Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'm Believing God!

Some years ago, Eric had a herniated disk in his back, which required surgery. It seems that back surgery is never 100% successful. I would say Eric's surgery was moderately successful because it lessened his pain considerably at the time and, most of the time, he feels pretty good. But every once in a while something happens which causes him to be in horrible pain. The frustrating thing is that the "something" usually isn't something big like moving furniture or lifting boxes. More often than not it happens when he steps out of a car. He says he "twists" wrong and something just "goes". That happened this past week. He hurt for a day or two but was able to function, then suddenly the pain was so severe that he came home from work and laid alternately on ice packs and the heating pad. After a couple of days it lessened somewhat again and I could see he was gradually feeling better. But suddenly yesterday it went crazy again - he has no idea why - and he is in severe pain.

Meanwhile, I am in a fabulous bible study about believing God. This is a fascinating thing for me because I absolutely believe IN God. I absolutely believe he can do ANYTHING. However, for some reason I often believe He is not going to act on my behalf. I have learned this past week that I believe He is unwilling to answer my prayers. And I hope if you are reading this you will understand this is not a whining thing. It is not "poor poor pitiful me...God won't do what I want." It is just a factual concept in my mind. Or my heart.

At the same time, our church is in the midst of 2 weeks of fasting and prayer. As part of that one of the pastors is available (I believe daily) to pray for healing for anyone who needs it. I have to admit, that is one of, if not THE largest area of unbelief for me. When I hear of someone being "healed" I never really believe they are. I always expect the problem to return. I guess I think they are experiencing a placebo effect or something. But I am desperate on Eric's behalf and so, yesterday I very sheepishly proposed to Eric that perhaps we should go to the pastor and ask him to pray with us that Eric's back be healed. I am quite certain that Eric believes in healing about as much as I do. He didn't say no, because he will never say no to me about anything, but I am sure he is hoping I will forget about it. So here is where I am at, what I have been getting from my Bible Study:

Matthew 9:29 "According to your faith let it be done to you." How can I possibly ask for healing? I do not believe that God heals these days, and I have found that I believe He is unwilling to answer my prayers!

Mark 9:24b "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" I am crying this out to God. I believe you CAN, I want to believe you WILL. Help me to believe!

Hebrews 11:6 "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He is and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." I go before God because I do believe that He "is" (exists), and He promises me here that if I am earnestly seeking Him (for me that currently means seeking to BELIEVE him) he will reward me.

Isaiah 40:27-31 "Why do you say...'my cause is disregarded by my God'?...The Lord is the everlasting God...He will not grow tired or weary...He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak....Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." This BLEW ME AWAY this morning! Especially the very beginning: "Why do you say...'my cause is disregarded by my God'?" This is EXACTLY where I am at!!! I fully, honestly believe that God spoke to me by means of this verse today. He asked ME why I say "my cause is disregarded by my God". My "cause" is Eric's back. I prayed before I began my study this morning. I told God I want Eric's back healed and that I want it healed not just temporarily but permanently. And I told Him (again) that I need His help to believe that He can do this. And then here comes this verse! Which brings me to the "Statement of Faith" that Beth Moore has had me learn:

1. God is who He says He is.
2. God can do what He says He can do.
3. I am who God says I am.
4. I can do all things through Christ.
5. God's word is alive and active in me.

Wow, is this hitting me today! I am beginning to believe God will heal Eric. If he wasn't at work right now I think I'd be dragging him to the church this minute for prayer!

Please pray with me that God will heal Eric. Maybe before you get to that you need to pray that God will help me (and Eric) to believe.

In Christ's Love,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I wish I'd had a video camera when my kids were little, because my memory is SOOOO poor. However, I have long been adamantly opposed to them. I remember many years ago disembarking from a cruise ship at some beautiful locale, and in front of me was a man with a video cam plastered to his eye. That image completely sums up why I've been opposed to the things. I felt like he was not going to experience his vacation, but he was going to record it. When you look at photos (or movies) of God's glorious creation it is not the same as looking at it with your own eyes. However, now that my kids are getting a bit older I wonder how many precious memories I've already lost. I wish I could see their cherubic little faces smiling at me and doing silly things.

A few days ago I took my kids to McDonald's for lunch. I think it was probably the last time of taking them to a playland, because they were no longer interested in playing at it. Later Ethan, ever the non-compassionate one, was remarking somewhat critically about a very little boy there who "never even did anything. He would just walk to the steps and then walk back to his Mom." As I began to explain to Ethan that the boy was too little to be able to get up by himself, I remembered all the playland visits where Ethan was unable to climb the steps. Fortunately for him, he did not have to just walk back to his Mom. Ethan had a loving, ACTIVE big sister who would go behind him and boost him up each step. I can see the picture in my mind, but I must admit I wish I could watch it on a video! Anna would often run ahead once she got him up all of the steps. If it was a very large playland Ethan would sometimes get scared part way through, stand still and cry. I would find Anna and yell at her to go rescue her brother, which she always did. (Anna has always been the very active, very brave child. She always found a way to climb those steps, and she got scared only once. I remember because I was pregnant at the time and was NOT happy about having to climb in after her.)

The kids went through a phase a few months ago where they were a prince and princess and would dance together in our kitchen. It was unbelievably cute - they were positioned pretty much like ballroom dancers and they would go around in circles a couple of times. It never lasted long because Anna always wanted to twirl and that would end it for Ethan. But when it was over he would bow and she would curtsy. So, so, so very cute.

There is no point here. I am just indulging in a bit of nostalgia...

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm not Martha

Some reader might wonder WHICH Martha I'm talking about. I am NEITHER. I am not Martha Stewart and I am not a "Martha-type" as in the Biblical sisters Mary and Martha. If you know me, you can stop laughing now. I KNOW that no one would EVER call me a Martha. But really, I am not the point. Here's my point, and it's short!

I have never understood that story about Mary and Martha. I never understood what Martha was doing wrong. She was cooking and serving and doing all the things that everyone seems to think women are always supposed to be doing - so what was wrong? Seriously! Finally I found an answer that makes sense to me: "Martha in her desire to minister to Me forfeited My nearness."

I am not sure I am a Mary either, although I am certainly closer to that than to Martha. Now perhaps I can quit feeling guilty about not being Martha. I am going to aim to be a Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, taking in all that He wants to tell me. Toward that end, I just last night started my first ever Beth Moore Bible study. I think it fits perfectly with my desire to be Mary. It is titled "Believing God" and the promo line in our church bulletin said "You believe IN God, but do you BELIEVE God?" I attended my first class last night and it was wonderful.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Answered Prayers

Happy New Year Everyone! A bit late, but we went on a quick, hastily planned road trip and returned late last night. I think it was Saturday night when Eric said he wanted to go to NYC for his birthday. Actually he wanted it to be his birthday GIFT, not be there on his birthday, because he is currently on a company-wide, enforced "vacation". He decided he wanted to take advantage of the time off and do something fun together as a family, and his "something fun" was to take the train to NYC. Sad to report, that is NOT where we went. It was too expensive, probably due to being over New Year's Eve. Instead we drove to Charleston, South Carolina. We had a good trip, but I won't bore you with the details.

I want to highlight two HUGE prayer requests and one not-so-huge one that God has answered for our family this past year. If you know me, you already know about two of these, but one is brand new. Let me set the stage a bit:

In the spring of 2007 we began praying for Sarah, a little girl from Anna's school who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She had a L-O-N-G, difficult fight with some unbelievably difficult (life threatening) side effects. We were a teeny-tiny part of an ARMY of people that were praying for Sarah. It was awesome to be a part of it. On May 11, 2008 Sarah was officially declared IN REMISSION. I had prepared my kids for the possibility that Sarah might die, so it was awesome for them to witness God answering their prayer in such a huge way. They prayed before every meal and at other special times that God would heal Sarah. Once she was declared in remission I must say we floundered a bit. Now what would we pray for?

About that time we were also floundering in our quest for a church home, so I suggested to the kids that they pray that God would help us to find a new church. Our search had not been going well... But it wasn't long after we began praying for a church that we visited Manassas Assembly of God - a church I had long resisted visiting. When we picked the kids up from their "Sunday School" classes (we actually go on Saturday night) Anna declared "Mom, we don't have to pray for a church anymore!" She loved it, and that was a wonderful answer to prayer because she had grown very tired of looking at churches. Two down...

Shortly after that I began receiving a series of phone calls from people with SERIOUS prayer requests. I shared just one of those requests with my kids, partly so that they would again have something tangible to pray about and partly because, for various reasons, the other requests are not things I felt should be shared with my children. And so they began praying. I will leave the name blank, but here is a part of what my kids have been praying at every meal for the past two months: "Please help ___________ not to get divorced." So simple. The problem was complex, but the kids boiled it down to that - help __________ not to get divorced. So guess what? Last night when we returned from South Carolina I began listening to the messages:

1. Hola. Blah blah blah blah Jose.... in Spanish. DELETE. We get these all the time - lots of Spanish speaking people who don't pay their bills use our telephone number on their credit apps or something. We get these calls ALL THE TIME!

2. You seem to have missed our appointment for... Yup. OOPS! Sorry...

3. Good Morning..... Happy New Year.............(Need to return that call and explain why we weren't here to answer the call.)

4. "Hi. This is _____________. I just wanted to let you know that I have moved home."

Oh my goodness! Do you realize who that is Anna? YES! Anna did a happy dance! God answered another prayer!!! ____________ is not getting divorced - she is back with her husband!!!!!!! Woo Hoo! I am in tears. God is SO GOOD! You know, it is BEYOND GOOD that He is healing my friends marriage - I am unbelievably, ecstatically happy about that. And I'm afraid to say this, but I am even happier about the fact that He is answering my kids prayers! They are learning, at such young ages, that their God is REAL and He CARES about everything they bring to Him! And He is BIG ENOUGH TO DO IT! Thank you, God.

What about you? Do you have things that need fixing? We all do. Bring those things to God. You don't need fancy words - my kids proved that. Just ask Him and trust that He loves you and He is BIG and He wants to help, if only you will ask.

May God bless you with answered prayers in 2009.

In Christ's Love,