Tuesday, January 24, 2012


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9.

PeaceMAKERS, not peaceKEEPERS. As I pondered this at 4:30 this morning, I thought, "Peacemakers. PeaceMAKERS. MAKER. What does a maker do?" A maker creates. And, what happens when you create things? Unless you're God, chances are, you make a mess. You get glue on your fingers. You get glitter on your forehead and in your hair. You have fabric scraps laying on the floor where you cut away undesired pieces. You stick yourself with a pin or burn yourself on the glue gun, and it hurts. Scraps of paper lay about. You get flour on your apron or chin. Paint splatters on your clothes. Creating makes a mess....a temporary mess. It may be a small project and small mess. Or, it maybe a huge project and a huge mess.

Peacemaking. But, everyone says, "Oh, we aren't supposed to stir up trouble. We don't want to hurt anyone. We're just supposed to love." That's peacekeeping. Make everyone happy. Putting out fires, so that someone is not upset. What happens when we run around trying to put out all the fires, all the hot spots? They just keep popping up if we don't get to the source of the problem. Peacemaking.

When there is a lack a peace, it usually means someone has crossed a boundary. Someone probably sinned against someone else. Is it healthy to just ignore that and smooth over so no one is upset and KEEP the peace? No. It isn't healthy for anyone involved, and in fact, causes more dissension (hot spots). The only way to MAKE peace is to pursue it, to lay the offense out in the open, gently, not in anger. If someone is continually crossing a line (sin), in order for there to be true peace, they must be gently restored and problems must be addressed.

Hebrews 12:14 says, " Pursue peace with all men..." But, look at it in context. As I looked at the verses prior, I kept seeing the words, "therefore" and "but", so I kept backing up. God has a lot to say. Is it coincidence that "pursue peace with all men" follows this? Maybe, but I'm having a hard time accepting that. Look at what it says, starting with verse 4~

"You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

I don't know about you, but that sounds messy to me!

Verse 7~
"It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. .... For they (earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;"

God disciplines us. Parents should discipline their children. We are called to discipline ourselves. We are called to discipline others (see also Galatians 6:1, 1 Thess. 5:14, 2 Thess. 2:14-15, 1 Cor. 5:11, etc.) Without discipline there can be no peace. Even if only one person in a group is undisciplined, there is a lack of peace...sometimes chaos...whether that is a church, a family, a classroom, etc. Pursuing peace, being a peaceMAKER, means pursuing discipline within that group. When that happens, there might just be a mess. If it's smaller infractions, and the person (whether ourselves or others) has a teachable spirit, then it might just be a small clean up. The problem is addressed, repentance made, forgiveness imparted. A little glue on the hands, and we just wash it right off. If, however, there is an unteachable spirit, selfishness, pride, or an overly sensitive person, the mess is going to be bigger, and the clean up will take longer. Does it mean we avoid it? Does it mean it is unBiblical just because it makes a mess. Not at all. Peacemaking is not fun. Go look at Matthew 5:1-14. "Blessed are the peacemakers" is lumped right in there with "poor in spirit", "those who mourn", "those who hunger and thirst for righteousness", "those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness". Peacemaking is hard, which is why it is so blessed.

Look at verse 11 again. "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Discipline, though it seems sorrowful, yields peaceful fruit, if the person is wiling to be trained by it. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison," In context this is talking about our outer man decaying, but it applies here as well. See, peacemaking isn't just for those who are suffering the consequences of an undisciplined person. It is even more important for that person. It "is for our good, so that we may share in His holiness", it yields fruit, and it produces "an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison". When you see it like that, why on earth would we want to run from it?! That undisciplined person will never find their own peace and joy if someone doesn't point them toward Godly behavior and repentance. Their relationships can never be whole and authentic. If we love the unruly, undisciplined person that God has placed directly in our path (or if we need that correction ourselves), then we will embrace the opportunity to gently, but firmly, hold them accountable and point them to God's peace, which comes through discipline.

What happens if God calls you to be a peacemaker in a situation, but no matter how much prayer and love you attempt to pour into that person, they rebel? It may be the time that you have to "shake the dust from your sandals", or "not even to eat with such a one". This may seem harsh, but the goal is restoration. Take it to the Lord in prayer as to what must happen in that situation, but whatever the response, do not allow that person to carry on in your life without accountability. Continue to pursue peace. Continue to be a peacemaker. For that person, see what Proverbs 15:10 has to say. "Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die." The person who rejects discipline will die a spiritual death. If saved, he will not lose his salvation, but he will lose his fellowship with God, and the blessings God wants to give. He will lose peace and unity with others.

In contrast, if that person is willing to hear God's voice, and submit to His discipline, then as the mess is all cleared away, we are left with a beautiful masterpiece that God Himself has used us to create, and it is worth all the pain. ...... an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not Unnoticed

Isn't God good to work in our hearts through unlikely ways? He took my pain from 2 posts before this one, and has stirred the hearts of different people in different ways. I have had several people message me and say that they,too, are suffering from long term illness that they haven't shared with others in the past. A couple of those took that post as courage to share their hidden pain with their friends or just with me personally. I have had a few people say that God has stirred their hearts to pay more attention to the people around them. I am one of those people, too. I have had one say they see that they need to take better care of themselves because they are headed down the same road I am on if they don't. I pray for all of us that our hearts stay stirred in obedience to whatever He has called us to individually in response. For me, personally, one response has been to begin to not only pay attention to the people God puts before me, but to ask people and to be diligent to pray for them for an extended period of time; not just in the few min. or few days when they first express a need.

So many people are hurting and need our care and help. As Christians it is not only an obedient response, but also a privilege and a blessing to give the help God nudges us to give. But, we must listen. If we don't listen, if we don't have ears to hear, if we don't heed that whisper, then we cannot love others they way He would have us to.

Hebrews 6:
9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Think it's a coincidence that today I picked a book back up after a week or two, and this was God's Word today? If you are suffering, especially from a long term illness, listen! God wants someone to hear this.

Commentary on Luke 8:40-56
"For both Jairus and the woman in the crowd Jesus was literally their last hope. Who else could heal from the throes of death? And who else could cure what countless doctors had failed to cure, especially with out pay? Jesus was their only hope.

.....Don't you think it's interesting that the woman suffered her infirmity for the same length of time that Jairus' child had been alive? Ask anyone who has suffered with a chronic ailment how much focus it commands, and she'll tell you she struggles to focus on anything else. Ask any set of parents how much they focus on their one and only child, and they'll likely tell you the same thing. Have you struggled for a long time with some difficulty? I absolutely do not want to minimize your suffering when I tell you that Jesus specializes in the long term and the hopeless.

We read in verse 42 that the crowd pressed so closely to Jesus they were almost crushing Him. Yet a woman behind Him touched only the edge of His cloak, and He discerned the difference. Please keep in mind, she never even touched His skin. Amazing! Notice that when Christ asked, "Who touched me?" they all denied it. .....Did they not realize He wanted few things more than for them to reach out to Him?

When the woman realized that she "could not go unnoticed, " she "came trembling and fell at his feet" (v.47). Beloved, no one goes unnoticed by Christ, least of all, a person acting on faith. I love the fact that the woman came trembling, even though she had exercised enough faith to draw forth the healing power of Jesus. It's good to know that the faithful still come trembling. In fact, their reverence is a critical part of their faith. The truly believing will most certainly also be the bowing.

.....Verse 42 tells us Jesus was on His way to heal the dying child when the woman in the crowd touched the edge of His cloak. Christ Himself described what happened: "Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me" (v.46). The primary point I want to make is that Christ released enough power to heal a woman of a twelve-year hemorrhage but still had plenty to raise Jairus's daughter from the dead! Let that sink in! I know you know it with your head but I want you to receive it in your heart. Christ's power supply is limitless.

......Does he seem to be on His way to another need, one that you perceive may be more important than yours? More a matter of life and death? No problem! Reach out and grab that hem! You are not going unnoticed--not even if He's on His way to raise the dead!

...Think of people who you recognize as being at their last hope. Now beloved, what is your greatest need, the deepest desire of your heart? Don't tell me how trivial they seem in comparison! Consider your list carefully. Now I want you to say out loud: "Jesus, You have enough power."

Oh, friend, would you dare to believe that He is completely able? If He doesn't grant you what you ask in faith, it is never because He lacks the power. I believe it's because He wants to release an all-surpassing power and reveal an even greater glory through another answer. Will we laugh at the thought like the foolish mourners outside Jairus's home? Or will we be invited into the house to behold a miracle?" (Jesus, The One and Only by Beth Moore)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Health Update

Thank you to those who emailed me after my last blog entry to encourage me and tell me you were praying for me. Almost everyone who contacted me didn't realize I was sick for differing reasons. It's really hard to know what the balance is in sharing with people. As I said before, my name has been on the church prayer list since the end of July, and some others know, but I'm not sure they comprehend the severity. I shared it in a note on facebook back in Aug, and have alluded to it here and there, but I have failed I suppose...as far as facebook world goes...to let people know how things really are. The balance I struggle with is knowing how much to say how often. With a long term condition, it could get really old, really fast. I do not want to be one of those people who is constantly complaining about their ailments (You know who I'm talking about!). Yet, I do want to share with my friends and let them know what is going on.

Besides, in spite of having a long term condition and it keeping me from participating in life outside these walls too often the last 6 months, and in spite of the loneliness which creeps up on me on occasion like it did last week, I do have LIFE. Some days it doesn't feel like the life I want, but most days it has joy, laughter, and love. I found a quote the day after I posted that last blog entry that says, "The smile on my face doesn't mean my life is perfect. It means I appreciate what I have and what God has blessed me with." That's what I want to be about. Even when life is hard, I can focus on what God has blessed me with and the hope I have in Him! So, I can post silly statuses, funny things my children have said, pictures of the memories being made, and Scripture, and I will still be authentic. Because those things are real in my life. Very real. They bring joy in the midst of trials. I try very hard not to let the trial...however long...define me. So, how to find the balance is the issue for me. How to let people know that, yes, life is hard right now, but yes, life is also blessed in spite of that. How to let people know that we have needs without becoming a burden.

I know the 7 or so people who contacted me...and perhaps more...prayed for me. I know my children and husband were praying for me. I felt it, and Sunday morning, although my body was still so fatigued I could not sit up, my Spirit was lighter and at peace. Nothing had changed, except a handful of you were praying and you let me know that. The Lord hears our prayers, and sometimes we just need to know that people do care. Gradually through the day Sun. and since then, I have gained a little strength back....at least enough strength to be able to sit for longer periods of time, to be able to get my own lunch out, to put one load of clothes in the washer....not all at the same time. I can do a thing or 2, then sit another hour or 2. To not have to spend the entire day lying down. So, even though my spirit is better, nothing has changed. We still need prayers, we still need help, I still need my health restored.

I am planning to go to a Nutrional Wellness Clinic as soon as I can get an appointment. They are only open Wed.-Fri. Although, my condition is not specifically nutritionally related, the thought is that with good Whole Food supplements (because we can never get what our bodies need in our current food supply) and diet (You will hear me screaming when I have to give up pasta!) that the body can then be healthy enough to heal itself. I am not sure if this is what I need, but I know it can't hurt, and nothing else is working. I will just need prayers for discipline! My diet is not too awful in the sense that most of our food is homemade, we seldom eat out, I seldom drink soft drinks and never coffee or alcohol, etc., but it is also not perfect.

~Please continue to pray for me.
~Please continue to pray for James~ for his strength to keep up with all that is on his plate right now, for help for him in meals or other needs if God wants to provide that through others, for his ministry and writing..that it would not be neglected because he is caring for the home and my needs and that he wouldn't be distracted by the enemy, for God to show us how He wants to provide monetarily for this ministry (and, therefore, our family) and that others would give as He lays it on their hearts, and pray for his own health issues.
~Please pray for the provision to go to this clinic. As we prayed for God to provide the money if He wanted me to go there, someone graciously, anonymously, sent money this weekend that was almost the exact amount of the initial visit. Our hope is that any supplements they want to put me on will replace at least some of the many, many supplements I am already taking, which are a couple of hundred dollars a month. It will also require an unknown amount of follow up visits.

If you are not aware of what is going on and want to know, please feel free to ask...the short answer is Adrenal Fatigue, which sometimes borders on Adrenal Exhaustion (which leaves people completely bedridden). There are numerous symptoms that go along with it.

Thanks again, and love to you all.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I Am Sick

I am sick. I am really sick. I have been sick for 6 months. Actually, I have been sick since April 2005, but got mostly better during that time. This is my heart crying out post, because sometimes you just have to do that. I'm sure some will say I am feeling sorry for myself. Maybe. Nevertheless, my heart aches right now. Not as much that I have been almost completely housebound for 6 months; not that anytime I do step out of the house to do anything with my family I have to spend the next day or 2 on the couch or in bed; not that I have had a major relapse this past week and am possibly worse than when I started and am almost completely bedridden at this point; not that my body is not healing like it should have by this time. My heart aches because I am alone.

Maybe that's my fault because I have tried not to complain. I have tried not to whine on fb about how bad I feel. Or, maybe it's because even though many people know I am sick, they haven't cared or taken the time to show they care. My name has been on the church prayer list for 5 1/2 months. The day after it went on one lady emailed to ask me what was wrong. Haven't heard from her since. The new pastor called after a few weeks and ...left James a voice mail, I think. Three other people have sent cards...two of those in the last month. I have not been able to step foot in church since June. You'd think someone would notice or care. My husband is a deacon and has served on several committees (not that that is important...just that he has been very active), my older girls were in the choir, on the praise dance team, etc., my younger girls are very active in the children's programs. No, I haven't been very active in programs because of this underlying sickness. Still.....

No one from the church, from my life, from our family has once asked if we needed anything. My husband is, for all practical purposes, a single parent. He does almost all the cooking....right now he does all of it. I have been able to cook maybe 10 easy meals in the last 6 months. Our oldest daughter has cooked a few on some weekends she has been home. My 2 younger girls have their daily chores to help keep up with the house, but those are far from all that needs doing. He keeps the kitchen clean, vacuums, cleans anything that I ask him to because it is getting bad, takes the girls to church, piano, and anywhere they need to go....this afternoon it's a birthday party...yesterday it was shopping for a gift for the party. He does the grocery shopping, runs the errands, and, oh, yes...did I mention that he has his own job? No one has offered a meal, no one has asked how they could help, no one has offered to pick my children up and take them to an outing with their kids. No one, but those few, has even noticed.

Funny, the one person who consistently reaches out to me and asks how I am is a lady whom I have never met, who lives in PA, and who has a debilitating sickness of her own. She has 4 young children with special needs, too. I am so humbled and blessed every time I get a note from her telling me she is thinking about me and that she is praying for me. My needs are nothing compared to hers.

Maybe this is all to show me that I haven't been the help and encourager God wants me to be. Maybe it's to show me how I have failed at helping others around me, though I have tried anytime God has shown me a need. Believe me. I have searched my heart.
I know I failed at least one friend, but not realizing how hard life was when her husband had an injury. I love to encourage people, but maybe that has not been enough to show God's love to others. Even before 6 months ago, I had to be careful and rest a lot, so I continue to pray over what God wants it to look like in my life. I don't know what any of it for any of us should look like. I only know that this hurts and this is lonely.

This post, although it sounds like it, is not about pointing fingers. It's about the facts, it's about my heart longing for someone to love on us because they want to, it's about needing to express how lonely a long illness is. I suppose if I had cancer or had had a heart attack or something the world views as significant, I would have more people around at least for a while. I know there a few people praying, and that is great. In the meantime, I encourage us all to look for the people around us who are missing, who are hurting, who are sick..especially for long periods of time..and to reach out to those people. You may just be the help and the smile their heart needs that day.

I must end with saying I am blessed. I have a husband who is a hero. Not once has he complained (out loud anyway!! : ) ), and on top of the physical needs of running the home, he has also been there to encourage me..and I have needed it often. I have 2 young daughters at home who make me laugh every day and give me hugs. And, most of all God has continually encouraged me with his Word, He has given me hope, and He loves me.