"Don't let your well-being depend on your circumstances. Instead, connect your joy to God's precious promises." This passage was found in my Jesus Calling devotion book this morning. It is a theme that has been going through my head for a couple of weeks now. My daughter-in-law covered the subject well a couple weeks ago in her blog called, “A Pilgrimage to a Promise”. pilgrimagetoapromise.blogspot.com/ I encourage you to read it. Since the subject is still rolling around in my head, I will proceed to share some of my thoughts as well.
Happiness is a result of our circumstances; however joy is a choice we make in spite of our circumstances. When adverse circumstances hit us in the face every day, it's difficult to keep it from affecting our well-being. My body fights back at every attempt at productivity whether it is laundry, cooking, washing my hair, or anything else that uses my hands. However, it's exactly in those circumstances that God calls us to choose joy… to connect our joy to His promises. James 1:2-4 states, "consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything." The Message version says, “Consider it a sheer gift when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed not deficient in any way." It's God's promise that if we persevere through adverse circumstances we become mature and well developed. And this is not without His help. He also promises to never leave us nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) He promises to meet all our needs according to his glorious riches. (Philippians 4:19) He promises that nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from his love. (Romans 8:38-39) And with God's promises comes contentment and ultimately peace. This is pure joy… so much deeper and more fulfilling than mere happiness. The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
So what did I do? How did I survive? I did a lot of reading. I read my Bible and a new John Grisham book. I spent some time on the gazebo and reflected on my dependence on all this technology. Was it such a good thing? Or did I just need to be more balanced with my use of it? Being somewhat of an introvert, I like the feeling of connectedness while enjoying the solitude of my home in the country. I also like how through the Internet we can stay connected with family members who live miles away. I like the convenience of an Internet Bible program. Its different Bible versions and dictionaries are available with a simple click of the mouse. I like accessing new recipes from the Internet. I love how Skype offers a special connectedness that the telephone could never achieve. I love being able to research topics of interest or trivia with a mouse click. I love learning from other people's blogs. I love accessing maps that take me around the world. I love the entertainment that the Internet offers such as watching old Lucy shows on YouTube. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that the Internet is a blessing in many ways. But because of the vast amount of information available through the Internet, the use of it also requires that we set boundaries. As I stated in a previous blog post, it’s important that we set positive things in front of our eyes. This is especially true when using the Internet. If we are not careful, unguarded surfing can lead us to some pretty unsavory sites. Then there's the time factor. I can spend hours on the Internet or using Internet ready devices without realizing how much time has passed. It's all about balance. And isn't that true about life itself?
So even though my week without Internet was painful in many ways, it afforded me time to reflect on my use of it. I think I came away with some useful boundaries that I intend to put in place. Happy balanced surfing everyone!
Monday, September 17, 2012
I was preparing a pizza for my lunch today. It was looking good! It had green and red peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and sauce. I couldn't wait to get it into the oven! Unfortunately, as I was placing it carefully into the oven, my arm grazed the edge of the oven causing me to flinch. Well, you can guess what happened! The entire pizza turned upside down and fell to the bottom of the 400° preheated oven. Wow! I was so looking forward to that pizza! So many emotions raised up in me in the split second after dropping the pizza. Disappointment, anger, frustration. But remembering the number of times we laughed when I dropped my entire flour canister on the floor years ago, I reached for the camera. I might as well create a laugh for the future. (I wasn't laughing yet.) After taking my picture, I decided to try to clean up. I reached in the sink for a bowl to help collect the mess and promptly dropped it in the sink breaking it. More frustration! At that point I dropped to the floor for a good cry. So where's the lesson in all of this? Accidents happen to all of us. I think the lesson is in how we react. Anger might be the first reaction. But as much as I wanted to give into anger, I knew it would accomplish nothing positive. Instead, I chose to write about it. As I look at my oven cooling down, I am no longer angry. I'm not looking forward to cleaning up, mind you. But I'm not angry. And I am looking forward to sharing the story when I'm ready to laugh about it! Now what's for lunch?
Monday, September 10, 2012
Sunday, September 9, 2012
This seemed a fitting place to start a blog chronicling my journey. I invite you to join me as I learn and grow throughout this experience. I invite your encouragement and “constructive” criticism. (Be nice!)
Since this is my first post, I will give you a quick background. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in May 2009. I was told it is an incurable disease for which there is no known cause. I was told the only solution is to take anti-Parkinson's drugs to treat the symptoms and to expect the disease to progress to the point where I can no longer function independently. I don't know anyone who wouldn’t be depressed by that prognosis. After spending roughly 2 years following the regimen of drugs prescribed by my neurologist, I began to wonder if there was some alternative path to the treatment of this disease. I began researching the Internet and stumbled upon the blog written by Howard Shifke called, fightingParkinsonsdrugfree.com. Howard had Parkinson's disease, but after following his own" recipe" for recovery, he recovered from Parkinson's disease two years ago. Since then, two others have recovered as well. When I read his story, I decided this was my best chance for recovery. His "recipe" called for methods I had never heard of or used before, but I felt it was the path for me. I have been following Howard's "recipe" since November 2011. I am fighting Parkinson's drug free!
My faith is tested regularly on this journey. As I feel my body deteriorate, questions of doubt come to mind. "Will I be living "half dead" after this disease progresses? “ "How long before I can no longer care for myself?" But instead of letting fear drive me, I rely on my faith. I am learning that the testing of my faith produces perseverance. The Bible tells us in James 1:2-4, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Reading this passage reminds me that this journey is not without purpose. I'm learning a lot about myself. I'm learning to trust God more. Through His faithfulness, God has surrounded me with a wonderful support team of people to keep me looking up!
Today's devotion ends by saying, "Trust Me, by relying on My empowering presence". Jeremiah 31:25 states, “For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” Trusting in God is like receiving an infusion of strength. I depend on His strength to get through each day. Thanks for taking this journey with me.