Posted in Ann Voskamp, anxious, authors, body, comfort, compassion, cross, cry, Emotional, fear, God, health, heart, Holy Spirit, insecurity, Jesus, love, mind, pain, passion, people, Physical, Prayer, restore, sad, scripture, secure, spirit, Spiritual, trust, woman, worry

Inside My Aching Heart

An ear infection lead me to the urgent care before we left for vacation. My blood pressure was alarmingly high. The urgent care sent a report to my primary care, and she messaged me while on our 2-week vacation to take my blood pressure the next few days, and send her the readings. Still high and some chest discomfort soon after our multi-state road trip, I was in the doctor’s office when I got back to reality. Referred to a cardiologist and more testing, we discovered I have an arrthymtic heart condition. I have premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) that cause echo beats. This Friday I meet with my doctor to discuss what I need to do to take care of my physical heart besides take a beta blocker and lose weight. Questions flood my brain … How did I acquire this condition? When will I feel myself again? Can I return to speed walking as that helps in my weight loss efforts? How long has this arrhythmia been going on? I know I have not felt myself in a long while. I am tired much of the time. Not sleeping well most nights. I have become anxious with my relationships and social settings. I thought that was because of the COVID social distancing for too many days. This learnt introvert does not trust people easily. Trauma does powerful things to one’s mind, body, and soul. I cannot take anxiety meds, as they upset my digestive system so bad, and that causes more anxiety as I worry if I will find a bathroom in time when I go out. I am an insecure woman right now who doesn’t feel or even know if I am loved by those I have been close to over the years. I feel out of rhythm and vulnerable. The ironic thing is my physical heart is going through the same, out of sync and aching. Which came first, my aching physical heart, my stifled emotional heart, or my parched spiritual heart?

I suppose it doesn’t matter which was first. God wants to restore all three. Where do I start? My foundations, the Word of God and prayer. I recall Holy Scriptures that says I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”. In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” King David’s prayer wells inside me into a song … “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit in me. Cast me not away from thy presence, take not thy Holy Spirit from me, and restore onto me the joy of thy salvation, and renew a right spirit in me.” Psalm 51: 10 -12. I cannot hide from this truth nor the truth inside myself. The truth is I feel unsteady, insecure and timid right now in life. I do not know how long I will feel this way. With God’s help I will come out of this. I need to get my spiritual heart right first.

Author Ann Voskamp so eloquently writes . . .These days feel like a flood of heartache . . . And there’s not one moment God doesn’t feel that with us. “His heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:6). God has a heart . . . and it hurts. It hurts with what hurts us. His heart hurts not just with a few drops of ache, not just with a slow drip of sadness—the whole expanse of His heart fills, swells, weighs dark with this storm of pain. God, who hung the stars—He has taken a thread of His heart and tied it to yours. And He didn’t need to, but God tied His heart to yours — so when you feel pain, He fills with pain. Time only continues on in this impossibly suffering world because God Himself is willing to keep suffering the impossible with us. We read the headlines and wonder, lay in our own beds way too late at night & soundlessly cry: If there’s a God who really cares, He’d look at this world and His heart would break. And God looks to the Cross, and says, “My heart did. ”On that Cross, they speared His side and pierced straight into His heart, filled with pain, and it was the water and blood of His broken heart that gushed right out, a flood of love. Grace—it, too, has floods of its own. . . . The way heaven comes down so we can rise. In a world of grief beyond magnitude, what will change us and the world, is the attitude of Beatitudes. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” In a world that doesn’t feel fair — His cruciform love and outstretched arms embrace us — so what we feel is Him. No one knows more than Jesus that this world isn’t fair — and no one loves us to death like Jesus, until everything is fair for forever. In a world of loss — the deeply suffering are deeply touched by the suffering of Christ. We do not weep alone. No matter what happens in this busted-up world in the days ahead, in your own beautiful world: Pray. He listens & He holds. “When you call on Me, when you come & pray to Me, I’ll listen…I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady” Jeremiah 29:12, Isaiah 41:10MSG #TheBrokenWay#WeepingTogether

The physical and emotional heart healings will come . . .

Posted in battle, compassion, crown, darkness, death, die, Family, flower, friend, gift, glory, God, holy, husband, Jesus, love, night, pain, passion, scripture, triumph, victory, write

Passion and Compassion

What passion do you have in your life? A passion to write, a passion to travel, a passion to love, or a passion to start or return to a different career, hobby, or relationship? “The word passion comes from Latin root pati-, meaning suffering, or enduring. Thus, compassion means to suffer-with: the compassionate aren’t immune to other people’s pain. And passion is, at its core, a form of pain that demands it be quenched. It’s not for the faint of heart or those who lack patience — which is not the ability to wait, but the ability to suffer,” quoting Vivek Haldar.

My passion to write is so strong that I awake in the middle of the night or the wee hours of a morning with the burning desire to get my thoughts out on paper, either handwriting or typing. This morning is one of those wee hour awakenings. Dean and I’s vacation revealed Jesus in the midst of visits with family and friends and the scenery. Photos along the way captured the crown of thorns, the wooden cross, the blood of Jesus, and the glory of our Risen Lord. Our early springtime travels were in Arkansas and Texas followed by visiting family in Lee’s Summit, MO. On Good Friday we made our drive to Lexington, MO for our 2nd COVID vaccine. Feeling lethargic and achy since Friday I finally succumbed to sleep, awoke to write and back to sleep for a few more hours.

I have a burning desire to share with you the passion, of our Lord Jesus. Because of what Jesus suffered on the Cross, we can have co-passion or compassion. He made the ultimate sacrifice for you and I. He loved us so much, that he suffered death on the Cross. God’s love is experienced through Jesus Christ. “How great is the love the Father lavished on us that we should be called children of God … This is how God showed his love among us. He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” ~ 1 John 3:1 and 4: 9 & 10. It is Jesus, and Jesus alone why I can say “God loves me” and “God loves you”. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid His life for us,” the Holy Scriptures tell us. Jesus won the battle, even death on the cross could not hold Him back. Jesus is alive today! Accept Jesus’ love into your hearts today! Thank You, Jesus for this gift of love shared with each and every one of us this Easter Day!

Posted in art, battle, believe, blessings, challenges, community, crown, death, die, differences, faith, Family, friend, friends, God, health, heart, hope, Jesus, job, life, mother, neighbor, pain, scripture, together, trust, veteran

Broken Pieces

In 1944 and 1945 during the World War II, U.S. Army Chaplain Frederick A. McDonald walked where the places of worship once stood. Shards of stained glass scattered the streets. He sent selected pieces to his home in Seattle while the war was coming to an end. He did know the intent other than to preserve what he witnessed while serving as a chaplain. Years later he and a colleague commissioned artist to use the shards of glass for what would become masterpieces of art. The exhibit is owned by the Interfaith Center at the Presidio in San Francisco. “The exhibition is a metaphor for what division breeds — and for what happens when people set aside differences and try to build something out of the broken pieces,” quoting Indra Neelameggham, Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable.

Life has no guarantees, no refunds. Conflict, poor health, toxic relationships, lost jobs. Or worse yet; war, a painful death, domestic abuse, and becoming homeless. These real struggles plague our lives either for ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our communities. Like the sharpness of broken glass pieces, sometimes life feels like your heart is cut out while the pumping blood spews.

For a few weeks the church next door shared this message on their marquee sign, “Broken things become blessed things if you let God do the mending.” Do you believe that message? If not, it is a walk of faith for those broken things to become blessed things. Faith in our God, not in our own abilities or those of others. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” ~ Proverbs 3:5.

Posted in body, capture, change, courage, day, differences, faith, God, grace, heart, hope, husband, life, light, meditation, night, old, pain, Prayer, rest, scripture, silence, solitude, spirit, strength, understand, vision, walk

Clearer Vision

During this week off from the everyday grind, I am present moment many moments of my day, and days plural.  My senses are wide-open.  I hear my husband’s heart beat in the silence.  My vision becomes clearer by the hour in the solitude.  What a difference capturing a subdued vacation dedicated to the rejuvenation of the mind, body, soul, and spirit.  Old thoughts are changed to clearer vision and direction. Faith in my God and myself restored.  Life is punctuated with grace, hope, and love.  Courage and strength for the walk ahead.  I see the path.  One of prayer.  Pray the Word of God.  Meditate and then pray Psalms 119.  Today’s verses 11, 18, & 148 …“I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You … Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law … My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises.”

Posted in angels, answer, body, challenges, daughter, faith, Family, friend, God, health, hope, live, pain, Physical, Prayer, sorrow, strength

Like Gold

I have been making “liquid gold” for many years.  Nowadays they call it “bone broth”.  According to online resources “bone broth” was used in ancient Chinese medicine to improve connective tissues, kidney function, and immunity.  I simply roast a whole chicken, turkey breast, or a bone-in beef or pork roast in the slow-cooker on low heat for 10 – 12 hours. Adding a fermented liquid such as wine, beer, kombucha, or vinegar in water helps bring out the bone marrow and collagen from the bones into the simmering liquid in the slow-cooker.  Liquid gold. Good for my physical health. That liquid gold is the base for delicious soups and sauces.

My oldest daughter, Rachel received another type of liquid gold this week.  After many years of prayers, tears, and seeking answers from the conventional medical field.  Her name came up finally after a couple of years on the wait list for a California clinic that uses alternative medical treatments for her disabling conditions.  Rachel is challenged with degenerative disc disease and adhesive arachnoiditis.  She lives in pain constantly.  This past year, Rachel has had physicians tell her “there is nothing I can do for you”.  Faith and hope has been her strength .  Those moments when she lost hope she had friends and family still believing.  Faith has sustained her.  Our God sustains Rachel.  An out-of-state trip orchestrated by God Himself unfolded before our eyes, giving hearts melted, funds gathered, plane tickets ordered, and an appointed physician who prays for each of her patients. Today the neighborhood church bells ring at this noon hour, an angelic sound reminds me of our God’s faithfulness.  Angels continue to watch over my Rachel.

 

Posted in blessings, challenges, cry, die, differences, friend, God, hurt, joy, laugh, live, pain, strength, worry

The Strength In “Today”

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength,” Corrie Ten Boom is quoted.  What keeps you from enjoying this present moment? Is it worry about meeting bills or a sick loved one?  Too many projects to accomplish in the day, maybe well into those night hours?  If you read carefully the quoted words above, strength is found in “today”.  “Today” is a mighty word.  Literally means “on the day”, “at this day”, “from-day”, “in day” in several languages.  Present day, present moment.

Maybe today is not so good.  In physical pain.  Hurting on the inside.  A relationship needs to be patched of its differences.  Saying “goodbye” to a beloved friend or family pet.  Present moment seems to be a challenge.

These are lyrics by Randy Sparks and made known by John Denver’s voice:

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine

A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today

I can’t be contented with yesterday’s glory
I can’t live on promises winter to spring
Today is my moment, now is my story
I’ll laugh and I’ll cry and I’ll sing

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today

 Embrace the full of joy of TODAY despite all the rest…God’s blessings are yours always.
Posted in authors, book, comfort, Emotional, faith, Financial, forgiveness, God, happy, husband, Mental, pain, patient, Physical, sad, Spiritual, strength, thankful, weep, woman, words, write

Women, Stories, Faith, and Heart Matters

“Women’s stories matter.  They tell us who we are, they give us places to explore our problems, to try on identities and imagine happy endings.  They entertain us, they divert us, they comfort us when we’re lonely or alone.  Women’s stories matter.  And women matter, too.” ~ Jennifer Weiner

I read many literary pieces authored by famous and not so famous women.  Women have many untold stories, happy, and sad ones, too.  There is a time to share those stories, and other times to be quiet.  A time to work through heart matters in solitude.  Inspirational writer Ann Voskamp asks in her book Be The Gift, “Are the most painful tears the kind no one can see, the kind where your soul weeps alone?”  This is where God meets us, holds us, hugs us, comforts, allowing the tears to flow until no more.  Empty oneself of all.  In the midst of physical pain, mental anguish, sudden illness, chronic health conditions, death, wrongful accusations, troubled relationships, mean co-workers, political wars, poverty, domestic violence, or complete exhaustion, faith has to play a part to get through it.

But also, “faith has to be exercised in the midst of ordinary, down-to-earth living,” writes Elisabeth Elliot.  “Faith without works is dead,” the Holy Scriptures tell us.  “Faith is built out of small acts along the path of life,” Maria Shiver shares in her new book, I’ve Been Thinking … Today, what small act strengthened your faith, your belief in God and His creation?  And that creation is you, too.  Was it surrendering your curse words to thankfulness?  Was it a smile shared with that co-worker who loathes your presence?  Was faith exercised in giving your lunch money to the homeless lady sitting on the bench?  How about when you wrote an encouragement letter to that relative estranged from the family?  The tenth time to patiently point out a grammatical error to the simple-minded teen?  Scrubbing the stains off the wall made by careless guests?  Forgiving the thoughtless comment from your husband?  When you forget another appointment, but reschedule and mark it on your calendar this time?  The lists goes on how we exercise faith in others, God, and ourselves.

We women have stories, and faith to make the stories go on about real heart matters. Heart Key Hole

 

 

Posted in battle, depression, faith, Family, God, light, love, man, pain, peace, people, Physical, purpose, quote, Rachel, sacred, Spiritual, thankful, Warrior, woman

I Know This Man … I Know This Woman

I was a guest panelist for the St. Louis American Heart Association’s Workplace Wellness Solutions Forum this week.  What a wonderful experience to share the budget strategies I have incorporated in the wellness program at my workplace with other human resources and wellness professionals.  Our keynote speaker, Aaron Hunnel brought his message of perspective, positivity, passion, and purpose.  This humble young man has accomplished much in his young years. An American veteran who served two tours overseas, overcame addiction, has literally climbed several huge mountains, ran an Ironman Marathon with a disabled young woman as his partner, author of the book Upwards, and a successful business owner.  His keynote message “There Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” moved many to tears.  I sobbed.  His authentic message reached home in my heart.

You see I know this woman who has a beautiful soul. She seeks the good in everyone she meets. She loves unceasingly, full of “thank yous”, and affectionate hugs. “See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see,” Kirk Weisler is quoted, and this is what this woman lives.  And the courage she possesses is like no other I know.  This woman has not one but multiple disabling medical conditions. This woman is Rachel, my oldest daughter.  I am so proud of the character she has and is.  An “all abilities” woman.  The battles she has fought and continues to fight are extreme pain with advanced degenerative disc disease and arachnoiditis.  Depression, self-pity, “why me”s, “why now”, purposelessness, faithlessness, hopelessness Rachel has fought against too.  And this woman warrior has won!  Her faith in God has saved her time and time again, and will continue to sustain her.  Rachel gives love to family, friends, and strangers because she knows she was created for such as this.  Love is sacred, love shared, no holding back.