player on the Ole Brook football team, he’d just been offered a scholarship to Jackson State University.  Jordan displayed the greatest act of love and heroism as he shielded a younger cousin from gunfire with his own body costing him his life in exchange.  He and eleven year old, Austin Edwards, were killed at the second crime scene after their assailant busted into the home where they were watching movies and demanded car keys.

Sheila Burage and her husband Ferral were killed in the third and final shooting on East Lincoln Road in Brookhaven.  Ferral gave his life trying to protect his wife.  Sheila worked in the Walmart Vision Center in Brookhaven.  From visits to the store, I remember her always being courteous, consistent, and cheerful.  She always wore a smile.

The common thread that weaves all of these people together is that they loved.  They all invested in other people.  Their lives made a difference.

In the days and weeks to come, please remember the families of all those affected by this tragedy in prayer.  I hope you also will be inspired as you think of these people to consider your own day to day actions.  Are you investing in people?  Am I?  I hope so.  When all is said it done, it is all that will have mattered.

Have a blessed week, y’all.