Going Towards Immediate Healing

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I have been re-reading the four gospels in the New Testament.  I love reading about Christ and learning something new every time I come and partake of the word of God.  I have been drawn to all the times when Christ heals someone or is helping and how healing comes immediately!  But it also made me think of time when I was praying for healing immediately to come.  Usually there is not an immediate answer, it is more of letting time pass where learning and growing happen and then that immediate answer comes in the form of, looking back and realizing that the circumstances and how I came through was the answer I needed.  The answer was more experience, more time and more patience. 

As I thought about all of those people in New Testament times, I thought about what their stories were before their immediate healing took place.  Think of these people; blind men, a woman sick for most of her life, the people waiting to get into the pools of Bethesda, the lepers, the widowed mothers, the father with a son having a devil which I am sure was heart wrenching for his parents as they watched over their son day after day with pain and fear not knowing what would come next…so many times I am sure they asked, “Can I be healed now?” “Will I ever live to see my prayers answered?” “Is God hearing me?”

Although we read about their immediate healings, there was a lot of time that passed before Jesus came to them.  There was a lot of time that passed after Jesus felt them as well. We only get a little bit of their stories.  But, what a blessing to get a snippet of their lives and how continually calling out for help and healing will come.  Immediate healing in ways that we never imagined.  Keep going, keep praying, keep following Christ, He is coming to help you and is walking toward you.  Are you ready to walk towards Him?

Finally Internalizing

Sunday I went to church. I usually go to church on Sunday but this particular Sunday I finally internalized something that I should have MANY years ago. As I was sitting waiting for the sacrament to be blessed and passed to all in the congregation I truly was worshiping. I was worshiping, I don’t know if my kids were or the people in front of me, or the people ten rows behind me, but I KNEW that I WAS! Worshiping is between me and God and it doesn’t matter what people look like around me, who is smarter, or who has a heavier load, I am here for my spiritual well being. I am here to become closer to Christ and to personally work on my relationship with my Savior!

I am showing up to be an example to my children, to bring them to holy places where they can feel for themselves the Spirit. I am showing up to strengthen our whole family.

It finally didn’t matter…the comparisons that are poison to my spirit finally fell away. It didn’t matter that I don’t wear all the trendy clothes because that is not in the budget, it didn’t matter that I am letting my kids choose their own clothes and it isn’t always matching, it didn’t matter that in the first 3 minutes my girls’ hair was a flying static bomb, it didn’t matter what people think- I am here because I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I take care of myself and come in the best I can but my worth, my TRUE worth, is not dependent on my onward appearance. I need to be at church. I need healing, I need strength, I need help, I need love that comes from offering up my heart and letting Jesus take care of the rest.

What a blessing to worship my Savior and to see a glimpse of how He sees me. “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

Is it hard?

This morning after I woke up my kids for school my youngest came and sat on my lap on the couch. She snuggled for a few minutes, had her favorite stuffies snuggle me and then out of the blue asked, “Is it hard being a mom?”

I took a deep breath, that is a hard question to answer. Actually my mind has been weighing being a mother. I have felt bombarded lately on how I am not a good enough mother, I am not loving enough, and yadadadadadada. So I chose a more simple answer to the question than what my mind wanted to blurt out (and I am glad that I stopped, took a deep breath, and decided before I started talking.). I said, “Yes. It is hard being a mom.” My sweet little daughter looked up at me and said incredulously, “Really?” And my other kids looked at me like I was crazy. “Why?” they all asked. I told them it is hard to know if you are doing all the right things, if you are making sure they all learn everything, how I have to take care of everyone, I always make sure they are good, how I have to plan for everyone not just me. They all just kind of shrugged, “Uh, oh.”

Then I asked, “Is it hard being a kid?” They all said no and that they never wanted to grow up and but just enjoy their life. I laughed out loud because they are always telling me that I can’t stop them from growing up. I guess the joke is on them :)! Anyway, then it hit me. I am so glad that they are able to enjoy life. Childhood is a time a freedom and I am glad that I could say that at least I am doing something right as a mom!

Home

I have been thinking about home. What does that word mean to you? I was trying to put a finger on why this word has been cycling through my head. I am doing a 30 day yoga challenge entitle “Home”, I just read a book about a guy coming back home, and I just went back to my childhood home to help out my parents. But as I was driving to my home, I thought about how strange it is to actually claim more than one home. When I drive into the city were I grew up and walk into my parents house, that is home. When I drive into my own garage and snuggle on my couch with my kids that is home. When I am doing yoga and taking care of myself I feel at home, and I feel the pull of a heavenly home.

Like I said, when I am driving 5 hours to my childhood home when I go over a certain ridge and see the many familiar sites of that city, it feels like home. When I was driving 5 hours back to my home the mountains that came into view that used to just feel different than the red dirt I grew up in, felt like home. When I got to a certain point in the drive my heart was shouting, “Hooray I am almost home!” As we grow up and leave our childhood homes we always talk about going home for the holidays. When does our own home feel like home? I am not sure it is the same for everyone.

My heavenly home has been on my mind recently too as I have felt my Grandma near and urging me forward as a parent and as a child. It has been a tender and sweet experience that words can’t describe, but oh how I need that relationship in my life right now. Longing for home…for my sweet Grandma who never “let” us win at cards because of her feisty competitive streak. And every time there is a gentle breeze I think of her, her sweet memory floating through that breeze.

“Home is a feeling, nothing more…I love my home and that’s forever.” Chris Offutt, No Heroes; A Memoir of Coming Home.

Glory in tribulations?

Yep, I have been on a little hiatus of sorts. I have had lots of thoughts but I didn’t think anyone would want to hear them. So, I just let my negative self thoughts take over instead of getting out what I felt. It is a constant balance and fight of sorts. I even wrote on my to do list, “Copy all blog posts. Delete WordPress blog.” It has been on my to do list for months, but I couldn’t do it. Why? I don’t know. Then just yesterday a friend stumbled upon my blog (not knowing it was mine) and was saying how she loved the story of the 3rd grader on picture day. It meant a lot to me that she was able to get something out of that post! Kind words are just so good for the heart!

Life has been full of struggles lately, like one thing after the other. I wish that I could have put a sign on my head that said, “Closed for internal maintenance” but that is just not possible. Don’t get me wrong I was doing my best to work on my maintenance, but I needed to continue to get my kids to school and feed everyone dinner. It was actually a good thing to show myself that I could push through and still work, that I wasn’t completely a pile of junk sent to the trash heap for the pigeons to peck at. But you know what, I gave my self permission to take a few naps. Do you know how great naps are? Well they are amazing! Any who…I could write a whole post on the joys of snuggling!

Well as life was serving up a side of trial and tribulation and the occasional Almond Joy, I was reading in Romans in the New Testament. I was completely feeling Satan so happy with the fact that I felt so miserable. But then in Romans 5:3, this phrase caught my eye and my heart,

“but we glory in tribulations also.”

Uhhhhh…I was sure not feeling glorious in my tribulations. So then the questions started coming. How can I be joyful in trials? How can I keep my eyes on the Savior? How can I push out the world in my INDIVIDUAL journey to have a personal relationship with my Savior? What is it, specifically, that I am struggling with?

And then the work started. There was and continues to be lots of studying, prayers, fasting, and spiritual work as I go about my days. It is not as easy as calling in a repairman for 2 hours and being done. It is being willing to be repaired little by little by the master builder himself, Christ. Little by little, I find joy in the growth of tribulation.

Lessons in Faith

Sometimes faith doesn’t involve movement, but it involves standing still- power and patiently waiting for what is coming. It doesn’t have to be keeping up a frantic pace, but a consistent and constant effort to trust that good will come.

Faith is taking and making the time to serve others (especially when it is not convenient) and realizing that you needed the service just as much as you thought the other person did. Faith is being available, open, and willing to act when prompted AND to sit still when prompted as well. Can you or do you have the faith to stand still? This has been a reality in my life lately. I am so used to being up and doing and moving and acting and trudging ahead and that I was reminded that I NEED to stand still.

Being still helps me to maintain my focus on Christ, instead of letting the crushing world distract me from the best things. Do I continue to do the little, simple things that can and will slowly and consistently build my faith. One of the biggest questions that I have worked through is, am I willing to do those little things even when I can’t feel the difference right now? The answer is YES! Yes! It continued to build my faith and keep me on my focused path by helping me work toward doing the best things again. It is the constant and consistent effort over time- through good times, bad times, times of struggle, times of joy- that will takes me toward where I want to be.

I hope to work with faith and be constant in walking WITH Jesus, and letting Him carry me when I need to be still.

The River Bends of Life

It’s a weird thing when you know change is coming or that it just started happening.  It is when I feel myself tighten up, kick against the pricks, and trying to stop moving.  It is so interesting because usually change is such a good thing and it propels one forward- there is growth and opening new windows, and yet it feels so foreign.  Although everything is always in a constant state of flux, some is more drastic than others.  I feel like lots of changes have commenced or are coming and I don’t like it.  For me here are a couple of changes happening or changes on the rise. 

1- Parenting change.  In the Fall, all of our kids will be in school, they can all read, they are independent with lots of things and there is no longer the needy babies or toddlers that used to rule my life.  In one way it is freeing and amazing to see these little kids learn so much.  In another way, I miss snuggling and taking a nap with them, reading them stories and looking for the “firsts” in their lives.  Now they all have opinions that they are not afraid to share.  It is definitely a transition.  Now it is about navigating “grown up” feelings and helping them to build confidence in making their own decisions. 

2- This goes along with the first, but I felt like I was pretty good with toddlers. I loved to see them learn and to have the lights go on with each of my kids as they have mastered reading.  I loved teaching them preschool and tailoring each year specifically to an individual kid for that year.  They are all so different and it was fun to explore and to see them gravitate towards their likes.  I learned a lot about each of my kids and their learning styles and it has helped me when advocating for them at school for specific things.  Now I will be a step removed from most of their “school” learning.  What am I good for now?  Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of things I can do, but that phase is behind me.

3- Realizing that I need to take more responsibility for how I feel.  This is loaded, I don’t want to delve into it, but it is all about navigating those “grown up” feelings for myself as well.  Emotions are not as black as white as we hope they are. 

4- Repentance and forgiveness is a mighty change of heart.  I am learning to put myself aside and try to willingly take Christ’s hand for Him to pull me up. Like Peter when he asks Christ if he can walk on water.  Peter gets out of the boat and does walk on water but when he takes his focus off of Christ and starts fearing the raging world around him, Peter starts to sink.  What does Peter do? He calls out for Christ and IMMEDIATELY Christ takes Peter’s hand and steadies him.  I am learning that calling out for help is sometimes the hardest part of it all.  Especially for me, I try and do it on my own and I am trying to find that sweet spot of doing all that I can AND calling out for help before I sink.  It is a constant re-evaluating with my relationship with God and trying to become more dependent on Him.  It is a hard, time consuming WORK!

There is lots more going on with all of us, isn’t there. A few weeks ago, I was on the verge of sleep when I popped out of bed and wrote down the lyrics to a song from Disney’s Pocahontas.  It seemed so random at the time, but it was a great way for God to ease me into all the change. 

What I love most about rivers is
You can’t step in the same river twice
The water’s always changing, always flowing

But people, I guess, can’t live like that
We all must pay a price
To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing

What’s around the river bend
Waiting just around the river bend…

I look once more just around the river bend
Beyond the shore somewhere past the sea
Don’t know what for why do all my dreams extend
Just around the river bend, just around the river bend

So what is around the river bend?  I just have to take one step at a time and find out!

Can’t I Just Be Myself?

A few weeks ago, it was class picture day at my kids’ school.  I had my kids pick out their clothes the night before, so I could tell them if their outfits passed “the mom test” (i.e. do they actually match and what will your 20-year-old self think of this outfit).  I also told my daughter in 3rd grade that I was going to actually “do” her hair, meaning that I was going to do more than just brush out the tangles, but I was going to make it look nice.  And my sweet daughter, who hates to get her hair done in general said, “Mom, can’t I just look like myself in the picture?” Read that again. “Can’t I just look like myself in the picture?”

I didn’t know what to say…I had so many thoughts, but I was hanging on her words.  Out of the mouth of babes are the most profound teachings.  As I stammered in my thoughts, I finally blurted something out to the effect, “You will look like yourself, just with really great hair!” She wasn’t impressed, and I did a double take with myself.  What were my intentions?  I was trying to make her into what the world wants her to look like, when she is totally fine with a quick brush and a big smile. 

As I look back on my daughter’s life as she has grown up (and way too fast for that matter), she has always had a quiet and strong confidence in who she is.  She is not afraid to be herself, and I hope she always is that way.  I remember in kindergarten she was totally into ninjas, so at recess instead of playing with friends that wanted to play princess she would be fighting her own ninja battles on the playground.  Eventually some boys joined her, but she was more concerned about being true to herself.  Her creativity has always amazed me, she expresses herself in her art, in her creations, in her piano playing, and in her writing.  She truly is talented.  And yet, even though I see it, I have seen her close up.  She can be painfully shy in social settings and even though she is true to herself, she hides.  She is an introvert like her dad and mom, but when in small groups with family or friends she shines. 

I still did her hair on picture day but with a different intention.  I asked her permission instead and she agreed that I could do it…then she told me that pictures were after lunch…so I am sure she will look like herself after 2 recesses with a side of lunch.  I love her, and I love that she wants to be herself.  I am working on being more like her and being okay with being myself where ever and whenever.  Do I need to look different for “others” or can I with conviction say, “this is me and I love myself?”  I hope we all can be happy with being MYSELF.

The GIFT of prayer

James 5:16 …The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Prayer is a gift. Have you ever thought about that?  It is a gift given to us from a loving Father to “stay in touch” if you will and a gift that has to have us do something with it.  It is not meant to be a toy you get and never touch again or a brand new car that you never drive, it is interactive and the more you use it the more valuable the gift.  I am really working on trying to make my prayers more meaningful.  I have been WORKING on putting my gift to good use and it is definitely working.  As I have struggled with my own personal struggles the past few months I have found that my prayers of pleading and wanting answers have turned more towards listening and trying to hear what God wants me to hear.  My questions have become more direct as I have worked on being less independent.  I have been learning to rely more on my Heavenly Father and be more dependent on my Savior’s atonement and love.  During those hard weeks, I felt comfort, but I didn’t feel like my prayers were necessarily being answered.  As I have looked back though, I realize my prayers were being answered, just not how I wanted them answered or was looking for.  It was a sweet and tender realization that the Savior hadn’t left me, but that as I was learning to become more dependent on Him, he was literally carrying me and hugging me as we (He) walked forward and through.  Consistent prayer is power.  It is powerful and real and truly an unspeakable gift.  I realized that my prayers were being answered with constant care and tutoring.  It was a relationship that I have always wanted, always been looking for, and yet it was already right there!

As I have continued to work on my prayers and with my relationship with a loving God and a trusting Savior I was struck at how it is much like parent/teacher conferences.  Prayer is a conversation back and forth about what I have accomplished, things I am doing well, things that I need to work on, troubles I am having, and different strategies to overcome those hard things. Heavenly Father is my loving parent sitting by me, smiling at the good, and wanting the best for me.  Christ is my teacher.  He helps me to see the good in myself, to reach for more, helping me take those hard steps and urging me forward.  He is sitting by me too, asking questions and always helping me.  I want my prayers to be like that all the time.  I need to make more time for this gift and put in the WORK!

Two great scriptures on prayer, that have been especially meaningful for me as I have studied.

Romans 8:26-28     Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Psalms 46:1     God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

The words  of this hymn spoke to my soul!

Prayer is the Soul’s Sincere Desire

  1. Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, Uttered or unexpressed, The motion of a hidden fire That trembles in the breast.
  1. Prayer is the burden of a sigh, The falling of a tear, The upward glancing of an eye When none but God is near.
  1. Prayer is the simplest form of speech That infant lips can try; Prayer, the sublimest strains that reach The Majesty on high.
  1. Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, The Christian’s native air, His watchword at the gates of death; He enters heav’n with prayer.
  1. Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice, Returning from his ways, While angels in their songs rejoice And cry, “Behold, he prays!”
  1. The Saints in prayer appear as one In word and deed and mind, While with the Father and the Son Their fellowship they find.
  1. Nor prayer is made on earth alone: The Holy Spirit pleads, And Jesus at the Father’s throne For sinners intercedes.
  1. O thou by whom we come to God, The Life, the Truth, the Way! The path of prayer thyself hast trod; Lord, teach us how to pray.

Text: James Montgomery Music: George Careless

Sometimes the best prayer that is needed is just a sigh or tear or yearning in the heart.  I know that Heavenly Father has answered my prayers, and He usually will answer them in a better way that I think, hope, or want and that is a gift!  As I continue to work on my prayers and continue to work through my life, I know I will continue to receive something better, something more lasting; that constant support and constant care.  Prayer is work and it is totally worth it!

The Punctuation of Life

The past couple of months have been hard.  They have been defined by loss, grief, sadness, a broken heart, and reflection.  But they have also been punctuated by happiness, faith, hope, love, and joy.  And let’s just say that punctuation is what makes ALL the difference.

 

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Three wonderful people have said good-bye for now, although it always seems too soon, and I have realized that it is not for us to decide.  As I have reflected on these wonderful people I can’t help but think about important people in my life and truly for life itself.  Today is the nine year anniversary of my seizure– aka- my second chance of life.  It is always a solemn time for me to be reminded of the life I have lived since that fateful day in September.  It is a time for reflection on the goodness of others and their willingness to help me and fight for me, when I was truly helpless.

This year is has been different though.  It feels different due to the loss around me.  It feels joyful to know that there is hope and that even though there is hope and that even though grief is not a great friend, it can be a wonderful teacher.  I have realized this time how I have been grieving for a long time for someone that I love and my heart feels like it has been broken for a long time.  She is still here, physically, but has slipped away slowly each year getting farther away from who I know her as.  Her mind is fogged, her words don’t come to her lips, her fingers don’t play the piano anymore, and her hands are unsteady.  It has been a cruel process to watch, especially from 300+ miles away.  The decline has been felt and watched from each member of our family.  We are grieved, we are all unsure, and it is hard going to memorials/funerals because I know that someday it will be me behind the tear-filled eyes.

But it is not me officially, so it feels foreign to feel that unwanted friend of grief.  My heart longs for some more punctuation and fewer run-on sentences.  That is all we have, two dates with a dash in-between, but it is the dash that makes all the difference.  For now, I am trying to make the most of the punctuation and enjoy those little things of life.  I have done a lot of living since nine years ago- brought three precious kids into the world, have a wonderful husband, and have not always made perfect decisions, but I have tried my best.  I am praying I can do my best with my time with my mom and help her enjoy the punctuation as well.