lessons learned?

As I look back over this past week I am so thankful.  For my mental health class it seems as though I have been put with the toughest clinical instructor at a facility that keeps us busy from start to finish.  Quite opposite of other groups.  My classmates talk about how easy and boring their clinical experience is.  They can get homework done or just relax.

On the surface, such an easy time seems very appealing.  I would love to have more free time.  But, I am looking at the bigger picture.  I have had a clinical experience which will be more like my future job.  I have had the opportunity to hone my skills and meet the needs of dozens of people.  My clinical instructor, by pushing us hard, has given me advantages in my other classes.  Just this morning I took a test and was able to answer some of the questions correctly because she had challenged us last week to go above and beyond.

This week I also learned that schizophrenic audio hallucinations are most likely the result of stress.  It’s the mind’s way of crying for help.  Watching the TED talk that is posted below made me so thankful that I have a God who is willing to take all my issues, worries, and cares upon Himself.  Listening to this woman’s story made me wonder why her and not me.  I still get stressed out at times.  Stress causes imbalances in the body.  Christians under stress can have the same consequences sometimes as non-Christians.

I still have sadness, fear, insecurities, and anger that I deal with.  Most of the time those things are shoved aside and, for the moment, are non-existent.  I am very good at building walls to hide behind.  Compared to last year, my ongoing issues are decreasing in intensity and frequency.  I don’t think that it is just because I have gotten good at hiding them.  I believe that I am seeing more and more evidence that God is moving before me and all around me.  I am greatly loved and held tight in His hands.  Why can’t I learn that lesson and then remember it?

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Past Meets Future

Yesterday I stopped by the house of a friend to give my condolences of his wife’s death.  Then I found out from his neighbors that he had actually died the week before his wife.  Well, I was a bit shocked for, even though they were both in their 80s, he was in much better overall health than his wife.

“Why him and not my husband?” was one of the first thoughts running through my mind. This man was an alcoholic.  He was 20 years older than my husband which likely gave him more overall years of abusing his body, but he only had 4-5 drinks a day compared to the 10-20 that my husband does.  This morning I still wonder why my husband is alive and can he please die soon.

I know that my perspective yesterday and again this morning is mostly due to fatigue.  I am physically tired and mentally stretched with all that I need to do for school.

The song running through my brain this morning as I woke up was Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons” reminding me to look at the big picture and get my focus on God and all that He has done for me.  I was having a really hard time until I remembered a conversation I had last Sunday.  One of my friends (named Redmon) felt that God wanted her to remind me of some truth:  that He is slow to act for He desires that nobody perishes.  At the time we did not know why that particular aspect of God’s character was important and singled out.  It sure does fit with my thought processes today.

So, here I am, still tired, still no caffeine yet, still not quite ready to take on my schoolwork.  But, resting peacefully for I know that God is with me on this journey.

In the past, He prompted Redman to write a song based on scripture (https://scriptureand.blogspot.com/2017/08/bible-verses-for-10000-reasons.html).  Last week He prompted Redmon to remind me of specific Bible verses.   Both to converge onto today when I need to be reminded of what is true.

Your Love Never Fails

I am so thankful for neighbors who have given us buckets of water so we can flush the toilets.  I slept well and woke up exhausted.  In my mind I heard songs reminding me that I am held in the Father’s hands.  I read that God promises to never leave me, to give me strength, and to always take care of me and cause me to become more like Him.  I still feel physically tired and am emotionally level.  I am trying to not grumble or complain.  Even without running water, I have been given too many things to ever justify whining over something that is not there.  We have a house with electricity.  We have plenty of food and clothing.  I am still a bit annoyed with my husband because he has inconvenienced all of us.

I spent time this morning focusing on God through songs.  It is the only way to gain real strength, especially this morning when I would love to just crawl back in bed and do nothing all day.  Now, after worship, a chat with the water company, caffeine, and a nutrition shake, it is time to get some school work done.  Hopefully, the water can be turned on before I need to leave for class.

Blessings Unnumbered

Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your many blessings see what God has done.”   An old hymn with lots of truth in it.  Today I was overwhelmed with blessings.  Contact with old friends, going to church and having a grateful heart for the people there whom I have come to know, the ability to sing praise songs, the people I know through school, my relatively good health, my relatives, my children and grandchildren…

During worship at church today I needed to stop thinking of how good God has been to me.  Had I continued, I would have been a sobbing, blubbering mess on the floor because my heart was so overflowing with joy.  (I cry when I am happy.)  Really didn’t want to cause a scene like that.

At least for today, I am not going to look at all the death and dying around me.  I choose to look up.  Life can be beautiful and full of blessing and joy.

smoky mt

A Second Chance?

Well my husband has mostly recovered from traumatic brain injury that occurred in November and a mini-stroke that occurred at the beginning of this year.  He is not falling down several times a day anymore.  He does not suddenly fall out of his chair, either.  He can go up and down entire stairways again.  He can speak normally.  He does not sit and stare into nothing for hours at a time.  The physical signs that told me his body was internally shutting down have disappeared.

When I talked to him about these changes and said that God is showing him mercy and kindness and giving him a chance to start living differently, his response was disbelief.  He was sober during this conversation, but still unable to see the big picture.  Why can’t he just surrender to the Creator who gives life to all?

My husband and I are so far apart in our thinking and living.  It reminds me of a song called “Just One Touch” performed by Kim Walker Smith:

“I searched the earth when all that I needed was just one touch, …my soul won’t rest ’till I find rest in You, for there is no peace, no freedom apart from You,”  This is the part that my husband just doesn’t get.  He keeps trying to find peace and freedom with alcohol and thoughts of dying.  He is content to wallow in misery.

“Here at the end of me you are my victory, I’m trading my scars for all that you are, for just one touch.”  He doesn’t see that in surrender there is true victory.  We can give all our scars, hurts, addictions, etc., to Jesus and he will give us an abundant life.

The next part of the song expresses the truth of my life:  “My joy overflows from all of Your beauty revealed to me…”  (Anatomy and Physiology class shows me every day just how awesome the human body is with its billions of cell actions and complex muscles.)  “I have been longing, I have been yearning in reckless abandon, surrendered to You, I feel Your fire, I feel You healing, all that You are is all that I’m needing,  here at the end of me, You are my victory…with arms stretched open wide come set Your heart in mine, I’m here at Your feet, Jesus I need just one touch.”

I have surrendered to the God who loves me and my heart is at peace in spite of the turmoil of my surroundings.

Pick a Different Road

What do I say to those I know who are believers in Jesus, or at least were raised in a church, but choose a lifestyle of drinking alcohol?  Several times a week they are consuming more than just one or two drinks.  Frequently they are at the point of fall-down stupid drunk.  We live in a culture that yells “don’t judge!” when a conversation tries to occur so what can I say to them?

How can I tell them that my heart breaks to see the path they are on?  Don’t they know the consequences of continuing in this lifestyle?  It might seem fun right now, but can they think ahead several months or years down the road?

Are they ready to accept heart damage, liver inflammation, pancreatitis, a higher risk of developing certain cancers and a weakened immune system?  Do they want to live with frequent stomach pain, diarrhea, loss of bladder control, sexual dysfunction, muscle cramps, and possible diabetic tendencies?

Are they ready to accept that their thought processes in the future will be really messed up?  That they could get to the point where their moods are not what they used to be and it will be difficult to think logically for any length of time?  That the ability to do simple tasks like putting on a belt will take significantly longer than normal?

If their physical bodies are working fine right now, are they willing to give that all up for muscle loss and loss of coordination?  How about loss of appetite or even throwing up while eating because of the irritation alcohol has done to the intestinal system?

Are they willing to lose their job and the dignity that comes from contributing to society?  Are they willing to be cut off from friends and family?

My whole being wants to shout at them.  I want to be in their faces to point out the wrong way they are on.  I want to open their eyes to the amazing lives they have.  I want them to be grateful for how well their bodies work right now.  I want them to have a good look at the amazing world in which we live.  How can they see all the beauty around them if they put themselves in a grey cloud of alcohol?

I wish that I could go back in time and say all these things to my husband.

The song running through my brain says, “Fresh outpouring, tear the fabric open.  Come, Jesus, come.  Breath of heaven, nothing left unshaken, we long for more. We need a fresh outpouring…”  Sometimes all I can do is pray:  Let my friends be gently pulled back to You by Your Spirit.  Remind them of how much they are loved.  Help them to live in ways that are pleasing to You.

Hospital Again!

I am so thankful for my pastor and the way he preaches through a book of the Bible a verse at a time.  Lately he has been preaching on the armor of God in the book of Ephesians.  The breastplate of Christ’s righteousness that covers me protects my heart.  The shoes of the gospel of peace remind me that I am not condemned by God anymore and I can spread that peace to others.  Those insights and more are what got me through this week.

Monday I was in the ER with my mother-in-law and then she was admitted to the hospital.

Tuesday I was with my husband at another hospital to check on his head trauma from November.  He was totally drunk and could hardly walk.

Wednesday I was with my father-in-law in the ER at the same hospital my mother-in-law is in.  He at least got to go home after several hours.

Thursday I was with my husband in the ER at a different hospital.  He had fallen face first on the concrete floor.  Ended up with only a broken nose.  Since he was very drunk, it took us 3 hours to convince him to go to the hospital.  The one benefit of that time is that I was able to bathe him and get him into clean clothes.  He really didn’t have a choice in the matter.  He was covered with blood from head to toe.  After four hours in the ER he was released to go home.

It was physically tiring to work, take care of my father-in-law, make extra driving trips each day to visit my mother-in-law in the hospital, argue with husband on why he is not going to drive anymore, and try to keep up with the daily household chores.  Focusing on what God has done for me gave me strength each day to serve my family, to be thankful for all that I have, and to keep my heart and emotions steady.

I thought alot about the song “Rescuer” by Rend Collective:   “He is pasture for the weary, rest for those who strive….so come and be chain-less, come and be fearless, come to the foot of Calvary, there is redemption for every affliction…”.

I am looking forward to a calm and uneventful Christmas.