Here we go again.

15 09 2014

bus.keep.eyes.Lord.PS

Watch out! It’s coming.

What’s your it? Another school year which means a more hectic schedule, behavior issues, and assignment pressures? A reoccurring trial that brings chaos, stress, and tears? An illness that interrupts life, drains energy, and causes uncertainty?

Would it make a difference if the trial announced itself, “Look out. Here I come!”?

Probably not. When you’re in the path of a tornado, no umbrella will keep you from being swept away. When you’re headed for a car accident, bracing yourself won’t stop it from happening. Can anything be done when life’s warning system bellows, “Watch out!”

Remember, ducking won’t help. So, “Heads up!” Shift your focus to God.

I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, right. That’s easy for you to say. You have no clue what I’m facing.”

I gotta admit, it’s not a typical reaction for me to turn my attention heavenward during a trial. That would require me taking my eyes off the problem. I usually assume full responsibility to solve or manage the situation. Shifting my focus to God would mean I’d have to relinquish MY control.

A fellow teacher helped me see just how simple it can be. When I taught in a public school, I discovered the third grade teacher was a Christian. Al’s eyes seemed to sparkle with the love of the Lord. He greeted everyone with a soft smile and a sweet, “Hello.”

We’d pass each other in the hall and whisper a quick prayer request.

“Pray for my after-school meeting.”

“Pray for one of my students who is failing math.”

“Pray for me to get my papers graded in time for me to get to my son’s game after school.”

One day Al and I stopped at the teachers’ mailboxes at the same time. Al didn’t look me in the eye. His head hung low and he mumbled a brief, “Hi.”

“What’s wrong, Al?”

“I’m having a bad day. Once I get my eyes back on the Lord I’ll be fine.”

His two-sentence response became a sermon. His message reverberates in my mind whenever things get tough.

Faced with the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), Al’s advice helped me cope.

“What out! Here it comes. MS is headed your way.”

His godly advice taught me to have a right-focus during difficult times. It framed my thinking. I didn’t waste time dwelling on the diagnoses and details. I simply dealt with the pain, fatigue, and regular injections. All the while keeping my eyes on the Lord.

It’s getting easier to get my eyes back on the Lord. It’s no longer my last-resort strategy.

Faced with parental challenges, another friend provided much-needed Truth.

“Watch out! Here it comes. Your son has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”

Decades ago, Chris, struggled with organizational and social skills (due to his ADHD). I shared my discouragement with a close friend at church. She told me a five-word sentence that restored my hope. During hard times, her father would reassure her by declaring, “God’s still on the throne.”

Since then, when things seem out of control or desperate I remind myself, “God’s still on the throne.”

The Creator of the universe, who spoke everything into existence, has my life under control. He’s working out His perfect plans.

What about unbearable pain or unspeakable loss?

“Watch out! Here it comes. Your son has drowned.”

That’s what Dave and Trish endured. Howie and I met them in college. The four of us shared a deep love of the Lord. So after graduation we kept in touch. The arrival of our first son came around the time of their first son, Ryan. When Ryan was two he drowned in their backyard pool.

What could make that more horrifying? Trish’s parents and Dave’s parents had both experienced the death of a toddler when they were young parents. So the grandparents were grieving the loss of their grandson while re-living their own nightmare.

In the hospital, minutes after Ryan died, Dave turned to his father for advice.

“Dad, you’ve been through this. What can you tell me?”

“You talk about your faith. Now you’re gonna live it,” was all he said.

So, if you’re hearing, “Watch out! Here it comes,” remember:

Keep your eyes on the Lord.

God’s still on the throne.

Live your faith.

Dave’s father’s advice helped him survive. Because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.

 

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Hidden Pain

4 09 2014

Invisible.Illness.pic

September 8-14, 2014 will be the 12th annual Invisible Illness Awareness Week.

On their website you can read about the history of the Invisible Illness Awareness Week. Here’s a little peek:

“Invisible Illness Awareness Week was started in 2002 when Lisa Copen, founder of RestMinistries.com, saw so many people who felt misunderstood by everyone. Familiar with the book “Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired,”* Lisa understood what the authors of the book called an “invisible chronic illness” or ICI.”

Watch their YouTube video to get the feel of the campaign to raise awareness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H18QKmYxaKA

The theme for this year is JUST ONE. For me the response to that theme is ‘Just one desire.’

I created an item as my gift to fellow individuals who have an invisible illness. Click on the link below to view photographs I took. Many have scripture I added. All pictures can be downloaded and saved.

http://secure.smilebox.com/ecom/openTheBox?sendevent=4e4445784e6a6b314d4442384d5467334e7a55774e44413d0d0a&sb=1

Below you find out how my item fits into the JUST ONE campaign.

 ♦♦♦♦♦♦

Just One Desire

It seems like a simple question to answer … until you’ve been diagnosed with an invisible illness.

You appear to be fine so others casually ask, “What do you do?”

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has chiseled away at my ability to work. But there’s one thing my disability can’t snatch from me: my desire—my desire to have a purpose. I’m guessing that’s true for most people. We want to fit in, contribute, and have a life with meaning. And we can.

When I was first diagnosed, I wanted to make Christmas gifts for family and friends. Limited stamina prevented me from continuing my decades-old tradition of baking cookies. So I switched to calendars made out of photographs I’d taken.

Invisible symptoms of pain and fatigue don’t interfere with photo shoots. I ride a scooter, shoot indoors, and even snap pics from a car. While taking pictures, I’m rarely aware of my pain.

Though my pain is constant, it’s minimal. When countless lesions on my brain made it increasingly more difficult to multitask or concentrate for long periods of time I wondered what would become of me.

Who am I if I can’t think?

God revealed His plan for my life with an invisible illness. He’s given me opportunities to teach part-time, write, and speak. My passion is to support others who have hidden pain. Like fellow moms raising children with mental illness (MI). Or victims of bullying and the bystanders who witness aggression.

Through my blog, I connect with mothers facing similar trials. Writing has also helped me equip bystanders of bullying. The central character in the picture book I wrote sees others differently. Beth has heart eyes.

Don’t you wish others could see you with heart eyes? God does. He knows your struggles and desires.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).’”