Reminder Day

Like a lot of us, I’ve been in a cycle of worry, of feeling sad, and even being short-tempered with my husband, when he doesn’t deserve it. I HATE that!

I fret about my parents and their health.

There have been other family health issues as well. My mother-in-law just went through Hurricane Ida. Oh, yeah, we’re still dealing with Covid and decisions to get the shot or not get the shot, to mask or not mask, to stay open and go into lockdown again.  I am in this cycle of unease about so many things, yet part of me doesn’t want to face any of it.  

Where’s my faith?

I’m pre-worrying about a lot of things (emphasis on “pre”). Things that may or may not happen. I guess I’m trying to be prepared, but again, it’s “pre-worrying.” I don’t know if anything will change, if we’ll have to make tough decisions, or will things continue status quo? It makes me want to cower in a corner.

I didn’t know what to pray for anymore…how to pray. I hit a wall.

With all that said, today was what I’m calling “reminder” day. I’m reading the book “Standing Strong” by Alli Worthington. She inspired me previously with the chapter on self-doubt. Today, I’m in the middle of a chapter on praying  called Ask for it. On page 148, she quotes a text from her friend, who says “Ask for manna. For strength to live off manna. Because after manna comes abundance.”

Manna. Daily manna. The Lord provides just what we need when we need it. So, all of this “pre-worrying” is a waste of time. I know that. However, I certainly needed this kick in the pants reminder! Daily manna.

God heard my unspoken prayer with a reminder that he provides and he’s still with us — always, all days.

Fear can have you cowering in the corner instead of plunging ahead, facing your fears, and getting through them to grow stronger. Life’s worries can be easy to ignore, to back away from, and hide your head in the sand when everything is overwhelming.

Hide my head in the sand. Really? When God’s strength flows through us?

I have to believe that his strength will flow through me, and believe that the manna he provides is enough. And he provides manna every day. No stockpiles for a rainy day. He provides just what we need at the time we need it.

I’ve written about daily manna before. But apparently, God knew I needed the reminder. He answered my prayer when I didn’t know how to pray.

Are all my problems solved? No. Am I still concerned for my parents and everything else going on in the world? Yes. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed. But my perspective has. God answered my prayers with the reminder that he is with us every day, and he provides. I need only to look to him.

Trust — all days, always.

Thank you, Lord for reminder days.

What about you? How does knowing that God provides help you with your worries?

Let’s encourage one another!

The Cancer Journeys: The Gift of Peace

It’s been a while since I’ve written a cancer blog. Admittedly, they are difficult to write. And now, someone close to me is nearing the end of his life due to cancer. It’s hard.

In watching this person face the end of his life, and to watch those close to this dear man, I’m amazed at how calm and peaceful they are when confronting this awful situation. The faith they are exhibiting is extraordinary, even through the fear and sadness.

When any of us receive a scary diagnosis, our reactions can vary. I’ve observed, and experienced, the different ways we can respond. Responses range from fear, to denial, to anger, to hope and the courage to fight, to acceptance. These are similar stages in the grief process. That’s probably not a coincidence. There is grief with a cancer diagnosis, because you are changed from that day on.

In thinking through this, there’s a quote that resonates with me these days:

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. — Brian Tracy

I want to take a lesson from this person close to me and with how he is living up to that quote. I want to face life with dignity, grace, and no wasted time. That kind of strength only comes from God.

Cancer has taught me many things. Sometimes I want to ignore that I even had cancer. There are times I want to use cancer survival as motivation to spur me on and to remind me that I am stronger than I think I am. But it’s not cancer itself that affects me. It’s my faith and how I deal with cancer that can make a difference.

How we handle life’s difficulties can inspire others or disappoint or scare us and others. I can only hope I inspire like my dear family member is inspiring me…with peace and calmness, and serenity. That in and of itself is a gift.

Seek and You Shall Find – The Negative Trap

You know, for a writer and a blogger, I’m not doing a very good job posting on my blog these days. I know that happens from time to time, but I truly enjoy blogging, so I’m a little bummed out about my lack of consistency.

Okay, the world is full of distractions, but as the saying goes “Writers write.” We have to learn to fight through the distractions and keep on doing our job.

For me, I’m trying to figure out why it’s been so difficult recently. And yes, the world is crazy right now, and there’s a feeling of isolation due to Covid. Last year, however, was more than just Covid and the pandemic that none of us saw coming. It was the anger of this nation, with the presidential election dividing America nearly in half. It was the protests and riots, and general unrest that had many of us shaking our heads wondering what was happening to the United States. Then, if you throw in any type of personal crisis, health issue, job loss, and more, well, how much more can we take?

The new year was going to bring new hope, and there are sparks of hope, but overall, things remain the same.

So, for me, trying to have any glimmer of creativity has been tough. I’ve determined that a lot of my block has been negativity. The world is angry. I feel like we’ve lost our kindness and compassion for one another. There’s so much negativity going around that it’s blocking out the positive. Comments on social media posts are vindictive and nasty. You can’t even agree to disagree. If you don’t believe like someone else does, they can call you all kinds of names, and are so filled with hate, it’s almost frightening. What happened to politeness and plain old common courtesy?

Personally, I don’t mind disagreeing with others. I like hearing their viewpoint on issues. By listening to all sides, I learn new things. I can think about things from a different perspective. Even if I still disagree with them, I like knowing their point of view. This goes back to agreeing to disagree. I try to be an open, positive person in my day-to-day life, but right now, the negativity is sucking the energy and creativity right out of me. I’m weighed down with hopelessness. How do you combat that?

There’s only one way: Look for the good. If you’re in such a mindset of anger, then you’ll only see offense everywhere you turn. If you look for kindness, you’ll see positivity more and more. It’s too easy to fall into the negative trap.

My faith helps me a lot. And lately the Bible verse in 1 Thessalonians that says “Pray without ceasing” has been put into action like never before. Jeremiah 29:12-13 (NIV) says, “Then you call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

That’s what I need to keep in mind: What am I seeking? Am I so consumed with negativity that it’s the only thing I see? Or am I looking for good things? Anger breeds anger, but on the flipside, kindness breeds kindness.

We need to ask ourselves what are we looking for? I know what I’m seeking – how about you?

Learning to Trust God…The Hard Way

Two blog posts that I wrote over the summer have come back to haunt me. In July, I wrote a post called “Reality of Faith, Trust and a Positive Attitude.” And the meme included with that post said “Trust in Him, Always, All Days.”

Then in early August, I wrote a post titled “Being Bold in a Time of Fear” which talked about being stouthearted (quoting from Psalm 183:3).

Never could I imagine what I would face where the messages of those two posts would have me nearly eating my own words. Suddenly, I found myself asking if I really did trust God and was I truly being stouthearted.

When things are going well in our lives, it’s easy to believe you have strength, and that you’re trusting God in all things. For me, even through this pandemic, and now with election season, it’s easy for me to say “God is in control.” Because outside of wearing my mask and casting my vote (even when I wish there was a “none of the above” category), I have to leave the fate of this country in God’s hands. It’s pretty much out of my control.

But in mid-August, things hit much closer to home, and that’s when I began to ask if I was stouthearted enough to trust God always, all days. Without going into details, out of respect for the privacy of my family, I became one of the many, many adult children who deal with the health issues of aging parents. Suddenly, I was thrust into a scenario where I had to make many critical decisions (with the support of my wonderful husband). Along the way, I had to deal with the emotions of both parents; one going through the health crisis, and the other watching their spouse of 60-plus years go through said crisis. Plus, I had to deal with my own fears and emotions, all while trying to make important and scary decisions about future care management. The world weighed heavy on my shoulders, causing me to spend a lot of time on my knees, praying, and crying, and yelling.

At my core, I had to answer if I really trusted God. And my answer was and is: yes. But that doesn’t mean I understand what God is up to. It doesn’t mean that I can’t be a little angry at Him because two wonderful people were suffering so much. It just means that I realized I couldn’t handle the burden, decisions, and fear on my own. I had to trust God. I had to lay everything at His feet, begging for peace, healing and relief.

In that moment, it didn’t appear that my prayers were answered, but they eventually were. And, as we’re moving through October, we’ve had a time of relative peace, of adjusting to the situation, and we’ve had miracle after miracle of healing.

We’ve seen God’s hand in nearly everything. Yes, hindsight is 20/20. We can see clearer looking back at the situation than we could while we were going through the tough days. God was always there.

So, what about next time? Will I be able to be more stouthearted? Will I truly trust the Lord through the next crisis? I’d like to think so. I hope I have a long memory. But that doesn’t mean I won’t have moments of fear, anger, and wondering what God is up to.

Whatever my emotions are, I hope that I will always turn to God in prayer, and know He is working with us, even in the darkest of times.