Tag Archives: Christianity

Wandering through the Wilderness (Pt. 2 of 2)

31 Aug

“Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 

1 Kings 17:3-4
English Standard Version (ESV)

This is probably the tenth time this verse has come up in my life.  Each time it means something a little bit different, each time my need for it evolves a little.  This time, it means something deeper than I can express in words, but Part 1 and 2 of this story are my attempt at sharing with you the special place in my heart it holds.

*If you missed it, visit PART 1 HERE before you read this.  Otherwise it might be a little confusing.*

We left off where I realized, that this verse was more than a band-aid, more than reassurance that God would take care of me when things got tough, I realized that God put Elijah in the desert with these words, he put him out in the wilderness alone and unprepared for what he would find.  Why would God do that? Isn’t he supposed to be full of love and forgiveness? Why would he send a PROPHET out to live by a brook for no reason? Especially when he could be doing good work, convincing people live Godly lives!

I was thinking about this long and hard, realizing that, like Elijah, and the Hebrews escaping Egypt, I am in the wilderness.  That I am often asking these same questions, “Why me?”  Despite the fact that God is providing for my family, I often lose focus and feel abandoned and as though the only way out is to pull myself up by the bootstraps, to harden my heart and carry on.  I can do a mean Scarlet O’Hara when I want to. Trust me. But it is not for ‘no reason’ it is for the greatest reason, all of them were being prepared for something greater, to know God’s heart, to have more fervent faith, to believe in Him above all else.  God is trying to prepare us so that we turn to him, instead of running back to our slave-owners in Egypt and giving up His plan for our lives.

But that is not what God wants.  I found this sermon on the above passage, and I absolutely love the author’s explanation of this verse.  He explains that God sent Elijah to “Spiritual Boot Camp.”  According to this sermon the word Cherith, translates to “Cut-off” or “Cut-down”  so the author says that sending Elijah there was a way of cutting him off from all the things that he knew, the places, the people, the things, but ALSO of cutting him down, of reworking him.

You may be a capable woman, whether homemaker or career woman. Then, suddenly, you are snatched from your world of endless activity and effective involvement. God says, in no uncertain terms, “Hide yourself. Get alone. Get out of the limelight. Get away from all those things that satisfy your human pride and ego and go live by the brook.”

Sometimes sickness forces such a change. Sometimes we reach the peak of our energy output and begin to burn out, or we are about to do so. Sometimes God simply removes us from one place and reshapes us for another.

The sermon goes on to discuss what happens next: when the brook dies up and the water stops flowing:

Our God is relentless. He never ceases His training regimens. He shaves off our hair; He takes away our comfortable and secure lifestyle; He moves us into cramped and unfamiliar quarters, and He changes our circle of friends — just like Marine boot camp!

In the process, He strips us of all our pride! And then He begins to lay the foundation blocks of heroic courage, and a new kind of pride, if you will — the kind that no longer defends us but defends Him. What a magnificent change that is. And how essential in our journey toward maturity! It’s all part of being cut down to size.

I’m sure I’m in for more challenges, more struggles, and so is everyone else.  But it is a beautiful reminder of His plan, and His never-ending love for us.

I’m going to end this with a Robert Frost poem about a brook similar to Cherith which dried up.  It is a poem that talks about perspective and love, even in the face of changing seasons.

Hyla Brook

By June our brook’s run out of song and speed.

Sought for much after that, it will be found

Either to have gone groping underground

(And taken with it all the Hyla breed

That shouted in the mist a month ago,

Like ghost of sleigh bells in a ghost of snow)—

Or flourished and come up in jewelweed,

Weak foliage that is blown upon and bent,

Even against the way its waters went.

Its bed is left a faded paper sheet

Of dead leaves stuck together by the heat—

A brook to none but who remember long.

This as it will be seen is other far

Than with brooks taken otherwhere in song.

We love the things we love for what they are.

                                        Robert Frost

Soul Food: Keeping the Fuel Tank Full.

30 Jun

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. 1 Cor 10:13

I love this, this is the verse people traditionally refer to when they say that God won’t give you more than you can handle.  That is what is so amazing.  He doesn’t allow us to be mowed down by our troubles.  He uses them to make us stronger by helping us through them.  No matter what happens, and what complications I face with the surgery or my recovery, I can know with complete certainty that the Lord will help me through.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

I have to admit that I struggle with finding peace and on my worst days hope.  This illness saps me of  energy, strength, and of course control.  When you feel like you are out of control of your body and your life it is hard to imagine things will get better.  It is impossible to believe that you can make them better.  Of course, anxiety, nerves, fear, all that comes with the territory of a major surgery.  I repeat this verse in my head like it is my mantra.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phillipians 4:6 -7

This is powerful. Do NOT be anxious about ANYTHING.  But, wait– what if? No, not about anything.  Wow.  And then it tells you how to accomplish this.  Our God isn’t full of big demands that we can’t live up to, he tells us what we ought to be doing, and how He can help us achieve these things.  That’s awesome.

So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what is whispered proclaim on the housetops.  Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. . .  Matthew 10:26-28

I love this reminder that God is the author of our stories.  Nothing can happen to redirect his plot for our lives.  I love the part “What I tell you in the dark, say in the light.”  I’m terrified most of the time.  I’m scared I am making the wrong decision with this surgery, that something will go wrong, or that we will not be able to handle the financial burden of the medical costs that are going to follow.  This verse not only gives me peace, but it fills me with hopefulness, about what His plan in my life is and how all of this fits into it.  He is molding me to be the person that He can use.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.  And He changes the seasons, He removes Kings and raises up Kings, He gives wisdom to the wise and knowing to those who have understanding.  Daniel 2:20-21

Just another reminder that God is in control of EVERYTHING.  (Remember, do not be anxious…)

What verses feed your soul and fill you up when you are frightened or anxious? I would love to hear them.

Call to Arms

24 Jun

So we’re at war in our household with one Bad Pancreas. Admittedly, my weak point is asking for help, but I have to confide that I can’t take on the little guy on my own.   As the months leading to my surgery turn to weeks (and days, and so forth) I’m going to need a lot of support.  So, I’m asking:

  1.  For Prayer.  We desperately need prayer, in every single aspect of our lives.
    • We need prayer on September 12, on the day of surgery,  for guidance for the doctors.
    •  We need prayer after September 12, for healing.
    • We need prayer leading up to and following the surgery for our financial well-being.
    •  We need prayer for our fundraiser, we know God will provide for us to have this operation, but any security we can muster will exponentially help our certainty that we are doing the right thing and allow us to have peace about our decisions.
    • Prayer for our family and friends, this is going to be a hard time for everyone involved.  We’ve been told by the doctors over and over again that it is almost a community affair, this surgery affects everyone, it is going to be a hard, long surgery, with a hard, long recovery.
  2. For Financial Help. This is by far the hardest thing to ask for.  I know with the economic climate the way it is, many of you can’t afford to help.  Please know that I understand, and I’m not asking you for money.  I appreciate anything you might be able to contribute, whether it is a one time prayer, or help spreading the word to those who may feel led to give.
    • Social Media.  One of the best tools we have for raising money is Facebook and e-mail.  In order to raise any money at all we have to be exposed to potential donors.  To do this, we need all the help we can get, from sharing events, status updates, and pages, to initiating your friends to donate their status message for the day with our fundraising link (http://www.giveforward.org/evicttaraspancreas). If you have a blog, please feel free to share the links to this site and the one above, as well as my story and any images.  We have a limited amount of time to make as big of an impact as we can with this campaign and I’m being really up front here because we simply can’t do it without your help.
    • Mail.  If you have access to a list of addresses through your church, business or organization who you think might be inclined to help out our cause, we would love to send them a letter explaining how they could help if they were so led, including the time and place of our eventual event.
    • Fundraising Event. I’m completely at a loss here, if anyone has any experience with these things, I would so appreciate your advice.  I’m sure we’re going to need a location, food, advertisement, possibly people to help run it, and I have no clue what else. I’m open to ANY advice!!
    • Donations or  Merchandise Purchase. If you are interested in contributing financially you can do so here at our charity website OR you can purchase Bad Pancreas Cartoon Merchandise at the Shop.  We get a 30% commission on merchandise sales, and 100% of anything donated to the charity site.  If you have any advice or ideas on how to make this drive more successful, please, please contact us!
  3. For Support After the Surgery.
    • Watering the Plants and Feeding the Cat during the Surgery Week. I know my darling husband will do his best to take care of my patio garden and our giant fat cat, however, I’m sure it will be far more overwhelming for him than he or I realize.  To this point, if anyone would be willing to stop by once a day for the one or two weeks I will be staying in the hospital during and after the surgery, I’m sure it would be an incredible relief.
    • Spending time at the house.  I know this one is tricky.  My doctor asked us if we could find someone to stick around while my husband is at work, and essentially babysit me my first few weeks home.  If you have any spare time you’d be willing to spend hanging out at my humble abode post surgery, we’d be so thankful.  We would be more than happy to provide food and sleeping arrangements. If you can stay more than a day, let us know and we will start looking for some simple furniture to make our spare bedroom inhabitable!
    • Running Errands.  I won’t be able to drive for the first few months, and I’m sure Rob is going to have his plate full taking care of me and working his insane schedule.  Which might leave a few neglected tasks that need to be tended to.  We may need someone to run and grab something from the pharmacy or help me get to a dr. appt.  every now and again.
    • Silly Domestic Stuff.  Like possibly providing a couple meals for Rob and whoever is able to stick around and help out that week.  I won’t be able to stand to cook for myself or anyone else, at first I will be on feeding tubes, so this won’t be a huge deal for me.  But, it might be nice for other people to be taken care of.  If you would be able to do this during the first month or two post-surgery, that would be amazing.
I know this is a lot.  Truth be told, we can’t do any of this but by a miracle of God.  Anything you are able to contribute, even just thoughts or prayers will be more than sufficient.  We love you all so much.  We feel your support all the time, and we are seeing God answer your and our prayers each day.  I couldn’t have made it this far without you, and I know you’ll be with me through this whole super, major, life-changing experience.  I can’t wait to share it with you all.
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