Archive by Author | readywriterbr

Front Row Seats – The Best Seats in the House?

A great post by one of my best friends. Seeing our situations from God’s perspective is great when we can do so. But even when we don’t understand why, knowing God does gives comfort in the midst of the storm.

Living With Eyz2God

Up close and personal…That’s what ffrront row seats get you…

A chance to see the action on the field, on the ice…or experience the feeling of being right there on stage with the actors or the musicians…

But here’s something to think on…

Are front row seats really the best seats in the house? Do you really see all the action? Or might you be missing what’s going on behind the scenes…off stage…on the sidelines…

True, having front row seats allows you the smack-dab-in-your-face perspective…but what about seats in the balcony and the view they afford…

When we sit close to the front we have a limited view of the stage or playing field – and can only see what’s close to us – we see what’s happening now – directly in front of our eyes.

But when we sit in the balcony we have a broader view –…

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Five Minute Friday: Invite

When I first began writing, I met frequently with a friend who mentored me in my writing. Through her wise counsel and editing. my writing skills grew. I also attended a couple local writing workshops and received helpful teaching on writing for the Christian audience. And I rejoiced when my first article was accepted for publication by a major magazine aimed at parents of children with special needs. I loved writing, and was excited to actually get paid for doing it.

But then life happened. As caregiver for both my special needs son and my mother-in-law who suffered with Alzheimer’s, there was little time or energy for writing. I continued journaling but no longer wrote articles to submit for publication. Adding my own increasing chronic illnesses to the mix, writing was still something I wanted to do but little more than a dream.

In January 2015, I was introduced to the world of blogging. I began my first blog, a general Christian blog on WordPress.com, and again began writing regularly. But as my chronic illnesses became more of a daily issue to deal with, especially when they advanced to the point where I could no longer safely drive, I began battling feelings of isolation. I began seeking interaction the only place accessible to me at the time, online. That was the beginning of building some strong relationships with people I’ve never met in person but now treasure as special friends. And in time, those relationsps expanded to include other writers.

Inviting others to guest post on my current blog, one that focuses on helping Christians cope with the challenges of life with chronic illness, is a new area for me, one I ventured into for the first time this year.  As I’ve become involved with God-Living Girls, a Facebook encouragement, Bible study, and prayer group for women with chronic illness, I’ve come in contact with many ladies who have great wisdom to share. The area of inviting others to guest post is one I’m definitely wanting to pursue more in the future.

God did not make us to live independently of one another. We all have much to learn, and one of the best ways I know of to expand our knowledge of areas we are struggling with is by interacting with others who have gone before us. Guest posting expands the influence of our personal blogs by offering insights into truths others have learned that we have not yet had the opportunity to learn. It’s a great way to grow our blogs.

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Exploring Our Theme, Part 1: Anchored in Hope

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.                                         It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,” Hebrews‬ ‭6:19‬ ‭NIV

When I sensed God prompting me last December to choose hope as my word of the year for 2017, I had no idea how important this decision would be.

This has been a year filled with the storms of life.

First, we learned that we owed a large amount in property taxes on the house and property we had inherited from my husband’s mother. We made arrangements to begin making monthly payments on these taxes. Living on Social Security, supplemented with a self-employment income that varies greatly from month to month, this put a severe strain on our budget.

A few months later, our only vehicle broke down. When we learned that repairing it would cost more than we could afford and more than the value of the car, we were suddenly without transportation.

Then an actual storm, Hurricane Harvey, touched our lives. While we were fortunate that our home was not flooded, we did not make it through the torrential rainstorm without damage. Our roof sprung a leak, part of the ceiling in an upstairs room we use for storage collapsed, and water got into the walls and shorted out the wiring that supplies power to close to half of the house.

This however was not the most devastating result of the hurricane.  The Friday before the storm began on Sunday, our special needs son David began running a fever. Since David doesn’t regulate his body temperature very well because of his brain damage, we just watched him closely, using medication and cool compresses to reduce the fever. But by the following Tuesday, it’s was obvious David was fighting a major infection so we contacted his doctor for an antibiotic. We quickly learned that finding a drug store open and well stocked in Houston in the days following Hurricane Harvey was not an easy task. No one we contacted had the original prescription in stock.

Finally on Friday, after again contacting David’s doctor for a prescription of a different antibiotic, we were able to begin David on an antibiotic for what now appeared to be pneumonia. The next day, the house calls group we use for our son’s medical care sent out a mobile x-ray unit to do a chest x-ray, and pneumonia was confirmed. A stronger prescription was ordered, and we began treating the pneumonia at home.

The following Wednesday, it became obvious this home treatment plan was not working, in spite of the antibiotic and aggressive respiratory care our son’s nursing team was giving him. We called 911 and transported him to the hospital.

And thus began one of the most intense periods of our year so far.  We learned the pneumonia had caused fluid to fill David’s right lung, and the lung had collapsed. After several procedures to drain the fluid and reinflate the lung, and other health problems being diagnosed through further testing, it is now two and a half weeks later and we are still in the hospital.

So what does all of this have to do with being anchored in hope?

 When we go through the storms of life, we need an anchor to hold us steady. Hope in Jesus Christ is the anchor that holds us secure as we are blown and tossed by the wind and waves of the storms of life.

In today’s culture, hope is often equated to wishful thinking. But biblical hope is so much more. According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, to hope is “to trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.” Biblical hope is rooted is trust in God and confident expectation based on His character and promises, especially during times of waiting for His answer.

As our family has walked through these difficult circumstances in 2017, our trust in God has not been shaken. If anything, these trials have drawn us into a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There have been times of feeling overwhelmed, but even those have been taken to the Lord and our anchor has held. As I write this, we are still in a time of waiting for God’s answers. But through it all, the anchor of hope has held us steady in these storms of life.

 

Five Minute Friday: Work

This article  is written to link with Five Minute Friday, where we write for five minutes on a one word prompt without editing. This week’s prompt is “work.”  It is being written from the hospital room where my current work is taking care of our special needs and medically fragile adult son who is in ICU recovering from pneumonia.

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From the time I became an adult, my understanding of what work looks like in my life has changed repeatedly. When I first graduated from college, I had a clear picture of what work would mean in my life. And for two years, I loved being a kindergarten teacher. But after that, God had different plans for my life.

First, I sensed God calling me to go to Bible college. My work then was being a student. There I learned a lot about the Bible, but I also met my future husband.

After marriage, my idea of work again changed. It included taking care of our home and meeting the needs of my husband.

Soon, that expanded to be the “house mother” for a group of young men attending a school of discipleship we were a part of.

That season ended, and I bcame pregnant with ourfirst child. Again, my idea of work shifted. I still had a home and husband to take care of, but my main focus became caring for our precious daughter.

Next, following an auto accident that took the life of our young daughter and left me in a wheelchair, my work became recovering my health through therapy to strengthen my body. Shortly after that, I began working in a newspaper office run by the ministry we had become a part of a few months before our accident.

I could go on to include many other forms of work between then and my current varied work of being bookkeeper for my husband’s home business, caregiver for our special needs son, writer, Bible teacher, and one of the leaders of a Christian support group for ladies with chronic illness. But I think I’ve shared enough to get across the message on my heart today.

The two most important things I’ve learned in the last forty-seven years are:

  • The things we do change, but work of some sort is an important part of daily life. Work is a constant part of our lives, whether or not we go to what is usually called a job.
  • What we do in our work isn’t nearly as important to God as how we do it. God gives clear instructions in His Woork concerning the how. We are to put our whole heart into whatever we are doing at the time, and we are to do it “as for the Lord and not for the Lord and not for men.”

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“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians‬ ‭3:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Five Minute Friday: Place

I’m a day late, but it’s time to join the Five Minute Friday writing community. Each week, Kate Motaung gives a prompt and for five minutes we do free and unedited writing on the week’s topic. Today’s prompt: Place

When I first saw this week’s topic, I drew a blank concerning what to write. Then I looked up the definition of place and found it can also refer to a state of mind. This opened my eyes.

In one way, our family is currently in a difficult place. A place of great uncertainty concerning the future. A place of stressful circumstances and waiting to see if God will come through for us.

But it an important way, this has also been a place of blessing. In recognizing our need for God to intervene, this has become a place of close fellowship with God. A place of new intimacy in relationship with my Lord. A place of growth in prayer. A place of peace in the midst of the storm.

Circumstances may land us in a certain place emotionally. But we have a choice in how we will respond. Seasons of great trial present us with two options. We can either turn our focus on the difficulties we are walking through and feel overwhelmed. Or we can turn our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ and His promise that nothing can separate us from His love and be sustained.

We can turn our eyes on the problems, or we can turn our eyes on the Lord who is bigger than any problem we face. The decision we make will determine whether the place we are walking is one of defeat or victory.  Of turmoil or peace.

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Casting Your Cares on the Lord Through Prayer Journaling

My day yesterday was full – full of hurrying to get to one place, waiting, then more hurrying and waiting. First, it was hurrying to a 10am appointment for a mammogram, which didn’t actually take place until 10:40am. We left that office around 11am, made one stop on the way, then rushed to another appointment, this time with one of my doctors, only to settle down for another time of waiting. We finally got in to see the doctor, then left and hurried home in an attempt to miss a major storm that was coming. Overall, it was a productive but exhausting day.

As I was reflecting on the day this morning, I recognized it provides a good description of how my life has been recently – a series of moving quickly from one problem to another, only to enter another time of waiting on answers. At the same time, it’s been a spiritually productive time, even though as I write this the answers to several months of prayers are still in the future. And like my day yesterday, the process has been exhausting.

So how do we make it through such times of waiting? There are many answers to this question, but I want to share just one that has really helped me during this time. It’s based on Psalm 55:22, which says “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

How do we cast our cares on the Lord? One method that has worked extremely well for me over the past three months is prayer journaling. Through prayer journaling, I have shared my thoughts, emotions, and fears with God daily, casting them on the Lord. Then, I’ve taken time to listen for His response, which I also recorded in my daily journal entry.

This definitely has not been an easy time. Some days between the daily struggles of living with the pain and limitations of chronic pain and illness, dealing with new problems concerning our special needs son, and living with the daily stresses we are now facing, it has been hard to keep going. But sitting down each morning and sharing my current struggles with the Lord has consistently strengthened me to face another day.

Through this discipline of honestly sharing my heart with God on a daily basis, sometimes through tears, and then listening to His instruction for the day, I have truly been sustained. This season of testing is still not over. But even now I can look back on it as a time of spiritual intimacy with the Lord, hearing just what I need daily to keep pressing forward through another day.

No matter what you are facing today, I recommend highly that you take time every morning to cast the burden you are walking under on the Lord. Come to Him with honesty and humility, not trying to be “spiritual,” but  genuinely expressing what is on your heart to the Lord. Then take time to listen to His response. I believe you too will experience His sustaining power through whatever you are facing.

A New Collection

It’s Friday and time to join the Five Minute Friday writing community. Each week, Kate Motaung gives a prompt and for five minutes we do free and unedited writing on the week’s topic. Today’s prompt is: COLLECT

As a child, I lived near the beach and enjoyed collecting sea shells. I once had a large collection, but only a few extra special ones went with me into my married life.

As an adult, I began collecting photos and small models of lighthouses. I atill enjoy looking at my lighthoses, which remind me that Jesus is the Light of the World.

But recently I’ve been thinking of beginning a new kind of collection – a collection of answers to prayer. This isn’t an original idea. It was suggested in The Battle Plan for Prayer Bible study video series, which we are currently watching in our Sunday School class. What a great idea!

There are lots of ways to do this. The Kendrick brothers who produced War Room on which this series is based have a Memory Wall of photos of prayers God has answered. Answers to prayer kept in a journal is another idea. The idea is to have some form of answered prayer collection that I can look at and remember what God has done for me in the past in answer to prayer. Remembering what God has done for us in the past is one of the best faith builders when new problems arise and we commit them to prayer.

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