It has been an INTERESTING 5 weeks...
~ I hit a deer, wrecking my car as I was taking the boys to school one morning. Did over $5,000 worth of damage to my Honda Pilot... After 4 weeks, I FINALLY got my car back last week!!
~ Paxton is being tested for one of the auto-immune illnesses I have (Ankylosing Spondylitis)...
~ Labor Day weekend, as the four of us headed to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a NASCAR race, I had to be rushed to the ER in Fayettville (right outside of Atlanta). I was there, in IMCU for 4 days, after having a mini-stroke and having complications with my oxygen levels. I have been on oxygen 24/7 since then... AND...
~ Paxton fractured a vertebrae in his spine playing soccer. He had a couple of bone scans last week & we're heading back to Hughston Sports Clinic tomorrow to follow up with a Spine Specialist to discuss Paxton's treatment. From what the doctor has already told us, Paxton will most likely be in a hard, custom fit brace for 8-12 weeks... no sports or physical activity of any kind until the vertebrae is completely healed.
That is a LOT to deal with in ONE MONTH!!!
Thankfully, even in the midst of all of these things, my mind is focused on the ONE who gives me strength and joy!! NONE of this took God by surprise. He was not caught off guard. He is in control and IS holding Paxton, Me, Micah, and Philip in the palm of His hand. The following scripture is one of my favorites and has comforted me sooooo many times...
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT) "Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."
HALLELUJAH!!! Oh, how I can personally testify to the strength the Lord gives!! I am so very weak on my own, but in Him... in Him I am a mighty, STRONG woman!!
I praise God, MY Creator, for the MANY blessings in my life. Yes, I have difficulties... but don't we all? I could be dealing with much worse... many people are!! God has richly blessed me with much more than I deserve. I will forever SHOUT and SING HIS PRAISES and give Him ALL the GLORY for everything good in my life!!! And as crazy as it may sound to some, I will also PRAISE HIM for my DIFFICULTIES... they WILL be used for growth, refinement, to build strength, to draw me closer to my God, to help me keep my focus on Him, and to add to my testimony so God can use me to help others. God WILL turn ALL of this around for MY GOOD and HIS GLORY!!! Can I get an AMEN!?
Prayers, Blessings, and Love to you all.....
We finally have most of the results from my week long visit at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida last month. I have to admit, at times over the last few weeks I have felt quite overwhelmed. Yet, I KNOW that I am HIS and He is holding me in His hands!!
"You will keep him in perfect peace,Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You!" Isaiah 26:3
What we found out is that, in addition to Lupus SLE & Pseudo Tumor Cerebri (along with issues with my thyroid, asthma, Raynaud's Phenomenon...the list goes on..) I have another auto immune disease, ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS (you can read more about it here http://www.medicinenet.com/ankylosing_spondylitis/article.htm)
The cardiologist I saw at Mayo also says I have inflammation in the blood vessels on my heart and has started me on daily Nitroglycerin. This really isn't a big deal, but is something my doctor's will continue to monitor.
I also had some abnormal results on tests that were run on my lungs, so they ordered a chest CT. They found two small "nodules" in my right lung. We are going to do another scan in 2 months... if there is any growth, we will do biopsies. In the meantime, I will see a Pulmonologist at Emory this Friday, July 29th.
"For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 30:17
While I do admit I have moments of frustration, aggrevation, self-pity, and just plain fear... I ultimately KNOW that I am right smack in the middle of God's plan for my life. I do NOT believe that God CAUSES sickness and pain in our lives, but I DO believe that sometimes He allows us to walk through pain, affliction, and trials for the purpose of shaping us and molding us into who He is calling us to be so that we are able to be used by Him in more powerful ways!!
"I am looking to the only One who holds me in His hands... His healing, His power, His love, He pours over me like tiny grains of sand... I am His, I am His, I am loved by the King and this... this shall sustain me!!" - From "I am His" by Michelle C. Bush
thank you all for your love and prayers!! God bless!
"So we can say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?'" - Hebrews 13:6 (NLT)
When people hurt us, or do wrong against us, we are called to show them mercy, love, and grace. After all... that is what the Father has lavished on us, correct? I feel that I do that well, for the most part... I'm not always great at it... but we HAVE to GIVE IT OVER TO GOD!!
God spoke to me very clearly a while back... He has called me into ministry.... and He spoke very clearly that due to the calling He was placing on me, I would come under much attack. Well.... PROPHECY FULFILLED!! But I am confident that God will continue to use me and minister through me, not because of any greatness or worth on my part, but because He SAID it, I BELIEVE it, and He has the POWER to do it..... "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." - Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
The battle is truly NOT with flesh and blood... it is with the enemy of all enemies... No matter how tempting and easy it sometimes seems to put a human face on our attackers, it is none other than Satan himself. Therefore, we can't fight the battle on our own strength... in our own power, or go about things in the manner we THINK they should be handled. I know that God is helping and sustaining me through this... I know that He is battling the enemy on my behalf... AND on the behalf of those who have hurt me. I'm not the only one hurting. While they may be the ones doing wrong against me, they themselves are hurting... and GOD is THEIR HELPER just as He is MINE!!
My body is weak... my health is not good... (I will give an update in another post from my week at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville once all of my test results are in)... I struggle physically every day... in pain constantly... sometimes I struggle to do basic things... but I am CLINGING to Jeremiah 30:17 which says, "For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, saith the Lord." HALLELUJAH!!
I have NO IDEA what my future holds... I have no clue HOW God will use me in ministry or WHERE He will use me, but I KNOW that I am in HIS HANDS and HE is GUIDING my path!! I know that I am HIS!! I KNOW that HE calls me HIS CHOSEN, BEAUTIFUL, BELOVED PRINCESS!! I am royalty because my Heavenly Father is THE KING OF KINGS!! It matters not what anyone else has to say about me... my value comes from HIM ALONE!!
To say it has been a difficult month or two is an understatement. I've dealt with pretty significant health issues, deep hurt & betrayal, painful losses, and some difficult changes in my life and family. I have felt anger, bitterness, confusion, hurt, sorrow, frustration, sadness, fear, and pain.
It is often difficult to trust God when we're in the middle of a storm... Yet... I DO!! I believe Jeremiah 32:17 with all my heart. NOTHING is TOO HARD for MY GOD!! So when I have those moments of anger, frustration, confusion, fear.... they are only MOMENTARY!!! Because I am keeping my focus on HIM!! And I know that even though I can't see "a way out" of this storm, I have FAITH that God IS going to bring me through this storm as He has so many times before!! "Faith is being sure of what we hope for & certain of what we do not see." Hebrew 11:1 I don't see the resolution... I don't see how some of the things I'm dealing with can be restored... I don't see my physical healing... BUT I have FAITH and that faith SUSTAINS ME!!
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Pt 5:7
I will not be consumed by this or any storm. Yes, I have moments of worry, fear, doubt, frustration... because I am human... but they do not consume me. His love, His mercy, His grace, His PEACE, His PRESENCE.... they CONSUME ME.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." I am clinging to this as I seek the Lord for guidance and direction for our family, for decisions that Philip and I will make for my health, for direction for my ministry, and for resolutions to all of the difficult situations we and our family members are dealing with.
GOD is GOOD!! He loves and cares for YOU!! TRUST and OBEY HIM and you WILL see Him MOVE!!
Thank you all for your prayers!!
"Surely He hath borne our griefs (Hebrew: sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (Hebrew: pains) yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:4-5
My healing IS coming... and while I'm waiting, I will praise Him, serve Him, worship Him, love Him, and thank Him for my many blessings!!
"For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 30:17
My little Micah... my "double miracle"... turned 7 today. SEVEN!! I can't believe it! Where has the time gone??!
Every year I get overwhelmed with emotions around his birthday. Ok...quite honestly, I get "overwhelmed with emotions" at both he AND Paxton's birthdays every year... but with Micah it is much more than the "my baby is growing up" sentiment. I refer to him as my "double miracle" because I was told at a young age that I would not be able to get pregnant on my own, if at all. [And God blessed me with TWO amazing boys!!] And Micah is a "double" miracle because he made it through a really rough pregnancy filled with concerns, fears, many hospital stays, tests, spinal taps, medicines, and many confused doctors that weren't really sure what our final outcome would be. Every year on Micah's birthday I am reminded once again of God's faithfulness. I'm reminded of His love and mercy. I'm reminded of His promises.Psalm 91:4 "Because He loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name."
Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
As I look at my handsome, smart, funny, loving, compassionate, HEALTHY Micah, I am at a loss for words as to how to thank my Heavenly Father for protecting Micah through my very difficult pregnancy! I simply can't adequately thank Him and praise Him enough for His healing hand on both of our lives!! I'm in awe of the love of God. He has done so many miraculous things in my life... I have so much to be thankful for.... but for today, I praise Him for LIFE!
Thank you, friends and family, for your love and prayers! (For any new readers... you can read a little more about mine & Micah's journey in the previous post
Romans 1-2 (MSG) "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
Well, I don't know about you... but my life (most of the time) seems anything but ordinary! Most days seem incredibly chaotic... get up, take the boys to school, go to work (or to any number of doctor appointments), pick up boys from school, karate, soccer, church, choir practice, homework, eat, bathe, feed & take care of dogs, laundry, dishes, more work... and so on! THOSE are the days that I struggle to "place before God as an offering." But God's word is clear... it says "place your EVERYDAY life...."! We must take the time to give Him everything, our everyday lives, and every piece of us. And sometimes, I simply fail at this!!
I found out yesterday that my doctor is increasing the dosage of one of my really strong meds (a chemo pill). I was just getting to the point where I was only "on bed rest" one day a week (Thursdays... after taking the meds on Wednesday evenings). Fridays and Saturdays were still a little "yucky", but I could a least do light housework and even get out of the house a little. I'm praying that as I increase the dosage (beginning tonight) the affects won't be too bad. THESE are also days I struggle to "place before God as an offering." I'm finding it easier and easier to lay around and just cry out to God. Which, isn't terrible in and of itself, but I'm finding that I'm WHINING more than I'm PRAISING sometimes. Does that ever happen to you? SHAME ON ME!! God has done so much in my life and blessed me far more than I could ever possibly deserve. Lord forgive me for sometimes allowing myself to sink into a pity party instead of praising You through every circumstance as I should!! Let my heart and soul cry out to you for mercy and sing of Your unending love and grace!
I love the promises of the scripture above. IF we give Him our everyday lives.... He will change us from the inside out! It says that He (unlike the world) brings out the best in us. We've all had experiences of being around people (sometimes even family) that....well..... brought out the worst in us. But God brings out our best. He is on our side!! I'm so thankful that even as I sit and type this, feeling somewhat inadequate and frustrated because I often fail Him by not completely giving Him everything... He not only takes me as I am, but He "brings out the best in me." He freely offers me mercy, grace, joy, love, hope, and riches beyond measure!! And I can rest in Him - safe and secure! He always carries me in the palm of His hand. He calls me His. He has called me, equipped me for ministry, and set me apart for His purposes. He loves me. PERIOD. And in return.... He simply wants my love, my worship, my praise, and for me to live my everyday life for Him. He will carry my burdens for me.... so why should I hold onto them? Lord, HELP ME to give everything to You... let me be a living sacrifice before you each and every day, offering everyday of my life to You and to Your service!
Here is the rest of Romans 12 (verses 3-21, The Message version). Chew on it, soak it up, read other versions.... take it to heart! God bless you!
3I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
4-6In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.
6-8If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
9-10Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.
17-19Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."
20-21Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Its that time of year again....I LOVE Fall... the beautiful colors of the changing leaves just makes me want to inhale deeply and praise God with every breath I exhale! It is a BEAUTIFUL season!! Everywhere I drive, I can't help but take notice of the beauty all around me! And it used to be my very favorite because of the nice cool Autumn breeze. Now, I still enjoy the visual beauty of fall, and the pleasant smells, and nice fall fashions.... but I'd rather view this beautiful season from my car window with my nice warm heater blowing on my feet... or from my living room window as I snuggle up under my electric blanket with a small space heater that "follows me" everywhere I go in my house.
Lupus and Raynaud's phenomenon have affected my body in such a way that temperatures below 90 are brutally cold to my body... bone aching, body shivering, skin purpeling, hair standing up... FREEZING COLD! Some times it seems I just can't get warm enough.... I feel cold from the inside out... and it is a miserable feeling! So if you see me dressed as if I'm heading to the North Pole while everyone else is seemingly comfortable in short sleeves... that is why! :)
Last week my rheumatologist (who treats me for lupus) said that due to more complications I've been having from lupus, he needed to start treating me "more aggressively." He added more medication to my already long list of prescriptions!! Once per week I have to take low dose chemotherapy. It is in pill form and the dose is no where near the amount a cancer patient would take. Nonetheless, the side effects and risks are... unpleasant to say the least. I was told to take it on a day when I am able to lay around for a couple of days after taking it. For me... that is Wednesday nights because I do not teach on Thursday or Friday. So for the next two to three months, my Thursday and Fridays will be a little unpleasant. I took it for the first time this past Wednesday night and was not able to get out of bed until Saturday, but am still not feeling quite myself today (Monday). My doc "hopes" that after two or three months, my body will get used to the medicine, the side effects will diminish, and I'll start to see improvements in the lupus.
I know that God's hand is still upon me. He is carrying me through this and will continue to give me unspeakable joy and everlasting strength each and every day! I am still praying for total healing... I'm praying with expectancy... I KNOW my healing IS coming... so until then, I will press on through this and praise Him with every ounce of strength He gives me!! I have FAITH in Him and am standing on the promises of His word. I love this quote from Dr. Tony Evans... "Faith is acting like it IS so even when it is NOT so in order that it WILL BE so simply because GOD SAID SO!" Hallelujah!
Psalm 91:14 (NIV) "Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name."
I LOVE the Message version of this promise....
Psalm 91:14 (MSG) "If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God, "I'll get you out of any trouble. I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know me and trust me. Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times; I'll rescue you...I'll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!"
WOW!! What a promise!! God is so good! God is LOVE! God is MERCY! God is GRACE! God is SHELTER! God is COMFORT! God is PEACE! GOD IS FAITHFUL TO KEEP HIS PROMISES WHEN WE ABIDE IN HIS PRESENCE AND LIVE FOR HIM!!
I have so much to be thankful for!! God has poured out His blessings on my life... far more than I could ever deserve. I'm so very thankful and praise Him for the blessings He has already poured out on my life. I am also praying with excitement and anticipation for the unattainable that He will bring forth in my life and in the lives of my family!!
It is DEFINITELY my favorite time of year!!!
- Lazy mornings of me & the boys sleeping in until 10am (sorry, Philip...wish you weren't at a year round school so you could enjoy our lazy mornings!!)
- splashing the day away in the pool, the warmth of the sun (especially since my Lupus & Raynaud's does MUCH better in warm weather than the cold)
- board games, card games, and video games with my boys
- nature hikes through the wooded part of our land
- watching the boys swing, slide, jump on the trampoline and seem so carefree
- cuddling up on the couch to watch a movie
- being able to spend 24 hours a day with my precious boys who are growing WAY TOO FAST!
- staying up late (thus, the "lazy mornings" (: )
- spontaneous "field trips" to the airport, dairy queen, library, or where ever we want to go!
ahhhhh.... SUMMER TIME!! I don't want it to end.... I'm not ready to get back to early mornings, missing my boys all day while they are at school, homework, projects, soccer, basketball, karate, juggling our time, grabbing a quick bite for supper so we can run out the door to our next scheduled event.... Oh if Summer were only longer!!! I will savor every minute of this last month of summer!
I am declaring RIGHT NOW that not only is God ABLE to heal me totally and completely from my sicknesses, to heal both of my boys from the illnesses they suffer from, to grow my ministry, to bless my family, to provide for us, to bring those that I love that are not saved into a deep relationship with Him....He is WILLING!!! I'm expecting BIG things in my life and in the lives of my family members and I KNOW He WILL fulfill more than I can & will ever ask for, hope for, or DREAM for!!!
God has been so FAITHFUL to me!! He has plans...plans to prosper me and my family... I will trust Him with my whole life...every part of it...and wait on His timing. BUT WHILE I WAIT... oooohhhh, while I wait I will trust Him, seek Him, serve Him, love Him, draw closer to Him, praise Him, share His love and grace with others, worship and adore Him, rest in Him, dwell in His presence, give to Him...with EVERYTHING I have....EVERYTHING I AM....and with every bit of energy and strength I have!!!
ROMANS 8:18 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
It has been a rough two weeks. The spinal tap did not go well...after 3 trips to the hospital over a span of a few days, they finally performed a blood patch which has slowly brought my spinal fluid pressure back to normal. I am feeling much better....not 100% just yet...but MUCH BETTER, PRAISE THE LORD!!!
My shoulder is continuing to heal...a little slower than expected after all that I went through the last week and a half, but I know in a few weeks it will be much better!
NO MATTER WHAT....I will remain steadfast and faithful to the Lord who heals me, strengthens me, and gives me EXCEEDING JOY!! With His Joy in my heart, there is nothing that can break me! He gives me joy, overflowing joy that makes life endurable.
ROMANS 8:18 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Our "PRESENT SUFFERINGS"....I will NOT continue to "suffer" for long...I KNOW that "this too shall pass" because that is what My God promised!! Because of that promise (along with many others), I can "hang on" and endure anything!! They are merely sufferings of the PRESENT TIME. That means...just for a moment...then they will be over!! Then comes the GLORY- "The glory which shall be revealed in us." The glory of God choosing ME- the glory of Christ's atonement- changing me from a dirty sinner to a radiant, redeemed, renewed, and saved child of God....divine LOVE....infinite MERCY and GRACE - the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, guiding me, giving me wisdom!! The glory of seeing my Jesus face to face!! OH, THE GLORY is SO WORTH THE SUFFERING!!!!
GOD has been SO FAITHFUL to me...I can NOT sit SILENT...I will praise Him with all that I have whether I physically "feel like it" or not!! I HAVE JOY, JOY, UNSPEAKABLE JOY!!!
Hang on, dear children!!! Endure your suffering for the moment....JOY COMES IN THE MORNING!!!
Due to some complications I have been having the last few weeks, my neurologist at Emory believes my Intracranial pressure is elevated again from a flare up of my Pseudo Tumor Cerebri (the illness I was diagnosed with during my pregnancy with Micah in 2003). I spent over 8 hours in the ER here in Columbus last night. They were able to relieve some of my severe headache by giving me pain meds via IV (which is ALWAYS a last resort for me, and even with the pain I was in last night the doc nearly twisted my arm to take them after I refused!).
I will have to go to my neurologist at Emory tomorrow (Thursday, April 16th) to go through yet another lumbar puncture (spinal tap)...
This will be my 10th (or 11th??) spinal tap in the last 6 or 7 years (the first 7 LP's were during the last 4 months of my pregnancy with Micah!!)
I KNOW that I am in HIS HANDS and HE WILL SUSTAIN me. With that being said, it is a difficult process and has difficult side effects. I greatly appreciate your prayers!
I will keep you posted!!
Love and blessings, Michelle
Today I am PRAISING THE LORD for SPRING!!! I love the warmth of the sun!!! I'm not such a fan of the "gold dust", but it is WELL WORTH it for the warmth that comes with Spring!! 82 degrees today...blue jeans, a shirt, and a light weight jacket....and I was SOOO COMFORTABLE!! YAY!! No more layers and layers of clothes and heavy coats, gloves, scarves, hat, hand warmers, toe warmers....only to still FREEZE to death!!! I LOVE SPRING and SUMMER....they are much more "lupus & Raynaud's friendly" seasons!! :)
My shoulder is healing....slowly, but healing!! My surgery was two and a half weeks ago (torn labrum and repair of a suture from previous rotator cuff surgery) so I still have a long way to go...but I'm "getting there!" :)
Thank you all for your many prayers, sweet cards, encouraging words, delicious meals, love and support during my recovery!! Love and blessings to you all!!!
I've been managing my lupus fairly well. The cold season is my most difficult time of the year. Because of Raynaud's Phenomenon (associated with/caused by lupus) my body is extremely sensitive to cold....to the point that cold = severe pain...especially in my hands and feet. But, I'm managing it. No sense in constantly complaining, or staying bundled up in the house...life is TOO SHORT!! :) So I praise the Lord that HE ALONE gives me the strength to press on and endure....I keep going only because HE enables me to!
I have re-injured my shoulder! :( (I had torn rotator cuff & torn labrum surgery on my right shoulder last April after falling down the stairs and continuing to workout and coach basketball for several months after the fact!) I have not had an MRI yet, but my ortho doc says he is pretty sure I have re-torn the labrum in my right shoulder and may have pulled my bicep muscle from the bone as well. I go back March 8th (he wanted to wait for the swelling and inflammation to go down before scheduling the MRI). I'm not looking forward to potentially having surgery again, but am trying to stay positive and know that "this too shall pass"......
I'm picking up new glasses today....not to replace my lovely telescope glasses for driving, but to wear on a daily basis to help a little with my distance vision and reading. They won't miraculously bring my vision to 20/20 the way normal vision loss patients can with glasses or contacts, but the doc says they will help make things a little better for me. ANY HELP is better than my "normal" 20/200 (to 20/160 on good days) vision. :)
I will also finally be getting my hearing aid for my right ear this week. YAY!!! Hopefully this will be a smooth transition!
God has been so faithful to me! He has blessed me far beyond measure! I will never complain about the small challenges I have to face...I WILL praise Him daily for the HUGE BLESSINGS in my life!! How we look at life...it's challenges, obstacles, trials, tests, difficulties, blessings, joys, gifts....is all OUR CHOICE!!! Choose wisely!!
Blessings, peace, love and joy to you all!! :)
Proverbs 18:21 (Amplified Bible)..."Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]."
One of the most impactful things I have heard Joyce Meyer say is "WHAT COMES OUT OF THE MOUTH REVEALS THE CONDITION OF OUR HEART."
As Christians, we are held to a higher standard...the Bible makes it very clear...we are to control our tongues. How many times can we say, "ooooooopps...I shouldn't have said that!!"?? We're not fooling anyone. We can know the Word of God inside and out...quote it to all who will hear, tell others how they are supposed to live...but in the end, everyone will know us by our HEART..."what comes out of our mouth reveals the condition of our heart."
In "Top 10 Qualities of a Great Leader" by Phil Pringle, he says, "Wisdom knows what to say, and when and how to say it. She knows what is appropriate for the moment. Fools are recognized by their inappropriateness."
So what does God's word have to say about our tongues and the words we speak???
Matthew 12:37 (Amplified Bible)
"For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced."
Psalm 34:13 (Amplified Bible)
"Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit."
It is so interesting to me that the jaw muscle and tongue are considered some of the strongest muscles in our bodies...So small...yet so powerful...so difficult to control...
James 3:5-18 (Amplified Bible)
"5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze!
6 And the tongue is a fire. [The tongue is a] world of wickedness set among our members, contaminating and depraving the whole body and setting on fire the wheel of birth (the cycle of man's nature), being itself ignited by hell (Gehenna).
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea animal, can be tamed and has been tamed by human genius (nature).
8 But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is a restless (undisciplined, irreconcilable) evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who were made in God's likeness!
10 Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so.
11 Does a fountain send forth [simultaneously] from the same opening fresh water and bitter?
12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can a salt spring furnish fresh water.
13 Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom.
14 But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth.
15 This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal).
16 For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.
17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity).
18 And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God's will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts]."
Words have tremendous power--either to disarm anger and lead people away from arguments, or to inflame disagreement and hate. God wants us to use our tongue to defuse hate and anger whenever we hear it....not fuel it...or worse, ignite or start it.
Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
"1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. 3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. 4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."
HE SEES WHAT IS IN OUR HEARTS!!! We can't be effective witnesses, sharing His light and His love, if we are a "crusher of spirits." ......"What comes out of our mouth, reveals the condition of our hearts." THIS is how we are known to others!!!
Proverbs 15:18 (NIV) "A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel."
Relinquish your tongue...and your HEART...to the Lord. Allow Him to have full control. There is no task to small or too large for Him!!
I love The Message version of Ephesians 4:29-31...
Ephesians 4:29-31 (The Message)
"29Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
30Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted.
31-32Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you."
Very clear instructions. HE can give us the strength and power to control our tongues. We simply have to ask...and truly give Him control.
1 Peter 3:8-12 (New International Version)
"8Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 12For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
Lord, I give you control over my heart, my thoughts, and my tongue. Help me to seek and pursue peace...to share your love, mercy, and grace with everyone...even those who may persecute me.