Posted in Christianity, Faith, Inspiration

Spiritually Speaking–No Title Necessary

I almost didn’t make it to church today. It was my plan to attend service and assist the Trustees, the ministry I serve on, with our first dinner sale of the year. I was up early enough to bake the last pan of chicken that I was making for the dinners. Then I decided to do some Yoga. Before I started the video on demand I decided to take an anti-anxiety medication recently prescribed by my doctor. I’d noticed the last couple of days my mind was all over the place preventing me from going to sleep. However, before I made it to the second Yoga position in the video, I could hardly hold myself while on my hands and knees. I didn’t get it. One minute I was fine, the next I felt like I was going to throw up or fall out. When I went back into my bedroom, I realized I’d made a terrible mistake. I’d taken a strong sleep-aid medication!

Barely able to sit up straight on my Yoga mat, there was no way I could drive to church or stay awake long enough watch the chicken in the oven. I called my daughter, explained everything and she, of course, agreed to step in and take the chicken to the church. I was disappointed but safety first. After setting the timer on the stove and my phone for extra coverage, I laid down on the couch, falling in and out of sleep until the both the timers sounded.

By the time my daughter arrived home, I was up and drinking a cup of coffee. She was more than relieved when I told her that I was good to go. She didn’t need to make the church run for me. Win-win.

I made it to church in time to assist my ministry team with setting everything up and participate in communion, our first Sunday of the month tradition. On the way to the sanctuary, a young man walked through the doors of the fellowship hall. He was grumbling, clearly upset. With earphones around his ears I figured he was talking on the phone but his conversation was disturbing.

“I can’t stand these church people. They’re so fake. They always have something to say.”  He was fighting back tears. The other trustee and myself couldn’t help but stop and try to determine if he was talking to us or someone else, or if he needed help. When the other trustee probed, the young man pretty much repeated himself. She told him to come on back in the church. As the three of us got closer to the door he said something like every time he tries to get closer to God that these people always talking stuff to him, being hypocrites.

Considering this church has been my church home since I was a teenager. I wanted to know who had said something to offend this young man, and what, but this was not a time for nosey inquiries.  Instead of asking questions, I found my voice to speak the truth that was swirling around in my head as he was complaining.

“Honey,” I said like he was my son. “Every time you move closer to God, trying to live the way God wants you to, this is exactly what satan does. He uses, most times those closest to you or those who you’d least expect, to push all of your buttons and run you in the opposite direction of God. When that happens, just ask God to help and bless the offending person and go on about your day.” The young man appeared to feel some relief. He thanked me, then opened the door for myself and the other trustee–like a perfect gentleman–and the three of us made our way into the sanctuary.

Over the years there have been plenty of situations when I’ve been in the company of people expressing challenging life situations. But unlike today I remained silent not feeling it was my place to say anything. However, as a Christian, speaking up, is exactly what we are called to do. Notice I didn’t say as a Minister, Evangelist, or Deacon. Titles have nothing to do with spreading the word of God.

Believe me, I understand the fear and apprehension of speaking up in those situations. You’re likely to think that you don’t know enough, that your understanding is not deep enough, you don’t know the book, chapter, or verse of scripture of any verse to reference what you want to say. That’s how I was and still am more often that I care to admit.

What’s changed, though, is my desire for God to use me in the way He desires to. In recent years, I’ve been praying for understanding of His word and asking Him to use me to be a blessing to others as He sees fit. That’s a good place to start.

I didn’t wake up this morning planning to encourage anyone in the Lord. In hindsight, though, I have to wonder if my mistakenly taking that sleeping-aid medication was a plan of satan to keep me home, thus preventing me from encountering that young man today. Well…not today devil.

Let the church say Amen!

Naturally Your,

L.A.

Posted in Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Religion

Spiritually Speaking–Not My Will

On the first Sunday at my church, we partake of communion, do baptism, and have a time for God-glorifying testimony. Today, I was supposed to be sharing my own testimony of how God delivered on His promise of meeting my need and desire for my new house. But things didn’t work out quite how I thought. We didn’t close last week, as scheduled. Nothing on my end, but the sellers. I was pretty distraught to say the least. Spent most of the week, trudging through the days that I was supposed to be excited about closing eating junk food.

“What’s up with this Lord?”, I asked my God. “I did everything You asked. I prayed.  I sought guidance. I walked in faith, even writing the date of September 1st as the date we’d be moving from our apartment on a vision board of sorts in my bedroom. Closing was set for August, 30th. How could it NOT happen?

Over those days that I held back tears while eating sugar and salty foods, I felt like a fool. Wishing I had never mentioned the move to anyone. Wishing I’d never gotten my hopes up.

Then I thought about the story of Job. The story of satan and God talking about that good, God-fearing man Job, who God knew to be faithful. That man who satan told God would break, turn against God if he could just have his way with him. God allowed satan to do everything to destroy Job except kill him. All to test Job’s faith.

I figure that’s what’s happening with me. This is a test of my faith. Am I going to doubt what God has for me because it didn’t happen when I wanted it to. Who am I to tell God when this deal is supposed to happen, when my family is going to move.

It’s not about my will, but His. My role is to trust that it will be at the appointed time and to walk in faith, which is of the thing hoped for and not seen. So guess what? We’re still packing and preparing for the move to come!

Til Next Time,

L.A.

Posted in Christianity, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Spiritually Speaking– Give Us ThIS Day

Very early in my relationship with the man I eventually married, he disclosed a medical condition that he was diagnosed with some five years earlier. Dermatomyositis, a rare inflammatory disease, in which symptoms include muscle pain, muscle tenderness, fatigue, and possible lung problems. After being treated for the symptoms he was experiencing at the time, he became symptom free and disproved the claim by the doctor that he’d be in a wheelchair within five years. Fast forward another five years, symptoms returned, likely ignited from the constant travel he was doing with his job. Fast forward another few years and now he’s been diagnosed with a life threatening lung disease for which there is known cure. The week of Christmas his lung doctor informed us that she doesn’t foresee him qualifying for the lung transplant that he needs to save his life in time before the disease ends his life. She advised us to call Hospice for Palliative Care.

Merry Christmas, right?

By God’s grace we still had a wonderful holiday. We hugged more, gazed into each other’s more. Reminisced on our time together. No matter what had transpired between us throughout the years, we always enjoyed holiday time with our families. Since it could be his last Christmas with us, my husband dazzled us in the kitchen: corned beef and cabbage, pot roast and carrots, crablegs. Everything was delicious!

“You could’ve been doing this all the time, SIR.” I said with a wide grin on my face but very serious.

My husband is standing toe to toe with his mortality. In turn, that means I am too. Over these last several months that we’ve been dealing with my husband’s health challenges, he has said too many times than I care to count, “I’m dying, Char.” “I might not be here tomorrow.” Specifically during this holiday season, “This might be my last (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve).

The stinging in my heart is always the same and so is my response. “Honey, tomorrow is not promised to any of us. We have to enjoy and be blessed in this day that we’ve been given.”

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24 KJV)

“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt 6:11 KJV)

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought of the things of itself.” (Matt 7:34 KJV)

God gives us our lives in daily increments. Not weeks, months, and years. In our human nature, giving little thought to the many possibilities of death that we face in the world every day, we make plans for the future. Our short term and long term goals. Where we our next home to be or our next car. Where we’re going to vacation to next summer. In just this first few days of 2016, some people already have the entire year planned out.

It’s nothing wrong with being hopeful for the future, but God’s message to us is clear. We only have today, right now. Not five minutes, not an hour, not five hours from now. Right now. Anything else that follows is God’s grace.

So although my husband is dealing with this life threatening disease, I encourage him (and myself and friends and family) to live each day as though it were our last. Because it could be. I thank God each day that I wake up. I thank Him the same for my loved ones and friends and I encourage you all to do the same.

On this first Sunday of 2016, I say “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

Naturally Yours,

L.A.